Arvind Babu Chandrababu
Sourav Kumar Biswas
CHIEF OF WEB DESIGN:
CHIEF OF LOGISTICS:
Abhishek Sarihan, Herschel Kulkarni, Achal Shah. Ravi Sunkara,
Roshni Parikh, Anand Jayanti
Sumita Sami (Editor-in-Chief)
Muneezeh Kabir (Assistant Editor)
Mrinalini Ranjan, Vaibhav Jain, Uren Dhanani, Suchismita Pahi,
Nimisha Mittal, Alaknanda Renukuntla, Mohit Joshipura, Pragya Bhagat
Sruti Rao Pegatraju, Varun Unnikrishnan, Girish Jayaraman,
Aditya Mehta, Sanjay Tourani, Niyantha Shekar, Sara Haji
Shreya Krishnan, Simrat Sharma, Anand Jayanti, Ravi Sunkara
Ishan Mandhan (Chief of Web Design)
Abhishek Sarihan, Ravi Sunkara
Sourav Kumar Biswas (Design Chief)
Vaibhav Jain (Publicity Chief)
Ishita Paul (Fund-Raising Director)
Rushabh Desai (Fund-Raising Adviser)
Rohan Garg, Mrinalini Ranjan, Abhishek Sarihan, Uren Dhanani
Rohan Garg (Chief of Auditing) From ABCD to FOB: A Summer Humbling and a Closer
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Look at the Rhetoric of Labeling
Araceli Jaime, Anya Vavenko
My Observations on Sexual Phenomena in South Asia
Pandit Jasraj: An Interview that Ended too Soon
Bombay On Its Knees
My Quintessential Champion
BCCI Announces Caste-Based Reservation System on the
Indian Cricket Team
By MUNEEZEH KABIR A Summer Humbling and a Closer Look
at the Rhetoric of Labeling
T hough a single word could never do it justice, my summer can best be described
as unexpected. An internship at the National Accounts division of the nation’s
second largest trash company may not immediately elicit perceptions of severe
culture shock and a Desi rebirth, so to speak, but don’t worry—I’m getting there.
I re-entered the waste world after a year’s hiatus. I put my feelings aside—after all, I would have
My internship the previous summer was fairly to work with them for an entire summer.
mundane. In between phone calls to third party Sooner rather than later, we all began talking.
haulers was the occasional coffee run punctu- And I realized they weren’t all the same. Some
ated with the latest break room gossip—hardly had done all their schooling in India; others
eventful.This summer, though, I was immersed in had come to their senses in the States. One
Patel Nation and baptized by the Gujarati brand. actually arrived as little as 2 years ago, and
his English was absolutely impeccable though
I walked into the office with what I’m told is accented. Upon my mentioning this observa-
a hint of a Southern drawl with Chicago-style tion, he laughed and said he’d attended an
pronunciation, but seldom was English spoken English-medium school his entire life. Two
around me, much less to me.The linguistic clam- of them were cousins and considered the
or of Hindi and Gujarati hit me about the same ABCD’s of the group despite what looked (at
time as the smell of fresh dhokla1 being opened least to me) like they meshed fairly well with
in the neighboring cubicle. I was very perplexed the others. And some, to my great surprise,
by what I’d dubbed “Little India” in my mind.With ate meat! (I stuck particularly close to these
the latest Bollywood songs blaring from their two so as not to feel guilty about my carnivo-
headphones and with the constant exchange of rous diet when eating in front of the others.)
one spicy snack for another, I was mesmerized.
Though among them they could speak
Besides mentally noting their cluster of desks Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Spanish, and I
as “Little India,” I’d also done them the disser- only had Bengali, Arabic, and French in my
vice of grouping their characters as one. I read- linguistic arsenal, we began to understand
ily assumed that they’d all done their schooling each other. “Fork che?” in Gujarati, “Do
in India then came to the States for college, that you have a fork?” is very similar to Bengali’s
they were all strict vegetarians, that they could equivalent:“Fork achhe?” I started eating their
all banter fluently in their mother tongue. But dhokla1 and papad2 and watched in amaze-
the minute I mentioned I like Sonu Nigam and ment as they doused everything in chili sauce.
someone accused me of not really knowing who (I also learned that one particular member of
that was, I realized the misjudgment was mutual. the group did not, blasphemously, like very
spicy foods.) With one person I could talk
I was offended, to say the least. Did my birth Indian and American books and politics, and
certificate and accent really make me so dif- with another our conversations surrounded
ferent? I too was raised on Zee TV, Shan ma- topics of American fashion and “Gossip Girl.”
sala, and Maaza juice. My parents sent me to I asked a few to help me learn Hindi and
Sunday school to learn about Allah and His Gujarati, and in turn they asked me to cor-
prophet and dance practice to learn traditions rect their English. I gushed over Satya Paul’s
and play with other little girls. Unlike many designs with one of the boys because he liked
South Asian-Americans, I have always been the designer’s ties, and I perused Gap.com
able to speak my language. Since when was with one of the girls who was also obsessed
there a cultural paradigm of acceptability? And with their curvy khakis and summer scarves.
who was in charge of grading my “desi-ness?”
Why? Besides being an entirely inaccurate
form of judgment (because, honestly, it’s ludi-
crous to think we can measure a level of cul-
ture within a person), most people wouldn’t
even fit on one end or the other anyway.
