Posts Tagged With: india

Why all plastic is not bad

The last few days in Bombay have been incredibly, astoundingly hot. Yes, there are other cities hotter than that in India. But one only talks about what one knows and experiences. So, the last few days in Bombay have been excruciatingly hot. And any form of exercise (which I generally cannot get myself up to anyway) has been nearly impossible.

But last night, sitting at home bored out of my wits, I decided to step out for a walk. And behold! The winds went crazy, the skies opened up and there I was. In the middle of Bombay’s first rains this year. And as always, it felt beautiful. I’d use fancier words, but beautiful is the only word that really describes what I felt.

I didn’t have any water-damageable goods on me. So I didn’t have to take cover under anything and deprive myself of the pleasure. But that’s not going to matter when the monsoon really comes down hard. I’ve had a habit of just putting all damageable stuff into a strong plastic bag and walking out in the rain, never worrying about what i might lose.

I can’t help it.

Peace.
Kabir.

P.S. A beautiful song by The Beatles called, of course, Rain.

 

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Categories: general rambling | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Menstruate at your own risk. Period.

I try very hard not to pun when I’m writing. It’s just such an easy trap to fall into, most of us can barely avoid it. And for that reason, I’m sorry about the title of this post. And now, to the post.

I’ve been doing a little gender-related research lately, and so, stumbling across some of the most profoundly dumb (and insane) beliefs the modern Indian society seems to hold. Almost always against women. One such article that gave me pause was about an Indian actress Jayamala being booked for hurting religious sentiments. And she did this by entering a temple while on her periods.

I don’t believe I want to talk about a ton of politicians actually hurting religious sentiments. But a woman doing that by walking into a temple? How does one not talk about that? And how does one not feel an urgent sense to claw at faces?

And the more I research the subject, the stronger my urge to claw at faces. How is it that we boast a massive GDP every year (which we don’t really have) while not bothering about our own women? How is it that while on the one hand, we bow down and pray to goddesses with multiple hands, and on the other, beat them with our fists at home? How is it that we touch our mothers’ feet and rape other people’s daughters? What is this bigotry towards woman? And where does it come from?

And most importantly, how do we get rid of it?

Just last night, I was telling someone about a most stunning (and lesser known) John Lennon song called Woman is the nigger of the world. And it would appear that I’ve found just the right place to tell a lot more people about it.

Peace.
Kabir

P.S.: This is an article from nearly three years back. But that doesn’t say much about how far we’ve come since. Because we haven’t.

Categories: cops, India, observations, religion, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Blame it on the victim. Again.

 

 

copcase

Last week, something happened in Bangalore that happens perhaps every other night. A lady driver travelling home from work in her car. Why, you ask, is that reason enough for a blog post? Read on, is what I say to that. It so happened that a man rammed into her car from behind while she was waiting at a red light. There’s still nothing entirely disturbing about this. What happened next is the man started accusing her. He blamed her for the accident. He got abusive. And that’s where this tale of corruption – moral and physical – begins.

One would imagine that a traffic cop present around the scene would have been reason enough to put the erring man in place, comfort the woman and handle the entire situation. But if you’ve lived in India long enough – and I have – you’d know that something of the sort barely happens. I’d go so far as to say that it never happens, but there’s always that one honest cop who will skew the figures.

The woman asked the cop to help her and register a formal complaint against the biker. Of course, this meant that the cop could no longer just pocket a 100-rupee note from the rider and move on with life. (That is what most traffic cops, at least in Bangalore are wont to do.) Was I present at the scene to report so accurately? No. Am I sure that I am indeed reporting accurately? Yes. Because I happen to know the woman personally. She’s a woman who I have had to occasion to work with many times. A woman of strong opinions – as all people should be. A straightforward woman.

And I assume that it is this straightforwardness that became the cause of agony for her. Though, of course, that is a biased man’s point of view. A point of view that instantly begins to at least subside the responsibility of the other men present at the scene. So, I’ll take that back. What caused her agony was a bunch of insecure, stupid men. Men who gathered around her in a circle and heckled her, grabbed at her and abused her verbally. One of them flashed himself.

Oh, and the cop was a man as well. And not very different from the others. He shrugged her, pushed her around, and even punched and slapped her. All this while she was asking him for help. And what did the cop do to the rider? Ignored him and let him sneak away in the commotion. While the other men continued their antics.

The next day, a high official went on air telling the world that the cop was not at fault. And that the onus is on the woman to prove the cop guilty. A classic case of blaming the victim again. A classic case of officials trying to cover up after their erring subordinates. A classic case of a mob victimising the woman and calling it her fault.

There is a petition doing the rounds that I have signed and sent to every person I know. I thought this might be a good place to share it with the others. People who may not even be in my country but feel the need for a protest, a change. People who are better than the cop and the mob. Please sign this petition and pass it around for all to sign. I will be eternally grateful to you.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Legal_action_against_the_traffic_constable_and_bystanders_who_abused_and_assaulted_Swar_Thounaojam_in_Bangalore/

No peace in this one.
Kabir

 

Categories: cops, India, strange people | Tags: , , , , , | 1 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

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

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

Two print ads against child sexual abuse

If you read my earlier post about child sexual abuse, you’d know that I’ve been working with an NGO for this cause – or against it, whichever way one looks at it. So yesterday, I was asked to try out a hard hitting print advertising campaign. Something that would drive home a message. I’ve worked something out. And I think I could do with words of advice from everybody.

Would you like to tell me how to better these ads?

Peace.
Kabir

P.S.: I can’t name the organisation now because of certain legalities. And for the same reason, I’d request you to not circulate these ads just yet. Many thanks.

 

 

Categories: observations, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Recipe for rape: Add chow mein to taste.

original image courtesy evanwarfel.blogspot.com

There is a man called Jitender Chatter in India. He is part of the Gram Panchayat (governing body) of about 25 villages in Haryana. He believes that one of the leading causes of rape in India is the consumption of chow mein – among other fast foods. He believes – and propagates – that because we consume such foods these days, our ‘sex hormones’ run wild. And believe you me, I’m nearly paraphrasing him. He has also suggests that the legal marriagable age of girls be brought down to 16. His reasoning is similar; similarly vague. To his credit, he makes one sane suggestion: about training rural Indian women in self defense. Though, he fails to flesh out the plan and offer any hard solutions about who is going to train them, etcetera.

But, of course, he’s not the only one providing logic for rape. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal, insists that cases of rape are on the rise because men and women interact too freely in an open society which is akin to an open market.  She also reckons that the media not ‘glorify’ rape by talking about it much. One imagines that her suggestion is to swipe this issue under the proverbial carpet. If the CM of a state can issue such statements ‘freely’, I don’t quite follow where my country is headed. Perhaps we should step back a hundred years when holding hands in public was considered obscene?

And then there are the regulars who insist that if only women would ‘know their limits’ and dress appropriately, they would not be raped. This coming from people who are probably not aware that rapes happen in ‘hip’ urban areas as much as in villages where women dress anything but conservatively.

We talk about laws. But what about their implementation? We talk about punishments. But what about the lives of the victims? We talk about freedom of speech. But what about the freedom to live?

Categories: observations, politics, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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