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The last English Gentleman on earth is likely to be an Indian, goes an old saw. Of all the places the lads and ladies of the isles have inhabited, or merely transited, none has taken to the English language with the readiness and ardor of the sub-continental Indian.

In free India specially, English lives on and thrives, garnering world-class literary awards, and grudging admiration of the Anglo-Saxon communities no less.

We are Indian, and so is our English! is a wonderful, delightful paean to Indian English. A Must Read! Particularly, don’t miss the large, lusty, comment section. Well done, 42

Also fun to peruse, Hinglish, Inglish or Indian English.

Post Script:

Yet another angst-riddled post on Indians and English, at DesiCritics.

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There is a certain odd richness to the current situation in Andhra Pradesh.

FIRST STATE IN THE  new Indian Union to demand re-unification based on language, now is roiled in separatism, or at a minimum, political opportunism masquerading as separatism. Somewhere, Potti Sriramulu is rolling in his grave, spinning faster than the evil web being woven by politicians all around, especially in New Delhi.

TELANGANA MOVEMENT  which periodically rose and fell, often resulting in political rapprochement, now has the enviable task of wishing it hadn’t wished so. Severance from brethren, in a state that is the envy of the entire Union – Hyderabad / Cyberabad, a later day mecca for IT – without capital pouring in, Telangana will revert to memories of Muslim ruled wretchedness, feudalism, and strife. Even the word Telang is an Islamized perversion of Telugu, the language of the region.

Iron Man

DECCAN OF YORE,  that old Islamic plateau of Central South India found freedom along three separate ways, thanks to Mahatma Gandhi. Speakers of Marathi and Kannada seem happily blended with their co-linguists in Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively. Only speakers of Telugu (synonym for Andhra) language have been restless, on and off. First they were unable to shake off the yoke of their Islamic spiritual cultural hegemony,  next they couldn’t break free from the feeble, feudal Nizam, but with help eventually did, thanks to Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, (where would India be without him!)

TELUGU people have been, forever, an uneasy alliance. Some thirty years ago another separatist, a doctor,  one Marri Chenna Reddy whipped up the descendants of the former Nizam’s subjects into a frenzy. His antics quieted only when offered Chief Minister job. The solution to separatism has since remained a political modus vivendi. Until now. Let all stakeholders sit down and work it out. The ottomanic, sultanate style handing down of decrees from New Delhi has to stop!

LIKE THE BRITS AND YANKS finally settled on the opposite shores of the Atlantic Ocean peaceably, “divided by a common language”  (Winston Churchill), the Telugu speakers would rather be divided by a common language, emphasize the accent over the grammar. Or, do they? What to make of all the rumors about local political instigators?

NEIGHBORING STATES to Andhra Pradesh changed names and place names and such. Mysore became Karnataka, Madras became Tamil Nadu, Madras City became Chennai, Bombay became Mumbai. Only the Telugu people pretty much let history be, and got together, and got along fairly well. NO  naming gimmicks. Hyderabad never became Bhagya Nagar. Only Visakhapatnam shrugged off the shorter moniker Vizag. Even Rajahmundry was content to leave Raja-Mahendra-Varam in the past. Back in Seventies, Twin Cities slowly faded from common parlance as Greater Hyderabad swallowed up Secunderabad, with nary a peep of objection. Both erstwhile muslim municipalities grew immensely. Hyderabad is as well-known in science circles of the world as Bangalore, or Bhopal!

MIDNIGHT MADNESS represented by the hapless ‘man in shawl’ The Chettiyar has to be one of the dumbest official acts ever in Independent Indian History.  Only Mr. Nehru’s advocacy for China’s membership of UN would exceed in folly. What was The Chettiyar thinking, or was he thinking at all. Was he, and Secretary Pillai as well, channeling Mohd. Bin Tuglaque of a few centuries ago, remember from history books, the decision to move the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, perhaps?

