Long Live Revolution -II

  • “If my subjects cannot speak, how would I know their desires? And how would I then, suppress those dreams?”- Evil Minister, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Satyajit Ray

I did not wake up to watch the Republic Day Parade of 2012 in which Mr. Ankit Garg was conferred the President’s Police medal for gallantry. I was least interested. I had not heard of Soni Sori. I was preparing to join a Law School in a few months.   I believed that the Indian society was dynamic and justice, though, sometimes delayed was never intentionally denied in India. I trusted the sanctity of Indian Courts. I had not heard of Surekha Bhotmange either.
Delicious War!” was the immediate reaction of Winston Churchill, after the declaration of the Second World War. He loved wars. At that time, specifically, when International politics was dominated by patriarchy, wars were the best expression of Chivalry. A colonial chauvinism had already waged one world war in their race to imperial domination. Churchill was soon going to be both, significant and a prodigy of War. Yet, he would also lose the election ahead of the war and the world would choose humanism over brute Nationalism.

The debate about nationalism, had perhaps, reached its peak during the very World war that brought nothing more than misery to commoners across the world. When Bengal suffered famine, England was reduced in Poverty. Both the countries had nearly extinguished all their resources in funding a war that had only scripted praise anthems for the winners.  Yet, national win could not wipe international tears. Colonial rivalry had proved to be of absolutely no good.

The previous week went by, in a number of heated discussions about how much rebel ‘nationalism’ permitted. And whether, at all, Kanhaiya, a Post Graduate student, was justified in questioning the execution of Afzal guru. A furiously excited Arnab Goswami exuded his frustrations as he questioned the very audacity of the students to protest against a nation that ‘subsidized their education’. I felt a strange nostalgia of the medieval taboo towards freedom. It seemed like watching Da Vinci once again, being threatened by the powerful for his rebel in Art. Yet, we were not in the dark ages. We were brought up under the fantasy of freedom and Democracy. And Democracy was born on a seeking ground of truth and individuality. Appeasement of the state’s interest did not always address the individual struggles. Without the recognition of minority opinions, it is perhaps, impossible to construct an inclusive democracy at all. Under the circumstances, the taxpayers certainly assisted in education of the country, not for conformity, but to create a pedestal of individuality. We did not educate our youth only to hear them sing confirmatory slogans and campaigning for political parties. Our intention was to facilitate thinking and encourage opinions.  In fact, is it not an obligation for every individual to voice their opinions and concerns in order to revive our thinking and attention towards the realities that go unseen?

