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Daily Bloggerback
Best of Blogs: January 27, 2006

From the left, the right, the in-between: we include the political,
the social, the cultural and the undefinable.

Quote of the day: "Elections in the US are sometimes won in the Bible belt. This may the first election on earth to be won by the suicide belt." From Tim Blair.

 

Featured Blog I: Fatal Blog
Australian Day

Today is Australia Day, as it was on this date in 1788 that the first fleet landed at Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbour). Whilst this is a day of patriotism, ceremonies and celebrations, I do have to wonder about the logic of two things. Why is the “Australia Day Live” concert held on January 25, the day before Australia Day? Why is the Australian Of The Year announced the night before Australia Day? Thankfully I managed to completely avoid the unusual noisefest which is “Australia Day Live”, and will continue to do so for as long as it keeps going. I am glad though, that Professor Ian Frazer has been named Australian Of The Year for his work in developing a vaccine for cervical cancer. Whilst I consider myself to be patriotic, I don’t really have a huge amount of interest in Australia Day or the related activities. Sure, it is nice to know that today marks the date when Australia was first settled, but it is mildly disturbing that it is also a celebration of the arrival of convicted criminals, the killing of people who already inhabited the country, and mass drunkeness on the part of the officials. Read the full post at Samuel's Blog...

 

Featured Blogger II: India's Devil's Island
Letter from a Calcutta Jail

[The author is a research scientist in Maryland, from India. His grandfather was once a political prisoner in a Calcutta jail. The author's parents recently visited the jail. His mother wrote the following letter about the experience.]

Our first stop of the day was the Cellular Jail. The weather in Calcutta was cold but Andaman was hot although it was also officially winter there. There is a museum inside in the jail where the pictures of freedom fighters who were detained here are kept. We did not know that Dadu's picture features prominently there. So when I saw Dadu's photo on the wall with "Armed Action Case" written on the top of it and his name below, I froze-- literally and emotionally. You don't expect to see your own kin as an exhibit in a museum and that too someone who has been around you physically. All these times we have gone to so many museums and seen so many people's pictures and their personal effects but I never ever felt any sort of emotional twitch anywhere in my otherwise very emotional mind because all of them were just "people"-- mere statistics to me . Yes they were heroes--noble people whom I respect but who are ultimately strangers---the kind that stare back at you from history books and from the walls of museums. You stop, look at them, feel respect and then move on to the next picture. But this was different. The man in the picture was someone I knew--in flesh and blood. I called him Baba, I touched his feet, I loved him and I got mad at him for certain things that he did or didn't do. This was Jyotirmoy Ray, my father-in-law, revolutionary, member of a dangerous anti-British secret society and one of the prisoners of Andaman Cellular Jail. The same man who also lovingly called me khukuma. After my son's marriage, I really came to know what emotional value that simple word "ma" conveys because I call my daughter in law "maago" and nobody knows better than me how much I love her. Read the full letter...

 

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