Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Opinionated Indian Wishes all Citizens of World Merry Christmas and Happy & Prosperous New Year 2009, God Bless You All.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

How India survived the financial meltdown...

I just read this article on The New York Times, titled 'How India Avoided a Crisis'.

I ain't an economist, but as an Opinionated Indian, I got my views on everything... and finance is something I like to express my views on... rather these are snippets from my Ma's (Indian word of mother) advice.

There are few things, which, we people of India do... and because of them... India's economy is still strong and unaffected by this melt-down...

Loans are BAD!

My mom always says... Son! never take a loan.. its bad... and trust me I have never taken a loan in my life. The logic is simple, when you take a loan from bank or any financial institution, you spend the money easily, but it becomes real difficult to raise the same money again and pay the debt.

As most of the the Indians, rarely take personal loan, or create debts for any kind of flimsy need. They stay out of the credit-payment net... Well, but haa! when the need will arise I will take a home loan... just like other Indians do.

Credit Card is BAD!

India is a country where only 2-3 percent people have any kind of credit card, sounds unbelievable? yeah, but its true!

I got my first credit card just couple of months back, and I use it very carefully. I make sure that I got hard cash in my bank account, before I spend a rupee (counterpart of US dollar) through credit card. Rather most of the Indians prefer to pay hard cash rather then pay by check or credit card. Well, unintentionally, it helps them.

As they pay all cash, it helps them in remaining debt-free. Where as, people who have credit card, swipe the plastic and get into debts.

Saving money, SAVES!

One of the many words I often hear (just like other folks in India) from my Ma is 'SAVE', every time I visit her at her home, she unfailingly tells me to save money... make a fixed deposit in a government bank.

Indians, have this good tendency to save for bad times, this is one of the cornerstone of Indian culture. Any middle-income family in India, at any given point of time, has savings worth more then their yearly income. Also the Indian Income Tax Department (counterpart of IRS) gives tax benefits if you save money.

Invest in Real Estate and Gold

Indians often invest in Real Estate and Gold. Statistically its proven, that regardless of the downturn in economy, the value of these two things doesn't fall below 20 %

And these two assets, can be liquidated easily, without much depreciation in times of dire financial need.

Don't spend on unnecessary stuff!

Whenever I buy anything, My mom instantly tells me not to waste money on unnecessary thing.

Indians use a TV set for at least 10 years... Well, barring few exceptions, a TV set is something which is as a short-term home appliance in US. The underlying point is, Indians make maximum use of the stuff they have, and avoid spending on something which they don't need or can be avoided.

Whereas, folks in US spend unnecessarily on things which they don't really require... Say a iPhone 3G! I don't understand why its so hyped device in US, to spend 199 US$ (and a binding contract!) ? a normal GSM phone works just fine... as it does for me.

As I said, I ain't a economist and my Ma is not even a high school graduate. But what she understands and practices, most of people and businesses in US didn't...


This is me...

My "column" in the blog is going to be a fictional account of an anonymous girl.

That's me. The Anonymous Girl.

I've lived in Goa, Bangalore, Bombay, Delhi and Pune and I don't know where I'll be this time next year.

But today I am where I am... in a little anonymous colony surrounded by weirdos. The colony where the woman in the next building just waits till her husband goes to work before her boyfriend shows up, the colony where two young guys share a flat and have 2 girlfriends each, the colony where the watchman either comes to work drunk, or doesn't come to work cos his son beat him up, the colony where the odd job man seems to be manic-depressive...

I could go on and on... I am surrounded by strange people and strange happenings... and trust me you're gonna hear about them all... because this is my life, these are my opinions, and I don't really have anything else to write about...


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A song close to my heart...

Here is a song, which is close to my heart, sung by a young guy with profound voice.

This song has meaning which touches the heart, in fact he wrote it after someone he loved the most, passed away...

