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2010 Mayo 8 [sábado]

chaturanga

Sexual assaults involving ministers mixed with never-ending power-cuts make a heady summer mix. Its not surprising that the frequency of water cuts and power cuts has spiked the moment local Municipal elections voting got over. People have filed PIL's but KPTC/BESCOM cant seem to curb the power theft that occurs right under its nose, which is self-evident when you take a walk around any main street with shops and direct your gaze skyward to see the criss-crossing wires from each electricity pole situated on the roadside--all illegal but under the benign gaze of the officials. The shopkeeper will tell you why you could not get away with it without the connivance of the employees of inefficient BESCOM whose palms they regularly grease, lest its converted into "commercial rates" which is four times higher than the residential rates....and thus residential power theft continues. The powers that be are aware of the irregularities and yet dont care. What would it take to turn things around?

If that is the local state of affairs, the national level is no better. Nope, Sonia Gandhi, a woman at the helm has not changed things for the better. Its not uncommon for women to bear the brunt and pay the price when it comes to law-making policies. India has always had women politicians and yet the scams continue to tumble out of the closet catching the players on a sticky wicket, and we continue to live with corruption, lobbying for power while the money-making games continue, resulting in tacit compromises instead of clean governance. If anything politicians lack the will to root out corruption and a citizen has no choice when it comes to choosing a clean political party to represent them. Today, corruption and crimes are committed by politicians from just about every party and ideological frame of mind --Quid pro quo.

2009 Febrero 8 [domingo]

Sita in an ice cube

Indian women are indeed blessed !! We now have a convict of the 1993 Bombay blasts contesting elections for a parliament membership, who opines that every Indian woman should give up her identity and take her husbands name after marriage. Pearl's of wisdom indeed ... from a man who has had multiple adulterous relationships whilst being married (thrice if you must know), an ex-drug addict who never bothered to care for his young daughter Trishala or wife Richa Sharma, both of whom were conveniently abandoned although he knew for years that Richa suffered from cancer. Morally inspiring for all those women in his life who hanker for dutt (pun intended) lastname, provided they manage to stick around dutt long.

Dutt may have munnabhai'ed the media and even ruffled Renuka Chowdhary's feather's, but it was definitely not enough masala for the media spotlight to dwell on him for long. The confused-plastic-faced-ac(h)tor-wannabe-politician was quickly upstarted by the street-thugs "Shri Rama Sene" in Karnataka.  India now has its very own homegrown wannabe "Taliban-Sene" who orchestrated and videotaped the molestation and attack of women in Mangalore in the name of god. Apparently physical violence and a public molestation of women is the easiest way to be in the news. Tsk-Tsk ...dutt's what happens if you wash Pri(vate)ya Dutt(y) linen in public, Sanju baba. Politics is gonna be a steep learning curve for you. If the Muthalik-meets-Dutt scenario had occurred some years ago, how many times would Dutt have been married off on Valentine's day ?? :-D

All in a Go(o)d days work, given that Indian politicians have certainly run out of issues to solve in the run up to elections, where the mastermind of the Mangalore attacks is known but yet is allowed to abscond. Targeting 49% of your population is good enough to get eye-balls, never mind that politicians dont have the balls to address important issues like eradicating corruption, ensuring proper supply of electricity, proper public infrastructure, good primary education, water and so many other social issues which jostle for attention...but none of these silly issues are as important as women visiting a pub.

Any woman who visits a pub instead of making rotis at home, feeding her husband and pressing his tired legs at night, is fit to be called a prostitute according to the Rama Sene while enlightened souls (in the NCW too) went a bit further to justify the attacks in the name of stemming immoral activity in the Mangalore pub. Since the police and judiciary have outsourced their work to local thugs and hooligans its high time the government stopped wasting the tax-payee's money on maintaining a police force and judiciary, both of who cannot ensure law and order nor keep justice. Well if India can be the outsourcing manna for the world why cant we outsource the police's work to these self-appointed custodians of Indian culture ?!? Think of the Tax benefits!!

Fundamentalist Hindu bigots == fanatical Islamic radicals ?! If there is a logic to the methodical madness being unleashed across each state one has to give credit to their inspirational idol, the Taliban. Nothing less will do. If the ShivSena and MNS in Maharashtra can rail and rant against the South Indians and then drive away the North Indians, then why should the wannabe-power-grabbing-southern-politician be left behind. He can jump onto the "lets control the corrupt Indian woman" bandwagon which is a problem that has taken on global hues today, with gullible Indian woman being lured by the foreign hand... what sacrilege!!

