Listen,Learn and Letloose

A lazy guy's random thoughts about events around him

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Aamir - a true masterpiece

The movie "Aamir" was released an year ago , but I happened watch it only yesterday. It's a big shock that it hasn't received any awards yet, because this is definitely the best movie of 2008, by a long distance.

How many times have you watched a movie that gives you goosebumps , that keeps on the edge of the seats from start to end and makes you feel the stench on the screen as it takes you through the seediest of locations you have ever seen in any movie. Aamir , in my view, is the most brilliant movie to have come out of Bollywood in a decade or so. I am not giving much of the story away because its difficult not to let out a few spoilers while revealing the story.

It starts innocuously enough , with a cheerful "It's a good day" song showing the start of a typical day in mumbai. In stark contrast , the protagonist's day goes down the spiral as the day proceeds. Rajeev Khandelwal as the liberal Muslim caught in a tight spot is just perfect for the role. As a mysterious voice in phone blackmails him to follow his instructions for the sake of his family members, you are transported bang into the action.

The story teller knows his city well , as he takes us to a National Hotel in Dombivilli to the narrow scum filed by lanes of Bhendi Bazar, it's definitely a Mumbai that I've never seen and sure that not many people residing in Mumbai would identify with it either. A particular scene where Aamir is instructed to go to a dingy toilet and get a note from there is too real for the audience's comfort as it makes you puke with it's sheer stench and you feel relieved when Aamir is finally out of there.

Music is the right hand man for the story. Right from "Chakar Ghumyo" when Aamir starts clearing the traffic to get to his location on time to the last piece in climax , the music is simply mind blowing. The pick of the songs is "Haara" - a true Desi rock song.

It would have been nice if the voice on the phone had just been a voice , but that's just an observation. This is must watch , you'll get hooked to the movie and sure to google for the songs once you are done watching it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ban the Bandhs

This post may be a touch late , given that the bandh in chennai was a week ago.Nevertheless as one of the thousands to suffer a stupid decision by the government,I'll go ahead and vent my opinion.

Even assuming that there was consensus in the state about the reservation issue i.e. everybody agrees that a 27% reservation in higher education is necessary(a highly debatable assumption),I see no connection between the bandh and the ultimate decision that supreme court will take.Supreme court has stated clearly that it needs the correct facts about population distribution from the government, so the immediate priority should have been to get the data correct and present a convincing argument. It just reflects the state government's conviction about it's facts that they chose to call a bandh rather brace themselves for a viable argument.

Coming to the actual bandh itself, it was shocking to see trains passing through chennai station being held for 12 hours. This was a case of a government holding public to ransom.Just imagine the time wasted and god knows how many plans were spoiled.

I was at the receiving end of the after effects of the bandh.I was on my regular trip with my friends to Thiruvannamalai on Saturday night(mar 31).The thiruvannamalai busses which are usually quite free were filled to the brim.However, thanks to the bandh,Bus after bus was filled with people hanging on in the footboards.After waiting at the bus terminus for 3 hours , we realized we were not getting a bus if we waited at the terminus.We went searching for a cab for our trip. Thanks to the bandh again, all travels had a leave that day and there were no cabs were available till early next morning.We had to finally catch a bus that was returning from Thiruvannamalai and a grab a seat in that.Once the bus reached the terminus, there was virtual riot to enter the bus and within seconds the bus was packed enough for everybody smell each other's sweat.Imagine the plight of kids and ladies who had to travel standing for 4-5 hours.Not that I was magnanimous enough to give them my seat, but frankly no body in his right mind would have given away his/her seat to a more needy person.The general inconvenience led to a series of quarrels and the four hour journey was filled with heated gibbering between the standing passengers and seated ones , among the standing passengers, between men and women were the ones to suffer the most, their wailing punctuating the constant quarrel.

If only all buses had run on schedule everybody could have traveled peacefully.I really don't understand how the suffering of numerous people served the purpose of reservation, and this is not even a critical scenario , just a chaotic and inconvenient bus travel.Imagine cases of unexpected health emergencies that would have required transport.

