“Monsoons…clouds have gathered…it will be grey.”
“No, it feels grey, it feels like sadness.”
“Remember that you like the colour, you used to wear it often?”
“Yes, but with silver bangles or earrings or rings or neck pieces.”
“Your silver lining?”
“No, the shaft of lightening.”
“So why does the grey bother you?”
“It does not. It seems like a sky full of remorse.”
“We need rains.”
“Just as we need sorrow to purge ourselves.”
“Our own burdens.”
“What is so heavy that you carry?”
“That must be light then, if they are not realised.”
“No, they sit inside me as though I am an incubator.”
“You are protecting them.”
“Unwittingly. Those dreams will never come true.”
"How do you know?”
“Because they were not mine to begin with…they came to me while I was asleep and stayed to watch the sun with me.”
“You said it was grey.”
“The sun is grey…”
“I think this is silly…”
“Look into it straight and watch yourself blink away the tears…now open your eyes and see it through that film of agony.”
“The sun is not grey, your way of seeing it is.”
“What about the cloud that stands just beneath it?”
“During sunshine the clouds are not grey.”
“This sun peeps in during the rains when the clouds are grey and that one cloud stops me from seeing it and makes it appear grey.”
“It is the cloud then.”
“It is also the sun.”
“Do you own it?”
“Anything one sees is ours.”
“No. You feel you belong to it or it belongs to you, but you do not own it.”
“Belonging to something makes you its owner.”
“If I cry over something then I own the grief.”
“Why do you cry?”
“To tell the grief I am one with it.”
The backbencher who won.
He may have gone on to many more victories, a few defeats. He drowned instead. In a swimming pool. He did not know to swim too well. He took that risk.
Why do people take risks? Because they just might manage to conquer the waves, turn the tide, go to the deep end and find a treasure trove.
I did not follow Ishmeet Singh's journey during the Voice of India season, but I watched him in the Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar programme. And I watched as he seemed to be a bit apart. There was no flourish in his singing, no performance stunts, no heavy contortions of voice. He just sang straight, sometimes a bit too straight that you did not realise he could reach your heart.
Did he want to? He remained distant. At 19, the stage beckoned. So did death.
Yesterday, the blue waters claimed him. Without knowing it, he had managed to touch me with his voice and his tranquility.
SVOI - Ishmeet Singh - Ab Mujhe Raat Din
So I watched him on NDTV's Walk the Talk show last night.
He is speaking with a forked tongue. Did he not say something about his conscience post-Gujarat? Okay, here is is talking about how he admires Vajpayee...the same man who as prime minister did precious little and kept quiet and took up for Modi in Gujarat.
All these guys are now gushing about Omar's role in national politics. He is smiling like a cat that has licked all the cream and looks doodh ka dhula hua. Let him milk the issue dry.
Have fun. As he did in his "3-minute" orgasmic speech.
- - -
Note: For those interested, a longish extract (an encounter with the poet Ahmed Faraz) from my book is in Dawn as well as uploaded on A Journey Interrupted blog.
This is a response to a gentleman's kind listing of Muslim ‘contribution’ to India I read about. Had he talked about some kinds of Muslims, one would have accepted it and let it pass. Now, since this is a general tarring of IMs, listen up…
1. Demolishing 2000 Hindu temples.
Then, rather sweetly, he asks, “Am I missing anything?”
It doesn't matter. You are missing the wood for the woodpecker. If you want to move on, then why keep pecking on the same old tree?
1. Yes, Hindu temples were demolished. How many Jain and Buddhist temples did the Hindus destroy? Oh, but that does not count, because Hindus consider Jains and Buddhists as their own.
2. Yes, you had Aurangzeb...and Akbar, Jehangir, Shahjehan...they performed a puja at the Taj Mahal recently, just because they felt like it. I mean, how many Muslims go to temples as tourists and fall on their feet to offer the namaaz because they were there and just felt like it? Oh, but Mussalmans are like the British, everything time-to-time, as we Gujjus say.
3. Yes, Jiziya...Mughals levied tax on Hindus. What can I do about that? It was wrong but they had come as conquerors and not democrats, na? And don’t you put money in McCain's and Obama's chanda boxes so that your future is safe in America and you can get that French kiss from the statue of liberty symbol?
4. Yes, Partition was a Muslim contribution. They made it easy for us to have another country to blame. India was made up of so many principalities with nabobs and maharajahs living in those palaces which had pink chandeliers and vomit-yellow carpets. The departing Muslims left you with these to get dollahs from tourists to peep through some stupid filigree.
5. Yes, terrorism...our ‘contribution’ is that we too sat and took it. Now, as one report says, car bombs have made their “debut”...so IMs were virgins until just the other day, right?
