Saturday, March 23, 2019

Media announces alliance with Congress, waits for internet to come on board

Congress patrakars have been very upset at the lack of Congress ability to stitch up alliances. They have been very vocal on social media - possibly emanating from the common whatsapp group that they are all part of - but this time it is not orchestrated, it is genuine. Given this circumstance, a logical next step has happened.

The media or a section of it has announced an alliance with the Congress for the 2019 election. They have decided to drumbeat the achievements of the prince and his new clothes that would put an alliance to shame. In fact, pseudosecular patrakaars who lost many a free airline seat and shopping trip have decided to pool their collective influence for the prince. After all, free shopping and travel is a thing to vie for. Sonia air loyalty miles go very far over generations; without an expiry date.  

There is an entire team to manufacture his adventures like you see in the superhero movies. Somebody crafts all those backstories and sequels and prequels so that, you see a coherent stories while they mint money by you watching all those movies (sometimes thrice so that your kids understand what happened). Behind all those cute prince pictures is a story whose driving principles is “Life is but a series of photo opportunities".

Behind every speech is a story of a script painstakingly written, knowing fully well that it will not see the light of day or be laughed upon - think of the speechwriter who lives through this each day. But I digress, this is all about media aligning and projecting Rahul Gandhi as the numero uno challenger to the kommunal Narinder Mudi.  

The media team is projecting every achievement of India (or Nehru or Indira) as his - after all, generations conspired to get Rahul here. What is an alliance here and there when the media is there? 

Let me take you back to 2013, which incidentally was the 4th Rahul ‘comingof’ age. Slight digression: Unlike the geographic ages, Rahul has only one age - comingof. Rahul had won the UP polls in the newspapers and media even before the first vote was cast - not counted. Why, in some newspapers, Congress rules UP and Rahul is the CM. The EVMs may have counted the votes, but the heart - the pseudosecular heart beats for Rahul and Rahul only. 

As part of the alliance, media wants no seats, not in parliament atleast. They do want seats on the plane that Rahul will travel. There a thousand positions to be filled. Rahul needs writers, editors, correctors, script rejiggers, input interpreters, output interpreters, photographers, dimple counters, food bloggers, achievement generators, history creators and more. With so many jobs at stake with just one person, it is no secret why the media has announced an alliance with Rahul. When one person can create so many jobs, what is Mudi?

Meanwhile as the prince goes about connecting rural areas with railways and promising roads and electricity mostly he is promising what Modi has already done apart from the easter eggs like  promising potato gold factories and rafales at 1600 rupees - every house will have one rafale, media cleverly shows only the princes new clothes. Atleast one social media site has been reportedly part of the alliance, a bird tweeted.

Now, if only they could bring the internet on board this alliance - thats it - from then on, it will be Rahulman who will win... 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Some notes from the law commission report

An evening with nothing to do. Pakistan is slitting throats of Indian troops on the border and another group of idiots is watching a match with terrorist nation. Yes, no terrorism coming in the way of sports bullshit. So I decided to spend the time well reading the Law commission report. These are the comments that caught my eye.

Para 1. 3
In the absence of any consensus on a uniform civil code the Commission felt that the best way forward may be to preserve the diversity of personal laws but at the same time ensure that personal laws do not contradict fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India

Para 1. 4

Therefore, it is urged that the legislature should first consider guaranteeing equality ̳within communities‘ between men and women, rather than ̳equality between‘ communities.2 This way some of the differences within personal laws which are meaningful can be preserved and inequality can be weeded out to the greatest extent possible without absolute uniformity.

Para 1.5

The fact that secular laws such as the Special Marriage Act, 1954 also continue to suffer from lacunae suggests that even codified or religion-neutral laws offer no straightforward guarantee of justice. 

Para 1.15

This Commission has therefore dealt with laws that are discriminatory rather than providing a uniform civil code which is neither necessary nor desirable at this stage. 

Para 1.19

Thus, while framing a law it has to be borne in mind and cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation. 

