IN GOD’S OWN CITY (II)

In God's Own City-1

IN GOD’S OWN CITY

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

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IN GOD’S OWN CITY: WITH THE GANGA (II)

In God's Own City-5
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey

IN GOD’S OWN CITY: WITH THE GANGA

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

CLOUDS: WHIMSICALLY YOURS (I)

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CLOUDS: WHIMSICALLY YOURS

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

A ‘DISLIKE’ BUTTON ON FACEBOOK: DOES IT MATTER?

Facebook’s “dislike” button is going to be a disaster – Quartz
Get real Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s dislike button is too late – The Telegraph
Facebook Doesn’t Need a ‘Dislike’ Button – Here’s Why – NDTV
Does Facebook Need a ‘Dislike’ Button? – The New York Times
Facebook gives the thumbs-up to ‘dislike’ button – Financial Times
Will Facebook users like ‘dislike’ button? Opinionline – USA Today
Facebook is working on a ‘dislike’ button – CNBC
Here’s Why Facebook Wants a ‘Dislike’ Button – Time
Facebook’s ‘Dislike’ Button Is Going to Get a Lot of Use in Asia – Foreign Policy
Facebook ‘Dislike’ Button: Why It Might Not Be a Thumbs Down – ABC News
Facebook ‘dislike’ button in pipeline, says Mark Zuckerberg – The Guardian
Facebook Is Creating a Dislike Button, Mark Zuckerberg Confirms – Yahoo Tech

The world media carried out an intense debate about this ‘dislike button’ by Facebook, a development that is nothing but a delayed move by the social media giant – the largest social media platform by user base.

The social media platform that has remained there in spite of stiff challenges from challengers including from Google – it is in fact the only social media website in its category with a global presence. The most talked about challenger, ‘Google Plus’ is going to close its shop. Earlier, Orkut had also failed Google.

Also Facebook supports different media upload platforms. Other famous social media platforms are platform specific – like YouTube and other similar sites for video content – like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Medium or others for ‘blog content’ – like Twitter, Weibo and others for ‘microblogging content’.

Basically, every social media website is a content sharing platform – in any form – with any possible content as per the norms – but Facebook provides, in a way, to share all of them in one place – and has evolved over the years – based on consumer feedbacks – and loads of ‘algorithms’ insight into them.

Today, Facebook has around one billion users spread in different countries. And in spite of the site growing commercial with time, its role in mass protest movements like Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street or even in anti-corruption movement back home is well known. In fact, the self-propelled social concerns (by users) provide global sanctity to platforms like Facebook. In fact, they help these organization in covering their ‘omnipresent’ commercial streak.

Anyway, what Mark Zuckerberg ‘announced’ was nothing new – and certainly not for generating intense analytical buzz over different ‘contours and aspects’ of the ‘proposed or upcoming’ Facebook ‘dislike’ button.

In fact, the massive global buzz around his ‘question and answer’ session has once again proved the marvel of ‘sleek communication campaign’ that kick off spontaneously after every such development – in case of products reaching masses globally.

People started writing about it because so many people use Facebook. The writers were trying to speak on their behalf, even if a ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ button doesn’t do much beyond some case studies of anaemic effects of social media on people.

Well, the actual debate has to be – do we really need debates of this sort – like Facebook introducing an addition to elements of its site, here with a ‘dislike’ button?

To continue..

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

KIM JONG-UN TELLS WORLD HE IS STILL THERE, AND IN STYLE..

North Korea warns U.S. it’s ready to use nuclear weapons ‘any time’ – CNN

North Korea Says It Has Restarted Its Main Nuclear-Bomb Plant – The Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s Nuclear Gambit – The Wall Street Journal

North Korea’s renewed nuclear threat keeps experts guessing – The Guardian

North Korea says main nuclear complex operational; warns U.S. – Reuters

North Korea to restart nuclear reactor – AFP (on The Australian)

Does North Korea have nuclear capabilities? – BBC News

North Korea Confirms Restarting of Nuclear Center – Voice of America

US warns North Korea against restarting nuclear facilities – AFP (on Asia Times)

North Korea admits nuclear reactors restarted, tells US it is “fully ready” – The Sydney Morning Herald

How to stop worrying and embrace a nuclear North Korea – The Guardian

North Korea Says Principal Nuclear Complicated Operational; Warns US – Times

US urges North Korea to avoid ‘irresponsible provocations’ over nuclear program – AFP (on The Economic Times)

These headlines once again confirm the ferocity of ‘the baby-face, tenderly chubby, Dennis Rodman loving ‘hermit’, who also orders entire families to be killed, entire communities to be starved to death.’

