Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Behind the Throne

[There is power and there are leaders. But there are also those who always remain in the shadows. Those confidants who directly or indirectly really rule under the false guise of the projected poster: The ones with the reins.


They have power without accountability, the worse kind of power there is. They can do almost anything they want by manipulating others but without the risk of having to take the fall for the same.

How these individuals manage such identities and stay cloaked from the scrutiny of society is a matter of intense intrigue and suspense.

The common factor however remains, that manipulation and deception are the key characteristics of those who choose to play hide and seek in the corridors of power.]

[This is my article for the Youth Connect magazine. You can read the entire article here: Behind the Throne: People Who Have the Real Power]

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Just for you, my Friend.

When one engages in classroom politics, one should be very careful in choosing one’s friends and supporters. Well, once you have persuasive friends, support is garnered automatically. But yes, one does have the responsibility to choose the correct set of friends to stand fast as columns in case the structure collapses.

There is one such friend whose recent actions have prompted me to write this post. This friend is one of the foremost intellectuals I've met in my age group and he stands tall as the greatest strategist I've seen in the past three years since I entered the field rather by accident.

They say that engineers are the toughest of the population because going through an engineering college in India is much like how they train the Marines in the US. They have probably seen everything, done a lot of it first hand and still come out of that hell hole. So politics seems to be nothing new to them.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

I have no idea what kind of voodoo goes on in these colleges except for the stories some of my engineer friends tell me, but I can safely say that they turn out to be some of the most paranoid people I've come across.

However, coming back to the point, my friend is kind of very aware of tactics that can be played and between the both of us; we manage to counter them long before they’re implemented in the opposite camp. But now and again, it so happens that there is a surprise volley and to everyone’s great surprise, the calm and composed engineer lost his cool and stood between me and the offender with such vehemence that the ungodly attack died out before anybody could realize.

This has happened not once but twice now and everyone has now realized that if push comes to shove, the strategist Athena can also don the armour and defend friends with as much brutality as Ares, the god of WAR.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Teaching OR Preaching?

[Missionary schools, of a number of religions operate in India with a view to bringing up the children of their particular religion with a religious learning along with state-approved education. The young ones are taught the ways of their creed and are helped along the way by the holy ones who think it is their duty to bring up the next generation with as much piety as the previous one.

But there is one problem, not all children in some of these schools are of the same religion. People from across the cultural spectrum send their children to missionary schools.

One tolerates because one HAS to, but one accepts because one WANTS to. If children are educated in the way that they develop as citizens who view their fellow men beyond the boundaries of religion, I believe the world would be a better place to live in.

Religion aside, it is widely accepted that sending one’s children to missionary schools ensures better manners, better language skills, higher moral values and above all, a better human being.

Note: This post is written on the basis of my observations only. It is based on my understanding of missionary schools, not of one but multiple religions. This post has not been written to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. This is also not a post against any missionary institutions. Anything and everything debatable or hurtful written here is purely coincidental.]

[This is my article for the Youth Connect magazine. You can read the entire article here: Missionary Schools: Teaching Or Preaching?]

Saturday, 15 February 2014

World Cup Woes

[Football is to Brazil what cricket is to India; an obsession, almost a religion.

The opening ceremony is slated to take place on the 12th of June, 2014 and it seems that still over half the stadiums out of the total twelve are not ready to host such a major tournament. This, in spite of Brazil getting seven years to prepare; more time than any other country has received till date.

Even though the Brazilian government has put in an estimated $14 billion into this hurried program and the cities who are hosting expecting to put in some more of their funds, it is widely believed that it may already be too late for few of the cities and that FIFA might consider changing their venues altogether and in the process, shaming the host nation before the international community.]

[This is my article for the Youth Connect magazine. You can read the entire article here: FIFA 2014 Woes: Brazil Unprepared For The World Cup?]

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

In Defence of Cops

Many of us have had our brush with the keepers of the law. Some for the wrong reasons more than the right. However, I feel that there is an inherent sense of hostility towards the police force, at least as far as I've observed. Well, I've often felt that way too, no denying it. But when one comes to think about it…

Let’s face it; there are good cops and there are bad cops.

