Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Recently some of us had met informally at a place in Bangalore to just chit chat and share ideas on what we think about our own country and what we can do to make things better for India in our own capacity. During the course we'd asked ourselves three basic questions. Here are the questions and the answers that came up.
Q1 and Q2: what would you wish to change and why?
o Make children strong
o Education empowers people; access to knowledge; ability to question
o Makes people informed citizens
o Larger percentage of educated class tends to vote correctly
o Education is indication of future
- Healthcare (incl. maternal health, child mortality)
- Corruption / Legal system / Justice Delivery
o Book 20 people for corruption in NREGA and Mid-day meal scheme and send them to jail; will get 5X improvement in execution of these schemes
o Legal system is the foundation for everything
o Create Public Works projects
o Make people remember the Golden Quadrilateral and its impact
- Remove taxes on petrol and diesel
o 60% of price is tax which goes to government and the people in govt
o Removal of these taxes will make goods cheaper
- Make India strong – economically and from a security point of view
o Make people fear and respect the constitution; today, there isn’t respect for police even
- Other Ideas
o Universal Conscription / Military Training / Social Service
o Sustainable Development and environment focus
o Women Empowerment
o Remove Articles 25-30 from India’s Constitution (dealing with Secularism)
o Electoral Reform (who can vote, and who can contest elections)
Q3: What is India’s greatest asset?
- Young People / demographics
o New generation of people
o Young / Middle India; 30-45 age group
o Hope in Middle Class
o Parents sacrificing for Children’s future (hardly seen anywhere else in the world)
o Middle Class value system
o Population Numbers
o Family system
o Middle Class (we) – who have responsibility to our Children to create a better future for them; our generation is the first that has seen no shortages; we owe it to the next generation to build a better tomorrow
- Pluralism (open to ideas / lifestyle)
- Indians can work with limited resources
o Survival Strength
o Innovation – just need opportunities to create own unique solutions; Resourcefulness
- Cultural Inheritance (one phrase which captures everything); Dharma
o Confident, Unshackled Mind, combined with our Culture
Who sells the largest number of cameras in
Try this. Who is the biggest in music business in
Incidentally Airtel is not in music business. It is the mobile service provider with the largest subscriber base in
Nokia confessed that they all but missed the smartphone bus. They admit that Apple's Iphone and Google's Android can make life difficult in future.
But you never thought Google was a mobile company, did you? If these illustrations mean anything, there is a bigger game unfolding. It is not so much about mobile or music or camera or emails?
The war is about "what is tomorrow's personal digital device"? Will it be a souped up mobile or a palmtop with a telephone? All these are little wars that add up to that big battle. Hiding behind all these wars is a gem of a question - "who is my competitor?"
Once in a while, to intrigue my students I toss a question at them. It Says "What Apple did to Sony, Sony did to Kodak, explain?" The smart ones get the answer almost immediately. Sony defined its market as audio (music from the walkman). They never expected an IT company like Apple to encroach into their audio domain. Come to think of it, is it really surprising? Apple as a computer maker has both audio and video capabilities. So what made Sony think he won't compete on pure audio? "Elementary Watson". So also Kodak defined its business as film cameras, Sony defines its businesses as "digital."
In digital camera the two markets perfectly meshed. Kodak was torn between going digital and sacrificing money on camera film or staying with films and getting left behind in digital technology. Left undecided it lost in both. It had to. It did not ask the question "who is my competitor for tomorrow?" The same was true for IBM whose mainframe revenue prevented it from seeing the PC. The same was true of Bill Gates who declared "internet is a fad!" and then turned around to bundle the browser with windows to bury Netscape. The point is not who is today's competitor. Today's competitor is obvious. Tomorrow's is not.
In 2008, who was the toughest competitor to British Airways in
The answer is videoconferencing and telepresence services of HP and Cisco. Travel dropped due to recession. Senior IT executives in
Remember, if there is one place where
On the eve of IPL matches movie halls ran empty. Desperate multiplex owners requisitioned the rights for screening IPL matches at movie halls to hang on to the audience. If IPL were to become the mainstay of cricket, as it is likely to be, films have to sequence their releases so as not clash with IPL matches. As far as the audience is concerned both are what in India Are called 3 hour "tamasha"(entertain ment). Cricket season might push films out of the market.
