Tag Archive | "india"

A Violation of Humanity


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From Bangledesh Corespondent Rezwan…

Bangladeshis were shocked by widely published photographs of the dead body of a 15 year old Bangladeshi girl hanging on the India-Bangladesh border Fence. According to news reports the girl named Felani was shot dead by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) at Anantapur while she was illegally crossing the border with her father while traveling back to Bangladesh.

Mahmud Faisal elaborates how the girl was caught in this tragic fate:

Her father managed to cross the barbed wire, but Felani’s clothes got stuck in the wire and she started screaming in fear. Noticing her BSF shot instantaneously and a bullet went through her body. But she did not die. If BSF wanted it could end her misery by putting more bullets into her. But they waited four hours to be sure that she stopped screaming and she is dead. She was screaming “water, water” while she was hanging in the barbed wire, hurt. Nobody listened to her and BSF finally took away her dead body. After 30 hours she was brought back to Bangladesh like hanging a dead cow (in a bamboo poll).

In a recently published 81-page report titled, “‘Trigger Happy’: Excessive Use of Force by Indian Troops at the Bangladesh Border,” Human Rights Watch found numerous cases of indiscriminate use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, and killings by the Indian Border Security Force, without adequate investigation or punishment.

“The border force seems to be out of control, with orders to shoot any suspect,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The border operations ignore the most basic rule of law, the presumption of innocence.”
Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar says in a report that BSF kills one Bangladeshi in every four days. It also says that BSF killed 74 innocent Bangladeshi citizens in 2010, injured seventy-two and kidnapped 43. In the past decade more than 1000 Bangladeshis were killed in the border regions by BSF.

Alfaz Anam says:

In Saturday’s Naya Diganta (Bangla News Daily) we see a photograph of the body of little Felani in red cloth hanging on the barbed wire of India-Bangladesh border. Seems like a piece of Bangladesh hanging. Why was she killed? [..]

Bangladeshi citizens are being subjected to this inhuman atrocity out of extreme hatred towards them. BSF could easily arrest Felani and take necessary legal measures. But they did not as she is a Bangladeshi. Death is her ultimate punishment.
In this way Parul (another 13 year old civilian Bangladeshi girl killed in 2009 by BSF) and Felanis die everyday. These are not highlighted in the news prominently. They do not have any security. Six Bangladeshis were killed in the first week of new year (2011). [..] India has also borders with alleged enemy state Pakistan. In Kashmir there are regular shootouts between border guard. But no civilian is killed like this. It seems that unarmed Bangladeshis are greater enemy than Pakistan to the Indian guards.
Rahnuma Ahmed highlights in a post titled “Killing Thy Neighbors” why despite all these threats people cross border between Bangladesh and India legally and illegally:

The fence divides and separates. Villages. Agricultural lands. Markets. Families. Communities. It cuts across mangrove-swamps in the southwest, forests and mountains in the northeast.

It split up Fazlur Rehman’s family too, the fence snaked into their Panidhar village homestead, his younger brother who lived right next door, is now in another country (Time, February 5, 2009). Other border residents have had their homes split in two, the kitchen in one country, the bedroom in another.

Banner of the Blog Platform Amar Bornomala

Netizens are also frustrated with feeble government response. Helal M Rahman at Blog Platform Amar Bornomala complains:

After all these incidents the highest authorities of the government remain silent and they are not doing anything to stop these indiscriminate killings.
Blogger Arif Jebtik writes [bn]:

This will continue to happen. Nothing will change. A long highway will be built with loans from India. Cars from neighboring states will roll into Bangladesh on that highway. We are civilized hosts, we will never treat them with bullets rather with steamed fine rice and Hilsha fish curry.

The BSF chief will continue to preach about peace and friendship after bagging Jamdani Sari as gifts for his wife.

Via SMS we will merrily spread the information that the Bangladesh cricket captain Shakib Al Hasan has been sold in auction of the Indian Premier League for 30 million Taka ($425000). Our housewives will continue to watch Indian TV serials and shed their tears during tragic scenes.

