India

From Kashmir… To India !


जिसकी जन्नत का, ज़र्रा ज़र्रा डोला हो,
उसका क्यों न, ख़ून ख़ौलता हो !
जब मरा हो कोई अपना, बेवजह यूं ही,
आक्रोश में फिर भी, सिर्फ पत्थर ही उठता हो ?

माना की ओढ़ी थी, नपुंसकता की चादर मैंने,
जब कोई भयाकुल भाई की, चीखें भूलता हो !
हाँ निकला था मेरा गुल्शन-ए-फ़िरदौस , इंक़लाबी होने, पर
उसे जिहादी बनता देख, अब वो सुनेहरा चिनार भी रोता हो !

पर न शहीदियों का मलाल होगा, न जेहादियों का महिमामंडन,
जब कोई कश्मीर की नहीं, कश्मीरी की हक़ की बोलता हो !
पर जंग की ख़ेती, कब समझे है, ये बन्दूक-धारी,
वर्ना एक गोली से क्यों, मिटटी में सौ बवाली बोता हो ?

रोज़ डूबाया जा रहा हूं गहरा, सियासी दलदलों में,
कि देख, इस बाग़ी का बाक़ी, अब बस एक हाथ ढूंढता हो !
की उस ज़िंदा लाश में, फूँक दो थोड़ा अपनापन, ए हमदर्द ,
जिसे हर रात दस्तरख़ान पे, पूरा देश कोसता हो !

ए हिन्द, बचा लो, लगा लो गले, और पूछ लो प्यार से ,
क्या पता, कि कश्मीर, सिर्फ़ तेरा साथ ढूंढता हो ?

#Poornaviraam

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An Apology Letter from Salman Khan!


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Dear Fellow Indians,

Last few days have been quite eventful,thanks to a completely avoidable silly tweet of mine. Being a celebrated actor whose each and every action impact a billion people, I should have been much more responsible while comparing my physical pain with one off a rape victim. I do believe that no pain in the world can even be close to the physical and mental trauma of a rape victim. My sincere apologies to one and all for my casual and irresponsible remark.
Kindly forgive and forget.

Meanwhile, I also do apologise on behalf of my silly fans and supporters, for making ridiculous statements, just to be on my side. Also I should have apologized immediately as soon as the issue blew out of proportion. But as you know, the “Boy” in me had been pushing me towards plenty of irresponsible acts (even in the past). It also disallows me to crush my inflated ego and delays any realisation. Looks like my journey from being a “Boy” to a “Man” is never-ending.

But trust me, it’s not only me at fault. Men across ages and regions do funnily and casually refer to “rape” in their daily conversations without realising the gravity of it. I am just “Being Human” and one of them, though with lakhs of followers. Also I wish, an equivocal protest and action should had been taken against Politicians for making similar irresponsible statements in the past. Being administrators and leaders, they hold larger responsibility and have farther impact of their preposterous statements, thus stricter action. But as always,we from the Film Industry have always been the soft targets.

Also I hope, News channels could do more fact-finding news reports for their prime-time slots than debating a silly tweet of mine. Or I am unaware, if all the other issues of common men have been resolved.

Nevertheless, nothing justifies my inhumane tweet. Will be more careful next time.

Sincerely,
Salman Khan.

(I just hope the real Salman Khan, copy-pastes it, owns the mistake and readily uses this Apology Letter to resolve the controversy.)

नायक…


These 3 lines are shared on social media post JNU controversy and Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech.
“एक नारे से, एक भाषण से …
एक धरने से भी नायक बन सकते थे ..
दीवाने थे जो, सरहद पे ख़ून बहा दिया!”

Below is my humble attempt to elaborate it further !

एक नारे से, एक भाषण से …
एक धरने से भी नायक बन सकते थे ..
दीवाने थे जो, सरहद पे ख़ून बहा दिया!

कुछ धोखे से, कुछ अंकों से …
कुछ दंगों से भी नायक बन सकते थे …
दीवाने थे जो, अनेकवाद का पाठ याद किया!

कुछ शोर से, कुछ ज़ोर से …
कुछ जुमलों से भी नायक बन सकते थे …
दीवाने थे जो, विनम्रता से सर झुका के काम किया!

कुछ पूंजी-पतियों में, कुछ धर्म-गुरुओं में …
कुछ आपस में बाँट के भी, नायक बन सकते थे …
दीवाने थे जो, ज़मींदारों के खेतों में हल चला दिया!

कुछ “कुल” के नाम से, कुछ “रघु” के नाम से …
कुछ फर्ज़ी ज्ञान से भी नायक बन सकते थे …
दीवाने थे जो, शिक्षा-अर्जन में समय बर्बाद किया!

For AAP and Kiran Bedi – Its “Do or Die”!


Amidst BJP’s marketing fanfare, AAP’s grassroots connect, Congress’s submission and Issue-bereft personality-led Delhi elections, I find majority of voters undecided! Nevertheless whosoever wins, I find these Delhi elections “Do or Die” for “Kiran Bedi” and “Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)”! If it would have been any other election, the losing parties always have an opportunity to rebuild their party using its strong organizational base and vie for the next elections by being a strong opposition. They also have other avenues by contesting elections in other regions and stay relevant. The losing leader too commits him to the organization, as he had spent years into the arena, climbing up the ladder and to be at the helm of party politics. In this case, can both politically novice, AAP or Kiran Bedi convert this fad into a cult? Have the forthcoming loser, either Kiran Bedi or AAP, thought about its political life beyond these elections? Because, believe me or not, I foresee either of them dying of their own sword. 305273-arvind-kejriwal-kiran-bedi-collage-dna

“AAP” was an idea emerged out of “India Against Corruption” campaign to break away from the conventional politics run mostly by the corporates, corrupts, criminals and godmen. These torchbearers of alternative politics had given a new hope to many voters as being harbingers of change.

But being a very young and small political party with Delhi being their only political foothold, AAP cannot allow itself to lose these elections. Because if they do, their party may crumble with internal clashes and resignations. AAP would not be able to even dream being in power anywhere till 2019. Powerlessness and Hopelessness would test each one’s loyalty and commitment to bring change in Indian politics. In the past as well, AAP had been creating headlines for its questionable organizational skills and nonsensical political strategies. Hope AAP leaders have chalked out their plans as a unit, beyond these current Delhi elections.

For Kiran Bedi, she have been avoiding entering into the electoral politics. Desperate BJP lured her into politics, with the CM position, and she grabbed the opportunity. Who in the world doesn’t salute to the rising sun? Kiran Bedi would have thought it to be a cake-walk, a safe bet, to debut as a Chief Minister in politics, from a party who is on a winning streak across India.

But what if AAP stumps them? Would Kiran Bedi sit as an opposition leader for 5years and be irrelevant ! Or she would be absorbed by the BJP Central Govt., ditching it’s Delhi voters, who assumes her to be with them through thick and thin. Or she would be used and then thrown into dump by the BJP itself, reducing her persona to nothing.

Politics is not only about being in power or planning for the event called elections. It’s a journey of untiring selfless public service and not the destination of designations. Politics is about being on toes, if being in power. Or keeping the government on its toes, if in opposition!

Personally, I believe in Ideas, Policies and Processes over People. One Kiran Bedi may come and go, but the idea of AAP shouldn’t die an early death!

Nisha, Cousins and Daadi !


Our “Idiot Box” is dumped with cloned “Daily Soap Operas”, which are cliched to the core with zero originality and all been framed in one “Saas-Bahu-Husband” format. Midst all these rubbishy-stuff, “Nisha Aur Uske Cousins” at Star Plus, is a stand-out. This youthful family drama, stirred with all emotions, is setting up new creative benchmarks on Indian television. nisha

Since “Shanti” and “Swabhimaan“, followed by “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and “Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki” (although regressive yet original considering those days), Indian Television’s “Daily Soap Opera” format has been a dead rubber. Though there were few like “Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi“, which were fresh and different yet they were extremely rare.

Although being a “Producer’s medium”, “Nisha aur Uske Cousins” scores highly on its lifelike screenplay and witty dialogues. But where the ace lies, is in its realistic, well- sketched and layered characters. “Nisha”, the tom-boyish girl, represents the third-generation of the “Gangwal Family”, a Jain joint-family in Jaipur, headed by strict and orthodox “Dadaji” !

Nisha and her cousins, “Umesh” an aspiring cook, “Kirti” the fashion queen, “Dolly” the shopaholic, “Suketu” the stud, “Jwala” the studious, and “Bunty” the kiddo, hold a strong bond among themselves. Midst the family fun and frolic, series of conflicts arise, triggered due to varied opinions of the 3 generations, with Nisha being the cynosure of most of them.

Nisha, like her loveable father, “Ramesh” (Vivek Mushran), understands the importance of togetherness. She always tend to go out of her way to help selflessly in cousin’s problems and solve family tussles. Beyond Ramesh, “Daadi” (my favorite character”) values this trait of Nisha, and thus always support her, unlike other elders. “Nisha aur Uske Cousins” thus is not only entertaining and emotional, but also helps align our moral compasses. Unlike all other currently running television programs, only this show oozes with positivity and happiness.

