Monday, January 07, 2008

Stop playing with cheats

The outrage Indian media is displaying after our cricket team was robbed of a test win in Sydney and, more importantly, after Harbhajan Singh was declared a racial offender is understandable. But I think it is misplaced. The rage should be directed at BCCI.
If the BCCI had men who cared about the country's pride, such things would have never happened more than once. This is a recurring theme, as far as Indian cricket is concerned. In my opinion, the media is flogging the wrong horse. It's ire should be directed at BCCI, which has till date done precious little for cricket and cricketers in the country, except thinking of ways to fill its coffers.
Some assumed that this was the case with just Jagmohan Dalmiya, who had a way with getting any deal done, as long as BCCI made money but could not get justice for Indian cricketers when they got kicked around routinely. Remember Mike Dennis and the excess appealing-ball tampering controversy? After all the sound and fury, Sehwag had to undergo the match suspension for excess appealing and Sachin Tendulkar's name was never cleared of ball tampering. BCCI will do some play-acting but will do nothing that will cost it a penny, even this time.
I, for one, believe that Harbhajan Singh, or any other cricketer, should be banned for life if he behaves racially. But there should be a fair trial before 'hanging' the cricketer. The match referee should have incontrovertible evidence to prove that the crime was committed. The golden rule of law is that someone is innocent until proven guilty. There was nothing with Mike Procter, the match referee, to suggest that Harbhajan was guilty, except for the claim by Andrew Symmonds and his colleagues. The umpires said they did not hear any (given Bucknor's and Benson's track record, it is unlikely they would hear anything) slur uttered by Harbhajan. And the Indian camp stands by Harbhajan's claim that he had not made any racial remark. So, how can the match referee hand him down a 3-match suspension?
It's not the 3-match suspension that matters. Harbhajan may miss more tests because of fitness problems in future. Here, he is being accused of being racist. So, if the Indian players have the conviction that Harbhajan is innocent, they should refuse to play anymore in Australia unless the ban is revoked.
BCCI should have the gumption to ask its cricketers to return home. Reneging from the contract will cost money. But it's time BCCI realised that there is more to cricket than just money.
BCCI is stuffed with the best politicians in the world. One of them can convincingly argue to make a hero out of a criminal accused of genocide; another, who heads the body, had gone to the extend of walking out of his party and forming his own Nationalist Party because he could not withstand the 'shame of being governed by a foreign-born Prime Minister'. But when he was literally pushed around by Ricky Ponting, he just stood there and grinned. How do we tell such persons there is something called HONOUR?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

PM caught between black magic and red manics

Some guys conducted havans to kill me, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recently. I remember an ardent BJP fan telling me in the Summer of 2004 that the UPA government would fall in a few months. When I asked for the reason, he said that it was in the stars. An astrologer who had "correctly predicted several events" had told him personally, he 'reasoned'. Strangely, newspapers reported in those days how the BJP was expecting the government to fall around the same time. Was it the same astrologer who reassured BJP?

Reacting to the havan statement, BJP's V K Malhotra said that havans are meant for only people's well being. But I am sure he has heard of Shatrusamahra Pooja. In fact, the same BJP fan had remarked once that Sonia Gandhi must have conducted a Shatrusamahra Pooja because all her prospective 'challengers,' like Rajesh Pilot, Madhavrao Scindia and Prasada had died. "So that means, she is very much a true Hindu, your party should have no more qualms about her foreign origin," I had then responded. These are havan guys. Manmohan Singh must be right!

Even as black magic has troubled him enough, comes the ultimatum from Red manics. These guys are really nuts. When India tested the bomb in 1998, CPM and other Left parties condemned it saying that it would create an arms race in the sub-continent. They did not want India to test. Now, when the Manmohan Singh government signs a nuclear deal with the United States, the same jokers are saying that the Hyde Act will ensure that we cannot test. If they were against testing then, why are they bothered about being denied an opportunity to test now?

But this is just a single sentence in the Polit Bureau statement. The rest of it reads just like any other rhetoric churned out at a Left party meeting. They are worried about India's independent foreign policy being affected and India being made a satellite state of the United States. It's sheer anti-Americansim that's in display, nothing else.

But for all those who are wondering what is wrong with the 123 Agreement, and left confused with Arun Shourie's obfuscation of facts (the only thing he knows) let me make one thing very clear: India is a nuclear power that voluntarily submitted to the 'no first strike' principle after the 1998 tests. We have developed a minimum credible detterrence (MCD) for a second strike. In other words, nobody will dare nuke us because we can retaliate even after we are struck by a nuclear bomb -- We have the capability to strike from land, water and sea. In this condition, we DON'T need to test anymore! This is the same reason why all the nuclear powers signed the NPT.

However, the security scenario can change with time. For example, let's say some hostile power builds an arsenal that can simultaneously destroy all our MCD. This is just a theory. If that occurs, we will need to counter such a threat and that MAY require us to test again. In the unlikely event of such a test, the 123 Agreement says, that the United States reserves the right to cancel the deal. BUT it will look into the circumstances that led India to test before deciding whether to cancel the deal, apart from giving India a year's notice period if it decides to cancel the deal. What this means is that a changed security environment could lead to the US agreeing that India had sufficient grounds to test and could allow the deal to continue.

In brief, we have the arsenal now, don't need to test, can enjoy nuclear status without signing NPT and get enriched uranium to meet our power needs. Uninterrupted, clean and cheap power for all our needs, is something that I look forward to. Even as I started writing this, there is a power failure. I am running my computer on my inverter. I already had a seven-hour power cut on this blessed day, though it's only 13 hours old, although I live 0 km from the National capital.

The government should put those opposing the deal, for narrow political reasons, in a top-floor flat in Ghaziabad in peak summer and then talk to them. I am sure they will all shut up and give the deal a thumbs-up.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Karat will get us fuel from Tehran

They have hardly 60 MPs in Parliament but they think that they have the mandate. I think it's high time Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan are told to go get fuel from Iran to meet our energy needs.

Never knew donkeys can fly

Some donkeys have been handpicked as high-fliers. Seen one in Shrek I, but that was after a magic cage hit the donkey. Here, a lot of them can fly just like that!

Send MIM guys to Australia

John Howard's government seem to be eager to label anyone with a Muslim name as terrorist. I think we have a fit case here. Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi, his son and whoever in his MIM thinks that Taslima Nasreen should be beheaded must be sent to Australia.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Open blog to the PM

Mr Prime Minister, I would ask you to take away all my tax rebates and exemptions. Tax me on my gross earnings. Don't give me any relief for the money reimbursed for my phone bill or for LTA or medical bills or even for the interest I have to pay on my housing loan. But tax me at a flat 10% rate. Don't have slabs of 20% and 30%.

I guess you will agree that you should not tax anyone earning up to Rs 20,000 a month. So, if you just have the tax meter ticking on gross yearly earnings of over Rs 2,40,000, and remove all tax reliefs, exemptions and rebate, Mr PM, people like I will be paying you less tax but I can assure you that your income-tax collection will go up several fold. Your exemptions are only encouraging the majority to be dishonest. Since I am not one, I have been losing out. But if you remove the exemptions and cut the tax slabs, the evaders will be forced to be honest, the honest will pay less tax and your tax collection will go up. What more, no one will have a reason to complain of a high tax rate.

And stop fooling people by adding all kinds of taxes to whatever we do. Don't make us pay a service tax and an education cess on every condom we buy. You are giving spouses an unnecessary idea! I know this was an idea first introduced by smart Alec Yashwant Sinha, in the form of a Kargil surcharge, after his government was caught napping in the hills bordering Pakistan.

Also, why not have a flat 15% tax slab for all corporate earning a gross revenue of Rs 1 crore a year? Why listen to the insipid babus who come up with dumb ideas like Minimum Alternate Tax? If you are imposing a minimum tax despite companies showing losses, it is very clear that you know those accounts are fudged. But your babus know not how to go about it. And finally, you have done away with MAT! Why not tax them on gross revenue? Mr PM, do you honestly believe that all those people who are showing losses or showing no profits are running charity shows? If a business is not successful, why will anybody continue to run it? The companies floated by the guy called the 'great Indian visionary' by India's pink papers, don't pay any tax and you are letting it be so?

We have a tax regime where Chartered Accountants make money for helping out corporates and individuals evade tax. You have thousands of fat-cat babus warming their chairs because they have weaved a complex tax regime for their livelihood. If you are honest about simplifying things, as you recently remarked, you just have to follow these simple principles.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What First?

The other day, CPM's controversial West Bengal leader said something like, "I am first a Hindu, then a Brahmin and then a communist." Did the Pope say something simialr? Did he say, "I am first a German, then a Catholic and then a Pope?"

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Debunking Code

It has been brought to my notice that someone called Con Brown has written a book, The Debunking Code, which though described as fiction has clinching evidence to link him to the lineage of Judas, the man who betrayed his master for 30 pieces of silver, 1977 years ago.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Burning issue

Anyone who wants to draw a cartoon, please take prior permission from me.