Monday, 18 September 2017

Random thoughts 18092017

Does it surprise you to find a whole lot of apparently educated , supposedly intelligent and professedly neutral people getting carried away by propaganda and even abetting it by using twisted logic  ? Actually there is no surprise in all this muted support by these I-am-not-a-Bhakt-but types. These people are overwhelmingly from the urban middle-class category .

They feel happy with the grandiose dreams that are being shown to them and they also believe in them . They are also more selfish and eye both the rich and poor with a lot of animosity. But since they need the rich to get the bones from the table , they behave properly and wag their tails dutifully. Occasionally they complain with a whimpering voice to draw attention. But they are very particular about the strays that howl outside. They would never like the strays to enter the beautiful house because that would mean sharing of the bones. So at the behest of their capitalist bosses they bark, growl , chase away the weak pariahs and keep them away, as far as practicable from the gravy train.

And regarding the defence of everything the government does or actually doesn't , please remember that everything has its positives depending how you perceive and argue. It doesn't need great intellectual capacity or the mind of an ideologue to establish the benefit of something gross and unnecessary. Anybody can do that. You need a good propaganda machine to spread the benefits of  even something as unnecessary as snake oil. Don't believe me ? Then please read the next paragraph and tell me .

For example - Open defecation is also good. It helps to supply manure to the soil . This manure helps the grass to grow . That grass nourishes the cows grazing on the fields. Those cows give more milk . That extra milk helps the farmer to earn extra money . That extra money is spent on buying consumer goods. Those goods are sold with applicable GST. That GST goes to the government coffers. This money is spent on repaying loans . That enables us to take new loans to build Bullet trains. ..............

Hope you get the drift. 😑😶

Friday, 15 September 2017

Random thoughts 15092017

A lot is being made of how great a deal has been made on the so called Bullet train project by getting a huge loan at a negligible rate of interest. As if the loan doesn't need to be repaid at all.  And the loan has been availed without any strings attached for the development of India with the most altruistic reasons by the Japanese. If  the loan is so cheap that you don't have to pay almost no interest at all , then why not spend it on medical and educational infrastructure throughout the country instead of a high speed train system that will benefit only a particular region .  Belies logic.

How many medical colleges , hospitals  and research institutions could be built with this money , can you guess ? And they would all pay a huge dividend in terms of health, education , job creation and small scale industries instead of helping brokers from Gujarat to visit Mumbai and have their tipple. The whole thing is a total bullshit in terms of cost effectiveness and long range planning.

It is surprising how the simple fundamentals of the development narrative is being construed as a route to embark on grandiose schemes without bothering to address the priorities. The nearest analogy that comes to mind is that of a poor or middle class person splurging on the funeral of his father by inviting the whole village for a grand meal to show off his social commitments when the roof of his house is leaking and his children not even having school uniforms to wear.

By neglecting or abdicating the  responsibilities the governments , central or state are pushing the country into a dark hole . By 2020 onwards India will be the country with the largest population. Consequently we will also become the country with the largest population of aged , infirm , malnourished and illiterate. This will continue for years if the basics are not altered. Can you hear the time bomb ticking . And with due respect to the great votaries of free market , the situation can never be reversed , even arrested by outsourcing the administration of the social sectors to the private investors. The democratically elected government is by the people  and it has to work for the people. There can be no ifs and buts, justifications , comparisons or semantics. As of now there is no roadmap or efforts to address this fact of life that stares at us.

Along with that as a nation we will be constrained to live with a weak human genetic pool both physically and intellectually. Further , the absence of research in medicine , science and technology will make us perpetually dependent on the developed nations for our needs.  We will remain forever a hostage to the multinational corporations for medicines and technology.  Do we even understand the import of the neglect.  Indians were used as indentured labour to grow sugarcane in Caribbeans, lay railroad in Africa, coolies in Southeast Asia , fight wars in Afghanistan and Mesopotamia and presently write software codes in the Silicon valley. The service industry we boast of is just an exploitative system that thrives on our inadequacies . If we are happy with that then we can live in our fool's paradise as long as the fires of hell don't roast us.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Random thoughts 14092017

The speech made by the  Indian  National Congress  party VP  at Berkeley university was neither a great piece of oratory nor an erudite exposition . It was a simple , sober and straightforward speech without frills but with political overtones and he was candid enough to admit mistakes .  That a speech  by the de-facto head of their political rival should draw the ire of the ruling party is not surprising. But the reaction and the rebuttal of the speech by multiple press conferences and the deployment of more than two dozen Union ministers along with various party functionaries for this purpose is  somewhat jarring.

