Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The following are entries in a previous blog, which has been discontinued.

Thiruvananthapuram Musings

Soorya Festival

A music and dance festival every evening for 75 days in a small city like Thiruvananthapuram was unthinkable till an enterprising person called Soorya Krishnamoorthy hit upon this idea. Of course, the Festival had humble beginnings, but today it is an amazing spectacle, indeed a feast. The Festival this year began at the end of September and it will continue till December 4.

Every artiste worth his or her name in India today gets featured in the Soorya Festival. From a situation where the Soorya organisers had to seek them out, now artistes seem to seek to participate in the Festival. The variety of it is amazing. Every genre of dance and music makes an appearance together with poetry, stories and even speeches. People throng these events day after day to relish the fare.

Today, two short story writers and a stand -up comedian entertained the audience. The stories were provocative enough and the comedian was full of fun and frolic.

Thiruvananthapuram has come to life with the Soorya festival

POSTED BY Administrator ON 10.16.05 @ 1:42 pm | 0 Comments

Videsha Vicharam

My first solo show on television appeared today. It was a review of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington as the first in a series entitled “Videsha Vicharam” or foreign review. The title was formulated after a discussion I had with K.P.Mohanan, Gopakumar and Anil Adoor of Asianet. Other titles under discussion were “Videsha Varaphalam”, “Eye on the World”, “Viswa Darshanam” etc.

I had proposed such a programme to Dr.Raji Menon, Chairman of Asianet some time ago, but since then, he invited me to join Asianet and the discussion turned to such a possible assignment. As it happened, the programme materialised after I joined Asianet as an Adviser. I made a pilot recording first and then decided to begin the series with the Washington visit. The producer, Anil Adoor, made a significant contribution to the making of the programme.

In reviewing the visit, I took the same line as I had done in my article in ie the deal has done India more good than harm. Some concessions had to be made to secure international co-operation. In a sense, the purpose of the non-proliferation laws and Nuclear Suppliers’ Group regulations has been served. India could not secure nuclear technology and supplies without submitting its peaceful nuclear installations to international inspection. I also touched upon the controversy generated by Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had initiated a dialogue with the US to reach an understanding.

I had a script, but I did not read from it. The inadequacies of my Malayalam were obvious, but I managed the situation quite well. So far I have received only positive feedback.

The programme will be aired every alternate Tuesday.

July Twenty-fourth Two Thousand and Five.

POSTED BY Administrator ON 07.24.05 @ 1:51 pm | 0 Comments

Pandippada- A Movie

We drove to Attingal to see a celebrated movie, Pandippada, which was characterised as a humour epic. It was a great disappointment. It had some streaks of comedy in the dialogue, but the story was so stupid and meaningless that it failed to entertain. It was loud and poor in direction and acting. Dileep dominated the story with his two cronies and Navya Nair appreared ill suited for the role she played. She had portrayed some sensitive characters in the past, but she was wasted in this movie.

Full length comedies are popular in Malayalam, but in his anxiety to provide comedy for three hours, the director had to scrape the bottom.

July Seventeenth Two Thousand and Five

POSTED BY Administrator ON 07.17.05 @ 12:40 pm | 0 Comments

Washington Calling
The PM of india, Dr. Manmohan Singh has left for Washington on what is desribed as a historic trip. This is not the first time that Indian leaders have visited the United States with the expectation that a new chapter will be opened in India-US relations. But the build up this time is more than ever before. The US appears to be more keen than India to raise the level of the relationship. This is not surprising because the Republicans have felt for long that India needs to be strengthened to balance the growing power of China. When the Democrats were ready to punish India for the nuclear tests, it was Henry Kissinger who spoke first in justification of the tests by speaking of India’s “tough neighbourhood”. The Bush policy is a logical extension of that approach.

On previous occasions, all the constraints in the development of relations were on the side of the US. But this time, Dr. Manmohan Singh has an unseen member in his delegation in the person of Praksh Karat, who is likely to hold him back at every stage. This will be a new experience for any Indian Prime Minister. He will not be able to respond fully to any of the initiatives that President Bush might propose. Will the US hug be a “Dhritarashtra Alinganam” in the eyes of the left parties?

The test of the success of the visit is the advance that it is likely to mark in nuclear co-operation. There is no sign that the US is just about to remove the non-proliferation concerns. A concession on Tarapur does not amount to much as it is already under safeguards. If the energy dialogue leads to an understanding on supply of civilian nuclear reactors, it will be a definite move in the right direction.

The confrontation between G-4 and the US on the expansion of the Security Council is another constraint. The US has made a gesture by obliquely supporting India, but it has not been able to break the G-4 solidarity. The US is strongly opposed to the kind of formula that G-4 proposes. The outcome of the Bush-Singh dialogue on this issue will be of considerable interest. One way or the other, the US will ensure that the G-4 resolution is not put to a vote.

T.P. Sreenivasan
July Fifteenth Two Thousand Five

POSTED BY Administrator ON 07.16.05 @ 3:10 am | 0 Comments

The Big Choice

K. Subrahmanyam writes in the ‘Tribune’ today that India has to make a choice between achieving phenomenal progress by accepting the US offer of helping India acquire global power status or wallowing in the neo Hindu growth rate of 6% for years to come. The choice has to be made in the next two weeks, obviously a reference to the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister to Washington. According to KS, China made the choice some years ago and became a major power with US blessings.

I would say that India had this choice as soon as we became independent and we consciously chose the Hindu rate of growth rather than surrender our soul to the West. Nothing prevented us at that time from placing ourselves under one of the umbrellas and avoiding the heavy expenditure on building up our basic sciences and defence capability. Morality is not the issue in making such a choice, it is merely self interest. We made a judgement then that our interests would be best served by following an independent path rather than by playing second fiddle to a major power. Just as there are no permanent enemies or friends, there are no countries, which will take us to great power status out of charity. The US offer is essentially in its own interest and our acceptance of it today is as riddled with risks as it was half a century ago.

Of course, there is no evil in exploiting the present situation with the conviction that we can intelligently make use of the opportunity as the Chinese have done. But our problem is that our system does not have the capability to make use of the opportunity to the nation’s advantage. People in power will derive advantages from the new linkages and the nation will not derive the full benefits because of corruption and inefficiency. The ideological mix that the present Government represents will not be able to absorb the benefits consistently. The US itself will feel frustrated and try to derive the maximum benefits from the confused scenario.

India, I hope, will not make the kind of choice that is being offered. We wil adopt the Brahminical approach of accepting some offers and rejecting others and follow our own middle path. Indian genius does not have the capability to do what the Chinese have done. In this particular case, it is a blessing rather than a curse.

July Eight Two Thousand Five

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