Friday, September 9, 2011


HOW LONG will this nation count its numerous dead in Srinagar, New Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Pune, Malegaon, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Dantewada, Varanasi, Guwahati?

HOW LONG will this nation mourn a life wasted, dreams unfilled, families destroyed forever, the wail of widows and mothers, the cry of children, the agony of the maimed, the wounded and the silence of the shocked fathers?

HOW LONG will this nation fail to accept the challenge of these terror organisations, who not only attack us, but challenge the very fundamentals of our democracy, our secular spirit, our way of living? The visuals of our dead, injured and the weeping, being made good propaganda materials for their websites.

HOW LONG will we keep wearing blinkers provided by our leaders? Blinkers which inform us of a ‘zero tolerance policy towards terrorism’, which inform us ‘that the govt will catch and punish the culprits’. The only thing which comes out as a zero is our safety and our confidence. A safety which the government is constitutionally obliged to provide its citizens, but has utterly failed to provide.

HOW LONG will we hear spokespersons like Renuka Chowdhary, say condescendingly , “The P.M went to the hospital straight from the Airport after his arrival from Bangladesh. What else do you expect him to do?” Maa’m, if the P.M had done his job even half as well as he was required to, there would have been no blast, no loss of lives and therefore no need to go to the hospital. Please Maa’m, spare us the favour! We do not need V.I.P’s who are permitted entry into the hospitals as if they are on a walk in the park, whereas the relatives of the dead and injured run from pillar to post to find their injured and the dead. Please!!!!

HOW LONG will we accept an absolute lack of political will to fight these terrorists, for the sake of vote banks? You cannot fight terrorism when you move around with Osama lookalikes during elections and call for providing bin-Laden an ‘Islamic burial’ and refer to him with deepest respect.

HOW LONG will we keep on hearing homilies about the ‘nation standing as one to fight terror, when on the other hand the politicians themselves have no will? Nation standing as one in ‘sorrow’, ‘grief’, ‘anger’ and ofcourse ‘helplessness’. One does not win wars with these feelings, does one?

HOW LONG will be hear the ‘condemnation of the dastardly attack’, when the future of this nation is being condemned by an enemy, who though not faceless and nameless, is never ever meted out the justice due to him? In case the lengthy and circuitous legal procedure arrives at a decision, hearts begin to bleed for people like Afzal Guru, with their ‘friends’, the ‘intellectuals’ boasting that he would not have received the punishment if he had a ‘good lawyer’. Ostensibly, a ‘good lawyer’ can turn the law and the ends of justice on its head.

HOW LONG will we play politics over the hanging of Afzal Guru, Bhullar and the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi? Will we ever send out a message that any terror activity in this country is a one way ticket to hell?

HOW LONG will we fail to read the intentions of the government which comes out through Wikileaks, the ‘not serious’ approach to extradite Headley, expounded by the National Security Advisor?

HOW LONG will we deceive ourselves with the fact that although Islam might be a peaceful and egalitarian religion, a vast number of its adherents are violent in not only thought but also their actions? They sincerely prescribe to the concept of ‘dar-ul-harb’ and ‘dar ul islam’. They have firm faith in the might of the sword against anybody who is an ‘infidel’.

HOW LONG will we fail to acknowledge the ‘enemy within’? The enemy which is not more than a few thousand fanatics and hoodlums, fed on copious amount of vituperative religious discourses, fed on endless ‘stories’ of harassment of exploitation of their kinsmen, encouraged by the vote bank politics emanating out of the political parties, is determined to bring the nation to its knees.

HOW LONG will we permit the 'intellectuals' who espouse the cases of these terrorists, attend conference held to support their case, for no apparent reason other than publicity? Somehow, they never ever mourn the dead in these attacks or empathise with the families of the victims? Why this dual policy even on 'bleeding hearts'?

HOW LONG will we refuse the accept that the declared Pakistani policy of ‘bleeding India through a thousand cuts’ is still in the active mode, and is only flourishing because of this soft state and confused approach of the various government in power?

HOW LONG will we permit our government to ‘discuss issues apart from terrorism’ with Pakistan, while we continue to bleed? Where has all the pledges take after 26/11 evaporated? Who authorized the political leadership to tread over the dead bodies of the dead of 26/11 to start their bilateral discussions and negotiations?

HOW LONG will this new stand of Pakistan being equally affected by terrorism and therefore an equal sufferer be carried on? We cannot be the burden carriers of the sins of the CIA or the ISI, can we?

HOW LONG will this absurdity of Samjhauta express blast being the handiwork of Hindu fanatics be propagated? A government which gives authenticated documents about the involvement of the LeT in the Samjahuta blast, retracts, and gives the moral equivalence to a Country which is not only a perpetrator of terrorism in India, but is the biggest exporter of this ‘art’,worldwide.

HOW LONG will the Batla House encounter be called a fake encounter? The demoralization of the Delhi police started after this diabolical lie, and is now complete. Battles are not won by demoralized soldiers. All the gains of the intelligence agencies, went down the drain after the hullabaloo over this ‘fake’ encounter, which also gave rise to a pilgrimage to Sanjarpur (village of the killed and the arrested) by political parties, who although had no time for the family of the killed Inspector, but oodles of it for the criminals.

HOW LONG will we refuse to see the diabolical conspiracy launched by a prominent leader of blaming everybody except the real culprits of the crime? This individual is spreading canards, demoralizing and confusing the entire security and the intelligence machinery of the real intentions of the government, because he is ‘MASTER’S VOICE’. Do we really need to name him? But this dangerous game involves innocent human lives…Alas!

HOW LONG will millions be spent on ‘security’ and then an MV Pavit weighing thousands of tonnes slip through undetected, docking itself unchallenged on the beaches of Mumbai? Nobody and nobody gets punished for this act of dereliction of duty. The next Kasab might enter the country on a ship, avoiding the hardships of a dinghy.

HOW LONG will an Army protect the country, when its own chief fights a battle for his ‘correct date of birth’?

HOW LONG will we fail to realize that if you want to avoid war, you have to prepare for war, if you want freedom and peace, you have to be prepared to fight for it?

