Archive for July, 2011

Another Mumbai blast, but do we really care?

July 18, 2011 Leave a comment


While we still have not come to terms with the last mass murder in Mumbai,we witnessed another one. 13 July will now be another famous date: 9/11, 26/11, 7/7 and now 13/7. The media has run amok with stats and analysis, govt with the usual – “we know it is Pakistan, but we can’t do anything much about it, than harp in international forums”. The so called champions of democracy and global security can do nothing about it, than feel sorry for us, for Pakistan is a partner in the global fight against terrorism. It is like an online security company creating a virus and then giving new antivirus solution. The opposition would want the head of our home minister, security forces claim lack of resources and this would continue, for an Indian this is nothing new, we have seen this before and we are sure this is not the last one, so there is not much to miss in this entire tragedy.

      What made me think, and kept me awake in the night is a statement that president Obama made as a part of his condolence message.

…….During my trip to Mumbai, I saw firsthand the strength and resilience of the Indian people and I have no doubt that India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks.                                                                                                      Barak Obama

           The words strength and resilience of Indian people, kept coming back to me. Is it ourmumbai Never Dies strength and resilience or general apathy? Does  death of an innocent bother us for more than a day? Is it just a Facebook and Twitter status update and topic of heated conversation over a drink of fine scotch? What bothers me is,How are we able to go to office the next day as if nothing has happened, while there are families that have been devastated and lives broken, most of which will never heal.

There has been a 9/11, a tragedy similar to what we have often seen in our cities, but it paralyzed that country. People really mourned the death of their fellow countrymen, I guess because they believe they are part of the country- a common identity, something that everyone shares and loves to be part of. United States is as multi cultural as we are in India, but we did see a unified country. Even an incompetent president took some decisive actions,we will not debate if the actions were right, because actions were taken, while have seen couple of attempts, but no major terrorist act on US mainland after 9/11.But we never see anything like this in our country. We analyze, we debate, have a drink, go to sleep and wake up with an amnesia in the morning.

     We live in a fantasy, a self created cuckoo land, we feel, emote and cry during the 3 hours of the movie but when it is over, we go back doing what we are really good at : being another brick in the wall. We are in a constant state of denial that it is no going to happen to us. Be it a train accident where people die, innocent shot dead by police in a fake encounter to get a medal, a building or a flyover collapses and lives are lost, this is not our problem till it involves us or our loved ones. But what we fail to realize that these are Radom events and we can be next in line.

      Over the hours that has kept me awake I have realized that life is not a scarce commodity in India, we have a billion people, a few deaths here and there would not make a difference to the national resources. I was appalled by a comment from a friend who said ISI should be renamed Department of population control of India, it does us a favor by helping us control our population. While he thought it was a witty statement, it actually brought out the underlying sentiment, life has no real value in India.

    uz0pemmo Is it not true, while we have  tons of food grain rotting, we still have people dying of hunger. We all know it and our elected govt. is more than aware of it, but we never did anything about it.Our grain continues to rot and our people continue to die. If I remember correctly, our agricultural minister at that time said it was not easy to give grain for free, and would have a bad impact on economy. Does that mean that we will let these people so that the country can show a robust growth. What is it worth for.

      There was an incident of a police officer from Kerala who met with an accident and was left to die on the road. There were ministers in the caravan and they did nothing to help him. This was national news, we have a video clipping of the same on all social media. It is a painful video to watch, and everyone there are guilty of inaction. But the guy who took the video is appalling. It is criminal to watch a dying man, but to actually take a video and upload to YouTube, I think  is insane, pure evil.