These headlines from the global news outfits once again reaffirm steely might of Kim Jong-un, the young though oversized ruler of the ‘hermit kingdom’, North Korea.

Kim Jong-Un tells the world he is still there, and in style.

For past few months, in fact for more than a year, Kim had remained subdued – out of public’s eyes – but he was consolidating his position. Those North Korea watchers know it. After all, a visionary like Kim Jong-Un, though plump sized, covers even the finer details of his empire’s various symbolisms. In this case, probably, he was trying to live the ‘hermetic’ spirit of his ‘hermit kingdom’.

In his carefree ways, he was not bothered at all, in fact, he basked in the glory of the global media burning its midnight oil over analytic reports on his ‘disappearance’ from public life. There were reports on a possible coup, reports on his sister taking over, reports on Kim being dragged down by some serious health problem, reports of powerful North Korean generals successfully hatching a plot against him.

Loads were written on each of them – thousands of words literally flew – from one part of the world to the other – and Kim enjoyed each of them – with his ‘maintained’ silence. After all, his ‘professional’ mind believes that any publicity is worth ‘going for’ – no matter what it takes.

And what could be better than this that the global media powerhouses, which are seen as the gold standard for any communication material, day in and day out discuss him – for any reason – even after his ‘mysterious’ public disappearance for some days.

We may call it propaganda but Kim Jong-Un (and even his predecessors, the two other ‘Kims’ of the Kim nation) has a well-oiled communication system.

South Korea is a regular element in its routine packages. And whenever Kim feels to go global, like he did during the ‘Sony Hack’ saga or when he decided to execute his uncle Jang Song Thaek by machine gun firing squad after his ‘wisdom’ told him that his uncle was in fact a ‘despicable human scum, worse than a dog’.

Or like this renewed nuclear threat!

This is one of the ‘tried and tested’ North Korean publicity (one is free to read it as propaganda) tool to pull global attention and the Third Kim is getting mastery over it – incident after incident we have seen so.

So, even if the world had intelligence input for two years that North Korea was restarting its Yongbyon nuclear facility, when Kim finally said so, and openly, it made for global headlines. Obviously, he doesn’t speak his mind directly. There is a well laid and expansive system for it – the Korean Central News Agency. And Kim has followed his predecessors in ensuring that the ‘mighty provocative line of words’ is followed without fail – even if it means firing KCNA staff and anchors by missile death squads to discipline them.

The latest round, as well, goes to the ‘shrewd ways’ of Kim Jong-Un. Since this ‘artfully packed message’ came out, North Korea, Kim Jong-Un and North Korea’s nuclear capability are all around in news analyses and reports.

And what validates it is a response by North Korea’s arch-enemy, the United States of America. Kim had again made Barack Obama’s America to react to North Korean ‘designs’ in less than a year.

After all, running an empire is not an easy task, especially when it is by a single family that is there for 70 years. And the Third Kim is efficiently taking that ‘legacy’ forward, in style – though, the world may debate its ‘substance’.

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

IN GOD’S OWN CITY (I)

Well, that is Varanasi for me.

But during this trip back home, the first expression that came to my mind, while mapping its roads, is that the city should ban four-wheelers and other medium sized vehicles from most of its roads – especially in the second half of the day.

It took me an hour to reach the Ganga’s Rajendra Prasad Ghat from Nai Sadak, a stretch that is some one kilometer long. Places lying in between, Nai Sadak, Dalmandi, Godowlia, all are marketplaces now. And these marketplaces, connected by an ‘insufficiently wide road’, are inundated with shops and street vendors.

And that ‘insufficiently wide road’ is flooded with encroachments – by regular shops – by roadside vendors – by auto-rickshaw drivers – by rickshaw-pullers (and the new addition is Delhi’s ubiquitous battery driven e-rickshaws). People park their vehicles as per their own convenience even if it means hurt-burn for others. In fact, the stretch from main Godowlia crossing to Rajendra Parasd Ghat (or Dashashwamedh Ghat) has a thick divider made of illegally parked two-wheelers (as four-wheelers are not allowed) in the middle of the road.

And Varanasi’s every road busy road has a similar grievance to tell – a grievance that is never heard.

So, while feelings the pangs of moving continuously clutch, brake and accelerator my two-wheeler, the thought came to my mind spontaneously. Yes, it means a lot of noise from many of its ‘responsible’ residents, but they need to pay this price to maintain the city’s heritage with needs of changing times.

The problem of Varanasi roads is exacerbated by their poor upkeep.

Varanasi or Banaras is also notorious as a dirty city with loads of dust and garbage afflicting every part of it. Their prevalence is a telling sign of the administrative apathy the city has been subjected to for decades.

