India—The Farce

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Cast of Characters for the Farce That Is Currently Going On:

1. Baba Ramdev:  Babas are great. Baba Sehgal. Baba Zarda. And of course billionaire monk, one man brand, the ever reticent Baba Ramdev. How can one not consider with utmost seriousness a sage who can cure homosexuality, flatulence, cancer and AIDS, through the simple device of strategically rhythmic inhaling and exhaling? How can one not be in awe of his mature Alice in Wonderland Red Queen’s “Off with their heads” solution to the country’s endemic problems (He advocates death penalty to the corrupt)? How can one not be blown away by the sagacity of his solutions—like how he advocates doing away with Income Tax  and replacing it with a mere 1-2% transaction tax (yes that’s what he says—take that Tea Party, take that Fair Tax and take that Michele Bachman )? How can one not admire how he has used his Yoga platform to leapfrog onto the political stage? How can one not appreciate his steadfast resolve to bring back all the black money, stowed in cash havens abroad. It’s a simple thing really, just make all the banks in Switzerland, Lichenstein and Monaco watch Aastha channel and they will hand over their lists while doing anulom and veelom. I mean the Americans and Germans can get the banks to bend to their will…why cannot India, an equally powerful nation in the firmament of nations.

What I love most about Baba is his simplicity. Simple saffron vastram. Simple chartered plane. Simple solutions. Breathe in. Kill the corrupt. Bring their wealth back. Abolish income tax. Gays are sick people.  Breathe out. Repeat five times. And then the other nostril.

2. Anna Hazare: If Baba is the IPL of fasting, Anna is the ICL. Anna it was who re-invented “I wont eat till you listen to me” technique in the 24/7 media age, bringing to prominence once again the favorite blackmail method of choice of wives and Gandhians through the ages. But then he expressed his admiration for Modi and then hurriedly retracted his statement, in the process pushing away both the Left as well as the Right. Not a good plan if you want to be the messiah of the middle-class. Baba though played his cards well aligning himself solidly with the Right (the color of his cloak helped) and is now faster than Anna, who has been reduced to bowling slow leg-cutters (me-too fasts), like Venkatesh Prasad, to keep his relevance in the fast-changing fast scenario.

3. Civil society: Did you get a Magsaysay Award? Can you stand on your head? Do you think that the people are wrong and YOU are right?  Well then you are a member of “civil society”.  Confused? Well I am just getting started. Right now in India there are two civil societies—-one fighting the government (the Hazares, the Babas, the Bedis and the Saffron Maoist Swami) and the other, the Salwa Judum of civil societies, pushing forward the  Congress’s minority-vote grubbing agenda. Yes I am talking about the National Advisory Council, a super-government Illuminati-type organization, free of constitutional oversight and blessed by Sonia Gandhi, that is in charge of drafting laws that will help the Congress win elections.  Manned, womanned and conmanned by Congress stool-pigeons it uses blatantly biased, divisive figures like  Ram Puniyani (who opposes the hanging of Afzal Guru),  Teesta Setalvad (no introduction needed), John Dayal (rabidly anti-Hindu columnist at Dalitstan) and Shabnam Hashmi (hoo boy I once heard her speak in Stonybrook and she was as balanced as Keshto Mukherjee after a visit to the darookhana) to draft “laws” on communal violence,  leading to things like the execrable Communal Violence Bill which, by creating an asymmetric system of justice, criminalizes belonging to the majority  to an extent that is quite unprecedented even in India.

4. Digvijay Singh: Imagine for a second, Obama’s chief adviser and spokesman-in-chief being chief guest at a release event of a book whose premise is that the Tea Party orchestrated 9/11. Imagine the same man referring to Osama as Osama-sir. Imagine again, if you please, the same man being caught on tape stomping on the head of an unarmed protester. Now ask yourself this question. Would Obama have this man as his advisor and if he did would he win a primary among the most Democratic of Democratic Party voters?

Now replace Obama with Sonia Gandhi. Replace Tea Party with RSS, Ji with Sir and you have Digvijay Singh, the man who speaks to dead people. And you know what the biggest shame in all this is? Not Diggy-baby—-he at least provides some cheap entertainment Navjyot Sidhu style. The real shame are the people who vote to power the people who keep this man as their spokesman. Yes. I mean people like us.

5. UPA government: I am drunk at a bar. Two men come, offering me a ride home. One has a patch across his eye, a hypodermic syringe in hand, a bucket with ice-cubes in which float a few throbbing kidneys. The other is a member of the UPA government. I would take my chances with the more trustworthy of the two— the organ trafficker. That the UPA government would steal even the gold fillings from a dead man is something we knew for long—rarely in independent India has there been a ruling entity this blatantly and proudly corrupt. What we now see, more and more, are disturbing authoritarian tendencies like their Internet Control Rules which would bring down the law for something as mild as using a  “disparaging” remark against someone on the government’s Must-Not-Be-Scoffed-List, a list that starts with the letter G. What we saw with respect to their handling of the Baba Ramdev situation was a deadly concoction of arrogance, stupidity and pure Keystone Copsian bungling. First the government rushes in to placate the Baba and then in a scene straight out of Rang De Basanti sends in the might of the state on a peaceful assemblage, in the process putting a halo of victimhood on the Baba, which unless they did it to force Anna out of the public eye, made absolutely no sense.

6. BJP: You wonder why the UPA government has persisted for two terms. You wonder why the substantial Right wing, most of them on the Net, have adopted the Baba as the great saffron hope. Take a look at the BJP and understand why. If there was not drama enough, we were witness to the spectacle of Sushma Swaraj of the Beeboing Jive Party break into lyrical hip-hop, adding the appropriate level of gravitas to India’s Tahrir Square (now virtually any protest is a Tahrir Square).

6. Manmohan Singh: Stage prop. Sock puppet. Take your pick.

7. Sonia Gandhi: The prompter. The ventriloquist. Take your pick.

8. Rahul Gandhi: Absent. Unless it is a stage-managed Congress event with a sure outcome of success or a dinner soiree with an American diplomat where he will try his best to convince the Americans that Hindus terrorists are a greater threat to the world than Islamic, the Prince is never to be seen. Not to worry of course. The people of this country will still elect him the Prime Minister once his time comes.

And the farce will only get more farcical.

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151 thoughts on “India—The Farce

  1. brilliant sir…the apathy of being a common man of a nation called India…and you end it very correctly..we will again elect rahul baba and wake up to the reality that our even our chaddees have been looted..

  2. I won’t put Anna Hazare in the same bracket as others. I don’t understand why you are so harsh on him. whatever…

    But I do think that with an opposition like BJP, maybe its in our fate to be a silent spectator to Congress activities culminating with Rahul Baba becoming the Prime Minister…That’s the saddest part.

  3. Nice Read, I am hoping to see some real Anna/Baba supporters bashing you on this post, ohh wait I bet there will be some youth here too supporting Rahul Gandhi – The youth icon.

  4. At the Rajghat Fast, the speech by Arvind Kejriwal was so openly ridiculing the system that one wondered what these guys really want is an end to democracy. Perhaps they want to be the Philosopher Kings of Plato’s Republic. All our morality-laden reformers would end up proving the adage abt the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

  5. The farce will get only more farcical.

    But you omitted the victims and that’s the problem! The Paraplegic Rajbala[s] getting their spinal cords broken and skulls cracked in the process.

    This yet another nonchalant commentary of 24/7 slapstick show without a single word of sympathy for common men does not add any value or perspective, really.

    Is the situation bad beyond analysis or is it less interesting than IPL?

  6. Funny, but why are you criticizing everyone.. The positive outcome of Anna episode is it shows that people have shown solidarity when the cause is reasonable and atleast taken a few steps forward. The positive outcome of Ramdev episode is the lesson that same old hat-trick cannot work everytime…

  7. @eswami : The situation is that bad. Honestly.
    @Amit : It is not criticizing everyone, it is being unbiased.

    @Arnab Da : Anna is the ICL was a good start to my day…but Diggy needed more scorn. Hate the man…but thanks for blogging again…

  8. i studied astrological chart of anna and can sense he isn’t same as others. ramdev is a joker.and so is bjp and gadkari.
    i wish somebody could send all these to concentration camps or clown colleges.
    what a shame my country has become.
    i bleed for my country.

  9. @ Amit – “The positive outcome of Anna episode is it shows that people have shown solidarity when the cause is reasonable and atleast taken a few steps forward.” Like what positive outcome? Delhi college students doing street plays with Anna Hazare fasting by the side is the positive outcome? Or are you referring to the numerous debates on news channels? This is all just frenzy. If because of his fast, people have stopped travelling ticket-less and paying taxes honestly and not bribing colleges to get admissions, then yes it has made a change. What use is solidarity?

    Arnab,
    The Left nostril, right nostril line is hilarious. You have this superb talent of mixing humour (sarcastic/satirical) with poignancy. So its like you’re laughing at the state of affairs but also feel sad as we are part of this farce. Brilliant!

  10. @Amit

    I have a succinct answer for you… I request you to please do these few steps on your web browser :

    1) Go to the “Google Translate” website
    2) Choose ‘From Hindi’ and ‘To English’ options.
    3) Type these exact words using your English language keyboard: ” Bakwaas Band Karein ”
    4) Press the “Translate” button.
    5) Read the translation. I mean it. Read it.
    6) If you are indeed blind (read: apathetic to corruption), turn up your speakers’ volume and keep pressing the “Listen” button over and over again.
    7) I hope you get the message. 😉

  11. Well written!

    Unfortunately, the joke’s on us.

    In the midst of this farce, one hopes it atleast wakes people up to the dangerous and potentially destructive politics being played by the Congress and Diggy. That to me is a far bigger threat than what show Anna, Baba, Sushma or anyone else can put up

  12. awesome post. agree with everything..except on Rahul Baba. Doubt if he becomes PM. If he does, I think I’ll give up my Indian citizenship…

  13. @ bengal voice

    I agree with Amit.Anna did something different,at least dared to.Inspired by Gandhi’s non-violent inspired by recent success of jessica…
    The problem is government is neck-deep in dirty politics,they believe in mudslinging,personal interest comes before nation,and these fu*Kers can turn things coz they are in power.
    As long as people back the one whose aim remains fighting against corruption its fine.Government felt threatened enough to act against Ramdev ,though he be a purist pig using this to gain limelight.
    yOU know,people of India are not fools,they will discard ramdev like a fly out of milk.it’s the cause and the bill that will stay to give our kids a better future.

  14. Anna is indeed different.He is not making a political debut.
    Sadly,youth of our country is inexperienced as far as politics is concerned and Rahul baba we do not trust.
    who to trust? let Anna be backed.

  15. Scott Adams had said (via ‘Dilbert’) that “People are gullible morons”. Bang on. While the “youth icon” of this country remains absent on all the important issues; janta still goes mad about him. Truth is that most of us (youth) have pea-sized brains (the kind we see on Bindass, channel V shows). What to expect of people who took part in the “fashionable” Anna Hazare campaign w.o even knowing what lokpal bill is.

    These people will undoubtedly vote for congress if the “youth icon” is projected as PM in 2014.

    Long live India. Long live the farce.

    Real issues are dead. Long live the real issues.

  16. I have observed the people who are on the Lokpal bill drafting committee and who support Anna Hazare. And I admire most of them.
    1. Prashant Bhushan – Took on the CVC case against govt, won the case and embarrassed the govt. He is fighting the govt in the 2G case as well.
    2. Sathosh Hegde: He seems to me one of the most unbiased people today. He is not afraid to criticize the UPA govt, and at the same time, has taken action against the Karnataka State govt ministers. He will shortly submit a report which will expose the Reddys and also some central ministers.
    3. Kiran Bedi: She once towed Indira Gandhi’s car because it was parked in a no-parking space.
    4. Anna Hazare: He has his imperfections. But, this person has felled State govts(Maharashtra) in the past through his movements.

    A post I had written as to why Anna Hazare’s fast is exactly what we require.(Using some computer science analogy)

    http://raks-thinking-aloud.blogspot.com/2011/04/grammar-of-anarchy-in-land-of-democracy.html

  17. I do not feel sorry for myself because if somebody is to be blamed its me… The average common man for electing these clowns and let them run our country … But then what choice do we have ?? Either we choose Mamata or we choose Buddha … Either way we are screwed … Modi and Nitish seems to be a better bet than others and they both represent BJP … But then when we see Karnataka and its decline and the likes of Sushma dancing away because “Party abhi baaki hai” I laugh at my own predicament …

  18. wonder if the post was written in haste or needs a sequel.

    Do u know Anna has been a successful person in social work …developed model village…fought against unjustice whole life. So calling vague comments on him without acknowledging his contribution is unfair.

    First person in the list should have been Diggy.

    Swami Ramdev-
    Given the way UPA is looting anyone may decide to hop into politics. so cant blame baba. And most people in india hates homos (…imagine ur parents would have reacted if you told that u were gay ?!)
    Baba went in a chartered plane to delhi…so what does that prove ?! actually that scared congress !

    Do u watch the astha channels where seemingly genuine patients come and tell their case with medical reports. It may be palcebo/belief/unindentified cure in ayurveda which helped them recover from their problem. Modern medical science has borrowed so many things from ayurveda. Remember Susruta ? Ayurveda is not homeopathy (favorite among bongs) and it needs more research to help in many diseases.

    Gandhi family
    Gandhi family is bigger culprit and danger than diggy ..and so little abt them. And u need to see how madly diggy raja laughed with barkha dutt interview…it was so sick.

    Rather than asking credentials of people you should at least praise their lonely voice against corruption. Its ramdev magic that created so much noise abt corruption. The pigeon headed masses who are ever sleeping woke for the first time againt a real pressing issue.

    Do u think there is anyone 100% honest ….we all know ramdev is a very smart business man but has he done anything illegal so far ? he even carries the muslim/sikh/jain representatives with him to show his secular credentials! anyone is better than the current UPA govt.

  19. I can’t believe that a nation which allows its discourse to be dominated by Annas, Babas, scumbags like Digvijay Singh, talentless but sly opportunists like Rahul Gandhi and numbskulls like Sushma can ever hope to be a Superpower. All that takes place is mudslinging countered with some more mudslinging, wild accusations, waxing eloquent by people, all of whom have their own agendas and interests and each one of them does his/her bit to take India back a few more miles. The US also had corruption in the early 1900s but they didn’t waste their time arguing and blowing hot air. They amended from within, introduced reforms which changed the system over a period of time (but we will do it within 15th Aug according to Anna Ji).

    I hate to say this but I don’t think there is anyone else in India other than Narendra Modi who can identify the problems, come crushing down with an iron fist and innovate solutions which would be beneficial in the long run. The remedy lies in introducing more free market reforms, reduce Red tape cutting down Govt interference to size since the real problem is too much Govt. And those are exactly what he did in Gujarat and those are hated by our smart “civil society”. But all our brilliant media makes of him is that he’s a “mass murderer, deeply communal and dangerous to our country’s secular fabric”. A Digvijay Singh is as dangerous to our country’s secular fabric as a Togadia but don’t see anyone being firm on Singh. All the media channels even blocked out the footage of him kicking Sunil Kumar. The country is going virtually nowhere on Per capita GDP growth, development, urbanisation and one shudders to think of national security under Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh if Cong wins 2014. I can’t believe that a man like Digvijay can be the next Home Minister with so much communal baiting (he’s already screaming “hindu fanatics” at MF Hussain’s death). Imagine a guy screaming “White Christian terrorism” repeatedly, trying to become US Secy of State. It’d demolish him and his party forever. But in this wondrous land….

    India seriously needs a Narendra Modi to take charge. And being a typical Bengali, I’m by no means a supporter of Hindutva. But since independence we haven’t had a Leader with such erudite views on Economy, trade, development, nation building and national security. But I doubt if it’d happen.

  20. Any genuine people’s movement has a high possibility of being taken over by nuts and end up becoming a farce. History is full of such examples.

    The so called civil society should have been more careful about the kind of people it was taking on its bandwagon, the anti corruption movement was fucked the moment all kind of assorted nuts started hijacking its agenda.

