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Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Or does it? (Also, like the title, the post itself promises to be quite long.)

newtons-cradle-1Newton, while proposing this law of motion, may not have considered the socio-political realities of the world. But the law did. And it decided to apply itself to the world at large. Which, perhaps, is the reason (almost) every nation in the world today wants to spend more monies on defence strategy rather than their own downtrodden. And why there are more terrorist groups forming around the world as the second hand moves on.

And what’s surprising is the tremendous disconnect between people’s beliefs and their actions. There’s a habit of simply pointing fingers and blaming. And very often, playing victim. I’m not saying that ‘terrorists‘ are right. No, sir. I’m only asking that we look at why they are terrorists in the first place. Of course, some would quote Michael Caine from The Dark Knight and say, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.” But he was only talking about a demented man, not regular school children who one day pick up a gun and shoot a bunch of their classmates down. Or even youth who decide to bang an airplane head-on into a tall commercial building.

Or the infamous Maoist situation in India. Just this week, around 200 Maoists set off a landmine and shot freely at a political convoy, killing 17 people. And wounding about 25. This isn’t a first-of-a-kind attack. Many times before, the so called Left Wingers have targeted politicians and even members of the CRPF. Much condemnation has gone around in political circles. And much more, the ‘need to wipe them out’. The government has already attempted to fill these need by constantly escalating military activity in the affected parts of the country.

But is that really the wisest way to go about things? Has using brute force ever solved a dispute? Especially, seen as, the Maoists are and have been victims of a failed societal system themselves? People who have been trying hard to protect their own rights before Adam was born. Sure, the government has tried things with the Forest Rights Act (FRA), Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA), Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. But have any of these been implemented the way they were meant to be? Has the government, in all earnest, tried to truly empower these people? And if it has, has it looked at where the failures lie? Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, doesn’t seem to care.

Because the fact of the matter is this. These are people who have been put down for decades. They have been pressured into picking their guns and grenades up. They have been left no choice but to come down to ugly violence. They don’t have the option to go on a hunger strike, because they’re already hungry. It’s already a genocidal situation in so many villages. And if you’re going to take up more guns and shoot people down, the whole thing only spirals right out of control and possibly leads to a civil war situation. If it hasn’t already.

The Centre needs to stop talking about this whole more military business. They need to concentrate on how they’re going to solve the problem, not its symptoms.

Peace. (I wish.)
Kabir.

 

 

Categories: India, news, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You know what a bannequin is?

It’s a mannequin that’s banned. Yes. You can unburrow your eyebrows now. Because that’s exactly what it is. And I do believe the first of the species will soon be seen in Bombay. Why? Read on.

A large number of people in the government (it’s always people in the government) recently put their heads together and concluded that lingerie-clad mannequins arouse lust in men. And these feelings then lead to sexual crimes against women. So, instead of attempting to educate, sensitize, or otherwise change gender perceptions in society, they have decided to cleanse and purify window displays.

As the article says, the proposed law gives civic officials the power to simply walk into department stores and ask shopkeepers to take off a lust inducing mannequin. I’m almost certain there will be certain fines involved, perhaps even small jail terms for those who choose not to abide.

What’s interesting to me is that the law was proposed by a woman. A BJP Corporator called Ritu Tawde. The fact that she firmly believes in mannequins being powerful and provocative sources of sexual crimes against women is saddening. It’s like saying a child abuse survivor proposes to ban candy because the act of eating / licking it creates excitement in the mind of a perpetrator.

When will we ever try and point a finger in the right direction? When will we admit that we have a real problem at our hands? And when will we really do something concrete about it?

As of now, we stick with mannequins and food being prime culprits in all sexual crimes.

If this excites you, you've got another thing coming.

If this excites you, you’ve got another thing coming.

Peace.
Kabir

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On my return from the darkness, and other news

Hello, world!

I’ve been away far too long for most of you to remember me. But for those of you who do, I got busy with something irrelevant: my life. It involved a move from Bangalore to Bombay. And I believe I’ll be eternally thankful for that. For among other smaller reasons, you can actually live in Bombay without regretting the day of your birth. And that’s exactly what I mean to do. Bangalore did barely anything to help my personal growth. As a matter of fact, it did everything possible to stunt and hamper. But I’m happy to be back in Bombay, and I’m happy to be posting here again.

In other news, a Member of the Indian Parliament (MP) recently walked out of the Lok Sabha while the ‘national song’ was still playing. And as always, this has caused tempers to fling themselves, and blood to boil. Some might consider the reactions valid. Some may go ahead and violently support them.

But what is it aside from a displaced sense of patriotism that irks them so? If you asked me, I’d say pretty much nothing. Aside from, perhaps, a sense of control over all things individual. Why else would one person decide for another when they should behave in a particular fashion and when not? Here again, many would argue that it’s a government that’s deciding things, not an individual. And that only makes things worse. Why then, do we call it a democracy? Isn’t it closer to a group of dictators?

