THAT YOUR KIDS ARE NOT JUST YOUR KIDS ANYMORE..

Children
You don’t know
When they grow-up
And start talking
As if
It is their own sky
With its own blue
And a hue
That, sometimes
Makes you feel
Alienated
Your kids
The pivot of your life
Suddenly start moving
In directions
You never sanctioned
Leaving you hinged
To the point
That still stays around
To that pivot only
Time for you to grow-up
To reconcile with changes
To tag along with life
To try and understand
Meanings you don’t see
To persist with the space
Your children demand
You need to understand
That, some day
You had given them life
That, for some years
They meant life for you
But not anymore
Grow-up and realize
That your kids are not
Just your kids anymore
They have a life
Where you may exist
But within your space

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

THE REVENANT AND THE HATEFUL EIGHT – SEASON OF WHITE WESTERNS

These are two movies, two auteur movies that any moviegoer who loves watching films for the art of cinemamaking would love to watch – again and again – because there is much more to read in between the lines – in frames – in props – in body languages and silence(s) of characters – and in locales – in fact, it is always a pleasure when a film offers elements on platter so much of semiotics.

Locales – the most important part of Westerns after ‘body language and silence’ of characters – are in abundance here – with an abundance of symbolisms – here in these two movies.

These are no doubt White Westerns – dominated in every aspect by snow-clad mountains – their environs – their dialogues – the conversation they hold – the push that they give to the characters.

Classical Westerns are about simple but difficult men in difficult, barren, arid terrains of stone-clad mountains and sand spreads.

These White Westerns, the latest run of which began with Django Unchained, we can say – are stories of difficult men in more difficult terrains – snow, ice and the expanse which primarily steers the plot.

And coupled with brilliant performances, which are equally brilliantly directed, the locales in these two movies give us timeless masterpieces of the world cinema.

We can say had it not been the premise of these two movies – the lyrical flow of death in the ravines of life in the most uninhabitable and inhospitable parts of the world – we would not have such influential films – the visual language of which transcend the boundaries of filmmaking, especially in The Revenant.

TR-THE

Featured Image Courtesy: Movie posters from Wikipedia pages on The Revenant and The Hateful Eight

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

TO THE POINT ON THESE JNU ROW DEVELOPMENTS

The JNU row has become the talking point of the nation. The controversy is spreading like a wildfire now – from Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi to Jadavpur University in Kolkata to University of Hyderabad to Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi – almost across India – and if something concrete is not done – it may soon engulf the nation.

And when and if it happens so – it may upset many equations – apart from destabilizing the society – because we must not forget that even a China could not control students from coming together and organizing a Tiananmen protest that resulted in the Tiananmen Massacre – one of the most horrific and most talked about dark chapters of the 20th Century.

There has been intense buzz and every related development makes for news headlines. There are versions, counter versions and more versions. There are claims and counter claims and there are related developments.

And in all this, one development stood out for its plain speak with highly effective, to the point imagery – on presenting some ugly faces in this row – of goons in the garb of people next door and of Delhi Police – clearly on the back-foot here – by making a ‘big something’ out of almost nothing and the way BS Bassi – the Delhi Police Commissioner is reacting, Bassi is sounding more and more empty.

The Telegraph’s front pages of February 16 and February 17 are right at the point in capturing the essence of the developments in the ongoing row.

The February 16 front page has a cover story talking about BJP MLA OP Sharma and the unruly mob of lawyers who were worse than goons who attacked supporters of Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU Students Union president who has been arrested for allegedly participating in a seditious meet, and journalists including women journalists – in the court premises -and that too in India’s national capital.

The Telegraph 16 Feb

Its headlines ‘The Patriot’ with ‘riot’ in red colour hits right chords. Yes, we cannot allow anyone to abuse law like these bunch of lawless lawyers and OP Sharma did – even if we knew ‘how law would take its due course’ in dealing with these goons.

The February 17 front page was again rightly and very sensibly headlined ‘The Thought Police’ – on Delhi Police and its ‘now controversial’ chief Bassi. Bassi has clearly failed here – himself and us.

The Telegraph 17 Feb

People had thought he would be the first Delhi Police Commissioner in many years to have completed his term without a major personal controversy – until this JNU row happened. We don’t know what are his reasons to act so – but his attitude has raised unanswered questions – and he has consistently failed to justify his ‘discriminatory’ stand – on coming down heavily on Kanhaiya Kumar – and on conveniently ignoring the goons in the garb of lawyers – and OP Sharma – when everything happened in front of press cameras – when the Delhi Police filed the sedition case against Kanhaiya Kumar on a video clip from a television channel.

