Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tunnel Vision?


Allow me please...

1. I agree with George. Negating the Aryan Invasion theory is either rightist propaganda or wishful thinking.

How else can you explain one set of fair-skinned, light eyed people & another set of dark-skinned, dark haired people? Does this dichotomy exist in any other peoples?

a) Human life did not originate in India. Africa is said to be the cradle of life. So even the very first settlers in India must have come from elsewhere?

b) This concept of India. What is it? When did it originate? What was the map like? Who integrated us into that map first? Was it done peacefully? Or by invading other kingdoms?? Interesting question, na?

c) What was the Ashwamedha Yagya about?

d) Since when are religious texts sufficient proof of History???

e) Sanskrit & Persian have a common progenitor. And common ancient customs. That should tell you something about the origins of some of our people.

2. Oldest Living Civilization? You may want to explain that as to my knowledge Mesopotamia was the first known civilization & that area is still inhabited according to all reports.

3. Mahatma Gandhi passed away????????

What a subtle cover-up Vinod. :-) I wonder why none of the other commenters didn't spot this or bring it up! Did I intrude on a private meeting?

4. Maybe the reason none of the other things were adopted because they didn't work for us. Did they help us at all in fighting invasion after invasion? Nope. Why adopt failed strategies of governance?

I really think we should thank the Brits for having united us into India. Take a look around... they're not here & we're back to fighting among ourselves. Without a common enemy, we're a doomed people! THAT is what is in our gene pool! Apart from the scientific & philosophical brilliance you speak of.

5. Lakshmi Mittal & Dhiru Ambani are only illustrious as far as Industry & Finances go! And they weren't the first. I think you're forgetting that Azim Premji was there before these guys got there! And he wasn't from a Hindi Medium.

Mittal didn't make his fortune in India. He doesn't live here. He lives in London. With the Brits who did us many favours (apart from uniting us) such as railways, machinery etc. And I'm certain he considers himself a Global Citizen more than Indian, Maru or Calcuttan!

Narayan Murthy is an ex-Communist & his Socialist bent is reflected in his company's treatment of employees. And some (uber-patriotic?) Indians go after him with alleged flag-insult accusations.

Nandan is ex-IIT, of course! :-)

Independent India's other gems are Amartya Sen, Rajendra Pachauri, Manmohan Singh. 2 Nobel Prize winners, & one a future Nobel laureate. And none of them come with a Hindi Medium education!

Neither do other gems like Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Arvind Adiga, Kiran Nagarkar, Amitava Ghosh etc. Nor Shashi Tharoor. Nor Amitabh Bachchan!

Nor Rita Faria, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra etc.

THAT SAID, I must commend you on your intent of awakening pride within Indians. But without balance & truth, it come across as a little jingoistic, uber-patriotic, ultra-conservative or if I may say, rightist.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Some much needed Humour

2 quick links from some of my reading around the blogosphere to bring a smile, and a couple of guffaws to your face!

Ways & Means

Everyone seems to be talking about what we can do about the terror breeding on paki soil.

While some are sane voices, very rightly saying that war isn't an option, others are given to more passion than pragmatism.

I, as is my wont, like to provide multiple solutions. Some will say, more talk than action, but regretfully, that's the way things are these days.

And here's introducing a new blogger who has the mental range to suggest this, & blog about the voices of reason from the other side as well.

Edit: And since Israel in mentioned in one of the links, does anyone have any views on what they've been doing in Palestine over the last 2 days? Over 200 killed, and I saw a picture of a bleeding child being carried away from the scene in the papers today. How different is this from terrorism?

Your views?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

TO the War Lovers.

So assuming the Indian government threw all logic into the air and decided to go to WAR with Pakistan over the Mumbai attacks.. How do we know when we win?

What's the objective of this war? How do we know when it's time to END the war?


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Terrorism: 2 Faces

I want to slap pakistan right now. Does anyone know a non-violent way to slap someone?

We've given them so much proof, but their kayani, gilani, qureshi & zardari are trying word-play instead of sorting out the mess they've made?

The US, UK & the UN are all of the opinion that 26/11 was planned on pakistani mud. They've got World Opinion against them, they have a very upset neighbour (one to whom they've lost 2 wars), yet they choose the posturing route???

Listen up pakis: In India we have a saying for this muddle-headedness. Vinaash kaale, Vipreet buddhi.

Your time is up. You've got the taliban attacking you from the West, you've lost a leader to an assassination, you have terrorist camps inside your own country. Even if we don't finish you, I think you're perfectly equipped to do it to yourself. All the best. May you succeed.

I'd like to link to a brilliant satire on the spineless lizards who currently govern pakistan.

Imran Khan too seems to be in a hurry to get slapped. He expressed his support for the jamaat ud dawa, saying that they're an NGO who helped immensely during the recent earthquake. The same argument is used by the equally slappable hindutvis in India, who contend that the vhp & rss helped immensely during the gujarat earthquake! Does helping during an earthquake make you any less of a terrorist???????

Engineer MK Gupta loses his life, not to pakistani terrorists, not to misled Jihadis, but to his own countrymen. BSP MLA Shekhar Tiwari, who according to Times NOW coverage is a history-sheeter, is said to be behind the crime.
So how do we now ensure the security of our engineers?
Do we equip our engineers with guns for self-protection?

The question being asked (in the media & accurately so I believe) of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister mayawati is fairly simple:

Why did her party give a ticket to a history-sheeter?
The question I'm asking (of fellow bloggers) is this: Will maya now quit like vilasrao did? Or will she hang around like modi has been shamelessly doing?
Will India bay for their blood too? Or will political interest make us sacrifice our sense of fairness?

Monday, December 22, 2008

IHM continued...

IHM has a wonderful blog & we agree on almost everything. Except the language I choose to use in my comments. She was uncomfortable with some of the aggression in my comment 4 days ago, and I was unyeilding in that it wouldn't be edited. So we agreed that the comment should be made into a post on this blog, so as not to lose the important things it says, and also not disrupt the peace on IHM's lovely blog. Here is my response to this rubbish:


1. a) The schoolboy isn't tired. If he was, he wouldn't be here. You were staying away (& continue to do till now, those points are still unanswered) because you didn't have an answer. And you could get your leaders to try & answer that for you. I'll be ready. That's exactly the opportunity I'm waiting for. :-)

b) So Socialism is bad in your books? You didn't get the "Moderation is better than Absolutism/Extremism" argument? You can't see what unmitigated Capitalism did to Mexico's economy & now to the USA's? You don't believe ALL THOSE people who've been saying that India's economy survived the global slump because it's approach was tinged with Socialism??? That just makes you an obstinate schoolboy! :-D

2. Not accepted anything yet. Was waiting for you to clarify what you really meant. Now that you've clarified, I will research your NHDP claim, wait for you to respond to my pending queries, & then come back to you. Fair?

3. So you're not going to offer any proof?

Don't worry. I'll offer a few corrections to your half-baked knowledge.

3.1 Nehruvian Socialism did not fail us. Read up. It states that Industrialization picked up during this period & gave rise to our Navratnas.

3.2 Reading on the Era after that too doesn't indict the approach for the crisis. The oil price rise resulting from the Gulf War is referred to as the point that precipitated the crisis. And weren't oil prices again a contributing factor in the recent global crisis? (Refer to points made above in 1. b)

3.3 I am THRILLED that you are giving credit to Dr. Singh & PVN Rao, & therefore to the Congress for initiating the economic reform that causes the World to look with awe at India's economy!

Where does that leave you arguments?

4. Obviously! If you give me a livemint link (who are about as Centred as I am rightist), then I'm going to have a problem. Why don't you try BBC, Economist, NY Times etc? I might set some store by what they have to say.

5. I've always provided proof to whatever I say. I enjoy the so-called burden of proof. You seem to avoid it.You see, I'm on the side of the truth, so it's fairly easy to find. It's out there!

You on the other hand present posts from bloggers as proof!!! LOLOL!!! Who is this sharique??? Anil Kakodkar's equivalent??? You make me laugh so much dear boy...!!! LOLOL!!!

Why didn't you present the first 4 links that Google provided...? Devious malintent...?
Can I give you one?

And WHY are you avoiding the ISRO & HAL argument??? Shouldn't you, a student, be running after the truth, instead of running away from it???

6. I don't know. Will you give me a few non-blog, non-livemint links?

7. Thank you.
And I take the Roy reference as a compliment too. Roy is an achiever, and a woman with a conscience, one who isn't afraid to speak up. I may not agree with all the she has to say, but I admire her speaking up. (In that sense you're a little like her! Only she makes far more compelling arguments!)

