Sunday, July 13, 2008

No Man's Land

And here it comes. So from now on, allocation of "forest land" to a Hindu Shrine's Board would require consent from the Muslim population around, which they would never give. Even though it might provide more pilgrims and eventually more revenue to them. The reason : Loss of Identity. Kashmiri Identity. Whatever that means. Even if that means something, how is that related to the government allotting land to the Shrine Board. Is it something unprecedented? Have there been no land allotments to Madarsas, no financial aids to Minority institutions including rights of extra-constitutional reservations for that respective community, no subsidies for Haj. And if all these did exist why did the "Hindu" Extremists never protest. Just imagine the slightest of protest on any of these issues and the first possible reaction: the entire media up in arms firing one column after the other about secularism (pseudo, of course); debates, discussions all involving left intellectuals( or as one of my friend once said..Left intellectuals are those whose intellect has left them). And now when an entire state is protesting against land allotment to a HINDU shrine's board, in the name of protecting "Kashmiri Identity", what does Kashmiri Identity then stand for? Is Kashmir the sole property of Muslims living there and in the neighbouring country. What about the Hindu kashmiris. Are they not part of the "Kashmiri Identity"??? This makes look MNS goons like saints. At least they've not (explicitly) brought the question of religion with their demand of Maharashtra for Marathas.

The media is busy discussing the Secular nature of the Shrine and its discovery and how the politicians are fuelling the divide (which clearly means the divide existed) etc. but are deliberately brushing away from the main issue. What about the people there? The protest is not only by the party workers. without the support of the local people, the protest cannot be as fierce as it is. 3 people died and over 50 injured protesting allotment of forest land for the construction of temporary facilities for the pilgrims. No plans of building a temple, nor demolishing a Mosque. That's so un-Indian.

Now that pops another question. How Indian is Kashmir? Definitely there are kashmiris who are as Indian as one could get. But there's definitely another chunk of locals who don't identify themselves as Indians. And, that chunk is by no way negligible. Every now and then, there occur incidents that shows the strength of this section. The support for Afzal "Guru" is one such incident. I don't understand what exactly do these people want. To join a failed state or to add another example of a failed state. Because, any state found on religious fanaticism is doomed to "Pakistan-ise".

Every time I discuss this with my friends, there's always a mention of the atrocities committed by the Armed Forces. My question is "Why is there a need for the Armed Forces being posted there in the first place?" And, this is in no way, the-Chicken-first-or-the-Egg-First? type of a question. For the answer, just look around, at the so many other states where the Army does not commit atrocities’. That's because, there's no need for their deployment there. This in no way washes away the guilt of the crimes by the few in our Armed forces. Just wanted to point out that, the root cause if addressed will obviously eliminate the chances for every other issue caused by it.

Its up to our leaders to do it. But who cares for the "door ka fayda", when the "nazdiki nuksaan" is Power. Forget addressing the root, just take the easier route : Find the famous terrorists, the ones who call themselves separatist leaders, Invite them to talks and then talk , talk and just talk without making any sense. The life of the Army men who sacrifice it to protect what they consider as their motherland holds no value to them. To value it they themselves need to posses qualities of Men.

(This was written over a month ago. Even as the situation worsens in Jammu & Kashnmir, my views remain the same. Only, now I have few more things to say about a few Kashmiris
When Farooq Abdullah doubts if staying back after partition was right and is still not being called communal, why should those who ask people like these to go to Pakistan called communal.
When Sajjad Lone calls Amarnath Pilgrims as his guests, why is he not asked for an explantion. How are Indians guests in their own country? And then threatening to go to Muzzafarabad:
I'd say "With pleasure. But please don't return. India has enough of enemies within. A few less won't ease our troubles. So you can still be happy there."
To those who say "Jaan De denge magar zameen nahi denge"...You can add these words as well..."Magar aadhe se zyaada Kashmir pakistan ko denge aur phir bhi Hindustaniyon ki jaan lenge." )

And the most dreadful thing is that such behaviour has become so normal, that we've start accepting it as just another Indian trait. Whether it is Union ministers ridiculing ban on Terrorist Organisations or ChiefMinisters defying it. Its all part of the new India. From a few men without spines we're soon turning into a land of no MEN.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Child labour

