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Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Dummies Guide to Indian Politics – 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’s 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.

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

Dummies Guide to Indian Politics – Part 1

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on June 23, 2012

It is well known that there are three things that unite India – Cricket, Bollywood and Politics. You might ask, ‘Politics? Really?’.  While bandwagon of stars pull people towards Cricket and Bollywood, politics in India- on most days, is looked down upon. But, if we dig a bit deeper, we quickly realise that politics is engrained in every strain of our body. Lesson starts from a very early age right when we are at school. You are compelled to side with a particular group to create a stronger group dynamic to when you move to college where its all about getting a girl or a boy often resulting in gossips, backstabbing, fights and at times a compromise – you take that girl and I take the other one. And when you come back home, the fight is all about being the superior sibling either by growing on your own foot or cutting someone else down to size. How your life turns out depends on how well you navigate these social strains. So, by the time you turn 18, you are already well-oiled and are super confident to pass judgements and we do that without regret or remorse which is fair because we all have been well-trained, right? We folks in India are strongly opinionated. We have an opinion on everything and god forbid if you don’t listen. And why wouldn’t you listen because then its your turn to express yourself as we all are graduates of the same training school.

So, what happens when a nation of well trained, strongly opinionated fellas take the street? That’s right. While the strength of our nation, some say, is its diversity, those diverse communities live like different type of insoluble liquids poured in to a jar. While this might not seem very attractive, it brilliantly lays out ground for very colourful politics. I called it colourful but, some choose to call it dirty. To each his or her own.

Ok, so most of us are politicians in one form or the other. May be. But, what is that to do with Indian politics? And if each of us are so well-oiled, why don’t we enter the fray and try to take our country to where it belongs- right at the top? Aha! Now that I have been asked that question, you are exactly where I wanted you before we dive in to the “colourful” world of Indian Politics!

Part 2 continued here.

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

Where are all the ladies?

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on May 18, 2011

This is not directed at anyone and is just an observation. Accurate or not, you decide. 🙂

Doesn’t it feel that girls these days are increasingly appearing high on ‘testosterone’? It’s cool to swear. It’s cool to take multiple takeela shot. It’s cool to make circles from puff of smoke. Obviously, my observation is skewed as it is based on what I see around and up to a certain extent on the content of tv shows targeted at young audience but, we have definitely come a long way from the days of Indian naari (Indian woman). Arrogance and rudeness is not any guy’s prerogative if that’s how one argues in its’s favour but, it’s definitely not ‘cool’. It’s a big turn off. Thankfully, it’s not the norm. At least, not yet. And no, I am not sexist. 🙂

PS: Swear is slang and means ‘to use abusive words’. E.g. ****, *****, ******** etc’

Disclaimer: Again. This post comes with lots of asterisk and is not directed at anyone in particular or girls from any particular region, company, planet etc’. It is not intended to be provocative but, if you do feel that way, feel free to express yourself in words that you feel appropriate and I promise I won’t delete any comment! And you don’t even have to beep out your favourite words like I have done!

Posted in India, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

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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Taare Zameen Par

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 1, 2008

Just when you think that bollywood can’t set the bar any lower, somebody slides right under it. However, there are occasional movies which manage to escape the rule and its no coincidence that Aamir Khan featured in two such movies (other being Rang De Basanti) in recent past. He seems to be one actor who genuinely makes every effort to take the road of his own choosing without compromising his value system unlike most of his peers who almost always have a price tag attached to their morality. He has done it again with “Taare Zameen Par” which is refreshingly original. It is not only entertaining but, more importantly touches upon a subject which most parents and children will be able to relate to. As most parents continue to project their idea of life on to their children, the life turns into a puppet show with strings attached to every part of the child’s body each going in different direction but for the one the child truly wants to. Everyone who reads this will nod their head in agreement but, how many will go ahead and let their kids breath the air they want to?

Following is a passage by Khalil Gibran-The Madman, I read long time ago which beautifully captures this.

It was the garden of the madhouse that I met a youth with a face pale and lovely and full of wonder.

And I sat beside him upon the bench and said, “why are you here”?

And he looked at me in astonishment and he said, “It is an unseemly question ,yet I will answer you.”

“My father would make of me a reproduction of himself,so also would my uncle. My mother would have me the image of her illustrious father. My sister would hold up her seafaring husband as the perfect example for me to follow. My brother thinks I should be like him ,a fine athlete and my teachers also ,the doctor of philosophy and the music master and the logician they too were determined and each would have me but a reflection of his own face in a mirror.”

“Therefore I came to this place. I find it more sane here. At least I can be myself“.

Then all of a sudden he turned to me and he said, “But tell me,were you also driven to this place by education and good counsel?”

And I said, “No,I am a visitor.” and he said, “Oh,you are one of those who live in the madhouse on the other side of the wall.”

Posted in Bollywood, Movies | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

I Wish…

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on December 31, 2007

And here comes another year. The only thing that is going to excite most of us is the new set of hope nicely packaged in the comfort of our imagination that it brings along. Most will look forward to the new year rather then reflect on the year gone past for the fear what it might reveal. As we go around wishing for ourselves (and others) a “happy” new year, most will not have any clue what kind of happiness they are wishing for. In order to wish, one needs to have the will to act. In the world where all it takes to fall in “love” is a glance from top to bottom, where celebrities who spend more time in the rehab define our lifestyle, where we continue to be seduced by glamour instead of success, where we feel more comfortable living our lives on Facebook and Orkut, where it is just too difficult to prevent people from making ass of themselves, one can only hope that people learn how to live. If life is a game it takes more than a resolution in a pub to develop the ability to play against the odds. And if life is about fairness, it takes far more to be fair to one’s conscience.

Oscar Wilde said, “One’s real life often is the one he doesn’t lead.” He definitely had a point.

Posted in Life, Motivation, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

God As Your Soulmate

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 27, 2007

This is not about whether god exists or not. However, if an abstract concept, if it is an abstract concept, has the capacity to bend our minds to behave in certain way, it is as real as anything that we can see, touch and feel.

I like to think of God as an anonymous entity who is my soul-mate. Somebody who challenges me to excel. Somebody who challenges me to rise despite all adversities. Somebody who challenges me to live.

I heard somewhere “I dare not assume for the fear that I might be in error.” So, I refrain from making assumptions regarding god’s existence, his appearance or anything that will conflict with my logical understanding of “Life”. Luckily, I don’t see the need to make such assumptions about his existence. Any of my assumptions are philosophical which lifts my spirits and boosts my confidence just enough to give me the ability to fight yet again.

One of my friend casually mentioned once, “Bhagwaan load usi ko deta hai jo usko utha sakta hai.” (God pressures those who he thinks will be able to bear it.”) I like to think myself as one of those. If this belief raises my spirits and takes me to a point where I start feeling invincible, can anything be more “real” than this?

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Brilliance of a New Day

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 21, 2007

Yesterday was a very stormy day. Freezing temperature and winds managing to reach speed of 40mph.I almost got blown away while walking on one of the footbridges over the river that flows besides the office building.

This morning what I saw through the window as I opened my eyes to the new morning brought smile on my face. It was view of spotless blue sky and it was almost difficult to believe that I was waking up at the same place which was in so much turmoil last night. It was as if something had a telling influence on this weather which led to sudden calm. And calmness so beautiful that any hammering that it took only a few hours ago was a distant memory. I could not help but draw parallel to our real lives. We are made to witness so many instances where we wish that events that made our world turn upside down just disappear without us having to know as to what made it disappear. But, that never happens. How desperately we wish it did.

But, would this life be worth living if we did not get the opportunity to show our might by overcoming everything that this live had to throw at us? I guess not.

Posted in Life, Motivation, Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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