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Geek by profession, thinker/writer/artist by passion. Part-time blogger,social media enthusiast and a tramp by nature :) A Man Of Mud


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Digressive Rhetoric Dominating Public Discourse In India

Public discourse is essential for the functioning of a progressive democratic society but sometimes too much of it can be counter-productive especially in a society such as ours where politics dominates every sphere of our lives. For a long time public discussion was compered by print media journalists, radio hosts and electronic media,which took and transformed  most  somber debates to desi tamashas. Social media revolution has had a very different impact,while it has thrown numerous thought-leaders who would otherwise have passed away in obscurity or limited success,social media has also brought in partisans,radicals and mischief-makers. I refuse to call them "trolls" which was originally used for Usenet users with single-point agenda,but even they were far more knowledgeable than some of the current twitter celebs :p (note to self: post a short entry to elucidate the point).Anyway, blaming a horde of hare-brained web users can hardly be blamed for hijacking public discussions on national television shows. The fault must lie with the greater part of the debating public.

Posted By danish Ahmed 6:09 PM

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nuclear Dilemma

This is in response to RT @PritishNandy: While nuclear power has become a no-no in most parts of the world, why are we persisting with Jaitapur?

After tweeting Mr. Nandy that I would blog on it, it struck me that I still don't have a clear opinion on the issue, just a bunch of arguments, facts and the compulsion of being politically correct and honest at the same time.:)
So, about a week back I was in the no-no-nuclear camp,mostly because it was the most politically correct point of view, but lacked conviction. Just a couple of years back during the Indo-US nuclear deal, there were lots of voices commending the merits of clean nuclear energy, now just a few years later it can't have lost all of those! Of course the disaster in Japan was great and fear of nuclear reactor meltdown loomed large but is there an alternative, especially for us Indians ? What happened in Japan was freakish, only an earthquake of this magnitude could have caused this scale of damage to the reactor, and Japan is one of the very few countries where an earthquake of this magnitude could have occured, tsunami itself is a Japanese word.    Somehow it seems freakish that all of these should have occurred naturally. Could a repetation of this occur in other parts of world ? The infographic that Guardian posted the world map displays seismic activities and nuclear installations around the world.

Posted By danish Ahmed 6:51 PM

Monday, April 18, 2011

From Rights of Man To Right Wing Sham

Posted by: danish Ahmed 5:34 AM

French police have arrested two veiled women for violating the law banning wearing of burkha in public.

France is the latest to join the club of countries like Saudi Arabia,which believe that the state has the right to decide what its citizens should or should not wear. In recent years the whole of Europe is increasingly becoming an intolerant society,much like it was just few centuries back. However, this time its not the traditional Church that calls the shots, far-right intellectuals have taken over the role of medievel clergy. Ironically, it was the French Revolution that sent shock waves across the West, abolishing monarchies and autocracies and bringing in liberal democracies and rule of the people. It also liberated the State from the control of the Church and led to the adoption of secularism as a concept derived from the principle of individual liberty.  The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen drafted during the period was the precursor of the International Human Rights Law.  This form of secularism has been followed so religiously in the later half of the century that it has become a religion by itself with its own set of presumptions and dogmas.Things now seems to have come to a full circle, like the mythical Ourobus that I so often allude to.

Posted By danish Ahmed 5:34 AM

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anna Wins The Battle,The War Begins

So the government finally gives in to Anna Hazare & team's demand that the civil society representatives be included in drafting committee of the Lok Pal Bill. The battle of Jantar Mantar is won but the war of the Indian people against the menace of corruption is far from over.  In fact,even this victory may not mean much if the guards are lowered prematurely. Not two days have passed and we can see questions raised on the representation of the civil society. There are clearly attempts at creating differences within the motley group of crusaders rallying around the Gandhian social activists.The biggest irony is that even though the timing may be conspicuous and reek of dubious intent,the questions raised are legitimate and are as a matter of fact, crucial to the future of the movement.

Posted By danish Ahmed 1:38 AM

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In Jantar Mantar Sits The Fourth Estate

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty
And 72-year old Gandhian Anna Hazare is the night watchman of India,having completed 3rd day of fast-unto-death demanding a new legislation to curb corruption which is assuming monsterous form. The support he has received from the people is tremendous, though I have come across skeptics speculating a hidden agenda of furthering any of the national political parties' interests. Since the BJP was leading a full-fledged attack on the UPA government for a string of corruption cases, Anna Hazare's people-powered movement can be seen by some cynical Congress supporters as adervtantly or inadvertently strengthening the BJP's campaign. Rightist hardliners on their part have been hinting if this is a Congress ploy to tone down the rage of the people by taking a hugely publicized corrective action.

