Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber ~ PLATO

Friday, February 5, 2016

Anti-NaMo Elevator, straight to the TOP!

“Journalism should be practiced like a honey bee & not a housefly, 
as houseflies sit on filth and spread it around.
And, journalists should be like bees, productive, but capable of retorting with a sting, when needed."
"Journalism should not spare people, who don’t think in the nation’s interest."

~ Narendra Modi

India's Government Is Becoming Increasingly Antiscience

Scientists join writers, artists and historians in protesting the Modi government’s growing interference in academic affairs

By Apoorva Mandavilli on February 3, 2016




First up, and as always, little bit about the author, only to get a 360 degree perspective. The bio on the website of Ms. APOORVA MANDAVILLI says, and I quote:
“I’m a science journalist. I write and edit articles on a wide range of topics, but I’m particularly drawn to infectious diseases, the brain, public health and policy.”
Going by her earlier writings across various on-line platforms and her own blog, I did not find ONE single “Political Commentary”. Yes, I actually scanned all the way until 2007, and NONE! 

Therefore, going by the credentials of the author, drawn from her own Bio and Interests that revolve around infectious diseases, the brain, public health and policy, the author actually has nothing to do with Indian Politics. 

In short, a Science Journalist makes a highly toxic Political Comment that ironically appears on a totally unrelated & irrelevant platform : SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, A DIVISION OF NATURE AMERICA, INC

So, a ‘debut’ attempt at ‘political commentary’ and the easiest way of getting eyeballs and hits is to write some really nasty stuff on THE most popular world leader - Mr. Narendra Modi. 

For the emigrant & highly aspirational Indian-origin Americans & Green Card holder, who are constantly knocking at the gates of elite American Academia, Mr. Narendra Modi as a 'Hindu' Prime Minister of India is easy fodder. Hence, with a scintillating performance in this piece under her belt, the author would now surely ‘arrive'. Bravo!

***

Coming to the article, the very first thing one would notice is the picture. Clearly the author must have done phenomenal research over the selection of 'most suitable' picture that must go into this article, as can be seen from the picture credits: 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

It is not that easy to select the most ‘toxic’ picture of India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi from a huge huge archive of western press/media. Al Jazeera was obviously one of the best source.

Great job there indeed!

***

Now about the contents of the article, they are just ‘here-say’, or at best some loose inputs from ‘prime time’ English News - they have nothing to do with facts & data. However, the author in one of her responses, tweets as follows:

apoorva_nyc: actually the reporting for this was done in Hyderabad, India, 
"ground reality" as it were. not in a posh office

Few quotes from the wonderfully researched article with 'ground reality' will be self-explanatory (emphasis mine):
The BJP and Modi, in particular, are aligned with the extremist right-wing group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS. (This unholy alliance is comparable to the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party, but the RSS is a paramilitary group with more violent overtones than the Tea Party has shown so far.) Together, the BJP and RSS promote the agenda of Hindutva, the notion that India is the homeland of Hindus and all others — the hundreds of millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others in this sprawling, secular democracy — are interlopers.
Despite his blatantly anti-secular stance, Modi’s stated goals for economic development are wildly popular, particularly among the country’s majority Hindus.
Vemula was a Dalit, a member of an oppressed caste in India.
I would not even attempt a rebuttal to these highly toxic "Hindu-phobic" remarks, which anyways are tossed around every single day as unguided missiles. It is just to bring out the fact that we have spotted yet another Indian-American as a 'rising star' in the crowded galaxy of ‘eminent intellectuals’.

***

Here is an account of ‘personal experience’ by an Indian Scientist, Kaneenika Sinha; an assistant professor in Mathematics at IISER Pune, who happened to personally meet the PM, Mr. Narendra Modi at one of the interactions, as part of a delegation comprising of 30 scientists across India. 

