General ravings, Potshots

A discordant demonetized note

note-of-dissent
“You have your bank; I have mine!”

 

I admire Rahul Gandhi for standing up for his principled stand against demonetization.

Even if Rahul’s standing up lasted only 40 minutes.

I give Rahul G a salaam because on November 11th, the man actually made the effort to visit his bank and stand in queue to withdraw money.

It is true that the queue was ‘abolished’ as soon as Rahul turned up, as reported widely and vociferously in media [click here to read full story]. Indeed, it remains an enduring mystery as to what exactly ‘abolish’ meant. Equally, it remains a mystery as to why, if the queue was abolished, Rahul had to wait for 40 minutes to draw his money. In the absence of clarifications, we can only conclude that in the strong and persuasive hands of Rahul’s SPG security detail, the existing queue of suffering citizens underwent rapid, non-spontaneous disintegration and vanished, to be replaced by a queue comprising Rahul + 24 to 28 SPG personnel + a few select journalists. It probably took 40 minutes to complete this eviction-cum-sanitization-cum-queuing operation, including a few minutes for the bank officials to click their selfies with Rahul, and journalists to set up their cameras and mikes and things.

Cynical? A political stunt? Maybe.

But at least Rahul had the sensitivity to criticize the bank officers severely for abolishing the queue on his behalf and thereby adding to the sufferings of the poor whom he declared he represented, and had come to stand in solidarity with, by standing in queue. [I know that reasoning sounds a tad confused…but then, so does Rahul.]

Rahul may not know his Ps and Qs. But Rahul at least made his own queue…and stood in it.

To my diminutive and diminishing mind, that simple act alone qualifies Rahul to continue railing against demonetization for all he’s worth.

That’s much more than can be said of most other political leaders – be they from Left, Right or the non-existent Centre – who rant and rail for and/or against demonetization. With a few honourable exceptions, there is no knowledge in public domain to evidence that these Hon. leaders and affiliated riff-raff have stood in a bank queue once since November 8th. I wonder whether they have ever stood in a queue for anything at all, any time during their lives.

I would have expected all political parties to mobilize their multi-million strong cadres in organizing voluntary support services for the queuing masses during this trying period. Little things could have made such a huge difference: chairs and rugs for the elderly and frail to rest on; water to drink; chai and samosas and idlis to keep energy and spirits up. Instead, the netas and their slippery adherents have only advanced highly creative arguments, on TV and in print media, to explain that they have not gone anywhere near ATMs or banks since November 8thbecause they do not want to add to the burden of the poor, whom they represent!

By way of example, read the responses from two political leaders on their ‘bank/ATM experience’ during the cash crunch, as reported in Indian Express: [emphases mine]

  1. Sitaram Yechury, CPM:

“Just look at the line, even at the bank in Parliament. Though you are legally entitled to withdraw Rs 24,000, we don’t have the heart to go and draw currency from there…People say let us move out as an MP has come but we don’t feel like making them do that…”

[click here to read full story]

  1. Birender Singh, BJP (Union Steel Minister)

“I went to withdraw from the Parliament branch but on seeing the long queue I came back after entering…I could not tell them to give me cash out of turn…”

[click here to read full story]

So…Yechury and Singh sacrificed their ‘right’ to jump the queue! How noble of them. Did it strike them that they could have bravely joined the queue instead and waited their turn?

As to what I think of demonetization: well, the other day someone sent me a message – yet another one of those WhatsApp-driven campaigns ad nauseum – urging me to nominate Prime Minister Narendra Modi as ‘Person of the Year’ for launching his demonetizing initiative.

I responded by refusing, and suggested an alternate nominee for Person of the Year: a freelance carpenter—a daily-wager like me—with whom I’d stood in queue at a bank for close to two hours to draw money.  When I asked the carpenter what he thought of demonetization, he replied after deep thought:

Taqleef to hai. Lekin, hamare jaise aam log, gareeb log ke liye toh taqleef, is prakaar lamba line me khada hona, har roz ki baat hai. Yeh pehle baar hum dekh rahe hain  jab ameer log aur saale haraam zaade @@#%$&&* do number paise waalon ko bhi taqleef ho raha hai! Isse main khush hoon!”

[“Of course it’s hard. But then, for people like me, for poor people, hardships like standing in long queues are routine; they are part of our daily lives. This is the first time we see that the wealthy too, especially those bastards, the @@#%$&&* black money hoarders,  are facing hardships. This makes me happy.”]