Ok. Enough politics!

Posted By danish Ahmed 10:47 PM

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bleeding Blue Billions, Ain't Just Cricket

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Posted by: danish Ahmed 5:13 PM

Dhoni's sixer in the 49th over taking India to victory against the Sri Lankan team in the ICC World Cup 2011 was nothing short of a fairy tale ending to a grand epic. Lately, it seemed Providence did not intend to give India both the World Cup as well as Sachin Tendulkar at the same time. But then again, it wouldn't have been fair that the team for which the greatest cricketer ever played,never won a World Cup. So it was only fair that Sachin's captain and teammates win it for him, as they had promised to before the tournament began. And this is exactly how it happened. Sachin Tendulkar deserve a separate post, which lies in my drafts and which I will be posting soon,GOD-willing.

Team India's magnificent victory in the final demonstrate why cricket is a religion in India. Though moments of individual brilliance were strewn along the entire match, the final outcome  was undoubtedly a well coordinated team effort. Team India truly reflects the multicultural triumph of the Indian State,most likely it is the only team, with players who come from so many linguistic and ethnic groups. Of course language is not at all a barrier now as it used be in the past (according to veteran experts) it still maintains the symbolic value.

Posted By danish Ahmed 5:13 PM

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mango Man elated from multiple scams.

Posted by: danish Ahmed 1:17 AM

A new superhero is in town called the Mango Man but there is absolutely no threat to other comic superheroes and their franchises because Mango Man is neither attractive nor glamorous. More importantly, Mango Man is not always 'man' nor is it one physical entity. It is a class of people whom the ruling elite as well as the ruled elite call the common man or common people ( to avoid charge of gender discrimination).  Of course it is a popular play on the Hindi words,'aam aadmi' but the usage here slightly of a different context. Almost every year, there is at least one reported incidence of poor tribal in Orissa dying after consuming mango kernel as a last attempt to ward of death from starvation. Now,starvation wouldn't be stalking just a few people and not their other family members which implies that they must have survived the poisonous meal. Therein lies the earliest signs of the superpower these people possess but this is not the only one. Often Mango Man can be found living in the midst of hazardous industrial wastes having been driven out of his natural habitat by the administration-corporate-
militant nexus lured by its rich mineral resources. Emmigrating to the nearest city,he settles in a derelicted site (called slum)  which is subsequently  demolished by municipal commissions,at the behest of powerful builders, to build a shopping malls,multiplexes at the site. Now he resides in the midst of toxic,industrial waste,generally dumped away in the suburbs.  Of course, in comic books and Hollywood movies the neuro-chemical reaction might have given him one or more extraordinary abilities but in this case there is a greater probability of him developing a fatal disease and his children being born with physical or mental deformities.

The superpower of the Mango Man lies in his resilience and imperviousness to exploitation and tormentation at the hands of the priveleged few. Highly placed sources say Mango Man is elated over the strings of scams,investigations and leaks. It is not the detection,investigation of the scams that lift his spirit but the fact that the Indian state has had that amount of wealth in the first place. Corruption,misappropriation of public fund have become an accepted norm but the amounts of money embezzled is what catches Mango Man's attention. According to him, the knowledge that the fund necessary to fight starvation and malnutrition  as well as access to basic amenities,did exist even if stashed away in foreign banks is a comforting thought. "As of now,the popular opinion was that the Indian state lacked the resources to uplift the under-privileged within reasonable time-frame. However,these revelations have proved that wrong and it gives us immense pride to know that the money embezzled in a single scam were sufficient for eliminating poverty in a group of villages.

The fact the these huge amounts of money stashed away in overseas tax-havens instead of being circulated in the market is just unfortunate. But the Mango Man undestands that the irrational gluttony of the leaders is a natural trait of some individuals and is willing to go the extra mile to help the next generations of gluttons. After all, he may not get a square meal a day,healthcare,education, electricity or any other basic ammenities but as an Indian his chest does puff in pride to see names Indian businessmen in Forbes list of the richest people in the world.

Posted By danish Ahmed 1:17 AM