January 29, 2014

Reflections from a Modern Indian Kitchen II: When we treat ourselves to delicacies over the weekend

Me and my husband had an awesome time cooking, eating and watching LOTR trilogy back to back over this weekend. Let's see what we cooked.

Day I: Gajar halwa, egg fried rice and egg bhurji:

Gajar Halwa: I wanted to cook this since long
Egg fried rice with brown rice: Simple to make & healthy to eat
Egg bhurji: This is husband's courtesy :)
Day II Lunch: Veg-egg biryani, mirchi ka salan & raita:
My special fav. The taste was as authentic as I could do :)
Day II Dinner: Sandwiches (Honey-Nuts, Mustard-Veggie)
Sandwich time and @home romantic dinner
Happy cooking folks!!

Related posts:
Reflections from a Modern Indian Kitchen I: A few easy-to-make-must-haves: link

January 20, 2014

Finally someone (JP of Lok Satta) is talking sensibly on Telangana: Andhra Pradesh must listen

If you haven't already seen Jayaprakash Narayan's speech on Telangana in the assembly, I suggest you please do so now (link). I must say that I'm quite impressed. And not just because I agree with him on many counts or because for the first time, a politician is talking about this issue in a sincere and steadfast manner. I'm actually pleasantly surprised that such a civilized discussion could take place in our assembly which consists of MLAs hooligans who don't care for any code of conduct or taxpayers' money (link) and MLAs hooligans who speak only the language of muscle (linklink). I pity those citizens of Andhra Pradesh who hope for progress from hooligans of this kind - MLAs hooligans declaring that anyone who speaks against Telangana's their wishes deserves (?!!) to be attacked manhandled (link). If one MLA is openly instigating a violent attack on another in assembly premises, there is no point in wondering about the law and order (or lack of it) in the state. I wonder if the people of Andhra Pradesh brought these misfortunes upon themselves (link) either by voting for these hooligans or by not voting for other good candidates. That's another post. For now, let's come back to JP's speech on bifurcation.

For the benefit of the readers, I'll try to surmise his speech here (I still suggest that you watch the whole speech to get a complete picture):

  • Historical backdrop and why Telangana is necessary: How the AP government has failed in keeping up two of the seven promises from the 1956 pact. This failure made Telangana people feel cheated. This resentment has been fueled by the way in which the Telangana issue has been handled in the recent past. Why Telangana now: The progress in the state has become stagnant with strong feelings of divisiveness entrenched among people of all regions against each other at every level - including the administrative personnel and politicians. In such a scenario, it would be better to divide the state politically and achieve progress in all the regions rather than making the state rot by forcefully keeping it united. People must understand that this is merely a political division and not a cultural one.
  • JP has stated that the manner in which this issue was dealt with by the Congress government and other political parties would be a model example for how a bifurcation should not be done. Agree with this 100% - I blogged about this (link) . He explains why: All parties tried to fuel hatred among the people of one region against the other. Restlessness which should be avoided at all costs at the time of handling such a sensitive situation was purposely created among people, causing chaos and mistrust. Central government did not consult or consider the people of the state (or their elected representatives) before making its decisions. This created further mistrust.
  • Ideas proposed by JP with regards to bifurcation, which have the potential to achieve peace and progress in all the regions: (i) The issue of bifurcation is to be discussed in a sensible manner in the assembly, bearing in mind the welfare of all the regions. Politicians need to convince people through reasoning about why it is necessary rather than propagating hatred. Central government should not overrule the sentiments and thoughts of the people of the state by taking a authoritative/dictotarial approach towards decisions without consulting the state. (ii) Telangana should be formed with Hyderabad as its capital. There should be no discrimination against the citizens of Hyderabad based on their origin/birthplace. Hyderabad would continue to grow (and so would the rest of Telangana from Hyderabad's income) through investments from all over the state and the country, as has been happening in the past. (ii) Rayalaseema being the most backward region among all over several key metrics should be given a special status like Assam/Himachal Pradesh from which central taxes should be waived. This would bring in 10K crores which would help in dealing away with the 7.5K crore deficit which the region might face. (iii) Polavaram project in coastal Andhra should be completed. This project benefits all the three regions. Ramayapatnam port should be completed, so that upper parts of coastal Andhra are also benefited. (iv) Progress made in the new states must be more spread-out geographically, unlike what we've done in the past by singling out Hyderabad.
  • His last key point was about corrupt and divisive politics, explaining that parties resort to divisive politics to escape from answering for corruption. And he rightly says that no amount of bifurcations and new states will bring progress as long as political parties cling to corruption.
That was all I guess. I would credit him for many aspects. One, even talking about this issue in a sensible and clear manner has become a rarity among our politicians. Two, he has taken a firm and clear stance on whether or not the new state should be formed, unlike other parties which keep dwindling on this (I must allow this credit to be shared with BJP which has also taken a firm stance in favor of separation from the start, albeit due to different reasons). Three, he has supported each and every point related to his party's stance through facts and reasoning. So yeah, I'm hooked. As voters, I think we should give him and his party (link, link) a chance - He's definitely more capable than all those hooligans who've failed us till now. For once, let's try and think beyond caste and religion, let's try and look at real issues which matter for progress. What do you say?

