Straight Angle™: April 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

State of the Union! 

Just a quick status update on the state of the Union- especially the state of the society and its spurious ways of dealing with wrong doing.

A recent BBC investigation, finds that there is enough evidence that the UN Peace Keepers in DR Congo were involved in a Arms-for-Gold scandal with a rebel group. While the Head of UN Mission to DR Congo says, "We have lost lives in fighting these militias", BBC's investigation revealed that militia were receiving arms from the same UN agency they were fighting against, through some unscrupulous elements. When confronted with the question that the militia leaders have confirmed they received answers, he says, Militia is Militia and they have their own interests", as if UN doesn't have any self interest in the whole issue- but that is a mute point to what I am to discuss here. Though the article doesn't directly implicate any Indian involvement in the episode, the Indian news agencies were quick to pick this story up- and they were referring to this article, which says,

As for the allegations against Indian peacekeepers, the OIOS found many of them were not substantiated, says the UN.

But there was enough evidence to substantiate an allegation that some troops purchased counterfeit gold and illegally detained a local resident.

That report was sent to the Indian government in March 2008.

While the allegations and refusals might linger on for ever, and it does pains me that Indian Army is being alleged to have a part in this scandal, what pains me more is the comments that appeared in the article. I am producing them full below, just in case they are removed, deleted or otherwise not available for future reference:
Raghav: This docu on BBC was about many other troops and not Indian Army along. The alligations against other troups were more severe. Thought programs like this are quite common in here to keep public moral high after what ever the UK troup is involved in around the globe.( Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 03:17 )

Devesh:If British army can get involved in child abuse, sex with minors and rape why are they trying to chase Indian army who is simply trying to make some money without hurting any one emotionally and physically. ( Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 03:02 )
Reading them, I am appalled at the insensitivity and a blatant disregard for morality and probity in the conduct of duty. "....who is simply trying to make some money without hurting..."- gosh, have we become such a bunch of insensitive, arrogant people, who snugs off grave mistakes? Is this what 60 years of "Independent Corruption" has made us?

Is this now a part of our national life, accepting corruption as a "trying to make money"? When are we going to stop this- will we ever grow up as a civilized nation?. The other appalling part of the comment is trying to make it a nationalistic cause, saying "Indian army is being chased"- I can say only one thing on this- Crap!

Pragmatic has a good article on the reasons why the Indian Government keeps sending troops for UN Peace Keeping missions and the reasons why it should not continue with it, and there is an even more radical reason for scrapping the UN Mission itself. The reasons given for it are flimsy and the assertion that the UN interferes with the affairs of countries, though correct, misses out the important point, that it does so, at the behest of the same country that Ann Shibler is trying to defend! It also misses out the other point that US has been meddling in the affairs of other countries and pressing UN to do its bidding in the post-mess scenarios!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Four Years! 

There it goes- another year- another bunch of 365 days- now it has come to 4 full years of this blog, which I am immensely proud of- Just a trip through the pages of this would tell a marvelous story.

As a coincidence, I realised, its been 100 posts in exactly 2 years and 50 in the last year alone. Heres me, raising a toast to my trusted companion for 4 years- my blog- Straight Angle™-Many more happy returns of the day- from the humble beginnings at a non nondescript Internet cafe in Mumbai- to some of the hautest of places around the globe- from rickety computers to swanky iPhones- you have seen them all- Good Going and all the best!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Have you ever been to a temple and offered Puja to the deity? I mean the usual puja or archana as we call, where all your family members are spelt out and the God is invoked to bless you- or even the one where there is Sankalpa performed?

Last Prathosham I had been to the Bridgewater Balaji Temple and something that happened there, intrigued me. As part of Prathosha pujas, Rudram, Namakam etc are recited. Before they start reciting rudram, it is customary that the Sankalpam is performed, which goes something like the below:

dweethiya parardhe, shweta varaha kalpe, , Vaivaswatha manvanthare, ashta vimshathi thame, kali yuge, prathame padhe, Jamboo dweepe, Bharatha varshe , Bharatha Kande, Meroh dakshine parshwe, Shakabde Asmin vartamane , vyaavaharike prabhavaadheenam xxxxx samvatsaranaam madhye , xxxxx nama samvatstare, xxxx-yane, xxxx rithou, xxxx mase, xxxx pakshe, xxxx shubha tithou, xxxx vasara yukthayam, xxxxx nakshatra yukthayam, shubhayoga, shubha karana evam guna, viseshana visishtaayam, asyam vartamanayam xxxx shubha thithou.......

Here, in the above sankalp, all those parts marked would vary according to the year, month, day and time of the occasion- but what doesn't vary in all parts of India is the remaining part.

In the first part, I am not sure, if we really follow the Nakshatram and thithi the same way we follow it in India. But I know for sure, if you are performing the Sankalp in US, you cannot say "Bharatha Varshe", "Jamboo dweepe", "bharatha kande", "Meroh dakshine parshwe". US is definitely not in "Bharatha Varsha" or in "Jamboo dweepa" or in "Bharatha kanda" and most certainly not to the south of "Meru"!

The Sankalp is one of the most scientific and mathematically accurate component of the Hindu rituals. Shoud it not remain so- should we not accommodate our knowledge of what it means and rather than merely repeating the slokas as a machine, should we not improvise them to suit the realities? I mean if the days and month and year can be changed, sure the geographical coordinates too can be changed accordingly. If we say we can't change because it is against tradition, are we not doing a disservice? Sankalp is supposed to say where you are and what you are doing...if we continue to "be" in India while actually in a different place, are we not cheating God?

