Archive for May, 2011

CHURUMURI POLL: Should PM be under Lok Pal?

31 May 2011

The hurried efforts to draft a Lok Pal bill, propelled by Anna Hazare‘s fast unto death in the wake of a slew of corruption scandals, has run into seriously rough weather, with civil society members at odds with representatives of the government on a very fundamental issue: just who should (or shouldn’t) come under the Lok Pal’s purview?

Should members of the higher judiciary be left out? Can members of Parliament be excused? Officers below the level of joint secretary? Should various anti-corruption bodies like CBI and CVC all come under the Lok Pal? Will such a Lok Pal with overwhelming powers over the executive, judiciary and legislature be such a good thing for a democracy? Etc.

The key emblematic issue, however, concerns the prime minister of India: should he or she come under the purview of the Lok Pal?

Home minister P. Chidambaram says the civil society members are themselves not in agreement on some of these issues. His HRD counterpart Kapil Sibal says whatever is done has to be in consonance with the Constitution of India. And Chidambaram has now written to the State governments and the MPs on the contentious issues.

All of which is shorthand for just one thing: there is desperate backpedalling going on after the attempt to stymie the panel through insinuations failed. After all, if the government’s own draft (according to the RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal) included the prime minister in it, why is the PM now being sought to be kept out of the Lok Pal’s loop?

Question: Should the PM come under the Lok Pal’s ambit? Or will his august office be sullied by frivolous charges, as is the fear?

Also read: Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom

Why I’m slightly disappointed with Anna Hazare

CHURUMURI POLL: Do we like ‘single’ icons?

‘Media only bothers about the elite, eductated, middle-class’

About time politics is covered on the comics page

31 May 2011

Cartoons: courtesy Keshav/The Hindu and R. Prasad/Mail Today

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Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Why did Sushma Swaraj ditch Reddys?

How the BJP completely lost the plot in Karnataka

CHURUMURI POLL: India’s most corrupt State?

Getaway of the louts in the Gateway to the South

BJP’s lotus grows in muck, so do BJP’s people

One question I’m dying to ask Yediyurappa & Reddy

How Mr Bean greeted the Chennai Super Kings

30 May 2011

The deserving winners of the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League get a royal salute from the man married to Sunetra Sastry.

Link via Hariharan Natarajan

CHURUMURI POLL: Why did Sushma ditch Reddys?

29 May 2011

Sushma Swaraj‘s somersault with a mid-air blackflip, on her relationship with the Reddy brothers of Bellary and her role in their political rise and growth, is a mindbending piece of acrobatics in a political theatre that now resembles a ragtag circus where the jokers and jesters have taken over the main show.

By blaming chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Arun Jaitley, Swaraj tests the political memory of those who have seen her riding piggyback on the mining brothers and their “family” associates, like B. Sriramulu, from the time of her election campaign against Sonia Gandhi in 1999 and providing benign protection to their antics subsequently.

Equally amazingly, Yediyurappa supports what Sushma Swaraj says!

Sushma Swaraj now expects the world to believe that she has had nothing to do with the Reddys, that she was actually opposed to their inclusion in the cabinet, etc. She claims she meets them and talks to them on only one day of the year, on Varamahalakshmi habba, and that all has happened has happened courtesy the “others” in the party.

Now that the BJP president Nitin Gadkari has put the onus on the rise of the Reddys to the collective leadership of the BJP at both the State and central levels, two questions arise. One, who was behind the political emergence of the Reddy brothers that has brought such shame to the State on the national canvas?

And two, just why this sudden confession from Sushma Swaraj?

Does the leader of the opposition—whose husband Swaraj Kaushal was appointed the counsel for the State when the heat first got on to the Reddys—have some foreknowledge of what is to come? Or has she been tipped off on “mentions” in the Lok Ayukta report that could put the pressure on her in a season of corruption?

Is this just oneupmanship in the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 elections, as part of which Sushma Swaraj has repeatedly felt the need to take on Jaitley’s mentor, Narendra Damodardas Modi? Or has the BJP, which needed the Reddys to put up candidates and buy up MLAs when there was a shortfall, and ferry them around when there is a crisis, run out of use for them?

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Also read: How the BJP completely lost the plot in Karnataka

CHURUMURI POLL: India’s most corrupt State?

Getaway of the louts in the Gateway to the South

BJP’s lotus grows in muck, so do BJP’s people

One question I’m dying to ask Yediyurappa & Reddy

‘Media only bothers about elite, middle-class’

28 May 2011


SHAH ALAM KHAN writes from New Delhi: In April this year the media went into a loud and vulgar rapture as Anna Hazare continued his four-day fast against corruption at Jantar Mantar in the capital.

Hyperventilating TV newscasters repeatedly declared that the issue of corruption has “touched a cord” with the middle class.

The circus at Jantar Mantar ended on a happy note with an amazing display of rhapsody for millions of urban, educated, elite Indians as they saw the government kneel to the demands of Anna in re-formulating the Lok Pal bill.  But this was more than a month back.

In Indian politics, one month is a long period. With a short public memory and an equally uncaring public attitude, it is easy to comprehend why another fast in another corner of the country has evoked minimal response.

Social activist and Gandhian, Medha Patkar has been on an indefinite fast for seven days at Mumbai in protest against the land grab at the Golibar slum, next to the Mumbai airport.

The contrast is striking.

No high profile players, no well known public figures, no lavish tents, no Bharatmata cut outs, no mineral water bottles for the attendees and,of course, minimal media glare. All the goodies of Anna Hazare’s protest are missing from Medha Patkar’s remonstration.

What is most conspicuous is the “wretched” clientele for whom Medha is fasting.  Medha’s indefinite fast is for the basic rights of 26,000 families, which dwell the Golibar slum.

Slum dwellers!

People who are a road block in the conversion of Mumbai to Shanghai.

Medha is protesting the blatant callousness of the Maharashtra government and its nefarious slum rehabilitation authority (SRA). SRA is the by-product of the political-land mafia nexus aimed at usurping those living in the slums of Mumbai. This futuristic Shanghai has more than 60 percent of its population living in slums with Golibar being the second largest slum of the city.

The SRA aims to authorize private builders to redevelop slum land. The result can be anyone’s guess. Private builders take up the slum land by force, forgery or on cheap rates. The resale value of these prime locations brings phenomenal wealth in the general property market. Even more despicable is the Clause 3K of the SRA, which gives a single builder right to redevelop a slum without inviting any tenders.

What is most deafening in this protest is the silence of the media (electronic, paper and alternative) which stood with Anna Hazare in his high profile fight against corruption. No Facebook pages, no Twitter messages, no hourly news updates.

Surely something is amiss “now” as compared to “then”.

Was it the personal charisma of Anna Hazare, who was largely unknown to elite Indians till April this year, which drew the masses and the media? Or was it a will of the media to suddenly awaken to the reality of corruption in this country?  It baffles me.

Surely, Anna Hazare’s well-orchestrated (and hence well funded) fight against corruption was more appealing to the urban middle class Indian then a fight for the slum dwellers of a small locality of Mumbai. Although to evaluate the efficacy of a protest on the basis of number of people benefited by it is not only dangerous but purely foolhardiness par excellence!

Protests represent the core values for which a society stands, not the number of people affected by its success. May be it is for this very reason that our very conscientious media fails to represent decisively the issues raised by Irom Sharmila, who has been on fast for the last ten years against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Having said this, it may be noted that media has played a significant role in “individualistic protests” like those demanding justice for Jessica Lall or Priyadarshani Mattoo.

Although it is easy to find instances of media manufactured struggles in India if the victims are elite, educated or middle class but to say the same for this very media taking up the causes of the underprivileged, oppressed or rural masses is difficult. No wonder there is hardly any coverage of Vidharba farmer suicides or of atrocities on dalits across the length and breadth of the country.

In India the amalgam of forces that drive a protest are also an important determinant for its adoption by the media.

In Anna’s case high caste, elitist composition with a cosmetic supplementation by commoner Indians and fuelled by well-funded corporate driven NGOs, formed an ideal diet for high TRPs.  A ready meal for media digestion!

Unfortunately these ingredients of manufactured protest are lacking when it comes to core issues of human survival as in Medha Patkar’s demonstration in Mumbai.

The role of media in a democratic set-up cannot be over emphasized. But with more corporate control it is not difficult to discern what this integral pillar of democracy will support or rather avoid to support. With economic liberalization the media has become an important tool to formulate, channelize and direct popular protest; and there lies the danger for an unequal and unjust society like ours.

Highlighting the correct story is a morally responsible task that has to be done without fear or favour.

Medha Patkar and Irom Sharmila need an equal share of bytes & columns as Anna Hazare or Jessica Lall’s sister. Injustices cannot be compared, weighed and then sold to the general public wrapped in a piquant newspaper or an exciting television show.

Discriminations cannot have different colors.

Biases cannot be silent or loud.

Inequality can never be less or more.

(Dr Shah Alam Khan is an orthopaedic surgeon at the nation’s premier medical college and hospital, the all India institute of medical sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Visit his blog: India and Bharat)

Also read: Why Ram Pyari couldn’t take her daughter home

IPL’s thugs are no better than Maoists and Naxals

The bold, the beautiful, the boring, and the blase

27 May 2011

It takes all types to give the shaft to graft. At the Bangalore international airport on Friday, a small reception party of Indians and non-resident Indians, assembles to welcome Anna Hazare into town.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Let a thousand Anna Hazares bloom

Why I’m slightly disappointed with Anna Hazare

CHURUMURI POLL: Do we like ‘single’ icons?

Jawaharlal Nehru: 24 ads, 11 pages in 12 papers

27 May 2011

A week is a long time in politics, especially if you are a dead Congressman.

On May 21, the 20th death anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, various ministries, departments and State governments unleashed an advertising blitzkrieg in the media.

Result: 69 ads totalling 41 pages in 12 newspapers.

Today, on the 47th anniversary of the death of his grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, the sycophancy deficit is palpable: Just 24 ads amounting to 10¾ published pages in the the same 12 newspapers surveyed last week.

Meaning: India’s first and longest-serving prime minister gets 45 fewer ads (amounting to 30¼ pages) than his grandson who was in office for five years against Nehru’s 17.

Hindustan Times: 22-page issue; 4 JN ads amounting to 1¾ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 30-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ broadsheet pages

Indian Express: 20-page issue; 5 ads amounting to 2 broadsheet pages

Mail Today (compact): 42-page issue; 4 ads amounting to 2 compact pages

The Hindu: 20-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¾ broadsheet pages

The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1 broadsheet page

The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 1 ad amounting to half a broadsheet page

The Telegraph: 16-page issue; 1 ad amounting to half a broadsheet page

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The Economic Times: 32-page issue; 0 ads

Business Standard: 20-page issue; 1 ad amouning to half a broadsheet page

Financial Express: 24-page issue; 0 ads

Mint (Berliner): 32-page issue; 0 ads

Also, unlike dozen or so ministries and departments that were falling over each other to remind the nation of Rajiv Gandhi last week, just four ministries—information and broadcasting, women and child welfare, steel and power—and one State government (Delhi) seem to have taken up Nehru’s cause.

Also read: Rajiv Gandhi: 69 ads over 41 pages in 12 newspapers

What if India hadn’t gone into the 1971 war?

26 May 2011

Jaithirth Rao in the Indian Express:

“The ‘liberation’ of Bangladesh has been presented as a significant moment in the history of free India, in fact in the history of the entire subcontinent…. What if India had not helped East Pakistani secessionism? What if Pakistan had remained one country?

“As long as West Pakistani Muslims were continuing to persecute East Pakistani Muslims, secessionist leaders in our lovely Kashmir vale would have been on the back foot…. Unwieldy Pakistan would not have had much time and energy to devote to the Afghan frontier or to inciting saffron-growing Sufi farmers in Srinagar and Kupwara….

“If there had been no Bangladesh would China have acquired a naval base in Chittagong like the one they have in Gwadar? Would the Chinese “encircle India” strategy been more purposeful? The impartial historian would argue that the Bangladesh war actually did a disservice to Indira Gandhi. She may not have become arrogant and imposed the Emergency of 1975.”

Read the full article: It happened in 1971

External reading*: What if?

Nation, State & the 2G ‘scam’ no one talks about

25 May 2011

In all the name-calling and tu-tu-main-main that Karnataka’s politics has been reduced to, there is little talk of the other “2G”—Good Governance—that god’s own party boastfully promises from every pulpit, podium and platform.

