Monday, December 29, 2008

The terrorist in us

The first time I read about farmer issues and about the spiralling suicides among them was through some articles written by P Sainath in the Hindu in 2004/ 2005. Some of those articles were real eye-openers. I had a chance to live vicariously in rural agricultural India through Sainath.

In early December, a new article gave figures of the number of farmer suicides in India in 2007. It said that more than 16,500 farmers had committed suicide in 2007 alone. The figure took me unawares. I always knew that problems existed amongst the Indian agriculturists, but never thought that the problem was this big. We have been having one Mumbai terror attack almost every week; not in the Taj or the Oberoi, but in interior Maharashtra, Andhra, Kerala; those places which have largely been deemed to be ‘uninteresting’ by the print and electronic media. And these attacks are not by non-state actors from across the border, but by you, and me and all around us, who have cocooned ourselves from the rural reality and have been indifferent to such happenings.

When would we see group discussions on CNN-IBN or NDTV discussing these ‘insignificant’ issues? When would we see a candle light march in the big cities for these tillers of the soil? How much time more would it take for this news to prick our collective conscience?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Profound tought from Obama's victory speech at Chicago

Obama ends the victory address with this line -

'I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.'

It is still very early to comment on him or his proposed ideas. This one line though, gives me hope. And what is life without hope?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Promising signs

We have been hearing a lot of troubling news from India lately. But along with the sad news, I also had a glance of some promising signs, which could be the change we need to see in our country.

The Lok Sabha session which was held last week, mainly discussed national security, with the aim to thwart any terrorists' plans. For a change, we saw the whole house united. The leader of the opposition said that the opposition would back any measure the government would take against terrorism. Terrorism was our common enemy. It was said that Indians (irrespective of religion, caste, or political inclinations) were on a war with terror. I enjoyed watching our leaders speak about our national identity.

Our Prime Minister apologized for the attack that he accepted could have been avoided. I understand that this apology would mean nothing to the families who lost loved ones in the dastardly act. My respects to them. Nonetheless, I must admit that it takes courage to accept that one has done wrong. I hope that he and the government now speak through their actions. I hope they can walk the talk!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Women on top

I was having this discussion with one of my friends last week. He was of the view that women, whom he had met in his life, which he himself agreed was a very small sample, are in general intellectually inferior to men. It seemed he had not met one girl who could intelligently question something some of his teachers taught. He gave examples of famous CEOs of companies. The male subset of the CEO set is much bigger than the female one, he said. I tried to counter him by providing names of some famous women in fields like sport, music, business, media and politics. Even this did not force him to nudge from his earlier position.

I was quiet for some time, with my mind trying its best to make the knockout argument. During the search for the argument, I happened to think of the most obvious person in our lives. I was reminded of someone whom we all take for granted so easily. I reminded him of our own CEOs at home. The CEO, who works and manages our households, who makes homes out of the places we live in. Our CEOs do not expect much more than our love for all they do. They work when no one is watching so that our lives run smoothly. They make lives so much easier for the menfolk (read: CEO of some chip manufacturing company in the Silicon Valley!) without whom, I do not think my friend's presumed male dominance might last.

Any doubts on who is on top?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Blame game

A week has passed since 26/11. We have been exposed to the lackadaisical measures that were taken by the government in dealing with intelligence reports warning such mayhems There have been stories of the media taking advantage of the situation for their own ulterior motives. There were some stories that doubted the competence of the Indian defense forces. All is well and good until we are not to blamed for what happened in Mumbai.

How many of us pay taxes honestly? How many of us have used some arm twisting to get things done in India. How many of us take responsibility for trouble (be it at home, or in our colonies, or on our roads)? We know very well about the ills that exist in our society today. How can we expect some men who are form this society to lead us well? It is from the same society that you and me are a part of that politicians and journalists come. Would it not be right to blame ourselves for everything we have seen over the past week instead of finding scapegoats?