Saturday, December 26, 2009

Current Situation in Andhra- a personal view

First of all Merry Christmas to all of you :-)

It has been a long time since I last wrote a post....part of it could be blamed on me being super busy with project submissions, presentations and tests and the other part on me not really feeling very strong about anything to write about.

Well Andhra Pradesh has again been wrapped in turmoil of the demand for Telangana. Demands were raised by TRS for a separate state as their supporters played havoc with the city and its residents....The first protests came with the beginning of December and curfew was applied. I had just returned from Mumbai after spending one extra day in order to avoid the trouble but transportation was still pretty badly hit....However at that time the Central government gave the promise of Telangana to diffuse the situation and it was back to normal.

But the beauty of Indian political system is, you just have to wait for a few hours to get the feedback. The next day newspapers showed an increased demand for Gorkhaland and subsequent protests from Congress ministers and other quarters against this decision. Days passed and finally the Central government has again come out with its revised decision to not go ahead with the division of the state.

The city has again been held at ransom as some so-called activists damage public property and disrupt the peace and quiet. For the past few days, life has been topsy turvy. The city was closed down for some days before Christmas...although my college is almost 42 km away from city, still TRS activists came here, threw stones and raised slogans and also broke some near by eateries. We were advised not to go outside as the situation was really bad.... and although the curfew has been lifted for Christmas and the weekend it's not yet clear what the situation will be like next week.

Yeah I know I have said earlier we should try to be a part of the system and change it and this will make me a hypocrite but I feel as if I'm losing my faith in democracy...Sure India is the world's largest democracy and see where it has brought us.
We have demands for new states cropping up as if they are some candies!!!
these nonsensical demands have already led to the creation of Jharkand, Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal...Every time any state is divided to form another territory based on political pressure, it acts as an incentive for more demands to flood in.

Today if the government agrees to the formation of Telangana, tomorrow we'll have demand for Gorkhaland, or Khalistan or a demand for the division of some other state. To what extent will this go on...till all the states are divided. I must be going crazy or else I wouldn't think that autocracy is at least a bit better in dealing with such crazy ideas. I hope not many people have this same idea or else the world's biggest democracy might just be getting hollow from inside, unseen by anyone. When will the politicians stop using every possible option to get political mileage, and when will we, the citizens, stop them from taking us on a ride by whipping up a frenzy about anything and everything.

India is not just a land mass with 28 states, it is a country and it will continue to be so till the day we remain united...till the day we resist division of states solely on the basis of language.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A view of the past

I would like to dedicate this post to my school history teacher, Joshi ma'm. For many people history can be the worst possible subject, what with all the dates and events to be memorized and written down. Infact whenever I say that it is one of my favorite subject, my friends react by saying what's the use of learning about events which are a part of the past now!!!

But as we all know very well, there's a phrase - 'History repeats itself.'

I was glad that I got Joshi ma'm as my teacher as she taught history in such a practical way that I grew to love it forever.. out of the many things I learnt under her the one incident which affected me the most was the black mark on humanity - The Holocaust. To hear that man can be so cruel to kill others like him just because they are of a different religion and have a separate set of beliefs and practices not only turned me into a lifelong hater of Hitler but also made me look up on various incidents related to the horrible events, the history behind those places which proved to be the hell on earth for many.

This interest of mine merged with another interest of mine i.e movies. I, therefore, try to watch as many movies based on Holocaust as possible.

Out of the many I have seen, three stand out in my mind right now - Schindler's list, The Pianist and The Boy in the striped Pyjamas.

Although based on the same basic story each of these three movies show us a different angle of the people involved in it.

Schindler's List : The story about an opportunistic businessman who sees a chance to run his business without spending too much in the form of wages and thus employs a group of Jews. However his intentions of simply getting rich make a u-turn when he views the senseless murders of innocent people at the hands of the SS officers. A story of a man's change of heart and the extent to which he goes to protect those whom he sees everyday. the pain he feels when he hears about the murder of one of his own worker and the subsequent steps he takes to prevent the repetition of such an incident. He uses every possible method- bribery, threats and psychological manipulation. Steven Speilberg's decision to use black and white rather than colour adds a certain strength and punch to the movie and thus prevents it from passing off as just another war movie. The tense scenes as families desperately try to remain together, the casual way in which the nazi soldiers laugh over the burning bodies of Jews sends a chill down your spine, no matter how many times you see it. A story about humanity, how it always exists.

