My fond farewell to Delhi last month was filled with a mixture of emotions. This city that served the capital of several empires, saw the inception of Mughal kingdoms, where independence was won and where heroes tread, rendered to me splendid lessons of life that will stand tall and distinct for an indefinite period. Reminiscing now, I should confess…I owe so much to this city for the many blessings I was bestowed with.
Still remember the year I stepped here for the first time, a bumbling minion feel with no ray of light whatsoever. I cross my heart, I was not prepared to an atmosphere as harsh as this (fortunately things are changing now). The rudeness of people, the severely harsh summers and winters, the shockingly high red tape, the costly lifestyle, the pressure of work, and above all the scams and lies people from rickshaw drivers to the retail stores run. Ask me how I crossed over this and others, and my heart is filled with great amount of thankfulness and love to all the treasured, gem-hearted people who knew me…the people whose companionship, love and little caring efforts made my mountain of pain and grief look trivial and minute. You are the people who made me value and love life’s smallest things. More importantly those that helped me understand the divine more. Truly, the words grace and providence never appeared more closer to my heart.
They say there is no coming to consciousness without pain. Hardships and difficult situations come very rarely and they for me were blessings that came disguised. Like God’s gift to mankind in Bethlehem in an unimaginable barn. Some moments in life are life changing that no happy times can ever teach. For me Delhi was one such. It crushed me to the last to only breathe newly. It was a journey that saw the proud, pharisaical Goliath hit with a small slingshot stone…it led me to re-question my arrogant opinions, faith, ideas and everything I considered paramount.
Guess am digressing again . The focus of the post today believe me is YOU…no kidding. Sophocles was right when he said: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love”. I vividly remember the first sentence my catechist teacher uttered in school (btw its funny I dont remember anything of what she said besides this..she was cute though). What?? It was shockingly this simple. Who is God? The answer you guessed. We often are so used to this concept of loving God and God loving us. How often we forget we are simply chanting the divine words and living in a comfort we have built without demonstrating it. Friends, for me…I saw God’s love theoretically and practically through YOU. During the hardships, poor health, insufficient finances, times when I stood lone at the crossroads (literally too)…there was the little ray of light…what?? Those big, tall angels coming?? For me, they were none other than YOU. More shocking of all to me is that many of you lovely angels came from different faiths and cultures. You wore no white shirts and sang no ‘amazing grace’..but sincerely demonstrated to me the most powerful teaching ever and that His image is found in all mankind…sadly though many simply need to be made aware.
I have had the best of all experiences…whether professionally, physically or spiritually. My writing days as a young journo took me to places unthinkable, whether it was to pen the communal riots, tribal/dalit issues or multi-faith gatherings. I consider it truly a privilege to have learnt and worked with many stalwarts. Working with the NGOs gave me treasurable insights to child poverty, disease, sexual trafficking, among others. Indeed it has made me more thankful of the small things I enjoy in life. And for the icing on the cake, who would believe I went for a meeting with the PM on a rusted TVS Victor that had a mind of its own. Thankfully it dint stop half way. Nonetheless, these are insignificant to the love and compassion that I have received from all those who knew me. I am, undoubtedly, very selfish…in return for all your wonderful gifts I have nothing but simple prayers seeking your wellness. No kidding, it is easy to fake and lie to the ‘super-holy’, ‘superficially-holy’ and all those in between. You just need to use the big words – God loves you, have faith, eternal life, among others. But to YOU all, I have sincere wishes and prayers with true and open heart.
I am sure gonna miss the journey. Thanks to all those who accompanied me so far. Special mention of CK. And yea, my lovely maid who i call aunty. She pleaded I call her. She was my only family…she however rejected my offer of moving down . Did I forget the chai walla? He would put the extra adrak and milk for me…he was my stress buster…nobody understood my tea craze better than him. He taught me how important a person as small as him can be. And all those who treated me with food even before the gurgling, rumbling noises (the foodie in me wants to mention the names…but it could get pretty long). And also all those who would simply give a ring to utter softly – how are you?