Nothing sucks. Generalizations are a sign of an immature mind. No ~ism sucks in it's entirity! Not Socialism, Not Communism, Not Capitalism, Not Hinduism, Not Buddhism, Not Islam, Not Democracy!!! They all have good things in them. The smart thing to do is blend, take the middle path, merge, be at the centre, be moderate. How many times much I say it before you'll finally get it??

FDI in Insurance? Let's take an example. Let's assume that Tata AIG was 75% owned by AIG. How do you think the AIG collapse in the US would've impacted Tata AIG here in India? The only reason they're still standing is because of the caution. Not because of unbridled capitalism!

Learn to listen to non-right-wing people also. You'll develop a more well-rounded personality, more complete knowledge.

I'll end this with one appeal to the the young man in you:

Insaaf ke dagar pe, Bachchon dikhao chal ke.
Yeh Desh hai tumhara, Neta tumhee ho kal ke!

means Justice. Fairness.
If you have any interest in playing a part in nation building, then you must not forget the couplet above. You have to be fair & just. And that entails not hiding the truth, giving credit where it's due, even if it's the Congress that you dislike. Don't hide facts. Be fair & just. Build a nation that we can all be proud of! Not the nation 3 right-wing bloggers dream of!

Don't worry. The bjp is on it's way out. The signs are already there for all to see. They're going to lose completely in the long run. No right wing movement has ever survived for long in History. No hate-based movement has ever survived either. They HAVE to lose. It's mathematical!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Is there a difference between them & us?

Consider this:
  1. pakistan refuses to convincingly ban the jamaat-ud-dawa.
  2. it refuses to bring lakhvi, dawood, the memons etc. to justice.
  • India refuses to ban the rss, bajrang dal, vhp etc.
  • It refuses to bring advani, modi, katiyar, bajrangi etc. to justice.
What's the difference between us & them?

Maybe if we gave them advani & modi, they would hand over dawood & lakhvi? It's worth a shot. Maybe we would be shaming them into action? Or maybe we'd be leading the way, for them to follow?
The only thing is that advani & modi are not their villians. They're our villians! Living (sadly) on & polluting our soil! And yet, we cannot haul their arses to justice! HOW do we expect to get people living on foreign soil to justice?
Beats me!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Maine Kaha Tha Na...!

Sometimes being right doesn't give you the joy you thought it would...

I'd told jokers like these quite a while back, that this is the way to go! Anjan & Zig had said it before me! And we'd just called for an economic boycott of the businessmen who choose to continue to patronize the rogue state.

Calling all those jokers for their views on this community specific boycott. I'd like to see what they have to say to my initial proposal now...

Also, a few more questions:

  1. What do we do with Gujarat now? It's fast becoming an extremely polarized, rogue state, guilty of the same persecution that the pakis & b'deshis are blamed of. What do we do with them?
  2. Vilasrao Deshmukh drew a lot of well-deserved flak when raj thakre went on his anti-"North-Indians" rampage. It remains to be seen whether narendra modi will draw the same kind of flak...
  3. Dr. Manmohan Singh sent a stinker to Deshmukh for his failure to correct the mns created situation in Bombay. WILL l.k. advani send a stinker to modi for his inability to correct the situation in Surat? Or am I forgetting that advani & modi are more like raj thakre...?
  4. Do we go in & set it right? How do we go into our own state??
  5. Prez's rule? Since the current administration seems incapable of integrating it with the national thought mainstream.

If we don't do something fast, it's very likely that they will soon have very little in common with us & they may have secession demands. In that case we could have another prolonged internal problem. Or if they do secede, we'll have a b'desh on one side, a china on another, a sri lanka on another, a pak on one more & a gujarat on another front! We can't afford to have an open battle on so many fronts. We must nip this problem in the bud!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Another wearer of the Young India tag ;-) jumps on to the Call for Political Reform bandwagon. I wish him luck & your patronage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

kya contradiction hai...

Some people get it, while some others just don't get it.

Funnily enough, in this particular case, a so-called non-Muslim gets it, while a presumably avowed Muslim doesn't.

Edit 1:

And then she goes & blows it!!! I wish she'd clarify her urge to criticize. Is it born out of a desire to reform? That's the only excuse I can understand for criticism.

What will stop these people from arguing over religion in these times??? (Inke beech ka faasla kaun kam karega?) Have they learnt nothing from the rest of the nation? What will it take to unite them? More of the same? Such a shame...! I'm itching to help them merge as one, but I'd said I'd refrain, so I will.

Edit 2:

However I'd also said that I would attempt to change the mindset of every religious conservative that I came across. (Read 1, 2, 3, 4). I'm therefore seriously contemplating writing to Adnan. Apparently Swati has answered my question on her blog. I will check that out shortly & come back with an update.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Kerala CM Achuthanandan MUST GO!!!

BEFORE we do anything, we must ask for this crass, vulgar, disgraceful, insensitive brute to vacate the chair he thinks is his divine right!

How DARE he say something like this to the father & family of a Martyr???

He's shown the nation his absolute lack of class. He is unfit to lead. Show him his place! Take him out! NOW!!!

Where are all those lawyers from Bhopal, Indore etc. who were filing random PIL's for disrespect to the national flag??? Are they going to take umbrage & act now??? And it they won't, can we?

Can we petition the commies to show some spine please?

This post first appeared on the Mutiny in exactly this form, but the edit team there felt differently about it, so it's now available there in a new bottle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Bombay Tragedy

At this point more than anything else I'm feeling tired at the deplorable drama in Bombay. More than anger, humiliation, more than anything else, I'm feeling sorry for the innocent civilians killed, held hostage, the security forces killed & those still engaged in fighting a cowardly enemy, their families & their friends.

Ultimately, that is what it's all about. The talk around our security situation, the politicking, the sensational news coverage are all detracting from the basic human tragedy of it all in some way.
All of us armchair experts/concerned netizens have expressed concern & disappointment, and there are some brilliant points made on the still ongoing tragedy from sanjukta, Ketan, Jo & constantmotion. Apart from the call for us to use our heads & maintain peace, our posts have primarily focused on saying NO to getting used to terrorism! Very honourable. Most have desisted from blaming the Govt. machinery, which says a lot for the netizens. This is not true of some people on TV that I saw yesterday. I'm presenting my take on the situation.

Don't forget that above all, this is a enormous human tragedy!

Despite all the initial knee-jerk criticism of our intelligence, security & government machinery, one must commend our police, the ATS, the NSG & the armed forces for their unstinting efforts to bring the situation under control. Martyrs like ATS Chief Karkare, Salaskar, Maj. Unnikrishnan & the many other as yet unnamed bravehearts who lost their precious lives fighting a dastardly enemy! (Worrying is how Karkare got shot in the chest thrice despite wearing a loose bulletproof jacket? How Salaskar got shot in the head; wasn't he wearing a helmet? But that can be talked about later.) Such a waste of life! Human Tragedy like I said, above anything else! Kudos to all of our brave men who're doing their duty for the country. But prevention would've been better than cure.

Prevention: I don't know how many of us have worked on financial processes in BPO's. Mere Data Security needs to be watertight here (physical security too) lest critical customer information falls into the wrong hands! Despite putting in all kinds of measures, small & big incidents/frauds do happen. If a Risk Management Team, an Operations Team, an Audit Team cannot get it right on a 300 seater floor; you can imagine the challenges of ensuring security in a 1 Billion strong nation, that has the World's 7th largest landmass! It's a humungous task. India fails at things everyday! We failed at battling poverty for long, we fail at infrastructure, we fail at electing the right leaders, we fail at riot prevention. Failing at terrorism is nothing unexpected. It's just that it's a greater shock than all these other issues because of the immense human tragedy. But also because some of our elected leaders choose to make it a poll issue.

The same Navy that was being celebrated a few days back for sending pirate ships scurrying, is suddenly the villian for not having spotted the terrorists' vessels!!??

We're forgetting our victories against terrorism in Punjab. They came at a great human rights cost. A lot of our policemen & leaders like PM Indira & CM Beant lost their lives. This was largely internal terrorism that we quelled. Can we do it again? I'm sure we can. Should we do it that way again? I don't know about that.

Ratan Tata said something to the effect that we should've learnt from our mistakes. He's right about that. Why despite numerous terror attacks on public places was security lax at the Taj & Oberoi? Or at most malls/cineplexes? Why do we as citizens not walk up to the mall manager & question them on the security situation?

