The social robotics

My chauffer recently suffered a tragedy. It brought him a scar that he would be compelled to bear for the rest of his life. No surgery would ever relieve him of the ill fate that he would have to now carry forever!

The tragedy was the birth of his second baby- a girl. A girl who would, most certainly grow up illiterate. Soon, she would be married off with a heavy dowry. Later, a victim of domestic violence, she would end up as a maid…perhaps in my home. So, there was another addition in the miserable group of hopeless maids of my gigantic condominium!

An year ago, I did not know the meaning of the term ‘Gujjar’. Today, at Delhi, it defines a particular group of people for me. Almost every second car is labeled with a ‘Gujjar’ tag behind it. To those, belonging to this community, it defines their macho selves. And for me, they bear a signal of potential danger. However, I would never know or realize the individuality of any of these men!

That is exactly how we perceive ourselves today! Our community tags our personality; social perceptions dictate our affections and convention eclipse our own ideas.  And our own selves, our beliefs and thoughts are never given a chance even.

We are shackled under the clutches of a social order that we dare not break. Now, I’m not a feminist. Neither am I a male chauvinist. In fact, I do not feel the need to even align myself to any particular label of thought process. I’m just an ordinary individual with ambitions and desires to fulfill. I have my own way of seeing the world.

Yet, the society wants me to even look at myself the way they want to! My mirror is not my own conscience. My reflection comes through what the society perceives me as.

I’m a student of law. I had stepped into an excellent law school with an idea to interact with the emerging and dynamic opinion leaders of the future. My hopes had disappeared too soon as I met another bunch of social robots. They were all struggling to fit themselves into their pre ordained conventions. My world hates new ideas!

Clad in their perfect spaghetti straps and flaunting their cleavage, women today, feel free of all oppression. No one realizes the disguised social brand that still prevails to view women as their objects of possession.

There is now, this increasing need for a woman to step into every sphere of life and explore the unconventional paths. Yet, she still must confirm to her conventional identity. She is still expected to overtly exude her sexuality. A woman, even as she takes over the world, feels this urge to position herself as conventionally capable too.

Thus, it is not adequate for a woman to be just a good lawyer or an economist. She also has to position herself as a fantastic cook, a great homemaker, the perfect wife and of course, a prospective model. She continues to live with this increasing pressure to live up to the expectations of the society. Today, feminity is all about being a complete package that satisfies social fantasy. In fact, she is like a smart phone, the more number of ‘apps’ that she nurtures, the smarter she gets.

On the other hand, a boy gets raised with a similar oppression though coated with a brighter paint. He knows that as soon as he graduates, he must find a ‘job’ and be the ‘bread earner’. He must then be ready to ‘raise his family’. Needless to say, society will definitely define his every private relation until he rests in the grave (which shall also be another social decision). He can never dare or choose to break this chain that he falls a victim to. In the loudness of the world and its opinions, all our thoughts get lost somewhere. They get buried so deep in the heart that we are afraid to whisper them to even our own selves. And we continue to flow with the whims and fancies of those who control us. Our life begins with orders of the family and ends with the doctors’. We have forgotten to love…yet, ‘marriage is a necessary institution’!

But tell me, who are we faking to? Don’t we all know that the smile you give every morning is artificial? You are not grumbling at the world and it’s miseries, you are struggling in your own monotonous mediocrity. You do not hate rebel ideas, you envy them! You lost yourself in the stereotypes of man, woman, gujjar, Jat and now you try to hide behind these shields.

And all you feminists there! Why blame the men, when you present your own selves as ‘dishes’ to them? Why blame your husbands when you try to turn out as the ‘goddesses’ of society. Isn’t it obvious that anything short of a goddess would project you as a ‘bitch’?  You are most confused about who you are, not the men! We can perhaps, talk feminism later! Can we discover our individuality first?

The ray of Hope…

“At least today, stop listening to your Abida Parvin and destroy the DVD of Veer Zaara!”  Declared my friends as they heard the live telecast of Sarabjit’s sister’s emotional outcry. And once again, the intrinsic diplomats within every Indian were aroused. We all began to deliver our verdicts as to how a rogue nation like Pakistan must be annihilated.  The BJP erupted with their pseudo patriotism and the Congress desperately tried to balance all sides. And I began my cacophony yet again!

Around a week back, the Indian judiciary celebrated forty years of the landmark judgment of Kesavanada Bhararti v State of Kerala. The case, in many ways, had redefined the legal perspective of our nation.  The verdict was a celebration of an evolving Indian democracy. The 700 pages long verdict had not just defined the parliament’s power to amend our constitution. It contained the synthesis of the constitutions of 71 different countries which the attorney general had relentlessly created!