THE INDIAN HOME MINISTER, filling those enormous shoes of The Iron Man, Vallabh Bhai, looked like he found himself frozen in headlights, like a feral creature crossing a busy highway at night. He simply allowed himself to become an instrument of his party, rather than a guardian of his nation, and the protector of the nation’s polity.  His reading of a short proclamation from a clipboard at the midnight hour had all the shallow similitude to Pundit Nehru’s ‘tryst with destiny’ moment. Except, that nobody was expecting it. Even fewer people wanted it. No Salman Rushdie to troubadour this travesty ….

TELANGANA people deserve nothing less than what they can work for and are willing to invest in themselves. The ‘big brother’ approach of their co-linguists had to stop. But also had to cease was the mindset of victim-hood and exploitation complex brought on by centuries of the feudalistic, parasitic grip on parts of the region by the religiously empowered entities.

TELANGANA PROSPERED when great leaders of the region grew in stature and assumed major roles in polity. Ranga Reddy got a district created and named in his honor. Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao hailed from Karimnagar area of Telangana, his Chief Ministership of AP was effective, peaceable. His Prime Ministership of India was astonishingly adroit, surviving both religious turmoil as well as national bankruptcy as it did. PVN has been compared to leaders like Michael Gorbachev in Russia – a most difficult stewardship at a time of great changes at home and abroad. Without ‘PV’ and the associated Manmohan Singh, modern India would not have materialized so swiftly.  Perhaps, an all-party summit could be arranged to ensure that Chief Ministership of an undivided A.P.  is rotated amongst the three regions every two years. May be, even change the name to TELUGU SEEMA, OR TELUGU RASHTRAM.

COMMUNIST INFLUENCE anywhere in the world can only lead to trouble. For decades they stirred up Bengal, Telangana, Kerala and across a swathe of India reaching into Nepal. Indians must be the only people in the world who didn’t get the memo, it’s ok to make money. The statist ideas promulgated at Independence, and since not disavowed with vigor, retain grip on people and places that remain underdeveloped and vulnerable. The commies exploited Telangana relentlessly. What Telangana needed was more democratic governance, investment, and job creation. They didn’t need yet another ideology that only engendered anger. Commingling of Islamism, separatism, proletarianism, do not bode well. Telangana needs another PVN Rao!

ANGST IN A.P.  is being expressed in voices blending anger, bitterness and sadness,  especially  in Coastal and Ceded (‘Seema) areas. There is oft’ repeated talk of “outsides conspiring” to make the entire state of A.P. look weak, hapless, and enfeebled. Else, goes the conspiracy theory, how come ministers from ‘other southern states’ such as Chidambaram and Moily get to decide fate of Andhra? Was the CM of AP told about it first? Isn’t AP in great shape? With great educational and investment climate? Also mooted, the idea that the late CM’s son was less than honorable in this matter.

VOICES OF SEPARATISM in India are never quite muted. The country has been divided repeatedly. This is great when done for administrative, cultural and developmental reasons. The lament of Telangana seems phony, political, and opportunistic. Demands for infrastructural improvements, major national and international projects should all be discussed openly and democratically. Statehood is essentially a political plum, a scheme to divide the spoils at the top rather than at the bottom. There are parts of India more abjectly poor, ill-served and needier than Telangana. But, this baby’s crying has been indulged in for so long, in so many wrong ways, this time it make take a real breast to feed it, not just a pacifier.

CONGRESS PARTY OPPORTUNISM is boundless, bottomless, and listless. The same applies to other Indian politicians in general. But Congress, like any behemoth, merely exists for its own sake. Those who wear party colors will sell their soul in the name of party unity, discipline, and respect for ‘high command’. All politicians in India seem to behave thus. Perhaps, it is Indian character to be un-egotistic, and yet un-principled at the same time. Perhaps, it is a case of  filial piety being institutionalized.

Poorvanchal idea gains!

Gorkhaland demanded!

List of Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh.

“Well, you know, I thought it was an elaborate joke. I have friends who play practical jokes,” Ramakrishnan told The Associated Press by telephone from his lab in Cambridge. “I complimented him on his Swedish accent.”

Ramakrishnan described his work on ribosomes as an attempt to understand “this large molecular machine that takes information from genes and uses it to stitch together protein.”

