Words have been written, spoken, heard, blogged, tweeted, facebooked, googled about the IPL (indian premier league). So why not a few more?? Bear with me.
Definitely, for a not so great cricket fan like me, it has definitely made an impact by increasing the interest which I have in the game. Three reasons: Firstly, It is a short form of the game, just 20 overs each session. And for impatient people like me, it is easy on the eye and on the patience. Secondly, The diversity of players forming part of each of the teams. That is lovely to see. The professionalism. The team spirit. I find, with few exceptions, the overseas players playing their hearts out. Thirdly: The glamour part of it. I guess this appeals to the average person. Seeing their idols associated with their fav teams. The cheerleaders, who I find very attractive and appealing and nowhere vulgar. In fact, i appreciate them for cheering every six or every wicket. And it is an awesome celebration of the love for cricket by indians everywhere in the world.
But while there are some pluses, associated this popularisation of a game, Some ugly sides to this has been observed especially in this season.
First and foremost , the question of whether the exorbitant fees paid to the players have dampened their commitment for the national team.Secondly, Match fixing rumors. which has always been prevalent but received some confirmation by a sting operation on spot fixing by some IPL players. Some of the matches which have been played for unbelievably low scores and some unbelievable results have been observed. So, are , we the viewers and fans being taken for a ride?
Then came the Shahrukh Khan -MCA fracas which became ugly and led to the banning of SRK from wankhede stadium for five years? This has undoubtedly led to the exposure of the ugly rivalries and jealousies between persona hidden under the glitz.
On the heels of this incident, came the accusations of molestation against an IPL player. Is the amount of money and fame going to players’ head?
Such concerns are removing the sheen from the IPL glamour slowly. Do we need to take a step back and think about the advisability of conducting such Competitions, which are breeding vices along with prizes? Or atleast, a way of moderating the Contest such that it does not become solely about oodles of money pumped in or teams buying their way through games or promoting betting?? Where it has stopped becoming cricket and more of business and where a player is a saleable object? Where the young and talented are being taught to play for lucre ? Where it has become more a showing off between business enterprises and superstar personae to display their star power and might?
Where is cricket in all these?
- IPL match fixing: Bookie paid Rs100m to SL cricketer (nation.com.pk)
- Former cricketer Kirti Azad on dharna against IPL (ndtv.com)
- A week in hell for the IPL (cricketnext.in.com)
An ugly drama is going on at present in the public glare of the world between the COAS VK Singh and the Ministry of Defense. A set of accusations and counter accusations have displayed the lack of unity and cohesiveness of the government-military. The storm was raised when the AC accused an arms lobbyist of military background of offering him 14 crores as bribes.
Whatever may have been the motives of Gen Singh and howsoever ill timed this drama may have been, it has forced several issues out in the public.
1. The extent of the unpreparedness of the military, in today’s time. India has one of the highest defence expenditures in the world but does it match with the quality of the technology/armaments we have? Why are we paying so much for sub-standard equipment? People who do this, people who put the lives of our soldiers at risk, should be committed for treason. As per the AC, the sub standard vehicles ( Tatra) were already in use over the past years. Why was it not publicised earlier?
2. Why is not there a proper communication system in place between the government and the army to resolve their issues? What made the Army General resort to media and publicising these issues, however important they may be, ? Was it because, he may have tried the less visible approach and may have been rebuffed? Is it due to frustrations at not being listened to or appreciated or as a consequence of the unfavorable verdict returned over the age row issue? After all, he is a human.
3. The height and depth of corruption in the armed services. Corruption in defence has been known since the time of bofors. Existence of middlemen and arms dealers. These accusations again point at the extent to which corruption has seeped into the system. How to deal with it and root it out (if possible) would be the chief questions.
But the seriousness of these questions are being deflected, owing to the bizarre situation happening now. The reason being:
1. Army Chief’s claims of bribery ~ why did he wait until now to publicise?
2. Who’s job was it to take action when informed of bribery action? Army Chief or Minister’s? If Def Min knew of this, why did he not take action? It seems he was informed of this two years ago. why did he keep silent? On friday, an article highlighted that Min of Def Antony, being advised of this matter twice, once by The Army Chief and One by GN Azad in 2010 and 2009 would invite trouble, due to failure in reporting this. It is a criminal Offence. You need to give a proper reason why you did not inform at the proper time. Both the AC and the Minister would be in a soup over this.
3. Who leaked the Army Chief’s letter? It is impossible to believe that he could have done it. From a man of his stature, this seems a bad move. It could be either friends/bureaucrats/even people with an ostensible view to damage his reputation ( seeing the beating it took on the #agerow issue)
4. Is there a problem between the Army and the bureaucracy? These moves, seem to hint at that. Why the AC is directly issuing matters to press and request to CBI to probe
pobe bribe allegations rather than route it through the bureaucracy indicates clearly existence of some issues between bureaucracy and the Army. Is it the high handed attitude of bureaucrats which the Army Chief is trying to highlight through his actions? A serious fact in favor of this view is the statement by Brajesh Mishra, ex NSA chef yesterday, wherein he recommends The Gen to be sent on forced leave for his statements. The pro-bureaucrat attitude is evident as he finds it difficult to believe an y bureaucrat may have leaked info nor does he think that MMS can be culpable of leak. Obviously he is, trying to screen his political masters and the bureaucracy. Even the Minister of Defence, though blamed for not taking action, escapes from further judgement. Why then the Army Chief only?
