Monday, May 14, 2007

The Hound of the B(h)askervilles

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the newspaper which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was an Urdu daily called Siasat, published from Hyderabad. It was more than a year old issue.
"Well, Watson, what do you make of it?"
Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.
"I think," said I, following as far as I could the methods of my companion, "that Siasat is well-esteemed by Hyderabad residents. Since I do not know Urdu, I cannot read it though.”
"Good!" said Holmes. "Excellent!"
“But, there is a report about the wife of Nizam whose property case is pending in a family court. Interestingly, the same article had appeared in HT of TOI. The author and photograph used are the same. Ironically it happens to be written by HT editor herself. The question is how can HT editor write the same article in another daily?” said Holmes.
“That is strange,” said I.
"And then again, the court verdict was in favour of the Nizam’s wife and she got property worth crores of rupees," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette.
“That’s quiet normal,” I said because I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts that I had made to give publicity to his methods.
“I had tried to sneak into the lady editor’s house in Banjara Hills one fine evening and dear Watson, I was taken aback to see the luxury the woman was enjoying at her capacious flat.” Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette.
“Given the fact that she was an ordinary private school teacher a few years ago and taking into consideration the financial status she had those days, the whole chain of events turn very interesting,” Holmes was getting more complex.
“Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?"
"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of the times your conclusions were erroneous. To be frank, in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth,” said Holmes.
“I, in the guise of a courier boy, frequented TOI office and counted the parcels that went to the lady’s cabin and I found them high in number and often big in size,” Holmes said with his inimitable smile.
"I enquired about her children’s lifestyle and honestly, they get everything free everywhere.”
I was getting confused.
“And what do you think of those pictures appearing in their Page 3 on and off?”
“They are very happening people in Hyderabad. They are the inner circle of the society,” I said.
“Oh, no Watson. They are not the elite people of this city. The elite never like to see the paper, leave alone being featured,” Holmes was really driving me nuts.
"You may be right," I said.
"The probability of this lady editor being very corrupt lies in that direction. And if we take this as a working hypothesis, we have to find out where she was most recently.”
“She can go on her personal works,” I was trying to defend the woman whom I always regarded as an eminent journalist.
"Well, then, that is why I say you are a moron. Leaving her husband and children, why did she go to the hot Turkey in this summer?”
Holmes was getting really serious.
"Do none suggest themselves? You know my methods. Apply your brain. I can only think of the obvious conclusion that the Princess she wrote a lot about in her paper belongs to Turkey. Now, if you think that you have little sense, try to link all these and come back to me tomorrow,” saying this, Holmes walked out of the room.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Power struggle in Times!

A hooded hisser from the Times House has a lot to say on why the Ed, Nag sits on job offer letters. Below is his cryptic explanation that would surely keep many busy this weekend guessing the import. We are tempted to run a contest -- Analyze this! Try and shoot your answers. Happy weekend!

My dears, Don’t jump to hasty conclusions without knowing about what is making Nag, to keep aspirants on their tenterhooks. Asking for his blood - like the ToI, that put out an all out fight (if you like, you can add: shamelessly) against that poor Jaipur Magistrate, along with its coterie of Bollywood buddies and battery of its courtiers. Just to encash a gorey… gorey… long..y long...y miti…miti…news, for more than a week or so. (Poor fellas, seem to have no business IQ in their heads. For, more than ToI, the Kamasutra condoms got good branding, without paying a single pie to ToI.)
Coming back to our story, of Nag, of aspiring scribes and of a sundry buro - try to understand, before throwing mud, on the face of any one. Both, you and the blog managers misunderstood Nag, in reasoning, why he is showing abnormal delay, in taking aspiring jurnos into ToI.
To clear the air, I am giving the inside story to you all, Ok:-
Whoever, from now onwards, going to join in ToI, will have to work in a sundry buro that earned a notorious name, among all other buros of ToI, in Southern India. Nag is finding it difficult, to remove the disease that infected this buro.
Because, the centre of gravity of this sundry buro was about to be removed by the management last year. But, this mortal had gone and fell on the feet of - the "Only Sunday Jesus believers" and rest of the week "Satanic Verses" - occupying big seats, up there, and got his skin saved. These are members of the new power lobbies that are now at work, in ToI, after that big guy left to DNA, deserting ToI.

