Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ATS deaths - Qasab se

the lone captured terrorist - Mohammed Qasab - has confessed to killing the ATS team and ACP Kamte, says NDTV reports:
my conspiracy theory on the ATS deaths has been 'officially' negated by this report.
but, any amount of "air-freshener" cover up can at best mask the odour, but not take it away.

it continues to smell for me.

Friday, November 28, 2008

naughty nisha nixes 'namma' nadu

in the midst of all the mumbai maha-mayhem, cyclone Nisha slams Tamil Nadu.
Nisha!?!? where did that come from... another unnecessary American influence...

70 are dead and mega tons of water has screwed mega thousands of people.

for the first time ever, water has entered the ground floor of my family home in madras.

Mumbai ka Police Commissioner kaun?

am sure that a significant majority would not have answered this question pre 26/11.
am certain, that the same majority will not be able to answer this question today.

am also certain that a good number of the mumbai 's best will not be able to answer this question.

where has Mr. Hassan Gafoor been all this time?

the most obvious person to lead the entire counter operations would be the chief of police.
but there was nary a scent on Mr. Gafoor's whereabouts throughout the early stages of the attacks.
i just managed to find one news article at 1140AM on 28th Nov in TOI.

in fact, Mr Gafoor's online presence is negligible to say the least.
his appointment was a bit controversial as some quarters termed it 'minority appeasement'.

this is another stinkeroo...

ATS deaths - malodorous

ATS was heading one of the most controversial investigations - on 'hindu terror' through the involvement of Col Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya in the Malegoan blasts.

the hindu right wing had started assembling their might against the ATS.
1. shiv sena calls for state bandh on 26th Nov.
2. advani joins the sangh parivar chorus to release the sadhvi on 18th Nov.

and 24 hours from sena's bandh call, the ATS head - hemant karkare is dead in "mumbai 26/11".

the mumbai mirror reports how the terrorists got the ATS.

at 230AM on thursday, when i first heard the news, i was discomfited with this news.
now, it stinks.

p.s.: i forgot to add that ACP Kamte (in Pune), Inspector Salaskar have already been cremated and ATS head Karkare 's last rites will be on Saturday.
surely no time for any investigation into their deaths...

Thursday, November 27, 2008


...of our media for their drivel and sensationalist 'breaking news' approach. one of the NDTV reporters says, "The whole area has been securitised....". Times Now constantly harping, "Exclusive pictures only from TOI and only on Times Now..."

...of our intelligence bureau

...of our security forces - 21 hours and resolution. the most tragic image was a tired and struggling fireman trying to aim his hose into a 3rd floor fire at the TAJ with no water pressure.

...of the trolls that spew venom on the message boards.

...of our non-existent emergency response systems.

...of the ATS to have allowed their top officers to enter into the battlefield with inadequate preparation and gear with disastrous effect.

...of manmohan singh, who has single-handedly made george bush look efficient and decisive.

Intelligence (sic) Bureau

the IB is the premier agency handling sensitive counter-insurgency measures and of course filled with the top notch cops of the country.
this is their analysis of the "mumbai 27/11":
The Intelligence Bureau has confirmed that the attacks that took place in Mumbai on Wednesday night were an act of terror and aimed at disrupting peace and causing panic among Mumbaikars.
i think the terrorists are wasting their time in india, there are more than sufficient 'intelligent' gents around to flush the country down the drain.

safe from...

....the attacks
so safe ...for the time being...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

auto ignition

here are some general good links on the all pervasive Big 3 bail-out boohaahaa.

the big scare scenario being thrown about is the number of people who will be seriously impacted due to Big 3 becoming redundant!
most news available is throwing a 1 in 10 (of all US workers) number at us.
NY Times rebuts this here.

there are cuts and thrusts aplenty on the validity of a bail-out in a truly capitalistic auto market.

in many ways i view this as a good development.
with climate change being such a serious threat, which requires a phenomenal level of rapid and immediate cut down of emissions and all that, there is bound to be a serious positive impact on the physical environment.
but not of course, the social environment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

i love a good recession

most reports indicate that the world economy is going to go through some 'root-canal' pain.
global-recession is around the corner.
but this is not whether this is going to happen or the economic theory or the corrective actions undertaken by the regulators, etc.
i have always received such news with glee, an element of 'i-told-you-so', a dash of 'serves-them-right'. a shake-up was required to reign in the rampaging power/money hungry capitalistic hordes!
it asserted that my moral position was superior to the rest of the majority in the capitalistic world.
it is obviously flawed from not only the same moral position, but from the devastation that a recession will unleash onto the ground.

i stand corrected.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

a must-see/must-read speech

just saw this over the web-waves.
a truly memorable and inspirational speech expostulating the power of the labour force and an impassioned plea towards building a new world by discarding prejudices.

the speaker is richard trumka (and certainly a trump card for obama), a trade union leader.

and it does appear that working class backed obama.

