Saturday, February 2, 2019

Ilayaraaja 75

To commemorate the 75th birthday of Ilayraaja the Film producer's council, Chennai is organising a two day celebrations at Nandnam YMCA grounds today Feb 2nd and tomorrow Feb3rd, 2019.  The phliharmonic Symphony Orchestra from Budapest has arrived at Chennai to participate in the concert.

Ilyaraaja is the greatest composer of India and widely acclaimed all over the world. At this time I thought I would share with you what other great celebrity giants have said about this great composer.  I feel geniuses like him appear in the world once in a millineum.  He has a divine gift. He is endowed with many talents, he is a vocalist, instrumentalist (plays many string instruments,woodwind instruments and few percussion instruments), composer, writes notations, does arrangments, orchestration, conducts orchestra and above all he is a lyricist too.  His BGM scores for movies are incredible. Experts and people who know him closely says he writes scores without playing any insturment and gives them straight to the Orchestra. It is also said his RR scores would never overlap with other sound effects. He would watch the movie only once and immediately write the RR score. It would start and end precisely.  The score flows from his mind. This ability is something akin to the great western clssical composer Beethoven who created his masterpieces when he was completely deaf. He could not hear his own compositions. But they were world's best symphony compositions.  

I don't know about the nuances of music, yet I feel his greatest success lies in blending Indian classicl carnatic ragas with western orchestration that appeals to a lay music buff.   Many of his songs are immortal. It is said he has composed over 9000 songs and scored music for over 1000 films. A feat that can not be beaten for another century by any other composer anywhere in the world.  All the songs are gems. Many of his popular songs were composed in few minutes.

What they said about Ilayaraja

RI JAYENDRA SARASWATHI SWAMIGAL (Spiritual Guru, India)," Ilaiyaraja has plans to bring about good changes in the society, through his music. His music is capable of putting the mind at peace and serenity." 

SEMANGUDI SRINIVASA AYYAR (Eminent Carnatic Vocalist, India) - " Raja has that unique gift to please common man and carnatic experts alike.Until recently, I knew that Shri Ilayaraaja is a great film music director - his expertise in diluting Carnatic Ragas without diluting their native merits, is well known to me - but recently I had the oppurtunity to listen to him sing a few kirthanas - he sang a kirthana in Raag Abhogi - very well rendered - in Carnatic Sangeet, one needs to know the Sahityam - without knowing it, one should not sing it making it sound absurd - Isai gyani Shri.Ilayaraaja sang it very beautifully and his grasp of the Sahityam is commendable. After today, I realise that Shri.Ilayaraaja is a thorough expert in Carnatic music. May the God Almighty bless Isai Gyani with a long life so that he can render a long service to music."

LARY BAIN( England Based Composer)-"He is unbelievable, genius and fantastic" 

LALGUDI JAYARAMAN (Eminent Musician, India) - "  " His talent is not the fruit of one single birth's efforts. This level of achievement is only possible to one who has lived with music for countless births. The speed with which he writes notations have always baffled me. "
Dr.BALAMURALIKRISHNA (Eminent Carnatic Vocalist, India) -" As far as i am concerned, i would say Ilaiyaraja is the composer of the century. If there is one single authority on 'orchestration' it can only be ilaiyaraja. 

K.J.YESUDASS (Eminent Film/Carnatic Vocalist, India)"There are infinite music forms hidden in his heart. All that should flow-out for the good of mankind." 

VAALI (South Indian Lyricist/Poet, India)"Reethigowlai, Hamsanatham, Bilahari etc are some of the ragas that he has deftly handled for film music. He is not isignani, he is swaragnani"

ZUBIN MEHTA (Music Conductor, Israel Philharmonic)- " I was bewildered after listening to his 'nothing but wind' and 'how to name it'. He belongs to the 21st century and perhaps beyond."

JOSEPH EAGER, (Conductor, World Symphony Orchestra, USA )-"His music will be heard through the twenty-first century" predicted at a function to release the CD of his album Nothing But Wind in New York in 1988. 

VICTOR RANGEL RIBEIRO,( musicologist and author of Baroque Music, USA )"Your ears will hear music like they never heard before" 

-"He is leading us to a very special world of music appreciation and has opened doors of new horizons of new age music"
SHERYAR MOOKERJEE,( a Mumbai based musicologist, India) - ,"Bach's influence is deep and all pervasive in his music. He is adept at using conventional western harmony and standard western techniques. Uses dialogue and imitation extensively. He has a competent grasp of the orchestra. His conspicuous quality is his ability to so integrate the Indian and western idioms that the seams can hardly be noticed and the result is usually pleasant, charming and satisfying. Ilaiyaraaja's music is enjoyable and worth taking very seriously. It grows on one with repeated hearings". 

LASLOV KOVACH,(Conductor, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Hungary) - ,"He is Hollywood Kind. A very special composer. It seems he does not have to think at all to create music. Music just flows out." 

