I had never seen social parity at this level, here in India, before this current phase that is undoing many historical stereotypes.

Being a media professional, I was aware of it since the moment it began, but it is only today that I got the first hand experience.

But before that, let’s be clear about it – that social parity basically applies to them who form the majority of our society – except out upper middles classes and elites (including some VIPism folks from the lower middle class). So this time also it is going to be about this ‘majority’. Like always, the other folks are never in this rate-race.

I had to go the Delhi airport today and I had only Rs. 500 notes in my wallet and some change that accounted for around Rs. 200. So, in spites of having a loaded purse, I was literally impoverished – to the hilt – because the airport ride needed anything around 500-1000 bucks depending on the mode of transport I would choose.

Okay, I could have gone the cashless way but there was this desperate urge to try the Delhi Metro route hoping that I would be able to get at least some change for my Rs. 500 notes. So there I was.

But to my dismay I found there (at Delhi Metro stations) sympathetic customer care executives or nonchalant cash counters but not the problem of my solution. And soon whatever change I had was gone.

And I was not alone. There were multitudes. How I came out of this quagmire is a story for another day. Today it is basically about the social parity this sudden move by the Government of India has brought where all the biggies have suddenly become commoners like us – at least for the stuff that they need cash to trade for – like in transportation or petrol pumps or for buying the stuff of daily usage like milk or grocery items. Now you can use your Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 notes at many places but the problem is even those places are running dry.

So, all of a sudden, uniformity can be seen among masses thronging our roads or streets. Those having millions or those barely surviving on their salaries or daily earnings, they all can be seen in ATM or bank queues. I appreciate AIIMS for this sort of culture – in spite of having loads of people from VIP fulcrum or staff-linkages, a man flashing his latest iPhone model can be seen in same queue waiting for his turn along with the man who kills his waiting hours by playing with the buttons of basic feature phone.

If we leave some of the super-elite aside (after all, in every democratic society, a class like this always exists – after all, history needs to preserve its elements, even if it is elitism and VIPism), all in the society looked on an open platform today which had no extensions to offer.

They all are talking of the similar pains (and gains).

So, even if everyone was flashing his Rs. 500 or Rs. 1000 note, it meant nothing to the guy sitting on the other side. And it is the story of the whole country.

It was like – either everyone was victim – or everyone was perpetrator – though the victim corollary works better here.

It is like you have all – and you have nothing.

Everyone was looking in a similar social hue today – in fact has been looking like this since November 8 when prime minister Narendra Modi suddenly announced that the biggies of our currency flow would become unwanted existences post midnight.



That all those who claim that all is lost should go back and try to tweak their mouth-organs to see the realities!

And the realities are:

Both the good and the bad co-exist in our society – the good people and the bad people – the good ideologies and the bad ideologies – the good objectives and the bad objectives – the good behaviours and the bad behaviours – the good language and the bad language – and so on.

Something that is good for the proponents of that ‘good’ may be ‘bad’ for others – and vice versa.

But they co-exist as long as someone or some of them doesn’t/don’t look and found breaching the norms of laws in our democratic society.

For many Sadhvi Pragya is a terrorist who should be put behind bars for her alleged role in propagating terror in India.

For many, she is a crusader of Hinduism who did a brave job.

For many others, she is someone who was made a scapegoat and she had nothing to do with all the terror activities she has been alleged for.

Accordingly, there have been allegations and counter allegations on attempts to implicate or exonerate her in the cases – involving the 2008 Malegaon terror strike case.

The political sides with their differing ideologies would always see and would want to see the event from their own respective perspectives.

So, some say that all has been lost and everything has been compromised – especially after the NIA removed her name from the supplementary chargesheet it filed in the case and removed the MCOCA charges on her.

Those with rival ideologies say nothing like that happened and law is taking its own course.

That is the normal diplomatic discourse in the our democratic country.

The good thing is – the spirit of law is still maintained. Yes, corruption has afflicted all wings of our administrative institutions including the judiciary – but if curative and responsive hopes lie somewhere, it is in our judiciary only – and it upheld that today – when it rejected Pragya Thakur’s bail plea.

The court made it very clear that though framing of the charges may be the domain of the law enforcement agencies but deciding on the merits of the case lies well within the judicial domain – and thus the judicial interpretation of charges and counter charges.



Yes We Are Resolutely Tolerant-1

Yes We Are Resolutely Tolerant-2


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


The basic tenet of ‘being humane and being civilized’ says – what is wrong will always be wrong – and can never be justified.

