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Posts Tagged ‘Bihar’

Dummies Guide to Indian Politics ‚Äď Part 2

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on July 8, 2012

Continued from here.

Pundits will say, you are a good politician if you can slap someone’s bottom hard without hurting your hand and without making that someone feel too bad about it. Let‚Äôs quickly look at some of the planks this game is played on. Voters will be regularly referred to as ‘vote bank’. This is apt as an election win can take you laughing all the way to the bank.

Caste Politics: India has history of recognising people first by their birth, then by their deeds. So, you are first a dalit and then a bank manager. You are first a Brahmin and then a professional. Dalit considers other Dalits as ‘own people’ and brahmin considers other brahmins as its ‘own people’. Our heart generally goes out to our family, our caste, our region and our country, in this order. So, a Dalit’s leader vote bank is the Dalit community. He promises the moon for ‘his people’ and generally makes the promise with a straight face. This is key. You can’t be a good politician if you can’t keep your emotions in check and hide your true feelings. And you always got to leave the exit door open. So, in India you are a dalit leader, brahmin leader, muslim leader, backward or a forward leader. So, the formula to success is quite simple. Make sure the liquid stays insoluble (communities don’t gel), keep your flock together and if possible create division in your adversary’s vote bank. Simple.

Dynastic Politics: This is the kind of politics where the reins of political leadership is limited to a family. One thing that needs to be appreciated is that politics is not just a social service, if that. This is also a business where you try to make money and try to secure the future of your family. Thus, it is quite natural for a ‘Lalu Prasad Yadav’ to make his wife, Rabri Devi, as Chief Minister of Bihar and Congress making Sonia Gandhi its commander in chief. This country, some say, owes a lot to the Gandhi family with the fight for independence and all. But, there are also those daring mavericks who claim that in last few years, Gandhi family has started owning a lot to this country. Literally! But, who wants to get in the middle of these silly fights. Not me. Who cares if Sonia Gandhi is the most powerful individual in India. Who cares if she is Italian by birth and whatever Mr Subramanian swamy ¬†has to say here. Aren’t we the proud largest democracy of the world? In that case, elevation of individuals like Sonia Gandhi, Rabri Devi, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh to the coveted political positions can only be jewels in our large democratic crown. If an IAS officer cleaning Mayawati’s sandals can appreciate this, why can’t we?

Developmental Politics: This is the rare and risky form of politics where politician works towards the development of his/her jurisdiction and hopes to please people. Why is it risky? Well, strictly speaking, opportunity to make money for your family might be small if you are going to use that money for development. If people don’t recognise your development or choose to vote based on caste, you are stumped. You will not have money and might well get kicked out. That is pure dumb. So, what do you do? Rule is to make sure you don’t leave the first flavour of politics – caste politics. Make sure you don’t give everything to the public at once as you won’t have anything to offer when the elections come. So, you got to be very systematic in what you give. If you give a rocket¬†to your son as his first gift, what do you give him next? So, you got to start with a cycle and slowly upgrade it all the way up to a rocket.

India is a proud country. Thats the reason any finger raised in its direction meets with an outrage. It’s our country to spoil. Leave us alone.

India is not a country of equals. Not by a country mile. Reservation based on caste at the pretense of promoting equality is a cynical political game that politicians love to play as if they have to make sure it keeps breathing as there is no value of a dead. They have to make sure communities don’t gel. They have to make sure liquids stay insoluble.

Posted in Controversy, India | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mumbai Attacks: United we stand divided we fall

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on November 30, 2008

24 hour round the clock live coverage of devastating Mumbai attacks has made sure that the pain is felt by each and everyone throughout the world. And rightly so. It was attack on anyone who believes in the central theme of life. There can be no motivation good enough for such callous indiscriminate killing. But, let there be no bias in our condemnation of acts of violence. Every Indian has right to feel Indian in each and every part of this country. Raj Thackeray’s of this country should not be allowed to prosper. Incidents like that of Orissa should never be allowed to happen. There should be one true spirit. And that should be Indian spirit. That will prove to be the biggest deterrent for those who believe that they can puncture the social fabric of India by launching such gruesome attacks. Politicians will continue to be politicians and time will take its toll on the intensity or anger that everyone feels right now. Let that not be the case. Violence, any kind of violence, should be condemned in strongest possible terms. There are probably things that shouldn’t be said aloud but, this is the lowest I could keep my voice.

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What the hell, its for a good cause!

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on September 7, 2008

Its always a challenge when we have to go out of our normal course of lives to do something. Most of the time we shrink our head back in to our comfort zones for sight outside is either too horrific or too revealing. But, sometimes we manage to muster enough courage to take the fight to these fears just to see what it feels like to do something “crazy”.

My experience while collecting funds for Bihar floods has been interesting. While people from very unexpected quarters have come forward, most people have decided to shrug their shoulders after making sure that we know how “sorry” they are.

