Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rajdeep Sardesai’s “2014 The Election That Changed India.”

Rajdeep Sardesai’s “2014 The Election That Changed India.”
Indians are obsessed with politics is a known fact. All of us have our strong views on everything in politics. Most of us have our strong perceptions about politicians. We have views on things that we do not really understand. The 2014 elections and run up to those are recent history. We all have witnessed it. Still reading Rajdeep’s book is a great value addition to understand about these elections, the run up as handled by various players on the stage and of course the political parties.
If you are on Tweeter you will know that all Modi Bhakts hate Rajdeep from their heart. They abuse him day in day out. The language used by these people is terrible. To Rajdeep’s redit he Retweets many of these and more importantly does not react to them. After the Madison Garden incident the hate quotient only went up. A feeling is created that he hates Modi.
I now suspect most of these haters have definitely not read the book. In this book Rajedeep has analysed Modi’s emergence from 90s in most objective manner. That he got to know Modi then is an advantage. He has maintained cordial relationship with the man whom he strongly criticized in 2002. Yes Modi did get peeved but it seems most have moved on. It must be noted that the entire media was against Modi post Godhra and very few of his Bhakts came out in the open to support him then. Many of course were mere toddlers then and were voters in 2014!
Rajdeep’s views on the rise and rise of Amit Shah is worth reading.Amit Shah’s rise is one of the most exciting stories of this election. The planning done by Modi Sha and their various teams was so meticulous that there are huge lessons in them in all management students as well as working Managers. The detailed planning, clear objectives and most crucially execution of all these plans is astounding. Getting a team of dedicated people to work for them is a major achievement of the duo. There are many instances in the book to illustrate how adverse situations were converted by them to their maximum advantage!
The use of IT and Social media by Modi and Shah was of course unbelievable. They used it to great benefit even before the rivals had realized what hit them!
Rajdeep has been very objective in his writing. He has also made it very interesting with some anecdotes. The incidence in Gujrath in 2002 while he was returning after interviewing Modi is frightening. Today as we see utterance by many BJP MPs and supporting cast that are at complete variance with Modi’s development agenda that incidence sounds as a real warning that hardliners will try everything to undermine Modi himself for their narrow goals.
Rajdeep’s critic of Rahul is true. It is strange that Congressmen do not gun for him at all. May be it is a tacit acceptance of his analysis!
He has also commented and analysed all other major and minor players like Mulayam, Mayawati, Jayalalitha and Mamta. His view on Sharad Pawar also make interesting reading. He writes very little about Manmohan Singh but of course is highly critical about his complete silence and inaction during UPA-II.
What I am most pleasantly surprised with and also very happy with is his views on the Electronic Media of which he is an integral part of so long. He admits that the standards are slipping and newsworthiness is now determined increasingly by TRPs than anything else. He has been highly critical of the media at various times. This is very refreshing indeed. Of course it remains to be seen if he does something about this on his new assignment!
Journalists like Rajdeep will always be better informed than you and me. They have contacts everywhere and they work really hard to cultivate them for years. So he can get from them various views. Rajdeep has used this very well in telling the story of 2014 elections. At times he has quoted people and many other times he has not named people but that is understandable.
After reading the book I am more convinced than before that creating a wave or a tsunami as Shah insists it to be on the back of expectations can be a boomerang. We have already witnessed voices saying nothing much has happened in the last seven months! Seven months is not a lot of time but because expectations were raised unrealistically the dismay may set in much earlier than may be it is warranted. This strategy has won an unprecedented victory for Modi. Modi is now BJP. Congress has been a family run proprietorship company. BJP was not so, but now BJP is a Partnership company where Modi is 80% owner and balance 20% is held by Amit Shah!
I would encourage all of you to read this book because you will know many things that happen behind the curtain.
Big thank you to Rajdeep for an objective, analytical, fair and interesting book!


Friday, December 12, 2014

We all need to be converted without any incentives!

