Archive for November, 2008

What’s the kula, gotra, nakshatra of the ‘T’ man?

30 November 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: As per Wikipedia, there are 109 definitions of “Terrorism” and the only common characteristic that is agreed upon is that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence.

Yet, politicians in our country find it difficult to define terrorism.

It is only in India that we have gone so deep in defining terrorism that there could be half-a-dozen post graduate students working on their PhD in any of our famous universities at any given point.

Quite a few studies are probably conducted with funding from the human resource development ministry which thought they must come out with the mother of all definitions for ‘Terror’, so comprehensive it should defeat the purpose of a terrorist and make him sick and tired of trying to master all the definitions and hand himself over to the first commando in the vicinity.

One way of combating terror is to set up a good intelligence network, train and equip your forces, marshal all the resources and try and root it out. This is the no-nonsense approach which most nations adopt.

The other way is make the definition of terror so exhaustive that it should exhaust a studious would-be-terrorist so much that he drops the very idea of becoming one. This method is non-violent and helps particularly when elections are around the corner.

We seem to be following this method.

Most of us know words such as ‘Islamic Terrorism’ came about after the Bali explosion and 9/11 mayhem in New York and attack on our own Parliament. Recently ‘Hindu Terrorism’ was added to the lexicon after it emerged that Hindu organisations might have had a hand in the Malegaon blasts.

So far so good.

But why stop at this, ask our mandarins of Home Ministry. Thank god there is already alleged ‘Christian Terror’ to kill Swamis and ‘Buddhist Terror’. But is that enough? We need to go deeper into the cause of terror to solve the problem.

“Is it fair or just to club all the perpetrators of terror under one religion? What if they are from different sub-sects or sub-castes?” asks our friendly official from the Home Ministry in charge of Intelligence.

Calling something as ‘Islamic Terror’ is by itself incomplete and stupid.  What if some of them are ‘Sunnis’ and ‘Shias’? Shouldn’t we have studies of ‘Sunni Terror’ and ‘Shia Terror’?

Can our curiosity get quenched merely by saying ‘Hindu’ Terror? ’What about ‘Brahmin Terror’ and ‘Non-Brahmin terror’? These are intelligent questions raised by Shivaraj Patil and the whiz kids he was working with till this morning.

“We can fight terror only if know how many castes, sub castes, OBCs, non-OBCs etc are there itching to take up terror as a profession,” said an official of the HRD ministry who is working in tandem with home ministry and had offered to educate the Commandos, NSGs, ATS about the categories of terrorists available at any point of time. They need to know this before they learn to defuse a bomb or a grenade or jump off a helicopter.

We need to know the probability of ‘Vokkaliga Terror’ or ‘Lingayat Terror’ that could one day damage Vidhana Soudha, or the odds of ‘Babburkamme Terror’ one day setting fire to Basavanagudi temple.

Similarly could ‘Adi Dravidar Terror’ or ’Vishnu Terror’  gobble up Kanya Kumari temple?  Can you ignore the ‘Iyengars’ with their ‘Sankethi brand of terror’ and ‘Iyers’ with an equally ferocious brand of ‘Vadama’ brand?  ‘Reddy terror’ or ‘Kamma’ terror’ could one day take over the temple at Tirupati and cause mayhem. The possibilities are mind-blowing and bone-chilling.

Can our commandos drawn from different parts of country speaking different languages, yet, capable of fighting as one unit and ready to take on anybody, fight the multi-caste, multi sub-caste terrors spouted by our politicians?

Can our  NSGs and ATS who can fight nonstop terrorists for days at a stretch, fight  the venomous poisons injected by the politicians like the MNS, the vote mongers of the Congress, BJP, Mayawatis, Lalus, Karunanidhis, Jayalalithas and Mulayam Singhs?

That is what the common man wants to know.

Do you think our commandos, NSGs and anti terror Squads have any chance against so many terror sects sprouted by our politicians who have only one mantra which is to get votes at any cost even if it be at the cost our country? Even if it be at your cost?

