Friday, 26 September, 2008

In the name of God -Khuda Ke Liye

Till very recently, I was residing and working in the old city part of modern Hyderabad. Burqua clad women, shanties put on the road, the pleasant call to the devoted ones during 'namas' time are part of living experience here. The meat shops exhibit their commodities by hanging them up side down. A minor boy mincing the meat and a pardanashin lady waiting for the minced meat at a distance from the stall is a common site. In the narrow 'gallis' of the old city one will find shops selling anything from calligraphy products to pearls.In these numerous shops surrounding Charminar, one will invariably find a minor boy working for wages in each shop. Thus goes the standard of living despite the hundreds and thousands of secularists working day in and day out for minority welfare.
I had a case where one of the employee's widow came for claiming pension benefits. The man died was 63 years old, got married for the second time just a year back and died before informing the department formally. The age of the widow is 23. The eldest daughter of the deceased is 26 years old. This lady had nothing , and was married to the said man on the hopes of getting life long pension. I was pained to send her back to obtain legal heir certificate as she had 9 other contenders who are sons and daughters of the dead man.
It was around this time that Taslima Nasrin was attacked in Hyderabad. Our great saviours of liberty(read CPI[AtoZ]) had as usual gone in to hibernation. I first read Taslima in 1999. She didn't impress me through her writing. But the plot and characters had free spirit, I thought. 'Lajja' and 'French Lover' are the imaginary versions of 'My forbidden face'. Though she is not a great writer , she is not a criminal either to be deported at the middle of the night. Shame on all of us who speak of freedom of thought and speech. The point to note here is , her invitees included men from the same community as the men who attacked her. But they were made helpless .These two incidents made me to think about the way religions treat women, particularly Islam.
I had another visitor recently, who had come for a problem related to a magazine. From the very first word, he was trying to convince that his magazine does not support terrorism in the name of Islam. I was convinced then, that every religion today is hijacked by a minority number of people within the religion, who pose that they are the only authority to decide the course the religion should take. The struggle is more for Islam as the issue has gained irreversible international connotation.In this context , a movie which I saw recently made me remember all the above said incidents. I share here my experience with the movie and I strongly recommend the movie.
This is a Pakistani movie titled 'Kudha ke liye' directed by Shoaib Mansoor.The story is about a liberal Pakistani upper middle class family.The family has a liking for music and the two sons of the family are good singers. The elder one,Mansoor, goes to America to learn music. The younger one, Sarmad gets preached by Maulana Tahiri and slowly becomes a radical. The Moulana says that singing is 'haram'and there is no remedy in Koran for that sin. Sarmad also marries his cousin Mariam deceitfully. Mariam is the daughter of Sarmad's uncle, a Pakistani Muslim and her mother is an European christian. Her marriage is a kind of 'honour' marriage. Mariam is held against her will in Waziristan , one of the most backward areas in the world. Meanwhile , 9/11 comes to US and racial profiling starts in the US in a big way. Mansoor becomes a victim of this profiling.This is the story of Mariam and Mansoor happening in two different continents ,each representing the radical and liberal points of view of Islam at the same time. The movie also underlines the 'famous' American ignorance about the rest of the world with sarcasm.
First thing that gets your attention is the music of the movie. Its a fine blend of modern and classical forms of music. Simple but soul stirring. Next is the screenplay.The scenes are so intricately woven that the great irony it tries to depict unfolds without any struggle. The selection of artists is very good and every one has done his or her part convincingly. Rasheed Naz who plays the radical Maulana Tahiri and Shaan who plays Mansoor have done a good job.This is a movie which beautifully narrates the cross road at which Islam is with world civilisation and its struggle from within and without. The voice of a devout but liberal Muslim struggles to be heard by the rest of the world through the frenzy calling of 'Takbir' 'Allaho Akbar'. This is symbolically told in the court scene.The best acting comes from Naseeruddin Shah who plays the role of Maulana Wali. His dialogue delivery with calculated pause is the ultimate entertainment. He says, 'Deen me daadhi hai, daadhi me deen nahi'( beard is in religion and religion is not in beard).His dialogue delivery in chaste Urdhu is a treat. Having back ground knowledge will be an added advantage to understand and enjoy subtle messages. The last scene is a fine poetry where the entire intention of the film is summarisedartistically.
This movie got rave reviews and said to have changed the course of Pakistani cinema. But it has also managed a fatwa issued against it in Pakistan. The director reportedly went on a holiday with family fearing harm to him and his family. Lot of bitterness is spilt all over the Internet about this movie.So its up to the beholder to see .There is much more to the movie than what I've told.There is much more to the questions that the movie raises than the movie itself.
Unfortunately, the movie, the first Pakistani movie to be released in India, despite good reviews, was not released in good theatres. This movie is the voice of a common man/woman who is caught in the conundrum of interpretation of religion and its subsequent cross firing. Its the common man whose family is split, whose rights are curtailed , whose privacy is infringed. Finally he is made to give his life for something which he doesn't really agree upon. Where will it take him ? To 'A Wednesday'?

