DICHOTOMY OF THOUGHTS (ON FAITH)

Without God’s will nothing moves. Without God’s sanction, nothing happens. Whatever happens – happens because it is God’s wish.

Therefore – whatever happens – happens for good.

But what good can we see in others’ suffering? But what good can we find in a world that is forced to suffer by the bad deeds of human – corruption, crime, terrorism, religious wars, civil wars, imperialism and so on? But what good can we feel on demise of someone close? But what good can be if we fail to find reasons within us for hostile happenings inflicted on us?

Nowhere is it more visible than at a temple, especially famous at temple attracting large number of devotees.

Faith brings us there – to a temple – to a place of worship. We go there for majority of reasons – with hope in mind that there is Someone to listen to us.

But when we see the system in the temple and around it (or at the place of worship), something that happened again with me, when I visited the Hanuman Temple in Connaught Place in Delhi, these questions spontaneously come to us.

There are people waiting for alms – for many, it forms an important, inseparable part of daily chores.

But then, there are other people as well – suffering – living sub-human lives.

The scenes at such God’s abodes can distract any conscious soul – forcing the rational mind to raise questions.

And the one answer that comes to mind is – atonement. Probably, that’s the God’s way to seek repentance.

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

LATE NIGHT SUPREME COURT HEARING SHOULD BE SEEN IN THIS CONTEXT

India may mean many things to many but one thing is common – it has a robustly functional democracy – a 2:30 AM hearing on Yakub Memon in the Supreme Court shows it.

Yes, Yakub Memon’s case is not going to be a beginning to undo the chasm and malaise that beset Indian democracy.

It is not going to address the problem of ‘legal remedy getting costlier’ and therefore being not available to the majority of the population.

India’s top court, in an unprecedented move, in a first, opened after midnight to hear someone who was going to die in next few hours after being given death sentence.

And the development is indeed a positive factors, is an indicator of how strong are democratic values – irrespective of the reasons working behind it.

The point is – India’s apex court worked on it – even after rejecting Yakub Memon’s last legal options just few hours earlier.

Yes, India’s democracy is ‘robustly functional’ because India is the world largest democracy and has been so for nearly 70 years in spite of multitudes of problems working overtime to drag it backward. Its future is rightly expected to keep positive promises to work for.

In fact, India is the only democracy in the world where large population groups of different religions coexist under a common Constructional administration. Yes, religion does give them some specific leverages but that is mostly individual in nature and doesn’t intervene with the nation’s governance.

Yes, it is daydreaming to expect that this unprecedented late night/early morning hearing by the Supreme Court is going to set a trend where people with such ‘extreme grievance conditions’ will be able to knock the apex court at any hour of the day.

Majority will simply not get the coordinates required – lawyers and round the clock coverage – that Yakub Memon got and that made it possible – something that made the apex court take cognizance of a late night plea to conduct a hearing.

Debates like ‘death penalty has no place in a civilized world’ have their own validity but we need to be equally sensitive to the issue that it is an endless debate between ‘being right’ in abolishing death penalty and ‘being justified’ in demanding harshest punishment to the perpetrators (including capital punishment).

And our democracy gives space to both, or even to them who are still not clear what is their viewpoint.

And the late night hearing by the Supreme Court on plea of Yakub Memon’s lawyers and by a battery of lawyers working to abolish the death penalty from Indian penal system should be seen in this context.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

DEATH SENTENCE: ENDLESS STRUGGLE BETWEEN BEING ‘RIGHT’ AND BEING ‘JUSTIFIED’ IN SPIRIT

Tomorrow is July 30 when Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s last rites will take place in his home town Rameswaram.

Tomorrow is also the day when Yakub Memon is scheduled to hang in Nagpur Central Prison for his role in 1993 Mumbai blasts.

With today’s hearings in the Supreme Court, all legal options available to Yakub came to an ‘almost’ end with the apex court refusing to stay or commute his death sentence.

‘Almost’ because while writing this, a news came that his lawyers filed another petition in the Supreme Court challenging decision of Maharashtra’s Governor to reject his mercy plea.

Now, we don’t know if what is going to happen this petition but while writing this, we can now say that the President has rejected Yakub’s mercy plea.

That means, now a miracle is needed to save Yakub from the gallows, about which we cannot say anything.

Yakub Memon’s hanging, no doubt, has become a political issue and each side, involved politically, is trying to get maximum political mileage from the ongoing, heated political debate that has swept the consciousness of the nation for the past two days, or on any recent day when there was an important hearing in the case.

But irrespective of the political debate, there is an intense human side to it – that is between the perpetrators and the victims.

Irrespective of people and advocates sparking debates on ‘abolishing death sentence’, victims would always, in almost cases (obviously there have been and there would be exceptions), demand harshest of the punishment for the criminals directly affecting their lives.

Advocates fighting to ‘abolish’ death sentence are right in their spirit.

Victims directly affected by the crimes are justified in their spirit in demanding death sentence.

And it is an endless struggle between ‘being right in their spirit’ and ‘being justified in their spirit’ and we, probably, are not mature enough as a society, to take a decision that would be in the larger interest of its members.

But, the heart is not feeling good on this decision – on the decision to hang Yakub Memon.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

‘RETURN IF POSSIBLE’ DR. KALAM

Now that is a desperate plea to someone departed who was so beloved. That is an expression that we so often hear in such moments.

It was expected to happen and it was so heartening to see it happening. I read this opinion and the poignant thoughts that followed from multitudes of voices.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s foremost scientist and human being, who was also India’s most unorthodox President in India’s recent political history, was the main news theme even today. And he is expected to be there tomorrow and the day after as well, in every mind, on every news agenda. His body will be flown to his home town Rameswaram tomorrow where his last rites will be performed on Thursday (July 30).

Dr. Kalam who curated and spearheaded India’s missile programme (and for that he is known as India’s Missile Man) and who was the main brain behind India’s nuclear tests in 1998, died yesterday while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong. Doctors later said it was a massive cardiac arrest and Dr. Kalam was brought dead to the hospital.

No one trusted when the news first broke in media and social media. For some time, there was no official confirmation. But it soon became clear that Dr. Kalam, who, it is said, left the Rashtrapati Bhavan with the same suitcase that he had come with, had left us. The eternal teacher who departed from this world while teaching his students had left his body at 84 after living a youthful life – that is a lesson for humanity.

But many were not ready to take this even if reactions and tributes started pouring in. They kept on praying for miracle. They kept on praying with ‘return if possible’ Sir, as I read it on many communication channels.

That tells why and how a man becomes larger than life. For Dr. Kalam, his nation, India, was before everything and he followed it in letter and spirit while leading a simple, honest and frugal life – a life full of achievements, achievements that helped India live its scientific prowess in space and defence sectors.

The teacher in him, the disciplinarian in a scientist, the optimist in a person, the rationalist in a politician and the visionary in a leader will always stay with us a spirit to guide many of us.

After all, India has stopped producing such souls for whom the whole nation, across religions and classes, mourns.

India has not seen such a uniform expression of universal shock and tribute in years and will not see in many coming years.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

A MAN LIKE DR. KALAM WOULD HAVE WANTED SUCH A DEPARTURE FROM THIS WORLD

Till 8 PM, it was the Gurdaspur terror strike, continuing its run that had begun at the daybreak. The terror attack that was on every airwave till 8 PM, was suddenly pushed to the backdrop with a shocking news.

Around 8 PM, the unconfirmed news of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s sudden demise in Shillong broke. Though it soon became clear that he was no more, it took some time to make the sad development official.

And once it was in, it swept the media outfits.

The news of sudden demise of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, the country’s missile-man, the scientist who spearheaded our coveted missile programme, the scientists who was among the best few human begins this nation has ever produced, came as a shock for everyone.

It was like for someone so close to us – that we first refuse to believe when it comes to such developments.

And we didn’t believe it. We found hard to believe it. Many of us who knew he was already dead before it was made official prayed for some miracle to happen.

But as the cliché goes that ‘miracles seldom happen in real life’ – the miracle we were praying for didn’t happen. Around 9 PM, Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted confirming his death and the flow of reactions that had begun some minutes ago, became an unstoppable flood – where everyone was adding to the sentiments.

How much nation (and its people) APJ Abdul Kalam was evident soon from the news agenda of the day that was driven by many personal feelings as well.

On a day, when India was again forced to handle a terror crisis that could have become another 26/11 for us (November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks), media and social media had nothing but reactions and tributes about Dr. Kalam. The coverage prime time onwards was only about Dr. Kalam. The flood that is growing strong with pouring tributes and is expected to be in the same vein tomorrow.

Such things make us feel proud, give us hope in moments of such despair when we suddenly feel crushed by developments like Dr. Kalam’s death.

He needed much more than tweets by the President and the Prime Minister of India. And indeed, they came first with their reactions on camera. Reactions of shock and dismay poured in from every quarter of people in India. From common people to politicians to business people to sports people to other fames names – heartfelt tributes flooded the channels of communication.

A man like Dr. Kalam would have always wanted such a departure from this world – an universal expression of love – driving people to react spontaneously – making them feel the pain.

