Tuesday, December 23, 2008

War With Pakistan....Is it worth it?

Napoleon said "Men are moved by two levers only : fear and self interest." When Mr.Bush attacked Iraq we know there was no fear in that, only self-interest. That kind of self-interest is called Saddam-Hussain-is-sitting-on-millions-of-dollars-worth-of-oil.But then, why get into a worthless discussion of how Mr.Bush is highly selfish. India is angry. Angry because we have been attacked. The carnage is the worth ever in the history of humanity, or so they say. We caught a Pakistani terrorist, Kasab, alive. Since the terrorist is Pakistani, politicos in India and abroad want Pakistan to come clean off its terrorists this time. Pakistan, as usual is shrugging it off saying there are as many terrorist attacks happening in Pakistan as elsewhere in the world. Condemnation of the terrorist attacks is slowly fading and people moving back to their routines again. This is where the angry India steps in. We don't want the world only condemning Pakistan. We want something concrete. Since its our "internal" matter we will take care of it ourself - a similar statement was issued by Mr.Pranav Mukherjee yesterday. What does Mr.Mukherjee plan to do? I presume military action is strongly on his mind. Global pressurizing is obviously not working. And, miliary action would be directly imply war with Pakistan. War with Pakistan. The very first need of war is money. Money for arms. Money to pay your men. And money for a lot of other things as well - like sustaining a positive economy.Anger is a good thing - in a way. It helps take our minds off more important things. While we have been busy getting angry at Pakistan, most of us have almost forgotten the global recession. We have very nearly forgotten that people all over the world are getting pink slips. However (and so far!) the Indian economy is doing really well for itself. If we go to war, our economy will no longer remain stable. Prices of commodities with go way over the top. The GDP that we have been able to stablilize at, will shoot off the roof. A war will pull us down as a nation - economically. However, for all of those who think, this kind of war is necessary to upkeep our "national honour". Think again. If we go for this war, what is going to be the difference between Mr.Bush and us. None whatsoever.Now, temperorily let's forget about the local implications and assume we go to war with Pakistan. We attack their borders, bomb their cities, towns and villages. They retreat and admit defeat. Then what?We will have defeated Pakistan. The Mumbai Carnage is now avenged. And we will also have added to our liablilities. Pakistan is a liability. Nothing less, nothing more. At this moment, I will not divulge into how they are liabilites.But more importantly, do we want this liability in such times? I don't think so. As an answer to that, I quote Napoleon again, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Deserving Boot

The boot.
It's super famous right now. Most of us would love to be that shoe right now. For the fame or for the "bulls eye". Whichever.
The way I see the world, its totally deserving. The boot is finally in the place that it has worked hard to deserve. I was told once...first deserve, then desire, and then demand. So true, the boot was really deserving. It has met its heart's desire. It has finally commanded all the attention it could have ever wanted.
For clarification sake, the "boot" of the matter is the pair of shoes that were flung at the American Prez Mr. Bush last week. The video is famous, and so many "shoe flinging" games have already been devised all over the world, most people still can't stop laughing over it(that includes me!).
Mostly, I am amazed.
Mr. Bush had the audacity to walk into the very land he has almost destroyed and turned to ruins. I have never know him to have guts at all. To first destroy a country using bombs, plastering American soldiers all over Iraq, and then walking down there as if he were taking an evening stroll - he has guts. I think what he really lacks is something somewhere up there.
There have been dictators all through the history of our planet. This is the first foolish dictator I know of. I call him a dictator only because he can randomly order his men to go destroy any part of the world that he fancies. Only dictators do that. Men and women - who have brains - do not bombard entire countries looking for one man. Its plain and simple. Just because he was told he is the commander-in-chief of USA, he ass-u-me-d he-was-the-king-of-the-world.
I think he will be thankful he is going back from Iraq - alive. He is the worst choice that American have ever imposed on the world. Moreover, they repeated their mistake by electing him for a second term!! No wonder Americans are fast becoming the most hated breed on the planet. I think all an average American know is how to sue, how to blame other people and to teach their children how to kill. How many pro-active Americans do we hear of? How many have any helping hands? Hardly.
I can't wait for the Obama Era to begin. He is a saint, literally. Definitely not a mindless devil that can't do anything but kill other people.
The boot.
Mr. Bush got what he deserved. He tried to boot the world and has gotten "booted" for cameras all over the globe to see. Come to think of that .... the two boots were for the two countries. The two boots were for the twin tower. The two boots were for the terms in office he has held. The two boots were to make sure he is really booted out this time.
There was only one disgusting thing - even after being booted - he was still smiling.
For all those who think I am over exaggerating, maybe someone should randomly drop bombs in and around your homes looking for a certain Mr. Saddam Hussein or a certain Mr. Osama bin Laden. Imagine a foreign tyrant sitting comfortably in his home, and blasting your homes, your dreams, the people you have known, blasting your industries, blasting your country - everything to smithereens. How come he has never so much as dropped a bomb anywhere in America? I am sure it's not a vice free country!
It's never about one country or one person. It's always about preserving the humanity in us. How many more blood thirsty giants will such episodes have created? Who is responsible for them? Who is answerable to them?
Like Gandhiji said : An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. Are we really blind?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Changing one minister for another...what difference does it make?

