An Ode to Indian Monsoon

Monsoon - Pune

 

You announce your arrival with a thunder

Your absence makes us wonder

Tease you do, with a nation’s mind

Arriving late with your moist wind

 

You make us smell fragrance of Earth

A drop of you makes us mirth

You make us see colours of Earth

Of sky you give us rainbow

 

You reveal a beauty in darkness

To a people behind fairness

Red, black or rock

You give us all without a balk (adapted from Kurunthogai)

 

From sizzling to drizzling

From ablaze to abloom

From air conditioned to Conditioned air

From sticky to sublime

From the summer roast,

You save us rain.

 

Life and relief,

Joy and greed

To farmer and Finance Minister,

To trader and Dalal street

You give them all – all

They need and all they want.

 

A drop of you quenches one

More of you quenches many

And even more of you,

God save us, crushes most.

 

You teach us, of nature’s lesson

You make us, to learn

That is of inequality

O You biased rain!

Like all things in India

More to Mumbai and less to Chennai!

 

June to September – or

October to December,

South-west or North-east

All thank you, dear Monsoon

 

There is life because of you,

Never a life, without you

The greatness of ‘You’ – demonstrates

Insignificance of ‘I’!

Technology, Labour and Transforming India

pexels-photo-113850

One of the ambitious promotions of Government of India is ‘Make in India.’ Simply put, the idea is to become the next China, a manufacturing powerhouse. With all our constraints, we have been in pursuit of this goal for a quarter century now. All governments since 1991 have pursued a policy to attract FDI in multiple sectors and reforms cannot be reforms without the magic words ‘Foreign Direct Investment.’ In itself, this is not a bad thing. On the other hand, in itself, this is not the magic bullet to cure all our economic ills.

In the current push towards manufacturing, more resources – political and economic capital –  is spent, rightly so towards manufacturing.

However, there is one Indian Tiger which can be uncaged and will be on the prowl with minimum legal framework – Technology.

There are two major impediments to Make in India.

  1. It is a long cycle and high investment game. S&P has said today (2nd August, 2016) that India’s poor infrastructure is the biggest roadblock to this promotion. And we know that fixing infrastructure cannot be achieved in a day or in our context, even a decade. Will global capital wait?
  2. Global Over Supply, especially from China. In other words, the world has more factories than it needs. And those factories are producing cheap goods and dumping in rest of the world. How many corporations will be willing to invest heavily in India when there is a supply glut in China? Thus, our performance will not reflect our potential.

It is in this context, with questionable outcome, Technology sector has to be let go.

Against the backdrop of overcapacity in china we need to see our ability to create assets for productivity. The first of it is fixed or infrastructure. How long does it take to construct a road in India? This is symptomatic of larger malaise in the rent seeking nature of babudom. Capital will not wait for years together to make India prosperous. Exhibits: Tata at Singur and Posco. There can be many examples but the simple fact is that we are not smart and our systems complicated in a race to build infra, be it public or private.

Next asset – people. It had been repeated time and again that most graduates are unemployable or lack basic skills or both. Given this, where we have excelled is the rudimentary, mundane and highly generalized ITES sector. After this, we have excelled at our traditional sectors – jewellery, handloom and textiles, leather and to some certain extent fisheries. Traditional sectors come with ancient knowledge. Between these two and outside of these two blocks, lie the world and the growth that we seek now.

Given these two constrains which are not abstract in nature – like democracy, demographic dividend, plurality etc.- but real, we need to approach technology.

Continue reading “Technology, Labour and Transforming India” »

Goodness of Pune

Ganesh Festival, Pune

Ganesh Festival, Pune

One year in Pune.

It will be one year this week since I came to Pune. This is about few random thoughts on Pune, mostly good.

