Saturday, October 3, 2015

"Talvar": Some thoughts on the adaptation of murder mystery

Watched the movie "Talvar", an adaptation of the Aarushi and Hemraj double murder case. Couple of points:
1. Dr Malini that did Narco analysis on the servant is notorious for her unprofessional work. She even had Kaleem confessed to his crime and named all the accomplices in the Mecca Masjid blast. But then courts acquitted them all and Swami Aseemanand confessed to the crime and implicated many other right wing members.

2. Making someone an "Approver" in CrPC is a terrible way that we have imported from the Britishers. Britishers used it to target the freedom fighters. After all "Approver" will be let go only for implicating others. Yakub Memon was also convicted using the "Approver" route.  IMO it is an illegitimate prosecution technique.

3. The "typographical" error on the pillow cover by CBI was a huge mistake. But the movie shows it as the result of office rivalry, a highly contestable claim considering CBI had no other particular reason to let the servants go.

4. I think the film correctly points out the fallacy of the "honour killing" argument advanced by the UP Police earlier as the motivation. But does not still rule out other issues that could have been motivation or purely rage and short tempered action.

5. Movie correctly points out the fallacy of convicting Mr and Mrs Talvar for their action when they saw their dead child. In fact that is one of the primary reason that trial court has used for conviction. Hope at least high court corrects that mistake.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Speech to the incoming MBA class

My speech to the incoming students of Symbiosis School of Media and Communications, Bengaluru on 8th June, 2015.

First of all I am thankful to the Director and the faculty of Symbiosis School
of Media & Communication for inviting me to address the incoming students of
the MBA class. Congratulations to the students and wishing you all success
in the upcoming academic program.

I know many of you may have apprehensions about the academic program
 and what you may be doing after words. All I can say is that an academic program is
pretty useful to become a more rational thinker. It provides you a conceptual
framework to understand the complex realities of the world. It is very rare
that you would encounter a real world challenge that would match what you
 have already learnt earlier.  That is why academics usually chop off unnecessary
details from real world examples and try to identify ideas that work through a
number of examples.  From my own experience in PhD, I can tell you that
identifying principles and ideas that have wide applicability is never that
easy. So it is good that you get them in a boilerplate and you can learn as
much as possible from other people experience. It will enable you to make the
right decisions and stop you from making the  same mistakes that others did.

Many of you would have thought of a  path after graduating from the college. A
rough plan of the kind of work you will take up while going forward and
how you will shape your future. While such a plan is often desirable than no plan at
all, I would like to caution you that you need to keep an open mind on it. Your
perception of issues may change, the opportunities that are available to you
may change. It may also happen that the kind of work that you thought would be
exciting actually turned out to be dull. Sometime your priorities may even
change. Your family, your need of money and sometimes your location
may become an issue of utmost importance.

The vagaries of real life and personal interest may take over the broad
plan that you had. And that is perfectly normal. It is perfectly normal
to change your interests, to change your priorities and even re-assess the
quality of work you do. That is because you never had all the knowledge earlier
 to decide on these issues.

What is more essential is that you vet everything with an open mind and judge
with your own intelligence. Be a boat in the open ocean and catch the winds
that you like. It does not matter which island or port you dock in. What is
important is that you enjoy the sailing and you feel satisfied with the route
you took. Also be cautious of the fact that the sailing may be through
turbulent water and may not be exactly as you thought it would be. But there is
no point in feeling sorry about it. You tried your best and you change the
course if you find it too difficult.

I started my PhD without any idea on what I will be doing. We worked on a
number of ideas related to Internet Security and wrote  papers related to our
findings. But then I built a legal search engine with neither expertise in the
legal domain nor any expertise in the field of information retrieval. What
changed the direction was the fact that it caught up pretty well with the
people and they started using it. That signal was too strong to be ignored.

Another advice I would have far you is to talk about the difficult issues that
you face with as many people you trust as possible. I particularly have
benefitted a lot with these discussions on what are the way forward.  So best
of luck in your endeavor.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On the opportunity of Aam Aadmi Party to grow beyond Delhi

Kejriwal's reservations on AAm Aadmi Party party quickly expanding to other states as Prashant Bhushan wants are valid. It is a publicly funded party and it will have problems in raising funds like it happened after Lok sabha elections. I think Yogendra Yadav approach of having a medium term view and a long term growth plan seems to be much better.

Kejriwal's view of not fighting a single election for next five years is also kind of misplaced. Party needs to grow by understanding and dealing with public issues. Delhi presents a small state with exposure to mostly urban issues. So Kejriwal should focus on Delhi and hand over the convener post to Kumar Vishwas or Yogendra Yadav or Bhagwant Mann. Then they should contest Punjab and UP. UP is a state where every party has failed and AAP will also get first exposure to rural and law & order issues.

Aam Aadmi Party should contest municipal elections like BMC and BBMP but only after they have people of repute and do ground work on improving municipal issues. Win elections but have no plans to effect change would mean a fast disenchantment with the party. That is the mistake that traditional parties have done.

Apart from expanding, Prashant Bhushan has raised other issues for improving Aam Aadmi Party. Mostly to ensure transparency in its decision making and on ensuring the clean image. For many it seems like allegations but looks mostly like good suggestions that should be accommodated.  It will give AAP more credibility. After all a political party should aim to win elections but that should not be the only goal.

While it is disconcerting to see the fights between top political leaders in a public place, I do believe that differences in the party should always be public and so should the deliberations on the path chosen. The days of old school politics in which things were decided in a closed room is not scalable. AAP is a publicly funded party and needs to justify its decision to its donors. Decisions inside a closed room lacks that legitimacy. 

Dilip Pandey's letter was highly amateurish. He will graduate and will understand that winning elections though vital should not be the only thing that the party should focus on. Other than that Kejriwal is not a newbie in politics. He knows how to carry people together. Only one he was not able to convince to come back was Sazia Illmi. And after the kind of attacks she did on Kejriwal during the elections, I think it was a wise decision to let her go.