Friday, February 17, 2006

India Uncut

Today I came upon a fascinating blog "India Uncut" by Amit Varma, a journalist who writes about Cricket for Guardian and Frontline. He followed the Indian team to Pakistan and has provided an interesting view into the current Pakistani society that is hard to find. Unlike the stereotype of turban wearing mullahs, the Pakistan Amit brings to us is a modern, vibrant, liberal Pakistan not unlike the modern India we find in Indian cities.

I am glad to have discovered India Uncut at this time, because as I write this post, Amit is returning from Pakistan to India. I wish I had discovered him earlier, but its better late than never.

And, not to forget, India Uncut listed as the "Indi Blog" of the year!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nepali insurgent leader talks

Charles Haviland has an article on "Puspa Kamal Dahal" or "Prachanda" as he is known, the leader of Nepal's Maoist insurgents whose rebellion has taken thousands of lives of poor Nepali people. The man who is responsible for indiscriminate violence that has plagued this idyllic Himalayan hindu nation, claims to be moving towards reconcilliation. Yet his rhetoric speaks otherwise. He speaks of executing the King of Nepal while talking about returning his movement to democracy! US and India better watch out. If this man gets in power, all bets are off. Allowing someone like Pushpa Kamal Dahal come to power will make a mockery of justice. I know that the King of Nepal is no democrat, and certainly the means he chose to come to power weren't the most ideal ones, but at least under him the Kingdom has seen some stability. India and US should work with the current Nepali government to transfer the power back to the elected leaders, while ensuring the criminals like Dahal get punished for their crimes.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Images of Old India of 18th Century

I came across these beautiful rare pictures of old India of yester years on BBC. A sharp contrast to the modern metropolises that have mushroomed everywhere in India. Check it out. Click on the picture to go to the selection of pictures.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Any Thing Goes In India!

There is a saying in Hindi, "Chalta hai, chalane do" which roughly translates, "Let it go on, who gives a damn".

This pessimist attitude is so pervasive in India that the rich and famous politicians take full advantage it. Take this story about Lalu Prasad Yadav. A colorful man who is currently the Railway Minister of India, is illiterat, corrupt and wields enormous power, has corrupted the system so much that it is amazing. One time, when he was the chief minister of Bihar, there was some scandal that resulted in him being booted out of the office. Not to give up so easily, he decided to contest by by putting his wife up for elections! The Bihari janta (people), duly elected the illeterate wife Rabri Devi to the post of Chief Minister and the Yadavs continued to enjoy the perks of being a powerful politician for aother 5 year term.

Recently the Bihari's seemed to have suddenly gained wisdom, and ousted Rabari Devi and her party. Such is their sense of entitlement that when it came time to give up the perks the Yadavs refused to budge. It finally took a Court Order to get them to vacate the Chief Ministers bangalow!

Meanwhile, how have they helped Bihar? Bihar is still one of the most backward state of India with one of the highest illeteracy rates, highest level of crime, political corruption; you name the problem, Bihar has it.

Still the attitude in Bihar, as in the rest of the India continues to be, "Chalta hai, Chalane do". Read more about this story of Lallu's eviction here