It's obvious that we need a better method to tackle terrorism. But all of us who're crying about it have no clue to go about it really. We must put our heads together. We must come up with ideas. We must form NGO's to tackle it. We must send our list of ideas to the PM. We must not stand on the sidelines. We must participate in solving the problem. A few good men can only make a beginning. They need our support to go all the way!

YP Singh echoed what I'd said in a comment. He said the intention is to target the Americans & the Britishers. Since they can't get to them intheir country, let's go to India & target them. Makes a lot of sense. Kill 3 birds with one stone! 4 if you add the targeting of Jews.

Srinivasan Jain asked whether we're seeing a new form of terrorism; one that has no demands, it just seeks to kill & terrorize. Is he only expressing himself now or did it just dawn on him?

Shobha De shot her mouth off as usual. I'd expected someone with her exposure to look for more constructive solutions than mouthing off. It looks like 20 something netizens have more sense than she does. What I don't get is how a literary porn star (or is it literary pimp/madam?) gets so much footage?

narendra modi came & announced a Rs. 1 Crore compensation for the families of all those security personnel who lost their lives in the battle. Momentarily stumped I caught myself slowly mouthing, "Noble move...";

Until I heard him this morning back to politicking & electioneering (criticising our Prime Minister) in the face of such human strife! Then these questions came to me:

  1. Lives of brave securitymen who die in a high-profile anti-terrorist struggle are more important than those security forces who died recently in a naxal attack? Or those who lost their lives in the Bihar floods? No largesse for them?
  2. What was he doing in Bombay? advani was there. He should've been talking. rajnath singh is their party president, he could've been there. What was modi doing there? Saying all the things that advani couldn't???
  3. So the security personnel are doing a good job, but our intelligence failures must be blamed on the PM! So one days the Navy is a hero & on another day we must criticize the PM for the Navy or the coast guard failling to spot the terrorists?
  4. Forgetting the intelligence failures of Kargil, Khandahar, Akshardham, Parliament is a very noble thing to do as well!

Such honourable politicking at such an opportune moment! I'm sure this is what we want in a leader!!!

Edit: For more related conversation, please refer to the sister post's forum.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is this not development too???

In rural Maharashtra, away from all the recent madness, is a village. Like any of the other gadzillion villages that dot India's countryside? No. Unlike anything that dots rural India! This village is a shining example of development through local partnership, something that India is advised to emulate but hasn't unfrotunately been able to do yet. The village is called Ralegan Siddhi.

I quote from Wikipedia on Ralegan Siddhi:

The World Bank Group has concluded that the village of Ralegan Siddi was
transformed from a highly degraded village ecosystem in a semi-arid region of
extreme poverty to one of the richest in the country. The Ralegan Siddi example,
now 25 years old, by demonstrating that it is possible to rebuild natural
capital in partnership with the local economy, is a model for the rest of the


It is considered a model of environmental
conservation. Since 1975, led by Anna Hazare, the village has carried out
programs like treeplanting, terracing to reduce soil erosion and digging canals
to retain rainwater. For energy, the village uses solar power, biogas (some
generated from the communal toilet) and a windmill. The village's biggest
accomplishment is in non-conventional energy. For example, all the village
streets are lit by solar lights. Each light has a separate solar panel.

How did this happen? How did a debt, famine, disease & alcohol ridden village of 1500 people in 1973 start figuring on the prosperity & model village map of the world?

It happened primarily because of one man. Not that the villagers didn't contribute, but they had an able leader to show them the way. They are the first to acknowledge Anna Hazare's leadership. Read here about the unending list of achievements that he has helped them bring about.

There are other quiet achievers in Inda. My friend Animesh recommends making this daily reading in order to know about the lesser known quiet leadership of India, and I thank him for it.

His link tempers my rant to some degree, but I still want to tell the masses who use the word "Development" without understanding it's full meaning, use it even as an excuse for ignoring genocide!

This is real development! This isn't conspicuous industrial, urban development. It impacts the livelihood, life quality & even habits of what is said to be India's heart... it's villages! Better per capita income, reduced disease, no debt, no alcoholism. THAT'S ALL ROUND DEVELOPMENT! And this is what we should be celebrating! Ralegan Siddhi & Anna Hazare!! Continued development for 33 years!!! Read more here & here.

And I'd like to end with a few questions. One for all of us to ponder over: If our leaders were so gung-ho about development, wouldn't they have made Hazare a national hero by now? Wouldn't they have organised the state machinery (or their many branches, take your pick) to replicate his model by now?

And the others for our mainstream media: Why are you sitting content on your ample backsides, allowing people like thebetterindia & us to do your job for you? You seem to talk about development, about socialism, about new-age thought... why don't you focus on more stories like this? Why don't you influence public & Govt. opinion in this direction? If you won't, do we really need you?

Monday, November 24, 2008

On Feminism

IHM put me in quite a spot by tagging me on something like this. I have oscillated between calling myself an all-out feminist to being the occasional borderline misogynist. So you can see why it was difficult for me to even begin this post. Then, if I had to write this, I would have to THINK my way out of the mess in my head! Thinking hurts the head. IHM... at this point I feel positively misogynistic! ;-)

In my teens & twenties I had this simple logic: Girls are so beautiful, so demure. I like everything about them. They're great to be with. Much more fun than playing with the boys. So I was a self-proclaimed feminist.

Even today, check out my reasons for wanting to sit through a Bollywood item number:
Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Neha Dhupia, Tanushree Dutta, Riya Sen, Bipasha Basu, Celina Jaitley, Katrina Kaif, Yana Gupta...
If I was either Akbar or Samudragupta, these women would've been the Navratans (Nine Gems) of my court! Or would they be adorning my harem? Am I confusing art with biology?
But you get the point, don't you? I love women. Everything about them. I'd give them their rights! Hell I'd give them mine! Dashratha even gave his son's rights to one! Now there's a feminist if there ever was one!
I'd actually like 18 Gems. I have a list beyond the one I've given above. That way I could have them in my court & in my harem!

But jokes aside, I've always been a big champion of equal rights. My feminism is probably a branch of that tree.
I've been raised by a single Mother. With a fiercely independent younger sister. And a housefull of aunts & female cousins. Maybe that has something to do with my understanding of their myriad moods, with my general affinity for women and my desire to see them treated well.

I've been victim to some bullying during my first few years in Bombay. Until I finally learnt how to fight. But even in these initial years, my distaste for street brawls didn't stop me from taking a stand when it came to women. I will relate an incident here:

My first job entailed being clean shaven & dressed in a tie. Barely 22, I hardly looked intimidating. I was travelling on a crowded BEST bus to work, seated thankfully, when I heard a commotion up in front.
There was this huge man yelling at a woman, "What did I do? Did I touch you?".
The woman was apparently protesting his standing too close in the crowded bus. She was too far away to hear & probably intimated. She (softly & bravely) probably said something like, "Please stand a little further away".
The said huge man got bolder, "DID I TOUCH YOU? WHAT DID I DO, HAAN? DID I PUT MY FINGER IN YOUR BUM?"
The poor woman mumbled something in protest...
Huge man: "Shut up. I've seen enough like you. You get them for 50 bucks on the streets."

At this point something stirred inside 22 year old, boy-faced, clean shaven, tie-clad, 5'7" me. The same me that preferred to walk away from brawls, suddenly stood up & roared (I have a voice that is 6'3"), "SHUDDAP!!!"
Huge man whirled around: "Who said that?"
I roar back, "I DID!"
Huge man: "How's it any of your business?"
Huge man tried to move towards me, but he was far & the bus was crowded. He mumbled something about it not being any of my business, but I roared back: "THAT'S NO WAY TO TALK TO A LADY!!!"
By this time, the bus had come to life. A few more women stood up and started berating Huge man. One gent got up & offered his seat to the poor lady who bore the brunt of Huge man's attack. Huge man backed off seeing that he was hopelessly outnumbered by now. (And THAT is also why I keep saying that it takes just one voice to start a revolution! THAT is also why I am on the blogosphere!)

When I got off at my stop, some old ladies got off with me. They smiled at me, patted me on the head/shoulder & said, "God Bless you my son."
That moment I am still proud of, over 11 years later.

Like I said I'm a feminist.

I am however not blind anymore (as the teenaged me used to be) to the faults of women & women feminists. (Nor is my so-called feminist record that clean anymore as frequenters to the Mutiny will happily vouch for; but this is not a confessional...). Women are not perfect creatures. No one is. They have their faults and reams have been written on them by William Shakespeare & Jerry Pinto alike!

