Archive for the Politics Category

Cinderella of India

Posted in India, People, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , on June 15, 2010 by samudranb

X: Dude! Did you know about the Manipur blockade?!

Me: Of course! It has been going on for 67 odd days now.

X: Yea? I just found out about it! And to think I prided myself on being up-to-date on world affairs!

Me: Yea, the media has just caught on.

X: Damn man… and here I was more worried about the Gaza blockade!

How does one react, when people are more aware of what is happening in other countries, than they are of what is happening in their own?

How does one react, when people ask if one’s state is a district of West Bengal?

How does one react, when people do not know whether the place where one comes from is a part of India or not?

How does one react, when the history teacher says the reason there is no mention of Assamese or other North Eastern states’ history in the syllabus, is because they are “not important”?

It’s not just the ordinary people who seem to have forgotten that there are indeed some states east of Kolkata. The administration too.

For the last many decades, while the rest of the country has progressed on to the new economy, NE states still languish in the old economy. While the rest of the country argues over 3G, NE states still await broadband (which is of course, only 256 kbps). While the rest of the country goes gaga over the latest Hrithik / Shah Rukh movie, Manipur goes gaga over the latest Korean movie, because Bollywood movies are “banned” there. While the students from the rest of the country fight to get into one of the best Medical schools across the length and breadth of the country, those from the 7 NE states fight to get into the 6 medical colleges available to them.

Why is the rest of the nation so apathetic to the NE? Is it simply because of the cultural differences? Shouldn’t the differences be highlighted, and celebrated, the way we do with J&K, Rajasthan, or any of the other states? Why is the North East consistently given a step-motherly treatment from the centre?

Is national integration even on the agenda for the central government? Should India even be one country? Does it even make sense?

Or should we wait till midnight to find out?

Would you exchange 2 cappuccinos for peace?

Posted in India, People, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2009 by samudranb
Priyanka Borpujari, friend and freelance journalist, has been working closely with the issue of violence in Chhattisgarh. She is headed to Dantewada district in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh on December 20, 2009. A place which has become a living hell — tribals from 644 villages have been thrown out, some villages have been burnt over 10 times, women raped, murders rampant daily, and where the perpetrators of this might be the state police, through the alibi of Salwa Judum. Why the hell is she going there?

She is also trying to raise funds to take to Dantewada, for the Satyagraha, at which 50,000 tribals from Dantewada alone are expected to congregate. All she wants from you is a minimum of Rs 100 — the cost of 2 cappuccinos with a friend at barista — which will take care of one adivasi person’s one day’s food and lodging in Dantewada during the Satyagraha. The donations need to be made in cash, and I can collect the same in Pune, on behalf of Priyanka. You will be furnished with a receipt once she is back from Dantewada. The donation would be made to Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, about which you will find in her blog. You can always get in touch with her directly (her contact details are at the end).

You might be tempted to think that this does not concern you. That this is not really your responsibility and hence, you would wonder about the need to respond. But in truth, the idea of civilization, culture and country means that problems, responsibilities, benefits and accountability is shared. Sooner or later, for better or for worse, everyone is affected. And responsible.

Especially if the problem is large-scale and involves millions of people as it does in this case. There’s a war for justice going on in the tribal hinterland of India. The people may be denied justice once, twice, thrice… maybe even 10 times. But everyone has a tipping point. There comes a time when those who are denied justice rise up against oppression and then everyone comes in the line of fire, you and me included. Millions of Adivasi people have been denied justice guaranteed by the constitution. This is an attempt to give them that, so that they don’t feel cheated by the country and the government that is supposed to protect them. It is everyone’s collective responsibility to ensure that they get it, so that they do not lend an ear to those that are telling them to take up guns to get what they deserve.

Your sacrifice of two coffees (Rs. 100 or more), goes a long way in ensuring this. Let’s, for a change, do something real. Lighting candles at the Gateway of India is a start, but in this case wont it be better to save that money on candles and instead give it in the pursuit of justice and fight against violence? Can peace prevail without justice? You decide.

I do not subscribe to many of her political views, nor do I share her opinion of the administration at the centre and big corporations. But I do agree with her that injustice has indeed been done, and that more needs to be done to bring those issues to light, and resolve them peacefully, for everybody’s benefit.

And yes, I am donating.

Priyanka can be reached at 9820741992 or aa.priyanka@gmail.com. Please read Priyanka’s blogpost to know more. She would be more than willing to take your queries and doubts, and reply to them.

