“Politics is supposed to be the sociological function to shape and strengthen the democracy in a country like India. Politicians are supposed to be the elected custodians to serve the cause of the people to support the elements of democracy.

Religion is supposed to be the ideological, spiritual and social function that inculcates a discipline to follow life according to the norm in a society, a norm that intends to promote the humane values, the concept of ‘humanity first’.

But, both, politics and religion are creating effects, events and undercurrents in the society and in the country that are antithesis to these supposed functions.

Add to it the cancerous concoction of religion and politics. It completes the circle of exploitation, of democracy, in the name of democracy.”

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



Heil! Heil! Heil!

Heil the Political Class of the world’s largest ‘demo’cracy!

Heil the politicians of India!

The sham is on display, yet again, in the trademark Indian politics way. After creating the situation to let the Indian Economy bleed, they are here again, to make rough patch-ups that don’t leave any effect.

And very skillfully, like they have messed up the Indian Economy in the last four years, they have kept their lavish lives out of the proposed austerity measures.

The proposed measures on travel restrictions, recruitment ban, guidelines for conferences, air travel, etc., target basically the government officials and the common man.

The political lords are out of its ambit to give them the free run during the election time. Anyway, they have always been beyond the reach of such measures. What applies for the common man doesn’t apply for them.

After all, it is their right to put the Indian Economy in trouble with measures like a wrongly timed food security act at a time when the prices are going up, Rupee is going down and the Economy is staring at yet another sluggish phase.

And one thing is particularly sham about these sham austerity measures.

These measures are announced regularly. In fact, announcing the cosmetic measures in the name of austerity has become a regular practice since the global economic crisis of 2008.

But no one knows how the measures are implemented. The country is never presented with any assessment report of such austerity measures adopted. Simply, because the measures are sham.

We come to know when the austerity guidelines are announced because that serves the purpose of propaganda.

We never come to know what happens to the guidelines post-announcement because that serves the purpose to maintain the veil over the sham.

Heil Austerectomy!










©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



September 2013

Everyone knew it was administrative inaction backed by political manipulation that led to the escalation of acts of religious violence into a full blown communal riot in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district and nearby areas.

It took almost two weeks for the violence to escalate, from the initial switch to the final eruption, from the three killings on day-1 to the murder of over 50 lives, yet, the administration looked inept to handle the situation, an ineptness that was politically forced.

We all saw it. We all knew it. And it was reaffirmed again and again.

A fact finding team of some civil society activists implicated the ruling Samajwadi Party and the opposition Bhartiya Janta Party and Congress for the Muzaffarnagar riots. Okay, some valid questions can be raised about the intent of such fact finding teams.

But soon after it, a TV news channel came up with a sting operation that showed police officials talking on spy cameras how the higher-ups including Azam Khan, a senior minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s UP government, intervened and asked the police administration to remain lax and go slow, on riots and on rioters. It clearly nailed the lie.

It was in addition to the visual evidence readily available showing leaders of the SP, the BJP and the Congress party, from the two religious communities in question, delivering inflammatory speeches in public meetings and thus fueling the hostile religious sentiments.

As if it was not enough to threaten the social harmony of the area, the subsequent political reaction yesterday was a step ahead – highly condemnable, like it should always be.

Yes, it was an expected reaction, normal in the terminology of today’s political ideals, that Akhilesh Yadav’s government would rubbish the sting operation claims even if every frame was so crystal clear on the camera.

And this ‘normalization’ is a real threat to the democratic spirit of the country. Let’s see how the two senior most and important leaders and ministers of the SP government reacted on it:

Azam Khan, while flatly denying his role, took on the media**: “I want to tell the channel that this was the time to ease the situation, not aggravate it. If people like me will not be part of politics, it will be a blow to democracy. For the sake of TRPs, it is dangerous and damaging for the country that uninvestigated claims are made and taken as truths. …Since everything is being done by them (the media), I ask that the channel investigates into the claims they are making, and announce my punishment if found guilty. I give them full authority to do this immediately.”