  21. raja,rahul,ramdev,jagan,jaylalitha…
    and I’m waiting for an Indian julian assange.
    even indian robinhood will do.
    somebody who reforms the system while staying withing the system.
    something that recreates rang de basanti in real life.

    but who will pay for petrol,onions and taxes?

  22. You left out a category!
    9. People like you who sit on the other part of the globe and write such things undermining the efforts of few (like Anna Hazare) and hope to come only when you have a comfortable and happy environment here!

  23. I will pay for your petrol. I will fast for you. I will grow onions for you in my backyard and then give it to you for free.

    I will disclose the corrupt, I will clean up the system, I will do everything right so that everyone gets the justice they deserve. Just so that all of you can lead a nice life. But the question is,”why”? Why should I go through all these troubles? What if one fine day I choke and die of a fishbone? Worse still, what if one day you decide to hang me by my balls??

    Signed
    Julianhood.

  24. I feel sick to think that I live in a country where the corrupt, scamsters, majority baiters, vulgar minority appeasers and dynasty politicians get elected and again just because the gullible voters can be fooled again and again with crass populism, flawed handout schemes like NREGA and votebank politics of the ugliest kind compromising national security which in any other nation would amount to treason. Arnab Ji, you’re absolutely right. It’s WE who’re to blame and the people of this country totally deserve UPA Sarkar.
    I have no hesitations in saying that given a choice, I’d leave this country and emigrate to the US as my parents tell me to do. I can’t see any future in a country where premier institutes have 50% quotas, where citizens have to abide by draconian Internet control rules (used only in Saudi Arabia,China,Iran,North Korea), where people will be made to feel guilty just because they belong to the majority.
    Weep, country weep.

  25. brilliant mate !
    all these recent developments in india has been disturbing. I can certainly feel the pain u felt while writing this post. I was actually expecting a post on this issue.
    Modi seems like only man who can clear all these mess..or may be this is too big a mess even for him.
    cant really see whats gonna happen next few years in our country. there is a strong possibility that it can turn in to really bad shit

  26. If Civil Societies start framing laws, Lokpals need to be appointed to keep tab on lawmakers, why oh why do we hold elections to keep afloat the largest democracy(!!)?

  27. @Sunny,

    Ramdev is a moron who has hijacked and made a mockery of a perfectly legitimate movement with clearly defined goals. He has managed to turn a large chunk of rational citizens, who otherwise were beginning to see a glimmer of hope with Hazare’s agitation, back into the frustrated cynical masses that we perpetually seem to be. He shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a body which crafts laws that governs a billion people. The small amount of sense that he was making was till his handlers were handing him talking points. Now that this idiot’s use-by-date is over, he’ll be increasingly left to his own wits, which as we are seeing, isn’t much to write home about.
    The truly sad part of this whole farce is the realization that a large part of India still runs on blind belief and irrationality, while the rest of us internet warriors beat our chests in every available forum about the world’s largest democracy. Long way to go my friends…

  28. “You wonder why the UPA government has persisted for two terms. You wonder why the substantial Right wing, most of them on the Net, have adopted the Baba as the great saffron hope. Take a look at the BJP and understand why.”

    Absolutely…

    I mean, everything else that you say is bang on as well but this just was the kitchen sink…

  29. Sadly, I just spoke to my mom back in India and she thinks Ramdev’s demands should be met… Because his pulse rate is falling.

    I have scheduled a discussion with her when I’m back home this year.

  30. @GB,
    As long as Annas and Ramdevs keep on coming with “at least a solution”, I will not simply dump them as you did above in the same line with corrupt and laughable people.
    You may not think his method to be correct (of course!) but then, at least either reserver 2 words of praise or come up with a better solution.

  31. Dear shubs
    I love your comment. Ramdev is a moron and BJP is a mornic party. Agreed.

    Now here is a proposal which you may like. There is a movie being made on violence in rural Bengal. No support from any politicla party, no corporate money, JUST YOUR LITTLE donation. After the movie us made, it will be shown to the government and wveryone will hope that fair laws will be to solve the problem. No saffron babas fasting to force governments into action, no RSS hand, no internet “right wing”. Just you and your partipation with reality and its documentation.

    http://www.factusa.org/bvdp-public.pdf

  32. shubs, sampat

    You geniuses dont get it, or maybe the color saffron gives you the heebie jeebies. Anna was a controlled move, which the corrupt Congis know that they can control.

    Ramdev’s was a massive surge that made the corrupt Congis shit their pants.

  33. While it’s possible that Baba Ramdev has a political agenda, by no means does it take away his right to rally against corruption. Or anyone else’s for that matter, simply because they originate from a non political background. Even a thief sitting in a jail has a right to launch a protest against corruption. His antecedents are something that the law will deal with separately. Till then lets not hold people ‘guilty until proven innocent’.

    It is easy to get cynical because corruption is so old and institutionalized that we have given up all hopes of ever getting deliverance from it. Numerous skeptics have made their appearance in the media, mostly of the couch warming variety from Delhi’s closed circles who feel this style of agitation will not work. I ask them for solutions. What are these solutions? Following the course of law. Following the constitutional process. Well this laughable. Who are we fooling? Anyone who thinks this method will work has either too much free time or too much money to pay bribes, or is magically not affected by corruption at all and thinks it is someone else’s problem.

    Much has been said about Baba Ramdev’s charter flight in various channels and articles. Let me tell you, an airplane of that size costs about Rs 2 lakhs per hour to charter. It is peanuts for the net worth he has recently declared. If people want to attack him, let them find real issues against him. His success as a yoga guru, no matter how business driven it has been, cannot be held against him. Call him ‘vyapari’, ‘dhongi’, ‘billionaire baba’, whatever, he still has a right to protest. As much as Shabana Azmi, Mahesh Bhatt and Javed Akhtar have a right to comment on every issue under the sun. Perhaps the biggest grudge the intellectuals have is that for all their motormouth ramblings on news debates day after day, it is an unsophisticated, Hindi speaking baba from the cowbelt that is stealing the limelight.

    Digvijay Singh – Ah, my favorite Diggi Raja. Don’t be fooled by him. He is a carefully placed (additional and invisible) middle finger in the logo that is the Congress election symbol, which can be surgically removed when his statements go overboard. He keeps the divisive politics of Congress alive, without letting the entire government being affected by it. A sort of limited liability concept that you have in business. Government can always ‘distance itself’ from his remarks, or ‘keep mum’ or say ‘they are his personal opinion, not the party line’.

    A lot of farce goes on in India, but you need exceedingly smart people to carry it through. And a media divided along ideological lines. That makes sure that every absurdity is protected.

  34. you have taken the safest road…everyone is wrong, no one is perfect…which is I guess well known!
    We all know that its not an ideal situation but the challenge here is to choose best of the worst, so instead of just describing the problem try to think of an innovative pragmatic and flawless solution to this situation if you can !!

  35. It’s really a farce when you compare Anna Hazare with jokers like Digvijay, Rahul Gandhi and MMS, and even Ramdev. He has a strong will and would deploy black-mailing towards a definite goal which is good for billions of common men, the method which we had no objection with during the freedom struggle. Even though I was lazy enough not to lift my backside to join in actively with the Anna Hazare campaign, I still believe it is the best thing to have happened against corruption in a long time. The mindset change is required to challenge and minimize corruption for not only the politicians/babus but also for ourselves and this could be the beginning of it. To dismiss that as farce is a big error in judgement, IMHO. After all, you yourself was not too sure whether this is a good or bad thing just a few days back.

  36. @Utsav – thanks for the obfuscation. It was expected, honestly. What better way to deviate from the topic than to take off on a tangent?

    Nice parallel though. Just like the much vaulted “civil society against corruption” agitation is now the cong vs bjp dog-and-pony show.

  37. @ shubs
    and obviously you guys have been left out of the game…given how CPIM (L) rep was booed out of the Hazare’s venue.

    What do you think about the tangent though, is that tactic (making a movie anxd showing the world the reality) cut any ice?

