Saturday, August 30, 2008

India's most destructive forces

Why am I writing this, when almost every self respecting Indian knows that the state of affairs in our political arena has almost got to the point of no return? Well, for one, the same reason why I started my blog, a window to release some steam. But more importantly, because most urban educated Indians are so used to market force economics in their daily lives, they expect almost everything to be offered as a service, and sadly, it's come to the point where even thinking seems to be going in that direction. The thorough assimilation of facts and arriving at a conclusion seems to have been 'outsourced' in some ways to the electronic and print media and people usually blindly parrot the opinions put forward by the media think tanks and other opinion makers showcased in the media (print and electronic).

Now for the destructive forces I was talking about. I had initially planned to mention only 5, but then had a good laugh at myself and realised that 5 is just way too small a number for dear India. The opinions presented here are mine, and no party or organisation is behind this, although I'm dead certain that the sentiments expressed here are the same; it's just that someone had to say it, and I did. And without further adieu, here goes:

1. Mayawathi Naina Kumari: Better known as Mayawathi, the current Chief Minister of our largest state Uttar Pradesh and the self styled dictator of the Bahujan Samaj Party is quite easily the most destructive force in the country, even beating Islamic fundamentalism because she is viewed as a means to an end for the Islamic fundamentalists, while the people she claims to represent, the dalits, view her as superwoman. Although she represents (or at least claims to) the most downtrodden people of the erstwhile Hindu society, she seems to have no problems with the fact that she is a multi-millionaire while the people who she represents never get to eat 3 square meals a day. In 2007, she declared her net assets worth Rs. 3 crore, and in 2008 it was Rs. 52 crore. And the explanation for this: the dalits she represents all contribute 5 and 10 bucks at every party meeting! And what's worse, there are people naive enough to believe that story. For a middle class Indian like me, figures in crores are all the same because I'm sure I can't even count that far in a lifetime, let alone hope to earn that much legally. She represents all the every modern, progressive Indian loathes. She has brought corruption to new heights, she spends crores on her birthday parties, yet when people die of hunger and starvation in her state, she blames it on either the center or on incompetent officials. She doesn't follow any democratic process in her party and rules with an iron fist, spying on every single party person using various party cadre, a la Soviet Union with the KGB. She demolished pubic property like stadiums and parks to build statues of her in the state. She is truly the epitome of evil and anti-progress.

And now she has her eyes set on the post of Prime Minister. If she succeeds in becoming Prime Minister, don't be fooled into believing what most timid commentators would say, which is "a downtrodden dalit rose to become Prime Minister... it's a matter of pride". No, it isn't. It will be a matter of shame for our democracy that we voted in the devil incarnate. One thing is for sure, if she becomes PM, I'm giving up my citizenship.

2. Prakash Karat, A B Bardhan and the Communists:

These guys are the primary support staff and scavengers, or like the Remora fish that stick to a shark and feed on bits of scrap after the shark finishes a meal, the shark being Mayawathi in this case. It is their assured support to her and her breed that has made her dream of the post of Prime Minister. Sure, a girl is allowed to dream, but if your dreams are the stuff of what nightmares are made of to the rest of the public, maybe, just maybe, it isn't such a nice thing after all.

The Commies have continually held the country to ransom and have been the primary cause for the lack of development and progress because of their outdated, Quixotic ideology, an ideology they stubbornly refuse to let go of, an ideology they fail to realise is alive outside of India only in some of the most brutal and repressive regimes, an ideology that opposes anything and everything related to the west. It would do our country good if these comrades are packed off to North Korea, where they can enjoy the hospitality of the Utopian communist dream.

3. Naxalism: Born out of the Sino-Soviet split in the Indian communist movement in the tiny town of Naxalbari in Bengal (hence the term Naxalwadi), the Naxalites are the greatest internal security threat the country faces after the crisis in the Punjab during the 80s. Naxalites have a de facto, parallel government running the show in states like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and parts of Andhra Pradesh. With moral support from the CPI(M), and other political parties using them as a means to achieve their selfish goals, Naxalism has spread like a virus among the poor in rural and tribal areas. It was a tough call to put this ahead of Islamic terrorism, but since Naxalism is tackled at a state level and not the national level, and knowing full well that the states are not prepared in any way to tackle this threat, it's at number 3.

