This should be God’s job profile

This is what God is supposed to do-
Neel gagan par baithe, kab tak chaand-sitaaron se jhaankoge,
Parvat kee oonchee chotee se kab tak duniya ko dekhoge,
Aadarshon ke band granthon mein kab tak aaraam karoge,
Meraa chhappar tapak rahaa hai bankar sooraj isse sukhaao,
khaalee hai aate ke kanastar bankar gehoon ismein aao,
Maa ka chashmaa toot gayaa hai bankar sheeshaa isse banaao,
Chup-chup hain aangan mein bachche bankar geind inhein bahlaao,
Shaam hui hai chaand ugaao perh hilaao havaa chalaao,
Kaam bahut hain haath bataao Allah miyaan
mere ghar bhee aa hee jaao Alaah miyaan……..Nida Fazli

 

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A Face-less, Voice-less Existence

A faceless, voiceless Indian woman from an unknown village or city died in Singapore tonight. All we know about her is that her parents sold their land to finance her studies. Usually in murder cases the mystery to be solved is who killed her but in this case we need an answer for how many are responsible for her killing.

She escaped death in her mother’s womb – she could have easily been one of the thousands of girls killed because they are girls, no other reason needed. She survived death after seeing the light outside her mother’s womb, people call it female infanticide. As she grew up her mother kept an eye on her to save her from the evil eye of relatives and friends who could have harmed her emotionally and physically. She survived. He father sold land to finance her education, he wanted her to stand on her own two feet and live respectfully. She came to Delhi, she followed all norms forced on her by the society, she didn’t wear ” provocative”clothes, she was outside the house at a “civilized” hour, she was accompanied by a male friend and she was traveling in a public transport. Yet she was raped and killed brutally.

There is a long list of people who murdered not just her but also all the other girls who have died unknown deaths due to sexual assault and gender based discrimination. The doctor who performs foeticide; husbands and in laws who force mothers to kill their own babies; the soul keepers of the society who expect girls to make sure they don’t get raped instead of telling their sons to not rape; laws, lawyers and judges who provide loop holes to the rapists; politicians who accuse the victim instead of culprit.

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Points Of View, a fine art photography exhibition

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Trying To Make Parliamentary Disruptions, Commercially Viable And More Entertaining!!!!!!

ON one of the days last week, Parliament was about to be suspended yet again because the BJP had sent its members into the well of the house for another round of tumult and hullabaloo. They were  protesting against the corruption scam, popularly known as “Coalgate”, I tuned into Lok Sabha TV.

Instead of the regular ” Baith Jaiye” in her high pitched voice, Lok Sabha speaker Ms Meera Kumar was saying, all those in favour say “Aye”, a few voices said “Aye” and she proclaimed, the “Ayes have it”, the “Ayes have it”. It happened a few times. All this while there was a very distinct background music going on, the lyrics were- ” Istifa do, Istifa do, Pradhanmantri Istifa do” and “Koyle ki dalali main, poori Congress kaali hai”. All these lines were in different tunes but it wasn’t unpleasant. After watching this for a few minutes, I changed the channel and went on to the next most interesting programme on the telly, news analysis on the 24×7 news channels. A very intelligent looking analyst was saying  ‘Indian taxpayers lose Rs 2 crore a day when Parliament doesn’t work.

Nothing much has happened in the Parliament in the Monsoon session, it looks like a complete wastage of time and money of the taxpayer. We had seen a similar drama by Congress MPs during the NDA regime, the scam was then called “Coffingate”. This could very well be repeated in the next Lok Sabha and the one after that and the one after that by a different name.

The criteria for selecting candidates for elections are, potential for winning, money power  and muscle power. After watching this drama, shouldn’t  we focus on the strength of vocal cords and the sense of music as well? Candidates with a sense of music should be given preference over the ones who bore people with the same old tunes. The slogans used to disrupt the Houses of Parliament will be pleasant to the ears and  popular. The help of writers should be taken to write new, interesting slogans everyday. People would look forward to disruptions so that they can enjoy good revolutionary music and poetry.

The halls of the Parliament houses are lying vacant, they could be used to conduct reality shows to select the best candidates for disrupting the houses of Parliament. Imagine some reality show like “Indian Idol”, could be renamed “Indian MP”. If Anu Malik would be judging the show one could have a writer for free, his “poor self made shers” could be hit with the public who have survived him for so many seasons of “Indian Idol”. CDs and DVDs of this show could be launched and Lok Sabha TV could generate some revenue by commercials and the loss of  2 crores a day would hurt less.

