Thursday, April 14, 2011

Asterix, Obelix and the Pirates of Somalia

I. When Pirates Used to Add Humour to Comics

And it always ended as...

II. When the Indian Government Started Adding Humour** to Important Issues

It started ending as...

Somali pirates have been attacking cargo ships sailing near the coast of Africa, since 2008. *63 Indian sailors on board these ships have been captured by them since 2010. While 10 have been rescued so far, 53 still remain hostage to tortures inflicted by the barbarians. 

An Indian sailor recounts his tale of horror, after being rescued - 

"They put our captain and chief engineer both in a refrigeration room and that refrigeration room temperature is nearly minus 17 degrees and they kept the captain and chief engineer in there for half an hour or one hour," said Sandeep Dangwal.

To know more about his horrifying experience, read  - "Has India forsaken its men?"

The **humour of our government - 

The external affairs minister, S.M Krishna "warned" the pirates as follows, "Let us hope they will see the path of reason and sanity and not harm those they have taken in captivity."

If they were so civilised to understand reason and sanity, they would not have hijacked ships, killed and held human lives hostage for ransom, as they have. 

I recently read on someone's Facebook status, "I just pray to God, that in my next life, don't send me to Hindustan." I was hurt when I read that! But perhaps it is this feeling of being orphaned and abandoned by the government, that explain the person's anguish somewhere. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Heresy - Does Team India deserve all?

*Want roti, kapda, makaan? Join the Indian cricket team*

Team India's winning moment at the 2011 Cricket World Cup 

Congratulations to the Indian cricket team for winning the World Cup, but the country is going rather berserk in showering them with gifts and awards.

The latest I read was a premium airline announcing lifetime complimentary passes to all members of the winning World Cup squad.  Before that, the Indian railways had announced First AC lifetime complimentary passes for the players.

It all started when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a crore each to all players of the squad and respective state governments joined the bandwagon. The Tamil Nadu government announced Rs 3 crores to the team, the Punjab government announced a crore each to Harbhajan and Yuvraj. The Delhi government announced Rs 2 crore to Dhoni. The Maharashtra government announced a crore each to Sachin and Zaheer.

Does the government have so much money lying around idle? All my economics books taught me about the scarcity of funds in India being one of the major causes for the delayed progress of the country. 

Not just money, there are houses too and cars. The government of Karnataka announced a plot each to all players, Uttarakhand promised one each to Dhoni and Sachin and Jharkand announced another for Dhoni. A sponsor of the World Cup announced cars for each player.

There are about 2 million homeless people living on the streets of India, but the government has enough free plots to give away as presents to millionaires. India behaves as if the country 'owes' the team something. We are thrilled when they accomplish such milestones. But at the end of day, that's what they are paid for, and paid handsomely by the BCCI (their salaries).

If the government wishes to reward these cricketers for their performances, it may endow them with medals, trophies, souvenirs or other honours. But, paying them the tax-payers' money pinches.

Hoping that the governments may spend these funds in priority sectors is too much to ask, the least they could do is spend it on the development of other sports in our country. Knowing cricket is the money-making sport in India, the resources it generates can be used in promoting other sports, till they eventually gain popularity and stand up on their feet.

May be one day we'll know our priorities and India can boast of a few more sports people who do not play cricket. Or better still, a few more people who do not live on the streets.

*Well actually, rupya, bangla, gaadi*