Saturday, 29 December 2007
Despite the traditional enmity between India and Pakistan, the death of Benazir Bhutto instantly became a tragedy for Indians also. On Friday millions watched the news in shock and disbelief.
Every face looked sad and concerned. The neighbour's loss became our loss. And Indians were united with Pakistan in this hour of grief. Were not those emotions real? Of course, the Indians were disgusted.
We have suffered terrorism. Lost our Prime Ministers and other big leaders to such mindless violence. Despite tension and wars, Indians, mostly are emotional and when Benazir was assassinated, the hearts of Indians went out to Pakistanis.
This is the true culture of the sub-continent. One had to watch Indian TV channels, newspapers and the reaction of average man on the street to gauge the mood. The Pakistanis must also realise the same. They should understand the dangers of religious extremism.
And make a fresh beginning. The Pakistani nation has almost lost its sovereignty and US interference has reached bizarre levels. There is need for Pak society to understand that friendship with India and peace in sub-continent will bring prosperity for both sides.
Interestingly, Bal Thackeray in Samna has also lamented the death of Benazir and said that she was a courageous woman who came back to her country to fight fundamentalism. He writes that he felt a personal loss and is sad at her demise. Thackeray further wrote that Pakistan was created for Muslims and the Muslims are themselves hell-bent on its destruction.
Friday, 7 December 2007
Doctors turns Butchers in Hyderabad: Better stop treating politicians than taking revenge on poor patients
The unity of doctors and the entire medical fraternity's support to strike suggests this. But they didn't do that. They stopped treating poor and ten children died due to the strike. Did it help them?
It is not just any ordinary profession. They take Hippocratic Oath. And more than that, the doctors do get tremendous respect for their job. People give a doctor more respect than any other professional. This they must keep in mind.
But letting the poor die at Neelofar Hospital, has highlighted their insensitivity. Don't they have any heart? Will they not treat their own family member who is ill. As children kept dying and their family members were crying, the doctors were not moved.
This is shameful. Government must take action. Nobody says that the MLA should not be punished. The MIM leader must be sent to jail. But doctors had better boycotted politicians than the ordinary citizens.
By their act the junior docs have proved that though the politicians will mistreat them, they don't have the guts to take on them. And will take revenge on the poor and the needy. Doctors should show their humane qualities.
There were reports that said that as many as 16 deaths took place at Niloufer Hospital during the strike though authorities kept claiming that most of them were 'routine deaths'. The strike began after the MLA assaulted a lady doctor at the biggest state-run children's hospital in the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Six photos on December 6: Black Mannequins in Hyderabad, Shiv Sena in Delhi and India 15 years after 1992
Though the Black Day by Muslims and Shaurya Diwas by Hindus are annual fixtures, the shop-owner has came out with an interesting idea and a good opportunity for photographers than the usual sloganeering and protests. A banner 'Remembering December 6' also hangs at this shop.And his commitment. Seems he doesn't care a bit about losing out on Hindu customers!
2. The second photo on the right is from Faizabad. Two Muslim raising a black flag above a mosque in Faizabad. The third photo is from Delhi where Shiv Sena clashed with Muslims sitting on a dharna.
Sad, that Lord Rama needs such security!
There are two more photos. One of the market near Char Minar in Hyderabad, which is totally shut. Is there any other City where people remember December 6 so much?
I think these shops are closed also because the people fear violence in Hyderabad on this day. The last photo shows a gunman standing at the Eidgah-Krishna Janmabhoomi at Mathura, which is also considered disputed and is among the two main disputed places after Ayodhya. The third is in Varanasi (Kashi) where Vishwanth Temple-Gyanwapi Mosque is located.
NOW 15 years later, I feel Indians don't want a repeat of another December 6. We have understood that it was pure politics of hate. Hindus and Muslims both suffered. In UP there were not many Vijay Diwas celebrations this year. Muslims are also not as angry and hurt, as they appeared.
Everybody wants to forget December 6, 1992. But it must always remind us how just a few politicians had tried to play with the sentiments of people and get to power on dead bodies of Indians and trying to break this great nation. India bathed in blood for many weeks after December 6. And they were happy. But we must not let this happen again.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
When Hindi daily Dainik Jagran published this photograph on its front page with the special editorial, 'Where is the India for 5 crore tribals', it sent shockwaves among readers.
Many college students (girls) and women were stripped in the same fashion and their cries didn't move anybody.
Forget the blasts, Forget the violence in Assam. But will these women and their tribe ever forget this humiliation? I don't know who took this photograph, Jagran published it with a blur, still the expressions will haunt countless Indians. I have tried to conceal the face so that her identity is not revealed.
Tuesday, 20 November 2007
Chawla wasn't making a casual comment. He was speaking at seminar 'Doctors for daughters' organised by Punjab chapter of IMC. Health Secretary Tilak Raj said that the female foeticide has reached such alarming level that brothers are sharing a woman as common wife.
But a good initiative now. The Gurudwaras in Punjab are going to have cradles at their door all over Punjab. Anybody who doesn't want to raise a daughter can leave the child after birth and the Gurdwara will take care of the kid.
It is a commendable step. Balwant Garg has reported in Times of India that Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has announced that it will henceforth mother the abandoned girls. Punjab has a sex ratio of 793 females for every 1000 males and if the trends continue, the State is going to suffer terribly.
It will cause a demographic imbalance that will be impossible to correct. It is a national crisis. Though the problem is most acute in Punjab and Haryana. The temptation for 'son' and the belief that he carried forward the family lineage, is a reflection of our collective hypocrisy and the ills of our society.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Whither equitable distribution of wealth?
