Kalugu

Insight into South Asia

Merit-By–Birth theory trashed

We strongly condemn the stories inplanted in media by certain vested interests and anti social elements claiming merit by birth and insulting the majority of the people of India.

One of the age old characteristics of the Indian society has been the caste system. This system was based on the principle of assigning  a caste to every individual based on their birth and inturn limiting them to a profession associated with that caste. This system was followed for almost two millennia, resulting in a society with people at extreme ends of wealth and talent. While one individual was able to excel in one profession, he had no freedom or opportunity to pursue a different one even if he wished to do so. The caste system and segregation of people based on birth is one part of India’s history that we cannot feel proud of today.

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, The architect of Indian constitution who ensured a provision for social justice and protected the interests of the downtrodden people including untouchables

Dr.B.R. Ambedkar: Caste has killed public spirit. Caste has destroyed the sense of public charity. Caste has made public opinion impossible… Virtue has become caste-ridden and morality has become caste-bound - Annihilation of caste 1936.

While  the constitution for the Republic of India was framed, the polarized nature of the different groups and the relative forward and backward status (educational and social) of different castes was envisioned to be balanced by an affirmative action that provided reservation in education and employment opportunities created through national funds. Even though this policy could be interpreted as “discriminatory” by few, offered the best solution to address the imbalance caused by a two millennia practice. It was widely believed that it will be welcomed and accepted by all sections of the society as it offered hope for the country to move forward. 

In a democracy, while the individuals right to “freedom of expression” and the likes are guaranteed, it is also the norm that a system that is in place to bring a larger benefit to the nation, is allowed to curtail an individuals right. Thus with wide acceptance, the theories of Social Justice and Equality of Opportunity has come into stay in the Indian system of administration.

However it is sad to notice that even after the transformation of India into a democracy, few individuals and groups still seem to believe the teachings of “Varnashrama Dharma” and “Manu Smirithi” –  the religious documents that preach the core values of the caste system. Posing a threat to the very structure of the new Indian society, these teachings can only be viewed as anti national and anti social. Apart from programs to reform the individuals who believe in the caste system, we need to enforce stricter laws and punishments to those who practice and preach the same.

Those who are familiar with the history of India will agree that the southern state of Tamil Nadu has achieved a unique place in India. From ancient days Tamil Nadu has retained its language and culture. Alternative schools of thoughts in religion, philosophy and culture have been welcomed. The impact of religious values and Sanskrit language from the north of the peninsula can be largely felt even today.. The influence of Tamil culture over the rest of India has also been well acknowledged by scholars.

Talking about the caste system – the Tamil society is not behind in any means in following the caste system. The state is still plagued by untouchability and superstition. There are indications in Tamil literature that the caste system deeply entrenched in to the society ever since the Vedic religion took a foothold in this part of the country. However, there are no scriptures of the type of “Varnashrama Dharma” or “Manu Smirithi” which endorse religious authority to enforce the caste system.

There has also been wide exposure to the principles of democracy and education after the arrival of Europeans. There were widespread questioning of the religious authority promoting castes and the unequal distribution of wealth and opportunities.

Periyar EVR, the Architect of Self Respect Movement in Tamil nadu

Periyar EVR, the Architect of Self Respect Movement in Tamil nadu. Periyar brought social and political changes in Tamil nadu in favour of the backward sections of the society

The self respect movement spearheaded by E.V.R. Periar was against the inhuman practices based on religious authority and brought in a proportional representation and communal reservation in governance even before achieving independence from the British empire.

In Tamil Nadu a large quantum of reservations are provided to the backward classes, most backward classes and the scheduled castes. By this – most sections of the society participate in the administration of the state and the relationship of the government with the common man has been made easier, which promotes better administration and developmental activities. Here assessment of a qualification based only on the marks obtained in a theoretical examination is not the sole criteria for providing the opportunities. We do see some fringe groups insisting for such sole criteria since it is suitable for their preoccupied positions of social status. Their belief in “Merit By Birth” theories refuse to die.

The fact that Tamil Nadu is progressive is surprisingly well endorsed even by the magazine “India Today” which otherwise is known for its Anti Mandal (Anti Reservation) rhetorics. In September of each year, India Today publishes the “State of the States” cover story. The latest overall status of Tamil Nadu was surveyed by India Today in 2008 September. Tamil Nadu was placed in second position next only to Punjab among the big states of India.

India Today Survey 2008

India Today Survey 2008.

The methodology used in the survey of India Today is based on parameters such as Law and Order, Agriculture, Primary education, Primary health, Infrastructure, Consumer market, Investment, Environment, Budget and Prosperity. Each of these parameters are measured by various factors using analytical procedures.

Moreover according to the reports published in this month, Tamil Nadu is the most attractive state for foreign investments in India due to its better quality of infrastructure and governance. This is stated in compilation of “India – State index of attractive operating environments” by an Oxford-based consulting firm. Tamil Nadu is at the top of all the states in India in going global.

However we do see few elements in the print media making deliberate attempts to underplay the success of Backward class, Dalit members and that of the state as a whole. The recent news about the success of 100 candidates from the state in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) was widely reported in the state print media. This figure constitutes 12.5% of the 791 selected candidates all over India. Among the successful candidates, eight had written the main examination in Tamil. In all 98 candidates had written the examination in Tamil and 19 of them have qualified for the interview. Despite a clear display of success by all sections of the society, one mainstream media group stated the following as its observation:

“Social scientists are examining whether those belonging to the progressive sections of the society who had earlier dominated the North and South Blocks in New Delhi have returned to a career in administration” 

And an anonymous observer went further by saying:

“Candidates belonging to the progressive sections of the society had in recent years moved to the Silicon Valley. Now that there are no jobs there, I suspect that they would have written the civil services last year.”

By these comments, it makes us wonder, if these so called “progressive section” has ever learned the lesson about the failure of the “Merit By Birth” policy. It is hard to construct and beleive that any real “Social scientist” would subscribe to this philosophy at this day and age. Studies based on scientific analysis have rejected the “Merit by Birth” system as to be detrimental to any progressive society. It is not just a recipe for a polarised society but also does not provide the progress that are offered by an inclusive society that rewards talents from all sections and builds its progress from the best of the brains.

The real social scientists have already analyzed the improving better performance of the candidates from Tamil Nadu from the past few years in the Civil Services Examination and have observed that the largest number of those selected has been form non-metro areas, who had studied through the Tamil medium of education.

It is already reported and on records that Tamil Nadu accounted for nearly a quarter of the OBC candidates selected at the all-India level in both 2004 and 2005. In 2006, it accounted for 15%, while Uttar Pradesh accounted for over 20% (One in every five selected OBC candidate were from UP). Tamil Nadu has the largest number of OBCs making it to the civil services, much ahead of other large states which have double the population of that of Tamil Nadu.