This overkill has two facets to it. Firstly the BJP is not ready , as is it's wont, to  allow even a small dent to their self created facade of  achievement and development , propped up by clever propaganda . They are ready to go all out for every opposition to their goals and agenda , whatever that may be. They are ready to use heavy artillery   for a seemingly innocuous criticism . And they want to show this to everybody else in a blatant display of power and arrogance.

Secondly they are still uncertain about their footing. In the heart of their hearts , they know very well that they have done nothing . Their agenda of hype over nationalism  has faded over the ground realities of non performance and  ground realities of a sluggish economy. The other divisive tactics of polarisation over religion , however is a poison ivy with deep roots and difficult to be uprooted . But more than that what gives them the inferiority complex is that the quality of the leaders and the governance that they offer fall much short of expectations . The personality cult aided by co-option has not really helped as no sensible person can continuously digest the gap between their promises made and delivered. Further nobody other than two persons and a close coterie of outsiders have any say on anything . And that includes people in the party with a lot of administrative and political experience.

But still they continue to be confident . And this confidence actually stems from the bunch of lazy, compromised, self seeking , fragmented and a directionless opposition who lend succour to the ruling party by default . Even as so many  Union ministers came out to speak against the said speech , hardly any opposition leader supported it. Even his own party did not put up a strong defense or bothered to highlight the contents of his speech. If that is not lethargy , then what is ?

The real worry of the political leaders in opposition is the drying up of funds and the spectre of CBI cases hanging on them , rightly or wrongly for their various ommissions and commissions. Actually , it is a sad commentary on our polity that the stronger opposition leaders who have a mass following are all compromised . Moreover their old style of politics involving  money and appeasement have been busted . The other point to note is that presently all these opposition political parties barring a few do not have any ideological locus standi to speak of . Their stance is guided more by opportunistic alignments but never against capitalism. Given a chance they will further the interests of crony capitalists themselves. The lip service to socialism and democracy that they profess actually has made the rise of fascism , capitalism and communalism possible in this country.  

Politics and its dimensions may have changed . But the basics have remained the same , in spite of the changes. Grass root mobilization , people's movement, opinion building  and mass participation are the four pillars of a political entity. But for this the leaders have to hit the roads and inhale the dust. Whatever opposition that the country sees now are in the realm of spontaneous outbursts of indignation.  But such outbursts have a tendency of getting corrupted by self seeking lumpen elements and lose their credibility.  What is needed now is a crystallisation of the opposition to really put up a fight .  Because the portents are getting murky . 2019 will be a make or break year . We may wish that 2004 will repeat itself but then wishes are not horses. And the  opposition can't  take voters as Santa Claus .

Dark night

Let this darkness prevail tonight,
we will explore
its unknown mystery  together.
Nothing else to come between us
in this pitch-black night ,
not even the scruples of morality.
The only reality of this night
is the union of our bodies
to the vertex of pleasure .
This night will not last forever
and when the dawn breaks in,
the lights from the skies will peep
to bring back those silly feelings
of guilt , pangs of regret .
So forget everything, 
be with me tonight
to savour the opportunity
provided to us by this dark night.
We will celebrate
the rites of darkness in ecstasy.
It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong,
holy, unholy or sheer madness.
I love you and you love me,
and we need each other tonight
to complete the circle
of unfulfilled desire that binds us.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lassitude

A lethargic  and humid afternoon ,
with no apparent reasons
to get busy  or even pretend
about some engagement.
I spend my time lazily
watching a cobweb
at the corners of the roof
swaying lightly with the fan .
I enjoy this illusion of stillness
that time weaves around me
like a giant spider .
Even as every moment perish
into oblivion , never to return.
Inertia takes over me
in its languorous embrace .
I take a deep breath
just to confirm that I'm alive
and everything is all right .
Then I close my eyes  to escape
from all that is right with my life
with a deep sense of abdication.

Random thoughts 11092017

You spend a lot of money for the education of your children. Sometimes a lot of money . Compared to the money spent on your own education by your parents, it may seem somewhat obscene  . But that gives you a feeling of satisfaction even if you are stretched beyond your means.You do  this to ensure a better future of your child . Because you are pragmatic  and believe that education is the best investment for the kid .

Let us stop here . If you believe that arranging the best education is a factor of your parental sentiment and your own expectations about the child , then I will accept it. Maybe it's not exactly correct to do so , but one can't argue over sentiments and feelings. But, what did you say, investment ?  Then please do a fact check like you do with all your investments. Are you investing your money wisely ? Are you sure that you are not wasting your money on an inferior product ? Do the education provided at all those places , beginning from the play-school to the coaching institutions worth their  money ?  And lastly , is your child getting to learn , appreciate and practice the value of his education or is it just an exercise to score brownie points over your neighbour .

There is no problem in doing your best to provide the best education for your child . But when it becomes an object of comparison like cars , flats, carpets or i-phones to show off your material status , it becomes a self fulfilling curse. Only, you realise it at a very late stage . And the price of your ambition or misplaced priorities is paid by the poor child . That is the tragedy .

Friday, 8 September 2017

Random thoughts 08092017

Often , I find many in my circle of friends and family ,who become very emotional and voluble on the subject of caste , particularly on caste based reservations  . Personally , I find the concept of caste to be obnoxious, abhorrent and inhuman.  But along with the same view let me also make it clear that  I do not support any form of reservation being extended till eternity to multiple generations of the same family. That creates the problem of privileges being usurped by the creamy layer within the so called backward castes  who monopolise and stop the flow of the benefits to those for whom it is intended , in the first place . But that is my personal observation and as a citizen of the country , I am expected to abide by the constitution and the laws passed by the legislature in a democratic country.

But clearly , even after seven decades , the blot of caste system has not been erased from our society , in particular from the followers of  the majority Hindu religion. From time to time, we come across different incidents , events and happenings which open our eyes to the proliferation of caste as a motif  in our social fabric .  A recent news item from Pune reveals that a lady  holding a senior level designation at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), has lodged an  FIR against another woman , who was employed as a cook by her , with charges of impersonation by suppressing her caste and marital status . Though news reports have not mentioned it, other allied charges  must also have been lodged against the accused , I am sure about it, because that is the way it is done. And mind it , all this happens  not in some rural hamlet , but in a city which is touted as high-tech and cosmopolitan .

It transpires that the requirement was for a married woman of Brahmin caste as a cook ostensibly for religious reasons and after more than a year of employment, the discovery that cook was neither a Brahmin nor married triggered the police complaint.  Now how or why the police accepted such an FIR is a bit of mystery to me as the logical corrollary should have been the immediate arrest of the complainant under the provisions of Article 15 of the Indian constitution which prohibits discrimination  on grounds of caste besides discrimination on grounds of religion, race, sex or place of birth .

I do not support the actions by the cook in falsifying her caste or marital status. But spare a thought for the reasons why she did it . It was to earn her living . When the certificates required for a job itself are such demeaning and discriminatory , where is the crime in faking them.  In a country where ministers and even army generals  have fake birth certificates and educational qualifications, she is now being hounded only because she is poor . Thank the heavens that she belongs to the same religion. Just imagine for a second , if she turned out to be a Christian or Muslim . What would have happened then ?  What would the lady do then ? How many kilos of Cowdung or how many buckets of Cowpiss  would have been required to purify ?

Some reports also refer the complainant as a Scientist . Now we can well imagine the level of science that is being pursued in the country by such noble souls. She is not alone .  We will find thousands of such "scientists"  in our country who still believe in the precedence of rituals in their religious beliefs and a strong conviction about the supremacy of their caste which they inherit by birth. As a citizen of the country these incidents shame us individually and collectively . As a person who was brought up as a Hindu , it  highlights the hollowness of the faith  which I am supposed to follow. As a literate person, it makes me wonder about the gaps in our education .

Shorn of the caste angle , the incident also provides insight to the faultlines of class conflict that exist  in the society  where the privileged can demand  and get the services of the underprivileged for a pittance. Suppose the cook was indeed  a Brahmin married lady . Then would this qualification enable  her to be treated at par with her employer socially?  If not , then what purpose does her higher- caste status serve ? And what happens to the principle of equality of all  ?  I don't have any answers to this.  I don't suppose the police inspectors bothered to consider all this ? As usual the administration represented by the police have done their job . They have sided with the socially powerful elite against a member of the less advantaged. The complainant can afford to engage lawyers to fight her case, the accused may not .

Let me very clear that even if it transpires later that the accused committed felony,  bore a bad character or any such accusations that can be made against her , the premises of discrimination done against her does not alter . She can be punished for all her acts of ommissions and commissions as provided under the law, but what about punishing a senior  government official for displaying such crass mentality and  disregard to the constitution.

And what about the Hindus ? Are they comfortable with this dominance by the upper castes to dictate on the religion or its rituals . If  anybody really thinks so, then my middle finger salute to the bigoted religious beliefs.