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After a hiatus, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi returns to claim back the title of Dude of the Week. Readers with a keen eye for detail and no other work whatsoever must have realised by now this is the same guy who claimed the prevention of rape in the country’s capital was almost impossible because there were too many beautiful women.

This time around his statement was directed at the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy :

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, has advised traumatised earthquake survivors to view living in emergency tent accommodation as like being on a “camping weekend”.

Closer home near Mumbai, a certain individual by the name of R.R. Patil was heard exclaiming “Bhaiyya !!” (not to be confused with the Raj Thackeray vareity variety ..  <- consequences of not proof-reading) .

is newly elected Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Omar Abdullah for taking inspiration from a certain Thackeray and quoting :

“There are 800 militants active in the state of which 30% are locals. The foreign militants should return to their respective countries”. He has turned up the heat on “70% foreign militants” in the state in his bid to restore “complete normalcy” in the state.

Next up, reservations for OBC/SC/STs among militants, not to forget the 33% quota for women.

If you have AVG antivirus and/or Zone Alarm installed, get rid of them.

They are pure evil.

I spent the last 18 hours recovering from a crash and figuring out the problem which I would have rather spent very happily watching Himesh Reshammiya act (Karzzzzz review here), hearing Mamta Banerjee sing (Video link @ 3.30), making fraandship with Amar Singh, reading Amitabh Bachchan’s blog, washing Pramod Muthalik’s chaddi, debating with people about MNS, spending Valentine’s day with Barkha Dutt and proving to Pakistan that 2 plus 2 equals 4 with credible evidence.

You get the idea.

Kindly go uninstall them.

Do we prefer terrorism to be associated only with cross-border actions as it gives us the comfort of identifying an enemy ?

Is an Islamist (as some of them have been branded) the only face of terror or could it be someone we support too ?

What exactly is even the definition of terrorism ?

Amit Varma makes you think about the above questions and a few more in a piece that chronicles the recent incidents by powers of Sri Rama Sena, Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena :

On the other hand, let’s look at the definition of terrorism according to Merriam-Webster: “The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”

Is this not “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”? And in all these cases, some of the accused might get arrested, but are released in no time and are back in business. As I’d once written, mobs in India have the license to do as they please if they do it under the banner of politics or religion. If you and I go and vandalize a hotel lobby or beat up women in a lounge bar, you can bet we’ll be thrown into jail, and rightfully so. But if we do it under the pretext of defending our culture or our religion, then anything goes. The rule of law, in such situations, is a joke.

Thinking is mandatory, commenting is not.

This would have been extremely funny if it weren’t for the underlying issues it touches:

 A TOWNSVILLE man has been sacked for `un-Australian’ toilet habits.

Amador Bernabe, 43, uses water to clean himself instead of toilet paper. Mr Bernabe, a machine operator on a working visa from the Philippines, said it was his culture. But on Thursday he got the shock of his life when his foreman followed him into the toilet questioning his toilet hygiene. Mr Bernabe said his employer Townsville Engineering Industries (TEI) sacked him yesterday for not going to the toilet the Australian way.

Of course, most activists are all over the employer. This was no doubt a condemnable episode but it brings us to the important issue of property rights of an individual. We all have the right to own property but it is meaningless without having rights to your property. Case in point a recent incident where activists of MNS wrote (or threatened or whatever) to the owner of Karachi sweets because the name hurt their sentiments (or whatever). This is nowhere near a debate about the ideologies of the MNS (which is normally an indefinite debate with no outcome), but an obvious fact which was strangely overlooked by almost everyone who readily commented on the post. If he owns a property, he has every right to do anything with it as long as he does not infringe upon any fundamental right of another individual. 

Link via Veda.

The MNS chief would be a happy man today.

Mumbai defeats UP in the Ranji trophy finals.

MNS manages to drive out all Pakistani terrorists out of Mumbai. No ..  wait. Just the comedians ?? Yeah but still.

MNS forces all shopkeepers to take books by Pakistani authors off the shelf. Now if only I could name one book by a Pakistani author.

But just when I thought that everyone will truly fear the MNS now, this snap comes around (edit : since this was causing confusion, focus on the pink turban in the snap and not the traditional costume. Not just turban, ‘pink’ turban).

