Archive for the ‘india happening’ category

Can I smoke?

March 28, 2009

Smoking is injurious to health- no, I am not issuing the ‘statutory warning’, it is a fact. Having learnt of the black swan from Taleb, I am not saying this simply because the statistics declare the morbid association between smoking and ill health; I am merely against the dependence and the myths that every mind propagates to make illusory comforts essential. Smoking is not going to reduce anxiety, nor will it be soothing in depression. It will not spur creativity, and it will never make somebody believe you are superior or stylish- ofcourse it is not a sign of intellectual preoccupation. It is a habit and it is a bad habit in the sense that it is at the most harmful to health and at the least a waste of money. Yet, I wonder if I can smoke now!

I learnt smoking when I was fifteen years old, primarily to show off, and now I cannot show off that I smoke! But smoking is not the issue- I wanted to think aloud about politics that worked on the smoke screen called policy! What good would it do other than giving an impression that i am hallucinating- there are no ears to listen!

India is a strange no-smoking zone now! Many smoke on the roads, some even in hospital compounds, but the elite and the socialite circle do not smoke anymore in pubs and restaurants. They shrug and move to non-descript rooms to inhale and exhale on fellow smokers. In a funny way, the rich and the affordable, who have hitherto not cared to follow many of rules that have been framed (for the country?) by the country, adhere to the non-smoking rule! Five star hotels are strict! It is just the poor and the middle class who still decide to light and puff a cigarette at odd places which are supposed to be non-smoking (not smoke-free) zones! But then, it is again the poor and middle class who think that a vote is going to matter, and they ‘elect’ a government which would ‘look after’ them! In my experience, the government always looks ‘after’ they have voted! By the way, I am just curious to know how many of the manicured nails are going to be smeared with the ink that shows you have voted- it is too late to count the number in the last election, but it is possible to attempt now!

Why am I writing now instead of just taking my charminar and lighting it? Simply because I foresee a scenario when I may walk into one of the Taj hotels (even the one which made the socialites weep more than the socially conscious), and smoke on the table where I had just finished my dinner. times have changed! The man who so zealously advocated the no-smoking ban is no more in the ruling alliance. A shameless spokesperson of a party insults all of us by saying there could be post-poll alliances/agreements/adjustments! If in a rare chance the alumnus of my fraternity makes it to the same ministry again, I have to perhaps still hide my lighter and the cigarette pack? This is what my naïve mind thinks! Since it is the policy of the present government invariably the next one will not care much about it. But then, the son of the third(?) big party in tamilnadu could still retain the portfolio- it does not matter whether the congress or the BJP win. Slowly some rules may get relaxed as some lobbies become lucrative! If one decides to fight against someone who had till a few days ago been a partner-in-whatever, what big deal would it be if he decides to not fight against some public activity which had been his passionate obsession a few months ago?

So, can I smoke in public now? As a law-abiding and duty-conscious citizen I should not- in public, therefore I shall not light a cigarette in a forbidden zone. In the same law-abiding and duty-conscious mode I believe I should vote! Just as how some who make laws would smirk when they see me struggling to resist the urge to light a cigarette in some places, so would they, seeing me stand in a queue (and I had better be early else someone else may appear with ‘my’ identity card)!

My vote is rather inconsequential. The afore mentioned minister did not ask for anybody’s vote last time, nor will he this time. He will be nominated, along with the other such ‘born-with-a-political-spoon’ kids!

I have been one of the many who thought that a token protest, very selfishly not causing any discomfort for me, by way of registering my displeasure at the political choices before me in the election, was enough. I argued with confused poll officers, made them create a temporary page in whatever book they had, and registered my decision to not vote under section 49 (O). In fact, I took pains to check with my friendly journalist Gnani, on what exactly to do on the morning of that election, as he was one of the most vociferous advocates of this form of protest. At the end of the game, one of the many who did not meet ‘my’ criteria for a good candidate, won. There were votes polled for and against. In the past elections, there were also a certain number of votes declared as invalid! But nowhere was there, in the last election, any mention about the number of people who decided to register their protest by refusing to vote for one of the candidates. I felt invalid! I perhaps am!

