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On Padmavati… Everyone is to blame?


Extremely brittle and fragile honor of the descendants of Rajputs is in danger, thanks to the movie “Padmavati”. Release of director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus “Padmavati”, (loosly based on the book “Padmavat”) is under doldrums, because of portrayal of Rani Padmini in the movie. Meanwhile none (except the makers and few journalists) have seen the movie, yet their apprehensions have turned violent. From bounties to threats to abuses, have been slinged against the director and the actress Deepika Padukone. But who is to blame?

I had no hopes from the existing government of BJP, who also rules most of the states with hindi speaking population. Their major votebank has always been these bigots and hindu fundamentalists, and dare they have ever gone against them. Liberalism, which is core to any art-form including cinema, is something incomprehensible for them. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry led by Smriti Irani, was found missing too, may be busy beefing up her arrogance a lil more! They have behaved, the way it was exactly expected out of them. Just like an ostrich, their heads are in stuck deep in regressiveness and the best they can do, is just shit or fart!

My major disappointment is from the ideological opposition, largely Indian National Congress, which boasts itself to be liberals! Just because elections are near by, they chose to stay mum, and hope that the controversy just pass through them. Their so-called leader Rahul Gandhi was found hiding on this topic, even after his new found resurgence on social media, where he leaves no stone unturned to prick holes in the Government’s development bubble. Even their governed state Punjab’s CM supported the ban, which is utterly reprehensible. The only hope was their party member Shashi Tharoor, a true nehruvian, who spoke his mind for the movie’s freedom of expression!

Another big disappointment was the timidity of the Indian Film Industry itself. Though in their individual capacity, most of them came out for the movie’s support yet together as an industry, they failed to voice it out! Bollywood could have had its own “The Meryl Streep Moment” during the recently conducted IFFI Ceremony by the Government, instead they chose toadyism. I guess, they chose the pragmatism of the business over the creative freedom of the art. None of their guilds or organizations also didn’t actively registered their support for the movie, as they did for “Udta Punjab”. The Shahrukhs and Aamirs, have already bore the brunt of voicing their opinions in the near past against similar tyrannies. Amitabhs, Akshays and Ajays of the Bollywood chose to stay dumb, to earn and repay the shield of the present Government (may be credit goes to their Hindu lineage) !

And CBFC… Who cares? They are just puppets!
And Courts… Who cares? Especially when the country is run by the goons encouraging instant verdicts through mob violence , and not by sloth paced criminal justice system!

And Army… Who cares? They are busy defending the nation at our borders, away from this hullabaloo, and in midst political apathy of being just a pawn.

And Media… They cared too much for the topic! I guess to avoid more serious topics like postponement of Parliament’s winter session, Rafale Deal, Murder of Justice Loya of Sohrabbudin Case, Farmer’s Distress, Jobs Crisis and Inflation!

And average Indian… They are enjoying it anyways! Either through News-Channels or later through the Movie (if it ever releases), without realizing that slowly they are losing the basic ingredient of their culture and democracy – Diversity and Freedom!

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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

From a Nitpicking Feminist to writers of “Badrinath ki Dulhania”…


Saw “Badrinath Ki Dulhania” few days back, and it was an enjoyable outing. Can point few flaws, if I chose to don a critic’s hat, but that’s for another day. The movie was an attempt to lynch the patriarchy and fake masculinity of the male lead played by Varun Dhawan, layer by layer. But as a feminist, I would suggest , 3 minor changes to the writers, which could have made the movie true to its feminist agenda, without reducing the entertainment value. Beware readers, spoilers ahead.

Badrinath_ki_Dulhania.jpg

1) A scene depicted as funny, where Varun Dhawan aka “Badri” is molested by few men in Singapore. The crowd laughed but I couldn’t much. Imagine the same scene, with girl being the victim. It would have been horrific. Molestation is as bad for men as for women, if not more. Wish audiences and the writers too grow up with such sensibilities.

2) The female lead, Alia Bhatt, aspires to have a great career. And she dreams to be an air-hostess and is able to be a very successful one. Everyone has right to own a dream and is a very subjective issue. I just felt that writers could have thought off her as Pilot. Air Hostess is a little too easy, with vital stats being core to it. Being Pilot could have given more motivation to those who believe in grey cells.

3) The climax of the movie suggests that after couple of years of experience in Singapore, the girl prefers coming back to boy’s town – Jhansi and sets-up its own air-hostess Training Institute. Meanwhile for those two years “Badri” aka Varun Dhawan stays in his hometown and helps his Dad’s business. Being soulmates if both leads wished to stay together, I would have suggested writers that Varun Dhawan should have shifted his base to Singapore, where Alia Bhatt’s job was ! This would have been great message for the society where the male choses to move to the location, where the major earning partner (female in this case) resides.

In the end, this all could be nitpicking as it was just a movie, but I felt it, thus saying it !

Happy Women’s Day…


Hey,
The world always knew that you are better, bold, beautiful and brilliant. And thus they created methods to pull you down through religion, society, culture and what not ! I just hope you are liberated soon, atleast to be equal.
Charity begins from home, and every home !
Hope the Man in me, and society around me, makes it less difficult for me, to do my bit for you !
Happy Women’s Day !

