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Monday, November 26, 2012

Gangnam Style - Most Watched Video Ever on YouTube

The Korean pop star PSY's "Gangnam Style" has become a viral hit video on You Tube and is now officially the "Most Watched" video ever on You Tube. The video has now crossed the 820 million views, which is approximately 9.8 million more than Justin Bieber's 2010 Hit song "Baby". The tune of this song is insanely catchy, making it no wonder that the song has hit a chord with the masses..young and old alike. The Gangnam Style video has managed to achieve this very impressive feat in a matter of just a few months as it was uploaded only on 15th July 2012 and went viral instantly. This video is projected to hit the 1 billion view mark by 16th December 2012 according to ChannelMeter.

PSY Gangnam Style

Apparently PSY hinted in an interview earlier this year that there may be a collaboration between him and Justin Bieber in the near future, as they do share the same manager after all. So one can hope for some more hit viral videos in the future. In case you are one of those who didn't get time to listen or watch this video, you can do so right here:

Watch Video - PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (original video):


 Recorded as the Second Most Watched Video - Justin Bieber's Hit Video "Baby" - Watch Video 

Third Most Watched Video:  Jennifer Lopez - "On The Floor" - Watch Video

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Facebook Arrests Sparks Protests and Spreads Fear

The death of Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thakre on Sunday, 18th of November 2012 was an event that was handled with extreme care and precautions by the authorities of Mumbai, namely the police, politicians and the Thakre family to ensure that peace and order remained in the city. His death happened at a very delicate time when the country and the city was busy with the festivities of Diwali and Bhai-duj etc. Not to mention, that November is the month that everyone remembers for the 26/11 attacks. So keeping the law and order was a huge task for the police of Mumbai during this time.

Here, I would like to quote Bhavin Jankharia who wrote this in a column for the Mumbai Mirror today, "Our leaders, the police and the ruling bodies did a phenomenon job over the last weekend with virtually complete control over the situation....something that must be commended giving the rarity of such an occurrence....all of which was then instantly ruined by the arrest of the Palghar girls, an act so completely ridiculous that it belies any attempt at rational thinking."

Reenu Srinivasan and Shaheen Dhada arrested in Palghar
Yes, the same day that Bal Thakre died and the whole city came to a standstill due to a complete bandh, two girls from Palghar, Reenu Srinivasan and Shaheen Dhada were arrested for posting a seemingly innocuous comment that questioned the need for the bandh and her friend simply "liked" the comment. In just a few hours of posting the comment, the police knocked on her door with an arrest warrant. The girls were subsequently taken to the police station and charged with offenses under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code and section 66 A of the Information Technology Act (ITA). Apparently her comments "hurt" the sentiments of religious communities. 

The police apparently acted with great speed in response to a complaint filed by the Shiv Sena activists. Later, when they were questioned for their actions, they admitted that they did what they did out of fear for what would happen if they did not act upon the wishes of the Shiv Sainiks who probably had threatened them with much more dire consequences to follow if they did not act immediately. The girls too were scared out of their wits as soon as they were arrested as they immediately had to post an apology on their Facebook status and soon went on to deactivate their accounts. The arrest of the girls by the police was not only wrong from the "law" point of view but also wrong as they trampled on the right to free speech of the two girls.

This arrest has sparked a huge controversy in the land of the social media, including twitter, which was flooded with messages from all over the country as people questioned the move and the arrest. The girls, after apologizing, said that they were "scared" for their own lives. It should be noted that the Shiv Sainiks had reportedly vandalized an Orthopedic Clinic that belonged to the uncle of the girl who was arrested. So, we can understand where the "fear" is coming from. But to learn that the police too were acting out of "fear" of the Shiv Sainiks sends a different message altogether. "Fear is more contagious than dengue." Quoting Ajit Ranade from the Mumbai Mirror today, "Remember August 11 riots at Azad Maidan? There too the police restrained themselves, "fearing" much worse religious riots if they had enforced the law vigorously. In both Palghar and Azad Maidan, the police acted contrary to conventional wisdom on law enforcement, out of "fear" of a worse consequence, if they had simply upheld the law."

This whole debacle brings forth the question of whether we should be living in fear and letting this "fear" rule our lives.....and much worse still....rule the "law"?

Should I be afraid to write this blog? To wonder if I may get arrested for simply putting forth my views on the subject? Don't I, as the citizen of India, have the right to question the actions of our leaders or politicians? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ajmal Kasab Hanged to Death In Extreme Secrecy by Indian Government

In the early morning hours of 21st November 2012, Wednesday (7:30 am) the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, Ajmal Kasab was hanged to death in the Yerwada Jail of Pune. The whole operation (Codenamed 'X') was extremely hush-hush as nobody came to know of the execution till it was all over. 

