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Tehelka has a Tehelka-esque piece (or one could say : Tehelka has a piece) on the underbelly of IPL (which makes me want to take a jab at Yuvraj Singh and his belly, but I’ll pass).
I don’t know how much of it is true, but it is cryptic — so it makes for an entertaining read.
So what made Lalit Modi suddenly twitter innocuously last weekend about Sunanda Pushkar and how Tharoor had allegedly asked him not to inquire into who she was — the kindle that lit the fire stack? It’s common knowledge that Modi and Tharoor are friends, so why this sudden and ugly fall out? (Friends of Tharoor say that Modi is misusing a bantering remark the minister had made to him over a drink. Tharoor is, indeed, set to marry Pushkar but is waiting for a divorce from his Canadian wife Christa Giles to come through and, therefore, has been loath to make his relationship public. This is why when Modi asked him in a nudge-nudge sort of way, “So, who is Sunanda Pushkar?” Tharoor had laughingly evaded the question saying, ‘Don’t ask me that as yet.’ So what made Modi turn that into something sinister?)
I don’t care much about the Tharoor-Modi-IPL-BCCI issue. What we will see is just the tip, and beyond some token sacrificial lamb, there won’t be much to it — to what we get to see, I mean. The backstage drama is movie material, no doubt.
If you want a good view of the issue, chuck all news sources. Most don’t seem to know what they’re talking about. Instead, I’ll recommend Prem Panicker’s fabulous blog Smoke Signals. Do read through.
On the other hand, if you just want to be entertained, Arnab Goswami is always around. I get a feeling that someday the guy is going to snap. He’ll probably pull a Travis Bickle and assassinate all the wrong-doers. Until then, he is ours.
I feel sorry too, that we have lost a minister who was more transparent than Mandakini. But that being said, I wouldn’t defend him or his role in the IPL saga without having even a quantum of information (take that, Dee-quack Chopra). I am amused by the online petitions and Facebook groups. Most individuals seem to have self-selected themselves as supporters because the guy is well-educated and uses Twitter.
Cybermedia has a story on the reaction of netizens to his sacking. (I don’t know what Cybermedia is, but bear with me for a moment.) One supporter who is very angry with the way things have turned out, says :
Mr. Tharoor….. We fall to rise…. And if falling makes you rise higher, I pray that you fall more often.
I mean, WTF ?
But to make up for it, the piece also says :
Interestingly, @flyyoufools has a different take on the issue. “Now that Tharoor is gone, all those news agency employees hired to keep a watch on Twitter will be fired.”
(Cybermedia link via Saad Akhtar.)
I know it is pointless to nitpick with tabloids, but Mumbai Mirror has comfortably crossed the line.
While everyone and their pets were busy following the Lalit Modi/Shashi Tharoor fight, little was known about Sunanda Pushkar, the marketing professional from Dubai who Tharoor is alleged to be seeing. Mumbai Mirror dug up Pushkar’s visit to Mumbai for a nose job, and managed to procure photos of the surgery. These snaps should ideally have been off-limits under doctor-patient confidentiality. The piece in Mumbai Mirror was in bad taste, no doubt, but the doctor deserves equal blame for making the snaps public.
I don’t know how serious doctor-patient confidentiality is in India — but regardless, does she decide to sue the tabloid, her complaint has legal merit.
P.S. : I haven’t hyper-linked as always. The post would seem silly if I shared the link too.
I loved this line in a piece on the Shashi Tharoor-Lalit Modi :
At the end of the day this is not about any individual but about the nexus of sports, business, and politics. Lalit Modi has raised questions; like it or not, answers must be forthcoming.
That’s like saying Lalu Prasad Yadav brought the plight of cattle into limelight. No ?
May I also add that anyone who has issues with the nexus between sports (read cricket), business and politics shouldn’t be watching cricket. And unless you’re a newborn, don’t act surprised when you discover it.
Note the tone in these pieces of news that came in the days following the outrage over Shashi Tharoor’s “cattle class” and “holy cow” comments.
Even after creating a controversy by his ‘cattle class’ remark on Twitter, Union minister Shashi Tharoor has now complained about his workload while tweeting about ‘ridiculously full’ engagements.
Continuing to ‘tweet’ his opinion despite receiving flak, minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor now feels people should work rather than enjoy a holiday on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday.
Isn’t it evident that the media is trying to stir up a controversy ?
Too bad for them, nothing has happened yet. More power to Tharoor though.
First the Congress was busy being austere, then they spent some time scoring self-goals over Tharoor’s tweet, their newest obsession, equally WTF but a lot more hilarious, is .. take a guess.
Meanwhile, inspired by Rahul Gandhi, Congress leaders took to the countryside to spend the night at the homes of Dalits.
Now one might expect that this wouldn’t affect the Dalits in any significant way, since they’d be carrying all their supplies and just making a token gesture by staying over, but there’s more to the hilarity :
Joshi told reporters that party leaders had been told not to carry packed food and mineral water or make any special arrangements for their stay in Dalit villages.
So let me get this right. You are staying over at the homes of poor people, and getting your food cooked by them using their supplies ?
Evidently, the Congress isn’t just with the aam aadmi, it is with them in their homes.