But we will never shed tears for our sister who was butchered in the border inhumanely.

We will just utter the magic words like parrots, long live India-Bangladesh friendship.

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Peeling the Cosmic Onion – the Beauty of Detachment


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20060821000635-corazon-rotoFrom India Correspondent Divyaa Kummar…

Detachment is not indifference, distancing, or remaining disconnected from people and events. Quite the opposite, it’s embracing all that surrounds us, without the labels of right or wrong; without the judgment of good or bad; without descriptions of happy or painful. And in this embracing… acceptance … witnessing… detachment happens!

Detachment ‘happens’ when we embrace acceptance and not in the denunciation or rejection of this that or the other!

Detachment is not in shunning, suppressing, or fighting desires. It in fact arises from the fulfillment or completion of our desires. Our ‘desires’ are the soul’s purpose and as you fulfill desires, or complete the deeper learning behind each desire, various soul purposes are being fulfilled. As this happens, as a soul’s plans are completed, desires which were only the propellers are transcended, and detachment happens. After all, our desires are only vehicles for the universal cosmic play to dance upon.

Detachment comes of its own accord, almost effortlessly and in the end, isn’t really detachment at all!  And indeed it cannot be wholly present when our roles in the cosmic game are still required, for then how, or why, or what would propel you? Our desires are in reality divine desires, the cosmic play being carried out through a ‘you’ – a version of your Self. And all that you may have learnt or read about detachment …or strived towards … culminates… and happens!

When there is no ‘you, ’when your personal consciousness merges with universal Self/consciousness, there is no personal attachment or detachment. All is part of the cosmic play.

 And this play, this gurgle, this all embracing “Ah so it is!” moves you away from ‘concepts’ of attachment-detachment.

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Peeling the Cosmic Onion – Tilting the Balance


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energyEverything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics”  –  Albert Einstein

Are you aware that we live in a vibrational universe? That everything we see (and don’t) is energy vibrating at different frequencies?  Whether it’s an immovable rock, a pet cat, our best friend or our designer purse – it’s all energy. Plus, all the fresh air we go out into the hills to find – this is all is energy!  And if we could don those glasses that quantum physics views the world through, we would see everything as the atoms and molecules they are! Not a difference amongst them!

Wait… there is one tiny difference. All that we see – the physical characteristics of people, events and things in our lives – is energy shaped and molded by our thoughts and feelings and they become our beliefs.  And that seemingly empty space stretching out in between is the same energy, but as yet not imprinted by you. And thus raw material is everywhere awaiting our instructions through our thinking!

Come, conjure this vast field of energy around you, your moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings pinging against it,  and view how – as they hit critical mass –  your raw material is shaped into the material manifestations of exactly what they have fashioned. This makes us the boss, with all the energy that surrounds us at our command! And like any good boss, if we understand our resources, we may indeed turn out a better final product – our lives!

Energy functions according to certain universal laws and a master key is the principle – like attracts like.

Conjure yourself like a dish antenna, drawing your way whatever channel you have tuned your thoughts to. So if you are feeling joyful and loving, that’s what will play out on the outer screen of life. If you are constantly tuned into the channels of anger and hate, that’s what what you will indeed invite!

Energy (unlike our court rooms) is impartial and immediate. Goals, desires, aspirations and fears are thus matched with equal aplomb. If we wish to change the movie of our lives, switch the channel, focus on positive feel-good factors, and tip the balance of your day-to-day thinking. That’s all we need to do to start with – tip the balance from a lacking consciousness and its negative attention (I don’t have this, that doesn’t work, he is so mean, life is so unfair) to abundant consciousness and its positive attention. And as the gladdening tangible results play out into our lives, we will create more and more to feel positive about.

One quick way to keep our scales tipped in the right direction is to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Thankfulness has great drawing power due to its heartfelt energy signature – indeed enough to send a spacecraft to the moon! Close your eyes for a moment and think about someone or something you love, and feel your energy fields surge. Next, think about something or someone you are thankful to have in your life – and view the more expansive surge!

