ONCE, THERE WAS A PERCEPTION CALLED MANMOHAN SINGH

Manmohan Singh’s biography on the official website of the prime minister of India says about him: India’s fourteenth Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh is rightly acclaimed as a thinker and a scholar. He is well regarded for his diligence and his academic approach to work, as well as his accessibility and his unassuming demeanour.

There is nothing much to decipher about Manmohan Singh. There is nothing left to decipher about Manmohan Singh after his absolute fall from the ‘high of the apolitical and honest brand name of 2004’, during his second term as the prime minister of India.

Still, let’s see him and his integrity in the context of today’s developments; an integrity that is more fragmented than ever before.

A television news channel broke the news at around 1:55 PM that Manmohan Singh was studying the Supreme Court’s observations against his government on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) affidavit on sharing the Coalgate probe status report with the government and would later come up with his response.

The Coalgate, a mammoth coal block allocation scam, in making over the years but precipitated during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)’s regimes with maximum coal block allocations, is being probed by the CBI. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in September 2012 involved the Supreme Court in the ongoing case. In March this year, the SC asked the CBI not to share the Coalgate investigation reports with the political executives.

And today’s observations by the SC that made the ‘thinker’ in Manmohan Singh to say that he was studying the apex court’s observations, is just the tip of an iceberg that, no doubt given the developments in the case till now, is going to throw big dirt on the sham of the UPA government and Manmohan Singh when the CBI submits its detailed affidavit in the SC on May 6 furnishing full details, naming persons and footnoting the changes describing the level of intervention by the political executive (Manmohan Singh’s government) in a clear case of vested interests and law-subversion.

But, beware, though you are already aware, that we are going to have a similar response from Manmohan Singh even then, shirking every responsibility, belittling the norms of democracy and shattering the notions of personal integrity and political sanctity.

So, the ‘thinker’ in Manmohan Singh pushed him to say, at 1:55 PM today, that he was studying the SC observations.

But the ‘scholar’ in him has got stuck somewhere in the ‘thinking’ mode it seem as it is over nine hours, while writing this, and we are yet to see what the studious assignment of Mr. Manmohan Singh has resulted in as Mr. Manmohan Singh is yet to come out with his ‘observations’ on the SC observations directly questioning his moral grounds putting him and his government in the dock. This all is happening on a day when there is a need of immediacy in responding to the SC’s remarks.

It simply tells us Manmohan Singh doesn’t bother about such questions of ‘moral sanctity’ and he is like any other politician of the political class that just doesn’t care for the values of democracy.

The prime minister’s website describes his academic credentials from Cambridge to Oxford but we need to find the source institution where this sort of ‘scholarship’ is a norm making the students immune to every criticism even if it is rightly targeted at them and intended to push them to take the corrective measures.

It is not a sad and black day for Manmohan Singh. It is a sad and black for the Indian democracy and its common man.

No politician is easily accessible in India. It cannot be said what does the website mean by ‘well regarded for his accessibility’? It has been written about a person who chooses not to speak when the whole country expects him to speak on a day like this after the highest court of the land makes scathing remarks against his government.

The country had expected in 2004 that the apolitical Manmohan Singh would prove a genuine politician and would serve the country differently, honestly. But all that is shattered now. Before becoming even a politician, he drifted to become one among the insensitive political class mascots of the day.

On political level, even after today’s development in the SC, nothing would move. Reports at the moment say that the government is firmly behind the Minister of Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar who is the front of the government’s manipulation machinery in the Coalgate probe by the CBI. Even on April 26, when the CBI Director Ranjit Sinha had admitted in the apex court of sharing the probe report with the political executives despite SC’s restrictive orders, Manmohan Singh was very prompt in defending his minister saying there was no question of his resignation.

The country had not expected this ‘diligence’ and it is certainly not an ‘unassuming behaviour’.

He is at the centre of criticism. He has been at the centre of whirlwind criticism. He is at the centre of political satire and jokes. His silence and selective responses on the monumental corruption cases by the colleagues of his government implicate him fairly. And this all is a well established line of discussion now.

Once, reading stuff on Manmohan Singh like that in the initial lines of his personal profile at his official website sounded good. But who knew then that it was driven more by the perception of yore. It started fizzling out as Manmohan’s term in the prime-ministerial office changed the calendar dates with rising corruption of unimaginable scales.

