THE OTHER HALF

yes , i agree sachin tendulkar is good at what he does and it is indeed sad that he is retiring , But blocking the airwaves for a whole week to honor him is absurd. cricket is adored by millions in this country , but counting everyone to be a cricket fan or for that matter a sachin fan is stupidity. The cricket fanaticism is a middle class phenomena , which makes it the religion of just the half of us  There is the “other half” including myself who are taken on a not so pleasant ride by our media when a cricket becomes the prime topic of discussion .  As happened last week we were  either made to watch the “news” or watch a general entertainment channel on such days . After a few shows I opted for bigg boss at 9.

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The Sachin fans are a crazy lot especially when it comes to their god , post retirement wanted nothing short of a Bharat Ratna to be awarded to him , Bestowing  India’s highest civilian honor for some one who sported controversy for refusing to carry the national flag was a surprise .  Sachin’s contribution to the development of our society is equal to nothing and if we take into account the exorbitant amounts he charge for commercials , he is actually draining us . On taking such an important decision the government never cared to look at the list of many other deserving candidates , which includes social activists who did selfless to our society . Frankly  sachin doesn’t deserve a bharat ratna for anything that he had done till date , If popularity is the basis for this honour , then actors   Amitabh  Bacchan and Rajnikanth deserves it more , especially for the quantum of work they did in the last 30 years. Sachin tendulkar as a cricketer was pathetic on the field when  the Indian team needed him the most and what he is recognized for in the cricket world  is purely for his personal achievements . This decision which the government have taken in haste have yet again tarnished its image among the public  , especially, the other half who were reduced to mute spectators in this whole saga ,

1975

emergency to me like most  born in the late 1980s is a dark period in our history , something which came down to us through vivid narrations , , It was Mrs Gandhi’s attempt at being the “Indian Empress” by imposing her will on a country of over half a billion. The excesses of the period are a topic of discussion even today , literature abound with detailS , whether it be “Midnights Children” or the movie “Hazaroon khwaishein aisi” . Ironically rarely does these discussions proceed to the question of – why emergency was imposed? , we don’t know much about Mr jayaprakash narayan before 1970s ,and  to the few who knew him the details are sketchy , still he is one of the revered saints of our time.

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The JP movement from a constitutional point of view was equally unlawful  as the emergency was and to an equally violent . The movement taken out against a democratically elected government is undemocratic right from its conception, and to this if we add the geographical limitation of the movement it looses its pan India appeal.. After the 1971 war Indira Gandhi had started showing signs of despotism , but mere signs  cannot be taken an excuse to ask for her resignation before the end of her term . The elections were due in 1976 but  Mr JP intensified his agitation in 1974 itself , Like a normal politician  he could have waited for the democratic process to  bring about change , but what he did was unwarranted . With his support base he tried to stall the functioning of the government and oust Mrs Gandhi through undemocratic means , which ultimately led to the events of 1975 .

I am in no way supporting Mrs Gandhi for what she did or the doings of her “princeling” , Emergency was and will remain a blot on our democracy , but painting JP in white and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in black is not fair . It is hard to digest the story of the socialist leader who retired from politics for serving the society suddenly donning the role of a messiah of the masses . He too had political ambitions , may be he regretted his initial decision to retire, during the final days  .comparing the JP movement to Gandhiji’s civil disobedience movement is stupidity . While Mrs Gandhi was thrust into power by the people on a huge majority , the British were not . Even at the Zenith of the movement against her Mrs Gandhi was still an all India force  , while JP was not.  this was latter proved by the dissipation of the janatha government at the same speed with which it came to power.

while discussing emergency we take JP for granted , but his intentions still remain a mystery . but solely blaming Indira Gandhi  for 1975 is not kind on the legacy of a leader of her stature.

HINDUS AND THE INDIAN DEMOCRACY

to know  the sheer scale of the success we as a nation is , you must read ramachandra guha’s ” India After Gandhi” . it is the riveting  story of a nation born out of chaos , which over the years slowly overcame obstacles , many of which life threatening , with ease and determination. we have had the various political scientists giving their take on why we as a country survives or is surviving , but most of them have given scant credit to the most important of the reasons – the majority community – ” hindus”.

i had always wanted to write a post on this pillar of indian democracy , but backtracked owing to the “communal” tag that comes with it.  the recent anti immigration laws by many European countries made me value the sense of openness that our community have shown over centuries and the level of tolerance it still foster. many had predicted at the time of independence that with the death of nehru , india will start taking baby steps towards being a hindu pakistan , which even after 65 years have not happened and to my knowledge is never going to. we have had the saffron party ruling the country for nearly eight years and still we remain more secular as ever before . the sheer force of the ram janmabhoomi movement that propelled BJP to power could have easily compelled it to build the temple at the site , but the secular section of the majority community , fought for it not to happen . many dooms day predictions are already out for the day when/if Mr Narendra modi will become the prime minister , but as we all know as far as the secular ones , which btw constitute 95% of the 1 billion hindus remain the majority , is never going to.

