Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Common "Wealth" Shames!!

         Considering the history of inept planning and even worse implementation, what with an administrative system that reeks of lassitude, what else could we have expected of our leaders? If that is not a rhetorical question, then I will do the honour of answering it myself (in fact I’m etching to do it!). The Commonwealth Games could go still downhill from here. Worst case (or best case?), India could end up winning most of the medals at the games, because almost all of the participating countries would have withdrawn by then. Moreover, these days my imaginative mind also nudges me to think further! What if the opening ceremony is accompanied by a terrorist attack in the Games Village itself, or some major roof comes down on certain spectators (God forbid!) and the Games stand forfeited?
        But thankfully, none of this is happening right now. Nor does it seem likely, if the placating statements passed on by the Government are to be believed. Now that the top people seem to have intervened, there are hopes afloat all around of a better show (better than the image projected by the ‘filthy’ games village, as described by an organizing honcho!). But this very happening makes one wonder why did the powers-that-be wait till the very last day (literally) to intervene? Or why did the preparations for the games begin almost more than 3 years too late? Or where did the 70,000 crore of the taxpayer’s money, that made this Commonwealth Games the costliest ever, disappear off to when the rooms provided to some athletes were ‘literally crappy’? These and many more questions can only be answered by the very same people who are organizing this mess. But let us wait for the mist of 11 action days to clear to make some sense of this melodramatic blame-game at the centre. But one thing is for sure, the Commonwealth Games have not made us proud. Instead, it has done the exact opposite – it has made us Indians hang our heads in shame, even before the Games have begun.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stones, Blood and Tears

          None of us sitting in the cushy armchairs supported by the hefty salaries can imagine what transpires in the troubled parts of the country – especially in Kashmir. And still, strangely though, everyone has an opinion to offer – from thoughts of the stone-pelters being PDP paid workers, to docile suggestions of a cabinet reshuffle; from the inability of the government to successfully ‘suppress’ the ‘violent’ movement, to (and this was one of the strangest suggestions I’ve heard) thinking ways to capture back the Kashmir territory under Pakistan occupation (PoK), as the whole Kashmir is legitimately India’s! 

          It is not so much as the lack of astute thought, but the inability to empathise with the ordinary Kashmiri at such a time of peril, that is snowballing into what could lead to a violent uprising that no one would be able to ‘suppress’. It is not possible for an ordinary Indian, cut off from the state of affairs in this precariously placed state, to fathom what goes on in the mind of a Kashmiri when he goes ahead and throws a stone towards the very people who have vowed to protect them. Do you think he believes that he can really harm the police-wallah? Or is his puny stone any match to the bullets and tear gas shells of the armed policeman? No. He knows he is no match. But still, he breaks a curfew, endangers his life to throw a harmless stone. He wants to make a statement with this action of his. A statement that simmers with resentment against the state atrocities. The Kashmiris want the CRPF and the Army out of the state, to put it plainly. How can they feel protected by the very people who have raped their daughter, killed their father or taken their son away from them? In the past 2 months, 55 unarmed civilians have been killed in the police and CRPF firing. Not a single police personnel has been killed by the hurled stones. Doesn’t this say something about the state of mind of a troubled youth, full of anger against the state that he wants nothing to do with? He does not want to kill. He wants to be heard, and throwing a stone has been the best, and the most liberating act of defiance that he can register. 

          But sadly, the power hungry honchos at the centre do not see the big picture yet. They do not see this resentment boiling over and giving way to something much bigger than what happened in 1990. Even the Prime Minister should bow his head in shame if a person from his party now mentions a possible hand of Pakistani terror outfits behind this whole ‘exercise’. It is very obvious to one and all that Pakistan has nothing to do with what is happening in Kashmir today. And if the people at the centre refuse to repeal, or atleast majorly amend AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, that gives extreme autonomous powers to the armed forces – an Act which is being grossly misused and which is at the root of all heartache), and go and talk to Kashmiris and listen to their pain, make them feel that they care - unless this is done, and quickly, something unprecedented might happen after which it would not matter which Kashmir should be on which side of the border.