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Monday, August 29, 2011

6-points Anna

Post India’s unreal cum surreal independence on August 15, 1947, the nation claimed to have achieved its ‘real independence’ finally on August 27, 2011.

With the resolution passed in the house of parliament complementing the anticipation of making the Jan Lokpal Bill (JLP) into law, 'People’s Democracy' is established across the country… turning Mahatma Gandhi into Anna Hazare and vice versa!

Thanks to almost all news channels, and precisely on Times Now, we have come to know that ‘Anna took a sip from two girls’ and broke his fast to augur a new history of India… on and from August 28, 2011.

When the history will be manufactured in the workshop of time and task; toil and test, let’s look into the points that have already made Anna Hazare – the biggest Human Brand in India, after Gandhi.

And that too, when the historians on various TV channels have excavated ‘People’s Democracy’ by digging quite deep into the floor of the parliament and corruption!

Point 1: Issue

Nothing, absolutely nothing could’ve been a better issue than corruption to address, attend and act upon in the present context that Anna Hazare chose to dabble in.

One hand when the JLP’s been lying unattended in the parliament for over 40 years and on the other hand when the UPA government in centre has been all at sea, given the Big Ticket corruptions like Commonwealth Games; 2G scam, etc., THIS simply sent tsunami waves of ineptness from the epicenter of the govt. vis-à-vis the parliament to every Indian’s disgust and despair.

In this situation, though the imprisonment of Kalmadi and Raja took place but the efforts of the UPA were par below than average and considered by the majority of people… only as ‘too late for too little for too long’ affairs.

As a result, an anti-corruption stance perfectly suits everyone to raise a voice against the on-going corruption and then when someone like Anna came forward to lead from the front; it’s actually made a lot of sense to follow him rather blindly.

Point 2: Remedy

What we see is what we get.

Since most of us are neither blind nor visionary, which is quite natural in fact, it’s never necessary in life to try to see the roots of a tree while the tree is so distinctly visible with its stem, branches, leaves, etc. wide spread.

Also, it’s the sight, not the vision that is one of the five senses we have and are expected to put into use.

Therefore, when all of us have known that the tree is corrupted and there is an axe called JLP Bill at our disposal; it’s more than apt to bring it out and chop the tree, immediately, with the axe!

And, for that matter, it hardly matters whether the roots of that tree still remain into the ground or not.

Hence, it’s not surprising that who dared to get hold of that axe with great intent and purpose, we found him the messiah against corruption.

Thereby Anna: the first turned Mahatma Gandhi: the second to personify India in flesh and blood.

Point 3: Background

In India – not sure though, if the same applies in other countries as well – whoever works in army is a soldier. Even if the person works in a military canteen or drives a truck or does some paramedical work… is a military, and a probable martyr. So his sacrifice for the nation is not to be forgotten.

In case an army man kills his colleague over a silly exchange of words, or rapes a civilian woman in Kashmir, or sells off subsidized liquors from the canteen in the black market, or beats his little son to death with a belt, or does something else or similar when there is no war or terrorist attack or natural calamities, well, still his sacrifice for our lives and security cannot be ignored.

Irrespective of the fact neither you nor I have ever asked anyone to be a soldier and turn shahid for us in the process, if he dies at all in war, albeit both you and I should always be grateful and look up to him because he is a soldier and we are not.

Sometimes it really baffles me while I get compelled to think who actually makes more sacrifice in a day-to-day life! A common man who’s principally, morally, socially, nationally and humanly detained to acknowledge a soldier and his sacrifice for everyone at the drop of a hat or a soldier who’s destined to be great only, even if he loses a battle of life badly and dies from that defeat.

Plus, I’m not sure why it’s perceived all the time that a soldier always sacrifices his life for our families only, as if his family members don’t belong to the nation!

Not surprising then, if a huge number of fanatics and activists join Anna Hazare because that simple and honest man was a soldier too lest we hate to admit that he was actually a truck driver of a military convoy in Indian army.

Point 4: Age

At 3.00 am, is it possible to demand for a hot cup of tea from your newly married daughter-in-law in December? Possible! Is it possible to fart aloud sitting amid many people and then expecting everyone will appreciate this gesture of yours with a heartening smile? Possible! Is it possible to stage a rudali show all day long for a year and more, so that your daughter leaves her husband and gets divorced? Possible!

All those things are possible along with many others, if you are above 60. And you may jolly well call it ‘senior citizen privileges’ provided by an Indian society as part and parcel of your democratic rights.

