Sanjay Dutt sentenced...

...but Judge Kode should be made accountable.

Sanjay Dutt has been given six years’ rigorous imprisonment. What will the Shiv Sena MLAs be rewarded with?

Do you think I am saying this because Sanjay is a celebrity? No. I have been harping on justice for the riot victims and for cases against those criminals to be tried for years. The Sena’s Madhukar Sarpotdar did not possess one AK-47, but several arms. And if any of you had visited those areas you would know what devastation was caused by the way he incited not only the public and his henchmen but also the police.

Sanjay Dutt has already spent 15 months in prison in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. Who is culpable for this? The State? The Judiciary? They say that these months will be counted as part of the six-year jail term. I want to know how being put in an ‘anda cell’ is the same as this? He was exonerated from terrorism charges, then how does the state compensate for that? Let us use this example to show the complete arrogance with which the government and justice system operates. Let us raise these questions about the thousands of under-trials in our prisons, about those who are arrested for ‘terrorism’, about encounter deaths. Let us make someone accountable.

And that someone is the Government of India. The Judiciary. The Police. Don’t tell me I am “sympathising” with criminals, because a criminal is not answerable to me or you. The government, the judiciary, the police are. They are our servants. They call themselves public servants.

As usual the language of this verdict by the special TADA court Judge, P D Kode, needs to be examined. Here are a few gems and my reaction:

* Kode also observed it was an "eminently dangerous act" as the weapon possessed by Dutt was capable of mass destruction though the accused had not used the weapons.

This is like saying that because men possess a penis rape is possible.

* Dutt acquired the weapons to "protect" his family in the aftermath of sectarian violence that erupted in Mumbai following the demolition of the Babri mosque in late 1992.

Yes. A lot of people did. The poor in the bastis could not get guns so they learned to make petrol bombs or wanted to. Ask me. I know. And I am saying it. They were bloody scared. You would be if everytime you stepped out you were asked to drop your pants and show that you had a foreskin cut, what the great Shiv Sena chief called “katuas”.

And for that, 15 years later, a Muslim still has difficulty getting an apartment in this metropolis. This too is mass destruction of a community’s identity, self-esteem and the basic right to accommodation. Read Ghettoes reserved for Muslims.

* Kode said the character of the accused is very important while considering if they deserved relief under the POA (Probation of Offenders) Act. He pointed out that apart from possessing the weapons, Dutt was a close acquaintance of Anees Ibrahim and attended a party hosted by Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai.

Just one party? Go through the archives of newspapers and TV news in good old national Doordarshan. Does the judge want a list of film stars who attended parties, danced at his parties, enjoyed his hospitality?

* Regarding the nature of the crime, Kode said generally, crime happens at the hands of any one man but Dutt drew another person to commit a crime which showed "high element of criminality."

He asked somebody to keep arms. Was the person forced into it? What was the motivation for the other person to follow Dutt’s diktat?

* Kode, however, said the crimes committed by Dutt and his friends Adajania and Nulwalla were not "anti-social, ghastly, inhuman, immoral or pre-planned" and did not cause any harm to the general public.

Great. Thank you. Terms like “mass destruction”, “high level of criminality”, “dangerous act”, bad character…where did they all disappear, Your Honour?

When you keep weapons as protection it is pre-planned.

If, according to law, you possess weapons, it is anti-social.

How do you define “ghastly”? When the barrel of the gun looks ominously into a face? The judge is watching too may Hindi films and those “Shhh…Koi hai” type TV series.

Not inhuman? Good heavens. It cannot be…humans are the worst animals every way you look at it.

Not immoral? But did you not say, My Lord, that the character is very important?

This whole judgment has been a soap opera. I am not going to plead Dutt’s case. But, following the words of the judgment, I would like the same ones applied to the Bombay riots cases, as and when they are brought before the courts.

They will be, won’t they? I would love to see the verdict passed along the lines of anti-social, ghastly, inhuman, immoral, pre-planned.
- - -

Update on a couple of ‘serious’ points on a TV panel discussion:

“This will send out a message that all are equal before the law.”

