Friday, May 11, 2007

Who rules this country?

"Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people"
-Abraham Lincoln

This is what everybody was brought up to believe. However, an interview by the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh might change the definition of democracy. In India, especially in the Congress ruled states, democracy is the government of Sonia Gandhi, by Sonia Gandhi and for Sonia Gandhi. It is she, who chooses the Chief Ministers, she who dictates state policies and she who decides which projects a state should undertake. A few excerpts from the interview of the Arunachal CM would reveal how the Congress-men (and women) strive just to keep 'Madam' pleased and remain in her good books.
"Q: Strange things are happening in Arunachal. The whole cabinet recently shifted its loyalties to you.
A: It happened due to the allegations of huge corruption charges against the former government.........
Hence, the MLAs were unhappy and chose me as their leader. (Congress president) Soniaji (Gandhi) is completely against corruption and wanted a clean and result oriented Congress government. "
So, the people of independent India will get a corruption free government only if Sonia Gandhi wishes so. Couldn't the MLAs of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Party change the government because the people desire a result oriented and corruption free government? What is the CM trying to convey? That he headed the cabinet only because it was Sonia's wish to have a clean and result oriented government. Isn't the CM and every MLA answerable to the people of the state?
"Q: What have you done so far?
A: My first priority is to improve the Public Distribution System.........
With Soniaji's blessings we have also started a mid day meal scheme for poor tribal students.
The mid-day meals scheme was an initiative taken by the central government way back in 1995, when Sonia Gandhi was not even participating in active politics. Providing mid day meals to poor children in school is the responsibility of every government. Why, then, does Mr. CM require Sonia's blessings to start this programme, which is not her initiative at all. And if she does not 'bless' this project, it means that it will not be implemented. This means that the state government has to seek Sonia's permission for implementing projects. Is the approval of the state legislature not enough to implement programmes? If Sonia's 'blessings' are sought on implementing projects, this means that extra-constitutional powers are governing the country rather than the people who have been elected to do so.
Sonia's high-handedness is well known. In Maharashtra, she directed Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to not demolish the hutments that had come up between 1995-2000. This is a straight violation of the court order that has declared the cut-off date for rehabilitation as 1995. Are the governments of the day supposed to take directions and 'blessings' from the lady at 10 Janpath, who does not even hold a constitutional position, so that she can issue 'orders' and 'bless' projects. Or are the governments supposed to implement what has been decided by the law of the land? While suggestions are always welcome, and should be encouraged, why is Sonia trying to govern the country as if it is her fiefdom? Political parties are known to indulge in glorifying a particular person and worshipping him/her. The Congress has this culture right since Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. So, the Congress cadre always looks up to Sonia as their queen and saviour. Why can't these 'leaders' take their own decisions and act as per the law of the land? If this continues unabated, tomorrow we might have Sonia deciding the number of acres that should be allotted to a particular crop.
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Monday, May 07, 2007

Orkut: Some funny communities

Disclaimer: This posting is meant for humour. I am not responsible if you are offended by the post after reading it.

Just came across a community on orkut- GSBs in IIMs. Was just thinking what purpose would this community serve? It would end up having the same topics that go on in other communities, viz.

1. Let's introduce ourselves.
2. Why did you join IIM?
3. What do you think of the above profile?
4. IIM vs. Wharton

IIMs do not have more than 2000 students at a time. Include alumni and even then, the strength of GSBs in IIM would measure upto 2%. Of those, how many would care to join the community?

It then occured to me about this ghettoisation, forming communities to become the elite self. Probably trying to look for something that distinguishes oneself from the others. While I was trying to control myself from taking a stand, Naina posted an appeal for joining the community. That was it. I just couldn't control. I let myself off. Came up with a humourous list of communities and put them online.

But then, decency prevented me from taking further potshots directly. And why target one person/community, when everywhere on orkut there are stupid communities which serve no purpose except giving its members some distinguishing feature to cling on to. The Pepe Jeans community, with more than a thousand members, has no single discussion thread. So, with imagination at work, I came up with a list of communities that might find their way into orkut. Well, some might be already existing-

1. People who use their Citibank credit card to pay their Hutch plan-xyz bill.
2. People reading newspapers, starting with Sports page first.
3. People who use their yahoo id while looking for a job.
4. People parking their bikes on the main stand only.
5. People boarding the local at Kalyan and exiting CST from the BMC side door.
6. People ordering butter chicken and naan at a particular restaurant.
7. People who are angry about idiotic communities on orkut.

The list goes on... People are free to add to this list.

Orkut: Some funny communitiesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 04, 2007

My photography tastes

"His album consists only of flowers, buildings and animals!!", exclaimed my friend's friend to him. She was trying to point out the absence of chics in my photographs. This comment of hers made me deep dive into thinking about what exactly I like about my photographs. I sifted through my collection to look for those one or two particular elements that make my photographs.
One thing that stood out was that the photographs were as natural as they can be. Nobody had put them in place. No flower took position to be photographed, nor was any animal or bird posing for one. I then looked at a few photographs that I had taken at some family functions. In most of those, people had posed for photographs. Now, there were a few photos that were taken without the subject having prior knowledge. I tried to give a hard look to the impact these two types of photos generate. The emotions, the expressions were better when the subject of the photograph was unaware that he/she is being photographed. While the ones where people were made to pose did not have the 'natural' flavour of the photograph.
I arrived at a conclusion. Most people appear best in a photograph when not aware. However, the people whom I photographed in their unawareness, were my relatives. I had the privilege to do so. But what about others, who might be in a very good pose for a photograph, but who are strangers. Is it ethically correct to photograph them? Will it mount to invasion of privacy? I haven't been able to satisfactorily answer these questions.
However, I had to arrive at a conclusion about my photography tastes. Once again, sifting through all those photographs, I realised that my photography is at its best only when the subject of focus exhibits its natural behaviour. Thus, I will continue to photograph buildings, flowers, animals and my relatives, but as of now, I may not photograph strangers, without them having prior knowledge.
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