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Thank God! Noisy, violent elections are over

Finally, one part of these General Elections to the Parliament of India are over. I mean the dirty shouting and screaming, forgetting that they are leaders. Screaming in the name of democracy and ‘nation’, but actually fighting shamelessly for power.

These two-three months, from the time the shameless politicians started anticipating elections, have been a trauma for any decent Indian, to see how their shameless netas, spreading lies, propaganda, and abusing rivals in the worst language that anyone can imagine. Is this a civilised country? Or are these the Palaeolithic times, when wild animals tore one another apart for mere survival? I am not too sure.

Anyway, now that the campaign is over, there is less pollution in the air. On Sunday (19 May) there is the last phase of elections – voters in the remaining 59 (of the 543) constituencies  will decide on their representatives who will fleece them for the next five years (or may be less, if no party gets majority, this time). But candidates are not supposed to canvas or have rallies.

And on 23rd May, the results will be out. I hope some well-meaning, decent party will get an absolute majority and form the government (I know this is wishful thinking, at a time when everyone is predicting a hung parliament).

Afterall, as a citizen, what do I want? Only some overall development for all irrespective of caste, class, education, gender, geography, and language. I want jobs for the teeming millions, who are wasting their time and energy in streets, hoping for a brighter future. I want peace and harmony, so that everyone can live without fear – irrespective of their identity and affiliation. I want freedom to express my legitimate opinions and expressions. I want a humane country – vasudaiva kutumbakam.

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A Date with Monkeys (& Langurs)

You may be familiar with Shimla-chillies (Capsicum). But there is another side to it: Shimla is a monkey-city. Known for its monkeys and grey-langurs. That Shimla is a hilly-green town, the presence of monkeys and langurs is a given.

These monkeys and langurs could be dangerous. And if you are not careful, you could be at the receiving end of the monkeys!Monkey

Personally, I get very fascinated with monkeys and their expressions. Their little ones -more than anything else- fascinate me no ends.

So, when I came here to Shimla last year, I  had brought my camera, and was gloriously going around with it clicking.

With my fascination for monkeys and langurs, it is only to be expected that many of my pictures would be these primates.Langur

One evening, I was going for a walk (last year), with six-seven friends of mine. In a place, in the campus, a monkey was feeding her baby. And I was very close to this maternal scene – about 5-10 feet away. I took my zoom lens camera and aimed at them; and all hell broke lose! The monkey jumped at me – almost ON me! When a scared me, picked up a stone (and my friends were petrified!) – immediately, other monkeys gave a war cry, and there appeared scores of monkeys from nowhere (should I say, I actually believed in the Vanara-sena or the monkey-army of the Ramayana!?)  My friends insisted that I drop down the stone, and I did. And monkeys understood that. Shivering I walked away, with my terrified friends, and a disappointed camera.Monkey2

This time, when I touched my feet in Shimla, the first thing I remembered was that event – since there were those monkeys and langurs in different places to welcome me! How could I not remember it? To my surprise, the first question my friends  asked me was, ‘Do you remember how these monkeys terrified you, last year?’ Oh, God!

Today, I had somewhat a similar experience; this time not with camera. I was just walking towards the dining room for lunch, with my friends, busy chatting. And that experience re-visited us!

That is for the next post!

Till them, au revouir!

(Photo credits: Google pictures)

ICSE & ISC Results Declared

07 May:  Here is another for students, eagerly awaiting their results: Results for the Class 10 (ICSE) and Class 12 (ISC) examinations held in February-March 2019, have been announced.

The exams were conducted under the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), and the results are usually delayed compared to the Karnataka State Education Board, and even, CBSE Board results.

You may access your results on the official website of the ICSE board cisce.org. The results for ICSE and ISC are also available through SMS.

Literature of Northeast India

It’s a special day at Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

It’s a two day Seminar on Literature of Northeast India : Texts and Contexts.

Prof Makarand Paranjpe, the Director, welcomed the Gathering.

We hope to have some wonderful, enlightening research presented here.

Watching IPL in Stadium

On last Sunday, I got a chance to watch an IPL cricket match live in the stadium.

Venue: Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore.

Teams : RCB VS CSK.

That is Royal Challengers Bengaluru led by spoilt brat Virat Kohli vs Chennai Duper Kings led by the super cool star Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

For the most part the match looked decided in favor of the in-form CSK. But in the last three overs, CSK, chasing nearly 50, RCB looked you have snatched the match.

But there was one man whom you just can’t discount : Mr Cool Dhoni.

In the last one over if six deliveries, CSK needed 26 runs. It was a sure shot victory for RCB.

But two factors brought in uncertainty: batsmsn Dhoni and the fast bowler Umesh who has plenty of speed, but hardly any discipline.

The first ball: 4

The second ball 6

The third ball 6

The fourth bell 6

The fifth ball 2

Two runs needed off the last and the sixth ball. If MSD scores another six, huge win for CSK. If he scores a single, it’s going to be a Super Over. If no run, RCB will win.

With MSD at the crease, it’s an easy win. But surprisingly, Umesh used his brains! Bowled slower one. And Dhoni failed to connect it. But they still ran for a single. But the wicket keeper Parthiv Patel managed to collect the ball and run the non-muslims striker out.

RCB won a solitary run.

What a celebration for RCB fans, heart break for CSK bhakts!

The match was a breath-stopper. But the atmosphere in the stadium was an absolute craze. Nothing can describe that excitement and celebration.

For me, that’s what the match was all about.

Karnataka PUC Results on 15 April

The Department of Pre-University Education has announced that the results of the recently held PUC examinations (Higher Secondary or 12th Standard or PDC) will be declared on Monday (15 April) at 11.00 am.

