A childhood in the fringes of national consciousness

gunFor the last few days, it seems only a curfew can stand between a bullet and a young gullible kashmiri. Today was one of the better days it seems some tangible property has been demolished . Loss to property is a loss nonetheless but it is not something that cannot be replaced. Loss of life on the other hand happens only once. Some of my earliest political memories I have is of the total apathy of my government as huge chunks of land in my maternal village were swallowed by the mighty Brahmaputra. Huge blocks of land simple leapt into whistling water to create another homeless family. It became a sort of yearly ritual to see people lose everything. It went for years and now the place where I spent many of my happy and innocent days of childhood no longer exists, the roads of that ghost village are only their in some hidden compartment of my memories. At those times, it seemed independence from the beastly creature called India was the only way out. That was the mind of a guy who was less than ten years of age. It seemed the cause of all problems was the occupation by India. I guess I am contradicting myself in this post like I usually do reminiscing about the political leanings of my early childhood. It didn’t help that newspapers were bombarded with reports of how the army and other central para-military forces were harassing the masses. I was given to understand that unified command was a mechanism by which security personal were permitted to rape the relatives of militants who did not surrender.

In those days we were more scared of military than the militants. Militants used to usually kill politicians usually giving us a reason to celebrate. A death of a militant was deeply mourned as that of a family member. One of our neighbours son was killed in an encounter. I was simple overwhelmed by the public outpour of grief on the streets. I was eleven years old. Gradually things began to change or at least my perspective of things changed. Having seen many militants surrender and make millions looting and killing the common man-made me realise there is no difference between the politicians I deride. It was also the time the hypocrisy in me was maturing. I found myself with a brain with better than average processing power and soon made my way out of my birthplace . Now I am a visitor to the place where I learnt to walk, speak and talk. On an average day,, the language I am most likely to speak is my mother-tongue.

Back then even though I hated the government of India, it was kind of perplexing I always supported the Indian team on the field. Maybe my childhood is a perfect example of the fact that you may love your country and hate the government. Since I am writing this post in 2010, its time for me to jump back to the present and write a few words bashing Armed Forces Special Powers Act. I know this generational jump is quite of sync with the title of the post and rather abrupt. But I feel too strongly about this issue to care for anything else. It is not so easy living under the shadow of the gun. It is even more difficult when the people who are there to protect you is the biggest threat to your lives.

Whenever sensible people talk about removing AFSPA, the top brass of army raise a hue and cry, the very same top brass whose corruption is a bigger threat to the jawans than the repeal of this act. I am told today there are twenty security personals for every civilian in Kashmir. They are immune to any criminal proceedings for human rights violation. Some might argue that there is a provision under some act or other but for heavens sake is it really practical. Some argue that our soldiers are already under lots of stress and adding the stress of criminal proceedings is not done. I am too biased and emotionally and psychologically scarred to say something impartial on the matter but I do try to give myself a high moral ground supporting higher wages and better facilities for the soldiers of the nation. I believe RR Patil should be hanged before Kasab for the death of Hemant Karkare. But then I have a lot of beliefs some rational.some nonsensical and some utterly comical.

In the end what I want to say is that we have lost over fifty young man in Kashmir due to stone pelting if at all they were allowed to pelt stones maybe we would have lost a few buildings, a few buses a few cars but it would have been far more preferable.

On footnote : after I have left Assam, the militants started colliding with ministers and killing innocents. I was aghast at the happenings but somehow it was easier to hate them and want them to die than the feeling of despair on being vulnerable at the hands of your supposed protectors.

When capitalist me supported the left

For sometime, I have been harbouring a pathological hatred for the left. I can’t fathom why they have to be paranoid against everything that is American. Superficially, it seems they are a prisoner of the past. A past where every allay and highway of economy was stained by the blood of the workers. On a personal level, I can never forgive them for supporting the Chinese when they attacked the land of my ancestors. In some ways, I am also a prisoner of the past although the decry the left for being afflicted with this virus.I also can’t forgive left for economically killing Calcutta and as a consequence all that lay to the east of this erstwhile metropolis.