मेरे “दूर के बाप”…


आज फिर कई महीनों बाद,
फल, मिठाई और मेरी “सगी माँ” के साथ,
मुझसे मिलने पहुंचे,
मेरे “दूर के बाप” !

कंधों पे चढ़ी, गोद में जिसके खेली मैं,
जानें कब बदल गये,
उनके वो जज़्बात !
इक उम्र आते ही,
स्त्री हो गयी मैं,
और मर्द हो गये,
मेरे “दूर के बाप” !

नाती को सर पर बैठाया,
दामाद और टीवी-रिमोट संग,
पूरी दुनिया घुमवाया !
मौके पर, नींद के झोकें में,
कितनी ही पलकें झपकाया,
और मुझे, बस “कैसी हो”,
कह निपटाया !
ये कैसा रिश्ता, ये कैसा श्राप,
ओ मेरे “दूर के बाप” !

लाड़ प्यार कहकहों का, था हमारा संसार,
फिर क्यों इतनी खामोशी भर दी,
इस बेगानी शादी के बाद !
कि क्यों अब सिर्फ आंखों से ही,
पूछते हो मेरा हाल,
फिर से लगा लो न गले,
ओ मेरे “दूर के बाप” !

इसबार आए हो,
तो थोड़ा ठहर के जाना,
सिर्फ “मेरे उनसे” ही न बतियाना !
तोड़ देना वो कड़क छवि का झूठ,
और जाना औपचारिकताओं को भूल,
फिर से “मेरे पापा”, बन जाना आप,
प्यारे, मेरे “दूर के बाप” !

Being Married is just a “State of Mind” !


I am of the belief that the concept of “Marriage” as a social institution, is slowly fading, and in next 20years, it could be an extinct theory. While I mention the word marriage , I refer to its conventional meaning as the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman as partners in a relationship. Marriage is conventionally associated with an appropriate age, gender, sex, ceremonies etc. But as I see it, Marriages are beyond these rules and rituals. Being married to someone is a state of mind.

Society expects one to get married under a particular age bracket, even if the person is yet to find a soulmate. Else, they are either coerced or influenced to put with someone (to an opposite gender only), who is atleast “Suitable” under respective societal norms. Marriages are also considered as an societal permit to have sex and henceforth a societal responsibility to reproduce the next generation. And thus many fall into the customary trap built-in through family and peers. Resultant is a huge expansive event ceremony, largely enjoyed and celebrated by the non-protagnists.

I believe, marriage is an emotional connect between two human beings irrespective of any boundaries. One comes across a person with whom he/she chooses to devote their part of life. Marriage is imbibed subconsciously when one feels and performs love, care and respect towards his/her soulmate. The great “Meera bai” was married to “Lord Krishna” and it breaks all marriage myths. The legend of Radha -Krishna was beyond any ceremonial barriers. Most love fables have not resulted in actual wedlock yet no one can disagree of them being not mentally married. Many of today’s generation are moving into Live-In relationships irrespective of when or if they want to get ceremonially married. Their are those, who are into “being married” mode as soon as they propose to their soulmates even before any form of ceremonial wedding. And I also know many, who have shared their lifetime together and are yet not being emotionally wedded to each other. Marriages don’t and shouldn’t be driven by societal norms but should be purely out of love.

Also, marriage is not compulsorily a bond for life. During a relationship, after all genuine efforts, if incompatibility grows into valley of sorrows, the mind itself call it quits. No ceremonial or legal vows can reignite the feeling of being married.

Thus, I hope the society today liberates itself from the strings of existing marriage norms. It is time, parents should stop shoving marriage into their children’s life. Parents and families must allow and trust the younger ones to wait for their time. With no strings attached, sooner or later they would be emotionally connected with someone. As marriage driven by love, is a beautiful phenomena and it will not let anyone seep through it. “Being married – The state of mind” may slowly but surely, would occur atleast once in everyone’s lifetime.

This Raksha-Bandhan – No Raksha, Only Bandhan !


Dear Sister,

Till date, Raksha-Bandhan, which literally means “the tie or knot of protection”, have been joyously celebrated by us, with customary rituals. Sisters tie a “Rakhi” (the sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist symbolizing her love and prayers for brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. While you being into your adulthood, and also being employed, I propose to forgo my promise to protect you. I choose not guard you, against any of your life-problems, be it your physical bouts, financial tangles or scrambled relationships.

I want you to hold your head high, and resolve your own disputes. You don’t need “A Man” (a brother in this case) in your life, to shield you. Raksha-Bandhan, is a celebration honoring brother-sister love and the influence of siblings in our lives. But by offering you protection, I just don’t want “Rakhi” to be a sign of your weakness. Stay strong, augment your skills, be fearless, and fight your own battles. Be financially independent and persistently train and educate yourself, to combat your professional and economical challenges. Decrypt your relationships with patience, love, care and honesty, but don’t let anybody crumble your dignity.

While I chose, not to “Guard” you, I volunteer to “Guide” you. Instead of being protective brother like a “Cage”, allow me to be your “Wings”. Let’s laugh at our miseries, sob at our cherished memories and heal our injuries together. Let’s share our hearts, and choose to remain as friends forever. As we always have had, let’s build more memorable moments, and make our bond, stronger each day, irrespective of rituals, circumstances, distances or time.