The recently appointed President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, soon after taking office,  wasted no time in rejecting the mercy petition that had been filed by Kasab. He has also similarly rejected 12 other petitions that were lying pending of other terrorists that are languishing in Indian prisons. The hanging of Kasab brought a sense of relief and some sort of closure to the people and victims of the 26/11 attacks. 

Read the whole story of how this whole operation was carried out and why the Indian government chose to keep it all hush-hush. The Pakistan government has been informed about the execution and given the chance to claim the body. 

Asked for his last wish, the 25-year-old terrorist from Faridkot village in Pakistan's Punjab province said: "Gharwalon ko milna hai (I want to meet my family members)." He was told the Islamabad government had been informed about his hanging but had failed to respond. As his hands and legs were tied, his last words, according to officials who witnessed the hanging, were: "Allah kasam maaf karna. Aisi galati dobara nahi hogi...(Allah, please forgive me, this mistake won't happen again)." 

How Kasab came to be hanged as most of India slept is as dramatic a tale as the unfortunate cycle of terror he and his nine other terrorists unleashed across Mumbai landmarks on November 26, 2008. Read More.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Maha" Grief - Balasaheb Thakre No More

The state of Maharashtra was deep in grief mourning the death of their iconic leader of the Shiv Sena for the past 45 years, Balasaheb Thakre. He suffered from natural ailments and passed away on Saturday afternoon, soon after the festivities of Diwali and Bhai-duj.  

There was a state-wide bandh as a result of his death on saturday and sunday. All the streets were deserted and all shops and businesses shut down due to the bandh. This included all the wholesalers and retailers as well, leaving people to wait for two days before they could get any groceries or vegetables. The people of Mumbai who wished to pay their last respects to their great leader were given the chance to do so on sunday before the body was taken in a procession to Shivaji Park for the final cremation ceremony before all the fans and followers who waited there patiently the whole day. The park was filled to the brim as the people crowded in to see their leader for the last time. 

Shiv Sena Chief Balasaheb Thakre

Shivaji Park apparently was a fitting place for the final cremation ceremony for Balasaheb Thakre as this is where he had addressed a crowd of people, giving a moving and impacting speech for the first time when he was young. All the people who remembered him and his speech were overwhelmed emotionally by this last tribute to the great leader and could not help but shed tears.

All the great big-wigs and important people, politicians and Bollywood stars came to pay their last respects to Balasaheb Thakre. The entire police squad of Mumbai were busy with the bandobast of his last rites and to make sure that the city maintained peace and quiet during the weekend. Earlier, there had been rumors of his death on the day of Diwali, but the news channels reported otherwise saying that though his condition was critical, he was stabilized. 

Lately, two young women from Palghar were arrested for simply posting a comment on Facebook regarding the bandh on Saturday. (Read More)

The 21-year-old who posted, "Respect is earned, not given and definitely not forced. Today Mumbai shuts down due to fear and not due to respect", says she "will never post on Facebook again." She also says, in a low voice, a blue and green dupatta pulled tight across her face, that, "I would like to apologise. He (Bal Thackeray) was a great man."

The other girl was arrested for merely "liking" the status. 

The prompt action of the police for arresting these girls due to pressure from the Shiv Sainiks received a lot of furore from the public and social networking sites like Twitter, where people posted their ire.

The action of the police questions our basic democratic rights and freedom of expression. And a basic question remains unanswered - Why were any of the Sainiks who vandalized the orthopaedic clinic that belonged to the young woman's uncle, not arrested?

Updated news today states that nine people were arrested today morning for the vandalism and an inquiry will be held led by a senior cop into the arrests of the young women. Sources say there is consternation in the police headquarters in Mumbai over the action of the Palghar police. "We have ordered an inquiry... if any further action needs to be taken the probe team will decide and send a report. On this report we will act," Deven Bharti, IG (Law and Order), Maharashtra Police said.

The Shiv Sena leader's death on Saturday afternoon had brought Mumbai to a virtual standstill on Sunday, with shops and other establishments shutting and taxis going off the roads, amid fears of violence by Mr Thackeray's supporters. There was, however, no untoward incident in Mumbai over the weekend.  

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray(86), who died on Saturday, was cremated with full state honors in Mumbai on Sunday.

Thackeray whose climb to fame was due to his championing the cause of the marginalised 'Marathi manoos' saw a sea of humanity coming to his funeral from not just all parts of the state but also from the country.

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