ArpitGarg's Weblog

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Archive for the ‘General/Society’ Category

Corruption and Nepotism celebrated. Conscience of a nation dead?

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nepotism1-text_557aa68bd0d5aWhat happened to an honest law officer after she outed the worst kept secret, that jails are 5 stars if you can pay the price. What happened during an award ceremony where Bollywood celebs chanted ‘nepotism rules’ and were proud to do it. It all made me sick to my stomach. My father always taught me that if I studied and worked hard, I would succeed in my life and I did and I achieved. But what is happening in our nation today is real disgusting.

We did revere corruption. It was quite clear to me growing up, when I saw most corrupt living in the biggest of bungalows around me. It was quite clear when I saw people fighting over themselves to getting their daughters married off to the most corrupt of all, coz he had the most money to boast. I knew corruption was in our blood when an Income Tax raid was touted by corrupt as a matter of pride rather than a matter of shame.

We did revere nepotism. It was quite clear to me when I saw dynastic politics and people worshipping the dynasts. The ever growing family business honchos. It was quite clear when I saw the stupidest of my classmates enjoying the lives without hard work, just coz of our nepotistic societal framework. It was quite clear when rather than being named and shamed coz of that, they were celebrated by the society.

But all that was done without saying, in a clandestine manner, under the radar. It never saw any public outcry probably because common man never dared to voice his/her opinion. Now with the advent of social media and spread of mass media as such, people like Kangana who made it big fighting adversities can show these pompous fools, the mirror. She can dare to make them feel their real worth, which is two pence. And how dare she? The open and arrogant manner, in which the female law officer was transferred, shows there is no shame in corruption anymore. It used to happen earlier too but it never used to come out for the lack of media. Today’s 24×7 TV has made it all known. And the nation’s secret is out.

Some of you may blame me for being too negative in my outlook. Trust me I am not. It is happening all around us, all too openly for me to see any positive out of it. I sometimes fear for myself not to fall prey to the lures of this evil.

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Written by arpitgarg

July 17, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Posted in General/Society

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Censor chops Indu Sarkar: Why no outrage?

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silenceThere is a certain section of people which is called intelligentsia, who we trust to depict our collective reactions. When movies like Lipstick under the Burka are blocked, we expect known faces to come out in outcry. When government acts towards appeasing majority or minority, we expect the people in public life to hit back hard. For all the money they mooch off our adulations, it is the least we expect them to do.

I am saddened by lack of outrage when Indu Sarkar is asked by Censor to chop off certain portions. The silence is deafening. This when same people are busy writing op-ed’s about another film where utterances by a well known economist have been muted. I wonder why?

It leads me to my conclusion; Incidents like emergency are implemented by buying of intelligentsia and people of prominence. Elites love restrictions like emergency during which they side with the powers that be. Even today the known and well off people scoff at such movies. When leaders who imposed emergency should have been relegated to the gutters of history, they are celebrated. I can even live with that. But during the era when any and each cuts by CBFC is portrayed in media as an act against freedom of expression and rightly so, the lack of support for Indu Sarkar is an eye opener.

Such selective collective approaches is what erodes the public trust. When media and elites rue the fact that Modi is PM or for that matter Trump is President, their own hypocrisy is to blame. Had they rallied against acts such as emergency and stopped bowing down to the Family, maybe public would not have been forced to look past the taint of Godhra. Had they called out Clintons on their misadventures, maybe public would not have looked past the sleaze audio tape.

There is still time for redemption, but I don’t see it coming. All we have to do is to apply same yardstick to everyone. But in todays polarized time, it is easier said than done.

Written by arpitgarg

July 14, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Indu Sarkar: Trailer, like nothing before

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06indu-sarkar1.jpgI just saw the trailer of movie Indu Sarkar, a movie about the atrocities of Emergency, a black chapter of lust for power. I came to know about emergency quite late in my life and have always wondered why? The dark chapter of our history should have been part of our school curriculum, but it never was. It was as if it never happened. A reason why such a movie was never made before today is simple, the dynastic rule never ended. The more I read about emergency, the sad I felt that judiciary, intelligentsia and media of the day knelt down in front of what they called Iron Lady, and they still do.

I always wondered why people voted her back post emergency and continued with the dynastic rule. Maybe we needed to grow as a nation to get out of bonded mindset. Maybe the internet and free knowledge needed to reach to deep interiors of our country to bring people together. I feel we have almost reached there. Movie like Indu Sarkar, if trailer is anything to go by, is bound to change the manufactured history of our nation. Couple of hard hitting dialogues stood out. Dialogues which should have been the part of our national psyche, but they never were.