Alrighty, I could continue beating around the bush. All I want to say is Thank You. And Sam seriously, you need all these philosophical stuffs?? Allow me to conclude with this lovely line of American mathematician John Nash at the Nobel prize acceptance speech (as shown in the Beautiful Mind). The genius Nash, who was paranoid and suffered with Schizophrenia his entire life, walks up to the stage with his wife looking at him and states: “What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you (his wife).”
Have a blessed life you all. And yea, if around my new town, you know whom to ring. Whatever and wherever am stuck, I still promise to be the good Samaritan friend YOU were for me.
We live by this popular etho ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ – Guest is God. India has always been well-liked for its tolerance and hospitality. Whether it has been the persecution fleeing Parsis from Iran or the traders that came from far east of the world, they had the warmest welcome. Our history has wonderful records of the same.
Of course, our colonialists also came as guests. But who really began colonialism in India? Was it the British? Well that is only partially true. Colonialism began in India with the coming of Portuguese. And yes, they came in style. Turning the pages of our history, you would only be surprised how much spice mattered to the world. Yes, wars were fought for the very garam masala, turmeric and everything we so cheaply buy.
It was Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama who became the first European to reach India via the Atlantic Ocean (in 1498). About 11 months after taking the voyage with four ships and 171 men, Gama arrived in Calicut, Kerala.
The Portugese had already sent spies to scout details of the spice markets and they for sure knew India is where they want to go. Yep, it was our spices they eyed. Mostly pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.
Vasco de Gama knew he hit a jackpot. As expected, the Portuguese were well received by the Hindu ruler. “Gama was greeted by an honor guard of two hundred Indians holding muskets and unsheathed swords. They lifted him onto a palanquin and set off, with trumpets playing and muskets firing into the air. The Portuguese were impressed by this extravagant welcome. “They treated us more respectfully than kings are treated in Europe,” one wrote.”
What did Gama offer to the King as present? The most humiliating – “twelve pieces of striped cloth, four scarlet hoods, six hats, four strings of coral, six basins for washing the hands, two casks of oil, and two of honey.” Of course, athithi devo bhava was then strongly practiced…but such athithis were rare when compared with the Arab traders whose gifts consisted of heavy gold.
The greed for more spice, rubies and gold led the Portuguese to return to India, this time with warships and large vessels. With Gama opening the spice trade route to India, others followed suit. After the Portuguese, the Dutch colonialists came to India, fought with the Portuguese and established their rule. And then came the French and English. While much of the country came under their control, the English found it extremely difficult to run the country. They came up with an idea. A brilliant idea that worked so well and as a result Pakistan came into existence. Divide & Rule.
We celebrate our independence today. The only difference is. While once we had alien masters, today we have masters of our own colour. With more greed and deception than ever before, we still seem far from being independent.
Give close attention to the speech of our Prime Minister today. “Give no room for narrow and sectarian ideologies in a modern, progressive and secular country. Such ideologies divide out society and weaken our democracy. We should prevent them from growing. We need to strengthen those traditions of our country which teach us to promote tolerance and respect for thought processes different from ours.”
The fear is real. The divide and rule still works. After all this is a country with a billion people. People whose languages are different, religions varied and cultures diverse. This is a land of contradictions. Happy Independence Day! So do I feel am independent? Of course, it’s a holiday. The roads are empty. Thank God, I feel the impact of our independence…at least for a day!
It is ironic that today (Aug. 18) we celebrate the birth of William Carey. The name might be obscured and might appear to have no value before India’s freedom icons such as Gandhi. But for once permit me to mention this name, for his vast contributions to our society, in different forms.
You would hear people so reprehensibly talk of having dozed on ‘Carey Couch’ that is housed at the Regent’s Park College in University of Oxford. The couch stories are funny (I dont get the humour at these jokes btw), but at times I wished they knew the history it bears. That couch, where William Carey, the cobbler-turned-missionary, breathed his last in Calcutta, has a story of pain, sorrow and endurance.