A woman rag-picker and her kids drag the cart. Mukesh Ambani gifts Jet to his wife Tina. Nobody is jealous of her but think what has went wrong with our nation in the last fifty years.
If this doesn't wake us up, nothing else can. The rising Sensex, ever-growing Ambanis and the wealth of Mittals keeps up blinded.
The dream of equitable distribution of wealth is dying. Outside the glitter of Hyderabad, rural Andhra Pradesh is witnessing one of the worst phases in history. In 1997, the State had 1,097 farmers ending their lives and the figure went up to 2,490 in 2005.
And hold your breath 16,770 farmers have committed suicide in 8 years in AP. Just go beyond Hyderabad and every district from Karim Nagar to Mahboob Nagar and Kurnool, has at least 300-400 suicides by farmers in the last three years.
In Karnataka, beyond the Bangalore of Narayanamurthy and Premji, 20,093 farmers have committed suicide in eight years. The figure was 1832 in 1997 and went up to 1,883 in 2005. And the worst is Maharashtra where the figure of suicides for eight years was 28,911. IN 1997, the figure for state was 1,917 and 3,926 for 2005.
States Figure of Deaths
(1997) (2005) (8 years)
Maharashtra 1917 3926 28,911
Andhra Pradesh 1097 2490 16,770
Karnataka 1832 1883 20,093
And these are government figures. The reality is 1.5-2 lakh deaths in last ten years.
Every hour a farmer is committing suicide in Vidarbha alone. Meanwhile, the number of millionaires keep growing in India. The divide is only getting wider. Sadly the educated middle-class also remains indifferent to the plight of poor and rural India. How have we all grown so insensitive. Will the political class and social consciousness comprehend the gravity of situation.
Or these vast crores of poor Indians, who are getting poorer by the day, and have nothing to lose, have to resort to Urban Naxalism. Do they have any option?
Sunday, 4 November 2007
These women get just Rs 150 per month as pension for elderly destitute who have no source of income.
How can one survive on this Old Age Pension of Rs 150!
On one hand our MPs and MLAs have no remorse in increasing their pay packets and gift away millions and billions in the name of constituency development to their own cronies.
But there is no increase in the meagre Rs 150 which they are getting for years. When newspapers are going ga ga over the filthy display of riches by Mukesh Ambani and others of their ilk, countless Indians will have nothing to celebrate.
Think of the poor, the orphan, the needy and the destitute. Don't squander. Spare a currency note or some gifts or anything you can think of. Share the joy of Diwali with them who really need it. It will be a noble cause and if all of us start giving a thought to it, Diwali would come to this country in the true sense.
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Enthusiastic young reporters of TV channels are quite excited, for having seen or covered the story of 'tribals' for the first time. How else they would have known that these people existed in the same country. After all you don't get to see them at Cannaught Place or any of the Multiplexes and Malls.
Without any money or food they started off from Gwalior and walked nearly 400 kms to reach Delhi. Most of them had barely a blanket. Seven died on way due to accidents, disease and hardship. But they have made Delhi sit up and take notice.
In this country where industrialists are gifted huge chunks of lands, these tribals are evicted out their lands and forests where they were living for centuries, just by a bureaucrat's signature. Narayanamurthy and Premji are treated as icons for 'creating' jobs and Chief Ministers fall over each other to welcome them.
Further, these tycoons have temerity to still demand hundreds of acres of land on their terms. And these greedy men still want 'subsidised land'. But the poor peasant is treated like dirt. I have nothing against Narayanamurthy or Premji or for that matter any foreign investor.
These tribals haven't shown their might yet. Delhi must understand that something very serious is happening in this country. Mukesh Ambani may become the richest man in the world through the syndicate of brokers and the 'satta' in un-governed Indian share market.
But in this very country a former Chief Minister's son is being killed by Maoists. And when Gujjars get out of their houses in thousands, the state gets paralysed. The poor man, the indigenous tribes, the farmers, the villagers, the qasba people, everybody is getting marginalised by the day.
And once they get out of their homes, this artificial boom in stock market and the fake glitter of Shining India wouldn't save the government. Just 40,000 have come. What will happen when 40 lakh will leave their homes? We better wake up.
Saturday, 27 October 2007
What would Bharat Mata think of Babu Bajrangi, who says that 'We are not khichdi, curry people' and can kill at will, just like 'ripping off a pregnant woman's stomach' and announcing it with a 'pride'.
The suffix in his name, 'Bajrangi', the party of which he is a leader 'Shiv' Sena and the organisation he worked in the past, Vishwa 'Hindu' Parishad (VHP) makes me shudder with the thought about the Hindustan where we live in. They hijacked the terms 'Hindu', 'Bajrang' and 'Shiv', and have demonised everything that was beautiful about Sanatan Dharma and this Nation.
Don't give me the crap about whether the sting will help Congress or BJP or any other political party. People of Gujarat may vote for Modi but that doesn't mean that Modi is right. Just that Gujarat is a developed state doesn't mean, that worst crimes against humanity can be forgotten. Even Hitler was immensely popular in Germany when he was slaughtering Jews. It's a shame to talk about elections. They don't have any interest in the idea of justice and human values.
Where are the citizens especially the women, who would stand up and say this is not the sort of Hindustan we dream of living in. Put these people behind bars immediately. I wish women would have petitioned the Woman President Pratibha Patil to take instant action against Bajrangi and the men who on camera confessed the ghastly crimes for which they had no remorse.
