Saturday, 21 April 2012

The poor man and the sea

The Arabian sea is called Kadalamma by Kerala's fishermen - Mother sea.These fishermen are a sturdy lot, the very salt of the ocean.They go out on their ancient fishing boats, and mended nets for upto 18 hours every day , trusting their lives to the elements - the wind and the sea.The sea lets them in on her bounty on some blessed days and on some days turns them back with a meager catch - whatever can be salvaged after the deep sea trawlers have had a field day. The family earns an average of Rs 200 per day despite the long hours put in making them the most economically susceptible of Kerala's poor.These are not often the owners of the boat , but the men who actually do all the hardwork - the kind no Malayalee worth his salt can disregard.

Indeed in some ways he epitomises all that Kerala stands for, her never say die spirit, her respect for the elements and the belief that the Gods would never let her down.Not even a red blooded Marxist can deny the Keralites faith in destiny, her sense of justice and retribution.

It is this very Malayalee regard for its weakest that sparked outrage over the murder in cold blood of 2 of its brethren - the Italians could have chosen no better way to incur the wrath of its right thinking men and women.

Iam a Malayalee by birth and by all that I hold dear as my value system.I have lived outside Kerala, and I know my state has its fair share of weaknesses - it is politically belligerent,  very conscious of its rights and often not the most soft spoken , laidback of societies. But the entire Malayalee conscience rests on the notion of equality of its people irrespective of race or creed. Which is why an injustice against the underprivileged will raise the heckles of its cream.I admit I was outraged by what I see as the brazen cheek of a couple of Italians to take away the life of its toiling citizenry.

Kerala has  never borne witness to the Jallianwala bagh kind of atrocity , but believe me this comes close.Make no mistake, the Malayalee has taken this very personally.

Blessed as we are with the unforgiving gene,no government whatever its compulsions can afford to let the perpetrators of this crime get away.

I do appreciate Italy's concern for its citizens,as much as Iam appalled by the additional solicitor general's apparent lack of social conscience.

We in Kerala do not expect manna from heaven, neither do we expect the central government to heed our sensibilities - indeed this is one government which has set new standards in chicanery.But we do expect the law to take its course, and whatever the ASG may feel, the burden rests on the police in Kerala to create a water tight case.Else heads will roll and how!!!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Tumour in Uniform

The poor guy can do nothing right....not even his birth date!!!! And he is the general of the worlds second largest standing army.The honest guardian of the frontiers of the worlds largest democracy seems to have no ammunition left.

The folks with plenty of ammunition are of course our dear politicians...some bay for blood ,not of the defence minister,but of the General.He cant write letters without getting them leaked out to the media.Well look at it this way...he writes to his vertical..does not get a response , so he escalates  - normal corporate behavior.What else could he do to awaken a sleeping bureaucracy? If he had been born 1000 miles to the west of Haryana, he would have taken a more proactive approach.The idea of leaking letters would seem rather tame to our neighbours in the east and west. Whistleblowers are not even conceived in the land due north of India :)

Okay so what is alarming??? That the defence forces do not have all that they should have had??Well what is new?Wars in the subcontinent have been fought on grit, raw courage and tactical victories on the ground.Or sentimentally, on the prayers of billions, for a land that has never played the role of an aggressor.

The common people will be no more alarmed by these observations than they have been with the sale of 2G spectrum or the Devas deal.This will in no way reduce the respect for the armed forces or appreciation for their sacrifices - indeed they manage much like every other Indian - with much less than they should have.

We have a silent Prime Minister and a silent Defence Minister, we have a General crying for action of some kind to prevent the cancerous growth in the last institution which commands our respect.

The minister may be well meaning, but we would never know what he means unless he speaks or acts.

The minister at least can always find solace in the fact that India has never made any claim to be the land of the free,home of the brave :)

Monday, 13 February 2012

A few good men

We happen to be ruled by two ways about that and in our case, the government far from being that faceless professional outfit,dedicated to governance and devoted to the well being of its citizens seems to be talking in a cacophony of voices emanating from a motley crowd of what else ...politicians.
And the ordinary citizen, that nameless, faceless being that gets herded into polling booths,election rallies,what does he think, what does he say and believe?

Does he care for the conflict between institutions? Of well fed egos and sharp minds.

Does he care for the intelligentsia, their witty oneliners, and the self righteous rantings of a partisan media?

Does he believe the numbers bandied about,of whispers ,of unheard of wealth stashed away in far away lands - does he believe that one man can swindle crores ,while the rest look away.He shrugs his shoulder and pays his taxes.

What does he think when infants die,children forfeit their claims to childhood,farmers believe death to be the honorable end,soldiers are maimed defending an invisible line?

After his daily efforts, in a moment of silence he remembers his creator and thanks heaven for the frugal, honest meal.No time has he to hate or kill.

Does he have time to ponder on the imponderable - as to why his land is being used as the majestic backdrop for a cowardly fight between nations?

He hopes the faceless government would know.

Does he care for the crores spent on the jamboree called election campaigns?He waits for the helicopter and the dust it raises, listens patiently, awaits his turn in the endless que braving the heat, the snow and the rains, all to express his trust, his faith and hopes, and to stake his future ,on the good sense, honesty and decency of a few good men...the premise on which every democracy stands.

An ordinary citizen, with his hopes , his aspirations, to see that his family is well taken care of ,toils through life and ends up being an alphanumeric code, a number, a statistic.

He lives not for glory ,but glory is his, as it is on his bones and that of his ancestors that this formidable institution stands.