The Economic Times reports that with three chief ministers in the last seven years, the political tug-of-war is beginning to affect the State: the growth rate is down, job creation is down, infrastructure projects are slowing down, and the morale of the bureaucrats is down.

# K.R. Girish, partner KPMG: “This political instability has virtually brought about a breakdown in the bureaucracy and there is no bureaucrat whom the industry can approach.

# A senior bureaucrat, asking not to be named: The “lack of moral stature of the state government” has affected the morale of the civil service.

# T.V. Mohandas Pai, former director, HR, Infosys: “There is a big disconnect between potential and actual action… this gap has only widened.”

Infographic: courtesy The Economic Times on Sunday

Read the full article: Bangalore’s business risk: Karnataka politics

4 reasons why Jairam Ramesh is right about IITs

25 May 2011

By BHAMY V. SHENOY

Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh has done a signal service to the IITs and IIMs by calling into question the “world-class” qualifications of their faculty

Jairam should know: he is himself an almunus of IIT Bombay, where his father Prof C.K. Ramesh was on the faculty of the structural engineering department.

However, instead of appreciating the minister for his candour and assessing how we can go about applying correctives, the alumni and faculty of many these institutions are up in arms. (We can easily excuse the politicians for their politically motivated comments.)

I agree with Jairam that IITs and IIMs are well known today because of the outstanding performance of their BTech students and not because of either their PhDs or research output or teaching faculties. Of course, there are few outstanding world-class professors at these institutes. But they are an exception and not the rule.

Before holding Ramesh guilty, can we try to get answers to the following questions?

1) Compared to even the second tier institutions in the world, how does the research performed by IITs and IIMs compare both in quality and quantity with other world-class institutions?

2) How many BTech alumni and MBA alumni with PhDs are professors in IITs and IIMs? We are likely to find far more of them in foreign countries than in India. Why? What does this say of the quality of IIT and IIM faculty?

3) Just about every government institution suffers from lack of proper management coupled with poor governance. What has been the efforts of the IIM faculty to study and contribute to their improvement? A world-class faculty would have taken such a challenge to contribute to India’s development.

4) Every one knows about India’s energy crisis. A world-class faculty would have taken up the challenge of contributing to this sector. Has any one heard of any great breakthroughs in energy sector by IITs?

I am an alumnus of IIT Madras and have worked in different parts of the world in the international oil industry.

My effort to promote an energy institute (most leading world class institutes have such institutes) did not get any support from the faculty members of IIT Madras. A world-class faculty would have established such energy study centres and many such critical centers of excellence a long time back.

I rest my case.

Also read: Why Tata Steel (and others) won’t recruit IITians

‘Mediocrity is fast becoming a way of life in India’

CHURUMURI POLL: Do our B-schools have a problem?

External reading: Forever third-class

On top down under, a tale of a work in progress

24 May 2011

As the Namma Metro project takes shape in front of our eyes, two contrasting images from two contrasting locations in Bangalore. The first, from in front of the pristine Vidhana Soudha in the heart of the City on a rainy day, with the statue of B.R. Ambedkar barricaded, as work goes on underneath. And the second, from the chaos in Yeshwanthpur, with a million railway and electricity lines seemingly criss-crossing the track overhead.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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The Namma Metro photo portfolio

If only someone could do this to save our State

“No free left” for residents of a famous highrise

Remember the helmets when it rains (or shines)

At Anil Kumble circle, a sharp googly to KSCA

In the darkness of night, a ray of light at 19:12:30 hours

The biggest day in the history of Bangalore?

Do not try this at home (if you have a few bogies)

From the BEML end, right arm over the wicket

The giant violin-box hanging above ‘Parades’

It’s still not here, but it’s already kind of here

Yes, it’s for real, and it’s purple and off-white

4 cars, 3 SUVs, 8 bikes, and 16 autorickshaws

Oh God, what have they done to my M.G. Road

Saturdays, girlfriends, popcorn and other memories

Every picture tells a tale. Babu‘s can fill a tome.

Not a picture that will make it to Lonely Planet

Amar, Akbar, Antony. Or Ram, Robert, Rahim

Only a low-angle shot can convey its great girth

Lots of work overground for an underground rail

The unsung heroes in the dreams of Bangaloreans

‘A walking encyclopaedia from pre-internet era’

24 May 2011

M.R. SHIVANNA, the Editor of India’s most successful English evening newspaper Star of Mysore, passed away on Saturday, 21 May 2011. Here, his longtime boss and the Editor-in-Chief of Star of Mysore and Mysooru Mitra, the publications for which Shivanna gave 30 years of his life, K.B. GANAPATHY, pays tribute:

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By K.B. GANAPATHY

“All disease is a means towards some new joy of health; all evil and pain a turning of Nature for some more intense bliss and good; all death an opening on widest immortality,” was an observation by Aurobindo Ghosh, the saint of Pondicherry.

If it is so, then the life and death of M.R. Shivanna, did not fit into Aurobindo’s understanding of these events, except probably the last part of it. Shivanna, the Editor of Star of Mysore, passed away after a prolonged hospitalisation last Saturday.

Sadly, his disease did not take him towards some new joy of health; the evil and pain that he suffered did not take him to a turning point of bliss and good and now it is difficult for me to accept that Shivanna’s untimely and unjust death is an opening on ‘widest immortality’, much as I wish. As one professionally associated with him for 30 years, I am sure he would have agreed with me.

I am angry at God for taking away Shivanna from us relatively at a young age of 55 years, when the average life-span in our country is 65-70 years, thanks to advances in medical science and technology. And yet death can snuff out any life any time in India primarily with terror attack, road rage or accidents and cancer.

Shivanna fell victim to the last one.

I am also angry at God for keeping me and my family members out of the City at the time of his death, thus denying me the opportunity to participate in his last journey. After all, Shivanna and I had journeyed together professionally for an uninterrupted 30 years.

The compensatory satisfaction is that I have done what best I could do for him during the days of his personal problems and ill-health. And he, on his part, had given what best he could to our newspapers—Mysooru Mitra first and thereafter to Star of Mysore.

When he came to me seeking a job in Mysooru Mitra, I was not impressed.