June 12th is observed as the world day against the child labour. How many of us know that there is day exist like this. I'm afraid the answer to this is very less people. Those people would have seen some ad in the newspaper while having their morning coffee. That is it. We forget the fact afterwards.
The ILO - International Labour Organization - estimates that around 165 million people in the age group of 5 to 14 are involved in the most dreaded disease called child labour and I’m quite confident that majority of the children are from India. But what are we doing so that this could be avoided and none is the response for that.
This years theme for the ILO is education: right response to the child labour.
Most of us were privileged to get the education when we were kids. Now it is the time to give back to the society. How? Here are some of the things that can be followed by us.
- there is a toll free number 1098, call these people wherever you find the child is involved in labour/work
- Stop eating in the hotels which involve children for work esp. the andhra mess
- If you go to a mechanic shop and if a Child comes to service you, Please reject it out right (This is very debatable point)
-If you are from a village, then try to go there whenever time permits and try to teach them anything and everything. Getting to grassroot level is very important
- Stop bursting the crackers for Diwali, even thou their packets says that it does not involve child labour. See it to believe it
- If you are in a very good financial position, try to sponsor something to the poor children in the neighbor hood
- Try to spread the awareness about the problems that will be caused from child labour
- Help the Govt and the UN in eradicating the Child labour by the year 2015

As a nation, we are plagued with problems. Let us try to remove one problem from the long list. If we remove child labour, then we might also eradicate some of the poverty related problems. We should never see the short term gains but instead see the long term gains. The Govt has made the education until the age of 14 as free and compulsory!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Incredibly Indi(a)fferent

Yet another blast. And the concerns, as always, varying across the spectrum. For the "authorities", the casuality count. For the Police, names of possible terror groups based on modus operandi. For the government, another set of answers, which now sound like rhymes recited by Nursery School Children. The Opposition looking for a lead in the Blame Game. And the Media, busy thrusting microphones into the graves of the dead and wounds of the injured. Terrorist look-alikes explaining us the sequence of blasts using 3-D Live animation. And pointing out why the blasts did minimum damage by claiming "only "23" lives. Just short of suggesting Maximum impact techniques to the planners. Having video teleconferences with people who have nothing to do with the blast and are sitting in the next room with a different background image. But this time around, their "impact analysis" seems to have found a new victim.
The "IPL". Will the IPL matches in Jaipur be cancelled. Will Shane Warne return? Will the Rajasthan Royals back out? I was always aware of how insensitive people in the "Showbiz" were. But this was probably the worst I've ever seen or heard of. Whats next...May be the smoke from the bombs, becoming a "grave" environmental concern. Also, suggestions of a less polluting one, instead. And, the media's not alone here. Most of us are no different from them (except these people( The only difference, could be that where they are bothered about idiotic things, we seem to be least perturbed. As if nothing happened. We've found a new default addendum to "Forgetting" : "Moving on" and rephrased "indifference" to "the spirit". The most we think of doing is posting a condolence or vengeful blog. This is neither one of those. Here's my take on "what can we do?" confusion. --
Use the media again to create a stir similar to what happened during the "reservation" issue. Chain mails, to start with, a blog forum like this one to pour in all the discontent together , sort of accumulating lava to form a volcano, that explodes instead of erupting. Protest marches, Demonstrations look very cliched, but might create a ripple effect and eventually guarantee tougher action. Or atleast some action. Though, the anti-reservation agitation din't yield the desired results, it atleast wasn't a surrender. The cause did lose out. But the fight stood for more than just the cause. It depicted that we still have it in us. And one more thing to remember is that it had divided the youth into two. If we could fight so vigorously among ourselves for our bread, can't we fight together with an manifold stronger vigour for the sake of our blood.Even if doesn't yield any immediate effect, it would certainly not go in vain.
It would impact the world around us in many ways. Firstly, send out signals to those who planned it , that Indian public unlike its polity does not stand for a meek surrender. Secondly motivate atleast the honest but demotivated crop of cops to get back to action. Thirdly, the unity and magnitude of anger towards acts like these could actually draw the swayed lot of local "symapathisers" to rethink their stance. Chances even if dim, do exist.

Since the first and the third "effects" won't be of any practical use to reduce the risk to our lives( That's because people involved in such acts don't remain human and so are immune to any attempts of redemption), we can only count on the second one. But, there's very little that the cops can actually do. As, the hindi-movie cliche goes "Unke haath bandhe hai" (their hands are tied) by whom: of course "OUR" politicians. Though all of them are faces of the same coin, the ruling lot is probably taking its hunt for alliances, too far. Just figure out, the MoS, Home Affairs, ignorant query " Is the SIMI banned? " and the chief minister of another state saying that there was no ban on SIMI in his state. The list of examples could go on. It would , as always lead to the common root cause of almost all evils in our country. Political scenario. And the only remaining option is to Change it or Perish.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

India……Who ?

“when you go to Singapore, you don’t spit or throw waste in public places, when you do the same in India, it becomes so Un-Indian” Dr.Abul kalam

Every Indian claims that this country is moving from worse to horrible with the passage of time. Every Indian claims that the country is full of crooked politicians and they are spoiling this country. We point our finger towards the system claiming that it is misplaced and outdated. My old friend used to say “When you point your finger towards someone, remember, three of your fingers are pointing towards you” As human beings, we never realize it.

I have seen a lot of people who give that “geeky” look towards the Indian roads once they return back and say “U.S has a much better infrastructure in place”. We adopt a lot of qualities from the west. We want to be given as much freedom as they do from their parents. We want to use the f-word as much as possible in unnecessary situations. We want to become the “real slim shaddy” portrayed by Eminem. One good quality that U.S citizens have is patriotism. They place their country and pride before anything else. They still believe that U.S was the first continent formed in the seven. Are we similar? No way, we are the cool dudes who would like study in India, utilize the resources as much as possible, and when time comes to be a man, we pack our bags and fly off. Reason – India doesn’t offer opportunities. We land in India after two or three years and from then and start complaining about ourselves. Why this is happening? If anyone give us a 1000$ (intended) we will be ready to sacrifice our nativity and call ourselves an American. Infact, we will be proud to do so. India.....who ?

The divide and rule policy couldn’t have worked much better. We are fighting amongst ourselves. Does this sentence seem outdated to you? Let me recall a few incidents in the recent past that the communal fight is still is existence and people are still cashing on it. The great maharashritian Mr. DDDDDDD ( name modified for safety purposes), said that only people whose origin is in Maharashtra should stay in that place. Can Mr.D survive if every non-maharashtrian (as they say) decides not to work there or Can we say like people in Maharashtra should not work anywhere except their state. Fences will be built around them and they will never be allowed outside. Airports will be destroyed and they will be isolated. Can such a situation ever happen again? Mr.D is totally idiotic and is just trying to do stupid act his father did 40 years ago. The Mayalyam manorama is an other example of linguistic racism. The advertisement shows a Malayali as a well dressed educated person while tamilian and telugian are shown as pathetic people. Even the latest Pepsi where dhoni comes out and says “I am MSD from Chennai. Mind it”, stands a testimony to my claim. Just have a look at how Mr. MSD from Chennai is potryed. We don’t realize that and say that the advertisement is “awesome”.

Pointing someone’s mistake is useless unless until you provide a sufficient remedy to it. Here are some of the acts that we should follow in order to establish the change that we are praying for.

1. Stop throwing waste in public places

2. Self-pride is what to live for. Stop criticizing India. If anyone criticizes India, you go against him even if odds are against you.

3. Stop being linguistic and think that “we are Indians”.

I know that these are moral science lessons that we learnt in preliminary education. We always have the habit of forgetting things that are hard to follow. To see India as a “self-sustaining” super power, we should start believing in ourselves and become the change we ought to achieve.

Proud to be an INDIAN

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fences all around

Longer than the list of castes in our country is the list of problems that we face. One such problem that resurfaced recently was "Regionalism". Regionalism is like a tumor. It stays in an organ and grows, but kills the organ as well as the entire body.

I find it impossible to concede to the idea of earmarking areas of single nation for people of different races. Its an insult to the whole notion of our Nationhood. How can anyone treat our country like a toilet. The whole meaning of being citizens of one nation, saluting one flag singing one anthem is fed to dogs (pun intended).The politicians who advocate it are the only people to gain from this national disease.
Being the shrewd creatures that they are, they present it in a different form to the masses. Wrapped up in poetic phrases, qouting some equally stupid (but now dead) "great" and voice modulation (rather animation...either of which are Oscar worthy), they feed it to the scores of jobless wannabe-saviours of the regional identity.

As in the case of all our other problems, the responsibility for this one too is Collective. Its we, the people who feed the growth of these micro-organisms and causing this dreaded diseases. Now, its already an epidemic. Highly Prevalent during the election season, but dormant to the level of extinction, during the post-election "negotiations". Among us are the people who get swayed by such ill-intended thoughts, people suffering from an identity crisis. People deprived of self-pride. Its these drowning people who in desperation get hold of a sleeping python's tail , taking it for a rope, and come out only to be swallowed by it one day.
And WE, knowing it all, with our coward mentality that doesn't allow us to treat these people the way they deserve, reamin mute spectators untill affected and mute-sobbing-victims thereafter.

Groupism is practically unavoidable in such a diverse culture as ours. But its this diversity that provides us an oppurtunity to learn, to know about each other and imbibe in us the best of of all cultures and call that the great "Indianness". Instead, today with our divisive politics, we've screwed it up to make it the greatest "Indian Mess".

