Category Archives: Politics

The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar – a book review

the-thirteenth-day-400x400

Publisher Rupa Publications India
ISBN-10 8129134756
Number of Pages 260 Pages
Publication Year 2015 June
Language English
ISBN-13 9788129134752
Binding Paperback

Mahabharatha – the epic unparalled has be retold umpteen number of times and we have this coming up by authors who give it a perspective that’s new and sometimes create a story in a story. Here Aditya in his foreword very clearly says its an attempt to see a modern era description that was set in the Mahabharatha days. May be this war happened and it still is happening in a different way.

The Kurukshetra war was going nowhere, and the reason was both sides were doing well for themselves. The story opens on 10th day when Bhishma is laid to a bed of arrows by his favourite grandson Arjuna with Shikandi propping up as a shield in front.

This narrative is by three characters, Yudhishtra, Radheya – Karna as we know and Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna. Aditya weaves a wonderful narration taking us through the minds of Yudhishtra, Radheya and Abhimanyu. A stark contrast in terms of their mental makeup and how they look at the war from their positions makes for an interesting read.

A fast paced story of the three days at war that actually changes the course of the result makes for a nice gripping read. The authors authority on the subject comes through the descriptions of the war field the people and the special ways they have been celebrated.

The author shows a mirror in terms of the characters trying to assert themselves even in the face of immoral and ambitious search for glory. Sometimes as they say its not the means but the end. Goaded by that there is a lot of unethical war room strategies and execution that are there, like the way Abhimanyu is killed by everyone you can think of on the Kaurava side.

The best is how the mental make up of all the three characters show up in times of crisis and how they react to the same situation and well everyone had an agenda of their own as much as we do it today.

A nice read and well presented with first person account makes it easy to go with the flow. At times you are in the battle field, at the council hall meetings and walking alongside the characters. Loved the simple and effective prose which actually makes you feel like you are being with the characters.

A classic retelling without losing the charm of the characters, riding with their ambitions, anxieties, fear and sometimes with a hope for the war to be over. Things could have gone either way and this 13th day sets the course for the next 5 days when the war is completed. If you are fond of mythology and its retelling, you will need to read this book.

Buy the book here on Flipkart http://www.flipkart.com/thirteenth-day-story-kurukshetra-war-english/p/itme7cenauf5zxg3?pid=9788129134752

Senthil

Media and its narratives – a sad state of affairs

hashtag3-cc

Watched TV after a long time, especially the news. Felt happy that I was not watching them all this while. So much of distorted reporting.

Sometime in my life, I wanted to be a Journalist, it was the most noble career after teaching, Infact I did take to the stage as a news reporter in my fancy dress competitions quite a few time during school days and rocked the stage at Mock Press during college days. Somewhere felt advertising was a calling and then left the journalistic urge fall by the wayside.

Looking back, now its a revelation in a way,  that the journos were the conscious keepers of the society, and you look up to them. But today its more of a propaganda made right with vested interest and leading questions to get something that they want for TRP. When news channels look at trp you can be sure what goes for a six, the values that instill in a sense of propriety that they owe to the viewers and the country.

I dont want to talk of Radia tapes and other stuff, but you know even in this profession there is this haves and have nots. But the regional players are much better off than their English counterparts when it comes to being committed.

The English media thinks out of the NCR/Delhi and they have no sense about the rural areas. That’s why you have Arushi case being peddled so much to tarnish the image of the investigators and the judges. I was happy to read an article on Ink Magazine about how the English Language media scuttled all that was done by the Noida Police during the first few days.

That the narrative can be led to what they want is the biggest bane that English Language Media has done to the fabric of the nation.

Now with Social Media they are fast losing relevance and very sad that some channels with less than 1% access to the population is dictating the narrative.

More so the worrisome factor is the trends of twitter setting the narrative, some 100 people tweet and make it a narrative. The fact that even 20% of the people dont have access to internet is lost on those who want to talk on every issue under the sun. Talking of which its the media savvy standup comics who are lending the commentary on the society, make it a sorry state of affair.

Hmmm so much to write after a long time. Will get on more frequently!

