Jost Zetzsche Tool Kit

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'Why shouldn't Brahmin community get reservation?

My friend Chandrasekhar forwarded this news to me. My thanks to him for this. First the concerned news item given below in bold italics. It will be followed as usual by my remarks.

Sattanathapuram Venkataraman Shekher is a popular playwright, producer and director in the Tamil film industry. He is also the sitting All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member of the legislative assembly from Mylapore, Chennai.

Popularly known as S Ve Shekher, he shares his mobile number with all the residents of his constituency and is always accessible to them.

He recently created a flutter when he announced his decision to resign from the AIADMK. He also submitted a memorandum to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on March 30, asking for seven per cent reservation for the Brahmin community.

He explains his reasons behind leaving the AIADMK to's Shobha Warrier.

With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, you have announced your decision to quit the AIADMK. Why did you make this announcement now?

I didn't think of the time when I made the announcement. Local party members have been avoiding me for quite some time. I felt that enough is enough. There is no support from party supremo J Jayalalithaa also. The AIADMK is one party where if Jayalalithaa is affectionate towards you, the entire party cadre will support you. Otherwise, the party will throw you out.

You are liked by the people of your constituency because of your accessibility. Is your party chief not happy with your work?

Those things don't count at all. Nobody is bothered about your work. The only thing that works is loyalty. Yes, I accepted Jayalalitha as the chief of the party.

Did any particular incident trigger off your decision to quit the party?

No particular incident prompted my decision; there have been so many continuous incidents. When I joined the AIADMK, the party offered me the ticket to contest without me asking for it, and the party funded my election expenses. But I am basically a strong supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party [Images].

Why didn't you join the BJP then?

The ideology of both the parties is the same. I knew Jayalalitha and she also knew me but (BJP leaders) Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani [Images] didn't know me. I know only the BJP leaders from Tamil Nadu.

Though the AIADMK was a good party, I think I was not suitable for the party mentality. I thought they would utilise my popularity for the party's benefit. But the party wanted me to put on the mask of the party. It is not possible for me.

Did anyone ask you to put on the AIADMK mask?

I am loyal to the party and its supremo but beyond that, I don't know how to act. I am not a 100 per cent politician. I joined politics because I do a lot of social service and politics gives me more power to do that. I run a public charitable trust. Every year, I spend Rs 5-6 lakh on charity. Every month, I make the arrangements for the burial of 15-20 unclaimed bodies in hospitals. I am a regular blood donor. So, politics is not a profession for me.

I have never fallen at her feet and I know she doesn't expect me to do so. I requested her to be there for my daughter's wedding and also do the puja of my son's first film but she didn't come for either. These are personal things.

My brother's wife is an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, so she had invited the Chief Minister (M Karunanidhi) for her son's wedding. As the eldest in the family, I received the chief minister with respect. That was construed as a big mistake!

How did Jayalalithaa get to know about the CM attending the wedding?

There is a team to convey such news to her! In 2006, I was the vice-chairman of the International Film Festival here. For that festival, Dayanidhi Maran was invited. Because I shared the dais with Maran, she refused to come to my 5000th show, though I had publicised her likely presence. On the same day, I changed my show's number and celebrated it as my 5007th show!

These are the kind of punishments you get in this party. I cannot surrender myself to the party. I cannot say AIADMK is my life. I have so many other important things in my life. Meeting opposition party members cannot be construed as a crime.

Were you summoned?

No, I was not summoned. All they do is ignore you. I have been ignored completely from 2006.

Do you feel that politicians of Tamil Nadu lack maturity?

You cannot say they are immature. When you say they are not mature, it comes closer to maturity! You may belong to a different party and you may have a different opinion. But that does not mean that you look at the other person as your enemy. You see Advani and (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi standing side by side but you won't see such a thing in Tamil Nadu.

Are you planning to join the BJP now?

Which party would want S Ve Shekher? I don't want to repeat the mistake I made earlier, so I will take a decision after a lot of deliberation because I want to be part of that party forever. I don't want to be a local person; I want to go to Delhi.

Are you planning to resign from the AIADMK?

Definitely. Now, I will give a memorandum to the chief minister asking for seven per cent reservation for the Brahmin community (he submitted it on March 30). If the government appoints a committee, I will resign from the Mylapore constituency. In a by-election, it is always the ruling party that wins.

Why do you feel Brahmins need reservation in Tamil Nadu?

