Monday, June 29, 2009


On predictable lines, the induction of cricket greats of yesteryears into the ICC Hall of Fame has sparked off a debate in India. Only three Indians-B.S.Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev have made it to the exclusive list.From Pakistan, there are three players as well. The list is dominated by English players followed by Australia. This is not a surprise considering the game originated in the Old Blighty. Outside of the shores of England, the game was taken to Australia and then to other countries.

The non-inclusion of a large number of Indian players of the past is not a surprise. Selections such as this are highly subjective and no one should give a damn over the inclusion of X and the non-inclusion of Y. The non-inclusion does not, in any way, diminish the contributions made by a player and in the same way, if a player finds himself in the list, his contributions are not suddenly elevated.

I find it surprising to say the least that most of the debate is sparked off by Indians.I remember many an occasion in the past when there was a lot of hue and cry when an Indian great was found missing from the ‘list of greats’ published by a player or a magazine.

I wonder how many players of a foreign origin would find a place if the BCCI decides to start its own version of the Hall of Fame.The most keen followers of the game would be hard pressed to justify the inclusion of some players.

Of course, the BCCI would try to achieve a ‘proper balance’ between Indian players and foreign players.

It is ridiculous to suggest or even think of any ‘racial’ overtones when it comes to the neglect of Indians.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The people of Andhra Pradesh have a reason to rejoice. The people of other states have reason enough to believe that they are lesser mortals to be ruled by persons other than Y.S.Rajasekhar Reddy.

The people of AP are to be provided with five litres of mineral water. The Hindu reported on 27th June that the Chief Minister announced this to prevent the spread of diseases on account of drinking contaminated water.

Ostensibly, this is a noble move, but let us looks at the economics behind this. Each mineral water plant is estimated to cost Rs.2 lakh each. When there are a large number of such plants are going to be installed throughout the state, wonder how much money will change hands.

Now, all bottled water can never be called mineral water. Even the water that is sold by leading corporations is not mineral water; it is only bottled water. Further, there have been instances even in the West that water bottles sold by some corporations were not really clean.

The same report mentions how the CM wants to take up the construction of 1128 helipads in all the mandal headquarters so that he can provide good governance to the people of the state.

Hindu mythology has the story of how a king named Bhagiratha managed to bring the river Ganga to earth in order to provide salvation to his forefathers. Looks like the people of AP will indeed attain salvation after consuming the ‘mineral’ water brought to them by their beloved CM.

History books told us how a member French royal family once asked her subjects to have cake when they complained of food shortages.

History also told us how the people reacted to the misrule of the French rulers.


“......they say, because he was concerned with his place in history as old men of no great attainments frequently are”- Isaac Asimov-Prelude to Foundation
Not to be outdone by her cabinet colleagues, Kapil Sibal and Veerappa Moily who have come up with proposals for sweeping reforms as part of the '1oo Day Agenda', the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting wants to create a nodal agency to disseminate "authoritative news" in incidents of national importance like the terrorist attack in Mumbai. She recognises the role played by the media, particularly, the 24 hours news channels in the apprehension of the involved. But, at the same time, there is a need to 'control' the flow of information, she feels.
Is this censorship in a different form?
The Congress party feels emboldened enough to talk about changes and reforms after the success in the recent elections.
In 'Powershift' Alvin Toffler talks about the power that one wields in holding and the eventual dissemination of information. Maybe, that is the reason why Mrs.Soni feels so much concerned.


The monsoon or the lack of it has everyone in a tizzy this year.

The rising temperatures coupled with the powercuts and loadshedding-both announced and the unannounced are adding to the problem. The consequent rise in the prices of vegetables and fruits has certainly increased the bitterness in the mouth.

The television channels are taking us all over the country to show the difficulties faced by people on account of the non-occurrence of the monsoon.

The politicians who sometimes pose as leaders are calling emergency meetings in rooms having a supply of air conditioned air and are ‘reviewing’ the situation. Some politicians have taken officials to task for not performing the religious ceremonies that are necessary to please the raingods.

The officials concerned with the forecast of the weather are busy reworking their methodology and calculations.
The experts in various fields are showing their concern about the impact of the rainfall on various sectors of the economy.The economic recovery depends a lot on the rainfall.

I have certain questions in this context.

What is the definition of normal rainfall for India?

