This Ain’t Done BOSS- Cartoonist or Fake Celebrity

NOTE: This article was also published on Youth Ki Awaaz(http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2012/10/this-isnt-done-boss-cartoonist-or-fake-celebrity/)

On 7th October 2012, Big Boss started with its new season. One of the participants on the show is Aseem Trivedi, an anti-corruption cartoonist from Kanpur,Uttar Pradesh. Recently, he was in the news for his arrest under the controversial charge of Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. Sedition. The arrest of this black-kurta and blue jeans clad artist caused uproar in the entire nation as the arrest was simply ridiculous in the very first place. Soon after, he was released but not before he clearly refused both bail and the defense of a lawyer. This left an image of Marxist revolutionary with a zeal for anti-corruption. The fierce enraged look soothed millions of egos in India, satisfying them of the fact that “Yes, the youth is doing something.”Alas, the dream was to be broken.
In a disappointing turn of events, Aseem Trivedi ended up doing what most sudden-risen-to-fame people do. He turned to the world of glamour. When this cartoonist shot to fame, our hearts zoomed with expectations. We had someone who could be compared to the revolutionaries of the yore. Someone whom most called “a firebrand”. Unfortunately, Trivedi’s decision to take part in a banal reality show which ironically is the most idiotic departure from reality we will ever find. In all contrast,Aseem Trivedi fought against corruption, wily politics and planned voting which are the core factors to succeed in the so called “Reality Show”.
Although our Marxist in Black or the Indian MIB says that he wishes to use the platform to take forward his message. The idiosyncrasy and stupidity behind this statement astounds me. This was never expected from a courageous cartoonist who had the guts to stand up to pack of hungry werewolves. Social activists, who wish to spread the message, are out there, on the field. Working, bit by bit to affect the aspects they wish to change. Arvind Kejriwal is burning bills to protest Electricity price hikes in Delhi. Prashant Bhushan is busy fighting the case for the Kudankulam Nuclear power plant in the Supreme Court while as a joint effort; both have carried on with their fight against corruption. Anna Hazare is busy organizing his next “INDEFINITE” fast. However, none of them are sitting in the luxury of a fully furnished massive house with some other celebrities, bickering over the task of the week.
Personally, it is my belief that India is on the brink of change. Very rarely do such moments arise in history when we have a concerned, well informed populace with dynamic, inspirational leaders to lead them. The youth always was important in such movements against improper governance and archaic disgusting rules. Now is a perfect time for change. The iron is red hot and the hammer is ready to strike. But if the carpenter himself is busy fighting with the “Yeh toh bada toing hai!” girl over kitchen timings and engaging in a shyari match with a certain Siddhu, I highly doubt the success of our struggle. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now.

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Politics Or LOLitics ; Time For A Change

NOTE: This Article Was Posted On Legally India(http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/Entry/politics-or-lolitics-time-for-a-change)

For the past few months, the Twitter-verse has blown up with numerous trends such as #Election2012, #Rs35Lakh etc. Corruption and elections related scams are the most frequent ones. However, to my eye, these elections by far played a subsidised role when it boils down to actual administration. Correct me if I’m wrong when I say that these elected legislators shall only be responsible for passing bills for any current or future endeavour. However, the basic executors shall remain the same obnoxious, plenteous, corrupt individuals.

Does the road sweeper belong to a political party? Should he clean the roads only if Mayawati’s government is in place and should not if Congress had won? Due to over hyped media drives; we have come to believe that a particular political party may/may not do well. Let me explain with an example. Let’s consider the crime of murder. May it be the BJP or the Congress or the Maoists or the NCP or whatever, NO political party shall pass a bill saying “Okay, Murder Is Allowed”. Every entity shall endorse criminalisation to the extremist means. But, even if certain laws are constituted, they are just a meaningless and useless bunch of papers unless they are properly enforced! In Mumbai, it’s a criminal offence to travel in a local train without a valid ticket punishable with a fine of maximum Rs.500 or a year in jail or both. To an outsider, this may resemble perfection but only an insider knows how much the railway loses every year due to criminalist hounds just due to lax enforcement by the railway officials. Simply put, having the perfect laws is not the epitome of justice even though contemporary Indian society treats it to be so.