Manmohan Singh is failing India. Manmohan Singh is failing its common man.

Once, there was a perception called Manmohan Singh.

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

DOES FAITH HAVE TO BE VALIDATED?

Does god need to be validated on the benchmark of faith?

To answer this (only for those who seek it, for god and faith for most happens to be a zone of no questions taken), one needs to first clear what he means by god.

Do you see god as your inner voice who speaks through the soul or something who is not from among us?

Does god mean the faith that you have in following a righteous way of life where you see the other human beings as equal to you; where you see every living being as creation of the nature which you are just a part of?

If not seeing, do you believe that you need to feel god; do you feel the need to hear his voice coming from inside of you, of others?

There are many, many things beyond human conscience, human conscious and human understanding.

Do you see hand of god in all of them or resort to the logic of logical reasoning?

Do you accept them as ‘wish of god’ or work on to expand your conscious by exploring the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’?

There come moments in life when we come to question god’s existence based on the developments we see around us. There are the moments when our faith is shaken and we are forced to question the very basis of harmony in our lives – the existence of god or the faith in ‘being’.

It is an abstract process that how we come to throw the doubts that creep-in after a moment of crisis in our lives or elsewhere in the world where we don’t find any plausible reason and question or blame god for it. But most of us regain faith in this way only.

Here, we do not validate our faith. We validate our total dependence on god. We validate the process of inheritance of faith.

Faith, then, is not evolved. Rather, it is copied.

The concept of god or faith has never to be a blind-following. True, there are many concepts beyond life; there are many developments beyond reasoning. But, that never prevents one to act logical.

Accepting the existence of something that is beyond the existing realm of the human senses has to follow the same path of logic and questioning. It should never be based on what has been said or written if we truly want to establish ‘a bond of harmony’ with our ‘god or faith’.

God is not to be feared. God is to be embraced.

If god is not to be doubted (though many events of crisis create moments of doubt), he is to be questioned. Through questioning only and through the subsequent introspection and retrospection, one can get rid of the moments of doubt.

He believes in god and he doesn’t believe in god. There are many moments in his life he cannot find a reason why they had to happen. He has failed to make his ‘self’ understand how his god could allow it to happen to him.

There are many who face the situation he is in. He cannot say and should not say anything about others but he is sure he needs answers.

Yes, he still needs to validate his faith. He needs to believe in god but he doesn’t know how.

But he knows he doesn’t need a copied faith.

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

IN A STATE OF THOUGHTLESSNESS..

The state of thoughtlessness is sometimes the most thought-provoking state of mind when we, all of a sudden, come across to the keys to the answers, we were seeking for long.

There are questions in life the answers of which are already with us, lying somewhere in the conscious.

The solutions to those answers do navigate in our subconscious thought process. But in a state of inundated thoughts, the extensions, the thought elements of different aspects of our lives, intertwine to make the clarity intermittently indistinct at the level of conscious, preventing us to feel the separation and dependence of one aspect of life from the other; preventing us to see one answer from the other.

And consequently the answers to the problems (or the questions) acquire multi-dimensional character creating a sort of inertia where we increasingly look for the solution, a way out anyhow, and fail to question us for the answer that we needed.

Problems create questions. The lives we live make them multi-character and hence unclear or vaguely clear. When questions persist over a period of time, we start demonizing them and seek to run away from when what we need is the ‘answer’ and not a ‘compromised solution’.

In a state of thoughtlessness, when most of the thoughts are killed temporarily and the intertwined extensions lose their character and dissolve, we have the opportunity to realize the clarity when the answers unravel the keys to them.

In a state of thoughtlessness, in some undefined, abrupt moments, our thoughts are provoked by one dominant aspect of that moment when other persons in us recruit to take a backseat.

But, getting to the state of thoughtlessness is a craft seldom mastered at.

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

PAIN AND RELATIVITY OF EMOTIONS

It’s better to look inside than to run aimlessly when pain afflicts you. Handling it positively is the reminder that you are still in the league of independent souls, and have not become the mere pawns of fate, destiny or compromised existence.

Like most of the emotions in life, pain, too, is a feeling, relative in its impact (except in cases of death, where it is absolute, beyond control, beyond counseling).

This relativity is directed to and directed by the ‘inner us’, that leads us to develop the way we communicate with the life.

