Scrolling Notification

When I get time, I listen to music, or read books. If any is left, I blog!

Saturday 26 March 2011

Say 'NO' to Nuclear Power

            The world has been anxiously witnessing Japan's heroic struggle at containing the radiation from its nuclear power stations damaged by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March. Alarmed by the its magnitude, several countries have been gearing up to review the status of their existing and proposed nuclear power programmes.
            How is India responding to this crisis?
            As usual, there has been a flurry of statements and opinions, most of them crass attempts at promoting the political and business agenda behind India's proposed $150 billion investments in the nuclear power sector. Remember how the USA lobbied hard for a nuclear energy agreement (to prise open the country's high value market to the cash starved economies of the world), and how the Indian government walked into the trap). Also recall how a deal to purchase six EPRs (European Pressurised Reactors) from the Paris-based AREVA at a cost of around $10.0 billion for the proposed nuclear power project at Jaithapur in Maharashtra was pushed through hurriedly, during the visit of the French President to India in December 2010.
            It is a matter of concern that not a single reactor of the type being offered, has been commissioned anywhere in the world until now. Additionally, consider the fact that Jaithapur with a history of seismic activity, experienced 92 earthquakes between 1985 and 2005, the biggest one registering 6.2 on the Richter scale.
Being the only nation in the world to bear a nuclear holocaust during the second world war, and continuing to experience around 1500 earthquakes every year, Japan's adherence to safety has been beyond compromise. Yet the country is facing a calamity today.
            At the height of this catastrophe, comes a comment from S K Jain, CMD of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India:
            "There is no nuclear accident or incident in Japan's Fukushima plants. It is a well planned emergency preparedness programme, which the nuclear operators of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are carrying out to contain the residual heat after the plants had an automatic shut-down following a major earthquake."
            Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us salvation...

Friday 18 March 2011

Political Doodling

            'What the hell is going on in this country?' the Supreme Court asked, while hearing a PIL against Hasan Ali Khan for alleged money laundering – precisely the question everyone of us is asking, as scam after scam surfaces, and investigations expose a widening web of immorality in the system.
            The apex court had a series of uncomfortable questions for the government. What prevented it from taking Hasan Ali in for custodial interrogation despite having sufficient material on his illegal activities? Why is he being charged with tax evasion only, and not anti-terror laws for his alleged links with arm dealers? Why were the three Enforcement Directorate officials transferred midway through the investigation?
            The court expressed its dismay thus: 'There are instances when minor offenders are shot down for violating Section 144 CrPC, but you don’t take any action against these people'.
Earlier, the Supreme Court, unhappy with government's handling of the 2G Spectrum Scam had decided to monitor the investigations. In yet another major snub to the government, the court also quashed the dubious appointment of the CVC.
            Aren't these stinging strictures sending out a clear message? But hear what the Prime Minister has to say:
            “While the power of judicial review must be used to enforce accountability, it must never be used to erode the legitimate role assigned to the other branches of the government. This is vitally necessary to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the constitutional scheme premised on the diffusion of sovereign power,”
            Time to stop talking, Mr. Prime Minister. Act. Stem the rot that is spreading.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Power Corrupts

            'Peter Principle' the popular management theory states, 'In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence'. An oft cited corollary says, 'In time, every position tends to be occupied by one who is incompetent to carry out his duties'. 
            When someone performs well, more is expected of him. The individual who rises to his level of incompetence by then, uses fuzzy logic to mask his failures, tries to shift the onus on to others, and creates an illusion of success.
            The CAG's estimated loss to the exchequer in the alleged 2G scam was first played down as 'presumptive'. Later it was compared to a subsidy similar to the one on diesel and kerosene, and then, the blame was rolled out to a coalition partner. The judicial review that exposed governmental inaction was also not spared.
            Guess who I am talking about?

Monday 14 March 2011

Sreesanth Sidelined?

            Bouncers, barbs and gestures are fast bowlers' weapons. They use it to rattle up and unsettle the opponents. Such intimidatory tactics have long been a part of the 'gentleman's game'. Sreesanth is no different. His on-field histrionics have earned him more critics than admirers. Captain M S Dhoni has been an open critic, publicly 'pre-judging' him as 'uncontrollable'.
            To criticise a player in the dressing room is one thing, but to do it publicly is disheartening. Sreesanth was not an automatic choice for the World Cup. Hence, when Sreesanth was picked up by the selectors to replace the injured Praveen Kumar, he had a point to prove. In the process, he conceded 53 runs in five overs, and was sidelined for the rest of the match; perhaps for the rest of the series as well.
            Dhoni would never have thought what Viswanathan Anand felt about Sreesanth: "If you like kicking a rope, then go for it. If it works for you, no one can argue".

Friday 11 March 2011

Shreya Ghoshal

The 'World Language Research Foundation' says, Malayalam is the most difficult language of all to learn, and in particular the hardest to pronounce.  Thanks to its disparate consonants!   Contributing to this complexity by merrily putting on strange and incomprehensible accents are the modern day anchors on Malayalam TV channels.

Into this 'phonetic jungle', lilts in a cool breeze from Bengal: Shreya Ghoshal.  Listen to the few songs she has rendered.  Catch the way she pronounces each word.  Take in those inflections and intonations, and how well she enlivens the feelings and emotions in the lyric.  Had you been unaware of her origin, you would have accepted her as a Malayalee singer. 
May our home bred performers learn from Shreya that perfection demands a positive mental attitude, not misplaced style.