Tag Archives: India

A Mess Called India

Mess_India

Even since AAP came into existence and especially after it’s historic win and meteoric rise to power, I have been listening people and their aspirations. As if they have voted in power some Messiahs who will do magic and turn India into US or London, while they keep on with their usual life; “Usual Life” – with all its mess and madness. We still remain the same; same uncivil, intolerant, insensitive near barbarians who let others rule us. Yet we are not ready to accept that the mess we are in is not become of politicians, Babu’s or police – as they are also part of the same society that we have made. To put in short – will AAP coming to power make us not break the queue? Will the AAP government stop us from crossing the road on foot from wherever we want and not using the over-bridge or underpass? Will AK come down and see that all cars are not driving with “High Beams” and breakings lanes in the madness of going ahead of everyone? Will AAP ministers see that we care for elders and women in busses and metros by giving them our seat? I have serious doubt.

We will keep doing all the things wrong with the “excuse” that everyone does it. We will complain that the roads are dirty; but won’t think that it is dirty not because someone failed to clean it, but because someone dirtied it in the first place. We will keep throwing our extra food in the waste bin, and complain that so many people go hungry every day.  We will keep killing the female foetuses and glorify the male child, and then cry hoarse that our society – law and police are insensitive to females. For every law mad to help us or get us a better life, we will try to first find a loophole in it to bypass or exploit it.

All these because, we have degraded as a society. We have lost our sense of dignity and morale. We have lost the sense of right and wrong. If something we see others doing, we get encouraged in doing the same, irrespective of our own senses telling us that it is wrong to do so. If something does not affect us directly, we will always turn away saying that not my responsibility. If we find something affecting us is wrong we will always put the blame on “someone else”.

One AK or even a AAP can’t change anything, unless we start accepting our own faults. The goal needs to be accepting our faults, analyze where we have done wrong and then change it. But for now at least we can start by owning our own faults. We need to remember  – “you cannot change anyone else but yourself”. So to change this society, country and life we live, we need to change ourselves. These changes in us will help motivate our kids to change themselves. And it is our only hope for a better future for all of us. Till then we can only vote – hope and denounce governments after governments.

Oath of The Vayuputras

The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy, #3)The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Was waiting for it for months – but am sad to say Amish lost his speed. At time it seemed he was too much interested in making the ends of the puzzle meet. And at times it tended becoming a movie script with details of each costume than the action unfolding.

Yet it was definitely easy read – takes the trilogy to a justified end and has the flavor of Amish and Shiva connection.

View all my reviews

 

Tracks and Trails of India: “Adina Fast Passenger”

Originally Published on: Jul 5, 2006

Indian railway tracks and myriads of roads connecting the corners to the neighborhoods holds millions of stories. In my life, like others, I too had many memories scattered on these paths; and in turn I have treasured many an event that I have experienced. These are some of those, a collection of facts, as all what’s there in my abode!

This was in the early nineties, when I was a sales and support executive for a leading IT company, making frequent and long tours all over eastern India. To repair the UPS systems installed in many BPCL depots I used to frequent cities in middle of nowhere. This was a trip when first I went to Malda, a town middle part of west Bengal and famous for its Mangoes. The morning I was supposed to finish my work, I got a message from office that I need to go to Barauni from there – a town in North Bihar, supposedly close and accessible from Malda. I finished my work at Malda within 10 in the morning and came back to hotel, inquired to find that there is a “Fast Passenger” at 1 PM. Asked them to keep a bills ready and wake me up if I fall asleep. As feared I was not awakened in time and I had to rush to station in a cycle rickshaw. I took a ticket and rushed towards the platform, asked the ticket checker at the gate about the train. He pointed towards platform No. 3 and there was it – “Adina Fast Passenger” already started moving, leaving platform no. 3.

I rushed through the over-bridge with my rucksack on my back and the brief case in hand, climbed down the stairs and still had enough time to select a relatively empty compartment to board the “Fast Passenger”. It was supposed to be a six-hour journey. I looked around the sparsely populated compartment to only see a few locals and farmers.

Couple of hours into the journey and I was enjoying one of the most amazing route on single line track, winding its way though farms, gardens, villages and at times it seemed we passed though someone’s backyard. Soon the train came to a halt, the scene outside gave the impression of a mid-sized village, with fences touching the train and windows of mud houses at handshaking distance from the window of the train. The train stopped and didn’t move for at least an hour. Peeking out from the window, I saw a big commotion in front of the train and all passengers slowly getting down and walking towards the front. It seemed almost the entire village was already there. I too got down and walked towards the scene. Soon I found the reason of the stoppage. The train has killed a goat of a villager, and he has squatted on the tracks with other villagers supporting him. He wants a compensation from the driver or the guard, and demanded if required let the Railway minister come and solve his plight.

I came back, and the train started moving after another hour or so. I guess the Panch of the village must had convened and found a solution. The train was already 3 hours late. The evening fell and woke up from a doze to discover there was no light in my compartment. In the pitch darkness of the compartment and matching black outside I waited till the next station. The plan was to get down and change the compartment. After waiting for about half an hour the train chugged in to a station. I got down, stood in the darkness of the platform, watched the train from end to end, to find that it was a train without a single light barring the headlight, which was just enough for the driver to see the track far enough to drive.

I came back to the same compartment and sat through the journey clutching my two luggage.  Was sure that there was not a soul in the compartment. Even if there was some, they must have got blacked out by the darkness. The train reached Barauni at 11:15. The tea stall owner informed that it will be futile to go out and look for a hotel at this time. I inquired abut

the retiring rooms, The second class waiting room was just a shade better than a stable, and the upper class retiring rooms were locked, with the in-charge not to be found anywhere. I didn’t have any upper class ticket either, so talking to the station master was not feasible. So I asked the tea stall owner to inform the retiring room in-charge, if he is found and helped myself with the newspapers I always carried. After nearly an hours sleep on the paper spread on the platform with the hordes of mosquitoes, a guy waked me up. He was the in-charge; he took 30 bucks for the first class retiring room; it went to his own pocket obviously. It was a 20 by 20 room, with two single beds, with mosquito nets and a toilet clean enough to be used. He even helped me with a dinner against 20 more rupees – dal, chapatti and mooli.

And that’s how I mostly used to reach Barauni, a “Rocket” bus to malda, and “Adina Fast Passenger” to Barauni, with the night at upper class retiring room.

Shamed… Now what?

 Shamed 

So the entire nation along with the capital city is up in arms. Seems like finally it has crossed the tipping point and the nation has started moving towards some activity. I sincerely hope that this time it’s just not show of anger against the perpetrators and solidarity with the victim for a few days but eagerness to finally ensure some solution. But every time I look at the news coverage or read it on the paper, somehow am unable to withhold my emotions. Unknowingly a few droplets find their way out of my eyes. The heart has gone numb. Couldn’t write or think of anything else.

As usual when I started looking at the views from fellow countrymen, and sadly it was again the same old rant. Some were angry on the government and its mechanism, some blamed the political parties , some religions, regions and some as usual the females themselves. Yet no one actually had a concrete solution. Made me wonder that isn’t this same anger behind all the crimes against the fairer sex? So what is the solution? My mind was just unable to accept that any of these so-called solutions will just wave a magic wand and all the trouble for the females would go.

In my heart, as usual, I believed that it needs a long-term approach. I believed that we need to change the mindset. We as a nation need to believe that both the sexes are equal and need to be treated as equal. And the solution needs to start at home. Each one of us needs to teach our next generation how to behave with the females. Then I came across several write-ups, such as the one by IHM, at Hindu, by Shilpa and Anand. And could not but agree with them. The chain of thought was quite similar to mine. But still it was either anger or a long-term solution.  So does that mean that the millennia’s of social injustice cannot be changed in one generation or a decade for that matter? What till then? Will 50% of our nation keep suffering? And what happens if some of our present generation fails to teach the next generation? Do we have to only wait till the system AND the mindset change – and pray that it changes fast? Can’t we do anything ourselves?

The mind kept roaming – the anguish of helplessness made my shoulder blades stiffen. With all my pride of coming up with a solution for so many issues faced by people, where is the solution now? And to find out how other countries are addressing the issue – I was more surprised than ever. It’s not India alone. The “Violence Against Women” is a global phenomena. Whether it is Somalia or USA, Bolivia or Australia, it’s the same grim picture everywhere. The picture looks a bit better in China but whether it is an actual picture or due to lack of genuine data available was not clear. Well France, Spain and couple of other European countries seemed a bit better. The data for Sweden, Germany or Australia might look a bit skewed because of how they define “Rape”. But then that’s how it is in those countries. They ARE more sensitive to it because that’s what their society demands. Yet it was amply clear that it was not a National issue. I was very clear in my mind that it was not the system, not the political class, or regions, education, wealth – its plain simple male arrogance hit hard by female advancement. The oppressed class is coming out of their veil and men can’t take it anymore. They are becoming more and more brazen day by day. And it is getting aided by low conviction rate and social apathy.

Then it stuck – and the bleak ray of idea kept circling in my head. And when I read last morning the 6 Point Action Plan that TOI came out with, my smile was just a teeny bit wider. Of course all that it says, such as awareness of people and sensitization of policemen is required. But they will only give you results in long-term.  Sometime back a few incidents of eve-teasing on metro created quite a flutter, and a number of groups came forward to help with their action. Add to that a few technical apps such as Cell Phone tracker apps, sms message sender and cheap web cams. So the idea is to create a group of “Citizen For Women’s Safety”. Then these volunteers will:

  1. Register their Mobile numbers and location
  2. Help seekers call the registered distress number
  3. The Software locates caller location, and alerts all the members available nearest to it
  4. Volunteers rush to be available in numbers to help the help seekers
  5. The software also alerts police as an additional measure
  6. As an additional coverage, put as many web cams as possible on your home (that are near main roads and crossings) facing the street.
  7. The central server keeps record of all camera’s for a fixed number of days, to refer back if required.
  8. Activities of offenders recorded on web cams or mobile phones gets uploaded on the web site
  9. Any offender if identified and implicated by multiple person goes up on “Board of Shame”
  10. Tag these offenders socially

I know whenever there is a new initiative, there will be a lot of detractors and Nay Sayers. And on the other hand there will be a handful who might get wrongly implicated. But as male (who has firsthand experience of this kind of wrongful implicated, yet) I would say I am ready to be one those handful people who might get wrongly implicated to ensure that a much larger females might get benefited  Till such time that we have enough number of Police on street, helpful and effective, we can try to aid the system instead just being angry and blaming everyone.

What I am suggesting is just an idea that I wanted to share – and will try to see if I can reach mass and get support to put in place. Alternatively even if someone else gets the vibe and creates an even better idea and puts it forward before me – that will be even better. I simply don’t want to be “just angry” and continue the blame game!!

This post is part of the contest Who is to be blamed? on WriteUpCafe.com

Divided India – Lost and Unaware

It’s truly amazing yet bitterly painful – to see fellow countrymen still enveloped by petty differences based on religious and geopolitical differences. Even the language they speak divides them and the “choose” to look away from the real crisis in hand.

Couple of year back – I had developed and idea that could revolutionize the online news media – in the same way how Google had revolutionized the way we see online content. I even presented that to certain forums hosted by Times of India. I failed to impress too many – yet today Times of India site has part of it implemented. That enthused me more to visit its site and see how people are contributing and reacting to news. My idea was to make news more broad-based and inclusive; to bring all perspectives together and make it acceptable to all. Yet what I saw made me crest fallen.

Every time I see news – be it rape of a hapless woman, corruption charges against a political leader or even an article by a writer, the people who comment on them are anything but clear on what they are reading. They would prefer to jump into conclusions based on their religious – political – regional leaning without bothering to digest even part of the actual news. Rarely would I find a person who actually understand the fact behind the news and respond to it. But even they get hammered down by others with leanings for being upright.

As if in this world it is not right to maintain a vertical posture – you have to align to this direction or the other, otherwise be ready to be object of suspicion and scorn. And this is coming from so-called “Educated” and “Informed” class of people. We as a collective called Indians, irrespective of our location in India or abroad are anything but united. We have reached a state of frenzy where we find pleasure in opposing for the sake of opposing. We would do anything to denounce and pull down others, without spending even an aorta of the same energy to introspect. Yet nearly all of us seek salvation. We would pray and observe all possible rituals specified by the socio-religious norms, but won’t even try to seek the truth.

It’s a pity that even after being the most developed beings in this world, having so much of analytical power trapped inside our skull, undergoing so much training to learn how to use that power only results in using those powers only in the negative direction. Seek all but the truth. Run after everything but away from the reality. And after all of that put the blame of all our sorrow on everyone else but ourselves. I feel pity on all the efforts put in by the stalwarts like, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi to guide people towards truth, yet they will choose to worship their image and not follow their teaching.

For the sake of whichever God you choose to put your faith in, listen to your inner voice. Listen to what all those illuminated souls have told us. The answer is always within – not out there. Look inside and correct yourself before pointing the finger on anybody. The government and police are not the answer to the plight of womenfolks in our country. It’s us who can make the change with our effort to correct ourselves first and our immediate surrounding next on how to respect other human beings. If you want to be religious, first “try” to be religious, instead of being “ritualistic”. Know what has been preached. Feel and unravel the meaning first, before thrusting it upon anyone else. No religion on the world wants us to do so. It’s those who try to wield power and use it for their narrow personal growth who does it. Stop being manipulated by selfish ideologies and listen to your heart and grow the love that guides you to truth.

Truth is we all are part of the same whole. So even to be selfish, we need to love others, who are nothing but part of the same me! Will anyone of us punish, rebuke or scorn our own hand because it looks different from our head? Will we not care for legs because it is not from the same locality where our eyes are? Should the left hand be against our right because its orientation is different? Or do we disbelieve our heart because we can see it? We don’t – cause all of them are part of the same ME. Then why can’t we see that all other entity in this world are ALSO part of the same ME, the same ME called GOD. Who asks nothing from us but to love all other parts of him. The day we do this, we are united. United in idea, knowledge and spirit.

In search of a better solution…

In recent days, which ever blog of substance I am going to – I just see how apathetic we collectively have become about females and their rights. From Law-makers to Law-enforcers to individuals, none are sensitive to the reality of female feeling. In fact a huge portion of female population too have been brainwashed and systematically turned against their own gender. hence whichever point I try to think could be a starting point seems hopeless. Because the primary fault as i keep shouting lies with each one of us.

While there is no doubt in my mind that unless each one of us as individual, both male and female start sensitizing our young ones, we have no hope for a better future; there is also need to do something drastic to tackle the issue going out of hand. Unless we want to see a civil war with females rising against males in near future – I feel we need some huge and drastic steps.

As I heard one activist pointing out on NDTV that its not the law but the enforcement that is prime need, I agreed to her. We already have enough laws ! We do not need to wait till a better law comes up. Lets enforce what we have till we can work out something new.  And lets do something drastic like – an All  Female army of police; in every state to start with, and like an emergency situation declared, hand over the entire policing of a town / city / district depending upon the maximum crime against females for the state. If our male polices are in-sensitive against the 50% of the civil society, let them not manage the Civilian policing and move them to other roles – such as fighting Terrorism and tax evaders.

As and when needed keep giving more powers to females as police, magistrates and judges. Turn cities and districts to females and lets see if they can fare better. Though I know how laws favoring females are used against a handful hapless and law-abiding males, yet I feel this is a option worth trying.

Please note, I am not talking about one all female police  station,  or one all-female court (that we have tried – and I feel are too few and far between to have any significant effect) but going all out in towns – cities and districts. We have seen how our mothers raised us, so lets see those mothers raise the nation too.

A lot of females (and some males too) have started thinking about building vigilante groups – perhaps a sign of things to come in future? Now most hush them up by saying “An eye for an eye – would make the world blind” – but does that mean that we are ready to have a nation full of one-eyed citizens? A jail term for humiliating another individual? What makes us believe that even if its a 7 year term, its going to reform the person? If its a 20+ years person committing the crime, what makes us believe that our Jails are such huge Psychological reform centers that they can undo the person’s psyche that has developed over 20 years in just 7 years of imprisonment? Are we ready to pay to turn our jails into super efficient psychological reform centers? Or should we need to revert back to shock treatments of yesteryears? My belief – if we do not want a country full of one eyed citizens need some to go blind (not one eye for an eye but both) so that others don’t lose either of their eyes !