A Clinical Massacre

India registered a spectacular win over the visiting Australians in the 2nd test of the Border Gavaskar trophy at Mohali this morning. Chasing a mammoth 516 runs for victory the Australian batting crumbled and closed down at 195. This is one of the biggest defeats of the Australian Cricket history. On the fourth day the Indian batsmen began exactly where they had left on the third. Gautam Gambhir was merciless and scored his second test century scoring 104 before he fell to the bowling of White. Sehwag was a little less fortunate and missed his century by a mere 10 runs. India declared on 314/3 and the Ozzies were neck deep in troubled waters.


Things couldn’t get any worse in the Fourth innings when Harbhajan and Ishant decided that it was high time the Australians were taught who the boss is. Ishant Sharma bowled a beauty of a delivery to dismiss Ponting who had no clue how the ball had rattled the wood work. A little earlier during the day Ponting fell to the ground and was lying down holding his head in despair as he had missed a chance to run out Gambhir in only the third over of the day. This pretty much summed up what the Ozzies were to witness during the rest of the day.

Australia’s biggest defeat ever in terms of runs is a humongous 675 runs way back in 1928-29 against England at Brisbane. They had an unbelieving target of 742 runs. Australia has only once successfully chased a 400+ target in a match. That was in 1948-49 again against England who had set them a target of 404 and the Ozzies coasted to victory losing only three wickets. This test match has been quite eventful in terms of records. It is only befitting that the Little Master broke Brian Lara’s world record of the maximum runs in test cricket in this same match and scored a classy 88 in the process. Even Ganguly who is officially retiring after this series scored a patient century (102) in the first innings and started nailing the coffin for the Aussies. It is fitting that the ‘Prince of Calcutta’ goes down with his head high. Amit Mishra’s 5 wicket haul in the 1st innings showcased what the promising youngster is capable of.

A 1-0 lead in the series will give a significant boost to the morale of the Indian team which has been going through a rough patch for quite a while a now. It was great to see the entire team contributing towards the win. Now it is to be seen whether the Aussies bounce back as they have always done or whether the Indians capitalise on this victory in the third test slated for the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi from Oct 29th to 2nd Nov.

Can we go by History?

The latest turmoil in the global financial arena has left many wondering what lies ahead and who will emerge a major player in the 21st century. The US reels under a tremendous amount of pressure on its financial institutions and the credit mainly goes to the irrational lending policies of the government. Such a major crisis was waiting to happen and we can already see the cookie crumbling.

If we look into history then we notice that this is a cycle of global dominance that keeps changing hands. During the 16th century Spain was easily the number one country in the world with its mammoth and so called invincible navy. It had conquered lands far and wide and was revelling in the gold of the Americas. But King Philippe had just a little too much in mind when he planned of conquering the British fleet with the Spanish Armada. The Armada was supposed to be much superior to the British navy but they were not wary of the clever tactics the British could apply in their own waters. The result was a total, crushing defeat which established Britain as the unrivalled master of the world. Until World War II Britain remained so almost without any competition. Under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria England consolidated its power and outmatched any competition it got. England became the supreme master of the sea routes which helped it surplus its trade with countries in the East and also establish colonies all over the Americas, Asia, Australia and Africa. This period was supposed to be ‘Pax Britannica’, a period when there was relative peace all over Europe and it was an unchallenged Sea Power. Occasionally the Turks and Napoleonite France tried to challenge this supremacy but without much success.

Towards the beginning of the 20th century countries all over Europe capitalising over the rapid industrial progress they made and establishment of colonies started to feel uneasy over this unrivalled supremacy. The result was the two World Wars. Though Germany, Italy and Japan consolidated their position after the war, Britain could never re-establish its former glory. A new nation took its place on the global map and it had a new rival too. The United States of America capitalised on the void created by the two Wars and reined in the power to rule the world through economic developments and large scale armament. The former Soviet Union tried its best to counter this Uni-Polar development of power and the result was the Cold War that was kind of a mad race for global dominance. Globalization through capitalism promoted by the US had almost every country under its umbrella in some way or the other. The communist USSR tried its best to maintain its power block but failed to do so due to its own limitations and internal power struggle. Though during this period many small regional wars were fought such as the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Yugoslav Wars and the Gulf War with an active involvement of the US none of them scaled global proportions. This period has been referred to as ‘Pax Americana’. At the beginning of the early 1990’s the Soviet bloc crumbled under its own pressure and the US became the unrivalled master of the World.

