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Showing posts from August, 2008

Why not azaadi for Kashmir?

Ever since childhood, I have heard my father say that if Kashmiris don’t want to be a part of India, then “why can’t we think of giving Kashmir independence?" While I always understood that perspective as perhaps being the right thing to do from a very democratic point of view, what forever confused me was the issue of what if every other state also starts asking for independence. Guess my sense of involvement with the Kashmir problem was not serious enough to ponder further. And then came a long phase, when it seemed the trouble was under control. Till about a few months ago, I hadn’t realised it well enough, but my Managing Editor Sutanu Guru said we must do a cover saying "Is Kashmir back to 1989?" I must admit that though I agreed with him, I still didn’t understand the gravity of the situation – even after reading our own cover story (which, incidentally, was the first one in India to pick up the issue). However, as I look at things now, I see that while the Centre

Abhinav’s medal brings pride to the nation… but it’s his personal achievement, and the nation can’t claim to have won the medal!!!

The winning of the gold medal by Abhinav Bindra in the Beijing Olympics, 2008, is indeed a matter of great pride for not just the sports loving people of this country but also for every Indian. It is special to me for three key reasons: firstly, the triumph of this young man with a childish innocence has literally brought India out of the notional apartheid and a sort of Below Poverty Line (BPL) status it had had for long in the global sporting arena. His win assumes a larger than life status, considering the fact that never ever in the 112 years of Olympics’ history has any Indian athlete won an individual gold medal; the last gold medal we had earned was in the team event of hockey, and that too 28 years ago! The other reason that makes Abhinav’s feat so special to me is that after watching the India contingent walking past during the inaugural ceremony, I was so filled with shame that I had almost given it a zero chance of anything close to even a single gold – something that’s s

Is this the most lavish, yet the most inhuman Olympics ever?

The Olympics has always been an event when people across the world keep aside their personal vendetta, forget for sometime the permutations of geopolitics, and gather to enjoy one of the greatest uniting factors of mankind, i.e. sports. Yet, this time, when the Olympics are being staged in China, people across the world are waiting more to see whether China can pull it through successfully, than for anything else. And probably never before in Olympic history has there been a ‘host versus the rest’ phenomenon as much as is clearly present this time. No prizes for guessing that if China doesn’t succeed in pulling it through, not too many people would be unhappy. In the last few years, since China was selected for hosting the 2008 Olympics, the country looked upon this event not as an opportunity to bridge the remaining gaps with the rest of the world, but as a perfect opportunity to flaunt ‘the China way’. And this attitude is evident – right from the construction of a larger than life

The story of the war on terrorism and the millions of dollars made by the PMCs.

When the body bags of American soldiers started their return journey from Iraq, it was reason enough to revive the haunting nightmares of the Vietnam war. A war where several hundreds of thousands of American soldiers had to pay with their lives for an ideological war between the American and Soviet policymakers. A war whose end was not in sight for forty long years and which served little for the betterment of mankind, except for the eternal tension of an incumbent war – or what was commonly known as the Cold War era. For President Bush and his coterie, it was too much of a risk not to mitigate the domestic backlash against the body bags and continue with the loot of Iraq. And yet, the stakes in Iraq in terms of oil reserves and the potential contracts for reconstruction were too luring to be given up just for the sake of preventing the body bags from coming home. After all, the body bags are nothing but a petite collateral price for the big Iraq pie in the offing. In these days of ou

Will Congress and BJP ever have the guts to join hands to avoid such shame in future?

The trust vote is finally over and the Congress managed to pull through! But then even before the trust vote took place it was more than a foregone conclusion that this trust vote on whether the government has the numbers in the parliament to take forward the nuclear deal, had less to do with the nuclear deal in reality, and more about the realignments of fringe political parties whose numbers are increasing by the day. It was also a foregone conclusion that for the likes of Samajwadi Party (SP), the imperative to see through a victory of the Congress -led government was more crucial than even for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party, because SP is well aware of Mayawati’s growing prominence, and what it means for them. It was also a foregone conclusion that the Left, which has got used to taking the government to ransom, their opposition with the deal had more to do with continuing their uncompromising attitude than to collectively evolve a solution to the impending energy cris