RAJKUMAR SANTOSHI (Noted Film Maker, India )  (on Background music by Maestro Ilaiyaraja for his film Lajja) - ,"The discipline of the 90 musicians, the conductor and the recording engineers of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra in Hungary was overwhelming. The musicians gave a standing ovation after recording the scores written by Ilaiyaraja." 
MARK LAYCOCK, (Director of Orchestral Activities, Iowa State University, Iowa, United States of America) - ,"A fascinating blend of Eastern and Western styles. The music is instantly appealing -- rhythmically, harmonically, formally. The use of traditional Indian instruments in a modern musical context makes for a rich palette of tone colors and creates a wide range of expressive possibilities"
NAUSHAD ALI (doyen of hindi film music, India)- ,"That this man has achieved is 100 times more than what any of us have achieved; only time can tell the quantum of his achievements"

HARIPRASAD CHAURASIA, (exponent of Hindustani Classical Music, India) - ," It is a treat watching him (Mr.Ilayaraaja) work - he does everything, composing, arrangement of instruments, orchestration and conducting - that too without the help of any assistants and a stopwatch." 

L.SUBRAMANIAM (Violin Maestro, India)-,"Ilayaraaja is as good as any composer in the world"

SUDHA RAGUNATHAN (Eminent Carnatic Vocalist, India )," Yesterday, today or tommorrow, ilaiyaraaja will remain the unquestionable emperor of  music period !!! "

MADHAN (Noted Cartoonist, Writer, film critic, India ) - ," As far as i am concerened, Ilayaraaja is the best bet when it comes to background music. He seems to fully understand as to what the film's situation demands and what impact should his music create in viewer's mind. More often, the usage of silent passages in his background music is more stunning than the music itself, and he creates the right mood every time. Amazing is the word!!"
R.V.UDAIYAKUMAR (Noted Film Maker, India) - "He was writing the background score for one of my films. In a particular scene i had made a very glaring error in designing the flow of shots. I told him that i have made a mistake in choosing the shots. He simply said - I just now corrected your mistake with the BGM ...Listen to this!!"
PAARTHIBAN (Noted Film Maker, Actor, India) - "Music alias ilaiyaraja, ilaiyaraja alias Music"

KAMALHAASAN (Noted Actor, Film Maker, India) - ",Ilaiyaraja should be honored as Isai Vigyani (musical scientist) rather than Isai gyani.He has explored and analyzed virtually every type of music.I have worked with several composers. But this man is on his own trip - he is a colossal talent. We have worked together in around 70 films and we know each other's requirements and expectations very well. He saw the rushes of the film (Hey Ram!) just once and immediately decided the music to be scored for the song sequences that have already been picturised. I told my film crew to give me a week's time and that I will come back with one song in that time- instead I came back with seven songs"

HARIHARAN,( Playback Singer, India),"Ilaiyaraja's style is very different. He has been heavily influenced by the classical compositions of Mozart and Bach." 

CHANDRAHASAN,( Film Producer, India)," His music is precious. Mere dishing out of money wont get you such quality music." 

A.R.REHMAN ( Music Composer, India)," He is a genius by himself and is completely  self contained"
KARTHIK RAJA ( Music Composer, India)," He has composed in so many idioms, his work spans such a wide spectrum that there will always some resemblance to something he has already done"

UTTAM SINGH (Music Composer, India) - "Ilaiyaraaja is perhaps the only complete music composer in India"
SUHASINI MANIRATNAM (Eminent Actress, India)," Show me a composition matching legendary compositions like 'shenbagame shenbagame' & 'panivizhum malar vanam' by ilaiyaraja. Only then can you talk of someone overtaking him"

THANGAR BACHAAN (Cinematographer, Film Maker, India)," Once I finish shooting my film, i just place it before ilaiyaraja, and from there on whatever he delivers is music. I dont need to worry about it anymore. I shudder to even think about Indian film music without ilaiyaraaja. " 

VAMSY (Noted Film Maker, India) - "While picturizing a song, iIaiyaraja's tunes inspire me more than the characters of the film themselves." 

BHARATHIRAAJA (Noted Film Maker, India) - " I shoot scenes with a particular impact in mind. And even before i discuss about what i have in mind, he is already ready with mind boggling BGM bits." 

MANIRATNAM (Noted Film Maker, India) - "Ilaiyaraja is absolutely prolific. He is an amazing talent who believes that the music written down by him should be stuck to totally. And then it is recorded which is just a matter of execution. I wish I could be like Ilaiyaraja and work out everything on paper." 

Courtsey (

My other posts about Ilayaraaja

Sunday, May 6, 2018

NEET woes continue to haunt Tamil Nadu

NEET exams were held all over India today. But right from the day the 'Admit cards' were issued by CBSE; medical aspirants from TN were in for a rude shock. After issuing the cards, the CBSE announced no change in examination centre will be facilitated. Grudgingly many students who were allotted centre's outside the state made travel arrangements very much against their wish and financial means, because becoming a doctor is their life time ambition. Most of them in their teens had to be accompanied by one of their parent's. Additionally they had to spend money for their accommodation, reach the location one day in advance and report one hour earlier at the exam centre.

