Monday, April 25, 2011

An open letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi - Honorable Member of Parliament..

Dear Mr. Gandhi,

I write this letter neither as an admirer nor as a critic. I don't think I can even say I am a concerned citizen of this country. I am not a supporter of secularism, nor of right-wing communalism, or nationalism, or communism or any –ism for that matter.

I am merely curious.

You say all the right things, and you try to do all the right things. You go to the villages unannounced, and ride local trains and do all the sorts of things that we do not associate with most politicians of this great country. I was particularly pleased to see you sit in the stands at Mohali with your mom. I heard someone say that you try to do all this feel the pulse of the country. Someone, who I think doesn't support you or your party, also cynically suggested, that you think of yourself as a Crown Prince in a democracy. I, as mentioned, neither have praise nor contempt for this.

Just curiosity.

About your intentions.

About your motivations.

Above all, about your sincerity.

Here's why I am curious. You say all the right things, and do all the right things, and act in the right way. So, I would like to say that you're the real deal.

But how can I forget that you have the benefit of having a platform handed over to you? How can I give you the benefit of doubt, when your political party went from a disciplined, national unifier, to a self-serving, self-justifying, insecure, undemocratic unit which will do anything to get to – and stay in – the throes of power? How can I follow your call to have more young leaders join politics, when you are called a "yuva" neta at the age of 40?

It's not about politics, or corruption or anything.

It's about credibility.

And in my eyes, the party you represent has none. Ergo, you have none.

So I would request you, to shun this miserable set, which threatens to engulf you with what you can or cannot do.

Set up something of your own, by your ideals and your philosophies.

I will follow you.
Till then, so long..

Best regards.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jugaad is overrated. In fact, Jugaad is the problem..

Something about this entire Anna Hazare tamasha made me very uncomfortable. I didn't know quite what it was, and definitely didn't want to support something without quite reading what it is that I was supporting. Many of you were nice enough to provide links to the various bills being proposed and I actually had a longish post ready for posting on why the bill for which Mr. Hazare risked his life was actually not really worth the food that he was missing out on, etc. But I didn't go for it, for the simple reason that something about the whole thing was a bit off.

Call it the "daal-mein-kuchh-kaala-hai" concept.

Something which told me that corruption in India is less to do with politicians, and more to do with us. The politicians are mere mirrors of where we are as a society.

The way we pay cash to our carpenters to avoid 6% service taxes

The way we pay 100 bucks to the policeman once in 3 weeks and continue to run traffic lights with impunity

The way we provide false rent receipts and the petrol bills of relatives for reimbursements

Something about us.

But something that I couldn't quite call as the reason for my discomfort

And then I read this letter in The New York Times from Mr. Manu Joseph. For those who don't know, Mr. Joseph is the editor of the Open magazine, a really good read online during the coffee breaks.

Money quote:

At the heart of this condition is an important Indian character — the uncompromising practicality of the individual, an untamed form of great personal freedom and informality. Every person, irrespective of his level of education or social background, will do what is most convenient to him in the short term. All rules and systems are subordinate to the sheer force of practicality.
Mr. Joseph postulates at some point that it may have something to do with our liberalization and subsequent economic growth happening so fast that we've lost the concept of values.

I'm not that smart. I think it goes much beyond that.

Here's my theory:

India as a country and as a people never existed till the British were here and the British were the single reason that India exists as a united country today.  If not for the cruel Lord Clive (and Sardar Patel, I know), we'd have Narendra Modi and Ashok Gehlot have standing armies guarding their borders. Prithviraj Chavan would probably be the leader of a country of the size of Germany and the GDP of Japan.

Karunanidhi would probably still be trying to secure a truce between Stalin and Azhagiri.

But the British came, and for the ease of their administration called it one country. They gave us rules that we could live by.
Because that's what rulers do. Make rules.

However, the people of this new common country had always been so used to being ruled and being told what they can, (and most crucially, cannot) do that once the British went, is when India as a country was actually born. Compared to the west, we're just teenagers . 

Liberalization just added more money to the entire equation.

So we're teenagers who've discovered money
We've never realized that we are the rulers of this country. 
And rulers also have to live by the rules.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Anna Hazare and the Right to Information..

Quick.. Do you support Anna Hazare and his campaign to rid India of corrupt politicians??

This man is risking his life for such a noble cause and all you're doing is sitting an air conditioned office typing keys like a numbskull

Didn't someone say that given infinite keystrokes, infinite monkeys could come up with the works of Shakespeare.

Is that what you want to be? A monkey?? A monkey who hears evil, sees evil and speaks evil..

Is this what this country of Gandhi and Ambedkar has come to?

How can you not have a heart and support this wonderful occasion?

C'mon, rise to the cause.. Come out to the streets and protest against all these bloody good for nothing politicians..

Coz if you don't you're a traitor.. You deserve these bloody politicians..
All these blood sucking leeches will bleed the country dry once they're done with their ways.. and you're bloody one of them..

Your kids would be ashamed of you.

We'll write "mera baap chor hai" on their hands..

And so on…



I wish I could support Anna Hazare.. I really do.

After all, I don't want Annika's arms tattooed like Amitabh Bachchan.

But I have to be honest. I have actually not read what it is that his group is proposing.. All I have is emails why his proposal is better than what is in the proposed bill.

Nor, have I read what the current bill says..

So I really cannot say whether what Mr. Hazare is asking for is better than what is being proposed.

Ignorance can be bliss, but it definitely doesn't give me the right to an opinion.

Information does.

So, in the name of fairness, can someone send me the complete drafts of the proposed bill and what Mr. Hazare is proposing?

Please don't send me your opinions. Your opinions don't help me in understanding what the issue is. Your passions and your feelings can bias my decision.

Don't get me wrong, but I have had enough of your opinions already.

Send me an email, or an attachment, or a link or anything.

You can even courier me the printed drafts of both. Surely 100 bucks for the courier is worth my informed opinion. I can do Cash on Delivery also..

Though the question I have is, if I find the original draft more "patriotic" do I go on my own hunger strike?