  1. Safety – It was a rude shock to see a girl walk in a deserted road after the last show from a multiplex. The data can reveal something but certainly there is a feeling that people can walk freely at night and without any issue. Chennai is supposed to be safe city. And Pune, equally is. There is one crime in IPC which is quite different. Its called as “Insult to Modesty of Women.” This can be seen as a minor crime but it reveals a lot. It is surprising that Chennai is far worse than Pune in this aspect.
  2. Women – I have always heard that the best place for a woman to work in India is Mumbai. Like all biases and prejudices, this claim can either be true or false. But there is one thing which is certain. In India, Pune is one of the best open places for women to work. A corollary to “Insult to Modesty of Women” crime being low is that, as a society, women are respected a little more than average and little less objectified than the national average. Combined with safety, this city should top every woman’s list of places to be. There are other correlations but with no causal relationships – like more women sporting tattoos or more women going out to have a good time.
  3. Culture (whatever the definition is!) – We in South of India, should stop bragging about having diverse and rich culture and all associated pride. A walk through this city will demonstrate how hollow that claim is. Music, theatre, festivities, food and the pride that comes with it is equal to any southern city. Number of music halls may be less but the passion certainly is not.
  4. Ganesh Festival – forget Mumbai. Its Pune which rocks. Every street corner having a Pandal and every group celebrating Ganesh is as big as Diwali. The colour, the music, the noise and ‘people celebrating together’ is something similar to a village festival we have in south, which large cities have abandoned.
  5. Food – something for everyone! The city has host of options, from more diverse cuisine than what we get in Chennai. Iranian (non Biriyani), East Asian and German(?)! If a bakery (Kayani Bakery) can attract crowd everyday like a cinema hall, it says a lot about the food.
  6. Street Food – Chennai has long lost the trust of many people to have food from ‘kaiyendhi bhavans.’ One shop in T.Nagar doesn’t cut as a sample of overall quality of food served on road. Pune is closer to another southern city, Madurai than the metropolis of Chennai – more options, hygiene and taste. (A dedicated post on Vada Pav later.)
  7. Sambar – Lets not be cocky to claim Sambar as exclusively southern (or Tamil) dish. It’s has a Maharashtrian lineage and especially linked to a person from Pune – Sambhaji, the son of Shivaji.
  8. Pride – if there is a competing state to our (Tamil) pride, its Maharashtra. And Pune is at the heart of that competition. Like how we are proud of Tamil, people are proud of Marathi. Like how we are proud about Chola empire, people are proud about Maratha Empire. A Bhosale still being the prince of Thanjavur goes on to show how proud they are about the influence of Marathas, despite their differences.
  9. Mahatma Phule – you cannot cover in one sentence or a paragraph about the importance of this person. Personally, I consider him real ‘Mahatma’ than Gandhi.
  10. Progressives – Women priests to women entering a temple sanctum sanctorum, Maharashtra and places around Pune leads rest of India.
  11. South’s proud peaceful coexistence – We, from Southern states are proud of peaceful coexistence between communities. But we owe a lot of that peace to the Marathas. Peaceful south was possible because of valiant Marathas. The see-saw between Mughals, Nizam and Marathas has (yes, has and not had) kept the southern India more peaceful and harmonious between communities than we would like to acknowledge.
  12. Politics of India, today – to understand the politics of India today, we need to understand the politics of Maharashtra, not just because of RSS but because of people. And to understand politics of Maharashtra, we need to understand the history of Maharashtra. What we in south may see as chauvinism by some political parties, is actually not considered so by many. When someone says Muslim rulers were invaders and foreign, we in south, may not see so emotionally attached to it or identify with it or agree to it. Scars of that fight still runs through and visible in the geography around Pune. Remnants of various forts and the battle to protect or conquer those bear those scars. When we talk in abstract of values we are shown these scars, proud scars. I have always wondered why anyone cannot write various shades of Shivaji, the great. But come to Pune and talk to highly educated, well travelled, cosmopolitan Maharashtrians (not any fringe that we were told of) and they will tell you why. How do you offend someone who was just not a king but is revered as high as God?

The journey of a Tamil on discovery of India should start from Pune. To throw out our biases, to tear our prejudices, to strip of our overbearing pride (of culture, intelligence etc), Pune, is a better starting point and hence will make us more open to learn and see things, not from a southern prism but of different places. By the way, Maharashtra is not ‘North India.’

Like all cities and places, Pune too has many bad shades – crumbling infrastructure, public hospitals not being good, public transport not being comparable to superior Tamil Nadu or Kerala, there is no traffic sense, caste is alive and kicking etc.

But this post is to pick the roses and not the weed.

Wake up. It’s Propaganda – the A to Z of it.

Think - Its not illegal

 

India. It was May, 26th 2014. There was a coronation in front of an historic building to an undisputed emperor of the purportedly new dawn, the king of good days (not times). There was hope, expectation, (misplaced) rejuvenation among many and there was anxiety, curiosity, worry and suspense among another lot. What one thinks and feels (or felt of thought) is not relevant when it comes to judge what has happened since.

There have been seemingly unconnected statements made by various ‘fringes’ – a term which is mostly an excuse by the present ruling dispensation in India and its larger family the RSS. It is important to see why these statements and certain actions are to be seen in cohesion and not as so called ‘isolated’ anomalies.

But how are things handled these days in India? How is criticism taken these days in India? How is opposite point of view is viewed in India? All of these not by Indians but by the present ruling dispensation and its cohorts in India.

I have kept the prose very rudimentary, less grammatical and only in hints or examples (not explanations) and there is a reason to it.

 

Ad hominem:

You place an argument and instead of responding to that argument, we are called names. I will let you assume what those names have been and how many people have been victims of those. To electoral opponents in Delhi to an economist.

Ad nauseum:

How many times have we heard a single or very limited ideas being repeated – like ‘Love jihad’ or ‘us vs them’ or ‘appeasement of past’?

Appeal to authority:

How many seemingly unconnected and extremely opposite national icons have been appropriated by this group? Bhagat Singh was a completely left. Ambedkar called Hinduism “a veritable chamber of horrors.” Netaji had nothing to do with RSS. Patel was opposed to RSS. Yet, and that’s where the beauty lies, they are being appropriated.

Appeal to Prejudice:

How many loaded and emotive election campaigns have we seen during 2014 and two years after that? Whether it is 15lakh per person to Muslim across the border in Assam to crackers across the border in Bihar, to the latest Kairana, we have come a long way in just appealing to only emotions.

Big Lie:

The big lie was economy was absolutely down. Nothing moved. Policy paralysis. Based on the new series (or magic series, if you are one of the critics), in fact the economy didn’t do as bad in numbers published by the finance ministry in final years of UPA. But in meetings after meetings, in interviews after interviews we heard the word “revival” used sparingly and without any inherent meaning. There was no concrete proof provided on what that word meant. There was neither concrete proof provided for the word “in shambles.”

And oh, the global economy was blamed. And what did the world see after 2008? A high growth and high demand period? (more on specifics in another post)

Continue reading “Wake up. It’s Propaganda – the A to Z of it.” »

Scribbling before Independence day

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I wrote this on August 14, 2014. I never thought it to mean something at a latter day. But somehow, I think this is relevant even now, rather, especially now.

Independence

 

Tomorrow, we will celebrate yet another independence day, with pomp and show, with culture, unity and strength, being shown everywhere. We will continuously hear the word democracy from all corners, when the tyranny of colonial rule ended and an era of self-determination began. Our diversity will be celebrated, our unity will be praised, our deep-rooted strength and love for democratic values will be loved and our freedom fighters will be glorified, eulogized & deified. We will hear selected stories of bravery and oppression from pre-independent India, we will debate how long the national anthem must be sung and most of us will enjoy a long weekend. We will hear oration at its best from most corners, we will watch some children dressed as freedom fighters and we will watch all things that are good. We will watch soldiers braving inhospitable conditions to protect our borders, families of present day martyrs who lost life to protect ours and express our empathy. We will see everything in saffron, white and green and we will hear nationalistic tunes, everywhere.

Behind all these superficiality, we must remember that freedom that we so much cherish, that we so much take for granted, must not be taken for granted; for it was hard won, suffering lost self esteem, suffering humiliation, with blood, with sacrifice, with determination, with courage and with loss of a third of our land. We must also remember, that this independence, this freedom to do what we want to do, freedom to speak with least restriction, freedom to criticize and protest against what we do not like, freedom to disagree, freedom to live in prosperity, freedom to pursue our ambitions, was, is and will forever be under threat – both internal and external. We must also not forget that we were ruled and oppressed by a handful of people who were not from this land.

