Tag Archives: politics

Two Cows in Political Isms …


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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In the ancient days to convey their viewpoint across to their listeners orators used metaphors, similes, and analogies. Now, to explain complex ideas we use simple and humorous images and share them using the internet.

Yo have two coves

The various anecdotes that start with the saying “You have two cows …” refer to a form of political satire. They involve variations of a scenario, where eponymous cows are used to demonstrate the functioning of some political systems.

A column titled “The Class in Political Isms” in The Chicago Daily Tribune of December 3, 1938, attributes a version involving socialism, communism, fascism and New Dealism to an address by Silas Strawn to the Economic Club of Chicago on November 29, 1935.

A Canadian writer and journalist Bill Sherk mentions that such satirical snippets circulated throughout the United States since around 1936 under the title “Parable of the Isms”.

In the collection of humour in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” compiled by the Lisgar Alumni Association the following snippet appears on page 71 :

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT

Socialism: You have two cows. You give one to your neighbour.

Communism: You have two cows. You give both cows to the Government which lets you buy part of it back.

American New Deal: You have two cows. The Government shoots one cow, buys the milk from the other cow and pours it down the sewer.

Nazism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and takes the cows and sells the milk.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

Social Credit: You ‘shoot the bull’.

As early as 1944, the humour of this type attracted the attention of scholars in the United States. An article in The Modern Language Journal lists the following classical ones some of which are similar to those in “Vox Lycei 1939-1940” :

Socialism

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbour.

Communism

Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then gives you some milk.

Fascism

Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the government, and the government then sells you some milk.

Traditional Capitalism

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

In the late 1960s, comedian Pat Paulsen on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour appended this comment to capitalism: “…Then put both of them in your wife’s name and declare bankruptcy.”  Later on, he used this material as an element of his satirical US presidential campaign in 1968 and was included it on his 1968 comedy album “Pat Paulsen for President“.

Nazism

Nazism: You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

To these, we can add Bureaucratism:

Bureaucratism

 

And also:
Venture capitalism

 

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Who Is the Most Honest Chief Minister in India?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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India is a country where most Chief Ministers of states and politicians amass wealth and assets during their tenure of office. Would you believe that there is one among them who has no house or a car in his name, or a bank balance worth the mention? Surprising isn’t it? Yes, we are proud to have such a person since March 1998 as the Chief Minister of one of the States in India.

Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura, India
Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura, India

Manik Sarkar, the tall, gentle person, wearing white kurta, is currently the Chief Minister of Tripura. In the assembly elections held in 2013, he was sworn in as the chief minister of Tripura for the fourth consecutive period.

In 2008, Manik Sarkar’s cash in hand and bank deposits totalled Rs.16,120. According to his affidavit for the 2013 Tripura Assembly election this amount has come down to Rs.10,800. It shows that Manik Sarkar was the only Chief Minister in India to have the lowest personal monetary resources.

Born on January 22, 1949, Manik Sarkar is a Politburo Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). In March 2008, he was sworn in as leader of Left Front of the coalition government in Tripura.

The official sources list Manik Sarkar’s monthly salary as the lowest received by any Chief Minister in India. Even then, he donates to his party his entire salary of ₹12,500, and the allowances, paid to him as the Chief Minister. The party in turn pays him ₹5000 (US$81) as subsistence allowances. When reporters asked him how he runs his household on the paltry sum, he said:

“My wife’s pension can sustain us both. My expenses are small enough for a packet of snuff and a Charminar cigarette a day. About a home, we’ll see.”

Manik Sarkar is married to Panchali Bhattacharya, a former employee of the Central Social Welfare Board. She retired in 2011. The couple lives a very simple life. They do not own a car, and the wife never uses any official vehicle which are out of bounds for her even though she is the Chief Minister’s wife. She travels by rickshaw in Agartala with no personal security guards accompanying her.

In 2009, after the death of his mother, Manik Sarkar, inherited a small house in Agartala which he donated to a relative.

Manik Sarkar is an honest person keen on developing his home state of Tripura. He aims for better connectivity and development of IT sector in his state. But he has his own detractors.

