Friday, September 19, 2008

Why it makes sense for Tata's to shift out of Singur...

The impasse over Singur continues and there seems to be no headway. In this scenario the best option for Tata's seems to be to close shop and move out. Contrary to the sentiments in West Bengal, this would actually be a very good move. Here is why:

1) The project is getting delayed due to Momotadidi suddenly realizing that a lot of the farm lands that were acquired for the project was acquired from unwilling farmers. The story here is a bit different. In a previous post I had talked about the compensation that was being offered, a whopping 30 rs a sq ft. But then the story in West Bengal is unlike any that in any other state. Not all the farmers actually own the land that they farm. They are share croppers, and even when the original owners have willingly given the land to Tata Motors, the share croppers are with Trinamul. An increased package is not going to offer them any benefit. Their best bet would have been if the Nano plant came up and they got work there. But, no....they are too used to the life that they have been leading. If they had been employed at the plant, at the first disciplinary action for not reporting to work or some other misconduct, they would have declared a strike and anyway work would have come to a halt. You see, the average Bengali is very aware of his rights but not his duties.

2) A strong message gets sent out to all such aimless politicians who take up people's issues when they find that the going has just gotten tough. This will also discourage the so called leaders who take up the cudgels on behalf of the minority for those projects that benefit the vast majority. This is nothing new in this country. Under the grab of socialist, secular, democratic republic, we believe in throttling the majority opinion to pamper the minority opinion.

3) Ms. Banerjee's Chief Ministerial hopes are effectively dashed. Can you imagine the rot that would have happened to Bengal if Ms. Banerjee becomes the CM ever? If the Tata's continue now, it would have just added to her armoury. She would have become the messiah for the poor. Now hopefully she will be wiped off once and for all.

The only flip side:

Tata's lose out on a source of educated cheap labour. Well, that has to be taken in while calculating the cost of the nano.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another Blast....

Yet another blast in Delhi.....what is the world coming to? Are we actually a weak state? These blasts demonstrate that terrorists are able to strike anywhere at will and all our political and governance machinery have failed. There has to be a solution to this....maybe a "Never Again" campaign.....Its the citizens who have to stand up and say "Never Again". It doesn't take much. If all of us pledge to not take things lying down. If the death of even one of our fellow country men causes outrage and a demand for justice, if we don't try to get away from our mistakes but accept them and try to overcome them, if instead of always having an external locus of control we look at ourselves we may be able to stop this.

These blasts are not the handiwork of Pakistani terrorists, these blasts have been done by us, The Common Man of India. Yes, each of us, you who are reading this blog, the man on the street, the cop sitting idle at the police station, the so called government, the I-banker, the Dalal Street share broker, the media covering these blasts, the PYT partying away to glory and also me writing this blog is responsible for these blasts.

Do the Self appointed critics of the failed governance machinery every wonder where do these quantities of explosives come from? Every time you encourage the sale of goods and services without a bill, you are creating a loop hole that these guys can exploit; every time, you walk away when you notice something suspicious, you are creating a loop hole; every time you bribe to get ahead of the Q or to cover up a broken rule you create a loop hole.

Gandhiji started the Civil Disobedience movement, but unfortunately failed to stop it. It is still going strong. And till the time this keeps on going strong, there will be blasts, and terror attacks. Will it really need one person of every family to die in this country before this country wakes up? We are in a slumber since we woke up for a few minutes on the midnight of 15th August 1947 to hoist a flag. Damn it people, you are the damned government, the damned police, the damned everything of this long will you keep depending on external agencies for help? If we are to become a superpower ever, we need to set the trend. Can we have a "Never Again" campaign? Will each of you who is reading this stand up for the law as it is instead of trying to evade it?

Do we have the balls for it? Or are we a bunch of losers who deserve to die? Who will die anyway? and the survivors will carry on as if nothing happened? What is needed to shake these bunch of people awake?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Can he be tried for treason?

Enough is enough.....this guy makes arbit statements against every non-maharastrian and gets away with it.
He writes to the cops asking them not to discharge their duty
And we dont have a law to charge him with treason against the Indian Union? How is he any different form the moderate terrorists who are asking for freedom in J&K?

How is MNS different from the ULFA? Just because ULFA uses bombs and bullets and this guy uses speeches? Some one tell me please.

A Wednesday

This is a movie which just deserves to be watched if for nothing else but the brilliant acting by Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah. The jingoistic theme aside, this movie is watchable only for the acting.

After a long time finally a movie, in which I wasn't waiting eagerly for the intermission. The fast paced thriller had me glued to the seat throughout.

All in all, a sunday afternoon well spent.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rock on

Watched Rock On yesterday. Everything said and done, and after getting 4.5 stars somehow the movie disappointed me. Well most of it anyway. I thought Mumbai Meri Jaan was much better.

And yes....on another note, the music is if you could actually buy the CD and not watch the movie...

My rating would be 2.5 stars for Rock On.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What is the relation between.....

Both are pictures of popular leaders who refuse to acknowledge the birth of a new era that has come.

