Saturday, April 23, 2011

Vinod Mehta on Shanti-Prasanta Bhusan CD affair

"...without having sent the CD to any Indian or foreign forensic lab, I am confident the father and son duo will come out clean. The vilification campaign against them seems so crude, so clumsy, its timing so suspect that I can hardly believe the stitch-up is a professional job."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

University of Nevada eliminates philosophy from its curriculum

Philosophy has prompted confusion and anger ever since Socrates, one of the first practitioners of the discipline, was sentenced to death in 399 B.C.E. for “corrupting the youth.” Puzzlement over why people study philosophy has only grown since Socrates’ era. It is not surprising that in hard economic times, when young people are figuring out how best to prepare themselves for the world, many state college administrators and the taxpayers they serve believe that offering classes in philosophy is a luxury they can’t afford.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lyudmila Ulitskaya on Vladimir Putin

"My perception of Putin as an individual is that he is quite juvenile, not very mature, and all the pictures we have of him from state television are of Putin climbing Everest or fighting a tiger or extinguishing a fire. It's just a kind of joke, these macho games."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Supreme Court Bench on Binayak Sen case before granting him bail

Is the nature of evidence such that it could attract a conviction and life sentence? We are a democratic country. We must draw a line. He might be a sympathizer. But it does not amount to sedition.We are going on admitted facts as per prosecution case. Does it connect him with Naxalite violence? Does it mean he has committed sedition?

These documents are available widely. These are general documents and could be available with anyone. How do you fasten sedition charge for this? If Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography is found in the house of a person, it will not make him a Gandhian.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anna Hazare's revolution

Should I call it a revolution? Sort of. Anna goes on fast for fighting against corruption, and people - from all walks of like - rally around him in Delhi. The other cities start protests automatically. Soon it's a nationwide movement: everyone crying against corruption. It gets to be phenomenal. Manmohan's government dillydallies at first with Hazare's demands for a while, but gets scared when it sees the public outcry going stronger and shriller each day. And before you know it, it surrenders. It concedes to all of its demands with regard to Lokpal Bill. It's really hyper-real.

The most interesting thing about the new bill is that the committee attached to it would now comprise members of civil society on 50-50 basis. And it would not merely be a body with recommendation, but would also have power to punish anybody from Prime Minister to judges to defence personnel for acts of corruption.

Of course, there is a funny side to this committee. Pranab Mukherjee, the Finance minister, is its Chairman, and Shanti Bhusan, its co-chairman. Two diagonally opposite personalities in terms of integrity and whaever. Just think they're debating an issue and presenting their own point of view with Mr Mukherjee endlessly blinking!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Arundhati Roy's Life Inspires an Upcoming Film

Can you imagine, in these times, a film inspired by life of Arundhati Roy, the well-known writer and social activist? The film has reportedly other characters inspired by jailed human rights activist Binayak Sen, and the rare, honest policeman Promod Muthalik.

If you revel in this news, wait. There is a catch. The film-maker,Vivek Agnihotri, who dared to get together all these charcters in his upcoming film Buddha in a Traffic Jam, may not trot it out along your line of thought. He seems to have other things on his mind. "Arundhati Roy has been called many things, including a terrorist," says Vivek. "While some think she was only exercising her right to free speech, my film indeed is about intellectual terrorism".

So, what is intellectual terrorism anyway? Of course, a new idea, though funny one. Since when intellectuals like Arundhati Roy got to be terrorists? Words are weapons, right, but are they any match for the lethal things the real terrorists use to damage human corpus and property?

India may not have many intellectuals Like Roy, but Europe had and still has intellectuals who were/are pro-active against the establishment and the Government. Three names immediately come to mind: Jean Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, Elfriede Jelinek.Sartre and Foucault participated in demonstrations against the Government quite often, and had offered resistance in person whenever they felt like it. Foucault was roughed by the police a number of times, and mind you he was quite famous internationally. Jelinek, for her activism, was hounded,pounded, and even sent to mental asylum by the socialist rulers.

Arundhati's participation in movements would never measure up to the level of Sartre and Foucault. And she did never suffer as much as them,let alone Jelinek.

Has anybody ever called Sartre and Foucault intellectual terrorist? Can you accuse Jelinek of intellectual terrorism?

And to label Arundhati Roy an intellectual terrorist ..Ha! Ha!


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