Saturday, April 05, 2014

Between Hard Rock and Deep sea

There was time when men were corrupt, their voices deceptive and their words untrustworthy. Then one election killed all of them (literally!) out of turn.

As the biggest general elections in the world takes center stage in my beloved homeland, the tingling thought of this historic development allures me to put my thoughts on it for ‘public’ consumption. I tried my best to abstain from averring my thoughts on the political situation in my country but with each passing day of this obnoxious campaign my tingling itch has graduated to a full blown infestation and I have to get it out of the system. I do not want to see a future where I will look out of the window to look at the street strewn with morally dead zombies and into the mirror pointing a finger at me as one of those who knew but refused to speak before it happened.

The campaign this election season is centered around three personalities- AK, NaMo and RG. RG doesn’t deserve any kind of honorable mention so I will skip him to the nearest bin (that angry bird toss has hit the right piggy!). AK is the kind of leftist you want to have around when the future of the country is being drawn, but whether I would like to see him as a PM is a bit tough to answer. The most likely winner among all this hoopla and testosterone drilled campaign seems to be NaMo and therein lies the sleeplessness am having right now.

Am not a fan of right wing propaganda driven campaigns, but it’s a very effective way to gather power. History of the world has shown that it has never really managed to do any good for the larger development of the society in general and if that society is as diverse as ours then it becomes a very difficult pill to swallow indeed. I do have a vote for this election, but unfortunately I cannot make it India on election day so my voice or vote doesn’t matter, but if I would have voted then I would have voted for AAP. I would not have done that because I like AAP a lot, but I would have done it with a hope to stop the NaMo bandwagon on its tracks.

With the elevation of NaMo I foresee a poisonous societal and political system and worst kind of precedent for future generations. Already the wingmen of the leader are baring their communal teeth of hatred and doing everything to consolidate their power through the unscrupulous means followed by their dear leader. The difference here is the dear leader himself was not attracted to material needs so was never corrupt (by its classical definition), but the wingmen are and hence the political precedent that is being set is of utter chaos.

NaMo is a power hungry, ruthless and right wing leader, if you can ever describe a man with those three words it can only mean disaster. History of the world has demonstrated the negative precedents elevation of such leader has done to nations. I can muster up several examples, but the most notorious one is Hitler himself. Hitler had best interests of Germany at heart, but beyond that there was obsessive need for power and with powerful oration skills and propaganda he captured the imagination of millions of youth and I dare say he manages to do that from his grave even now. To consolidate his power he unleashed a hate filled campaign on a specific set of people and through all this was never challenged for his position. I would not go into specifics, but if you do and compare it with right wing political leaders from all over the world you will find similar path to the top. The names in this list are numerous from Ceausescu to Mugabe to Zia-ul-Haq to numerous ones in middle-east. The traits for all of them are similar- powerful oration, great presence and coming on back of an under performing corrupt government and they come with nice sugar coated promise of large-scale development.

The problem doesn’t arise when these power hungry merchants grab power, but it arises when they realize its slipping away. The kind of games they play is not of the corrupt kind, but the bloody kind. Right wing power is consolidated through war and spilling of blood and gagging the voice of dissenters. A power hunger political leader will not flinch one second to take a society to war among themselves or others if it means consolidating power for them. We do not have to go far to know that, our own power hungry PM Indira Gandhi inflicted emergency on us when power was slipping away from her. I do not expect anything different from the absolute power being given to NaMo and that scares me. To understand what hate filled campaigns and pseudo elevation of power hungry leaders does to a system don’t go too far but come to Maharashtra, where criticizing certain political leaders can lead to death threats or physical assaults or police cases (West Bengal is following close behind). The result is loss of freedom of speech and liberty. This is the future we are inflicting on whole country.

I have no doubt we are going to see slick roads, efficient bureaucracy and less corrupt government, but I foresee a scared population with complete loss of liberty and warring with each other. The development trick is an age-old trick played out by power hungry politicians and mostly its honest. They have very little material attraction and hence they are not bothered about collecting money or other things and it’s a very efficient Houdini’s trick that works every time its played out, but beneath that garb lies a sinister plot to hold onto power till the end of time and this has played out many times all over the world. I can only hope the NaMo zealots apprise them of this reality and learn from mistakes of others and move to a more moderate leadership that our diverse society needs and not the radical, patronizing and self propagating kind we are seemingly voting for.