His chief antagonist is 48-year-old Sudip Roy Barman. He was the President of Tripura Congress Committee. Sudip said that Manik Sarkar’s honesty is a carefully cultivated legend. Once he asked:

“Where does he get money to buy the hundreds of white kurta-pyjama sets he owns? Ora spectacle frame that is worth Rs.60,000? How can he afford sandals worth Rs.6,000? Why doesn’t he act against the corrupt ministers? It’s all a ploy. First, he encourages them to indulge in corruption, then blackmails them with the threat of legal action, thus pre-empting any challenge to his leadership.”

A professor of Tripura University who did not want to be named said:

“He [Manik Sarkar] may be an honest person, but Sarkar is a ruthless politician. If he feels threatened by anyone, their wings are clipped. Yet, the Congress has little chance to dethrone him, thanks to its internal rivalries.”

Manik Sarkar defended himself: “Where is the power? It’s with the Centre. Small states like Tripura suffer. We have to fight for everything that is rightfully ours.” He added, “My spectacles cost Rs.1,800. My sandals are also cheap. I love to look neat, but that doesn’t mean I buy expensive stuff.”

When compared with other chief ministers in India, this simple gentleman is often cited as the “cleanest and the poorest Chief Minister in India”.

Yes. Manik Sarkar is poor, but a flawless diamond!

Map of Tripura state, showing its eight districts
Map of Tripura state, showing its eight districts

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Is a College Degree Necessary for Smriti Irani to hold the HRD Portfolio?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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I do not subscribe to any political party. But, when I perceive talent in any form, I will be the first person to endorse it.

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Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.
Smriti Zubin Irani, incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014.

Smriti Zubin Irani, a former model, television actress and producer represents the Bharatiya Janata Party and is the incumbent Minister of Human Resource Development of Government of India since May 27, 2014. She is a first time Lok Sabha polls contestant and a first-time minister and the youngest in the Narendra Modi cabinet.

Born on March 23, 1976, in Delhi to a family of Punjabi–Bengali background, Smriti Malhotra is the eldest amongst three sisters. She studied up to class 12 at Holy Child Auxilium School (HCA) in New Delhi and discontinued further education.

Smriti worked as a waitress at McDonald’s before finding stardom in modelling. In 1998, Smriti was one of the finalists of the Miss India beauty pageant.

In 2000, she made her debut with TV series Aatish and Hum Hain Kal Aaj Kal Aur Kal, both aired on Star Plus. In mid-2000, Irani bagged the lead role of Tulsi Virani in Ekta Kapoor’s production Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi on Star Plus. She holds the record of winning five consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards for the Best Actress (Popular), four Indian Telly Awards, eight Star Parivaar Awards.

In 2001, Smriti married Zubin Irani, a Parsi.

Smriti Irani is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and is now widely acknowledged in the BJP as a key member of Narendra Modi’s inner circle.

In her message to the Subject Toppers of Senior School Certificate (Class XII) Examination, 2014 conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Delhi, posted on the website of the Government of India Ministry of Human Resource Development she said:

I congratulate all the students of CBSE who have excelled in their schools, districts and States in different subjects.

I applaud those who have worked hard and have got good results which make them and their families proud.

Examinations, marks, and above all values and Character in life, are the means to move forward and achieve progress

I wish all the students success in achieving their dreams in whatever walk of life they find joy and fulfilment and thereby contribute to a healthy, harmonious society and a strong nation.

But, there is something to be said about Smriti Irani’s own education.

Congress leader Ajay Maken questioned Smriti Irani’s credentials to lead the HRD ministry which oversees the country’s education system including the prestigious IITs and IIMs. Hitherto, the portfolio had always been held by a person with high academic qualifications. Maken tweeted: “Smriti Irani is not even a graduate,” triggering a political row, which until then had been fuelled online solely by her main detractor Madhu Purnima Kishwar, an Indian academic, and writer, who has been going hammer and tongs at Smriti Irani since the swearing-in.

