Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Deathly silence

Not a breath of air
to rustle the leaves of the trees,
they are so quiet.
Their long shadows grow
without even a hint of quiver.
As the sun goes down
and the full moon comes up,
night with its sinister, brooding peace
engulfs everything in sight.
The beauty of this night
is in its silent veneration of death,
in this desolate jungle,
deserted even by the animals
that inhabited it.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Random thoughts 27112017

Ravichandran Ashwin creates the record to get the fastest 300 wickets in 54 Test matches. This is a great feat no doubt , more so when you consider that the record was till now held by Australian fast bowling legend Lillee who had reached the milestone in 56 Test matches way back in 1981 and it took 36 years for another bowler to eclipse the record.

Well there can be many arguments about the position of Ashwin in the hall of fame for the all time greats. Any comparison between players of the present and the past eras will  be futile. Cricket has evolved so much over the years and the rules, regulations, style and grammar of the game has changed drastically. We have to keep that in mind before embarking on any theoretical discussion. or comparison.

Denis Lillee, as we all know is a legendary fast bowler and hailed as the outstanding fast bowler of his generation. But Ashwin perhaps cannot claim the same pedestal for his generation , that too in India .Another point of debate may be the number of wickets that both had on Indian soil. For Ashwin it has been overwhelmingly too many , while for Lillee , it's only a handful.

But let us not split our hairs on the  statistics . Ashwin has been able to make the most of the chances that fate has provided him and grabbed firmly all opportunities that came his way. And he has been a consistent match-winner too. He deserves the adulation and encomiums that's being showered on him. It's his moment under the sun . Let us congratulate him. #Ashwin

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Random thoughts 22112017

The fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve. Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support.

Étienne de La Boétie (1530–1563)

I have a question to ask to all those people who say they are neutral or who continue to turn a blind eye to whatever is happening around us – Is the development that you talk of  worth sacrificing the freedom of others ?  Let us say you were born in Gemany and a mature adult when Hitler took over the reins of Germany. Would you still have been on the side of Hitler? The parallel to that period is uncannily similar to what is happening in our country at present.

If we love our country, if we believe in the concept of India then we need to save India from the fate of Germany. We need to talk about it openly. We must speak out against how propaganda , the art of making news to suit the interests of the government and the vested interests is taking us on the way to doom. We need to highlight the real issues, the power structure that control the whole country in its vice like grip. How the people have no voice and the whole election process is becoming a charade.

Our constitution has defined our country as a republic with certain rights to each individual. It is not a matter of what is dictated by the majority, it is much beyond that. But what do we find – The power structure has been usurped by a few and rule of law is almost extinct.  A few people claim the authority to rule everyone else by virtue of a mandate from the majority, which is actually not so.

But why is it so that the people acquiesce to their own subjugation? Why don’t they rise up and cast off this tyranny simply by allowing the state to be in charge. It is much less difficult then we think. The state derives its powers from the consent of the people. And it can be overthrown in an instant if people withdraw their consent. We may be in awe of the façade of the devastating and seemingly overwhelming power of the state but in reality it is a myth. It is the cooperation of the people, by association or abdication of their duties that provides succour to the state.

It is nothing but a a combination of cowardice, habit and tradition that stops us, we the people, to overthrow this oppressive state machinery that works against us in the garb of working for us . The ideological illusion and intellectual confusion of the middle class only adds up to the problem.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Random thoughts 20112017

From the news reports and discussions on the social media, it would not be wrong if somebody assumes that the country and its governance currently seem to have been overwhelmed and taken over by the far fringes. That these elements are aligned with the ruling party and see their interests to be co terminus with the ruling party does not come as a surprise.

Some saner people, even among those who are supporters of the ruling dispensation may question why the government of the day appears to be less successful in reining these fringe elements. Some may even wonder how they can pull back from this current trend. And some may rue the fact whether this is actually possible at this point to happen?

The political parties in India has always been liberal but few of the them has always made conservatism their plank, firstly to woo the voters and secondly to further the interests of their backers, mainly from the business community. Previously the Congress had been the party associated with power and therefore it was always attacked by all parties including those who professed liberal values. But since the 80s, the situation gradually changed and the BJP has now emerged as the party which is increasingly seen as the party of power. They have achieved this position basically on the platform of a strident slogan of Hindutva which has now culminated to a Hindi-Hindu-Hindusthan concept. 

