Romance and Culture Police Sunday, Feb 12 2006 

Come Valentine’s Day and there’s the usual violent campaign by hooligans of the Hindu fundamentalist groups against it. They argue that it’s a western practice which corrupts the youths of India. They target shops selling Valentine’s Day Cards and hotels and clubs that organize programs and dinners for those who celebrate Valentine’s Day.

“I Will start my protest from Sunday. I know a shop in my area which sells these Valentine’s Day cards. We are going to storm it on Sunday”,
These are the words of an office bearer of one of the most virulent Hindu fundamentalist parties.
But intolerance of any free association between men and women has always been a key element of Indian orthodoxy. Love marriage is frowned upon because love before marriage is taboo.The following incident illustrates the extent of violent objection to changes in ways of thinking and living of people from the loyal votaries of outdated custom.
On Dec 19, 2005, policewomen assaulted, rounded up and humiliated young women who were found paired with their boyfriends and spending romantic moments with them in a park in the North Indian city of Merut. Three days later, some self-appointed guardians of Hindu culture acting as ‘culture police’ attacked and roughed up more couples in the same park. This time the police accompanied the hooligans and let them do the job for them.The police brutality of pummeling and pulling the hair of women was aired on TVs, triggering nationwide outrage and debate on the matter. Local residents objected to the police high handedness and cruelty. But it didn’t prevent the police from assaulting people on moral grounds again. The second time they escorted hooligans and set them on men and women in the park.
“Immoral activities by boys and girls have to stop. If Shiv Sena and Bajrang Dal people are taking action, then it is not wrong,” said a policeman who was at the park.
Public opinion is divided on the issue of courtship, but united against police brutality and the hooliganism of the ‘culture police’ in the matter.
“Why don’t the police take action against people running prostitution rackets in hotels?” said a woman resident of Merut.
“Is falling in love wrong? Who gave the police the right to beat and hit people and misbehave in such a manner,” asked another woman in Meerut.

It’s not two months since the Merut incident, but the ‘culture police’ are at it again at Valentine’s Day. They have to protect culture!


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What Is Outsourcing? Friday, Feb 10 2006 

Outsourcing to India has been a major job and income generating opportunity for several Indian IT companies. As the trend increased and the demand for manpower multiplied many youngsters responded to the
opportunity enthusiastically. Many of them left their education and opted for quick buck employment.

I’m not sure how parents view it, but clearly the downside of quick buck is overlooked. Where will they be a few years hence without educational qualification?

I don’t understand these pictures very well. What do they mean?

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A Glimpse of Indian Politics Sunday, Feb 5 2006 

Do you know what ‘horse-trading’ means in Indian political parlance? It’s one of the ‘democratic practices’ followed in India to keep its democracy vibrant.

I’ll explain.

It’s the era of coalition governments in India, at
the center and at many states. The coalition is lead by one of the many parties that very often work at cross-purposes, but join hands by sinking their differences for a while for the sake of power. As a result, barring one or two exceptions, the government so formed is always shaky- the warring interests of the constituents of thecoalition cannot be held in check always.
The numerically strong party of the coalition, whose leader heads the government, is seen with suspicion by others
because of its potential for creating disaffection among the members of each constituent by dangling plum portfolios or positions or any other tantalizing attractions before them. Those who are truly tempted (it’s not possible to hold oneself against such temptations and we all know that) ditch their party and cross over to the other side or bring the
government down by creating a first rate political crisis by leaving the coalition and striving for the formation of a new government.
Transaction of huge amount of money also takes place in the bargain.
The entire deal is called ‘horse-trading’ in Indian politics.
In some cases the breakaway party or group reaches an understanding with the opposition party and engineers a crisis to pull down the government and try to form a new one.
This is exactly what has happened now in the South Indian state of Karnataka.
It’s almost certain that the state government will fall and another coalition government lead by the break away party
and the opposition will come to power. The speaker of the assembly has asked the government to seek a vote of confidence in the assembly on 27 January. The speculation is that the Chief Minister will probably resign before that to avoid the embarrassment of being voted out of power.
The breakaway party has herded all its MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) into the tourist paradise of Goa and the opposition party into the tourist resort of Kodaikkanal in
Tamil Nadu in order to avoid poaching by the government. The MLAs are kept in star hotels in good humor by all possible means by their bosses.
They are worth a lot- I mean a lot.
There’s no other way to avoid ‘horse-trading’ and save democracy.

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An Unholy Lot Sunday, Feb 5 2006 

“Do you have a professor who just can’t stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? If you help … expose the
professor, we’ll pay you for your work.”

Link

Rigtwingwing politics and their proponents anywhere in the world have many things in common. I think the most visible trait is their disdain for
intellectual freedom. As a result they try to intimidate those who
think and speak differently from them. Anyone who is not in their camp
is considered an enemy (of the nation!) and therefore should be
silenced by any means.
Another trait is their proclivity to selectively quote religious texts of the
faith they profess for basing their wild prescriptions for civil
conduct.
Rightwing politicians everywhere take it for granted that their country is the
property of their faith and those who are in the fold of that faith.
They promote a sense of ‘mission’ for their country to fulfill in the
world.
Another astounding trait is that they scoff at science and its method of
investigation of reality. For them science is ‘dogma’ and scientific
knowledge ‘superstition’. Yet rightwing politicians embrace technology
for military purpose and marshal all its powers for arming themselves
against other nations. Naturally all rightwing politicians are
warmongers.

A Funeral Procession Saturday, Dec 3 2005 

When I was going to city this afternoon, I saw a funeral procession. It was a small procession carrying the dead body of an old person with the accompaniment of percussions. Evidently they were very poor people from a backward settlement in the outskirt of the city. Otherwise the road would have been blocked by the huge procession and numerous vehicles. The funeral procession would have been conducted in great style befitting the status of the dead and the living alike.

None of the mourners was waling or weeping. Children were absent and women numbered only two or three.

The drummers beat out a disgusting rhythm.

I glanced at the corpse on the bier that was resting on the shoulders of the bearers. Wrapped in white shroud till the chin, the head jutting out, the lifeless, stony face with the eyes closed forever, it was like a log of wood to be consigned to flames shortly.
Rich or poor, king or commoner, all take the same road in the end.

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