Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

“Victory is a thousand times sweeter when you’re the underdog.”
Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

I am sure all of you have heard about ICC’s plan to cut down World Cup 2019 to a ten team event. The idea is to make the highest event more competitive among equal sides. As per the new qualifying rules, England, being the host of World Cup 2019 and another 7 teams among 8 top teams in ICC ODI Rankings will get to qualify for the World Cup and rest 6 teams will have to fight for remaining two spots.

Whereas such a formula would be acceptable to many but that would certainly mean that none of the associate nations would get a chance to play the World Cup. Not only it would hurt the terrific performances given by Ireland in past 3 world cups but would also bring back the slow growth for the love of this game in the world. This could prove to be one of the worse mistake ICC could take at a time when Cricket is really growing and reaching many countries in different parts of the world.

I agree on the part that except Ireland and Zimbabwe, other teams were hardly impressive in the last World Cup as far as winning matches is concerned but that’s how you create opportunities and give chances for them to excel. It was this chance that made Sri Lanka what it is now or rather Bangladesh from what they were before. In fact the minnow of 1980s Sri Lanka even won a World Cup whereas the highly revered English team has not won a single on in any format of the Game. Even if the entire arrangement is to take top 8 teams, then strike that and make it top 5 or top 6 teams to qualify. That would give more positions to qualify and higher chances too. As far as Associate nations are considered, I feel they are fighting a wrong battle. Lambasting ICC for diminishing their opportunities by not allowing them to play World Cup is totally a wrong direction. What they should rather be doing is fighting for more international matches. There must mandatorily be minimum 2 matches with every test playing nation every year. If that is not possible at least with the A sides of those countries. More cricket on International front would surely give them more exposure to excel and also create attention from among countries thereby keeping intact the rising popularity rate of this game.

If such delicate arrangements are not handled by ICC, I am sure it will create a dent in the bright future of the Game and also leave a scar in budding stars of tomorrow. Especially the teams like Afghanistan or other African teams who have fought all odds and reached this level. There is much thinking to do before just running behind revenue expansion plans. World over, people still rejoice when Associate Nations put up a good show and that joy is as much as a great performance put by own team. These so-called minnows have given us really good performances since the inception of World Cups, we sure don’t want to cut down on them.

Also, I’d like you to read this post too which I found really nice on the same subject by Hindustan Times.




Tonight when I am writing this, I am in a state which I haven’t ever been. Weak by the shoulders that can’t keep my back straight, weak by the muscles that can’t even move my legs to walk fast and weak by the throat that can’t even be audible when I am talking.

I guess, I have lived an ignorant life. Ignorance for what happens around. May be, such situations or reality never touched me, may be because I was such a protected kid surrounded by people who I believe won’t even pronounce those words comfortably. But then, whom to trust? Sweet talkers are turning into devils and exploiting these days. In this world where even fathers have faltered in their dignity, respect and manhood, can I trust anyone around?

I don’t know how but somewhere my conversation with a friend reached to the situation of women in our country. Although I had read in newspapers, seen on TV and was aware of what is happening, the reason for such a mental shock and a physical rigidity on listening to it tonight only makes me realize how insensitive I was. Feeling sad, angry, join in protest wasn’t enough or doesn’t match to what goes around us and even though these incidents aren’t new, a personal account has shattered my state of mind at present.

I was at loss of words, had only Delhi Incident to be mentioned as the most horrendous one, besides Austria’s Joseph Fritzl, who locked her wife and daughters in a dungeon to rape all of them for 17 years or the couple who stayed lanes away in who in pretext of achieving wealth, allowed Tantrik to rape his daughters and exploit them apart from he doing it himself. May be there are countless more which I read, got agitated and eventually forgot over time. There are many of such which aren’t even reported. The Delhi girl died, but some are living such pains and atrocities everyday. Today in those 2 hours of conversation, she upright told me about what happened to her friends, what happens to her, what happens to unprivileged people around her and no one can do anything.

