Schindler’s List !!! need i say more?

Steven spielberg!- No director has ever put together a more popular body of work. Man! what a phenomenen he is!. I see schindler’s list every week and it never fails to impress me. It impresses, haunts, gives hope… phew this work of art is mindboggling!. To me this movie comes at the very top of ‘The finest movies of all time list’.

 I remember some people I saw at a screening, all with red, glistening eyes affixed to the movie screen. All those people were feeling the pain, the same pain that I knew we were all experiencing, that we all shared. The shared pain of the Holocaust is so enormous, so very tragic its beyond words… See this movie phew! right from the black and white setting to the background music its simply a stunner in all respects. Another director couldn’t have even thought of handling such a topic. Steven spielberg is well and truly ‘The Master’.

Even his latest Munich was masterful. Though i felt the movie did meander a little in the middle stages, the movie was a great watch!

Published in: on July 22, 2006 at 7:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Shogun by Clavell

I was thrilled when Crossword said they would be delivering a copy of James Clavell’s masterpiece ‘Shogun’. Clavell’s Shogun is arguably one of the best books i have read. Historical novels have often been provocative objects of study and this book is no exception to that rule. Shōgun is the first novel chronologically speaking in Clavell’s Asian Saga. It is set in  Japan somewhere around 1600 and gives an account of the rise of Chief of the armies of the East, Yoshi Toranaga (real life Tokugawa Ieyasu) to the Shogunate.

What makes this particular novel so very admirable is that it brings forth a central feature of clavell’s novels particularly well that being ‘the real protagonists in Clavell’s novels are not the characters, but the time and place. The characters themselves form the canvas on which Clavell illustrates a culture so skillfully….

I am also currently reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang and ‘Mao:the unknown story’… I kind of found the book ‘Mao’ very biased though not historically incorrect in many places… i will write more on that later….

Published in: on July 22, 2006 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Save the Royal Bengal Tiger

It is hard not to sympathise with Valmik Thapar. I am filled with anger and sorrow when i see tigers getting poached relentlessly. The sansar chand gang & co  and others get away due to political patronage. Sariska and ranthambore are stark examples. From a high of over 5000 tigers in the 1990s there are now less then 1900-2000 left. The Royal Bengal Tiger is increasingly friendless… 

Friends whoever cares to read this, please please try and understand the tiger depends on us for survival. If you and me donot understand and act, it might be too late. I really wish Mrs Indira Gandhi was alive. her 1972 wildlife act stills affords whatever protection the tiger gets. If you were to ask me what is more important , the Taj or the Tiger, i would blindly say the tiger is more crucial.

This magnificient, seemingly powerful beast is infact helpless, so helpless it moves me to tears sometimes. See the cubs’ photo above, does it deserve to lose its mother/father to some poaching ba***rd?. Lets act before its too late…

Please visit this website…. and know more, contribute….

http://www.savethetigerfund.org/

I will write about  WatpaLuangtaBua yannasampanno or tiger temple in Thailand in my next post. It is indeed a joy to read about the temple and pure joy watching tigers living happily with buddist monks.  

Published in: on July 12, 2006 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Mumbai : Enough is enough

My city was bombed mercilessly on July 11. I initially felt , well its wonderful the city as bounced back so well!. But a day later it occured to me, no we bounced back because there was no option. The average mumbaikar is helpless. I feel now that enough is enough. Mumbai pays Rs 50,000 crores in Income tax and some 75000-1,00,000 crores in other taxes. What we get in return? nothing. The city has atrociously bad roads,a railway system that is so overloaded its description is beyond the ambit of the english language. Add the politicians who are only concerned about the cuts they get out of everything. The janata of Mumbai has been a little too patient. People like an SP MP from Colaba and a gangster MLA from South Mumbai roam free after comitting almost all crimes known to man. One is more is likely to come across an anti-national in the assembly floor than the bylanes of South Mumbai. Enough folks wake up!

My heart goes out to the people of the Srinagar and the valley too. It angers me no end to see some scumbag jihadis holding a state to ransom. Kashmiris are getting hurt the most. One cannot but pity the commoners in the state. Think of the trauma that women and children must be going through?. The local economy is suffering blow after blow just as it picks up due to a reviving tourism sector. If it indeed emerges radical islamic groups were behind the Mumbai bombing, it could have omnious portents. I wish this asinine government wake up to the insanity of the jihadist monster that they has been so thoughtlessly unleashed on society.

To end on a positive note Kudos Western Railway

Published in: on July 12, 2006 at 8:42 am  Comments (1)  

Calvin the Great

I am a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes. Got hooked to it in High school and i have never looked back. To me the social criticisms delivered by calvin appeal the most. He expresses frustration with public decadence and apathy, with commercialism, and the pandering nature of the mass media. For example, when Calvin and Hobbes stumble onto a heap of litter, they get angered at the people who pollute the world.