On a day when India had an hours long terror crisis in Punjab, that it said was perpetrated by Pakistani terrorists, everyone, be of any religion, was one in pain on demise of Dr. Kalam, a Muslim. And that says why India’s secular credentials are so strong to stay here. After all, Dr. Kalam had famously said – “For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.”

The nation is proud of his legacy – that would always guide us. No other man, from any walk of Indian life, in the prevailing circumstances, can expect to get such an unbiased love that people expressing for him this night. His aura was truly transcendental that touched us all.

We are in mourning but the pain becomes bearable with the kind of universal tribute he is getting, that greats like him should get.

Some images from his Twitter page:

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©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SYMBOLS WERE SELF ASSERTIVE..

he morning was still fresh
The evening was wildly free
The night was in a rush to go
The day was like a thrilling ride

The joy was there to do more
The sense was lost in saying so
The call was pure to go along
With no reasons to stop midway

Life was groovy, like always
But it had added spice that day
To croon the songs afresh
Feeling that impulse in veins

The lyrics was post-modern
Kafkaesque in after-effects
Existing somewhere deep inside
Where ends blurred and melted

But the individual was prevailing
Love with self was wildly tamed
The dark corners were lit purple
The symbols were self assertive

Yesterday and tomorrow mingled
To shape a today that had wings
On a journey beyond this life
To read the texts as they were

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY 26/11 TRIAL OF SEVEN ACCUSED IN PAKISTAN IS A SHAM

Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi masterminded the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 with Hafiz Saeed. Pakistani courts have already allowed Hafiz Saeed to roam free even if he carries US$ 10 million bounty on his head by the US. For Pakistan, he is asocial activist sort of person. Lakhvi is LeT’s operations commander. He is also out on the bail due to the deliberate acts (conscious acts of negligence) of Pakistan.

The court in a sham trial, sham so far as the reasons behind adjournments show, is trying seven accused in the case – Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Mazhar Iqbal, Abdul Wajid, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Younis Anjum and Jamil Ahmed.

The adjournment chronology so far (that makes the whole trial a sham) – of a trial that began in early 2009:

July 23, 2015: An anti-terrorism court of Pakistan adjourned again the 26/11 trial of the seven accused in the Mumbai attacks case of November 26, 2008 to the next day as the judge was on leave.

July 16, 2015: The judge was on summer vacation.

July 8, 2015: The trial was adjourned till the next date as the judge was on leave.

May 13, 2015: The court adjourned the trial as the required documents were not presented.

December 3, 2014: The judge in the case was on leave as ‘he was not well’.

October 15, 2014: The judge trying the case was transferred – seventh one to be transferred in the case.

October 1, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave.

July 23, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave.

July 2, 2014: The trial adjourned as the prosecution lawyers did not appear.

June 25, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave. A PTI headline said the judge was ‘not feeling well’.

June 18, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

June 4, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

May 28, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

December 22, 2012: The trial was adjourned as defence and prosecution lawyers did not appear.

October 13, 2012: The judge was on leave – due to his health problems this time.

These are just few instances that show how negligent Pakistan has been about the Mumbai attacks trial. Most of the time, either the judge is on leave or the lawyers don’t appear in a case that drew global outrage. Barack Obama even warned Nawaz Sharif on the slow pace of 26/11 trial in Pakistan.

The trial that began more than six years ago has reached nowhere – because it is intended to so. Empty rhetoric and denials are Pakistan’s favourite pastime in the case.

Continuing the tradition, after a much talked about Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif joint statement on July 10 in Ufa, the Russian city where BRICS and SCO summits where held, Pakistan again made a U-turn saying the evidence provided in the case so far by India was of no use.

For long, India has been demanding voice samples of the accused and it reflected in the joint statement as well. But Pakistan didn’t react the next day when Lakhvi’s lawyer said his client won’t give his voice samples. Echoing Pakistani establishment sentiments, a prosecution lawyer in the case further said Lakhvi’s voice samples were not admissible in the court.

Pakistan was always looking to water down the case. The developments in the case so far and the latest developments only confirm this.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

INDIA’S AGRICULTURE MINISTER COUNTS ‘LOVE AFFAIRS AND IMPOTENCY’ AMONG REASONS BEHIND FARM SUICIDES

Now this is really crass and sounds blasphemous when it comes from the Agriculture Minister of India.

India is the world’s largest democracy.

It is also the world third largest economy.

It is now the fastest growing economy of the world.

It is also projected to have the world largest share of middle class by 2030, a ‘must’ market for transnational corporations and economies.

It is the founder member of the New Development Bank of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping, an important global block of emerging economies with potential to drive the world economy (and the geopolitics). It also joined Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this month.