  • Mytholog(icall)y

Not to be left behind, some women feel they should form a Sita Sene to counter the increasing attacks on women and the debate on "Indian culture" is ferociously raging on the idiot box and in the print media. Every person I have met thus far, has an opinion (or two or three) by which time my grey cells stop parsing the string "indian culture" correctly. The word "culture" tickles my phunny bone (and I've been told I have f3w of those) enough to delve into some mythology since religion is the thread that binds retrograde chauvinists across the world masking their selfish desire for control and power.

Kalpana Sharma summarized it more eloquently :

The Sri Rama Sene is a fringe element. But lurking under the skin of many men, irrespective of caste or community, is a similar view of what women should and should not do. Men fear women’s autonomy, for, it challenges their power. And they fear women’s sexuality even more. Hence, the desire of fundamentalists of all types to control women’s sexuality.

Is that why every river has a feminine name and Earth is called MotherEarth and the country is called motherland and not FatherEarth and Fatherland respectively !? Culture-vultures never miss an opportunity to letch on mytholog(ical)y to explain that women should be frozen into this ice cube of patriarchy, certainly fit to be seen and admired, but she can never stir or voice herself.

Were the women of yore beautiful icy figurines trapped in an ice cube?

Not Sita, Rama's wife, who left her husband when he asked her for an "agnipariksha" (trial by fire) to prove her chastity. She epitomises the courage (that many Indian women lack) of leaving her twin sons with her husband Rama and returning to her mother's (Earth) after around 20+ years of marriage. 

Draupadi practised polyandry, perhaps the only woman with 5 husbands at a time when it was more common for men to practise polygamy. She is the only woman in mythology over whom a war, the Mahabharata, was fought to avenge an insult to her. In that epic, she refused to tie her hair until her insult was avenged.

Mirabai had no compunctions about leaving her husband for Krishna and would the brainless religious fundamentalist idiot dare to brek the idols in the Radha-Krishna temples(?), since Radha was never married to Krishna and left her husband for Krishna. Its called  adultery in English, but for millions of Indians the name Radha-Krishna is synonymous with love, bhakti and devotion.

Wendy surmises the position of women in Vedic literature, especially the Chandayoga Upanishad where Jabala asks her son to take her name so he calls himself "Satyakama Jabala (the son of Jabala)". Interestingly, dutt (pun intended) may have been completely missed instances in Indian mythology where the children take on the mothers name and not that of the father (who was sometimes unknown, or got just a passing reference....).

Gowriputra (son of Gowri, an epithet for Parvati, Ganesha's mother who is supposed to have sprang from the scurf of her body) ;

Krishna was called "Devakiputra" (son of Devaki) ;

Skanda, one born of 6 mothers ;

Pandavas were called Kuntiputra's ; ... so on...

The Sene has surely not seen this aspect of Hinduism.  Moving on to the men who are commonly addressed with the prefix Sri/Shri which is the feminine subjunctive in Sanskrit. It is also an epithet for Lakshmi whose husband (Vishnu) is commonly referred to as "Lakshmipati/Shripati" (the husband of Lakshmi) as is Sitapati (Husband of Sita).

Shiva's epithet is "Umapati", the husband of Parvati or Shakti (the female energy) without whom he is considered to be a shava (corpse). Are there instances of Parvati/Shakti being addressed as "Shivapatni"? Not that I know of.

There may be more but I am not inclined to dig out lores of yore when I can blithely snore away the night, sans the pita-pati (pun wholly intended).

2009 Enero 26 [lunes]

republic@60

As the Indian republic turns 60, it also ironically marks the second month-versary of the Mumbai attacks on 26 Nov last year. There was the initial outrage, brouhaha, etc.. for about a month ; then the dust began settling on the terrorism issue. Not surprising at all since the Indian media had jucier bytes to beam like the Satyam financial fraud issue, the Obama's oath ceremony and who can forget the desi stylists falling over themselves to comment on Ms.Obama's fashion sense.

