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Friday, August 31, 2012

Newsroom Humor: ‘Take Off Your Clothes And Leave Please' !

Another humorous episode of the newsroom kind becomes due by now, I suppose! But this time it is not about the eccentric editor who always cause disasters for others, it is about a normal editor caught in normal conditions. In that light this episode runs the risk of not being considered funny, but esteemed readers may always apply their discretion to smile or grin or laugh out or remain discerningly expressionless.
The editor on duty that night was waiting for his guest to arrive for the interview scheduled in the late night bulletin. The guest did finally arrive, but the editor was shocked by his pathetic condition!
The guest was profusely apologetic. ‘You know the monsoon this time…always unwilling to allow the rains fall…so I decided not to take the umbrella! And, just the little distance from the bus stop to come over here…but all of a sudden a heavy shower caught me really unawares! The moment I was inside it was gone! So sorry!’
He was completely drenched. The editor was concerned on two counts, the guest might literally get frozen inside the unusually cold television studio, and his ribcage might shine through on the screen! Something must be done, he decided.
The editor ran to inspect the costumes kept in safe custody by all the male news anchors in the newsroom wardrobe and found one dress perfectly matching the guest. Running back he managed to convince the guest to have a change of costumes. He ignored somebody’s careful opinion that the news anchor to whom the dress actually belonged to might find it a breach of fundamental rights by saying that in such an eventuality his name and his order might be quoted.
In the full-sleeved red shirt and white blazer the guest was looking extremely handsome when he appeared on screen. Again, the editor was concerned! ‘Okay, the owning news anchor finding it as misuse or abuse could be handled…but what about a more serious possibility! If the guest runs away leaving his still wet clothes behind…! No, something must be done!’
The editor called one of his assistants and shot off the instructions urgently. ‘Post yourself in front of the studio door…the moment the interview ends and the guest comes out…rush him immediately to the make-up room and order him to take off his clothes! When finally he is back into his own dress, don’t bother wet or not, only then allow him to leave the premises! Right? Get cracking!’
The editor felt sorry, but as the responsible desk editor and the safe custodian of the costumes in the newsroom wardrobe he had hardly any options!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mumbai: Yes Rain, No Rain And Monsoon Pain!

In a normal rainy season in Mumbai there are at least three major disruptions, and a major disruption normally means total breakdown of communication with local railway stations stopping train services due to water logging on tracks and all roads hopelessly clogged; stranded commuters lambasting the inadequacies of the municipal authorities in monsoon preparedness and the television channels terrorizing people with reports of more rains and tidal waves not to venture out of homes. Apart from that there are at least ten moderate or minor disruptions. But this rainy season-2012 there are no major disruptions so far and only 2/3 moderate or minor ones. People in Mumbai are confused and pained, they cannot say the monsoon is being merciful on them as their normal activities are not disturbed; they want more rains to fend off possible water scarcity in coming dry months; they do not want the municipal body to waste loads of money on the proposed artificial rain or rain seeding project. Therefore, in effect, people here now would like the monsoon to pour and disrupt life immediately, if necessary! Why ‘immediately’, we will know later.
The month of June has passed rainless barring one or two heavy showers. The month of July, always proving to be the wettest month with rains continuing sometimes for several days, has passed almost without rains. And, the month of August has almost passed with only one day of good rains that is on August 27 which proved to be the wettest day of the season. But the rains on that day, though heavy and continuing for hours causing water logging in traditional areas and slowing down rail and road traffic, cannot still be defined as a major disruption. Defying the met department forecast that heavy downpour would continue for the next 36 hours the monsoon decided to call if off by evening of the same day. Next day hardly any rain, and today too hardly any rain. This bizarre unwillingness of the monsoon to pour has been very clear throughout the season.  Only the huge traffic jams linger on for the third day today since the rains. 

As per latest reports El Nino is not going to affect the rains in September. So, if rain deficit of more than fifty percent in Mumbai is to be cleared the month of September is bound to be the wettest month of this season. And, the Lord Ganesh or Ganapati Festival when people worship their beloved God for ten days is going to start on 19th September. Keeping their fingers crossed Mumbaikars are praying for the monsoon to pour and keep pouring 'immediately' and finish off the deficit. 

Meanwhile the Government of Maharashtra had declared drought conditions in 123 blocks of the state due to deficient rains. The farmers are the most worried lot at the moment. They are also praying for the rain gods to sail them out of this crisis. They would also expect Lord Ganesh to do some magic before He arrives for his devotees.