It is just a beginning, our temple of democracy could be used for much more, our politicians and bureaucrats can even demand commission in the prize money, some may demand reservations for the downtrodden and the minorities. Some brainstorming would be needed to make it viable but don’t think Parliament disruptions would be bad commerce.

 

 

 

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Unreal Expectations?

 

There is a high quality drama going on in the capital, people have shifted from entertainment channels to 24 x 7 news channels.  A few days ago Anna Hazare was being portrayed as the new Gandhi because of his non-violent protest against the Indian government, then came Baba Ramdev with his excellent event management skills, promising to bring back all the Indian black money stacked in Swiss accounts. The familiar talk in the drawing rooms, TV channels and social networking sites is, things can’t go on like this and there must be a change. Netas from different parties are exposing skeletons of different sorts in each others cupboards, pots are calling the kettles black and in turn kettles are fuming and steaming with anger.

Today is “Independence Day” and I am trying to be happy and thankful. The Prime Minister has unfurled the National Flag and has started the customary address to the nation from the Red Fort. He is making new promises and trying to tell us what all they have achieved in the last one year. I am not able to believe what he is saying, every word sounds pretentious. Can’t believe when our politicians say they are hurt by riots in Assam, can’t believe when they say they are pained by the recent violence in Mumbai. All these tragedies look so choreographed and planned  by one group of politicians and their supporters or the other.  OB vans and cameras with journalists are  confusing us and we are unable to differentiate between rumours and reality. Let people in govt and opposition fight about fiscal deficit, revenue deficit, budgetary allocations and other such technicalities, we, the people are concerned about governance.

No matter what he  says and promises, the opposition will trash the Prime Minister’s speech and the ruling party will show us the moon till the next Independence day. All we want is, a less corrupt system( can’t dream of an incorrupt system) where there are equal opportunities of growth for all Indians. Basic health and education be made available to all, arrest of  the ” Gopal Kandas” and a  criminal Justice system that works for the “aam admi”. Is that expecting too much?????.

 

 

 

 

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Nothing Sensational, but riots did make an impact on me…

My father was posted in a small town in UP. There were a large number of Muslims in that town and the way we were being brought up, we never realised any difference between the two communities. There was one difference though, my mother wouldn’t eat at our Muslim neighbour’s house. We knew the reason, she wouldn’t eat at any place where non vegetarian food was cooked in the kitchen. Our friends knew that and wouldn’t mind, uncle would comment, bhabhi ji ka to aaj fast hoga. She still doesn’t eat in the restaurants where non vegetarian food is served. Nothing to do with religion. Life was fun, we participated in their festivals and they played Holi with us. They were nice people, very civilised and sophisticated.

There were news of Hindu, Muslim riots in the city one day. Door Darshan and AIR were the only source of news other than the news papers. For a child of my age, the news of riots didn’t mean much, there were no screaming anchors and tragedies were not sensationalised.  Life for children went as usual and  curfew in the city meant we had holidays. As usual I went to the neighbours house to play. There was a sombre atmosphere in their house. Everybody in their house was safe but there was a sense of insecurity, even a child of my age( I was 10 years old ) could sense something unusual. I heard Bhaiya( my friend’s elder brother ) talking to his father, musalmaano ke saath zyadati ho rahi hai( injustice is being done to the muslims). His father replied- hum log Hindustan main gaddar kehlaye jaa rahe hain aur Pakistan main muhajir ( we are being called traitors in India and refugees in Pakistan). There was pain in his voice, I still remember that. Don’t know who started the riots, who killed whom but that was the first time I was made to realise that there was a difference between my friend and me.

Fortunately everything was normal after a few days. There were no communal or pseudo secular parties then. SP, BSP and the likes of Diggi, Mulayam, Lalloo and Togadias were not seen on TV channels poisoning young minds. The riots in Assam have brought back old memories. For the sake of the young children of India, I hope situation in Assam normalises soon and the topic of conversation changes.

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Why just politics…

I am very tired of reading and hearing about the musical chairs being played in Karnataka, the statues of Mayawati, corruption cases, scams of different hues and colours and the helplessness of Dr Singh. I would love to see objective discussions about books, films, travel destinations, painters, photographers, craftsmen and artisans for a change. Discussions that aren’t promotional. Discussions that don’t seek to influence.

It seems however, that making a show about a political story or a politician is much easier than a show on a non-political story. All you really need to do is pick up a controversy (or even concoct or exaggerate if need be) and run down either the government or the opposition depending on where your political loyalties lie.

Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment if we chose not divide our media stories as Maobadi, Manuwadi, communal and pseudo-secular or for that matter by any ideological dogma and enjoyed objective media content that represented different perspectives? All the hype about Aamir Khan’s show “Satyamev Jayte” has shown that human interest stories can be popular with the masses.

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