‘Jumbo’ can still land in a City without an airport

29 November 2008

KPN photo

A proud son-in-law of Mysore, in mufti, comes in between a perfectly named set of stumps and a spiritual mid-off, and bowls over the wicket at the Ramakrishna Vidyashala grounds to kick off the 56th annual sports meet on Saturday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A soaring ‘Jumbo’ suddenly decides to land

‘The secret of Anil Kumble’s success is his un-Kannadiganess’

Head to toe, the essence of a good Kannadiga

What Sania Mirza needs to learn from Anil Kumble

The silent steel of Anil Kumble is the real Man of the Match

How Anil Kumble & Co are different from you and me

Let it not be said the Islamic world was silent

29 November 2008

VINUTHA MALLYA writes from Ahmedabad: We have seen the unrelenting horror unfold before us minute-by-minute. We have we heard and read the shock and solidarity expressed by the world’s high and mighty.

US President George Bush, President-elect Barack Obama, Prime Minister of UK Gordon Brown, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have all condemned the attacks.

Indian and international media have also reported the reactions from governments of Japan, China, Singapore, Canada, South Africa, Norway, European Union and NATO. Similarly, we heard from government leaders of neighbouring nations: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and China.

Even the Pope expressed his sentiments in a letter to the Cardinal.

However, there were other voices, which weren’t played up prominently, some of which were picked up by news agencies like PTI, Agence France Presse, Deutsche Press-Agentur and Xinhua.

These were the voices of leaders and governments from the Islamic countries, who too shared their shock and pledged support to India and to the fight against terrorism, just like the hallowed group above. Many of them emphasised that no religion sanctioned such acts of violence and terror.

***

ASIA

Malaysia: Malaysia’s foreign minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Malaysia was deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless act of violence “deliberately directed at civilian targets designed to inflict maximum human casualties.”

“Malaysia remains firmly committed to the fight against terrorism and in engaging in a constructive manner, all regional and international efforts in combating terrorism,” he said in a statement. He added that the horrendous attacks underscored the fundamental need for the international community to continue vigorously forging a comprehensive and effective front in combating all forms of terrorism and extremism.

Indonesia: Indonesia condemned the terrorism attacks in Bombay as despicable and inhumane. The government expressed condolences to the government of India and to the victims and their families, saying it hoped those responsible would be swiftly captured and brought to justice.

“The attacks are evidence that the threat of terrorism remains real and that it requires constant vigilance and multilateral cooperation in dealing with it,” the statement said. It added that Indonesia was a staunch supporter of all cooperation in combating terrorism.

THE GULF

Iran: In a statement, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi expressed the sympathy of the Iranian people and government toward the Indian nation and the families of the victims.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia denounced the terrorist attacks and expressed its condolences to the Indian government and people. “The Kingdom has been following up the terrorist explosions in Mumbai with indignation and expresses its strong condemnation of this criminal act,” an official source said. (Twelve Saudi nationals were among the hostages.)

Adnan Khalil Basha, secretary-general of the International Islamic Relief Organization in Saudi Arabia, condemned the terrorist attacks and expressed his sympathy to the people and government of India and families of victims. “Lives of human beings are so valuable that this barbaric act should not have occurred. Nobody and no religion will endorse this act of terrorism,” Basha told Arab News. He stressed the need to stop such terrorist acts to protect humanity from going back to the age of forest law. (Source: Deutsche Press-Agentur)

Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC): The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) condemned the attacks, saying violence had no justification. “These acts of violence contradict all human values and can be justified by nothing,” an OIC spokesman said at the group’s headquarters here. (Source: Deutsche Press Agentur)

Kuwait: CNN quoted a statement made by the Kuwaiti government, which “strongly condemned” the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Eight Kuwaitis were trapped in one of the hotels with other hostages.)

UAE: “The UAE condemns this horrible crime and affirms its full solidarity with the Indian government,” said United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

Qatar: A spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry condemned “these terrorist acts that go against ethics and humanity,” in a statement carried by the official news agency QNA.

Arab League: Amr Mussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League said: “[These] criminal and terrorist acts aggravate the vicious circle of violence and counter-violence,” Egypt’s state news agency MENA quoted him as saying.