  38. @ julianhood

    “Just so that all of you can lead a nice life. But the question is,”why”? Why should I go through all these troubles?”

    Exactly
    see my point?
    nobody wants to get their hands dirty.
    why did Bhagat singh,Azad and other freedom fighters did what they did.
    why criticize Anna and be an arm chair revolutionary?
    even if to feed your family the said fish in which you will die?

    i went to Anna’s fasting venue to show my solidarity.
    i knew that’s the least i could do.
    i will join you in the fight.But will you then,like others, not leave the dirty task to me and guzzle beer with the said fish curry?

  39. A Common man has no experience of politics.Plus,he has to slog all day,even if it’s to earn money to pay bribes for his son’s admission in school.
    We leave politics to politicians.
    Is the country not ours? Are we not being selfish before nation alike the politicians who hoard in swiss banks? Will power not corrupt us like them?

  40. Mr. pao – your search for solidarity should be over by now. Take a quick glance at some comments, esp Mr. Rakesh above is real smooth. He has has not wasted anytime in letting us know that he is not in India and yet he feels deeply sad about the whole thing staying miles apart. He has planned to take care of this grief by “scheduling discussions” with his mother. That’s solidarity for you….(charity begins at home types) I think I shall appoint him as my crusader-in-charge.

    Signed
    Julianhood

  41. @Julianhood, for every Pao, there will be 10,000 Rakesh…. same happened during India’s freedom struggle, so exactly what is your point?

  42. Headlines for the cynics:

    “Admit Digvijay to a mental hospital”, says Anna Hazare

    and

    Forced to go on saline drip by authorities, Baba Ramdev refuses to call off 7-day fast in spite of deteriorating health

  43. Arnab : For once i diagree with your assessment that Ramdev’s yoga is a farce . Whateever his fallacies , i believe his pranayama has done wonders to anyone who has actually stringently followed the methodology to do these exercises.

    I would not like to quote countless examples of friends and colleagues , even myself who have benefitted from his pranayam and troll about his virtues . I would only state that his pranayama works and if followed stringenly with discipline can do wonders for one’s health.

    I am no Ramdev fan and certainly don’t endorse his other simplistic solutions to every ill in our society , however he has done the world of yoga a great service by making the science of pranayam availaible to the common man . In this regard he is better than the Iyengars of this world who kept the art of pranayama a best kept secret and only dwelled on the asthanga form of yoga.

    Also i think you should not fall into the trap of sounding funny all the time as it dilutes some of the important issues that this blog and this post has raised. Indeed most of what you write in this post if factual and correct but some assumptions will reinforce the belief that sometimes writers with wit fall into a familiar trap of sounding too funny.

  44. Exactly my feelings. Although the issues are close to my heart, the methods used and the actors (including Anna’s coterie. Btw, Kiran Bedi had also got her offspring admitted to a coveted college in the eighties by twisting the Mizoram Quota.) are not. This farce will continue. I think I will apply for a Nigerian citizenship. At least, I’ll be truly eligible to use Nigerian Scams on unsuspecting victims! 😦

  45. @ julianhood jerk

    You’re no different from Rakesh and from the bunch of politicians satirized above.In fact,I concur you are a bigger traitor than him.You will stay in your own country and rant about it’s plight at various addas without moving a finger.Mr Pao is at least being an idealist without giving a thought to the party-poopers like you.Have a conscience at least.

  46. The real shame is civil society making fun of Anna and Kejriwal. At least they are trying to bring in order and hope. Instead of getting behind them and pressuring government into action we are simply wasting time making frivolous comments in the media.

  47. @ Utsav
    “and obviously you guys have been left out of the game…given how CPIM (L) rep was booed out of the Hazare’s venue.”

    Thanks for proving GB’s (and every right-thinking citizen’s) point about this whole so-called anti-corruption ‘struggle’ being reduced to a left vs center vs right circus.

    And I see you’ve picked up some tricks of the trade…:-) People throw ‘knickerwallah’ at you, and you throw ‘CPIM’ back. Well played sir…:-)

  48. [OFFTOPIC] Wikipedia seems to be very confused what Dick-VJ’s religion is … someday it’s Islam, someday it’s Christianity … I think Baba Ramdev had called him before going for a fast …in which he mentioned that some Hindu extremists are forcing him to do all these …

  49. Dear Mr. Samik – I think it is a little hasty comparing freedom struggle to the situation at present. The objective was clear and simple in the former case. Can you translate in one sentence what the objective is in this case? And I, Julianhood the destructor of all things farcical, why should I help? What have been your contributions been after you got your freedom – you the people of India who elect the corrupt to power? Time after time? Apart from the obvious solidarity of course. Which is most cases also is farcical.

    Mr. Sampat – from the kind of conclusions you have made about my coordinates as well as my day to day activities – it does appear that you get your exercise jumping to conclusions – were you the one guiding Baba R on how to jump off the stage?

    Signed
    Julianhood

  50. I have been long time follower of this blog but commenting for the first time, maybe because first time I disagree with observations made by you, Arnab.

    You are probably wrong in playing down the movement spearheaded by Anna. (Same time I don’t agree with few of the demands raised by Baba, or few statements made by him)

    Many sections of people, feel what Anna and his team is doing is undemocratic or this is not the way to raise demands in democracy. Some even go to an extent to say this is grave danger to democracy and their way is fascist or authoritarian. I think neither this is stated objective of this movement to throw elected Govt nor they are stupid people who will vouch for something else (another way of governance) which will take away their right to raise the voice, including such type of movements.

    Can people opposing the ways of Anna, give concrete suggestions on how this movement be run some other way. I personally feel this movement is run extremely professionally using Gandhian means maybe which will take us to Democracy 2.0 (In computer language terms If Gandhi’s way was an Interface or Abstract class, Annas movement is definitely one of the class which concretely implements it keeping in mind todays realities).

    Large number of people are supporting Anna knowing fully well that Lokpal is another monster in making if one goes by recommendations of JanLokpal Bill, maybe because of lack of better alternative.

  51. @ julianhood

    Your comments have made it clear that you’ve little understanding of how the country functions.I wonder if at all you are a ‘good citizen’ who does anything for the country other than cheering for the Indian cricket team and therefor mistaking himself to be a patriotic buffoon.so,F.Off.
    Political gimmicks aside,here is someone who has at least stood up against what has given all of us pain, but so what? After all he does not wear a shirt, and his English is also no good – how can the middle class ever support him?rural folks are out of touch while rich are indifferent.who then is going to stand up for the cause.
    The Congress knows this, and that is why they could do the midnight assault.
    GB,You have chosen to make fun of Ramdev but the one thing that is worthy of debate is– can the govt run roughshod over any common person, and can that common person get redress? At this point, the answer seems to be yes to the first and no to the second.

  52. Ramdev made two mistakes at the Ramlila grounds. One, he forgot to discard his saffron robes. A saffron-robed yogi is supposed to be a renunciate who pursues spiritualism and preaches detachment – he does not take on corruption but instead seeks to rise above it. Two, he forgot that people come to the camps for purely selfish reasons – they are interested in Ramdev as long as he talks about yoga and its benefits. Corruption is something they’ve learned to live with; their real enemies are diabetes and hypertension.
    Ramdev sent by RSS! government is pox-ridden.

  53. Actually, I see some sense in what Julianhood is perhaps alleviating to. There is a problem – yes. But I am not sure if this is the way to solve the problem. Have most of you actually read the bill? As much as I want that we come clean as a corruption free country I for one certainly have concerns over the bill. Take a read at this interesting article.
    http://calamur.org/gargi/2011/04/06/my-issues-with-the-proposed-jan-lok-pal-bill/

    We need to solve the problem but is the method right?? And we the people of India, instead of being a flock of sheep should really ask ourselves these questions instead of losing our patience in case someone says something that our thought process does not concur with.
    I support Ana Hazare’s thought process, but I am unsure about the path he has chosen. Nor Baba Ramdev btw who has even more diluted the efforts of Ana Hazare (latest being that of an armed revolt) – just in case you thought I have any political bias.

