Get Out Of That Vicious Circle

Following yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, Twitter and other social networks witnessed one more of those innumerable jokesplosions. The stand out attempt at humor seemed to be ‘Why a reshuffle? They are all jokers in the pack, anyway’. Hmmm. Funny. So what’s wrong?

There’s an extremely serious underlying matter that goes unnoticed.

Freedom of speech and fun not withstanding, the spectre of political apathy runs deep in Indian civil society. Following any important/unimportant political event, it jumps out and makes it’s presence felt. This is not a defence of our politicians, who have much to do and make up for. But right there, it’s worth understanding that it’s the politicians, and nobody else, who have much to do. Hence, stemming political apathy and awakening political interest is necessary. Because politics matters. Dirty, ugly, whatever. It matters.

People, in a democracy, elect their representatives who must serve them. It doesn’t matter what you personally perceive of the person in power, but he/she holds a position that is of consequence to you. Mind you, political apathy could actually be one of the root causes behind terrorism or unemployment. Or any other malaise affecting Indian society. These very people elected to the top are meant to serve a purpose. And if the people in the republic sit back and never empathize, it offers no incentives whatsoever to the duty-bound. Not that it depends on incentives. But, still. So do that. Demand service and development in return for electing them to where they are.

Or else, we are all jokers in the pack anyway.

Losing The Plot

You thought it was a Baba Ramdev special. But err, no.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who once famously suggested we Indians watch TV instead of having sex at night in our innovative one-of-its-kind solution to our population ‘problem’, has said that homosexuality is a ‘Western disease’ and needs to be ‘cured’. Apparently, it’s not Indian. It’s also unnatural. The difference between Azad and Ramdev is that Azad is a direct representative of the Indian people and his views do a lot more damage than Arrow Baba incessantly repeating his medico-spiritual blah-blah on what homosexuality is or isn’t.

The statements have, as expected, received coverage in the foreign press. This does us no good and re-inforces India’s binding with archaic and uber-conservative medieval-era beliefs. The Health Minister seems bereft of rational advice and random sprouting of such public statements is what has actually helped create the Congress of today. This cannot be expected of a leader of a ministry so critical to the widespread acceptance of homosexuality in India.

Sadly, public statements in India are hardly ever well-thought out or researched. The power levied on to a person tends to create a misunderstanding in the mind that thinking can end, simply because the authority is that person himself. If such ignorance becomes commonplace, then India’s leaders are likely to match the views of non-thinking commoners or even groups that drive any agenda. Especially, the anti-gay ones. What one needs at this point in time is caution.

And add tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality to the mix, too.

What Happens When The National Advisory Council Meets!

Sonia Gandhi: Hello folks. Welcome to the NAC meeting.

Manmohan Singh: Hello, madam.

SG: STFU, dude. [MS goes quiet. Absolute silence in the room] By the way, why are you sitting on that side chair? There’s a special chair for the Prime Minister at all NAC meets.

MMS: Oh, oops. Almost forgot. Heehee.

[At that opportune moment, Rahul Gandhi enters…]

Rahul Gandhi: Paaji, that chair is going to be mine soon.

Ahmed Patel: Sure, you guys can play musical chairs and decide actually.

SG: HAHA Ahmedji. Don’t reveal the secrets behind how Prime Ministers are appointed in this country. Okay Rahul, what have you brought to the table?

RG: Mayawatiji. *chuckles* Okay seriously, not much. This Policy Of Maintaining Silence On All Issues In The Congress Party (POMSOAIITCP – longest policy name ever and so good that it has IIT in it) has paid a lot of dividends to my reputation and I intend to maintain it.

*silence*

SG: Hmmm. Listen carefully Junior – We must get you arrested one more time in UP, the card we played last time did create some hype for the Congress but didn’t work out as well as I wanted.

MMS: Madam, can I say something here?

SG: NO.

AP: ROFLOL. 😀

MS: But Madam….

SG: Shushhh!

Digvijay Singh turns up.

Digvijay Singh: Hello fellow Congresspeople, how goes? I was on the phone with the LulzSec guys.

SG: This LulzSec thingy, do you think they are good enough to hack the NAC website?

DS: Maybe, I’m sure they’ll call me before they do anything. Like everybody else does. Oh wait, phone call from Amar Singh…

*Diggy heads to talk on the phone, and returns in a bit*

DS: Amar Singh called me to tell that he will be calling Bipasha Basu soon…

Oh wait, call from Bipasha…

*Again, Diggy heads out and returns*

DS: Bipasha told me she’s expecting a call from Amar Singh anytime soon. I think something is going on between the two and I suggest we issue statement claiming that RSS might be responsible.

SG: Oh God, shut up. Can we focus on the real issues – how much taxpayer money is required for the next NAC meet?