His language reeks of disrespect towards AC, who whatever may be his idiosyncracies, is a man with an impeccable background.
5. Enforcing procedures is one thing. But if enforcing procedures in itself becomes a problem and a conduit to avoid further action, can one blame an Army Chief or anyone else for taking the more open way out? to highlight things? even if it is through the Press?
6. Some people are asking for dismissal of the AC, even without seeing the whole issue resolved.Will dismissal of the Army Chief solve the current issue? Won’t it be demoralising to the Armed Forces to know that they have no say in issues pertaining to them and to the nation and any sort of expression on issues will be treated abjectly? Rather, won’t it lead to these issues being buried and forgotten and the people who were involved getting scot free?
7. The DRDO has come out with a statement where they have denied what the AC has said on the state of the Tatra trucks. It could be a defence response by the government to protect itself (sic)
8. Lt Gen Tajinder Singh ( the alleged army lobbyist) has denied the AC’s claims and has taken him to court.
Since he is due to retire soon, it is possible that he has taken this risk of exposing the ugly side to Defense, so that these issues are known to all. One can only conjecture till the facts are out.
Till then, though there seems to be signs of some cooling, matters are still in a confused and ugly state.
Whatever be the end result of the story (hopefully, not another burial), let it be a lesson for all involved government, military, and bureaucracy.
- General’s War! (worldandaround.wordpress.com)
- CBI Summoned Tatra Chief! (worldandaround.wordpress.com)
- DRDO contradicts Army chief, says Tatra trucks ‘outstanding’ (indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Army Chief bribed’: Retd Lt Gen denies role (indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com)
- Asked Army chief to take action, he refused, says Defence Minister on bribe bomb (indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com)
- General Tejinder Singh’s fortunes come a full circle (indianmilitarynews.wordpress.com)
As days go by , the Unlimited Buffoonery of UPA is more and more out on public display. It is high time to change the name of this dilapidated association of parties, ostensibly ruling the country to Unlimited Political Awkwardness. Besides which, their inability to manage critical situations becomes almost pathetic in its display. Not only do they display ineptitude but they also refuse to accept blame and take responsibility.Rather, they try to throw it on others. Even worse is the fact that their such actions is putting the country and people in a dangerous situation, domestically and globally.
A motley assembly of people, united in their aim to retain power and oblivious to the damage they are doing. Is this the sort of government all Indians want in their country? An assembly which has been given the chance for the second time of governing the country and what have they done with it?
Let us take two recent cases in example. This is leaving aside the long roll call of scams. That is for another post.
One is the presentation of the recent railway budget. The RM Dinesh Trivedi had presented what seemed to be, as per most reports, a very sensible and judicial railway budget, aiming at restoring the health of the railways. It involved a moderate rise in taxes for all passengers of all classes. But owing to the sheer blackmailing tactics exerted by the coalition partner of UPA, Mamta Banerjee, He was compelled to put in his papers and there was a rollback of the measures. His crime was he did not follow the TMC’s advice in this matter. Heavy lies the head that wears the crown. Obviously a tough choice between what you think is the right thing pragmatically and what politics dictates. At the end of the day, politics wins. The question here is for the sake of pandering to the whims of the domestic parties, something which could have benefitted the national railways was scuppered. Ultimately Railways suffers. Mamta and her party, once again displays their totally parochial and self obsessed behavior and why one should never depend on such self serving allies. Whatever respect I had for Mamta as a tough leader, who challenged the might of the commies, have been indelibly dented by her actions. In power, she seems as power hungry and manipulative as others who had been before her. If UPA had any spine, they should have kicked out such coalition partners. They would have gained in respect amongst people. But who cares? It is only the “chair” that matters. This is more on Dinesh Trivedi, A man whose style differs from his party >> http://ibnlive.in.com/news/dinesh-trivedi-the-odd-man-out-in-tmc/240394-37-64.ht
The second example is the controversial vote of India against Sri Lanka in the UN. There is more or less a consensus that India (through the UPA’s actions) have compromised their national interest for the sake of appeasement of domestic parties, this time DMK. That DMK has been a long time sympathiser and supporter of LTTE is a well known fact. But,howsoever one may sympathise with the local SL tamils’ suffering, one cannot forget the fact that they are SL citizens. Their problems have to be sorted out by discussions and negotiations with the SL govt. That is the only way, in my view. India can only render humanitarian assistance. We cannot and should not make the terrible mistake of interference in another country’s affairs. Secondly, one cannot forget that whatever be their original aim, LTTE developed into the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation, killing innocents from both sides, killing India’s Rajiv Gandhi, killing and wiping out many of SL’s top leaders, creating a culture of terror and havoc. No human in his or her right senses, would support LTTE. Hatred begets Hatred, Not peace. Indians would and should take note of this. By accepting LTTE and supporters of LTTE, you are accepting terrorism and lose the moral grounds for condemning terrorist attacks in India. Hence by succumbing to DMK’s malicious blackmail, UPA has once again put our moral standing on terrorism in question. Thirdly, the obvious movers of the vote against SL were countries which had no hesitation in conducting wars and military operations in other countries in a high handed manner. Hence somewhat hypocritical. Is this what we would like to happen to us? Would we like our country to be overrun with armies of other countries for their benefit, at any time?Fourthly, in an already threatening security scenario, with unstable neighbours on the west (Pakistan, Afghanistan) and threats of terrorism at a high, China‘s expanding influence in Nepal, and Sri Lanka, besides Pakistan, this vote would make matters difficult. By doing so, we have literally pushed SL into the arms of China. An abstainment would have been a better decision.