One did not recognize that the Manchester of the East was looking at a bleaker picture and proceeded to call an 18-month long strike that hastened the demise of an already sick industry. Datta Samant, a massive strike, at the beginning of which an estimated 200,000–300,000 mill workers walked out, forcing the entire industry of the city to be shut down for over a year. As the strike progressed through the months, Samant's militancy in the face of government obstinacy led to the failure of any attempts at negotiation and resolution. Disunity and dissatisfaction over the strike soon became apparent, and many textile millowners began moving their plants outside the city. After a prolonged and destabilizing confrontation, the strike collapsed with Samant and his allies not having obtained any concessions. The closure of textile mills across the city left tens of thousands of mill workers unemployed, and in the succeeding years the most of the industry moved away from Mumbai, after decades of being plagued by rising costs and union militancy. The just have to walk around the mill areas of Parel and Worli. The mills stand there like ghosts from another era. And those that have been redeveloped are now housing posh offices and malls.

and the other.....Didi as she is called by all, refuses to let industrialization come to West Bengal. Somehow she thinks that returning the land that the Tata's acquired from unwilling farmers is a solution. Does she really think that the unwilling farmers would be able to return to agriculture in the then fertile now barren land? Surrounded by paint shops, forging shops and assembly line? May be Tata Motors will have to create a new designation, Farmer, Farm Labourer for those who will be farming in those areas that are within the gates of the factory.

And what makes the farmer unwilling. Well to look at it one way, the Govt. acquired the land paying a price of about 13-17 lacs an acre. ($32500-$42500 an acre) thats about Rs. 321/sq m ($8 a sq m) or 29.8 a sq feet. The price paid to the farmers for a plot of land in the middle of nowhere the size of a tile in your room is about 30 rs. That is huge amount by any logic. Now the unwilling farmer contents that in any case if the factory comes up, the land has to be acquired. The price of land will shoot up. So the farmer has the opportunity to sell the land at 3 times the present price. No wonder such large numbers are supporting didi's protests and her intelligent argument that Tata's need only about 600 acres, return 400 acres to the farmers. Left to her, the factory will have a paint shop, then a rice farm, then the body shop, and forge, then maybe another farm.

What if Tata's move out of Singur? West Bengal gets tagged with an industry unfriendly status. The only thing left for educated, unemployed youths is roke bose adda maraa aar prem kora....after all who needs industrialization....we are happy, lazy beings.

Of Mumbai Meri Jaan, Bihar Floods, and others

Watched मुम्बई मेरी जान this weekend....thanks to AM who tagged me along. Well whatever the reviews said, this was a movie worth watching if you are a part of Mumbai. For those who haven't watched the movie yet this is what the synopsis is, "On July 11, 2006 the local train service, known as Mumbai's lifeline, was struck by a series of bomb blasts. Bombay Meri Jaan explores the impact of this devastating incident on the lives of the people of Mumbai. From a brilliant broadcast journalist to a patriotic corporate man; from a retiring policeman at the twilight of his life to a rookie cop at the dawn of his career; from an angry and xenophobic unemployed young man to a coffee-vendor struggling to survive and belong: Mumbai Meri Jaan follows the lives of people from all strata of Mumbai's bustling society as they tackle the aftermath of a fatal incident that brings out the best and sometimes the worst in them." (courtesy UTV site)

The movie laced out well and the acting was good. Madhavan was brilliant, so was Irfaan Khan. Paresh Rawal portrayed the retiring cop so well that today morning when I saw a constable with grey hair at the naka I really wondered if he was the inspiration behind the role. On the other hand
Vijay Maurya got too much into the skin of the character......or was he not given enough lines?? A new cop, who chooses to ask his senior what his achievement was, questions the system that exists does not pull the trigger on himself without enough reason. Also, Kay Kay Menon I felt overdid his part of being a Hindu Fanatic....and Soha Ali was not genuine enough.....

Maybe because you connect with the places and the people you connect with the movie. I doubt how much a person from lucknow or chandigarh would connect with this movie.
The personal drama did not look to personal for anyone other than Soha and Madhavan. And the usual Hindu-Muslim bashing and then bhai-bhai preaching. It is a tribute to a city, a tribute to the people, but it could have been handled better. Maybe it was not possible to compress this in cinematic time, but a tragedy that 7/11 was, deserves something more than this.

At the same time, one is forced to ask some serious questions. We talk about the Spirit of Mumbai but is it something more than spirit? I think it is desperation that forces people into the Spirit of Mumbai thinggi. Truthfully, who would want to travel in overcrowded trains? Except for the fact that the only other option is at least 2-3 times the train journey time. The most chilling scene in the movie, when Madhavan's friend from the US tells that maybe the next generation will become used to terrorism. To me that is a stark reminder about what life is going to be all about. Survival. And like MM says in her post, that how much longer can we create gated communities and pretend that we are safer just because we chose not to look at the world around us? Isn't it time that we decided that it is important for us to be responsible for our own security. That we cannot keep blaming the police and the government for everything? This brings me to another recent event, the calamity in Bihar. One recent TV report, said that policemen where saving all they could and moving to higher ground and another showed an interview with a villager that prasasan kuch nahi kar rahi.

I know it is the easiest thing to find a scapegoat, but then do we realise, that we are the prasasan, the administrators? The IAS officer is just a representation of the society we live in. He is no superman to save the people. He wants his cut like everyone else. Everyone in this country is out to get his pound of flesh. And by everyone, I mean everyone. We are all cheats and thieves in private and saints outside. Sarkaar kuch nahi karti is our favourite statement. But, the same statement makers will bribe a govt official who pulls you up for breaking a law, will cross the road at anyplace, will spit and dirty the city, you see for us, as long as it doesn't affect us, we are fine. We will rave and rant at the unfairness of it all and then go back to being the way they are.

Where are all these related? Bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and bihar flood.....they are all the product of our apathy.....apathy born out of not trying to be a country.....we are not Indians.....we are hindus, muslims, brahmins, dalits, maharastrian, bihari, everything but not Indians......when we start bribing the cops to let us go for small offences a precedence is created that says that the more money you pay the bigger offence you can get away with......when you pay to get your work done without standing in a que, you start a trend which says it is easy to ignore the rights of people who have been waiting before you......and that is the tragedy from which all the bigger tragedies flow......question is can we say "Never Again" or will it just be another movie being made on another tragedy?