Related post:
How badly the Telangana issue was being mishandled by politicians: Link

January 15, 2014

Why not Jaya Lalitha for PM?!!

I'm voicing out a very radical opinion about our PM candidate: Why Modi Vs. Rahul Vs. Kejriwal and why not Amma? :D She has the administrative experience and skills, there is no doubting her capability/intelligence/political acumen (link), then why not her? I know corruption and populist measures are two things we might have to cautious about. However, firstly, I think she's less corrupt than DMK & Congress (going by the lesser of the evil principle) plus she doesn't come with a 2002 baggage; secondly, I think her administrative abilities and political knowledge will tell her when exactly one must not go by populism in national politics. In case AAP fails to deliver on good governance and in declaring a good PM candidate before 2014 LS elections (AAP being my first choice), I would rather have her as PM than anyone else: especially going by the independent-woman, made-it-on-her-own-from-grass-roots, intelligent-able-experienced factors. What do you all think?

January 13, 2014

Lechindi... nidra lechindi mahila lokam...

Lechindi.. nidra lechindi mahila lokam...

These lines belong to one of the most popular songs of the old Telugu cinema, which are from the film 'Gundamma Katha' (link). The song is meant to be a spoof on the feminist movement which started in India before independence, basically about what the then generation perceived to be "role-reversal" (which it is not - it is simply everyone having the freedom to define one's own 'role'). I am currently watching the film and took a break to do this post. It would be utterly unfair for me to judge a movie of that time by current values/standards so I'm refraining myself. But I do want to write about how the people of that time (wrongly) understood what feminism and women empowerment were about. Admittedly, I'm not being very harsh as this song is a very beloved one in the Telugu heartland which comes from a very old time. It can be translated as something like this (I'm keeping only relevant parts - full text in Telugu can be found in this link):

" The female world is awakened
And the male world is threatened at once

.....

By entering Panchayats in villages
And acquiring jobs in towns
They (women) have stood against men in all fields
And increased unemployment

......

By contesting for seats in legislature
Against their own husbands
They (women) found their place in Delhi
And brought divorce laws "

It's funny. Back then, people thought women empowerment was about women doing to men what men did to women. Even today, most people don't get it - 'Empowerment' means one having power over oneself. Feminism is about women having control over their own choices - not over men's choices. Which is why 'male world' shouldn't be 'threatened' if the 'female world' is 'awakened'. That song (admittedly for the sake of humor) was trying to tell the futile outcomes which came out of the sudden change - by portraying the achievements which women empowerment brought in (financial independence, freedom to walk out of unhappy marriages) as losing causes by mentioning 'increased unemployment'. The very mention of 'divorce laws' is supposed to be derogatory so no adjective was used. I think this is what patriarchs used to tell themselves - that these women were 'disrupting the norms'. How flawed were their perceptions! Working women were seen as 'snatchers' of men's 'rightfully deserved' (how?) jobs those days - that's the only way in which 'unemployment' could've 'increased' - by 'reserving' the right to earn for only one section of people.

So what do you all think today? Were those women fighting for lost causes? I think I'm extremely grateful to those women. I think their achievements were anything but 'lost causes' or 'failures'. Because I know that today, I'm free to work earn (Women were always working. Homemakers work too - they just don't 'earn'); I'm free to choose my partner and walk out of an unhappy marriage relationship; I've the right to vote and contest for Panchayats and legislature too; I've the right to challenge gender-discriminatory laws - We owe all this to those people (all genders) who tried to 'disrupt the norms' at that time. And I would love to disrupt some more 'norms' of today too - parenting responsibilities, for instance. I would like my husband to have the right to fulfill the responsibility of a father when we have a child. I would want him to have a long paternity leave so that he can do this. And this is just the tip of the iceberg which contains the list of all the norms which I want to change :D Are you with me?

Related posts:

1. Will we fail our future generation?

2. Guide to marital bliss - Find out what feminists fight against!!