The fact remains that as long as individual’s self interest is protected, in majority of cases people confine their life to “Me, my family, my religion/caste, my state, my country” in that order. While contributing to such disasters might not be as easy as forwarding emails to five friends in order to claim their share of prosperity, it has revealed time and again how superficial life most people live. But, most people will boil when such a suggestion is made. While people continue to moan about things they would like to do but can’t, the fact remains that either you do it or you don’t. Its not necessarily a bad thing because that forms the majority. But still, its important that they learn to live with it for thats who they are and not moan about it.

One needs a far cavalier and positive attitude to come forward to help just in the name of “what the hell, its for a good cause!”. Thanks to all those who have shown this side of theirs and prove what my dad says time and again that “there are enough good people in this world to stop it from going in to hell”.

While it is not intended to offend, it doesn’t hurt to put mirror in front of people’s faces from time to time.

Related post: Bihar Floods – What can you do?

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The day I agreed to get married – Part2 (Finally)

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 8, 2007

(Flashback: Continued from here . Delay in this post was caused due to my employer showing me the contract that I indeed have been hired to work.)

If for Jane Austen (Ref: Pride and Prejudice) single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife, for parents, its jobs.

A conversation/argument with your dad probably ranks only next to waking up early on a winter morning in terms of difficulty. I have tried to be an obedient son and I was being put on trial here. Say, but make sure you are not disrespectful. Stay quiet and “Yes” will be taken as the implied answer. There was no way out. Chances of success were looking bleak. In the past I have dealt with desperate situations like these by estimating the worst case scenario and convincing myself that it was not bad enough. I was struggling to convince myself here. Its interesting how your most significant qualities desert you when you want them most. I have generally tried to latch on to humour to get me off the hook but, here I was not finding anything funny. It was getting serious.

Me: Do I have to answer now?

Dad: Why, who do you have to ask?

Me: No, but I mean there were so many things I wanted to do.

Dad: Well, Isn’t marriage one of those on your sorry list?

Me: Well, yeah! I think….But –

Dad: (Without letting me finish) This is the problem with today’s generation. They think more and do less.

(I kept quiet hoping that the conversation would end on this note as any answer might provoke him to speak.)

Dad: Do you realise that most guys of your age and from your batch are married? Or is there somebody you have in London you are not telling us about? (Without waiting for me to answer) Listen, I understand that there is some generation gap here. If you think that I don’t understand that then you are wrong. I understand. I understand more than you think. I will not impose my thinking on to yours. I am quite liberal when it comes to that. I don’t believe in telling people what to do. If there is a girl there, I have no problem with it. Why will I have problem? After all its you who has to marry and its you who has to live with her. Why do you think we will have problem with that? (And I was thinking ‘wow!’ and he goes) Just make sure that it is not one of those white girls. After all there is something called society that we have to consider and keep in mind. After all people have been following these traditions for ages. There must be some meaning to it. So, just make sure that she is a decent maithil brahmin girl of a different Gotra to ours. (Background: Maithil Brahmins are one type of Brahmins belonging to Hindu religion. There are certain rules that you need to follow. This link has something to say about it. Quality is a suspect.)

Me: There is nobody in London! (‘who fits your profile’ I thought in my head)

Dad: Then what is the problem then? Haven’t you heard that behind every successful man there is a woman?

(Flashback: This almost made me laugh! I never thought this will be used as an argument to convince somebody to get married! Moreover, this was one of the (in)famous old adage we used to amuse ourselves with during our fun-discussions in student life! I never thought I will have to argue this point with my dad. And what more, I did a terrible job!)

Me: But papa, I don’t consider myself successul yet!

Oops! It doesn’t take time for you to realise when your sarcasm is badly timed. This was one of those and I was almost sure that I will have to pay for it dearly. I was right. My dad went quiet. My mom came to my rescue.

Mom: Beta, koi bhi kaam sahi samay par hi accha lagta hai! (Son, everything should be done at the right time!)

At the same time dad got in to action not willing to let this go that easily.

Dad: What the hell in this world is wrong with you? Do you realise that all good girls are married off at an early age?

Surprising it might sound, no answer in my head sounded appropriate for this question.

Me: So, do you have anybody in mind who you think might be suitable for me?

Dad: There is no shortage of well-educated, beautiful girls in our caste. I tell you that. We just need to start looking.

A sudden spark of genius made me realise that the actual event is probably not as important for my parents as the whole process itself.

Me: Okay. If you think thats the case then I don’t mind you looking at proposals. I mean, I don’t think I want to get married just as yet, may be late next year or something (keeping my voice low here) but, I don’t mind you looking at proposals.

And my dad goes(looking at my mother).

Dad: Didn’t I tell you that he will understand? And didn’t I tell you that he has nobody in England?!

And I was thinking “What???”.

Dedication: This is dedicated to my dad who has made sure that I never had to look far for an ideal to draw inspiration. He has shown great faith in my ability to grasp his teachings and has left, for most part, to lead my life on my own terms allowing me to experience all shades of life. This is also dedicated to couple of my very dear friends, Ramanshu (no effort made to protect his identity) and Ahmar, who got married recently. Their names have been published to embarass and punish them for not staying in touch after marriage.

Not-so-useless post article commentary: It is quite obvious from this post that I belong to Bihar and I wear the badge with pride. I don’t do so because of its bad roads but, inspite of it. Bad roads don’t represent Bihar neither do high illitracy rate or poverty. I do. And several thousands others who have done very well in their chosen field inspite of what the then government of Bihar had to offer. Bad infrastructure etc’ are mere symptoms of bad governance. People of Bihar being subjected to ridicule merely suggests the ignorance of those who do it.

PS (Post-script): Was very tempted to address the dowry issue but thats for another day.

Repeat: Please note that although the event is real, conversation is totally fictitious.

Extra: There is no mention of Maithil Brahmin in Wiki (I didn’t know there were so many types of Brahmins!). There is no mention here as well. I wonder if its bad editing. Hmm..

Posted in Bihar, India, Me | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

The day I agreed to get married

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on February 28, 2007

[PS (Pre-script): The text has been edited to make it fit for under 21s. No effort has been made to protect anybody from embarrasment to make it “sound as real as possible”. No attempt has been made to make people tickle. Any humour, if at all, is inherent¬†in the content. Any joke at anybody’s expense is purely coincidental.¬†This is account of an actual¬†event which I have used to present a “fictional” conversation¬†between me and my dad. This is how most conversation of this nature goes in real life. My dad was generous and I¬†turned lucky. I didn’t have to go through this.This has been broken in to two parts to¬†account for the short attention span of today’s generation, me being one of them.]

All my fallen comrades had told me that their life after marriage has changed for better or for worse. Not in position to analyse the statement objectively, I requested them to elaborate. They didn’t. I had heard that ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’. With no opportunity in sight to fake my intelligence, I decided to think. I thought hard about the conversation I had with my dad during my trip to India, Bihar to be specific,¬†about couple of weeks ago.The context in this case justifies a mention of the background and merits some space for it¬†felt like a cruel joke at that¬†point. It was worse.¬†It was a well-thought plan devised at getting the desired result, by hook (read: emotion) or crook (read: force). ¬†

Me, my brother, mom and my dad were returning from Deoghar,¬†a religious place in Bihar. Trip was made to acknowledge god’s contribution in my recently achieved professional success. The trip was 250kms long (from Darbhanga to Deoghar) and we were anticipating to clock atleast 10 hours to get there considering the condition of¬†the roads, where there was one. We got there late in the evening that day feeling very religious with the general concensus amongst¬†us of some kind of¬†divine presence in the air.¬†Complaining¬†about the roads would have been a grave sin considering the troubles people go through to show their faith. (Background:¬†People walk 100kms from Sultanganj, a place in Bihar on the banks of river Ganga, to Deoghar¬†barefoot!¬†Time to boast:¬†I have¬†made this trip twice. Although, I wonder if I realised at that point the generally perceived significance of it or was it just the sense of adventure. I was just 11 then.)¬†¬†After paying our respects next morning, we started on our journey back amost certain that all this pain was worth it as we managed to stay in the temple longer (4 minutes) than usual (1 minute) due to the relatively less number of devotees, that being the “off-season”. I was driving with my brother seated next to me, mom and dad¬†having occupied the¬†seats at the back.¬†¬†The rear-view mirror made sure that I didn’t forget their presence with my dad keeping an eye on the speedometer to check if it stayed within the “safe” range¬†despite being¬†confident with my inability to go beyond it due to impecabbly destroyed roads which ensured that even a four feet wide car was not able to escape the reality of the road condition.¬†I don’t consider myself to be foul-mouthed, always in control of my emotions. But, I was getting overdose of reality. Bumps were so regular that¬†I had¬†almost¬†got used to it. Well, thats what I thought till I spilled something which made my dad say, ” how do¬†you expect these roads to be fixed in one day? Thats how it was yesterday, isn’t it? In fact it has been this way for years. This is not London.” which was enough to suggest the standard I was to expect for the remainder of my journey.¬†I decided to keep quiet trying to see the positive side¬†of all this and thought¬†it could have¬†been worse. It¬†did turn¬†worse.

Dad: So, what kind of girl will you like to get married to?

‘What???’ I thought in my head and decided to keep quiet hoping that it was some¬†figment of my imagination¬†or it will slowly fade away in all these car bumps and the¬†priority of the conversation will change. Didn’t work.

Dad: Say something for god’s sakes!

It was for real! My dad was thinking of my marriage!

(Continued here .)

Posted in Bihar, India, Me | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

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