WEST ASIA

Jordan: Jordan’s Prime Minister Nadir Dahabi expressing his “sincere condolences and deep sorrow” stressed his “strong condemnation of this heinous act of terrorism”. He also affirmed stand by the side of India in the face of such acts and solidarity with the Indian people to surmount this ordeal.

Turkey: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s letter said:  “Terrorism is a crime against humanity. An effective fight against terrorism is possible only by the help of international cooperation and solidarity.”  He added that Turkey is committed to enhancing cooperation with India in the fight against terror.

AFRICA

Egypt: Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak’s statement to the Indian president and prime minister slammed the attacks and expressed condolences to the families of the victims, adding that Cairo stands by the side of New Delhi in countering terrorism and extremism.

Egypt’s opposition Muslim Brotherhood condemned the attacks in a statement and hoped that the “perpetrators of these heinous crime would be brought to justice to receive the ultimate punishment.”

Algeria: Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika offered the Indian people “our absolute solidarity.”

Morocco: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI said: “The Moroccan kingdom strongly condemns these abominable crimes and all appalling terrorist acts which violate the security and lives of innocent citizens.”  He said the attacks “are totally against all religious teachings, the universal principles and the democratic ideals shared by our two friendly peoples”.

Nigeria: Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua expressed shock and sadness at the attacks on several locations in the city and condoled the government and people of India.

Kenya: Kenyan President Kibaki said: “My Government and the people of Kenya strongly condemn all forms of attacks against innocent people and hope that those involved in this criminal and heinous act will be brought to justice.”

The well-meaning diplomatic displays of support do not take away the attention from the question: When will we hear the voices from the inside?

Where is the Darul Uloom’s statement now that they have a fatwa?

This is the time when India needs to hear it the most, because another grave act of violence is being attributed to their religion.

Where do we hear the groups which otherwise protest the vilification of a religion for the violent acts of a few people? Where are those well-placed Muslims who have the platform to voice their opinions but will not do so at the time that it is needed most? Not because they need to defend their faith, but because they should stand together with the rest.

At times like these, the dangers are shared by people of all religions. The vociferous expressions of condemnation need to be too. The volume has to be stepped up.

Why go to moon if we can’t walk safely on earth?

28 November 2008

‘Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high….’

SUJATA RAJPAL writes: As the TV channels show the wild dance of terror playing out on the streets of Bombay, I am reminded of this verse by Rabindranath Tagore.

Today neither our mind is without fear nor the head is held high.

Irrespective of our religion, caste or in which part of the country we live, we are scared to death, scared to be killed by the bullet of an insane terrorist, so much so that we are scared to even step out of the house.

The record of the past six months shows that India is not a safe place to live in or even to visit any longer. We should not live in the false belief that terrorists can’t bow us down by these acts. The bitter truth is they have bowed us down so much that we have stopped believing that things will become better one day.

“It’s a cowardly act”

“We will not tolerate this act of barbarism”

“We will fight against terrorism…”

Enough of these false promises Mr Prime Minister!

How many more innocent people will have to die to make our government realize that enough is enough. It is the time to act and retaliate.  Every time there is a bomb blast or any such incident the government is quick to announce compensation to the dead and injured as if it can bring back their lives with that money.

The catchphrase ‘Mera Bharat Mahan’ seems hollow and does not bring goose pimples on our arms.

Can we call our country great if our government can’t protect the lives of its citizens?

It is high time we stop living in this false pride. Whether the inaction by the government is due to lack of political will or the government is simply confused on what to do, the stark reality is it has done nothing substantial to protect us.

Not a single month passes without the news of a bomb blast.

Has our government taken one significant step which is visible to us and which can give us assurance that we are safe on our own land?

Government can spend crores of rupees on a mission to moon and plans to send a man to moon but can we walk on our own streets with pride and without fear? Government should realize its priority and divert that money for the security and defence of the country.

Jaan hai to jahan hai.

If there is no security of life all this progress and advancement in science has no meaning. We want to show off to the world that India can send a mission to moon but not give modern weapons and arms to our policemen. We need to modernize our police force, give teeth to anti-terrorist laws and strengthen our intelligence services.

When USA and UK can control terror why can’t we?

