|Everybody take a valium|
|When Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, he took more than half a million troops with him, and he still lost. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he used four million troops, but he lost too. And now the United States has deployed just one thousand American troops into Poland.
So did the Russians giggle and snort at this pathetic display of American "resolve"? Of course not. They pretended to be horrified by it.
"We perceive it as a threat," said Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin's spokesman. "These actions threaten our interests, our security, especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. (The United States) is not even a European state."
The Russians have not suddenly caught a severe case of timidity. They know perfectly we...|
|Something I see so often in America and Europe as I travel through a city in the mornings is the owner of a business establishment opening his shop himself, cleaning and even sweeping the porch and dusting his furniture. There is sense of pride as he carefully wipes the door handles and makes the brass shine, as he cleans the glass and polishes the doors.
Here in our country, we have a peon to open the shop, another sweeper to clean the front and other employees to do all the other work we don't want to do.
The other day a carpenter was busy at my home, making new windows for a bedroom. He worked along with his assistant whose job it was to bring the wood from the terrace, hold the nails patiently while his master hammered them, bring the tea for their frequent tea breaks and other jobs...|
|Post-truths about Rohith Vemula|
|Rohith Vemula left us on January 17, 2016. The Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA) activist at the University of Hyderabad was a young Dalit leader of strong political convictions - opposed to the Hindu right and committed to Ambedkarite anti-caste philosophy and democratic politics, importantly, associational freedoms. There is no doubt that Rohith has in death, as in life, brought anti-caste resistance to the centre of deliberative democratic politics on campuses across the country, and brought new meanings to bear on the power of associational freedoms at a time when we are rapidly losing sight of it.
We are told a year after his passing that the government of Andhra Pradesh has decided that Rohith was Vaddera - an OBC, not a Dalit. Really? A discovery of a (post-)truth when the pers...|
|Stand out, be different..!|
|A couple of years ago as a member of an international social organization the club had a problem in hand and a decision had to be made. The committee that met were divided on how to handle the issue and a vote was called for. Each member was asked for his opinion and they gave it till they came to Mr. Bhagat. "What is your decision Mr. Bhagat?" I asked.
"I go with the majority," said Bhagat with a smile. I have never forgotten Mr. Bhagat.
One man who loved the color yellow had yellow carpets, yellow furniture, yellow drapes, yellow walls and even yellow appliances in his yellow kitchen. He slept in a yellow bed with yellow covers and worse yellow pajamas. He got sick. You guessed … yellow jaundice.
He called a doctor who came to his apartment building. The manager told him he'd have no...|
|View from the Gallery|
|Need to discuss performance instead of personal attacks|
|The task of opposition parties in India has been made very difficult by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by turning the fight between them and BJP into a clash of personalities instead of being a verdict on polices of the Government or its performance. This is continuation of the twist given to contest for Lok Sabha in 2014 when it become a presidential form of contest instead of being a fight between political parties.
In the current contest he has added another dimension of his intentions being good, even if implementation was flawed. He has also brought into debate the fact of being a true patriot while those opposing him were anti-national. In this he has been helped by the fact that main opposition parties accepted the fact that there was need to attack black money, but claimed demoneti...|
|Have a happy day..!|
|Very often when we are sleeping we are awakened by the doorbell ringing, or a baby crying or someone shouting, and we are so angry. Here's something for you:
An officer who had some urgent business to transact reluctantly dialed his assistant at six o clock in the morning. After several rings a sleepy female voice answered and told him he had the wrong number. He apologized, hung up and scouted in vain for his telephone diary to re check the number.
A little while later he risked dialing again and was embarrassed to hear the same voice, which meant he did not have the right number and expecting an angry tone, he started to apologize profusely. But the woman interrupted him.
"There's no need to be sorry," she said assuringly, "I'm sitting by my window enjoying a truly beautiful sunrise....|
|OVER 30 years ago, prime minister Indira Gandhi called off talks with Pakistan on a no-war pact because Pakistan's representative to the UN Human Rights Commission, Agha Hilaly, had compared Indian Kashmir with Palestine. That was before the eruption of militancy in the former in 1989.
Since then, the parallel has become even more apt. In both places, the people's resistance finds itself forsaken by the international community and its leaders divided. Six months since the killing of Burhan Wani, the situation in Kashmir remains depressing, with little prospect of improvement in sight.
The BJP-PDP coalition, headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, is torn by rifts. She lacks the most elementary qualities of a leader. The BJP raises issues like the return of Pandits to the area; accept...|
|Before The Next Election Sir..!|
|The doorbell rings. I walk to the door, swing it open and find a grinning face outside with folded hands. "Namaste sir," says the grinning face as it tries to shake my hand then tries to walk past me into my house, "May I come in?"
"No!" I exclaim, "You may not! I don't know you!"
"You do know me sir!" says face with a wider grin and hands reaching out to embrace me.
"No I don't."
"You do sir"
"No I don't! Who are you?"
"We met five years back sir." says the grinning face, with folded hands.
"Here only sir"
"And why did we meet here?"
