Jan Lokpal, Anna Hazare – my view.

The dilemma to support Anna Hazare or not is, well, a difficult one to resolve to say the least. While the popular voice among friends and society goes in favour of supporting him in his pursuit of Jan Lokpal in an overwhelming proportion, I have certain liberties that most of you don’t enjoy. One of it is not having access to a television. Now before you frown, consider the hype media builds up with an event which may be as nonsense as an elephant getting stuck in a well, or as vital as which salon does our ex President Mr Kalam preferred ( read sarcasm ). Now that credibility of media is at stake because it needs to sensationalise most of the events, resorting to newspapers, which even now presents a commentary rather than a biased point of view, to some extent. Add to that the resources of International print media, articles by supporters as well as cynic and those historical speeches by great visionaries; you just need time and little logical sense to arrive at an informed point of view of any happening. So with all the knowledge I could collect from all the places, I am in a position to take a stand.
I do not support Anna Hazare in his method to achieve Jan Lokpal Bill or the Bill in itself.
Now that my stand would be apparent to the reader, and he is most likely to dismiss this piece of literature as another opinion of a cynic/arm-chair thinker/pseudo-intellectual-who-has- to-be-different-from-the-crowd-just-for-the-heck-of-it, let me point out, I am a fan of certain achievements of Anna! Implementation of Right to Information Act, change of batons from Sharad Pawar led government on grounds of corruption and a few others, has been remarkable and the man deserves accolade and respect for what he has achieved. There is absolutely no rebuttal to the fact that his life has been self less and he could be considered a role model and be treat with reverence, which he has earned through his life.
Now here comes the “but” part! Are we, the middle class, who have responded to the occasion and made it a revolution, justified to hold a democratically elected government to ransom to get a bill drafted into constitution prepared by a few unelected representatives of our interests?
Democracy is a form of government where an elected set of representatives take care of interests of general electorate. Most of the cynics of Lokpal Bill, would say that this bill is a threat to democracy. In my opinion, it is not. There will be a government elected by the electorate, representing their interests. What Anna is demanding is, to make them more accountable and transparent. Blimey, that is a brilliant idea! So what is the problem?
Well, the problem lies in the sheer fact that honesty is not a quantifiable term. While the governments are answerable to the electorate and their protocols and finances could be a measure of their transparency and honesty, the same could not be applied to the Lokpal. Who is going to be the ombudsman and where is the guarantee that he will be morally upright and not another wolf in a sheep’s cloak? Can we not trust any of the more than 500 representatives of a billion plus population but rest all our faith in a group of people who make even the office of Prime Minister and Judiciary accountable, but hold no accountability of their own? Why should we believe that after this current crop of social activists, only those who with selfless heart, will continue to be ombudsman, but not a person with sub interests?
It has been coined as a revolution, we are being asked to put our statuses on facebook to create awareness, ok great, and I did so, so what next? Keep a day of fast! Well, good, I always wanted to cut that fat, so brilliant idea, I will go ahead and keep the fast and will make sure that I tweet/facebook about it, so that others are inspired as well. So, did I join a revolution?
Well, if you wanted to revolt, you could start by hitting the main cause of it.
Where did it all start?
Remember the 2G scam? Who was the culprit? Well, Raja and Rani… oops… Kani are already behind bars, but what about the companies involved? Let’s give up jobs in all the companies that were found guilty, shun their products, make sure our Tata Nano is in flames deliberately, rather than due to engine overheating, to register our protest with Mr. Ratan Tata, stop supporting Mumbai Indians, not because it failed to win the IPL, but to register protest with Mr. Ambani, and for once quit all the jobs they offer. You definitely don’t want their money.
Let’s go a step ahead. Try to understand why else was money paid off?
In the industries where Licence Raj remains, there are still rules that make you take a clearance for installing a weighing machine in the hotel room so that you could check your weight. Only recently, the restaurants were allowed to be at first floors. So the companies in order to get their interests pay off ministries to relax regulations. So next time you walk to a Domino’s on the first floor of a building, understand that someone at some point of history would have paid bribe to a corrupt official.
So, we the middle class people have benefitted the most out of it, the victims are the lower class who continues to be promised, and never be delivered. But I am sure; you wouldn’t have understood yet, why I chose not to support Lokpal and Anna’s fast unto death?
Well, for that let me take you to B R Ambedkar, the man who drafted the constitution. If you do not intend to dismiss him as a pseudo-intellectual and an armchair thinker as well, click here to read his speech.
So, instead of promoting Anna Hazare’s campaign, I have decided to promote a more rationale idea of wearing helmets while driving for road safety through my facebook profile. Hope I can inspire a few as well.