Pic Courtesy http://www.niemanlab.org/images/hashtag3-cc.jpg

A president who set a precedent! (A day with Dr. Kalam)

abdul_kalam

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, these words are an inspiration as far as the younger lot is concerned. The name evokes a certain enigma which defies conventional apathy to politicians and the attitude people have come to expect of people in high places. This man is really supernatural.

One thing unseemingly, Mulayam Singh Yadav did was propose his name and make him the First citizen of this country. Of all things I like about politicians (though I hate them as a class they are,) this was the best thing they did to their country. Making Dr. APJ aka Kalam the president of the country.

This man is really a superhuman being. We are just out of the euphoria of having had him at our city for a full day. Literally, the president spent his full day talking to all the cross sections of the society and most importantly the children – on whom he has great faith that they will make the country the superpower he intends it to be.

(I have had the opportunity of watching him in close quarters years back because of my responsibility for the press. it was before he became the first citizen. he was the principal scientific adviser and donned himself the mantle of touring the country and meeting the children and talk with them. it is said if you have an agenda with children then you can easily get dr. Kalam to visit you. if it happened to be an academic institution, he would make it more easy.

The crowd was overflowing to see the man, who had already become an icon. He started talking in English and then when he wanted to quote Bharathiar, the Tamil poet he was all eloquence, and it flowed out of him so easily and it was form the heart. Earlier when he started the speech, one of the press corps friends of mine said, I think he is going to repeat what he did today morning (our event was slated for the evening) and he did start that way but he did make a real presentation. He had statistics with him he operates with a PowerPoint presentation. The more he wants to express the deeper the sincerity and warmth of expression. When he burst into pure classical Tamil, there was a round of applause to see him so easily recite the Kural and the Gita with elan, that everybody would be inspired to make something out of his/ her career.)

Not many would have tread a path Dr. Kalam chose, even with his career and they way he manages science and technology even today, I think it means a lot of hope for the scientific community at large. Watch him at SHAR and then watch him at a concert, this man is real god.

His presidency was something which gave every young Indian a dream to think about his country.

Now to the city visit.

The whole day he made it a point to be busy. We doubt if any political leader his age would really give appointments like Dr. Kalam does. Starting the day with an academic institution and ending the day with one of course he had time for one of his former classmates. How often do you think people in high places can make time for friends, and when you are a president? Lucky Mr. Sampath Kumar.

Everywhere people throng to meet him – have a glimpse of their idol.

“He has a soft corner for our city I suppose he has been regular” said one of the onlookers.

“It is just sheer inspiration watching him drives by.”

“I will tell my classmates that I saw the President.” of course who else a class 6 student.

Lot of reactions like this from the onlookers who are mostly students and youngsters in colleges.

He travelled almost 140 km inside our city limits that’s too much to ask of a nations’ president. I travel just 40 km in two instances of 20 each and I know how tough it is but only Dr. Kalam can make it, he is no ordinary man.

Our city limits can extend to maximum say 22 kms and talk of 140 km inside city limits.

He launches a Village resource centre under the auspices of the Amrita Deemed University, and a joint venture with ISRO of his yesteryears. He makes an impact with students out there and makes them pledge they will work and they will dream.

He even wanted them to repeat, when that wasn’t loud enough he asked if they all had their breakfast sending peals of laughter. (You need to laugh and it makes your day and others too) and no reading the paper business, though he comes prepared with one.

“For preparing the future generations for a knowledge based society, that lies ahead of them educational institutions should focus on capacity building, with a view to equip students with creativity and innovative skills, which would be relevant to the society.” he said.

Then he travels down to another far end of the city to inaugurate an international industrial exhibition. The best part is he knows what they are taking about be it engineering or technology. The man is full of ears to listen and to assimilate so that he can include in his vision.

He didn’t disappoint because he gave them a mission to accomplish:
• design and develop products for the world markets
• design is crucial for cost effectiveness
• focus on textile and healthcare
• be self reliant in critical technologies
• revive small scale industries
• buy component form local cottage industries

Then he is there back with student at another college. Interaction is the key and our president simply loves talking to students.

He meets up with an NGO Green Valley revolution and wishes them all the best when he is back at the circuit house for lunch.

He meets with the talk of the town NGO Siruthuli which has changed the ecological map of Coimbatore. It has also been a case study for corporate social responsibility.

