Saturday, 26 January 2013

This Space..Reserved

Yes, it is the day of the founding of our glorious Republic today, and for those of you willing or able to count backwards, it is the 64th time that we are celebrating. Our proud nation has thrown of the yoke of oppression, had done so more than half a century ago in fact, and is now well on the road to becoming an economic superpower.. et cetera. In fact our great nation has been on the road to becoming an economic superpower for the better part of a decade, and is projected to surpass other incumbent economic superpowers in a decade(or a century, depending on which news channel you follow). Anyway, the whole point of this being that the government of India, yes that bastion of the republic, under whose aegis our great country thrives has been largely responsible for this maelstrom of progress that has enveloped our country. In doing so, they have enacted many policies which on the face of it, would be sheer genius. These policies have, in a nutshell, accelerated our growth and brought true progress to our nation. Or provided the largest part of a corpus to a certain banking firm in an Alpine country(once again depending on which news channel you follow).

For you see, our country is famous for its oppressed status. We have always been opressed(or so we like to think), for we have been invaded(time and again), our riches looted, our houses burnt and our glorious heritage tarnished by those goddamned infidels who dare to invade our country time and again. The Hindus are oppressed by the Muslims, the Muslims are oppressed by the Hindus, the Christians are oppressed by everyone, the Sikhs aren't oppressed, they really don't get out much..and so on and so forth. The poor in our country are oppressed, the rich in our country are oppressed, the women are oppressed, as are the men. We now, have come to take pride in our singluarly downtrodden and defeated status.

This, in a rather perverse way provides the impetus to many of our government's policies(so THAT's where the first two paragraphs were leading..huh). WE have reserved special seats for those who are the most decrepit amongst us. A bit like those comfortable sofas for the chief guest at the party. For you see we can now stand tall and proclaim ourselves to be Backward, and not just any type of Backward, but Non Creamy backward. This probably means we like our tea black, or our milk skimmed..who knows exactly what it means, the important thing is the assumption that backward must automatically be made forward for the greater glory of our nation. The meek shall inherit the earth( or at least Government Sector jobs).

I wonder if there were some sort of Forward Caste that we could apply to. I for one would be the first to apply. I would probably take some sort of pride in being called forward. Which is not to deprecate any of my Scheduled or Backward brethren, who have obviously made massive efforts to stay as such and should not be derided.

In the sort of convoluted logic usually reserved for writing bucket sort algorithms, we have decided to make arbitrary sets of rules that benefit certain sections of society while regressing others. This category now includes women as well, since they have of course been the most repressed section of society since for ever. And ,of course this is akin to chopping off everybody's legs just because half the population is blind and felt bad that everyone else would be going about their daily business with impunity. The road to equality does not start with handouts, nor has it ever. Women and repressed castes now have the scope, in an egalitarian society, to prove their worth without needing special benefits.

Equality really should not involve one  party having the upper hand over the other. That, by definition, is inequality. You would have thought most of the people in our country would have figured that out by now.

Or maybe we just like being called backward...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fanning the Flames

This is about the third time that I have written this title on the top of my blogger screen and resentfully thought to myself, is this really going to go all the way? Am I really going to go on and write another superlative masterpiece of nonsensical proportions? Which brings me to the point, rather conveniently of superlative masterpieces. There is one being painted in India this very moment. On a sordid canvas of  political debauchery masking itself as moral rectitude.

You might have had nothing but contempt for the ruling class/politicians/godmen before, but this had, I assume long since been replaced by a sort of steadfast apathy. Otherwise why else would you have allowed yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security. To grin and bear those loudmouthed twats who bemoan the clothing(or lack thereof) of the Indian woman(read Bharatiya Nari) of Delhi. These twats would wonder every now and again, why in fact people complain about the number of rapes in Delhi when the women care to dress as such, and through the astounding prowess of their Machiavellian intellect(and you thought the Bapus of this world were smart) deduce that rape was in fact a laughable matter.

The point is, no one really bothers to ask why a grey cast iron(yes, with appropriate amounts of C and Si) dildo isnt shoved up the unassuming backside of any such man who dares venture outdoors in shorts.

The press are having a field day with this. They know what sells in this country, and they are in the strict business of making a profit, while harbouring information on the side. Every single rape now is covered with ta sort of prurient relish otherwise reserved for Mahesh Bhatt movies. Every single gaffe, every blunder, every faux pas now makes headlines, irrespective of how small the fry that makes the aforementioned faux pas. We must remember that just as rape is NOT an Indian phenomenon alone, neither is the curt dismissal of it. During the run up to the general elections in the US, many members of the Republican Party made some very embarrassing remarks which ultimately cost them the putative vote.

The fact of the matter is that YOU have failed us, dear reader. You have failed to be outraged by these comments, you have failed to take any of this seriously, and you are only interested now because the flames of anger have ripped through the country in a conflagration capable of charring even the most deep rooted malaise. In simple words, with no bullshit packaged in, you shouldn't have waited for a brutal gang rape to ask society to change itself. You, who are a part of the new India, the egalitarian, erudite, enlightened India, should have backed your corner a long time ago.

For you see, there are now TWO Indias. Those who would have their viewpoint imposed on the people they rule, at any cost, and then there are those who question everything. Women are now, more than ever being given opportunities to work, to support themselves, to place themselves on an equal footing with men. Women now realise how important it is to be independent, to have a steady job and a steady life. And this in itself is threatening to most men. There are reasons to this as well, some women can be complete bitches in the workplace, others can be as loyal as doctor fish. Women can also cost you a place in the educational institution of your choice, as reservations become a new revolutionary(read myopic and lopsided) experiment. Women can be the bane of your life, or the greatest influence in it.

Either way, they are people, human beings, in no way inferior to men. They demand respect. Stand up, speak up now, because even if the whole hullabaloo goes down next month it's you dear reader who should not fail us again.

Don't wait for the nation to rise up in protest before you do, injustice does not deserve your tolerance.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Lighting the Torch

It has been almost three weeks now since the horrifying incident of rape on a moving bus jolted a nation out of its stupor. And a normally complacent public has taken to the streets to demand justice, and a normally apathetic government has responded in kind, and a normally slothful judiciary has taken cognizance. The media which normally buried such incidents in between sheaves of cricket controversies and defence scams has now been running this story and allied stories continuously for the past weeks. Not even an India-Pakistan cricket series, that normal bastion of public distraction can console a nation plunged into mourning. For you see, this is one cut that cuts too deep. Protest marches fuelled by anger and disdain have become epidemic across the country, as have shrines and places marked for respect. There is one just a little away from my home, and I assume from yours as well, proof of the fervour that has been ignited across the country.

The usage of the word normal in the above paragraph is not only a marker of my abject vocabulary, but an indicator of past history. This sort of shit happens, is perused by a callous public and relegated to a footnote in the annals of Indian rape history. The annals, are apparently quite lengthy as well, even though one may assume are completely made up of footnotes. Twenty Two thousand reported rapes a year in the latest statistic does not do India justice, we can expect the real number to be orders of magnitude higher. But credit where credit is due, this sordid business has not been relegated to any place other than the headlines. The media have not succumbed to their short term memory loss on this one. This rape victim has been anything but a normal one, and has refused to dissolve into the inky blackness of silence, instead lighting the torch of a movement against the apathy of the law and those who make it.

But you already know all this.

Which brings us onto the measures that a jilted society can now take to reform itself. As with most things of any import, these measure may follow one of two paths. To either lock up women in the confines of nascent safety laws, or to promote a freer and more open society. This is a debate that can broadly be classed as intuitive and counter-intuitive, and there are a few issues that have followed such lines. One of them is economics.

You see, when faced with the rampant dissolution of monarchies, the establishment of republics and democracies everywhere, and an increasing emphasis on trade and economic policy to feed and clothe a rapidly growing population, the powers that were in charge of their respective people had two paths to follow. One was to side with the poor(the intuitive path). The poor were the most needy, hence needed the most protection, the maximum amount of handouts and the maximum number of assurances. The idea was that we placed our trust in the poor to lift themselves out of poverty leveraging the benefits we gave them. The other was to side with rich(the counter intuitive path). To provide benefits to the richest people hoping that some of them would wish to grow their wealth, and thus provide employment to the poor. To hope that the richest of the rich would indulge themselves in philanthropy rather than philandering their wealth away.

These measures are otherwise known as socialism and capitalism, and while the one was an eminent failure, the other has helped countries like ours to grow, prosper and create a new middle class.

The same middle class that responded with such animosity to the barbaric treatment meted to one of its own. There have been worse cases in the poorer villages of India that no one knows anything about as the media is unwilling to cover anything that doesn't benefit itself. The rape of a middle class girl may have triggered an outrage, but it is an incident that will sell papers more likely than not. This middle class needs to recognize that protest marches and candlelight vigils will not have any effect on those of the criminal mentality who commit these crimes. Nor will it bring about any empathy in the people who struggle for their daily bread. The sort of people we tend to overlook as human beings are the ones most susceptible to moral and criminal turpitude.

The conversion of society as a whole to a more law abiding one presents many currently insurmountable challenges, but for now we must be content merely with stricter laws and policing. And treating those who behave like animals as such. No mercy should be shown to those who have shown none. Hang the bastards.