He did not seem to know or care for the universally accepted sutra for a successful job-interview, “First impression is the best impression.”

The hallmark of a young (and even old) ‘socialist’ of those days was the overused string-bag suspended over the left-shoulder. It was dangling by his shoulder and naturally, I asked him if he was one. And he being reticent by nature, gave a ‘socialistic’ answer, “I carry books in it.”

One good qualification to become a journalist, I thought.

As for his work experience, he mentioned some names but what made him acceptable to me was not his qualification nor his personality, which was zero as he was swarthy, lean and lanky with an unkempt drooping moustache, but his mentioning of three names: Patil Puttappa, Alanahalli Krishna and advocate-socialist V.H. Gowda.

While he worked briefly for Patil Puttappa’s well-known Kannada weekly Prapancha, he said he was taking dictation for Alanahalli Krishna for his novel and did some odd editorial jobs for V.H. Gowda’s publication.

It was clear to me he was not having a regular income and he was already married. Though I knew both Alanahalli Krishna and V.H. Gowda very closely, I did not check with them before taking Shivanna into Mysooru Mitra. I also remember him mentioning Rajashekhar Koti and his Andolana in passing. Later he told me that Koti was instrumental in his coming to Mysore from far off Hubli.

His written Kannada had a flavour of North Karnataka Kannada with some strange-sounding words sneaking into his news reporting. Being good in reading the mind of his boss and also a quick learner, he soon became the news editor of Mysooru Mitra.

For whatever reason, I was finding him in the office even during night hours, though his shift began from 2 pm. Often he would give me news items written in bad English, meant for Star of Mysore. I appreciated his interest, took the facts from his report and used them after rewriting.

To my utter surprise, I found his English improving, written in simple language with journalistic vocabulary perfectly in place.

Apparently, being a voracious reader of newspapers and magazines both English and Kannada, soon he was good enough for me to work exclusively for Star of Mysore. Thereafter, he never looked back, nor did I bother much in handling news writing, especially political news.

Thank you, Shivanna, for steering the Star of Mysore news desk for so long, so well.

That he had a phenomenal elephantine memory was a great help for me in writing news and my personal columns in those days when there was no internet to seek assistance to check facts or for reference, like names and dates specially.

Whenever I am stuck while writing for want of a name or the year of an event past, I would impatiently scream “Shivannaaaa” and he would appear before me unobtrusively, silently, always with a pen and paper. Knowledge transfer was done in a jiffy and he is gone to his desk and I resume my ‘masterpiece’!

I was proud to call him my ‘right hand’ and would say it openly to my staff, hoping they too would improve.

Some did, others quit.

He was a dedicated journalist—he dreamed journalism and he lived it. All his life. Till his end.

It is, therefore, not surprising that Chetan Krishnaswamy, director, public affairs, Dell Inc., who worked with Shivanna as a trainee journalist in Star of Mysore, recalls those days and says Shivanna was a 24×7 journalist unlike others who look at the clock and work.

That is why Shivanna endeared himself to me and the management, to our readers while, understandably, being a terror to some of his slow-learning, lazy colleagues.

He was a cigarette-smoking, tea-drinking tiger at the Star of Mysore news desk. The precept of the Bhagwad Gita “take no thought for tomorrow” appeared to be literally followed by him in his life-style to the point that at the end, it became detrimental to his health and his life itself.

It was amazing that when he was hospitalised, he took it all rather stoically. He was a workaholic and indeed a role model as a news writer-reporter.

In all his years at Star of Mysore, working with me, he never asked me for any facility in his office nor did he even ask me for a raise in his salary. Whatever he got from Star of Mysore went to him without ever asking for it or even hinting at wanting it. That one attitude of his would keep him in a class apart as an ideal employee, nay as an ideal colleague of mine.

Like truth, death too liberates an individual.

If so, as Aurobindo says, Shivanna, in his death, has found an ‘opening on widest immortality.’

May his soul rest in peace.

Also read: M.R. SHIVANNA, a true 24×7 journalist

C.P. CHINNAPPA, a song for an unsung hero

Mukesh Ambani’s salute to the poor & homeless

24 May 2011

As if to underline the adage that you should never believe something until it is officially denied, Ratan Tata, the chairman of the eponymous corporate behemoth, has officially denied that he objected to Mukesh Ambani‘s opulence in building a 27-storey home in an interview with The Times, London.

Most newspapers have dutifully carried Tata’s denial largely because Tata has developed a strange sensitivity toward criticism in the post-2G scam phase*. Alone among the lot, Business Standard has had the gumption to ask the simple question: why deny something that most people will wholeheartedly agree with?

“Ratan Tata’s non-statement on Mukesh Ambani’s opulent lifestyle will get a lot of heads nodding in agreement. Ambani makes a lot of money from his business and he is entitled to spend it as he sees fit. Even so, there is something curiously insensitive to splurging on an over-the-top, 27-storey home that has no redeeming architectural qualities, in a country in which many Indians are homeless— even in Mumbai.

“To be sure, Ambani is unlikely to have solved India’s poverty problem if he hadn’t built the tower on land once used to run an orphanage. Still, as Tata suggested, he could well have spent it to mitigate the hardship of the poor. Two billion dollars, the reported construction cost for Antilla, could build several decent apartments for slum-dwellers being relocated from Dharavi, for instance.

“Tata is much less wealthy and lives a life that is luxurious by most Indian standards. But he practises a dignified restraint and is backed by a level of welfare spending that his fellow industrialists would do well to follow. Tata, in sum, should own up to what he did not say.”

* Disclosures apply

Read the full editorial: Quote, unquote

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Also read: Madness, megalomania or hard-earned fruits?

One question I’m dying to ask Mukesh Ambani

Why the Indian media doesn’t take on the Ambanis

Ratan Tata: “Go to bed knowing you haven’t succumbed”

Niira Radia, Mukesh Ambani, NDTV & Prannoy Roy

12 times lucky, will 13 be lucky for Yediyurappa?

23 May 2011

With the Congress-led UPA government once again dismissing governor H.R. Bharadwaj‘s recommendation to dismiss the BJP government in Karnataka, a quick recap of the amazing life and dangerous times of Karnataka’s most famous trepeze artiste, chief minister Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yediyurappa (2008-2011):

1) Survives rebellion by the Reddy brothers and their bosom buddy, Sriramulu

2) Survives concerted attacks by Congress, JDS

3) Survives another rebellion by Reddy brothers and their godmother, Sushma Swaraj

4) Survives the various sex and financial scandals involving his ministers and MLAs

5) Survives first attack by governor H.R. Bharadwaj

6) Survives threat of removal by his party high command, acting in concert with the RSS

7) Survives the Lok Ayukta, high court and Supreme Court

8) Survives dozens of media exposes of his sons’ assets and land dealings, and Shobha Karandlaje‘s

9) Survives repeated pinpricks of party colleagues, Ananth Kumar and K.S. Eswarappa

10) Survives rebellion by section of party MLAs on the floor of House

11) Survives another attack by governor Bharadwaj

12) Survives 21 May 2011, the day the world was supposed to have come to an end

Cartoon: courtesy Prakash Shetty

M.R. SHIVANNA, a true 24/7 journalist, RIP.

22 May 2011

churumuri.com records with regret the passing away of M.R. SHIVANNA, an unsung hero of Indian journalism, in Mysore on Saturday. He was 55, and is survived by his wife and daughter.

For 30 years and more, Shivanna slogged away in remarkable obscurity and was one of the pillars on which stands India’s most successful English evening newspaper, Star of Mysore. Starting out as a sub-editor in the local tabloid, Shivanna, a son of a farmer, had grown to be editor of the family-owned SoM at the time of his death.

Shivanna was no poet. His prose wouldn’t set the Cauvery on fire, nor was it intended to.

First in at work and last man out of the office, he wrote simple functional sentences day after relentless day. While dozens of young men cut their teeth at Star of Mysore on their way to bigger things in Bangalore and beyond, Shivanna stayed on, lending his boss K.B. GANAPATHY the kind of quiet solidity every owner and editor can only envy.

Here, CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY, one of Shivanna’s myriad ex-colleagues, who moved from Star of Mysore on to Frontline, The Week and The Times of India, among other ports of call, pays tribute.

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By CHETAN KRISHNASWAMY

“(MRS).”

For decades, lakhs of Mysoreans have seen these three letters of the alphabet appended to thousands of news reports in Star of Mysore and Mysooru Mitra, Mysore’s dour media siblings, steered successfully by its founder-editor K.B. Ganapathy.

For most readers, these initials are a daily mystery, unravelled only in the anniversary issue of the two newspapers in February and March, respectively, when a mandatory “long-form” piece or an interview appears with the full form of the byline: M.R. Shivanna.

But for the remainder of the year, (MRS) was a byword for his straight, unaffected style.

As a journalist, Shivanna knew his limitations and that perhaps was his greatest strength. In a world of flamboyant story-tellers, he was the odd man out. Shorn of scholarly airs or intellectual pretensions, MRS pursued his vocation with a constancy of purpose, a fierce diligence that is rare in a profession where careerism has taken hold.

At times it seemed as if MRS literally lived in the newsroom, straddling two worlds, two sensibilities.

He finished his work at Star of Mysore, which is an English evening newspaper, in the afternoon, only to seamlessly drift to the other part of the building and discharge his duties at Mysooru Mitra, the Kannada morning daily form the same group.

You called the office at any unearthly hour, and more often than not MRS would pick up the phone, ready with pen on paper. A bulk of the information from across the districts was communicated over phone by a network of stringers and reporters, who spoke in varying  degrees  of clarity. MRS was an expert in tactfully prising out ‘news’ from these guys, night or day.

MRS was a 24×7 journalist before 24×7 became business jargon.

***

In 1990, just before taking up my journalism course, I ventured to work in Star of Mysore as a trainee.

K.B. Ganapathy, after a cursory chat, called in MRS and asked him to take me under his wing and put me through the paces.

At first glance, MRS was distinctly unimpressive: He was frail, he had a funny moustache, he tucked his shirt out, walked with a slouch and was staccato in his speech. He fobbed me off to his colleague at the desk, Nandini Srinivasan, who helped me tremendously through the early years.

Over a period of time, slowly, steadily I built some rapport with MRS. Sometimes he would call me out for an occasional smoke which I would readily accept in the hope of having a good conversation. But MRS would keep to himself and allow me to do all the talking, seldom proffering advice or insight, a genial smile displaying his tobacco-stained teeth.

There was a manic phase, of about a month or so, when I drank with him regularly at a fancy bar in Mysore. These sessions were unremarkable, almost matter-of-fact,  as MRS insisted that the Hindi music be played at an exceptionally high volume. There was no chance for exchange of ‘journalistic views’ leave alone banter.

Through the years in college, my association with Star and MRS continued. He would give me occasional assignments and background on stories that I was following.  Although writing in English did not come naturally to MRS, he honed it over the years through repeated practice.

His news reports were structured tightly in the classic “5 Ws and 1 H” formula, and it served him well.

There were reams and reams of buff paper on which he wrote with a cheap ball point pen that leaked, smudged and grew errant due to over use. He had this peculiar habit of bringing the nib close to his lips and blowing at it, like as if he was fanning a dying cigarette. He did that always, probably to fuel his pen’s fervor.

As an old-school journalist brought up on letter press, MRS also used and understood sub-editing notation better than most journalists. He used a red ink pen to underline a letter twice for capitalisation, a hurried swirl to denote deletion, “stet” if he wanted something to stay as is.

And for all his limitations with the language, if you were ever at a sudden loss for a word, those standard ones that you use to embellish journalistic copy, MRS would spout it in a second. The words swam in his head all the time.

Instinct and Intuition guided his journalistic disposition.

Passion and Persistence gave it  further ballast.

***

In 1993, “MRS” won the Karnataka Rajyothsava award. And as it happens in journalistic circles, there were whispers of how he had engineered it all, how it was a complete joke, how he was underserving, etc. MRS continued unfazed, doing what he did best, day after day after day. In due course, the tired critics went to sleep.

Many years later, at the Taj Lands End in Bombay, I hastened to the breakfast buffet for a quick bite before a conference. I had by then quit journalism to join Intel.

I heard a familiar “Hello, Chethu”.

I swung around to see MRS holding a bowl of fruits.

Over breakfast, he told me that Intel had flown him down to cover the event and simply amazed me with the information he had collected about the company’s latest products and plans. He kept jotting down notes verifying and cross-checking facts as we spoke. That evening we promised to get together but it didn’t happen.