If you want to see a politician make a complete fool of himself, look no further than Tom Vadakkan in this debate over Shashi Tharoor’s tweet. In the debate is also Jug Suraiya, Amit Varma and resident judge Arnab Goswami : Link
When asked about why the whole issue over a tweet from his own partyman, Tom Vadakkan says and I (try to) quote :
.. and let me tell you something. I did a little research after you phoned me to find out what is the basic cause of this tweet business and some of the survey reports that I received, was Tweet is a very lonely man and he needs counseling. And I’m sure, you may make light of it, the fact of the matter is, Jug Suraiya may make a cartoon out of it, you may defend it, it’s not that we’ve lost a sense of humour, but let’s face it today. He is a lonely man, it is basically addictive. He [Tharoor] said things which hurts people, and that’s the line we’ve taken.
I kid you not. I absolutely cannot make such stuff up.
Looks like Jug Suraiya doesn’t need to make a cartoon after all.
If only someone can cut his gem of a comment and get it on youtube, I bet it’d be a viral video within no time.
Nitin at The Indian National Interest writes a piece about the irony and joke that is the austerity drive by the government.
Mr Mukherjee’s hypocrisy lies in using taxpayer funds to convey an impression of ‘austerity’ because some parts of India are suffering from a drought. Even this faux austerity is unwarranted and useless even from a symbolic perspective—just like the insistence on wearing khadi. Surely, someone should point out the irony of scale and scope: the UPA government caused immense damage to public finances through gargantuan spending programmes since it first came to power in 2004 and now calls for MPs to give up 20% of their salaries as an austerity measure.
As for the brouhaha over Tharoor and S.M. Krishna staying at 5-star hotels :
[... the question that ought to be asked of Mr Mukherjee and his economist boss is whether the government of India is paying fair market prices for the bungalows and bhavans it occupies in New Delhi? It doesn’t matter that the government actually owns the real-estate—there is an opportunity cost. Can’t all the parliamentarians and high government officials be moved into high-rise complexes somewhere in New Delhi, and their Lutyens’ bungalows be rented out? There are a number of government offices—engineers, commissioners, registrars and post offices—that could be moved out of the most expensive areas into less expensive ones.]
For a government that’s been pouring in thousands of crores in leaky bucket schemes, populist austerity doesn’t really make any sense.Plus the government is really shooting itself in the foot with questions being raised about every small spending from the government. Good luck dealing with that.
Which reminds me, why does Robert Vadra have Z-security ?
Getting my point ?
If austerity needs to be practised, it should really start with the size of the government.
The only positive in this saga is that we have a new word in our vocabulary.
India needs educated and the non-stereotypical politician, but more than that, it needs politicians who rethink the whole idea of politics. Shashi Tharoor sets a fine example of the latter :
After conducting a high-profile campaign in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, former UN diplomat and Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor is back on the streets again, this time to give the Kerala capital a clean look by removing his election posters off the city’s walls.
Quite heartening to read.
Close on the heels of a previous post on the national flag, I came across this :
Congress Lok Sabha candidate from Thiruvananthapuram and former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor faced legal trouble as a court in Kochi on Monday, found prima facie evidence against him for making a ‘grossly inappropriate gesture’ in a case accusing him of insulting national anthem.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Cherian K Kuriakose said there is prima facie ground to proceed against Tharoor on a complaint, alleging that he had committed offences under Section 3 of Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1977, which prohibits desecration or insult to the national anthem.
Now when you read these first lines, you conjure up images of Shashi Tharoor showing the finger to the national flag, or burning it and dancing around it naked in the moonlight or still worse being caught in a compromising position with the national flag. Therein lies the greatness of our flag and its accompanying laws; the actual reason being :
The judge, in his order, said Tharoor’s reported request to follow the US style of placing the right palm over the heart was prima facie in defiance to the above imperative official instructions imparted to the nation, which should be taken as a ‘grossly inappropriate gesture’ on the part of the accused.
I shall refrain from any debate on the correctness of following US practices; that is for the Senas and the Reddy’s. The point being how blatantly we equate respect to laws. As you might recall, after close to 50 years of independence, a PIL finally gave us the right to host the national flag in our houses (assuming you follow the billion rules). It is easier to be on the right side of the law if you understand why the wrong side is so. Most laws should make sense and not prompt you to go “Why ?”. Strangely, almost all laws pertaining to the national flag belong to the latter category. So all we can do is sit down with a book and follow the rules; else get ready to be held by the long hand of the law (although very much intended, no double meaning please).
I am not endorsing what Tharoor has done (I don’t want this blog shut down .. for now). He has, of course, done something illegal here, but that is just because of what we defined as legal.
Now after watching umpteen Alok Nath movies, I can almost visualize him construing this to be the love that our flag has for us, “Akhir apnon se hi to roothte hain” followed by a “Beta yeh tumne aisa kyun kiya ?” to Tharoor accompanied by his quintessential eyebrow and tears that make you never want to be in his bad books for fear of having to bear his emotional atyachaar [emotional torture].
P.S. : Some more trivia to add, guess who was a part of the first pair to kiss on Indian television ? Alok Nath. I am sure a monologue would have followed where he stands ashamed in front of a mirror and goes “Beta, yeh tumne aisa kyun kiya ?”.