Wednesday, August 30, 2006

RTI : Right to Democracy

Just imagine this situation. You apply for a water connection. It probably takes about 3 weeks to get one but its more than one month and no news about it. What can you do? Normally, nothing except making rounds of sarkari offices pleading for the connection and making the necessary payments to get it done. But the Right to Information Act (RTI) promises to actually resolve this problem. Under the act, you can file an application to the concerned department asking for an explanation for the time delay, the persons involved, the current situation etc. and they have to give a reply within 30 days or face salary deduction as a penalty. Since it is easier to provide the connection than give this information and acknowledge the delay, your problem is solved.

For years, we have been subjected to the opaque and mysterious ways of the Government. Any information that is sought is tendered classified. Ever wondered what is so confidential about the progress of Govt. projects or the utilization of funds under various schemes. We have also not questioned it because somewhere deep down, there was a feeling that the Government knows better and that it has the right to take a call on all these issues. But increasing media scrutiny and penetration is changing all that and people are questioning the relevance of all this secrecy exhibited by the Government.

In late 2005, the Indian Parliament passed the Central Right to Information Act, a watershed act in the history of democracy. This bill has made waves as the most powerful Right to Information Act in the world, despite over 60 countries already having a law on Freedom of Information. Nine other states in India also have their own regional RTI Acts. Ironically, this widely touted achievement of the UPA Govt. is now being subjected to dilution in the name of improvements in the law. The bureaucracy is up in arms against this law and has put across the following fears.

It will lead to victimization of officers and possible blackmails.
This would affect only tainted officers so why the fear? The Act will help in knowing what actually happened behind closed doors and if it is being used to blackmail dishonest officers, does it matter? Misuse may happen but then the fear of misuse cannot be a strong reason for non-implementation of any law. There are adequate norms to handle “sensitive” issues within the law itself like Section 8 (dealing with a set of issues that can be exempted from this like those that constitute breach of privilege, trade secrets, cabinet purposes etc) and Section 24 (lists Govt. organizations which cannot be probed).

Lack of infrastructure to handle the huge volumes of information expected to be sought under the law.
Well, if there’s an infrastructure constraint, the government needs to gear up for this and not complaint about “over burdening” our bureaucrats. Current statistics have shown that the Delhi Govt. has received on an average 7 RTI applications per Department per month and this is expected to increase. I am sure that our poor officers are capable of handling such huge volumes every month.

A large number of frivolous applications will be filed.
The Central Information Commissioner’s (CIC) RTI application has been widely quoted as one such example of frivolous activism. The CIC, O P Kejriwal, had sought information about officers who have been allotted official accommodation since last November because there was a delay in providing him accommodation. But then who is to determine what is frivolous and what is not? My application for a pending water connection may be frivolous for any babu but it is critical for me.

Allowing access to file notings may prevent honest officers from giving their advice or may lead to bad blood between the officers.
I’m not too sure what the logic behind this criticism is. On the contrary, it will encourage them to come forth with their honest views and many officers have vouched for that. File notings contain the decision making process – it contains the procedure followed in awarding contracts, the time taken for awarding contracts, the people involved, the recommendations and overruling that has happened whereas files contain only the final decisions without capturing the process information.

The law in its current shape, however, only addresses public institutions involved with the Government. The corporate world is no holy cow and it is imperative to ensure that the next step is to bring private institutions under the purview of this act. Ofcourse, we may see intense lobbying by corporates to prevent this, under the guise of “confidential information”. It is more so relevant now as the government seeks to withdraw from various businesses and hand over all such roles to private parties. Bureaucrats have among the lowest credibility in the country and rank just next to politicians when it comes to honest indices. This Act gives an opportunity for the cadre to redeem its reputation and improve its lackadaisical image. But they seem hell bent upon making the Act a lame duck tool by citing various technicalities.

Sonia Gandhi has managed to postpone the tabling of the revised amendment of the RTI Act which seeks at addressing these fears but actually dilutes the efficacy of the law. But with the Government and the bureaucrats keen on pushing this across somehow, there’s a real danger of the law being some other footnote on the history. Infact, the Cabinet cleared the amendment in less than 20 minutes without even a formal debate on this. Hopefully, the vigilant media and activists will ensure that we do not consign this act to flames.

It’s time we use this law ourselves and start making a difference. Organisations like Parivartan and Bhumi have been working on popularising this Act among people. Interested people may check the following site for more information on RTI - .

As a start, I plan to use this law to obtain information on my income tax refund which has been pending with the Government for more than a year now.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hair, Hair Go Away, Poor Asians want to play!!!

It’s just not cricket. Haven’t we heard this sentiment just too frequently? Every time there’s a new issue in the game, we hear this and realms of print go into expressing a sense of despair at the downward slide of the self-proclaimed gentleman’s game. How long can a game dealing in billions of dollars hold back itself and stick to maintaining this facade of holiness? This time it’s taken a bone headed Aussie’s (who else but an Aussie) hard nosed stance to question the game’s best traditions, once again precipitating cries of doomsday across the rather small world of cricket.

World cricket’s most (in) famous umpire Darrell Hair has always been in the midst of controversies right from when he made his debut in 1992 in Adelaide, in a game marred by controversial LBW decisions. In 1995, he no-balled Muralitharan seven times in three overs for “throwing” which resulted in the Lankan skipper Ranatunga staging a walk-off leading to arguably the most hot blooded series seen in recent times. In 1998, Hair’s autobiography Decision maker: An Umpire’s Story (Don't ask me who read it) was published in which he called Murali’s action diabolical and said that if he had a choice he would call have called Murali many more times for throwing. This embarrassed the ICC and he was dropped from the ICC’s panel of umpires briefly only to be recalled later. There have been a few more instances of Darrellgate but probably nothing weirder than what was witnessed last week in Lords when Hair declared that Pakistan had forfeited the match because of their apparent “refusal” to take to the field on the 4th day post-tea session– the first time ever that a team had forfeited a match in this manner in 129 years of cricket.

It all started after about 55 overs into the English innings on the 4th day of the test match when Hair felt that the ball had been tampered with. He then proceeded to award the English team 5 runs and replace the ball as per Law 42.3. No reason was given to Inzamam as to why this was done. The Pakis continued to play but in the post-tea session, they refused to come on to the field as a symbolic protest, as claimed by them. Later on after about 40 minutes they relented but this time, the two umpires were not willing to play ball. Citing Law 21.3 which deals with match forfeiture, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, declared that Pakistan had forfeited the match and England was the winner. Technically, the umpires were right but then aren’t the rules meant to be played not only in the letter but also the spirit? If the umpires had agreed to continue, this mess could have been averted and the ball tampering issue could have been decided outside the field by the referee. Somewhere, they did not realize that the game has a commitment towards its legions of public across the world. In the midst of the entire din, match referee Mike Procter’s role was forgotten. He went silent throughout the entire debate making me wonder if the job is a mere rubber stamp.

The Pakistan team could have easily emerged unscathed had they not have botched up the situation by not taking the field. The Pakistani captain Inzamam owes moral responsibility for his team’s actions and the trigger happy (atleast Asians think so) ICC would only be too willing to oblige by punishing him under charges of bringing disrepute to the game. 26 cameras in the field did not see anything but our old friend Hair felt that there was something wrong with the ball. Hair seems to have gone by the Pakistani reputation when he decided against them. There has always been an element of mystery associated with reverse swing and the Pakistanis have not always helped their cause in their bowling with the likes of Waqar and Shoaib Akhtar being caught on camera for trying to tamper with the ball. But in this case, they have received extensive support from the playing fraternity and the public except for the Aussie media. The Aussie media and stalwarts like Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor have backed Hair (The Daily Telegraph called him the bravest person in cricket). But then, no one is surprised- Aussies have never made any pretensions of trying to be morally or politically correct.

There have been a few points raised regarding the role of ICC in the entire fiasco. Unlike FIFA, ICC has really no great powers. There are no proper laws created to handle such a situation. It has also been pointed out that Hair and ICC could run into trouble if Pakistan were to take the matter to the court of law. The failure of ICC is also in dealing with such umpires who have been repeatedly seen to needle the cricketers from the sub-continent.

There are quite a few issues which the ICC has to take care after this.

On what basis can the umpire decide that the ball has been tampered?

Is camera/video evidence necessary for this?

Shouldn’t umpires try to explore all possibilities to ensure that the game continues no play is possible and only then abandon the game?

Should the umpires or the Match Referee take decisions on matters like abandoning the match, which are outside the field of play?

