Monday, June 28, 2010

SUPER SAINA- Ace Shuttler On A High After 15 Straight Wins and 3 Titles On The Trot

Saina Nehwal, the poster girl of Indian badminton,dazzled at the Djarum Indonesia Open Super Series, retained the crown on Sunday and landed her third title in the last 19 days. Riding on her splendid form, the Indian ace downed Sayaka Sato of Japan 21-19,13-21,21-11 in the final to cap a successful three weeks which started with the Indian Open Grand Prix Gold title on the second Sunday of June. The moment she won the championship point,Saina pumped her fist in delight, closed her eyes to quietly celebrate the moment and slowly walked towards her opponent for the customary handshake. "I am very, very happy. It's a memorable moment in my life. To defend the crown is exciting and to win a third title on the trot is a great feeling.I am delighted,'' said Saina and added that she was much pleased by her consistency. "This is my 15th consecutive match and winning all of them is great. I am extremely satisfied with my performance. Winning at Chennai, Singapore and here was just amazing. I am very happy that I have been consistent over the last three weeks,'' she added.

Saina got off to a brisk start in the first game securing a 9-4 lead. Sayaka fought back and led Saina at 16-17. But the Hyderabadi girl won three consecutive points to move to 19-17. Though Sayaka managed to save a game point, Saina was not to be denied for long. In the second game, Sayaka looked like a different player. She started hitting the shuttle hard and ran away to a 14-7 lead. The Japanese girl produced 14 winners, most of them smashes, and rattled the Indian before winning the second game emphatically. But Saina regrouped quickly and changed tack to unsettle her opponent. The Indian concentrated on keeping the shuttle in play without giving it much air and induced her opponent to the net. The move paid off.Sayaka started committing far too many errors. Five minutes into the third game Saina was up 7-2.She made it 15-9 and 18-10 before closing out the contest. "Realising that she's not good at the net I started playing near the net.I also did not give her the height which prevented her from going for the smashes,'' Saina said. Saina has now trained her eyes on the World Championships to be held in Paris from Aug 23 to 29. "My next target is the World title. These three victories have given me immense confidence. I want to train hard and do well at the World Championships,'' Saina said.

Contrary to expectations, the win here will not improve her rankings as Saina only defended points she had won by clinching the title last year. Her coach Pullela Gopichand said: "It's phenomenal. Very few players are capable of winning three titles in a row. It's a result of her fitness and rigorous practice. She's very young and I am expecting more such performances from her.Once she's back we'll start preparing for the World Championships,'' Gopi said. Saina's father Harvir Singh Nehwal wept tears of joy watching his daughter win. "I always believed she can do well at international level. Before going to Singapore she told me 'papa, I'll win this title. It's God's grace that's she's doing so well. I hope she'll come up with a good performance at the World Championships as well. She's made the country proud,'' Harvir added.


Born: March 17,1990 at Hisar in Haryana; currently based in Hyderabad. World ranking: No.3

International/Indian titles:

Czechoslovakia Junior Open-2003
Asian Satellite Badminton Tournament-2005
Philippines Open-2006.
First Indian to win a four-star badminton event Asian Satellite Badminton Tournament-2006
Indian National Badminton Championships-2007,2008
Yonex Chinese Taipei Open-2008
World Junior Badminton Championships-2008.
She is the first Indian to win a world junior title Indonesia Open Super Series-2009.
First Indian to win a Super Series event India Open Grand Prix-2010
Singapore Open Super Series-2010
Indonesia Open-2010

Other international performances:

 Commonwealth Games-2006-Bronze medal in mixed team event Beijing Olympics-2008-Quarterfinals.

First Indian woman to reach singles quarterfinals in Olympics Badminton Asia Championships-2010-Bronze medal

 All-England Super Series-2010-Semifinalist

Thursday, June 24, 2010

EXTRA ORDINARY ISSUE, The price of honesty - Pritish Nandy

Bad news is everywhere.Spiralling cost of food. Terrorist strikes. Police atrocities. Maoist attacks. New bridges collapsing. Scams where thousands lose their life savings. Poaching in sanctuaries. Human rights violations. Farmer suicides. Awful tax laws. Vanishing species. Attacks on schools, colleges, hospitals. Vaccines leading to deaths. Students taking their own lives. Shrinking jobs. Fewer investors. Growing insurgency. Staggering urban poverty. Dangerous pollution levels. Match fixing. Corruption in the army. Mangroves destroyed by builders. Trains blown up. 

