Friday, February 16, 2018

For a few good men

Yesterday, the nation was numbed with a 13000 crores scam involving one of its largest government owned banks. The bank claimed that 2 lowly staff working on their own, over 4 or 5 years, helped out one big business family to siphon of money equivalent to a eighth of the mammoth banks net worth.

It was only last week that our beloved Prime Minister rolled out what would eventually become the world's largest health-care insurance programme for the poor. The annual allocation for this programme, hold your breath, is just about one tenth of the swindled amount!!

For generating 13000 crores in cash, one hundred crore Indians would have to work for two days. Two lowly accountants in a mammoth bank have given that away to two big diamond traders!!

I don't know what hurts more, the anger with the system that either did not identify or colluded for over many years to keep this shady dealings going or the fact that it seems so easy to vanish with the hard earned money of millions in this country! I don't know. Though I  have no answers to this one, I keep asking myself why we have such a huge dearth of a few good men. I know that this is the age of Kali. I am aware that mother nature stands on the last of her four legs. I also know that every waking day, that one last standing leg is being hit upon by rods of adharma and irreligion, but O Vasudev, this is so painful a time to live in. The soul is in perpetual mourning at what is being done to your favorite bharatvarsh.

I remember what was told to Parikshit Maharaj... That howsoever powerful the time of Kali is, it is perpetually powerless against every human being with a strong moral fibre. Each individual matters. Each one of us are individually more powerful than the entire might of the demoniac army of looters and cheaters. Each one of us is a bramhan, each of us a plenary portion of the Supreme.

Let's together rediscover the goodness enshrined in us again and work together to make this a truly great country. Aham Brahmasmi.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Revolution of the Bovines

There is a interesting allegorical story of Puranjini in the Maha Bhagavatham. Once the king was bored of his palace living and went to hunt in the forest. To quench the emptiness in his soul, he indulged in a massacre in the forest. He killed many animals simply for the pleasure of killing. He killed Elephants, Tigers, Beaked Birds and reptiles, and left them wherever they fell. 

Years later when it was his time of death, a chieftain of an invading army dragged the king across the same forest trail. His locks tied to the chariot, as Puranjani's body was scratched, bruised and his bones broken, he realized that death was not coming for him anytime soon. He prayed with great anxiety for death to relieve him of this trauma, but what happened next was a shocker. Out from the jungle came many a wild beasts and charged at him. The elephant gored him, the snake bit him and the birds chewed and clawed at him. His limbs were torn, his eyes gauged out, his flesh eaten into. But death would not come!!

My scriptures tells me that God exists not just for you and me, but for the downtrodden, the tortured, and the enslaved as well.

When Yogi Adityanath suddenly and out of the blue became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, I realized that he was not elected by the Puranjani's of the world, but by the Bovines.

The Cows of India have elected themselves a Yogi. Jai Gau Matha!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Car Wars

The car had been there with me for about 4 years. It's a very white, very proper car. Looks good on the road. I keep it clean, and in turn, it makes me look good in it. There is an agreement. I keep you, you keep me.

In the past four years, the car has been bruised about 8 times. The wound is generally attended to in a day, with a lot of sensitivity and care. Akbar, my close friend, is one of the best denter painter in town. He talks to the car, and the car allows Akbar to heal it.

There are other cars on the road. Rogue cars. Cars that try to run down this car. Cars that jump signals and come crashing on this car's fenders. Cars that overtake on steep turns and force this car on to strange walls. The car has been assaulted eight times. The car protests each time. It protests with a strange silence that follows each assault. I think the car talks to Akbar of how it feels. With me, it is silent.

Victims of an inhuman race of rogue cars on indian roads, I think the car and I share the same indignity of being, by just being on the road. In each assault, I and the car is united in our agreement. You hurt, I hurt. We both go to Akbar.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Of the Fallen and the Forgotten

An old woman, poorly dressed, with no gold on her, was hit by a motorist while crossing the busy road near my office. The road is about 50 meters wide. There are no zebra Crosses anywhere near, no cop, no red light, no underpass, nothing. The chances of her crossing the road alive was always bleak. She just did not know it. She was not from the time when there were a million cars on the road and driving license were issued like guns in the US.

The car that hit her did not even get to see her. The driver was busy overtaking a transport bus from the wrong side. The bus had slowed down for her to cross, the car ended her mid road journey forever. Just another sacrifice to the altar of the great Indian Road God with a million heartless, insensitive, resource hungry, barely controlled, Talibans as followers. They jump lights, run motorists down, run over pedestrians, speak, text and brush their teeth while driving. They chase ambulances but never give way to one.

The Road God also finds followers in our governments, our courts, and our law. Roads are poorly lit, roads have encroached upon pavements, and roads have open manholes and temples and tombs and gandhiji doting the sides, and the center and wherever whoever wills.

The death and maiming by accidents in India is far more ghastly  than death by tobacco or cancer or any other epidemic. And the killers run amock, in service of the Road God.