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

JNU ROW: QUESTIONS WE MUST ASK!

THE QUESTIONS

The JNU row (Jawaharlal Nehru University) has debased to such lows that we seriously need to ask questions – on the whole socio-political milieu prevailing at the moment:

— That what was and what would be the right approach – to let the incident pass by taking strict disciplinary action against the erring students? – or making a fuss about it to the level that it has now escalated to the extent to threaten the academic atmosphere in many other universities?

Obviously, the sane and the logical voices would say a disciplinary action would be enough to address the issue – if at all it was needed – or that it would be precisely in course to ignore the event because it was not a majority view there, in fact just a handful of students were for it, and it was not the first time in JNU.

— Was it a case fit for police intervention? Now, after a week of row and its spread to other universities, we can safely say NO. In the age-groupthe  of being students, we all are impulsive, reactive, susceptible to sentiments and above all, we question ethos if we don’t conform to them – even if it means airing our views about the state, about its affairs. Being a student should be about that. We need to get outraged and speak our mind whenever we see something wrong. That is permissible within the democratic norms – something that is even the top custodian of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court of India, accepts – saying unless words incite action, it is not a fit case for imposing sedition laws. We may be wrong, like here these ‘pro Afzal Guru’ protesters were, but then there were other possible means to handle the situation than a police intervention.

— That if the administration was hell-bent on ‘improving’ the situation, sanitizing JNU of anti-national elements? If it was so, and no problem in that, then why did the Delhi Police act so late. Reports say the Delhi Police had information prior to the event.

— What were they waiting for? If the Delhi Police can proactively raid a government run canteen (Kerala House beef controversy) in the name of taking precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incident in the name of beef politics, why didn’t they do so here?

— Since February 9, it was JNU. Since yesterday, it is Jadavpur University. University of Hyderabad is also delicately balanced at the moment. Now, in the name of taking tough action on the so-called ‘anti-national’ elements in our university system, in our academic institutions, aren’t we risking something much more insane – something that would vitiate the academic atmosphere by dividing students along the lines of differing ideologies?

Universities must be the first place in any society to inculcate a culture of debate with differing voices and ideologies and the emphasis should be on developing in-built mechanisms to address voices of extreme like the ‘pro Afzal Guru’ event of JNU. There were just handful of students (10-15), and even that is not sure that if they all were from JNU, and their voice would never matter in the whole group of over 7000 JNU students.

— Aren’t all political parties culprit of adding fuel to the fire? From Arvind Kejriwal to Rahul Gandhi to senior BJP and Congress politicians to Mayawati to Nitish Kumar to Omar Abdullah and all others including the natural claimants, the Left parties with their legacy in JNU, who made statements or visited JNU to take sides – everyone is responsible to make what JNU has become today – since February 9 – and what University of Jadavpur is becoming since yesterday.

— Aren’t we all to share the blame? Aren’t we all instilling fear in minds of our students? Aren’t we all forcing our students to take extreme steps like Rohith Vemula did or like the three students of a Villupuram allied medical college did or like a Ph.D. scholar in Central University of Rajasthan who committed suicides after harassment from his research guide? Incidents like JNU crackdown or policies that make vice-chancellors excessively powerful are solely responsible and therefore it is the system that is behind such events or policies.

— Did the police act politically? Did the police act in haste? Did the Delhi Police make the matters worse? Yes, in fact, it is the Delhi Police that is primarily responsible for making this much of something that was initially nothing. And they have continued with their charade. They found an anti-national in Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU Students Union president, very conveniently and arrested him but they have conveniently ignored the goondaism and lawlessness of some of the lawyers, an spectacle that has been on obscene display since yesterday thrashing Kanhaiya Kumar, his supporters and journalists including women – in the name of nationalism or patriotism. But like the ultra-leftist (DSU, the Democratic Students Union in this case), we also don’t need these ultra-nationalists. And the list of such bravados includes a BJP MLA. Things are on tape, recorded. The BJP MLA and the goons in the garb of lawyers are openly airing their views but the Delhi Police is still investigating, even if the Supreme Court reacted angrily on the lawlessness on display at the Patiala House Courts complex.

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

THE RATAN TATA JNU BUZZ?

Yesterday, during and in the context of one of my articles on the ongoing Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) row, I had used ‘access chaos and information chaos’ – that how access can become excess when we lead to chaos – and when we are misled to chaos.

Apart from the developments directly related to the JNU controversy, something happened that became its most legitimate example of the day.

