Archive for November, 2008

obama1Obama’s win has been hailed by many political commentators as the end of the “politics of grievance.” Their argument goes like “now that a black man has come to power, blacks can no longer blame the administration for not listening to their grievances.”

Just because a black is in power, doesn’t mean Afro-Americans are going to get a fair deal.

When A P J Abdul Kalam became the President of India, everyone welcomed a person from the scientific community entering the bureaucracy. Till date, he has been the most popular Indian President in power. But just because he was a Muslim, didn’t mean he in anyway represented the interests of the Indian Muslim.

Everyone knows about the atrocities committed against Muslims during the Gujarat riots. Everyone knows that it was state-sponsored genocide. World-wide human rights organisations, the UN and foreign countries condemned the violence against minorities, but what did Abdul Kalam do? He wasn’t going to antagonize the BJP Government, so he didn’t impose President’s rule in Gujarat or even kalam_veer_savarkarcondemn the violence. He toed the official BJP line and parroted the same things Advani & Vajpayee were saying. When Muslim groups approached him, he carefully avoided even sympathizing with his own community.

Kalam also unveiled the potrait of Hindu ‘mahasabha’ leader Veer Savarkar in the Central Hall of Parliament, after the entire Opposition boycotted the function. Veer Savarkar was the brains behind Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and one of the accused in the case.

Hanging the portrait of the assassin (Veer Savarkar) in the same hall as the assassinated (Gandhi) is an insult to secularism. And Kalam ought to be ashamed of the part he played in it.

My point is just because Abdul Kalam was a Muslim, doesn’t mean he did anything for the welfare of Muslims. The same goes for Pratibha Patil; just because she’s the first woman Indian President, doesn’t mean the 5.6 billion women in India have been emancipated.

The same logic applies to Obama, his win doesn’t mean words like – race transcendence, race neutral, post-racial — hold true.

I don’t buy the argument that Obama’s election proves Americans are living in a post-racial America. Racism still exists. And its not just blacks, America discriminates against other races too; it calls them browns (Indians), Chinkies, Hispanics, Latinos, Jews, Poles, etc.

There are also other questions that rise: Will Obama take a pro-active stance for black rights or leave it to NAACP?

Will Obama be held less or more accountable for issues that affect the black community?

Will Obama’s every appointment of a non-white person be debated at length? Will Obama’s every welfare or non-welfare move be criticized in the light of his skin colour?

Will his election, put advocacy for racial equality on the back burner in the mainstream media?

obama2What will happen when riots in black ghettos break out? How will his administration be criticized? (Though no white President was criticized for the Ku Klux Klan, you can be sure violence by or against blacks will be taken as reflection of Obama’s administration).

Apart from the legitimate questions, there are questions from another realm like: Is Obama black? Is Obama black enough? Is Obama American enough? How can Obama talks about black rights, when none of his ancestors were tortured, beaten up by slave owners, the Ku Klux Klan, white policemen or the state militia? What can Obama know of black poverty in America?

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thanksgivingThanksgiving seems to be making its presence felt in India. Because of the great brain drain or the large-scale immigration, I find too many of my friends in the US; all of whom are making elaborate plans to celebrate this festival with their families.

Some of my other friends, working in BPOs in India, have been magnanimously granted a couple of days leave.

I am yet to find out what the fuss about Thanksgiving is all about. I think America, being a land so poor in history, especially in the last four hundred years, has to magnify and glorify every little thing. Reading about how Betty Ross made the American Flag and how little Washington never told a lie…was so boring, when compared to the Indian Rajputs or Moghuls.

Even now I find the statement “Columbus discovered the New World,” highly irritating. So the Red Indians, who were already living there for hundreds of centuries, don’t count? And discoveries count as discoveries only if they are discovered by the white man?

Indian scholars for long have known that the world was round and that the earth revolved round the sun. But still, I had to study textbooks, a legacy of British imperialism, which praised Nicolaus pilgrimsCopernicus for being the first astronomer to propose a heliocentric cosmology. My Tamil textbooks told me a totally different story.

My other problem with Thanksgiving is the usage of the word “settlers.” It was the Europeans who were settlers and not the Native Americans.

