Friday, October 31, 2008

Maharashtra and the Educated Idiot

This article is about my beloved home state, Maharashtra. So if you think I am going to please your mind by talking ill about the "Marathi Manoos" cause, then do turn away this moment.

Now that we have that "pressure" out of the way, we can begin talking...
Gone are the days when people of India could safely distance themselves from anything that was political or nationalist in nature. The bigger issues of today are staring into our faces and sometimes breathing down our necks. Let's accept it: Whether we want it or not, we ARE all involved in the happenings around our country.

Take the issue of Maharashtra for instance. It indeed should not have become an "issue" to begin with! To insist that Marathi be spoken in the whole of Maharashtra( including Mumbai...some people refuse to accept that for reasons largely vague) is quite beyond my understanding. Is Tamil spoken in Tamilnadu? Is Kannada splashed all over in Karnataka( including's better to make it clear that the capital of the state is not an exception to the rule)? Is Bengali spoken in West Bengal? Shouldn't Marathi be spoken in Maharashtra? The answers are a big "YES". It's so simple. I fail to know why it is undemocratic, unconstitutional and unfair. 
Let's ignore Raj Thakre and the other Thakres for a moment. The Marathi banners in shops should have been made compulsory by the B.M.C. and the State Government. It is their responsibility. But that they have been sleeping on the issue, a Raj Thakre had to rise and threaten to implement it. Funny how hastily people termed it undemocratic. Mumbai is not independent of Maharashtra. How can it be? Intellectually impotent people who revel in blatant displays of "sophistication" want Mumbai to be given an autonomous status. Ok. Then let Maharashtra stop supplying power, water to Mumbai. Let Mumbai produce it's own power. Is it possible? I am not even beginning to talk about Samyukta Maharashtra movement! Was it for nothing? 
Now let's turn towards the "educated idiot". There are lots of them around in the guise of our own friends. I know one such 29 year old woman. She is an Engineer and has been working for a VERY reputed software firm from many many years...has lived in the USA( that somehow gives her the prerogative of growing horns on the head) and her mother tongue is not Marathi. Just yesterday we had an argument about this entire issue. Needless to say that she is dead against Raj much so that she wants him dead.
Well but as far as the next national hero "shaheed" Rahul Raj is concerned, she had some very interesting arguments. For example:

1] "He just had a gun. He at least didn't kill anybody. Had he wanted to kill, he would have...but he didn't. He just shot someone in the leg. So why did the Police have to kill him?"

Rahul Raj was an infuriated young man WITH A GUN who COULD have easily killed somebody. Nobody in with a sane mind would trust someone with a gun who is shouting like a mad man, "phone lagao! Main Raj Thakre ko maarna chaahta hoon!", and has hijacked a BEST bus, has grievously injured a passenger(am sure there are people out there who would argue about what exactly amounts to being "grievously injured" ) and had the potential( owing to the gun) to injure many others! And the Police did talk to him asking him to surrenderbut of no avail. So the Police should have captured him alive. Even I would have liked that. After all he was a young man of 23 with a life ahead of him and much more potential than just wielding a gun. But the Police have done their job. And if that hurts "sentiments", well nothing should be done about it. Rahul Raj was no freedom fighter, nor a soldier. At least don't doubt the integrity of Police each time who actually run the risk of losing their lives...and they regularly do. But if anyone thinks they can come to Mumbai and threaten the citizens here with life-threatening tactics like these, they should be and they will be shot down. 

2] "Even Guru Nanak had a weapon. So did Rahul Raj. But they didn't hurt anyone."
Honestly, I am at a loss of words. My "educated" engineer friend said this. Hating Raj Thakre is one thing. But putting Guru Nanak Dev and Rahul Raj on a similar platform is an utter lack respect for life, spirituality and goodness. And somehow posthumously everybody acquires a halo of sorts. Rahul Raj has suddenly become the new-age "martyr". I feel ashamed of people who defend Rahul Raj's actions. Or may be he should have killed 5-6 people on the roads of Mumbai for giving the Police enough reason to kill him. What a shame is this kind of thinking! 

3] "Lalu Prasad Yadav is not at fault if he gives advertisements for the Central Railway Board Exams only in regional dailies of U.P. and Bihar. If candidates from Maharashtra, Karnataka or elsewhere want to appear for it, it is THEIR responsibility to find out if exams are happening or where and when they are happening. It's not Lalu's responsibility to play it fair."
At exactly this point my brain and all the other faculties had practically gone numb.  Somehow there is a perception that people in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra are rolling in luxury! How poor is public memory about the dire straits of farmers from Vidharbha. We are not living luxuriously. The past CMs of Maharashtra have worked towards making Maharashtra what it is today. Maharashtrians have a legacy of culture, language, music, history and art which we are extremely grateful for and proud of. Maharashtrians are hard-working and honest people which has taken Maharashtra to the position that it is today. But my point is that because I love Maharashtra, I don't hate other states! Obviously not! If all of us start thinking a little more about "how can I help my home state some more?" and start objectively looking at whether my Chief Minister is really doing his job well, then won't we all progress as a Nation? Shouldn't people from Bihar question the CM: Why don't you ever talk about supporting the dying farmers of Bihar instead of encouraging us to "attack" Mumbai in scores for Chhat Puja!Where are our jobs in Bihar? Why are there no jobs in Bihar? Where are reforms? Where is the infrastructure? Where are the basic necessities of life?
If we all start looking towards our home states and start asking these questions, it will have an effect. The only solution to unemployment in other states does not lie in coming to Maharashtra. And it's not fair on the local people here. In fact it is a funny sight to see "bhaiyas" selling fish instead of the local Koli women. 

Really, if I get a transfer to Coorg or some Tea or Coffee plantation area, I will not bring thousands of Maharashtrians one by one and start working as "tea pickers" and "snatch" the livelihood of the local Kannadigas! It's not right. 

This is not called "drawing borders". This is not regionalism. Everyone is welcome here and everywhere else. We are not dividing. Come here, buy yourself a home( but surely not a shanty on the footpaths of Mumbai!), work here( earn your job), enjoy the culture and diversity with your own culture, adapt, contribute, respect( the language and customs) and we can all live happily ever after! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is the Solution???

If only people would choose to call a spade a spade...things would look quite different in India today. All the muffled voices of the diminishing's about time that they are heard.
Can we turn to the Media to get an untainted glimpse of reality? Not any more!

We are all waiting for the next news of another bomb exploding somewhere. Then our pretty little Home Minister will come out in his pretty suit and denounce the bombing(s) in the "sternest" words and also reiterate that it does not mean that Intelligence had failed. Then the Police will start the search operations and when the alleged terrorists are finally apprehended or shot down; sometimes at the cost of their own lives like in the case of Late MC Sharma, some university or some Minister or some newspaper will stand up in support of the deceased "innocent civilians" and also fund their lawsuits! And the infamous bastard of India Arjun Singh, called this a step in national interest! These people should be put behind bars for siding with those who support terrorism in India. But WHO will bring them to book? Unless one more person from the Gandhi monarchical family dies in a hideous terrorist attack, their eyes won't open. The Congress gets an unnatural surge of sympathy for the alleged terrorists but never for people like you and I who die like dogs on the street!

I am sick of the Media, the spineless Government and the so-called "oppressed minority" who doubts the integrity of the Police Force but are totally convinced about the innocence of the guilty. Why?? Just because they belong to a particular community? What kind of governance is this? Till date in all the terrorist-attacks around the country, maybe by some weird kind of coincidence if we may assume, names of only people from a certain community come up. The entire rest of the world including the USA, UK and parts of Europe and Australia has denounced "Islamic fundamentalism" which now has assumed the proportion of "Islamic Terrorism". Why does the Muslim community in India has to be angered by that? Are they the only Muslims in the world? No other Muslim in another country takes an objection to that. And of course the Congress fans this controversy even further with help from the pseudo-secular media. Isn't the onus on shoulders of the Muslims in India too to ensure that their children don't become fundamentalists? Again the age-old allegation of Muslims not being integrated into mainstream India...well, send your kids to cosmopolitan schools, teach them to appreciate other religions and cultures, imbibe in them "Indian-ness" before "Muslim-ness". If Muslims under an imaginary threat from the extremely "ruthless blood-hungry Hindus" want to huddle close only to one another, how the heck are they going to be assimilated in the mainstream. And interesting point here is that Urdu is recognised as one of our National Languages. In which other country in the world will a language of "minorities" be made a National Language except in India? Haj subsidy is given to Haj Pilgrims from India EVERY SINGLE YEAR. But when even Amarnath pilgrims don't have access to subsidies and resources even till date! They had to fight for that RIGHT! And Hindus have no Godfather sitting at the Centre. There is infact no hope for Hindus in this country. What an irony!

By putting up a farce of "protecting" the minorities by not allowing Police to "exploit" Muslim youth under the name of Investigations, the Congress government is putting everyone's lives at stake. The simple fact is that when a bomb explodes, everyone dies including Muslims. If the Congress keeps delaying introducing stricter and harsher laws to deal with terrorism, more people will die.  And it will not help anybody! Is this kind of appeasement right? I urge ALL of you to think. Is appeasement warranted? What is anyone gaining by not introducing a bill against terror-activities? The Congress has been fooling people-especially the Muslim community- by acting as if they are the saviours of the community. 

We need a change in governance. Desperately. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Being Hindu

I have been wondering lately about things happening around in the country. How at regular intervals religions are made to assume center-stage and then invariably one religion is made to look down in shame by the English Media and Politicians. Want to take a guess? Yes, it's Hinduism. But today Hindus are step-children in their own country. The intelligentsia gladens itself and thinks  of it as a great act of secularism to come down heavily on Hinduism and Hindus every time: either a Masjid falls, "benevolent" missionaries are attacked or talks of dealing with terrorism in a stern way is talked about.
I was telling a "secular" friend of mine:

Talking about victimisation of Hindus somehow equals to being communal or "anti-nonHindus". And that is sad. I am not against Muslim citizens but I AM against terrorists being portrayed as heroes. The Jamia Milia University has decided to fund lawsuits for the alleged muslim students; apparently they are innocent. Then perhaps Inspector MC Sharma must have shot himself. You know Parth, this mentality is like these new age child psychologists where suppose a child makes a mistake, throws a horrible tantrum or demands for something unreasonable, or is utterly rude, these pyschologists REFUSE to reprimand the child out of the fear that it may hurt the child's psyche! Even the parents are not allowed to rap the child for its obvious mistake. Suddenly for the child now the friendly Psychologist Aunty is dearer and nicer than it's own Mother. Because Aunty (like Smt. Sonia Gandhi) spoils and Mommy scolds. It's the same here. A mistake is not seen as a mistake. All terrorists are innocent/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/and now Students?? Why was POTA revoked? Because the Congress wants to play it safe. No one wants to hurt the minorities. Is no other law ever misused? I say, if Bajrang Dal is proven to be involved in raping, arsoning, burning and sabotaging national property and nationals themselves, they should be given the strictest punishment in law books. But I wonder why not a single terrorist has been ever brought to book? 

And let's not be hypocritical. If there is no "Islamic Terrorism" there cannot ever be a "Hindu Extremism". Same logic: terrorists are only a handful, not the entire community therefore extremists are also a handful and not the entire Hindu community. They are just youth misled by communal forces. They cannot be called HINDU. This is where the bias and the ulterior agenda of Media kicks in. "HINDUS ATTACK CHURCHES IN ORISSA". It's splashed all over newspapers and TVCs. Really? Have "Hindus" attacked? Come on! One has to be blind to not see the hypocrisy. And then all the intelligentsia indulges in self-blame and how disgraceful it is for Hindus to do such dastardly acts and then we begin questioning "Is my religion really the greatest?" Have we stopped to consider how many Muslim youth live in poverty and how perhaps Islam in India is not really doing a great job. Is it not a discredit then? Is it not time to consider whether Muslims should send kids to schools or Madarsaas?

But I will tell you what. We have no guts to ask OR to answer these kind of questions because it requires one to introspect.
And the reason for this is quite clear. NO other international community is ever going to criticize the Goverment for attacks happening on Hindus. Which other country spoke against what happened on Godhra station? No one. A couple of Christians die and then France, Italy and the Pope and of course the USA condemn it. And then our spineless Prime Minister apologises! He doesn't have the guts to ask them to shut the hell up because it's a matter within the boundaries of India and no other country has a reason to poke their nose in our matters. So it all just boils down to appeasement.
And by this I don't mean that all Hindus are saints...just to make it clear.

Coming to conversions...let me narrate a very curious incident. I was studying at XIC, Xavier's Institute of Communications, Mumbai. It's one of the premier Institutes in the country. There was a fellow in my class of Advertising and Marketing-ultra-cool (or so he thought-he took pride in eating beef. Seriously!), drummer, funny and co-incidentally, Catholic. One day he told me that he would not eat the prasad that I had got from Siddhivinayak Temple because he was forbidden by Church. This occurred in MUMBAI in the year 2005. Quite disturbed, I narrated this to another Catholic friend of mine. His name was Luke and was fairly open-minded than the one with I-am-so-cool-because-I-eat-beef attitude. Luke told me that in some Churches, it was openly told that Hindu Gods and Goddesses were demons/Satananic. The Pooja that Hindus do is form of Satanic worship and therefore the Prasad is from Satan himself! So, ABSTAIN!!! Why go far in the interiors of India to know what methods missionaries could be employing to increase the "herd". If an educated Mumbai resident can be brain-washed into believing that Hindu Gods are demons, what can one say of innocent, hapless villagers. Is voicing an opinion against such methods of fraudulent conversions anti-secular? And conversely, is calling another religion names, secular?
No one will ask these questions. Because it requires one to introspect. And that needs courage. And no Shashi Tharoors or Anil Dharkers or Times of Indias or NDTVs or any pseudosecularists will provide the answers. 
The answers lie within all of us...only if we choose to delve inside.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Gone to soon

There are people in my life I know
Of some I have managed to let go
But some linger on in blood and sinew
Ever crisp like the morning dew

Time is the best healer they say
And all the memories will turn gray
I don't know if it's a bane or a boon?
What we had is gone to soon

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action!!

Sometimes I think that in my head, my teenage is not yet past me! Yes really. I would teenagers as thinking of their lives or a particular situation to unfold like a movie scene...with all the slow motion and wind blowing through the hair and dialogues...the works!
I still do that!
Many times I find myself thinking of a situation in the most un-realistic, movie-like, melodramatic, dramatic way! I plan and rehearse my dialogues. Imagine that this particular person to whom I wish to deliver my killer lines is going to "co-incidentally" meet me in a Mall for example and then time would stop and the camera would zoom in on both of us, all the OTHER 'insignificant' people will go in slow motion and out of focus, electric guitars or violins will play in the background...and I will deliver my lines in an orchestrated confident fashion and walk away in style while putting on my Ray-Ban sunglasses!
It's funny when I catch myself doing that! But at the back of my teenage mind, there's still a little hope somewhere that the situation will exactly unfold in the way I have imagined it.
Does it happen to any of you? Sometimes? At least occasionally?