Straight from the heart!

18 August, 2011

The honest Indian

“I am Anna! You are Anna!”

“Down with Corruption!”

“Anna tum aagay barho, hum tumharay saath hain!” (Meaning: Anna you move forward, we are all with you!)

These are some of the slogans you would hear from many Indian citizens across the country who are agitating with Anna Hazare against the political parties with the objective of passing a new Lokpal (Public Ombudsman) bill in the Parliament. The cause of Anti-corruption is virtuous, unanimous & about time to be invoked.

But, when you look a little deeper and you will find faux & fable perceptions.

The hapless Indian middle-class, who are decent folks looted by the corrupt politicians. We are all saints and those netas are the enemy.

The hard fact remains that there is No such citizen who hasn’t preferred to choose an immoral path at some points of their life. The largest tax paying segment is this middle class where employees, proprietors, professionals et all fake bills, pay “Black money” to buy a property, give donations to unscrupulous trusts & “Manage” expense accounts to save tax. The fact is that Most businesses cannot even survive, leave alone compete, if they didn’t hide real earnings and grease hands of several government agencies.

So, Who are these selfless angels riding the anti-corruption crusade?

“Filmstars” with their stealthy income, “Parents” who have “Alternative” means for school admissions, “Students” who “Skilfully” escape traffic cops, “Shop-owners” without legitimate bill books, “Landlords” who take part cash rentals, show agriculture income, “Lawyers” & “Chartered accountants” who preach “Ways” of survival in this poor country led by cruel politicians. The mere mention of “Corruption” will make us instantly agitate.

The hypocrisy is comical and melodramatic.

Corruption is an evil! But the Politician is a just a minor element.

Charity begins at home! To fight this evil, the “Honest Indian” has to look within and take the Uncomfortable stand.

I have this strange feeling that the real Mahatma Gandhi would have agreed with this approach. 🙂

Are you ready for this?

14 January, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire is Oscar worthy

The opening swear words of the movie, set all expectations straight!danny_boyle

A lad being tortured by a fat guy, who later turns out to be an interrogating cop attempting to trace a  potential  accomplice in the boy’s unbelievable winning streak at KBC (Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’). The sequences depicting slum dwellers,  religious riots, mafia of begging industry, gang wars, sleaze, life of common people & their aspirations is so real that one readily agrees. The movie is an insight into the dark life of Mumbai that people prefer to  ignore. It  shows how three street smart children from slums, who ironically compare themselves to the ‘Three   Musketeers’, get emotionally hardened from their sufferings and be easily drawn to  illegitimate &  inhumane situations.

‘Jamal Malik’ (played by Dev Patel) & his elder brother ‘Salim’ escape religious riots that killed their family and take to unexplored territories to survive. Jamal longs to be with his childhood friend ‘Latika’ (played by Frieda Pinto) who was also displaced in the same rampage. Jamal becomes a “Chaiwalla” in a BPO, his elder brother Salim becomes a gangster in his desire to be rich and Latika is tossed everywhere for survival.

slumdogmillionaire

While it may appear to be a cliche of a slum-dweller’s story from rags to riches, it really isn’t about the money.

Jamal’s participation in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati'(KBC) is incidental and planned with intention to get reunited with his childhood love. The best parts of the film are its narration & screenplay, which reveals how the young boy has learnt the answers to most difficult questions on the show, from his grave real-life experiences. The plot holds your attention right till the end, which is happy, but heavy hearted. A.R. Rehman’s music is quite compelling, but nothing unusual for fans who’ve enjoyed his past work. The acting skills of the little boys can perhaps create a new benchmark in Indian cinema.

It’s unimaginable how a british movie maker, can portray the stark under belly of Mumbai so realistically and in a manner that attracts cross-cultural global appeal. With Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle has created a masterpiece of a film which is unflinching, gripping, provocative, appealing, a bit funny and very realistic that its almost certain to win an Oscar. Definitely a must watch film, without kids.

Update (23rd February 2009): Slumdog wins 8 Oscars for the following categories.

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTION

BEST MUSIC (SONG)

BEST MUSIC (SCORE)

BEST FILM EDITING

BEST SOUND MIXING

BEST CINAMATOGRAPHY

BEST WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

Wow… very well deserved. Congrats to the team & all supporters.

More on : http://www.oscar.com/oscarnight/winners/

10 December, 2008

Pakistan might just prefer to attack India?