Now I have another chance! I can again go and torture those poor uninformed poll ‘officers’ and sign a register and walk out with ink on my finger. And then? Somebody is going to win. Some losers and some winners are going to come together to save the country, while I will be wailing in my own little blog!

A friend of mine told me just a couple of weeks back that there was a statement in Quran that those who can do something to the society, and still do not do anything but keep talking, are the worst kind of people. I have not read such a thing in Quran, but even if it is not there in the holy book, it makes sense. So? I decide I should do something.

What do I do? Can I smoke?

What the frock? -misspelt ( as in this word)

March 25, 2009

Misspelt? ( as in this word?)

Misspelling is allowed in English, and cricket is very English! So, IPL need not mean Indian! It is just cricket- the most important activity of the country, the indispensable duty of the citizens, and the source of food, education and national pride!

Though I do not believe that the general election in India is going to send worthy members of the society to handle the affairs of the country in the parliament, though I do feel frustrated that my choice is not going to be the best of the best but from the better of the bad, though I feel that 49(O) is just an option to satisfy my social itch without impacting the party-based vote banks, though I have lost faith and respect in this ‘democratic’ process, I cannot accept a private entertainment company talking tough to the home minister, and threatening to take the show to some other country, and the media going into their live-latest-breaking-reporting histrionics on an issue that is at best an entertainment played out for big money. Lalit Modi would have been happy if the election dates were rescheduled to accommodate the cricket carnival that he plans to hold. This election must happen at least to stop cunning clowns from throwing their weight around. The other Modi naturally is offering security for the games to happen in his home country!

The Gujarat’s Modi, perhaps has learnt over the years the art and trick of providing security to people, unlike a few years earlier when masses were massacred while he was at the helm of affairs. Perhaps being a political bigwig, he can selectively secure some selfish interests. And, P.Chidambaram has been suave and slippery from the beginning not going tough on the organizers who had actually challenged the government by stating they would manage their own security and declaring with pomp and arrogance that the show would go on without any rescheduling of dates.

Now the show is going to go on, in another country! I am supposed to be upset and angry that the government is giving more importance to its constitutional commitment than cricket! No one yakking their head off in every channel that invades my television set wants to ask lalit modi and ipl to shut up and listen to the government. No one is asking them to cut the tournament short and get it over in a few days. It is now pretentiously portrayed as a loss to India, a shame to India that cricket cannot be played when elections are going to be held.

So what if some games are not played on some days? The average TV viewer would still get his dose of expert comments on the politico-democratic game show the great general election. There would be live scrolls telling the scores that the parties had managed. There would be speculations on the shameless ‘alliance-maths’ that would inevitably be needed to have some government at the centre. There would be jokes aplenty on strategic partnerships and lofty principles. There is bound to be a thrilling suspense till the new prime minister is elected and sworn in. so, what is the common man losing? He still is going to see a thriller, with enough comedy interludes and brilliant though stale performances- is cricket necessary at this point?

A private entertainment company is daring the government of India, and no one remembers the word- sovereignty. There was blatant defiance and a brutal disregard for the concerns of the ruling government in the statements made by the entertainment-organizer. Some people have been taken to task for talking much less! I neither see nor hear any words that ask the entertainment company to shut up and wait, instead there are murmurs that cricket is indeed a national passion. Cricket is also being touted as a religion. Is cricket supposed to provide the opioid effect of religion? Well, in this pseudo-democratic self-centered clan-oriented political milieu perhaps cricket is indeed the opium of the masses that has to be peddled even by our law makers and caretakers!

If cricket matches are shifted to South Africa, we are supposed to be the losers. If the elections are not held, we are supposed to be the losers. When are we supposed to become winners? When we rush to vote and come back home to chew the ink marked nail and watch a match- which too can be fixed?