Reports about what he said in the UP state assembly on media’s investigative roles in cases like Muzaffarnagar riots was even more acidic. And he was supported well by his chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, who dismissed the sting operation saying such things are ‘cut and paste’ and thus belittling an evidence the veracity of which was crystal clear.

Over 50 dead, more than 40,000 displaced, that is what the media reports say but talk to any well known figure of the badlands of western UP and you would come to realise the real scale of horror.

And what has been the political response to this horror – inaction, deliberate delays, ugly politics over dead bodies, interference in efforts to control the riots, insensitivity in reaching out to the victims, denying liability and responsibility and transferring police officers in haste after they put their political masters in the dock – yes, the political response has been more for inciting the religious hatred when the political class is supposed to work for the well-being of the electorate that votes it in the corridors of power.

Political response in highly sensitive issues like the Muzaffarnagar riots the flames of which could easily engulf the entire nation tells us the democracy in India and so its social weaving is in imminent danger of disintegration.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –

*“Why democracy in India is in imminent danger of disintegration?’ is a regular column on my blogging platforms to take a periodic look (say a weekly or a fortnightly or a monthly round-up of events depending on the factors in play) on political developments that are dangerous to the democratic health of the country and contribute to the process of social disintegration of the nation..”



Slowly, a life was taking shape. Thoughts were coming to assist.

The darkness was witnessing renewed efforts to reconcile with the life to let the light come in.

The call was getting more and more intimate.

The cause was touching the core of the heart once again. It was, gradually, becoming an alternative to a life that was more about pain.

The clear text, once again, was being written in abstract.

The abstract, once again, was getting friendly the way it used to be. It was becoming more and more readable, like it was.

The pain of loneliness was finding its alternative in the state of being alone, like it was.

The words were flowing in greater harmony with the conscience, with the soul.

Expressions were getting more in sync with thoughts putting things in perspectives that, once, happened to be the way forward.

The quest to go within was, again, a sentient pledge.

The spirit of living with the soul, the joy of living with the self, was becoming the driving force, like it was.

Life, once again, was being about severally-alone.

Slowly, a life was taking shape, learning from what the life had been, reading from what the life was to be.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Morning ride, evening break
Fun to go, a run to partake
Oh that round shaped happiness
So many of them but why this mess
The beautiful blue, green, yellow, red
He could not decide which one to take
But the pull was so immaculate
He pleaded again to make his case
Why couldn’t he take each of the shade?
Jumping like a novice dancer fully awake
Mixing in all his wisdom of his age
Punching in the morning shake
Munching with the evening trek
He pleaded again to make his case
Oh so my, blue, green, yellow and red
Blue are my eyes, green is my sun-hat
Yellow of my shirt is so joyfully great
The red of my jacket is so passionate
The beautiful blue, green, yellow, red
So near and dear to me, they all fascinate
Leaving what, what can be my catch?
I am at a loss on choosing from this batch
So I wish to propose if I could have the red
With blue, green and yellow to head
On my morning ride, on my evening break
Out of this logjam, the key to my happiness
Sir, see, it is so simple to iron out this mess

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


We were just too young to think the good or bad of that. Yes, we naturally felt elated when, after spending an hour or two in school, we would get the opportunity to head back home, day after day, for many days, that year.

Some of the super-seniors in the school, whom everyone saw as bad characters and so needed to maintain a distance from, would come directly in the class, would throw some religious slogans, would ask the teacher to leave the class and would ask us to go home.

Though, we were aware that all this was happening to build the Ram Temple in Ayodhya in place of the Babri Mosque, the only point that concerned us then was the fact that we were getting an early leave from the school, an added bonus.

