Aug 28, 2011

Magnum Opus

'He was a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires'

Today as India celebrates how the parliament passed the Jan Lokpal bill as demanded by Anna Hazare and his team.
The month long campaign has proved that complete freedom against corruption is a long way away but the freedom of speech by the people and the media sure found its expression among billions of Indians. Many supporting the cause, many supporting the man and thousands against the man.

One of my favorite biographical movie is 'Gandhi' by Sir Richard Attenborough. This timeless movie still answers the many questions that plagues our society.

Watching it for the millionth time, I'll attempt to dissect the essence of what we need to learn..

Disgraced after being thrown out of a train only because he was traveling on a first class ticket, this sparked the first flames of freedom against discrimination.
Even as a staunch follower of Hinduism, Gandhi respected and followed the essence of Christianity. He often called himself and everyone 'Children of God'.
Even when faced with an seemingly impossible task of bringing equality to Indians in South Africa, he never once was disrespectful. Just polite and stern.
From being called 'Citizens of the Empire' to overthrowing the Empire, Gandhi showed us how we need to 'Fight against their anger. Not provoke it.'

Where there is injustice, I always believe fight. But the question is 'Do you fight to change things or to fight to punish?'
The problem with our supposed fight against corruption is that a majority of us are very comfortable with our every day lives (and I've already discussed why here)

When we spoke about Anna's stubborn refusal to budge, I remembered how Gandhi, referred to himself as a 'stubborn man'.
On my maiden visit to the Golden Temple many many years ago, I visited the Jallianwala Bagh. Now converted to a national monument it is one of those monuments that have been restored and preserved well. I could still see bullet holes and dried blood splatter. And the well, now sealed off is a grim reminder of the many dozens who lost their lives. A monument to mindless cruelty and unapologetic ruthlessness.
The way the empire and her majesty (note the lower case) refused to leave India despite the atrocity it committed, reminds me of how corrupt politicians refuse to step down.

When I read about how college students in Bangalore turned violent, I remembered how misguided protesters killed policemen during Gandhi's freedom struggle. But then violence has always been a much easier option for cowards.

Modern times call for contemporary measures. While most of Gandhi's principles is still proven to work in a world filled with turmoil. Prohibition is a farce in Gujarat where you'll always get the booze for the right price. It's not about looking or talking the part. It's about the being the part.

'Nearly all revolution starts as an idea in the mind of one man'. We won our freedom from the British with one such idea which became the most inspirational civil resistance in all history. In 2011, Anna has helped us win another.
Like Gandhi, he led from the front. Boldly, fearlessly and non violently.

Freedom. While we continue to fight among ourselves over who is more right, our politicians have always followed the colonial rule of 'Divide and Rule'. They have done it then and they continue to do it now.

'In our own sweet time.. In our own sweet way, we'll get there'

Britain, an tyrant Empire that once ruled most of the world and once was called Great Britain now reduced to a shell of its former self wrecked by terrorists from both outside and within. An island nation where an overwhelming majority of its citizens live on welfare and government doles. A nation that is still grappling with itself. What an awful turn of fortune. 
The only devils in the world are those running around in our own hearts. And that is where all our battles ought to be fought - Gandhiji
Now, lets drink to that!

This is an ode to Gandhi: The 'half naked Indian fakir' who became the icon who Albert Einstein remarked is a man who 'generations will come which will scarce believe that such of one of this ever of flesh and blood walked upon this earth'

When I despair I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time, they can seem invincible but in the end, they always fall.

Hey Ram!

Read more:
The government against satyagrahas, then and now

Aug 27, 2011

By the way...

Just so you know...
Indian democracy is not the most unique or supreme.
If it were unique, we would have had politicians who had the country's good at heart.
If it were supreme, our elected representatives would have delivered what they were supposed to deliver- Justice, Equality and Freedom.

Strangely, the Anna movement has managed to evoke the most controversial statements/behavior with no real knowledge of what the entire circus is about.
We have common people who are largely unaware of the history of delaying tactics and obfuscation by successive governments in passing the Lokpal bill and then we have the government who admits there is rampant corruption (which is a wonderful departure from denying its existence) but desperately want to sidetrack it with irrelevant comments/suggestions.

Recently talking to a close relative, who was largely skeptical of the movement. I listened to her arguments silently before I set out to convince her.
Why now? When the Congress is ruling? Definitely the BJP is behind this.
Of course now. If not now, when? The Congress has been ruling for quite a while now. Except for a narrow break in the later part of last century, the Congress has always been at the helm of affairs. As for accusations of support from the opposition, it is anybody's guess why they would support. While they have been baying for the ruling party's blood ever since they lost their second chance, they have conveniently piggybacked on Anna. Cauterized by a bitter experience down south, they want to appear as the only party will not take corruption lightly.
After decades of corruption that has eroded the very corpus of our democracy, there is a large part of the middle class that has had enough.