The ‘inner us’ is guided by the way we look at life and it, in turn, helps us to create and follow a trajectory.

Most of the things in life are interrelated and so are the emotions. Most of the events that look and feel standalone could lead to something and could have resulted out of something. Yes, there are exceptions. But exceptions are not the rule. Isn’t it?

As a natural corollary, we develop a mental faculty that explores (desirably or undesirably) links to the events happening in our lives.

If it is positive, it adds positively. But if the self-initiated sensory process of visiting and revising the past or the probabilities comes out to be negative, it makes living miserable. It adds to the gloom. It compounds the pain. It creates pain where pain had not to be. It adulterates feelings.

Once its starts happening, it creates a chain of similar feelings overtaking the person. And it leads to escapism where one runs away from the pain, compromising the independence that one had, killing the identity one wanted to be, overriding the ‘person’ one needed to be. The person becomes prisoner of the pain when he needed to master it. Pain suppresses his learning when he has to learn from it to handle it effectively the next time anything similar happens.

So, the interrelation involves risk. And if it involves ‘past or probabilities’ associated with painful memories or pain-evoking prospects, the risk level magnifies significantly.

If living is also about learning to handle and mitigate the elements of risk, one needs to learn and master the ‘dependence of these interrelations’. Pain is not good. But it is not always monstrous, as an escapist mind traces it.

One needs to learn how to segregate the interrelations; how and when to look at the interrelated moments and events as their standalone counterparts.

If one learns this basic tenet that governs the ‘relativity of emotions’, he can kill or can effectively deal with the pain learning and growing from it. And for this, one needs to go inside, to talk to the ‘inner him’.

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

ELIE WIESEL’S NIGHT: DARK SIDE OF THE MAN THAT CAN KILL MILLIONS

Writing about ‘Escape from Camp 14’ reminded me about Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’, the memoir, that details out THE DEGENERATION OF LIFE in the Nazi concentration camps. A classic that I visit to, again and again.

While ‘Escape from Camp 14’ is about the journey of a man, born and forced to live an animal life, finding the human in him; ‘Night’ is about how a man, born to lead a human life, is forced to a life worse than of animals.

NightWiesel

Book cover of ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel, sourced from the Internet 

At over 120 odd pages (the Penguin India edition that I have), the ‘slim’ ‘Night’ numbs you by the simple words of confusion about life, faith, death and relations as told by a young Elie Wiesel reflecting the tormenting days of his life in different concentration camps including Auschwitz and Buchenwald.

‘Night’ begins normally with observations of a teenager about a quiet Jewish countryside in a remote town Sighet, under Hungary’s occupation then. It tells how a typical Jewish family lives there, how a boy dutifully tries to be religiously observant, how the community there feels insular to the outside world’s activities and concerns, currently under a world war, believing that it cannot reach them.

‘Night’ exposes the inherent human weakness – clinging to the very last of the failing hope that the god would come and exercise some miracle – we see it in Elie’s father when he believes that something could still be worked out when almost of the Jewish community is already sent to Auschwitz; we see it later on as the memoir progresses when Jews in the concentration camps think every now and then about the world war coming to an end praying the god; we see it in the escapist thoughts when the Jews of Sighet initially take German soldiers as good Samaritans even if their every freedom is curtailed the very day German soldiers arrive in the town; we see it on every such occasion when the characters of this memoir think that they are not going to be gassed and sent to then crematorium whenever they get a comparatively lesser fiendish a guard.

‘Night’ is representative of the dark side of man that can poison and kill millions. Millions of Jews were gassed, burned and exterminated in furnaces and ‘Night’ tells that sordid tale through the eyes of the teenager Elie who struggles with his conscience first, about his trust in god that he finds incoherent with the acts beginning the day they board the cattle train to Auschwitz, and grows on to degenerate into the cattle mentality of surviving anyhow even if it means sacrificing your father and shapes into the ultimate distrust in anything like god – what else can be expected when someone becomes mute spectator to the Nazi killing machine of Hitler’s Germany – the ‘Selection’ of humans as animals gassing and burning them in thousands daily. Elie survived the months in the concentration camps while living near to those crematoriums.