Initially, for some days, it all looked so pleasing to us. We had plenty of time to hang-around, to play, to read comic strips, the in-thing those days. As classes were not running, there was no pressure of home work. Cricket, candies and comic strips – the 3Cs – they flowed so smoothly.

But it didn’t last long.

One day, we were told by the parents that schools had been closed till the next information as tension was growing with increasing rallies and protests of temple-supporters. Soon after this, we were informed that curfew was clamped not just in Varanasi but in many other cities as riots had broken out.

We are aware of words ‘curfew’ and ‘riots’, but not what they meant in real terms. These were just newspapers words newly added to our vocabulary after the family elders told us about. Elders told us they meant bad, ominous developments. But for us, it was more about its dictionary meaning. Rather, for us, it was an opening into the period of more relaxed days with more time at our disposal.

But, soon, the feeling of joy was replaced by a lingering innuendo of boredom. Though our house was in a sub-lane, away from the main road where regular police patrolling was being done, we were not allowed to venture out of the house. TV had no satellite channels then. The only mode of communication was the landline phone of BSNL that we children were not allowed to use on our own.

So even if some of us were so not into the games of daily routine, like going out, playing cricket, table-tennis or hide and seek in that part of the year because winter was approaching and early arrival of darkness would give us a chance to play the game within the time set by the parents to reach back the house, we started feeling yearning for outings.

With no outdoor games, controlled TV timings, no communication with friends, of school or neighbourhood, and no school classes (yes school and daily trip to it were looking better options now), we soon started feeling isolated, as if we were incarcerated on an island and there was no set timeline for our freedom.

But there was more to come. The menu of meals at home was getting increasingly same, day after day, and so tasteless. No milk was non-issue but tea or coffee, that was first on a reduced availability, and soon became sporadically available, and that too, if anyone could go out during the relaxed curfew hours and if was lucky enough to get some milk.

Also, as parents and elders, too, were restricted to the house, it resulted in the development we needed the least, in fact we detested. Since they, too, did not have much to do, their attention was drawn directly to our free time, that how much of time we were wasting, that we could utilize the time to cover the syllabus to get ahead of others. And soon, we had more than willing teachers monitoring us all the time.

24/7 teachers, a dull menu day after day, no outdoor games, no talking to friends, no enjoying the daily trip to the school and back home, no new comic strips, (no milk was ok but) no milk or coffee – we were having a troubling time and we had no idea how long our ordeal was going to continue. Even the long hours of the school-time were (we were increasingly realising) much better than this (though, a realisation that didn’t last long, once, the school was routine, again). But then, in the circumstances of ‘pushed’ study hours and reduced free time, we were missing the school and the freedom associated with it like anything.

With every passing day, we were getting disappointed, we were getting frustrated and we were getting angry. And on our target were those who took our freedom, who took out rallies, got our school closed, and spread riots. We would curse them in whatever words we could. We even planned to punish them if they came across us. For us, the only culprits were those who orchestrated the rallies, the curfew and the riots and they deserved the severest punishment our thinking could think of.

Our ordeal did make us experience the negatives of words like ‘curfew’ or ‘riots’ but we were still not able to understand why these words were so bad in effect.

We also thought, before punishing them, if they came across us, that we would first ask them the ‘why’ of this ‘badness’ behind ‘curfew’ and ‘riots’ and so of our ‘ordeal’ and the ‘why’ of why they spread it if it was so bad.

The plans still echo, even after so many years, whenever riots kill the humanity. Yes, age brings to you the understanding of ‘why’ of words like curfew and riots but still, the ‘why’ remains.