It was the Ratan Tata development.

Now Ratan Tata is probably the most respected figure of the corporate India and that too in a constellation of very few. And the most remarkable thing about him is that his popularity extends beyond the corporate realms.

He is a real brand custodian of the most trusted and sincere brand name in India’s industrial space – Tata – that percolates much deeper in our psyche. Tata stands out not only for its corporate social responsibility but goes much beyond with its many ‘for society’ initiatives like hospitals and research institutes.

The name Ratan Tata inspires us to aspire – with his integrity, with his simplicity and with his sincerity.

That Ratan Tata was at the centre of a rumour mongering social media frenzy last day that linked him to the ongoing JNU row – in fact shown him taking sides – showing him in solidarity with the so-called ‘anti-national’ elements of JNU.

And it went to the extent that Tata Sons had to issue clarification that Ratan Tata had not said so.

Here is the message that went viral that said that ‘Tata would not employ JNU students anymore’.

Ratan-Tata-JNU-rumor-4

Ratan-Tata-JNU-rumor-2

These images in fact look shabbily treated and those who really know about Ratan Tata would not believe in any such message. But then there are many in this country, like those who are busy presenting their nationalist credentials these days, sometimes in JNU, sometimes in Hyderabad, sometimes at the Patiala House Courts Complex, and they would grab such ‘adding fuel to the fire’ developments instantly – as evident by tens of thousands of shares and likes on various social media platforms and on services like Whatsapp.

Ratan Tata

The charade went on for so long and spread so wide that the Tata Group had to take notice and issue clarification that Ratan Tata did not issue any such statement.

This is a perfect example how information access becomes chaos in one go and how rumours so quickly spread to add to a raging controversy or social unrest. The information available on internet can cause more harm than good if not used cautiously (and judiciously). The dream to make information accessible is a dream for everyone to see but we need to put qualifiers so as to lead us to order and not to chaos.

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

HAPPENING THIS TO JNU ROW IS UNCALLED FOR..

The JNU row has taken a disturbing trend. It stirs your soul with negative energy now. Politicking has become worse but the worst part is – the issue, the JNU row and JNU, all have become a hotbed for conspiracy theories – going as far as a Hafiz Saeed involvement or cryptic Intelligence Bureau inputs or the so-called foreign designs.

Someone is busy labelling someone as anti-national. Someone is busy proving his nationalist credentials. Someone is crying hoarse over a Constitutional hara-kiri.

And everyone is busy settling political scores and seeking political mileage.

Yes, anti-India protests and sloganeering are unacceptable but there is nothing that makes case for #CleanUpJNU, the hashtag that was trending at the top throughout the day. And in fact, even at this hour a Twitter hashtag – #StopAntiIndiaCampaign – is trending at the top on Twitter’s India interface.

Yes, there are some misled JNU students but then society is first about counselling the misled – trying to take them in the social flow – especially when there are first time offenders. It has to give them the chance to undo some wrong first.

By simply saying that put those students behind bars, we cannot rid the society of this malaise. It goes much beyond that. And in fact, as the situation has become now, and as it is rapidly spreading, the anti-social and anti-national elements may exploit the sentiments to perpetrate some anti-society, anti-national plot.

You cannot say the counselling and mainstreaming are going to happen in an impulse. Counselling takes time. You cannot use force everywhere, especially on students.

Even the Supreme Court says mere sloganeering cannot be the ground for imposing the charge of sedition on someone unless the sloganeering incites some action. The top court had declared in 1962 – “Words and speech can be criminalised and punished only in situations where it is being used to incite mobs or crowds to violent action. Mere words and phrases by themselves, no matter how distasteful, do not amount to a criminal offence unless this condition is met.”

Let JNU be JNU, an academic institution. Let’s not make it a place to settle political scores and seek political mileage. The intense level of politicking, senior political leaders holding briefing sessions and consistent marches and rallies – these leave us in bad taste and are totally uncalled for.

That takes us to this natural question – has politics failed us?

It is both ways.

Politics has failed us. But politics also makes us the world’s largest democracy. Decision is for us to make.

There cannot be utopia, the ideal situation for a country, a society and the system that prevails there. It’s always a mixed bag – with negatives and positives. Yes, negatives look prevailing in our country but one cannot dismiss positives.

There are disparities and they are growing. But that is the case even with the US. The fact that we can openly discuss JNU row tells us a lot.

Europe had its Westphalian and renaissance moments. The US had its civil war and abolition moments. But they go back to centuries in making while sovereign, independent India is just 68 years old. Europe and US reformation took some 300 years or even more.

