Royalty & Politicians

In Netherlands, crowned-for-life monarchs step down when they feel new blood is required.

In UK, monarchs serve for life but politicians retire when it’s time for new blood.

In India, politicians rule their fiefs (states, parties, constituencies) like monarchs. They rule for life, long after they’ve become prehistoric relics and a drag on their own legacies. And when they finally go, they pass on their fiefs to their frequently inept heirs, biological or ideological.


Been finding it interesting (more so intriguing) to note that after encountering efficient, non corrupt processes in countries like UK, the solutions for India from Indians here are still mostly on lines of:

  • ‘Shoot all the leaders’,
  • ‘Congress is corrupt, BJP will bring ram rajya’,
  • ‘Anna Hazare is the saviour’,
  • ‘we need a dictatorship’ (which, both the above options might easily deliver), my etc.

No one, not even the most intelligent, insightful IIT/IIM educated folk I’ve met or read, suggest what I find to be the obvious: ‘strong, independent government institutions’.

The strength of western democracies isn’t derived from non-corrupt leaders (they are corrupt here too, just not in such an open manner), or from being led by a god anointed party or leader (highly religious states in EU seem to have higher corruption), or from a great leader(!) who has lead them into a shining future.

The strength of western democracy, IMO, is derived from its strong institutions which deliver what they are responsible for, irrespective of – government of the day, mood of the populace and mood of the boss. More importantly, institutions which, while consistently delivering their responsibilities, rarely over reach.

About time that we stopped thinking in terms of individuals and personalities, and started thinking in terms of institutions, organisations, structures and processes. Yes, it’s boring, it doesn’t let you (or anyone) be a hero. But, it delivers. Time, after time.

Continue reading Institutions

Ian Bell was just being selfish in the…

Ian Bell was just being selfish in the aftermath of being of having acted foolish and arrogant.

However, I can’t understand that what was Strauss doing going to the Indian dressing room asking for Bell’s recall! Did he go begging bowl in hand? Or did he go threatening them with dire consequences on and off the field if they didn’t recall Bell? Or was it that he & his team suddenly remembered that cricket has a ‘spirit of the game’ that they can mould according to their needs and flout it about for getting a decision reversed?

Not one of the many people discussing the incident in Sky studios said that Bell had been wronged. Almost all of them went out and said that Indian team’s appeal was not against the spirit of the game. Nasser Hussain accepted he would have acted in the same way as Dhoni in appealing for the decision. English hero Ian Botham was clear in his belief that Bell should have gone. Still, Strauss had the balls to go into the Indian dressing room and ask for the recall!

Can’t figure how he’ll sleep with his decision tonight. It was clear from Bell’s behaviour that he knew he was out and that the protest could get him out. He acted in a manner to incite the situation and use the crowd to force Indians to recall him. However, I expected Strauss to remember that Cricket isn’t really a Gladiator’s arena – crowd doesn’t decide what’s wrong and what’s now. My disappointment is in Strauss, for I expected better of him.

A mature cycling culture

Been thinking of some ideas/features on cycling forums / websites that I think are lacking. At some time the thought turned to and from there to how the cycling culture in India still isn’t mature.

See, in my book, for a place to have a thriving cycling culture it should have had vicious debates on forums and in comments on these topics:

1. Are helmets good or bad for cycling / cyclists?
2. Shimano vs Campagnolo vs SRAM components.
3. Lycra clad speedsters vs. Fixie sporting hipsters vs. Regular pannier & mudguard sporting urban cyclists.
4. Aluminium vs Steel vs Carbon vs Titanium frames.

Since I don’t see any of these debates in place on, I doubt that the cycling culture has matured yet. Wonder how long will the culture take to develop to that level, if ever.

Sar zameen-e-hindustan, as salaam alaikum!

Sar zameen-e-hindustan, as salaam alaikum!
Mera naam Baadshah Khan hai.
Ishq mera mazhab, mohabbat mera iman hai.

jiske liye Shiri aur Laila ke naam phulon ki khushbhu ban gaye,
jiske liye Farahad ne pahadon ka sina cheer kar dhood ki neher baha di,
jiske liye Majanu ne sehraw ki khaakh chhaani aur aaj bhi zinda hai taarikh ban kar,

Ussi mohabbat ke liye Kabul ka ye pathan Hindustan ki sar zameen se mohabbat ki khair mangne aaya hai.

Aazmayish kadi hai,
imtihan mushkil hai,
lekin haunsla buland hai.

Jeet hamesha mohabbat ki hui hai,
Sadiyon se yahi hota aayah hai, yahi hoga.

Roshani gar Khuda ko ho manzoor, aandhiyon mein chirag jalte hain… Khuda gawah hai!

This 1st India-SA test is bringing back …

This 1st India-SA test is bringing back some fond memories. Of Indian cricket as it was in the brilliant 90s.

Team India touted as best ever to improve the away winning record before a tour outside the subcontinent.
Team India’s long & strong batting line-up surrenders meekly in face of fast bowling on bouncy wickets.
Team India’s always-average bowlers struggle to bowl out opposition for lack of any real-pace or spinning wickets.
Desperate hope for rain, fog, bad light and all other possible factors that could help snatch a draw.
The inevitable – Sachin tots up another hundred as India lose another away test match horribly.
Heated discussions between pro- & anti-SRT groups on ‘Sachin only plays for records but can’t win/save a match for India’
Cosmetic changes to the team for 2nd test.