I have also been a diabetic for the last two years  and my parents have been diabetic for as long as I can remember.I spent over a hundred rupees per day on my medicines and tests. Having blessed with an above average IQ, a middle class upbringing and some fate, I can afford to pay my bills without battling an eyelid. But the over a sixth of India are said to be diabetic and statistically, I doubt even half of them can afford the facilities,I take for granted.This brings me to the question as to whether the drugs that can help billions really need to be so costly. From an economic standpoint, the variable cost of producing extra drugs seems to be negligible this explains why 50 mg of januvia costs the same as 100 mg of the same drug. Besides this obvious lack of ethics on the part of pharmaceutical companies, there is another thought that bothers me. This is about side effects. I may be diabetic, but I hope to live a thousand years, with this end in mine, I watch all my biological parameters by spending more of my blood and sweat. If I am to lie long enough, I have to depend on drugs for a lions share of my heart beats.

For the ignorant, the best example of post of peril will be the location of kidney in a diabetic. Every day of uncontrolled diabetes deals a thousand death nails on the coffin of the kidneys. To make matters worse the toxic parts of medicines have to be filtered by diabetes and each of those molecules takes a test of the kidneys in a way that is definitely not a walk in the park.In some ways the medicines I take are a double-edged sword, it prevents diabetes from harming my kidneys but might be silently killing it.

This paradox drives me to the reason why I am writing this post. Clinical trials and India.  On any other day when the Sun rises from the east, the only reason I envy Pakistan is for their media. Today, I was pleasantly surprised when page 1 of ibnlive did not resemble page 3 of less reputed tabloids which are no more than bread,butter and oxygen of paparazzi. It carried a report on ratification of Indian population.  For the vast majority of you who know what ratification means, I am in no way referring to the literal meaning of the word but only phonetics. For pharmaceutical companies we Indians are nothing but rats whose life can be dispensed off. They have no fear of multi million dollar settlement claims. The answer to whether my kidneys can hold up to the onslaught of years of medicines probably lies in some unethical trials.

Till then in the midst of some inexplicable emotions, I hope the left keeps on fighting the MNCs, the very same MNCs without whom I can’t live.

Only time i detested the sight of Deepikas legs

Patriotism is a word we very often come across since the days we learn our a for apples and b for balls. For sake of political correctness, our history and social studies are replete with tales of patriotic tales of some of our revered heroes. For the sake of pure literary analysis, patriotism is bathed in paradox. A word that derives its origins from the word father and yet, it  is defined as love for motherland. I don’t know how to define patriotism in words that satisfies me leave alone some inadvertent reader of this post. But bowing before the kiss principle “Keep it stupid and simple” – I can safely say many a stories, many a videos raise goosebumps in my heart. Probably those are distinctly observable patriotic heartbeats of my life.

For any Indian to have grown up in the doordarshan age, “Mile Sur mera tumhara” is no alien permutation of letters. It was a collection of notes that somehow struck a chord in our heart.In my first years of life,i understood very little of what was not spoken in Assamese. So, my earliest memories of this song was waiting for the single sentence that I could understand. As a juvenile who was yet to reach his teens, I could not draw any deep philosophical meaning of the joy I got from watching this song but as self acclaimed wise 23-year-old, I guess this video was my first realization of my being a part of the mosaic called “India”.

Having dwelt on my beautiful memories of the “original mile sur”, it goes without saying that I feel a kind of ownership over this song. I feel my life is incomplete without this song.For last few days, there was a lot of screaming about a new “mile sur”.  I was looking forward to it and my hopes were ignited by the new version of Vande Mataram released on India’s fiftieth Independence Day. For the people who cry a lot about religion, this song was revamped by a muslim.