Whether it is Tamil Nadu or any other state, it is the Morality, Virtue, Righteousness, Equality and Justice along with the written constitution which should form the foundation of administering the people. We request our fellow citizens who still believe in their own status by birth, to burn their religious past and accept the concepts of Social justice and Inclusive Growth so that we all can march forward to a future Indian society that is built on a foundation of equality.

Birth is alike to all : Excellence can be classsified
Based on the diverse deeds .

( ThiruValluvar 972)

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First Job for our Homeminister, Mayavati, Manmohan etc

Manmohan seems to be adamant on retaining the infrastructure ministries with cong. It seems not a bad proposition with the current politics. But it laughs in the face of coalition politics and Federal setup. It does not look right when we say a partner is representative enough of the people to fight elections together, but not good enough to lead and make decisions. But that is a theoretical and moral angle. The practicality of the PM being able to control someone outside his party in a ministry is a factor to be considered. But I would consider that a leadership and negotiation challenge to be overcome than a failure of a system. After all, you are elected leader of a multiple parties, because you must be able to lead them in the same direction. I am not naive to be assume this is a moral and leadership question alone. There is also the self-interest of congress in retaining the plum posts. And there is also the question of efficiency of the leaders in question.

P. Chidambaram has been chosen the Home Minister again. With him being from Tamil Nadu, We can expect the Tamils to get a speedy and just solution in Srilanka..Ok, I was kidding..Just making sure, if you are still awake. Firstly he has a home problem to control. Bharathiraja is a famous Tamil director of the 70s and 80s. He was incidentally the only male from the South Indian film Industry to speak in support of Khushboo in the chastity episode that was popular in Chennai a few years ago. It was not a pun that he was the only male. He indeed was the only male, as the other person to come in her support was a woman, Actress Suhasini. Recently Bharathiraja’s home and office were attacked by masked men in two vehicles recently. It is widely rumored that Karthi Chidambaram the son of P. Chidambaram was behind the masked men. It is unlikely ADMK or BJP or Communist men were behind this attack as Bharathiraja campaigned actively against congress this election. Moreover the DMK, BJP and ADMK men are more violent and use Acid, murder and would never resort to covering their faces in an attack. The cowardliness behind masking strongly indicates a congress presence behind this. Thinking of motives, P. Chidambaram narrowly escaped losing due to Bharathiraja’s effective campaigning. Karthi Chidambaram was also recently popular for threatening a Student who stood against his father in Sivaganga constituency in the election.  I bet the CBI can find the violent rogue quickly, if they start the investigation from the Home minister’s home.

Mayavathi has transferred the IAS And IPS officers in constituencies where the BSP had lost. She has also agreed to support Congress from outside in govt forming, although they dont need her support. In the last one year she has refused to support cong twice in governing India. I wonder what has changed in couple of months. She is indeed unpredictable as a decision maker. Any goodwill she earned by willing to standup as a potential Third Prime ministerial candidate is betrayed by such activities. I am a firm believer that Politicians are not the root cause behind the problems of India. I believe we have a collective responsibility behind our issues. We will keep electing Laloo, JJ, MK, Gowda, Mayavathi as they represent us in morality and values. I remember in a student election in my college, my Head of dept who I respected campaigned secretively(Surreptitiously to those, who adore big words)   and made arrangements to vote-rig with his son(who was also a student) to ensure my loss. This was a teacher with international repute who stooped to such levels. (the loss was one of the best things that happened in my life as I made my best buddies and got my best lessons after that episode). So how can we blame Politicians when our non-political leaders are themselves questionable. But still I write about the issues with Politicians, because I feel there is a growing disconnect between the values of our politicians and People.

I see a lot of distress and some glee amongst our readers regarding the Eelam deaths. I am taking a Strategic decision making course currently. Part of decision making is recognizing the public and private information available to us. The other part of decision making is understanding the levers/options available to me and their impacts. There are some levers available to me, but in international affairs most levers are not available to me as an individual. Most importantly in international affairs, some levers have nil short-term impact and only have long-term impact. And we get access to most levers, only if we have the necessary critical support numbers. The way I deal sometimes with some of my problems is recognizing the impact/lack-of-it of the levers available to me. And recognizing the movements of the whole machinery of the world human relationships(similar to the last locker scene in the movie “Men in Black”).

But at an individual level, I want to reach out to each and everyone, and say I stand by you in our loss. For those in glee, congrats! Btw I was elected unopposed for the same post in college, although I was disinterested the next year. Thinking practically, I believe Eelam Tamils will rightfully get their own self-governance soon. Borders are getting highly irrelevant as indicated by European Union, As more and more Traffic and communication unavoidably grows between Rameshwaram and Jaffna. When there is nothing to hold or gain, Control-lovers will get tired and let go soon. Thats just human nature!

Ciao and love for now!

by Ronin

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , ,

Google Larry Page’s University of Michigan Commencement Address

It is not easy to give a commencement speech.  ie, a really useful & inspirational speech that penetrates the ears of the intelligent crowd.  But some deliver such speeches.  The above is one such commencement speech delivered to 2009 graduates, by Google co-founder Larry Page.  It has romance, compassion, perseverance, love, family, dreams, history, humor… All in all, a nice story.  Lend your ears, for a precious 15 minutes of your lives.

My father’s father worked in the Chevy plant in Flint, Michigan. He was an assembly line worker. He drove his two children here to Ann Arbor, and told them: That is where you’re going to go to college. Both his kids did graduate from Michigan. That was the American dream.

Assembly line workers, all over the world, across races, across cultures, they all want to give their kids the best educational opportunity.  They believe in themselves, they believe in their kids.  They work hard, and they have high aspirations.  They would succeed.  ie, If others in the society too have a strong conviction that ‘All men are born equal’, then the factory workers would succeed.

The optimism of youth is often underrated!

You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know how, if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed to write it down, it will be completely gone the next morning?

Well, I had one of those dreams when I was 23. When I suddenly woke up, I was thinking: what if we could download the whole web, and just keep the links and… I grabbed a pen and started writing! Sometimes it is important to wake up and stop dreaming. I spent the middle of that night scribbling out the details and convincing myself it would work. Soon after, I told my advisor, Terry Winograd, it would take a couple of weeks to download the web — he nodded knowingly, fully aware it would take much longer but wise enough to not tell me. The optimism of youth is often underrated! Amazingly, I had no thought of building a search engine. The idea wasn’t even on the radar. But, much later we happened upon a better way of ranking webpages to make a really great search engine, and Google was born. When a really great dream shows up, grab it!

We are spreading the virus with every footstep, right under beautiful kids playing everywhere.