  54. Whatever it may be, Baba Ramdev is doing great for Indian citizens. His Yoga is treating many hundreds people of India. He is asking for teh black money to get back from foreign banks. Teh black money is of Indian politicians. Its a good initiative that he has picked up. But again he also has great welath and property. If he pays taxes of all his money then its ok but if not, then it’s bad an dhe should answer media regarding his money also.

    But again, whts the harm in getting Indian Balck Money back from Swiss Banks?

    Income Tax, Sales tax, government all departments are now against him.

    I cnt say about other leaders taht you have pointed out in your article but these are my views for ramdev baba.

  55. Vivek wrote,
    “One, he (Ramdev) forgot to discard his saffron robes. A saffron-robed yogi is supposed to be a renunciate who pursues spiritualism and preaches detachment – he does not take on corruption…”

    There are many many examples of Saffron clad Sadhus making direct participation in matters of State and policy and security over the ages. History of Hindu Dharma is replete with such examples.

    During the seige of Somnath by Mahmud of Ghazni, thousands of Naga Sadhus laid down their lives in battle with the Ghaznavid army, to prevent him from looting the Treasury.

    During the British rule, The Sanyasi Rebellion made famous by Bankim Chandra’s novel Anandhamath, and the song “Vande Mataram” itself can be attributed to Saffron clad sadhus.

    Vivek, it is a different issue that the “secular” narrative of the English educated media, from top to bottom, is very uneasy with anything Saffron. The uneasiness, as your comment shows, manifests itself in different ways, from sheer ignorance to clear bias, to open vitriol.

  56. @BengalVoice:
    “Headlines for the cynics:
    “Admit Digvijay to a mental hospital”, says Anna Hazare”

    ——-
    Your headlines seem to be quite selective…:-)

    Here’s a headline for the blind:
    “Ramdev not mature enough to lead a social movement…”, says Anna Hazare.

    He could have added that you probably need more than an 8th grade education to form an opinon on what laws the world’s seventh largest country should be governed by.
    Ramdev would better serve his constituency by concentrating on the next set of asanas to ‘cure’ homosexuality.

  57. shubs
    Why do get pissed off, when “civil society” supports Ramdev’s anti-corruption campaign. Whatever be Ramdev’s stand on homosexuality, his movement against corruption, that started in 2008, has been much more popular and effective, than Anna’s ever will be. With crooks like Agnivesh flanking Anna, Congress was never worried about Anna ever doing much damage to the Congress corruption machinery ever.

    What the corrupt Government fears, is losing elections because of corruption. That will happen only with Ramdev’s more sensationalist, yet peaceful approach. That also is the reason, why Congress Government took out all stops in crushing it.

    Unless ofcourse, people like you feel that one more “law” and one more “oversight agency” will solve the culture of corruption that the Congress Party has legitimized at all levels over the past 60 years, to the point that it has become part of the public psyche.

    At the end of the corruption will reduce, when electoral politics makes representatives pay for doing it. And that is what Ramdev wants to achieve.

  58. Why dont you just admit it– in this country the 1.2 Bn “common man” is devoid of any values. There is no appreciation for civil discourse, its all just a mob mentality- thats why the likes of MF Hussain and T Nasreen continue to be driven away. It elects and idolizes the babas-both Saffron and foreign. It will forever continue to be the banana republic that it is.

  59. Btw, what is the mythical “corruption” that we are talking about? Rahul Gandhi is not the clerk at the govt hospital, or a police office demanding an “extra” for urgently required documents.

  60. @ utsav

    Ramdev walked right into the playfield of political controversy when he wore that saffron.He was blamed to be colluding with the RSS…the government presented it as a political intrigue rather than the ‘right of the people to know’.Wearing saffron robes is the mark of a renunciate,or defines a hindu godman-both of which are controversial given what Ramdev has set out to do.
    Even if Ramdev makes absurd claims to cure homosexuality,thinks himself to be a godman,and aspires for fame,he was in this case removed as a common man like you or me would have been.
    And what is wrong in demanding to know the list? God knows what all names will be thrown up to show wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  61. I could’t help observing something from D’s post above. What is common between M F Hussain & T Nasreen? Also, what is wrong with the the saffron colour?

  62. demanding the blank money list,i suspect congressmen would have a lot of explanation once the list comes out,thst’s why UPA is reluctant to let it out.

    remember how devil of bhopal tragedy Anderson was let out of the country at the behest of Rajiv Gandhi?and The most wanted criminal list that resulted in p.chitambaram’s gaffe? America may be just right about Indian politicians,while they hunt n kill osama,here we treat kasab with a crore worth security. anna may just be a beginning.bet he’s different.

  63. What seems to be the biggest and the most disheartening farce is that most of the cynics (including the author of this article) would rather attack the person than stand up for the cause. i.e. shoot the messenger than take the message. Which is exactly why Ramdev’s movement lost steam — government attacked his assets/links to RSS, which is the easier thing to do as we Indians are so gullible — our thoughts cannot transcend the person and focus on the issue.

  64. @ATS, thats because there is no substance in this message. Its a simple whining about who is benefiting more from the corruption. We all are corrupt or condone corruption and as such all this talk about removing corruption is undiluted BS. The best way to get rid of corruption is to get rid of the democracy which will stop the need of politicians being overtly populist ( the Maoist model) or to take voting rights away from people who dont pay taxes, so as to cut down on the size/power of the govt, reduce the bureaucracy which is directly proportional to corruption. But since we are okay with whoever gives the maximum “free” sops and we as a people prefer to drive out personalities whose ideas we oppose by vandalizing art exhibitions or tearing up books or just directly assaulting them, I dont see a solution. Its not for nothing that people say this country has no future.

  65. @ats:
    You’re right that Ramdev’s movement has lost steam. But it is not due to the government’s ploy to link him to RSS. The people of this country are not fools. Yes, there is an amount of naive idealism, and pockets of irrationality, but overall, they recognize a lost cause when they see one, remarkably quickly, and I don’t think they like being taken advantage of.

    That’s why Ramdev lost out. Now he’s walked into a dead end with his fast, and he needs an honourable exit like nobody’s business. I think the govt should offer him one, and close that chapter.
    They need to worry about being seen and heard to act on the issues being raised by citizens who are in the game to get a result, not to score political brownie points. Because that’s what the people of India will rally behind. They are too smart to be fooled again and again by publicity and power hungry religious and political figures.

  66. @Anonymous:
    “At the end of the corruption will reduce, when electoral politics makes representatives pay for doing it. And that is what Ramdev wants to achieve.”
    ________________

    A very lofty goal, one that I’d love to see play out, as would almost every citizen of this country, I’m sure.

    But after what has transpired with the Ramdev circus, and our collective experience with governments of multiple political parties you need to be EXTREMELY optimistic and dare I say, be in denial, to assume that everything will be hunky dory with just the fall of Congres in the next elections.

  67. Corruption cannot be gotten away with in a day, or a month or even a year. I believe it requires another generation. A generation where people are more educated and know what to choose, believe and judge. A generation where people stop breaking traffic rules and paying petty bribes to get petty things done. Corruption, as is rightly said, is not something that has fallen out of the sky with the politicians. It has come about because it is ingrained within us. It has to be eradicated at the root level (i.e. us)

    Ramdev’s agitation as well as Anna Hazare’s agitation is just a starting point. A candle in the wind if you will. I would rather support the cause than be myopic to judge the person’s cause by the person and not the cause. I believe that its better than be cynical and do nothing about it. It has not helped us since and it won’t help us now.

    Call me a naive idealist — I would take that any day than being a cynic who thinks that this is a lost cause because the person leading it is not exactly an ideal.

  68. Shubs
    People like you are the reason why India is bursting at the seams with the Congress corruption culture.

    But hang on to your hate for Saffron. Afterall, but for the Saffrons, much loftier goals would have been achieved. Yes India would be called Pakistan.