In 1526, 500 Spaniards and 100 Afro-American slaves descended on a place that is now called South Carolina. Disease broke out and clashes with the native Indians caused a lot of deaths.

Within a few months, the slaves had rebelled, killed their masters and joined the Indians. The surviving kather2150 Spaniards left for Haiti, while the ex-slaves stayed. So the first non-Indian settlers were Africans not “white men” as they would have us believe.

In 1565, the Spanish continued settling down by massacring French Protestants in Florida. They continued on their expansion drive and were the original “cowboys.” The cowboy tradition and the Westerns are something that I hate. They portray the white man as noble, brave and gallant. The white man always tries to protect his women from barbaric red Indians. This is an out and out lie. The white man was the oppressor. He was conquering and suppressing the red Indians. When the red Indians revolted they were labeled “barbaric and uncivilized,” while their katherd7oppressors – the cowboys, became the “heroes of American civilization.”

The Myth that popularizes Thanksgiving: “After exploring, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Harbour. They had arrived in December and could not face the New England winter. They got help from friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed them how to grow corn. The colonists planted, fished, hunted, and prepared themselves for the next winter. After harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated the first Thanksgiving.”

The Americans never bother to look at facts, especially facts that paint them in a bad light. The pilgrims brought the plague with them to America. Within three years of their arrival, the plague wiped out between 90 percent and 96 percent of the inhabitants of southern New England, according to historians. The Indians were infected by the settlers and died in large kather3numbers. The survivors fled to other Indian tribes, carrying the infection with them. When the pilgrims landed in Massasoit now called Rhode Island, they saw dead bodies and ruin. Hundreds of Indians had died and no one was left to bury them.

In the next decade, small pox and other epidemics repeatedly struck the Europeans, and the Indians, who had developed no resistance to these “imported diseases.”

James W Loewen relates: “Even, George Washington suffered from the epidemic in his childhood. His face has often been described as “heavily pockmarked. The smallpox was as effective as guns in chiefspiritdestroying the local Indians. John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague “miraculous.” To a friend in England in 1.634, he wrote: But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the Smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not fifty, have put themselves under our protection…”

The Thanksgiving was a necessity. The pilgrims needed the help of the Indians. They would later repay the Indians for their kindness by killing them, raping their women, and putting their children and old people in reservations.

James W Loewen says, “In 1492, more than 3,000,000 Indians lived on the island of Haiti. Forty years kather611later, fewer than 300 remained. King James of England gave thanks to “Almighty God in his great goodness and bounty towards us,” for sending “this wonderful plague among the savages.”

So, I think Americans should actually be ashamed of their history. Just like Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “sorry for all the atrocities carried out against the native population,” the American Presidents should apologize for their behavior towards red Indians, Afro-Americans, Hispanics, the Irish, the Poles and every other immigrant minority population that they subdued and oppressed.

Not that the apology will atone for the atrocities committed, but it will be the first step towards restitution. Instead of baking turkey and puddings for Thanksgiving, they should remember the kather813atrocities committed and the atrocities still being committed (Iraq & Afghanistan) by America at large.

Chief Seattle said, “when the white man began to push our forefathers ever westward. But let us hope that the hostilities between us may never return. We would have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Revenge by young men is considered gain, even at the cost of their own lives, but old men who stay at home in times of war, and mothers who have sons to lose, know better.”

(Pictures courtesy http://www.waupaca.info/katherinegayton.htm)

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scarlett2Gone with the Wind, both the novel and the book have won wide-spread appreciation and acclaim. But the danger lies, because of its popularity. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean its right. Birth of a Nation was popular. Does that mean it was morally right?

Margaret Mitchell might be the best story-teller ever and Scarlett O’ Hara the most adorable heroine of all times, but that doesn’t in any way justify the book’s racist and sexist attitudes.

Malcolm X once said, “The white Southerner, you can say one thing – he is honest. He bares his teeth to the black man; he tells the black man, to his face, that Southern whites never will accept phony ‘integration.’ The Southern white goes further, to tell the black man that he means to fight him every inch of the way – against even the so-called ‘tokenism.’ The advantage of this is the Southern gonewiththewindblack man never has been under any illusions about the opposition he is dealing with.

Gone with the Wind is racist, but since its language is more subtle, we tend to gloss over it. We love pretty women in luxuriant ball gowns, huge mansions, the fight for a so-called “noble cause,” dancing and music. Its unrealistic portrayal of the South and its many historical inaccuracies has not affected its popularity; or maybe it’s popular because it has successfully glamorized the slave era.

Everyone is familiar with the great success of the movie and the film. What was surprising is that most reviewers praised Gone with the Wind and lamented the passing away of the “glorious South.” A South, which never existed except in the white man’s mind.

Black Loyalty:

Why should Afro-Americans be loyal to the whites who have enslaved them? Beats all logic! But this is the premise on which Gone with the Wind and Uncle Tom’s Cabin operate. In both salenovels, you have Afro-Americans – Uncle Tom and Mammy – being extremely loyal to the whites, who repay them for their loyalty by selling their kids and spouses, branding them as property, and chaining them to unremitting labour.

Uncle Tom and Mammy are also the “happy slaves.” What are they trying to do? Condone slavery? Were they trying to establish that the Afro-American was happy under the white man’s rule?

Malcolm X is dead against these “Uncle Tom characters or integration black fools.” I can so empathize with his views.

None of the white people in the book, including Rhett and Ahsley (the only two men who don’t follow the common herd), give Afro-Americans any credit for intelligence.

Scarlett own words are: “How stupid negroes were! They never thought of anything unless they were told.” “How dared they laugh, the black apes! She’d like to have them all whipped until the blood ran down. What devils the Yankees were to set them free!”

The author herself, in a narrative portion says, “The blacks were like monkeys. Destroying everything they black-slaves-1500could lay their hands on….A menace to white women.” What a horrible insinuation! That the Afro-American cannot appreciate his freedom? “Blacks are like monkeys?”

Mitchell even compares their mentality to that of little children, “who must be fed, clothed and protected.” So many characters in the book, say what Mitchell feels, that Afro-Americans don’t and can’t do anything unless they are ordered to do so.

Characters like Pork and Uncle Peter embody the silent loyalty and faithfulness expected of the white man, after denying the Afro-American his freedom, his dignity and life.

Slaves can only have minor roles and must be happy with their lot. Selznick’s Gone with the Wind is in many gonemammy1ways worse than the book. Prissy, who is shown as a lazy girl in the book, is turned into a really stupid person in the film.

Gone with the Wind also sends out the message: “Nice blacks stay with their masters. Nice blacks don’t want freedom. Nice blacks hate Abraham Lincoln. Wicked blacks run riot, desert their masters and desire white women.”

Even in Uncle Tom’s cabin, the nice Afro-Americans are the ones who chose loyalty to their masters over freedom.

Strong Female White characters

One of the positive aspects is the strong female white characters it portrays. Scarlett is in a way legendary. vivien-leigh-postersHer survival instincts are high. Where men have failed, she not only succeeds but triumphs. She cares a naught for social approval, whether it comes to marrying three men in a row or sharp, cut-throat business dealings.

Though the book tries to portray Ellen and Melanie as noble women with the “right” values, I don’t find them half as appealing as Scarlett. Scarlett thinks for herself. Her desires are independent of her husband’s desires. She doesn’t act like a goody, goody. If Ellen and Melanie were really all that good, they would have opposed slavery, not turned a blind eye to the sufferings of black people (I know I’m beginning to sound like a Methodist preacher, but I can’t help the vehemence).

In one of the lines, Scarlett says that Uncle Tom’s cabin is nonsense. She claims Southerners always treated their “darkies well.” She denies the existence of bloodhounds or arms to keep slaves from escaping. Lines like these are absolute rubbish! What person, in his right mind, would prefer slavery to freedom? And vivien-leigh-and-clark-gable1Margaret Mitchell is also asking us to believe that the whites did not use force to keep the blacks from revolting. Too much, I say! So lynchings never happened?

Even Rhett Butler, who has not inherited many of the prejudices of the white Southern (ironically) “gentleman,” feels justified in killing a black man, all because he has the termity to get “uppity with a white woman.”

Gerald O Hara, who is generally portrayed as a kind-hearted shrewd Irish Southerner, also feels “blacks are inferiors.” Scarlett’s mom exhorts her to treat “inferiors kindly, but firmly.”

