Showing posts from 2013

The Unarmed Democracy

A friend of mine often disagree with me. He also thinks that I have disproportionate influence. Well here it is then, his opinion on something that I have great faith in. Bouquets and brickbats are welcome. In my country, India, if you talk to the urban intellectuals most of the times they would cite the lack of education as the major problem of the country. Rarely, they would say that the huge population is the problem (which underlies almost every other problem in India). Many people –and this one is especially popular now a days- would say it’s corruption. Some would say it is lack of good laws. Others would point out failing to enforce them as the real problem. Whatever the problem, most of us want the government to solve them. The idea is quite logical. The only entity with “legal” power to effect any change is the government. However, in India the government is structured in such a way that it could please all the ethnicities and castes. The constitution (which was suppose

Takeaways from Semi-Final 2013

So the carnival has come to an end, and the victors have been declared. The losers are in a deep sense of despair, trying to figure out the message that people of this country, particularly when it concerns states that add up to nearly 60 seats in the Lok Sabha. There are a few clear takeaways from this election, which I shall elaborate upon: 1. You cannot parachute leaders from Delhi in a country where sub-nationalism runs high (Regional leaders shine all the way - courtesy LiveMint) The Congress party's high command culture has been severely threatened by the rise of sub-nationalism in India. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have clearly shown that weak state leadership devoid of ideas and ridden with factionalism cannot work to the advantage of Congress or BJP. The BJP scored in all but Delhi where it exists only because it's regional leaders had been identified and were leading charge well in advance. Vasundhara Raje, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Dr Raman Singh underto

Modi and Tejpal - the jaundiced worldview of our TV 'experts'

So much viewer heckling happens in the Indian media nowadays that I feel glad sitting far away from it. However, there are certain things that just catch your attention in ways and means that could have puzzled even the mysterious Sphinx of yore. The timing of two cases that have come to public light has been wonderful; it has taken the veil of political leanings to quite an extent. Many media houses are a little surprised by the political tone that Tarun Tejpal's story has obtained. However, this was waiting to happen for several reasons. When within a few days of shrilly berating Narendra Modi and Amit Shah of BJP for 'snooping on a girl', we are now seeing an altogether different song being sung. What is even more disappointing is the fact that since one of the media's 'pillars of credibility' has been found wanting on several grounds, the tone adopted by many of them has been defensive, with many of their resident experts saying that the case should neith


तेरे नाम को उँगली से लिखता रहा क्या दिन क्या रात क्या लम्हा कुछ भी ज़हन में न रहा बारम्बार बस लिखता रहा स्याह कलम और कागज़ का रूहानी संगम बस ख़ामोश बैठ मैं तकता रहा अपनी मोहब्बत की बेहिसी  को बस यूं समझ कोसता रहा चश्म-ए-नम को खूं से सीन्चता रहा ख़ल्क-ए-ख्यालों के तबस्सुम बस यूं ही उजड़ते देखता रहा और उल्फतों को सीने बांधता रहा असासे-दीन को बेच कर कुफ्र को पनाह देता रहा बस, अपनी दुनिया लुटाता रहा 

Seemandhra on 'Seema' - Why There is a Cycle of Violence

I just don't get it. Or perhaps I am so pissed off by political and regional violence that I have nothing but utter contempt for it. Perhaps I fall in the latter category. I do not think very highly of most so called 'unity' movements to be honest. I am also usually indifferent to the formation of new states. Maybe it's my 'Delhi-centric', blinkered approach to blame. Or perhaps living in Hyderabad for more than a year taught me a few lessons that make me really contemptuous of the current political fiasco in Seemandhra region. Ever wondered why despite being a smaller region than Telangana, Aandhra predominantly gave the state of Andhra Pradesh it's Chief Ministers? This, when there were less seats in the state legislative assembly? The mantle for a brief while shifted to the Rayalaseema region (Naidu, YSR), but more or less the crown remained in the Andhra region. Jobs were dominated by the people from Andhra region, and this is an obvious fact when y

Let's Make a Riot

Let's make a riot. It's the easiest political formula to follow that is stored up in the arsenal of Indian politicians. No deep thinking to state ideology, no difficult problems to solve to win voters, not even worry about the economy. It's the easiest one of course after the numero uno - we are a party of the poor. After all, everyone in our country wants to be declared poor - just sample the kind of people who carry ration cards to see just who really benefits from schemes for the poor, and you will see. The riot formula is easy - throw a dead pig or a dead cow, deface religious structures, harass women and raise the slogan of religion, caste or ethnicity, or simply throw up anti-India rhetoric. Put up some fake videos of co-religionists being persecuted in some obscure part of the world and run riot in 'revenge'. If that does not work, stab a worker of some political parties or religious organizations to inflame passions.  If that too fails, deliver hate

Random Thoughts

आज धूप निकले हुए दो  दिन हो गए हैं. अच्छा लगता है , क्योंकि बाहर की हरियाली पूरी तरह निखर के प्रस्तुत होती है। घर पर भी हमें ऐसी ही हरियाली देखने को मिलती थी घर से बहार की ओर देखने पर। घर की तरह ही यहाँ भी मैं पश्चिम की ओर इन हरे भरे वृक्षों को देखता रहता हूँ, लोगों की राह उस सड़क पर ताकता रहता हूँ जो उन् वृक्षों में कहीं ओझल हो गयी है, छुप गयी है। कल शाम हम समुद्र के किनारे टहलते हुए पहुंचे थे. कल शाम ढलते सूरज के आँचल में हमने चंद लोगों को मछली पकड़ने की ताक में पाया था। एक महिला ने तो शायद मछली पकड़ भी ली थी। हम सब राहगीर खड़े हो ये देख रहे थे के मछली निकाल पाने में वो कामयाब होगी या नहीं। काँटा झुकता रहा ; शायद मछली लड़ रही थी. एकाएक कोई आदमी आगे आया और उसकी मदद करने लगा। उससे लगा के शायद उसके हस्तक्षेप से मछली पकड़ में आ जाएगी। परन्तु मछली शक्तिशाली निकली; वह काँटा तोड़ कर भाग निकली। हम सब चुपचाप इस खेल को देख रहे थे, उम्मीद में थे के शायद उन्हे भी मछली देखने को मिलेगी। तमाशा ख़त्म हुआ, और हम सब राहगीर अपनी अपनी राह पकड़ लौट चले। राह में वही किस्सा चर्चित हुआ, के कैसे मछली काँट

Narendra Modi's words of another kind - Cutting through propaganda

No I am not defending Narendra Modi. I don't oppose him either. However, I think it is ridiculous when everyone takes it for granted that Narendra Modi has said nothing. Let us see a blog entry by ad world worker Preet Bedi put up on Firstpost as an article, and try to deconstruct what we have and what is not reported in an otherwise shrill mainstream media of our country. 1. What is Modi's big idea for India? Modi has so far expressed two big ideas for India - Minimum government maximum governance is one, The other is 'Indian Talent' plus 'Information Technology' is equal to 'India Tomorrow'. To each its merit, but to say that he has said nothing is sheer injustice even by the Devil's standards. 2.  What is the Gujarat Model? Will It work for other states as well? Gujarat model is one where the state administration does not depend on the Centre to ensure its development, as Tamil Nadu saw during much of India's independence. The Gujar

Delhi Technological University will never really be world class - Here's Why

Here's a sample of why the institution, from where I graduated, will touch global nadirs. DTU is certainly one of the many educational institution in India that is run by the public administration that does not even possess a Complaint Register. This, when these institutes hire people through the government channels and follow those procedures, are run by money paid by taxpayers, and charge significant quantum of fees today (especially in the engineering colleges and MBA institutions). The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi enacted THE DELHI (RIGHT OF CITIZEN TO TIME BOUND DELIVERY OF SERVICES) ACT, 2011 and enforced it the same year, but conveniently excluded educational institutions under its ambit from this Act. Thanks to this divine loophole, students run helter-skelter in hope of collecting relevant documents, ranging from transcripts to degrees to marksheets and even minor documents like a semester was dropped liked headless chicken. The laxity ensures that

Language of Democracy and Inability to Talk to the Youth

Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. -Paul Valery   A friend of mine recently remarked that while he agreed with the idea of the struggle of democracy in its present avatar, he also failed to understand why the youth, the catalyst of change, talked in the language that they do with respect to the political space. He expressed his concern on the short memory and confrontational attitude that the youth possessed with respect to the ideas and issues that affect everyone. In my opinion, much of this has been due to the failure to incorporate the youth into the mainstream. It also has much to do with the failure of political language used to converse with the youth. Arnold Kling has recently written a book called the ‘ The Three Languages of Politics’, which offers some interesting perspectives as discussed by him here . Kling has stated that the three schools of American politics – republican, libertar

The Fight for More Democracy

Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried.   - Winston Churchill The world, or at least its youth, the torchbearers of our society, culture and democracy, are really angry. They are angry about lack of jobs. They are angry at inflation and price rises. Go to the European countries fighting recession, and there is a strike a day targeting government betrayers and vested interests (namely the financial world) for leaving them high and dry on every front, ruining their prospects for a better tomorrow. China is worried about the repercussions of the inability to absorb millions of fresh graduates in the next few years amid suicides over pathetic salaries for making iPhones. Brazilians were angry over increased bus fares in the light of abysmal low wages. They are angry about the state of law and order within their countries. Brazil, India and even Nepal have seen massive protests where law and order has been a major topic