I am convinced that it's high time we ban bandhs.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Parvadha Malai - Pushing the Limits on Pongal

Question : What gives human mind the greatest Joy?
Answer: The sense that you have pushed your limits and achieved something considered to be beyond yourself.

It's interesting how random coversations lead to the some of the most memorable experiences of your life.Our trip to Parvada Malai also started on similar notes.On one of of my regular trips to Thiruvannmalai, our conversation drifted to a temple on the hills nearby - Parvadha Malai.The description about the place given by a person who has been there and done it was jaw dropping.As he explained how risky the climb is,how scary it is at times and most importantly the belief about a couple dogs in the hills, which are considered incarnations of Lord Bhairava showing you the way through the hills really got a few of us interested.4 of us, Me, Sampath, Mani and Arvind Ram immediately decided that we have to make this trip at the earliest.We decided that Pongal holidays was the ideal time for this trip.

As with all good plans, we faithfully put it in backburner for quiet sometime.Arvind Ram collected a lot of info about it, but in general we were lost in our supposedly busy office life.By the time Sampath gave me a call and discussed about the trip it was Jan 10th.We were still quiet hopeful of making the trip as planned. Arvind and Sampath handled the travel planning after that and had booked an Innova and so the trip was finalized on Jan 12th.A Toyota Innova for five guys, 4 of us and William, Sampath's colleague ,was a tad luxurious , but our enthu to make the trip overcame all inhibitions we had about expenses.Arvind Ram also prepared a neat schedule for the trip with a list of items to be brought, a few precautions etc.As I found out earlier the schedule was prepared for his travel with another group but Arvind was fated to capture our photos in his camera.

Inspite of my eagerness to make the trek, I did have an inkling of fear at the back of my head.I wasn't exactly sure of my physical abilities and the build up give to the trip was giving me a few minor jitters.

So we started as planned on Jan 14th Morning.The ride on the Innova was super-smooth and but for an occasional glance at the speedometer I would have never guessed that we were traveling at 90-100Km/Hr for most of our journey.The talk during the journey was generally about ICICI bank , since I was traveling with friends who were either employees or ex-employees of ICICI bank and occasionally I had to remind them that I am an outsider to the topic.We watched movies during the trip , but I really don't remember discussing much about the actual trek till we reached Thiruvannamalai.

Our first halt was at Thiruvannamalai. After praying to almighty for a safe trek, We proceeded for a decent lunch.Meanwhile our driver , Stalin, had enquired the shops around about the hill and was in a dilemma about whether to come for a trek with us or not.He ultimately decided that it was a risky proposition as he had to drive all the way back to chennai on our return journey.

We first went to kadaladi , the village near Parvadha Malai.We could see parvadha malai on out way to the village and the sight was capturing enough for us to make a couple stops to from them in Arvind's camera.

When we reached kadaladi,The arrangements were on for Jallikattu,the traditional bull fight.There were oxes of all sizes lined with decorations.Though the rest of the guys were enthusiatic about it , I didn't quiet like the idea of waiting on the sidelines when bulls were running about.Thankfully we decided to proceed to the hills as it was 3:00 in the afternoon and we wanted to reach the ashram at top before dark.
The villagers we met were quiet friendly and were filling us in with stories about the hill.They made the trek on the hills sound much easier than what we had imagined.
We were introduced to our guide Jayavel.Jayavel was a local guy who was doing odd jobs in chennai and had been to the hills 70 odd times.Though we trusted the story of a dog guiding us through the hills,we were too novice to let our trek be guided by fate alone.

We started our trek at 3:15. After the initial walk, the climb to the hills started. We were climbing through narrow passge way flanked on both sides by tall bushes.As we proceeded further, the climb got steeper and our bodies began to show signs that the physical challenge is getting tougher.My heart beat went up drastically and I began to pant like an old railway engine.Heart beat rate increased high enough for me to wonder whether it's going to jump out it's place.Half an hour into the trek and my head started spinning just a little and my feet were getting a bit shaky.The plight of the rest of guys was not much different with Williams and to an extent Mani managing to hold themselves, so we took the necessary break.