And based on these rights, you can do anything at home or outside because you are more experienced than anyone else, so automatically entitled to blow off your ego out of proportion or play emotional tricks to any length, breadth, width and depth.

If it’s to put simply, others’ black (or coloured) hair should always be raised and accountable to do the tango with your grey hair or bald head in India.

This is respect! And owing to his 70+ age, Anna Hazare is also someone from that grey brigade, who’s automatically qualified to command (if not demand, apparently) the said respect from the Youth of India.

Point 5: Method

Gluttony is truly Indian! So the food for tummy does pave the way for the food for thought. Since childhood, an Indian knows if he doesn’t eat, he can certainly achieve an edge instantly… drawing everyone’s attention on himself.

Reason is simple. If someone doesn’t eat, he is bound to fall sick eventually. And when someone is sick others will become more than willing to take him and his cause seriously.

So fasting is a well-orchestrated and sure-success formula in India to get things done in one’s favour while a normal way of execution is unlikely to produce a yield. This can also be termed as a democratic and non-violent process of sheer blackmailing.

In a family, if we get to see that a person has not been eating for more than a day, we generally get perturbed. So, obviously, if we get to see that someone else – however, who's not a family member – has been on a fast in a public place where media cameras are monitoring his blood-pressure drop, weight loss, etc. on a minute-by-minute count then we, as responsible citizens of a democratic country like India, are liable to react and get concerned for this guy and his health.

Thus the magnitude of support Anna Hazare receives on account of his hunger strike is nothing but natural in line with humanity and, may be, sympathy to some extent.

Point 6: Target

If you can’t target your next generation, you are nowhere in your own generation. Any intelligent person with a little bit of commonsense understands that.

The future is the best gift you can promise to someone who’s following you at present. If you can take someone into the dreamland of the future, he won’t mind to forget his present.

Then the person is almost hypnotized by you and won’t want to come back to the ground reality.

This hypnotism or hallucination gives rise to a rebel mindset, which is often cunningly misinterpreted as revolution, exuding a new sense of freedom.

A freedom from corruption; a freedom from laws; a freedom from rules and regulations; a freedom from system; a freedom to argue and debate; a freedom from day-to-day affairs and a freedom from self… with BIGGER hopes to renew life, living and lifestyle, immediately!

The euphoria of this freedom for a Ramrajya seems to be very much in vogue to viability for the Youth who are more concerned about their future than the present. Because they know they are supposed to live more into that future they are dreaming of than their ancestors thanks to their younger age.

And when this future is easily available in India, precisely in the form of an anti-corruption avatar i.e. the JLP Bill; why not get it! And get it with Anna!

The Youth of India support Anna Hazare because Anna could pick up their minds, pump their hearts and pamper their souls and sell a ‘future-perfect’ India to them, which neither Congress led UPA nor BJP could do earlier or even now.

To sum up, what Anna has done is remarkable no doubt but still we need to wait and watch how far India can afford to move ahead on the tides of just the JLP Bill. For, Indian democracy is like Titanic sailing through the ocean of people’s power wherein the iceberg of corruption is very much present and prevalent from the time immemorial, showing only its tips to Anna Hazare and the civil society… at this point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Lokpal Bill minus any bitter pill. Get it.

Since childhood I’ve always been exposed to the fact that nothing happens without a reason or cause. So when corruption happens around me and across India, I do consider it’s happening for a cause only.

However, before the introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill (citizen’s ombudsman bill) to me by none other than Mr. Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev, as well as by the UPA Govt., the reason behind corruption has never been clear to me.

In fact, I’m still not very sure why corruption happens. May be it happens so that we get an Anna – the second Gandhi; we get our second Independence via him; we get a chance to fast in a public place like a maidan or park; we get to visit Tihar jail; we get to disobey the Parliament; we get to boost up the candle industry through our candle march; we get to help the nation save its power through our lights-off; we get to know ‘the art of leaving’ in women’s attire; we get to walk miles after miles in search of a rape victim; we get to have a Prime Minister who functions playing dumb charades; we get to have a Raja who steals; we get to have a man who suffers from dementia to confuse between his personal wealth and the Commonwealth; we get to receive the tag of thugs and become subjects to lathi charge and tears gas during our peaceful protest… and the list goes on.

Whatever it is, from the Lokpal Bill, I have come to know that it’s the key to clean corruption off our society. And if it’s done, India would be a corruption-free country, where no politicians, bureaucrats, govt. officials, senior members of the judiciary and the likes can afford to be corrupted or corrupt anyone else.

For, thanks to this bill, if turned into law, whoever is corrupted or practising corruption would be punished within two years from the date of a complaint against him while the judicial process to convict him will get over maximum by one year or so.

From receiving complaints to finding someone guilty to inflicting the punishment upon him, everything would be done by an autonomous body, just like the election commission or the Supreme Court, but comprising the representatives from the civil-society, the parliament and the judicial authorities. Plus, this body will also include the anti-corruption branch of CBI into its system and operations.

As a result, a different judicial mechanism will be functional to facilitate people at large across India to get justice against the corrupted persons in power which in the process will ensure all of us achieve a new country full of dignity, honesty, trust and transparency. That’s been somewhat missing to us hitherto despite our Independence in 1947.

But, to make things happen to build a utopia, as expected and envisaged; the bill should be made into law.

So, Mr. Anna Hazare led civil-society made a draft of the bill and gave to the UPA Govt. and wanted the law to be in action immediately once the study and review of a parliamentary committee was over.

In the proposed bill, as drafted by Anna and the civil society’s representatives, it was mentioned that the Prime Minister, as well as senior members of the judiciary got to be included in the ombudsman’s remit.

Which the Govt. refused to accept and even after nine meetings held between the civil-society and the Govt., no such positive and productive conclusion came out.

Whereas the Govt. said it incorporated 34 out of the 40 principles of the Mr. Hazare made bill in the proposed anti-corruption law which is now being studied by a parliamentary committee.

The Govt. also added that on the issue of the PM and other senior judicial members’ inclusions under the jurisdiction of the law stemmed from the Lokpal Bill, Anna was behaving adamant and coercing the Govt. by saying, “Either my law or no law,” and going on hunger strikes.

On August 16, 2011, when Anna along with his supporters began his fast, Delhi Police took him and his supporters into custody and sent Anna to Tihar Jail. This evoked protest across India; united the anti-UPA parties; did let media go clairvoyant about the demise of democracy and the rise of the UPA tyranny and a probable Pink revolution to power in centre.

While that was the day’s affair, the evening came to an end with yet another candle march at Gurgaon or perhaps in some other parts of India – not to my knowledge though.

In between, there was no shortage of tweets or facebook wall posts from different corners and with varied opinions and a majority of celebrities from Bollywood was observed to have extended supports to Anna and the Lokpal Bill.

It was heartening to see even those Bollywood Stars who had once or twice been detained at Mumbai airport for carrying undeclared luxury goods or jewelleries or had made their marks in media, mostly for wrong reasons, were offering their full hand supports to Anna and his second freedom fight for a fast paced Lokpal Bill.

Amid such situations, Anna just denied to relent and leave Tihar Jail which also witnessed that Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravishankar reached there in flesh and blood with their ‘maha atmas’ i.e. larger than life spirits to get beside Anna.

The haggle begins and is still on while Anna is not willing to give up on his hunger strikes. As usual the UPA Govt. remains baffled and finding ‘foreign hands’ behind Anna’s agitations. (God knows who shakes hands more often than not with foreign delegates, Anna or the PM or other members of the Parliament!)

Anyway, now as it stands, the focal point of the bargain is the venue (or may be even menu) where Anna should commence his next episode of the mega ‘fast of fury’. Because it’s really important to keep the protest on, as in present context, a fast is more important than the Lokpal Bill so as to prove the UPA Govt. is inept in centre and patronising corruption and should be replaced by BJP and its RSS feed and Bajrang Dal.

Also, we can’t deny that BJP has already proven its anti-corruption stance by asking Yeddy to leave his CM’s chair in Karnataka, so the party should be rewarded for its effort by all of us in Lok Sabha.

They might break another mosque or build a temple inside your bedroom or expect you to be Virat (BIG) Hindu (if not Kohli) but that’s a different issue and not falling in the purview of corruption; so relax!

Now are we fasting for BJP?

Oh! NO! Not really.

