News meeows - 21

Houses get destroyed. A temple and mosque survive the landslide. What can I say? I am the faithless. Faithless in terms of organised religion, if there is anything organised about religion at all.

Mid-week, in one of the suburbs of Mumbai, the boulders from a hill came tumbling down with the fury of the rains. A temple stood untouched; all the hutments in the area were crushed. Four years ago, there had been a terrible deluge. In the same locality 112 such tenements were destroyed, 83 people died. A mosque stood amidst the rubble without a scratch.

I am amazed about how people have reacted. Apparently, these holy structures have given shelter to those displaced. A local politician said, “This is nothing but a miracle. It has revived our faith in god during these tough times.”

Revived faith? Is faith about a structure? I am glad there was a temple and a mosque. Now, there is talk about how people of all religions are praying at these places. If I know my city well enough, those from the lower strata have always been quite democratic in their beliefs. Every god is good enough.

But the real miracle would have been if the landslide had spared the homes of these people. If god is everywhere, then god does not need a home. People do, and they build it bit by bit, with hope for a better morrow. The even bigger miracle will be when people stop constructing places of worship in every lane and start building hospitals and proper homes and make sure that every year the financial capital of India does not make the city go haywire with one rainfall.

The gods are extremely partial and save their own homes. Sorry, this one’s not biting the bait.

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I do not know how an Army Chief is supposed to behave, but General Deepak Kapoor’s statement about ceasefire violations by the Pakistani army to enable militants to infiltrate into India and “disrupt” the peace in Jammu and Kashmir don’t give out the right signals.

It makes us look as though we cannot deal with such violations.

“Firing is used as a diversionary tactic,” Kapoor said, adding that the only goal is to push in more and more people. He, however, said the Indian troops are alert and have foiled many such attempts at the borders.

Ok. So the Pakistani army uses diversionary tactics, we know about it, we are alert and have foiled many such attempts. This is a matter that should be discussed internally, at the army headquarters and with the defence ministry, and not be accessible to the media, the public and the Pakistani army.

The armed forces are about pugnacity. It is no occasion or reason to try victimhood. Or large-heartedness about how we will honour the ceasefire pact. Are we being given points on good behaviour or something? And by whom?

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While ordinary Dalits strive to get accepted, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati is becoming larger than life. In an exhibition in Lucknow, she has been painted as a goddess, the ‘Dalit Devi’. Some fine arts student decides to get some reflected glory, but she ought to have better sense.

The concept of gods and goddesses are rich pastimes and certainly not for Dalits who have had to battle the faith itself. It is hugely ironical that Mayawati is not objecting to such deification; the statues are vanity and maybe to prove a point. There is one painting in which she is nestled among lotus petals with Kanshi Ram on one side and Dr. B.R.Ambedkar on the other. It is time for her to take a reality check. The lotus is a flower, our national flower (whatever that means), but it is also the BJP symbol. And this image represents Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. This is sheer mockery.

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TOI caption: Ramzan shopping is in full swing at Bhendi Bazaar

This is from The Times of India. Find a group of women in veils, in Bhendi Bazaar (where else?), and assume that they are carrying bags so they must be shopping for Ramzan. What does that mean? They are buying dates, fruits, kebabs for the evening? A little education: Muslim women can shop for other things for daily living. And if you want to emphasise the festive nature of the shopping, then it is for Eid, which is at the end of Ramzan. And women and men who practise the faith will not shop before the Eid moon is sighted.

So, stop getting excited and brush up on some basics.

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Poll results:

Jaswant Singh’s book makes you:

understand Jinnah - 5%; understand past Indian leaders - 10%; understand Partition - 15%; understand Pakistan - 5%; understand BJP - 31%; understand Marketing - 26%; understand Indo-Pak current problems - 10%; What book? - 26%

So, hate me as much as you will, but most of you are with me. That the book reveals more about the BJP and marketing than about Jinnah!


  1. Why should Mayawati object to her deification? Our hindu 'gods' never objected to their deification. If accounts of people who claim that their fortunes changed after asking 'mannat' at Shirdi or Titupati are to believed, deities still enjoy being worshiped and grant favors to those who bow before them in reverence.

    Everyone enjoys being worshiped whether they deserve or not. Kudos to Mayawati for her audacity and shamelessness.. its preferable to the false humility of our worthless celebrities who hog all the limelight for just being good-looking and for little else.

  2. Iss garib khaane mein tashreef laane ke liye shukriya (Thank you for visiting this humble abode)...like this, you mean? Agreed.

    But gods and goddesses do not know they are being deified and where the money comes from. they are not running states.

    I have always liked Mayawati's spunk, but she is letting herself get co-opted by the higher jaati biraadari. That's what I was trying to convey.

    An earlier post might put things in perspective:


  3. Mayawati is an opportunist like anyone. You are using special standards for her. She is using the dalit group as any vote bank.

    The landslide remarks you make are interesting but as a believer I feel there is some space where the people found shelter. Would one hut give shelter to others?

  4. We must do something about all this religion,it makes everybody behave stupid.Your full news is about some religion thing!!I am worried!

  5. Ameya;

    I don't think I am using different standards for Mayawati. In fact, I want her to be true to her avowed position. True, the Dalits are a vote bank, but for every political party.

    Re the landslide, it is true that one hut would not shelter as many as a place of worship or a school or maidan. A hutment neighbour would empathise much more.


    No worries. I am merely riding the tail of the tiger.


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