Pour O’ Monsoon, Pour!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cricket Double: India Lifts ICC U-19 World Cup, Team India Crush New Zealand In First Test!

Unmukt Chand!
The Indian team under-19 has won the ICC U-19 World Cup-2012 by beating defending champions Australia by 6 wickets with 14 balls to spare today at Townsville in north east coastal Australia. This is the third time that junior India has won the World Cup Under-19 after the triumphs in 2000 and in 2008. India’s chase becomes the biggest ever at this particular venue. Junior India skipper Unmukt Chand led from the front by making a superlative unbeaten century (111 off 130 balls) with productive contributions from Aparajith (33 off 38) and wicket-keeper Smit Patel (unbeaten 62 off 84).

The goings-on during the ICC U-19 World Cup-2012 played in Australia did not particularly interest cricket fans even in cricket-crazy India, because the antics of senior India or Team India only are followed normally with zeal and kill. But when junior India was to face Pakistan in the quarterfinals and when they beat Pakistan in a very close encounter to advance to the semifinals the right kind of atmosphere got created. Avid fans cheered on the Indian colts as they defeated New Zealand in another exciting match and entered the Final. The India-Australia Final was tantalizingly set up.

Put in to bat first Australia posted a competitive total of 225/8 in allotted fifty overs. For India pacer Sandeep Sharma captured 4 wickets with economical bowling by Aparajith who took one. The Indian chase was never off the target of 226 runs with the batsmen not allowing the asking rate to climb higher. At 97/4 the situation was fluid, but skipper Chand was already in full control and with an unbroken partnership of 130 runs with Smit Patel the World Cup was finally won for junior India. Chand was also crowned the Player of the Match award. The Scorecard:

India now enjoys the unique distinction of being World Champions at both junior and senior levels. Close watch over Chand and his star players is expected to be kept as to their future career prospects. The triumph in ICC U-19 World Cup-2000 played in Sri Lanka produced two cricketing stars in the form of Yuvraj Singh and Muhammad Kaif who went on to make Team India proud on various occasions. The triumph of 2008 in Malaysia produced none other than the sensational Virat Kohli who led his team of victory and who is now vice-captain in Team India. The nation celebrates the success of their young ones today.

And, as expected, Team India won the first Test against New Zealand in Hyderabad today by the huge margin of an innings and 115 runs. New Zealand on the fourth day today fought hard initially with dogged determination of  Brendon McCullum and Williamson who took the team score to 98 from the overnight 41/1 when  McCullum got out. Williamson became the fourth out at 138/4 and from that point it was a downhill journey with New Zealand losing all its 6 wickets for the addition of only 26 runs. Finally all out for just 164 they did no better than the first innings total of 159. The rain gods too were not too pleased with New Zealand’s lackluster performance!

R Ashwin! 
Spinner R Ashwin registered his fourth haul of five or more wickets by capturing 6 again and achieved a match haul of 12 wickets which is the best Indian bowling performance ever against New Zealand. He was the undisputed choice for the Player of the Match award. His partner in spin Pragyan Ojha somehow vindicated Dhoni’ persistence with him by capturing 3 again in the second innings and making a match haul of 6 wickets. The Scorecard: 

It turned out to be a super Sunday as far as cricket was concerned the double delight seemed to be enough to make the Indian cricket fans forget the past humiliations. In totality, this Sunday becomes a mixed one as the Indian film industry lost one of its most respected actors, AK Hangal.

AK Hangal: Bollywood Movie Grandfather Passes Away!

A tremendous feature about him that always struck me was he looked the same since he made his first silver screen appearance in 1966. The reason could be that he started his acting quite late after attaining the age of fifty. He had always been the amiable, smiling, melancholic, incorrigibly pious and utterly homely uncle, father and grandfather of Bollywood movies for nearly five decades. And, he was always the balding, pale and thin man in mostly traditional costumes and surroundings. He had been like a beloved and respected member of our own family…and today we lost him.
Avtar Kishen Hangal popularly known as AK Hangal, a veteran character actor of over 225 Hindi or Bolllywood movies, passed away this morning at a Mumbai hospital. He was 95. For the past week he had been on life support system and was not responding to medical treatment. The grand old actor had a fall in his bathroom on August 14, 2012 and fractured a hip bone. Old age problems combined with longstanding lung and kidney ailments caused deterioration in his health and therefore he was admitted in ICU on August 16. He left a son behind, his wife having predeceased him. The last rites are being scheduled this evening in Mumbai. 
AK Hangal began his acting career in 1966 and last acted in movie in 2008. He had been portraying pivotal character roles of the quintessentially trouble-torn head of family in mostly rural poor households and in struggling middle class families, his strong characters never allowing any option to go the wrong way. An uncle or a father or a grandfather or a village elder or a musician or a teacher…piety, honesty and kindness setting his roles apart supported as always by his powerful yet endearing performance. Some of the movies that come to the mind include Parichay, Bawarchi, Abhimaan, Sholay, Lagaan and naturally many more. AK Hangal excelled in comedy too like in Shaukeen, Shararat and in many other serious roles where comedy was integral. He mustered the art of bringing out tears of joy in his spellbound viewers. 

AK Hangal also had the distinction of acting in most of Rajesh Khanna movies—as if the two great actors matched sweetness for sweetness, emotion for emotion, melancholy for melancholy. 
Bawarchi (The Chef), one of such memorable movies, comes to my mind again and again. The movie shows a typically struggling middle-class joint family torn by petty rivalries and jealousies. A mysterious chef looking for jobs suddenly lands in the family and through a web of sweet suspense unites the family. The eldest brother played by AK Hangal erupts in joy rediscovering the small pleasures of life. The delightful movie has stood the test of time for over 40 years.
The last memorable performance of AK Hangal was in Shararat in 2002.  His last public appearance was for a television serial in 2012. As is common in India, great movies are remembered but not the great actors. AK Hangal was living in penury a few years back, and when the news came into public domain several film personalities including Amitabh Bachchan organized financial help to bail out the legendary character artiste. The government and the people should take enough care to prevent this unfortunate trend and support all the great artistes of yore.

We pray for the eternal bliss of the noble soul of AK Hangal and gratefully cherish the fact that he will continue to lighten up the silver screens and to live in our hearts.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Test Cricket: India In Command, New Zealand Follows On!

Cheteshwar Pujara in full flow!
Team India was in absolute command when rains played a spoilsport putting an end to the third day’s play today in the first cricket Test match between India and New Zealand in Hyderabad. Starting from a disastrous overnight score of 106 for 5 New Zealand lost its bottom half for the addition of only 53 runs and got all out for 159 giving India a lead of 279 runs. Indian skipper Dhoni enforced the follow-on and New Zealand struggled to 41/1 when rains stopped play.

Ashwin in action!
Despite a cloudy and heavy weather it was not the seamers, namely Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav, but the Indian spinners, Ashwin and Ojha, who dominated the proceedings and proved New Zealand’s dubious reputation in tackling spin bowling yet again. Ashwin and Ojha shared nine out of the ten wickets to fall between them with Ashwin capturing 6 and Ojha 3. Umesh Yadav got the other wicket.  It was Ashwin’s third haul of five or more wickets in an innings in his 7 tests. The likes of McCullum or Guptil or Taylor could not do much and there was not even a single fifty scored in the entire innings. Franklin scored the highest 43 runs remaining not out. The first Test looks as good as over now unless the rain gods decide to bail out the languishing touring team that unfortunately had to appear for the test without having a single warm-up match. The timing of this short India-New Zealand Test Series looks odd too considering the fact that the South West Monsoon remains active in India till September.

Playing a Test without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman for the first time in years Team India made a sound beginning with its young guns firing. On the first day, the 23rd of August, 2012 Cheteshwar Pujara, playing only his 4th Test, laid solid anchors with patience and determination, and achieved his maiden century remaining unbeaten at stumps. The sensational Virat Kohli contributed well with a half century. Skipper Dhoni gave Pujara sound company and guided India to 307/5 at the end of the first day’s play. On the second day too the duo kept on and after a partnership of 127 run  Pujara fell for a brilliant 159 with the team’s score at 387. Dhoni was the next out at 411 with his individual score of 73 runs. But for a gutsy 37 by Ashwin the Indian tail could have folded up much more cheaply. The final score of 438 looked challenging on a spinning and uneven track. For New Zealand spinner JS Patel took four wickets and pacer Boult captured three. The Scorecard:

With two days to go only an extraordinary batting display or big favors from the rain gods could save New Zealand from a humiliating defeat. For India a big win would be a blessing after the memory of eight straight away Test losses.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Politics Of Corruption: Whose Loss Is This Anyway?

An audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on coal block allocation that set a presumptive loss of a huge amount of money to the exchequer has put the country in possibly the worst ever national political crisis. The Indian Parliament has been paralyzed for a week now with the opposition political parties not allowing it to work unless their demand is met. And what is the demand? The Prime Minister of India must resign. No yielding of even an inch irrespective of if the Prime Minister wants to give his statement or not and if the ruling coalition wants a healthy debate or not. The biggest loser in this whole ‘coal black’ process is turning out to be the ‘democracy’ and that means us the people—the biggest losers of the world.
We people never had a clear choice anyway. We were never offered to choose between corruption and no-corruption. The choice increasingly was between more corrupt and less corrupt. And, we had no clue to who is ‘more’ or who is ‘less’.
The groups or organizations that launched fights against corruption themselves got immersed deep into the ‘more or less’ quagmire. The ambitious among them wanted to muster a rooted clout to rule the country with unbridled power to fight ‘corruption’ and so became political to start their own parties. Those with lots of money but no power joined hands with established political forces to fight ‘corruption’ and enjoy the looted power together.
The political parties in power had their own logic to debate and end the crisis to continue in power. The political parties not in power had their own logic to blackmail and prolong the crisis to get elected into power. We the people had no clue as to where the truth dwelt. We the people got swinging like a pendulum from one end to the other not knowing where is ‘more’ or where is ‘less’. Sometime we the people felt they were all the same wanting to rubbish the ‘more or less’ theory. In this insane process the possible 'good' loses out hopelessly to the prevailing 'evil'.
With scams surfacing one bigger than the other and the accompanying bizarre happenings over the last two years the climax seems to have been reached now. The climax where the ‘fighting’ parties want us the people to go with them and the ‘defending’ parties want us the people to stay put on them. If, eventually and inevitably, the climax or more clearly the mid-term general elections is thrust upon us the people we only get ourselves into an utterly perplexing and stupefying ‘democratic’ situation.
We the people keep swinging like a pendulum—from one end to the other. Like the biggest losers of the world.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cricket: South Africa No.1, England Busy Fighting KP, India Ready!

South Africa No.1!
If you thought star-ego wars were restricted only to Indian teams—be it in cricket or tennis—you were proved wrong by what happened or rather still happening in England. Interestingly, this gives you another chance to strengthen the synthesis that basically we Indians inherit most of our negative mindsets from our past colonial masters—England! Whatever be the legacy of the once ‘masters’ and once ‘slaves’ both of these countries show the ominous tendency to sacrifice national interests or pride in the rampant inability of their respective sports managers to handle their star players judiciously. 

South Africa had just become the No.1 Test team in International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings by toppling England with a 2-0 win in the recent Test cricket series played between the two countries in England. The winning margin of greater than 1-0 came for South Africa after long sixty years. Gary Kristen shines as maybe the first ever coach to take two different teams to No.1 position—India being the first beneficiary. 

Hashim Amla!
Incidentally, England became the No.1 team by drubbing India 4-0 in the Test series played in England in 2011. South Africa won the first Test played in July, 2012 riding high on an incredible unbeaten triple century by Hashim Amla and thus routing England by an innings and 12 runs. The second Test was drawn due mostly to rains, and therefore the third Test became very crucial for England as they faced losing their No.1 position if they did not manage to win it. But by then, the star-ego war between Kevin Pietersen (KP) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was raging. 

All was not well with Kevin Pietersen since he returned from playing in the Indian Premiere League-5 during April-May, 2012. It was likely that he must have fought with the ECB over adjusting his schedules considering his high stakes in the IPL. To bring matters to a head KP announced his retirement from one day international cricket and expressed his willingness to continue in T20 cricket. The ECB rebutted by saying that he had to retire wholly from limited overs cricket and not just from one-dayers. KP had to retract his announcement later. 

Kevin Pietersen!
After the England rout in the first Test of the South Africa-England Test Series-2012 all hell broke loose on the suspicion that KP had sent some mobile text messages to South African players criticizing his own teammates and the cricket board. Text messages normally imply very private communication between individuals and no third party is supposed to know or debate them. But maybe due to KP’s South Africa-born background and his past temperamental history the woes increased manifold for him and the ego war showed no signs of abating. Either party did not want to yield an inch. 

Eventually KP was dropped from the England team for the all-important third Test and apparently there was no consideration for the possible loss of national pride if England failed to win it. A key player figuring in his team’s many wins was thrown out for petty ego hassles. That England lost the exciting third Test on the last day by 51 runs and got dethroned to No.2 position in ICC Test rankings was history. 

