Category: Politics & Social Issues (Page 2 of 4)
Even without being a BJP supporter, I can clearly count their poll promises on my fingers. Promises which they declared before elections with hopes of making it good when they get power. They have been successful in getting their message across. Specific message of “15 lacks”, “Jailing Scam-tainted ministers and even Robert Vadra”,“Making sure Pakistan gets a strong message” and a long list of other promises.
From an election-stand-point, it clearly does not matter, whether those promises will ever be fulfilled or will be termed as another Jumla. BJP, mostly thanks to Amit Shah, has figured out the template for election victories. He has busted the myth of the “Muslim Vote”. At the same time, he’s been successful in orchestrating a consolidation of Hindu-vote by giving Developments as well as the “fear of the growing minority” as primary motivators.
Vote-bank politics isn’t restricted to India and is done worldwide. Every party happens to do it and blames the other for it. When Congress, SP, or BSP was trying to hold on to its loyal caste base, BJP went one up, and consolidated them on religious lines, instead of caste.
And no, it isn’t a one-election strategy but a concerted effort that they’ve driven for years. RSS, Bajrang Dal or VHP, are all separate and non-political entities, which have been on the ground working tirelessly to join all the castes together.
Inherently human beings have programmed themselves to be part of a homogeneous group. Groups, separated by National boundaries, regions, linguistically, faith, caste, color, etc. Over time, we all learn/realize, we are essentially the same. Humans. But this journey of realization, overcoming the varied differences, is long. On the back of our minds, we see ourselves as separate and occasionally superior (as well). There’s a constant tussle between what we’ve been made to believe and what we should, based on our experiences and education.
You must be thinking, why am I telling you all this? Just bear with me as I paraphrase.
We are a divided lot. A large section is even racist! But everyone’s evolving to not appear as that racist bigot. But, when an ideology touches upon our fear or makes us envision scary future, for example, Muslim population growth or influence of ISIS, we’re taken aback, and this reason sticks. Irrespective of how far away from reality it might be.
When a reference to Shamshan vs Qabrastan or Electricity in Diwali vs Ramzaan is being made, it isn’t something that hasn’t been said or thought before. This only confirms the existent thought of favoritism to one community. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. The confirmation bias is strong enough to make it believable.
And that has essentially worked well for the BJP in getting its message across. Of course, good PR and media management, and a very vast Social media network has contributed to that as well. The proper messaging directed towards their target audiences worked.
Our anxiety and FOMO, along with the Fake news machinery, no doubt, contributes to this as well.
The opposition to BJP, couldn’t even make use of Demonetization which affected everyone across the country. BJP was successful in making people believe “it was for the good”.
The regional players need to come out of the bubble of remaining limited to their supposed “stronghold”. No one is going to watch a Ranji Match when a t20 is on, bro!
We don’t live in times when “this should be ideally done” works. Figuring out “what would work” is key. Do you think a deodorant would sell if they were to advertise it as “controlling body odor” or when it makes “women want men”, it’d sell more?
How long has it been since Demonetization ? 4 months!
Apart from the politics of it, taking credit or transferring blame or disowning it, we’ve seen quite a lot. In the last 3 (or so) years since this government came to power with a whopping majority, this has been the biggest move by them.
We’ve all witnessed the effects of it. There wasn’t any discrimination in how people suffered. Sure, it varied, if one had jugaad or the lack of it.
More than anything demonetization gave us a lot of awareness. I had hardly bothered about knowing how much a card swipe actually cost!
The hidden charges were finally out in the open and when I finally added it all up. Woah!
I realized why people say that paying with cash helps in keeping track of your money. I guess we aren’t as ‘digitally sound’ as we’d like to be.
Before “D” happened, I hardly used to carry cash. No, not because of “making India a cashless economy” but just out of laziness. I mean, who’ll go to ATMs, unless there’s an urgent need!
And now, I know the locations of innumerable ATMs spread across Kormangala that I can give you directions to it sitting at home. I should thank my landlord for accepting only cash payments for gaining this much knowledge.
Over the months, I’ve become responsible. I now keep extra cash with me, just in case I run out of it, and the ATM sign says, “No Cash”!
Still, old habits die hard, right? Today, when the POS machine failed while paying at a restaurant, I had to shell out the entire cash out of my wallet.
