Of course, I am no longer as interested in the fine arts as I used to be. Time moves on and we also move on. Time was when I was a student at Santiniketan and though I went there to study other academic subjects, Santiniketan immediately drew me into the many seasonal festivals for each of which Tagore had composed songs and dramas and dances and thus with the Sangeeth Bhavan right in the centre of Tagore’s arts course, we, even the general stream of students were immune from the influences. My own class mates, some of them were also studying in the Sangeeth Bhavan and some in fact went on to make their names in music and dances. Some are now all India names, Rita Ganguly is one such. There are many others, as vocal musicians and instrumental players.

Sitar was a rage in my time. We used to go to Kolkatta in those days, I had many friends with whom I used to attend the duets of Ravi Sankar and Vila at Khan, their rivalry was the subject that interested us and that is how I came to know all the great names. Ravi Sankar himself came to play for us once and what he spoke inspired all of us. He played on the very scanty, open air verandah and he said; “I had played in all the prestigious halls of the musical capitals of the world. But I consider this simple verandah the most prestigious and most inspiring, this is the spot where Gurudev had honoured by his very presence and so I am inspired this evening, by this playing…”Such was the environment from where I learn music and dances and the songs.
Now, I am still in touch. I subscribe to some music magazines and though I no longer I look into the Marg publications soon after my long-time mentor and friend Mulk Raj Anand left it lost all its character for me.

I still keep buying old books, on music and dance, the one before me right now is the old, “The Music of India” by H.A.Popley, the 1921 edition! What is surprising, it still makes for very interesting reading to me ,at any rate! So too books by Kapila Vatsayana and others. I used to run across many old timers, Sunil Kothair is still seems to be quite agile and I keep in touch with what he says. So too with what the Chennai-based Carnatic music magazine, if I can say with some indulgence the mushy musical writing that is peculiar to the middle class Madras conservative culture. Of course, I have moved on. The daily early-morning tread mill exercise has come in handy. I keep listening to my old favourite, Balamurali Krishna. Now having listened all these years, I have moved on to listen to some new talents. I discovered the very mellifluous voice of Vasanthamadvai, a new discovery for me.

She is so sweet and so soothing that I don’t get easily tired of listening to her often. Her elaboration of Entharo Mahabavalu and Nagumogu keeps my half an hour exercise a new pleasure! So too the new discoveries, the Gayathri Girish and Gayathri Venkataraghavan. Yes, now I have learnt to be less conservative in my tastes, I try new experiments, both the new voices and also new fusion music. Of course, I still come back to old voices; the older names now seem to attract me. No more I am just the fan of MS or Rukmani Devi Arundal. The sentimental, sanitised versions of music and dance now a bit tire me.
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Indo-US nuclear deal
The West won’t allow India to become a strong nation!

As I write America had unilaterally sent in its troops into Pakistan territory without Pakistan’s consent! Yes, may be to fight terrorism that has become “intolerable” as America puts it.
But then, where does the international order and peace, the existence of the UN and its other agencies come in?
What is the safe course for the future of the world? World peace?

Anybody asks? Not, not one major power or major voice we hear on such momentous issues.
India has much to worry about. In its internal as well as external environment.

There is unabated, it seems like that, killing and violence in Orissa. And yet the Centre doest even speak out. Let alone act. Kuldeep Nayar, the veteran journalist calls this inaction on the part of the Government as an act of our Indian cowardliness. This is correct but very simplistic.

We need more deeper analysis of the Indian psyche. I call upon the Indian intellectual establishment, the entire academic and the elite class, the experts, the strategic experts, economists, sociologists and the psychologists and psycho-analysts to come out with answers to the question: why Indians are inferiority-complex minded? Why this subservience? Why these master-servant relationships that fit easily into our mindset?

Our historians, our own native historians don’t speak out much, as they do in the West.
The West seems to indulge much in its unquestioned assumptions of its superiority, the Western superiority over the rest of the world.

The Indo-US nuclear deal pre-sages the long-term picture of the Americans establishing their own new empire, their own new imperialism?

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Third Front to come?
Mayawati can be trusted to lead?
Or, Chandrababu Naidu and Prakash Karat are wasting their time?

So, the next general elections would be interesting from many points of view. One, the alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party is not as natural as it now seems. They were never natural allies, let us remember first.

It was Mulayam Singh Yadav who almost dismantled the Congress party in the UP, its traditional stronghold once upon a time. Samajwadi party, more than any other party or movement, saw to it, that Congress is finished and it is now finished for all practical purposes.
And who can forget, certainly Sonia Gandhi can’t forget the fact that it was Mulayam who prevented her from becoming the Prime Minister.

Now, it seems all too late and all too old fashioned these thoughts.
Now, what is new about the new allies?

They have to form a alliance, that is a real and genuine understanding how much each one wants to allow the other to grow in UP?

And UP is no ordinary state, a state like Tamil Nadu, where the Congress had written off the local Congress for the sake of tolerating the corrupt DMK regime for the sake of survival in Delhi. For the DMK, Delhi is door hai!

But for the Samajwadis, Delhi is everything. You rule in Delhi or you don’t exist anywhere else.
Mayawati is ruling UP firmly and for all practical purposes, you can’t dislodge her in any foreseeable future.

That is why all the old and disgruntled men like Deve Gowda and others like the CPI,CPI(M) wallahs have found a new friend in the unpredictable Mayawati.

Of course, it hurts the many admirers of TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, the one bright star in the firmament of the Third Front, to be seen running around to court Mayawati and try to build a castle of sands, as it is, out of the hotch-potch of these parties whose aims are never the same.

All these left-outs are out of the mainstream alliances. So, they want to now construct a political myth called Third Front where even Naidu and other mysterious characters like Ajit Singh would be finding their place hard to sustain.

There are so many unpredictable characters. Jayalalitha? Where does she come in?
She is a match for Mayawati for the vanity and venality as well!
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Manmohan Singh is a sure bet? Or, other names?

In the Opposition ranks loom L.K.Advani and in the  third front Mayawati, Mulayam Singh or even Chandrababu Naidu?

There is one difference this time, that is, on the eve of the next general elections. That is the most mysterious silence on the part of  everyone in the Congress on the next Prime Ministerial candidate!

Will Manmohan Singh be the obvious choice? Very unlikely.
Given the current groupings within the Congress, those who  seem to be close to Sonia Gandhi or others who might not be so close but they will also play a role. Men like Arjun Singh and persons like him are known party intriguers.

There are circles within circles within the party.
Every other Sonia Loyalist is a known sychopant, so everyone would push for the name of Rahul Gandhi, in the hope of positioning  themselves firmly within the power structure.
And yet, the outcome of the election results is anybody’s guess.
For one thing, the current incumbent of the South Block is extremely shrewd and he wont let go his opportunities.

So, he might upstage all his potential rivals in singing the praise of Rahul Gandhi or the virtues of the Madam with the fervent hope that such gesticulations would pay dividends.

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A whole nation wakes up to realise its new status!
Let us reform our education belief system, so that we can create millions of aspiring young minds!

Yes, the 24-year young man’s win is India’s great moment of triumph!
The Beijing Olympic Games  was held for the first time outside Europe, the West. So, the whole of the world, including the West, UK, in particular saw the Beijing Olympic as a test for the East vs. the West.

In a way, the entire world  press too saw the Games  from nationalist points of view only. The UK tested the Chinese capacity to stage the greatest show on the earth. How the Chinese organised 15,000 strong people to conduct the opening ceremony  in a military drill fashion.
The Indian people, if not the press, didn’t fail to notice that we couldn’t even organise our 57-strong contingent in time, it was said. Even the costumes for the marchers  were found to be not in style. Our contingent, led by Rathore, the Athens Silver medalist, a bit tiresome and everyone was commenting why the DD only dewed Sonia Gandhi cheering the Indian rallists. Why didn’t the Indian government send our own stars like P.T.Usha and others at least for the sake of giving aboost to our rally?

So, from day one India looked despondent and utterly crushed for lack of past track record.
So, when Bindra, the young man won the gold here was India emerging from the shadow of a non-entity to a nation to be watched from now onwards.

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