Category: Politics & Social Issues Page 3 of 6

Why Urdu is not a “Muslim language” ?

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 Dakkhanithe 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 Hindustaniwhich 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!!

Urdu is not a Muslim language

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!

Gurmeher Kaur: What really created the Controversy?

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!

Gurmeher Kaur ABVP Protests

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?

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.

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?

Why Indians don’t see the Irony in laughing at Trump?

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! 

Why Superiority complex is the root of all problems

I logged onto Airbnb ( to check for accommodations and the first message I get is a non-discriminatory message that I have to “Agree” to.

“We believe that no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong in the Airbnb community. By joining this community, you commit to treat all fellow members of this community, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, with respect, and without judgment or bias.”

It’s been a while since I used Airbnb after a not-so good experience in Goa last year. But i was pleasantly surprised by this and felt good.

But as you know, there’ always a reason behind messages like these. For some reason, this news had skipped through my social circle.

So, here’s what had happened, when a certain Gregory Selden’s request to book a room for his travel to Philadelphia was denied. However, when he created two fake profiles that purported to be white men after he realized the room was still available. Both of these profiles, upon sending a booking request, were accepted. [Source:]


I’ve always wondered how and what makes certain people feel “superior” to others based on any factor. Especially the ones for which they didn’t have to move a brick. Any other form of discrimination arising out of this “superiority complex” is a big threat. There’s a very thin line between being proud and this trait. This is the root of everything.

We tend to think we are not like this. But on introspection, we come to know how deep-rooted these thoughts are in the society. The problem is, we don’t see this as “wrong”.


The fear of the Unknown

I’m currently utilizing my free-month-subscription from Amazon and in the course of it, started watching “The Good Wife”. It is engaging and good in parts. Just another one of those American Law-dramas. Although, I’m still in season 1, and should not speculate.

In one of the episodes, a teenager gifts a Music Casette to another, claiming that his parents will agree to anything if he starts listening to this! He needs a little rebellion in life. Now, what’s this ?

It is the Azaaan. Or as they referred it as, “Islamic Music” in the show.

A paranoid grandmother complains to her grand-daughther about the incident and how she should take the children more often to the Church.

The other puts on a smile. And so did I.

It is funny.

However, it makes me realize how paranoid people can be. It doesn’t take much for people to become afraid of any idea. What they don’t understand, they fear.

Everytime someone wants to talk about Islam, I’m more than happy to explain whatever little I know. More often, because of these questions, I learn more about it. But I do sense a lot of hesitance in people whenever they start asking a question. The often used, “You don’t mind me asking this, right” is quite normal.

But then why won’t it be ? A lot of people shy away from talking about “complex” things. They fear they’ll be misunderstood. People are hesitant to ask, thinking about the very same thing. It works both ways.

This hesitance gives rise to fear which then gives way to hate. And we all know how that’s turning out to be.


Where did all this hate come from ?!

We are a divided lot. With or without geographical boundaries, we’ve come to see each other as different.
I was at a point where I genuinely hated the ideology that I didn’t conform to. I just could not understand how and why would anyone believe in ideas like that. There was no possible answer to those questions that I asked myself or discussed with anyone who held a similar POV.
A lot of hate directed at Muslims is due to terrorism. Blaming the religion or its followers for extremism or being sympathetic towards the perpetrators or how backward the thought process is. But most of it, became prime time, only after 9/11. If I ask myself, was there no hate before that? The answer is never a No! And I’m only analyzing the Indian context here.
There have been multiple riots in India and it doesn’t take much to fan communal tension. As has been demonstrated by miscreants, placing a cow/pig carcass on either side can ignite the fire. (No pun intended)!
I’ve been asking this question of “Why this hate?” for a while now. Where did all this hate come from?
When I see people I’ve played with, people I’ve studied and shared tiffin-boxes with, people with whom I’ve spent discussing random 3 AM thoughts appear very different in the online world. The world where non-subtle references and confirmation bias over-zealously flows out.
Each time, I’m left wondering, “Where did all this hate come from ?!”

Trump Protests: It affects us all

Last several hours has seen a stark rise in people “baffled” at the prospect of a #MuslimBan from select countries by the Trump Administration. His talk about building the Wall and making Mexico which seemed unreal is still a possibility, and one cannot deny that he can make it happen.

But how different is this administration as compared to Obama’s or how shit-crazy it can go when compared to the Bush-administration? Sure, when one can get to rank them in order, he might score higher than his predecessor and of course his successor. Going forward, they can even have a scale which starts with The Donald!

US government policies have hardly changed drastically. Even without the much-talked-about Visa Ban, it has been difficult for Muslims or even colored races from specific countries to find entry to the United States. This move by Trump just spells it out clearly.

The more significant problem with the Trump Administration, or for that matter any government with alt-right ideologies, is how it emboldens the miscreants. The license to practice racism, bigotry and the authority to decide who is superior, pure and patriot, is what comes as part of the package. There is the bigger problem of changing narratives to suit one agenda.

I’m sure a lot of folks will be like, “It’s America’s problem. Why are we even bothered”. If you’ve not lived under a stone, you’d know how everything in the world is connected economically. And yes, that’s what matters. Economics affects every other facet of our globalized world, which we all are part of. Countless examples of financial meltdowns witnessed have their origins in one country which then trickled across the geographies of the human inhibition.

And more than economic factors, although this is key to everything else, the overall mood of a nation that changes the discourse and public thinking.