A Dream

Started off to create legends,
Stranded in stagnancy
The morale gets low at times
To be lifted impromptu
With a passing thought
Of a long forgotten dream

Inspired soul soars high
To find company with stars
Weaving dreams in its passage
A beautiful panorama
An unknown hinterland
Haunted by will and ambitions

Those who pass by, smile wryly
Arrogance provides the courage
Defiance turns as virtue
Time is rapt in mellowness
Life is just another paradox
To create an immortal legacy

The journey is the mission
Looking for that dawn
That brings the light
Along with promises
Life standing in magnificence
Made of reverie and reality alike

Knitted together
With that passing thought
Of a long forgotten dream

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Sachin the virtuoso Tendulkar

This post was long due, a tribute to the man, who still gets me in frenzy about cricket. More than 100 times he has composed the lyrics, sang the tune with his rhythmic flow of bat and provided the spectacle unmatched and unparalleled in its beauty in any sports arena. The swift movement of legs and a gentle glance towards the on-side, those down the track moves and a nonchalant bottom hand lift of the bat, the ball flying over the bowler’s head and the bowler looking back in awe, wondering how to respond to this genius, with a quiet return to his bowling mark or a well deserved bow of head.

He has woven magic over and again. On mention of his name, my heart has swelled with pride, never needed a reason or an occasion, every day, in and out for the past two decades simply because he is an Indian. He has been a figure constant in the ever evolving world, he has been a name associated with my life since my year of birth. 1989. Yes, the year when this humble fan was born, fortunately sharing it with the debut of the figure that would in coming years be revered as God.

When I think about cricket for last 21 years, and cricket has been my first love in sports forever, not a moment, not a picture comes to my mind which is not shared by the genius. A punch in the air after each of the five wickets against the mighty Australians in Cochin or the blizzard of two centuries that he brought to get India, the Sharjah cup in 1998, these are not mere calendar events. These are emotions that bring you the nostalgia of the time when a man would jump and make you jump with him. For whom the country of a billion hearts pray together, the man can’t be just a sportsperson. He is a phenomenon to have inscribed in three generation of Indian life. One lucky person happens to be me.

The 200* in ODI was not just a stats for record book. It was an experience of life time. The whispers among friends in classes to update with the score, those unexplained exclamations and jubilations which caught the teacher’s attention, and then the sudden rush to watch it happening, on the television. This feeling followed by a search of the nearest TV set, those friendly pushes in the crowd to be able to get a glance of the 21 inch screen and in it the giant figure of a tiny man. To bear the heat and crowd, yet cheering out loud with every gesture of the man, and those profuse use of obscenities if any opposition fielder as much as looked back to the genius in his eyes.

Win or loss will never matter after sometime, no one would bother if we were in the finals of the 2003 world cup, but the memories which will last with me are those blatant strokes of indignity that sent many bowlers wondering if they really deserved the shame. That enterprising pull against Andrew Caddick, which sent the leather way past the ground, those upper cuts and drives against the speedster Shoaib Akhtar which ruined his reputation. Those more than 600 runs in that world cup fest, each and every one of those will stay in memory, for those are not mere statistics, those are the experiences attached with this sport.

The legend has not stopped, the story has only reached its climax, and the end has just begun. Only if someone could defy the mortality of human body, this man deserves to get that grace. Not for the sports, not for his team, but for the billions, whose hearts throb and miss a beat with every ups and downs of this man’s fantasy world and with every win and his defeat. A salute to the mammoth that is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who was born to play a humble sport of bat and ball and take it to the ranks of divine, in the country where religion and caste are the basic fundamentals of his identity.

