July 29, 2005

9/11, 7/11, 7/22...!?

The 'War on Terrorism' is paying off. But who is benefited?

United States of America has always tried its acts of global policing at anywhere it gets a foothold. At the pretext of global peace, they have helped militant groups across the globe to implement their selfish interests as a nation. Consider any of the world’s problematic places, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan or elsewhere, Americans were there either to create the problem, or to worsen it by helping one of the clashing groups which they think will give them some benefit. But eventually, all of these issues have blown out of control, and that is when they finally try to act as peace makers!. Its like, create an issue and then find ( or pretend like trying ) a solution to it! This can be largely attributed to the lack-of-enough-problems-to-solve within the country itself! They had to pay the price for this when the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Centers happened. Ordinary American citizens, who have only heard about the people getting killed elsewhere, probably by the American marines, should have had a real shock experiencing the same. President Bush declared it as attack on world peace and launched "the war on terror"!So far so good! Then the biggest mistake happened, not by US or 'terrorists", but by the nations which decided to join the war on terror.

What really happened was a change in the battlefield, and not a new war as such! The so called terrorists, who were once trained by America for their own advantage (read Osama bin Laden), decided to take the war to the land of US from elsewhere. But US succeeded in making the rest of the world believe otherwise, that it is a war to be fought by all of them. They could also get other nations' troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, even when the United Nations was against all this! And then follows 07/07 and 07/22 series of blasts in London, the capital city of the major ally of US in the war on terror.

The response to the incident has been variant, the British government, as expected, denied that war on terror has anything to do with it. But I, like most of the people with common sense, would like to strongly disagree. Particularly after knowing the whereabouts of the suicide bombers. The bombers, obviously Muslims, were not from any Arabic country but were immigrants whose parents settled in Britain several years ago. So these youth were born and brought up in Britain, studied in institutions of that country and were "nice-to-live-with" guys to their neighbours. Why do they decided to kill themselves, and take many others along with them? Does they do not have any love for the nation or the people who gave them shelter? And how did they, having educated from the best institutions in the world, become prey of islamic extremism? Or how did the so called terrorists manage to persuade these young and well educated people to become suicide bombers?

I think the war on terror made it happen, it made the job of terrorists easier on convincing people. The very cause in this case being the joining of British army in Iraq for "restoring peace". I read in yesterday's newspaper that the death toll of Iraqis has gone up to 24860, which is far bigger than the numbers 4000 at WTC or 100 in London. Then there is the abusing of prisoners, abuse of Koran, and so many other stories that can be used to "motivate" these guys to challenge "their" nation. Had Britain had not joined the war on terror, it would have been difficult though not impossible. It would have been difficult to create a justifiable picture so as to persuade these well educated youths to do this brutal act. Because the Koran or prophet condemns suicide and on jihad, When a man asked "What kind of jihad is better?" the Prophet had replied "A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler."

Now, as I write this, there is widespread fear among the Asian-looking community in Britain about alienation and racism due to these attacks. And the British government is worried that this can create further disturbances!

So finally who have won, and is the war on terror a success?. Answer depends on who answers it, whether the nation which launched it or the "terrorists" whom it targeted!

P.S: The answer also depends on what is the actual intention of US is, for which it is using war on terror, and which me, the poor chap, does not know at this moment. I think like me, all the "poor" chaps will have to wait and watch! Then, there is this saying by Martin Niemoller which makes me afraid, especially when my mother country is the new found ally of United States of America.
"First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me"

July 23, 2005

Payarum Arippayum Pinne....

What do they tell "Payar" in Hindi or in English? We did not know till yesterday, until we decided to cook Payar curry.

I, Jose and Ben decided to cook dinner. But the "Payar" which I had bought from Foodworld had finished. So we had to buy it, and had no time to go to the Foodworld outlet at Jubilee hills. I suggested buying an "arippa" also, a device which is used to remove water from cooked rice. Now, none of us knew what they tell for "payar" or "arippa" in Hindi, English or Telugu. But now that we had decided to cook, we had to buy! So we started off. We went to the local stationary store at Madhapur from where we usually buy utensils. I explained to him in Hindi that we wanted "the device" to remove water from cooked rice. Luckily the guy understood, but he did not have "the device" in his shop. He advised us to go to a near by bigger shop. So in order to make the discussion that was going to happen at the new shop simpler, I asked him what they call this device. And he replied in Hindi, "Chaval se pani nikalne ka barthan!" Utensil to remove water from cooked rice!

In the new shop however everything was on-display, so we could handpick the "arippa" and buy it without much problem. Next one was "payar". Unlike arippa we could not explain what payar is! We checked two shops from outside but there were no payar packets visible. Losing all hopes, Jos decided to try his luck. He went to one of the shops and started making some actions with both hands and explaining in Malayalam that he meant "payar". Ben and I started laughing and obviously the shopwala did not understand anything. We were about to leave the shop when somebody asked from behind in Malayalam "Payarano vangendathu?" Do u want to buy Payar?

The guy who was standing beside us was a Mallu, and knew what they call Payar in Hindi. Finally we could get payar for our dinner! And by the way Payar in Hindi is Moong!

July 21, 2005

To code or not to...