There is, undoubtedly, a cold war over an
infinite cultural spectrum. South Asians in
South Asia are an incredibly tolerant demo-
graphic, and yet its emigrants are hardly rep-
resentative of the characteristic tolerance.
As South Asians, we ought to appreciate our
plurality. Among us we have successful doc-
tors, lawyers, engineers, writers, movie stars,
politicians, artists—all in the United States
alone! We have enough of a varied expertise
to stage a coup, for God’s sake, and instead
we’re sitting at home gossiping about so-and-
so Auntie because she put her kids in soc-
cer and such-and-such Uncle because he’d
rather his kids live in the mosque than play
sports. It’s futile. As one of my new friends
eloquently put it, “We’re all the same, Baka.”
Eventually, they adopted me. I earned new names: As I sit in Austin, miles away from my sum-
Mango (from those who had trouble pronounc- mer Gujus, I continue to live by their
ing my actual name), Chhoti Behen (from those influence as though I’d studied abroad. I don’t
who saw me as a ‘little sister’), and Baka (from eat meat anymore. (A personal choice most-
the one who thought a Gujarati term of endear- ly regarding self-discipline and willpower, but
ment would best address his new best friend). I partially a result of watching others resist.)
tied a rakhee3 for the first time. I began seeing My iTunes shuffles from Sukhwinder Singh
movies at Bollywood Cinema 6 instead of AMC to Nine Inch Nails to Shreya Ghoshal to
24. But in a way, I’d like to think I changed them Lil Wayne. They text me to tell me they’re
too. Some eliminated the word “gay” as a pejora- thinking of me as they sit at an Indian Ocean
tive from their vocabulary. A few took me up on concert listening to a song in Bengali; I text
my book recommendations. Some even learned them to announce how many new Patels I’ve
a little Bengali! (Even now, one is very fond of met at UT. They call me to let me know that,
telling Bengali strangers that he loves them.) overall, my presence is missed both in the
office and at the many non-work outings we
Despite my remarkable transformation, not ev- had eventually come to plan; I call them to
say I miss home and, necessarily, them too.
Yes, I am an eryone was privy to believing in its existence.
but I’m really not
anything except why
this label has been
assigned to me and
what exactly it
When I mentioned that the “Unforgettable” con-
cert featuring Amitabh Bachhan, son Abhishek,
daughter-in-lawAishwariya,and other Bollywood
superstars was less than satisfactory, someone
retorted,“What do you know? You’re an ABCD.”
And that’s when I realized how utterly mean-
ingless these labels of “fresh off the boat” and
“American-born confused desi” are. I’m abso-
lutely not an ABCD.Yes, I am an American-born
Desi, but I’m really not confused about anything
except why this label has been assigned to me
and what exactly it defines. It’s hardly fair for
those with more of an attachment to South
It’s about time the rest of the Ameri-
can-Desi world put down their ver-
bal arsenals of cultural judgment too by
stuffing their mouths with naan instead.
1 dhokla: A traditional Gujarati snack made of
steamed chickpea paste spiced with chili, ginger,
and baking soda
2 papad: A spicy Indian cracker or flatbread
3 rakhee: A thread bracelet tied by sisters worn
on their brothers’ wrists celebrating their
Asia than America to tell me I’m not in tune relationship and the promised protection of the
defines. with my culture; likewise, it’s not my place to
criticize someone for poor English despite hav-
sister by her brother
4 naan: A round or oblong flatbread made from
ing moved here from India over 10 years ago. white flour
Frankly, South Asians alienate one another by
creating a class of ‘the Other’ within their own
demographic. Alleged ABCD’s display conde-
scending behavior towards alleged fobs for
not being American enough, and fobs accuse
ABCD’s of turning their backs on their culture.
Religion & Culture
My Observations on
in the South Asian context
By MRINALINI RANJAN
ave you ever felt that on some days, the universe conspires to embarrass
you? Well, the gods were definitely a bit bored the day my mother (who was also
the head of Special Education in my school) ended up giving the sex talk to the boys
of my sixth grade class. Needless to say, I was mortified, and the forces governing
the cosmos had a good laugh. My mom was considered way cooler than me that
year. But that sex talk was the first ever open acknowledgment amongst my peers
that we all knew what sex was and we all wanted to do it one day. Or so I thought. His exact words were,
Being a girl who had had crushes on boys since In a group of South Asian boys, when one “Girls watch porn
she was in kindergarten, my sexuality was like
a secret identity I never revealed to anyone in
claims he has never masturbated by the age
of 18, the others look at him in shock and
too?” He was shocked
India for a while. (Also being a highly geeky
looking individual with a long braid, glasses and
disbelief. However, in a group of girls from a
similar background, when one claims that she
- a real culture shock,
braces through most of my adolescence, I didn’t
really get much opportunity to). I was silent on
has, the rest look at her in a mixture of disgust
and awe. “Why on earth would you do such
the issue primaily because for many years, my a thing?” they ask. Amusingly, an even more
female friends behaved as if their sexuality didn’t common response is – “Wow, how did you
exist. I mean, come on! Who has not visited a even manage it?” and of course the saddest
porn site–“Oh my god you saw one of those? one: “I tried that one day, but then I gave up.”