The ‘patriotic’ Mallya, who bid and won to bring back Gandhi’s personal belongings that were being auctioned in another country, is a willing party to shifting the game show to another country. No need to give respect to the country’s democratic duty bound process! The ‘I love India’ sloganeering soldiers on cricket field too would be participating- even if they had to be in their streets on the Election Day to cast their (even if useless) ballot!

Voting is supposed to be not just your right but also your duty as an Indian. But then, cricketers and their managers, their sponsors and their bosses once again have blatantly declared to us that they are not equal among equals. They have their own rules and priorities. They are stars and superiors. We would subscribe to this view once again by gaping at the small screen for hours together, for weeks together.

Even if there is a (god forbid) war in which India has to be engaged, even then these guys would look for alternate venues to keep playing their games. They know what is important to them. They also know how to sell that importance to us. We consume crap most willingly. We will be provided more and more of it, till we say we can’t take it anymore.

To die or not to live as dead

March 5, 2009

Some die, in fact all die. To die in anonymity is considered a humiliating end of existence- albeit purposelessness. But, death at will, and at prime, and above all with dignity that will declare to posterity about the existence of individuality, is not the blessing that all have. There are deaths in coma. Deaths in isolation, deaths in uncared corners of the society, deaths that are prayed for as the ultimate deliverance- they are all deaths not really wanted when living, but wanted just before dying. If ever we have the choice to die at whatever is the most opportune time that our dreams and desires dictate, our lives would really be fulfilled. We do not have much such choice. We wait to die, when we are supposed to die- the supposition being a physiological or a providential dictate.

There are some who die at the right time. There are some who die extending their life time causing misery unto themselves and others. But, there are a few who die- when they do not want to. There are a few who die because they are lost. They get lost not in the myriad quagmire of life, but in quixotic lawlessness of the state.

The very fact that I have to vote in the forthcoming elections means I am alive and accepted by my state as being alive. The votes are needed by the state- irrespective of its inherent capacity to produce, nurture or sustain statesmen. The elections keep telling the world and me that India is a wonderful democracy. It just happens that the democratic flame gets ignited only once in five (or just a few less) years. I am going to go to the voting booth, and like the idiotic and meaningless exercise that I did the last time, I am going to use 49o-the option to not cast vote! Who cares? What matters? I would have done my democratic duty, and the democracy would give me the devils that I did not requisition. This blog was not about voting, it was about living, and more specifically about dying- in dignity.

Some sportspersons (I wish they were sportsmen too) have been injured, some security personnel have died; some more blasts have occurred somewhere, some more and then some more, would have died. A few however would have disappeared. The media more than the governments concerned is outraged. Every news paper has the news on the first page as a headline; every TV channel keeps flashing this news and holds talks showcased for viewership enhanced sponsorship. I feel sorry for the trauma of the injured, I feel sad for the dead, and in a few minutes I worry about my beer being not chill enough.

If I were to react just this much to this “major” event, screaming at me as headlines, breaking news and news analyses- how would I care to notice a small news item that is lost in the later pages and scrolls? I do not unless perhaps, I decide to blog and get some attention- more on myself than on the matter.

200 odd people have been declared dead- declared not after examining the dead bodies but after a lapse of a few years (7?). They have been missing for years. They were not ‘traceable’- whereabouts not known! They are dead legally! The law and order that were supposed to take care of them and find them have shrugged and moved on, like what I would be doing in another few weeks when I stand in the queue to vote (or register a non-vote). Democracy lives. It has already claimed victory a couple of years ago when Modi was elected!

How many people do you know whom you can call and speak anytime of the day? For me the number is restricted to less than ten. How many people whose death would spurt tears in my eyes- my number is restricted to less than two! So 200+ is a big deal for me.

These 200 people have been missing, now not just believed but declared dead, in Gujarat. They were the ones lost in the carnage. They were the ones lost when blatant brutalism masqueraded as mass ideology. They were the ones who were no more to be seen by their loved ones, after the inhuman but vote-profiting plot of villains. They were the ones whose votes could have been polled too! After all in the pseudo-electoral process you don’t have to be alive and around to vote, there are goons to take care of your vote- as though that matters in any sense.