He said he and others had been using X-ray crystallography to build an “atomic picture of this enormous machine.”

“Now we can start figure out how it does this complicated process,” he said. Yahoo News

Associated Press newsphoto, via Times of India.

Associated Press newsphoto, via Times of India.

Congratulations Dr. Ramakrishnan!

Joint-winner of 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. For his work on a neutron-scattering map of the RNA of ribosomes, the protein-making structures in cells.

What follows is a modest compendium of links, pics, quotes and news clips.

I am interested in the structure and function of the translational machinery, which makes proteins in all cells using instructions encoded in the gene. This process involves the ribosome and its interaction with mRNA, tRNA and various protein factors. US National Academy of Sciences Member Directory.

THE RIBOSOME PAGE of Dr. Ramakrshnan’s research lab is a delight! If you visit their site, don’t miss short animation movie about protein synthesis in a ribosome. It’s a fun way to learn about his work and what it implies.

ribosomemovie1

From Dr. Ramakrishnan's Lab - Click on image for Animation Film

Times of India, profile.

Ramakrishnan shares the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Thomas A Steitz of Yale University and Ada E Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Dr Ramakrishnan’s work has been recognized with the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Venky’s award is the Medical Research Council’s 29th Nobel Prize and is a reflection of the excellent work that our scientists do. Times of India.

Ada Yonath of Israel is one of only four women, since Madame Curie, of the pitchblend fame (1898) to win the Nobel in Chemistry.

To listen the MAN himself, Dr. Ramakrishnan talks on the telephone with the official Nobel staffer, a traditional phone call now available online here. This is a highly recommended audio, specially the last one minute! IU can’t wait for it to be on youtube!

For the truly curious, LiveMint of WSJ, has an audio podcast here, that explains Ribosomes and all. Umesh Varshney of Bangalore explains it all. A nice little science talk, recommended.

Scienceblogs has a very nice explanation of the explanation from the Committee as to why the research of these three scientists deserved the Nobel award.

Reuters video of the live announcement. Nice.

IndiaTimes announcement video can be seen here. Caution: If you are used to world class media at all, this Indian-style news video will cause your mind to explode with its incomprehensible accent, inane graphics, and staccato delivery. Enjoy it, a little jingoism doesn’t hurt, eh!

Some thoughts on Indian Nobelists:

Another Indian settled abroad wins a Nobel Prize!

IU is thrilled, of course. There is the thrilling notion of a culture that continues to exercise creative, constructive influence even as, around us in the world, other cultures continue to spur adherents in destructive ways. Hopefully, this constitutes a true difference. On the other hand, why are not the Nobels won for work done IN India. Why do Indians win only when they leave the land and work elsewhere. Please, don’t blame the infrastructure or colonialism. Even Literature prize has gone to an expat, generations removed, and may someday do so again (to a Booker winning expat, no less).

IU will be even more thrilled if the Nobel goes someday to someone who actually worked on Indian soil, in an Indian laboratory, at an Indian institution. When such a day does arrive, IU hopes the winner doesn’t turn out to be a Haldane or a Ross. That would be rich irony!  Granted, science is truly global and color-blind, but the culture of the people who produce the scientists is very regional and ethnic. How people organize their hearts and minds does, matter.

IU will be waiting with a bated breath, for that day when a Nobel is won by an Indian who has never left the shores. That would have been the sort of land that Tagore was praying for. (Ahh, unwittingly, we come full circle back to him, our first (1913) Nobelist!)

A few more thoughts along these lines – it’s not the water! – can be found here.

Addendum:

Maps of India has a nice round up of India’s claim to Nobel fame.

India Unfinished, continues…

Update:

And leave it to Indians to dramatize every bit of life .. including one scientist’s inclination to lead the quiet life of science research. Details at Asian Window.

neel2

Fine drawing at the heart of Kinnari

They are hauntingly beautiful, painfully elegant, and deeply felt.

They are truly out of this world, and the story they tell draws you in and holds you in thrall. Needing  little imagination on your part, they take you on a journey as exciting and adventuresome as that of the protagonist in the panels. For now they exist only online and hopefully will be published in book form someday.