Some hopes are created only to be crushed, some aspirations remain aspirations forever never finding the strength to crossover to the real world. My first glimpse of this video at you tube filled me with rage. The first image was of “Vodafone” and “zoom”. By no distortion of reality can both be labeled as national icons. icons that define the new resurgent India. But staying true to the truest interpretation of the word “trailer”, this new mile sur had more assaults on my memory in store. The next image that really dealt the death knell on the coffin of my hopes was of deepika padukone in skimpy one-piece enjoying some water-fall. To give a brief background of me morally I am an average IITian. I am all for more open society. If there is fan club making sex compulsory in movies, I would be among the first to promote it. I lament that I am ,soon, going to be  a 24-year-old virgin. Normally any sexy girls legs and more of anatomy are something i crave for. But when one looks forward to feeling proud of being an Indian, somehow lust and patriotism do not mix well. The rest of the video was watched with rage and contempt with  a single-minded dedication to pick more loopholes. I gave up for i found only 2 moments that made me feel proud of my citizenship. One was Bhupen Hazarika, i had ulterior motives for it for I am a Hazarika and it does not harm to your ego to share the surname with the most famous person born in your homestate.Second was Abhinav Bindra. I would only use one line to lament the lack of Sachin,Rathore,Malleshwari,Murthy,Kalam,Rajni,Chiranjeevi and IITs,IIMs and the overdose of bollywood for it deserves no second line.

To sum up I will quote one of my juniors “missing Rakhi Sawant”, well I say i missed her only in physical representation in video, to me the entire video smacked of the essence, that have become a part of the antiques we associate with her.

demos cratos

the future kingAs a matter of lack of choice, if you are born in a middle class family in India, you know what those two words mean. Just after the ABCs have been mastered, “i” s have been dotted and “t”s have been crossed, we are told about the country we live in. The first page of many a books tell us about Gandhijis dilemma solver -“think about the poorest person you know”. Although, the text in the book seems to have a few strands of papyrus baptized by the church of Goebbels, the subject of social studies was one of my favorite.

Having established the origins of my thought, I come to the thoughts that have instigated this blog.For starters I don’t have a single click on my blog today. It is pathetic to say the least. The other was the image of Shibu Soren taking the oath of chief minister as CM supported by BJP a party I once admired. As I struggle to grasp with the violation of ethics and justice in Indian democracy, my mind wanders back to the first debate that I saw in my school. The word saw might be drenched in incongruity for I had a minuscule part in the same. Although being apart of the junior most batch of School I asked a question that more ruffled the free-flowing eloquence of the debaters. The topic for the day was “In a democracy you get a government that people deserve”.My question was did people India deserve emergency when she voted Indira Gandhi to power on the plan of “garibi hatao”.

The earliest election I can recall being played out in the media was the 1996 election. After election, we saw the largest pre-election formation sit in the opposition.The smallest pre-election formation run the government and the second largest party support he smallest pre-election formation.But the conduct of Vajpayee won my heart and mind. Although I could not vote in the next election, I cheered for every seat won by BJP. I really wanted to have a prime minister I admire. Same was the case for next election. Unlike most politicians power did not make Vajpayee a hated figure like all CMs and former PMs.Godhra happened, I hate people being prosecuted for religion or any other thing that makes India a diverse country but India was progressing at least it appeared to. I found myself rooting for BJP in 2k4 I did not want Sonia Gandhi to be PM, the concept of hereditary rule still do not strike a chord in me. Nevertheless Manmohan Singh took oath as Pm with some of the most corrupt politicians in his ministry ala Laloo, Shibu and who not. But the march of India was unstoppable. Vajpayee retired from BJP and it seemed BJP had gone mad.

A political party that once stood for everything good about India seemed to be bereft of ideas. I found myself rooting for congress in 2k9 elections. Congress did win but I am sad for if tomorrow I want congress to lose whom do i root for. How can I support a party that makes murderers as chief ministers. IT seems India cannot be great country. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I hope the government gets corrupt absolutely and we get a credible opposition for if that does not happen soon. We will need to wait another 50 years for a credible opposition. We need answers for the death of Karkares. We need a voice in parliament who don’t just cry for his own fiefdom to indulge in more corruption but who speaks against extra constitutional powers like armed Forces Special powers Act. The government exists to protect the citizens what is the lace of a law that is created to harass,rape,maim,kill citizens by official machinery.