Miscellanea – Nov 2011–Jan 2012
جو اترائے سکھ پر نہ بجھ جاے دکھ پر
تو فطرت کو اپنی وہ میلان دے دے
بدل پاے جسکی نہ پیمان کوئی
زمانے کو جوہر وہ میزان دے دے
जो इतराए सुख पर न बुझ जाए दुःख पर
तू फितरत को अपनी वो मेलान दे दे
बदल पाए जिसकी न पैमान कोई
ज़माने को जौहर वोह मीजान दे दे
Mould your nature so that it neither sulks on suffering, nor vulgarizes joys,
Jowher, present to the world the scale whose measure nobody can alter
December 22, 2011
CONGRATULATIONS, FELLOW INDIANS!
A great week for the Parliament, after prolonged and despicable disruption. Two major pieces of legislation introduced: the Food Security Bill and the Lokpal Bill.
May intelligent and reasoned debates now take place in both the houses enlightening us the citizens. It is time for the Parliament to convince the electorate that it has not elected dumb-heads.
December 22, 2011
The new trend of spontaneous physical outburst of mirth, called Flash Mob dance, may become a nuisance for our traffic, law and order. Please remember that passengers may often have emergencies: rushing for blood donation, catching the culprit, delivering babies, catching up on onward journey.. Such unexpected interruption can play havoc in such situations.
Sorry to be a kill-joy. I am all for pleasantness and expression of happiness – as long as it does not result in someone’s sorrow.
December 22, 2011
Press Council chairperson justice Markandey Katju said that awarding Bharat Ratna to cricketers and film stars dilutes its importance. http://bit.ly/vqmysQ. This jurist does say many sensible things. Let’s listen to him carefully.
The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : Who should get the Bharat Ratna?
December 23, 2011
کاش کہ میں ایک بادل ہوتا – ہچکولے لیتا منڈلاتا
یا پھر تیرتا ایک جزیرہ – سطح سمندر پر لہراتا
بے معنی بے مقصد یوں ہی – ادھر ادھر کو آتا جاتا
نہ کچھ میری مرضی ہوتی – اور نہ میرا کچھ بس چلتا
نہ میں کسی کا اپنا ہوتا، اور نہ کوئی میرا ہوتا
حق نہ ہوتا، فرض نہ ہوتا – نہ میرا نہ مجھ پر ہوتا
جب منزل ہوتی نہ راہیں – بھر نہ انکا تعین ہوتا
‘ہم’ نہ ہوتے ، ‘میں’ نہ ہوتا – یا ‘میں’ ‘ہم’ میں فرق نہ ہوتا
نیک اور بد کے جھنجھٹ سے پھر – دور کا بھی سمبندھ نہ ہوتا
نام نہ ہوتے نسب نہ ہوتے – میں ہوتا جوہر نہ ہوتا
काश के मैं एक बादल होता – हिचकोले लेता, मंडलाता
या फिर तैरता एक जजीरा – सतह समन्दर पर लहराता
बेमानी बेमक्सद यूँ ही – इधर उधर को आता जाता
न कुच्छ मेरी मर्ज़ी होती – और न मेरा कुछ बस चलता
न मैं किसी का अपना होता – और न कोई मेरा होता
हक न होता, फ़र्ज़ न होता – ना मेरा ना मुझ पर होता
जब मंजिल होती ना राहें – फिर ना उनका तायुन्न होता
‘हम’ ना होते, ‘मैं’ ना होता – या ‘मैं’, ‘हम’ मैं फर्क ना होता
नेक और बद के झंझट से फिर – दूर का भी सम्बन्ध ना होता
नाम न होते, नसब न होते – मैं होता, जौहर न होता
Inspired by the following from Arthur Koestler’s “Invisible Writing”:
“If I were a floating island or a lose cloud,
not losing my identity, yet not having a will,
not worried about the goals, and morals,
and rights and wrong.”
December 23, 2011
Teetotalers, non-smokers, non-tobacco-chewers, non-non-vegetarians, brahmacharis [celibates], regular at Yoga exercises, comfortable at fasting frequently, willing to claim to die for the country, and unwilling to change opinions. Rapid career growth, enormous media exposure and instant 20-minute fame guaranteed.
No not for the RSS. Head quartered at Ralegam Siddhi, this ad is for Team Anna. Apply via Times Now.
December 24, 2011
INDIA NOT SHINING – India Not Giving..
Last week I had the misfortune of informing how India was lagging in malnutrition. Today’s ToI reports that India lags far behind Sri Lanka and even Pakistan and Bangladesh in the matter of philanthropy.
