Dear “Hindustan”,

The rape & murder of an eight year old child is a tragedy we must all condemn & demand justice for. That an eight year old is subjected to the brutality that the victim in Kathua faced is terrible and we must stand up against it. We must fight to ensure that justice is served.

But we must also realise that rape and sexual abuse are reality for many children 8 years old and even younger all over India. Yes, we have a problem. But not because the statistics say so, not because it happened in a temple, or for whatever other reason but that it happened at all! Even one rape is far too many!

And I would have stood with you if that was the crux of the message that you delivered. Unfortunately you choose to highlight the smaller of the problems. That it happened in a temple, that the perpetrator was Hindu and the victim Muslim. Communal disharmony is not unknown in India but to highlight just that and neglect the victim and the crime, because that is indeed what the debate has moved to, is a crime which you are all guilty of.

It’s disheartening, and perhaps a reflection of why this happens time and again, that your message has completely derailed the conversation. You say you are ashamed, of what? The crime or that it was done in a “devisthan”? You can scream as vociferously as you like that it’s the crime you condemn but your placard says otherwise.

The fact that the rape happened months ago and only got picked up now – after the revelation that the child was kept in the temple again exposes your agenda. If your fight against child sexual abuse were serious, you would’ve been there from the get go!

Yes, we need justice for the Kathua victim but by taking up just her cause you’ve let down millions of other children who are as deserving of justice. The fact that you found just cause to condemn child sexual abuse after only this incident exposes you for the fakes you are. Because children all over India face what the Kathua victim did and much worse. I won’t bring up Unnao or Assam or other incidents quoted in the media but the cases of sexual abuse of children in schools in Bangalore. If any of you reads the papers you will know there have been multiple cases in the past few years. Children of kindergarten age were abused. At school that they attend EVERYDAY! By the very people who are supposed to educate them!

Religious institutions have long been known as places of sexual abuse. The catholic clergy has been and is still guilty of widespread child abuse and yet you choose to highlight that it happened in a temple & paint all Hindus with that brush? Terror has no religion but Saffron terror and Hindu extremists exist! Rape has no religion but Hindus are guilty of raping Muslim children. See the agenda here? Whether they are mosques, churches or now temples, shouldn’t be the point of the debate but that it happened at all! And in highlighting that you have done injustice to the victim and to millions of other victims.

Let’s move on to the most famous of your clan. To all the Bollywood stars who held up the same placards. The power you wield over your fans is most politicians’ wet dream. But as Peter Parker’s uncle said, with great power comes great responsibility. Bollywood, however, has never been great with that. Responsibility and accountability are both something you run from. Case in point Salman Khan and the Blackbuck case. You believe you are above the law and in that way, no different from our politicians. You sit in your ivory towers and when the occasional glance below doesn’t sit well with you, you take to twitter to raise hue and cry.

While all of Hollywood stood up for the #MeToo movement, Bollywood was silent. And anyone who has seen a Bollywood movie knows how deep misogyny runs in the industry. How many of you stood up for Kangana Ranaut when there was controversy raging about her? One movie on sanitary napkins and you assume to speak for all of us! But let’s forgive all that. If you claim to be the social justice warriors that you are, why does that seem to be limited to twitter? With your resources and clout, you could make a real change. Instead you choose to sit on Karan Johar’s coffee couch and bad mouth each other just to make sure you stay in his good books.

So if you’re ashamed, you should be. Because Bollywood is partly responsible for the misogyny in our society. Songs like ‘Inkaar mein jo chupa hai wo ikraar ho’, the portrayal of sexual abuse and stalking as gestures of love and the violation of a women’s dignity through rape are just some of the nonsense you propagate. So get off your high horses and face reality. You are part of the problem!

Now let’s down to the real deal. Rape is rape, irrespective of the place of occurrence or the religious identity of the perpetrator and victim. It’s terrible and has no place in our society. Our children must be protected! Shame doesn’t do shit. Words don’t do shit. Candle light vigils are just that. The placards were probably just to draw attention to the fact that you are ‘aware’ and you moved on a second after you posted a picture on social media. I know many who certainly did!