4. SIMI, Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism: Enough has been said and enough is know about Pakistani sponsored elements in India, injected into India to bleed it from within. Add to that an organisation that was founded with the intention to bring India under an Islamic rule, and extend it as part of a world wide Islamic Caliphate (of course, I'm talking about SIMI), throw in a few politicos from the Muslim community who not only support them morally, but financially also, and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for disaster. I thought long and hard about why this ought to come after Naxalism and the reasoning behind it was that the center having more resources at its disposal would be at a better position to tackle the crisis brought out by SIMI and its ilk. However, it's a close call between the Naxals and the loony mullahs.

Another point of contention would be 'Why Mayawathi above terrorism, Naxalism, etc?'. Again, means to an end. If Mayawathi comes to power, these forces will be strengthened, and they'd hitchhike on Mayawathi's success and her pandering to the 'minorities' (read Muslims), and eventually take her out as well. It all hinges on her coming to power for them to get strengthened beyond the point of no return. Hence the despotic dalit leader is perched high and above all at no. 1.

As far as SIMI goes, sure, the usual police rhetoric about them doesn't help, but the fact is that SIMI started out in 1977 as an organisation to 'liberate India' from western materialistic influences and convert it into an Islamic society. This alone should be cause enough to have them banned for good. I'm quite sure that 'changing' a secular society into an Islamic one is totally unconstitutional, and what's more, I quite like the scene now where I don't have to see women clad in black bee-keeper suits from head to toe. If the Muslim leaders want it that way, and want to head back to medieval times where they can live in caves and ride something that has actual horse power (that's right, I'm talking about a horse), then someone please tell them that the Taliban have been replaced by an elected government, or ask them to apply for a visa at the Saudi Arabian embassy. This country isn't going to become a sanctuary for Islamic nutters, and should never, ever yield to any religion, and has to remain secular for sanity to prevail.

And now finally, to the Muslim politicos in the country. Several of them, in front of the cameras would preach universal brotherhood and showcase their 'secular' credentials, but the truth of the matter is most of them are anything but secular, but Islam doesn't preach secularism (and this a fact, so don't write to me saying anything to the contrary), and most of the Muslim leaders are true Muslims, which means they are anything but secular. These men suffer from an inferiority complex where they try to attack women authors who express themselves in books, put bounties on cartoonists, have no issues with people getting forcefully converted to their religion but cry foul when the reverse is in progress, etc.

5. Pseudo secularism of the Congress: The attitude of the Congress party and some of its allies is very disturbing indeed, as they seem to be the support system that elements from the communities which usually indulge in anti-national activities bank on when in dire straits. For long, the congress has pussyfooted around when it came to acting tough on Muslims for fear of losing out on a lucrative vote bank. A simple case is that of the illegal Bangladeshi Muslims who have infiltrated into the state of Assam and have now settled in have have procured documents like ration cards and voter IDs. However ,in spite of being in power in the state, the Congress chooses to do nothing because they know that that group of illegal aliens are their most dependable vote bank during any election. What's more, it is usually this group that provides shelter and help to the anti-national elements who hop across the border and come here to blow innocents.

Even with the issue of hanging Afsal Guru in the Parliament attack case, they are dragging their feet. With no proper explanation given, they are making a mockery of the justice system., and eroding our faith in the entire system of governance. As it is our government machinery is crumbling all around us, and when the judicial system is overruled by a bunch of septuagenarians and octogenarians who won't last too much longer, citizens with young children have to take a more mature look at the policies that could potentially make our country unsafe for the children in the years to come.

6. Hindutva and the Sangh parivaar: Very many Indians, who are fed up with the slack that Muslims are cut in our country because of the value of their vote, often think that this sort of attitude needs to be balanced out by an equivalent force, and quite naturally turn towards the BJP and the Sangh. However, what they don't realise is that this is a vicious cycle, one that when viewed from the Muslims side says that they are being targeted for being a minority, and when viewed from the Hindu side says that no one religion can be given so much importance over another, especially over the majoirity community. Well, both sides are right, and both are wrong. Where the BJP and the sangh go wrong is when their leaders like Praveen Togadia make speeches where they say that secularism is bad and that secularism is not in our tradition, blah, blah, blah. Firstly, secularism is something which is at the very core of Hinduism, which sadly even the so called defenders of the Hindu faith don't seem to be aware of. Next, instead of using secularism as the tool to get more of the masses to throng toward them, they are doing the exact opposite which not surprisingly seems to have the exact opposite effect with the masses.

The activities of the Bajrang Dal in Gujarat, and more recently in Orissa, only highlights my point. Instead of taking the moral highground and showing restraint and earning public sympathy, the BJP and the Sangh have gone about it the exact same way George Bush did after 9/11, becasue after 9/11 there was tremendous sympathy toward the USA, but in going all guns blazing and attacking a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (Iraq), the United States started to feel the wrath of those who until then chose to stay away from the conflict. Ditto with the sangh. Had they shown restraint after the killing of their leader in Orissa instead of attacking missionaries and destroying churches, it would have earned a lot more followers. Instead, by launching into brutal attacks against Christians, it has only had a detrimental effect and the usual 'stereotyping' of the BJP as anti-Christian and anti-Muslim and all that.

One can argue that it's about time someone stood up for the rights of the majority community, and you'll get no argument out of me against that. But the means that they choose to use to achieve this goal of standing up for the Hindus is what needs to question. Not every problem needs an eye-for-an-eye type solution. Change is the need of the hour, and these guys are in serious need for an image makeover. By going all out against the minorities, they are only playing into the trap that the fundamentalists have laid out to justify their attacks on India.

7. Regionalism: Actually, 'language'ism derived from regionalism. Not the usual north-south divide, but the divide over who gets to live where, and who gets first preference because of the language they speak. I'm talking about the violence resorted to by a certain Bal Thackeray (BT) and his supporters during the late 60s and 70s against the immigrants from Mangalore and other parts of south Canara who came to Mumbai (then Bombay) and made it big in the hotel industry, butt-kicking the local Marathis out of business, purely because of the quality of food and the efficienct with which the hotels were run. The sort of violence Bal Tahckeray's nephew Raj Thackeray (RT) and his goons have resorted to in the recent past against north Indians in Mumbai. Enough has been said about the folly of the argument made by RT, about how it would actually have a negative impact on the economy of the state, and how the 'outsiders' are not illegally profiting at the expense of locals (unless they actually are living in illegal settlements and making a profit by means of illegal activities). In Karnataka, we have Vatal Nagaraj with his dirty fishing hat and dark glasses branding himself as the champion of Kannadigas and the Kannada language. It's idiots like him who always give a bad name to a people, and this is especially true in the case of Kannadigas, who were otherwise thought to be very accomodating and hospitable.

How do we tackle the problem? Good question, and a simple answer to it would be to ensure that first and foremost, people coming in from other states don't get special treatment, which would only serve to strengthen the case of the locals demanding their ouster. Next, schools should make it a point to teach the students that discremenating on language is as bad as discremenatingon religion, race, caste, creed, skin colour or sex. And in case you want to blame someone, then I guess we'll have to go a long way back and blame Nehru, because it was his grand idea to divide on the basis of language. What would have been a better option? Well, instead of language, the country could have been divided into zones, like how the railways does it. North, south, east, west and central. Each zone could then be further divided into sub-zones depending on whatever compelling factors were prevalent. That way, 'micro-managing' the issues existing in every area would have also succeeded. However, since by-gones are by-gones, there's no point in crying over spilt milk now. In case I come up with more material on this topic, I'll add it later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Parody on the miracle birth

This could be read as a prologue of sorts to the upcoming Larry Charles movie 'Religulous'. Not to offend anyone, and I say it with all sincerity, but this was a little too good to pass up.

Reposted from an article on

Jesus Christ and His Magic Kingdom

Christianity began in the year 0001; coincidentally, the same year a carpenter’s wife named Mary had gotten mysteriously knocked up. Figuring that he could be worse off than taking sloppy seconds to the Creator, Joseph hung around until the birth of her baby, whom she named Jesus.

Joseph seemingly raised Jesus as his own son, mostly for the baby shower gifts that were bestowed upon the family (you should never look gift frankincense in the mouth), and tried to teach him the family trade. While Jesus never showed much of an aptitude for nailing pieces of wood together, he eventually found that he was quite good other things, like healing the sick, walking on water, and changing water into wine – all of which made for good back-up careers, and entertaining party tricks.

After hanging around at his house until he was 30 years old, Jesus struck out on his own, and his act soon gained a strong following. As his entourage grew larger, and more dependent on him to make them look cool, he decided to mix in a few lessons he picked up from his real dad. He taught them some doctrines of faith, like charity, compassion, non-violence, tolerance and love – values that the church established in his name would selectively forget about centuries later.

Jesus's big break came when he got an impressive gig baptizing John (a well-known theologian who was also up for the office of next messiah). After a big palm parade into Jerusalem featuring Jesus riding a donkey (not like in Tijuana) some jealous glory-hounds hatched a plan to gain fame by taking him down. They recruited Jesus’ right-hand man, Judas, and with a few shiny coins, convinced him to give up Jesus’ secret garden.

Once discovered, Jesus was taken and, in a cruel twist of fate, made into one of his failed carpentry projects from childhood. But Jesus had one final party trick up his sleeves – raising himself from the dead, living for 40 days and then ascending to the heavens in full view of a studio audience. It was this grand finale that cemented his place in religion’s Hall of Fame and inspired a lucrative church business, as well as a never-ending line of books, statues, velvet artwork, clothing lines, jewelry, and other gaudy souvenirs.


In keeping with the spirit of the movie Religulous, this article best describes what the new movie is all about. Directed by Larry Charles of Borat fame, the movie talks about the nutty things people do in the name of religion, along with the destructive as well. Watch the trailers on YouTube, or watch it below, and be sure to catch the movie when it comes out in October.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What a loser

I think this has got to be the worst moment in the 2008 Olympics, even surpassing the atrocities (if any) committed by the Chinese security agencies against any Tibetans (didn't hear anything, but doesn't mean nothing happened). I mean, how could you have the audacity to kick the ref? This isn't even football. As a student of karate, I know for a fact that students of any martial art are also taught the aspects of discipline that are so tightly coupled with the martial arts. I guess communist Cuba, or at least Angel Matos and his trainer didn't have time for that. I just wish he was arrested by the Chinese police for some charge, and thrown into prison for life - I'm hoping the governments of the two communist regimes could come to an understanding and have him drowned in the yellow sea, or worse, he could be made to eat whatever the Chinese eat, and only raw at that. I'd like to see him kick his way outta that one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We won a couple more

We won, we won,
we got 'em on the run,
with a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum,
Olympic glory, here we come!

2 more medals,a bronze and the other one will at least be a bronze. Sushil Kumar won a bronze for the country in wrestling after 56 years. The first person to win it, K D Jadhav, achieved the feat in the '52 Helsinki games.

At the end of the day, Vijender Kumar, the third of our pugilists who made it to the quarter-finals in their respective weight categories, made it past the quarters in to the semis, and so has assured us of at least another medal. With his Grecian looks, this guy ought to be walking the ramps, and not getting punched, although punching others in the face is quite OK :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

India's best sporting achievement

Finally, we win a medal at the Olympics, and what a medal it was! It can't get better than gold, unless it's a clutch of gold medals, but nonetheless, an individual gold medal, the first in our! This sure as hell beats the sporting glory our country achieved when we won the 1983 Prudential world cup at Lords and the inaugural T20 world cup that we won last year in South Africa. And I'm not even taking into account the hockey teams' feat of 6 consecutive Olympic golds. Also, this isn't to say that an individual triumph is better than a team victory (for one thing, they shouldn't even be compared), but it's the occasion, the magnitude and the ramifications of the victory that decide which was better. When Leander Paes was asked which was the finest victory in his career, he didn't mention any of his grand slam victories, or even his victory over Pete Sampras, but the bronze medal he won at the 96 Atlanta Olympics. And the reason was simple, according to him: at Wimbledon and elsewhere, it would read, 'Leander Paes & Mahesh Bhupathi - Winners', but at the Olympics it said 'India - 1 medal'.

The cricket team of the past (1983) and the current crop that won the T20 world cup deserved every bit of the plaudits that they received, and you can't blame them that cricket isn't a sport in the Olympics where they could perform and try to win a medal for the country on a world stage of this size, but then again, our athletes who make it to this theater of athletic and sporting pinnacle don't get paid the way our cricketers do, and so it's only fair that they be given a slightly larger share of the plauditary pie; even our cricketers wouldn't mind it for sure.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Abort! Abort! Abort!

Once again the debate about who should have the final say about the continuation of a pregnancy has shown it's ugly face. The question faced by the Mehta couple is that if their child is indeed born with a heart defect that could eventually lead to, at best, being on a ventilator, or at worst the child losing it's life due to heart failure (maybe dying would be the better option and being on the ventilator the worse option... I don't know), then would it be worth it. If the parents know that they cannot afford the costs to keep their child on a ventilator, what's wrong in them opting for an abortion of the pregnancy and try for another child, hopefully which wouldn't have any threatening defects?

The law here is based purely on medical science, which is that a pregnancy can be terminated only before 20 weeks and not after, for two important reasons: 1) A termination after 20 weeks increases the chances of risk to the mother's life. 2) After 20 weeks, technically, the foetus starts to show signs of life i.e. if it were to be delivered before the 20th week, it would be born as a still born (meaning without life), but if it were to be be born after the 20th week, it could technically survive because it would be born 'alive', and so in the most technical sense, you would be killing something (someone) that (who) has signs of 'life'.

Agreed, in the case of the Mehta's, the pregnancy is in it's 26th week, and so there could be risk to Mrs. Mehta's life. But if that is the sole reason to deny an abortion (because the mother is at risk), then why don't we have laws that check for risks involved in other day-to-day actions: like we've been taught in school to look right and then left while crossing the roads or we could end up in an accident, but we don't have laws that mandate we do this. Why not? After all, it could lead to death if not followed carefully. Hospitals are supposed to use disposable syringes, but a person reusing a syringe is not punished for putting his or her life in danger. There are several examples that can be cited to counter the argument that the mother's life may be at risk and hence the abortion shouldn't be performed.

For the Mehta's sake, I hope their child is born without any defects and can lead a normal life. What the heck am I saying: normal? How the hell can the child live a normal life even if he or she is born without any defects? The child's entire life will be enveloped in the fact that it's parents never wanted it to be born for fear of losing it, and all this because in the 21st century, we like to watch everything in technicolour. This story has been in all the news channels and papers and I'm certain that even if the child is insulated from this fact, he or she will eventually get to know about it. What then? Who should bear the responsibility for the child's trauma? The parents? No, not at all. Since it is primarily societal pressure that is preventing the couple from doing what they feel is best for their child, the blame has to be put squarely on our society. I certainly hope to live to see the day when we stop making decisions based on societal pressures (the first one that comes to mind apart from abortion is marriage of the girl child, where everyone's opinion but the girl's is taken).

Pro-life, pro-choice, the debate isn't new, not in India, not anywhere else in the world. It's been a cause for the religious loonies to lose their marbles every now and then, and it's also been the catalyst for a lot of political strife. I for one know that I am very consistent with my views on death. I'm pro death penalty, I'm pro choice (pro abortion), I'm pro suicide, I'm pro assisted suicide (euthanasia)... in short, I'm pro death if a person wishes it for himself or herself, and in the case of abortion, if they wish it for a foetus (because it isn't born yet, and only the parents get to decide if it's a 'person' or not, and if it should be 'born' or not). At least I'm not a hypocrite, which can't be said about most of those who are on the other side.
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