Born in Northamptonshire, England, Carey, rightly deserves the title ‘Father of Modern Mission’. So was he the Crown’s proselytiser as many here allege? Was he after converts and was heavily funded for same? You would be surprised how the East India Company and the British Crown distanced from him and his works here in India. He had none of their backing. It was the King of Denmark that even gave him a permit passport.
Right, you would have heard the stories of heavily funded missionaries come to this country and look for converts, so have I. They talk of numbers as easy as getting to the supermarket and weighing the potatoes eh? Are ‘souls’ of just numerical value? Let us allow the theologians to bisect and dissect that aspect. But, Carey, a pure maven whose methodologies are now studied, lived no life of luxury or comfort. His forty years in India was the most painful a foreign man could have lived.
It was pure passion to see a difference that brought Carey to India. Not being able to feed his family, he left to the dangerous Bengal jungles where he struggled to make ends meet. He later worked at a indigo factory for a salary of £240 per year. Poverty, the heat and chronic dysentery claimed the life of his five year old son Peter whom he buried there. The months that followed saw his dear wife Dorothy go insane. She apparently suffered for 12 years and died of fever in 1807. Believe or not, Carey died so poor that his books had to be sold to provide £187 for one of his sons. And of all the cities in India, it was Calcutta they chose. The city that I swore I will never return after my first eleven months.
Carey’s forty years in India were priceless. He had translated the “Ramayana” into three volumes. He fought against the inhumane Sati system (burning of widows with the bodies of their dead husbands). On December 4, 1829, the edict banning same was signed by Lord William Bentinck and given to Carey to translate into Bengali. He later wrote grammars and dictionaries of Bengali, Mahratta, Sanskrit and other languages. Crusaded against child marriage. Founded Serampore College, India’s first to have status of a university. He also introduced paper making to India. It was he who established the first Indian language newspaper and first periodical magazine. Furthermore, he founded the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India. As for the church, he translated and printed the Bible into forty languages.
This man deserves more respect and attention than many of the self-proclaimed celebrity preachers we have out there. The man’s humility was such that on his deathbed he uttered to a missionary friend, “Dr. Duff! You have been speaking about Dr. Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey — speak about Dr. Carey’s God.” If you ask me how successful was Carey in amassing converts, I would say a miserable failure. He and his entire team never had one for first seven years. But his achievements went beyond that. Ask a missiologist on strategies that work in India, and you will be surprised how negative it can get.
If Christians believe in simply amassing numbers and more importantly exercising same through money, it will yield a miscalculated and unsatisfactory outcome. Such have already caused a dent to the good name of Christ. Fundamentalism will do more bad than good in this society that is more sensitive to faith, cultures and ethnic groups. Reality is none of the blueprints and methods tried in West would work here. In all its richness and diversity, India needs more than just soul-winning. I tell my folks often, aim at bringing a difference in person’s life, study their problems, give answers to their predicaments, relate with their life. The Indian context calls for Christian witnessing in different ways. If preaching is all you are good at, a bunch of people, yes, you get. But this is an ancient land where world religions originated. A land where civilizations were born and gone. A place where countless schools of religious thoughts came into existence even before our global map was formed. We have eloquent preachers, I can give you brilliant names. India does not need another religion, it has enough. We rather see the need for the message to reach out…and yes, the Truth is LIBERATING!
The times of Carey have long gone. But we stand at a critical juncture where more mature and sensitive leaders are needed. Not the extravagant, spotlight-loving, parochial bunch that sit at comfy rooms and make diagrams and statistics. We need the ones that walk the extra mile, give that extra coat, to forgive more than just seven times and are quick to hear and slow to speak. We need those that sow seeds of love, joy and peace. We need those that show genuine concern to clear up the darkness around. Gods you are looking for? India has enough. Christians you are looking for? The world has given us enough. Christ you are looking for? We have very few amongst us.
