Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saddening Politics!

All of us have heard and seen many elections! To lure the voters, we have also seen politicians making a lot many promises, which are indeed the most significant part of an election and the backbone of the campaign on the whole. The promises for new roads, proper water supply or rationing, employment opportunities are a few. But what if the political agenda is ‘circumcision’ and the politician even manages to steal the show for the same reason.

Coming to my point directly, I am shocked the way a political issue today turns into a social issue and any social issue is used by the politicians for their voter bank. In our country, we did see the burning Nandigram where a political issue was fuelled into a social issue. And outside our country, let’s take the latest example of Kenya. Kenya is already a destabilized economy. Elections were held in the nation on Dec.27 where two opposition party leaders- Kibaki (whose party saw the electoral victory) and Odinga are at loggerheads. It might shock you but the campaign directed against Odinga was on the basis of circumcision. Odinga who belongs to the Luos tribe (one of the rare tribes of Africa who doesn’t follow circumcision practice) was announced as incapable of ruling.

The political fight between these two leaders has turned into a social agenda. Not only this, the Kikuyu tribe (to which Kibaki belongs) has been chasing down Luos and forcing circumcision upon them. They have been asking men of other tribes to show their private parts and sparing only those who have already been circumcised. This has also given way to other crimes that the men of Kikuyu tribe are committing under the so called ‘circumcision checks’. They have been evicting, raping and looting other tribes, all under the shade of a political master. I may not blame Kibaki directly but indirectly, he indeed is responsible.

This issue brings to light how such an issue brings to turmoil the existence of a tribe, sect or entire mankind. This piece of news left me in total dismay and disbelief. This may relate to just a tribe but one who can see this in a universal light will only find him/herself in melancholy.

(You can check out the source here)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slaves Again

As a new year arrived and made itself comfortable, three thinkers – two of my friends and I – decided to offer it a beverage as a mark of our hospitality to guests…a stimulant…a stimulating conversation. Presented here is the decoction from one of the threads and the coffee I prepared thereafter.

We were talking about the status quo of the Indian Government. It is common knowledge that today the government is concerned only about staying in power and all its actions and decisions are aligned towards that singular purpose. No policy is examined from the perspective of whether it is beneficial or harmful but rather whether it will help uphold their image, whether it will help garner votes and create long-standing vote-banks. Consequently, either age-old policies are continued with for the fear of upsetting a multitude of maniacs who will go on rampage in revolt or, worse still, retrogressive policies are brought-in in the name of equality, fairness and justice. The Opposition takes itself very seriously and literally and keeps ‘opposing’ whatever the government proposes without any analysis, giving baseless reasons for their criticism thinking that it will boost their image as an ‘intellectual’ lot. And the government keeps ignoring what the Opposition says (even if, by some fortunate turn of events, what they say makes sense) since they are the Opposition and they are just not supposed to agree with each other. The hapless nation and its people, for whom (ideally) the policies should be framed, are left behind watching the numerous Parliamentary sessions where this mindless game is played and millions of rupees of the taxpayer’s money is wasted everyday.

It reminds me of a possible scenario in household where the birth of a newborn has just shifted the equations a little – the baby is crying for a change or food or whatever, and the young couple is fighting over whose responsibility it is to take care of it…they keep fighting to reach a conclusion – the result will affect all such situations in the future when the baby is crying again – meanwhile, the baby continues to be wet or hungry and suffers. India today is like that baby – the government and opposition are only interested in proving who wronged the nation in what way the last (useless) time and how they will set it right in the future. And they are so busy doing this that doing anything else (like implementing policies for example) is just not possible in the short time span of 5 years!