If you are serious about changing this, then it’s time to take action – read up on POCSO. See how you can make the laws tighter to make sure no person will ever even dream of touching our children. If you live near a school or college, keep an eye out for vehicles or people who don’t have kids but tend to hang out during opening and closing times, these are the perverts who hang out around a 1-2km radius around schools/colleges and flash innocent kids on the way to school or college. Watch out for perverts on public transport who stand unnaturally close to children. Keep an eye on anyone children interact with and who make you uncomfortable. Take children seriously when they don’t want to be with someone!

We are a country of myriad problems. Our diversity is what both makes and breaks us. It is our duty as citizens that we don’t let the differences break us but find ways to bridge gaps and understanding beyond difference. By maligning or painting one community for a crime will not change/stop the crime. It will only add more problems to our already long laundry list. Realise there is an agenda when religion, caste, colour or race is involved in a narrative. Think beyond the headline and read between the story lines. See where the stories are coming from and how truthful reports are. Be someone who mends rather than someone who destroys. And here is what sets me and many like me apart from the likes of you:

I am India.

I am angry.

I will not let agenda get in the way of justice!

I will do everything I can to ensure this doesn’t happen again!


Someone who is serious about fighting child sexual abuse



Another day, another attack, another hashtag.

In my 27 short years and even shorter 25-20 that I’ve been aware of the world and been able to understand it, I can count on my fingers the number of times Kashmir has not been in the news for a terror attack. Bombs, guns, terrorists, people dying, newspaper article, Indian politicians making speeches against Pakistan and the next day silence. Rinse, repeat for the next time.

For the longest time, I thought of terror attacks as a norm. As something that happened everywhere in the world and something that you could do nothing about. It was a reality of life, I thought, just like diesease and death. And then 9/11 happened, there was outrage and uproar and the usual condemnation. But it wasn’t forgotten the next day. Suddenly there were plans to tackle terrorism, to bring justice to the victims and all these things that to my 10 year old self, were unheard of. I was puzzled but I moved on. Shelving it in the back of my mind, and concentrated on more important things like Harry Potter and Pokemon.

And then London happened and it was the same as 9/11. In the meantime, the attacks in Kashmir continued with all the motions of a daily routine. To my slightly older & more aware brain, there was something slightly off. Sure, the people killed in London on that one day is a lot more than those in Kashmir on a single day but if you took the sum total, surely the number of Kashmiris we’d lost to terrorism was much more than in London or New York?

With this gnawing at my brain, I moved on with my life. Then Mumbai happened. At this point I was more than a little aware of this thing we call international relations and diplomacy. The war on terror was on but that this war was on terror that killed white people was not lost on me. With this, the cynic in me was born.

Since then there has been Boston, Kenya, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, France, Turkey and a million other places. But the pattern was the same. Attack, death, outrage but international sympathy and action only if white people are involved. For someone born in the 20th century and grown up in the 21st, apartheid, race and class were a thing of the past. The colour of your skin was just that. Nothing more. How naive!!

Today everyone is Nice. But yesterday when Burhan Wani was killed, everyone spoke about extra judicial killings. Pakistan expressed shock and concern at how India was handling things in Kashmir. Pakistan! Pakistan that gives birth to terrorists with the sole intent of creating terror in India , Pakistan whose terror policies led to the massacre of a hundred of its own children. And the world just stood by and watched. No talk of fighting terror here. Kashmiris have been dying for ages, there’s nothing new about that.

So today, I’m not going to condemn the attacks because condemnation is not going to stop them from happening again. Today, I’m not going to pray for the victims because it is the same sadistic God who let those people die. Today, I am not Nice. What I am is outraged. I am disgusted. I am appalled. I am frustrated. I am helpless….. I am human. I am hurt.  I am sad. I am scared. I am terrified.

I am certain this will happen again. My feelings won’t change that. My prays won’t. Because as long as terror is identified with as good or bad, as long as dealt with based on the colour of the skin of the victims, innocent people will continue to die. Kashmir is perhaps the saddest example of that. But it won’t be long before the entire world is.

