Friday, 26 August 2011

A ministral masquarade

This one is for you H'nble HRD minister Kapil Sibal. For asking a protester "who are you?" Having watched in silence the sordid saga of scams unfold one after another and the oversight by the Govt that have resulted in humongous losses to the Nation's exchequer, you have been earning the ire and fury of my ilk for quite sometime. This disdainful and uncalled for query of yours stinks of arrogance; adding insult to injury. May I then proceed to answer your question? I Sir, am a humble tax-paying, law-abiding, frustrated citizen of a Republic nation called India of whose Govt's, an elected representative you are. Simply speaking, I represent the public whose paid servant you are.

There was a time when democracy used to be defined as a Govt of the people, by the people and for the people. In your drunken stupor of power and authority, you have lost cognisance that the power you wield is provided by the likes of me whom you have taken for a ride, time and again. I am a bit of the populace that has to bear the brunt every time petrol prices go up, pay bribe to get a driving license, passport, property registered or even a ration card. I have had to grease the hands of all levels of bureaucracy from the lowest of rungs to the top each time I had to get a job done. If I refused I was asked to wait outside or come back later.

Not that we have not seen corruption before. But what we have seen in recent times is unprecedented. The public outcry and out pouring that you witness in the streets and elsewhere today is only symbolic of the outrage I and my countrymen have held on to in our hearts for long. Not to be discounted as quotidian's bustle. Whether a bill(law when passed) can eradicate a disease as widespread and deep-rooted as corruption is debatable but it can definitely serve as a means of bringing about greater accountability, responsibility and probity that your ilk have been evading for decades.

You may do well not to heighten the sense of outrage further with your uncouth foibles and rather employ your energy and skills to rework the draft your Govt proposes in the best interest of all concerned and salvage the last vestige of trust that people have in a democratically elected government; lest you be also held responsible for dereliction of duty when called for.

Do not henceforth venture to rub an already harrassed "Aam Aadmi".  
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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Prerna - The girl child who survived

I pen this for Prerna. Who’s Prerna? She is the ill-fated, yet fortunate enough girl child who has survived to see this world by the sheer dint of her mother’s courage. Her mother willed and said no to the idea of killing her. Prerna owes her life to her mother, in more ways than one.
She was in the womb when her grandmother took her mother to a clinic for sex determination. The doctor said it was a she and that’s when began her mother’s ordeal. Her grandma decided she wanted nothing to do with a female child. What else is a female child other than a burden, a liability? First you have to feed her, educate her and then marry her off with substantial amount of dowry so that she doesn’t end up getting burnt to death or thrown out or maybe tortured endlessly and haggled by greedy in-laws. Her grandma wanted none of that; to nip her in the bud she had decided. It was her mother; resolute firm and unwavering that stood by her child’s right to live, first of all to be born unto this world with dignity. For her mother, she was just her child, gender regardless.
Her mother’s stance came at a price. She was forsaken by her husband and his family. For sustenance, she took up a job as a teacher (which didn’t come easy) and single handedly brought up her child. Today, Prerna goes to college and lives with zeal and enthusiasm amidst the penury that surrounds her; she manages to smile with pride. Her mother is her hero; for she just didn’t give her birth and hence, a life but actually “gave her a life by saving her from the clutches of death”.
For one such Prerna, there are many others who weren’t as lucky to see the light of the day. They died silent deaths – sometimes in the womb, sometimes in a tub of cold water, sometimes between two fingers that strangulated the tiny neck. And if the perpetrator had any mercy left, she was abandoned in the garbage bin or by the riverside or maybe a park. Many such Prernas live in the orphanages, who were chosen to be “orphaned” by their own parents and family.
Mankind and society cannot survive on the strength of the male population only. It’s not only against the Law of Nature but not possible as well for all practical purposes. The declining male-female ratio in India as recently published is one thing that the sleeping Govt. needs to sit up and take notice of. Of highest concern is the dwindling child male-female ratio; which has been reported to be the worst since India attained freedom 64 years back. Globally too, the ratio is on the decline. While Govts can enact laws against female feticide or sex determination or selective abortion, at the grass root level it is the responsibility of each individual to do away with this social evil that is deep-rooted in our psychology. Women are an integral part of the human society. Apart from the many socio-physiological reasons on why we need a stable sex ratio, the one that appeals to me most is – with no female child left, the human race itself will be on the verge of extinction since we definitely cannot depend on men to continue our progeny, can we? Woman only are gifted with the ability to create, until Nature or Science decides to alter that fact, we will remain dependant on the female mass to take us forward. So, please SAVE the GIRL CHILD.
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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The nomenclature bizness

The Bard said, what's in a name?  Ask the lady strutting her stuff when she says, "The name is Sheila". Or you may ask even the Munnis, Basantis, Jalebi bai's or even the Dongs and Mogambos of yesteryears. Its in the name, dammit!

How else do you get your identity? When your mom wanted to whack you for damaging a piece of the household furniture or for feeding an entire tiffin box's contents to a street dog, how did she yell at you? By your name na? Or when the school headmistress wanted to recognise your talent and say a few kind words in your praise, how did she begin? With your name, right? So there it is.

Oh..then there are some generic names, like "last benchers". That is how one of my revered school teacher preferred to refer to anyone occupying those seats. The name says it all, you see? It made her job easy(lesser names to pronounce?) and spared the occupants from embarrassment, I realise. Symbiotic.

During the first few weeks of college life, we were collectively referred to as "freshers". On several occasions I was asked, "You are fresher?" Pitifully I had to nod my head in agreement(while inside a faint voice answered No, am Sutapa). We were even given pseudo names based on our predominant attributes and were barred from using our real names. By the end of the "Introduction fortnight", I had almost forgotten my real name having grown used to introducing myself  as "Swadeshi" day in and day out.

And then there are names that can make or break. If you are a Kalmadi, you may want to opt out of "Suresh"or even "Maria" if you are a Susairaj. But a Rahul may have different repercussions depending on whether you end it with a Mahajan or Gandhi. Wot say? You must have heard about the naming game being played recently. Oh, I mean the games that the likes of "Raja of 2G" play when they are caught and cornered.

Lastly there are names I believe that have stuck to each one of us in some inexplicable way, which do the job of blissfully transporting us to a netherland like Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet, Mary who had a little lamb or even Jack and Jill who went up the hill? Have you met any of them lately? Not me, I hear they are not around anymore. :(
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