      Recently, we saw two train accidents in north India, scores died. The going rate of railway callousness is 500,000 rupees per life. We don’t remember the name of the train or howli2c3rjf many people died after a week, neither do we ask, why are there no rail accidents in china where the trains travel at the speed of the bullet. Our elected representatives don’t ask that question either. we are the fastest emerging country we need to concentrate in freight routes, so we do not have time to maintain our tracks and trains. Couple of accidents a year would not make a dent to the railway coffers, it is cheaper to pay for lives lost than do a infrastructure overall for the railways.

      wxyshrrqWe have also conveniently forgotten the mother of all industrial disasters- Bhopal. while most of us have forgot the date 2/12 when 60,000 people had perished in their sleep, more than half a million were effected by the disaster. The government claimed a 3.3 Billion Dollars as settlement from union carbide, but settled fro a paltry 470 million usd. The average compensation for dyeing in sleep was 62,000 and 25,000 for personal injury. While the govt. of India let the company go for a measly 470 million it made Indian public pay 1265 cr as aid package, we paid out taxes and never asked the question why did they have to die? when BP is made to pay billions to save fish and coral ecosystems why could we not make a company pay for the death of 60,000 people. The answer is we just do not care.

      While we sympathize,  discuss, tweet, blog  we do not take any concrete action. while we have drama dev to fight against corruption we do not have none to fight for the lives of people. we still elect the same people who have been blundering all these years. we support the same parties that have over the year criminalized the parliament. it is our inaction that has lead to the current state of Indian social environment. we are to be blamed, not ISI, not Railways, not the ministers, nor union carbide. We the People, of India  are guilty of apathy…WE JUST DO NOT CARE!

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. -Albert Einstein


SLUTWALK DELHI…….Are we ready?

July 9, 2011 Leave a comment

      image A momentary loss of control over your tongue,especially at a law school,can start a revolution. Constable Michael Sanguinetti would be quite aware of that. While giving a talk on health and safety to a group of students in, Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, he made the now infamous remarks

“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he reportedly told them. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”…………………………..Constable Michael Sanguinetti

     The statement precipitated the beginning of a large-scale imagebacklash and a feminist movement…THE SLUTWALK, with the mission “To blur the definition of slut and protest the notion that a woman’s dress instigates rape..” It is not an average run of the mill college protest with placards and megaphones but a mass statement that the victim is not responsible because they have a style of their own. Sexual violence cannot be attributed to anyone other than the perpetrator. The protest march started in Toronto Canada and has quickly spread like wild file across the world, now it’s come to Delhi.

       image Is Delhi not the most appropriate place in entire India for the walk to take place. well it has the dubious distinction as the “Rape Capital of India”. This July women in Delhi are going to take to the streets with the aim to change a dictionary definition, and assert that they are not saying a yes, because their skirts are three inches shorter.

       It is going to be something that we might not have witnessed in India, where women take to the streets with a demand. While we have seen sporadic instances of courageous women taking on the system for years together we have not witnessed a mass feminist movement. For Ages feminism was the prerogative of a page 3 socialite than the real women on the street. There is a chance that this walk could end up like a socialite events more like a fancy dress marathon than a real protest with clear intentions, or am I wrong would it be an actual face changing event.

       It is also highly probable that the event will not take off either because there are notimage enough people on board or it does not get clearances from the government departments. It might also get into trouble with the Neta’s and their political buffoons that it is against our Sanskriti for women to protest on the streets or the entire movement can be booked under some crazy IPC immoral act.

      But the underlying question is would the average Indian women understand the concept, only a tiny percentage of upper-class, élite, use the word ‘slut’ in India. I may be wrong here but even men don’t throw word slut or its Hindi variant directly at a woman’s face, (I am not sure behind their back) so is there enough meat on the movement. What is there to reclaim for the Word. Especially in Delhi women are not attacked because of how they look or how they dress but because of their vulnerability. More often when the alpha male believes that he can get away with it. Most victims of rape in Delhi I guess would be more conservatively dressed than an average college girl in Delhi University.      image      So the first question, Are we ready for a movement like this Delhi. Right to dress for women in India is not determined by safety, it is embedded in socio-economic upbringing of the girl. Would women from all classes of the society be able to relate to it. Would they care enough to go to the streets and demand the right to dress which is so trivial compared to like right to live, right to marry one they love, right to educate, right to work, right to the same compensation and the list continues.

“The public space of the city is a battleground,SlutWalk is an urban struggle of necessity, but while I support the initiative, I’m not so sure you can take it out of context. How do I explain SlutWalk to my maid? I feel it’s confined to class, to a certain kind of woman.”

      I guess the organizers also understood the difficulty of communicating the concept of SLUT to the general public so they are going to have a desi Slutwalk and it will be called Besharmi Morcha

“We changed the name after a group meeting. Not all people in Delhi will understand the meaning of ‘slut’. So after a lot of debate and discussion, we have finally zeroed in on Besharmi Morcha. This way, more people in India will understand the real concept,” Umang Sabharwal, a student of Kamala Nehru College, and spearheading the movement in Delhi

BesharmI Morcha ??? Now is that giving the right message out… does it not convey something dramatically different to what the Slutwalk is all about, is it not about trying to redefine the word SLUT… a word that caused anguish and pain and always used to hurt women. It is possible that I may be missing some point.

      Now I am being cynical, the movement acknowledges that you are not raped because you dress like a slut, then why can’t the movement address the bigger picture of sexual violence than the right to dress. Why can’t the movement that has such a huge following direct the energy, effort and resources to something that would see a change in government policy or lead to legislation of more stringent laws or a more effective judiciary. Why restrict it to a walk which would not achieve anything significant, other than making a bold statement. May be it is just about making that statement, not about bringing a change, but then is it worth it?

I may be all muddled up

Drama Ramdev……The saga Continues

July 3, 2011 3 comments

There seems to be a lot of interest on Drama Dev political cartoon. So I thought of doing a small compilation from the net. These are some of the best and the most repetitive cartoons on all the blogs.

This is the classic example of the Great Indian Political Drama… “All Fart No shit…!”. Nothing gets done. We  Indians, suffer from ADS, (Attention deficiency syndrome). We can never remain focused on  the core Issue. Even our Ideology is corrupted. What started as a great Indian uprising to dwarf the Arab spring has fizzled in to a political farce, just like all the other fantasies that we weave, but never have seen them complete. But we still have these great cartoonists and their wonderful cartoons.

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The Mechanics of a social System

July 3, 2011 3 comments

One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.                                                                           …….Elbert Hubbard

         The above quote often quoted by my 12 grade English teacher in her amaranthine effort to imbibe into us the need to differentiate oneself to create a difference in this existentialist world. I hardly gave a second thought to her advice during those days. It has now been 12 years after I graduated from high school and I realize the Importance of that quote by Elbert Hubbard.

If we substitute the word “Machine” from the Elbert’s quote and replace it with the (social) System and make a few changes we can re-quote is as

Though system engineers the lives of a million ordinary men, it takes only one extraordinary man to engineer the system.

In such a biased and jaundiced situation, most social systems take advantage and reign in the lives of millions of people, till a random event creates an extra ordinary man who can bring some order to the system. Since the systems love to move towards chaos it inhibits the every effort to create these extraordinary particles. One of interesting ways in which the system inhibits this stabilization process is by creating another anti-order particle, which again moves the system to its destined chaos. This is a never ending process and world has a lot of examples to prove it.

One event that comes to me right now is India and its current reservation crisis.

      The cast system in the early Vedic times, was created by an extraordinary man who realized that, a society classified into different castes based on individuals professional skills brings order into the society. It ensures continuity of skills and ensures a more complete labor portfolio for the society and the prosperity of the economy. The system retaliates this by introducing elements that abuse the system to lead the Indian society to the chaos of the early 18th century to an extent that the society gets fragmented and at a virtual collapse.

      A random event in the system created social reform movement in India lead by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others brought some order and the subsequent effort of the social reform juggernaut during the post independence brought some order back into the system. The system then created the Anti-order particle in the name of  V.P.Singh in the early 90s and an Arjun Singh right now to send it back to the dark ages

      I am still looking forward for that random event in the system that is going to create one extraordinary man who can carry the burden of re-engineering a system which is right now in complete control of leading itself to its destined chaos.

By the way I always wonder how the ants manage a castic society so efficiently well ..

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