Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sharam Karo,Bhai.... Sharam Karo!

The tides have been unusually high today. Which may be either good news or bad news for the Ganpatis going into the swirling waters for Visarjan. I feel sad and sentimental saying good bye to Mumbai's favourite deity. I used to stay awake till 3 a.m. in the past to watch the magnificent Lalbaugh Chha Raja on his last journey. These days I prefer to meet him when he presides in his pandal. I managed a rendez -vous after midnight three nights ago, and came away overwhelmed. He has that effect on devotees. All that I wished to tell him remained mostly unsaid, as I stared and stared and stared wordlessly, carried away and awe struck in his mighty presence. The power this deity commands has to be experienced.... for close to an hour after leaving the pandal, my heart was still racing and I could think of nothing but his glorious visage. Next year, is next year. I feel blessed this year. That's good enough!
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Amitabh Bachchan was gracious enough to make time for Aparna Velankar, even though it was a hectic day and the roads around 'Janak' ( his office) must have been jam packed , what with all the Ganesh pandals in the vicinity. But... and here's an important 'but'. Such is his attention to detail, he got the ever-efficient Rosy from his office, to re-schedule the original appointment, pointing out thoughtfully to Aparna that the roads would be even more crowded with Gauri-Ganpati visarjans that day. Meticulous would be an understatement to describe Mr. Bachchan's style of functioning.That's something to learn for all those ill-mannered movie brats who think nothing of keeping people waiting for hours and hours while they 'relax' in vanity vans and ping away during important interviews. After all that, the Big B also found the time to blog about the appointment and share the experience with his faithful followers.The topic I had in mind for him ( The power of 'sanskaars')is going to be the highlight of the Deepavali bumper issue I'm editing for Lokmat this year.
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This appeared in Asian Age on saturday....

Sharam Karo, bhai, sharam karo….

Yup.It happened.The nineteenth terror attack on the Capital in fifteen years. So far, the body count is 12 deaths and 90 injured. By the time someone takes the trouble to total it all up, India will have moved on ( 24 hours later, most people already have), and those who don’t live in Delhi will shrug and talk about ‘intelligence failure’, ‘security lapses’, ‘crisis in leadership’. Out-of-work movie stars will tweet away, offering prayers and condolences, and television anchors with grim faces will attempt to grill the usual suspects, embarrass a few and reprimand the rest. There it shall remain. Manmohan Tauji will tut tut ‘It’s a long war’ and beseech the ‘People of India to stand united’, remain ‘calm’ . Chidambaram Chhacha will issue some more somber sounding statements( does he just recycle them from a master list?). And that will take care of the situation… till the next blast… and the next. And till such time as every Wednesday will make Indians fear it may be another Black one. There is something called immunity. Just as cockroaches, dog ticks, certain strains of bacteria stop responding to powerful drugs and pest control chemicals, human beings too develop a resistance to acts of terrorism. How many times can we go ‘Hai Hai’ and beat our breasts? Those responsible for the safety and security of the nation count on just that. This ain’t America , boss. Nor is it Australia. Or any other country that has declared zero tolerance for terrorists. Here, we keep those accused and convicted of terror attacks in conditions that are denied to a majority of God-fearing, law -abiding citizens. Even the Sri Lankan assassins of a former Prime Minister have been spared from the gallows so far. Afzal Guru? Let’s not even go there! Ditto for Qasab. So long as we play these dangerous political games in a clumsy attempt to prove something dubious to the world (“ Look guys! We are a democracy. Please be impressed.”) we shall have to resign ourselves to living with terror. And slippery, weak politicians whose sole objective in life is to hang on to their kursis and make money.
What does the average Joe do in such a desperate situation? I received a really dumb email with a request to stand in silence and pray for the dead. Respecting the memory of those innocent people who were blown to bits on 7th September, is one thing. But the pointlessness of such chain mails makes me see red. There was another email which expressed outrage at the fact that not a single politician in the last 5 years was directly affected by terrorist attacks. It was as if the chattering classes would have felt a little better had a couple of netas lost their limbs or lives in similar attacks . This is just such a childish and churlish reaction!But one can understand where it’s coming from. There is so much repressed rage against the ruling class right now, that it would somehow appease the masses if those lofty politicos enjoying z-category protection at tax payers expense were as vulnerable as that poor Pawan Jaswal from Gurgaon who had come to the HC to attend a hearing on his employer’s case and was instantly killed.Increasingly, affected people are vociferously articulating their anger and contempt for leaders as was evident when Rahul Gandhi was heckled when he showed up at the RML Hospital. This is the bold writing on the wall that politicians need to pay close attention to. It indicates a shift in people’s attitude towards those in power . So far, the high and mighty have been insulated from such outrage because the cowering masses have grown accustomed to treating VIPs like ‘maap baap’, bowing and scraping in their presence. But, watch out!Nobody is likely to be spared in future, least of all bechara Manmohan Singh, whose kamzor position at present is encouraging dissidents to shout him down, when he trots out platitudes like, “Co-operation, not accusation, is the need of the hour.” Try saying that to 21-year-old victim Amanpreet Singh Jolly’s grieving father. Or to the wife of 54-year-old Vinod Jaiswal, who was blissfully oblivious she’d been widowed till much after 4.30 p.m. when the sad news was finally broken to her by Ashok, Vinod’s brother. Unfortunately, not too many people will remember these tragic stories even a week from now. Not even the media.
The government cannot hope to get away with alibis and excuses each time the nation is shattered by demonic acts of terror. The buck does stop with those in power. It is the primary duty of our elected representatives to protect lives of citizens.People don’t care if it is the ‘LeT hand’, or Harkat, IM or some other terror group’s ‘foot’ that’s responsible for the HC attack. 68% of people polled blamed the blast on ‘the lack of a political will to tackle terrorism.’’
Sharam karo, bhai, sharam karo.The mood of the nation is belligerent.Public anger is as lethal, as dangerous as an IED. All that’s required is a trigger. And such a symbolic blast can cause far greater damage than anything placed in an abandoned suitcase.
It’s ‘champi’ time for politicians. The smart thing to do would be to keep shut and get to work. Oh yes - netas should definitely stay away from the RML Hospital – we don’t need any more casualties there.

