Her Bollywood Dream

Yet another Miss World competition is over and Miss India Parvathy Omanakuttan came out first runner up. Congratulations.

Parvathy Omanakuttan

India holds first place, jointly with Venezuela, for the number of winners. Some of the top finishes by Indian women at the Miss World pageant are,

Here is a question for you: Barring Reita Faria, what is common among these women apart from being Miss Worlds? Yes! They all are Bollywood actresses. Some of them are quite successful at their careers. They have at least one more thing in common: they all have perfectly set vocabulary and a very good training in orating words, phrases and names like ‘compassion’, ‘womanhood’, ‘love for children’, ‘underprivileged’, ‘breaking barriers of nationality, color and creed’, ‘Mother Teresa’, ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ etc. Here is an example for your consideration: In the final round of Miss World 1994, Aishwarya Rai said the following, in response to the question, “What qualities should Miss World 1994 embody?”:

Miss Worlds that we’ve had up to date have been proof enough that they’ve had compassion, compassion for the underprivileged, not only for the people who have status and stature, who can look beyond the barriers the man has set up for ourselves of nationality, color …

I’d not go so far as to judge Mrs. Rai Bachchan on the basis of her compassion, for I don’t know if she does have that of any kind, but by now, you know how highly I think of her as a [former] Miss World. I leave it up to you to decide whether she came out true on her words. To be fair to her, let me mention that those lines were delivered with a panache and deserve all the cheers and accolades she got at the pageant site — yes, even the title!

Miss World 2000, Priyanka Chopra went one step ahead of Aishwarya. When asked which woman alive she admired the most, she said it was Mother Teresa. She just had to say Mother Teresa. If it were an event with majority Indian jury and not an international one, she probably would have said it was Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Yeah, in 2000 both were dead! If only they were taught some sense apart from cramming there brains with names and words.

Parvathy, prior to the contest said,

I’ll try my best to make every Indian all over the world proud.” [Express Buzz]

Did she mean only the pageant? I don’t know how many feel the pride. Sure her relatives and parents do.

In the final round, in response to the question, “What does being in South Africa mean to you,” she replied,

In India and South Africa people are warm and warm-hearted. I felt at home in Johannesburg. Presence of two great leaders Mahatma Gandhi (India) and Nelson Mandela (South Africa) have influenced millions of people in both the countries.

In a recent interview on a TV news channel, she was asked if she is looking forward to the offers to movies, she replied with the characteristic charm and deception of a lady who just won a pageant talking hot air and nothing apart from hot air, “I don’t know, I’ll do things as they come.” Now that’s fair! This way, she can keep realizing, or at least pretend realizing, Gandhi’s and Mandela’s dreams and when fed up of realizing them or pretending realizing them, does a movie, sparks up a few controversies, inaugurates a few fashion houses, malls and boutiques, earns some moolah, buys a lavish apartment in Juhu, Mumbai and gets married to a movie-wallah or uska beta. Gandhi and Mandela are then passed on to the next Miss World contestant.

Seriously, what is wrong in accepting that a Miss World is a symbol of beauty that is just skin deep, and the event is a pure fashion and marketing propaganda? A little more of skin show will only help inviting more sponsorship and viewership. Right now, in its current format, with only a swim-suit round, the viewer ends up with… yes, you know that phrase: KLPD. Stop pretending that it is about celebrating womanhood or finding a complete woman. Stop pretending intellectual ability or (borrowing from Mrs. Rai Bachchan) the feeling of compassion. Show us ‘the real thing’! Even I would like to watch it, then.

Now when the contest is over and she is famous, Parvathy has sparked up a controversy of sorts. She thinks she was unfairly judged the runner up; she is the winner, at least to her. Seems she hasn’t got a single modest gene in her curvaceous, delicious body.

Finally we have Parvathy herself with us talking her brains out:

Since we have been talking about beauty queens and Miss Worlds, here is a sample of their distinctive thought process and intellectual abilities. Natasha Paracha was the Pakistani entry to Miss World 2008. It is only ironic that she was asked how she would tackle terrorism as Miss Pakistan. Her reply? Brilliant! See for yourself (her and her answer):

Natasha Paracha

As Miss Pakistan and as a young woman representing the nation and I can definitely think that I would like to promote the country and show that Pakistani women are strong and we can definitely do a lot to represent the nation a lot on the global sphere.

Brings out the real depth! Thank goodness she is considering offers from Bollywood. That at least is one place she’ll do well, despite being laughed at.

Orwellian Society

In United Kingdom, The Communications Data Bill (2008) is going lead to the creation of a single, centralized database containing records of all e-mails sent, websites visited and mobile phones used by UK citizens. The bill and the idea are not new. It has been done, covertly and openly, in the name of ‘homeland security’ and ‘Patriot Acts’ in several other countries, e.g., China, United States. Picture the following dialog between two individuals:

BBG: We need to reduce our expectation of privacy and accept the boundless mass surveillance in order to maintain homeland security.

NAA: I reject this position. The resulting lack of privacy and confidentiality is putting at risk the freedom of confession, the freedom of speech as well as the work of doctors, helplines, lawyers and journalists.