  69. Arnab, Though in all these years I have never felt this way, I feel tat tis particular post is aimed more at getting a traffic of comments. How else can u explain ppl like Anna Hazare figuring in the infamous list..I m pretty sure he has no axe to grind & for one who has done so much for society, this is yet another cause, tho the most far reaching one…With regard to Baba Ramdev, one should give him the benefit of doubt of no ulterior motives till anything is proved to the contrary.. like joinin politics at a later point of time..Till ten, wat is the harm in Ramdev raising the issue, saffron or not. Unfortuntaley, today in the 24×7 english media, anyone who can be remotely affiliated to the saffron/BJP/RSS is dubbed a villain..Pure hypocisy..Tho things like godhra riots shld not ve happened, yet one cant deny tat the bjp govt was on day better compared to the current corrupt to the core UPA govt. Compare a leader like AB Vajpayee with the incompetent & rudderless MMS..
    Arnab, dont know why u r dragging Pranayama into the whole debate..The efficacy of this technique has been known for ages..Breath is the indicator of life & if u know how to chanel this powerful force…one can do wonders..

  70. “I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
    Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.”

  71. @Anonymous: Think about it. Is it really the saffron which drives people away? Do you think that a population hungry to see change and relief from the feeling of helpnessness, would really care if the person calling for that change is from RSS or CPIM, if that person were capable enough?
    I’m sorry, but I think you’re missing the woods for the trees.

  72. @Arnab,

    I am a little bit sympathetic of Anna Hazare in all this, at the time he went into a fast, the corruption had crossed all limits and there was no rallying point for people who were disgruntled at all this. He also did not have any slam-bang demands like Baba Ramdev and starting a fast to get Lokpal comity formed doesn’t seem all that bad to me.

    What followed after that has been horror, but I must say that Baba Ramdev’s “movement” (in his words) had much less support of the educated middle-class unlike Anna’s.

  73. @Arnab,

    Also I wouldn’t make much fuss if it were RSS people who are included in protest, they are India’s citizens as well, and are by no means as dangerous as Diggy-baby or Shabna Hashmi. The Goons of Bajrang Dal should be punished, but I am a bit at a loss why it’s RSS who becomes favorite whipping boy.

  74. on a second read I dont agree with most of the things u wrote. esp abt Anna and to some extent Ramdev too. It takes a lot of courage and will to go on a fast. I do believe both of them are patriotic enough, especially a lot more than anyone in the Cong govt. Baba Ramdev didnt have good advisors, he was just naive. I find it disgusting when ppl/media dont have any complains (and actually jump with joy) if Rahul gandhy joins politics and aspires to be PM…but think that a Ramdev shouldnt enter politics. These are actually very educated ppl. what qualification joker RahulG has?
    Instead of criticizing someone who stood up against govt, there r better things to do.

  75. I too honestly feel gays are sick ppl and needs treatment. I wonder how many ppl in this world want their kids to be gay?? I dont have problem with someone being a gay as I do not care abt them…but I do not want my kids to be.

  76. shubs
    Dont’ project it beyond your type. That is what the problem is with people like you. It is only people like you, that go berserk whenever they see anything in saffron. And given the fact that Ramdev’s campaign, despite the media cacophony, still manages to attract 10 times the number of people that Anna ever had at his rallies, I guess you should learn to look at the bigger cause at hand here, and join this struggle.

  77. good stuff Greatbong

    and the comments make good post lunch read, feeling very enlightened (heavy stomach, enlightened- forgive the pun)

    By the way somebody mentioned – Ramdev’s Pranayama, wasn’t aware it was a dan brownish secret and Ramdev uncovered it.

  78. as they say it’s a circus out there .. we are the unfortunate audience, the media’s like the illuminating light and the actors, well they are all on the stage

  79. They rightly say that sarcasm can get you laughing for 2 minutes on few things but then you stop laughing and sit down to think serioulsy about what is the solution and you get one of those few things only to chose from.
    And you laugh again!!

  80. @ Vivek
    You wrote
    “Ramdev walked right into the playfield of political controversy when he wore that saffron.He was blamed to be colluding with the RSS…the government presented it as a political intrigue rather than the ‘right of the people to know’.Wearing saffron robes is the mark of a renunciate,or defines a hindu godman-both of which are controversial given what Ramdev has set out to do.”

    response
    1. What is wrong if RSS supports anti-corruption movement. If anything, RSS represents the best of certitude and discipline in Indian social discourse.

    2. When you say “Wearing saffron robes is the mark of a renunciate,or defines a hindu Godman,” you are just exposing your poor knowledge of Hindu social epistemology, just like the rest of the English speaking media does, without remorse of their ignorance.

    2a- Ramdev is a renunciate in his personal life. He would not participate in the personal pleasure or gains.

    2b – Ramdev never claimed to be Godman and can never claim so. Why?
    Because Ramdev is a practioner of Patanjali’s Yogasutra, the conjunction of which with Kapila’s Sankhya Karika forms the core treatise of Sankhya-Yoga philosophy.

    Just for the information of pseudo-seculars, Sankhya Yoga questions the very existance of a Supreme Being (Parameshwara), as part of its metaphysical analysis.

    So if anything, Ramdev cannot be described as a God-man. His practicing of Yoga-sutras technically disqualifies him that epithet.

  81. To the author – Ill-written piece. If you are ridiculing everyone you have, can you honestly say that you have never been corrupt yourselves? whether it be taking advantage of IT loop-holes or it be giving bribes to get things done “fast”?

    If some people are raising their voices against corruption, even if they are not lily-whites themselves, it should still be supported by all who “want” to be honest in their lives henceforth.

    By ridiculing them, you are only strengthening the forces behind all that is wrong with India – yes you are doing it by influencing people who are just so happy being first or second in comments list and adore you with “da” – duh!!

  82. Good stuff Utsav…very well researched…knowing that Ramdev is a practitioner of Sankhya Yoga is quite interesting

  83. @ Shouri
    I dont think he Ramdev is a pracitioner of Sankhya-Yoga.
    I think Ramdev only follows Patanjali’s Yogasutras, which forms a part of the overall Sankhya-Yoga Darshana.

    But have never spoken to Ramdevji, so this is just my guess.

  84. Absolutely brilliant post highlighting the the wonderfully ridiculous circus that is Indian politics. Spot on on the NAC and “civil society”. I wish I was one of those holier yhan thou individuals who point out how wrong every one is on national television and rule a country of over a billion people. As soon as I figure out how to do so, I can assume Goddom.

  85. Absolutely brilliant post highlighting the the wonderfully ridiculous circus that is Indian politics. Spot on on the NAC and “civil society”. I wish I was one of those holier yhan thou individuals who point out how wrong every one is on national television and rule a country of over a billion people. As soon as I figure out how to do so, I can assume God-dom

  86. Skeptic = Happy being Sad.
    (at everything that moves, speaks, jolts or revolts, for they know nothing will ever work. and though Rang De Basanti was actually on their face, they cite the same to save their own! Simple living, high thinking I’d say )

  87. Anna Hazare may not be a seasoned diplomat but I feel he has good intentions…but only time will tell how long he can hold on to that.
    Its a pity we do not yet have Rahul/Sonia *** Yojanas yet to add to the gallons of Indira/Rajiv *** Yojanas floating all around. May be I can subscribe to some Rahul Vikas Yojana in some Post Office to double my money in 10 years (better returns than Stocks…to best the inflation blues)

  88. Bwahaha..
    loved the organ trafficker bit.
    wad luxury we indians have..we r spoilt for choice! we r surrounded by a plethora of moralists and philanthropic activists.. who are hell bent on serving the public!

  89. @Nandhini: I fully with you. On first reading, I too found this post a bit entertaining … but carefully reading it one more times, I found GB’s sarcasm those along the lines of the mainstream (read English speaking, snobbish) media — anything that has even a shade of Bharatiya civilization predating the formation of British-India, must be wrong one way or the other . For example, GB was careful to critique all the players, Ramdevji, Annaji, sundry politicians Sonia, Rahul, Diggy and UPA/BJP but left out the only group of people who made significant personal gains out of this movement and making a mockery of it, the media. I wonder why he left out the media — was it deliberate? I hope he writes a future post on the role of media in this ‘circus’

    Whereas I have no interest in sexual lives of individuals, I too consider homosexuality to be abnormal, and in most cases to be the lascivious fall out of a hyper-sexual society. While a small minority are genuinely homosexual due to chromosomal and hormonal disorders, a large numbers of gays are merely exploring their wild fantasies (for example, the bisexuals) and it is perfectly acceptable for a society to shun gays, just like most societies locks up pedophiles and rapists. The logic that a society must accept gays because they are genetically (or inherently) predisposed or programmed be so, is rubbish — will be accept humans with a (genetic) predisposition to violence or rape?