Jayavel meanwhile was trying to buck us up and cajole us by saying , we can reach an easier part of the trek in 10 minutes and take rest. As we proceeded further we realized that what was 10 minutes for Jayavel was probably going to be Half an hour for us , we had little pauses through out the next part of our climb.All the while , the dog which was our unofficial guide kept a close watch on us and was coming along with us throughout.At all our short pauses,Arvind kept clicking snaps of the scenic spots around us and of course more than a fair share of our pictures.

After about one and a half an hour's trek , we reached a shop.There are few shops in the hill, all set up as tents.All the owners have to bring all the items from the village and have to climb through the same path.Moreover all the items for constructing the Ashram at hill top was carried by the same route.Considering the fact that we were finding it difficult to carry ourselves, the guys who carried cement bags, steel rods etc through the same path sounded like super humans to me.

The shop we had halted was owned by pachayappan.We had a glass freshlime soda and it was getting chill enough to wipe the sweat off our faces.The cool wind and the refreshment we had was a pretty energising and we went on take on the toughest part of the trek.

The next part ws the "kadapaarai padhai" or literally the path of rods. The climb was very steep and there were steel rods drilled on the sides so that we could climb gripping the steel rods.At first I didn't realize that we had reached that part when I had look at all the rods lined up and when I did I went like " Iam supposed climb through this?!!".I was carrying a crossbag on my shoulder which wasn't exactly a bright idea.On seeing the steep climb, I promptly handed over the bag to Jayavel who was more than willing to take the burden.After climbing a bit and I had look down just to how far we have proceeded and decided that it was best to climb fast through this part without halting.It wasn't as scary as I had thought as the steels were more than sufficient to climb through the steep path.Once we crossed the kadapaarai paadhai,
considered to be the toughest part of the trek , there was a sense of relief and joy and we celebrated by taking a few snaps of each other.By this time it was cold enough for me taken my monkey cap out.

The climb further was similar to our initial part only that this time we didn't have so much trouble climbing through the steep path.We managed it pretty well and the beautiful sunsight only made the trek very much worthwhile.By the time we reached the peak it was 6:30 PM a good 3 hours from our start time and mist was just about covering the hills.We went to the temple at the hills.Hot tea and more snaps followed.Having a tasty hot tea on a cool eveining on the hills is quiet an experience.

We went back to the Ashram to rest for the night and were completely bowled over by the hospitality of the people there.The Ashram was quiet warm and we really didn't feel much of the cold outside.There was a cave temple within the Ashram and there was puja in the Ashram. We waited in silence for dinner.When dinner arrived it was 9.00 and we were hungry enough to grab anything that was offered , so the pongal that they served,which doesn't count as my preferred dinner was lapped up happily.After dinner when we went out wash our hands , we could see nothing but mist and since we had removed our shirts for the Puja, the cold winds were even more telling.We were provided with all facilities for a comfortable night's sleep.

The Ashram is run by a mouna samiyar (Silent saint).
The Ashram provides all it's visitors a comfortable stay and the way treat you , makes you feel really at home.Since Jayavel is quiet a regular visitor there , we guys were literally pampered.
There is no power facility at the ashram and generators were used only during dinner time.

We had a good night's sleep, though Williams had a bit of struggle coping with the cold weather.When all of us were awake at around 6:00 AM , we again found that there was nothing but mist surrounding us and visibility was quiet low.We had thought that may be we can start later when mist clears a bit but were advised that this is the right time to start as it will get really hot once the sun comes out.Heeding that advice we started at around 6:30Am.The climb down was quiet a smooth one,though I got a bit scared at the kadapaarai padhai.Since I was walking bare footed , I had few minor slips in the climb down with my feet hitting the rocks a few times.Aprt from that the trek down was quiet casual.By the time we reached the bottom of the hill all of us were sweating profusely but for William.

It was a nice to have completed a 3000 feet climb and back to ground, something that seemed improbable when all of us were breathing our lungs out half an hour into the trek. Jayavel was an excellent guide as he kept telling stories about how villagers climb here with all type of loads and how easy the climb is.He also told us about mytholigal stories of this being the first place where Lord Shiva kept his foot on earth.Overall he ensured that we were never bogged down.

