Restraint in Victory and Dignity in Defeat

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Our society, culture and tradition always preach the values of equanimity and restraint. ‘Sthitapragnatva’ is our ideal. But sadly our public discourse, posturing and actions often betray short-term emotionalism, irrational exuberance or uncontrolled anger. Take for instance the developments in the sports arena. Tuesday’s papers carried headlines of Mohammed Khaif’s house being attacked by people who smeared the walls with black oil. The terrified family had to seek protection. The papers also carried photographs of Saurav Ganguly’s picture in flames.

A Dozen Years of Dramatic Change

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The dawn of the twenty-first century brought to us vividly the dangers inherent in our modern world. The terrorist attacks in the US on the 11th September, 2001, the Second Gulf War now raging in Iraq, and the rapid spread of Severe Accuse Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) from the first reported infections in Guangdong province in China to over a dozen countries across continents – all these illustrate the perils confronting us in a shrinking world.

Crime, Rule of Law and Economic Growth

According to statistics released by the state police the overall number of crimes in AP at 1.31 lakh in 2002 showed a marginal increase from the previous year’s total of 1.17 lakh. The report also revealed that the number of murders at 2376 showed a marginal decline from 2428 in the previous year. Hyderabad reported 110 murders whereas Rangareddy district topped the list with 181.

“Good old days”, or Sheer Nostalgia?

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How often have we heard people glorifying the past and their own generation and lamenting the rotten conditions in the present and despairing that things can never improve.

No place for violence in a democracy

Most of us are still recovering from the shocking attack on the chief minister’s convoy. Fortunately the chief minister escaped with minor injuries, while some of his colleagues are seriously injured.  This is the latest episode in the ongoing violent struggle with the extremist naxal groups, which saw some brutal and gruesome attacks over the past few years during which both sides stand accused of grave excesses.

AAG and VIP Culture

International athletes waved goodbye to Sheroo in an impressive event, but the real chunk of Hyderabadi sports-lovers was not even there.  Only around 2000 tickets were sold to the enthusiastic public for the Afro-Asian Games’ (AAG) closing ceremony on November 1, even though the GMC Balayogi stadium can seat around 30,000.  The VIPs and their dear ones filled up almost the entire venue.  Even more shameful is that some people with valid tickets (costing 500 rupees, each!) were denied entry to the grand show staged at great public expense.

Religion – Ennobling or Disabling?

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Religion has a powerful hold over most Indians. A survey conducted in the 80's in non-communist countries revealed some surprising facts about modern world. Japan, had the lowest proportion of believers, and Britain ranked only next! India, with about 99% believers, was the most god-fearing, and the US was ranked second!.

Narcissism of Small Differences

Over the past few years, in the course of my travels across the country, I had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with innumerable dedicated, brilliant and competent individuals who care deeply for the country. I am at once elated and depressed when I talk to them. I am delighted to see them willing to do something about our problems, but am depressed at their inability to overcome minor differences and work together for the cause of the nation.

Alienated Elites

October 11th marked the birth centenary of Lok Nayak JP, one of the truly great heroes of modern India. Every Indian has to be thankful to him for his spirited and courageous fight against the 1975 emergency, and but for him we could not have escaped from the clutches of a dictatorial rule. His name and memory as a conscience keeper of our nation are imprinted in the minds of many grateful people.

Isn’t Everyone Equal Under Law ?

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Traffic violations are more the norm than the exception anywhere in India. And in this one area, I am afraid the average citizen is as guilty as the rich and influential.   But that it should make news in our city is by itself newsworthy. So why and how did it make news? It became news because the driver of a Swaraj Mazda van was pulled up by a traffic sub-inspector and given a Rs100/- challan. It also happened that the Mayor himself was traveling in the van! The officer dutifully dropped the challan into the car.  The aghast Mayor promptly called the Joint Commissioner of Traffic.