Posts Tagged ‘Democracy

22
Mar
09

IPL Blues.

This is one time of the year when journalists are most busy – the transition from winters to summers. I am unaware of the reason but newsrooms overflow with news this time annually and most of the time editors are forced to make a hard decision about whether or not a news report ought to be shelved, whether or not a journalist’s intelligence ought to be undermined. The relationship between information inflow and public memory is best illustrated at such times – that there exists a direct proportion between the two;everyone’s forgotten Varun Gandhi the focus has now shifted to IPL, and for a change Congress is facing the heat.

Anyway. Everyone is going ga-ga over IPL being shifted out of the country, people are in mourning and political parties and politicians are trying to shift focus from the main issues and divert the attention of the public. Its a pity that Indians were forced to a situation where they had to choose between democracy and cricket. And its disgusting to see that Indians, in general, prefer cricket over democracy.

What I fail to understand is, that a private sports extravaganza be held in the country or outside the country, how does it matter? I mean do we create such a ruckus over where our politicians and actors celebrate their birthdays? Why doesn’t the general populate realize that BCCI does not represent India and that it has been evoking our emotions and fooling us all this while.

And what on earth is wrong with the losers in BJP? Why are they turning this into a political issue when it is not just the congress led states that are against holding matches before the elections? BJP’s poster boy in the south Mr Yedurappa clearly stated that providing security is impossible before the elections. BCCI authorities say that Maharastra’s and Andra Pradesh’s refusal to hold matches in the respective states is what has forced IPL to move out of the country despite the thrice revised schedule. Are these losers even aware of the problems in these states? I mean Andra Pradesh is a naxal hit state where booth capturing and kidnapping is a well known phenomenon during the polls and Maharastra in the wake of the recent Mumbai attacks is on a security high even otherwise. Don’t these bastards ever read the newspapers? That the fates were rescheduled is another joke that people are forced to believe the Ministry of Home Affairs wanted the dates to be shifted and what Mr Modi and his foolish cronies did was make a cosmetic change in the dates. Do they even know about the logistical issues that the government faces when it comes to mobilizing security?

The BJP claims Congress is admiting defeat at the hands of the terror organizations and that it ought to move ahead and hold these matches irrespective of the threats. Two things now – First, the subcontinent is the second most politically unstable and dangerous place in the world after the Middle East and security concerns raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs are genuine and second what is more important a bunch of fools running around a ball and a crowd of fools clapping hands at that absurd thing or Democracy and freedom – something that lets these fools do what they please and others to criticize them.

What all these fools are missing is the kind of money that is involved and the kind of profits the IPL organizers stand to make at the cost of these fools. Unofficial reports claim the profit involved is more than 10000million $ through merchandise, sponsorships, telecast rights and other such things. Mr Mallaya and Madam Ambani ought to respect this democracy, something that let them rise to such position instead of criticizing it and defaming and demeaning the democratic process.

Jaagore Bharat. Jaago

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21
Mar
09

Shut Up And Vote

India is a Hindu Nation and no one can deny that – Mr Mohan Bhagwat made a brilliant start at his new job today as he took over the leadership of RSS. First day’s first utterance got him instant headlines. While many of you might be disgusted at that statement he made, I on my part totally agree with what he said – India is indeed a Hindu nation. There’s nothing wrong in what he said except that he failed to define what Hinduism is and who Hindus are. Hinduism is NOT a religion its a philosophy, a way of life and each one of us is a Hindu because we consciously or unconsciously have embraced this great culture and its way of life. This country belongs to us and not some uneducated fools who have no clue what they speak or stand for.

Its rather depressing to see that the world’s largest democracy happens to be the dirtiest, the least participatory and the most religiously polarized one. Like it ot not sixty years of freedom and democracy hasn’t ensured that none die of starvation and that none is exploited. More than half the country is illiterate, and an even greater percentage uneducated, Muscle and Money power still rules, Criminals still get elected, Clergy is still more or less in power and People are still not a part of the process, except once in five years.

Education I have always held is different from being literate. You might study at LSE or Oxford or SOAS or Yale and yet be uneducated, Varun Gandhi is the perfect example. All his foreign degrees failed to educate him, failed to stimulate his rationale and failed to pull him out of the bliss of ignorance he lives in. What he said reflects not just his point of view but that of an extremist organization that he is a part of. But then there’s nothing that we can do. Just like Muslim fundamentalism is legitimate in a Muslim dominated country so is Hindu Fundamentalism in a Hindu dominated country, and don’t you dare raise your fingers at them for the likes of Varun, Togadia, Modi and Advani would chop off your hands and label you as the enemy of the state and a communal force.

From times unknown religion has played a rather important role in polity and modern India is no exception, the only problem being that unlike in the US or Iran there are too many religions and all of them command power be it Hindus, Muslims or Christians. I mean take a look at the statement that Varun made after he landed in the controversy – I am a Hindu, a Gandhi and an Indian in the same measure. Note the use of language – A Hindu first, and then a Gandhi and after all that an Indian. His statement points out two important problems with Indian Polity, first there is widespread communalism and hatred being spread my mainstream political parties and second you cannot dream of joining politics or making it big unless you have a lineage to back on – a look at most young Indian MPs proves that.

