Monday, May 24, 2010

सूनी सांझ

मेरी सबसे प्रिय कविता । शिवमंगल सिंह सुमन द्वारा रचित सूनी सांझ ।  बारहवी कक्षा में पढाई गयी कविता आज भी याद आती है । हालाकि मुझे यह कविता कंटस्थ तो थी, लेकिन फिर भी मैंने कई बार इसे इन्टरनेट पर ढूँढने का प्रयास किया । और फिर मुझे  मिला http://www.kavitakosh.org जहाँ पर हिंदी कविताओं का एक भरमार मौजूद है ।  तो अगर आप में से   जो कोई भी हिंदी कविताओं में रूचि रखते हैं, वे ज़रूर इस वेबसाइट का उपयोग कर सकते हैं  । और उसके पहले मेरी प्रिय कविता सूनी सांझ को एक बार ज़रूर पढ़े ।


सूनी सांझ


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


पेड खडे फैलाए बाँहें
लौट रहे घर को चरवाहे
यह गोधुली, साथ नहीं हो तुम,


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


कुलबुल कुलबुल नीड-नीड में
चहचह चहचह मीड-मीड में
धुन अलबेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम,


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


जागी-जागी सोई-सोई
पास पडी है खोई-खोई
निशा लजीली, साथ नहीं हो तुम,


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


ऊँचे स्वर से गाते निर्झर
उमडी धारा, जैसी मुझपर-
बीती झेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम,


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


यह कैसी होनी-अनहोनी
पुतली-पुतली आँख मिचौनी
खुलकर खेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम,


बहुत दिनों में आज मिली है
साँझ अकेली, साथ नहीं हो तुम ।


   - डॉक्टर शिवमंगल सिंह 'सुमन'

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Some Random Cricket Thoughts

The ICC T20 World Cup started almost immediately after IPL 3 finished in a most anti-climatic way. The headlines by then had almost entirely shifted to off the field matters and while we are no nearer to clearing the mess the Indian cricket, the cricketing world has moved on with the finals of the World Cup to be played tomorrow. So here are a few random thoughts that I have had over the last few weeks, in no particular order:
1) The fast bowling cupboard for the Indian team is looking alarmingly bare. None of our fast bowlers - ranging from Zaheer, Nehra, Ishant, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel etc seem to be able to sustain their pace, form and fitness for a sustained period of time. We don't have too many exciting talents coming along either - Umesh Yadav and Abhimanyu Mithun being perhaps two who just might make it at the international arena, but I am clutching at straws here. They have a long way to go before they become international class, so worrying times ahead in this area. Add to that, we have not even produced even one bowler of the class of the folks mentioned here, since IPL has started leads to me to believe that playing T20 cricket is proving to be detrimental for Indian fast bowlers. As of now, it is as Ravi Shastri says - Just a feeling, but I hope that we get lucky and find a couple of good quick bowlers soon.
2) On a slightly more positive note, there has been a resurgence of Indian spin bowling with Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, R Ashwin and Piyush Chawla, being more than capable of playing for India at the international level in my opinion. The key would be to pick the players in form to get the best out of them.
3) While India's batting woes on bouncy pitches in the T20 World Cups has caused great distress amongst cricket fans, I am sligthly more positive. I agree that this area needs a lot of improvement, but the talent is certainly there. Imagining a Test match batting line-up with Sachin, Rahul and Laxman - perhaps 3 years down the line as follows: Sehwag, Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Cheteswar Pujara, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina actually fills me with a lot of hope. And while I rate the numbers 3-6 higher, it is quite conceivable that folks like Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane will make the cut.
4) The size of the Indian grounds seem to shrinking or so it felt during the IPL. For instance - The Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengalure, while having a brilliant atmosphere, is just too small !!!! And then when we see a larger ground like the DY Patil Stadium or the new ground in Nagpur, it just improves the contest between the bat and bowl, making it a bit more even and interesting.
5) This current Australian pace attack, while lacking an all-time great bowler, is pretty damn exciting with Nannes, Tait and Johnson bowling really top speeds. And they have great depth there for all formats with Hilfenhaus, Ryan Harris, Doug Bollinger etc being more than able backups.
6) We have not seen the emergence of even one truly great fast bowler in the last ten years. The only one who comes close to it Dale Steyn, but even he would struggle to be called an all-time great. And hence batting feats of the 2000s must be looked into with that perspective. A Sehwag for instance, never played an Ambrose or Walsh. And very little of Akram and Mcgrath. Sachin however started when Mcdermott and even Malcolm Marshall were around.
7) South Africa's continous stumbles in run chases in ICC event has become a sad joke that is now running  for a very long time. They really need to take a hard long look at their cricket. There just seems to be a lack of people who are willing to take risks. Playing risk free cricket all the time does not work any more, especially in limited overs cricket.
8) I had thought that the commentary and the pre/post match programming during the IPL had plummeted to all time lows on Set Max. Sadly, however, ESPN, Star out-set maxed them with their show cricket crazy. And commentary remains cliched and lazy irrespective of the channels. Which is why www.testmatchsofa.com is a refreshing new innovation. Try it out sometimes, you might just like it.
9) Michael Hussey's 60 of 24 balls against the Pakis last night is an all time great innings. Was a privelege to watch. The fact that he smashed someone with "Ajmal" in his name made it even sweeter for me, but that's besides the point.
10) MS Dhoni has been a very good captain for India. However, the time to question his selection of the final 11s that go out on the field (irrespective of the squad) is becoming extremely difficult to understand.
11) And finally - a few lines reserved for that man - Ravindra Jadeja - who it seems is in the Indian team based on some Reservation or Quota. Don't know what that is till now. Perhaps he has won some reality show that makes it mandatory to pick him in the final 11. A colleague of mine had said this about his selection some time back - The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. He has now effectively cost India 4 out the 6 super 8 matches that we have played in the last two World Cups. That is just unbelievable.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Night, and Good Luck

Watching Good Night, and Good Luck directed by George Clooney was an amazing experience. The story showcases the conflict between the veteran journalist Edward R. Murrow, played by David Strathairn and the Senator Joseph Mccarthy over the witch-hunt of Communists carried out by the Senator and his Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Now as a story, this did not appeal greatly to me, nor could I directly identify with the conflict. However, a couple of brilliant speeches given by Murrow in the movie, albeit in a different context, hold very true for television, media and the kind of reporting that we see today all around us. And so just as a reference I am reproducing a few parts of what Murrow so brilliantly said in the movie here and highlighting what I do believe is truly relevant and though provoking.
""No one familiar with the history of his country, can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating. But the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one, and the Junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been confusing the public mind as between the internal and the external threats of communism. We must not confuse dissent from disloyalty. We must remember always, that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who dared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Sen. McCarthy's methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it still exists in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the Junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his, he didn't create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck ""

And then there is the speech given by Murrow to the Radio and Television News Directors Association in 1958, where he talks the power and inded the potential that television has to inform and educate the public which you can read it in full here . I am reproducing below small parts of it,  which comes in IMDB's memorable quotes about this speech :

"" It is my desire if not my duty to try to talk to you journeymen with some candor about what is happening in radio and television, and if what I say is responsible, I alone am responsible for the saying of it. Our history will be what we make of it. And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred year from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week of all three networks, they will there find, recorded in black and white and in color, evidence of decadence, escapism, and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live. We are are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable, and complacent. We have a built in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information; our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses, and recognize that television, in the main, is being use to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture, too late. ................. ""
Fascinating indeed, and most of it is true even in today's day and age.
The other remarkable part of the film is that it is in Black and White. Every now and again it is refreshing to see a movie in Black and White and just like Schindler's List, this too is a visually superb experience.
It goes without saying that I strongly recommend you to watch this movie.
Trivia: The famous concluding catch phrase "Good Night and Good Luck" that is the title of the film, was a habit Edward R. Murrow kept from his London years as a war reporter for the radio, when British people under constant night German bombing systematically ended their conversations with the very same words, uncertain to meet again.  (Source IMDB)
Right then, as Mr Murrow used to say - Good Night, and Good Luck.

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