Archive for the ‘Point of View’ Category

The NRI and India’s rural economy

The total amount of FDI investments in India is estimated for 2007 is $ 15 billion. And we tout that fiigure proudly – and our stock market fluctuates on any variance from that figure too. Guess what NRI”s will remitt to India in the same period ? A mind boggling $ 30 billion ! 60% of which goes into goes into Rural India. Most consisting of small amounts for the maintanence of families left behind, or small investments. If the world bank is correct, every dollar remitted contributes 3 dollars to the GDP growth – which means that NRI’s are contributing to growth of almost a $ 60 billon to India’s rural economy.
(25 million people of Indian origin live outside India. On the other hand 45 million people of Chinese origin live outside China – but they remitt just $ 25 billion into China.) ……..

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The Tata Nano

Tata Nano
It’s caused a sensation all over the world, where car manufacturers looked forward to inundating the Indian consumer with their more expensive brands, only to see that an Indian co has completely stolen a march on them. Bravo Mr Tata ! But I really resent all the people that go on about the envoirnmental cost of the car. So it’s ok to allow people who can afford it. to import gas guzzling big and expensive brands. But the moment we have a real people’s car, that is energy efficient and serves those that the lower end of the pyramid, everyone is conscious of clogged roads….

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White skin, dark skin, Barak Obama

Never quite understood why the white skin has been considered superior. Or why historically white skinned people have considered themselves superior. When I was exploring a film on Nelson Mandela, I was horrified at the open statements made by the politicians of that time. They called the “darkies’ , not quite human, or like children that deserved to whipped. The British colonists called the Arabs ‘Fuzzy Wuzzies’, us ‘those damn natives’. It’s not that far ago in History that the white Americans were regularly indulging in ‘mob hangings’ or ‘stringings’ of innocent black people as they called them – almost as a sport. But what about us ? North Indians used to look down upon the South Indians because the colour of their skin. Still do……

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Inventor of the ‘Jaipur foot’ has passed away

In our Bollywood and Cricket obsessed media, the passing of one of the greatest Indians of our time has almost gone un-noticed. Dr P K Sethi confounded the scientific community of the world by developing a simple, affordable answer to people that had lost limbs. While the scientific community all over the world invested billions of dollars to create expensive artificial legs, Dr Sethi was already giving a new life to thousands of people all over the world. People who otherwise would have lived lesser lives with their handicap. Not content with idea just raking in millions of dollars by patenting his invention (which he could have) – Dr Sethi saw his purpose as a much larger one of “serving the people’. His hospital in Jaipur welcomed the poor, and treated them free. He stands as example to the international medical and the Scientific community – who seem to be obsessed with the fortunes they can make through their inventions and discoveries. Please visit the following web sites and thousands others and mark our respect for a great human being
http://www.jaipurfoot.org/
http://www.time.com/time/reports/heroes/foot.html

My Father, Guest Column by Horst Vollman

Dear Shekhar “the Mother” is a beautifully written ode to the eternal mother in all women. But there are also fathers out there who deserve all the love we can give to them. Here is my story:
My father.
When the phone call came from Germany on this gray winter morning a few days past Christmas 1990 and my sister had uttered the ominous words I knew that our father would soon leave us. The words fell like a hammer, there was a finality to them that left no room for a sliver of hope: pancreatic cancer. This was a cancer with a reputation for swiftness and a survival rate of virtually nil. Neither my sister nor myself had the courage to break the dreaded news to him or for that matter to our mother……

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Tata, Jaguar, Land Rover

Like all Indian’s I too walk a little prouder in London with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands almost owned by Tata. But from a business point of view I am not so sure. The Jaguar brand has been struggling for decades. I owned a couple years ago and constantly had transmission problems. The jaguar is famous for them. And not since the e – type 30 years ago has Jaguar come up with something really revolutionary. Other than the traditional Land Rover used primarily for defence and off-road activity, the road models also face mechanical problems and are nowhere as reliable as the original basic Land Rover, which is terrific…..

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JW Marriott molestation – Open Questions

I am surprised how the media is targeting the police. Without trying to question why this event happened. Like it was merely a law and order problem. What was the psychology behind 70 men treating the humiliation of two young women as spectator sport ? I am sure that it was not just group of friends, but amongst the 70 men, most were just those that just joined in for the ‘fun’. Why did no one try and stop it ? This was not a sexual act. It was an act where a group of men enjoyed the sexual humiliation of two young women. And to them the best way to humiliate women is to publicly strip them off their clothes and fondle them. It is the frightening the way that these men feel empowered through the sexual humiliation of women. How lacking must their own self worth be, that they feel a surge of power and domination through such acts ?

China immigration

I landed in China expecting a long wait at immigration. Surely this must be one of the most security conscious and bureaucratic regimes in the world ? Think again. As the immigration officer stamped my passport, 4 lights came on, asking me to press one. Whether I was completely satisfied , somewhat satisfied, not satisfied or completely dissatisfied with the service ! Since I walked through in exactly a minute, guess which one I pressed ? Now imagine the same lights flashing at immigration in NY after your retina has been flashed and your fingerprint been taken. Shekhar

Flying Kites in Tiananmen Square

Beijing is full of surprises. Walking back to Raffles Hotel I pass the walls of the Forbidden City and into Tiananmen Square and look up into the night sky. Maybe a hundred kites. Some so far into the night sky that you could see them only by their twinkling lights. Twinkling lights on a Kite ? Oh yes, trust the Chinese to come up with that one. So here I am in Beijing determined to soak in as much of the cultural past as possible. I know about China’s explosive economic growth. It’s everywhere … but oh yes, Beijing is full of cultural surprises …..

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Blogism

Just wanted to share with a quote from my interview with the ‘Australian’ that is making the rounds n Australia :
AS a director, Shekhar Kapur has become used to working with one of the world’s most expansive mediums: cinema. But the filmmaker and activist is pondering how to tell his stories in under five minutes as the internet and broadband redefine how people are entertained.
“If you forget the boundaries and imagine yourself as part of Asia, then you are part of the Asian story, you are part of the Asian culture, and Asian culture is so diverse. What you do is you suddenly become part of that population and they become part of you. You have to get rid of the idea of territorial boundaries because in the new media these territorial boundaries obviously do not exist.”
“Very soon, you will see there will be 100 million people committed to one blog that will become an ism, that will take over from nationalism and will become a blogism, and people will be committed to that for a while.”