With Congress and NCP bowing and scraping before Shiv Sena for spoils of power; with even the Leftists refusing to condemn this display of political debauchery, the murderers of 1992/93— whether Hindu or Muslim— can now breathe easy…forever
I laughed, swore, ground my teeth, and swore some more, reading today’s Indian Express front-page piece with its hagiography of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader and Chief Minister-designate of Maharashtra.
“Behind mild exterior, a tough negotiator, tech-savvy manager,” gushes the article.
Not a word about the Shiv Sena’s vicious, parochial vision; not a journalistic peep about the Shiv Sena’s violent past and present.
O tempora O mores !
Briefly, I try and recollect the ten years I lived in Mumbai, from 1984 onwards; those were busy years, wonderful years, joyous years in this greatest of cities. But now, all I can recall are the unspeakable horrors that I experienced and witnessed in 1992 and 1993, when the people of Mumbai turned upon one another in the name of ‘religion’. Horrors that were largely instigated and inflicted by the glorified goondas of Shiv Sena, BJP et al.
Hazily, I recall that the murderers of Shiv Sena, BJP and affiliated Sangh Parivar groups were clearly exposed in 1998 by the Report of Justice B N Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry. I know no action was ever taken on the Report; now I wonder, does anyone even remember it?
I abandon my cerebral search and embark instead on a quick Google search. It appears that Great God Google remembers the Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry. Google remembers and recalls the Commission’s Report… though those of us Indians old enough to remember have forgotten, or chosen to forget, it ever existed.
Do forgive me, O most tolerant Reader: but after having troubled your mind with these musings, now I turn away from the screen and put a lid on my terrible memories. I can’t delete the memories: they will endure as long as I live; but I am too weary to dredge them out and revisit the horrors; too weary to rage anymore against the dying of the light.
There’s just no point.
Because now, with Sonia Gandhi’s Congress and Sharad Pawar’s NCP bowing and scraping before Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena for spoils of power; with even the Leftists refusing to condemn this most unholy display of political debauchery, the murderers of 1992/93—whether Hindu or Muslim—can now smirk and breathe easily…forever.
As can all those who have rioted and maimed and slain their fellow Indians since then, in the name of religion, caste, race, language.
Behold, the Shiv Sena has been Secularized!
The media is overjoyed. It is a Victory for Secularism against the BJP!
Only the lambs are silent, fearful…for the wolves have now entered the pasture in great numbers, and the wolves are wearing sheep’s garb.
I fling the newspaper aside, open my scrapbook and reflect on the enduring relevance of Martin Niemoller’s words from 1946:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
India is spearheading international efforts to combat the threats of Climate Change. With the 25th Conference of Parties due to take place in Madrid in early December 2019, and with the Winter Session of Parliament already on, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has prepared a small glossary of select terms related to Climate Change for the enlightenment of our MPs. Here are a few extracts from the booklet, provided to us by an anonymous and possibly non-existent source in the L.S. Secretariat:
Emissions: Emission (archaic: admission) is the same as confession. If you confess or emit to a crime, it is called ‘emission of guilt’. It is easy to understand why emissions are bad for your health. Luckily for you, as per Indian law an emission of guilt holds no weight in Court unless the emission is made in presence of a magistrate. Hence, if you are questioned by police, CBI or Enforcement Directorate regarding scams or other crimes, emit nothing.
Fossil Fuels: Describes the very old and seasoned bureaucrats in ministries such as coal, environment, forests, mining, petroleum & natural gas, etc., who have perfected the science of working very hard during their tenures to achieve zero outputs while at the same time ensuring zero emissions regarding any acts of omission and/or commission. (Related term: Zero-Effect Zero-Defect)
Conference of Parties (COP): This is a mechanism under which tax-payers across the world pay the United Nations to organize annual Parties for assorted Fossil Fuels, media-folk and other hangers-on from 193 countries in lovely holiday resorts such as Bratislava and Buenos Aires, Cancun and Cartagena, Nagoya and Nassau. Here, the Party-goers can argue about why emissions are bad for all of us, which country is emitting more than which, and what should be done about it and by whom. Already, 24 COPs have been held. Each COP usually ends with an Agreement under which all the Party-goers agree on two vital issues: (1) where to hold the next COP; and (2) a resolution never to promise to actually do something about emissions, as this might bring to an end all future COPs (this is also known as Principle of Shared Iniquity).
Coping Strategy/Adaptation: This is the approach adopted by a politician to cope with (or adapt to) a changed, politically adverse climate. If successful, the politician is said to demonstrate ‘Climate Resilience’.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Set up by UN, the IPCC has been working very hard for over 30 years to try and get over 190 countries to agree on important issues such as whether Climate Change is actually real, and if so, how to measure it and what the measurements tell us or don’t tell us about our past, present and future. So far, IPCC has produced many reports describing its brave efforts to get countries to agree on anything at all related to Climate Change (assuming it is real).