Why should they not get reservation? In Tamil Nadu, 69 per cent of the people get reservation and ninety five per cent of people enjoy some kind of reservation except the forward community. Where is social justice? There are over 40 lakh Brahmins in Tamil Nadu. It is the government's duty to give equal opportunities to everyone. Brahmins have been eliminated, insulted and sidelined in so many ways. You cannot punish people for what happened over 50-60 years ago.

Now that you are talking to the press about your decision to quit, what is the feedback that you are getting from your party chief?

You don't know the AIADMK. Once the party starts ignoring you, they don't bother about what you do.

Usually, people switch parties when they have some case regsistered against them. I have never been booked for anything -- not even for riding double on a bicycle. I am an MLA but I don't go in the opposite direction on a one-way street, I don't park in a no-parking zone. I am a 100 per cent law abiding citizen.

Once I decide to quit, I will send a letter to the party supremo and I will conduct a sms poll on the decision. I will hold a public meeting in my constituency as I feel I have a responsibility to the people who voted for me. At the public meeting, I will tell the people how I joined the party, why I am resigning and what I will do now.

Now back to Dondu N. Raghavan. S.V. Sekhar should have taken this step long back. Anyhow, better late than never. The only consolation is that he did not indulge the Dravidian culture of falling at the feet of worthless "leaders" such as Jayalalitha or Karunanidhi. He kept his distance. To that extent he is a far cry from the dyed-in-the-wool politician of Tamil Nadu. My best wishes to him.

I am not, however, in favor of reservation for Brahmins.

Dondu N. Raghavan

Monday, March 09, 2009

The untold story by Ronald Kitching as to how Friederich von Hayek caught inflation by the balls

My dear friend Chandrasekhar sporting the name of Hayek Order sent me an interesting email relating an anecdote about the Nobel price winning Austrian economist Hayek. Thanks. Pending its blogging in Tamil I am posting this item here too in bold italics. The 'I' in the following paras refers to Ronald Kitching of course.

The great Nobel Prize winning economist/social scientist F. A. Hayek made a month long lecture tour of Australia in October 1976. There is a bit of an inside story to this tour which so far few know about. Hayek was invited to Australia for a lecture tour by economist Mark Tier. However, Hayek, at that time, had to decline, but as circumstances changed and as he did not know anybody else in Australia, he wrote a note to Sydney Economist/Barrister Roger Randerson, whom he once tutored at The London School of Economics, saying that he could squeeze in a month before going on previously scheduled visits to new Zealand and Japan.

Roger and I were good mates so he rang me with the good news. I then suggested to Roger that he immediately write back to Hayek and ask what his fee would be. I can still quote the answer. Hayek replied saying:

Should first class return airfares be provided for my wife and myself both internationally and nationally, and first class accommodation be provided for us, and also providing that my lectures are confined to no more than two per week, there will be no fee.

Roger estimated that the total cost would be approximately $25,000. As he was well connected in the commercial world and I was well connected with the Australian Mining Industry, we thought that it would be an easy matter to get the tour underwritten. So we set off to see what we could do. After a week’s travelling and lobbying, I could not find a single executive willing to undertake part in such a ‘revolutionary’ activity. I returned to my home rather dispirited about it all. I rang Roger to see how he was doing.

He replied to my query, “My boy, nobody wants to know me. They are all running for cover.” I then went on to say that the average answer I got was, “We cannot be seen to be endorsing the right wing views of such a radical figure.” He replied that that was precisely the response he got too.

So, I said, “Bugger it all Roger, I’ll underwrite the tour myself”. He replied, “I won’t see you do that my boy, I’ll go you halves”.

So, with that settled, I suggested that we again go around the traps, and, seeing the tour was underwritten by somebody who wished to remain anonymous, try to see what could be raised for the venture. We were ably assisted in this effort by Mr. Ref Kemp, Director of The Institute For Public Affairs in Victoria, Mr. Viv Forbes in Brisbane, and Mr. R. H. (now Sir Robert), Norman OBE of Cairns. Roger published a booklet titled Social Justice Socialism and Democracy featuring three of Hayek’s most important lectures. In that small book he said,

Many publicly spirited citizens, institutions and organisations donated, (numbering no fewer than 62, in sums ranging from $50 to $2,000) towards the visit, but no list is given because some wish to be nameless. Their generosity is, however, gratefully acknowledged.

