Archive for June, 2010

Shakira – your hips really do lie after all


There are memories back from school days that stick to my head just as those elephants that you might have seen in Fevicol(a super quick drying glue in India) ads. Jokes apart, I am filled with terror  as I remember the massive invigilation that was executed with pin-point precision by the school principal and his ‘Dream Team’ as they were out patrolling the aisles. Then the really strict one,  would holler at the top of her voice – “Don’t Cheat or you will be punished”.

That sent shivers down our timid, frail minds.  So encapsulated in fear were we that this fact remains dissolved my blood till this very day!  Without getting all that carried away, talk of Plagiarism and one name strikes your mind at an instant , yes the legendary Pritam. Who hasn’t remarked at this gentleman and his subtle qualities. Or the ridiculously sly manner in which  the initial refrain was cut and pasted in the title track of Ishqiya being Dil to bachcha hai ji’. We call it plagiarism, the industry calls it getting inspired.

Getting inspired? I was inspired by father into studying into late hours before exams. Pritam was inspired my some X into lifting the melody into his composition. He gets awards and I don’t even find a mention of my work in the obituary section of the newspaper! I mean I really don’t get it.

Plagiarism has found a really new meaning at this year’s  FIFA World Cup. People lift lyrics, some package an old melody into some new bottle You all must have seen Shakira shaking her hips with some African ladies in the ‘Waka Waka’ song. She has by far gained more popularity than any other personality this millenium, eclipsed perhaps Michael Jackson’s popularity post death. A sight for sore-eyes during the World-Cup.

We all must agree  that the rhythm to this song is really catchy. It has fresh zing to it.  But what you did not know is that it is a reckless and gross act of plagiarism.  It is hard to digest that the entire song has been lifted, the lyrics inclusive.

The song has a very uncanny resemblance  to a song by a band from the Dominican Republic – Les Chicas Del Can from the early nineties. The pelvic movements may sway you away into netherland, but we are of the opinion that one must be thorough with ones facts. Do hear this song  on the following URL and observe the resemblance.

http://www.mp3-codes.com/play/197659/Las_Chicas_Del_Can_-_El_Negro_No_Puede

As I had mentioned earlier, Plagiarism obtained a new definition and well I extend this extend this discussion on. You see Plagiarism got an even broader definition. Apparently, the previous song was lifted straight out of a song by a Cameroon Band by the same name. It is supposedly a tune that was popular in the Army in World wars 1 and 2.

http://abmp3.com/download/6952301-maladie-difficile.html

Do get this song and listen to it for yourself.

It is apparent that all three songs are similar, and chronologically too all the songs have evolved in a rather similar fashion. It is a shame that the efforts of one are reaped as fame, laurels and popularity by the other. Shakira- well your hips do really lie after all.

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Les Bleus blown away


Domenech clueless

“As you sow, so shall you reap” goes an old adage. I thought that most of these adages were limited to the confines of school textbooks or philosophy lectures. Maybe confined to stories read to small children during bed-time , warning them of imminent dangers of crossing the all important yet very thin Laxman Rekha that dwells right between good and all evil. The difference that separates sanity and insanity.

Having followed the ongoing FIFA World cup at South Africa and the qualifiers before that, I am of the firm opinion that the French team must have never heard of the adage at all! After all, a team that cheated their way to the finals, is definitely an undeserving lot. I sympathize with the Irish team, who were denied a rightful shot at a trip to South Africa.

The Media dubbed Henry’s goal as the second Hand of God. To tell you the truth, it was not football’s moment of glory but a definite moment of shame. And the good saint didn’t commit the crime not once, he went on to commit the sin a second time. Punching the ball from outside playing area, kicking it to a team-mate(another sinner whom I do not recall) who shoots it for apparent glory. The Irish captain did fervently appeal for hand-ball each time the foul was committed.  It seemed, however that the referee was hand-in-glove  with the Les Bleus that unfortunate day. He was deaf to the Irish jeering, he had a job to do , ensure French victory and their clear passage to the World Cup.

And so the World Cup began in full earnest. The French being placed right in the first group against the likes of Mexico, Uruguay and the host, South Africa. The campaign was a disaster right from the onset. A draw in their opening game against Uruguay, and a 2-0 loss against Mexico did their morale no good. The team-spirit in the French camp was at an all time low.  Coach Domenech was verbally abused by star striker Anelka who was immediately sent home. Then there was players’ rebellion- the team refusing to practice on field. Coach Domenech  had nothing but silent whispers to offer to the media. The colatility reached epic proportions, and thus the government was left no choice but to rush the French Sports Minister to South South Africa to establish some sort of calm in the camp.

Then arrived the final match day. Coach Domenech did the unthinkable by tinkering with the French squad – 5 changes were made , with Patrice Evra being stripped of captaincy. The whistle blew, but the French zing that we had seen in Germany four years ago was definitely missing; or rather disappeared into thin air.  The defence was shattered many a time by the South Africans, who thumped in two goals would ensure French defeat the world cup. The final nail in the coffin had been put in place.