Para 1.20

India has historically prided itself over its diversity. Conversations on ̳secularism‘12 and also ̳multiculturalism‘,13 have intrigued not only philosophers, political scientists and historians but also common Indian citizens.
 Para 1.21

The term secularism only has meaning if it can also assure that the expression of any form of ̳difference‘, not just religious but also regional does not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority; and at the same time no discriminatory practice hides behind the cloak of ̳religion‘ to gain legitimacy.

Para 1.35

Thus a ̳united‘ nation need not necessarily have ̳uniformity‘ it is making diversity reconcile with certain universal and indisputable arguments on human rights.
Overall, so far the tone is basically arguing for 'diversity' - basically putting away any chance of any reform. The report then delves into obscure tribes and practices and so on and so forth (very informative, I had no idea about these)

Para 2.3 is a gem I thought :)

For instance, the relatively easier procedure of divorce under Islamic law for men and women is also reflected in the relatively open attitudes towards remarriage of divorced and widowed women, a right that most Hindu women achieved through legislation. However, once the legislation was in place, Hindu law evolved through a series of piecemeal legislative interventions on recognition of women as coparceners in 2005, recognition of diverse customs within the Hindu Marriage Act (Madras Amendment) 1967 incorporating priest-less marriages among many others. Amendments to Christian marriage and divorce laws in 2001, and Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,1956 and Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, in 2010 are also examples of how once codified, personal laws can be opened up for further public debates and scrutiny. Thus, history shows that amendments to codify personal laws is not only a tried and tested way of bringing targeted social legislation but also of developing jurisprudence on family laws.

Post that it rambles along all types of laws - Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Parsi, throws mud at HUF using the link of an article in The Hindu: 

However, today, when it has been seventy-two years since independence, it is high time that it is understood that justifying this institution on the ground of deep-rooted sentiments at the cost of the country‟s revenues may not be judicious.

The rest of it was not very meaningful to me, but what is interesting is the thorough disinterest in going the UCC way. 

As far as I am concerned, UCC is long way off, it is important for the government to remove laws that are openly discriminatory against Hindus.... 


Friday, August 24, 2018

Management by Vacationing

Rahul Gandhi is on vacation yet again. Just at the time when the country demands his leadership. Well, atleast the country which he hopes to lead, demands to see his leadership chops, at a time of great calamity of floods across the Southern part of the nation. And what does he do, go on vacation.

(Yes, you can argue that it is not vacation, he is on a brand building tour across the world talking to developed nations about the backwardness of India since May 2014 - the same India which was counted among the most developed nation till April 2014. But before you jump at me, read this piece and appreciate the seriousness of it.)

Be that as it may, this is an important discovery. And people are making fun of Rahul Gandhi. This is unfair. Very unfair. Because, Rahul Gandhi is living a new paradigm - not merely talking. A paradigm which deserves to be researched. Written upon. Perhaps even a Nobel prize for management, if it exists. (If it doesnt, please create it, because, it is important. Hell, it can save the world.)

Presenting management by vacationing...

Years ago, Tom Peters (taking a leaf out of the Hewlett-Packard team) created a new acronym. MBWA: Management by Walking Around. It means, you, as CEO, wander around, talk to employees at random, customers, if possible and learn what is going on around the company, markets - at first hand. Simple enough.

Management by vacationing is the extreme other side or takes MBWA to a new extreme. 

The leader vacations mostly, comes in to work for a few days, sets strategies, directions and then goes off on yet another, much deserved vacation. Imagine the capability of the leader who can vacation around while his team does the hard work.

Yes, indeed. Think about it, as the minions slog over files, pore over email drafts, collate twitter feeds and devote hours to promote the leader  - the leader has empowered them enough to take a vacation himself. That is the power of the leader, his belief, his capability to create a strong team that can do everything. Indeed, the leader follows not a 4 day work week, but a 4 day work month. That is the level of empowerment and trust he has in the team.