When the attack occured 2 months ago, our politicians went into a tizzy in the ensuing media frenzy and gleefully gave media sound bytes bordering on hyperbole. The ex-CM of the Mahanarashtra state and his actor son took a film producer/director to the Taj hotel so he could get a first hand look at the terrorist's killing and carnage and faithfully reproduce an exaggerated over-hyped masala film with some sexy dance/item numbers thrown in for the masses.

Even the Dalai Lama called a spade a spade instead of pussy-footing like most others or hiding behind diplomasque. With politicians like the minister Antulay, who in Paliament indirectly suggested that the terrorists may not be from Pakistan but may be Hindus, India does'nt need enemies.  Despite Ajmal Amir (he also has a wikipedia page *eye-roll*) revealing that they attacked Mumbai to avenge the Mid-East/Israel gridlock, David Milliband manages to put his foot in his mouth with some faulty logic.  Since access to the USA is harder for Al-quaida, the ocean not withstanding, it makes strategic sense for Islamic jihadists to kill/strike at US citizens outside the USA in other countries like Mumbai and other parts of India, the probability of which is scarily plausible in the face of the ISI training women in terrorism tactics and not just poor Ajmal Amir's who want to become famous for all the wrong reason. Besides the geographical advantage, India is has amazingly high levels of corruption and scores of idiots who are inefficient and inept when it comes to delivering justice and clamping down on criminal activities. No really, you can get away with murder in India, literally !

Is Pakistan a terrorist state?? Not according to ex-Gen.Mussharraf who has a good sense of humor when he berates the USA (Obama government ?) thus :

"If you compare what you spent in Afghanistan, I believe I read an article where roughly 143 billion dollars have been spent in Afghanistan. What have you spent in Iraq? Maybe over a trillion dollars?"

Now that sounds like a subtle blackmail toned as whining for economic aid. Hmpf, so Pakistan is essentially telling the US and the world to "pony up the $$$ and then FO". Indirectly he just showed USA the middle finger as the $$$ will be used to create Al-queda sancturies.

Obama did not take kindly to being shown the middle finger but its too early in the game as Pakistan has always been good with international diplomacy while the Indian governtment fails abjectly on that front. They even managed to get China, (a communist country with abject human rights situation...Tibet anyone?) on their side by giving them carte blanche power to “sort out” this diplomatic tangle. Duh, now how did that happen ??

Pakistan managed to steal the limelight thanks to the jingoism our politicians indulged in, the sound bytes about how India reserves all right to wage war. A heir-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi, is busy scoring brownie points with a morality spiel on how Indians only respect people who have money, authority and positions...err, how about giving up that Z+ security and Lyuten's bungalow for starters, Mr.Gandhi !?

Other ministers, including the Prime minister, did nothing beyond condemning the act vehemently as "outrageous" and engaged in empty rhetoric's. Although India had all the evidence in the form of : records of telephone conversation that took place between terrorist at Mumbai and coordinators in Pakistan ; written statements from the arrested terrorist ; his parents admission and identification that he is their son ; confirmation by international intelligence agencies (including US, UK, etc) ; captured weapons used by the terrorists with markings of ordinance factories located in Pakistan ; etc..... it appears that our external affairs ministry as usual failed to present the available evidence effectively ; to Pakistan Government as well as to international community. It is indeed pathetic to note that we are still sloppy in preparing our case sheet and are struggling to ensure 'to fix the offence committed on the offender without leaving any loophole'.

Amidst all this media drama, Pakistan was smart enough to deflect attention and play the victim while our government babus patted themselves on the back for the perfect media pitch, empty threats and sabre rattling, which only annoyed a lot of countries (including China the epitome of democracy). Red-herring's like "joint probes" and tangential unrelated issues like the Malegaon blasts and other diversionary tactics helped them subvert and play the innocent victim to good effect, leaving India foaming at the mouth. By the time the police and other criminal investigation agencies compile evidence to prepare the FIR, years would pass affecting the resolve and anger of the International community to punish Pakistan for promoting terrorism on its soil.

That is the crossroads India stands at on this 60th Republic day and its ironic that Netaji was choosen the youth icon on the occassion of his birthday last week. with politicians gleefully going the whole media hog over his janmashtami BUT yet every successive Indian government has always maintained a mysterious and deafening silence on Bose's death. Even his daughter thought we didnt do enough to remember her father. Hmm... maybe Dhar's book reveal the unknown mystery behind the PMO office destroying documents.  India may be a democratic state turning 60 which is a second coming of sorts, but frankly unless we pull up our socks and develop zero-tolerance to *corruption* we will not reach our full potential.

2008 Junio 7 [sábado]

MicroIndia

oh, uh..oh, trouble brewing in the Indian paradise!

2008 Mayo 6 [martes]

food for thought

Rice started it and Bush chimed in by blaming India and China for the rising food prices ...but what intriuges me is why do representatives from Monsanto and Wal-Mart sit in a board appointed by the Congress government to implement the provisions of an agricultural-trade-agreement, when it is plainly obvious that it benefits the American economy at the cost of the Indian one.


2008 Abril 3 [jueves]

wrong path

Legitimizing monopolistic standards does not help create an open, free and transparent environment. Doing IT Wrong.

2007 Septiembre 30 [domingo]

a letter

Dear N,

I hope you are safe and ok. Since the last few days after hearing news reports about the situation in your country I am worried about your safety. All my mails are bounced and am unable to connect via phone too, which is not surprising considering the life and constraints you all live under. I could not believe the news reports and remembered the discussions we used to have about using non-violence for human rights effectively. I feel guilty about ....[edited].... and cant even imagine how harsh, difficult and violent life must be there now.......[edited stuff which may reveal identity of person]....... I dont know who is reading this mail so I will not write much. I very much prefer to talk to you. Aware that you don't have Internet access, I am blogging this hoping that you read it and contact me, while trying not to reveal your identity and endanger your life. I wish you all the success but selfishly pray that you are alive and well.

Your,
Worried Friend.

-------------------------

Request: If anyone reading this blog knows how to get in touch with people in Myanmar/Burma, please leave a comment or drop me a mail.

2006 Julio 18 [martes]

violent identity politics

Today, Mumbai will pay homage to victims of the terror attack and we decided to take it to the streets with candles and silence at 18:24 IST. All along the 7/11 blast has been linked by the media to the Kashmir issue which has been an on-going tussle for 5+ decades, much before the advent of the 90's which changed the face of terror all over India. There is definitely no excuse and no root cause for terrorism, and violence should not be justified with illogical reasoning.

All our life we constantly struggle to define and understand human identity based on factors we perceive as important like religion, race, social / financial status, nationality or entirely out of imaginary mental feelings. Our experiences and circumstances also conditions behaviour and attitude in life which explains somewhat, why some people resort to violence in pursuit of an identity.

Probably change could start with : ‘Who am I?’ , which addressed individual identity via self-inquiry but this "non-attatchment to self" theory is also echoed in some sections of Theravada philosophy, both converging and sometimes taking parallel paths to self-discovery, an internal process.

2006 Julio 15 [sábado]

no fear life will go on

Firstly, thanks to all those who expressed their support for the horrific terrorist attack in Mumbai. Although I had a close escape twice, I never blogged, but I guess if one is not alive there is nothing to blog anyway and I still cant overcome my intense dislike for politics.

TBH, terrorism is not new to India Sulamita, especially Mumbai which has experienced multiple bomb blasts since 1990. Violence against innocent citizens has increased in the last few decades but Indian intelligence & investigation agencies almost never apprehend, prosecute and convict terrorists who kill innocents in the name of politics, religion and faith. According to some defence analysts its easier to use India as a training ground with help from educated Indians for planning and executing such attacks regularly.

For an ordinary citizen the price is a single life and statistics show that the conviction rate of for the terrorist perpetrators of the 1993 blasts, Akshardham temple attack, Delhi Diwali blasts of 2005, the Bangalore attack, Varanasi temple bombings, and the innumerable Kashmir killings is abysmally low. Some years ago my Kashmiri friend sent me an this article by Francois Gautierand she mentioned that Kashmiri women (like herself) are not allowed to own any property in the Jammu and Kashmir state if they marry a non-Kashmiri man. This was news, since not many Indians outside of J&K are aware of this. I always believed that we had equal laws all over India but it seems otherwise.

Communal riots is what the terrorists want but instead citizens returned to work the next day and schools, offices, colleges or business establishments were not closed. Even Western Railway resumed rail services barely 4 hours after the blast on Tuesday and within 12 hours full services were resumed. So although it seems like people dont care enough we do remember friends and/or family members lost in such carnages and I certainly would not know where to begin (or end) describing the loss. Yet for those living it would take more than the fear of death to stop life.