We all need to be converted without any incentives!
The conversion controversy is raging. Should an individual have a right to convert the obvious answer is YES if he so desires. Why would want to convert and to what religion is his business. Should there be a law banning conversions – NO, that would be against the principal of free choice enshrined in our constitution.
It may be a good idea that we try and follow the practices of other religions for a short time. That will probably give us a better idea about other religions. This is however impractical. Can we try and learn about other religions out of curiosity, this is possible surely. Our birth in a particular religion is obviously an accident and not a matter of choice. Majority of us never even think about changing our religion. One we do not understand our own religion or even try to understand it and secondly we never want to find out what other religions are like. We have massive perceptions about people who follow other religions but little enthusiasm to learn about it. Many people actually prey to gods of other religions without any guilt whatsoever. Why should Christmas be celebrated by so many Indians? How come so many Hindus worship and Dargas and other holy places of Muslims? How come many Muslims have no problem in celebrating Hindu festivals like Diwali? I know many Hindus who look forward to month of Ramzan so that they can test the best non vegetarian food and make it point to do it every year! Most of us have no problem having “Langar” at a Grudwara!
So basically most of us are secular in this way. Alluring people with economic benefits to get converted is absolutely unacceptable. Christans have done it in India. Muslims did it when they were the ruling. But it is also true that many Hindus gave their daughters in marriage to Kings and high nobles and bought peace. A woman was sacrificed and men retained their religion. Some must have converted surely in pursuance of power and money some may have due to threats to life. Shivaji’s right hand man Netaji Palkar was forced to convert by Aurangzeb. After he escaped and came back Maharaj reconverted him to Hinduism.Babaji Nimbalkar was converted to Islam. He was also brought back to Hinduism by Shivaji and when nobody was willing to give their daughter to him in marriage Shivaji gave his own daughter in marriage to him!
The point is we all need to convert ourselves and I am not talking about changing our religion but trying to become better human beings by becoming more civilized and humane. We have to become more tolerant of people whose views we may not accept. We have to protect their right to express it. No religion teaches hatred and violence. The distortions in religion throughout the history is the handiwork of ruling class and the so called priests who tell us that way to God is only through them. They then create rituals which have nothing to do with the real religion.
I just heard this. In Rigveda it is asked who has created the nature that we have around us. The obvious answer given was by God. The Rishis however said that is not possible because man has created God! I think and firmly believe that this is the truth.
So lets us and try and convert ourselves a bit every day. Let us tell ourselves what we need to give up to become better. This is a difficult path. How many of us are ready to walk on this path? I am sure very few. Will I do it- I think I try and do it a little every day. Do I try to be a better human being every day –I think yes I do try because every day I realize how ignorant I am! And that to me is good beginning.
So please look inward. We must not allow the government to take away right to follow any religion that we ay choose for ourselves. We must also take an oath that we will not run down other religions and that we will respect all religions but will fight against rituals in every religion and will oppose tooth and nail all superstitions. I would urge all to read Sawarkar’s writings on rituals in Hinduism. Babasaheb Ambedkar and his followers became Buddhists to escape the caste discrimination. Have they all abandoned caste and are they being treated as equals by others?

I believe what Marx said “Religion is opium for masses!” This is true especially where religion is practiced only as rituals.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


अंधारा सवे चालताना
खाच खळगे दिसले
ना दगड धोंडे ना काटे
सर जात राहणारी
सहज सोपी वाट
सावलीशी एकरूप होऊन
चालत राहणे एवढच हातात
खरे तर पायात
न संपणारी हवी हवी
वाटणारी मुग्ध रात्र
कशाची ना पर्वा ना चिंता
मुक्त स्वछंद भटकंती
ना दुखले पाय ना लागला श्वास
शेवटी काळोखच थकला बिचारा
दूरवर क्षितिजावर प्रकाश
कण शोधू लागला
पहिलं बारीकसा कवडसा दिसला
आणि काळोख खाली कोसळला
मी ही त्याच्या बरोबर
छाया त्याची पांघरून झोपलो
पुन्हा अंधार होण्याची वाट बघत
मला प्रकाश नकोच होता
अंधाराच्या अंधार्‍या छायेत
मी मला लपवून टाकलं
आणि त्याने ही मला मग
त्याच्यातच सामावून घेतलं कायमच
मी ही आता अंधार आहे,
प्रकाश माझा आता जन्माचा वैरी आहे!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Sachin’s “Playing It My Way”