This year, let’s tie “Rakhi” onto each other’s wrist, and be equivalent. Let them be the embodiment of our love and prayers for each other. Let’s junk “Raksha-Bandhan”, and celebrate “Sneha-Bandhan”.

Stay Blessed,

Your Friend-cum-Brother

“I Could Have Done More”…


Driving with family, is fun these days. With my daughter aside me, dancing and waving her hands on every song, lifts our spirits. While peeping through the window, she yells “bhow-bhow”, whenever she sees any dog on the roads. And points out “Baby”, wherever she sees kids across streets. During one such exploratory drives to West Delhi from Ghaziabad, we halted at a red signal. While we were awaiting for the traffic lights to turn green, she sprang from my wife’s lap and pointed “Ball”! We gazed off our windows, and saw an underprivileged child selling “Balloons”.
And then, the reality struck!

In one frame, I could see two lives, of similar age group, separated by a car window. Inside the car, comforted in the arms of her mother, there was my daughter, pleading us to buy a balloon for her. And beyond the windows of air-conditioned frills, there was kid, just few years older than my daughter, pleading too, for us to buy a balloon from him!

Like every childhood should have been, my daughter craved for that balloon to play and have fun. But for that rain-drenched kid, that balloon was all about surviving that day, to be the least. Marred by destiny’s cruel joke on life (just by birth), one kid is blessed to savour the best of its childhood. While for the other, even being “child-like” in this cursed life, is a luxury. Seeing such kids begging or selling on roads have always made me heart cringe, and it was no different day.

Meanwhile, I bought the balloon, hoping to add some “life” to each kid. But no sooner I did this, many more waifs, holding balloons swarmed around my car. All eyes hoping me to buy another one too. The signal turned green, and “the Orchestra of Horns” brought me back to my make-believe world, and we moved ahead to our destination.

That day, my daughter relished frolicking with that balloon, with laughter and giggles being the icing. But trust me, deep inside, there was a wounded soul screaming with huge discontentment – “I wish, I could have done more”!
The image and the thought of paralleled lives of these kids and my daughter (both holding a balloon) still haunt me. Hope God helps me answer these anomalies sooner. Though today, I am back, juggling with our daily chores.
But I hope one day, I will do more, much more!
Will you too?

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2014 Movies Platter : A Review !


2014 Year is about to end, and the movie platter served though had a vast spread but lacked quality as compared to previous year. There were massy event-films like “Happy New Year” “Singham 2” and “Ek Villain” like Gol-Gappas – Tangy, Tingy and yet leave you hungry. And then there were crassy repent-films like “Action Jackson” “Humshakals” and “Entertainment”, which were like rotten  shit for stray-dogs. And there were those too like “Kick”, “Shaadi Ke Side-Effects” and “Bang-Bang” with promising appearances. Though when being tasted, were insipid !
Yet there were very few sumptuous finger-licking dishes with lingering tastes, as if served in Michelin-star restaurants! In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorite movies of the year 2014 :
– “Highway”
– “Queen”
– “Haider”
– “PK”
– “Hawa Hawai”

There were other few like “Dedh Ishqiya”, “Hasee to Phasee”, “Mary Kom”, “Mardaani”and “Bobby Jasoos”, who just missed being part of the above esteemed list.

There were few others like “Ankhon Dekhi”, “Lakshmi”, “Jal”, “Manjunath” and “Finding Fanny” which I wanted to taste, but couldn’t due to full-stomach (read budget constraints 😉).

Overall, I was happy to see Indian Cinema taking another leap with more women-oriented movies being released and faring better both at box-office and with critics.

In the end, if I have to chose One “Movie of the Year” at a gun-point, I would place my bets on “Queen” ! I just wish, many more such films are made.

If you have a different set of list, do comment and share your views. Till then, Bon Apetite !

“The Lower Berth” !


While everyone was busy dressing-up their berths for the night’s sleep, I hesitantly requested them, “Can any of you please swap your lower berth with us? My mother wouldn’t be able climb to middle or upper berths.” And I heard a deafening silence! Many of you may have experienced the similar silence, while traveling through Indian Railways. I have had many, and it was one of those nights.

Before reaching to those “Herds of Men”, I have had made several attempts, reaching out to individuals asking for their treasured lower berth, but in vain. That uncle in blue-shirt said no, “I need to go to toilet several times, thus I can’t”! Considering his age, he sounded genuine. While the young hunks stared, I asked a young girl, “Can you”? She had a slip-disk problem, and thus she couldn’t too. I dared not asking that old women. She was lucky to get a reserved lower berth through the hara-kiri of online reservations. After several failed attempts and variety of excuses, this group of mid-aged men was my last resort in our compartment. I was expecting atleast one of those blank faces to break the silence.

Meanwhile, I was reading exasperation in my mother’s drooling eyes. My mother was sheepishly hiding herself, behind that young girl with slip-disk issue. She atleast cared enough to offer her a seat on her cherished lower berth. Today, my mother’s old-age has made her dependent on fellow travelers’ mercy. In her prime, she was a fit, active, hard-working and an empathetic woman, who lived her life with utmost dignity. But now, in her last couple of miles, she was witnessing lowered sense of core values, empathy, respect and chivalry. To her, it looked like a race to the “Lowest Berth”!

The train was about to leave its platform, and my eyes were still stuck on those men. Especially towards the man who was having his late dinner. Unlike others, he looked mighty strong and well-built to showcase his chivalry. And yes he responded before anyone did, “If no one turns up, I will”! He looked condescendingly to all men around him, and repeated the golden words, “If no one around here swaps your seat, then I will. Your mother is like my mother”! His impactful last dialogue, though filmy, reignited my faith in humanity, which was lost minutes ago. He said, “Give me 5mins, let me finish my dinner, and then let’s swap”! I thanked him, and was thankful to almighty, as I finally discovered someone (with 56-inch chest), chivalrous enough to honor my mother’s problem.

With the newly find hope, 5mins later, I went to see that man. He was done with his dinner and was casually lying on his berth. I asked, “Can we swap our berths now”? He lazily responded, “But now, I have already lied down on my berth”. I reaffirmed, “So now you can’t swap”? I felt robbed when he uttered, “No”! Though I have always been appreciated for my composure and patience, I must admit, I was about to lose it this time. His kind words spoken minutes ago now seemed a sham.

Suddenly to my surprise, the man next to his berth stood up, and said, “I will swap. What are your seat numbers”? This heavy bellied man went straight away, with me, to my seat with his baggage and stuff. Meanwhile, I prepared bed for my mother on her newly discovered lower berth, and allowed her rest her tired body. In the heat of things, I couldn’t thank that man instantaneously. I did show my gratitude later, and he chose to respond through his benevolent smile and with a “Silence”.

Action speaks louder than words! And sometimes, silence is more meaningful than rosy words! Next time, if you see someone, especially elders, in need or despair, help them. It may rejuvenate and re-assure them, that human values are still not swirling down to the “Lowest Berth”!

P.S. On my return trip, voluntarily swapped my Lower Berth with an old lady. Hope our good deeds get accumulated, to contribute in providing a better life to our loved ones!

Halo (Movie) : More Than Meets The Eye !


index

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.

 

Modi Budgets : Governance over Intelligence ?


One month in power, and here was an opportunity to give teasers to world, that India is again rising through the crests. But Mr. Modi’s interim budget, delivered by “Sitting” Finance Minister – Arun Jaitely, was like “Anti-Vector” – of Negligible magnitude with no direction. In an attempt to please everyone but the poor, Mr. Jaitely’s “Chillar Party” budget was mere tokenism. Also the budget had more focus on political priorities than economic priorities.

Nevertheless, I had no expectations of  intelligence from the Modi Government, as Manmohan-Chidambaram’s “Economic Sense” is now replaced by Modi-Modi’s “Political Sensationalisms”. In the war of perceptions, where Manmohan Singh failed, was not in ideas but in execution. India elected Mr.Modi as somebody who is perceived as a great administrator, as somebody who get things done. Thus I believe, we should not be judging the Modi-budgets on the economic metrics but on the delivery metrics. And for that, we should give the Modi government sometime to execute their any and every growth plan, they have for India. And if at the end of term, even they fail to relay the actual baton of benefits to the common man, then India would have to make different choices in elections, with eyes wide open.
Because, in the end, nobody cares, what is announced in the budget, until he/she actually receives it.

To conclude, Mr.Modi, I would like to reiterate your famous lines to remind you of the priorities you promised –
“India does not need Acts, but Action”.

Mr. Vaidik’s Suicidal Attempt to Fame !


Mr. Ved Prakash Vaidik is under intense media scrutiny for his meeting with the world’s most wanted terror group’s mastermind – Hafiz Saeed. In a suicidal attempt, he himself tweeted his picture clicked with Hafiz Saeed. For a judgemental country obsessed with headlines, the meeting is no less than a sedition. With violent memories of Mumbai 26/11, most Indians believe that Mr. Vaidik should have met Hafiz Saeed, not with a pen, but with a sword.

I believe, as a journalist, and only as a journalist, Mr. Vaidik has every right to meet India’s greatest enemy, and sharing his perspective too. We may or may not agree with all what Hafiz Saeed says or does, but he should also be heard if not believed. Yes I admit, that he could have avoided this unnecessary exercise of meeting Hafiz Saeed and had been more careful.

But where Mr. Vaidik has gone completely nuts, is by not proofing and sharing complete details of his sensational interview, thus creating doubts on his intentions. Meanwhile, he should also now share details of his meetings with Indian government agencies too, to understand the whereabouts and processes to meet Hafiz Saeed. Although, it surprising to know, that the present Modi Government was clueless about their key aide’s meeting.

Amongst the controversy, the most hypocritical  sub-plot is the way Sanghis and ModiBhakts are defending Mr. Vaidik, by providing absolutely hilarious and ridiculous reasonings. I just died laughing hearing Baba Ramdev’s, Niticentral’s and IndiaTV’s journalists logic. I am sure, before 16 May 2014, if any other journalist would have tried this, he would have been ridiculed as anti-national, by these same pseudo-nationalists. Mr. Modi would surely had coined a new slogan amongst his swindling election speeches on this issue.