So here is the Punjabi song Tere Bin by Rabbi Shergill (with English Translation)

Tere bin / besides you

sanu sohnia / my love

koi hor nahio labhna / I shan't find another

jo dave / who'll give

ruh nu sakun / peace to my soul

chukke jo nakhra mera / and indulge me

ve main sare ghumm ke vekhia / I have gone and seen it all

Amrika , Roos, Malaysia / America, Russia, Malaysia

kittey vi koi fark si / there wasn't any difference

har kise di koi shart si / they all had 'some condition'

koi mangda mera si sama / some asked for my time

koi hunda surat te fida / some were fascinated with my face

koi mangda meri si vafa / some demanded my fidelity

na koi mangda merian bala / none wanted my demons

tere bin / besides you

hor na kise / no one else

mangni merian bala / wanted my demons

tere bin / besides you

hor na kise / no one else

karni dhup vich chhan / shall shade me in the sun

jiven rukia / (the) way you paused

si tun zara / slightly

nahion bhulna / I shan't forget

main sari umar / all my life

jiven akhia si akhan chura / you said, looking away

"rovenga sanu yad kar" / "you shall weep in my memory"

hasia si main hasa ajeeb / I laughed a strange laugh

(par) tu nahi si hasia / but you didn't

dil vich tera jo raaz si / you had a secret in your heart

mainu tu kyon ni dasia / why didn't you tell me

tere bin / besides you

sanu eh raz / none shall tell this

kise hor nahion dasna / secret to me

tere bin / besides you

peerh da ilaaj / what druid

kis vaid kolon labhna / has the cure to my ills

milia si ajj mainu / I found today

tera ik patra / a note of yours

likhia si jis 'te / on which you had scribbeled

tun shayr varey shah da / a varis shah couplet

park ke si osnu / upon reading which

hanjnu ik duliya / a teardrop fell

akhan 'ch band si / what was locked in the eye

seh raaz ajj khulia / was revealed today

ki tere bin / that other than you

eh mere hanjnu / these tears of mine

kise hor / won't be kissed by

nahio chumna / none else

ki tere bin / that other than you

eh mere hanjhu / these tears of mine

mitti vich rulnha / will wither in the dust...


Mumbai Attack Uncensored (Check at your own risk)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Indian Government to form National Investigation Agency (NIA).

An Open Letter to Prime Minister of India, Mr. Manmohan Singh, PhD.

Mr. Prime Minister,

A moment back I read the news, Indian government passed a bill, which will formulate National Investigation Agency.

The role of this federal agency will be to investigate acts of terrorism and will have jurisdiction through-out India, also it will pave the way for Special Courts to try the terrorists and impart justice.

I am sure you are aware of the number of India's Intelligence Agencies. There is Intelligence Bureau (IB - one of World's oldest Intelligence agency). Then there are agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (RAW - India's external Intelligence agency), Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI), Defence Security Corps (DSC), Directorate of Air Intelligence (DAI), Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI), then there is Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), also the state governments have their own intelligence departments. The list is endless. But there is one thing common among them, there is no co-ordination.

Now there will be another new agency, NIA (sounds much like CIA.. huh!)

Well, some will say this is a step in right direction, and I do agree with it. But why there was inordinate delay ? Why the government is waking-up (or still sleeping) now?, after 190 odd citizens of India and the World were massacred by the barbaric terrorists. If this step was taken long back, perhaps these lives would have been saved.

After the 11/26th, the government decided to have regional hubs for elite National Security Guards (NSG or Black-Cats as they are referred), but it would have saved dozens of innocent lives, if this step was taken before.

Why POTA (Prevention Of Terrorism Act) was repealed by the government? Just to show that it is so'called Muslim friendly?

It was Digvijay Singh, a core member of your party 'Indian National Congress', who came up with the phrase "Hindu Terrorist", when allegedly few members of Hindu right wing group were arrested during probe of Malegaon blast.