The anti-social elements have already become very bold and their numbers are increasing day by day. Some say this Bombay terrorist act is an intelligence failure.

The terror in Bombay is more than intelligence failure – it is a country’s failure.

It is almost sure that like every time this time too our government will come out with false promises, will act initially and if no terrorist act happens for another month it will again become laid back and forget everything until such time when such a ghastly incident happens again.

The fact is that a common man cannot do anything. This is not a war which a common man can fight. Only our government can fight this war but surely we common men can force the government to act.

We need to start a mass public moment and put pressure on the government to provide its citizens safety of life which is completely missing today.

Nothing else will do.

It is already late… tomorrow it may be too late.

Also read: Civilian security is a joke, and the joke is on you

CHURUMURI POLL: Who will you vote for?

27 November 2008

The latest terror attack on Bombay has the potential to alter the political landscape of the country, which may perhaps be one of the objectives of the perpetrators. While we must grieve those who have fallen prey, and salute those who have stood up to protect, an attack of this scale and spectacle usually has voters sizing up the performance of parties and politicians, of the government and the opposition, in their minds.

So, if the Lok Sabha election were to be held tomorrow, who would you vote for?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Should Shivaraj Patil resign?

10 questions written in rage for Shivaraj Patil

Terror, attack, bloodbath, war, hell, bloody hell

27 November 2008

rwb_mumbblstnpapers271108

BELLUR RAMAKRISHNA‘s collage of front pages of Indian newspapers on the Bombay terror attacks.

Ban ‘live’ reporting of hostage rescue missions?

27 November 2008

“Several foreign nationals are trapped in the Taj Hotel Mahal”

“The top management of a multinational corporation was meeting…”

“Terrorists are suspected to be on the 9th floor…”

“NSG troops are about to have arrived in Mumbai…”

“NSG commandos have entered the Hotel…”

Some of the information telecast live by all news channels on yesterday’s terror attack on Bombay.

SHRINIDHI HANDE writes from Madras: News channels have an objective—to fetch the latest news and share them with viewers, much before a competitor channel does that. But I feel this habit of indiscriminate live reporting, while a combat operation is in progress, can be catastrophic for the success of the military operations against terror.

Let us just think for a while. Do we really need to know everything on a ‘as soon as it happens’ basis? I feel not. Whether NSG commandos have just arrived at airport, or have entered the hotel or are on the first floor or second at this moment, is not necessary to be revealed to the general public on a realtime basis.

Showing such news live, will be immensely useful only to terrorists and their supporters outside.

Consider this. The commandos only know that the militants are somewhere inside the hotel, but the militants know everything about the movements and positions of their pursuers through TV.

Like:

# Who is on their trail (Army/ NSG/ local police, etc)

# What is their ETA (estimated time of arrival), which tells them, how much time they have before a gun battle would begin)

# Where they are right now, at the main entrance/ just entered their floor

# How is the world responding? Is there pressure mounting on the government to succumb to the demands of terrorists to get the hostages freed (so that they can act tough during negotiation)?

# How many of their friends are alive or dead (so that they can assess their strength)?

# What has been the impact of their strike-how many police and civilian dead, the current morale of police, who all as been detained/suspected?

# Live visuals of the street-to assess a possible escape strategy

# What information about them the outside world has (which floor they are in, their head count etc. And much more…

In my view, all this information, while useful to viewers and relatives of victims, also helps the terrorists/ militants to consolidate their position and pose a greater challenge to commandos trying to hunt them down and/ or rescue the hostages.

Why is our media helping them by airing live all the sensitive information about the anti terror operations?

The common man does not need to know them on a live basis.

Can’t the information & broadcasting ministry think of banning live reporting during a hostage crisis? Let the channels air the news with a delay of few hours, so that the police and security agencies will have a lead time of few hours, wherein terrorists would be as equally uninformed as they are.

Please note that I am not advocating censorship. I am all for free speech and expression. What I am proposing, is that security agencies should have the power to impose a delay of say three to six hours w.r.t live reporting of anti terror operations.

Let the TV channels record whatever they want, but they should be aired only after a gap of few hours. I do not think anyone loses anything with this.