Just thinking loud- can't we create new coordinates- say south of Mt.Rushmore or north of Rushmore? Would that be asking for too much?

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A marvel that is N Ram! 

I don't think it is any more necessary to have the name of the paper as "The Hindu"- it can be "The Chindu". Just read this piece of absolutely stunning opinion from N.Ram- the moral torch bearer of world 's proletariat's Indian wing.

He argues his case of economic development being a measure of human rights, in the land that increasingly uses the same logic for its continued human rights violations. I am given to understand from his logic that if there are enough bread and butter, then that in itself is a great human right bestowed upon the people of the land, which sadly would only apply to those lands ruled(!!) by communists.

People’s welfare and quality of life are indices to measure human rights too, he said in a lecture at the Beijing Forum on Human Rights.
Isn't the welfare and quality of life now being measured in terms of that "oh-so-evil" capitalist's indice of per capita income? From when did the unit of measurement of "welfare" changed to PCI? Why is the Socialist being impressed by the rich farmers there in China, while in India, the same rich farmer would have been thrashed as being feudalistic and blood sucking lot?
He observed that the railway line may have had some negative impact on the region’s environment and wildlife, but that some accounts on this aspect were exaggerated.
Isn't that amazing piece of batting that Ram is doing for his across the boundary mentors?- While the environmental impact is just a "may have had", some accounts "were" exaggerated. He seems to know that the accounts are exaggerated, even without being sure if there is any environmental impact- but his ability to even give some doubt on the environmental impact is a great show of strength to stand up to his masters- Kudos for that N.Ram- you do a yo-men service to the world's proletariat standing up to the wicked capitalist in the communist's Disney land.

I guess with the same measuring index, N Ram would also acknowledge that Gujarat would be India's model state for Human Rights Compliance and West Bengal and Kerala are worser abusers- Gujarat's PCI is Rs. 26979 whereas the bastion of Communist exemplary states of Kerala and West Bengal, it is Rs. 24053 and Rs. 20896 respectively[As per GOI Statistics]. Keralites and Bengalis live in a state of relative Human Rights denial as compared to Gujarat- Isn't it Ram?

Its high time you wrote about the Human Rights abuses to these two communist ruled states Ram!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Harish Khare- the Incumbent! 

I was pleasantly surprised by this article by Harish Khare in "The Hindu" today- and then realised, no one likes competition and hates intruders in their territory-in what they consider rightfully theirs!

Now, I can sleep in peace!!


Hindu's Nepal tarot card! 

With the Maoists winning a simple majority in Nepal, Hindu is all ga-ga over the victory- I doubt if Prachanda himself would have been this happy of the victory! Siddharth Varadarajan- the leading Maoist flag bearer of the South goes ballistic with his half baked analysis and a confused deluge on what India should do and should not have done.

He opens his rant with the usual "Oh-there-is-a-stampede-for-Maoists" in his article, where the surveys predicting the Maoists defeat were all bogus and commissioned by the "Who-else-but" the US. While he minces no words in deriding the Indian Government because it thought the Maoists will not win the elections, despite getting "field reports" about the ground swell of support for the Maoists. As can be expected, Maoist leaders are "Statesmen"- I thought that word was for people who had been Statesmen for a long career in politics and have proved themselves through their sheer character- somehow, yesterday's killers[The same who were accused of murders and forced child soldiers by Amnesty] become a "Statesman" today, just because they secretly warned India and not air their opinions in Public.

While pointing out the issues that the Maoist leaders face in the immediate future, the author comes to a wonderful, "Hanging-in-the-air-as-I-am-Confused" statement like:
But it is essential that the international community not send out wrong signals on the question of civilian control over the military.
Wrong signals?- What wrong signals can the international community send over the question of civilian control of army?-Does Siddharth want the Maoists to control the Army, since they control the Government- Will the Maoists remain Maoists even after forming the Government or would the Government be different from the Maoists?- I mean even in India we have a [theoretically] distinction between the party and the Government- don't we? We are not the autocratic China or Soviet Union to have the Party to be both the Government and a Political Outfit- or may it is in the genes of Communism!

While it is true that Maoists have come to political table, there still is no concrete evidence that they have abhorred the path of violence and the author wants India to counsel US to take Maoists off the Terrorist list- while I don't deny it can help or it should help, there must be concrete evidence that Maoists have finally shunned violence and have become a full fledged political outfit, which sadly is not yet forthcoming- read this piece from BBC.

But Siddharth betrays his own sense of "I-always-thought-so" dejavu, when he unwittingly says,
The internal political dynamics of Nepal first need to recover from the shock the electorate has delivered.
If there was a ground swell of support and the Maoists had always been expected to win as in the opening of the article, where is the shock that the electorate has delivered? Is it a shock to Siddharth himself?


Monday, April 07, 2008


மழையில், என் தோளில் சாய்ந்திருந்த நீ சொன்னாய்,
உன் தோள் நனைய வில்லை.

தோள் நனைந்த சட்டையுடன் நான்.

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Swarnasrikrishnan/Male/28. Lives in India/Tamilnadu/Chennai, speaks Tamil, English, 

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