BJP and its supporters should not and need not to defend Mr Vaidik on various platforms of media. Instead it’s Mr. Vaidik who has to answer all the questions followed by Indian Foreign Ministry and Intelligence agencies for being in deep slumber.

अम़न खा़तिर…


Exasperation of a “Silenced Critique”…

“ताकि कमान से ना छूटे, उसका अहंकार,
अम़न-ए-वतन खा़तिर, त्याग दिये,
सर्वस्व अधिकार मैंने !

ताकि बना रहे उसका, कद कद्र बरकरार,
अम़न-ए-रिवायतों खा़तिर, परदा किये,
सर्वत्र सरोकार मैंने !

ताकि अन्ततः ज्वलंत रहे, उसकी ज़हरीली हुंकार,
अम़न-ए-जिरह़ ख़ातिर, मौन किये,
समझ, शिष्टाचार मैंने !

ताकि “झमूरीयत” कारोबार के वशीभूत रहे, उसकी जमहूरियत सरकार,
अम़न-ए-विषमता ख़ातिर, बिसरा दिये,
दरिद्रता के हाहाकार मैंने !”

ताकि कालचक्र स्वतः विध्वंस करे, उसकी खोखली दीवार,
अम़न-ए-रूह़ ख़ातिर, समर्पित किये,
ढाल, हथियार मैंने !

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.

Mr. Kejriwal – Its High Time…


Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

This is to inform you, that we Indians are tired of your flip-flops and dramas, to keep yourself relevant in politics and media. Though I don’t doubt your intentions (say thanks to my generosity), but your methods have been ridiculous to the core. Believe me or not, but your over-the-top actions and reactions have the hurt the “Aam Aadmi Party” the most. You have been demoting yourself from “A Political Revolutionary” to “A Political Terrorist”.

Emergence of AAP is key to Indian electoral politics, and just for myopic success, don’t let the “Idea of AAP” get killed. Take my suggestion, resign from all party-posts in Aam Aadmi Party, and let statesman-like Yogendra Yadav take the rein.

From,

A “Saamanya” Aadmi

(Aam Aadmi being your patent)

Good Days Are Ahead ?


Don’t Give Me “Reasons”, Give Me “Results”! The mentioned phrase is commonly used in most business organization to keep pushing their employees, for higher sales, revenues and profits. UPA II led by Indian National Congress, in their last leg, provided all sorts of excuses for policy paralysis, but results. Indian voters, hungrier than ever for growth, will not tolerate any more excuses for failure. Neither the “Indian Growth Story” can afford any reasons for derailment.

With high hopes, a decimated opposition and a mammoth mandate, India has chosen Mr. Narendra Modi, as their infallible CEO. Indian voters have brought necessary change in guard, with almost everyone voting for them, farmers, laborers, middle-class and the richest too! India expects their “Super-Hero” Prime-minister, to propel Indian growth engine to newer orbits. And this time, unlike UPA I and II, they wouldn’t have any excuses, for not achieving it.

This time, the BJP led government under Mr. Narendra Modi has no coalition pressures to blame to. With fragile opposition, neither they are expected to build consensus first for difficult decisions. The new government has unwavering Industry support too, to take bold decisions. Everyone expects this government to take courageous and necessary steps in next two years itself. This is to counter the electoral impact, as the following 3 years can help cooling off the short-term negative impacts. Moreover, every organization/economy/country experiences inevitable business cycle with crests and troughs. India at the deepest end of this cycle is expected to grow up the ladder anyhow (though better governance could enhance the speed). No new global recessions are in foresight, neither a military war nearby; India is ready to hit its 5th gear. I understand that the expectations are idealistic, but so were the promises!

Also, there could only be two reasons, I can think of, which could trump the performance of the Modi government. First, either lack of talent,skill or integrity in ministry-hood or the second, the social/religious discords in the country, which could create a hostile business environment. I hope neither of them comes true for Mr. Modi, and neither would he fuel them through his actions and inactions.

Visualizing all this, I am assured, that only “Good Days are ahead” for India!

And The Award Goes To…


Congratulations Mr. Narendra Modi, for being voted as the Prime-Minister of India. There was a Tsunami indeed in favor of the “Political Rockstar”, and I hope for the good! Never forget that the India has voted for the “Development Man” and not for the “Hindu Nationalist”. India expects a lot from their “Messiah”, and I hope you are able to match their expectations. Markets seem to surge, hope does the “Common Man” too in times to come! I had an ideological battle with you and your party, and I still stand by to it! Kindly keep proving me wrong again and again, so that the India wins!

Congratulations “The Election Commission of India”, for conducting the largest elections in the World. You did it fairly again, against the rhetoric of being biased to the incumbent. You did it successfully, considering the scale and size of Indian electoral demographics. Unlike the political parties switching governments, you have been proudly sustaining the democratic construct of India.

Congratulations to “Indian voters”, for coming out in large numbers to elect the “First among Equals”. You chose development over caste, perceived merit over dynasty, unidirectional stability over haphazard coalitions and socio-capitalism over entitlement politics. Let’s keep voting, to make our India a pluralist, multi-cultural, patient and prosperous society.

