Pity of Indian democracy

Sad for Uttar Pradesh. The fascist party of India, BJP, was catapulted to power in UP, India’s most populous state with an absolute majority in the recently concluded (8th March) Assembly elections. The five states which went to elections: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Manipur, Punjab, and Goa, have thrown disturbing results. Disturbing to every Indian and the future of India.

A well-performing, incumbent, and young  Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh was shown the door for a hollow, long-talking, communal BJP led by pompously by Modi and Shah combine.

The duo, along with their communal gang of candidates and corrosive MPs like Yogi Adityanath, communally polarised the state; they abused Muslims and minorities, berated the already exploited Scheduled Castes, terrorised  Muslims, called them names, and talked of khabristan (Muslim places of burial) vs smashan (Hindu places), and spoke self-contradictorily of development and building the mythical temple in Ayodhya. How can you develop a state by dividing people along caste and communal lines? How can an invading race of Aryans from Mesopotamia, develop the country or parts thereof by isolating and exploiting the natives of the land, even if they look dark, less sophisticated, and poor?

To make things worse, an extremely right wing man, with a huge of criminal record to his credit -of inciting unilateral violence, especially 2007 Gorakhpur violence against Muslims) is appointed chief minister. He is supposed to be a Yogi : a man without passions, only a spiritual leader. He is supposed to console people, but went on inciting people. He is supposed to be healed, but the an keeps on using abusive, acerbic language against anyone not of the Hindu right wing.

This psuedo-Yogi terrorised anyone who did not subjugate to his fascist ideology. Now to put him in charge of the 200 million people with the most communally polarised and volatile religious atmosphere, shows nothing but contempt for civilians, on the part of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the vicious RSS, and its entire sangh parivar.

The Greek philosopher Socrates had nothing but contempt for common citizenry (who are called idiotes in Greek, which means idiot) who selected their leader to rule. They were called so because, they were bereft of common sense and sophistication; acted on the spur of the moment. That is what we have today – be it in electing Modi or Adityanand, or their ilk in different states.

Another tragedy is the pathetic state the grand old party Congress is in today. Though Congress was the single largest party in Goa and Manipur, it was lazier than the worst of our students – just did not work to stake claims. And the power-greedy BJP, murdered democracy by staking claims [because the one who invites (Governor) to form a government ] in both the states are RSS workers, appointed by Modi’s government.

Such is the state of democracy in India. Such is the pity of our electoral system. Misery of Socratic idiotes.

Modi govt most anti-intellectual country has seen: Ramachandra Guha

Dec 06, 2015 00:42. PTI

Ramachandra Guha

Guha believes that the Modi government is the most ‘anti-intellectual’ the country has ever seen, evidenced by the appointments it has made so far in various educational and cultural institutions.(PTI Photo)

Renowned historian Ramchandra Guha said on Saturday that he believes the government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi is the most “anti-intellectual” the country has ever had, and is manifested in the appointments it had made in various educational and cultural institutions.

“I believe, as a student of history of contemporary India, who has watched every government for the last 45 years, the government in power in Delhi is the most anti-intellectual we ever had, and this is manifested in appointments,” he said while giving a talk on “Eight Threats To Freedom of Expression” on the first day of the fourth Bangalore Literature Festival here.

“Just look at the appointments of Pahlaj Nihalani and Gajendra Chauhan. What do their appointments show? It shows absolute contempt for scholars, literature… (http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/modi-govt-most-anti-intellectual-country-has-seen-ramachandra-guha/story-alOp8kBaCZoZHiYHCtqRGP.html)

Top 10 fake news that we (almost) believed in 2016: UNESCO declares Modi best Prime Minister

UNESCO and RBI had to step in and clarify that many rumours which were spread in 2016 hold no truth at all. Find out the ‘fake news’, we almost believed in 2016.

IANS  | Posted by Sanjana Agnihotri
New Delhi, December 26, 2016 | UPDATED 18:23 IST
Photo: PTI

From currency to salt- very little escaped the reach of fake or fabricated news in 2016. Rumours spread from WhatsApp and other social media into the mainstream media.

Institutions such as UNESCO and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had to step in and tell us what was true. Even Facebook and Google, two of the world’s biggest internet companies, sat up and took notice.

India is one of the biggest markets for several social media and communication companies. It has 160 million of WhatsApp’s one billion-plus monthly active users, 148 million Facebook users, and over 22 million Twitter accounts.

Also read: Here’s what most Indians were talking about in 2016

The potency of fabricated news came into focus after the 2016 US presidential elections. In the run-up to the ballot, fake news on the elections drew more engagement on Facebook than top-performing stories from major news outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, NBC News, or The Wall Street Journal, this BuzzFeed News analysis found.

Other countries witnessed the rise of fake news too, according to this Guardian report, rendering it a global phenomenon in 2016.