The problem that some feminists face is a lack of objectivity. They tend to make feminism a little like what the current (as opposed to back then) Dalit rights movement in India has degenerated into. Loud, Partisan & represented by crass Mayawatis instead of classy women. When a Shobha De is celebrated by feminists, I cringe. Just as I cringe when Chetan Bhagat is celebrated as an author!

There is a strong need to pick the right role models, the right causes, and go about them in a classy manner, a manner befitting women.
This last phrase is no doubt going to cause irritation to the average feminist.
And therein lies the problem.
In trying to break the mold, they shatter everything that is feminine or is likable about women. They didn't fight to be recognized for what they were. They tried to become like those who they thought were their oppressors!
Women are nice because they are gentle, soft-spoken, feminine, kind, they smell good, etc. etc. Hope for a better world lies in some of those very traits. What good comes from discarding all of that??? What good comes from being a coarse, loud, manly, uncouth, smelly woman? THAT is not feminism to me. That is taking feminism too far... too far from what it set out to achieve!

Every ~ism runs the risk of having factions that tend towards the extreme. We've all seen that happen in history & in our times as well. Communism... Capitalism...
This is a danger feminism must guard against.

Not doing so will elicit such responses from their own ilk. The said blogger is an extremely talented writer (among other things) and it would be a shame to not have her on the side of moderate feminism.

Edit: A blend, a fine balance, the middle path are what enhance everything. Even feminism.
To me feminism could also mean treating women as equals. No special privileges. Same tough talk as the men get. Same rough language...?
It could also mean being the man of the house, taking care of our women, providing for them, treating them like delicate pieces of china, pulling out chairs for them, old world chivalry. Chaperoning too...?
Or it could mean striking a balance between these two. Taking the best of both worlds and giving it to women worldwide!
So that women can have their cake & eat it too! NOW that would be Feminism!
Except that only a handful of really secure men would want to give it willingly. And the rest would call them minority appeasers! Such a shame...
Over to the feminists now. Tell us what you'd prefer.

And oh yes... I tag Annie, Sanjukta, Yaamyn, Ketan & Utopianthots. Any other interested takers?

Life’s little disappointments…

The last few weeks have been good on the personal front, but a look at the world around us also brought to light a few incidents that have left me more than mildly disappointed.

1. Barack Obama’s picking Sonal Shah as a member of his transition team. Sonal’s links with the VHP are public knowledge, but it is said that Obama knows her from his Harvard days. Maybe we can trust his judgement. Maybe he knows that her support to the VHP is limited to earthquake relief work. Maybe I’m dreaming! He may also be putting together a cabinet of rivals. It’s always better to have hope than to be perennially negative. It’s not a good path to be walking on, easy to start down it but very difficult to walk away from it.

2. Baba Ramdev. While I never bought into his tall claims of being able to cure cancer, diabetes & heart disease through Yoga, I did have respect for the man for having effected a positive change in the Indian masses towards healthy living. I didn’t lose that respect when someone accused him of using animal bones in his ayurvedic medicines. I knew people take potshots at celebrities. The guy went all over the country spreading the message of healthier living. He went to the UAE & spread his message there. I started thinking that a guy with his mass following can surely spread the message of communal harmony in our country. All he needs to do is say in each one of his shivirs that all human beings are equal irrespective of religion. That Indians should remain brothers. The masses would’ve responded well to his call. Even when one of the World’s premier Yoga gurus, BKS Iyengar publicly denounced Ramdev’s knowledge of Yoga, I still gave Ramdev credit for marketing Yoga well in India. I was taught Yoga by one of Ramdev’s disciples and can say from personal (bad) experience that Yoga isn’t the totally safe practise it’s made out to be. It has to be taught by someone who really knows it & knows how to teach it. Then the Ramdev I thought was progressive, inclusive & apolitical, goes & does the exact opposite of what I had in mind from him:

Raising the pitch on the Pragya Singh Thakur issue, Ramdev said: “Power is today
being exercised by people who should either be in jails or who should be hanged.
There will be a massive tussle for power three months hence. The country needs a
big change, where Sant Shakti (religious gurus) and Jan Shakti (people power)
come together. This process will not stop until the glory of India’s past is

3. Our current Opposition Party, one that aspires to lead India in her march towards prosperity & peace, one that has always advocated a hardline approach, on being tough on terror, on equal rules for all; for doing a 360 degree turn on all of the above (which incidentally is consistent with their past record!). Rajnath Singh falls back on divisive politics (a harkback to the British rule they claim to hate) by saying on the Pragya Thakur investigation that the Govt. is angering Hindus and that it is pushing the country towards a civil war! Strangely, today’s Indian Express reports that Lt. Col. Purohit during interrogations revealed that RSS leader Indresh Kumar had received Rs. 3 Crore from the ISI!!! I thought my suspicions on the sangh & the ISI being in cohorts was just a silly theory!! And to borrow a sentence from Offstumped, the alacrity with which they moved from embarassment to aggression & opportunistic politics, they have managed to even embarass the word “shame” with their abject lack of it.

4. Disappointed at no one filing PIL’s, making any arrests, banning the seditious website because of this. No one cares, huh? sanjay? swati? guy? Are you not offended? Is your taking umbrage partisan?

5. Disappointed at terrorism claiming religions for themselves. But happy that amidst this madness there is hope, that there are people with whom we may have differences, but who agree on core issues. Do read this, this & this please.

I’ve come to realize that faults lie within all humans, not within all religions. That’s why a leader of men that brings our the best in human nature is called a Prophet; & a leader that brings out the worst in humans is called a politician or more appropriately a crook!

6. I’m disappointed at the difference between the leaders of their country & ours: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelle-gross/powell-honors-fallen-musl_b_135964.html

7. Ashutosh winning Bigg Boss. I erroneously thought that someone who publicly slapped a woman to win a third-rate reality show, shouldn’t get to win another third-rate reality show. I’m obviously disappointed that the rest of India doesn’t agree with me. But I know that this is not the whole picture.

What is the whole picture? The whole picture is work-in-progress. That is part of my learning.

What else have I learnt from these little disappointments? To ignore them. To move on. If there is any truth to the Karma philosphy, everyone gets their due. Also that “It’s all OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end”.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hope, Horror & Humour: some links from around the Blogosphere


1. The final results of the American Presidential race are making me beam from ear to ear. Any guesses on what my views are on Barack Obama?

Well, aside from the fact that I feel immense black pride (despite my not being black) at this point; aside from the fact that I feel blown away by the fact that a member from among those who were considered an inferior race in America till a few decades back has today been picked to lead their country; aside from the fact that America today redeemed itself and proved that it's way ahead of us in being an amalgamated people; aside from the fact that he is of mixed race (a club I do proudly belong to) and that the fact made him acceptable instead of not-acceptable; aside from the fact that his birth-father wasn't American & that he spent some time growing up in Indonesia with his step-father, and none of that could stop him at all...!

I won't say much more as the sentiment of this truly historic moment has been captured beautifully by one of my favourite bloggers. She picks out some bits of Obama's acceptance speech that are wonderfully relevant to the India that we are today. I'll let you read it for yourself, but just one example of what will inevitably go on to become a quotable quote from Obama is:

a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and
Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

(Reminds me of Al Gore's brilliant concession speech that I referred to in an earlier post. But this moment is about the future. About Obama.)

Indeed, like her, I too am very jealous of the Americans. When will we have a moment like this? When will our politicians talk in this refined tongue? When will they talk of unity instead of regionalism/religion? When will we redeem ourselves?

I'd also like to add this line that vindicates my faith in the power of one. One person started it all. One voice. One firm "NO". The line is from today's TOI: Rosa Parks had to sit for Martin Luther King to March. King had to march for Barack Obama to run. Obama had to run for our children to fly.

2. And in a much much smaller way, this conversation too gives me hope. Read from here onwards.


My Maldivian brother Yaamyn, brings us this story that fills us with horror. Reading it made me shudder.


Another blogger who is fast becoming one of my favourite reads, wrote this last month. I know it's a little late, but it made me laugh. I would like you all to find a little laughter in your day as well. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

LOTS of Reading!!!

All for you dear reader. There are 5 posts up today.
So what’s the way out?
2 strongmen… & a weak-PM?
Exposing the Lies of the self-styled Marathi
Why all the quiet?


So what’s the way out?

OK! Enough exposes about who’s fault it all is. Let’s look at what can be done to improve the situation in Bombay & Maharashtra. These are a few of my suggestions. Please feel free to add to this list.

1. We need equally strong voices from the other side. And politicians won’t do as we’ve already seen. We need the citizenry to speak up. While a Medha Patkar is as usual one of the first to speak up, she is a lone voice.

