From Pravin Mahajan's 'Majha Album'

Pravin Mahajan’s book – Majha Album – make us believe why Nitin Gadakari’s ‘in-law’ remarks shouldn’t be seen in isolation to BJP culture.

The book gives inside accounts of elder brother Pramod’s private life. It run through Pramod’s style of functioning that for a long has been party norm even as Pramod no longer survives.

On one occasion the book outlines Mahajan’s brother-in-law Gopinath Munde becoming target of ‘in-law’ remarks.

The book reads, Munde’s avarice to power makes Pramod quip: “Gopya la kalayla hava ki to apla jawai aahe, pakshacha navhe (Gopya should know he is our in-law, not party’s)”

Pramod’s alleged promiscuity is at the center of the book. Pravin loosely spells out brother’s private affairs but spares naming most women, except Alaknanda, who came into Pramod’s life. Alaknanda, many know, was party functionary from north Maharashtra.

Shrewdly, Pravin is silent on Sarangi’s life. Sarangi, Pravin’s wife, has previously claimed that Pramod was like ‘father figure’.

Without digging much, Majha Album outlines much chewed Munde’s Barkha affair.

The book arms Pravin with enough opportunity to target brother and change perception about late BJP leader. Equally, it brings out Pravin’s pent up prejudice against Pramod.

Overall, the book is so-so read.

Reading That No Longer Challenges Me

Among the things technology has rendered man with is amended way of satisfying voyeuristic instincts. The low-priced porn magazine – where climax is major disappointment when stimulating pictures often applied scissor, the cassettes – not moving ahead when important scene is imminent, the CDs – straight coming to bold scenes, puncturing the heightened excitement even before it builds up and the internet – free for all to fall – readers of Savitabhabhi will vouch. Those born during ’70s & ’80s will vividly remember their transformation from childhood to adulthood amidst being witness to all these changes. All through, quality over availability becomes norm.

The same age-group may recall similar changes in reading habits. For half a century, Chandoba has enthralled urban Marathi middle class kids. Parents cut down expenses on toys to prefer Chandoba, a comics. It’s also a time to connect with Hindi through Chacha Choudhari.

When mythological tales from Chandoba stop enthusing kids, Faster Fene, a marathi version of detective Tom Sawer by B R Bhagwat tucks in by parents. When Faster Fene fables, often seen a driving force for kids’ sustenance in reading, takes fantasies of adventure on newer scales, consider that time has arrived to move on.

It’s an age when kids become teens to usher into higher schools – a place to get acquainted with non-veg jokes. Thus have novels laden with romance, thrill and emotions. This is the era to read Baburao Arnalkar and get fascinated by his thrillers. Mesmerized readers typify with hero from Arnalkar's best sellers.

When desi thriller quota stop stimulating, Sidney Sheldon, Agatha Chirsti takes the charge. They are also reminiscent to Suhas Shirvalkar and Srikant Sinkar. Remember, its also the time to read Mills and Boon romance stories. The reading walks parallel with college life. Slowly reader moves on to all time bestsellers – Godfather (Mario Puzo), Papillion (Henri Charriere). For 90’s born, Chetan Bhagat becomes favorite. For others, Paulo Coelho, Ayn Rand, Dan Brown prevails upon.

In Marathi, taste shift to another level of writers – P L Deshpande, V P Kale, D M Mirasdar, Jayawant Dalvi, V S, Khandekar, Shivaji Sawant. As taste matures, reading reaches another level.

When we are ready enter into professional world and leave behind the memories of college eon, time for readers to come out of comfort zone and try reading that challenges.

Vijay Tendulkar, G A Kulkarni, Irawati Karve, Bhalchandra Nemade, Durga Bhagawat Ranganath Pathare, Vishwas Patil, Sadanand Deshmukh and similar, broadens our horizons. Indian English readers (non-aficionado) looking for anglo Indian authors rest on Amitava Ghosh, Anita Desai, Khushwant Singh, Arundhati Roy.

Here, we cross a thin line and bid adieu to popular fiction to try more and more challenging one.

I am waiting for that moment.

Chidambaram And His Crafty Capitalism Phrase

I have a friend working with tabloid. He claims to be leftist but surrenders to all methods akin to capitalists. In political discussion, he talks of welfare and holistic approach but never hesitates praising Thackeray’s pro-Marathi parochialism. Worst, when we tease him, he turns the gear and resort to Marxism. Still we love him much.

Indian political system is more like my friend. The lefts here sometimes are more than actual capitalists. To that extent, P C Chidambaram is spot on: “maoists are the most crafty capitalist.”

Maoists employ unlawful methods to control production, distribution, price regulation of firms from their stronghold. They extort money from firms and in return challenge the state. They rue state control, similar to that of urban corporate-capitalist brothers.

More organized than past, Maoists with the backing of NGOs and Roy-likes, built up philosophy in their fight against state.

Chidambaram, whom Arundhati Roy refer ‘corporate lawyer’ (more capitalist than capitalists) puts up comparative case study of two Tatas:

“I don’t think the objectives of JN Tata and the objectives of Ratan Tata are very different. They might express it in different language but their objective is the same— to build industries, create jobs, produce goods and services, create wealth and enhance the prosperity of the area. In the bargain, of course, the company makes profits. But at that time, perhaps, the villagers and tribals were certainly not so organised and perhaps in no position to offer any organised protest and I am pretty sure there were hardly any NGOs and civil rights groups to espouse their cause. So JN Tata’s people were able to build trust with people.”

Congress And Politics Of Dualism

If, to use cliché, good economics is bad politics, smart politics subvert good policies.

On Gandhi family’s opacity and politics, Sadanand Dhume writes in wsj: “In this hothouse of intrigue and sycophancy, careers can hinge on the ability to change track according to which way the Gandhis' views are seen to be blowing.”

Dhume writes:

“For the family, this opacity clearly has benefits. It keeps them above the fray of petty politics. It allows them to exercise power without responsibility. It gives them the flexibility to change political course on a dime.

“But smart politics doesn't always generate good policy. Fostering a culture of opacity and public second-guessing about sensitive policy matters is no way to lead a major economy and an aspirant for great power status.”

Smart politics doesn’t generate good policies, but allows congress to be in power, years after years. The BJP falters precisely here. The six-year-long NDA stint, despite being satisfactory, ended on their folly – India shining. Had the government and party been more diverse in reaching out to rural and urban masses with separate tunes, the picture probably would have been different.

Sonia’s silence or Rahul's populist stance on some issues allows party leaders to take dual line. Here Gandhi’s opaqueness, to me, more sounds a move that allows party to sway through politics of dualism. When Manmohan Singh government goes tough, party opt middle-approach to please masses - Digvijay Singh advocating welfare approach over Chidambaram's arms use to tackle naxal approach is one example among others.

This sort of dualism allows congress to grab opposition space.

It empowers them with pro-poor policies, never mind how economically incorrect and deviating from Manmohan Singh’s good economics such policies are.

Consequence is the original opposition sounds weak and become irrelevant. Think: who comes in our mind first on views about priority to welfare scheme over arm solution to deal with naxal menace. Its Digvijay Singh, not left.

Human, God And Fast

Fast will be the buzzword throughout the day on Ekadashi – the eleventh lunar day. Eateries from old city area will generate higher than average income. But if we go by logic behind fast, god then will have his eyes turned off the Pune skies.

Indians, or more specifically, the Hindus prostrate while communicating with the god. It’s their way to “demonstrate sincerity and humility,” says Akar Patel in his recent piece in lounge.

To attract god’s attention, we clang the bell. Invite pain through circumambulation (pradakshina). Take sufferings abstaining the food.

Patel writes: “this idea that God likes us to suffer is common to all cultures. It actually comes from our belief that God is merciful and benevolent. If He sees us suffering in one way, therefore, He will stop other bad things from happening to us. In that sense, the voluntary hardship of the pilgrim is a preventive action, a sort of insurance, and ultimately selfish”

God is benevolent but not gullible enough to be hoodwinked easily. Therefore, if Puneites have gone on fast to attract god’s attention, better they rethink. Rethink on ever exceeding food quota made especially for fast. Others who put up scientific reasoning behind fast – fast allows the body to improve digestive system – better stop thinking.

Letter To Octopus Paul

Because of ample time and nothing worth to do (all lies), I am here to seek answers of some difficult questions from Octopus Paul.

Paul, the almighty, please do tell us why are Indians so good in foodball ?

Why isn’t Sharad Pawar not attracted to soccer, Is the game cleaner than Cricket ?

Why is Mamata Bannerjee spends her entire time in Delhi, shunning Kolkata always ?

How come Nitin Gadakari speaks in such a decent language when other politicians are all foul mouthed ?

How does HT manages to score against ToI every morning ?

Why isn’t Indian journalism still not been affected by paid news ?

Why isn’t the UPA government work through Group of Ministers (GoM) to increase efficiency ?

Paul, only gospel. Didn’t Spain had 12 players when they played against Germany ?

Wasn’t Lord Ram the Bhaiyya, whom Marathis have stopped worshipping ?

Didn’t you tip off Suhel Seth, who wrote to you even before I could ?

Paul, no predictions, only correct answers