“#unfollowsachin” trend on Twitter

The recent nomination of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar for the Rajya Sabha seat has managed to stir up a storm in the entire country. Everyone, television channels, social media, general public, political parties has caught the bug.

Some are questioning the practicality of the nomination; some are in favor of a political seat for the little master; while some are terming it as a political ploy by the Congress party. The reactions are many and varied.

The Twitter has become battle ground between Sachin’s fans and people who object to his nomination for the coveted post.

There was a general consensus among the people that it was an ‘attention diverting tactic’ on the behalf of the ruling Congress party.

The party- plagued by allegation of corruption, scandals, and misrule- wants to shift the focus from the main issues, it was believed by some.

One campaigner flashed out the collective sense of outrage. According to him, by accepting the Rajya Sabha nomination from the Congress, and by personally meeting Sonia Gandhi, Sachin had, in a manner of speaking, sold his soul to the “corrupt” Congress.

Sachin Tendulkar had gone to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Thursday prior his Rajya Sabha nomination announcement.

The issue came into limelight on the social media site, Twitter. So much so, the Twitter site is buzzing with calls, for and against the #unfollowsachin trend; with message pouring in at the rate of over 100 tweets per 10 minutes.

The cause was vociferous on the web.

The chief minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar tweeted- “ #UnfollowSachin still trending on twitter & I still believe 95% of them have nothing to do with hatred toward Sachin but towards Congress.”

Vijya Mallya was the most vocal supporter of the nomination- “Delighted to hear on the news that Sachin has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Befitting for an extraordinarily accomplished Indian.”

“I have unfollowed Sachin. He has become part of corruption now,” read one of the tweets.

One tweet sums the entire episode, “@sachin_rt U should’ve joined politics but not Sonia Gandhi, who is hated by the nation. Hence #UnfollowSachin. U’ve let down Indians.”

“Y #unfollowsachin? I thinks it’s great that he goes to d Rajya Sabha. Better than many many tht have gone before” reads the tweet of director and producer, Shekhar Kapoor.

The hashtag has not gone down well with the ardent fans of Sachin Tendulkar. The reaction was enormous. One person tweeted- “The most absurd hash-tag in recent Twitter.”

While the other read- “First you push him to score the 100th 100. Then you suggest him to retire. And now this. Mind your own work people!”

A majority of the people were of the opinion that the hashtag ‘Unfollowsachin’  is inconsequential and Sachin will always continue to rule the hearts of millions of Indians with his batting displays.

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Silsila sequel in Rajyasabha, minus AB!

With the Rajya Sabha nomination, Rekha now has the option to share a very public platform with Jaya for the next six years. Jaya, who recently won a nomination from the Samajwadi Party, was sworn in for a fresh term in the Rajya Sabha earlier this week.

The heady Bollywood years and the attention that swirled around Silsila have ensured that many are seeing in Sonia’s initiative to get Rekha a berth in the upper House a deft move to keep Jaya in check.

Given their star status, comparisons are certain to be made on every move the two make and unsparing glare will fall on their attire, style and performance — where some foresee an edge to Rekha.

Rekha has spoken extensively about fellow actor Amitabh. In an interview, she had said:

“It’s so easy to gush about someone who has been an inexorable part of my life for over three decades now. Amitji has been a part of my consciousness ever since I saw him create magic on screen in Parwana playing the intense, silent, yet obsessive lover opposite Yogeeta Bali. Incidentally, Yogeeta was the one who introduced us at Madras airport.”

Bollywood actors sympathetic to Jaya say she spent her entire life making concessions for her husband. She had probably thought that the political arena would be one area where she would have the spotlight to herself and come into her own after years of putting her career on hold.

Now Jaya may have to share that space with Rekha.

media made god of sathya sai baba & dispatched him to oblivion !

 writes in The Huffington Post:

Isn’t it really amazing how the 20th century media could make ordinary mortals into Gods and dispatch them to oblivion in the 21st century? Millions of people around the world perhaps came to believe through the modern media and the Internet that Sathya Sai Baba of India was God himself.