Sachin’s “Playing It My Way”
I am a fan of Sachin I must say this at the outset. I was also of the firm opinion that he should have retired after the World Cup triumph in 2011. He did not play well after that till his retirement and his performance in England and Australia in that 8-0 rape was pedestrian barring a few promising innings.
The book is a chronology in most parts of matches played by Sachin with scoreboards. The book has some good anecdotes that we may have not heard before. Most events are known to us and some that were not known were foolishly revealed on the day of the launch of the book and the extracts that were published by many news papers since.
Amongst all the autobiographies of cricketers that I have read (And I have read many!) the most outstanding are to mind written by Steve Waugh followed by his successor Ricky Ponting. Sachin should have had read these two outstanding books before venturing to write his own. I also believe that the pompous Boria Muzumdar is partly to be blamed, but the final onus has to be on Sachin alone.
My respect for the man has grown while reading the number of serious injuries that he faced during his career and his dedication to get over them and come back strong so many times. Some of these were serious and career threatening. Hats off to the man for battling them and also playing in most painful condition many a times. But I still have a feeling that without recovering completely from his injuries he rushed into playing and here BCCI must take the blame for letting hi play when not 100% fit.
The book is completely bereft of nay analysis of players game both those who played with and against him and this is the biggest weakness of this book. I had anticipated to read this aspect and that is mostly ignored. The praise for teammates and opponents is perfunctory many times. Manjarekar’s excellent form in Pakistan gets  no special mention may be because Manjarekar did criticize Sachin!
Another most disappointing aspect of the book is it throws no light on the infamous match fixing scandal at ll. Sachin was a senior member of the team when this scam surfaced. He hardly speaks about it. It is impossible to believe that he does not know many things of this scandal. His silence on this is completely unfair to followers of cricket in India and elsewhere. Same is the case with match fixing in IPL.
Autobiographies are or should be material for others who wish to try and follow in the footsteps of heroes like Sachin. There hardly is anything for budding cricketers in this book on the art of batting, or strategies in matches, plots against the opposition and the lessons in planning a campaign.
My sympathies have always been with Greg Chappell. I think he was trying to change the culture of the team. Past records and performance held little importance over current form and fitness for the Aussie. Indians are used to sustain careers on past glory and also playing when not fully fit. I believe Rahul Dravid fully endorsed Greg’s methods while Sachin, Saurav Sehwag, Laxman, Bhajji and Zaheer were against Greg. After reading the book I am more convinced that Greg was correct. We will have to wait and see what Rahul has to say about this episode.
All in all very disappointing book. I hope that Sachin after few years will write a book analyzing techniques of his contemporaries and also write on the art of batting as Don Bradman did.

In spite of all this I will always admire Sachin and a big Thank you to him for bringing joy to many of us. Watching him bat will always remain a high point for all those who watched him play! He definitely enriched our lives!
Here is wishing his all the very best!
My advice; do not buy the book. The worshippers of God will do that! If you want to buy a good book by a cricketer buy “Out of My Comfort Zone” by Steve Waugh.
(If you manage to get a copy of Waugh’s book do let me know as I am unable to get on even in Australia!)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Do many Achievers become arrogant and intolerant?

Do many Achievers become arrogant and intolerant?
Many people achieve great performance in their fields consistently. They do more than their targets and they seem to do that quite effortlessly or at least that is one impression they give or on the other hand they keep telling everyone how hard they work to achieve this. I have no doubt that they work hard for this, Not working hard and consistently achieving high performance is impossible.
All achievers are always treated with respect and get many concessions. A child who does well in studies as compared to the sibling will get preferential treatment and the sibling will have to hear constantly look at her/him and see how well he is doing! Why can’t you learn from him? By this constant comparison do we destroy the confidence of other child? I would think so.
We see this at work place also. Performers get cash incentives, many gifts, foreign tours et al. No doubt they deserve it but don’t forget their problems are resolved first, they are given access to top Bosses something that is denied to others and thus creating envy and jealously and de-motivation at times.
With all this attention and pampering do the achievers become arrogant and start looking down upon ordinary people? I think so. They brag and say oh it is so easy to get numbers, you are not doing things right and will try and find fault with others. Some are different they actually try and motivate others by telling them what they do become successful and some even go out of the way to mentor others. This is the best attitude.
But I see far too many who develop a superiority complex. Their tone while speaking to lower rung in office changes. Now they demand and no more request. They get furious if their work is not done in the time frame that They impose and then give hell to this hapless guys. They stop thinking about the 100 things that these guys have to do with everyone braying for their blood. The human touch for fellow workers deserts them.
They are very careful in cultivating the people who matter in the organization. They are extremely polite to them and even when they are fighting for injustice done to them they make sure that they do not antagonize them ever! They always defend the top management and hardly confront them aggressively something they do regularly with others not so high up!
Some of these Achiever carry this superiority home and think everyone else or at least some in family have to treat them with utmost reverence due to their professional standing! They also have same attitude with friends. This arrogance destroys or damages relationships that are going be invaluable once their professional career ends.
But the aroma of success is too intoxicating and many a times destroys humility and humanity in a person and destroys many inter personal relationships.
So guys even if you are very good be humble. Look at Rahul Dravid, Sachin. Prakash Padukone, Krishnan Father and son and V Anand all champions and many others from other fields!  No success and achievement howsoever great is worth if it makes one intolerant, arrogant and self obsessed.