A PIL was filed in Madras HC against the allocation of far off examination centers by CBSE.  Surprisingly CBSE made a bizarre argument in court that except TN, for all other states, exam centers were allotted with in their state.  On April 27, 2018 the Madras HC ordered CBSE to re-allot the examination centers for the Tamil Nadu NEET candidates within the NEET examination centers, nearest to their residence, situated within the State of Tamil Nadu. Relieved students cancelled their travel arrangements. When media men asked CBSE about any possible appeal against the HC order, CBSE said they have not yet received the HC order. Later on, CBSE files an appeal against the Madras HC order and on May 4, barely two days before the scheduled May 6th NEET examinations, SC overturns the Madras HC judgment and directed the students to appear for the NEET examination at their allotted centers only. It was a jolt for the medical aspirants from TN.  Though CBSE argued all centers were allotted by computers and there is no human intervention, it defies logic. All students were asked to give 3 preferential choices of centers with in their domicile state. And there was an instruction that no one should select a centre out of their domicile state. Despite this how could computer allot centers outside the state? Is something wrong with the software allotting exam centers?  SC direction was based on CBSE contention that there is short of time to arrange exam centers in TN now. This argument is apparently implausible because CBSE had more than 25 days at its disposal,  to reallot centers. before sending Admit cards. The only consolation is, SC recogonised the mess created by CBSE and made an observation in their judgment that such goof ups must be avoided by CBSE next year. Nevertheless I felt SC could have been more sympathetic and given some relief to TN students by upholding the HC verdict and postponed the exams by a week and directed CBSE to reallot the preferred exam centers in their domicile state.

It is reported over 5000 students from TN had to make travel arrangements at the eleventh hour to reach their examination centers allotted in neighboring states like Kerala, Karnataka, and Telengana .It is reported that some of the students were allotted far off centers in Rajasthan and Sikkim. Many good Samaritans, few NGO's and Tamil Associations in the other states  volunteered to extend a helping hand to students writing exams in other states by providing free accommodation, free to and fro transport to exam centers etc. Kerala government was the first to announce help desks at Railway stations to help TN students and directed its officers to reach out to students who need help.  Later TN government also announced free buses to transport students to exam centers and an ex gratia amount of Rs 1000 per student.  Mosques in Kerala provided free accommodation to students.

It was generally felt students appearing for NEET in another state would be under severe stress and would not be able to prepare for the exam because he/she has to travel a long distance. But unfortunately a TN student's father died, while his son was writing the exam at the Ernakulum centre. The young boy unaware of his father's death was writing the exam and the tragic news greeted him once he was out of the hall.  Compassionate Kerala government, did all possible help to shift his body to his native place and deputed police officer to accompany the body.

Other goof ups by CBSE were also reported in TN. A village girl was allotted a centre in Salem.  As per the admit card, she went to the centre, the authorities did not permit her to write the exam. The centre mentioned in the Admit card was right, but the computer code mentioned in the Admit card corresponds to a centre at Kollam in Kerala. Authorities asked her to go to Kollam and write the exam, just  1 hour before the exam. For no fault of her, this poor girl, from a remote TN village was not allowed to write the exam. How atrocious is this? Who is going to make good the loss she has suffered! .

Students are permitted to write exams in Tamil also, this is done for the benefit of state board Tamil medium students. They should be given questions papers with English and Tamil. Instead they were given question papers with English and Hindi in one of the centers in Madurai. They were given the correct cyclostyled question papers after 5 hours. Until then they were made to wait inside the hall. But the authorities do not permit candidates to enter the exam centers even if he/she is late by one minute. This has also happened at many centers. The worst part is all students who were given wrong question papers and made to wait were forced to sign a statement in English that they were not subjected to any mental stress. Some of them didn't even know the contents of the declaration signed by them. Normally students who appear for any exam brings the question paper with them, once the exams are over. For these students who were given wrong question papers and subsequently cyclostyled question papers were issued were all taken back by the authorities and were not returned to them. 

This year also the bizarre frisking was done. The dress code for NEET is ridiculous.  Despite protests against funny and ridiculous frisking of students by CBSE in the previous two years, it was conducted this year also. This is worse than the TSA 'pat down' in US airports. Who are we dealing with, students or terrorists? .I am surprised to note why union minister Prakash Javdekar is silent about all that is happening? Is he also busy with Karnataka election campaign!

TN is fighting against NEET; but now CBSE has made TN fight for allotting exam centers in TN. Is it not an oxymoron?  But unlike many others, I don't suspect any ulterior motive in what happened.

But reasons to do away with NEET exams are still valid. As long as India has multiple boards of education such as CBSE, CISE and state boards, it is not right to have common entrance exam based only on CBSE syllabus. Competitive exams are always different from qualifying exams. Majority of the students study in State board syllabus, therefore NEET exams can't be tailored for CBSE syllabus. In the absence of uniform standards, a national eligibility exam based on CBSE syllabus is not justifiable. I do agree there is a need to upgrade state board syllabus. CBSE claims it is a common entrance exam, but  it was alleged last year, the question papers set in various regional languages were in different standards. It was not a translation of the English version. How could this happen?

In 2013 SC Chief Justice Altmas Kabir quashed the Medical council of India's notification to hold NEET for MBBS and BDS in 2013, and called it ultra vires to the constitution. CJ Kabir delivered the judgment on the day of his retirement. Justice Dave was the only judge to give a dissenting judgment among the three judges of the bench.

