Monday, May 12, 2008

Is Comrade Napoleon Scared?

So there was this Panchayat Election in Nandigram, West Bengal, - the recent hotspot of political debates.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was employed there to maintain peace and fearless polling. Alok Raj, the Deputy Inspector General of the CRPF is doing his job well. So he gets this phone call.

Arijit has given a short background of the scenario. He forwarded some news clips. As I read through the news clips, I felt that Mr. Seth is actually very scared and feeling insecure! That is why he is trying to blame the CRPF, trying to frame fake charges against Aloke Raj. All these proves only one fact, he is not an intelligent politician. Had he been so, he should have kept quiet because these Panchayat election holds little significance for him. The State Government is there backing him. If they think this is good for Nandigram, that must be true! The plans will eventually be implemented, because there is actually no one to protest. Opposition parties? Trinamool (Congress or BJP do not have a strong presence there)? They themselves don't know what they want to do, have no direction at all and always misguided, confused and disorganized! Even if they protest, that will not be for the people of Nandigram, that will ultimately be for garnering favor of media and their national political alliance.
The tragedy of the "communist" ruling in West Bengal is that over the years there have been number of laments and protests but no alternative to the current rulers has born out of the people of West Bengal. That is what essentially "communism" does in the long run - worshiping of mediocrity, total dependence on the authority and losing the urge/ motivation of rebellion against the authority even if they are unjust. So probably in a Orwellian sense West Bengal is a successful example of outcome of successful communist ruling.

The moral of the story, Laksham Seth is unnecessarily scared. He will be the winner in the long run.

"No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?" - Animal Farm

Am I too pessimistic?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Random reflections on rice, recession, rumor ...

So there is a global food crisis, huh?

Its really hard for people like me to feel what a food crisis is, because we or our immediate acquaintances, honestly, never faced it. We read about about old stories of famine, starvation and hunger. How does it feel when you have money to buy but still starving? Probably situation will not be like it used to be in old days. Food price will sore high but we, the middle class, again will not be starving. There will be deaths ... but how's that gonna affect us! More so when you are here in US. Famine in US, huh ...
Arijit forwarded this news-piece. Its almost known fact that average rate of obesity is much higher comapred to world standard among US citizen. So if major grain producing countries stop export average US citizen is going to be healthier.
I stumbled upon these news flashes (Gmail Webclip is good!) on the same day ... India is expecting rise in food production whereas the global food crisis is pulling the price up. Isn't that good for Indian economy? Vicky was telling, "we don't care, if everything goes bad in America, we won't be looser, we can always go back to India". At least in India we won't have any rice shortage. Indeed!
The other day, Anamika came and informed that someone has informed her that Sam's Club is stockpiling rice and won't allow anyone to buy more than four bags of rice. Weis and Walmart has also started rationing rice. Sam's Club is usually the place we buy rice from. I informed Subhashis and Prashant. They might have already informed others. So now everyone is running to Sam's Club. No wonder there will soon be a shortage of rice, not only because of stockpiling by Sam's Club, but mainly because of overstocking by us! Eventually even before actual crisis of rice is started, State College is gong to suffer from it. That is how the dynamics of essential commodities work. Its major driving force is the un-put-downable rumor. By the way, we haven't yet gone to Sam's Club to buy our four bags!

And then there is recession. Couple of months ago there was huge debate whether US is already hit by recession or is going to be hit. How does it matter for commoners? They are already suffering ... prices of food has gone up drastically from last year. Every month thousands of people are getting sacked from their job, banks are merging ... it doesn't matter whether its officially recession or not. Still the presidential candidates are getting millions of dollar as donation from who-knows-whom for their campaign. The lawyers and financial advisers seem to be little busy as they are advertising more and more with promises to help reduce debt. I don't know how can one avoid their debt so easily, but apparently there are lots pf people who need them. This economy runs on credit. And oil. Every morning starts off with the breaking news of oil price reaching record high. But at least in State College I don't feel any decrease of number of cars running. The summer has set in, I expected a rise in number of bicycles with this oil price hike, but not really. In fact I see more sports car and gas-guzzlers more as the semester nears the end!
The recession - it is not so hard for us, but still it hurts. Amit was lamenting that day, when he came to US he had to pay Rs. 48 for each dollar and now when he sends money home, he only gets Rs. 38 in return. Well, Indian economy is doing good. But shall we feel good about it or be sad that we are actually being able to save less than we had hoped to? The world is too complicated.

Only good thing is that the semester is over and, and ... and I don't know what!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Honk for ...

Sometime around Apr 20, when Hillary visited PSU campus, I was walking to department and saw few girls at a busy corner of downtown with placards saying "Honk for Hillary". I heard three to four honks as I passed by.

Yesterday I had to spent sometime on downtown waiting for someone. As I sat at the Dunkin Donuts shop opposite in the busiest part of downtown I noticed some elderly persons standing near the main gate of PSU with placards for peace, 'stop the war', 'stop developing weapons' and 'Honk for Peace'. Cars passed by fast. And as I spent almost fifteen minutes there I heard four to five honks.

Guess American president takes priority than peace.