For example, let’s consider the CSA (Child Sexual Abuse) Bill passed recently. Hailed by activists, citizens and politicians alike, I admit it is a massive step forward keeping in mind the protection of the innocent victims. But on the flip side of the coin, a pessimist questions that what if this bill is enforced but not followed?  There are numerous cases where in even the police is completely unaware of the modernistic and so called “sacrilegious” and “culture-shaming” laws. Believe it or not such cases exist. Gay couples jailed because cops are unaware or somewhat more mainstream, a couple belonging to different religions not getting police protection despite orders from the High Court( detailed in an episode of Amir Khan’s Satyamave Jayte). Now it doesn’t matter whether the Lotus is in power or the Hand, the shitty implementation remains the same. So whatever the case may be, unless we fix the administration, even a supposedly perfect constitution won’t work.

Also, noting our despairing need of intelligent law officers, whether they may be judges or lawyers or anyone else. I’m not accusing anyone but all I wish to point out that there are many examples where in our law mechanism has churned results which border on the bizarre( A Boy cannot marry until the age of 21 and can’t have sex at 18. A girl can’t have sex till 18 and can’t marry till 18. Oh! But wait! If she is Islamic, she can be married at 15. Absurd right? Can’t vote, Can’t Drink, Can’t Have Sex but Can Marry)

Coming to the issue of the inefficient administration, many note it to be a vicious circle. Corruption, low salaries etc. are some of the numerous reasons brought in. But what we forget is that the bureaucracy functions as a group i.e. it’s impossible for a single civil servant to carry out any task alone. Even if a bureaucrat tries a radical breakthrough, lack of mutual support destroys him. Earlier, films carrying story of revolution were ultra-inspiring. But slowly, everyone realised that a film is after all a film, not reality. Dibakar Banerjee’s Shanghai too showcases the same issue highlighted which is failure of an honest civil officer due to mean powerful crooks and co-workers. So what’s the solution?

Tough to say. Should we go with the idealistic “I Change, You Change, Everyone Changes!” or stick to what has been happening in our nation from the past 65 years; “Iss Desh Ka Kuch Nahi Ho Sakta”. Should we blindly trust a political party and hate its rivals or join Anna Hazare in his undemocratic but democratic revolution? Personally, I would go with the idealistic change. It may sound optimistic or farfetched, but it makes far more sense to me when compared to the other possible solutions. Also, I did have a personal experience which fuelled my belief in this theory, the irony being, I inspired myself. Once a pair of old uncles from my community had come over and coincidently it was when Anna Hazare ji was fasting for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Just before departing, the topic of discussion was corruption (inevitably).At the door one of them said, “Corruption ka kuch bhi bolo sikhate toh hum hi hain na ghar pe (call corruption whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it’s we who teach it at home!)”.I said nothing but just before I shut the door, I proudly said, “Uncle jo bhi ho, mere mummy-papa ne toh kabhi nahin sikhaya (Uncle, whatever it may be, my parents never taught me that)” and slammed the door.

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Another Person to Pres-N-Indent?

NOTE: This Article Was Posted On Legally India(http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/Entry/another-person-to-pres-n-indent) And On Youth Incorporated (http://www.youthincmag.com/2012/07/01/another-person-to-pres-n-indent)



The announcement of the candidature of the 13thPresident of India has shaken the roots of Indian politics. Alliances being broken, rumours being circulated and not to mention the ridiculous to the face of it opinion of choosing the Prime Minister as the President has turned the upcoming poll topsy-turvy. But in the wake of this chaos and madness, I would like to offer my take on a topic which has rarely been touched upon; “Does this really matter?”