I would not dare claim that I understand, or have experienced, even a tiny fraction of the agonies and indignities, the hardships that fill the daily lives of the several hundred million Indians less fortunate than me; hardships that are a bleak reality for them from birth to death.

But I can proudly declare this much: I am very used to standing in queues.

And so, I stand in solidarity with that carpenter…and echo his views on demonetization, down to the ionizing expletives.

Jai hind.

General ravings, Potshots

Why I trust Pakistani media more than Indian Media

I am beginning to trust the Pakistani media more than our own.

I hear distant howls of protest. The howls are presently followed by yips and snarls, suggesting that I am, in praising Pakistani media, placing my nationalistic credentials in doubt because (according to the yippers and snarlers) the Pakistani media finds nothing good whatsoever to say about Indians and India and is in fact biased against India and obsessed with reportage on Indian evils and stupidities.

I bark back cordially, citing in my defense incontrovertible evidence in public domain (in the shape of every Indian 24/7 TV news channel and every Indian newspaper) that our own Indian media too finds nothing good whatsoever to say about Indians and India and is in fact biased against India and obsessed with reportage on Indian evils and stupidities – even more so than Pakistani media.

Pakistan’s media is better than our own, because at least it tables the hard evidence to support its views on the  idiocies and crimes of Indians.  We are then able to examine that evidence ourselves, and accept or dismiss its worth. In sharp and unpleasant contrast, our very own ‘free’ Indian media rarely provides us with the hard evidence on which we can form our own opinions. Instead, it views and judges the evidence on our behalf (sans our invitation!)…and then, based on its own judgment, proceeds to pontificate, preach or otherwise editorialize on its own views on the matter without showing us the evidence till we rip the newspaper to shreds in rage (thereby depriving ourselves of 0.04 rupees we might have got from the kabadiwallah); or (horror of horrors) we are driven insane and meet a ghastly end staring, zombie-like, at the TV screen whence the shrieks of Arnab Goswami’s News Hour emanate and echo off the walls…

By way of example, consider the curious Indian Express front-page report on Ashoka University on 13th October, 2016 [click here] followed by an editorial on the subject on 17th October 2016 [click here].

Curious, because it raises a huge hue and cry over the ‘sudden resignation’ of two faculty members (unnamed) of Ashoka University. The Indian Express suggests the resignation is not a resignation but a sacking, allegedly over an online petition on (you guessed it) Kashmir violence that the two faculty members allegedly signed with 80-odd Ashoka University students.

Curious, because while the Indian Express headline suggested that this is something that had just happened, a patient reading of the story through to the inner pages revealed that the petition had in fact been written and posted online in July 2016—that is, nearly three months earlier.

Three months… imagine that.

Curious, that the Indian Express and the rest of Indian media (well, at least the few newspapers like The Hindu that picked up the story) suddenly woke up to the existence of this curious online petition three months after it was posted.

I know people complain about how slow Internet speeds are in India…but surely the ISPs that cater to Indian Express et al. can’t be that slow? Could this be another dastardly plot by the Modi-led NDA government to stifle the freedom of the press?

Less bandwidth, more banned wit?

I was curious to find out more. Curious about why I had never heard of this three-month-old petition. Curious also to read it; surely it had to be really incendiary for someone to be sacked for it – if only three months later? The Indian Express editorial of 17th October called it ‘rather strongly worded’; that only whetted my curiosity.

But even curiouser, in fact absolutely the most ek dum zyaada curious of all (curiousestest, perhaps?), I couldn’t find the petition on the website of any Indian newspaper.

Indeed, not a single Indian media house – neither print nor unprintable – had or has published the contents of the curious petition. Even the online forum where it had originally been posted – kafila.org – was ‘temporarily unavailable’, and has been so for 10 days now.

Which means, We the Wee People of India cannot read the petition via our own media and judge for ourselves as to whether it is worth bothering about.

I had to hunt the petition down on Pakistani media.

And that’s why I think the Pakistani media – indeed its reporters and journalists – are far more honest and transparent, perhaps even more courageous, than our own.

Here is the petition, copied and pasted from Daily Pakistan’s website: [posted there on 28th July 2016!]

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/world/ashoka-university-students-demand-for-plebiscite-in-kashmir/).

[QUOTE]

To

The Govt of India and the Govt of Jammu and Kashmir

We, the undersigned—current students, alumni of the Young India Fellowship of Ashoka University—write to voice our deepest anguish and grave concern at the violent turn of events in Kashmir in the past few days.

