Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year 2008, what a year it has been…

This is the last day of the year 2008. The year will be remembered for many events that have shaken the world (most likely the Economic shockwave). I would probably look into some of my personal favorite events that have impacted my very own country India, and as well my state Assam.

2008 has been a mixed bag for India. This year terrorist activities have peaked with multiple serial bomb blasts in different parts of the country and also the heinous attack on innocent civilians of Mumbai, the financial capital of India. It has been a tremendous year for Indian sports. For the first time in Olympics history India has bagged 3 medals, and the first-ever gold medal in individual category by India’s ace shooter Abhinav Bindra. Cricket which is a religion in India also got a big boost with the Indian cricket team’s stellar performance which has elevated it to the world top teams in all version of the game: shortest (T20), shorter (One-Day) and longer (Test). The successful completion of Indian Premier League (IPL) was also incredible. Vishwanathan Anand made us proud by retaining his World Chess title.

India also made significant stride in the technology space by setting a world record by sending 10 satellites into orbit in a single launch. India also joined the history book by launching Chandrayan-1, a spacecraft on a lunar exploration mission. A part of the mission also hoisted the Indian national flag at the surface of the moon.

In the diplomatic front India successfully signed the Civil Nuclear deal with the United States. This provides India the unique access to world’s nuclear fuel and technology. With India struggling to meet its power demand, this will be a big boost towards achieving power self-sufficiency.

Indian business had a tough year. Though the Tata’s were successful with the deal with Ford to acquire Jaguar and Land Rover, it has to unfortunately pull out of the (hugely anticipated car of the year) NANO project in West Bengal. That was a big setback for the sentiment of the Indian business community. This added to high inflation, peaking crude prices and global economic slowdown makes it a tough year for Indian business. The stock market responded by hitting rock bottom from its peak at the beginning of year loosing nearly 60% (most peoples including me lost money). The opening of the Jamnagar refinery by Reliance was a big boost to end the year. It is the world’s largest refinery.

In the cultural front Bollywood did pulled out some big hits (though I didn’t liked most of them). Parvathy Omanakuttan brought pride to India by being the first runners up in Miss World 2008. Aravind Adiga made us proud by winning the Man Booker Prize.

I am welcoming 2009 with my fingers crossed. Wish you a Happy & Prosperous New Year 2009.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Do politicians care for common people?

If you were in touch with the media and news channel in the last few days, you would have seen heavy bashing of politicians by both media and the common people. There is a heightened state of hatred for politicians after the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Politicians are also partly to blame for it. One fool CM criticizing a martyr’s parent, one politician talking against protesting public; this all has fueled further public outrage.

I was watching the news channel today and saw angry public taking on the politicians. Then my roommate made a statement that struck my mind. He said: Historically terrorists were focusing on political assassinations to make their presence felt and also for maximum impact. Politicians then responded equally aggressively to the terrorists. Now terrorists have become smarter and they target politicians no more, instead, they target the common people and get away without being violently pursued. Nobody forgot the war like situation that was created after the parliament attack.

I do not completely disagree, that is a good observation. Attack on parliament was a big thing. But no politicians got killed; yet the politicians responded violently, almost waging a war (lots of Army man would have got killed). But I do believe what happened in Mumbai is much larger then the parliament attack, lots of innocent life lost (not a single politician), and the response now from politician is not as aggressive as post parliament attack. So do the politicians care for us, the common people, or they just care for themselves?

This year has been severely violent in terms of attack on common people. After May, there have been serial blasts (mind it not bomb blast, serial means multiple bombs, more deaths) at regular intervals (almost every month, latest being Mumbai). Government has said we will take stern action, but as a matter of fact, nothing has happened. Only thing that has happened is another attack on civilians. The terrorists must have been laughing from a distance (may be they are patting on their back for figuring out the trick to get away unharmed). So will the politicians get serious only when they directly face terror? Will they wait for another political assassination to happen before responding? Don’t they value innocent life of the public?

I don’t want to believe what my friend is telling, but right now I can help thinking that it is true.

Time has come for the politicians to prove me wrong (that will make me happy being wrong) and take some stern action. Time for them to prove the public wrong, time to prove the media wrong, and all the people wrong who have been talking foul against them all along.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just blame game against Pakistan is not enough:

This is what keeps happening every time terror strikes India, the Indian government comfortably puts the blame on outside miscreants, and specifically to terrorists based in neighbouring Pakistan. I know for sure the government is not entirely untrue. It is a well known fact that terrorist organizations function from Pakistan territory. But just putting the blame on them, and doing nothing serves no good to the nation. It does not guarantee that terrorists will not strike the Indian heartland again. So what next? What are the other steps we need to take (visible and actionable steps), that will deter those militants to come back again.

So just blame gaming is not enough. In fact, its a cheap way to avert responsibility, put the blame on others. So though it is a diplomatic strategy to isolate Pakistan, its not enough.

What has come out of the Mumbai aftermaths are the weaknesses we have.
- Our intelligence sucks
- Our police force are ill prepared and ill equipped
- Our NSG takes close to 10 hours to reach the battle zone
- Out political system is not tough enough
- We do not have strict anti-terror laws
- There is no coordination among various forces (police, navy, army etc.)
- Insufficient manpower in policing system

So with so much to focus upon, lets handle them. We can make sure that we don't have to lose many more (any more) civilian lives.

Lastly on a stronger note: I would love to see India bombing the terrorist installations in any part of the world from where they are operating, may it in the heart of Pakistan. Just tell them its not just you who can strike us in my home, we can too. "Gharpe ghuske marenge"

After the strike on twin towers on 9/11 the world changed. Will India change after the Mumbai attacks? Time will say.....