Random Thoughts

Alif for Allah; Robbing Peter

Alif for Allah
Deep Pockets
Khun ki Kheti
Nap to Slim
Robbing Peter
Dancing Your Way to Surgery
Celebrate on Credit
Think it Through

Alif for Allah

In her essay, ‘Islamisation of Jinnah’ Ayesha Siddiqa described Pakistan as ‘a hybrid-theocracy. Understandably, it searched for visible spaces where Islamic Sharia is formally implemented. It began with the Urdu alphabet in the Madrasas. Here is a specimen — search of new symbols. The result was:

Alif for Allah
Bay for Bandook
Pey for Pistaul
Tey for Tank

Every new movement evolves its basic symbols. Here’s the Namo list of Congress deeds and misdeeds:

A for Adarsh
B for Bofors
C for Coalgate

Deep Pockets

The very mention of deep pockets conjures up images of business tycoons like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett and Kroc brothers. What really do they carry in those pockets, I don’t know. I’m sure in day of plastic currency their pockets howsoever deep, aren’t stuffed with greenbacks. For all you know, they are mostly empty. However, fairly frequent mention of deep pockets has become a common weapon in the current election campaign.

In his ambitious bid for the national stage, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal launched a frontal attack on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Reliance chief, Mukesh Ambani. He contended that so copious indeed are Ambani’s pockets that he carries in them both Rahul and Modi. Now that, I’m afraid, is not easy to substantiate. Is Mukesh Ambani really that strong that he can carry a weight of over 150 kilos all the time?

Kejriwal also raked up the Gurgaon land scam to hit out at Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law and real estate major DLF. Thank goodness he didn’t say they too are in some deep pocket.

I always thought Kejriwal to be a resourceful politician. But I didn’t know he had access to Swiss banks and their secrets. He claimed that the Ambani brothers had Swiss bank accounts and challenged Modi to bring this money back to India. He gave two account numbers — 5090160983 and 5090160984 — claiming that they belonged to the Ambani brothers. If he knows the numbers he must also know the amounts. And in case they have stashed their money in the vaults of Swiss banks, why must they have deep pockets?

Khun ki Kheti

No, dear readers, the above is not the title of one of those old Bollywood classics of Sorab Modi vintage. It’s, instead, the battle cry of Rahul Gandhi pitched against the killer giant Modi and the crop of blood in his backyard. But why the reference to things that are gory like blood. Let me explain,

It was at Cambridge where Rajiv – for lack of anything academic – dated the pretty waitress Sonia. It was there that Signorina cultivated a love for classics. She began straight with Shakespeare and, lo and behold, with Macbeth. Since then she is obsessed with blood, and effortlessly passed this obsession on to the heir apparent. Both mother and son refer to blood all the while in their election rallies. Wasn’t it the 2002 riots and Narendra Modi’s role therein that the Bard was talking of

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand?”

And he answers his own question:

“No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red”

Within weeks of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s bellicose pitch against the BJP and Narendra Modi, charging them with indulging in zeher ki kheti (sowing poisonous seeds), party vice president Rahul Gandhi took off from where his mother left, saying BJP practiced “khoon ki rajneeti” by pitting one religion against another, and one caste against another, and all this for power.

“The BJP practices politics of blood. They don’t see anything but power. They can pit communities and castes against each other, they won’t hesitate to spill blood if they find it necessary to gain power,” thundered Rahul.

Nap to Slim

The elders in the family used to recommend: go to bed early and also get up early. I welcomed the first part of the advice bur certainly not the second. Now I hear it was a sound suggestion to help you take inches off your body.

The Telegraph reports on a new study indicating that women who wake up and go to bed at the same time every day may shed weight. Researchers have found that getting less than 6.5 hours or more than 8.5 hours of sleep each night was linked to the accumulation of body fat. We seem to have internal clocks. And throwing them off and not allowing them to get into a pattern does have an impact on our physiology.

Robbing Peter

Religion, Karl Marx famously wrote, is the opiate of the masses. Every Government, he forgot to add, is always in search of an opiate — religion or any other substitute thereof. In our times a very subtle substitute has been discovered by the economist called subsidies.

In our case Jawaharlal who was self-declaredly abstemious, was a firm believer in this opiate. He would be surprised how his sense of socialist equity and the quest for fairness has now turned subsidies into a powerful opiate of the people and an instrument of political power. Look at Sonia Gandhi’s unparalleled record. Unfortunately, power gained through lavishing subsidies on the electorate comes at a pretty stiff price, See what is happening in Thailand.

History is replete with examples of subsidies helping parties to win elections, fuelling corruption, and creating great economic distortions. Whether delivered in the form of price supports to rice farmers in Thailand, cheap gas to Indonesian consumers or free water to Delhi residents, subsidies are always offered in the name of a lofty moral and social goal. Who could oppose shielding poor from market volatility? Unfortunately, however, a time comes when the budget deficit becomes unsustainable.

Look at our record UPA governments relied on subsidies as the main tool to promote ‘inclusive growth’ under the guidance of the great economist, which Manmohan Singh is deemed to be. The slew of transfer programs — from right to work and right to food and education to subsidized grain, fuel, fertilizer and gas — has increased the fiscal deficit to over 6 per cent of GDP. Not to be outdone, the anti-corruption Aam Admi Party offered to halve water and electricity tariffs for Delhi residents on the assumption that suppliers overcharged consumers to that extent. It is a new Robin Hood-like subsidy: taking money from companies allegedly overcharging consumers and giving it back in the form of lower tariffs.

The problem is that it might take some time for auditors to prove such overcharging actually happened. Meanwhile, the AAP — under pressure to deliver on its electoral promise — resorted to robbing Peter to pay Paul; that is taking cash from other programs to cover the shortfall due to energy suppliers.

Numerous studies have shown how subsidies help the rich more than the intended beneficiaries and how politicians turn the handouts as the new opiate. As subsidies rarely come with a sell-by date notice they are often ended when economic disaster looms or wizened electorate refuse to play the politician’s games chose to vote for responsible parties.

Dancing Your Way to Surgery

It is shocking and terribly upsetting if one has to undergo a major surgery, especially if one has to undergo double mastectomy. But there are people who live it up to the last moment, forgetting their worries and tensions. A heartwarming video of a woman about to undergo a double mastectomy holding a dance party in the operating room has gone viral.

More than 3.6 million people have watched the clip of Deborah Cohan dancing with the medical team at Mt. Zion Hospital, San Francisco.

The patient, herself a doctor, is seen dancing to Beyonce’s Get Me minutes before surgery to have both breasts removed.

It was posted on YouTube where thousands of viewers left messages of support. The mother-of-two asked her family, friends and colleagues to record their own impromptu dance videos in solidarity with her.

Celebrate on Credit

Christmas comes but once a year. Yes, indeed. For British working-class families, it is a very special occasion and comes only once a year. So they borrow uninhibitedly at Christmas and continue paying for it till next summer.

The Independent reports on research revealing that one in six middle-income British families borrowed money to pay for food, drink and presents last holiday season and intended to do so again this year. According to research by the Trade Union Congress, the average amount borrowed was £654 and the typical family took 24 weeks to pay back the loan. Meanwhile, close to half the families who borrowed money to celebrate last year still haven’t finished paying that debt.

Thank God the cult of celebrate-by-borrowing hasn’t yet made inroads in the Indian way of life.

Think it Through

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on,” said the American poet, Robert Frost.

Yes, indeed it does go on and on but who knows where?


More by :  Sakshi

Top | Random Thoughts

Views: 3319      Comments: 1

Comment "Thank God the cult of celebrate-by-borrowing hasn’t yet made inroads in the Indian way of life."

No Sir. We are more suicidal. We celebrate marriages and other functions, why even birthdays, and take the road to ruin. All to preserve social status and keep up with the other guys around.

03-Mar-2014 13:42 PM

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