Coach Domenech apparently likes to remain in the spotlight. He refused to offer the customary handshake to Alberto Perreira, the South African coach after the tie was over. This summed up the scratchy performance of a team which were finalists at the last edition of the world cup. Les Bleus were simply blown away to, god knows where.

It can be rightfully said that they had cheated their way in to the championships this time. An overrated team that was highly undeserving. Their desire to the stride across the rainbow and to find the pot of gold there was fulfilled. But whoever knew about the Irish leprechaun which would be guarding the pot of gold, the French greed being denied. The Irish spirits were at definite play this world cup, denying the French of every goal and more. Vexes were cast to ensure that the French camp were in shattered. With the whole of Ireland against them, it could be fair to say that the French team were bound to be kicked out.

Mamata Didi on the naming spree


The inherent urge to return to power after half a decade can drive most politicians of our country to unfathomable limits. They are obligated to delve deep into all available resources. But does his locale extend to the centre alone? Gone are the days where a person would rule all of the Roman empire from the Senate alone. Those were the yester years. Politicians have realized the odd necessity of the presence of their iron hand from both home and away. Home? One might ask. Does it not immediately imply that the nation is ones home? Sectarian politics has divided the state into regional monolingual fragments.

Is it not amusing to ponder over that we were barbaric millennia ago, all blissful in our specific, miniscule domains. The urge to improve civilization required of us to share resources and knowledge. Our territories began to expand and flourish. But there was an apparent and absurd volte-face to the matter of things. Our territories shrunk and we are now back where we came from.

Mamata Banerjee, the honorable Railway-Minister of the country is devout to the above principle in her work ethics. A die-hard fanatic for the so-called ‘upliftment’ of West Bengal, she is known to most Bengalis here as merely Didi(the word here means elder sister). An ideal representation of simplicity, she would always be found in here white sari and hawai chappals, in during the Parliament session.

But, what most of the world is not aware of is her very weird sense of nomenclature. I really don’t mean to offend her or any of her party supporters here, but Didi, you really need someone for this job. Really, do hire someone who’d give proper names to things. I take a few examples to support my claims.

A year or so ago, the Metro Railway in Kolkata had been extended till Garia, a suburb in the city. The extension was a blessing for the masses. She couldn’t have timed the inauguration better, holding it dead before the festival season. It was a definite bulls-eye for her party’s resurgence campaign in the state of West Bengal. Now the extension came with new stations. So Didi hatched up a plan. She names the new stations right after famous Bengali personalities. Names as famous as the noted actor of yore, Uttam Kumar, or the very popular Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were up for grabs.

But the irony that remains here is it doesn’t sound too well in the local tongue. Say for example, if I were to go a station, Netaji, what I’d have to ask at the ticket counter would loosely be translated as Give me one Netaji, or for that matter, give two Netajis. Its ridiculous and absurd. Moreover, the outsider would gape in amazement at his amazement if he were unable to correlate between the actual place and the station name. What drags the matter to further inanity is the fact that some ticket vendors are themselves clueless about the said correlation.

Dumb takes newer strides as a plan for the said Metro was taken up at its northern end. Three more new stations, the terminus being at Dakhineshwar, famed for the spiritual Sri Ramakrishna and his disciple Swami Vivekananda and Sarada ma. Guess what, these stations would too be named after them, that too in the same ridiculous way.

Her stupidity sees no bounds. She reported to the press that the Park Circus station would be redeveloped and, guess what, renamed after Mother Teresa.  What was funny, you might ask. Funny,  because there is no Park Circus station on the entire metro network at all. What was she trying to develop- a ghost station after the famous patron saint?

This last one was a definite home- run that I had glanced through this very morning. She intended to create a medical college on the land, just along the railway tracks! And the crème-de-la-crème, A railway station would be established close by, and this was to, yes, named after, of all people, Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor of the country. My history tells me that the emperor was last seen in captivity, languishing in the British prison at erstwhile Rangoon, now Yangon. This is as close the emperor got the Bengal.

Didi, do name stations as they be rightfully suited. Respect and remember the contributions of great men and ask yourself for once- have I done something really right? For what apparently appears, she has stolen their glory only to  satisfy the needs of her and her party’s political needs and held it in shameful captivity.

Speedy Justice Given the Boot


‘…Oh Justice, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason…’

-William Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar

Was it justice or a matter of jest? The observant man is left pondering for answers- clues, if any that might make the recent judgements on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy comprehensible.

Approximately 20,000 lives were lost that fatal night, as an unprotected city veiled under the cover of night inhaled lethal doses of Methyl isocyanide.  The eight men “accused” of the crime were supposedly meted out a proper verdict by the honourable court – Two years in prison with a paltry sum of Rs. 25,000 to be paid as damages by each of the accused. With all the eight gentlemen coughing up the same amount, does the honouable court truly belive that the irreparable price of a human soul was approximated to Ten rupees a person?  Has the honourable court lost all moral character and decency to suggest that the next of the kin and the generations ahead could actually make a new headway with the paltry compensation of Rs. 25000 per person, which is still awaited?

