Friday, November 28, 2008

Few Rotten Apple’s, And We Blame The Entire Basket.

Earlier I had written on “Mass Media And Its Responsibilities,” where I had poured scorn over media for forgetting the ethics of journalism and resorting to cheap tricks, in order to attract viewers and gain rating points.

However, watching the terror unfold in Mumbai, over the television channel, beamed live 24 hours; I salute TIMES NOW.

My heart goes out to the victims of this DASTARDLY act. Yet, my heart swells with pride, watching the army, who yet again answer the nation’s distress call. But above all, I realized that mass media understands its responsibilities very well and can be relied upon, at times like these.

TIMES NOW stood out like a star, and did an yeoman’s service by reporting live on the terror act for more than two days. Through out the live telecast, Arnab Goswami, the channel content head, stressed on the responsibility of the media in such situations where they are compelled to cover all that’s happening and yet make sure that they do not give out vital details of the military operation which might end up aiding the terrorists. He even apologized to the viewers at one point, telling us that they would beam the pictures “deferred live” and some incidents would not be shown at all, preserving the integrity of the military operation.

The two days of ordeal was tasking, for both the military personnel and the media crew covering the incident. My heart felt thanks goes out to Mahrukh Inayet, Rahul Shivshankar, Harishree Mehta, Bhavtosh Singh and other TIMES NOW reporters, who, notwithstanding the grey eye bags under their eyes and strained vocal cords, continued to report live.

I felt the intellectual connection when Arnab voiced his displeasure at a certain ministers who turned up at the sites (which was nothing but a well orchestrated cheap political gimmick) where the confrontation was still going on between the terrorists and the military personnel. We need people like Arnab. India is a mess, a ticking time bomb; and people like him leading India would do justice to the term “India Shining.”

TIMES NOW is a part of the Times Global Broadcasting Co., Ltd., which operates as a subsidiary of Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bangalore Brought To Its Knees By Its Own Former Chief Minister!

Former Chief Minister of Karnataka, H D Kumaraswamy convened a Kayakalpa Samavesha, a JD(S) rally held to strengthen the party after he took over as the party chief — in Palace Grounds, Bangalore. This resulted in massive traffic jams around the area. Since Palace Grounds is centrally located, this effectively resulted in traffic gridlocks throughout major parts of the city.

Bangaloreans were enraged. After all we have lost count on how many times we have been held hostage, courtesy political demonstrations. Local newspapers spewed venom against the honorable former Chief minister’s actions resulting in widespread grief.

Guess what? The honorable former Chief minister instead poured scorn on Bangaloreans for being selfish. Being stuck in a traffic jam for 6-8 hours for the sake of a political show of strength, we even had to endure his accusations of Bangaloreans being the sole reason for the current sad state of affairs in the country. He even goes on to say that if children in villages walk 6-7 km daily to the schools; children in Bangalore being stuck in a traffic jam for 6-8 hours for a single day is no big deal. He even makes a last ditch effort to impress the village folks with the following line “Bangaloreans ask farmers not to come here. Imagine what would happen if the farmers refuse to sell their produce to Bangaloreans?” He goads Bangaloreans to stay in a village to understand the problems of the village folks.

Yes Mr. Kumaraswamy, we have become selfish. The sole reason is that when politicians like you get elected, the first thing you do is to fill up your coffers.

Even after 60 glorious years have passed since our country declared its independence, children in villages still have to walk long distances to the school. Why? It is because of politicians like you Mr. Kumaraswamy, who have embezzled the funds meant for the development of the villages and have left them in lurch instead.

Mr. Kumaraswamy says that it is the duty of a responsible political party to protest against the government’s failure. In the same vein, being a leader of  a responsible political party, where is the accountability when you had failed.

If the JD(S) wants to address the problems of the rural folk, then why not go to the village and address the villager’s problems on the spot. Why cause in-convenience to the villagers, forcing them to come all the way to the city to have their problems addressed? Being a responsible party, shouldn’t that be the proper course of action. Of course I can understand if you want to contradict your own statements about your party being a responsible one!