Who has got the correct definition?

Is the statistical error ±4% or ±8%?

Is the El Nino a factor or not?

When we are having the ability to send vehicles to moon and the outer space, don’t we have the technology to predict with a reasonable degree of accuracy the rainfall?

Friday, June 26, 2009


It was during my +2 that I first got the taste of a music genre called Pop and one of the first cassettes was 'Thriller" of Michael Jackson. Being from a small town, I had access only to the pirated stuff but the sound got me really hooked. In between, I bought "Bad". Like many of my generation, the only way to know about the latest music was courtesy, Doordarshan. The state broadcaster brought home the Grammy show. This was the way I was introduced to the likes of U2 and others.

By the time I was completing my B.A., I managed to listen to a collection cassette of Dire Straits and my musical taste got changed forever. I was slowly getting addicted to what is now called 'Classic Rock'. This is no doubt an acquired taste, but I have remained faithful to yesterday's music.

But there is no doubting the impact that MJ made on me and many others. Even those who could not make anything of the lyrics were trying hard to imitate the 'dance' moves of Jackson. That is the way history should judge MJ-not on the basis of his personal life and the controversies, but solely by the music he gave us all.

Thanks for the music, MJ.


The Government of Andhra Pradesh is really concerned about the 'racist' attacks on Indian students in Australia.This concern is evident from the 'steps' proposed to be taken in future. The Hindu reported on 24th June that the Andhra Pradesh Government would seek undertakings from the representatives of Australian Universities or institutions who come to the state to get students.

Now, the question is whether there is any University/institution in India or in Andhra Pradesh that would be willing to provide any kind of undertaking ensuring the safety and security of students?

What if, the Australians insist on having undertakings from the students and their parents or guardians over there conduct?

The proposed steps of the AP government are of the populist kind in the worst possible sense.

I have an younger brother who is now in Australia and he provided an entirely different perspective on the so-called racially motivated attacks.

Australia is not in the same league as the United States or England when it comes to higher learning. The same is true of those who go to Australia. The cost is much less and the entry does not always require solid academic background. I have a distant cousin of mine who was unable to get an entry into any institution offering a Bachelor's degree in Engineering or Medicine. What he lacked in terms of grades was offset by his parents' moneybags. He was despatched of all places to Nepal and he returned as a Doctor. Now, he is in Australia to get the M.S. degree that could make all the difference.

Students are allowed to work for 20 hours a week during their stay in Australia.But very often they work for nearly twice that time. Most parents would have spent their lifetime's savings to send their sons and the sons do their bit to send money home. In times of an economic slump when the local population finds it difficult to stay employed, these students are the targets. Of course, I do not deny that no racism is involved in these attacks.

Further, those who come from affluent backgounds, do not hesitate to flaunt their wealth. This, again, in these trying times makes the Indian students the envy of the underprivileged in Australia.

Moreover, the Indian students do not make much of an effort to mingle with the local community. They remain insular and form various associations.So they are regarded as outsiders.

The Indian government and the government of Andhra Pradesh or any other state government should first try to clean up the mess that the present system called higher education is concerned.


“......they say, because he was concerned with his place in history as old men of no great attainments frequently are”- Isaac Asimov-Prelude to Foundation

This statement fits correctly the vision and mission of the Union HRD Minister, Mr.Kapil Sibal.

The television channels went gaga over the purported 'racist' attacks on Indian students in Australia and wondered whether the Indian higher education system in India is indeed responsible for the 'exodus' of 'brilliant' minds.

The 'shock' of the attacks on the students gave the cue to Mr.Sibal to go forward with his mission of securing higher FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in higher education. He wants us to believe that the higher investment limits granted to foreign entities would give a qualitative boost to higher education in India. Naomi Klein of 'Shock Doctrine' fame is surely going to be not surprised at the timing of the grandiose plans of the Minister.

Not only that, the Minister outlined his first 100 days agenda in a live conference. He is of the firm opinion that the present examination system at the 10th class is defective and it ought to be 'reformed'. Instead of marks and percentages, the children would be ranked in grades.

Further, giving a boost to his and his government's secular standing, Mr.Sibal announced a slew of proposals with regard to the Madrassa education in the country.

The 'shock' therapy that was brought into the country by the present Prime Minister in the name of reforms is only carried forward to its logical conclusion.