We must also remember that this freedom and this liberty can be easily usurped, as evident in many countries throughout the world and even during emergency days here.

If liberty, equality and fraternity are to be maintained, we must demand absolute safety for all everywhere; we must demand equal opportunity to all; we must demand work for all; we must demand care for the marginalized and the old; we must demand discrimination to end; we must demand exploitation to end; we must demand speedy justice; we must demand reduction in extreme economic inequality; we must demand greater tolerance.

For all demands and desires of us, we must first deserve it. Let us celebrate the day by demanding all the above, not from the nation but from ourselves. Let us celebrate by ensuring what is humanely possible to do it individually before demanding it from the state. Let us make ourselves worthy of our demands; for a nation is nothing but a collective conscience of its people – the state is man writ large. Let us continuously participate in this egalitarian endeavour rather than pressing a button once in a while.

Happy independence day guys!!!!

 

 

Is and the Ought

I don’t subscribe to your version of Hinduism, I ought to be pseudo-secular

I don’t subscribe to your secularism, I ought to be communal

I don’t like ultra-nationalism, I ought to be anti-national

I don’t like anti-nationals, I ought to be ultra-nationalist

I don’t like laissez faire capitalism, I ought to be communist

I don’t like communists, I ought to be be laissez faire capitalist

I don’t like exploitation to benefit few, I ought to be Naxal

I don’t like Naxals, I ought to be unscrupulous

I don’t like to traditions, I ought to be a stooge

I don’t like stooges, I ought to be traditionalist

I like Tamil, I ought to hate Sanskrit

I like Sanskrit, I ought to hate Tamil

I like morality, I ought to disrespect law

I like all things legal, I ought to be immoral

I am a theist, I ought to be irrational

I am rational, I ought to be an atheist

I am unsuccessful, I ought to be unlucky

I am unlucky, I ought to be unsuccessful

I am successful, I ought to be lucky

I am lucky, I ought to be successful

After nearly three centuries, David Hume still resonates in our midst, albeit, unknowingly.

Let there be light!

The Right to Criticize Religions

The_Death_of_Socrates_cgf

 

On a day we recognize the importance of a written constitution and in a time where the word constitution is used in a sentence or an argument as a badge of honour and to add legitimacy, it is pertinent to ask – can we criticize any religion in India today?

Its rhetorical. We all know the answer and it need not be spelt.

To give a background, we, in India were presented with a law guaranteeing a great freedom of expression. One particular case turned it all away. A left leaning publisher (Romesh Thapar) was banned sale of his weekly (Cross Roads) in erstwhile Madras state. The courts favoured a greater interpretation of freedom of expression. But Sardar, then Home Minister of India said, the ruling “knocks the bottom out of most of our penal laws for the control and regulation of press” (http://calcuttahighcourt.nic.in/sesqui/val2.pdf ref – Page 21). Thus arrived powers to the Government to restrict our freedom of expression by ‘reasonable’ means.

These restrictions affect us in many ways but affect us more in the realm of religion – the relationship between (wo)man and God and how one perceives God.

Sixty-five years later, anyone can feel insulted, any act or word or expression or sign can be construed as an act against a particular religion or any act can be certified to disturb the public order or provoke harmony for it to be banned. While religious leaders quarrel and show one-upmanship in all areas, they converge and agree on one of the most perverted and warped thing – to restrict our freedom to question religion or to put it more precisely, to question the self appointed representatives of religion.

While it is reasonable to empathise with the argument that we must respect all religions, because, respecting religion as practiced by others is respecting the others’ freedom of expression, it is also a reasonable argument that one must respect the others’ opinions and criticism of religion, because, it is also respecting the others’ freedom of expression.

Why should thoughts and expressions in praise of religion (or God) must be given more importance, legal protection and legitimacy over thoughts which criticize or even mildly question religion (or God)?

Let us look at historical context in India or more specifically Hinduism. What we come to accept as the foundational philosophies are nothing but one side of Hinduism, that is Vedanta. There are other radical philosophies and texts which oppose even existence of God. Even our Rig Veda, in one of the most translated and discussed portion (dubbed by some as Creation Hymn) states or should I say proclaims “Gods are later than creation and who knows the truth!”

Suppose there exist a group of people calling themselves as strict followers of ONLY Rig Veda. They swear by the text and take the Creation Hymn as one of their core belief. Consider me as a Vaishnavite who is subscribed to Vishnu Purana. The creation is detailed in many verses.   Am I hurting the sentiments of the hypothetical followers of Rig Veda by my opinion if I say my arguments are better? In practice, I am not. Because, both these group will fall under the umbrella of Hinduism.

Replace these followers name with Religion A and Religion B, we all know that we have a problem at hand in 21st Century India. This is an example of philosophy vs philosophy.

Let’s move forward a little. One oft repeated and one of the most celebrated moments from Adi Sankara’s life was his debate with Mandana. It circled around the philosophy and remained in philosophical realm. But the wife of Mandana, Ubhaya Bharathi, wanted to debate a celibate Sankara on the subject of love making or Kama Sastra. The point here is not about the philosophy. Its questioning the person, the individual who is supposed to represent a religion.

http://www.sringeri.net/history/sri-adi-shankaracharya/biography/abridged-madhaviya-shankara-digvijayam/part-3

Imagine the plight of a comedian who just mimicked a religious leader and consider the plight of someone if he or worse she, dares for a similar debate with today’s so called swamijis.

Why go so back in History? Consider what B.R.Ambedkar, the architect of our constitution said in “Annihilation of Caste” about Hindu scriptures. Let me sugar coat it for I dare not attract the wrath of the nimble-minded – he was not kind in words towards Hinduism. This was questioning the religion in itself.

If what two opposite philosophies can say against each other few thousand years back, if what one lady dared to challenge a celibate (one of the most revered) in the art of love making, if what one person can say against a religion in the most direct and straight way some eight decades ago, what stops us to do the same? The law and its restrictions on us to criticize religion shoves a red hot knife to this legacy.

Let us consider Abrahamic religions.

It is widely accepted and believed that monotheism in Middle east (I consider Hinduism as monotheistic and thus the geographical limitation) came into limelight (or should I say existence or practice?) because of Abraham. There is a great story about Abraham denouncing idols. Did Abraham, by his views offend the idol worshippers? Apply today’s Indian law.

Studying in Catholic School exposed me to a whole new set of stories and legends. One such question was and still is – why don’t Jews accept Jesus as God? The answers if elaborated and debated would, under the present law may disturb the public order.

Similarly, how does Islam view Jesus? Did Jesus die on the cross?  Did he resurrect? If someone asks the same question today, in 21st century India, what according to the Islamic faith was asked and answered or rather opinionated 14 centuries ago, he or she will attract the full force of the Indian legal system.

There was something called as “index librorum prohibitorum,” or “Index of Forbidden Books” which was nothing but the so called heretical texts or ideas, the Catholic Church was against. If you look at the people whose works were considered heretical, it would surprise many. Some notable figures were Pascal, Descartes, Francis Bacon and Voltaire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_authors_and_works_on_the_Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum

Should our law and constitution become one such ‘legal’ index librorum prohibitorum of thought? Should we allow our law to crush and put to death our opinions on God? Should people be prosecuted for a certain fundamental belief in God (against other view) or lack thereof?

The culture of call to ban what is being written today – whether it is Satanic Verses by Rushdie or Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown or Hindusim by Wendi Doniger – shows how insecure we are with our faith systems and beliefs.

If we have to ban or call to ban all that ‘hurts,’ ‘insults,’ ‘belittles,’ or ‘depicts in bad light’ one’s faith, should we not call to ban most of the past works which does the same? A case in point – we can order Mein Kampf in any online store or in any brick and mortar book shops. How do we reconcile this with our laws? I cannot comprehend. Maybe Jews are just handful in our country? So if Jews are more in number and have a voice, will we call to ban this as well? If this be the case, then this is not law. This is arbitrariness.