In late March 1996, soon after I had moved to Stanford for grad school, my Dad had difficultly breathing and drove to the hospital. Two months later, he died. And that was it. I was completely devastated. Many years later, after a startup, after falling in love, and after so many of life’s adventures, I found myself thinking about my Dad. Lucy and I were far away in a steaming hot village walking through narrow streets. There were wonderful friendly people everywhere, but it was a desperately poor place — people used the bathroom inside and it flowed out into the open gutter and straight into the river. We touched a boy with a limp leg, the result of paralysis from polio. Lucy and I were in rural India — one of the few places where Polio still exists. Polio is transmitted fecal to oral, usually through filthy water. Well, my Dad had Polio. […] He would have been very upset that Polio still persists even though we have a vaccine. He would have been equally upset that back in India we had polio virus on our shoes from walking through the contaminated gutters that spread the disease. We were spreading the virus with every footstep, right under beautiful kids playing everywhere. The world is on the verge of eliminating polio, with 328 people infected so far this year. Let’s get it done soon. Perhaps one of you will do that.

-vikadakavi

Filed under: Business & Economy, Culture, Science & Technology, , , , , , , ,

The End of democracy in India

If only 40% of the eligible voting population in a country bothers to vote, then is the country truly democratic ? Whatever government comes to power, it has a mandate from less than half the people. It’s truly a government by default.

First the politicians and media have absolutely no right to blame the electorate. I do not believe in the statement that ” it’s the apathy of the people that gives them a government they deserve”.

Second the arrogant attitude of some of our media stars that expressed ‘outrage’ at the low voting turn out , after “all they did to pursude them to do so” in Mumbai, should learn that while they can drive people to the cinemas, the people have little faith in their intellectual or political understanding beyond entertainment. Not everyone gets their picture o page 3 when they vote.

Third, how many times do the people of India need to come out and say ” WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE POLITICIANS OR POLITICS ANYMORE”. The Mumbaikers did not vote not because they went away for a long weekend, nor because of the sweltering heat, but because none of the candidates made a substantial stand that aroused their passions, their desire to better the political system. I remember how the people of India came out in droves to vote to end the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, or who came out in droves again to re instate her when they were unhappy. Or when they came out in droves to vote for Rajiv Gandhi after Indira’s assassination.

We are a passionate feeling people that respond to our emotion, to our community. We need a leader to arouse those passions in us, someone to believe in, someone that we can trust that has the power, the integrity and the vision to lead us in this new century.

Give us, the people of India such a leader and watch us come out in droves to vote. And if not, then accept that democracy in India will be an excercise in futility and the forces of change will be ultimately thrust upon us by non democratic forces like the fundamentalists, like the the naxalitites that are threatening to invade our cities soon.

Written by guest writer Shekhar Kapur

Shekhar Kapur is a noted film maker of international repute.  You can read his blog here.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, , ,

Vote out “undemocratic” elements

Democracy is one form of the government in which governing power is held indirectly by the citizens in a free and fair electoral system. Electoral process is nothing but a collective way of choosing a representative based on the closed voting system – i.e. civilized way of hiring some one (Qualified fellow citizens) to act on behalf of them in solving pressing needs and issues. In a vibrant democracy voting right is a paramount privilege  that any one can own and use.

Freedom of speech and Freedom to write is the first foundation of any democratic country. If and when a country claims that it is upholding the democracy, then surely it must protect and support these two elements in each and every endeavor. “The right to freedom of speech is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICCPR recognizes the right to freedom of speech as “the right to hold opinions without interference.”

In recent days we hear a lot of complaints from the Indian national congress party that some of the leaders / individuals in Tamil Nadu are speaking unparliamentary words in  public meetings and other social gatherings. Even few of those leaders were arrested merely “for their speech” and are serving imprisonment for the past several months. Whether it was a wise speech or gibberish talk should be decided by the people rather than few appointed officials.

Popular movie directors Mr Seeman and MR Amir were arrested after taking part in a rally condemning state atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka

Popular movie directors Mr Seeman and Mr Amir were arrested after taking part in a rally condemning state atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka and criticising the Congress party.

Right to criticize the failed policies of former and present leaders of Indian government – Either Congress or BJP or Third front party is one of the important elements of democracy that  all citizens of India can have . Curtailing and preventing the freedom of expression of an individual is the biggest sin one can blow to the democracy of India. Arresting those “Talkers” in the name of “protecting the national security” is unacceptable and unwarranted. The ruling elites are simply advancing their own power by indulging in these unlawful acts. These actions are not only undemocratic,but  also truly they are unpatriotic since the Indian constitution guarantees every citizen of India to speak and write freely without any repercussion.

 

In a successful democratic society every individual has a stake in shaping the countrys  policy – foreign or domestic and governing methods. In the recent elections in USA, people living in the state of California  voted for and against same sex marriage.

Overwhelmingly they have rejected the idea and registered their voices – legal marriage should only be between male and female

“Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition passed in the November 4, 2008, general election. It changed the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and eliminated same-sex couples’ right to marry.”

It is nothing wrong to include such  sensitive, hard pressing issues and questions of decision in the hands of the people. Ban on the Tamil Tigers in India are being extended every two years based on the executive orders. It is a good idea to ask people of Tamil Nadu to vote on the questions of whether

  • To remove the ban on Tamil Tigers or not
  • Recognize Tamil Eelam or not

In a real democracy people are the owners and the wishes of the people should be respected and fulfilled.

People should realize that change will not come on its own; instead one has to work for it. There is nothing called a FREE MEAL. When a minority Afro-American (black) Mr. Barack Obama can win the Presidency in the predominantly white country,  any thing can be possible on this earth – YES, WE CAN.

A person has to elect his representative based on the character and capacity of the individual instead of the dynasty, alliance and party whom he/she represents. Each and every individual should exercise their ballot to bring the right change. Boycotting the election will only help those in power to continue the Status-Quo and eventually our fate will fall into the hands of the self-centered & family-centered politicians.

Hence, Let us all vote out undemocratic and unpatriotic elements from our country.

Written by Kandhan

An engineer by profession, Kandhan writes to promote progressive politics in India.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, North America, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , ,

India not a country of doers: Infosys Narayanamurthy

On Coalition:
If we are all individuals who think intelligently, who think dispassionately, who use data and facts to argue, who are patriotic… then how can we be against any policy that makes this a better country; …. So, it is all about petty issues that make our governments less effective. I don’t believe that coalition governments cannot perform. Well, they can. It is possible…

On Ideas and Implementation:
The Indian society is a society of ideas. It is a society that has revered talk. In this society, articulation is mistaken for accomplishment. We are quite satisfied with our voice, with our writings. This is not a society that is focussed on execution. Frankly, the problem is due to our caste system and the dominance of Brahmins in our society for long period. The Brahminical system said my job is to think of the higher worlds. My job is to think of connecting you people with God. I don’t want to do anything that has a relationship with the real world. Now that is a problem that has played havoc with the Indian culture. So, here in this culture, if you do anything with your hands, it is considered less honourable that anything to do with your brain.

