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Women in Indian Politics

Among many other reasons, the latest Assembly elections were interesting was for the number of women stakeholders. There was Sonia Gandhi in Rai Bareili using the tried and tested renunciation weapon; Mamta Bannerjee in West Bengal trying to storm the Left bastion; and the one and only Amma in TamilNadu fighting a rearguard battle to save her fiefdom from Karunanadhi. The results are out and all but Sonia have fallen by the way side. No surprises there, really. Now, broadly speaking, women in Indian politics can be divided into two groups: Continue Reading →

A vote for Bengal but

Greatbong has an interesting post analysing the reasons for the continued Communist grip on West Bengal. By all accounts, Communists are coming back to power with an even more thumping majority. While I broadly agree with his reasoning, a few caveats would be in order. Continue Reading →

Eh? What?

Trust the Indian government to come up with such gems.Outlook reportsIn an unprecedented move against noted painter M F Hussain, the Union Home Ministry has asked the police in Delhi and Mumbai to take “appropriate” action against him with regard to his “objectionable” paintings of Hindu deities contending it had the potential to hurt people’s sentiments”Eh? What? Is this the government response to this? Should solve all problems, no?Accepted, Hussain is perhaps overrated as an artist, also with increasing age, he is given to antics which leave the more (in)sane of us staring in disbelief.But seriously, what happened to the freedom of speech? Artistic freedom of expression? How long is it is going to be held hostage to loonies who in most cases just have a political agenda to grind? And frankly, why are we so fast of the block to assuage anyone whose religious feelings is hurt. Lest anyone forget, we were the first to ban Satanic verses. But then we share more in common with Iran than er..commonly thought.BBC reports. And where does this culture of intolerance leads to? Another BBC report.So what explains the government alacrity in taking action against Hussain? Pretty simple, a government which did not have the guts to speak against the idiot who offered 51 crores for the Dutch cartonist’s head loses its moral authority to counter when the loony right from the other side demands it pound of flesh.So, take the easy way out. Acquiesce to every religious loony out there.Pah! Secular bigots!As for me I say! If something offends you, don’t look at it yaar.My previous piece on hate speech here.

Vadodara-Some Thoughts

The riots in Vadodara seem to be over and the city is slowly limping back to normalcy. The Gujarat administration with little prodding from the center seem to have acted with some urgency, for a change. Thank God for small mercies.Unfortunately, the riots and the memories of Gujarat 2002 has served to obfuscate the real issue. A Dargaah which was allegedy an encroachment was demolished. The Muslims protested, not exactly non-violently and as it is the norm in India, it soon acquired religious connotations. With Modi’s reputation being what it is, it soon became a Modi V’s the rest issue. We find it both sad and idiotic.Religious structures in India have long been used for land grabbing. I can offhand recall at-least ten temples in Delhi which are a traffic nuisance but will not be removed because someone’ religious feeling will be hurt by it. In-fact, I remember a slum near our home in Delhi, on which demolition orders were passed. Lo and behold, that very night, a temple came up, which sure enough stopped the demolition team dead in its track. The funniest thing? The slum was mainly inhabited by Bangladeshi Muslims, who probably thought contructing a make shift temple was faster, and more effective than constructing a Masjid as Delhi had a BJP government during those days! Continue Reading →

Supreme Court Strikes!

(via Indian Express)

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Orissa government to provide police protection to a Muslim couple who were forced to separate after local clerics issued a fatwa that they were divorced even though they wanted to live together.”

Apparently, the husband in a state of inebriation pronounced Talaq on his wife three times. When he was sober, he realized his mistake but the local Mullah issued a fatwa declaring them as divorced. He was ostracized by the local Muslim community and forced to leave away from his wife. Seeing no hope of Justice, he knocked the door of the court.

I am pleased as a punch. For far too long, in the name of secularism, Congress and its cronies has played a devious game of pandering to the interests of a narrow religious section of Muslims on issues like Triple Talaq.

Starting from the shameful Shahbano , it has continued till the present day in the name of non-interference in the personal laws of a community. Such misplaced ”respect” for personal laws among Hindus would have ensured they would be still burning widows till the present day. Sometimes, change has to be imposed.

I leave the final word to the Supreme Court-

”No one can force them to live separately. This is a secular country. All communities—Hindus or Muslims should behave in civilised manner”

Absolutely right!

The spirit of Mumbai

Another bomb blast in Delhi, this time the target was Jama Masjid of all places. Luckily, no one is dead. Patrix thinks that will make the supporters of terrorists realize that they have no sympathy for Muslims. I have no such illusions hopes. From Kashmir to Iraq, Islamic terrorists have killed more Muslims than members of anyone other faith. What effect has that had? I guess all is Kosher as long as it is in the name of Jihad.

Anyways, My problem is of a slightly different nature. After each and every blast we hear two things. The government promises to catch the guilty, and newspapers extol the spirit of the people. The standard line is…

”People of (fill in your city) showed great spirit by coming out in large numbers. They showed they will not be cowed down by the terrorists. Such spirit shown by the people of … is admirable and lesson for the rest of country/world.”

Seriously, I am as tired of this cliched line as I am of the alleged spirit of the people.

Continue Reading →

Islam

A minor warargument has erupted on the Internet after a blogger posted an article questioning the Hijab. I thought, I would wait for the dust to settle down, for swords to be put back on their sheaths, for people to relax before I put forth my views. So, here I go.

First, let me answer why should a non-Muslim should be bothered about what happens in the Muslim world. I believe there are 3 strong reasons for it-

1. We live in an increasingly globalized world, or rather a globalized village. We all get affected by what happens in the other parts of the world, with the advent of Internet, news does travel faster than light. The world watches, and the world will react.

2. Islamic terrorists, or rather terrorists who claim to draw their inspiration from Islam and its teaching are the biggest bane of the world. No ifs and buts about it. People are entitled to ask, what is this about Islam which drives so many people to become suicide bombers, kill people randomly and in the brutal of manners-beheading to give just one example.

3. Somethings are beyond the realm of religion and are issues of humanism and not of religion. No one can claim that dowry deaths in India is a Hindu problem and and hence no one else should butt in. It is not, and even it is the human angle is much more important than any religious angle

Continue Reading →

Against Illegal Immigration

Note-This piece has been inspired by Bongpondit’s excellent piece on illegal immigration. It has been written after drinking 2 beers and I propose to drink one more after finishing it. Needless to say, it is long, ponderous, boring and quite heartless. In other words it is quintessentially me.

Illegal immigration is right now the hottest topic in US of A. The Bush administration has proposed changes which will basically do three things a) allow illegal aliens to work towards becoming legal without have to go back to their home countries b) Tighten border controls which will hopefully make it harder for illegal immigrants to cross over.c) Make it a felony to be in United States without papers

Even this has resulted in huge protests, rallies have been taken, students have left classes and taken to the streets and believe it or not the Hispanic diaspora has actually taken it as a personal affront. We are not criminals-goes out the cry. Is that really so?

Continue Reading →

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