The ego buck refused to stop even then. Kevin Pietersen was dropped too from the T20 World Cup coming up in Sri Lanka from September, 18, 2012. This decision was taken despite knowing the facts that England’s triumph in T20 World Cup-2010 was its first ever in ICC tournaments and KP was instrumental in the team’s wins in the crucial later matches leading up to the final. The Indian Tennis story was a recent similar case when the nation’s prospects in London Olympics-2012 got compromised due to endless ego wars and pathetic mismanagement. 

A nationalist mindset would serve sports better than the master-servant one! 

 Meanwhile, the India-New Zealand Test cricket series starts from tomorrow, August 23, 2012 and Team India is definitely going to exploit home conditions to win the Series in an effort to improve its ICC Test rankings too. For the first time in 16 years India will be playing a Test without the services of both Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. The focus will be ruthlessly on the youngsters for whom skipper Dhoni has been batting so intensely over the recent years. India will also be playing a Test after nearly 8 months with the painful memory of 8 straight away losses. And, this is going to be only the beginning a packed domestic season for months ahead.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Assam Violence: And Then... Cyber Terror By Pakistan?

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has confirmed that a hardliner group in Pakistan uploaded morphed images and videos on websites and social networking sites to whip up communal tension across India. The images of badly mangled victims in natural disasters like earthquakes and floods from various countries including Tibet and Thailand had been linked to the ethnic violence in Assam, situated in North Eastern region of India, to incite the Muslims and to panic the north easterners living in different parts of India. 

The uploading reportedly started around mid-July, 2012 in the aftermath of the Myanmar violence involving the Buddhists and Muslims which was also allegedly termed as ethnic cleansing resorted to by the government of Myanmar. In the meantime the Assam violence erupted between the local population of the Bodo tribe and the immigrant Muslim community from Bangladesh. The violence was largely due to economic pressures leading to land disputes created by unchecked infiltration from Bangladesh into Assam over the decades and there was no communal angle to that. 

The said terrorist group in Pakistan linked the morphed visuals to indicate horrendous communal killings of Muslims by the Bodos and added intimidating messages to the effect that the killings would be avenged after the celebrations of the Eid-ul-Fitar festival. Inflammatory short text and multimedia messages began to invade the mobile network too. 

This could possibly be the reason for the Mumbai violence on August 11, 2012 when anti-social elements penetrated a peaceful demonstration by the Mumbai Muslims and created an absolute chaos in a prime locality for one hour. The very unexpectedness of the mindless violence nearly paralyzed the security personnel on duty and they along with the media became the specific targets of the mob. Finally the violence left two people dead and scores injured. 

The rumors and messages became stronger after that and reports of north easterners being harassed and threatened in various cities flooded in. Perhaps the biggest exodus of Indians within India since Independence unfolded, not to speak of the nearly 500,000 people displaced and driven to refugee camps in Assam. Thousands of fear stricken Assamese people and north easterners rushed to the railway stations and took the first trains available to Assam and the North East. The worst affected cities were Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. The overcrowded trains became the spectacle of the century. 

The Government of India got into the action mode. Bulk short text and multimedia messages were banned for fifteen days. The Home Ministry constituted a dedicated team of experts to peruse the internet for any signs of violation. The team found more than hundred websites and cyber accounts filled with inflammatory visuals and texts, and they sourced the uploading to Pakistan. More than eighty of those were immediately blocked and Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were approached for finding objectionable and communal pages or accounts. As per latest reports the government had ordered for blocking more than 250 sites and a few social networking sites told the government that the uploading of objectionable images and videos was done from Pakistan. 

As the evidence clearly pointed towards Pakistan the Indian Home Ministry got into touch with its Pakistan counterpart and asked for a crackdown on the hate spreading elements there. If this latest evidence could succeed in breaking Pakistan’s eternal mode of denial was to be seen yet. Normally Indian evidence does not qualify as 'evidence' in Pakistan! 

Why a country bled continually by terrorism within is always focused on destabilizing or even destroying its neighbor and is ever unwilling or unable to counter the terrorists has always been the big question. The answer to that just never comes. Instead a new weapon called cyber terror gets discovered. 

The India-Pakistan relations could very well be termed  the greatest mystery of mankind. 

Today Eid-ul-Fitar is being celebrated throughout India. We wish all our Muslim friends the happiest Eid Mubarak! We all should take a resolve on this holy occasion to stay united on the issue of our nationality, to take pride on being Indians and defeat all divisive forces. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cricket: VVS Laxman Announces His Retirement!