I remember one Civics lecture where I asked my professor “Why do we need a President?” .After all, his powers were simply banal and virtually nonexistent. The nail in the coffin is that the post itself by definition is of “formal importance” and “works as a figure head”. Almost none of the decisions taken by the President are his/her own. I remember my Sir’s answer. “Arrey Beta, We were freed from UK but our political as well judicial systems remain similar. But India had nearly 635 Kings in 1947. So to avoid the mess among them, a post was created to match the monarchy of UK”.
As a keen reader, I always noted this; anything a President does, is on the advice of The Cabinet Of Ministers (headed by the Prime Minister). So basically it’s the ruling party’s will (to be blunt and crystal clear). Even shocking is the fact that the Constitution itself declares this particular issue.  Many people live under the impression that the President can overrule the Parliament. To them, I would just like to point out that technically the President DOES have the power to return a bill which has been passed in both houses(with/without suggestions), but is powerless to act in case the bill passes again(even without amendments). The President has to give his nod, no matter what. Such an issue was raised way back in 2006 when Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam sent back the Office of Profit Bill. Now, the Office of Profit Bill was one law MPs were desperate for. According to the constitution, No MP can hold an Office/Post during his/her tenure from which they may be benefitting or profiting. The OOP Bill added a list of nearly 50 exceptions to this rule which basically legalised the money-spurning of corrupt politicians. When Dr.Kalam sent back the bill with his suggestions, the bill was passed again in both houses (WITHOUT ANY AMENDMENTS) and Mr. Kalam was forced to sign it( although he did try to delay it by nearly 17 days but ultimately had to surrender).
A brief glimpse of history shows us that never has the President ever in history taken any major decision which was for the betterment of the nation. I agree there may be some exceptions but the crux of the matter is that our politicians get what they want to no matter what, so why the hue and cry over electing the President? Why is India so concerned over who shall sign the next bill the corrupt politicians throw at them?
What India needs is a honest, neutral President along with a modified constitution which gives the President some much needed powers. Nehru ji had justified this lack of authority by saying “ The powers if given, would create a rift between the Prime Minister, who is the Head Of The Democratically elected Prime Minister and the President, who was elected by an indirect system of voting.” But wouldn’t these powers give us a unilateral as well as decisive monitor over the top honchos of the nation who are more often than not brought under the ambit of our corrupt radar and are always proven guilty (2G Scam- A Raja; Common Wealth Games- Suresh Kalmadi; Coal Gate scam; Controversy over P Chidambaram’s Lok Sabha election and what not). Is it not our dream (and also Anna Hazare’s vociferous demand)?
In the previous paragraph, I stressed upon honesty and neutrality as a factor just because it would be of no good if our President was corrupt or party biased. We need someone with guts, someone with balls. We need someone who can shake up the machinery and actually command the power. Our current President, Prathiba Patil has a back history which is not known to us. She founded Pratibha Mahila Sahakari Bank in 1973 whose licence was revoked by the RBI in 2003(She is also one of the 34 respondents in a High Court case with regard to the misappropriation of funds). As Health Minister of Maharashtra, she had blindly ignored Human Rights by proposing compulsory Sterilisation of people with hereditary diseases. She apparently has also protected her brother, who is involved in a Murder case. If all this is not enough, we also know she is “insanely cuckoo” as she publically said that she has spoken to the spirit of Baba Lekhraj! I’m not accusing anyone but just pointing out the obvious. If I could find this in 2 hours via the Internet, imagine would a CBI investigation would do! The point that arises from these accusations is that having No President is any day better than having a bigoted, corrupt and mentally ill President.

Coming back to the crux of the matter, why is India going gaga over the next President when all he or she will do is “Sit, Sign Shit, and Then Shit”? Does it matter if it will be Pranab Mukherjee or Mohammad Amid Ansari or someone else? Logically, Yes but technically, No. Any party backed President is bound to favour one group over the other which is ethically as well as democratically incorrect. The same question pops in the Media 24/7: “Who will be the next President Of India?”.  It’s with great restrain I don’t shout “Please, a third grader with a modem could answer that; going by the current chain of events, it is bound to be a TMC, SP and Congress backed person who will eventually agree to all of Didi’s demands and pass the idiotic bills put forward by either the BJP or the Congress because no matter what, the bill will pass (if not in the first go, then definitely the second go). I guess all our MPs care about is collecting autographs. Or else what will justify their fight over choosing the next person to PRESS-N-INDENT their signature on a paper which says, The 13th President of India.
                                                                                                                                                                      

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What A Fucking Joke=India+Politics

 NOTE: This Article Was Published On Legally India (http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/Entry/what-a-fucking-joke-indiapolitics)  and Rajneeti.org(http://raajneeti.org/ispark/what-a-freaking-joke-indian-politics) too

