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Friday, February 22, 2013

A folly of understanding the other –Katju vs Modi

While the Justice Katju- Arun Jaitley controversy took centre stage on National television last night, my curious mind immediately signalled the fingers to search the contents of the article that has resulted in the utter chaos at BJP. Thanks to www, I managed to find the edited version of the article that has resulted in ‘war of words’ since it was published in The Hindu

More than the article, I found myself engrossed in the heavy dose of ideas/opinions/ thoughts of this self-confessed shy man, featured on the blog in his name. As angry Jaitley said in response to the views voiced in the article that the honourable Justice returned an ‘obligation’, but one thing is clear, the man ‘speaks his mind’. Let us end it here and believe when he (Justice katju) said that he wrote the article as a responsible citizen of India. Accepted!

With nearly close to 1.30 hours spent on road to reach office in South Delhi from my home in North Delhi and vice versa, everyday life offers me ‘vista of intricacies’ whereby each one of us in our own ways proving the Darwin right, remember ‘survival of the fittest’.

Just after Mayapuri- crossing, a shoddy slum-cluster along the road towards Dhaula Kuan welcomes you. Yes, welcoming it is. In a sense while we crave a path amidst huge traffic to reach office and switch on to our mechanical way of life, there exist life in those dark city by lanes where the air flows freely and the life glows.
Even if big malls or palatial office spaces has given a decent makeover to city landscape, it cannot be denied that ‘all is not well’. Still, my everyday encounter with ‘smiling kids playing on the pavement or sitting on the huge railing (I wonder how they manage to climb up so high) holding holds and overlooking the traffic at the start of Nariana Flyway offers me ‘to see life in a different light altogether’.

Smiling children, an elderly reading newspaper over a cup of tea awaiting the consumers who could buy the helmets he is selling, and a woman standing aside while her husband is bathing in cold water collected in the wrought pail. Yes, this kind of life runs parallel to the life that hasn’t slowed down in years, juggling traffic with no time for celebrations. Not many of us have taken family holidays in last few years.

Incidentally, what is common in these people is ‘a calm that their faces exudes’ irrespective of the tough circumstances they fight it out every single day. Children aren’t going school, elderly still doing the business to make ends meet, and absence of basic amenities.

Looking from the distance, the opinion of Justice Katju undoubtedly, comes out as convincing and credible. This same scenario enabled me to understand the contents of Justice Katju. This is just not India or Gujarat shining . . . I believe you agree.

We all know why BJP is furious at what is being said in the write-up. But the saffron party have no choice, neither in terms of the projecting someone other than Modi (including NDA) as a prime ministerial candidate nor in terms of the issues/agendas. Whatever he may have or may not have done in the state of Gujarat, it cannot be denied that Modi enjoys huge fan-following. And BJP should understand that the Ram has grown old and most of the generation that held the ‘Ram janam bhoomi’ issue close to their hearts has already surrendered to deep slumber. As a matter of fact, I think BJP missed the opportunity to show their level-headedness on the issues concerning the ‘the aam-adami’. Not going further into the details, I believe it would have helped if BJP had given an equally convincing response to serious points of debate raised in the article.

Don’t be surprised if for say, tomorrow comes a news that Justice Katju received a bouquet of flowers from Nitesh Kumar given the equations between Modi and the Bihar CM- one of the important NDA ally. Who will then, Mr Jaitley levels the accusations against?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Uprooting the macho arrogance

Now that you are about to start reading this column, I believe you know all the details in connection to the Sanjay Nirupam-Smriti Irani controversy that erupted late last year. Whatever Nirupam remarked about Irani during a TV show may not be worthy of being repeated but this write-up demands the repetition, so allow me the opportunity. And no I’m not willing to translate and present the sterile English language version of what he said during a debate on Gujarat election results. Let’s see the translated version of the actual words he spoke with a view to dismiss Irani as the one who ‘kal tak toh paise ke liye TV pe thumke lagati thi’ (till yesterday, she used to dance on TV for money).

The undertone was quite clear together with the kind of image Nirupam was trying to call upon – that of a girl who dances for the amusement of men and is paid money in return. To be more precise, the Congressman was trying to say that ‘she (Irani) shall know her place. How could such a woman expect to be taken seriously in a discussion about electoral politics?

It won’t be wrong to say that the India of women is an equally utopian concept now as the women of India. The two just doesn’t co-exist – neither there is Indian women (not allowed to experience a sense of belonging) nor is there an India that a woman can call her own (however anyone denies it’s a man’s world).

Even after days have passed after the demise of young Indian brave heart, we are still grappling with the sorrow of losing a life that was about to blossom until it suffered malice at the hands of few men. This controversy in the amphitheatre of politics deserves an equal attention and bashing.

Even after six decades of Independence, the representation of women in Indian politics does not present an impressive picture. Majorly every political party especially at the time of elections promises to ensure equal, leave alone more participation of women in the political arena, sadly enough the records tell a different story and so is the way women are treated in this land of Goddess Durga.

Ironically, there prevails a sense that gives the Indian women to call this land of five rivers (all carrying female names and are worshipped) their very own. The premise echoes that even if you are a woman who has broken the glass ceiling and have achieved much fame (Member of Parliament in this case); you’ll be demeaned, dismissed, and belittled. This act of disgracing a Parliamentarian on public platform shows just how deeply-rooted sexism is in our society.

Yes this is what I believe as a woman in India, I can call my own – being attacked by sexual innuendos something I’m entitled to by the virtue of my gender. And no I ain’t a feminist; this is how our social conditioning is. Leave alone Smriti Irani, now you understand the plight of millions of women out on streets, no?

It is no surprise that misogyny is a favourite Indian child as it starts in a family. A family system where a mother is often blamed if her child (after growing up) takes the role of ‘angry young man’ too seriously, a daughter is a kind of burden who is traded for dowry, and a wife is expected to treat her husband as pati parmeshwar while her husband treats her as a piece of property.

Now let’s see how effortlessly misogyny wears the veil to an extent of celebrity hood when it ventures out of the house into the streets i.e. in public domain. We witnessed mass protests in the wake of brutal gang-rape in Delhi in the last fortnight, but something in crowd was amiss. While they were demanding death penalty for the culprits, even the genuine of ‘protestors’ including women displayed misogyny at its best.

Holding placards in one hand, “Kya Manmohan ne choodiyan pehen rakhi hai?” they shouted the slogans and showed bangles to the cops. Is this how we endeavour to seek gender equality/justice in a country where the protestors naively shows their dissent without taking into account the origin of the mode of their reactions? 

Ask yourself how far this will take us when the protestors are not even making an effort to surpass the very patriarchal dialect that qualifies a woman as a weaker human being often being reduced to the level of an object of desire and mockery. It is this macho arrogance that we need to ridicule each time a woman however, influential or a commoner is demeaned and disgraced. For only then, we can say I am proud of my country.