Thursday, 23 January 2014

Headless chickens

Ok so we have all been running around like headless chickens discussing the AAP and the great brown hope it holds for us but the harsh truth is that many before the AAP, like the socialists, the Lohaites, the Mandalites and Samajwadis have promised the same kichri of corruption free govt.s and empowered citizenry. The only thing all these worthies have done is to divide society in terms of identity politics, caste and class and all have filled their coffers.
The AAP will also end up as a rump group of some disaffected people living on the margins because it takes much more for a CM than sleeping out on the streets to transform society.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


I have always supported laissez faire as an economic theory as well as a political and social tool in life. But in a strange way I miss the slightly over the top Governmental policies of the seventies, nonaligned era in which the Central govt. made a special effort to reach out to the African nations and condemn the then racist regime of South Africa.  Of course it was all well-orchestrated and exaggerated but at the very least it sensitized the powers to be and the bureaucracy at that point in time that India would not tolerate racism and would stand shoulder to shoulder with their African brothers and sisters.
Sadly today that same kind of will and resolve has considerably whittled down, especially in those who rule us. The AAP intervention in Khirki village is a case in point. Would it ever be conceivable in the seventies that a minister would lead a mob and hurl real and imagined charges and molest African women?
The truth is and we all know that that we are a deeply racial society though we tend to be in denial of this fact. The only saving grace is that at least officially we have always said the right things, taken up the right causes internationally and put our weight, money, resources and even troops behind the right international causes such as abolition of racism. But now a governmental intervention in the opposite direction threatens to undo all the good work of the past. The AAP has shown that to gather more votes and cheap publicity it can play around and disregard policies that have always given India the moral edge in international affairs.

In a sense as we move forward in the new century and grapple with new style politics and a new paradigm we are becoming more brutish, less refined and completely insular and selfish in a new age of technological advancement. The irony of these contradictions is the stuff of TV debates but it is all too real and it is affecting people in real time and now.


I understood this simple truism during my days in DD news, posted in Delhi, when some of my colleagues and friends from my batch, posted in various states told me that we in Delhi kept on doing Delhi centric stories and passed it on as national news. I later realized that they are absolutely correct.

The entire press coverage of Kejriwal’s agitation in Delhi is bizarre by any stretch of the imagination. It is really at best a local Delhi issue and people in other states could not be bothered by it. A recent nation wide poll revealed that people beyond Delhi and Haryana don’t really care about Arvind Kejriwal. They have far more pressing things to deal with on their plate. It’s also easy for the news channels to keep focusing on live coverage in Delhi because frankly it’s a low cost alternative for them and also an opportunity for what I call lazy reporting. When is the last time I saw a decent report from say Chhattisgarh or the Line of control?


The Somnath Bharti case has become a test case to prove whether the very same people who fought pitched battles for Nirbhaya and empowerment for women will walk the talk when it comes to equal right and justice for women. Way back in the movie ‘THE ACCUSED’ Jodie Foster played the award winning role of a prostitute who is raped by a gang of drunk men in a bar. Based on a real life incident the movie makes the point that even a prostitute has equal rights as any other woman and she cannot be violated against her will. So even assuming that some of the Ugandan women in Khirki village, might have been sex workers, the due process of law in terms of serving summons, an investigation by officers with a lady officer present – all this should have been followed. Not only was all this disregarded but Bharti with purpose outraged the decency and modesty of these African nationals. Let’s face it: Bharti is an accused in this matter and more than water and power and Lokpal bills this is the real test case for the Kejriwal govt. whether it is prepared to walk it’s talk.

Monday, 20 January 2014

St. Stephens vs the rest

So in the initial years of our marriage when my wife, Sonu, with a hint of pride, would say that 'I went to college' I would wonder and respond by saying 'So what! We all went there.' It was a little later I realized she meant St. Stephens college as if the rest of us went to tented colleges with open air loos'. More of the rib tickling stuff was in store when recently along with Sonu, I attended the annual Stephens get together with spouses in Mumbai. Having studied in the nearby ‘rowdy’ Khalsa college, I felt like a guerrilla walking into enemy territory. A crusty old Stephenian and a good friend of ours remarked ‘An author from Khalsa? That’s strange! Are you authoring the basic English alphabet?”
Okay so we can all laugh about this but it is difficult to laugh when a character like Mani Shankar Aiyar uses his ‘college’ background to run down Ajay Maken and make tasteless ‘tea vendor’ remarks about Modi. The fine line between genuine mirth and malicious commenting has to be observed.

Friday, 17 January 2014


1) You don’t need a warrant to barge in your house and arrest you on concocted charges.
2) If you are a woman and a black at that then it is my right to strip search you and feel your private parts
3) I raved and ranted earlier against ‘lal batti.’ Now I am a minister and I can suspend and arrest and harass anyone I feel like
4) I earlier raved and ranted against ‘dynasty politics.’ Now I will deny genuine party workers like Binny senior positions but bring in my good ‘friend’ Ashutosh in a day and make him spokesperson and give him a ticket in the Lok sabha polls.

Counter Revolution

Thank you Mr Kejriwal for shaking up the system and a sleeping Rahul Gandhi who delivered his most fiery and passionate speech yet at the AICC session. Now that Rahul has bounced back in top form kindly leave it to the big boys (Rahul and Modi) to battle it out. You can buzz off back to the NGO space from where you emerged in the first place!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

101 resons

There are 101 reasons why suddenly all of us have decided to support the AAP but it will take two good reasons why we could end up hating it. The first reason could be an outdated economic ideology and there are troubling signs that the ‘socialist’ ideologues in the party are already having their way. The second reason is that many AAP netas want to play the role of Don Quixote. We support the AAP to firstly end corruption and secondly to provide effective governance. I will not support it to send a complete idiot like Kumar Vishwas to Amethi to waste everyone’s time in fighting personalised battles and mouth bad poetry and talk nonsense about the minorities, dalits and women. Ditto for Prashant Bhushan, who is another gladfly, whose wings need to be urgently clipped. Mallika Sarabhai’s warning to AAP should make them sit up.

Sunday, 12 January 2014


Welcome back Devyani and please accept my deepest apologies for the unkind and devious utterances of so many of my ‘upper caste’ brethren who have been criticising you and your father as corrupt, manipulative; as a person who got her just desserts at the hands of the US state department and Preet Bharara.
Not one of these people has the remotest idea of what a scheduled caste person has to go through to gain equality, respect, and a decent livelihood, a job in the private sector, a roof on their heads and basic elemental security in the small little villages, towns and cities in India. Not one of these people has carried night soil on their heads. Not one of these people is used to be stared at in school and college when one enters the class as a ‘scheduled caste’ kid.
These people crib that your lot is ‘stealing’ jobs, placements, engineering, medical and college seats from ‘deserving candidates’. They cannot control their anger when they see in you a successful, modern, woman standing up to the most powerful country in the world for her basic human rights, for her right to be with her Indian American husband, with her kids who are American citizens. They fall back on idle gossip and rumours to criticise you, they bring in your father as an intemperate, corrupt, foul mouthed man, because in India it’s an age old tactic to criticise the family, especially the parents to get to the person who is targeted.
What else can you expect from this lot whose one ambition in life, even today, after so much has happened, is to get a green card for their children and themselves in the United States, never mind how the US treats them. Devyani these are the same people whose sons and daughters of generation next have become rich and content and they find themselves unable to compete for placements for the best schools and colleges in India. Their parents are forced to send them to the colleges in US, Britain, Canada, Australia and Singapore – all for a price of course. So how can they ever be objective about the way the US behaves with the rest of the world?
Devyani never mind these hypocrites and two faced critics who believe that it is their god given right to corner all the benefits in society. There are still some of us left who feel the pain, the utter loneliness of a woman fighting a lone battle in an alien country, a woman forced and subjugated by a cruel system, a woman who fought all that and walked Friday night through the airport terminal in Delhi, back from the US, with her head held high.