Some say that SL has not done enough and may need to do more, in reparations towards the victims of the war against LTTE. Hence the vote. It may be true. SL being a victim of continuous and terrible terrorist attacks by LTTE, would have been hard put to control its reaction against them. But this is something which can be understood as an inevitable consequence of terrorism. Nothing right or wrong about it. But India, being a victim of terrorism, having been attack of countless terrorist attacks, (remember 21/11) and bombings, and even now the subject of numerous threats, be it Maoists or Kashmiri fundamentalists, Islamist groups or right wingers, should have been in a better position to understand this. Sadly, our government seems to be myopic and wholly at the mercy of their coalition partners. And hence, shamefully gives the appearance of not able to protect and manage national interests at all.
Ultimately, The chief point raised here is the dangers of coalition politics. Coalition politics becomes healthy when the partners use it for the benefit of the nation and not for self-interest. They guide and offer advice on essential matters to the govt. But sadly, as these examples and there are many more from the past show, Coalition partners are solely and shamelessly focussed on self interest rather than national interest. And the governing UPA is completely abject to this blackmail by its partners. This is a blot on democracy.
What should be the solutions?
The year 2011 has been a black year, in general, looking at the grievous events which have occured through the world.
In particularly, for the world of Art and Music, it has been a particularly painful year. So many greats passed on from this mortal earth after a lifetime, spent enriching the lives of us, people, who are otherwise caught up in the angst of life.Let me give my personal tribute to those who passed away this year, who i never knew personally but through their work, their persona, their deeds impacted me deeply.
These are the people, whom I loved seeing on the big screen, listening to their voices, feeling the passion they conveyed through their work and who just brought joy in our lives and dazzled us with their talent and sheer exuberance.
The year started on a truly sad note with the loss of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi , the great Hindustani music maestro and doyen, who rendered the unforgettable Mile Sur Mera Tumhara in January. Truly, his soulful, meditative, voice will live on through his recordings for generations to come.
IN November, Assamese great music Director and Singer, Bhupen hazarika sing passed away after a long struggle with illness. He gave us the brilliant music of Rudaali, amongst other. The sad thing was, not many were aware that he was hospitalised for many months before he passed away. It was rather sad that such a great musician was ignored. However, in my heart and others like me as, he will live on..Dil Hum Hum Kare…
On the film scene, two of my favorite hindi film heroes and who won my heart from childhood, left this world. It is difficult to believe that Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand, who were my epitome of style, class, beauty and acting are no more. They entertained us with their awesome films, dances, charm, and trademark style. Today’s heroes pale in comparison to these gentlemen. Shammi ji’s Teesri Manzil, his Yahoo..will forever echo in my ears and heart..His jumps, twists, that lock of hair falling across his face..
Dev Anand, the romantic..the Guide..who sang Tere Mere Sapne ..More than that, I just loved them.. The flamboyant, dashing, the trademark tilted head, the charm oozing out..
The year also saw the loss of Jagjit Singh, the king of ghazals in India. Totally sudden and unexpected it was. He remained passionate and committed to his art, irrespective of personal tragedies.. There are many famous ghazals he has rendered. But my special favorites are woh kaagaz ki kashti..
and Hoshwaalon ko khabar kya bekhudi kya cheez hai.. A song replete with the tenderness of love..
There were other famous personalities like Navin Nischol, Goga Kapoor and all who had passed away. Navin Nischol, who started out in films and went on to that riproaring comedy, Dekh Bhai Dekh. He became a part of the crazy, lovable family.
In case you dont know, amongst his many films, this classic song by Kishore Da was filmed on him…Raat kali ek khwaab mein..
A rather saddening and painful year for those of us who grew up listening and watching these legends..They will remain etched in my heart in those forms they presented to us..always..eternally young and alive.