Monday, September 15, 2014

Burka Avenger (not just made for India)

....Our actors work there...our musicians have been popular there.....does that mean we have to modify our content to suit their seasoned tastes?....If only the answer was a simple binary choice.....One cannot peel away all the layers of history within a single article, so I won't even try....money is as real today as it was in 1947....let us look at it from a strictly business perspective.....
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Adi Abdurab (head screenwriter for the TV series Burka Avenger) has raised an important question which has implications on the cross-border cultural exchanges (and  the impact thereof).
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[ref. Wiki] Burka Avenger is a multi-award winning Pakistani animated television series created and directed by famous Pakistani rock star and social activist, Aaron Haroon Rashid. The show features Jiya, an "inspirational teacher" whose alter ego is a burka-wearing superheroine. Jiya uses "Takht Kabaddi", a special martial art that incorporates books and pens, to fight crime. The Urdu language series first aired on 28 July 2013. 
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Our feeling is that Adi Sahib is unduly worried about Pakistani culture losing its way and getting merged with India, though we agree that Pakistanis have the right to be paranoid. The Pakistani TV serials which are making waves in India are doing so because of fascination with a conservative culture and old-fashioned Punjabi, which appeals to an older generation in North India (and may also appeal to youngsters looking for something different). All such productions already meet the "something different to digest instead of the same drudgery" standard that he claims to be aspiring for.
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TCS bats for (Saudi) women

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is surely making waves with their women-focused initiatives. In India it is the 200 Crore (3.27176 million dollars) Toilets for School Girls initiative announced in August (since then Bharti Airtel has also pledged 200C, thanks are due to all).

In Saudi Arabia the plan is to help women (who are presently unable to step out of the house without a male relative) to be trained in "communications, presentation skills, corporate etiquette, global culture and MS Excel skills" and encourage them to join the brave new world of back-office workers who may not be male, and who are not relatives (but presumably still virtual-kosher).
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Indian IT bellwether TCS Sunday opened the first all-women back office centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in partnership with GE and Saudi Aramco. The 3,200-square metre business process centre will offer jobs for 3,000 Saudi women for customers like oil major Saudi Aramco and the US-based General Electric (GE) in the desert kingdom over the next three years.  
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The "rockstar" Gandhi

......Shiva, dressed in a burgundy sari and a shawl the color of rust....“We would have no hunger in the world if the seed was in the hands of the farmers....They want to take that away”.....Shiva argues that the prevailing model of industrial agriculture....places an unacceptable burden on the Earth’s resources....Shiva has contempt for farmers who plant monocultures....“They are ruining the planet.....They are destroying this beautiful world”....
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The list of power ladies from India who carry high name recognition in the West (and the rest) reads as follows: (1) Arundhati Roy, (2) Vandana Shiva, (3) Sonia Gandhi, and (4) Mother Teresa. For people keeping score we have (3) christians and (1) brahmin, also (2) are naturalized citizens. 

How about the others? Indira Gandhi is probably fading from memory, even as Mayawati rises as a Dalit icon (she will need to capture the Red Fort for true greatness). We are guessing that not too many westerners know about Indra Nooyi and other corporate bosses.

Indian music and dance do not have (yet) a female Ravi Shankar, even though his first wife Annapurna Devi (born Roshanara Khan, daughter of Alauddin Khan) was more talented and stopped performing because of the unhappiness expressed by her husband. The Shankar progeny Geetali Norah Jones Shankar and Anoushka Shankar would (at most) be recognized as Americans with Indian influences.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Education is our birth-right

....Rekha, student of Class X, resisted marriage when 10 years old......Since the time many girls came forward to oppose the practice.....a Class V textbook of the State Board has a chapter on child marriage where her and another girl's names feature........“Such stories encourage adolescents to protest against child marriage” .....Asadur Rahaman, UNICEF in West Bengal....
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India is a land of the disadvantaged with a few creamy layers enjoying the fruits of a globalized economy. There are many ways to alter the status quo: Arundhati Roy favors armed revolution (because non-violence as preached by Gandhi - a humbug in her words - is a non-starter). This may still happen if Indians at the bottom of the ladder are left to rot with no helping hand from the fortunate class.
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The first step towards emancipation begins with the freedom to vote and to speak (and India is an imperfect example of these principles as applied to the real world). Gradually there would be an increase in awareness of rights (and responsibilities) as citizens, of which the right to education must rank first along with roti, kapda and makaan. A few, new Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkars will need to come forward to arise and awake their communities (because other communities/castes will not care if they are left behind).

We sincerely hope that Rekha and her fellow sisters will take the non-violent revolution forward. We need many more voices in support of education (and against child marriage). Parents must be convinced to raise daughters as equal to sons. We want all the fundamentalists (of all colors and stripes) to back off. As women progress, we are sure that they will lead the country forward to a better place.
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David Cawthorne Haines

....The killer says: “This British man has to pay the price to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State.....he has spent a decade of his life serving under the Royal Air Force.....“Your evil alliance with America continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq .....playing the role of the obedient lapdog will only drag you into another bloody and unwinnable war”....At the end of the latest video, another hostage – apparently British – is paraded......
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The Maida Vale killer strikes again. David Haines has been reportedly beheaded. DCH was a British (Scottish) aid worker who was (we presume) trying to help out the miserable people of Syria, his family must be wondering why they agreed to this labor of love in the first place.
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A number of critical questions will be asked (and re-asked): What was David Haines...who has a military background...really doing in Syria? Should Britain and the USA consider paying ransom to terrorists? What will happen to the Brits and Americans still being held hostage (yes, we know)?