How many politicians and their family members are given such sentences, if they are arrested at all? How many bureaucrats? How many industrialists?

“He acted in films playing the role of the don or criminal. Then suddenly he changed into this Munnabhai.”

This is such a weak accusation. Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Hritik Roshan have all enacted such roles at different points in time. And our nice guy Govinda was one of the stars photographed with Dawood Ibrahim. He became a Member of Parliament.


Should I laugh....

or must I crack up with laughter?

“Indian Muslims and Pakistanis need to apply their god-given intelligence to whether they really want Indian Hindus to believe in the two nation theory or not - keeping in mind that if an Indian Hindu believes in two-nation theory that means that Indian Hindu believes Muslims have no place in India.”
(From a comment posted below)

Oh my, my. A person who says Pakistan has no business to interfere in Indian affairs – and that is true – is giving them the opportunity to use their god-given intelligence to see whether Indian Hindus (IHs) want a two-nation theory. Leave Pakistan out of this. Indian Muslims have an identity of their own and are the ones who will use their intelligence, god-given or acquired from simians like the rest of the world or through questioning, analysing or while poking out their lard-filled butts five times a day.

Here is what I want to say:

  1. IHs cannot believe in any such two-nation theory. It isn’t their job to decide in a secular republic.
  2. The IH cannot decide that Muslims have no place in India because we form a substantial part of the population.
  3. Should the Indian Constitution be changed, then IHs will have to leave out several areas within states that have a large Muslim population, and that includes some great places in Mumbai, half of the Hindi film industry, all of the slaughter-houses, tanneries, the sea-front where the Haji Ali dargah is and the Taj Mahal too…now that you have made it into one of the Wonders of the World, it will be a tough call to take.
  4. On what basis will the two-nation theory be floated? Since the idea is a Hindu’s, however hypothetical it may be, then they will have to find a state, right? Just as Jinnah did. So, if you want to fantasise, then start working really hard on how to realise that fantasy. Because the only time I move my ass is when I rock-and-roll (wherever) and travel to lands carrying little Indian knick-knacks. And then I return home. Geddit?

PS: Will someone wipe the smile off my face? I feel like a cat that has licked all the cream. Yes, I belong to the creamy layer, honey. And if you have a problem with an Indian Muslim who isn’t curdled milk that you can throw away, then just too bad.

Those who really want to froth some more at the mouth, and missed it, might try to see what I had to say about Black Friday.


The Hindu-Muslim reaction

I did expect some reaction to the piece below, but not like this. In all fairness and to give a sample of how India thinks, I reproduce 3 letters. (I have left out names, locations and specific organisations; the rest remains.)

Two very differing Hindu perspectives, and a real incident about what an educated Muslim faces.

Letter 1

So you are saying Dawood is like any of our next door neighbors and we
should be missing him. This article is them most eloquently written
peiece of garbage supporting the killers.

You want the Jihadis to be free so they can blow more people untill
there is some kind of stone age muslim rule in india. Why dont you
say it out loud..may be you are saving it for another day.

How long is it before you advise us to make some Imam as supreme
leader of the country. You are nothing but a disgrace for muslims if
not for humanity. Try to find something positive and advocate it not
killing innocents.

I wish you and all your family gets blown up in oneof those trains so
I dont have to burn you in the same train. Thats the only language you
people understand. Dont worry thats the only thing you will get from
now on. Godhra is the begining, 60 year vacation is over.

Letter 2

Dear Ms. Farzana Versey:

I am X from Y, and I think your ‘The noose around our neck’ justifies your self-description as a 'maverick'.

While your dissection of Kade’s judgment portrays your brilliant analytical ability, I find the reasoning in matters of religious reform and terrorism is stymied as is the case with most of the intellectuals who happen to earn space in our media. Well, it is nobody’s case that one should deride his, or her, religion but an articulation or two about the incongruities of one’s religion by even a few would insensibly set the trend in any given community to think differently.