I decided to map some of its main road stretches – from Cantt Railway Station to Banaras Hindu University through Sigra and Bhelupur – from Lahartara to Banaras Hindu University through Manduadih and Sundarpur – from Rathyatra crossing to Dashashwamedh Ghat – from Lahurabir to Dashashwamedh Ghat through Nai Sadak – from Lahurabir to Dashashwamedh Ghat through Maidagin and Chowk – and from Banaras Hindu University to Godowlia through Assi and Sonarpura.

And except on the stretch from Lahartara to Banaras Hindu University through Manduadih and Sundarpur, the experience on every other road was like living a nightmare of being trapped in a traffic hell – coupled with potholed roads and air laden with dust particles.

What I experienced on these roads in last four days, its residents feel it daily. And since they are also responsible for it, we can safely say that many of them, the city residents, have this cycle of exploitation (exploiting someone or being exploited by someone) as part of their daily life now. A ride through these stretches (or in fact through most of the roads of the city) gives a feeling that the whole system governing them has collapsed here.

If Varanasi is still God’s Own City, it is because of its ancient spiritual legacy weaved around Shiva, the Ganga and death. Its spiritual and religious mysticisms draw people from all over the world. If Varanasi is still God’s Own City, it is because of its ageless culture weaved around its simple people. (Yes, exceptions are always there, but then, they are exceptions. Isn’t it?)

Varanasi is also famous for its streets and alleys and is loved for people always thronging them. Varanasi’s crowd, in its lanes, on its roads, is a big draw for many.

But we need to differentiate ‘this’ crowd from the crowds on its various roads that make even walking a difficult proposition. People would, naturally, hate this crowd and it is earning a bad name for the city.

The city is in dire need of good roads and their professional maintenance. And the city is in dire need of decongesting its roads – expecially the ones mentioned above – and any road that crisscrosses its older parts. Banning four-wheelers, say from 4 PM, would be the step in that direction that the administration needs to take, sooner or later.

The Day..Collage-3

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

TODAY, MY SKY REAFFIRMS..

My sky is what I walk for
My sky is there I know it
My sky has colours I look for
My sky has depth I seek now
Its black is plain, its white is pure
And its grey has fixed shades
Having hues of different lives
To make for the one
That is my alter ego now
Sometimes, it rains wisdom
At times, it’s all about a joyous walk
Sometimes, it stops speaking
Though still covering me
Expecting me to look for meanings
In its colours, and their symbolisms
Thankfully, I say to life now, that,
Colours are again my soul elements
I knew they were called names
I know they made for varied thoughts
But for me, they always meant life
Black for personifying completeness
White for an uncompromised purity
And grey for definitive touch of them
My sky has colours with meanings
Speaking for my needs
They come to sit with me
When today refuses
Its transformation into tomorrow
Giving elements to my thoughts
Giving me the reasons
To hold up for the sky
That has been there for me
Yes, they complete me
And celebrate me
In my part of the sky
Disappeared into brilliance of black
But visible in subtlety of white
And identifiable by firmness of its grey
They sky is there, and I am there
And it’s not the day
When it chooses to remain silent
Its colours are in harmony
And the day is echoing the fusion
Ready for its journey into tomorrow
Though I didn’t call it today,
It has come to sit and think with me
Making it a special day for both of us
We are there, together,
Reading into one another’s minds
With meanings
So intrinsic to our existences
Today, like yesterday,
Looks like a new dawn
But with shared values of mutual silence
To live with the lives
And to go beyond them
Today, my sky’s silence reaffirms
That it is there with me, with my colours
In my several lives
In my living them severally alone
Yes, my sky was always there
But had stopped coexisting for some time
Draining colours of their depth
Yes, the loss was mutual, and,
Today, the silent communion felt that again

September 14, 2015: 35 years into the journey of ‘life beyond this life’..

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TODAY, MY SKY REAFFIRMS..

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

AAP FAILS TO CRACK DUSU POLLS: FIRST BIG SYMBOLIC POLITICAL LOSS

Arvind Kejriwal – Delhi’s chief minister – now synonymous with the newest entrant in national politics, the Aap Aadmi Party – after he executed a deliberate purge to remove his political opponents and potential threats from the party. He is very active on social media the nation knows it. But there are no tweets on it. His Twitter page on September 12 has four tweets – but nothing not on it.

On September 1, he had tweeted, while conveying his ‘heartfelt’ thanks to some folks for a ‘rockstar-esque’ show to formally unveil the AAP’s student wing, Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) – Thanx @VishalDadlani, @AstitvaTheBand, @shilparao11, @jasleenroyal n @tweetfromRaghu for supporting honest politics n for always being there

On the same day, he ‘proudly’ retweeted a report with his photograph addressing the CYSS ‘rock concert’.

