Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thou shall not eat beef!

In an extremely sad move, inching closer to complete Hinduization of this country, Karnataka government headed by the Hindu right wing political party BJP, has passed a bill to ban cow slaughter, making sale, consumption and possession of beef a punishable offense up to seven years.

India was never a secular country.  It has been including many elements of bowing down to blind and irrational religious sentiments and made them laws to impose it onto everyone.  India is becoming more and more of a Hindu country much to the celebration of Hindutva supporters.  With these moves India is moving away from ideal of becoming a safe place for practice of one’s faith without intervention of state as protected in Article 25 of Indian Constitution. 

This is clear case of a Hindu majority, dominated by upper caste version of Hinduism where cow is a sacred animal, imposing its will on other religions and lower caste Hindus.  Beef is a food to many people just like chicken or mutton.  State has no right to impose what people of this country can eat or not eat, unless the animal species under consideration is deemed a protected species.   Making an animal sacred is not the domain of a secular country.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women’s Bill: Rotation System

The current Women’s Bill is a landmark bill that is designed to emancipate and empower Indian woman.  However, it has a serious flaw.  

This quota reserves a constituency for woman on rotation basis.  That means 33% of constituencies have quota for women in one term of Lok Sabha, and then another set of 33% constituencies have quota for women in the next term of Lok Sabha, and so on.  That means every constituency gets a woman leader every three terms.   The flaw in this system is following:

Assuming only men win during non-quota time, at any instance, there are potentially 66% of candidates in Lok Sabha who would not be able to contest from the same constituency in the next elections.  That means 2/3 of Indian Lok Sabha has no incentive to perform for their constituency in the current term.  This results in serious damage to India democracy because the only check against the incumbent lawmaker in Indian politics is the incentive to win in the next elections.  With that incentive gone, 2/3 of Indian constituencies do not have a leader who is accountable to them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Telangana 53: Raj in Bangalore

2014 AD

Raj is a Malayalee from Kerala who migrated to Bangalore with his wife and a kid when he got a job with an MNC in Bangalore.   He looked for a nice apartment and moved in.  After settling down he realized that apartment building consists of Tamils, Telugus, Malayalees, Marathis, and North Indians.   The maids at his home are Tamilians.  

He was happy that he was in a cosmopolitan environment surrounded by people from different regions. But he never bothered to notice that there were no Kannadigas in the entire building.  At work, he made friends with many kinds of people.  It included non-Indians, and Indians from various regions.  There were few Kannadigas but they spoke English or Hindi and looked like any other Indian in their deportment and makeup. 

The only Kannadigas who spoke Kannada were auto drivers, with whom he had bitter experiences in haggling fares.   Other than that he did not know many Kannadigas who spoke Kannada.  ‘Jaasti’ ‘Swalpa’ were good enough words to talk to an auto driver, and that’s all he knew about the region around Bangalore – those few words.

Once in a while he saw few auto drivers carrying the regional flags.  He didn’t bother to understand what the flag meant, whether it was red on top or yellow on top.  He didn’t bother to see the insignia on the flag either.  As far as he is concerned, these flag-bearing auto drivers and low class workers were a major nuisance because they stopped traffic once in a while during their dharnas and bandhs. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Women’s Bill in the Parliament

Usually I refrain from writing about topics on which I have not made up my mind.  Here’s one topic where I have not made up my mind but still decided to write about.  It is about Women’s Bill in the Parliament.  With passing of this bill, India is going to reserve 33% of the seats in Parliament and State Assemblies to women. 

At the outset, I am happy that such a bill is coming into existence.  We are going to set a great example in the world if we have many women parliamentarians and ministers. India has emancipated some of its women through series of steps, started during British Empire where sati was banned and women were allowed into schools through Independence Movement where we saw women standing shoulder to shoulder with men. 

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Telangana 52: Curious case of MIM

While most of Telangana irrespective of their caste, religion, political affiliation, is supporting the cause of Telangana, one man and one party stand out.  It is Akbaruddin Owaisi leading AIMIM who enjoys massive support from Muslims of old city Hyderabad.  He has now made his stance clear against separate Telangana after maintaining silence on this matter for many months.

So, why does he stand out?  To understand his stance, we should go back in time and open our closets.

Friday, March 05, 2010

MF Husain takes Qatar Nationality

It’s unfortunate that India could not become a home to an artist that was born and raised in India.   MF Husain who was haunted by Hindu zealots for many years now has eventually taken up Qatar nationality giving up Indian citizenship.   This is a major setback to Indian democracy.  This shows that we are still a long way from becoming a mature democracy.   

This is how MF Husain depicted Sita

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Telangana 51: My answers to questions for JP

I have taken liberty to answer some of the questions that Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) of Lok Satta was asked.  In most cases JP was vague and completely evasive.  He is not taking a stand on many questions.  Here is my rebuttal.

kondal311: Do you mean politicians are using this sentiment for their gain. In 2004 elections TRS was part of UPA and during 2009 it joined hands with TDP. Almost all parties said they are OK for telangana during 2009 elections. Is it oppertunistic politics or Do we need Telangana really ?
Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan: In our first-past-the-post system(our election system in which even one vote majority gives the victory to a candidate), parties are desperate to get a few more votes to be in power. So, they mean one thing, but say another thing. It is these short term political tactics which lead to this crisis.
Sujai: Yes, politicians are using this sentiment for their gain.  Every political party in India, Congress, TDP, Praja Rajyam, TRS, and even those who are not contesting in Telangana, like NCP, Trinamool Congress, BSP has endorsed Telangana.  They all want to get political mileage out of this sentiment.  During British rule in India, Congress and Muslim League won most of the elections because they all said they are fighting for freedom.  Just because some political parties have used a sentiment doesn’t mean the sentiment does not exist.   Most of Telangana people want a separate state and they voted those parties which promised them Telangana, which happen to be many parties.

K Suresh:Good evening sir.Earlier we didnt see much responce from students on telengana issue.why do you think students are actively participatiing in telengana issue?
Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan: Jobs are important, and there is a misplaced hope that everyone will get government jobs if a new state is created.
Sujai: Every great movement on the planet which brought about great changes for their people was carried out by students.  The fight for freedom in Tiananmen Square in China was carried out by students; the fight against Vietnam War in US was carried out by students.  Even the recent anti-Iraq War protests in US were carried out by students.  The fact that there is a Black man as US president is a change the young people of United States brought about.   Therefore, the fact that students are carrying out this movement in Telangana shows that it is beyond political parties and that it is truly a people’s movement.   We should celebrate this instead of ridiculing it like JP is doing.