The comic art panels of Kinnari evolve methodically, slowly, (produced at a leisurely pace) just in time for the brave new globalized world. They are loaded with explanations, personal annotations and background information. Just for a moment, let’s take the text under advisement and enjoy only the images. And what images they are!

Welcome to the art of Meenakshi Krishnamoorthy, here.

It’s a case of East Meets (and renews) East.

The Art of Meenakshi Krishnamoorthy

The drawings of Kinnari reveal a world that is at once alive and forbidding. A self-taught artist, as claimed by her own bio, MK strains hard to convey a sense of the exotic, the mysterious, the romantic and the adventurous – all at the same time. Interestingly, she succeeds!

Chapter 1 - Panel 26

Chapter 1 - Panel 26

On the surface level the art form is quite alien, Manga, or Japanese action cartoon. But look closer, and you see very true Indian imagery. Look deeper, and you will see echoes of an old familiar illustrated story of your childhood, Chandamama perhaps. or some other such “Indian comics” you might know. This is the wonderful bomma katha world created (in progress) at Kinnari.

It is tempting to downplay this wonderful world of ‘labor of love drawings’ as old wine in new bottles or old dolls dressed anew. That would be a cruel lack of understanding, a total inability to enjoy the riches of this unique art form, and above all it would be a great disservice to this brand new, budding Indian genius.

What we have here is a new vision, a new voice in the true literary sense. A whole new oeuvre of two-dimensional plastic art that is a shining example of bold new visualization. Like other joys of the Internet, this one I stumbled upon by sheer accident, while drifting along the surf flotsam if you will, via a post at Blogbharthi, itself a find and topic for a later post.

The theme here is a standard archetype – journey and self-discovery – concerning two children: brother Neel and little sister Manu. It takes place a long long time ago, in a far away place called Avantipuram.

The story is told in classic comic book style. Multiple images populate a given panel and tell of a moment of action. The panel may have four to seven flowing or free standing smaller images drawn from different perspectives. Words of dialog or description move the narrative along nicely.

Extreme closeups, extreme angles of action drawings, exploding word bubbles packed with sound effects and brooding, dark landscapes in ‘establishment shot’ type views.All these can be found and are a delight to study for detail.

The word bubbles take full advantage of onomatopoeic expression. “Pthoo” screams one bubble as the bad guy sneers, “Dishummm” a punch is thrown, “Twaak” lands a blow. Watch kids fight, or play act with sound effects, you get the same result. Only here the drawings are exquisitely fine and true.

At first glance they look like figures from  foreign comics, but look closely, you will see ancient Indian masters’ in influence. Neel’s hair lock is variously, finely tucked or flying; the bad guy’s moustache curves like  crescents or sickles out from under his nose. His teeth are gapped, as they must be (only the virtuous men may have close, pearly teeth.) All characters have religious, if rather pagan, symbols or marks that harken back to Puranic times.

Panel 20 - Iconic marks, features. New frames

Panel 20 - Iconic marks, features. New frames

The facial expressions are acute and sublime, the facial features are stylized and fine. Eye brows are sensuous as well as supercilious. The good and the bad shown in stark contrast, yet using the same line and form, an amazing feat. The evil cabal,  save for the darker hue,  and a scowling expression, they too look finely drawn with odd effeminate musculature. But that’s comic art, Manga style.

This work is not complete, not by a long shot. The author is evolving, struggling, but the voice is already forming and growing. The character of Manu is a challenge. How does a female artist see herself in her creations? How much to make the little girl Manu? And how much someone else? Much more is to come from this artist, there is much to look forward to. We wait.

The Internet is the ultimate empowerment tool. It’s truly the “frugal chariot” described by poet Emily Dickinson in transporting the human soul and give avenue for self-expression and creativity. Meenakshi’s work is the perfect example of what happens when the internet and dormant creativity collide. The results are all over, so to speak. A full range of raw-to-refined, of work in progress, of talent being winnowed. Given time, nurture and devotion, it will explode in full bloom. We wish for Kinnari the greatest boon of all – the capacity for dedication and the desire to persevere, to progress, to prevail and to produce.

