Monday, March 30, 2009

Followup post - Narendra Modi and India

First, apologies for the delay in posting. I was reading about Modi all this while, and had a mini draft post ready almost a week back, but life has a habit of getting in the way! I have been busy with things going on at work, an exam to take etc.

This is the first followup post for my condensed post of last time.
"A lot of educated Indians like the idea of Modi being the PM in case the BJP wins in the general elections."

I have been reading up stuff on the internet, about Modi.
Read this article in The Atlantic that profiles him.
When asked about whether he thinks India should be a Hindu country(in some news conference in Oct 2007) rather than a secular country, he goes off onto a tangent about how Gandhiji envisioned India to be a 'Ram rajya' and that he himself dreams of India being 'Ram rajya'. He never defines what he thinks is 'Ram rajya' anywhere so that the listener is left to deduce the meaning. In one interview, he got angry and refused to go on(the interview with Karan Thapar, Devil's Advocate on CNN-IBN, Dec 2007) when asked if he is sorry for the post-Godhra riots.

The article says what I want to say much better than I can ever do. I would request every voter to read this and other similar articles that are on the web.
Modi also has a huge following among the rich Hindu business class. One said, “You have to separate Modi’s political ideology from his management ability. Because there is not a hint of corruption about him, Modi is effective because people believe his decisions are only results-oriented.” Why should I separate his political ideology from his management ability? If you had a candidate for CFO who was an excellent manager but believes that women do not deserve to be paid on par with men for doing the same job, would you still employ him? Why the double speak then? Why should I accept this man, who I know has an open dislike for any community but Hindus just because I cannot find anyone else better than him? Why can I not accept my politicians to be better.

The riots occurred in 2002 and he is being asked these questions only now! Why this delay? Why this sudden attention to Modi you ask?
While I agree that Indian journalists failed in asking the right questions at the right time, I also believe the people have a right to know and the journalists better ask now than never. Modi is now being projected as the next leader of the country by the BJP. You cannot ignore the fact that he has a huge following. Not just in Gujarat but elsewhere too. He is so popular it is not so out of line to think that he could be the PM some day...or be in an equally powerful position soon. And that scares me. It scares me because I think he is a religiously motivated bigot. Surely we can do better than make a Muslim-hater the PM of the largest democracy on earth. The journalists keep asking him if he is sorry and he keeps evading the question. Why is it so tough for Modi to apologize to the people of Gujarat(and India) even though he might think he did no wrong? He was in a position to act fast and stop the bloodshed but he did not. Does that tell us that he cares?

Which brings us to another problem with Indian politics. Where are the good politicians who want to serve the country more than serve themselves? Where are the men and women who believe in equal opportunities for everyone, and not just one religion? Why is there no one who does not play any vote bank politics? What choice does a voter who does not like any potential candidates in the fray? Does going the 49-0 way mean anything at all?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Food for thought

We were talking about a few social, political issues and a lot of interesting points came to light. I am writing them as bullet points for now, but in the coming days I want to research each topic and expound upon it.


-A lot of educated Indians like the idea of Modi being the PM in case the BJP wins in the general elections. Some arguments for Modi are:
# At least he has done something for the state
# Gujarat is one of the most well to do states in India in terms of revenue, infrastructure, standard of living etc
#Muslims should suck it up, Godhra was just one of the many inter-religious clashes that occurred
#a known devil is better than an unknown angel
#"who else is there?"

-There is a stark paucity of good politicians, leave alone young ones. people are still not very enthusiastic about voting.

-Voting for a person in the general election(like in the US, for example) seems like a better deal for the voters. You get what you see, and no buyers remorse.

-Deve Gowda was the worst leader ever. We were all still shocked as to how he could end up at 10 Janpath!

-In the passion and excitement of creating a new government and new laws, Nehru might have done more disservice than service to the nation. Socialism might sound good on paper, but is a bit too high an ideal to achieve, especially for a fledgling country. Too many ideals and too less practicality made us lose those precious few decades which could have been put to better use by a judicious mix of capitalism and communism/socialism. In fact, it seems like Nehru actually came out of nowhere to become the PM. He didn't participate in any well-known protests, never took a lathi, always seemed like Gandhiji's chamcha, was a pseudo-Indian with a foriegnish accent. To top it all, his progeny took Gandhiji's name and are milking the vote bank to this day!


-The need to have a male baby would vanish if there was no social incentive associated with having a male child(dowry). Remove dowry from the equation and no woman would want or forced to try for a male progeny. No female fetus would be killed. No female infant would be murdered. A resolution one big social ill would solve a few more ills of the society.

-Things have changed a lot in India for the local entrepreneur. the age old 'kirana' and general stores are fast vanishing in big cities(I observed that too during my recent visit)

-Living on credit has not deeply permeated in the Indian society as I had believed. Only the really young people working in call centers and single IT workers have been bit by the bug(I don't know how true this is, but it does make me feel better), also, monthly expenses increase dramatically if you eat out often vs if you eat out sparingly

Friday, March 6, 2009


I got a me a new toy!
Blogging from my own little iPhone 3g!

Break in blogging

I am down sick with cold and a throat infection. The cold has blocked my ability to even think. Will post as soon as am able to put my thoughts into coherent sentences.

Monday, March 2, 2009

On a bitterly cold, white day...

scenes from my window....

The roads are covered with snow, there is a bitter wind blowing that is blowing the snow off the roofs and into people's eyes. I am going to stay put in the warmth of my apartment. All I now need is a cup of hot chai and pakode!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Movie weekend

We caught up with a few movies this weekend.
The first was Sex and the City. For long I have felt deprived because it seemed like I was the only woman in the US who hadn't watched SATC yet! So finally this weekend I hopped over to Blockbuster and brought home the coveted DVD. Since I am not a SATC series watcher, I had no idea what was in store. I had heard from friends and colleagues that it was one great girls' movie and I HAD to be a part of the girly fun. The fun ended 12 minutes into the movie. I started with 'These women are so shallow', 'There is no story', etc. Slowly I stated getting irritated with the frequent talk of shoes, sex and labels. I found the fashion too silly and impractical for my taste(think the Louis Vuitton bag that Carrie gifts Louise.) I found the girls(or women) too shallow to be in love and too jobless for my liking. The 145 minutes of the movie were the longest and most boring 145 minutes of my life. I could have very well put them to better use!

The second movie was 'Mumbai Meri Jaan'. Now this one was truly riveting. The way the stories of these various characters is woven together is praise-worthy. I was totally involved in the movie from beginning to the end and not one moment was I bored. That, I think, is a trademark of a well-made movie. Having lived in Mumbai for 3 years, I really identified with the characters' daily lives.

The third and last movie we watched was 'Vicky Christina Barcelona'. This is Woody Allen at his best, I think. We have seen most movies by Woody and enjoy each dialogue thoroughly. His characters are well etched and dialogues are well-written and his humor is very caustic and dry(my style!) Penelope Cruz takes the cake in VCB and deserved her Academy Award. And BOY does she look hot! I liked the last 2 minutes the best. In true Woody style, the events of a few seconds jolt the errant characters into doing the right thing. A lot of reviewers did not like the voice over by Woody, but to me, that was the best part of VCB.