‘Night’ is just not a Holocaust literature; it is also a sensitive book on a father-son relation. ‘Night’ tells us the internal struggle of human conscience when Elie writes about that ‘night’ that changes all. The night they board the train makes their human comrades inhuman at they very go – the way his community people beat the old woman crying consistently after her family is taken away. No sympathy – just the savagery of the jungle to survive – that ‘night’ began it. Elie watches himself change. Though he remains very much a father’s son, father being his only symbolic emotive quotient and support throughout the captive life, he thinks at occasions of his father as burden, only to blame himself the next moment. There come moments when he watches his old, frail father being brutally beaten by the guards but tries to avoid the eye contact.

And the teenager Elie was just one life out of the millions in the concentration camps, who thought like this; who inherited this internal war for the years to come; who got unending ‘night’ hours imprinted in their conscious to haunt them.

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

ANSWERS, LIFE SEEK..QUESTIONS, YOU POSE

A lonely journey, a standalone moment, a simple incident, can sometime tell you what you were always looking to know.

Life is just not about existing. It goes beyond the existentialism. It calls for building on your own credentials. It calls for fighting and fighting to win.

It calls for creating your own set of rules where you don’t lose questions and where you don’t act impulsively for answers.

Answers, sometimes, they are never there; sometimes, they cannot be.

Answers, sometimes, they take time to get into your stream, to make it to your psyche.

Answers, sometimes, they are there only, but you cannot see.

In lonely moments, when you are just with your ‘self’, sometimes, you come to realise how cruel you were to torture your soul for the answers that didn’t need any questioning at the very outset.

Or, they can tell you it was better to reconcile and co-exist with a question.

Life throws problems to test your mettle and to tell you the intent of the presence of people in your sphere of life.

When you make a life socially, you are many ‘persons’, interacting with the ‘people’ who form your social circle that includes your family, too.

The answers that you seek, originate from your own existence as well as from the existence of these very ‘people’ in your sphere of life.

You might not get all the answers but you must seek the root of the questioning that originates the propositions.

You must strive for answers that your own ‘self’ creates, for they make the principal ingredients of your identity.

You must always be judicious while seeking answers that the other ‘people’ (except your family members) in your sphere of life create for you because many are not going to hold any relevance except dragging you down.

You come to realise the value of relevance of such questions in the lonely moments when you can question your ‘self’ seeking the absence of the answers and a simple moment of afterthought tells you the root of the questioning itself is already uprooted.

In the standalone moments of self-reckoning you come to know the questions were to be seen as the passing moments on your existential scale and you needed to be free of impulses to be in line with the intent of the answers.

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

THE JOY OF SMALL – YOUR LIFE HAS TO BE BASICALLY ABOUT YOU

A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. ‘What are you doing, son?’ the man asks. ‘You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.’

The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. ‘It sure made a difference to that one,’ he said.

This is a Hawaiian parable that I have taken here from Half The Sky: How To Change The World, (Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn), a thought provoking work on women slavery and stories of those who stood up to set examples.

The parable with its simple yet stunningly powerful words tells us what most of us lack in the life – lack of attention, a deficient attachment and the lack of understanding – in living the joy of the ‘small’ to make the thing that you see as ‘the’ big goal in your life, that again may be very mundane for other.

But remember, it is your life and it has to be basically about you.

I am not going to write about the book here that quotes many stories that dumbfound us before showing the possibility to crack the code to a solution. Read it and form your own opinion.

Life is in smaller moments; smaller moments that has the potential to make the person of ‘you’. You don’t launch on the final stretch of the journey directly and life is certainly not a sprint race.

It is basically not about making grand plans and researching and restructuring your life to make sense of it.

It is always before your, within you, waiting to be looked at, longing to be taken care of.

It is basically about how you perceive your presence here; how you perceive the every moment that passes.

It is basically about whether you follow the escapist in you or the fighter in you.

It is basically about the cliché that goes saying whether you see the glass half-filled or half-empty.

It is basically about whether you follow your voice or buy more of others.

It is basically about whether you express your thoughts genuinely, be it joy or anger or sorrow or pain or humiliation, and not paint them up or down under any pressure or compromise.

It is basically about whether you see the other person, who so every he may be, as equal to you.

It is basically about whether you treat the others the way you expect them to treat you.

It is basically about doing your bit honestly for the life given to you and making it a natural part of your existence, like the boy in this parable reacted to the question of the man.