Probably I’ll have to visit the ATM soon, as the guy down the street selling groceries who was advertising, “PAYTM accepted” a few weeks back, says, “Bhaiya, Cash dena hota”.
Few days before, I was with Abbu , to get his ECG report. The doctor asked me something in Kannada, which I half-understood, and replied back in English, to which she said, “Parwa nai, Urdu maalum merku”. (No worries, I know Urdu).
Since I was with Abbu, who sports a beard and a skull cap, she made the assumption that we would know Urdu. Of course, what she meant by Urdu was Dakkhani, the Hindustani dialect spoken mostly in the southern part of the country, centered around the kingdom of Nizams’ at one point in time.
Everyone assumes a Muslim HAS to know Urdu! And that too, irrespective of which part of the country they come from.
Even the Muslims themselves think the same. Many from the North side who visits a mosque in the southern part of the country is like, “Why are they not speaking in Urdu?!”
Over centuries, Urdu has somehow acquired the status of the “Muslim language” and for the sake of differentiation, it has been accepted by even the Muslim community.
The fact that the widely spoken Khadi Boli or Hindustani, which we all speak in our day-to-day life, is the culmination of Hindi and Urdu, which were at an earlier time in history were practically the same language!
From what I know, just as Sanskrit was the language of the elite and educated, back in the day, post the Mughal rule, a version of Persian (which varied greatly from how it was spoken in Iran, and Iranians even made fun of the language), started slowly amalgamating, giving rise to a common tongue, the Hindi-Urdu.
The Hindi-Urdu (not called as such, waise), still didn’t have any religious connotations to it. But then, the British, which thought it be a necessity to differentiate between the two, and the subsequent Sanskrit-movements, helped shape the languages. Over time, they were Urdu (which had origins from Persian and Arabic) and Hindi (which had origins from Sanskrit and Pali).
But then again, these two again culminated in becoming the Khadi Boli.
I’ve just simplified the whole thing and if you dive deep into details about it, you’ll find that there are multiple facets to it!
Coming back to my point, on why Urdu isn’t the language of Muslims! The biggest problem with this is, limiting or association with a particular religion tends to limit Urdu to select few. When ideally it shouldn’t be.
Not only this, it can become dangerous too. Check this picture from a college in DU! It reads, “DU me Urdu Banner lekar naara lagane walon se azaadi” (Freedom from those shouting slogans with banners written in Urdu). Now, who will tell them that the words they’ve used are in Urdu!!
It goes like this: Urdu: Muslims. Muslim: Pakistan! Yes, I’m generalizing and a lot of educated folks might not think this way, but a lot of the do.
A colleague in Office sported a beard for a while. He has been mistaken for a Muslim (when he isn’t) and jokes like, “You look like a Terrorist” can be heard with a cry of laughter!
Same has happened with Urdu.
The beautiful language has become one of the many identity symbols of Muslims in India and even Pakistan, where a vast majority speak one or the other form of Punjabi! Just like Indians are assumed to speak Hindi where around 60% speak some other language! And yet, India is associated with Hindi! Thank you, Bollywood.
The beauty of any language doesn’t stay if confided in a few (communities) it has to be democratized. No one community should claim it’s right over Urdu! It is an Indian language, which is as Indian as Hindi.
And the next time you ask a Muslim for the meaning of an Urdu word, do check if he’s googling the answer or not!
Controversy, Controversy and more controversies. Every day there is something new that, defines and segregates our countrymen, into categories of Anti-national/Patriots. As if our regional identities, our religion, caste, gender, race; were falling short of being our Identity.
The most recent to join the list is a girl from DU’s Ramjas College, Virender Sehwag, Randeep Hooda, BJPs Kiran Riju, Javed Akhtar and as I write this, probably a hundred more famous names. And no, not all of these are on any ONE side. Same as the people who are reading this. If you’ve been reading any of my political commentaries over the years, you’ve already placed me in one of these two sides. Correct ?
Anyways, my point is, how do we deal with a controversy?
How do we understand what’s going on? Does flipping a few “News Channels” or scanning through news articles work? Or just the trending Hashtags gives us, the super intelligent and opinionated folks, the complete picture?
