Category: Society


Changes 2014: Just Modi?

What does the upcoming general elections in 2014 mean for India as a nation and for Indians as nationals? Sadly, there is no short answer to this because of a multitude of aspirations of different parts of the society. However, there is one section of the Indian community for which the answer is predictable: the political class. Those out of power, want to come into power and those in the seat of power want to hold on to that seat of power. Among the common people, some are jingoists of a political clan, some are religious fundamentalists, some are optimists of a radical change and many don’t care. There can be more detailed classification of the society but I am not interested in knowing every line of difference in the society but rather focus on the dangerous undercurrent which can plague every dream of every section of society: What are the changes we need? I will focus on only two things here, politics and Indian culture.

I would like to ask the population who want to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister: Say, BJP wins the elections and he does become the PM, what are you going to do after that? This question has extreme relevance to the development of India as a nation. For one small reason, Modi is developing into a brand (apparels, mobile phones, mobile apps etc.) and in the long run, brands make people blinds. So it is imperative to realize that letting BJP and Modi run the show isn’t enough. The population of India which is aching to see a change must not wait on the changes to come to surface; they should seek it. It must remember that when it votes for BJP, they are looking for development and they should seek it instead of being doled out to them. With RTIs and protests, the movement must continue to make the political class more and more accountable and their election manifestos rigorously evaluated by the public. To many, voting for Modi is their contribution to the nation. I think we cannot call it anything other than a start. How many of us have that fervor to participate in the development of Republic of India under Modi? On the other hand, if BJP isn’t able to form a government at the center, what do we do then?

The point that I want to highlight is simple, are we really looking forward to participate in democracy to contribute in nation building? Or we think that Narendra Modi and BJP are magic wands to change the fortunes of the nation and society? Or is the word circulating in media “the anti-incumbency effect” going to be a factor in our minds when we vote? The voting is a right and choice of an individual. But it must be done for the right reasons and after thorough analysis of the ground reality. It is the first step to building a healthy democracy. If the mindset stops at voting BJP or Congress into power, we have only chosen a possible benefactor with no benefits guaranteed.

That was my first observation. Out of no disrespect to the Muslim community, I have a direct question to them: how does the Muslim community allow these media assholes and politicians to label them as votes? Even though I was born in a Hindu family, but I don’t give a fuck about that, I find this phrase “Muslim votes” derogatory. In fact I find the connotations of Yadav votes, Hindu votes, Sikh votes and many such created currencies a spit on the customs and traditions with which we identify a community. In my eyes, such labels reduce sentinel human beings to a herd of senile animals which can be manipulated with ease every 5 years. Isn’t that is what Lalu did for his entire period of rule? Isn’t it the same what Congress has been doing for more than 40 years after the slogan “Garibi Hatao” was launched? Isn’t it what BJP did when it led a mindless Mandir Nirman initiative?

People have lost their lives, livings and loved ones. How did we get so blinded by religious affiliations that we cannot see shit for shit? When did the culture and faith and practices that made us a community became hard lines of segregation which have cauterized our human connection with each other? Did it happen when we rioted? Or when we stopped trusting on our neighbours just because they had different ways of dressing? Or was it when in 1909, the Britishers coined the appeasement policies in Morley Minto reforms to communalise the electoral representation? If a person of a certain caste or religion sits in the legislature, it doesn’t mean that the entire community is represented. Nor does it mean that the aspirations are represented, and the culture and traditions guarded. It needs to be guarded by us. Otherwise we are actually an unguarded bank, waiting to be betrayed every 5 years and then robbed over the course of next 5 years. Politicians have used our culture as a weapon to betray the populace at multiple times. And their selective actions have instilled hatred in us for other cultures. Our country is a multicolored and thus there is just too much discontent among people. Were we wrong to stick to our cultures? Or our culture sucks that it didn’t teach us a way to protect us from manipulations?

Our culture isn’t inherently a system which sucks. It sucks on many fronts today because we have held on to the wrong things. Sticking to the love of a particular God made us animals to kill each other. If we had stuck ourselves to what those Gods said about brotherhood and humanity, our culture wouldn’t have become a base for manipulation of individuals. We wouldn’t have required to ask for equal rights for women or need Satyamev Jayates to highlight the plights of the lower sections of society. Our culture gave us the colorful festivals of joy and celebrations and they would have given us an evolving understanding of each other as well. But we stuck to a God and tried to be God by assuming power. But Gods have a major side-effect that he/she inspires lust for power and lordship in corruptible species called human beings. It is only natural that we are in such a situation where distrust among us is rampant: Where you cannot shave your head fully as that is a practice of a different religion; where you wonder, quoting from A Wednesday, what the name of a shop should be. The questions in the in the last lines of the last paragraph have an easy answer: Accepting that love towards mankind is a greater ideal than its enforcement director, the God.