About your question - When was the last Hindu reform movement? The Brahmo Samaj? One must see the Brahmo Samaj as but a catalyst in the Hindu reformation process which is sustained by the ever weakening grip of Brahmanism on the communal ethos. This is brought about by the modernity of the Brahmin community that is slowly but surely making a difference to the Hindu society bedeviled by many an ill. Likewise, unless and until the Mullah-Moulvi sway is weakened on their community, there can never be any meaningful change in the way Muslims are conditioned to think about themselves and those around them.

I had applied my mind to the role religions play in fomenting as well as cementing communal strife, and the result of the exercise is (name of research paper) that I first self-published in 2003. I am attaching the revised e-edition and I hope you would find it interesting to peruse the same in your spare time.

Hope you would take my remarks in the right spirit.

Letter 3:

Hello, Farzana Versey,

I just read your piece God Acquitted. It came as a breath of fresh air.

I am a retired professor of philosophy but even in my academic days I
was active as an investor in the stock market, as a sort of hobby which
incidentally made a lot of money. With some of my earnings there I had
financed a technology company. When we needed to raise some more capital along the way we applied for funding from an arm of the Science and Technology Ministry. One of the experts the Ministry called was a
Professor X. It was not a good choice as he happened to be the founder and owner of a company that was our potential competitor. He turned up at three in the afternoon, long after the substantial part of the meeting, with the rest of the experts, had concluded, and as we were wrapping things up after a leisurely lunch. He asked for a few minutes in private with the other experts. I learned later that his sole comment was, How do we know Dr Y (the writer of this note) didn't get his funds from Dawood? That was his only intervention, but it served his purpose. By the time, months later, I finished establishing my bona fides with the Ministry, the whole thing had gone cold.

i wonder if government funding for Hindu businessmen will ever get held
up while they prove they have not been trafficking in the body parts of
Muslims killed in fake encounters.

Anyway, thanks for the article.


Madam President!

Finally, Pratibha Patil made it. I watched as the brigade went on and on about how unfit she is. I have written enough if you scroll down...right now I can only say that it is great to have a woman and I hope she concentrates on many issues and not just those of women. It is anyway the men that need to be enlightened in my country.

I reproduce below my letter the The Asian Age on this offensive cartoon that had appeared around a month ago...

July 22, 07 Pallu vs Jeans


Sudhir Tailang’s cartoon (Here and Now, June 20) taking a swipe at Pratibha Patil, presidential nominee, was offensive. It showed her with her head covered and the pallu reaching down her forehead while a TV anchor in trendy westernised clothes shoves a mike at her. She is shown saying, “After 60 years of independence, we must end the purdah system.” If the idea was to highlight the irony of the situation, then it does not work. Ms. Patil covers her head as do many women in several parts of the country. Her so-called remarks about the veil notwithstanding, the cartoon polarises women like her against the jeans-clad rookie reporters who seem to sit in judgment these days on important national issues. Are we to completely ignore the contribution of the ‘saathins’ in Rajasthan who cover their heads but fight against sati? What about the milk co-operative movement in Gujarat that has many women and they do cover their heads? The problem with us urbanites is that we look at things in such a narrow fashion. Dr. Zakir Hussein always wore his fez cap, so did Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed. Many male politicians use the Gandhi cap. Covering the head is a part of cultural attuning in some parts of the country and world and does not necessarily reveal a lack of enlightenment. Scrape the clinging garments of some of these lycra ladies and you will find a conservative as deep as their cleavage.

<--Another one from around the same time.


If I were...wanna make friendship....

Like many people in ‘visible’ professions, I get letters from strangers. Here is one received a couple of days ago in response to my column on the environment. How the contents prompted the following beats me. Of course, it could be someone trying to pull one on me…

I do not wish to demean the person in any manner. I just found it inspiring enough for me to figure out how different people might respond…

The letter

Hi Farzana,


I had read ur article in the Deccan Chronicle. I liked ur language and off course ur pic which was there. So got interested in u. I too am an intellectual person and would be interested in making friendship with a sweet lady like you.

So kindly let me know ur interest. By the way i am X years Muslim Male, fromY, India

Waiting for your reply.