Someone's grandma died on the road that day. As I watched her sacrificial blood run down the road, with tires running over it, passing it on to other tires and other roads, I knew that it will be some time before the 108 guys reach here. Two policemen lifted her body from the road and placed it next to a shop side. There was a moment for which the traffic slowed down, before it continued its march to claim its next victim.

Happy Driving India.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ishwar Allah Aur Khana!

The soul of the poor have always been up for sale. Give me food and I will allow you to call me by any name. Show me a future far away from the sloth and drudgery of my living; then point me to whatever God is dear to you...he will then on be my God.

I can feed on a Bible full of pulses, I can grow old in a madrassa as long my children finds shelter and I can dance to Krishna as long as you don't get my little daughter raped by the landed goons.

Hey Ram!

Friday, October 10, 2014

For the India of my dreams

An auto driver earns about 350 to 400 Rupees each day he plies his auto. However, very few children of auto drivers complete schooling and reach college. By the time his children are in 8th grade, his earnings are no longer commensurate to his expense, and he is not qualified for credit.

A sweeper with the local municipality gets about 150 Rupees per day. Paid out on a monthly basis, to his bank account. Most children of municipal sweepers, beat constables, government drivers, postmen, mail guards etc., will go on to reach a notch higher in their lives than their parents. Unlike the auto drivers kids whose fortunes will swing like a yoyo between bursts of jackpots and stretches of hunger, the municipal sweepers kids will eat low nutrition rice and rasam, but they will have something to eat everyday of their young lives.

Poverty is a complex state of existence. I have seen it widely splattered across my country's diverse fabric. It stains the very soul of our motherland and is an immense strain on its conscience. As the law makers of my country hurry to change our so called archaic laws, I want them to pause and think before they strike out any age old provision.

I once worked as a plantation manager. Plantations are like small Towns of about 10 thousand people. Each one of their lives are connected intrinsically with a small safe in the managers' office. As long as there is money in there, there is food, there is credit, there is future. A labor strike would rarely live beyond seven days. The management run school, creche and dispensary or hospital will shut down on the first day. Water supply and power backup dries out by second day. From the seventh day onwards, the local traders would stop giving stuff on credit to workers family. On the eighth day, kids will come from school and ask the worker if they could afford next month's fee. On the ninth day, the wife will ask the you think I should sell the little gold we bought from last years' bonus? On the tenth day, workmen would assault either a trade union leader or a management representative. Everything is connected. If the money in the safe dries up, women turn to prostitution, and kids take to petty crimes to feed themselves.

If our auto driver meets with an accident or has indigestion or takes a slightly longer break... His story will be no different.

It is not the big salaries that help the poor climb out of poverty, it is the promise of sustainable income and the social security that the erstwhile laws mandated. Unlike modern day sez's that pay four times what the plantations paid, but provide no housing, no schooling, no hospital, no creche, no water supply; traditional Factories Act mandates that you set up a town where successive generations will ensure that the factories survive and so does the town and its people. SAIL, TATA STEEL, DRDO, NMDC, HINDALCO, BHILLAI STEEL PLANT, TATA COFFEE, HARRISONS MALAYALAM...the names of large institutions that gave India thousands of educated professionals is a long list. Children of steel workers, telecom workers, coal workers...going on to become directors and chairmen of the largest corporations in the world is long.

Modiji, before you change any law, study how it will impact the grandchildren who are yet to be born. Poverty takes at least three generations to eliminate. Don't try to feed one at the cost of those that are yet to come.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Murderers All!

Are we too big to manage? Are we too busy to care? Or is it a matter of competence? Are no rights vested into a new born? Is the state not responsible to ensure that the child born to every mother in this country is healthy and has a fair chance to come out alive? Is this right not vested in the unborn child and the mother who carried the child in her womb? Is not the State a custodian of both the Child and the mother? And when the mother is malnourished and the kid still-born, why is the state not accused of Infanticide? Each year, my government kills more mother and child than all of world’s terrorists put together!

When I drive on the road, am I not entitled to a road with signages and fences? A road that does not suddenly run into a ditch without warning, a road where cows, buffaloes and villagers do not squat right in the middle? The government that allows Pajeros to be sold also allows the highways to be devoid of signages, devoid of policing and devoid of maintenance. More deaths happen on Indian roads that in the bloody drug wars of Latin America. Should the government not be booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder?

When the weak and the vulnerable are exploited in every corner of this country, their pleadings are heard at our highest courts every day. And then its falls silent. The labyrinthine judiciary of India, through its heartless delays and sheer lack of accountability, has together with the legislature, ensured that the poor die poorly, unheard, unsung, uncelebrated, nameless, and often, even before being born. Ask me and I will tell you what will happen to the kids of Rickshaw Pullers, Rag Pickers and the Street Sex Workers. They will all die, just as they were born. I will never know who is actually accountable for the death of a jay walker who was crossing a 6 lane national highway and was stuck down by a SUV which was trying to avoid running into a truck, which itself was trying to avoid falling into a ditch for fear of breaking an axle. And then the truck and the Pajero, along with its inmates are set on fire by locals, as a crude justice to the death of a drunken jay walker.

Living in this country is Kafkaesque.