Friday, April 29, 2011

Free Speech - On a tight leash

Some excerpts from the text of an article in the New York Times about growing restrictions on free speech in India.

Free speech advocates and Internet users are protesting new Indian regulations restricting Web content that, among other things, can be considered 'disparaging,' 'harassing,' 'blasphemous' or 'hateful.'

The new rules, quietly issued by the country’s Department of Information Technology earlier this month and only now attracting attention, allow officials and private citizens to demand that Internet sites and service providers remove content they consider objectionable on the basis of a long list of criteria.

Critics of the new rules say the restrictions could severely curtail debate and discussion on the Internet, whose use has been growing fast in India.

The list of objectionable content is sweeping and includes anything that “threatens the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order.”

The rules highlight the ambivalence with which Indian officials have long treated freedom of expression. The country’s constitution allows “reasonable restrictions” on free speech but lawmakers have periodically stretched that definition to ban books, movies and other material about sensitive subjects like sex, politics and religion.

The new Internet rules go further than existing Indian laws and restrictions, said Sunil Abraham, the executive director for the Center for Internet and Society. The rules require Internet “intermediaries” — an all-encompassing group that includes sites like YouTube and Facebook and companies that host Web sites or provide Internet connections — to respond to any demand to take down offensive content within 36 hours. The rules do not provide a way for content producers to defend their work or appeal a decision to take content down.

An official for the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, an advocacy group based in New Delhi, said on Wednesday that it was considering a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the new rules.


A complete write-up of the article can be accessed via this link on the NY Times website. The aforementioned post contains certain parts of the original publication, without amendment.

Full credits to Vikas Bajaj, correspondent for The New York Times in Mumbai, and author of this article. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

After Chernobyl

25 years have come to pass since the Chernobyl incident. Wounds and memories still remain anew. It still ranks to be the worst civil nuclear disasters the world has witnessed, shadowing the more recent Fukushima I nuclear accident in Japan.

As countries dabble on the question of whether or not nuclear power can be a safe and reliable source of energy, it is shocking that many nations, presently part of the elite nuclear club, do not yet have a concrete nuclear safeguard policy!

This post pays homage to those who were affected, and to those who continue to endure the suffering, long after the world has forgotten the incident! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Atlantis

Its taken me 9 months to go out for a movie here in Chennai! And that I've been a movie buff all my life will tell you a thing or two about how non-existent my personal life has become these days! Given this serious lack of time and effort to create a personal space, I'm worried about how things will take shape once I'm ready to enter holy matrimony! But thats seemingly a while away and so I could afford some thinking to do.

Anyhow, Friday night, on an impulse, I turned off my phone, and after a sumptuous fare, walked into a multiplex and settled myself for a movie! Apart from of course the welcome change, I cannot tell you enough of how enjoyable it was to be incommunicado, though for a short while. No interfering intrusions, no deadlines, no tasks on a never-ending list and no feeling of being swamped over - Only bliss and relaxed comfort!

Having thoroughly relished this momentary state of ecstasy, I repeated the act once again on Saturday!

And, it has set me thinking; why has life become so chaotic? Is it about priorities or overpoweringly endless things to do?

Suddenly, I'm looking over, straining to find the end of the horizon and with it a great deal of calm.

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it!


It must be an easy guess as to why I titled this post the way it is. But just in case anyone wonders, then I'd like you to look up the lost island of Atlantis, and you'll be sure to understand, perhaps! 

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Enemy is Us

The first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970, and the man behind what is today a coordinated effort across 175 countries, and better known as the Earth Day Network is Denis Hayes.

But, my post is not about glorifying the need for any network or cause, for I truly believe that such acts involving conservation and activism need much more concerted efforts and they are not subscribed to or endorsed merely because of a group of people coming together on any given day!

Any mention of the first Earth Day, is incomplete without reference to Walt Kelly's iconic poster that was made for the occasion and that is precisely the reason why this post has been made today - to honour a vivid sense of reality that a person chose to portray in the most convincingly elementary manner! Kelly was the American animator and cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Pogo.

Kelly passed away only 3 years after the first Earth Day, but his iconic creation remains timeless, and in all probability, will continue to be more relevant in the coming times, considering the manner in which we continue to progress, or regress perhaps!


Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

Image Description: Familiar, and hence needs no explanation, hopefully! 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


First published in 1916 in the collection Mountain Interval, Robert Frost's iconic lines need no introduction and continue to be a timeless metaphor to aptly describe life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vishu Ashamsakal

Today is Vishu, the beginning of the Malayalam new year.

Redefining Oblivion wishes you good health, happiness, togetherness and prosperity, on this auspicious beginning.

Undoubtedly, my heart is in Kerala, where Vishu is observed with great fanfare and reverence celebrating the spirit of happy togetherness, and a new beginning.  

Monday, April 11, 2011


There is a place I know, where peace and happiness reign supreme. A million miles of solace lie in evergreen expanses as vast as the imagination itself. There is a feeling of having finally arrived in the sense of having achieved a purpose that one is, rather, was, in a never-ending quest for.

Heartening moments of perpetual bliss compelled by the effect of soothing nature balm frayed nerves and there is a great feeling of content. There is no room for hatred, quest, want or anticipation as life is now and being played out in all glory.

Blue mountains beckon amidst flowing creeks and crackling winds that caress the inside, a state of being where time does not matter. What matters is one's presence and a deep realization of the self and the surroundings. Palls of gloom do not exist even so much as in the most inaccessible recesses of the mind. An overwhelming feeling of love prevails and unites all forms of creation in one large tapestry never distinctive of one another.

There is no sense of individual identity or definition and hence uniqueness is at best described in being similar, in character, thought and the remarkable sense of being able to co-exist elatedly in marvel. Differences, of whatever nature, are immaterial and there is a deep sense of connection one feels with another despite not being of the same kind.

There is a place I know, where peace and happiness reign supreme, and it is called Sunnyville.

There is a place I know, and I'm gone there soon! 

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Yesterday Once More

Anna Hazare is no new name in the crusade against corruption and his recent campaign has like minded folks united across the length of India. It is heartening to see that techies and management professionals, among others, including a list of social activists, teachers and students have joined the fold in highlighting the ills of corruption that this great nation continues to be pillaged by!

However, it is quite another something if one were to ask if this beleaguered country would be delivered from this evil. I answer in unequivocal negative not because of any deep rooted prejudice or cynicism that I bear towards the ethos of Indian-ness, but because of a known fact that the Indian mindset swings wildly, and often in stark contradiction, between a very selfish personal jurisdiction that often compellingly keeps the individual well above the social or national aspect, and a pseudo-sense of adherence to values which seems to be projected only to portray a very nationalistic endorsement for the need to change others than the self which unquestionably requires the biggest transformation!

In effect, corruption, or for that matter connivance in that sense, lies within us, deep rooted, unaffected and unchallenged because of the lack of a personal value system, which will right any wrong so long as there is personal benefit associated.

So, while Anna Hazare and his well-meaning protégé brave the odds on empty stomachs, yet with concerted and committed minds, just so that their vision of a free nation comes one step closer to realization, to expect India en masse to follow suit is naive!

Is it Churchill to whom the phrase 'enemy within the gates' could be attributed?

Monday, April 04, 2011

Bleed Blue

If they ever tell my story, let them say i walked with giants.

Men rise and fall like the winter weed, but some names will never die.

Let them say that i lived in the land of Mahatma Gandhi - the tamer of forces..., let them say, that i lived in the times of Team India and Mahendar Singh Dhoni!

2011 is historic!

Many congratulations to Team India!


Kudos to Team India for the historic win in the World Cup 2011.

These aforesaid lines, in the post, are originally from the movie Troy, in memory the timeless icons of Hector, Achilles, Odysseus and Priam.

Friday, April 01, 2011

All I want All I need

From Whitesnake, of the album 'Good to be bad' released in April 2008, this track written by David Coverdale and Doug Aldrich is among my all time favorites.

The first from Whitesnake since it's 1997 release Restless heart, this album eventually went on to sell 710,000 copies worldwide. The album charted at number 8 on the Top Independent albums, number 23 on the Top Canadian albums, number 62 on The Billboard 200 and number 7 on the UK Albums Chart.