He wanted this siruthuli to become a flood (Siruthuli in Tamil means a drop of water)

At 3.45 pm he hits the road this time at a hospital Ramakrishna Hospital. He dedicates the oncology institute to the nation with a resolve to network cancer hospitals across the country. Only this man can have a vision and mission so sacred.

4.45 pm he is at convocation at the centennial celebrating Tamil Nadu Agri University. His own playground i.e., convocation ceremonies, I mean.

The mantra for the second green revolution:

He outlined “soil to seed; seed to grain; grain to food and food to marketing” also stressing integrated development of agriculture.

Sure he is gone one up than Philip Kotler.

He crosses time barriers and then goes to another university. This one is named after his favourite poet Bharathiar.

Here he inaugurates the centre for Life sciences a joint venture by DRDO and the university.

All the while wherever he traveled the road is filled with the common man trying to have a glimpse of their people’ president.
Would you believe those people who hate waiting to see the politicians go by actually waited hours together in the night to have a glimpse of him? It happened when he went to see his friend. Though cordoned off they didn’t lose heart he perched on every inch of space to get a glimpse of their role model. Over 5000 people in a single colony road.

He didn’t disappoint either. He walked a few yards to greet everybody. Left to himself he would sign autograph. Maybe he would have thought let me join everybody, but he can’t since the protocols don’t allow him. still he does that quite often – breaking protocols, calls children and hugs them on stage and slows his car to wave his hands… and lot of other things to add.

Last news, he left the city at almost 10.00 pm. the schedule was at 7.25 pm

We love you Dr. Kalam. It has been a great day at Coimbatore.

We hope we will rise to your expectations and we are eager to see you around the next earliest opportunity.

We salute you Dr. Kalam. A son of the great land and a true citizen living a sainthood life.

One of a man kind, one in a billion, you are of course, our people’s President, who sets a precedent….

(PS: I wrote this on July 08, 2005 during his trip to Coimbatore. )

Democrazy by Atulya Mahajan #bookreview

 

a

Atulya Mahajan takes you on a roller coaster ride with the politics of the day in a satire that you will enjoy till the last page of the book is turned.

Aptly titled Democrazy, it is the story of how the mighty and the powerful take the voting gullible public at large for a ride and continue to play God.

I think the book is a classic representation of the electoral politics that we call ourselves as democracy. Except its actually the crazy with the ‘z’ which makes it true.

For all its goodness and its superlative ability to uphold the citizens right, democracy can be take to task if you are skillful and more importantly know how to play it right.

The book has an array of characters which I am sure you can easily identify with, make a pardon there is a disclaimer boss that its all the authors imagination.

There is the Badi Sarkar who wants the Chote Sarkar to be the PM, dont guess who it is, bit the fact is Chote Sarkar is interested in eating icecreams of different flavours.

The characters of the book come straight out of entertainment industry if you ask me especially the news with a nation anchor BB who wants to know everything under the sun relegating the Saas bahu serials to the back burner for the active and know all citizens who want to know it all.

There is a social media activist on twitter who helps his mother get out of an incedent, and then there is a big capitalist all get together to get the democracy working like crazy.

All of them have a goal and that is power never mind it corrupts absolutely. The people taken for a ride across is not significant because they are made ready to be taken for a ride!

With elections in the background and the cacophony of speeches barbs and counter barbs and also the trp hungry TV shows its a classic mockery of the democratic traits that we harbour as sacred.

This is very well set in Indian background and for once after a long time that the election is over I am wondering if the book is a true story!

Highly recommended for a dutiful citizen so that he will be convinced to take off on the election day as if his voting mattered!

Senthilkumar

Here we go the world remade! #theworldremade

Apple

 

“Can you see the apple?” asked God!
“Oh yes I can!” I replied
“Eat this one and be blessed! There’s going to be no Satan henceforth! ” God said and disappeared.

I woke from my dream with that little session of God. I turn to my right to see apples and oranges beautifully arranged on a glass bowl.

I reach for one apple and take a bite, a surge of energy passed through me and I could feel myself vibrant as if an electric current passed through me. Feeling as if I became a super man I walked to the window and saw a pale picture of the road and a beggar crossing it.