And then the gentleman says:
"We could have let sleeping dogs lie after partition. Wasn't that the point of partition?"
The Partition wasn't about letting sleeping dogs lie, get it? It was a response to the behaviour of Gandhi-Nehru-Jinnah separately and for different political reasons.
"Yet these bastards chose to keep on occupying our land, agitating for their own laws and rules, and explode bombs."
Your land? The Bay Area, SF? IMs are 'occupying' the land we were born in and tilled. Get that in your head. Now. Yes, some are agitating for separate personal laws because the politicians like playing ball with them and they like playing ball with the politicos. But, don't the Hindus have their own civil laws? The Parsis, the Christians? I am for a Uniform Civil Code, but it has to be based on secular ideas, not the idea of the majority community. No way. Yes, some Muslim organisations explode bombs. How many IMs support them?
"What the fukk do they want?"
That you learn to spell correctly without fear. After all, you have not studied in some madrassa where they shake their heads, right?
"For the flag of Islam to fly on Red Fort?"
No, I don't think IMs want the flag of Islam on the Red Fort; they are happy enough with Delhi Darbar and Karim's.
"Every few years we need a fucking pogrom just to keep them in line. Haraami kee aulad saaley, they wan't nothing in life but to die and kill."
I can feel your pain. And really sorry about all the trouble you guys have to undergo to organise those orgiastic pogroms, get saffron bandanas, and write all those slogans (hey, you did not take SRK to task for misusing your religion with ‘Om Shanti Om’? Isn’t he too a "haraamee ki aulaad"? Oh, I forgot, he pays lotsa jiziya to the IT department...)
"In any case, this is between Indian Hindus and Muslims who live in India. Its not really a Pakistani issue is it?"
Interestingly, now you are not blaming the Pakistanis. Why? One more Dunkin' Donuts trip being planned? Or that Sufi dance at the Daata Ganj Baksh in a ganja trance?
As Pooh would say, tell me how it was…
Now time for a siesta…yeah, let the sleeping bitch lie…
There has been an anonymous comment:
this is the price we are parying for keeping the muslims here after independence.Gandhi and Nehru are the biggest mass-murderes for letting the cancerous muslims stay on.
Has no Muslim died in any of the bomb blasts that have occurred in our country post-Independence? Has no Muslim been part of the struggle for Independence?
No one is "keeping" Muslims here. We were here, are here and shall remain here. Indian Muslims are not asking for a separate state quite unlike some other 'separatist' movements in India. So shut up.
More later. And there will be more later.
Taming The Islamic Shrew
By Farzana Versey
Countercurrents, July 27
The term British Islam has been used quite a bit in the past many months. There is no American Islam, Indian Islam or even Saudi Islam. Does religion need to have a nationality?
An organisation that is as yet nameless has been set up by the government of Britain a few days ago. The board will have 20 Islamic thinkers from academia and the community. Its purpose is to tackle terrorism and to ensure that there is no conflict between being Muslim and British. A report says, “The new British body will see Oxford and Cambridge Universities host a group of scholars to lead the debate on key British Muslim issues such as women’s rights and responsibilities and loyalty to the host country, Britain.”
Since when have women’s rights become solely “key British Muslim issues”? And how does one ensure that an organisation that is to be promoted by the government will teach loyalty and responsibility to the country without prejudice?
This is the same country that has ‘outsourced’ torture of its citizens of Muslim origin to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Labour Party lawmaker John McDonnell admitted to The Guardian, “I believe that there is now sufficient evidence to demonstrate that British officials outsourced the torture of British nationals to a Pakistani intelligence agency.”
Incidents of abductions of Muslims in Britain who are considered suspect, especially following the bomb blasts of 2005, are now coming to light.
Human rights and other such groups do talk about this being “unacceptable”. Will they raise their voices against the ridiculous government-sponsored attempts to make Islam conform to their idea of nationalism and patriotism?
Why is Islam being singled out? One of the spokespersons of the group said, “We need to encourage and create safe places for sensible debate around issues that extremists can seek to exploit and make sure that young British Muslims recognise their faith teaches shared citizenship values.”
Extremists, of the Islamic persuasion or of any religion and ideology, do not follow the dictates of that faith or ideology to further their agenda. And if they knew their faith then they would not need to be taught what is there. Predictably, there has been a reaction from an Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose spokesman Taji Mustafa stated, “It is a supremacist war that aims to force one system, capitalism, and secular liberal values on the whole world.” As someone rightly pointed out, this is a “transparent ploy to create a British state-sponsored Islam”.