Novelist and an author of six books MG Vassanji, twice winner of Giller prize, said that 'There are satanic forces at work in Gujarat', sometime ago. He said in an interview that the level of barbarity there had no parallel, not even Congo or Bosnia. "It has been like fascism, probably worse. I mean it is one thing to lock people up in a gas chamber and turn the other way and quite another to rape women, film the horror and then distribute CDs, make songs about it".
'I travel by bus and other public transport, I meet people freely, talk to them, I feel at home. But Gujarat is different. In Gujarat I feel a sense of fear. And the only hope is that Gujarat is part of India and it will be contained by the larger things that India is about.'
What has happened in Gujarat is unimaginable especially the systematic violence against women. Why would ordinary men and women do such violence. If you tell somebody there, they say why are you bothered. In fact, Gandhi means nothing at all as an ethic in Gujarat.
He was surely not exaggerating. I feel that incalculable harm has been done by Bajrangi and those of their ilk to this country, with the supported of society's silence.
I have a kid daughter and I am very uneasy about whatever weird ideas these so-called 'Hindutva-wadis' have about 'dharma' and Bharat. May be Narendra Modi who doesn't have any kid, doesn't understand the human feelings of love and affection, when he gave the free run to rioters but how can so many BJP MLAs, VHP, Bajrang Dal activists and many ordinary people Gujarat, be so inhuman.
Unless we take action, history will record our era as an age when we lost all sense of human values and future generations will look at us with contempt. BJP leaders are angry over Operation Kalank because they their real demonic faces have been revealed. Congress did the same in anti-Sikh riots.
The way lawyers, prosecutors, police, rioters and state colluded, it is a dangerous signal for all of us. They did it with a community. They can do it with anybody. If there was ever a need for the use of Article 356 then it is in Gujarat. The entire system needs to be cleansed.
Tehelka expose has given us a chance. A chance for Indian society, our polity and our judiciary to redeem ourselves. We must not let this opportunity go.
Friday, 26 October 2007
He and anothe person were forced to de-board the Kingfisher Airlines plane. On Zee TV, Kuldeep appeared shaken and deeply hurt. The person who spoke for him was also forced to get off the aeroplane at Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi.
Kuldeep Dubey wondered whether Hindi was really the official language of the country. 'Aisi taraqqi ka kyaa faaida jo ham apni sanskriti ko bhul jaayen', says the laugher show artist, who was going to Mumbai.
He has complained to Airport authorities about his humiliation. 'In particular strata of society, Hindi is supposed to be a synonym for backwardness and humuliation, so much that people say meri Hindi ho gayee as a phrase that means I was humiliated', he said.
On Zee TV Kuldeep narrated the tale of his humiliation. He repeatedly said that it was beyound his wildest imagination that such a thing could happen to him just because he asked a Hindi paper.
Friday, 19 October 2007
It is cowardice and what else when hate-mongers comment on posts and judge Indians and human beings on the basis of their caste, religion and social status. Often comments are written by well-educated persons who fail to get over their biases despite good education.
They bare their real selves on the net. Isn't it cowardice? These Hindus and Muslims don't dare to say such a thing to a person of other religion whom they come across on the street. There they wear masks and keep their communal and casteist feelings within their hearts. But when it comes to cyberspace they unleash their tongues and forget all civility.
Most of us who do this don't have any conviction. Except our comforts and our family perhaps we have no sense of justice, humanitarian values or morality, This is shameful. What kind of a society is that? Isn't it disgusting?
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Casteist and communal biases are nothing new in the society. But debate over Shariah and Manu's laws must not cloud our vision. It is about whether the powerful elite and a coterie of moneyed and well-connected people will rule this nation and sabotage the system or whether the ordinary Indian citizens, who is legally correct, will still not be able to live his normal life and dare to dream just because he is not part of this Elite.
It is not about casteism, communalism alone. Religion was just a factor in the beginning of the case. If we manage to pressurise the system and force the government to take action (things are moving after all), we succeed to a great extent in delivering the message to bureaucracy and officials that not everything can be hushed up.
It is a test case. And it is cases like these which instill sense of fear amongst officials before they cross their 'lakshman rekha'. Action on Prasun Mukherjee may range from simple transfer to suspension or even indictment at a later stage but more important is that the policemen who take similar action against other ordinary Indians, will stop for a while and think the next time a powerful man will call them on phone and flaunt his connections to buy justice.
Keep the campaign alive. Police often 'leak' and 'plant' stories like past love affairs of Rizwanul. Even if he had several affairs in the past. It is immaterial. What we all know is that this case has become rallying point for masses to illustrate that in a society in transition where we often don't care about a person lying on pavement which we pass by and remain captivated to the glitter of a growing India, there is still concern and yes, conscience.
But it is mass movements like this that unsettle the ruling class and the elite. The Todis must know it. The people of West Bengal have proved that the conscience of Bengal is alive. This case has proved it. People tolerate but only up to a certain limit. That's what we stand for at Hindustaniat.
Sunday, 14 October 2007
Such photographs are rare as people are getting narrow-minded and don't prefer interacting with other communities and groups. Working relationships are okay but family ties are not as strong as they used to be in the past.
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Who is this elderly couple playing hockey in their house?
That's the photo from Rohtak. The parents of captain of Indian hockey team Mamta Kharab--Haripal and Kamla.
The 25-year-old Mamta, on whom Chak De India's main character Komal is based.
But it has not been an easy journey for the girl and her family. She is one amongst seven siblings. Her father had to often ride up to 25 km on his bicycle along with his wife to work on fields.
Later he left the village in Sonepat and took a teacher's job in Rohtak. The family has now their own house with hockey sticks scrawled on the house.
In traditional Haryana society, it was not easy to let girls play hockey at school and college level. And when relatives and neighbours would ask Harpal to marry off his daughters, he brushed the objection aside. Harpal says, 'unko apni zindagi banaani thi'.