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Mixed Curry

Since I own this place, I thought I may as well use it once in a while. Now there’s nothing interesting happening in social sphere, apart from the here and there good news and terrific news (I tend to ignore the bad one’s. Too upsetting for my taste.), I looked around the political sphere. Quite surprisingly there are no notable events in that domain too. Apart from the usual corruption charges on the men in power (oh, its always the power which corrupts), there haven’t been juicy scandals or sensational political statements to talk about. Have the political leaders decided to mind their conduct in this holy month of Ramadan? Must be, I guess. The sports arena is also quiet. Sachin’s scoring as usual in cricket and there is always a debacle around the corner like the one against New Zealand. And as usual all other sports are suffering, a bit extreme this time around with the non-existence of Hockey Federation of India or whatever that was called.

Ah ! There’s one event worth talking about, the movie – Inception. What movie, boss. All I can pray is that no Bollywood actor/director/producer (there stays no distiction between them of late with actor becoming director, some producer becoming actor and all actors becoming producer), so I was praying that no actor and all others, who have the authority to copy a movie, tries to make a Bollywood remake of this movie. I would kill him. Now then you can have an original story to make a movie into. A deranged fan of a foreign movie kills the indigenous actor/director/producer, alleging the deceased that he was involved in defacing the work of art, the greatest art of probably this generation.

Umm, so this is basically what these times are all about, nothing out of ordinary. Hopefully that 15th of August is near, there would be a rush in patriotic feelings, some politician would also get jingoistic(Stay wary Pakistan! ), and ofcourse as nothing lasts forever, this feeling will wear away with time (a bit sooner in this case), and if not, will definitely shrink in proportion, that people showing their love for motherland will get a bit more concerned about their states, language and culture and hunt anyone down who would wander by on their pastures looking for more greenery. Isn’t it so, Mr. Shiv Sena? But that later, for now, I will find that dose of patriotic drug from nearby store. To those who are monetarily concerned, just take ample amount that lasts at most 20 minutes between flag hoisting and anthem singing, you can get back to your usual corrupt methods later.
Thank you and …umm…Jai Hind. (Flavour of the season isn’t it ?)

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Life of a Police man

Having witnessed the deaths of the CRPF cadets against Maoist once and again over the last few months, every person feel for Police force who risk their lives in the line of duty. All of us have vehemently criticised the government for their plight. Also NHRC has suffered our wrath for not representing the CRPF cadets and only cribbing about the injustice done on the dead bodies of Maoists and other terrorists. Rightly so!
Glad we can express these feelings. However this post will give you a couple of instances where our voices have failed us and those unnoticed instances and nuances that have deterred our police once and always.

1. Batla house encounter case-
This can be taken as a classic example when our national politics that has been based on “minority” appeasement and vote bank dynamics ensured many hassles for our Police force. Even though in this encounter a Policeman lost his life there were questions on its legitimacy. It was snubbed as a fake encounter even though the results showed that there were arrests made in Gujarat, Mumbai and other places and NHRC (the national watchdog more interested in noting the mistakes of Police than actually worrying about human rights) gave a clean chit.
However this was not enough for our politicians to accept the genuineness of the encounter for it did not comply with their political “manifesto”. Congress man Digvijay Singh, Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh were among the few who were concerned about the “fake” encounter incident.
A report by the media can be found here (1), (2) and (3).

2. The Internal Politics –
There was an incident in 2004, where the Special cell police of Delhi Police went to nab the dacoit who was involved in the shooting of Phoolan Devi. The arrest was made in the dacoit homeland of Jahanabad. To the shock of Special cell members, they had to face the apathy of the local police. The Police chief facing the local politics pressure, did not consent to going in for arrest with his force. This made the task dangerously difficult for the special cell members however after they nabbed him, a call was made to the district chief.
To their surprise they were all over the media thanks to the press conference by Jahanabad police who made claims ro share the credit. This only led to the task being made pretty difficult for they had to escape the media and everyone else’s glare for keeping a safe passage to the capitol. A member of the task team recounts to have got a phone call which challenged them to take the convict out of state. Though rest was smooth sailing. (Based on the accounts of a Special cell police member as told to the author in personal capacity).

3. Media’s bigotry account- Media has once and always been a watchdog against the atrocities of the Police, however they fail to present the unbiased point of view from both the sides. Here is a link in which a national news channel showed how couple of police constables hit a mentally challenged person on a railway station. However we have seen in the past that some of the anti-social elements pose as mentally challenged to have a free access to many places and have committed thefts among other crimes. The video doesn’t explain whether it was medically established that the victim was mentally challenged nor does it tells as to what prompted the police to act in the manner they did. (I am not justifying the inhuman beating but a more detailed report is what is expected than just some visuals from an amateur camera).

4. Pay scale and other hazards of the job- A 24×365 job does require sacrifices from the personnels mentally, physically and from the family as well. A member of the special cell recounts the Delhi bombings in 2005 that he had taken leave from duty to be able to celebrate Diwali with family after much complaints from his wife and sons. However he ended up being at the front line of duty for next month or so.
There have been complaints about the pot bellies of policeman. When we face fitness issues we take to the air conditioned gym in our Nike shoes. Does a meagre pay-scale of a policeman allows him such liberties? I personally hold the opinion that a police station should have an accompanying gym to give them an opportunity.

These are only few points that comes to mind at present, however living a policeman’s life would definitely be more complex than this post.

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Rupee symbol- Will India stay unite on this one ?

India has taken pride in its diversity which is more of a forceful compromise with its fate rather a wilful acceptance for the only time India as a whole came up in the maps when it was forced under British regime, else where it was merely a bunch of kingdoms at the best not bothered about each other and at worse, killing and looting among themselves.

This divide features a number of times right from the moment our boundaries were drawn until when constitution was framed.

1. National Song –
‘Vande Mataram’ was the most likely candidate for the national anthem but for the opposition by Muslim community it couldn’t be selected. Muslims have continuously opposed the selection of Vande Mataram and have refused to sing it. The controversy is because of a stanza in the song which compares India with
Ma Durga to bring out the strength in the nation to be united. It is ironical that this stanza which praises India’s unity made it stand divided.
The other controversy which came up against the national song was much later in 2006 when the centre made it mandatory for students all over India to sing the song. Muslims either stayed away from schools or stayed quiet while the song was sung.

2. National Language-
Hindi was a favourite to be selected as the national language for the vast majority spoke and understood the language. However it drew criticism from several quarters most vociferous of them from Tamil Nadu where protests were as extreme as self immolation. One of the Tamil Nadu leaders went on to suggest that Hindi be taken as a national language but be written in Roman script rather the Devanagiri script.
PS: Its interesting that we use Roman script in all our modern communication, be it sms, email, chat or others to write Hindi.

3. National Anthem-
The song was most widely believed to be composed in the honour of George the V-th and was sung for the first time when he came to India. Thus its appropriateness to be selected as the National Anthem was questioned.

In this scenario, it will be interesting to watch how does the national rupee symbol is selected and if it draws flake from any quarter especially when the most likely symbol to be selected is going to be in Devanagiri script.

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Post match analysis of the confusion

The Battle : Most of the Arab world (read Iraq and Iran) remained sceptical about much talked about battle of America and England, however were relieved when they found out that the two countries were pitched against each other. The wiser of the lot attributed this to the British Petroleum oil spills. The flame was only fanned by the talks about US military hero by Clint Dempsey.
Football or Soccer : The American fan who were expecting a match of football as promised by FIFA were surprised to see their team playing soccer instead. Reportedly the players were confused about the same which is why they conceded the goal in first 5 minutes. Then some messenger from the White House passed the message of Mr Obama of kicking ass. The US players luckily got only the kicking part and started kicking everything and anything around.
The Green Effect : Obama was categorical when he said that the Goals must be achieved only by Green means. The Britishers are facing the heat for oil spill (though they insist that BP doesn’t stand for British Petroleum and is only BP). Green somehow inferred that President Obama was referring to him and delivered the goal to the US. For the rest of the match, Terry stayed wary of him and did his best not to let the Goal keeper get his hands on ball.
The Yellow Card : To compensate for the Green Effect, Yellow cards were distributed freely to members of both the teams. However Howard the US goalkeeper insisted that he had successfully compensated for the bad goalkeeping by making a dozen saves and hence was excused. Steven Gerrard received a yellow card in the match and he was confused about it. He tried to explain to the referee that he already had a “Yellow band” (for he is the captain) and hence he wouldn’t need a card. The referee could not understand for he was only trained to know the swear words in English.
Wayne Rooney : He stayed the happiest of the lot for he accomplished what he never did before. He did not receive a yellow card or even fouled.

PS: Though this post is filed under Light moments, the events in the real time gave really tense moments.

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