Many an industrial safety law has been created, amended or removed altogether; but have the courts truly understood the gravity of this humanitarian loss? Has the Judiciary forgotten the twenty five years that have elapsed in the interim, when the court was too occupied resolving the Babr Masjid case, the Bofors Scam, the Godhra riots, the innumerable settlements within the BCCI or those between the Ambani brothers?  The Judiciary in India is an archetype and in no ways different to the Khap Panchayats prevalent in the northern hinterlands of the country.

Where was the Judiciary when Warren Anderson was at his prime? What sense does it remain in extraditing an aged criminal – absorbed in the ills of old age – when the crores from the exchequer in doing so could be paid to the victims as their rightful compensation? Shivraj Singh Chauhan, the hounourable Chief Minister of Bhopal had recently vowed to take up the fight in the Supreme Court. Where was this gentleman and his party- the BJP- all these 25 years? Could they not have substantiated the prosecution’s claims in court then?

The Indian Judiciary has yet again exemplified how the prima donnas can go scot free, leaving the common man scratching his head. I allude to  Juluis Caesar  yet again –‘Men at Some times are masters of their fates. The Fault dear Brutus is not in our Stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings. ‘

Was it the crime of the Indian Commoner to be left at the wrong side of Justice- as he was only a commoner? The United States of America could pool up its resources and demand British Petroleum to cough up damages for the massive oil-spill in its waters- the administration taking little less than half a year in doing so. Our Judiciary on the other hand spends its valuable time in deliberating whether Dinakaran should be judge in the Supreme Court – the matter being resolved in little over a year.

One of the most unpardonable crimes of the last century was apparently very conveniently ignored by the powers at be. Have they actually ever wondered as to who actually paid for the two-square meals each day or who took care of the enormous hospital bills these 25 years at Bhopal? All hail the Indian Judiciary – the finest example of a clever chameleon conveniently veiled by unknowing ignorance.

The Science of Manipulation: The Mass Media Hoax


Mass media in the current society shapes everything. Right from what products you use to what your perception of global events is. Techniques of sensationalization, creation of hysteria, mass propaganda are the most common tools used by the media to influence the public. Ratings are everything in today’s money driven media industry, and interests of the public are rarely taken into consideration. The media is perfectly capable of converting the most simplest of statements into ones that amaze, astonish and puzzle the audience. Frankly, would you watch a news piece which just states plain facts and data or one which flashes it at you through colourful graphics, animation and other techniques of the sort? That is exactly what the media expects from you. So what this all comes down to is that the mass media, around the world, knowingly or unknowingly has, for decades, shaped, controlled and manipulated the human mind into unconsciously accepting everything that is presented. What implication does it have on the audience? Simply that they, without questioning or investigating or as much as logically thinking about the theory presented, readily accept it with a notion that since it’s on television, it must be true.

When and how have we allowed this this to happen? Doesn’t science tell us that theories require extensive study, research, test and application before they can be proven and accepted? By theories we do not just imply scientific theory either. “A theory is a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.” Now, based on this definition alone, how much of what we see on television is actual fact? Do we take for granted that news agencies do extensive research into every piece of news they collect, taking into account millions of individualistic opinions that exist? That the conclusions arrived at have been properly examined by uncorrupted agencies of investigation? How can we be sure? Well, the simple answer in the context of the modern trends of news reporting is that: You don’t need to. We are constantly fed such ideals of blindly accepting what our 42″ modern day messiah of “truth”, tells us.

Another dark weapon that the media shamelessly uses is Extensive Stereotyping. Everything from a race, culture, tradition, religion, language, to a nation are stereotyped. The media can lead you to develop an opinion about practically anything on the planet with a few visual images. That is their power of manipulation.

Study the following images and visualize the things that come to your mind. I’m going to name the series of images as: The United States in a nutshell.

To a lay person who has no present opinion about the United States, the series of images represented above will certainly have an impact on the way he perceives the social structure of the US. He would see it as a culturally devoid society of homeless people, where extensive drug use and immoral practices are prevalent. He clearly hasn’t seen the other side of the story, simply because I chose not to show it to him! Have I not manipulated his thinking? Assuming the identical role of almost all media houses, I have forced my way of thinking and my perception of the United States over the minds of my audiences. The very audiences who are accustomed to receiving fashion, lifestyle tips and rely solely on me for all their recreational needs. This just makes my job so much more easier, doesn’t it? No longer do I have to prove myself because I know that no one is going to hold me accountable.

We have to understand that the media ultimately shows us what it wants to show us. Not necessarily what the actuality might be. The next time the media comes up with a ready made, tailored-for-you conclusion at your doorstep, you’d do well to delve into the subject, gather all the relevant information and then support or refute the said conclusion. The freedom that democracy provides you with exists for a reason. You are as free as you perceive yourself to be. Look at the wider picture, the broader cross section of the present media-moulded belief system and question your freedom.Without such an aspiration, you will remain an open box into which anything and everything could be stuffed.