I feel sick. Just look at these two news reports-

1. (March 1, 2009) those missing since the 2002 post-Godhra communal riots in Gujarat will be declared dead soon by the authorities with the expiry of seven years’ stipulated time. As a result, the official death toll of 2002 riots will go up from 952 to 1,180, as 228 people, who are missing, will be presumed dead.

2. (11 May, 2005) The government told parliament that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 more people reported missing and another 2,500 injured. It was responding to a written question from an unnamed MP. Junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told the upper house that more than 900 women had been widowed and 600 children orphaned in the riots.

So? it took three years for a government to say 200+ ( the numerical discrepancy attributed to a careless clerk) are missing, and seven years to say to those who still search for them to shut up! (check on Parzania after all you dont have to pay the original price in the black market). So what happens?

I type a blog. The charred corners of my conscience are cleared of the stains of societal guilt. I move on.

Some tears can never be wiped. They may not be streaming down the cheeks, but the wetness of the wailing soul would constantly make the mind damp- with guilt and shame, with anger and angst. Some tears would dry the mind so much that nothing would ever make a sprout of a thought grow. Tears that do not burn my eyes are just waters flowing, as waters should- eslewhere!

Empty quiver

February 23, 2009

Emptiness of the quiver is known only to the hand that reaches into it.

I like to write on the best of topics- not because they would interest the one who reads them but primarily because they would interest me enough to write to finish  The best of such topics sadly reflect the worst in the society. I would have been happier writing about the two (rather three) Oscars that Indians have won. I would have been happy writing about some wonderful books that I have recently read. I would have been even happier writing about my idiosyncrasies. But I am forced by my own sick ‘fate'(?) to write on the recent tragicomic events of law and order and the leader!

The stunning but sick visuals of police chasing the lawyers and the stone throwing lawyers daunting the police were giving me an odd surreal feeling. I was one of the mostly-law-abiding citizens of the country who believed that law would defend me if I was legally mistreated! If lawyers have to pick stones and hurl in defense, I may have to build my biceps and triceps further in anticipation of an alarming eventuality. The police too were in my opinion vigilant and kind enough to see to it that the car I may park outside my house is not damaged by some goon. Now, I think I have to employ a security for my car in the event an angry policeman goes past it in a foul mood. Well, such things happen. Just as how I always believe an election would give me a better government, so do I continue to repose my faith on these two custodians of the social fabric. But my leader!

I had concluded long ago that whatever karunanidhi does will not surprise me. But this time he did it. He has surpassed himself. The ‘great’ leader of Tamils, now has gone gandhian (not SoniaG but MKG) in his declaration that if the lawyers and policemen do not come to a compromised peace accord, he would fast unto death! I am afraid that if the comedy is enacted I would be the only one to die, though in a fit of laughter.

I have been led to believe that the chief minister of the state has control over the police. If they had not cared to inform him of their anger and intended/unintended outburst in the high court, I am sure he has the experience, knowledge and power to discipline and or punish them. He may not have much to say to the lawyers for he too needs them when after his term is over he is sure to be slapped with a string of cases. There are some sycophants amidst the lawyers too whose help he can summon with a simple flick of a finger and infiltrate the ranks of the protestors and cause sufficient rift amongst them to make the strike a failure. He does not want to do anything like this. He wants to go on a fast.

If he believed that fasting – even if not unto death, would change whoever it is that does not listen to his wise counsel or heart-felt prayers, he should have done it earlier. If his affectionate congress president had seen him fasting she would have made her henchmen in the government take immediate steps to stop the merciless killing of innocent masses in Srilanka. But then if tamils were dying for or with or because of the LTTE, a fast unto whatever would have shaken his government. Now he can fast. He is being monitored by some of the best doctors in the country, so it will never be death due to fasting. The lawyers and or the police have to relent and come begging to make him change his heart and live for the upliftment of this country! We cannot, they are expected to say, allow the wise leader to suffer for our sake. None shall even in dreams say this is another script by the man who has earned his early riches by writing. We will soon see vinyl printed monstrosities of the grieving old man with a gandhian backdrop. We will all get ready to vote in the next election. The shame of it all is that we have to chose between him and jaya! Which one is a deadlier fire and who is the more evil of devils is a fifty-fifty choice! Only the coalition wary comrades would make the best choice and talk their way into it!

