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Why a mausoleum is not a good idea

A couple of weeks ago Mr Fareed Zakaria wrote an article for an Indian daily, Hindustan Times. The article was titled “Reap the faith”. In his article Mr Zakaria puts forth a case for supporting the Mosque near ground zero in New York. Though his own reasons for it (construction of a mausoleum) in the article are not very compelling, however his reference to the speech on the same premise by New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is quiet coercing.

Mr Zakaria’s reason for building the Mosque could be generally summarised as: a) it would be a slap in the face of radical Islamists & b) it could be a foundation for the “reformist movement” in Islam.  Mr Bloomberg’s speech, on the other hand is a passionate plea, reinforced with a judicial proviso.  It’s difficult not to be swayed by Mr Bloomberg’s reasoning; he sheds light on some very significant moments in United States history on freedom of religion and separation of Church and State.  Both Mr Zakaria’s and the Mayor Bloomberg’s credentials are remarkable and their integrity cannot be questioned, but that, I am afraid may not be enough for others to see their point, for this is no ordinary scenario.

Taking into account, pure facts, there’s no case here for those protesting against the construction of a mosque. The land for the proposed mosque is held privately, and the owners are free to use it in any way they deem fit, any hindrance would be impeding their fundamental rights.  However the Anti- Defamation League (ADL) which is against the construction of the mosque opposes it on the grounds that the families of those killed in the 9/11 attacks are against it. As Mr Zakaria points out that Muslims were among those who died and some families have ‘mixed feelings’ so ADL does not have a definite mandate. Hence, it all boils down to what the owners of the land want and why?

As we already know what they want, the next question is why a mausoleum?  Would it not be better to assemble some kind of a cenotaph which is not devoted to any religion, but instead celebrates Humanity? I am sure that most families who lost their loved ones would approve of it. Besides, and perhaps more importantly, it would give the American people the sense of serenity, which would, otherwise, almost certainly be a feeling of having been wronged. And if it were to pan out this way, the anti-Islam sentiment would take even deeper roots. Like I said before, this is a very sensitive issue, and an error of judgement could generate communal prejudice and hatred.

It could also be argued that the wish of the holders to construct a Mausoleum, rather than a non-religious entity, is itself a somewhat radical slant, for, a moderate person belonging to any religion would not be so steadfast in his approach.  The onus lies on the owners of theland, if they want to honour the memories of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks, they must ensure that they do not give it a religious or communal colour. Failing which, could result in far reaching and possibly calamitous consequences.


Sleeping Vettel make’s it a dream for Webber

Vettel seems to be making a habit of deliberately kicking the axe, seven pole positions and just one win. I feel it is things like these that ultimately take a toll on drivers confidence and eventually effect his driving. What’s the point of being much faster than your team-mate if you cannot beat him on Sunday. Vettel knows he’s faster, the team knows he’s faster and  so does Mark Webber, but their acknowledgement won’t win him the championship, unless he’s able pull himself clear of Webber. a win just before the summer break would’ve given him a fill up, instead he goes into the break with a moral sapping result.

Webber’s “not bad for a no. 2 driver…” comment seems even more inappropriate considering how he comes out shining, in worst of conditions and how it is always the other way round for Vettel. He (Vettel) must be exasperated by now, every time he is about to take the lead (mantle of being the lead driver) something goes wrong for him. One can only hope he won’t let it affect him.  To his credit Vettel  handled himself rather well at the post race conference. By the way why was Mark Webber acting like a class monitor, shrugging at the way Alonso and Vettel sat (leg on the laps, even if it is not proper etiquette, its none of his business. Or maybe i am just overreacting

"What was I thinking"

Finally, whats wrong with Michael Schumacher, he was rubbing dirt in the face of his critics untill he pulled that move on Barichello. That’s totaly unacceptable, it was way too dangerous, i think he’s gonna receive a lot of stick for it. On the other hand if he’d let Ruben’s through, he’d have still made his point, Rubens was almost three seconds a lap faster than him, still took him almost four laps to make a pass.

‘Neta’ nuisance

What can one say about Indian politics, you could’ve done anything (or nothing at all) and still find a place of honour in this, all-consuming enterprise. No where else in the world are politicians more unaccountable or enjoy such impunity than in India. It’s sickening to see almost any illicit deed worth a mention, leading to one of these so-called ‘leaders’. And if, by any chance they do manage to not be involved directly, they play their part by becoming of the saviours of the perpetrators of such crimes. Small wonder then, they may be saluted to but are seldom respected and mostly loathed .

India may already be a global player, but if it is to ever become a balance shifter in world affairs, it first has to sort out the mess in its own backyard. The greed of our netas knows no limits; they are corrupt to the point of being evil. Sometimes, to their own detriment, case in point being Mr Madhu Koda (Ex Jharkhand CM who was accused of laundering money worth Rs. 4000 Crore, US$ 870 million). But for one ‘Madhu Koda’ who was ensnared owing to his unimaginable greed. His case a rarity of sorts; there is multitude of such wily statesmen who suck the states/country dry and never bought to justice.

 There is an anecdote that does the rounds in the cities and towns of two most prosperous north Indian states, it is alleged that the CM’s (Chief Ministers) of these two states would not go to bed until they made Rs. 1 Crore every day (Approx. US$ 218000). In fact one of them was known to grab anything that caught his eye, watches, cars, pens, houses, factories you name it. And no, it wasn’t by way of a kind request, when threatening can yield better results, why bother.  As a matter of fact this holds true for almost all the states in India, as a result anyone who has sat in the seat of power anywhere in India, for any length can be counted amongst richest politicians in the world.

As much as I loathe this kind, i must concede there are a few who don’t fall in this category . But these good men have their own shortcomings, the most noteworthy of which is, that they bear with such immoral bureaucrats.  They do this, i suppose because that’s the only way they can be in power and perhaps it’s the only recourse at their disposal (India has had a coalition govt. for las 15 years) to do something about issues that inflict us. But is it a reasonable trade off? Possibly, but likewise a lots more needs to be done to justify the compromise. Not the least of which is, to weed out the sleaze from fundamental public service departments (police, army & administrative). 

Where does one begin to make a change? I think education is one area that should be of primary importance. By laying educational parameters, e.g. min. qualification (graduation) competency in languages (Hindi, English & regional) and stringent scrutiny of character of potential legislators would go a long way in curbing this nuisance. Furthermore, I sense a two-party system would suite India quiet well. Though i doubt it’ll ever happen as there’s too much at stake for the policymakers. Be as it may, I think it is time that we (Citizens of India) do more to put an end to this constant disorder.

It’s choice–not chance–that determines your destiny.

Jean Nidetch


Alonso’s win poetic justice.

Scuderia FerrariA lot has been said and written about Alonso’s win in the German gp. Most of what’s been written is in angst against Alonso & Ferrari specifically and F1 in general.  I don’t understand what the fuss is all about. For all those who feel that Alonso and Ferrari have cheated, i would like them to answer these straight forward questions.

  1.  Wasn’t it the fastest driver who won yesterday?
  2.  Isn’t Alonso in a better position (choice) to mount a challenge for drivers championship?
  3. Should a team not be allowed to safeguard its interests or have a say in its own matters?
  4. Don’t the other teams also indulge in these (team order’s) practises?   

As far as I am concerned the answer to all the questions above should be a simple ‘yes’. I have seen comments of supposed “F1 fans” bitterly complaining about team orders. I don’t know what to say to them, should they be lambasted for calling themselves fans of Formula 1 when they don’t understand the most basic principle of the sport i.e. it is a team sport. And for better or worse what ever suits a team will play itself out on the track. This has, is and always will be the case, ban or no ban. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding himself and should take to other sports, pronto.

As for singling out Alonso and Ferrari, that too in my humble opinion id totally unjustified. Lets take up the latter first, Ferrari has only done what every other team in the paddock does, albeit, perhaps  a little more subtly(Mclaren in Turkish GP). But even then the fans know, so better to be obvious about it, rather than make mockery of their knowledge. Sure not everyone would agree on this one, as they would rather be duped into believing that no team order’s exist. Ignorance, after all, is bills. As for Alonso, again i cannot understand how he’s at fault, in all that transpired? He was clearly faster than Massa, had to good runs on him, backing out both time to avoid the Red Bull saga at the Turkish GP. Showed his frustration at Massa’s  callous defending “this is ridiculous guys”.  The next time he caught Massa i am sure he wasn’t going to be as charitable as in the two previous runs, so his comment could be interpreted as “this is ridiculous guys…. don’t blame me if it ends in tears the next time around”. If anything, I personally feel that Alonso, after his acrimonious split from Mclaren has been a little bit reluctant to battle it out with his team-mate on track. He has been happy to follow Massa (Australian gp) and wait for a chance to make a clean pass or wait for the pit stops, despite him being faster than Massa and loosing time to the front-runners.  

Michael Schumacher after the Austrian GP  fiasco put it quiet aptly when questioned about the driver hierarchy. He said something on the lines ‘both drivers start the season with equal opportunities, with no team orders and no bias. So if, during the course of the season one driver comprehensively outshines the other, the team must be ready to make difficult decisions (issue team orders) or assign the drivers the no.1 no. 2 tag’. This is very much the case with Ferrari right now, and although mathematically, Massa  is still in with a chance, it borders on impossible. Alonso on the other hand has as a good a chance as anyone else in the top five, hence the team did what it did. Alonso has been the one holding the fort for Ferrari this season, and it is only right that he wins the Grand Prix (German) where he was untouchable throughout the weekend. I can sympathise with Massa, but equally i am sure that he knew this would happen at some point this season. And if Massa can raise his game next year, like he did with Kimi, and get himself in a position where Alonso is at the moment, i am sure he too will receive the same treatment.