Sunday, April 30, 2006

Agriculture

As an agrarian country we have always bestowed some kind of ‘wretched people’ status on our farmers. Poets and writers from all parts of the country never cease to chant their miseries. This has been the case for ages. As a nation we have always believed that challenges and hurdles confronting the farmers are of some mystical origin and have no reasoning and logic associated with them. We are forced to believe that their problems would be resolved only after some divine intervention. Do you remember innumerable images of farmers who keep looking at those blue sky with sun beating down them expecting that some person sitting up their may suddenly turn the blue backdrop into pitch black canvas. Are we fools?????

I think the real problem lies in we as a nation, which never wants to be proactive. It’s always been the reaction to a problem when it starts to cripple you and that too a nonchalant one. We can think of scores of example with our Independent Movement being a prominent and disappointing example.

For ages farmers have relied on monsoon showers on irrigation. This is like entrusting some important work to the most inconsistent player of the team. It took us ages to realize that there are scientific and hence, and definitely, more efficient ways of preserving water. And greatness of Dr. Swaminathan lies in the same domain. Besides hybrid seeds it was he who realized that these seeds require constant supply of water for nourishment. Why can’t we have proper ways of irrigation? The bureaucrats in the ‘Blocks’ in the Capital will never make ‘The National Water Grid’ to take place.

I have also heard that the current Five Year Plan is supposed to grant crores of rupees to any kind of project related to Agriculture. Why can’t all the Biochemists and University churning them in big numbers take a center stage? Why can’t our own Agriculture College in Pune take this responsibility? Try to attract bight students in this venture and don’t allow all the money to nourish the ever-undernourished pockets of the bureaucrats.

The western countries have flourished in Agro and Dairy industry only and I repeat only because they treated it as a business, which was backed with a diligent and vigilant scientific research. Monsanto – The Hybrid Seed Giant even roped in the support of James Watson.

And as Geoffrey Boycott would say “We behave as if we just don’t know the basics of the game”

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A(LIVE) Experience

I have been known to miss several of the most important matches. SA – AUS humdinger being the recent addition to “the sundry club of elite objects”. Every other sports channel claimed it to be the “ Greatest match ever played”. Although the battle was no doubt intriguing, to put it lamely, but u can certainly claim the statement a tad euphoric. I was cursed to delirium when I missed the UEFA Champions League final last year. But I can’t possibly remain awake past 10 o’clock if I have nothing to do. Booze and fag (I mean ‘White Owl’) would certainly help the cause, but, I can’t possibly have it every other day.

What is really most fascinating about missing an imp match i.e. LIVE telecast is that it helps to watch all the post match highlights devoid of all the tension. Every evil soul who takes this devil’s pleasure in disclosing the result to u has already had his sweaty palms and what not just for u. As u already know the result u can now conveniently concentrate on the game in general and finer points in particular. U can concentrate ur mind at all the silly and stupid questions like- did the batsman score in the V? Was the bunch of shots an eclectic mix? At what rate did the score accelerate? and other load of crap……….

Some of the things that u can’t possibly do while watching the LIVE match can be conveniently dealt with during the highlights. U don’t need to starve, out of fear that if u leave the seat to munch something, something untoward may happen. Other dreadful thing that happens is that u start to get stomach cramps because u can’t possibly dare to piss or attend a “big job” because last match u did that India lost by a mammoth margin. Highlights help u to attend every other stomach call with equanimity.
Highlights even help u conveniently dodge all the crap ‘adds’ that seem to surface at the end of each over.

But in spite of all this u can’t get something in ‘highlights’ that u get at the end of Live match --- ‘THE GOOSEBUMPS’.
When I think of all the magic moments I missed out during LIVE telecast ---- I feel lucky when I recollect the magical innings Sachin played in “The Arab Desert”, The Natwest Final, Every India- Pakistan duel. These matches have remained special. Guess why???
I WATCHED THEM LIVE .