Problems with the film

The film, glosses over war, death, disease, racist slurs, brothels, adultery and miscarriages. The film also rhettgreatly alters the original script. Scarlett O Hara obviously cannot be portrayed a virgin waiting to be ravished by Rhett Butler, so they do the next best thing. She doesn’t have any children till Rhett comes along. Since a mother of two on her third attempt at marriage might not sound glamorous, the film tried to make her first two marriages almost non-existent in the minds of the viewer and highlight only the glorious romance with Rhett.

But even here, the night of the showdown, when Rhett forcibly takes her to his bed…there is something too distasteful and insidious, because Scarlett is shown to have enjoyed the semi-rape; dangerous conclusions can be drawn. And both in the movie and book, there is the autant en emporte le ventconstant refrain that Scarlett needs someone to boss over her or she would bully them.

There is also the suggestion that a marriage can be happy only if the wife submits to her husband or at least pretends to submit to him.

Hattie McDaniel became the first Afro-American to win an Academy Award for her role in Gone with the Wind. But then again, this cannot be taken as a real step forward. The very same Hattie Mc Daniel was unable to attend the Georgia premier of the movie, because Georgia was a segregated state. Clark Gable, to his credit, protested, but in the end McDaniel solved the problem for the racists by not appearing for the show.

The Ku Klux Klan

It is a shame that racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan are still allowed to function in the US. Both theku_klux_klan film and the book justify the actions of this despicable organization. According to Mitchell, respectable white men join this organization to protect the honour of their white women. The Ku Klux Klan has used violence to suppress Afro-Americans, Jews, Roman Catholics and labour unions.

There is also strong evidence to suggest that Margaret Mitchell was influenced by D W Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Birth of a Nation, is the archetypical white supremacy film, which justifies lynchings of black men. I can only end by quoting Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird: “you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption, the evil assumption, that all negroes lie; all negroes are basically immoral beings; all negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption that one associates with minds of their caliber, and which is in itself, gentlemen, a lie.”

(Justification for this long diatribe: I read Gone with the Wind when I was 10 and loved it. The references to Afro-Americans made me uncomfortable. But it was only after I became 14 did I come to fully realise the depth of racism in the book. I have for long wanted to write this, and I still haven’t written everything I want to say…but that will have to wait)

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The Reserve Bank of India has come out with a financial education series. I found the series too good. I only wish I had such material when I was in school. I would have definetly opted for the humanities instead of the sciences.

*The RBI has said: “Reproduction of this material is permitted provided the source is acknowledged.”

So here we go, into the world of Money Kumar and the RBI!


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roses“God is on the side of the strongest battalion,” says Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. For me, this line appealed more to my practical side than the lines from “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

And later I found out that the line was not a Margaret Mitchell original, but an allusion to Napoleon’s saying “God is on the side of the strongest battalion.” I now find out that Napoleon was actually making an allusion to Voltaire’s classic, “God is on the side of the big battalions.”

Some people eulogise the dead with Shakespeare’s “Some men are born to greatness, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” I have seen the very same words embossed on graves at St George’s Cathedral.

This is a gross misapplication of the lines from the Twelfth Night, because they were originally meant to ridicule red_rose1the pomposity of men. But my professor Mr Watson Solomon, says it ok to use it now as a tribute, because sayings tend to gain a different meaning over a period of time and one must also look at the context and the intention with which it was said.

“To be, or not to be:

that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind

to suffer The slings and arrows

of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles”

Some of the best know lines in English lit from Hamlet. My prof taught us the “law of poetic license” by showing us how this poem broke the rules of grammar; but couldn’t be so effective if it had not. He said the poem made the best use of rhythm, rhyme & alliteration. The higher law of poetic license can & must supersede the common demands of correct usage, he said.


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kidstvHow did one survive growing up in the 90’s? Definitely not by sitting glued in front of television sets. I am continuously amazed at the amount of time my nephew and our neighbouring toddler, can put in just surfing TV channels. The two usually have major fights as to the merits of Pogo vs Nickelodeon or Chutti TV vs Disney, while all the adults try to act as peacemakers and make sneaky attempts to grab the remote.

