Thursday, November 05, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
When The Taj was taken control of, besieged by militants who fought round the clock slaughtering civilians, when there was bloody carnage at CST where passengers commuting and waiting for trains were shot down like flies and trampled upon like worms, left to soak in their own blood on the platforms, as those armed men fired at random and at will at anyone who was destined to stray in their paths, all we could do, the majority of Indians who were shell shocked as we stayed glued to our television sets, was to watch. Then, our shock gave way to grief and anger – anger that was directed towards our elected representatives who had left us all crying and dying, as they stay protected in the safety of tight security.
There was outrage, there were public outcries that questioned leaders in their faces, celebrities hit out at the administration and the government and people gathered at city centres, at the marine drive, at clubs and associations to discuss and debate what had just hit them out of nowhere. There were commentaries that India had awakened yet again, this time from parliamentary squabbles and dirty politics and cross border terrorisms that had come to be its lullabies.
All of that, is now history. And it’s business as usual again. The status quo stays where it always stood. While everything in the world is supposed to change every moment, some things never seem to change at all. Such things, as the nonchalant chores of the middleclass Indian, as the television channels that are as busy as ever making reality shows, as filmmakers who keep up their entertainment values, as writers who advocate everything under the sun, as scamsters who are busy inventing new ways to mint money, as cricketers who are never tired of defeats and endorsements, as businessmen who are always on the move, strategising, and as politicians who pay their ritualistic homage to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the lawyer who set us all free.
Or, are we free yet?
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
At last, Valentine's Day is gone past. Phew.
I'm not sure of the other news papers, but the Times of India made it look as if Velantine's day was the only activity that occurred in India in the first half of February 2009. The Buzziest Brand went all out for lover boys and girls, women's liberation, individual freedom, 'Pub Bharo' "Movement", Pink Chaddi's and sarees, Indian culture, Pub Culture and anything that one would never have even remotely associated with the V-Day Celebration! Well, the media only reflects the society. Just that, sometimes, it uses a magnifying glass in front of the mirror and the mirror's angle too, perhaps, gets a bit skewed. Well, it's all in the game, anyway.
Now that the V-Day demonsrations are over, with people pondering over what to protest against now, Pakistan is back in the news. But the picture is really cluttered with too many microcosms within our friendly neighbourhood - Fidayeen, Mujahideen, Deccan Mujahideen, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Afghanistan, Sharia, AQ Khan, Dawood, Drone fighters, Geo News . . . the list, or rather, the mixture is whopping! There are too many stake holders in the Sub-continent, so many voices and noises being raised, so many diplomatic and multilateral dialogues and statements being exchanged, so much chaos that the picture is rather murky, with a lot of dust in the air refusing to settle down any time soon.
To be candid, I did give it a cursory thought if I should be really be mentioning all those names that I just did in the previous paragraph and fall in the radars and scanners that keep scourging through the information on the internet for any misguided connotations. For the record, I love peace and I am staunchly against terror, in any form!
But what really was special about this V-Day in India was that, people from all walks of life became aware of such a significant festival. So much so that I wished my elderly uncle, "Happy Valentine's Day to you!". He was bemused and was at a loss for words: "How do you think I should respond to THAT? This is the first time in my life that someone has wished me on a Valentine's Day!"
That apart, V-Day drew parallels between the movement to "protect Indian Culture" and "Talibanisation". The pink Underwear campaign gathered pace, much beyond expectations, not because of the abundant supply of the commodity in question: Underwears are available in most households. The reason, I would say, was that it was a right campaign that appealed to the right audience, who were already perturbed by the developments after 26/11. Let's not get lost in silly questions about who gained, go drew mileage, who shot to popularity or what was achieved in the entire episode that marked the 2009 V-Day miles apart from its predecessors. Questions like these seldom matter in a democracy!
Finally, though all attempts are made not to ask silly questions at this juncture, I have to ask this before I sign this piece off:
- What is Indian Culture?
- What is Western Culture?
- Is it the duty of every citizen to play a part in preserving one's unique culture?
- Do people of other cultures try to protect their cultures?
That's it. Four questions are too many to ask at a stretch. Not that anyone is going to be even slightly bothered about them. Still, whether asked or not, whether answered or not, questions remain questions.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009