Thanks and Allah Hafiz


The possible replies

If I were a government official

Dear Z:

I am in receipt of the blueprint of your proposal for extending hand of friendship. I will need to call a meeting, form a committee and present a feasibility report regarding co-ordination of intellectual level. After perusal of the same, similar interests, if any, will be communicated to you to which you shall revert back within a period of 7 days. Thank you for taking an interest and for liking the language and the pic thereof.

Yours sincerely,

Sd…This is a computerised note; no signature required.

If I were a committed Muslim


Bohat shukria, badee meherbani…only a Muslim can understand a Muslim’s pain. All Muslim languages are the same, all Muslims look the same, all Muslims are intellectual in a hadith way and all Muslims are sweet. We must be like brothers and sisters. I am glad you are interested in my jihad for friendship.

Allah aapko khush rakhe,

F bibi

If I were a rightwing Hindutva type

Mossie rat:

Keep your Allah to yourself. Typical behaviour getting excited about language. You even know how to read with all that madrassa training? You call yourself intellectual only because your buddies know how to make bombs? Don’t talk sweet-sweet. All you Mossies only know one sweet, which is some sevaiyan crap. Go stuff it in your bearded mouth.

Jai Sri Ram!

If I were young and very with-it in cyber terms

Hey Zuzu:

Dats like awesome. Sure sure wud luv friendship. I find intellectuals soooo exciting, maan. They can talk about nuttin. Rite now im wid dis bloke and like he is real kewl. But u sound like a dude. I will add you to my hi-fi friends list, k? den we can chat like for hrs. Wanna know sumting? U sound so damn fun & ur sweet also. Btw, am eatin choc chip cookies rite now. Mmmm…

C ya sooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Ur fifi

If I were a feminist on a hot tin roof


This is an insult to the sistahood. First talk about your pic, then comment on mine. You want to make it seem like this is all I am. And you mention the language as an afterthought that you put first only to express a fake interest in my mind. We wimmin are not going to take it lying down and don’t you sweet-talk me. You cussed piece of stupidity.

F hyphen X

(Signed by 20 other sistahs)

If I were…ahem-ahem….me…

Hello Z:

While I do appreciate feedback, I prefer it remains within the realm of the subject. Besides, I do not see myself as an intellectual or sweet. What is an intellectual? How does your intellectualism and another’s mean the same? And sweet – are there not degrees of sweetness? What does it really mean? Is bitter the opposite or is it just an extension of a taste?

Thanks for writing in but I am afraid friendship is an indefinable term.




Damn, I cussed!

I avoid using foul language in personal communication. (Voice in background: Such a nutcase. Does it mean she uses it in official communication? Other voice: No, no, she sometimes writes stuff like that, you know…) Except for damn, shit, hell, bitch (usually for myself) which I am afraid have become a part of punctuating.

Yes, it makes me feel good that I don’t use abusive words. I do it for myself, for my self-esteem. Perhaps in very close intimate company I might utter an expletive.

When I say fuck, I mean it…as in ‘fetch’. Okay?

So, I surprised myself the other day when I used a fairly horrendous word in Urdu/Hindi. “You are such a chootiya,” I told him. It wasn’t meant to be literal, but even then it was not something I would condone. I don’t even know what it really means, although I have a fair idea.

This was the second time I used the word. The first time was with an Egyptian friend. He was dropping me off somewhere at Jumeirah in Dubai; the traffic was bad and he was edgy. A SUV did what SUVs do…overtake. He lost his cool. “Indians, Indians, everywhere!”

“Hello,” I said. “I am Indian.”

“You are different.”

Well, I am…at least I was nowhere like that bloke who moved his vehicle like a bulldozer.

“Come on, come on, tell me some baad wordh thu give him…”

Chootiya…” my tongue whipped it out like a magic wand.

Wallah! What it means?”

“Very bad,” I said.

I thought I was inculcating subcontinental values in the Arab mind.

Next thing I know is he had rolled down the glass and was yelling out, “Ay, ay, shoot-ya.

“Wait,” I restrained him. “If you have to, then at least say it right.”

Oh, the driver of that offending vehicle mattered no more. My friend was on a roll.

Till we reached Jumeirah I had to listen to his rendition of the different ways of saying ‘shoot-ya’… It was slightly better than his version of Bob Marley, though.

