Tis the Season (for the Slip Twixt The Cup and The Lip)


Amidst the continuing wikileaks saga, we Indians have had a bit of a foobar here in the media with a corporate lobbyist and a corporate titan airing (a bit more clearly) the various metaphorically-incestuous relations that abound between media, business and the government. it’s like an art-imitates-life version of paddy chayefsky’s network, summed up best by my favourite english language journalist, P. Sainath

Whether it is gas, spectrum, or mining, luxury private townships or other dubious land deals, the last 20 years have seen the consolidation of corporate power on a scale unknown in independent India. It would be wrong to disconnect the Radia tapes from this background. From pitching for licences, mines and spectrum using money and media power to pitching for ministerial candidates and portfolios by the same methods is not a huge leap. The same period has also seen the emergence of media themselves as major corporate entities. Today, we often have seamless movement between the personnel of some economic or financial newspapers and non-media corporations. An assistant editor goes off to Company ‘A’ as a PRO, returns in a more senior post to the same newspaper. Next, goes on as chief PRO, or maybe even as chief analyst or a business manager to a bigger corporate. But the newspaper’s door is open for his or her return, perhaps as resident editor.

The dominant media are not pro-corporate or pro-big business. They are corporates. They are big business. Some have margins of profit that non-media outfits might envy. Media corporations are into hundreds of businesses beyond their own realm. From real estate, hotels, mining, steel, chemicals, rubber and banks to power and sugar. Even into private treaties with other corporations in whom they acquire a stake. On the boards of India’s biggest media companies are also top corporate leaders. Some who find places on the Governor’s Forums of the World Economic Forum. Others heading private banks. And then there are top political leaders who directly own vast media empires. Who can hold ministerial portfolios (affecting these domains) while running their media fiefdoms. The dominant media are not pro-establishment. They are the establishment.

emphasis mine, though there is a bit in the article that my tinkering overshadowed.

to add a bit of context, these tapes have come out in the investigation into the sleazy actions of a recently excommunicated member of the Cabinet of Ministers, who handed out favours in charge of the telecom portfolio.

It’s a rather unhealthy time for our politicians, seeing as the Chief Minister of the state I live in also quit after a year of doing nothing, and members of the recently sworn-in state cabinet providing additional drama by quitting a bit later. and one of the richest and most corrupt politicians in the state has split off from the government to form his own party. And later on towards the end of the month is awaited a report that has kept this place uncomfortable for a year – the decision to carve out two states out of what now exists as a single one.

Happy December, everyone! If I’m alive, I will see you on the other side (and maybe make a few posts along the way!)

on the arundhati roy thing^

is it not obvious that this is purely a media spectacle, and it’s sudden appearance should ask people to look closer at why such spectacle is being promoted at this time suddenly, when there have been political engagements going on at all levels of society in the much-affected kashmir valley? it certainly gets my spidey-sense tingling. there’s a glitch in the matrix. if there is anything i have learned over my exposure to news lo these 10 years, it is that if the corporate (and govt. run) media is deliberately focussing on one particular issue, one can be sure that the actual issue is somewhere else. you do not have to be noam chomsky to figure that out.

anyways. regardless of the content or tone of her words, and discounting the fact that she is a minor celebrity since she a) won a booker prize a while back and b) articulates a radical left-of-center view in good prose, this sudden attention seems to me an obvious ploy to pre-emptively discredit any and all leftist thought and action on the issues faced by kashmiris by equating, rather falsely, any demands for justice(which are definitely warranted) as an act of sedition* and thus ending the possibility of any real dialogue by drowning the concerned populace in a sea of parochial nationalism branded as patriotism.

(^ = if you are wondering what the arundhati roy thing is, google news is your friend)
(* = as someone tending towards anarchism[in the language of calculus] , the concept of sedition does not fempute )

musings on my exams

writing my finals
filling up papers aplenty
do think of the trees, please

twenty-one pages of crap
pity the examiner
who has to read them

worst thing to happen
you know all the answers and
awake from slumber

the pain in your wrist
cannot really compare to
the pain in your brain

sadistic three hours
exam experiences
can leave you quite scarred

2008 – Year In Photos – Part I


First of all, I wish all readers accidental and deliberate, a very Merry Christmas and associated food comas :)

Ok, so 2008 has on average been… an average year. there have been some highs and some lows. I haven’t developed a particular ‘vision’ yet, but it’s an ongoing process and I feel I am better, at least technically, compared to where I began. I decided to share, in one place, some photos that I consider my better work from this year. I have chosen about 10 for each month though there are some months where I have been more productive than others, and that’s reflected in the selections as well.



