Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Sea and Beyond

In those moments of truthful silence
With deepest desires, eyes filled
Of passion, of treading the world hence
Life seems still, as courage is instilled.
Unlike an obstacle, the waves really charm
The salty breeze seems so hard to resist
Will they hug me and set my mind at calm ?
Or will I drift away, like the sand from my fist ?
Far ahead, I see a ship set sail
As the birds make a ruckus, much like the waves
From the sea, shall be born a great tale
Else the road lies dark to long forgotten graves
The lonely wave grows really tall
My thoughts they are, my life they make
In drenched glory, I yearn to see it all
Or is this just a mirage for my earthy sake ?
The ship moves afar as the sun sets to sleep
In my blindness, do I see nature taunt?
My legs in the sand, are down pretty deep
Will I conquer the calm blue sea, and everything beyond ?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Threat to Security, Or Democracy ?

Naxalism, or the Naxalite Movement is heralded as the biggest internal security threat to the nation, by the honourable prime minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh. Perhaps it is, considering the brutal killings of political leaders across the nation. Newspaper headlines scream of the recent killings of M.P Sunil Mahto in Jharkand, a separate congress party leader in Andhra Pradesh, the brutality of the killing of villagers in Chhattisgarh.

Violence is never a means to an end and fighting of this kind should be against the enemies who are out to kill you, or to invade you, not against your neighbour or brother who is committing a mistake. Now this is a touchy issue, because ultimately when I write this I am aware that I have never been directly affected by those whom they are fighting against. But ultimately the truth is their efforts or struggle so to say, has not brought collective good upon the nation.

Now, there is reason enough to admit that politicians are primarily responsible for creating discontent and frustration among people. When we hear of figures like a hundred crores, being spent for the functioning of the parliament, with only 85 days in a year, when they actually sit to work there. So ideally when someone raises commotion over silly issues and stalls proceedings, the nation loses 1 crore rupees in a day. Isn't that alone enough to cause irritation among the downtrodden or the labourer community.

The 'labourer' community specifically being mentioned here because naxalism is a violent and revolutionary offspring of the communist ideology and sadly this movement is growing much more rapidly, in fact achieving more than what the Communist party in it`s peaceful version has stood to achieve in India.

Violence v/s Non-Violence

Very evidently right from our freedom movement onwards there have been conflicting ideologies. The Nationalist movement which sought to peaceful means of protest headed by stalwarts like Gopal Krishna Gokhale, followed by Mahatma Gandhi and so on. On the other hand, we had the extremist movement which had great heroes like Lokmanya Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh and the charismatic leader Subhash Chandra Bose. But it would be very wrong if I were to be inspired from the violent form of protest they made and justify it for naxalism today.

Both their struggles had a common goal and the welfare of the common man of India in mind. It was not a matter of whether you were doing a right thing or a wrong thing, but whether you were doing it for the right/wrong reasons. Their reasons were right, and to comment upon the things they did then is not of relevance today.

The Fundamental Question

The fundamental question, we have in minds is of course about who they are a threat to ? Is it a threat to security ?

Yes! it is.! It is these kinds of movements and guerrilla warfare that led to the devastation in countries like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or Srilanka for example, so it is a security threat.

So the truth is, ultimately the common man of India will have to bear the brunt, no matter which side wins.

Now to return to the question, it is an even bigger threat to Democracy or the present form of the government. It is a challenge and war cry against democracy.

Democracy should be a government of the people for the people, but the situation is sadly where we have today a government of the political class for and by the industrial class. There are reforms announced for the rural sectors, for the unemployed youth but the deep loopholes in the implementation will surely cause unrest in any nation.

It is a red signal from the red corridor that it is time, democracy seeks to cleanse itself and thereby oust such a movement. The Government needs to take stringent steps towards elimination of naxalism, but it should not start with an iron hand. It should start by first cleansing itself of it`s ills, and then seek to reform these misled, mostly tribal youth and address their concerns . The government would do well to slow down on aggressive steps such as land acquisition and granting of SEZ`s or at least take care not to do so at the cost of other sectors like agriculture or other cottage industries and by hurting local sentiments.

In a government which allocates ninety six thousand crore rupees for defence, it remains to be seen how much of it will get used to solve these internal problems. Because if it does not, tomorrow Naxalism could grow into terrorism. Civil War will not be far away.

This whole issue requires to be treated with sensitivity and an equal rate of alarm. With sensitivity, because they are mostly people of the farms and forests who have been wronged and with alarm, because their armies are recently regularly marching out from their forest hideouts.

As taxpayers and voters, we have a right to raise these concerns or to make it more pressing it is our duty to do so.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Secret in the Attic.!

In a normal young boy`s mind, anything dark and eerie is not just scary. It is also his need, his complete fantasy and the answer to his quest for adventure, for he sees in it an opportunity to explore, an occasion to become an hero and perhaps discover deep secrets of the past.

I was once this normal young boy, who often went dreamy eyed to his ancestral house in kerala, with a great craving for that discovery in the most darkest and dangerous corners of the house looking for secret doors and traps, hidden treasures, or documents with details of unknown property. There is no limit to a child`s imagination. The stories read, the tales and experiences heard from elders are often the main fodder for this great exercise of the mind and body.

In that huge ancestral house, there was a place of primary interest though. It was called the ' Thattumpuram', in other words, the attic, where there were old furniture, books, plenty of dust and above all, a multitude of stories linked to it. Unnerving stories of ghosts, murders and scheming spirits which were embedded in it`s walls and were ready to throw stones at you. It only took a gentle breeze to knock down something, and this normal young boy and his band of pirates and explorers would shriek and scream in unison and rush downstairs.

The stories and secrets remained smiling in the dark...

Years passed and time kept rolling and the once young boy was now in his college reading things much more advanced or rather suiting his age as his friends had instructed him to. One fine day, he however did walk up to the attic, just to look around. He wasn't scared, nor was he intimidated by the dark walls and once heard stories. However nostalgia is a strange feeling. One tends to relive the past, and so he kept walking around, looking at things.

And then he saw that beautiful thing, an added surprise which set his heart light. There upon a small ledge below the roof of tiles sat this wonderful creature, a pretty barn owl, with it`s cute eyes closed as if sitting in penance.

The attic had done it again, It had performed magic once again for his uninterested soul. He brought all the children of the house and showed them his discovery, happy in looking at their smiling faces, admonishing them, when they made a noise. But children make a noise and there is no known solution for stopping that, because their excitement, is something the world stops to relish.

The barn owl flew away in a few days, leaving the attic behind. Children however kept rushing there every day awaiting the visit of the barn owl. They knew he would come. Their wise big brother had assured them that it would.

Years still kept rolling, time never stopping to wait.

The once young child had by then, grown up into a young man, ready to face life in all seriousness, ready to bear the strain of all family responsibilities and prove himself worthy of his difficult upbringing. He had no time to spare and was always busy with his life, but certain encounters are preplanned by nature and there`s nothing one can do about it.

And so one fine day, this young man found himself at the same ancestral house again and as if by effect of some unearthly interference he found himself walking up to that dark attic again. He felt stupid for doing so, but like we already discussed nostalgia is a strange feeling. He found himself searching for something..

perhaps for hidden treasures, perhaps for a barn owl in penance..

or perhaps he was just seeking to rediscover the child in him, to relive the past and become that normal young child again.

I can only tell you that he left in tears...