The movie A Wednesday also shares same opinion. I feel the good old days of oncein a day news bulletin was far better.

What do you think?

(This post is dedicated to all the brave police officials and innocent civilians who lost their lives in yesterday’s terror attack in Bombay)

A small step for man is a giant leap for an activist

26 November 2008

KPN photo

Against the backdrop of the deputy commissioner’s office, an activist takes flight during a protest against the Hogenakal project in Mysore on Wednesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: ‘The Hogenakal row is about land, not water’

How does a TV/cinema blackout help Hogenakal?

CHURUMURI POLL: Who is right on Hogenakal?

Behind a very successful face there is a woman

26 November 2008

Prannoy Roy‘s NDTV (New Delhi Television) turned 20 years old yesterday, and the channel’s best known face used the occasion to pay a heart-warming tribute to its least known one: co-founder and life partner, Radhika Roy, with a clip from The World This Week which debuted on November 25, 1998 1988 on Doordarshan.

Roses are red, violets are blue, and there’s wow

24 November 2008

KPN photo

A young couple experiences the magical feeling of walking barefoot on a bed of flowers in Cubbon Park on a cool Bangalore afternoon, as Mother Nature unabashedly reveals her colourful “present”.

Photograph: Sudhakar Jain / Karnataka Photo News

Popularity=No. of people you can inconvenience?

24 November 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Ace Political Expert (APE) had blisters all over his feet as he had to walk more than 6 km last Monday after waiting for around four hours to catch a BMTC bus.

When I met him in his house, he had his feet in a tub of hot water and salt.

“What went wrong on Manic Monday? Didn’t you anticipate this kind of a thing?” I asked.

“Everything that could go wrong went wrong that day. It was foolish to have organized such a rally on a Monday morning in the heart of the city,” said APE.

“But H.D. Kumaraswamy says he had already informed the police chief Shankar Bidri and taken his permission.”

“Yes. That was the second mistake. Only infantile minds would want to do a rally in the centre of the city on the first week of the week and an equally similar mind would give the approval. The father-son duo should have anticipated this and taken some precautionary steps,” said the APE applying hot sponge to the blisters.

“Like what?”

“They could have asked the head masters/ head mistresses of schools to declare a holiday so that the future citizens, if they survive similar rallies in the future, could stay home and watch / play cricket when the coronation of the son goes on… Similarly, they could have warned prospective critical patients to call for ambulances and got admitted to hospitals previous night itself, instead of disturbing the rally.”

I was surprised by what he said but kept quiet as I felt previous day’s trauma might have affected the contents of his cortex.

“Very true. Precaution should have been the watchword of at least, patients.”

“Likewise, they could have asked those catching flights to go the airport the previous night itself and sleep there. There is enough place for half of Bangalore to sleep there. As far as IT/bitty is concerned the less said, the better.”

“Say something.”

“They are a pampered lot. They might be a Rs 60,000 crore industry, but do they ever care to understand the problems of the common man that the rally was trying to address? When they are earning so much couldn’t they have declared holiday on the day of the rally? That is the least they could have done to strengthen democracy in India.”

“What did JD(S) achieve by this rally?”

“It proved a great success and I won’t be surprised if they hold bigger rallies by getting everybody in Karnataka to come Bangalore the next time. It will be something like the crowds they had for ‘Quit India’ Movement held in Gowalia Tank Mumbai in 1942,” replied the APE.

As I took his leave, I thought, if they both announced a ‘Quit Karnataka’ Movement, the whole of Bangalore  will pour in to the street creating the mother of all gridlocks and traffic jams….

The Queen has a soft corner for male reporters

23 November 2008

Helen Mirren, the 63-year-old British actress who won the Academy Award for playing The Queen, on why she likes to be interviewed by male reporters, in The Sunday Times, London:

“I prefer male journalists because there’s a streak of female journalism—the bitches—who are mean-spirited and nasty because you are another woman and want to make you feel crap.

“It’s very upsetting.

“I’m more careful when I’m being interviewed by a woman because, from experience as well as reading articles about other women, I know there is a little stiletto knife hidden behind the back.”