Is there is a crisis? Leader goes on vacation. Team handles it. Seamlessly. And when the crisis has just blown over, the leader parachutes (mostly by Business Class) in, takes credit and goes off on the next vacation.

Is there a warning of a crisis? Leader plans a vacation in case leader is around. In case he is not around and already on vacation, he extends it. And the same template as above is followed. It is that simple.

These vacations recharge the leader. Every time. Each time the leader is back, from his recharged vacation, the team works much harder. Imagine a leader you see every day, slogging at work - why would be motivated. It is like having Rahul Gandhi as your neighbour - you would be bored.  Daily presence is overrated.

No, you want the leader to be away, show up at work a few times a year and then every visit of the leader is special. The chairs are cleaned, the floors are mopped, special dinner is served and photographers are everywhere. Yes, dont you, in your corporate roles, slog for visitors who come to your office once a year?

Life is but a series of photo-opportunities. What else is life? See Instagram. That is all there is to life.

Every time the leader goes on vacation, newer job opportunities are created. Someone has to create a reason. Someone to quickly check a daft twitter post and then quickly plug it. Someone has to alert various whatsapp groups to coordinate a response strategy. Someone has to cover up tracks.

Also, each time the leader utters pearls of wisdom, someone has to erase the memories of people and reinterpret those random utterances into something nuanced and prized. This is an old idea, sorry for rehashing it.

Management by Vacationing is the new management mantra. Hard work? That went out of style long back.

Published at Myvoice.Opindia

I return to blogging after a self imposed hiatus of a few years. No, I dont plan to return to active blogging anytime soon. But this topic is important. And once I write this, I go back to vacationing (from blogging). Unfortunately, I have to work, so working between vacations wont work for me.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Once upon a time journalists reported news

That was many years ago. Decades ago. Or perhaps even earlier than that. Then, both sides discovered that journalists, media by virtue of putting out stuff in print - the very scarcity of it can create, sway and even modify opinions.

And it is true. Much of our opinions come from the media we watch. Very little of our opinion is truly independent - unless you have read about it, inquired about it and created your own line of opinion. Which is why we all think secular. We all believed in the Doordarshan news and the news that our papers printed. Which really explains a lot of our 'thought' positions. Unless you truly read beyond that, you will believe in what the herd writes.

Be that as it may, people realized that one could pay to put news in print. And thus it happened - beyond advertisements. We began to see agencies put our news slanted in one way to influence opinions in one way and so on.

Just before a movie released, a news item would talk about an 'affair' between the cast. That raises curiosity and people often went and watched the movie.

Just before a major brand of soft drink was launched in India, there was a lot of badmouthing of sugarcane juice - who they perhaps considered as their major competition.

These are just examples, but there are many such examples. Because of the scarcity, print media and electronic media held sway, because once you had access to that inner circle, you could print anything and get the public to believe anything - including fake revolutions, fake honesty and what not.

Now this has been taken further ahead by newspapers - which are happy to take paid news. They will carry news - because it is paid for or (hold your breath) because they have a stake in your venture which they will pay through 'planted news'. And then lobbyists discovered it - which is why often one finds laudatory articles on companies, missile systems, even cricketers - hoping it will sway opinions of people.

Enron famously declared that it had spent a few crores 'educating' Indians - most of the money went into hands of politicians and perhaps media as well.

The latest scam here is all about the Agusta helicopters where some 16m Euro was spent creating a favorable impression of the helicopters in the India media. Now while we wait for the list to come out - it is to be noted that this is nothing new.

Covers with notes were distributed before elections, in party offices - all so that coverage could be bought.

Along the way journalists also discovered that with their access, they could lobby, they could sway opinion and they became opinion maker instead of reporting the news. We have had famous examples like the Radia scam.

Since then media has proliferated, social media has boomed and the opinion of old media has waned like no other. And media hates it.

Now when the Agusta scam broke out, hardly has a journalist come out in the open that this is a unethical practice.

Accepting money, favors, trips - and then writing about it is unethical. But some think otherwise...
And the last word from Chitra SD - the one who broke the Bofors scam decades ago

Sunday, May 01, 2016

A gust of wind

The Agusta story is up in the air. Wiki here. Long story short: An Italian court has convicted the chopper company chief and many familiar Indian names are in it.

It is no secret that the UPA was corrupt. Many scams are in different stages of investigation. The Coal Scam, the 2G scam, the Airtel-Maxis scam, the National Herald scam and now the Agusta probe.  (I am sure there will be many many more scams that will come to light, but leave that aside for now.)

What is common to each of these scams? None of these scams was accepted by the Congress and they said it was all politically motivated, propaganda and what not. And their political minions in media often toed the line.

The Coal Scam was broken by Hansraj Ahir - a BJP MP. The 2G scam was broken by Gopikrishnan of the Pioneer. Not one of these was broken by the Lutyens cabal of journalists.

But leave that aside for the moment. The NDA government is ensuring that the probe is happening independently - though I am not sure if anything will come out of it. It may only result in mud-slinging a la Bofors or it may result in real convictions.Whether independent probes mean that bureaucrats will take the probes to its logical conclusion  or not is also not clear. Hopefully the government will ensure that these probes are taken to its logical ends - with the arrests of the accused.

Now, here is the situation today.

Most of our so called chattering classes never tire of reminding us that BJP and Congress governments are equal. They never tire of writing oped pieces that tell us this. Why, at the height of UPA corruption they wrote us this: Are Indians endemically corrupt? And this. There were many such pieces/debates and the subliminal kind of harassment that often passes off as intellectual speak. The essence of it was somewhat on these lines:

So what if the 2G license were sold off on the cheap and people made money on the side - that helped keep rates low. (A completely bogus if it were if you see the rates at which subsequent auctions happened)

In military deals, kickbacks are coming - everybody does it. Even if you took out the kickbacks, the cost of the equipment would still the same. (Ditto bogus - in the recent past, India itself has managed to renegotiate many a price)

The coal scam they told us was no scam at all, because the coal was lying there unused.

In the last two years, the NDA government has streamlined procedures, made things transparent and even reduced the level of 'human' 'discretion' that was the euphemism for allowing corruption into deals, pricing etc. They have done this from coal and spectrum auctions to procurement of cement to military equipment.

(The earlier NDA government also completed their tenure without a single scam, for the record.)

And before I forget. Manmohan Singh was honest - they never tire of telling us. Tell me, which honest guy allows the loot under his very nose? In his office? Being arm twisted to change policies to enable money to be siphoned off?

With the Agusta and the National Herala scam, it is fairly proven that corruption is endemic to Congress. Even the famously silent Signora Sonia has come out facing a mike for the first time in many years.  TV channels are reporting on the corruption and asking questions of Signora for the first time ever. There are still a few that distract and divert, but leave them - because the Agusta story has a second chapter - that of money paid to journalists to help in 'positive' coverage. And one of Indias greatest journalists has come out defending it (ahem).

So, why are these worthies not highlighting the effort of the government to keep top down corruption at zero and ensure that it stays that way. Agreed the former is more of a function of ethics at the top - but the latter - to create processes in a place that was always (to use the words of the columnists) corrupt is really something.

Now, why aren't these same worthies writing about Narendra Modis honesty? Or of this governments resolve to eliminate corruption - both at source and also go after past cases without interference? And this is just at the center.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Start ups in Bangalore

Given all the civic issues in Bangalore, here are a few start up suggestions:

Horse taxis: These are the only things that can negotiate the current traffic in Bangalore. And environment friendly. They can also jump cross barriers.

Human Relay Race couriers: To deliver, even bikes get stuck. Human relay racers on the other hand can deliver stuff faster.

Advanced drone delivery: To begin with they can start for goods. Later on, this can diversified into delivering people into offices. Charging the drone may be a problem given the electricity, but at any rate, the person will fall on a vehicle stuck on a traffic jam.

