Elections 2019

Last evening voting finally ended of perhaps the longest fought General Elections of the biggest democracy of the world i.e. India and with that started the debates and opinions on the numerous Exit Polls conducted by one and sundry.

I do not know what will happen on 23rd May 2019 and I also do not want to believe these polls but what I do know is that these elections have laid bare our deep seeded hatred for each other, our communal outlook.

I am ashamed of the utter rubbish some of my social media friends have vomited in their posts unabashedly and unapologetically. They talk about US and THEM !! I mean which previous government has ever stopped them from practicing their religion other than some fake news they read, share and quote from some obscure social media updates.

What will be the takeaway for our future generations from all this. We all have our own individual allegiance and choices. We may not agree with one another but to fester and feed on fault lines of what happened 70 years back is helping no one.

Why have we come to point where everyday thing are measure on communal lines:

पशु बाँट दिए गए, भाषाएँ त्याग दी गयीं, बात ग़ज़ल/क़वाल्ली से लेकर दादरा/ठुमरी तक होने लगी, एक मासूम हारमोनियम को तानपुरे से लड़वा दिया. सियासत और चली तो शमशान और कब्रिस्तान को भी नहीं छोड़ा गया और बात तो तब सर से गुज़र गयी की जब ठंडाई और रूफ-अफज़ा के गुण गिनाने लगे गए !!

और फिर मित्रों ने कहा की इलेक्शन में यह सब तो होता है अब आगे बड़ते हैं.

नहीं भाईसाहेब नहीं!! जब गोडसे का आप खुलेआम महिमामंडन करते हैं तो यह सियासत नहीं आपकी कुंठित मानसिकता है. इतनी कड़वाहट और ज़हर को ना जाने निकलने में कितने साल लगे. ७० साल के घाव तो  भरने दिए नहीं, नए और दे दिए.

रहिमन धागा प्रेम का, मत तोरो चटकाय, टूटे पे फिर ना जुरे, जुरे गाँठ परी जाय.

रहीम कहते हैं कि प्रेम का नाता नाज़ुक होता है. इसे झटका देकर तोड़ना उचित नहीं होता. यदि यह प्रेम का धागा एक बार टूट जाता है तो फिर इसे मिलाना कठिन होता है और यदि मिल भी जाए तो टूटे हुए धागों के बीच में गाँठ पड़ जाती है.

मालूम है की शायद ही फरक पड़े, पर पढियेगा और सोचियेगा ज़रोर !!

BITCHING

Is Bitching the right word or is it too politically incorrect and for that matter is hearsay or gossip the right word??

Whatever term one may use it is here to stay and for everyone to hear, say and repeat. Just the other day someone remarked that even men are such gossip mongers!! Yeah yeah we are, but in 21st century are any gender roles strictly compartmentalized?? When she can do his work why can’t he do her work??

And what better medium to facilitate the above than the most used feature of our handsets i.e. the screenshots. The images/ chats get stored for eternity to be shared, used as a reference point and just to have a great time at someone’s expense. I know of a men’s whatsapp group that specializes in discussing social media updates of their friends based on these very screenshots.

Just wondering if it is about us, whether it is less offensive if you hear it from a secondary source and not straight from the horse’s mouth. I mean अगर मुंह पर नहीं बोला तो क्या फरक पड़ता है?? Some time back I heard about a relative making a snide comment about me, I did feel bad initially but haven’t we ourselves been guilty of the same.

Ideally there shouldn’t be any of it but we do not live in a perfect world and it is kind of OK if it isn’t malicious and outright slander like this person I know who has her life time built on slandering one and sundry and age hasn’t slowed her a bit !!

Karma is a Bitch and what gets thrown around comes around for you to haunt, ALWAYS!! And till the time it comes back keep taking screenshots and recycling information.

PS: Why does is it have to be the feminine of canine species cant it be the other way?? After all 21st century….

Enron & Political Corruption

Dabhol Power Project at Night

Deep inside one of today’s newspaper pages was a small report about the closure of corruption case of Enron’s Dabhol Power Project. As per the report the case has been closed on an application moved by the BJP-Shiv Sena led Maharashtra State Government. What an Irony!! https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/300915/04120254190935/0/12042019/18/image/

I remember this controversy vividly as it was during that time I had moved to Mumbai in 1993 for my further studies. NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar who was then in the Congress had just been moved from the Defence Ministry  to take over as the Maharashtra CM to control volatile situation post the Babri Masjid demolition riots and the Mumbai bomb blasts.

Indian Economy was then just opening up and the Government had got a major FDI for a Power Project in Dabhol, Maharashtra which was to be set up by Enron Corporation. Reports started coming out about opacity and underhand dealings in this project. The opposition led by Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray went hammer and tongs about this alleged corruption and his newspaper ‘SAAMNA’ was filled with stories about it. He went so far to say that if his party was elected to power he would throw the project in the Arabian Sea.

Balasaheb Thackeray with Enron’s Kenneth Lay and Rebecaa Mark at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in Mumbai.

Riding high on this above point besides the Hinduvta card the SS-BJP combined formed the government for the first time in the State and guess what nothing like promised ever happened to Enron’s Power project. Balasaheb went on the entertain Enron Chief Kenneth Lay and the alleged face of everything wrong with Enron deal – Ms. Rebecaa Mark at his residence. The controversy was soon put in the back burner and twenty years later it has died its natural death.

Our political discourse is filled with narratives like these that the political leaders use as a stepping stone to power. Hearsay, without sound legal backup, playing the emotional card, blaming the other side and playing holier than thou!!

From The 2G Scandal’s absurd loss figures that were dismissed by the Special Courts, to tall claims of putting the entire Congress Leadership in jail in 2014 election rallies the list is endless.

The current NDA government is once again asking for mandate on these very alleged cases without acting out on its claims in the last 5 years or managing to get even a single conviction by the courts. For they know it makes out for an excellent vote catcher but a really bad legal case.

Till we have people who are constantly fed on propaganda and are ready to lap it up, we shall have cases like ENRON whose initial wildfire quickly turns in cold ash and helping bring political gains without ever managing to jail a single alleged culprit.

ADVANI JI

भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने आगामी लोक सभा के लिए अपने उम्मीदवार हाल ही में घोषित किये, चर्चा टिकेट मिलने से ज्यादा जिनको नहीं मिला उनकी थी, मुख्यतः आदरणीय लाल कृष्ण आडवाणी जी की!!

उनके बारे में आज कल कम ही सुनने और पढ़ने में आता है जब से उनके शिष्य और हमारे देश के प्रधानमंत्री मोदी जी ने उनको मार्ग दर्शक मंडल में डाल दिया है. कभी कभार आप श्री के हाथ जोड़े वाले विडियो ज़रोर वायरल हो जाते हैं.

लेकिन पिछले दो दिन से अडवानी जी सुर्ख़ियों में नज़र आ रहे हैं जब से उनकी पारंपरिक सीट पर मोटा भाई को लड़ाने का निर्णय लिया है. कारण कोई भी चाहे उनको टिकेट नहीं दिया या उन्होनें स्वयं मना कर दिया , एक बात तो पक्की है की वाजपेयी जी के युग के नेताओं का युग का समापन. वह युग जहाँ राजनेताओं में थोड़ी बहुत आँख की शर्म और आपसी सामंजस था और अब की तरह विषैला, संकीर्ण और कटुता भरा नहीं था.

एक बात कुछ दिनों से ज़रोर सुनने को आ रही है की उन्होनें अपनी पुत्री प्रतिभा जी को अपनी जगह टिकेट देने से मना कर दिया क्यूंकि वह वंशवाद नहीं फैलना चाहते. आशा करता हूँ की इस सिधांत पर उन के परिवार जन हमेशा द्रढ़ संकल्पित रहे क्यूंकि यह भले ही सुनने में अच्छा लगा लेकिन सत्ता के मीठे फल को छोड़ने का मन आज तक इतनी आसानी से आगामी पीढीयों में देखने को नहीं मिला.

इतिहास उन के राजनीतिज्ञ के रूप का आकलन कैसा करेगा? एक ऐसे नेता के रूप में जिसने १९८४ की 2 सीटों वाली पार्टी को श्रीराम के सहारे मात्र एक दशक में सत्ता के करीब ले आने वाले या एक लौह पुरुष के रूप में जिसने कंधार में आतंकियों को छोड़ा था ??

या उस व्यक्ति को याद रखेगा जिसने भारत को धर्म के नाम के दो हिस्सों में बंटवारा किया और जिनके मकबरे पर आपने उनको सबसे बड़ा धर्मनिरपेक्ष व्यक्ति कहा, मैं बात कर रहा हूँ क़ैद-ऐ-आज़म मोहम्मद अली जिन्नाह की.

मेरे लिए अडवानी जी हमेशा वोह व्यक्ति रहेंगे जिनकी सोची-समझी रणनीति के तहत निकाली रथ यात्रा जहाँ जहाँ से निकली दंगे और समाज में अविश्वास फैलाते चलती गयी. ऐसी रथ यात्रा जो शरू तो हुई थी १९९० में लेकिन जिसके पहिये ना जाने कितने घर दबाये आज तक हमारे दिलो में एक दुसरे के खिलाफ शक और पूर्वाग्रह लिए निरंतर घुमती जा रही है. मैं उनको हमेशा याद रखूँगा जिनके कारण मैंने पहली बार मेरे शहर में कर्फ्यू लगते हुए देखा 6 दिसम्बर की घटना के बाद. जहाँ तक मुझे याद है तब शायद ही मेरे शहर में कोई दंगा हुआ था, शुक्र है उस समय व्हात्साप नहीं था वरना ना जाने मात्र अफवाहों से कितनों की जानें और चली जाती.

आशा है की अब सार्वजनिक जीवन से अलविदा ले अपने सगे-सम्बन्धी और शुभ चिंतकों के बीच सुख-समर्धि से रहे.

Dear Mr. Kejriwal

Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

I write this letter while you and some others are busy in back room maneuvering to have a tie-up with my party i.e. The Indian National Congress.

I do not know what my party’s Central and State Leadership is going to decide on this tie-up but what certainly I do now know is that you are no different from the others you so vehemently criticized from the grounds of Ram Leela Maidan and can henceforth take no moral high ground on the basis of principles, ethics for being a party with a difference.

In not so distant past you had painted the entire political class with one stroke of brush as Corrupt, inept, inefficient, unprincipled etc and garnered these anti-establishment votes to a spectacular win in Delhi Assembly. A model you tried so hard to replicate pan-India but failed with most of your candidate forfeiting their deposits in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections barring a few exceptions.

I was never a fan of your kind of politics because you offered the people of India Utopia when you yourself knew there was none. One by one people started leaving or were made to leave the movement that Anna Hazare had started and whose fruits you were the only one left to devour and relish.

From swearing on your children never to have a tie-up with the Congress to actually doing it and now bending over backwards to accommodate them is not surprising to those who have watched you closely. Let the truth be told you are a Delhi Centric Party with an influence over 7 Lok Sabha Seats and 70 Assembly Seats, other than that it is just an exception.

During the heydays of the Lokpal Movement I was made to feel guilty about being a Congressman by your fans and now when I see your antics I feel sorry for them.

I just hope my party leadership listens to Ex. CM Shiela Dixit ji who successfully led the state for a record three terms and hope you too focus on your core competence i.e. Delhi and not spread yourself too thin !!

Regards,

A Congressman

SHAADI MUBARAQ

Ambani-family-at-Akash-Ambani-wedding

प्रिय नीता भाभी,

सर्वप्रथम आकाश बाबू और श्लोक बिटिया की शादी की बहुत-बहुत मुबारकबाद !!

दो दिन से नवदम्पति की फोटो देख-देख कर मलाल हो रहा है की काश इनकी शादी में आ के उस फूलों वाली फोटो वाल के आगे अपनी तस्वीर खिंचवा पाता, पर यह हो न सका !!

खैर आपके परिवार की दो शादियाँ छोटे से अंतराल में सम्पन्न हुई. एक की वैभवता तो उदयपुर वासी होने के नाते करीब से देखी और अब यह वाली सोशल मीडिया के माध्यम से.

वैसे पहले वाली जैसे चर्चे इस बार नहीं!! ना ही इस बार बादशाह, शहेंशाह और भाई को बैकग्राउंड में नाचते हुए देखा, ना ही इस बार पुरुस्गारी / मेहमाननवाज़ी करते दिखे और ना ही इस बार आपके नृत्यकला और मुद्राओं को देखने का मौका मिला.

वैसे कुछ सवाल जिज्ञासा वश मेरे मन में उठ रहे हैं जैसे की :

  1. यह जो सेलेब्रिटी आप बुलाते हैं यह फ्री में आते और परफॉर्म करते हैं या कुछ मेहनताना लेते हैं ??
  2. अपनी संतानों की शादियाँ कराते हुए जो ख़ुशी आपके चेहरे पर दिखती है वह शायद हर माँ के चेहरे पर दिखती है, लेकिन कई बार ऐसा मुझे क्यूँ लगता है की they all dwarf in ur shadow, क्या आपको भी यह लगता है?
  3. घर घर माटी चूल्हे वाली कहावत तो आपने सुनी होगी, क्या आपके यहाँ भी फूफा / मौसा / देवरानी / ननद का रूठना मनाना शादी में चलता रहता है ?
  4. क्या आप डिज़ाइनरज़ मुख्यतः सब्यसाची को पाबंद नहीं कर सकते आपकी शादी में पहने हुए कपड़ों का सेल्फ-प्रमोशन करने का, बहुत ज्यादा इन-योर-फेस टाइप लगता है मुझे ?
  5. हमारे यहाँ बहु से सबसे पहले लापसी बनवाते हैं, आपके यहाँ क्या बनवाते हैं ?
  6. क्या नव-दम्पति पर अपनी दादीजी को सोने की सीडी चडाने का प्रेशर है ?

खैर सानू की ? आपकी शादी, आपका घराना, आपका धन मुझे क्या ??

अभी आप से इज़ाज़त लूँगा क्यूंकि अभी-अभी मेरी शरीक-ऐ-हयात (बीवी) ने आकाश बाबु के फेरों का सात मिनट का विडियो व्हाट्सएप पर भेजा है जिसको तुरंत देखना अति आवश्यक है.

सासू माँ को अनेकों बधाइयाँ,

आपके परिवार की हर शादी को बारीकी से देखता एक भारतीय

PS : पिछली बार जब ईशा बाई सा की उदयपुर में शादी हुई थी तो एक मेरी FB पोस्ट पर टिका-टिपण्णी से उखड़े एक जानकार को अन-फ्रेंड करना पड़ा था. आशा है की इस बार ऐसा नहीं करना पड़ेगा.

War

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My heart goes out to our Brave hearts – Our Soldiers who lost their lives for our country. More than 40 soldiers were martyred by the dastardly act of terrorist organisation that is sheltered / promoted and trained by our neighbour – Pakistan.

It is time we must all stand behind our Government for it to take whatever steps necessary to give a befitting reply. The government has definitely acted swiftly by withdrawing the Most Favoured Nations Status granted to Pakistan, security to separatists and killing the mastermind of this act.

rama sea.jpgThere is this famous doha of Tulsidas ji in Ramcharitra Manas-

बिनय न मानत जलधि जड़, गए तीन दिन बीत।

बोले राम सकोप तब, भय बिन होय न प्रीत।।

This incident happens when Lord Rama after requesting and waiting for the 3 days for Lord of the Sea – Varuna to make way for Him and His army to reach Lanka does not relent and then He threatens to use his arrows forcing Lord Varun to finally relent. To put my point across there can be no peace without fear and this has to put forward in no uncertain terms to Pakistan that we have defeated them in wars earlier and can do the same again if need be.

There has been an outpouring of emotions and rightly so – from rage to grief to sadness. In times like these it is difficult not to vent out emotions but this clarion call for war is baffling, it has to be thought over and then waged. I am sure that our armed forces are fully capable to give it back to Pakistan but this jingoism is certainly uncalled for.

हम अमन चाहते हैं, मगर ज़ुल्म के ख़िलाफ़,

गर जंग लाज़मी है, तो फिर जंग ही सही …

But let this call be taken by the highest echelons of our Military, but not on TV News Shout Matches, not thru Self Promotion on Social Media, not by having one to prove their patriotism and most certainly not via making videos on Tictoc app !!

Gully Boy

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A story of a slum dweller who refuses to give up on his dreams in spite of all his hardships with a little push from his mother, his over possessive girlfriend, his questionable neighbourhood friends and a Tiger Mentor – This is Gully Boy for you when the sum total of all this adds up into a perfect weekend watch.

I have a confession here that I am tone deaf, do not understand English Songs and only Baba Sehgal comes to my mind when I think of Rap but this film has already made me read about the artists involved in its music, for the film’s music genre is something that no filmmaker has tried exploring and that also so brilliantly.

There are 4 major stand outs apart from the music for me :

  1. Ranveer Singh – As the underdog who refuses to give up on his dreams, this is like never before Ranveer Singh. downloadThe last movie he portrayed such a calm character was in the boring film Lootera. He is shy, non-confident but with the fire simmering within and his eyes speaking volumes. With a shade darker of his skin and bereft of any flamboyance he is the perfect Gully Boy.
  1. Alia Bhat – She portrays the possessive Girlfriend who has no inhibitions fights for and with her man. 3gtnlsno_alia-bhattinstagram_625x300_05_January_19Belonging to a conservative Muslim family but who has her own ambitions, desires and dreams which she isn’t ready to give up for anyone. Like someone recently said that she is truly the Meryl Streep of India. She slays it with her performance.
  1. Mumbai – This is a film that shows where actually Mumbai lives and how it commutes. Living in the slums travelling in the locals, the BEST Buses, sweating it out to survive in this City of Dreams. Some living after suffocating dreams, while others living to make their dreams a reality. imagesOne can actually smell the garbage, the sweat, the hot and humid Mumbai. The Mumbai lingo is pitch perfect.
  1. Zoya Akhtar – She is the perfect example of parents passing on their genes to the kids. All her three previous films have been different and brilliant. If nepotism gives us filmmakers like her and I am all for that. Long Live Nepotism !! More Power and Glory to you.

 

My verdict is very easy on this one – There can’t be anything better to do this weekend than catch up on Gully Boy unless you are going to go one a date with the leading pair of this film. You can select any one according to your preferences for Iove is gender neutral.However considering this scenario is highly unlikely considering their current relationship status : GO WATCH IT !!

Memories

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A few days back while on cycling on the banks of Lake Pichhola, amidst the trash that some of us throw so carelessly were photographs. A close inspection revealed they wern’t mere photographs but indeed wedding albums – torn and thrown in the lake. Still lying there, not yet swept away by the water to the depth of the lake bed.

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There were happy faces of elated parents, siblings and friends on the wedding rituals of their loved ones. The memories carefully stored in glossy albums in plastic cover- Photographs that were posed for, smiled for and fussed over, lying here now unclaimed, unloved and grieved over.

The relationships that may have once been investigated, checked over now all that covered with moss of broken dreams and unfulfilled desires.

How does one recover? How does one forget?

When things get thrown away, do we also necessarily empty out what once lived within?

How long before these photographs becomes part of the soil??

Or like the non-degradable plastic covered albums these memories continue to live with us forever??

Who to judge, who to questions and what to remorse??

And this reminded me so much of the famous lines of the Ghazal sung by Late Jagjit Singh:

तेरे ख़त आज मैं गंगा में बहा आया हूँ ,

आग बहते हुये पानी में लगा आया हूँ ………

UNDERMINING INSTITUTIONS

There is a famous Latin phrase “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” which means “Who will guard the guards themselves?”

The last few days are nothing but playing out of this above phrase in the premium investigation agency of India i.e. The CBI. As the CBI files FIR against its own and the head of the Bureau asked to go on leave. All this is as some leaders like to say ‘happening for the first time in 70 years’.

The moot question that needs to be asked is it just this one off case or there is a pattern in all of this. Is there a pattern to undermine Institutions, to scuttle divergent idea or for that matter to push an agenda through their own man??

Some examples over the tenure of the current dispensation of the BJP led Central Government happen to reinforce the above view:

  • 330px-Raghuram_Rajan,_IMF_69MS040421048l.jpgRBI – The post of RBI Governor is usually overboard and beyond politicking however in the case of Raghuram Rajan with an increase personal attack by the maverick BJP MP Subramanium Swamy, he choose to vacate the post rather than face the usual Mr. Swamy’s unsubstantiated charges. The Central Government didn’t come out in support of him or reign in their MP to undermine the office of the Governor of Reserve Bank India.
  • Niti Aayog – One of the most vociferous supporter of Shri Narendra Modi ji before he became the PM in 2014 download.jpgwas Mr. Arvind Pangaria – Economist and Professor at University of Colombia. He was well rewarded and aptly appointed as the Vice-Chairman of Niti Aayog in 2015. A tenure that is usually concurrent with the Central Government. However in just two years he chooses to resign from this post to go back to teaching. A person of his stature and knowledge could have been put to better use to drive the engine of Indian Economic Growth but the nation lost out on that due to as some reports are to be believed due to differences with the Finance Minister.
  • Supreme Court – Never before in the history of Independent India have the sitting senior most Judges of the download (1)Supreme Court of India has held a press conference to air their dissatisfaction with the functioning and interference in the working of the courts. To quote Justice Chelameswar “The administration of the Supreme Court is not in order. Many things that are less than desirable have happened in the last few months. Unless this institution is preserved, democracy will not survive in this country.”
  • FTII – download (2)The premier institute in India for film and Television was saddled with a Chairman whose minor claim to fame was being part of the Epic Mahabharat TV Serial and major claim was that he is card carrying member of BJP. The students went on strike, film fraternity objected to his appointment but again who can protest against a brute majoritanism?

These are just few examples for I am sure there are more that quietly die down never surfacing on the forefront. Are these the promised ‘अच्छे दिन’ that the people of India voted for in 2014 ?