We are fasting and protesting for the Lokpal Bill and I feel we might actually make it possible in the following ways –

a) Let’s have two sets of draft: one made by the civil-society and the other by the Govt.

b) There should be a governing body or an autonomous committee which will function like the election commission

c) The body may comprise the members of the Parliament, of the judiciary, of the police and of the civil-society. The members would be chosen by public opinion only

d) Let there be an election or contest through pure vote casting between the two sets of draft. The voting can be done online and through phone calls and SMS. In the remote villages the Panchayats can organise the election. The governing body will make sure there’s no manipulation in the voting process

e) None can vote more than once or change his opinion

f) The votes will be counted to see which draft wins

g) The winning draft will be reviewed by the governing committee properly minus any bias and the committee can also make a few changes – if required in the winning draft

h) The draft would be sent to the Supreme Court for its order to the Parliament to make the drafted and winning bill into law immediately and apply the same through the committee which already conducted the draft election

NOTE: Nonetheless a guilty party should approach High Courts once and the Supreme Court once to challenge the governing committee’s decision of punishment. It’s necessary because no corruption is done single-handedly; hence the punishment shouldn’t also be meted out to a convict one-sidedly.

Finally, if we are really serious about the Lokpal Bill and a corruption free country, I think we sincerely try to do those things only which bring us results, actually, minus any ruckus or just razzmatazz.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Injury or HIDDEN injury? Which's costing (Indian) cricket in England?

Cricket is a religion in India. So it has all the course and discourse; fanaticism and eccentricities; ideologies and idiosyncrasies; spirits and sanity and fitness and injuries – whatever a religion is expected to have in itself.

For that, India’s current tour of England can easily be considered as a religious journey, actually a crusade, to say the least.

But, in the crusade, among all the virtues (vices included) of the said religion, it seems INJURY holds the key where on every other day a crusader i.e. a cricketer is complaining of an injury and sacrificing his place in the team, not life, for his nation.

However, before the crusade begun in England almost all the crusaders were found fit and fine. In fact, all of them selected passed the fitness test right under the nose of concerned authorities who are not only paid in heft by the BCCI but also carry mile long testimonials in their favour.

The crusade took off at Lords. On the first day itself, Zaheer Khan nominated himself for a place in the injury list with slight niggles inside his right hamstring. He went off the field immediately holding an ambition to get himself fit sooner than later under the surveillance and guidance of the professional and internationally acclaimed physical trainer and fitness coach touring with the Indian team.

The first test came to an end. Zaheen Khan wasn’t traced on the field with the ball in hand, excepting with the bat to occupy the crease for a short while limping around having a runner beside.

It was heard that Zaheer would stage in the second test at Trent Bridge. The play started and ended with a humiliating defeat for India. No sign of Zaheer was there, and the fitness report suggested he would be fit for the third test at Edgbaston.

In the meantime, Yuvaraj could play in the second test, quite by a stroke of luck, in place of Gambhir who got himself hurt very badly while fielding in the first test at Lords.

Amid these happenings, Harbhajan experienced a strange injury close to his abdomen that even his other team members, as well as the captain Dhoni weren’t sure of. In fact, this injury occurred to Bhajji all of a sudden complementing his poor form with the ball in England.

Thereafter, a fitness report was issued stating Yuvi has fractured index finger and Bhajji has abdominal muscle strain thus were left out of the squad for the remaining two tests and for the T20 and ODIs.

In between, Zaheer bothered to bowl only three overs in the practice match against Northamptonshire; gave his fitness test and found himself fit enough to play in the T20 and ODIs but ruled himself out for the third test.

Then, in a little over 24 hours we came to know Zaheer has got recurrent injury in his right hamstring and a right ankle impingement which’s sending him for a minimum of 14-16 weeks' rest and recuperation.

Now the question is, apart from Yuvi’s index finger fracture, exactly what happened to Harbhajan and Zaheer?

Has Harbhajan’s abdominal muscle strain stemmed from his abysmal performance as a bowler? Or has Zaheer been fit enough to play at all for the series in England?

In case a benefit of doubt is given to Harbhajan, no way it can be given to Zaheer and his fitness. Because whoever has played any sports can understand just a hamstring pull can never send a fit bowler out of action for 14-16 weeks. It’s just impossible!

More so, when the injured bowler got back to pavilion immediately without even bowling a single delivery after the injury. So adding stress to strain was out of question in that case, hence no chance of an injury aggravation.

That means somewhere down the line, there was a major compromise made in the system that took the fitness test of the players, precisely of the senior players. And it was done with a hope that those players would matter the most, when chips were down in the series.

However, in realty, it gives just a different picture. That is, the players with hidden injuries are costing not only the match but also the sentiments of an entire nation.