When it comes to giving our so-called devbhoomi ranks 91 against Sri Lanka , Pakistan , Bangladesh  and even Nepal . Of course USA [at 1] leads the pack. Other prominent givers are Ireland and Australia. The pity is that not only in giving Money but also volunteering Time we score poorly.
Isn’t it a moment for us to introspect? We claim to be the most divinely ordained, spiritually driven, puritanical and pious. But our piety seldom exceeds beyond fasting on some days, avoiding non-veg food, worshiping the deities, and performing some other rituals.
Even our religious charity is motivated by our selfish desire to book a seat in the paradise [swarg, jannat..] or to avoid the hell [nark, jahannum..]. The impact we make [or fail to make] to other’s lives hardly matters to us!
December 24, 2011
Narendra Modi’s Khel Mahakumbh
Although I am usually critical of this CEO of the 2002 genocide, some of his initiatives are admirable, as is his administrative prowess. His emphasis on sports and games is one such remarkable initiative, although I am sure some activists will discover some hidden political motives behind this, too.
As a society we are sadistic: don’t do this, don’t eat this, don’t ask that, don’t laugh.. There is far too much unhappiness foisted upon us entirely by our erroneous understanding of life. We need to enjoy life far more, laugh a lot more, have much more fun.. and yet be far more productive. Our idea of piety is DON’T HAVE FUN. Basically we like neither to enjoy, nor to let others do so.
Sports and games, cultural activities and other healthy recreation are highly desirable outlets for our pent up suffering. If only we can enjoy better we would behave better, and be more productive towards our fellow humans.
Those who have gleefully condemned Kapil Sibal’s attempt at monitoring internet content, have scarcely noticed that many states, including Modi’s Gujarat, have very, very tough rules about running cyber cafes. Indeed, scores of cybercafes have had to close down for this reason.
Think: denial of internet access to the poor via cyber cafe is pre-censoring, ain’t it?
Poor physical infrastructure, denial of bandwidth, tough cyber cafe rules.. can all be deemed to be a form of censoring. Some of this may even be necessary. But we often fail to fathom the larger picture.
December 24, 2011
CONSIDER THIS: Believing in one religion can actually mean disbelieving in all those hundreds of other religions [else you wouldn’t remain stuck to yours!]. Now, they call you an ATHEIST if you disbelieve in JUST ONE MORE religion! Yours.
December 25, 2011
Some people do believe in God. Most others who think they also do, actually believe in “belief in God”. And there lies a big difference.
December 28, 2011
Understandably a child is usually not labelled the BJP, the Congress, or the Communist child because the child is too young to understand politics. But when the same child is labelled the Hindu child, Muslim or Christian child aren’t we assuming that he understands religion? (Adopted)
December 28, 2011
China launches a train that runs at 500 KMPH. And this is to constitute a part of their 13,000 KM long network of high speed trains. Does that say something about their support infrastructure and ancillary technologies? http://bit.ly/tolzLR
China’s 500 Kmph “Sword” Train Launched By CSR Corp. Ltd. – CrazyEngineers [www.crazyengineers.com]
December 29, 2011
Two institutions that never tire of sermonizing to us, the citizenry, and to legislate, on our behaviour, are, respectively, the Press and the Parliament. Watch how roguishly the reporters and cameramen behave while struggling to get a hot byte. Overhearing their acrimonious comments is ever so embarrassing.
As for the Parliament, the less said the better. Just watched in horror the ‘debates’ in Rajya Sabha on Lokpal bill, and how a RLD member actually snatched and tore off the bill papers. Ditto for several state legislatures. I wonder if most of these august legislators even get to hear each other.
December 30, 2011
GOD, OH! GOD
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?” -Epicurus
January 1 2012
No Lokpal agitation
No fasts and protests
No Parliamentary ruckus
No victors, and no losers
No Gs whatsoever:
SeeDublew, Two, or Three
No riots and no terror,
No price rise, no job falls
Wishing you a mirthful year
Two thousand and twelve.
January 1 2012
If something is not worth doing at all, it’s certainly not worth doing well!
January 1 2012
Has the media quality deteriorated or am I the only one missing the fun?
Browsed through a few channels last night to see if an interesting programme was on to usher in the new year. Sad to say I found none.
Years ago I used to see some good humoured presentations giving one a healthy laugh. Has our programming quality deteriorated, or have I lost out in the march of time?
January 4 2012
The cultural imprint on our religions is unmistakable. Read Hinduism in the context of the Indo-Gangetic plains, or Islam in the midst of 7th century Arabia and they make a lot of sense as social doctrines. Ditto for Judaism, Christianity – and perhaps all other religions. Right?
The trouble is that these religions also claim to have been divinely ordained and for all times and places. Right, again?
Now, if the former statement is true, then it follows that religions have a geo-political context to them and must change with the change of context, or cease to be relevant. What sayeth thou?