Greetings! Last night I was at the Gateway of India.I had approached gateway from the Radio Club end. Big crowds. Lots of banners. People shouting slogans. Singing our National Anthem. Celebrities. Bouncers protecting the celebrities. TV crews filming. Lots of people with cameras. Candles being lit. Police cordoning off the restricted area. Sniffer dogs. Few wannabies on dias. Some walking with candles. Traffic jam on the Colaba Causeway.
I couldn't help but shed tears.
Today's newspaper headlines : Vilasrao goes, Shinde in.I am still flipping the coin over who is the bigger baffoon. Verdict : Can't say. No, this is not about who is the better man, the better politician, which party they come from, who are they allied with. None of this at all. Think about it and you realize they are all the same. Very few differences. Hardly any.
A CM is FOR the state - responsible for the state. I am not sure how the Constitution of India defines the responsibilities of a CM, but I surely think he should be aware of what is happening within and outside the state; as well as about India.
So, when terrorists attack Mumbai (or any other place in, say, Maharashtra) who should we blame? Who is the one person responsible? Who can we hold accountable? So, far we have no prospects or provisions for a Rudi Giuliani. Most people (especially, the politicians & opposition) think that the CM should resign.
I ask why.Did we really expect him to step up and take the bullets face on? Did we really expect even one of our honourable ministers to have done that? Did we really expect that when we exchange one politician for another it will be any different? Do we think that under any other CM things would have been any different?
I don't think so.If he does not make any difference so far, why do we think by replacing one minister for another will better the situation here? Replacing ministers is plain and simple - politics.
All of our ministers, in fact, any one linked to politics, and those who can afford it, do not move around without security of some or the other kind. Those who are exclusively & constantly being protected by someone else can never understand how Mumbai has changed in the last one week. Those who cannot afford protection have already moved into the daily grind. These people know better.
Some are fighting with the government for better security. Some are filing PILs against the government. A few people have now been dismissed. How does that make us any more safer or secure? Most of the people who walk on the street know the answer. I am not the one who likes being pessimistic. I have always believed we can be good, if we want to be. We always have a choice. But most of us always pick the easier way out. That easily explains why after 60 years of Gandhi corruption is still so rampant in our country.
Coming back to main question. When all this hoopla ends, when the PILs are being fought over, after the ministers have been exchanged, how much do we really expect the position to change. A lot of us are blaming the politicians for what has happened. But, I still feel, we are not really hitting bulls eye by doing that.
When we exchange one minister for another, one bureacrat for another nothing much actually changes. After a little bit of firework, most of them go back to filling their own coffers. If we are really looking at better governance, then it should be down to president's rule in the state by now. For that matter - most of the country should be under martial law right now.
Now that Mumbai is ravaged, people are crying. India has been under attack for years now - all through our independence. Netagiri and babuism have survived so far. The faces keep changing, but the method the same. Replacing one face for another is not the solution. What is really needed is a change in the system.
I know a lot of people will say it is young blood that is talking. But then, such is the need of the hour.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mohallah Committees - An Answer???