HOW LONG will the Common Man be treated as a ‘Stupid Common Man’, to be remembered only at the time of election and forgotten after that. The Stupid Common Man, who, is so busy with eking out his livelihood and taking care of the future of his children, that he fails to see his present being ruined by the ‘leaders’ and their lackeys, the bureaucrats, who living in high security zones are completely oblivious of his aspirations, his pains, his exasperation, his helplessness, his anger.

How long… long….

Remember, there might not be a next time for us!

“History is not a blind goddess,

Neither does it excuse blindness in others.”

Saturday, July 9, 2011


The commotion in the class was unbearable. The discussion on the Newton’s third law of motion had turned volatile, with students being broadly being divided into two groups and each group putting forth its opinion. The teacher had permitted the discussion to continue since she believed in free exchange of ideas, and rarely intervened in such discussions, unless and until it threatened to go out of hand.

From the corner of her eye she saw Raul sitting glum faced. As per his previous performances in the class, he never ever uttered a word in the class. Nobody in the class had ever heard his voice on any academic issue. The teacher, inexplicably turned towards Raul and said, “Yes, Raul, you want to say something?”

Raul looked flummoxed on this indiscretion from the teacher. He smiled sheepishly, “No maa’m, I am fine.”

The teacher was puzzled, for she had not enquired about his well being, but had wanted him to join in the discussion. For how was he to learn if he did not participate in any discussion. But Raul would have none of it. This had been the trend ever since Raul was admitted into the college. He would never open his mouth, except to eat Lasagna and Pizzas in the college canteen. Italian food was Raul’s weakness. The only time Raul had participated in anything when he had excitedly jumped up from amongst the audience in a quiz contest to name the Italian Prime Minister. Everybody thought that he had some spiritual attachment towards Italy.

But Raul was no ordinary student. His mother, Sonja was the Managing Director of the Trust which owned the college. Actually, the college, The Youngistan College was not owned by anybody, but there were a group of influential group of people in the city who said that the college was owned by their Trust, and they behaved accordingly. The Principal of the college, Dr. Mindless had been hand picked by Sonja to become the Principal of the college. Initially the Trust wanted Sonja to become the Principal of the college, but because she had never taken any responsibility in her life, she declined. Sonja had created a dictum of her own which she narrated to Raul before sending him to sleep, “No responsibility, no accountability, only power, makes Raul a strong boy.” She also firmly believed in her dictum.

Dr. Mindless, lived true to his name. He would only take directions from Sonja, and implement them come what may. He had been a ‘perfect choice’, Sonja would think occasionally. He would never ever ask Raul to submit his assignments. Not that the teacher would ask for it from Raul, anyway. Raul was the 'crown prince' of the college.

Raul would therefore sit in the class glum faced, surrounded by his friends. Oh Yes, friends he had in plenty. Not because of any exceptional friendly quality, but because he was Raul, the son of Sonja, who had the support of the Trust. These friends would surround him day and night, and praise him to the skies. “Raul is so good looking”, “Raul is so intelligent”, “Raul is this college’s only hope”, they would say. Hope for what? Nobody could answer that.

Raul would smile at them indulgently on hearing this. He would also smile when Sonja would come in the class and sit infront of him, facing the teacher. Her grim look would make the teachers shiver. But Raul would keep smiling all the time his mother sat in the class.Uncannily, she would also always remain silent.

But there was a group of students which opposed the activities of the Trust and therefore inter alia, Sonja and Raul. “Why don’t you ask Raul to provide a mechanical example of Newton’s third law of motion of every action having an equal and opposite reaction” one of them said that day. He was joined in by some others. Raul started sweating on hearing this clamour and looked towards Sonja, who raised her eyebrow towards the teacher. “Class over” the teacher said, as if she had received the cue. “We meet tomorrow, the same time” she said. But these students would have none of it, “let him first answer the question”, they shouted.

“What is going on?” Dr. Mindless had entered the class, “is this a Parliament or what?” he queried.

The rowdy students would have none of it, “Don’t try to again save Raul, sir” they said, “let him answer the question.”

“Class dismissed!” Dr. Mindless would have none of it. He also looked at the teacher in disapproval for not being able to control this uncomfortable situation. How could anybody ask Raul to speak in the class?

Relieved, Raul walked away with his friends. The friends, in reality, were aware of the inadequacies of Raul, but kept him in good humour to placate the Trust and therefore earn freebies for themselves. After all, it pays to be in the good books of powers that be.

Raul had this uncanny ability of talking once he got out of class. Once he gotten into a train to travel some distance. This was the first time he had traveled in a train. “What an experience” he said after getting down alongwith his friends. “What did you find unique about this experience”, one of his friends enquired after getting down. The rest of the friends literally jumped on the enquirer for having the temerity to ask this question. For them, if Raul said ‘unique’, ‘unique’ it had to be.

“No, no”, Raul said condescendingly, “let him ask” he went on, “I will tell you. The unique experience was getting onto and getting down the train.”

The friends were perplexed at this answer. But being used to praising Raul, they went on, “Wow, what an answer” one of them said, “this is the greatness of this boy” another said. The enquirer did not have the nerve to ask another question as to the uniqueness of this, for millions of people followed this practice on a daily basis.

Not that the group of students opposed to Raul were any mugs either. They were an intelligent lot and quite vociferous too. But they were a disunited lot. They spoke in too many voices and were at times enticed by the Trust with goodies. Raul could therefore continue with his silence in class and his words of wisdom outside.

“There is so much to learn from the farmer” once Raul said on a visit to the rural side, “you cannot learn all this in the class.”

The friends accompanying him wore that puzzled look again, for Raul had kept silent during a class debate on the “WAYS SCIENCE COULD CONTRIBUTE TO ANOTHER GREEN REVOLUTION”. But being used to sycophancy they only nodded in approval.

But the enquirer had still not learnt his lesson, “What do you learn from the farmer boss?” The friends were again stunned. “Does he always have to ask these questions?” they thought, “now we will get to hear another nonsensical answer.”

“So much, my friend” Raul replied, “look at the way they build their bare huts, how they survive on so few amenities, how he simply borrows from money lenders at exorbitant rate, all without flinching. That is not all, there is no power for days at stretch, yet he manages to irrigate the fields.”

“But what about improvement in agriculture? How can that be improved?” The enquirer’s curiosity could not be quenched. “What improvement?” Now it was Raul’s turn to be puzzled, “don’t you see the green fields and vast lands?” he clarified.