Just when the Dean Jones controversy was dying down, another Aussie has brought to focus the other side of the game .There have been accusations of racism against Darrell Hair citing some of his other controversial decisions but personally, I am inclined to give him a slight benefit of doubt. It sometimes becomes an easy stick to beat the Western world with when we raise the bogey of racism. I would like to put his behaviour down to his overzealous, autocratic and dogmatic nature with a scant regard for cultural differences but he has been consistently erratic in this behaviour right throughout his career. He’s rubbed many people the wrong way throughout his career and got away with it but this time I think he’s chanced his luck a bit too far.

In the current situation when the Muslim world’s relations with the West is at an all time low , a crisis such as this could easily escalate into a polarized political situation. The fact that one man’s stubbornness and dogmatism could potentially have such repercussions is unfortunate but then history has always been dictated by the whims and fancies of individuals. Darrell Hair is among the most experienced umpires in world cricket now but he lacks the wisdom and maturity to handle such a situation.

Cricket carries the unfortunate burden of bearing the responsibility of being a "nice game" and every such incident is a reminder to us to stop romanticizing the sport and face the reality that George Orwell had once said about modern sport being–“ …war minus the shooting”.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Omkara: Shakespeare in UP

Let me start with a confession. I have not read Shakespeare’s Othello, so maybe I am starting with a handicap while reviewing Omkara. But then, good cinema is good cinema irrespective of the literary source. The closest that I have come to know regarding “Othello” has been through the enigmatic Malayalam film maker Jayaraj’s (1997) highly acclaimed Kaliyattam (Play of God). Jayaraj used the backdrop of Theyyam, a traditional North Kerala art form, to narrate the story while Vishal Bharadwaj juxtaposes these characters into the rugged plains of UP, in the midst of lawlessness.

The plot revolves around peer jealousy and suspected marital infidelity. Omkara is an outlaw chieftain who is nominated by his mentor Bhai Saheb (Naseeruddin Shah in a brief role) to stand for elections and so, he nominates Keshu to succeed him as ‘Bahubali” (chieftain). This angers Langda Tyagi who has been vying for that position and he plots to sow the seeds of Dolly’s(Omkara's wife) infidelity in Omkara’s mind. Through a series of manoueveres, Omkara is convinced of his wife’s treachery and it culminates in him killing her. However, he comes to know of his wife’s innocence through Langda’s wife and commits suicide. Langda’s wife also kills her husband and ends her life.

Vishal faithfully sticks to the play for most of the movie which makes comparisons easier. He also has his characters with names similar to the play. So, Othello becomes Omkara Shukla (Ajay Devgan), Desdemona becomes Dolly Mishra (Kareena Kapoor), Iago becomes Ishwar ‘Langda’ Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) and Cassio becomes Keshu Firangi (Vivek Oberoi).The most striking aspect of “Omkara” is the language spoken. It is rustic, crude and laced with expletives but is realistic and is an unexplored terrain in Hindi cinema. The dialogues have an uncontrived sense of below the belt humour (eg. Konkana Sen’s comment “Meri Daadi to kehti thi ki Aadmi ke dil ka raste uske pet ke neeche se hai). But this also comes with its set of issues. The usage of a heavy UP dialect alienates many viewers not familiar with the nuances of the language. The liberal usage of expletives also ensures that it dissuades family audiences from watching the movie. Personally, I think the language could have been toned done a bit. The cinematographer Tassaduq Hussain’s lens roams the wide expanses slowly and beautifully. He captures the movements, the shadows and uses lighting haltingly to bring to life the high Shakespearen drama.

Ajay Devgan plays his usual, brooding self something that he’s been doing for quite a long time now.Vishal could have tried a different actor so that a different interpretation of Othello could be looked at. Ajay carries the “Been there, Done it” look without bringing any novelty to the character. Kareena is adequate but has nothing much to do except looking beautiful. She radiates a certain innocence and charm (Her singing of the Stevie Wonder hit “I just called to say I loved you” when Ajay comes home is cute) but she’s no Manju Warrier who tugs at our heart in the Malayalam version. Vivek Oberoi is ok but looks a bit lost in the midst of all the action taking place. Saif is truly “Langda Tyagi” and it is his most mature performance till date. He sports a mean look, carries a limp and pours invectives at will. It’s a remarkably controlled performance and he never goes overboard which is the biggest danger in such movies. It is even more credible considering his background and the kind of movies he has done so far. It is high time directors stop casting him only in the “Lover Boy” kind of roles. Konkana Sen as Saif’s wife pulls of an excellent cameo; she appears for only a few scenes but makes a definite impact.