The grand old man of tamilnadu politics is perhaps running out of ammunition. Perhaps his quiver is so transparently empty that his mock gesture of picking up a sharp arrow to shoot does not evoke awe or admiration in us. Mimicries no more evoke any memories or emotions.But more than that, I think we have run out of all arrows to shoot at silly and scheming politics that attempt to mock at our meekness. The more we become aware of the emptiness of our quiver the more ready we shall become to sharpen new tools- in self defense.

Ram, ram- pinkish saffron

February 12, 2009

If I were to write about naan kadavul (pronounce it any way you want- that’s what happened in the trailer of the film) or if I were to write on the pink chaddi (written as jatti in tamil), I would have got more readers, hits and responses than if I were to write about eelam again. I shall be the most hypocritic hypocite if I were to declare that I do not care about hits and readers. I do. It gives me a sense of satisfaction- useless though it may be, it still is an ego massage that the mind does not decline. I am yet to see the film so I cannot write about it. Pink chaddi- I hope that even my corpse would not be adorned with such a sensually assaulting apparel. So what do I write about? I want to write about Ram! The one who engineered the non-existent bridge, the one whose heroism made him deified, and the one in whose name chauvinism is unleashed,is always a matter of interest.

RAM! Is supposedly the last sound that emanated from Gandhi (conventionally the mahatma and as I saw in a video in which Jk corrected himself on the usage and called him mr.Gandhi) and  there is nothing wrong in calling him Mr.Gandhi. He was not given honorary doctorates like the many stars that abound Indian filmdom. On Gandhi perhaps someother time, now it is about RAM– (incidentally according to the manufactured horoscopes, he is not an aries ram), and his `culture’.

There is a view that the story of ram, has been a well compiled gist of the existing folklore of the times, still it IS an epic. So, ram is a hero. He is so much a hero that he is a god. The Indian public is so much into the story that they believe the narration is a report. Even after seeing all the news channels of today, there are people who believe that reporters always present facts and only facts as facts! Ok, so what about ram? By now it will be obvious that I do not subscribe to his divinity- but this is not to debate on the godliness of a hero. This is about the culture that was prevalent at the time of ram.

Culture is tradition and heritage. In heritage we carry old blocks chiseled in those time which we parade with pride as treasures that can never equal modernity’s machinations. In tradition, we trade old ideas to get new ones. We use bulbs in place of lamps. Ram-culture is ?

Ravivarma painted viridian ram is the predominant image of the hero. In later years militant ideas sculpted the image into a more muscular masculine form. Again I am digressing like the bizarre RAMSENA thugs. The moment the word ram sounds, all human considerations and all rational thinking ought to be suspended according to these goons. Ram’s culture does not allow women to indulge in pleasure! That’s what these scheming or stupid goons say. They conveniently forget that this was the same ram who made his wife walk into fire to prove to whoever that she was chaste. This was the same ram who made his wife walk out of his palace to prove to whoever doubted her chastity and his valor! In his name has happened ( perhaps naturally) the atrocity of attacking women who felt like drinking in the evening with male companions.

In KAMBARAMAYANAM, the tamil version of valmiki ramayan, in the balakaantam, there is a vivid, beautiful and peotic description of women drinking in moonlight by the riverside. The riverside is a public place, and those women were drinking when perhaps their male counterparts were frolicking. Perhaps it is the time for fanatics to start burning copies of the tamil epic. Kannada fanatics have all along been vociferous about their hatred for tamils. Now, i may be giving kannada safronites another chance to mock the unholy attitude of tamils. Kamban is a great poet in tamil and even in crude translations he stands out. My worry is whether tamils will become vociferous if he is attacked? What will they do? eelam is more a pseudo-political slogan than an emotional outburst. ram, his bridge which can take idiots to eelam, and everything else that stifles our present will fade soon. we have many things to worry and do. For tamils? there was no ram in the early days, but ram is now here because the upholders (!) of dravidian politics needed some more votes. Bridge, brahminism,belligerence are all the normal ingredients of the arrogant rhetoric of tamil leaders(?). now ramsena’s antics are taken up by tamilnadu’s nameless parties and politicians. there are going to be newsworthy but useless nuisance for the youth. what will the tamil youth do?

as usual, they will move on- come on, they are progressive, they were the early birds in Y2k…but still they will, because they have to, do something.

They will form a human chain and worry more about pink slips than pink chaddis.

Reflections on immolations and aftermaths

February 5, 2009

January 25th was the day the young man burnt himself to death. He was just 27 years old. He believed that `sacrificing` his life would make the central government sit up and take notice. He also believed that the state government would gain momentum to protect the rights of `its` people. “One day, my goal will be met,” he said in a note before committing self immolation. His death caught the media attention. Public became agitated. Youth- especially the student community became angry. The entire state was ready to revolt. The central government had to budge. The state government had to face defeat in the next election. This was in 1965. His name was Chinnasamy. I felt, that time, that he was a martyr. I felt he had to be honored. I felt that his death should not go waste- and I fanatically ignored Hindi. Even now I do not know Hindi, but I had forgotten his name. I had to google to find out who he was.

January 29th, thirty four years later, another young man burnt himself to death. He was 26 years old. He too believed that `sacrificing` his life would make the central government sit up and take notice. He also believed that the state government would gain momentum to protect the rights of `its` people. The day before immolating himself, he had written, “The DMK that came to power riding high on the efforts of your struggle, first made a law that students should not take part in politics. After capturing power, it blunted Tamil feelings, and turned the entire Tamil population into a petitioning tribe. Smash that tradition. Don’t believe anybody who asks you to submit a petition.” He wanted the student community to become angry, he wanted the state to revolt. He wanted the central government to budge and wanted the state government to learn a lesson. Many feel that he is a martyr. Many feel he has to be honored. Many feel that his death should not go waste. Not just his name, his photograph too is fresh in the minds of Tamil people, but, a generation later someone would use a search engine to find out his name.

The thousands who use the subway in west mambalam know that it is called aranganathan subway, but hardly anyone remembers that this aranganathan was another young man who burnt himself to death in 1965. His life gave life to DMK. The party came to power on the sentiments of anti-hindi agitation. It is the same party that is tasting public irritation after the death of Muthukumar. “Dear Tamil people, in the struggle against injustice our brothers and children have taken up the weapon of the intellect. I have used the weapon of life. You use the weapon of photocopying. Yes, make copies of this pamphlet and distribute it to your friends, relatives, and students and ensure that this support for this struggle becomes greater.”-were the last words in the four page final letter that muthukumar left for the people of tamilnadu. Sure enough, it happened. Those pages were not just photocopied, but also translated and distributed. Is muthukumar going to become another name-of-a-flyover?

In 1965, youth believed that DMK was the solution to the State. We believed what the “great” leaders said. Annadurai made the following statements opposing Hindi imposition: “It is claimed that Hindi should be common language because it is spoken by the majority. Why should we then claim the tiger as our national animal instead of the rat which is so much more numerous? Or the peacock as our national bird when the crow is ubiquitous?” He also said,“Since every school in India teaches English, why can’t it be our link language? Why do Tamils have to study English for communication with the world and Hindi for communications within India? Do we need a big door for the big dog and a small door for the small dog? I say, let the small dog use the big door too!” We were all swayed by the rhetoric. We were fascinated. Our dreams lost all their boundaries. Anna’s lieutenants were equally fiery in their speeches. Though the anti-hindi agitation in tamilnadu began in 1938, it was the death of aranganathan, chinnasamy,veerappan, muthu, sarangapani and some more whose names have not been recorded that whipped up Tamil-spirit. We all believed that Anna and his team were our role models and they would usher in a new era of growth and prosperity in Tamilnadu. Anna died almost immediately after assuming power and then came the master craftsman of manipulative politics- MK. We believed equally in him. He was even celebrating January 25th as martyr’s day! Now? I and most of my generation cannot go out of this state and have simple conversations with other Indians because we do not know hindi. we are now small dogs with not even a small window to even peep leave alone enter other languages,whereas MK’s family has learnt enough hindi to have political discussions in that language.

