Tuesday, August 29, 2006


hmm....a few of my friends are doing their DP on a topic related to image processing....and well thorugh them i came across this cool site....well jus hav a luk n find out how much the celebrities resemble me...


We all live, we all have a life. Now this statement may sound very ridiculous to you for it was meant to be ridiculous! On a more serious note, we live our entire lives, grossly engrossed in our day to day activities. But have we ever wondered what life is? If I were to ask you all, "What life is?" how many of you would have been able to answer it without floundering in the oceans of uncertainty? Being honest with you, even I wasn't able to do it at some point in the past few days and that's what gave me the inspiration to write this piece.

I tried to find a word which would describe this beautiful gift from God in a manner befitting it. Unfathomable, a journey, a mystery were some of the words which crossed my mind when I tried to answer this query; but none of them brings out the "Essence of Life" in its truest sense. After having thought about it for a while, I feel that life can be best described as an ocean. Ocean yes, that's the word which I feel completely defines and describes the strange and yet, wonderful phenomenon, better known as life.

Life is deep like an ocean, beholding a lot of unknown, for explorers and adventure-seekers, its full share of treasures and for forgoers its simply a huge mass of water. Like an ocean, life is sometimes peaceful and sometimes full of storms. Sometimes it may seem beautiful, at others times, terrifying. As an ocean changes the maps, sometimes creating new lands and sometimes engulfing them, life too changes the fate of a person, making him or ruining him in its course.

I guess I have written enough crap to bore you all and drive you crazy, so I would stop now. Please feel free to write any alternate way of describing life ... After all many a philosophers have tried to describe this strange entity. But isn't Life just too complex to be comprehended in its entirety?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fanaa Furore

It is universally acknowledged that every development project; be it a hydro-electric project or a steel plant or an atomic power station; is meant for the larger good of people. Independent India has witnessed myriad development projects in different parts of the country, but no project has stirred up such a controversy as the grandiose Sardar Sarovar project on the Narmada River.

There is no doubt that the huge hydro-electric project will benefit the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra but the governments and the community in large, must take due care of those in these four states who will lose their homes and means of livelihood when Narmada submerges their abode.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan led by Ms. Medha Patkar pinpointed that providing alternate means of livelihood along with houses is more than important than doling out money to the bereaved. It also exposed the corruption rampant at different stages of rehabilitation and underlined the rights of the displaced to a decent living.

Aamir Khan raised the issue just before the release of his movie Fanaa, and there was such a hue and cry. Where is the freedom of speech that the leaders are constantly harping about? Fanna was banned from being screened in Gujarat. And why? Is there anything wrong if a few, fired with the zeal to see that the poor, voiceless multitude should not be taken for a ride and denied justice and human rights, take up cudgels for the victims of the lopsided development? Will the powers that be continue to remain insensitive to the plight of several thousands who are uprooted from their homes? Will you turn a deaf ear to the cries of the dispossessed just because you are not afraid of peaceful agitations?

Sonia Succumbed....really???

Madan Mohan Shukla, till a few days back no one had heard of this politician from Kanpur. And now, suddenly he was on the center stage of Indian politics. When he set out to settle scores, with Samajwadi Party leader, Jaya Bachchan, he had no idea that his action was going to lead to a political imbroglio that would result in his own leader, Sonia Gandhi, resigning from the Lok Sabha.

After his candidature to the Rajya Sabha was cancelled, Madan Mohan Shukla petitioned the President to cancel Jaya's election as she held an office of profit by being a part of the UP Film Development Council. The President referred this application to the EC, which found Jaya guilty and cancelled her appointment.

It's always said that a wounded lion is a dangerous foe, and Samajwadi Party proved it to be true. It wasted no time in moving to the President seeking the disqualification of Sonia Gandhi, on the basis that she was holding an office of profit in her capacity as the Chairman of National Advisory Council. Several other MPs including LS speaker, Somnath Chatterjee were also accused.

Speculations were high when the Parliament was adjourned sine die on 22nd March. The BJP sprang into action as soon as news broke out that the government was planning an ordinance between two sessions of Parliament, to help more than 40 MPs -- including Mrs. Gandhi and Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. The BJP's shrill propaganda reached a climax when former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said if the government came out with such an ordinance, then 'the government will go'.

Without losing a moment, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and other BJP leaders revived fears of the June 1975 Allahabad high court judgment that was the catalyst that led to the imposition of Emergency. The BJP alleged that the government was planning an ordinance to change the law of disqualification, 1959, concerning parliamentarians in order to save Gandhi. Congress spokesman Rajiv Shukla on 22nd March denied the charge but no one believed him, so strong was the belief that the government was up to something.

Naturally, on the morning of March 23, the United Progressive Alliance government looked to be in a total mess. It faced a political fiasco after confidently believing hither-to that the National Advisory Council chairmanship held by Gandhi was not an office of profit.

The stupid thing about the whole episode is that the entire mess was of Congressmen's own making. None of the Congress' brigade of lawyers, H.R. Bharadwaj, Kapil Sibal, Rahul Anand etc. foresaw the consequences.

The result was that Sonia Gandhi had to resign from both the LS and NAC. However the question to be asked is did she lose anything by doing this? Her power and authority are not diminished because she has only resigned from the membership of Parliament (which she will contest again) and from an obscure outfit, the National Advisory Council. She could afford to resign because in the Congress ranks her resignation is immaterial. Resignation or no, her power within the party remains unchallenged, undiminished. She was and continues to be the chairperson of the all-powerful UPA, and that is all that matters.

2nd April 2006

My view: Israel v/s Lebanon

Israel's action against Lebanon is unjustified. Are you also among those that think so? Then stop! And think again after reading the following paragraphs.

On 12th July 2006 Hezbollah initiated a diversionary Katyusha rocket and mortar attack on Israeli military positions and on the towns of Even Menahem and Mattat, injuring 5 civilians. At the same time, a ground contingent of Hezbollah attacked two Israeli armored Humvees along the Israel-Lebanon border with anti-tank rockets, capturing two Israeli soldiers, and killing three. Five others were killed later on the Lebanese side of the border on 12 July during a mission to rescue the two captured soldiers. The Lebanese Police force in a statement said that the soldiers were captured on Lebanese land; however there is no doubt as to what reality is; all major international organizations such as the UN, the EU and the G8 along with the prominent news agencies had an opinion to the contrary.

Now lets move on to the question of whether the Israeli action against Lebanon was justified or not. Quoting the Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, 'The war started not only by killing eight Israeli soldiers and abducting two but by shooting Katyusha and other rockets on the northern cities of Israel on that same morning. Indiscriminately." I am of the opinion that each and every nation has the right to protect its citizens against any sort of threat. And even more so when an organization, which the UN has asked to be disarmed in a resolution adopted by its Security Council launches an offensive.

When the USA and England can attack Iraq on the false pretext of Iraq being a threat to the world then why cannot Israel respond to an attack against its citizens? Or is it that only the superpower has the right to protect its citizens. Oh just a minute'. against what? The false threat of weapons of mass destruction?

Many who are of a different view would say that Israel should not have retaliated in the way that it did. They would say that all disputes should have been resolved by talks and negotiations. I would like to point out to them the failure and futility of such acts. Let me quote the example of our own country, India. We have been trying to resolve our disputes through dialogue for the past half century, and what has been the result? Nothing!

I will also remind those of you who continue to bring up the fact that Israel is occupying Arab land that had Israel's Arab neighbours not continually invaded them, threatened to invade them and incited war, that land would never have been taken in the first place and held as a buffer for future attacks. It's hypocritical whining about Israel illegally hanging on to Arab land and holding terrorists in detention when organizations like Hezbollah have as a stated aim the destruction of Israel, and even before this war started have been firing rockets and sending suicide bombers into Israel to kill civilians.

Also one should not forget that it was not the Jews themselves who decided to leave their homes and migrate to the Middle East. It was not of their own choosing; rather it had been forced upon them by the circumstances, which I'm sure everyone is well aware of. And sooner or later the Arabs would have to learn to coexist with people following religions other than Islam. Where in the Islamic teachings is it said that Muslims cant live together with people following other religions. Hating Israel simply fore the fact that its non-Islamic is not justified at all. The sooner the Arab states learn, like Egypt and Jordan did, it would be better for them.

Israel is far from perfect and has done many reprehensible acts, but it would be fair to say that their neighbours, including organizations such as Hezbollah have done the same, if not much worse. Until their soldiers were taken Israel did not indiscriminately bomb civilian areas in Syria, Iran and Lebanon the way that these terrorist organizations indiscriminately kill civilians, be that Jewish, Arab or otherwise.

Besides, Israel LEFT Lebanon in 2000 after an agreement with the Lebanese government that Hezbollah would be disarmed and Israel's northern border would be safe. Six years later and Hezbollah is even better equipped than the Lebanese army itself. And now there are cries of merging Hezbollah with the Lebanese army. Under such circumstances only a fool could hope that Israel would give up the buffer zone.

The way many of us think it seems as if the Hezbollah and the Arabs and Muslims are totally innocent victims when we all know that this is not the case. Israel has inflicted a lot of collateral damage on Lebanese civilians which is unacceptable. But Hezbollah indiscriminately fires Katyusha rockets into Israel, and sends suicide bombers deliberately to kill civilians. Is this any more acceptable? And then several of us have the audacity to point out the sufferings of Lebanese people. Agreed they are suffering, but what else would you expect if you go on supporting Hezbollah; chocolates?

Most of us would not know that apart from in our own country, where the Muslims are fighting for Kashmir, there are several other regions where they are fighting for autonomy. For instance:

a) South of Thailand - Muslims living there want their own land carved out.

b) South of Philippines - Muslims fighting for a separate state in Mindanao.

c) West of China (Xingjian) - Muslims fighting for autonomy.

d) North of Spain - Muslims fighting for autonomy.

The point I'm trying to make is; if Muslims want people off their land, then they must be prepared to get rid of this mentality of " we're a majority in this city, so let's ask ( or not even ask - create terror ) so that the government of that country gives us autonomy'.

If the Muslims want the world to think that they are a peaceful community, then they should stop terror attacks in places that don't belong to them. The recent attacks in India highlight this point. What did India have to do with the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the current crisis in Lebanon? Nothing! But yet Muslims keep up their terror tactics. The above shows that even Muslims have a greed for land. And land that is not even theirs.

Again, I reiterate - if Muslims want Israelis off their soil - they have to be prepared to let their people in the world know that they cannot indiscriminately go around calling other people's land as their own.

The Matarese Circle

Hey ppl this is a review of Robert Ludlum's "The Matarese Circle".

The Matarese Circle is a classic thriller, a superb and fast paced prequel to The Matarese Countdown. Two rival spies; Brandon Scofield aka Beowulf Agate of CIA and Vasili Talaniekov of KGB. They both share a genius for espionage and a life of terror and violence. But more importantly, they both share something else! A desire to kill each other! But now they must become allies for only they possess the brutal skills and ice cold nerves that are necessary to destroy an international cabal of powerbrokers and assassins whose sole objective is to achieve worldwide economic domination, the Matarese.

Hmm isn't this plot a bit too familiar for the Ludlum lovers? Be it the Bourne series or the Janson Directive or The Apocalypse Watch, the plot was the same. But then if it's such a winning formula, who cares?

Brandon Scofield and Vasili Talaniekov have given their entire lives to their respective agencies, plotting strategies and counter strategies. Now suddenly they have become persona non grata and their own people are after their lives. In the midst of all this Aleksie Krupsky, an old time mentor of Talaniekov, warns him about the Matarese Circle, an organization that was formed about seventy years earlier in the hills of Corsica and asks him to work with Scofield, a sworn enemy.

As the duo of Scofield and Talaniekov unravel the layers of mystery, they find how deep the problem goes. With no one ready to talk about the Matarese, whom can they trust? With friends and foes dying alike, will they be able to survive?

The action shifts from the mountains of Corsica to Moscow to Rome to Paris to London and finally to Boston for a final showdown which is as fascinating as any of the Ludlum's best. The book proves why Ludlum is such a thriller rider! For all those who love roller coasters this is a must read!

Rating: 7/10