In the past, Madhu Kishwar vociferously defended Narendra Modi both on Twitter and on television channels. Now, after the swearing-in, Kishwar seems to have taken on a new role of being his critic-in-chief.

Smriti Irani seemed unfazed by the drama. However, there is more to this controversy.

Her BIODATA published in the HRD website states:

Educated at Holy Child Auxilium, Delhi and School of Correspondence and Continuing Education, University of Delhi, Delhi.

Smriti Irani has herself provided conflicting affidavits of her educational qualifications.

In 2004, in the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India she submitted that she had received a bachelor’s degree in Arts (B.A.) in 1996 from Delhi University (School of Correspondence).

Details of school and university education - 1

 

In the affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India for the recent 2014 elections Smriti Irani claimed that she only completed Part I (first year) of her bachelor’s degree in commerce (Part I B.Com.) in the year 1994 from Delhi University’s School of Open Learning (correspondence)..

Details of school and university education - 2

 

To add venom, a leak from the School of Correspondence, as reported by a newspaper, claims that Smriti Irani had enrolled in 2013, but had not written the examination.

This incidence of doubts raised about Smriti Irani’s education leads to the perennial question “What is education?

When knowledge, skills, and habits convey from one person to another through teaching, training, or research we call it education. So, we can say that education is any experience that has a developmental effect that leads to the way one thinks, feels, or acts.

Education - 1

By the way, do you think that all recipients of diplomas and college degrees are really educated?

At present, most people look at education as commonly divided into stages: preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship under the guidance of others. But many do not freely acknowledge that education may also be autodidactic.

Autodidacticism or autodidactism or self-education is self-directed learning.

An autodidact is a self-teacher. Autodidactism is a contemplative and absorptive process. One may become an autodidact at any point in one’s life. While one may have studied a particular field in the conventional method they may choose to inform themselves in other, often unrelated areas by self-study.

Many autodidacts have complemented their formal learning with self-study. Though I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, I am an autodidact in computer science. Forty-two years ago, I was not able to find any teacher who could teach computer science. So, I spent a great deal of time reviewing the resources found in physical libraries and buying whatever books on computer science that I came across in search of knowledge. I always say: “To learn, teach!” I gained most of my knowledge in computers by following this dictum — teaching others who sought knowledge in basic computer science.

Though autodidactism is only one facet of learning, many autodidacts have made notable contributions to the human race. Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci is one of history’s best-known autodidacts.

Since most autodidacts do not advertise themselves, why not we consider Smriti Irani as one such person.

On May 19, 2014, Smriti Irani hit back at Congress leader Ajay Maken’s comments on her educational qualifications. She said,

Judge me by my work, I would only say this… Attempts have been made to deviate my attention from my work. The party has always entrusted me with assignments as they have confidence in me.

The late Kamaraj Nadar, former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, India, was a 3rd grader. He was a visionary and he opened hundreds of primary schools accessible to rural kids to improve the literacy rate in Tamilnadu.

The current Chief Minister of Tamilnadu J. Jayalalitha is a 10th grader (Matriculation). She is fluent in several languages, including English, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi.

So, before you write off Smriti Irani as an ‘uneducated’ person, just listen to the speech she gave before an International audience at the International Women’s Conference in February 2014, at The Art of Living International Center, Bangalore, India, a few months before she was sworn-in as the Honourable Union Minister of Human Resource Development, and then form your opinion about her.

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Re-posted: 15 Amusing Things That’ll Happen If Arvind Kejriwal Is Made The CEO Of Microsoft


CEO-cover-NEW-930x360

Recently, Indian born Satya Nadella was promoted to the post of CEO of Microsoft. While both traditional and social media are abuzz ith debates, consequences,factors, pride and puns, we join the bandwagon with a slightly hypothetical route:

What if, instead of Satya Nadella, ‘aam aadmi Arvind Kejriwal was made the CEO of Microsoft?

These 15 disasters will strike Windows users worldwide.

Click here to read more

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Re-posted from STORYPICK

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Rahul Gandhi: “Tear and Throw Away Ordinance!”