[BBG: ‘Big Brother’ Government. NAA: New Age Activist]

The debate, personal privacy and freedom vs. homeland security, heated after the Information Revolution. In this context, my friend asked me whether we are slowly changing into an Orwellian society (Ref. ‘1984‘ by George Orwell). Before expressing my views, I want to know the readers’ opinion on this. So here is a quick poll:

Political and Social Fallout of Tata pulling out of West Bengal

Alright. I am not an expert on West Bengal politics. Anybody who has many friends who hail from that, in the words of Ratan Tata, “terrific State”, and who kept track of the recent happenings there can draw the similar conclusions and ask similar question as I will in this post. There has been a lot of drama, and too much at stake. There have been riots, people killed, agitations, disruptions, intimidation, fasts, dharnas and what not! Everybody is talking of Tatas pulling out, but nobody the plight and future of Singur farmers.

Hurricane Mamata arrived, leveled the field, and committed a political suicide. There are several questions that need to be answered before talking of political future of CPIs and Trinmools.

  1. What happens to 13,000 farmer families whose lands were acquired? Tatas promised them jobs and money in return of their land. Now with no jobs and no land good enough for cultivation left after all the concrete infrastructure raised there, what are they supposed to do?
  2. Where was Ms. Banerjee when the land was acquired? Why did she choose to intervene now? Yes, I know! 400 families, right? Did they ask for help?
  3. Buddhadeb government’s role in the whole incident is more than just dubious. Alright, dear Buddha-da wanted WB to progress, but that could have happened had they not used the heavy ‘communist’ hand. IMHO, government should have kept away from the land deals, and should have let the local bodies and committees negotiate with the capitalist czars.
  4. How much money and resources are wasted to get zero output from this exercise?

What happens to the jobless farmers now is an easy guess. Their role in the war of giants is over! What happens to their children nobody cares about. Some shall die of hunger, and rest shall end up embracing violence in their quest of survival. Call them nameless martyrs, if you will. There will be social unrest, even riots, to say the least. So little for the ‘economic revolution’.

As I said, Hurricane Mamata did, as hurricanes always do, bring destruction with itself. Little did she know, as hurricanes never know, that she would have to settle eventually. It is time that she settles. Although now she understands that she is in a situation that is best described by the popular phrase, ‘Catch 22′. It is evident from her dubbing Tatas’ decision as a “a political game plan of the State Government and the Tatas”. She conveniently chose not to mention her political game plan when she decided to put her ugly little leg into the matter. Game over Mamata!

Someones loss is someone else’s gain. But surely not of the ruling WB government. The pullout is a very bad example of their plans of the so called economic growth. It will go down, in the memory of the WB masses and the investors, as nothing less than gross incompetence. It is the voter of WB who should ask the right questions to the government, “Who will invest in our state after whatever happened, whoever’s fault it was, in Nandigram and Singur?” “What happened to the promise of more jobs to the youth?” Not just the economic, there are several other concerns, both social and administrative, that tarnish the image (as if it was not already) of the ruling party in the state.

Whose gain is it then? At what cost? The states like Gujarat and Karnataka, where the fascist governments will graciously embrace Tatas. At the cost of a few thousand more farmers and their families. There will more dharnas, fasts, police shootings, riots and killings, and Tatas will probably get what they want. Poor will eat shit in the high stake games between the centers of power and the centers of capital.

Hail democracy! Hail capitalism!! Hail Socialism and Communism!!!

Kickass news of the day: ‘Sanjivani Booti’ found in Uttarakhand

How gullible can Indian press and population be? Here is an example quoted from a vernacular daily, ‘The Hindu’:

‘Sanjivani Booti’ found in Uttarakhand: Ramdev’s trust

Dehra Dun (PTI): Baba Ramdev’s yog trust has claimed to find “Sanjivani Booti” from Drongiri Parvat in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Describing it as a big achievement, Baba Ramdev thanked the team members led by Acharya Balkrishan, who found the herb following a trek to the hill.

Acharya Balkrishan said Sanjivani Booti has properties of four different herbs like Mrita Sanjivani, Vishalaya Karni, Sawarn Karni and Sandhani.

Prof Hariram Pandey, an ayurveda expert and Kaushal Kumar had accompanied the team which trekked to Dronagiri early this month. The team returned to Haridwar yesterday.

Sanjivani Booti gets mention in the holy Ramayana when Lakshaman was injured during the fight with Meghnaad. To revive him, who fell unconscious, Hanuman flew to Drona Parvat and brought the Sanjivani.

Reading this news item, one of my friend asks if this country can get any  stupider? Little does she know that it is not stupidity. I, myself, found “Amrit” while I was trekking, but chose not to bring it back with me, for I think it is more interesting to live and then die than to live forever.

Anyhow, Ramdev is the man! I believe it is mentioned in Ramayana, with Pictures and taxonomic rank classification of all the herbs they used, so Ramdev‘s men could precisely identify Sajeevani Booti.

Put the past behind, and let me be savor this moment of joy as a result of the discovery of 21st century. Finally, we have found the cure to everything! Rest of the world can go ahead and develop its biological/nuclear warfare and go to hell.

