Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do you want to wake up in Pakistan?

"Justice Delayed is Justice Denied". How often all of us would have read & heard this clitch! In spite of the notoriously world-famous "speed" of Indian Legal System, where a judgment, even in a criminal case, reaches finality in Indian courts in a decade or more, nobody seems to be interested in doing anything about correcting or reforming the system in order to speed up the time it takes to deliver judgments in India. Over and above this morass, if news like this comes out in the media, it is bound to shake the confidence of the Indian public in the courts and judicial process. That, then, will be the invitation for chaos & Pakistanisation of India's democracy.

Take the case of Satyam Computer's Ramalinga Raju's accounting scandal. The scandal burst open in public on 7th January, 2009, and in the six months since then, the CBI, which was handed the case well after 2 or 3 months, has only recently filed a voluminous charge sheet & so far arrested about a dozen people in the case. But, the hearing in the case is yet to start as the Government of India is yet to get the final report on the scam from its SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office), which is expected to deliver the same only by mid-July. Only after that will the CBI be in a position to pursue the case vigorously in courts. Simultaneously CBI has also to oppose the bail pleas of the accused which are being filed at several courts (lower, higher, etc.) in order to keep them in judicial custody. When the preliminary hearing itself has not yet started at the court in the case, it is anybody's guess how long it will take for the case to reach a finality at the lower court to enable it to deliver its verdict. Then comes the appeals procedure for the guilty at the High Court & then in the Supreme Court, whose decision will be final. MIND YOU, IN THIS CASE, THE GENERAL PERCEPTION/BELIEF IS THAT THE GOVT. HAS BEEN PROCEEDING FAST LEGALLY.

Compare this Satyam case & its legal aftermath in India, with what is happening iN the United States in a similar economic offence which has also surfaced around the same time as Satyam's & how their legal system has been functioning. In December, 2008 (about a month before Satyam saga broke out), Bernie Madoff, who was running an Investment Fund (something similar to our desi Chit Funds) successfully for more than two decades by consistently paying high dividends to all his investors, had to publicly confess that he was only "cheating" his investors by collecting funds from new investors to pay high dividends to existing investors or to pay for redemption of existing investments for the last two decades or more. Due to the collapse of the financial sector in US last year, when no new investor came out with investing options to Madoff, while the old investors wanted to redeem their investments, Madoff could no more continue with his tricks & had to call his bluff in the open. Madoff, like our Rajus, also has/had connections in high places and he also served in a highly respected US Government Financial Institution at the highest level, which also helped his image as a trustworthy individual, which, it now transpires that he had, all along, been misusing.

Immediately after the scam broke out, the US Justice Department (counterparts of our own Law Ministry) moved swiftly and conducted a special investigation into the whole affair & arrested Madoff. They also filed a criminal case aginst him within days and the verdict in that case has been delivered on 29th June, 2009, in about 6 months of the scandal surfacing in the open. The judge has sentenced Madoff for 150 years in jail. Judgment in 6 months & for 150 years jail term. THAT IS CALLED JUST & SPEEDY LEGAL DELIVERY SYSTEM. We should not only look at the speed of the judgment but also the length of the sentence - 150 years in jail. Can any of us recall any criminal in India having been sentenced like that by any court in the last 60 years since our Independence? The severe the punishment, the chances of offences being repeated are slim. The Americans seem to know this & are practicing. We, the Indians, also know this but avoid practicing the same.

Thus, in contrast to US, what we have in India is, even a Supreme Court indicted & death-sentenced terrorist mastermind being let aloof to live peacefully(!) in prison in order to shower (Congress Party's) Presidential Mercy on him.

Or, an active terrorist who participated in the Mumbai Terror Seize, being given Head of State deference in his treatment by the Govt. while taking legal action against him so that the ruling party is not being seen to be acting against the "minority interests", at any cost.

Or, a Union Minister, who has been suspected culpable in many murders previously but famously got acquitted (now everyone knows how) by courts, who now threatens a sitting Judge of his State's High Court, which has a bench in his "pet" city, which is full of his supporters, who have shown their "capability" recently when a newspaper published a survey.

We Indians generally take pride in the fact that we are a (relatively) democratically-matured citizenry as compared to Pakistanis as we are able to stick to democracy since our Independence but Pakistan could not. Though Pakistan has been moving between devil (military dictatorship) and deep sea (dummy democracy full of chaos), they proved to the whole world that, when their Supreme Court's Chief Justice was unjustly ordered to be removed by their dictator-President, the whole country, not only the lawyers, rallied behind him and ultimately mounted so much pressure that their President had to resign to pave the way for elections in the country.

I think, we Indians should learn a lesson or two from our neighbours, in defending our legal system from being encroached by these unscrupulous politicians. If we keep silence now thinking it does not concern us as an individual, a day will come when we all will wake up to find that we are in Pakistan - Yes, India will be ruled by a Dictator, who will be calling the shots to the military, judiciary, media & to any dissenting voice, if at all there is any left by then.


ஓட்டமெடுத்த உல்லாச நாயகன்

தனக்கு தயாரிப்பில் சம்பந்தம் இருந்தாலும், இல்லாவிட்டாலும், தான் நடித்த படத்தினால் விநியோகஸ்தர்கள் நஷ்டப்பட்டால், உடனே தானே முன்வந்து அவர்களின் நஷ்டத்தில் பங்கு கொள்ளும் "ரஜினி" போன்ற பிழைக்க தெரியாத மனிதர்களுக்கு நடுவில், "லாபத்தில் (மட்டும்) எனக்கு பங்கு கொடு; நஷ்டம் வந்தால் ஆளை விடு" என்று கூறும் "நடிகர்கள்", தமிழ் திரை உலகத்தில் போற்றப்படுவது காலத்தின் கொடுமை என்பதைதவிர வேறென்ன கூற முடியும்?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Global Economic Imbalance - The cause is CULTURAL, Stupid

Can the root cause for the massive economic slump around the globe emanating from the US of A and the Western economies be due to factors other than 'economics'? Yes, says the author S.Gurumurthy in his two-part column (Part 1 and Part 2) in TheHindu BusinessLine. The way he explains the origin of the crisis & the spend-thrifty nature of the Western world, particularly the American lifestyle, one can only agree. He has compared the economic depression and the way it is dealt with in America and Japan and there can't be a more telling comparison of the way the two people coped with the crisis.

The conclusion he arrives at finally - the root cause for the crisis - is very convincing, if we, as Indians, can think about how our parents & grand parents used to mentor us about being thrifty in life, even at the cost of foregoing some simple day-to-day pleasures. I am not sure how many of the current generation Indians are following this rather than going the American way.

Let us hope this article creates some awareness about the worth of savings in every Indian so that India continues on its path of economic liberalisation in its own calibrated way so as to equip itself to face any economic disaster which it may encounter in its journey.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

iPhone - A Superstar amongst Gadgets

Apple's latest iPhone version, launched on June 19, 2009, has beaten its own previous launch record.

Apple's iPhone 3G S - where the 'S' stands for 'Speed' - has broken the record of its predecessor - the iPhone 3G, which sold a Million units during its launch week-end. According to Apple's press release yesterday, it has sold more than 1 million units of iPhone 3G S in the first three days of its release since Friday last.

Even the previous year's iPhone 3G launch saw Apple sell its then latest gadget at 1 Million units during the first 3 days but that launch happened simultaneously in 21 countries across the globe as against just 8 countries now in which iPhone 3G S has been launched including the United States, Canada & six other European nations. It took the original iPhone, launched in mid-2007, 74 days to reach the 1 Million mark.

Thus, through its brisk sales, Apple has beaten analysts' predictions of anywhere between 400,000 to 750,000 units sales during its launch week-end. Seeing the brisk sales of iPhone 3G S, one analyst remarks that "even in this down economy, food, shelter, clothing and smart phones are becoming essentials of people's lives".

As per analysts' data, more than half of the iPhone 3G S buyers were upgrading. This shows that Apple can benefit if it shortens its replenishment cycle apart from benefitting from its ever growing market share in smartphones. Another significant development of this year's iPhone sales is that 12% of the buyers have discarded their Blackberrys (up from 6% earlier).

Apple Inc.'s CEO, Steve Jobs said in a statement that “Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning. With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever”.

Yes. Apple's iTunes AppStore, a simple but effective software applications retailing portal from which applications can be downloaded onto iPhones and iPod Touches, is a roaring success with more than 1 Billion downloads in nine months. Coupled with the latest update of its iPhone OS 3.0 software, of which 6 million downloads have happened since its official release last week, an overwhelming majority of 88% of the buyers opted for iPhone 3G S due to its new feature sets.

One of the new features in the latest operating system is Find My iPhone (available only for Apple's MobileMe subscribers). By enabling this feature, an IPhone owner can locate & retrieve his lost iPhone. If you think I am kidding, please read this great story.

Apple's iPhone is yet to enter (officially) the one big market in the world for mobile phones - China. Rumours are doing the rounds that Apple is in talks with a Chinese mobile carrier for a possible iPhone 3G S roll-out in China from October, 2009. Once that happens, iPhone is expected to start garnering real market share in smartphone sales, which is at present hovering at around 8.4%.

As far as iPhone 3G's India foray is concerned, it was a huge flop, thanks to both the carriers (Bharti Airtel & Vodafone) who have not subsidised the devices but, at the same time, tied the user with a two-year contract. Since the Indian market is highly price-sensitive, I think it will take a while before iPhone starts making inroads into India. I think the possibly of iPhones making some dent in the Indian smartphone market will be the time when the 3G spectrum services are allowed to be rolled out by the Indian Government, which is unlikely before 2010.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jaded Dhoni instrumental in India's knock-out from ICC T20 World Cup 2009

It had to happen someday. But I sincerely felt that "now" is too early for the captain of Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to have fallen off the high pedestal wherein he was elevated by the fans after his team won the inagural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.

If India could neither defend a total of 150+ which they scored against West Indies on 12th June nor overhaul an England total of 150+ on 14th June, in my opinion, it is more to do with Dhoni, the captain, than any other reason(s). With the two consecutive defeats for India in the Super Eights league, India now finds herself dethroned as the ICC T20 World Champion.

Like Dhoni, as captain, was credited with an aggressive team which jelled and played well together as a team under his inspired leadership in 2007, it is only fair that Dhoni should also share a large part of the blame for his team's defeat & ultimately getting knocked out of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009 in England.

Here are my list of reasons which point out that Dhoni, as captain, failed to "think" and play:

1. Team composition: First and foremost, Irfan Pathan should not have been dropped for England match because he can also bat & bat well than Ishant Sharma. Instead, Ishant Sharma, who has been very off-colour as also leaked runs aplenty in the competition, should have been dropped to pave the way for R.P.Singh's entry into the side.

2. Under-utilising R.P.Singh: Dhoni has, for reasons best known to him, under-bowled R.P.Singh - he bowled only 3 overs and has taken a wicket also for just 13 runs. To make matters worse, Dhoni allowed Ishant Sharma to bowl his full quota of 4 overs, even though he kept on leaking runs (36 runs @ 9 runs an over) without bothering any batsman.

3. Forgetting part-timers: Its strange that Dhoni has not even bothered to try out his part-time bowlers like Rohit Sharma, who, with his slow off-spinners bowled well during IPL2 in SA and even has a hat-trick to his name in that competition, or his trusted death-overs specialist and Chennai Super Kings team-mate, Suresh Raina's slow offies. It is also surprising that Dhoni didn't even turn to Yusuf Pathan's off-spinners in this match though he was among wickets in the previous encounters when he was given a chance. The only part-timer he tried in this match, his new deputy Yuvraj Singh, didn't do well in the two overs he bowled conceding 20 runs without taking a wicket.

4. Stopped thinking: I felt that Dhoni's mind stopped working altogether in this competition, or, at least, in this match. Otherwise, how can one explain the fact that Dhoni didn't even try to do something slightly different just to unshackle England batsmen when they were going great guns in the first ten overs or, when India was batting, to unsettle their bowlers. He could have tried to continue with the left-right combination of batsmen even after Rohit Sharma got out by sending a right-hander at one down. Or at least at two-down. But, there was a parade of left handers from Gambhit, Raina, Jadeja, and Yuvraj, that from the 2nd over (when Rohit got out) till the 14th over (when Dhoni came in at No.6), England's bowlers didn't have to think or bother too much with bowling other than spraying short-pitched deliveries at left-handers aiming their body or shoulder or neck or head. The left-right combo could have forced the English bowlers to try to bowl the same short-pitched deliveries at both left and right handers by making some adjustments, which might have forced them into committing some errors, thus giving the batsman some chance of free-scoring, which was never allowed to happen.

With due credit to England, especially their bowlers, who bowled with a plan and a lot of discipline (which department also was anathema to Indian bowlers, especially, Harbhajan Singh, who foolishly leaked 10 runs with two last-ball wides in the 18th & 20th over), India lost the match more due to Dhoni, the captain, being mentally fatigued or jaded, which prevented him from thinking or doing things slightly differently, which otherwise he tends to do.

Even though Dhoni says "You can't blame it on tiredness. Its not an excuse", it is a fact that Dhoni & many of his team-mates are physically and mentally tired due to continuously playing for the last several months. Though, as professionals they are expected to cope with such a hectic schedule, it is a different matter that a human mind may stop thinking once it is fatigued or become jaded. The only way to make it start thinking properly again is to give it a rest by being away from cricket for a while & get freshened and then come back for playing.

BCCI would do well to immediately address this issue - of giving periodic rest to its players like Cricket Australia does - so that Indian cricket fans are not treated by its talented cricketers to a lame fare and that too in the ultimate show-piece of a World Cup event.

கலாசார த்வேஷி கமல்

தமிழ் கலாசார காவலனே! திராவிட கலாச்சாரத்தையும் (ரெண்டு, மூணு sidekicks) சேர்த்து காத்து கொண்டு இருப்பவனே!! இப்போ தமிழ் கலாச்சாரத்தை உலகறிய செய்வதற்கு சரியான வெளிப்பாடு (proper exposure) கிடைக்க வயதையும் (உமது மற்றும் உம்முடைய sidekicks உடைய) பாராமல், இரவும், பகலும்(?) அயராது உழைப்பவனே !!!

நீவிர் வாழ்க! உமது கலாசார த்வேஷம் பல்கி பெருகுக!! உம்முடைய மற்றும் உம்முடைய side-kicks உபயத்தால் தமிழனின் வெட்கம், மானம், சூடு மற்றும் சொரணை அனைத்தும் பாரெங்கும் பாடையில் பாங்கு நடை போடுக !!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

என்ன ஒற்றுமை(!)

நடந்து முடிந்த தேர்தல்களின் முடிவை பார்க்கும்போது, எனக்கு ஒரு ஒற்றுமை கண்ணில் பட்டது. ஒட்டுமொத்த இந்தியாவுமே நிலையான மத்திய அரசாங்கம் அமைவதற்கு வாக்களித்து இருந்த போதிலும், தமிழ் நாட்டு மக்களும், ஆந்திர பிரதேச மக்களும் வேறொரு விஷயத்திலும் ஒற்றுமையாக வாக்களித்திருக்கிறார்கள். அதுதான் பிரிவினைவாதிகளையும், தீவிரவாத ஆதரவு சக்திகளையும் பின்னங்கால் பிடரியில் படும் அளவு ஓட ஓட விரட்டி அடித்து இருப்பது.

தமிழ் நாட்டில் ஆளும் கட்சிகளான காங்கிரஸ் மற்றும் தி. மு. . கூட்டணிக்கு எதிராக அண்ணா தி. மு. க. தன்னுடன் பா. . ., கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சிகள், . தி. மு. க. என்று ஒரு மாபெரும் கூட்டணியை உருவாக்கினாலும், அதனால் எதையும் சாதிக்க முடியவில்லை. ஆளும் கட்சி கூட்டணி பெரும் வெற்றி பெற்றதை தடுக்கவே முடியவில்லை.

இதற்கு முக்கியமான காரணம் எதிர் கட்சி கூட்டணி இலங்கை தமிழ் பிரச்னைக்கு தீர்வாக நினைத்து கொண்டு தீவரவாதத்திற்கு துணை போவது போல் பேசவும், இலங்கை மேல் ராணுவ நடவடிக்கை எடுப்பேன் என்று முழங்கவும் செய்ததுதான். மக்கள் ஜெயலலிதா மீது வைத்திருந்த கொஞ்ச நஞ்ச மரியாதையையும் தன்னுடைய தீவிரவாத ஆதரவு பேச்சினால் அவர் தானே கெடுத்துக்கொண்டார். அவர் கூட்டி இருந்த கூட்டணி கட்சிகளை பற்றி கேட்கவே வேண்டாம். கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சிகள் சீனாவை தவிர மற்ற எல்லா நாடுகளையும் துண்டாட நினைப்பவர்கள். மற்ற இரு கட்சிகளோ இலங்கை தீவிரவாதிகளின் கைக்கூலிகள். இவர்கள் வோட்டு கேட்டு பேசிய பேச்சில் மக்கள் மிகவும் பயந்துபோய், "ஆளை விடுங்கடா சாமி, உங்களுக்கு வோட்டு போட்டாதானே நீங்கள் வாலாட்ட முடியும்" என்று நினைத்து, ஆளும் கட்சி வேட்பாளர்களையே தேர்ந்தெடுத்து விட்டனர்.

ஜெயலலிதாவுக்கு இது ஒரு படிப்பினையாக இருக்கும் என்று நம்புவோம். எப்பொழுதும் இந்திய நாட்டின் இறையான்மைக்கு கட்டுபட்டே பேசியும், வோட்டு கேட்டும் வந்த அவர், இம்முறை தோல்வி பயத்திலோ இல்லை வேறு எதோ காரணத்தினாலோ முதல் முறையாக தீவிரவாதிகளுக்கு ஆதரவு தருவதுபோல் இலங்கையில் தனி நாடு கேட்டு பெறுவோம் என்று பேசியது பெரும்பாலானோருக்கு (தீவிரவாத ஆதரவாளர்களையும் சேர்த்து) மிகவும் அதிர்ச்சியை கொடுத்தது. இந்த தோல்விக்கு பிறகாவது அவர் திருந்துவாரா என்று பார்க்க வேண்டும்.

இதே போன்று, ஆந்திராவிலும் ஆளும் காங்கிரஸ் கட்சிக்கு எதிராக தெலுங்கு தேசம் கட்சி, தெலுங்கான கட்சியுடன் கூட்டு சேர்ந்து போட்டியிட்டது. தெலுங்கான ராஷ்ட்ர சமிதி கட்சியானது ஆந்திர மாநிலத்தை பிளவு படுத்தி, தெலுங்கான மாவட்டங்களை மட்டும் உள்ளடக்கி, "தெலுங்கானா" என்ற மாநிலத்தை உருவாக்க பாடுபட்டு கொண்டு இருக்கிறது. சந்திரபாபு நாயுடுவின் தெலுங்கு தேசம் கட்சியோ, ஆந்திர மாநிலத்தை பிளவு படுத்த எதிர்ப்பு தெரிவித்து வந்திருக்கிறது - இதுவரை. ஆனால், பாழாய்ப்போன வோட்டு பிச்சைக்காக, தன்னுடைய கொள்கையையே அடகு வைத்து விட்டு, நாயுடு தெலுங்கானா கட்சியுடன் கூட்டு வைத்துக்கொண்டு, "தெலுங்கானா" மாநிலம் உருவாக எல்லாம் செய்வதாக கூறிக்கொண்டு வோட்டு வேட்டையில் இறங்கினார். காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியோ எப்போதும் போலவே இப்போதும் மாநிலம் பிளவு பட சம்மதிக்க மாட்டோம் என்று கூறியே மக்களிடம் வோட்டு கேட்டது. கடைசியில், மக்கள் காங்கிரஸ் கட்சிக்கே அமோகமாக வாக்களித்து வெற்றி பெற வைத்து விட்டார்கள். ஆந்திராவில் சட்ட சபைக்கும் சேர்த்தே தேர்தல் நடந்தது என்பதால் கூடுதல் விறு விருப்பு. ஆனால், மக்கள் பிரிவினைக்கு எதிராக மிக, மிக தெளிவாகவே தீர்ப்பு அளித்து விட்டனர்.

தேர்தல் முடிந்தவுடன் தங்கள் கட்சி கூட்டத்தில் பேசிய சந்திரபாபு நாயுடு தாங்கள் தேர்தல் கூட்டணி அமைத்ததில் தவறு செய்துவிட்டதை ஒத்துக்கொண்டார். இனிமேல் தவறுகளை திருத்திக் கொள்வதாகவும் அவர் மக்களுக்கு வாக்களித்துள்ளார். ஜெயலலிதாவுக்கும் இந்த மனப்பான்மை இருந்திருந்தால் எவ்வளவு நன்றாக இருந்திருக்கும் (!).

எவ்வளவுதான் இந்த கேடுகெட்ட அரசியல்வியாதிகள் மக்களையும், நாட்டையும் துண்டாடவும், பிளவுபடுத்தவும் நினைத்தாலும் மக்கள் மிகவும் விழிப்பாகவே இருக்கிறார்கள் என்பது ஒரு சந்தோஷமான மற்றும் நிம்மதி தருகிற விஷயம். மேலும், இதில் தமிழனோ, தெலுங்கனோ என்ற பாகு பாடில்லாமல் ஒட்டு மொத்த இந்தியாவுமே இந்த பிரிவினை மற்றும் தீவிரவாத ஆதரவு கட்சிகளுக்கு "கல்தா" கொடுப்பதை பார்க்கும்போது மனதுக்கு மிகவும் இதமாக உள்ளது; இந்தியாவின் எதிர்காலம் பற்றியும் நம்பிக்கை பிறக்கிறது.