The final exams for the II PUC (12th Standard) were held in March 2019. Since the successful candidates apply for various competitive examinations like NEET, KOMED(K), CET and other, the Karnataka PUC Board declares their results in April.

With that Colleges in Karnataka have a huge rush for admissions at the Under Graduate level.

Students can check their results online by logging into http://pue.kar.nic.in after 12:00 noon.

The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story

Aneesh Daniel’s The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story is welcome film to any film-lover’s kitty.

The gruesome murder of the Australian leprosy worker and a missionary Graham Staines’ life and work, and above all his commitment to India and its poor are crux of te film Staines

(photo courtesy: https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2019/feb/01/the-least-of-these-the-graham-staines-s/?entertainment-movies)

Yet, this film is niether religiouos nor pious. It is hard core narrative of passion – on the one side the passion for people, the lepers, the unwanted and the poor from India’s Orissa state. On the other hand, it is the story of blind passion  of the editor who is guilty of abandoning his leprosy father, and is now haunted by hatred for the Oz Missionary who has healed physically and spiritually. His father Sunder is not a convert; but still a practicing Hindu, who is dedicated to Staines. The editor wants to defame the Missionary and have him arrested.

Then, you have the journalist who wants to make his ends meet, but is caught up in the Modi-esque trap of  unemployed youth. He wants to publish some scoop with the wily editor, who gives him a camera to produce evidence against Graham Staines and his “forced conversions”, but just can’t find any.

Daniel does not make the film any melodramatic. It is a good narrative, full of character and values. The journalist does not give up his hunt for evidence; he lasts till the end; the missionary is an ordinary human being, madly in love with India’s poor. He does convert people to Christianity- those who willingly come forward. He is averse to giving money  or using any force; and that makes Bannergee (journalist)’s job difficult.

The film is no indictment of the myopic sangh parivar – though it deserves the condemnation for its crimes against humanity and its helpless groups. Here, everybody is a human being with weakness.

The film is topped by Graham Staines’ relict Gladys. She is a woman of strengh and a heart. And that is all!

I would love to watch this film again!

 

War in TV News Rooms & in Election Rallies

After the Feb. 14 attack on our CRPF convoy in Pulwama of Kashmir, the public domain is not the same, anymore.

The attack, claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, left 44 of our jawans dead, and many injured.

It is a dastardly act, to be condemned by everyone with some sense of humanity. No attack, no death, no killing is desirable.

Intelligence agencies have said that they had alerted the government of the possible attack on a CRPF convoy, and seemingly no action was taken to ensure the safety our jawan who fight for our safety. While I can’t speak about the role of people in this, I surely can’t keep quiet about the role of Indian news media.

Most of our news television and newspapers have come under severe attack by international media, academiciains, thinkers, and people with some brains, for its high-decibel campaign for a war against Pakistan.

The news media’s role is to work for peace, and not lobby for war. Our news media, espcially led by television news channels (also called NOISE-Dabbas) went to town with fake sentiments of patriotism and nationalism, while they themselves did not go out of the comforts of the AC studios. I wish all of them could go to the border area, and guard the border for a couple of months, and give a short break to our jawans,  to be with their friends and family.

Social media was worse – the boiling of sentiment looked as if the social media #bhakts (brainless bots with a political agenda) was already fighting across the border! But, of course, it is all “clictivism” or “forwards war” or “tweet war”. If wars were to be won over social media, there would be war everyday, and our shameless blind #bhakts would win it hands down!

Alas! None of the blind bhakts goes to the border to fight  a war or even to offer  a glass of water to our soldiers who are fighting. Worse, even journalists joined this blind call for the war and revenge and avenging and ‘badla’!

How TV anchors wrapped themselves in the tricolour and proudly cheered India’s latest aerial strike in Pakistan, unmindful of its consequences

Anti-Social Media and Predatory Behaviour of the Right Wing

Social media has been spoken of as the grass-root democracy. When the common man woman couldn’t find a voice on the legacy media, social media came as a savior of the ordinary people.Twitter

But over the last few years, the social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, blogs and other platforms have become vicious tools in the hands of the bling right-wing, Modi-worshippers to attack and abuse people of reason and sanity.

India’s finest TV journalist Barkha Dutta is a case of point. In the last four days, she has been hounded and abused and threatened and humiliated in the most uncivilised manner by the uncouth elements masquerading as pseudo-naitonals.

Disburbingly, the abusers’ Twitter handles show that many of them are followers of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their phone calls to Barkha orginate from the ruling party BJP’s offices. And the ruling party, with plenty of “respect for women” (and the hollow slogan “Beti Bachao Beti Padao”; = save girl child, educate girl child) does absolutely nothing about it.

(The PM’s followers are notorious for abusing women and minorities; And the PM follows some of these most notorious fellows, back on Twitter!)Twitter BJP

Barkha Dutt has been on the receiving end of these right wing fellows for a very long time because she has a daring journalistic past of questioning people in power, especially those involved in 2002 Gujarat carnage.

Now, some people have got hold of her private phone number and have shared it openly on social media, and a few criminals are sending her pornographic messages, making thousands of video calls, abusive messages, threat messages, rape-threats, and all that despicable stuff, unheard of in a civilised society.

Look at the language they use on public domain – such disgusting, pornographic, vulgar, uncivilised language. No civilised society can tolerate such language, let alone democratically elected, educated leaders.

It is disgusting.Twitter

And the ruling government led by BJP, its mascot Narendra Modi, and the party president Amit Shah are absolutely dumb about it.

So much for a “strong India”, ‘make in India’, ‘stand up India’ ‘skill India’, etc. hollow slogans. Is that progress and nationalism?