Poor Mr.Modi

Narendra Modi must be cursing himself…No matter how hard he tries, Gujarat’s savage past continues to haunt him…On his watch, the state witnessed one of the the worst Hindu-Muslim riots in the history of independent India…More than a 1000 people were killed (most of them Muslims) in 2002 while his government allegedly refused to contain the mobs…Whether he is guilty of abetting the riots is for the courts to decide; what has been proven is his ineptness at managing the situation…Post 2002, this king of reinvention has tried hard to portray himself as the vanguard of India’s industrial future but the Supreme Court of India will just not let him be…On Monday (April 27), the highest court of our country ordered a special police team to investigate Mr.Modi’s alleged role in abetting the massacre of Muslims…

If you’ve seen and heard Mr.Modi speak at rallies, you’ll know that he is a spectacular (if somewhat theatrical) orator…These days he talks only about economic growth and investment not Hindutva or Hinduism…His Miya Musharraf type rants have ceased…In fact, whenever he can he raises the Sachar Committee report which states that financially Muslims are better off in Gujarat than anywhere else (Gujarat based Bohras and Khojas, both business communities, contribute heavily to these statistics)…His politics have changed…This is because Mr.Modi has become more ambitious…He has set his sights on the Prime Ministership of the country…He is clever and cunning and knows that communal politics alone will not help him become the head of government…Post 2002, he aggressively started attracting investment to his state and his autocratic style ensured that things got done super fast at the administrative level…

Mr.Modi’s economic policies may have benefited his state but ghosts of the past have a habit of coming back to haunt and I’m glad that they do…These ghosts saved the country from the likes of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar…Even though the accusations against Narendra Modi are at present unproven in court, there is no escaping the fact that he is bigoted and India cannot afford to have an openly communal, unapologetic (he has never apologised for the inability of his government to contain the carnage in his state), anti-democratic (albeit effective) and inept (at containing communal tensions) politician as the PM…He may be good for his state but he’s not good for his country…

When Did You Last

  • roll in the grass laughing just for the heck of it?
  • not complain about the heat or the cold?
  • climb a tree?
  • play outdoors all day without a care in the world?
  • swim in mud puddles and dance in the rain?
  • crap or pee in your nappy because you were too lazy to walk to the bathroom?
  • eavesdrop on your mom’s phone conversations?
  • sit on your mom’s or dad’s lap?
  • not worry about work, bills, and food?
  • fly a kite on your roof?
  • ruin your mothers mixie by putting plasticine in it?
  • celebrate your birthday with a cake and candles?
  • have everyone you care about in one place?
  • dress up in your mom’s clothes and wear her makeup?
  • pack a bag and go on an imaginery trip?
  • try to sneak out of the house to play while your mom slept (in the afternoon)?
  • create the ‘thing’ of your dreams with Lego?
  • go to an amusement park and have fun?
  • enjoy going for a birthday party?
  • play cricket with your dad?
  • live in the moment?
  • have so much energy?
  • believe you could change the world?

Oh, how I wish I were a kid again! It was absolute bliss…

Tag: Things That Make Me Emotional

I’m not an emotional person but I do get irritated fast…Very fast…A lot of things irritate me…Some of them are:

  1. When people don’t do their jobs efficiently…I hate the chalta hai attitude…
  2. When people don’t adhere to time…I think it’s extremely rude when people don’t come when they are supposed to…The answer is always “Arre yaar, something came up.” This yaar business also irritates me
  3. When politicians talk about working for the people of their country when they are actually working for themselves…Do they think we are idiots?
  4. When people give unsolicitated advice…I don’t know what it is with Indians but a good many of them love butting their noses where they are not needed…There are these auntijis in the park who love giving me advice on how I should raise my daughter…One uncleji keeps catching me and asking me to put on weight…Initially, I humoured him because he’s an elderly gentleman…But now he irritates me and I’m worried that I may say something rude to him one day
  5. When people don’t obey traffic rules…Why are Indians always in a hurry? I don’t see work getting done in a hurry but when it comes to driving, Indians always want to overtake from the wrong side or skip traffic signals to get to their destinations
  6. When people litter, spit and pee on roads…The paan spit is really gross…Why is using toilets optional in India?
  7. When men talk rudely to women just because they are women…This is mainly prevelant in the North and Bengal…The current Bengali generation of workers who have grown up with the CPM philosophy of ‘entitlement’ think they are entitled to be rude because they are workers
  8. When people don’t hold the door open when I’m behind them
  9. When men sexually molest a woman and say the woman asked for it
  10. When people don’t say “thank you”, “excuse me” or “sorry” when they are supposed to
  11. When people say they are secular but want a law banning cow slaughter because the majority of Indians are Hindus
  12. When Indians lick the backsides of gora tourists/businessmen/professionals in India

This tag was passed on to me by IHM…Thanks!

