Thursday, December 27, 2012

On sporting ties

Each time the Board that Controls Cricket Cash in India talks of resuming sports ties with Pakistan and someone (used to be Bal Thackeray) says it is a bad idea, a chorus of noise emanates on how it is important to not mix sports with politics. A similar yardstick is mouthed by the 'ignorants' when it comes to music, cinema or some other such peacenik engagement.

Let us travel back in time to when South Africa was banned, not in one sport, but across sports - not by one country, but by the entire world for Apartheid. The wiki link on the same is very instructive.  And while at it, a related link on sports diplomacy is an entertaining read in itself. (see below)

Not only was the country banned, but sportspersons from other countries who maintained sporting contacts with SA were also banned - sometimes for life, by sporting associations across countries.

Before we move ahead - terrorist attacks are not about politics - they are about something more. Terror attacks are motivated by people who in turn are motivated by hatred - in this case of a country and its population and religion. They strive to kill in order to achieve their so called objective. Therefore, those who talk about mixing sports and politics are quite wrong. A better word to use would be to mix sports and terrorism.

But I digress. Pakistan has had a role in fomenting terrorism in India for over the last 60 years. Most of the bigger terrorist attacks in India have had a footprint originating in Pakistan. The last one and perhaps the most dastardly one yet, the 26/11 massacre in Mumbai had live instructions from Pakistan. The attack resulted in the death of more than a 183 innocent people including brave policemen and army officers. And Pakistan has been dragging its feet on it for over 3 years now while we send dossiers. And chasing this in Pakistan courts will be about as fruitful as locating Martians on Venus.

And for all those who say that cricketing ties are a great idea - please take a look at Imran Khan. Once a cricketer, he recently declared that he could declare jihad to wrest Kashmir. Imran, ironically is a product of Pakistans more liberal times which seem as real as the Yeti today. And all those peaceful, sporting encounters did not make Imran share any good words for India. Of course you may argue that many other cricketers are silent - but that is precisely my point. Why are his contemporaries not asking this ex-sportsman to shut up? Playing cricket with a nation that sponsors terrorism is useless. That Pakistan is in no hurry to take a liberal turn any time soon is all too evident from the events in that country. Is there any merit in engaging with an extremist nation?

And do not forget they also harbour, among other worthies, a certain Dawood Ibrahim - who is on a designated global terrorist and on a Red Corner notice from Interpol.

And by the way we are also issuing visas to 5000 odd visitors from that country. Guess which neighbouring spy agency will make the most of this event - as they have done many times before. Atleast 2000 of them are overstaying in Nagpur itself from previous visits - spreading peace in this country no doubt.

In balance, not only should India not have sporting ties with Pakistan - India also should influence the world to renounce their sporting and other artistic ties with a country that has its fingers in most terror attacks across the globe.

And by the way, various 'peaceful and just' Muslim countries that are extremely equitable and democratic refuse to have sporting ties with Israel. That list of countries includes the country that we are planning to play with cricket with. How is that for mixing sports with politics? Ever heard our liberals condemn that?

Related reads: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apartheid_in_South_Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_diplomacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporting_boycott_of_South_Africa_during_the_Apartheid_era
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan_and_state_sponsored_terrorism
http://news.oneindia.in/2012/08/21/over-2000-visiting-pak-nationals-overstaying-in-nagpur-1057070.html
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-11-07/india/34972041_1_interpol-notice-terror-attacks-rcns
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boycotts_of_Israel_in_sports
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Pakistan_relations#Sporting_ties

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thank you Gujaratis

So, all those intelligent Gujaratis actually went ahead and voted the same guy who was ruling them for 10 years back into power? No change wanted at all? And all those shouted anti-incumbency are hiding right now. (I think we need an anti-incumbency vote against news channels, btw).

