Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Happy Birthday Dev (anand) uncle !!

Hi Shekhar,
Just wanted to drop a note to say it was your uncle Dev Anand’s 85 birthday yesterday. A truly amazing man purely for his unputdownable spirit and his ability to do what we keep discussing on this blog.. to seperate effort from fruits. To work with a sense of detachment to the outcome. Truly a wondrous life!
My little tribute to him here

Islamabad bombings, is this really about Bin Laden anymore ? where are we headed ?

How many people need to pay with their lives for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre ? What started as a hunt for the few people involved in that attack to bring them to justice has ignited into a fire that has spread and threatens to gradually engulf half the populations of the world. The US over reacted by invading Iraq in what will go down in history as one of the most misjudged attacks in the history of modern warfare, and now the world has been polarized into Islamic fundamentalism vs capitalism, threatening to bring down the very fabric of civilization. This is now no longer a hunt for Bin Laden, it has encompassed and exposed pressure points between religion, social structures, philosophies and between the haves and the have-nots. Proving that harmony and peace is such a fragile concept, one that needs constant nurturing.
And as Pakistan falls to fundamentalist forces, what we mistakenly call Talibanization ( it is really just fundamentalism) – everything points to that India is the next target. I am a complete liberal, and I stand up and say that we must protect ourselves. Any one indulging n terror activities that targets innocent civilians is a terrorist. Be they Muslims, Hindu’s Christians or Agnostics. The Bajrang Dal that desecrates and kills nuns and attacks churches are terrorists too.
The war in India is no longer on our borders. Why are we spending half our defence budget on the Siachin Glacier – when the real war now is inside India ? Inside Pakistan ?

Is this the end of Capitalism ? An Open Forum for debate

The headlines everywhere, over dramatic as usual herald the end of an era. Perhaps this is the end of an era. But the era of what ? What was so different here from the few times it has happened before ? Like the Great Depression ? or Black Monday (or was it Tuesday ?). I am not sure I get it all, and I do believe no one does. But lets hear voices and lets find a way to lead this into a healthy debate, so we all can hope to make some sense of the free fall that is taking place in the financial systems of the world.
First, what is Capitalism and what are it’s assumptions ? At it’s most simplistic level It assumes a free market economy where individual (even though selfish) actions ultimately pan out for the good of the larger collective or economy. So that s one rule flouted in any case ! We all accept that individual actions bordering on greed have in fact sucked enough wealth out of the system to completely dis-balance it,
Second, Capitalism assumes an equality of market information. It assumes that everyone has the same information and understanding of the market situation, based on which they will make decisions beneficial for themselves. That is patently not true anymore, with financial instruments so complex that individual decisions are heavily reliant on advice and more so, advertising that provokes dreams and fantasies to people. Capitalism will never take into account that people can be encouraged to create debt through a multiplicity of credit card transactions, or over-leveraging through re-mortgages of equity in home values. The over creation of debt fuels the artificial creation of money supply that is NOT backed by an increase in productivity, because a large chunk of this increased mney supply is being sucked out of the system by few very wealth individuals and organizations.


Lehman, Merryl Lynch and the crap card game

I remember playing three card brag, where no one was sure of their cards or strategy, and so everyone played blind. The stakes got higher. And yet the ‘bank’ got richer, and the players, too afraid to now open their cards just n case, decided to keep bluffing their way through, and kept adding complex sets of rules and dealing new cards with new rules. By now it looked less and less a game of chance for the new rules gave it an illusion of structured control. And by now no one really wanted to look at each others cards, or their own, for no one could afford to lose. The game was the tiger they hoped they would never would have to get off. Till one had no choice – or lost faith. To find that no one had any cards to speak off –
This reminds me of what is happening with Lehmann, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Fannie and May, Freddie Mac etc – one great card game that no one thought would end.

The Hadron Collider and the search for the ‘God’ particle

Scientists have named the so called ‘God’ particle as the most elusive particle in existence. It is the particle that scientists need to explain the fundamental connection between that which is illusory and matter. Between anti matter which no one can find or state, and matter which you can touch and measure to your great comfort. One , in theory, unable to exist without the other. The known is only made possible by the unknown.
Perhaps the scientists are looking for something that is elusive in its very nature, so elusive that it has a duality. It is both there and not there at the same time. That duality is the ultimate nature of the Universe, it exists and it does not, at the same time and in the same moment, and both are absolutely true realities, depending on your imagination, or depending upon the scientist’s case – their experiment,
whch in this caseis a 7 billion dollar experiment (the Hadron Collider) to define a duality as one or the other. It would be fascinating if they came up with a the God particle as it called. They will be one closer to exploring one of the dualities, but each time the scientists try and find a link between the dualities, it will always be elusive, for the link lies in the immense imagination of the Universe that we are part of and often forget, that connection is in it’s nature infinite, so how do we define it ?
look at this wonderful video on youtube if you have not already seen it – it is done by the CERT scientists – proving that do not spend all theri time pondering the theories of the universe !
Often wondered why and how the concept of zero was never questioned in mathematics. It is the infinite number that makes mathematical equations possible, the theories of the beginings of the Big Bang possible, and yet it has no definable existence – it a ‘no number’ or an ‘infinite’ number’ depending which way your imagination turns. Incidentally, ever tried dividing something by zero ?

