|Gaza: A Little Context|
|You can see why Hamas doesn't want a cease-fire in Gaza yet. It is continuing the fight in the hope that international outrage at the huge loss of people being killed by Israel's massive firepower will somehow, eventually, force Israel to give it what it wants.
Hamas would be quite willing to give up firing its pathetic rockets - which have so far killed a grand total of three civilians in Israel - if Israel ends its seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. Dream on.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's goal is harder to define. Domestic political pressure to "do something" about those pesky rockets pushed him into this war, but now he must produce some kind of success in order to justify all those deaths: around 1,150 Palestinians and more than fifty Israelis already.
But what ki...|
|Step out in faith..!|
|Quite often I think of Moses standing in front of the Red Sea.
Behind him he can hear the sound of advancing Egyptians on their horses and chariots bearing down, spears advanced at his defenseless group. He stares at the Red Sea; he knows God will provide a way; and then God tells him to lift his staff.
And only when Moses lifts his staff do the seas part.
Only when we take the first step in faith do miracles happen.
I always remember the story of the Indian boy whose village prayed for rain: The next day the boy came to school with an open umbrella. "Are you mad?" asked his teacher and classmates. "I'm not; you all must be," he said, "if you spent so much time praying for rain, shouldn't you come expecting it?"
And here's another lovely incident:
A little girl had been shopping w...|
|The echo of Gaza closer home|
|By no means is providing the oxygen of publicity to motivated columnists a palatable task. Even the satisfaction of refuting them does not compensate for the gains they make in having their argument aired, albeit only to be debunked. Identifying them as owners of the argument, howsoever flawed, is useful for them, in this age of visibility passing for wisdom.
Here one's reservations on this score are given a go-bye to make a passing mention to the article dean of the Jindal School of International Relations in the Asian Age, a paper once presided over by MJ Akbar (http://www.asianage.com/columnists/children-conflict-773). The worthy writes of Kashmiris agitating over a far off war. He notes that one of them got killed in the bargain. He rues this loss of life for an unknown cause, infor...|
|Stand up to the enemy..!|
|It wasn't a very pleasant evening at the officers club where I had been invited: "I'll have another drink," he told the waiter.
"It's your fourth," I said feeling bothered.
"So you're good at counting," he acknowledged.
"I think you've had enough!"
"I know when to stop," he said, looking at me red faced and eyes glazed, "I need this to get over my problems! D'you know what my commanding officer called me today?"
"No," I said.
"He called me a drunkard!"
I looked at him, a senior officer in the armed forces, a talented man who seemed to have got carried away with the good life. "So what did you tell your officer?" I asked.
"I told him I knew when to stop!"
"Maybe you don't," I said.
"I know when to stop! Waiter pour me another!"
I accompanied him to his car. His driver looked...|
|BETWEEN THE LINE|
|Modi's 50 days in office|
|If the first 50-odd day of rule by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is any guide, it is the rightist government which has taken over India. The Nehruvian ideology which tilts towards left has been jettisoned. Once again, free enterprise and unencumbered trade will motivate people.
This is a turnaround from the policies that has guided the nation so far. The public sector will shrink and the rich will expand their area of influence and operation. This is a logical consequence of a free economy. How far Modi will go to remove limitations on unplanned enterprise is difficult to say, but there is no doubt of governance by the rich and powerful. It is bound to drive the weak to the wall because the capitalist system knows no other way to grow. Yet Modi should be prepared to face stiff opposition ...|
|An Eid story !|
|Here's a story retold for Eid, hope you all enjoy it as much as I did:
Waleed received a car from his brother as an Eid gift. On Eid day when Waleed came out of his house, a small poor boy was walking around the new car, admiring it.
"Does it belong to you, Uncle" he asked.
Waleed said that it was. "This is an Eid gift from my brother. The boy was amazed. "You mean your brother gave it to you and it cost you nothing? Boy, I wish"…He hesitated.
Of course Waleed knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Waleed all the way down to his heels. "wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that!"
Waleed looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, "Would you like to take a ride in my car?...|
|The party mandate|
|IN Jammu & Kashmir, which is due to go to the polls next November to elect its legislative assembly, the Election Commission of India asked all political parties last month to submit their manifestos within two days so that they are analysed in the light of the Model Code of Conduct. Its officers will procure the manifestos and send them to EC with their comments.
No election official has any business performing such a task. Neither the EC nor any of its officials has the statutory authority or even the intellectual equipment to scrutinise manifestos.
This episode should prompt reflection. Precisely, what is the legal and moral force of any election manifesto? Does it operate as a mandate to bind the political party which issued it and its candidates who got elected on the pledges embo...|
|Work is worship..!|
|Many decades ago, under the draconian emergency of the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, one of her slogans was that 'Work Is Worship'. Maybe that's the only nice part of the emergency that I remember today.
Work does have a bad name in our world. But let me tell you there is something worse than work, and that's boredom. At least that's what Drs. Kathryn Rost and G. Richard Smith of the University of Arkansas have to say. After analyzing the mental health of heart attack survivors, they concluded that one factor which greatly reduced the chances of depression was going back to work.
And why not? At work we are often around friends, and people with strong relationships will almost always fare better mentally. But we humans also need to be useful and productive!
Arthur Kroeger wrote i...|
|Modi consolidates hold on BJP|
|Though virulent denunciation of the Congress party helped Mr. Narendra Modi consolidate votes in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has found it convenient to endorse the UPA's economic policies to cope up with the present situation. The people are beginning to realise that he cannot work miracles he promised them, or provide overnight solutions to their day-to-day problems, after achieving a "Congress Mukt" dispensation at the Centre under his control. Their burden has not eased, but only increased with additional levies and costlier rail travel. The times ahead will be harder, calling for "bigger sacrifices" before they can hope to see a new sunrise, spelling all round prosperity and happiness. Even the corporates, which financed his extravagant election campaign, are distraught, ...|
|My mother, God bless her soul, always told me I was well loved because I had three mothers! What she meant was that I was loved by not just her but also her two sisters, and I equally loved them back. The last of the sisters passed away a few months ago, and I know I felt alone and sad as her body was lowered into her grave, but it is not about her I write about today, nor about my mother who passed away last year in Baltimore, it is about the eldest of the three, who lived a spinster, alone in her little home and when she passed away in Bangalore, over a decade and a half ago, I went down for her funeral.
After the funeral rites I reluctantly went to her little room, where my cousin Aruna and I had set her up. We went through her meager belongings and gave away most of it to her maid w...|
|Whither Sportsmen Spirit?|
|Aggression name of the game|
|Whither sports and sportsmen spirit? The FIFA World Cup is over but it underscored a mean and vicious side of sports today: undue aggressiveness to win it all. This violent ugly was underscored during the Brazil-Colombia football match which turned into a slugfest with Colombian Zuniga's downing Brazilian football's superstar Neymar, thereby breaking the latter's vertebra and taking away a bit of the sheen from the "Beautiful Game".
Undeniably, hostility of this kind does not quite mix with sports, be it football or any other sport. Shockingly, the Brazil-Colombia game was particularly rough with as many as 54 fouls whistled down, of these 31 were committed by the Brazilians. Indeed, if this is considered as beautiful, one wouldn't want to fathom what beautiful is!
Certainly, fouls ar...|
|Recognising the searing effects of micro-aggression|
|When I was in the sixth grade a classmate called me a "stupid Jew bitch." I slinked away from the playground and never told a soul what she'd said or how it made me feel. Bullying was not a word we used then and adults seldom dealt with unnamed and often invisible blows even when they were reported.
Today, we have begun to recognise the horrific impact bullying can have on children. But we have yet to understand "micro-aggression" and its effect on adults.
Micro-aggression has been defined as common verbal or behavioural insults, whether intentional or not, that communicate hostile or negative slights to marginalised groups. Researchers have also identified micro-assaults, micro-insults and micro-invalidations as disturbing behaviours that pack a punch.
Micro-assaults are conscio...|
|What's With Modi's Silence?|
|Silence is the virtue of fools, counselled Sir Francis Bacon. Throughout the long, silent era that was Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's time in office, one longed to hear the good Dr Singh speak extempore, for once without consulting his script and holding his audience's eye. It never happened.
If his long pauses were far from pregnant, when he did speak, or rather read dutifully and sonorously from what his speechwriters wrote for him, you could never accuse him of being excessively emotional, let alone suitably melodramatic even in most stressful of situations.
You could depend on the good Dr Singh to be always reassuringly restrained and stolid. A virtue obviously much prized and cherished by the Congress and its equally staid and unadventurous mother-and-son leadership.
|Kick Yourself Forward..!|
|When life gives you a kick, let it kick you forward!I remember an old friend of mine, Samuel. Sam had decided to sit for the radio officer's course many, many years ago. This course was followed by an exam conducted by the government, and after every exam we met at his home where he stayed with his mother:"What happened son?" asked the old lady as she greeted her son on his return.
"The stupid fellow behind me sneezed!" said Sam on one occasion.
"So?" I asked.
"I couldn't concentrate!" said Sam.
"Poor boy, he's got bad luck!" whispered his mother to me, shaking her head at the ceiling.
How easily we blame luck and circumstances for our failures!
In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway learned something about "bad luck" and getting kicked by life. He was struggling to make his mark as an auth...|