You mean, Gujaratis actually dissed the dynasty that has the Right to Rule over India? I mean, they forgot that they could buy potatoes at 3 rupees a kilo (if not anything, that was a promise, no?). You mean, they actually ignored Sonia despite few' 'big' rallies where prepared scripts were read out? You mean they ignored the flights of fancy and voted for facts? They ignored the 'fake' promise of free houses?No wonder the seculars are hopping mad.

You mean, they actually voted for a party with a leader (that leader has developed Gujarat better than any other Indian state) over a party which had no leader? And that they voted for a chief minister who has delivered for 10 years works over a prince who has promised for 10 years?

They actually voted for 24 hour electricity and not for a bulb in every dalits house (yes, baba said this in UP, so I presume they will repeat this elsewhere)?

They actually voted for development for another 5 years? Arent they fed up of good roads? And electricity? And water? And all those industries in Gujarat that are providing employment? And those bus transit systems? And those clean riverfronts? And solar energy? And Muslims and Patels alike turned out to be wanting development? Not appeasement? Not secularism - the fake one, of course? Even Gujarats Muslims rejected the black hand? And those Patels? Caste groupings? Where did that go?

Why do Gujjus demand to be in the front all the time?

The rest of India is sinking and the time was actually ripe for a Garibi Hatao slogan to be built in time for 2014, complete with chasing monkey employment schemes, money for liquor cash transfer schemes, free food and free gadgets that wont work (because we forgot the electricity) and special targeted schemes for Congress voters.

And those smart ass journos and analysts thought that all those surging crowds at the polling booths were for driving out a performing government and getting in a non performing corrupt government? And what happened to all those people who Rahul waved to? All those hand waves did not translate into a wave?Or were they saying, bye?

Now what will all those policy think tankards write about? There were some who told us that corruption was in India (and presumably Italy’s) genes. And some who told us that India cannot ever develop. But these Gujarat voters are hell bent on proving them wrong.

Oh, well, they might claim Gujaratis descended from somewhere else and therefore it is only in the rest of Indias genes. Maybe, Gujarat split during a continental drift from America and joined us here.

Ok. Let us wait for another 5 years for mindless analysis about how Gujarat is just as bad as any Congress state…

(This is a follow up post to this one: Dear Gujaratis)
(Cross posted at FBJP too, I suppose)

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A note to Gujaratis

On the eve of elections in Gujarat, I write this brief note to Gujaratis.

Dear Gujaratis,

Gujarat has been ruled by one man for over 10 years now. I mean, this is too much. Other states have had multiple CM's, some have had multiple Dy  CM's - Gujarat has lost out on all of this. Think of all the swearing and swearing in and swearing out and other parties and fun and bus rides and kidnapping MLA's and what not, you have missed.

And what did Gujarat get? A day of fasting in each district? And this in the land of unlimited Gujarati thalis? Outrageous, I say.

Gujarat has very few electricity outages or load shedding - dont you miss out on all the fun? In most other states, there is some electricity between load shedding. You cannot see stars when there is so much electricity - all those inspirations are missed. There is an entire crop of students growing up in Gujarat without a life story to tell about studying under the streetlight. Also, electricity kills. Shocking is it not? In the interest of the state, rampant use of electricity ought to be curbed. They actually expect you to pay for electricity. First they supply you twenty four hours electricity - and then they expect you to pay for it. It is a scheme to bankrupt you, I say. And those generator and inverter companies - how will they make money if you have so much electricity that you sell it to other states? It kills entrepreneurs who were waiting to make inverters.

No free laptops, no free electricity, no election sops like grinders and TV's -   And the ruling party expects you to work and buy all of this? Why? Whyever? A large part of India is getting these just by flipping the remote on free TV's, digging and filling ditches and running after monkeys. Infact, many of them will get free cash for their votes. Imagine that. Ah, well, what will you do with free cash when there is prohibition anyway. Learn from them, Gujaratis. Why work, when laziness can get you so much?