The late TN CM Jayalalitha was fighting tooth and nail against NEET. JJ wrote to the then PM Manmohan Singh and said "this judgment has brought to end a vexatious issue which medical aspirants had to undergo, due to the uncertain selection process, which is against the interest of Tamil Nadu." She had to write this because the union government was then planning to move the SC for a review.  She wrote,  "Tamil Nadu strongly objects to any such fresh purported attempts by the Government of India to seek a review of the judgment of the Supreme Court and efforts for reintroduction of NEET in any manner as it infringes upon the State’s rights and admission policies to medical institutions in Tamil Nadu. She argued that the state has followed a reservation policy of 69 % for backward and most backward communities and Scheduled castes and tribes in professional courses. Arguing that NEET would go against the Socio-economic objectives of TN, she urged the PM to drop the review petition.

 When BJP was swept to power in 2014, she again quickly gave a memorandum to Modi to drop the review move by the previous government. When government under Modi was planning to reintroduce NEET, she again objected strongly that it will infringe the states rights and admission policies to medical institutions in TN.

Surprisingly in April 2016 SC reopened the case and revoked its own verdict. The reason cited by SC  was that the judges did not have sufficient time to consult among themselves before delivering the judgment and reversed its own earlier judgment and ordered for conducting NEET for admissions to medical and dental colleges in India. The TN state counsel then pleaded that 'There are no entrance exams in TN. He said this state policy was made a statute in 2007 to achieve aspirational parity between rural and urban students in TN.

Because of CM Jayalaitha's efforts, Centre passed an ordinance to exempt TN from NEET for the year 2016-17. In May 2016, she again wrote to Modi thanking for passing the ordinance swiftly and said,  " the ordinance is only a temporary address to the issue for the current year ,TN's situation is distinct and different from other states", and wanted "necessary measures to be taken to ensure TN is permitted to continue the existing fair and transparent system of admission to medical and dental colleges in the state" .

Thus in 2016 TN was exempted from NEET. In 2017 TN students had to write NEET finally, when their hope for another one time exemption again, was shattered at the last minute.  There was state wide protest over the death of 19 year old Anita, TN state topper and  a medical aspirant in 2017, committed suicide when she could not secure a medical seat on account of NEET (She had secured 1176/1200 in Plus two exams)

CMC Vellore, one of the oldest medical institutions of the country decided to suspend admissions to MBBS and super specialties courses for 2017-18, as it was unable to follow its established admission process after NEET became operational.

What is the way forward?

The TN Assembly passed a unanimous Bill seeking exemption for TN students from NEET in last week of January .The bill was sent to Central government for presidential assent. But there is no response from the union government on this till date. Surprisingly neither the state government nor the union government talks about the fate of the bill! .Is it because there is no towering leader like JJ at the helm of affairs in TN? With the inaction of centre on the Bill, NEET woes for TN would only continue unabated like this. As Dr. Ramdoss says reasons cited by CMC for stopping admissions to its medical colleges is applicable to all government colleges in TN, the TN government should take a cue from CMC Vellore, to force some resolution to this ticklish issue. .

NEET is an anomaly. NEET is one of the biggest injustices to India's education system that is not uniform throughout the breadth and length of the country.  Education can not be taken out of the socio cultural, autonomous and linguistic interests of the states. The central can not control education in states. Education should be brought back to states list from concurrent list. Education was shifted from state list to concurrent list by Mrs .Gandhi in 1975 during the emergency. It should be reversed now. Above all NEET would produce quality doctors is a gross misconception. What we need in India is a quality, all pervasive health care system with more number of dedicated doctors to serve the rural areas.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Hair splitting the word 'Scheme' delays CMB formation

It is very unfortunate that the union government has chosen to harp on the word 'scheme' in the SC judgment on Cauvery to delay the formation of the CMB. Any sane person would easily understand it is just a political ploy to delay the implementation of the SC judgment.  It must be borne in mind by all those concerned, justice delayed is justice denied. It is very evident that the ruling BJP at centre is playing politics to delay the formation of CMB, in view of the impending Karnataka elections. It is hair splitting at its best.

Does it mean the judgment by SC is not comprehensible to the union government? SC has made it amply clear that it would not entertain any petition for appeal or review on SC judgment for next 15 years. The union government lacks the political will to implement the SC verdict.  It is very clearly a move to appease the Karnataka electorate and delay formation of the CMB. When the SC judgment clearly states it is a decree and SC stands by the tribunal verdict except for the quantum of water, where does the question of ambiguity arise? First of all where is the need for the central government to look for alternate options!. The delaying tactics is very evident that just a day before the deadline to implement the SC judgment, union government is planning to seek a clarification from the court about the word 'Scheme'. This is a mockery of the judiciary and democracy. 

Union government acting so blatantly in a partisan way, after a reasonable and equitable judgment by the SC is very unfortunate. The public at large will lose confidence in institutions like the apex court and its judgments. In fact till yesterday I was expecting PM Mr.Modi to act like a statesman and not indulge in petty vote bank politics.  I feel Mr.Modi has lost a good opportunity to rise above petty politics and behave like a statesman. Irrespective of the disappointments and pleas by States like TN and Karnataka, PM should come forward to implement a just verdict by the SC. All the four riparian states have to jointly utilise the water resources on the principles of equitable utilisation and rights of co riparian states as suggested by the SC.  The union government is in fact trying to find an alibi to delay taking a decision on CMB. The ruling party at the centre always claims the nation comes first for their party and all the rest are secondary .It they truly believe in this dictum they should implement the SC verdict in letter and spirit .Let us hope better counsels prevail and the SC judgment is implemented by EOD today. 