And like every other ‘basic tenet’ of humanity – such norms – a must for the humankind universally – must be followed in letter and spirit.

That is the ‘ideal’ situation.

And is a rarity in the prevailing political circumstances – not just in India – but in many countries across the world.

A direct corollary of that is the ongoing or the ‘raging’ political debate over ‘tolerance and intolerance’ in India.

Yes, we need to react on incidents of ‘intolerance’ if we are proud of our shared culture over the years. India is probably the only country in the world where major populations of two major religions live in relative harmony.

Yes, in harmony – because we have no other word to explain that – given the fact the country has stood together even after 68 years of independence – and is a robustly functional democracy – with a transparent electoral process.

Yes, there have been religious riots and other incidents of communal strife – but if we have stood together, as a coherent unit, even after that – it directly conveys where the priorities of the ordinary folks of these religions lie (or people of every religion in India).

And that squarely puts the political class and the opinion leaders in the dock – if there have been incidents that go against this spirit – like this atmosphere of intolerance and the debate over issues like beef politics and religious polarization.

We have lived in communal harmony for so long, for centuries – that – it is impossible to think India as a standalone nation for Hindus. Generations in India have experienced it and have assimilated it. India is of every Indian – India is for every Indian – irrespective of his or her religious affiliations.

That is the basic idea of India.

And every Indian must react to preserve this pillar on which the nations stands and grows. It is a social must. And we need to work to see until it becomes the cornerstone of our political prerogatives as well.

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


And for that reason, and that reason alone, we need to fight the increasing (fringe) voices of ‪‎intolerance – because it encompasses all – every sane and insane element in the ongoing ‘tolerance Vs intolerance’ debate that has seemed to envelope the nation’s consciousness.

Is there a radically surcharged atmosphere of negative connotations in the country?

Yes. It is.

Even if it is limited to some fringe elements!

Because they present face of an eminent danger lurching all around – that their increasing mainstreaming can vitiate the atmosphere to the extent that social harmony can again be taken for ride, can be tossed, by various anti-national elements, desperate to grab any such development.

We have seen it so many times – especially during rounds of massive riots that engulfed a large part of the country’s consciousness.

It is no hidden fact that Babri demolition and riots associated with it caused some ominous and fundamental changes in ‘manifestation of religious expressions’ – both by Hindus and by Muslims.

Opinion leaders and religious satraps of Hinduism threw more claims and threw vehement claims. Loudspeakers cropped up on many mosques. And the ensuing aftermath saw many more sporadic rounds of communal violence.

But, even after that, even after several such dark chapters in our post-independence history, the common refrain from an ordinary ‘common man’ Hindu or Muslim is still that living peacefully and surviving harmoniously always get precedence over the nitty-gritty of religious affairs; that an ordinary folk has his day to day survival in mind and not these ‘supercharged elements and the resultant surcharged atmosphere’.

The Indian society has survived and survived well these – keeping them at bay – and whenever these voices got some space, the social weaving came to heal the sentiments pushing such voices to the fringes of irrelevance.

We are so ‘common and routine’ about our life and its survival priorities but not about such religious preferences that work to divide us becomes once again clear when a sensitive portrayal of our togetherness in a movie, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, binds Indian and Pakistanis together in a mission – the two nations, the two sworn enemies, the two religious domains – with history of conflicts and hostilities.

And we need to fight fringe voice to preserve this ‘so common and routine’ way of our life – whenever they try to push their course into the mainstream of our conscious – we need to push them away, to beyond even fringes of irrelevance – today or tomorrow.

Religion is an important part of our being but it should always be – as it is in our day to day life – where we decide on our worship routine – where we shape how we need to follow our religion – where we feel a friendly reverence for our Almighty – where we ‘routinely’ fear about repercussions of doing something bad, something that will hurt and thus will anger our God.

We should decide on our religious preferences and practices. Religion should never decide on who we should become.

The conscience of the universal values of humanity should the conscious of every religion –open to changes with changing times – and not the other way round.

We have been and we are resiliently tolerant and we will successfully fight this momentary, peripheral surge of intolerance.

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



It is a busy public intersection in Delhi. All around are marketplaces, shops and big shopping malls. And there are street food vendors of all hues dotting the stretches on all sides.

The traffic red light at this public intersection is quite a busy one with long queues of vehicles on each side waiting for the signal to turn green. Throngs of people can be seen waiting for buses, auto-rickshaws and other modes of public transportation at every road diverting from that intersection. And in addition to all this, a regular flux of people keeps coming in and going out of the Delhi Metro station which is exactly above this intersection (Delhi Metro is an intra-city public transpiration system connecting to suburbs of Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad).

As I stepped out of the Delhi Metro station, I saw a street food vendor badly pounding a handicapped man – in that hubbub of people – and no one was coming forward. In fact, a passerby like me tried to intervene and was meted with the same treatment. Well, the way he was thrashing that guy, with his both polio-affected legs, the incident first shocked me.

Yes, I have seen much more human brutality than this, but such things always shock me. But I knew I didn’t have much time and I was about to intervene when I saw this police patrol vehicle. By this time, I had clearly come to know that the vendor was drunk and the handicapped guy was a beggar.

So, here was this guy, a street food vendor and he was drunk, beating a handicapped person like hell and extending the same treatment to the other guy who tried to intervene, and there were people all around – most of them able-bodied who could easily take on that guy but were desisting from intervening. Probably, they all would be having their own reasons and reasoning.

Anyway, after my initial shock, my priority was to save this man because whatever was happening was grotesque, grossly inhuman and could never be justified in any possible way and then I saw this police vehicle. Well, being a journalist, I am comfortable in approaching police and whenever I do so, I am quite rigid and straight in my dealings with them.

That police vehicle was steps away under the shadow of Delhi Metro stairs and was not directly visible from the spot where this guy was being badly beaten by a drunken ruffian.

I spontaneously approached the police and they were there in no time. When a policeman from the patrol vehicle reached there, the street vendor was still exercising his meek bravado on a man who needed society’s care and support. As soon as he saw police, as normally happens, he changed his track. He started verbally abusing the guy of harassing him daily and trying to show nothing beyond that had happened. Probably, he thought no one would come forward to tell what he did – even if the handicapped guy had his shirt ripped apart and his ears had a shade of blood – probably (and rightly) he thought the police would not get bothered about a beggar.

Well, I was in no mood to let this happen. I could never have allowed this blasphemy. As soon as we reached the spot, I grabbed the vendor and pushed him away from the handicapped fellow. Then, I had some pretty tough and rough words for the policeman as well for this ruffian – for the police to do something – and for the vendor to dislodge him from his drunken tyranny.

I knew my words were meaningless for a drunken fellow of that mindset but it did make other people to join me in protesting the incident – who, till now, mere just mute spectators. I was quite agitated, and well, we all should be, in such circumstances. And it took a while for me to calm down, but not before the vendor had some ‘unofficial treatment the Indian police way’ and he was made to shell out money for treatment and clothes of the handicapped fellow. Meanwhile, another person came forward with a burger and reassuring words for him.

The final outcome was like this. The vendor would pay for rickshaw and doctor’s fee, in addition to what he had already given earlier, and another vendor there assured that he would ensure that nothing untoward happens after the episode. The policeman also said that he would keep a tight vigil and would inform the ‘beat police constables’ to keep a tab on the vendor.

While leaving, I warned the policeman and the vendors there I would come there again tomorrow to check on what I was promised.

I know we live in a society where there cannot be permanent solutions to such anomalies. What best you can do is to remain humane in your sphere of life and be true to the principles of humanity. Yes, it is very difficult, but once internalized, like an incident had done it with me a long ago, it becomes inseparable part of you.

You don’t need to become a reformer or an activist for doing so. Just a case by case approach would do. What we need to do is to remain honest in each case and to remain honest with what we see – because we, practically, cannot go into the past and the future of every such incident – or in fact, in almost of them.

When I was leaving, a man came and told us that whatever happened to this handicapped fellow was justified. He said the fellow begged in this entire area and would regularly engage in confrontation with society guards while under influence of alcohol.

That may be true but that doesn’t allow the vendor (or someone else) to beat this man. What this fellow did or what he does may be entirely wrong but justifying ‘beating him to pulp’ is equally inhuman. We have countless men and women in our society who need the state’s help for their rehabilitation – the help that never comes.

We can do a lot by being honest to them and to us – helping them whenever and wherever we can.

And thankfully, I don’t think I am doing something extraordinary by doing so. It is the basic minimum that we all need to do to express our gratitude for our existence here.

And one should always go ahead of this ‘basic minimum’.

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