Saturday, January 19, 2008

Is Sania Mirza Quitting Tennis?

Is Sania Mirza Quitting Tennis?


She clarified that though a passing thought had crossed her mind, she won’t quit. And no fighter would quit that easily. Like those paparazzi of the west, the harassment to the Indian stars is coming in the name of the court cases and fatwa’s. Often by people who wish to be notorious at some one’s cost.

Sania Mirza, the young Indian Tennis Star, currently at 31st spot in the women’s rankings set her goal to reach the 25 member club in women’s tennis. She might even cross the 23rd ranking of Ramanathan Krishnan – the highest ever by an Indian in the tennis world.

Her status as a Star is growing in India in anticipation of good performance in Australian Open and then in the upcoming Olympics. The Indian have stars aplenty in the celluloid world but none in the real world. Sania ignited the fire of the dreams of the many star starved Indians.

As she grows in stature, her tormentors also grow in number.

This time it was the controversy surrounding a photograph taken at the Hopman Cup mixed team event in Perth, played at the beginning of the year, that appeared to show Sania's bare feet resting near the national flag.

And that was an insult to the National Flag.

The photograph showed that she was resting her foot facing the flag. Have a look at the photo! The angle at which the photo was shot might have messed up the things. But beware, you should have taken care not to stretch and relax in a public place like that!

That’s the message!

In India, from the day a girl started walking on her foot, she would be taught how to walk, how to sit, how to dress and so many ‘how to’ things… no limits to the 'how to’. And definitely she had crossed the ‘how to’ limits! The mean male mentality just need a reason to pull her up and put into her conscience how to sit in a public place. A flag in front merrily helped that cause.

That man who filed a case was not the only one of the teachers queuing up the line to give her advice on moral values.

Last month, the imam of a mosque filed a case against her for entering the mosque premises for the shooting of an ad promoting the heritage site of Char Minar in Hyderabad. And the crime in this case was that she had entered the mosque premises – not the mosque, without seeking prior permission. If ‘not seeking permission for shooting’ alone was the cause for the management getting upset, then they should have filed a case against the ad agency. Here too, they focused on her. Certainly, the mosque would not have looked for any publicity stunt as in the flag case filed by an individual. The real issue behind the drama was that a woman should not have entered the premises of the mosque. That’s what upset the mosque people. They had openly admonished her that she, being a Muslim, should have known that a woman should not enter. Being a Muslim!

Are women not supposed to enter the mosque premises? No. They can very well visit the mosque and pray – now, in Kerala, women are praying in mosques and increasingly more and more women are entering the mosques. But Hyderabad is the city of Owaisi and he is a practicing Muslim as he had announced in NDTV on a national debate concerning Taslima Nasreen. May be Hyderabatians will take more time to realise the truth.

It was the same Hyderabatian’s earlier declared a fatwa against the way she dresses while playing tennis. This had raised a gammut of doubts about the capability of those imams issuing the fatwa’s! Who authorised them to issue the fatwa’s? Any one had fanciful ideas can immediately issue fatwa’s as per their whims and fancies? These fatwa’s are surely crossing the limits of ‘scholarly opinions’ to ‘judiciary implementation’. There needs to be a governing body regulating these fatwa mongers.

Islam says ‘Elect a leader and abide by them’

And that applied to India too. Muslims are participating in the election processes, and electing a leader to rule whether they like him / her or not and hence the rule as practiced by the leader should be applied to them as well. They should not look for their own territory less kingdom and try to rule by fatwa’s. Muslims interests are well looked after by the Muslim Personal Law and there is no need for individual imams throwing up their own brand of ‘kingdom’.

Luckily for Sania Mirza, the Muslims ridiculed the organisation which had issued the fatwa on her dress and condemnation across the country put the ‘idiots’ in their place. She had properly dressed every time when away from the tennis field. And while playing she was wearing the outfits as demanded by the game. ‘Under demanding conditions, even the prohibited shall be allowed for survival…’ That would be true for the case of the sport which throws up the most demanding conditions.

To be a woman and to be a Muslim is very unfortunate in India. Control over them came in many ways and forms. The guardians of the God and their male chauvinists counterparts irrespective of their religious affiliations are plenty in India. It’s only the mass base support would save individuals like Sania.

Let us support her.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bush in Town

Bush in Town

Yes, Bush is going to be here in Dubai on 14 January 2008.

It didn't strike me or for that matter anyone here in Dubai that Bush would be here on 14 January 2008 though the papers were screaming his arrival for more than a week. The truth is, no one cares and every one has their own business to bother. Reading newspapers are a choice leisure act to be indulged on a lazy holiday.

The morning of 13 January started revealing how Bush is going to impact the lives of poor Dubai’ans. Never a day in the past, the traffic is blocked for any one. The roads would get blocked on its own by the volume of the vehicles flowing on the roads in the morning and evening rush hours. But, oh my, never for a human being! Many a time I would wonder how the rulers manage to travel without harassing the common public. But the morning of 13 Jan is different.

We started at 9.00am from Deira. The route is quite a routine one and passes through all the busy area in Dubai. There are two routes - one via Makhthoum Bridge, Sheik Zayed Road, Zabeel and finally to Burj Dubai where the tallest tower of the world is rising upwards, hitting the sky. The other route is via AlKhaleej Road, the Sindagah Tunnel, Bur Dubai, Port Rasheed Road and then through Zabeel Road to the tower. Both ways it is half an hour road on a normal day. But Dubai was a different city today. Many side roads and bye lanes were closed by Dubai Police. All vehicles were forced to take the main roads waiting in long queue at every junction.

Desperation grew as minutes and seconds tickled away. But no one honked their horns, exhibiting the highest level of patience. Every vehicle was trying to take a turn to break free from the unexpected menace that had dawned uninvitingly on the Dubai'ans. I took the road today without knowing the traffic harassments on the way. Keep driving from road to road, and found every road blocked. First I went to Fish roundabout then took a turn and went back to Naïf Road to reach Hyatt Regency. Then from there I took the tunnel and came to Bur Dubai. I should have gone straight to Port Rashid Road. But I was having my room partner with me who need to be dropped at his office in Karama. I took a turn to Kuwaiti Road - unknowing of the trap ahead. The traffic completely came to a halt and not even moving bumper to bumper. It stopped absolutely.

Patience may be a virtue. But not on a day of this kind! The traffic kept on piling, pushing the drivers to jump the lanes to take new untested roads. Others waiting on were not interested in giving way to the intruders and allow them to move away resulting that the vehicles were moving side by side without any lane disciplines. Luckily no big accidents were seen any where. After struggling and testing various roads, going round and round for some time, I reached my destination after three and a half hours.

At the end of all these mess, only I wonder, why so much of a hassle? Mr. Bush would be taken down the Sheik Zayed Road, the show case of Dubai's huge success! And Bush needed to be impressed about the advancement of Dubai. Yes, Bush would be seeing the sky scrappers, the 16 lane wide Sheik Zayed Road, the half constructed overhead metro passageway etc., But will he be seeing any comman man on his way?

A leader should always be among the fellow human beings, whom they want to lead.

But, then is Mr. Bush a leader or not is anyone's guess.

I Wish Mr.Bush success of his Dubai visit.

Luckily for every one Dubai is closed for business tomorrow, the official day of Mr.Bush visit. And Thanks to the government who thoughtfully had declared a day off to keep the traffic away.

And what a relief!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Bull fighting - Jallikkattu

Jallikkattu is a cultural event and sport of the Tamils, the people of the southern state, Tamil Nadu of India. The sport dates back to 300 BC. It is celebrated on the third day of the Pongal festival - the festival of harvest.

The Jallikkattu is a celebration of life; of taming the bull, the important constituent of the agrarian life of the rural society. The society in its primitive stage depended mainly on the tilling of the soil for its survival. And at a time when the modern tilling tools and tackles were unaware to them, it's the animals that came to the rescue of the life's hardships.

The bull needs to be tamed for that purpose. And to be done in a grand style!.

Taming the Bull!

It had been done in a pomp of flaming colors!!! Yes, the bulls were attired with colorful flowers on their painted horns. Tolling bells tied aroung the neck and the horns. Turmeric water sprinkled to add colors to the proceedings. The winner's booty hung on the horns. Hold the bull by its horns and there emerges the winner - the ultimate star of the society! Maybe he would also wear the color by his own blood spilling on to him from his bleeding wounds.

It's not that simple considering the betting ongoing away from the narrow streets where the bull was being chased to get hold of the booty. The betting varied from settling disputes between the villagers or perhaps between the villages themselves to beautiful damsels - sometimes the daughter of the bulls' owner. The girl might be waiting with a bated breath to know her hero. And how fortunate to be a hero's bride!

The romanticism attached to the event has not been reduced even an inch these days as it is still a way of life. The bulls are still a part of the men's friend on the field where the modern tools and tackles could not be practiced in the fields fragmented by the family divisions. Betting the girls are not heard of anymore though it still forms the storyline for certain romantic vernacular movies.

And what happened to Jallikkattu suddenly?

It was termed barbaric!!! A cultural event practiced for millenniums together had suddenly opened the blinded eyes of the highest body of the judiciary in India! Some great human souls who care more for the animals than the men had applied to the Supreme Court in Delhi to ban this cultural event - the celebration of bravery; the celebration of life itself! How unfortunate this tradition to be termed as a barbaric! An interim injunction had been issued to ban this festivity of the poor Tamilians. The local government had supported this event till last year through its tourism department but now it has been helpless except to carryout the instructions of the Supreme deliverer of the justice which care a damn about the cultural tradition. Yielding to pet intellecutals of hypocritical origins!!!

Yes, this cultural event needs reforms, to be developed into a safe event on the lines of the bull fighting sport of Spain. There's no harassment to the bulls or atleast vary rare in its incidence. Rather, the men would be hurt much severe than the animal. Many lives were lost by the bull's hit - not the other way round! The action results in many more injuries to men - sometimes fatal to them but the bulls are not harmed in any way! How the animal lovers had assumed that the animals were harassed - God only knows! The sport might be requiring better medical attendance to take of those harassed men.

It's not just the injuries either to the men or the beast. There were other factors too operating on the cultural platform. The one being the pride of the owner to hold the bull as his alter ego and loosing a fight means 'SHAME' of unspoken limits. Hence they resort to administer arrack to the bull before the event to make sure that his bull would be wilder than what they were supposed to be at normal times. His bull should never to be tamed in the public like the folks accepting his over lordship in the public. The wild bull should hit every thing that approached them and be untamed.

Still men believe that they could tame it and its nothing but a daredevil adventure. By winning they might look forward to the acceptance of their existence which otherwise would be of non-existential to the society. And the sport evolved from this daredevil action and the justification of the youth's existence among the nagging elders!

It's this individual's ego-trip that needs to be tamed. It could be possible only by organizing the sport by a proper body and not by men who considers their bull as their other self.

The judiciary's concern should only be limited to 'reform' the sport - not to ban altogether the tradition of the people! As every Indians know that the Tamils hold their traditions closer to their heart than anything else and it was revealed by the many interviews aired today by the various news channels.

And if it was barbaric as called by the Courts, then no sport could escape the scale when applied properly. Remember that Raman Lampa died on the cricket field by the hit from a cricket ball! And not to mention the sports of boxing, wrestling (wwf) and the motor sports! And what about the uncivilized incidents of the Sydney test in Australia? The hooliganism exhibited by the football fans around the world is not barbaric?

On the way to the ban, this tradition had been compared with certain other traditions of the bygone era - of Sati. If people could not differentiate between a tradition and a superstition then whatelse could be spoken of their justice? Justice is for the people and let them decide whats their tradition upto them! Not by those people who do not understand whats the tradition and whats the superstition!

I, Nanban

This is my very first blog in English. I am blogging for the last two and a half year in Tamil. For quite some time, I was planning to become a blogger in English too.

And today I am one. It may take some time before getting into writing full time. I have not decided yet the tone of the blog but I may write poetry, short story and articles of all kinds.

Expecting that I would get support and good readership from all of you.



Watch the video clipping of Jallikkattu here