Bihar floods : “I could not find my village”

This appeal was posted by Abhay :
Dear Shekharji
I have just returned from my home in Saharasa ( Bihar) and could not locate my village easily, forget about exact location of my house. Its just an array of diseases, hunger and depression prevailing in population.
Please do something for us. I know you are a big person. Our history might have been great but the fact today is that we are dying and help from outside is grossly missing. its just visible in roadside areas. I even don’t feel proud of being a part of India which could not give us a life free of floods in these 60 years of independence.

Can Obama deliver what he promised ? Only if the American people support his vision with passion and sacrifice

Sitting a thousand mles away in Mumbai I was fighting back my tears as I heard Obama speak at the acceptance of his nomination. And as the crowd cheered I wanted to get up and cheer myself at this new inspirational messiah that has come to the world. Boy ! can the world do with some leaders like Barrack Obama. A new Neslon Mandela. But can he deliver on his promise ? As he went on with his speech, I got concerned that perhaps he was promising too much, going beyond the realms of practicality. Was this going to be the same situation like Nelson Mandela, who moved not only his nation but the whole world with the New Way forward, only to find his dream faltering in South Africa as the country began to fall apart with the anger and resentment of unfulfilled expectations.
Obama can succeed. But his success will depend on the will and passion of the American people who support him. Not without the American people re-evaluating their own lives, rethinking their own expectations of being the richest and most consumptive society in the world, will Obama’s incredible vision succeed.
Obama’s vision will not succeed till the American people are willing to make the sacrifices that underly his vision. Gandhi had the impossible dream of a free India. He succeeded because he moved an entire nation to change the way they saw themselves and were willing to make the sacrifices he demanded of them.
The American people must do the same to recover the American Heritage that Obama spoke about. I hope and pray that he succeeds.

Cluster bombs, lets support a ban on them

I recieved this request from to publish this message, with an appeal to people to help ban cluster bombs that are killing and maiming civilians especially children even long after they have been dropped.
“If you haven’t heard, Russia has been dropping cluster bombs on innocent civilians in the Georgian republic. Cluster bombs leave behind unexploded mini-bombs which often detonate when curious children find them. Survivor Corps is one of the lead organizations in the movement to ban cluster bombs and to assist survivors of this terrible weapon. I’ve put together this social media news release which explains everything.
I would be grateful if you could blog about this very important subject, it would help many people. Please let me know if you are able to help and send me the link to your post. Thanks so much”
it also contains a really good youtube video called’ Clusterbombs : a weapon out of control’. It’s worth visiting and doing whatever we can about this. It’s quite frightening what is going on, so please do watch it.

Why Liu Xiang’s exit from the olympics plunged China into grief

The last time I saw one nation plunge into a stunning outpouring of grief was when Princess Diana died. I could understand that. England at that time clung to the princess as their one great icon. Now Liu Xiang’s inability to run the 110 m hurdles has plunged the whole of China into a grief that is so similar. What causes a nation of over a billion people to invest such emotion in one athlete running one race ? After all , with 39 gold medals in the bag already, China is way ahead already in the total medal count already. What does one race matter ?
The last time I was in Beijing I noticed this good looking boyish face adorn every hoarding on the streets. Selling just about everything. If you think Sachin Tendulkar was a poster boy for India – multiply that by a 1000 times and you would understand the feeling towards Liu Xiang in China. The estimated potential earnings for Liu Xiang if he won this gold medal were over $ 160 million – making this race one of the highest financial stakes for any event in the history of sport. Why do all the hopes, all the national pride of a blliion Chinese get placed on the shoulders of one young man, and every other brilliant achievement pale into significance. With this defeat, for the Chinese people, the Olympics are as good as over. And I use the word defeat deliberately. For the Chinese see this as a personal and national defeat. Why ?


An appeal from Tbilisi, Georgia

Anna,an actress from Georgia and a regular visitor to our blog, is caught up in the war in Georgia’s capital Tblisi, and has sent us this note :
Stop Russia!
Say No To War!!!
Itís 4 AM at night and a frightening nightmare wakes me up. I am wearing outdoor clothes, that is not very comfortable in bed. But at that moment, I canít feel it, since I am too scared…too scared that a huge noise might pierce my eardrums and brightness invade my whole vision. I stand up and look outside from the window. I look at the dark, cloudless sky and I look at the street lamps. I look at the deserted, empty pavement and then back at the sky. Then I turn around and go to bed. I hug my pillow tight and try to sleep as much as I can. But I canít stop thinking about it…all those images of horrible scenes from the TV are flashing into my mind. Then I hear noise of a jet, flying above somewhere and I feel as my heart starts to beat faster and louder. Fortunately, that night goes well. Nothing happens in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
The next day, I wake up and I am happy to see the sunny day. I am happy to be alive.