One thing is very clear that any one going to court on some pretext or other is nothing but deceiving the  people of TN. This is a very sorry state of affairs. The governments at the centre and state undermine the voice of the farmers and the people .of TN. One can very well understand BJP's political stakes in taking a decision like this. BJP is not a ruling party in any of the six southern states .The only southern state where BJP has chances to a have a foothold is Karnataka. But it should not be done at the cost of TN farmers, their reasonable and equitable demand, especially in the light of the SC judgment.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Political realignment likely in Tamil Nadu

Kamal Haasan launched his political party 'Makkal Neethi Mayyam' at Madurai yesterday with much fanfare. He also introduced the party flag and talked about few ideals of his new party. Contrary to the expectation of many people, he did not spell out in detail his ideology or political orientation. He said it is being prepared and would be released as a book. Curiously he said for the consumption of those gathered at the meet what information he shared is sufficient and for the discerning few his political manifesto would do justice. Kamal introduced his party's 'Think Tank' also.

 I could guage few implicit signals, Kamal was sending out while launching his party:

1. He is distancing his party from the Congress, BJP and the AIADMK factions.

2. Kejriwal's presence, Pinarayi Vijayan and Chandra Babu Naidu's messages are pointers

3. Though he claims he is a centrist, it remains to be seen how pronounced will be his left of centre leanings.

4. He obviously does not want to alienate the Tamil sentiments and Tamil pride, the core ideology of the Tamil Nationalist parties, organisations and also his Dravidian credentials.

5. His explanation that the six hands in the party flag represent the six southern states is something new and strange. I don't know why he wants to have a separate identity for the southerners. Probably could it be his wish list that his party will find a foot hold in these southern states at a later stage?  

6. In the absence of a clear cut ideology about his party, one gets the feeling, he is still unprepared for a full fledged launch of his party. 

7. I strongly believe Kamal's party (MNM) could very well create a ripple efect on the national scenario during the 2019 parliamentary elections leading to political polarisation and realignments. There could be a strong alliance of like minded parties against the incumbent BJP at the national level and Kamal could be a part of that grand alliance.

8. Kamal's immediate challenge would be to contest the local body elections, which could be held any time before the 2019 parliament poll or the 2021 State Assembly elections. Civic body elections are altogether a different ball game. A reasonably good performance in the civic polls could very well establish a base for his party. In fact Vijayakant in his early days made a significant performance in civic body elections and ensured that he was noticed nationally and made an impact. But Vijaykant frittered away the advantage later on, attributed mainly to his failing health conditions.

9. Kamal would be an intelligent politican, media persons will find him easy to get along with. But there are few pitfalls.  He talks about a corruption free government. Very laudable indeed. But it is easily said than done. Government machinery is not run by honest politicians or honest bureaucrats alone. Invariably bureaucracy defends the status quo. Bureaucracy doesn't work the way we like it to work. We have an insensitive bureaucracy. Kejriwal has inspired Kamal. Despite a brutal majority at the Delhi assembly, Kejriwal still finds it difficult to run the government the way he wants. All the bureaucrat Babu's are against him. Kejriwal may be honest. But he can not say that about his Babu's. Soon after becoming the CM Kejriwal proclaimed he is still an anarchist and had to stage demonstrations on Delhi's platforms. It is true, as Kejriwal said in yesterday's meeting, honesty is in short supply.

10. Kamal could make a difference and instill greater confidence in his followers and the public, if he really means business about his plans to adopt 8 villages. If he could bring about a perceivable change in the lives of the people of the 8 villages without wielding any authority, that would be something commendable. It would speak volumes about his intentions and plans for the future. It is by no means impossible. When Anna Hazare could transform Ralegan Siddhi, why not Kamal!.

11. These days running a political party is not that easy. It would be interesting to see how and from where Kamal would raise funds to run his party and how transparent will be Kamal about his party's fund raising.


Winning the electoral battle would be a huge challenge for Kamal. With the impending launch of Rajinikant's party very soon, the political arena in Tamil Nadu would present a possible realignment with all sorts of permutations and combinations. To me Rajnikant looks like a reluctant politican. There is obviously some pressure group driving him to launch his political party. The cat will be out of the bag soon. Intentions and goals of both Kamal and Rajini are good and one and the same. Both of them could very well turn out to be compassionate politicians. But politics is a dirty game.

1. The next elections in TN could see a contest between multiple alliances headed by ADMK, DMK, Kamal and Rajini.

2. These 4 could be the major players and others might veer around these parties.

 3. The Tamil Nationalist forces led by Seeman and other fringe parties could either form a separate group or could align with Kamal.

4. As usual Congress, Muslim League, CPI and this time MDMK also could form an alliance with DMK.

5. VCK led by Thirumavalavan is still in a dilemma. My surmise is he woud keep three options open. They are DMK led front, Kamal led front and if these two doesn't materialise he might join the Tamil nationalist group's alliance.

