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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has become one of the most reviewed books since and even before its publication in June 2017. The antici...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Charges of sedition and the minions

Government of India plans to bring charges of sedition against Arundhati Roy and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Without discussing their statements at this point I simply want to ask some questions. Isn't it paradox that mere expression of views brings charges of treason; Narender Modi, whose government presided over one of the worst ever mayhem against minorities continues to flaunt every single sham of an investigation against him? Why was not a single charge ever brought against Advani, who not only irretrievably vitiated country for ever but left a trail of needless killings in the wake of his thoughtless and reckless journeys across the country? Why has not a single person been charged for killing of Ehsan Jafri or murder of innocents through stage managed encounters in Gujrat? But petty minions in the government of India want to bring charges of sedition against Arundhati Roy and Geelani because they expressed their views.   

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Legacy of John McCain

Once the surrealistic excitement of any elections is over the lime-light squarely shifts to the winning candidate; even chest constricting pain in die hard supporters gradually dissipates and the losing candidate is hurtled back to the reality of the life. This is true for any election and even truer for US presidential elections. It is, in general, even hard to remember the names of presidential candidates who ran for the office in different times. Does anyone remember Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie or Thomas Dewey, who were mauled by Franklin D. Roosevelt in three elections subsequent to his triumph over Herbert Hoover in the wake of economic crash of 1929? Thomas Dewey, despite his being declared elected by the press, lost again to Harry Truman in 1948 into final oblivion. Dwight Eisenhower obliterated Adlai Stevenson, who had all the merits of becoming a great president. The history would, perhaps, have been less nasty, had Richard Nixon encountered a similar tryst with destiny. He rather sent Hubert Humphrey into shadows of darkness and went on himself to preside over of one the darkest presidencies in the history. Historians hardly ever search for the legacies of Barry Goldwater, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole or for that matter even John Kerry who tried, but was overwhelmed by the right wing machinery of stealth and deceit in his pursuit to liberate world from scorched policies of George W. Bush. Had Kerry won in 2004, his legacy would have been secured for shortening the sleazy and deceitful era; but that was not to be and Bush till the very end pursued the policies that divided world into unknown realms. That was until the US presidential election of 2008 that none of the presidential candidate upon losing election left a legacy with a deep and dark effect. That dubious distinction belongs to John McCain who despite losing election to Obama, nevertheless, let a genie in the form of Sarah Palin out of bottle without any effective means of putting her back. John McCain with all the flawed concepts ranging from support for illicit invasion of Iraq to possibility of attacking Iran still retained an upright posture on social issues. In a bizarre choice of Sarah Palin as running mate, McCain might have had hurt his whatever slim chances of beating Obama, but damage done to the polity by her running berserk has been even greater. That is the legacy of John McCain. Even the thought of his being elected and her being literal heart beat away from presidency was in some ways numbing. If knowledge about the damage wrought and deceit pursued by Bush presidency was not enough, the latest released secret papers bring about sobering reality. The war in Iraq brought more deaths than previously reported and in a quirk way increased Iranian influence in the region that US had been trying to contain ever since Shah went into exile in 1979. The manner of handling of Afghanistan by Obama administration, being far from inspiring, is rather a paradigm of shortsightedness. The account of Obama writing his own strategy, with the goal of placating the party, after military leaders failed to provide him one other than escalation cannot deliver anything visionary. Any Afghan strategy is doomed to fail until solution takes into consideration the fact that enemies US is trying to defeat are the same who were allies during cold war and were used and then ingloriously dumped and the whole place was condemned to mend for itself when not useful in the reckoning of power game. And misplaced overemphasis on the center at the cost of periphery is always perilous.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Obama-the presidency in prose