Also read: 5 mysterious social media personalities who shot to fame in 2016

Here are some of the most popular Indian fake news stories of 2016:

1. UNESCO declares PM Modi best Prime Minister

UNESCO has been one of the primary alleged sources of fake news in India.

In June 2016, fake news broke out on WhatsApp groups, and other social media, that the UN cultural agency had awarded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the title of best prime minister in… (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/top-ten-fake-news-that-we-almost-believed-in-2016-modi-best-pm-declared-unesco/1/843175.html)

A day in Byatha

As part of student education, I accompanied my Master students of Mass Communication, to Byatha village, on the outskirts of Bangalore Urban. Travel about 40-50 km out, and you see the stark contrast between Bangalore and Bangalore urban – no IT city! It is poor, rural Bangalore.

But it is much purer, cleaner, hospitable than Bangalore urban.

Our students are still enjoying the lovely place, ambience, cooking, discussions and debates, and visit to the village.

One of the best was the night trek to the forest – it was almost a meditation! We started our two hour long trek at 11.45pm and passed through leopard dens and grasslands and lay down on the grassland, and gazed at the translucent sky! Not a word spoken on the way! How else could I explain that?

Take that’, says Twitter to NYT, two years after condescending cartoon on ISRO

Take that’, says Twitter to NYT, two years after condescending cartoon on ISRO

As scientists celebrated this historic achievement, Twitterati reminded the New York Times of a cartoon it had published in 2014. TNM Staff| Friday, February 17, 2017

With news channels and social media flooded with the countdown to ISRO’s launch of 104 satellites into space, the average citizen could not have missed this record rocket launch.

Within the first 18 minutes of its launch, the rocket which lifted from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, sent three India satellites into orbit. What followed next was a feat that has gained immense praise from international space agencies. In a matter of 600 seconds, 101 international satellites were let loose in pairs.

As scientists behind the space mission celebrated this historic achievement, Indians took to social media to remind the New York Times of a cartoon it had published in 2014.

This cartoon shows India, represented by a man in dhothi and a cow in tow, knocking at the door of the ‘elite space club’ in an effort to gain entry. It was printed merely four days after India successfully placed a spacecraft in orbit around Mars.

The cartoon led to uproar among readers, who termed it offensive, condescending and a stereotypical depiction of Indians. Faced with huge criticism, the New York Times was forced to issue an apology.

Image credit: YouTube

The paper may have come out with an explanation but the cartoon has not been forgotten. Now two years later, newspapers and people alike have come out to give what they claim is a ‘fitting….


Meeting the Nobel Laureate Grameen Banker Prof. Younas

I had the rare honour of listening to and personally meeting Prof. Muhammad Younas, the Nobel Peace Laureate of 2006.

Prof. Younas  is from Bangladesh. He is known for bringing light into the lives of millions of poor women across the world, and to begin with Bangladesh.

The Nobel Laureate is known as the Banker of the Poor, for his unique concept of starting Grameen Banks – to lend small amounts of money to poor women to start small businesses. This helped them to be free from the clutches of bigger sharks who would otherwise swallow in the name of exorbitant interest rates and (when their accumulated interests become un-payable) attaching properties.

‘Poor people need money; not rich. Rich already have. But if you lend money to the rich, what is the use?’ asks Prof. Younas. What is the use?

‘Banks say, poor don’t return money. I have lent money to the poor, and they have returned. To return, you need to first give. Banks don’t give, so the poor can’t return,’ Prof. Younas is very practical. Without lending, how can you expect it to be returned?

His success in Bangladesh soon spread to the world, too. Today Grameen Bank philosophy has been adopted by millions and millions of people across the world. But the Bangladesh Government doesn’t appreciate it!

The Nobel Laureate was in Bangalore on 09 February 2017.  Tobby was kind enough to invite me. In the meantime, Manoj came to St Josephs College, and extended an invitation. That sounded good too.

I usually don’t like to pose for cameras or selfies. But it is worth being captured with a Nobel Laureate like Prof. Younas or Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao, with whom I shared the dais in January.

Back in 1992-93, I had the privilege of personally meeting another Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna Mother Theresa, at Loyola College in Chennai. Later in 2007, ten years after her death, I spent a month in Howrah, Kolkata, with Mother Theresa’s MC Brothers, helping out in their people affected with leprosy . There, I visited her house in Kolkata, her first work in Kali Ghat (in Kolkata), Shishu Bhavan (babies house), her chapel, etc. Those moments are ever green in my mind. Now she is a Saint in the Catholic Church. It is not surprising that even non-Christians, agnostics, and atheists say that the Mother was a saint even before the Church declared her a saint; she was a living saint. And who can dispute that?

Such men (and women) have the power to make life meaningful. And I cherish those memories.

Soliloquy between research papers

It’s been sometime since I posted last. Life has been a pressure cooker.

On 16 Jan I travelled to Kerala to chair a session of Research Papers presentation at Calicut University. It was quite a hectic time – after all my own research, classes and tutorials for students. Then read the presentation papers and make critical comments. But it was  good experience.

Travelled back the same night, and after engaging some more classes over the next two days, I travelled to Ahmedabad, Gujarat to present my research paper at their national conference. Good conference, badly organised. After attending those two days, I returned without sleep, like the entire week!

Then got busy with another paper – to be presented at an International Symposium. I am still working on – lots of work is pending; the deadline is over, I can’t give up. Even as I work on the paper, besides teaching and guiding seminar papers of my students and supervising other research activity of the College; and it is not at all cake walk!

You know, I miss blogging!

Sanjay Leela Bhansali was not slapped, punched due to Padmavati. The reason is far more serious

Attack on artists continues unabated. It was always there ever since the advent of the right wing on Indian cultural political landscape. But ever since we elected a extreme right wing government, things have gotten worse – the #intolerance debate has only highlighted the bigotry of our political leaders and religious bigots.

Some of lumpen elements which crop up by the night, attack anyone to attain overnight fame, and align themselves with the Sangh Parivar for legitimacy. The latter, enjoys the publicity it gets by the use of violence by these fringe elements. It is blow hot, blow cold. When it fits the Sangh, it claims credit for the immoral policing unleashed by cruelty, violence, and lawlessness; it distances itself from these elements when occasionally courts or law enforcing authorities/ agencies (most of whom are hand in glove with them almost all the time) get after them or public outcry breaks out.

After M.F. Hussain ,H.S. Shivaprakash, M. M. Kalburgi, Pasnare, U. R. Ananthamurthy, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Karan Johar, and scores of other artists and thinkers, now it is the time of another Bollywood biggie Sanjay Leela Bhansali. While he was shooting his fiction Padmavati in Jaipur, he was attacked and slapped by a new outfit called Karn Sena. Where did this come from? The police gave a shameless version to highlight SLB had agreed to reconsider shooting in Jaipur!

It is a shame on our culture which prides itself in the ‘best culture’ (remember Udwin’s India’s Daughter?); it is a black stain on our democracy which guarantees us our freedom of speech and expression.

See the video in the Express link below; it will disturb you.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali was not slapped, punched due to Padmavati. The reason is far more serious

Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped and assaulted in Jaipur by a fringe group on the sets of his film, Padmavati. As Bollywood promises support, political reaction is muted. Was this an attempt to save our morality (yet) again or make an example of Bhansali and his film?

Written by Jyoti Sharma Bawa | New Delhi | Updated: January 28, 2017 5:52 pm

Sanjay leela bhansali, sanjay leela bhansali slapped, sanjay leela bhansali assaulted, sanjay leela bhansali padmavati, padmavati set attacked, karni sena attack sanjay leela bhansali, deepika padukone padmavati, ranveer singh padmavati, shahid kapoor padmavati, padmavati story, padmavati rani padmini, karan johar supports bhansali, opinion, bollywood opinion, bollywood business, bollywood hazardous profession, bollywood profession, directors attacked bollywood, protestors sanjay leela bhansali, padmavati news, sanjay leela bhansali news, bollywood news, bollywood updates, indian express news, indian express A furious mob attacked the ace-filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the sets of Padmavati and protesters are seen damaging cameras and other shooting equipment while raising slogans and spewing abuses in Hindi.When National Award-winning film director Sanjay Leela Bhansali was slapped and assaulted in Jaipur on the sets of his film, among the first few to come out in his support was filmmaker Karan Johar, who took to Twitter to support the Padmavati auteur. Karan should know just how hazardous it is to be a part of the film industry in India in today’s day and time.

Also read | Protesters slap and attack Sanjay Leela Bhansali, vandalise Padmavati set in Jaipur

Hazardous, you ask? Isn’t Bollywood the cushiest job in India – money, popularity and glam all rolled into one giant goody bag? To understand how Bollywood probably entered the ranks of India’s most hazardous professions, we need to understand Bhansali’s case. Why was he attacked? The ‘protesters’ who took the law in their hands alleged India’s morality was (yet) again under attack by the ‘liberals’ in Bollywood. Bhansali’s Padmavati, for which he was in Jaipur, is inspired by Rani Padmini’s tale and was thereby supposed to be besmirching the name of Rajput queen. So, did the so-called protesters watch the film and not agree with its content? Were they privy to its script and dialogues? Or they had inside information that the director was bent on distorting history? No, none of the above. They had, maybe, heard the film will have Deepika Padukone’s Padmini romancing Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji in a dream sequence

Sanjay Leela Bhansali was not slapped, punched due to Padmavati. The reason is far more serious

Arnab Goswami’s new media venture is funded by NDA MP and Mohandas Pai

Hindustan Times shutting down editions – it’s dangerously lazy to blame demonetisation