I hope other television channels and producers take a cue from this soap opera and try upgrading our “Idiot Box” to “Entertainment Box”. Its high time, our television producers to stop considering Indian audiences dumb, and start catering some high quality and varied-genre enabled television entertainment.

“Modi – The Marketer” in USA – A Report Card !


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After noteworthy interactions with Bhutan, Nepal, Japan, China and Afghanistan, “Foreign Policy Champion” PM Modi recently concluded his all-important trip to USA. With the background of Visa-row by Obama Administration and enthusiastic support of NRIs for Modi, this trip was surely an important event, if not historic. Sycophantic Indian media celebrated this event with full-time live coverage of PM Modi’s trip. Rather reporting unbiased and important news from all across the world and India, they chose to be cheerleaders! Nevertheless, contemporary Indian media has been an “Epitome of Exaggeration”. Meanwhile, after keenly following his itinerary, it seems, he had 3 major agendas to push through.

Firstly and importantly, the major agenda was of marketing the “Brand India” to the US Business Community. He scored full marks by meeting the top brass of the world’s biggest corporations in US. Through this effort, he may have induced some optimism into these corporations to come and “Make in India”. Although, Mr. Modi has been trying to allay fears of these investors, he has still loads of work pending, in creating a comfortable business environment in India. I think, that all these corporations will have now huge expectations from the next budget session. They will look forward to important policy changes in India and till then, they will “Wait and Watch”.

Second Agenda, was to step up the “Brand Modi” into an important International Icon. Like Nehru, Indira, Atal and Manmohan, he wished to make a mark by being a change agent in world politics. He failed miserably with that, but he should be excused as this being his first attempt. His fluttering speech at UNGA went unheard in an empty hall. Although it was very unlike Modi, but it seems that the formal setup, global platform and a written speech format got better of him. He did come to his own midway and made some important points, but who doesn’t. Remember even Manmohan Singh recieved much adulation from its international counterparts, previously at UNGA. Funnily, Indian media lost it senses and sensationalized his speech by equating it with National pride. Indian PMs have been speaking at this forum since ages, had put better points with higher impact. PM Modi also unsuccessfully tried his hand in reaching out to US youth at “Global Citizen Festival” rock concert, but ended up boring them.

Third agenda was about International diplomacy and to revive relations with US Government which were turning sour in last couple of years. Mr. Modi averagely performed as we weren’t able to make any new breakthroughs in our relationship with USA. His dialogue with Obama was not even note-worthy by US media. But again, Mr. Modi can be excused as realists weren’t expecting anything from Obama-Modi meet. Breakthroughs like “The Nuclear deal” don’t happen every day as it requires heightened levels of diplomatic mutual trust. US is also on the verge of electing new government, and India may have to wait for their new government to up-rise the relationship.

And yes beyond all this, Mr. Modi, held a “Tamasha” at Madison Square for his supportive NRIs, who left India for greener pastures. He acted upon previous government’s recommendations and appreciably promised important benefits to them. In his traditional style, Mr. Modi ended up entertaining usual narcissistic Indian audiences across the world, through his influential speech.

To conclude, I would say, I am little vary of aggressive marketing of “Brand Modi” and “Brand India”. A overly-hyped brand with no real actions or performance, crashes faster into unrecoverable troughs. “Reel Intentions” are commendable but India need “Real Actions”!

100 Days of Obsolescent Congress !


While the TRP-hungry Indian media is busy analyzing the meagre 100 days of the mighty Narendra Modi Government, I decided to look the other side of the coin. Indian National Congress, as a political organization, also completed their 100 days of devastation, powerlessness and cluelessness.

The lethargic Congress Working (pun intended) Committee has neither shown any zeal nor any intent to reinvent themselves. They have still not even hinted their sympathizers, on any alterations, either in their leadership, or structure or communication etc. It seems, they are neither planning, preparing nor willing to win the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, and later in J&K, Bihar and UP. Another washout for Congress in these elections would not at all be surprising.

Even as an opposition, be it in parliament, news-channels, social-media or streets, Congress finds itself unnoticeable. Congress representatives (barring Tharoor’s of the world) still witless and sometimes regressive, though mostly humbled (thankfully), after massive defeat. Spokesperson, still spoon-fed by the Old Guard, are surely “Young” but they do not represent the “New”. They are “Fossiled” to past, both in content and in person! Although the BJP Government (and not Mr.Modi) and their mouthful friends, have provided enough political opportunities to latch upon, yet Congress failed to materialize any issue.

If things remain the same as they are now in Congress, very soon, the political prowess of Modi-Shah duo, will be penning down the last chapters of Indian National Congress, a political organization, which once existed.

“Love Jihad”… A step backwards !


Marriages, beyond the ethnic boundaries, were a huge social stigma, in India. A decade earlier, inter-caste and inter-culture marriages were a big no-no; inter-religion marriages were considered blasphemy. Although the laws permit such marriages, yet majority youths of this country were under such extreme social duress, that they didn’t even dare to think about the opposite-sex of different ethnicity. Arranged marriages obeyed sheepishly such unwritten social commandments; love-marriages reluctantly tend to expand the horizon. But with education, travel, globalization and prosperity, the mindsets evolved, and hence love marriages between different caste, cultures and religions were now more acceptable. Our Indian society, although very slowly, was ambling towards anti-endogamy by breaking the social and religious shackles.

But then, bigotries leeched on to our evolving social wisdom, and coined the word “Love-Jihad”. Religious extremists venomously used it as hiring followers and attrition management tool. Media naively shared it, discussed it. Political parties tried scoring points by using it as vote-hoarding tool. And the progression of social evolution was pushed into coma. With the fear of family and relationships being bruised, in this communal crossfire, now every Hindu-Muslim Love-story, would be reassessing its future. Now no more a Muslim boy will dare to ask a Hindu girl out on date. Now no Muslim girl will say yes to Hindu boy’s proposal. Now again, “The Cupid” or “The Kaamdev” has to be selective before any love-infused match-making. Now no family would allow their children to have inter-religion marriage. Even if young couples would dare to go against it, if not the family, the religious extremists may kill them in the name of honor.

It took us ages for our society to gift freedom to newer generations of choosing their soulmates from any ethnicity, but it took only one chapter called Love-Jihad, to take us back to medievalism.

Halo (Movie) : More Than Meets The Eye !


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I am pretty sure, that not many would have heard of this Hindi movie “Halo” ! Instead many would relate Halo with a video game. Meanwhile, Halo movie, directed by Santosh Sivan (a genius cinematographer), won National award for the “Best Children’s Movie”, yet went unnoticed by the mainstream audiences. This 1996 movie, now rarely gets featured on TV (only on DD National), is stitched to my memory, frame by frame. Halo , now very close to my heart, inspires me every-time. The movie allows me to relive the childlike goodness, we all used to once possess.

The movie is about a young girl “Sasha”, who finds herself lonely after her mother’s death. To her rescue, comes a dog “Halo”, who becomes her God-sent best-friend. Her life now revolves around it. She sleeps, she drinks, she eats with it. But one day, she finds Halo missing, and here starts her quest to find Halo. In the backdrop of Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai, and with the help of weird friends and supporting characters, the movie depicts Sasha’s brave and spirited pursuit of finding Halo, her ultimate happiness.

Although, stuck in old-times, story-telling may test your patience, but I will still recommend it to everyone, especially kids. Again, rather saying much, one should watch it to experience it, though I am sure that it will touch hidden chords of one’s stoned heart.

 

Breed of Online Political Activists !


Indian democracy was in shambles in the 1975 Emergency Era. Tsunamis of Indian, led by Jai Prakash Narayan, were on the streets protesting against the autocratic regime. The movement fought on streets against the darkest phase of independent India, led to the dawn of first breed of political activists post-independence. The long list included Atal, Advani, Modi, Nitish, Jaitely, Laalu, Mulayam, Sushma, Rajnath etc., who in future were the shining stars of Indian political spectrum.

India is yet again, echoing the history. New breeds of political activist are getting life, this time not on streets, but through social media. India was still the place where patience resided till 2009. Social media was distant tool and was best consumed in the form “Orkut”. The mutiny against the corrupt regime, was fought on “Facebook” and “Twitter”, and was led by Aam Aadmi Party and Narendra Modi led BJP. Facebook and Twitter gave a platform to urban India to voice their opinions. Facebook and Twitter allowed resentful Indians to protest anytime, anywhere, against anybody, without disconcerting their comforts or by shouting their throats off.

Emergence of social media hustled the emergence of newer breed of political activists. Not debunking it as a fad, but by considering it as accelerating activism, Indians would express their opinion more actively and prominently in days to come. Who knows, with continuous progression, 20 years ahead of today, you, me, he or she, may make mark in Indian political spectrum.