He has been fondly called Very Very Special by cricket lovers and experts in India. Indeed, he has given Very Very Special moments to Indian cricket over the sixteen years of his superb innings. He could be called the crisis manager for Team India always rescuing the team from tight situations and with Rahul Dravid virtually forming the disaster management cell—saving hopeless matches and winning matches from hopeless situations. They excelled both in home and away conditions.
Vangipurapu Venkata Sai (VVS) Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket this afternoon at a press conference in his home city of Hyderabad. His retirement was expected ever since his listless performance in India’s disastrous tours of Australia-2011-12 and before that the tour of England-2011. Particularly when Rahul Dravid decided to call it a day Laxman’s retirement seemed imminent. But the legendary player kept on perhaps for the last memorable innings of his life during the packed domestic season-2012-13.
VVS Laxman stuck to his practice and training schedules at home despite not playing any international match since January, 2012. And, in fact, he was selected for the India-New Zealand cricket series starting on coming 23rd August with the first Test to be played in Laxman’s home ground in Hyderabad. His fans were geared up to see him maybe in one last home appearance. But today, the Very Very Special cricketer shocked everyone by announcing his retirement with immediate effect.
Reports and speculation suggest that the Indian cricket selectors told him specifically to play his last two Tests against New Zealand and then retire. The great cricketer known for his slick and elegant leg cuts perhaps could not handle this cruel googly. He has always been the perfect gentleman in the gentleman’s game of cricket and never had any problem or dispute with anyone in his career spanning 16 years. The only time he expressed his disappointment was when he was not selected for the World Cup-2003 despite the fact that Laxman was playing the limited over games with much more dexterity during those years only. Now, true to his nature, Laxman candidly informed the media that he wanted to make way for younger players to be groomed in this long domestic season, and no hint whatsoever about possible pressure or compulsions.
In a career marked with highs and lows Laxman played exceptionally well against Australia scoring six of his seventeen hundreds in Test Cricket. His majestic innings of 281 in the Kolkata Test in 2001 against Australia remains a landmark even now. After being forced to follow on India went on to win that Test thanks to the VVS man who crafted an incredible partnership with Rahul Dravid. He had been a dedicated player in the truest form of the game—Test cricket, and maybe that is why could not adjust adequately to the shorter forms to excel. Thanks to his class he started as an icon in the shortest form called the Indian Premiere League that unfolded in 2007, but in its fifth version this year there were no buyers for him.
Fans and cricket lovers are going to miss him sorely. The Big Four of Indian batting is now reduced to just one with Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman gone and only Sachin Tendulkar sticking on. But hopefully the void will be filled with exciting young players like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and a few other promising batsmen.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Assam Violence: And Then Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore…India!

Some fundamentalists are playing a sinister game of communal politics taking advantage of the Assam violence that erupted in July, 2012. These forces are spreading rumors through mobile short text or multimedia messages and are trying to create panic—place by place and community by community.
First point to note is that Assam has had no history of communalism ever as we have said earlier too. What happened there was due to increasing economic pressures created by continuing illegal immigration over the decades and the erupting ethnic violence involved poor people of various communities who just want to survive. These threatened people cannot afford to indulge in religious luxuries or wars.
The Assam violence had its first case of blatant misuse in Mumbai in the afternoon of August 11, 2012. People of a community of Mumbai had a demonstration to protest against the ‘killings’ of their people in Assam which was untrue conceptually, because the ethnic violence was not a ‘killing’ spree, it was a terrible and almost inevitable human tragedy. Anyway, the protest march was planned peacefully and in a democracy it had to be permitted. But some evil forces penetrated the march and created mayhem in the most prominent locality of the city. Nobody expected such a chaotic situation from a peaceful demonstration and it took the police and the media who were the main targets by total surprise. For one hour the unbelievable rioting, burning, loot and anarchy prevailed leading to deaths to two people and injuries to many including policemen and journalists and media vans. The fundamentalist forces had their first strike
One led to the other. After the Mumbai violence many people admitted receiving inflammatory and instigating messages regarding the planned protest. The messages then spread to Pune and the students of the North East region where Assam is situated were reportedly harassed and threatened. Then the evil designs invaded Bangalore—the IT hub of India. North Eastern students started fleeing their hostels in panic and in thousands taking the next available trains or flights.
The fundamentalist forces are trying to create a communal divide all over India by targeting the North Eastern students in the garb of ‘revenge’. The government of India and the concerned states have been taking steps to reassure the safety of all people from Assam and the North East living anywhere in India. But the rumor mongers and the divisive forces must be stopped before they target new areas. All of the evil forces must be punished immediately and involved politicians in this sinister game must be identified.
Stop the Assam Tragedy NOW to SAVE India tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Indian Independence Day-2012!

Citizens of India are celebrating the 66th Independence Day today. The Independence Day’s features are: hoisting of the Tricolor, respect to the nation, patriotic fervor, the spirit of togetherness and unity, a sense of duty and taking of pledges for noble causes and deeds.
Happy Independence Day to All of You

Freedom in the Mind.....
Faith in the Words.........

Pride in our Souls.........
Let's salute the Nation! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Indian Political Leader Vilasrao Deshmukh Passes Away!

Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister for Science and Technology in the Government of India, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and a stalwart of Maharashtra politics, passed away today at a Chennai hospital. He had been suffering from serious liver ailments for the last fifteen days and was on life support. The end came today due to multiple organ failure, the attending doctors said. He was 67. The whole nation went into mourning at the untimely demise of worthy political leader on the eve of India’s 66th Independence Day tomorrow.

Hailing from Babhalgaon village in Latur district of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh rose from an elected Sarpanch or village headman in 1974 to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1999. He fought and won the state Assembly elections in 1980 and his career as a prominent Congress political leader began. He won the elections in 1985 and in 1990 too and occupied prime portfolios of cabinet ministers in the state government. He lost the polls in 1995, but came back strongly in 1999 to become the Chief Minister. In 2003 he had to give up his charge due to party factionalism, but became the Chief Minister for the second term after winning the state elections in 2004. With his two terms he became the longest serving Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In the tense aftermath of the horrific Mumbai terror attack on 26th November, 2008 Vilasrao Deshmukh resigned taking moral responsibility for the loss of innocent lives. In 2009 he got elected to the upper house of the Indian Parliament and he began his career in national politics. He was given the cabinet portfolios of Rural Development, Heavy Industries and Science and Technology over the last three years. His last days had been disturbed due to the ongoing investigations of the Adarsh scam of which he was finally absolved about two months back.

Vilasrao Deshmukh had a dignified personality with strikingly good features, a powerful oratory and all the qualities of staunch leadership. As a person he was always positive, bright, beaming and amiable. On various news assignments I had a few opportunities to meet him and I was impressed by his sincerity and frankness. He also had a healthy family life with wife and three well settled sons—the second one being a successful Bollywood film star Riteish Deshmukh. He always looked to be in prime health and therefore his illness and sudden death came as an absolute shocker for many. Reports now reveal that he had been suffering from liver and kidney ailments for the last two years.

The President, the Prime Minister and all other dignitaries including his cabinet colleagues in both state and central governments expressed a deep sense of loss on his demise. All political leaders irrespective of party affiliations expressed their condolences. A three day state mourning has been declared in the state of Maharashtra. The last rites are to be performed at his native village Babhalgaon tomorrow at 4pm. All roads nationwide are currently leading to that village despite the august Independence Day programs.

We pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul. Our tributes to a worthy political leader.

Monday, August 13, 2012

London Olympics-2012: India Celebrate The Best Ever Haul!

Article first published as London Olympics-2012: The Best Ever Haul For India! on Technorati.

The Six Indian Olympic Heroes!
The largest ever contingent from India to the London Olympics-2012 achieved the best ever haul of medals for the country. The quest for an elusive Gold medal remained unfulfilled, but India won 6 medals including 2 silver and 4 bronze which is double to that of 3 medals including 1 gold and 2 bronze achieved in the Beijing Olympics-2008. The Indian wrestlers provided the final boost to take the Indian tally to six. 

The desperate wait for a gold medal continued till the last hours of the London Olympics. Hopes were pinned on the Indian wrestler in 66kg freestyle category, Sushil Kumar who was scheduled to play his bouts on the final day of the Olympics that is yesterday, the 12th of August, 2012. He defeated his Turkish rival—the gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics— after an engaging fight in the first bout and entered the quarterfinals. The most electric countdown began in India for a medal—hopefully the gold. 

Sushil Kumar
In the quarterfinals Sushil Kumar overcame a tough rally from his Uzbek rival to move into the semifinals. It was again a close fight in the semifinals, but Sushil finally prevailed over his Kazakh rival in the last round and entered the finals—the first Indian player to do so in the London Olympics. Now a silver medal was assured and a gold medal hope was very close to reality. 

Sushil Kumar, reportedly suffering from a stomach upset and dehydration, failed to match his Japanese rival in the final and the gold medal hunt was lost for this Olympics. But Sushil Kumar made history by becoming the only Indian to bag two individual medals in Olympics. He won the first medal which was a bronze in Beijing in 2008 . 