Why not run for election so that Anna can make a change that way?
Appearing as it seems the gargantuan sums of money that goes into bribing million people and considering Anna's financial limitations and his character, it is anybody's guess that Anna will loose an election hands tied down. Suggesting he runs for an election is a simplistic view of people who choose to be ignorant.
The obvious result of such a failure would be an ideal excuse to not pass stricter anti corruption laws.
Do you see Red here?

Why not strengthen existing anti corruption agencies?
Not many people would know that the Lokpal Bill did create all of these agencies. Ineffective as they are with little or no right to investigate, prosecute or punish the guilty, they are but a toothless tiger and a huge drain on the exchequer. That and the fact that many of these agencies are headed by cabinet rank Ministers who will not want to prosecute their peers.
Scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

Armchair activists like the 'one book wonder' Arundhati Roy would do better than to write an elaborate essay on why Anna is wrong. I wonder how much she got paid to write such ludicrous piece of trash. Why the (Indian) media still refers to her as 'Indian Booker prize winner..' still defies my understanding. She wrote just one book and got really lucky there. (By that measure, I must be referred to as 'English rank holder at high school') She has since decided to not test her luck anymore by staying with pro Maoist activism and random tree hugging.

Why a deadline?
A deadline works best when all you've got is a government that procrastinates, delays and manipulates thoughts, ideas and action to correct an endemic disease like Corruption. Given that the congress and like scum had roughly 45 years to pass the Lokpal bill in its true essence, I believe a deadline is what we need.
This time it's our way or the highway, Mr PM.

Why is Anna being adamant about his demands?
Well, there are only 3, for crying out loud.
The government has sat on the Lokpal bill like a hen on a hard boiled egg for far too long. They've never had the intention to pass it. Not then, not now.
It's time for some tough love.

Why the hell is he so bothered?
Most weren't. Were they?
Almost child like, he's accepted your support but never asked you for your donation. So when an illiterate former soldier and farmer fights for the freedom of a billion plus, the least you can do is support the cause that he is fighting for. After all, as Indians we belong here - In India.

But that's the problem with Indians. After having been ruled over by our colonial masters, we've been conditioned to be subservient.
We'll never give a compliment when its deserved. We'll never give a honest feedback when we have to. We're used to poor service and the tag of 'third world country'.

But just so you know, you should never give up.
Spread the word, folks. Our children will never forgive us if we don't clean up our mess.

More Read:
Arund'hate' Roy
Rather be Anna than Roy!
Messianism versus democracy

Aug 24, 2011

While you were gone...

A very dear friend of mine remarked 'Anna is such a distraction'.
Not entirely untrue.

As a nation of people who demand to be entertained all our waking hours, I happened to speak to a few people who'd 'been' to support Anna 'over the weekend'
He was excited and satisfied that he was able to have an eventful weekend!
Well, eventful it is. But what troubles me is how many people are treating this protest as a mere carnival.
The Gandhi topi and the Tricolour dealers are doing the briskest business ever.
Auto-rickshaws are making hay while the sun shines by charging patriotic people double and nearly quadruple the fare.
Ice cream vendors and hawkers are laughing all the way to the bank.
Face painting artists haven't seen so much business since the last IPL match this year.

What started off in the right earnest has now been reduced to a farce.
Surely there is a lot of people visiting areas of demonstration.
There is definitely a lot of people who know what the struggle is about. But five year old kids dressed up as Gandhi with their heads shaved off and bapu glasses?
Give me a break!
I saw red when I spotted three college kids on a bike without a helmet carrying the tricolour, the tip of which was trailing the road.
I bet they are bunking their classes but if supporting Anna was not as fashionable as it is, I'm sure they would have been in a mall or a movie theater ogling at girls in skimpy outfits. Anna is just another reason.

We are filled with people who are hypocritical.
We have people who are impatient with traffic stops. We starting honking the nanosecond the light turns green. Yet we don't mind spending hours on the net/in the bed with your boyfriend/girlfriend, or even at a mall.
We refuse to wear the helmet even if it is meant to protect ourselves and the ones we love.
We don't want to give the underprivileged people in our society a chance at a good life, yet the moment we have a stable job we crib and complain that this isn't enough.
We don't want corrupt leaders, yet we don't mind corrupt managers who will lick and dry their bosses unmentionables to climb up the ladder.
We have people who will chain themselves to protect deforestation, but as soon as it comes to supporting a cause that is nonviolent, they launch into a verbal diarrhea of words.
We are a nation filled with fascinating people!