Though he died only a year ago, the Baba has virtually disappeared from the world media, and from the minds and memory of most people who came to know about him, with hardly any mentioneven on the anniversary of his death. Is it the media who should be really blamed for this forgetful ignoring of a guru who had over 6 million followers when he died?

After all, Jesus Christ and Gautham Buddha, who are also credited with miracles and teachings, were not forgotten but loved, revered, remembered and worshipped for thousands of years before the advent of modern communications.

It is not surprising that no one, including the leading newspapers, magazines and TV around the world want to remember or bring back the memory of Sathya Sai Baba despite the $9 billion assets he amassed during his life of 85 years, some of which he had spent on various charitable projects.

(read full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sreedhar-pillai/whatever-happened-to-saty_b_1454931.html)

68 % Indians don’t want Sachin in parliament !

Star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination to Rajya Sabha was met with widespread bemusement on Friday, with many questioning whether the publicly apolitical batting superstar will have the time or inclination to serve as an MP.

President Pratibha Patil approved the government’s nomination of Tendulkar late on Thursday, offering him one of the 12 seats in the Rajya Sabha, or upper house that are reserved for presidential appointees.

He is the first active sportsman to receive the honour, with the seats normally gifted to people who have distinguished themselves in the arts, sciences or social services.

The adoration of the cricketer in India verges on religious worship – a fact not lost on Friday’s newspaper headline writers, with newspapers announcing that ‘God has a New House’.

Not to divert attention: Cong

Most members of the upper House welcomed the decision even as the Opposition felt this could be a move by the Congress to divert attention from the problems afflicting the party.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut maintained that Tendulkar should be given the Bharat Ratna but questioned the timing of his nomination to Rajya Sabha.

“Sachin is still on the field and has not retired. So why is he not being nominated for Bharat Ratna? And if Sachin is being used to divert attention from the problems plaguing Congress, then such politics should not be practised by them. Anything that Congress does is inspired by politics. Sachin is above politics,” he said.

Congress Rajya Sabha member Satyavrat Chaturvedi rubbished the opposition charge that Tendulkar has been nominated to divert attention.

“The Government, country and Parliament are above any individual. One person can neither build nor destroy the fate of a party or a government. The sooner this confusion is removed, the better. The kind of mindset Shiv Sena has, it can say anything,” he said.

Chaturvedi maintained that nominated members have also contributed immensely to Rajya Sabha.

“I have seen some nominated members who have made a lot of contribution. Can anybody ignore the contribution made by M.S. Swaminathan or Shabana Azmi? On the other hand, there were some who visited only once in a blue moon,” he said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Mayawati (BSP), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Sudip Bandyopadhaya (TMC) and Raj Babbar (Cong) welcomed Tendulkar becoming a Rajya Sabha member.

Hope Sachin is not bored: Hema Malini

Rajya Sabha is a place for retired people and one hopes that Sachin Tendulkar does not get bored with his new responsibility, actress and former MP Hema Malini said today.

“It is a very prestigious thing. I am happy for him. This (RS) is for retired people…and I suppose he is not retired yet. I just hope he doesn’t get bored,” Malini, whose term in Rajya Sabha ended recently, said.

Noted director Mahesh Bhatt hoped that glory will follow the 39-year-old star batsman in Parliament as well. “He is a legend. It is great that he has been nominated. Glory is his co-traveller. This (nomination) is just deepening of his halo,” Bhatt said.

“Don’t forget Sachin had taken on the Shiv Sena and said that Maharashtra belongs to every Indian not just to Maharashtrians,” actress Shabana Azmi wrote in reply to a Twitter user, who said Sachin would never raise his voice against anything wrong.

Bandit Queen director Shekhar Kapur wrote, “I think its great that he goes to the Rajya Sabha. Better than many many that have gone before.”

Actress Gul Panag tweeted, “I am all for Sachin for RS. Better than a retired 60+ sports person no?”

While Bollywood celebrities came out in support of Tendulkar’s nomination, the twitter world seemed divided with ‘Unfollow Sachin’ trending on the micro-blogging website.

“UnfollowSachin trended not just in India, but worldwide. Point was made loud and clear that Sachin’s fans don’t like his Rajya Sabha entry,” a twitter user wrote.