Or our FOMO-self pushes us to believe any kind of Fake news that comes our way?
Going back to the controversy. What did the lady in question, Ms. Kaur, actually said?
I don’t know about you, but I understood what she said. Did you? If not, what was it, that you did not agree with?
If I go by what actually escalated the issue, the line, “Pakistan did not kill my father, War did” is what made Virender Sehwag tweet a response to it. Whether Sehwag saw this whole Video or just arrived at his joke by just one of the many placards this lady put up, is something we’ll never know. But going by how others also made a joke out of “______ did not ______ this, _____ did” format, I assume (apologies for my non-data driven assumptions), others followed suit.
Take the case of Kiren Rijju, for instance, without even watching the video in question he issued a statement! That’s the state of our country’s ministers.
Another factor to consider is, Gurmeher Kaur, has been campaigning against ABVP (the student wing of BJP) against their violent protests at their campus, with the hashtags #StudentAgainstABVP and #DUfightsBack!
Is the outrage from Right Wing more because of this reason? Someone digging up an old video to actually manufacture this controversy?
The fact that this is an old video, which created the controversy, speaks volume!
And no, I’m not putting Virender Sehwag as part of Right Wing. I’ve loved him as a cricketer and will always do.
So, what exactly did Sehwag Tweet?
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) February 26, 2017
Now, Sehwag on twitter is funny. Not funny enough to get an entire click-bait article every time he tweets, but funny!
Now, I don’t agree with his stance on what Gurmeher shared in the video. But that’s my Point-of-view. Just as him not agreeing with her, is his. Just as Gurmeher is free to have her opinion, Virender Sehwag is also free to have his own opinion. Just like you and I should be. Should is the operative word here.
What followed with Sehwag’s tweet, or maybe emboldened by it perhaps, was how Gurmeher was abused and rape threats were made to her. One shouldn’t say that Sehwag was responsible for it, but when someone of his stature makes a statement, it lends a certain legitimacy to the hate campaign. Just as his brand endorsements would do.
The metrics on whether sales of Boost (which he used to endorse) varied due to his presence or not, is the answer to whether he had any effect on the abusive trolling that ensued.
Even Randeep Hooda joined in by sharing one such tweet (along with an Emoji) which celebrated Sehwag’s earlier tweet.
— Randeep Hooda (@RandeepHooda) February 26, 2017
I’m not saying that celebrities should not share their opinions. I’d be a hypocrite if I say, Aamir Khan was okay to share his opinion on Intolerance, but a Virender Sehwag or Randeep Hooda are not. The use of “Freedom of speech” shouldn’t vary based on which side you’re on. Sure, I’d like to reiterate, this speech, when used to incite violence or racism, needs to be stopped.
The biggest problem with all of this is, the original message (the one in the video) where GurMehr Kaur talks about growing up without a father and how she managed to give up hate. She now considers herself a soldier just like her father was. She urges the leaders of both the nation to “Do their Job” and resolve the conflict and stop the War.
What a nice message!
But how many people, including the celebs, took the time to go through the message in the video, before reacting to it?
Why do we only get fixated on “what we don’t agree” and not come together for what we do? None of you want peace with Pakistan? None of you want kids like Gurmeher to have their soldier fathers with them?
Don’t stick to the narrative which the party you support shares. At least understand what the issues are, what was the entire message.
If Sehwag, Randeep or others, react without watching/understanding the entire message, they are at fault. If not, then they probably understood something, which I did not!
What did YOU think of the video?
An old video becomes fodder for controversy when the girl in question is campaigning against ABVP?
I’m sure most of you reading this have enjoyed a good laugh watching John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Bill Maher and countless others in one of the talk shows making fun of their President. Correct ?
It’s okay if you haven’t. You can skip reading this post and head over to watch these.
Here’s a video of John Oliver talking about Trump:
Coming back to the Indian context, it is so cute when Indians have a good laugh at those jokes and don’t see the Irony. I mean, there would be a tiny voice in your head asking you to make a correlation and you’ll be telling it in your cute little voice, “Ohh Come on, it’s so different!”!
I mean, thoda to bheja me light jalta hoga na ?
And it’s okay, if the bulb doesn’t light up. Maybe it glows only when you hear a speech or listen to the much-awaited baat from unke mann ? Hai na ?