The script has its share of anomalies. The Bard’s Othello was a Moor who suffers from insecurity due to his race and wife’s beauty which makes him easily susceptible to Iago’s comments. But what about Omkara! A hint is dropped occasionally of him being a ‘Half Brahmin” and not a proper match for the beautiful Dolly (Konkana remarks “Jaise Kaale Lote Mein Doodh”) but these are not explored further and so his insecurities do not come to the surface. Unlike Jayaraj’s protagonist Kannan Perumalayan, he’s not ugly but on the contrary comes across as a macho figure. Maybe Vishal could have exploited the Vivek-Kareena angle a bit more giving it a flirtatious connotation but he does not do so thus not providing compelling reasons for him to be swayed by Langda’s remarks. There is an element of sympathy towards Othello which is clearly absent in our feelings towards Omkara.

Iago, considered to be one of Shakespeare’s finest characters, maintains that numero uno position even here. But while we strongly despise Iago and Jayaraj’s Paniyan, we tend to partially empathise with Langda. He comes across as a better leader when compared to Keshu, thus softening our stance towards him. His handicap and lack of recognition despite many years of loyalty also serve in undermining his negative profile. Unlike Iago, he’s also not a professional schemer as there’s a strong element of luck in all his moves whether it pertains to Bipasha’s entry at the end, his conversation with Vivek on his mobile or spotting Vivek’s bike when he and Omkara return early from an election campaign. Maybe Vishal did not want to paint him totally in black.

The ending is a slightly prolonged sequence and does not culminate in the kind of flourish witnessed earlier. I am also not convinced as to why Konkana kills her husband Saif in the end. Vishal could have stick to the original text here where Othello kills Desdemona and commits suicide after Iago’s wife reveals the truth. There are also a couple of item numbers which do not serve much of a purpose and could have been done away with. Music was one of the strong points of "Kaliyattam" but not so in the case of "Omkara".

As per media reports, the movie is not doing too well and the producers would incur losses. It presents a strong case for bringing in sub-titles, especially for the audience in the south.Vishal should also take a leaf out of Jayaraj’s book; he succeeded in making “Kaliyattam” at a shoe string budget and also made money. That’s the price you pay when you make a movie with a lot of stars. Nevertheless, he succeeds in bringing to life Shakespeare in rustic India. I have always been a great fan of Gulzar and it’s nice to see his protege making such giant strides in the world of cinema.

Final verdict:

Highly recommended but not for family audience.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pixel Advertising - The Indian Way

Online marketing is the latest fad in advertising in India and there are many people trying to cash on this. All that is required is to create a website and start selling the pixels to companies for online ads or marketing campaigns. Meet Sunaina Bansal, a housewife who’s decided to rake in a moolah for herself by entering into this and succeeded in creating hype in the market. Her website is called the Crorepati page.

She says,” I was inspired by a young British student who made over a million dollars selling he pixel advertisements. His Web site generated so much interest that he was able to sell over a million dollars of pixel advertisements in a short span of four months. Now, his Web site is completely sold out and advertisers are looking for new innovative pixel Web sites to advertise on”.

The cost of these ads is calculated on the basis of the number of pixels that they occupy. Pixel advertising gained popularity in the last quarter of 2005 when Alex Tew, a British student, created a website called The Million Dollar Homepage, and solicited advertisers to buy ad space measured in pixels on the homepage. The price was set at $1 per pixel, and there were 1 million pixels of space available. In about four months all the ad space was sold out. He required money to fund his education and he came up with this innovative idea and supposedly became a millionaire. Sunaina is offering the same product and hoping to repeat the magic.

What is her selling proposition?

She claims that the site will be alive for the next 5 years atleast (10th January, 2011) and has set a price of Rs 10/pixel. The minimum space that can be bought is 100 pixels which mean Rs 1000 min. per company. For those who do not have a website, she’s providing the option to create one. Advertisers will be able to showcase their ads and link it to their home pages. She is now creating mass awareness by promoting this new medium of advertising through television, radio and the Internet, and contacting companies directly.

But the Big Question is, will she succeed?