‘How I wish there was no poverty so that the man walking there doesn’t have to beg for food?’ I thought and behold below me on the street were two angels who came and dressed him in best clothes and vanished and then came a road cart full of food near the once a beggar and he was surprised and ate to his contentment.

Oh it works I thought, very pleasantly surprised with myself and not able to conceal the surprise.

I thought may this extend to the whole world, may be it happens may be I may not see them for real, nevertheless I saw the whole world change over in a flash – a timelapse presented in front on my eyes.

Once the food is done what would you want the guys to live for obviously for nothing. Lazy minds are devils workshop. They generate ideas to disturb peace not only for themselves but others too.

The best part is to make them play what they want to play because the food is already there. Lest there be corruption, contentment will be default. Everytime they make money they would ask if its enough, good enough for them and more over if they need money.

When this is done, love happens without being forced. Make them see the other human beings as a part of themselves. So they cannot hurt, and being human is the religion.  Make them forget about their God.

The land gets the rain, the food is grown, harvested and cooked, the cycle continues, the sun rises the sun sets and the men go dancing around.

The best part is the technological marvel is left as it and continues to help the people. When the food and education is free and a basic human right, we have a world which will be less fighting and less harming the people. Dogmas are relegated to the back seat simply because the men cannot point to the past for their justifying the present.

As I walked down the road an elderly man came to me and said “Be blesssed! today the world has changed for good!”

As I look back I could see the end of all that is black and negative. The journey continued…

I am participating in the #TheWorldRemade activity at BlogAdda in association with India Today #Conclave15

Senthilkumar

Kurukshetra – the Aryavarta Chronicles Book 3 by Krishna Udayasankar #BookReview

Epic Retelling of an Epic!

Epic Retelling of an Epic!

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Hachette India
ISBN-10 9350097184
Imprint Hachette India
Number of Pages 384 Pages
Publication Year 2014
Language English
ISBN-13 9789350097182
Binding Paperback

Indian Mythologies have this rare distinction that the more you rewrite the more livelier they become and its one of the innate characters that they continue to be retold and perhaps this will continue for the days to come.

Each in its own context and setting and more perhaps suited to the times that the author is in the retelling takes the course with impact of the generation that it touches and communicates. That way this book will be remembered for the retelling of the kind that has never been attempted before.

This is a book to be read – a retelling redefined perhaps. You knew Mahabharatha, now know it from a parts of the forts that you have never been to. The graphic and gory retelling, and sometimes walking and talking through the minds of the characters sends you a chill down your spine, quite often we took them for granted without any investigation.

The scene is set for the war and how the allies on the part of Pandavas and Kauravas get ready to fight it out and the way it ends.

Aptly titled and well written with details, this book is sure to get you riveted to the last page. The way the book takes turns to reach into the mental realms of all the characters as they speak out their mind and sometimes something else being so graphically described takes you so much inside the forts and places that they walk and talk about.

You will feel the eerie sounds when you actually read through the pages and feel those moments along with the characters.

I loved the naming and the family tree part and its time I go back to the first two books to make it complete.

Its not just the war but what goes into the minds of each of the characters that’s the best part. I am sure the author has done a great deal of mind reading the characters and bringing them alive with such precision requires a tactful reading and delving deeper into the psyche and also the setting of the events that take place in the epic of all times.

I must mention that the author Krishna Udayasankar has taken us on a treacherous journey and the machinations of the characters. The portrayal of Govinda is an absolutely unravelling of the mystique behind his political wizardry is just an example.

I am sure this Mahabharata re-imagined and retold in many ways will be a game changer for many people to look at the epic and draw inspiration for retelling.

So if you come across this book take it and you will be happy that you did. You will watch the Mahabharata’s war stream live in front of you word by word.

A fast paced and yet a deep dive in great sense, this will leave you with scenes of the war right infront of your eyes. The narrative and graphic storytelling ability of the author will keep you awake to finish the book.

Personally I feel this riveting and fast paced a story telling of the Mahabharatha probably was destined.

Great writing, narrative, story telling all in a package that you will not skip a beat through the book.