Now, it is clear to Nag, as of now, he is helpless and there is no scope to cure or remove the deadly disease, infecting this buro. So, the only way left out for this top man of ToI, is to bring in the best resistant capable cells, that could withstand, fight and survive against the existing malady of this buro. What all that he is doing is, making the aspirants to wait, to a breaking point. Just, to test their survival capacities, to make sure, they will continue as long as he is on the top of ToI, in HYD.
Given this back ground, now you may ask, why all this hell? Here is the answer:
Going by the experiences of this sundry buro, it was found out by Nag and some others - the cerebral geometry of the centre of gravity of this buro is polluted worse than the Musi. How?
Early shocks:
The new journos, intended to join in ToI, walks in… humming… smiling… happy to be a part of the world’s largest paper…Only to find out that there is an assignment in store… for him/her, at 6 in the morning, somewhere beyond Golkonda, to cover a youth fest. Not surprising, the new journo don’t mind, even to cycle the 40 something kms, to bring a colorful item, to prove his/her talent, to the main buddy of the buro. First, moments… of Josh in ToI you know... Isahi hota hai!
Then, when one reaches there, the new jurno’s senses will come to hosh… finding, to his dismay, the dudes of the youth fest, from different colleges are busy in brushing their teeth or going to natural calls.
Morning Blues -- Metro Silver Pack:
With a good morning coffee in hand, the poor new journo turns the ToI next morning…Ummah… only to see his item used as a filler of four lines. Followed with this, rings your mobile… the name that flashes on the screen, sure to remind the poor new thing, a corgi standing and staring right before him or her. No way, you respond to the call… take it for granted…. @ of any notes of the music, of even those living in the remotest African jungles… the voice is not musical to hear in a morning time, after the early shocks. You hear… a creaky voice saying, "I don’t know what you do, and I want two". Means, lay two eggs (stories) a day, with no hatching time given (Not surprising, even if the eggs of him for years, most of the time, lifted ones hatched by others). That’s when, the new thing, starts feeling a crane-fly creeping and crawling on his body or a condor circling over his/ her head.

Guru Gyan -- Metro Combo Offer:
This is the time when the cronies of the centre of gravity preach you the Guru Gyan as part of the Metro Combo offer. Talk to him nicely… speak to him… take him to lunch… etc. Means, surrender and be a chemcha and work for him but not to ToI. Other than occasionally offering of kitty parties...act like an informer… relaying to the main buddy, whatever your pals in the buro are talking… chatting… etc etc. If you surrender, you can smile all the way… a promotion… a pay hike… few hours of work… (This includes, lifting items from Enadu, Andhra Jyothy, IE, Vartha..etc...a privileged buddy you will be.(Informers of this virus are there in the buro, desk as well as HT).
The Basic Instinct - Metro Wild Pack:
Victims: A buro scribe/a HT scribe and Nag's first secretary
I will continue: next time
Black Box, Kala Ghar, 2nd Building, Next to grave yard and Besides Rangoli,
Third Road, Banjara Tribe Hills, Bhagyanagar.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Soulless sport stars

In sport, does the country come first or one’s own career?
This should-never-arise question sadly pops up repeatedly in India. Bringing us back to this question now is the tiff between Badminton Association of India (BAI) and three top players. The players are crying foul that their federation is jeopardizing their international careers, while the federation vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

First, the story so far is: The federation refused permission to three players from Andhra Pradesh – Chetan Anand, his wife Jwala Gutta and her doubles partner Shruthi Kurien – to play in two tournaments abroad and instead asked them to attend a six-week camp in Hyderabad during the same period. The players contend that they would have possibly gained some points by playing in these tournaments and improved their world rankings in their bid for an Olympic berth. The federation, on the other hand, maintains that missing two events when about 25 tournaments are still on the calendar does not make any difference. Valid point, indeed!

The fallout of face-off: the players refused to attend the camp and the federation ignored them for selection to the Indian team, citing government guidelines that stipulate that players attend the pre-tournament camp to be considered for national team.
Who is to be faulted? The players can insist on their right to chart their own individual careers and plead that the federation, if it’s not in a position to help their cause, should not at least come in their way. The federation too is right in demanding that players, while pursuing their individual careers, are duty-bound to serve the nation.
The fact that the issue is being keenly followed up by the media indicates that the players concerned are stars in their own right. Had it not been the case, neither the federation, nor the badminton fraternity or the media would have cared to give them a second look.

It is quite possible that the federation was keen on having the three top players represent the country — they are crucial to the team’s prospects. Chetan is the country’s top men’s player and Jwala-Shruthi is the top women’s doubles pair and the trio can boost India’s prospects. Maybe, being the best must be the reason why the players wanted to skip the preparation camp. They stand to gain little by attending camps where they have no equals to play against and improve their game. Therefore, the best way for them is to compete on the circuit and gain as many places as possible on the world rankings. Perfect logic!

But the point is do the players have a heart — for the game and its growth in the country? Agreed the top players have nothing to learn at the camps, but how about providing an opportunity to the upcoming players to play against you and better their game, contributing to their and the game’s growth? Surely, Chetan benefited immensely from his on-field clashes with Pullela Gopichand. Isn’t it immature for this boy-faced player to now indulge in ego-clash that benefits none and hurts all, most importantly the game and Indian team’s prospects?

Players should always remember that they are not bigger than the game. The reluctance of Indian Test players (including fallen star Azhar and fading star Sachin) to play Ranji matches has a lot to do with today’s paucity of cricket talent pool in India.

Not long ago, our Telugu bidda, the humpty dumpty Koneru Humpy committed the same crime. The chess player, having grown beyond everybody else in the country, found it meaningless to play in National tournaments. She avoided all tournaments in India, ignoring earnest appeals. Her participation would have helped other budding stars to improve ELO rating and secure IM norms, should they by chance defeat her, a GM. Humpy knew this, or at least her father-coach did, and avoided national events!

Do our much-adored sport stars every rise above petty personal goals and think and act as Indians? Will they ever put the game before themselves?
It is here that Leander Paes stands tall, without comparison. How playing for the nation motivates him to pull all the stops is a legend in its own.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Maa TV in doldrums

The once-successful Maa TV is once again going through turmoil. On Monday, News Desk head Bhavanarayana resigned. The issue of delay in hikes to news desk staff is said to be the reason! The management reportedly requested him stay put. Bhavanarayana’s resignation may not be linked to the recent developments, but would be seen as another indication of the trouble at the channel.
The channel is owned by four big names — original promoter Muralikrishnam Raju, industrialists Nimmagadda (Matrix) Prasad and film stars Chiranjeevi-Akkineni Nagarjuna. But only one man is said to be calling the shots – Sarat Marar, close to Allu Arvind and Chiru-Pavan brothers. After Marar’s entry the role of Sarma (former chairman of Prasar Bharati) was hastily changed from CEO to advisor and then sidelined. Soon, the channel’s creative head, Adivi ‘Forest’ Srinivas, credited with multiple hit programmes, left because of too much of interference. Forest is now with NTV.
Writer Kuppili Padma was taken as head of Serial programmes but is now considered as a bad choice. Her position became tenuous after Nag’s make-up man Chandra raised a stink on Padma’s demands for telecasting a serial he produced. She survives though.
Benjamin from Zee who is incharge for promotions is doing no great work. Chandrasekhar, with experience in production and admin, and now heading the creative wing, is no better. His first idea, a phone-in programme, was stopped after the first episode! It is to be seen if the latest brain roped in by Marar, Radio City’s Sai, would be any better.


Bu‘dan’ quits:
There’s hardly anyone in the Eenadu editorial staff who doesn’t know this friendly Don. Work-obsessed Budan, seen at office at all hours of the day for more than a decade, is on the way out. He is on long leave! Starting as contributor in Chittoor district (during which period he faced the ire of communal elements), Budan was associated with Eenadu for more than 15 years and worked in various departments.
No news on which new news channel he might prefer!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Harry Lives!

Another July 21 and J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will hit the book stands. Oh yeah! Think again. A bunch of kill joys have pooped the party by posting the tome on the Internet. Read the 659 pages of dense text and the doomsayers are proved wrong. Harry Potter lives as do the green eyes of Lily Potter. So, where's the catch?. Is it real? How can Harry live and the series die? Maybe the tome on the internet is not original. Maybe it is. But you read it first here.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Await hike jinks!

More and more new channels are being planned for the Telugu audience, both by the existing ones and new entrants. In this season of mushrooming channels and migrations among patrakaars, managements have only one mantra to retain staff – pay hikes. DC just finished administering a dose of hike to its staff (The English daily has to lure talent from Telugu media and retain them!). ETV2, TV9 Maa TV and Andhra Jyothi are set to announce increased pay for the staff.
Many thanks to NTV, TV5 and Surya. Their promoters may be shady characters but they have forced the ‘nobility’ of media managements to stop being seedy and offer a better deal to the journalists. Even Andhra Prabha gave a rise!

ETV2: After the recent first-time-ever hike for Eenadu employees, ETV2 guys have been awaiting the good news with crossed fingers. Their turn has come. ETV2 employees salaries would be revised to peg the pay for beginners at around Rs 9,500 pm. Post hikes the bureau chief’s salary might touch Rs 20,000. Not really a competitive deal! Let’s see if the move arrests the flight of talent.

TV9: The channel is currently in trouble. After a good number of talented staff left for newbies and a couple of seniors had unsavoury exits (corruption charges, land deals!), confusion reigns supreme at the channel. The channel is short staffed and any fresh exits would have it in pits. Already, it is over depending on Deepthi Vajapeye, Rajnikant, and Badriprasad.

Take a look at what they dish out. A 30-min special feature on Elephant Caves (Mumbai)! No context, no reason or rhyme. Content deficit is the reason.

As a norm, TV9 does appraisals in August and announces new pay packs. This year however Raviprakash has decided to advance the process to April. Given the situation, the staff expectations are high. They have their options clear on what to do if the increase falls short of expectations. Many are already sitting on offers from competition. Await action.

At Maa TV appraisals are on. The original plan was to announce hikes to the staff on April 23 but the management later decided to deposit the revised salaries in the bank, which should be today or tomorrow. The staff are readying fireworks. Maa too is in a state of flux after some seniors like Forest Srinivas were eased out. Writer and feminist Koppili Padma now heads department of soap operas at Maa.

Andhra Jyothi: The year 2007 has started off on a wrong note for Jyothi. It has already witnessed desertions and apprehends more in the coming days. The management is said to be considering a pay revision, for the second time within a year!

Poor folks at Andhra Bhoomi, the media trend is passing them by. Kurnool reporter Ankam Ravi’s exit might give ideas to at least a few.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Ed and his Id

It’s been five months since we had Mirror Mirror on the wall who is the cruelest of them all post. Of late, some of our folks at ToI, real Joe Bloggs they are, seem to have developed a soft corner for the baldie, who was voted as the baddie. In November last we said: Working under him is worse than the Chinese water torture. That’s changed for the better now, our Joes report. All that’s water under the bridge. Nag is now genial and even gives us chocs, gush our Joes.

Talk of a tiger hiding its stripes and a leopard its spots!

A bit of digging in helped explain the mystery behind the makeover. Nag has found new ways of deriving pleasure to please his Id. He continues to be on the prowl to victimize scribes but has changed his hunting ground – the victims are not those within the Times House but those who seek an entry into it.

Nag’s new pastime is playing a cat and mouse game with job seekers. The modus operandi – invite them to office, interview them, make positive remarks before winding up the interview and promise to contact them soon. The pleasure game begins now. Every day, the aspirant would wake up hoping to get a call from ToI. He wouldn’t. After days, some of them after weeks, hesitantly call up the Ed. Nag promises action soon. We are on your case, you will hear from us soon. That reassures the aspirant but keeps him on tenterhooks. Nag knows it, feels it, enjoys it!

After days/weeks of silence, the desperate aspirant calls up again. Nag repeats himself, even more reassuringly! All hope is not lost for the aspirant but the unending wait kills him. Nag knows it, feels it, enjoys it! Just when the aspirant reaches the end of his tether and decides to forget a job in ToI, Nag calls. He times it just right, not to end the nightmare but to prolong it with his reassurance: “We are on your case. We will contact you soon.”

This drama will go on for months. Ask the guys who had suffered the pains for nine months after which Nag delivered, the offer letter. Not all are so patient. Take the case of the senior scribe from 36SD Road who went on a long leave after Nag’s first promise of job offer. Two months later he had to resume work, cutting a sorry face at his office.

Close to ten hopeful scribes are currently awaiting offer letters from Nag, not knowing that the Jekyll for insiders is Hyde for wannabes. Don’t be taken in by the slithery man’s smoothness folks. For him, you are just a game.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Eenadu biggies join newbies

Eenadu is bearing the brunt of migrations in the Telugu media. Talent erosion at the E-group is gaining speed. That its closest rival in print Andhra Jyothi is in no better position is the only consoling factor for the leading media house.
Talented journalist Bhallamudi Ramakrishna, who left the e-group a few months ago, has finally joined NTV. RK is now the News Coordinator at the upcoming channel. A post-graduate in physics, RK started his career as a contributor for Eenadu in his home town Bobbili. Soon he joined Eenadu School of journalism where he was identified as a bright spark with great potential. Posted in the General Desk, he lived up to his promise and became a trusted lieutenant of peddayana Ramoji.
During his 15-years of association with E-group, RK excelled both in the print and electronic media, ably managing to produce editions and bulletins. The soft-spoken RK is firm in expressing his views without mincing words, a good reason for the mediocre to despise him. His career at Eenadu ended when it was at a highpoint, not uncommon for some at the e-group.
During his stint at Eenadu, RK worked in Chennai and Delhi besides Hydreabad and trained many young journalists. Considered close to S.R.Ramanujan, RK's entry at NTV was not surprising...but the drama that associated it was! Insiders say, one biggie tried his best to block RK. No marks for guessing who that is! RK would be an asset for NTV, provided the ‘biggie’ doesn’t indulge in self-defeating politicking at the new channel.
YSR at Surya
YSR Sharma, another Eenadu veteran, has moved on to soon-to-be-launched daily Surya. Bleonging to the 1984 batch, YSR Sarma was the Chief Sub Editor and shift incharge at Eenadu for over a decade. His departure reduces the strenght of his batch at Eenadu to a handful -- Shastri, Khatri and others. Sharma's exit too is no surprise. He was branded as redundant, a spent force and was put into the recycle bin, sidelined that is, in recent months. His entry at Surya is a surprise and will boost the morale of scribes at Surya, as doubts arose over its launch after Andhra Jyothi's series on the promoter.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Transfers at Eenadu

Updated

Name Designation At Present Transferred to
CVLN Prasad, Sr-sub ed, News Cell to E-enadu
Gopalakrishan, sub-ed, E-enadu to Medak Desk
Mangamuri Srinivas Sr.SubEditor Medak D.I. to Maharashtra Desk

Asana Rao
Sub Editor Visakha Rural Desk to Nellore Desk

Mrutyunjaya Kukmar Sub Editor Nalgonda Desk to Nellore Reporting
Ankamma Srinivas Sub Editor Warangal Desk
to Nizamabad D.Incharge
Samanchi Muralidhar Reporter Political, Hyd
to Kurnool Reporting
Parepalli VenkateswarRao SubEditor Kadapa
to Kadapa D. Incharge

Jameer Hussain D.Incharge Kadapa
to Nellore D.Incharge
Murali D.Incharge Nizamabad
to Ongole D Incharge
Mallikarjuna Sarma SubEditor Warangal to Kurnool
Itta Sambasivudu Sr. Reporter Chennai
to Gen.Bureau, Hyd
P.RajeswaraRao Sub Editor Chittoor Desk
to Chittoor D.Incharge

Ch.L.N. Sastry Reporter Nellore
to Nalgonda desk
Parasuram Reporter Kurnool
to Nandyala reporter
Mahesh Sr. SubEditor D.Incharge, Guntur
to D.Incharge, Kurnool
O. Sudhakar Sr.SubEditor
D.Incharge, Ongole to (Vizag City Desk, Reverted)
K.Chandrasekhar Sr.SubEditor D.Incharge Chittoor
to Chennai Reporting
Adinarayana Reporter Bangalore
to Chennai Reporting

PRR KameshwaraRao Sr.SubEditor Nellore D.Incharge
to Vizayanagaram Rerporter
Laxmi narayana Sr.SubEditor Kurnool D.Incharge
to Quality Cell, Hyd
Mrithipati Srinivas Sr.SubEditor Nalogonda ?(Info awaited)
DhanjayaKumar Sub Editor Vijayanagaram
to Khammam D.Incharge
Seshacharyulu Sr.SubEditor Hyd. City Desk
to Guntur Rural D.Incharge

Venku Sr.SubEditor Hyd. City Desk
to Vizag D.Incharge(!)
Chintada Krishna Rao SubEditor Anantapur
to Guntur City D.Incharge
Rawoof SubEditor Vizag City desk
to Srikakulam Desk
SarathBabu Sr.SubEditor Srikakulam D.Incharg
to Vizayanagaram Desk, Reverted
K.Laxminarayana Sr.SubEditor Maharashtra D.I.
to Medak D.Incharge

A.Ravikumar SubEditor Guntur Rural D.I. to Adilabad Desk (Revert)
Subba rao Reporter Vizayanagaram to Orissa Desk
Ramanjaneya Gupta SubEditor Khammam D.Incharge
to Hyd city desk
B.Nageswara Rao SubEditor Ongole desk
to Anantapur Desk

KNR Subeditor Ongloe desk
to Awaiting
Rawoof SubEditor Nellore Desk
to Anantapur
Jyothi Prasad Sr.Reporter GenBureau, hyd
to Political Bureau, Hyd
Ramakrishna SubEditor Kurnool Desk
to Srikakulam Desk
Mahanthi (VenkataRao) SubEditor Maharashtra Desk
to Bhuvaneswar Reporter
Ramakrishna sub-ed Srikakulam Desk to Vizag City Desk
Siva Maruthi Kumar Sub-ed Srikakulam Desk to Chittoor desk

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Quota Sewage

The judges are becoming naughty, needling the government at every turn. The UPA coalition has lost Punjab, Uttaranchal, Delhi and Mumbai municipalities and some by-elections to Lok Sabha. Three tears. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has quashed the ordinance providing 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in education and public employment. So what, Karunananidhi will reserve seats for Christians and Muslims taking the total of reservations to 79 per cent, i.e. 29 per cent more than what the Supreme Court permits. UPA’s Left allies received a black eye in West Bengal. And, Uttar Pradesh is in the middle of electing a new Assembly. Is this the time to stay OBC reservations or challenge the minority status of Muslims in UP? Spoilsports, the judges are.

But then poor Arjun Singh, with a scalp that is vulnerable, depended on oral maths in computing his arguments to dole out the gravy to the OBCs. 1931 edition of the census report. That does not seem to be unreasonable. What if everything has changed since 1931? Independence came. Okay, Kaka Kalelkar counted 1200 OBCs but Mandal counted 2200. No, said the judges and asked a few uncomfortable questions. "1 What is the basis of the norms for fixing the OBC category? 2 What is the rational behind fixing it?
3 If the proposed reservation is implemented, what are the modalities and the basis for modalities?” All right, we will re-do our maths as we do our history. Veerappa Moily has done it. As we wait for the result, we remember what Oscar Wilde had said, “The best way to conquer desire is to yield to it.” So, the best way to abolish casteism is to accept it.

The Allahabad High Court ruling and its later stay by a division bench are all a fall-out of our history of troubled social and religious discord which establishment historians want to tinker with so that everyone becomes bhai-bhai. The very first question in defining a minority that needs an answer is: is the minority numerical or caste or religious or class or economic or intellectual? How can religion or caste be a basis of classification in a secular republic? Please, don’t bring reason into politics.

The apex court delivered a rebuke: “It has to be noted that nowhere else in the world do castes, classes or communities queue up for the sake of gaining backward status. Nowhere else in the world is there competition to assert backwardness and then to claim we are more backward than you.” How does it hurt the courts if we want to remain backward? There is some pride in it.

Okay, granted the Muslims are a minority. What do you do with Shias who are a minority among Muslims? But why does a numerical or religious minority need special treatment? The Muslims are backward, illiterate, poor etc. But aren’t there other people who are as backward, poor and illiterate as the Muslims? If some people talk of discrimination, such talk is based on the stupid hope that God should have created every one of us alike in every manner -- complexion, height, intelligence and gender too – and given us a common language so that there would be no basis for discrimination. Whether it is caste or religion, it is a shame that people scramble to be recognized as backward, not today but for ever. What a country! What a people!

No religious minority in India is persecuted. They are all victims of vote politics practiced by secular/communal parties and the greed of their own leaders. People are cleverer than the laws. They are converting to minority religions and buying scheduled caste certificates to grab the benefits that concessions bring to the minorities and the SCs and STs. There is no country in the world wedded to democracy which robs Peter to pay Paul. Is it necessary to tell the Dalits or Muslims they have been the victims of upper caste or majority villainy every time you offer them a carrot? The result has been a caste divide worse than the communal divide. The Dalits hate and wish the demise of everything they believe is the creation of the upper classes. In a recent interview Chandrabhan Prasad wanted all Indian languages should die because they do not benefit the Dalits. His suggestion that the Dalits should learn English is very good. For that, is it necessary that Indian languages which are older than English should die?
There is no secularism or communalism today. The ruling religion is opportunism. Mayawati woos Brahmins. Karunanidhi breaks bread with Muslims. In Kerala, secular parties regularly go to bed with the Muslim League. Reservations are 57 years old, extended every ten years as though it was a constitutional mandate. Those who benefited from these concessions failed to share their success with others of their community and, worst of al, became a separate caste by themselves. Poor Manmohan Singh is angry with the judiciary and asks the judges not to cross the constitutional Lakshman Rekha. But who knows better about the Constitution than the judges whose daily business it is to interpret it?