The politics of a our country is inspired and divided by the religious and social divides. It should rather be united and forward thinking in the wake of the problems of the society and not its divisions. We neither have an administration which can promote the development of a civilized society nor we have a culture where we allow dignity to everyone. The upcoming general elections is just a point in time, these changes have been necessary since a very long time. When we look at 2014 as a new hope, how broad is our horizon?

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Smart…. Asses

I guess we have a huge army of analyzing minds present in our country who spend a lot of time in understanding and dissecting current events. Most of the “discussion” is futile, because it is done by hypocrites who wouldn’t risk their necks to provide help and support when it was actually needed. I have managed to classify them in various layers on the basis of source of information feeding to their interpretations of an event. At each level, the discussion or comments follow a reckless pattern and are useless in alleviating the real pain present in the society. I am calling them smart asses, and by that definition, I have become one of them as well, on probably a different level, by writing this piece. At the center of  making too many smart people around us is the communication revolution through internet and ironically, smartphones.

On the heels and wheels of the rest of the world, life has changed in India as well. But I don’t want to reserve my treatment to India in particular, because people are getting connected in every part of the world. It has helped the common masses to discuss more, to share more, to experience more; the anguish, the pain, the happiness, the frustration that plagues a region or an individual. And frankly, this has done wonders; Tahrir Square is an example of that and to any of those reading this piece in Egypt, please take the title as my bow and a salute. But in most cases, throughout the world, and amid all the sharing of information over the social media, the backdrop of hypocrisy has prevailed. In this case, all those people over their keyboards, both in hardware form or in software form, form layers of being a useless pile of smart asses with their pattern of comments. I want to explore those layers, through a series of recent incidents that have taken place in India and in some cases globally.

Before we get down into analysis, let us define a smart ass. A smart ass at a level ‘n’ is a donkey, which feeds on the grass that was created at level ‘n-1’. And it is a special donkey, which creates more grass for the next level of donkeys to chew. Now, this must look slightly weird as it conflicts against natural order. But then, the grass and donkeys are just metaphors. I took the liberty of calling all those bright minded democratic people in discussion as donkeys, because they continue to repeat the same cycle of response which doesn’t do anything to make things move on the ground. They access the information which is available to them to create their own versions of events, or theories behind an event, and ultimately sleep over them to catch the next 9AM shift. Through the communication revolution, their analyses is propagated to higher layers.

Smart Ass Level 0: The creators of grass

This is the lowest level and there are no smart asses, by my definition, here. Most of the people over here are either misguided or a criminal by force or choice. In a generic spectrum, this layer comprises of those who disrupt the equilibrium of social harmony. A rapist, a terrorist, a hate speech maker, etc. should fall into this category. It can also include whistle-blowers, or an unwarranted raid of CBI. Basically, in this stage, an event happens which just triggers all the layers of the hierarchy to use their smartphones and smart brains. The miscreants over here, do not usually follow a pattern. Attacks and mishaps in society are largely unpredictable and asynchronous. CBI, however is a different case in India and you know what I mean if you have seen the news over the last week.

Smart Ass Level 1: The first responders and the shit hits the fan

When an event is triggered by entities of level 0, there are a few, who respond the first. Mostly, it is the political class which fuel the assembly line of creating more and more people in this hierarchy. In some rare cases, however, the media may arrive first or people like Robert Vadra may have the privilege to call the citizens of India as mango people and the vision of freedom fighters as a banana republic. This is how shit hits the fan: Through an obscene understanding of the situation. A bill over anti-rape law was recently being discussed in the Indian parliament. It sought stricter punishments to those who stalk women. And the analysis by Mr Sharad Yadav, generated the grass for the next level with his comment, ” Who among us has not followed women in their time?.” Politicians have a marked behavior of being escapist and self-centered in any situation. If a scam is uncovered, it must be attributed to the policies of previous governments. They always create laws which protect them from prosecution. Visionaries like Abhishek Mukherjee, Mamta Banerjee or Asaram “bapu” or the lawyer who is defaming the Delhi gang-rape victim to defend his clients, have continued to deliver shocking statements and generate more and more fodder for the next layer occupied by the media.