Monday, December 1, 2014

BJP’s free lessons to Congress!

BJP’s free lessons to Congress!
In Indian democracy increasingly we have seen opposition for the sake of opposition. BJP did this for the past ten years very successfully. They opposed many things that they are now willing to do. They opposed many things on TV shows and ended up supporting them on the floor of the house, viz. Food Security Act & Land Acquisition Bill.
They successfully thwarted the working of parliament and many sessions were completely lost. They asked for JPC in 2 G knowing fully well that that the government will have majority numbers in the committee and nothing worthwhile will come out through this rout. They wasted a full session for this. Once the report came out they refused to accept it!
On FDI in Retail they asked for debate and voting in parliament. They got their way and the bill was passed but they now said in spite of parliament approving it we will oppose it!
They opposed the land deal with Bangla Desh, now the PM is telling us how important it is!
Modi and many BJP C.M.s opposed GST for one thing or other. Instead of working towards a consensus they made sure the bill will not come to the house at all. Now GST is their priority. They have forgotten GST was first mooted by Vajpai government and is an essential legislation.
They opposed MNAREGA as wasteful expenditure now they say it will stay and we will make implement more efficiently! They should have demanded that!
The hike in FDI in insurance was opposed by BJP. The standing Committee chaired by Yashwant Sinha said in its report that FDI should not be increased, Now BJP is in a hurry to increase it!
They opposed Adhar. Now for PM Adhar is top priority. He wants faster roll out and linkage.
They opposed Nuclear deal vehemently and lost the battle in the house but they did not give up. Now they want to use the same deal. They had a problem with nuclear liability law now they are quiet and willing to modify it if required.
They said no talks with Pakistan till 26/11 perpetuators are dealt with and terrorist camps are dismantled but ended up inviting Shariffmia for the swearing in of their government and then cancelled talks on flimsy reason.
Why is BJP shying away from introducing Women’s reservation Bill in Lok Sabha where it has huge majority ad get it passed as priority?
Why is there no move to appoint the Lok Pal?
BJP seems to learning the hard way the realities of governance. It is pretty cozy to be in the opposition and make wild allegations and oppose everything.
Congress must learn from all this and actually support the government on issues that they were expounding when in power. The hypocrisy of political parties has been exposed time and again the public is fed up with it.
If you want your credibility to improve act like a responsible opposition party. Question the government by all means. But discuss issues in and outside the parliament in a matured way and find a solution. If you help the government it will not go unnoticed. That is one way of atoning for your own sins of the past.
If you act in the best interests of the nation and not for narrow short term political nonsense you will reap the benefits sometime in future. Enjoy your time in opposition and learn some lessons as they are for free. A stint is opposition is a must for all political parties in a democracy.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

पुरुषांच माहेर!