Crime, sleaze, insurgency, poverty, violence, they all start from one source : Corruption. But the Big C is the only thing no one wants to discuss any more. Its so all pervasive, so deeply entrenched that we have all come to believe we have no choice but to live with it. So we are busy trying to tackle other issues. Rahul Gandhi is trying to bring the rural poor back into our political reckoning. Pranab Mukherjee wants to offer us a new tax code. Manmohan Singh is talking about bringing back the billions stashed away by Indians in tax havens overseas. Chidambaram wants to involve the army in the war against Maoists. Jairam Ramesh is keen to rewrite our environment policy. Kapil Sibal is tinkering around with the educational system. Murli Deora is obsessed with increasing fuel prices.

What no one figures is that at the heart of all our problems lies Corruption. If India can even tame this monster, forget slaying it, many of these problems will simply disappear. How did the Kashmir problem begin With the frustrations of local people when they saw greedy politicians loot the State while the Centre turned a blind eye to their complaints. When they showed anger, they were called secessionists and the army was called in to silence them. How did the Maoists gain ground Because the tribals kept losing their lands and means of livelihood as rapacious politicians drove them out. These lands were then handed over to the mining mafia with whom our leaders shared the loot. How did insurgency rear its head in the North East Simply because every political party in power grabbed the money sent to develop those states and gave the people nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Corruption is a hydra headed monster that has grown so big, so all pervasive that we dont even acknow-ledge it any more. Want to buy a train ticket Pay a tout. Want a ration card Pay a cop. Want a passport Easy. Go to the passport office. There are guys hanging out there to fix it for you. Want an illegal water connection Catch a BMC guy off hours. Want an electricity line Your local slumlord will fix it for a fee. Anything you want, legal or illegal, has a price to it. Including, some say, the Padma Bhushan or a seat in Parliament and of course any deal struck with a Government agency. No, I am not saying it. The whole world is saying it today, making a mockery of this great nation.

Whats worse is that Corruption has reached a level today where it no longer stops at what you want. It involves even what is rightfully yours. Your electricity bill is wrong. Want to get it corrected Pay a bribe. Your tax refund is due. Pay some speed money if you want your cheque. You have won a Govt tender Great. Now if you dont want the minister to interfere in reversing the deal, go settle with his PA. The system has now started using corruption as a lever to harass us from getting what is rightfully ours. Pensions are held up for years. Fake cases are filed on frivolous grounds. Files mysteriously disappear from Government offices. Some universities dont even give mark sheets for years. You have to pay under the table to get duplicates. Do you have any idea how much our policemen have to pay as bribes to get their postings and promotions. No wonder they try to extort you when they catch you.

I am afraid I can go on and on. As a journalist and an MP I have spent years trying to help people get what is denied to them by the corrupt. Its not easy. Sometimes its even dangerous because the corrupt are brilliantly networked. You threaten one guy and twenty others elsewhere jump up and begin harassing you. Cases crop up from nowhere. Demands multiply manyfold. I am frustrated today because, earlier, like millions of other Indians, I had a choice. I had a choice to pay a bribe or not. If I didnt want to, I could fight my way through. It took much longer but it was still do-able.

Thats no longer true. Our choices have shrunk. We are all prisoners of corruption today. If you refuse to pay a bribe, the whole system falls on your head as if to make an example out of you. If we cant stop this right now, Indias problems will only get worse. So will yours and mine. There will be no peace until theres justice. And there will be no justice till the honest are allowed to live honestly.
(The author is a Journalist and MP)
(source - toi)

ANOTHER FEATHER IN HIS CAP - Sachin as Group Captain in IAF

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to bestow the honorary rank of a Group Captain on cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a sportsperson. Honorary ranks in the Air Force are traditionally given to people who have made outstanding achievements at the national level especially those linked to the aviation sector. Among those who have been given similar honorary ranks in Air Force are JRD Tata and Vijayapat Singhania. Both Tata and Singhania were awarded the honorary ranks of Air Commodore. A senior Air Force officer said the IAF headquarters has decided to give Tendulkar the honorary rank of Group Captain."We are awaiting the government approval," he said. Once the proposal is approved, Tendulkar would be formally accepted as a member of the Air Force family, but he would have no official responsibilities with the IAF.