There is cockiness in such transparency. It is almost as militant in its motives as any terrorist activity. Is this merely an attempt to ensure that a radical version of Islam does not reach these people or is it exclusionist in its intent? And what is Britain’s idea of “hate-filled teaching”? That it is designed to destroy the Western “way of life”, as has been reported.
This is extreme xenophobia. Would any westerner be in a position to define this way of life? Is it uniform throughout Europe, America? Does it refer to the English-speaking people of the world? Or is it about those societies in the West that still suffer from imperialist tendencies and unabashedly go about decimating little nations or countries that do not understand their way of life?
Of the 1.6 million British Muslims, how many do not understand what their citizenship entails? If you are teaching them about duties, then how about teaching the government and its satellite bodies about their rights? Do Muslims in the UK have the right to be Muslims without being tagged and questioned each time they wear clothes that might identify them as being part of their religion? Does a person with a Muslim name have the luxury of not being frisked a bit more?
If 600 of Britain’s 1,400 mosques run by Deoband-affiliated clerics are taking lessons from the recently issued fatwa by the same group in India, then this is one more publicity stunt. It wasn’t spontaneous. It was the brainchild of an ad man, Alyque Padamsee, who in fact heads the London-based Institute of Corporate Training. He has been quoted as saying, “Terrorists were misusing the name of Islam and the media was maligning the religion. I couldn’t understand why the Ulema were not issuing a fatwa against terrorism.”
He got hold of all the right-sounding secularists and roped in the general secretary of the Jamiat-ul Ulema-I-Hind, Maulana Mahmood Madani. The ad man and the mullah sat in the plush environs of his house. He told Madani, “…a fatwa carried weight, and created a buzz. I recalled how Imam Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie hit the headlines. I wanted similar publicity for the anti-terrorism fatwa”.
This is utterly shameful and also ironic. People who call themselves liberals and oppose the edict against Rushdie now see in it the potential for a marketing gimmick.
All those placards carried by skull-capped Muslims (as though there aren’t any other types) saying “Islam means peace” and “Terrorism is the enemy of Islam” were the result of this exercise in creating a buzz. What is worse is that a man not known to align himself with religion got onto the bandwagon. And rather patronisingly he tutored the maulvi that, “like Martin Luther, he should talk of a dream: to stop Islam from being maligned’’.
People who are in charge of selling soap with models in bikinis under waterfalls are now telling us about how to save the fair name of Islam. This is as Occidental as it can get.
It appears to be all right for the westernised elite to play the ingratiating Uncle Tom while at the same time being blindly worshipped by the Muslim ‘intelligentsia’ for puerile utterances. However, if the non-intelligentsia are blind believers of a holy book, then all hell breaks loose. And who is this group that comprises of the intelligentsia? Why do they not have anything to say for themselves? Does it not strike them as odd that they would not garner much space, forget respect, for holding the very same views as the fake liberal sympathiser?
Returning to the question of ‘British Islam’, it is so easy to exercise control given that most Muslims are located in specific areas. Why then is there the need to flaunt citizenship and loyalty issues when the government, the police force, and the judiciary wallow in callousness and corruption and can co-opt the people?
Late last year, Oldham town opened its doors to what was referred to as Britain's first Islamic ‘pub’, the Halal Inn. The ambience is 19th century; the drinks served are juice and fizz; the music in the background is the sound of nasheeds, Islamic hymns. There is a prayer room, together with a restaurant, study room, business lounge and steam room.
This will probably warm the ale in the hearts of many a Briton: a stereotype that works within the parameters set by the system. These are the readymade slaves that the new organisation is looking for to educate about British nationalism and anti-terrorism. How precious it is to know that the man whose name today is synonymous with such fanatical activities and who made the cave so hip and 21st century a dwelling spent hours not in a halal pub but with a glass of Campari.
- - -
Also published in Counterpunch
You might accuse me of insensitivity. For keeping quiet. I have things to say. But they are heavy…loaded. At keast I am not asking, “Is Narayan Murthy safe?” or “Oh, now what will happen to business in Gujarat?” or "How safe is Mumbai?" At least I am waiting to understand.
Look at this picture.
There are two bodies lying on the ground; most of the fruits in the cart are as they are, almost mockingly fresh. And the people standing barely a few feet away are just watching. What are they watching?