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On Friday, September 27, 2013, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice-President caused tremors in the government when he rightly denounced the controversial ordinance to negate the Supreme Court verdict to protect MPs and MLAs convicted for serious crimes from immediate disqualification. He called it a “complete nonsense” and asserted what “our government has done is wrong”

Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice-President.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice-President.

Rahul Gandhi said that the arguments that “we need to do this because of political considerations. Everybody is doing this. The Congress does this, the BJP does this, the Samajwadi Party, the JD(U) does this … It is time to stop this nonsense, political parties, mine and all others … If you want to fight corruption in the country whether it is Congress Party or BJP, we cannot continue making these small compromises because, if we make these small compromises, then we compromise. … Now, I will tell you what my opinion is on the ordinance. It is complete nonsense, it should be torn up and thrown away. It is my personal opinion.”

This statement, a major embarrassment to the UPA government, caught Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is now on a US visit, off guard. Gandhi, who had publicly called the ordinance to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification as complete nonsense causing tremors in the government.

President Pranab Mukherjee is not in a hurry to give his assent to the ordinance that has come under attack from mainstream opposition parties and civil society and wants the government to explain the need for such an ordinance.

Under the Indian Constitution, the president must be satisfied as to the existence of circumstances which render it necessary for him to promulgate such an ordinance. He may seek legal opinion from experts before he decides on whether to give his assent or not.

A high-level BJP delegation led by L K Advani met President Mukherjee and urged him to refer the ordinance back to the government for re-consideration as it is “unconstitutional and immoral”.

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Miffed with Centre, Jaya­la­li­th­­aa to Skip CMs Conclave


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Jayalalitha
J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister, Tamilandu, India.

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Chennai: Chief minister J. Jaya­la­li­th­­aa has decided to skip the conference of chief ministers on internal security being chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, pointing out that the CMs were being gi­ven “very little opportunity” to express their views at such meets that were re­duced to being mere “annual ritualistic exercise”.

In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, copies of which were made available to the media, she acknowledged the invitation from the Union home minister for the present conference, which “no doubt is a very important event since it concerns the primary function of the state, viz, maintenance of public order”.

But then, like all such conferences chaired by the PM, this one too had “a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects” and even uttering just their titles would take ten minutes, the time being “cavalierly allotted” to ea­ch CM to present his/her views, Jayalalithaa said.

She said the UPA government had reduced even su­ch important conferen­ces “to a routinised ritual rat­her than a consultative pro­cess, with the chief ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches”, despite the fact that they were equal partners in the governance of the country.

The CMs would expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions and make the Centre aware of the true situation on the ground. “Only this will ena­ble us to formulate policies and allocate resources ba­sed on real need”, she argued.

She said the current conference too appeared aimed at “merely assembling” all the CMs to “rubber stamp” measures pre-decided by the Centre.

Recalling her experience at the National Develop­ment Council meet last De­c­ember when she was fo­r­ced to cut short her speech by the guillotine bell after the allotted ten minutes, the CM said rather than attending a conference wh­e­re CMs would be “railro­aded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table”, she was deputing senior minister K.P. Munu-samy to deliver her speech and it could be taken on record.

“I have given the most earnest consideration of all the agenda items and my speech gives the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the subjects listed in the agenda”, Jayalalithaa told the PM in her hard-hitting letter that is bound to trigger a fresh debate on the callous manner in which the Centre has been treating some of the non-Congress states in recent times.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle

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What I Have Learned (sometimes the hard way)


.Love
I’ve learned- that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I’ve learned- that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.

I’ve learned- that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I’ve learned- that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I’ve learned- that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something.

I’ve learned- that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.

I’ve learned- that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I’ve learned- that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I’ve learned- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I’ve learned- that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I’ve learned- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I’ve learned- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I’ve learned- that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I’ve learned- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I’ve learned- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I’ve learned- that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I’ve learned- that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I’ve learned- that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I’ve learned- that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I’ve learned- that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I’ve learned- that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I’ve learned- that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I’ve learned- that your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t biological.

I’ve learned- that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I’ve learned- that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself.

I’ve learned- that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I’ve learned- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I’ve learned- that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I’ve learned- that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I’ve learned- that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I’ve learned- that two people can look at the same thing and see something totally different.

I’ve learned- that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I’ve learned- that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I’ve learned- that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I’ve learned- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I’ve learned- that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

I’ve learned- that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.

Re-posted from Bible.com

 

Rights activists hit out at attacks on Sri Lankans


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By V.P. Raghu

March 20, 2013 – Deccan Chronicle

Chennai: The attacks by fringe groups on Sri Lankans arriving in Tamil Nadu, in the name of protests against human rights violations against island Tamils, has drawn criticism from rights activists in the state.

At least five cases of attacks on visiting Lankans were reported in the state in the last one month. This is apart from the attack on Sri Lankan institutions in Tamil Nadu. “I condemn such acts. Such kind of violence cannot be justified. These acts of terror against individuals should not be tolerated,” noted Dr. V. Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL.

Echoing Suresh’s views, another human rights activist, A Marx, said nothing could be gained by attacking visiting tourists and Buddhist monks. “While students are taking the protest in the right direction, some groups are indulging in violence,” noted Marx. These violent groups fear that the students will push them out of the protest arena, he said, adding, “So, to stay in the picture, they indulge in violence, which is highly condemnable.”

Attack on Buddhist Monks from Sri Lanka
Tamilnadu Police accompanying Buddhist monks and pilgrims from Chennai Central railway station up to Gudur in the state of Andhra Pradesh to ensure their safety. (Photo: dinakaran.com)

Pointing out that all Sri Lankans of Sinhalese origin, are not anti- Tamil, Suresh said many Sinhalese human rights activists had been fighting for the Lankan Tamils’ cause for years. “The house of senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna was bombed for supporting Tamils in Lanka,” he recalled.

A senior official from Tamil Nadu police said almost all the accused in these cases had been arrested. “11 persons were arrested in the case of February 21 attack on Sri Lankan MP’s vehicle in Nagapattinam.

In connection with the attack on the Lankan monk on March 16 at Thanjavur, 12 persons were arrested. All the three persons connected with the attack on the Buddhist monk at Chennai central station on Monday, were secured,” the official pointed out.

In Trichy on February 26, the police had to intervene when a bus carrying Sri Lankan nationals was targeted. Similarly on March 3, vehicles carrying Sri Lankans from Chennai airport to Egmore were blocked on GST Road by a group. The police had to escort the Lankans to their destination.

Re-posted from Deccan Chronicle

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The Interview – Reel to Real !!!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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This is Indian politics

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The Tamil movie titled “Muthalvan” (Tamil: முதல்வன், English: The Chief) a political thriller produced, co-written and directed by S. Shankar features Arjun Sarja, and V. Raghuvaran in the lead roles. This film was Shankar’s production debut. The film features an award-winning soundtrack composed by maestro A. R. Rahman.

Pughazhendi, an ambitious TV journalist (played by Arjun Sarja) working for “Q TV,” interviews Aranganathan, the Chief Minister of the state (played by Raghuvaran) after a spate of communal riots. The questions posed by the journalist are tough, and the flabbergasted Chief Minister challenges the journalist to occupy his seat and be the Chief Minister for a day to understand the enormity of the office. After a slight  hesitation, Pugazhendi agrees to be the Chief Minister of the state for a day.

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The young journalist Pugazhendi after taking over the mantle of the Chief Minister for a day does a great job, and subsequently orders the arrest of the unscrupulous Chief Minister Aranganathan.

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This high-budget film released on November 7, 1999, won positive reviews and was successful at the box office.

The film was dubbed and released in Telugu titled “Oke Okkadu.

Two years later, in 2001, it was remade in Hindi as “Nayak: The Real Hero” (Hindi: नायक, Nāyak) starring Anil Kapoor as the journalist Shivaji Rao and Amrish Puri as the Chief Minister Balraj Chauhan and once again directed by S. Shankar.

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After viewing the films “Muthalvan” and “Nayak” most Indians, including me, lauded the superb characterization of the Chief Minister enacted by the veteran actors Raghuvaran in Tamil, and Amrish Puri in Hindi; after that, we never gave them a second thought for the next six years.

On Friday, October 19, 2007, Karan Thapar interviewed Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat on CNN-IBN’s “Devil’s Advocate” program. Thapar questioned Modi about the Godhra Train Burning incident that occurred in the morning of February 27, 2002. In this incident, 58 passengers were burnt to death due to a fire inside the Sabarmati Express train near the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. Sensing that the question cornered him, the Chief Minister abruptly walked out of the interview.

Director Shankar is indeed a prophet of the modern Indian cinema proving that incidents depicted on films could become real.

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Benefits of Nuclear Power or Wings of Death à la Fukushima?


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Fukushima *

During a flight from Chennai to New Delhi, a flight attendant ushered a former Indian dignitary to a seat next to a little girl about 12 years of age.

The girl was reading a book. He thought she was reading a fairy tale book suited for her age. The girl was so engrossed in the book that she did not even look at him.

After a while, he turned to her and asked, “Hey little one, where are you from?”

The girl looked up and seemed surprised at the familiar face. She smiled faintly. The dignitary was sure that the little girl had recognized him.

She closed the book she was reading and looked at him questioningly.

“Baby, what’s your name?” he asked.

“Bhanu Sir, ” she replied.

“Where are you from?”

“Kaayal Pattinam, Sir.”

“Oh, oh. So, you are from the coastal area like me?”

She nodded her head to mean “Yes.”

“Would you like to talk with me? Flights can be pleasant if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger,” he said.

“What would you want to talk about?” she asked.

“I see you are reading a book. Is it a fairy tale?”

“No. Sir,” she replied.

“Baby, then what is it?”

“Sir, it’s a book on a subject you are familiar with,” she replied.

“May I see the book?”

The girl gave him the book.

The elderly dignitary read the title – “Fukushima Meltdown” by Takashi Hirose. After his initial shock and a bit disconcerted, he smiled quizzically at the girl.

“Do you understand what is written in this book?” he asked her.

“Yes, Sir,” the girl said. “The author of this book makes clear the absurdity of putting nuclear power plants anywhere in the world, especially on the earthquake and volcano prone Japanese archipelago. “

The old dignitary looked thoughtful.

“Now, what would you want to talk about?” the girl asked innocently.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he blurted. “Now that you read high brow stuff like this, how about we talk about ‘the benefits of nuclear power for Tamilnadu’?”

“Alright Sir,” she said. “That is an interesting topic. Can I ask you a question first? I hope you won’t take it amiss?” she inquired.

“No. Certainly not,” he said smiling benevolently at her. “You know, I like to talk to young persons like you because ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth and under the earth,” he replied.

“I know that you come from a rural area .”

He said, “Yes.”

“Sir, my question is this. You know that cows, horses, and goats all eat mainly the same stuff such as grass and leaves isn’t it?”

He nodded his head to mean “Yes.”

“Yet, cows excrete dung like a flat patty, horses produces clumps, and goats excrete little pellets. Why the difference?”

The dignitary was taken aback. He appeared visibly shocked and traumatized by the little girl’s intelligence, and all he could say was, “Hmmm, I have no idea.”

The little girl asked with an impish smile, “Are you really qualified to discuss the benefits of nuclear power for Tamilnadu when you don’t know shit?”

Then she went back to reading her book.

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Author’s note:

Fukushima Melt down
Takashi Hirose wrote this book “Fukushima Meltdown” in a heat of passion mixed with terrible sadness in the weeks after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. But he is far from a newcomer to this field; he has written books and articles warning of the terrible dangers of nuclear power since the early 1980s.

In this book, which was a best seller in Japan, he not only describes the comic-if-not-so-tragic series of fumbling errors that lead to the meltdown at Fukushima, but also makes clear the absurdity of putting nuclear power plants anywhere on the earthquake and volcano prone Japanese archipelago – and by extension, anywhere in the world. This is the first translation into English of any book by this authoritative critic of nuclear power.