Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cultural Exposure

Shilpa Shetty: India's Cultural Ambassador
'I want to showcase our culture to the West'

Shilpa Shetty is all set to "showcase" our culture to the west. Bollywood dancing. If you are thinking what is wrong with that...

Not that the entertainment value of bollywoods jhatkas is any less than the lip-locking on hollywood screens, but to call that a showcase of our culture is a stretch.

For those of you that are going to accuse me of being sexist, lets wait till King khan decides to showcase India's "culture". If "sex sells" is your next clich├ęd addition, I know. I buy. But that doesn't change the fact that this is not Indian culture. Heavily borrowed from the cabaret style of the jazz era and hip-shaking aka jhatkas of the hip-hop and latino culture, it is far from "our" culture.

The big-brother cry baby, should work on what she knows best (though that in itself is debatable), acting.

Leave the dancing and cultural exposure to the pros.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cinematic Mediocrity

300. Prepare for glory.
I did. Needless to say, when there is so much hype surrounding anything, its more a case of "prepare to be disappointed". The cinematography and technical aspects of the movie were really good, but who the hell wrote that script? Whatever happened to facts? Whoever used the term "wild night" in those days?

I could go on about that, but since someone has already done all the hardwork, I'll be content to link to him.

But the movie was not all bad. Nice camera work, lighting etc made for atleast a half decent experience (if you left your brains home) and then there was a silver lining for those that managed to stay awake long enough, past the incessant claims of spartan valor. Lena Headey.

Monday, May 21, 2007


This is a clip from the movie Diggers (2006).

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Through out history, the people, the nations that have refrained from making excuses for their shortcomings, for their inadequacies or even those imposed by external agents have been the ones to succeed. Hiroshima and Nagasaki devastated a tiny island nation that now has the third largest GDP and is one of the world economic powerhouses. The land of Amstel and Heineken, having had their fair share of floods, still manage to make it to the top 3 exporters of agricultural goods or how Norway, land of the rising sun, with its “high plateaus and rugged mountains” and annual average temperatures well within single digit manage to have the highest Human development index. They manage to sustain the second highest per capita GDP, have one of the lowest unemployment at a shy under 4% and above all that manage to be the largest non-OPEC oil exporting nations, just behind Saudi Arabia and Russia (both OPEC members). The past and present, and I predict, by the trend, the future, will continue to indicate as such.

In a society both adept and receiving of the art and science of excuses, it is but natural that failure must follow. Every vice has its excuse ready and every excuse, the nail that builds the house of failure; Vocalized flurry of cover-ups and the inability or unwillingness to seek out the solution, to put into action rather than stand at the corner shop with a cigarette in hand complaining yet again of a failed government, marriage, and career. A desire to wake out of the ashes, like many before, in tales, mythical and factual, of heroism or the silent acceptance of our futile battle against the sinking quicksand in which we find ourselves.

Far too many times I have seen the government being criticized, perhaps for their corruption, or for their lack of desire to work, being reflected by our very own collective personalities. Or maybe the “fair sex” or “weaker sex” blaming their inability to raise themselves on what can be a level playing field if they choose it to be. Just like NGO’s are the bane of our desire for better governance, reservation the poison of our caste division, feminism is the hindrance to sexual equality.

Feminism is the product of female selfishness, compounded by male chivalry.

Such women dream of being raped, but no one wants them. They like standing next to strong male bodies.......
- MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky on feminist MP Yevegenia Ttishkovskaya

Feminism is about sacrifice, sacrificing men

"Then came the women's movement, modeled on the civil rights movement; it won converts even in Middle America. As blacks had demanded equal rights with whites, women demanded the same rights as men. Nothing less than full equality. If the boys can sow their wild oats in frat houses and singles bars and with one-night stands, why not us? But as nature did not design the sexes that way, and the consequences of promiscuity are unequally borne by women, in the form of babies, solutions had to be found."

- Pat Buchanan

The Depressed Doormat

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Giver of Knowledge: The Gupta Way?

Nalanda University is set to make a “come-back” from the dead. One of the world’s greatest universities, there is a plan to revive the university. A consortium led by Singapore and INCLUDING India and Japan is attempting to raise 500mn usd to revive the university. Sad state of affairs, since the university lies inside of India and has been one of the greatest centers of education along with Takshashila, banaras and many others.

But that might be a blessing in disguise, since the Indian government seems to have the anti-thesis of the midas touch. I shudder to think what they might do, if un-supervised, to what is undeniably one of histories greatest universities, and surely rivaling the IIT’s, MIT’s and Harvard’s of today, in the sheer number of great thinkers it has produced. Another reason I am disappointed, is thanks to the Indian Press, I am learning of this just now. NY Times covered this early December, 2006 and just now. Sad that indians are informed of something that might concern them after americans find out about it.

But I shall, for once, not think of the negatives that this project might entail if left in the hands of the Sonia gandhi’s and Arjun Singh’s who would not waste their time in putting in place a system of reservation that would surely deprive us of a chance to gain knowledge in India’s greatest university, if they did manage to restore it to its former glory (no small task, especially for an Indian government).

Instead, there is so much that might go well, not just for India, but also asia and possibly the world. Firstly, the project seems like the first real effort at regional cooperation. ASEAN, NAM and the likes are a bunch of bullshit. Old farts lined up around a table, talking about their grandchildrens soccer games and sipping oolong tea. This seems like the first real effort at forging a working alliance that will aid asian countries in restoring some of their past glory.

But is this effort lacking foresight? Some would say so. A Yale School of Management Professor writing for the business section of NY Times seems to have picked up on this lack of foresight on the part of the Indian, singaporean and Japanese delegation. A startup of 500mn doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to operating costs at harvard which runs into billions annually. So what value is 500 million?

I shall leave you with the article by Jeffrey Garten, since any expansion on the above idea will surely tread on plagiarism, and it sounds way more convincing when it comes from a former dean of Yales management school.

Really Old School by Jeffrey E. Garten

P.S. The bulk of this article was typed out early April, so those who are going to stake claim that it was covered in the news a month back, kindly note that I do know that.