Though which of the two categories include more of them, I cannot say. And yes, I've met both types. Obviously, one is bound to meet both types if one has lived long enough in India.

There are cops who are helpful and those who are not.

There are who are corrupt and there are those who are not.

There are cops who are dignified and those who are not.

There are cops who are fit for duty and those who are not.

The list can go on and on depending on the extent of one’s interaction with the police but since mine is painfully limited; I feel should stop before I get ahead of myself and start assuming things. However, I do believe that it is wrong to both be afraid of cops and not to be. This might sound confusing initially, but let me explain.

Image Courtesy: Deep Panchal

People, normal people without connections in high places and access to a lot of money usually tend to be afraid of cops because of the assumption that all cops are rotten and that some unspeakable horror will certainly befall them were they to fall into the hands of any cop. On the other hand, people with access to the above mentioned things roam around with absolutely no fear of the law as a whole because they realize the power that they hold.

However, falling into either of these categories is foolhardy because although there may be a few rotten eggs, which institution doesn't? Agreed that there is much more to fear in this case, however faith in the law of the land should supersede this fear. Even those who think themselves above the law should beware that all cops are not for sale and even though that trick might have worked before, that may not always be the case.

Yesterday I read two stories relating to cops; one that inspired bravery and the other that aroused disgust for the Indian Police Service. The former story was about cops being honoured for bravery in Noida and the latter was about cops raping a homosexual man in Gujarat.

What conflicting stories!

How is someone supposed to get an idea about the police in this country? Exactly! One absolutely cannot. There is no way that one can stereotype the police in this country upon the actions of a few people. The only hope one can garner is that there are a few more good men than the bad ones in the service and believe that there is still hope for the order of law and justice in this land.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Join the Indian Air Force and Die… by Accident!

[To be a fighter pilot for the Indian Air Force has probably been the childhood dream of every man reading this article, I know it was mine.

It has recently come to light that Wing Commander (then Squadron Leader) Sanjeet Kaila, stationed at the Nal frontier base in Rajasthan and who survived a MiG-21 crash; was sued by the Ministry of Defence and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on a number of charges nine years after the near-fatal accident.

However, it has also come to light that records indicate his aircraft catching fire immediately after take-off and the pilot deciding to attempt clearing the area over civilian population before exiting the burning fighter.

In the recent past, there have been a number of cases related to these old fighters crashing during training exercises and resulting in the loss of life during a time of peace.

The Ministry of Defence does not seem to realize that it is actually discouraging the would-be soldiers, pilots and seamen from serving a nation.]

[This is my article for the Youth Connect magazine. You can read the entire article here: Join the Indian Air Force and die… by Accident!]

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

These People are our Own!

India, the land of diverse cultures and the seat of multiculturalism in the world has a large number of different people residing within its borders. Well, this does not include illegal residents, just the ones who are Indian. People with different languages, religions, ethnic backgrounds and of course, colour. This country has nurtured her variegated children and even adopted some more from various parts of the world. And she has continued to do so for millennia. She has accepted anyone and everyone who showed the intention of living in harmony with her other children. In fact, she even took in those who would later enslave her for more than two centuries.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Now, having established how this great nation has been the home of a number of peoples throughout history, allow me demonstrate how her children, who of course kept squabbling when they were infants, have still deigned to remain immature into their adulthood.

Recently, there have been a number of cases where certain people hailing from the Eastern regions of India were harassed, thrashed and even killed in none other than the capital of this country.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

A conscious Indian would ask WHY?

Well, I don’t know why but the obvious answer is because they share physical attributes with the Chinese people, the government of which is at constant loggerheads with the Indian government over the land they’ve illegally occupied in the northern and eastern regions of the country. Other than that, everyone who pays close attention to international affairs knows what games the Chinese play apart from issuing passports to Indian farmers, routinely crossing the international border, sending incursions to Indian military frontier camps and inscribing rocks on Indian soil. China, in its bid to remain the Asian superpower is not leaving any stones unturned; breaking international border treaties, bullying smaller South-Asian nations, landing troops on disputed islands and supplying insurgent upstart nations with weapons.

Yes that is reason enough to hate their guts, but why take it out on people of your own country who, by no fault of their own, share ethnic relations with our enemies? Why discriminate against them when they have done nothing to deserve this harsh treatment. Today, the people on the eastern frontier are fighting for the basic privilege of being recognized as Indians when they already have it.

These people have been residing here ever since Genghis Khan decided to annex that part of the sub-continent, maybe even before that. They officially became part of the Indian Republic when she got her Independence from the British Empire, same as any other territory, then why this bias?

In the 21st century, when the world is fighting against international racism, having uprooted the same from their own nations, this Asian giant is still struggling to accept the people who were her own from the very beginning.

What a SHAME!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

The Parasitic Language

Quite an unusual title to a post, right? ‘The Parasitic Language.’ I’m sure that a majority of you reading this post right now came here hoping that this was a short story of some kind. I assure you now, well in advance that it most certainly is not. I also know that a lot of you will probably leave this page after reading the previous line which makes this line sort of obsolete but those of you who've managed to persevere till this point, I’m sure this will be worth it.

First, a slice of history.

Image courtesy: Wikipedia.

We humans developed language as a means to communicate since we seem to have lost the awesome power of telepathy, well most of us anyway. Every part of the world developed its own language and then each specific region in turn developed a dialect of their particular language. In time, we humans also figured out that we could use our hands for something other than hunting and killing both animals and people, thus the weapon mightier than the sword was born and the written word came into existence.

Skipping a few millennia we come to the age of expansion wherein the ‘civilized’ nations carried the burden of educating the rest of the ‘barbarian’ world with the concept of colonization and international trade (read: Forced Globalization). And in the race to be the mightiest world power, the British came out on top there came a time when it was said, ‘The sun never sets on the British Empire.’ Yeah, they were basically what USA was to become in the modern age, but more aggressively so.

The result of the above events.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Since the British managed to conquer various parts of the globe, they obviously became the rulers there and spread their technology, religion and the most important thing: their language. Over time, the English language became the primary language of governance and finance in most of the world simply because the Empire managed to survive that long. However, even after they relinquished their hold over their colonies because the natives had become smart, thanks to their education policies, the language was deeply entrenched in the society and refused to leave with its departing countrymen.

Unlike certain languages like Sanskrit (in the Indian context), English managed to stay rooted and blossom wherever it was sown because it had the ability to adapt. The scholars in England were smart enough to realize that to survive; the language had to adopt words from the cultures they were spoken in, simply because there weren't words in English to describe some things in their former colonies. Things that were either not found in England or not been recognized before. It was only this long-term planning that allowed this language to not only blossom but turn into the massive banyan tree that envelopes the world today.

Now, the point I’m trying to make.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

Now it’s all hunky dory to have an international language that binds most of the world together and promotes everything from business to international relations. But I wonder if English is becoming a threat to the regional languages which with it co-exists. Again in the context of India, as far as I know, English is becoming a threat at least to a number of languages; to their spoken as well as written form. In this Age of Information, it is a almost a sin if one doesn't know to speak English. It has slowly turned from being spoken in compulsion to something that is a requirement if one has any sort of ambition. To not know even a smattering of English is considered illiteracy and a sign of incomplete and second–grade education.

Because of this situation, India is experiencing a dearth of candidates who opt for the state or national languages. One might expect that due to the rainbow of cultures residing in not only this country but the entire subcontinent, languages might have no fear of dying out. But it is frightening to see how fast dialects and whole languages spoken by a small number of people are on the verge of extinction. Is this what is survival of the fittest? It is not like other languages do not adopt words from other languages, they do so unofficially but since English has the advantage of having an institution of its own that constantly updates words into its lexicon, I fear there will come a time when this language will finally eliminate its competition to emerge as the one language of the world.