Yes Mr. Kumaraswamy, we do have traffic jams at rock concerts. That is the reason why they are called rock concerts. They are generally held in the night, ensuring less inconvenience to the people. But political rallies. Tsk…Tsk….

If the farmers refuse to sell their produce to Bangaloreans, then let them keep it. We city folks can survive on junk foods sold by MNC’s.

Son of the soil eh? Sounds more like Son has been soiled. Soiled by corruption.

Image Source: PGN

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Brewing A Cuppa In A Classical Cup

Why do grown-ups complicate matters which concern the literary education of children?

When a child is born, it has absolutely no choice in choosing the language it would like to learn. Invariably, it would be the mother tongue that would be taught. Later, as a part of getting that child ready to face and survive in this modern age, he gets to learn other languages and gets equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Keeping what I have said above in mind, there is been numerous instances where the State Governments have tried to bring in a rule, some successfully; mandating the Govt. schools to impart education in the State’s official language, till a certain level. There have been variations, such as a ban on other languages, in order to promote the State’s language.

Living in India, which is supposedly a democratic country, don’t we have the right to choose the language in which we would like to study in? But, let me tell you, as a child I had absolutely no bias against languages. I am well versed in three languages and I had absolutely no bias against any of them.

But when State Governments bring in these stupid rules, is it not bias?

If I was forced to learn through the medium of, say Kannada or Telugu, frankly I would have dropped off, never to complete school. And let’s say that’s just me.

B.S. Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka, made the following statements after Kannada was accorded the hallowed “Classical Language” status by the Union Government, subject to High Court decision. He announced a special Rs. 25-crore package for the development of Kannada including grants to all the nine universities to set up research and development studies in Kannada, a Rs, 1-crore assistance to universities in the country and abroad seeking to set up a Kannada chair, a Rs. 2-crore programme to develop Kannada software with the advice and support of experts, a Rs. 1 lakh prize to each successful candidate who wrote the IAS, IPS and IFS examinations in Kannada and Rs. 50,000 to each successful candidate passing the Central services examinations in Kannada, and the appointment of special Kannada teachers in all medical and engineering colleges to teach the language to non-Kannadiga students.

He said that the State Government had taken up several steps for the development of Kannada, including mandatory use of Kannada in administration, display of Kannada name boards, priority for Kannadigas in jobs in the private sector and development of border areas.

He also said that a fine of Rs. 10,000 would be imposed on owners of shops and establishments who refused to display name boards in Kannada.

My grouse here is why wait till the language is given a classical status and then announce all these schemes. These could have been implemented earlier. Being accorded a classical language is just a matter of pride and nothing else. It’s just a piece of paper containing the Government’s Order (GO), with some Government official’s signature, filed for obscurity.

Certainly Kannada or any other language does not need a certificate or a GO to affirm its classical language status. But it’s a big ‘Yes’ if monetary rewards are to be taken into account.

The four criteria are: High antiquity of a language's early texts- recorded history of over a thousand years; a body of ancient literature, which is considered a valuable heritage by generation of speakers; The literary tradition has to be original and not borrowed from another speech community and the language could be distinct from its "later and current" forms or it could be continuous.

Looking at the above said criteria’s which only a handful of languages would meet. Apart from the monetary benefits, it’s nothing but just bragging rights, but of no avail. Our Government has spent lots of time and money on this issue of according classical status to a language. It would have been better off, if it had concentrated on more pressing issues at hand. But hell, what do you know! It always happens like this only in India.

What about “a fine of Rs. 10,000 would be imposed on owners of shops and establishments who refused to display name boards in Kannada.” If a name my groceries shop in Greek, because it sounds cool and funky, I have every right to do so. It is my fundamental right to freedom of expression. But like I said earlier, India is supposedly a democratic country. Reality is that it’s a jungle raj out here and people in power control everything and anything.

It’s a crooked version of Communism that we are trying to pass of as Democracy. It is also sad to see that we are oblivious to that fact. Even if we are aware, we just ignore it. It’s like “If it is not happening to me, why bother.” But when it happens to you, you silently suffer, cause no one else bothers.