Click to read this beautiful story
Sunday, 7 October 2007
Ashok Todi owns Rs 200 crore Lux Hosiery, and that was enough reason for police to act on his false report and charge Rizwanur with abduction of his daughter even though he had married her legally. In the eyes of police and justice Rizwanur should have been the complainant and the victim but they treated him as mere dirt.
That's how the ordinary Indian citizen gets treated. And the police were only doing what they have done for decades. Rizwanur's body was found near the track and the police called it suicide though it has been proved wrong. The cops quite often turn a complainant into an accused (of abduction in this case) and harass the victim.
And this is not just in the case of a Hindu-Muslim marriage. But all cases of inter-caste marriages and other offences. The poor and the less-connected have no rights in this country. The Todis are well-connected and know everybody from Prasun Mukherjee to Ganguly and the Burrabazar businessman has no dearth of money.
But public opinion, still counts.
At least, in Bengal. I am sure if this had happened in some other state, the case would have been buried long back. The public agitations would have lost steam. Hoping that the guilty cops are brought to books. At least, many of the young couples in love, who are harassed and extorted by cops, may escape this ordeal, and the cops may have second thoughts before taking a similar action.
The photo of Ashok Todi is there right on top of the post.
I have already written a post on the 'So-called Marwari values in Bengal' on the same issue.
'Any Marwari family would act like Ashok Todi did in Rizwanur-Priyanka case': Kolkata businessman on TV
The frank admission of a Marwari businessman on NDTV that any Marwari family would have reacted in the same fashion as Ashok Todi did after his daughter married outside his community and religion, is shocking and shameful.
This businessman, Kathuria (who is he by the way, I don't know the initials), said that this is what every person in Marwari households would do because that's the way you are brought up. An adult girl can't marry outside her community if she falls in love. And even after she has married, every possible effort will be made to ensure that she is brought back, even at the cost of such harassment that she loses her husband.
Your frank confession is laudable but Mr Kathuriya, this is surely not Hindustaniat. It could not be Marwariat either. [The programme was telecast on NDTV 24x7 on Sunday night, October 6, with Barkha Dutt anchoring the show]
How could the whole community of millions from a region in Rajasthan that is spread across the nation and has succeeded in business and other fields, be so myopic and biased entirely? If there is any truth in it, then it is really disgusting.
When Kathuria said that these are Marwadi values, his words clearly meant that education can't bring any enlightenment. It is just a tool in accordance with the needs of the present society to earn more and more money. And for him and for those of his ilk that there is no other value except money.
But these are not Indian values. And this is not the tradition of Bengal either. What are are these 'values', which the businessmen believes in, if there is no place for love, truth and justice, rather it is obscene greed and hypocrisy. The reaction of those present in the show was that of shock. A Marwari woman stood up and came down heavily on his thoughts about the so-called 'values'.
The Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee may get suspended for a while only to get reinstated or get promoted after the case is hushed up and media loses interest and public campaign loses steam. And Ashok Todi may think that he can win over the world with his money but people like him have earned lasting notoriety and disrespect in our eyes.
Shame on these hypocrites who connived to stop a couple in love from living peacefully even after their marriage. I am surprised when many say that it was a Hindu girl going to a Muslim household.
For godsake don't count heads. Hindu girls will keep marrying Muslims and so will Muslim girls marrying Hindus. It is the fight for justice. Forget Hindu-Muslim issue, it is about what kind of Hindustan we want to live in--a republic where money buys every thing and where laws have no meaning.
Of course life will go on, people will forget. But, we must do whatever little we can do to keep the spirit of Hindustaniat alive. At least on this blog in bold letters, the following lines will remain forever and nobody can erase them.
Not a big deal though but small steps, gestures and refusal to accept what you are doing to our society. This is what many of us are doing on blogs, sites and by participating in candle light vigils and signing the petitions.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
It was after this failed love affair that Dev Anand went into depression and even thought of ending his life. He also fell in love with Zeenat Aman.
Once Raj Kapoor kissed Zeenat in a party and later in another gathering he publicly hugged her. It was Zeenat's passion in the hug which again broke Dev's heart.
A jilted lover, Devanand turned an alcoholic. His recently published autobiography Romancing With Life throws light on his views about love and sex. In another autobiography sometime back, Vyjyanthimala rejects the stories about her love affair with Raj Kapoor.
Only three women came in Raj Kapoor's life--Nargis, Vyjyanthimala and his wife Krishna Kapoor. Had Raj Kapoor loved Zeenat Aman, he would never have revealed her cleavage in a movie like Satyam Shivam Sundram. Raj Kapoor was culturally feudal and in his movies Nargis was never shown scantily dressed or depicted obscenely.
Raj Kapoor's penchant for directing movies, prompted him to also fell in love with the physical attributes of the heroin in every movie. However, Dew Anand remains like Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image and got drowned in the pond while looking at his own reflection.
Jai Prakash Chaukse
(This article first appeared in a Hindi daily)
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Is it justified in this poor nation where a majority of Indians don't earn more than Rs 20 a day, to gift lakhs and crores. After all, the politicians are rewarding these cricketers with our money and more than the cricketers it is the ordinary, poor Indian that needs it.
There are hundreds of lives lost in this country for want of medicines. People die of starvation. This is not just a joke. And Indian politicians must understand that the lakhs they give away is people's money, the poor also have right on them and it can't be gifted away so easily. It's criminal to give money to the wealthy cricketers.
Compare it to the Indian hockey team, which recently won Asia Cup and though there were congratulatory messages from the same politicians, was there any such cash reward! If Yuvraj hit six sixes, Indian hockey team also hit 57 goals in the entire Asia Cup including a 20-0 win against Sri Lanka. In the final South Korea was beaten convincingly 7-2.
Even the kind of money Cricket Board (BCCI) gives away in terms of cash, which justified by many, is no less filthy display of wealth. Until recently great cricketers of yesteryears died for lack of treatment and poor financial condition in old age.
The Board perhaps wants to lure the cricketers and teach Zee group's fledgling ICL a lesson. Perhaps for once I can close my eyes to BCCI giving away money to cricketers but not to the politicians squandering away the cash, as if it is their personal property.
And let the criminals who have given us immense joy, earn money through their game, advertisements, endorsements and other ways but I find it sad that not only politicians are giving away the money, but we are all mute witness to this act, as if cricketers have the right to be pampered and treated this way, all the time.
These Chief Ministers, from Maharahstra to Jharkhand and Karnataka, don't pay attention when farmers commit suicides. But have the time to felicitate cricketers in public functions. What a pity that we are engaged in meaningless debates that whether politicians should have sat in the front row or cricketers in the stadium in Mumbai, rather than stopping these politicians from their irresponsible acts.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
She is a student of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. Naznin, who hails from Varanasi (Benares) plans to write Goswami Tulsidas' Ramcharit Manas in Urdu as well.
Though it is not an astonishing feat as she has mere written it in Perso-Arabic script though there are translations of almost all the Hindu texts in Urdu.
In undivided India, in UP and Punjab, Hindu literature was sold much more in numbers in Urdu script than in Hindi. For centuries Hindus and Muslims have lived in this country together and there is a long history of shared composite culture. This is not rare for Hindus and Muslims to celebrate each others' festivals and respect the culture of the other community.
The channels often make too much of such initiatives and give an impression as if Hindus and Muslims are absolutely different groups of people who won't keep aloof from each other. Still, the effort is laudable on the girl's part.
Saturday, 22 September 2007
The photograph on the left shows an idol of Lord Ganesha, which is installed on a road side in Hyderabad, during the ongoing Ganesh Chaturthi festival.
The photo shows a labourer pusheing a cart carrying eggs past the wall which has a huge national flag painted on the wall.
The idols of Lord Ganesh will be immersed in the next couple of days. Mahesh Kumar has taken this photogaph.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
As Yuvie hit sixes after sixes, the spirit of the nation suddenly got lifted. Everybody was calling friends and even informing passers-by about Yuvaraj's scintillating performance.
India may have won the Asia Cup in hockey recently or achieved success in any other field ranging from science and technology to education and commerce but nothing turns Indians as delighted as just an Indian batsman slaughtering a bower in cricket.
It is simply MASS HYSTERIA. And what triggers it in almost everyone of us is a mystery!
Once could see people congratulating unknown passers-by and hugging them, sending sms to friends and calling people to watch the match.
As the news spread, almost everybody looked ecstatic. Once again it proves how cricket binds this nation and boosts us. Yuvraj launched the attack in Stuart Broad's over that read an astonishing 6-6-6-6-6-6-6.
The 50 came just over 12 balls and is the fastest half century in this form of game and also any other form of cricket including tests, one days and first class cricket. Yuvraj sets Kingsmead ground afire with his blitz of sixes. Long back Gary Sobers hit sixes on Malcolm Nash's over and later Ravi Shankar Shastri hit Tilak Raj on all six balls of over in First Class Matches.
Let's celebrate the victory and this great record.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Saawan is celebrated with swings (jhoolas) and traditional songs are sung. In the past girls married off to faraway places would return to their village in this month.
It would be reunion time in villages and meeting the childhood 'sahelis'. There are some popular songs of girls longing to meet their parents and siblings in the month of saavan like as in Bandini:
ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko baabul
saavan ne lijo bulaay re
lauTengi jab mere bachpan ki sakhiyaan
dejo sandesha bhijay re...
Savan doesn't bring that sort of nostalgia anymore in the modern era when cell phones have reached the remotest villages and cash cards of Rs 5-10 are sold on general merchants shops and tea/pan kiosks. Still, the photo on the left celebrates the spirit of Saavan.
Sunday, 19 August 2007
It was a tough exercise for officials and police to bring him out of the 40-feet deep dried well. The banner reads the message of his 'Satyagraha', the peaceful protest.
The other photo shows how the man sitting in the well, had to be forcibly brought out.
The third is the photo of Chand Miyan, who had climbed up a cell phone tower in Delhi, sometime back. He wanted an audience from Dubya. Chand Miyan was ready to come down, provided that Bush agreed to take back forces from Iraq.
The Dharmendra style protests have become quite popular all over the country. For the most unique reasons people all over the country climb up towers and threaten suicide.
Demonstrations, dharnas, protests and effigy burnings are part of daily life in all cities in India. Slightly different modes of protests catch eyes. Often mentally unstable persons take such steps. Others do it for publicity.
News channels that have to show something throughout the day lap up on such opportunities. Often journos themselves prompt the guys to do something 'different' and suggest the ways by promising them 'good coverage'. For people around, it is of course fun to watch the proceedings. After all, we Indians always love a 'tamasha', as Alberuni recorded, centuries ago.
Friday, 17 August 2007
On the left is the Parle ad, 'The battle won'. Independence had failed to bring the expected joy as the realisation had sunk in that the country was now divided.
The G&C advertisement wishes both the countries--the dominions of India and Pakistan--prosperity.
The third advertisement is of Kopran, a tooth paste, which makes rather tall claims about its popularity. Our old habit of hyperbole and exaggeration. Another is the advertisement of Dalmia Cement, 'Constructing your house of independence with Dalmia Cement'. Also, there is the notice of Delhi rationing department, asking the residents to submit certain documents in case they plan to leave India and become citizens of Pakistan.
The Lux ad is however oblivious to the change. It shows actress Kanan Devi, and claims that her beauty is a result of her use of Lux 'Toilet' Soap.
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
August 15th 1947
A Muslim woman buys tri-coloured bangles at the market near Jama Masjid on the eve of Independence Day in Delhi.
Shahbaz Khan has taken the photograph.
Saturday, 4 August 2007
Millions of Indians appear sad and 'shaken' at the judgment. The star would continue to get support, he will surely get better food and facilities. Even at a slight chest pain, he would be referred to private hospital. And in contrast I see the condition of poor inmates who battle the worst ailments without having the luxury of getting even a pill.
What about Lalung? He was arrested in 1951 for causing grievous hurt to a person. Spent 50-years in jail without any trial and was released at the age of 77. And there are millions of under-trials in Indian jails, waiting for the court to hear their cases. Any tear for them? You can read about the plight of Machang Lalung, who hailed from a village near Guwahati in Assam, at the BBC website here.
Meanwhile, coming back to Sanjay Dutt and his chest pain, which was a flash for all news channels today. Just the other day a pregnant prisoner lost her child because the 15-day old baby girl was not 'sick enough' in the eyes of jail authorities that they could have admitted her to a hospital. This man, Sanjay Dutt, was born with the silver spoon in his mouth. His father and mother were celebrities.
Still, he got friendly with the likes of Dawood Ibrahim, Abu Salem and all sorts of goons. Got AK 47, later tried to dispose it off, lied to courts and still managed to get out of jail in the first stint because of connections. Now terror charges were dropped and has got just a bit more than the minimum sentence. Still, everybody is so sad. Rarely the high-profile guys in India are made to pay. Politicians guilty of corruption, killings in riots and all sorts of crimes, get off.
Now Sanjay has got cash and connections, stardom and a sister like Priya Dutt, battery of best lawyers and what not. Still for us, Indians, he is a 'be-chaara', a victim. What hypocrisy. We want the system to be twisted and when we are victimised, we cry foul. Again Indian hypocrisy at its best.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
Young girls who were caught with their boyfriends in a park in Etawah in Uttar Pradesh were mercilessly kicked and slapped by women police personnel. The shots on India TV, IBN 7 and other channels were extremely repulsive and shocking in nature.
The girls were made to sit on floor in the lockup and young police personnel, who were women, were kicking these girls on their shoulders with their boots. The police didn't stop at this. The girls' hair was pulled and they were endlessly slapped.
Was it the frustration of the police women, who didn't get love, and were taking revenge upon these girls. There was no public indecency. It was simply young ones in love, who were targeted under the notorious Operation Majnu like in Meerut sometime back when police women had beaten up couples.
Interestingly, such a shocking news didn't figure in any newspaper. Are we immune to this blatant violation of civic rights?
Ironically, we all expect the hero and his girl to get united and marry in every Bollywood movie but when it comes to real life, self-styled moral guardians--the Bajrang Dal that acts like upholder of Indian sanskriti and culture & police, all treat love as the most heinous crime.
Such police personnel should not just be suspended but should be demoted. Unless this happens the violation of human rights would not stop. Meanwhile, just to change the mood, there is a photograph of the couple enjoying the rain in Delhi.
Friday, 27 July 2007
The railway route between Bangladesh and India was re-established recently with the commissioning of a goods train and it is hoped that the passenger traffic would also resume soon.
Railway link was established in 1884 and passenger services continued until 1965 (during the Indo-Pakistan war).
In 1972 goods train service was resumed but due to lack of goods, it had to be stopped. Right now preparations are on at both sides of the border. Renovation of platform and stations is on.
Trial runs would continue and though the final date of the commencement of the service is yet to be announced, it seems the regular train service from Kolkata to Dhaka would start from August. In the other photograph on the left, the coolies wait for the train at Gede.
Tuesday, 17 July 2007
The usual photographs of rains, which are published in Indian newspapers are that of overflowing drains, women wading through water and scooter riders braving the showers on road.
However, the photos from Kolkata are altogether different. On the left is a couple--deeply immersed in love in a public park--even as it drizzles.
Some might find the photo lovely and others might feel that is is obscene. Depends on one's perception. There are a few more photos from Kolkata in the last fortnight, mostly of couples, holding hands, or enjoying the shower. Is it that the photographers in Kolkata are peeping toms or its that Calcuttan spirit--free and fearless love, without any moral policing. Calcuttans don't make a fuss about kissing or lovemaking--after all, they are doing it for generations in the City of Tagore.
aakhir mohabbat hai, koi jurm to nahin to sharm ki jaaye
The India TV also did a story on Kissing in Kolkata, I have been told (I haven't seen it). They also termed Kolkata as the Kissing Kapital of the Country. Good to see youngsters kissing than killing in the name of caste or religion. At least, it is a million times better than seeing the moral cops in Meerut, beating lovers and blackening their faces, or burning Valentine's Day cards in the Cow Belt by Saffron Brigades. Or for that matter the brouhaha over Shilpa Shetty-Gere kiss and the Matuknath Julie love affair.
The photo on the right is that of another couple. Seems they haven't got a bench yet. One can understand their dilemma. Doin' it right there on the wet ground can soil their dress and make it impossible to go home.
But surely there can't be a better way to welcome rains than lovemaking. And for the self-styled upholders of our culture who haven't bothered to read anything from Kalidasa to Kamasutra, who oppose the celebration of love, I guess they are the deprived lot--khelenge naheen, to khel bigadenge. Better fall in love.
Saturday, 7 July 2007
What amazed everybody in the end was selection of 3 wonders out of seven from Latin America. The Machu Pichhu in Peru, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and the Pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico are three wonders of the New World.
Call it bias against Africa or favouritism for South America but the list will stay in minds for long though UNESCO may have distanced itself from the choice of global wonders.
Asia walked away with three viz. Jordan's Petra, India's Taj Mahal situated at Agra and the Great Wall of China. For Europe the sole consolation was Colosseum at Romse (Italy). Africa, with over 50 countries, doesn't have a wonder. Or the judges couldn't see it. Shall we always be politically correct and could have selected one for better representation.
Or they had at least a few wonders but Africans don't have as many cell phones as Indians or Chnese or Brazilians have. Whatever, North America and the mini continent Australia have also been left wonderless! The announcement was made at Lisbon (Portugal) and India's Bipasha Basu announced the name of Taj Mahal amidst thunderous applause.
The New Seven Wonders list and links (Photos and description)
Pyramid of Chichen Itza
Christ the Redeemer
Great Wall of China
Meanwhile, the list of contenders (21) out of which seven were selected included the following 14 others including Egypt's Pyramids:
Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Easter Island Statues, Chile
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Hagia Sophia, Instanbul, Turkey
Kremlin St Basil's, Moscow, Russia
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom/England (Britain)
Kyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Turkey
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany
Statue of Liberty, New York, USA
Above the photos show all the 21 contenders.
Saturday, 30 June 2007
If he were alive today, music composer RD Burman would have turned 68. His father Sachin Dev Burman was the scion of a small princely state in Assam but instead ruled over the hearts of music lovers in the sub-continent.
He affectionately called his son, 'Pancham'. RD was just nine when he hummed a tune for 'Aye meri topi palat ke aa' in Devanand's Funtoosh. SD liked it so much that he recorded it after some polishing and the song with the same tune was released.
At the age of 16, Pancham composed the music for the song 'Sar jo tera chakraye' in Pyaasa and on the set he struck friendship with Mahmood. Later Mahmood asked Pancham to compose music for Chhotey Nawab. For the song 'Ghir aaye kare badra', Lata reached Pancham's house and then remembered that she was not on talking terms with Sachin Dev Burman, in those days. And she sat outside the flat, on the stairs, for rehearsal along with Pancham.
In Mehmood's next movie Bhoot Bunglow, Pancham not only composed music but also acted. Amin Sayani was also an actor in this movie. A football freak, Pancham was also addicted to laying chess. He loved to cook. He and his wife Asha Bhonsle kept experimenting with recipes as much as they did with music and songs.
Whether it was blowing air in an empty bottle to create the background music in Sholay or striking the spoon with teacup to create the tune for 'Chura liya hai', Pancham could create music during any activity. After SD Burman's illness and subsequent death, his wife lost her mental balance. And Pancham served his mother with a rare dedication.
Rahul Dev Burman alias Pancham was born in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on June 27, 1934. He gave music in 331 movies apart from four albums. The beat stopped on January 4, 1994.
Jai Prakash Chouskey
(This article was first published in a Hindi daily)
Thursday, 21 June 2007
It is heartening to see hundreds of Sikh pilgrims taking trains for Pakistan, to pay obeisance at their holy shrines, and crossing the border easily after nearly six decades.
The family seen waving hands, was going to Gurudwara Dera Sahib to observe the 40th martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev. No less than 500 'jatthas' had left for Pakistan then. The photograph was taken at Attari railway station, sometime back.
Pakistan has one of the holiest sites for Sikhs and once it was a dream for pilgrims to visit these holy shrines. The other photograph was taken recently when pilgrims were leaving for Lahore.
On the left is the recent photograph of a Sikh pilgrim on board a special train, carrying 253 passengers. He is leaving for Pakistan on the occasion of the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
For the sub-continent, it's great news. In the post-partition riots, millions of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims were displaced. The Sikhs, being a small minority, suffered most due to this displacement, in the sense that a micro minuscule population of the community, remained in Pakistan.
Of course, there was a similar exodus of Muslims from Indian Punjab but that was only restricted mainly to one state. There are no less than 156 Sikh shrines in Pakistan, many of them in a bad shape.
Nankana Sahib, one of the holiest shrines of the Sikhs, is in Pakistan and so is Panja Sahib. One only wishes that the restrictions would ease further and Sikhs/Muslims and Hindus, who are the same people bound by common culture, can move across the border, freely and easily just like Europe.
Thursday, 14 June 2007
Pratibha Patil may become the first woman president of India. Many may term it as a reward for her loyalty to Nehru-Gandhi family or the politics of symbolism but the fact is that in the last six decades we never had a female President.
Vinod Mehta terms it a master stroke. She is a woman that makes it difficult for BJP to oppose. She is also a Shekhawati and either she or Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, would take oath as India's next President on June 25, the day APJ Abdul Kalam leaves the Raisina Hills.
Is it tokenism? It could be but let's face it. In Indian politics bigwigs often lose out and non-controversial 'dark horses' emerge as winners. Just like Inder Kumar Gujaral and HD Deve Gowda, who just became Prime Ministers because nobody had anything against them.
When we can have a President like Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (signed the order promulgating emergency) who was a mere rubber stamp and Giani Zail Singh, who was also ready to take up broom for Indira Gandhi, at least Pratibha looks a far better option. May be she will prove to be different.
The 72-year-old is a lawyer by profession and was deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha in the late eighties. A Marathi by birth, she married Devi Singh Ram Singh Shekhawat, an educationist. She was a table tennis player at college level. Pratibha Patil has set up working women's hostels in Mumbai and Delhi, apart from engineering college for rural youths.
So we can't say that she is just anybody and has also shown concern towards the common man. As Governor of Rajasthan, she had refused to sign the controversial Freedom of Religion (Conversion) Bill.
It is common knowledge that for anybody who would step into the Rashtrapati Bhawan after Avul Pakir Jainulabideen Kalam, it is going to be a daunting task to meet the expectations. After all, Kalam has not only restored the dignity of President' s house but also emerged as a role model for millions especially kids in an era when the nation was frustrated with its leaders.
Pratibha, who is the Governor of Rajasthan, is no novice. She has the credentials and may be she will prove her critics wrong. Hindustaniat doesn't support the UPA candidate. Of course, we do support Pratibha Patil as India's next president. Is there any difference. Yes, there is!
We had a woman Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi though we had no President in 60 years. And we may have a woman president also within the next ten days. And United States is yet to have a woman head of state ever since the post was established way back in 1789!
There have been selections merely on the basis of religion (Sikh, Muslim) and also caste (Dalit/OBC) for the top posts in this country. Who has the moral gumption now to counter her candidature that she is just being pushed because of her gender?
Monday, 4 June 2007
Indians are waking up to the ongoing poll for selecting the new seven wonders of the world and gearing up to vote to ensure that Taj gets into the list of modern wonders.
As we all know, the Emperor of Hindustan Shah Jehan had constructed this magnificent mausoleum at an astronomical cost in memory of his wife Mumtaz Begum who had died on the banks of Tapti river in Burhanpur.
It is a different story though that Mumtaz' eldest daughter Jehan Aara was buried at almost the same time in a grave that was covered only with grass.
Jehan Aara felt that ultimately grass outgrows all graves, howsoever magnificent they may be. (She had Sufi leanings and had written a book on Khwaja Moiunddin Chishti.) But Taj proved to be an exception.
Six months after her burial in a temporary grave at the gateway of Deccan, Burhanpur, the body of Mumtaz Mahal was exhumed and rested in a grave in Agra on December 28, 1631 . Again, after two months (Feb 9, 1632) the body was finally buried in the mazaar meant for her in the Taj Mahal.
Ustad Isa Afandi was brought for Iran for construction of this magnificent tomb. The biggest problem for them was to save the monument was erosion of the foundation from the waters of Jamna (Yamuna). Hundreds of deep wells were dug and tonnes of lime, rubble, brick pieces and sand were deposited in these wells so that the water could be soaked. Recently some such wells were found during digging near Taj.
Ustad Isa Afandi was brought for Iran for construction of this magnificent tomb. The biggest problem for them was to save its foundation from the waters of Jamna (Yamuna).
Hundreds of deep wells were dug and tonnes of lime, rubble, brick pieces and sand were deposited in these wells so that the water could be soaked. Recently some such wells were found during digging near Taj.
Taj Mahal has fascinated the world for the last 350 years. In 1927 Himanshu Rai had made a film Shirazi that was based on the Taj. It's sole print is available in a Pune museum which was shown in Australia last year. In the decade of sixties Mahboob Khan had hired famous Hollywood writer Rober Bolt to write a story of Taj Mahal.
Just like Shahjehan had called a Persian architect to build Taj, Mahboob Khan, himself a Mughal, called a European to write the story. The script couldn't be completed but a copy of this incomplete work was in possession of Sunil Dutt. Do we expect that his son, Sanjay Dutt, would be having it with him?
Taj is described as a tear on the cheek of time. It has inspired poets and writers though we have verses like Sahir Ludhianvi's nazm 'Taj Mahal' that says 'an emperor on the strength of wealth has played a cruel joke on the poor'.[ek shahanshah ne daulat ka sahaara le kar/ham gharibon ki mohabbat ka udaaya hai mazaq]
Taaj tere liye ik mazahar-e-ulfat hii sahiiIn 1963 movie Taj Mahal, Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai played the role of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. The lyrics of the film were an instant hit. In 2005, Akbar Khan's ambitious project, Taj Mahal, that was a Rs 100 crore project, bombed at the box office.
tum ko is vaadii-e-ra.ngii.n se aqiidat hii sahii
mere mahabuub kahii.n aur milaa kar mujh se!
bazm-e-shaahii me.n Gariibo.n kaa guzar kyaa maanii
sabt jis raah pe ho.n satavat-e-shaahii ke nishaa.N
us pe ulfat bharii ruuho.n kaa safar kyaa maanii....
A symbol of love is Taj for you,
A place of fun, frolic for you.
But my dear, for my sake, Meet me at another place.
Not for poor this palace
Royal grandeur fills this place.
How can young innocent hearts Be at peace in these parts?
main Taj hun
waqt ke chehre par thamaa huaa aansu hun
sangmarmari jism mein qaid awaz hun
main insani hauslon aur iraadon ki bulandi ka parcham hun
main tavarikh ke warqon men insaani jazbaat ka khilaa huaa gulaab hun
main waqt ke darya ke bahar nikle haathon ke zuban hun
main hazaron mehnat kashon ke....
main Taj hun
Isa Afandi aur Shahjehan jo kahin duur dafan hain
voh tarikh ki parton se nikalne ke liye beqarar hain
aur main unki beqarari ka bayaan hun
main Taj hun...
Every person who is passionate and puts in a great effort in his work with utmost integrity and devotion is creating a Taj Mahal.
(Translated from Jai Prakash Chaukse's story published in a Hindi daily on June 4, 2007),
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