The Middle Class: A Society Of Whingers

Recently I got my post paid mobile connection changed to prepaid because I’m moving…Now, I’ve had the post paid number for around three years and in my naivity thought the change would be easy as the address was the same…It was not…Apparently the post and pre paid departments are separate entities with no connection between them…They still needed to verify my address…Fine…Then one fine day my service was blocked because the verification had failed…Failed? I asked the guards if somebody had come from the mobile company and they said no…I don’t remember getting a call either…I got very agitated and called up customer care …They said that the verification department was separate and they would forward my request to them…It would take 72 hours…I asked them if they expected me to stay put at home for 3 days and they said yes…I got angry and gave them a piece of my mind…I didn’t stop there…I complained about this to anybody and everybody…All my complaining got me thinking – are the more fortunate bigger whingers than the less? I think yes…Oh, how we whinge, we pampered members of the middle class…We complain about household help; we complain about lack of time; we complain about money; we complain about our spouses, our co-workers, the newspapers, the government…We stop at nothing…We even complain abour children…

I think we whinge because we have choices…For instance, we are not obligated to have children – we have them because we choose to…Once we have them, we shouldn’t wish for our lives to be like it was pre-children… I think the poor are more stoic about their circumstances…Is it because they don’t have as many choices as the rich?

A Salute To Saudi Justice

Saudi Arabia [is] one of the last places on earth where capital punishment is a public spectacle. Decapitation awaits murderers, but the death penalty also applies to many other crimes, such as armed robbery, rape, adultery, drug use and trafficking, and renouncing Islam…..[The government] executed some 1,750 convicts between 1985 and 2008, yet reliable information about the practice is scarce. In Riyadh, beheadings happen at 9 a.m. any given day of the week, and there is no advance notice. There is also no written penal code, so questions of illegality depend on the on-the-spot interpretations of police and judges.

The Saudi interpretation of the Koran discourages all forms of evidence other than confessions and eyewitness accounts in capital trials, on the theory that doing otherwise would leave too much discretion to the judge. But at any time until the sword strikes, a victim’s family can pardon the condemned — usually for a cash settlement of at least two million riyals ($690,000 or so) from the convict or his family.

Decapitation for adultery??!! Only eye witness accounts and confessions allowed in capital trials? How many rapes and murders are witnessed by people? What if the accuser (male) is lying and there are no witnesses?

There’s a woman on death row now for witchcraft, and the charge is based partly on a man’s accusation that her spell made him impotent.

What if the man was angry at the woman for a biological problem with him? Is a person’s word enough to kill another human being? Oops! I forgot that under Sharia, a woman’s word in a court is worth half that of a man…In cases of he said/she said, in the absence of witnesses, the ‘he’ always wins…

One can’t help but admire the efficient way in which beheadings are conducted…

At 9 a.m., the executioner gently lowers the blade to jab at the condemned’s neck, which jerks the prisoner’s body to attention. Then the real blow: the blade is drawn high up, then swung back down. It cleaves skin, muscle, and bone with a hollow, echoing thud. A lurid crimson waterfall chases the head to the granite with the sound of a wet rag being wrung out over a stainless steel sink. The body sways forward, snaps up, and slumps off to the right.

The executioner wipes his blade with a white cloth that he then tosses away. It flutters in small arcs as two men in blue jumpsuits descend from the yellow van, hoist the body, and lay it on a stretcher. One grabs the head by the cloth tube that covers it. A loudspeaker lists the decapitated man’s crimes: rape, drug trafficking, and possession. The executioner sheathes his sword. A thickly bearded soldier claps his hands and wipes them against each other in the air — that’s it. By 9:05, the only other person in Chop Chop Square [the expatriate name for the public square in Riyadh in which beheading are done] is a janitor, hosing down the granite.

Saudi Arabia may soon have  Pakistan as a bosom buddy if the latter doesn’t do anything about the Taliban…What is it with people wanting to maintain old and archaic traditions?