I know am a lone voice of dissent in this sea of zealots and mostly carry no value…but I can hold my conscience high after this…I hope am wrong, dead and absolutely wrong about everything…


Friday, November 15, 2013

Perspire, Inspire and then Retire

Humans beings are prickly species, everything they do are as a result of or meant to invoke an emotion. If a human meets an alien life form tomorrow that has no exposure to emotions then I bet this word right here must me the most difficult one to explain to an emotionless life form. In my personal life I have many times regretted the umpteen varieties of emotions that I have failed to gather in my repertoire and the singular disdain with which I deal with a wide variety of situations. Poly-phlegmatism is not an actual word but it kind of encompasses the impasse many people like me find ourselves in.

This blog post is not about me or other mortals though this one is about emotions and a context to it.  Emotion is a complicated potpourri that people conjure up in a wide variety of ways. Most people lighten up at the sight of a hysterically laughing kid or an emphatically cute kitten and most will cringe at the pictures of bloodbath or starving kids. Evolutionarily speaking these emotions are set in stone to come up with a response that leads to concerted actions. These actions are what resulted in the existence of our species as we see it today with all its vagaries and pitfalls. We have learned to take care of babies and helpless animals or move away from violence due to our cultured set in stone emotional responses and there’s meaning to their existence. Human brain has also learned to channel this emotion into a real or fake sense of achievement, loosely termed as passion. People have spent lives trying to find things that could invoke that passion within them and many have failed.

Blessed are those that can invoke passion in others they haven't met or seen or are never going to hear about. I don't know what it takes or how it feels to reach a pedestal where the passion of millions and billions of hearts sing in one tune under one aegis and you are the conductor of that tune and the holder of that aegis. Am a mere ordinary mortal and its preposterous and a heresy to even try to second guess such a level of euphoria. Ever since I started to understand solid images forming in front of my eyes there was one image that was constantly playing in front of me in a cricket crazy country and that was of a short, curly haired man taking stance against some of the most scary javelineers and beating them down to a pulp with a cricket bat. I started following cricket watching this diminutive boy bat his heart out and everything in cricket was compared to one reference point and that was what Sachin has done, could have done or failed to have done on a cricket field. From ball tampering to swing bowling to off spin to leg spin and all the letters in a real or imaginary batting manual, he has featured in everything. Every discussion about a batsman ends with the comparison with one man and to be that standard is something I cannot even attempt to understand.

With the turn of the millennium came a hard-boiled spunky captain who showed how to face the new world of cricketers with visible determination and somehow it felt as if it was simply an act of giving face to the steely spine one man has been building over the years for this one team. There is a marked difference in the Indian batsmanship between those who grew up watching Sachin and those who didn't (the ones who started their career with him). It would be highly unfair of me to say that batsmen before Sachin didn't inspire the Brady’s bunch called Indian batsmen, but the infiltration of television in the 90s meant that the impact of Sachin on the public psyche is manifold ahead of anything that the game has ever seen.

There were ups and downs, abuses being thrown at him or calling for his retirement, but when he actually did retire it has left a huge vacuum that could never be filled. Will there be another one who will pound a cricket ball with this level of determination and so minimalistic visible emotion? Will there be another one who will carry the entire team on his shoulder for one full decade and never complain or give an inch? Will there be another one who is completely immune to everything wrong that happens on a cricket field? Will there be another undisputed God of cricket? There are no right answers to these questions but it underlines the vacuum that his departure has left us with. Like a squirrel that has dropped his nut into water I will have to look for another tree to climb on.  

In between all this emotional upheaval of a retirement and realization of a departure, it is undisputed that the game will go on, there will new batsmen who will challenge the benchmarks set by the man, there will be more victories and defeats and more drama on cricket fields all around the world, but all of them will merely be the disciples of one man…consciously or subconsciously.

Today is the day I feel proud that I have a blog and some weak skills to put words to my thoughts…thoughts that invoke passion and emotions.