Pune Votes, Tomorrow

Posted in Musings, Politics with tags , , , , , on April 22, 2009 by samudranb

So tomorrow is the day I exercise my right to vote. The day i participate in the biggest democratic process in the world. The day I decide the fate of some 36 candidates in my constituency.

The day I count as much as the illiterate-beggar-drunkard-wife beater-thief-smuggler-rapist-murderer standing next to me in the line.

I have not yet decided who I will vote for. I do not think the candidates themselves matter much anyways. They will hardly do anything to significantly improve the Pune constituency. But the parties they belong to, and the strength they will be having, that will surely matter in the topics that are most likely to affect the country at large.

The 3 major parties in the fray, Congress, BJP and the BSP have fielded candidates who are what you expect them to be. Projected as clean, austere and the best thing to happen to Pune since mankind invented the wheel. I cannot even recall who is from which party. They all look and sound the same. All promise to improve Pune’s roads, water supply, transport system, etc etc etc.

Surprisingly, nobody mentioned anything about corruption. Hmm. I wonder why.

To be fair, I did not attend any of their public rallies. I have only had time to go to their respective sites, and read their manifestos.The BJP candidate (Anil Shirole)’s site is “Under construction”. However, the Sakaal Times seems to carry quite a few articles about him and his pet peeve – Pune’s transport system. The “development” of which, quite obviously, offers tremendous scope for more corruption. The BSP’s candidate (DSK) seems to be quite lost. His manifesto is plagued with structural and grammatical errors, not to mention factual fallacies. The Congress candidate, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, seems to have done a bit for the slum rehabiliation. But then, I did not like the way he has taken credit for many things, over which I believe he had not even a semblance of control. Including, but not limited to, how “as IOA President, got the country the 1st ever gold medal in individual event at the Beijing Olympic 2008.” Seems so honest and accurate, no?

Amongst the independents/smaller parties, I came across only one profile which caught my attention. Arun Bhatia from Peoples Guardian. A former municipal commissioner of Pune, who has been “transferred 26 times in 26 years” because of his inadequacy to keep quiet. Given “punishment postings”. Threatened.

His life story seems like a good story for a Bollywood movie.

But then, how much can 1 man do?

Tomorrow, I count as much as the illiterate-beggar-drunkard-wife beater-thief-smuggler-rapist-murderer standing next to me in the line.

There will be time, there will be time

Posted in Musings, Politics with tags , , , on April 16, 2009 by samudranb


And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

T.S. Eliot ( The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock )

There will be a time, soon, when the Great Indian Tamasha will no longer be about vote banks and vote buying. Murders and rapes. Intimidators and the intimidated.

When it will be about people making informed choices about the way they want to be governed. Which to me, means less and less of governance, and more and more of self-reliance. Less of rules, more of rights AND responsibilities.

Less of clowns looking to ban anything they don’t understand, as a solution to problems they don’t understand, created because of following policies they don’t understand. And more of debates about these issues.

Huh? Who? Where? Whadda…?! Oh… i must have fallen asleep.

You Too Starting Ze Blogz?

Posted in About me, Musings, Politics with tags , , on April 15, 2009 by samudranb

Why am i starting a blog?

Well, for starters, this seems to be the final frontier when it comes to freedom of speech. All other media are apparently faced with some form of restriction or the other, whether self-imposed or not. Even governments / government institutions pretending to keep the “public’s best interest” at heart, put restrictions on our freedom of speech.

Besides, anything as entertaining as the upcoming elections in “the world’s biggest democracy” can hardly be ignored/not commented upon! Like the millions of educated brainwashed Indians, I too believe that my word truly has some worth. That I too shall make a difference. That my vote too counts. That there are honest politicians still alive in some corner somewhere. That India too will change. That we will script the changes.

(Cue “Hum honge kaamyaab… hum honge kaamyaab… hum honge kaamyaab… EK DINNN…”)

I am actually not that pessimistic in real life… Those of you who know me, would probably describe me as a fun-loving guy who gets bored too easily. “Restless” is the word I would use. Also, “hungry”.

This blog is also supposed to be my attempt at chronicling the life and times of the Great <insert any of my 27 nicknames here>. Otherwise, when I sit down to pen my memoirs, it will probably contain only 2 days worth of memories. (I have activated the auto-delete feature on my memory. What?? You don’t have it?? Tsk tsk… it only comes with the latest models… go get yours upgraded!)

I got to go now. I dont remember why.