Archive for the ‘ International issues ’ Category

Beware of war mongers

It is difficult to overcome certain habits. As long as such habits are harmless, we can say rely on those age-old proverbs like, “Habits die hard” or the new ones like, “Victory has become our habit these days” by Veerat Kohli!
When we talk about habits, we cannot ignore certain violent habits which have become part and parcel of certain countries which pay little attention to the welfare of the people or to peace and prosperity of the whole world. On the other hand, they are interested in creating war-like situations at the opportune moment. May be, they want to create an impression that they are among the ‘strongest’ countries in the world.
The only remedy lies wit UNO and all the peace-loving countries to suppress such policies to make them realize, “Enough is enough”.

It must be English, all the way

“I am the monarch of all I survey; my rights there is none to dispute”. English seems to assert its pre-eminent position as an international language, while the rest of the languages, specially the popular ones, have been wondering how English managed to overtake them effortlessly.

English became omnipresent during the colonial era when it was enthroned as an official language of these countries. Moreover, the English were less rigid unlike some other European countries as far as the growth of the language is concerned. Ever-so-many non-English words found their ways into English dictionaries and the natives saw it as a friendly approach. The contribution of cricket deserves special mention. This game became a favorite one of the colonized countries and the natives [people living in British colonies] listened to English commentaries. On top of all these things English was taught in schools and colleges; and the students and teachers loved Shakespeare, Wordsworth or Keats as much as they loved their own native poets and novelists.

In view of the above facts and more, English is reigning supreme but I happened to come across an article [to my dismay] in a leading journal which publishes thought provoking articles. The author of this article says that the days of English as an international language are numbered. According to him modern nationalism and technology will make it less popular. Whatever it may be, the world does need an international language and it should be the well established English.

Have some patience, please

Freedom of expression is one of the jealously guarded rights in a democratic country. We don’t have to swallow the government’s version of any issue. The rejoinder from the affected party pops up almost immediately. Maybe both are misleading but you are at liberty to accept or reject either of the two versions or both. The media people have the knack of blowing things out of proportion by clinging on to some off-the-cuff remarks made by some leading politicians. People are quite used to such gimmicks and they know very well that all these affairs will blow over in a few days.

Thus far, it is ok because these are just internal affairs of a country like India. But when a foreign dignitary is visiting our country, we make sure that he is extended a warm welcome in keeping with our rich tradition. They enjoy their visit and are even tempted to say a few sweet words about our hospitality. Their spouses dance with our kids and the whole nation is in a festive mood. If at all there are differences of opinion about a particular issue, we used to wait till the departure of that leader to air our views. That is how it should be.

But, of late, neither the politicians nor the media have the patience or manners to put off the unpleasant remarks for a few days so that it won’t hurt the feelings of the visitor concerned.

They are poles apart, but flock together!

“Nation-wide agitation” “Our party will fight against it”. These are the newspaper headlines, quoting various opposition leaders. And the reason? The government of India has announced an increase in the prices of Petroleum products and cooking gas.

No doubt, it is a heavy burden on people who are already struggling in the wake of food inflation for quite sometime now. The opposition parties take the easy route of organizing strikes and demonstrations, depending on their habits; and the people are made to believe that the government is merciless and anti-people as if the government is doing it to torture the citizens.

The opposition can save their skin by protests and demonstrations or strikes, thereby undermining the economy of the nation. If they are really concerned about the price hike, they would instruct the state governments to share the burden by cutting down sales tax on these items, but they won’t do it because they want to put the entire blame on the central government.

The Central government, too, has failed to explain to the people as to why the government is helpless in this matter. The people must be made to understand that the petroleum products are imported items and whenever there is an increase in the prices of these items in the international market, the government will be left with no choice. Moreover, the people must know that these items are made available to them at subsidized rates. If the common man realizes this fact, he won’t be carried away by the opposition’s propaganda.

LET’S RISE ABOVE PETTINESS

Globalization transcends divisions

Maybe this concept is business-oriented

But it shortens the distance between homo sapiens

Black or brown or white

We are all offspring of the mother earth.

The White liquid that we squeeze out

From the udders of the cows

Could be milk or dhooth

But mixed with coffee or tea

The effect is the same!

Some thing is better than nothing

To be a citizen of the world

May be a distant dream

But just below the global concept

Lies innumerable independent nations

Be an Indian or an American or African

Or a Chinese or a European

Without ever dreaming further divisions.

But the narrow-minded beings

Would not listen to you

It’s always: My language, my culture

Or My-everything! The rest are their enemies

Oh, Politicians, do not divide your folks

But connect them!

World Peace

The ceremonial lamp was lit

The pundits were chanting vedic mantras

Seeking world peace

“It symbolizes victory of light over darkness

And knowledge over ignorance”

The trend setter was waxing eloquent

Yes, it is Deepavali

Not somewhere in India

But at the Whitehouse

And Obama was the first US president

To “personally grace the occasion”

The trend setter that he is

Religion must cross the barriers

For the goal is won, no matter which party you choose

Let all the festivals symbolize

Victory of light over darkness

And knowledge over ignorance

The need of the hour is world peace.

Upsets and surprises are quite common in international sports and games. The early exit of a top-seeded player or a super performance by an underdog are part and parcel of such international games but champions bounce back after overcoming the unexpected setback and the underdogs just get a breakthrough.

Nobel prizes, too, are unpredictable at times, but bereft of any excitements as such. Of course, the names of the winners find a place in the GK books of the students or become the topic of the day. If one of the winners happens to be your country man, you are eager to know who else in your country had won this prestigious prize earlier.

So, it was the usual, physics, so and so; chemistry, so and so, and literature…. Wait a minute. Yes, Miss Herta Mueller of Romania’s ethnic German Minority. The title of one of her books is “The Land of Green Plums”. Very soon you will get some idea about this one from Book-Review-Columns.

Then came, the surprise of the year. I took it for granted that the Nobel Prize for peace, as usual, would go to some elderly person or some diplomat who would have contributed his bit towards the cause of peace.

But, No; the winner is none other than Mr OBAMA, who has always something up his sleeves. Of course, not all were happy about this; but it gives rise to the hope that USA will play a major role in spreading peace. Whatever it may be, Obamaji, it is a huge burden on your shoulders. You have to be cautious of each of your steps- Congrats!

Mr. Obama’s hero

I was on cloud nine when Mr. Obama said that the Mahatma was his hero. Of course, Gandhi happens to be the hero of millions in India and of many outside India as well. But when it comes from Obama who is himself a hero the effect is manifold.

In fact, Mr. Obama said this when he was chatting with some school children. One of them asked Mr.Obama if he could have dinner anyone dead or alive whom it would be. Many names seems to have flashed across his mind but in a jiffy he chose the best among them and it was none other than Gandhi, “who is a real hero of mine”.

It is a far cry from being an admirer of Gandhi and to be a Gandhian because you have to walk a long distance without deviating from his tough principles like truth and non-violence. But when someone like Mr.Obama says his real hero is Gandhi it could mean that he is envisaging a world free from violence and hatred. Anyway let us hope that here is a Gandhi or an Abraham Lincoln in the making.

Hillary Clinton’s visit to India

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton’s visit to India would’ve helped the two countries come closer on various bilateral and international issues; but if you are to look beyond these official matters we see a charismatic lady who is at ease with anyone she comes across. And, when she chats with them it is devoid of any self-imposed inhibitions….and she listens to them with the same spirit.

She sprang a pleasant surprise while addressing an audience, mostly students and teachers on the Delhi University campus.  It was as simple as quoting a couple of lines from a poem. But there is an incredible story behind it. Way back in 1995 when Ms. Clinton visited India as the US first lady she received a poem written by a college girl and sent through the principal of the college. The lines recited by Ms. Clinton were from the same poem which was presented to her in 1995. Now have a look at those lines quoted by Ms, Clinton:

“Too many women in too many countries

Speak the same language of silence”

Obama’s inspiring speech

 Plenty of concessions, reservations and freebies aimed at the emancipation of the poor and the down trodden will serve a limited purpose but if you expect these people to scale great heights you need an inspiring person like Barack Obama. He is humble, humorous, sincere and above all serious when he is in the midst of ordinary people who need a helping hand. He won’t say, “I have set apart a huge amount for your welfare” or “I will see that you people get some good jobs after your studies”. Rather, he would say, “no excuses, no excuses”. Of course, he has got an ‘amen corner back there’ to inspire him, but he is focused on what he expects them to do. He wants the less fortunate kids to come out of their shells and hitch their wagons to the stars, “I want them aspiring to be scientists, engineers and doctors and not just batters and rappers…” “I want them aspiring to be president of USA.”

It was a challenge…..a friendly challenge and not a soft and sympathetic speech which would receive a round of applause but nothing much to write home about.

Oh, I forgot to mention an important fact. The venue was New York, Hilton. The occasion was the hundredth anniversary of NAACP and the protagonist was, of course, Mr. Obama.