This is for them…Inn laashon se mat poochhna
Kisne inhein maar diya
Kuchch keh daalege woh tau
Cheekhein nahin sun paaoge apni
Qaatil nahin ho tum
Lekin itni asaani se
Khud ko kathputhli na samajhna
Kuchh tau kiya hai tumne
Talwar tumhare haathon mein nahin thi
Na khanjar, na eent ka tukda
Thi tumhare bhi aankhon mein aag
Jal gaya lahu, sookh gaye aansoon
Thodi deir ke liye tum bhi raakh ban kar dekh lo
Inn laashon ko waheen par rehne do
Read this rather whatever-you-want-to-call-it piece by Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin. She was talking about how women are addressed in Pakistan (“Baby” and then “Baaji”, then “Begum sahiba” etc.) What intrigued me was her recollection of a recent trip to Jaipur and how she was feeling slightly bored as her Indian friend went through the sarees at a store. (Oh dear. Most Pakistani women love sarees, but I guess the trip here is something different.)
Now in her words:
“I continued to sip my Coke. He (the salesman) picked up a sari and thrust it in my face. Yeh pasand hai, memsaab? I looked over my shoulder. There was no white woman. He was speaking to me. Me? A memsaab? A memsaab in my mind is a white woman in a calf-length belted dress and a wide brimmed hat. She has firm opinions, a loud voice and belongs to the Raj novels of Paul Scott. I fail to qualify on all counts. Something about my demeanour or dress (a salwar kameez) may have signalled my foreignness to a particularly observant shopkeeper, but surely I didn’t look like a mem? But Indian friends informed me afterwards that the term was not meant personally. Memsaab in India is as generic as baji in Lahore. Indian ladies have also become memsaabs. Why it should be so remains a mystery, but so it is.”
Two observations from me:
* Terminology evolves over time. Men are routinely referred to as Saab, right? No problems with that? Such stereotypes really. So, how many women in Lahore are begums that they qualify as Begum sahibas? Does she turn around to look for some nawaabi thaat, a pankha, maybe a palanquin?
And why assume only white women have firm opinions and loud voices?
* Since when has the salwaar kameez come to signal foreignness for Indians? If she had looked beyond the straw of the Coke at the street, she might have watched women riding scooters wearing salwaar kameezes. Puhleeze. You want to sound exotic, try saying you were wearing a Lahori sombrero or something.
- - -
- - -
"Aap ka kya pareshan hain?" (When he really wanted to know what the problem was.)
Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, in his broken Hindi, to a disruptive member during the trust vote.
Khalid Shahanshah, the chief security officer of PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was assassinated on Tuesday afternoon outside his Clifton residence, police and witnesses said, according to Dawn newspaper.
How is the word assassination used here?
Here is what I read:
Assassination is the targeted killing of a high-profile person. An added distinction between assassination and other forms of killing is that the assassin (one who performs an assassination) usually has an ideological or political motivation, though many assassins (especially those not part of an organization) also demonstrate insanity. Other motivations may be money (contract killing), revenge, or a military operation.
The assassination euphemism targeted killing (or extrajudicial punishment / execution) is also used for the government-sanctioned killing of opponents. 'Assassination' itself, along with terms such as 'terrorist' and 'freedom fighter', may in this context be considered a loaded term, as it implies an act in which the proponents of such killings may consider them justified or even necessary.
Does the newspaper have any information that will justify its use of the term? Why has it then not been explicated?
Its own report says a case has been registered against "unknown assailants".
Why do reports use words so loosely?
So everyone is mighty impressed by the mighty heart of the cub of the cub of the Sher-e-Kashmir.
I am not biting this ‘dignified’ speech. Only because Omar Abdullah was not flashing a wad of notes does not mean one has to go along with his highly apologetic tone about how Muslims are not this and not that and then say, with some bloody audacity, that being Muslim and being Indian are not mutually exclusive. Why does he even need to say it? Why?
Here are some of his bon-bon mots, and let me respond:
“I am a Muslim and I am an Indian. And I see no distinction between the two. I don’t know why should I fear the nuclear deal. It is a deal between two countries which, I hope, will become two equals in the future. The enemies of Indian Muslims are not America or deals like these. The enemies are the same as the enemies of all those who are poor — poverty, hunger, lack of development and the absence of a voice.”
It isn't about you, Omar. It is about Indians. Not two abstractions called ‘countries’, please. If you personally do not fear the nuclear deal you can go and figure out some way to cook up something in your outhouse. Don’t mess with an issue that is larger and has greater ramifications. And stop this thing about India and America being equals in the future; this conveys that we are unequal at present and in view of the current deal sends out the message that India is therefore playing an inferior role. It is in fact doing so, which is what the ruckus has been all about. But Omar wants to be like America. And he is quoting the same thing about the real enemies being poverty and other stuff, which everyone knows. It does not mean there cannot be other enemies and America will ensure that India does not get too far. Look how it has got to Pakistan…
“Today, the Left is telling me that all secular parties should stand with the BJP to bring down this government. The same Left treated me like a political untouchable when I was with the NDA.”
