Friday, October 22, 2010

Shivsena heading towards a wall? An argument for an open society

What is the first thing coming to your mind when you hear the name Shivsena? At least a good percentage of the answers may look like – ‘banning some books, movies, channels etc’. This may be because of the active criticism (also due to the cut throat competition for primetime space) of electronic media or Shivsena themselves wants to be like that. A party, which always works for banning ‘everything’, that are supposed to be/ or imagined to be against them (in their words – against the culture).

Now a days Shivsena is always in paper, requesting (or ordering?) the government to ban something.  Usually parties and leaders are coming to the frontline politics by using some issues/strikes as their carrier. Some will remain in the forefront by working for or against something, others will simply fade away. They always require something to act against, living in a constant confusion – will their support base erode if they are not inflating the already hyper inflated negative ego of people?

There is nothing wrong in protecting our own culture, opinion etc. But every element of culture and opinion can’t be a universal truth. For example, respecting elders and divisions based on caste lines (untouchables and all other worst things related to it) are part of Indian system for a long time. But first one doesn’t become bad practice and the second one will not become good practice only because the system belongs to us or existing here for a long time. If you are keep on saying (no matter what others think) that the first one is correct and second one is also correct because it is part of out system, what will happen?

There are many things in our society which have to change. All these rotten eggs will be visible when some one dares to challenge it – like Raja Ram Mohan Roy did, like Sri Narayana Guru did. But if you are not allowing some one to raise their voice, to hear their opinion how we will came to know what is actually rotten in the system? European society took long time to agree that Earth is round; many people in India are still unable to wipe out the feelings of caste divisions from their mind.

Many radical changes pushed us a lot of degrees in the progress bar. Like the changes from Newtonian Mechanics to that of theory of relativity, from the hand written books to that of the printing machine. But for that to happen we have to open our ears and eyes to see the world, to hear what others have to say. I agree that all the ideas airing every day have any weight than air itself, many are coming simply to fade away in the flow of time. But a lot of ideas came and withstood even the strongest whirlwind. Sun may finally set in the British Empire but still the Westminster democracy is active in India. Gandhi lost his Physical body but his ideas still form a huge body in front of us. These are possible if you are ready to hear, assimilate the good and reject the bad portion of it – like what we are doing with food.

Now some may argue that everyone don’t understand good from bad and they are required to put all the good things in a capsule and give them in a regular interval’s. But let me ask one question– why some people believes in the some other ideas – not yours? Why huge number of people joined Buddhism along with B.R Ambedkar? Why a ruling party is failing in election even if they think, they ruled well?

It’s all about perceptions, it’s not necessary that your golden ideas have to be golden for others also. Another interesting thing is that, the subject of ban will become an instant hit. I don’t know whether writers secretly like requests to ban their books from political parties and groups. These are the best helping hand they can have. It is another matter that whether all the people who are requesting for banning books already read it etc.

I am not fully against bans. There are materials whose only purpose is to create negative influences in the society. But a blanket ban is not a solution for anything just like selective reading will not do much good. As we usually say, at least reading two news papers is necessary for getting the real news, reading for and against is necessary to find a good solution. By not giving a chance for opposite opinions, people are making their stands much weaker. US give almost full freedom to their citizens and in China, until some years back (even now?) everything is controlled by party. But this procedure doesn’t make US a weaker state or China stronger (in terms of openness – Tiananmen is a good example) one.

Shivsena can do a lot of good things for the development of Maharashtra, than simply making noises. Indeed Maharashtra needs a credible opposition and strong parties for the future. Shivsena can fill these gaps. Their name gives them more responsibility!!!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

A village market in Bangalore

I didn’t think about walking so long at first. But in that morning – nothing seems to be better than that. Walking long distances always helped me to solve my problems. But Hosur road (NH-7) is no longer a better one for walking. Here you can breathe as much carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide etc. as you like, that too, free of cost. No more green cover in the sides; six lane highways along with its four lane service roads are as good as desert for walking.

Still it offers a long stretch for walking, and I slowly moved through it in the direction of Hosur. The usual noises and carbon dioxide winds are yet to gain its momentum. After all who wants to wake early in a Saturday morning? Even if it is ‘Navami’ – the ninth day of Navrathri – not much people are in the streets; shops are yet to open. As I continued down the road life slowly started creeping in to the streets. Many buses are decorated using mango leaves and banana trees.

In such a situation a large crowd in the side of the road wasn’t natural. There is no possibility for any politician to come early in the morning and give new promises to the people – that too at a time when all the elections are already over. Elected representatives are more interested in going to the luxury hotels in Goa – to prepare for the next boxing in the legislative assembly - than coming to these hot areas of Bangalore.

As I went on, the visual become clear to me. These people constitute a village market – and the items to sell are sheeps. As I approach the market, I can saw more and more sheeps coming in Bajaj’s new pulsars, Omnis and other vehicles and many are going out in similar fashion.

Now I am right in front of the market, one person is pulling a sheep to the other side of the road. The poor four-legged white animal is unwilling to go – yet to come in terms with his new owner. Suddenly another person pressed its tail side by his right hand and sheep started jumping forward.  Whenever it stops this person repeated the procedure.

Suddenly two more sheeps came and joined in this pandemonium. Their arrival was in a royal way – One is sitting in the lap of a person who is driving the bike, another is sitting behind him in his co-passengers lap, two front legs in one side of the bike and another two in the opposite side. After getting down from this royal chariot they slowly marched towards the middle of the market and joined in the rank of other sheeps – waiting for the new master.

All of a sudden one man in his locally made ‘Honda Raincoat’ (in this part of the world you can get any brand you want, it doesn’t matter whether it is existing or not!!!) approached them; he wrote something in his book and removed a coupon from it. At first I thought he was selling some lottery ticket or raising money for something else. But the man who owns the two sheep gave him a five hundred rupee note. Seems like people who have sheeps too sell, have to buy these tickets (anyway not sure about this thing). I can’t see what type of facilities they are getting in return. The tarred road in which they are standing – full of water and sheep’s urine – hardly had anything special; it’s an extended portion of the service road. Why they have to pay for selling their sheeps in a public road? Road tax for sheeps?

As time went on more and more people came and joined in this pandemonium. Market is dominated by men but ladies are also there. After some time a couple – man wearing a pant and shirt and lady wearing a yellow sari came with their sheeps. Both are appearing more aged than they actually are – may be the result of their hard work. Suddenly ticket seller approached them started played his part in the act. They too give him some money in return of a ticket.

Now from the other side some one is shouting in top of his voice. The other one is requesting – almost begging – some more money for his sheep. But the buyer is not ready to shell out anything more. As the seller becoming more and more earnest the buyer become more and more stern. Buyer is running from pillar to post, trying to justify his request for more money. Finally they offered some more many and this person went back to his earlier position. A typical view of old markets; where a man’s physical appearance and bargain strength tilts the transaction in his favour.

As the time went on, more and more people started shouting in top of their voice – some times it’s buyer and in other cases it’s the seller. The new age ‘customer relationship principles’ are yet to present their identity in this small road side market. Slowly the views become a repetition of the earlier ones and slowly moved from there. Life is slowly creeping back to the streets; ladies are buying new flowers (especially the yellow ones) and other things to celebrate the ninth day of Navarathri. Still I am walking with out any idea about the destination.