Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jaswant Da Core !!

Over the last few weeks, the chaotic disintegration of the BJP has provided me with much mirth and amusement. The sacking of Vasundhara Raje followed by her show of strength in Delhi, the Arun Shourie - "Walk and talk - what an Idea" episode being all highly entertaining. However, the most entertaining one has been the whole Jaswant Singh saga.

I find it very curious as to how and why a top BJP leader would ever be fascinated enough to write a book about Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Having said that he is perfectly entitled to indulge in "scholarly'" works of all manners and forms. However, what was more fascinating was the way the BJP reacted in summarily dismissing one of their founder members who has served them with honour and distinction for over 30 years.

Here's how his dismissal by the BJP was described in a paper - According to BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, the party leadership was also angered by references in Jaswant Singh’s book to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of India, who is credited with unifying the country, that went against the BJP’s official stand.
“This book had mentioned Sardar Patel to be responsible for the country’s division. It is against the core ideology of the party and hence the action was taken,” said Javadekar.
“Today’s decision meant only one thing: that the party would not compromise with our ideology, and discipline was above all in the party,” Javadekar said.

Interesting that they got so angry about this book, based on some excerpts published in the print media, even before they had read it. Within a day, the person once described as Hanuman had been converted into Ravan, all courtsey a man who had died in 1948 !!

Jaswant Singh responded with giving a plethora of interviews over the next few days, going so far as to disclose that he had been covering for IRONMAN Advani and basically saying that the Ironman was a liar or had memory issues. He went on to describe BJP as a modern day Klu Klux Klan (wow !!). And here's his response to the CORE that the BJP spokesperson described above - "...Then which core values, supposed core values, have I dented. Is writing about our own history an assault on core values. I don't want to cite that L K Advani had done exactly the same. So when all this began to fall flat, I was told that I have violated something sacrosanct about Sardar Patel."

So here's what I think is the core of the BJP, that they are all talking about. It's core has two parts - like the yin and the yang.
1) The heroic core: The BJP is very sensitive and conscious of the fact that they have had no significant presence in India's freedom movement and its legacy. India's freedom movement is of course one of those few things that universally captures the imagination of the entire country and over the years they have tried to have a hero who played a major part in India's independence and own his legacy. They have found an answer in Sardar Patel ( a Congressman who once banned the RSS) the original IRONMAN ! And thanks to the Congress party's total and complete devotion to the Nehru-Gandhi family, the BJP believes that he can be hijacked away from the Congress. Bottomline - Heroic core involves a lifetime Congressman.
2) The villanous core - The other part of the BJP's core is that just as heroes are needed, so are villains. And in Jinnah, they have the perfect villain, the person believed to be responsible for the partition of India and more importanly their vision of "Akhanda Bharat". Bottomline - A party generally denigraded as a communal party has a villain that it describes as "Communal"

So when Mr. Singh dares to tread on this half cooked, half baked dubious core of an ideological party then he is left with no where to go, but just the press. Skeletons having been coming out of the closet ever since, providing terrific television viewing for someone like me.

And while the Da Vince Code was truly difficult to crack, the Da Jaswant "Core" or rather Jaswant Da Core was not really too difficult to find. The only thing common was powerful societies(Opus Dei and BJP) who act in strange fashions in both of them !!

Season so far

So, the good start did not last long. First defeat of the season in the 3rd game to United 2-1 away at Old Trafford. The result was not the worst one, but considering the nature of United's goals, us fans can feel a little aggrieved. We are just 3 games into the new season, but a lot has happened already. So here is a quick recap.
Game 1: Away at Goodison Park - Going into this game, I expected a tough hard fought battle against the likes of Cahill and Fellaini. But what a surprise the match and the result was. 6-1 away win against Everton is just unimaginable, but there it was. Playing this newly formed 4-3-3- and having the "happy heading" new boy Vermaelen at back, we outplayed Everton with a stunning performance. Cesc was superb with a double - dedicating them to his departed friend - the Espanyol captain Jarque.

