Tuesday, 30 October 2007

March of the Landless: Pamper Premjis but don't forget the poor

A unique rally of 40,000 landless tribals and farmers that reached Delhi after a harsh journey of nearly a month, has woken up the politicians and policy-makers in the national capital from their slumber.

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.
But the issue that is nobody asks a tribal before deciding to gift away the land he lives on or cultivates in the name of indstury, jobs (for whom?) and development. Does he get anything except a cheque of compensation of Rs 25,000 (if he is lucky), of which also he has to part with an amount as bribe to the babu.

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 Mother India would think of Babu Bajrangi?

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

Risk of asking Hindi paper in flight: You may be forced to deboard

Laugher show artist Kuldeep is hurt and feeling humiliated. He asked for a Hindi newspaper on a flight, which was considered as an 'offensive' demand by the crew.

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

Hypocrisy, Hollowness and Hatespeak: Abusing others on Internet

In real life it is nearly impossible for us to call a person belonging to to other religion as 'jehadi' or 'kafir' on his face, but when it comes to cyberspace, you can write the most hateful and racist comment without thinking for a while that what great damage it can cause.

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

Why yet another Rizwanul post: Justice and the Idea of India

A million posts have been written but I am forced to write again on the Rizwanul case. Though we must let people speak their mind and I respect the right to freedom of expression of every individual but the comments on my earlier posts, especially the ones that had communal overtones, have prompted me to write again on this subject.

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

Sikhs welcome Muslims after Eid Namaz: The spirit of Hindustaniat

The flowers are raining outside the Eidgah. The beauty of this picture lies in the fact that Sikh boys are welcoming the Muslims coming out of Eidgah after offering the Namaz, with flowers.

The Sikh community welcomes the Muslims after Namaz in Bhopal, as a goodwill gesture. For decades the office-bearers of local Sikh organisations have been greeting Muslims 'Eid Mubarak' in this manner.

Naturally, such a gesture overwhelms the other community. Reaching out to the other community is the need of the hour. We must celebrate the festivals of the other community and spread the message of harmony.

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.

Here there is no political platform but the ordinary Sikhs meeting ordinary Muslims. And this is the spirit of Hindustaniat. Kudos to the Sikh organisations who take this extra step towards reaching to the other community. This photo has a lesson for everybody among us to learn. Will we?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Can you recognise this elderly couple playing hockey?

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's 200 crore Vs Justice for Rizwanur

When Kolkata police commissioner issued the statement a day after Rizwanur Rahman's body was found, that 'the way Calcutta police have acted, it will continue to do so in future', wasnit it the arrogance of power and money backed with the nexus of politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, which made him say that?

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.

Popular Posts