Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What defines the nation now?!...

"A nine billion dollar man. India's fourth richest, ideally should be booked under a terror act, swindler, money launderer, known to be cover for some powerful men and who owes the exchequer about 50000 crore rupees, amuses the bench in court where he demands an English style pot to dump in because he is not used to an Indian one."

"A 32 year old Chartered Accountant and guest lecturer pushes two children over the ledge from the nineteenth floor of her building before she plunges to her own death".

And, "A 20 year old college student shot dead in broad daylight", are the headlines that consume print and electronic space for today, not to mention, the news of entertainment, that buffers the impact and causes an amnesia which, as a matter of fact, is the miraculous escape from reality that keeps India going with a smattering of nonsense about Katrina Kaif ignoring Kareena Kapoor at a function and Vidya Balan being pissed off because a picture has been morphed to reveal her wearing a bikini on the cover of a magazine.

That the DMK and Congress have resolved their issues despite the sword of 2G hanging on their heads is passe, and a dark goggled lump of flesh sitting on a luxury car seat on wheels being pushed by an aide, fearless of law catching up with him, is the one who calls all the shots in Tamil Nadu where elections are taking over to bury the real thing, leaves only one question to be answered and that is, where is the country headed to?!!

Even the rest of the world's media and news for now is focused on Libya and the disaster taking place there because of a civil war which threatens to change contours of land besides the air space, however, not without a tiny obsure piece on Maoists and insurgency in India on BBC, which I chanced upon late last night, which was frightening as it was being shown to the world as the real threat which India faces.
The BBC reporter was on his 34th day of travel in the forests with a battallion of Maoists who move from place to place everyday in the heart of India, ironically, so they are not tracked by law enforcers who are somehow always unable to find them, more often than not losing lives of a few good and innocent men in failed attempts.
Strangely, no Indian journalists or activists have either had the mandate or the courage to go and explore this reality in the same way as foreign reporters do, and those writers and activists who have acted out of concern on their own accord, are booked under cases of sedition or imprisoned for treason.

Is the country being run by men and women on ACID or what?

Are people and diverse cultures no longer what drives governance in our country now, and is it power, money and the achievment of the luxury of being in politics, that defines us today?
From Kirron Kher to Smriti Mishra Irani, from Hema Malini, Javed Akhtar to Shabana Azmi, everybody is headed for a life of power, in the politics of protection.

Take a pause and think!
Every economist, concerned with reform for a more equitable existence in the nation, needs to stop and do that.

If the government of India can be held to ransom by a man who has alledged terror links, who is also known to have connections with Adnan Kashoggi, the famous arms dealer, so much so that, the highest and most powerful office is afraid to book him and is trying every which way to let him go, hold it, then it's true that we are being governed by the Mafia?
Yes it is true!

I don't believe India where fragmentation of power is taking place much faster than the emergence of a federal system is in any position to join the ranks of the developed world on the basis of simply revealing its upper crust and strategically concealing the dregs which lie beneath the surface that yell poverty, hunger, malnutrition, discrimination, corruption, gender inequality, lawlessness, illiteracy, disease and the waste of garbage which is unmanageable by municipal corporations in every existing city, town and village.
Forget about the lack of infrastructure which we have to live with all our lives waiting for it to be built while land sharks and builders make money in every which way that connects them to the network of power.

I shudder to think of what I suspect and that is the fact that we're next on the list after the revolutions which are taking place in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the rest of the Arab world at present, because the region is waiting to explode and a time bomb ticking away is coming close to letting go.

Where a 20 year old can be shot a few meters away from her college campus in front of a hundred eye witnesses and the killer can escape and disappear into a crowd...
Where a woman can take her life along with her two little children because the abyss that defenceless educated and so called empowered common people in this nation are plunged into for no fault of theirs, shows no end or light... 
And where a powerful man can take the country for a ride in broad daylight while the Government shamelessly and blatantly carries on building alliances with a party which is under the judicial and public scanner for gross misuse of power and unforgivable corruption... there is no hope and only the dark. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Whose life is it anyway? Aruna's?...

I just arrived at my blog to realize that it was on the 27th December, 2010 that I last came here to write.
It's hit me hard that I haven't written here since then and got me wondering why?
Why has a compulsive writer like me, been so cut up with these blank pages which otherwise await, all the time, to be filled up with my emptiness? 

I can't for the life of me answer the question.

However, what it is that has really brought me back to write here, after three long months, I know and can tell you.

It is Aruna Shanbag and the debate on Euthanasia, which is a subject bothering me since some time, as a matter of fact, since the day I saw a brilliantly shot film called Guzaarish.