Yuck! Gross!”–or read a slightly adventurous
novel by the age of 17? Well they claimed they The truth is that as a community, South Asians
hadn’t and didn’t want to. They also claimed I are pretty conservative about such issues. At
was insane. Either all of them were lying to me, this point I would like to make it clear that
or they really never had the urge to, you know… I feel that being conservative is actually a
explore… which then made me think; what the good thing. To protect your sexuality till you
hell was wrong with me? Also, why is it okay for have a safeguard such as marriage in place
boys to do this stuff and unacceptable when girls is an option that is beneficial to everyone
do it? I will never forget the statement uttered who attempts it. Couples who wait till mar-
by a certain 20 year old South Asian UT student riage have negligible chances of contracting
who had just heard me warning everyone to sexually transmitted diseases or being in very
stay far away from South Indian pornographic tricky pregnancy situations. They also have
cinema (surely a topic for another article). His better opportunities to build strong bonds
exact words were, “Girls watch porn too?” He of intimacy which are not as threatened by all
was shocked - a real culture shock, perhaps. the obstacles unmarried couples face, such as
uncertain futures, capriciousness and broken
Masturbation was another topic of intense hearts. In light of all this, people don’t under-
discomfort amongst us all - and yet another stand why premarital sex is becoming increas-
clear cut example of the gender encultura- ingly common amongst youth in South Asia.
tion surrounding individual sexuality. I am Yes, there are certain western no-
going to state certain generalizations, and tions that have influenced our culture.
you are free to disagree, but the follow-
ing is a brief summation of my observations.
With half of all marriages in the US ending So whatever happened to the above men-
in divorce it is no secret that the West ( and tioned philosophies? As time progressed, the
Western media) doesn’t attach same impor- balance of sexual power shifted towards men.
tance to monogamy and abstinence as does There are many theories regarding how and
the East. But beyond this argument lies the why this took place. Some claim sexuality is
fact that there is a trend towards a higher a portal to spirituality and men wanted to
marriage age. Hormones come into play by dominate that. Others claim it was a natural
puberty, but nowadays people tend to get progression of events to protect female so-
married in their late 20’s and early 30’s.Those ciety as a whole from unprotected sex with
who advocated abstinence in the past were random men. Repression was never more ap-
also the ones who were married by age 16. parent. While semen was considered sacred,
menstruating women were considered im-
The concept surrounding the idea that pure and – again – dirty. I once heard a bizarre
women have more to lose than men when myth from our washerwoman back home in
it comes to spontaneous sexual activ- India. She claimed that women should not
ity is why generations before us have de- touch pickle while on their period. Apparent-
veloped ways to curb female expressions ly this makes the pickle go bad. And that was
of sexuality, rendering it unimportant, un- just one example in a series of superstitions
necessary and almost dirty. And their put out there solely to malign all evidence
ideas remain ingrained within our society. of the ‘good’ in our sexuality. I don’t even
know a word for the female genitalia in Hindi
But things weren’t always this way. In the East, which is not simultaneously a swear word!
Confucius and LaoTzu, the Upanishadic sages,
Mahavira, and the Buddha continued to speak So yes, it’s true that female sexuality has a
of the importance of women as sexual teach- sad story to tell. But it’s never too late to
ers and their active role in ritual sexual union. change. With the advent of birth control,
Women are given much importance in books the idea of men having an unfair advantage
such as the Kamasutra, and are affirmed as when it comes to sex becomes a much
sexual beings by the erotic temple carvings weaker argument. There are numerous de-
in the Khajuraho temples in South India. velopments occurring in the world today
where women in relationships are assert-
Another interesting fact: A Jewish tractate ing their right to sexuality and their male
in the Babylonian Talmud, echoed later in an counterparts are happily giving it to them.
Islamic creation myth, tells us that “Almighty To recognize the value of sexuality and un-
God divided sexual beauty/pleasure into ten derstand its importance in the realm of soci-
parts. Nine parts he gave to women. One part etal egalitarianism will benefit both men and
he gave to men” (Brooks, 1995; Kiddushin daf women in their relationships with one an-
49B). In Greek mythology, when Zeus and other and with respect to their own genders.
Hera argued whether males or females had a
greater capacity for sexual pleasure, Tiresias,
who had experienced half of his life as a man
and the other half as a woman, maintained
that when it came to the capacity for sexual
pleasure, women were by far the winners.
Pandit Jasraj too soon
An interview that ended
By VAIBHAV JAIN, MRINALINI RANJAN, ROHAN GARG
O n October 31, 2008, Nazar spoke with the maestro just before he
was to perform the next day at the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin.
Nazar: Today’s student has the ability to record his own voice or that of his guru and listen to it again
and again at convenience. He/She has machines that provide him with accompaniment – both sur and
taal (notes and beats) – and thus aid in practicing independently. Yet,Saadhana (here,intense practicing)
is a diminishing trait.What is the future of Shastriya Sangeet (Indian Classical Music) in this respect?
Pandit Jasraj: The most important element of instruction of Hindustani Shastriya San-
geet is ‘Gurmukh Vidya’ – The vidya (knowledge) that comes from the mukh (mouth) of
the guru (teacher) and that is received by the shishya (student). If a person has a good
capacity to learn or grasp music, then he (or she) can go far but only to a certain ex-
tent. However, as soon you sit together with such a musician/student (and sing awhile),
it soon becomes obvious that he hasn’t been trained - it is rare for that to not be apparent.
What we call a Gharana – it isn’t just a name – is more like a college. Just like there are
Arts Colleges, Science colleges and so on, similarly there exist Gharanas. It’s a style that in-
In Indian Classical
Music, there have never
existed any feelings of
differences. It has to do
with the atmosphere on
duces others to immediately recognize what Gharana a singer belongs to. The same Raga is
sung in different Gharanas but the way of singing is slightly different from one to the other.