The senior IAF officer said several eminent persons of national standing have been given the honorary rank over the years. Inducting such leaders also helps in adding to the morale of the force, he said. Indian military has a tradition of inducting outstanding individuals as honorary officers into its ranks. Recently, cricketer Kapil Dev and southern film star Mohanlal were inducted as honourary Lieutenant Colonels in the Territorial Army. Tendulkar's selection by the IAF is a slight departure from Air Force's tradition. Usually, it has given the honorary rank to people who have had some role in the aviation sector. "But there is no such hard and fast rule," the officer said. JRD Tata had obtained the first pilot licence issued in India and later started Air India. Singhania, chairman emeritus of the Raymond group, holds several world records in hot air balloon and microlight flying.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

THE SPEAKING TREE - Golden Egg Technique (Discourse: Swami Sukhabodhananda)

When you purify your centre, you become receptive to higher vibrations. Creativity happens in this space. Carnatic music composer Thyagaraja discovered a new raga by listening to a bee.  A monk observing a snake and a crane fighting discovered the martial art, Tai Chi. When your centre is full of impurities, your perspective and understanding are confused. This confusion tends to act as blockages and so there is no scope for the blossoming of creative ideas. Hence there is the need to set about clearing the obfuscation.

Theres a technique called the golden egg technique: Imagine that there is an egg and in it there exists gold. The gold is hidden inside the egg. Treat every problem you encounter as one such egg. Imagine that there is a golden opportunity hidden inside every problem. Whenever you are faced with a problem, dont lose hope .Instead of getting disheartened, try to understand that it is only an egg with precious gold tucked away deep inside. Delve deep into the problem and recognise golden opportunity. This attitude will invoke creativity in you.

There are many more ways of dealing positively with problems. Try this. When you come face to face with a problem, think of at least 20 ways of dealing with it.  Play a game.Write down all the possible solutions. OK, now that youve written down 20 options, choose five out of the 20 and begin working on them. With those five kinds of solutions, find 20 ways of fulfilling them. Ask your friends to give ideas. The mother of creativity is the attempt to generate ideas. Play with it. All these methods can be applied provided you remember not to view a problem as a pain. If you do so, then your hurt body will increase and you will pass on your pain to your children.

Are you distressed that your son is lazy?  Apply the golden egg technique. In the problem of your lazy son, there is gold hidden, an opportunity hidden. Treat it as a great opportunity to study the reason as to why he is lazy. Be an anthropologist and study the causes of his laziness. By doing this you are in a proactive state and this state of your being will motivate your son.

Next, apply the second method. See 20 ways to make your son active. Take help from friends, as this will help in expanding your ideas. Creativity opens up when there are ideas. Include your son in the game plan and make him your teammate. You will observe the inspiring energy that you create and as a result your family will have a meaningful goal. Use transformational vocabulary. Use empowering language. There are no winners in an argument. Hence use words wisely. Try and understand others points of view instead of branding and labelling them as something or other. The moment you brand them, you will see only the labels. As a result you miss seeing the person.

Stop treating differences as conflicts. View them as points of view. Learn to appreciate variety. Appreciate differences rather than viewing them as pain. The moment you relate to differences as pain, you will experience them as pain. View differences as creative versions and you will feel positive energy flow through you.

LIFE programme.Two-day workshop by Swami.Contact: 27896566,9848190339

Saturday, June 12, 2010

(source-aggi jottings)

Friday, June 11, 2010


IAF dismisses Wing Commander for lewd remarks

Even as the Army conducts a court of inquiry against its engineer-in-chief Lt-Gen AK Nanda after a colonels wife complained against him, an IAF courtmartial has ordered a wing commanders dismissal after finding him guilty of outraging the modesty of a woman officer. Wing Commander HS Virk, posted in Agra, was tried by the GCM in Bareilly last month, after the woman officer alleged he had passed objectionable comments against her.While a confirmation of the court-martial sentence by the Central Air Command chief is awaited, Virk has approached the Armed Forces Tribunal, contending he is being kept in illegal detention. Virks counsel Rajiv Manglik said the IAF had kept him in confinement even though there was no sentence of imprisonment. IAF, in turn, contended Virk could not be released as the sentence recommended by the GCM was yet to be confirmed by higher authorities.

FIGHTING REDS - Stalemate on expanding role of Army in anti-Naxal ops

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on Thursday failed to achieve a consensus on whether the armed forces role should be expanded in the ongoing anti-Naxal operations, with the defence ministry sticking to its guns that the military should not be dragged into yet another internal security duty in a major way. Though the CCS meeting chaired by PM Manmohan Singh ended in a stalemate, in view of the sharp differences between defence minister AK Antony and home minister P Chidambaram, sources said it was now quite certain the military would not be deployed in a direct combat role in the anti-Naxal battle. This is the line being pushed by the armed forces,over-stretched as they already are in counter-insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and North-East as well as along the unresolved borders with Pakistan and China. It puts paid to home ministrys earlier demands for inducting a few battalions of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), the Armys specialised counterinsurgency force in J&K, or Para-Special Forces for operations against Left-wing extremists.