Sleeper buses: Sleeper buses help people get a good nights sleep on the way back to home from office. Besides, the moment they reach home, they have to start the next days journey. And in the day journey the bus doubles up as work cabins with wifi. Book your space in it using an app.

Food delivery at traffic jams: You order in one signal and using GPS, the food delivery catches up with you as you are stuck and delivers at the traffic jam. This is also extended to restaurant booking apps. You book a seat based on where you are stuck and the restaurant books your place. Then once confirmed, you also give you order - and by the time you reach the restaurant, the food is on the table!

Traffic Valets: Special drivers who will drive you though the traffic and return the vehicle to you once the traffic is cleared.

Micro drones with a live update of road traffic: Drones continuously feed you images of the route to your home/office so you can decide if you can go or work or do something else.

Traffic auto pilots: These are not self drive cars, but just small self drive applications on cars which will move your car only in centimeters per second and only in a straight line (and at times in zig zag motion to confuse other drivers).

Private pot hole fillers: Using an app, private agencies fill up potholes and the bill is submitted to BBMP - who do not have time to do anything anyway.

Bangalore and Taxes...

Bangalore, much touted as Indias silicon valley, is perhaps the worst metro to live in these days.
Property taxes were hiked in Bangalore a few months ago. The hike almost doubled the amount property owners pay in Bangalore and as per zones. (The hike has since been rolled back - partially.)
The zones have been classified in BBMPs infinite wisdom along these lines:

The city is classified into six tax zones -- A to F, with A the high tax bracket, and reducing to F, the lowest bracket. As a result of the reorganization, some areas have been moved from the lower E and F zones to D, C, B or A zones, where the tax is heavy. "Owners of properties which have moved to higher tax zones have to cough up more tax. The recent property tax hike has come as an additional burden to them. In some cases, where properties have jumped multiple zones, the tax may go up 100% per cent or more.

The logic used seems to be the hike in property rates - mind you, not the civic amenities provided. So, if you walked into any of these 'posh' localities and expected to see a beautiful modern city, you would be wrong. What you would see are dilapidated roads, bad sewage, no water supply and erratic electricity. Traffic conditions are abysmal. Pollution is high. There is tons of dust floating everywhere  Yes, you will also see big cars, huge apartment buildings. 

Now let us see how this money is getting used. No, I am not in a mood at this point to dive into data and give you sources, but anecdotal evidence is sufficient. 

Let us look at basic stuff you need in a city. The first is water. The water situation in Bangalore as per this article is so bad that the city will have to be evacuated by 2023. BBMP (or BWSSB) does not supply water to the entire city. It supplies it partly to the part of the city. From the link above, see this:

Most residential properties then rely on water supplied through tankers, that have emerged as one of the most powerful lobbies in Bangalore. It is such a booming business, that there have been instances of the water tanker mafia using force to prevent residential societies from digging borewells to reduce their expenditure on water supplied by them.

While the last sentence may be a bit of an exaggeration - the point is that each of those so called high end zones where property prices have 'jumped' are on the outskirts of the erstwhile city and have no amenities whatsoever provided by the BBMP/BWSSB. The water supply is by water tankers - most apartments have no Kaveri connection.

(Now, don't get me wrong - I don't mean that we need to get precious Kaveri water from pristine parts of rural Karnataka so that Bangaloreans can flush it down their drains - but where is the plan for the city my dear government when you area collecting so many crores?)

So, water is in bad state.

What about sewage? Again from the earlier link: 

"The 850 km of storm water drains meant to carry surplus water from higher elevation lakes to lower levels in a cascading system of natural rainwater harvesting, now instead carry the city's sewage into these existing so-called lakes," said Balasubramanian.
"Only 30 per cent of the sewage is treated by the sewage treatment plants and the rest flows into the existing lakes," he said.
If this is not enough - given any few days there will be a sewage pipe leak in some part of these 'posh' localities. And it takes ages to clear those. 
Every single IT complex or kindergarten has its own generator in these posh areas. No, apartment buildings in Singapore or Mumbai do not have those. Because the state (or electricity company) supplies electricity. But no, not KSEB. 