Mr. PM, A terrorist, who kills innocent civilians, has no religion. He is just a plain barbaric sadist!

All, said and done, Opinionated Indian, hopes that the government has taken its lesson and won't repeat its mistakes... Well, the World runs on Hope!

Peace to all,

Opinionated Indian


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Right ideology, wrong place.

'It's neither the horse nor the elephant and never – e'er – the tiger. It's the goat that is offered in sacrifice, even the gods slain the weak.' said the legendary Indian diplomat and author of Arthashastra – Kautilya.

We often call ours as the 'land of Mahatma'. 'We are a peace loving nation' we proudly declare, furthering 'and we are proud of it!' True, absolutely, we love peace. But more than often we forget that there is a price to be paid for peace. Peace is not free.

A weak person, no matter in which part of the world, is bound to be subdued by the strong men. He gets no respect from men with brawns. 'Strength respects strength', as said by India's former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, holds well, always – beyond all incertitude.

Weak has neither the present nor future. Even if he says that 'I fight none' and that 'I am all for peace.' people are certain to mock at him. Why? Because they know that he can seldom offer a resistance when assailed by a mighty adversary. Nowhere in the world has a weak been able to live with respect. Very similar is the case with a weak nation.

But what makes a human or a nation weak? It's all about courage. If men lack courage they are sure to be weak and the country is weak when its establishment is spineless. Yes, people too have their share of responsibility, for it is they who vote a government to power.

In India, since the time of independence we have took a great pride in our Gandhian Heritage. Our first prime minister though absolutely failed in carrying forward the ideas of Mahatma in terms of national development; in his diplomatic speeches across the world he seldom pretermitted to cite a line, or two, of Mahatma. His was the concept of economy which was in sharp with Gandhian one. But when it came to diplomacy and international affairs Nehru was a true Gandhian - as honest as a monk!

Gandhi may well have been a great man, but he was seldom a sound politician. His legacy is replete with blunders in politics. His handling of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Muslim league is a testimony in this regard. He was impudent. That he showed favouritism to Nehru over Sardar Vallabhai Patel over the President-ship of Indian National Congress (INC) is a verity and that it cost the nation dearly, too, is a reality. We have an undisclosed belief in India; we all believe that when a man is declared 'Great' he can do no wrong! We personate such men with perfection. This is certainly a matter of lugubriousness as it stands against the fundamentals of sapience.

It should certainly baffle anyone as to why it be that these very Indian politicians, who retort to so many brutal modes to triumph in elections, to traduce their antagonists and suppress their critics go 'Gandhian' versus a grievous neighbouring country. Why this 'non-violence' attitude? Why don't they inverse their approach and show their 'Gandhigiri' to their political opponents and depict their vandalism with their nation's adversary? At least, can't they do anything more than offering lip service of 'criticism', 'condemnation' and 'warnings' against an ever shrewd neighbour?

Recently, after the Mumbai blasts when Mumbaikars took to the streets in protest against the blasts, I was feeling a strange emotion. I was unsure as to whether should I cry or laugh. After all what did they achieve by lighting those candles? Yes, we do need to pray for the departed souls but what about the security of the living souls? No one pays any heed. After the blasts a great number of people took to abusing the politicos. The blame was according to me utterly unjust. Strange, but true, not a word was spoken against those terrorists. It was trying to appear as if it were politicians who had planted those bombs!

This was all to get publicity. Does anyone in India understand the seriousness of Islamic terrorism? Does anyone knows that those Arabs flush with petro-dollars are investing profusely into those thousands of Madrassas bustling amidst our cities and towns in every major city polluting young minds with ideas of insanity? Do they understand how important it is take a strong action against them? And even if they come to know, I am convinced, they would prefer to keep mum, sit in the comforts of their home and if another blasts happen they come in open in 'strong criticism' against the government (not terrorists, or Pakistan – mind you) and go back until the next blasts take place.

The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi is for us not a source of inspiration. From it we find rationales to support our awry ideology.