“But that will always be there in the fields,” the enquirer said, “but how do improve agricultural output?”

“ Improve what? I talked of learning outside the classes” Raul replied “not teaching, my dear friend. That is for the teachers and Principals like Dr. Mindless to do. For us, we have to care about the Trust and see that the Teachers stay in line. In the meanwhile my learning outside the class will continue”

“So shall we expect you to start speaking in class so that teachers stay in line or new ideas are formulated?”The enquirer thought that finally Raul might start speaking in class.

“Tch…Tch..speak in class, why do it, when you can stay silent and top in the class”, was Raul’s reply.


Saturday, June 4, 2011


"Baba se kaun darta hai?” thus spake Digvijay Singh, aka Diggy Raja, on the proposed Satyagraha of Baba Ramdev in order to pressurize the government to bring in stringent laws against black money and other allied issues. The fearless Diggy Raja did not stop at this, and further went on to say “Baba is a businessman and not a sanyasi.” This is what I like about Diggy Raja, as he knows things which nobody else does. For example, did anybody apart from Diggy Raja or the author of the book know about the fact that the attack in Mumbai on 26/11 was carried out by the RSS people in collaboration with the Israelis. Well, Diggy Raja thought so, as he released the book, 26/11: “RSS Ki Saazish”. Did anybody know that Hemant Karkare was not killed by Kasab and his cohorts but by RSS goons? Well, again, Diggy Raja was apparently intimated beforehand by Karkare on such a plot hours before his death. That nobody has corroborated either of the two issues and that David Coleman Headley is spilling the beans faster than a leaking ship does not deter Diggy Raja. He goes on nevertheless.

The fact that Diggy Raja speaks only on a nod given by the powers that be in this country is perhaps the worst kept secret in the country. And those powers that be, are definitely not the P.M or his cabinet is also no secret. The shooting off the mouth about not fearing the protest by Baba Ramdev indicates that the government is at a loss about the method to be adopted to counter this movement which is threatening to snowball into a major embarrassment for them. The fact that the Baba was met at the Airport by a minister as senior as Pranab Mukherjee suffices for the fact that the government is nervous. Pranab da definitely did not go to the airport to discuss Pranayam techniques, did he Diggy Raja?

The nervousness is genuine, since what should have been the mandate of the successive governments has been hijacked initially by the Civil society led by Anna Hazare and then by Baba Ramdev. It is quite evident that the government for whatever its apologists in the English media and ‘stars’ like Shahrukh Khan might say, is more scared of Ramdev than at any point in the past. Ramdev with his sometimes acerbic and caustic methodology has caught the attention of millions in this country. The millions who are now desperate for the government in particular and the politicians in general to do ‘something’. For years, these common people or the aam aadmi have born the brunt of politicians and bureaucrats filling up their coffers at the expense of the common man. For years the common man has witnessed people like Lalu Yadav, Madhu Koda, Raja, Kalmadi and their ilk rise from obscurity and become obscenely rich overnight. The common man is sick of assets increasing 300% in a period of five years for people like Mayawati whereas they are unable to increase their asset by Rs. 300/ during the same period.

The nervousness can be judged from the fact that stories are being circulated about Ramdev buying an island, owning assets worth thousands of crores, his blunt views on homosexuality and what not! The response of the common man to all this shenanigans is, and should be, ‘hang the culprit’ whosoever it may be ! And frankly, what difference does anybody’s views on homosexuality for that matter have on him expressing his opinion about corruption, per se. The same methodology was applied on the Bhushans, albeit in a different manner for their participation the Jan Lok Pal bill.

‘Eminent’ media personalities have openly ridiculed the protests, reaching to the extent of calling the entire experience as ‘primitive’. Exactly, my dear friends! It has to be primitive because it hits the ‘modern’ people exactly where it should. For 63 years after Independence the money has been carried away from these shores and parked in accounts in places like Liechenstein. Bermuda, Antilles apart from the Banks of Switzerland. I bet most of the ‘modern’ people will not be able to locate Liechenstein. Bermuda, Antilles in an atlas. The best part is that the ‘modern’ people stood by silently when the money was being looted away, not a word was raised in protest. If the Supreme Court had not intervened aggressively, Hasan Ali would have been living his king size life quite openly. Although with the quality of investigation of the agencies in the country, it would not be too much of a surprise to see him come out unscathed. Do we need to see any further than Laloo Yadav to believe in that.

What is more ‘bizarre’ and ‘surreal’ than the masses amassed at the Ram Lila grounds, is the uncanny resemblance to the age of the British Raj for which the grand old man of the then enslaved India, Dadabhai Naoroji, in his famous Drain theory very aptly likened the British rule as a ‘sponge which sucked money from India shore and then released it in the Thames’. Nearly 130 years have passed since Naoroji alongwith R.C.Dutt propounded the Drain theory, but have things changed apart from the fact the sponge is now not the British Raj, but our own Raj. Is this why our freedom fighters gave up their home, hearth and lives for? To change the hands looting the common man, a brother looting his own brother.

The government says that laws cannot be brought within a day! Excuse me! A day! 63 years have passed since independence, which have resulted in 110 amendments to the constitution, and you need the threat of an indefinite fast to talk of laws in this regard! It is an admitted fact that an economy parallel to the Indian economy, if not more is run through black money. I wonder what the response of the government would have been if an aam aadmi with no following would have asked for a law against black money. I will tell you, he would have slapped with charges of attempt to suicide, his house land records would have been proved to be fake, his children would have ‘caught cheating’ in exams….If you don’t believe me, just turn around and have a look.

The support Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev are getting is symptomatic of the frustration of the aam aadmi. For a price, you can get from police verification to 2G spectrum. Without it, well……

Honesty and forthrightness have become a dangerous possession to have in these times. Amar Singh was let loose on the members of the civil society, who for all practical purposes have been taken for a ride. Drafting a law has nuances, we are told. We must get opinion of all state governments and political parties, we are told. It has to be approved by the parliament we are told. At the very same time, the NAC is drafting a bill on Prevention of Targeted Communal Violence. Interested in wanting to know who is drafting the bill? Teesta Setalvad, who was reprimanded by the SIT probing Gujarat riots for instigating people to make false and exaggerated claims on the riots. But do you hear any voice about the extra constitutional rights of the NAC to draft the bill or opinion of the state governments. No, because the reasons are too obvious.

The aam aadmi is now sick of this double standards. Attack Ramdev for his the Patanjali trust, but remain mum on the Rajiv Gandhi foundation. Keep Karim Morani in your corner and smirk on questions about your links to him with a derisive “that’s the Morani corner”, without replying to the questions (Shahrukh Khan at a press conference). The mass gathering of support for both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev is the manifestation of the disgust the people feel for the ‘system’ which has been misused and abused to such an extent that people now see no hope. The earlier the ‘system’ and its ‘representatives’ read the lining on the wall, the better it is for the country. The country can no longer tolerate a poverty line of Rs. 20 per day, for urban and Rs. 11 per day, for rural areas. Can the chairman of the planning commission live on an amount of Rs. 25 for a single days in any urban area of his choice? The country cannot have the Chief Advisor to the Finance Ministry propagate his theories of legitimizing ‘bribes’.

The patience of the people is running out fast, Baba or no Baba. My advice to Diggy Raja would be, “ Baba is daro ya na daro, aam aadmi se zaroor daro.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011


The jungle of Youngistan was an area of tranquillity amongst the various jungles in the world. Ruled by the Lion, the food chain was in order, with each getting what it required, as per the law of nature. Though nothing was in excess, but the idea of contentment which was inherited by the animals from their predecessors ensured that no animal hankered for that ‘extra’, which had become the bane of other forests. Life passed on peacefully.

Peaceful and content, though Youngistan might have been, the jungles all around were changing. Most of the Jungles were now becoming Jungles of Concrete instead of Jungles of trees. The animals who were propagating issues of environment were cutting trees on the sly and then resorting to compelling the meek and timid jungles to save trees, so that they could get more trees to cut.

But away from all the hullabaloo, Youngistan was at peace with itself. Complying with the law of the jungle, the king Lion did partake his food by devouring his share of the animals, but nobody complained. For not only was the Lion wise and sagacious , but his enormous strength ensured that his subjects never felt threatened by any other animal from the surrounding jungles of concrete. Any attempt to encroach on the territory and inhabitants of Youngistan was sternly dealt by the Lion.

With the passage of time, some monkeys of Youngistan, who had been captured by the Circus people of one of the Jungle of Concrete but had now become useless with the introduction of events like the ‘laughter challenge’ were left back in Youngistan. These monkeys, who had travelled around other jungles with their performance of dancing and jumping up and down the trampoline, now felt like an outcaste in the languid atmosphere of Youngistan. With the King Lion around, they dare not try any ‘monkey business’ with the other animals of Youngistan, for they shivered at the thought of punishment which would be meted out by the Lion, in case they got caught, which knowing the Lion, they would. On the contrary, in the Jungle of Concrete, with its law enforcing body of Central Bureau of Idiots, nobody would ever get caught.

“Why can we not have the Central Bureau of Idiots” would crib Kapi the monkey, who being the perfect imitator, had watched innumerable episodes of Adalat and picked up the mannerisms of a lawyer. He was referred to as Kapi the Vakil by his Band of Monkeys. The band also consisted of Mamo, who did not have a mind of his own and simply followed the dikats of Soni the monkey who did not originally belong to Youngistan, but had met them subsequently at the Circus. Since she was not accepted by her own jungle folks who were now ruled by Silvio the King Of Monkey business, she had come to Youngistan. Since Mamo did not have a mind of his own, and Kapi had seen that such animals were called as Economists in the Jungle of Concrete, he was referred to as Mamo the Economist. Mamo felt thrilled whenever he was called so.

But the star in this band was neither, Kapi, nor Soni or Mamo, but Baba the monkey. Baba who was the son of Soni was strikingly good looking for a monkey. Amongst the band which was haggard and tired after spending a life time in the circus, Baba’s looks was a talking point. He was referred to by other names based on products in the Jungle of Concrete, Yuvraj, Amul were some of the titles he had earned.

But Kapi could crib about the CBI only in private, for he was scared to death of the Lion. Kapi, incidentally, had befriended a rat like animal on his way back to Youngistan and named it B’char, after his fondness for the pickle. B’char was smaller than the rat and very timid in nature. But Kapi was very fond of him.

The monkeys were however very uncomfortable after their return. Though they had been welcomed back after their arrival by other animals, the presence of the Lion would not let them sleep in peace. The tricks learnt in the Jungle of Concrete could be displayed in his presence at their peril. As providence would have it, Kapi came across Raja the jackal. Raja was a disgruntled jackal, who had been punished by the King after one of his misadventures in the past. Raja took his name seriously, “Arre what King” he would say,” he is an usurper”, he would go on, “I am the real Raja”. He had a motley group of friends in Manti the skunk, Power the fat mouse and Karu the Racoon, all carrying resentment against the Lion.

The band of monkeys now had friends.

One day, Kapi had a brainwave.

“This is dictatorship” he would say, “In the jungles of concrete, which has tall buildings, shopping malls, multiplexes and the laughter challenge, this would not do” he would go on. Kapi would then take out photographs of the Jungle of concrete and show it to the animals who would inquisitively gather around. Some animals would be impressed by what they saw, “how do we get this” they would ask. “simple” karu would say, “ get what the Jungle of Concrete has.”

“What?” the impressed animals would say.

“Elect your leader” Power would add.

“But we already have a leader” the animals would say, “the Lion”.

“Arre, what leader?” Raja would now join in, “look what he brought you,” Only trees and talks of happiness. Now take a look at the real happiness,” the photographs would be again circulated.

B’char would quitely witness this sitting in the lap of Kapi. Mamo would only look at Soni for guidance, who in turn would look at Baba radiantly.

“Yes, we can” now reverberated around Youngistan, “enough of contentment”.

The Lion did nothing, for he loved his subjects. Moreover he had seen enough of life to desperately hanker for kingship. Although one roar from him would have ensured that “Yes we can” converted to “No, we can’t”, but he did not roar. The demand was conceded to.

Now everyone in the band of monkeys wanted Baba to become their leader. But Soni would have none of it. “What if the Lion decides to come back” she thought, “Baba might be in trouble.”