"I came for your vote sir"
"Aha.. you are..?"
"Your voice in the State Assembly sir! May I come in now?"
"No" I say angrily.
"Do you know how many times I came to meet you at your office?"
|Recalling Amma's Legacy, Inside Amma's Kitchen|
|In Tamil Nadu, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's posthumous omnipresence is best reflected in the success of the 657 Amma Unavagams (canteens) that serve piping hot fare at unbelievably low rates to anyone who walks in looking for a satisfying meal. These canteens provide barrier free access and are managed efficiently by a dedicated, diligent and disciplined army of women. Some even wake up at the crack of dawn and start cooking in the canteen kitchens at 5 am so that people can line up at the serving windows with their coupons for breakfast by 7 am.
People in Chennai believe that Jayalalithaa, who served as Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister four times and came to be addressed as "Amma", won the hearts of the poor by ensuring that they receive their basic meals with dignity, for a song. T...|
|BJP and the Elephant in the Room|
|That the BJP should welcome the Supreme Court judgment banning the use of religion and caste in politics is perhaps the biggest irony of Indian politics. The party after all owes its phenomenal growth and ascent to its successful use of religious sentiments on emotive issues like Ayodhya.
The BJP's strength in Parliament for years remained just 2 -- represented by its stalwarts Vajpayee and Advani - until the party decided to take charge of VHP's Ram temple movement.
It was Advani's rath yatra that helped the BJP multiply its strength from 2 to around 200 seats, eventually bringing the party to power under Vajpayee. Narendra Modi's stupendous success in 2014 had been built on the efforts of the two giants. His own rabble-rousing rhetoric and the defining events of 2002, burnishing his ...|
|The ugliest man in the world..!|
|The other day while scanning the new in the local papers I saw this hideous picture of an ugly man; face all patched up, hardly any nose, no eyebrows and two skin projections for ears! He had been through a gruesome accident which had left him in this condition. A magazine had labeled him, 'the ugliest man in the world.'
But what held my fascination was not the man, but a beautiful woman who was clasping him from behind and holding him tight. This was his wife. In her eyes, he was the most handsome man in her world. From her eyes I could see that she did not see his revolting, horrid face that stared down at me. She it saw an inner beauty that made her love her man.
The movie Mask is the true story of a sixteen year old boy, Rocky Dennis. Rocky had a rare disease, which made the bones o...|
|Politics over national anthem verdict|
|The law of unintended consequences|
|Shyam Narayan Chouksey has done a disservice to his own cause. In his zeal to inculcate patriotism in the average citizen, a situation has been created in the wake of his petition to the Supreme Court, which can lead to overt disrespect being shown to the national anthem and also the tricolour.
It is not only that several people have been beaten up for not standing up during the playing of the anthem in cinema halls as per a judicial order. There have also been occasions when a few have refused to stand up and have been ignored by others in the hall, showing that, first, obeisance to the national cause cannot be imposed; and, secondly that an attempt to do so can lead to some taking a contrarian view simply because they dislike being forced to act in a certain way, which is a tendency co...|
|Be Still and Listen..!|
|Quite often we wonder why God does not speak to us, while we are asked to pray to God all the time.
This is something eighteen year old Amanda thought. She decided to write a letter to God. Taking her best stationary, she wrote, "I love you God!" and addressed her letter to Mr. God, Paradise. She did not put a return address in case the letter was returned and people would think her crazy, but she waited for an answer nevertheless.
Days, weeks, a whole month passed, but no letter came. She consulted an old priest who was amused at her novel way of approaching God and told her, "Don't worry Amanda, God's answer will come in due time. But you'll have to be patient and still, and then he'll answer!"
Amanda waited and decided she would continue doing so even if it took years. But despite ...|
|Trump, WikiLeaks and Russia|
|When a Fox News reporter asked Donald Trump about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange back in 2010, just after Assange had released a huge cache of secret US diplomatic cables, the reality TV star had no doubts: "I think it's disgraceful, I think there should be like the death penalty or something."
Circumstances change, however, and smart people with big brains know when it's time to switch sides. It was WikilLeaks, once again, that revealed the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee that did such damage to Hillary Clinton's campaign last summer. But Trump now readily accepts Assange's word that he didn't get those emails from the Russians.
Trump has been having a problem with the main US intelligence agencies, which unanimously insist that the Russians did indeed hack the ...|
|Dhoni and Cultivating Leadership..!|
|What Dhoni has done is unlike what most leaders do. He announced he was giving up his role as a captain and would help mentoring the new captain of the Indian cricket team!
He knew he was getting old, that his famous helicopter shots, his ability to win games single handedly, and his cool captainship was getting hit by his advancing years, but instead of trying to prove that he was still the best, he decided to groom his successor!
Grooming a successor is very important in the development of leadership. But like I said at the beginning, very rarely done.
I have seen excellent organizations and businesses dying a quick death after a founder chairman has died. "Why didn't your chairman groom a successor before he died?" I once asked a director of a leading company.
"Because, he wanted t...|