In last few weeks the news of unravelling of Obama presidency has transcended from fringe rabid conservative media to the mainstream news outlets. The transition from a popular to hapless occupant of the most powerful office in the world occurred at a speed that his not getting elected for the second term seems to be a foregone certainty. But regularity with which so-called pundits revel in shooting themselves in the foot leave a provision for being skeptic about their so-called declarations. That, nevertheless, does not answer the enigmatic spiral down of one of the most inspired presidencies in recent times. The phrase ‘You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose’ coined by former New York governor Mario Cuomo, used by the wily Tony Blair in his memoirs is a kind of revelation that daunts people entering the high offices and most of the time come to haunt them through their tenures. True to the last word, Obama’s campaign was sheer poetry that carried presidency for him and now it would seem that the transition to prose got stalled. The circumstances of his election were reactionary; eight years of unbridled policies that included a fraudulent war, exploitation of fear and curtailment of rights, presaging and stretching of economy for the very affluent, neglect of environmental issues and brazen contemptuousness for international organizations and treaties were the rallying points. The fraudulent policies coupled with unbridled corporate greed had much revered capitalism on its knees; with virtual abdication of the predecessor Obama rushed in to save institutions of capitalism to stave off the repeat of great crash and depression. While he averted great crash by lending money to those very institutions that in the first place had run riot with the system; he never followed to salvage miseries of those affected by the fraudulent banking and mortgage outrages. Times when Obama assumed charge of General Motors and Chrysler, the people losing houses and jobs never got any relief. He put himself in realization of grand visions whose benefits would take years, if not life-time to percolate, while dire times demanded immediate relief. And whatever he did it went unarticulated. Paradoxically, those banks that Obama helped, while back in the morass of profit making and distribution of filthy bonuses, are bank rolling Republicans who would guarantee their continuous immorality. The bleakness at the moment is overwhelming and Republican taking over Congress seems to be certain and they never showed any remorse in undermining Obama in any circumstances and in any manner, be it calling him an anti-colonist Kenyan or a socialist. Truth has never been their virtue but being venomous is natural. The rest of his presidency will be shaped by his zeal to take on Republicans. As a matter of fact, their protestations notwithstanding, Republicans have never been paradigm of virtue. During the impeachment of Bill Clinton, they lost two speakers due to their extramarital affairs that included born-again Newt Gingrich. Their ranks shine with the likes of Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon and more recently Sarah Palin, if one doesn’t count Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and of course Fox News. Those liberal lunatics who think Obama has betrayed them need to realize the fact of having likes of Dick Cheney back in the reckoning. President Obama needed to govern in prose but one needs to comprehend that the transition from poetry is never smooth.         

Thursday, October 7, 2010

They can't help themselves

They cannot help themselves; they are uncouth; they are brazen at distorting fact; they are unabashed pretentious; though they tried to pretend but their deceit within gave them away. Lal Advani is feeling vindicated about his 'rath yatra' and in other corner thuggish Katiyar is crowing for legislation to build temple. Pretenders even forgot that the judges while delivering the verdict, one mired in mediocrity, gave an order for maintenance of status quo for a period of three months. And it is within the grasp of even the lowest wits that an appeal to the highest court will be a natural course and the case will end through all the echelons of justice. But no, despite claim to the contrary, thugs immediately went to the business of harnessing a political capital; but sadly enough for them the banks they used to loot have gone bankrupt. Did it ever occur to Advani that his foolhardy antics have cost human lives or that Ram is more of a concept devised for attainment of higher purposes than creating mayhems? Did Taliban stoop any lower than the thugs of Sangh when they demolished statutes of Buddha in Bamiyan? Why is it that the old fellow even at 84 cannot help himself and displays his legendary immaturity? Didn't he, despite being part of NDA regime as deputy prime minister and interior minister, declare in his memoirs that he was not privy to the decision of handing over of the terrorists to Taliban? His praise of Jinnah and volte face upon admonishment by his masters of RSS! Now again while professing compliance to the verdict, mischievously comes up with idea of mosque outside the complex. Advani was indicted by Liberhan commission as one of the key persons who was intellectually and ideologically responsible for the mosque's destruction. Shouldn't he be facing criminal justice instead of leading fresh assault towards building a temple and holding country hostage to a religious frenzy all over again?

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Judgment

Gloating over one issue has never been so nuanced. Nevertheless, the court verdict on Babri Masjid has enchanted almost all, though the motives and reasons being different. It is being shrouded under epithets of wise, just, appropriate and enlightened, as it orders, the site be divided between the litigating parties and everything over to the next round for grinding in the Supreme Court. Is the verdict wise, just, appropriate and enlightened? What about those who perpetrated the horrendous crime by organizing mobs and inciting them into frenzied pulling down of the historical monument through deceit and stealth? The structure may or may not have been built at the site of a pre-existing temple but when thugs went to work on that dark day of Indian history it was a monument they pulled down along with pride of once tolerant and secular country. Do they get to build the temple at the site and feel vindicated for not only pulling down an edifice but also for bringing down the entire fabric of the society for once and all? What happens to those law enforcement officials whose dereliction of duty on that dark December 6, 1992 caused mayhem on that day and the days and years to follow? Does anybody remember that the despicable violence in Gujarat was a consequence of the demolition through an incitement that is anathema to Hindu tolerance and way of life? How about the dissenting judge who thought mosque was built against tenets of Islam? What were the clinching evidences or was the judgment allegiance driven like the notion of native origin of Aryans? And most importantly, what about those thuggish leaders who participated in planning the mayhem for whom the divinity had only one meaning? Do they get to celebrate their acts of unpardonable commissions? Will it be likes of Advanis, Katiyars and Tagodias, who in reality should be behind the bars, leading the construction of temple at the site granted by the court? For years before and after committing the crime against the entire Indian nation, they had been operating on a single agenda of converting the psyche of Indian masses through doses of religious intolerance. And succeed, they did. That brought them closer to the power and they used that to hilt through rewriting history and playing havoc with the psyche of Hindu middle classes while maintaining the façades of occasional farce tolerance. The judgment leaves nothing to gloat and in effect reflects the creeping decadence and deep abyss where the criminal perpetrators get a feeling of vindication and seekers of justice even hesitate to express dissent for the fear of retribution.