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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

As I Lay Dying 

The casual brutality of the world’s oldest “way of life” reasserts itself as rusty knives and rustier beliefs are brandished yet again. Shrugging off fervent entreaties from a few disparate directions, hordes of devotees swarmed to at the Gadhimai temple premises in southern Nepal where over a lakh animals are to be ritually slaughtered.

There have been some muted and some strident protests – Bardot, Maneka Gandhi, PETA and assorted groups, but they appear to have only strengthened the religious Hindu fanatics who merrily plan to decapitate buffalo, goats and even pigeons. Gadhimai ( can be translated to mean “ Mother of Donkeys” ) is apparently a Goddess of Power who upon propitiation through this barbaric killing every five years fulfils wishes of her worshippers and curbs evil and brings prosperity, one is told.

It would appear that a lot of Indians have time on their hands as people from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal also head off to participate carrying with them their posse of animals to kill during the bloodletting. It may be a political ploy in the world’s only Hindu nation to play along with an implicit appeasement and sponsorship of these illiterate multitudes, but as events in India have shown, Hell Hath no Fury like a Mob challenged. The Nepal Government has ended up deploying state machinery to protect the site and has even pledged a token amount while footing the bill on subsidies for this Holocaus(e).

That no pearls of wisdom have been seen or heard from the Mutts and those Saffron Robes is disconcerting but predictable. After all, why would want to interfere in a harmless outlet that accords so many devotees their heart’s content and cements gruesome practice as sanctified and even encouraged hoary tradition. It’s only those animals and who’d bother with them ? And Life continues as Hinduism continues to abet prejudice, discrimination and veiled racism


Sunday, November 15, 2009

And of Muddied Oafs.... 

An unseen and ineluctable downward intellectual spiral in most of our lives has us occasionally pausing out of breath wondering where all one’s lofty pursuits have disappeared. The extent of elation on encountering anything divergent from the status quo, usually a direct measure of the depths that we may have plumbed, is unfettered by any stimulus causing it to begin with which consequently results in divine epiphanies being felt on receipt of simple homilies. Some manifestations are in the vociferous and frequent forced appreciation of mediocre art, form and ideas.

Having felt the clannish appeal of some of my passions, I realize that my own inability to come to grips with those who merely show up than to experience whatever it is that can be is a sad reflection of a more polarized view. But applauding with a scant regard to genuine dissection of style and substance breeds only languor and gradual ruin.

Just reading through stuff like this gives one sleepless nights
“ ….If I could do TED India all over again, I would have brought the Gods of all the major religions on stage and asked them how they viewed India. Then I would have asked the Chief Beliefs Officer to create a new politics where they could sing, dance, work and pray together….”

So a nice way to spend time, to delude oneself into the significance and sweep of the power of some ideas and yes, to network.
It’s sweet but it’s not a meal !!
Picnic time for TEDdy bears
The little TEDdy bears are having a lovely time today
Watch them, catch them unawares
And see them picnic on their holiday.......


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Valley of the Dolts 

Having always considered myself a genuine sports-lover and with more than a passing acquaintance with the Indian Army, I am alarmed at the predictably churlishly and piercingly shrill rants that have found their way into the mangers of the media at the refusal/inability of the Services team to visit Srinagar to play their Ranji Trophy match against the hosts J & K.

As the story goes, the top guns at Services heard or deduced something based on which they summarily decided that their team was not going to visit Srinagar and informed their squad that the visit was off, staying put in Delhi. After learning of this decision on the eve of the match, the BCCI banned the team for this season. The chastened Services team apologized and offered to play on another date, but the BCCI stayed with their decision.

The choleric Farooq Abdullah fretted and fumed speaking of ripping the BCCI apart for not being able to get the Services team to play. His Pomposity Mon. Perspicuously Clear mouthed some drivel about not being in the know on the proposed no-show and hence unable to prevent it. But what are the frayed tempers about ?

The Services team is made up of fighting men who ostensibly can defend themselves on and off the field. The J & K team is not made of Mission Kashmiris but contains expats from other states including the coach. And both compete in the Plate League which is in no danger of rewriting cricket books.

For all that it offers being “far more important that Life and Death”, sport in these troubled times has to cede to national interest. Sport has to embellish the quotidian sameness of everyday life, not supplant it by a truncated martyrdom, metaphorically or otherwise. It shall remain the cream and not replace the cake. If there was the slightest danger to life and limb, it was simply not worth the risk. No harm done, shake hands, decide a fresh date and move on. And next time, please pick up the phone and talk, preferably well in advance so that no misgivings result.


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