Despite the country generating more electricity in the last two years, Karnataka is not interested in supplying it to its denizens.  This article is from September, but I can assure you it is not radically different now. 

That leave us with traffic, roads and suchlike. Most main roads in Bangalore are paved, but that about it. I have seen service roads laid in way that it forms asphalt waves, craters. I have seen roads cave in first and then vehicles cave into that. There are many other dust paths that also qualify as roads. 

What about traffic? Most of Bangalore gets up each day and simply stands in queue in a traffic jam. Here is one story about Whitefield (one those posh localities - hey, it even has a posh name), but no there is no white not field - there is just one massive traffic jam. 

What are the plans? Nobody knows. What is the mitigation to this situation? Nobody knows. The government is hardly interested except in collecting high property taxes. Lakes are dying. There is no water. There is barely any electricity. Untreated sewage goes into lakes on a good day - on a bad day it just accumulates on roads. The road themselves are another story. 

So, why are we paying such high taxes Mr. Chief Minister?

(Some stupid formatting issue - can't figure out what is the issue here)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The matrix of secularism

You are born secular*#@. (Read definition below first to understand what is secular, so that you are not confused with real secularism.)

Most likely, your parents were born secular too. In the unlikely event your parents are not born secular, you are most likely considered uncool by your society around you.

Your school was secular. They taught you a sanitised form of history. Your subjects were secular. In your school in all likelihood, they did not teach you Indian epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata. Neither do you learn much about Chanakya or Sushrusha. You learnt precious little about Hindu culture. You had zero exposure to the vedas if at all. You learnt in English. If at all, you may have ended up taking Sanskrit as a second or third language at best. Your mother tongue if you are lucky might have been another language that you took - but thanks to Central and other boards, this is on the way out. If you can read books in any language other than English, consider yourselves lucky. You learnt very little about the Indian freedom struggle - other than Gandhi and Nehru. You learnt even little about the Maratha empire, except in cursory terms. As regards the history of the South of India - don't even ask - it is not even part of the syllabus. You learnt about the greatness of the Mughal empire while their atrocities were sanitized. Jaziya? That was just a tax. The English? Again, you learnt that they oppressed, but very little of their actual crimes against the country. The Portuguese? No - not a word about inquisition.

As for your children going to school today - they are learning an even more sanitized version of the same.

Your relatives are secular. They are modern. They don't follow much of your archaic customs. If you follow too much of your customs - you are way uncool. Go to temples? Pah, thats for oldies. Satsang? Bhajans? No way. Rock concerts - oh yes. Bolly pop - yay indeed. Western classical - ah, now you are talking.

If you celebrate Karwa Chauth  - that is patriarchal. Ganesh Chaturthi is noisy. Diwali is polluting. Holi wastes water. Jallikattu is bad for animals. Navratri is bad because it causes abortions (somehow). Everything else is regressive.

If you are lucky, you may have learnt classical music and dance - atleast in the South of India that is prevalent. Though for some reason, piano classes and western classical is preferred as cultural education these days. Like German and French are cooler subjects to take in school.

Your media and news are secular, brought up as they are in leftist beliefs. So, you learn that your festivals are to be celebrated silently, preferably in your closets. They tell you that discriminatory laws depending on which false gods you worship are the norm in all countries. They tell you that despite nearly half a century of encouraging religious terrorism, Pakistan is a secular state. They still tell you that we need peace with a country like Pakistan. Why secularism is linked with Pakistan, is a mystery I haven't figured myself - except for the fact that ISI is a good paymaster.

The media divas and journo tycoons find nothing wrong in anything that Congress does or ever ask Soniaji to give an interview or write an oped asking for her statesmanship. Again, don't ask me how is this connected to secularism. They almost whitewashed all of Congress corruption by painting all Indians as endemically corrupt.