6. Vijayakant and Vasan could also align with Kamal.

7. This leaves  four parties out of the equations. They are CPM, PMK, BJP and TTV faction.

8. There are two schools of thought in CPM.  A group led by Prakash Karat wants no ties with parties like BJP, Congress and DMK. He has a logical reason for his contention. CPM has some backing only in states like Kerala, WB and Tripura. In these states they would be opposing Congress and BJP. So they don't want to be in alliance with groups where Congress, BJP or DMK is a partner. But Yechuri wants to give stiff opposition to BJP by bringing together all secular forces under one banner at the national level. Under these circumstances I see bright chances for CPM to align with Kamal, especially considering Pinarai Vijayan's bonhomie with Kamal.

9. TTV faction could go it alone or by a surprising turn of events make a compromise with the ruling ADMK faction and go with them.

10. Rajini would be more or less forced to take BJP as an alliance partner, much against his own and party cadres wish, because  otherwise BJP could dish out an all time bad dismal performance in the ensuing TN state assembly elections.

11. Now the odd party left out is PMK. Dr. Anbumani Ramdoss is a visionary politician. TN needs leaders like him .Unfortunately in the jigsaw puzzle his party does not find a place in any combination because of their adamant stand of either going alone or align with parties who accept PMK as the alliance leader.  PMK would not be compatible for alliances headed by DMK, ADMK, Kamal or Rajini. But PMK could align with the Tamil nationalist parties, provided Seeman agrees to be an alliance partner in a group headed by Dr. Anbumani.I strongly feel at least for the sake of survival of his party, PMK should become amenable to alliances with like minded parties.

I presume the mandate would be fractured and could lead to a hung assembly. So far the people of TN have given a clear mandate giving either a simple majority or an absolute majority. The next TN election could be different. Let's wait and watch. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Political instability and Legal tangle in Tamil Nadu

The resignation of Chief Minister O.Pannerselvam has thrown TamilNadu in to disarray. Not long ago when the late CM Jayalalitha was hospitalised the state administration was almost paralysed for 75 days.  People of the sate heaved a sigh of relief when the party in power managed to remain in tact and managed to tide over an anticipated leadership crisis and formed the government. But the state had to face the fury of nature -the Varda storm .The administration handled the situation in a praiseworthy manner. Monsoon failure and failure to resolve the Cauvery issue satisfactorily has created a huge set back to the farming community. At this juncture there was a huge public upsurge over the Jallikattu issue. The OPS led government handled it with great prudence and won the appreciation of every one. With in a short span OPS managed to create at least the semblance that a responsible and functional government was in power.

It was at this time the foreboded factionalism of the party came to fore with Sasikala staking claims to replace OPS and become the CM with the unconditional support of all their legislative assembly members. It was a paradox that OPS himself had to propose her name as the Leader of the party in the legislature. He submitted his resignation and it was promptly accepted by the governor.  A Damocles sword is hanging over the head of Sasikala. Sasikala's appeal in the DA case is pending in the Supreme Court. To confound the confusion SC announced that judgment will be delivered in the DA case during the course of this week. Two days after the event OPS comes out with a statement, after doing a prayer to  late CM Jayalalitha's soul at her memorial. He said he was coerced to submit his resignation and if required he would withdraw his resignation and prove his majority in a floor test.

The governor Mr.Visyasagar Rao was at Ooty in Tamilnadu at the time of the resignation of the CM. When a constitutional crisis was brewing in the state the governor goes to Delhi   then to Mumbai and returns to Chennai after 4 days. It is believed the governor did this to consult legal luminaries about the extraordinary situation in TN and to attend a wedding at Mumbai. Whatever may be the reason; this could be interpreted as a delaying tactis by the governor.

In the meantime 6 MLA's and few party functionaries extended support OPS. To stall further erosion in the number of her supporters Sasikala takes her supporters to a resort and restricts their movements.

Now, my surmise on how this extraordinary situation could unfold

1. OPS is pinning hope on the following.

1)      At the floor test few disgruntled MLA's, those who owe allegiance to him and fence sitters could vote in his favour. He assumes he would get the support of at least 15 MLA's .At the time of writing this 6 MLA's have shifted their loyalty to the OPS camp. Including OPS ,now his camp has a numerical strength of 7
2)      Hopes that the DMK and congress combine would back and rescue him to dislodge Sasikala in the event of a floor test

3)      If 1 and 2 happens then he could successfully stall Sasikala from becoming the CM .That is his immediate goal. He knows it would be a pretty uphill task for him to form the government.

2. Sasikala's immediate goal is to retain the support of MLA's held in captivity and capture power. She has her own doubts as to how many of them would back her, if they are allowed to exercise their free will.
 Sasikala pins her hope on the following
1)      At the present moment, her's is the single largest party. She is officially elected as the Legislative party leader and the governor is duty bound to call her to form the government as per the constitution.

2)      This government has another 4 and half years term. Most of her MLA's are fisrt time MLA's and they would not want to face another election in 6 month's time and risk their chances of getting elected next time

3)      So they would at any cost support her. Besides her strong coterie, strong in the literal sense of the word, can retain her flock together .Who would like to lose the privileges of being a minister or an MLA

4)      OPS can not muster enough MLA's to form and stake claim to form a government on his own.