These things aren’t small, it rises from small things like a group of men or couple of them stalking you, following you, trying to bring their bikes near you, laughing or singing behind you to people who would stare in such a way making you feel disgusted about yourself to the ones who daringly comment or vomit filthy words only to insult or dishonor the victim. It doesn’t happen only to women, I agree. It happens to men too, although in relatively less occurrences. If these are tolerable and one may even walk up in the world saying that this world is hopeless and we can’t stop living for it, there shall come more such people who would force themselves and the other ones, that I cannot even think what all could they do.

The unfortunate ones who face this in their tender age have impressions on their lives. Those impressions only make them behave abnormally. What happens then? His/Her classmates will tease him/her for being different? His parents instead of understanding the plight shall keep scolding that child? Nowadays, tuition teachers have even started refusing weaker students. Even if a victim wants to recover and lead a normal life, that person won’t be able to because the children of our society aren’t sensitized or educated enough on this issue, because the relatives aren’t beaten to hell for their acts, because the offenders aren’t punished appropriately that they have fear, because no one cares to take an authority to fight against the warden or caretaker who abuses girls in a hostel or orphanage, because no one cares to investigate on take a bath in the swamp of our slums, because our Police never pays heed to such complains effectively, because no one of us have ever been educated or matured enough.

I don’t know what is going wrong and where it is going wrong. If our country is religious and follows all days properly like not eating non vegetarian on Tuesday or pray namaaz 5 times a day or observe fast on specific days, why none of the saints/priests/monks ever propagate respect, honor? Why do they propagate curfew for women instead? Now from where are these people like Asaram coming? Godmen for over decades and what they have been doing? Where is our conscience?

It has been difficult to type, I should have slept, my heart forced me to write it. While writing, I realize, how helpless I feel. I don’t know if I conveyed what I wanted to, I don’t even know if I had something to convey. There is only one chorus in my mind, “I don’t want to live in this world anymore – forget those tests, forget those realities, but I want to go somewhere, but not such place”. At the age of 21, I get this question, how will I protect my kid if the world is such now? It’s not right, we all are collectively going wrong somewhere. Does each one of us taking a personal oath of raising your son in such a way that he will respect, honor and protect every women around him work? I don’t know what will work, but I want something to. For I don’t know I will ever be comfortable or feel safe or feel relaxed unless my mother, sister, girlfriend, friend, wife or daughter or son be home henceforth.

Everyday I read at least one pro-Modi article which gives me hope for a change from the shabby state of affairs of our country which is currently ruled under Congress who does nothing but appeasement of minorities, Vote bank politics, create differences among people on the basis of cast, creed and race, suppress national leaders, loot the taxpayer and shame the country. Sometimes, I even come across Anti-Modi articles which give me no real reasoning and causes me to yawn with stereotype 2002 riots blabbering and leader-only-good-for-gujarat claims by people who have been terrible for their own state. Anyways, 3 days back, one of my active pro-modi campaigner friend shared an article written by Avay Shukla – Retired IAS Officer on why he should vote for Modi !! I thought of sharing that article here, also for my personal preservation, because finally there was this one man who communicated the entire reasoning in the best manner:

Why I shall Support Modi in 2014…

By Avay Shukla – Retired IAS officer

July 1, 2013 20:30I have been getting more and more worried over the last year or so at the direction( or lack of it) in which our country is headed. It is
like a runaway plane falling from the skies and we are plummeting past one alarming indicator after another– inflation,economic slowdown, falling rupee,complete break-down of law and order, ever emboldened Naxalites, total internalization of corruption, an administration that answers to no one,complete lack of governance, cronyism on a scale never seen before, a brazen lack of accountability, public intimidation of constitutional authorities, a judicial system that has all but collapsed,environmental disasters that no one knows how to cope with, complete paraplegia of decision-making at all levels in government,appeasement of ” minorities” and Other sections that are reaching ridiculous and dangerous levels, dynastic politics at the Centre and the states reminiscent of the Mughal era…….

I could go on and on but after some time the mind becomes numb and registers only one emotion——-IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE. Another five years of this and we would be well on our way to becoming a failed state and joining the ranks of Pakistan, Haiti and Somalia.

The general elections of 2014 offers us one last chance to redeem ourselves. I have been on this mortal coil for 62 years and have never voted for the BJP but have, after much thought, decided to support MODI in 2014. This is considered a heresy in most neo-liberal circles in India today but we have to go beyond mere labelling and stereotyping to understand my decision.

