Tuesday 25 November 2014
After observing him animatedly and tirelessly directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic for a while, I went up to him to convey my respect and understand from him his motivation for this passionate drive. His answer left me amazed and full of admiration - there is no poignant tale of loss, no personal grievance that has moved him to take up this onerous task. He is just selflessly doing his bit as a citizen to instil civic sense - in this case, a much needed and severally lacking quality; ie. following traffic discipline.
His words of wisdom and some anecdotes that he shared with me are also captured in these articles published elsewhere:
Hats off to Mr. Subramanian on his magnificent contribution to society!
Friday 6 August 2010
Wednesday 17 February 2010
I do believe that India remains inconsistent in its approach to Pakistan and offers an easy, soft target to external perpetrators of terror. That said, while we do need to strengthen our response, fighting the battle within has gained utmost importance for me. When we are weak internally, we cannot hope to stand up to external threats - and we don't need external terror to destroy us when we are so hell bent on doing the job ourselves.
Unfortunately, our institutions are failing us - be it the executive, the legislature or the judiciary...and now the fourth estate, our media. Our very social fabric is in danger of being torn up by vested interests. India in the 21st Century finds itself in a cultural and political morass. We need to stand up to the hooligans and let it be known that as a society, we aren't going to be held to ransom....and if it takes an entire state government machinery to do it...so be it!
Thursday 17 September 2009
Why we participate in this can be answered fairly simply – we do it because we are in effect made to. No matter where or when the National Anthem is played, Indians will rise. But the questions that beg to be asked are - Why do we need to do this? What are we hoping to achieve? Are we so green as a nation that we need to buttress our identity as a people in this jingoistic fashion? What is so wonderful about people reluctantly rising to join the rendition of a composition that they in fact normally feel passionate about?
My reservation about playing of the anthem in theatres is fuelled by what I consider to be the inappropriateness of both the place and the occasion for such an activity. True, it’s a convenient setting for finding a large bunch of people together. But really, that’s about it! What I find absolutely telling is the statement that is flashed on screen before the anthem is played – ‘Please rise for the National Anthem’. There’s something going horribly wrong when you need to tell the citizens of India this – and what is wrong is simply that it is unnatural. Movie halls are meant for watching movies…and wonder of wonders - our brains know this!
But now here’s the tricky bit. Even while harbouring these misgivings over the last few years, I've found myself sucked into the quagmire. Although my mind kept repeatedly telling me that I didn't subscribe to this irrational brand of nationalism, I found a little lump rising in my throat every time I stood up only to reinforce it. An important self discovery and learning for me - my mind does indeed know what it knows… but my heart's a free agent!
Thursday 23 April 2009
Saturday 11 April 2009
While 70 per cent of India’s population is below 40 years of age, 80 per cent of India’s politicians are over 70 years. According to a recent opinion poll that I caught on TV, over 60% of Indians believe that age is not an issue when it comes to leadership. Even assuming that these opinion polls are merely an exercise in amusement, I find this a really bitter pill to swallow!
Also for a while now, I have been mulling over the issue of ‘dynastic’ politics. Is there anything wrong with it? After all, isn’t it considered perfectly normal when engineers’ kids pursue engineering, doctors’ kids become doctors, and cine kids join movies? Why then single out politicians? To my mind, there is one difference and a significant one. In other fields, the progeny are responsible only for themselves but in politics, ‘star’ kids as leaders are responsible for the nation. Then again, why should that be a problem – yes, meritocracy is of paramount importance but in a functioning democracy, that should automatically be taken care of – we always have the power to boot out those who don’t perform.
As India does not have a Presidential form of Government, I have to confess that it irks me no end that Rahul Gandhi is already projected as the automatic young ‘leader’ of the Congress and India’s future Prime Minister when there are several other notable young guns in the party who do not make silly and obfuscating speeches about Kalawatis and do not escort foreign dignitaries on ridiculous ‘rural tourism’ jaunts. There’s nothing wrong with inheriting a political background, but this inheritance is based on past accomplishments of the family; to not have to compete with ones peers in the present is to make a mockery of our political system.
This brings me to a compilation (a comparative study if you will) that I have made of some of India’s next generation of politicians (excluding Independents).
Monday 29 October 2007
A national Daily says this is 'bound to affect lakhs of IIM aspirants'. Really? I'm intrigued - wonder how many students with a 49.9% score made it to an IIM so far? If it 'affects aspirants', i'd say it's in a positive way by sparing them useless effort.
One way of admitting students is for the Entrance Test itself to be the sole basis of selection. If, on the other hand, previous results are to be considered as well, it is ridiculous to set filtration levels so low (as 50% is), for selection to the best institutes in the country, that they are rendered absurd and meaningless....as absurd as having entrance tests for tiny tots! I find it surprising that marks could be 'rounded off' earlier - if true, then the idea of a rounded off benchmark was as stupid as stupid can get.
The paper also tells me 2.3 lakh applicants vie for 1500 seats at the IIMs and as each application costs Rs. 1100, they make Rs. 25 crores in this process. Makes sense - the 50% level is not so ridiculous after all!
Monday 15 October 2007
Saturday 13 October 2007
Wednesday 3 October 2007
So screamed the headline of a National Newspaper on the 138th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The article went on to publish the knowledge, or rather the lack of it, that the common man on the street has about the Mahatma.
It went something like this:
Q. Where was he born?
Q. When was he killed?
Q. What was his wife's name?
Q. What did he do for India?
A. Huh? Don't really know what he did for us, but must have been something right....else why would his birthday be a holiday for us every year?
Come Oct 2nd and January 30th, reams are written about this apostle of peace. Another great leader of this nation also shares his birthday with Gandhi. Lal Bahadur Shastri is a forgotten man. He doesn't find mention in any publication, and why should he? When Gandhi is an unknown entity today, irrelevant to many, what chance does Shastri stand?