But thank God for Anna because;
Bollywood has got fresh ideas for its next big patriotic flick.
Sheila Dixit can exhale that the spotlight will not be on her for a while now.
Kalmadi/Raja/Kanimozhi and like scum will be at ease that they are not being prosecuted by a nation that can't multi-task.
Mamataji will make sure that by the time you are back, West Bengal will be replaced by Paschimbanga.
...and if all goes well (for us) Salina Wali Khan will can do a poonam pandey. Deja vu!

Whatever it is, be sure to lock your doors before you leave, because thieves and burglars aren't marching.

Aug 23, 2011

No Hazare

In what can be described as an epic battle of good v/s evil, the Fight against Corruption has caught the fantasy of a billion people. Whether you are the CEO of a conglomerate or a lowly farmer, Hazare and his million followers have turned the Struggle into television's biggest tamasha.

Now, amidst all the controversy and the mud slung, I still support the cause- That of creating laws that will uphold justice and uproot corruption. Yes I do.
But something incredible has happened. Now, I am not a person who can be easily convinced. As a realist I need facts.
A movement that promised a change in how India is perceived both by its inhabitants and the world in general, the struggle has been subtly hijacked by ideologies and people that are suspect and well, give you that familiar feeling of all is not well.

Couple of reasons why I think Anna needs to pause, think and pull up his socks.
Proof of how 'Role models' have turned this struggle into a free for all fight for 15 minutes of fame

Anna is not India and India is not Anna.
Much like the ominous 'Indira is India. India is Indira' chant that reverberated through the dark years of Emergency, we are focusing on the man and not the purpose.
His well dressed compatriots all who have accomplished a lot in their public lives, are opinionated to a point where there is confusion on what Anna stands for and what the Bill wants to achieve.
This movement and the Bill that it fights for, has become a symbol of rebellion by an resurgent middle class awakened by 'Breaking News' round the clock.
A convenient way of removing the government without the ballot. While the government did miss the train by not reacting swiftly and it floundered badly with poor policies and a weak commander at the top, we should not circumvent existing mechanisms to cover up our weak electoral sense.
How did a guy who introduced sweeping financial reforms in the last decade become the weakest PM the country has ever had?
I am pretty sure Singh would've wanted to quit while the song was still sweet, but his inability to rein in corruption and his obvious submissiveness to Sonia will be a legacy that he will have to live with.

Lokpal is not our magic elixir.
The fact that there are many thousands marching on the streets who do not know what the Bill is nor can lead to, is a dangerous phenomena.
While we are definitely tired of corruption, the Bill is not all that we need.
As a nation of extremely opinionated people, we'd have a million ways to say that corruption cannot be uprooted. Not many can tell us how we can. Naysayers Plenty!
We already have enough institutions that are supposed to fight corruption. The National Advisory Council (NAC), an Institution with powers to veto any bill and monitors the government. Comprised of 14 eminent professionals in their individual fields, our focus should be towards strengthening existing anti corruption institutions like the NAC.
Because, what we need is not yet another Institution. We need a process.

Perhaps Anna can think on this while he is fasting.

What we need is a stronger government. A swifter one. A government that will work for its people while not keeping the good stuff for itself. A government that will treat all its citizens with respect, equality and merit.


'Democracy is where one confused person thinks he can change everything. Eventually we will need to kill him' but again, this is not about one man's fight against another. This is about how we need to change the way we work within the framework of democracy.
We, the people need to exercise better judgement with the electoral process. Resisting the temptation to vote because you were bribed to, we need to show our activism through democracy. After all, we are still the World's largest democracy.

We are not you, Anna. We support your cause though
The Fight is not rocket science nor is it brain surgery.
So, why are we not getting the point?

Aug 22, 2011

*RTFM

I hate Anna Hazare!
While there is a clarion call to 'Support Hazare'online, what is upsetting is how many Indians are opposed to the entire movement. (and I'll come to that in a later post..)

Over the past week, Indians (and in some cases, foreigners) have reminded the world how potent non violence is.
Millions of people across the nation marched.
Several hundreds have been fasting..
All in the name of Anna Hazare.
But really?!

While what he is doing is definitely commendable and can by no means be ridiculed or shrugged off, I think there is a growing resistance in the cause.
And for good reason.

As the nation remains split at the middle on the Fight against Corruption, what I am going to do is help dissect the Lokpal bill here...

-While Indians as a civilization have always resented authority figures that have been repressive, what we as a nation that aspires to be World Power is an institution that will rid our nation of its 'corrupt third world' tag. Lest we become another failed state.

-Autonomous. In a country where the judiciary and law enforcement is often used as tools of political and personal vendetta, there must an Institution which will perform without the fear of getting 'that phone call/fax/email from the top'

-The CBI, having been used as a tool for political vendetta for many decades has failed to secure enough convictions. This leads to a weak trail where the guilty are not arrested nor charged. We definitely need a justice system which will instill fear of the law into the corrupt. The guilty must be punished. Swiftly.

