Archive for November, 2010

OF BABUS

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , |

Scams involving cash and other kinds of benefits have become the order of the day. Politicians cutting across party lines have more than their fingers in the sticky pie. There have been allegations regarding the ‘undue’ favour shown to some while others who chose to remain straight are often left behind. Nepotism is also something that is nothing new in this country.

No one knows what fate will befall on the politicians who have been shown the door-pending further enquiry- a phrase that Indians should be proud about. There is a growing cynicism and justified also that the guilty would eventually come clean with no allegations proved-something that is the envy of the manufacturers of detergents and non-stick cookware!

There has been a hue and cry in the media about the misdeeds and the misdoings of those in power. But not much thought has been given to the role of the Officials or the Bureaucrats or the Babus. The media highlights and rightly so the sincere efforts of the Babus whilst no time or space is given in exposing their wrongdoings.

I am not suggesting that all Babus-relating to the State Level Administrative Services or those appointed by the Union Government are unscrupulous, corrupt or hand-in-glove with the politicians who are scam prone. At least a few are involved in shady dealings.

It is not uncommon to find the Babus misuse their power and influence to get things done for self or the near and dear.

In some cases, the politicians and their friends are so powerful and influential that the Officials do not want to take any risk. The files are cleared fast and without any objections. In certain cases, the Babus just seize the opportunity and join the ranks of the corrupt. When there is corruption everywhere with no fear of any punitive action it pays to swim with the current. It is a cost versus benefit analysis- the benefits in the form of riches and connections that can be encashed anytime are more powerful than the costs-postings that are not rewarding and at ‘dangerous’ places.

Whether it is Adarsh scam or the CWG loot or the 2G scam, some officials were involved in the murky dealings. It is not possible for the politicians to go through every piece of paper that comes their way and take the call. There is also the issue relating to the clearances given by the state or the central governments for various projects. Once the Courts step in and decide that something illegal took place, the projects are grounded but no action is deemed necessary action the Babus who put their signature either for fear or for favour.

We do not want those kind of Babus who are not able to do what they are supposed to do and for what they are paid for. Things have come to such a pass that urban legends and myths are created and circulated when a Civil Servant does his/her duty sincerely.

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OF BABUS

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CORRUPTION, INDIA, POLITICS, SCAMS | Tags: , , , |

Scams involving cash and other kinds of benefits have become the order of the day. Politicians cutting across party lines have more than their fingers in the sticky pie. There have been allegations regarding the ‘undue’ favour shown to some while others who chose to remain straight are often left behind. Nepotism is also something that is nothing new in this country.

No one knows what fate will befall on the politicians who have been shown the door-pending further enquiry- a phrase that Indians should be proud about. There is a growing cynicism and justified also that the guilty would eventually come clean with no allegations proved-something that is the envy of the manufacturers of detergents and non-stick cookware!

There has been a hue and cry in the media about the misdeeds and the misdoings of those in power. But not much thought has been given to the role of the Officials or the Bureaucrats or the Babus. The media highlights and rightly so the sincere efforts of the Babus whilst no time or space is given in exposing their wrongdoings.

I am not suggesting that all Babus-relating to the State Level Administrative Services or those appointed by the Union Government are unscrupulous, corrupt or hand-in-glove with the politicians who are scam prone. At least a few are involved in shady dealings.

It is not uncommon to find the Babus misuse their power and influence to get things done for self or the near and dear.

In some cases, the politicians and their friends are so powerful and influential that the Officials do not want to take any risk. The files are cleared fast and without any objections. In certain cases, the Babus just seize the opportunity and join the ranks of the corrupt. When there is corruption everywhere with no fear of any punitive action it pays to swim with the current. It is a cost versus benefit analysis- the benefits in the form of riches and connections that can be encashed anytime are more powerful than the costs-postings that are not rewarding and at ‘dangerous’ places.

Whether it is Adarsh scam or the CWG loot or the 2G scam, some officials were involved in the murky dealings. It is not possible for the politicians to go through every piece of paper that comes their way and take the call. There is also the issue relating to the clearances given by the state or the central governments for various projects. Once the Courts step in and decide that something illegal took place, the projects are grounded but no action is deemed necessary action the Babus who put their signature either for fear or for favour.

We do not want those kind of Babus who are not able to do what they are supposed to do and for what they are paid for. Things have come to such a pass that urban legends and myths are created and circulated when a Civil Servant does his/her duty sincerely.

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FULL FORCE GAYLE

Posted on November 17, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , , , |

My apologies to Van Morrison for using the title of his song and misspelling it.

Chris Gayle showed everyone once again his ability with the bat. It is not the number of runs that are important, but the way is which the runs are scored makes for a great game of cricket. The same can be stated of Sehwag. Despite the question marks over their technique and temperament, these two are only four batsmen to score triple hundreds twice in test cricket.

It is sad that Gayle has to play alongside far ordinary colleagues in the team from the West Indies. If he would have been part of a different and a stronger team, greater recognition would surely have followed.

Sometime ago the commitment of Gayle to test cricket was questioned following his confession of greater love for T20. But then that has not prevented his from scoring 333 runs at Galle. There is another interesting thing that I find common between Gayle and Sehwag. Both can strike the ball hard over long distances and yet they have accomplished more in the longer version of the game. Since Sehwag is in the company of really good players in his team, his knocks often turn out to be match winning ones. On the other hand, Gayle has to remain on the losing side. There is Shahid Afridi who has achieved a lot in the short and the shortest format of the game, without doing much of any substance in test cricket.

Looks like with the burden of captaincy gone and with no need to give politically correct statements, Gayle has discovered new ways to liberate his soul. No longer does his batting is tied with the word ‘responsibility’.

The longer form of the game which is not exactly in the pink of health, needs players like Gayle and Sehwag. More importantly, there is a place for characters and players with attitude like Gayle. Otherwise, test cricket would become boring.

I cannot desist myself from using some lines from the song of Van Morrison even though the same praises somebody else.

Like a full force gale

I was lifted up again

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WHO IS ‘MISSILE’ GORBACHEV?

Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: DISTANCE LEARNING, HIGHER EDUCATION | Tags: , , |

 

I was stumped when a colleague asked me this question.

When I wanted to know more, he showed me the question relating to an assignment paper for students of the IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University).

It is true that the Russian leader was instrumental in bringing words like ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost’ to the mainstream. It was Gorbachev who kick started the move in the dismantling of Communism in the former Soviet Union and its allies across Eastern Europe. Gorbachev also in partnership with the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan initiated the moves to strategically reduce the number of ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) held by the US and the then USSR.

However, that does not make someone change the name from Mikhail to Missile.It is all the more appalling when it comes from the ‘largest’ distance education facility-the IGNOU.

The IGNOU prides itself on being the largest facility of its kind in the world and honestly, the materials provided to the students is genuinely of a very high quality.But there is something that is lacking and needs attention.

It is not the study materials alone that matter. What matters also is the guidance provided by the Counselors.It is in this context that the IGNOU falters. The study centres give the task to people who are not always the most capable.

It is really surprising that the IGNOU spends so much on giving the remuneration to the Counselors-most often tax free that there is no emphasis on quality control.

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HOW MANY MORE ATTESTATIONS?

Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: WTF |

I have always wondered to say it very mildly whether things change.

There was a time when I like many of my day posted job applications by the dozen. Among other things, the photostat copies of certificates were required to be attested by some ‘gazetted’ officer for the purpose of certifying their authenticity. Of course, at the end of the application form, there was this mandatory undertaking to be given by the applicant stating that in the event of any information proven to be wrong, suitable action would be liable.

It was not difficult for me to get the necessary attestation from the suitably qualified persons. But my siblings who had their education in cities not close to my hometown, found it extremely difficult to get the job done.

Recently, I zeroed in on one potential employer and to my surprise, the attestation of the certificates was required. Pissed off, I decided not to apply even as my chances were bright.