“Bharat ki ek beti ne desh ko gulam bana ke rakha hua hai, doosri beti se ummed hai azaadi ki” (One daughter of India has kept the nation enslaved; it is up to the other daughter to free the country). Chilling! It took the nation good 40 years to reach here. But I am happy that we finally have strength to say it out loud. We were enslaved. Struggle against emergency was nothing short of Third War of Independence. It should have been celebrated like one, but it never was.

“Tum log zindagi bhar maa bete ki gulaami karna” (You continue being slave to mother and son, your whole like). I couldn’t control my emotions hearing this. So relevant even today! It makes me sick and sad watching septuagenarian leaders bowing to mother and son just to keep their position. Mind you, we as voters were equally culpable, coz we as a nation were ready to serve mother and son, then and now.

But the time seems to have come to say it out loud. Time has now come to absolve ourselves of the sin of electoral mistakes we made. Time has now come to absolve us of the slavery. Indu Sarkar might not turn out to be as hard hitting as its trailer, but it is a step in right direction nonetheless. A step towards mainstreaming the atrocities the nation faced.

I don’t expect the movie to be celebrated by the media and intelligentsia. I don’t expect the movie to be celebrated by the nation as large, as we all were culpable in our choices last 40 years. But I expect it to be a start for a brighter future. Only after accepting and internalizing our failures and mistakes, do we become better.

The story needed to be told. I’d say it came not 40 years late, but it came on time, whenever it came.

Written by arpitgarg

July 13, 2017 at 2:16 am

Research v/s Inner-search

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why-are-we-here.jpgHumans have always wondered what if the reality we are living in is not real. What if it is just a façade? Movies like Matrix have taken it up in popular culture. Although I must state, living in a simulated reality was nothing but funny. But the larger question that underlies it all is the same, “Why are we here”? If you watch the movie closely, it tries to answer the same question. We are here, doing what we are doing, because machines make us do so.

In India, generations after generations of saints have done tapasya to look for the answer. Only their approach was not based on any research but inner-search. Research entails looking around the world. Knowing what others know and analyzing. Research wants us to know more than we already know. It’s flow of data from outside into our brain. Inner-search entails tapasya, believing that we already have the answers to all the questions. It’s only a matter of concentrating and delving into that part of the brain which stores these answers. Inner search does not involve flow of information into our brain; it just involves analyzing what we already know.

Both approaches have tried to find the same thing. Yet, both approaches couldn’t have been more different. One requires data, other abhors data. One requires talks and discussions, other is held in complete silence. More than the quest for answer itself, the choice of approaches has always amazed me. Not surprisingly, both approaches have yielded nothing. We are no closer to the answer than we we already were.

My view is sometimes in search for fantastic, we ignore the obvious. In a bid to find quantifiable answer to satiate our quest, we have ignored the possibility of chaos. What if there is no answer at all. What if all is by chance? How many centuries have we wasted then? Or consider the cyclical loop, “What if we are here to find the answer of why we are here”. Mind bender right?

Similar is the life that we lead. We look for breakthroughs, defining moments and we waste a lot of time doing that. Any moment that you can make worthwhile, becomes a defining moment. Our success is made up of small efforts, which in cumulation becomes huge.

I suggest, instead of searching for an answer worth our time, we should answer, how much time it is worth?

Written by arpitgarg

May 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Posted in General/Society

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CNN’s of India gave rise to the Fox News of India

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barka-rajdeep-arnab.jpgArnab’s Republic is on air and is already being called Fox News of India. For someone like me, who regularly tune in to CNN and Fox, I find some merit in this argument. Let me state at the onset that I don’t prescribe to the divisions of left, right and center and believe these lines have been created and preached by smart political parties to remain in power (both sides of the spectrum).

Having said that, just because I don’t prescribe to these, it doesn’t mean people don’t follow it. Voters across the world have been transformed into hard right and hard left by politicians, to create their so called voter base. In India Congress party ruled the country for the first 50 years and hence was able to imbibe its center-left ideology into all walks of life. Only center-left people (who believed and who aped) got backing at each and every step and rose to the top. Similarly, back channel funding, quick approvals were given to media channels that backed the prevalent ideology.

The radicalization of media on the center-left grew to an extent when it became all too obvious. Center-Left got called intellectuals and everyone else stupid or radicals. I have called this decade as the ‘decade of the right wing’ across the world. In line with political resurgence of the right in India, Republic TV has taken shape. Had the doors not shut on people with a particular ideology and they were not mocked and shamed in existing media, Republic might not have been born.

I find youth of India leaning more and more towards right and that’s not a good thing. People should be able to subscribe to ideology on case by case basis. Not everything in any ideology can be correct, not everything in any ideology can we wrong. I blame the obscene stranglehold of one particular side for far too long for this. They have oppressed and mocked the other side, which has fought back and how. People witnessed logic going for a toss even when corruption after corruption was unearthed and still the dynastic politics of national and regional parties was celebrated by existing media. People found existing media in bed with existing dispensation and people felt wronged. Hence they turned to the other side in anger. And angry decisions are rarely right.

Other side is not completely rosy too. They too will try and proscribe that they alone are prefect and existing center-left cabal is the devil. The fact is that devil lies in people and not ideologies. Slowly you will find politicians, media and intellectuals jumping the ship towards right, because that’s where the fat is. This will go on until the time people will be fed up with their propaganda. And then the Left wave will strike back. Such cyclical phenomena have been a fact throughout the history.

Present moment is one of the best times for channels like Republic to take shape. I just wonder if it would have been possible without the CNN’s of India.

Written by arpitgarg

May 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Posted in General/Society, Media

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Eman’s Doctors: Paying the price of their own greed

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eman-5.jpgWe have been seeing a story unfold last few days about Eman Ahmed and her sister Shaimaa Selim. For those who might not know, Eman is the patient who was flown in from Egypt for treatment of obesity. Dr. Muffazal Lakadwala and his Centre for Obesity and Digestive Surgery made it known to the media and the whole world that they would be treating the patient free of cost and spending crores in the process. And headlines they got. The heaviest person on Earth and an Indian surgeon to the rescue.

Things have degenerated all too quickly with the Eman’s accusing the doctors of negligence. All hell has broken loose. In major news papers, all I am seeing is character assassination of ‘ungrateful Egyptian sisters’. How the God’s own avatar, Dr. Lakadwala and his team did all the free service and now they are being blamed. And I am amazed how Indian media is not even ready to show Shaimaa’s side.

First of all it was all done not for philanthropy but as a PR stunt. For philanthropy we have enough problems in India to spend money and resources on. But the headlines ‘world’s heaviest woman’ can give to a hospital and a doctor, nothing else can. As about ‘free service’, I consider it advertisement budget, nothing else. It was an investment to get paying patients from all across the world at Dr. Lakadwala’s footsteps.

Coming to the character assassination of Eman’s sister. She is being touted as an ungrateful snob. Why ungrateful? Why now say that it was all free service? Why not treat her as another paying patient? Were the similar reservations made by a paying patient, would we have seen similar character assassination? Such PR stunts have their own downsides and one such downside we are seeing now. Seems the medical team was all too ready to shower in the glory of success and reap millions that follow, but are coming out as sore losers. Like rug has been snapped from under them.

I am not saying that its all Doctors fault, family could be at fault too. But the way character assassination is being done; it’s pathetic and portrays a dull picture of our hospitality. What happened to all ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’? These are two sisters in a foreign land. Shaimaa is worried about her sister Eman. Given the condition Eman is in, I know a lot many of my fellow citizens who would have abandoned their own sisters long back. Don’t we know what a lot many of us do to their parents in old age? But Shaimaa has stood alongside her sister, fighting for her.

She was promised a miracle by the publicity hungry doctors and now she is worried about deteriorating health of her poor sister. If she is blaming negligence, instead of investigating the claim just like it would have been done for any paying patient, whole medical team is busy character assassinating the sisters. Rich, isn’t it. Sad part is media is playing the ball too.

All I can say is Govt. should frame some rules to regulate such publicity stunts which put whole nation’s image at stake.

Written by arpitgarg

April 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Triple Talaq: BJP’s Mandal Move?

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triple_talaq.jpgLate 80’s and Early 90’s saw the Kamandal vs Mandal politics. With BJP able to consolidate Hindu votes with Mandir politics, other parties hit back with Aarakshan, driving a wedge in the consolidated Hindu vote. Last 25 years have seen voting along those lines, with Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati being the biggest regional gainers with their respective caste bases.

Outcome of UP 2017 elections has shocked everyone. How to make sense of the results? The result goes beyond polarization. Unless Muslims have voted for BJP in decent numbers, the results don’t make any sense. And that is why I call Triple Talaq as BJP’s Mandal move. Muslims have always been distant to BJP and have good reasons for that. Like others, I too have been of the opinion that BJP will never be able to woo Muslims.

But the master stroke of Triple Talaq and Muslim women’s rights, has driven a similar wedge among the Muslim voters. Muslim women voting for BJP can explain the mystery results of UP election. There will be a lot of dissection in the months to follow; such is the enormity of the outcome.

Politics aside, women rights needs to be protected. I believe that support for eradicating inhuman practices like dowry or triple talaq has to come from within the community. If Muslim women have voted for BJP in good numbers, it should be considered their silent revolt against the practice and an open discussion must follow.

Written by arpitgarg

March 13, 2017 at 1:54 am

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