Saturday, October 07, 2006

Is there an overdose of Gandhigiri??

Lage raho Munnabhai re-introduced the concept of peaceful protests to today's generation. The methodology was aptly termed as "Gandhigiri", completely opposite of dadagiri. This terminology has attracted the youth of the country and there were reports of people using Gandhigiri to solve problems that seemed impossible using the conventional methods.

Well then, is there an overdose of Gandhigiri? No, I would like a lot more people to adopt Gandhigiri and succeed in their missions, but let's stop and think what Gandhigiri is actually all about?

Gandhiji's methodology was innovative. Although its basis was ahimsa or non-violence, the implementation of every movement was very innovative. The Non-co-operation movement, Civil disobedience movement, the Dandi salt satyagrah all were treuly unique. Each method was in itself challenging the British, but they never knew a priori how Gandhiji would protest. That is the whole essence of Gandhigiri. Innovative, non-violent protests.

Cut to 2006, post Lage raho... We see Gandhigiri clubs mushrooming all over the country. But most of them have taken to the protest methodologies depicted in the movie. While Lage raho... writers must have spent a lot of time and energy in coming up with innovative ways of Gandhigiri the public is just immitating those methods. Until now, only two innovative methods have been witnessed. One in Pune, where the traffic rule violators were greeted with flowers or garlands by smiling Gandhigiri activists and presented a card stating that the person was felicitated for breaking traffic rules and henceworh vowes not to break those. This was an innovative way to make errants realise their crime.

Another incident in Pune, where the activists of a local political party protested against pathetic condition of a particular road in Pune. The craters on this Road, ironically near Gandhi-bhavan were filled with water and mosquitoes were breeding in that water. Despite protests and delegations, when the PMC did not get its act together, the party activists protested by releasing a particular species of fish that breeds on mosquito larvae, thus preventing further growth of mosquitoes. This is what I would call as innovative protest.

So, moral of the story is, Gandhigiri practitioners, get your act together, do not imitate Lage not imitate Gandhi, but be innovative in the ways you protest. Although, the basis of all such protests is non-violence.

Bolo Gandhigiri zindabad!!!
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Friday, October 06, 2006

Khushwant Singh on the youth of India

Picked up from Hindustan Times dated 7th October 2006. Kudos to Khushwant Singh !!

Original article can be view here

Requiem to Sabharwal

Full of brilliance, culture and
Our youth being brave and full of fight
The future of India is really bright.
Only occasionally, they murder their teacher
Normally, they only break furniture
They hold up traffic, fold up classes
They would like to be political leaders, corporate bosses
They must have money and fun
So, what if they have to use the gun
For, the election to the Union must be won.
They are inventive, enterprising and bright
Instant stardom is their right,
So well behaved they are, such pictures of courtesy
Because our society
Teaches them mercy, manners and morality,
They’re so peace-loving, patriotic, free from guile
Because we set such brilliant examples all the while,
So, we should be proud of what we have done
Because they are our, our very own children.
Khushwant Singh on the youth of IndiaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm beginning to like Sonia Gandhi

An article in the Hindustan Times ( a paper that I've recently subscribed to, because I got a good deal) carried the following headline-
Sonia effect: No farm land for SEZs
I'm grateful that Sonia Gandhi has made the government realize that industrial development does not and should not come at the cost of agriculture. After all, we need food to survive. None of us can survive on polymers or ancillaries or whatever the industries in the SEZs wish to produce and export. I strongly feel that a country is as strong as its agricultural community. Which means, I would prefer to see farmers making most of the land available to them by cultivating the right crop at the right time.
SEZs, meanwhile, can come upon land deemed unfit for agriculture. After all, they have to build structures which can come up on any type of land.

Another idea that struck me was formation of Agricultural SEZs. Why not try that out? Why don't some industrialists come forward for the creation of such SEZs and then enter into a contract with the farmers to produce a particular type of crop which will then be bought over and sold by the industry itself. Let's say industrial group X enters with farmers in a particular region to form an agricultural SEZ. The group will take responsibility of providing the necessary inputs to the farmers for the crop needed. For e.g. seeds, manure, fertilizers, etc. The group will over a period of time slowly develop irrigation facilities along with the government to cater to the irrigation needs of the farmers. It can also insure the crops against failure at better rates than the farmers themselves. This is because of the financial muscle that X would command. At the end of the harvest season, X will buy the produce, at competitive rates from the farmers, and sell it to retailers like Reliance, Pantaloon, etc. or to further food processing industries.

Slowly, the group can start giving financial help to the farmers at attractive rates to invest in better cultivation techonologies so as to improve farm yield. This would keep the farmer away from the clutches of the local money lender and also keep a tab on expenses. Group X can hire experts to get a feedback on how the area is performing in terms of yield.

There are more details to this issue, but I'd like to stop here. Organised farming can go a long way in developing food security for the country as well as a safe environment for the farmers to live and work. The caveat is that the group X should function with utmost integrity and not try to dupe or undermine the farmers.
I'm beginning to like Sonia GandhiSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, February 13, 2006

Of caricatures and paintings

A few days ago there were two protests that made news in India- a) The caricatures of prophet Mohammed and b) The potrayal of Bharat mata in the nude by M.F. Hussain. However, it is the reaction of the people to these protests which surprises me. While all of us would agree that it is wrong to hurt religious sentiments of Muslims by potraying the prophet in the manner he was, but isn't it true for all those who regard this country as their motherland? Please tell me which person in this world, who believes that clothing is essential for decency, would like his mother to be potrayed in the nude? Will M.F. Hussain himself ever paint his mother in the nude? Nafisa Ali, in an interview to CNN-IBN, said that Hussain's potrayal of Bharat mata is depicting the woman in her purest form. Well, then will Ms. Nafisa Ali herself start roaming around nude (although none of us would like this disgusting sight), or tell her female relatives to do so?

Another point to be looked out over here is the role of the media. On the issue of the Prophet's caricatures, the media is outrightly showing people making statements who say that it is an insult to Islam, etc. However, in the case of Hussain's painting, media is questioning it by saying that should art be censored and who has the right to decide what is correct or wrong? I ask why is the media not asking this question to the Muslims?

The last point worth noting is the kind of protests that went on. While Muslims all round the world rallied against the caricatures, and mostly staged violent protests, the protests of the Indians, not only Hindus, was very much muted. It was heard in the news for one or two days and then completely forgotten about. Hussain issued an apology, which the media made look like as if it was a very sincere one, and then no questions asked. What does this signify? Don't the Indians feel like making their protests known? I do not support violent protests, but should this not be made clear to people like Hussain that we would not tolerate any insults (whether subtle or direct) to any of our Gods/Godesses? It is question that all Indians should answer and respond by the best possible means they have
Of caricatures and paintingsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 13, 2006

Kamat Yatri Nivas

After living on hostel mess food, office cafeteria food and tiffin food, don’t we long to have food that is closely related to our homeland? For e.g., a Tam guy would be desperate for dosas, idly or pongal, a Maharashtrian desperate to have pohe or vada pav when thrown into alien land.

Why am I saying all this? I’m myself currently in this situation. Six months in Bangalore and I’ve been away from misal-pav, vada-pav and most importantly, the jowar bhakri and pithale (made from gram-flour). That is when the restaurant Kamat Yatri Niwas (KYN) came to my rescue. Situated in the heart of the city of Bangalore, this restaurant serves authentic jowar bhakri with brinjal (egg-plant) masala and other vegetables that are close to the Marathi style of cooking. They call it the North Karnataka meals but I find it way close to the Marathi style of cooking. Man, at least for the cooking style, north Karnataka should be merged with Maharashtra. Spacious and well ventilated, situated on the fourth floor of the KYN building, this restaurant is seriously a place where the entire north Kannadigas and Marathi crowd should go for a meal.

Enter the restaurant and you feel you have left Bangalore and literally come to north Karnataka. For the Marathi public, they’ve entered into Maharashtra. Why? The guys who serve the food dress in a white dhoti and brown cotton kurta, a common way of dressing in rural Maharashtra. Once seated, a fresh banana leaf is laid in front of you. And then in the true Indian style of serving food, each item in the menu is served. The serving begins with spring onions and methi, and then moves on to vegetables, curd, buttermilk and brinjal masala. Not to forget the koshimbir (salad mixture) and the chutnees. Once your “plate” is full with these, the star item of the lunch—the jowar bhakri—makes an appearance. The only drawback of the jowar bhakri is that it is rolled by the chapatti roller and not roll pressed by hand. However, considering the demand for the meals, you can accept this drawback. Eat as much as you like, no questions asked. I managed to consume seven bhakris before I felt like stopping. However, do not forget to eat rice, even if you want to eat a little bit. Rice and sambar, along with a generous serving of ghee is the near perfect way of finishing your meal. Finished? Well, if you are done eating, your bill will be presented to you. Not alone, but along with ‘pan’ and a banana. Thus bringing an end to a well-eaten and thoroughly enjoyable meal. Now, the best thing to do is to reach home and go off to sleep. One of the best things you can do on a Sunday afternoon.
Kamat Yatri NivasSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend