Four Stray Thoughts : January 21, 2010

Here are my Four Stray Thoughts for the day:

1. Taxi Drivers and Marathi language: The Maharashtra Government has announced that you cannot drive a Taxi in Mumbai unless you are read and speak Marathi. In addition to that, you will also have to be a resident for 15 yrs. We should congratulate our government and the bureaucrats working for them for devising one more scheme that will earn them money. I increasingly suspect that the only thing our planners do is to plan how to make more money for themselves. It should come as no surprise that this new rule will not change anything. Those who wish to drive a Taxi, whether they know Marathi or not will now pay a bribe to some agent and get their permit. The agent will also certify that the prospect reads and writes Marathi and has also stayed in our city for the last 15 years. So much for all these policies. In summary, these policies do three things: a) Encourage agents and middlemen to keep making money b) Encourage corruption b) Give a tight slap on the face of the common man who dares to think that things are becoming better.

2. Do we have a Prime Minister? It has been a long time since I heard anything from Manmohan Singh. Many folks call him a ‘working’ Prime Minister who wishes to let his work speak for himself rather than letting media fall all over him. I think that is a good strategy given the times that we live in. But still, as a leader you need to be visible. You need to be making statements, setting some wrongs right in the public domain. For many folks, out of sight is out of mind. And that is the sad irony for Manmohan Singh, who has got 2 full terms as a Prime Minister and should have been more forceful and visible to all of us. There is no doubt about the fact that he might be the most clean and efficient Prime Minister that we have had but India needs an iron hand at times to put people straight. What would be a better sight for all Indians then Mr. Singh himself stepping into some thorny issues and telling the so called “protectors” and “culprits” to shut up and punish them then and there. The whole country would support him, I am quite sure of that. Alas, we are a democratic society and it will never happen. That is the price that we are paying at times.

3. Global Warming: I have not been too convinced by the claims of several scientists/organizations the world over about the onslaught of Global Warming. Yes, climates have changed to a large extent in certain parts. In fact everything happens in extremes so to speak. But still things like all ice melting, dramatic and overnight catastrophes in the next 20-30 years have not convinced me in the past and in the present. It has just been my gut feel all along that the “Market of Global Warming” now means serious business and if you translate that, it means lots of money. The recent admission of the UN Panel with Dr. Pachauri is another example that highlights how stinking the motives could be with all these reports. These folks have completely lost their credibility with goof ups like this. And what suffers as a result is our environment itself. These people are the real villains instead of you and me. They need to be put inside a glacier and told not to worry since as per their report the glacier should be melting anytime soon …. so there should not be any cause for their worries.

4. The curious case of Kasab: The lone terrorist arrested in the Terrorist attack on Mumbai is making a farce of the proceedings. I am sure that at the end of it, they will pass a sentence on him and he will be punished. But what will not be lost on all those following the proceedings is the mockery that it has made of our judicial process. The statements coming out from him are hilarious and sad at the same time. Hilarious for the sheer dare devilry with which he makes it and he can do that, since we are a democracy and have a judicial system, which are good things by the way. They are sad because he denies everything and now he has even started talking in Marathi. His case seems to be reflect that of a recent English movie called “The curious case of Benjamin Button” where Brad Pitt plays out his life in reversal and moves from an old man to a young infant. Kasab seems to be now playing the same game on us. He is now reversing his life events in the way he finds it out. First he said he did not attack, then he moved a few days back and said he was strolling at Juhu when the police caught him. Now he talks in Marathi and maybe the next thing he will say is that he was a part of a school in Mumbai where he learnt it. And so on. While I hate to say this, we must acknowledge him and his team for demonstrating so effectively about how difficult it is to close what is supposed to be an “open and shut case”.  Very sad indeed.

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