“Mamo will be our leader,” she exclaimed. The rest had no choice, “Yea, so be it” they screeched, for they did not want this opportunity to go.

Mamo did not know what to say. Actually, he had know idea as to what was going on. Well, that he had no idea about anything, except look towards Soni could not be revealed before everyone.

The first few months went of peacefully. The Lion stayed in the background, content with what he had, which apart from his dietary requirements was not much. Laughter Challenge was introduced, and everybody was happy.

Unnoticed, B’char started gaining weight.

But Youngistan was very happy. They would roll over with laughter after watching Laughter challenge.

However, Vicky the Cockatoos started detecting something fishy. Vicky had a habit of eavesdropping into conversation amongst animals and then not keeping that secret to himself. He literally leaked secrets, and had therefore earned the nickname, “Vickleaks’.

Now Vicky overheard the conversation Raja, Power and Karu were having with the animals of Jungle of Concrete. He also noticed that any animal passing by B’char would start losing weight whereas B’char was growing by the day. The birds and animals passing by B’char would externally appear to be alright but would internally loose all flesh leaving only the skeleton behind.

Vikyleaks now put two and two together and started screaming ,”Look at B’char, look at B’char,” it sounded desperate, as other animals gathered around, “it is becoming fat, while the rest of the animals are growing weak.”

Vicky leaks also shared the conversations it had overheard amongst Raja, Karu, Kapi and the animals of Jungle of Concrete.

Youngistan now became agitated. As it is, they had become bored with the Laughter Challenge and now this. They marched towards the tree, which was home to Mamo. “We demand an answer” they told Mamo.

They could now see B’char growing menacing by the second. B’char now looked like a beast. A dinosaur would have looked like a pygmy in front of B’char. It was sucking life out of animals, in front of the rest.

“You must do something” they pleaded before Mamo.

Mamo looked at Soni, who looked radiantly at Baba, oblivious of the events.

“Say something” the animals would say, “ the Lion would always look after us and listen to us” they said.

The reference of the Lion brought a frown on the face of Soni. Seeing this, Mamo turned towards the protesting animals, “I deny the veracity, authenticity or the very existence of the conversations reported by Vickleaks” he said.

“Fine, deny it, but what about the menacing size assumed by B’char” the animals retorted, “an animal which could be barely seen by the naked eye, now reaches the sky,” they were angry.

“The growth of B’char is a figment of your imagination” Mamo said confidently, “ he is such an innocuous animal.”

“Do something about B’char. It is alive and growing,” the animals were by now pleading, “The Lion would have done something.”

The reference of Lion again brought Soni and consequently Mamo into action. He started to swing from tree to tree in front of B’char, without doing anything.

“What is this?” the animals demnded.

“Action, my dear friends” Kapi the lawyer spoke out, “after all you do expect a monkey to fight like a Lion, do you?” Kapi had his usual smirk on his face, “please applaud your leader for taking action”.

Soni, started to clap, without even bothering to look towards the swinging Mamo. She looked radiantly at Baba, who sat like his usual doll self, without uttering a word. .

The dove, the peaceful dove, had by now had enough. “If this is the action you propose to take” he said, “I will sit down on this branch and fast myself to death”.

The band of monkeys felt nothing……initially.

The Lion, who was a witness to everything, sat reclusively, without any reaction. But his eyes betrayed his emotions. Some animals swore that they saw a spark in those stone cold eyes.

By now, the animals started gathering around the tree where the dove was on a fast unto death. First they came like narrow streams, which suddenly started gathering momentum.

B’char was least affected by this. It had grown even bigger since the agitation started. Mamo was swinging from tree to tree, “I am taking action.”

Finally, Kapi had another brainwave, “okay, if you want more action” he said , “we will form a team of animals who eat less, and let them come up with a proposal to bring back B’char back to size. Since the team will have animals who eat less, we can refer to the team as Kameaty”.

The animals were very happy, “hail, the dove” they said , “now B’char will be brought back to size.” They cantered back to their Laughter Challenge.

B’char was by now reaching the heavens. Even the Gods were getting restless, as anybody would be if they had somebody staring into their living rooms.

The dove was very restless. Vickyleaks was still shouting at the top of his voice, shouting about the monkey business going on. The band of monkeys had gone back to their work.

The Lion is watching……………

Will it remember its strength and attack????????/

Answers, anybody?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Choice

“नानी तेरी मोरनी को मोर ले गए, बाकी जो बचा था काले चोर ले गए”.

Wrote Raja Mehdi Ali for the film Masoom in 1962. He further went on,

“उन चोरों की खूब खबर ली मोटे थानेदार ने, मोरों को भी खूब नचाया जंगल की सरकार ने "

The song sung by Baby Ranu Mukherji and set to music by the legendary Hemant Kumar, symbolised the simple and at yet the naïve times in freshly independent India.

Indira Gandhi subsequently launched her nationalisation and licence quota raj regime. Manmohan Singh followed it up with his liberalisation policies, first as Finance Minister and subsequently in his avatar as Prime Minister.

The thaanedars now found it expedient to join the chors and the Mores (peacocks)…well their dance became item numbers only.

The transparency international which every year brings out an integrity index indicates the fall in the integrity and probity of us Indians, as we keep on slithering down years after year, leading to a real danger of slipping out of the list altogether.

But are we Indians really concerned ???

The UPA I and its sequel, which ostensibly came to power on the premise of ‘कांग्रेस का हाथ आम आदमी के साथ’ slowly but steadily transformed into thousand headed monster of corruption which began to devour the very aam aadmi who had presumbaly brought it to power.As if the CWG scam, the 2 G scam, the S-band spectrum scam, the Adarsh society scam,the CVC shame, the never ending Hasan Ali Khan saga, the Radia tapes and stuff were not enough, the Wikileaks cables confirmed the worst fears people had about the pretensions of democracy in this country. The fact that money power had been unabashedly used to win the vote of confidence in the previous Lok sabha was confirmed by the U.S diplomatic cables.

And the response from a government led by a man whom his self appointed media managers proclaim as a ‘man of impeccable honesty and integrity’, has been so typical of seeking the technicalities of the incident happening in the previous Lok Sabha or simply denying any such incident or challenging the opposition on an election fought and won, ignoring the fact that he has never fought any election as an individual candidate.

