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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

A few days back, good friend Ashwin had presented his ‘two cents’ on his support for the Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss’ comments on the ban on smoking and drinking on-screen. I wanted to put forward my ‘do paisa’ on this, but on a broader scale.

The problem with the governments that have been ruling our country has been their ‘I am your Momma’ attitude in most areas. And like thumb-sucking babies, we are forced to acquiesce.

Smoking is injurious to health, they say rightly. And it is displayed in fonts, which are perhaps as big as the manufacturer’s brand name on the cigarette. And if an adult still buys and smokes cigarettes, it is his choice, which needs to be respected. After all, it is the same government which fills its coffers by collecting crores of rupees the cigarette manufacturers pay as taxes each year. Will these companies be able to survive without consumers? And if public health is so much of a concern, why don’t we get together and ban cigarette manufacturing altogether instead of asking stars to stop smoking on screen. Aren’t we running out of excuses, on the lack of fundamental health care in most places in India? Where are our priorities? Coming back to movies, murder and rape scenes are still a ‘yes-yes’, as if they are less harmful to health. How long will the Momma government continue to insult the intelligence of the average movie-goer by stating that he/she will get influenced by on-screen occurrences.

The state assumes us to have impressionable minds, and bans depiction of violence and sex. Fashion Television is still banned in some of the states, for its ‘objectionable’ content. If an outright ban is the only solution, what do we have the concept of certification for? On the lighter side, I know a fair number of friends, to whom, FTV acts as an influence to study late into the night. Not that the ban seems to help the cause of the nation anyways, going by the figures of children being manufactured a-la bolts in fastener factories.

Moral policing applies to creativity also. In a country where chancing upon creative and meaningful movies is as rare as finding a well-maintained road in Bangalore, people like Kamal Hassan, Mani Ratnam, Aamir Khan and a few others provide some relief. Whenever controversy’s child Kamal Hassan decides to make a movie, the mischief mongers in some of the parties start licking their lips. They say he kisses on-screen, promotes atheism and is now destroying idols. The producer of Dasavatharam was forced to come out stating that the movie will change atheists to theists. Why is changing from atheism to theism considered ok and the reverse is not? I am not an atheist, but I believe that every individual should have the freedom in choosing what he wants to be and what he chooses to do.

The restrictions on freedom of expression, speech and creativity have been hampering the land for too long now. If Jawaharlal Nehru had appreciated the benefit of competition and creativity, instead of telling industries what to manufacture and how much to manufacture, India would have been a developed nation by now. I dream of seeing an India led by an administration, which treats me as an adult and appreciates my choices, instead of holding my hand and telling ‘Hush, my baby, baby, don’t you cry’.

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A tale of two Presidents

About an year back, when I was working in Hyderabad, I was a part of Young Indians (Yi), a pan-Indian youth organization. While working on one of the Yi assignments, we were fortunate to meet the CEO of Satyam’s Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI). While speaking about his organization spreading its wings in cities other than Hyderabad, he fondly recalled a meeting with Dr.Abdul Kalam, who was the President of the country then. The story goes that the management at EMRI wanted Dr.Kalam to inaugurate the opening of EMRI’s ‘108’ services in one of the major cities in Andhra Pradesh. Dr.Kalam, though extremely appreciative of EMRI’s initiatives, insisted that he will be present only if the centre is opened in one of the villages in Andhra. His point was if the President happens to visit one of the numerous small villages, it will force the panchayat there to build roads, provide electricity and all the other necessary infrastructure, which will benefit the villagers even after the event. And there is another chronicle of how APJ paid all the expenses whenever his relatives or friends visited him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The good tales about the good man are never ending.

Now, we have a different person at the helm. That the President of this country cannot be termed to be at the helm is a different matter altogether. The President wants to do a noble deed during the holiday season and plans to distribute around 200 houses for tsunami victims in Andaman and Nicobar. So far so good. The catch is that more than 400 trees have already been chopped down apparently to ensure a clean and safe stay for the President and her 10 member (chuckle) family. And to rub salt on the already swollen wound, a sizeable number of those trees were cut since they would be an obstruction to the view of the beach from the family’s designated place. Talk about the President setting a precedent. Such delight our leaders bring to us!

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Dutt’s the way

IMHO, all this noise about the judgement meted out to Sanjay Dutt being unfair is, well, just noise. The fact is that he carried arms and if he claims that it was for his protection (yeah, right), then he should have taken prior permission. And if he was not a celebrity, he would have been behind bars a long time ago with a much more severe punishment.

Sanjay Dutt has some good qualities as an actor and might be a much more sober and reformed person now. But if he had been acquitted, it would have set a terrible precedent, since his has been one of the cases with better clarity. Till he walks out free, which I think will be much sooner than the remaining 4.5 years as he is expected to behave well in jail, folks should be satisfied with this version.

As I write about this, Madani has been acquitted from the Coimbatore serial blasts case. Huh!

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With ‘Ek Mohabbat’, AR Rahman has come up with another magnificient number, this time for the ‘Vote for Taj’ campaign for the new seven wonders of the world. Rahman is at his best, mixing technology with melody, like only he can and the result is magnificient. As if Rajni not featuring was not an incentive enough for the Mozart from Madras. Heh!

There has been a major lack of awareness about the competition among the general public, which is appalling in this age of internet. The politicians, obviously, can never be blamed, since they are too busy slinging mud for the President elections. Good to see Rahman doing his bit. So much effort for the Campaign to get Taj Mahal elected as one among the new seven wonders of the world. I believe you would have already voted for The Taj. If not, please be a responsible citizen and do vote. If sentimental value does not capture your imagination, being among the seven will unquestionably promote Tourism in India. So there!

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President APJ Abdul Kalam made it clear that he does not want to re-contest in the upcoming Presidential elections. But power politics does not work that way in India. The third front have made sure that his name has been dragged in, whether he likes it or not. We all grew up with the knowledge that the Presidents have limited powers in India. But no one would have expected it to be brought down to such farcical proportions. News filtering in says that Kalam has refused the third front’s proposal. But will someone listen to the President of India? I have my doubts.

CNN-IBN’s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai spoke to special guest Karuthu Kandasamy on Face the Nation

RS: Is it fair to drag Abdul Kalam’s name in the election when he has made it clear that he is not interested in a second term?

KK: Aahaa, inda matter Kalam-ukku theriyuma? (Does Kalam know about this?)

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On banning Orkut

The Government is considering Shiv Sena’s call for a ban on orkut.

In the meantime, the Shiv Sena student wing is trying to develop a software to keep a check on the so-called abusive communities in orkut and block them. And Google is apparently trying to hire them. Heh.

In related news, Karuthu Kandasamy wonders if the Shiv Sena tiger can be termed as a ‘party animal’ or not!

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