Some compositions may also vary. Further, each Gharana can be carried forth by gen-
erations of family members and sometimes by disciples of a particular proponent. There
is never any Hindu-Muslim issue that crops up in the passing on of these musical traditions.
N: On that note, there are many forms of art today– from theater to rock bands – carrying a politico-
secular message from village to village.How involved is Indian Classical Music in adopting this initiative?
P: Like I said,in Indian Classical Music,there have never existed any feelings of differences.Often Pandit
Jasraj is accompanied on stage by Ustad Zakir Hussain on theTabla and sometimes, say, Rashid Miyaan
is accompanied by Ramnath. It has to do with the atmosphere on stage – there never is a feeling of
distinction or one of suppressing the other artist based on his religion. It just happens naturally that
as soon as someone touches a pure Sa1, everyone present becomes oblivious to their own identity.
N: What about political issues? For example, say, Narmada or ….
P: Look, as far as Narmada is concerned, an issue has been fabricated and is being raised
needlessly. That dam – Sardar Sarovar – was initiated and was being built by the British. The only
wrong we have done is in taking so long with the implementation of the project.The British start-
ed making it in 1927. Look at the fact that since completion (partly), it has benefited Gujarat so
much.Whoever has attempted to stop these efforts, and made various allegations; do they have an
answer to the fact that now there is fresh drinking water in Gujarat? Can they deny that the
beautiful land of Saurashtra, that had become so barren, has now become fertile and has water to
quench the needs of the soil? About 4-5 crore2 people are peacefully drinking water and this is only in
Gujarat. The benefits are also going to help Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra but primarily,
N: Narsinh Mehta’s words “Vaishnava3 Jana Toh Tene Kahiye Je, Peed Parai Jaane Re” that you sing
so often; how far does a musician fit the definition
P: Look, when they are singing, they are all Vaishnavas3. That’s absolutely true. For as long
as they sing, practice, play the Tanpura, Sitar, Sarod or Tabla, they stay Vaishnava to the core.
N: Then there are Soor Das’s message “Sabse Oonchi Prem Sagai”. How successful is the marriage
between spirituality and music?
P: Listen to this one thing. Our music – Bharatiya Sangeet – is, essentially, music from Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India. Just a brief look at these regions should tell you that the
music emanating from them is definitely spiritual. If you sing by way of making an offering,“God!
This offering is my service towards you, please accept it”, then that is spirituality right there!
Music is close to both ‘Bhagwan’ and ‘Allah miyaan’. I mention Allah miyaan since there was
a recent Pakistani movie – Khuda Ke Liye – where it is clearly shown that Music is not hara-
am4 in Islam. Many down the years have said and continue to say that music is prohib-
ited in Islam but now the truth is out and it has deeply touched my heart. The film shows di-
rectly from the Quran and other such texts that there is no substance to all those claims.
Have we forgotten that Dawood Paigambar used to sing himself? How can it then be haraam?
N: In modern times, how faithful have they been to each other?
P: Whether spirituality rests in one’s perspective depends on the person involved. How-
ever, be it while he (or she) dances, plays or sings – the Almighty is fond of all of these. San-
geet, by the way, comprises of all three forms – dancing, singing and playing an instrument.
N: Has your music changed with respect to changing times?
P: Listen to me carefully.That which is alive, shows movements and shows change. However, if you con-
template changes needlessly, then you mess things up. It happens itself, as you go on singing.The process
is also worth noting. I am walking along some way and I hear someone sing beautifully or something play-
ing melodiously and there is this particular musical phrase that I pick up. Next, when I perform, I might
include this improvisation and people might appreciate this new movement or, perhaps, I like it myself.
I keep repeating it to myself in different forms – again and again.That is how change should take place.
N: How beneficial are performances to the development of your music?
P: Every performance and every program is like an examination. We don’t ever get done with
them or graduate as in other fields. If we sing well then we get invited to more and more such
programs. If we don’t sing that well then the programs that we are offered are also likewise.
N: You just sang a song recently for a film - ‘1920’. It is definitely a different experience. Did you
never feel like exploiting your potential in commercial cinema?
P: It is different. You give the music director what he wants from you – that’s all.
At that level, one becomes a student. If I wanted to, I could have become big in that
sphere too. After all I’m the son-in-law of V. Shantaram. However, it was never my goal.
N: Fusion music gains popularity; respect for classical musicians and adoration for western cul-
ture has combined to create a formulae that is much in-demand. What is your take on this new
brand of music? Does the fusion work well for Hindustani Sangeet and its future? Is Jugalbandi5
a form of Fusion?
P: They are all different forms of music – ghazal6, fusion etc. They all sum up to define mu-
sic. Every musician is basically trying to find a new path. Whether he is successful is in
his (or her) hands. However, attempting is the main part. There is nothing bad about that.
Our Music – Bharatiya music, as I defined it earlier – is really advanced. Not only is it spiritual
but also scientific. If we fuse any two or more forms of music – and let me do a “Tauba Tauba7”
here since music is such a big thing – then Classical music always has to come down. One has to
step down many levels unless the capacity or caliber of the western music that is being included
is close to ours. Otherwise, our musicians have to climb down from their capacity. This is true for
any instrument, whether it be Violin, Sitar or Sarod.The only exception in my eyes is the Symphony
Orchestra. That alone is so unique and marvelous that our music hasn’t come up with an equal.