Gujarat has been having rather high growth rates over the past few years. That will cause vertigo - this dizzying rate of growth. Whats the big idea? To get off and join China? And besides, it is not good for health at all. And with unlimited Gujarati thalis, vertigo is a bad combination. Get off that speeding rocket, Gujaratis, get into the rest of Indias slow train to Garibi Badhao.

There is no corruption in Gujarat. No speed money, no wink and nudge for projects, no bribes. How pathetic. None of Gujarats ministers have reported multifold increase in assets. Look at the rest of the country. A former PM has a petrol bunk in my city. Cousins and little ones of politicians are making millions selling shares of shell companies. Some of their children own television channels and cosy monopolies for government supplies. What are you getting? Nothing. Why will your children enter politics? And imagine, you cannot create a dynastic party at all. And if you cannot create free careers for dynasties that are no good, what is the whole point of entering politics?

No elephant statues, no Rajiv Gandhi schemes, no strikes, no fiscal deficit - I mean, what do you watch on TV's each day? All you got was masks last year - and this year? Just Modi in 3D? It is all Maya, I say.


 And industries are coming to Gujarat. Hello? Does that mean you wont get a chance to search for jobs across the country? Why? There are so many opportunities in other parts of India. And the world. You should get everything at home eh? There are so many stories of people who left their homes and found wealth, prosperity and happiness elsewhere. You are missing out on all that, I tell you.

Sigh. The rest of the country is having much fun seeing the corrupt rule the country and states. We get to debate figures on corruption - on whether it is a few crores or a few hundred crores. There are entire TV channels defending the corrupt. There are riots happening in many states, but all that is not news, because of secularism, you see. There are allies of the government who are held at gun point. The country is now a place where with each stone you unturn, there is a new scam. We are debating when that reluctant no good prince will rule us. The rest of the country is surely having a very exciting life.

Yes, you have roads. You have electricity. You have peace of mind. You have girls going to school. You have industries flocking to your state. You have jobs. You have an ambulance service that actually works. Hell, you have an entire government and bureaucracy that actually works for you.

And yet the media is busy pulling wool over our eyes that it is your government that is not doing anything and that we are ruled by an honest head of government under whose watch runs perhaps the most corrupt government ever...

Sigh...

India, England a story on strategy

So, India lost a test series at home to England. This may not sound like a big deal, but this is a perfect story of how companies lose marketshare.

India thinks it is the big daddy of spin. It invites teams to play on its flat, breaking tracks and gets its spinners to do the job. And generally that works. It also helped that it had an amazing spinner in its ranks until recently. The new spinners are good, but they will take time and persistence for them to become great. But that is not the strategic part. The strategic part is that in the meantime, the other countries have figured out spin while India has not necessarily figured out pace. Or built other spinners are the same pace that they have been planning for the retirement of the veterans.

Cricketers and commentators and analysts have been crying for years that we need grassy fast tracks and grassy outfields where junior prospective bowlers and fielders learn the ropes so that many years later when they are in the big league, India has learnt a few tricks of its own to play pace. But that has not happened - and hence our bowlers and fielders are not getting to the levels that other countries are getting to. Nor are we investing in talent that allows us to seamlessly replace 'A' players.

So, slowly, India lost its advantage, perhaps due to complacency or blind spots or a combination of all of them. And the IPL which is a great way to blood new players has slowly steeped into mediocrity. Nothing is lost yet - something can always be done. But right now, this is where we are.

Very similar to companies. While working on one thing, they are so sure that they want to keep doing something that are good at, that they miss that either the market is changing or the consumer preferences are changing. And they miss the bus and slowly slip into oblivion. And begin to believe in their own greatness and lose to an upstart who does something totally different.

Markets change. Conditions change. That is a reality. The question is, how are you readying for it? Reactively (5 year plan for getting to somewhere 5 years later, which is where the market is now) or Proactively (actively experimenting with new approaches and trying to 'setup' the future)...