Sunday, 19 August 2007

Satyagraha 2007: Indian style of Protests & Photos

On the left is the photo of protesters sitting deep inside a well in Delhi, protesting the construction of the proposed Commonwealth village.

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

Advertisements on Independence Day 60 Years Ago

Sixty years ago on August 15th 1947 the newspaper advertisements also reflected the spirit of independence.

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

Photo: Muslim woman buys tri-coloured bangles in Delhi

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

Don't shed tears for Sanjay Dutt, think about Lalung who spent 50 yrs without trial

Sanjay Dutt has barely spent a few nights in jail, after conviction and the nation is shocked. The television channels are getting crazy and when he was shifted from Arthur Road Jail to Pune, there was a media cavalcade behind.

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

India: A nation against love?

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.

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