We visited the Ayyanar temple of the village and started our journey back to chennai.For me the trip was memorable for two things , one we actually managed to execute a much cherished plan and two the proof that I can push my own limits when required.

How to get there?
Parvadha malai is near the village Kadaladi which is about 35 Kms from Thiruvannamalai.Frequent busses are availablr from chennai to Thiruvannamalai.From there you can catch a bus to kadaladi.

Highly recommended for young sedantary workers who haven't done any reasonable physical activit for quiet some time and anybody willing to take a break from their hectic lifestyles.

Not advisable for heart patients,Asthma patients and people above 50 Yrs of age.

P.S. It is a bit unfair not provide pictures for such a verbose post.You can view the pictures taken by Arvind ram at

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Life is a Journey?? Ya, Ya , I know....

I am sure the guy who coined this term definitely wasn't thinking abt the journey time that people spend commuting to their office and back daily.I am one of the million beneficiaries of this thing called IT boom and the only hitch with that is the office is invariably located in a far away planet which takes anywhere between 2-4 Hours of ur daily time.In my case,I have to travel 32 Kms in roads which tell you the bitter truth about India's Infrastructure.Come to think of it, I am quiet lucky. I atleast have an office bus to save me time and the night cabs to ensure that I don't have to worry abt means of transport.
Mumbaikars have been living with this long commute for decades now , it's newbies like me who are making noises.Anyway train travel in Mumbai is better than the long drudgery the Bus commute to office is.Imust admit , I quiet like the night cab travel with the radio playing songs without RJ's interruption.
So I guess our mordern lives is all abt the journey to make our living. enjoy the journey, what else to do?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Musquito:India's National Insect?

Delhi-Dengue to Chennai-Chikungunya ,musquitoes are in news again.Condiering the fact that we share such a special relationship with the species and the fact that whole of India acts as a natural nurturing ground for musquitoes, I think it's high time we named it as India's National Insect.Our National Animal and National bird are in the endangered species category,so we'll atleast have one national representative which is dangerous rather than endangered.

The media predictably has been on with the same stories poor sanitation,poor garbage disposal blah , blah , if propoganda is going to solve anything.

Here are two suggesstions to save yourself from these dreaded diseases

1.Settle down in a scandinavian country.Then you might as well ask "does dengue mean thank you in an Indian Language?"

2.Air-condition ur life. Airconditioned homes , A/c cars , A/c office et all. Then u become part of the "righteious elite" and freely scoff at pathetic administartion.Can't afford it? then u are cursed to suffer , hard luck...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blood Soaked Tear Drop: Lankan Crisis and my view

Nearly 13,000 refugees landed in Rameswaram this year ... That too only those who had Rs.30,000 or more to pay for their perilous trip... Leaving their families, houses, properties and relatives.It is a humanitarian crisis which is similar to Darfur ... It is a sad sight when our brethren who are living so close to us are having such a plight ... What we all hope for is a peaceful resolution of the conflict ...I am not supporting the LTTE or other separatist organizations ...But the plight of these Sri Lankan refugees who are now shifted to Coimbatore as the Mandabam camp in Rameswaram is over-crowded ... need not be overlooked. They too speak the same language as we do ... follow the same social customs, the only difference is we were lucky enough to be born on the other side of the palk strait ... “(Views expressed in an Orkut discussion by user “neo”)

Ever since the influx of Tamil refugees from Srilanka has reached sizable proportions over the last few months, the media has become actively involved and so have the Indian citizens more particularly people of Tamilnadu. There are varied views as to what exactly must India do. The views vary from supporting LTTE’s armed struggle to crushing the armed struggle by assisting the Govt of Srilanka. These are just two extreme views and there are a million responses, which lie between these two extremes. I will attempt to present my views on the issue and what possibly must India do. Right now India is doing nothing and it will do so at it’s own peril.

Disclaimer: There may be factual gaps and inaccuracies in my narration, do mention that in your comments.If you need to form your own independent views on the issue “Island of Blood” by Anita Pratap and “Inside an Elusive Mind” by Narayana Swamy are two good books. The views that have been expressed here are largely an understanding of those two books. Other good book that I have heard of but haven’t read is “Tigers of Lanka” by Narayana Swamy published in 1994.

Where are the roots of this ethnic conflict?
If we have to get to the actual roots of this conflict we may have to go back a very long time in History. Let’s for the sake of meaningful understanding take a look at the History of events from Srilankan Independence. I am bad with Dates and names, so if you are looking for accurate chronology of events or for names of political leaders involved you have to google it.

Srilanka is a country of Singhalese Majority. Approximately 75-80% of the population is Singhalese and the rest Tamilians.The minority population is concentrated in the northern and northeastern parts of Srilanka. After Srilanka got Independence from British rule, the first president of Srilanka visited the northern part and announced that there will be no discrimination against Tamils and they need not worry about being a linguistic minority in Srilanka. What went wrong then? Politicians being politicians smelled a big opportunity to score a few brownie points. Immediately there was furore in Srilankan Parliament by Opposition parties about how Singhalese interests are being compromised and how the government is selling out to minorities. For all the bold declarations, the political heat was too much for the incumbent government to stand up to and it went back on all promises and started to discriminate against Tamils. Thus a vicious cycle was set where in Political parties try to project themselves as Singhalese warriors and Srilankan politics was essentially reduced to Singhalese Chauvinism.

There were political parties in Northern part of Srilanka and prominent well-respected Tamil political leaders. Their political and peaceful means to stand up to discrimination were always crushed ruthlessly. Srilankan political history is replete with events of how peaceful civilian movements were crushed with brute force. Just a few examples to show discrimination- compulsory Singhalese number plates for vehicles, Preference to Singhalese citizens in higher education and government jobs etc. Apart from the state policies, government also turned a blind eye to violence against Tamilians. There was a literal state sponsored genocide in Srilanka.

In response to all these atrocities, various armed groups emerged in the northern regions, but most of them were quiet unfocussed and didn’t have any strategic or tactical power for a military combat. LTTE emerged as the most ruthless and powerful force from among these groups to make the Srilankan government and indeed the entire world up sit up and notice and bring them to the negotiating table.

Just how the hell did the LTTE become so powerful?

India under Indira Gandhi’s rule in the 1980s played a significant role in LTTE’s emergence as a powerful guerilla group.

Prabhakaran, the LTTE chief was born in Srilanka in 1954.His childhood was witness to mass atrocities against his family members and his people and that probably instilled a sense of anger and Hatred firmly in his head. He became prominent in the public eye after the murder of the Mayor of Velvityur, his hometown. He is believed to have received armed training in Palestine. He was, right from his beginning as a rebel, been very clear about the idea that a Separate country for Tamils is the only way to ensure their peaceful existence and to this day he hasn’t budged from that.

July 1983 was witness to the most unfortunate event in Lankan History, the “Black July” pogrom against Tamils. In a skirmish between LTTE and Srilankan Army LTTE attacked an Army post at Velvettiyur and killed four Army men brutally, this was done as a retaliation for the death one of their prominent members. This event sparked off mass violence against Tamils. In her book “Island of Blood” Anita Pratap says that during that period the Tamil newspapers carried no news, they had only obituaries and travel agency ads to arrange for escape from Srilanka.Thanks to the efforts of Indian Journalists like her, the incident got the attention of Indians and there was an huge outpour of sympathy towards Srilankan Tamils.

Meanwhile quiet a few armed groups had emerged in the Northern part of Srilanka and there was a power struggle between them (I do not remember all of them but TELOS was prominent armed group at that time). I do not know or rather don’t remember the exact reasons but Prabhakaran stayed in India, in chennai during this period. He was living like a normal guy and nobody would have believed that he was a “wanted” by Srilankan government. It so happened that an unexpected Gunfight broke out between him and another armed group leader at Pondybazar in Chennai. The police caught him. Prabhakaran didn’t come out with his true identity. The other guy who was caught told the truth about them. The circumstances turned fortunate for Prabhakaran. The General sympathy that had been built up in India towards Srilankan Tamils coupled with Indira Gandhi’s enthusiasm for another Bangladesh like adventure ensured that he wasn’t sent back to Srilanka, as he should have been. All Lankan armed groups were given Arms and Training under the guidance of RAW (training given in Dehradun in forest warfare and huge forest areas cleared in TN to provide training).

The IPKF Fiasco

This bonhomie between LTTE and India continued for quiet some time. Tamil Political parties were falling head over heels in love with LTTE and there was an active competition to provide assistance to them.

All this continued till Rajiv Gandhi did a sudden U turn on this issue. He insisted that all armed groups should act as one group and that Srilanka and LTTE should agree upon a peace deal that did not insist on formation of a separate Tamil nation. India wanted LTTE to surrender their arms and sent the IPKF to monitor the “peace” process. (This later broke into pieces and a badly bruised nose for India)

His sudden insistence on giving up of arms by LTTE and hastiness to broker a peace deal really upset Prabhakaran. He was also upset by treating his group equivalent to other groups as he firmly believed the idea of separate Tamil nation and did not trust the sincerity of other groups this the cause (or at least this is what the LTTE sympathizers tell)
While there's no clear cut reason for Rajiv Gandhi’s sudden change of policy w.r.t LTTE , there are indications that it was an attempt to divert the Bofors issue which was burning his pants then(some RG supporters were living in the dream of him getting a Nobel peace prize for resolving Lankan issue, talk about being naïve )

The IPKF had failure written all over it even before it began. For starters the troops that landed there didn’t have much of a clue about political ground realities.(some army men landed their with supplies for just two day’s stay) The LTTE was already against this move and was plotting IPKF’s downfall. There were noises from Srilankan opposition that the landing of foreign troops in Srilanka was against their national interests and national pride. LTTE and Sri Lankan Army both played an active role in turning the IPKF against Tamilians. The LTTE would attack Indian forces posted there and would vanish within the local population. Lack of local intelligence resulted in innocent civilians being attacked by IPKF for LTTE’s attack on them. Thus a scenario developed where both the LTTE and Srilankan government wanted to get rid of the IPKF and so did the Tamil civilians who were suffering at their hands. In a cruel irony, SLA army provided Arms to LTTE for battle against IPKF.LTTE waged a successful Guerilla war and Indian troops were forced to withdraw after a long, fruitless battle.

The withdrawal of IPKF was a huge boost to LTTE, it proved that they could take on a mighty army and defeat it. LTTE was also successful in elimination all other armed groups by force or by coercion i.e. they either become part of LTTE or get killed. This act is justified on the premise that other groups were traitors that were not sincere about the cause of Ealam – The separate homeland for Srilankan Tamils.

What is the Justification provided for Rajiv Gandhi’s Murder by LTTE’s sympathizers and what is it’s aftermath?

Well, the oft-repeated argument is that he was a traitor against Tamils and it was a revenge for sending IPKF and unleashing atrocities against Tamils. My actual understanding is that the decision to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi was based on two factors

1) Lok sabha elections were due in India and LTTE was sensing that if Rajiv comes back to power, he would do something to erase the bad memories of IPKF that may not be in LTTE’s interest.

2) Assassination of a prominent politician of a large democratic country would project LTTE, as a powerful organization that can strike at will.

Whatever the basis of the action, it remains the biggest political blunder by LTTE. It ensured that no self respecting Indian can ever support the LTTE, even if he is a staunch supporter of the Srilankan Tamils. The LTTE’s original demand for separate Tamil land stood seriously diluted because of this act and subsequent assassinations that it carried out. The world saw no difference between LTTE and other terrorist organization with separatist ideologies.

Why do peace talks between LTTE and Srilanka continuously fail?

For the same simple reason that all peace talks fail- rigidity. The sad truth is none of the successive Lankan govts have any proof that they are serious about treating Tamils with equality. The LTTE in turn refuses to budge from its position of Separate Ealam. Whatever alternative voices emerge, they are suppressed. The LTTE ensures that no voice apart from it’s own is heard to outside world, people with political view different from LTTE are not tolerated. Similarly the chauvinistic agenda of successive Srilankan governments has ensured that Singhalese citizens are either apathetic to the plight of Tamilians or a fanatical few of them encourage the discrimination against Tamils.

There have attempts by social groups to increase interaction between Singhalese and Tamil people especially youngsters. This is to erase the hatred that has developed between the two communities over the last few generations. These are just small efforts that can at best act as supporting structure in a larger peace process.
What have been India’s responses to this crisis post the Rajiv Gandhi assassination and what should it be?

India’s response can be described as an Ostrich syndrome. It fails to see the problem in the hope that ignoring it would make the problem disappear. There has been no clear stand on this issue(that there has been no clear stand on any external affair issue requires another blog). What are the options India has in this situation?

1) Continue to act like an Ostrich, bury your head in sand and hope that the problem will go away. Result – Obviously the problem is going nowhere, we’ll only end up with more refugee influx and more hardening of radical Tamil groups within India
2) Support LTTE in its cause for Separate Ealam.Result - India will end up with another Bangladesh like scenario. We’ll create an authoritarian regime that is right now controlled by Prabhakaran but has no succession plans. The possibilities of proxy war by Srilanka will exist. We’ll end up opening another front to create headache for India. The reason why India will never take this stance is because of the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

3) Support GoSL in its attempts to curb LTTE. The Gosl will curb LTTE and get back to it’s old ways of discrimination and this in turn again runs the danger of raising radical voices in TN

4) The best option in my opinion is to bring diplomatic pressure on Srilankan Government. Set time frames for implementation of policies that conveys sincerity in treating Tamils as equal in Srilanka. Help in setting up a federal structure as we have in India After all when EU countries are involved in working out a solution, it is only fair that we must do our two pence to our neighbor.

I think we must look at the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils as a humanitarian issue rather than get emotional about "Thamizh inam"(tamil unity to put it simply). After all when the govt condemned the attacks on Lebanon and sent Aid package to them, I really see no reason for us to remain mute to issue that is taking place next door.

Another question that gets raised is Will formation of separate Tamil Ealam fuel separatist tendencies within Tamilnadu?

I doubt that very much as there is no serious alienation of Tamilians from the Indian mainstream. More importantly political parties will not lend much voice to such a stand, simply because the power and money that can get as a politician in a well developed state of India is far greater than what they will get being part of separate nation.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Should India go the Israel way?

This is the topic doing rounds in Internet after the Bombay blasts .By attacking terrorists ,most people mean India should attack Pakistan. If that is the line of thinking ,then I would say a firm no. Is this a sign of cowardice as the right wing thinkers say? No. A war should never be undertaken unless we are convinced that it would fulfill its objectives (US can give lessons on this as they are discovering that war on Afghanistan and Iraq is proving frustratingly fruitless). In this case India's objective is to end cross border terrorism, will war on Pakistan end cross-border terrorism? No, it will only make the terrorist camps shift to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. What we must do is to firmly establish the facts that Pakistan acts as a base for Terrorism. This is not to show Pakistan that it needs to act (even if truth spits on it's face Pakistan won't agree that there is terrorist activity on it's homeland) but to bring International pressure on it to stop terrorist acts.
Intelligence network is the best way to counter terrorism. We must seal our borders at all ends - even a "friendly" nation like Nepal acts as a gateway for terrorist infiltration, and ensure that there is proper communication between various law enforcement agencies and the Intelligence networks of different states. One more way India must act is to cause internal disturbance in Pakistan.Pre -1998 (mostly during PV Narasimha Rao's rule) India was following a policy of "talk and hit”, even as we were having govt level talks with Pakistan, our Intelligence agencies were given a free run to twist the internal politics of Pakistan.

What has Israel achieved by attacking Lebanon, attracted International condemnation, Increasd the count of Hizbollah sympathizers and turned Lebanon into a radical Islamic ground for new terrorist recruits.
What will India achieve by attacking Pakistan? US Condemnation and possibly a few other countries joining in, local politics which try to create communal disturbance for electoral benefits and of course a few Jingoistic bollywood movies added to the collective swelling of national ego. An idealist is an Idiot, who can't face the truth, an extremist is an evil who will destroy himself, I hope we have the courage to be a realist and act intelligently.