Election rally videos with those orgasmic speeches rule your late-night search history? Or even day-time? Hey, I’m not judging!
The fact that even when we’re able to watch this scenario play out on the global stage from an outside perspective, it is difficult to see through. One can assume that media or influencers have a freedom of speech which they can exercise without the fear of a mob out there to beat them.
I know what you’re thinking. “He’s again going there”. The voice in my head says the same. “Stop! Stop, else you’ll waste more time being a Keyboard activist, then writing stupid things like these”.
Kiski sunun ? Speeches to achhe lagte nahi!
In an age where a tweet reply by a celeb can become, “This celeb gave the perfect response to a troll” and at the same time whatever happens in the rural India doesn’t even make the front page. Zaira Waseem trending all-day on Twitter and other social media timelines does not surprise me a bit.
But let’s go back a little. Shall, we ?
I can add 10 different “Did you know” news items from rural India and it’ll perfectly fit the title. We only like news, that’s trendy. And of course, we’re supplied the same by the media as well. You and I might think that those “noisy” TV debates can definitely be avoided, but a sizable audience loves to watch just that. The News Channels won’t go by our opinion which will get branded as “elitist” for some reason, but will go by a more tangible (of sorts) metric called TRP!
As far as digital medium is concerned, Buzzfeed-like headlines are a hit. It gets them the clicks. And “You won’t believe what these guys use as headlines”, but it works! Touche.
Now, lets come back to Zaira Waseem. The poor 16-year old who was bullied and is now the talk of social media and eventually the news rooms. Yes, that’s how the flow chart works. If it gets attention on social media, it finds place in the prime-time News debates.
Last evening when I read the apology issued by her, I was baffled! I mean what did this kid do? Did any Mufti issue another useless fatwa ? Did anyone threaten her for acting in films ? What happened ?
I dug deeper and found out, she was trolled for meeting the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.
She had every right to meet whomsoever she desires and if someone has any issue with that, it is their own. There’s simply no argument on that. It is sad that she had to pen down an “apology letter”!
But the problem doesn’t end there!
Problem comes when people want others to toe the same line that they think is right. In this case,it may be to not be friendly with the Chief Minister whom they think didn’t do anything for the people of Kashmir!
You can turn the table and place any issue and the reaction of the “troll” brigade will be the same. Take Beef Ban for instance. People want to govern food choices. People want to dictate what one should wear or when one should stand up. Do you think, they’ll let this one get away?
Even though this incident is nowhere compared to what happened to other Bollywood actors who decided to open their mouth, yet this being done to a 16-year old is wrong.
And to the sympathizers, who seem to have woken up now, to add this to the list of, “But what about Malda”. Everyone can see through that.
For Zaira Waseem, more power to you. never think that you are not a role model. Women in India, need more role models like you. We have a history of not letting them being born in the first place.
Political tidbits: Achievements
Just three of the masterstrokes by our Government in recent weeks!
- Digital India!
We’re finally witnessing results of the Governments “Digital India” campaign!
Leave aside the village folks, the usually “inaccessible” armed forces is finally Vlogging!
Why should they be left behind. Huh ?!
You see, all because of the Government’s Digital India Campaign!
And hey, don’t you dare say anything against our Jawans
2. Being National!
Anyways, apart from the Digital India Campaign, our Nationalistic outburst seems to have reached Canada as well! Yes, all thanks to Amazon. And Sushma Swaraj! I mean she made the likes of Amazon to issue an apology letter!! Bravo! What were they thinking, giving jobs to Indians or investing heavily in India, huh ? We’ll not coy down to their “insult” on our National Flag. Even though we throw our national Flag all across the street after our Independence day celebrations, it is all done by us! You foreigners! Go to Italy!
3. Bringing Khadi Back!
Yes, all these years, Khadi was neglected. We’re finally giving it a brand new ambassador! Someone who can fly across the world and sell Khadi worldwide. This won’t cost an extra dime to us as well. He’ll anyway be travelling around! Another Masterstroke by us. The previous Brand ambassador was showing too much skin! Not good for our Bharatiya Culture, eta all!
Uff, there are so many more achievements, but I’ll list them down tomorrow. You must be bored with speeches by now, right ?
Yes, you read that write.
And No, it isn’t one of those click-bait headlines to drive you to read this post.
Or is it ? 😛
Well, jokes aside, this is a conscious and well thought of decision. Although it does sound similar to one of those “new year resolutions” we all make. Without any further ado, I’ll come to the “Why” of it.
It is very simple. I don’t want a headache.
No, headache is not from writing about it, but what comes after it. The stream of idioticity flowing in abundance. The idea of a constructive debate gets flushed in the same stream and what comes your way is, pure shit. No kidding. There is a missing political discourse in our country, evidently displayed through the sheer “brilliance” of our educated flock. The flock doesn’t like their “leader” to be criticized at all. After all, when you assign a demi-god status to someone, how can you stop yourself from not defending them ?
We all are biased. But no one wants to believe that they are not.
On Twitter, at least, responses of “disagreement” (If I may term them in a polite way), comes from people whom you can assign the status of a troll and simply ignore/block them. On facebook, it comes from people with whom you’ve studied, worked or played cricket in your childhood.
Disagreements in political ideologies are fine. It is quite necessity, but does it stop there ? Disagreements breeds discontent and gets personal as you dig more into it.
A debate has to be won. A clear side has to be picked. One leader has to be your leader. Why ? To talk to these folks. Because that’s the way it is for them. You are either with them, or against them.
I don’t want to explain myself any further because, well, I don’t need to.
I don’t want to say Never, because as the old adage goes, “Never say Never”. I’ll try my best to not post anything political on Facebook through the year, or maybe after that, but let’s take one step (rather a year) at a time. Twitter and my blog might occasionally (when I just won’t be able to resist), might be the only platforms for any of my politics-related posts.
Here’s to a worry-less 2016 for me. Cheers!
Party A come to power after complaining continuously for years about the policies of Party B. Complaining about policies, law & order, Corruption and every move by the Ruling party, A. B does all sorts of protests, from stalling Parliament and not letting any laws to pass or any discussions to take place to coming out with press conferences demanding Resignation from the PM. Party B does it all to keep their attack mode always On.
Newsrooms are filled with debates where representatives from A and B (and occasionally a random C) fight out on who can shout the loudest. Not only newsrooms, Social Media is abuzz with trends from supporters of A and B, abusing each other and fighting about their Party’s “credibility” from issues ranging from Corruption to mis-governance. Neither of those debates give out any results but the higher decibel levels that the Party spokesperson (even the self-confessed ones) can reach or their supporters can trend through the day, determines the apparent support towards A or B. The battle is not only between the parties. Battle is between their supporters too.
From one issue to another, the TRP Hungry channels swindle between issues and ensure that whatever grabs more eyeballs gets more coverage. While supporters from each camp, blame these news channels for selective coverage. The outrage is also selective and limited, depending when their own party is in the wrong.
No matter whether it is A or B, the policies hardly change. Apart from of course the names of those policies. Party A even starts implementing those very policies which it opposed when B was in power.
Every media channel or News reporter gets branded as a “Dalal” (The Indian word for the middle man, in a derogatory sense of course) or more recently as a “Presstitute”.
And to single out one party in this would be again taking a side. Something which has actually created this entire hoopla. Our urge to side with one party has emboldened them to keep the divide and enjoy the perks alternatively.
It just doesn’t matter which party is in power, our roads continue to house countless potholes, while the garbage refuses to leave the streets, the water quality keeps getting deteriorated and electricity has a mind of being absent at its own will.
Do you think there is going to be any change if B is in power or it is A. It wouldn’t matter even if a C comes in.
But for us, what matters is, which one we like. We are okay with potholes if the party we like is in power. We will crib about it when it is in opposition. We want our “party” to win.
For some reason that party becomes our “own”.
On a lot of levels, I believe these politicians behind closed doors would be meeting and laughing at who made a better “pappu” of their supporters. And no, I’m not referring to that “Pappu” (I know, Ironic)!
Point is, no matter which is your “A” or which is your “B”, nothing is going to change. We will crib based on our own biased views (Yes, we all are biased towards something) and appreciate something. As the year is about to come to an end, let’s try to (at least try) to take things a little more objectively than siding with either A or B, or the new “C”.
When it comes to politics, “Iss Hamam me sab nange hain”.
Instead of being on the side of “A” or “B”, try to worry about your own welfare and be on your side. Right now, we are not on OUR side.
The “Where were you when that happened” rhetoric seems to have faded off this time in Aamir’s case. The usual “politically motivated” jibe has also been reported missing. Questions of “doing it for money” will be no less than a joke.
And so, there is a new one in the market. “If not India, where will you go?”
Pretty sure this naive argument of how people are mistreated in Middle East or our favorite neighbor Pakistan, would be another response to my blog. Is the idea of our country so weak, that we have to bring in comparisons from other countries? Especially ones which are countries which are ruled by concepts of One Religion?
Sorry, but I don’t live in a Hindu Country. And would fight to not turn into one, if I have to.
The common thread binding all the reactions is, that it shows why people are okay with Intolerance.
Yes, they all are okay with it. They tell is, Sure there is Intolerance in India, but then it is there elsewhere too?
I don’t live “elsewhere”, I live in India. I’ll judge my country based on what it stands for.
This isn’t altogether new. When Dadri happened, there was the need to justify it. Justification that this might be a result of a local conflict, instead of being a case of a person being killed because of eating Beef. Not to forget that even a forensic test was carried out on the meat.
But then we’re okay with this. Why should anyone eat something which one community doesn’t eat ?
When media reported incidents like Dadri, they were accused of leaving out another story of a certain “Prashant Poojari” who was killed by “Muslims”.
Sadly, when reports showed two people who are not Muslims were arrested by the Mangalore Police, hardly anyone reported. Now, was the Indian media selective? Or was it you?
But then we’re okay with this. Why bother when the news has died down?
Fact is, people are okay with Intolerance unless it directly affects them. Indians are not alone in this, but since we are discussing India, let’s skip that part.
When Aamir’s PK was released, there were protests. Protests not because he was showing fraud babas from Hindu religion, but why is he only showing the Hindu ones? A series of attempts to hold protests to paint him as an anti-hindu actor was evidently seen across the county.
The reactions to the whole Intolerance debate are testimony to why we are okay with Intolerance. We don’t shout down the fringe in unity. We verify which side is he on, and the decide. We have our own biases when the “fringe” speaks. Why?
Is it because it is easier to let the fringe speak for yourself, while expecting things to be “better for you” in a Hindu Rashtra? You don’t need to look further than our “favorite” neighbor when they let the fringe take control for our convenience. So, while we deny any association for what the fringe says, we’ll still continue to reap the “rewards”. Look where are countries which thought like that, now?
But then we’re okay with it. They are the torch bearers of our religion, no ?
The so-called apolitical people like Anupam Kher is the go-to person for issues where famous people speak out against “Intolerance”, speaks on why we should all stand behind India.
Yes, we do Sir. We do. And that’s why we are speaking out to keep the Idea of our India intact. Will not speaking out save it from being overtaken by fringe? Can anyone guarantee us that there won’t be another Dadri ? Because if the PM takes 15 days to respond to Dadri even when wishing every Tom Dick and Harry on his birthday, what should we expect?
But then we’re okay with this. As long as we’re holding huge rallies on our foreign trips?
YES. Like everyone else, even I wouldn’t like my country to be called Intolerant. But denying the fact that the atmosphere has become intolerant won’t turn our country tolerant.
There is a quote from Aamir’s Rand de Basanti, “Koi country perfect nahi hoti, banana padta hai” (No country is perfect, we have to make it perfect).
Abuses hurled at Aamir Khan, a few days back on Shahrukh and anyone who has remotely suggested that there is Intolerance, are proof enough why these statements are being issues. Although both of them never actually said, “India is Intolerant”, they remarked how there is rising Intolerance which needs to be taken care of. Are they wrong ?
This won’t happen if you keep yourself on the denial mode and continue living in the dreams.
Unless you realize that your denial is only going to make the situation worse while these politicians milk away votes and then money from you. This also gives enough reasons for fringe to develop in other communities. The vicious cycle of hate gives rise and keeps adding fuel to it.
Let us stand behind India and not behind these politicians who support this sort of divisions. Idea of India needs to be saved. Hiding behind the shroud of “We are a tolerant country” won’t save us, but will turn us into a Hindu Pakistan.