The VIP syndrome

It was just as I thought it would be. Amidst all the rage over frisking of our former president, A P J Abdul Kalam himself never registered a protest. From whatever I have known of him through papers, one minor brush with him at the Ahmedabad airport following his visit to Gujarat after the 2002 riots and his books, I felt he would not have objected to going through a security check.

He comes across as a humble and learned man and he reflected the same when the incident happened at New Delhi. Perhaps he understands that the security requirements of the present time are much different from the law that was written in 1934. 9/11 had never happened then and certainly IC 814 had not been hijacked. He knew his responsibility and he acted accordingly.

While it can always be debated whether Kalam was particularly checked for the way his name sounds, we should also hope that other “VVIPs” act in the same dignified manner when asked for security checks. They are no super mortals and they need to realise that. In fact at a time when the agencies across the world use diplomatic channels to carry out espionage activities, it is time we think over a “VVIP” Act, written nearly seven decades ago. Our VVIPs are incensed because they consider themselves demi gods and frisking would dent that image. And therefore this entire song and dance.

We have always been complaining that most of the acts under our law are archaic. Then doesn’t this act be one so as well? Shouldn’t we work toward amending this too? The security needs have changed and so the act must change too.

Coming back to Kalam, he has again come forth as a model citizen and its not only MPs and VVIPs who should learn from him but we too need to realise that security checks help us. Be it at malls, stations or airports, if we complain about them, then we should not complain about terror acts.

And as far as getting even with America comes, we should frisk all VVIPs and could have done it when Hillary Clinton was in India. Remember the old adage? Don’t get mad, get even.

By Shailendra Mohan, Monday July 27, 2009 , New Delhi, India  
Source: NDTV

The Berlin Wall of India

It’s a show of greatness that a land of billion, with diversity stretching through the depths of cultures, traditions, languages, religions, thoughts, intellectuals, landscapes and conflicts has been successful not only in being strongly unified, but also in constantly refreshing the dignity of democracy. Today this land where poverty once scratched the streets in numbers almost entirely, has defied the notion of ‘failed state’ once inflicted on the rejuvenating wounds of its freedom fighters. India has come a long way, through many generations, with revived human spirit each of whom has added its touch of significance in the making of this ‘Brand India’.

But as paradoxical as it may seem, India still seems to be in a state of eternal bleeding. An era, when millions once walked together in attire as white as the thought of the person who led them, crushing the barriers of religion and untouchability has long been doomed by the curse embedded in our thought and actions by the new era politics. Its ripples have long been felt and destroyed the new rays of hope that seemed to appeal to the mass at large. India, for almost its entire existence as a sovereign republic, has dreaded the rise of conflicts formed largely as a catalyst of divisive politics. It has driven India on a path, led by the vigour of violence, into constant consolidation. What remains is the growth of the economy with the courage of its people in an environment unknown when to burst into the fires of ideological conflicts.

Today a new era of regional politics has sprouted in lands which once lay resistant to the forces of language based theories. The people, once respectful to the ways of others standards, have now gripped themselves into the trap which lay open to any unfortunate souls. These political parties, who juggled into the politics of ‘Indian Culture’, are the same breed going against the principles of this very culture, characterising on the basis of language and region. What’s harder to digest is the way people have accepted this stain to fit themselves into a frame, not first as citizens of this nation, but formerly as that of their communities. Rather than encouraging people to empower themselves with the skills required for survival in such competent surroundings, these so-called leaders rather prefer to enlighten their minds with their hate speeches, trying to provide them with skills just enough to get away with the policies of reservations.

The ‘Berlin Wall of India’ had been destroyed long back, but its brick by brick construction had also started soon after. The forces which were once made to sway away during the struggle suddenly got a highway soon after independence (mostly as a result of the partition). Today’s politicos have become the Brand (or rather Grand) ambassadors of the ‘divide and rule’ philosophy. The very basic principles of our struggle have been squashed by the greed of a few people desperate to make their mark in a world of coalition government. What remains to be seen is how the country manages to stay afloat with peace and harmony, avoiding the gimmicks posted by these politicians, encouraged by the TRP-centred media and let off too loosely by the judiciary.

India’s borders may not ever be stressed any further, but its people’s outlook, attitude, thoughts and actions have already been affected by the swift rise of the ‘Berlin Wall’ in their minds.

Is Valentine’s Day against our culture?

Valentine’s Day has passed without much trouble from the radical groups in the country. Kudos to police and other government agencies for the same. Though few incidents have been reported in Maharshtra and Madhya Pradesh where Right wing organisations, including Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena created trouble for the lovers expressing love.

There is debate over whether the Valentine’s Day celebration is against our culture and values? This debate has been further escalated by the recent incident that took place in Mangalore where few men belonging to Sri Ram Sene beat women going to a pub. This debate is not about our culture but I feel it is about our mindset and thinking. I personally don’t feel there is no need of a day to symbolise or show affection or express love. But then I have no problems with the people who like celebrating Valentine’s Day.

India is an independent country with a democratic setup and in this country you are free to do whatever you want unless and until you are breaking a law or causing harm to some one. If few people have a problem with the younger generation celebrating the day, then they have all the right to oppose but within the limits of law. These hooligans are not the custodians of our Constitution and nor do they have any right to take law in their own hands. I also feel that this whole fuss about the culture is nothing but the frustration of few individuals who just cannot see women getting equal rights in our country.

Somewhere, it is clearly linked to gender equality. Our Constitution clearly states that there can be no discrimination on the basis of the sex of the people. If they really feel that our cultural values are being degraded then let me tell all of them that culture is one thing that is never stagnant. It changes with the poeple and time. It is this change, which shows that the society is progressive or not. If these concierge of culture are so worried then I have few questions to them:

Wasn’t Sati and forcing widow to wear white also a culture of India few hundred years back? There were violent protest against the social reform movement, which voiced against Sati but then that was abolished.

Which culture says that you have rights to beat a woman. Is this a show of masculinity?

You have problems when women smoke or drink but not men, why?

This bunch of hooligans who beat the people wear pants and shirts. Since when has this attire become the part of our culture.

Lastly, what do they mean when they say the word culture?

As I understand, culture does change with the times. We have changed the way we celebrate our festivals today. We have changed the way we dress.

We have changed the way women were perceived or given rights in our society some 50 years back. We have added few more festivals or days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc. Our social structure has changed. We have also changed the way we pray to God. We have undergone some changes with our thinking and thus have pushed for so many reforms within the society.

There is a saying that change is inevitable. If we want India to prosper then it is very essential that we change our mindset. We cannot live in India of 21st century with the mindset of 18th century. The younger generation of this country thinks differently and thinks positively for the future of this nation. We need to give them wings to fly. It will be great if these people who are out to create futile troubles channelise their energy into constructive works. As far as the debate is concerned, let us leave it to individuals to decide whether it is right or wrong. These jokers have no right to decide what we should do and what we should not!