On Recession:
When I was small, my father used to give me jaggery and neem on Ugadi day — the New Year day. We would try and throw out neem away and eat only the jaggery. He would not allow it.
He would make us sit in front of him on the floor — we had no furniture then — and he would say the reason why you are eating neem and jaggery with equanimity is because you are saying that in the coming year there will be some good and some not-so-good events, and you will face both these with equanimity.That is one message that our elders have to communicate to the youngsters: that bad times will pass; they will come from time to time, but they will pass.Bad times are the times when we have to show our hard work, our determination and our talent.

On secularism:
When you are on an accelerated growth path, you have to energize the whole country, unify the whole country. You need the efforts of everybody, belonging to every caste, every class. You cannot afford to discriminate against any particular group of individuals, and that is why I believe secularism is important.Secularism is not about forgetting who you are; secularism is about saying I will respect you for what you are and that we will take all decisions without considering what religion you belong to. That is secularism. Secularism is not about not saying I am a Hindu. I am a Hindu, I am proud to be a Hindu, I do my pooja everyday, but the relationship between me and my God is a personal affair at home and it is not something I bring out into the public and I will not use religion as the basis for any decision-making or any discussion.

On Government:
You know I am of the opinion that the primary objective of the government in a country like India is making sure that there is efficient delivery of basic services, like primary education, primary healthcare, nutrition, and shelter to the poor people. I don’t think corporations should expect the government to put money and help them out.

On Physical infrastructure:
You know the record of public private partnership PPP in India has not been very good. I do agree that we need better infrastructure and that we should not put the entire burden on the public exchequer.But if all political parties come together and say whatever contracts are signed with the private parties will be honoured, no matter whether government ‘A’ or ‘B’ is in control. That is needed. That will raise the confidence of the private party that their contract will indeed be honoured and then they can take more risks: they can take huge bank loans, they can put up front money.

Ronin’s comments:

What do you mean we are not a country of doers? How do you think we grew to billion people?

by Ronin

Filed under: Asia, Business & Economy, Culture, ,

I will die as an Indian, love Tamil Eelam for ever

As the Tamils in Sri Lanka are facing one of their worst nightmare in the entire history of (several thousand years old) their  civilization in North & East of Sri Lanka, all the political parties in Tamil Nadu – India cutting across party lines are conducting some form of a peaceful protest to extend their support to the Sri Lankan Tamils. People from different walks of life – students to lawyers, government employees to private businesses, political, religious leaders to film actors are rasing their voice to bring visibility to the sufferings of the Tamils to the national and International media. Yet, I feel that the “severity of this gruesome situation” is not being realized by many in other parts of India. 

Tamils are living peacefully in more than 50 different countries including India. Nowhere in the world Tamils are under going a similar catastrophe as that faced in Sri Lanka. In India, Tamils have been elected to various positions including Presidents, Home minister, Health minister, Asst Defense minister and head of the army. Former presidents R. Venkatraman and Dr. Abdul Kalam are Tamils. Dr Abdul Kalam served India as president and principal scientific advisor. He was the backbone in the development of the Indian missile technology and the infamous Baharan Nuclear bomb test.

Right from the days of the freedom struggle of India, the contribution of Tamils towards India has been in parallel to any other community be it Keralites or Telugus or Biharis. Tamils have participated in both non-violent struggle under the leadership of Gandhi and the armed struggle under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose. Several thousand Tamil men and woman served in the Indian National Army and fought side by side with Bengalis and Rajputs against the mighty British Empire. Several Tamil men and women gave their life to achieve India’s freedom. One can’t brush aside easily their contributions and sacrifices towards free India.

Several Indian Tamil soldiers have perished in the recent Kargil war (India fought Kashmir/Afghan fighters supported and backed by the Pakistani military). It shows to the world their valor and great determination towards protecting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the India.

At present, every morning when we read and hear about the news of our Tamil brothers and sisters killed by the Sri Lankan army in the so called “slow Genocide”. As a Tamil each and every one of us are under going severe mental pain. Several sleepless nights have passed with horrifying dreams. More than 10 Indian Tamils had given their life by self-immolation to highlight and seek attention from the Indian government to take meaningful steps to solve the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka. None of them had any direct relation with Sri Lankan Tamils or Tamil Tigers. They did this “unthinkable act” spontaneously to show their affection towards Tamil brothers who are living just 30 miles away from the Tamil Nadu coast.

Muthukumar

K. Muthukumar, First one who perfromed Self-Immolation on Eelam Cause (19.11.1982 - 29.01.2009)

Each of these 10 Indians represent several political parties, different age groups and social backgrounds. Some of them are educated and some are not. They took conscious decision of supporting the freedom struggle of their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. They could have taken other route of destroying public property or hurting political leaders. But they took one of the toughest decision of “Lighting themselves” to shed some light on the suffering of  Sri Lankan Tamils. It is regrettable to see their sacrifices not being given fair attention and importance by my fellow Indians in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi or else where in India. These 10 gentlemen are Indian citizens. For the sake of their citizenship, fellow Indians should wake up from their sleep and participate and strengthen the protests of the Indian Tamils. This would create a sense of unity and also give some solace to the protesting Tamils of India.

Few years back my next door neighbor (An American) knocked my door with warm smile and explained to me about the Christian religion. He knew that I am a practicing Hindu. I have allowed him to talk further without commenting on his views. On several subsequent visits he explained to me about the various chapters of the Bible.  One day he gave me a pamphlet of “Stories of Jesus” and asked me to read. The following week, he asked me about the Stories. I replied that the stories had good concepts and philosophies. Immediately he asked me if I want to convert to Christianity.

I gave him the following reply:

My mother may be uneducated, poor and old. My next door neighbour may be a good looking, well educated and rich woman. However, I still love my mother and would like to be her son. I cannot transform into the son of the neighbour, whatever be the benefits and gains. 

Similarly, even though we Indian Tamils love the indepence of the new state in Sri Lanka in the name of Eelam, we cannot seperate ourselves from India and annex ourselves to the new state. Our commitment and support to India goes like son to mother relationship. We may have some differences, but our bond towards India would never change what ever be the situation.

No one on this earth can question the Tamils integrity and sacrifices towards India.

Sri Lankan Tamils are our brothers. When they are suffering from the brutal assault of the Sri Lankan army as Tamils we are under going severe pain. We have undergone similar pain when innocent civilians were affected in the Godhra riots, Gujarat earth quake or Assam bomb blast. Tamil business’s and community organizations collected several million rupees for the relief efforts of those affected regions. We thought and believed they were our brothers too.

However, I notice that the Indian administration is finding reasons to abbet the Sri Lankan governments effort to eliminate Tamils from Sri Lanka. The accusations made by the Sri Lankan government regarding the rebels are easily accepted without any validations or reality checks. The voices of the suffering civilians are not being reported in major media and are brushed aside as unverified news. The sentiments of 70 million Tamil Indians are branded as regional opinions. The Indian administration is funding Sri Lanka and putting the Tamil Indians into mental agony.