During R.K .Laxman’s  last visit to Mysore about two years back, MRS took on the entire responsibility of hosting him in the City. Apart from ensuring that the Laxmans stayed in a friend’s hotel he organised their trip to Chamundi hills for an exclusive darshan. Laxman was profusely thankful to him during the visit.

On their last day in Mysore, MRS called me over the phone. He began with enquiring about my well being and slowly moved on to  a long conversation on Laxman’s perspective on various issues around him. I took the journalist’s bait and went with the flow filling him with facts, quotes, trivia.

I imagined MRS at his desk, his pen scribbling away on sheafs of paper, periodically blowing into his nib, probably conjuring the headline, the lead, the middle for his copy.

MRS will continue to write wherever he is. In the end, the smudges don’t matter really.

Also read: A song for an unsung hero: C.P. Chinnappa

***

IN MEMORIAM

Naresh Chandra Rajkhowa: journo who broke Dalai Lama story

Chari, a lens legend at The Hindu

Harishchandra Lachke: A pioneering cartoonist

T.N. Shanbag: Man who educated Bombay journos

Rajan Bala: cricket writer of cricket writers

Jyoti Sanyal: The language terrorist and teacher

Russy Karanjia: The bulldog of an editor

Sabina Sehgal Saikia: The resident food writer

M.G. Moinuddin: The self-taught newspaper designer

Rajiv Gandhi: 69 ads over 41 pages in 12 papers

21 May 2011

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: On the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi‘s 20th death anniversary today, different ministries of the Congress-led UPA government are falling over each other to demonstrate that the “collective flame of political sycophancy” continues to burn brightly and shamelessly.

While Rajiv Gandhi’s widow Sonia Gandhi and their son Rahul Gandhi talk of “austerity” when it suits them, nearly a dozen Union ministries and a couple of State governments have released tens of ads through the government-controlled Department of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) to remind Indians that such a man as he walked this earth.

In eleven English news and business papers published out of New Delhi, there were 65 advertisements amounting to 38¼ pages, glorifying The Great Leader, without whom India wouldn’t have entered the 21st century.

Hindustan Times: 24-page issue; 9 RG ads amounting to 5¼ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 32-page issue; 10 ads amounting to 6 broadsheet pages

Indian Express: 28-page issue; 10 ads amounting to 5 broadsheet pages

Mail Today (compact): 42-page issue; 8 ads amounting to 7 compact pages

The Hindu: 22-page issue; 6 ads amounting to 3½ broadsheet pages

The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 7 ads amounting to 3½ broadsheet pages

The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 4 ads amounting to 2½ broadsheet pages

***

The Economic Times: 16-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ broadsheet pages

Business Standard: 14-page issue; 4 ads amouning to 1¾ broadsheet pages

Financial Express: 24-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1½ broadsheet pages

Mint (Berliner): 12-page issue; 1 ad amounting to one compact page

Among the departments and ministries seeking to remind the nation of Rajiv Gandhi’s magical powers are the department of information and publicity; the ministries of commerce and industry, tourism, human resource development, social justice & empowerment, power, micro small and medium industries, information and broadcasting, steel; the state governments of Haryana and Rajasthan; and Rajiv Gandhi centre for biotechnology.

Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

On his birthday in August last year, The Telegraph reported that “Union ministries released more ads on Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday today than on the anniversaries of the rest of India’s Prime Ministers put together in the past one year, Press Information Bureau sources said.”

For the record, The Telegraph received four ads amounting to 2½ pages this year.

Bedfellows make strange politics, strange demand

21 May 2011

It takes all types to keep a democracy afloat when high constitutional matters are sought to be resolved on the roadside in a State ruled by god’s own people.

G. Janardhan Reddy, who has led more rebellions against B.S. Yediyurappa than the number of Supreme Court strictures he has received, gives a leg up to K.S. Eswarappa, the state BJP chief whose chief preoccupation is to replace his townsman on the chief minister’s gaddi, as Katta Subramanya Naidu (extreme right), who had to resign in ignominy after being exposed as a real estate agent in minister’s clothes, looks on.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

CHURUMURI POLL: Who is next in 2G arrest list?

20 May 2011

Make no mistake, 20 May 2011, is a red-letter day in contemporary Indian politics.

A serving politician, the daughter of a mighty regional satrap who is a partner in the ruling alliance, has been arrested and sent to jail for her involvement in the country’s largest scam. While we may quibble over whether the CBI would have been given the freedom to do this by the government of the day if it weren’t for the fact that the Supreme Court is directing it, there is no denying that this is not a everyday occurrence.

Kanimozhi‘s arrest is not the end of the 2G investigation and hers is certainly not the last arrest. She represents only one side of a hydra-headed scam that involves bigger corporate and political fish. Already Sharad Pawar‘s name has been mentioned in the Swan-DB Realty linkup; even bigger political names are being hissed about. Tata Teleservices and Reliance Telecommunications, the construction company Unitech, the corporate titans Ratan Tata, Anil Ambani, Venugopal Dhoot, Prashant and Shashi Ruia have all been mentioned in some form or the other. Etc.

Questions: Did you think you would see this day? Will Kanimozhi sing in concert with A. Raja? Will more politicians go behind bars? Will Niira Radia be next? Will the arrest of corporate chiefs shake the “confidence” of investors in the “India Story”? Was telecom really the “success story” it was made out to be? Will such arrests put the fear of god in politicians and businessmen? Or will it be business as usual after a few days?

A small step for Baby Prakruthi, a big lesson for…

19 May 2011

While their politicians show what their hearts are made of every day, rarely a day goes when Kannadigas do not show what they are capable of. Here, Baby Prakruthi Prasad peers through a still of the Kannada film Hejjagalu. Written and directed by P.R. Ramadas Naidu and produced by Basanth Kumar Patil, the film has bagged pride of place for the best children’s film at the 58th national awards announced in New Delhi today.

Photograph: courtesy Karnataka Photo News

The fault lies not in the players but the umpire?

19 May 2011

What Karnataka’s selfless politicians want is easy to guess from their sponsored trips to luxury spas in various seaside locations.

But what do Karnataka’s people want from their politicians?