Manish Sisodia – Delhi’s deputy chief minister and Arvind Kejriwals’s most trusted ‘yes man’. Like his boss Arvind Kejriwal, like his party and like his other party members, he, too, has sustained social media presence. The ‘expressivity’ there – direct on intended – happens in real time. But his Twitter page, too, is black on it, in spite of being well populated. His Twitter handle, so far, has failed to express his conscious with no tweets – in fact his Twitter page has no tweets on September 12 when the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election results were announced.

Nagender Sharma – media advisor of Arvind Kejriwal – loads of retweets and some tweets on September 12 and 13 but nothing on this humiliating loss, yes humiliating, in DUSU polls – after much pomp and show, hype and claims – anyway, by the very nature of his job, he is compelled to reply to or write only the stuff that keeps his party in good light.

Irrespective of what they have been saying (or claiming the sky), or not saying now, the results of the DUSU polls are the most potent symbolism of the fact that people are moving away from the AAP, from the promises it made, from the hopes it raised – the hopes that look compromised now, with the party just seven months into the government.

Like manipulative seasoned politicians, and not like what they had claimed to be when they were asking for votes in the Delhi assembly election, what is expected from the AAP is a measured silence on this debacle followed by lame justifications and sham denials.

Downward spiral for the party began soon after Arvind Kejriwal took over as the chief minister of Delhi again in February this year. With 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, he soon started acting unilaterally, silencing and sacking voices he didn’t feel comfortable with. What was more disturbing was the attitude. He and his party did all the anti-common men acts displaying a sort of indifference towards the moral ethos of honest politics.

There was no rush to act anti-VIP this time. Ministers and legislators happily accepted accommodations and vehicles. People from the world over all flocking to India for healthcare facilities and it means the problems that derails with our public healthcare system is hurting from within. Well, we all know that, including the AAP leaders. Yet, its two leaders, one Delhi minister and other a non-minister but enjoying ministerial rank salary, chose to fly to the United Kingdom to study healthcare system there, obviously in the name of introducing those ‘better practices’ back home – when Delhi boasts one of the best civic amenities in India and the problems that beset it require an internal rectification.

Apart from many ministers, there are pseudo-ministers, and loads of them, enjoying full time legislative salaries (the money that could have been spent on public welfare). There have been and there are elements of confrontational politics dominating the governance in Delhi. There are sky high promises made during the campaigning phase, but as the time is passing, people are realizing that they were nothing but poll gimmicks.

Gimmicks, like this one, the rockstar-esque show to formally introduce to the world the ‘CYSS’ some days back. A fat sum went into organizing the show but the party leaders marketed it in the name of ‘honest politics’ – even if such events pollute student politics. Well, it could have looked an ‘honest attempt’ had it not been for the dazzling rock concert associated with it giving a rock star welcome to Arvind Kejriwal and his band.

The way it was organized, as an election tool, just before the polls, looked bad in taste. And it was made bitter by the consistent downslide of values by the AAP. The AAP had claimed students and youngsters as its first political constituency but the DUSU poll results show that base is fast eroding.

But going by the trend of these seven months in governance, the party is not going to read the signs that are becoming more and more visible by the day – with the clear (and hostile) social message in this first big symbolic political loss.

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

HUMANITY HAS SURVIVED THROUGH THRESHOLDS OF HUMAN DEBASEMENT

What is the limit to one’s debasement?

What is the threshold of one’s deliberate insensitivity to hurt someone’s sensitivities?

No limit!

No threshold!

Humanity, with all its civilizations, extinct or extant, has been the aggregated reflection of individual viewpoints, morphed, modified or aligned – with changing times.

The viewpoints have been human. And there are the viewpoints that have been anti-human.

And civilizations are stories of struggles between these two types – pushed by their carriers – embodied in human beings.

Humanity has survived all along – through the thresholds of the debasement of this anti-human block that has manifested itself in varied ways since the dawn of the human civilizations – weathering direct and targeted assaults.

Surviving the fangs that know nothing but the crude blow of crushing everything to pieces.

Civilizations have seen, all along their existence, mass acts of barbarism, acts of ethnic cleansing, imperial wars, religious crusades, violent sectarian movements, terrorism and what not.

Humanity has suffered them all. And humanity will survive them all.

Though it will continue to bleed, as it has always bled!

Because human debasement has no threshold. It can mercilessly push a three year old child in an ocean to die or it can kill thousands of them in gas chambers or it can have scores of them shot in one go in the name of ‘race superiority’.

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