The Mahabaratham Epic has the character Karnan depicted as a good soul that sides the Duriyodhanas side to uphold freindship

The Mahabaratham Epic has the character Karnan depicted as a good soul that sides the Duriyodhana's side to uphold freindship

In the epic Mahabaratham, Karnan although was a brother of the Pandavas had to side with Gauravas and fight his own brothers to fulfill his commitment towards friendship. Indian Tamils are in a similar situation today. Even though we know that India is commiting a blunder, we are expressing our dissent only through peacefull means because we are committed to our bond with India. 

It is unfair and unjust to hurt the feeling of Indian Tamils further. The reasons quoted by our administration – Rajivs death or extremism have all been well debated and answered. We need to move forward and think about ways to solve the crisis of Sri Lanka once and for all through viable political settlement. India should nurture the ethnic bonding between the Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils to its advantage. India should accept the aspirations of the Sri Lankan Tamils for independence and extend their support to their struggle.

Above all my Indian brothers should respect the feelings of fellow Indian Tamils and extend their sympathy and support to them. This is applicable to every individual Indian citizen. Every Indian should participate in the protests and demonstrations organized towards the Tamil cause and strengthen the bonding within India and with the Sri Lankan Tamils.

After all sovereignty is “for the people and by the people”. If the Tamils of Sri Lanka wanted one, No one can stop them from realizing their dream.

Written by Kandhan

An engineer by profession, Kandhan writes to promote progressive politics in India.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On corporal punishment in schools

Corporal punishment kills Delhi schoolgirl

Shanno

Eleven-year-old Shanno, who slipped into coma after her teacher made her stand in the hot sun crouching at school two days ago, died in a government hospital here on Friday.
Shanno’s elder sister Sahina, who studies in the same school, said: “The teacher made her stand in a murga position for over two hours in the hot sun and even placed seven bricks on her back. When Shanno asked for water, the teacher kicked her. Her head hit a wall, she began to bleed from the nose.”

Its hard to remain sober after reading news such as these.  But then, yet another outrageous blog is also not going to make much difference.  I was curious and studied the reactions from our leaders.  Of course, Minister Renuka says: “Its a collective failure” and we can see the followup with the commission, counseling etc.  Its the best that can be done from that position, I suppose.  What can the citizens do?  Maybe, this is a time for introspection.

It is common in our society to place discipline, respect-to-elders etc above all other values.  In the cases of children, this discipline is placed above self-respect, dignity, free thought even!  Many parents would agree.  Except on the days, when there are tragedies like this appear on news.  Tomorrow, parents would go back to normal routine and continue to tell the teachers ‘Do whatever it takes to discipline my child.’  We have sayings for everything: “Beating is more effective than brothers even!”  Nonsense.

I recall my school days, with 17-year old students.  One male student, when harassed by the teacher, reacted by putting a black plastic bag on head, and threatened the teacher’s wife with a knife, when she was alone at home.  No kidding!!  In another incident, a 17 year old female hostel student was made to kneel down in the assembly under hot sun, in front of everyone (it was not a co-ed school).  That night, she committed suicide by jumping in the school well.  She knelt down under the well, holding the pipe firmly, to avoid coming up to the surface of the water, in the well.   She was determined to kill herself, and she did succeed.  She won, we all lost!

During these days, in my 6th grade class, corporal punishment was a regular ritual.  Even top-ranking students were daily beaten-up by the teachers by specialized bamboo canes.  Students who cannot recite the sentences as-is in the book, hence even the top-ranking students, were beaten heavily.  The canes were conditioned by oil, and had to be maintained by fastening rubber tubes at both the ends to prevent them from getting torn, while beating the children.  Student’s bodies can recuperate, but canes cannot, you see.  Numerous new students in my class, ran away from the school back to their villages and dropped out.  We lost many Abdul Kalams.  But, we have trained many disciplined text book reciters.[*]

This news is not an aberration.  It is deeply inter-twined in our system.  Of course, parents would spank their kids, once in a while, upon frustration.  But, as long as parents support the corporal punishment in the school/house, no commission is going to help.  Teachers are also parents, after all.  Instead of expressing our surprise/shock whenever these news break out, we, the citizens can do something.  We can come out and hang our head in shame for having endorsed corporal punishment at school and at house, all along.

-vikadakavi

[*] – For the curious, I am talking about 90s / 80s.

Filed under: Culture, General, , , , , , ,

Luckylook, the Star Entertainer of Tamil blogs

[If you don’t like Luckylook and want to skip all the sugar-coating, please go to the last few paragraphs]

If you are a reader of Tamil blogs, you don’t need an introduction to Luckylook.

He Looks better in Photo!

He looks better in Photos!

His blog has recently touched the 1,000,000 hits mark. I felt it more appropriate to write a post appreciating his efforts, rather than just posting a comment. I am not certain if his blog is the first Tamil blog to reach this mark. Even if not, it must be one of the early Tamil blogs to touch the 1 million mark.

I was talking to a writer from chennai, She mentioned in passing (with a little frustration), that the current younger generation’s biggest involvement in TamilNadu is teasing each other (“Kalaithal”). LuckyLook’s writing flourishes in this genre very well. It has many light-hearted, breezy posts that resonate with your inner-heart. But this light heartedness belies an USP he carries. His puns and satire are mind-blowing specifically when he teases himself self-deprecatingly. And you can clearly see he enjoys batting for the underdogs, and has a undeniable affection to his society. His parody, pun and morality in his posts, remind me of the writing of an old master of pun and satire. Please hold your breadth- Mr. Khushwant Singh. This is in no way an attempt to get into the iconoclastic culture or comparison culture. But a familiarity, I felt while reading few of his best posts. Let me introduce one of the posts, I enjoyed very much. I wish it had reached a larger reading sphere, rather than Tamil readers alone:

Revolution is Coming!

Revolution is Coming!

Revolution is coming!

The protagonist talks of his journey as a neo-convert into the Communist party of India, and his struggles meeting the self-righteous expectations of a local communist leader humorously. The post parodies the average communist’s dream of the much awaited revolution, more like a religious judgment day or End of Kaliyuga. There is another similarity to Khushwant’s writing-He weaves his story along with contemporary events or historical real-life events. For ex, the story touches on failed dreams of communists, souring Dravidian politics and Eelam war.

He is at his best when he writes with self-deprecating wit, than while mocking another subject. For ex, the below posts goes into his dilemmas and fears passing from the teens to 20s humorously.

http://www.luckylookonline.com/2006/06/blog-post_115027240193624381.html

He is indeed an opinionated writer, and I see recent attempts to get more bolder with his writing. He is also seen writing surprising commentary on every topic under the sun such as James Bond, Comics etc. He surprises us with his political knowledge sometimes. That brings us to one of his unique points. He is a follower of two leaders(Thalaivars). Non-Tamils, Please don’t be alarmed! Many Tamils typically have 2-5 leaders at any point of time in our lives. One of them is mostly a movie hero. Luckily his leaders are not movie stars but..writer Charu Nivedita and Politician M. Karunanidhi.