  90. I also found GB’s sarcasm of Pranayama (and by extension, yoga) to be quite disturbing. I typically see this in left extremist/communist mouth-pieces. I wasn’t expecting this in a centrist blog like GB’s . Pranayama is well established breathing techniques that is currently being used, sometimes usurped without due credit to Hinduism, by many over the world, including US Navy SEALs . I particularly liked these lines in the linked article — Still, the popular classes, based on ancient Hindu practices of meditation through controlled breathing , balancing and stretching, are catching on in military circles as a way to improve flexibility, balance and concentration. A former Navy SEAL told Zarracina about the class. Yet GB (a supposedly Hindu, unless he’s an atheist – sorry to make a personal comment) found it appropriate to ridicule the most prominent Yoga/Pranayama Guru of our times.

    Now, can we, rather should we, blame Westerners those who usurp Yoga, Pranayama and Ayurveda given that we Indians ourselves make fun of this ancient gem or its leading practitioner? I say no — if we don’t cherish our gems, rather ridicule them, then we automatically lose our right to protest when others usurp it as their own!

  91. It must be noted though, the socially Hindu society has always been very accepting and accomodating (accepting being the operative word) of sexual and gender diversity. Even those that do not fit into the “norm”.

  92. @Debadrita:
    Let’s get something out of the way first, lest you conclude that I am against “anything that has even a shade of Bharatiya civilization”. I’m a Hindu by birth and selective belief in the Hindu worldview of inclusion, and an aethist by choice, mostly due to understanding that man created the concept of God and not vice-versa. I’m sure most 10 year olds can also make that distinction.

    A few observations on your post.
    Firstly, I don’t believe that you understand the author’s post to be anything but sarcasm, which, at the risk of making the understatement of the day, he has used liberally in the past. Hence I find it astonishing that you take him to task for knocking “Bharatiya” civilization. If there was anybody being fingered here, it was a cabal of opportunists who are basically taking the citizens of our country for a ride.

    Secondly, your views on homosexuality and gay people are, well, quaint, and I’m sorry to say, bigoted. I cannot say whether this stems from a personal fear/ignorance of people different from you (I assume), or your desire to portray yourself as so different from them so as to project some kind of loathing for ‘their kind’. All I can say is this attitude is about as ‘un-Hindu’ as it can get.
    And I guess the same can be said of Ramdev’s views on homosexuality too.

    About your second post, it was quite amusing to find you resorting to that one common used by most hyper-nationalist swadeshi proponents – the firang certificate. Was the US navy seal endorsement necessary? Apparently yes, the centuries of practitioners of pranayama in your own neighborhood notwithstanding…:-)
    And I’m sorry. Yoga does not cure AIDS.

  93. @bewildered: Fair enough. You didn’t have to define yourself as belonging to the Bharatiya civilization because personal affiliations doesn’t matter in debates. As regards to your first point, I understand the underlying theme of not just this post, but the blog itself, is sarcastic humour which I too enjoy. What sets apart this blog is that its very low on substance and gets high on slapstick humour, instead of being witty. Ramdev is an established Yoga guru who’s built a huge empire — right or wrong, he could’ve easily spent the rest of his life amassing more and more wealth without bothering a $hit if the country goes to hell or not. Similar logic applies to Annaji’s supporters as far as name and fame is concerned. Here’s my problem – while I do NOT agree with everything both these groups have to say, they have my highest support I can offer to any group in this country and have no doubt that if India has to get out of the vicious circle of corruption, no governement or media or CBI or courts can/will do a thing. They are all corrupt and act as a conglomerate to perpetuate and complement each other.

    As for your second point, well, you can abuse me as much as you want but since you didn’t offer any substance as to WHY I was wrong while I did mention as to WHY I support Ramdevji on homosexuality, I can simply leave it as difference of opinion.

    Finally, in my last post, I was only trying to show GB’s mocking of Pranayama is unfortunate and Pranayama is something thats being accepted worldwide with respect. You may disagree as much as you want, but it is a fact of life that Indians do not consider something worthwhile till the firangs do so. And yes, the US Navy seal link was most appropriate. Yes, yoga does not c-u-r-e AIDS and as I’ve said before I don’t agree with everything he or Annaji has to say.

  94. @Debadrita:”As for your second point, well, you can abuse me as much as you want but since you didn’t offer any substance as to WHY I was wrong”.

    I believe your question is why I think your belief that homosexuals are subhuman is wrong.
    How about because of the difference between right and wrong, because all humans are equal under laws of all civilized nations, because most normal people are not bigots, or maybe just that most of us simply practice the tolerance that Hinduism stands for, instead of putting on a show of fake piety.

  95. @bewildered – “I believe your question is why I think your belief that homosexuals are subhuman is wrong” — emphasis mine

    Well, your belief is just as incorrect as your logic. No where did I say that homosexuals are sub-human or anything remotely close to that – I used the word ‘abnormal’ as in not-normal. Please read what I said and then argue.

    As far as all humans being equal under laws of civilizations — are you high or something? How about a rapist-cum-murderer and you (as in Y-O-U). Are you two equal? If so, then its one thing. If not, then you get my point – heterosexuals and homosexuals are not equal and its up to a society to decide if it will provide the liberty to its citizens to go wild with their fantasies or not, and if so, to what extent. Each country has its own social standards and norms, including whats an offense and whats a crime. Neither of them is sub-human or anything. I hope you understand my point — if not ask before going wild about Hindu tolerance and blah blah … …

  96. Hence, homosexual=dangerous criminal in your world.
    Sorry to say, the Taliban holds sway only in Afghanistan now. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable there.

    “Each country has its own social standards and norms, including whats an offense and whats a crime”
    Apparently you didn’t get the memo on the rest of the world, and even your own country leaving you behind.

  97. @bewildered: “because most normal people are not bigots, or maybe just that most of us simply practice the tolerance that Hinduism stands for”

    you would rather speak for yourself, rather than include ‘most of us’ (whatever that means) and try to pass off your views as that of the majority of people. or worse still, your definition of ‘tolerance’ as if it has been distilled from Hindu scriptures or practices

  98. Besides, arguing with a bigot is always a fruitless excercise. It’s the same, whether the bigotry is casteist, religious, racist or homophobic.
    If it was possible to change such ingrained views with just arguments, the world would be a very different place.

  99. @ramgun:
    “you would rather speak for yourself, rather than include ‘most of us’”

    So sorry to mistake you for being tolerant…:-) Will make sure that doesn’t happen in future.

  100. @bewildered – “Hence, homosexual=dangerous criminal in your world.” — That conclusion is entirely yours, just keep it to yourselves or your friends from Saudi or Pashtun tribe-mates … don’t spill it over to the rest of the world.

    It is quite obvious that the only thing that you can do in a debate is foul mouth and engage in personal abuse — bigot, casteist, religious, racist or homophobic and so on. If you were intellectually capable of debating me (or others) by specifically refuting any of my statements without handwaving or verbal abuse, you would have done so without resorting to name calling, which seems to be the only thing you are capable of. For the record, I did not resort to personal abuse you till this post. Also for the record, I didn’t expect any better from you.

    I rest my case here … keep on howling about how tolerant you are.

  101. @ramgun : Don’t worry — its entirely a very secular and tolerant practice to foul mouth and resort to personal abuse when at loss of words or logic. It used to be a communist disease where truth was ascertained by how loudly one can screech and howl … but looks like now it has spilled over to the rest.

  102. I just love my generation- fighting it out on the internet while sipping cappucino and watching Friends and updating Facebook- I just love this!! Precisely the reason that nothing will come from us worthless urban educated lot!!

  103. @Sayan,
    do not underestimate the power of online thinking and debates. These shaped the history of some middle-eastern nations in recent past. It is activity that matters and that can be in many different planes indeed.