पुरुषांच माहेर!
इतके दिवस माहेर, माहेरपण हे फक्त स्त्रियांच्या संधर्भात वापरले जाणारे शब्द आता बर्‍याच पुरुषांना ही लागू होऊ लागले आहेत स म्हणणं वागव वाटू नये.
पूर्वी मुली लग्न होऊन सासरी जात असत. आता बर्‍याच लग्न्नान नंतर मूल आणि मुली स्वतःच्या घरी जातात आणि आपला वेगळा संसार थाटतात. म्हणजे खर म्हणजे मुली सासरी जातच नाहीत आणि मुलांचं ही माहेर संपत. बरीच मूल शिक्षणा साठी किंवा नोकरी निमित्त आधीच आपल घर सोडून गेलेली असतात.त्यामुळे आता बर्‍याच पुरूषांना ही लग्न झाल्यावर आपल्या आईची कीम्मत कळू लागली आहे.
आया आपल्या मुलांना अत्यंत लाडवून ठेवतात आणि त्यांच्या बायकोनी ही त्यांचे असेच चोचले पुरवावेत अशी त्यांची अपेक्षा असते. मुलांना ही तेच अपेक्षित असते आणि मग त्यांचा प्रचंड अपेक्षाभंग होतो! मुली ही आजकाल फार लाडात वाढलेल्या असतात आणि आपल्या बापा प्रमाणेच आपला प्रत्येक शब्द नवर्‍याने काहीही न विचारता झेलावा ही त्यांची अपेक्षा ही अपेक्षा भंग करते.
मग दोघांना ही माहेरची आठवण व्याकु करते. पूर्वी साधारणपणे मुलींचे सासरी हालच होतात अशी समजूत होती आणि काही प्रमाणात ते खर ही होते पण आता तशी परिस्थिति नाही. आजकाल मुली आणि त्यांच्या आया यांची अपेक्षा आपली मुलगी एकत्र कुटुंबात शक्यतो जाऊ नये अशी असावी स मला वाटू लागलं आहे. काही मुलींना एकत्र कुटुंब हाव असत कारण त्यांना करियर करण्यासाठी ही तडजोड बरी वाटत असावी. पुढे मूल झाल्यावर घरी सासू-सासरे असलेले बरे हा उदात्त विचार ही काहींचा असतो.
पण पुरूषांना ही आता माहेरची सय यायला लागली आहे. आईच्या हातचे पदार्थ आठवून त्यांच्या पोटात गलबलू लागलं आहे! आई – बापांच्या शिव्या खाण हे बायकोच्या शिव्या खाण्या पेक्षा किती तरी सुसह्य आहे याचा ही साक्षात्कार त्यांना लग्ना नंतर लवकरच होऊ लागला आहे!
मुलांच्या आयाना लग्ना नंतर आपल्या मुलाचे होणारे हालहाल बघून सतत डोळ्यांना पदर किंवा दुपट्टा लावावा लागत आहे. काय खाण्या पिण्याचे हाल होतात बिचार्‍याचे, किती काम करतो घरात हा, हीला कशाशी पर्वा नाही, मेलीला काही रीत नाही, आई-बापानी लाड करून सटविला डोक्यावर चढवून  ठेवली आहे, चार पैसे मिळवते आणि शिकलेली आहे याचा किती माज, आणि वर स्वतःला जगातली सर्वात सुंदर मुलगी समजते, काय ते कपडे, ते सारखं ब्युटि पार्लरमध्ये जाण आणि पैशाची नाहक उधळपट्टी अशी मुकताफळे चार सुना असलेल्या बायकान कडून ऐकू येतात.
मुलींच्या आया म्हणतात, किती बिचारी काम करते घरात, शिवाय नोकरी आहेच. नवरा एका कामाला घरात हात लावत नाही. आईंनी काही शिकवलं तर नाहीच पण नसते लाड करून बिघडवला आहे. एकत्र कुटुंबात मुलगी असेल तर मग, हीच्या सासूला काय धाड भरली आहे घरात काम करायला, माझी मुलगी शिकली आहे आणि घरात पैसे आणते ना? परत वरती ह्यांची मुलगी सारखी तडमडणार माहेरी, का तर म्हणे दामते ती सगळं करून, तिची सासू अर्थातच अत्यंत खाष्ट, आणि हिच्या मागोमाग हीच ते ध्यान ही येतच लाल घोटत!
असो. मला माझ्या माहेरच महत्व  फार पूर्वी कळलं होत म्हणून मी सातार्‍याला निघालो की म्हणायचो की मी माझ्या माहेरी चाललो आहे. पण मला हे ही मान्य आहे की मी कायमचा माझ्या आई-वडिला बरोबर राहिलो असतो तर माझ आणि त्यांचं काही पटल नसत. म्हणून हेच बर की वाटलं की उठून पुरुषांनी ही आपल माहेरी जाव आणि आई कडून कोड कौतुक करू घ्यावं, तेवढेच चार दिवस बरे जातील!
मुख्य म्हणजे बायकोला माहेरी जाण्या पासून कधीही परावृत्त करू नये. ती माहेरी गेली तर स्वतःच्याच घरात माहेरपणच सुख मिळवावे!
एकंदरीत माहेरचा महिमा आता आणखीच वाढला आहे! माहेरपणाला अत्यंत चांगले दिवस आले आहेत. तेव्हा तमाम पुरुष मातीने आपली लाज लज्जा बाजूला ठेऊन हक्काने माहेरपणाला जावे आणि मजा करावी!