Yup, there he was humming and asked me, “You know Boob Marlee?”

“Yes…I like him a lot…”

“Gooth…listen…Woy, yoy, yoy…” he began tapping the steering wheel…

“Boofellow soljur, dhreadhlock raster
There was a boofellow soljur in the harth of Amerikha,
Stholan from Aafrica, broughth to Amerikha,
Farthing on arrawal, farthing for surwawul…”

Oh, it was soon my destination. He opened the door for me and as I waved out, he called back, “Habibi, shoot-ya!”

PS: For those who want the real words of Bob Marley:

“Buffalo Soldier, Dreadlock Rasta:
There was a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America,
Stolen from Africa, brought to America,
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.”

News meeows - 6

A building collapsed in Mumbai. A most touching and helpless moment was when some rescue workers mentioned how they got calls from those trapped beneath the debris. They could do nothing, they said, until the huge blocks of concrete are removed. I dread to think what those people must be thinking, feeling…what a thin line there really is between life and death.

- - -

Having already written my wry views on the ‘green’ issue, it came as no surprise to discover that 15 Whole Foods stores in the New York area were selling $15 cotton bags by Anya Hindmarch, a London designer. She said, “To create awareness you have to create scarcity by producing a limited edition. I hate the idea of making the environment trendy, but you need to make it cool and then it becomes a habit.”

Yeah, so you carry a bag that says “I’m not a plastic bag.”

Go on, wear shoes that say, “I am not leather”, or lipstick marked, “I have not been tested on your favourite pet”, or flaunt a cleavage with a tattoo saying, “I am not silicon.”

If you are not something, then you don’t have to announce it. But who is to tell them?

- - -

In India, more specially the metros and Page 3 circuit, there is this character called Bobby Darling who gets invited to all the hip parties. The reason? He wants to be a she and has been cross-dressing and collecting money for a sex-change operation. She is in the news now for molesting a male model by asking him to strip. Bobby says the guy, Surjit Jagdish Singh, an unknown aspirant wants to use her to get ahead.

Whatever. The entertainment world is murky, especially the high society. What surprises me is that this guy goes around wearing bizarre clothes and behaving like a silly girl and everyone is indulgent towards the sensitive issue of transsexuals. These same people will turn up their noses at the very mention of hijras (eunuchs). Why? Aren’t some of them also trapped in men’s bodies?

I am sure Bobby has had to face social ostracism, but where are those wonderful ladies when it comes to the less fortunate? Or is this one more of their little playthings – call a different person and amuse yourselves?

- - -

Now, this really got my goat. Why? It was the caption. “Foreign students who have come to the country to study Indian culture interact with streetchildren in Bangalore on Wednesday”. Imagine if Indian students, and there are many in the US, went around looking for hoboes and punks and the dregs of American society to study their culture?



Taken as part of series of pictures in Ibaadat India, today I see this as a symbol of me. What I wrote then was: This is in the middle of the Periyar Bird Sanctuary, but could be anywhere. To see the bare remains of a tree in the middle of the sea when there is foliage in the background is a rather humbling experience. Shorn of its identity, its faith in where it belongs remains intact. It also symbolises the common citizen who stands out despite having nothing.


You think I can save Islam?

There is this discussion on and, as happens always, Muslims are being asked to reform Islam. For some reason I am mentioned among those who will bring light to the dungeon that is the religion. My questions remain: Why do we have to feel defensive about being westernised or secular? Who the heck cares if someone from another belief system has to wait for years for the so-called reform in Islam, when there are dozens of interpretations already in existence?

I don't know why Islam needs to be reformed. If you have some element of intellect, then you choose what floats your boat; if not, then you sink with it or swim with whatever tide takes you wherever. Islam is more a way of life than Hinduism; it tells you how to wash your elbows, for god's sake...how much more can an instruction manual do?

Religion is a belief system and therefore in the public domain. You visit places of worship, sing hymns, and become part of a community. What you do in private is take this public learning and transport it in your homes - whether it is a puja room, a picture of Christ or Quranic sayings and then you pray. It is akin to a closed-door meeting about the declaration of a mutual fund's progress.