***

Saritha Rai in the Indian Express:

“What Karnataka yearns for is a transparent, incorruptible chief minister like Bihar’s Nitish Kumar, says Shashank N.D., the founder of Practo, which builds online software for doctors. Bangalore envying Bihar? Who would have even imagined that a few years ago, he asks.

“Event manager Ajith Rao says he envies Gujarat for Narendra Modi, its chief minister. Modi tops the list of India’s most dynamic chief ministers, assertive and capable, says Rao. In contrast, many find Yediyurappa a weak ruler, constantly bogged down by his inability to manage his legislators, his ministers and his partymen.

“Yediyurappa lives dangerously, crying during TV interviews and hurling allegations of voodoo against his rivals. He comes across as feeble and ineffectual. Contrast Karnataka’s leadership with New Delhi’s Sheila Dikshit who appears to be a strong administrator and a vocal politician, says media consultant Usha Radhakrishnan. “

Read the full article: The nine lives of B.S. Yediyurappa

File photograph: Chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa inaugurating a cricket tournament in Mysore in April (Karnataka Photo News)

Because there are no permanent foes in politics

19 May 2011

The many moods of chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa and governor H.R. Bhardwaj, barely days after they were at each other’s throats, during the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Karnataka public service commission (KPSC), at Udyoga Soudha in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Composite photograph: Karnataka Photo News

A governor whose time has come… to go?

18 May 2011

Editorial in The Hindu: Bharadwaj has to go

“Unabashedly partisan in his motives and actions, Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has been, for a long time now, a disgrace to the constitutional office he holds. Bhardwaj, through his actions, has again brought to the fore the issue of Governors acting as political agents of the Centre in States ruled by opposition parties. If this situation is not to continue indefinitely, Bhardwaj must be made an example of. His continuance in the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore is no longer tenable. Gubernatorial posts are not for trigger-happy political adventurers.”

Editorial in The Times of India: Missing the point

“Real problems of governance which threaten the future of the state have been ignored thanks to Bhardwaj’s fatuous and repeated insistence on imposing President’s rule. Corruption, nepotism and abuse of power are rampant in Karnataka under Yediyurappa‘s administration. But these do not amount to the sort of constitutional breakdown that would justify President’s rule. India is a federal country, which has served it in good stead. It is best kept this way.”

Editorial in the Hindustan Times: More partisan than the party

“A few months ago, the Yediyurappa government was on the ropes following allegations of corruption. Today, thanks to Bhardwaj’s ill-advised moves, the chief minister has been able to cast himself as being more sinned against than sinning. Bhardwaj’s conduct is bound to raise the issue of partisanship of governors who formerly owed allegiance to one or other political party. Though they are expected to rise above partisan politics, all too often old habits die hard or they are used to settle political scores. Which brings into disrepute an institution which many feel has outlived its shelf life.”

Also read: One question I’m dying to ask H.R. Bharadwaj

A governor whose reputation precedes him

A picture for the personal album of Sharad Pawar

17 May 2011

“The endosulfan controversy is typical of India, of Indian politics, of Indian corruption, of Indian morality. There were 173 countries in the Stockholm Convention that debated whether or not there should be a global ban on this notorious pesticide. Of these 125 had banned it outright. All 47 of the remaining 48 sat on the fence and generally kept quiet. Only one argued vehemently on behalf of endosulfan. That one-in-the-world nation was India….

“Eighty expert teams have reported on the victims of endosulfan in Kasargod in north Kerala (bordering Mangalore) where children have been born with horrible defects. Yet the Government keeps saying that expert studies were needed before a ban could be considered. Sharad Pawar was the sole fighter for endosulfan initially. Later the Prime Minister and the green warrior Jairam Ramesh joined him…. Scepticism is in order when decisions about poisons in our water bodies and soil and food chains are in the hands of people like Sharad Pawar.”

Thus wrote the veteran editor-author-columnist, T.J.S. George.

For the benefit of the likes of Sharad Pawar, who seems to run the agriculture ministry only if there is some spare time while running his various businesses and international cricket—and for the benefit of Manmohan Singh, whose government seems beholden to multinational corporations selling BT seeds and GM foods—the victims of endosulfan show what the pesticide has done to their children, at a protest organised by the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, in Mangalore on Tuesday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: T.J.S. George on the endosulfan controversy

Is the decline of the Left a good thing for India?

17 May 2011

The end of the world’s longest democratically elected communist regime in Bengal, and its defeat in Kerala by a narrow margin, has been met with unrestrained glee by sections of the media and chatterati. From “good riddance” to “well deserved”, a variety of expressions have been used to celebrate the momentous occasion.

But is the decline of the Left parties—they are in power only in tiny Tripura—and the dimunition of what the Left stands for, necessarily such a good thing for India and its democracy?

On the face of it, the Left’s singleminded opposition to “progress” and “development” as understood by the consuming classes is not very appealing. But in a post-liberalised polity populated by the Congress tweedledum and the BJP tweedledee and with nothing left to choose between them, the Left has consistently shown that its heart is in the right place: on the left.

In its commitment to secular values, in its fight for basic human rights, in its battles against price rise, in the austerity and decency of its leaders and their general incorruptibility, in the conduct of its parliamentarians, etc, the Left has stood up and batted for the man on the street, providing a voice to the voiceless, the poor and the marginalised.

Above all, the Left parties provided an effective safety valve, asking unpopular questions and preventing governments from riding roughshod be it in pushing through the Indo-US civilian nuclear bill or in privatisating valuable public assets built with taxpayers’ money.

The CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury in the Hindustan Times:

“Left’s influence on the evolution of modern India has neither been confined nor can it be measured by its electoral presence alone….  In today’s conditions, with the neo-liberal reforms creating two Indias that continue to be detached from each other and mega-corruption that robs India as a country and as a people of its true potential, it is the Left that steadfastly and consistently has kept a straight bat.”

The writer Mukul Kesavan in the Hindustan Times:

“The real value of the Left was that it stood in the way of Indian politics being polarised around the Congress and the BJP. Despite electorally being a regional player, largely confined to Kerala and West Bengal, the Left saw itself ideologically as a national force.

“Consequently, unlike powerful regional parties like Naveen Patnaik’s BJD or the Kazhagams or even Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) that willy-nilly allied with one or the other pan-Indian party for political leverage and money, the Left constantly tried to create alternative alignments. In this, it was chronically unsuccessful but it did, in its awkward, perverse way, try to create a social-democratic space in Indian politics.”