The response of the government to the momentous occasion of Anna Hazare going on an ‘fast unto death’ also shows the unwillingness of the political class and the bureaucray to learn from its mistakes and make a new begining, at least at this stage. The mistakes which now make India amongst the most, if not the most corrupt country in the world, where everything which is unlawful can be done provided you are able to make the correct bid and where every law abiding and law implementing person leaves his home scared as to whether he will come back to his family that day. If you do not believe this, perhaps the case of Dr.B.P.Singh, a CMO, in the U.P.Govt. muredered a few days back or of a Manjunath the young IOC officer, might serve as a reminder.

The Prime Minister, who had all the time in the world to sit in leisure and the watch the India Pakistan world cup quarter final in Mohali, a few days back (incidentally the Indo Pak negotiations have again started without any pre condition), has no time for Anna Hazare and passes of the responsibility of the main demand of the adoption of the Jan Lok Pal bill,to the EGOM on corruption.

A unique facet of modern day governance in India is to create committtees for every issue under the sun, from one on corruption, to the right toilet paper for the ministers and perhaps the Parliamentarians, to who should be the next coach of the indian Cricket team.

The concept of committee has been very aptly summed up by the following quote:

"A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing, but who, as a group, can meet and decide that nothing can be done." -Fred Allen

The concept of Parliament and cabinet has been given the short shrift, perhaps because the leader himself has entered the Parliament on a false declaration of being a resident of a state which he has hardly been to in an individual capacity.

It is interesting to note the composition of the EGOM on corruption which included lumonaries as Veerapa Moily, Kapil Sibal, and last but not the least Sharad Pawar. Kapil Sibal has earned millions defending the indefensible and made the famous comparison of the CAG estimate of loss under 2G spectrum sale as a ‘notional loss’. Today, the CBI which behaves more of a pet poodle rather than a police dog has filed a charge sheet in the same case, but Sibal continues anyway. Sharad Pawar, who has since resigned from the EGOM, must perhaps be the biggest land owner in Maharashtra through legal and benami means, and has his fingers in every pie, except his duty as agriculture minister and was perhaps the last person with credentials to serve on such a committee or on other thoughts, perhaps the perfect credentials.

The government which appears to be under pressure because of growing public frustration has now resorted to typical bureaucratic double talk of acceding to the demand of Anna Hazare to the formation of a committee of Civil activists and ministers to draft a Lok Pal bill by consensus. The double talk is exposed by a dead giveaway that it will not be formally constituted but will meet informally under the chairmanship of who else, but the eternal fire fighter Pranab Mukherjee, whose contribution in the “ONLY VIMAL” brand is all too well known.

It is clear as day light that the left to themselves the politicians will never bring in any anti corruption mechanism. The denigration of the office of the CVC and the CBI bears no reiteration. The hand of the politicians and the bureaucrats will have to be forced. Rest assured that the fight will be drawn out and tedious. The Egypt or the Tunisian model will not work out for us, since the country is hopelessly divided along religious, linguistic and caste fault lines. The very candle lighters and socialites who today sings paeans in praise of Anna Hazare were the ones who thronged the streets of Mumbai, post 26/11 vowing to eliminate the politicians, and within months voting the same people to power who had brought upon them this calamity.

The government will have to be arm twisted into pursuing the money launderers with billions or perhaps trillions stashed away abroad. If the ill gotten wealth of despots and dictators lying in tax havens can be frozen on the request of the concerned country, what stops the government of India from using its economic and strategic muscle to enforce this ‘freeze’, more so in light of the fact that one Mr Q has already emptied his account, and hopefully made payment to the right persons.

This battle will require introspection by each and every citizen about the nature of the country which we wish to leave for our children, as it is not about us but for forthcoming generations. The choice is stark, either we go the way of the Japanese who withstood the calamity of enormous proportions with equanimity, which stems from their inherent honesty or the way of Somalia where even the drought relief is looted and sold in open market. The choice is entirely ours.

In the meanwhile, let a million Anna Hazares bloom.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Summer vacations are the time when the Bengali traveller lets his hair down. Summers might rank as the second most favoured period for the Bengalis after the Durga Puja or the ‘Pujo’ as they prefer to call it. Trains, ‘special’ or otherwise are choc a bloc. Added with the tenacity a ticket checker pulls in people inside the trains, the position inside the Kurla bound Howrah- Kurla, Gyaneshwari express can be imagined as it left Howrah for its onward journey.

On board the train alongwith the sea of humanity were seven year twins Shirin and Sharmin, wearing identical coloured frocks, enroute to Mumbai accompanied by their parents. It was the first trip the twins had in their short lives. Short indeed it was going to be, for the twins had no inkling that the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ had laid a trap enroute. As is their ilk, the Central and the State government have no clue as to what the methodology of the sabotage was, and what emerges from the media reports that the train was either hit by a landmine explosion or by an even cruder method of removing the fish plates. As the train got derailed, it was hit by a goods train travelling on a parallel track in the opposite direction.

The result- At least 100 people including women and children had been decimated by the “Gandhians with Gun’. Shirin and Sharmin, who were fast asleep when the ‘Gandhian with Gun’ intervened in their lives, died in sleep, in each others arms.

The railway minister says that the casualty figure could have been less if the goods train had not hit the derailed train. She further went on to blame the state government as ‘law and order’ was ‘state subject’. We can equally be certain that the state government will in equal measure blame the railway minister for this tragedy and the blame game will go on.

But does it make any difference to Shirin and Sharmin?????

The signs had been ominous since the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ started gaining ascendance in neighbouring Nepal. The government of the day (UPA-I) supported the Govt. of Nepal with military advise and supply of arms in order to ensure that the ‘Gandhian with Gun’ did not entrench themselves in India’s backyard and thereby start giving colour to their picture of the ‘Red Corridor’ through India’s tribal hinterland into Nepal and henceforth into the dream of the ‘Gandhian with Gun,’ China. But the distant cousins of the ‘Gandhians with Gun’, otherwise known as the Communists raised such a hue and cry that the support to a friendly government was stopped.

The result- The Nepalese version of the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ triumphed over a rudderless monarchy. That the distant cousins are being targeted by these ‘neo Gandhians’ is well, nature’s revenge, shall we say!