Tuesday, 23 September, 2008

Rajmohan's tribute

I was compelled to submit a book review during my probationary days. I was bent upon impressing my Course Director. The frail old man was an epitome of knowledge. His Alzheimer's disease did not deter his will to guide us all. This student of Dr.Manmohan Singh was a good guide.However on reading the book I was too impressed by the personality I was reading about.
With due irreverance to the controversies that surround the towering personalities of yesteryears, I would like to go ahead and glorify them.Even to say a word against them , we need certain standard and moral authority.These are the ,who gave their time, money and repute. Looking back and attributing reasons is easier. So go ahead if you agreed with me on this point.
The book I'm talking about is 'Rajaji-A Life' , by Rajmohan Gandhi. Not withstanding the title , it is essentially a narration of history itself from 1890's to early 1970's with the focal point remaining on Rajaji's life.The entire political trend as captured in the book can be divided into two parts with August 15, 1947 playing the role of master divide. Pre-independent India witnessed the petitioners becoming statesmen under the parental hegemony of Gandhiji. Rajaji belongs to this school. Post -independence, this statesmanship degraded into partisan politics.Rajaji foresaw this in 1922 and said,'Elections and their corruption, injustice ,and the power and tyranny of wealth and inefficiency of administration will make a hell of life as soon as freedom is given to us.Men will look regretfully back to the old regime of comparative justice, and efficient , peaceful, more or less honest administration'. I don't have to insist the amount of truth in this statement.
His relation with Gandhiji was unique. Gandhiji found his "conscience keeper" in Rajaji and in 1922 declared 'Rajaji is my only successor'. The latter claimed that he 'loved Gandhiji more than any man on earth can do to another'.Yet their undaunted twenty eight year old personal relationship saw them in opposite sides. In 1937, Rajaji, as the Premier of Madras Presidency, ordered the arrests of few Satyagrahis. When the national leaders opposed it , he would write to his political Master that it was 'to prevent the illegitimate claims and misuse of Satyagraha'. For him logic always prevailed over loyalty.
The irony of Indian independence is that it was fought bloodlessly but realised amidst streams of blood.One reason may be that ,Rajaji, the political seer, had no takers when he proposed Congress-League pact. Indeed he was shunted to political peripheries. When the realisation finally occurred on those who opposed him , the damage had already been done.His opposition to 1942 movement and Pakistan proposal were against the popular tide and made him politically unpopular.Had he compromised his conscience and remained in the main stream, he would have gained great political miles.At one point of time he had no equivalents in politics.
Rajaji was a political prophet.He along with Mountbatten, foresaw the break up of Pakistan in 25 years time. It happened exactly in the 25th year.Mountbatten made this prediction public when it actually happened. He was a great administrator too. AS the Chairman of Salem municipality , he proposed a 'Master Plan 'for the town , way back in 1917.As the Premier of Madras Presidency, he introduced the concept of sales tax, for the first time in Asia, to make good the falling government revenue due to prohibition.This was widely acclaimed by the economist of that time.He was prophetic when he said,'license , quota and permit raj will lead to corruption and stagnation'. The nation had to wait for 30 year to understand the truth.