30 comments:

चंद्रमौलेश्वर प्रसाद said...

Oophs! Lord Ganapathi has taken toll at Lalbagh :(

manu said...

manachya antakarnatun lihilya sarkha watla... hi chid swabhavik aahe ani tumhi shekdo bharatiyanchya manatla ekdum achuk asa varnan kelat... vachun halka watata karan manat je aahe te vachla, pan mann bharunhi aala ki he kiti kaal ajun ani ka??

Desi Babu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desi Babu said...

Well written Mrs. De! I think you nicely sum up the frustration in the Indian masses as far as terrorism goes.

Peace!

*Aham* said...

o! de! though i love gods. i was completely bheetified when news channels showed how people fell off to their death from overcrowded-beyond-capacity balconies. so much frenzy over our beloved tusker.

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o yes, big b is big b, while most others are poo and pee when it comes to etiquettes.

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we are just a number de! 9 dead, 20 injured. another bomb. another city. another day.
]
just a number we are.

the best job now is that of a journalist or a speech-writer for chiddu, mannu s, or sonnu g. so less is their work. just one draft, one expression, one line after every blast.
with such an easy job...
... they must be having a blast....

(errrr!!! metaphorically)


*************************************
you know, we have a song "chup-chup-baithe-ho-zaroor-koi-baat-hai" it became the anthem for sanitry pads.

now, it is the middle name of manmohan singh.

i do nothing but laugh when i hear ChumMohan comes on tv and says.. "INDIA CONDEMS THE TERROR ATTACK"

satirically, i had posted on twitter
... "Manmohan has condemned the blast... YAYYY!!!!"

ROHAN KARKHANIS said...

HiShobha,
Came across a quote by winston churchill
" Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles"
65 years after independence i wonder if he was right all along!!!

Latha said...