    3. DMK's role

 Obviously DMK is trying to fish in the troubled waters.

1)      DMK does not want Sasikala to come to power .To achieve this end, they are even prepared to support OPS to stall Sasikala from becoming the CM

2)      Only with this plan in mind DMK is hoping for a split among AIADMK MLA's and expects OPS to win the favour of at least 15 MLA's

3)      They tacitly encourage OPS by saying that in case of a floor test they would support OPS and not Sasikala

    But my reading on how DMK would behave is as follows

    DMK will have three plans, plan A  plan B  and Plan C


 Plan A

 If governor invites Sasikala to form the government, they will align with OPS faction and vote against the confidence motion

Plan B

In case the governor asks OPS to prove his majority through a floor test , this is most unlikely, they would vote in favour of the confidence motion, irrespective of the outcome of the motion.

 Plan C

In case the SC verdict goes against Sasikala and she is not able to form the government. What could happen?

1)      The governor could ask AIADMK led by Saiskala to elect another alternate Leader for their legislative party, since it would still be the largest single party. But in the event of such a situation, the split in AIADMK could widen and deepen. More AIADMK MLA's could switch loyalties between OPS and Sasikala.    Neither of them would have a simple majority to form the government. At such a juncture, the DMK could become the largest single party. Yet they will fall short of few MLA's to form the government. They can not encourage defection, since the Anti defection law would attract disqualification of those MLA's.

2)      The DMK also would not like to face another election so soon .It remains to be seen as to how the DMK would do behind the scene maneuverings then.

3)      Their best option then would be to give an issue based support to an OPS led government .But here the moot question is why should DMK with its a fairly good strength in the assembly support OPS to become the CM?

4)      They can not expect support to form a government with the support of either factions of the AIADMK. They would also not like President's rule to be imposed. DMK is also not interested in facing another election so soon. More so for two reasons. They canot be sure what would be the outcome of the next election. It could well be a fractured mandate.
What would the governor do?

The governor can use his discretionary powers and not call Sasikala to form the government on two scores.
1)      There is a split in the party and the majority can be established only on the floor of the house and not by physically presenting the MLA's
2)      SC verdict, which is supposed to be delivered with in a matter of days could go against her and disqualify her.
3)      If the verdict is against Sasikala, he can ask AIADMK to elect another leader other than Sasikala as CM designate.
4)      Such a move could deepen the split and the governor could recommend for presidents rule much to dismay of all the political parties

Let us wait and watch how this would unfold. Unfortunately TN an important Indian state has a Acting governor holding additional charge, a Pro tem CM and a care taker government.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jallikattu ban and Tamilnadu

The main argument in favour of not conducting Jallikattu this year is that there is a Supreme court ban in force against Jallikattu. Tamilnadu did not conduct Jallicut for the last two years respecting the ban. Tamilnadu people by and large are a law abiding lot. This can be seen from their conduct in many judgements of the apex court that went agains the states interest.The recent instances are, despite the apex courts order to form the Cauvery Water Management Board with in a stipulated date, the Central govenrment went against the SC order. State governments of Kerala and Karnataka have continously defied apex courts order on water sharing between states.Defying the apex courts order brings in its wake a constitutional crisis. Katchthivu a bone of contention between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen was handed over to Sri Lanka without a ratification by the Indian parliament. There are legal documents to show Katchathivu was owned by the Raja of Ramanathapuram . With the accession of princely states to India this land automatically becomes part of India.But in  SC the government of India's  lawyers stated Katchthivu was never a part of India jeopardising the intrests of Tamil fishermen with the sole aim to justify a wrong committed in the past.  Dahi handi is a Maharashtrian festival where human pyramids are fromed during Janmashtami .Minors take part in this human pyramid fromation. SC banned human pyramids above 20 feet height .Mr..Raj Thackeray of MNS defied  and flouted SC ban with impunity and formed human pyramids to the height of 40 feet, in line with populist sentiments. What did the SC and Maharashtra government do to prevent him from defying the ban . The Central government is silent on the pleas of TN govenrment to continue the Keladi Archaeiological survey, while two other surveys started along with Keladi survey in the northern part of the country is being continued and funded. Kelady survey has unearthed rare evidences about the Sangam Age and Tamils antiquity. This is not the firs time this is happening.A British Marine archeologist wanted the Central govrnment to continue research on Poompuhar about 15 years ago.Nothing has happened since then.The Birtish marine Archeologist said the findings could rewrite the entire world history. There is a submerged civilisation which could be 10,000 years old, much older than the 5000 year old Babylonian civilisation, which is believed to be the world's oldest civilisation  

For a country as large and diverse as India defying court bans will have serious consequences,especially by a peace loving state.Spontaneous upsruges doesn't happen unless there is some deep rooted sentiments to it. Courts should take cognizance to this while delivering its final judgement on Jallikattu.