On the one hand, people shout themselves hoarse for their freedom of expression, and on the other, they say you must respect a song by standing at attention whenever it plays. How does this schizophrenic system really work? I don’t suppose there’s really a way to find out.

Do you?

Peace,
K

Categories: India, news, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A flag disgraced. By a tainted corpse.

When I first wrote this post on the 16th of November, I wasn’t entirely sure just where this whole farce of Bal Thackeray‘s death and the instant shut-down of Bombay was heading. It turns out, the city was ‘largely peaceful’, as our beloved media reports, ignoring full well the idea of a forced – or at least shit-scared – shut down of the megapolis.

The one thing, of course, which the Shiv Sena could not shut down was the Internet. You just can’t do that kind of a thing, no matter how strong your emotions run. But what you can do – what they did do – is constantly monitor social media posts people put up while sitting at home. And one such post was written by a 21 year old girl called Shaheen Dhada. She was arrested and booked under Sections 295A (outraging religous feelings of any class) of the Indian Penal Cod and the infamous Section 66A (sending offensive messages through communication service, etc.) of the Indian IT Act.

All for a message that said: “With all due respect, every day, thousands of people die, but still the world moves on,” And some more lines of general lament after. This is what she was arrested and put in a 14-day judicial custody for. But it doesn’t stop here. Her friend  Renu Srinivasan was also asked to give her company behind the bars because she had hit the ‘like’ button on this post.

To begin with, it’s fairly easy to see that neither Dhada nor Srinivasan had written or liked something that actually violated either of the laws. Why then, were they arrested? Why were they forced to withdraw their messages? And why were they not allowed to be released on bail instantly?

Because we live in a country with a lot of fascists. Blunt as it may sound, it’s the truth. Because if it weren’t the truth, there would be no reason for Bal Thackeray to live a free man after the hundreds of hate speeches he delivered in the city. There would be no reason for the government not to put him right behind the bars where he and all his followers belong. And there would be no reason for some of our most known faces on News channels to write blasphemously sycophantic memorial obituaries for this man.

And there would be absolutely, indisputably, no reason at all for people to wrap Bal Thackeray’s corpse in the tricolor and give him a 21-rifle salute.

Categories: cops, India, news, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Move. Play. Dance. In Bangalore!

So I read yesterday’s Hindu today (as is my wont) and saw this lovely little article in it. It was about a ‘dance company’ conducting a workshop based on the principles of Dance Movement Therapy. I found it rather a little interesting that people would be using dance as a means of therapy. So I logged on to the company’s website – www.threeleftfeet.in (what a sweet name for a dance company!) and tried to read up as much as I generally could about them. Got quite a sweet vibe. And I suppose for the first time in my life, I’m even considering going to a do that has something to do with dance. (Or maybe I’m going for some therapy after all.)

If any of you good people are in Bangalore, and would like to know more about the workshop, here are some details:

Facilitated by Natasha of Three Left Feet,
Wednesdays & Fridays: 5:30pm – 6:45pm
Saturdays: 10:30am – 11:45am
8 sessions, starting the week of November 19th 2012
Open to 14yr olds to 90yr youngs.
Maximum 15 participants per session.
The fees for this workshop is Rs. 2000.
Atta Galatta at 3018 1626 / 96325 10126 or Natasha at 97393 22203

I have a feeling I’m going to be considering this dance movement therapy thingamajig a bit seriously. Seems like quite a fun way to sort out life’s issues.

Say, what’s your favourite way of sorting out issues?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

If you are reading this, you are probably a liar. Maybe even a cheat, and a violent sex crime committer.

That is, based on the assumption, that you are a non-vegetarian. If, however, you prefer the good old green leafies, bother no more. This report shows us how kids in school are being taught to turn vegetarians because ‘non-vegetarians easily cheat, lie, turn to violence and commit sex crimes’. It also informs us that the taste in meat comes form ‘waste products’. It adds, also, that ‘getting married without a bad name is every young girl’s dream’.

Frankly, I don’t even know what else to say about this. Except maybe, that I like my meat. Even if it forces me to lie and cheat every once in a while.

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Takes a city to light a pyre

A very dear friend of mine was to fly down to Bangalore today and spend a week at home with me. His flight was scheduled to touch down in Bangalore at about 11 in the morning. But at about 9, I got a call from him informing me that he won’t be flying in because there are no autos or taxis to take him to the airport, which in turn has cancelled all outgoing flights for the day. Why? Because prominent politico Bal Thackeray is seriously ill and may pass away soon.

image courtesy business line

The question is, of course, why must a city shut down (read be forced to shut down) for his passing – imminent passing? Sure, if there was an assassination plot, but here’s an 87 year old man whose lungs are failing him. Why is that reason enough to force-shut shops and pelt stones? Is that reason enough for the state’s Chief Minister to review the law-and-order situation? Is that enough cause to cancel every cop’s leave?