You were a political untouchable because you were with the NDA. The Left is asking you to support the anti-nuclear stand, which happens to be the BJP’s purported stand. Understood?
“I am not a member of the UPA and don’t aspire to be one. I made a mistake to be with the NDA, especially after Gujarat riots happened. My conscience had asked me to quit NDA but I didn’t. My conscience has still not forgiven me.”
Go give a jadoo ki jhappi to your conscience and next time listen to it. Unless you don’t want to so that when the opportunity arises you can bring it out as a viable ‘dignified’ stand.
(On the Amarnath issue that Leader of Opposition L K Advani had highlighted in his speech yesterday, Abdullah said he had fought for the cause since it involved the land of his people. He dared the BJP to name a single leader from Jammu and Kashmir who had opposed the Amarnath yatra.)
“Until the day there is even a single Muslim in Kashmir, from Srinagar to Amarnath, the Amarnath yatra will not be allowed to stop.”
Now takhliyaan...that is, over and out…
- - -
For the other tamasha of ‘live’ bribery, you may want to watch this.
Mujhe yeh jahaan kyon chahiye?
Jahaan log kishto mein
Apne-aap ko baant dete hai
Aur munaafa dekhte hai ehsaason mein
Jahaan kisike chale jaane ka gham
Darwaaza band hone tak rehta hai
Aur khilone banaake yaadon se khela jaata hai
Jahaan guldaan ko pheink diya jaata hai
Kyonki murjhaye phool ko dekh kar
Roothe hue darakht ko hansa sakte hai
Jahaan parchhaiyeen se hi pataa chalta hai
Ke roshni kaheen jal rahi hai
Koi lau mein pighal raha hai
Jahaan paani pyaas ki yaad dilaata hai
Aur jheel ko dekhkar
Keechad se kamal ko ukhaad diya jaata hai
Jahaan itne mehfoos mehsoos karte the
Ke khud ki hastee ko daav par lagaa diya
Ab kya karein jab wahaan se nigahban ne hi nazar mod li
Jahaan waqt ke guzarne ka andaaza
Aanchal mein chhupe lamhon ke gauhar se maalum kar lete
Agar kuchch moti bewafaai se gir nahin gaye hote
Jahaan andhere mein pehchaan ho jaati hai
Aur subah hote hi
Naqaab ka sahara le lete hai
Jahaan haath pakadne se pehle
Ungliyaan gin lete hai jaan-ne ke liye
Ke nuksaan tau nahin pohunchega apni lakeeron ko
Jahaan zindagi ko naapte hai saanson se
Dil ki dhadkanon se
Jin armaanon ko maar diya hai unka tau hisaab nahin
There was a voice message. The lady, let us call her Trisha, said, “Doctor, I got my ovaries checked. Now there is a swelling. My RO is …etc, etc…”
The phone had been switched off as usual (when it is not in silent mode). I heard this message at 12.30 pm; it was left at 9.30 am. For some reason I panicked. What if there was an emergency? This woman thought she had informed the doc and did not get a response. What must have happened?
I dialled her number. It kept ringing. A girlish voice answered after a long time. I asked for Trisha (had I heard it right?). The girl hesitated. I mentioned something about a call and a problem. She said, “Doctor, she is on her way…”
“I am not the doctor.”
“Then who are you?”
“I am the wrong number.”
“Then how do you know so much?”
How did I know so much? I told her to immediately get in touch with Trisha and tell her it is not the doctor’s fault and hope she is well and she had called the wrong person and I don’t know what to do.
Trisha and her ovaries became my concern for those few minutes; in fact they still are a few hours later. I want to call her and find out, but that would be intrusive. I want to know if she is okay.
I imagine Trisha as a woman in her 30s, wearing a salwaar kameez, her hair tied up, her lips pale and her eyes dark. I imagine a bulge in her tummy, a bulge that carries a foetus. I imagine the foetus hearing my voice that says “I am not in right now…”. I imagine the unformed baby feeling lost and wondering about an echo that rings in the amino fluids as her mother goes through pain. I imagine two ovaries hanging like fruits dripping blood…
There are few people one can respect for holding on to values. P Sainath has been one of them. He deservedly won the Magsaysay Award for his relentless indepth writings on rural India that culminated in the book Everyone Loves a Good Drought.
It was, therefore, surprising to see him walking behind Rahul Gandhi, when the latter decided to tour the districts of Vidarbha to look into the cases of farmers’ suicides. It is laudable that the local administrations were not informed but then there was no need to highlight Mr. Sainath’s role.
