Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sonia and Order of Leopold

In a unique honor, Belgium on Saturday conferred the Order of Leopold, the country's second highest civilian award, on Sonia Gandhi, Congress president and United Progressive Alliance chairperson, for her "constructive nationalism" and her efforts to foster a multicultural, tolerant society in India.

I am not sure what they mean by constructive nationalism?is she being awarded for the effort she took to construct her "nationalism" here? 

Anyway, The Order of Leopold  is one of the three Belgian national honorary Orders. It is the highest Order of Belgium and is named in honour of King Leopold I.  The decoration was established in 1832 and is awarded for extreme bravery in combat or for meritorious service of immense benefit to the Belgian nation.

Now what is this meticulous service which our Madam Sonia has given to Belgium? And it is hilarious as this award also recognise Extreme Bravery in Combat. During the India-Pakistan war of 1971 (coinciding with the liberation struggle of Bangladesh), under emergency provisions, the leave applications of all Indian Airlines pilots were cancelled so that they could be used for providing logistical support. The only exception was Rajiv Gandhi, a full-time pilot with Indian Airlines. Sonia Gandhi nee Maino, who now claims that she is an Indian till her last breath, flew off to Italy with Rajiv Gandhi and their two children.

After news came in that the Congress and Indira Gandhi had been defeated in 1977, Sonia Gandhi nee Maino packed an overnighter and, with husband and children in tow, took refuge in the Italian embassy in New Delhi's Chanakyapuri. It took the combined efforts of Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and the other 'bahu' of the household, Maneka Gandhi nee Anand, to convince her to return to the Gandhi home.

Responding to the honor conferred on her, Sonia said, "I do believe that by conferring this distinction you are recognizing not the individual that I am, but the values that I have imbibed and stand for." Ahem Ahem...

Monday, February 11, 2008

2,500 years ago, a city bigger than Athens in Orissa

From under the ruins of an ancient fort on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, archaeologists have dug out the remains of a 2,500-year-old city which they believe was bigger than classical Athens.

"The city had four gateways and could have housed up to 25,000 people. Even classical Athens had only 10,000 people," said R K Mohanty from Deccan College, Pune, who was part of the excavation team which also had members from the Archaeological Survey of India and University of California.

Eighteen pillars were found among the remnants of the grand city at Sishupalgarh, a ruined fortification first discovered 60 years ago. The findings include debris of household pottery and terracotta ornaments, pointing to an advanced lifestyle led by the people who lived there. The polished potteries even have ownership marks on them. 

Sishupalgarh was once ruled by the Kalinga kings.

2,500 years ago, a city bigger than Athens in Orissa-India-The Times of India

Crocodile tears?

Tears are every woman's most powerful and manipulative weapon.

Hillary Clinton used this weapon most effectively atleast twice during her battle for the Presidency of the United States.

Just as the political commentators were writing her off after shock defeat at Iowa, she got a little chocked up during an appearance before supporters at a coffee shop. The Media wend Ga Ga over getting an opportunity to see the softer side of otherwise her ice-queen reputation. We are not sure whether this gave her the much required boost for New Hampshire primary. but consider this, just before the elections Obama led the former first lady 39 percent to 29 percent. But Hillary Won the Elections!

And then the day before Super Tuesday, Clinton was all in Tears again, this time during an event at her alma mater, Yale: "Well, I said I would not tear up; already we're not exactly on the path," she's quoted as saying. Guess what She also won the Super Tuesday Marginally.

Now with both Obama and Hillary being neck to Neck,  how many more times will we have to sit through Hillary's teary-eyed confessions.

Now everyone is asking the question uppermost in the mind(of atleast us Dimwit Guys) is whether those tears were real? and can Hillary weep her way to the White House?

of course how can we dimwit men really understand the politics of crying. Our own tears, by and large, are restricted to unimaginative basics: bereavement, heartbreak and India losing at Cricket.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Did you know?

  1. The Muslim population in Israel totaled 1.142 million people in 2005, which constitutes 16 percent of the country's population(6.9 Million). The Muslim population in Israel is growing at a faster rate than the Jewish population, and is expected to reach 2 million by the year 2025 making up 22 percent of the Israeli population
  2. Indian passports prohibited travel to Israel as late as 1992