The Prime minister has called the Maoists as the ‘greatest threat to India’s internal security’. But the lady who matters evidently favours a ‘soft approach’ and the ‘King in waiting’ says nothing, absolutely nothing, about what his P.M calls the greatest threat. In a situation like this do we for a moment doubt the Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s cry of a ‘limited mandate.’ When the government pulls in different directions, what hope did Shrin and Sharmin have of surviving this assault. The railways have now apparently halted night operations in Naxal prone areas, for the time being. What next? Perhaps paying ‘goonda tax’ to the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ to permit plying of trains in ‘their areas’.

That the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ never had peace on their agenda is evident from the manner in which they have repeatedly attacked anything to do with the Indian establishment, stretching from Schools (especially girls), roads, police personnel, industries.

One thing is very clear, prominent personalities with an eye on the Nobel Peace prize might refer to them as Gandhians or justify their aggression in 32 page article in prominent magazines, or prefer a ‘softer approach’ but these people are criminals, nothing less, nothing more. Romanticizing their mores might make good copy, but ask the people at the end of these neo Gandhian ways of protest, and the answer will be very clear.

The overt and covert support of these so called civil rights activists acts as oxygen to these criminals in their effort to dislodge the Indian state. So Dr. Binayak Sen, a paediatrician by training and profession visits a jailed Naxal leader, ostensibly to check up on his ‘cardiac problems’, Ms Arundhati Roy receives an invitation to visit the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ to visit their abode in Dantewada, after which the ‘writer’ refers to the Home Minister as ‘CEO of the War’ and the drive against the naxals is addressed in even more beautiful prose and even solid reason, sample one appearing in THE OUTLOOK :

Over the past five years or so, the governments of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal have signed hundreds of MoUs with corporate houses, worth several billion dollars, all of them secret, for steel plants, sponge-iron factories, power plants, aluminium refineries, dams and mines. In order for the MoUs to translate into real money, tribal people must be moved.

Therefore, this war.”

With fellow citizens like this did the people aboard the Gyaneshwari express or the CRPF company in Dantewada have any hope? Does this nation for whatever its ills, have any hope with people like this? Does anyone recall any condemnation from these and others of their ilk for this mindless violence being perpetrated by these propagators of hate.

However it would be foolish to blame the so called civil rights activists for all that is going wrong in these operations. The fact that these criminal leaders are simply exploiting a raw nerve in the tribal people of these regions and their antipathy to the skewed process of the ‘so called development’ in these regions, cannot be for a moment denied. That the Indian state has failed miserably to provide succour even to the urban areas is no mystery. With even the urban areas in such dilapidation, the plight of the tribal areas can well be imagined. The Maoists leaders have simply encashed the resentment of these people.

But the fact also remains that this war is not being fought by these poor exploited tribals but by their proxies, aka these criminals. Even in the wildest imagination and for whatever our pseudo intellectuals might propagate, the tribals have neither the knowhow nor the resources to plant IED’s on the roadsides or rail tracks or ambush the para military personnel in a professionally trained manner with sophisticated arms and ammunitions.

Obviously there is a lot to it than meets the eye. Therefore it becomes all the more imperative that this menace being spread by the ‘Gandhians with Gun’ is met head on. The government cannot abdicate its responsibility for the sake of pleasing individuals and their quest to attain immortality. The Prime Minister has to, for once, assert his authority rather than looking in askance towards, well, we all know who!

It has been made amply clear by these Maoists that they want to attain a position where they can bargain from a position of strength. It remains a core strategy of guerrilla warfare, “Negotiate from strength”. The step of forcing the government to halt night operations of trains is a small but significant step in that direction. We can safely presume that the level of violence will be gradually increased by the Maoists, till the government calls for a ceasefire and negotiation. As sure as hell, this period of ceasefire will further lull the government and its moribund bureaucracy into complacency, and will be utilised by the Maoists to gather strength, revive its cadre base (after all, they become equal to the mighty state as negotiating partners, which leads to more disgruntled element drifting towards it). Negotiations are called off once the purpose of the guerrilla has been achieved and strength recovered, and we get back to the war zone.

The government has to believe in the saying, “Fight a guerrilla, like a guerrilla,” if we wish to succeed. For the initial phase force has to be met with force, not that it is not being done now, but the force has to plan its action, co-ordinate its movements and last but not the least have a uniform policy. The Nobel peace prize aspirants can come later when the Maoists are forced to negotiate rather than the other way round. In a situation like this collateral damage is an unfortunate fact, but isn’t that being sustained right now? Have look at the images of the mangled remains of the Gyaneshwari express and the body of Sharmin being lifted out of it, in case of any doubt.

The effort to start development projects (ostensibly, for that apparently is the motivation of the Maoists) will not make any headway at this stage and the state lends itself to discredit by yielding to force. Not that the Maoists leaders really care for development anyway! Blowing up schools, damaging the already dilapidated roads, maiming innocent people is no way to development, is it? This farce of lack of development as a reason for these senseless acts needs to be exposed for what it really is…….A FARCE!!!

Development can only be considered and implemented in periods of peace and not war. The fact that successive governments failed to provide this since independence remains a flaw which however cannot be rectified by this mayhem and loss of innocent lives.

The state has to stand up for the right of its citizens which includes the tribals who are being led on a merry go round by these criminals. The message that any grievance can only be addressed through peace has to go down loud and clear. The government has to emphasise that whatever Mao might have said and people like Kobad Ghandy believed, “Power cannot be allowed to flow through the barrel of the gun.” This should apply to all, stretching from the games being played by Issak Muivah in Nagaland, Syed Geelani in Kashmir, the Maoists in nearly 1/4th of the country, people like Raj Thackrey or the Khap Panchayats in Haryana.

The Rule of law has to prevail, if the country or Bharat that is India is to survive.

And Ms. Arundhati Roy, Gandhi would not have been Gandhi if he had picked up the Gun. Or perhaps she was referring to Kobad Ghandy!!!