Westernisation is consumerist progress. So if you have call centres where people speak in American accents rather than madrassas where they shake their heads, they call it progress. But, the call centre employee can be a fanatic and the madrassa student need not be. Secularism is not a rejection of religion. Secularism is an acceptance of various religious streams of thought, whether one practises any one or not. And secularism does allow you to be able to say that the works of Neruda or Shakespeare have equal validity and sanctity in your life as any holy book might. It does not reduce the latter in any way, unless one is heavily into reductionism.

This whole ‘moderate’ behemoth puts me off. Once again, two nights ago, I was invited for another such TV panel discussion and I told the person that if I chose to appear in purdah would she still think of me as a 'liberal'? She kept quiet. Then she said, "What sort of subject should I approach you for?" I told her, "Sex." Silence again.

My Muslimness is one part of my identity, just one. If some people wish to fall in this trap of playing to the stereotype of ‘people on the mend’, then please do so. Leave me out of this.

I won’t even deny that the basis of Islam is violence as it is of all religions. Islam has just polished its sword to look shinier. It does not mean that the others are playing chess…heck, if you read some of the epics even chess has a violent and devious motive.

So, I am not interested in reforming Islam at all. Besides being ill-equipped to do so, it just does not make logical sense to me. If Islam says live by the sword, and I think it works for me, I shall sleep with one by my side. It does not mean we cleave whatever comes in the line of the sharp edge. Some of us are very picky.


In the eye of the Taj

I was surprised to see this picture of blind students holding replicas of the Taj Mahal as part of the campaign for it to be voted among the Seven Wonders of the World. This was highly insensitive and to think that it was credited as ‘An Asian Age photograph' and not some agency handout.

A few days ago Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam in his enthusiasm as part of the campaign asked, “Why not the Taj Mahal? It symbolises the huge strides our country is making. It is the symbol of our economic prosperity.”

Is there an explanation for such a silly statement? How has the Taj Mahal contributed to economic prosperity? It is an ancient monument and has little to do with the strides India is making, unless we wish to see the ‘yellowing’ as an example of pollution and therefore rapid industrialisation. In which case, the appeal is rather circuitous.

Perhaps our political leaders will have such SMS appeals for eye donations the next time and the media will give it equal if not more coverage?


Don't get me, okay?

More on not being understood…Here follows my response to one such denizen who always goes “duh?” when poetry is mentioned.

1.A truck driver just approached me...

"Behenji, you will do vadaa kaam by writing angrezi shair-o-shayari on my backside. Request hai ji..."

"But Paaji," I tell him, "My poetry is so confusing, no Rabba-shabba, no Horn Ok please, no Kake da Dhaba, no Maa da Ashirwaad, no Mera munda Pintoo...so why you are asking for this ulta-pulta thing from naacheez me?"

"Oye, simple ji...peoples reading from back, getting into deep soch ke kya hai ji, kuchh samajh nahin aata, then they not overtaking or jaan boojh ke honking, so I can listen to "Yamla pagla deewana" in peace."

2. I was approached by the Municipal Corporation for their public toilets for the greater good of mankind project.

"Madam, very kindly I make humble suggestion to you to pliss write your versification on wall of mutralaya (urinal)."

I was stunned, "But sir, you are a government servant, you should not encourage any writing on the walls. Besides, no one would read my poems anyway."

Shaking his head up-down, side-side, he grinned, "You know what madam, people looking at words, not understand, look carefully again with eyes becoming small and eyebrows going up...in this position they will also look down still concentrating."


"So what madam...you are ladies style, how to tell you...but you know mens not aiming properly always, so now with eyes in that position everything will fall in place. This is public service, pliss."

"I am honoured, sir. Should I continue to do this on a public forum too?"

"Ah, I know men pee-ing even in open…you think they will aim better with poetry? There it is not mattering, little drops here and there...there your writing won't help concentration. But surely if it is on every wall, then they will have to hide behind bush...so it will help fertilisation and irrigation. Madam, you are true public spirited lady. You must get nighthood."


The Lal Masjid maulvi escaped in a burqa. So, what's your problem?