“What a fucking joke!” Immortalized by Arvind Adiga’s The White Tiger, this phrase holds true for the state of Indian politics today. Ministers fight over personal instead of patriotic differences while they fill personal instead of public coffers. Scams have become a common foothold for a politician and the “Honest, Hardworking politician” has become an evergreen character in Indian cinema which has to date, never been immortalized in flesh. Despair filled my heart, as during one of my numerous musings, I pondered the answer to the question “Who will I vote for when I turn 18?” In a search for the answer, I quantified the scenario today.
No political party is clean. A fact agreed upon by all. If Congress was responsible for the Emergency, BJP had an equally guilty hand in the Hindu-Muslim Riots over the years. If MNS campaigned against the North Indian populace in Mumbai, SP or BSP too has not done something overtly special for Maharashtrians either. Tamilnadu wants Sri Lanka to be tried for Human Rights violations while Their Own police officers feel that “Women invite rapists by warring indecent clothes”. So you get the gist, political parties that claims to be clean are rather the unclean one.
Next moving on to the media sensationalism of “Youth Leaders” or “The Emerging Young Leaders” or “Future Leaders”. Again I say, “What a fucking joke!” Congress’s so called youth leader, a certain Rahul Gandhi is at the ripe young age of 41. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in a nation where nearly 58% of the population is under 30 and can be legally elected with a minimum age of 25, 41 is classified as “YOUNG”. I still remember the indignant feeling I felt when I woke up one day to the news that “Rahul Gandhi Travels via Mumbai Local Trains to Understand the Urban Transportation Problem”. Yes, the common man’s problems can easily be seen in a non-peak hour time empty train’s first class compartment with a plethora of bodyguards.
Even the Bhartiya Janta Party is not the doodh ke dhule political party they claim to be. Two porngate incidents, numerous Hindu-Muslim riots instigation and an emerging pro-Hindu Gujarati Prime Ministerial candidate who was denied a visa to USA (Chuck USA, he is not allowed in Bihar itself) are just some of the stains they have and believe you me, Yeh daag kisi ko acchhe nahin lagte.
I have not even given full credit to scams, regional parties (the main culprits behind the veiled caste system of India) and individual MPs. Also, I would be a raving idiot if I say that our country has done nothing since Independence. On the contrary we have done numerous things including some amazing growth (one of the few countries to possess nuclear weaponry, top in grain production etc to name a few). But my point is that we could have done much much more just if our politicians would have thought of patriotism instead of party-ism, and OUR money instead of MY money. Also, the extravagance of our political bureaucracy (Ask any Indian citizen what comes to mind when he imagines a political honchos office. Nearly everyone will describe a scenario of a rich, plush office with poor people pacing about for days and weeks together while Babus drive their files from here to there) has played an extremely detrimental role in demoralising our nation.
So, to answer my question, I conclude that as of now, it’s my personal gamble to vote in the best of the worst or the lesser evil, while we bide our time, learn from our mistakes and clean up our nation. To quote the movie Rang De Basanti, “Desh kaise theek hoga? Yeh Desh ka kuch nahin hoga!” ” Hoga.Hum badlenge Desh ko. IAS join karenge, politics mein entry karenge, police aur army mein bharti honge. Koi Desh perfect nahin hota. Usse perfect banana padta hai.”
I think it’s time ki hum Desh ko perfect banaye.
India's National Emblem- Satyamave Jayte

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We Fought, We Endured And Now We CHANGE

A quick glance at the supposed “glorious” culture and history of India yields nothing but a simplistic opinion to today’s populous. Pick up any book, any year and we notice this; We fought for something, and our opponents( under the veil of secrecy) gave it to us, we rejoiced and discovered that we were deceived.

Today, I was re-reading my copy of Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger  and came across certain lines which put me in a fix, making me write this article and also make the video attached alongside. I don’t remember the lines to the exact punctuation, however in essence they talk about how democracy was nothing but a shrouded opportunity for India(metaphorical assumed as a Zoo) to be turned into a Jungle by the powerful. partly I agree to the viewpoint. Mr.Adiga made an excellent note about how our nation should have had alleviated problems such as water supply issues, poverty etc. and then focused on Democracy.
Anyway,my point is that we have lived for nearly two millenniums under force. May it be an emperor or a federation of states, India has nearly never had a full scale democracy except from 1947; We were oppressed, we were labelled, we were killed, we were tortured. We fought, we protested and tried to hit back. But two points remain:
1. We still fight.
2.We still endure.
Bolne mein hum sab aage hain;par jab road pe kisiko bematlab maarte hain, we turn into silent spectators, ENDURING everything. But the time has come for a Change. We stop enduring and we change.
You may think that, okay another person crying about change and getting passionate. Who will bring the change?What will be the change?
Change as I define it is that we stand up to whatever we want,whenever we want.  Don’t promise anyone anything that you will alleviate poverty or blah blah blah. Nothing of that sort. But promise yourself that you will stand up to what’s wrong; it may be standing up to your milkman for mixing water in the milk or it may be standing up to your local MLA and telling him on his face “Tu Paise Khata Hai!”. But do stand up.
We Fought, We Endured And Now We CHANGE

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Corruption: A Threat To Democracy

Democracy is based on the principle of forming a government “of the people, for the people and by the people”. So when a nation of the people stops being for them, one of democracy’s fundamental principles itself is challenged.

Corruption is the very threat itself which has nearly destroyed India’s government and has tarnished a fake image of being a nation which is clean right down till its roots. Corruption always was a part of our system, right from our independence in 1947 up to the recent events, always existing in varied forms. It has become one of those things which are taught to us as fundamentals of life.”Corruption toh sab maa ke paet se sikh kar aate hain” is one way of putting it; because it is something which is profoundly true because may it be bribing traffic officers as a child for avoiding underage driving or giving ‘gifts’ to ministers for building approvals, we have made corruption an innate attribute. Recent events such as the CWG games scam (courtesy Suresh Kalmadi) , 2G spectrum scam(a certain A Raja) and of course the Jan Lokpal Movement led by Anna Hazare has brought this elusive tyranny to the limelight.

A national poll reveals that nearly 73% of India’s adult population was forced to give bribes to ensure the smooth passage of their tasks. So the question arises is this: How do we stop this menace? How do we eradicate something that is today running through our blood? Can it really be stopped or will it just be hidden behind a new mechanism?

Although passion is a helpful thing, it is not enough. Because if it would have been enough, I would have been a Steve Jobs-cum-Dan Brown figure in society because that’s my passion. I believe that although further reforms will help us in solving ridding our nation of this problem but the same can be achieved by proper exercise and awareness with regard to existing mechanisms such as the Right To Information Act (RTI), reporting bribe demanding authorities to the Anti Corruption Bureau etc. This will not only be highly practical when compared to a new mechanism but viable also. But then there also arises the issue that nobody uses them thus a monitoring body is required. But imagine this: India is a nation with a huge population. Imagine what would happen if each one of us reported at least one corrupt officers? I would like to end by modifying Mr. Obama’s popular slogan,” Together We Can!”


Anna Hazare Fasting In Protest (Anshan)



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"Nobody Wants A Bhagat Singh In Their Home!"

I was standing at Andheri station, awaiting my train when  the latest issue of “The Week” caught my eye. The cover story was one covering Mr.Ajeet Singh,a great social activist who is working on the elimination of child prostitution. However, this article is not about him but rather about something he said.”Nobody Wants A Bhagat Singh In Their Home!”. This statement really intrigued me to no extent. Being born and brought up in an urban environment and a modern family, I have never faced any form of restrictions in helping people out. But Mr. Singh’s statement has cruelly revealed the so called “pedestrian population” of India. It is the face of India which is still grovelling in the dirt of myths, baseless culture, illiteracy, gender bias and caste based discrimination. It saddens me to say that our nation which is bustling with an ever increasing populous is burdened by outdated and redundant social customs which leaves us at a total blockade in terms of growth. Although the remarkable anti corruption programmes in recent times have definitely taken a step in the required positive direction, our minstrels will always be shackled to the sands of time due to the stubborn will of our nation to stick to old traditions. So the question arises, “How Can We Change?”.I say we do so by changing ourselves and the ones near us. Let’s have the courage to stand up and say what is right or wrong. It may be something as trivial as asking your parents not to hire a house help who is underage or may be protesting the arrest of an innocent citizen who is just fighting for his rights. The magnitude of our involvement does not matter. People may mock us and cite the contrary but in fact the truth as I believe it is, can be explained by a small event from the life of our ex-president, Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
As all of us know, he loved children and always will. I always keep a track of his events and speeches because he is one of those few people who really inspire me from the bottom of my heart. Anyway, at a school event in Ahemdabad, a cocky seventeen year old smugly asked him,” Sir, as a student all my time is gone in either studies or running errands. When you say I should plant trees, do you suggest I stop studies or running errands for my parents?”Dr.Kalam smiled and replied “Son, what do you do when you want to relax?”Taken aback by this sudden change in the subject, the boy replied, “I go for walks with my friends.”Broadening his smile, he said “Then, my son you just need to do one thing: Carry a handful of seeds and drop them near any area which you wish to see as green.”Dismayed, the boy quickly replied, “But Sir, how will I water them, fertilise them or take care of them?”.Dr.Kalam solemnly replied, “Leave that to nature. If you plant 50 seeds, at least 5 will grow naturally! You will know that you have done your bit at least!”This simple hypothesis is what I apply to my life. Let’s all do our bit and more if we can to see a better society.
Let me end with one of my own personal experiences. Once a pair of old uncles from my community had come over and coincidently it was when Anna Hazare ji was fasting for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Just before departing, the topic of discussion was corruption (inevitably).At the door one of them said, “Corruption ka kuch bhi bolo sikhate toh hum hi hain na ghar pe(call corruption whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it’s we who teach it at home!)”.I said nothing but just before I shut the door, I proudly said, “Uncle jo bhi ho,mere mummy-papa ne toh kabhi nahin sikhaya(Uncle, whatever it may be, my parents never taught me that)” and slammed the door.

Dr.Ajeet Singh
Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Anna Hazare

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