The premise on which Supreme court has imposed the Jallikattu ban is based on cruelty to the bulls. Ironically the same SC says in another judgement in a PIL against animal sacrifices for religious practices that the PCA act has provisions for minimal pain and trauma in the case of animals killed for food.The court went on to say "we can not shut our eyes to centuries old traditions and start examining the relevance of animal scrifices of each religion." Is this not a bundle of contradictions?.The rough estimate of number of animals sacrificed in India every year is around 5 lakhs. But in Jallikattu no bull is killed.When the SC can not shut its eyes to centuries old traditions of animal sacirfices, how can it shut its eyes on an age old Tamil tradition followed for centuries, perhaps one of world's oldest civilisation.

Today there is a huge upsurge in TN against the Jallikattu ban. Political parties are always quick to read the popular sentiments of the people at large.None of them is prepared to go against the popular sentiments and  risk their chances in the next elections. Had our law makers been sensible they would not have made things to come to this stage.Laws must reflect the cultural ethos of the society. All lawmakers must be aware of this fact. TN is at the receiving end in issues like cauvery water dispute, Katchathivu ,Cauvey Water Management Board formation,fishermen problems etc No doubt patiene is  virtue. But in the case of Tamils, patience is a minor form of despair,disguised as a virtue.One can not bottle up their patience for long. That is what is now witnessed as an upsurge against the Jallikattu ban.

Comiing to bull fighting per se it is intersting to note bull fighting is still practiced in many parts of the world. Bull fighting is traditionally practiced in Spain,Portugal ,parts of Southern France and Latin American countries like Mexico,Columbia,Eucador,Venezula and Peru.. Bull fighting is practiced in China and Japan too.In Japan it is a fight among bulls Bull taming is considered a sport depicting the valour of the person confronting the bull. In spain there were few woman bull fighters too. However bullfighting is already banned by law in few countries, including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Bull fighting is protected by law in spain. It has been given the status of Spanish cultural heritage. The spanish law says "It is an intangible and unquestionalbel part of Spanish cultural heritage".I feel it is so in Tamilnadu also. Apart from Spain there are a host of other countries where bull fighting is legal.There are other catergories too.In some countries bull fighting is legal in certain parts of the country and banned in other parts.There is another category of countires where bull fighting is legal but not practised traditionally.There is an yet another category where bull fighting is legal but not protected by law. And there are countries like spain where bull fighting is legal  and protected by law.

Tamilnadu being the seat of one of the the oldest civilisation in the world, I certainly feel TN should uphold its rich and intangible cultural heritage .This sport should be allowed to continue with rules and regulations.The authorities should enforce and ensure that the rules are followed both in letter and spirit.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Twin blows to Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu lost its most charismatic CM J.Jayalalithaa yesterday .Today TN has lost another eminent personality Cho Ramasamy. The multi faceted lawyer turned actor and   journalist breathed last in Apollo hospital, Chennai today. Ironically Jayalalithaa visited Cho when he was admitted in Apollo Hospitals in August 2015 and said to him "Don't worry .You will be alright. Doctors are optimistic. Think Positively."  Yesterday while watching Jaylalithaa's funeral in TV, seeing a host of celebrities, it suddenly occurred to me the conspicuous absence of Cho a staunch supporter of Jayalalithaa. I immediately thought, had he been in good health he would have visited and said to myself Jaya consoled Cho an year back, now she is no more. At that time I didn't know Cho was again admitted to Apollo Hospitals and in fact was at Apollo Hospital yesterday.

Cho was the founder editor of the political satire magazine 'Thughlak' ,one of its kind in Tamil.. He was popular for his unbiased outspoken and forthright political views. He served as a nominated Rajya Sabha MP for one term during Vajpaye's period. He was an accomplished playwright and theater artist also. Nominated MP's also get government's MPLAD funds every year .Many of the nominated MP's  did not use their funds for any welfare activities at that time .But Cho used the funds properly and gave accounts of how the funds were spent in his weekly Thuglak .

During the emergency period in 1975, he humorously defied the press censorship and rose to all India popularity. I still remember how Frank Moraes the late editor of Indian Express wrote in his front page editorial about Cho during the emergency period. He said " here is a bright young spark from Tamil Nadu". During emergency he printed an issue with a black cover and went off press.  An intelligent Cho knew how to bye pass the government censorship . In the movie review section, he wrote a review for an old Tamil movie  'Sarvathikari' (Dictator) .  In the literary section he used Bharathiyar's verse from Panchali Sapatham " கட்டுண்டோம், பொறுத்திருப்போம்,காலம் மாறும்.(We are bound now .Let us wait. Times will Change). Finally Thuglak was stopped during emergency. Then he started an English version called Pickwick .But it  was not as popular as Thuglak .Eventually Pickwick was shut down and Thuglak was restarted. The Shah commission appointed by the government to inquire to emergency excesses inquired the harassment faced by Thuglak also. But much before emergency, in 1960, the Bakthavatsalam government in TN wanted to censor the script of his play "Sambavami yuge yuge".  His drama "Mohamed bin Thuglak" was a satire on floor crossing,a malady that  shook Indian politics at that time. When this drama was made in to a film, DMK tried to stop its production,but failed to do so. Then they tried to prevent its screening .

He has also authored many books . He was an unorthodox satirist. He once wrote "If the Left has a future in India ,then India has no future left." When union congress government released a postal stamp to honour Sanjay Gandhi posthumously, Cho released a postal stamp of  Captain Saxena who also died in the same air crash. He would be remembered for long as a non conformist journalist.