I’m happy that people over are determined to protest against the head of the state which they think isn’t right. I’m glad that people across mediums, industries, art and varied professions aren’t afraid to voice their opinions without thinking of repercussions.

And if you think, this is going to stop with a #MuslimBan and not being Muslim won’t harm you. Think Twice.

It won’t stop with this.

The Zaira Waseem Controversy: Why the fuss?

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 rural India doesn’t even make the front page. Zaira Waseem trending all-day on Twitter and other social media timelines do not surprise me a bit.

But let’s go back a little. Shall, we?

I can add ten 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 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 the 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 newsrooms. Yes, that’s how the flowchart works. If it gets attention on social media, it finds a 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 got trolled for meeting the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.

She had every right to meet whomsoever she desires, and if someone has an issue with that, it is their own. There’s just no argument on that. It is sad that she had to pen down an “apology letter”!

But the problem doesn’t end there!

The problem comes when people want others to toe the same line that they think is right. In this case, it may be not to be friendly with the Chief Minister whom they believe 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

Political tidbits: Achievements

Just three of the masterstrokes by our Government in recent weeks!

  1. Digital India!

We’re finally witnessing results of the Governments “Digital India” campaign!

Leave aside the village folks; the usually “inaccessible” armed forces are 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 for us as well. He’ll anyway be traveling around! Another Masterstroke by us. The previous Brand ambassador was showing too much skin! Not suitable 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?


Let’s stop blaming

I’ve been trying to articulate a lot of things over the last week to say something about what happened in Bangalore on New Year’s Eve. And no matter how hard I tried, the words were just not coming out right. There’s nothing I could add that hasn’t been said before. I wrote this piece 4 years back (Read here: and I guess I’ll be writing similar things decades later as well.

Irrespective of how guilty we might feel on what happened that night or countless other nights or even during daytime. There doesn’t seem to be one solution for this. Unless you are someone who can blame women for wearing or not wearing a particular type of clothes or blaming the police for “not doing their job” or It is because of “outsiders,” there doesn’t seem to be a practical solution to it all.

People sharing or debating, #NotAllMen or #AllMen are stupid. If no one else told you about it, then here I am shouting, You are effing stupid.

The problem lies in our Men. The problem lies in our Women. The problem lies in our Movies. The Problem lies in our Books. And how all of these varied sets of elements shape our psychology, where the actual problem lies.

If you’re wondering Why, and you think just one of the above can is to be blamed, then the problem lies there as well.

Yes, I’ll tell you why.

Let me explain.

1. Lack of Sex education: 

In a country obsessed with marriages and the excellent ideas of marriage and producing babies and showing them off as “Achievement” in daily report cards, surprisingly sex education is a No-No. Leave aside politicians, who are “preserving culture,” even when we are the land of Kamasutra, and our temples have imagery to educate people of this. [khajurao, Konark being the prominent examples]. As parents, how many have talked about it with their teenage kids? Is it okay to let your kids get all sorts of stupid ideas about sex from strangers or their peers, who are as confused as them?!

Talk to them! Yes, it’s going to be awkward. But find a way!

2. The fear of the Unknown:

Menstruation. Sanitary pads. Condoms.

Yes, I know you cannot say those words out loud. It’s a taboo.

Stop it from being a taboo. Don’t fear to speak about these. We are in 2017, for God’s sake! Make it the new normal!

3. Women, stand for each other!

No, I’m not telling you to be Feminazi!

Stop judging each other! Yes, men are dogs, but can you stop being bitchy about each other?!

Only If I had a penny every time a girl called the other a “slut” for the dress or “Fat” as of it is derogatory!

If you define each other with that, what do you expect men who already have a “superior sense of being” from the time the universe was formed, to do?

4. Men, Call out your Asshole friends

Yes. We all have those “friends.”

I know we all have online stalked someone, at some point, or even stood out there outside to catch a glimpse of our crushes. We’ve also tried to talk to or become “friends” with them to move things forward. We can all blame it on movies in the 80s and 90s or the countless “examples,” we’ve seen in front of us, but we’ve done it on some levels. We all can change for the better, right ?!

We also know of people who have crossed lines when doing this and it’s high time we tell them. If we are those people, we should say to ourselves.

Let’s not think it’ll be “Uncool” and just call out that shit. Shall we?

5. Dear Women, learn to say, NO clearly!

Dear women, men find you attractive. They are going to approach you, talk to you, ask you for a date or maybe “for dinner or coffee or a movie.” Don’t make stupid excuses, just say NO! Don’t assume it’ll hurt them or you’ll appear rude or anything, just politely say No, if you don’t want to go. Sure, you’d want some of them to be your friends, but as soon as you sense something else, just cut them off. Yes, be rude.

6. And Dear Men, learn to “Back off”!

Men, just have a little self-respect. Will you ?!

Sure, I’m not trying to be preachy and ranting all this to prove that I’ve not done anything wrong. All of this applies to me as well. I’m sure, even I, along with the entire men folk, ogle at women at some point. And please, let’s just not blame the men for doing that, a “shirtless-Salman Khan” isn’t yesterday’s product! We’ve fancied the scantily clad “sexiness” in a lot of item numbers and a lot of other things under the hood. But let’s not try shifting blame onto politicians, films, Men and most probably not on Women and learn to realize our mistakes and improve on them. It’s a new year, after all!

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