I say, mock not the intelligence of the common folk, their stoicism, their fortitude,their courage, if not for them, you would not be.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Vox populi - of the mob, the mass , the crowd

Excommunicate the author,burn the book,banish the thought,ban the communication,arrest imagination,mock creativity,trample on sensitivity,curb expression,stifle the voice,suppress the song,crush the revolt within,thwart progress,inculcate fear,corrupt the mind,erase the identity,entrap the clever, incarcerate the brave,victimise the innocent,curtail freedom,enslave institutions,divide the polity,dictate governance,sit in judgement,pronounce your decree.

The soul shall still be free.

In Latin they  say

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit

 I say , give me any day the wisdom of the masses , than the self righteousness of the chosen few.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Carry on Big Brother!!!!

Have been thinking of ways to help GOI achieve what it so desperately seems to want to do - parity with China (China????) in civil liberties (or rather lack of it).As the Hon Delhi High Court recently reminded Facebook , Google ,You tube and the rest of India - absolutely nothing can stop a democratic government from banning platforms which are used/misused in sharing information,disinformation or opinion - Look , lets do it the China way.

Alas, and this is a big ALAS, India has been used to civil liberties for some time now and it will not be easy to push down peoples throat any one group's definition of publicly acceptable discourse,morality and expression.So here is where I come in with a few "helpful " suggestions.

Hmmm, How can the GOI police the 100Mn and growing netizens in the virtual republic???

1.Place the onus of ensuring morally and ethically acceptable content on the search engine, the platform or the website as applicable.They would need to pre screen content - assuming 60% of users upload content on these websites on a regular basis (60Mn hits daily ) I see an employment opportunity for at least 80,000 people ( clearing 94 odd posts every hour for 8 hours a workday). Yoo Hoo please give the govt credit for having thought this one through.

2.Now how do you morally police the morality police? Each of these folks should be provided training and certification by the GOI and anyone failing to clear this shall be deemed morally unfit to don the mantle of moral police.A recertification needs to be provided every year - or five years (leave it to the babus to suggest a suitable time frame ) because Govts and morality can change in that time period.

3.What does any political party (not just Trinamool ) require to be in control of the situation ? Motivated cadres at the grass roots level - which brings me to my next IDEA - dedicated cadres to gather data on what the neighbour is upto,who is being divisive? who says what in private? aka legalised eavesdropping - I see this as the next step once "the powers that be" have controlled the virtual world ( My crystal ball is absolutely clear !!! )

4.My friend suggested this one - what if the really smart guys start using letters and the post office to circumvent the powers? An authorised team of letter openers/readers to sift through content at the local PO.Letters should be posted open, the PO would do the closing for you once they have read through.I smell further opportunities for employment and scams.

5.For content posted outside India - get into convenient bi - lateral agreements with friendly tin pot dictatorships on content removal/punishment of those perceived guilty.As for the intransigent democracies ...well leave that to the Babus as well , with the years of experience they bring in non productive engagement with the not so like minded.

6. Thou has now control of the real and virtual...what about the realm of the sublime , the infinite and the mysterious - the human mind? May have to rely on mind reading ( I do not even know if we can have certified mind readers ) to weed out corrupted souls thinking divisive thoughts.

Are you guys laughing ???? Well laugh on...point one is what the Delhi High Court has just asked the platforms to do. LOL

I have come up with several of these highly creative suggestions on a diet of 3 oranges, 2 slices of bread and 8 glasses of plain water...imagine what our well fed bureaucracy can come up with if given a free reign?

Hmm , Says Mia ,didnt our Nobel laureate say some thing about the land where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way ........

Thursday, 12 January 2012

So what are the tweeple saying?

Whats trending on twitter? Being Gujju,Being Mallu,Being Mayawati , Fatwa against Suryanamaskar!!!

Huh!!!Okay so first Google - throws up dependable Wiki

A fatwā (Arabic: فتوى‎; plural fatāwā Arabic: فتاوى‎) in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar.

So am armed with the technical definition , further data - here goes list of all fatwas - as the disclaimer suggests - merely indicative and not exhaustive!!!

Okay, so no suryanamaskar for the believers.

Says who ?

Ans : Say Islamic scholars in Madhya Pradesh

Why now? Both the fatwa and surya namaskar have been around for centuries-

Ans: Guinness record attempt by a bunch of people (non virtual ) who intend to twist their way into the hall of fame.LOL

So what??? Well nothing except Mr Digvijay Singh ( of the Congress(I) fame ) seems to feel its an intra-right conspiracy.

Hmm, says Mia, with patriots like these , India does not need enemies

And tweeple of course see this as trending material!!!So tweet away - both Fatwa as a tool in course correction of the flock and Suryanamaskar as twisty turny way of proving your point will get some much needed publicity.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Irreverently Yours

Hmmm, so Faking News is the new opinion maker...funny,irreverent and delightfully sarcastic,it is by far the most bi partisan reporting Ive seen either in print or on television.

A humorous take on the events of the day and available in Hindi and English,Ive been recommending a daily dose for all of my friends- the curiously apolitical ,techies, non techies and financial wizards who do have the "holier than thou" approach to politics and politicians.Well If I do need my dose of politics, in my home state where politics mixes freely with the water in the rivers ( the ones they are trying to build a dam on),might as well have it through Faking News!!!

There is oddly enough no fear or favor here and Netizens do have their say...pulling Sibal's autocratic legs or parodying Diggy "you know whos" dutiful tweets on behalf of the family (err party),to pulling up the eternal Yathri, nothing seems sacrilegious here!!!

The ability to laugh at ones own follies ,says Mia, is what a healthy society needs.Delighted to know fellow thinkers inhabit the virtual world...where at least life is one hearty comedy!!

Irreverently Yours