Smart Ass Level 2: The analysis and the experts on TV

Have you seen the circus of the media when Indian cricket team wins or loses the match? I am waiting for the day when they would provide breaking news and analysis for every over of the cricket match. This layer is comprised by the control freaks like Mr Arnab Goswami who has, to his great pain, allowed others to create controversy. But he exacts his vengeance by not letting them speak. So, do you think he is generous in giving others a chance to do something? I am not very sure, but let us come back to issue of the first layer of futile analytics. Most of the analysis is a waste of time. The breaking news has more reference to “your favorite news channel” which broke the story than the content really.  In case of a political event, the media will draw numerous parallels across governments in various states to countries and keep the common man saturated. The media is like a ruminant, which swallows the event and then sits while staring into its own shit and chewing the swallowed food over and over. It is ground and fed to the audience through visuals, various vignettes, animations, and in the lack of content, just repeated many times over.

Smart Ass Level 3: The social media fanboys and the candle light bearers

The pattern in previous levels is largely predictable, even if the events itself are not. From this level, things evolve in a different manner. Because, politicians mine shit in the political field, and media over their databases to produce an interpretation of the core issue. But the common people over facebook or a news page discussion uses his own grievances to interpret and link various issues to the triggering event. The basic agenda — open my new smartphock, and post anguish, shock, dismay; whichever emotion suits you. I really wish it had lacked hypocrisy. People wouldn’t risk helping others in pain, but they can always carry candles as some torch of justice to various places. People sweep through channels and read alternative versions of the issue to develop their own theories and remedies. At this layer, the real event has the capability to mutate and become something else. Rumors are spread and the core event attracts more and more issues. After the Hyderabad blasts, when the news was reporting the consistent failure of intelligence agencies, there was a visionary over the web complaining about the apathy of government towards its citizens. He criticized the blasts and the government in a line and then drew a parallel to crowded local trains of Mumbai to go off for a rant for next 6 lines of his comment. This is just an example, if you read the comments section of a match report on goal.com, you will know what I mean. This mutating discussion starts to carry the weight of multiple issues, and effectively waters down the event which had triggered the frenzy. The weight becomes too much and the verdict is declared. The media (previous layer) is a dog chasing sensation, and the entire system is flawed. Let us not berate the common man for saying that. Mr. Rahul Gandhi also came to same conclusion about the system.

At this level, the hypocrisy and nihilism inside the self-centered souls of human beings ultimately supplants the many techniques to bring about a change with hopelessness. They have found the media, the politicians, the miscreants all hopeless. Gang-rape stories and terrorists plots exist every minute of our life. A complicated soul cannot just abandon its life and strive for a political enlightenment and thus, every thread of analysis breaks down here. But there are few, driven by misery and pain than having a photo or a smart post on facebook, like those in Egypt, who are the smart ones to find meaning and motivation in all that criticism. Rest of the crowd, regardless of the validity and the significance of discussion, are asses who consume and transmit the information across levels.

Smart Ass Level 4: The intellectuals

This layer is interesting because the behavior of social media joins the subject of discussion. If there were only a few making statements in the media or newspapers, thing might remain in control. But with the social media, there are a lot of comments which a common man listens to. Very soon a person can see a pattern of accusations spread throughout the chain. At this level, people try to display some kind of vision with diplomatic statements. The general pattern is to criticize the miscreants, accept that the system is flawed and there is a need for change, and claim a higher level by criticizing the over zealous nature of the social media. They discuss how reckless political class has become, how bitchy the media has become and the savage turn that has been taken by the society. They are analysts of analysts of analysts of responders of disturbing events with the motivation to organize the stupidity. Naturally, they are on the top of the hierarchy.

Smart Ass Level ……. 47

But they are wrong. At next level are people like me. I usually don’t comment and I have been away from this self defined smart ass tag. But in fairness to everyone mentioned in this post, I should take the tag as well. Because, I am bored of the cycle of event, analyses, more analyses, hate and love over social media, and the intellectuals and experts. I have found a pattern in them with my own study to create a new level of smart asses. Soon many would join me at this level as well because patterns would arise among those intellectuals as well who attempt to organize people in being useless and stupid. There are many engineers like me who would have seen this pattern of taking a moral high ground. Try not to join me and do something good for the society. Be smart, not an ass.

The Social Inception

Social Inception is one of the most common features across the entire world. There are a variety of external factors that try to impose new ideas on our head. Some ideas may support other ideas while others may conflict with each other. There is a scene in the X-Men movie where a US senator campaigns against mutants by declaring that mutant ability to control the will of a human being is highly unacceptable in a free society. The movie is irrelevant here but I have been on the tails of the abstract nature of that statement: How much independent are our thoughts? And what will it take to recover the control that was lost?

Inception is a complex mechanism. It doesn’t need dreams and gadgets to pipe into someone’s brain. The objective is to plant foreign ideas which is doable in broad daylight, or rather, in a systematically synthesized “broad daydream”. For any beginner to begin inception process, a few requirements must be met by the individual. First of all, the agent which introduces the idea must make a favorable relation with the host. The idea and the its source cannot afford to be repulsive to the host. If George Bush claims that he didn’t order the torture of prisoners, who is going to buy that? Second requirement is directly from the movie, “it is a foreign idea, and for it to grow naturally, one needs to start with the basics of the situation.” Consider for example an advertisement company who wants to sell a certain mosquito killing spray; it must shout at the public in anxious and restless voice (imagine the 2300 hrs telecast of Vardaat kind of news programs) “Malaria is death, mosquitoes spread malaria, kill mosquitoes”. Right now the ad company has its audience, as it is not selling a product that public has never dreamed of as mosquito killing is practiced by us since childhood. So, the basic inspiration is us is inherent. Mix it with fear over TV or radio and the marketing strategy might just pay off. Try selling condoms with the same blueprint of shouting at public while banking on fear of STDs and it will almost turn out to be a disaster. The point is, every inch of the presentation of idea matters: the tone of voice, the size of the font, the imagery, the visualization, the story it packs to make the message stick, just to name a few. If one can perfect these principles, one can be a good asset for the marketing division of a product company. But this blog isn’t about that; it is about our overloaded minds.

As we grow in our childhood, we pick up stuff from our family.At that age, we learn algebra or religion or the divisions in society, everything, from our family and the people around us. We recognize friendly faces from family or those who are close to our family. But as a child, do we actually decode the community of someone before we try to bond with that person? That guideline comes directly from the taller people with grey-black hair around us. Simply speaking, it is not difficult to imagine in a house that a child will enjoy playing with the child of the housemaid before the social rules come into play. In many cases, we learn things which stop us from being objective about an issue. Now, the inception part of this. The constraint isn’t the thing which a kid would love to encounter. But if the same “friendly face” or “acquaintance” preaches those rules incessantly, at some point of time, the child would give up to that “friend”. Consider the child having grown up and in a relationship with someone from a different community. It might be interesting to measure the courage in that grown up person to go against the childhood lessons. The desire to break patterns is curbed and it takes an immense amount of clarity in thought and “enlightenment” to go past those barriers. This is true about religion, a family custom, or any lesson that didn’t have a proper logical basis. Our lives are heavily modulated by the society we live in, because at some point of time they had bought us a teddy bear on our birthday and claimed the license to give us some “funda” about life.

Free logical thinking?

When we talk about larger than life situation, whose life is it to which it is being referred to? In the previous paragraph, its the life of the kid. Everything around the child is beyond his life. In general, larger than life would refer to a lifestyle which is full of amenities and facilities that are not accessible to a common person. So, celebrities, sport stars etc. fall in this bracket. How do such personalities become larger than life? Is it only about the movies they act in or the games they play? There is a bigger factor here, media, which builds up everything about a “celebrity” in our minds. It cultivates the image and it also waters the same image to keep it green through a similar inception process. Let us trace the path of becoming a celebrity. For media, it is all about inventing names for those personalities to which we can relate. The actual name is only an old curtain. A new movie star is a Hollywood star or a Bollywood star, because the readers know about movie production “Woods” more than the star itself. As the movies work on box office, more sobriquets are attached, “The Mr and Mrs Smith” star, “The 10 time Oscar nominee”, “The King Khan” and so on. It is noteworthy that all these sobriquets will have words that have their own charm: “King” “Oscar” “Captain Cool” “Three time Ballon d’Or Winner” just to name a few. Thus when we read about people through their mega achievements, it is not difficult to see how they become larger than our simple life. The effect of this inception is the crazy fanfare among the masses, which must be maintained to support the cycle of money making. SRK has made a string of pathetic movies, MS Dhoni has made a string a pathetic defensive moves resulting in losses overseas, but how much of the paranoid fanfare reduced? How many Barcelona supporters will actually call Messi a “cry baby” if Messi says “missing penalty was unfair” when the goalkeeper didn’t even make a save on his skyrocketing shot? The paranoia that fanfare induces in us, makes us believe that we are a part of the same larger than life structure. Therefore, its supremely difficult to throw stones at your own house. Only one logical question to it: Is it really our house? And there is nothing in all the fanfare.

A major part of our lifestyle is governed by policies made by some very external people. The basic control over life doesn’t exist either as the necessities of supply is also controlled for vested interests. Mafia, corruption are entities which go hand in hand. But, life has its needs and thus, we need other people around us. Entertainment, help, company, utility, anything are provided by people around us. The needs become the ground for foreign groups to attack and conquer our minds. This world preys on that demand and tries to control the supply. We have major and minor companies. What are they, if not organizations that control the supply of needs? I am not trying to sell an idea to break down the existing cycle of living. I just wish that people continue to logically evaluate a situation before swallowing it like a given truth.