September 29, 2008

Why the bias?

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I don't usually fill up my posts with another article, but this time I am making an exception, because a piece written by Rakhshanda Jalil in the Times of India has very aptly put together the kind of negligence faced in predominantly Muslim areas in Delhi. The place which she talks about is something I can vouch for, having stayed there for quite some time myself:

Why a bias against Jamia Nagar? 

Living in the Jamia neighbourhood has always been tough. The incidents of last week, being dubbed the Battle of Batla House by the press, will only make it tougher. Biases, I suspect, will get sharper; discrimination more covert; and the gloves, I fear, will be off. A few years ago when I moved from Gulmohar Park, a tony locality in South Delhi, to the Jamia neighbourhood, little was I to know that I would be changing not merely a postal address and a landline telephone number but virtually exchanging one way of life for another...

September 24, 2008

Doesn't anybody care about Christians in India?

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It's horrific the way Christians, one of the most peaceful religious communities in India, is being vandalised by Hindu extremists. The blind attacks on churches are going on unabated and no serious action has been taken by the governments in Orissa or Karnataka. 

But what I find even more horrifying is the complete silence of everybody else on this issue. Hindus are quiet because Christians are supposedly taking away their brethen by forcible conversions. Muslims are too preoccupied with their own problems and extremist elements to care. And even the West...the supposed fighter of the Christian not even looking. The Pope has not raised a voice. The only voices we are hearing are those of hurt (an understatement, if ever there was one) preists pleading for justice. 

All this while, the Bajrang Dal is allowed to go on with its uncivilised, inhuman behaviour while the rest of us shake our heads in disapproval. We need more than this to contain this violence...aren't Christians part of India? Are they those in-betweens which are ignored by their countrymen as well as the global community? Will nobody accept them as their own?

I don't know what the answers to these questions are, but I am outraged at the ability of people to push such serious human rights violations under the carpet. Even the UN has not stirred...and I am speechless myself.

P.S. My favourite quote nowadays is one by Diderot: "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."

September 11, 2008

Big Bang for news channels

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The phenomenon we know as news channels in India is certainly peculiar, and one can never tire from writing about them. Whereas in the rest of the world, news channels present factual information, those in India do everything they can to dramatise (and thus twist) information. As a result, what remains are shreds of hardly recognisable truth. 

A recent spectacle was the CERN project which is supposed to be a
 huge experiment to achieve something I frankly don't understand. The ironic part is that humungous machines have been used to create super tiny, sub-atomic protons! Anyhow, so our news channels decided that this was not exciting enough to talk about, but they found an angle to it which would put K-serials to shame. There was a disclaimer to the experiment that if it went wrong, the results could be a world-shattering disaster. Of course, we know that the thousands of people working for 20 years would do everything in their power to never let this happen.

But the millions of people watching Indian news channels couldn't have known that, because they were told that "the world is going to end". And this is no exaggeration. All over, the news channels kept reporting that the end was near and the experiment was doomed. So much so, that ex-president Kalam had to step in to put an end of the panic this was causing among people.

Rightly now, the I&B Ministry is planning to take action against Aaj Tak and India TV for spreading baseless fears in the public. 

All in all, I am sure the news channels secretly enjoy doing these kinds of things to keep their TRPs going. My suggestion to everyone is: Don't take news on TV seriously, read the paper instead.

September 3, 2008

Life in a metro

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Living in a metro in India is nothing less than waging a war with the 24 hours allotted to you. There are so many things to be done, and all you have is those hours you can manage to stay awake before flopping in an unconscious-like state on the bed. Most of these waking hours are spent crawling through ill-managed traffic. The time that's left is spent on managing maids, maintaining the house and shopping for groceries. 

I live a life very similar to this but I do wonder very often...what is it that makes our lives so hectic and stressed out? Are we demanding too much from ourselves or is the stress only in our mind? It's true that stress originates in the mind but physically exploiting your body also takes its toll. And the way we exploit it is by not giving it enough exercise (most of us have sedentary jobs and skip the gym trips) and eating all sorts of junk food. 

I think life in a metro is about chasing a never-ending dream. Your needs never want one branded thing after want a bigger car....a bigger and better house....a more exotic holiday. Though there is nothing wrong with being ambitious, we forget to enjoy the present...and if you think about it, that's all we have now. We have nothing except this living moment and a mind full of dreams. 

Here are some ways I have thought of which might make life less hectic or at least easier to handle:
  • Prioritise: Picture this. It's a Saturday. You have a movie to catch, a dinner to attend and shopping to do. Instead of trying to do everything, prioritise and think of what can be done later. Needless to say, relationships should come first in those priorities (though splurging once in a while is retail therapy!)
  • Zero hour: Every minute does not have to be spent doing something. When was the last time you just sat back and relaxed? Try to spend at least an hour every weekend just doing nothing and probably thinking about the week gone by and what you could have done to make things easier.
  • Re-discover old passions: Did you enjoy making silk flowers once? Or did you spend your time swimming? Whatever it may be, there may be lots of things you gave up when you got busy. Recollect those hobbies and passions and if you can return to them, do so. 
  • Do you need everything? Sure, your colleague or friend might have bought a new phone and you like it, but do you really need one too? Sometimes, we just want things without really needing them. This adds unnecessary pressure on ourselves to work harder and earn more money. Let's learn to demand less from life.
  • Find reasons to be happy: Think about the good things in life. What is it that makes you smile? make sure that those things or those people are around you more often. Do things that make you genuinely happy.
  • Talk to God: I think no person is complete without a spiritual connection. It is when we talk to a Higher Being that we realise how small we are in this universe. And sometimes it's good to have that perspective.
Overall, it's not easy living the fast life but very often we don't have a choice. It's great as long as we don't lose sight of what's really important to us.