The Hayek visit was a co-operative private enterprise. Indeed it had to be, because approaches at high levels for concessions from government owned or controlled internal and external airlines were refused.

There were complaints from high level ‘intellectuals’, that the visit was everything from a white washing of dangerous capitalist ideology, a political plot of ever devious Jews, to a ‘bankers plot’. Hayek incidentally was a non- practising Catholic. He was in great form and he appeared as Guest of Honour on the hour long Monday Conference with Robert Moore, and televised by the ABC network in all states on October 11th 1976. In addition, in total he kept no less than 60 appointments, including visits to heads of state, seminar and lecturing engagements. A very heavy schedule for anybody, but at that time Hayek was 76 years of age. He was in scintillating form.

Roger decided that in the middle of the tour he would give him four days off on the Atherton Tableland. I had a spacious home there and as half of my six children were away at boarding school, we had ample room to accommodate Roger, and Professor and Mrs. Hayek. When he arrived we had a celebratory drink of his favourite tipple, Johnny Walker black label. “When ever I drink this brand of Scotch” Hayek announced, “I get ideas beyond my station”. He was a past master at putting people at ease.

He then noticed hanging on the wall of the bar, a large picture of a magnificent Brahman Bull I owned. He asked about the Bull, so I told him he was a prize winning show bull which I had nicknamed Inflation as he would not stop growing. “He weighs 3,000 pounds in his working clothes,” I told the small gathering present.

Hayek laughed and said that he knew a bit about inflation and that he would like to meet this one. I told him that compared with the inflations he had witnessed, that this one was rather tame and that my boys jumped on to his back in the paddock. “I even jump on his back when he is in the yard and I can climb up the rails to do so,” I told him.

“Well, while I am here, I would like to meet him,” Hayek exclaimed. So I put that on the agenda.

I got this bright idea that I’d put the bull in the yard, get a step ladder put Hayek on the bull, (if he agreed), and take a picture which would carry the caption Hayek’s on Top Of Inflation. I told my wife and that was the end of it. She would not under any circumstances countenance such a move. “What if the Professor fell off and was injured,” and all of that sort of chatter. So that project was abandoned.

Nevertheless Hayek still wanted to meet the bull. Next day I took him down the paddock and took several pictures of him and the bull when another idea popped into my head and I quietly mentioned it to him. He was delighted to have a bit of fun. The caption of course was to beHayek¹s Got Inflation By The Balls.

Well the old boy was delighted. He was quite at home with animals and had palled up with the bull, which was an easy matter with this particular animal. So he posed and I took the picture. He predicted that if the Americans got hold of a copy, the picture would become famous.

I am happy to announce that not long ago, I heard from Dr. Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute in London. He told me that at a recent luncheon in London, Mrs. Thatcher, much to her delight, had a picture presented to her of her favourite Economist/Philosopher and with Inflation by the balls. Hayek’s grand daughter was present and read out the above story.

Hayek with Inflaton the bull

Ronald Kitching is a life member of the Mont Pelerin Society who made a major contribution to F.A. Hayek’s lecture tour of Australia in 1976 . He also authored the book “Understanding Personal and Economic Liberty”.

Back to Dondu N. Raghavan.

In the face of widespread discouragement to the entire idea of Hayek's tour, it is heartening to see the initiative of the author and his friend in making it possible.

Dondu N. Raghavan

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dastardly attack on the srilankan cricket team in Pakistan

LAHORE: An official says eight members of Sri Lanka's national cricket team have been wounded after gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Lahore, Pakistan, AP reports.

Pakistan Cricket Board security official Nadeem Iqbal says the team members were injured near the Gaddafi stadium where they were due to arrive to play in the second test against Pakistan.

Sri Lankan team manager Brendon Kruppu confirmed the incident and said the team's players, Kumar Sangakkara and Ajantha Mendis, are among the injured.

"We are assessing the situation," Pakistan cricket board chief Ejaz Butt said.

In Sri Lanka, sports minister Gamini Lokuge said two other players, Tharanga Paranavitana and Thilan Samaraweera, had been taken to hospital in Lahore, AFP reports.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the bus taking the Sri Lankan cricket squad and its police escort to a cricket stadium in Lahore, according to witnesses and cricket officials.

Five policemen have also been killed as the police van escorting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore was fired upon, confirms the police chief in Lahore.

The Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan stands cancelled.

Security concerns have plagued Pakistan for years and some foreign sports teams have refused to play here.

What is the world coming to?

N. Raghavan