But before I go on to Mr. Modi himself, let us review the context in which this decision has been taken. The state of the country is self evident in para one above.

The next question then is: What are the alternatives or choices that we as voters have?

The Congress will only perpetuate the present mess-even more worrying and dangerous is the fact that, where the Congress to return to power, it would consider it to have a renewed mandate to carry on as before.

In any case, who in the country would lead the Congress- a reluctant dynastic or an ageing economist who has discovered his true skills lie in politics, or a backroom puppeteer? Or, God forbid, all three? ( Seriously, this is a possibility- after all not one of these three want to shoulder sole accountability, and they may reason that if a dual power center can ensure two terms, a triple may be good for even more!) No, to my mind the Congress is not an option.

Who else, then?

Well, if we scrape the bottom of the barrel assiduously we will come up with Mamta Banerjee[ TMC], Mulayam Yadav[ SP], Nitish Kumar[JDU], Naveen Patnaik[ BJD], Jayalalitha[ AIADMK], Sharad Pawar[ NCP] and Mayawati( BSP). There is no need to discuss their achievements or ideologies at a national level ( incidentally, not even one of them has a remotely national outlook or ideology since they cannot see beyond pandering shamelessly to the vote banks in their respective states) because they are state( not even regional) leaders and none of them can hope to be Prime Minister on the strength of their own

They all realize this, of course, hence the idea which periodically emerges like a skin rash, of a Third or Federal Front. This didn’t work even when a Third Front could agree on a leader( as in the case of I.K. Gujral or Deve Gowda). How on earth will it work when every one of the state leaders mentioned above feels that he or she has been reincarnated precisely to become the Prime Minister of India?

The negotiations for choosing a PM( if the Front comes up with the numbers, that is) will resemble one of those WWF fights where about six hunks are put into the ring to beat the daylights out of each other till one of them is left standing to claim the crown. I cannot see all of them agreeing on even one policy issue, whether it is reservations, industrial stimulus,foreign policy, disinvestment, environmental protection, center-state relations etc. If they come to power at the Center, the paraplegia of today will become quadriplegia tomorrow.

Fortunately, in any case, they can never muster the 274 seats required-it will be difficult for them to reach even hundred even if they do very well in their states.

So a Third Front is a non-starter, and voting for any of these parties will only help the Congress by dividing the anti-congress vote. [ You will have noticed that I have not mentioned Mr. Karat of the CPM. That’s because he’s become like a flat bottle of Coca-Cola- earlier he was all fizz and no substance: now even the fizz has gone].

That leaves only the BJP, with its historical baggage of the RSS, Hindutva, Ramjanmbhoomi ( by the way, this baggage also includes five years of exemplary governance under Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004)-perhaps enough baggage to dissuade me from voting for the party. Except that this time the BJP has an add-on: Narendra Modi. And that, to my mind, adds value to the party and makes the crucial difference.

Modi has been reviled ad-nausea m by the “secular” parties and sections of the elite media for many years for the 2002 riots in Gujarat, by the former not because of any love for the Muslims( as I hope to show later) but simply in order to appropriate the Muslim vote, and by the latter because they have to keep whipping somebody in order to get their TRPs- in India only extremes succeed. Modi has been tried and condemned by them not on the basis of facts but by an opportunistic mixture of innuendo, presumption, speculation, half-truths, hear say. Look at the facts. There was a horrendous orgy of killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 where about 2000 of them were massacred. Some of Modi’s ministers and many BJP/ VHP workers were involved: quite a few of them have also been convicted, the trials of many still go on.

The Supreme Court set up at least three SITs and is itself monitoring the investigations. Many PILs have been filed in the SC and the High Court accusing Modi of master-minding these massacres. In not a single case has either the Supreme Court, the High Court or the SITs found any evidence of Modi’s personal complicity.

Yes, they have held that he could have controlled the situation better- but nothing beyond that in-spite of ten years of frenetic drum beating and sustained vilification.

Now look at the other set of facts. Under Modi’s current watch, perhaps for the first time in India, people have been actually convicted for communal rioting and murder- more than 200 convictions, with about 130 of them sentenced to life imprisonment. All the communal massacres in India since Independence have not resulted in even one tenth of these convictions.