Next up we had the Champions League qualifier away at Celtic Park. A lot of talk about how intimidating the atmosphere would be at Celtic Park among other things dominated the headlines going into this game. However, Arsenal played well, getting two rather lucky goals along the way to come back with a very impressive 2-0 away win for the second leg.
Game 2 of the Premiership against Portsmouth was the first home game for us this season. And while a double from Diaby sealed another good 4-1 win, the really interesting thing about this game was a conscious effort by the club to make the Emirates a more 'warm' and 'intimidating' place. Looked superb on TV and this pic illustrates it beautifully. Love the kid holding up the scarf with Gooner pride.

Next up, we had the return leg against Celtic at home. Another comfortable victory 3-1. But the penalty awarded to Eduardo for a supposed 'dive' has created such headlines and reactions overall that all I can say is this: Majority of the media are fucking hypocrites and the football authorities, especially UEFA don't really know the mess they are getting themselves into. Good luck to them, cause Arsenal will keep a track of how "neutral" and "unbiased" they are. These people certainly give the word "Doublespeak" a whole new dimension.

And after 4 convincing wins, the team reached Old Trafford to play the champions yesterday. The match was tough and close. The first half saw Arshavin score a stunner to give us the lead, just seconds after being denied a stone-wall penalty. The second half started with Arsenal on the front effort and it took a superb save from Ben Foster to deny RVP his first goal of the season. And in some sense, the match turned there with United scoring through a Rooney penalty and a "diabolical" own goal by Diaby. We had a late goal ruled out (correctly) for offside in the 95th minute. I could take that all right, but just then the referee (who denied us a penalty, brandished 6 yellow cards - most of them incorrectly) sent off Arsene Wenger for kicking a water bottle, when he saw the offiside flag after he had been celebrating mistakenly. A manager of the stature of Arsene Wenger being sent off for by referee Mike Dean !! ( a person who has been suspended for involvement with a betting syndicate - suspect character in my opinion who acted disgracefully) The brief period where Wenger did not really know how to react and face the sick humiliation from the United fans was sickening. Moments that I will not forget or forgive. But as a Football365 mailboxer said -" ...Man United fans will label him rude and arrogant. Neutrals will call it frivolous and childish.But fifty years into the future, no Gooner will forget that image of a tall, thin, white-haired French man standing imperiously in a hostile Old Trafford stand, arms outspread in defiance." Well said and this image is for posterity.
The season so far as described above has been eventful to say the least. The positives according to me have been - Vermaelen looking pretty good for a Arsenal centre back and Alex Song playing rather well compared to the expectations. The one thing that has worried me (apart from our huge injury list of course) is Almunia. He is not having a good season and his decision making looks suspect to me. I just hope he comes to form back soon.
All in all, exciting times ahead.
Gunner for life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Starter for 10

Saw the movie this week on TV. Found it pretty interesting on a number of counts actually:

10) The background of the movie is the famous quiz show - University Challenge. Made me remember my college days when I had actually sat for a qualifying round in Xavier's one day before a B.Com - Part I paper. (We never made it to the TV Rounds, but my day was made when Siddhartha Basu came to our college a few months later hosting a special show. Managed to win an audience prize from him as well that day).

20) The story of the film itself is a pretty interesting love triangle and the humour is splendidly British.

30) The lead actor - James Mcavoy (of Wanted fame) is quite good and so are the two beautiful ladies - Rebecca Hall and Alice Eve.

Just a trivia to round things of, the movie's title - "Starer for 10" - actually refers to the famous catch phrase from University Challenge itself, it is the quizmaster's line to get a set of questions rolling with the first question being for 10 points. Hence called "Starter for 10".

Departures of different kinds

Sir Bobby Robson passed away yesterday. All that I can say is that he was and will always be my favourite non-Arsenal football person. In fact it can be safely said that he is among the very few people who was universally loved by all those that knew him or knew about him. He coached teams in four countries and won trophies in all of them. He was also manager of the England football team that played really well in the 1990 World Cup. I saw him primarily when he used to manage Newcastle United, and to hear him give an interview or listen to him speak as a Pundit occassionally was always a pleasure.

The other "departure" this week has been that of Kolo Toure from Arsenal to Manchester City. The last of the "invincibles" has now departed. Kolo has always been a much loved player among the Gooners and he will remain a legend for me always. Wish him all the best and hope he does well for himself. There is not much else to say about him.

So two departures of two different kinds in one week. May your soul rest in peace - Sir Bobby. And farwell Kolo - you are a legend for us !!

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