Those were the days when state assemblies were places where Ladies and Gentlemen used to gather and discuss issues of national importance with utmost etiquette and ethics. When the Speaker , the rest would stop taking. If the prominent leaders left the house, they would seek the permission of the Chair. Do not blame me, if your mind involuntarily compared this with the scene of Mr. Somnath Chatterji holding his forehead and shouting at an 'Honourable' member for gesticulating towards the Chair.
Back to the topic, Rajaji's eloquence ,sharp oratory skills and quick wits added life to the legislative debates. The author quotes one such incident. 'It's evident from C.R.s reaction to a demand to know what C.R. had written to Nehru about the formation of a new Andhra state.
C.R.: It is a confidential letter
Viswanatham: Under what provision of law it is treated as confidential?
C.R.: These are letters from one gentleman to another and gentle men's correspondence is always private.'
The respect he claimed along with his negotiation skills gave him the additional role of a crisis manager. Be it bringing Gandhiji's fast to an end by negotiating between him and Ambedkar or holding congress together by acting as a buffer between Nehru and Patel, he came out as a successful negotiator.
His deep involvement in Indian politics never prevented him from having a vision for the world. He was the spokesperson of the delegation which met US President Kennedy on the issue of nuclear disarmament. As Kennedy would later tell 'it had a civilising quality about it'. In acceptance of his greatness White House issued an official communique, a gesture normally restricted to a visit by a Head of the state.
While trying to bring out the positive aspects of this great mans life, the author does not hesitate 5o remind us about his shortcomings. One such occasion is the enactment of Preventive Detention Act 1951 which C.R. supported. As we tend to forget, the author reminds us about how he opposed Rowlett Act and any arrest without trial saying, 'even if the government is democratic and purely Indian". The author has given great attention to minute details. One such instant is his mentioning about the Gandhian tradition of not involving in satyagraha during Christmas. After reading this one feels that 'satyagraha weapon' was more opponent friendly than it was to the user.
This nation is known not only for sacredness but also for sacrileges. In this era of petty politics, the society finds it convenient to forget the values for which these men lived. They had conflicting political stands and ideological differences. Still the humanness was ever vibrant. They had high ideologies to live with. May be this preoccupation saved them from demeaning acts. Non existence of any such ideology in the contemporary politics is well exhibited by the political foul plays staged day in and day out in national and state politics.
With its usual vigor to forget the past, this nation has once again rejected Rajaji his due. His 125th birth anniversary on 10.12.03, which by any conscious society would have been used as an occasion to remind its youth about the value of freedom, went unnoticed. But the final victory is again C. Rajagopalchari's, for this political clairvoyant had already predicted, 'in 25 years time people will be asking, Who was Rajagopalachari?'

தலைப்பிட மறந்தது

துளித்துளியாய் வளர்ந்த தேனடை வசந்தத்தை ஆயிரம் கூட்டு கண்கள் கொண்ட பார்வையின் தேடல் தரிசனம் அது சுவைக்க மட்டுமே உனக்கு தரப்பட்டது செவ்வி அறிய தலைப்பட்டிருக்கலாம் . ஏனோ உனக்கது வசப்படுவதில்லை வெயில் வளர்த்த பாலையின் வெட்ட வெளியில் கொட்டிப்பார்த்தாய் உனக்கது சோதனை முயற்சி தகிப்பதோ என் அந்தரங்கம் .

