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Shoe Prank Redemption April 7, 2009

Posted by astralwicks in india, India Elections 2009, justice, Opinion, People, Politics, protest, Random, violence.
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Jarnail Singh threw a shoe. Should he, a journalist, thought of his professional code first and foremost, repressed his anger and carried on reporting in a non-partisan manner? This is being ad nauseum on all the TV channels. Most ardently by Barkha and Arnab. Barkha, it seems, takes it as a personal affront – so zealously she guards her rarefied code. Arnab, artistically stuttering, goes with the flow of the arguments of his esteemed guests.

Jarnail Singh might not want to be a hero, but unwittingly, he has. 25 years and still counting and no justice. Enough for a reasonable man or a woman to feel angry, depressed, sad, waver, lose focus, feel helpless and uncared for, decide to take the one step that will define him perhaps for the rest of his life, stake everything on that one moment that one might later regret and yet steel oneself and do it because…he was just a man

Long live the protest of the individual soul.


Patil Out, Pakistan Next November 30, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Death, Governance, india, Life, Opinion, pakistan, Personal, Politics, protest, terrorism, urban terror, World, Writing.
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Finally, Mr. Shivraj Patil has put in his papers. Or, as the gossip goes, he was asked by the party president Mrs. Gandhi to. It’s a sad state of affairs that even for relinquishing that thankless post that the entire nation now equates with inefficiency he couldn’t follow his conscience, but had to be asked. Will efficiency henceforth be the criteria for appointments or loyalty, your guess is as good as mine.

Pakistan next. India is on the verge of suspending the ceasefire on it western and northern borders. India should also suspend all trade, bus and air routes to this nation that is absolutely shameless. No wonder its people suffer from the rulers that they get. No cricket. No exchange during Id or Diwali. We are your enemies. You see us as enemies and so shall we. Tough international sanctions must be imposed on this wolf in a sheeps clothing, crying hoarse that they are victims of terror. Manmohan Singh believed this spiel. So did Advani and Atal and were back stabbed by Kargil. Still we believe the the janus in nexus – the administration and the military.

There is a time for peace and unfortunately a time for more stringent measures if not war. A lot depends on how the politicians and political parties. RR Patil must be prosecuted for his statements. How insensitive and callous can the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra get? He is congratulating himself and government for saving the lives of roughly 4650 people as according to his estimates 5000 dead was the target of the terrorists.

Will Vilasrao still continue to be the chief minister to keep other regional satraps out of power. Or will a person with a vision for the state, its people and one who understands the extra-ordinary role that Mumbai plays be allowed to ascend the chair.

I am sure other than some cosmetic measures nothing much will change. The current rage should not dissipate. I went to a citizines initiative in the morning today where people couldn’t come to a conclusion as to the route to be adopted. There are ANGER marches being planned against the government,  both at the center and the state. Most are frustrated with the apathy all around. Will peaceful pressure by numbers of Indian citizens have an impact on the politicians?

If not taken notice, one day it might not be peaceful any more.

2008 – New Year Protest January 3, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in 2008, Assassination, Benazir Bhutto, Blogging, Blogs, Ecology, Environment, Goa, Government of India, india, pakistan, People, Politics, protest, Revolt, SEZ, SEZ's, Writing.
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Convinctions are stronger than truths. Believe it long enough and they can do more harm than the truth.

It’s 2008 now. We are old by another year, day and month, whatever pleases you. There was Christmas cheer, there was tragedy and there was revelry. Move on said the dead bodies, the treacheries, the disappointments and broken promises. Celebrate said the remaining memories of happiness…a birth in the family, a promotion, a nuptial, a new love.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto was shocking. A friend messaged me when I was in Delhi, battling the winter chill. I informed my parents in Jamshedpur, who didn’t know the Rawalpindi incident. They confirmed and since then everything is in total confusion.

Bullets felled her. No, the lever of the sun-roof did her in. No, the blast killed her. What is certain is the fact that she is no more. Since then she has managed to wash off some of the taints that continued to haunt her when alive.

She immediately became a martyr for an entire nation. The unifying factor was eliminated. Now what will be the fate of Pakistan…commentators wondered? Punter, especially the ones active in the sub-continent would have betted heavily on the acsension of her son Bilal. After the high – profile political announcement the young man was shipped to Oxford, his mother’s alma mater.

We are slaves. At least we think we are. This is best shown in the reaction to Benazir’s death. Just like in India, our neighbour too is servile at the feet of its rulers. Be it the army, the civilian, the Guru, the preacher, the lover, or plain God. We need a master. A master who will guide us. Who will hold our hands and spank them if we make an error. We need a blue-blooded descendent who has been heaven-ordained to tell us…do this and not that. Tell us, remind us time and again, that they are superior and we are inferior. That we will be ruled by them for generations to come. That no matter what our education and ability, they are the one who will rule.


Because they own the lands. Because they own the government. Because they move in the wine and cheese circle that makes laws, breaks laws and gets away with it. Because they are the ones who know English or whatever language that is popular with power right now. Because they know Americans in power. Because they know Britishers in power. Because they have weapons. Because they have the contacts. Because they own the media. Because they have followers. Because they can fool people. Because the people are fools. Because we let them.

We deserve the rulers we get because we want to be slaves.


Everybody knows Goa. People go there to party, to relax, to unwind. It has the sea, the river and the rolling hills. There are hamlets that are tranquil and peaceful. There the air is cleaner.

No more thanks to the mighty government of India.

People of the state have been agitating against the establishment of SEZ’s or Sepcial Economic Zones. The government of the State has said that they don’t want any SEZ’s in Goa.

The Government of India says that the State government has no right to de-notify the SEZ’s. Why? Because the center has already spent 500 crores. So screw your eco concerns because we have spent somebody else’s money. And why are you worrying about the hills and the water? You will be dead by the time the harm comes to play its ‘taandav’. So earn the compensation and commit suicide because we have already spent 500 crores.


Compare the Nandigram situation last month. Political parties wanted to raise questions about Nandigram but CPI (M) said that violence in West Bengal is a state subject and questions about it cannot be raised in the parliament.


Well Done Doc December 4, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in Children, Doctors, Health, Hyderabad, india, Personal, Politics, protest, Random, Writing.
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Doctors in Hyderabad are on strike. There have been 6 official deaths so far of children at just one hospital where the Doctors are on strike. The deaths, the officials say, are routine. Children die everyday. That’s understood. Doctors too go on strike. That’s understood too. But children dying because of Doctors who are strike is not understandable. They have all the energry to shout slongans. All the passion to fight for their rights. All the resolve to protest against exploitative authorities. All the ambition of a prosperous future to stay hungry, not have food or water.

The children apparently don’t have any rights.

They don’t have the voice.

They don’t have the strength.

They are out – numbered by adults.

They can cry, but they will be slapped shut.

So doctors who are educated, come from cultured families and who have taken the Hippocratic oath stand as mute spectators outside the very hospital inside which children are dying. It’s routine of course. Routine carelessness. Let them die, they are none of ours.

Monday in India and Pakistan November 19, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in Bangladesh, Benazir, Emergency, india, Monday, Musharaf, Neighbour, Opposition, pakistan, Personal, Politics, protest, Reflection, World, Writing.


Welcome to India on a monday. Monday in India is always late, slow, sabbath’s hangover, just like anywhere else in the world. It creeps in, the first child of the week, winking at the hours and minutes, the sun dragging itself from the clouds, a lumberous stretch. Are birds, bees, dogs, crows, cows, cats all afflicted by this strange disease. Or only we men and women are its special chosen victims? Has any scientist done research on this phenomena? Umm…

No work at work today. There are some niggling chores and then adios. Who knows, the 2nd half might get too interesting and then…who knows? 11 o clock and people are just filling up the offices…monday it is, don’t you know, writ large on everybody’s face.

Blogging is addictive. The freedom of expression is infectious. It is like a child discovering it’s ability to scribble and shapes taking form. Similar is the joy when the post is saved and the world gets to read one’s words. It also make one feel important? Words. Dead words for so long captive in the pages start to breathe, exist, talk and converse.

10,000 people dead in Bangladesh.

The same storm was about to hit India before nature took a detour and brought death and destruction on its neighbour.

Elephants don’t forget they say. But I have. And so has the world. Indians were bowled over by Benazir during the Rajiv era. Roses were exchanged and we like prejudiced humans, suffering from superiority and inferiority complexs, gave the benefit of doubt to the British education, accent, antecedents and political posturing. The world supported the embattled prime minister, her husband was allegedly framed and the prodigal daughter went into exile.

This past week Fatima Bhutto has been knocking on all liberal doors. Read an article by Fatima Bhutto about the status of Pakistan post the imposition of emergency by Musharaf. A poet, activist, she wrote lucidly about the affairs of the state or non-state that is in turmoil. Benazir touted to be the only alternative to Musharaf has some serious dirty linen. The neice also accuses her aunt of hijacking the democracy platform with her accent, American support and excellent media management. Possible in today’s democracy or despotism.

It is a case of the one-eyed being the king in the land of the blind. Benazir is presently politically acceptable. She is the liberal face, has a past experience in governing the fragile country, has history and legacy on her side and is pro-democracy.

Can you be pro-democracy and be bad for your country/state/family? Of course you can. The Pakistan President by promulgating a new ordinance has annulled all cases that Benazir was charged with. She gets special treatment to voice her displasure with the present (mis) government. None others do. And we smell a fish here.

Who represents the new opposition in Pakistan? Who is ready to take on the general, his cronies in all shapes and sizes and forge a new alliance? An alliance of what? Is a question that Pakistan should bother themselves with right away.

Any alliance that gives refuge to fundamentalists, the Taliban etc is not good for the country. It is time the entire nation realized that violence cannot be an instrument of state policy. Power corrupts we all know and agree. Power resides in arms and ammunition and in merceneries. And in the army, the police, the State.

When every attempt at ushering liberal secural values is crushed under one pretext or other, sometimes by the military, the police, the state machinery, the polity must foster an alliance on a greater Ideal. Musharaf has given a great chance that way to a generation of Pakistanis. What that Ideal is…can and should be defined by only the Pakistanis…not its military, its police, its generals, Americans, Indians, intelligentsia, media.

It should be defined by the honest man and woman of the street, the rich honest man and the rich honest woman, the educated, the uneducated but wise, the fool on the street, the genius in exile, the singer who hears and the poet who stays silent. It should be defined by the student at the madarsa who is searching for God but doesn’t know where to look, by the hindus and sikhs of Pakistan who love their country, by the Pakistan soldier who has died for his country and has been forgotten, by the soldiers loved one’s, by the kids, people who for long have been silent, crushed, deprived of their right to say, speak, select, vote or reject.

They have to choose from the choices offered by a President who has for various reasons crushed opposition, supported opposition if it benefits him, given shelter to terrorists, lost regions of the country to the Taliban, allowed American bombing of his country, gagged the press, the media, arrested protesters of all kinds…all in the name of restoring parliamentary democracy.

After all Brutus is an honest man.



Rebel Rebel July 5, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in impulse, india, protest, rebel, rebellion, revolutionary, woman.
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It was like any other day. But.

In a dramatic gesture of protest a young, 22 year old, newly-married woman stripped to her undergarments and walked out of the house. She walked out of the house and into the rain that was battering the city. Shocked Indians had a dream come true. What they used to watch surreptitiously on tv and in magazines and foreign films suddenly materialized in front of their eyes on a rainy day.

They couldn’t believe their eyes. ‘Was the girl mad? No, the girl is mad. Why blame the in-laws, see how she didn’t blink an eye. She walked head held high and shoulders that didn’t droop. The in-laws must be right treating her the way she did. The girl must be a psycho or…’

The entire city and probably the country will debate this woman’s act for a couple of days before consigning her to the bin but the dramatic nature of protest quite simply shocked me and then humbled me.

Almost all of us are besieged by unbearable extraneous situations on a daily business. The apathy of the government, the disregard of loved one’s, the crude common milieu, the overbearing superior or the supercilious rich. On a good day almost all and everybody can drive one up against the wall. But what do we do. Do we protest? How do we protest?

Is individual protest in the 21st century liable to make any difference? Will people hear us, see us, differentiate us from the crowd? These questions assail us from all quarters and then we let them go, compromise with the situation and move on. After all there is no time to stop, pause, think and rationalize, understand one’s anger, try to express the rage, not kill the angst but use it creatively to make sense of one’s life and fate.

No. It’s better if we just move on.

But this girl did a brave act. Nobody knows so far, at least I don’t why she did what she did? Her in-laws like many other in-laws are the primary cause. And so she took matter in her own hands and what did she do?

Was it an impulsive act? Will she regret this day in her later years? Does an impulsive act have to be inherently flawed, wrong? No. What she did was to assert her individuality, her womanhood by exposing herself completely to the gaze, both male and female. She asserts and denies her womanhood by the same action. Her protest is revolutionary.

She is a rebel. Long live the rebel.