If love is not our life, we are nothing but “resounding gongs and clanging cymbals”. The famous Cape Town Commitment by worldwide evangelicals rightly stressed, “We confess that we easily claim to love the Bible without loving the life it teaches – the life of costly practical obedience to God through Christ. Yet nothing commends the gospel more eloquently than a transformed life, and nothing brings it into disrepute so much as personal inconsistency. There is no biblical mission without biblical living..“ Let the Church grow beyond just seeking numbers, let it aim for genuinely impacting people’s lives. While you think about it, am going to embark on a trip…a trip to the beautiful Serampore campus to simply glance at the mesmeric lines on Carey’s tombstone with deep silence. It simply reads – “A wretched, poor and helpless worm, on Thy kind arms I fall”.
The most searched phrase in Google last year was: What is love? Guess, finally it starts and ends with love, whether in the virtual or real world Even after living another century, you bet our technologically-innovative beings are going to still find it a puzzle. It is one subject that research of any kind will never have an end. Anyways, today happens to be the Valentine’s Day. The day when all those glueful, gleeful soul mates see red. Love is one powerful force that has no bounds, eh? If you fail to grasp it, you join the club of people, including the great kings and kingdoms, which have had the most brilliant beginnings and even most painful endings.
There could not have been a more beautiful gift bestowed from above than love. Imagine a life without it But there are so much of delusions and hocus-pocus things said on same that makes it seem a piece of cake. The version that contains plain sailing…effortless, undemanding and painless. I for one reason disregard the blind, hyper version of love. As the priest-turned-philosopher Mark Vernon rightly puts it: “love is made not found. Love is made in the gritty ups and downs of being with someone who is as flawed as you.” There is no ready-made package for you. The same also goes with happiness. You got to make it. The distorted version talks of a love-in-the-air, photo-copy of you born in some corner…waiting to meet you!! (lucky you, if you already did..find out the other six now ) How effortlessly we tend to celebrate love and romance with poetic lines, taking lessons from bigger-than-life personas, documentaries and what not. If you are a character of some fairy tale, full of filmy love and imaginations, guess would take longer to see your foot grounded. The package of love does include strain, pain, joy, tenderness, patience, humor and everything. Each complements the other.
Whether being the most caring and sensitive person, being present in the ups-and-downs, buying gifts, giving surprises, doing all those countless things to make your love sparkle. It has so many forms. Count all the things you could do when alive, and you will end up with gargantuan number of options. The greatest of them all? Going to the extent of death…umm I can recollect of only one person who did it in the most awe-inspiring fashion. Of course, we cant emulate love of this kind. If we could, what difference we would be to Him. But sure, there are other ways you can give your life (if you want to), without taking your life .
Whaaat? Another lecture? Relax, I would rather enjoy stitching sarcastic lines on the topic. For instance? Like the gentleman once said: “Once you have loved someone, you’d do anything in the world for them… except love them again”. Alrighty, you got to have some humor to take some humor, else it could end up gifting me foes than friends. But to all those who celebrate romance and love, here are some thoughts to chew on this V Day. Making some quotes from Vernon’s recent article published by the BBC. Much of it for me appears balanced and well-advised (unless you are love bitten). If it makes sense, make sense out of life. Love the way Vernon eggs on “standing in love” than just falling in the romantic myth.
“…..So why has romance become so distorting?
I suspect that the desire for a peak experience of love has eclipsed the fact that love is primarily about others. The romantic myth would have us fall in love with love, paradoxically not with another. This twisted love whispers that it does not much matter who you fall for, only that you fall in love.
There is a spiritual dimension to this romantic addiction too. The philosopher Simon May has proposed that while many have given up on God in the West, we still long for the unconditional love that God used to offer.
But godless, we seek instead unconditional love from our fellow humans. We make them gods, and of course they fail us. And then love turns to hate. It’s a desire that, because of the excess, destroys love. People kill the thing they love, lamented an observant Oscar Wilde.
The true art of loving is to navigate the shift from falling in love to standing in love, to borrow the psychologist Erich Fromm’s phrases.