Why have we become such thin skinned? Why have we become so depraved of logic and reason? Why are we afraid of counter thoughts? Why are we scared of opposite point of views? Why are we afraid of thoughts which our forefathers considered as normal and necessary to the way of life and religion?

To me there are three dimensions to this problem.

  1. The right to question the philosophy
  2. The right to question the religious leaders
  3. The right to question religion in itself

The first one is the easiest low hanging fruit. Since we do not have Sankaras or Abrahams among us, we can and we must strive to fight for a law which will at least protect counter philosophies. The lack of wise men (women are always wise!) mean that we will never have any factual or interesting developments in religious philosophy which will stand the test of time. Then why not indulge us, the lesser mortals, the low lives, the half baked monkeys with this right to question other philosophies and pass time?

The second one is complicated as it affects a person. The question of defamation (criminal defamation, at that) also intersects with this. Also, to compound the problem, religious leaders, few of them, have become vote banks and nothing can be said against them. They have followers, they are influential and they are necessary for different snakes clamouring for power.

The last one is the most difficult and almost impossible in the near future. Because, we have forgotten God and are holding on to a mere name. Because, we are not confident on and of our faith. Because, we are not sure about what we believe in. Because, we do not subscribe to some of the basic human values. Because we are not large hearted like our forefathers. Because we feel entitled ‘only’ for our opinion and forget our past suffering. Because we are literate but not educated. Because we are cowards for not demanding this right but pose as hyper-machos. Because we are not asking the basic questions which our forefathers asked about us and our existence, let alone answer it.

What is the use of thought if it cannot be expressed, what is the use of word if it cannot be spoken, what is the use of God if he cannot be questioned, what is the use of law if it cannot protect!

Though the law prohibits certain things on some ‘un’reasonable grounds, nothing stops friends discussing in the confines of our private spaces. Let us change, if not the law!

An open Letter to Amir Khan

An open letter to Amir Khan on the intolerance debate.

Dear Mr. Khan,

Much has been exchanged over the last 24 hours – scoring brownie points and packing you and your family to unfathomable places. fortunately, yes fortunately, the truth lies in between and way in favour of tolerance.

Let me start by saying this – I just don’t like Modi & co, Amit shah, especially. I am a Congressman to the core and your statement should have been a Godsend to attack the present establishment. But, satyameva jayate. Its not so.

The debate ‘for tolerance’ or lack thereof has been maligned by only one thing – lack of logic. There are no coherent logic to say so and equally there are no coherent logic to dispute the claim. “Either you are nationalistic or your are a Pakistani supporter.” This shows the myopic view that we have on an important component – the underlying fabric of our society. I am of the firm belief that only feeble mind argue with examples. But unfortunately, I have to become one such feeble mind, partially, with my defence of the land I call my country and the one which feeds me, my family and my friends.

I am sure that you and your best half must have come to the conclusion that this place is not so tolerant because of certain events that had happened in the recent past. Be it dadri or calling any and everyone who criticize this government as anti national (yours truly included). Yes, these are unmistakably abhorrent and reprehensible incidents and acts which have to be condemned (like most of us do) and vilified.

Let me not become one of those lunatics who question your patriotism and your allegiance to India on Mumbai bombings (1992) or 26/11. I know that you, as a patriot, hate perpetrators of those acts.

Now, let me tell your why this country is very tolerant despite the experimentation or trials of people with malafide intent.

1. India  is a thriving democracy – for all our failings, to disprove Churchill, we are a thriving democracy. People thew us (Congress) out in the last election for myriad of reasons. The same can happen if the people think that this place is not the one that they voted for. Let me paraphrase what Time Magazine mentioned in 2004 on India – a sikh being sworn in by a muslim headed by a christian of a hindu nation. You can claim that that was 2004 and this is 2015 and much has changed. NO, IT HAS NOT. If that be the case, the majoritarianism that everyone speaks of would have overtaken all minorities (myself included, who just dont like Modi as PM). The minorities could have easily become Jews in a Nazi land. Surprise! They (you included) have not.