but the obama support is just part of the speech.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

asbestos or as-worst-as

india is sitting on an asbestos time bomb.
tehelka and infochangeindia has covered this story in detail.
a product that is banned in the European Union, Australia, Japan and New Zealand could not have been imported with such impunity in India. The slashing of import duty on asbestos from 78% in 1995 to 15% in 2004 only adds more grist to the conspiracy mill. No wonder cumulative asbestos imports have touched a whopping 7 million tonnes, up from a low annual import of 40,000 tonnes in 1960 to over 250,000 tonnes in 2006.
Appellate Body of World Trade Organisation while upholding chrysotile ban in France had soundly rejected the "controlled use" and safe use argument of the Canadian asbestos industry. In its 95th Session of the International Labour Conference on 14 June 2006, International Labour Organisation adopted a resolution for the elimination of all forms of asbestos from future use as the only way forward for protecting workers.
the entire report released is available here.
i loved the story"Asbestos Multinationals in India: The Experience of Turner and Newall" - page 44 onwards.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

waiting for change

the collective sighs, yippees, yays, phews and other high and low frequency sounds have passed us now.
obama has handsomely won and created a whole new paradigm in democracy in the USA. the man is super hot when he is on public display with a mike in front of him.
second to bill clinton in public oratory.
america has been heralded by him into the throes of change!!!

waiting to see it!!
have few doubts.

for the pedigree he has been colour-associated with --- mandela, martin luther king... he should get his primary focus on peace.

bajrang dal - 'militancy' to 'terrorism'

the bajrang dal is the militant youth wing of the vishwa hindu parishad (VHP).
they have perpetrated series of violent acts in the last months in orissa, karnataka, etc.
their tag-line is slowly being changed from militant group to terror group.

since the dramatic arrest of sadhvi pragya, the face of 'hindu terror' is emerging.
the convenient 'SIMI scapegoating' should finally end.

tehelka has run a long interview with their current president - prakash sharma.
it is good reading and a lot of cut and thrust.
i am quite amused by sharma's constant refrain to 'spontaneous reaction'.
sometimes i wish for spontaneous human combustion.

the mess that is our cities

2008 is an important year for population statisticians.
the population residing in urban areas will cross the 50% mark.
the UN estimates that this will move to 70% by 2050.
the 2001 indian census shows that 27.8% of our population is urban and increasing quite rapidly.
atanu dey at deesha is an active proponent of the creation of cities.

it is an undeniable migration and close to irreversible (unless the raj thackereys of the world have their way).

but the reality of the india's inept governance structures makes this process extremely scary, a point which is well brought out by kalpana sharma.

Typical of such small urban centres is Nawada, the district headquarters of Nawada district in South Bihar. Barring a few reasonably broad paved roads, the rest of the city appears to be connected and disconnected with narrow pot-holed roads where all manner of vehicles jostle for space with vendors, pedestrians, and animals. The winners are the ones who are more dexterous.

Electricity comes sporadically. The rich have diesel generators and invertors. Most manage with kerosene lamps after dark. Many homes depend on handpumps either inside or just outside their houses for water. Sanitation facilities are suspect although there must be some sewerage, and there is little evidence of garbage collection as you see the piles of garbage around every corner with pigs and dogs competing for access.

Yet, this town has a history studded with the names of men and women who played an important role in the freedom struggle -- like Jayaprakash Narayan. The Sarvodaya Ashram he established is a couple of hours away from the city. And there are older reminders of a distinguished past that residents will tell you about, including its link to Buddhism and Jainism. Nawada is also home to the master of dhrupad and thumri, Siyaram Tiwary.

Its past notwithstanding, Nawada’s present reflects little that distinguishes it from other towns of an equivalent size. It exemplifies the acute problems that urbanisation poses in India – the absence of investment in infrastructure, the lack of planning and developmental norms and the poor status of structures of governance that could make a difference. There is a silent crisis afflicting these places that is affecting the lives of millions of people, yet no one seems to notice or care.

for example, the water supply situation...
According to figures quoted in ‘Status of Water Supply, Sanitation and Solid Waste Management’ prepared by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (June 2005), there are literally dozens of fairly major towns in India that get water twice a week or every alternate day. Although the figures quoted in the study are from 1999, and the situation in some of these towns could have improved, it is indicative of the extent of the water crisis in these cities. The worst off, according to the 1999 data, were towns in Gujarat. Surendranagar, for instance, got water for 30 minutes once a week, Gondal was slightly better off with water supplied for 20 minutes once in four days while Amreli received a supply of 60 minutes once in three days. Nine towns in Tamil Nadu had water either twice a week or on alternate days. Even Bangalore got water on alternate days.
entire article is here.

eat less oil and more sunshine...

says mike pollan in his letter to barack obama.
the food and agriculture policies you've inherited -- designed to maximize production at all costs and relying on cheap energy to do so -- are in shambles, and the need to address the problems they have caused is acute. The good news is that the twinned crises in food and energy are creating a political environment in which real reform of the food system may actually be possible for the first time in a generation.
his suggestions hinge on his concept to 'resolarise the american farm':
Your challenge is to take control of this vast federal machinery and use it to drive a transition to a new solar-food economy, starting on the farm. Right now, the government actively discourages the farmers it subsidizes from growing healthful, fresh food: farmers receiving crop subsidies are prohibited from growing "specialty crops".....
...Commodity farmers should instead be encouraged to grow as many different crops -- including animals -- as possible. Why? Because the greater the diversity of crops on a farm, the less the need for both fertilizers and pesticides.
to 'rebuild the food culture'...he says:
On the premise that eating well is a critically important life skill, we need to teach all primary-school students the basics of growing and cooking food and then enjoying it at shared meals. (emphasis mine)
this is certainly true for not only america, but the entire world.

back in circulation

spent a week each on either side of deepavali travelling and catching up at home base.
madras, coimbatore, bangalore, allenahalli (karnataka) were touched in this trip.
did the entire trip by rail (indian railways zindabad!!!)

by all measures, this was a defining trip for wife and me.
why and what this means will be another series of posts coming up.

good to be back on fanaa.