The MoD says the 63 RR battalions, with a total of around 70,000 soldiers, are integral to maintaining a strong counter-insurgency grid in J&K, which cannot be diluted. The para commandos, in turn, cannot be rushed into Naxalhit areas all of a sudden without specific plans and groundlevel intelligence. Even as Chidambaram left for Jharkhand after the CCS for a detailed review of ongoing anti-Naxal operations in the state, his demand for a major expansion in the present surveillance and logistical role of armed forces also remained unfulfilled. The defence establishment has argued the IAF cannot spare a large number of helicopters, beyond the four Mi-17 s already deployed, to ferry troops.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tell It Like It Is - Denial of military history weakens the quality of Indian democracy

The recent controversy over the orders by the armed forces tribunal to rewrite the history of the Kargil war is in many ways ironical. For, this is an army whose official website wishes away its entire post-independence history by saying: Post-1948 operations are classified, hence not mentioned. In fact, the militarys entire post-independence history is slave to biographical and selfserving accounts. Unfortuna-tely, most discussions on this subject focus on Indian military historys sensationalist aspects like the destruction of files pertaining to the 1971 operations or the Henderson Brookes report and, though these are legitimate aspects in their own right, this allows a greater travesty of justice to lie unaddressed. The state does not have a procedure that allows the stories of important institutions military, paramilitary, police, diplomacy, among others to be told. And this denial of history not only weakens the quality of Indian democracy but,alarmingly, has negative consequences on the operational effectiveness of all these institutions. Indias parliamentarians would do well to concentrate on this issue.

That the defence ministry, among other security agencies, lacks a declassification procedure is beyond doubt. There are almost no official records available to scholars interested in this field. Even scholars at Indias official and service-affiliated think tanks consisting of IDSA, CLAWS, CAPS, CENJOWS and NMF are denied access to data. As a consequence, they mostly churn out papers on every subject but that which analyses processes within the military. On the rare occasion they do so, it is usually an opinion rather than an analysis with empirical data from official records. A decade after the Kargil review committee recommended the creation of some of these think tanks, the hardware and physical infrastructure has been established but the software, in terms of data, is absent. Like many other recommendations of post-crises defence reforms, this idea too has died in its implementation. Denial of access also prevents the creation of civilian expertise on these matters, weakening the quality of debate and ultimately Indias democracy. As scholars and citizens are denied historical documents, there is little serious study or instruction on these institutions in civilian universities. Discussions on national security issues are monopolised by former officials belonging to these bureaucracies. Hence Indias strategic enclave, unlike in most major democracies, almost exclusively constitutes retired officials. Rare is an enclave member who can challenge the institutional myths and official positions of his parent organisation. In the long run, this is harmful for democracy as different perspectives and counter-arguments are not adequately debated. Lack of a declassification procedure hampers the operational effectiveness of the Indian military, and other national security agencies. There is little emphasis on teaching military history in professional schools of instruction. Even when taught they rely almost exclusively on biographical accounts of the participants. It makes little sense why this is so, especially since no one comes out second best in their own autobiography and hence,unsurprisingly, many of these accounts are contradictory.

Lack of historiography results in a constant re-learning of lost lessons and restricts the officer cadres intellectual development. For instance, while there is current talk of developing capabilities for out-of-area operations ,there is little study of Indias only expeditionary counter-insurgency operations against the LTTE in Sri Lanka. By not studying the military past, officers are almost condemned to repeat its follies. This is an issue that is perhaps best addressed by the respective service chiefs and especially by the chief of army staff, General V K Singh, if he is serious about improving the militarys internal health. Despite the urgency of the issue, the debate around declassification is not new and has followed a tortuous path. In the early 1990s, the historical section of the defence ministry, relying on certain official documents, wrote its version of the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. These accounts were restricted and unavailable to most scholars. Later in 2001, a committee was established under NN Vohra to examine the publication of these volumes but, despite its positive recommendation, no action was taken on its report. Currently, the issue has hit a dead end. The armed forces maintain that they have no objection to declassification but the final decision has to be the defence ministry's. Defence ministry officials, in turn, state that only the classifying agency can decide on declassification!

It appears as if politics prevent declassification. There might be fears, at all levels, that declassification may tarnish the elaborate images constructed of our political and military leaders. Ultimately, it is the duty of young politicians to make the case that they are willing to learn not just from the achievements of their forefathers but also from their mistakes. Not doing so reflects an appalling lack of confidence and insecurity. Perhaps this is a crusade best led by Rahul Gandhi and other young politicians willing to admit that, to prepare for the future, one must know the past. That does not absolve the rest of the political ,bureaucratic or military community. It is time to overcome our collective insecurities. There are stories there that must be told lest we forget.
(By - Anit Mukherjee - a research scholar, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.)