The violence perpetrated by the Indian State after the extra-judicial execution  of 22-year old Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani  is highly condemnable. The Indian Army, Kashmir Police and other task forces have reacted violently with bullets, pellets and lathis in the clashes that erupted after Burhan’s funeral. This was immediately followed by many more protests and demonstrations as part of Kashmiri resistance to the military occupation of Kashmir by the Indian State.

In the violent repression of the protests which had a huge ground support (evident from the large attendance to Burhan’s funeral) , 55 civilians  have been killed and around 3100 people  were severely injured by the pellets , lathis and bullets, some of whom have lost their eyesight.

We, unequivocally, condemn this brutal use of force by the Indian State in dealing with the protests after the killing of Burhan Wani.

Several patients with injuries preferred not to get admitted in the hospital as the Police and CRPF have arrested some patients from the SMHS Hospital Casualty ward.

The armed forces were seen attacking hospitals and ambulances and stopping people going to funeral processions.

Consequently, alarming images of police, army and task force brutalities against women, children and youth have surfaced on social media.

We condemn the inhuman treatment meted out to the patients and the injured at the hands of the armed forces and the police.

At the same time, partial and prejudiced reportage by the jingoist national media is becoming the basis for racism, regionalism and religious intolerance among many Indians who are not afraid to bully Kashmiris and other minorities.

We condemn the grossly irresponsible way in which news channels reported about the on-going spate of violence playing to the majoritarian nationalist sentiments’ in a rush to increase their TRP’s and we appeal to them to report the ground realities, pain and agony of the Kashmiris.

The region is under a complete blackout with all modes of communication and transport blocked. The Valley has been under curfew for the past 14 days and it is still being enforced at the time of the writing of this letter.

Internet and mobile services have been completely cut-off for over nine days now. There are also reports of electricity and water supply cuts in some parts of the state. Newspaper offices of Kashmir Times and Rising Kashmir were attacked by police and its employees arrested and its copies seized.

The attack on freedom of the press is a part of the tactics of the repressive mechanism of the Indian state to contain popular mass unrest in the valley.

This is not a one off incident as similar methods of intimidating and gagging the press have been employed by the government and its security agencies in the last two and a half decades.

This is a complete breakdown of law and order machinery as the institutions which are supposed to maintain peace, law and order are responsible for the lack of same.

We demand the immediate restoration of communication and transport facilities in the valley and appeal to the Govt. to end the curfew too.

The Indian state is inflicting all these atrocities on the Kashmiris in the name of Indians. We believe that the time has come when we protest the human right abuses and violations being carried out in our name by the Indian State. The following are our two pronged demands to the Indian Government:

Demilitarise Kashmir: Kashmir is the world’s most densely militarized colony with over 700000 military, paramilitary and militarized police.

We demand that Army is withdrawn from civilian areas in the Valley and not to use the Army for maintaining regular law and order. We also appeal to the Indian State to confine the job of the army to just the ‘borders’.

We also demand that colonial laws like AFSPA and Public Safety Acts should be repealed keeping in view their draconian nature and the history of human right abuses they have been responsible for.

Conduct A Plebiscite: A plebiscite was promised to Kashmiris as early as 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India in a white paper released by the Govt. of India.

We demand that this promise of Indian State to the Kashmiris is honoured and a plebiscite should be conducted in the next two years in both the ‘Kashmirs’, the Indian Occupied Kashmir and the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

We believe that the Self Determination right of the Kashmiris is an inalienable right. We demand the Indian state to retreat from Kashmir, and let the Kashmiris decide their future and sovereignty.

University Students and Alumni

[UNQUOTE]

Having read the petition, I think the ’80-odd’ students and faculty who signed this are just that: 80 odd people. Perhaps they are distinctly odd people. A few might even be jackasses. But I’m convinced they are harmless.

But that’s only my opinion. You have every right to form your own opinion. We all do.

Why couldn’t the Indian Express – and the rest of our media – just have published this petition?  And then left it to us to decide whether it is something worth fighting for in the name of upholding ‘liberalism’ (as Indian Express argued ad nauseum in its editorial) or whether (as I believe) it is merely a small, slightly fetid but harmless piece of organic fertilizer rendered in 12-point serif font?

No-one will tell me…there’s no-one to ask.

But now a thought strikes me: don’t our TV channels blip out even the most natural, light-hearted references to acts of sex (Aiyo Rama) or ablutions (Chee Chee Gandha), don’t they blur out even the slightest flashes of skin (male, female or otherwise) above the knee or below the neck, from old TV reruns like Seinfeld? That ‘70s show? Mr Bean, for God’s sake!?

The Indian government hasn’t asked the TV channels to censor these shows; or else surely we would have heard about it!

It’s pretty obvious our media is censoring what we get to see and read…of its own volition.

Today I asked my newspaper vendor whether he could get me Dawn or Daily Pakistan on a regular basis. He said he’ll ask around…but from the way he casually asked me whether I know much about miniature electronics and whether I can drive a truck, I doubt he will.

I’m joking, of course. Sorry to tax your patience…I could go on and on, but it’s nearly 9 p.m. Got to go.

Don’t want to miss Arnab.

Jai Pakistani media. Hai Hai Indian media!

Jai Hind.

General ravings, Musings

Writhing on Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block is a tough thing to handle.

The symptoms of the dreaded ailment vary in their form and severity.  Currently, I’m in the midst of an attack; from the intensity of the symptoms, I would rate it at about 7.5 on the logarithmic Writher Scale of Writer’s Block. The cranium feels as though it’s filled with a mixture of brick dust, goat’s droppings and fragments of bad memories in stoichiometric proportions, bonded together into a kind of gloopy mass by pressurized chlorine that occasionally emerges from the ears with a muted but high-pitched whistle.

Strangely, no-one else seems to hear the whistle.

From decades of experience, I know that the whistle is in fact nothing more than my Early Warning System, telling me that I must desist from any attempt to write anything at all, or even think in sentences that have more than six words each.

To ignore this warning is to risk a slow, lingering descent into that ghastly hell specially created for writers by the One.  I have tried ignoring the warning, oh yes! I have. And I have suffered agonies, gentle reader, against which would pale into insignificance even the exquisite horrors of watching and hearing  Barkha Dutt, Arnab Goswami and Rajdeep Sardesai  in seriatim non-stop for 72 hours.

To try and overcome Writer’s Block by brute force is to risk entering a nightmarish, torturous eternity sans creativity.

I call it the Aiyo Aeon.

In Aiyo Aeon
The Ecstasy of the Aiyo Aeon

Usually, what I do at such times is what Vyasa, Milton, Shakespeare, Wodehouse, O Henry and the rest of them doubtless did: I engage in innocuous activities.

Like, I weed flower-pots. At an earlier, more innocent age, I would have smoked weed – or pot – while weeding flower-pots.

Or, I sort out the piles of paper,  books and affiliated trash that usually cover most all the furniture in the house.

Or I walk. I stroll around the house, the colony, the park. On occasion, I attempt crawling up assorted walls.

I go buy vegetables and fruit. I come home and wash them, dry them, store them away in fridge.  I clean out the fridge; the loos; the window shutters.  The terrace. The wallet.

I stare sightlessly at walls, ceilings, clouds, treetops, TV screen (on or off). Or I go to the library and stare sightlessly at books on shelves, or pages of magazines and journals, or at the other members sitting and staring sightlessly at me or at the walls or their books and things.

Or I listen to music. Play the guitar, drum on the dining table (the acoustics are specially good on its  wood) or on chairs, occasional tables, glazed clay pots, kitchen counter, steel utensils, passing neighbour’s dog (meaning the dog is passing, not the neighbor; the acoustics of the dog’s ribs are pretty good too).

Sometimes I sing while playing music. I make faces at the mynahs, bulbuls and squirrels that gather at the windows and heckle me when I sing. The crows, credit to them, never heckle me; they only listen in rapt attention; perhaps my voice reminds them of some long-lost relative.

And if all this fails, if and only if I’ve tried every other possible option to no avail…only then do I dare try the most dangerous method to overcome the dreaded barrier of Writer’s Block.

I take pen and paper, or I sit at the desktop.  I draw a deep breath or seven, put down a question, and then attempt to answer the question in not less than 10 words, within an hour.

It is a strenuous task indeed. To quote the great 11th century Roman poet Ibn Muralidhara Digestus, it is as strenuous as overcoming a two-month-long constipation. Even when successful, it usually yields about as interesting end-results, to misquote Steinbeck entirely out of context.

For instance, the following profoundly philosophical question kept me tossing restlessly all night.

Q: At what levels of molecular complexity do social constructs and practices like casteism, racism and fanaticism manifest in Reality?

Today morning, I tried to calm the feverish remnants of my mind and discern the answer by cooking baby potatoes.