If she succeeds, she could be looking at about a crore. Companies like Rediff, Kirloskar and have already endorsed the idea by buying space on the portal. I don’t see much of a utility for such advertising but then maybe it’s a new idea atleast in the Indian context and may work for her if the hype succeeds. It may not offer anything substantial at all but is an ingenious and even funny way to make money but then I’m all for entrepreneurs and this is a novel (ok inspired) way to generate revenue with low costs.

But I see no reason why such a model will work except for the novelty factor and so my advice is, forget this. Good story for housewife entrepreneurship, I guess. It may ofcourse lead to a host of individuals starting their websites and auctioning it but without a sound business model, no reason for them to succeed. Sunaina has the first mover advantage and may benefit but not the others. I checked Alex Tew's site - looks pretty clustered and I'm not very sure it's a great idea but then who knows, funny ideas can make great business!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Out of My Comfort Zone

As usual, I sat there in office doing nothing and feeling bored as hell. I spend a lot time reading blogs nowadays,mostly searching for new ideas. Today,I was reading Rashmi Bansal's blog about the youth of the country. She mentioned about the changing phases of Indian and Japanese youth and there was a passing reference to an organization called Bharat Uday Mission, a future political party.I decided to check out their website;it was started by a set of IITians who plan to make it to the political arena by 2010.It was an interesting read;almost childish and amusing if you ask me. The views were at times radical and kind of "I'll take it to the world" kind.They wanted to change the face of India, by driving out poverty,eradicating castism etc.A sort of madness and naivety, I felt, but there was also a raw passion in that.These were people who were deeply concerned about RTI Act,Satyendra Dubey (ex-IITian killed by the Bihar mafia) , farmer suicides etc.It made me think about what I want to do in life.

These offices somehow do not enthuse me.It feels very boring shunted into one cubicle and I have started appreciating Dilbert jokes much more now. I reason with myself saying I want to do something worthwhile in life and not lead life meandering aimlessly like a bottle tossed up in the high seas.I have always wanted to be in the social sector but there's always something that holds me back. Maybe a fear of the unknown, an inability to break the shackles of comfort or maybe a fear of standing up in the midst of all odds. Many of us are so cynical about things happening around us that we think things can never change but then maybe we need to first believe in our ability to change ourselves and others.Can what these people say in Bharat Uday Mission actually happen? It's an idea similar to that in Mani Ratnam's Yuva - youngsters standing in politics to make a difference to the world.Is it my cynicism that makes me think that life at 20 is different from life at 30? We plan to fight the world and our blood boils when we see so many atrocities but as we move into our 30s,we think about our families,our children,parents and then it's not all so exciting after all.Can this enthu and passion be sustained for long?

I have a strong urge to get out of this artificial comfort zone but not sure how. I remember one of my college Faculty members telling me,

Pradeep,for the first few years of your life,make money and then later,do what you want to do in life.There would be some activity that how much ever you do,you will never get bored or tired of and that is what you are passionate about; that is what you really want to do in life.

Incidentally,he was an IIT Madras,IIT-Ahmedabad passout who quit his corporate life to join academics.What stops us from doing that?A fear of failure, of ridicule or maybe a lack of confidence in our abilities.Ofcourse,I wonder if you can actually decide that the time has come when you have worked enough for the money and that you want to do something that will make you happy now.

Maybe it's now or never,atleast the decision taking part on when to break free and what to do.I wonder if my idea of working in the social sector is driven by a silly romanticism associated with it.The idea of running away from corporate life and working in the midst of nature looks so wonderful;where making profits is not the ultimate driving force. A movie like Swades did appeal to me even it offered a simple solution to problems. Mohan Bhargava may be a fictional character but he gave me a hope, a sense of belonging and conviction(atleast for sometime) that it's possible to do something different in life and that we owe something to our society.People like Medha Patkar ,Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal are icons in their own right and they need our support to ensure that their movements do not become mere footnotes in history.

As I close this blog,I am still wondering what is my aim in thinking of breaking away from all this - social enterpreneurship, pure entrepreneurship,boredom, a guilt at enjoying wealth or some inherent feeling of inner chaos or just a silly romantic notion....

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Going the Israeli Way

A few months back I chanced to watch the Steven Spielberg movie “Munich”, set after the 1972 Munich massacre. It follows a Mossad squad, which is ordered to track down and kill a list of 11 Black September members thought to be responsible for the Israeli athletes’ murders. Though the mission starts in a very spirited fashion, gradually, there’s a sense of disillusionment and helplessness at the turn of events. The movie was a bit liberal with the actual incidents but it points out a very sobering truth:

For every terrorist killed, there is another- possibly a worse one waiting to take place.