For once apart from the Books Review category this forms a part of Politics in my blog!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

An over confident Duryodhana! Bhagavad Gita – A Management Perspective Ch.1 V.2&3

Duryodhana_showing_his_army_to_Drona

Ch.1 V.2

sañjaya uvāca
dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkam
vyūḍham duryodhanas tadā
ācāryam upasańgamya
rājā vacanam abravīt

Ch.1 V.3

paśyaitām pāṇḍu-putrāṇām
ācārya mahatīm camūm
vyūḍhām drupada-putreṇa
tava śiṣyeṇa dhīmatā

Before I continue, this chapter in Bhagavad Gita is called as Arjuna Vishada Yoga – translated as the Distress of Arjuna.

Doesn’t it sound pretty relative term – distress. The greatest song has a psychological tendency to it, perhaps. Every one of us go through the same set of emotions and distress therefore is a default.

Now to the translation of the shloka 2:

“Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the army arranged in military formation by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and spoke the following words.”

The best part of any negotiation is to let the opponent lower the guard. We should also know when to do it and the strategy should be to have a winning mind game. Towards that goal, its imperative that we are confident of ourselves and be sure there are chinks in our armour.

The reason we are talking this is because, we see Duryodhana, the King seeing his cousins arraigned against him, went to his guru and spoke the following words thats the next sholka:

“O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple the son of Drupada.”

Look at the words, you dont give in easily, do you? Expertly arranged against him actually. And its by the intelligent disciple, and then great army of the sons of Pandu.

Unless you are not confident you dont give out so much to your opponents. Nevertheless in another stance its always good to respect your opponent or competition in the sense that it will help you understand them better in a way but not to the extent that it starts a fear in you.

The internal dynamics of a management will be at full display in the next set of shlokas as Duryodhana goes on a full fledged war on his own men.

Simple reason that you should not demoralize the unit, when you need them the most. The worst of all this leads to as you will see, Bhishma blowing his conch, thereby making the call for the war or the war cry in simple terms and that would change the course of the battle in history. The fact is Pandavas are supposed to start the war but Duryodhana manages to do the impossible.

See how the words can affect and effect undesired responses, esp coming from a not so learned manager.

Only goes to show that lineage is not a qualification.

Lets see in the coming days what he says which led to Bhishma doing the clarion war cry inviting Pandavas to the war!

Pic Courtesy: Wikipedia

Open Letter to Rajdeep Sardesai!

Rajdeep3

Dear Rajdeep Sardesai,

I thought the elections are over. I happened to watch your Headlines Today reporting from Madison Square.

Were you in your mind to ask a question that only 30% of the people have voted for Mr. Modi.  I thought India always had a first past the post system ever since we got independence. You guys are talking as if this is the first time elections are being held. Get over it. Get over it. The elections are over and Mr. Narendra Modi is THE Prime Minister of India.

By the way what was th
e agenda to ask questions on will one man be able to change things, Are you a moron, if you know history, one M K Gandhi was a single man who went against the British, so much for one man able to do it.

Then what was the ‘did you buy the ticket and for how much’, where were you thinking you were standing in remote corners of the villages where they have to be paid. Nor were you ignorant of the Modi Wave that was evident in NRI’s backing Modi. Btw what were you trying to convey!

And what was that about class? Boss, you have no business about it, and why do you have to rein in Modi everytime you have an opinion. So can I take it that after watching your first fistful in that video that everyone in your family is a moron and take your family name!

For an Editor who ran CNN IBN to use those cuss words was the last refuge of the redemption. And you think you can get away with it and still go around the world playing victim. Probably you didn’t see the video evidence coming.

Boss times have changed. If you ask me if you wanted publicity for your books there were better ways to do it. This was sad and how low could you have got and brought shame on the journos. You don’t get physical whatever provocation that’s how you guys talk about everyone else!

You can give me enough reason for the first hand fistful, sorry then you are not the one on the high pedestal you claim to be, especially for someone who spoke on moral compass.

Where is your moral compass boss, you left it at home when you went to USA! Now between us tell me what did you gain on all this.

That aside I am sure you were lucky those people weren’t actually bullies, for what you did.