Look at the products that vanished from
One last illustration. 20 years back what were Indians using to wake them up in the morning? The answer is "alarm clock." The alarm clock was a monster made of mechanical springs. It had to be physically keyed every day to keep it running. It made so much noise by way of alarm, that it woke you up and the rest of the colony. Then came quartz clocks which were sleeker.
They were much more gentle though still quaintly called "alarms." What do we use today for waking up in the morning? Cellphone! An entire industry of clocks disappeared without warning thanks to cell phones. Big watch companies like Titan were the losers. You never know in which bush your competitor is hiding!
On a lighter vein, who are the competitors for authors? Joke spewing machines? (Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, himself a Pole, tagged a Polish joke telling machine to a telephone much to the mirth of
The boss of an IT company once said something interesting about the animal called competition.
He said "Have breakfast ...or.... be breakfast"! That sums it up rather neatly.
Before civilized society it was "Survival of fittest", then came civilized sense of the "right to survive for everyone". Now it's like "what would not survive and who could be fittest" remains the question.
This is a Letter to the Editor of The Hindu, from a practising Christian lady who was Professor in Stella Maris College, Chennai till recently; now settled at Baroda, regarding an Edit in The Hindu in favour of bringing back MF Hussain to India.
I have taken time to write this to you Ram-for the simple reason that we have known you for so many years- you and The Hindu bring back happy memories Please take what I am putting down as those that come from an agonized soul. You know that I do not mince words and what I have to say I will-I call a spade a spade-now it is too late for me to learn the tricks of being called a ‘secularist’ if that means a bias for, one, and a bias against, another.
Hussain is now a citizen of Qatar-this has generated enough of heat and less of light. Qatar you know better than me is not a country which respects democracy or freedom of expression. Hussain says he has complete freedom-I challenge him to paint a picture of Mohammed fully clad.
There is no second opinion that artists have the Right of Freedom of expression. Is such a right restricted only to Hussain? Will that right not flow to Dan Brown-why was his film-Da Vinci Code not screened? Why was Satanic Verses banned-does Salman Rushdie not have that freedom of expression? Similarly why is Taslima hunted and hounded and why fatwas have been issued on both these writers? Why has Qatar not offered citizenship to Taslima? In the present rioting in Shimoga in Karnataka against the article Taslima wrote against the tradition of burqua which appeared in the Out Look in Jan 2007.No body protested then either in Delhi or in any other part of the country; now when it reappears in a Karnataka paper there is rioting. Is there a political agenda to create a problem in Karnataka by the intolerant goons? Why has the media not condemned this insensitivity and intolerance of the Muslims against Taslima’s views? When it comes to the Sangh Parivar it is quick to call them goons and intolerant etc. Now who are the goons and where is this tolerance and sensitivity?
Regarding Hussain’s artistic freedom it seems to run unfettered in an expression of sexual perversion only when he envisages the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. There is no quarrel had he painted a nude woman sitting on the tail of a monkey. The point is he captioned it as Sita. Nobody would have protested against the sexual perversion and his orientatation to sexual signs and symbols. But would he dare to caption it as ‘Fatima enjoying in Jannat with animals’?
Next example-is the painting of Saraswati copulating with a lion. Here again his perversion is evident and so is his intent. Even that lets concede cannot be faulted-each one’s sexual orientation is each one’s business I suppose. But he captioned it as Saraswati. This is the problem. It is Hussain’s business to enjoy in painting his sexual perversion. But why use Saraswati and Sita for his perverted expressions? Use Fatima and watch the consequence. Let the media people come to his rescue then. Now that he is in a country that gives him complete freedom let him go ahead and paint Fatima copulating with a lion or any other animal of his choice. And then turn around and prove to India-the Freedom of expression he enjoys in Qatar.
