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There’s a reason why we learn to read before we learn to write. As a writer, we’re expected to read other writings. We can choose not to, and that still doesn’t make anyone a lesser writer.

As a reader, we can disagree with the content – but surely we can’t criticize a writing or the writer. So, it’s either agree, disagree or ignore.

Can’t stop anyone from writing. That’s taking away the basic ‘freedom of expression’, which is everyone’s favorite three words, in India these days.

But how about writing lines that pry open the basic fabric of our constitution? Instead of burning papers, perhaps we should just criticize like mad. But remember, that not everyone criticizes by writing. Neither can writers take the moral high ground of being better people because they criticize on paper. All kind of people, at every level, are allowed to criticize in whatever way they find suitable.

So I take deep offense when some journalist, like Barkha Dutt or the very articulate Congress man, Shashi Tharoor – ridicule those who may not be educated enough to do it in a certain way and use a different language or process of criticism. Do they really think only the English -speaking people (with the correct accent) have the copyright of ethical protests. I have seen more lies coming out of the intellectual class than many others!

And yes, I am talking of criticism, not threats.

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The uncomfortable truth

We have a constitution, now, that never lets us forget our caste or religion. What is hailed as the most comprehensive constitution of all times, undoubtedly written by the best keepers, failed to take into account greedy politicians and irrational people.

Before Mandal Commission gave out caste-based reservations, I didn’t know or care about my classmate’s caste. And overnight, everything changed. Those of us in schools at that time, will know exactly what I’m talking about. The ones in colleges were bitter and fighting it out, politicians did their bit, house-makers feared for their children’s future. ..and we, watched silently as the seeds that were sown then turned us into cynics in later years. More than two decades later, we trust nothing.

Also, as I grew up, I understood the merits of the reservation policy and then watched those merits disintegrate as the politicians pulled forward the ‘backward’ flag for everything.

What was meant to be an important social and economic exercise now merely reduced to a political campaign. And important it was. There was education to be taken care of of the ‘lower’ caste, primary and secondary – the lifeline of our students. There were job opportunities to be made, even for unskilled labour with higher paying jobs. The ‘upper’ caste were to be educated to allow the integration and facilitate it. It was important to make our society to respect labour – all labour. But when has something that has been forced, not left bitterness and resistance?

Imagine the travesty of ‘upper’caste but economically backward group of people. They have nowhere to go.

Imagine the exasperation of ‘lower’ caste but economically better people. Looked down upon for their lack of merits.

Imagine the despair of economically backward, ‘lower’ caste people who never got the benefits of the reservation, because the politicians and their kins, and the better educated amongst them took all the advantage. They were let down by their own.

In the recent Rohith Vemula’s case, the second part comes true. We’ll never know the truth behind the suicide. It’ll remain hidden behind political voices, propaganda and the scratched words on his suicide note. All I know is that none of our education system miss a chance for protecting a good student. You see, they are the face of a successful institution, not those who are constantly rebellious. Maybe the students think that there is more success in being a politician which requires little merit, and indulge more of their own time and parent’s money in campus politics. I don’t know.

But its scary to think that there are more potential political leaders’ whose efforts will be sky-rocketed than the quiet hardworking lot which silently pursue what they set out for in these institutions. When will our obsession with the political class reduce? Its sad to know that those who do this (caste apart) will continue to struggle for jobs.

As usual, the meritorious are not rewarded, professionally or financially.

Its never too late to rectify the policies, that’s what policies are meant for. A re-think of the existing system which doesn’t break the backbone of our society.

As always, there are no bastions for benefit of the poor, only those who showcase and debate it.

 

Judgement

Its not as if the judicial system is not good enough, but social justice finds a place in all countries. Moreover, look how frequently we ourselves sit in judgement over everything that we believe is the right thing to do.

Some days back, all Indians were busy judging each other over how secular/communal/tolerant/intolerant/pro-pakistani/anti-national/Hindu/Islamic (the list is endless) etc people were. It was a bit too crazy.

Each to his own, they say. Your own life must be very sorted if you can really bother a lot about others…well, good for you. But let’s just leave it at that.

“Where do these people find the time to judge others so minutely, I wonder?? Have they themselves achieved nirvana?! ” – is what I should say but instead…

I find I’m judgmental too.

This country specializes in intolerant/communal/anti-nationalist paid journalists. Under the blanket of freedom of expression, facts are distorted- outrage created, to the extent of promoting disharmony amongst us Indians. And what do we do, we let them go scot-free. Not one wrong report is righted. Not a single apology issued. This has taken hazardous proportions, much like the Delhi air.

I’ve come to accept the TV journalism for what it should be – Entertainment. Any sane person will not let it determine his/her action on the streets, or with other people.

If you really want hard facts about the steps taken or not-taken by the Government, dissent by serious individual with the know-how of assessing the material – read the print media. I think any government should be kept on its toes, but not at the cost of marginalizing a few and creating chaos. There will be no exaggerations in the print media. And neither this unfounded need to blow everything to larger than it ethically needs to be. With the kind of reach TV journalists have, they desperately need some classes on ethics in journalism. Even a lay person like me, can probably teach them some. Yes, they are THAT bad.

Government bashing is our national sport. 

The funny part is that few even know whether the governance itself is better or worse. Or whether the country is heading in the right direction. Or offer serious comments or thoughts on policy decision. Forget about that – policy decisions are not even discussed in the Parliament (directly thanks to the opposition) , let alone on TV news channel (indirectly thanks to the opposition). You see, Congress has infiltrated the minds of enough people in the country in so many years that it can survive on past glory, inherited epigenetically. 

Of course, I detest the Congress – it stood for nothing when in power. Kept the poor, in poverty and illiteracy, so that they got the votes in the next elections. The favorite vote hunting ground of the Gandhi’s – Amethi, is a classic example. And now in opposition, it stands up only to halt work by the government chosen through a mandate. Though, I admire Sonia Gandhi for personally achieving what she has.

Do I love the BJP? Not really. I’m willing to be open and give it a chance. Anything is better than Rahul Gandhi and his dynastically cronies who sit around him in the Parliament. I admire Modi for having a vision that no other PM has had in recent times. His ministers work hard, like him. Something that Congress ministers have done only for increasing their personal wealth. The Coal block allocation is a scathing reminder of how much they are capable of lies and deceit.

Apart from acquiring a sense of entitlement, the Congress has done little else. This pretty much hold true for most intellectuals and the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Oh yes…

Thankfully, daily newspapers are still the trend in this politics-crazy nation. Half our population will die of boredom if not for these.

I wish everyone would switch off their TVs at the prime 9-11pm every evening, just to teach these guys a lesson.

I was happy to read that a small village in our nation has finally got electricity in 2015, after 68 years of independence.

For instances such as these, I’m ready to leave my cynicism behind and stand behind a government which works.

 

 

No point

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Dogs always know best.

Whether we are conservative or liberal….the moment we acquire a self-righteous, self-proclaimed right to make a judgement, we contradict everything that we probably set out to rant on.

It could be any hot topic of the day: Political leaning, economics, religion, climate change, morality or any social movement.

If nobody has the right to criticize an opinion, who are we to criticize the critic?

What is best and who are you?

How vocally should you denounce those opposing YOUR freedom of expression?

So here’s my 5 paisa worth of opinion: The last wo/man standing, with trampoline for a skin, wins it all.

And that’s all that there is to it.  

 

 

Pay back

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Hell hath no say, as media houses made to pay..

“No free rides to far away places?!”

“THIS government shall be pushed to negative spaces!”

Gone are those good ol’ days

When the bribes would come thick and fast

Wonderful how the Congress loved gratification

Every generation holding on to the tradition

Why, that’s how even our first PM was made in the past.

How dare the BJP tried to do the Right thing!

Centre!, Left is how it should be.

Burrow

Politics is so damn loud in India.

It percolates into work and fun, a dark heavy cloud. Everyone is expected to have an opinion and an answer to the hotly debated questions. Thrown up, stretched to the skin, cooked in a fire and served hot like a roomali roti..on your favorite ‘Breaking News channel’ (and there are many). Dare you form an opinion different from what the channels serve you. Why blame the Government, even the media feeds me what they want!

Most of the problems of this country are because different walls of a home or office, hear different opinions from the same person over the same issues.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the audio we produce, acquire teeth and bounce back on us.

Things will be quieter.

Until then, wondering where and how to hide from the noise, and form an opinion of my own.

The job at hand

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His eyes shifted uneasily before answering. Apologetically, he said “Rahul Gandhi”. I flinched and he nodded, understandingly. An avalanche of emotions threatened to topple over and I held them on knitted eyebrows. Suddenly my own life looked way too easy. I wanted to tell him that it would be alright and that bad times will pass, but I knew that words would never suffice. “Such is life, you never know where fate drags you” he continued, defeatedly. I could see how troubled he was at his misfortunes and helplessly, I watched him sling the bag on his shoulder. “Do you think the situation will ever improve?” I asked him. “It can’t, because he won’t. Hell, I don’t think he’ll even do well as a TV repairman like me, so I can’t ask for a job switch and drag our names down even more!” he quipped. Empathy spilled over, dissolved in laughter and drowned in the repaired TV’s volume much like ‘Rahul Gandhi‘s fate.