The Battle For Delhi

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arvind-kejriwal

[A version of this published in Huffington Post India]

There are no knockouts in Indian politics.  No matter how hard you have been hit, you can always bounce straight off the ropes and back into the ring.

Take the Aam Aadmi Party. It seems just yesterday that they were wiping their brains off the sidewalk after being hit by the Modi Express, and yet here they are, back for the Delhi elections, swinging hard and strong.

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The Voice of God And His Silences

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Originally appeared in SwarajyaMag

There was a time, around a few thousand years ago, that God would talk to us.

A lot.

Sometimes He would say something from behind a burning bush. Sometimes He would appear in a dream. Sometimes He would give us his words in the field of battle and sometimes He would just send his son down to the earth.

Then, for some reason, God became silent, round about the time Man started this whole “science” thing.

Now once again, after years, he has spoken, this time through a new prophet.

Not surprisingly, the chosen one happens to be a Bengali by the name of Boria Majumdar.

I apologize for the blasphemy I am going to commit right now. But I have to say it. Prophet Boria’s prose is, for the want of a less obvious word, boring. Not to sully the purity of His words, but one wishes that He had chosen a more accomplished spinner of sentences, someone like Rahul Bhattacharya for instance, who would have been less liberal with passages that sound like paraphrasing of score-cards.

But perhaps I am wrong. God knows best.

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Deconstructing Pictures Posted on Social Media Part 1

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Anushtup loved pictures. For him, they were a soft lens into the past, smoothing down the bumps and the ridges, freezing time down to happy faces and nice places. Memories, he always told himself, were different, they carried the bad as well as the good, though mostly the bad. But pictures, no one ever took pictures of themselves fighting or weeping or throwing stuff or lying down in the dark, looking out through the window. They just didn’t.

Yatrik (my forthcoming book, releasing September 2014)

As myriad Facebook albums  swim through my NewsFeed, sometimes I just want to wade in and say, ” I get it. Your life is perfect”.

For that is why we share pictures don’t we? I mean really? To project an idealization of our life.

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Time Persons Of The Year

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I had come to know recently that Arvind Kejriwal recently won an online poll on the official website of Time magazine as the man who most positively influenced the world the last year. Needless to say, I was stunned by the verdict because while I know Kejriwal is awesome, I had no idea that his 49 days of government  had such a great impact on the world at large. (Modi came second). Of course the possibility of manipulation of an online poll, as scientifically well-set up as the one of Time, by fanboys of both Kejriwal and Modi, never occurred to me. And definitely any kind of dishonest manipulation by the supporters of a party that is all about revolutionary honesty seemed to be most impossible.

Anyways, today I came to know, that Kejriwal has won the Time Person of the Year, apparently the second Indian after Mahatma Gandhi to win it. (Original screenshot on the page of a local chapter of AAP, subsequently removed but at time of writing, is given above. This post to the FB page of a local chapter of AAP still has the post at the time of writing. Have taken a screenshot) This was of course beyond awesome, since he would be the only man in history to have won the Person of the Year, only 4 months into the year. Which means Time’s editors have realized that his performance  in 49 days of government was so awe-inspiring that nothing anyone might do in the next 8 months could ever match up to him. After all, who understand time better than Time. As a matter of fact, I believe the exact words used by the editor of Time while evaluating Kejriwal’s portfolio was “Kraantikaari, Bahoot hi Kraantikaari”.

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Deconstructing Kejriwal Part 3

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[Deconstructing Kejriwal Part 2]

In the last post, we left the discussion on Kejriwal at a very tantalizing point. [Picture courtesy Hindustan Times]

Even if we can discount Kejriwal’s comically overplayed honesty card, and his  “sab bike hua hai to Ambani and Adnani” (the more Youngistan-friendly  version of “You Maoists”) persecution narrative, and much of his camera-bait antics, can we still consider Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party to be a viable national alternative, at least conceptually (conceptually since they are not likely to get more than 5 to 7 seats), given that they have never presided over deadly riots nor have they been accused of stealing hundreds of crores nor of mismanaging the country for decades?

In other words, are they provably better than those they claim to oppose?

On the subject of corruption, it is very difficult to say what AAP would have done since Kejriwal and his men have never held power. It’s like a man who has never married claiming that he has taken a stance against dowry. The stance will only be validated if he gets married and then does not take money and never again asks for it.

Well okay. Kejriwal and his men did hold power. For, some 49 days.

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