Yes, I do understand that some people are getting ready for grief of the highest order. People who have for decades worked with Thackeray and may not be able to bear the sorrow of his passing. But if they must turn this sorrow into a violent protest against something, let it be their own cars and scooters instead of state-run buses and trains. No? Apparently not. After all, didn’t Bangalore itself erupt in all ugliness after Dr. Rajkumardied? I suppose in the country we live in, it does take a city to light a pyre.

Now then, I’ll go and eat that dinner for two alone.

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, politics, strange people | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Judge informs Army that they are an Army. Not a Khap Panchayat.

Indian Army Band

I read this most amusing piece of news today. The Indian Army wants to know just why one of their men wants to marry a woman from Sri Lanka. They want to know under what circumstances the two met. And why. They want to not relieve the man of his duties because they’re terribly understaffed.

And a High Court judge wants them to know that they’re just an army. Not a khap panchayat.

Most amusing, isn’t it?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Plane down. Plane up.

original image courtesy businesstoday.intoday.in

The image above is, in two words, the current situation of Kingfisher Airlines in India. They haven’t been able to do much about their down-going business. And they haven’t been able to pay their employees for the longest time. What does this mean to the frequent (or infrequent) flyer? Not much. Simply because they have a hoard of other options waiting to fly them in pressurised containers to their destinations. But what does it mean to the employees of Kingfisher Airlines? A hell of a lot.

People have had to shift their children to cheaper schools. People have had to vacate houses because of non-payment of rent. People have had to burn themselves down due to insolvency. People have had to go through hell. All because they thought this might be a good place to work. Because they thought they were going to get a slice of the good times. Little did they know what was coming.

And one can still understand this plight if it were solely professional. But what happens to these people when they see Vijay Mallya, the owner of the company flying high in his personal jet? What goes through their minds when they see that the man’s personal jet staff are paid (liberally) on time every month, month after month? What happens when they see the company’s heir apparent having a jolly good time shooting with bikini clad calendar girls on the warm, sandy beaches of England? It’s hard to tell, frankly.

But what’s easy to tell is that the Mallyas are not trying hard enough to give a horse’s soft green shit about their employees. One can  speculate the sale of a private jet to pay employees off. One can even consider cutting down on pleasure trips abroad to save money which can be paid to employee. And one can certainly think of sharing a few kind words with employees rather than tweeting about the fun volleyball game at the beach. One can certainly take some out of the millions one has instead of worrying about having lost the billionaire tag.

But, of course, that would be too much to ask. There’s a life to live, after all. There are good times to be had.

No?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Gone in 60 seconds. Or maybe a little more…

This may not be the best image for this post. But then again, we don’t always use images that go along with wat we’re writing, do we? To continue! Last night, a most disconcerting thing happened to me on Bangalore‘s Inner Ring Road. I was on my way back home from work in an auto – which, I recollect, did not display the auto driver’s card as the law requires. On this road comes a dark stretch devoid of street lamps or other buildings. And on days when there isn’t much traffic on the road, it gets lonelier still. Last night was one of those nights.

And as it would happen, the auto driver asked me if it was alright for him to relieve himself. Clearly, not being his master, I said he was free to. Only, it turned out it was me he wanted to relieve. Of my wallet, my watch and my laptop bag. Because in a matter of just 10 seconds or so, he was back with three other men – complete with knives and a short, thick wooden stick.

Truth be spoken, it was a bit scary to be shoved in the face with a knife. So I didn’t offer much of a fight and let one of them grab at my wristwatch. Then I was asked to hand over my wallet. Which also, I did, because there must have been all of 30 rupees in it at the time. That and an old debit card which is so bent out of shape that only I know how to use it.

Finally, they decided they wanted my bag as well. A little foolish something inside me told them that I’d given them enough and I wasn’t going to let them take my bag. The next instant, I saw the stick coming in the direction of my temple. I was able to block if off with my hand – which my sore elbow is still complaining about. Somehow, I managed to swing the bag at them and I believe the laptop inside got two of them on the head. I reckon they were a bit startled and backed off just a step. I found this moment just enough to kick one of them below the belt and make a run for it.

Fortunately, a passing car let me in and dropped me to another auto, the driver of which decided not to mug me.

The point I’m trying to make is, this is a part of the city – a major part of the city – that doesn’t have so much as five working street lamps on the way. And because there are no buildings of any sort around this road, it gets darker still at night. Plus, having patrol vans at only two ends of the road (not every night either) doesn’t exactly help matters.

This is a citizen’s request: Can we please have working street lamps throughout this stretch? And for heaven’s sake, can we have two or three police cars patrolling the empty stretch every night? Or do a thousand of us have to go hold a rally which no one will really care about?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: cops, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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