May the Force be with you Meenakshi!

{If readers are willing, and Ganesha consenting, this will mark the start of a yet another series. VOTARIES & VISIONARIES will be just that. A spotlight on some very productive, visionary and informative people – regardless of their origin or current location –  whose singular achievement is to show an India that is Unfinished in the best sense. Writers, broadcasters and advocates, great men and women with voice, who see in India a rising tide of good tidings. This category of posts is a salute to the strong voices of Praise India , if you will. Even critical but constructive rants will be featured. Happy Reading, we have a very strong subject to lead off with!}

Kamla Bhatt is, to put it simply, Extraordinary. How so, you say? Listen to this none too humble a goal:

We need heroes and role models that are relevant to the new and emerging India. There are hundreds of stories out there of inspiration, motivation and innovation waiting to be discovered and told. I am passionate about getting those stories told and heard,

And, indeed she delivers, day after day, post after relentless post, video after endless stream of video. Poet, pauper, philosopher, merchant prince, or prince turned merchant: all are grist for the mill of what is nowadays simply called the Kamla Show.

Among the knowledgeable, the show is a phenomenon. The Wall Street Journal’s Indian siding, Live MINT’s radio show, Livemint Radio harbours Kamla Show.

kamlaShow

Click to open Kamla Show

The show, the podcast, the blog, the persona- Kamla Bhatt is the voice of India on the Internet.

The sheer range and volume of her topics and subjects simply takes the breath away. One is just left to wonder, where does she find time, and, where does the energy come from. Well, it’s got to be a true labor of love and passion for expression and exploration. But, also love of India in there clearly, but you be the judge. First partake of a few offerings from her extensive, exhaustive archives.

Check out Kamla Bhatt on Youtube too!

Consider for example, a conversation with Pico Iyer, on a wide ranging issues.

A more recent show captured the flavor of a Hare Krishna Rath Yathra in San Francisco.

Here is a video to go with that post.

A fascinating conversation with Flower Silliman discusses her reminiscenses of Mahathma Gandhi, and her life in Bomaby cinema before there was Bollywood the foolish word/world. That conversation centered around the role of Baghdadi Jewish women in early Hindi Cinema (one of IU’s earlier posts “When Hindi films went Jewish”).

Any worthy journalist can not do without the mandatory ‘cab driver interview’. Bhatt talks to a septugenarian Sharma, of Delhi. Listen here. Her interest goes beyond the human interest or the banal. Using Hindi and English she elicits a portrait of India in flux, India Unfinished.

For the Obama junkies, there is an interview with Prof. Paul Kapur about Obama’s South Asian policy.

Have you ever wondered what really happened between India and China that long ago during the 1962 war, when India under Nehru-Menon got it’s clock cleaned.  Kamla’s guest, Rajesh Rajagopalan, sheds a ray of light.

Diwali Around the World is a delightful romp.

You can read about the great ho-hums of India such as  Shyam Benegal, Amin Sayani, MiraNair, Madhur Jaffrey and others just about any where, and Kamla does feature them with her own brand of special keenness.

But, where else could you read about  jazz musician Rudresh Mahanthappa, google video sensations Smrithi Mandhra, and  Ben Rekhi, writer Anita Nair, cinematogrpher V. K. Murthy, the unsung man who filmed Guru Dutt movies for 30 years. Who knew!!

Kamla scores a triumph in her great chats with Indian legends in IT such as the delightfully named Ninja Srinivasan of Yahoo, Padamsee Warrior of Cisco, Ashish Gupta of Helion, Suresh Narasimha of Bluetooth and countless others.

Kamla, too, features dozens of young and upcoming artists, enterepreneurs, cross-over adventurers and a whole cast of interesting personae.

Undoubtedly, caveat here, examples cited and linked here are random, chosen for no special reason. Don’t let this selection bias you in any way. In point of truth, the Kamla show is a veritable, inexhaustible smorgasbord that leaves you craving for more.

Kamla - Twitter

Kamla - Twitter

Lest one thinks Kamla is all intellection and no fun, fret not. She is witty, and funny.