When my precocious seven-year-old nephew started singing songs like KalyaNamdhan kattikittu Odi polaama?
illa Odi poyee kalyaNamdhaan kattikalaama?

thaaliyathaan kattikittu pethukalama?
illa pulla kutti pethukittu kattikalama
? I was stunned. (For those not conversant with Tamil, the song lyrics go something like: “Should we elope and get married or get married and elope? Should we get married and have kids or have kids and then get married?”)

Then he started singing, “Dey Kaiya vachittu summa iruda (The song goes on to baser levels, with people asking how it will be if someone touches them here, kisses them there…Shucks!)

Now he seems to know everything about the birds and bees, if one gauges his knowledge by the songs he sings. ramayana

I remember my TV watching episodes as a kid were quite innocent in comparison. The worst crime, me and my parents committed, according to my grandparents, was sitting at home on a Sunday morning, watching “Mahabarata and Ramayana” instead of going to church.

I once got a nice, tight slap from my mom for singing “Choli Ke Peechey Kya He, Chumri Ke Neeche Kya He” in front of a few guests. I got to know the meaning of the words only much later.

For me, I remember Simran best as the compere for Superhit Muquabla and Preity Zinta as the bubbly teen in Liril and Perk ads. On a rainy day, I would even settle down to watch “Vaiyalum vazhvum.”

I am a prime example of the media-bullet theory of influence. As a kid, my favourite treat was Maggie 2-minute noodles, because of the Maggie ads on Doordarshan. I would imagine I was Cuthbert Calculus when DD’s Turning Point came on air.

When the TV was not switched on, I would be reliving the adventures of Tintin & Snowy and Asterix & Obelix. Strange to think, that I have achieved my very first ambition – that of being a reporter, though my job profile doesn’t even remotely resemble the Tintin escapades. Influenced by writers like Kenneth Anderson, Gerald Durrell, Jim Corbett, Rudyard Kipling and James Herriot, my jungle-bookambitions vacillated between being a zoo warden, an animal trainer, a forest range officer, a veterinary doctor, a zoologist and a wildlife photographer. Currently, I have to satisfy myself with being a journalist and a pet owner.

Chitrahar, Chitramala, Oliyum Oliyum and the Sunday feature film was a must watch for the family.

Coming from a very orthodox and strict Pentecostal family, I would watch with a sense of guilt, but still thoroughly enjoy it all the same. Doordarshan introduced me to the world of Satayajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Malgudi Days, Sinbad the Sailor, The Jungle Book, etc. For me the transition from comics to novels, happened because of TV or the lack of it. I remember seeing the serial adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson and because I couldn’t wait till the next week to know what happened, I started reading the abridged version.

From there it was a short step to Robinson Crusoe and Children of the New Forest. Then Oliver Twist, Malgudi Days and Jungle Book was aired; inspiring me to read the original books.

Soon, I was hooked to books and started ignoring DD. I preferred reading Dennis the Menace to watching the movies, preferred reading Wizard of Oz to seeing the VCD, and preferred readingwizard-of-oz-dvdcover Gerald Durrell to watching Turning Point. Even now books hold a stronger lure; I prefer Harry Potter books to the movies and Edith Wharton’s original The Age of Innocence to Martin Scorsese’s adaptation.

Junoon was a sore point for my grandma. Being a Pentecostal, she found it hard to reconcile her liking for the melodrama. But some of my more canny Pentecostal friends have got around the bans imposed by pastors. Since pastors exhort them not to go to “theatres and watch cinemas,” many Christian families can be seen renting DVDs and watching them at home. I don’t how watching the same movie at home is a holier pastime than watching it with a crowd in a theatre.

Even though there would be regular interruptions on Doordarshan, people never switched off their television sets. I remember seeing my aunt once sitting in front of an empty screen, cutting vegetables and waiting for the broadcast to resume; her logic being she didn’t want to miss a second of Junoon.

Doordarshan often used the national integrity song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” as space fillers. I remember getting goosebumps everytime I watched the song; used to make me feel so “patrotic and Indian.” Surabhi, was one of those programmes, I could watch without PG (Parental Guidance). After Kamal Hassan’s sensual song “Sivarathiri thookam yethu” was aired on Oliyum Oliyum, I couldn’t watch any filmy stuff on TV in the absence of my parents.

