Thursday, May 24, 2007
To know certain shocking statistics on the fate of these five, click here.
Now, the People's Republic of China plans to legalise trade in tiger parts, which would instantly wipe out the already dwindling tiger population. This campaign aims at saving tigers in particular, as well as the other four mentioned above.
You too can contribute to this campaign. Vote for the NDTV Petition to save our natural heritage.
YOUR VOTE COUNTS! HURRY!
This post is a goodwill gesture. For more see NDTV.com
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Courtesy CybernetJournalist.net. See orignal page
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ALL POSTS IN THE OPINIONS 24x7 BLOG SHALL CONFORM TO THESE STANDARDS.
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Monday, May 21, 2007
Wish her a happy birthday on December 18
More on Barkha Dutt
Interview with Richard Boucher, Asst. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Government of the United States of America (with Barkha Dutt having conducted the interview to review India-US Relations, particularly the Nuclear Deal)
Thomas Loren Friedman Foreign Affairs Analyst, New York Times
A staunch believer in the benefits of globalisation, author and three-time Pullitzer Prize winner, Thomas ('Tom') Friedman is a regular columnist on foreign affairs, his opinions ranging from the Israel-Palestinian Conflict to the IT Revolution in India. He propagates the First Law of Petropolitics, based on which he claims that India is very lucky to be natural resources-deficient. Hailing from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, he is considered an expert on Foreign Policy, having acquired this skill through many years of practice, starting with writing articles for his High School newspaper.
Wish him a happy birthday on July 20
More on Thomas L Friedman
Interview to Yale Global
Suze Orman Host, The Suze Orman Show, CNBC
American financial adviser, author of several books and TV host, Susan aka Suze Orman has made it her career to give confused citizens sound financial advice. From telling people whether they can afford something to handling a family financial crisis, her no-nonsense, to-the-point attitude has left her viewers both dazed as well as in awe. Apart from her financial expertise, she is critical on the issue of credit card debt. Her favourite phrase is 'People First, then Money, then Things'. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she now lives with her lesbian partner Kathy Travis [source: Interview to the New York Times]. She also founded the Suze Orman Financial Group.
Wish her a happy birthday on June 5
More on Suze Orman
Interview to Open Exchange
*Pronounce Suze as Su-sie
This opinionated article contains several pieces of information obtained from Wikipedia. The author takes no responsibility for its accuracy. However, the details as well as the opinions are that of the author's.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Whatever might be your opinion, music in today’s world can be defined by one word: COMPETITION. And in this tuneful war zone, two shows stand out exceptionally well in the clutter of reality shows which saturate Indian cable television. Yep, I’m talking about Sony Entertainment Television’s (SET’s) Indian Idol 3, and Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007. So, on the occasion of an undeclared war between two channels desperate to takeover each other in terms of market share, I decided to hand over my cards by telling you which show I prefer and why.
SA RE GA MA PA CHALLENGE 2007: LIVING TODAY, SINGING YESTER-CENTURY
Large talent-pool amassed from all corners of the world (well, all corners that can sing in Hindi, anyway) 1 point
Keeping the spirit of ‘the oldies’ and Indian Classical Music alive 1 point
Large number of qualified music directors 1 point
Well-experienced judges 1 point
Teacher-student tradition, in true spirit of the olden days 1 point
Very effective in combining today’s lifestyle and yesterday’s traditions 1 point
Fair title song ½ point
Subtotal: 6 ½ points
Out of reality: too much preference given to age-old (and indeed, boring, at least most of them) songs -1 point
Show is done in a saas-bahu serial type format, obviously to rake in higher TRPs, but compromising on quality -1 point
Ineffective host -1 point
Condescending judges and gurus -1 point
Far too much stress is laid on the theory of the song (such as the sur and the lay), and not enough on enjoying the song -1 point
Subtotal: -5 points
Total: 1 ½ points
INDIAN IDOL 3: CONTEMPORARY AND CHIC
Excellent hosts 1 point
Fun and youthful 1 point
Judgement taken on a consensus basis, rather than a single vote 1 point
Covering all parts of India (including the south and north-east) as well as parts of the world with a sizeable Indian population 1 point
Good title music 1 point
Formal behaviour between judges and participants kept to a minimum 1 point
Joint-song sung by the final 10 (lacking in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa) 1 point
Friendly format, not promoting fights and grudges 1 point
Very high participation (auditions exceed a million participants) 1 point
Subtotal: 9 points
Drastically copies American Idol with very few alterations -3 points
Anu Malik is very rude -1 point
Any Tom, Dick and Harry allowed to perform before the judges, even if they do not possess even the most basic of all musical talents -1 point
Long-drawn auditions with various untoward incidents -1 point
Too much emphasis laid on glamour and style quotient -1 point
Subtotal: -7 points
Bonus Point: India Idol 1 and 2 have both been recipients of the Asian Television Award for Best Reality Show in two different years 1+1=2 points
Total: 4 points
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007: 1 ½ points
India Idol 3: 4 points
Indian Idol 3 wins!