Will you be there for your Parents?


shutterstock_51858802-460x307I have been dreading about those days, when our Parents would be old and physically incapable to manage their daily chores. Those will be the days, when our Parents would need us, as much as we needed them when we were infants. That inevitable phase of our life frightens me. Will I be there for our Parents?

Today, in an urban phenomenon, both husband and wife are chasing money, through their respective jobs. In an era, when we as Parents have buckets of disposable income (although struggling to meet luxurious ends), the only thing we are in extreme dearth of is, “Time”. We do not even have time for our kids, and they are left over to maids, crèches, schools and retired grand-parents.

Our parents, in those ugly days, would need us, more than anything. They will like us to sit beside them, serve them, nurse them, manage their mood swings with a smile and love them. Remember, they did exactly all these things for us in our cradle days. Will our parents too, be left over to maids, nurses or hospitals? Can family be replaced by a hired maid or nurse? Can piles of money replace affection and care? Even if no, will we serve them unapologetically, selflessly with patience and love?

The thought frightens me. It asks me as I ask you the same, “Will you be there for your parents?”

बदलाव की आंधी !


आजकल बदलाव की आंधी है,
फै़ली अधीरता की माहामारी है !
सुना है कि अब लोग,
कपड़ों की तरह, किरदार बदल देते हैं!

आवा़म में बेमियादी बेसब्री का आलम है,
कि पाँच सालों में ही बोर होके,
हम अच्छी-बुरी सरकार बदल देते हैं!

ख़ूब सुहावने दिखते हैं, परदेस के ढोल,
कि अब तो उपलब्धि मान के,
देशभक्त भी, अपनी पहचान बदल देते हैं !

ऊँच-नीच के फ़ेर में पड़के,
बेमेल रुतबे के ख़ातिर,
हम सच्चे दोस्त, प्यार, परिवार बदल देते हैं!

इसी बदलाव की भीड़ में कुचल के,
कौड़ियों के दाम पर,
सुना है अब तो लोग, भगवान भी बदल देते हैं!

बस खु़दा की रहमत है,
जो नवाज़िश नहीं, हमें ये वरदान!
शुक्र है, जो नहीं मिला,
हमें मात्-पिता बदलने का अधिकार!

वरना तो…
आजकल बदलाव की आंधी है,
फै़ली अधीरता की माहामारी है !
सुना है कि अब लोग,
कपड़ों की तरह, किरदार बदल देते हैं!

Development, but at what Cost ?


India has been voting on the issue of development since last decade. BJP’s “India Shining” bombed, as back then, India was shining only in Media houses. Atal Behari Vajpayee and his brilliant team (Jaswant Singh, Arun Shourie, Brijesh Mishra) failed into the hands of RSS and Hindutatva agenda. From 2004 to 2009, India grew well both economically and socially under Manmohan Singh, and India voted them back on the agenda of development, with higher mandate. Now, again in 2014, it seems India is again voting on the agenda of development. And the man chanting that word the most is Narendra Modi.

But, I have a question! India needs development, but at what cost? During Congress regime from 2004-2014, India developed, managed recession and brought in social reforms. But we Indians paid a heavy price for it through “Corruption”. India is looking forward to Narendra Modi’s BJP, as he promises to speed up the India’s growth engine and bring prosperity to the nation. Considering his promises to be true, it may heavily cost us Indians into Moral Policing, Conservatism, Non-pluralistic visions and Social Dissonance. And who can guarantee that the government under Narendra Modi wouldn’t indulge in corruption, crony capitalism and scams. In the haste of achieving high sensex figures, lets not lose our ethics and social harmony.

If you and fellow Indians are ready to pay that price for development, go and vote for Narendra Modi.

Also for those, who are voting on the basis of religion, caste and creed, please go find another country for yourself.

(If Narendra Modi becomes India’s Prime Minister, hope he proves me wrong !)

Open Letter to Indian Voters !


Dear Indian Voters,

Hope you are not voting for somebody because you think, everyone is voting for him. Or because there is wave. Or because media, friends, family or society around you says so ! Be not of herd mentality !

Especially women ! Hope all Indian Women eligible for voting, are voting based on their choice and beliefs ! And not because their Father, Husband, Family etc. told them to vote for ! Be Independent !

Just listen to your heart, and vote !

Proud of Your Religion! But Why?


I have always been keen to dwell into the mind-set of anyone, who says, I am a proud Hindu, Muslim or Christian etc.! Most of us haven’t chosen our religion and were just destined to born into one. Moreover, it’s our parents and people around us who train us to follow a particular faith, again not by choice but destiny.

The counter-argument I have received is, that one should be proud of our parents, country and by extending the logic, religion too. Yes, we were just destined to born into our families and country, like our religion. But, unlike one’s particular religion, our parents and country nurtured our childhood. Parents through sacrifices groomed us with values, and the country through governance facilitated us with infrastructure. Religion prospers nobody, as Parents and Country does!

Then, people would argue, that the religion helps us learn values through spirituality. But then, every religion does the same! Then why gratification towards a particular religion, and calling oneself a “Proud Hindu” or “Proud Muslim” etc.?