“We like Sachin for his cricket. With GpCapt rank in AF he degraded Air Force Offrs. Same way many don’t like him degrading MPs post (sic),” another tweeted. “Give him a chance, he has always done right things in his life,” a supporter wrote.

Sachin interested?

The reaction of media commentators and some of the ‘Little Master‘s’ fellow cricketers was one of puzzled caution.

“Frankly, I am at a loss for words,” said former Mumbai and India team-mate Sanjay Manjrekar.

“I never realised these sort of things interested him. He is not one to express his views publicly and this would be a real test for him. I hope he can make a difference in parliament.”

Tendulkar, who turned 39 on Tuesday, has played more Tests (188) and one-day internationals (463) than any other player since his debut in 1989.

He is the highest run-getter in both forms of the game and last month became the first batsman to complete 100 international centuries – 51 in Tests and 49 in one-dayers.

Doubts on serving as a politician

Despite recent speculation about his retirement, Tendulkar has given no indication that he plans to hang up his pads, leading some to question how he could fit an MP’s duties into his hectic playing schedule.

“He plays almost right through the year, where is the time to go to parliament?” said another ex-international Akash Chopra.

“I will be disappointed if he did not contribute and make a mark for himself in the Rajya Sabha.”

Not a great idea: Bhogle

Noted cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle suggested the nomination was a cynical ploy to gain ‘political mileage’ out of Tendulkar, who has rarely, if ever, spoken out on political issues or professed any party affiliation.

“I don’t think it is the greatest idea,” said Bhogle. “He does not have the experience of governing or doing social work.”

No comment from the cricketer

Tendulkar has not yet commented to indicate whether he will accept the honour.

But news of the nomination broke just hours after he and his wife called on ruling Congress party president Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi.

“My only fear is that the stamp of a political party should not come on him,” said Chetan Chauhan, a former India opener who forged a career as an MP.

“The minute he associates himself with a party, the public’s perception about him will change,” Chauhan was quoted as saying by a newspaper.

Well-known cricketers who are sitting members of the elected lower house, or Lok Sabha, are former internationals Mohammad Azharuddin, Kirti Azad and Navjot Sidhu.

A snap online poll in a daily revealed 68 per cent of respondents did not want to see Tendulkar in parliament.

Another editorial labelled Tendulkar’s nomination a populist move that made ‘little sense’.

Pointing out that that Tendulkar’s cricketing duties kept him on the road for 216 days last season, said nominating an active sportsman ‘defeats the purpose’ of choosing eminent people who can enrich parliamentary debate.

“His new role will force Sachin to choose between his duty to the team and his job as a parliamentarian. It’s an unfair choice,” it said.

Media bodies are inefficient and unsuccessful journalists

Media bodies: Toothless tigers

Media regulatory organisations, unions and associations have failed to intervene positively to resolve challenges faced by the fourth estate from time to time. Can these ever become effective? Writes  Sanjay Kumar Srivastava in The Sunday Indian:

…..Media in fact is behaving like an unleashed watchdog. Press Council of India, Editor’s Guild of India, News Broadcasters Association, Editor’s Conference, Electronic Media Monitoring Centre – the list of media regulatory bodies is endless. These bodies preach good conduct and unbiased journalism and are responsible to ensure the implementation of such code of conduct. Still there is no control on the content and sanctity of media reports. Journalist unions such as National Union of Journalists, Indian Federation of Working Journalists, Delhi Union of Journalists et al claim to work for the protection of journalists’ rights. However most journalists are no better than unorganised skilled labourers.

…..Pradeep Mathur, a former Editor of The Pioneer and former head of IIMC, says, “Most office bearers and members of such regulatory bodies are inefficient and unsuccessful journalists. PCI is headed by a former judge, who has no experience of the media.” Mathur recalls an incident when he had to appear before a jury of PCI. He was surprised to see that the jury included a gentleman who was initially a teleprinter operator and was eventually promoted to be a reporter. Two other members of the jury had met Mathur for their job interviews years ago. Mathur says, “Even the Editor’s Guild of India is full of journalists who are good only for issuing statements. There is a bunch of pro-promoter editors in the guild and they do everything to make life easier for their bosses. Credibility and transparency of the media is their last priority.”

