Sunday, November 30, 2008

India brought to her knees

A group of 20 terrorists have brought India to her knees. A country of 1 billion stood and watched and could do nothing about it. Wait a minute , that's not entirely true. India’s most prestigious anti-terror squad , the NSG toiled and fought bravely for 60 hours to save the hostages. The fire service department also did a wonderful job. Mumbai’s police force and their special wing , the ATS did the preliminary work of flushing out as many terrorists as they could. In the process we lost 3 top policemen among several others from the security agency . A railway employee who was announcing the schedule of trains at the Mumbai railway station played a very important role in getting the people move to the correct exit once he realised that the station was under attack. He surely saved at least a hundred lives. The readers of this might feel that as a nation everyone has done their duty. Nope wait a minute , we haven’t yet spoken about our political class.

Dr Manmohan Singh , our prime minister and Lal Krishna Advani , the leader of Opposition visited the site of terror attacks. They should have set aside their differences and should have visited together if there was a necessity. But they wouldn’t. They would show the world that the Indian political class would not stand united even at the worst of times. As a matter of fact , their visit to the site was completely unnecessary , as it was an additional pressure for the NSG to provide them with the required security. In no country does a politician visit a war zone when the security agencies are battling it out with their lives. 

We also haven’t spoken about our media. They continue their “exclusive” and “live” coverage. They continue to pressurise the law enforcing agencies who take it up as an additional responsibility to save the lives of the media from any untoward incident at the site of the attacks. They also continue to telecast the operations carried out by the agencies giving the minutest of details ; without realising that the terrorists have the most sophisticated weapons and can easily intercept this information and nullify the attacks. They also visit the houses of the the slain policemen and fire questions to their family members. How would you feel if you lost your family member ? Even they feel the same ! So you got your answer.

For most people , resuming life after these incidents would only mean getting away from their television sets and continuing their daily schedule. But  several others would start their lives after visiting the city’s morgues.

How many of you have spent a minute in silence praying for the departed souls ?

Think about it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My experience with the Mahatma's truth...

An autobiogaphy is a special part of an author's life and the reader has a unique oppurtunityto catch some special glimpses and unique experiences of his life. It was with the same zeal that I read Mahatma Gandhi's 'My Experiments With Truth'. However ,many a times it was difficult for me to agree with his views and sometimes even to digest them.

To start off with his principle of Vegetarianism.I believe that vegetarianism is only a way of life. A man's deeds does not change with his diet.If it does then it certainly shows his weak character. Gandhiji speaks about vegetarianism throughout the book and many a times even when the situation does not call for it. By speaking such a language does he mean to discredit the life of people having a non vegetarian diet ? I certainly hope not. Only he can answer.

The Mahatma's 'gift' to the world is the principle of nonviolence. Barack Obama says he has very high regard for Mahatma Gandhi and that he would follow the Mahatma's principles. However neither he has ever criticized the Iraq warnor does he speak of 'not invading Iran'. It is this same hypocrisy which I fear I see in Gandhi. The Indian army should have never been allowed to fight for the British Army during World War II. Gandhiji with his principles of nonviolence never seems to have strongly voiced a strong opinion against this proxy war which India was forced to fight. Where did he hide his principle of nonviolence at this juncture ?

Gandhiji never disapproved the death sentence awarded to Bhagat Singh and his men. He could
have very easily appealed to the House of Commons that the death sentence be reconsidered. But he never did. Such was his sympathy and compassion towards a fellow freedom fighter. His opinion was that Bhagat Singh's death would send a strong message to all those who followed
violent methods to achieve freedom. So much for Nonviolence !

Disappointments apart , I appreciate his support for the abolition of child marriage. Although he married at an early age he understood that child birth takes a heavy toll on the mother's body and hence delayed imposing this pressure on his teenage wife.

More than Gandhiji's principles, it his his attire which I believe struck a chord with the masses. I would also call Gandhiji a very shrewd leader. With a simple white dhoti,a shawl and a bare chest , he knew hecould win over the masses . He knew that the people would support a leader, with whom they could identify themselves.The Indian Freedom Movement desperately needed a leader would could unify the masses.

I would call my feelings after reading his book as some sort of a bitter sweet symphony.It taught me a lot about leading a simple life. It also taught me that a good leader is one who strikes a special chord with his followers.It has also taught me that its not enough to read about someone else's experiments with truth , even if that 'someone' happens to be 'the Mahatma'...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

60 Years On - An unfulfilled Pledge

The murder of Scarlett Keeling has brought to the forefront several aspects which children today face – the usage of drugs, a troubled home , an incorrect upbringing etc etc. The media around the world especially the Indian and British Media have highlighted all these issues which the poor murdered girl faced but isn’t it fair to say that all of us while discussing this ghastly murder have comfortable forgotten one issue – the safety of women in India.
Crime against women in India are increasing at an alarming rate and has always been very high. Delhi has an ugly record in this matter and Bangalore is fast catching up with Delhi. Lets not forget that acts such as acid attacks on women are as violent as a murder, then why does the former have a very mild punishment when compared to the latter! An acid attack victim has permanently disfigured body parts and faces the mental trauma of going through life with it.
All of us have been seeing the media bring up reports on the shabby home in which Scarlett lived, her mother’s past relationships with men and a jail stint etc etc. The Indian media has borrowed the same idea and cluttered its pages with such news reports. Even if the media is not ready to sympathize with the bereaved family , it can atleast avoid spitting venom at the family at such a sorrow time.
Fiona may have had a very turbulent past and may not have raised her children in the best way but is there any doubt that she is going through one of the saddest phases of life. If any one of us have been wronged we certainly believe in getting the man or woman who wronged us to justice. Fiona is trying to get the accused to trial and in the process get some justice for her daughter. Shouldn’t we first help her in getting justice coz its after all one of our Indian brothers who is the accused !
I was listening to Nehru’s Tryst with Destiny Speech yesterday and the words echoed in my head when he said that “at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity”. Every child should have a decent shot a life. Scarlett might not have had one but that does not mean that she does not have a decent shot at death. She lost her life on India’s soil in a gruesome manner and the law of the land should do justice to her and to several other women like her. After all India made a tryst with destiny 60 years ago and it has not redeemed its pledge even substantially if not wholly !
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