-The fourth point of the bill is perhaps the most contentious. Making sure that the corrupt restore the loss caused to the exchequer will not only rob the corrupt of all his wealth but also reveal the money trail. Simple yet potent.

-In a country where nothing can get done within a reasonable time-frame and where deadlines are nearly always extended, the fifth condition of a lokpal is definitely what the doctor prescribed. When the rest of the world can meet deadlines and finish projects at breakneck speeds, this condition will make sure that India will come up to speed with the 21st Century.

-The sixth condition of the Bill remedies and redresses a myriad of ills that plague our society. We definitely need an institution that will make other parts of the government work in perfect harmony. Indians should not be afraid nor discouraged when report corruption.

-Making sure that the Lokpal is headed by people who are beyond reproach is a no-brainer.
While the public perception of an Indian politician is poor this point in the Lokpal makes sure that imminent people who are beyond reproach is chosen and given the power to function effectively rather than just be a figure head is the need of the hour.

-Assuming that the incorruptible become corrupt, the eight point in the Bill provides for an open investigation where the Officer will be dismissed within two months.

-Naturally, the existing anti-corruption machinery within the country have floundered badly. After decades of inaction, we need a mechanism that will work. Fearlessly. Ruthless. Honest.

-Whistle-blowers must be protected. Because where the people can reveal corruption without fear of reprisal, there lies a progressive nation.

Read more here:

There. The most controversial Bill against corruption in Modern India.

If you support this movement and know the bill. Good job! Now spread the word.
But if you are not supporting this because you don't know what the Bill is about, then Read The Fu*king Manual!

Aug 18, 2011

Where age is just a number...

As I write this, at the stroke of 12 on the 15th of August, I hear crackers burst in the distance.
On a midnight not unlike tonight, 65 years ago, when our founding fathers won us independence, little did they realize that this day would loose its significance many decades later.
Tonight when most of India is still sleeping, while the other half of India is preparing for a show of patriotism, we have to tell ourselves to cut the crap and start living the life of true freedom and independence that our nation's forefathers envisioned.
At a time, when almost every politician worth his constituency is neck deep in scams, scandals and other unmentionables, we need to introspect.
Maybe, just maybe corruption is a very Indian concept and is deeply entwined within our culture and society.
Maybe, certain people and newspapers are correct.

Consider this.
A child acquires the habit of lying and then graduates into petty thefts. Before you'd realize you have a delinquent in your hands and trouble at your doorstep.
The child lacks nothing and is otherwise a very blessed with very supportive and honest parents. Unable to accept that their child could be growing up to a thief, they are in denial but are still loving and supportive.
Would you blame the child? His upbringing or his parents? Would you theorize that the child was born to be a thief and a liar? Would you think that child is inheriting his habits from his parents? Would you think that his parents deliberately allowed their child to walk the wrong path?
I could go on, but I think you get the drift now, right?

Doubtless, our nation has gone astray and we've unintentionally allowed it. True.
But its so easy to pick a pen or put fingers to a keyboard and blame the activists. It is very easy to believe that we are fighting corruption because of a strong media that is ruled by corporates. It is very easy to criticize.
'Walk a mile in his shoe and you'll know where it bites'


We have way too many half baked critics who are satisfied with sitting on their desks with a deadline to write a 1000 word article where he/she gets paid for every word that they write passing too much ill informed verdicts instead of fighting it out on the streets.

The interesting thing about our society is that every good effort/work/person will invariably have a bunch of critics who'll have half the knowledge, none of the authority and plenty of words. When they have not spared the Holy Bible, Anna and our fight against corruption will surely have many who'll like to crucify him.

Happy Birthday, India!

Indian Jails: Separating the Boys from the Men

Most Indians are terrified of jails.
A nightmarish place the size of a small room not unlike many Indian 'pucka' houses, where you'll be tortured and have confessions extricated. But you'll still get free healthy food three times a day!
I haven't seen the insides of a Jail and there's a pretty good chance that most Indians haven't either. Indian movies and occasional but steady news of police brutality in custody has ingrained the fear of the bars in every Indian.
India Shining!

Unlike Hollywood jails, Indian jails are not places where 'normal' people go. They are places where the most petty thieves, rapists and burglars and the occasional trouble-maker spends a few nights in.
And hence Tihar was a uneventful place to be. Until recently.
But all that has changed ever since the Indian govt's austerity drive finished. The jails are now packed with former CEOs, the A-rated Politicians and random celebrities and a few of them appear destined to reside here soon
It almost appears that the government did manage to save a lot of money. But almost all of it went directly into the pockets of the few.
Talk about India Shining!

So in a sense, Indian jails are what separates the men from the boys.