During the past two decades or so the US has controlled the world more or less through its aggressive economic and foreign policies. It has realised that in the 21st century the country with the maximum hold upon the Energy Resources will be running the show. And through hook or by crook the US has tried to do just that. The two Gulf Wars and the Afghanistan War to some extent are testimony to this fact. But what the US didn’t realise that its own policies could backfire and hit them hard. Massive costs were incurred and on top of that many banks went on a lending spree predicting a further upsurge in the economy. But much before anyone could sound the warning bell lifeboats in the form of bailouts by the government had to be lowered. This too hasn’t provided much respite and it is as if the entire world is being dragged in to the whirlpool for being uninvited guests at the US’s party. Today the US faces a new enemy in the form of Islamist Hardliners who realise that they are being exploited in the name of Globalization and resources right in their backyard are being slowly pumped out. Terrorism is the new enemy of America and it is to be seen whether the War on Terror leads to their downfall. The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already left the US economy bruised and battered and though they are trying to gain their ground back it seems unlikely in the long run.

We have seen that throughout history it is after major Large Scale Wars that new powers have come to dominate the global scenario. Maybe this time too a similar development will take place. As the US falters upon its mistakes there is a new power rising in the East. China and India together represent the future of tomorrow and even though the global financial meltdown seems to have a vicelike grip throughout the world, these two nations seem to stand out from the rest. It is true that like everywhere else even here people are fearful of investments and losing jobs. But eventually experts believe these two nations will run the show. The US has always been fearful of China emerging as a major global player so much so that they call the shots in almost everything. Many other nations like Japan, the EU and Britain are wary of that too. In such circumstances the Indo-US nuclear deal is what will help in projecting India as a rival to the Chinese economy. India badly needs the nuclear dose of adrenaline to challenge China’s exponential growth. The future that lies ahead of us will be decided in the next few years. And if we as a nation can hold our nerve and minimise all internal conflicts and problems then we should become a major global player in the coming years. The markets will eventually stabilise and it we capitalise on these developments then we put ourselves on the map and as a power to reckon with.

At the End of the Day it is All About Power!!!

It is almost election time in India and with barely months left for the common man to exercise his suffrage, political parties have begun to play a dirty game. It’s a game of fear and identity politics. The only aim of these power hungry representatives of the people seems to be to make the best use of the situation in the country and squeeze out the blood stained votes from innocent civilians.

While we keep blaming our neighbouring countries for sparking up communal and terrorist activities we need to understand that most of the troubles that our country is facing today are home grown. Criminals have been nurtured by the so called representatives of the people and are not identified as killers and rapists but on the basis of their religious identity (Hindu, Muslim or Christian) or on their ethnic backgrounds (tribals).

The bomb blasts that have off late rocked the various cities of the country including the national capital were not planted by terrorists but by Muslims. This is the only identification that a terrorist has in our country today. If he is a Muslim he has to be a terrorist. How can a few anti social elements irrespective of their religion and their ethnic background be representative of an entire communit? If that is the case then why hasn’t the government branded right wing extremists like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP as terrorists? What they have been doing in Orissa is nothing less than acts of terrorism. Is raping a nun the way to promote anti conversion? Such inhuman acts are no less than planting bombs that kill innocent civilians.

But who is behind all this? Who gains the maximum out of the all the chaos that is being created in different parts of the country, be it Orissa, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam or any state for that matter. Certainly not the ‘Common Man’. With double digit inflation and global meltdown he already has a lot of problems to worry about. It is the government who has to take care that his security is not put at stake. After all that’s why we elect them and pay taxes. Isn’t it? But may be they have gotten too used to all the power that they have in their hands. And that is why they are repeating what the British tried to do with our country, Divide and Rule. It is just a matter of who divides better and rules with more tact.

Time and again politicians have ripped open the heart of the nation to merely soak their hands in blood and wipe them off when they are satisfied. It becomes news for sometime and each party takes a stance – a stance that would be most beneficial to them and get them the maximum votes. After their needs are met no one even bothers asking a question until and unless it has some political impact. In the recent scenario for example just to make his Muslim vote bank in Uttar Pradesh happy, Amar Singh wanted a probe into the Jamia Nagar incident. Does that mean the police were totally clueless and opened fire blindly at the slain IM terrorists? Instead of requesting for an impartial investigation Mr. Singh believes that kicking some mud would raise his status in the eyes of his Muslim vote bank, something he badly needs to counter Mayawati. The BJP on the other hand wants to make the word ‘terror’ synonymous with the word ‘Muslim’ so as to become the messiah of the Hindu electorate. The Congress too is perplexed and doesn’t know which side to take. Sections of the party want to go against Mr. Singh while another section wants the Orissa government to resign for its failure to maintain law and order. If that is the case then even the congress government in Assam should step down for its absolute indifference to the illegal migrants problem.