2014 Independence day address 101

I’m a big advocate of celebrating national holidays. One of the motivating factors, of course, is that it is a holiday, but despite having moved to a country where it is just another day, national holidays are still something I really look forward too. I love seeing the tri-colour everywhere, the parades, flag hoisting and of course, the customary patriotic movie on TV. I think I’ve watched Border more than a dozen times but I will still sit down to watch it and sing along loudly to all the songs this friday (My poor flatmates). One of my absolute favourite things to do is watch the independence day parade and listen to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. It fills me with a deep sense of pride and belonging. the national anthem at the end just gives me goosebumps! For a few years now the Prime Ministers speech has put a dapper on my Independence day spirits but going by Mr. Modi’s pre-election speeches, my expectations of the address this year are at an all time high. No pressure Mr. Modi! Just to give him an edge, here are some points that I’d like to see him address and some I would prefer avoided. You’re welcome!

1. Our economy has been the talked to death for some years now what with the fall in the rupee value(From Rs.63 to one Euro when I left in October 2011 to Rs.80 now! Think of poor students like me on an education loan!), the price rise, inflation, etc. since the budget was just announced, outlining your plans for the next five years will give a much-needed rest to all the speculation. Please, none of the vague the rupee value will go up and the prices will come down. We know that. What we want to know is how will that happen? What are you planning on doing to stabilise and improve the economy? Also, please don’t bring up the fact that the state of the economy is due to the previous government. We know that and it is because we know this that you are where you are today (Just reminding). Let’s rise above petty politics for the day.

2. The recent spotlight on the crimes against women have earned us the nickname rape country. We know you would prefer not commenting on every single crime but it is a matter of national importance that half of the population feels unsafe in their own country. We’d like to feel like full-fledged citizens of the country with rights rather than third class citizens going by the treatment meted out to us. The need of the hour is to stress on the safety and rights of women and children. Shed light on measures to be undertaken to make the country safer for women and children.

3. The  last few days have seen repeated violations of the ceasefire from across the border. You have been very vocal about the importance od protecting our country and reprimanding our neighbours for breach of previous agreements. Implications of repeated infractions need to be stressed upon. A limit has to be set and adhered to. We are all for friendly relations with our neighbours but we will not tolerate any breach of our trust and any harm to our country and its citizens. Long have we waited and watched and our silence has been construed to be our weakness. Stringent measures need to be announced and adhered to or this game of cat and mouse will escalate.

4. There has been a spike in communal violence across the country over the last couple of months. India is a secular country and people of different faiths and beliefs have long-lived here in harmony. People still do live in harmony. It is in recent years that communal differences has reared its ugly head. What was earlier used by foreigners to divide us is now being used by some of our own countrymen to their benefit. It is mainly a few anti-national elements who provoke tensions in the otherwise peaceful and harmonious people. India has seen the arrival and birth of different cultures in her long history and she has imbibed in her these different cultures and evolved. Were she to turn hostile, we can be sure she would not exist as she does today. It is our tolerance and evolution that makes us who we are. Serious consequences for anyone who tries to disrupt the peace and harmony of our country needs to be announced.

5. Nationbuilding is not just the job of a government but of a country as a whole. Your initiative to involve people in the administration through is an inspired idea. People want to be involved in the development and progress of the country and this is the first step in that directions. Giving importance to this topic and speaking of your plans to make governance and administration more inclusive would be a great boost to people’s confidence and raise their faith in the government.

There are, of course Mr. Prime Minister, many other issues, however, considering today’s climate, these topics need to be dealt with immediately. What better forum than the Independence day address? Show the path that you intend to take and place your faith in the people. Your of all must know and appreciate what it means to have the favour of the people. You have also just witnessed what happens when you fall out of their favour. You seem to have recognised that the spirit of India is not broken but it stands stronger than ever. This spirit when harnessed the right way can reap rich rewards. The people have chosen you to guide this spirit. It is not a right but a privilege granted to you. The independence day address is a platform for you to acknowledge this privilege and show how you plan to live up to it. We wait with great expectations. Good luck!