According to a recent tweet from her, she can enjoy Jimmy Buffet, and Indian dinner at the same time (and along the tweet-way also drops us a tip on the Buffets’ lineage). How about that for commingling two great classics.

Now, you get an idea of why IU thinks the real classic here is Kamla!

Hillary - What a leader looks like

A True Leader

“If Hollywood and Bollywood were how we all lived our lives, that would surprise me. … And yet it’s often the way our cultures are conveyed, isn’t it? … People watching a Bollywood movie in some other part of Asia think everybody in India is beautiful and they have dramatic lives and happy endings. And if you were to watch American TV and our movies you’d think that we don’t wear clothes and we spend all our time fighting with each other.”
Hillary Clinton in India –

“Hillary has just taken Asia by storm. … On this Asia trip, and more generally, Clinton demonstrates she has done serious homework, is well briefed and articulate”  – Scripps Howard News Service Op-Ed by Arthur I. Cyr.

“Hillary Rodham Clinton is seen as the most intelligent First Lady followed by Eleanor Roosevelt” – Harris Poll on First Ladies.

“Asia trip propels Clinton back into limelight” – Headline story, New York Times.

“Hillary Clinton could be made envoy to Northern Ireland”  – Headline story, Belfast Telegraph.

“Does Hillary ever suffer from jet lag?”  Foreign Policy, Washington Post Company.

It is not certain if  Obama is indeed God as some of his followers claim, but one thing is for sure. His opponent for the party nomination last year, Hillary Clinton is certainly a saint by any measure of sufferance and fortitude.

Early during the campaign for the party nomination, before even the start of the primary elections  season, Hillary Clinton was mocked as Senator (D-Punjab) implying that the Clintons sold out to the Punjabis.

The Obama campaign released that Senator (D-Punjab) smear memo to the media in secret. Amazingly, almost as an omen, it didn’t hurt Obama at all. But, it did set a certain style in motion. Midway through the nomination season she was falsely accused of adopting a so-called ‘kitchen sink’ strategy. All throughout the primaries, she and husband Bill were painted absurdly, erroneously as racists, and assailed as being beholden to India’s business interests.

Hillary was undaunted and, as the season wore on she proved to be a tough candidate. She won every large state that mattered, persisted in her chase for nomination despite the vicious attacks by partisan Obama hacks, by ignorant young voters with no knowledge of history, and at times even by the so-called feminists of the Left who should have known better. Obama, of course ended up buying up the superdelegates, the DNC leadership conspired to take away some of Hillary’s delegates, and selected Obama as candidate even before a nominating convention was held. Just to please the ultra-leftwing of the party, the party bigwigs behaved in the worst manner familiar to the Indian polity – a la the Congress High Command – in disregarding Clinton and in sucking up to Obama and his millions of campaign money. Vote bank polemics in the worst Indian-style were evident during the Democratic Party nomination fight of 2008!

Hillary Clinton was beaten upon, but was never beat down; was written off, but was never written out. The invisible fight the millions of Hillary voters fought to no avail, the birth of the PUMA movement and its continuance. No wonder then that the poet Maya Angelou offered this wonderful paean to Hillary Clinton, as

RISE HILLARY, RISE

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Mrs. Hillary Clinton saw it all, weathered it all.

In 2008 Hillary showed the world what a political brave-heart she was. She set the standard for honest political campaigning, integrity, persistence, authenticity, and loyalty. The highly memorable victory statement in Ohio Primary, ending with the phrase “This win is for you!” typified her struggle and vision.

In 2009 the same old Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is Madame Secretary of State. One year after being edged out of the primary process, Hillary is career-wise born again. She is showing the world what a true diplomat she is in sterling performances around the globe.  From somewhere above, Thomas Jefferson is beaming with approval. So are, undoubtedly Elihu Root, Daniel Webster, and the indomitable Marshall.

HILLARY CLINTON IN INDIA

During her recent trip to India Hillary continued her unique style that blends grace, charm, humor, and vision. At every event she proved herself to be a cut above, way above, her slipperybumbling, lying boss. What a great president she would have made!  Ok, enough of that:

Hillary Clinton is getting high marks for her diplomatic achievements during the India tour.