Jugalbandi is a great form of music that we have. However, if you want to look at things this
way then go ahead. A jugalbandi between Karanataka Sangeet and North Indian music can be
called fusion. If the craze is just about the name then go ahead and proclaim that Dr. Bala Murli
and Pt. Jasraj are performing fusion music. He’s an amazing artist himself and when we perform
together, it translates into a great, big show. If I were to sing with Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasiya,
you can call it a jugalbandi with the flute or a fusion with the flute. The music remains the same..
N: What is your take on reality music shows on TV?
P: I think we will greatly benefit from them. People openly talk about the fact that our
heritage isn’t represented truly by Bollywood – there has always been that aware-
ness. People have spoken out and said that this music, that is ours, needs an ear.
However, the artist needs to be of a high caliber – that is a must. When these shows started out,
we felt that this is going to take our music down, but it has certainly begun bridging a big gap that
was the lack awareness.
Many people argue that Classical music is losing out with the rise of these shows but I don’t see
that happening. For how long is the winner of an Indian Idol show or a Star Voice of India even
remembered? All those winners from the very first edition of these shows - they won all those
grand big prizes but were they that below par that no one knows them today?
N: You are amongst the most celebrated artists. At what point did the elation convert into a philo-
sophical conclusion that destiny or God has helped you reach where you are today?
P: Look, this respect that we give or receive the very fact that you are sitting today in front of me
– it’s all His (or Her) will. Why else would I be with you today and you with me? Once God decides
to make things the way He wills – ‘this man will speak with you, you will have to answer his questions’
– that’s how they will be. In the Bhagavada Gita, Bhagwan (God) says that ‘I am work. I am action’.
Do you understand? The fact that you have left your country and are here to study and succeed
– that is God, Himself. Put your heart in your studies and work, but offer it all to Him; it reaches Him.
Honor is always honor – whether you get it before or after or whenever – never un-
dermine it! Never say that I’ve had enough of it; that is unthinkable. Never compare how
much honor you have received compared to someone else either. If in your heart you re-
spect me, and if you wish to make an offering, how can I belittle it? I believe in ‘Aatma So Par-
maatma’ (soul & its supreme form). If you want to give me respect, then it is a big thing since
it has germinated in you. Do you understand the word ‘Upja’? – Germinated – Jeete Raho8!
N: Which performance has been your most memorable one? Any artists that you feel you enjoyed
performing with the most?
P: It’s like this,when the public began listening to me,there were a couple of programs that went well;I am
and will be reminded of those all my life.The ones in the middle also must have gone well which is why I am
here today. One doesn’t remember the ones in the middle as much. I have performed with many an artist.
I have sung a lot with Bala Murli Ji,Hari Prasad Ji.The one that stands out,though,was with L.Subramaniam.
N: At the age of 78, who/what is Jasraj singing to/for?
P: Look, like I said before, just offer your music to Him. Whenever we sing, or He makes us
sing, it is essentially being served to Him. I also said previously that ‘Atma so Parmatma’ – It is
Bhagwan within you who is speaking, walking – we all are just a part of him. This is because we
possess (or are) an Atma whereas He is ‘Param Atma’(Supreme Soul). That’s all there is to it.
N: What qualifications do I need to begin training with you?
P: Look, the relationship between music and a person doesn’t flower in a single lifetime. A person
becomes a full-fledged artist after 5 lifetimes of association with it. Someone comes along and
within a matter of 7-8 years sings such amazing music that he leaves us all pondering over our
own achievements. You don’t have to be a ‘Matric-pass’ (high-school matriculate) or a ‘BA-pass’
to come to me. If it is in accordance with His nature (or will), then you can come over whenever.
1. First/primary syllable of the saptak (which is 7. (here) seek forgiveness from God/Music for
similar to an octave) attempting to encompass something so vast in a
2. 1 crore = 10 million sentence or thought
3. In general,Vaishnavas are worshippers of 8. Live Long!; usually said to someone younger
Vishnu; here, it refers to those who lead a and equivalent to Bless You!
disciplined life 9. Devotional music with Sufi content
4. An Arabic term meaning ‘forbidden’ 10. Muslim mysticism
5. Joint musical improvisation between two or 11. Devotional way of reaching salvation
more musicians in a conversational format 12. (here) A Hindu devotional song
6. Form of song/poetry characteristic of 13. (here) State of Being
rhyming couplets and a musical refrain 14. practice
Politics & Society
on its Knees
By ADITYA MEHTA However, businesses in other parts of the
city were open. Most of South Bombay’s
commercial district, which is enclosed by
On November 26th, at approximately Nariman Point on one side an Apollo Bunder
9.40pm IST, an event unfolded that has left on the other, had been locked down. There
Bombay reeling in shock. This may not be the is a curfew in place in those parts as well.
attack with the highest death toll, but it is
certainly the best-planned and most grue- On any given day during this time of the
some attempt to bring Bombay to its knees. year, there are hundreds, if not thousands,
This is the most recent in a series of terror- of people inside each of these hotels. They
ist attacks that have taken place in India this are where the celebrities, the businesspeo-
year. The series of events so far is as follows: ple and the wealthy tourists go to or live
in while in Bombay. The terrorists quickly
A person armed with an automatic weap- took over the hotels, and a gun battle en-
on started firing indiscriminately at people sued. As of now, over fifteen policemen
on the street near Café Leopold in the
popular Colaba area. A few minutes later,
shots and explosions were heard at the
nearby Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, which
is one of the city’s busiest train stations.
