Thoughts on 28/9/2007

Pedro Zapeta

I came across this news item on CNN.
Pedro Zapeta was an illegal immigrant working in USA. He worked as a dishwasher for11 years and saved money. Two years back he wanted to return to Guatemala. He wanted to buy some land and build a house for his mother and sisters. When boarding the plane he was asked what he had in the bag. He said 59,000 dollars. Anyone with more than 10,000 dollars had to declare which Zapeta did not know. His money was confiscated. He started his fight for money. When people came to know they donated 10,000 dollars which was put in a trust. He was offered 10,000 dollars of his money plus 9,000 dollars from donations. He wanted his 59,000 dollars. Now the judge has ordered that by January 2008 Zapeta has to leave USA on his own. It is unlikely that Zapeta will get his money. His dream is shattered.
Though Zapeta was an illegal immigrant he should have been allowed to take the money as he had earned it the right way. He did not engage in crimes.
USA was founded and expanded by illegal immigrants and their descendants. The fact that they were conquerors does not make them legal immigrants. Crackdown on illegal immigrants has affected US economy. There is less demand for housing which is affecting other sectors. The value of dollar has gone down.

India Live TV

Ban on India Live TV for one month is a good thing. It should have been for at least three months. It was not a sting operation but an attempt at character assassination and framing. The channel must be asked to pay one crore rupees in compensation to Uma Khurana. It was not just a wrong story but a premeditated cold blooded conspiracy.

Reactions to victory and defeat

We should avoid extremes in reactions to outcome of sports events. India won 2020 World Cup. Taking players in open top bus from airport to Wankhede Stadium should have been avoided. Felicitation at Wankhede Stadium was right but seemed more an attempt by BCCI officials and politicians to bask in reflected glory as they occupied the front row. Among the cricketers only captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the front row.
When India was out of ODI World Cup in March 2007 i.e., just six months back, Dhoni’s house was attacked and it needed police protection. In 1971 Ajit Wadekar had an open car ride. Flowers were showered. In 1974 India lost to England and Ajit Wadekar was treated shabbily and he retired from first class cricket. In 1992 when India was out of the ODI World Cup Ravi Shastri’s house had to be protected. TV channels should exercise restraint. They should not build up hype and expectations. Victory and defeat should be taken in perspective.
Hockey players threatened hunger strike at their neglect as compared to cricketers. There is some substance in their grievance. State governments had discriminated. But the comparison was not fair for two reasons. First, hockey players had won the Asia Cup, not World Cup. Second, BCCI had organized the felicitation. BCCI is not a government body. IHF should have organized the felicitation for hockey players.
Suresh Kalmadi said Olympic Sports do not get recognition. Karnam Malleshwari and Leander Paes won bronze medals and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won silver medal at Olympics and they got due recognition.
Hockey players got some prizes after threat of hunger strike. Karnataka government and Air India announced prizes. State Bank of India announced prizes of Rs.5 lakhs for every player who represented India in Asia Cup.
Pankaj Advani, World Champion in Billiards, spoke about non-recognition by Karnataka government. His achievement is great. But billiards is not a popular sport. Many do not watch it on TV. Tennis is watched on TV. Pankaj Advani deserves recognition but neglect is understandable.

Human rights

USA is concerned about human rights and democracy in Burma but not in Pakistan. There are no sanctions against Pakistan. Al Qaeda and Taliban have supporters in Pakistan. Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of cross border terrorism. Benazir Bhutto has not come out against Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistan Supreme Court’s judgment allowing Pervez Musharraf to contest the post of President while continuing as General was shocking though not entirely unexpected after it had rejected Imran Khan’s petition.

Delimitation of constituencies

The Government of India should notify the delimitation of constituencies immediately. Some, like L. K. Advani, will lose their constituencies. That is fair and should not hold back the notification.


Rupee must be allowed to become strong. RBI should not take steps that present the rise of rupee. Dollar is falling against other currencies. It is at its lowest against Euro and Pound.

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