The case had brought about a new doctrine in Indian Jurisprudence- The basic structure theory.  It implied that the parliament could amend the constitution up to any extent until it altered the basic structure of our constitution.

If a country represents a person, its foreign policy his ethics, then, the judiciary is his conscience. India had followed the precedence of a state none other than Pakistan. The country, not only had a Christian Chief justice (under whom the theory was framed), but also a Hindu Chief justice on a later date. Pakistan had a pure conscience.

Today, we stand at a very significant stage for both the nations. Pakistan is largely turning into a failed state.  coups, military hassles and terrorism are overpowering the nation that had once started off on the same foot as India. India, on the other hand, is facing a stage of transition. We too, are increasingly turning into a bunch of hysteric mass and social frustration is on the rise. Most pertinent of all, both the countries are approaching elections.

Almost every Indian child is brought up with hatred towards Pakistan.  We are made to believe that the country had emerged straight from the dungeons of evil. Perhaps, it is a similar situation even across the border.  An uncanny mistrust breeds amidst the strained relation of these two nations. However, there is still a lot of similarity that hides behind this contempt.

Unlike any other nation, India can be the nation, closest towards understanding Pakistan. No, this is no humanitarian appeal to the Indian government towards playing the peace maker. One must realize that peace making, in international politics is not always done through sweet speeches. Rather, effective diplomacy and  careful  strategies hold the key. India must keep aside its populist politics and take the burden of the truth.

Pakistan, as it approaches its first completion of a democratically elected government is now desperate to sustain democracy. The nation is devastated with terrorism and an overwhelming power of the military. The country struggles to survive amidst its own problems of Baluchistan, Taliban and corruption. In a situation as such, India may play a very significant role in forging an alliance with the nation. Economic ties are imperative to not just support better business and bigger markets, but also to build political trust. As the elections take place in Pakistan, India must remain vocal and in complete synergy with the need for democracy in Pakistan. If democracy develops, the military power shall decline and hence the security of both the nations shall strengthen.

The 2014, withdrawal of U.S from Afghanistan shall also be an important point in the history of our relations. Pakistan, in an increasing fear towards Indian influence in the Afghan has often aided the Talibs. India must ensure a hard talk and a clear stand on this particular issue. The political parties of Pakistan, too, have to realize that, if the Taliban continues to be in power, terror threats also increase for Pakistan. Under such happenings, it would be largely difficult to sustain the Pakistani democracy. On the other hand, if Afghan develops its own governance and becomes self sustained, all the countries would benefit politically and economically.

I love Shahrukh khan! So do the Pakistanis. Often does, Shahrukh, represent my country just as much as Abida Parvin represents Pakistan.  Both these countries must collaborate and work towards such socio-cultural ties that can bring the people closer. Yes, Abida Parvin is a Pakistani singer. But she sings Ghalib who is intricately tied in the Indian culture. One must realize that we have shared the same culture for thousands of years until we were partitioned. This very cultural heritage must be utilized to sustain a strong bond amidst the two nations.

However, even as we discuss these strategies, the Prime minister of India is muzzled by his coalition parties and the opposition. With every step that the center tries to initiate, there is uproar in the parliament. The state leaders threaten to withdraw support, the opposition stalls parliament and the entire nation erupts in rage. The Indian mob wants to see blood. Later, the media attacks the leader for his silence.

The government often reminds me of my school days. I was always snubbed by my teachers for being very talkative. And, whenever, I was quiet in class, they called me dull!

The problem with us is that we want instant and quick remedies. They killed Sarabjit, we’ll kill them!! They breed terrorism, we shout Hindutva! India wants magic! We are opiniated. Yet, it takes us just a few hours to declare a common prisoner a ‘martyr’. Sarabjit’s martyrdom reminds me of the kid who called a random stranger his best friend to make his other friends jealous. India desperately needs a Hero to prove Pakistan an anti Hero.

Salman Khurshid is not just any other foreign affairs minister for India. He is also India’s message for secularism to those who try to see us as a Hindu majoritarian pseudo democracy! Diplomacy is not a magic potion that can fix all issues straight right after consumption. Diplomacy is a journey through the passage of time. One has to hold his patience in order to watch foreign relations flourish. India must practically exert itself as the leader of the developing democracies. The immediate need  is also to rise above the mediocrity of Indian politics. The entire system must stand up as one in order to make a statement at the global level.

The basic structure of both the nations’ ideals calls for integrity. The soul of the Indian foreign policy stands for peace and development. Repeated peace negotiations between the two countries have been hampered by the military interference in Pakistan. India must ensure and support the rise of a stronger, democratic and more consolidate form of government.