It is what separates the wickedly guilty from the truly blessed Statesman.
Unless you've lived in a cave, you'd have read/heard/seen the flurry of politicians who have been dethroned and carted off to jail. Many of them struggling to live in cells that is more luxurious than an average Indian house yet breathing down the necks of their over-paid lawyers to secure a bail and run free.
Some of them have even filed anticipatory bails.
And then we have Anna and his ilk. With the firm understanding that the battle will be long and ardous but the victory is going to be sweet, he and his team have courted arrest. A true Gandhian in word, thought and deed, he has brought a unrepentant and tainted government to its knees.

So, why do you fear the jail, Mr Politician? 

what ails us..

The 2011 Fight against Corruption has split the nation down at the middle.

No, its not the cause that has split the people.
We have on one side, the a vast segment of people who know what the fight is about. Because they have been victims of such corruption. People who've had enough and want no more. Like sheep without a Shepard, they have now been united by a crusader who won't stop nor tire unless justice prevail.
And then on the other hand, a segment of people who believe this is one of those movements that will fizzle out. This segment is made up of people who are prejudiced against a particular religion and those who suspect the motivation of such a movement. People who will rather sit back and watch how things will unfold. The Couch potatoes.
The bad news is the latter segment of people are a majority. The Good news is they are rapidly shrinking.

A dear relative of mine recently remarked that she won't support Anna because he is a 'Muslim' ! Well, arguments against religious discrimination and prejudice aside little did she realize that he was a Hindu but we wouldn't have enjoyed our freedom if we thought the same about Gandhi, would we?
She also suspected why there is a sudden retaliation against a disease that has existed for several decades. Elementary, my dear Watson! There is only so much that a person can endure.
After decades of rampant corruption that has permeated even to the level of janitors and pourakarmikas (trash collectors), where we need to bribe them if we need our garbage cleared, we the common people have had enough.

Take the pledge

I cannot pay you that bribe, Sir/Madam
I cannot give you that incentive in lieu for sexual favors, Maam/Sir
I won't sleep with you for a promotion or a hike.
I cannot promote you just because you slept with me.
I don't want to jump the red light even when I know there isn't anyone looking.
I won't give you 'coffee money' for doing your job.
I can't give you 'luncha' for doing your job.
I won't patronize you because I want to be in your 'good books'

The day when we take our pledge and mean it, that when we will truly be free.
I haven't been to the 'Fight for the Lokpal' march. No, not yet. But its given me the courage and the conviction that 'Yes, we can'.
Change, we need.
We may not get our freedom in a year. No, but its inevitable. The writing is on the wall, Mr PM. You are out of here.

Aug 17, 2011

Destined to die!


4000 million years ago, the most primitive form of life arrived on Earth.
15 million years ago, Hominidaes, the primitive Great Apes evolved.
and 200,000 years ago, the Humans evolved.

But we are possibly the only species that is perhaps the most cruel, despotic and self destructive.
We are the only species that refuses to share our planet with creatures that we depend on.

Dogs are supposed to be man's best friend, but would you choose to be a friend with a person who would shove and kick your children?
What would you do if you saw a man kick and use a barge pole to evict 12 puppies?


Well, hearing the loud cries of the pups, whose only sin was that they sought out the shelter at an apartment, I rushed to my balcony only to see a man, (possibly the caretaker of the apartment) use a long barge to extricate puppies, one after the after, from a shaded spot outside the building and throw them off the ledge 5 steps down.
Many of the pups landed on their heads and backs. Well, I'm no animal expert but landing 5 steps down on the head is not good. Not even for 2 week old puppies.
He proceeded to gather all the pups by shoving them and poking them with the barge pole. All this while the pups are crying so loud there were neighbors peeping out to see what the commotion was all about.
A tenant pauses to watch the eviction in progress and walks out side-stepping the helpless pups.
The man obviously not convinced by just leaving the pups outside the gate, now goes to pick each of the pups by its tail (Yes, you read it right), lifting it by its tail and throw it into the newly laid concrete stormwater drain. I guess out of sight does mean out of mind. The pups continued to cry until the mother (who was standing at a distance, fearing a similar fate) could frisk her pups to safety.

When Giants fall

The Power of One
A sudden spate of revolutions that have rocked seemingly stable countries around the world are but a subtle reminder that Giants can still fall.
The thud is hardly pleasant but the ripples that it makes can be felt across the world.
The Middle Eastern crisis, the Libyan conflict, the British riots and now, Anna Hazare.

What newspapers and sheer word of mouth did 70 years ago, FB and twitter did yesterday.
While the newspapers will eventually move on to fresher headlines of how the over rated Indian cricket team under performed, we must not loose our focus.

In a throwback to the colonial freedom struggle, Anna was jailed. They could only break his body. Not his will or his spirit.
Anna may fall victim to his cause. But what is important that his cause must not fail.
With the government trying to suppress freedom that has been constitutionally guaranteed, what remains to be seen is how Team Manmohan (aka Sonia) can explain its actions to 'We the People'
With senior Ministers questioning how just about any random citizen can decide on the constitution, may we remind him the first few lines of how the Constitution of India starts.
For a government that thrives on fattening the lining on its wallets, we need to reiterate how the constitution reminds us that the government is 'For the People'.
For a generation with a short attention span, our freedom struggle must not flounder nor suffer. We must remember that this country belongs to every one of us - 'By the People'

Imprisoning Anna could have been a knee jerk measure, but surely Team Manmohan should have remembered their history lessons.
The consequence- A billion have awakened.
People across demography, age and profession have woken up to what can be a monumental phenomenon. Millions on the streets and this time, the people have united. In single minded determination. A revolution of such gargantuan proportions that you know you are witnessing something historic.
Yes, just maybe corruption will be thing of the past, a story of how India was that our children will tell their children.

But true awakening and real change will come when ordinary people like you and me sharpen our civic senses.

How many times have you bribed your way out of a traffic violation?
How many times have you jumped the red light at nights or when there wasn't anyone looking?
How many times have you stopped to help a victim of an accident?
How many times have we resisted the urge to spit or chuck that garbage bag into an empty plot near your home?
How many times have we have been prejudiced against a fellow Indian based on his caste, creed or demography?

The need of the hour is freedom. A freedom against corruption. Yes definitely.
But also a freedom where we act with responsibility and honesty. Also integrity.
We need a land where we need to participate and work for the common good.

We need to resist the urge to switch our minds off.
We have to act. And the this is just the beginning.

If any of this has spurred you to act, I encourage you to click here to join the cause. Not just in the virtual world but in the real world too.
We better save India while there's still something left to save.

In the meanwhile, our media is doing something right for the first time:

The Hindu
IBN Live
Deccan Herald
Indian Express 
Express India.com
IBN Live, again
The Hindu, again
DNA

India: When History repeats itself

Unless you've been buried alive, you wouldn't have missed the loud groaning of a billion people against corruption.
For all those who thought Anna Hazare couldn't and wouldn't be able to replicate his fight against corruption nationwide, the events that have unfolded since yesterday has kicked their butt all the way back to 1947.

But the irony does not end there. What the British were 65 years ago, the Congress with their ragtag bunch of political crooks are now.

Surprisingly, the British are having their own litany of trouble with gang violence and such. Looks like the Great Britain is no longer 'Great'.

Coming back to India, where we are suffering from the birth pangs of yet another Freedom struggle, this time not against foreigners but against Indians who have looted us for way too long.
Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.
The irony is that we are fighting against a government that is led by the first family of politics - The Gandhi's.
How the family that once symbolized every virtue, pure and free became a concocted mix of greed, corruption, nepotism and oppression is something that we as Indians need to introspect.

Aug 16th, 2011 will forever be the day in Indian history when the second Freedom Struggle started.
A fight against a government that refuses to relinquish absolute power and shed all reason to oppress needs to win. We owe it to our children.
We may not live to see all the changes that this struggle will bring about. But we ought to have started it.
After having threatened, reasoned and cajoled Anna Hazare to abandon his plans of fasting until death, the government erred greatly by arresting him.
The first family of Indian politics should have known better than to stifle a nonviolent protest.

The Satyagraha as a peaceful, non violent form of public protest became a powerful
The idea was first mooted by the American philosopher Henry David Thoreau and it was Gandhi who effectively demonstrated the enormous impact of various forms of non-violent civil disobedience.


A peaceful gathering by disobeying prohibitory orders and courting arrest was one form. Marching to the seashore to symbolically make your own salt was another.
The most effective form of satyagraha was used occasionally, somewhat rarely, as a last resort — the indefinite hunger strike. One man’s fast would rivet the subcontinent and often deliver quick results, be it quelling communal riots or scoring a compromise with formidable opponents like the British.


Gandhi’s extraordinary capacity to rouse masses did not just bring freedom to India but also brought justice to blacks in the US through Martin Luther King Jr, an avowed follower of the Gandhian doctrine of civil disobedience. In South Africa, it was Nelson Mandela.


When non-violent public protests turn into mass movements, growing bigger by the day, it’s not easy to stop them. The nationwide protests against the Emergency that brought down Indira Gandhi is an instance, with an almost parallel example that originated in Egypt’s Tahrir Square and finally dethroned president Hosni Mubarak.


In India, the issue of the day is corruption. Rather ironically, it is the “clean and incorruptible” prime minister Manmohan Singh’s team that has lost face in the way it has handled the Lokpal Bill issue.


Barely four months ago, Team Manmohan agreed to include civil society members in the drafting of the Lokpal Bill in a frustrated attempt to bring Anna Hazare’s first round of satyagraha to a quick close.


From then on, every attempt was made to discredit the civil society members of the panel — from questioning the inclusion of the father-son legal team of Shanti and Prashant Bhushan and challenging their integrity right down to calling Anna a corrupt man.


Finally, Team Manmohan submitted a diluted version of the bill to parliament and in the intervening period, Baba Ramdev and his supporters were caned out of Delhi. Team Anna was warned that they would suffer a same fate.


This arrogance of the Congress-led UPA government was on display at every turn and as a final roll-out of the plot, the government decided to thwart Anna’s plans for a second satyagraha in Delhi from August 16. Twenty-two pre-conditions were imposed and finally Anna was arrested from his Delhi residence even before he could step out to proceed towards JP Park.


Today’s generation could as well imagine Team Manmohan as part of the British Raj at its wit’s end in trying to deal with Mahatma Gandhi.


If the British police had their Rottweilers, Team Manmohan has its equivalents in Congress spokesman Manish Tewari and senior leader Digvijay Singh who lost no opportunity to try and tear Anna to pieces. Calling Hazare a corrupt man, dismissing his locus standi as he was not elected by the people (unlike our great netas) and telling him how to — and how not to — conduct his protest, were all part of the strategy to scuttle the public crusade against corruption.


It almost seemed that Team Manmohan had won this second round and demonstrated how to effectively puncture a satyagraha. But they erred greatly.
With barely a year to go before the largest democracy in the planet goes into an electoral huddle, history will prove once again that freedom will prevail.

Gandhiji is surely squirming in his grave.

Aug 5, 2011

Sex, Lies and Deception


my take:
Thoroughly surprised how the chief of the police, chose to justify prostitution and sex trafficking as a necessary tool to control the urges of the frustrated Indian male, who in his words would otherwise choose to rape and mollest the modesty of 'good' women. 
Who in this damned world gave him the right to label women?

Nonetheless, though this video does not show anything that we already don't know, we do see the nexus between the cops, the politicians and sex traffickers at work here.

Let's face it, trafficking is a epidemic of epic proportions and we are not bothered. Well, not until someone dear and near to you got trapped in it.

Why not?!

The Corrupt and his Protege`
Looks like the bad news just keeps coming.

Back home in Bangalore, Yeddy did a Sonia.
Logic took a hike and he managed to install a Chief Minister that he preferred.
Now, say it slowly with me, folks: Yes Of Course.

What began as a earnest measure to uproot the corrupt just ended up as an exercise in futility.
While the new chief insists that he is not a puppet and will act with integrity and honesty, his elevation to the top job is only the beginning of the end.

While there is a growing dissatisfaction of the way the government works, what ties the hands of anti corruption crusaders is the lack of political will to allow themselves to be held accountable. Over the years, I've oscillated between the opinion that India should be ruled by a firm fisted dictator and by a President.

A biparty political system that invites and involves its citizens to participate in governing and also allows a moderate amount of freedom while still encouraging growth and creativity.
A nation where its constitution is framed with the needs of today's society. Not one that shortsighted forefathers created, but one where we are given a chance to create and inspired to follow.
A nation where you know what your politicians stand for. A nation that is ruled by the people and not by megalomaniac politicians.
We need a nation where politicians are held accountable for their performance, and corrupt officials been disqualified. For ever.
While all this is difficult for us as a nation to accomplish, I believe it is possible. Progressive Asian countries have proved that politicians can be what they were meant to be. Govern with integrity.

Even though there is enough incentive to live in a society that is free of corruption, the lure of easy money and a weak judiciary is what frustrates ordinary citizens.
The social costs of having to bribe officials for anything you need and everything you deserve is huge.
The number of politicians that get away with weak laws and laws that tend to serve their purpose is astounding.

How can so many of us keep quiet when visibly corrupt minister(s) demand one of their own in a position of authority?
How can we pretend to believe that the newly crowned minister will govern with integrity?
How can we believe the justifications of the guilty? 
Can we ever hope to see the guilty and corrupt tried by a impartial judiciary, a la Egyptians?


The last I hear the ruling house is split wide at the middle, with the rival faction demanding plum positions (which in most chances they will get). Now, what was that phrase about a house that is divided among themselves will not survive?


Like a dog that goes back to its vomit, the people of Karnataka are doomed to a yet another government that will systematically plunder, loot and deceive.
It's not 'India Shining', it's 'India Stealing'.

Now, Mr Chief Minister, while you are fighting among yourselves, who the hell is running the state?

Aug 3, 2011

Crush!


1 deform, pulverize, or force inwards by compressing forcefully, 
2 violently subdue (opposition or a rebellion), 
3 make (someone) feel overwhelmingly disappointed or embarrassed.
-Oxford Dictionary

A word that could mean 'infatuation' in teen lingo, crush until now was just another word that would make you reminisce about all the silly things you did growing up.
But that was until this news article appeared.

Warning: 
Graphic descriptions follow. Reader Discretion is advised.

Crush videos is not the kind of videos that you'd expect to be.
A term used for videos that are produced and circulated among a highly secretive network of individuals with a fetish for animal cruelty.
Videos which show scantily clad 12-year-old girls as they stomp on live animals, a rabbit as he or she is skinned alive, other rabbits as they scream while their ears are cut off and they are set on fire, a dog as he or she is burned with a clothes iron, and a monkey who was repeatedly hit in the eye with the sharp end of a stiletto heel. There is more, including puppies crushed until they vomited their own internal organs.
All the videos feature one to three girls performing the acts on the animals. (Read more here)

If you cringed while reading this, take heart that the long arm of the law has finally caught up with the inhumane.
While we can live with the fact and knowledge that humans will have fetishes, what astounds me how depraved we've got. 

What a way to earn a living?
While the perpetrators are on the lam, I also hope that we learn to have a more holistic approach towards creatures that share our planet.
Few months ago, I stumbled across another video, and this time a documentary that used footage from hidden cameras to reveal how we indirectly fuel the inhuman treatment of animals both for our hunger and pleasure.

Earthlings, is a no nonsense documentary that has spawned debate on how we must really be treating animals that seem to be destined to be trampled.
The documentary is an eye opener in many ways.
If there is one film that you must watch, this is it.

Watch the movie, spread the word. Even if you don't turn vegan or an animal lover.

Surely we've seen bullock carts, over loaded with sacks of concrete, iron railings and such. Surely those marks on the bulls are not tattoos. Surely you would've flinched when you see the man twisting the tail of the bull when he wants the animal to move.
Surely you've seen how young kids stone stray dogs. Surely you must have seen dogs limping.
Surely you'd have seen horses been mistreated.
Surely, you'd have wanted to do something to stop all this cruelty.

Contact your local PeTA chapter if you come across instances of cruelty against animals.
Just as swiftly as you would react if someone punished you at work, I beg you to raise your voice. 
The creatures that share our planet have just the same rights as you do. They deserve to live just as dignified a life as you do. 

Be humane. Be proactive. Speak out

Aug 2, 2011

Problems? What Problem? No Problem

'We don't need no education
We don't need no thought control...'
....goes the Pink Floyd song.
It looks like we are a bunch of people who are resistant to instruction, allergic to change, susceptible to greed and mute to corruption.

BS Yeddyurappa, fondly called Yeddy, is the most recent victim to an era of incredibly corrupt politicians.

While it seems like we as a nation are poor, our politicians are in the super wealthy league. How?!
While his political party is fighting the government on serious allegations of graft and nepotism, Yeddy's ouster couldn't have come at a worse hour.

Caught with its hand in the cookie jar, the national political party just proved yet again on what is wrong with the nation's politics.

Why must an tainted minister get to choose who his successor should be?
How does he think he can even justify himself?
Why must we even encourage such rhetoric?
While it is true that you are innocent until proven guilty, how can we let a minister(s) go with just a rap on the knuckles, when presented with such overwhelming evidence of plunder?

All said and much done, I must admit I am vaguely beginning to love and loathe the way our politicians manipulate the lost sheep (aka followers).
Desperately trying to cling on to power and make the most out of his last week in power, Yeddy tried (unsuccessfully) to appoint his cronies to Law enforcement so that when and if he is tried in a competent court of law, he can surely count on the support of some familiar faces and hands.
A simple case of 'You scratch my back, I'll scratch your back' Later.

All the billions of dollars that could have been otherwise used for the good of the people have been siphoned off to offshore tax havens never to be ever seen again.

I wonder why we even waste any more time investigating any of them, since chances are:
a) The investigating agency/officer will not find any real evidence to prosecute the culprits.
b) Money trails are hard to trace.
c) The culprits will almost definitely buy the investigators/witnesses off. With the sheer volume of money at stake, greasing the palms of a few more people will hardly cost the culprits anything.
d) If the track record of our investigative agencies are anything to go by, chances are nearly all of them will be back in power before we can even say 'Guilty'.
e) Public memory is short. We will crib and rant about this only until the next thousand crore scam hits the fan.
Somewhere in Bangalore and some other obscure parts of Karnataka hundreds of politicians are now gathered scheming, plotting, fretting, fraternizing, deliberating, celebrating.
Like veteran magicians, they are plundering our land while they distract us with grand histrionics. 

But on the brighter side, shame on you Poonam Pandey, even Yeddyurappa kept his words and finally resigned.
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