All this is happening merely in the quest of power. They have no problem if people keep getting slaughtered in a limited and controllable number in a given period. This keeps alive the so called ‘Agenda’. At the end of the day it is only some unknown faces from the masses that get wiped out and a few families turn homeless. That’s not much collateral damage. Not one party has addressed or even tried to hint at addressing the basic security issue of the common man. Why should they? They have a flashing red light Ambassador to protect them from the woes and troubles of being a common man. At the end of the day it is only about Power and that’s about it!!!

Aravind Shines at the Booker

Aravind Adiga’s bestselling novel “The White Tiger” bagged the 2008 Man Booker Prize in a year that has been very eventful and fruitful for the Indian publishing industry. The Mumbai based author was born of an Australian father and Indian mother in Chennai, partially brought up in Australia and was educated at Columbia and Oxford. He worked as a journalist for the Time magazine in Delhi for a while but writing being his passion gave up his day job to concentrate more on his book. And the hard work has paid off. There were time Adiga says when he had to fight for survival, without a job and staying in a rented flat in Mumbai. But now he is richer by ₤50000 and is sure to forget his days of penury in the coming times.

He is the second youngest ever to win the prestigious award which is considered the Nobel of literature. Earlier this year Salman Rushdie another prolific Indian writer was awarded the Booker of Bookers for his controversial book “The Midnight’s Children”. The special award marked the 40th anniversary of the prestigious award. Aravind joins a celebrated list of Indian authors as he became the fifth Indian origin writer to win the Booker. The other four being VS Naipaul for “In A Free State” (1971), Salman Rushdie for “Midnight’s Children” (1981), Arundhati Roy for “The God of Small Things” (1997) and Kiran Desai who won it for “The Inheritance of Loss” (2006).

The Booker Prize Awardee is considered to be a gold mine by the behemoths of the publishing industry. Sales rise exponentially once a title has been recognized by the Booker. Awards such as the one by the Sahitya Academy could lead to an increase in sales of say 10 copies but if the book has been critically acclaimed by the Booker sales could increase by up to 10000 copies a month. This is certainly a sign of good things to come for the Indian publishing industry. When Arundhati Roy became the first Indian to win the Booker in 1997 the ripples of her win was felt throughout the industry. Many young authors were encouraged to write and express themselves and represent the so called third world Diaspora to the world.

The White Tiger had another Indian competitor in the form of Amitav Ghosh’s “Sea of Poppies” which is an equally captivating novel. The White Tiger explores the growing disparity between the materialistic urban elite and the underprivileged rural poor. It beautifully shows how things can change when people of the two classes meet and exchange fortunes. The main protagonist of the novel Balram Halwai is a self styled Bangalore businessman who is representative of the rags to riches entrepreneur of new India. The novel is in the form of a series of letters Halwai writes to the Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, who wishes to give something special and exquisitely Indian to Jiabao on the eve of his visit to the Silicon Valley of India. He believed in the resurgence of the East and says that he wants to do something “out of respect for the love of liberty shown by the Chinese people, and also in the belief that the future of the world lies with the yellow man and the brown man now that our erstwhile master, the white-skinned man, has wasted himself through buggery, mobile phone usage and drug abuse”.

Aravind dedicates the book to the people of Delhi as he believes that  is the place where everyone comes for a solution to their problems. It is according to him the most viscerally connected part of the country to all the other parts. He states that Delhi is India’s city of the 21st century. The title of the book is taken from a white tiger in the Delhi zoo which is supposed to be a very rare kind of animal bred only through genetic mutation once in a generation. Aravind says that the main protagonist is also a White Tiger in his own right for the way he stands out among all the other people and what he does. It is based on the idea of a chauffeur of a rich man’s car and how they can change things with what they get to hear in the car. Many important deals are struck in their presence and they are expected to be mute spectators. But what if some breaks this norm and uses the information that he gets. The book according to him relocates India in the new political and economic context in literature. It is a story of the resurgent India where almost 400 million people are still underprivileged and whose voices are not heard. The White Tiger is an attempt to bring their voices to the forefront, an attempt to give vent to the voices of the unknown fellow travellers you meet during those endless train journeys and thus capturing the essence of what is truly Indian and how it is changing.