What do terror strikes in Mumbai, New York, Delhi, London, Jaipur, Paris, Russia, Afghanistan, Nepal & Iraq have in common? “Pakistan” and its links. And yet, lack of evidence and proof are buzz words to buy time. Even though Pakistan is under pressure from India, USA & Israel to rage an urgent war on terrorist outfits breeding in their country, is this really the best option they have?

zardariCome to think of it, one cannot realistically expect Pakistan’s Civilian  government to rage this war on terror for a number of reasons. They are newly elected, have little control over their own Army – which is threatens a coup , already under criticism & struggling on their offensive on western front with Al Qaeda factions – they once help establish, a beleaguered economy with immense curruption pleading a bail-out from IMF , confused sentiments on deciding friends & foe and a now being cornered to capture & extradite other terrorist factions on their eastern front.

Even if the terrorists from the “India’s Most wanted” list were to be handed over, it will expose their government’sManmohan Singh depth of support and seal their fate as a “Terrorist state” which is what really explains Pakistan’s refusal to hand them over. Afterall, what is the Pakistan minister trying to defend when he says they are “…Ready for a war on India” ? … the terror camps in PoK? With a sword hanging on their heads, perhaps a war with India is their only remaining option. This can potentially get them public sentiment on soveriegn grounds, unification with mercenaries who will actively fight against India, perhaps even cause historic damage with their nuclear misadventures and most importantly divert the whole agenda of abetting terrorism.

While this may be just a point of view, its only fair to set expectations from Pakistan to avoid procastination, heart burn and prepare for a united war against terrorism and those abetting terror. Its for global leaders to stop talking and unite in fighting this war on ground. This is not the bilateral issue of Kashmere anymore, its not a war against a nation, its a multilateral issue of global terror and this time the biggest democracies have spoken their sentiments loud enough.

A war for the future of Peace? Perhaps.

1 December, 2008

The new face of global terror

Mumbai is not new to terror attacks and gang wars. The 26/11 terror attack however, in many ways has introduced a new face of terror. The city’s gentry which always felt secured in the luxury of five star hotels had to face an ordeal they had never imagined. Gone are the days when a terrorist was perceived to be illiterate, elderly, covered his face, used crude makeshift weapons and was often conspicuous in elite areas.

Terror in Mumbai

Terror in Mumbai

The modern day terrorist is much dangerous & global. These guys are highly trained in modern combat with sophisticated weaponry, speak fluent English, have detailed strategy to hit targets, have sleeper cells, wear urban & youthful attire, experts in cyberspace management and more ruthless than ever before. It was shocking to see their meticulous planning being implemented and how they managed to keep the highly trained commandos at bay for nearly 60 hours. Global leaders now realize that they are not immune to terror strikes anymore and if they don’t plug it right away, they will soon be at the receiving end. It is imperative for a strong polictical will to be formed and unified action be taken. However, a genuine thought crosses the heart – should only the governments be responsible to counter such terror? When have we last stopped to help an injured person on the road? When did we last sound an alarm when something suspicious happened in the neighbourhood? If we are not immune to such acts of cruelty, should we not come together to help each other? Should the politicians just be allowed to take cheap publicity from such carnage? If such dramatic change in extremism needs a major change in human attitudes, are we really ready to counter the new face of global terror?

Update: A recent story on IBNlive quoting Washington Post’s article that describes the recent recruitment trend of terror outfit (Lashkar). This further ratifies the new face of global terror. Some excerpts…

“The profile of those joining the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba is changing,” the Washington Times said citing Brig. Gen. Mahmood Shah, who served the Pakistani Army in the largely ungoverned tribal areas along Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan. “We have doctors and engineers and computer specialists working for us,” says a militant commander.

5 November, 2008

Obama’s win is a bigger indication of “Change”

When Senator Obama created history in being nominated and winning the US Presidential election by a landslide margin, it indicated a much larger “Change”. Not very long ago, blacks in America were treated with extreme prejudice, were desisted to cast their vote and it was unthinkable for a colored man to even contest for the most powerful position in the world. Obama’s election reflects this drastic “Change of mindsets” of the US citizens at large, on how they now perceive the black community, the foreign migrants, the young leaders and the civilian population.

cariobama

The Americans are such a dynamic & resilient community that they have together emerged in unprecedented majority to support Obama in anticipation of drastic changes that the nation needs at this time of crisis. The sheer election of this candidate is likely to infuse confidence in the American public and create lessons in history for generations to come. Globally, while the nations now wait to see how Obama takes his next steps to curb recession, spread peace and encourage free trade. McCain supporters will perhaps have no other choice but to overcome their inhibitions in interest of the nation to support their new president. With this choice, USA has now fully matured to command respect of being the most developed nation and perhaps a lesson for many developing countries on how to overcome internal cast-ism & discrimination in the race to survive and flourish. CHANGE, we surely need!

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