March 15, 2010

The Dirty Politics

"Is Mayvati fit to be the next Prime Minister?" asked a news channel. 'No' was the reflex answer that rang in my head. I did not follow the debate or the discussion since I was of the firm opinion that she should be kept away from anything that resembles power, public money, or politics. The next day I read in a news article that she was felicitated with a Rs 5o million worth garland made solely of Rs 1,000 notes. I was thoroughly disgusted: Sheer politics and desperate flamboyance which does not even suit the new beacon of dalits.

Mayavati Kumari, started off with petty posts in politics. Initially, behenji, coming from an humble background with oiled plaits and ponytails, fielded the dalits for their support and had an anti-upper caste mindset. This attitude changed (along with her hairstyle which now was a short bob) when she reached out for the support of Muslims and the upper-class Hindus in the 2007 elections. A person with more political knowledge than me may tag me to be prejudiced against her. But I am so. She may pose as an inspiration for the Dalits when she makes political achievements, but erecting her own statues all over the place is pure vanity. Now there was a Dr Ambedkar statue where she built a Rs 1o million police post with ultra modern facilities and interiors (at par a luxury hotel) just for its protection. A 700 metre road that led to that statue was lined with designer lamps. Her birthdays are a grand media event where money and spirit flow in parallel streams. If this is supposed to be an inspiration to the Dalits, I don't think so, in fact this is like waving a piece of meat in front of the famished animals.

Having stated this, can India, which is such a culturally diverse and religiously pluralistic country, afford to have a PM like her? We do not need a politician. We do not need a manipulator who is skilled only in one-upmanship. I'm sure, if she attains that post, her cabinet will be filled with only her loyalists. The criterion for portfolio allocation will be based on the favors they did her. Comparing her with the current Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, my prejudice against her only aggravates. The supremely educated and intelligent PM is the best representative India can have on the international platform. Be it the climate control policies or nuclear deals or border issues or global recession problems, I can imagine the embarrassment we might have faced had Mayawati been in his place. Can you imagine the way the woman, who is richly marinated in gutter politics, could have carried herself on the global stage as a premier representative of one of the most important countries of the world? The way Dr Singh financially revived the entire nation when he was the Finance Minister of India speaks volumes about his capacity as an able PM. He also happens to be the first non-political person to qualify as prime ministerial candidate of India. After a stupendous tenure, if India sees that dalit leader as its PM we'll be soon settling into times governed by caste supremacy and even more reservations.

As I said before, I am prejudiced against her, but not her dalit-ness. Responsibility of a nation is a tremendous and an all-inclusive responsibility and not an opportunity to glorify your petty agendas. Dr Ambedkar was born a dalit, and that meant he had to make do with limited financial resources, educational opportunities, social displeasure and so on. In spite of all that he strove hard and became highly educated. That was when he ceased being a dalit technically, never mind what he was born as. His attitude and forward thinking did not behove the Dalit tag. Mayawati was also born as a dalit, became literate with a few qualifications, amassed millions worth of assets but her blinkered outlook still make her a thorough dalit. What she is doing for the dalits is not going to help them much. She may give them concessions, provide for reservations, but in the end they will be remain dalits, in their own eyes, in the eyes of the rest of the people. Instead of uplifting them from the lower stratum of the society she is providing them with meagre supplies for a more comfortable stay there itself.

The brand equity Dr Singh imparts to India is unsurpassable, and election of a person lesser able than him will be a step down, while in behenji's case, a plunge down. The unsure nature of Indian Democracy worries me. Because it is hardly in the hands of the few knowledgeable and more in the hands of even fewer politicians. At the time when the world looks upon the India's stand and opinion on issues of terrorism and carbon control measures as pivotal between the developed and developing camps, we need to give that stand some substance of credibility. At the time when international universities are setting up campuses in India, we need to provide them a sophisticated academic atmosphere. Is it necessary to elaborate further who is the abler candidate?

Having written all this, I would not appeal to you, the reader, saying words like 'Let us look at the clearer picture' or 'Let us try to redefine our perception'. It is time you became self-opinionated and kept away from the herd mentality and took the right decision not only while voting but also while switching to a different television channel.

P.S. I would like to quote King Julian from Madagascar 2: Whatever happened to separation of classes?

January 15, 2010

The Strange Feelings

"The Uncomfortable Feeling" is the worst type of all the feelings I daresay. I can tolerate guilt, boredom, envy, inferiority complex, embarrassment and some other mild feelings, but The Uncomfortable Feeling wins hands down. I write about this because I did something in college - and I shall certainly not describe what - which has got me this itchy feeling. To be more clear, it was something which others might not have found stupid or strange, but I, for one, did find it so. I dunno if anyone of you ever did something goofy and then had this feeling at the back of your mind nudging you the entire day, reminding you of that moment making you wish you hadn't done it. And you are like 'Arrgh! Tomorrow, I'm gonna take some corrective steps and act really cool.' If only there was a mental eraser! I would have erased that incident first from others' memory and then mine.

Boredom is a valuable feeling. I can't say it for others, but when I am bored, I tend to introspect a lot. It can be probably because when you are so bored to do anything or can't think of what you can do, you just sit back and stare into space or potter about on Facebook. I advanced to a higher level of boredom some days back. I got bored even of Facebook. I couldn't stand reading what my friends were becoming fans of. Either it's 'someone became a fan of talking on the last bench' or '... became a fan of I don't like it when people don't reply to my messages quickly'. I am so sick of it that I don't care to elaborate on it further. Facebook really changed my daily life. Initially, with Orkut, where you had hardly anything to pass your time with, you couldn't get so addicted. And it was possible to log off after a while. But with Facebook I had this compulsive habit of commenting on some or the other post, diligently ploughing on Farmville, playing Social Interview and many other petty applications. I must really warn those who are reading this and if they can identify themselves with with this trait, that this habit can suck the real qualities out of you. I can't remember the last time when I read a book for at least two hours at a stretch. I have been trudging along with the fat novel Atlas Shrugged for almost an eternity now. The fact is, all this time, while I had been glued to Facebook, I did not realise that instead of curing my boredom I was aggravating it. I have nothing against Facebook, and don't even understand how this post strayed on to be so anti-FB but somehow Facebook and Boredom are two words I can easily co-relate. My reading habit has taken such a blow that I can actually see for myself that this post is the worst ever till now when it comes to content, creativity and style. Detestable!

Another feeling is the 'Yearning for Solitude'. Remember those times, when you were traveling to college or work, and just wanted to be busy with your thoughts when your hyper-enthusiastic friend appeared out of nowhere beaming like a Miss World? It's physically painful when the guy goes on blabbering on topics you are least interested to even think about. I sometimes wonder during such times if I, too, ever was so thick that I couldn't take the hint to shut up when the other person was keeping mum. This Yearning for Solitude Feeling may arise because of many things: a sour incident, bad mood, fight with someone and so on. And when you are in a blissful solitude you are actually nursing or self-healing your bad mood. When you have had a satisfactory time in solitude, you are fresh enough to be social again. However, this feeling should not be confused with reclusiveness. Yearning for Solitude is perfectly natural. For the ripples in the lake to settle into a still surface it is better if there blew not even a breeze.