30 November 2008

Terror Hits The Rich - Finally

That this attack was different from previous ones has been commented on by most observers. Previous attacks were bomb blasts that got over quickly. This time terrorists took over several buildings in a city, and held them for a prolonged period (60 hours). There's another vital difference that few are talking about: This time the victims were rich people.

Among the targets were, for the first time, two luxury hotels. These were places frequented by the creme de la creme of the city: politicians, businessmen, movie stars and media personalities. True, many not-so-rich people (hotel staff, railway commuters, cops and soldiers) died in the attacks. But for the first time a significant number of rich people were also killed.

One can't help feeling that this government has been indifferent to terrorism partly because the victims were always ordinary people. Bombs went off in markets, temples and mosques killing the aam aadmi. The upper crust were safe inside their Z-grade cocoons, offices, mansions - and five star hotels. For the first time, the terrorists have struck where it hurts.

This reminds me of the movie Siege, in which New York City is subjected to a wave of terrorist attacks. The atmosphere becomes especially grim after a fancy theatre is blown up, killing many of the city's high society.

I know it is a little mean-minded to look at this in terms of rich and poor. But the sad truth can't be denied. Hopefully now the political, business, entertainment and media elite will lean on Soniaji and Manmohanji to do something about this existential threat. (By something, I don't mean providing Z-grade security to five star hotels)

27 November 2008

S L Bhyrappa on Conversions

Eminent Kannada novelist S L Bhyrappa recently wrote an article on conversions (in the newspaper Vijay Karnataka). The hard-hitting essay, filled with facts and figures, provoked much controversy and debate. You can read the Kannada original or its English translation.

26 November 2008

Ends and Means

Do the ends justify the means?

The means are the ends.
- Mahatma Gandhi

The ends is bullshit. The means is what you have to live with.
- The Corruptor (movie)

In the long run, it is only the 'minor' virtues that matter. Politeness is more reliable than compassion, just as fairplay is more important than the abstraction of justice. The 'major' virtues tend to disintegrate under the pressures of convenient rationalisation. But good form is good form. It is immutable in the storm of circumstance.
- Shibumi (novel)

25 November 2008

Thoughts for the Day

Till now philosophers have only tried to understand the world. The point, however, is to change it.
– Karl Marx

It is the privilege and the curse of midnight's children to be both masters and victims of their times, to forsake privacy and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and to be unable to live or die in peace.
– Salman Rushdie

22 November 2008

Right-Wing Commentators

The English language media (ELM) in India is dominated by leftists, liberals and secularists. The right-wing commentator is a rare species in this country. There are very few writers* who can put forward the Hindu / nationalist / conservative / right-wing view on a subject in an intelligent manner. As a result, educated urban middle class Indians – who get their news and views only from the ELM – are exposed to only one side of the story (the wrong side). So the country's elite is being fed a steady diet of anti-national arguments and assumptions. The long-term effects of this phenomenon are worrisome, to say the least. Articulate spokesmen for nationalism are badly needed.

*The few I can think of are Arun Shourie, Swapan Dasgupta, Tavleen Singh, S Gurumurthy, Sudheendra Kulkarni and Tarun Vijay. Have I missed out anybody?

21 November 2008

Madhavana Chittadali

Here is one of my favourite RSS songs (Kannada).

mAdhavana chittadali
araLidda chitragaLe
nannalloo nelesa banni.
jagadagala bittiyali
bhAratiya nettaripa
kAyakava kalisa banni
nannalloo nelesa banni.

rShi avanu naDedidda
sthira pathava hiDididda
guriyeDege neTTa drShThi.
kESavanu kalisidda
sangha sootradi heNeda
yuva manava muTTi taTTi.
avana kAryada tuDita
sarva sparSada miDita
nannalloo nelesa banni.
jagadagala bittiyali...

dESa oDeda A gaLige
naDeda nondede baLige
santa santaisi ninta.
sangha muriva tantragaLige
hiDida gurANi halage
kaTu unDa neelakanTha.
avana maNNina mamate
nOvu nunguva kShamate
nannalloo nelesa banni.
jagadagala bittiyali...

hindu bhAvava basidu
oDeda manavanu besedu
Ekateya kOTe kaTTi.
mElu keeLanu toDedu
naija dharmavu hoLedu
SrEShThateya Sikhara muTTi.
avana samarasa bhAva
jagava gelluva snEha
nannalloo nelesa banni.
jagadagala bittiyali...

It's about Golwalkar Guruji, and is written by Mukundji - pranth pracharak of South Karnataka.

20 November 2008

Of Birthdays and the Hindu Calendar

All these years I was celebrating my birthday, like most people, as per the Gregorian/Christian calendar. This doesn't make any sense. We should be celebrating our birthdays, and other anniversaries, as per the Indian/Hindu calendar.

From henceforth I have decided to celebrate (that is, whatever little celebration I can cook up) my birthday as per the Hindu calendar. For the record, my birthday falls on Kartika Shuddha Dashami. You can use this calculator to find out your birthday as per the Hindu calendar.

So what day were you born on? :-)

05 November 2008

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama.
Say it out loud.
Then look at the man's face.
This is not some Hollywood movie.
This is the real world.
Take a deep breath.
Let it sink in.

Yes, it has really happened.