He unashamedly and unrelentingly bats for TamilNadu CM M. Karunanidhi, and might even win a faint admiration for it. Recently he is showing signs of questioning his loyalty. Many a times, you do see the pressure of day-to-day blogging and hits in his writing. And when he runs out of topics, he mostly talks about breasts(reminding me of Mr. Singh again) or posts pictures of half-naked women.

He is a writer to watch out for.. Congrats LuckyLook..

by Ronin

Filed under: Asia, Books/Literature, Comedy/Satire, Culture, , , , ,

Ultimate outsourcing destination outsourcing its political leadership

Outsourcing is sharing or moving of responsibility and work. It is about hiring someone outside your organization to get things done. Companies outsource part or entire business process to a third-party service provider. This would give the benefits of reduced cost and improved quality. 

Outsourcing is an age-old concept, but it is increasingly becoming popular with fortune 500 companies in the western world. Not only companies but hospitals, law firms and department stores across the world have willingly accepted outsourcing and are moving their in-house operations to economically viable and politically stable locations.

India is one of the desirable offshore outsourcing locations. Outsourcing to India is turning out to be a blessing for the country which has ample educated men and women who form the backbone of the outsourcing industry. India’s edge in this segment is largely due to the large population with good English speaking skills who can adapt to western accents. Improved quality and cost benefit is drawing organizations towards her. 

While India remains the ultimate outsourcing destination for corporations all over the world, it is also interesting to note the departing parallels in the political sphere of India. Have you noticed how India has outsourced its political leadership?

We all know that Dr Manmohan Singh is the Prime Minister of India. We all respect Dr Manmohan Singh for his simplicity for sure. We also know that he was not elected by the people but appointed by Ms Sonia Gandhi – the President of the Indian National Congress party. It will not be an overstatement if I state that Mr Manmohan Singh functions as a representative of Ms Sonia Gandhi. So it is fair to also say that Ms Sonia Gandhi is the real power center of Indian government today. 

Let us review Ms Sonia Gandhi’s history. Having born and raised in Italy she probably has very little exposure to the Indian culture and heritage. Having lived in the US for more than 10 years now, I still have hard time understanding several issues of this country, especially political issues and have to consult with friends to understand the basics leave alone suggesting solutions for them. Also my approach to several of these issues is based on the intellectual skills I acquired during my early years back in India and hence largely differ from that of the locals.

I can safely assume that the situation would be similar to Sonia unless she is blessed with extra ordinary sensory skills to understand the undercurrents of the Indian society. Considering the fact that Sonia’s life in India was in the confines of the bungalows and heavily fortified prime ministerial complex, there would have been very little influence on her intellectual of the so called “true Indian way” of dealing things. 

I am discounting any knowledge or understanding Sonia might have gained from her reading habits about which I have no knowledge. This is because even if she is an avid reader and read all about India, she would not fare any better, because growing up immersed in the ambience of a culture and understanding the intricate details in a gradual manner is far different from what we grasp from literature and movies. 

Consider the fact that our leadership’s intellectual development took shape in Europe and functions based on the value system that is far different from that of our own. Anyone who has travelled to the west would know to appreciate the difference between the East and Western societies. There are both good and bad and I am not gauging one against the other in any manner.

Now coming back to the latest fifth-generation heir of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty – Mr Rahul Gandhi – He is being well groomed to become the Congress party president and then eventually Prime Minister of India. It is strikingly interesting to learn about Mr Rahul Gandhi in the fact that he closely followed the footsteps of his father Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. Like his dad, he completed the four-year course in economics, but did not get his degree since he did not score the required grades at Harvard, USA. As Rajiv chose Italian born Sonia as his wife, Rahul chooses Colombian born Juanita as his girlfriend. 

What makes Indian educated elite and common people to irk about is the heir’s of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty like to study abroad, spend their vacations and formative years in various overseas destinations (Rich Nations) and choose a westerner as their life partner, but however they come back to rule India somehow and maintain the dynasty rule. 

As this trend continues and will be supported by the next generation of Indians, there is more likelihood that, some day or other administrative control of India might transfer from Italian born citizen to a Colombian born one.

Business Week magazine published an article in its New York edition recently and had the following to say about India:

“Growth is only starting, but the country’s brainpower is already re- shaping corporate America”

If the above statement is true, while Indian leadership qualities are recognized in global corporations, why is it not shining high in our politics?

Why do we need to outsource the “Top job of India” to overseas? Don’t we have enough talents in India among 1000 million population?

Shiv Nadar, CEO of HCL - Indias largest Infotech conglomerate

Shiv Nadar, CEO of HCL - India's largest Infotech conglomerate

When we have smart leaders such as Mr. Shiv Nadar and Mr. Narayana Murthy performing their best to lead Indian corporations, why are we not able to find people with similar qualities to occupy the top job of India?

Narayana Murthy, Non-executive Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited

Narayana Murthy, Non-executive Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited

Supporting the diversity in businesses and consuming overseas manufactured products should not be confused with the selection of who is going to take the “top job of India”. America itself has a policy that overseas citizens cannot stand for Presidency merely to protect its interest and safety. When “the consumer and owner of outsourcing” – America has this policy, why can’t India introduce similar policies to protect it long-term interest and safety?

When Indians elect leaders based on their talents and not just based on their heredity, we will start to see the same performance achieved by corporations headed by smart Indians like Shiv Nadar and Narayana Murthy.

Written by Kandhan.

An engineer by profession, Kandhan writes to promote progressive politics in India.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,

My dog has died

Just like most of you, I have come across the name Pablo Neruda multiple times..I admit that I am a skeptic when it comes to Poets..Not all kinds, but the kinds unraveling life’s knots with flowery language or the ones blabbering about love intoxicated with hormones..It may also be, due to the fact that the poets I read were addicts or simply irresponsible men. So you can understand my sense of insult, when they explain the philosophy of life..But there is another kind I like..The ones who can capture a delicate moment, that you even forgot existed in you..

I already like Pablo Neruda on reading his or my first poem. A friend once told me that you become the author, when you read a story, as only you define its meaning. I can’t define why I like this poem. It may not be because the poem reminded me of my dog, from my childhood. Because I never had a dog like this..But my mother once had a dog like this. It might have been the fish that lived together with me for many years or the chicken I hand-reared Or I am not certain if it is some hazy lost love or a friend I did not have..

But I know this poem. It is mine. I enjoyed it. It could be yours also..I want you to meet Pablo..Please don’t forget to read the postscript later.

My dog has died-Pablo Neruda

My dog has died.
I buried him in the garden
next to a rusted old machine.

Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex.

No, my dog used to gaze at me,
paying me the attention I need,
the attention required
to make a vain person like me understand
that, being a dog, he was wasting time,
but, with those eyes so much purer than mine,
he’d keep on gazing at me
with a look that reserved for me alone
all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.

There are no good-byes for my dog who has died,
and we don’t now and never did lie to each other.

So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

Translated, from the Spanish, by Alfred Yankauer

Pablo Neruda

ps: The poem was introduced from a blog posting of a politician. Ravikumar is a Dalit politician and elected representative from India. You can read his blog here. A country which has a politician who appreciates fine poetry from another country is a very healthy sign. Things are not that bad after all with our politics.

Written by Ronin(not the poem, but the blogpost)

Ronin is a Technology Entrepreneur, Parent, Student, avid Reader and a global citizen

Filed under: Arts, Culture, South America, , , ,

The truth behind the IPL Cricket shift

South Africa is reported to be the most likely host. South Africa goes to the polls on April 22 but is keen on hosting the IPL.   

 

 

South Africa is reported to be the most likely host for IPL. South Africa goes to the polls on April 22 but is keen on hosting the IPL.

What no one is saying is that the foreign players have expressed their unwillingness to come to India subsequent to the terrorist attacks in India and in Pakistan. So the IPL organizers and the team owners had no choice, if they are to recoup their investments and make the kind of profits they were hoping for. And please ! could they stop going on and on about how this is not about money but for the good of cricket ?? I loved the IPL tamasha last year, but through the year no one talked about anything but the revenues from advertising, the cost of players etc etc. It is all about money.

But the IPL having to leave India for security reasons is a blow to our credibility. Tourism, for example, that has already gone through a devastating season now stands drop even further. I am surprised at our Home Minister Chidambaram’s statement today in the press that Pakistan is in danger of becoming a failed state, and the Talibanization of Pakistan is a real threat to India.

Has he just woken up ? We have been discussing this on our blog and elsewhere for months now. Which makes it even more important that in the coming elections the security and protection of the people of India is a prime agenda. Can the parties please please for once put the people of India ahead of their own mindless lust for power ? My argument still is that a new leader will arise from outside the political system. Someone not polluted by it.

Is there such a leader ?

Written by guest writer Shekhar Kapur

Shekhar Kapur is a noted film maker with international repute. One of the few Indian movie directors to make a career in the U.S., Shekhar Kapur has proved his filmmaking worth in both countries. You can read his blog here.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Entertainment, Politics, Sports, , , , , ,

Chennai lecturer arrested for car accident

Genuine mistake.

Most people in Chennai-TamilNadu have run into this news recently.

The City Police arrested a woman lecturer (Durga) of Anna University for allegedly causing a fatal car accident inside the campus. Noticing two sweepers passing in front of her car inside the campus, Durga reportedly made an attempt to prevent an accident. But instead of the break, she pressed on the accelerator, and the car knocked down the sweepers.

The woman died was a widow, had 4 school going daughters.  The lecturer had learned to drive just 5 days prior to this tragedy in her new car.

This is nothing more than an unfortunate event.  A genuine mistake.  There is not much to write about the unfortunate predicament of all those involved, including the lecturer here.  However, we can introspect about ourselves as a society during tragedies.

Every time amidst development projects in a Nation, there will be a group of social activists highlighting the problems with the projects, environmental issues, safety, social injustice etc.  And there is a known common sentiment (often termed as middle-class mindset) among the sections of the general public that derides these activists. Let us look at the conflict between the these activists and the public.

We, as general public, dont like these activists – who always cry foul!  We wish these activists are driven away somewhere.  They are a disturbance.  Lets take the example of the “Golden Quadrilateral” project.  How cool it would be to have Highways similar to Germany and USA?  When India finally acts and starts to implement such a project, these activists come from nowhere and protest that the “lack of traffic signal” is a danger to the villagers.  We dont want to look at the fact that the only safe way to implement signal-free Highway system is by providing ramps (over-head bridges) at every major intersection.  And the cities would of course get these ramps, but what about those little towns?  No ramps there.  Those town people just have to be careful, when crossing these highways, on foot, carts, bicycles etc.  Ignore the protests.  Ignore the activists.  We have to be practical, by choosing our priorities for development and ignore the safety/justice to everyone.

Later, on a busy Tuesday morning we would find that some innocent individual is killed in an accident when crossing the Highway.  Genuine mistake, by everyone involved.  We would move on.  Several such busy ‘morning news’ occur.  Will continue to occur.  Genuine mistakes.

A mature, educated, rational society will not let recurrent mistakes to continue.  It will find a solution.  Walking in front of a moving automobile (however slow it might be) is a danger.  There are many solutions, such as traffic signals, STOP signs, looking into the eye of the driver before crossing, respecting pedestrians etc.  A society should strive to attribute values to these solutions, and support the cause of activists when they raise their voice.  Not deride them.

Genuine mistakes need not happen, again and again.

Written by Vikadakavi

An Engineer-cum-Artist, Vikadakavi works towards the overlap of Science & Arts to serve humanity.

Filed under: Culture, , , , ,

From Babri Masjid to Charlie Chaplin

When Vampire rules, the Law feasts on corpse” – Poet Bharathi.

About 2500 years ago in northern India, religious priests imposed superstitions and ritualism and attempted to rule over the political lords, by dividing the people inciting intolerance and violence. To restore the civilization, reformers like Mahavir and Buddha rose from the ruling class to preach Love and Non Violence. From then onwards India became a land to emulate by the rest of the world. But now again, India is pushed into oblivion, by the same divisive forces. The religious fundamentalists have found some space to regain some prominence.

When the larger India was divided along the communal lines, it was alleged that many Hindu temples were demolished in the newly created state of Pakistan. Afterwards Pakistan became a theocratic state of Islam and has been in continuous dispute with India over boundary issue in Kashmir. Pakistan being a smaller state resorted to proxy war and cross border terrorism, to destabilize secular India. This is one of the reasons for a section of Hindus willing to support fundamentalist organizations which have mushroomed for the cause of protection of the Hindu Religion. If it is not considered as a justification for Hindu terrorism then it can be well said that the Hindu terrorism is a reaction to Islamic terrorism.

The Hindu fundamentalists are collectively called Sangh Parivar or Hindutwa Brigade which include Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (R.S.S), the mastermind of Hindu fundamentalist ideologies, known for alleged involvement in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Bharathiya Jananata Party (B.J.P), their political wing, and other outfits such as Bajrang Dal, Viswa Hindu Parishad (V.H.P), Hindu Munnani, Ramar Sene (which are said to act independently ), etc . This is very similar to fundamentalist organizations operating in different names in Pakistan and elsewhere in the world.

These fundamentalists, wherever they operate, whichever religion they follow, have a common method of demolishing the monuments, to rewrite and hide the true history. This is also one of the methods to arouse the sensitive feelings of the people to communalize the electorate for assuming political power.

babri

Babri Masjid (India)

On December 6, 1992, few religious fundamentalist organizations gathered at Ayodhya and demolished Babri Masjid. They committed this crime under the pretext that the monument of Emperor Babar, who came from Afghanistan to establish Muslim rule in India, was built over a temple of Hindu God Ram, around 500 years ago.

If we have to believe the words of the organizers of that event , the B.J.P leaders, that the day was the saddest day in their life , then it must be true that the Congress party which ruled the country at that time is even more communal than B.J.P, for having deliberately failed to prevent such mobilization and evaded its executive responsibility to defend a monument of historical importance. This event clearly proved that demolition of any structure belonging to minority faith is possible in a democratic country by surrendering authority to fundamentalists.

The chain of events that followed is recorded in the recent history – the bomb blasts, the terrorist attacks on Hindu temples, parliament and public places, the burning of Hindu pilgrims, the state sponsored terrorism and riots in Gujarat state against Muslims, the competitive conversion tactics and the resultant communal flare up against Christians, torching of churches in Orissa and such events are still in public memory .

Now, the B.J.P is running a state Government in the south Indian state of Karnataka. This political power has assured support and protection to implement the agenda of Hindu fundamentalists through their front and back organizations to continue their experiments in Karnataka. Now the anti social elements in Karnataka are encouraged and licensed to acts of violence in whatever way they wish. One of their agents in Karnataka became a self declared cultural police and sent vandals to forcibly enter a pub in Mangalore to beat the women. The easiest cowardice adventure of a fundamentalist is to instill fear in the society by beating and confining woman. They continued their attrocity in the event of Valentines day.

A statue of Charlie Chaplin

A statue of Charlie Chaplin

Closely following that incident, they have disallowed the installation of a 20m high statue of Charlie Chaplin, just as a set to make a film in Karnataka. The director of the film Hegde claimed that, those opposed have argued ‘Chaplin is a Christian and his contribution to India is nil” . Some media reports described this as “cultural intolerance” just to avoid using the term “religious intolerance” because it is the media which subtly encourages the religious fundamentalism in India. We do not understand what “culture” represented by Charlie Chaplin is tolerable or intolerable. Sense of humor should be the last thing that can be expected from fundamentalists who demolished Babri Masjith with a Sense of Vengeance.

The power to preserve communal harmony, protect places of worship, retain monuments of heritage and to defend the true spirit and idea of India, lies in the hands of the people. They possess the most precious and valuable tool to say no to fundamentalist ideas.

budha

Bamyan Budha Statue (Afghanistan)

The Hindu fundamentalists have their friends in other religions too. The whole of Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka has fallen prey to the fundamentalist rulers. In 2001 Taleban, the ruling Islamic fundamentalists of Afghanistan, declared that, the two monumental statues of standing Buddhas were “idols” (which are forbidden under Islamic Sharia law) and destroyed Bamyan Buddha statues, which were considered as Heritage monuments by the world.

And recently in this month Taleban have also attacked the Shrine of the 17′ th century mystic Pashto poet Rahman Baba in Peshavar to oppose the participation of women in the musical offerings of the shrine. But it goes without saying that these Wahhabi tribal fundamentalists cannot tolerate the Sufi, mystical tradition of Islam which promotes universal brotherhood through poems, songs and music. For those who consider some words as blasphemous, the songs and poems may be threatening.

The Jaffna Library

The Jaffna Tamil Library (Sri Lanka)

When we extend our thoughts and see that powerful language is always dreaded by uncivilised tribes, we cannot forget the dastardly act of burning of Jaffna Tamil Library in 1981 by the Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalists in Srilanka. They set ablaze one of the biggest libraries in Asia which was a home for about 97,000 rare manuscripts and books. The destroyed included works of historic and cultural values and Tamil Hindu Philosophical works.

Gurudwara Sikh Temple (London)

Gurudwara Sikh Temple (London)

And last week, a Gurudhwara in London has been burnt by Racists in an act of sabotage showing intolerance towards other religions. The Sikh religion itself was originally established to promote interfaith harmony between Hindus and Muslims.This only shows that in the history of civilisation, even a mediater can become a victim or a disputed party if the fundamentalists rule the roost.

Fundamentalism has been globalised. This could be addressed only by joining together of the people who promote and enjoy Love, Compassion and Peace globally.The hate has no boundaries but Love is still more larger enough to encompass all including the fundamentalists.

“The Culture of showing Compassion with Patience to those deserving punishment

Is the best way for the Course correction” – ThiruValluvar (579)

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

Filed under: Asia, Culture, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Benny Lava – the Western reincarnation of Prabhu Deva

How can something that started as a possible  mockery of Indian dance moves become an internet phenomenon and eventually create a cult following for Prabhu Deva in the Western World?

The name Benny Lava comes from Sutton's dubbing of the Tamil lead line "Nilaavo?" as "Benny Lava!" (original meaning: Is it the moon?". The video led other Youtube users to refer to Prabhu Deva as "Benny Lava".

The name Benny Lava comes from Sutton's dubbing of the Tamil word in the lead line "Nilaavo?" as "Benny Lava!" (original meaning: Is it the Moon?'). The video led other Youtube users to refer to Prabhu Deva as "Benny Lava".

Prabhu Deva – the dancer from Chennai has been a sensation throughout India right from his earliest dance performance in the song “Chiku Bukku Railey” from the movie Gentle Man.  He is a two-time winner of the National Film Award for Best Choreography for his work on the film Minsaara Kanavu (1997) in Tamil and Lakshya (2004) in Hindi. Just like the musical talents of A.R.Rehman that the western world have come to recognize today, Prabhu’s dance talents are of stand-out-unique-love-at-first-sight caliber. His ability to mix humor with dance is something I have not seen from any other dancer.

His western re-incarnation started with the viral video titled “Crazy Indian Dance” uploaded by a YouTube user with an imaginary phonetic subtitle of the Tamil song “Kalloori Vaanil” from the movie Pennin Manadhai Thottu. The video has generated 11 million hits as of Feb 09. Some may view this and several other videos that followed in the same line as a mockery of new age Indian dance styles. However, with the amount of fan following, especially among the younger generation across Europe and the Americas, Prabhu Deva now seem to have the potential to possibly become a hot property in Hollywood.

Blogger HawkEyeView showcases very elegantly, some of the mad following Prabhu has had in the west and takes us on a video tour of the “Benny Lava Phenomenon”

Written by Sunderapandyan

Written by Sunderapandyan – Community cheer leader, web developer & innovator – Sunderapandyan is hard to pin down. He writes on South Asian news and issues to the world.

Filed under: Culture, Entertainment, Movies, , ,