As I see the latest (latest is appropriate considering the Israeli penchant for attacks at the drop of a hat) round of massacre being carried out by the Israeli forces in Lebanon, some of those thoughts and images come back haunting my mind. Someone would say wars require sacrifices and no point brooding over lost souls but then who is fighting this war and for whom is all this ? Civilizations thrive on people and cultures and not on coffins.

The latest round of stand-off began (if you leave the troubled past aside) with the Hezbollah rebels attacking and taking two Israeli soldiers hostage as negotiating chips for the release of a few of their prominent leaders. Not a great strategy you would say but they were merely replicating a system of warfare actively nurtured by the Israelis themselves. The capture of the soldiers saw a swift counter attack which surprised both the Hezbollah and the world, in terms of the lightning speed and magnitude involved. In violation of all international norms, Israel carried out large scale bombings of Lebanon, including the usage of the deadly cluster bombs. The highly disproportionate usage of force by Tel Aviv has stunned many but it is still going on with a farcical temporary ceasefire thrown in occasionally. Death has become a very statistical measure nowadays but still the loss of more than 750 people (mostly civilians) in the last 20 days calls for serious concern.

The current situation was created by Hezbollah but Israel cannot wash its hands of its role in the conflict which dates back to more than 25 years. The Israelis invaded Lebanon in 1982 to drive away the Palestinian extremists taking shelter there but post the attack, it continued to stay there until 2000. However, it has not seceded parts of the country entirely; Sheba Farms in South Lebanon is still under their occupation. They were also responsible for planting several detonators and mines but have refused to provide the maps containing this data. It is important for Israel to stop unilaterally all the firing and try to arrive at a political solution to the problem for which the seeds were sown by them.

The most worrying aspect in the entire crisis is not the extent of the Israeli retribution but the silence (they have made some noise but surely the big guns can do better) of the international community in this entire pogrom. It reflects a total lack of empathy for the hundreds of people perishing due to this and this will backfire one day. It reminds me of Martin Niemoller’s famous poem First they came for the communists.

“When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out”

The Americans and Israelis are breeding a sense of hatred which will only increase the ire of the extremists towards them. Tel Aviv’s strategy of shock and awe bombing is similar to the American attack against Iraq and will lead to the same kind of situation as in Iraq. Ironically, the original victims of the Holocaust are now its perpetuators.

There’s a weird school of thought in US (the establishment) who believes that such a military option will send a strong message to the Islamic world and so it has been attempting clandestinely to stall all peace efforts being brokered. One wonders in which utopian world the US policy makers are living in. You would think that the misadventure in Iraq would have made them wiser but then Bush has never given the impression of a man who understands diplomacy. With a war-mongering policy and ruthless stooges like Israel, it is attempting to create a new world order; it will probably do so but the cost of giving huge impetus to the extremist movement across the world.

Initially, the Arab World condemned the Hezbollah for triggering the attacks (due to their Shia-Sunni issues) but the very scale of attacks has forced them to back them or lose the popular support enjoyed by the rebels. By the way, where is the United Nations, the so-called peace keeping body of the world? They lost four dipolmats in the Israeli bombing at the UN office in Beirut but they continue to remain spineless.Maybe Karan Thapar should grill Shashi Tharoor on this matter. Wonder what the man likely to be the next UN Secretary General has to say on the UN's role or rather lack of it in resolving this conflict.

Every time there’s a terrorist attack in India, there’s wide spread condemnation at our inability to stop such incidents. It has been suggested by many that we take the Israeli way- a policy of hot-pursuit. Somehow, there’s a misunderstanding of the ground level situation; we need to understand that we are neither Bush’s chums nor is Pakistan without friends .Do we want to condemn ourselves as Indians to this kind of immoral and power hungry behaviour? This is not to suggest that we need to take all the violence being carried out in our soil lying down but that peace can be brought about only by a policy of give and take.

There’s a requirement of a proper anti-terrorism stance and policy but not the naked show of aggression and power exhibited by Israel. I do not know what our strategy for tackling terrorism should be but I am sure we should not go the Israeli way. Life is precious - diplomacy needs to be given a chance for the world to survive.