If we make a habit of placing our focus on all that we feel good about – what works rather than what doesn’t, what you have instead of what you don’t – we can use all this free power without the exorbitant costs of our electricity bills! Consistently appreciate the smaller and larger gifts of life – the beauty a flower brings into our day, the sanctuary our home gives us, our health, the care of those around us and more.

In situations that bring about a depleting, “Oh my! What a large petrol bill,” zero in on something constructive instead. Perhaps the joy of mobility at your disposal? In place of bemoaning an uncooperative boss, observe thankfully where the positive does exist in your life. Perhaps in cooperative friends? Tilt the balance within you and view an enhanced outer life. Set into motion a chain of moments to be increasingly thankful about. Try it – it’s a lot easier than you think.

Introspective exercise for today: Write a list of all there is to appreciate in your life. Feel thankfulness fill you up as you write or read it – do not make it a purely mental exercise! Tap into this a few times a day – especially first thing in the morning and as your last thought before sleeping. You may also observe your fret list! Which is longer? What are you shaping energy into? Where does the balance tilt? In the end, make sure to tip the scales in the right direction!

From Divyaa Kummar…

You can find Divyaa on her blog and on Facebook

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Peeling the Cosmic Onion – Unleash the Genie


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uniman-2From India corespondent Divyaa Kummar…

“There is a thought in your mind right now. The longer you hold on to it, the more you dwell upon it, the more life you give to that thought. Give it enough life, and it will become real. So make sure the thought is indeed a great one.”

Thoughts matter – and indeed literally become matter  – that sense of awareness that can change your life! Scientific research tells us that we have some 90,000 thoughts a day! This is a great storehouse of ammunition to further problems or potential miracles. Do try to view the slide-show within you and think about what you see.

Yet we often see miracles in terms of providential events, orchestrated by a source outside and higher than us, and made possible only through the circumvention of the natural laws we live by!

Alternatively, let us become aware of the genie that lives within us all – you are the source of miracles, not an outside higher power! Wishes are not granted at random, but by your sense of focus that becomes their life force! And thus miracles are not a divine suspension of natural laws, but indeed our own optimal utilization of the same through exploring how thoughts (become) matter. In doing so, we can increasingly hone our skills to coalesce such miracles – both big and small.

And understanding the power of optimal focus is a simple eureka! It helps us take positive thinking one step forward – for correct focus is your genie! Indeed, it is literally our focus that gives our passing thoughts life. So do not fear your thoughts, for varied thoughts will make up any given day. Sure, some may be angry and others worrying, but our incessant brooding and nagging focus only enhances the life of such thoughts! Allow these thoughts to drift by,  much as we allow storm clouds to pass by our windows, opening them only to sunshine – and they will lose their ability to rain into our lives.

Take this anology of the worldwide web; We come across many thoughts and images whilst surfing the net, but only save in our ‘to print’ folder that which we choose to have in hard copy! Indeed the annoying pop-ups, never entirely avoidable, worry us not because we can always hit delete!

Come conjure with me, that our ever ready to please genies have diligently taken a crash course in 3-D color printing so that they may retain their effectiveness throughout the 21st century! And computer savvy that they now are, all that we ‘save’ in our focus folder is what we indeed print out for ourselves – the rest is not our concern!

But let’s take this off this academic blackboard and hear it directly from our genie within.

Appreciation – a powerful means to maintain a positive focus and indeed whenever you can, breathe more of it into life! Make a game of it if you will; how many people, events, things and aspects within you can you find to appreciate every day? Discover new aspects to appreciate in the usual and customary around you. This is true value addition! Try viewing the gift of each day before you go to sleep and you will give your genie a long ‘stretch’ to whip up your miracles!

Joy – often ignored bit this emotion carries great importantance to the purpose and truly the hallmark of a life well lived! Ancient Egyptians understood the significance of their joy quotient and even worshipped the goddess Hathor towards this sacred responsibility. Make it a point over the next few weeks to zoom into joy, in however small a way, and recognize it consciously as your true state of being, without the clutter you have placed around it.  Joy is indeed a high priority folder for the genie to print out into your life – with free extra copies to boot!

Visualization – build up an inner collection of feel-good DVD’s, your personal ‘dreams come true’ visualizations. These are effective homing devices for those moments when things seem askew and you wonder how to switch your focus to something positive. Insert one of these into your focus folder and achieve the double benefit of shifting your life force (focus) from nonconstructive thoughts, to your highest visions of self! And watch your genie print them out frame by frame, until life becomes the movie you’ve directed from within!

Introspection for today: Set a series of alarms on your cell phone to ring at random times through they day and become aware where your focus was at that very moment. Life affirming or life negating?

You can find Divyaa on her blog and Facebook

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Brown Eye for the White Guy: The White Man’s Burden


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RacismFrom Dubai Correspondent James O’Hearn…

In 2005 I married a wonderful young woman named Nerissa D’Souza. Her family is Goan, and though she is Indian by nationality, she spent her entire life in Dubai. When I moved to Dubai in 2006, I moved in with her family, and by 2007 I had become a “traditional” Indian son-in-law, that is, I became the sole earner supporting a multi-generational family.

Embracing my “Indian” identity, I learned to eat spicy curries every day, I fell in love with cricket, I learned to name the major political parities in India and speak at some length about their policies, I became able to hold forth on the differences between the many different religious, cultural and lingual groups in India, and I learned to love Bollywood movies. But even though I am now far more “Indian” than my in-laws will ever be “Canadian,” I have only ever been merely tolerated, not accepted by them.

So what does this have to do with race or racism?

Before I moved to Dubai, my wife and I were in desperate straits. Prevented from finding work on account of a visa mix up, my wife had to stay at home while I worked three to four jobs at a go, dropping jobs and getting new ones wherever I could eke out a few more dollars. After our first child was born, and freshly out of university with a mountain of debt, we hit the wall, so to speak. We had no money left, not enough coming in, and could see no way of rectifying our situation but for one – we had to leave Canada.

When I arrived in Dubai, a few months after I had sent my wife and child ahead of me, I was a nervous wreck. With only a couple hundred dollars to my name, living at my in-laws, and upon their kindness, I felt lower than I had at any point in my life. Yet my wife was entirely unconcerned. Why? Because, as she told me, soon after I arrived, I was “white,” and we were in Dubai.

Three years earlier, when I had lived in Japan, I had my first taste of what it was like to be a “minority.” Words like “minority” and “mainstream” get tossed about so much in Canada, with such specific associations, that it took me a while to see myself as the minority. In Japan I encountered racism every day, from mild examples to extreme xenophobia. But Japan is very homogeneous, and Japan has a long history of fearing and avoiding outsiders, so I didn’t think much of what I saw. The racism was never specific, just a matter of those who exhibited nihonjinron (Japaneseness) and those who did not. You were wither nihonjin or gaijin – Japanese, or Foreign.

But in Dubai, when I again found myself in a minority situation, where the locals only account for up to 10% of the population, the dichotomous nature of racism I found in Japan morphed into something more along the lines of a shattered mirror, with innumerable facets reflecting each other, but each being separate and unique. Here it seemed that race or racism as not something widely spoken about or acknowledged as a social ill, but was actually a functioning aspect of the societal fabric, ubiquitous and universal.

My wife’s faith proved justified, when, inside of a month, I landed the best paying job I had ever had, a job where in only three years I found my salary rising to a level beyond what I could ever hope to earn in Canada. I chalk it up to luck, and serendipity, but sometimes there is a part of me that wonders if I was the recipient of this bounty not because of extensive credentials or experience, but because of how I looked, and how I spoke. Then again, I had experience in the field, and my employer-to-be was facing a sudden manpower shortage. But still, from some of the comments and attitudes I later encountered from other colleagues, I had to wonder, because regardless of the truth of the matter, it is the perception of that truth that carries weight day to day.

As a Canadian, and a product of that education system, it bothers me sometimes, even though I have proven myself at work over and again since being hired, that others might think I am where I am now not so much because of who I am, but because of what I am. But whatever my feelings are in the matter, the fact is, my situation is accepted as the norm here.

A Keralite colleague of mine was shocked, not too long ago, to find out that not only did I not have any “lands” or “houses” in Canada, but that I had debt. As she told me, she had assumed that because I was white, that meant I was wealthy. She had never questioned why I was hired or my qualifications for the job, and simply assumed that I “should” have that job.

Though she worked the same job as I (but in a different department), and earned the same income, and even though what she earns is ten times what I earn in terms of relative purchasing power parity, she did not even really need the money because her family was very wealthy in Kerala. I, on the other hand, desperately needed that job to support my family, to start to make some headway so that we could build a better life for ourselves. From my perspective, I saw my colleague as being privileged, and felt more than a little envy. Yet even with that in mind, my colleague still felt there was some sort of hierarchy at play, that regardless of wealth or upbringing, race really and truly mattered – that everything aside, perhaps I was the one to be envied.

In Canada, my colleague would be considered the “minority,” and I would be seen as a privileged member of the mainstream. Here I am seen as a privileged member of the “minority,” and she was seen as just an “Indian.” And in there lay the irony.

Few in Canada would know this, but there are about as many Keralites as there are Canadians in this world, even though Kerala is about half the size of New Brunswick. And when you take into account the diasporic nature of Keralite society, there are probably more Karalites than there are Canadians by a good margin. With this fact in mind, in the context of globalization, words like “minority” and “majority” really begin to lose meaning, but what about concepts like “race” or “racism?”

Racism, in the North American conception, is a matter of the privileged actively thinking or acting against the less privileged. In terms of academia, racism relates to the white male patriarchy, and pretty much the rest of society. While anyone can have a racist thought, only a member of the majority can be a racist. That is, only a member of the privileged majority can discriminate or alter their actions towards others due to race (meaning also culture/creed, etc) and have those actions be considered racist. That’s because the discourse on race and racism has, over time, devolved to being an issue of black and white (figuratively speaking).

But is that correct? Is that true? If not, then who, really, is a racist? What, then, is racism? What sort of behaviour would qualify as being racist in nature?

When I go shopping with my wife, when we go to a jewelry store, I am often asked to stay hidden, outside, and around the corner. The reason being that if the salesman does not see me, and does not see that my wife has a “white” husband, we will pay half as much as we would otherwise. And when we walk in public, and get into an argument, when my wife yells at me or castigates me in public, I have to restrain myself from replying in kind because to my wife it would appear as if I was talking to her like she were a maid. Why? Because to others, the sight of a white man talking harshly to a brown woman would be seen as such.

Regardless of my being her husband, and the love, children, and experiences we share, the colorblind nature of our relationship falls away the moment we step into public view. We both have to play roles, roles which change and evolve depending on who we talk to or interact with.

By conforming to these unspoken dictates, does that make my actions racist, or examples of common sense? By avoiding being seen by a South Asian salesman in the knowledge that my wife’s colour and nationality will help us get a better bargain, I can hardly claim to be “colourblind,” because I acknowledge differences in race, and I alter my actions towards other based on those differences, which is what racism is.

Which makes me what?

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In Defense of Cricket


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4-ohearn

From James O’Hearn…

I fully understand that sense of confusion upon first encountering the world of cricket. While I lived in North America, and even in Japan, cricket seemed no more than a quaint, laughable neurosis of the few Australians, New Zealanders, and South Asians that I knew. But then I moved to the Middle East.

Though the Middle East in and of itself is not a hotbed for cricket, the place is overflowing with South Asians, Australians, South Africans, and Brits. Because of this, cricket has a prominent place on television. When the WCC was on, it actually was televised…around the world, sans-North America, to over two billion people, on Fox Sports no less. During the WCC, in which a semi-truncated form of the game, ODI, was played, I found myself inexplicably, yet inexorably pulled into a love of and admiration for the game. Then, a few months later, when the latest form of cricket debuted, Twenty20, in which a game lasts for just about as long as the average baseball game, I was hooked. Utterly and absolutely.

I know and love baseball, and have all my life. I started young, playing t-ball, graduating to pee-wee, through to hardball and softball in high school, and then shifting to slo-pitch during my decadent years at university. I have played the game in one form or another all my life. In every sense, baseball is the sport that for me is not only infused in memory, but becomes memory itself for those brief hours when I am out on the diamond.

When I lived in Japan, their love of baseball, even though at the time it was being threatened by a new found passion for soccer, was exhilarating. Indeed, the way the sport was played, and the way in which the fans went about watching a game had something about it that my experiences watching professional baseball in North America never had – the sense of being at home. What do I mean by this? Well, if you have ever seem the film Mr. Baseball, with Tom Selleck, cliche ridden as it is, it still evokes, in small moments, they way the average fan acts and behaves at a game. From slurping down ramen and having a beir-u (beer) or some sho-chu (think Vodka for Koreans), there is little sense that they are in an alien environment, removed from everyday life. In many ways sitting down to watch the Yomiuri Giants take apart the Hiroshima Carp (Lovely name for a team), is like sitting down on a lawn chair watching your buddy’s team play in the local beer league. There is a sense of relaxation, an absence of overt commercialization, and a lack of distance between the fans and the players that so marks professional baseball in North America. Seriously…when the New York Yankees paid more for one baseball player than it would cost to fund five thousand full four year scholarships to Ivy League schools, you can hardly picture yourself standing beside the average multi-millionaire MLB player, talking about the weather.

Cricket, like Japanese baseball and the local beer league, offers the fan that same sense of being at home. Whether you are watching a test match, which can take days, an ODI match, which takes about six to eight hours, or a Twenty20 match, which might last from two to three hours, there is a greater sense of connection between the fans and the players. The players themselves cannot help but be more human, frail and fallible in the eyes of cricket fans than ever a professional MLB player could be. The same goes for the local beer league. As good as Jim or Bob is at the game, you still remember that he picks up your garbage every Tuesday morning. In Japan, the nature of the society itself precludes the possibility that even the best baseball players would hold themselves above and dissociated from the common man. Yet that same sense of commonality, of being on the same level, just doesn’t exist in Major League Baseball. Part of reason for this, from what I have seen, comes about from the structure of the game itself

In baseball, if the best, highest paid, most dominating player steps up to the plate at the beginning of the game, and messes up, it really is no big deal. What if Barry Bonds strikes out in the first inning? So what? No problem. He’s potentially got eight more chances to launch something into orbit. But in cricket, when that Barry Bonds-esque, team carrying, win-loss deciding player steps up to the wicket, and he messes up, that’s it. It’s over. For him, and sometimes for his team. And when these Bonds-esque players do stand up, for every time they rise to the occasion and crush out a hundred runs straight, there are five times to that one when they go down in ignominy. If you were to analyze the greatest baseball players in history, and eliminate every statistic after their first out in every game they played, I am quite sure that the results would be more than startling.

The mind has the tendency to obfuscate failure, to fuzz out inconvenient truths, and focus on that one home run in the sixth inning that decided the game one time, when it really counted. What if that run in the sixth inning never had a chance to happen? How would we regard our best baseball players then? What would have happened to all those baseball movies where the hero fails and fails again, but in the last moment, in the bottom of the ninth, finds redemption in the form of a fastball making a swift exit over the fence? Indeed that Conradian, redemptive narrative can be found in every corner of the sport, from the player’s thought that no matter what happens, in the next inning they can turn things around, to the fan’s sure knowledge that when their team is at bat again, the tables will be turned. It is the narrative that has defined the rise, fall, and rise of the American republic, and the advance of American power and hegemony.

When the nation was torn asunder through civil war, it yet rose again, the same as before, but stronger. When the economy was ravaged by the great depression, the nation pulled itself up by virtue of the greatest do-over in history. Redemption is an absolutely intrinsic part of the American story. Few, if any, countries have done this or have had the chance to. Most are lost, or suffer irreversible change when catastrophe strikes. How many republics has France had by now? In the past hundred years and a bit, Germany has had a Reich or three, a divorce, a reunification, and an irrevocable scouring of their national history and narrative. Japan, once the proudest, most warlike nation on earth, sure of its path to power by virtue of divine providence, became a nation of craven pacifists, simultaneously beholden to tradition and modernity, and an overwhelming powerlessness to step up and become a presence on the international stage. Unlike the United States, these nations never had a do-over, they were told to play a new game, by new rules. For these nations, and for those who play cricket, there is no next chance. But not for the United States, and not for baseball. For them, there is always a next chance. It’s the essence of American exceptionalism. But if there was no next chance, what would happen then?

If there were no second chances in baseball, would the top ten players in the country still collectively be worth more than $1.5 billion dollars? Would they seem as superhuman, as ethereally distant and different from everyday mortals as to almost seem to be a different form of life in and of themselves? Or would they be more human, frail and fallible? Would they seem to be more like us? Would they be mere humans?

Though I seem to be disparaging baseball, do remember that I love the game, have played it all my life, and will continue to play until I have to be pushed around the bases in a wheelchair. Yet, as Joseph O’Neil points out in his lovely paean to C.L.R. James, a sport can also represent a discourse about politics and society. Baseball truly does represent the American discourse, from the head on nature of the game, which is like the straightforward attack and defense of chess to cricket’s more subtly strategic Go-like nature. In that vein you can also find American football, and basketball, with a constant give and take, and switching of sides. In baseball there is usually a chance to try again, and again, and again. In cricket, by contrast, there is not.

In cricket, when your team is up to bat, you have that one chance. And while the going may seem good for a while, just like the British Empire, things can change when it’s the other team’s turn. From then on you are not trying to win, so much as trying to not lose. And with every setback, and every ball past the boundary, you see the eternal glory of the afternoon slipping away into the distance. And it is not coming back. There is no next chance. There is no do-over; just fate, the crushing weight of history, and the chance for a new narrative. This was the case when dark horse India defeated England in the 1983 world cup. Or, more recently, when MS Dhoni, a second rate nobody who, in the wake of India’s crushing failure at the 2007 World Cup of Cricket, was sent to captain the Indian squad at the first Twenty20 World Cup. He was sent almost as an afterthought, but this second rate nobody pulled off one of the greatest modern feats of sports leadership. He led India to victory, overcoming an Australian team who, in the world of cricket, were dominating in a way the New York Yankees could only dream of. On that day a new cricket narrative was born, and a billion Indians embraced a new national hero. Not because he or the team had a lucky break or did one thing right, but because they did everything right. Not because they stepped up to the wicket one last time, but because they stepped up to the wicket and did it right, the first time. Baseball, like the American consciousness, is forgiving. And the fame, while bright, is short lived ephemeral. But in cricket, when you are made immortal by virtue of your efforts on the field, your fame lives on.

Oh, and there are also some wicked fast bowlers. Forget Randy Johnson, because when you see Lasith Malinga fly across the pitch like an insane banshee, there just aint no going back.

 

 

 

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Top Ten Indian Baby Names


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indian-namesWhen it comes to baby names, people are often interested in the meaning or significance behind them. Whether it’s Anthony, Ali, Hiroko, or Oksanna, names are the first thing we know about someone. Most Western cultures name their children after a family member or even a freind, while Eastern culture names sometimes do the same, but the names themselves often have specific meanings and nuance. With a wildly diverse selection to choose from, we decided to narrow our list to one country. Below are the ten most popular baby names in India over the last year.

  • 1.  Sowmya / boy or girl / polite
  • 2.  Aarush / boy / first ray of sun
  • 3.  Aarushi / girl / first ray of sun
  • 4.  Aarthi / girl / way of offering prayer
  • 5.  Aaleahya / girl / sunshine
  • 6.  Aahan / boy / dawn
  • 7.  Aahna / girl / alive
  • 8.  Aakesh / boy / lord of the sky
  • 9.  Aalok / boy / light of God
  • 10.  Aaku / boy / shape
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