Saturday, December 19, 2009

Indira, a biography...Book Review

The author Pupul Jayakar, a close friend and confidant of Indira Gandhi. She traces the history of the Nehru family right from the Mughal times, where an ancestor of theNehru family occupied a position in the court of the Mughal Emperor, FarrukhSiyar. The book deals with the journey of the ancestors of the Nehru family fromthe Kashmir valley to the court of the Emperor in Delhi and to their finalsettlement in Allahabad.

Indira was born on 19th November 1917 in Allahabad, India, to Jawaharlal and Kamala Nehru.

Book is clearly segregated in parts, first 1919-1934 where Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister and Indira’s father constantly advised her to mould her future through the answers to the questions which have been put up by the circumstances. Book gives you an insight about Indira’s unpleasant childhood as she was frequently a victim of sardonic laughter by her aunt, VijyaLakshmi Pandit. Indira’s encounter with freedom movement came at an early age of 4 when her father and grandfather were jailed for the first time.

1935-1945, this was the period when she suffered a personal loss in form of her mother Kamala’s demise by tuberculosis. Indira grew as a solemn, introvert and precocious child.

1946-1966, India’s independence with the ascension of Indira as a fierce and modern leader. Meanwhile, she took the audacious step to marry Feroz Gandhi who was not only a parsi but his ideologies was completely different as of her. Year 1966, also witnessed the oath of Indira as the first lady Prime Minister of India.

Indira’s political career climbed all heights; however emergency calamity, cases of corruption and nepotism always surrounded her. Lady as fierce as Indira seemed precarious in her decision at times because of her overwhelming love towards her son, Sanjay. Nevertheless, nationalization of banks, initiation of Green revolution and Lenin Peace Prize are some of the timeline achievements.

One thing in which book lack behind is the critical judgments, it may be because of the close intimacy shared by Pupul and Indira.

Lastly, book acts as a huge source of inspiration for women who aspire in participating in political activities and believe in bringing out change in the system.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gay Rights..

Last night, I watched ‘Milk’ a movie on gay rights and could not help myself pondering over the subject. We can not deny that Homosexuals have been a part of our society since long.

Religion has played a significant role in shaping Indian customs and traditions. While homosexuality has not been explicitly mentioned in the religious texts central to Hinduism, the largest religion in India. Some interpretations have been viewed as condemning homosexuality. However there have been arguments that homosexuality was both prevalent and accepted in ancient Hindu society.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community have been striving for an equal status; several marches in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Pondicherry and Orissa have shown their presence in abundance but nothing substantial was done legally until July 2009.
Section 377 of Indian Penal Code formed in 1861 was restructured and redefined, as it pertains to consensual sex among people above the age of 18, in violation of important parts of India’s Constitution. “Consensual sex amongst adults is legal, which includes even gay sex and sex among the same sexes”, this was the verdict.

A wave of joy and victory among the perceived “deviant” group with equal intensity of opposition and venomous from religious groups all over the country was evident.

In spite of this, some questions are still unanswered, such as “Will this law stand good for long, or the Supreme Court may review it under the light of vehement opposition?”
“Will it change the perception in the mind, as it has always been considered as taboo”?

Legalizing is just a baby step to the long road; gigantic stigma attached to it has yet not allowed many homosexuals to get rid off their disguised and double lives. In rural areas, it is considered as an evil disease and people are treated for it.

Need of the hour is to educate people and raise public awareness with the support of Government. It’s just a step to change the attitude of others towards LGBT. They all over the world deserved to be treated with dignity and humility.

Let’s take a step for an egalitarian culture!

PS: With all due respect to the ‘Gays and Lesbians’ community, I would like to state that am straight and have no inclinations of any kind towards them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Terror Tourism..

A new face of tourism came into existence when Former Chief Minister VilasRao Deshmukh along with his son Ritesh and a renowned bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma went to visit the Hotel Taj after the 26th November terrorist attack. This audacity also cost him his job but it led to the beginning of a new era for tourism.

Tourism in history signifies, bringing you face to face with startling diversity - from different terrains and languages to a wealth of regional cultures.

But ironically, almost a year after the Mumbai terror attacks, what is now the most popular affair in Mumbai is "Terror Tourism". To put simply, it is a visit to those places which were attacked during the November 26-29, 2008 by Pakistani fidayeens, who made their ingress from the Arabian Sea.It is just not the foreigners who are keen about this affair but even the local Mumbaikars, who visit these places on weekends.

There are even guides to take you around these places explaining the attacks. Travel and tourism companies have started cashing in on the attacks. Till 2008 November, Gateway of India was the biggest tourist attraction in Mumbai but after 26/11 all tourists want to visit Taj Hotel site to get the details of the terror attacks. One needs to shell out approximately Rs 2,000 to take a look at the bullet marks at Nariman House or get an elaborate description of gunbattle at Cama Hospital and the three-day siege at Taj Hotel.

While international travel agents are also travelling to India to visit the Mumbai terror attacks site, many tourists think this kind of tourism should not be promoted.

Statistically, recent terrorist attacks have resulted in 15-20% decline in growth of tourism industry; on the other hand, terror tourism alone at Mumbai has contributed 5% to the sector.

Now, the call is on us whether to promote it or not!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Technically recession is confirmed if GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is negative for a period of two or more consecutive quarters. However, this definition of recession does not take into account several other important macroeconomic factors like national unemployment rates, consumer confidence, spending level etc. As a result there is no universally accepted definition of recession. The agency that is officially in charge of declaring a recession in the United States is known as the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER. The NBER defines a recession as a “significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months.”

Shapes of Recovery

Recession shapes are used by economists to describe different types of recessions. There is no specific academic theory or classification system for recession shapes; rather the terminology is used as informal shorthand to characterize recessions and their recoveries. The most commonly used terms are V-shaped, U-shaped, W-shaped, and L-shaped recessions. The shapes take their names from the approximate shape economic data make in graphs during recessions. The letters can also be applied referring to the recoveries for example V-shaped recovery.

V Shaped Recovery - In a V-shaped recovery, the economy suffers a sharp but brief period of economic decline with a clearly defined trough, followed by a strong recovery. A clear example of a V-shaped recession is the Recession of 1953 in the United States. In 1953 growth began to slow, in the third quarter, the economy shrank by 2.4 percent. In the fourth quarter the economy shrank by 6.2 percent, and in the first quarter of 1954 it shrank by 2 percent before returning to growth. By the fourth quarter of 1954, the economy was growing at an 8 percent pace, well above the trend.

U Shaped Recovery - In a U-shaped recovery GDP may shrink for several quarters, and only slowly return to trend growth. The Recession of 1973–75 can be considered a U-shaped recession. In early 1973 the economy began to contract and continued to decline for nearly two years. After hitting the bottom, the economy climbed back to recovery in only in 1975.

W Shaped Recovery ­- A W-shaped recovery or "double dip" recession occurs when the economy has a recession, emerges from the recession with a short period of growth, but quickly falls back into recession. The Early 1980s recession in the United States is cited as an example of a W-shaped recession.

L Shaped Recovery - An L-shaped recovery occurs when an economy has a severe recession and does not return to trend line growth for many years, if ever. The steep drop, followed by a flat line makes the shape of an L. This is the most severe of the different shapes of recession. A classic example of an L-shaped recession occurred in Japan following the bursting of the Japanese asset price bubble in 1990. From the end of World War II throughout the 1980s, Japan's economy was growing robustly. In the late 1980s a massive asset-price bubble developed in Japan. After the bubble burst the economy suffered from deflation, and experienced years of sluggish growth; never returning to the higher growth Japan experienced from 1950-1990.

Now it's upto You to decide what kind of recession we are going through!