And if it has not happened in 68 years, the reform in our political system, then we need to accept that it is not enough time yet, even if we are at a cusp of technology revolution. We need to remember that technology revolution also brings information chaos and ‘access chaos’.

And there is no option but to struggle, persist and fight as long as what has been a practical universal norm for a good society is reached – as Vivekananda says – arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.

Arvind Kejriwal’s coming to power in Delhi is indicative of that, even if he is failing us now. That experiment by people tells people are ready to speak, even if symbolically.

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

GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN AND PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA 2: DIDN’T GET ‘GHAYAL’; NO ‘PUNCH’

Yesterday happened to be a day when I randomly caught some motion in action – from two Hindi movies – recent releases and products of the commercial cinema from the Mumbai film industry.

And since most of the output coming from Mumbai is simply rubbish, it mattered to me when I invested my time on them.

There was a historical and observational connect.

Historical because I like three movies of Sunny Deol to the point that I can watch them again – and in a serious composure – Arjun, Ghayal and Ghatak.

Observational because I had left the other movie watching midway after someone, somehow, had taken me to the theatre playing the movie ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’.

The movies in point yesterday were ‘Ghayal Once Again’ and ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2’.

There was natural inclination to catch ‘Ghayal Once Again’ as ‘Ghayal’ was really a good cinematic production incorporating ingredients of a revenge drama in an optimum blend of socio-politico-cultural milieu of India of the time, and not just its metro India. And above all, the movie was loaded with a balanced dose of emotional exploits.

There was this urge to see if Sunny Deol could redo his that feet in this movie – or had built more on it – or had just somehow managed it – or had messed up with the brand equity of a good movie franchise.

And after watching the movie, even if in bits – my first and last reaction is – it is not at all ‘Ghayal’ once again.

Though it is much better than the crap being dished out by the Mumbai film industry and even by Sunny Deol, we can say Sunny Deol has just somehow managed with it.

And that is a big letdown.

The movie looked more like a polished version of new age social media lingo and technology and a botched up PR attempt of its main climactic location and the underlying theme behind the movie. The premise that the movie is based on is a ‘very real’ possibility in our society but it has been ‘very poorly’ handled here. The characters, the characterization, and the elements associated with them don’t impress. Sunny Deol doesn’t impress. The emotional mix here sounds more like a diatribe or misplaced element. The rage expressed by the characters is simply outrageous – their pragmatism impractical. And the movie does a ‘very very poor’ job in getting inspired from Jason Bourne’s iconic trilogy and its cyber-snooping warfare.

And Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 – well, I was not able to complete watching the movie even the last time – even if I had a free ticket – and associated goodies. But the movie achieved some cult status afterwards – as it is reported. And that now it has come with a part 2 tells it also did some good business back then and sent out feelers that there was a market for such products.

Sometime later, at some point in my past, I came across its ‘monologue-esque scene’ – a long duration frame with one of its characters speaking his mind out finally on ‘a girl in a boy-girl’ relationship – emptying his heart out – ejaculating all the frustration, irritation and anger of years. Though I don’t have much experience in all this boy-girl affairs, of spending time together and staying together, I do have some observational learning experiences and I loved the flow in that particular scene. A sort of punch was here in this scene.

And that scene was the reason that I went to watch the movie yesterday – the qualifier being restricting my engagement to some selected scenes.

And the movie, in fact, was even more boring this time – with no innovation – similar plotline – and in fact even similar circumstances around characters. It was like an old script being enacted by different characters. Okay, the premise is evergreen – social media age love story – and many would find its ‘betrayal theme’ pulling – but the narrative here is really poorly developed. And above all, the long duration monologue-esque dialogue looks jumbled this time. The flow last time looked natural. This time it looked so flawed, so made up. In fact, the whole movie seems like a gibberish that you don’t care to attend to. Simply, no punch here!

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

TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL IT

Times when you feel it
And say, yes!
It was only yesterday
When life went nowhere
Bogged down by a no
So much so that
Fallacies sounded real
And absurdities natural
And then it happened
With you, inside of you
That made you say
No to that no
Soaking your soul
Into its realms
To see the times beyond
To seek a state beyond
Life puts you into this
Time and again
Sometimes
The ‘no’ is all you have
And you feel shattered
Within its confines
Sometimes
It is the ‘yes’
And its finality
That travels with you
To the realms beyond
Times when you feel it
That life is
Because you are
Unlike this yesterday

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

HOPELESSNESS

Hopelessness
Sometimes, it becomes more than a word
In environs
Sucked, squeezed, bland, pitch dark
Life feels stuck
In an oblivion
Where words play cruel games
Some meanings you do get
But most sound familiar yet meaningless
Like the frustrating maze of tapestries
It was only the last evening
When you had seen the world anew
Sensing the volition
And conversing within
And hopelessness was just a word
But not anymore
It is there to tear you apart
In a day only
Giving words phrases you don’t want to hear
And what kills your more
Is you even don’t want to run
Hopelessness,
Sometimes, it makes you feel so empty
That you stop listening to yourself
Lost in those dark environs
In a maze that sucks you within
Humiliating any conversation
Trying to kill every sense you talk
Hopelessness
It does so when you start losing the grip
On being yourself

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

DEMILITARIZING SIACHEN?

With the February 3 avalanche and with the passing away of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad (or Hanumanthappa, the way you spell this brave son of Mother India’s name) today, another round of debate on ‘demilitarising’ Siachen has started intensifying.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit said today – “We strongly feel that the time has come to ensure that more lives are not lost due to harsh conditions in Siachen.”

He was referring to an idea (or a proposal) mooted by Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly September last.

And he is not alone. In fact, whenever any tragedy happens in the Siachen area, such calls start making inroads, from India and Pakistan, but only to die down later – because India cannot trust Pakistan – because Pakistan cannot be trusted with its military’s aversion and hostility towards India – and because it has been a hard fought and won battle there at Siachen – with China still lording over the Aksai Chin region. Besides being rich in mineral resources, the whole Siachen region is also important to keep a keen eye on movements on Pakistani and Chinese sides and across Baltistan and Shaksgam valleys.

And because it is Pakistan that made the blue ice caps of Siachen a battlefield in 1984 triggering a response from India to retake what was its righty.

Before that, Siachen was serene and aesthetic – like its vast expanse of white snow and nature’s music – with the fact that avalanches are a reality of snow laden mountain caps across the world – before or after 1984.

Pakistan forced us to wade into that territory when it disturbed that calm.

And since then, it has been a continuous battle for survival for Indian soldiers there – putting efforts to be able to coexist with nature – and its fury for trespassing through this virgin territory.

In the last three decades, India has lost around 900 soldiers in Siachen, mostly in tragedies like avalanches or due to other threats of inclement weather. But over the years, we have learnt to live with nature there, minimizing loss of lives every passing year – with increasing scientific and defence prowess of India.

While Pakistan, the country that is in a poor strategic shape in the Siachen area, in fact being forced out to the lower hills on the other side of Siachen, continues to lose its civilians and soldiers in greater numbers with the huge 2012 loss that saw some 140 civilians and soldiers losing their lives in an avalanche.

While demilitarization of Siachen makes sense for India and Pakistan both, it’s almost like imperative for Pakistan – the country that began the whole Siachen war zone stuff – like it has disturbed peace and tranquillity in Jammu & Kashmir by exporting and supporting terrorism there since the late 1980s.

India incurs some Rs. 5 crore (less than a million) per day in keeping Siachen supplied – that is nothing when we see India’s defence budget, yes but it would be really tough for Pakistan, a much smaller economy with a flurry of domestic problems. We cannot how much it costs for Pakistan there.

Bur the cost involved here is the ‘human cost’.

And Indian soldiers like Hanamathappa and nine others who lost their lives in February 3 avalanche are ready to sacrifice here with the human cost involved – as long as India doesn’t get sure about Pakistani and Chinese designs. We have paid the price with some 900 lives and we cannot let that go – by trusting two treacherous neighbours – Pakistan and China – the countries that have been historical adversaries of India – and have backstabbed India multiple times.

India is seriously working to maintain good relations with Pakistan and China but while China’s economic concerns can be trusted, Pakistan’s mercurial Army, that has been traditionally and existentially anti-India, can never be trusted. And we all know it is the Pakistani Army, and not its political establishment, that decides which way the country would go.

The whole nation was praying for Hanamanthappa. The whole nation is in a state of shock and is paying tribute to the ten bravehearts who lost their lives in the avalanche.

To keep Siachen safe and in India’s control would be the best service we can do to them, like Bana Singh, the Siachen hero, who captured a strategic post from Pakistani in 1987 which was later renamed as ‘Bana Post’ in his honour, said (in a Hindustan Times report) – “It’s tough to survive there but the moral and strength of an Indian soldier keeps him going. Weather adversaries shouldn’t make us think of ever pulling out of Siachen”.

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