We are living at a time, where our beliefs, our education and even our protests are being constantly governed by various authorities. Young minds are gradually being influenced in a way, that we hardly hear anything different. It is the same old populist rhymes that we are used to memorizing. Our generation has found no Beatles that could instill upon us, the courage to defy and imagine a world without God or boundaries. Neither could we create a Pink Floyd to question our crammed education system. We were brought up in the age of entertainment supplements where glamour eclipsed debate.
By the 1920s, the Rockfeller and Carniege Foundations had already begun creating the most powerful pressure groups of modern times- the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR). Soon, the Ford Foundation joined its funding too. The organization continues to work very closely with the CIA, United Nations, and IMF and needless to say, it is the strongest manipulating factor of global politics. All the World Bank Presidents except George Woods have been members of the CFR.   CFR decides our leaders, and also, CFI members like Bill Gates decide our education policies. The Indian members of the organization include, Mr.  Tarun Das, Mr.  N.R Narayana Murthy, Mr.  Jamshed N., Mr. JJ Irani (Unsurprisingly, he was also one of the key committee members of the New Companies Act, 2013 in India) and most other capitalists. From the Cold war, to the foundations of the Taliban, the CFR has closely maintained its presence and ensured that every move in History was in the favor of corporate profits.  And none of this is any conspiracy theory. They are as transparent facts as the existence of the biggest bottles of coke in my refrigerator. The India against Corruption Movement, too, was funded by Coca Cola and the Ford Foundation.  Where exactly, was our patriotism then?  Or was it a swell to our hypocrisy to watch an uninformed bunch of youth, supporting the movement with least awareness in the happenings of the country? Or did it make us happy about securing further corporate jobs? Is that the kind of return, we expect out of the ‘subsidized education system?’
Speaking of the education system, we should indeed be proud of Kanhaiya and his friends. Despite the best efforts of our system, they could, still contain their individuality and show the character to protest without the greed of any myopic gains.  Our text books have defined not just history in political terms, but sometimes altered our geographical realities too! Only a few years ago, NCERT text books for school children read that Madagascar was ‘an island in the Arabian Sea’ and that Lancashire had been ‘a fast growing Industrial town’.  The denial towards independent learning had not just paused at these bizarre mistakes. History was suitably altered to narrate a Hindutva tale of the Indian History. The texts were nothing more than a certain kind of RSS manifestos.  Being squeezed with cultural terrorism on one hand and the corporate tyranny on the other, Kanhaiya, chose to instead voice dissent and not give in to this desperate indoctrination. Kanhaiya did not apply for a Corporate Working Visa abroad. Instead, he tried to make a difference.
In Legal terms, Kanhaiya had only restored the honor of the Indian constitution that was born out of a struggle not only against an imperial dominance but the backwardness and discrimination within the country.  How does screaming ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ make me a traitor as long as I do not say ‘Attack India’? And even if I say so, I cannot, definitely be booked under sedition! As described by the Supreme Court in the case of Balwant Singh V State of Punjab, in India, even complete rants against India and slogans in favor of division of the country do not amount to sedition. Kanhaiya’s arrest itself was unnecessary and the Criminal procedure with various precedents outlines the fact that an interrogation is first necessary in case of any report as such which may be followed by an arrest only if absolutely essential. Alongside a right to Free speech, I also have a right to hear every opinion. If at all, an opinion is so frivolous or wrong, I would definitely choose to not accept it. Why is, India so afraid of criticism? Do we really have a lot to hide? Can a speech, a song or a caricature really create uproar in the nation? Is the unity, that India is boasting about so fragile, that a few people armed with a different set of ideas can break it? Free expression makes us insecured only when we are trying to desperately hide something. Is India afraid?

Kashmir and the Sister states, continue to be the most militarized area in the whole world. We have deployed more military in the zone than the United States did in Afghanistan.  We cannot deny the reality, that Afzal Guru continues to be a hero to these destroyed by misrule of the AFSPA and to them, it is a struggle for freedom. If India wishes to understand Kashmir, we need to work much more seriously towards Democracy.  If one does not feel to be an India, his expression can be muzzled, but the hate and denial cannot be ended. The more we oppress and overlook Kashmir, the worse it gets.  To maintain the sanctity of heaven, heaven should find democracy. We have had generations of children growing up in Kashmir with bullet sounds as their daily alarm. Families have been destroyed and Human Rights have been abused. Irom Sharmila continues to fast and protest against the oppression of AFSPA .AFSPA cannot be a reality in any democracy.  Tax payers’ money is also not meant for military occupation in Kashmir or the rape of Manorama Devi in Manipur! Neither is it paid to contribute to the ‘Hinduisation of Kashmir’.  A democracy cannot afford to create a zone where human beings are caged like animals and leave the country in illusion and terror created by Goswami like anchors. A weeping soldier cannot undo the arbitrary abuses of the military in the valley.
In the jungles of Central India, near the Indravati River, the area controlled by Maoists is called ‘Pakistan’ by the police. Women have been raped, and remain in lockups. The villages are empty and civilians are escaping the ‘operation green hunt’ by the elected government.  A lady called Soni Sori was arrested, upon the suspicion of being a ‘Maoist terrorist’ as Mr. Goswami would call her. In lockup, stones were pushed into her genitals. Soni Sori struggled in a Calcutta Hospital when those in the red corridor were starving to death as Corporations with our governments continued to snatch their living, identity and culture. Indian’s GDP spiraled, yet in terms of development, the country stand second worst after Pakistan in Asia. Soni Sori was a ‘Maoist Terrorist. ‘The Unlawful Activities prevention Act’ could certainly imprison her without question.  But that day, with Soni Sori, Democracy was arrested too!