Why a person kills a person in the name of God when He is the creator of us all, when He is in each of us?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Today, I did something
In the flow of life
Something yet again
That indeed
Was never undone
Today, it happened
As if, it was so inside me
Yes, it was,
So naturally instinctive
Like your memories
Taking me to the day
When I had seen
You first on my way
The first moments of you
Those hours and that view
Have stayed with me
Something, that
Reverberates every day
Always like anew
And with this bliss
You have come
To stay with me forever
Like the subtle guide
Of the moment
Showing me the
Better of you forever
Today, when it happened
It was indeed, to my end
The better aspect of being me
With you
With thoughts of being we
Of being the one I could be
Of being the man I should be

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


The darkness,
Had a view
Strapped, unseen, ignored
Forbidden of its value
I had to see it,
I had to hold it
It could get too frenetic

You need to find you,
To meet you,
There would be
Reasons to rue
Think of,
What has been,
Your virtue
Believing again,
Has to be about you
Rewriting again,
What was always true

Yes, the darkness,
Had this message too
Hidden by the shadow,
That was untrue

I had to read it,
Again I had to foresee
Lest it was too late,
To hold it within me

I needed to reclaim me,
The clutches of the dark
I needed,
To read life again
To deliver,
It on my benchmark
The measure,
Had to be just me

The darkness,
Has its honest alter-ego
The reclaimed ‘self’,
Sees the light grow

Think negative,
Only to think positive
Be practical,
But live your ideals
Love your ‘self’,
To love others

Life is because you are
Living has the elation
Only if,
You are its expression
Born on a day,
You are life’s celebration

I read the darkness again,
To rewrite it,
To go,
Beyond the forbidden
Life is about me,
Once again,
Remains unshaken

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


When I got this sudden call to reach the Connaught Place (CP, in Delhi) on an off-day, it was routine. There are some good, quiet places in the chaotic CP where we can sit and spend some quality time, be it for some professional engagement or spending time with friends or simply for networking.

While discussing about the place, the idea of the Oxford Bookstore and its Cha Bar cropped up once again. Though the Oxford Bookstore along with its Cha Bar (a good place for quality tea while leafing through the pages of the books carefully selected from the book shop – the old experience) had reopened some months ago and in CP only, just in front of its previous address, the Statesman House, we had not been to the place yet.

And we decided, let’s meet up there. For me, it was always a good time out option with its concept of the previous bookshop (rather a book lounge) in mind – a lounge sort of environment, peaceful and appealing, plenty of good books to read and decide from, with sips of different preparations of tea (coffee too) and some good bites and a good view of the traffic on the Barakhamba intersection that added positively to your time there.

But, I should say it was a letdown like the Starbucks CP outlet. The reason behind it is the ‘book lounge’ feeling has been totally compromised. Though, it was never too spacious even at the Statesman House, one felt at ease while reading through and choosing the books and more importantly enjoying the time with the books with a seamless access to the lounge area. There were no lines drawn and the sip of chai (tea, since its Cha Bar, let’s go with chai, the Hindi for tea) blended naturally with the atmosphere.

That was not the case with this reopened outlet. Here, the Cha Bar was on one side of the book shop clearly separated from a wall with poor sitting arrangements. It looked chaotic. Crammed with people, it was indeed more like a poorly arranged hangout zone of some eatery. Also, there was no outside view like the Barakhamba intersection.

It looked more like a narrow space carved somehow from the book shop to focus entirely on the commercial aspect of the Cha Bar as a hangout joint for that small bite while one looks to sit somewhere, a good place, certainly not on the line of the concept that I had in mind.

If we think of the esthetics associated with a book lounge sort of environment, it was totally absent here. Add to it, the music was poorly chosen for the ambience and was distracting, more like in the CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) outlets, loud and interfering. Even the white of the walls could not prove soothing.

Overall, it didn’t give you the feeling to be at ease with you (when you had the concept and the feeling of the previous bookstore at the Statesman House in your mind), be you wanted to be with books, with you or with your friends.

I opted for ginger chai and it was equally disappointing and so I didn’t go any further. Hope, the next time, I will be served a better quality chai for my time and money there.

I googled for Cha Bar images of the old and the reopened bookstore and came across these which clearly tell the difference (a letdown).

