Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A lasting impression...

Films such as RDB, Yuva etc have surely made an impression in the minds of the Indian youth and I'm not the first one saying that! also not trying to list out the "major" events that had the RDB flavor to it...

Just wanted to highlight yet another development that seems to be inspired by these films...

IIT graduates out to do a 'Rang De' act in UP politics

CHANGE OF HEART(LAND): The GenNext is out to win the poll battle for Uttar Pradesh

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will witness the entry of a new, hi-tech generation into the state politics this year as a group of IIT-Kanpur graduates have come together to fight the polls with a resolve to clean up the "dirty politics in the country".

The Bharat Punarnirman Dal or India Regeneration Group comprises a group of young IITians, who have decided to contest at least 20-25 seats in the UP Assembly elections next month.
"Enough of drawing room and coffee-house discussions. It is time qualified professionals rise to the occasion and make an effort to put the country's politics on the right track," news agency IANS quoted the Dal's founder president, Ajit Shukla, as saying.

Shukla and his colleagues floated the party in Delhi last December. Since then they have also roped in young people from other professional fields like medicine, law, humanities and social research.

"We feel the time is running out and we must get down to real business," Shukla says. "We had been debating over the question for quite some time," he claims.

The political first-timers talk business-like when they explain their poll plans. Shukla, for instance, has decided to contest from Lucknow's prominent Cantonment Assembly constituency, and is ready to take on some political bigwigs. Similarly, 10 other IIT graduates will take on some top politicians across the state.

A 2002 batch pass-out from IIT- Mumbai and a resident of Deoria district in Eastern UP, Shukla says he decided to plunge into politics as he felt that the time has come to "rid Uttar Pradesh politics of its ills."

Shukla's comrade-in-arms Omendra Pratap Singh, an IIT-Kanpur passout, is equally enthusiastic about the venture. "We are going to leave no stone unturned to put across our message to the electorate. I am sure people are also sick of the general degeneration in politics and would welcome a positive change," he told IANS.

Omendra left a plum job with Tata Consultancy Services to join politics. "I thought I was cut out for something more meaningful, something for the larger good of the people."

He will seek election to Kanpur's Arya Nagar Assembly seat. Similarly, Punit Nath, a practising doctor, proposes to contest the General Ganj seat in Kanpur.

Whether these young aspiring politicians will stick to their agenda of "regenerating" India or not can be debated and discussed in our living rooms and office canteens for days together... At this moment, I think its an act worthwhile...:)

Killer MiG-21...

Readerspeak: One more for RDB files

An Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jet crashed over West Bengal on Thursday, killing the pilot - Squadron Leader Swapnil Sakar Pandey. Pandey's cousin Vaibhav Vishal wrote in to

On Thursday, sometime during lunch, I saw the news ticker talking about some MiG-21 crash near Kurseong in West Bengal.

The pilot was feared killed, it said. "Yet another one for the RDB case files!", I thought to myself, feeling good about my astute social commentary skills, especially the wise 'RDB case files' bit, and continued digging my teeth into my lunch box.

The parathas were awesome.

At around 5:30 pm, my sister gave me a call. The aircraft was being piloted by Squadron Leader Swapnil Sakar Pandey. And he was killed, indeed.

I knew the guy as Golu. He was my brother. My first cousin. My aunt's only son.

Two years younger than me, Golu always always always wanted to be a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force. He wanted to serve the country. He wanted to fight the enemy.

He wanted to fly those massive aircraft. I would always think hard why a multi-dimensional guy like him - somebody who could play six musical instruments and sing like a true blue rockstar; and paint, photograph and write with equal ease - would want to get into such a uni-dimensional job.

Fly, fly, fly, and then some more. Golu thought otherwise. And he clearly knew what he wanted. So a fighter pilot he did become the day he could.

Swapnil Sakar. Dream Fulfilled.

Till March 1, 2007. It was supposed to be a regular practice flight. Apparently, the plane developed a snag, as is now becoming a norm with the MiG-21s, immediately after the take off, with its tail catching fire.

Our man could have ejected himself and saved his life, but the aircraft would have then crash-landed in a populated area. In order to save all those lives, Squadron Leader Pandey maneuvered the machine towards the forest area, and while he did try to eject himself post that, evidently, it was too late.

He saved the lives of unknown people when he could have saved his own. He could have, in the process, also saved the lives of his parents, his wife of one year, his three sisters and all of us from his extended family.

But he chose to save people he didn't know.

I don't want to blame the Indian Air Force for continuing to fly the MiG-21s, despite so many young men losing their lives. I don't want to blame the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi for his rather cold and callous statement with reference to my aunt: "She understands that there are risks involved in military aviation. Sometimes things don't work out. I am sorry that she has lost her kid," I don't want to blame the Air Force authorities for not finding the black box of the aircraft yet, or at least not telling the world about it. I don't want to blame anybody for killing my brother.

I'm glad he is gone.

Despite my crafty attempts at social commentaries, I really am at a loss to understand how this whole thing works.

RDB propagates killing the ones who are responsible for killing our young men. I don't want that. That is a route for the revolutionaries. And I really don't know how it helps, anyways.
For me, the solace lies in knowing that we are better off without such nice human beings. We deserve a world sans good people.

There is no place for the likes of Golu amongst us. We don't deserve such unselfish, sensitive men. We don't want such saviours. We don't want any patriots.

We want regular people around us who don't care. Because we don't care.

Call it pessimism. Call it giving up. Call it acceptance. The news never made it to the headlines. Yet another one, right! While the kid killed himself to save others, I continued biting into my parathas, didn't I? So should you.

Forward this note to people you know, if you can. If this can lead to even an iota of movement anywhere - amongst people like us or the babus, the ministers, the Forces OR within me, or you - Squadron Leader Pandey's last flight may just achieve the heights it could not.
Golu is dead. Now please help me kill my cynicism, guys.

(Vaibhav Vishal is Director, Program Development with MTV Networks India Pvt. Ltd.)