Pak cricket team and Islam

Interesting article on religion and the Pak cricket team. (Credit to the writer for writing openly and repeatedly on the issue. Its good to see discussion on the issue)

The Pak team might have been united by Islam, but if they continue to look to religion (like they seem to be doing) to unite them, the baggage that comes with religion is likely to rear its ugly head soon. Just look at the religious clashes in Iraq — muslims killing muslims. The bad part about religion is that it tends to divide as much if not more than unite.

Pak has enough muslim diversity to start tensions. Its only a matter of time before there are religious groups formed within the team, the board, the selectors (if they haven’t already). The Sunnis vs Shias vs Ismailis vs Bohras vs ….

Just as the younger players of today’s Pak team are products of an increasingly Islamic Pak so will the officials of tomorrow, as the Inzys and Saeed Anwars graduate to non-playing roles. Those who don’t neccessarily believe in this trend are likely to tow the party line so to speak — possible examples being Shoaib Akthar and Yousuf Youhana.

At a min the Pak board must instruct it players not to publicly display their religious fervor. Its fine to kiss the ground and do whatever when you score a century or pick up a wicket, but group prayers on the ground is a needless display of religion especially when the Kanerias of Pak are still on the team.

Can you imagine an extensive pooja replete with coconut breaking, a fire, priest, bhajans, prasad and what not before a match. Will the Pak officials allow this when India is playing in Pak?

What next? Shoaib Akthar racing into to bowl at Sachin Tendulkar screaming “Allah-o-Akbar” and Sachin in turn smashing it over the fence followed by a chant of “Jai Sriram”.

The Pak board must intervene immediately (subtly to avoid a backlash) before this gets out of hand. If immediate steps are not taken there could be needless tensions especially when featuring teams like India and Pak.

Thankfully, the Indian team has managed to stay away from such issues and the country as a whole deserves credit for this. Its a fine example of India’s secular intent, at least for the most part.

C’mon. Let cricket and religion remain separate. Please.

Movie Review: Crash

Language: English
Oscar winner, must-see.
Starring: Lots of actors (Matt Dillon) and actresses (Sandra Bullock) with no specific lead role. (Don’t know the names of the other actors though many of them appear to be familiar faces).

A brilliantly made film that revolves around events that occur over a period of 36 hours all of which involve several different characters from different ethnic backgrounds living in LA. At the end the story tactfully brings all these characters and events together. Along the way, the director manages to explore each character’s motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Illegal immigrants, gangsters, racism, armed robbery, ethnic stereotyping, politics and political motivations, homicide, you name it –All the present day issues are blended into the story. The editing is excellent so there is no dull moment and its fast-paced.

A fine plot, excellent film-making, great acting, brilliant direction. This film is a “must watch”. Make sure you are alert will watching the film. If not, you are likely to miss the subtleties, and the various linkages in the story.

Setback for India

India has been riding a wave of positive news in global media: outsourcing, economic boom, jobs, nuclear deal with the US etc. The failed satellite launch closely following the missile test failure is quite a serious set back for an emerging economic power. Wonder what caused these failures after years of successful similar efforts? Will this re-set India’s planned trip to the moon? Remains to be seen.

Youtube Buzz

The Youtube buzz is very reminiscent of the dotcomm days. Lots of free video and lots of traffic. How they will make money no one seems to know (I dare say “care”). Yet, they have boat loads of dough. One investor said to me, “If I had a chance to invest in Youtube, I would simply because Sequoia Capital has invested”

This is sooooooo dotcomm!

Meanwhile, there are competitors galore. In the same space this company seems to at least have a business model of some sort.

Google and Chips?

Check out this NYT article.

“Beyond servers, there are signs that Google is now designing its own microchips. The company has hired many of the engineers responsible for the Digital Equipment Corporation’s well-regarded Alpha chip….”

I am curious to see if this ever turns out to be true or another mere speculation. There was an article in the recent Businessweek about Google’s lack of hit services/solutions besides search. Sometimes it appears that there is some method to Google product strategy madness, but very often it doesn’t. This is one more instance of lack of it.

West Indies: Wrong choice for the WC?

The ICC might have goofed by selecting WI as the venue of the next world cup. The sign up process for the matches is so archaic and disorganized. In this day and age of the Internet the current system of ticketing is a shame! The ICC with all its wealth should have made a better choice. So far, it doesn’t appear as though the WI are capable of hosting an event of this scale.

North Korea celebrates 4th of July!

Sounds like Kim Jong wanted to celebrate 4, July. He just chose missiles instead of fire crackers. The guy is nuts. Thank god, the long range missile Test failed.

The US has the strange knack of driving nuts the world over to scale new heights. Yes, US always gets the blame for anything that happens in the world! That’s the price for being the sole super power.

Every nation wants to have one-on-one negotiations with the US. So maybe its time the US held an “open house” and invited all the Kim Jong-il’s and Ahmadinejad’s of the world for discussions once and for all.

It will be interesting to see how far the UN and its resolutions can help address this current crisis.

Enron Founder’s death

This is quite an anti-climax to the Enron scandal. Given the kind of mental agony he must have been through, it is not surprising that he died of a heart attack. In fact, it is surprising that he didn’t have a heart attack sooner given all the stress he must have been under! Considering the loses people faced because of Enron he probably hardly had any sympathisers and understandably so.

I dare say that at 64 with a likely huge sentence ahead of him, his death due to natural causes was his best possible exit strategy. In short, he supposedly duped the world with Enron and just when it got time to nail him once and for all, he “bailed out” for ever!

Mr. Lay was supposedly close to president Bush and family. Given Bush’s direct line to God, makes one wonder if there was an update from above on this issue.

Help! Bangalore Calling!

While the world is calling India for help with all the call centers and outsourcing happening, here is one where India is reaching out to the rest of the world for help. The Bangalore authorities are wooing Westerners to invest in the local infrastructure projects.

Amidst all the intense activity in Karnataka politics, there seems to be a recognition (thankfully!) that Bangalore’s infrastructure stinks and needs desperate attention. Hopefully, this effort produces so quick results before its too late!