Your media is driven by leftists who will never tell you the truth - about Rahul Gandhi for instance. Or Kamlesh Tiwari. Or Rafique Taliparamba. Or Sanal Edamaruku. Or Saif Ali Khans and Sharmila Tagores secularism for that matter. Because it is uncool to talk about the Christian and Islamist aggression in India. They will never tell you about them. If you talk conversion - you are immediately branded RSS (and somehow RSS is a bad word - despite its service to the nation from time immemorial). And somehow talking about Christian interference in politics from Kerala to Mizoram is bad. Or about calling Islamists out - that is also bad for some reason.

Even the Gita and Vande Mataram are deemed unsecular. Yoga is getting there. Ayurveda - well, they have told you that is mostly made of toxic metals that are bad for you. Hindu pilgrimages are bad - for the environment (Amarnath), patriarchal (Sabarimala), corrupt temples(Tirupati) or unhygienic (Kumbh Mela). Besides donating to temples is bad - they want you to donate to Christist NGOs.

And after all this, you rebel in your teenage years - against any imposition of Hindu culture on you - little realizing that you are playing into the very hands of what Macaulay wanted you to be. Read this Minute - point 7 onwards and you will know what I mean.  Point 16 stands out:

Another instance may be said to be still before our eyes. Within the last hundred and twenty years, a nation which had previously been in a state as barbarous as that in which our ancestors were before the Crusades has gradually emerged from the ignorance in which it was sunk, and has taken its place among civilized communities. I speak of Russia. There is now in that country a large educated class abounding with persons fit to serve the State in the highest functions, and in nowise inferior to the most accomplished men who adorn the best circles of Paris and London. There is reason to hope that this vast empire which, in the time of our grandfathers, was probably behind the Punjab, may in the time of our grandchildren, be pressing close on France and Britain in the career of improvement. And how was this change effected? Not by flattering national prejudices; not by feeding the mind of the young Muscovite with the old women's stories which his rude fathers had believed; not by filling his head with lying legends about St. Nicholas; not by encouraging him to study the great question, whether the world was or not created on the 13th of September; not by calling him "a learned native" when he had mastered all these points of knowledge; but by teaching him those foreign languages in which the greatest mass of information had been laid up, and thus putting all that information within his reach. The languages of western Europe civilised Russia. I cannot doubt that they will do for the Hindoo what they have done for the Tartar. [Macaulay Minute]

Now, Imagine this matrix. You are born secular. You are taught secular. You are fed secular.  You red secular books  in general. How can you read anything indic? The great authors were all Westerners after all. How will grow up to be anything but secular in this matrix?

Except that there is the internet. And you can choose to take the red pill - rather the saffron pill of real secularism. If you don't, you are a product of the matrix of secularism. Congrats.

*Secular: This means that you are modern. You hate most Hindu traditions - but on the other hand, you are ambivalent towards most Abrahamic traditions. You hate many Hindu practices - like putting a bindi on your daughters forehead, or tying a thread around the wrist or worshipping at temples. You hate yourself for being a Hindu. You believe in soft Hinduism - that should not raise its voice about anything, but others are entitled to burning down things at the slightest non- provocation. You believe in limited freedom of speech - especially if some people get offended, then that freedom of speech is not good. You are perfectly ok with Hindus discarding their practices and religions, and equally at home when the other religions go down the opposite side. It is perfectly ok for someone to insult Hindu deities, but it is not ok for someone to do the same for other religions. It is ok for someone to question Hindu traditions, but not ok for someone to do the same for other religions. It is ok  for books written that denigrate Hindu practices, but not ok for books that do the same to other religions.  MF Hussain paintings are good, Hebdo cartoons were of course, provocative. Hindu fasting on Ekadashi are bad, but Ramzan fasting is good. A sufi, qawalli night is cool - but a bhajan, satsang is uncool. Hindus abstaining from alcohol is bad, but Lent is good. Beef bans are bad, pork bans are good. Halal meat is great - you don't know that Jhatka exists. Most likely, you rebel against Hindu practices at home - after all they are old, meaningless and patriarchal. You believe Congress is secular, BJP is communal. You think celebrating a cracklerless Diwali, waterless Holi, noiseless Ganesha is a great idea, but not so for minority festivals - after all, you believe that minorities in this country are under threat. You do not support any Hindu superstitions like fasting on eclipses - but other superstitions are fine. Indeed, you believe that there are no religions which have any superstition including Santa Claus. You believe in feminism - but only for Hindus. You don't believe in bull- fights which are, of course, cruel to bulls - but chicken lollipop and beef burgers are cool.  Uniform civil codes are a bad idea - after all minorities need to protect their own culture, however regressive. Urdu shayaris are good, so are Urdu medium schools, but thank god they don't impose Sanskrit in schools - that would make your French so bad. I suppose you get the drift here.