The first part is the Month of Jan – March 2008. It was a relatively good part of the year, with no signs of the impending doom facing my lamented iBook and half the output of my iPod ahead. Included some experiments with Lighting, quite a few trips to Charminar, and a couple of trips with the Hyderabad Photography Club. At left is a small collage that reflects the goings on of this period…

The World in Photoshop

the NYT has some good stuff, when not dealing with matters of overty political import. One Example pops up today, about the extensive use of Photoshop to alter our personal histories and present a different version of reality to the world. Of course, the world has had the ability to manipulate images since we started making them. greek sculptors, renaissance painters, the pictorialist photographers etc.are famous for presenting the world with an altered reality closer to their ideals… which are now ours in part. The only difference is that any old guy or girl can get on the internet and lay their hands on some free software that can help you to do all this on any beat-up old computer. that means you!


The Supreme Court of India has upheld legislation for dramatically increasing the affirmative-action quotas at institutes of higher learning. the legislation effectively takes the quota to 49% and encompasses all sections of society that belong to scheduled castes and tribes(22%) and other backward classes(OBC’s who get most of the new 27%). This does not include those who are economically well-off, for obvious reasons.

Given the treatment meted out to the so-called ‘lower’ castes in India over the past few centuries at least, this is a reasonable first step towards social justice. now if only they could bring the same attempted fairness into agricultural policy and foreign relations, we’d be well on our way to a just state. i’m not holding my breath on this front, however.

For all the furore raised by certain sections of the news media about the system in institutes of higher education in india, the fact remains that the government has rather consistently stated that this will not affect the ‘general’ category and that the quotas will be met through increased capacities rather than restricting entry. of course, whether the government is willing to spend the necessary amount to bring the same quality or pulls a u-turn on this, effectively crippling the quota system, will determine the final outcome of the legislation.

US of AIPAC-MIC-Bomb Brownie

the Obamagic begins now!

(courtesy the good Michael J Smith)
Our starting point must always be a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel…. we must help the Israelis identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability….

We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines….

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened….

We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability….

…. we must develop a strong international coalition to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program…. In confronting these threats, I will not take the military option off the table.

…. we must strengthen our homeland security….. checking all passengers against a comprehensive watch list.

shorter Obama: Watch me prove Ralph Nader right after all!

Words of a true Uniter

One Nation Under Elvis:

The story that Elvis stole his music from African Americans as told by, for example, my now-deceased, uber-leftie, America-hating, and otherwise wonderful aunt, turned rock-and-roll into a mostly white child miraculously born to a purely black family. It was a way of saying that cool and correct white people could love rock-and-roll—white music with roots in the South—but dodge the sense that they had any affinities with white southerners; they could imagine them as wholly other and hate them with ease, with a fervor and disdain that spilled over pretty easily to all blue-collar rural people, to the white American peasantry, basically. That hate had and has wide currency. Ask Dick.

The story that racism belongs to poor people in the South is a little too easy, though. Just as not everybody up here, geographically and economically, is on the right side of the line, so not everyone down there is on the wrong side. But the story allows middle-class people to hate poor people in general while claiming to be on the side of truth, justice, and everything else good.

I grew up surrounded by liberals and leftists who liked to play the idiot in fake southern accents, make jokes about white trash and trailer trash, and, like the Canadian enviros, made gagging noises whenever they heard Dolly Parton or anything like her. If Okies from Muskogee thought they were being mocked, they were right, in part. This mockery was particularly common during the 1970s and 1980s, but it has yet to evaporate altogether—after all, Dick, who judging by his typewriter was around then, wrote me only last summer. My aged mother continues to make liberal use of the term “redneck” to describe the people I grew up among (though they were just suburban conservatives), and last summer I met a twentysomething from New York at a Nevada campout who told me he too was raised to hate country music. He was happily learning to love it, but late, like me.