From the existing records of history one realizes that the (so-called tyrants) Mughals especially Emperor Akbar had this practice of bringing-in a variety of viewpoints into their courts. There used to be a set of people, intellectuals we would call them, whose job was to critically examine the policies that the Royal Court was planning to implement – analogous to Opposition today. The suggestions of these intellectuals were then discussed by the Emperor and efforts made to incorporate them.
Even in the courts of the Indian Kings long before India came under any external occupation, there used to be a set of people representing various religions along with a special set of agnostic (atheistic) people. The agnostics were supposed to debate upon the various aspects of religion that the religious representatives or the King might have and make the picture complete. Their opinions were respected and heard…they were not beheaded for having religious (or non-religious) ideas of their own as happens today. In all these courts, there was a mandate that everyone would hear everyone else’s opinion and not oppose it…even if they wanted to oppose it, they would have to be very respectful in doing so.
Today, with politicians licensing murder as punishment for simply believing in another God, we have come a long (and need I say wrong) way off from the days of yore when there were wise kings and leaders and everybody was free even if they were subjects of another human being.

Sometimes one wonders, were we really suffering under those Kings and Emperors (or even the British for that matter) or are we much worse off today! Some of India’s best literature and art came in the times of the Mughals. Oh hell they gave us the Taj which we Indians (barring a few fanatics who are hell bent on proving that a Shiva temple existed under where the Taj is…some jobless bloke’s Tejo Mahalaya theory…another Ayodhya in the making? Another Babri in the offing? Makes me sick) so proudly flaunt to the world!
The British ended up leaving a legacy that is today the lifeline of this nation – the world’s largest railway network and Cricket…half of the Indians practically live on it and India is known better as a Cricketing nation than anything else. We were all equal under them…we were all slaves. Was it that bad other than the fact that the Human Rights guys may not have liked the sound of it? We are not better off under our Politicians today…free for the sake of being called so…being killed for opinions…being discriminated against in every way possible…being practically looted in the name of Tax yet no difference being made to the lives of those who have been waiting for it.

Politicians are public servants…their shoulders should be burdened with the responsibilities that their position brings…they have the trust of at least half the nation who care to walk, limp or be carried to voting centres and bring them in power and that should be intimidating…they should be bowing down with humility not walking around in arrogance…who are they if the people who bring them in power stop exercising their choice? Where would they be but for all the money they have embezzled from a hard-working multitude who have no choice but to pay tax (thanks to TDS)? And yet, all they can think about is ‘I, Me, Myself’ with no realization of what they ought to do and how horribly wayward they have gone…while We, The People languish in one way or another.

We united against the British to set ourselves free…we are in shackles again…we are slaves of these Politicians…both used the Divide-And-Rule policy and we fell for it…time and again…and the colonies of the British are analogous to the Vote Banks today…nothing has changed…only the context.

When are we going to exercise the supposed power that Democracy brings to the people…the ‘Of The People, By The People, For The People’ crap? When are we going to stop letting them make wrong decisions for us? When are we going to stop killing our brothers at the call of some power-hungry fanatic leader and unite to break these chains? When are we going to stop being Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Tamilians, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis, left-wing, right-wing, and any of the million other identities that are possible in this country and be Indians again? When?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

*** Phoren I Am NOT! ***

It all started when I first told my friends-"I love Hollywood Movies (!)".The moment the last word bid goodbye to my lips,all the eyes around me felt the twitch in their muscles,brows furrowed,eyes piercing ;one of them shot-"Style maarta hai.Angreji films dekhta hai,hayen !!!" This made me dig a grave then and there and I paid the homage to the list of my favourite movies which I was about to read out.That was the last time I "disclosed" my sins of watching hollywood flicks and even greater a sin of listening to their music !

(India is a country where quite a number of people go Ga Ga over Italian and phoren fashion but there are a few Desh Bhakts who think and claim that Gucci was the son of an Indian Jute farmer who was kicked out of India just because he was found adulterating khadi with silk (and thus murdering the Swadeshic Textile Industry !).This is India with a moral brigade strong enough to force Archies stores to stay open 364 days a year but on 14th February.They can sell all sorts of cards throughout the year but 14th Feb is a strict no-no.)
Now where was I?Oh yes, stop me if I start veering off the micro-level of my circle of friends.I spent most of my "hormonal" years in the not so metropolitan city of Bhubaneswar ,where listening to English music is considered as an Ishtyle factor and English Movies were met with shrieks and apprehensions at my home.But things have changed and no more suspicious eyes if they find me browsing through the Angreji Channels.
But I understand,they are not to blame and not even the society I complain about.The first movies that came alive on the screens with characters chit-chatting in English had shades of "blue" and were released in theaters infamous for there highly "unsocial" motion pictures (More moans than dialogues!!!).But the unwanted but stealthy intrusion of the western culture in our civic enclosure have things rolling for enthusiasts like us,we have got "clean" movies released in even cleaner theaters !
(But I still haven't figured out why do the Indian counterparts of our Angreji actors always end up making a passionate and sweet kiss look vulgar and obscene ?Answers? Anyone but Emraan.Please)

Some of my friends,who think that being Angreji is Ishtylish have taken up to mugging up the lyrics of the famous English songs,just to hum them in a not so clear way so that it gets almost impossible to figure out the mistakes and sometimes even the song itself !

Now dear friend,who is asking you to cover yourself with this fake western blanket which has got so many holes in it through which I can clearly see a capped Himesh Reshamiya "nose"ing out a crescendo close to your ears.If you love bollywood then what's the problem?Music is music.Like you prefer Chinese to Vadaa ,the same way I prefer Shaun to Sonu Nigam .You want to know more about Western music and flicks ,then do it,no one will stop you.But please don't show it off in a cheap way?Don't try to push the pizza down your throat if your heart craves for a dosa?Listen to what YOU want to.
Ab yeh mat kehna-"Ishtyle maar raha hai..."

I love their music but does that mean that I don't love my country or that I don't love my culture?Now what is that?Everyone has likings and dislikings .I am a human like you are so I have my sets of likes and dislikes.So where's the point of me not loving my culture.Koi samjhaao inhe !!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

just not a dream!

I don’t know what’s happening to Politics around the world. But I do know little bit about what’s happening in India and a little more in Karnataka – my homeland. Karnataka at the moment does not have a chief minister. For a common man it is not at all making any difference. The life is just going on fine like it used to be earlier too. Though this leaves me with a question why to have one, because my inclination and knowledge is not at all towards “politics”, I don’t tend to debate on the brickbats of my own question.

All that I’m worried of is – a great place to live in. Not just for me – for everybody around me. I don’t want to see kids begging near the traffic junction nor I want anybody living in slums. I want each and every woman here in this country to step out of home peacefully at any hour and get back home – safely. I want each and everybody get 3 square meals a day and a peaceful sleep end of the day. I want each and everybody to get access to good hospitals when ill. I don’t want to see anybody doing any odd jobs, which I personally don’t want to do.

Just this little from our political leaders who have it all.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

House On Fire!

House on Fire. Not an essay anymore. What he saw was ridiculous and more ridiculous was his helplessness. Lying at the pavement, blood soaked his face and his shirt was ripped from the collar till the ribs. Scars were visible. Blood and dirt mixed together, reminding him of his human basicity. Three, four young fellows rushed on without noticing him, as if he wasn't a human but a dustbin about which no one really cares until and unless garbage rots in it and create a foul smell. A mob...he could sense a mob was coming that way. Footsteps echoed and faded. He looked towards the sky remembering his God. The blue color of sky also started melting into crimson red, light yellow.

He shirked from the thought of her. His house was on fire when he returned to take her away. He peeked into the window and all what he saw was a glimpse of her hand that held the pallu of her red-yellow sari...trying... to fight the fire...shrieking, crying out for help. He felt the same amount of heat which boiled down over his body. He cursed himself. He cursed the society. He cursed God and those who followed his laws, those who used his name to cover their shameful acts. It was all happening in His name but he knew that the reality was under the veil. How for a piece of land, whole of the set-up was planned. Being her husband, he knew what was happening. Her words echoed in his mind-----Ramlal wants that chunk of land to establish a factory there which would not only render the whole basti homeless but even pollute the ghat. All the promises being made are futile. Nothing is being done on paper. But I'll do whatever is possible to make sure that things don't work out for them!

He knew that the game had begun but it will take such a turn, he never knew that. When clean politics failed, when claims failed, when threats failed... those dirty politicians turned the basti into a playfield, where they begun their dirty game. With both Hindu-Muslim workers settled there, the game became easier. They lighted a spark and blazes of fire were seen. House on fire-not an essay anymore.