What did the PM say that day ? 1. They do this to terrorise us. (Oh, really ? We thought they tried to entertain us by these Diwali crackers).
2. We will not succumb to this. But PMji, already 11 + 45 people (dead & injured) had succumbed in this blast alone even while you were speaking. Oho, acha acha, politicians will not succumb. You will not install metal detectors, cctv, radars etc. No PMji, no succumbing. Never.
There was another pearl from you. 3. Nothing can justify terrorism. Too bad for you.
In every channel they said that Chids wanted to revive the police force (!) & breath new life in it but somebody thwarted his efforts. Who is this mysterious man in the Govt who thwarts every effort to spend the tax money for the people ? Or are there many men who stop the PM, HM, FM, etc ? Whom are we voting for ? Why are we voting ?
Let the lawyers & judges in the high court pool money according to their income & install metal detectors, cctvs, security men in uniforms & adjust the amount in their taxes. And we will all follow suit.
We don't want to pay taxes to get killed & lectured that they do this to terrorise us, this cannot be justified & that kind of 'jale main namak' bull.

SIDDHU said...

Hi shobhaa...

You stress on a point that we move on ,leaving behind the impact and loss happened out of these trajic terror attacks... And thatz true..it even happened in my case(My worry n anger on the govt ,came down now after a week from the delhi high court incident)as i was not the one who list my limb or life in the attack.... So, as you raised this up, you should have some way to make this out ... Don't you ?
Should a seperate governing body be allotted for terrorism(As CAG works for Coruption)? should BJP like parties make tough anti-corruption laws(POTA)? Should we request Anna ji to fast putting this as an ajenda?Should all the victims of various terror attacks be brought together to make the voice bigger?

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Latha said...

Shobhaa,
I was grieved to know about the passing away of your famous photographer brother today. I know how you must be feeling now. It'd be like you lost a part of yourself. Your photographs in the jackets of your books will not be the same anymore however good looking they be. Life goes on.....
I remember your having written a few days back that you couldn't attend a function ? felicitation ? that Gautam wanted you to.
May God give you solace to bear this irreplaceable loss. He might have gone to take photos in another world having taken enough of this world. May he have peace.

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Pooja Rathore said...

As for the terorist blasts in Delhi its clear nothing constructive has been done to check terrorism .
As citizens its our right to know exactly what steps the Govt is taking or intend to take to check terrorism (we should take help from countries who have been successful in preventing terror attacks ,its clear we haved failed miserably if we continue with our old patterns the results will be deadly(they already are and if we dont do something it is going to get worse). you are right our country is a soft target and our approach towards the terrorists is also soft ,i wonder how has kasabs custody and keeping other terrorists alive has helped, simply put waste of our money we could have used the money for some constructive purpose,the money we pay as taxes should be used for our protection but now it is used not for protection but as balance that if we become victim of the blast the same can be used to save our lives...truly a shame!
I agree with the views expressed by you in the post.
Dear SD ,sorry to hear about your cousin Mr Gautam passing away.The man who stood by you during a tough phase of your life and you said u will never forget that.( i remember reading from - selective memory) i pray his soul rest in peace.

Sameer said...

I know this might not be right place to say but didn't know any other way to connect with you...sorry to hear about loss of Gautam ji. I feel orphaned today. Don't know where to go to express my feeling of shock and sadness. He was a BIG BIG support to me and my partner. I know, he had supported you and loved you always. Anyway, just wanted to express my feelings somewhere since didn't know where to go....

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Uppal said...

Hi Shobhaa,thanks for voicing the collective anger of the people at the utter failure of the govt. to take stringent measures to bridle terrorist attacks.The ruling conglomerate is surely cocooned in an ivory tower with blinkers on so as to be so oblivious of what is happening to the citizenry who voted them to power.Empty platitudes of our leaders seem so fake and actually cause more resentment than anything else.The scourge of vote bank politics has brought our country to such a pass that nobody calls a spade a spade.The inertia of the rulers will damn us in the long run.Let's wake up NOW!!!

Nirbhay said...

My condolences on the loss of your cousin Gautam. He was a greaat photographer.

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Mrs De, I loved the belligerence and the aggressiveness in your write up. Pl keep it up to awaken the kumbhkarans in indian politics

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