………….A book titled “Media Monitoring in Asia” published by the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre says that media monitoring in India is not up to the mark. Probably, that’s why Noam Chomsky said in an interview, “Media subdues the public. It’s so in India, certainly.” All these issues can be solved only when sincere efforts are made. The solution will have to come from within the media. Else, media will be reduced from being the Fourth Estate to a mere vendor of content. Hope, someone realises that soon. Read the full article : http://www.thesundayindian.com/en/story/Toothless-tigers/285/33975/

India’s best library now in Goa

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI

The 180-year old central library of Goa, now named after Konkani literature of 16th century Krishnadas Shama, is just not a new five-storied building but reflects a new philosophical outlook with hi-tech facilities.

The new library complex, which was inaugurated by chief minister Manohar Parrikar on 23 April, is perhaps the best library complex in India at this stage.

Designed by nationally renowned Goan architect Gerard D’Cunha, the building also has a sixth mezzanine floor dedicated to rare Portuguese books while its ground and underground floor houses Directorate of Art & Culture.

The most fascinating among all the features of this central library are the new modern facilities, making the job easy and comfortable.

Its censor-fitted doors simply do not allow anybody to take out any book, DVD or any other material without registering in the fully computerized system. The beep at the door simply embarrasses you.

The books are not delivered at the counter but at the self check-in and check-out kiosks which accept it electronically.

The library even has one such electronic drop box in the open lounge, where any member can drop the book even at odd hours, even when the library is closed.

Carlos Fernandes, the curator, says the book drop facility would also be made available at all its 145 libraries spread in the nook and corner of Goa; no need to come to Panaji to deliver it.

In fact the future plan is to network all the libraries so that book searching would be facilitated at village level rather than making special trip to the capital city just to find out whether it’s available in Panaji or any other library.

Equally fascinating is the ‘book lift’, through which any book could travel from any floor to the member after surfing through the intranet facility made available on computers on all the five floors.

Over 1.68 lakh books, including 236 brail books as well as 2746 e-journals and 1590 DVDs, are available for lending or references. But not a single cupboard is above the human height, making it fully airy and comfortable to move around.

In fact each floor has tables with chairs and even sofas on both sides at the glass walls to read and even discuss while viewing the Rua de Ourem creek as well as the mangroves.

The children’s section on the second floor in fact is the most thrilling experience, which even Parrikar felt like spending time at. The cupboards are colourful and the books are cuddled by teddy bears of different sizes.

There are 12 computers available for browsing and five television sets for viewing movies including 3D movies.

Adjoining this section is a 96-sitter AV room-cum-story telling room, even with a green room for dressing up and make up.

World’s biggest 105-inch television set is installed in this ‘dream room’ to watch even 3D films for 100 kids at a time.

Internet browsing however is just not the privilege of children. It has 51 PCs on the same floor exclusively for browsing while each floor also has PCs for other references.

Research is one area the central library has sincerely focused upon, with a treasure of 29,044 reference books, old newspapers and magazines, 461 microfilms as well as the whole world made available through internet surfing, besides laptop-connecting facility.

“We have made nine special cubicles available, including four closed-door rooms with internet and storing facility available, for research scholars on hire-out basis”, proudly says Prasad Lolayekar, the director of art & culture.

In addition, hi-tech machines are being hired for data imaging of any reference book as well as to print any rare book.

The special state of the art printing machine would compile the whole book, print it and provide a bound copy within no time, provided you pay for it.

Also it has a lecture hall with a hi-tech white board as well as a projector, with a sitting capacity of 100, for research activities like seminars, symposiums, lectures, screening and debates.

But the central library is just not for the ‘haves’, but also for the ‘have nots’.

There is a special study room with 13 cubicles, for those who can’t afford to study at home in a peaceful manner.

It includes those living in a congested house as well as those struggling youngsters who work during day time and study at night.

“This section would be open throughout the night for all the needy students”, states Lolayekar, who has meticulously designed the library even for the underprivileged; just not the privileged.

His next target is to make it the best library in the whole of Asia… (courtesy: Frederick Noronha