Tag Archive | "india"

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How Independent Are We?

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

For enslaved is the man, whose soul hath crushed.

Two centuries of oppression notwithstanding, when India arose to freedom on the stroke of the midnight hour, oh boy, was it a jubilant feeling!  Leaving past struggles behind, rising towards a new tomorrow, with a never-back-down-ever-again motto, India seemed raring to go.

Or so we thought.

Over the years, what has genuinely gone wrong with India’s a self-sufficient-tomorrow’s strategy? Our struggle to independence is undoubtedly a phenomenal story in history, having been penned down by greats like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawaharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh and the likes. But must we credit the country’s spite of today, to the crazy cocktail of ideologies that happened in the past?

After India attained independence and the constitution was framed, honest ideas went into bringing about temporary laws that would help restore balance in the Indian society riddled with class, caste and state issues.  But over the years, political opportunism has ensured that outdated laws have stayed and thrived to give mileage to one’s precious vote bank. A country that began its journey on honest grounds of democratic freedom and respect for individuals has spiralled into an uncontrolled growth of mess. Corruption, fanaticism, and complete intolerance of each other has overshadowed all the supposed pride that Indians ever possessed.

And the question is, in the true essence, are we really independent?

An independent state is one where every individual has the right to freedom, to be able to express his views (without bordering on hatred, of course) and to live his life, within the confines of state laws. But in India, where the laws themselves are structured for appeasement of certain sections and individuals are not allowed, even lawfully, to acknowledge their own ideals, where fanaticism is tolerated but the arts are not, something seems to be morally wrong.

For a country which has had a long fruitful association with love, with the arts and with a colourful culture, has become, along the way, a complete misunderstanding of ideals, and scriptures.

While we continue to survive on the back of sectional bias, understanding of core issues has been abandoned.

What about the promise we made to ourselves to have an educated and liberal India? A country that would bring to fore the immense talent, and invest wealth on progress. Isn’t it a little sad that even after 65 years of independence, we are still focussing on issues of caste and religion? In a world that is slowly beckoning a liberal structure, we are still being ostracised for being different. And in a country whose constitution prides itself for respecting numerous views and morals, people not conforming to the general norms are looked down upon.

Illiteracy, poverty, and a messy capitalist structure is plaguing the country’s very roots. The poor are continuously victimised by the growing pressures of inflation, while the rich are those that are in power. Ironically, the poor man’s servant, the leader, who was to serve his being, is the one sitting on a high pedestal and watching the tamasha happen.

Let me come back to the same question- What is independence? If you ask me today, this moment, I shall say that an independent country is that, where each individual has a right to his life, to be able to live along the terms he wants to, without directly affecting any other being.  A classless society, where there is no dearth of equal opportunities, and an economical structure, where the money gained is spent upon oneself with complete transparency. Where there is no restriction for someone who wishes to not conform to one’s ideals. That is an independent country, and until then, I chose not to dwell in the erstwhile culture long lost and misunderstood.

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Moral Policing: An Uncalled for Discrepancy

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

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It can be said for countries all over the world, that each one has its particular moral standing on this globe. While America is the land of free thinkers, France signifies liberation of inhibitions and Afghanistan, well, for everything oppressed. India, since forever, has been the country which has prided itself for being the custodian of its supposed moral traditions.

The global understanding of India is that of a motherland that respects femininity to the point of worship; one that upholds its cultures and the system of family and society supersedes personal needs. But somewhere down the line, this image is slowly diminishing to make way for a greater preceding truth, that of being stuck up in its times. They say that time is a constant change. And with time, the society is forever going through a constant spiral of changes. While India was a country of inhibitions and closed door hypocrisy, recent times have seen a spring in individuals wanting to be rid of the shackles of societal norms.

And what are the societal norms? In a country like India, where local impression has a higher standing, individual lifestyles and preferences have forever been the subject of judgement and scrutiny. And if, God forbid, someone were to resort to an unconventional style, they are labeled rebels and branded unfit.  While every Indian must respect his origins and what prompted the country’s morals, the country too must respect someone who chooses not to abide by the cliché. Moral policing is an offshoot of exactly that that is one of the major issues of Indian society, standoffishness.

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A society is formed thus because of acceptance and that alone; where people with different choices come together to exist in harmony. As adults, one should be allowed to choose the kind of lifestyle they want to live. It must be understood that it is important to respect social introvertedness as well as that quality to be out there unabashed. Indian society has never been void of youngsters wanting to have a good time, but throughout its history, such youngsters have been termed immoral. Even if they were to be judged, is it not important to let them be, and respect their privacy.

In the recent past, we have noticed certain political outfits reacting violently to the urban lifestyle of clubbing. These hooligans, hiding behind the carefully structured mask of guardians of India’s perceived morality have often been disrupting parties and lashing out at youngsters, propelling violence. The most recent incident involving a naive Mangalorean political party, Hindu Jagrana Vedike, making way to a private party at a resort, reveals some shocking situations. Images released, on purpose of course, show these supposed custodians reacting more violently to women than to men. This may also bring to mind the RSS clubbing incident that happened in Mangalore a couple of years back when women were beaten up in clubs. It also brings to light the need to cause violence as such to come into the national political limelight.