For those who were not glued to television coverage, here are some clips of her India events:

Mumbai Townhall (3 videos)

University of Delhi Speech (4 videos)

Many official ‘State’ videos here.

And then, you have this person known only as  jcjcd.

No one loves Hillary youtube videos like jcjcd.

Outrageous, and hard to believe!!

A US based airlines broke protocol and body scanned a President of India.

More shocking, the airline employee brushes it off as routine!!

Such impudence would not have been tolerated by any human being except President Kalam – one of the gentlest human beings alive besides His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

Two of the gentlest people of our time APJ Abdul Kalam & Dalai Lama / Reuters Phot.

Two of the gentlest people of our time APJ Abdul Kalam & Dalai Lama / Reuters Phot.

Associated Press has the story here.

The President of India, Mr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was violated by a US based airlines given business permit by the sovereign nation of India to operate on it’s land.

In less refined times this would have been an “international incident.” Among less refined peoples, this would have been a causus belli.

THIS IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE

THIS WILL NOT STAND

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES MUST BE EVICTED FROM INDIA

For the record, let it be said that IndiaUnfinished has vowed not to succumb to jingoism, hyper-patriotism or knee-jerk nationalism of any sort, or arguments of cultural supremacy.

IU is dedicated to simply exploring this world as we find it. And, at the same time, calling out nonsensical values and behavior wherever and whenever it is seen. Why then does IU react so strongly to a simple event like this? After all, he was only a former President?

Consider the wide range of reasons why IU finds this event appalling, deplorable and stupid.

1. Mr. Abdul Kalam held the office of the President of India, the orlds largest, free democratic republic. He symbolizes the virtues and the prowess of over a billion people!

2. No world leader has ever been subjected to such violative treatment on his own home soil by any airline, let alone one that is foreign based.

3. President Kalam was no ordinary politician. He was uniformly honored by all political parties in India, before, during and after his elevation to the high office.

4. President Kalam was not just a leader, but a constitutional Head of State. Any violation of his person is an act of aggression against the Nation that he represents. Never mind that he is retired now. Once a President, always a symbol of the nation!

5. President Kalam is the most revered and beloved of all Presidents of India. I have lived through their tenures -all twelve of them.  President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was and remains beloved of the people of India from all walks of life, and all elements of Indian polity.

via IndiaStudiesChannel.com

via IndiaStudiesChannel.com

6. Mr. Kalam was not just the highest office holder of India. He was an honored scientist, proud son, and a genius who dedicated himself to the people of India. He sacrificed more personal comforts and ambition than all the politicians combined. In IU’s estimate, he is second only to the Mahatma.

7. As the Missile Man of India, he doggedly worked to put his people on the cosmic map, in a sense.

8. He was nominated by the so-called Hindu Nationalist Party, BJP, but was uniformly hailed as worthy by all.

9. Simply put, it is bad business. Totally unnecessary to insult a former Head of State, period.

10. Well, there is no number ten. This is not one of those lists of ten. Just a small rant. There, whew!

After all is said and done, we can safely predict a number of the usual lame sequence of events: mumbled apologies, loud chest beating, a low level worker sacked, board room knives out for the weakest, and few late night comic moments.

What the political pundits would want to know is: Is this news of an old event that occurred in April, does this have anything to do with politics. Say, the business deal about nukes just announced?

Whatever, the point is that this is a breach of protocol and courtersy between nations. I predict, the guilty will be punished.

On a lighter note, an American news outlet based in Texas, the same state as Continental’s Houston, made this snide remark in their article.

Note to George W. Bush: think about flying American or Delta on your next trip to New Delhi.

LOL indeed…

UPDATE:

It is being reported that Continental Airlines of Houston, TX has formally apologized to Mr. Kalam. If true, this is a belated development. But the airlines should apologize to the Rashtrapathi Bhawan, and the citizenry in general for it’s silly behavior and lack of common sense. No wonder, American business is in the toilet.