The Left parties may yet bounce back, or they may not, but is the obliteration of what the Left stands for, a cause for celebration?

What one Yuvraj can learn from the other Yuvraj

17 May 2011

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: In the second decade of the 21st century, India has two Yuvrajs trying to lord over all they survey.

***

The first Yuvraj is on the cricket field: Yuvraj Singh.

A brilliant fielder at cover-point and a batsman who can hit the leather off a cricket ball at will, he is every captain’s dream colleague.

This Yuvraj is a teen prodigy who came good despite a stormy upbringing: His partnership with Mohammed Kaif when India chased down England’s 326  to win the NatWest series, after being  147  for 5, is part of Indian one-day cricket folklore, second only to the win at 1983; make that third only to the World Cup win in 2011.

When he hit six sixes off a hapless Stuart Broad over  in a Twenty20 match in 2007, even  his critics had to sit up and say “wow”.

“Critics”, because Yuvraj Singh was not having the same success in Test match cricket. A nervous starter, he was vulnerable against both the short-pitched ball and the turning ball in the early part of an innings. Eventually he lost his place in the Test team to Suresh Raina.

To add to his woes, he was injury-prone, lost the vice-captaincy of ODI team, became overweight,  and  somewhat overbearing. He began making news off the field, even going after a pesky spectator who called him a ‘water boy’ because he was in the game only as a twelfth man.

From such a precarious down-in-the-dumps position, Yuvraj Singh rose like a Phoenix in the just-concluded World Cup. He worked hard on his fitness, lost weight and became the original mean and hungry looking man, batting and fielding like a man possessed.

He even sharpened his spin bowling to such a nagging length that he was difficult to score off and took  more wickets than the main spinner in the team, Harbhajan Singh. He was adjudged ‘man of the match’ four times, eventually being declared the most valuable player of the tournament when in the finals he took important wickets and stayed with his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to fetch India a famous victory after 28 years.

This is our first Yuvraj, who, despite a stormy childhood at the hands of his father Yograj Singh, started as a precocious talent, went into the doldrums and a period of uncertainty but bounced back and delivered when it mattered most and fulfilled his promise.

His aura is now firmly back.

The “water boy”, Clive Lloyd said, “was drinking from the fountain’.

***

Our other Yuvraj also plays in white, but in a different field: politics.

Quite unlike the other Yuvraj, Rahul Gandhi burst on to the scene with a “home” advantage.

He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His bloodline was impeccable. His parents were happily married. Being the son of the most powerful and influential Congressman, Sonia Gandhi, he didn’t have to work his way up into the “team”. He was captain material from the day he entered the park.

The crown prince: if not Royalty itself, he was the closest to Royalty in a democratic context.

With his great grandfather (Jawaharlal Nehru), his grandmother (Indira Gandhi) and his father (Rajiv Gandhi) having all been prime ministers, the trajectory was clear for this Yuvraj from the day his mother heard her “inner voice”. Congressmen openly admit this Yuvraj has to only choose the time and day when he would like to become PM and the incumbent will readily make way.

This Yuvraj doesn’t have to bother about critics who criticise him, because they don’t.

This Yuvraj’s teammates doesn’t have to bother about the taunts of rivals and teammates, because they don’t.

This Yuvraj doesn’t have to bother about spectators who make fun of him, because they can’t get close to him.

Sure, he works hard like the other Yuvraj, travelling extensively in his continuing ‘Discovery of India’, campaigning in constituency after constituency. He even tries to get down from his ivory-tower SUV and mingle with the aam janata especially the young. And, he hasn’t shown any undue haste to become prime minister.

Sure, he says the kind of things people like to hear. He says he is against the pomp which most Congressmen fall prey to such as  motorcycle outriders and the “lal batthi” (red-light) syndrome. He admits that he had it easy but wants to democratise the party to allow youngsters to enter politics.

Still, success eludes this Yuvraj unlike the other Yuvraj.

Except for the childlike enthusiasm of the ‘Amul Baby’, the nation doesn’t know where he stands on the key issues of the day. Be it talking about “Kalavathy” or joining protesting farmers, the only arrow in his quiver seems to be symbolism.

His stand on substantial issues like Maoism, poverty, inflation, terrorism, etc, are unknown.

He holds on to his two-nation theory of India as if no other thought passes between his ears.

Worse, he has  exhibited a  penchant to put his foot in the mouth that exposes his limited knowledge of the Indian political system and the freedom struggle. His statement that ‘his family had made sacrifices’ to the country was met with strong criticism, perhaps deservedly so. The WikiLeaks cable that showed that he felt the growth of radicalised Hindu groups posed a greater threat to Indian security than Islamic terror groups, evoked guffaws.

So far, this Yuvraj hasn’t done anything spectacular to show that he has it in him to lead the nation despite the red carpet laid out for him. Indeed, if he was the other Yuvraj he would have been dropped from the team.

If this Yuvraj doesn’t come up with the numbers, doesn’t show leadership qualities soon, his ascendency to the throne will be regarded as a pure dynastic ritual rather than as any achievement that propelled him to that exalted position.

Whereas the cricketing Yuvraj changed his work ethic for the better which got him handsome rewards, the politicking Yuvraj is still only gardening the pitch, after taking guard nearly a decade ago.

Surely, it is time the crown prince Yuvraj took a leaf out of the commoner Yuvraj and belted some sixes and announced himself in the IPL—the Indian Political League.

Else, “We, the People” will be entitled to ask, why and not why not.

***

Photograph: Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi watching the 2011 World Cup semifinals between India and Pakistan in Mohali (courtesy PTI via The Times of India)

***

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Has Rahul Gandhi blown it?

What Amethi’s indices tell us about Rahul Gandhi

In one-horse race, Rahul Gandhi is a two-trick pony

‘Politics is about solving problems, not evading them’

‘Most opaque politicians in the democratic world’

Jesus, Mozart, Alexander and apun ka Rahul

A functioning anarchy? Or a feudal democracy?

Rahul Gandhi‘s ascension: a foregone conclusion?

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part I

One question I’m dying to ask Rahul Gandhi—Part II

Only question anyone should ask Rahul Gandhi


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