It is basically about giving respect to the life in its entirety for giving you the chance to make your living felt by the others.

It is basically about realizing this feeling and living your life in a straight forward way not compromising with your ideals that you set for yourself.

Living a life on your terms is experiencing the life in the smaller moments that give us the moments of self-satisfaction and echoing memories of self-reflection.

The sum total of the experiences that you live in the smaller moments make the larger picture of your life making you ready for the next.

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

YET ANOTHER GANGRAPE, SENTIMENTS BOIL, BUT SUSHIL KUMAR SHINDE AND NEERAJ KUMAR SHIRK THE RESPONSIBILITY, YET AGAIN!

AND THEY ARE SYMPTOMATIC OF THE INSENSITIVE POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY

People had to take to the streets again. The public sphere is evolving spontaneously. People are reacting spontaneously against atrocities, again and again, post the anti-corruption movement of Anna Hazare.

A 5-year old minor was raped and brutalized in Delhi, again. While protests were raging, more cases of rape were reported. Statistics say rape is the fastest growing crime in India.

True, it’s a mindset problem. But, than cannot absolve the police and government of their own follies, of not being honest with their responsibility, of not being sincere with their commitment, of not being human enough to understand the pain of the fellow human who is being victimized.

A gangrape last year, on December 16, that took life of a 23-year old girl, named Nirbhaya by us, who fought with the rapists and struggled with death for many days, stirred the humanity. Her fight, her plight, crime against Indian women and the larger issue of women rights in India made the whole world participate in the process of discussion.

But that was for the humanity, not for the Indian politicians it seems. Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde, responsible for internal security of the country and directly overseeing the administration of the Delhi Police, and the administrative machinery like the Delhi Police run by the politicians like Shinde, compel us to think so, again and again.

Criticised for comparing young protesters with Maoists in the aftermath of the December Delhi 2012 gangrape, the home minister of India let his lieutenant at the helms of the Delhi Police affairs have a free run despite glaring lapses by the Delhi Police during and after the crime was perpetrated.

A police security lapse let the bus ply on the road when it had previously robbed someone on the same stretch of the road on the same day, in the same time-band. A police functionality lapse delayed the access to the speedy treatment to the victim. A police functionality lapse denied the victim the best possible treatment that was her right. These two lapses coupled with Union and Delhi governments’ delayed decision-making in shifting the victim to a renowned hospital later proved fatal for her.

Shinde was as much responsible for it as was Mr. Neeraj Kumar. But both remained unaffected and unmoved as if nothing had happened when both needed to take moral and functional responsibilities for the lapses. They both needed to have stepped down. Okay, proposing this might sound unusual in the Indian political and bureaucratic set-up of the day but is this not the way the healthy and progressive democracies are supposed to function?

What Shinde and Neeraj Kumar had done during the December 2012 gangrape and protests, they are doing it again.

Administration is slapping protesters, is shutting Delhi Metro stations and is imposing Section 144 like it had one in December 2012. Neeraj Kumar, who had compared human lives as collateral damage then, is lauding his police force, a police force that tries to discourage the complainants, a police force that slaps innocent protesters, a police force that frames innocent youngsters for murder, a police force that offers bribe to the victim to suppress the issue even if his daughter is raped and mortally wounded.

Even after all this, Mr. Kumar doesn’t bother to face the nation and when he does so, after four days of the incident, he speaks in his ‘human lives as collateral damage’ style saying it is impossible to prevent all the rape cases.

And Mr. Neeraj Kumar cannot say and do all this without approval of his boss, Mr. Shinde.

And Mr. Shinde cannot allow all this to happen without approval of his bosses, the power-centre duo of the United Progressive Alliance government.

And it tells us India is not a healthy democracy because it is us who have elected the likes of Shinde to run the System made for us. We are failing again and again in electing our representatives.

But again, it is an increasing strength from among us that is realizing this and is raising voices to warn the political and administrative system. Increasing number of spontaneous protests on issues of social concerns is a living example to it.

If the Indian democracy is still progressive, it is due to the people who are accessing and processing information and are propagating it independently for those who cannot (their living conditions) or who do not (comfortably ignorant) understand the relevance of being and act informed.