January 6 2012
NEWS: “Scientists erase an event”. Although I can’t claim to have fully fathomed the implications of the achievement of this 48 trillionth of a second, I am impressed.
With their unceasing pursuit our scientists and technologists are constantly improving our world for us. But, Alas! how little do we acknowledge their debt.
How many of us celebrate the anniversaries of the people who, for example, gave us:
1. Our ‘noor’ [light, aka electricity]?
2. Our longer lives, better health and medicines?
3. Nearly all of what we may be carrying on our bodies, using in our homes and workplaces, consuming, driving and being driven by… at least in their present shapes?
4. The direction to our present priorities, goals and objectives?
Our hypocrisy doesn’t let us fully appreciate the magnificent contribution of our philosophers, thinkers, writers, artistes, statesmen.. either. We tend to lay credit at the wrong doors, the doors of those that are themselves beneficiaries [labelled ‘holy’], not those of the true benefactors.
January 6 2012
Ameer Meenai Modi-fied!
وہ پیتے جا رہے ہیں خوں ہمارا جونک کی طرح
“مگر ہم بس یہ کہہ پائے : “جناب آہستہ آہستہ
پتنگ، ڈوری غریبوں کو، زمیں، کھیتی امیروں کو
بڑھاتے جا رہے ہیں فاصلے آہستہ آہستہ
بھڑا کر مند رو مسجد، لڑا کر مسلم و ہندو
بڑھے جاتے ہیں دلی کو، اگر آہستہ آہستہ
वो पीते जा रहे हैं खून हमारा जोंक की तरहा
मगर हम बस ये कह पाए: “जनाब आहिस्ता आहिस्ता”
पतंग, डोरी घरीबों को, ज़मीन खेती अमीरों को
बढाते जारहे हैं फासले आहिस्ता आहिस्ता
भिड़ाकर मन्दिरो मस्जिद, लड़ाकर मुस्लिमो हिंदू
बढे जाते हैं दिल्ली को, अगर आहिस्ता आहिस्ता
Sucking our blood like a leech; all we could squish: “softly please!”
Thread, kites for the poor; farmlands to the rich; enlarging the gulf steadily
Setting temples against masjids, Muslims against Hindus; marching towards Delhi, even if slowly.
January 7 2012
TO STEPHEN HAWKING
Happy Birthday Stephen.
Your very existence is the triumph of science, and testimony to the untiring human spirit of conquering nature’s infirmities.
You gave more to the world than it gave you.
You inspired many able-bodied by the mere twitching of your cheek, to do more.
You taught us to value limbs, life and time, by the way you lived and worked.
The world after you is richer in science than the one you inherited.
May you continue to live.
May you continue to illuminate science with black holes, worm holes, baby universes, multiverses.
And may you continue to inspire us to do our utmost to spread reason, inquiry, science and truth in general – fearlessly.
January 9, 2012
Shouldn’t the Media be subject to regulation / performance audits as well? Audit against misreporting, favoritism, mixing news and views, ignoring or trivializing important news, highlighting trivia?
If this requires cumbersome, comprehensive methodology, so be it. As media acquires increasingly lethal armory it should be held to account equally. After all, doesn’t it acquire its powers from the privileges the constitution and the democratic polity accords it?
January 10, 2012
To all analysts it may now appear that Dr Rajesh Talwar found his 14-yr old daughter Aarushi with his domestic help Hemraj in a compromising position in the dead of one night. Overcome with uncontrollable rage he hit the two with his golf stick killing Hemraj instantly and grievously injuring Aarushi. Wife Napur joined the commotion. Since there was nothing to salvage they actually then slaughtered them, to hide this apparently unintended crime. Finally they together conducted a clean up operation.
Now, murder is unquestionably unpardonable, both at law and at ethics. But under the above circumstances how do you judge the reaction of Rajesh Talwar in so far as the first attack is concerned. [That it led to the other crimes is obvious.]
I present this case merely as a hypotheses [without concluding one way or the other] to elicit public opinion, and to provoke a debate on law and morality in real life. After all isn’t this how all laws come to be framed?
January 10, 2012
Whoever knew this chap was going to visit India until the Deoband maulana raised a call to ‘decline the visa’?
First, we understand Rushdie doesn’t need a visa to visit India. Second, how can you deny a person of Indian origin a visit to India? What would happen if Rushdie were an Indian resident? Would you want him exiled? Third, what heavens would have fallen had he visited anyway? At the most he would have visited a few “intellectual” gatherings in some metros and vanished. It is this call that made his ordinary visit so important. He has visited India earlier without anyone taking much note of him. [Anyway he says he is not coming just now]
One wonders when the Muslim leadership learns to not defocus the pressing and serious issues bothering the community. BJP – as expected – has played up this call. And why wouldn’t they?