Modi’s government has to be given some credit for this: yes, the investigations were carried out by the SIT and not by Modi’s police; yet Modi could, if he was so inclined, have interfered covertly in the whole process by asking his officials not to cooperate, by intimidating witnesses, influencing judges, conveying hints to prosecutors- something which, as we all know too well, governments of all political hues in India have mastered.

Modi could have done what the Congress has done so successfully in Delhi in three other high-profile cases being monitored by the Supreme Court- the Commonwealth Games Scam, the 2G case, and Coalgate ( not to mention also the Sikh massacres of 1984): have these cases made any headway? has wrong-doing been proved in a single instance? has anyone been convicted?

No,sir, these investigations will drag on and on till they are lost in the mists of time. Supreme Court monitoring cannot ensure justice unless the govt. of the day allows its agencies to function- it is to Modi’s credit that he did so allow them.

Compare this with the manner in which the police in Delhi have been emasculated to protect some senior Congress leaders in the 1984 Sikh carnage- everyone in Delhi knows, even after 27 long years, that their hands are dipped in blood, but the evidence will never reach the courts; the recent acquittal of Sajjan Kumar only confirms this.

The biggest stigmata on Modi is the charge that he is ” communal” and not ” secular”.

All ( non-NDA) political parties never tire of tom-tomming this from the roof-tops and consider this their trump card to ensure that he will never achieve his Grand-slam at the centre. But after eleven years this is beginning to wear thin and people are beginning to question the assumptions behind this charge and even the definition of what constitutes ” communal” and “secular.”

Nirad Choudhry had long ago given his opinion that India is the Continent of Circe where humans are turned into beasts-it is also the graveyard of the Oxford Dictionary where the meanings of words are turned on their heads to suit political exigencies! So ” communal” today means a Hindu who is not ashamed of saying he is a Hindu, and ” secular” means a Hindu who panders to other religions in order to get their votes at the next elections!

By this inverse definition Modi is considered communal- notwithstanding that not a single Hindu- Muslim riot has taken place in Gujarat under his watch since 2002, notwithstanding that the BJP got 17% of the Muslim vote in the Assembly elections in the state earlier this year, notwithstanding that the party won five of the eight seats which had a dominant Muslim voter base, notwithstanding that the average Muslim in Gujarat is much better off economically than his counterpart in Assam, UP or Bihar( headed by ” secular” parties).

Compare this with the record of the Samajwadi party in UP where more than a hundred communal riots have taken place in less than two years, with the Congress in Assam where hundreds of Muslims were butchered last year and at least three hundred thousand of them are still languishing in relief camps with no hope of ever returning to their villages, with the Congress ruled Maharashtra where hundreds of Muslims were killed with the active help of the police after the Bombay blasts. ( Needless to say there do not appear to have been any convictions in any of these pogromes). And MODI is communal?

I am a Hindu but I stopped going into any temple twenty years ago because I was sickened by the rapacious behavior of their pundits. I am no longer a practicing Hindu in a public, ritualistic sense and frankly I don’t know how many of the religious beliefs I retain, but I still consider myself a Hindu because Hinduism is more than just a religion- it is a culture, a civilisation, a way of life.

But in the Kafkaesque India of today if you were to proclaim that you are a Hindu ( even though you have equal respect and regard for all other religions) you would be branded ” communal”- this is what political discourse has been reduced to by our politicians. And being ” secular” no longer means treating all religions equally: it means splintering society into a myriad ” minorities” ( another perversion of the Oxford Dictionary) and then pandering to such of them as suit you in your naked pursuit of power.

In the process India has been converted into a complex jigsaw of minorities, castes, tribes, classes, sections and what have you. The British could have learnt plenty from us about Divide and Rule! But more and more right thinking people are beginning to question this recipe for disaster, and I am one of them.

India is 80% Hindu- why should one then have to be apologetic about proclaiming that one is a Hindu ? We have been ruled and exploited and vandalized for eight hundred years by Muslims and for another two hundred years by Christians, and yet we have accorded these two religions a special status as ” minorities” with privileges that the Hindus don’t have. Has any other country in the world ever displayed such a spirit of accommodation and egalitarianism? Is there a more secular civilisation in the world? And yet, a Hindu who says he is a Hindu is considered communal!