Photograph: Helen Mirren captured while holidaying with her husband in Puglia in southern Italy last year, just days ahead of her 63rd birthday (courtesy Hollywood Yesterday)

What’s in a nama? Our honour, My good lord.

22 November 2008

From Deccan Herald:

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday adjourned a matter pertaining to anointing the deity at Melkote’s Yoganarasimhaswamy temple with a nama.

The Court was hearing a petition by Anandalwan, a member of the Tengalai sect of Sri Vaishnavas, who had moved the High Court challenging the action to anoint the deity with Vadalai nama. His contention was that the deity should be anointed with Tengalai nama belonging to the rival Vaishnava sect.

He submitted that the local court in Srirangapatna, in February 2000, had directed the temple authorities to follow tengalai tradition of worship and hence the use of nama of other sect is illegal. The muzrai department on January 2008 had passed an order to use Vadagalai nama after the temple ornaments were stolen.

However, the petitioner said that the order was illegal as the department did not hear the Tengalai devotees.  Justice N.K. Patil adjourned the matter after the State government sought time.

A stitch in time brings a smile on nine of them

21 November 2008

KPN photo

After stitching up a majority in the Assembly, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa sits down to inaugurate the  Kumudvathi garments stitching training centre at Shikaripura in his home-district Shimoga on Friday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

CHURUMURI POLL: Right to demolish temples?

21 November 2008

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a demolition drive of “illegally built temples” in the State. So far, 154 such temples have been pulled down down in Gandhinagar alone, including a Sai Baba mandir and a Hanuman shrine. Facing the axe are another 161 temples, a dargah, and a Christian prayer hall in BJP prime minister hopeful L.K. Advani‘s constituency.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishat (VHP) president Ashok Singhal has said “the Gujarat government is acting like Aurangzeb“, in an allusion to the 17th century Mughal ruler, while VHP spokesman Jay Shah has said “the demolitions are an attack on Hindu faith”. Modi’s loyalists, on the other hand, are quoted as saying the demolitions are an effort to paint himself as a “nationally acceptable, secular leader”.

Is it within the rights of a government to bring down illegal temples “to widen roads and beautify the city”? Or is it a consipiracy to push Hindus into a corner? Is it correct of VHP leaders to liken Modi to the much-reviled Aurangzeb? Or are they only revealing their animosity for him? Is Modi trying to enlarge his secular appeal or is he only carrying out his mandated duties as a democratically elected leader?

Classical language status for Mandya Kannada?

21 November 2008

cartoon

If the face is the index of the mind, the forever-frowning visage of B.S. Yediyurappa contains an epic tale. The cartoonist P. Mahmud takes a much-deserved look at the chief minister whose use of the classical language with bureaucrats, among others, has been far from classical.

Cartoon: courtesy P. Mahmud/ Praja Vani

When the spirit was free and the feet were light

20 November 2008

KPN photo

At the chinnara habba at the Bangalore palace grounds, young boys take flight during a game of lagori.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Once upon a time, tikki, goli, lagori, chinni-daandu

When lagori has to end a game of cricket

Give peace a chance. Or else, there’s always…

20 November 2008

Underworld don turned language warrior turned social reformer Muthappa Rai, quoted in Star of Mysore:

“Jaya Karnataka Organisation will achieve by revolution what is not possible through peaceful means. [It] will pursue peaceful methods for the welfare of the poor. However, if peaceful ways did not work out, the organisation will resort to revolution.”

Also read: Look, who’s seeking the help of Muthappa Rai!

A giant leap to stop the criminalisation of politics

On Ugadi, a brand-new Kannada warrior emerges

CHURUMURI POLL: Can Hindus not be terrorists?

20 November 2008

BJP president Rajnath Singh and the party’s prime minister hopeful L.K. Advani have declared that the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Maharashtra police should let off the Malegaon blast accused—“Sadhvi” Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt. Col. Shrikant Purohit, et al—because “they are Hindus and Hindus cannot be terrorists,” a point also underlined by the sane sages of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

V.K. Malhotra, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, too says Hindus cannot be terrorists “because it is neither in their genes, nor in their character.

