Month: September 2006

Bring the War Home! (Part I)

Amidst the impending war on people of Iran, and the ongoing oppression of peoples everywhere through military and financial means, we have limited choices. One, we could claim refined patriotism that needs validation through the bumper stickers proclaiming, “I support my troops”. This will make some of us look politically correct, since the attacks are apparently not on civilians, but on terrorists (although for most of those among us who profess this first choice, the difference between civilians and terrorists is a matter of our stereotypes based on artificial dissonances—race, religion, nationality—than anything else). Our definition of terrorist is of course one that is rhetorically the most agreed upon, although politically it is the most disagreeable. Despite all the finer questions that complicate our lives, these among us will always root for the troops. Killing, raping, vandalizing, infiltrating, promoting ethnic violence, are all fine, so long as our troops are fighting their terrorists. In fact, the more violence there is, the more legitimacy, our troops gain. As Sister Nirmala implied for Missionaries of Charity that …

Hindus, Muslims and Secular Traditions: Vande Mataram (Part II)

Vande Mataram debate has almost engulfed India these days. I would not claim it to be entirely of no consequence. And those who say that people should be left to sing what they want to, in the tradition of liberal democracy, in my view again, are continuing to enjoy a Hindu privilege. If for a moment, they would imagine how it feels to be member of a minority group being subjected to a song that was targeted against them, most of us would clearly understand the inherent pain. Muslims in India have been told from the beginning that they are citizens of a secular country, and it is the responsibility of the Hindu majority to live upto that expectation. There must not be any confusion in this regard. Furthermore, some of my beloved readers of this blog have vociferously attacked the communalism in Islam, and in fact to that extent shown solidarity with Bankim Chandra, the poet of Vande Mataram, who also happens to be the founding father of modern Bengali literature. I am not …

Lage Raho Munna Bhai: The Mahatma Strikes Back!

Well, some news is actually good! Like the news that Munna Bhai is back with his friend Circuit to the silver screen! In an unflinching tribute to his beloved late father Sunil Dutt, who is much missed in this brilliant sequel, Sanjay Dutt has made more than acting come alive. Writer-Director Raju Hirani has once again excelled in popularizing the conventionally absurd, eulogizing the most susceptible, and sketching raw feelings with innate deftness of a master filmmaker. None of the Mumbai films released this year made much sense this year, with the sole exception of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate, which dealt with feminism’s oppositional intersection with capitalism in a profoundly relevant manner. And in fact, all the rest of the flicks this year, were disastrous experience for someone who has grown up admiring Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt when it comes to Hindi film industry. In fact, the much touted movies like Kunaal Kohli’s Fanaa, and Karan Johar’s Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna were so pathetic that they deserve entry into the Bollywood Hall of Shame. Before …

Vande Mataram as a Hindu Hymn

There is no reason why Vande Mataram, the Indian national song, should be in controversy any longer. This song should be now scrapped and deleted from its current status. Ever since India’s ‘independence’, this song has created controversies, and for obvious reasons. However, just as the ‘secular’ leadership of India had tried to suppress the skeletons in its cupboard, the opportunistic media had also vociferously supported the need for the song to go on in its truncated form. And India, mostly kept ignorant about the damaging consequences of having such a song was lulled into believing that everything was well so long as we could come to a consensus. For the consensus, however the four power estates of Indian democracy utilized a) the voices of Hindu seculars approving the song’s first two paragraphs, b) the voices of Muslim seculars approving the same paragraphs, c) the voices of Hindu fanatics demanding the whole song to be made compulsory, and d) the confusion of the vast majority of Indians who had no clue whatsoever of any possibility …

Vidarbha Farmers: Genocide, not Suicide.

I am unsure if Shakespeare had such premonitions engulfing his worst tragedies, but the Hindu superpower India with its proud “economic growth rates” has been forcing me to wonder if we are missing the coming signs of the times. The tell-tales are here, the hints of misfortune are looming large, the sustained oppression by the Indian state on its peoples with “foreign aids” is rampant. And yet somewhere since last couple of years a major chunk of world’s geographical region is dancing away at a maddening pace, drinking the drink of its blood and dancing the dance of its death. The world’s largest democracy is also the biggest booming free market economy. With exception to no other land today, the enthusiasm of the urban youths of India has emerged pure, and unbridled. The mass popular culture of subservient bollywood films, inferior diaspora literatures and profit hungry mainstream media have a projection of jubilance, of multifarious vibrancy in social lives that’s almost instantaneously appealing. In no contrast, the elite high class societal circles are doing their …