Low/zero carbon economy: Also called Zero-C, this is a cherished goal of India’s e-governance initiative, to minimize or eliminate the use of carbon paper while making hard copies of government documents. Zero-C will save paper and precious trees, and also protect politicians, government officials and affiliated Fossil Fuels against media stings and CBI inquiries based on leaked carbon copies of official documents. Note: Zero-C is not to be confused with Zero-X (archaic: Xerox), which is a different but equally harmful leaking mechanism.
Mitigation: This is a legal strategy by which politicians and other Fossil Fuels can cite mitigating circumstances to dilute charges brought against him/her under CrPC, IPC or even IPCC.
Renewables. These are inexhaustible energy resources for political parties. For example, in India both BJP and Congress promote solar energy, through Sun Salutations and Son Salutations respectively. Also, BJP specializes in forcing citizens to convert to biogas energy through cow protection or Gau Rakshak; while Congress and CPI(M) compete in promoting large-scale wind energy generation through Mani Shankar Aiyar and JNU Student’s Union respectively.
Clean Technology Transfer: A very rarely used term nowadays, it describes ‘clean’ defense deals where no bribes have been paid to politicians or arms dealers while purchasing military equipment/technology from abroad.
Appropriate technology: This describes modern, anti-pollution technology that is appropriate for Indian needs – such as the N95 anti-pollution masks being bought and distributed by Aam Aadmi Party at Delhi tax-payers’ expense to protect Delhi citizens against air pollution caused largely by the Delhi citizens’ own industries, vehicles and construction activities. However, if the appropriate technology is obtained by swindling of public money, it is termed ‘Misappropriate Technology’.
After three days of choking-level air pollution, it’s a glorious morning here in Delhi!
Today’s the 6th of November. I began the day with 90 minutes of pre-dawn yoga, followed by a brisk two-kilometre walk. Now, energized by a hearty breakfast and healing kaapi, I check the Air Quality Index on the Weather Bureau site. It announces that the PM 2.5 particulate emissions are a mere 210 micrograms/cubic metre at 9 a.m.
That’s wonderful… 210 mcg/m3 is not even four times the maximum safety level of 60 mcg/m3 … why, it’s almost as good as being in Bhutan!
I wipe my smarting eyes and breathe deeply of the pleasantly chill light-brown air, revelling in the tingling sensation that courses through the entire body and mind as the lungs fill with a perfectly-blended mix of SO2, NO2 and CO, flavoured with delicate hints of ozone and hydrogen cyanide and just a touch of that rare element, oxygen…
Forgive me the laboured sarcasm, O most valued Reader; but I’ve finally understood that it’s futile taking the issue of air pollution, or indeed any issue at all, very seriously in our beloved India that is Bharat. Three years ago, in 2016, I actually took the issue of air pollution seriously enough to write about it [please click here to read it]. But now I realize that nothing’s changed since then, except for the worse.
Instead of wasting my breath in gasping rants
At Kejriwal and Goel, and their many sycophants
I abandon the idiocy of all netas and affiliated fools
For the serenity of hills and rills, still quiet pools…
Let Delhi and its denizens make Haze while the Sun shines!
I’ll find refuge in flowery meadows, sighing pines…
In this illuminated and detoxified spirit, I recollect and relive four wonderful days I spent in the quiet little town of Barog, near Shimla, in late September 2017. I stayed with my dear friends Micky and Abha: their warmth, their generosity and hospitality helped me shed decades of accumulated stresses and blues, and rediscover the joy and wisdom of simply BEING.
I’ve written earlier about walking up to the old army cantonment of Dagshai during this visit. [You can read it here]. Here are some more photos from that time. A mere four days’ R&R; yet for me they evoke memories to draw on for a lifetime…
On the way up: Himalayan Queen
In and around home
Dagshai Cantonment – seen from terrace
A dreamy day in Kasauli
Barog railway station
There’s no road to/from Barog railway station. There’s only a steep, 400-metre path leading down through the forest from the Old Shimla Road. So Micky dropped me off at a signpost showing where the path begins, and I followed the path down…and down….
At Barog station
I never imagined I’d enjoy waiting for a train so much. I spent just over an hour at the station, during which I met only four souls: the cheerful Asst Station Master, an ancient and sleepy gangman; the young man who presided over the station’s canteen and fixed me two cups of black tea; and a phlegmatic dog who decided I needed constant supervision. Nothing seems to have changed here since the 1.15 km-long Barog Tunnel was completed in the early 1900s…