Saturday, 20 September, 2008

தடம் இல்லா வழி

ஓடிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் கோதாவரி அதன் மீது இருள் அடர்ந்து கிடக்கும் இரவு வண்டல் இறைக்க வழியில்லாமல் கரைகளுக்குள் அடைபட்டுப்போன கைதி நதி ஆற்றுக்குள் சிறைபட்டுப்போன ஓடங்கள் இக்கரைக்கும் அக்கரைக்குமாக வாழ்வை, குதூகலத்தை , புலம்பல்களை என கரைசேர்ப்பதிலேயே அமிழ்ந்து போகும் அவற்றின் வாழ்க்கை கணந்தோறும் புதுப்பித்துக்கொள்ளும் ஒரு நதி கரை சேர்க்கும் ஒரு ஓடம் தடம் இல்லா வழி என்றாலும் ஆதிமனித ஒர்மயிலிருந்து இன்றுவரை மாறாத தொடர் பயணங்கள் .

Thursday, 11 September, 2008

சுய நோவு

எங்கோ நுணுக்கமான மூலையில் முளை விட்டு , ராப்பகல், அந்தி, இருள் எல்லாவற்றிலும் கூடவேவந்து, உத்தேசமாய் ஒரு நோவாக உருவெடுத்து , தன்னிலை இழந்து உணர்வெல்லாம் ஓரிடம் பாய சஞ்சலமும், நம்பிக்கையும் ஒரே சமயத்தில் வதைத்தாலும் மனம் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் அதையே மோகிக்கும். என்றாலும் அத்தனை அவஸ்தையையும் ஒரு கணத்தில் பேரின்பம் ஆக்கிக் காட்டும் அந்த மூன்றெழுத்து. வெற்றி !!!

Tuesday, 9 September, 2008

உருமாற்றம்

பேசப் பொருள் இல்லாத

இடைவெளியில் நீ என்னை விட்டுச் சென்றாய் .

எப்போதும் அலையும் என் மனதில்

பாடு பொருளுக்குக் குறைவில்லை .

உனக்காக கோர்த்த வார்த்தைகள்

உன் ஒரு வார்த்தை வேண்டி காத்திருந்தன,

என்னுள்ளே அமிழ்ந்தும்

என்னைப் புறந்தள்ள நினைத்தும் .

நம் இடைவெளிகள் வடிவமைத்தன

என் வார்த்தைகளை .

அவற்றில் இப்போது நீ இல்லை.

உனக்கான காத்திருப்பும் இல்லை.

உருமாறிவிட்ட உன் வெளியை

உனக்கென தந்தபடி

வேறுதிசை நோக்கி எனது பிரவாகம்.

அதில் மிதந்து செல்லும்

சொல்லாமல் விட்ட சில கோடி வார்த்தைகள்

அவை அழிவதற்காய் தோன்றியவை.

Sunday, 7 September, 2008

நெடுங்கதை

அழுத பிள்ளையை எடுக்காத மாமியார் , சொத்து தகராறில் கணவனை சிலாந்தி மரத்துக்கு உரம் வைப்பேன் என்ற கொழுந்தன் சொந்த நகையில் சீர்செய்து அனுப்பியும் கணவன் சாவுக்கு வராத நாத்தனார் வளர்த்த நன்றி மறந்து மகனுக்குப் பெண் தராத உடன்பிறந்தான் வடித்த சோற்றில் பங்கு தராத மருமகள் அதைக் கண்டுகொள்ளாத மகன் எத்தனை முறை சொன்னாலும் முடியாத நெடுங்கதை. காலம் காலமாய் தலைமுறைகள் தோறும் மனதுக்குள் அறுத்துக் கொண்டிருக்கும் பெருங்காயம் . இம்முறை ஆச்சியால் எனக்கு சொல்லப்பட்டது . ஒரு பாணனின் கரிசனத்தோடு காற்று அதை எடுத்துச் செல்கிறது அடுத்த தலைமுறையின் நினைவுகளில் கலந்துவிட ...

பதிவுகள்

ஒற்றை செருப்பானாலும் எறிந்துவிட முடியவில்லை . அதில் இருப்பவை என் பதிவுகள்.

The Deal

Yesterday, the man who's criticised as a weak PM had the final laugh. He had to sell it to every one, starting from his party high command to the snobby left. The soft spoken and suave PM was compelled to learn politics. And now, true to his academic back ground, he has graduated in it with excellent grades.So first of all, good show Mr.PM. Now coming to the deal itself, as Mr.Brijesh Misra said, this ends India's isolation in Nuclear Commerce. France and Russia are more than willing to take the first mover advantage. If some one really wondered why US had to go that extra mile in persuading nations to the waiver, there is no single answer. The most obvious being the market. It opens a $100 billion industry. Not a small one baby... Looking ahead I see a lot of challenges.Building reactors, buying technology ....all this is going to require a lot of money. How India is going to manage this finance will actually decide it's economic independence. This may take us to a point of no return where the local industrial growth gets deeply entangled with the foreign policy. India should develop alternate energy sources to reduce her dependence on one source. There is no provision for storing the fuel material.It's product in and product out. In case of dispute even the technology is returnable.As India cannot give away its testing option, it should formulate a plan that could be used in contingency ,which may arise at any time. Domestic development of technology should be given a fillip to mitigate the threats of withdrawal. This is a deal which has to be handled properly to reduce chances of making it a self -made trap.

Wednesday, 3 September, 2008

Gundya -Yedukumari Trek

My experience on day -2 of the trek from Gunya to Yedukumari Day 2 : The day started with my alarm wriggling my brain out early at five `o clock in the morning. You know, it's such a pain to come out of quilt at this part of the day especially when it's freezing cold out side. Finally I managed to be up and steady by 5.30. After a quick BF of bread and omelette we started the journey. We were accompanied by a forest guard and a local villager who were our guides. As we passed the river that we were enjoying the previous day inthe moonlight, a chill went down the spine. The river was full and we couldn't locate the rock that we were sitting on.We thanked in heart, the man, who, at the peak of his voice warned us about the water released from the upper dam.The guide told us to hurry as they'll release water in Kumaradhara river also every morning .This is the river that we have to cross to reach the mountain. Once it's flooded, all our plans will be in a major soup. Crossing this river was thrilling and -Thank God 1. Once on the other side of the river the first thing that got our attention was the stench of the elephant excreta. Meaning elephants had been there the previous night and may be still around if you're running a 7 and a 1/2. The bamboo vegetation in the surrounding was yet another testimony. This stretch of forest has all kinds of animals except the lion. Geographically this is an extension of Nagarhole wild life sanctuary. The forest guard was meant for locating these animals at a distance and to signal to us. No need totell that his hushing gesture was a major tamarind solution. So you can take this as Thank God2. Once on top, all the comrades felt the hunger calling. Meanwhile one of us was busy verifying the time at which the goods train left SubramanyaRd. As the Train had left the station 1hr15 mnts back and thedistance in between is just 25-30kms, we decided to start the track walk. The immediate one was a ½ Km tunnel. Then the railway ears amongst us told that they heard the sound of an approaching train.That fool of a driver was not blowing horn until he entered the tunnel on the other side. So we escaped a sorry crashing death by½ km. Thank God 3. This was just a harbinger of what was awaiting us further. So we stopped thanking god (4) and left our destiny to the almighty.I'm not going to tell about the bridges that we crossed for I think words will be insufficient to explain even the slightest of the feeling of that time. I'll just say that what you see in the photos is the different angles of the, first and the safest bridge that we crossed. After that everybody was busy crossing the bridges and tunnels that no photos were taken:)). I could hear some one telling "tunnel vitta bridge, bridge vitta tunnel-nu suthi suthiadikkiraangada…"
One moral of the trip was that every one was living at the present.There was no time to think about the hour next. What management books cannot do in years, this trek did in no time.Purposely I made it long. Great that you made it, to the last.