Since the scope of recovery seems limited only to a few patriotic movies ( supported by Rahman's rousing scores), we can just pray to not get affected by it. The fence is much more safer. And so all we do(other than reading blogs and writing one too)is just wait there and watch. The longer the wait, the heavier we bear. To help, there are a lot fences around as well.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Nation’s Call

(Following the HR people’s policy of boring a person to the core, but beginning with another boring game, let me start with discussing a very popular game.)

The most popular game in our country is obviously not Cricket. Even those disinterested in cricket indulge in this game called “The Blame Game”. (On a more serious note).The current state of affairs in our Nation is a consequence of this never-ending game. Many campaigns have been launched, even more movies have hit the screens, but they don’t even seem to touch the self-built wall of ignorance that surrounds us.
And so, one fine day, I decided to ‘call it a day’ from this game. Then began, the phase of self- introspection. Umpteen questions were hovering all over my mind. Questions that I was I forced to ask myself about the world around me. Questions that we all (CITIZENS of this Nation) need to ask ourselves. “Do we demand our rights???” , “Do we perform our duties??” , “Are we actually aware of them???”, “ What exactly is the reason for this mess??” , “Finally, What is the solution to all this???”

Then, came the answer form within. “Nationalism”. This was the one-word answer that echoed from my conscience. . The Media refrains from using this word fearing the “Right wing” tag attached to it. But have the media ‘Intellectuals’ ever tried to ‘Press’ for a debate on the issue of Nationalism. The lack of the feeling, or, misuse of the word. Never !. Forget it. Anyway, this a very popular feeling , but a dormant one. Nationalism needs to be cultivated in proper manner among the easy-going GEN-X.

By inculcating Nationalism, I do not mean that each one of us should sacrifice comfort and start a crusade against Corruption or plunge into politics because that again needs courage, which most of us lack. But we can at least add an additional thought before every deed of ours. I feel that if most (if not each one) of us start considering our acts in the perspective of National Interest, even the Heavens would envy our Motherland.

National Interest lies in the less talked about deeds like Dumping Garbage in a dust bin, saving water and obeying Traffic Rules to the highly publicized issues like Corruption, Terrorism etc. Now, I cannot put an end to these, neither can you. But together, WE can at least reduce it.

“Cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Most of us would‘ve heard this, few of us would’ve seen it and even fewer of us would be following it. The reason is that we never thought the consequence of dumping garbage on the road as we were busy discussing the shine on foreign roads. It costs us nothing to keep our surrounding clean, but making it dirty costs us, our reputation, tourism and most of all our Heath. There’s no use of being a Wealthy nation if we aren’t a healthy one. Saving water and obeying Traffic rules don’t seem to be issues at all. Are they?? But just imagine the lives that are lost because of the Draught and speeding, out of control vehicles. I believe we can save a lot of them if we actually practice what we read in those umpteen forward mails or blogs.

Don’t I have anything good to say about our people? Yes, of course I have. There are Indians figuring in ‘Richest on Earth’ list and their count is next only to Americans. But then, why does one among every three of us live (and may be die too) below poverty line. Again, we all know the reason. On one hand we refuse foreign monetary aid and in fact help out neighbours during disasters such as the 2006 Tsunami and on the other hand we pile up NATIONWIDE Flood Relief Scams. Today, as onlookers we blame the officials, but tomorrow (not the immediate one) when we are in-charge, we do the same. It’s a strange paradox that most people hate corruption but almost all follow it. (This virus seems to be multiplying at a rate faster than our population). A nationwide crusade is a fading possibility, but we can do our bit by at least not demanding a BRIBE, when we are the babus.

Another menace that we face today is Terrorism. The new age war has shifted from ‘highly’ militarized border to civic locations like places of worship, busy markets, crowded buses and even more crowded trains. The danger is now even greater as the threat seems to be coming from within the Nation. That these crimes involve sophisticated technology and impeccable planning shows that there is no dearth of Ignited minds. Only, the fire here is destructive. And the leaders, whom WE ‘elect’, instead of extinguishing it, are using the heat to bake their cake. This fire, if used in National Interest can definitely fuel our Success journey.

Issues like these make a long list. But listing them down is of no use, until we understand that since we created them, we need to solve them as well. The time has come for us to stop discussing solutions, instead, be a part of it. The time has come for us to come out of the Individualistic mindset, instead, be part of a Nationalistic Movement. The time has come for us to erase the welfare circles that we drew around our family and friends, instead, consider our actions in the context of Country’s welfare. The time has come for us to devote our senses to the Motherland. The Nation’s call is quite loud and clear. Lets wake up, open our eyes, listen to the call and answer it with more than just a