***

Dipankar Gupta, who teaches sociology at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, writes in Mail Today:

“Why should the law accept such mock syllogism? If the same BJP could POTA to catch Muslim terrorists, why is it changing the rules now?

“In the wake of these arrests BJP’s ideological construct comes through clearly. It is fundamentally repugnant to the idea that citizenship extend equally to minorities. BJP would be happiest if there were a differentiated law.

“If in the times of Manu punishment depend on the caste of the alleged offender, for the BJP it should be decided on the basis of religion. It was faith that convinced BJP that Sita‘s rasoi was indeed located in the precincts of the Babri masjid; it is faith again that tells them that Hindus cannot be terrorists. In both instances faith clearly trumps the law.”

Also read: God save Hinduism from the lunatic fringe

CHURUMURI POLL: Proof of Hindu terror?

CHURUMURI POLL: Ban VHP and Bajrang Dal?

Rotten apples in the name of the good lord

Finally: winners of children’s day caption contest

18 November 2008

churumuri‘s jury—well known news photographers K. Gopinathan and Saggere Ramaswamy—have turned in their verdict after long overdue and careful consideration. And the winner of the “Children’s Day Caption Contest” is Sandeep Kamath. He gets a 1 GB pendrive, courtesy India’s first web-based photo syndication agency, Karnataka Photo News

ಸಂದೀಪ್ ಕಾಮತ್: “ತಂತ್ರೋಪದೇಶ”

To make up for the delay in the announcement, we threw in three brand-new books as consolation prizes, and the winners are:

Coffee Addict for “I am soil and you are son.”

Karihaida for “Hettavarige heggana muddu

MysooruBoyz for “May your bald spot grow…”

Winners may please send their mailing addresses to churumuri.churumuri@gmail.com (along with their real names!).

Prizes will be despatched by November 25. Only entries upto noon on November 14 were considered.

A crash course in bonhomie for our hate-mongrels

18 November 2008

From an era of co-operation and camaraderie, the Tamil and Kannada film industries have quickly sunk into a vortex of distrust and dislike for each other; both sides being held hostage by fire-spitting linguistic and parochial hatemongers whose lives and livelihoods depend on whipping up passions.

At the Dasara exhibition in Mysore, a simple churumuri peddler pays  a sepia-tone tribute to the good times that have gone with M.G. Ramachandran and Dr Raj Kumar, giving the screen gods an even higher pedestal than the hallowed ones adorning the shop floor.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

It happens in Incredible India i.e. Amulya Bharat

18 November 2008

Amarnath Tewary on the BBC website:

“A Dutch couple visiting India’s Bihar state, were charged an astronomical 10,000 rupees ($204) for four samosas, the spicy potato-stuffed snack. They paid the sum to a hawker at the famous cattle fair in Sonepur after a ‘heated argument’.

“The price worked out at $51 per samosa. They normally cost about two rupees 50 paise, about five US cents. The tourists then sought help from police who forced the salesman to return 9,990 rupees ($203.87).”

Read the full story: Tourists in India in samosa shock

Link via Nikhil Moro

CHURUMURI POLL: URA, smooth, smart or stupid?

17 November 2008

He has himself publicly stated that he had his disagreements with the Janata Dal (Secular) as a party and some of the decisions taken by H.D. Deve Gowda and H.D. Kumaraswamy. He stood as a candidate when JDS put up “outsider” Rajeev Chandrashekhar for a Rajya Sabha, prompting Kumaraswamy, as chief minister, to ask “Who is he?”. And he has had the mortification of having his contribution to the State and even Kannada questioned by HDK.

Yet, U.R. Anantha Murthy had no qualms in sitting to the left of HDK, and to the right of H.D. Deve Gowda, while releasing a booklet titled “Aftermath of Friendship with BJP—A retrospection” in Bangalore yesterday.

Should our “public intellectuals” be weather vanes like politicians, who have no firm stand, no firm beliefs, no firm principles, no firm loyalties or enmities? Or is U.R. Anantha Murthy a supersmart intellectual, who is not stuck in his position and ideology, swallows his pride, and moves with the flow, depending on the “secular” situation?

Does this kind of weather-vane intellectualism enhance the image of intellectuals among the aam janata? Or does it only expose our public intellectuals and contribute to the raging cynicism about their motives and motivations?