Presumably, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa borrows heavily from the soap opera style of presentation. Although this does raise its ratings – after all, who doesn’t enjoy a good fight? – it tends to overshadow the music. Furthermore, since it puts greater weight on theory rather than enjoyment, the overall effect is that of a student struggling to understand the frills and by-lanes of musical conjecture and in the process, limiting the overall pleasure in listening to the song.
Indian Idol 3 borrows heavily from the Internationally-acclaimed format of American Idol. Although some cite this as a negative attribute, I disagree. The format is not only entertaining but also invigorating: something the world might be used to, but India is not. After all, bringing in something new, even if it is a copied version, is not bad, since it raises the bar of quality and leads to a win-win situation for the consumer (and the advertiser). All-in-all, the show encourages a good performance, which appeals to the youth of the nation.
Indian Idol 3 is my choice, and I recommend it to anybody who has a free night. However, if you are interested in the (g)olden days of Indian Melody, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 might not be such a bad option after all.
And if you really want to see cut-throat competition for good music, do compare the abundant news and current affairs channels that India has; my pick: NDTV Profit!
Watch Indian Idol 3 on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:00 PM on Sony Entertainment Television (Duration: 1 hour). Also visit the this page for more.
Watch Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 PM on Zee TV (Duration: 1 hour). Visit this page for more.
UPDATE: STAR Plus has joined the bandwagon by launching its own musical talent hunt, Amul: Star Voice of India on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 PM on STAR Plus.
This post is heavily opinionated. CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is welcome.
The truest help we can render an afflicted man is not to take his burden
from him, but to call out his best energy, that he may be able to bear the
burden. - Phillips Brooks
For more on the Hyderabad [see on map] Mecca Masjid blast, please read this article from NDTV.com. About the mosque.
Quote from GigaQuotes
Thursday, May 10, 2007
This post relates to the act of Euthanasia. This article is purely opinionative and is NOT meant to harm any sentiments.
Euthanasia, simply put, is the act of killing a person or animal who is terminally ill with a very slim chance of survival. This is done through painless means, such as administering lethal injections or cutting-off life-support systems. Euthanasia is derived from the Greek words ‘eu’ meaning ‘good’ and ‘thanatos’ meaning ‘death’. This act is also called mercy-killing.
Euthanasia has become a very controversial subject in recent times. The crux of the matter is its morality: should a person be allowed to die a dignified death, or is life far too precious for anyone to end by unnatural means. The opinions are diverse: in the
Before we analyse the pros and cons of the practice, it would be apt to discuss two points. Firstly, does any doctor – however talented or educated – have the right to end a life? Before taking up practice, a doctor always takes the Hippocratic Oath, named after
Let’s start with the pros. A person deemed terminally ill will not survive, at least not by modern standards. At most, he/she can be made to live in a semi-conscious state by means of ventilators, dialysis and a whole barrage of equipment. However, this would bring with it a complete collapse of dignity. The patient would not be able to do anything for himself/herself. Every single need, from eating to going to the toilet, would have to be assisted. The patient would be rendered bed-ridden. Would it then not be appropriate to end this mental and physical suffering, simply by ending the very problem: life? Wouldn’t the patient be happy that his/her private life would no longer have to be invaded day and night for the mere sake of extending an over-stretched life? Furthermore, the patient’s healthy organs could be donated to a needy person. Would it not be better to save a life that can be saved rather than extend a life which should have already been over?
Another factor is cost. In countries such as the
Apart from these, there is also the question of how much a patient suffers. The process of slow death is excruciatingly painful. The patient would have to live like a vegetable, depend on a machine for his/her very existence! Anaesthetics and pain-killers would become his/her bread and butter. Would it not be fitting then, to end this unending cycle of pain and helplessness, so that the patient can bypass the suffering and reach the imminent ending? Is it not better to die a human that live a vegetable?
Then of course, there are the cons (which some feel outweigh the pros). An obvious question is how the dignity of an individual is determined. Are efficiency and productivity the only measures of dignity? Surely not: dignity must be more profound and must include deeper thoughts and emotions. Is slow death really so undignified? Is the desire to live in spite of all odds truly so humiliating?
Another point is the misuse of euthanasia. Could it be possible that it would get out of control? A study says that the
Another controversial point pertains to exactly who this doctor is to declare that a life is not worth living? Is he really so proficient, has he really viewed so many aspects of human existence, observed so many rare miracles, that he can say with confidence that there is no cure? Is he earnestly trying to help the patient or is he hastening the process so as to hide his own inability to offer relief? Many would argue that no doctor would dream of killing his own patient, but this is hypothetical; there have been known cases of deceiving doctors, and when the question is of a human life, deceit can lead to death.