Besides planning an itinerary, what else did he do – provide inputs, mention specific cases, give a detailed report on misuse of funds? From what I gather these are, if the journalist knows about them, to be part of the public domain and Mr Sainath is the sort who would do so. Therefore, are the reports true that he left with Margaret Alva and Rahul from Delhi together?
I am afraid I find the idea of journalists becoming advisers to politicians dangerous. People like Mr. Sainath have worked to earn their stripes and this association with any political party could lead to questions.
Of course, you may agree with the ideology of a political party and write about your ideology. That is different.
It takes very little for politicians to look for media groups to promote their viewpoints. Many of our heroes were clearly nursed in such factories because of the owner’s beliefs.
P Sainath is not tied up with any such group and one hopes his role has ended and Rahul Gandhi can do his own fact-finding.
- - -
I have become so disillusioned. Discovering that the people I held in high esteem as grassroots journalists were in fact helping grassroots politicians. Most of them got their sources on the telephone and did not walk anywhere, forget on grass.
At least now we can grudgingly applaud arm-chair opinionated critics. They use their own arm-chairs and their own opinions at least!
Tomorrow a bunch of parliamentarians who we the people have elected because they believed in a certain ideology or belonged to political parties with a certain ideology will decide which side their bread is buttered.
The Left parties had the best intentions when they removed their support to the UPA alliance, but what are we left with now? If the issue was morality, then morality is what is being dumped. By staying with the alliance they would have managed to work within the system and create nice little impediments.
Now, we have the worst of the lot – for heaven’s sake Amar Singh? Shibu Soren? – joining forces. The Samajwadi Party had fought the Congress with such vitriol and now there is a coming together on the issue of “secularism”. Wasn’t Mulayam called the ‘Maulana’ much before this time? I shall not even comment on how the nuclear deal is either supported or opposed by Muslims. This is most ridiculous to even get into.
There are a few interesting points I wish to respond to. The points raised are courtesy of NDTV.
What if the UPA sails through the confidence motion?
# It will be a go-ahead for the Indo-US nuclear deal the issue that led to the exhibition of strength by the government.
Yes, a go-ahead for stabbing its allies and the Indian public in the back.
# The UPA will push through its unfinished economic reforms agenda, which has experienced from the estranged allies of the government, the Left.
Really? It is unfinished because some babus are busy pushing files. Economic reforms in fact took a new turn in the Left bastion West Bengal, at the cost of villagers. Forgotten?
# The Atomic Energy Act may be amended to bring a domestic equivalent to the Hyde Act of the US. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani has often raised the demand for such an act.
So, is it time to clone the BJP? Traces have been visible for a while now.
What if UPA loses the trust vote?
The government would be expected to resign. If it refuses, the President has the power to remove the Prime Minister - called dismissing the government. But in practice, no government would refuse to resign.
However, according to the precedence, there may be three situations, which are possible in this case.
Situation 1: Third Front stakes claim and BJP gives outside support.
This would be fun. Mayawati, the light of the backward classes, getting the support of the snotty Hindutvawadis. Wherefore ethics?
Situation 2: BJP stakes claim and UNPA supports from outside.
This would be funnier.
Situation 3: Nobody claims majority and the President might ask Manmohan Singh to continue as caretaker PM (according to Constitutional provisions and rules of the procedure of Parliament). Theoretically, it has the same powers. Again, as a convention, it would not take any major policy decisions, for Parliament would stand dissolved to pave the way for general elections. It would be expected to refrain from committing to any important legislation or agreements -- although in case of emergent need it does have the power to promulgate ordinances.
This is not likely to happen because our greedy MPs have been selling themselves in the market at high rates and the buyers have done their calculations.
However, this is the situation I would like. I would like to see a government that has its hands tied down and yet is supposed to rule. It will have enough time to find new allies and the public will know who is with whom. Right now, with the SP and its money power, the Congress and its ‘legacy’ and the fringe parties with goon power can muck things up badly.
Unfortunately the common Indian does not know much about the nuclear deal and it will benefit India and what we are giving away to the United States of America. But then the ordinary Indian does not know about many things. Like what the hell is a trust vote?
PS: I am having a good chuckle over the NDA supporting the nuclear deal. Leave everything else aside. Narendra Modi will always get an American visa.