2. Rule of law – Though I consider the delay in adjudicating any case makes our judiciary more of a joke than justice, let us get the facts right. When has the judiciary sided with the majoritarianism when it comes to freedom of expression or any basic fundamental right? You will be best informed that ‘someone’ was called as modern day Nero when a city (or a state) was burning. This guts and even the present judgement to reject National Judicial Appointments Commission decision of the government, must give you confidence on the rule of law in our (see, not yours or nor just mine) land. Please remember that people from Sanjay Dutt to Kasab were given fair hearings (some would say more than fair) in our own courts.

3. Constitution mindful of the past – You must know that we have something called as reservation in education and government jobs. Why do we still have it? It is to rectify the past injustices which have been committed (by my forefathers included) by some group of people. Although I am a victim of this, I fully support this as a principle of natural justice. I am not sure of a constitution in the world which has acknowledged the wrong doings of the past and seek to correct it. This must give you a confidence. This is important because, we neither live in denial (like many nations choose to do) nor we forget what has happened in the past. As someone who feel that you are victimised, you must feel secure with this fact. Some may feel that this has no relevance to the your statement. But it has. The fundamental point being mindful of the past, including our subjugation by various external forces and its consequences and present day realities. Read mutual co-existence or the most hated word our times – secularism.

4. Un (non – in)-Bigotry – It is true that many in the extreme are oblivious to the above and speak what comes to their mind, including something bordering hate speech. But you must also be happy (and cognizant of the fact) that you have more number of supporters than your detractors at this crucial juncture. Case in point – all prime time news shows today were dedicated to what you said. Whether they did it for TRP or you were a good selling point (or commodity, if you choose to believe) is irrelevant. But the fact that they did proves that there are two narratives, one of which is stronger and that is inclusiveness.

5. We, the people – all above are of no use without people who are adhering to it. Yes, we as individuals are intolerant to stupidest of things, from shouting in traffic to calling names for minute of infractions. Yes, we are intolerant individuals but a tolerant society. This is the dichotomy which many fail to understand, myself and many others including.

Like all societies, we have extreme elements who will border hate speech, who will spew venom and will get away with it. But these extreme elements are absorbed or curtailed by the larger average of tolerance which is still intact. You will even be convinced that the current establishment is hand in glove with these elements, which may be right through inferences but not be evidences. But still, if more than a billion people become specimen of intolerance, we will be having a civil war. Speaking against an ideology is completely different from speaking against a nation. A person who is articulate, I am sure, know the difference.

Robert Frost once said that “The best way out is always through.” Hope you understood what he meant.

I am not going to convince you to stay here but if you choose to leave, be mindful of the fact that it has not been caused by externality.

I will be happy to listen to your ‘reasons’ more than your conclusions.

Death Penalty

dilemma_citizen

Death penalty

The act of killing someone by the force of law and by the due process of law is a very fuzzy and completely grey concept. Of course, there are two ends of this spectrum, which believes in absolutism.

– It is right to kill by law
– It is not right to kill, even by law

To me and I am sure, to many, the dilemma lies in between. The pendulum swings from one end to the other. The animal spirit in us wants revenge; an eye for an eye and at times, the sober mind becomes a dove, hating the act of taking a life. This ambivalence is the internal debate one has in the mind on a numbing subject, which, in private or public discussions triggers emotions in both ways. This is the internal debate one has with his conscience. I am no different. Continue reading “Death Penalty” »

Land Acquisition in India – fallacy

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Oscar Wilde once said – “I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.”

Over the past year, we have been exposed to countless arguments and counter arguments on one of the most fundamentally important piece of legislation that may affect everyone of us anytime – the right to own land the power of the Government to take it away. In other words, “the right to private property.” Come this week, we in India may see an ordinance being rubber stamped by the President for a record fourth time (or a bill passed). This issue is simply not a question of numbers, which the government has and can pass a law. The issue here is more fundamental in nature, requires questions tangential in nature than the ones we are being subjected to listen and read. Continue reading “Land Acquisition in India – fallacy” »