Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gluttony as charged !

Normally, I don't like taking pictures of food. I prefer to bring it to its right place asap i.e. stomach. But a few weeks back, me and biwi prepared manchurian with noodles and it came out pretty good. Biwi forced me to take pictures and they came out good as well. Thought of sharing on my blog for a change to the lighter but fulfilling side of life.

I love cooking and feel that it is the best stress buster in the whole world. No matter what mood I am in, whether it is anger, depression, tension or anything else, it tends to mellow it down to pure pleasure. If there is anything I would like to do in my life at some point of time is to open my own Restaurant.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My dose of 'hatke' Indian Media

I think I have mentioned it several times before on my blog that I am a news junkie. I do not know why but I always feel the urge to know as much as possible going around me from every perspective possible. It is tedious, time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. Even after all this, there are time when I feel, I still know nothing about this world and its working. The famous saying from the Vedas, "neti neti neti" (meaning: neither this nor that, nothing) starts resonating in my head.

Anyways, I thought of documenting some sources for a subset of news which I have been following regularly. Or in other words, how with changing times and priorities, I moved from one source to the other. So, before I lose track, it would be a good idea to document it somewhere. No better way than in a blog post. 

Living outside India and being fed up with the way, the mainstream media in India had been working in the last years made me look for something else, something "hatke". All the big Indian newspapers went online by 2006/2007. Like many Indians, I was a regular TOI & HT epaper reader living outside India. Slowly, I started feeling that these sources were limiting themselves in thoughts and news both. Half of the paper were advertisements. The main news was almost limited to the front pages with a continuation inside. Somewhere in the middle were opinion columns from regulars. The international news was almost limited to a single page. I got fed up with such short sightedness and limited information provided by MSM (Main Stream Media). So, I started exploring other venues on the internet.

Somewhere around 2007/08, I came across Mint. During that time, I has just started to explore the stock market and the business of shares. It had some really interesting and knowledgeable articles back then. It provided me a regular dose of the Indian markets. Another thing which I was hooked onto was its Lounge. It contained some selected articles from different facets of the ever evolving Indian culture. I was impressed by this new form & presentation of Indian media. With time I saw some great minds writing articles for Mint. A famous blogger I used to follow and now a writer, Sidin also wrote for Mint. I felt I was in the right direction. It was then owned by HT with some collaboration from the Wall Street Journal. Slowly, the articles became lame and I was losing interest in it. I felt that Mint had also fall prey to that limited form of media, restricting itself somehow. It made me move on to something else. (though I still sometimes visit it's Lounge) 
Then, in 2009/10 came the time for Open. It was more kind of a magazine but the articles were really thought provoking and their news appeared fresh. Or at least, it's presentation was new. I felt that it was the new and improved version of India Today and Outlook. It was as if Open had started from where India Today and Outlook stopped. It was my new dose. But again over time and due to some incidents at Open, I felt it was starting to go in a particular direction where I did not wanted it to go. Then in 2013, Hartosh Singh Bal, who I was fond of, left Open. I am still almost a regular at Open but now I read it with caution.
In 2010/11, I found my new joint or I can say was looking at something in parallel. It was Caravan. Based on a format which I found similar to Open, it came up with some flow or articles which I had never though or imagined or expected would come from India. Again, its presentation and feel was something I got attracted to as well. To some extent, I can say that Open and Caravan changed my perspective of news information and opinions on several current affair topics. In 2013, Hartosh joined Caravan after being let go from Open. I was happy. Though I might not agree with everything he writes or appear on Caravan, I am a regular there.

I found something different happening with news in 2012/13. A new website came up called Firstpost. It gained more attention during the Anna campaign. It started out with good intentions, it seemed. I was impressed with its format. It was different from Open/Caravan. It was more like MSM but filtered and refined. On and off, I was gradually becoming a regular there. Then came elections and its tone changed a bit. It again took another turn after elections. Now, I feel it is completely in  contrast to where it started. It has started to voice some strong opinions and mindless bashing giving its reader less to think and more to fulfill an agenda (at least what it seems). The website is cramped up with too much things which I would not like to see there. I hardly visit it now.

In 2014, I started following Scroll, Newslaundry, Hoot. Currently, I don't see these with a particular format or seriousness but maybe they evolve into something which can really has an effect. Good luck to them.