Falling in love, the stuff of romance, is the intoxicating sense of possessing someone and/or being possessed. And it just can’t last, because possessiveness crushes liveliness.
The risk is that you then feel that love has died because, following the romantic myth, you measure love by its felt intensity.
Standing in love, though, is the capacity to be with someone and be free with someone. It too feels good, though for difference reasons. It can allow more subtle qualities to come to the fore, such as commitment and generosity, honesty and openness. It welcomes life.
Standing in love is, perhaps, a healing notion as we face the romantic onslaught of another Valentine’s Day.”
Alrighty, time to sleep. These days I cant get enough sleep, all I do is visit Facebook. You never realise the power of FB. I doze off half way. It has become a bogus-book. Apparently, people’s inherent qualities of mind and character are now measured by the number of friends he has on FB and the number of mind-blowing pages he likes. Anyways, time for me to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. Not yet decided on which side of the bed to sleep on! Adios ~
We need a paradigm shift in our way of thinking and celebrating the Republic Day. As the doneir planes and Jaguars flew over my office for the parade two days back, anyone would feel proud of the manoeuvres they made. The 8km stretch from Rajpath to Red Fort further showed what media calls “a kaleidoscopic view of the country’s cultural heritage and military prowess”.
And then you had the show of the MBT Arjun Tank, Armoured Ambulance Tracked Vehicle, BrahMos missiles, 214 mm Pinaka rockets and 15 Metre Sarvatra Bridging System. And the customary marching contingents, tableaus and what not. Well not to look down on them. These are sure to only safeguard the interests of the nation. Am just hating the pompous celebration and pride in such might when the country is really bleeding. I cant find a single column from our thinkers and leaders, questioning the sentiments of reality.
Our poor human rights record continue to put us at shame. The minorities need to be empowered. Dalits must be given full status and protection. Tribal land being usurped by corporate honchos and powerful industrialists must be stopped. Children are neglected without education. Rape cases have reached a record high. Sexual trafficking of women continues to thrive. Communal and targeted violence have reached alarming proportions. Lack of moral and intellectual fiber poses a very serious problem. The list could go on. As a year passes by, we are fooled by stats and surveys that show them in decline. Tell me if realities match..take a trip to the capital railway station, holiday at the districts of Bastar and Dantewada, walk through the districts of Dangs, Banswara or Jhabua. A city person you are? The increasing number of Coffee Days whose cappuccinos smile back at you and the skyscrappers and high-rise buildings in the middle of slums could be symptomatic of a larger problem.
Did you folks read the address of our President Pranab Mukherjee on the eve of the 64th Republic Day. Very impressive speech I should say.
“India has changed more in last six decades than in six previous centuries. This is neither accidental nor providential; history shifts its pace when touched by vision…
India did not win freedom from the British in order to deny freedom to Indians. The Constitution represented a second liberation, this time from the stranglehold of traditional inequity in gender, caste, community, along with other fetters that had chained us for too long.”
” This inspired a Cultural Evolution which put Indian society on the track to modernity: society changed in a gradual evolution, for violent revolution is not the Indian way. Change across the knotted weaves of the social fabric remains a work in progress, impelled by periodic reform in law and the momentum of popular will.”
“It is time for the nation to reset its moral compass. Nothing should be allowed to spur cynicism, as cynicism is blind to morality. We must look deep into our conscience and find out where we have faltered. The solutions to problems have to be found through discussion and conciliation of views. People must believe that governance is an instrument for good and for that, we must ensure good governance…
We are on the cusp of another generational change; the youth of India spread across villages and towns, are in the vanguard of change. The future belongs to them. They are today troubled by a range of existential doubts. Does the system offer due reward for merit? Have the powerful lost their Dharma in pursuit of greed? Has corruption overtaken morality in public life? Does our legislature reflect emerging India or does it need radical reforms? These doubts have to be set at rest. Elected representatives must win back the confidence of the people. The anxiety and restlessness of youth has to be channelized towards change with speed, dignity and order.”
Impressive uh? In any case, Republic Day on Jan. 26 is not the day we won independence. It is the day we celebrate our Constitution, the largest written in the world.
Our Constitution is said to be the world’s best. Not that we got it entirely through the efforts of Dr Ambedkar and his team. Much of the concepts were borrowed. The concepts of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity was taken from the French constitution. The parliamentary type of govt, cabinet, lower-upper houses, speaker, among others, we got from the UK. The concept of 5 year plans was taken from the USSR and the distribution of powers between centre and the states from Ireland.
Uff! How I had to mug this up for exams. Never really understood the significance though. Now the preamble of the Constitution makes much sense. And it so beautiful!! Have quoted it for you. Alrighty, time to snuggle under my blanket to beat the chill. I am not trading my sleep for the powerful Sukhois or MiGs! But, frankly, could do it for the smell of tea, particularly green tea!! Adios ~
We, The people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949,
do hereby Adopt, Enact and give ourselves this Constitution.
He is one of my favorite poets. William Blake was good at both words and pictures. Simple as it may seem, his works are profound and sentimental. It’s striking how some of the gifted poets in the world do not start of popular. Much of England spurned at Blake’s work as “delusional and insane”. It was only after his death in 1827, did he become talked about. When Blake passed away, William Wordsworth commented “there was more to Blake’s insanity than Lord Byron’s or Walter Scott’s sanity”. Many of Blake’s best poems are found in two collections: Songs of Innocence and the Songs of Experience. Find below some of my favs.
The first one describes Blake’s love interest. Love the way he ends with a “silent and invisible” traveller passing by. The second one declares the determination to fight the evil, even if it leads to eating “coarser food”. Blake beautifully puts the true wealth and values one must possess.
As for the third and last, I quote a summary on it that succinctly puts it: This poem takes up the refrain of love from the last line of “Earth’s Answer” and explicates two views on the nature of love. The “Clod of Clay” sees love as selfless and giving, building “a Heaven in Hells despair.” The hard “Pebble of the brook,” however, sees love as seeking “only Self to please” in order to eventually build “a Hell in Heavens despite.”
As for the last which is one of my fav. The forest, green leaves and wild flowers, man’s heart sings in union with creation. The earth, the silent night, the fears were murmured, and delight was felt, soothed by the amazing beauty and tranquillity of the creation once more. With a heart full of joy and feeling good going forth to seek further encouragement, but alas only a human can bring scorn through his tongue and actions.
Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
Ah! she did depart!
Soon after she was gone from me,
A traveller came by,
He took her with a sigh.
I Rose Up at the Dawn of Day
I rose up at the dawn of day–
`Get thee away! get thee away!
Pray’st thou for riches? Away! away!
This is the Throne of Mammon grey.’
Said I: This, sure, is very odd;
I took it to be the Throne of God.
For everything besides I have:
It is only for riches that I can crave.
I have mental joy, and mental health,
And mental friends, and mental wealth;
I’ve a wife I love, and that loves me;
I’ve all but riches bodily.
I am in God’s presence night and day,
And He never turns His face away;
The accuser of sins by my side doth stand,
And he holds my money-bag in his hand.
For my worldly things God makes him pay,
And he’d pay for more if to him I would pray;
And so you may do the worst you can do;
Be assur’d, Mr. Devil, I won’t pray to you.
Then if for riches I must not pray,
God knows, I little of prayers need say;
So, as a church is known by its steeple,
If I pray it must be for other people.
He says, if I do not worship him for a God,
I shall eat coarser food, and go worse shod;
So, as I don’t value such things as these,
You must do, Mr. Devil, just as God please.
The Clod and the Pebble
‘Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.’
So sung a little clod of clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet;
But a pebble of the brook
Warbled out these meters meet:
‘Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.’
The Wild Flower’s Song
As I wandered the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a Wild Flower
Singing a song.
‘I slept in the earth
In the silent night,
I murmured my fears
And I felt delight.
‘In the morning I went
As rosy as morn,
To seek for new joy;
But oh! met with scorn.’
The recent molestation case of a 17-year-old in Guwahati is a perfect example of India’s now catching-up youth goonda-giri, pub culture and substandard journalism.
The incident has caused national outrage with people going on social media to express their anger.
Here is how it unfolds:
1) A Class XI student in Guwahati, while waiting for her transportation outside a pub, is molested and stripped by a mob of 50 young men.
2) For 30 minutes on a busy street the girl is molested in full public view.
3) A journalist working with a Guwahati-based vernacular newspaper filmed the nightmarish incident and calls colleagues from the studio to broadcast the same. The journalist, while claims to have protected the victim, is now being accused of instigating the molestation.
4) Within hours, the video goes viral on YouTube and video sharing sites.
5) A representative of the National Commission for Women (NCW) meets the victim and later holds a press conference revealing the victim’s identity, only to rub salt on wound. The ‘tip-off’ made local media houses work overtime to find the victim’s real identity
6) After the faux pas by NCW, the Assam government repeats the blunder by repeating the name of the victim and photographs of her meeting the chief minister.
7) Police have so far arrested 11 people. The main suspect is still absconding.
The entire event is shown on TVs and published by newspapers as if this is the rarest of rare in India. Had not the journalist video gone viral, this would never have been a sensation. The point is every day dozens of such cases happen in India, mostly against young girls, adivasis and tribals. However, only a per cent of them gets reported and that too in the fourth or fifth page (thanks to our Bollywood craze).
Yes, it is absolutely shocking a gang of young men (mostly from middle class families but with dishevelled appearance) would do such a ghastly thing to a young lonely girl. This is a clear case in point of the mucky and sullied culture that is shaping up our society. Where lays the root of this problem? While our homes remain our first school for manners and morals, it is schools and our teachers that shape up much of our character. After which comes our friends we associate or have associated with. But what is spurring our youth for slang talk, dressing lewdly, extreme bragging, in addition to all that added vulgarity? While it is difficult finding a needle in a haystack, it might not be virtually impossible to see the influence of our celebrities, icons and movies which are highly publicised from TV, to radio, internet and newspapers.
Few of the recent Bollywood movies have gone to be a blockbuster just because of “violence, slang and eccentricity”, as admitted by the very directors and producers. We adore the stars and what they do. From the brands they wear, the words they employ and their show-off of vulgarity whether flirting, boozing, getting filthy rich, point blank shooting, secret rendezvous and one-night stands. Possessing them is a certification of swaggering machismo. Having said that, imagine how common it has become for a 17-year-old to go to a pub. If West is our ground to follow such norm, you could probably join the cash-rich research group exploring why McDonald’s popular beef burger will never sell in India (at least for a long long time).
We need good leaders, good friends, good role models. People we hang around indeed have a great amount of influence on our life….their thoughts, talks, their lifestyle, and everything that they eat and wear and follow. It is when we lack right-minded, well-disposed friends, we end up looking up to larger-than-life matinee idols. You switch on the radio, the music plays “there is no hope..death is close…yay yay yay..” Switch on the TV and you have the hero beat ten people with a single punch and vrooming away on a fancy car. Open the Internet, you have somebody drilling a hole in your mind through someone else’s point LIKED (you got it..Facebook). Turn to the newspaper, you have the ads scattered everywhere showing the best lifestyle one could have (their version is an Italian one, a couple wearing swanky dress, big cafe, an expensive ring and a glass of red wine on the table. Both of them looking eye to eye..say cheers..click click!!)
I dont know where exactly the fix should be applied. Talk about women not dressing provocatively, and you have women right groups calling protests against what they call “diktat” and dress code. Talk about not having young people drink, smoke and dance around in the pubs, you have so called right-minded people questioning whether we are living in medieval times. Everyone sure makes a point, cant say everyone has a point though. Life goes on. Experiences friends are our best mates. Learn from them, till then..go on..be fully compos mentis!
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