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: The mahaan elastic buddhijeevi of the year is…

The U.R. ANANTHA MURTHY interview

Mahabharatha author can’t see end to family saga

17 November 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: I was sitting on the banks of the Ganga in Rudra Prayag. The place was enchanting. If Life is Eternity, here is a place you could almost trace it back.

As I sat there totally engrossed in the scenery, I saw sage Vyasa taking a stroll.

“Vyasa munivar! Namaskara. I never thought I could see you in flesh and blood. It is just wonderful to see and speak to you.”

“Thank you. I too feel after eons in time, man more or less remains the same.”

“You will be glad to know we rank Mahabharatha as one of the greatest stories ever told. I want to know how you felt when you wrote about Dhritharashtra and Duryodhana. What were you trying to depict in their relationship?”

Putra Vyamoha. Basically, Dhritharashtra was blind on two counts. Physically he couldn’t see what his son was up to. He was also blind to all his dhushkriyas. His blind love betrayed his sense of reason and reality.”

“Is that why Krishna replaced Bhima with a steel structure, otherwise he would have crushed him in his embrace?”

“Of course. But I find even now people are blind when it comes to their children. They unnecessarily pamper and baby them so much, it becomes their undoing in the end. They have just not learnt their lessons although they quote Mahabharatha every second breath.”

“You are a Trikaala Gnani. How do you feel about our present times?”

“I find parents resorting to hook and crook to promote their children. When their efforts fail, they lose their self-control. Margaret Alva’s sudden outburst because a ticket was denied to her son Nivedit Alva in an election is an indication of the malaise. Doesn’t she know there will be different strokes for different people in their response?”

He is up-to-date on what’s happening, I thought, though his choice of words flummoxed me.

“I didn’t get you. Could you elaborate?”

“If she thought she was from a minority community and therefore would be forgiven for her outburst, she was sadly mistaken. She should have known though she was from a minority, in the eyes of her bosses, she was not from a community her chairperson would give her right arm for! Alva’s calculation went woefully wrong. She should know she is no C.K. Jaffer Sharief!”

I was impressed with Vyasa’s deep insight into our religion based politics which often baffles best of our TV pundits.

“Your knowledge of our current affairs is just amazing although there was no democracy in your time as you were all ruled mostly by Kings.”

“But it is no different,” continued Vyasa, “I am puzzled by your so called democracy when parents are openly anointing sons as their successors. These days every politician is now a Dhrutharashtra. Even Dhrutharashtra did not do a coronation for his son like H.D. Deve Gowda did the other day. Puthra Vyamoha is all right up to a point, but he shouldn’t have ignored his other son Dushyasana.”

I could only marvel at his knowledge of what was happening down below.

Was Vyasa following Churumuri? Had he participated in the “Children’s Day Caption Contest” under a pseudonym?

Is he wondering where H.D. Revanna is, as everybody else is?

“You have deep knowledge of our political scenario. Being a trikaala gnani, you should be knowing the future too. What about Rahul Gandhi? Will he too become a victim of putra vyamoha? Also when will this Vamsha Paramparya in the Congress end?”

There was total silence. Vyasa was foxed, I thought.

“Look. I may have to do many more janmas and write many more Mahabharathas to answer this! In Mahabharatha, I ended the Pandava family with Bharatha as the last king of their vamsha. But I am not sure how many Janmas the Nehru-Gandhi vamsha will run….”

With that, Vyasa’s visage dissolved into the Ganga.

Yella vokay. Sootu-bootu, salwar-kameez yaake?

15 November 2008

There is something about “Rome” that makes Indian politicians shed their inhibitions, let their hair down, change their clothes, and become Romans in a manner they never would do in the motherland.

In Bahrain on a business trip on Friday, Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa is all “attention” and his cabinet colleague Shobha Karandlaje is “at ease” as they record their sojourn for posterity.

Gone is the white-and-white safari and the cotton saree. Thankfully, Ramachandre Gowda makes no effort to camouflage his son-of-the-soil credentials.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also see: The handshake everybody loves to watch closely

The gateway to the South as seen from up above


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