The French Student Union movement and the all the 1968 movements in the Capitalist countries were also against the national policy of war against Vietnam. They stood for humanity. If only, there was a little less nationalism across England and in 1943, there would have been no famine in Bengal. Free speech and a little less national fervor can, at times, restore humanity. A Japanese teardrop is no different from a German sorrow. Neither is Pakistani rejoice, that was once a part of us only to be divided for political momentum, any different from our happiness.  The death of millions of soldiers was no pride…they were scapegoats brainwashed with nationalism for political gains. There can be no pride in killings. I mourn Afzal Guru…I mourn the deaths of Kashmir and I mourn the soldiers of World war. But were these deaths really needed?

Surekha Bhotmage’s FIR against local tyrants was rejected by the Police. She was gang raped in front of her family for being from the Mahr community. Yet…She fought and struggled to live on. Just as Malala fights the Talibans, Surekha fought against caste oppression. So did Rosa parks, Sidney Poitier, Harper Lee and everyone who chose to rebel against norms. Annihilation of Caste by DR Ambedkar was censored in fear of ‘anti nationalism’.

I did not wake up to watch the Republic Day Parade of 2012 in which Mr. Ankit Garg was conferred the President’s Police medal for gallantry. However today, I am interested. Ankit Garg was the superintendant who had tortured Soni Sori. She was released from her Hospital in Calcutta. She did not die. She is protesting again. She is an anti national. So am I. We do not believe in honoring imaginary boundaries, rhetoric dusts or a piece of fancy cloth. We honor Human beings.  In Kanhaiya and Umar, we find hope and we wish protect that hope. It is a hope we are proud of. Chhattisgarh is protesting again. So am I. Our youth is reigniting the flames of rebel. Umar, Kanhaiya and every other thinker, I am with you. Capitalism sponsored elitist anchors can only silence your mikes…not your courage…not your integrity. You are cherished by our dream of humanism. Long Live Revolution!

 

 

diego Riviera

Man at the Cross Roads,  Diego Riviera .

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The fools’ Paradise!

“Where does the sky end?”

My father had asked me the question many years back when we had been to Puri (Orissa) for a summer vacation.  I was being extremely naughty as a kid and the question was the only way to keep me engaged.  I tried hard to find an answer and ran around the hotel’s dining hall asking every visitor that same question. They all found my curiosity cute and smiled.

I thought, it was a silly question to the elders because, obviously, they had an easy answer. Elders knew everything! Everything.

Last week India witnessed two deaths. One, we celebrated and the other, we mourned. However, as ever, I could not join the hysteria. I mourned, the ‘death’ of an Indian conscience!

I remember the recently delivered Hashimpura Judgement which, to me outlined the death of justice in India. It clearly had communicated the Indian majoritarian mindset, where there was no space for minority protection. Most of us, of course, did not even notice the sad verdict! We did not even remember the incident! So easy, isn’t it? Who after all, would bother about the brutal killings carried out by the PAC and Indian Army with direct instruction from the home ministry that believed that ‘lesson should be taught’ to the ‘Muslims’ protesting against the opening of the locks of the Babri Masjid. The then, ruling party was clearly using this as a political momentum to garner a clear majority public support. One could hear comments like ‘crush them’, ‘kill them’ and so much more.

The captured ‘Muslims’ were herded by the Provincial Armed Constabulary to the Muradnagar Ganga Canal, and were killed! Some pretended to be dead to narrate this tragedy by the state.

The case was being dragged for twenty eight years and was transferred to a Delhi Court, from the Supreme Court. Finally, the trial court acquitted all the accused for the killings. However, this verdict evoked no such uproar or public anger as did the Yakub Memon Hanging. We, are indeed, ever ready to celebrate a ruthless state sponsored killing but never willing to question a similar injustice!

What Chivalry, did we after all, show, by hanging a man after he had already served a prison term of more than twenty years. From every angle, to me, it  was a double jeopardy! The Indian state cheated Yakub Memom. And like invertebrates, instead of bringing down the real culprits, we hanged a man who gave us some impetus in cracking the case!

Simultaneously, we were also celebrating the ‘exemplary life’ of a man named Mr APJ Abdul Kalam. But frankly, was he really any good? Keeping aside, his Hindutva affiliations, (no wonder, he accepted the Presidential position soon after the 2002 riots in spite of being a Muslim himself), was he also not a man of double standards? When the world criticized the deprivation of human rights in the Niyamgiri hills and Kundankulam, Mr. Kalam favored industrialization and nuclear power advancement at the cost of people’s rights. To him, economic growth was always of a larger priority than development. His research was about ‘hard power’ and show of strength, not freedom or democracy!

Elders are not always correct. They are humans too and are definitely not beyond criticism. We worshipped, Kalam, because our elders asked us to do so.

Salman Khan, the macho man of India, the ‘Dabbang’ guy retracted his statement and apologized for having an opinion at the age of 49, because his ‘Father scolded him for it’! And we are flooding all the social networking sites with elaborate ‘Free speech’ hash tags? How confused and suppressed are we? And why at all, are we pouring our frustrations on the system and making it as hideous as ourselves? What is the use of jurisprudence and an elaborate legal procedure when we are all so opiniated with the criminality of a person standing before us? Does a ‘terrorist’ too, not have a right to be heard?

Our sadism ends each night with the ultra patriotic jingoism of  the single sided discussions of Arnab Goswami, as the nation gets to know, only what Mr. Goswami, wishes to say! And we carry on with our insensitive ordinary lives! A crony judicial system delivers as per the populist demands. Dissent tantamounts to national contempt and treachery.

Unlike before, I no longer blame the system or the state for such hypocrisy. I blame myself and I am every Indian. Mr. Modi and his party and allies are just a manifestation of our hatred and inability to accept dissent. This frustration has been brewing in our minds since a very long time.

The sky of freedom and rights is expanding. The times have changed, and mankind has evolved. The justice system is not about medieval punishments anymore. Criminal Jurisprudence is globally embracing reformation as a concept to replace the retribution and deterrence theories. The world is moving ahead. We have to accept that criminality breeds amidst us only and we are equally responsibly for every deviant individual as much as the individual himself.

Apparently, the 1993 Mumbai blasts were all revenge against the killing of Muslims in 1992. Now, we avenged that with Yakub’s death. Soon, someone will avenge us again.  But, ultimately, only people will die. Innocent babies or Yakub, every loss of life is a failure of society and law. Perhaps, all the world needs is a little care and some love. Maybe, we should understand people and their stories a bit better. Because, everyone has a story to tell.

My father did not define my sky. He taught me to face the sky without fear. And today, I rejoice the character in me to question everything I see. I refuse to live in the garb of the culture that forces me to honor someone for an apparent relationship hierarchy. I shall not be afraid to question my father as much as I question myself and the world or to defy him when I have faith in my own principles.

“What should I do with which I do not become immortal?”

My mother often quoted the famous argument by Vedic Scholar Maitreyi whenever I failed my tests. She forbade me from dwelling in the shallow mediocrities of life. She said that it was alright to commit mistakes; however, one must never sin. I did not understand her as a child. Then, all that mattered to me was that she was not angry with me and I could go down to play.

“I pity him!” was my immediate reaction after watching the ‘Rahul Gandhi interview’. Well, for once, it was not because of my clichéd support for any particular person or political group. Rather, Rahul reminded me of my traumatic nursery interview sessions, where I always sat helpless trying to figure a way out of the ordeal. Failure was inevitable.

Strangely, the next thing that I watched was the first Obama-Mit Romney presidential debate.  It too was a tense situation of American politics and the two arguing men were no less rivals than Rahul-Modi. Yet, it began with a little exchange of wit and moved on to a rather substantial discussion.  Yes, there was a moderator, but certainly, he was no match to the ferocious Arnab Goswami.

The discussion appeared to be an exchange of ideas between two adult gentlemen. Unlike the hour long Rahul-Arnab farce, which seemed more like an interrogation scene. But frankly, is it not time that the Indians grew up?

On one hand, we have a Rahul Gandhi, who is an intimidated weak student. And, on the other hand, is a Modi who, is a similar unprepared boy but manages to amuse us enough with his rhetorics. Basically, he is just a smart student who manipulates well.   However, amidst all these dramatics, we are forgetting a very important fact- this is not a high school test anymore!

Indians, continue to cherish their joint family roots. We still romanticize the fact that ‘elders’ dominate our major life decisions.  Perhaps, that is exactly what is reflected even in our modern political scene. It lacks the strength of individuality and progressive thought.

Rahul Gandhi constantly spoke about ‘the fundamental point’, but never really came to it.  Instead, we were once again regressed to the same old drab conjecture and comparison of the 1984 and the 2002 riots! I don’t blame Arnab for his meaningless questions. They were all that we had to ask Rahul. Still, inspite of all the sadistic pleasures that we got out of watching him, I don’t think it benefitted anyone at all.

The differences between Rahul-Modi are known to all. However, they are of little significance. The ‘real issue’, instead, is the way forward for India.  As common citizen, I’m more concerned about the taxation policies, foreign policies and governance methods that these politicians envisage. If they cannot put forth and defend their ideas now, how can they even implement them later? So, where are these ‘real’ discussions of ‘fundamental’ governance plans?

How does India perceive itself in the changing situation in Afghanistan? How are we going to react to the changing paradigm of Asian international politics? Should India focus more on South East Asia or does its future lie with the relations with the U.S? How are we going to handle Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China?  Should we focus only on GDP growth or Human development is a greater concern?

India, historically, has remained as the cradle of a flourishing democracy. Public debates were once, a part of our lifestyle.  However, today, we lost our heritage to a monotonous mediocrity. Our politicians, like us, lack a sporting spirit and all they want to do is blame each other!  We have stopped giving ourselves the freedom to fail. And thus, it becomes all the more difficult to conceive and try out newer plans.

It is the same fallacy that forbids a child from writing a creative answer because he is afraid of failing the test. And if he fails, mother may not be too happy! But, we are free of the parental domination now. Why can’t we just clearly speak about what we want to do? Let Rahul Gandhi discuss his own resolutions. Why must he defend his father? Let Modi speak of his way forward, why must he recite an RSS anthem?

Election is just the beginning. The real substance comes out of what lies ahead of it. Else, it stands as another catastrophe as Kejrival.  Spewing criticisms and throwing aspersions is as easy as waving the ‘Jhadu’. However, taking the responsibility and facing the system is just as difficult as tolerating it!

The Rahul-Modi saga may quite replace the Saas-Bahu gossips for a while. But, it will give us nothing more than frustration. It will not make our country immortal. Yes, Rahul Gandhi may be a mistake.  But, not being able to create a vision for the nation to move forward will be a sin!

As a child, I did not understand my mother. I know what she meant now. To her, education was more necessary than mere gradation. She taught me to learn from my mistakes. She taught me to grow.

Freedom cannot be given to anyone. It is realization that comes from within. Why must the Indians only become CEOs of Microsoft? Why can’t we create a Microsoft?!  Why are we so afraid of risks? How long are we going to crib about everything and exclaim “Nothing can happen to this country!!?” Then, later, we shall sit in our cramped office spaces and pull our colleagues down! Are we forever going to live in our miserable hopelessness?

India cannot afford to die so soon. We cannot accept defeat so easily. India is not so feeble that it shall only whine about its problems. Instead we have to face them and overcome every crisis! Let’s break the shackles of the childish fears. Let’s broaden our mind, perspective and reclaim the heritage that we had once gifted the whole world.

 

 

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow  domestic walls;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the  dreary desert of sand of dead habit;

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

Rabindra Nath Tagore

Grow Up! India!