Any democracy needs to perform the tasks that will make it a just and fair society. But an overpopulated country, burdened with poverty, illiteracy and medieval social thinking prevalent in its larger swathes, that India is, finds it in a deadlock with an inept and corrupt political and bureaucratic class lording over it; overloading over it.

True, society is to share the blame. Rape and other crimes against women need the mindset change to address the issue. But we are a sick society of millions. No one can say how and when the change would come. And at the same time, we cannot allow them to happen shielding behind statements like ‘it is humanely impossible to prevent rape cases where relatives, neighbours or friends are involved’ as Neeraj Kumar said or statements like ‘such incidents are reported from other parts of country also’ as Shinde said.

These logics do stand their ground. No one is questioning that. But what about the action in the aftermath; an action (and an action needed every time) that sets a precedent, that works as a deterrent, not just for the criminals but also for the erring officials and the politicians of the administration and the political system, an action (every time) that remains to be seen.

There were big talks after the massive protests against the December 2012 Delhi gangrape promising speedy justice setting deadlines like one month or two months. But it is over five months now and the final verdict is nowhere in sight. No one is even talking about it now.

A rule of law and order based on democratic values becomes the only hope in such a dark underbelly of human delinquency.

But what if the people tasked to handle the law and order machinery on democratic values start using it to subvert the democratic values?

That is exactly what is happening in India. What else can we say and should we say?

We are left with nothing else but this to say when the governments don’t find the incidents like the December 2012 Delhi gangrape or now the Gudiya gangrape or the police cover-up attempts in such cases or the subsequent multifold rise in the rape cases in the same city even after the big curative promises were made reasons enough to take curative steps.

Mr. Manmohan Singh, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Mr. Rahul Gandhi (this time too, you are yet to speak on it), Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde and Mr. Neeraj Kumar – if your governance and you administration cannot stop the rape, then who will?

See! We elect them to help us. WHY?

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

YET ANOTHER RAPE SHAME IN DELHI AND YET ANOTHER SUHSIL KUMAR SHINDE MOMENT

Any democracy needs to perform the tasks that will make it a just and fair society. But an overpopulated country, burdened with poverty, illiteracy and medieval social thinking prevalent in larger swathes, that India is, finds it in a deadlock in the political and bureaucratic class lording over it; overloading over it.

Again, a Sushil Kumar Shinde development, who had compared the young protesters of Delhi with Maoists and had justified the brutal police crackdown during the human surge of December 2013 protesting the gangrape of the 23-year old brave-heart, puts it in legible and understandable terms.

After this recent Delhi rape where a 5-year old girl was abducted, raped and was left to die by her neighbour and where Shinde’s Delhi Police tried to cover-up the case as it had tried to do in the December 2013 gangrape case, reports say that Neeraj Kumar, the Delhi Police Commissioner, might face the heat finally.

On questions of the Delhi Police Commissioner’s removal, Shinde replied, “I have ordered an inquiry into the two recent incidents- what happened to Mamata Banerjee at the Planning Commission and the case of some people entering my house. Action will be taken against those found responsible for it.”

How pathetic is that statement in the context of the larger issue – police failure in providing security, police cover-ups in rape cases like this!

Sad it is!

Shinde did not name Neeraj Kumar here. But that is not the question. The big and doomed irony is in Shinde’s statement.

Why couldn’t he say that the government was serious in the overhauling the police machinery after increasing reports of police apathy in handling rape cases and other women related crimes?

Why couldn’t he say that the government was serious for an overhaul after reports of cover-up attempts by the Delhi Police emerged?

Why couldn’t he say that the government was serious for an overhaul as he, like us, the Manmohan’s aam aadmi, was equally shocked by the police mindset reflected in a senior Delhi Police official slapping an innocent protesting girl?

Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and their loyal junior colleague Sushil Kumar Shinde could not find ‘worthy’ reasons to sack Neeraj Kumar when the huge protests swept the country in December last year.

They could not see the reason when the Delhi Police brutally charged and manhandled many protesters using force.

They could not see the light when the Delhi Police was left naked in the courtroom after it tried to frame some innocent youngsters for murder of one of its officials but faced the court ire on silly premises of the case.

They have chosen to fail to understand that why, even after the surge of human emotions, a national debate, and the subsequent demand to toughen the legal system, the rape cases have increased significantly with the national capital of India registering 393 cases in just three months.

But haven’t we left expecting sensitivity from the politicians?

So, Mr. Shinde, entrusted to secure us without discriminating on any factor (as the father of the Indian Constitution had envisioned), finds that Mamata Banarjee being heckled or his house being breached by some three-four protesters are reasons enough for big shake-up in the Delhi Police.

What the Congress party’s common man, a dying soul, a mutilated existence, an erupted nation and a watchful world could not do was done by a small incident of political rivalry between two politically belligerent groups and by a ‘harmless’ security breach at Shinde’s house.

See! We elect them!

When would we start thinking on ‘WHAT FOR’?

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

BRIDE OF THE CITY: FROM THE COURTESAN CULTURE TO THE ‘MANDI’ VULTURES

They enchanted generations. They enticed through the ages. They were the centre of attraction, pulling the high and mighty of the society. They made and destroyed powerful people, princes and kings by keeping alive their voyeurism.

Until they met their nemesis!

They are the courtesans. They have had their presence in every civilization. They have had their presence in India. In history and literature pertaining to the northern and eastern Indian parts, they were known as the brides of the cities (नगर वधुएँ). With emergence of the princely states in the last chaotic days of the Mughal Empire, also called as golden period of the courtesans, they came to be known as Tawaifs (तवायफें), much in the line of their South Asian identity.

They had a history to tell. They have had a history to tell. It is the paradox in their lives, in every generation of their presence, which haunts. And this paradox became their nemesis once the British rule was officially and firmly established across the India after the 1857 Mutiny that declared their work illegal. The notion that it sent to posterity was that every courtesan was indulged in prostitution and it was doing great harm to the Indian culture and needed tough legal recourse to handle. The underlying reason for the British to do so was their belief that these ‘kothas’ played a part in the 1857 uprising by giving leaders of the mutiny places to meet and strategise as some historians put it.

That was the beginning of the end of the courtesans’ ‘कोठा’ tradition, signified by a place where the courtesans used to live and perform for their clientele. It could never be equated with the ‘red light area’ culture that prevailed later on where sex trade became the primary activity managed and ruled by criminals and pimps. That was the beginning of the end of their nemesis.

What the British began over a century ago has done this symbolic upheaval – the brides of the cities or the courtesans of the tawaifs of the yore are confused being from a tradition that gave rise to sex trade today. The aesthetics of the courtesan culture is wrongly seen in the context of dead walls of the red light areas now.

THE PARADOX

The high lives of historical figures in the courtesan-tradition were well respected and acceptable in the society. They were seen as the doyens of culture and heritage. They often doubled as the etiquette trainers of their influential clientele. Some even married to the princes and the kings (the patrons) they were in love with.

In-turn, the ivy-league courtesans acted as the patrons for their junior partners. It was a kind of umbrella that gave legitimacy to everyone in the tradition of courtesans, from the highly skilled singers and dancers who were selective in choices and maintained a single contact and who cost a fortune to the courtesans at the bottom of the occupation who were not so skilled, not acceptable socially and who indulged in sex trade to meet their ends.

So, the paradox of acceptability and deniability was well entrenched there.

HOW THIS PARADOX HAS PLAYED OUT WITH TIME?

It was just a matter of balance. And it was just about the time when the tilt started taking a negative turn – the beginning of the end.

With deteriorating number of patrons, as the Mughal Empire collapsed and the most of the princely states became dependent on the British aid with limited resources at their disposal, the big names of the courtesan tradition had to look for other options of survival. As they were highly skilled performers, they could find alternatives. Names like Rasoolan Bai or Jaddan Bai and many others became famed classical singers. They became contemporary celebrities and dominated the initial days of the All India Radio and gramophone in India.

But what about the majority lot who was not so skilled or who survived more on the urge of the opposite sex attraction than singing and dancing alone? They were not acceptable for socialization even before the beginning of this end. The beginning of this end led to their gradual exclusion from the society.

They were forced to accept that they indulged in something they needed to repent for. Alternatively, the miserable conditions of their survival pushed them to think it was due to the sins of their lives that had its genesis in their profession.

But not all of them slipped to the dark world of the prostitution. Many left singing and dancing, moved to places, killed their identities, tried to conceal their past and tried to become part of the society in general.

But what they really think of it? Do they reflect over it as a cultural tradition that was unnecessarily targeted?

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