As the police scrambled to reach the sites
where the attacks took place, taxis were
blown up at Mazgaon, a crowded Muslim-
dominated area in South Bombay, and Vile
Parle, a predominantly Gujarati suburb.
More gunshots were heard at the Taj Ma-
hal Hotel at Apollo Bunder and at the Tri-
dent at Nariman Point. These are two of
have been killed, and the total death toll
stands at 101. The policemen who have lost
their lives include three of the top officers
from the anti-terrorism squad of Bombay.
As of this moment, more than 26 hours have
passed since the first firing at Colaba. So
far, the terrorists have hijacked police cars,
thrown grenades at innocent people, set
fire to parts of the Trident and the Historic
Wing of the Taj Mahal Hotel, and killed over
a hundred people. However, there has been
some positive news.Two terrorists who tried
to escape were gunned down near Girgaum
Chowpatty in the wee hours of the morn-
On November 26th,
9.40pm IST, an
event unfolded that
has left Bombay
reeling in shock.
the biggest and most famous landmarks of
the city. As the media tried to make sense ing. Seven of the hostages at the Nariman
out of all these events, gunshots were House have been released. Most recently,
heard at the Cama Hospital as well. In the thirty-nine hostages were released from the
early hours of the morning, Nariman House Trident. It has not been confirmed as of now
was also understood to be under siege. whether the situation is completely out of
control or not, as the buildings in questions
The first reaction was that a gang-war had are very large and combing operations take
erupted on the streets. Indiscriminate firing time. One terrorist has been caught alive.
in public was an event usually associated with A satellite phone has been retrieved from
an encounter or a gang-war, events that were a terrorist who was killed in the gun battle.
common in Bombay during the 1990s when Five calls were made to Karachi through that
the police force went on a mission to reduce phone right after the hotels were taken over.
organized crime. But it quickly became evi-
dent that the firings and the taxi explosions These terrorists have been the cause of a lot
were nothing but a distraction created by of panic, for various reasons. First, they snuck
the terrorists to reach their ultimate goal: in by boat and walked in right through the
the Taj and the Trident were under siege. Gateway of India without being noticed.What
The Army, the Rapid Action Force was the Coast Guard doing? Second, they
(RAF), and the National Security Guard created a successful distraction, which made
(NSG) were called in. Schools and col- it easy for them to gain control of the hotels.
leges remained closed on Thursday. This signals meticulous planning on their part.
Third, they systematically killed the top cops The police and the RAF seem ill-trained and India needs to be more proactive in the war on
of the anti-terrorist squad who were leading ill-equipped to deal with the hostage situa- terror immediately. It means flexing its muscles
the retaliatory campaign.These cops were also tion. The NSG unit had to be flown in from to warn Pakistan and Bangladesh to stop aid-
part of the investigation team for the Mumbai Delhi. Why isn’t there a unit in Bombay? ing terrorist activities. It means punishing those
train blasts and the recent Malegaon blasts. As usual, politicians have come out with found guilty in a swift and consistent manner. It
Fourth, they specifically targeted foreigners. statements praising the spirit of Bombay. means having an administration which does not
Colaba, and the two hotels are very popular Floods. Bombs. Terrorists. It’s the same thing shy away from aggressive behavior. When the
with tourists coming from abroad. Reports over and over again. The spirit of Bombay. It’s security of a nation is at stake, proactiveness
given by hostages who were freed state that not the spirit; it’s the possibility of losing a is the order of the day. The Congress needs to
the terrorists specifically rounded up people day’s salary that makes the average man go man up to the challenge, or resign from power.
with American, British and Israeli passports. to work the next day, even if it means risk-
ing his life for it. Time and again, the admin- What does this mean for the average citizen of
These factors signify the arrival of international istration has failed to provide a safe envi- Bombay? He or she can’t really do anything about
terrorist organizations in India. These attacks ronment for its citizens. Think of what this it. As I watched the plume of smoke rise from the
were far more sophisticated in the way they incident means for India’s business climate, Trident, a feeling of helplessness took over me. My
were planned, the tactics used, the weapons its tourism industry, and its self-confidence. first reaction was to call people I know and make
used and the groups involved. A little-known sure that they were okay. A friend of mine was
organization called the Deccan Mujahedeen I understand that such an event is unprece- caught in the gunfire at Colaba. Another one was
has claimed responsibility, but experts believe dented. But what really scares me is that I don’t fifty feet away when the taxi blew up at Vile Parle
that this name is another tool used to dis- think the administration is going to learn any- Luckily, both escaped unhurt. As the news un-
tract everyone from the real people involved. thing from all this. They didn’t learn anything folded, the whole city was glued to its televi-
A consensus among the media is that this the last time around. The Congress-led Unit- sion sets into the wee hours of the morning. A
event could possibly be traced to Al-Qaeda. ed Progressive Alliance is too soft on terror. combination of angst, fear, confusion, distress,
helplessness, sorrow and rage engulfed me. The
The Blame Game This is reflected by the alarming rise in beautiful view of Nariman Point in the distance,
terrorist attacks in the years the Con- affectionately called the Queen’s Necklace, had
I stand behind the government at a difficult gress has been in power. It is also shown been tainted. As the sound of gunfire and ex-
time like this. But once this horrendous situ- from the fact that the Congress was only plosions pierced the air into the night, I cried
ation has subsided, a lot of tough questions too eager to repeal the Prevention of Ter- my heart out. I’m sure Bombay was crying too.
need to be asked. What has the government rorism Activities (POTA) Act, which, when
been doing? It is distressing that neither the enacted by the BJP, gave sweeping powers
Coast Guard nor the Navy detected a boat to the Government to swiftly try cases re-
laden with several pounds of RDX sailed to the lated to terrorism and levy heavy penalties
Gateway of India unchecked. The plethora of on those proven guilty. Now that POTA
Indian Intelligence agencies didn’t have a clue. has been repealed, it takes ages for terror-
ism cases to go through the regular courts.