Perhaps one day, we will come across a 03 lines article by Ms. Roy telling the heart rending story of Shirin and Sharmin. But then again it does not make goody copy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Dawn was about to break on the 22nd of February. S.M.Krishna, the minister for external affairs was in bed, apparently dreaming about the chic suit he would be wearing in the programmes scheduled for the day and sprout homilies about ‘diplomacy’ and ‘co-operation between India and Pakistan’. The Indo Pak ‘talks’ which had been stalled for about 14 months after the ghastly Mumbai 26/11 attacks, inspite of the efforts of the Prime Minister at Sharm-el Sheikh, were scheduled for the 25th of February in New Delhi. The ‘discussions’ over the weekend were scheduled between Ms. Nirupama Rao, the foreign secretary of India and Salman Bashir, her Pakistani counterpart.

At about the same time, the minister of state for external affairs, Shashi ‘the twiiter’ Tharoor must also have been in bed. His dreams, which are turning into nightmares for the Government and an embarrassment for the nation, usually relate to his bizarre comments on his twitter account. The Indian foreign policy which started from the highly moralistic Pandit Nehru to his aggressive and confident daughter Indira to the policy which somewhat bent towards ‘realpolitik’ under the guidance of Narsimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is now being run on an adhoc basis on twitter accounts. Every entry is subsequently denied and apologised for.

But ‘diplomacy’ and twiiter would have been far removed from the mind of Captain Devinder Singh Jass of the 1st Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army, who at the same point of time had surrounded a house in the Sopore dist. in J&K, alongwith his team of crack commandoes. As per their information Pakistani terrorists had taken shelter in that particular house. But, as news reports suggest, it was a classic case of double cross or misinformation, depending on what you believe! The militants were well positioned in a number of surrounding houses, and opened fire. In the resulting chaos, Capt. Jass was taken captive by the terrorists and murdered by brutally slitting his throat. The ensuing battle lasted for three days and the body of Capt. Jass could not be retrieved for nearly twenty four hours. The intensity of the battle can now very well be imagined. Two other commandoes of the 1st parachute regiment also lost their lives in the battle.

Two days later in New Delhi while the ashes of Sopore were still smouldering, one could hear the same soporific, ‘we conveyed our views on terrorism’ ‘talks went on as expected’ line. This after the Pakistani foreign secretary categorically asserted that “Kashmir remains the core issue”, and further referred to the dossiers on the Mumbai attack as “literature”.

Remember that Hafiz Saeed still roams free, spewing venom on India, unhindered and uninterrupted! Apparently, the Pakistani government treats the dossiers as not even ‘literature’, but ‘pulp fiction’. Read it, and throw it.

The signs had as usual, been ominous for the days preceding the 25th February ‘talks’. “We did not kneel before India, it is they who have come to us for talks”, thundered Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi , The Pakistani foreign minister at a public rally. Given the fact that after the London conference about Afghanistan, where incidentally India was not even invited, the Pakistanis can sniff the evident change (once again) in the U.S. policy about the region. The Pakistanis have leveraged the home bred terrorist to good advantage (again, once again). The Americans under Obama, who are desperate to get out of Afghanistan have literally given the Pakistanis the green signal to provide them a face saver and help them in getting out with their dignity still intact. That whether the same will happen is another issue.

The Pakistani belligerence which had gone quiet after the international condemnation after 26/11 has to be understood in the context of the American dilemma. With the Americans off their back, we can expect the Pakistanis to focus full time on India and its unfinished agenda of partition and the revenge for the creation of Bangladesh.

But how long will the Indian foreign policy look in askance towards other nations? When the whole world is looking to serve its interests we are still groping in the dark. The foreign policy is being conducted in a manner which is akin to the story of the blind men being asked to explain an elephant by feeling it. Everybody who is a somebody, has his own way of conducting the foreign policy.

But the question which desperately needs an answer: For how long???

For how long will bravehearts like Devinder Singh Jass sacrifice their lives for something which is not even clearly defined. Incidentally Captain Jass was three months from completing an MBA when he was selected for the India Army. He had already received an offer from the U.S. accountancy firm Deloitte.

He however decided to serve the nation, rather than serve himself. Shortage of motivation anybody?

But why??

This question needs a definitive answer from the powers that be in this country. Why should parents send their wards as lambs for slaughter, when the ministers and bureaucrats (the unholy nexus) change national policy at the drop of a hat. Shashi Tharoor has already expressed his opinion about Saudi Arabia being a “valuable interlocutor” between India and Pakistan.

INTERLOCUTOR!!! Excuse me!!

Since when do we need an interlocutor to intercede on our behalf and request our friends from killing our citizens in Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad……………..(do we really need this list?). Since when do we need an interlocutor to plead to a roguish nation the need to desist from harassing us? Will Mr. Tharoor seek an interlocutor if some rogue misbehaved with his family! Perhaps he might, but let us for a moment also look at the antecedents of the proposed ‘interlocutor’.

Saudi Arabia remains as the biggest sponsor of Wahabi terrorism which has spread its tentacles worldwide. As any Intelligence officer would vouch for, Saudi petro dollars are the biggest source of funding for the web of madrasas in this country. The link between the madrasas and the resentment in the Muslim community needs no elaboration.

Some interlocutor!

And let us not be befooled by this twitter humbug being an individual expression. From all accounts it appears that it is being used as a sounding board for policies which emanate from the top. Shashi Tharoor getting away unscathed after each ignominy indicates as much only.

The mentality of the Pakistani ruling clique, whether it be the so called democratic forces or the real rulers, the army, can be partially understood from the statement which Mohd. Ali Jinnah gave at the call of the Direct Action Day in 1946, when he infamously uttered, “we have forged a pistol and we intend to use it.”

Needlss to say that the pistol is still being used, because nobody in this country had the guts to stand up and snatch the pistol and use it against its owner. This applies equally for today as it applied for then. Ahimsa as a creed is not cowardice. It is time we understand this. The families of people like Devinder Singh Jass or the innocent students on that fateful evening at the German Bakery in Pune have to be assured that the country will not sell out on the sacrifices of their loved ones.

The government of Pakistan needs to be firmly informed that no discussion of any kind is possible unless and until the tap of this mindless violence is turned off. The Americans might covertly make a hue and cry over this, but it is high time we define our policies and cast them in stone. Governments might come and go, but policies affecting national interest cannot be vacillated upon. The price of indecisiveness and subservience before the Americans is too high.

Otherwise please do not cry over a shortfall off officers in the Army…….