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hindus make up nearly 80% of our population , with their share in population varying from 3% in many northeastern states to 95% in himachal pradesh. the most interesting of the examples is my state of kerala were 45% percent of the people belong to the minority groups. the state could have easily gone the malaysian way , which have similar statistics and taken up their own bhumiputra movement  , what happened was just the opposite. now after 50 years of the states birth it is more egalitarian than malaysia will ever be.  kerala could not be compared with a north indian state , where generations have grown up hearing the folklore of shivaji and prithviraj chauhan and their fight against the invaders. even after this huge doses of victimhood they remain much at ease with their muslim neighbours , there is this misconception among the secular left wing observers that the north indian hindus could never accept secularism to the fullest , which is to an extent baseless , if it was the case , then how could you explain the success of the hindi soap on zee tv “qubool hai” ? .the story revolves around muslim characters with the lead actress invoking “allah” on every second breath. according to the rating charts it was once the second highest rated show in india. similarly  to me the khans of bollywood shows us  how the north indian masses have graduated with salman khan being revered as god by most of the lower class men from bihar and UP .

this brings us to the question of riots . if hindus were at ease with their other half how could they riot? . my answer would be the comparison with the white supremacist movements and neo nazis. these riots which mostly are politically motivated are the handiwork of these fringe groups , a phenomenon not confined to india alone . but unlike the countries of the west which have stabilised into  monolithic entities , we are in a state of flux like the europe of the 18th century , where outbursts could be magnified and old prejudices easily offended . as we progress towards a stable future these groups will certainly be pushed into obscurity .

i did my graduation at a MES (muslim education society) college whose president Dr Fazal Ghafoor once told us that he would always be thankful to the majority community of kerala for being secular as it is and helping the minorities prosper with them . which is a huge credit for the 95% of us . i conclude this post with the trajectory of BJP’s evolution , a party that began as the appendage of RSS is now a national party whose ideology is just called “right wing” , with more emphasis on free market than on hinduism.

WHY MODI MUST WIN

yesterday cnn ibn – the hindu exit pole predicted a hung parliament in 2014 . though bjp is expected to emerge the largest party , the chances of it making the government is slim. which will automatically give congress another chance at the centre which will be a catastophe. hence it is important that mr modi must win and here are some of the reasons why –mod

1. congress is too arrogant and it thinks it to be their birthright to rule this nation

2.the so called youth power in congress is nothing but a bunch of elite parachuted from the top. rahul gandhi will no doubt be the next rajiv gandhi – clueless at the top.

3.the hereditary factor – rahul will virtually turn india into the longest running monarchy in asia.

4 . for the clean image of mr modi as far as corruption goes . one more cabinet with these faces ……. never

5. mr modi is a self made man. he could be a role model for many with no family connections.

6. he is neither a brahmin nor a kshatriya which is a big relief , as this country had just a handfull of leaders from other casts.

7 its better to have on your face communalism than the shadow one that we have , with fake encounters and counter fake encounters.

as you all must have noted my main reason for supporting him is him being  anti congress and anti gandhi clan. though he have a whole lot of other darker aspects to him , i think he is a better option mr rahul gandhi.

CONGRESS SOCIALIST PARTY

this is a story about a movement which neither the right , left or centre wants to talk about. founded in 1930s  by a group of well informed gentlemen as an alternative to the congress and the communist party , congress socialist party was grand in its vision . it wanted to fuse the socialist ideas with the “bharat ki mitti” and that too not in a marxist way. they were never against the indian set up , but opposed its evils , nor were they anti religion. its leaders dreamed of an india were inequalities perished and everyone lived a fruitful life.

quit india movement was when most of its leaders like jayaprakash narayan and ram manohar lohia came to the national forefront. they quickly made inroads among the masses and were quiet literally challenging the congress high command. gandhi being the authoritarian that he was did the same thing with the socialist camp what he had done to subhash chandra bose. that is he boycotted it. with time the movement lost its steam and by 1950s died a slow death. though jp rose back to prominance in the 70s for another reason , this time his ideology taking a back seat over his personal vendetta. if his second innings was more about his ideology than ambitions the janatha party regime could have ushered in a new india..

NEHRU’S INDIA

nehru’s experiment of what came to be india , is much debated these days , especially for the huge bureaucracy and the associated corruption it has given rise to ,with some of those commentators   terming it a total failure . as another independence day approaches , it is time for a bit of introspection of what we as have become.

at the time of independence there were two antagonistic views of how india must move forward. the gandhian and nehruvian path.the first to me , a third generation free indian is a bit insane. gandhi was in favor of grama swaraj , an utopia were villages were self sufficient and the nation was nothing but a federation of these villages. in a world were nationalism is worn on sleeves such a federation would have broken up years ago , with a weak center we didn’t even stood a chance . that is were nehrus india out shined . though much of the government of india act of 1935 was blindly copied , it did give us a sense of unity , particularly in those formative years. today it has become the backbone of modern india .

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as the fizzling out of the arab spring showed us changes should always be assimilated with time , hence nehru’s decision to adopt  the colonial system was the best decision  made at the time . he planned to slowly adapt it to the indian climate. but his grand visions for a better india was destroyed by none other than his own daughter. being the politician she is , she adapted the system for her benefit imprinting into the indian psyche the bureaucracy that we have. if we look back it is more than clear that since 1970s no real change have taken place as far as our system goes and the later governments following indiras path nehruvianism was abandoned.

it is indira who should be blamed for what we have today and not nehru rather he must be admired for his work of uniting us into a country that is slowly emerging on the world stage.

DISCOVERY OF NEHRU

Discovery of India was there on my flipkart wishlist for a long time.i had till last month never though myself ready to read it , as i started reading , the book quickly got hold of me . internship came as a boon as i could be in it 24*7 even in the clinic. there are many view points at looking at Nehru , but over the years the minority views were suppressed and he was made a divinity like Gandhi. so for a guy in his mid twenties this book opened up Nehru more as a human being than the god that he is perceived to be.

the book is aptly titled a classic that it is , for its narration. opening at the Indus valley it passes smoothly through Vedas , Mauryas , Guptas and the sultans to reach 1944. for someone who calls himself an atheist his knowledge of Indian philosophy and advaita comes out as a revelation.for me the book really starts with the advent of British , to have the first hand narration of the freedom movement. the stubbornness of Indian national congress over partition is barely emphasized these days , Nehru vehemently opposed the idea and could rarely meet eye to eye with Jinnah. the decision taken not to support the Nazis and japan during the second world war is praiseworthy . Nehru was totally against the tactics of Indian national army and Subhash Chandra boss to side with Japanese as he believed that such an alliance would just change the imperial government at Delhi.

the book presents the constant turmoil both inside and outside , that compelled him to look at things at a new angle , from the past . so at Ahmadnagar fort he slowly unravels . the author may come out a bit too western for an average Indian for his constant references to Greek , roman and European literature , but his understanding of the Indian problems were equally deep. though a prophet of industrialization , he was of the view that india could prosper only with villages as autonomous units. the foreign policy doctrine and the non aligned movement were evident in his writing.he looked up to the African and Asian countries for guidance especially china , which he considered as the eternal friend of ours. hence it was not surprising to imagine his initial reactions in 1962.

the book opens itself in bits and as it reaches the final pages you would feel your heart heavy with pride . Mr Nehru i feel privileged to know you in person.

INDIAN MIDDLE CLASS

I have always been a fan of the dooms day prophets , especially the ones who see the apocalypse in the immediate future. I had thought of it as a genuine reaction to my secular upbringing , as we never cared about a god who would return to push us off into ovens of fire. But the developments in the last few months have made me realize the real reason , its a communicable disease called “the eternal pessimism” which makes you an ardent member of the great Indian middle class.

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a middle class guy is supposed to be pessimistic it seems, especially with the political class . we take  pride in blaming the system , naming  it clumsy and worthless , without even trying to understand what the system stands for. we forget the fact that nothing called india existed 60 years back ,it was  our founding fathers who  painstakingly pieced together a democratic setup , which holds all of us with same dignity.   i have heard many praise the chinese model of governance echoed especially in print by our national newspaper , a one party state where bloggers like me would have been jailed and arnab goswami surely executed .  the real problem with the middle classes is that, taking the global que ,we want change, but don’t know what to change. at first we wanted tougher anti corruption laws , then wanted to put all the corrupt in jail and till a month ago we wanted stricter anti rape laws.  its seems to me that all we want is to shout and not resolve real issues. protests can only ignite discussions , following it up is perhaps more important.in a democratic setup like ours that would be long , as over a billion plus voices must be heard and taken into consideration. this desire to change the whole setup overnight is absurd and blaming the system for it is plain stupidity . iam proud of what we have achieved since 1947 , our system could have crumbled in 1962 , during emergency or in 1993 , but it did not. our system is resilient and constantly adapting to face new challenges , such a juggernaut cannot change overnight but evolve over time , i wish the middle class could understands that.