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Friday, March 27, 2009

Re: IPL. You Gotta Be A Boy Scout, Before You Can Be A Policeman

It is a fundamental principle of a self respecting society that government exists to serve its citizens and not the other way round.

So if the judges of the supreme court appear bashful about making a full disclosure of their assets,they will be firmly told to grow up and obey the Law.

If a minister holds up a flight or throws his weight around,that will be news.

If mantriji's cavalcade holds up the traffic,citizens will make a note of it in their little black diaries and send her a message come election day.

It is also a principle of civility, that people must be governed through reason, persuasion and example. Not through threats or inducements.

That is why it was disappointing that our suave,like so-not- Mamta Bannerji, with a blue chip reputation for "business friendliness" Home Minister, let the letters "IPL" escape his lips.

The ruling elite wanted a Big, Bad, Law and they got it. They wanted another Big,Bloated Bureaucracy and they got that too.

Now the Home Minister wanted the IPL.

That was so not cool. That was desperation.

Desperation either because election time is also beat the bushes and wring out the last drop of juice time.

Or because, despite the fact that India has been a victim of terror through all her tender independent years,"the sponge that protects us all" in Ashley Tellis' poignant description,we have yet to get our act together.

If our policemen had the opportunity to be boy scouts, they would have learned the motto,"Be Prepared".

Unfortunately some policemen and their bosses would rather be heroes, than be prepared.

After all who needs a hero,when there's no crisis.

Elections are as natural and routine as breathing and need not be such a big deal .

And it is ridiculous to let normal life be disrupted because of elections.

Today IPL. Tomorrow the Kumbha Mela? Or the Rath Yatra?

Terrorism too need not be such a big deal.

Just be prepared,that's all.

As the Home Minister himself has said, "Fighting terror is a mind game."

Creating visions of apocalypse and denigrating commerce as mere money grubbing, all to the chorus of a sycophantic media is also a mind game.

But the target is none other surprise! surprise ! than the hapless Indian citizen.

I'm a hopeless romantic.

I'm still hoping Hon'ble HM will flap his lips and make our police personnel get the latest, lightweight, bulletproof armour.

Call 'em Hemant Karkare suits, if you want.

That will surely play on the mind of any wannabe terrorist.

And it won't hurt with the wise folks back home in Sivagangai either.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Koi Sunvai Nahin Hothi Hai Babujee

In the US, the men said it:

And the women said it:

They cuddled it on their teddy bears,

dressed their pets with it,

they wore it on their bags,

stuck it on their cars,

and just so you would never miss it, they printed it on their clocks:

And put it on the coasters with your drinks.

When they were really mad, they even carried banners:

As an Indian for whom even the memory of the morning sounds and bustle carried within the magnificent modulation of the Suprabhatam

or the azaan,

was a tonic,as fragrant and bracing as the tumbler of decoction coffee, many of us started our day with, this cry of utter despair and resignation was something that I could never get used to.

For all the swagger and the colors and cleverness of commerce this seemed like "a sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions." Karl Marx on Religion.

"SSDD" was the sad credo of the America behind the hype. The angry wail of the many who had been left behind in the cavernous cracks of a "developed" society.

The unshaven old man carrying a lathi who had somehow been allowed into the Marxist Home Minister's peshi expelled that same tired sigh when he put his hand on my shoulder for support and said, "Koi Sunvayee Nahin Hothi Babuji"

I had suffered nearly a decade of repression, from the corrupt bureaucracy and the press, and I could only agree with him.

Indeed, we all know, if the Hon'ble Marxist Home Minister had heard this man, he too would have been able to do precious little than appreciate the pithy local wisdom of his petitioner.

When Neelam Krishnamurthy witnessed the Delhi High Court actually reducing the sentences of the Ansals in the Uphaar tragedy, she expressed the same horror of betrayal.

Sangeetha Sharma, advocate of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and mother of two, was overwhelmed. Hounded and betrayed,by an environment conspicuously lacking in honour, she did the honourable thing. This mother took her own life.

No black guard of the law rioted for Sangeetha Sharma. They just forgot her.

Nobody heard Aman Kachroo when he cried for help.

Nobody heard the girl from Guntur.

Parliament did not hear the Supreme Court either.

Ask Somnath Da and he will tell you nobody heard him either.