Indian people and governments have been celebrating the best ever Olympic medal tally and not taking the colors of the medals seriously. The celebrations had begun earlier when shooter Gagan Narang gave India the first medal of the London Olympics. Then at the grand climax the six heroes have been welcomed all over and huge cash awards announced for all of them. But the euphoria must last longer than the London Olympics. 

Mary Kom
Indeed, considering India’s size and global prominence the medal tally looks insignificant and pathetic particularly in comparison with the top three winners—USA, China and Britain. India come a measly 55th in London Olympic rankings. But in terms of overall lack of adequate funds, sponsors, grooming, training and other facilities to general sports in India this best haul remains the biggest achievement and the people of India are rightfully happy about it. For example super-mom Mary Kom who hails from the state of Manipur in India’s neglected and backward North Eastern region has been rightfully getting undivided attention and praise for her personal struggle to achieve an Olympic medal in women’s boxing. 

The beaming Indian sports minister has put his targets at 25 medals for the 2020 Olympics. But to make that dream come true he must envisage both an intensive and extensive promotion of all sports except cricket in India. For a starter he must focus immediately on Indian hockey and begin from scratches. The Indian hockey team lost all its six matches and occupied the last position in rankings. Barring its inability to qualify for the Beijing Olympics Hockey discipline this is the worst ever performance by the Indian Hockey team in Olympic history. There are despairing expressions that it would have been better if the Indian hockey team failed to qualify again. 

The grand spectacle of the London Olympics-2012 came to an end after twelve days of excellence. India must pick this moment to begin introspection.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Humor: The Bovine Will!

"Feeling really excited about the ride! Going to be a unique experience!"

"But where has the goddamned driver gone?"

"Hurry up!...Let's go! Have to be back home before dark!"

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cricket: Yuvraj Singh Wins Again To Come Back To Team India!

He has been India’s consistent match winner since 2000. The moment he crosses the half century mark or takes wickets off his slow left-arm spinners India’s win gets almost ensured. He has won many a battle for his country. And, when recently he fought the biggest battle of his life his country gave him full support to win it with flying colors. 

Who could forget his incredible partnership that won India the NatWest Series Final against England in England in 2002? Who could ever rub off the electric memory of watching him hitting six huge sixes in one over by Stuart Broad in a match of the T20 World Cup in 2007? Who could pass over his contribution to India winning the ICC World Cup-2011 where he became the player of the tournament scoring 362 runs and taking 15 wickets? 

Following that historic World Cup triumph he faced the biggest challenge of his life. After a long drawn and agonizing bout of confusion and wrong reports he finally confronted the truth—lung cancer.  He was diagnosed with a rare form of germ cell cancer. He took up the fight against cancer undergoing strenuous sessions of chemotherapy in a hospital in the US, recuperation sessions and a long-term rehabilitation program coming back home. All the time he promised himself to get cured completely and to get to play for India again. 

Yuvraj Singh has indeed won the biggest battle too, and today the southpaw has returned to Team India for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup cricket that starts in Sri Lanka from September 18, 2012.
The Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had a meeting today in Mumbai and included Yuvraj Singh in the Indian squad of 15 players. After he took part in a training camp for over one month and was declared medically fit by a cricket academy his selection had been widely speculated. The decision was not without a few hiccups though with two members expressing doubt on his ability as he had not played competitive cricket for over nine months. But finally the winner had to be voted in. This definitely is a boost for Team India already on a high after winning the Micromax Cup-2012 in Sri Lanka in this month  only. 

His fans all over are eager to see him play again and win again and again for his team and his country! 

Along with Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh makes a comeback too after one year maybe to add experience to the spin department and pacer Balaji known for his swing comes back after three years perhaps for his effective swing bowling in IPL-5. Manoj Tiwary has also been included for his all-round performance in Sri Lanka. 

The BCCI has also declared the Indian team for the forthcoming series against New Zealand at home. The biggest surprise being the selection of spinner Piyush Chawla in both Test and T20 squad, because Chawla had done precious little in recent timed except for continuing to be Indian skipper Dhoni’s favorite like Rohit Sharma who still could not make it to the Test team. Veteran VVS Laxman was selected for the Test team despite his poor run in the Test series in England and Australia last year. Maybe his treasure house experience and Indian conditions were the top priorities. Sachin Tendulkar is also going to play for the country in the home series. Selection of promising players like Ajikya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the Test squad is good news too, but their inclusion in the playing eleven is doubtful as ever. Therefore the moot point of the selection was that in spite of the utter disasters abroad Team India still remains almost the same. 

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