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Assembly Of World
Part II

Over past few years there has been an incessant talk about Globalisation. Every other summit or conference ends with an oath of striving to bring nation partnership in every other venture. Globalisation has been conventionally defined as a binding and particularly a bonding process vertically as well as horizontally among nations. Actually it aims at an age-old Vedic philosophy – ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

Surprisingly enough this philosophy has been followed over annals of humankind. Not in the liberal fashion we intend to do in these days. Ruling countries have always helped the ruled ones to express themselves as an independent, although, it happened over a period of time. British monarchy, and eventually The Parliament ruled nearly half of Africa, South-east Asia and parts of Latin America. Spain, Portugal, France and Dutch too had their share of landmass. These countries plundered their colonies for the development of their mother country. However, invariably these countries instilled a spirit of freedom & nationhood in youths of the destitute nation. Africa has been a surprising exception. To explain the point lets take for example, India. England built better means of transport, communication and education. In a way it encouraged Indian youth too take advantage of these excellent options. Though it would be foolish to say, that people in India did not yearn for freedom and had neither the will nor courage to fight for the freedom, it would be apt to note that English education filled them with the spirit of camaraderie and nationhood. All the great leaders of freedom struggle, Tilak, Bose, Nowroji, Gokhale were all product of English Education. It is well known fact that education liberates mind first and then helps to liberate nation then. Similar thing happened to America.

Although these ruling countries change the conventional fabric of the ruled society, but unknowingly, it lends tools to them to develop a better one. Britain helped America to develop a more vibrant and liberal (may be to an extreme sense) society and economy.
Critics would say that nothing of that sort is happening in India. It’s too early to start judging India. Post 90 liberalisation there has been a sanguine approach to every facet of society. As Gurucharan Das says in his book – ‘The Elephant Paradigm’, India may not be an Asian tiger but an elephant slowly awaking from slumber, but at least it won’t run out of steam like a tiger. Ultimately countries are mere collective representation of its people. Before 1980 Indians went for better opportunities to UK. These days, it is US. Indians fed on US education will one day return to mother country and then we can hope for better future. Although we seem to be demotivated these days, there are positive things to look forward.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Assembly of the World: Part I

In one of the NTS tuitions that I took, our history teacher once explained that war as a mere outcome of economic inequality. Although, prima facie they seem to be on religious or political grounds, but, once u dig dipper its nothing but vested economic interest. Wars fought at the time of colonial and medieval era were obviously due to expansionist fervour getting to the European countries. Both WWI was fought for control of Baltic and Mediterranean region and WWII was all about fertile Rhine and Danube basins. It was a decisive attempt by the countries to consolidate their stranglehold over the entire world and hopefully polarise power and world economy in their favour in particular. Of course it had its tussle over economic methodologies viz: capitalism and socialism. But they are merely machines with different algorithms churn the same product – MONEY. In more recent times Two Gulf wars have been outcome of nothing but US’ greed to acquire world’s most prized commodity, what is popularly known as black gold – OIL.

From the time man settled down as a social animal he has had this insatiable greed of acquiring wealth in any kind. It’s the way of life. It has conventionally been the triumph of life. Every human being, barring few, who have the time and leisure of thinking about life in a metaphysical way, would think on same lines. As men with equal strengths and aptitude started living together they began to exploit the conditions around them in such a way that it created a wild race to overcome each other. Of course there was physical strength as one of the prime indicator but they settled for wealth as the gauge. Study of acquisition, growth and conservation of wealth was then called ‘Economics’. Wars were fought not because people were afraid or insecure about living together; but they feared their prized luxury, their pride of owning as much as there is to, would slip out of their hand.

Philosophers and preachers have failed to grasp the dynamics of world polity in general. Some of them would say that religious enhancement and overall cultural growth, have always been the issue, that dictates public and hence nation boundaries. I personally believe that, Culture and hence Civilisations prospered at the time of an overall peaceful and calm environs. It happened when people had sufficient means to make themselves comfortable in both physical and mental way. Renaissance and reformation, though major upheavals in their own right, kicked off when European society had solitude of its own. However, these movements marked the beginning of total discontent for the establishment in the minds of general public. This is just another facet of social dynamics. A period of equanimity and peace gives way to struggle, as society feels the need for more comfortable environs, which will further its need for intellectual development in general. This is when Wars or general overhaul announces its arrival.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Beauty of the Game

What I just witnessed few minutes ago was the most scintillating test match. After missing out on the final of UEFA Champions League, I would have kicked my arse if I had missed out on this bloody humdinger. What came to fore is that any game in its pristine form can never lose its significance.

There have been talks that few years down the road, test cricket would lose its audience and would be summarily replaced by shorter versions of game. But this is an example of poor reading and understanding, on the part of these critics and so called ‘torch-bearers’ of the game, about the essence of the game. Cricket has always thrived well in the environs of its longer version. The 5-day version brings in the very qualities of the great exponent of the game is made of. These are patience, perseverance and discipline; an information only for a novice.

Coming back to the match I was talking about, I never thought England would get so close. I have never thought England was good at anything other than civil administration. Although it is the cradle of almost 3/4th of the games played at international level it has never been force to reckon with. For instance it has yet win Cricket WC. It has won Football WC only once. We are yet to see a British champion at the most coveted tennis tournament for past many years. (I can’t remember when they won it last). And finally about The Ashes, they have lost it 8 times in a row. The victory (finally) in an Ashes test was just what Doctor ordered for this talented bunch of British lads. I can’t say that Mike Vaughan has led from the front because he has faltered with his ‘piece of wood’ in most of the tests at the start of this season but he has certainly emerged as an astute leader. He has rejuvenated English cricket, which was in shambles a couple of years ago.

The match kicked off for Aussies on a shaky note. Its bowling spearhead and the person, who turned the first match on its head for the visitors, twisted his ankle on the eve of the test match. English batsmen grabbed the opportunity with both hands. With their openers not letting them down for a change Brits quickly went on pile 407 runs at the close of their innings on the very first day in 79.2 overs. These kind of scores have been pretty common in test format these days with heavy influence of ODIs on the batsmen’s psyche. England could have managed to pile a score in excess of 700 runs, which could have sealed the game in favour of host team but for a dour bowling performance from ‘Warney’ and pretty hasty batting by England.

Aussies started their innings with a bit nervousness and uncertainty. English speedsters were soon rewarded with scalps at regular intervals while the visitors’ innings folded at 308. English had a healthy lead of 99 runs but they would never dare to be complacent on the fast deteriorating Edgbaston wicket. Their fears were soon justified with the wily leggie beginning to weave his magic. In the very last over of the match Warne came up with a delivery that spun sharply from the rough created at the edge of the pitch. Strauss was dumb-founded to see his middle and leg stump rooted out of the ground by bowl pitching safely out of his off-stump. Warney had done the same thing in his first ever Ashes match way back in 1993.He foxed Mike Gatting with a bowl that went on to become ‘finest ball of the century’. The aforesaid delivery will need some getting to be surpassed as the ‘finest ball of this century’. However, with the last pair adding 51 runs for the last wicket, England trundled to 181. Freddie Flintoff once again showed his mettle. This is a guy I admire most for his competive. But I thing he should channelise his energies on his job rather than his theatrics on the field. But all said done he is man who wears heart on his sleeve. The last wicket stand proved decisive for England. It could have so easily been the case for Australia.

282 was always going to be a stiff target to chase. Going with averages match was already in England’s kitty. But no one could dare to rule out the possibility of a successful chase of the highest 4th innings total at the Birmingham ground with this Aussie side. But Aussies went from bad to worse to worst as the day progressed. At the end 3rd day’s play Aussies were tittering on the brink of test defeat. The scoreboard stood at 175/8. Harmison closed the day with beautifully disguised slower ball that left Clarke’s off-stump uprooted. At the close of the day, English must have been thinking of a beautiful trip to Old Trafford for the next test

The 4th day started with a confident English team taking field on a sunny day in Edgbaston. They were just 2 balls away from a famous victory. A victory that would level the series and Aussies would then have to toil harder for the coveted trophy. A nervous pair of Warne and Brett Lee walked on the field to try their best to snatch victory away from England. As the overs began to roll English realised that they would have to earn these two wickets. Brett and Warne batted like the typical tail-enders but with lot of guts, courage and gumption. They were taking blows all over their bodies trying to fend-off scorching pace of Flintoff and Harmison. Slowly they began to frustrate English bowlers by sneaking an odd boundary. The two were putting on a brave front until Shane Warne got out hit-wicket in a careless fashion. England was shouting distance from the victory. Mike Kasprowicks walked to pitch to join Brett. Uneasiness was written all over his face as he took guard. The duo soon began to fight out English attack with a heart as big as cricket stadium. Brett lee stood out in the entire Aussie innings for his resilience and guts. He was taking nasty blows on his body but never seem to buckle under pressure. I am pretty sure that he never would have thought of throwing his wicket away.

At the end when Aussies were just 3 runs away from a seemingly impossible victory Kaspro gave in. Keeper Jones off Harmison caught him. Thus came to a sad end an epic chase not in its quantity but the quality. Ricky Ponting, the captain summed it up in his post-match interview. He said that it just reinstates the Australian character that Lee,Warne and Kaspro possess.

I am pretty sure that Aussies will definitely prove that this defeat was just a ripple and go on to win the next match.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sanity Beckons

Recent floods in western parts of Maharashtra and Mumbai in particular seems to have spilled over entire print media. It is being covered by every news channel in the country with a weak pursuit of bringing in a unique and different perspective. Everybody seems to be participating in a contest of “ who criticises the government the best”. None of the news channel seems to be interested in helping the victims through these trying circumstances by pulling in their resources to sort the muddle.

Its not surprising that the opposition parties in the state have missed the bus. They would have done well in doing some ‘real stuff’ by helping the victims with the substantial ransom they had collected during elections. It would have helped them restore at least some amount of faith that they lost in the previous elections.

What real stands out in this dreary scenario is the courage and resilience shown by Mumbaites. The snaps of people, helping each other, by sharing with what has left behind explains that even if democracy is no longer an institution of the people, for the people and by the people, SOCIETY is still an institution of the people, for the people and by the people. It is still a place where humanity can bring sanity to life.

Its even shameful that elite newspapers like TOI could run stories about who’s who of the city not receiving papers on time or otherwise. Doesn’t it make a mockery of the very premise on which these kind of media came to life.

While I write the article rain still continues to swish the length and breadth of the city. This has left domestic life, schools, colleges and industry in abysmal state of affairs. The city seems to try to avert the grinding hault but with no success. The only thing that has been a prominent feature of all these natural disasters is that NATURE IS STIL THE MIGHTIEST FORCE. A friend of mine told me that he read somewhere that ‘a person owns only those things that survive after a ship-wreck.’

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Champions will always remain champions. Maybe I guess they can’t be anyone else. The way these people raise their game when they are playing an epic match bewilders one and all. They may have scraped through the early stages of a competition but when it comes to crunch game like a World cup final or any other title-clincher they seem to strike their mercurial form out of no-where.

The epic Wimbledon 2005 final just confirms Roger Federer’s place as one of the greatest players to have graced tennis court. Maybe it’s too early to say that; but with 5 grand slams already in his kitty he won’t belie my claims. This young Swiss seems impregnable on grass. His record of 36 unbeaten matches just confirms his majestic presence. This lanky lad is immensely similar in style and finesse to another champion and current record-holder for most number of grand slams (14) “Pistol” Pete Sampras. The way he goes about his business will definitely invoke fan-worship that will stay for several years to come. The way he thrashed Roddick, a thoroughly competent player by all standards, one feels that Federer just disdains his opponent ( I am talking only when Federer is playing the match).

Another true champion that has been my role model till date is Sachin Tendlya. Incidentally, the only wall poster I have is his. People tend to gauge his magnificence by the way he plays on field but it is the training nets where real Tendlya comes to life. It is his tenacity, that has carried him for so many years. Tendlya and Kambli were the real boy-wonders that India ever had(in sports arena). Remember the record breaking partnership they put on at a tender age of 13 yrs and few months. Both made their debut at the same age. But everybody knows what happened to Kambli. Yet another case of “gem lost in obscurity” only because he couldn’t discipline his talent. I think that is the only difference between “genius” and “champion”.

Another glorious person who is never talked about in this part of the world is Maradona. If there was any “God of Soccer”, it has to be none other than DIEGO MARADONA. At one point of time he was the sole reason why Argentina breathed together as a nation. Maradona was always prima donna of world football but he could never be a role model. He always remained messiah of the people living in shantytowns of Argentina. He symbolized for them, the fight against establishment. There still exist areas in Argentina where u have a “Maradona Church”. These people celebrate 30th October( Maradona’s birthday) as a holy day. But Maradona could never command the same kind of respect as Pele` or Beckenbauer or for that matter Paolo Maldini. He will always remain most adorable brat of soccer.

I have realized that the list (e.g. Brazil national football team, all conquering Aussies, Steveda, Rahul Dravid etc. etc.) can go on forever with every person worth several thousand words but my humble abilities are not suffice to that.