The Boys launched their book, India Fantastique, amidst mega fanfare at Ántilia. It was nothing less than magnifique!! More on that soon... it was great to see senior models on the ramp. These ladies are still the asli Catwalk Queens.... as for the glittering crowd, I think it would be fair to say the real show stopper last night was Amitabh Bachchan, who stood ( literally!) head and shoulders above the rest.
This appeared in the Sunday Times today....
Time for some ‘serious work’, folks…
Thanks Rahul Baba! For once, the nation is one hundred per cent behind you. Last week, the Son of India declared he was ‘seriously’ not interested in what Baba Ramdev was saying or doing. Because he was more interested in investing his precious time doing ‘serious work’. This is seriously, the most serious thing he has ever said. And we should take him seriously. Oh come on… it isn’t that tough. 65 years after Independence, we haven’t taken ourselves seriously. Or, at any rate, seriously enough. No wonder nobody else does, either!Two extraordinary events polarized India last week, and had we paid more serious attention to the gravity of both situations, perhaps things wouldn’t have reached this sorry state. Today, we are dealing with a seriously nasty situation in which we are turning on ourselves - our own people are being chased out of one state after another and more or less ordered to go back to their home states in the North East. This is just too shocking for words! What crime have these Indian citizens committed? Why can’t assorted state administrations offer them the protection they are entitled to by right? What message is Delhi sending across the nation by making special trains available to hapless, terrified young people, to flee the Capital like petty thieves scurrying for cover? Yes, Rahul Baba. Serious (and immediate) work is indeed needed on a war footing, before the situation worsens.
Ditto for what Mumbai experienced just a few days before our 65th Independence Day, when for the first time in public memory, rampaging mobs systematically attacked the police, snatching service weapons, firing in the air, molesting female constables, torching police vans, fire engines, OB vans, private cars and two wheelers. Such a daring and dangerous development does not take place ‘spontaneously’. Someone was clearly testing the waters. But who? It was an unprecedented lethal attack on the vardiwalas, possibly to check the official response to it.Would the incensed cops retaliate brutally to the provocation, leading to a carnage?Would a bloodbath follow?Nothing of the sort happened mercifully - Mumbai cops displayed both maturity and restraint.Worse, the same hooligans desecrated the Amar Jawan Memorial smashing the glass case and stomping all over the site. Post the mayhem, several questions remain unanswered. No matter how efficiently Mumbai cops handled the aftermath of this awful incident, one thing cannot be dismissed easily.The Mumbai attacks on cops were carefully planned. They were the prime targets. All the other acts of wanton violence were incidental. What we mutely witnessed was the ugliest manifestation of power play involving warring politicians settling old scores and using the police force to do their dirty jobs for them. When cops become puppets of politicos, what faith can the public have in their ability to protect the city? Today, most sensitive appointments in the police force are determined by conniving politicians.The nexus is blatant and brazen. The home ministers of several states report to their bosses operating from Delhi. The most critical positions are filled by cops who are openly identified as being so-and-so’s men. There is no unity within the state cabinet, leading to divided loyalties in the police force. The day a top cop becomes someone’s man, anarchy rules.
We have reached the tipping point. The violence against citizens, be they students from the North East or Mumbai cops , is being strategized and manipulated by shadowy people with nothing to lose. Not a hair on their heads is likely to be touched in the chaos. Their names may never be known to us. It is a truly terrible situation with bureaucrats at war with other bureaucrats, cops at war with other cops, ministers, their hirelings…. everybody at war with everybody else.That leaves our preachers, maulanas, godmen and gurus – perhaps the most dangerous bunch of the lot. In such a strife driven environment, the few sane voices around don’t stand a chance of getting heard. Even if they do manage to articulate what needs to be strongly stated, who’s listening? Weak at the Centre, weak at the State level… India is about to commit hara kiri. 65 years ago, there was hope in the air. And great expectations. Today, those we entrust to lead the nation are on the backfoot, busy offering alibis and excuses. It has come to a point where we are passively permitting religious fissures to further divide us. Will our desperation compel us to pin all our hopes for salvation on an unlikely savior? Will the next Indian political blockbuster be titled ‘Ek Tha Rahul?’ Or wait… it could also be, ‘Ek Thi Priyanka…” Yup, folks. Serious work ahead!