Does a Hindu have to prove his secular credentials time and again by greater levels( or depths) of appeasement of other religions simply so that they can continue to be vote bank fodder for political parties? Modi has had the courage to raise these questions and is therefore being reviled by those political parties whose apple carts he is threatening to upset. But people are beginning to pay attention. Modi is not considered secular because he is proud to be a Hindu and refuses to give doles or concessions to any religious group( including Hindus, but that is conveniently glossed over) beyond what is provided in the constitution and the laws of the land. He believes this weakens the social fabric of the country and that even handed development is the best guarantee for equitable prosperity for all. He is not considered secular ( and instead is branded as communal) because he says publicly that he is proud to be a Hindu. And has he done anything blatantly or provocatively pro-Hindu in the last ten years? There is not a single instance of this and yet he is vilified as communal and anti-minorities by the same party that presided over more than two hundred anti-Muslim riots in the seventies and eighties in Gujarat, that massacred 6000 Sikhs in 1984, that lit the fuse in Ayodhya by installing an icon of Ram in the mosque there, that failed to take any action when the Babri masjid was being razed to the ground! Modi has carefully distanced himself from any public support of Hindutva, has kept the VHP and the Bajrang Dal on a tight leash in Gujarat ever since he came to power there, and has even incurred the wrath of the RSS for not toeing the line on their purely religious agenda. It takes time, and some mistakes, to attain maturity; the Modi of today is not the Modi of 2002: then he was still in the pracharak mould of the RSS, inexperienced in the exercise of power, lacking administrative experience. He has now developed into a politician with a vision, an administrator who has delivered to his people and caught the fancy of the entire corporate world in India and abroad. Rahul Gandhi has been around in politics for almost the same length of time but has still not progressed beyond his epiphanic perception that India is a bee-hive.

Pause a while to honestly compare Modi’s qualities with his peers in the political firmament. His integrity is impeccable, both personal and vicarious. Even Mr. Manish Tewari has not been able to charge him on this score, and that’s saying something! I am not aware of a single major scam unearthed during his term( compare this with the Congress either in Maharashtra or at the Centre: the Congress has more skeletons in its cupboard than a graveyard does).

Modi has no family to promote or to insure against inflation for the next hundred years( compare this with any other party leader, all of whom have given an entirely new meaning to the term ” joint family”- brothers, uncles, wives, sons, sons-in-law, nephews-all happily and jointly looting the nation’s resources). Modi has a vision and a road map for the future and he has demonstrated in Gujarat that he can implement his vision.

No other major leader of the parties that are vilifying him comes even close to comparing with him in this respect- Manmohan Singh once had a vision but his unique concept of ” coalition dharma” has ensured that he now cannot see, or hear, or talk; Rahul Gandhi cannot see beyond bee-hives and boats that rise with the tide, Sharad Pawar cannot see the woods for the sugar-cane stalks, Mulayam Singh has been fixated on the Prime Minister’s chair for so long that he has now started hallucinating; Nitish Kumar’s vision is a peculiar bi-focal which enables him to see only Muslims and OBCs; Navin Patnaik, being erudite and sophisticated must be having a vision but he has not deigned to share it with anyone yet; Mayawati cannot see beyond statues of herself and of elephants; and as for Mamta Banerjee, she is colour blind-she can only see red. Modi’s track record as an administrator inspires confidence in his ability to play a role at the national level.

He sets specific goals, provides the resources and then gives his bureaucrats a free hand to operate. He has ensured water availability to towns and to greater number of farmers, Gujarat now has 24X7 power and has even offered to sell power to other states.

Modi has realised long before his peers that future growth can only come from the manufacturing sector since the past stimulus provided by the service sector is now bottoming out, and has prepared his state to attract capital: perennial roadblocks which have bedeviled other states- land acquisition, labour issues, law and order, lack of decision making, cronyism- have all been sorted out. It is no surprise then that Gujarat has been receiving the second highest amount of investment funds after Maharashtra.

His opponents, looking for anything to denigrate his achievements, cavil that Gujarat has always been a progressive state and no credit goes to Modi for all this. True, Gujarat ( and Gujaratis) have always been entrepreneurial and progressive, but any economist can tell them that the higher you are on the performance scale, the more difficult it is to make incremental gains- and these gains Modi has been making year after year.
Gujarat has consistently been among the top five states in just about all economic, social and human development indicators, and far above the national figures.

Modi is no paragon of virtue. He is arrogant, does not allow a second rung of leadership to emerge, brooks no opposition, is impatient and authoritative, is not a consensus builder. But then we are not seeking to canonize a saint but looking for a political leader who can get this country out of the morass that its present stock of politicians has got us into.

We are looking for someone who can be decisive rather than justify inaction under the garb of seeking an elusive ” consensus”.

We are looking for someone who has the courage to have a vision and the skills to translate it into reality.

We are looking for someone who will work for the country and not for his ” joint family”.
We are looking for someone who can restore our identities as INDIANS and not merely as Brahmins or Scheduled castes or Muslims or Backward castes.
We are looking for someone who will not pander to religions and be truly secular.
And we are looking for someone who will not be ashamed to say that he is a Hindu in the land that gave birth to the most tolerant and enlightened religion this world has seen.

Modi may fail- in fact, there are good chances that he will. But he at least promises change, whereas the others promise only more of the same. He offers us Hope. Shouldn’t he be given a chance?
** The author retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains- he has made them his home

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

  1. Shout my heart out (and ruin my vocal chords), Run till I start heavily panting (take an auto rickshaw to come back home) and wonder if being a sado-masochist will help? I have reached a point of frustration, irritation, fear, hopelessness and agitation.  Everything resulting out of that one thing – lazyness !!

    While the rat race is something that I don’t want to give in to; rather imagine it as a derby; dress up, bet on other rats and watch yours win. However, everyone around me is doing so well with their preparation for races that you can actually see their promising future and ponder over what will you do then? While people are buying books, attending classes attentively, making notes with hundreds of colors and discussing topics like market and political scenario of the country – I am searching for people who can lend me their notes so that I can complete all those blank pages that resulted because I kept dozing off in classes, putting my hands on books that teach me portfolio management and security analysis so that I can understand and make sense on what people keep discussing around me (You know, I have religiously subscribed for Economic Times for 3 consecutive years and there might not have been more than 3 instances when I would have properly read the newspaper), download news reading applications to keep up with what is happening (more than TOI, The Hindu and HT applications, Twitter has done me good).

    It is not just about academics. I am short of few months from the MOST IMPORTANT EXAM of my life and so I thought of ranking it first in my reasons of annoyance. That day, I was watching Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and I counted that I am around 245 days late of my much promised and determined resolution to run everyday and work out. It is not that I have forgotten, every day when some or the other colleague cracks a joke on my pot belly or every alternate night when my back or leg gets screwed because of fatigue or cramps and my mom shouts at me for being so inactive; I remind myself to find a deeper meaning to my days which have only consisted of office and tuition lately. I have even kept an alarm of 5:50 a.m. which haven’t been changed in spite of me changing phones for 4 times past one and half years. Everyone in my house will wake up to that except me. 😦 😦

    Its not that life has become boring, I still meet friends couple of times, go for movies or dinners, have those late night chats and have plans rolling around. But I do not have any answer when people ask me “What’s up with your life” – Maybe, I should answer, everything is down but then they all come to a conclusion that my life has become boring due to overtimes in office or CA or blah blah blah and I feel bored to clear their presumptions. I have not even learnt cooking which was my another resolution and this one is two years old. Well, thanks to Maggi that it makes someone keep heart that he knows at least one thing. I am yet to watch Suits, Entourage and few more sitcoms which is lying in my pen drive since half a year and I am yet to grab Dan Browns, Ayn Rand and other books on my “To read” list. I have already given a break to reviewing for a while now and I am not even communicating to my loved ones on how much I miss them everyday and that I want to meet them. Something is wrong somewhere ! Maybe, I, the over-enthusiastic lazy rat needs a tight slap on his face to re-arrange and re-concile everything that is going wrong, or maybe I don’t know, but I have never known as well !

    Meanwhile, I stumbled upon this tweet —->