Serious


1
Dec 08

So what do we do about our government?

Warning : This is a longish post and in contrast to my recent ones, there is no attempt at humour. Wordplay will be back in a day or two.

From apathy, to shock, to rage, to indignance, to disgust, to weariness, to apathy. The cycle continues.

The same words are being said. The same issues are being bickered over. The same solutions are being debated.

“Why can’t we have better intelligence?” “Isn’t it appalling that politicians have cornered the best cops for their own security?” “What do we do to bring Muslims into the mainstream of development & prosperity?” “Why can’t we have harsher laws?” “Why is the Indian state so much about power and so little about governance?”

Every one of us has been asking some of these questions. All of us have answers for some of them. The same old answers. We talk of citizens taking up arms. We drape ourselves in our national flag. We resolve to vote next time. We light candles. We wear white shirts. You know what we’re actually doing? We are just deluding ourselves that our anger, our patriotism and our temporary activism will somehow create a mythical force that would lead to an efficient government. A government that will guarantee security, ensure prosperity, build infrastructure, protect our heritage, preserve our environment, regulate our industry, administer justice and promote harmony & equality.

But what is government? It is not an abstract entity that is filled with good intentions and endless talent.

READ ON →


28
Nov 08

It would be funny if it weren’t so scary

1. Someone has started a group in facebook called “Say NO to terrorism.” Its membership is swelling by the minute. Are its members promising to not indulge in terrorism (“say no to drugs” types)? Or is the group meant to inform terrorists (at least the ones who are on facebook) that there are people out there who don’t like getting bombed. Thereby clearing their misconception that their victims enjoy their attacks. I’m scanning the list of members to see if Osama has joined.

2. Pratibha Patil has put our minds at ease by “strongly condemning” the terror attacks. She probably thought that we were sick with apprehension that she might applaud it. The Deccan Mujaheddin are now expected to be completely demoralized by this presidential rebuke.

READ ON →


2
Nov 08

The student, the toiler, the soldier, the leader.

I was languidly watching the test match wither away into a draw when suddenly the news flashed that Anil Kumble has decided to retire. We knew it was coming. In fact, some were even giving blatantly subtle hints about it. But regardless of how much we anticipate the retirement of a great cricketer, it still leaves a sense of disbelief when it actually happens. There is a sense of loss that we won’t see that famous run up again. So while the news channels are quickly making edits of “Chak De India” to play tonight with visuals of his ten-wicket haul, while ex-cricketers are hastily sheathing their barbs and polishing their tributes, and while Mallya is wondering if he will save some money on the Royal Challengers budget, here is my piece on a man I admire…

Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar transformed Indian cricket in the 90s. Sachin showed us glimpses of the impossible. He was the magician who lived in a world which seemed illusory to us. A world of what could be. Kumble, on the other hand, lived in our imperfect world. He too was a magician. But his brand of magic was about what is. He showed us how reality could be exploited; how adversity could be ground into submission by human will. His was the art of the possible.

READ ON →


7
Oct 08

Just who is the public?

The smoker is not public. He’s a disease-spewing addict who needs to be banished to dark corners. He will be ostracised.

The homosexual is not public. He’s a deviant who needs to be driven into the closet. He will be denied medical care.

The artist is not public. He’s just an inconsiderate lout who needs to be taught not to offend anyone’s sensibilities. He will be mobbed.

The missionary is not public. He’s an evil do-gooder who lures innocent illiterates from their true religion by promising them food, clothing, education & dignity. He will be slaughtered.

The immigrant is not public. He is an invader who has come to corrupt culture by talking, dressing & behaving differently. He will be looted.

The youth are not public. They are just wastrels of voting age who are abandoning the lifestyle we have championed for 5000 years. They will be jailed.

The rich are not public. They are merely achievers who use their wealth to wallow in decadence and luxury. They will be curbed.

The poor are not public. They are ignorant animals who will be kept in poverty so that their servility is permanent. They will be exploited.

Who then is the public? In whose name are the laws of our land made? Whose good do they mean when they talk of the ‘greater good’?

The corrupt. The fanatic. The bigot. The intolerant. The powerful. The numerous. The mob.

Yup, it makes sense. The mob is the majority. And democracy, they say, is rule by the majority.