Also, if anyone considers his/her religion superior to others (basis mythology and history), then that’s sheer communalism. One cannot be both “Proud Hindu / Muslim” and “Secular”. Such non-pluralistic views can be scary for a secular democracy.

Every religion preaches similar morals and principals, and each one of us should respect all religions!

Thus, are you proud of religion? But Why?

Nationalism vs. Magnanimity ?


I have always believed in a concept “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” propagated in Hinduism. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family. Everyone has their own worldview which is quite often different from person to person. It preaches us of respecting this difference.

In modern era, a popular theory, which conflicts this ideology, is “Nationalism”. Especially, when “Nationalism” is defined as a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country, often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries.

It is destiny that we are born to our nations or race. Though we should always be affectionate and obliged towards our country, but our values and views should not get immersed in the subjective truth of nationalism.

If we discover, that our Country (Run by Nationalistic leaders) is indulging in an act, which is nation-friendly, but is against the theory of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, shouldn’t it be confronted? And if confronted, then are we “Anti-Nationals”?

Remember, villages, cities, states and countries etc. mushroomed, so that regions can be well administered, to make the World, a better place to live. A World, which comprises several smaller subjective worlds! A World, which is peaceful, cordial and tolerant!

Thus, I am always wary of leaders and politicians, those who chant the term “Nationalism” to garner electoral votes. Nationalism has always been a constituent element of fascists, as Hitler and Mussolini were. Pseudo-nationalists use it as a tool to conquer supremacy. Nationalism is inherently divisive because it highlights perceived differences between people, emphasizing an individual’s identification with their own nation. The idea is also potentially oppressive because it submerges individual identity within a national whole, and gives elites or political-leaders potential opportunities to manipulate or control the masses.

The basic constituent of a great leader is “Magnanimity”. Magnanimity is greatness of mind; that elevation or dignity of soul, which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, which raises the possessor above revenge, and makes him delight in acts of benevolence, which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects. Though magnanimity is a rare ingredient, but is surely the essential one!

I announce myself to be Anti-National, but being Magnanimous!

Do you?

Why India should vote for BJP in 2014 Elections!


2014 General elections are not too far, and political parties have started their drum beating acts, vilification and slug-fest. Voters either already have or are in process of aligning themselves to preferred ideologies, leadership teams and parties.
Sooner or later, even I had to announce my loyalties for the forthcoming elections. Though I am not fully convinced, but still, here are the reasons, why India should vote for BJP this time.

Widespread Cynicism
Seems like majority to Indians (especially on Social Media) are at their heights of Cynicism. They are in no mood to trust our Media, Government, Institutions and Politicians (except “The Saheb”).
Pessimism is spread among the urban Indians like a wild fire, and the credit goes to both UPA and BJP. UPA Government through their unwanted actions and desirable inactions, have raised several doubts on the theory “India: The next Superpower”. And BJP, backed by RSS, also to be equally blamed, for their vilification tactics using social media and pracharaks!

And the only way to transpose them from Cynicism to Realism is by bringing “Change”.

No-Confidence Motion against Congress
Congress has lost any sought of trust in the Indians. Flurry of scams, minimal communication with the public, perceptive spineless leadership and opaque decision making have crashed their popularity index. All the decisions, statements, views of their leaders are seen with suspicion and usually termed as political opportunism. They have lost their moral ground to even criticize their opposition on every aspect be it economics or governance and more so, on the secularism. More so, Congress is been in power for 10years now, and fatigue factor is overpowering Indians, and thus considering change. Although all the political parties have deleterious baggage of their past, but “The Recency Effect” goes against Congress too. The only political party which seems to “substitute” them is BJP, considering AAP being too small. AAP also lacks the governance experience and the political muscle to win seats in 2014. As of now, they can be a good opposition party, if not more.

Stability

Indian economy needs a stable and decisive government, even if affects the social fabric of India. India needs quick economic, social and agricultural reforms, which only a stable and decisive government can provide. Federal parties don’t seem able enough to provide stability due to internal political tussle and deficiency of national approach to India’s problems. Thus we are left with no option but to vote for BJP.

New Era of Politics

The new-age India would now vote the basis of performance (economic and social). Congress and many other parties would soon realize that their style of traditional politics is now obsolete. Also now it’s high time for Congress to move beyond Gandhis and the Oldies. Thanks to emergence of AAP and BJP’s marketing strategy (based on their state Government’s performance), Indians would soon disown dynastic, corrupt and criminal leaders from politics.

NaMo Mysticism

To start with, I would still believe, India should vote for BJP minus Mr. Narendra Modi as Indian Prime-Minister. But since, now their paths are aligned, this possibility seems hypothetical.

Meanwhile, Indians overwhelmed by the Modi-Mania are dreaming of a mystical world with Mr. Modi with a magical wand, which would solve all of India’s problems, as he did in Gujarat. Many Indians are into idol-worship of NaMo, and see no wrong in the Mr. Modi. Let not their dreams not be shattered.

Mr. Modi, who mirages hope in impatient Indians, for a better future, has outgrown himself bigger than the party. Infact amusingly, many are fascinated with Mr. Modi but not with the party, BJP. Let not their hopes get crushed, because, if crushed, they will lose faith in India’s growth story.

