Serial Bus

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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Paid For By Friends of Rob Astorino

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As I took the stairs up to the platform at the Pelham Metro-North station a couple of weeks back, I was relieved that I had beaten the train to the finish line. Many of the days, I see it rushing past me as I huff up the stairs. Anyways, so there I was, standing when an elderly gentleman came and politely handed me a pamphlet about Rob Astorino, a candidate for the county executive elections on Nov 3. He also mentioned that Rob was near the middle of the platform answering questions. He perhaps did not know that some of us would never move an inch away from our end of the platform because that’s where the first car of the train stops which would deliver us closest to the main concourse of the Grand Central station, allowing us to stomp out quickly and melt into the morning crowd of NYC. But, hey, Rob, though I am not franchised in the US, I did read your pamphlet.

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Written by serialbus

November 11, 2009 at 11:39 am

Tintin in Tawang

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Tintin in Tibet

Tintin visited Tibet in 1958, about an year before the Dalai Lama had to flee in the wake of the Chinese invasion. Tintin loved the country and wanted to revisit. Upset by the title of his memoir published in 1960 (‘Tintin in Tibet’), the Chinese government banned Tintin and Snowy from traveling to Tibet through a special proclamation signed by the Chairman himself. In 2001, China allowed the publication of a Chinese-language version of the by-then famous book with a slightly different title – ‘Tintin in China’s Tibet’. Most Chinese came to love Tintin for his bravery when he traveled to Tibet in 1958 to save Chang Chong-Chen, his Chinese friend. Yet, the Party still held a grouse, for it was Tintin who popularized the word ‘Tibet’ across the world. Had it not been for him, China would have succeeded in its sinister plan to re-name Tibet as ‘The Liberated Land’.

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November 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm

I Do Not Worship Thee, O Motherland!

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Should Muslims in India refrain from singing Vande Mataram?

To answer the question fairly, one must consider some other questions such as:

Should the state government of Maharashtra make it compulsory for cinema halls to play Jana Gana Mana before every show and exhort the audience to stand up for it?

Should Turkey make it unlawful for women to wear scarfs as a symbol of their piety?

Should China continue to ban the practice of Falun Gong?

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Written by serialbus

November 7, 2009 at 11:26 pm

A Book-Banning Nation

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I can imagine a lot of things that could really harm us – like nuclear bombs, cigarettes and speeding vehicles. But books? I have never known a book that exploded as soon as you read the preface. I feel sorry for the gentlemanly Jaswant Singh who has been thrown under the bus by his colleagues for publishing a book (Jinnah – India, Partition, Independence) that does not demonize Jinnah. I feel sorrier that a society could be so intolerant of books. Books?!!

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Written by serialbus

August 22, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Let’s Get Offended: Jana Gana Mana Rann

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India’s Censor Board has been known to waver between connivance and censure when it comes to the increasingly liberal show of affection and skin on the silver screen. However, I think they didn’t have to think twice before taking Ram Gopal Varma to task over the recent song ‘Jana Gana Mana Rann’ from his to-be-released film called ‘Rann’. When it comes to protecting national honor, they can be unflinchingly ruthless and remorseless. Even the people are offended, as if on cue. I write this post in the defense of the song and in doing so, I am not just questioning whether the song was unfairly branded as insulting to the national anthem; I go a step further and wonder whether the national anthem needs protection.

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June 8, 2009 at 9:42 am

Congress Landslilde: India’s Lucky Break

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Indians in the western hemisphere woke up this Saturday morning to the dreadful prospect of Mayawati being sworn in as the next prime minister of India. That calamity has been averted. Most pundits had forecast another hung parliament in the general elections; so hung that the regional parties would play haughty kingmakers and a Congress or a BJP would struggle in cobbling together their patchy umbrellas called UPA and NDA. Such worries have proven to be unfounded, thanks to another exit polls debacle. In practice, I don’t see much difference between Congress and BJP today – though BJP sprang upon the national scene due to its pursuit of right-wing Hindutva and Congress traditionally espoused sclerotic socialism, both the parties have followed a centrist agenda in the last two decades in the matters of economy, national security and foreign policy. Most significantly, Congress introduced market reforms in 1991 and BJP kept them on course in 1999. So, at this crucial time in India’s coming-of-age when a global recession is gnawing everywhere, Congress’ decisive victory provides India what it needs most i.e. stability without melodrama – and for that reason alone, I celebrate this outcome.

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Written by serialbus

May 17, 2009 at 12:56 am

Primitive and Modern

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I am going to describe two very different places below. I want you to guess which one is primitive and which one modern.

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Written by serialbus

April 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm