Hats off to the politicians!

There is a general tendency to criticize the politicians for anything and everything. I must admit that I am one among the critics. If anything goes wrong all the accusing fingers turn against some politicians. Of course, they make our task easier by reacting quickly to some unpleasant incidents to pin down their counterparts or rival parties.

 

Since democratic form of government is said to be superior to any other form of government politicians play a vital role in safeguarding the supremacy of democracy. We have to bear in mind that the toughest job of a senior politician is to keep the flock together. Call them communal, corrupt or power crazy; they are not saints or holy men to expect nothing in return for their service.

 

My goodness, you cannot but admire the way they conduct themselves during the election time. From morning till night they have to be on the move, making speeches, collecting information about the rivals or preparing rejoinders to accusations. It is an uphill task indeed!

So they say………

Be kind and tender to the frog.

And do not call him names

As “slimy skin or polly-wag”

Or likewise “ugly James”

Or gape-a-grin

Or todd gone wrong

The frog is justly sensitive to epithets like these

No animal will more repay a treatment kind and fair

At least, so lonely people say

Who keep a frog (and by the way, they are extremely rare)

 

By Hilaire Delloc

 

Some knowledgeable persons make it appear that they are against something while they are for it! Quoting from here and there they would write long winding essays and pretend to lament that the ones these knowledgeable persons have quoted in their essays are doing an injustice to this caste or that religion. They would keep on quoting such lines till they are satisfied that the message will reach the right persons without giving any room for suspicion of their motive. That’s how they kill two birds with one shot.

Festivals in India

India is a land of festivals and each one has a myth behind it and invariably coincides with the harvesting season. The characters in each story may differ but each one has the same moral-the victory of the righteous rulers over the evil forces after a prolonged battle. Whatever it may be, the festivals are occasions for social get-togethers in temples. Some festivals are just a day’s affair, some last for weeks. Consumerism was unknown in those days but these festivals gave the women folk an opportunity to exhibit their shopping skills days before the commencement of the festival. Apart from provisions for making festival specials like sweets and snacks, money is spent like water for the purchase of new clothes for all and even jewels made of gold.  These festivals are essentially of the Hindus, but of late people belonging to other faiths too make it a point to make their rarely occurring festivals as exciting as that of the Hindus, so that the newly converted would not be tempted to go back to their parent religion.

Ragging means flogging

Education is occupying a significant position in India and the universities are finding it difficult to cope with the heavy rush of students aspiring for higher studies; but the country should be proud of this healthy trend. Some of the universities are of very high standards and their products are capable of competing with the students of some of the best universities in the world. But there is the other side also, which is not so rosy. For example, the existing system of caste-based reservation ignores the rights of meritorious candidates simply because they belong to the so-called forward caste. Anyway, these minor problems could be overcome before long. Yet, there is one big threat that can scare away the students especially the bright ones and their parents. The name of this threat is RAGGING or rather what is going on in the name of ragging. Of late there have been reports of brutal attacks on freshers by the senior students who behave more like gangsters than fun loving students. Unless the government and the universities come down heavily on such students, the future of some of the bright students will be in jeopardy.

Economic slump, bailout and all that

Whenever the world suffers a severe setback on the economic front, some stop gap measures are initiated to lessen these effects. Bailout, infrastructure developments etc are some of the ready made short-term measures resorted to by the states.

 

Incidentally, such practices had been in vogue centuries ago, at least in India. The kings and princes of those days were mainly known for battles they fought and the territories they conquered; but there were also great and efficient rulers who not only paid great attention to the welfare of the people but also encouraged art and music. They had their own plans or methods of overcoming poverty of the people or the effects of famine or flood. It is a well-known fact that India is a land of artistic ancient temples, built by the kings of yore in every nook and corner, but very little is known about the main reason for constructing those wonderful temples. It was not nearly out of devotion or in anticipation of the blessings from the almighty but with a view to providing alternative jobs to peasants and farmers who’d have lost their lands due to floods or suffered severe crop failure due to prolonged dry weather.

My Heroes: Jawaharlal Nehru and Sachin Tendulkar

I am sure I’ll be laughed at if I say my heroes are Sachin Tendulkar and Jawaharlal Nehru; why even my own conscious mind questions my strange taste, but I can’t help it. Whenever I think of Nehru what comes to my mind is his famous “long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny” speech or his chats with children or farmers when he would make them realize the importance of being an Indian, “it is your birth right to live anywhere in India. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, it is your country, my country” and so on. He at times went beyond this and elevated us to the level of citizens of the world.

 

Then Sachin. I admired him so much; I was more interested in his century than an Indian victory. He was just 16 plus when he made his debut and never looked back. He is a creative player and has contributed new strokes to the game. He was a bit childish, but he was almost a child when he played international cricket with his cheeky singles. I still remember his chat with a commentator after he was declared the man of the match. The words I remember are: “slowly, slowly I am becoming a bowler also”. Thousands like me admired him, and some of them became Sachins in the making. The greatest tribute came from Donald Bradman himself who openly said that Sachin reminded him of himself!

Adieu to truth and non-violence

What is happening in Mahatma Gandhi’s India? He was an embodiment of truth and non-violence. Thousands of his followers stood by these principles before and after independence. But things began to change and truth became the first causalty. Now it is the turn of non-violence to quit the scene. The politicians make provocative speeches and their followers do the rest.

 

Now, on the eve of the general elections the air is thick with hate speeches. One says, “I will cut their hands”; another says, “I will crush him under the roller”; yet another talks about blood bath in……These are a few samples. The election commissioner’s hands are full with complaints, but the ones who make such speeches would come out with their ready made answer, “My speeches were doctored”. These are the ill effects of vote bank politics.

Sunset and the evening sky.

It was a glorious evening. I stopped walking; moved to the corner of the road and stood under a tree to watch the sunset. The huge red ball seemed to say bye-bye as it was slowly disappearing from our view. But the colors left behind by the setting sun were very much there. I thought I was alone, but a mischievous looking boy was returning from the nearby playground. He wished me with a smile and asked me, “Are you waiting for somebody?” “No just watching the sunset, it is beautiful”, I said. “But the sun is not setting, it is not rising either….”, he wondered. “I know that, everyone knows that”, I told him. “Then why do people say that sun is rising in the east and setting in the west”, he did not wait for me reply and moved on.

 

He was right. We all know it is not the sun which is moving, but our own earth and that too around the sun for billions and billions of years. The boy was right; it is high time we found an alternative word for sunset and sunrise. I racked my brain. Many words flashed across my mind, but no substitute for sunrise or sunset. Whatever may be the reality, sunrise and sunset are eternal, and let it be so forever.  

English serves the purpose

 Though colonization was a symbol of exploitation of the weaker countries, and it was a long struggle for such countries to liberate themselves from slavery, we cannot ignore a few valuable legacies left behind by the colonial powers, especially by the British; the notable among them being the English language which became an international vehicle of communication.

 

Apart from the British there were other European colonial powers, but their languages did not survive in countries colonized by them. Then, why English alone survived?

 

Not that French or other languages were less beautiful, but the purists saw to it that no foreign words crept into their languages, whereas English borrowed liberally from other languages and enriched itself. Ranging from rice, sugar, mango etc to pundit, guru, thug, mantra etc and scores of other Indian words found their way into English and became popular too.

 

Maybe colonization was a historic necessity. The now popular globalization would not have succeeded if there was no common language and rightly English serves that purpose. Of course, we have the English-English, Indian-English, American-English, Australian-English and so on but nevertheless English.

There may not be much in common between USA and India but there is one big thing in common which eclipses umpteen dissimilarities that separate the two. The big thing I have in mind is democracy and all the good things that go with it. Not long ago, in India too there were two party systems as they have in America (that is, the ‘Indian National Congress’ and the rest that existed here and there under various names).

 

In the US it continues to be so, but in India it has given way to a multi-party system, which will result in a coalition government in the center with the common minimum program. Whatever it may be, elections in both the countries are exciting and similar to some extent—similar in the sense that the rivals deviate from the main issue quite often and tarnish the image of the opponent.

 

Close on the heels of the US presidential election in November 2008, comes the Indian general election. As far as the people of the US are concerned their attention remain focused on the presidential candidates who emerge after a prolonged and agonizing see-saw games in the primaries. The importance of November 2008 election in the US lay in the possibility of a non-white or a female candidate making it to the top for the first time in the country’s long history. And as we all know, Mr. Obama made history. This was inspiration enough for some less known Indian leaders hailing from less privileged communities to set their eye on the Prime minister’s chair prompting them to be part of the third front.

 

As of now, things are getting murkier and murkier though every front claims it is in a position to capture power.