Friday, April 29, 2011

A very thin line

I was reading the college prospectus today, and in the list of college societies, I came across "The Sindhi Circle" (or something similar). Now why was I suddenly on the verge of anger? Why did I want to scream, "Blasphemy!"? Then there was the Gujarati Association, the Hindi Parishad, the Marathi Vangmaya Samiti and so on.

I shouldn't have felt like screaming. Is it the world we live in, is it the values inculcated in us, that make most of us crinkle our noses at the slightest suggestion of communalism or linguism? These societies were founded, I can see now, with the best of intents: the preservation of regional languages and development of interest in them. Maybe I can blame the world (Religious factionalism and bigotry, Shiv Sena-MNS-ish linguism and regionalism) for making me paranoid. Or maybe I am right. Identification of communities, when used politically, often leads to loss of lives. I am not exaggerating.

Why, then, did I not object to the French Club or The English Association? These are languages, after all. All these societies receive the same platforms. Then again, there has never been any tension in India regarding the superiority of one of these languages over the other.

But people have always fought over Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and several other languages; not to mention religions and castes. Are we, then, to lose all identity with regard to communities, make our surnames neutral, and blend into a homogeneous mass of a people with no variety? Or are we to continue to promote our own languages, dialects, religions, castes and risk going overboard like we always have?

Perhaps we should promote the communities of others, not ours. Utopia, I know. There was something someone (I don't remember who, it's very frustrating) said about how to keep discrimination at bay: breed with those outside your community, those outside your religion, country and if and when we come into contact with aliens, breed with them.
It isn't a foolproof method, but it's worked in the past. You can't tell an Aryan from a Dravidian now. Hail forbidden love!
I have a feeling it was APJ Abdul Kalam who suggested the breeding part. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Do you agree?

There seems to be a dearth of issues on which to gauge public opinion. The TOI poll today asks if readers agree that Aarushi Talwar's parents are the only people who could have killed her. I'm not sure many respondents will have investigated the case or even read the CBI chargesheet. Does being a newspaper reader alone qualify you to pass judgement on such a case? You could argue that readers' opinions won't make any difference to the actual judgement passed by the courts. Then why conduct such a poll in the first place? It's dangerous to equate "Do you think it could be so?" with "Do you agree?"

Monday, April 18, 2011

For Advancing is Perfection

I change my stance about India. Newspapers inform me that all is not lost yet. I don't know if I trust newspapers anymore.

1.) A veil of a time: Women in rural Haryana (which is incidentally plagued by Khap panchayats) empower themselves through self-help groups, manage lakhs of rupees, hand out loans at 1% interest, educate their children, demolish liquor vends and best and most difficult of all, give up the veil.

2.) 82% voting in Jammu and Kashmir: The second phase of Panchayat polls records -- gasp! -- 82% turnout. I don't suppose even other states considerably less affected by violence record that sort of enthusiasm.

3.) Organ donations in Tamil Nadu hit 1k mark: This in a country largely riddled by superstitions and where people even refuse to vaccinate their children. More awareness and many lives could be saved, many more improved.

4.) Bombay Times: Below the header is a line that describes the supplement as an "Advertorial, Entertainment Promotional Feature." They've accepted it's paid news!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Intentions and Interference

There was this article in The Times of India today about disappearing sparrows and one man, Pramod Mane, who is doing all he can to protect sparrows in Mumbai. The article blamed the real-estate boom fed by the politician-builder nexus, the monstrous skyscrapers and predatory crows for sparrows' dwindling numbers.
They forgot pigeons. While I have absolutely no idea if pigeons eat sparrows (or their eggs or if they destroy their nests or commit similar unholy acts), I mention pigeons because they gave us a lesson: Don't do your bit to sustain sparrows if you live in a high-rise.

Mom, inspired by her sister (who doesn't live in a high-rise and consequently can bird-watch all day at close proximity), decided to keep something to eat and a bowl of water in our balcony for sparrows and other birds, if they would like to honour us thus. She wasn't thinking of pigeons. (No discrimination, there are just too many of them).

For the first two days, we looked on in wonder as the sparrows pecked at the food, struggling to put even the smallest grain in their mouth. It really is fun to watch them, provided you're blessed with tinted windows. Otherwise they fly away like they've spotted dragons (of course, they've probably heard sparrow folktales about how humans have tortured the best and strongest of sparrows).

So we were all happy and pleased about the good karma we had achieved, when on the third day, there were no sparrows. Only pigeons, gobbling up all the food. Now pigeons would have been tolerable had they not driven the sparrows away; but we did not have any sparrows after that day. Neither did we have pigeons, because we stopped keeping food in the balcony. Serves them right.

Friday, April 08, 2011

I'm not sure about the brand

So much for aggressive advertising.
**Some Brand** Spot Eraser Pen: You notice the spots, not the fairness, right?

Tanvi (after seeing the ad) : Eraser hai ki pen hai?
Me: *rofl*

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Of corruption and hunger

There's a lot of support for Anna Hazare, online and offline. While I don't know if the people who are really supporting him, offline, know what he's fasting for, I know for a fact many people are clicking on "Like" beause everyone else did so and because it's against our scammy government. "He's protesting against corruption," is the general perception. True, but a hunger strike has to be for something more specific. No government officer or politician is going to think, "I won't take this bribe because Anna Hazare is fasting,". So here's what he is really protesting for:

The Lokpal Bill. Or to be more specific, the Jan Lokpal bill. It's like an ombudsman. From the Times of India:

  The Lokpal will be a three-member body with a chairperson who is or was a chief justice or Supreme Court judge, and two members who are or have been high courts judges or chief justices. Anyone, except for a public servant , can file a complaint and the Lokpal has to complete the inquiry within six months. 

 The Lokpal bill is regularly being presented in Parliament since 1968, and it has regularly been shown the door, the commonest reason being, "There is room for improvement."
As it turns out, there definitely is room for improvement, though not in the way the politicians meant. Wikipedia might help:
In short, the Jan Lokpal bill gives the Lokpal more powers. Not very appeasing for our netas so someone has to go on a fast.

If you haven't experienced a sudden burst of energy and interest in pending bills, the gist is this: The fast isn't misplaced. Anna Hazare deserves your support. We don't deserve corruption. I hereby permit you to "Like" guiltlessly. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Today I heard about this pregnant woman whose husband threatened to leave her if she gave birth to a daughter.  I'm losing faith in my country. I don't believe there's any hope for anything left. People will continue discriminating against women, against the lower castes, against people who speak a different language, have a different culture, follow a different religion. Nothing's working. You can frame millions of policies, educate people, pay them to not discriminate, but nothing will change. Discrimination makes people happy. It feeds their ego, it makes them feel secure. Caring for others? Helping them? Not unless there's something in it for me.
It's not just about India. You can form a hundred United Nations, protest for peace, rally, march, do whatever you can, but countries will keep bombing one another, half the world will never see anything but poverty, freedom of speech will be curtailed, sometimes discreetly, sometimes unabashedly, hypocrites will remain hypocrites, people will continue exploiting other people, and the greater good will always triumph justifying countless acts of violence in its name.

None of it matters.

India won the World Cup. I saw the match.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...