I am only quoting some of the highlights here from this candid blog-post “A meeting with the Prime Minister”: (emphasis mine)
The PM wanted a discussion on the current state of Indian science and from what I understood in a smaller preparation meeting before we headed out to RCR, he had conveyed his eagerness to hear diverse viewpoints. The secretaries of the science ministries (mostly scientists themselves), therefore, were to play a moderating role and let the other invitees from the science community do most of the talking.
He also made some remarks about a disconnect between writing research papers and translating the research into technology. One of the examples he mentioned was why agricultural research has not addressed the problem of poor yield of pulses in India. 
It was heartening to note his awareness of science challenges in the country and that his thoughts on science are not restricted to Ganesha and plastic surgery, as many journalists would have us believe. 
Speaking personally, I came back with a strong feeling that this government perceives the science community as underperforming and wants it to produce more. 
***

And then we get this junk of an article being pushed around in the name of 'ground reality': 
India's Government Is Becoming Increasingly Antiscience - How ‘Unscientific’ research was that, Ms. Apoorva Mandavilli? 

Conclusion: For an Indian-American, to get an entry into the ‘gated community’ of highly evangelic & anti-Indian ecosystem of American Academia, Mr. Narendra Modi has become the fastest and safest Elevator to the TOP!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Half-Colonel-Turned-Journo surmonises on Pathankot


Screenshot credit: Dr. Gaurav Pradhan
 
AWOL = Absent Without Official Leave.

The Wikipedia page has since been updated to "delete" AWOL and insert the adjective “Prominent” before Journalist, by none other than the "Half-Colonel-Turned-Journo" himself, as per the latest screenshot below:



This little introduction was needed just to establish & understand the true profile of Half-Colonel-Turned-Journo : Ajai Shukla.

***

We will be discussing the “expert opinions” of Ajai Shukla, published on two different media platforms as follows:

Rediff.com Dated 5th Jan.
Inept handling by the National Security Advisor transformed what should have been a short counter-terrorist operation in Pathankot into an apparent debacle, argues Ajai Shukla.
AND

Business Standard Dated 4th Jan.
Inept handling has transformed what should have been a short counter-terrorist operation in Pathankot into an apparent debacle
Let us now look at the lies & distorted facts, passing as “expert opinion”.

I am not a "half-cooked" journo promoting myself as "prominent" to be able to offer "expert" rebuttals. Hence, my rebuttal with FACTS are simple quotes, borrowed from a TOI report dated 6th Jan, Planes left Pathankot air base after intelligence alert :

LIE # 1: "The army was placed on the side-lines."

FACT: "Responding to the criticism that the Army was not deployed, sources said Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha were involved in crafting the response as soon as the intelligence agencies cautioned that terrorists could be heading towards Pathankot air base."
"We flew the planes out while army personnel threw a cordon around ammunition and fuel dumps as well as radars and Air Traffic Control installations," said a source. 

 ***

LIE # 2: "When the NSA met the army chief on Friday, he asked for only two columns of soldiers (some 50 troops)."

FACT: "Official sources said that 9 columns of Army were called in along with Gaurda commandos of IAF"

***
LIE # 3: "Intent on directly controlling what he anticipated would be a walk in the park, and without anticipating that there might be more than one group of terrorists, Doval led with his trump card -- he ordered 150-160 National Security Guard troopers to be flown down immediately from New Delhi."

FACT: "Two columns of NSG and Punjab Police were mobilized."

***

LIE # 4: The DSC, composed of retired military veterans well past their prime, can hardly repulse a well-equipped and motivated terrorist suicide squad.

My Comment: Colonel proves that he is indeed AWOL, as only such a shameless character can use defamatory description of the Brave DSC, as evident from the below tweet: (Emphsis mine)

@gauravcsawant: "Brave DSC Jawan used terrorists's rifle to kill him - snatching it during unarmed combat while cooking morning meal: Air Cmde Dhamoon"
03/01/16, 7:19 PM

***

Now that we have settled these LIES, here is the HIT-JOB: Both above columns conclude with the same parting shot and I am reproducing as it appeared, so that readers can judge for themselves:
If Mr Doval wishes to provide real options to his boss, he must stop dabbling in day-to-day intelligence operations
Get the picture now? the bottom line is loud & clear with these concluding remarks on both columns - A classic case of a “hit-job” journalism on National Security Advisor, Mr. Ajit Doval. Somehow, keep repeating the same across different columns - Get NSA out of the “Day-to-Day Intelligence Operations” - Why? Your guess is as good as mine!
***

Meanwhile, another article appeared, also on 5th January and on Rediff itself:

Doval's actions saved critical air assets in Pathankot

'Ajit Doval has done a splendid job in handling the Pathankot attack and certainly helped save heavy destruction of critical air force assets,' says Abhay Jere.