Tag: Five Things I Love About Being A Mother

Goofy Mumma passed on this tag to me…Thanks! Instead of doing it in point form, I thought I’d write a paragraph or two about my feelings…

When I became pregnant, I didn’t know what to feel…You see, I was never the ‘mothering’ kind and although I liked children and loved being a mashi (aunt), I didn’t wish to be a mother…Then it happened…The pregnancy went along fine and I was happy to learn that I was going to have a daughter (I was in the US so it was all legal)…I still didn’t have any maternal feelings…I thought they would come automatically as the months went along, but they didn’t…I was very upset when I still didn’t have any feelings when I saw my daughter for the first time…I remember asking the nurse who brought her to me if she was fine and then went off to sleep (I had a c-section and was still groggy)…The second day was worse because both my husband and I were very scared – we didn’t know how to hold our daughter (she was very small – 2.55 kgs) or what to do…We were very awkward with her…I think I even cried a bit…I thought I was a bad mother because I didn’t feel anything…Thankfully, we had our baby in Kolkata and my parents were there…I don’t know what I would have done without them…

The first so called ‘maternal feeling’ dawned on me in the second week…It was then that I fell in love with my daughter…I had this sudden feeling that I needed to protect her, do anything and everything for her…

Now my daughter is 4 1/2 years old – a young adult…These days my time is spent in discipling her, getting her to eat and answering her questions (it can be very irritating especially since she repeats a question at least 10 times even if I’ve answered it)…I’m still scared because I don’t know if I’m raising her right…I’m doing the best I can – I guess that’s all I can do anyway…

A classic quote from Steven Chu, US Energy Secretary and winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, on motherhood:

Was anyone in your family impressed when you won the Nobel Prize in Physics?

Probably, but who knows? I called my mother up when they announced the Nobel Prize, waiting until 7 in the morning. She said, “That’s nice — and when are you going to see me next?”

Kasab Is Entitled To A Fair Trial

I’ve been reading a lot of posts on the internet about why Mohammad Kasab should not be allowed to defend himself and why the government should not provide him with a defence lawyer…According to the authors of these posts, it is unpatriotic to allow a Pakistani terrorist to defend himself…I think it is unpatriotic not to allow him to get a fair trial even if he is a foreigner…Before you start crticizing me, I must state that I am not condoning Kasab’s heinous act or his lack of respect for the rights of the people he killed – I am as outraged by his actions as the people who think he should be hanged without a trial…I think all human beings (no matter what their crime) in a civilized society (and I’d like to think I live in a civilized society) have rights and a fair trial with an effective defence is a basic human right…What happens if an Indian citizen is accused of being a terrorist in a foreign country? Should we just let him face the music there or should we pressurize our government to do something? What is even more amazing is that a lot of people who believe that Kasab should be hanged without a trial also believe that the mudslinging against Narendra Modi should stop because he hasn’t been found guilty by a court of law for inciting and sustaining the Gujarat riots…Why is there a dichotomy in the thought process? What Narendra Modi has been accused of doing (and there is evidence) is no less heinous than what Kasab has done…So, why should the former be allowed to prove himself innocent in court and not the latter? Is it because Modi is an Indian? Or is it because he is more human than Kasab? Since Kasab’s guilt has been established without doubt, his lawyer can only plead for a lesser sentence…People are afraid that he will be set free if he is allowed a lawyer…If he is set free, then the problem is with our laws and the way investigative agencies gather evidence and not with the lawyer…If the laws of our land are watertight and the evidence sound, no defence lawyer will be able to get an acquittal for him…In our passion to see Kasab punished, we must not forget that India is a democratic country in which human rights are protected and even though terrorism (especially foreign) is a reality, it is not necessary to sacrifice essential fair trial standards to maintain security…Further, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified by India, clearly states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.” If India fails to provide Kasab with adequate legal support, her reputation as a democracy and protector of human rights would be hurt severly…

Democracy is built on a balance between human rights and government authority…Security and self preservation requires not only physical security but the maintainence of legal standards (checks and balances) which are needed to maintain the rule of law…Rule of law is the antithesis of terrorism and by holding Kasab accountable for his actions according to internationally recognized standards of fairness, our country can show the world that it is truly a democratic and fair country…Credibility is essential if India wants to fight terrorism because to do so, it needs the cooperation of other nations…

Giving in to the impulse to abandon human rights norms in times of fear and crisis is short-sighted and self-defeating…By not allowing Kasab the right to a fair trial, we would only help create a martyr and encourage other like minded people to become terrorists…