Its not just the Hindus who spread hatred and polarize our communities, a look at the rather silent christian community shows how efficiently it has turned into a big political force in the south. Priests and Bishops shamelessly urge the communities to vote for a certain candidate, write letters to the centre to place candidate of their choice and come out strongly against people who oppose them or their tryst with politics to an extent where people descent to the streets.

Is this what our constitution calls secularism? Is this what our forefathers’ had envisioned? Who is to blame for all this? Savarkar? Muslim League and Jinnah? Bal Thackery? or Togadia?

Unfortunately the blame lies with Gandhi, the pre independence Indian National Congress and their vision for the country. Gandhi and INC’s excessive use of Hindu symbolism in the freedom struggle alienated the minorities and that led to the formation of Muslim League and other such religious political parties.

While on one side we have all this, a rather grim picture of the Indian Politics on the other side there is hope. For once educated people are joining politics, the latest in fray being Shashi Tharoor and Mallika Sarabhai. Not many have lost hopes. There is a new wave of optimism. People want their share of power and say in the governance. Jagore Campaign has done wonders. The ever complaining Indian youth is up in arms against the warlords of Indian Politics. They want to vote for a change. They want to be a part of the revolution.

The murky waters of Indian politics, it seems, would clear up for good soon. Or would it?

The fact is that most Indians are still uneducated they’d still be influenced by the clergy and muscle power. All these war cries for responsible voting can be heard only in our cities. Shut Up And Vote is written in English a language that more than 80% of the country cannot speak. Who are we fooling? India still is in its villages. If we want a change then that ought to start at the grassroot level.

Anyway Shut Up And Vote.

13
Mar
09

Breaking News!!!!

BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

News and newspapers have always been central to my daily life, but it wasn’t until I started working for media houses that I began looking at the process of delivering news as a form of art. There is speculation, quite often followed by a conformation, followed by fact gathering and then the delivery either in print form or in audio visual form. Now, that is the basics of reporting – speculation, conformation and fact gathering – or at-least that was what I was taught and that is what I have practiced all this while. But that form of news reporting is on the wane. That form of news delivery is now classified as boring and often mundane. What people want is action, breaking news – sansani tez khaber!

The sober and classy act of news reporting over a period of time has undergone a sea of change;gone are the days of idealism, intellectualism and sincerity. Gone are the days when journalists wore ragged clothes and sported a beard and toga/jhola. Gone are the days when journalists made a hand to mouth living. Gone are the days when confirmation and fact gathering was done. Everyone’s an expert.

News reporting is the next big thing after bollywood, every failed actor/actress who knows a word or two of English makes is making it big in media. And why not, even though they are dumb they look good, and they are confident – they can hold a mic, face the camera and speak in English. Well that’s not all that has changed, the art of news delivery has undergone an even drastic change, news rooms are no longer sober looking rooms, they’ve gone hi-fi – big plasma screens, hundreds of acrobatics trained camera men, lights, computer generated graphics, music directors, choreographers, art directors, script writers and what not. News delivery is turning out to be even more difficult than making a B grade bollywood flick and leading the pack are India TV, Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and Times Now.

Its hard to believe that a crucial and perhaps the most powerful and autonomous pillar of democracy, the media, is undergoing such drastic degradation. I mean what is the logic of showing tantra vidya on news channel? Of showing the existence of a goat who people claim is the descendant of some long dead emperor? I mean for days I been seeing news anchors predicting Islamabad being captured by Taliban any minute, all this while foreign security experts politely call these claims stupid. What shit are these guys on? What on earth have they been smoking?

I have always held a firm belief that reporting ought to be dispassionate and in such a manner that the reporter’s opinion are not reflected on the report that is to say that a news report should not in any way be biased, it is the public that ought to ponder over a news report and formulate its own opinion. Well, what we see here is a bunch of uneducated, superstitious freaks on a drug trip of their own. I mean, what are they contributing to the society if not their own fears and beliefs, with exaggerated fears. They are as dangerous as the Taliban or Al-Queada. Look at this, every Muslim to us is a symbol of terror. Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia are terror centres.

We often say that one thing that the British left behind when they left India was the divide and rule policy – a policy that we often associate with political parties and politicians. Its not just the politicians who have been using this, media too has been using this, for quite some time now.

Media has created stereotypes – you can identify a Muslim with his beard, a Hindu with his right hand, a christian by the manner of his speech and what not. I was denied two houses on rent because the owners were wary of my beard and because I spoke Hindi.

Muslims are terrorists, Hindus are black magicians and trouble makers, Christians are loose characters and Punjabis are gossip mongers and trouble makers. What kind of idiotic shit are we being told? And why are we taking this shit?

