Tuesday, April 28, 2009

why sirjee, why?

Ajmal Kasab is now a proven adult and can now be tried in a normal court of justice.
A little background:
Ajmal Kasab’s defence lawyer claimed he is a minor and was just 17 year old at the time of 26/11 attacks. If proven to be true, the claim would have had a direct bearing on the punishment meted out to him. As a minor, he can be jailed for a maximum of 3 years.

Extremists recruiting minors is no news. Hence, the question is still relevant.
If Ajmal was indeed a minor, how comfortable would you have been to see a juvenile court sentence him to just 3 years in prison? Juvenile criminals find sympathy with most but does someone like Kasab deserve it? On the other hand, does the gravity of his crime call for an over-looking of the fact that he indeed was as minor? The rule book says – try him in a juvenile court. Would that be unpopular with a people hungry for justice?
It is a dangerous territory to tread.
Now that the Lanka war is heading towards a closure, the chatter about his extradition to India is gaining decibels. Rajapaksa says he is ready to extradite him but only after he faces trial in Sri Lanka.

Mr. President, why on earth would you do that? Do you know nothing of our track record?
Prabhakaran’s trail will be hopeless in India.
We will take excruciatingly long to find him guilty.
“But he got your Prime Minister killed”, did you say?
Oh yeah, we almost forgot. Surely we can’t let him go.
One fine day our courts will finally find him guilty, but we will not have the guts to carry out the sentence.
There will be some fringe elements with sympathy for him and we will be spineless enough to buckle under their pressure.
You would be well advised to finish off the matter in your country sir.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There are no rules for us.

Robin Lustig ponders over a question whose importance can hardly be over-stated.
“Who decides when a group of people who want to break away from the country of which they are a part can do so? If Kosovo, why not Tibet? If Abkhazia, why not Chechnya?”
One person’s terrorist is another's freedom fighter. And indeed who is it that decides what history shall call them?

Relevant, and more so today, when the 25-30 year long civil war in SriLanka looks like it’s headed towards a climax.
Just yesterday I looked at this piece and wondered if Pakistan would disintegrate and fall completely to Taliban in near future. And this ran a chill down my spine today. Many analysts do not rule out the above possibility and the kind of time lines they are talking about are scary to say the least.
6 months to one year?!!! Damn!
International community shudders at the thought of Taliban being in control of Pakistan. I read somewhere that part of the scare is that we just don’t know what to expect. Because the world has not yet seen a nuclear-armed nation, fail.
Are we over reacting? Are we falling prey to our obsession with doomsday predictions?
Musharaff was ousted because of enormous public outrage against him. It worked.
Pak’s has been a relatively open, moderate and modern if you will, society compared to other Islamic nations. Will the people choose to reject the Taliban? Will it work? Is that a realistic, even if distant, possibility?


Here is a spirited Dawn editorial saying -
"The uproar is understandable but should it really come as a surprise that Sufi Mohammad and his band of barbarians are opposed to all that we hold dear? Of course not".
"And one is wrong if one thinks this can’t happen in Pakistan. It can and it will unless we strike a decisive blow for the silent majority."

Friday, April 17, 2009

54% and that blue mark…

Elections in India have always been a high-decibel affair. A full blown tamasha, if you will. This time around apart from the usual suspects - political parties and the media, the voices of those urging people (esp youngsters) to go out there and vote were uncharacteristically loud. They were everywhere… on the streets, on the hoardings, on the net, television, FM radio, in newspapers, in colleges, corporate offices.. you name it.

The mood out there, everywhere, was… “lets vote”. Most people I personally knew were also going to vote. All this compounded by the vision of lots of youngsters in line at polling station waiting for their turn, led me to believe that this time there was going to be an unprecedented rise in polling percentage.
For all the hoopla though, Hyderabad scored way below the state average - just around 54%
To get a complete picture we will have to wait for further break-up of the statistics on the lines of age, gender, education etc..

But I simply don’t know what to make of that rather low and disappointing percentage.
A re-iteration of the ‘Indian urban voter apathy’ syndrome?
Or was it merely a failure on my part to actually appreciate the kind of numbers we are dealing with here?
True, many first time voters were mobilized and inspired to vote, but extrapolating that to represent some sort of a tiny-winy social revolution, was a mistake?
And about that blue mark...
Yes, I have it on my left hand’s index finger. I cast my vote today. For the first time.
08:15 - 16 Apr 2009 - St. Anthony’s High School

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why are you happy despite just being a clerk?

This is an excerpt from a comment on Rashmi’s blog.
“all they have is a job.. bread and butter thing. This fancy word career makes them think that they need to derive meaning from what they do. The whole reason for frustration in working class is this, suddenly out of the blue, they have been asked to look for meaning in what they do . In 80’s we all were typists & clerks, now we are IT engineers, Financial analyst etc. and that’s about it .The world changed & its demand for flavor of services changed and we are just satisfying it, in exchange to our bread & butter and now EMIs . Work was never a play …it was a drag and everybody knew it & said it so, enter 90s and the bluff of career entered. When everything was right perspective people would work, come out of office & play .The boundary was clear, precise uncomplicated. No body questioned why you are happy despite just being a clerk, a steno, a teacher? Comparative happiness is the disease...”
It is generally accepted that it is ok to laugh at our previous self – that peeks at us from the old diary pages.
It’s ok to brush him aside, feeling smug and all grown-up.
What if you find a stranger there?
Some one whose foresight puts you to shame.
What do you tell yourself except – Oh Dear!

When you can’t summon the strength from within,
It helps to look at the commandment on the wall.
Anyone out there who is voting tomorrow and hasn’t made up his/her mind yet and is open to suggestions?
I say this to you my dear – veela gurthu ke vote veddam!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Seriously, what?

Might sound like a quote from a random piece on self-improvement. It is.
But warrants a thought, no?