It's time.
Time to stop staring.
Time to not let go anymore.
Time to stop shrugging our shoulders helplessly.
Mumbai has never been limited to it's Mumbaikars. We have always been a cosmopolitan culture. We blend onto those around us and they blend into us. For a very long time now this fusion and diffusion has created this beautiful and exquisite kaleidoscope that is a part of us.
This 26/11 has changed more than a few things. It is said that destruction of such epic proportions has never been encountered elsewhere in the world. This scar on Mumbai's face shall remain with us forever. But, I believe, like all great men who have walked this planet, such scars have always made them more humane, more powerful, more unbreakable. I am sure this is true of Mumbai.
Terrorists will come and go. Mumbai is forever. Terrorists surprisingly look like human beings. Really, if they had, may be horns on their heads, they would be so much easier to spot and isolate. But unfortunately they don't.
Now, that we have been hurt, let's not shrug our shoulders and wait for the next one to strike. It's time to take things in our own hands.
There are two important things that go into prevent such catastrophes' - firstly, its our government and security agencies, and secondly and most importantly - ourselves. Even more importantly, both of these can be controlled by us. There is a lot we can do, if we really want to do it.
As far as the government is concerned, the answer is painstakingly simple - use your rights. VOTE. We have the power to ensure who gets control over our security agencies. We have the power to vote for no one. All we lack is the willingness to get up and vote. Most of us feel - what difference does one vote make - it makes a difference. It makes a big difference. It is difference of life and death. Even at the risk of sounding cliche, I must say this - a lot of drops make the ocean. With approximately 40% of the population not voting, what bigger example can one give. If you are wondering about the how-to of elections, it's time to visit www.jaagore.com
Moving to the second most important thing that we can do.
It's called self-empowerment. You cannot always control what the government does, what the army, navy and other security agencies are doing, what the terrorists do, what other countries are planning. However, we can control what is happening around us. We have to keep our eyes and ears open. We have to stay alert. We need to keep a tab on what is happening in our surroundings. We need to stop saying, "Why should I bother?" & "It has always happened this way. Why should I ask?".
Technically, a lot of things can be done. I can leave that to your thoughtfulness and creativity. However I would just like to put forth an example. After the '92 riots, one very important initiative that Mumbai Police had taken to ensure peace in the city was that of "Mohallah Committees". A lot of people may remember what it used to be, many of you may have been active members of such local committees. However, for those you are not sure what it was - here it goes. A mohallah ommittee was constituted of a few prominent people living in building or vicinity. The people in committee were usually those who knew the people living in the building, colony or society or regularly interacted with them.
The purpose here was to create local vigilance groups. Any unusual or suspicious activities could be reported to the members who could look into it. Serious issues could be easily forwarded to the police. This is doubly effective. One the police is actually looking at authentic complains and suspicions. Also, unnecessary rumors can be nipped in the bud. The members can hold monthly or weekly meetings in their respective areas as a method of face-to-face interaction for those who fall in the area.
If we really think about it, such a method is highly effective. Self awareness and self-security aside being a part of such activities will also give us a sense of fulfillment and contributing back to the society.
Since ancient times, we Indians have always have had local self governance. In today's times, we need to take steps to secure our own safety. We cannot endlessly wait for the government to come down and do something for us. It's time to take our own security in our hands. It's time to stand up and do our duties. The rights will follow automatically.
What else do you think we could do??