By MOHIT JOSHIPURA
There is just so much to celebrate about But with Kumble, there was not much of this.
Anil Kumble, more than just the numbers He was not born to be a cricketer and he
or the longevity or the efficacy. I have al- did not elicit comparisons to the Almighty,
ways been convinced that he was one of the but he was the embodiment of what every
few cricketers who could pursue whatever coach wanted his pupil to be, what every
he wanted to and be successful. And that is father wanted to see in his son. Kumble
saying a lot, because talents and penchants achieved unlimited successes with limited
are not universal, but character and dis- abilities, and although that might be less at-
cipline stretch across every sphere of life. tractive than the exploits of a Tendulkar or
a Gavaskar, it must be mentioned with
I remember feeling an intense love for this a deep sense of respect and admiration.
sport circa 1990, around the same time that
Kumble made his debut. I remember listening
with a pocket radio pinned firmly against my
ear with friends huddled around me under
Harsha Bhogle recently said that if he had a
daughter, someone like Kumble would make
for an ideal son-in-law. Compliments do not
the class benches or on the school bus, and climb much higher than that. Kumble was
although it was just a voice in my ear, a Kum- special because everyone, from the best bus
ble topspinner invariably brought the same driver to the IT geek to the school teacher
excitement that a Tendulkar boundary did. In to the aspiring student, could relate to him.
ODI cricket, whenever a captain, all the way We can hail Sachin but we must try to be
from Azhar to Tendulkar to Ganguly to Drav- like Kumble, because what Kumble wore
id, looked with roving eyes and a question on his sleeve every day of his career can be
imbibed and taught, and all of us would do
Kumble was special
mark across the field, Kumble was handed the
ball. And with it came a special anticipation well to take a leaf out of that book. Mon-
ey, fame, and fortune victimize all but the
because you knew India was on the prowl.
most balanced, and thus Kumble was the
ideal role model. Yes, the future of Indian
could relate to him.
Kumble hails from Karnataka, a state that
has yielded immortal giants of Indian cricket. cricket is bright and unfettered, and it will
They are all simple-living, high-performing, be fun to watch, but one cannot exactly
and above all, noble. They always make the say that he looks forward to emulating the
news for the right reasons. I cannot help but Harbhajans, Sreesanths, and Yuvrajs of today.
wonder what it is, and maybe one can at-
tribute it to the education and the culture. For the most part of those 619 Tests and
There is rarely any fanfare or unnecessary 337 ODI wickets, Kumble must have been
ostentation in their cricket, for their ener- the most underrated Indian cricketer. They
gies are singularly devoted to performance claimed that he succeeded only on India’s
and that underrated attribute of profes- favorable dustbowls, that he did not spin
sionalism. Their approach and their achieve- the ball enough, that batsmen would latch
ments call for constant celebration, for in on to his style sooner or later. The fact of
a few months time, another one of these the matter is, when India called, only Kumble
storied greats from Karnataka will leave us. always answered. He answered those inces-
sant critics with only the ball, for retaliation
We enjoy watching different players for dif- and expletives were not part of his armory.
ferent reasons. Ganguly was godly on the Batsmen could never relax, for he kept com-
off-side, Warne has produced the most ing at them with the same intensity in those
highlight reels and gaping mouths, Richards eyes, be it his fifth over or his fiftieth. And
brought a sense of Hollywood to his batting, eventually, the trademark quicker one would
and Tendulkar is worthy of worship to many. skid through and displace the furniture
or thud lethally into an unsuspecting pad.
He was modest almost to a sin, and for a man
whose deliveries merely went straight through,
956 international scalps is no mean feat.
And now the sun has set on a glittering career,
and the light it emanates will be used by future
generations of cricketers and citizens alike. I will
miss Anil, for he was the un-celebrity-like celebrity
that I most looked up to. Many would have shed a
tear when he took off that well-worn India cap for
the last time, for if anyone ever played with that
chakra on his forehead and his heart on his sleeve,
it was Anil. In Antigua, he played with a jaw that
was literally in two pieces and was held together
by a mummy-like cast around his head, and then
took Brian Lara’s prized wicket to top it off to
give India a sniff at victory. It was symbolic of what
the man brought to the table every single day for
18 years. His penultimate delivery to Matthew
Hayden was reminiscent of a decade past, for it
fizzed off the wicket and almost took Dhoni’s head
with it. His last one was not – a tired full toss that
was dispatched to the long-on boundary. It was
an inglorious end to an utterly glorious career.