If we are weak we are sure to be invaded, assaulted and persecuted. History of our land starting from the invasion of Mohammad Ghazni in 1000 AD to onslaught of China in 60's is supportive of this fact. We are always betrayed by these nincompoops because we haven't dealt them with an iron fist. We have well over a billion population but we have not started to think and work as a nation of billion people – which is a deeply saddening part.

We certainly need Mahatma Gandhi's ideas and ideals, but when it comes to politics let's follow Kautilya. By shouting against our own people and by completely not understanding our true opponent we are making ourselves a weak and fragile nation. We have every reason to be impregnable, to be challenging and even lead the world. But by applying our right ideology at the wrong place we are sure to weaken our resolve and kill our prospect of becoming a happy, prosperous and formidable nation.

U. Mahesh Prabhu is a Guest Writer of Opinionated Indian, he is a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London (UK)).


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tribute to all Mumbaikars.

Mumbai, a mammoth metropolis with population of 20 million and whose residents are referred as "Mumbaikars", have been many a times targeted by the fanatic terrorists which has killed thousand and left many more injured.

Every time this happens, politicians call for peace and harmony citing the popular & now worn-out phrase "Spirit of Mumbai". I also had the same feeling, Mumbai gets-up from its knees everytime it takes the hit, but the reality is, people in there are living in fear, they don't know whether they will return home safely in evening.

When the recent Mumbai massacre happened, I was chatting with a colleague of mine who lives in Mumbai, I told her not to worry as things will be alright soon, and the spirit of Mumbai will prevail over these fanatic terrorists.

Her reaction to this was thought provoking, she said, "How many times?, every time these incidents happen, everybody says spirit of Mumbai, people of Mumbai are not zombies, they are living beings just like you, they laugh, they fear, they cry... this all has to stop.. we are tired of this, we are living under constant fear..."

Well, she is true. We don't have the moral right to use this phrase anymore, how many more attacks the Mumbaikars can tolerate, this all has to stop... and stop real soon.


India to buy 1 Billion US$ worth choppers from rogue Russia.

Well, this smells yet another scam. India is buying 80 MI-17 Choppers from Russia.

To the World, this is surprising, but not for an Indian, we are used to such scams. Everyone knows, the pathetic quality of Russian military hardware (a bit better then Chinese!).

India, which developed its own medium pay-load Chopper, Advanced Light Helicopter, and is now buying these unreliable Flying Coffins from Russians. Why? Chances are the Russian military hardware sellers have given some key Government Ministers in Manmohan Singh led Indian National Congress government, high amount of kick-backs. Manmohan Singh government which is a failure on all counts, rather than buying automatic weapons & bullet-proof gear for the police and other Para-military forces, is buying this junk. This PM, is in state of slumber. He is a good economists (if he is), but a weak Prime Minister, he is a toy (you know what!) in hands of Madame Sonia Gandhi aka Antonia Maino (her Italiano name).


The first post on a sad moment...

Well, I never thought, neither do I now think that my views, my opinions have any value... But they do represent the anguish, fear, the pain and joy of millions of 'Opinionated Indians'...

I saw the massacre of innocent civilians in Mumbai just like you did, by the fanatic terrorists trained in Pakistan. Like all civilized citizens of this World, I was also pained by the saga of death and sorrow.

I was more pained to see the apathy of our ruling elite... who took this entire incident as casually as having their morning breakfast. Somewhere all this has to stop, Pakistan backed fundamentalists should be dealt with iron fist... But when, and how, yet remains the question to be answered.

I start my blog on this sad note, in days to come like every Opinionated Indian, I will share my views, right from how to improve the economy , to solving the problem of hunger in Somalia. My views, I will share with you.

I am not happy to start this blog, but I did it with an aim, I represent the views of millions of Indians, their joy, pain, anguish, the fear they live in, their aspirations and above all their Opinions