Ajai Shukla's column is another example of the pathological hatred within a section of armchair columnists towards Narendra Modi's establishment.
***

Ajai Shukla was not done yet with his dirty assignment, and went ahead with an interview published once again at REDIFF.Com on 6th Jan: 

'The information we had was pure gold'

LIE # 5: 'You seldom get information of this kind several hours in advance, exactly where they are going to strike. But we still couldn't act on this intelligence.'

FACT: Quoting again from the same TOI report dated 6th Jan, Planes left Pathankot air base after intelligence alert:
Alerted by intelligence about the presence of the jihadis and their designs on Pathankot air base, the Centre got the IAF to remove its birds from the forward operating base at least 6 hours before the terrorists managed to breach the outer perimeter, disclosed sources.
Ajai Shukla conveniently forgot to mention this critical development, in his excitement to show Mr. Ajit Doval in poor light.

***

LIE # 6: 'What should have been done immediately upon receiving information about an impending terrorist attack is to secure the airbase, which means putting a large number of people at various pickets all around the airbase.'

FACT:  "We flew the planes out while army personnel threw a cordon around ammunition and fuel dumps as well as radars and Air Traffic Control installations," said a source. 

My Comment: The expert did not know the facts it seems. Neither he bothered to check with his crony journalists on the actual ground situation and turn of events.

***

LIE # 7: Here comes the worst LIE, in the form of brazen Insult and Defamation of National Security Advisor: (Emphasis mine)

"It is quite obvious because he (NSA) wanted the credit for himself. And this is how Ajit Doval functions. He is a credit-seeker."
Q: Seeking credit at the cost of national security?"
Exactly. At the cost of national security, people seek credit all the time. It is the prime area where people seek credit."

FACT: Quoting again from the same TOI report dated 6th Jan, Planes left Pathankot air base after intelligence alert:
Mr. Ajit Doval says: “In that respect, as a counter-terrorism response, it is a highly successful operation for which our Army, Air Force, NSG and Police, which played a vital role, need to be complimented."
***

This LIE # 7 is the most befitting remark representing the current period we call as Kalyug. Here is a random guy, neither a Colonel nor a Journalist, with questionable past, promotes himself as a “Prominent” Journalist, Lives off 'recommendations' and 'Political' appointments; has the audacity to pass a derogatory comment on the true “Son-of-the-Soil", who has spent his entire working-life serving the country, leading from the front, mostly incognito. Kalyug! घोर कलयुग !!

What a shame indeed !

I would urge all the Twitter & Facebook followers of Ajai Shukla to step back, think beyond politics and reflect on this dirty episode.

***

Finally, someone loaded with guilt & filth takes an otherwise innocent tweet very personally and jumps in to react:

@abhijitmajumder: Journalists working for powerful arms lobbies were denied access by Doval. So, they want to fix him. Even Anthony had kept them at bay
06/01/16, 11:34 PM

@ajaishukla: Modibhakt tactics: Don't answer arguments that show you in poor light. Just fabricate lies to smear the journalist!! https://t.co/OqA0GlOiBM
07/01/16, 12:59 PM

@abhijitmajumder: Interesting that you are responding to this https://t.co/mXiAyesmaC
07/01/16, 1:03 PM

Q.E.D.