I am putting a couple of strips on calvin and moe (the school bully)…

great ain’t it?

 

More later…….

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 3:29 pm  Comments (1)  

Quotas- Talent please R.I.P.

 

This government deserves to be ‘numero uno’ as far as sheer chutzpah goes. It has threatened to undo in one stroke all the hard work that has gone into building the country’s premier institutions. The decision to hike quotas to 49.5% is fraught with perils. This ill-advised move will divide campuses throughout the country. It should come as no surprise if campuses get polarized right down the middle. The IITs/IIMs are going to be the worst hit along with AIIMS, JIPMER and other premier medical colleges. The toil that went into building the reputation of these institutes is going to be destroyed at one stroke. Leave aside getting more talented teachers, retaining the current lot is going to prove tough. To be fair it is unrealistic to expect a teacher to very enthusiastic teaching a class where it is known that half the batch has come in on considerations other than merit.  As far as medical education goes, I for one don’t believe for a minute that society at large would be comfortable with the large number of ‘Quota doctors’ coming into practice in the near future. I can recall an example (the list is endless) in Chennai where a minister (an OBC) refused to get operated in a premier private hospital as he was doubtful of the capability of the doctor, as he had got his degree due to the quota system. This should serve as an eye opener for anybody who is benign enough to assume that quotas are a panacea for social injustice.

Only the ‘new age Brahmins ‘ or the so-called ‘creamy layer’ OBC/SC/ST will really benefit in numbers. They actually benefit in the name of their poor brethren. It is galling to see an OBC IAS officer’s son in Mumbai getting admitted into medical college as he is/was ‘deprived’. It is nothing sort of a cruel joke. The reverse discrimination is having its impact and its not very encouraging. The Kanpur Municipality was recently taken aback when it found Brahmins had applied for a Class IV employee’s post carrying a pay of Rs 2130. The recruiting staff were even more shocked to find that most of the candidates were graduates with a couple of them having M.As  One would have expected the politicians to stem the rot at the primary and secondary school level. That is because unless the deprived classes get adequate schooling it is unrealistic even downright foolish to expect them to progress.

If any congressman is reading this he would do well do read what the revered Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had to say on reservations. He wrote, “So these external props, as I may call them, the reservations of seats and the rest, may possibly be helpful occasionally, but they produce a false sense of political relation, a false sense of strength, and, ultimately therefore, they are not so nearly important as real educational, cultural and economic advance which gives them inner strength to face any difficulty or opponent.”  

If the congress party made this move thinking it would become the darling of the OBCs , it has made one big mistake. It lost these bases to the Mulayams and the Laloos long back and hey they are not getting it back anytime soon. I end by quoting a part of Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s resignation letter to the ‘Academic PM’, ‘your government is ensuring that we remain entrapped in the caste paradigm. Except that now by talking of OBCs and SC/STs in the same narrative we are licensing new forms of inequity and arbitrariness.’

One couldn’t agree more.   

Published in: on July 7, 2006 at 2:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Musharraf’s 2005 visit…and Kashmir

Pakistani president Musharraf’s visit had been hailed as a landmark one in the chequered history of the subcontinent. Why is that the pakistanis are so besotted with kashmir?. Apart from the usual islamic identity and the story about pakistan being incomplete without kashmir, a very interesting question is ‘ why does pakistan emphasize kashmir so much?

Hmmm.. tough question to answer and writing on kashmir is always a dicey venture. Pakistan essentially emphasizes Kashmir as a muslim and human rights issue to demonstrate to itself and the world at large that the 1947 split with India was right. That precept would be challenged if there was peace with india. This feeling is not going to stop until pakistan stops looking to India for self-justification. It has failed spectacularly on almost on all other fronts at self-definition. Islam was thought to be a solution for identity, but the point is such a solution is hardly viable if sunnis and shias continue to be at each other’s throats as they frequently are.

Nor can pakistan define itself through a sense of history, because india assumed the history of the subcontinent during partition. From it’s birth it has no past except the one which has belonged to india. Save for the army it has no other institutions to boast of, which would have been helpful to plan the nation’s future. India which is the reason behind the birth of pakistan remains a terrible burden. Pakistan understandably is desperate to find another reason to live, and the search goes forlornly on. Pakistan also is wary about attempts to discredit whatever is left of the 2-nation theory, which suffered a mortal blow in 1971. Hence it pursues conflict with india.
It is more to do with the survival and identity of the nation more than anything else. pakistan has lost because ,due to it’s vast military expenditure it has all but bankrupted itself. Passions over kashmir have blinded pakistan to the insanity of what it has done and the damage it has suffered in the process. Democracy remains a mirage and after 59 years the nation still is clueless about it’s identity,notwithstanding frequent pakistani bluster.

It has all the markings of a failing state.This in a nutshell would explain why those folks across the border are so besotted with the vale.

Published in: on July 5, 2006 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment