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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dance Of Democracy

We all are aware and witness to what I consider as one of the greatest miseries of our country in modern times. We are living at a time when the existing government is so shrouded in corrupt activities that it just can’t ask for any more controversies. From the CWG to 2G, everything has been marred by corruption and the controversies that followed them. In the light of all these wrong doings, it becomes all the more important to fight corruption till the end. It fills me with great pride to see how the entire country is coming together against corruption. But , the question that I would like to ask is “ are we doing the right thing?”, fighting corruption is important , but is the means right, as I believe that greatness can be achieved for a society or the country only if ones intentions and the means , both are correct.

For a past few weeks I have been constantly receiving invitations in our common meeting place (read adda) the facebook, about joining Mr. Anna Hazare and the civil society, as they go one on one with the existing government. It is obvious that they must have a lot of support, hence all the online buzz. I still remember it all started with a hunger strike organized by Mr. Anna Hazare to implement the “JAN LOKPAL BILL”. Well the strike ended with the government submitting to the demands of the former. There was a lot of hullabaloo in all circles of the society and the media about the bill and its implications. This was followed by the superman of the yoga world Baba Ramdev going on a hunger strike to force the government to bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks. This was initially interrupted by the government in a brutal fashion, some people also compared the situation with the infamous Tiananmen square incident in China. Then the resilient Baba continued his strike in a different location, this time however the government seemed least bothered. With all this coming to a closure, we witness another dance of democracy when yesterday I saw in television, the civil society conducting polls , and team Anna planning one more hunger strike from the 16th of this month ( most probably).. Well has been quite an eventful year I guess…..

All this activities have gained a huge momentum and the number of supporters seems to be on a rise as ever. It seems finally the youth of this country is getting serious about the plight of this country. I however have some serious questions regarding the current state of affairs. My most important concern is hunger strikes. It seems they are the “in thing “these days. The initial hunger strikes were still justified, but going to a hunger strike because the government did not agree to all your demands is preposterous. It seems team Anna would go for a hunger strike whenever their demands are not meet. This is nothing but holding the entire governance at ransom. What kind of a message are you trying to send , if my demands are not meet I will fast to death. Today they are doing this for the lok pal bill, tomorrow other organizations may follow suite for their demands. Some might do that for increase in quota while others for declaring war on Pakistan, the government cannot and should not succumb to such demands. Isn’t it the government of India who is supposed to take decisions on such issues, and don’t we ourselves choose them. Doesn’t the civil society understand that?...... The bill would be presented to the parliament and they will decide its fate. Our constitution allows only the parliament to decide on such matters; who is the civil society. Isn’t what they are doing an insult to our constitution.

Interestingly enough, the civil society conducted polls on the matter, going to the people, like a true democratic party. What I don’t understand is what the civil society is trying to prove. Tomorrow people might demand a similar kind of polling on other issues, like the ram-mandir issue, Kashmir, and so on. Is the civil society suggesting that we go for such polling each time the country faces a difficult situation? Imagine the chaos that will reign the country when for every decision, the whole country would be asked to vote. By doing such a thing and by supporting this are we not mocking our own democracy, are we not insulting our own constitution. Why do we have elections , why do we choose representatives, after all if we have to vote for each and every matter, then why do we have the government. An important aspect to this is, who will decide what is important, and what is not, what should be polled and what should be left to the government. For instance the people of Nagaland may consider the autonomy of their state as the most important issue, however I am not even sure how many people know about its capital city. Why do we have to be so absurd in our approach, why can’t we vote for a change, if people like Anna Hazare go to hunger strike for all their demands isn’t it a very dictatorial approach. Toady Anna and his team wants to make the Lokpal more powerful then the government itself and most of us are also supporting that, my question to Anna and his supporters is, “ who will choose the Lokpal, who will decide about its members?”,If the answer is the people of India , then we already have elections, what difference will that make, now we have corrupt politicians , then we will have a corrupt lokpal.

The civil society wants the judiciary to be under the ambit of the lokpal, if the constitution has allowed the judiciary to be the custodians of the Indian laws, then how can the lokpal have greater powers. Whom will the lokpal be answerable to. Agreed the lokpal will fight corruption, who will fight them if they go corrupt, these are questions that Anna or any of his supporter have to answer. I belong to a part of the country where I have seen a lot of bandhs, strikes and even hunger strikes, I strongly believe that such means of expression will only weaken us and destroy our democracy.if you want a change, vote for it. Why doesn’t Mr Anna Hazare contest elections next time, if he is so serious about changing the country. I am personnaly not against Mr Anna Hazare but I cannot support hunger strikes and holding the entire country at ransom for certain demands, the constitution says that only the elected representatives and the parliament can frame rules and constitute committees and thus so be it... If you want a change vote for it, don’t hold the country at ransom……… or else form your own political party

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I was having my dinner in our hostel mess yesterday, and browsing the music channels that were on air. After a few initial minutes I realized that there was nothing ‘musical’ about any of the shows being aired. The so called music channels have become more of reality show channels in which the only thing that that is being aired or advertised are absurd reality shows. This goes without saying that the very fact that MTV, one of the pioneers in the field of music channels, took off the label of music television from their logo, is a testament to this fact. I wonder what has happened to the world of music. Of course if you were to believe the marketing team of these music channels, their complaint is that people no longer depend on music channels for music, as in with the advent and advancement of ipods ( or any other music player)and internet, people now do not depend on television for music. Yes it is true I remember as a kid I was a Bryan Adams fan and my only refuge was MTV , I would wait for the shows where they would play English song. But now the story is different my mobile takes care of my hunger for music.

Is this the only thing that’s gone wrong with music ? no. Especially in India I feel the mainstream bollywood music is heading nowhere, and this music is eating up the space that should have been provided to other genres. For instance we are a country that can actually be proud of its rich heritage in music . we have innumerable gharanas and many ustads and pandits. But where are they………… they are confined to a very small number of population whose number is already on a decline. Let us for a moment forget about classical music considering that its for the classes and not the masses, but look at mainstream music………………… all we want is a foot tapping number………… even if it has practically absurd and redundant lyrics. Singers like sonu nigam who are actually amazing singers are singing lesser songs, not that the upcoming ones are bad the newer song simply lack the feel , only once a while someone comes across a song which is really good and sensible. For the first time now hindi cinema is making progresses and has come out of its traditional cloak, so why is it that a very few experimentations are done with music.

I remember when Indian ocean came to my college , the students actually felt frustrated where as the band, in my opinion is great and one of the very few Indian bands to actually combine rock with folk music which is actually amazing. Where does the fault occur?...........with us or with the composers………well definitely we have a fair share in t his blame game but not entirely. Of late I came across something known as the ‘coke studio’. It’s a program aired in Pakistan and very fresh. There they call upon amazing classical singers like ustad rahat fateh ali khan and combine them with bands like junoon or noorie. A perfect blend of rock and folk music and audiences of all ages love the shows. My only doubt is why can’t we do something like that in India . I strongly feel that our current state of affairs in the field of music is going down the drains, and with music channels going of the hook , things look even grimmer. A better realization must be brought about to explore the rich music that our country has, and that too soon.

Yes one can say that newer labels are coming up, but are they promoting mew music , not much. Well there are many labels like demonstealer records which are promoting newer bands but I think not enough is being done. Time has come to shed of our stereo-typed mainstream music and give the other genres a chance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We touchy Indians

As India ushers into a new age, celebrates its 60th republic day I wondered as to how many of us actually understand the meaning of being in a “republic “country. We are a country that has a huge and varied population, coupled with apparent illiteracy. Such conditions are very effectively used by the power mongers to create situations of unrest and anarchy in various parts of the country, and why are they successful ? Because of our “touchy nature”
I was going through the news paper a few days back and read an article regarding such an issue. It gave my thoughts regarding these issues a stronger support. We are a people that does not just respect its leaders but give them the god status. Apparently this seems to be good, but it is these touchy sentiments that are being exploited. Such exaggerated love or devotion creates more problems then solutions.
I remember when the movie ‘Subhas Chandra Bose – forgotten hero’ was released there were a number of controversies that were created out of thin air. First people protested that he is not forgotten, secondly and most importantly people took to streets protesting over the fact that the movie actually told about his German wife. Ridiculous as it is, I don’t understand that how does a title ‘forgotten hero’ cause any harm. The most irritating part is why is it not possible for a national hero to have a German wife, can’t he fall in love or have an affair, after all he is a human being, but no—for us he is GOD.
This is not the only incident of this sort. The year was 2001,a respected historian published a book which said that Hindus did consume beef in ancient times and that in medieval times laws became stricter. When our ‘touchy’ public got to know this they burnt the books and Hyderabad civil court even banned it. Ultimately the book was published in America and England. In 2004 Sambhaji brigade, a Marathi youth wing vandalized a research center in pune because the centre had given access to an American writerto the various manuscripts of the time and he inferred that may be Shivaji’s family life might not have been very happy and that might have influenced his political views. These are not the only examples,in the year 2000 arun shourie;s book created a huge uproar as it questioned Dr B.R.Ambedksar, which angered the dalits. Same thing happened in Orissa because of some controversies regarding Bose.
It is one thing to love and respect your idols and another to create such hullabaloo. I wonder why is it not possible to let everyone speak his mind, after all its his opinion, its not like someone is standing on a podium and abusing your “demy gods”. Why cant we be a bit more liberal. Its high time that we understand that if we love or respect someone it must be true, from the heart. If your love and respect are so weak that a book or a movie can dilate it then I think it will be safe to conclude that all your respect was just a show, all you want is to be famous and become a overnight star. It is for educated people like us to make sure that these ideas don’t settle in our minds ,logic must always prevail over emotions in such cases, and tolerance is our gift to the world, yet we are so poor in showing it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Few days back as i was going through the news paper and I read about the decision taken by the Ministry of Human resource development to de-affiliate 44 deemed universities of their deemed status. I went through the list of institutes and the first thing that ran through my mind was 'do i have any friends studying in any of these institutes?'. Well thankfully the answer was no. But think about all those people who had either taken a degree from those institutes or those who are currently pursuing one. The very thought is scary, to say the least.

Picture this, lets say that each of these institutes were there for atleast 5 yrs, now each of the institutes mentioned in the list were technical or med schools so it will be fair to assume that they enrolled ATLEAST 250 students each. If we multiply these figures then atleast 55000 STUDENTS had to bear the brunt of a blind educational system.

This is a huge figure that stares at you and tells you how wrong the educational system has gone towards providing a fare and standard education. We are a country that boasts of being the next super power, a country that is constantly improving upon the role it plays in the international stage, if this is the sorry state of education the it should not be surprising if we do not achieve any of our goals as a country. I know that the first thing that comes to one’s mind is that we also have world class institutes like the famed IIT’S , the IIM’S etc, but we cannot turn our back to the fact that we do have huge loop holes in our system.

Let us ask this question, why did such a scenario occur in the first place. The answer is simple CORRUPTION. It is this plague that has engulfed every system and of course education. How did these institutes get the required clearances in the first place, is there no governing body that takes care of it? is there no governance of these bodies?. Well there are a lot of govt. bodies looking in these matters like AICTE, NBA … and the list continues. If this is so then how did these institutes get recognized? Well just as they say ‘money can buy everything’.. it bought education too. All these institutes are owned by big shots who literally ‘bought’ their way into this. Look at the city of Bangaluru this city alone houses more than 100 technical colleges, some deemed, some affiliated to various universities which are growing like mushroom these days. Apart from Bengaluru there are many such ‘education hubs’ all over the country. Their existence was possible only because of the callous and corrupt attitude of the government. So I think it would not be wrong to say that the government is actually cleaning its own mess, created long ago. Even after reputed institutes like SRM had come under the scanner in the past, it took our government around 3 yrs to initiate an action.

I know that it’s one thing to blog and a different thing to do give solutions, but I think the government and the media are doing very little if not nothing to spread awareness among the people. We even have ads saying”Jago grahak jago” but no ads to warn the students and their parents about the circus that education has today become. So I think we the educated masses must take or try to take a stand and do something about it. A small initiative can be seting up an ngo who works to spread awareness in this matter. Of course the govt has to step in but we can do our part.