All play and no work makes Jack an Indian MLA/MP

Ever since the new government took charge, they’ve been stressing on efficiency, punctuality and decorum. So much so that a workshop was conducted for first time MPs. There have been at least two headlines about ministers visiting their respective departments and taking to task late comers and insisting on cleanliness in the workplace. It seems like the new government wants to bring about a change in the attitude that we Indians have towards our work but anyone who has ever seen a parliamentary session will call these people hypocrites.

Watch any house session and you will realise what a farce our so-called democracy is. You will find people sleeping, nodding off, watching porn, shouting and making a ruckus. There is rarely an issue that the majority agrees on. Every issue irks the sentiment or interest of some section of our society, according to at least one minister who will berate the person who brought up the issue. They will yell and scream, all while another person is speaking and trying to make their point. Eventually storming the well saying that the government is biased and does not think of XYZ section of society. The ensuing chaos will prompt the speaker to raise their voice and request for silence and decorum. These feeble remonstrations will of course go unheard by the ministers who believe this is their chance at a dharna and continue to shout eventually leading to an adjournment for 10minutes. The break just allows these unruly people to organise better and attack with renewed force leading to an adjournment for the rest of the day. What an amazing use of the people’s tax money. Bravo!

Ministers are elected representatives of the people. They are paid with tax payer money to voice the tax payer’s grievance and solve their issues. Moreover, every single house session also involves a high expenditure which again comes from the public pocket. It’s bad enough that our grievances are never addressed, add to that the fact that even the sessions end up being adjourned and hence no work is done. The problem is that our ministers enjoy a little too much freedom. They are paid whether or not they attend a house session, whether or not they participate in a discussion, whether or not they raise an issue concerning their constituency, whether or not they are awake, whether or not they disrupt a proceeding. You get the picture. From the moment they are elected, its smooth sailing until the next election because they are not answerable to anyone. They face no consequences whatsoever. More often than not, the same person will get reelected the next time round. Zero accountability and consequences and here in lies the problem.

Lets be real, if anyone of us did any of this at school/college/work we’d be expelled or fired. We wouldn’t even dream of attempting something like this for fear of losing our grades/admission/pay. Because we would have to face the consequences of our actions. Why is it then that MPs and MLAs, whose job it is to ensure the smooth running of the country and state, something so much bigger and difficult, face no consequences?

We talk about a change in the country, about progress, but nothing can happen if we don’t eradicate the root cause of our failure. If we really expect a change then we need to have rules and set standards for our MPs and MLAs to abide by. Codes of conduct and penalties for any breach. Let them learn how to earn their pay. It is rather unfair that while the rest of the population breaks their backs to earn their money and adhere to rules these people behave like they are above it all. It is only fair that as our representative, they are held to the same yardstick as us.

Start with a basic set of rules:

1. Fixed number of holidays/leaves

We all get only some sick, casual and permission leave. Let the same be true for them. Categorically specific the number of days available for each leave and the rules attached to availing them. I’d like to see a doctor’s note for that sick leave.

2..  Minimum 80% attendance in parliament

If you miss a day of parliament and you are not in your constituency attending to some important work and none of your leaves hold good, you can forfeit a day’s salary. If your attendance is less than 80% you lose your salary for all the days you were absent.

3. Raise at least one issue of relevance to your constitution or speak in a discussion during your tenure

The people elected you to have their voice heard. Go out there and be their voice. Do it in a dignified manner. Failure to talk or get involved in the house will lead to automatic disqualification from contesting the next election. You can try the year after that. How is that for a performance review?

4. Violating decorum/bringing a halt to the proceedings

Speaking out of turn or shouting when someone else has the floor will result in a warning. Exceeding 3 warnings will lead to suspension and fine. Storming the well and causing adjournment will mean immediate suspension and a hefty fine. More than 3 suspensions and automatic disqualification from the next election. That is your bonus.