Frankly, this is neither in line with the spirit of the game nor in keeping with any professionalism. It’s sheer cheating, firstly on self and gradually on everyone around. It’s bowing down to the greed of earning some quick bucks in the guise of need to playing and winning for the nation.

And when a sportsman does it; the system allows it; the administrators benefit from it, the sport can never be a religion or not even a riot.

Then it remains just as a rant, where Cricket becomes only the call of a few crickets but cricketers. And that’s all.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

You can't leak on the WALL always just because it never wails

The team list of India for T20 and ODIs for the ongoing England series is out. The team of 16 stands as: Dhoni (C & WK), Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Kohli, Raina, Rohit, Zaheer, Ashwin, Praveen, Munaf, Ishant, Vinay, Mishra and Parthiv (2nd WK). Yuvaraj and Harbhajan were left out due to injuries and poor form.

The selection that perhaps leaves everyone’s eyebrows arched and forehead creased is of Dravid. And that too, irrespective of his sublime form in both the tests played at Lords and Trent Bridge, respectively.

Why so? Here the reasons follow –

1. If sense and commonsense prevail, Gambhir and Sehwag will open. At No. 3, it should be Kohli. Then comes Tendulkar at No. 4. At No. 5, it’s either Raina or Rohit then comes Dhoni at No. 6 or 7. Thereafter it’s the bowlers who will chip in. So, where is the place for Dravid?

In case Kohli is dislodged from No. 3 position and being sent out to bat at No. 5, 6 or 7, it’s just not going to help India given Kohli’s nature of innings building where he loves to spend more time initially at the crease by just working the leather around. Honestly, unless there is a place for Dravid at No. 3 or as an opener there is no place for him in the team.

2. In England where the cherry always does a bit extra in the air and off the pitch, of course India won’t play with 8 batsmen and 3 bowlers. So the team composition would be either 7 batters and 4 bowlers or 6 batters and 5 bowlers.

If It’s 7 : 4 then the bowling department will have 3 pacers and a spinner. And Raina, Rohit and Kohli and may be even Sehwag have to share the ball among them to complete the 5th bowler’s quota.

In this context, needless to aver, since Dravid can’t bowl, he doesn’t stand anywhere.

Now, if it’s 6 : 5 – which is almost impossible to happen – then also Dravid has no chance to see himself in the playing eleven.

In that case, on what basis the selectors have decided to include Dravid in the squad? A BIG, BIG question!

If a player of Dravid’s stature is made to sit out in the shadow of dressing rooms or simply expected to tread in the field during a drinks break only, it’s not only an INSULT to him but also to the game of cricket, as well as to each and every Indian who’s one way or the other indebted to Dravid for his contribution to Indian cricket.

However, if the selection of Dravid is made to frustrate him to that extent reaching where he will tell on his own, “Enough! I quit,” like Sourav had already done then only I think this selection holds any merit. Else, it’s just rubbish!

Another fairytale of panic is filling up the air though so as to provide some meats on the bones of the selectors who made Dravid their chicken.

In the said team, if anyone is under the scanner or playing the panic button, is none other than Dhoni. That means we need to believe in the fact that with time Dhoni will be replaced by Dravid behind the wicket, right? If so, what Parthiv is to do next in England? Window shopping or paragliding?

As a matter of fact, even Parthiv’s inclusion is more than bizarre! When in the entire ODI series in West Indies, Parthiv could manage to play only one innings with authority besides scratching the ball here and there with his willow. So was his standard of keeping in the Caribbean Islands that’s never been above average.

Wriddhiman Saha, who’s a far better keeper than Parthiv on any given day, anytime, anywhere and can also bat quite handy, got dropped again despite he was very much in the test squad; already been acclimatized well to the English conditions; had fielded brilliantly – though not as a keeper – and also produced a fantastic run out at Trent Bridge.

But, for all his good efforts, he was thrown out of the squad for T20 and ODIs!

Also, not very sure what value Vinay Kumar will bring onto the table, even if he’s picked in the first eleven as an all-rounder who can bat. His utility can only be justified, if, at all, India go ahead with 6 batters and 5 bowlers. Otherwise, in a typical 7 batters and 4 bowlers format, Sreesanth has always been a better choice for the seaming and swinging conditions.

Overall, the team seems to be okay, quite in line with ‘safety-first’ formula and measure. But, with one BIG exception and that IS Dravid.

It’s actually agonising to know that since there is a WALL, the selectors (and the team management) simply walk up to it at their whims and will… and leak.

Frankly, it’s JUST NOT DONE!