I am confused and little frustrated. The guy at onshore does not think my design will work. He wants it another way, in a much simpler way actually. He cannot be blamed either. The problem is, I like to write code that is confusing at first sight! :-) (Its just COBOL, so confusing code here refers to a set of nested IFs and PERFORMs and no hard-to-crack coding concepts)

My requirement is to include a provision in the existing code, to check for two new possible values of an existing field. I knew that there are two options to do that. Either I could add some more IFs to the existing set of loops or I could replicate the existing code and use the new values of the field in place of old ones. The first option would make the code a little more confusing but need only few changes and second one would require replicating all the junk in four existing paragraphs. I preferred the first one, but my onshore reviewer tells me that other one is better. I do not want to do it, and do not agree with his comment that my code will not work. (I am sure he got confused by the code! ha..ha...ha...)

I have been sitting idle from morning, thinking whether to make the changes or wait till night to talk to this guy and make him understand my code.

I have had a similar experience in my previous company, where I made some similar "beautiful" coding which the reviewer, a guy with 20 years of experience on the system did not understand (which made me proud of my coding skills), but agreed to proceed with. But the code had a small bug, which became evident on the first day of production run, when the program crashed!

This previous experience and the lack of interest to sit here till night persuades me to think otherwise. I will do what my reviewer says!!

July 06, 2005

News and Views

After leaving Kerala to pursue my career outside the state, the key link between me and the state have been the Malayalam TV channels. Operators in Hyderabad and Chennai broadcast Asianet, Surya and Kairali, though Kairali is not available with all the networks here in Hyderabad. My cable operator has stopped giving Kairali TV for last one month or so, a great disappoint for me who is not interested in the soap serials broadcasted by Asianet and Surya. So nowadays, the only program that make me glued to TV during the evenings are the news telecasts. And I try not to miss the five minute tele-strip Munshi, which discusses current affairs in a humorous way.

Yesterday's news reports were very disturbing to watch. The headlines were the Ayodhya temple attack by militants, the DYFI/SFI strike and the associated mishaps in Kerala and the resigning of 9 MLAs from state assembly who have become part of the new Indira Congress Party formed by Karunakaran and his son. All these incidents have no or little precedence but can make deep impacts on political India/Kerala.

Another strike.

The DYFI/SFI strike was rated by Munshi as the "best" which Kerala has seen to date, "better" than what they themselves had presented in the past. The news reporters must have had an experience akin to war correspondence, for the clash between police and strikers involved lots of teargas shells, water pouring tanks and petrol bombs. As usual the strikers managed to set fire or damage many Government vehicles, the notable difference this time being that police made a counter attack on AKG centre using grenades, as if they were attacking a fort of an enemy, and managed to damage some of the vehicles of communist comrades parked inside the compound.

I could never and do not think can in the future, agree to this "art" of destructive strikes (irrespective of the name they call it-Bandh or Hartal). Not that I am a follower of Gandhi model satyagraha or something, but that there are definitely better ways to express your discontent. The Communist parties always used this kind of methods to invigorate their cadres, especially youth wings such as SFI and DYFI, when they are in the opposition thuis having less opportunities to lure them on lucrative posts in government bodies. I have lost interest in finding out the very cause of these turmoil, after watching and experiencing them for years and finding that there may not be a solid reason to create these chaos other than uniting the cadres confused on intra party problems. I have got used to the vsuals of these wars shown in TV channels, the fight between police and strikers using teargas grenades and petrol bombs, the burning government vehicles, the broken glasses of vehicles parked and the buildings by the roadside and lately people being thrown away by the water sprayed by water tanks. This time so many girls were seen at the forefront of the marches, and getting injured in the clashes.

I had a hint that this strike was against the high fees charged by private professional institutions in state. The strike was called off after a meeting between state educational minister and Leftist Students Unions. The resolution based on which it was called off was stated as "decision to charge lesser fees in the government controlled co-operative colleges". I doubt if some body told "private colleges", and the entire drama reiterated the rumour that the strike was "organised" to avert the attention of masses from the intra-party clashes in CPM, popularly known as vettinirathal.

Ayodhya on fire.

The attack in Ayodhya by militants was successfully foiled by the CRPF. For me, this gave new information, that there is a make-shift temple that is being protected by a dedicated police station and a battalion of CRPF. But the true drama was yet to begin when the BJP demanded the resignation of PM and Home Minister for the mishap and declared that they are going for countrywide strikes on the issue. Narendra Modi compared it to 9/11 and BJP made it "an attack on Hindus". The Prime Minister later issued a statement such events could hamper the India-Pakistan peace talks. I am doubtful now, have the militants become successful finally? Two days after, BJP has decided to stop talking about the issue, which was an alter attempt to unite the conflicting party cadre, which has finally turned out to be a boomerang with very less people responding to the call for a hartal.

Indira Congress gets 9 ex-MLAs

At this moment, I believe majority of Keralites, like me, do not know what will be the future of Indira Congress would be? And there is not much waiting period to know, as the panchayat elections are on the cards. The same holds true for the future of nine MLAs who resigned their post and quit the Congress to join Indira Congress. Let us wait and see, and meanwhile pray for the people in the ten constituencies that do not have an MLA at present (including Cherthala from where Antony resigned to graduate to MP).

We see all the parties, irrespective of the color of their flags, taking due advantage on any incident that happens, when they are supposed to unite and condemn such threats on national security. They try to make life a hell for the people of their country when they are supposed to make them better. They play petty politics and resign their posts when they are supposed to serve the people who elected them for their good for the next five years. As I write this, Kerala is going through another strike called by all the trade unions together, one of the many hartals and strikes they ought to see this year. No, do not ask me what for this one is, for I really do not know, and as said before, am not interested in finding out! But I seriously doubt if this is what politics in democracy is?

Godspeed my polity, may God save You from these politicos!