If the government does indeed intend to bring about a change in the country, they should start with themselves. First start with all the ministers and set an example for the rest of the country. Just increasing the efficiency of people and different ministries is not enough. The Parliament needs to be efficient too. Are you listening Mr. Naidu?

PS: Some of these rules may seem harsh but anyone who goes to school or work knows that these are rules will comply to in our work/study places. This is just a draft of course and any revisions and suggestions are welcome.

PPS: I know Lok Sabha efficiency has gone up 103% this term. That just means that they shouted and screamed and did nothing more often in the past.

Aam Aadmi Party pooper

Rarely has a political party been so closely followed as the Aam Aadmi Party is today. In fact, rarely has a person become so large as to overshadow and tower over everything else that is around him as has Mr. Kejriwal. We’ve all watched AAP start from just one man to become what it is today. It started as an idea, nay, a desire. A desire to do something good to work for the country and it’s people and deliver them their hope that they’ve continued to cherish through the worst of time. That desire is something I recognise, understand and respect. That desire in someone compels me to respect them just because they have that desire which so few of us do. We all have the hope of something good happening to the country but the desire to make it happen is rather rare and that’s exactly why it deserves respect. Because with that desire is intertwined dedication and a love for the country, the idea that the happiness of 1.3 billion people is important and each voice in that 1.3 billion counts. That desire is not something that people of a faint heart or weak mind can possess because it requires a conviction as no other. It requires the understanding that the task before you is daunting and not something you can  accomplish alone. It requires you to acknowledge that you are tiny, a tiny tiny speck when compared to the nation of India and that is what truly matters.

When Mr. Kerjiwal and his party first came to the fore, they were underdogs. And as underdogs often are they were dismissed, but they also had a strong following, as the underdog always does. They created quite a stir on the Indian political scene with their unconventional ways. And somehow, the underdog won. You’re used to it in the movies and stories but you’ve hardly ever seen it happen in reality and there it was, history being created as the AAP formed the government in Delhi. It was the fairytale ending everyone had imagined (okay, maybe not the BJP and the Congress).

Yet, it wasn’t. It was just the beginning. The beginning of what was going to be a nightmare of epic proportions. From the very beginning Mr. Kejriwal was in a hurry and it seemed like he wanted to change everything that had been in place since the birth of India as we know it. He seemed to be on a roll giving subsidies, carrying out raids, lodging FIRs, setting up commissions, holding a dharna, tabling bills,. There was no day that the AAP didn’t make the headlines. Good or bad it didn’t matter, they were there and they had the publicity. But suddenly the media which played a big part in making them famous had turned against them. Or so they said. Everyone seemed to have nothing but criticism. The beloved underdog was turning into a villain.

While the AAP and Mr. Kejriwal need to be applauded for their ideals and goals, they need a reality check when it comes to their actions. For a party which is made of such educated people, they seemed to constantly be in the news for breaking some rule or the other. I understand the need to make something happen and the urgency of it but I also understand that there is a system in place and rules which needs to be followed. We have seen scores of politicians, uneducated, illiterate and unethical, behave in the most undignified ways. And it is something that we have come to expect of them. But the AAP, we all had higher standards for them. We expected better than dharnas and raids and now resigning because they don’t get what they need.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t an AAP supporter but I wasn’t a critic either. I was very intrigued by the party as most of us were and very frankly wanted them to do well when they came into power. It’s important to try your best to put your candidate into the seat but once the elections are done you just hope and pray that the guy in the seat does his job well, whether he’s the guy you voted for or not doesn’t matter. For us to lead a good life, a better life, we need to pray for whoever it is who sits in that chair. and that’s how it is for the AAP too. They’re in the seat so you want them to do well.

I wasn’t quick to write off the AAP as the others were. Even through the dharna and the raid I kept my silence. They have 5 years I thought, we’ve given the others close to 70 years so I think we can give these guys at least 5. So I was silent and I still hoped. But today, I can’t restrain myself. I feel the need to critise the AAP. And do it belligerently. Because of all the parties and all the people out there, AAP really gave us hope, the hope that something was different and something would change. They took that hope and the faith the people had it in them and became arrogant. Bullies who thought that they can do anything they please, since against all expectations they were where they were. I understand a lot of people still support them and feel sad for them. They see them as the nice guys, the underdogs, who tried everything but the others wouldn’t let them. To you I sincerely say, please open your eyes. The AAP and Mr. Kejriwal are not the martyrs they make themselves out to be.

The AAP made a lot of promises before coming into power, just like the other parties do, but they set themselves deadlines, unlike the other parties. And while it is a sign of conviction, looking a little deeper into how the deadlines were set will show you how little thought went into it. When you propose a change and say you can deliver it, you need to be prepared to deliver it, we’re not talking about an assignment deadline but something to do with running an entire city. It requires thinking, planning and deliberation. It requires understanding the past and having thinking about the future. And if you can’t do either, you’re not fit to govern!

The AAP were very unconventional. Saying no to the official bungalows, coming to work using public transport, just like the aam aadmi. But they continued to be unconventional in their working too – holding dharnas, conducting raids, tabling bills without permission,…. You are in a seat of power, you have some control to do a lot of things, then why still stick to these obstructive ways of functioning. There is a system in place, learning about it and how to navigate it would save you time, money and effort when you have to accomplish your goals, instead it is wasted on fighting the system. What good came of any of it? What did they do that couldn’t be done by the rest of us? Anyone can organise a dharna, lodge an FIR, you don’t have to be a CM for it. The whole point of being in the government  was to make sure the case is investigated, instead they resigned. How was the power they were given ever used?

The AAP was always in the media glare. Everywhere they went, they took the media with them. It was like a reality television show watching the AAP politicians behave like crusaders. And yet when they were critised they immediately turned on the media accusing them of receiving renumeration from other parties to show them in bad light. What is the requirement to have the media everywhere you go? Do you need to boast and publicise every single you do? The saying, when you do charity, let the left hand not know what the right does comes to mind.

One thing is clear from AAP’s governance of Delhi, they are bullies. They had the power and instead of using it constructively and to do some good as promised they choose to show their power. They were disruptive and destructive. They were sensational in every way right up to the resignation speech from the window. There are Bollywood movies less dramatic than the AAP. India doesn’t need drama, we have more than enough of it. There’s Bollywood for one and the evergreen pepper spraying wielding MPs when we get bored of conventional drama. We don’t need more people who will clog our televisions.

People say that Mr. Kejriwal brought up the most controversial of topics because he knew both the Congress and BJP would disagree and withdraw support causing the government to fall and in light of his unending battle against the system the AAP would get a majority in the re-election. This is of course a conspiracy theory but that doesn’t mean it might not be true. India’s political scenario is more dangerous to navigate than a mine field, you never know what could blow up in your face. But assuming this is indeed true, there’s nothing more shameful for the now ex-Delhi CM. His city disrupting antics were bad enough but to throw so much tax payer money down the drain, think about the subsidies given out and the impending re-election costs with no economic plan in place,  shows that Mr. Kejriwal is no better than the rest of the lot. AAP didn’t really have a majority to do everything they wanted to do but they had enough to do SOMETHING. That something would have been enough to get re-elected in the face of what the other parties have done and gotten re-elected into power. That he put his party ideas and ideals above the good of the people is reason enough to criticise him. And even more so considering his unending speech about how he is just an aam aadmi and he is here to serve India.

You may wonder why I have so much ire for such a young party and one which has hardly done anything compared to the rest of the lot. To this I say, of course, I have contempt for the others. I have a lot more than contempt for the things they’ve done and continue to do and it’s not something that would fit in just one blog post. The reason I’m critising the AAP today is because they claimed to be different, they claimed to be the hope of the people. And for once, just once, I wanted it to be true. I really wanted them to do well and show the others that you can govern the country and do good for the people. The other parties have  played with a lot of things – our money, education, resources, future,… but they never claimed our hope. If you look at how the country is today, an outsider may wonder how we still work with the problems we have. We work because we have hope, a hope for change and a better tomorrow. As long as we have this hope, there’s nothing that anyone or anything can do to stop us from moving ahead. But today AAP played with that hope and that is something I cannot and will not tolerate.

