Abki Bar Modi Sarkar

Everybody loves Narendra Modi — my roommate and his office colleagues, his office colleagues and their moms and everybody else you care to ask. After all, isn’t he like, lovable? Of course he is. Who doesn’t love a guy who gets things done, like you know, make the trains run on time? He has “developed” Gujarat so much so that when you are in Gujarat, you feel like you are in the US… such nice roads and big big companies. Plus, the dude has Bollywood instincts too… the other day he was spotted stalking a woman. Wow! Such a macho man, isn’t he?

Modify_India

But then, however lovable you are, there are those morons who are going to hate you for some reason or the other. People found a fault with even Ram, the epitome of perfection. Haters gonna hate, as they say. And what do these haters have to say about Modi? Utter senseless crap!

Listen to this. They say we should not forget 2002! Duh! Forgiveness, dude, forgiveness! Did your religion not teach you that? Forget and move on. What if 700-800 people were killed, many more injured, women were raped and cut into pieces and men burnt alive? What if even a former MP wasn’t spared? What if his party workers participated in the acts, his police were complicit (and later, in many cases, refused to file complaints as well). But did Modi do it? No way! How could he? Wasn’t he sitting in his AC cabin when the events were unfolding? You can’t blame the guy. He is as innocent as the kids who saw their fathers go out with swords and kill their neighbours. Poor guy…being hounded by the judiciary and social activists for the crimes he didn’t commit.

And dude, look at the development he has brought to Gujarat. When you are in Gujarat, you feel as if you are in the US (in full disclosure, I have never been to the US or even Gujarat, but that’s what I have heard them say about Gujarat). Such nice roads, and such big, big MNCs and home-grown conglomerates everywhere. Those haters accuse him of giving companies cheap land and tax breaks and subsidized electricity, etc. But isn’t that a small price we have to pay to get the “development”? Oh wait… that’s not even a price. How else would we get our shiny hatchbacks or SUVs we cannot live without? To digress, I don’t know how those adivasis manage without even a bike. But why care about them anyway? We have our tall tall buildings, shiny shiny cars and broad broad roads. Wait… You say you don’t live in Gujarat and hence don’t have those nice broad roads yet? Exactly why I want to say: Abki Bar, Modi Sarkar.

Modi_Sarkar

Do not bother about the fact that Gujarat is worse than other progressive states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the Human Development Index. Gujarat lags behind many other states on implementing welfare schemes, in the condition of the health and education sectors. The Narmada project has displaced thousands of people. But do not worry about them. They do not matter. Eighty per cent of our population does not matter. They are such primitive, ignorant fools anyway. They do not even know how to rid themselves of poverty. And then they complain about their land and their water being snatched away. But unless we take their land and their forest and their water, how can we get nice nice roads and shiny shiny cars? They do not even understand this basic fact and then they start morchas and dharnas and uposhans and what not. Such primitive people. And then those haters are just too happy to take up their cause. But…haters gonna hate. Do not worry about them. Instead say with me:

Nice nice roads, shiny shiny cars
Abki Bar Modi Sarkar

What Feminism Really Is

Feminisn

Yesterday I read this report about a new social networking site called State which is designed around the idea of opinion sharing. But unlike Facebook or Twitter, State requires you to choose a “topic” before you can “state” your opinion. I found this idea interesting and hence created an account right away.

As I started exploring the site I came across the topic of Feminism. But as I read the opinions that various users had posted (or “stated”), I started feeling disturbed. The Snapshot section on the right bar depressed me more: the top two words that commenters had used to describe feminism were “destructive” and “sexist”.

Following are two comments which are more or less representative of the discussion:

Being a woman in 2014 is piss easy, you get everything handed to you.
Equal rights were reached years ago, now the feminist goal is female supremacy.

blaming an entire gender for you problems is not about equality

The first comment is a proof of ethnocentrism that dictates many of the discussions about feminism (or any other topic for that matter) and second comment shows that people do not understand what feminism really is. Feminism’s goal is not female supremacy; the goal is to end women’s exploitation so that they can enjoy basic human rights like liberty and equality (Is that too much to ask for?).

Feminism does not say women should be treated better than men. Feminism does not consider men its enemy. Feminism does not fight against men: it fights against patriarchy. There is a difference. Patriarchy is an evil system and both men and women are complicit in its perpetuation — consciously or unconsciously. Feminism’s goal is to end this system of exploitation and control. But it does not want to achieve this by shooting the perpetrators or sending them to jail (we are not Maoists). It aims to change the mindset of people by showing why patriarchy is an unjust system and how it harms both women and men.