It is a proven global power in space technology.

Its information-technology industry is among the best in the world.

India is being seen as a true global power. Nations across the globe are accepting it. Suddenly, Pakistan is no match for India. Until now, the comparison has been about how China is far ahead of India – especially on economic indicators – and therefore, the development they bring. Now, the analyses are mostly about how China is slowing down and saturating and how India is poised to become the next global economic powerhouse.

It has had a Narendra Modi led government since May 2014 that is seen excelling in promoting Brand India on different global platforms.

But, in spite of the all the claims and realities, India is still an agrarian economy – with number of people dependent on it.

But, in spite of employing some 55% of the populations, agriculture’s share in the national GDP has shrunk to just 14%.

In spite of the fact that GDP has expanded and services and manufacturing have major shares now, the share of people dependent on agriculture has not come down in that large a proportion. It means a GDP contributor that has seen consistently reduced pie in the overall chart has much more people to support than other sectors of economy. If we follow the simple logic of ‘supply and demand’, ‘supply’ of people dependent on agriculture has far outdone their demand for a resource that is growing scare in, i.e., land area has remained the same but has always been cursed to support an ever increasing number of population directly dependent on it. That leaves most of its dependents in a perpetual state of instability, i.e., farmers.

Growth in the number of agricultural labourers since the independence has surpassed that of cultivators by a large margin. India had around 70 million cultivators in 1947 while agriculture labourers were at around 27 million. But in 2011, agricultural labourers surpassed cultivators by around 26 million (118 million cultivators to 144 million labourers).

P. Sainath writes that some 2035 farmers lose their ‘cultivator status’ daily. They obviously join the class of landless farmers or agricultural labourers.

Every year, thousands of farmers are forced to commit suicide due to financial problems and dependent social evils. And it has been an unending black spot on India for decades. Unseasonal rains during first few months of this year forced more than a thousand farmers to take their lives in Maharashtra alone.

In spite of all its economic advances and industrial growth, India has not been able to address many glaring sociological gaps prevalent in the country.

In spite of its increasing global stature, India is yet to find a way to address its increasing social disparity, the widening gap between haves and have-nots.

India has still hollow and questionable answers to debates like ‘India Vs Bharat’, Metro India Vs Small Town India and Urban India Vs Hinterland India’.

And the ways to the way go through our political establishment, elected to run the country, since the first elections were held after the independence.

And when a minister from that political establishment, from an elected government, expresses such insensitive remarks, we feel so low – the nation, once again, is forced to feel that India would never be able to bridge its ‘class gaps’ with such policymakers.

And Radha Mohan Singh’s is not a standalone case.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

AAP SHOULD NOT HAVE APPOINTED SWATI MALIWAL

In ‘an acceptance of defeat sort of way’ that was heavy on political overtures (intended to play ‘victim card’), Arvind Kejriwal, the chief-minister of Delhi, requested today that the Lieutenant-Governor should not shut the Delhi Commission of Women office – as he, ‘the elected chief minister of Delhi’ was accepting defeat.

He requested that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi should allow the Delhi government to function and should stop trying to rule Delhi through the L-G. His party even put advertisements for it in different parts of Delhi – from its Rs. 526 crore ‘kitty’ of advertising blitzkrieg.

What is happening in Delhi is the same old story, story that has become routine in Delhi’s political and social circles, a story that began on February 14, 2015 – a story of consistent downfall from the high pedestal of ‘claims to change the face of politics’.

And the latest development in the ongoing ‘Kejriwal Vs L-G or Kejriwal Vs Delhi Police or Kejriwal Vs Bassi or Union Government Vs Delhi Government’ series is no exception.

Every such development, every such move by the Aam Aadmi Party puts it in even more negative light because it the party had claimed to cleanse the politics of its malaise, had blamed others to be deep into corruption and impropriety. When Arvind Kejriwal and some other leaders of the hugely successful 2011 anti-corruption movement were announcing their political outfit, they had promised to remain common men. When they were canvassing for votes, their messages were packaged around needs of the common man.

Ideally, for a party following the line of probity in its every deed, any act that smokes even a little of impropriety should be an avoidable act. In fact, such acts must be avoided at any cost.

And so, the Aam Aadmi Party should not have appointed Swati Maliwal as the DCW chief in the first place – leave alone the ongoing battle with the L-G over the issue.

Complaints of senior AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti are already with the DCW and they have been issued summons. The organization that was being run like a ‘kitty party’ as Swati Maliwal alleges, had termed ‘Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti anti-social elements’.

And Swati Maliwal is related to that Aam Aadmi Party. She is wife of the AAP leader Naveen Jaihind. She has advised Arvind Kejriwal on different issues and has been associated with him for almost a decade now.

Ideally, on that ground, that makes a perfect case of conflict of interest, the AAP should not have even proposed her name.

But such a move could have been expected only from a party that followed principles of probity in every act – and the AAP of the day is not that party. The AAP leaders speak of principles but desist in following them in their acts.

It is a sad episode, again, of Indian politics – for Indian democracy – for its spirit to experiment with political options.

Arvind Kejriwal’s media advisor Nagendar Sharma today tweeted on Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi’s interview – “Was there a conflict of interest in @aajtak interview of Delhi Police Commissioner? Just asking!”.

I usually don’t write back on tweets but I wrote on it – “Wasn’t there conflict of interest in Swati Maliwal’s appointment? Complaints on Kumar Viswas and Somnath Bharti?”

As expected, Mr. Sharma didn’t answer.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE FILM WAS UTTER RUBBISH, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT HELD ME..

COLORES INFINITUM

The film was utter rubbish, to the extent that it held me with my television to watch it – a movie in a South Indian language, dubbed in Hindi – as is the norm on Hindi language movie channels these days.

As happens in one of the main plots of masala films, the hero is an honest government official. He advises villagers, in this case (the movie’s), not to deal with the villain and his gang. The rowdy, ruthless villain, who does illegal things with his illicit empire, however succeeds in duping villagers in connivance with a corrupt justice and a cocky lawyer. `

He buys their land at a low price. The very next day the corrupt judge orders higher prices, the market price which the villain had suppressed from coming into public domain, for the piece of land that makes the villain rich by truckload of money.

Villagers, after hearing the court’s order, feel cheated, and approach the main protagonist, the hero, apologising for ignoring his ‘cautionary remarks’ earlier. After a routine display of friendly displeasure, the hero takes up their case. He files complaint against the villain and the parties involved in this duplicitous land deal.

Obviously, as the plot demands, it unnerves the hooligans involved. They hatch a conspiracy. System is with them – corrupt elements of judiciary and police.

I skipped the movie after it as I had some other work. When I came back, the plot angle showing the ultimate supremacy of the villain was to begin. With a truckload of goons and with system in his pocket, gang of the villain raids the hero’s house. Due to his terror, no one in the village comes forward to help the family.

They chain the hero with a tree in his compound. Ladies of the family are subjected to all heinous crimes possible. Hero’s son and father are made to serve the gang with all their demands, including fetching alcoholic liquor for them.

Days go on, with the hero remain strapped to the tree. His beard goes dense and dishevelled, like his whole countenance has become.

After perpetrating more than enough of their barbarities and inflicting severe humiliation on the family, the gang leaves, believing the hero is more than subdued by this time.

Now, the supremacy of their villainous events end here. The plot needs the final act by the hero – taking revenge – killing all those who are responsible for his family’s condition.

His father unchains him from the tree and after routine emotional expressions (shots), he goes straight on the job. He kills the local policemen who were co-opted by the villain – in open public. He is then shown in a jail as he kills the local police station chief outside a police station. There, a senior police officer, who is with the villain, tries to kill the hero. But the hero beats him and is shown climbing up the straight, plastered wall of the jail. The villainous police officer chases him. He follows him on the wall which the hero is shown climbing like a lizard.

The upper periphery of the wall has iron angles charged with electric current. But the current doesn’t affect the hero – a plot requirement I think – while the villainous policeman, who is trying to grab the hero by pulling him down, is thrown away by its shock. And the hero easily escapes.

There, outside the jail, he meets a good samaritan sort of policeman. After the hero pleads, the righteous policeman is shown allowing him to go on his revenge course.

The final moments of the film’s climax begin here. One by one, the hero kills every member of the villain’s gang behind his family’s devastation. The main villain – as the plot requires – is the last one. And as the plot requires – the hero goes on a killing spree in open – and he is supported by children and adults, including his son.

In the end – as the movie requires, keeping its viewers in mind – the hero goes back to the ‘good samaritan policeman’ to surrender.

And as the plot requires – keeping in mind the sentiments of its audience – the ‘good samaritan policeman’ refuses to ‘arrest the hero and send him to the gallows’.

And as happens with a South Indian movie, the hero is shown possessing superhuman powers in this movie also. He is not show physically beaten even when he stands chained to the tree in his house. He is shown mentally and physically superior and as the plot needs – he is also a powerhouse of emotions – and his course doesn’t follow the basic course of logic.

The audiences need his superiority to win in the end – and as written – he wins.

That is one of the typical South Indian masala flicks based on a ‘revenge plot’.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/