Saturday, September 30, 2006

I am also blogging at Chennaiist.com

Chennaiist.com is a collaborative weblog about the city we love and live in-Chennai. Our group of Chennai-crazy individuals will try to capture the myriad flavours, sights and sounds of Chennai and present it to the people of the city, so that they can drown themselves in its essence, feel its pain and pleasure and work together to create a better place to live every moment of our lives.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years after 9/11 - The Xenophobic world we live in

It just took two towers (9/11), a few trains (7/7) and a foiled plane bombing. Now the western world considers anything that walks on two legs, having a beard, as a terrorist! Call it bigotry, call it Islamaphobia, call it whatever, it's sad and troubling how broad minded our human race has become!

Only last month a flight was forced to return to the Amsterdam airport escorted by fighter jets when travellers got Xenophobic and suspected their co-passengers of being terrorists. The pitiable suspects turned out to be Indian businessmen, who happened to be Muslims. (
Link)

Now Scotland Yard has admitted it is profiling thousands of UK Muslims and is carrying out a close surveillance of the activities of these potential 'terrorists' (
Link)

While the West continues it's obsession with it's flawed 'War on Terror' program, that ignores the root cause of the problem. The terrorists continue to indulge in arbitrary slaughter in the name of jihad. Thousands of human lives have been lost, mostly innocent, yet the Vicious cycle continues with no end in sight.

Last month,
I too became a terrorist inadvertently...!!! Read more about it on www.Chennaiist.com, a new group Blog where I contribute. Chennaiist, is all about Chennai, the City I live in and love the most!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Blog Camp.in Chennai

I started Blogging over a year ago only as a hobby, as I found a medium to express my opinions and views on various issues. Even though I heard of Blog Camp at the Chennaiist bloggers meet last month, I never took it too seriously and it took some convincing from fellow Chennaiist Ramanujam, to actually make me go to the Blog Camp.

The Tidel Park ambience and all the paraphernalia were good thanks to the organisers and the sponsors. I was surprised to see so many people serious about something that was only a hobby of mine. People had turned up from all over the country and few from outside too. The unconference mode was very good with lots of participation and fun all around. There were many blah blah events, but the ones that interested me were the techy ones.

The presentations on Word Press, Blogger Beta, Podcasting and AJAX were informative BUT the presenters could've done with at least a bit of preparation. Though they knew their topics fairly well their absolute unprepardness showed every bit of the way. Overall, it was a great experience to know stuff and to put faces to the blogs I read. Next time, Count me in!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A day for the people who made us who we are

In the run up to the Independence day, as part of the regular activities of the Chennai chapter of Bharat Uday Mission, I came into contact with over 100 students who belonged to the lower socio-economic strata from two government run schools in Chennai. Half the students belonged to a school on G.N.Chetty road, T.Nagar and the rest to a school in Chintadripet.

We put a three questions to them

  1. India's Independence day with the year
  2. India's Republic day with year
  3. The colours of the Indian National flag, in order.

It was a terribly disappointing experience for me and my fellow members, who share an emergent dream for the country, to see the complete ignorance of the young minds, about such basic facts about India. Hardly 5-6 from those 100+ students belonging to classes 5-8 knew the answer to all three questions!

If this was bad what came next was worse, a group of girls of class 8 did not know, that the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu was the city they live in!! Some students of class 7-9 did not know all the English alphabets properly!!!

As dark clouds of gloom descended on our dreams and aspirations, there was a silver lining too, in the form of privately managed welfare school in Beasant Nagar. The Olcott Memorial High School, which for over a hundred years has been giving free education to the children of domestic workers, labourers and fishermen. The children there came up with a slogan that I now use with pride on my Email signature "India at 59, better than yesterday, But not as good as tomorrow!"

There is only one difference between the first two schools and the Olcott school - Good dedicated teachers. It's for these kind of teachers and those teachers who made me, who I am, I say from the bottom of my heart, HAPPY TEACHERS' DAY!

Cross posted from Chennaiist.com

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Loosing our identity

Vande Mataram - A song that has inspired thousands if not millions of Indians to stand up against our foreign invaders. Now a hundred years after it was written our National Song is mired in a needless controversy.

Even though only the first two stanzas of the song have been adopted as our national song, a few religious leaders have objected to Muslims singing it. as they believe that some words in the latter half of the song are incompatible with their religion as they interpret it. While some political leaders are trying to gain mileage by playing the nationalist card. Some other politicians (the worst kind) choose to be ambivalent just for the sake of a few votes.

As always in any controversy in which religion is dragged in, the 'wise' religious leaders (pun intended), play politics for the sake of their own selfish gains, to promote their own ideologies instead of god willed peace and harmony. I better not speak of this despicable class of people. In this case it happens to be some Islamic leaders of Deoband. They've gone to the extent of issuing a directive asking parents to withdraw their children from schools which make their students sing the national song. As I already said, criticizing these people who call themselves men of god isn't really worth anyone's time.

The opposition NDA is like a child without it's favourite toy (power) trying to grab every opportunity, to endear itself with the people. No point talking about this people either.

The Indian National Congress which heads the current Coalition ruling the country... shame on them! These people who originally came to power on the freedom fighters' plank go against everything all those people laid down their lives for. In the cloak of maintaining Peace and Harmony in the country they pursue their divisive vote bank agendas. First it was banning movies now it's blacking out songs. What next?

The scapegoat in this political game, our national song, our identity as a nation, something that unites us in spite of the thousands of other things that divide us. If some intolerant narrow minded people don't wanna associate themselves with this identity, let them be... Let the rest of us sing with fervour... Vande Mataram!