There is also the aspect of family pressure. What if the family cannot afford health care? What if, in a bid to stop the heightening medical bills, members of a family put pressure on the patient to end his/her life? What would happen if a patient who is not terminally ill is forced to consent to euthanasia under reeling force from his/her family to do so? Would it not be a waste of a human life? And then, what if the patient is not is a mental state to decide? As per Dutch law – which we shall take as a benchmark for this discussion – a panel would be formed consisting of medical experts and relatives and friends of the patient. They would then look through previous medical records, take second opinions, discuss and conclude whether euthanasia is the best option. But here again the question arises: who are these people to decide whether someone else’s life is worth living or not? Do they really know the patient well enough to make such a decision? And then there is the case of misuse of opinion. Say the panel first goes to a doctor, who is known to be supporter of euthanasia, for an opinion. Naturally, they would get a nod. Next, if they went to another doctor, who also supports euthanasia, on purpose, then their second opinion would be consistent with the first. And that would be and to a human life. This is the controversial matter of selective usage of opinion and data, both of which are a matter of ‘life and murder’ in such cases.
The arguments are many, and I doubt if there is any answer. However, a survey of over 2,000 HIV-infected patients in the European Union (EU) shows that a majority are in favour of allowing euthanasia by law under certain conditions, which is currently legal only in
I wonder if a solution can ever be found. Life and death have always been regarded as two sides of the same coin, but moving from the former to the latter is a very contentious topic.
Lastly, let me relate an incident sent by a
“In the circumstances, I felt that humanity demanded that the agony should be ended by ending life itself. The matter was placed before the whole ashram. Finally, in all humility but with the cleanest of convictions I got in my presence a doctor to administer the calf a quietus by means of a poison injection, and the whole thing was over in less than two minutes.
“Would I apply to human beings the principle that I have enunciated in connection with the calf? Would I like it to be applied in my own case? My reply is YES. Just as a surgeon does not commit himsa when he wields his knife on his patient's body for the latter's benefit, similarly one may find it necessary under certain imperative circumstances to go a step further and sever life from the body in the interest of the sufferer”.For more information relating to euthanasia, do visit the Euthanasia website.
This article contains information amalgamated from several websites and blogs.
CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is welcomed.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
Title: Wise & Otherwise: A Salute to Life (Revised Edition)
Author: Sudha Murty
Price: INR 150
Rating: *** of 5 (Good)
For more about the author, visit this site. For another review of this book, see this one. To see the publisher's entry on this book, you can visit this page.
Sudha Murty, as a person, has seen many facets of life. Hailing from Shiggaon, a small village in Karnataka, she has gone on to become a much-loved professor and the head of the philanthropic wing of India’s best-known IT solutions provider: the Infosys Foundation. And as a humanitarian, she has not just seen, but has also changed many lives. Wise & Otherwise is a collection of some of her experiences in her mission to show the human side of corporate India.
In this book, we are treated to over fifty short tales, all told through the eyes of Sudha Murty. A very interesting part of this book is when she tells us that in spite of working in the “charity section” of a multi-billion dollar company, the Infosys Foundation does not even have a separate nameplate for itself, and anyone who goes into her office would surely not guess her credentials!
A man deserts his father as a destitute; a couple of teenagers born into capitalist-India discover the heroics of the Rani of Jhansi; a village school Principal who uses the school’s property as her own; a light-headed and unlucky stock broker who demands money from the Foundation or threatens suicide; and how one man’s earthquake is another’s gold mine. These and many more tales bring out the face of the other India: the one we don’t like to talk about with out foreign friends.
Mrs. Murty regularly points out the ever-bothersome habit of fawning and exaggerating praise that all those in need of quick money seem to magically acquire! She reminds us that Generation Next is not totally wrong, and that they too (or should I say we too?) have some degree of respect towards Indian as well as international culture. Added to this is her short anecdote on the genesis of the Nobel Prize, and this book is a complete picture of the wise, and the not-so-wise, which she puns “the otherwise”.
However, towards its end, the book does become a bit boring; with continuous comparisons of different situations lacking is a comprehensive inference. Perhaps she could have spoken more about the different sort of students she taught, and how India is slowly changing. And of course, the story titled ‘Sorry, the Line is Busy’ could have been truncated, as it failed to say anything worthwhile, except how teenage girls seem to talk a lot!
All-in-all, the book is worth a read and has been successful in giving an unbiased view of India today, India tomorrow, and the grey area in between. And the ultimate thought this book leaves us with is that life is not always fair, but it is better to light a candle than curse the dark.
Reviewer’s Favourite Extract:
‘Alliance invited for a smart, slim, fair, 22-yr-old software engineer, from a modern family, preferring to stay overseas. The girl is convent educated and prefers nuclear family. Outgoing and Karate Black Belt. Enjoys Western music and travelling. Handsome boys between 22-25 yrs, well connected, well settled, preferably a software/MNC, small family, can apply directly. Horoscope not needed. Caste no bar.’
For any help required in buying this book, please visit the publisher's site.