It is high time we realise that one must not set morals and fixed behavioural patterns for the society. And even if these are set, they cannot be imposed on others. Most importantly, one must stop measuring a society by the supposed waywardness of the women involved. India needs to release itself from the shackles of cultural oppression and move on to an independence of greater good – where an individual is respected and that alone. With the recent, and hopefully over, Vasant Dhoble tirades, it must also be realised that India must do away with age old laws that are not in tandem with today’s times. Politicians must aim their work towards the betterment of the state and working for the oppressed, not enjoying oppressing others.

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For a country which prides itself on respect, it is high time this respect it meted out to each other.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author alone and not necessarily endorsed by the publisher, its partners, or its parent organisation.

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Indian Politics, Anna Hazare and YOU

Posted on 01 August 2012 by Meher Manda (Contributing Writer)

Acclaimed Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once exclaimed that “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”

This seems to be the case with Indian politics. There are too many fools in multiple positions of power, and their foolhardy has corrupted not just power, but everything in its wake. India has always lacked in inspiring, well-informed and genuinely concerned leaders, ones who could display the potential to rise above shallow games of political opportunism and media-attention; but it has in excess, groups of corrupt and power-hungry politicians.

The ‘scam-period’, when various instances of money fraud like the CWG scam, the 2G scam and the Adarsh scam came to fore, is what comes to my mind now. What were these instances if not abuse of power and breeding of corruption? For a country that was reeling under the burden of mis-governance, these scams proved to be the final blow. People were angry and their discontentment was showing. Measures had to be taken to right the wrong, but who could possibly unify this country of ONE BILLION?

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Anna Hazare, a war soldier and a past recipient of various environmental awards, acclaimed for having repaired his broken village stood up to be the national crusader against everything wrong with this country – corruption, corrupt politicians, poor governance and so on. With credible and respectable people like Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal forming the core of the Anna Team and a plausible  workforce comprising of lawyers and IAS officials, Anna’s Army was raring to go.

Anna Hazare, the Leader

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Senior citizens gave their approval to Anna; housewives left their homes and kitchens to be a part of Anna Mania. The blue collar worker finally felt there was a leader that spoke his language and he willingly gave the cause his precious time and valued money. And the youth? Who can forget those pictures where the youth thronged the roads and public maidans and shouted anti-corruption slogans? They took over blogs/twitter/facebook proclaiming their support for Anna, discussing the Lokpal with as much fervour as they would discuss their college fest.

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The crowds turn out in LARGE numbers to support Anna

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The Youth unite in the fight against corruption

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But all this was a year ago. Where does the movement stand now? Where are the protestors now? Has Team Anna lost its sheen? Honestly, do we, the youth, care about the cat and mouse game that Anna and the government seem to be indulging in lately?

At Anna’s fast campaign at Jantar Mantar (in Jul 2012) where have the crowds gone?

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Che Guevara, the great Marxist revolutionary, is counted as one of the most exceptional youth leaders the world has seen. For Che was a man of action, and not just words. While Team Anna has tried, exceptionally hard, to lambast the government for its inaction against corruption, to abuse the media for being critical of its actions and basically, to disregard anyone who is not a part of their movement, sadly, all they have done is speak. Although their initial fiery speeches of a citizen revolt were counted as inspiring and revolutionary, the country is in a dire need of doers, as speakers we have many. While Team Anna has busied itself in enemy counting, the country has moved on, and so have the criminals.

A revolt or a political movement when staged, must be backed by proper understanding and maturity. While the Anna Army have been squabbling within itself and with the government, the country is sitting back and watching the tamasha unfold. The layman, who once was willing to fight the world with Anna for a better tomorrow, is feeling lost yet again. The hope that was so craftily created, now lays lifeless. It now seems as a lost battle.

Rift in Anna’s Army? Kiran Bedi, Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan in a media interaction at New Delhi

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What is the future for Anna and his team? Will the movement meet its rightful end? There as much questions as there are complications.

But the ONE question that must be answered is: Will YOU, the youth, get together and re-ignite the fire and fight for a better India??

Do tell.

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Aman Ki Asha: Hope for a new peaceful year ahead…

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Aman Ki Asha: Hope for a new peaceful year ahead…

Posted on 03 January 2010 by BMMBoxer

Every New Year begins with a hope, a hope for change, a hope for peace and a hope to fulfill all our wishes. This New Year was no different except for an effort taken by Times of India to turn these hopes into reality. The Times of India has initiated a cross-border peace project in collaboration with Pakistan’s Jang Group and Geo. The initiative titled “Aman Ki Asha”, aims to resolve all the outstanding issues between India-Pakistan.

The Aman Ki Asha campaign boasts an exciting feature in the form of a moving peace anthem composed by famous Indian lyricist and poet, Gulzar, which is recited by none other than Bollywood’s Amitabh Bachchan — a star, who, few will deny, is larger than life on both sides of the border. The anthem is sung by Pakistan’s Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and India’s Shankar Mahadevan, two of the subcontinent’s most celebrated vocalists.

The campaign features some locals across the border enacting a particular sequence, which is identified by Indians through binoculars. A phone call is made to All India Radio to request for a song. The locals across the border are glued to the radio and get extremely happy to hear the song, “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge” (the song enacted by them and requested by Indians.)

The work done is commendable as it taps the emotions of people across both the countries.

Amitabh Bachchan, who also recorded his voice for the campaign, added, “I believe it is more important to build bridges than to complain that the road is bumpy. This campaign will help the two countries hold hands in friendship.”

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