It is unbelievable how fast and how different media is evolving and in parallel how fast the taste of people is changing thus moving them to different sources. I hope that Indian MSM also return to sanity soon enough.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing is permanent except change

How would otherwise anyone explain, that of all the people it would be me who would start up with twitter? I was one of it's biggest critiques yet thought of giving it another shot. So, even added it as a widget to the blog. Unbelievable !!

I had already written a post once on this blog critically arguing against the use of twitter but somehow realized that there are many things worth sharing online and it is one of the good ways to do it. One might not have enough time and energy to reflect their thoughts on every topic so this makes it easier to share content with like minded people without writing a complete post on it.

This is just an experiment just like this blog. I would like to see if an anonymous, non-celebrity like me could use and maintain such a thing :)

P.S: I think I got bored with all the election posts particularly seeing the indifference people share with the new government.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - N,O,P

- Neiphiu Rio of NPF won his seat from the single constituency state. (CM Chang of the same party won the seat in 2009).

- Almost a clean sweep by the BJD in the state (14 in 2009). Only 1 out of 21 seats went to BJP. INC could not even manage a single seat (6 in 2009).
- JualJuel Oram of the BJP won his seat from Sundergarh.
- The big winners from BJD are Baijayant Panda, Tathagat Satpathy, Pinaki Mishra, Sidhant Mohapatra.
- The big losers from INC are Srikant Jena (former Union Minister), Giridhar Gamang (9 time MP), Hemanand Biswal (former Chief Minister).

R Radhakrishnan of AINRC won his seat from the single seat constituency. 

- BJP won 2 seats (1 in 2009) and its alliance SAD won 4 seats (4 in 2009).
- INC won 3 seats (8 in 2009) while the game changer AAP won 4 seats (non existing in 2009)
- Vinod Khanna of the BJP won his seat from Gurdaspur for the 5th time. I have hardly ever heard about him in national political news.
- Amrinder Singh of INC who is former Chief Minister of Punjab won his seat from Amritsar defeating BJP bigshot Arun Jaitely. Personally, I wanted badly for Jaitely to loose. Maybe because of his arrogance I had always seen on TV as well as in his writings. Ironically, even after losing, he is now the Finance Minister. This is democracy!
- Ambika Soni of INC who was introduced to politics by none other than Indira Gandhi and is a senior in INC lost her seat against Prem Singh Chandumajra of SAD.
- Ravneet Singh Bittu of INC won his seat from Ludhiana defeating noted lawyer Harvinder Singh Phoolka of AAP known for fighting for the cause of 1984 riots victims for free. Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh assassinated in a bomb blast.
- Harsimrat Kaur Badal of SAD won her seat from Bathinda. She is the daughter-in-law and wife of Prakash Singh Badal (current Chief Minister of Punjab) and Sukhbir Singh Badal (former MP) respectively. Her educational qualifications are 10th pass.
- Harinder Singh Khalsa (former IPS officer) from Fatehgarh Sahib, Prof Sadhu Singh (former College Principal and known writer) from Faridkot, Bhagwant Mann (actor and comedian) from Sangroor and Dr. Dharamvira Gandhi (cardiologist) from Patiala won their seats for AAP. 

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - M

Madhya Pradesh
- BJP won 27 seats (16 in 2009) and INC won 2 seats (12 in 2009). BSP lost its one seat that they won in 2009.
- Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath of the INC retained their seats from Guna and Chhindwara respectively. Jyotiraditya Scindia is the son of former Maharajah Madhav Rao Scindia and is one of the wealthiest politicians.
- Kamal Nath is a long time worker of INC. His name came up in the 1984 sikh riots. His name also appeared in the so called Radia Tapes. He was held responsible of environment damage and then fined by the Supreme Court. He was once the wealthiest Cabinet Minister in India with assets worth 273 crore rupees.
- Rao Udhay Pratap Singh of BJP won his seat from Hoshangabad. He changed his party from Congress to BJP just before the elections.
- Sumitra Mahajan of BJP won her seat from Indore. She has won LS seats eight times in her life. She is one of the cleanest names on the BJP list of ministers.
- Sushma Swaraj of BJP won her seat from Vidisha. She is one of the top names in BJP and probably my favorite politician. I would have liked to see her as the Prime Minister of India. I admire her speaking skills and way of presentation.

-BJP won 23 seats (9 in 2009) and its ally Shiv Sena won 18 seats (11 in 2009) with SSS winning 1 seat, INC won 2 seats (17 in 2009) and its ally NCP 4 seats (8 in 2009).
- Nitin Gadkari of BJP won his seat from Nagpur against Anjali Damania of AAP who had levied a list of allegations against him and called him a poster boy for corruption in her interviews. He is also the former BJP president who was not re-elected because his name appeared in several corruption cases.
- Poonam Mahajan of BJP won her seat from Mumbai North Central. She is the daughter of former BJP bigwig, Pramod Mahajan and sister of Rahul Mahajan who appear here and there on TV.
- Gopinath Munde of BJP won his seat from Beed. He died in a recent accident. He was one of the top leaders and his wife is the sister of late Pramod Mahajan.
- Ashok Chavan of the INC won his seat from Nanded. He is the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and named in vairous corruption cases like the Adarsh Housing Scam.
- Supriya Sule of the NCP won her seat from Baramati. She is the daughter of former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Sharad Pawar. Sharad Pawar is a political bigwig with a huge list of scams and allegations against him.
- Biggest names for NCP who lost are Praful Patel who was former Civil Aviation Minister named in Air India controversy,  Chhagan Bhujbal who had been embroiled in various controversies like the Stamp Paper scam, misuse of property at PWD etc.
- Biggest names for INC who lost are Priya Sunil Dutt (Actor Sunil Dutt's daughter), Milind Murli Deora (got into controversy as Petroleum and Natural Gas minister), Sushil Kumar Shinde (former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Minister of Home Affairs and leader of the house in Lok Sabha). 
- There were many big names contesting from AAP but none of them won. Big hopefuls were Meera Sanyal, Mayank Gandhi, Anjali Damania, Medha Patkar. Personally, I was a bit shocked and disappointed at Medha Patkar losing the contest. Also, a bit disappointment with Anjali Damania's loss. It was credible to see someone so vocal against BJP bigwig.
- It was amazing to see BJP winning 23 of te 24 seats it contested. DB Patil was the only contesting BJP candidate losing his seat from Nanded against Ashok Chavan. The calculations were almost perfect.

- Both the seats are won by INC (2 in 2009). Dr Thokchom Meinya and Thangso Baite winning from Inner and Outer Manipur respectively.

- PA Sangma of NPP won his seat from Tura. He is an 8 time MP and was also nominated for the post of 13th President of India.
Vincent H Pala of INC won his seat from Shillong.

- CL Ruala won his seat from the single constituency in Mizoram.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - K,L

- BJP won 17 seats (19 in 2009), INC won 9 seats (6 in 2009) and JDS won 2 seats (3 in 2009).
- B Sriramulu of BJP won his seat from Bellary. His name had been tainted because of association with the Reddy brothers, one of whom is in prison. Sushma Swaraj, one treated like a mother to him was quite vocal against giving ticket to him because of all the corruption allegations.
- Prahlad Joshi of BJP won his seat from Dharwad. He is the State BJP President.
- Ananth Kumar Hegde of BJP won his seat from Uttara Kannada. He is a 4 time MP and has several pending serious criminal cases against him.
- B S Yeddyurappa of BJP won his seat from Shimoga. He was the Chief Minister of Karnataka and was allegedly involved in many corruption cases for illegal land sale. He resigned, left BJP and then joined it again before the elections.
- Anant Kumar of BJP won his seat from South Bangalore against the former Infosys boss Nandan Nilekani of the INC.
- Mallikarjun Kharge of INC won his seat from Gulbarga. He is one of the few clean faces of INC and now appointed as leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.
- Veerappa Moily of INC won his seat from Chikkballapur. He was once Chief Minister of Karnataka and was recently allegedly involved in the gas price fixing scam with RIL. He also gave a nod to the controversial genetically modified seeds business while in office.
- H D Devegowda of JDS won his seat from Hassan. He was once Chief Minister of Karnataka and Prime Minister of India.
- Once again, 6 of the 17 candidates of BJP who won seats are not graduates.

- BJP maintained its record of not winning a single seat in Kerala just as in 2009.
- INC won 8 of the 20 seats (13 in 2009). CPM won an impressive 5 seats.
- K C Venugpal of INC won his seat from Alappuzha. His name appeared in the Solar panel scam in which Saritha Nair was also named as culprit.
- Shashi Tharoor of INC won his seat from Thiruvanthapuram. Though a big name in the party, apparently there was a controversy over his wife's recent suicide. He was also named in the IPL controversy over buying of a team.

- PP Mohammed Faizal of NCP retained his seat. NCP is in alliance with INC.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - G,H,J

- Sripad Yasso Naik of BJP won from his seat in North Goa. He had won the same seat twice before.
- Narendra Keshav Sawaikar of BJP won from his seat in South Goa. The seat was won twice before by INC candidate and former CM of Goa, Francisco Sardinha. He was denied the INC ticket this time and instead given to Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco who lost.

- It was a clean sweep by BJP. All the 26 seats in Gujrat are won  by BJP. Most famous candidates were Narendra Modi, LK Advani, Presh Rawal (actor).
- INC had won 11 seats in LS 2009, which was  reduced to 0 this time.
- Something which I noted was that 12 out of 26 candidates were not even graduate, i.e. almost 50%. It can be debated whether any qualification is needed to be an MP, but from the state of prime ministerial candidate who boasts of development, it seems a bit strange.

- BJP won 7 out of 10 constituencies. INC won 1. INLD won 2.
- INC won 9 seats in 2009 and 1 was one by Haryana Janhit Congress.
- Famous industrialist and politician, Naveen Jindal of INC lost his seat from Kurukshetra. 
- Dushyant Chautala of INLD won his seat from Hisar. He inherits an interesting political lineage: Devi Lal -> Om Prakash Chautala -> Ajay Singh Chautala -> Dushyant Chautala (4th generation).
- Deepender Singh Hooda of INC won his seat from Rohtak. He is the son of Chief Minister of Haryana. He also inherits an interesting political lineage: Ranbir Singh Hooda -> Bhupinder Singh Hooda -> Deepender Singh Hooda (3rd generation)
- To sum it up, it seems that all the important people won their seat in Haryana. The legacy of Hoodas and Chautalas continue irrespective of their work done.

Himachal Pradesh
- It was a clean sweep by BJP. All the 4 seats  are won by BJP.
- Anurag Singh Thakur and Virender Kashyap of BJP retain their seats from Hamirpur and Shimla respectively.
- INC lost its one seat of Mandi it had won in 2009 to the BJP. The seat was won by INC heavyweight and 5 time MP, Virbhadra Singh in 2009. He is currently the chief minister of HP with a series of serious corruption charges against him.

Jammu & Kashmir
- BJP won 3 seats and independent candidates won the other 3 seats.
- The alliance of INC with JKNC did not manage to win a single seat which had won 5 out of 6 seats in 2009.
- The big names who lost their seats are Ghulam Nabi Azad of INC from Udhampur and Farooq Abdullah of JKNC from Srinagar.

- BJP won 12 out of 14 seats as compared to 8 in 2009.
- JMM won 2 seats of Dumka and Rajmahal out of the 3 seats contested.
- INC and JMM had one seat each in 2009.
- Sibu Soren of JMM won his seat from Dumka. He is one time Chief Minister of Jharkhand who was convicted for a murder case and later acquitted.

Monday, May 19, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - C,D

- Kirron Kher of the BJP won her seat from Chandigarh against Pawan Kumar Bansal of INC and Gul Panag of AAP.
- Kirron Kher was contesting her first LS election.
- Pawan Kumar Bansal is a  four time MP from Chandigarh for INC. He was forced to resign because his nephew was allegedly implicated in a Railway bribery scam.
- Gul Panag had an active presence online on Twitter, Facebook etc.

- BJP won 10 out of 11 constituencies. INC won 1. Exact copy of the results from LS elections in 2009, w.r.t. numbers.
- BJP lost the Durg constituency to INC as compared to 2009.
- INC lost the Korba constituency to BJP  as compared to 2009.
- Activist Soni Sori was the star candidate from Bastar for AAP but failed to win against Dinesh Kashyap (son of former MP) of BJP.

Dadar Nagar Haveli
- BJP regained their seat from the single constituency.

Daman & Diu
- BJP regained their seat from the single constituency.

- BJP made a clean sweep over all the 7 constituencies in Delhi. INC had won all the 7 seats in 2009.
- BJP, AAP and INC had well known candidates from all the seven constituencies and therefore was supposed to be a tough fight for all.
- My personal surprises were: Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari of BJP winning a Delhi seat; Journalist Ashish Khetan of AAP who is well known for exposing many scams losing; Social activist Rakhi Birla of AAP losing; Grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Rajmohan Gandhi of AAP losing; Former journalist and social activist Jarnail Singh of AAP, well known for fighting for Sikh causes losing from a constituency with majority of Sikhs.
- Parvesh Verma of the BJP is the son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma who won the West Delhi seat. He also has criminal charges against him.

LS Elections 2014 - Result Highlights - A,B

Andaman & Nicobar
- With just a single constituency, the seat went to BJP. (1 for BJP in LS 2009)

Arunachal Pradesh
- The West constituency going to BJP and the East one to Congress. (2 for Congress in LS 2009)

- TMC or CPI or CPI(M) not able to win a single seat.
- 7 seats went to BJP (4 in LS 2009) and 3 to Congress (7 in LS 2009) out of a total of 14 constituencies.
- AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) getting 3 seats (1 in LS 2009)

- 22 seats went to BJP (12 in LS 2009), 2 to Congress (2 in LS 2009)
- 2 seats went to JD(U) of Nitish Kumar (20 in LS 2009) who had cut its ties to BJP in this election. It was part of NDA before in LS 2009.
- 4 seats to RLD of Lalu Prasad Yadav (4 in LS 2009). RLD was in alliance with INC before and parts of Fourth front in LS 2009 but later gave support to INC.
- 6 seats to LJP of Ram Vilas Paswan (0 in LS 2009). LJP won 6 of 7 seats it contested in alliance with BJP after 12 years. Half of the party was part of the Paswan family.
- 3 to RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party) (0 in LS 2009). It contested only on 3 seats in alliance with BJP.
- Giriraj Singh of BJP won his seat from Nawada. He was in the news for the following statements:
"voters who do not vote for Modi shall have to find a place in Pakistan" & "all terrorists caught in the country belong to one particular community"
- Ram Kripal Yadav of BJP won his seat from Patliputra. Before LS 2014, he was with Lalu Prasad Yadav's  RJD and won the LS 2004 elections  from Patna. He won against Lalu Prasad Yadav's daughter, Misa Bharti.
- Rajiv Pratap Rudy of BJP won his seat from Sawan. He won against Lalu Prasad Yadav's wife, Rabri Devi. He was part of a controversy of not paying his hotel bills when he was civil aviation minister in 2004.
- Shahnawaz Huassain of BJP lost his seat from Bhagalpur against RJD candidate. He is one of the prime Muslim faces of the BJP.
- Meira Kumar of INC lost her seat against BJP candidate Chhedi Paswan of BJP. Meira Kumar is five time member of parliament and appointed the first woman speaker of LS in 2009. Chhedi Paswan was with JD(U) till last year.
- Pappu Yadav of RJD won his seat from Madhepura against Sharad Yadav of JD(U). Pappu Yadav had been associated with various parties in the past like SP, LJP, Independent. He was convicted and the acquitted in a murder case of a CPI(M) leader.  
- The BJP had a good strategy of only fielding 30 candidates of its own and the rest 10 seats with pre-poll alliances. The allies got 9 out of 10 seats.

Incidentally, I was reading an article today which said "16th Lok Sabha will be the richest, have most MPs with criminal charges". I think it fits well with the Bihar and UP results.

Friday, April 25, 2014

LS Elections 2014 - Observations

As a school going boy, I remember that I was the most politically challenged person. I had no clue about political parties, their functioning and even the process of our Indian political system. I was so naive that I  did not even knew the difference between the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. I think I was never even motivated to look for answers. Those were relatively easier times, I guess.

Fast forward to 2014. Not only do I know the Indian political and election system today, I also know the complete election process and political scenario of two foreign lands, USA and Germany. Time fly so fast that I find it unbelievable sometimes. I am a person who hates politics to the core, yet I find it hard to explain myself, why do I need to know all these things. Maybe, I have a large appetite for useless things.

Anyways, after collecting the candidate data from major political parties in India, I came across many interesting facts. Either I am still naive to notice them or either I just over analyze stuff. I thought of compiling the points which I found quite amusing. For some readers it might be redundant or useless information. To some extent, BJP is an exception but INC and AAP are guilty of same.

1. Something which I found particularly frustrating was that almost all political parties change their declared candidates without officially announcing it separately in their press releases. This makes it very difficult to track the changes. They simply update their complete list without highlighting the individual updates.

2. Last weekend, I saw a glimpse of a TV interview of MNS chief Raj Thackeray with Rajdeep Sardesai while visiting a friend. He quite bluntly said that non Maharashtrians should not live or work in Maharashtra, thereby standing against anything foreign. It was amusing to see the website of MNS not only in Marathi but also in English. Shiv Sena on the other hand has its website only in Marathi, making it almost impossible to read it for a non Marathi speaking person.

3. It was also quite a let down to see Telugu Desam Party's website. Majority of it was in Telugu and surprisingly no list of candidates. The same go for the YSR Congress Party website. This is the reason why I have no list of candidates from AP in my list. I cannot comment much on YSR but was quite disappointed to see such an unprofessional looking website of TDP, a party with a man who was responsible for bringing IT to AP and thus helping the state in a big way.

4. I was quite impressed by the regional parties of UP like BSP and SP maintaining their websites in a professional way, although for a long time they did not updated it with the list of candidates or any information regarding the LS elections 2014.

5. I was also very impressed by other regional parties like TMC, CPI(M), BJD running and updating their websites professionally. Something I observed and which amused me looking at the footnote on the CPI(M) website was a phrase, labeled "Support Free Software". Quite in line with the party's ideologies. And who could have imagined RJD also maintaining a website, that as well in English. At least, not me.

6. As a general comment, I could see INC making all the correct noise on its website against their biggest rivals, i.e. the BJP in the run up to the election but did not see all those points converting into news on mainstream media. I think INC is missing a good spokesperson. BJP website on the other hand is only about its prime ministerial candidate with his corporate type graphs and bullet points for development.

I find it funny or rather a paradox when I see the current political situation and the definition of the process of electing a prime minister which states: The elected members of the majority party of the Lok Sabha "elect" the prime minister of India. Apparently, that prime ministerial candidate is already decided even before the elections actually takes place. Democracy is so overrated !

P.S: I am not inclined to any political party.

The road to power is paved with  hypocrisy and casualties. Never regret ! - Francis J. Underwood (House of Cards)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

List - W

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - U

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
SP: Samajwadi Party
BSP: Bahujan Samajwadi Party
RLD: Rashtriya Lok Dal
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Monday, April 7, 2014

List - T

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
AIADMK: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
DMK: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - R, S

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
JD(U): Janta Dal United
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - N, O, P

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
BJD: Biju Janta Dal
SAD(Badal): Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - M

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
SP: Samajwadi Party
NCP: Nationalist Congress Party
MNS: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
JD(U): Janta Dal United
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Friday, April 4, 2014

List - K, L

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
JD(S): Janta Dal Secular
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - H, J

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
JD(U): Janta Dal United
JMM: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha
NCP: Nationalist Congress Party
JKNC: Jammu Kashmir National Congress
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - G

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
JD(U): Janta Dal United
NCP: Nationalist Congress Party
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - C, D

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
TMC: Trinamool CongressCPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

List - B

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
RJD: Rashtriya Janta Dal
JD(U): Janta Dal (United)
LJP: Lok Janshakti Party
TMC: Trinamool Congress

Thursday, April 3, 2014

List - A

INC: Indian National Congress
BJP: Bhartiya Janta Party
AAP: Aam Aadmi Party
TMC: Trinamool Congress
CPI: Communist Party of India
CPI(M): Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Flavor of the moment

It gives me mixed feelings about India and its people in the run up to the latest elections. It makes me feel sad, happy, excited, afraid, ... all at the same time specially after observing the kind of behavior my friends are showing on Facebook. Even sitting miles away from India, I feel like I am in the middle of the battlefield with people already armed with their ideas so strong that they make the walls of the steel vaults of banks look like kitepaper. How informed/misinformed they are in making up such opinions is a completely another ball game.

I felt a bit left out after seeing many people online voicing their opinions to favor or against a particular political party. I wanted to throw in some of my thoughts as well but then felt like doing some research first. Amazingly, I found out that one of the basic things for elections is completely missing. No news website, blogger, tweeter, facebooker or even some political parties have released a complete list of their candidates online. Thus, there is no official source of candidates name for some political parties on their official websites. So, I thought that before I comment on anything, it is very important to first make a list of all constituencies and the different candidates contesting from them. It would give a better and clear picture of the upcoming elections. So, in the next few days, I will try to compile the list from whatever online sources I can get my hand on.

Some might argue that it is a futile attempt which does not solve anything. For me, it would be a learning exercise and might use that list as a betting game to predict who could win from where.

Wish me luck !!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New kid on the block

I am a bit late in posting this on my blog since the trip to India and a short spell of ill health took its toll on me. But still, since I said I would write on this topic so here we go.

I personally feel money is one of the most fascinating things ever invented by mankind. It makes people do exceptional things, both in a good and bad way.

Let us roll back in time. And when I say that, I mean sometime before 2000 BC. It was a time when people used barter system to exchange commodities or services. Of course, such a system had some limitations but still I would love to use it even today. Eventually, human beings became more capable and started the system where a new term was coined called currency. Currency in a layman’s definition is the medium of exchange. At one point in time, a standard was set against currencies. One of the most recent standards we know was gold. Today, there is no currency in the world which has an enforceable gold standard currency system. Thus, they are called fiat currencies. It is a fact which few people know. This means, that the governments have control over the circulation of their respective currencies. Now, a currency note or coin actually itself does not hold any value. It was made ideally made against a standard like gold which means that when you would go to the issuing authority and return the ‘note’, the authority will give you an equal amount of actual gold worth in return to you. You can see such a promise on an Indian rupee note or on a British pound note or on old American dollar notes. With the currencies breaking away from a standard, the only thing you would get in return when you go to RBI with a Rs 100 note and ask for gold is raised eyebrows and probably a call to the security guard. This is probably the reason why on new American dollar notes such promise sentence is no longer printed. You can check for yourself. (Example: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of XYZ”)

Let me not make this post as a lecture on currencies and share with you a new kind of currency which is talked about the most lately. It is called Bitcoins. The reason for the entire buzz was because some people were willing to pay 1300 dollars to own 1 Bitcoin at a point of time in Nov 2013. In 2012 you could buy more than one for a dollar. An increase of more than 4000%. Sweet, isn’t it?

I am sure you can find tons of information on the internet for Bitcoins since it became a hot topic during the end of 2013. But here I would like to explain it in completely layman’s words with absolutely minimum technical jargons.

Bitcoin is a digital currency. This means that you don’t possess it physically in hand. It is just a digital number. It can be held in digital wallets online or offline. This means you need a digital machine like a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone to hold it and so far you use it only online with internet to buy or sell anything.

It all started when guy with pseudo name Satoshi Nakamoto created and released a software program (algorithm) on the internet to make Bitcoins. Yes, Bitcoins are made by normal people by running that software on their computing machines. The software is kind of a tough puzzle/problem which only high end computing machines can solve and with each person successfully solving it can create and own a Bitcoin. The software is based on peer-to-peer technology in which all these computing machines are connected to each other over the internet thus keeping track of every new Bitcoin produced and avoiding creating duplicate Bitcoins. The software is made in such a way that with each consecutive Bitcoin created, the software gets even tougher. This means that the ease with which these Bitcoins are created gets tougher with time. It all depends on how many people are trying to create them and the kind of tough machines they are using. And by tough, I mean sophisticated machined which can need a full house to keep. By latest count, around 12 million Bitcoins already created and the software is made to create about 21 million Bitcoins. The estimated time to create last set of Bitcoins would be in the year 2140. This means that they are limited. People who cannot create their own Bitcoins because of lack of technical knowledge to run such a program/software or because of lack of funds to buy sophisticated machines can “buy” them from the people who are generating them. There are many online stock exchanges available in many countries where people can buy and sell these Bitcoins. The maximum amount of trades recorded so far had been in US, China, Japan, Russia, Germany.

This is a currency which is not backed by any government and limited in number. The most fascinating aspect of this whole story is the faith that people have put in such an online currency. It hit a peak of around 1200 dollar per Bitcoin somewhere in Nov/Dec 2013. Today it is being traded at around 900 dollars per Bitcoin.

The advantages, issues, concerns, questions which I have on this topic will need another post. I have not discussed how to buy or sell Bitcoins or how to create digital wallets etc in this post. This is not a tutorial. I just wanted to start a discussion which I would hopefully conclude in my next post.

Though this blog is not visited by many people but still if anyone has any question then feel free to post your queries.

P.S: I am not a student of economics or even professionally involved with this subject.