Political Fallout of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal

Mrs. (Indira) Gandhi‘s heroics resulted in India witnessing more than three decades of “Nuclear Apartheid,” following the 1974 Pokharan nuclear tests. With a helping hand from the United States, India is back in the club of nuclear elites and their groupies, as Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, a.k.a. the “123 Agreement“, was passed by the US Senate on Wednesday, ending more than thirty years of prejudice. Later on President Bush said, “I look forward to signing this bill into law and continuing to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership.” It will be interesting to see what role we play, that of a submissive groupie or an elite.

123 Agreement
123 Agreement

Apart from (hopefully) strengthening the strategic partnership between India and the United States, a successful deal means (if we put all other matters of home aside for the time being) ominous signs for Indira Congress and its allies, collectively known as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Indian politics.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh now stands on a higher than ever ground of his political career, both in his own party and Indian politics. Congress hails the present hour to be Dr. Singh’s finest hour. This means that, apart from Sonia Gandhi, Dr. Manmohan Singh will be the face of the Congress Party at center-stage in the upcoming general elections. It was Dr. Singh whose strong political will and non-aggressive stance saw the deal through. Whether the deal is good or bad for the state and the nation is another matter, but just the fact that Dr. Singh fulfilled a promise he made is a huge boon to his party. After all, it is not everyday that politicians in India keep their promises, and this event will surely stay long in a voter’s memory.

Singh-Bush alliance
Singh-Bush alliance

Dr. Singh and his government had to face strong criticism from their allies, the left parties, and the opposition lead by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) both. In the process, the UPA government faced its worst ever political crisis when the left parties chose to withdraw support.

I have a lot of respect for the Left for its issue-based political stands. In all the drama that ensued regarding the 123 agreement during past couple of years, many fail to see why the Left stood its ground. If it supported the deal, the Left would have lost its image as staunch opponent of US “imperialism”, risking serious erosion of core support and loyalty. Unlike the right and centrist parties, the Left criticizes the deal as part of a Indo-US “strategic partnership” or India’s strategic embrace of the US. It also refers to the impact of the agreement on India’s advocacy of universal nuclear disarmament, the ideology which the UPA promised to return to while embracing the power in center. Whether Left will succeed in maintaining its core support or not is an interesting prospect of the future to observe.

BJP on the other hand is in muddy waters, as their shallow political stunts and the wide-spread unrest can easily be seen. It was the BJP government in the center when the deal was proposed–although it vehemently denied anything to do with the deal later, when it sat in the opposition–and the success of the present government seeing the deal through means a big jolt to its campaign of getting back in the center of power. Its position, with respect to the deal, is that of a disruptive opportunist.

But the power game is very complicated! Though UPA succeeded in bringing home the deal, there are several issues that decide the outcome of the political gimmickry called General Elections. UPA has failed (to a certain extent; that extent depends on where you stand) when it comes to a lot of matters of the homeland. That analysis is surely not the subject of this post.

Why should Indian media be sued?

I mean it! Someone must sue Indian media. There is a word that religious fanatics often use against rationalists; it is called blasphemy. Blasphemy is what is being served to India’s population by the news media; the main culprits being IBN7, India TV (there is nothing Indian about it, believe me!), Aaj Tak and Star News. Until Sep 10, the day when the LHC was fired for the first time, these news channels were running a story (literally — it was nothing more than a fictional story in the name of news), spreading panic among the masses about an ‘impending doom’. As an outcome of their “brave” efforts, a girl committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh. Rediff reports the unfortunate incident here.

A 16-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh allegedly committed suicide after watching news about the possibility of the end of earth, following the atom-smasher experiment in Geneva that began on Wednesday.

Needless to say the girl was gullible, but that is what news channels expect from the majority of population in India. If you don’t believe me on the ‘quality’ of stories they run, there is a skeptic like me who gives the first person account of what Indian media is serving on National TV:

“Yeh Mahamachine hain ya Mahadaanav?”
[“Is this a Great Machine or a Great Demon?”]

The first confirmation of what I’ve always suspected! Scriptwriters of Ekta Kapoor also write for IndiaTV! In this case, those who wrote “Kahaani Humaare Mahabharat kii“, surely produced this gem. Come on, the two sets are one… There cannot be so many awesomely stupid people in the same country. Those who work for Ekta Kapoor work for IndiaTV. QED.

Agar Machine ka dimaag fir gaya toh?
[“What if the machine loses its mind?”]

Some English news channels are also not too far in reporting what I call bullshit! Take CNN IBN for example. They are running a story calling the LHC ‘the big bang experiment‘. It is not a big bang experiment. I repeat it: Stop thinking of LHC as a big bang experiment for fuck’s sake!

Even if I ignore some odd cases of some gullible fools –which I can’t however hard I try– I can’t ignore the bad name these news channels bring to science and scientists.

Disclaimer

As science and reason continue to peel back layers of truth, and religion as an answer becomes more obviously wrong, I envisage a future world in which we wonder why any of us believed in God.

Please read the disclaimer before proceeding to comment. Thanks.