It was no use.  The net outcome of my frenzied cerebral processes was amorphous, dry and indigestible; as indeed were the baby potatoes.

However, even as I washed way the cindered remains of the little tubers down the tube, the answer dawned on me—like the welcome glow of light one sees at the end of a long dark tunnel, which upon closer inspection reveals itself to be the headlamp of a diesel  locomotive bearing down upon one at 160 kilometers per hour. The impact was equally powerful; I tottered and clutched the draining board next to the kitchen sink for support, ignoring the three plates, seven spoons, cast-iron kadai and steel davara that I dislodged; ignoring even the sharp pain as the kadai glanced off my right knee, bounced and finally came to a quivering stop on top of my left pinky toe.

Social constructs and practices like casteism, racism and fanaticism do not manifest at atomic, molecular or even macro-molecular level.  They are Unreal.

There are no Brahmin neutrons or Dalit protons, no Hindu gamma rays or Muslim alpha particles, no Aryan DNA or Australo-Dravidian RNA, no White or Black or Brown or Yellow blood groups.

Social constructs and practices like racism, casteism, religious fanaticism, and the rest are insubstantial. They are as meaningless as last week’s dream.  The very terms used to define them are mere bromides to dull the senses; gobbledygook to explain away the senseless, often cruel, thoughts and impulses and deeds of humans who, in greed and ignorance and stupidity, seek to enslave others.

We need to get back to basics! To Science, the True Faith!

Alas, we can’t expect today’s bunch of political leaders or religious teachers to show the Way. Not even today’s scientists. Because, in the century-and-two-decades that have elapsed since J J Thomson discovered the electron, the world’s scientists have not only burrowed deeper and deeper into the Tree of Knowledge, losing sight of the Forest in the process; they’ve gone and drunk up all the Tree Sap, and in their inebriated state started gnawing at the Pith…thereby forgetting even the last concept of the Tree, which now totters on its frail roots.

Yet, the Tree stands. And its seeds are hardy.

We are the seeds. We can find the Way ourselves; we can shrug off the grey despair that we feel with every morning’s newspaper headlines, every TV news bulletin.  We can shrug off the veils of gloom in a trice and see that all humankind, indeed, all Life, the Universe, is One.  And that nothing can ever threaten the One.

Not even Writer’s Block.

Consider the following facts, gentle reader:

  • All Reality is – seemingly – made of Energy and Matter.
  • Matter is no more than a kind of dynamic, crystalline form of Energy; so ultimately, all Reality is pure Energy.
  • We, that call ourselves humans and spend this illusion called Time pondering the nature of Reality while not cindering baby potatoes, are ourselves made from Matter; we therefore are mere manifestations of Energy. As is all Reality.
  • When we sit and observe Reality, then, it’s nothing more (or less) than Energy observing Energy.
  • Therefore, Matter doesn’t matter at all.
  • Nor does Energy, for that matter.

Do I understand any of this crap? Does it make the slightest sense? That’s immaterial; it hardly matters.

All that matters is, my Writer’s Block, on which I have writhed for six weeks, has gone.

May the One illumine our minds, O unsuspecting readers…if there remain any.

Readers, I mean.

 

General ravings, Potshots

Azadi from JNU-itis!

At last, the terrible media-borne epidemic of JNUitis may be ending

After spending 20 days in jail on charges of ‘criminal conspiracy’ and ‘sedition’, JNU Student’s Union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been freed on six months’ bail by the Delhi High Court, with some vitriolic judicial advice that he (Kumar) should try and behave like a mature and reasonably intelligent adult in the interim.

I am as elated at the news of Kumar’s release as the members of JNU Student’s Union—but for slightly different reasons.

I am elated, and express my fervent thanks to the High Court, for taking a giant step forward to liberate 1600 million Indians (including yours truly) from the inhuman cruelty of being subjected to incessant coverage, by TV news channels and newspapers, on what transpired, or did not transpire, or allegedly transpired, in the campus of JNU on 9th February 2016. Media houses and sundry sun-dried intellectuals have presented us with about 213,511 versions (as of 1100 hours, 2nd March) of what ‘REALLY’ happened in JNU on that fateful, faithful day. And each version has been cycled and recycled 24/7, day after hideous day, backed by countless ‘original’ and ‘authentic’ CDs, reinforced with in-depth analyses, transcripts, interviews, editorials, essays and affiliated ravings.

My already feeble mind has been completely overwhelmed by all this media noise, this information overload on JNU ad nauseum. I have been afflicted with the dreadful media-borne plague of JNUitis. I do not know truth from lie or half-truth; I do not know whether what happened (if anything happened at all) in JNU was or wasn’t worth my notice, leave alone India’s notice; whether it was fateful or faithless, anti-national or antiquated, communal or communist, secular or jocular.  Thanks to this saturation bombardment on the JNU affair by media and intelligentsia, I’ve been reduced to the status of a depressed and slightly deranged amoeba in emotional strength and intellectual abilities (if not in shape as well, having missed so many yoga sessions).

Even the protesting JNU students seem to have been affected by this awful JNUitis, considering the amoebic levels of mature intellectualism evidenced in some of their slogans and poster campaigns. For instance, one brave poster offered hope to the jailed JNU students by drawing inspiration from Harry Potter. It read:

Dark times lie ahead and we have to choose between what is easy and what is right. Even Dumbledore had to go through a lot of problems because of the ministry. We are there with you”.

—‘Dumbledore’s army’.

JNU12
JNUSU as Dumbledore’s Army? JNU as Hogwart’s Castle?

I strongly suspect there are hundreds of millions of other Indian suckers like me, sharing my worry that if this dreadful media-borne epidemic of JNUitis endures and spreads, India as we know it will be no more.  Might our nation be reduced to no more than a Giant Amoebic Commune? A shapeless agglomeration of 1.6 billion amoeba, of differing religions, castes, classes, cultures and languages, prone to fights over rights, riots over diets, rants over pants?

Maybe… but what the hell, even then there is Hope. The hope that all of us Indian amoeba will remain united in our diverse perversity, bravely sharing in the glorious Dream of our protoplasmic unicellular Forefathers and Foremothers, the Dream to become a multi-cellular organism!

And now that Hope has been kindled into flame! Thanks to the High Court decision giving azadi to Kumar, I and hundreds of millions of my co-Indian amoeba know that what happened in JNU was just plain silliness, compounded by more silliness. To paraphrase the High Court verdict so that other amoeba can understand it:

  • Some asses in JNU yelled something silly.
  • Other asses in the government took the silliness too seriously and jailed the former asses.
  • Now the latter asses have been told to release one of the former asses.
  • The released ass has been told to shed his assiness and behave like a sensible amoeba.

Now that Kumar has been set free to pursue his intellectual pursuits, I hope and pray to all secular and politically correct deities that Kumar’s colleagues Umar Khalid and Anirbhan Bhattacharya too will be set free soon to pursue their respective intellectual pursuits.

This will, I hope, also free our police personnel from having to pursue silly but harmless students, and instead pursue the genuine criminals who are pursuing hapless citizens like me out here on the streets of Delhi.

Above all, it will free our media from spreading JNUitis across the nation.

Upon which, God Willing, Inshallah, with Krishna’s Blessings and Mao’s Benign Wishes, we Indian amoeba may all revert to becoming human! Our intrepid and fervid media folk can then get back to giving us what we all love to watch and hear and read and participate in as peace-loving, patriotic, nationalistic citizens: namely, reportage and serials and soaps and movies filled with stories of religious and caste conflicts, murders, rapes, and affiliated violent crimes.

Jai Hind!

[Disclaimer:  I, R P Subramanian, aka Mani, do hereby declare that I have written the above in customary unsoundness of mind, body and ethylated spirits, of my own free will, and without coercion, subversion or conversion.]

 

General ravings, Musings

Jai Backwards! Jai Hind!

Jats in action
Jats fearlessly exposing themselves to injury during agitation

At last, the Jats of Haryana have triumphed in their heroic week-long struggle to be recognized as ‘Backward’. With the Government of India and the Government of Haryana declaring the Jats to be a Backward Community, the Jats have called off their agitation.

We, the people of India, are overjoyed. We congratulate the Jats for joining the swelling ranks of the Backward!

But the Jats have also suffered terribly during their heroic, Nationalistic struggle.

Thousands of young Jat men suffered cuts, bruises and sprains while lifting and dragging heavy stones, concrete blocks and tree-trunks to block all the highways and railway lines in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, and while assaulting non-Jat passers-by with rocks, sticks and affiliated blunt weapons.

Many Jat men experienced severe dehydration and exhaustion as they wielded sledge-hammers, crowbars and other heavy tools to destroy the pumps, sluice gates, and affiliated equipment and concrete works used to supply water to New Delhi’s 15 million people via the Munak Canal.

Countless Jat men—and even a few Jat women (whose names have been noted by the Jat Khap Panchayats for future reference and action) — suffered lacerations, muscle pulls and back pains  as they broke shop windows and raided malls and supermarkets to loot mobile phones, refrigerators, cars, branded footwear and apparel, perfumes, lingerie, and other essential commodities.

Of particular concern is the fact that at least fifty Jat men are still under treatment for severe ailments such as neck and lower back injuries (from wielding heavy axes and swords), ‘shooter’s finger syndrome’ (from pulling stiff triggers of pistols and country guns) and burns (from setting fire to railway stations, buses, automobiles, shops, houses, truck tyres, and a few non-Jat passers-by).

Alas, the sufferings and sacrifices of the Jats in their heroic, Nationalistic struggle have gone unnoticed by our callous mainstream media, which has only been obsessed with the Anti-National protests of JNU students.

However, We, the Wee People of India, deeply sympathize with the poor Jats for the terrible hardships they faced and the sacrifices they made during their  struggle. We demand that they be compensated for their injuries and losses.

In ringing tones, We, the Wee People of India, assure the Jats that India shall forever recognize and celebrate their  Nationalistic struggle for what is, after all, the fundamental right of every true-blood, caste-ironed Indian – to be recognized by the world as Socially, Economically and Culturally Backward.

What a fine ideal the Jats have set of True Selfless Nationalism; an ideal  for the young Anti-National JNU-wallahs to emulate!

Inspired by the Jats, let  all Indians now unite, Forwards and Backwards, in our relentless hind-ward journey towards Backward Development.

Let our government demand a Reserved Seat for India in the UN Security Council under the Backward Quota.

Jai Backwards!

Jai Hind!

 

General ravings, Potshots

Rahul vs Modi – Globetrotter Challenge

Remember all the jokes about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frequent overseas trips?

How I laughed!

But now, while researching the overseas junkets of our beloved MPs, I’ve discovered a curious thing. And I’m laughing even harder.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has travelled abroad much more than Prime Minister Modi.

Consider the data.Rahul the globetrotter

In the calendar year 2015 and up to date (i.e. January 13, 2016), Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent a total of 55 days on overseas visits.

In the calendar year 2015 and up to date (i.e. January 13, 2016), Rahul Gandhi spent a total of 86 days on overseas visits! That’s more than 1½ times the number of days spent by Modi abroad.

Now, you and I and everyone’s uncle and bhatija and periappa can argue till Laloo’s cows come home about what Modi’s visits have or haven’t yielded India. But this much is certain: Modi’s 55 days on overseas visits and their purposes are all in public domain, not just on the PMO’s site but even on Wikipedia. And since on 54½ out of those 55 days Modi was on official duty (state visits, attending UN/ASEAN conferences and so forth) and I knew exactly where the man was and what he was doing there, I as a tax-payer don’t mind part-subsidizing Modi’s travel expenses – except for Modi’s  half-day private visit, on 25th December, when on the way back from Kabul he stopped by in Lahore to greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

But friend Rahul Gandhi is a different matter.

All of Rahul Gandhi’s 86 days abroad were ‘private visits’, whatever that means. I never knew where Rahul was; I did not know why he had gone where he had gone; I did not know what he was doing there (if at all he did anything). And I still don’t know any of these things. That’s because Rahul’s movements have always been as hidden as the signs of his intellectual abilities, as dense as the collective wisdom of the Congress High Command. There are great tracts of time where no-one (barring, perhaps, his mother Sonia) seems to have known whether the man was in India, or abroad, or in some extra-galactic realm of self-discovery. Not even Rahul himself.

“It’s none of your business where Rahuljee is or was,” was/is the standard testy response of the First Family’s minders when asked about the whereabouts of the Great Leader.

Indeed, I grant Rahul Gandhi, as a fellow-citizen, the freedom and the right to go where he pleases to go and do what he pleases to do – as indeed I and my 1300 million fellow-Indians reserve and joyfully exercise these rights.

But Rahul is a Member of Parliament, while I am not. As an MP, Rahul is a Representative of the People of India; not just of the Congress party. Just as Narendra Modi, as MP, is Representative of the People of India and not just of the BJP.

They are answerable to us.

And therefore, I strongly object to Rahul’s disappearing from his duties to the People of India – that too for weeks or even months at a time – without notice on ‘private visits’ about which I/we know nothing.

The Congress might protest that Rahul paid for his own tickets and for whatever else he might have done during these holidays. Even granting that Rahul did so, what about the costs for his SPG cover, their tickets, their stays and so forth? As a tax-payer, I strongly object to being asked to subsidize totally unproductive ‘private visits’/holidays by my MP Rahul Gandhi.

“What about Modi!” the Congress spokespersons might shriek. “He didn’t tell anybody about his private visit to Lahore! Why don’t you object to Modi’s private visit to Nawaz, hey?”

It is a valid point.

So here’s a suggestion: when Parliament reconvenes, the House may order recovery of all expenses on private visits made by Narendra Modi (½ day) as well as Rahul Gandhi (86 days) from their respective salaries as MPs. The recovered sum may be directly and speedily credited toward a worthy cause – like providing better software for the Income Tax Department, to enable faster processing of IT Refunds due to the millions of suckers like me.

Jai Hind.

 

 

General ravings, Potshots

Secular meats and other idiocies

Question 1: Which of the following dietary practices are the most secular?

A. Hindu eats beef

B.Muslim eats pork

C. Hindu does not eat pork

D. Muslim does not eat beef

E. Both Hindus and Muslims turn vegetarian

Seriously, this is the kind of question that youngsters are likely to face in competitive exams in the next decade, going by the exquisitely refined crap that passes for intellectual discourse and political debate among academia and in mainstream media today.

Here is a fine example of the stellar academic thinking and intellectual activism – on public display during the past few months – that will inexorably lead to the posing of serious questions like the above. In recent months, certain sections of students in the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi have organized well-publicized ‘beef and pork eating parties’ for students; the idea is that Hindus who join in the revelry can prove their ‘secular credentials’ by eating beef, and Muslims who join in the revelry can prove their ‘secular credentials’ by eating pork.

But when you think about it, all that a Hindu or a Muslim could possibly ‘prove’ by eating beef and pork respectively in the party, is that she/he is hungry. Where in the name of Allah, Krishna, Jesus and other secular deities does ‘secularism’ come into what you shovel into your stomach?

What if a Hindu eats beef (or a Muslim eats pork) at such a party, and then proceeds to puke like mad because the meat is undercooked or overcooked or simply tasteless? Does that make the hapless puker ‘communal’?

And what about a Muslim or Hindu who is invited to such a party but refuses to go? Does his or her refusal to go and hog pigs and cows cast a shadow of doubt over his/her ‘secular credentials’, whatever in @@#$%%&^% that phrase means?

Let me hasten to add, loud and clear with my mouth filled with pork and beef: I believe there’s absolutely nothing wrong in eating beef and pork. Or armadillo balls, or monkey gonads, or idlis for that matter.

What one eats is purely a matter of personal taste. I eat anything that’s served with love and affection.

I state, without either embarrassment or pride, that I love South Indian vegetarian food. And also North Indian vegetarian food. But I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed, and continue to eat, all kinds of meat: of cows, pigs, sheep, lamb, goat, deer, yak, wild boar and so forth. I also love to eat fish from lakes, rivers and seas. Oh, and also crustaceans. In addition, I’ve eaten and still eat a variety of bird: chicken and duck and pigeon, of course, and also quail, partridge, and numerous other species whose names I know not that were felled, cooked and eaten during hikes with friends in the forests of Assam and Meghalaya. Lest I forget, I’ve also eaten, with immense relish, an extraordinary variety of little creatures that are garden-grown – well, basically creatures that live on things that are garden-grown; like little caterpillars (in their cocoons) that grow on pea plants, fried bee larva and so forth.

But you know what? My all-time favourite dishes since childhood are dahi-chawal, kootu, Assamese fish curry and Kerala-style fried prawns.

And I detest paneer in all its avatars. But I don’t consider paneer-lovers communal or secular. I don’t scream: “Ban paneer!”

The point I’m making is: there’s nothing ‘secular’ or ‘communal’ about food. I consider myself a man of faith; my faith is my own business. And what I eat has sweet@@##%%^&-all to do with my faith – or yours, for that matter.

Please go ahead and eat what you wish to eat. Please do let me eat what I like to eat.

All food we eat serves but one purpose: to give us the energy to live. To mix up ‘God’ with food is not only idiotic; it is sacrilege. Because leftovers from the food you eat go down the alimentary canal, to eventually…well…let’s drop the matter.

As Conan Doyle might have put it: “Alimentary, my dear JNU beef-and-pork partiers”.

Bon appetit. And Jai Hind.