***

One last thing: This is the typical characteristic of cowards like Ajai Shukla, that of hiding behind the “victim” card after their hit-job is exposed:

@ajaishukla: A measure of insecure the NSA is. After my article on his Pathankot bungling https://t.co/hCnefVeZci Doval's bhakts r smearing me on Twitter
07/01/16, 1:07 PM

***

Defending Mr. Ajit Doval & his patriotic intentions would be an insult to the very idea of India. It would suffice to quote Shri S. Gurumurthy, who describes Mr. Ajit Doval as follows:

He is in the category of Shivaji and Bhagat Singh in living form..I know him and so I say this

People like Mr. Ajit Doval do not need your certificates or awards or credits, Ajai Shukla.
You will need to take 100 re-births before you could even qualify to polish his shoes.
That, is where people like you belong !!
***

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mis-adventures of TinTinnatti …

If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed.
If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”
~ Mark Twain

Name is Desai, Santosh Desai. 
Blogs at TOI-let paper under the banner of “City City Bang Bang”. 

The Author & blog is profiled as follows and I quote (emphasis mine) -
Santosh Desai is a leading ad professional. He says he has strayed into writing entirely by accident, and for this he is "grateful". "City City Bang Bang" looks at contemporary Indian society from an everyday vantage point. It covers issues big and small, tends where possible to avoid judgmental positions, and tries instead to understand what makes things the way they are. The desire to look at things with innocent doubt helps in the emergence of fresh perspectives and hopefully, of clarity of a new kind.
Well, so now we know something about the Author and the content of his weekly blog.
Let me further dissect the details little crudely:
  • The author is an ad-professional. So humble and nice of him not to label himself as a “Guru” or “Mentor” as the norm these days. Everyone is a born Guru or a Mentor in their public profiles these days. “Leading” comes as rather humble beginnings, so let us pardon him for that and not fuss over it.
  • The blog that he runs on the tabloid commonly known as TOI-let Paper, deals with “contemporary Indian society” and “avoids judgemental positions” - very well defined indeed. So basically it is a good-for-nothing-trash which nobody would miss in life, if ignored.
So once again, mind it, you will be forced to revisit this detail later -

The author is an ad-professional with an interest in “Casual” writing and hence “strayed” into it. His writings look at  “contemporary Indian society” and “avoid judgemental positions”

Now comes the key Q: why should I be wasting my time on such an unimportant and silly subject. Well, read on …

I couldn’t stop myself breaking into laughter with sheer disbelief upon glancing over City City Bang Bang today: A successful failure?

Name is Desai, Santosh Desai; picks up the most sensitive and serious subject of Terrorist Attack, Intelligence and National Security for his column City City Bang Bang today.

By doing so, not only does Mr. Desai, the ad-professional, pushes the terrorist attack into the realm of “contemporary Indian society” and makes himself eligible to comment on it - he even raises several questions on the efficiency of security agencies and chronology of events leading to the attack.

Obviously, he has no access to the actual intelligence reports, data and events - his source of information is as bad as The TOIlet Paper of India. Now pause for a moment, go back and re-read his Bio and Blog details - ad-professional with an interest in “Casual” writing and looks at  “contemporary Indian society” - comments on matters of National Security - his column today turns out to be one big Joke.

During the last two days, since the terrorist attack at Pathankot, Punjab; I noticed people from all kinds of mixed and confused backgrounds offering unsolicited “expert” comments. Suddenly, the call for sacking of NSA Mr. Ajit Doval got louder, started trending and people loosely commented on his inefficiency & failure. Clearly this call was triggered by the opportunists who have been rather uncomfortable under the current dispensation. 

Topping the list of voices & noises is of course well known faces of our “drawing-room” Journalists from Electronic Media, who have been running around the studios hungry & dead starved; in the absence of “juicy” details and information. Celebrity journalists of the likes of Barkha and Sagarika have literally been thrown into irrelevance and it clearly shows on them.

Not left far behind is the usual suspects such as Shobha De, who have an opinion on just about everything and will do anything to share it in public.

Suddenly among all this noise & chatter, I find this new breed of people such as Santosh Desai, whom I would call as “TinTinnatti of India” - they haven’t arrived the scene yet but are constantly knocking the exclusive club of intelligent-civil-elites: The Litteratti.

