Telangana etc.: why the Andhra Pradesh statehood movement is a hornet’s nest

Smaller states have generally been richer. The World Bank’s list of top countries by GDP put Luxembourg, Macau, Qatar, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland right at the top five, in that order. They are some of the smallest countries on Earth; in fact, the largest, Norway, is only the 61st largest, and most others fall around the 140th-160th mark.

Smaller states are also easier to govern. The population density is lower, the government can juggle funds better, generally everything becomes more transparent and understandable when we speak in millions rather than billion-trillions.

Conversely, larger states are easier to ignore. Larger land area means a greater risk of some regions being better looked after for no apparent reason other than proximity, geographic location, climate and such — none of which local residents have control over. Continue reading

The sorry state of Indian politics: AAP v BJP

Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) attention-seeking has taken to new heights. When protests followed a 30 min detention of the party leader and then reverberated across three states, one was left wondering what all the fuss was really about. Mr Kejriwal’s breaking the election code of conduct, Mr Modi’s attempt at suppressing his political rival, or Mr Kejriwal’s desperate attempt to make people believe Mr Modi was trying to put him down?

Digging up the past

It seems any movement against Mr Kejriwal’s brief detention was uncalled for simply because the man has bigger problems: there are at least five well-documented cases against him, somehow happily ducking out of any court’s view. Continue reading

Photographic grittiness: justifying what we leave out of the frame

This is one of those Ah, I’ve figured it out! moments you get when you think you stumbled upon the key to a secret treasure. Only, there are so many of them that this becomes just another I think this is how it’s done… maybe? moments.

It is alright if you followed none of that, because that flowed unchecked from the back of my mind. But I think what I have come to realise in framing a photograph today will cause me to make a pretty huge turn in my photographic endeavours.

Oftentimes I am guilty (as I am sure you are too) of leaving out certain things from my frame for whatever reason. Continue reading

Let us examine the abyss Indian politics is falling into

As I sat watching the news this morning, following the results of the recent state elections in North India, an interesting discussion began that lasted nearly four hours; one among the panel of experts speaking on the issue was my father.

Setting the stage

As the talks went on, right around the two-hour mark, what seemed quite apparent to me was that the possibility that the country was spiraling into an abyss was something few were prepared to accept.

Part of this, no doubt, was a direct result of the participation of party-representatives in the talk. There were times when they were quite defensive about their parties; but a few things that stood out were hard to deny. Continue reading

Revisiting the past: old beliefs with an old acquaintance from a remote village

Here is an article that justifies the title of a personal blog. This was a planned trip, made about a week ago, to meet an old acquaintance, that almost ended in futility — not to mention possible embarrassment.

It all starts roughly four decades ago (or more), when, as is still the custom in India, flower, fruit and vegetable vendors would roam the streets selling their goods. In a way, this is far more convenient than a trip to either the supermarket or the grocer’s. There was one such woman by name Bīramma.

During this trip, although I did not carry my camera, I managed to take exactly two pictures with my phone, very careful not to invade anybody’s privacy or turn them off. Continue reading

Adjectives and substance: a five-minute guide to running a nation

Running a nation is easy. Just ask your barber.

These few thoughts popped up in my mind when I was watching a debate on national television this evening about the raging something in India. The reason I say something is because nobody knows what the biggest reason is that they are fighting for.

As far as I could ascertain, the main reason was that the peoples’ money was stolen which actually made it seemed like they cared. And then somebody else thought it fit to butt in: innocent men, women and children were lathi-charged. That has become a cliche; far too cliched a statement to tolerate for my own small part. Continue reading