The problem with Congress is that somehow they cannot remotely convince themselves that their base can deliver elections for them. Despondency and a lack of strategic thinking have made them falter and suffer from an identity crisis. On one hand the erosion of the traditional support base has made them wary of continuing with the liberal policies which were slightly left of the centre. They know very well that they must work to broaden their coalition—and to restrain their base from erosion. Their base knows it too as do their opponents and partners.

The BJP, however, is now in a position where they can imagine themselves as representing the conservative and capitalist phalanx of the society at large and they also know very well that they are on the path to gain a majority , or anyway, something close to it. What they need is one last push that would help them to ram through the wall of tolerance and breach the defence of the liberal culture in the society. Like the hunting animal who they can scent the prey. They believe that they are very close to having everything their own way—so they are not in a mood to compromise?

This hunger for the overwhelming victory in sight and the aversion to compromise intensifies the rise of the lumpen and the hate brigade. The supporters of BJP who are otherwise aligned to them on the promises of a better economic future in the horizon love to dismiss the fringe by terming them as lunatics and hotheads. A big section of the selfish upwardly moving middle class who dream of sending their progenies to the developed countries to study and settle overlook the rising menace of this fringe by assuming that they mean no harm to their interests. Monopolists and crony capitalists try to utilise this fringe to further their own interests against the labour, student, farmer, adivasi movements. Swadeshi, tradition, religion and nationalism can be a great tool to kill competition, evict people from their lands and pressurise officials to fall in line.

But as this fringe gains centre stage and destroys the social fabric of the country, the reaction to their ascendancy will not remain unanswered. The caste system of India will try to counter this rise of the religious fringe, so will the rise of sub nationalism. That does not look too optimistic for the future and can only bring further strife that will hamper education, industry and business.  Perhaps that will be the time for the most affluent to become the most anxious.

I can only hope that this trend of fascism and rule of the religious lumpen will face a counter revolution from the downtrodden of the society soon. Because the middle class at large, along with the media and the institutions have actually capitulated to these fringe elements on the false promise of economic development.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Robert Mugabe

#RobertMugabe  As I grow older, one by one all the relics and associations of the past fade away into oblivion . The news of the coup in Zimbabwe is one such event that makes me feel again how the world has changed over the years. Right from the days I started taking interest in politics, current affairs or international events, the name Robert Mugabe was very common . Perhaps even a little more than Nelson Mandela who was still in prison when Mugabe assumed power as the PM of Zimbabwe in 1980. He held on to power for more than  37 years by various means and advocating different political philosophies .  At the age of 93 , he is the oldest ruler in this world. His life and times have been well documented and many fictions woven around him.  Those who read Wilbur Smith will immediately find the shadow of Mugabe in many of his novels . 

Zimbabwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia and was ruled by the British . It is a landlocked country sharing border with Zambia ( formerly Northern Rhodesia) at the north and majorly on all sides by South Africa.  The inhabitants  unilaterally declared independence in 1965 and after a protracted struggle for independence , finally got it in 1979. Robert Mugabe was at the forefront of this  freedom struggle and he was rightly hailed worldwide for his leadership .  He rose from  poverty to complete  his University education and started  as a teacher before  taking the plunge in politics .

Being indoctrinated in the Marxist philosophy he was supported by the Soviet Russia ( read KGB) who were trying to build their influence in Africa - Angola, Mozambique , Ghana  and many other countries through their proxy, Cuba. The party he headed - ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) received widespread patronage from the  Soviet bloc as well as the third world countries all over the world. After independence of his country , Robert Mugabe naturally headed the government and became a well known anti imperialistic figure in the  third world countries and Non aligned movement . The Independence of Zimbabwe actually gave impetus to the anti apartheid movement of South Africa  and also a foothold for the rebels there to continue their armed struggle .

The glory days of NAM showcased famous personalities from our youth - Indira Gandhi, Fidel Castro , Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi, President Tito , President Assad, Hosni Mubarak etc. Robert Mugabe made his place among them . Many , who are particularly sympathetic to US interests  would term this as a rogue's gallery but please note that the world was a different place 30-40 years back .

But as it happens everywhere, somewhere along the line  Robert Mugabe became too powerful and believed himself to be the supreme . Not everybody can relinquish power like Gandhi or Mandela . Most rulers degenerate into Idi Amin . Mugabe was accorded the status of being the father figure of his country. But his rule of 37 years was a story of incompetence, inefficiency, corruption and ruthless power play.  But let us concede one point. In spite of his dictatorial style , Mugabe never gave up on the pretense of democracy. He got himself voted , term after term through massively rigged and manipulated elections .

At the last count, he cant be termed as a fascist. And through out his life he remained an anti imperialist , often at loggerheads with USA and a thorn to their ambitions.  Robert Mugabe was a great friend of India  and have visited our country often  right from his revolutionary days. Last year there was a small controversy about his attending the World Culture Festival organised by Ravi Shankar . He was briefly reported as missing after having left the country to attend the function .

But he was the person responsible for bringing a thriving  country like Zimbabwe with potentials in agriculture and mining into penury. Starting as a Marxist ideologue, he morphed into Marxist- Leninist, then socialist and finally pure kleptocrat. With the new world order after the dismantling of USSR and the withering of NAM, he lost his support and bargaining power and gradually lost relevance with age . Lately , he was more known for his remarks against racism and imperialism.  His rule became synonymous with the economic doom and jokes about the currency of that country. Last heard I know of a joke doing the rounds which said that 100 trillion Zim Dollar was equivalent to 40 US cents. Don't really know how far it's true.

But in all of this , there is a lesson to be learnt . No ruler lasts for ever and no ruler should be allowed to gather so much power  like the dictators we see around us . USA wisely has a constitution which allows only two terms , maximum eight years of power, to an individual. And UK retains the crown as a figurehead to provide a rallying point instead of any individual , however popular he or she may be.

I am neither an expert nor have any qualification to comment on international affairs . But to a layman like me observing the drama unfold as an armchair specialist of stories laced with political intrigue, it appears on the surface that the coup has the blessings of USA who are desperate to gain a foothold in Africa to counter the growing influence of China, who unlike USSR do not export revolution to any country ; only Chinese goods . But what lies beneath can be anybody's guess.

So now, long live the Queen.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Random thoughts 16112017

#Conspiracytheory Don't underestimate the biggest actor of India. If nothing goes right , then he may feign a heart attack during a public rally two days before the voting day in Gujarat. And remain in the ICU till voting is done to whip up public sympathy. He can do everything. Use every trick in the books . I simply don't trust him .

*******************
14.11.2017

This culture of trespassing into the personal lives and using spy camera to malign opponents must stop forthwith. Those who suport this or even try to justify such reprehensible behaviour do not realise that all this poses a great danger to individual freedom . Life itself is a resultant of lust and desire. Trying to be holier than thou and preaching morals related to carnal desire is idiotic and that too between two persons engaged in the act with mutual consent.

Encouraging this culture will destroy the social fabric. I am apprehensive that the day is not far off when people will stop bothering about cameras and start making it out in the open , like animals.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Random thoughts 13112017


14 years of continuous BJP rule in Madhya Pradesh. Yet they could not wrest the Chitrakoot assembly seat from Congress. How can you believe that they will deliver a Congress-Mukt Bharat ?

22 years of continuous BJP rule in Gujarat . Yet they have not been able to stop the illicit trade of liquor in the state. In spite of prohibition, liquor is freely available there through smugglers.How can you believe that they will deliver a corruption free India ?

Bhaktjanon kuchh toh bolo re !!

Those who criticise or mock North Korea , its leader Kim , his father or his grandfather and accuse them of war mongering may please answer - Which country has North Korea attacked in the last 50 years ? And how many countries the USA have attacked in the last 50 years ?

Without resorting to a nuclear attack , USA will never be able to win against Korea in a conventional war . Not only that , it will also lose its bases and hold over its client state South Korea. So North Korea is correct in developing a nuclear bomb as a deterrent strategy. Otherwise it would have faced the same fate as Libya or Iraq , by now.

It is their national interest they are pursuing . Since they have never shown any hostile intentions or provocations to other countries , it is strange why some Indians show off their twisted sense of foreign affairs by mocking or spreading US propaganda. Some TV channels are especially irritating in their anti Kim or anti North Korean content.