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gifts1Gift-wrapping is something that I love doing. My earliest memories are gift-wrapping empty boxes to be kept as decoration underneath our plastic Christmas tree.

The gayily-wrapped gift boxes of course didn’t have anything in them. But one of my little cousins, unaware of the illusion, proceeded to tear open the gifts under the tree the minute his mother’s back was turned on him. Soon he had the entire drawing room strewn with string, ribbons and wrapping paper. I arrived on the scene to find him opening a box.

Then all hell broke loose! I was furious with him and screamed (being 12, and apt to take them things very personal). He was furious with the box (he was four and vociferous), for proving empty and screamed. And all the parents were furious when they saw the mess created and they also screamed. gift2

Since, he had string, ribbons, cellotape and glue all over him, he was taken off for a bath and I was ordered to sweep up the mess. After which, I was ordered to hang up the presents on the tree (leaving less place for my other Christmas ornaments).

My attempts at Christmas decorations have always proved dangerous. Once I hung up a glittery “Happy Christmas” handmade sign atop the doorway, only to have it crashing down on the visiting pastor’s head.

And then the other time when I hung up, fake icicles and gold-painted fir cones on the hallway, the entire chain came down on my grandmother who was carrying the pal-payasam to the dining room. The pal payasam, needless to say, was uneatable and my grandma sore. After gift3which, there were new orders that I was to restrict my decorations to the drawing room.

But I was not the only one with the butterfingers; my dad and my granddad were equally inept at putting up the Christmas star. And then again, I had a few superstitious relatives, who always commented on the fact that we were hanging our star the wrong side up, so that instead of being David’s star, it became the star used for black magic.

And then there was the time, when I decided I’d hang up strings of pop-corn instead of the usual electric lights and didn’t bother to tell my parents about my decision. The next morning, we woke up to an army of gift4ants feasting on our tree. And no one was able to get within an inch of it. I had also hung up some real apples on the tree with the result that some of the branches had snapped with the strain and broke a crystal vase, filled with flowers, which ruined the carpet especially put out for Christmas. After which, I was issued a big list of “Do’s and Don’ts for Christmas.”

P.S. I’ve put up a few pictures of the gifts I had wrapped for Diwali for my office people.

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hindutvasword-poster1Fanaticism is something, I abore! And religious fanaticism is something unpalatable.

Events like Godhra, Ayodhya, the Gujarat riots or the atrocities against Christians in Orissa are something I find hard to digest.

Violence against minorities has become a trump card for many right-wing politicians. Since, no politician can deliver things like good roads, quality education and health care, regular supply of electricity or drinking water, they use diversionary tactics. One of the most successful diversionary tactic is to blame it all on the minorities.

So you can hear politicians say things like: “Hum panch, hamara panch,” “Muslims breed too much,” “Christians get funding from the US, they are George Bush’s stooges,” “India is for Hindus; out with the minorities,” “If you become a Hindu you can stay in India or else leave for Pakistan,” “Christian women are immoral and ape the West,” and “Valentine’s Day is against India’s culture.”

An extension of this is the regional separatist movements, in which to hide their inefficiency, politicians come up with slogans like, “Cauvery water is only for Karnataka,” or “Cauvery is only for Tamil Nadu,” “Mumbai is only for Marathis,” “Punjab must be a separate state,” rik-poster-back-cover1“Be proud to be a Tamilan,” “Ban Tamil films, only Kannada films in Karnataka,” “Kashmir is part of India,” & “Only Biharis should get jobs in Bihar.”

Some Indian politicians take diversionary tactics to international levels, they say, “Kill every Pakistani,” or “Support the LTTE,” “Ban the LTTE,” “No more refugees from Bangladesh, let them go to Pakistan,” “Every Muslim is a terrorist, destroy the Taliban,” “Support Israel’s war against Muslim terrorism,” or “Support the Palestinian war against Christian, Jewish terrorism.”

I’m going to come up with my own slogans, “Ban the Left in Nandigram, Singur,” “Ban the right in Orissa, Gujarat,” “Stop the Indo-US nuke deal,” “Third World countries don’t need second-hand goods, outdated technology and scrap material from the West,” “Stop religious competitiveness,” & “Stop hate-mail on the net.”

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