The once forgotten concept of ghosts and evil spirits are back in fashion. Why? Well where else do all these evil spirits go? After-all villagers no longer want them. Everyone talks about nimbu mirch. Chicken pox is mata ka aashirwaad and family troubles is padosi ka jaadu tona.

Where the heck is our rationale? Where is our intelligence?

Oh! I am sorry, intelligence’s death is what we’re celebrating here. Sorry.

Well, ladies and gentlemen due to the untimely demise of our dear friend Intelligence, we have but no choice, we are heading back to the good old medieval times and you, each one of you, is heading this journey.

28
Feb
09

Democratic Naxalism

When it comes to a blogger like me, there is nothing more disturbing than to see my blog stat hit a rock bottom. It’s 11 in the morning and I haven’t had a single visitor visiting my blog.

And hence the post which was to be posted tonight is being posted now. To begin with, I am sure I have been pissing you off with all my lamenting and social commentary but then to me writing is more of a stress buster like grass, but because of the unavailability of grass in Hyderabad, I am forced to comment than get creative and pour out my emotions onto paper in the form of stories. I want to make full use of this blog before I head to Delhi’s greenery and this blog becomes obsolete like three of my other blogs.

What does AR Rehman’s Oscars mean to India? NOTHING, I would say, and observe everything in capitals.

I don’t know how many of you remember having seen the case of a mother who sold her new born baby for six thousand rupees to pay off the hospital bill – the news wasn’t a crowd puller but some news channels did justice to the woman and granted her about a minute of prime-time television coverage and none thereafter, after-all who’s interested in all these poverty stories when there’s killing happening on in Bangladesh, when Pakistan’s forever contradicting it’s findings and when Ishan Sharma’s pants are falling off – NDTV ran a discussion on the same trying to figure whether it was Nike’s fault/Ishan’s fault. Who’re we trying to fool here? The media feeds us with filth for news and we’re happy buying it. A mother was forced to sell her new born baby to pay off her hospital dues while over 10000crore rupees from the exchequer would be spend on election campaigns across the country in the coming months, and all we’re obsessed with is some uneducated fool’s pants!

Noam Chomsky calls the above phenomenon – a phenomenon where the so assumed independent media and political forces act hand in hand to divert the public’s attention from real issues – Manufacturing Consent. Note the use of words, MANUFACTURING, an industrial phenomenon that is undertaken if and only if there is a scope of profitability, irrespective of the type of governance. It’s a profitable venture for everyone involved – the government, the opposition, the media, the advertisers everyone is happy making a fool out of us. Osho, in one of his public lectures discusses about intellect and intelligence and he says intelligence is inborn it’s like one of our six senses while intellect is something that me cultivate, something we gather from our surroundings, we feed on books, newspapers, and other things in our bid to make our intellect stronger and competable. Unfortunately, our intellect is filled with useless filth! How else would we defend ourselves when it comes to politicians and clergy and media making a fool out of us, everyday and every minute of our life.

We hail democracy as the most perfect form of participatory governance, and it is this perfect and participatory governance that is fueling Naxalism in this country. Unlike in case of terrorist attacks, these men who take up arms and live in inhospitable jungles aren’t Pakistanis or Bangladeshis they are Indians like you and me, abet they are poor and hence unlike us the worst victims of this participatory governance, men and women who are a result of our booming economy and brilliant democracy. Unlike us they have nothing to loose if the markets crash or bounce, if it’s BJP led NDA or Congress led UPA that is at power in the center or even if Rehman Gulzar and Pookutty gather Oscars.

No one wants to die off a bullet but then if it is a bullet that gives you an honorable death, then so be it.

Perhaps the only ray of hope at this juncture is the so called independent judiciary, which has indeed been acting more or less dispassionately and independently. The recent PIL in the supreme court which asks the court to examine the contoversial fundamental right to property would come as a big blow to the corporates and the government if it is accepted as a fundamental right, for it would make land grabbing on the pretext of SEZs difficult for both the government and the corporates.

A rather brilliant example of how the government fools us here is that in 2007 there was a delay in the publishing of NCERT sociology text books, the reason given out to the public was technical delays, the real cause of delay was that many of our parliamentarians were rather uncomfortable with some out of the box questions posed in the ‘interactive’ text book for example “China is six times bigger than India and while India has more than 200 SEZs already sanctioned China has only three, do you think that the SEZ policy pursued by the government is in the interest of the country?”

It is a democracy and yet we cannot question, participatory and yet we cannot decide.

Our cities are an illusion of our growing economy, while we feat on caviar and best of wines, people in the villages starve and yearn for that tiny morsel that fell off your high table.

Is there anything we can do? Perhaps not. Perhaps we can take comfort in the saying from Bhagwad Gita, “There will always be one who oppresses and one who is oppressed”, and as long as we aren’t oppressed or the oppressors we can keep guilt at bay and feast on that caviar.

I desperately need some grass.




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