January 10 2012
Mukesh Ambani builds himself a $ 1 Billion house [http://huff.to/xgCzqP] i.e. about Rs 4500 crore. Just four hours drive away, in Melghat, six year old Ritesh – son of Sitaram, a labourer – is dying of malnourishment. He already looks shrunk to half his age.
Vijay Mallya [whose airline Kingfisher owes millions in defaulted payments] is flaunting plans for his White House in the sky: the only One-acre piece of land in Bangaluru up in the sky. In another district of Karnataka, Raichur, 14-year-old Nagaraju has just passed away. Due to malnutrition. In fact, Mallya’s north Karnataka has become notorious for malnutrition deaths.
Citizens’ Hunger Report claims: “one in every 3 Indian kids is malnourished.” The Prime Minister has called this finding a national shame and added that only one in five Indian children had acceptable levels of nutrition. This despite rising GDP. Malnutrition stalks 73,000 households in 112 districts in 7 states.
Ask: where do these Ambanis, Adanis, Ruias and Mallyas get their rupees from? What is their inherent genius? How many inventions have they come up with? They made their bucks by exploiting our infirm system that enriches some. And kills some.
Ask, too: Are we also in some ways not responsible for these tragic hunger-deaths of our children? The next time you leave food on your dinner plate, ask if this could make a life-saving morsel for some?
What would you do if your net worth were $22 billion? If you were Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani, you might build yourself the world’s most expensive home.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
January 10, 2012
1. Bill Gate asks: “Which Chief Minister on earth makes it there without my Windows?”
2. David Cameron boasts “No major politician of the sub-continent can rise to power without our English”
You would call these statements stupid. Right?
And if you heard: “No leader of Delhi can grow without Gujarat’s milk” you would think no differently. Right, again?
But not so with our august Pravas Bharatis [NRIs] who lapped up every provocative and divisive comment of Mr Narendra Modi, at their gathering at Jaipur.
And you thought NRIs are better informed, more broad-minded and refined fellows!
January 12 2012
BJP is adept at raising controversies and dividing people along religious lines around non-issues. This polarization helps it galvanize right wing Hindu votes.
Karnataka government seeks to make the learning of Gita in the state’s schools compulsory. Justification? Gita is not a religious text but a universal moral code [sic]. Questions: Are the Quran and the Bible supposed to be lacking in the universality of their appeal? Do the sentiments of other Indian communities – and of liberal Hindus – not count? Is the state of Karnataka Hindu, not secular? Are the Dalits supposed to learn that they are unequal to the Brahmins?
The MP Govt requires all its schools to practice Surya Namaskar. [And when some maulana decreed this as being against Islam, Muslims are being questioned why they turn everything religious!]
Questions: Is Surya Namaskar the only commonly acceptable exercise for good health? [Muslims sincerely claim that Namaaz is a wholesome exercise. Is the government open to accepting this view, too?] Are the Muslims and the Christians who may not wish to follow, expected to acquiesce as second grade citizens? And, even if not made compulsory, would this practice not set them apart, dividing students right along religious lines? Are the supposed benefits worth the schism this is bound to create?
Now consider that these two states are notorious for malnutrition and hunger deaths. Any wonder, since the energies and attention of their governments are frittered on non-issues – wantonly or out of sheer habit?
Or are these clever attempts to polarize voters of the northern states going to the polls?
January 12, 2012
A group of American marines [highly trained, much touted soldiers] have been shown gleefully urinating on the bodies of dead Talibans – and passing obscene comments – inside Afghanistan.
The Talibans appear brutes, cruel, fundamentalists. And they claim so. And they are.
The Americans appear civilized, humane, liberal. And they claim so. And they just are NOT.
It is not a one-off act of some deranged soldier. It was a group, and they appeared quite at ease doing this barbaric act. Recall Iraq’s Abu Gharaib prison: very similar obscenities were committed there. It is entirely conceivable that a lot many more of such incidents remain unreported.
Remember that the Americans are aliens and regarded aggressors in their lands.
Guess, why hundreds of Osamas will not be born – vowing to avenge, then? If ordinary Americans do not condemn such acts unambiguously they will naturally be bracketed with such villains.
Seeing these despicable pictures every civilized person will feel enraged – and Muslims world-wide will take personal umbrage. I, even as a cultural Muslim, for one, seriously do.
I am reminded that Ehsan Jaffri was subjected to a similar disrespect by the VHP hooligans at his home at Ahmedabad. This, of course, was widely condemned by every sensible Hindu.
The entire American nation owes a profound apology to humanity.