Cha Bar 1
The Oxford Bookstore and the Cha Bar while in the Statesman House, CP, Delhi
(Image sourced from a Blog*)

Cha Bar 2
Cha Bar at the reopened Oxford Bookstore, CP, Delhi
(Image courtesy: Zomato)

Cha Bar 3
Reopened Oxford Bookstore, CP, Delhi
(Image courtesy: Zomato)

The only saving grace came from the book shop (and not book lounge). Book stacks were easier to approach. Here the white gelled well with the ambience. The collection was obviously good. It was supported well with material on multimedia content. There is no need to write on other stuff available in the shop, the gifts, the goodies, the accessories. They were regulars like in the previous one.

Yes, the positive development for me, to visit the bookstore, came in the last, during the time I spend looking for books, movies and documentaries. Surprisingly, I could find some good content on Auschwitz and Holocaust.

When almost every book is available from online bookstores like Amazon or Flipkart on healthy discounts, and that too, at your doorstep, bookstores like Oxford (not offering any discount) with concepts like Cha Bar can still a good draw provided they maintain the lounge character of the store. That I could not find here, during my first visit to the reopened and the remodeled store. Hope, it will be a better experience next time, obviously with a better chai.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



..for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.. Barack Obama, September 10, 2013 (from his Syria speech) (India dateline – September 11)

I do not have any intention to use these words from yet another highly emphatic Barack Obama speech delivered the Barack Obama way, unambiguous and to the point, but the words somewhere resonated in my thinking while shuffling through the news channels on TV, sifting for the news coverage on the likely announcing of the quantum of sentence in the December 16, 2013 Delhi gangrape case.

In the aftermath of the huge, unprecedented public outrage on the December 16 gangrape, India did pass a tougher legislation but nothing much seems to have changed.

What on paper was done was more than resolutions and statements of condemnation if we go by the printed words, of legislations, of parliamentary discussions, of political promised made in the Parliament, but these measures are simply not enough the unabated wave of crime against women proves.

Closure, the sense of it, the debates around it, if the family of the brave girl is going to get it, if those of the masses who felt at one with the family’s pain are going to get it – the majority is saying in the one voice that only the death sentence to the four accused found guilty of all the charges by a Delhi Fast-track Court can bring closure. The demand was only aggravated after the leniency shown by the System in the case of the juvenile accused, which the reports said, was the most brutal one.

Yes, the family may get its closure the way it is demanding when the quantum of sentence announced on Friday goes its way.

But how can there be any closure that the humanity needs in case of such crime incidents when the root-cause continues. It is in the mindset.

Statistically, crimes against women including rape and murder have increased consistently over the years. Even if we single out Delhi and that too, after the December 16 horror last year, when there has been apparently heightened sense of responsibility from almost every quarter, we come across a frightening set of data that says the first eight months of 2013 have broken the record of 10 years with 1036 rape cases.

It is in the mindset and until that is checked and controlled, there cannot be any closure.

It is not that something so socially demoralizing has happened post the December 16 gangrape that the country (and Delhi) are witnessing higher number of rape cases. It tells us the dark side of humanity was even darker and with increased attention to the crimes against women, some light has started falling on that.

The increased number of reported cases tells us people are coming ahead now to confront the heinous crime shedding the inhibitions of the so-called and planted social stigmas. It also tells us how the governance has been an utter failure that it could not stem the rot even in Delhi, the national Capital of India.

In India, the general perception (and the right perception) that ‘resolutions and statements of condemnation have, simply, never been enough’ is a harsh reality.

And even if that is addressed somehow, it is not going to change anything until the mindset is changed.

We can blame the System, we can blame the politicians, we can blame the governance, but we also need to blame us, the society, vehemently for this.

The rapists are hidden among us only inhabiting the deep-rooted darkness of a criminal mindset.

The light has to be strong enough to weed out this darkness.

Till then, there cannot be any closure in such cases.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –