Monday, September 17, 2007

The saga of an epic or an epic saga?

The latest news in India these days is the fact that the right wing BJP is against the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project.

What is the Sethusamduram Shipping Canal project?

The project proposes the linking of Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka through the shallow sea – Sethu Samudram and through the island chain of Rama Bridge also known as the Adam’s Bridge. The main advantage of this is the reduction in travel distance of more than 350 Nautical miles, therefore reducing the cost of transportation.

Why is the BJP against building this channel?

As per the BJP, the island chain of Rama Bridge is the bridge that was built by the Vanara (Monkey) Army led by Lord Rama to save his consort Sita who had been kidnapped by the evil king Ravana and taken to Lanka. Whether this is actually the same bridge or not is pure speculation and at this point in time not borne by evidence.

The Government of India in its affidavit in the Supreme Court had maintained that this fact – there is no archeological evidence that it was built by Rama – thereby questioning the very existence of Rama.

Now Rama is the main protagonist of the book Ramayana written by Valmiki. Ramayana is widely treated as an Epic in India and abroad just like IIiad written by Homer is in Greece and elsewhere.
My disconnect is with the fact that we seem to be moving away from the understanding that books which have later been hailed as Epics have mainly become that because of the fact that these books give the nation a sense of what is right and wrong in the period that it has been written in – Most of these definitions of rights or wrongs have invariably stood the test of time, which is why they are so revered!

This is so typical of India today – we always come up with a problem rather than thinking of solutions – We need to at least get an alternative solution to a problem – whether it involved the Rama Bridge or 123 Agreement. I understand that there could be, in the future, some proof that can possibly prove beyond a shadow of doubt the existence of Rama or a being like him (setting the cat among the pigeons here!) – it could even be aliens – remember humans did not have the necessary technology at the point in time in history – for example – Rama’s most potent weapon was the "Brahmastra" which is comparable to today’s Nuclear weapons!

I am from the Services industry and this attitude of always coming up with problems and not an alternative will hurt my job and my career – why is it so different with the politicians of India?

Lets not be a part of the problem – Let us be a part of the solution!

Friday, September 14, 2007

God paves way for moolah in Bangalore

Last night, I was heading home from office and noticed that a new Call Center started on the way. This was the same site where, a year and half back, a temple existed! Some entrepreneur obviously paid the temple authorities and bought the land and constructed a glass paneled 21st century commercial building where 20-somethings work for mostly Americans during the night and make money thus helping the country’s economy grow, not to mention to help increase the size of the middle-class in India. This was done so quietely that under normal circumstances, this could have possible led to a strike leading to the eventual demolition of the structure - by Hindu findamentalists.

This clearly is a perfect example of my theory that if there are opportunities to make money – people will and will also put aside religious concerns, in this case, the demolition of a temple so that they can prosper! Hopefully, this will also help in bridging religious differences among the people in India.

I just wish that this happens in more cities in India where we see unscrupulous people building temples/mosques/churches to usurp land around the sites they own to illegally acquire more land! This will certainly help in widening of roads, building better infrastructure which will go a long way to help develop our economy and hence our country!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Economic Reforms: Impact on Hyderabad

Last week, I was in Hyderabad for a whole week after a really long time – 4 years to be precise and I was stunned!

I had left Bangalore by train on the ill fated 25th August evening, when 2 bomb blasts had rocked Hyderabad, one at Lumbini Park and the other at Gokul Chat Bhandar, which I must add, I used to frequent when I was living in Hyderabad.

Arriving on Sunday, I had expected Hyderabad to be gripped by fear psychosis, which was common while I was there. Whenever there was a bomb blast, the place would simply shut down! There would have been rioting and general strikes! This time around – while most places in Hyderabad were shut, note, it was a Sunday, there was a feeling of a need to get back together, something that we Indians typically associate with cities like Mumbai! Some political parties called for a general strike on Monday, but buses were plying albeit at lower frequency than is normal, we could find autos that were willing to take you wherever you wanted to go without charging the Earth! The economic reforms, I felt, had truly touched every citizen in Hyderabad; people are finally busy with making money rather than spread rumors or violence!

Bangalore vs. Hyderabad - No comparision!

The last 4 years, I have been living in Bangalore, considered to be one of the quieter cities in South India. Whenever a general strike is called, the place simply shuts down, there is absolutely no public transport available – the Government pulls buses off the roads, Autos and Taxis simply disappear!
Added to the above – I have a few friends in Hyderabad, who complain about the Hyderabad’s infrastructure – The only thing I had to say to them – come and live in Bangalore. Every road in Hyderabad is wide, traffic constantly moves, there is political will to actually improve the lot of the citizens of the city! Compare it to Bangalore – the roads are narrow, traffic barely moves, there is absolutely no political will to change things for the better; there are no road widening projects that are in progress! To reach most places in Bangalore you have only one route, whereas in Hyderabad, there are multiple routes! Things are so out of hand here in Bangalore that the coalition parties that rule the state are constantly bickering with each other, one party does not trust the other with regards to hand over of the power due in October this year! There is only one road to the spanking new Airport that will be ready by April next year and it will take longer for a person travelling to Hyderabad to reach the airport in Bangalore than the flight time to Hyderabad! The work on the new road to the new airport in Bangalore, which has been conceptualized, has yet to start – Land has still not been acquired! The flyover on airport road, the airport where dozens of CEOs visit every year – took 5 years to build! Hyderabad is building 3 flyovers on one road (the busy Lifestyle road to the Nagarjuna Circle) and the target for completion is before the airport is completed in Hyderabad – which is March 2008!

The only advantage that Bangalore has over Hyderabad is the weather and it will not be to long before the weather deteriorates!

Hyderabad will go places – I will not be surprised the day that Hyderabad will overtake Bangalore in all aspects!