Indian Cricket Team
By GIRISH JAYARAMAN
Mumbai,Aug 15:The Board of Control for Crick- confidence in our secretary and I am sure
et in India (BCCI), the governing body for Indian that any policy decision announced by him
cricket, announced a new caste-based selection would have been thoroughly discussed
policy for the Indian national cricket team today. amongst the highest office-bearers of (the)
This was revealed in a press conference called BCCI.” The BCCI’s Chief Administrative Of-
by the secretary of the BCCI, Mr. Niranjan Shah. ficer Professor Ratnakar Shetty held that
the quickest way to make money and settle
“Reservation of seats in the Indian cricket team down in India is by playing cricket. “When
is a proposal that the BCCI has been consider- we allow reservations in higher education,
ing for several years,” Shah asserted while ad- why should cricket be exempt?” he added.
dressing the packed press room of Mumbai’s
Wankhede Stadium. “We studied the great Political reactions to the new move made by
success of South Africa’s racially discriminating the BCCI were mixed and generally split along
selection policy. We have therefore decided to party lines. “Let the people know the truth.
introduce a similar measure for the upliftment
of minority and backward communities in India This is yet another move made by the Con-
as well. Hereafter, every 15-man Indian squad gress in order to drive attention away from
should include at least seven players from sched- me. They are not willing to see a Dalit Prime
uled castes, scheduled tribes, or other back- Minister,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister May-
ward classes. We fully stand behind the policy awati alleged. Meanwhile, former BJP leader
of reverse-discrimination.” This statement was Uma Bharti was caught trying to film a tape
followed by uproar from a group of student which showed BCCI secretary Niranjan
journalists. Mr. Shah did not field any questions Shah accepting money in order to pass this
and left the conference hurriedly as a few sharp resolution. Jharkhand leader Shibu Soren
implements threatened to hinder his well-being. released a statement announcing that he is
willing to support the new reservation pro-
When contacted on the way to Parliament, the vided he is offered the post of President of
President of the BCCI Mr. Sharad Pawar told the Bihar and Jharkhand Cricket Association.
reporters that he had not been aware of such
a development. After being informed that an There was a wide range of responses
announcement had been made by Mr. Shah the when current members of the Indian squad
previous evening, Mr. Pawar said, “I have full were apprised of the recent developments.
“ When we allow
reservations in higher
education, why should
cricket be exempt?
Indian pace bowler Sreeshanth left the room Mr. Dalmiya has been stripped of his post
and was found weeping in the bathroom and the CAB is in danger of being dissolved.
two hours later. Harbhajan Singh returned
to the team hotel late in the evening but re- Reaction amongst the rest of the cricketing world
fused to explain the bruises on his left hand. was generally positive.The Pakistan Cricket Board
(PCB) and Cricket Australia (CA) welcomed the
Meanwhile, a new statement released by BCCI’s policy decision. “We are fully supportive
BCCI Vice President Lalit Modi from his of India’s decision to give equal opportunity to
high-security home clarified that the fran- her backward classes,” said a Cricket Australia
chises of the Indian Premier League and spokesperson from Melbourne. When contacted,
all state cricket associations would have to a representative of the ICC said that they had
follow a similar procedure while selecting not received any communication from the BCCI
their teams. “Those who do not adhere to regarding this matter, and declined to comment.
our guidelines will lose their BCCI member-
ship,” said Modi in a strongly worded press Former cricketers were more critical. Cricketer-
release. “We will issue a life ban on all play- turned commentator Navjot Sidhu argued, “All
ers who participate in any domestic league cricketers are created equal. But now the BCCI
which does not honor this directive,” he is saying that some are more equal than others!
added. When asked about what the BCCI
would do if the International Cricket Coun- This is the kind of nonsense that happens
cil (ICC) refused to approve the directive, when the same administration is in con-
Modi said that they would then consider all trol of the BCCI for more than two years.
options including pulling out of the ICC and The BCCI officials should be changed as of-
forming a new international cricket body. ten as baby nappies and for the same reason!”
Modi also revealed that a committee had Members of India’s selection panel were
been set up to look into why the Jagmohan unavailable for comment as a result of a gag
Dalmiya-led Cricket Association of Bengal order issued by the BCCI.
(CAB) had selected a squad with only 4 play-
ers from backward communities, though this
was done a week before the press release
By ANAND JAYANTI But only when one peeks into the lives of the
poor and the stagnant and ponders over the
perilous penalty that they are put through
without reason or charge; when she parts the
drape between herself and the pauper sitting
on the pavement; when she sees the poor boy
peeling the skin off of a rotten potato and
parting the pieces among his party; when she
understands that there is a personality in the
individual others regard a pole, impeding the
path towards their own purposes, and sur-
passes her own personal parameters to peck
at the poor man’s passivity; when she catch-
es the eye of a policeman pushing a limping
passerby onto the asphalt, and feels pity pluck
at the strings of her heart; when she is able to
perceive the aspirations of the little girl paw-
ing on the porch with a piece of pink chalk;
when she begins to perceive life as a painting,
and is forced to become the pacifier of her
own sense of propriety and pronounce the
notion of predetermination invalid; when she
plunges from her privileged perch into the
filth that is little more than the product of
pretense; when time politely punches her in
the face and proves to her that the past has
become the present, and will not hesitate to
pervade the future; when she discovers that
the paradigm of the status quo has become
the parody that was projected by our forefa-
thers; when she promulgates a plan that will
pry our society free from the pits of the per-
nicious; when she purges the path to justice
of the corrupt and the powerful, and puts up
the ladder of purity securely, realizing that the
pendulum of prayer has now become a plea
for prosperity – then she may proudly claim
the praiseworthy name of the Mother Teresa.