Come back home, think of retirement, life is beautiful, you have already wrecked enough damage to journalism. Think of Cash for Votes Scam and you want us to read the book. A whole govt and a 5 year govt went on after that boss! Do you even understand the gravity of what you did. Integrity is not so easy! If it was what was practiced you would have hung every congress minister or you would not have said Assam had logistic issues when it came to coverage.

Or go back and think about saying the number of dead makes the news bigger, how big a buffonery were you holding everyday for the past decade.

Anyways lets see what is in store when you come back!

Ambassador and the car!

Hindustan_Ambassador

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday while driving near the Race course, I saw a Ford Figo with a board of Central Income Tax Commissioner or whatever in the red board that you are so used to being seen as a sign of those powerful Central Bureaucrat.

But I wasnt amused. the car was so tiny that it fails to evoke the respect forget the fear which would come out later. The charm of a white Ambassador cannot be equaled by any car for sure, its is a sad ending for the car that they will no longer be producing them anytime from now.  But the loss is not just ornamental, its a culture that we will soon see vanishing.

The Ambassador or the amby as it was called was a sign of prosperity those days and people have told me that they had waited anywhere between 8 months and 2 years to own one. I remember only a doctor owning a car in our new locality and that was a white Ambassador some 30 years ago.

The Ambassador was a delight to watch in a convoy and every politician worth his name would have had this car for sure. It gives you the smell of power especially if you happen to have a car with a red beacon on top.

This was the national car if you call it, imagine the Rajpath morning on an Independence day or the Republic Day, the convoy of white red beacon lit ambys make for such a great sight. It was also touted to be one of the safest cars around. If you have any doubt, you should check with Chandrababu Naidu, the present chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, whose car escaped a land mine explosion and he was unhurt too some years ago.

These days no one talks high of bucket seats, those were standard in Ambys.

Some of the trivia on Amby include it being exported to Japan and UK for being a taxi. On the other hand it won hands down in the clash of Indian and world taxis in a shoot out video for Top Gear programme in BBC.

I believe Rajinikanth the superstar and Mammooty the malayalam star use Amby as their regular car. The car which was a part of heritage and history will no longer be around after few years, but the memories it evokes could quite be an emotional one. It was a part of growing up for me.

Big cars, no redesign for over 50 years and ruled the roost as a taxi on some metros and then some cities, now will see them as a nostalgic piece on road.

We will be seeing them on movies in the future if someone is making them in retro, where we can see the collector getting down from a white Ambassador car. Then it will be travelling back in time!

(By the way the title was one I had used earlier and I liked it and so I thought will go with the same.)

One post a day! 27/30

An orator and a leader…

modi-fort_650_081514022706

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost all the successful  politicians have one thing in common. An oratory with a style and flourish which is very very difficult to imitate and follow to the tee. As we see, the history is replete with politicians making themselves heard. And it is true, the world listens to them when they talk.

We have been fortunate to have some of the best speakers and orators in our midst. Recently I did mention a Minister’s speech in a post and he was also an excellent orator. The reason why chose this topic is I happened to read a piece wherein the bullet proof glass was taken off from the ramparts of the Red Fort at 2 am on the Independence day for the Prime Minister. He was supposed to hove told the men in black that he would like to speak without the glass wall between the people and the leader.

Here is the best part. This is more psychology than anything else if you ask me. All during the elections he has been credited to be speaking with the masses and that connect was reassuring as he spoke on local issues and used every possible way to connect with them.

The single action of taking the glass off for a speaker or a orator makes it so very easy to communicate with no barrier literally in between him and the listeners. That makes it more engaging and more interesting to listen or may be we think that will help. What ever reasons it would have been odd to see Modi speak within the confines of the Bullet proof glass.

I also read some places where it was told he had a notes in a paper and what he did as an orator was not that great. I wonder if these people ever have done public speaking without notes and especially when you are about to announce schemes that could change the way the country looks at banking or cleanliness.

I have heard that Vaiko is one of the classic orators in Tamil Nadu and that how he rose in the ranks and was patronised by none other than the former chief minister M Karunanidhi. The best part is if an orator get into a leadership position it becomes easy for him to communicate and get things done.

So next time you get a chance to speak in public or be an orator make sure to use it purposefully. These are chances to may be become an orator and leader and who knows it could well be a mass leader.

one post a day 23/30

Picture courtesy: