Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I publish most comments rather freely, but some do cross the line and frankly I do get rather bored on certain issues - like bitching out XYZ, though I'll carry on bitching out the BRT and now the Ministry of External Affairs and any government department which insist that you need to have an account in a nationalised bank to get any other government documentation. WTF? Don't all banks have the same KYC norms, so why on earth insist that I need a State Bank account to verify my address. Pricks!
OK, so I spent half a day at the Regional Passport Office for no rhyme or reason today and couldn't get my work of getting a passport renewal with a new address. I'm frikking exhausted and with work adding to the pressure, things like today morning don't help.

And to explain why I hate ecomentalists - see a decade ago those guys were going on about how Nuclear power will be the end of the world and forced several governments to stop work on civilian Nuclear plants. And today we have a delightful CO2 crisis created by the coal-fired plants that came up instead and the mentalists will now hug lumps of U-235 if they had to, but they deprived many countries across the world of two decades or more of CO2 free power. Not that Nuclear energy is clean. No energy is clean, but if the world wants to make a difference to global warming, they should take it easy on eating cows.

The same with the BRT, the amount of pollution the BRT has added by increasing wait times (and don't expect people to switch off engines in summer - AC's don't work when the engine is off) pales in comparison to the 'benefits' of better public transport. I agree that deaths on the BRT would have happened anyway - jaywalkers and mad motorcycle drivers will always find ways of dying. Anyway, to ease the pain of those who think I'm the only blogger railing against the BRT (and I don't stay in GK-1 E,M,N,S and W Blocks whose roads are crumbling due to the loads put on them by traffic diverting away from the BRT) do a search for 'BRT Delhi' on Google Blogsearch.

Anyway, I will carry on about travels et al., until I move away from this blog to a new home online which is coming, albeit I will add the term 'shortly' which could mean anywhere between the next three-four months. It is kind of like the Tata Nano. Y'know, a car that is coming soon? I know a newspaper or TV channel can't say it, but I've been covering the automotive sector for a while yet, and I have a conspiracy theory running in my head. I saw the Tata plant in Singur about three weeks ago and it did not look like a plant that was "80% ready" by any stretch of imagination. I don't believe that Mr Tata's 'Dream' is ready or anywhere near completion as yet. Yes, some photographs have been taken, but Tata Motors reaction is strangely calm. Maybe I've just read far too many Internet conspiracy theories, and please do call me mad, but I don't think the Nano is ready.

And if the car gets delayed (whether the plant moves from Singur or not), what are the bets that Ratan Tata will price it for Rs 1.2 lakhs and blame the excess Rs 20,000 on Mamata Banerjee?

Don't get me wrong, I want the Nano to be made, despite my doubts about safety - because if we can allow a car as patently unsafe as the Reva to be sold (that's an idea allow Reva's on the BRT lanes to be crushed by DTC buses - I'm a genius!) in India, the Nano can't be any worse. In fact, it can only be better. But, the Tata's have a habit of making horrible first versions - the Estate, Sierra, Safari and Indica all come to mind and I just have a feeling that they don't want to cock-up here. So they don't want to rush a launch and Mamata conveniently helped them (also ref my point above on price). As a fellow-Bong journo a bit older than me, and far better versed on Bong culture said - maybe Tata Motors learnt from a classic Satyajit Ray movie.

But I do have one comment to make on media coverage about the Nano, until the national media got in on the act, the coverage coming from Calcutta felt awfully politically tinged. And as the ToI stringer in Singur, a great chap called Falguni explained to me, there has been a hell of a lot of bad and often wrong reportage. Reporters sitting in Calcutta used to get SMSes from 'sources' in Singur block and write stuff rather blindly. The 'bombs' thrown at the plant were a few Diwali crackers tied together. There was no 'Flag planting' or 'Wall Damage', and until recently the voices of the majority were being drowned out by the mad woman's shrieks.

I'll be honest, the parochial Bong in me wants the Tata Nano to work out, so conspiracy theories aside, I do want the Nano to do well and I do want West Bengal to do well again. I have no love lost for the Communist movement in India because they are hipocrites but they refuse to realise that fact, but I think that in a dogfight between Mamata Banerjee and the Communists, I'd support the Communists.

And to clarify a point - Arnab hates the BJP as much as all people who learnt their trade on the knee of Prannoy Roy. But unlike the other channels, and this is why Times Now got a 'threat', the channel doesn't pander slavishly to the minorities. Sure urbane, liberal tendencies make them do that as well, but not to the extent on other channels where I sometimes think some presenters and anchors are rather embarrassed of their religion. Pity, actually since belief isn't such a bad thing. maybe they should watch the 'Story of India'.


KMN said...

a better conspiracy theory would be Bajaj backing media reports and maybe even Ms.B, think about it Bajaj will be the company to worse hit by the Nano(see the auto rickshaws and their bikes, lets not forget their 100,000 car)

its quite possible and no am not a nut, its just a thought you know.

Rajeev said...

Hey K, long time since we heard your take on the new kid on the block - NewsX. Sure, the screen looks clean, the anchors don't yell or take stands... but purely in journalistic terms, how would you say they score?

thalassa_mikra said...

As a non-believer with a very devout Hindu mother (a mother who believes in the separation of religion and politics), I really don't know where I stand on this.

I love the aesthetics of religion - Orthodox Christian iconography, Vaishnav terracotta temples, blue tile mosques, all.

My problem is when religion tries to muscle its way into politics, that's when a non-believer like me starts to get uneasy.

I sure as hell never want to live in Saudi Arabia, so why would I be happy about an aggressively Hindu government in India.

You like your religious beliefs? Good - now keep them at home and don't try to impose them on the civic system that governs my life.

Anonymous said...

irresponsible reporting??? Hmmm.. Ms. Dutt was responsible for atleast 2 deaths in Kargil, for her foolhardy adventurism. Now that is irresponsible...

Chirag said...

One the religion front, it's not a question of being proud. It's a question of whether the philosophy of "my god can beat up your god" should be allowed into anything that you do. Be it, renting out your house (people hear my name and ask me if I am Muslim. Needless to say, I never rent from a bigot.) or venting opinion as balanced journalism.

Sure, use religion to do good, run a soup kitchen like the church does. But to support the building of a 100 acre temple is hardly doing good.

Support the UCC, but to support a Mosque demolition and to support burning up of people alive in the name of religion, is stupid. For an educated person to support the same is IMO evil.

The problem with education is that the more and more educated you become, the more quickly u understand the difference. Except when you want to use religion to pursue an (stated or otherwise) agenda. e.g. Jinnah or Mr. Advani and his ilk today. Mr. Advani and company are as divisive as Jinnah was in his day. So what next? Genocide? Another division of this country? This time, because of Hindu pride...

Chirag said...

I see, that you didn't censor the first anonymous comment about Ms. Dutt. Interesting. Some investigation might be in order.

J said...

what?!!?? 2 deaths?
How's that?
By reporting Indian Army movements LIVE?

Anonymous said...

Well! during the Kargil war, Ms. Dutt wanted to shoot a feature piece on the Indian Army. So she got the sound bites etc. and now needed some realistic "shots" of the jawan at night.

Now, she was told that you can't shoot at night because it is not safe. Light travels rather far in the clear mountain air etc.

So the lady comes back after some time and tells the Jawan that, she has spoken to the senior officers.
So the man said fine, go ahead.

So, the lady gets her shot, with the lighting etc. and moves off to do other things.

10-15 minutes later, Pakistani shelling hits that picket.

So much for journalism of courage.. eh. Shameless, attention seeker.