AP: Quite a bit. Don’t worry, the exchequer will sanction it. We are in complete control.

SG: Great, then. What’s next, btw?

MMS: A personal advisory council for me, please! 😀

SG: SHUTTTT UPPPPPPP!!!!

[PS: Not sure if these are the people who turn up at NAC meets. Bah, who cares! Follow me on Twitter?]

What ACTUALLY Happens At Indo-Pak Talks

Ever wondered what happens when India and Pakistan meet in foreign secretary-level talks? Here goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALMAN BASHIR: Yo India! How’s it hanging? Err. What’s up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NIRUPAMA RAO: All good, dude. Apart from a few scams here and there and Karunanidhi’s constant whining over Kanimozhi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M KARUNANIDHI: SAVE KANIMOZHI. 😐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOL! 😀 Anyway, getting back to business. So what are India’s claims this time?

Oh, as if our previous demands have been met? What about bringing the perpetrators of Mumbai to justice? That dude Hafiz Saeed gives speeches as if Pakistan is his father-in-law’s country…! Is it his father-in-law’s country, by the way?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M KARUNANIDHI: SAVE KANIMOZHI. 😐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAVI SHASTRI: In the end, cricket is the winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hehe, that’s what you think! In the end, ISI is the winner. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M KARUNANIDHI: SAVE KANIMOZHI. 😐

 

DUDE, KALAIGNAR. WTF! Hold on Bashir, you ain’t going anywhere. I’ve got this under control. Chill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHAH RUKH KHAN: Arey, wah! This kind of nonsense goes on at Indo-Pak talks?! Damn. Anyway, I AM THE NUMBER ONE ‘NUMBER ONE CROWN SEEKING’ GUY, at least. Hee hee. Die Aamir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO IPL 5!! *fireworks*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BABA RAMDEV: The best way to solve our problems is Fast Unto Death. Also the only way to cure homosexuality is through breathing, which actually means breathing air from one guy to another. Or smooching…..Also…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s raced away to the boundary like a tracer bullet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is going on?! Somebody get me outta here…! OSAMAAA, where art thou?

SlutWalk And Liberal Aberrations


In succession to the grand marches being held across the world,  New Delhi will host India’s very own Slutwalk. The idea of Slutwalk focuses on the belief that women have the right to wear what they want. As this Hindustan Times news piece says, women must claim their right to be sexy without being subjected to being called ‘sluts calling for being raped’. It is entirely understandable that the use of the word ‘slut’ is in poor taste. There is no doubting that.

Rape is one of the world’s most despicable crimes. So unfortunate are man’s urges, that they stand to ruin (in many cases) the life of those women who subjected to rape. Societies, the world over, must focus on providing maximum assistance to women subjected to heinous crimes like rape or torture. Instead, we pull the same old rabbit out of our magic hat of potential solutions – symbolism. Again, I must make a point here that women have the right to wear what they want, and irrespective – nobody has a call there, as it borders on subjugation of individual freedom. Moreover, it goes with the thought stream that people don’t know what’s good for them.

So, evidently, liberation is a great thing. Standing up for liberal values in a democracy, equally important. However, the problem lies with symbolism. The phenomenon of symbolism makes news once in a while, largely tends to create a lot of inconsequential hype and mostly ends up in the graveyard of public memory. The usual routine is followed – Twitter activism and retweets, Facebook pages and the Like button, TV studio coverage that creates the typical feel-good surrounding such events and email forwards coming from all directions, asking people to come out, take a walk and ‘be heard’.

The problem is the lack of solutions that such events bring out. It is classic Indian symbolism, that is becoming all too typical now. We ‘feel’ we have done a lot, but in reality we haven’t done anything significant. Symbolism, as we have seen with the Pink Chaddi and Pink Condom campaigns in the past (remember them?), does not solve the problems surrounding the oppression of women, crimes like rape and murder (a crime which follows rape in so many occasions). The need for better policing, rejection of ‘ultras’ and action against those engaging in these crimes is the need of the hour. And SlutWalk cannot bring these to the table, can it?

There is a strong need for understanding liberalism at it’s core. Mere raising of sound levels and generation of massive hype across civil society creates one more event that comes along and will be forgotten. What about working at the ground level? Are we doing that? What is the point of distant symbolism that may bring a smile to the face of a woman who has been subjected to rape, but does not improve her condition in any way whatsoever? Let us ask ourselves. What is the point of our activism? The point is action, followed by results. And why are we engaging in such symbolism? Simply, because it’s easy. And it’s fun, too.

It is the ability to research and implement solutions, that is difficult. And precisely that, is what is the need of the hour.

Chaos Minus Progress


Women and children.

There were women and children in the crowd that was attacked by the police at a peaceful protest by Baba Ramdev and his set of followers. And it was absolutely disgusting that the UPA ordered a crackdown on something that is a constitutional right of any Indian. What is surprising (or maybe, not) is how several UPA leaders have issued statements and remain completely unapologetic about the events of yesterday night. It is important for other influential national parties to react in strong opposition to the UPA’s actions. And that has at least happened.

While I primarily disagree with Baba Ramdev’s methods (why – read this earlier post), which I believe is nothing but another example of an unelected civil society member seeking power and influence that he does not have any democratic right to, it is deplorable that the UPA sanctioned the interruption of a protest purely based on it’s own deluded suspicions surrounding the influential sage. There is absolutely no call for any form of brutal suppression of freedom of speech (even up to the extent of it being against the Indian republic and it’s functioning), unless it directly harms the safety and security of the people.

Histrionics are a part of mainstream Indian life. Every other day, there emerges a new figure demanding change without understanding the core of how a democracy is supposed to function. Hence, we are left to endure unnecessary drama that isn’t even helping our cause as a country. First, it was Anna Hazare. He is an admirable public figure, but seems to miss the point. Now, it’s Ramdev and a repeat of ‘fast unto death’. And he has thousands of followers, mind you. Not only is there so much confusion, but there is likely to even be a delay in the actual cause that the anti-corruption brigade is pioneering! [Link]

The problem is clear. Current laws remain unimplemented. Reforms aren’t even talked about. Unelected and self-styled spokespersons of the ‘People Cause’ want more laws. More institutions. The result is likely to put more people in government, something that we could and should avoid. The situation ends up being a round-about, and people watch yet one more reality show unfold. It’s even unfortunate when peaceful protests are cracked down on, and innocent women and children are police targets.

Sad.

Will India ever nab Dawood Ibrahim?


No.

Not in the near future, at least.

There are simple reasons behind this, and one does not need to dwell into deep thought to realize why India is unlikely to ever apprehend Dawood Ibrahim. Reasons like ‘Lack of political will’ and ‘We don’t have the capabilities (yeah right!)’ and others of this ilk have been repeated ad nauseum in the hyperventilating Indian media and have even been emphasized by several commentators.

To put it straight, I don’t think these reasons matter. There is a whole psychological argument that I intend to play in this post. It’s plain and simple – India gives it’s enemies too much time to scuttle away. Now a counter-argument can be made here. Some may say it is important for the credibility of Indian democracy that we deliver justice within the ambit of our ideals. Fair enough. But what about people who are our enemies, but not in any sort of direct or indirect control of the Indian state? Like Dawood Ibrahim.

Note that Ajmal Kasab does not come into the equation. I pray, hope and have ample faith in the Indian judicial system that justice will be delivered in the manner it should (i.e. in constitutional accordance) and I call for no urgency or portray any misguided patriotic fervor in hurrying up with the execution of the 26/11 terrorist.

But the question is about the likes of Dawood, and so many others. Here is a man, directly responsible for the carnage of Mumbai 1993 that cost us the lives 257 Indians, who lives and roams around freely in our neighboring nation (?) with no insecurity whatsoever. He marries off his daughter in a five-star Dubai hotel, and we Indians just watch the action.

What is this, if not some sort of intelligence failure? Oh wait. It’s not even intelligence failure. It’s failure of action despite the necessary intelligence. More so, should we wait for inspiration from the Americans before we undertake any action of our own? “Oh, the Americans took down Osama Bin Laden. Time for us to ape them”?

A counter-argument here would be about the threats of retaliation we face from Pakistan, as has been made clear by the Pakistani Army and the ISI, that if we do conduct any operation (covert or not) in the country. In fact, the whole idea about India having to face consequences of any action from the Pakistanis is a despicable farce that is extremely well played by the Pakistani establishment.

The only consequence we face is the time the Pakistanis get to stock up the necessary resources. Pakistan will then go on a series of denials and eventually become stronger in several aspects – diplomatically, in military terms and many others. Yes, stronger. By the minute. By the hour.


So here is a man, wanted by the CBI and the Interpol in connection with 1993 and several other ‘Bleed India’ events, who has no worries whatsoever. A potential superpower sits and watches, weak-kneed all the time. The whole scenario begs the question – Do we eliminate any of our enemies?

No, we don’t. At least, not the ones who matter. And it is not just about the lack of political will or the lack of military logistics (both of which may be fair reasons). It’s more about a basic Indian duty, to instantly counter any attempt made to destabilize the lives of it’s people and convince them that the Indian state does have the necessary power it can portray that will put us to sleep at night with the knowledge that we are safe.

And this is the least we deserve. Just like food, water and shelter.