The Pianist: What an amazing performance by Adrien Brody!! The story of a happy Polish family which is torn apart after the German attack on Poland and the subsequent despair faced by a man left all alone. The movie depicts how the Germans degraded and dishonoured the Polish people, snatched away all their rights, forced them to wear the Star of David, denied them the basic demands of food and forced them to live with their hear bowed down...The scene where Szpilman ( the character played by Brody) is separated from his family by an aquaintance in order to save his life and the subsequent blind and tumbling steps he takes, crying out for his loss, looking around at a ghost town is not only chilling but also heartrending. and forces the viewer to imagine what many jews suffered during the senseless murders. The long days and depressed nights he suffered, the continuous fear of being caught, the desperate measures he took to remain alive can not leave you untouched.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: A movie which starts as an innocent story of a young boy who has to adjust as his parents move to a different place ( something which I'm sure all of us have been through), his anxiety about whether he would be able to make new friends and if so how will they react towards him. As the story progresses we find him coming face to face with the prejudices of the adult world as his elders prevent him from interacting with 'the villagers' who are actually Jewish prisoners. The scene showing his interaction with Pavel who works in his home is a mixture of innocence and a subtle touch about the way trained and well educated Jews were made to work as slaves, forced to forget their true identity. The stress put upon Bruno by his tutor to read 'proper' books shows how sometimes young minds are brainwashed. The most beautiful part of the entire movie is however the friendship which develops between Bruno and Shmuel, a bond pure and devoid of any falsification. Their bond further strengthens with slight hiccups in between. However when Shmuel tells Bruno about his father who's missing from the camp, the latter decides to help search for him. The search ends tragically and the movie ends with a shot of a room full of abandoned clothes implying that the boys were gassed to death. A depiction of how the war affected and destroyed many innocent lives.

Although about the past, these stories hold as much importance today as ever before. The importance of being patient and understanding about the differences in customs and practices and respecting each others rights will never grow old. Today we are faced with another wave of extremism which is based on brainwashing of impressionable minds and are thus witness to several senseless attacks which if unchecked can escalate to horrifying consequences. An eye for an eye will always make the whole world blind.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An angry outburst

Hey guys!! Well I returned from my trip to Mumbai this morning itself... It was a much needed break and left me fully charged up to face another two months of my MBA semester:-)
Although it was my second trip to the finacial and movie hub of India, the city pulled me inside all over again!! From the moment I set my foot out of the bus all I wanted to do was just roam around and get the maximum out of it that I can have within the 4 days long holiday I got.

During my visit there I got to be a part of the Navy day celebrations at The Gateway of India. Joining the huge crowd as all of us gazed up and enjoyed the sight of our brave commandoes slithering down the ropes from the low flying helicopter with The Taj in the backdrop, I was reminded of the horrible scenes of the past year. More than a year has passed by and still no concrete result has come out of the case on the lone surviving militant, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab. News reports ranging from the admission of his involvement in the attack to his subsequent denial and the latest one of the sacking of his lawyer by the court are the only reports available to the public but those who were the victims are still waiting to get justice. each day brings a new twist in this tragic story.

However I am not going to talk about the case here, let's save it for some other day. What I want to talk about is much more serious according to me, and I would love to know how you feel about it. While I stood in front of the Taj, a teenager standing next to me asked his friend, "It's not the anniversary of the attack today. So what are they doing this for?'

It didn't shock me that he didn't know about the Navy day, many people don't know. But what disturbed me was his question. Have we become so complacent and so busy in our lives that it's only on anniversaries that we remember such a black day? I remember many attacks which India has undergone, be it on Parliament, in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and the list goes on. And after every such attack a statement is released to the press - "The spirit of our people will not break by such cowardly attacks and we'll survive such attacks."

The question is how do we realize when this spirit of survival turns into nonchalance? How can we be sure that instead of being strong by remembering such incidents and being more alert and cautious, public would start taking them as an integral part of their lives, only to be to remembered on anniversaries or if it reaches uncomfortably close to their own home? Nobody likes remembering nightmares but these nightmares can only be removed with a conscious and continuous effort by all. Why take a recap of all the happenings and the subsequent progress only on anniversaries? Why shouldn't we try to solve and wrap up the cases quickly and effectively? While Mumbai was under siege, people from all over saluted the brave soldiers and the members of the general public who laid down their lives or went through hell to save others. For me those people are still and will always be the true heroes, but if we want to really respect them we'll have to come out of our cocoons and become much more aware and alert Indians rather than putting all the blame on the security forces or government. Rather than fighting the system from outside, be a part of it and change it from inside.

In the end I would like to say that rather than putting the stamp of a particular day on such acts, lets keep that anger alive in us so that we can send a strong and immediate response to such infiltrators.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My first post

It's a lazy thursday morning with a 9.10 am class. It has become really chilly here in the morning and it takes me all my strenth and self motivational powers to make me leave my warm bed. Sometimes I almost give in to my sleep and decide that one absence wouldn't hurt me that much. My professor is trying to teach but I'm way too much excited about my upcoming trip to Mumbai to focus and moreover it's way too boring. Yeah, i'm going off for the weekend and have planned to do loads of shopping!!
This is my first blog so you'll have to bear with me till I get used to it. I would generally talk about friends, events, relationships and other things. Till the next blog.. bbye.