I don’t think he is a coward. Chief cleric Maulana Mohammad Abdul Aziz of the Lal Masjid tried to escape wearing a burqa. They say it is such a wimpish act; he should have manfully taken the bullets on his chest for the cause he upholds.

Here: the cause he upholds is for women to wear the burqa, among other things that he believes the Shariah prescribes. So, in effect, he was merely promoting the cause.

If this is a facetious argument, let us come to the cowardice bit. Why would he not escape? How many civilians and non-maulvis wish to be arrested by cops, that too of a military regime they are opposing? Had he given his life, would they not then say that this is typical Islamic shaheed behaviour, lusting for houris in a heaven guaranteed for martyrs?

Why this sudden respect for the veil and it being misused? The concern ought to be that those students were armed and that is what the Pakistani government too must be worried about.

Closer home, people are always misusing the burqa, the latest being singer Himesh Reshammiya who wore it to escape fans at the Ajmer dargah. Mallika Sherawat wears it to watch her tits-and-ass films. Women criminals wear it.

And don’t we see every darned fellow in a police van cover his face with a towel?

I don’t care what they do with that maulvi, but let us not harp on superficials when the issue is deeper.


News meeows - 5

Some Indian doctor has been arrested as a suspect in the recent bombings in Glasgow and London. So? So what happens is desis start getting into either yoo-hoo or woo-hoo mode depending on whether you are Pakistani or Indian.

The fact that someone tried to bomb seems irrelevant.

Why are Pakistanis slightly envious because it isn’t one of them? Is it a market they had full control over? Then think again. There are other nationalities in the fray too, even if we restrict it to the Islamic world.

And why on earth are Indians getting so self-righteously whiny? This isn’t the first time. I had already written about Dhiren Barot (of course he did the right royal pain in the ass thing by converting to Islam before trying his stunts) reproduced here who had the impeccable credentials of Al Qaeda.

Why does everything in the world come down to India versus Pakistan?

I still recall that hugely entertaining encounter in Toronto. Cars were blaring music and slogans, with young guys carrying huge Pakistani flags. They were celebrating their independence day two days late due to the blackout then. A lone Indian boy stood across the street with the tricolour. For some silly reason I went over and said I was proud of him. A dark man appeared from nowhere and asked where I was from.

“The Siachen border,” I replied, hoping he’d catch on.

He said he did not know where that was. I told him about the conditions on that border, how tough life was. He quickly said, “I am not into all this politics business. I am a Sri Lankan!”

- - -

Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi are getting divorced. The poor guy has been talking about how he had to suffer because the headlines screamed ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and other such stuff. Then he talked about how she had to suffer because she was gorgeous (sic), talented (sic) and also nice (sic).

Then why the hell are they parting ways? Because the media has been saying things about them? He is 60. Surely if he can take a price on his head and a knighthood, this should be a piece of cake, perhaps one from the lady’s cookery show.

He wants everyone to respect their privacy and yet he quotes from the media. Why did they not just get that divorce without making a noise about it?

- - -

Everyday they are finding more dirt on presidential nominee Pratibha Patil. Now she is supposed to have had a chat with some spirits. I did not talk about it earlier because this time the race for the president has turned into a farce.

This is what she has reportedly said: “''I had a very happy experience here. The Baba came into the body of Hriday Mohini Dadiji. I did not know that he still talks. I thought he will say something and I will listen. But he had a chat with me and put me into difficulty. He also made me very lucky.”

Good for her. Which Indian politician can claim not to have been influenced by some godman/woman or the other? Even Communists talk to Lenin and Marx’s ghosts. And then there is Gandhi’s ghost and Ambedkar’s…we have one for every ideology and prejudice.

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Adnan Sami lost weight and got back his ex-wife. Great. Now at least everyone will shut up and stop going on and on about his weight loss. Has anyone realised that when a man loses weight they go into details about his diet, his health plan and nutritionist’s details. When a woman does, plonk: she must have got it all sucked out.

I am not being gender biased. It also depends on the kind of women. Some who are considered intellectual and belong to the charmed circle will never be found out.