Thirty four years later, I see a similar picture. Muthukumar is dead. His body was taken in a procession for the final parting. Youth have flocked the funeral procession. Young men and women are furious. They are angry at the state and central governments. They believe that Eelam has to be liberated.

We were right in believing then that Hindi should not be imposed at the cost of Tamil- though the frenzy created by the ‘leaders’ of that time made us hate Hindi. Now, the youth are convinced that Tamils should not be slaughtered in srilanka, which is the right thought to nurture into a constructive plan of action.but here again I see political craftsmen masquerading as mass leaders and deviating the youth. An intolerant and brash person with no foresight for his people is projected as the savior of the ethnic group. Just as how we were made to hate hindi those days instead of loving tamil more, so too are the youth made to eulogize prabakaran instead of wanting peace and life for tamils in srilanka.

The youth were brainwashed then to remove the congress and install DMK. Now they are going to be used to remove both dmk and congress- but to install who? We have only crooks and clowns posing as leaders now. Someone from the youth must come forward, learn the history of tamilnadu’s political games and lead the next generation towards a brighter future.

Otherwise, muthukumar’s death would become meaningless. If we cannot learn from death how are we going to live?

satyam – ?!

January 14, 2009

I felt that my purse was forcibly opened to give alms, but since the recipient was never ever going to be a beggar, I felt that my work was being taxed to give the greedy a better lunch. I felt that I was robbed not by Robin Hood to pay to the poor but by scheming scoundrels to pay slipshod crooks.
The Government of India has decided (or is deciding) to give 2000 crores to bail out satyam! Am I supposed to feel sorry or angry, since I don’t feel happy? When the USA started bailing out fraudulent or inefficient organizations, I was just curious, not concerned. I was wondering why fools are given grace marks to pass exams, but then, I do not understand economics or politics. I was just a news-consumer with the inherent apathy of the breed. But this ‘indian’ news struck a chord. I blinked. I tried to wake up.
After a few hours of ingesting the news I could not digest my emotional reaction to it. I felt I was selfish. When my thinking should have been globalised I was thinking in a very indianised strait jacket! Shameful? Perhaps! But then, how can I be as much worried about the world as I am about my own country? Surely I do not belong to the class of Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram. They are globalised, industrialized, intelligent and with foresight much beyond my corrective lens’ distant vision. They know what they are doing. They know what to do and when. They may even know how. After all, I was dreaming (like millions of idiots) that they are going to make this country and consequently my life better. I was silent when many things happened. I was just thinking that every mess was just a precursor to prosperity. After all, I am just a middle-class Indian with a middle-class dream. Now when they plan to take 2000 crores of my money – (in this country when I keep believing that the guy I voted for rules and regulates the country, I am also deluded that the government is using my money constructively) I feel uneasy. My philistine conscience tries to tear the shroud of indifference. My selfishness takes over my pseudo-liberalized-currently-vogue attitude that India’s image is more important than squandering of hard earned pittance.
Ok. So, a much-hyped company is in shambles. 50,000 guys are unsure of their future. If the company crashes many homes would weep, but more importantly the image of Indian business would fall in the eyes of the world. We (again it is my delusion to use the collective pronoun), would not be able to get the world to transact business with us. Lots and lots and lots of such ‘dire’ consequences are portrayed. So it is up to all of us to stand united and save the company. Sounds good. Sounds even sensible. But if sounds are sensible enough why do we have words?
In a bizarre thought process that wondered about what went wrong and who was responsible, I briefly speculated whether it was all because of Rajiv who wanted computers all over the country or his grandfather who believed that industrialization and modernization were the routes to prosperity. The silly thought vanished like mist in the face of my patriotic sun. My leaders, (I believed, wanted to believe, and hypnotized myself to believe) are doing whatever is best for the country. So when Manmohan Singh decides that my tax (not even worth calculating in percentile against the 2000 crores) should be spent on reviving a fraudulent organization, I accept. Even when you accept defeat or victory, happiness or sorrow, you can’t help wondering- in other words thinking. Thought and emotion are never the same despite the constant flirting between the two.
So, stopping my emotions from surfacing out of the gutters of my mind, I turn to the pseudo-sanitation of my thoughts to rationalize and deny facts. I wish to forget the misuse of my non-existent (figuratively and literally) paisa.
50,000 persons and perhaps 150,000 would suffer. This government wakes up to the fact and acts swiftly, whereas 182,936 persons were dying a slow steady and sure death in the past 10 years. if i know it, i presume MY government knows it too!
They died.

These guys are just going to suffer.

So what? Perhaps in the liberalized, globalized, modernized thought process of the pseudo-socialism that we embrace, living is worse than dying.
And, how long and how many are going to suffer? The inefficient would lose money and face in the community. The efficient would get other employment offers. They may not buy a BMW but instead get just a Maruti 800. Their pub and bar expenses would have to be cut. Italian shoes would have to be replaced with Indian ones.Some may settle for lesser jobs for just some more time!

Are they going to die? of course they should not, but will they face death when they can’t even face defeat? There may be some idiots who commit suicide among the thousands who are going to get depressed. But their depression would be a consequence of a loss of desires but not needs, unlike the farmers who could not even feed their infants. They still would have stocks to sell, houses to live, food to even waste and throw. It will be just a blow that perhaps devastates the dream castles that they have(having been sold with cunningness ) bought with greed. But are they going to stop living?
Read this.“The suicides of thousands of farmers around the country tell poignant and revealing tales of our country, and the desperation that marks the lives of so many millions. Disastrous policies, woeful access to affordable credit, greedy and corrupt middlemen, and indifferent administrations are among the factors that have pushed farmers to their breaking point.-
Suicides by farmers of Maharashtra crossed the 4000 mark in 2007, for the third time in four years, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As many as 4238 farmers of the State took their lives that year, the latest for which data are available, accounting for a fourth of 16,632 farmer suicides in the country. The national total represents a slight fall, from 17,060 in 2006, but the broad trends of ‘the past decade seem unshaken. Farmer suicides in the country since 1997 now
(2008) total 1,82,936. http://www.indiatogether.org/agriculture”

Does this mean anything?

Those farmers WERE NEVER BAILED OUT. They just put votes, did not pay taxes. The sugarcane farmer did not come forward to fight for the cotton farmer. They had things to do. things which meant life that met needs not greed. Since they meant nothing in the globalized economic equations, they were allowed to rue, rot and die- unlike in the present scenario.

Sister/brother software companies have pledged that they will not poach the employees of the falling organization. Without going into the realistic question of “for how long”, it just sends a simple message. Birds of a feather flock together! Would it be wrong on my part to wonder whether the government’s feathers and satyam’s feathers belong to the same plume?
If frauds win always, should we become frauds to survive?

i care what the government does even if  the government  does not  care what i (an ordinary inconsequential voter) think. i wish we talk about it even if, as usual, we do not think about it.

TWO DAYS AFTER THE POST WAS WRITTEN, THIS MORNING  (16/01/09)THE NEWS WAS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT GOING TO CONSIDER GIVING ANY MONEY FOR SATYAM (certainly not because of my post!). but in no way does this absolve the government for sitting quietly and pondering on what to do with dying farmers, when it acted swiftly to save possible-job-lossers amongst whom, there were quite some who were very disturbed about their plummeting matrimonial-market-value!