Even recently, the Pakistani court did not hesitate to disqualify its own Prime Minister. Repeatedly, the Pakistani judiciary has taken a number of upright decisions regarding elections and various other issues. India must take this opportunity to renew its relations with one of its most important neighbours.

India should look forward to the bright scopes at the International level. It is high time that we leave behind the cynicism and monotony that we are sinking into. We must stand up to shape our future and write our own destiny.

The Indian Soft Power
“It’s not the country with the larger army but the country with the better story that will prevail – we have to be able to tell the better story.”

Shashi Tharoor on ‘Soft Power’ as a Foreign Policy

Long Live Revolution!!

                      

“Can I thank my father for my daily bread instead of God?”

The question had shocked my Catholic school. All my classmates had stared at me in dismay. I was instantly labeled formidable by most of my friends. I was made to attend a special class on ‘morality’ to instill my faith. My first opinion was crushed to defeat to satisfy a social fantasy about the divine. When they could not convince me, they warned me of God’s brutal punishments. I grew up with little conviction yet a lot of fear.

“Attend my classes, else you shall fail!” Our teachers said this to drag us to their classes. Well, it did not matter if we listened to them or not. We passed anyway. All that mattered was that we ‘passed’. One could get away with everything as long as he was scoring success. The world never had a space for the losers. Even if I killed a million to win a war, I would be a hero and even a humanitarian. But in spite of my entire bravery, if I lost my battle of life, I was a demon. That is how my society turned out. It had no country, no state, and no identity for a failure.  They were dispersed from everywhere. History hated them and society denied them! Anyone who dared to ever question the society was never accepted easily. They were hunted down and executed. One has to fight beyond death to triumph over society.  Change is easy to dream of but very tough to bring.

The winners developed their self perceived ethics and imposed them upon me. Then, they gifted me liberty and democracy with utmost magnanimity. Yet, these too turned out to be terms of mere social narcissism.   The text books printed some colorful snapshots of the winners and told me to follow them. Besides, were the clear images of the historical villains the losers! I was instructed to hate them. They were ‘terrorists’ because they did not succeed. And the others were heroes, leaders and motivators because they had won their battles!

India rejoices the death of Afzal Guru. I mourn him. India celebrated the death of Ajmal Kasab, I miss him! I had seen revolution in them. I saw dignity in their deaths. I saw a war hero in all of them. If Hafeez Saed is a terrorist, so was Aurobindo Ghosh ! I shall either hate or worship them both.

As soon as I walked into this world, a few sketches on a piece of paper defined my boundary. Later, I saw, that the world had drawn several different editions of that same boundary with different scopes. The absurdity of my Indian map perplexed me. Where is my territory? Where do I stand? Where is my country? Who am I?

When the state coerces Kasmir to be its part and the army tortures every human right, who calls them a terrorist? In Manipur, who hangs the army who rapes every woman? Convicting a juvenile with a disturbed past is an easy target. But, who shall answer his question? “Where was the society when I was denied innocence, when I cleaned your plates, when I served your drinks? I was not born with sadism and perversion. You created me. I too, was a baby someday. I had also cried as an infant when I was born! I was a burden amidst your population of one billion. You gave me no right; you killed me at the moment of my birth!

Kill me if that suits your conscience! But promise me that no other child would ever be deprived of a basic childhood in your nation! No other juvenile would ever turn to be a beast. Kill me! If that suits you. ”

Today, we hang him because the death of a child would not matter much. Neither will it resonate an uproar at the United Nations. Rather a blood thirsty Indian mob is going to again erupt in hysteric joy! UPA would be credited with swift move and Naredra Modi would recite Hindutva verses.

So, India has finalized on their next Prime Minister. Interestingly, we also took another major decision last year. We hanged Kasab to death. Was it any good?

If a man responsible for a three-month long communal riot, can be given a second chance, why can Kasab not get an opportunity to live when he has killed a much lesser number. He did not murder in cold blood. He had jumped into war with revolutionary passion. His background was dark with not a trace of any education. He grew up to see a starving family. The world bargained him for their interests. His death saved his family. He was a nobody’s child. He did not seek any political momentum. He embraced death as an honour  He was hailed as a hero by those who sent him.  Perhaps through a second chance, he too would develop the entire country with ultimate leadership.  Unlike Gujarat, there would probably be some growth in the human development index in our country too. Alas! We did not give the little boy a chance.

United States of America, at least had the chivalry to infringe to another nation and bring down the very root of its enemies. They had fought a war with the vengeance of that war! Yet, in India, we could never bring to justice a single key perpetrator. Advani , in the year 2oo2, had brought Abu Salem to India. The assurance given by him to Portugal was that he would not be hanged and neither will he get a punishment term longer than 25 years! And today, like invertebrates we celebrate the death of Kasab with endless fervour  What is the point killing one Kasab, when he is going to inspire a million more!

So, one day, I shall sit in my class and read about another Hero. Someone, who dared to leave his family for the cause of freedom. He had passion in his patriotism. He had attacked the very centre of that the despotic governance. He embraced death with dignity.

In his last letter to the family, he had asked them to not mourn him. He had asked them not to cry. He had a son whom he could never give his affection. He was denied one last meeting with his family.  The cruel despots, who hanged him mercilessly, refused him his basic human rights! His death was celebrated as a symbol of martyrdom and freedom. They had not followed even the basic procedures of Law in his execution.  He was denied even a proper grave ritual. His family was denied the possession of his body! His son was hounded by a mean media questioning his father’s hanging! His father had named him Ghalib after his favourite poet. Ghalib meant rebel. Our hero, Afazl  Guru,stood for his ideal !  Long live his struggle. Our next assignment shall be a comparative study of Afzal Guru and Bhagat Singh.

The next day, would be a holiday in honour of Kasab Jayanti.  The new state would be Azad lushmir! Even then, there would be marginalized sections of the society who would again be ‘terrorists’! Hence, shall continue a vicious cycle of social oppression and retaliation.

Test of a democracy happens, only when there is unrest. Democracy is the state of an evolved and tolerant mind. It is a philosophy that entails a relationship with the self. Yet we remain a crowd of instant and superficial reactions. Kasab was not a result of a cynic self obsessed teenage pessimism. He was the outcome of a deep-rooted social stigma spelled as p-o-v-e-r-t-y which echoes injustice.

When you give me sermons of free speech and democracy, binayak Sen laughs at you! When you proclaim yourself as a champion of liberty, Irom Sharmila mimics you!

If we try to change society, they shall kill us! Abominations by politicians or rapes by the influential can be tolerated. They have won their battles in life. But no one shall ever listen to the sorrows of a distressed child nor will anybody tolerate rebel.  .  Ask your driver “what is democracy!” Ask your maid “what is democracy!” Ask your millions of child labours “what is democracy!”

The day you get an answer, there shall be a revolution. The day, you listen to the  ‘losers’ opinion and respect them, there shall be democracy. The day I write this article without a fear of sedition, there shall be liberty. Until then, there shall be terrorism!

“Oh! She died finally? Gosh! Delhi is so unsafe now. Going to India Gate or not?” “No!no! I am organizing my own vigil.I will lead the march.I am so disturbed!” The murmurs are all around. Discussions and debates have  spiced up.Delhi is suddenly aroused to protest against ‘rapes’. Off course the weather is just perfect for a demonstration at the India Gate. I too began writing another article. This is a topic that sells well…what better way to get some easy acclaim? Along with the mob,let me flex my intellectual muscles too! Maybe there is something behind that mob hysteria. But rapes are not just some isolated incidents. They are the implication of a larger and deep rooted social dilemma… A revolution is not an end in itself. It is only a beginning of a larger outcome. In our tryst with destiny,when the state woke up to freedom,did the nation slip into a slumber? Was India ready for freedom.? When the social value system crumbles,no one social group falls vulnerable. Modern Indian society continues to struggle in its discovery of an identity. On one hand, India glitters in the glamour of luxury brands,sports cars,malls and Bollywood. On the other hand, persists the harsh reality of caste oppression,child labor and slow social mobility. Frustration breeds on us,right from birth. Sadism is in our thinking today. The internet and the newspapers gave me a detailed story of the girl’s trauma. The descriptions were good enough to re live almost every moment of it. We all read that particular news with utmost inclination. Then began suggesting even more gruesome methods of tortures on the accused. What are these emotions? An outburst of social disgust and sympathy or an outcome of complete social frustration? Freedom is not a rhetoric. Freedom comes with independence. Freedom is the result of evolution. When a child is turned into a labor and is denied basic human rights,how can he evolve? His innocence is crushed under cruel social demands. Independence to him,is only a fantasy! He is forced to exist in a life amidst immense oppression and abuse. He can never grow up to live a life of dignity. He cleans your new car every morning. He washes my laundry at night. He can never own a car or wear a brand. He forms more than 60% of our population. His only mode of exposure is Chulbul Pandey. Salman khan and bollywood bring out the hidden frustrated sadism in him. Through Salman,he tortures the villains of the society and takes his revenge. Item songs tickle his basic instincts. At night,cheap liquor intoxicates his numb feelings. Yes, he too grows up one day, but he never attains maturity. Can India grow up to realize this cultural parity? The nation stands at the crossroads of its destiny. Human beings are gradually turning to commodities. Our minds are on a state of utter confusion. Even a great democracy as the United States of America must control the freedom to posses guns to ensure safety. They are far more evolved than us. Even great universities like Harvard,have BDSM clubs today. But that does not make their society any uncomfortable. Americans no longer fancy their sex shows. They are a model democracy. We are still a budding democracy. I hear even educated Indians who still feel that women must dress ‘right’ to avoid rapes. Our ministers too often pass rather funny remarks. They only highlight the variation in the social thought process .The very visualization of a woman in India is still blur. She is still either a goddess or a prostitute.And a prostitute is not a woman!   No one lives without a label in India. Indian girls grow up with harassments. Every six minutes, an atrocity is committed against women. In fact,only 10% rape cases get reported in India. I have personally never met a girl who has never been harassed. Even the ever sympathetic society did not reach out to the lady when she lay helpless on the streets. Probably even I would not help her. We are all too engrossed in our narrow myopic interests. Can punishing only rapists solve the issue?Why must not a simple ogling or a petty molestation be treated with extreme rigidity ? These little acts after all lead to the final disasters! Why wait till the instincts overpower a person’s reasoning? Can even a man walk alone or travel alone in the empty streets of Delhi? He too is vulnerable. Everyday, the newspapers unfold to me atleast six faces of men,children and women who are either missing,kidnapped or dead! Isn’t our entire society vulnerable today? Can we save the childhood of millions of our children? Are we matured enough to sustain a free and liberal society? The question continue to intrigue me. I still do not have an answer but I have a belief. Social change comes with time. We evolve with experience and experience comes from freedom. Every society has certain challenges. It is left to us to deal  with them. In spite of it’s challenges,democracy and freedom carve out their own paths. Suppression of the feelings within can only worsen development. I know, it is a long way… But the world shall be free some day…

Beyond that sensational headline…

The Talibans had not shot Malala Yousufzai. They had shot her spirit. Their message was loud – suppression of a dream. This little girl’s dream is the dream of every subjugated soul. It is the desire for liberation.
This is the astounding story of profound self belief and infinite courage. Malala is our warrior, battling every fear with hope. The enemy looks apparant. The Talibans are our despicable demons. Yet,is the plot that simple? Within itself,even this story hides deeper layers. The real despot continues to hide behind these crude talibs. Can we see them?
President Barack Obama condemned Malala’s humiliation as ‘disgusting’. Alongside,the entire western world pledged for Malala’s dream. But Malala’s dream is not so easy to be realized. It requires struggle,relentless struggle of many more generations to come.
Post 9/11,the U.S.A has provided Pakistan with military and economic aid adding up to over $25 billion. These aids have included eighteen F16 jet fighters, five hundred AMRAAN air missiles, six C130 transport aircrafts and various others. No other nation except Israel has recieved so much from America. Repeated interrogations of captured terrorists have confirmed that these resources have often aided various terror activities.
Many years ago,the Talibans overthrew the Russian puppet ruler Najibullah. The strongest Taliban ally then, was none other than Uncle Sam himself. The Talibans became the face of the capitalist western block in the proxy war at Afghanistan.
All amunitions of Osama Bin Laden were then supplied by our very own pro democracy, United States of America.
Then too,Mazhar e sherif was massacred. Millions of Afghanis were tortured. The nation was ransacked. An untold number of refugees fled with their indefinite destiny. The future of millions of children was pushed to the dark.
Even today, hundreds of Pakistani civilians die in the Drone attacks which kill only civilians. Yet, America remains the preserver of global Human Rights.
Neo Colonialism continues to enslave our minds. With each gulp of coke we consume,we soak deeper into this delusion. They control each of our senses. They hound Iran in its nuclear mission. Yet no one notices the monstrous despotism Of Israel. Instead America continues to remain their strongest ally. Even the Muslim world refuses support to a Shia’te Iran. Iran stands cornered.
Malala’s journey has just begun. There is no mercy in her  fight for freedom. Behind every endearing face, hides an enemy. Malala’s sensibilities are only tools of mileage in the greedy aspirations of this cruel world.
Yet, the hope lies inher simplicity. It is the goodwill of innocence alone that can break down walls of deception. Malala’s dream is our dream. It is the dream to live beyond just a hopeless survival. It is a dream to seek truth. It is a dream to rise above destiny. The purity in Malala’s intent shall redefine freedom for every confined soul.

” Because the simple power of goodwill
can destroy every evil”

The Enemy Within