I am reading your story
The words you spoke encircling my space
I am reading those invisible words
Glaring at them
Gnawing at them
Spitting at them
I get to their skin
And scratch the air
My nails grow heavy with unseen blood
The wind screams in pain
I silence it with a slap
Palms pink with the sting
Of a life I watch
From a distance
Flowers turning to weeds
As Polaroid pictures
Flash out like bullets
I imagine walking into your house
The wooden floors polished
To shine like laser beams
The bathroom's glass door
Blurs with the spray of water
And your desires unleashed
The body you will hold
As memory of a lost scent
Ossifies in your nose
You sniff and sneeze
Your lips freeze
Like death in blue
A dribble like dew
Appears from nowhere
You think of someone
And walk out into the darkness
To hear her breath
Exposing yourself to the moonlight
The wind chokes you
You run into another embrace
I have finished reading your story
The air is still
I bury the words
It’s a quiet funeral
That is why it is said, "Aankhein bhi dhoka kha saktee hai".
The eyes too can be deceived. And here I thought it was only the heart.
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PS: These have come in the mail; no photographer mentioned.
What is rich? What is poor? I am called an elite and I do not disagree because it happens to be true if taken in the context of the economic and social standing of the majority of people.
Recently someone told me, someone who only knows me though my writings, that I seem to reek of wealth.
A few months ago I met this person in Delhi and he said, “You look…you know…like very upper class.”
Sometimes it bothers me. We end up being judged by these superficials, although I am aware that my life would have been vastly different had I been of a different ‘status’.
Back to the early story, and a comment that was made, no one was trying to be rich, and dignity is certainly not dependent on wealth.
In this case, the reason was deeper. My Nani and even the children did not want to depend on anyone. She came from a wealthy family in Zanzibar and lived in a haveli where a gong announced meals. Nana had money and belonged to a zamindar family in Gujarat, but he had run away from home and was making it on his own. It wasn’t what she was accustomed to. Yet, it was fine. My mother recollects how he would take lots of coins and put it in the pocket of his achkan before he left for work and called out to the kids. My mother was his favourite and would ask in Kutcchi, “Ketro ginaa? (How much should I take?)” and he would say, “Jetro hath mein achi sake (As much as can fit into your hands)” and she would come out with her swollen fists.
They had a good life and it did not change them much when they went through those years of privation.
What I find remarkable is that even in those days my grandma made sure that the boys too helped with housework. Of course, they would try to sneak out and the girls made a deal: we will make the beds if you give us money.
Nana was strict. For one, they were not allowed to watch movies...well, not regular ones. They could only go for mythologicals like Dus Avtaar, Harishchandra, or some such; Muslim religious films were not common. Once he took the two younger girls (the eldest was married) for a film with a deceptive title – Maa (Bharat Bhushan, Shyama, Leela Chitnis). The girls always looked forward to the interval and some treat. This time, just before the break he said, “Hallo (Come on…)” Ammi asked why and he said there was nothing left. My aunt, younger than mother but sharper, whispered, “Be je veech ki theen waalo vo (Something was going to happen between the man and woman)!”
Once he heard Ammi singing, “Chhod gaye baalam, mujhe haae akela chhod gaye”; she was quick in picking up songs and had heard S Maamu sing it. Nana heard her; he rarely shouted at the girls, so he told her, “Hedaa geet saara naaee…gaayan jo aae to Khuda jo nam waalo ga, kedo bhi (If you have to sing then choose those about god, hymns, bhajans, anything.”
Nanima would put her finger on her lips and later wickedly ask Ammi to sing “Chhod gaye…” She was herself a film buff and when Nana went off to work, she and the neighbour Aunt Cecilia would go often on the first day of release.
This did change during bad days. She cooked, as many women in those days did irrespective of how well they were brought up, but no other work. Suddenly, she had to supplement the income; no one told her to, but she wanted to. She decided to sew clothes, but did not know how to. So she would turn the garments over and see how they were cut. She became so good that she was much in demand. All this was done through a decoy because Nana may not have liked it.
The ability to learn stayed with her till the very end. Remember how I mentioned her trying to read English through the cartoons that appeared at the bottom of the Gujarati paper? And how we had this barter of my learning Gujarati?
Later in life, things looked up and rather well. Hard work paid.
Nanima had always been large-hearted; she remained so irrespective of the situation.
No one romanticised poverty just as they did not wealth. These were aspects of their circumstances
And, yes, I am an elitist type, but as a colleague once said, “I don’t know of many elites who take a look at the other side.”
I may not have inherited courage, patience, even the ability to smile through it all, but I hope I have internalised the legacy of not being ignorant about others.
- - -
- - -
jo bijli chamakti hai unke mahal par
woh kar le tasalli, mera ghar jalaa kar
Dua kar gham-e-dil, khuda se dua kar – Anarkali
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: C Ramchandra
Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan
Actors/Actresses: Pradeep Kumar, Beena Rai
It was like they show in the movies.
My Nana was dying and he asked my mother to sing. It was a Gujarati ghazal with religious overtones:
“Ali ni shaan chhe aali ane shaukat nirali chhe
Khuda chhe noor no jalwo, Ali jalwa ni laali chhe”
(The glory of Ali is sublime and magnificence unique
If God is the light that beams, then Ali is the lustre that emanates from it)
"Arre aa waqt no gulshan taiyon kon maali chhe
Khuda khud chhe jo parda maan, to jag no kon waali chhe"
If god chooses to be behind a veil then how do we know who watches over the world)
Ammi used to sit and wipe the blood that spewed out of his cancerous lungs. He was in his 50s. He smoked heavily and craved for it as he lay at the Tata Memorial Hospital. In the general ward.
I am mentioning this specifically because I hear it said that all Aga Khanis stayed back in India to protect their wealth and loot the Hindus who were thrown out of Pakistan.
The story of my family is different. They were not always in dire straits. It happened later much after Partition when Nana lost most of his money to a relative. Cigarettes gave way to beedis. He started pacing about the room at nights quoting from Shakespeare.
My mother was in her mid-teens. She tells me how they would pretend to have a stomach ache if there were sudden visitors. My Nani would not let a guest go without food. Or the times there was little milk and she wanted to eat doodh khichdi; my Nani saw her in the kitchen mixing it with rice water and started crying. They hugged, she said.
No outsider ever got a whiff of this. When they went to meet their rich relatives, they wore the one or two sets of nice clothes. Nanima would dye them so they looked different each time, or add an old border from her dupatta to the edge of the dress for the daughters. The sons had to start working.
If they were protecting anything, it was their dignity.
Angelina Jolie gives birth to twins. A boy and a girl. She and Brad Pitt are willing to – in fact will – sell pictures of the babies for millions. It could be between $10 million to $20 million.
It isn’t the first time. They aren’t the first ones. What I find reprehensible is the pre-publicity about how the money will go to charity. It gives everyone a nice halo. It is as bad as glossy brochures by international agencies covering hunger and devastation portraying snotty little kids with bloated stomachs and overly large eyes in hollowed sockets.
Nicole Kidman and hubby Keith Urban have turned down several offers worth millions of dollars to publish the first pictures of their newborn daughter.
They are not making it into a moral issue. They said they understand public interest and may release the photographs, but it will be for free.
At least their daughter won’t grow up to live with the story of having a ‘sold’ tag at an auction…for the larger good of humankind, of course.
Perception is a bitch; it is also a mirror.
As a mirror it can have tremendous value. But is it often intended to? What do you do with cracked mirrors, blurred mirrors – is it necessary for one to have to see oneself in them only to prove that one is open to another point of view?
As regards the bitch, how many barks translate into a bite?
I was chortling when I read somewhere that the reviewer had done a decent job but this book ought not to have been written! It is hilarious. The review is positive. So, if someone likes what I have written and is being commended for it, then isn’t it natural that he thinks I did a good job and therefore if you like what he has to say and he likes what I have to say then you must therefore like what I have to say? You can’t say, “Hey that T-shirt looks good on you, but it should not have been a T-shirt”. Weird world.
However, let me get to the real strange stuff. Apparently, writing about the identity question is a bad thing. It is passé. Oooh, I am so outdated…everyone else has completed their journeys and I am still unable to negotiate it.
Heck, if they had then they wouldn’t be spreading themselves thin over a ‘non-issue’, would they?But, of course, an Indian Muslim Woman seems to be causing a whole lot of anguish. An Indian Muslim Woman writing about there has got to belong there.
Apparently, the term Indian is just an add-on. Sure. Ah, yes, I hear it said that the only reason I am not there is because I don’t want to let go of my jeans and expensive coffee.
This should be enough reason to laugh in these people’s faces (faeces?). Pakistani women don’t wear jeans? You don’t get pricey coffee in that country?
These are supposed to be our global citizens. The ones who don’t even know if they have an identity. Unless being incognito counts. Straw warriors.
Make hay, honey, while my sun shines.
I do not wish to reduce anyone's attempts at wanting to write about me; having been in the profession I know all about the stuff, or at least most of it.
Now, I read an interesting piece about book launches and while mine was given the thumbs up and the book was called a "tremendous and gutsy effort", I cannot imagine myself responding to a query like:
"But why did she choose Pakistan as her subject? For that reason, why are all so-called secular Muslims in India still obsessed with our cousins across the border?"
with a reply like this:
"Only because Pakistan is our neighbour and Pakistanis are our brothers and sisters."
The neighbour bit had a context, as to why we cannot explore that area, but brothers and sisters? Do I sound like I would use such a phrase that seems straight out of our old textbooks?
Anyway, it had me chuckling.
And if you want more chuckles at my expense, go to the Journey Interrupted blog for a slide show!