Top 10 myths about the anti-corruption movement

A number of myths have been propagated over the past year about the anti-corruption movement ranging from crafty attempts to derail the movement to gross mis-representation.

1. It is anti-Congress:  Those in the Congress (and unfortunately many among the general public) believe that the anti-corruption movement is against the Congress. The Hissar election is often cited as an example. The reality is that the Congress party is in power today as the head of the UPA and wields enough power to pass this bill provided it can muster the required leadership and sheer “backbone” needed to carry along its allies. Unfortunately, there isn’t consensus in the Congress. Many in the Congress starting at the very top shudder at the thought of an independent investigative body and simply can’t come to terms with the idea. The anti-Congress label is an escape route with no basis. An party in power that is unwilling to pass a strong anti-corruption bill would have faced identical protests.

2. It is pro-BJP: If you are against the Congress you are pro-BJP is the automatic conclusion but also an unfortunate gross mis-representation. Team Anna has criticized the BJP governments in Gujarat and Karnataka, to mention a couple of their anti-BJP moves. The fact that BJP participated in an anti-corruption rally organized by Team Anna does not in any way confirm their BJP links. The rally was open to all parties including the Congress party.  Sharing a dais does not equate to being idealogical bedfellows.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

BCCI caught Gavaskar bowled Kumble

The legendary Sunil Gavaskar said his faith in the BCCI was shaken because they have reneged on a commitment to pay him Rs. 5 crores. “Sharad Pawar and Arun Jaitley both promised me that my dues will be cleared.” he said. The issue apparently came up for discussion in the working committee meeting after Gavaskar wrote to the BCCI.  Gavaskar talks to the BCCI chief and he offers him a verbal commitment of 5 crore rupees! No contract, no paper work, no transparency, plain and simple insider deal between the head honcho and India’s iconic cricketer. It begs the question – Why Gavaskar? Why not Kapil Dev? Why not some other player? How was this amount arrived at? Were others given a fair shot at such a lucrative sum of money? What gives the BCCI chief the authority to cut deals of this nature without any process or procedure whatsoever?

Next, we have the case of another legendary Indian cricketer, Anil Kumble, who recently quit as chief of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) after a supposed fall-out with the BCCI over his three year plan for the NCA. It has been reported that Kumble proposed the use of expensive software and it is believed that he might benefit from the sale of this software. Once again, a whole host of questions come to mind. Was this the only reason why his proposal was rejected? Clearly, Kumble knows a thing or two about cricket. Were there cricketing reasons for his proposal being rejected? If so, who are these individuals who opposed it? Were they more qualified than Kumble and what were the reasons put forward by them? Was there an open, transparent process where the requirements of the software were published and bids invited? Is this a case of administrators trying to stem the rise of former cricketers like Kumble, who are slowly but surely expanding their reach through key administrative positions, enviable engagements with IPL teams, and personal profit making ventures, among others?

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

The Tragedy at AMRI Hospital

The fire accident at the AMRI hospital in Kolkata, where over ninety people lost their lives is painful to say the least. As media reports continue to emerge, the dismal state of affairs only becomes more and more apparent and appalling by the minute. It turns out that the fire and emergency department of the Bengal government had full information about the lack of preparedness of AMRI to fight fire but that did not prevent it from renewing a no-objection certificate on August 29 of this year. In other words, if simple rules were followed, the hospital would not have been allowed to function unless the shortcomings were addressed and fixed. To make matters worse, once the fire broke out, people from the nearby slums who came to help out were turned away. As a result, helpless, sick patients were left to die while rescue teams took hours to reach the scene of the tragedy. Sadly, a couple of dedicated nurses lost their lives in an attempt at rescuing patients — classic collateral damage, that will soon escape the headlines. Ironically, India’s greatest healthcare tragedy occurred in the state of West Bengal, which was fortunate to have had the services of Mother Theresa for several decades.

We, as a nation, have reason to feel a strong sense of responsibility for these tragic deaths. It is a result of our overall sense of apathy and tolerance for sloppy services. As a civilized nation in this day and age, we have failed ourselves and our fellow citizens. The result is that several innocent people lost their lives because of poor management, inadequate safety standards, and the blatant failure to implement and execute laws. Any one of us could very well have been one of those hapless patients who lost their lives because of sheer all-round incompetence. Hopefully, this tragedy should serve as a wake up call and highlight the need for serious reform in our healthcare sector.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

Out of Touch, Out of Tune

According to a report in the New York Times, Union Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal met with leading social networking sites in an attempt to censor messages posted on them related to India. According to the report, Mr. Sibal called legal representatives from the top Internet service providers and Facebook into his New Delhi office… At the meeting, Mr. Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party’s president, Sonia Gandhi.  “This is unacceptable,” he told attendees, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites. The report goes on to say that he wanted these sites to be humanly monitored as opposed to using technology to filter out offensive comments!


The attempt to clamp down on personal freedom, while the government uses all its might to dig up dirt on its opponents, are troubling signs of those in power trying to exercise undue control. The good news is that the fear of social media has crept its way to the very top and an attempt to crush this could spell the eventual doom for those in power. Earlier this year, the Egyptians “turned off” the Internet in act of desperation and the world knows how that story ended. We might not have reached such a precipice as yet, but these are sure signs that those in power are determined to go to any lengths to crush the rising tide of discontent.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times



Get ready folks, it’s “Kolaveri” time!

A number of people have been wondering why the Tamil-English song “kolaveri” has been a runaway hit. Fueled by social media and Youtube, the song has had over ten million views in a matter of a few days. Interestingly, the singer, lyricist and actor, Dhanush, has described his song as “absolute nonsense.” Nevertheless, the song surely has struck a chord. Kolaveri is a Tamil word that means murderous rage. In the case of this song (and very often), it is used in the context of a young man feeling hopeless and defeated while his love interest gives him the “if looks could kill” glares.


While the song storms the Internet, a crazy Indian in a seeming fit of kolaveri slaps the erstwhile Minister, Mr. Sharad Pawar, in full view of the cameras. The combative young man is now the lead in a deftly conjured kolaveri spoof, along with cleverly interspersed videos of his now world-famous slap.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times