Happy 66th Independence Day!!

Being away from home on Independence day makes a person do weird things. I was all pumped up to watch the Prime Minister’s address at 3:00 am in the morning when I remembered last year and decided to celebrate Independence Day a little differently this year. Thank you Facebook and all my friends who search the web for videos relevant to the day! If it weren’t for you’ll I wouldn’t have found the video that made this year’s Independence Day the most inspiring so far. (Check the video attached. If it doesn’t move or inspire you, you don’t even have the emotional range of a teaspoon!)

I’m not one of those people who suddenly realises the greatness of their motherland on moving to another country. I’ve always loved India and no country could come close to commanding the affection that I have for Mera Bharath Mahan! One thing I do understand now is the reason for the state of our country.

All day today, I’ve read posts about how our country, despite it’s 66 years of freedom, is in strife. About how we’re at war both outside and within our borders, the corruption that is plaguing our government, the loss of law and order, the lack of progress, and the list goes on and on. I’ve also had my rants where I’ve complained above all the above and added a few concerns of my own. But why is that this is all we ever do? Complain?

Roads are not proper – what’s the PWD doing? Eve-teasing – where’s the law and order? Another new government scam – all politicians are thugs! Never do we look for a solution, only look for the next scapegoat. If it’s not within the four walls of my compound then it’s the problem of the government. Well, if it’s the government you want to blame then save your breath and blame yourself first. It’s you who chose the government didn’t you? Or wait a minute, did you? Either way you’re to blame – either for choosing someone incompetent or for letting someone incompetent be chosen.

If you really paused to take a look around, you’ll realise, how many of the things you complain about you can fix by yourself. Take a moment and question yourself – did you pay the tax this year? if you did, were you completely truthful when you filled your taxes? have you ever slowed down for a yellow light? stopped people who were bothering a girl? given your seat to a senior citizen on the bus? Most of these questions will be answered with a no. Why is that? Why are we like this?

We’ve become a timid people. Gone is the fire that raged in the heart of every Indian to overthrow the yoke that was holding them enslaved. Gone is the passion that ignited the minds and souls of the young and old alike, to rise in rebellion against a foreign empire. The fire is now replaced by submission or greed. We either sell ourselves to the highest bidder (yes I’m pointing at you, who said that once you became someone you’d do something but got side tracked by your 5 digit salary, swanky apartment and expensive car) or submit ourselves to the daily grind (and now I’m talking to you, mindless drones, who are satisfied as long as your salary covers your food, gadgets and liquor)

What happened to the land, “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”? We are confined to posting about the greatness of the yesteryear India and cribbing about today’s India. We forget that no nation is perfect. It is up to us, the citizens, to make it perfect. Yes we have our flaws, but which country doesn’t? I’m not being an idealist. Far from it! But if we for a moment reflect on the words of our national anthem as we sing it today, or about the significance of each colour of our Tricolour as it flies high and proud, how can you not feel moved and angered by the condition we’ve confined ourselves to?

We are a free people! But we continue to confine ourselves to the fetters of laziness and indifference while shirking our responsibilities and looking for people to blame for our problems. It is time to break those bonds that chain us to the past and make our own future! Take a stand today and make a difference. Let it be however small a step, but a step it is. Help an old lady cross the road, give your seat to that pregnant lady you see standing, educate a child, the possibilities are endless and the progress immeasurable. We are a land of a billion people. If each of us we to take the tiniest of steps each, imagine the step it is for India. As Neil Armstrong once said, “One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.”

Today, I take an oath. I make this promise to my country and myself, that within the next 5 years I WILL make a difference. I am here today because my country has afforded me the right to education and an equality of status. Two rights which seem so common place today but which are still a dream to so many. I will be involved in the uplifting of the women and children of our country. It may just be one woman or child at the end of 5 years but I will have guaranteed my country of at least 1 future. After all, actions are supposed to speak louder than words.

The Independence Day Address

A comparison of Pt. Nehru’s to Mr. Singh’s address to the nation on the Independence Day in the year 1947 and 2011 respectively, is a clear reflection of the deterioration in the standard of a country who’s history is long, rich and colored with the hues of celebration and devastation. By stating this I don’t mean to take a shot at Mr. Singh’s character. I believe he is a very learned and scholarly man. Nor do I do I intend to compare him to Pt. Nehru because that wouldn’t help anyone’s cause. What I mean is Mr. Singh’s lack of presence. His ability, or rather inability, to draw attention and  command respect, are the least of which one would expect from a man who represents a Nation as large as ours. His timidness and lack of confidence in the words he utters only add to the already ailing image of the Congress and our great country.

The Prime Minister’s address to the Nation on the Independence Day is probably the most significant speech of their entire career, nay their life! It is one that could make you go down in history! But Mr. Singh chose to keep his make over a hundred school children sit in the rain while he droned for half an hour about how “his government” in the past has accomplished so and so tasks and about the bills that “his government” will bring out in the future for the betterment of the people. What makes it worse is that it actually sounded like a press statement of a government after being struck by a calamity. If you will, a means of letting out his frustrations of FINALLY being able to talk after being tight-lipped while the media kept throwing questions at him. I’m sorry Mr. Prime Minister, but that was a justification of “your government’s” work, not an Independence Day address.

I’ve always envisioned the address to be THE ONE that can move and inspire the people who hear it. Something that is repeated for years to come! One that applauds the Nation and her people for the accomplishments. One that mourns the losses suffered. But also one that enables the people to envision a future that is bright. One which people aspire to live up to or endeavor to achieve. One that instills and emboldens the confidence of the people in the person that they chose to lead them. One that is a celebration of the Nation and all that she represents. One that is the cause of envy for every Prime Minister gone by and something to outshine for future aspirants of the coveted position. I believe it is the best platform and opportunity for one to remind the people of who they are and where they belong while instilling in them pride and love for their country.

In this context, for anyone who takes pride in being an Indian, it is indeed a shame to see that Mr. Singh is how we represent ourselves to the world. This is how the World sees us, as a timid Nation with nothing but defense and justification for everything that’s thrown our way. It makes you think, if the government truly is “Of the people and by the people” then isn’t this WHO we are?

After 61 years of independence are we truly free?

It isn’t very liberating, the thought that even after 61 years of independence we still live in a society of taboos and discrimination, hunger and disease, injustice and fear. why does August 15th lack the pomp and show of the Republic day? Perhaps because it is just the day we got political freedom, the task of winning freedom for the people is yet incomplete.
As the clock struck twelve to mark the fifteenth of August 1947 Jawaharlal Nehru reminded us that “before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labour and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow”. Now after enduring so much struggle we are represented by incompetent and corrupt leaders, who are criminal in both mind and thought. They enter politics to augment their interests and, not to forget, their bank accounts. They are under-qualified for the posts they hold and abuse their positions by favouring bribery, corruption and nepotism all the while sacrificing the growth of the country.
Discrimination and tyranny based on caste, creed, religion and gender are the chains which bind us from truly being free. Burning brides and dowry, an institution that has survived roach-like for generations, has not yet been vetoed from comman lives. And what could be more melo-dramatic than the time-worn image of a girl child asked to forgo dinner for the sake of her brother, who is seen as the family investment. To be fair, women have a right to ownership of property. But just the fact that we can’t get them a third of the parliamentary seats is a disgrace.
Education and healthcare are among the other aspects that are plaguing our complete independence. That more than 40% of the children do not go to school only goes to prove the failure of the government. The high infant mortality rates and inadequate hospitals and medical staff are evidence to our poor healthcare system.
Violence, curfews and riots act as oil to burn our country’s internal peace and security. Caste, creed,regionalism and religion have become like walls dividing us from within. A country at 61 may be as confused as an adolescent. More so now because of the dizzying changes around us and within us.
Our soi-disant leaders have conflicting ideas which only hainder the growth and progress of the country. So if we do not inculcate in us, the values, care, concern and discipline, India, 61 years later will still be the India today.