Commenters like akki have provided links to wonderful people like Mahesh Vijapurkar, whose views deserve to be widely disseminated, read & understood. Kudos & my respects to these people.

We also desperately need the Palekars-Paranjpais-Natekars-Padukones-Tendulkars-Gavaskars-Vengsarkars-Prabhakars-Rajanikanths-Mangeshkars-Bhosales-Nikhil Wagles to speak up & be heard. They enjoy an immense support base. People all over India & Maharashtra look up to them. They’re Indias Gems! I’d urge them to speak up in the interest of keeping the people of this nation together.

Of course, they don’t have to. They haven’t done any wrong, they’re not the out on the street, bus burning type of Maharashtrians. Why should they be defensive & speak up? I understand that mindset totally. It’s the same mindset that Indian Muslims stuck to for a long time. “I’m not an extremist. Why should I be apologetic? Why should I say or do anything?” As we all saw, that because of the intense propaganda & generalized hate campaign against them, they had to abandon that stance & speak up. And I’m glad they did.

Because as Edmund Burke said: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
And as Herr Albert Einstein himself said: The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.

Apparently education & exposure is no longer guarantees a mind free from misconceptions & bias, as yet another politician demonstrates again.

2. Now this one is bound to be controversial, but it’s one idea. If we don’t want more & more people to come into Bombay looking for livelihood & putting more strain on it’s infrastructure; stop creating more jobs in Bombay! No new jobs, no more migration!

Create jobs elsewhere. Invest elsewhere, develop other parts of the country.

3. Revive the Gandhian approach: We need more & more people to use Gandhian means of protest instead of the madness that is making India an increasingly unsafe place to live in. I read somewhere recently that the terrorist is a disgruntled nationalist, one who is at a total loss as to what options he has left to save his nation. Let more & more people know that they way is Sarvodaya & Satyagrah. Medha Patkar, Baba Amte & Anna Hazare are not enough. We need a huge mass of humanity speaking the language of peaceful means of protest! THAT habit is our only hope that will save us from people resorting to violence.

4. Educate the aforesaid politicians on World affairs. They’re all stuck up in state & nation issues. If they were more tuned in to World Affairs (or even HBO where I picked it up from!!!), these excerpts from Al Gore’s concession (to Dubya) speech would’ve hit home:

While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty
than the one we owe to political party. This is America and we put country
before party. We will stand together behind our new president…
… As for the battle that ends tonight, I do believe as my father once said, that no matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shape the soul and
let the glory out.

Can our politicians not learn to put Country before Party? As far as I can see Gore Sr. was right. Al Gore may have been spared the ignominy that Dubya had to bear… of being called America’s stupidest Prez, among other things. Instead he will always be remembered as a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

Thank you and good night, and God bless India. :-)

2 strongmen… & a weak-PM?

ram vilas paswan should be arrested for being irresposible. I understand that he feels strongly about the torment Biharis are being made to undergo in Maharashtra, but that doesn’t give him the right to make the shooting of rahul raj more of a national issue than it already is. After all the man hijacked a bus, shot & injured a passenger, is said to have fired 6 bullets from the gun that he was brandishing. If the police shot him, they probably had good cause to. Not that I don’t feel sorry for the poor bloke. He lost his mind & then his life (as opposed to the other raj who’s just lost his mind!). Sure the police could’ve tried other methods. Sure an enquiry is called for. But I’m very uncomfortable with rahul raj, a symbol of violence & rage, becoming an icon in today’s already troubled times.

sharad pawar should be arrested for being a hypocrite. Throughout this entire fiasco in Maharashtra, the so-called Maratha strongman hasn’t uttered a single word. He hasn’t said or done anything to make things better. No call for peace. No denouncing violence. No denouncing raj thakre. No call to the state government for strong action. Is this why he’s called a strongman?

Manmohan Singh should officially be declared a Bharat Ratna. The man has reportedly sent a strongly worded letter to the (unfit to be) Maharashtra CM, vilasrao deshmukh on his inability to control the situation in a state under his charge. Sure he acted late, but he acted sooner & stronger than the esteemed A.B. Vajpayee did during the 2002 Gujarat carnage. I wonder why the weak PM thing irks me so much… Ah! I know why! Because it’s classic right-wing, easily exposed lies!

Exposing the Lies of the self-styled Marathi messiahs

I’ve lived in Maharashtra for 16 years now, 12 out of those were in Bombay.
I am totally in love with Bombay & it’s people (probably because of it’s people). I still miss it, and them.
However I don’t know how I’ll feel there now after all that has recently happened.
Obviously my circles will not have the mns types, so I doubt if I’ll be directly affected, but after interacting with so-called educated people on the web, I can’t be too sure anymore. I’m sure there’ll be there rare educated, employed fanatic. These facts are for them & their ilk

LIES: Bombay has a population problem & infrastructure overload due to migration from UP & Bihar.

FACT: The migrant problem that Bombay faces is not because of UP-ites & Biharis. Only 15% of the migrants are from those two states. That means that out of the 42 families that come into Bombay everyday, only 6.4 families come from UP-Bihar. The other 35.6 come from the rest of Maharashtra. Read here. Please read the whole article for insights that will open up your eyes.

Another reason for Bombay’s population explosion is the lower mortality & improved natality that marks an improving India.

LIES: Bombay always belonged to the Marathis.

FACT: Bombay was never solely theirs. Up until 1960, it used to be a separate state (this link also talks about the movement for a separate state like the demands for a separate Jharkhand, a Chattisgarh, an Uttaranchal etc. It suggests a dangerous separatist mindset, much like Shibu Soren’s or Jinnah’s, as is again obvious today). It only got downgraded to a state capital in 1960. And it didn’t stop being India’s financial hub in that year. Nor did it cease to be a part of India in that year. It may have been a landmark event for you, but for the rest of us nothing changed that year. Nothing should have at all actually.
Even at the peak of the Maratha rule, Bombay was not the capital. It wasn’t even significant to the Marathas.
So did it suddenly become desirable? Because of insecurity & greed? Wanting to live off someone else’s hard work?

LIES: Kolis are Marathis, therefore the earliest inhabitants of Bombay were Marathis, therefore Bombay belongs to Marathis.

FACT: I have yet to find any conclusive evidence about the origins of the Kolis. They’re currently found in Gujarat & Andhra Pradesh apart from Bombay and other coastal regions of Maharashtra. Some material on the net says they descended from the Chota Nagpur plateau region. Some totally unverifiable material suggests that they existed from the time and in the area of Mohen-jo-Daro. If any of these claims are true, it’s obvious that a) They weren’t from the region that is called Maharashtra; and b) They weren’t a Marathi speaking people at all!!! Even today the Kolis of Gujarat speak Gujarati & the Kolis of AP speak Telegu. It’s fairly obvious that they migrated and picked up the language of the region. Funnily, the current language of the region is only a 1300 year old language. If the Kolis came from Chota Nagpur, they couldn’t have been Marathi speakers. If they were here from ancient times, they couldn’t have been Marathi speakers. In either case, the Marathi argument fails to apply to the Kolis. The Kolis are also said to have been indigenous people to the 7 islands. Although implements found in Kandivili suggest inhabitation from the stone age. It’s anyone’s guess as to who the original inhabitants were. I guess the original inhabitant argument doesn’t hold much water.
Also, as the Brittanica link will tell you, the Mauryas were the first territorial masters of the Heptanesia. So will Wiki. And where were the Mauryas from? Patliputra? And what is Patliputra? Modern day Patna!!! So were the first rulers of the 7 islands Biharis? Well… that’s what history seems to suggest.

And of course we’re all aware of the dispute around the name.

So my question is this: Are we going forwards or backwards?

And award-winning journalist Amit Varma’s question is this.

And see what Prof. Hari Narke has to point out! Look at the pot calling the kettle black!

And this one from Medha Patkar & others.

And in the midst of all this madness, is an example of a man who was a human being first, a doctor second, an Indian third. A doctor who continues to heal despite his untimely demise. Proof of the power of love over hate. Born Marathi but an Indian Hero to me. And others. Long Live Dr. Chandrakant Patil!

Why all the quiet?

It looks like it’s up to me again to ask this question to the likes of Snehal Joshi etc.
And I wonder why commenter why? questions me for bringing this up, when no one else seems to be doing it…

Well, like I said before, someone’s gotta do it. So here goes:

Sadhvi put the Sangh in a trap: can’t defend, can’t oppose
While the Sangh Parivar today called her arrest a politial conspiracy to malign Hindus, it also distanced itself from sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, one of the three charged with murder by the Maharashtra Police for her alleged role in the Malegaon and Modasa blasts on September 29.

Read More on Indian Express

Please note carefully their discomfort & the tentative denials that these guys are issuing, Rajnath’s & Rajkumar Bhatia’s being classic examples.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that they’ve kep mum instead of coming out strongly against their terrorist foot-soldiers. You will recall their extended silence on the Orissa & the Karnataka violence against Christians.

And their list & range of terrorist acts is growing: Ahmedabad 1969, Bombay 1992, Gujarat 2002, Orissa & Karnataka 2008, Nanded, Kanpur, Malegaon, Modasa… What next?

In my opinion, this calls for strong action against them. If the Govt. will not do it, it’s up to us to create awareness about the anti-national & inhuman forces in our country.

My right-wing enthusiast friends on the web, the floor is now yours to defend.


Action on too many fronts.

Here's a link to one front.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A couple of links...

A like-minded soul who very aptly expresses the disease that ails us.

My friend why? from the Mutiny seems to believe that all I ever seem to have time for is to criticize the sangh. He obviously doesn't know me well enough yet, but this link is to show him what I'd be doing if I'd devoted myself solely to that cause. Not that I think that this gentleman is wrong. I think his attempt is praiseworthy!

He who lives by the sword?

I woke this morning to the disturbing news of a young life wasted by violence.
I was very pained at Rahul Raj losing his life, another casualty due to the stir by the maharashtra navnirman? sena. What a waste of a life given by God.

If Rahul had not chosen the path of violence in response to violence he may still have been alive today. He would still be able to enjoy life, the joys of being alive, being able to smell the flowers, the food, to be able to savour it. His parents wouldnn't be suffering so much today if he had eschewed violence.

Gandhiji comes to my mind in this difficult hour for the humanity that inhabits India. This is why he abhorred violence I guess. This is why he spoke of non-violent protest. If Rahul Raj chosen to fast in front of Mantralaya, he could've been beaten up sure, but definitely not shot dead.

I'm not for a moment saying that he didn't have provocation. I'm not for a moment suggesting that everyman is strong enough in the mind to eschew violence. I'm not saying that he may not have been pushed over the edge. I have been very vocal about the violence raj thakre has unleashed. This is the unfortunate result of his words & actions. And that is why I speak in favour of Gandhiji's & Buddha's ahimsa instead of the path of violence.

We are a fragile society these days, under pressure & increasingly fractured & on the edge. More such incidents could happen if this navnirman doesn't stop soon! Gunman on a passenger bus? I mean these things happened in the US not here!!!

There are people working for Indian unity & for Hindu unity. Both of these have failed consistently ever since raj thakre chose the violence path. he has managed to undo the work that his own political mates had been trying to do for years!
thakre's uncle had earlier sent encouraging words in the direction of bomb-makers!
I hope the people following them wake up soon & realize the extent of damage they're doing!

A couple of facts worth mentioning about this case:
1. aaj-tak, that vermin among media channels, was interviewing Rahul Raj's father in his moment of grief. The man wasn't even given time to grieve! The father was being badgered by the interviewer, cross-questioned I swear! How low will men stoop? The father pointed out that Rahul was not in possession of a country-made revolver as suggested, if indeed 6 shots were fired from his gun, and alluded to a conspiracy based on that inconsistency & demanded an investigation.
2. Many are of the opinion that the police acted in haste & could've arrested him alive.
Does this remind anyone else of the closing scenes from Rang De Basanti?

Anyway, coming back to the crux of this post. Another apostle of peace, Jesus Christ is the one who said: He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.
And history has repeatedly proved him right.
I hope raj thakre realizes that at least.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Bihar

My friend writes a passionate piece about Biharis. And brings to light again the abominable problem of stereotyping.

Please read here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two can play this game.


LK Advani : I'm secular.

Me: I'm a pink elephant in a fuzzy tutu dancing on a circus ball.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Casteist state of India...

I feel nauseated.

This morning, I read this about the state of affairs vis a vis the super-resilient caste system in our country. It's like a stubborn stain on pure white fabric, that refuses to go away!
For years, reformers have been trying to fight this evil, there have been breakaways from Hinduism because of this evil, this evil continues to rage. I've only recently chanced upon a theory that explains why.

Despite the efforts of reformers like Gandhiji & many others, there has long-existed a lobby of religious conservatives that has been opposed to reform. Opposed to reform for two reasons primarily: 1) Because of what is called a "comfort zone" or "inertia" sometimes. 2) Because moving away from the caste system would leave them without the power that upper castes have traditionally enjoyed.

As I have pointed out before, these religious conservatives are referred to as the right-wing. Now think of a right-wing ruled state in India. Gujarat pops foremost to mind because of their rejoicing over the "Gujarat experiment".
And what is happening in Gujarat? Let's not talk of 2002 for a moment. Let's talk about today's news.
Is this what reformers have been fighting for hundreds of years?
I'd like to ask my rightist detractors on the Mutiny, is this what progress & reform is?
Is this what the founding fathers of the Nation imagined for India?

To me, this is what comes from voting religious conservatives into power.
This is what comes from creating what Sagarone calls the Hindu Republic of Gujarat!

Wake up people! Please!

Please elect those people & parties that stand for Reform & Progressive Thought, not for those who want to hang on to established rituals even if they are evil!
Be an Iconoclast!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm done with DNA!

I was very excited when DNA entered the news market with their detailed research and clever marketing campaign. They promised change. Of course I didn't know what they meant by change until recently.

I subscribed as I wanted to break from the blatant commercialism of the TOI.
Initially, their articles were good (incompletely researched sometimes), but of late they've started displaying a tilt towards right-wing politics in India.
For the benefit of those who wonder why this term is applied to their favourite political party, allow me to quote from Wiki: "right wing views continued to be concerned with keeping "traditional" values (often religious values)". Allow me to digress a little here. So the right-wingers are those who are conservative, and specially so with respect to religion. Compare this with progressive or liberal thought. Compare this with secularism.
It should be obvious at this point why what is referred to as the right-wing in India is opposed to secularism & do not leave any opportunity to denigrate the very idea & it's proponents. It is at total variance from their cherished ideals, however outdated they may be.

Allow me to demonstrate this tilt.
The Indian Express recently did a story on how Azamgarh in UP has increasingly thrown up goondas & terrorists in the recent past. They presented facts. They interviewed people and presented both sides of the story, and left it at that. That's called reporting. You investigate all facts, write an unbiased report & leave it at that. The public will read & decide.
DNA too did a story on Azamgarh (much later than IE understandably), but they opened the article branding it aatankgarh. This is not what reporting is. This is sensationalism & this is a not so subtle attempt to influence public opinion!

When the Tatas awarded the Nano project to Gujarat, the IE reported it like that. "Gujarat gets the Nano" or something to that effect.
DNA on the other hand was jubiliant. For them it was some kind of a victory that needed celebrating. And it wasn't about Gujarat for them. It was about murder-accused modi for them! The headline read "Modi & men bring home the Nano"!
Is this a mainstream newspaper that thrives on unbiased journalism? Or has it become mouthpiece to the right-wing?

I spoke about secularism & the stance of the right-wing on it earlier. Take a look at how two of their columnists attempt to take down secularism & it's adherents. I can understand if you feel that someone is ignoring a point of view. If you have to make a point, make that point! Why repeatedly take on an obviously modern, progressive concept? Silly according to me this attacking an idea! Take a look.
R. Jagannathan attempts to blast secularists here, and
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr tries to do the same a few days later.

It's becoming obvious to me that DNA is either attempting a balancing act that has gone totally wrong, or worse gone over to the one side instead of staying firmly in the middle.
And until they can get their act together, I am unsubscribing myself from DNA. Advertisers please take note.

While I was a huge supporter of Subhash Chandra when he started the ICL & went up against the BCCI establishment, that support is on hold ever since I heard that he recently expressed that the right-wing needs adequate representation in the media. Can someone please present a link that either confirms or denies this bit of news?

Happy Dusshera

Dusshera represents the victory of good over evil.

India today is struggling in the grasp of evil. From the evil of the multiple & repeated bomb blasts of the terrorists, to the evil of communal riots, church burning, murder & mayhem of the sangh parivar, to the evil of most of us turning a blind eye to this evil & it's perpetrators.

I pray today for the triumph of good in my land, and in all other lands afflicted by evil.

I pray for God to give all of us the strength to speak out if not do something about the evil.

And I present two links to people who are doing something good in the environment of evil. Things like this give me hope that we will win like Ram did. I wish the people I meet in the blogosphere, would give me that hope too.

Please do read this & this. It's the least you can do.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shame on you Ratan Tata

I wonder what kind of a world Ratan Tata lives in. He didn't read this???
Or on a more serious note, this?

While my faith in Tata products had been dwindling for some time, my faith in the group, their legacy, what they stood for, had remained. With one move, Ratan Tata has totally shattered that! And brought disgrace to the Tata name.

I guess Mr. Tata has just proved that business comes above everything else, that money matters more than anything else, that the alleged blood on modi's hands doesn't matter to him (it would've to his predecessors), that in his chase for the glory of the Tata group, he has shamed the India that we (& our forefathers & his!) have been fighting to build!

To me & to others like me, he will be remembered not as the man who revolutionized (read debased) India's car market, not as the man who salvaged the fortunes of the Tata group, but as the man who sold India's soul for the sake of his business.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Found: A true-blue Indian!

Followers of this blog (& my detractors) will know my definition of Indianness. They will be aware that an individual with a unidimensional perspective cannot be a complete Indian in my book.

Here is a dressed up in Raymonds Indian. Take a look at his recent posts, the things he rejoices in, and you will have your blueprint for the kind of Indian we want inhabiting this country!

Here you go!

Poet in me!!!

In the unlikeliest of places, I discovered a poet in me!

Sample this:
swati swati full of bile,
every prophet you revile,
learn your lessons pretty fast,
lies & darkness do not last!

or this:
ah my effort you do mime,
yet your poem does not rhyme,
discomfort I do not feel,

your “wrong” allegations are an easy meal,
to back my word, there’s proof replete,

and seas of victory lap at my feet,
the truth just is! it can never be bent,

you are a mere “voice of dissent”!

and this:
swati while you’re wrong ’bout much,
you’re really not that bad as such…
“Love, peace and Joy are what we need”

right you are! you are indeed!!
come let us dream of a world that’s one,
and this really, truly has been fun!

I must not forget to give credit to swati who in a strange way inspired this. I'd have linked to her blog if she had one; but for now I will have to just link to the conversation where it all began. Enjoy!

Bluster doen't help. I gave you reasons. Now that you don't have an answer, you're resorting to personal attack. It doesn't offend me one bit since it's coming from you & not from anyone who matters. The reasons don't change. Here they are again!
Your lack of an intelligent response exposes you for the semi-literate, unenlightened soul you are at this moment in time. Hopefully you will use your free time to educate yourself on multiple cultures & religions. A hint: Go to the source instead of relying on people maligning it.

Thank you for your admission here. Your admission is refreshingly honest & brave (in the face of hindutva elements who will now gun for you)!
You are probably right about the Wiki editing by closet (or not so closet) hindutvis. The words are surprisingly similar.
So what do we do with this "illumined consciousness"? Do we use it in our country, or have we totally discarded it?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

continued from the Mutiny...

Eternal Truth from the Mutiny had this to say:


My response follows:

Eternal Truth,

While I agree with your first 3 paras & your 5th one, I am in total disagreement with what you state in your 4th paragraph. AGAIN, it points to what Yaamyn was saying in his post, and what I have always maintained: You see what you want to or have been taught to see. That is called Prejudice.

Or it could also stem from a fairly innocuous lack of information or perspective, which I am hoping to supply here.

I think the Indian people as a mass have never been able to drop their personal local, cultural or religious identities as a whole. The blame for this doesn't fall only on one community!

If you look closer you will find people with churkhis dangling behind bad haricuts. Sometimes you will see even worse... churkhis dangling behind entirely shaven heads!!! You will see naked upper bodies of men with potbellies protruding far out in front and male-breasts bouncing on the potbellies. You will see dhotis hanging so low that they threaten to fall off! You will see vermilion tilaks and sindoor proudly proclaiming their choice of relision/culture! You will see mangalsutras & ghungats!

In South India, you will see three stripes on each forehead and an elongated crescent over them!

In Punjab & elsewhere in the country turbans & beards (& kataars!) proclaim a different identity!

I think it is unfair & shameful of you to say that one community hasn't wanted to get integrated in the national mainstream; Or wanted to maintain a different identity, when every other community is guilty of the same! I also think that there are groups responsible for feeding you with this kind of propaganda & making you think in this manner.

I would very much like to hear from you again on this subject.

Gujrati Mujra-hideen - a display of the degree of “sophistication”

I HATE to even mention this monster’s name, but what must be done must be done.

AT a rally in Delhi narendra modi showed the difference in “class” that exists between modern India’s top leaders & bjp leaders! While on the one hand we have the likes of “Political Saint” Dr. Manmohan Singh; popular new hope Omar Abdullah; self-sacrificing, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, educated abroad, daughter-in-law of India’s first family Sonia Gandhi; US Ivy League educated Sachin Pilot; & others like Milind Deora, young Scindia & Rahul Gandhi… on the other hand you have (mass-murdering apart) men whose speeches are peppered with coarseness that would excite the front-benchers in a B-grade film. I am actually glad that they open their mouth, because everytime they do, they expose themselves for who they really are.

According to DNA reports, modi said: “Gujarat aatankvaad ke saamne mujra nahin karega (Gujarat would not perform a dance in front of terrorism).”

What masterclass on display!!! And these are the people India wants to showcase to the world?

rajnath singh and advani who were also present at the rally “had to wrap up their speeches midway as the drizzle turned into a downpour.” Looks like even the gods had heard enough!

Read here: http://www.dnaindia.com/mobile/report.asp?n=1191571

Monday, September 15, 2008

Islamophobia in India.

India's increasingly becoming a society of Islamophobes. Yes, Racists and Islamophobes. Rabid Muslim haters who can't even begin to assume that there's no difference - anatomically, mentally, physically or personality wise between them and their counterparts from a different faith. Did I say 'different faith'? I'm sorry. I meant Muslims. I shall pull no punches today... [Continue Reading..]

[This article is cross-referenced to my personal blog because it contains some strong, emotional and un-parliamentary language. I notice that 1conoclast has refrained from using uncivil language on this blog, and I'd like to keep it that way. :-)

However, I woudn't recommend reader discretion for my article. Every Indian needs to read it and ponder. I apologize for any offense it causes.]

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I’m doubly scared: kaheen ke nahin rahe

Before I begin, I’d like to send up a prayer for those who have lost their lives & loved ones in the ghastly & condemnable acts of violence perpetrated in Delhi today.
May God grant their souls peace & strength to the ones they were snatched from. Amen.

Every time there is a bomb blast in India, it leaves me a little more scarred. My worry & fear grow each time this happens. By God’ grace, thankfully it hasn’t interfered with normal life yet & may it never, but the aftermath of the blasts for me is consternation, worry & a growing fear.
Fear that every Indian living in a city feels; but there is another fear that I face – one that snehal joshi in the shame on you bal-t thread encouraged – the fear of a backlash.

So I live with two fears. I am now the proverbial dhobi ka kutta, na ghar ka na ghat ka!

Isn’t that the intent of the terrorists?
Make Indians feel insecure.
Make them mistrust each other.
Make them fight each other.
Weaken our country.

My wife asks, “What do these terrorist get from exploding bombs & killing innocents of all religions? How does Muslims being mistrusted more & more by the less enlightened masses help their cause?”
I tell her that up the entire line, there is money being made. Someone is financing these terrorist activities. It’s absurd to imagine that the financing comes from within India. It has to be from someone who is India’s strategic, commercial or ideological enemy. And that there could be many.

So why is the needle of suspicion deliberately pointed in one direction?
Can’t there be others whose humanity & patriotism is up for sale?
There are examples where bomb factories were found in Nagpur under the auspices of the sangh parivar.
There was a blast engineered by them in Kerala & the people apprehended were workers from one of their affiliates.

The authorities have been saying for quite some time that they know that the Indian Mujahideen who is claiming to have engineered all these blasts is merely a front for some other organization. They don’t know for a fact which organization. Is it possible that anyone from Naxals to Maoists to Mujahideens to the Hindutvis sitting in the Opposition are behind all of this? After all, there has to be a vested interest here; and there is no guarantee of anyone’s patriotism. Traitors & terrorists can be from any community. Is it possible that this entire exercise is an elaborate plan to create disharmony & mistrust, and is beginning to succeed? I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is this: I don’t want the terrorists & their backers to succeed. I don’t want to be scared & I don’t want anyone to scare me.