A few days ago, I was required to verify the examination forms of the students who are to take the examinations in March. Most students reported late and upon enquiry, they told me of the travails and troubles faced to get the attestation done.

When is this shameful practice going to end?

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CHANGE OF ROLES?

Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET, INDIA, IPL, TEST CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , |

For the second innings in a row, Harbhajan Singh managed to upstage his more legendary teammates and scored a century.Harbhajan took four wickets in the first innings but could not make much of an impression on the New Zealand batsmen so far in the second innings.

Since announcing his arrival into the big league of test matches with a bang in Sri Lanka, Suresh Raina has failed to back his supporters. Even when he scored a half-century against the Australians, Raina looked extremely suspect when it came to the fast and rising balls. If one remembers correctly, Raina offered not so pleasant pictures when facing the short balls even in the IPL. What is worse is the fact that Raina tries a big shot and gets out as he did in the first innings of the Hyderabad test.But interestingly, Raina got the wicket of Ryder.

So is Harbhajan the new batsman and Raina the new off-spinner in the Indian team?

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NO CLEAR ANSWERS

Posted on November 15, 2010. Filed under: CRICINFO, CRICKET, MATCH FIXING, SPOT FIXING | Tags: , , , , |

Sharda Ugra tries to go into the minds of those who are alleged to have been involved in things like ‘match-fixing’ or ‘spot-fixing’ in this great piece in Cricinfo.

She cites people like Mike Brearley and Sandy Gordon to find answers to the question “why” or “what” motivates great sportspersons to take part in acts that are not sportsmanlike.

As an Indian and one who reads, hears about corruption and one who is also a victim of corruption, the reasons for going corrupt or bad are extremely complex.

There is a genuine feeling that when one is in the midst of corrupt people, the temptation to remain clean is extremely hard.Besides, the corrupt ones always try to enlist more members into their club, primarily to gain strength from larger numbers or to reduce the risk of being caught.But this hypothesis does not fit into the cases of sportspersons where most are clean.

It is mostly to do with greed and to nothing with the backgrounds-economic, social or religious. Even as sportspersons, especially, the cricket players of today are highly paid, the temptation to make that extra moolah without having to score runs or take wickets or grasp catches. The moolah is given precisely not to do anything of the above!

Personally, for me there is also a second factor that makes cricket players succumb to the lure of the lucre.There is no strong a deterrent or punishment that would discourage corruption.

There may be commissions and probes which can never conclusively prove the allegations and the whole thing repeats itself.

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WHAT A 100

Posted on November 10, 2010. Filed under: CRICKET, INDIA, TEST CRICKET | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

In the just completed test at Motera in Ahmedabad, India managed to stave off an embarassing defeat to lowly ranked New Zealand thanks to the efforts of     V V S Laxman and Harbhajan Singh.

Laxman once again showed everyone in very clear terms why he is really ‘very very special’.This statement is fast becoming a cliche thanks to the exploits of Laxman in the recent matches against Sri Lanka and Australia.

While Laxman’s abilities and credentials cannot be questioned, Harbhajan Singh demonstrated his attitude and brought up his maiden 100 in first class cricket when it really mattered most.Not to forget the half century in the first innings in the same match.

With the 100, Harbhajan joined 3 other Indians who scored their maiden first class 100 in test matches.One of them is the great Kapil Dev.Predictably, after the match, some managed to ‘unearth’ a new all-rounder in Indian cricket. Mercifully, no one has the gall to draw comparisons between Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh!Of course, Sunil Gavaskar wants the selectors to make a batsman make way for another bowler in the wake of the 100 from Harbhajan.

Even as praises are showered on the batting efforts of Harbhajan, we have ignored the most important contribution that the off-spinner has to bring to his team. It is a matter of concern that while Harbhajan’s batting has improved, his bowling has gone into downhill. It is a worry that Australia and New Zealand managed to score in excess of 400 runs in the first innings of the previous three test matches in India.The primary role of Harbhajan is to take wickets although runs from his bat are also welcome.

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