Guzaarish, in which Hrithik Roshan plays a magician begging to be allowed to end his life after an accident which paralyzes him, while a more than beautiful Aishwarya Rai nurses and loves him.
I only wish both the actors had visited KEM hospital along with the director, and seen Aruna to know what vegetating looks like, and also met Kalpana, one of the nurses looking after Aruna, to understand where a woman who has looked after a life in semi conscious state for over 31 years, comes from.
Kalpana was on Times Now in the evening, discussing vehemently why Aruna must live, and Aruna's pictures taken at various times in the last 37 years since she was brutally and sexually assaulted, are all over the electronic, digital and print media.
The debate will go on and on, but the frames of the visuals will remain frozen in the minds of all those who have seen them even once.

The Academy of Motion Pictures may, for whatever reason, want to archive the screenplay of Guzaarish forever, but I would really like to know why?
Is Sanjay Leela Bansali's script going to be archived for students and lovers of cinema to know how not to trivialise an issue of importance, or is it being archived for them to learn what they should do to satisfy Indian film stars, who from time to time, between commercial flops, want the world to see that they are also great performers?
The least they could have done was to see John Badham's, 'Whose life is it anyway?' based on Brian Clarks play by the same name.
I wish they had observed the riveting performance by Richard Dreyfuss, who played the artist, the sculptor, involved in a car accident and paralyzed from his neck and  
watched the performance of an actor who suffered his pain so convincingly that he was granted the right to end his life.

Last night while Barkha Dutt, my favorite TV anchor was busy telling a cricket crazy India obsessed with the World Cup and anxiously awaiting the IPL next month, an audience which actually couldn't give a damn about the problems which exist between the borders of Egypt and Tunisia and the civil war which rages between Tripoli and Bengazi, I hooked off to see The Kings Speech.
I returned somewhat satisfied comforted by the fact that there are still people in this world (Tom Hooper) who address problems through their narratives which, ironically, are the real battles that people fight within themselves (Colin Firth as King George VI), and the real wars which they emerge victorious from as they conquer themselves, which is far more important for them than to conquer the throne.
It is the true story of King George VI of Britain and as I left the theater, what struck me was, whose story was Guzaarish anyway?
The saga in which the actors wore costumes designed by Sabhyasachi, and which, unfortunately, was also one of the various USP's of the film, belonged to nobody.
Most certainly not, Aruna.

Moved beyond, as is what usually happens to me after seeing a good/great film, I spent the whole day wrapped in the comfort of knowing that it is a sensibility and sensitivity of some expressionists in this world, that keeps it going despite inane banter about whether Aruna should live or whether Aruna, who doesn't know if she is, should be allowed to die.
Aruna, according to me should be allowed to die only if someone whom she belongs to, takes a decision on her behalf, but the circumstances, as they are, in which there is nobody from her family to take that call, people whom she doesn't belong to, specially those who have been taking impeccable care of her for over 37 years should be applauded and awarded instead of being expected to decide death for her.
They set a rare example in this world driven by a selfishness to care only for those who are your own besides yourself.
Pinky Virani and Bacchi Karkaria and all others should not act on behalf of Aruna whom they don't know from Adams'.
I was horrified to hear Bacchi Karkaria say on Times Now that Aruna has become some sort of trophy for those who look after her.
It made me squirm.
To all those who fight for Aruna to be permitted to die, and who really want to do some good, besides talking endlessly on television debates and tweeting compulsively, there are many others' like Hrithik Roshan in Guzaarish, of sound mind and with the ability to smoke and drink, laugh and cry but are disabled and disfigured beyond healing, who need love and care and those who vote for Euthanasia for Aruna, should reach out to them and look after them.
Aruna has plenty of care and love, and she should, henceforth, be left alone to live out her life till the end and die with dignity when she has to, because I really believe that if she lives on and on, it is with a purpose to keep reminding this country about the attrocities that many women have to suffer at the hands of sexually depraved men, and I am saying this on the eve of the International Women's Day, 2011.

The Government of India on the other hand I should think is happy that the entire debate in the media has shifted to Euthanasia and that the remaining space is taken up by Cricket, leaving little room for discussion on the 2G scam, the DMK threat to the weakening coalition and the CWG scam amidst other pressing issues like the Naxal and Maoist problems and Kashmir.
Thank God for small mercies that the PM has taken resposibility for an error of judgement in the appointment of the CVC and that issue, Inshaalah, has been put to rest.

Who cares about all those who are dying without a cause or the living dead in a nation where everyone obsesses a successfully crafted PR exercise by those who want Aruna to be permitted Euthanasia, but don't know her or have never met her, and a brilliantly marketed game of cricket?

Whose life is it anyway?