Talking about Freedom of Expression-this is the Hussain who supported Emergency-painted Indira Gandhi as Durga slaying Jayaprakas Narayan. He supported the jailing of artists and writers. Where did this Freedom of Expression go? And you call him secularist? Would you support the jailing of artists and writers Ram –would you support the abeyance of the Constitution and all that we held sacred in democracy and the excessiveness of Indira Gandhi to gag the media-writers- political opponents? Tell me honesty why does Hussain expect this Freedom when he himself did not support others with the same freedom he wants? And the media has rushed to his rescue. Had it been a Ram who painted such obnoxious, .degrading painting-the reactions of the media and the elite ‘secularists’ would have been different; because there is a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Ram-and a different perception/and index of secularism when it comes to Rahim/Hussain.
It brings back to my mind an episode that happened to The Hindu some years ago.. You had a separate weekly page for children with cartoons, quizzes, and with poems and articles of school children. In one such weekly page The Hindu printed a venerable bearded man-fully robed with head dress, mouthing some passages of the Koran-trying to teach children .It was done not only in good faith but as a part of inculcating values to children from the Koran. All hell broke loose. Your office witnessed goons who rushed in-demanded an apology-held out threats. In Ambur, Vaniambadi and Vellore the papers stands were burned-the copies of The Hindu were consigned to the fire. A threat to raise the issue in Parliament through a Private Members Bill was held out-Hectic activities went on-I am not sure of the nature and the machinations behind the scene. But The Hindu next day brought out a public apology in its front page. Where were you Ram? How secular and tolerant were the Muslims?
Well this is of the past-today it is worse because the communal temperature in this country is at a all high-even a small friction can ignite and demolition the country’s peace and harmony. It is against this background that one should view Hussain who is bent on abusing and insulting the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Respect for religious sentiments, need to maintain peace and harmony should also be part of the agenda of an artist-if he is great. If it is absent then he cannot say that he respects India and express his longing for India.
Let’s face it-he is a fugitive of law. Age and religion are immaterial. What does the media want-that he be absolved by the courts? Even for that he has to appear in the courts-he cannot run away-After all this is the country where he lived and gave expression to his pervert sadist, erotic artistic mind under Freedom of Expression. I simply cannot jump into the bandwagon of the elite ‘secularist’ and uphold what he had done. With his brush he had committed jihad-bloodletting.
The issue is just not nudity-Yes the temples-the frescos in Konarak and Kajhuraho have nude figures-But does it say that they are Sita, Sarswati or any goddesses? We have the Yoni and the Phallus as sacred signs of Life-of Siva and Shakthi-take these icons to the streets, paint them -give it a caption it become vulgar. Times have changed. Even granted that our ancients sculptured and painted naked forms and figures, with a pervert mind to demean religion is no license to repeat that in today’s changed political and social scenario and is not a sign of secularism and tolerance. I repeat there is no quarrel with nudity-painters has time and again found in it the perfection of God’s hand craft.
Let me wish Hussain peace in Qatar-the totalitarian regime with zero tolerance May be he will convince the regime there to permit freedom of expression in word, writing and painting. For this he could start experimenting painting forms and figure of Mohamed the Prophet-and his family And may I fervently wish that the media-especially The Hindu does not discriminate goons-let it not substitute tolerance for intolerance when it comes to Rahim and Antony and another index for Ram.
I hope you will read this in the same spirit that I have written. All the best to you Ram.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja, Vadodara
Friday, March 5, 2010
I don't know if you've noticed in today's TOI that a movie called "Thanks Maa" has been given a 4 Star rating. The movie is special to me because the writer of the movie, Vishal, has already become a good friend of mine. I have seen the movie a year back when it was screened at the Lankesh Film award (in the name of P Lankesh, the father of Kavita & Indrajit Lankesh, two successful, mainstream, new age, young Kannada directors). After seeing the movie I knew very well that this movie would surely make waves
and it did!! The main character got the National Award this year in the best child actor category!!
Today is the theatrical release of the movie. If you get a chance please go ahead and watch the movies. Creativity always needs sponsors. That's why most of the greatest painters and singers in history flourished in Royal courts. Now that we don't have the kings, and the common man is the king, it's our responsibility to make sure that creativity doesn't die down!! We all love creativity and I'm sure we'd love to see more and more creative things.
TOI review by Nikhat Kazmi: