Sunday, March 22, 2009

IIT students turn vandals

IIT Kharagpur, which houses 9000 students & another 1000 odd faculty & administration staff in the 600 acre campus, has only one hospital catering to this huge population. Today the hospital was accused of death caused by negligence of a 3rd year student of electrical engineering, Rohit Kumar. Late night news reports suggest that around 2000 students initially gheraoed the Director, vandalised his residence & car and then finally forced him to fax his letter of resignation to the Board of Directors.

The BC Roy technology hospital is a 10 bed hospital having neither qualified doctors nor quality medical equipments to deal with moderate illness leave alone an emergency. The funny part is this has been the tradition for the last 4 decades. The students, faculty as well as administration know this and hence will never take an emergency patient to BC Roy hospital. I have witnessed this in person during my student days. Once I had dislocated three fingers on my right leg and was referred to the Railway Hospital in Kharagpur for a routine resetting procedure after spending 2 nights in the hospital doing nothing. Second time was more serious. A case of suspected hepatitis was treated by the doctors for 4 days with painkillers till I got scared enough to rush to Kolkata for diagnosis & treatment. There are numerous scary stories about the hospital and typically the faculty & the staff prefer to take their critical cases to the Kharagpur district hospital or move closer to Medinipur town or slightly further to Kolkata. Hence it is kind of strange that the fellow students failed to rush Rohit straight to Medinipur earlier. Probably his life could have been saved.

As for vandalism at the Director's residence, I am disturbed that the virus of mob violence has reached the precincts of this largely peaceful campus. Having said that, I must also say that the apathy of the IIT administration to students' demand for basic facilities ,during my time, was to be seen to be believed. At times of crisis, it was difficult to find any helping hand either from the administration or from the faculty and the students largely had to rely on their own network to deal with any crisis,be it a perennial water shortage or mess workers' strikes before the examination or taking a critically ill student to the hospital. The situation still remains the same.

But why did students have to resort to vandalism is going beyond me? And this is not because there is no cause for serious grievance but because the IIT students ,by and large, were not of those 'type.'

Sadly, Rohit Kumar's tragic death and the disturbance thereafter will change the perception of lots of people including myself about the changed character of the student population inside IIT Kharagpur.

Photo Source : Ambuj Saxena on Flckr

10 pros & cons of holding IPL in a foreign land.

If the Indian Premier League as announced today is held in a foreign country like South Africa or England, what will be gains & losses for the Indian television viewers? I could think of 5 such pairs.

  1. A pollution free environment will enhance clarity of broadcasting .
  2. Pitches will be livelier making for a better match.
  3. Cheerleaders can wear sexier dresses .
  4. All the 'foreign (non-Indian)' players will probably be seen in action as security will be a less of a concern.
  5. Local Indian media including newspapers & television channels will devote their time & space to newsworthy events other than IPL.

Cons :

  1. One will have to strain the neck to watch matches in-between a glut of ads as Indian advertisers will squeeze out every opportunity to beam their commercials on hapless viewers in India while foreign advertisers will also try to showcase their unknown products in the same time.
  2. The restriction of 'foreign' players ( 4 per team) in the domestic teams will assume farcical meaning as Pietersen playing for Bengaluru Royal Challengers will be termed as a foreigner even though the match is played in England .
  3. The concept of 'home' and 'away' matches will now be termed as 'adopted home' & 'adopted away' matches thus adding to the confusion.
  4. It might be distressing to watch Kallis warming the reserve bench in his home ground while Robin Utthappa gets to swing his bat in South Africa.
  5. It might even be more distressing to see an impassioned 'foreign' crowd not erupting in a roar as their adopted team hits a sixer/takes a wicket/wins a match in the 'adopted home' ground.

Can you add some more ?

IPL second edition leaves Indian fans high & dry.

BCCI's decision of moving the second edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) out of India is amusing to say the least. South Africa & England are the apparent front runners for this money-spinning cricket league. The franchisee owners appear to be in tune with the decision . The plan is to have 8 cities in the new country adopt eight local teams of IPL. Lalit Modi, the bespectacled chief of IPL, thinks that this move is nothing more than holding a domestic tournament on international soil.
What a farce !! Just imagine a team like Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be adopted by say Manchester or Durban where 'adopted' fans will dance to the tune of the Bengali theme song "Jeetbo re" of KKR. The stadium will probably be occupied by expatriate Indians and other fans of cricket, if at all.
But then, who cares for the demography of fans in the stadium as long as television viewership does not drop? And just to ensure the viewership in India, all the 59 matches will be played as per the original schedule at 4 p.m and/or 8 p.m IST. Hence , broadcasters are also in tune with the decision.
Hey what about promotion of T20 cricket in India? What about encouraging local club players to watch the matches on the Indian grounds ? That surely does not seem to be the objective of IPL organisers who think that as long as the network of "television broadcasters" "advertisers " & " franchisee owners" are satisfied that they can make money , everything is fine. Even if that means holding a domestic tournament in Honolulu.
Surely the organisers of IPL are trying to be one-up on the Indian political establishment who had asked for change of dates of the IPL tournament . The Indian government was apprehensive of providing paramilitary forces as they would be busy covering the general elections in the country due to be held during the same time period.
In this battle between big business & politics, it will be Indian viewers who will have to pay the price of missing live action of T20 cricket on the Indian grounds.

Friday, March 20, 2009

100 cans of Saltease Fizz

Summer time is here in India, the land of heat and dust. As the established beverage companies fight it out in the market place, I decided to launch my own beverage which will not only quench your thirst but also make you ready for pissing off on anything or anyone that irritates you seriously.

Its called 'Saltease Fizz'. Its a cool beverage with lots of flavoured salt in it . The idea is to get your blood pressure high and your fuse short as the beverage cools its way down your throat into your disgusting gut.

For starters , I am giving 100 cans free. Write to me to get your free can.