Contrary to what the first commenter says, being a woman in 2014 is NOT easy. Women still get raped. They still get beaten by their husbands. Their agency is controlled in myriad ways on a daily basis.

Feminism is misunderstood by many. It is an egalitarian ideology and not a supremacist one. The victory of feminism will benefit both the sexes equally. Men and women have to live together on this planet earth. Both are interdependent. Better life for one means better life for the other too.

How Does It Feel Like to Be a Sexist Feminist?

I come from a lower class background, economically and socially. But I regularly mingle with higher class people. Education and the city life have given me that opportunity. Though when I am with them, I am always on my guard. I fear that I may be judged for my mannerisms, my less-civilized ways, my un-culturedness. No one says that I am less than them in any way, that I lack mannerisms, that I am less civilized, or that I am un-cultured (not at least out loud) but I find it hard to let go my class consciousness. I find it hard to not measure myself constantly, on an imaginary “higher-class” scale.

I think the same thing is happening with women. Our patriarchal society makes women feel inferior. Women cannot enjoy the kind of freedom that men take for granted. They regularly have to hear taunts or are censured for their behaviour, mannerisms and actions. This has made them develop a kind of class consciousness vis-à-vis men.

Women are tired of hearing taunts, in their houses, in social gatherings or at workplaces. But the new woman, emancipated by the feminist movement, is trying to develop an identity, an identity which will make her feel that she is on equal footing with men. But she cannot get rid of the class consciousness I describe above and hence she is cautious, and judgemental of every guy who is around her.

In such a scenario it becomes hard for a guy to make any comment regarding women, lest you be called sexist. A mere observation that girls are more fond of emojis than guys lands you in trouble. Or when you say that women especially enjoy talking about family matters with other women, it is not taken lightly. Cracking a joke about women’s driving skills or their obsession with photos is a strict no-no. Don’t even dare do that. Your intent doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that you are an outspoken champion of women rights. It doesn’t matter you call yourself a feminist. It doesn’t matter you decry patriarchy. It doesn’t matter you feel as distressed by the reports of rape as any woman would. Regardless, you will be treated just like any other man.

As if the word “women” has acquired the quality of the word “blacks”: you are not supposed to utter it in isolation. But this severe reproach has other unintended consequences too. It shuts the dialogue. It hampers free flow of ideas. I now feel fearful to talk about women as a separate sex. It cannot be denied that men and women are two different sexes as they have biological differences. Those differences do not make one inferior or the other superior. But the fact remains that there are differences, the proportion of those differences being debatable. But I now fear to even point them out. I cannot even dare say that man has a penis and woman a vagina.

I am tired of this now. I am tired of defending myself, tired of saying that I am on your side. I cannot do it anymore. I will rather prefer to just stop the dialogue.

Update: I just came across this blog post with an opposite stance. I thought I should mention it here: Sexist Jokes Are Not OK

Who Is To Blame For Corruption In India?

While on the one hand Pranab Mukherjee will be sworn in as India’s 13th President, at the same time Team Anna will go on a fast on Wednesday against the evergreen issue of corruption.

As the Anna movement has progressed, its support is waning. It has got number of detractors too, especially in the middle class section, which forms its biggest support base. But that does not mean that people of India have become less concerned or less passionate about the issue of corruption.

The mere word ‘corruption’ is enough to boil one’s heart. And most of the times, it is the political class which is at the receiving end of it. All the resources and power are concentrated in the hands of politicians. Hence, they have the highest chance of indulging in corruption and without doubt they make the most of it. The various scams exposed, including the very recent Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, are a proof to that.

But we need to see this issue in a larger perspective. Whenever we talk of corruption, we put the blame either on the system (whatever that means) or on the politicians. But we forget that it is we, the people, who run the system. It is we, who create the politicians from among ourselves.

We need to give some time for introspection while talking about the issue. The biggest reason bribe-giving and bribe-taking is so prevalent in India is not because our bureaucrats are corrupt, but because we want our work to be done illegally or faster.

We are so morally corrupt that we even fail to understand that we are doing something wrong. One of my friend’s brother wanted admission in a particular college, but he missed the admission date. Now he is trying to secure the seat either through money or political pressure.

When a traffic police catches us for speeding or a Railway TC catches us without ticket, we are never ready to pay the fine. Our first instinct is to bribe him and get away somehow. Corruption is so seeped into our mindsets that many of us will not even acknowledge that what we do is corruption.

Since the political scams are in crores, they grab our attention. But we are as corrupt as our politicians, the only difference is in the scale.