Rajdeep Sardesai writes in an open letter to Raj Thackeray pretty much what it is on everybody’s mind. Hope we get an answer :

When you started your party a few years ago, it had been pitched as a party committed to a “modern” Maharashtra. If that vision still stands, why don’t you take it forward in real terms? Why don’t you, for example, set up vocational courses and technical institutes for young Maharashtrians to make them competitive in the job market? Why not, for that matter, start English-speaking classes for Maharashtrian students to equip them for the demands of the new economy? If cultural identity is such a concern, why not launch a statewide campaign to promote Marathi art, theatre and cinema by financially supporting such ventures? If Mumbai’s collapsing infrastructure worries you, then target the politician-builder nexus first. And isn’t it also time we realized that Mumbai is not Maharashtra, that the long suffering Vidarbha and Marathwada farmer needs urgent attention? Why not use your political and financial muscle to start projects in rural Maharashtra instead of focusing your energies on Mumbai’s bright lights alone? An employment generation scheme in a Jalna or a Gadchiroli may not make the front pages, but it will have far greater value for securing Maharashtra’s future.

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!

Methinks the answer is obvious : Because .. it is tougher.

Neither.

I am hoping everyone would have heard about Rahul Raj (and no, he is not Shahrukh Khan’s alter ego).

A youth from Bihar comes in to Mumbai at dawn, holds a bus at ransom in the morning and by noon is history, leaving behing a tale of politics and continued hatred, the end of which is nowhere in sight.

Sadly, almost no one has reacted as a responsible citizen.

The police are yet to disclose details of the incident, which could well be a deciding factor in the argument. Either way, if a passenger’s life was threatened, I would go with the Mumbai police here. They were not netting a butterfly here. This was an armed person they were dealing with.

Maharashtra Home Minister R.R.Patil made the famous ‘bullet for a bullet’ quote. And this, when he was in Sangli with hardly any details about the incident. Wonder why he did not apply his same logic all this time while the MNS was happily rampaging the streets of Mumbai.

Politicians from Bihar, weirdly united and most of whom are hailing Rahul Raj as a martyr, with even lesser details about the incident. Lalu Prasad Yadav calls it a murder and not an encounter, just because the police were not injured.

Mr Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister of India. It would be fair to say that a cute little kitten might scare me more than his words.

Lastly some people of Mumbai, who incidentally, also happen to be citizens of India. Very possibly as an indirect consequence to the recent incidents, a youth from UP was lynched in a train in Mumbai.

Whatever your opnion might be, I think across the board we can atleast agree that the recent incidents have brought out the worst in everyone.

And that terrorists are not born, we make them.

A few lines from yesterday’s post read :

But a smart move to be in the news, considering the media is a sucker for anything related to Raj; including what he ate for dinner last night – chappati, vegetables, fruits and a cup of tea. I am rather disappointed that TOI did not report whether his digestive system processed the food well.

Today Swapnil P writes in about this article : Link

Thackeray chose to remain constipated all day rather than use the Indian loo.

and the joke’s on me now ! Never underestimate the media, especially Mumbai Mirror.

P.S. : I am sure there are still farmers committing suicide, Dalits being massacared and Christians being killed somewhere. What more, they don’t even have access to a loo !

Amidst all the violence, politics and nonsense that generally clutters the life of an average Indian, this is a moment we all need to be proud of. The launch of Chandrayaan-1, which by definition proves that there are more to follow !

Firstly, about the name; I have heard many variations (which includes one friend referring to it as Chandranarayan) but the right pronunciation is चंद्रयान-1 (Courtesy : Wikipedia).

So we are back to the good old times. Back to kids saying they wanted to become an astronaut; technically weird, since this was an unmanned mission (or maybe being a pilot didn’t seem too attractive courtesy Jet Airways).

Among its other minor achievements are a mention by Barack Obama, a discussion in the Ubuntu Forums (where people are learning about India) and of course, a mention in the Stanford Daily here (information by Raghu).

Chandrayaan-1 had a textbook launch (which lead to one wise person at RDB wonder if there was a textbook inside) but there are serious concerns that it might run into some trouble in space very soon :

Image via email from Tushar B.

But to be honest, I am doubly excited about our forthcoming manned mission to the moon, with the hope that we get to vote whom to pack off.

Yes and to follow the rich tradition of our mostly otherwise media, you can send in your wishes to the ISRO team who made all the Indians proud, by writing in the comments section below !! Let’s write to them and boost their morale !

P.S. : You can also send in your good wishes/messages in case your neighbour’s dog gave birth to a litter, your manager was caught cheating on his wife, India’s victory over Australia in the 2001 Kolkata test and any random occasion. Just like our news channels, I will make sure the concerned party reads it, even if it is a dog.

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