What do the traffic lights mean to you? Well if we go by the book the red one is for ‘Stop’, the yellow one for ‘wait’ or ‘relax’ and the green one for ‘Go’. For most Indians however the denotation of these lights change somewhat. Most of the time people don’t want to stop at red lights. Even if they do they will probably have crossed almost half the road and standing at the middle of the crossing sometimes even on the zebra crossing which is supposed to be an offence.

The yellow light seems to have a sort of humorous connotation for us Indians. In most of the developed countries the yellow indicates that it is time to slow down and wait for the light to turn red. But as they say, India is a land of peculiarities where meanings are twisted and modified to suit one’s own requirements. I have observed time and again that almost every time the light turns yellow a sudden urgency comes upon the person and he or she tends to rush ahead caring little about the problem it could cause to fellow travellers. At all costs one has to avoid the light turning red. This could lead to dire consequences as one would have to stop and abide by the traffic rules. I guess the only light that makes sense to the Indian masses is the green one except that at certain times some people don’t understand that the light turned green only for the ones taking a right and not for them. But since it is green irrespective of the direction it is indicating they need to tell the people in front of them that it is high time they made a move. And this can be only done by an incessant honking of their horns which must have been gifted to them by their father-in-law. I simply don’t understand why people in India behave so strangely especially when they are on the road.

I guess we Indians have over the time developed a general tendency to break the law and care the least about the problems social and otherwise that it could create. Even the recent ban on smoking in public places has been taken as a sort of challenge by most of my smoking friends. And I believe this is the general scenario across the country. People seem to get a kick out of breaking the law. One of my friends said ‘Lets see what they can do?’. It is another thing that this ban in itself is flawed because you cannot stop people from smoking if the cigarettes itself are available in public. What I think they should have done is start a drive to removing all the cigarette and pan shops from public places like bus stops, roadsides and corners of colony markets.

But whatever the government is doing and whatever the next one will do we have to make sure as individuals to rid ourselves of this habit of breaking the law. If the laws were strictly applied and people were even a little scared of the guardians of order then may be many of the troubles of the country could have been avoided. When the court threatened to ban the Bajrang Dal for its coercive and anti-social activities across the country especially in Orissa then they dared them to do it. They warned of grave consequences that could befall the governments and the law and order situation as a whole. What has given them the guts to do so? I guess even here the subconscious tendency came into play. They are least scared about what could occur to them because according to them “Nothing can happen to them”. The system itself is running on black money and unless all the leaks and faults are not checked we will never be able to realise the economic progress that the country is witnessing right now.

It is strange and somewhat funny to hear experts opine that India could be somewhat immune to the global meltdown scenario. This is not because the country is not very involved in the global economy and transactions but because of the massive amount of red tapeism that prevails in every sector. This tends to decrease the trickle down effect of the fluctuations and hence our country will survive a Recession if there’s any. Funny isn’t it. In fact we should be ashamed of not being part of elite club as yet. No doubt the country is making rapid progress in every sphere. Be it the nuclear deal, the 8% growth and fast growing forex reserves. But it could have been much faster. An expert stated that the economy is moving outward with a huge centripetal force and making rapid progress. But an even greater centrifugal force is dragging it in and reducing the overall effect of the force. This centrifugal force is in the form of corruption, red tapeism, communalism and of course external threats as well. As long as these components are not neutralised India will never be able to challenge its global competitors. And I still maintain that underlying all these major deterrents is the simple tendency to break the law and being selfish. Until every individual realises this we will have to Wait??? Are you still in doubt?

Has The Little Master Lost His Magical Touch?

There was a time when the heartbeat of the nation stopped each time Sachin Tendulkar got dismissed. But I suppose the magic of this classy batsman has worn out a bit. As he crawls on to the world record of the most runs in Test Cricket held by Brian Charles Lara of the West Indies the media’s hype has lost steam with Sachin getting out cheaply on the last few occasions. Many people are now even questioning his very presence in the team. They think that like Saurav he too should part ways so that young blood may be infused in the team. But these so called critics never recognise the amount of glory the Master Blaster has brought for the country. Every player has his good and bad patches in terms of records. Yes I agree that may be a batsman of his calibre shouldn’t take so much time to break the record. Today he is just 15 runs short of the much elusive record. But that does not mean he should leave the team because some people think he isn’t good enough anymore.