Our Chief Election Commissioner thought he had earned the right to exercise his fundamental human right to complain and obtain redressal.

He, like the rest of us, had to come back with his intentions questioned and ears ringing.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court imagined he would be heard by the striking lawyers in Chennai. What happened?

Those unfortunate souls are still striking. Even doing some typically delayed PR. Soli Sorabji's "delay syndrome".

Who is going to listen to the lawyers now ?

We have our parliaments and our legislatures. Our courts and our thanas. Our Press and our zillion news channels.

And they all sing the same mournful dirge in this noisily derelict "democracy" that the stupid foreign press has somehow labeled "vibrant":

"Yahaan Koyi Kisi Ka Suntha Nahin Hain. Koyi Sunvayee Nahin Hothi Babuji".

Friday, March 13, 2009

Repudiate The Two Nation Theory, General Jingo

When General Jingo the Fourth was airlifted into New Delhi and was given a non-stop live demonstration on just how desperately cheap Indian television time is, I watched it all.

After all the only thing desperately cheaper than airtime on Indian television is the time of that rare imbecile based in the punya bhoomi who believes in the idea of the rule of law.

Every other Indian is "practical", or as in the case of the media group that was doing Kissy Kissy of Life to the faded General Jingo The Fourth - "pragmatic".

That is probably why, when the IV General Jingo was goading his "educated and conscious" audience to show him some big, "strategic", Reaganesque, Hollywood, Dirty Harry, "Go Ahead Make My Day" kinda moves,all our native genius could come up with was, "Will You Return Dawood?"

Hoo Ha.

The Indian elite's craving for insanity, "please spank me, please spank me, Oh my God, somebody please kick me where it stings", will never cease to amaze and scare me.

We had Masood Azhar and Omar Sheikh locked up for godsssake in our jails, right?

So how did that help us?

So now we want Dawood.

Get real my dear countrymen, we cannot even do a stupid Twenty/Twenty nautanki in this aspiring super power.

There is only one strategic question.

And I being a proven impractical could have been the only one who could have asked it.

"General Jingo, don't you think its time you repudiated the two nation theory?May have seemed like a great idea at that time, but isn't it beginning to stink?"

Isn't it time you gave a fateha to Shri Jinnah's gift that never seems to stop giving?

Haven't you realised, with all your war colleges and war games and strategising and tacticalising that first it was two, then three and now it has become maybe a twenty three nation making mean machine?"

"I mean, don't you realise that till such time as you publicly give up on that hateful idea, no Indian, except maybe Shri Advani, who admires Jinnah as a true secularist, will ever barely be able to wait till you turn your back, so he/she can burst out laughing ?"

You are no Clint Eastwood, General Jingo.
Just a Dirty Harry who is stuck and can't move on.

But then that would have made General Jingo draw his piece and shoot at me and that would not be practical at all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

To Have Or To Be?

Watch this interview with Erich Fromm and watch it all fall into place.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Imitative India Fails The Mahatma

So The Government of India has allowed Vijay Mallya to buy the Gandhian artefacts.

We all love Shri Mallya for the Great Indian Party Animal that he is and I am upset with the atrocious quality of Bagpiper the only booze that I can occasionally, very occasionally afford, but it is a little embarassing that the aspiring world super power could only get a daruwalla to return the Gandhiana.

So once again we hear the familiar old sound. Of the bottom being scraped.

I mean Vijay Mallya is a dear soul, but he is no Larry or Sergei. He is no Steve Jobs.

Tushar Gandhi says," So you expect a vegetarian, khadi clad Indian with the millions to buy it for you?"

Was a time, just a few decades ago when that was not such a Fellinian vision.

And ...let's not forget... its a T shirt clad American who has made the millions from our suited, booted and earringed tycoons.

Lagaan again?

The babulog ka babalog who dominate our tv news nowadays, are fashionable people.

They like to be seen as the true descendents of old Winnie.

They give the impression that they are using all the professional control they can muster, to say what they really want,"Gandhi was a naked fakir, and please I'd rather be discussing Karan Johar, so can we just move on already?"

"Gandhi was against modern allopathic medicine. The legal system. Insurance. Western toilets, miniskirts and the pub culture..." lashes missiamma at the Gandhian biographer and researcher.

Poor man has a taken aback moment.

"But that was Hind Swaraj..." he cries out almost holding up his hands to his face."That was so long ago..."

Sorry to interrupt, but both missiamma and man have missed something. The Mahatma was thinking about "the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak".

The "pub culture" was just what the European doctor ordered for the hapless European working stiff.

A fun, money spinning alternative to Marx's religion.

A place he could waste his meagre wages, drink himself silly and throw darts at a cork board, night after night after night. Till he got to Disneyland.

In India of course, our crack pot elite appears to be getting all girded up (or "girdled up"?)to fight the next War of Indian Womanhood on this very issue.

Just Do It.

Just put Bernie Madoff's mugshot on the Indian currency note and lets launch into our new destiny.

That will surely satisfy the souls of our treacherous "practical" dads.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

When The Times of India Did A Taliban On The Mahatma

When The Times of India did a Taliban on the Mahatma it was horrible enough, worse when not a single Indian voice objected.

When the nation's intellect is either too greedy or too fearful of the nation's family newspaper, we need to chant the Gurudev's prayer, along with the Hanuman Chalisa.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Take Out... The IPL

India is united and strong against terrorism, right? We are resilient and ceramic skinned and will just keeping marching on and on and on, like nothing ever happened, right?

So why the sudden shakes about the IPL?

Its "politics" of course. The polite Indian's synonym for madness. The comfort blanket word that he uses to assure himself that no matter what,he knows what's what.

The Home Minister is a suave and articulate man. An alumnus of Harvard. So presumably he knows a thing or two about keeping a perspective and a proportion.

He talks about India's "cerebral" foreign policy and "coercive" diplomacy.

I will be second to none in my admiration for anybody who seems keen to usher in some cerebrality into our public affairs, but this sounds suspiciously like old fashioned coerciveness - isn't it time you and me had a little chat, Mr Modi - on the itty bitty IPL.

And let me say this as a proud Indian, where Stanford has collapsed and absconded, I kinda feel just a teensy weensy bit obligated to protect the IPL from anybody's nazar.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Steve Irwin's Widow Exposes The Mired Indian Mind

Just a couple of months ago, the father of the martyred NSG commando Sandeep Unnikrishnan threw the Kerala CM out of his house.

Now comes the news that the widow of the hyperkinetic crocodile hunter Steve Irwin has refused a dubious honour, that was gratuitously piled on her by a patronising Kerala Government.

Even as we are going nuts about Rehman and Reshul winning the Oscars, do we remember the lone Param Vir Chakra awardee of J&K Captain Bana Singh saying on national television that he was ashamed to be an Indian?

What about the retd Lieutenant General who had to get his name in the paper before he got his ration card?

Whether its the Commies or the BJP, the "most literate state" or the most sensitive state,why is it that we shower our "love" on some and hound and humiliate others and deny them their basic dues?

And why don't we ever learn ? Why are we like this only ?

There is an answer.

And the answer is not just about the Indian condition,the Male condition or the Black condition, but about the human condition.

Its about the psychology,dear one.

Its about how we mistake "various forms of narcissistic neuroses and sado-masochistic tendencies as proof of "true love."

Its about how we have failed to understand that "love, (and justice and democracy), is an "interpersonal creative capacity rather than an emotion."

It is the rare teacher, the rare lawyer or judge or politician who does, or is afforded the space to do love or justice or to learn and exercise that learning.

Usually, they are wasting their lives in domination/submission games or are painfully,miserably out of touch and dangerous. Borderline psychotic.

But it is that rare village that gets together to raise the child, that will have succeeded.

As somebody who believed that the Reverend Jesse Jackson, was just the medicine that America needed, I am, after Obama's sweeping changes speech, becoming just a little hopeful about the USA.

And what about the adolescent Indian mind that "loves" George Bush - and we are all so many George Bushes aren't we? Most of us, judges, lawyers, teachers,IITians, editors, students, journalists, businessman,policeman, politician or clerk - we all find Parliament absurd, our laws irrelevant, our freedom struggle just so much embarrassing dust on the furniture ?

Just who are we people?

We take away the cook and driver from Verghese Kurian simultaneous with our neighbours releasing Dr Strangelove from jail.

The leading English television channel has to package the Mumbai massacre as "India's 9/11"

We are in the first decade of a new century. And probably the only difference is, this one feels a whole lot hotter.