Another personal story to share:
I had a friend over for dinner the other night. She is a Gujarati, one who was in Baroda, fresh out of college, during the 2002 riots. Her family sheltered their neighbours & close friends of many years, a Muslim family (for which they drew a lot of flak from their other neighbours) for which her father had to stand outside & single-handedly argue down the hindutvis who had come for the fugitive Muslim family. Thankfully he succeeded.
She talked of the changed nature of Baroda. She talked of how modi was seen as the unifier of Hindu forces in Gujarat. She talked about how her father voted for modi because of that, not because of the so-called development that he has been taking credit for.
She is a fairly disillusioned Indian today, one who takes pride in her apathy.
She went so far as to suggest that since my Muslim name will never allow me to prove my patriotism to most people in this country, I too should develop apathy towards what is happening in my country.

I’m trying but not succeeding…

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Musings on China

I haven't been fond of China ever since the Tiananmen Square massacre.
1962 happened before I was born & I only read about it later. Anyway I felt more anger at ourselves for losing that war rather then at the aggressors. This inward anger thing is strange.
Then I read about their invasion of Tibet. And I read stories of the Iron Curtain.
By this time I was sure I didn't like them, but since Tiananmen Square I have totally despised them.

I've joined in when people have called them commie bastards and have begrudged every success that they've been able to notch up in the economic arena. I have celebrated the one thing that we are better than them at, the BPO industry, although I don't know for how long we'll stay ahead, knowing them...
Their censoring of the press has rankled too.

When they won the Olympic bid, I wasn't too happy at the fact that they've stolen yet another march over us.
When there were protests in Tibet & in India over the Olympic torch, I felt happy. I was glad that someone else felt bad & was expressing themselves.
Now of course I feel bad that the world at large is recognizing this rogue country as a superpower.
I feel glad though that India is now being put on the same platform economically & geo-politically as them. And we have Dr. Manmohan Singh to thank for that! This man deserves a Bharat Ratna for the things he's done for India. I think posterity will give it to him. If I have my way I will!

I am glad that we're not seen as a rogue country the way they are & for that I am glad that extremists are not in power in our country. Events like gujarat & orissa are the Tiananmen Square equivalent in the eyes of the international community. Somehow we've escaped being viewed like them. Is it because we've majorly been neither rightist nor leftist but centrist?

Is there a lesson in this for us? Should we actively continue to toe the centrist, moderate line & consciously, aggressively avoid leaning over to either extreme? I think so.

Coming back to China, one must give them credit for what they've achieved.
Although, more research & opinions are required on the means & the quality of their output.
Their means I'm certain haven't been all good & their quality of goods has been a joke for quite some time.
I do hope the international community can find a way to put pressure on China to improve their human rights record. Maybe putting aside profit considerations for some time will help?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Azadi for Kashmir

Just some days back, I picked up a copy of the Outlook magazine - and was pleasantly surprised.

The cover story was 'Azadi for Kashmir, Azadi for India' - a compelling essay by Arundhati Roy on the Kashmir dispute and the latest clamour for 'Azadi' in the valley.

The essay touched on the plight of the Kashmiri, the life under torture and army cruelty and presented the brutally suppressed Kashmiri's arguments for the right to freedom.

The article came out amid the massive outbreak of protests in the valley demanding freedom.
This time, it wasn't a mob that could be shrugged off as 'militants' or 'ISI backed miscreants'.. but hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris pouring out into the streets, marching peacefully and fearlessly demanding their rights. It's simply not common for an Indian to use mainstream Indian media to launch such a scathing attack on the Indian state and its repressive, inhuman policies in Kashmir.

But that was not why I was surprised. It was the letters to the Editor in that issue that I found very refreshingly interesting. For the first time ever, I was hearing Indian voices actually suggesting that perhaps India should consider withdrawing from the valley.

For the first time, in a mainstream magazine, I read letters from regular Indian citizens asking valid questions pointed at themselves - at the Indian government and its role in Kashmir - Asking if India had any moral authority left to cling on to Kashmir, that too at such a heavy price; Yes, Indians speaking FOR the Kashmiris right to self-assertion.

There was none of that Pak-bashing and breast-thumping emotional outbursts of patriotism (that's so much on display in times of war, cricket tournaments and discussions of Kashmir) filling the reams. Instead, intelligent voices pleading reason, fairness and justice were prevalent in that issue. Humanist, rational voices.


Everytime I try to sneak in the Kashmir debate onto an Internet forum, I'm immediately attacked and vilified by numerous angered Indians I didn't mean to offend. It wasn't necessarily even the right wingers or Hindutvis who reacted with such vehement outrage. The average Indian will frown at you if you so much as suggested that perhaps the Indian state might be at fault in Kashmir.

Hundreds of Human Rights organizations - including Amnesty International - have come down heavily on the Indian army for their brutal practices in the valley. When I try to assert these facts and the fact that despite numerous UN resolutions to that effect, there's still no likelihood of a referendum/plebiscite to be held in Kashmir, I normally face a deluge of angry retorts:
  • 'ISI has infiltrated all the Human rights organizations'.
  • 'Kashmiris want to be with India.. it's just a handful of militants who want secession'..
  • 'Indian army is a noble and efficient organization doing a lot of sacrifice in the valley to protect the Kashmiris'
  • 'India spends way more on Kashmir than any other state, so they don't have any right to protest'..
  • "Pakistani elements.."
  • 'Referendum should be held for all 1 billion Indians...'
  • 'First, the Kashmiri Pundits have to be rehabilitated'
  • And of course, the easy way out. 'Arundhati Roy is anti-national!'.
I was surprised then, to see a section of the Indian public so openly advocating a just solution for the Kashmiris. It was also surprising to see the Indian government showing restraint and talking with the protestors - and letting them protest peacefully among chants of 'Azadi'.

Well, for a while at least.

Then the crackdown began - 20 battalions of CRPF troops entered Srinagar overnight. Curfew was imposed. Recently introduced mobile services were interrupted. Separatist leaders were rounded up and arrested. SMS facilities, cable TV and Internet were shut down. All the Foreign journalists in the valley were expelled and local newspapers banned. Several people have been killed and hundreds injured.

A column in the New Indian Express attacked Arundhati Roy. In the absence of any valid arguments to counter her solid reasons, it sought instead to sully her image and thus, her opinion. (It's the same treatment even I face on Internet forums. When there's a complete absence of counter-arguments, the debate turns into a nasty, personal mudslinging match!) Instead, the column provided some statistics that milk production was somewhat higher in Kashmir(or something to that effect..) and thereby, Kashmiris "weren't hurt" - and thus Arundhati Roy was clearly wrong.

The Indian government has once again tried to stifle the Kashmiri voice. The discovering of mass graves of thousands of unidentified bodies in Kashmir is only a slight indicator of the army atrocities. Tens of thousands have been killed, thousands have gone missing, rapes and executions are common. The government spends a shocking amount of money and resources into maintaining it's heavy military presence in the most densely militarized zone in the world.

Against this background, the Sangh Parivar and the VHP/RSS in Jammu continue to carry out blatantly communal acts of war against the Kashmiris by blocking the only highway linking the valley to India - and the government has proved quite inefficient against them. Despite the decades, India has failed to win over the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris. They still demand Azadi - and a right to self determination.

I've always noticed that the Indian public is, on an average, very reluctant (and in most cases, too ignorant of facts) to criticize itself, but quick to point fingers at the same time. I've seen numerous Indian commentators on forums pleading - rightly - for the sake of justice for the thousands of Kashmiri pundits who have been forced to flee the valley. But these same voices will continue to live in denial and delusion when it comes to admitting that there exists a massive human rights problem in Kashmir, and a highly repressive state.

The first step towards finding a solution is acknowledgement of the problem. [To quote from an example in Ms. Roy's essay.. trucks in the Indian mainland carry quotes as frightening as 'Dhoodh maango toh kheer denge, Kashmir maango toh cheer denge!']

I only wish this topic is discussed more extensively in the Indian media and public, with more reason and logic and less jingoistic pseudo-patriotic fervor. I strongly recommend that everyone read Arundhati Roy's poignant, effective essay - and educate themselves on the ground realities in Kashmir.

Truly said that India needs freedom from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs Azadi from India. If not for reasons of justice and compassion, then at least for the large financial burden and drain on resources that retaining Kashmir under Indian occupation has proved. I urge citizens all over the country to take a moral stand and take a lead in giving Kashmiris their long suppressed right to self determination and dignity.

[P.S. - This article is NOT written by 1conoclast, nor necessarily endorsed by him. All abuse/brickbats/hate mail/comments are to be directed to ME]