Sachin is more than just a batsman in the team. He is one of the key driving forces and even if he fails to perform with the bat he is a source of inspiration to the youngsters of the team. Many of the players in the team today grew up watching Tendulkar play. They idolised him and tried to copy his style as well as temperament. How many times have we compared the young and dashing Sehwag with Sachin? Is it mere coincidence that his style is quite similar to the Little Master. I don’t think so. Sehwag being much younger to Sachin agrees that he always had a knack to copy and play like Sachin did in his younger days.

In such a scenario when a player like Sehwag had taken Sachin to be his idol and learnt much from him it is all the more important that younger players get a chance to brush of the magic that the Little Master produces. People have a lot to learn from the humble legend. Whoever has held the reins of the team be it Ganguly, Dravid, Dhoni or Kumble they have always consulted Sachin in nail biting situations. He is a major part of the think tank of the team and brings a huge load of experience.

It might be that the format of the game has changed quite a bit. But a batsman of his calibre can adapt to most situations and as far as retirement goes I think speculators should count that out until the next World Cup at least. There is a lot more he has to offer to the country even now and it is not right limiting his performance to mere textbook records. A legend like him should not walk out of the ground in such a tame manner. There is still much time before he hung up his boots and I would love it if he did it in his signature style. And I am sure people all over the country would love to watch him play his natural no holds barred game yet again. It will always be a delight to watch him play. Till then we should stand by him and not discourage him like people in our country tend to do. There is still a lot of firepower left and it is a matter of time before the guns start firing again.

Its High Time Now!

Everybody knows that there is a dark cloud hanging over us called Global Warming. But still people tend to ignore the disastrous consequences and want to make the make the maximum profits from their ventures. Who needs to worry about what is going to happen in fifty years or so? Why not make the maximum profits from today rather than limit ourselves in fear of harming the environment? Well some of bureaucrats of the developed countries still hold this opinion. But they hadn’t realised till now that what was theoretically supposed to happen in fifty years or so could start now itself. Scientists studying climate change agree that more than fifty percent of the natural calamities happening in recent times would have been much less destructive if not for Climate change and hence Global Warming. Anyone who has watched Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” would be shocked out of their senses. If we don’t act now maybe we never will.

The alarming rate at which the earth’s atmosphere is heating up could lead to some drastic consequences. Global warming as we all know is caused due to the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon-di-oxide that traps the excess amount of heat and solar radiation in the atmosphere that should have been otherwise exhaled into space. This carbon-di-oxide in turn traps the more sun light and thus heats up the atmosphere. If these carbon emissions are not reduced then not only will there be a major climate change but the earth as we know it might just become too hot to live in.

Glaciers at the poles and all around the globe have already started melting rapidly and it is predicted that within a span of fifty years the average temperature of the earth could go up by as much as 5 degree Celsius. As we are already witnessing this is leading to major shifts in climate patterns and extreme conditions building up in various ecological and bio-diverse regions. It is the need of the hour to control our destructive ways or else tomorrow we might end up without a home (our planet) in a race for political and economic power. Almost every sector or profession is looking at climate friendly methodologies to reduce the amount of pollution of the atmosphere and thus greener ways. Design is intricately involved in every aspect of this march towards a cleaner planet and Green or Sustainable Design is what is being promoted by almost every company today. If we do not improve our ways with more eco friendly products then we could be heading for a major disaster. Thus whatever processes are involved in creating environmentally friendly products have to be eco friendly as well. Strict norms have already been set up by companies which need to be abided to create a better and cleaner future for the coming generations.

Its High time now that governments around the world keep aside their

differences and work together to save the planet. Alternative sources of energy must be harnessed in better capacity and use of fossil fuels needs to cut down upon. Also every individual should do everything possible to decrease the amount of energy he or she is wasting. It has to start at every home and in every nook and corner of the world. Because when disasters do happen like Hurricane Katrina or that in Myanmar they don’t come without any prior notice or only to those who have “sinned” against nature. Why should poor and helpless people face the brunt of profits that some one is making at the other end of the world? We need to stand up in arms against this and we need to do it now.