If Modi remains “The Un-Chosen One”, India will keep harping on “If”s and “But”s. He should be given a chance to dictate India, because, sometimes, a country needs to go through the holocaust to realize its true character and to rekindle the importance of social framework.

 

 

Disclaimer: I would still not wish BJP to get 272 seats. A BJP (max 200 seats) led coalition government would keep a check on the right wing extremism in India.

Quick Perception Check !


A quick question on Modi’s involvement and 2002 riots. Would appreciate your response ! Just trying to gauge Public perception !

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/S8KNK35

“Avoid Them” or “Buy Them”!


India’s General Elections 2014 are nearing soon. Being a democracy, elections in India have always been clash of several “Ideas of India” and perspectives. To gather larger vote share, leaders and political parties are harping upon the following major agendas – Economic reforms, Social Reforms, Governance and Corruption! Seeing the trend, Economic reforms and Governance agendas, have mesmerized “The Urban India”. And hence they had been flocking behind the leader, who will lead India to the Promised Land.

As I see it, there are two agendas which are of supreme importance to India, and nobody seems to be discussing them even a bit. I would like to hear more from our politicians on “Police Reforms and Judicial Reforms”. If India seek an inclusive growth and a high rating on human development index, these two reforms should be on a high-priority list. “The Other India”, “The Bharat”, demands these reforms, but nobody cares to heed them. For a commoner, living in “The Other India”, equality and justice are of more significance than outsourced jobs and fancy growth rates !

Indian Police system in India, still works on an outdated colonialist act, legislated in 1861 when India was under British Empire. Police, today, are considered, as “Uniformed Goon”! It is publicly perceived that Indian Police is there for the affluent sections of the society. Common men feels dreaded in interacting with Indian Police, and usually dodge any possibility of facing them.

Policemen are public servants, who should emerge as support system of the society. I would prefer a two pronged Police System, with one, polished and milder form of Police, with a front-ending role of law-enforcement and managing public relations to keep peace and order. And the second, the tougher and stricter form of Police, for investigating and discovering the perpetrators of crime and ensuring successful prosecutions.

Similar, is the scenario, in the Indian Judiciary. Judiciary in India is marred with stretched and complex procedures, fallible judges/prosecutors/executives, and ever-delayed justice. Police and Judicial reforms will help creating a safer and an impartial India, transposing its benefits to the Indian Economy, Social Justice, superior Governance and lesser Corruption.

Future Parliamentarians, are you listening?

Holi: The Un-Holy Day!


The Festival of Colors – Holi is celebrated across India and in countries with considerable Indian population. My aversion for Holi, as a fun festival, has amplified with times! Although I relish all the other festivals (especially Diwali) to the core; Holi is one festival, to which I feel dis-enchanted.

All cultures and religions preach their practitioners to live a humble and a disciplined life. Self-control and sacrifice are considered to be the pathways to salvation. Being a stimulating task, every culture created a yearly day-off, a fun day, for men and women to unleash their mischievous spirit, banish cerebration and blur the societal boundaries. Indian culture created such a day, as Holi. Other cultures have similar festivals like Carnivals (Brazil and Italy), Mardi Gras (New Orleans), Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival (England), Dia de los Muertos  (Mexico), Songkran Water Festival (Thailand), Watermelon Festival (Australia),Burning Man (Nevada), Cascamorras and La Tomatina (Spain), Mud Festival (Japan and South Korea) etc.

But nowadays, in the dark ages of materialism and gluttony, we live a blithe lifestyle, every day. Thus for me, Holi has lost its relevance, as the festival is now moving towards overindulgences and hooliganisms. The festival, which was once known through the tagline, “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai”, now has turned into an unapologetic revenge tale! Though I still enjoy, meeting relatives, social gatherings and cherishing delicacies during Holi, but I am highly disillusioned with the color-bashing concept.

The Comedy Knights!!!


Comedy shows have been an ingrained part of our Indian television circuit, since inception. The humor phenomena blossomed through witty sit-coms like “Wagle ki Duniya”, “Shriman Shrimati”, “Dekh Bhai Dekh”,”Ji Mantri Ji”, “Office-Office”, “Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai” and “Khichdi” etc. But the last decade saw an evolution from the format of “Sit-Coms” to “Reality-Based Comedy Shows”.

Popularity of reality-based comedy shows started with the success of “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge” and the mantle was taken ahead by “Comedy Circus”. Recently, “Comedy Nights with Kapil” took the viewers by storm with unchallenged popularity.

My favorites in this phenomenon are the two giants of comedy circuit, Raju Srivastav and Kapil Sharma. Raju Srivastava has an eagle’s eye as a humorist and also an ability to create humor from the daily chores. Kapil Sharma’s strength lies in Quick-wit and spontaneity while interacting with characters/celebrities/audience around him.

Moreover, with emergent social media, I would like to mention the satirists like “The Viral Fever” and “All India Bakchod”. They have been creating several spoofs and youth-based humors, which have been widely shared in social media.

Which have been your favorite comedy shows and humorists? Share your experience!