Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ram and Rich

Ram Leelas...

If you thought, it was only Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi who is a (lord) Ram baiter. you are mistaken. MK, who excercises control over the state press, clearly had no clue about satellite channels breaking news all the time. or else, the veteran dravidian leader was shrewed enough to have used them for the purpose of propaganda of his old-world dravidian ideals.

Reading William Darlymple, I was rediscovering my fondness for the printed pages. `At the age of kali', he quotes Laloo: ``Ram should punish these murderous fundamentalists - if he exists, that is. But he is nowhere. If he was there, so many poor people would not have died, there would not have been such poverty, such fights...''

In a country obsessed with religion, both MK and Laloo have demonstrated their ability to attack the saintliest of the hindu god, or his avatar, and continue to win elections. If it was dravidianism for the former, it was casteist pride and criminal power that helped the later.

But both, inspite of the personalities they are, can take pride in plunging the polity of the nation towards new lows. Of corruption and criminalisation of politics. While Laloo wears these two traits on his sleeves, MK prefers it to be an open secret.

Rich Ragas ...

Consider these two numbers. 358 and 2,500,000,000.

First, the audience at a preview cinema theater and the second almost half-the-population of the world.

The World's Rich and The World's Poor. UN 1996 Development Report: the riches 358 people in the world have the same aggregate wealth as the poorest two-and-a-half billion.

In other words, as Ambanis get richer, it is likely that millions of poor will get poorer.

This is a fact. Infact, it is globalisation. The modest, but neverthless historic, reductions in wealth and income gaps during the most of twnetieth century are being reversed under gloalisation.

Interestingly, it is intriguing to note that the two binding forces, both exploitative to the core in nature, religion and feudalism, continue to thrive even in the era of globalisation. Studying the political systems and predicting the State responses to these all powerful and all pervading forces could be an exciting profession for future social scientists.

Wither socialism and the welfare state? A friend said yesterday that the world is no more innocent. May be, the world is no more just as well. The planet is already paying the price for rampant industrialisation with its, and our, survival at stake. Still, the rich want to be richer. The poor will always be poorer.

Let us hail stock-markets but don't mistake brand and equity with brotherhood and equality.

its a pleasure... and pain

it was a pleasure driving on the roads of good old madras the day after deepavali. it seems all the migrant population has gone back to their native towns and villages and only those who really belong to chennai were moving around leisurely.

it was similar to the pace i witnessed when i migrated a decade-and-half back after which the city has also become too mechanical like any other teeming metropolis. it is time, the state thought of decongesting the heart of the city and take development truly to the suburbs by providing the required infrastructure.

it looks like an extended weekend and the city is at peace with itself. with easy mobility, you feel relieved and relaxed. after the wasteful extravaganza, that is diwali. i spent last evening in a park and the sky was littered with brilliant sparks.

here were a thousand blasts from all over the city every second. think of the level of pollution the city inherits in a single day of celebration. its like undoing a year of good work. its not just about the pollutants. its about the purse as well as the city has come to be gripped by the vulgar consumerism, a global culture.

i live in a home by the side of a shopping district and the last week has been terrible with lakhs and lakhs trouping in and out of all sorts of shops. people would have spent crores on buying sweets. forget that we are the diabetes capital of the world. it was a mad rush for plain consumerism.

you may ask what do people earn for. only to spend at times of festivals. i remember deepavali from my childhood, which may require another post. its no more the same. that culture is gone. today, the festival is celebrated in front of the idiot box romancing the stars. dont forget the first day first show madness and the all powerful dressing.

the skyline was lit up till late in the night. i was having a headache after having watched the sloppy indian team losing it to arch rival pakistan in a humdinger. the image, i carried to my dreams was that of a small boy, made to be a beggar, with her mom with the little sis on lap, begging for alms in front of the crowded sweet shop on the high road.

is narcisst and narakasuran the same? i wonder.

Stories From The Soul Town

There lies a magical land. Surrounded by the green ghats to the west, gurgling great rivers on the east, the valley with the very blue sky. A temple town of the tamils. Sitting on the dancing rock on the highland overlooking the valley, the writer procreates the lives of the people of this lesser known south west. Full of strange yet simple souls.