#Disclaimer: You may not be entirely an extremist in the above continuum, but you may believe the above in varying degrees.

@Not to be confused with real secularism for any rhyme or reason. Real secularism is where "God is one, but their routes are different". Where one has to give up old practices - and take to newer ones - without bringing in religion. Things like equality to women, financial assistance to all regardless of religion, scholarships to all regardless of religion, equal footing to schools run by any religious denomination - these are for everybody.  Real secularism is all about live and let live and about keeping religion out of politics and governance. Real secularism is about respecting the culture of the country that you grew up in - and that means everything. It is also about reading History and Culture with an apolitical lens and that means swallowing some harsh truths. Again, you get the drift.

Yes, this blog is unsecular too. If you are reading this blog, congrats, chances are that you may start thinking about finding your way out of the matrix. 

Meanwhile on intolerance

One media diva is rounding up filmstars -  possibly the most privileged ones in our society and telling the minions why boycotting movies is intolerance. This, after, a bad movie by a victimized superstar - who later claimed that his victimhood was misconstrued - flopped. What is next? Compulsory watching movies of victimized superstars? In response to this, the diva has put her mike to a privileged star who is now ranting intolerance. Somehow, that never got eyeballs - though she is still trying.

While that is happening - a certain person by the name of Kamlesh Tiwari is being hounded (he is actually in jail). A certain section of peaceful people want him to be beheaded - because he insulted someone (ya, ya, hints are enough). However, when a certain MF Hussain insulted some Hindu gods and goddesses - these liberals went all out to support him. Somehow, they are all missing for Kamlesh Tiwari. (Never heard about him? Google him.) Meanwhile protests have happened from Uttarakhand to Karnataka. Very peacefully. All they want is is head. Literally.

And in Kerala - that well educated state. A mans studio was burnt down by peaceful Islamists after he opposed a very progressive practice on a whatsapp group. No, no, this chap is not RSS. Here is a link.

Meanwhile all those who ranted on intolerance have stayed silent on this one. No Aamir Khan, No Shah Rukh Khan has spoken. Why is that? Your guess is as good as mine.

And oh, by the way, the lovely great students studying in the JNU - atleast a section of them do not want Baba Ramdev to give a speech in their university. The university stands by its invitation - but well, such great display of tolerance by students is heartening. Again, no media debates, no FoE under threat - nothing.

And btw, a Congress newspaper fired their editor for writing a few truths.

A few days ago, a Chief Minister who is ostensibly fighting corruption on the eve of a CBI raid on his officer accused of corruption used words like psycopath (sic) and coward for the Prime Minister. But no, he is not a troll - the so called 'internet Hindus' are trolls.

A Congress member from Assam insulted Smriti Irani - the HRD minister with words that are sexist at best and crass and vulgar at worst. Again no intolerance.

If you have been following this manufactured news closely, there is a pattern. That pattern is that FoE is one sided in India. When it comes to the Islamists side - whether it is a fatwa on Rehman or a Rafique Taliparambas studio being burnt down or Kamlesh Tiwaris head being sought for a comment or Baba Ramdev not being allowed to give a speech - these things are met with silence. And this is a short list.