But then like they say, India is an incredible country. So there are people who still read City City Bang Bang and even take pains commenting on it - by the time this post goes on-line, there were already FOUR comments - wow!

Long live TinTinnatti of India.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bajirao Mastani



I don’t really review movies on this blog but I decide to give a chance to this one for a reason. Read on …
***

Not considering Bahubali as a Bollywood product, this one comes out as a fine Epic / Period film from Bollywood after a long time.

Story-line, its a love story, aggressively nuanced, laced with emotions & high drama, beautifully wrapped around the complexities of family relationships, society and above all, religion. Not an easy subject to deal with, respecting the sensibilities of family, social norms, religious beliefs and values.

Well, what I particularly liked about the story-line is a very strong sense of morality & commitment shown in the character of Bajirao (played by Ranveer Singh) - Yes, even if it is a triangular love story where happily married Bajirao falls in love with another girl - Mastani (played by Dipika Padukone). There is absolutely no sense of “cheating” in the character of Bajirao.

When Bollywood dishes out substandard stories showcasing “messed-up” relationships, film after film, built on lowest levels of trust & morals, devoid of content and only Masala, this one comes out to be a breeze of fresh air.

One single dialogue captures the essence:
मैंने मस्तानी से मोहब्बत की है , अय्याशी नहीं

Just to clear the point here, I am not justifying the extra-marital relationship of Bajirao - not even remotely. I am only dealing with the subject of how he handles and treats the issue, with simply being honest & truthful about it. That, is a big take away from the strong character of Bajirao.

Men who cheat with complete disregard to the womanhood, running around like rabbits and messing up relationships, Bajirao shows them the character of a Man:

One, he never initiated this extra-marital relationship, even though as a warrior, he might have been impressed with Mastani's extra-ordinary courage, patriotism and fighting skills.

Two, he makes abundantly clear to Mastani the future of their relationship and that he can never provide her the place of his Wife, well before he commits himself into it.

Three, he is totally open and honest about it, that includes his wife Kashibai (played by Priyanka Chopra), Mother, Society, Religious heads of his estate etc.

***

Next up, when the lines between Utsav and Mehfil have blurred in the society, it was nice to see Bajirao stand up and not let Mastani dance for the entertainment of men-folk at the Mehfil, while everyone had enjoyed her dance performance the other day on another occasion. Upon being questioned, he clarifies: "वो उत्सव था , ये महफ़िल है"; meaning that was a festive joyous celebration (Utsav) while this an entertainment of the gathered men-folk (Mehfil).

Clearly defining the difference between the two - Utsav & Mehfil, was another strong yet symbolic message.


***
I am not a qualified & experienced film critic so it would not be fair on my part to comment on the technical aspects of film-making of Bajirao Mastani, but I guess a good director is recognized when he gets the actor into the role & character. Just about all the actors have done very well in this department.
One person who needs special mention here, who has actually evolved as an actor and "Arrived" is Ranveer Singh - his Maratha style dialogue delivery - very nuanced, not over done at all, perfect diction, eye movements, facial expressions - he lives like a real Bajirao all through the movie.


Ranveer, the Boy turns into a Man in Bajirao Mastani.

***
Apart from the basic plot, story-line and a line up of celebrity star-cast, Music literally defines the Bollywood movie. Music of Bajirao Mastani does an excellent justice to it. Maratha folk and real Indian instruments such as Dholak, Shehnai, Ghungroo, Tabla, Dhols, Harmonium, Santoor etc. build the foundation of almost all the numbers. It was nice to hear real instruments and not just artificial sounds from synthesizers and mixers.
First thing that hits you is a very strong orchestral Indian music, without playing around with the synthetic digital mixing, quite unlike the norm these days.
Secondly, it's not typical Bollywood "dhin-chak". Maratha folk based semi-classical compositions with Qawwali interludes at times, help build the aura around the grandeur and spirit of the period and geography of the story-line. Job very well done indeed!

My favorites are: Malhari (for the sheer raw energy and pace of this high-octane victory number - Ranveer does a fabulous job) & Mohe Rang Do Lal.

I leave you with this Malhari song - Enjoy!







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