Sunday, November 16, 2008

NRI Minister goes mad, bans women traveling alone on Visiting Visa

വയലാര്‍ രവിക്ക്‌ വട്ടായി എന്ന് വേണം കരുതാന്‍.

Vayalar Ravi, our dear union minister for NRI affairs, says at a function in Sharjah yesterday that Indian Government will make sure visiting visa will not be issued to women who travel alone abroad.

I saw this statement in Asianet new channel yesterday.

P V Abdul Wahab MP was among the audience at that time, and he almost got into a fight with Hon'ble minister on this issue.

I don't know what drives Ravi to make such a statement, or whether this was decided at a higher level. Whatever it is, I think it is a huge leap backwards in time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama, The Next President

Thank you very, very much. Well, this isn't exactly the party I'd planned, but I sure like the company.


The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish the goals for which we stand is to take our energy, our passion, our strength, and do all we can to help elect Barack Obama, the next president of the United States.


* * *

We all want an America defined by deep and meaningful equality, from civil rights to labor rights, from women's rights to gay rights...


... from ending discrimination to promoting unionization, to providing help for the most important job there is: caring for our families.

And we all want to restore America's standing in the world, to end the war in Iraq, and once again lead by the power of our values...


... and to join with our allies to confront our shared challenges, from poverty and genocide to terrorism and global warming.

* * *

This election is a turning-point election. And it is critical that we all understand what our choice really is. Will we go forward together, or will we stall and slip backwards?

Now, think how much progress we've already made. When we first started, people everywhere asked the same questions. Could a woman really serve as commander-in-chief? Well, I think we answered that one.


Could an African-American really be our president? And Senator Obama has answered that one.


.. from Hillary Clinton's speech on June 7, 2008 suspending her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why Raj Thakre is the winner

Nobody knew this nephew Thakre (ok English media writes Thackeray) till a few months back. Now any "small kid" does, and how! One should admit this guy has succeeded in grabbing the spotlight. Cutting across classes and cultures -- educated middle class to the Bihari labourers -- he has become an object of despise. In our "national media" and in our private parties alike, we dismiss it as "cheap tricks".

Because we really don't want to admit this war is real.

That this person has managed to gather good support among many "aam" Maharashtrians.

It is not rocket science. It is not Raj's intellectual property either. It is the basis on which Shiv Sena built itself. That is how SS got unprecedented kind of mass support in the seventies. Rooting for locals when it comes to jobs in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai. (The Hindutva came much later to Shiv Sena).

The jobless Maharashtrians is a real issue. As is lack of jobs in Bihar or UP. In other words, the imbalance in our very development model itself.

One may say "India is my nation" and be proud about it (Shiv Sainiks also do, and so do Maharashtra Navnirman Sainiks) but it remains a fact that Bombay is "the place to go" for most Indians. Then there is at most one Delhi, one Chennai, one Bangalore. And may be some smaller cities. A large part of India lives in darkness, without basic healthcare, without access to primary education, without anything.

No matter how much you try to romanticize the "village life" sitting in the air conditioned comfort of your city abodes, people are flowing from these villages to cities. And these cities are overcrowded, to say the least.

The living conditions in a slum in Mumbai are quite bad, but that does not put any breaks on the inflow. Which essentially means that the situation at home is worse.

And as long as we refuse to address that, as long as we do not wake up to the need for a more distributed and more localized development, as long as we are blinded by the "growth rates" and flying sensex (at least that has stopped for now), we are digging our own graves. The regional battles are here to stay.

* * * *

[a related link: Marathis in US justify Raj demands; but condone his means to achieve it, from NDTV dot com]