  104. @Sayan:
    Congratulations on managing to take the high road! Your brownie points will be mailed to you.

    By providing moral equivalence between those who blatantly, casually make a virtue of their ignorance by dehumanizing a section of their fellow humans, and their critics, you have effectively reduced a serious question into the equivalent of the India-Pak naval sulk-fest.

    In India today, if there is a class of people against whom casual discrimination and social ridicule can be carried out with impunity, it is the gay community. And whereas the movement to change this ingrained bigotry in societies around the world are being led by people of our generation, in this country, we unfortunately still see people like Debadrita, ostensibly in his/her teens/twenties, still hanging on to the ignorance and hatred of past generations.

    While there is plenty to learn from yoga teachers like Ramdev, if these regressive ideas are unfortunately what appeal to the so-called educated youth of our country, then we have a long, long way to go.

  105. Debadrita has a point, but @bewildered has a point too and I love that. Now all those who get horny looking at 12 year olds, I hope you understand that there’s still hope for you. You are merely different, and that day is not far when you will be allowed to go out in the world and practice your choice of sexual behaviour. Of course you are equal to everyone else.

    I wish Dhananjay lived to see that day – he would not have had to die due to our unjust laws then.

  106. @Bewildered & eager reader- I by no means underestimate the power of thinking and debate, indeed I subsribe to the same. However the point unfortunately is that that is where it all ends- on the internet! We can keep on debating and thinking till the cows come home, but it will serve no purpose unless it is followed up with some action- any action in the right direction! And if we youth don’t take action/act, who will??

  107. @Anirban, Pedophilia and homosexuality….moral ewquivalence? How’re things in la la land?
    But that’s ok. In KSI, women driving=obscenity too. We’re in good company…:-)

  108. @Sayan: And yet, here we are. Adding to online space-junk. I really don’t think any one of us, you, me, the ‘franship’ ones, the one-track pulpit thumping one, the self-righteous ones, the newbies, or the old hands, are here on this blog or any other, trying to change the course of anything.

    Some claim they are, but I’m not holding my breath. If they were such tireless, selfless activists working furiously to change the world, they wouldn’t be here writing mini essays every half an hour, like me.

    We’re all here because actual activism is too much work. Unless our very survival’s at stake, a-la the Arab Spring, we’re not getting off our beds/couches/office chairs (and I have my doubts about that too). We blabber away because we think we are right. That’s the basic, not-so-hidden truth.
    So, in that context, I don’t see why one can’t speak out against something that seems to need a response, in one’s opinion of course.
    Unless of course, the owner of the blogspace thinks otherwise, which I’m sure he will soon, considering where this discussion has landed up.

  109. Do you have a Magasaysay Award ? Well then, you are a member of civil society…Wah Wah.Kya baat hai ..This is what you have to say about an IIT Kharagpur student, who quit his job with the Indian Revenue Service and got the RTI into place.I gather that you are an IIT student as well, well, that’s where the similarity ends.You work a nice job and write blog posts, he quits his nice job and instead of writing blog posts,gets to work.Not that writing blog posts is a crime,but when your paws are not frozen stiff because of all the writing, do take the time out to put them together and clap for a man who quit his job in the civil services and got the Right To Information in place.#Learn # Respect Or quit your job, and try something of that sort yourself..really it does take more than blog posts to change systems..and kejriwal has done more than his bit..imho

  110. Excerpts from Maximum City : Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta come to mind

    India is a country of the NO. That “no” is your test.You have to get past it. It is India’s great wall; it keeps out foreign invaders. Pursuing it energetically and vanquishing it is your challenge. In the guru-shishya tradition,the novice is always rebuffed multiple times when he first approaches the guru. then the guru stops saying no but doesn’t say yes either; he suffers the presence of the student. when he starts acknowledging him,he assigns a series of menial tasks, meant to drive him away. only if the disciple sticks it out through all these stages of rejection and ill treatment is he considered worthy of the sublime knowledge. India is not a tourist friendly country. it will reveal itself to you only if you stay on,against all odds.the “no” might never become a “yes.” But you will stop asking questions.

    Long before the millennium, Indians such as the late prime minister,Rajiv Gandhi, were talking about taking the country into the 21st century, as if the 20th century could just be leapfrogged. India desires modernity; it desires computers, information technology,neural networks,video on demand. But there is no guarantee if a constant supply of electricity in most places in the country . in this as in every other area, the country is convinced it can pole vault over the basics: develop world-class computer and management institutes without achieving basic literacy; provide advanced cardiac surgery and diagnostic imaging facilities while the most easily avoidable childhood diseases run rampant;sell washing machines that depend on a nonexistent water supply from shops that are dark most hours of the day because of power cuts;support a dozen private and public companies offering mobile phone services, while the basic land and telephone network is in terrible shape;drive scores of new cars that go from 0 to 60 in ten seconds without any roads where they might do this without killing everything inside and out, man and beast.

    it is an optimistic view of technological progress – that if you reach for the moon, you will somehow, automatically, span the the inconvenient steps in between. India has the 3rd largest pool of technical labor in the world, but a third of its 1 billion people can’t read or write. An Indian scientist can design a supercomputer, but it won’t work because the junior technician cannot maintain it properly. the country graduates the best technical brains in the world but neglects to teach my plumber how to fix a toilet so it stays fixed. it is still a bramhin oriented system of education; those who work with their hands have to learn for themselves. education has to do with reading and writing, with abstractions, with higher thought.

    as a result, in the country of NO nothing is fixed the first time around. you don’t call a repairman, you begin a relationship with him. you can’t bring to his attention too aggressively the fact that he is incompetent or crooked, because you’ll need him to set right what he has broken the first time around. Indians are craftsmen of genius, but mass production, with its attendant standardization, is not for us. all things modern in Bombay fail regularly : plumbing, telephones, the movement of huge blocks of traffic. Bombay is not the ancient Indian idea of a city. it is an imitation of a western city, maybe Chicago in the twenties. and, like all other imitations of the west here-the hindi pop songs,the appliances, the accents people put on, the parties the rich throw – this imitation, too, is neither here nor there.

  111. Vaat nonsense is this I say? I feel very sad when “elevation and distance ” LS and the Arun Lala don’t get their due!! Last I heard, the Lala was pulling at Chiddu’s vibgyor coloured turban, and Chiddu guffawing like a maniac, Mandira Body was picking her nose and tall, handsome and bald Daru Sharma was gyrating to a Mallu rock song with LS pulling off some gravity defying and jaw-dropping moves, looking more handsome than the eight-pack abbed Treesanth!!

  112. GB,

    Completely off topic this but guess a lot of your readers are waiting for the review of Shaitan. The film certainly needs your analysis.

  113. Brilliant, as always. Absolutely right about the Prince. It is such a shame that Ndtv ensures he is in the news every single day, preferably in a positive light. And if (God forbid) he commits a blunder, our dear media does not even rip him apart. You know, I sometimes agree with Rahul Baba on the ‘ashamed to be an Indian’ thing!

  114. [Dear Nirvana Demon,

    Just a reminder. Kindly follow the rules of the blog (I have said this repeatedly before) and DO NOT post irrelevant comments on a thread. ]

  115. How come no mention of the mysterious man – who noone knows is Indian or Neplai, creature of land or water or a amphibian!!

  116. well, heard a lot about yr blogs so came for first time…..with great expectations ! well humour is the only element that “amused” me …..not the facts !

    You made a mockery of “Civil society” …wake up SId !! they r gainin importance !!

    Be it Rizwanur case or Nandigram , civil society played a pivotal role for gainin justice and throwin away autocracy of CPM (the grear bong shud be aware of West Bengal…I guess?!)..

    Be informed….and remember there is a hairline difference between comedy and farce !!….

  117. Random and arbit thoughts indeed. waise I doubt ki you know anything about right-wing or left-wing before u use it in the context of our nation. sorry buddy…but you are sounding like a lefti.

  118. An Indian staying in the US and bad-mouthing India what else can we expect from you? You are mixing things up – you cannot tarnish everyone in one swipe.

  119. I think Baba Ramdev is an honest man. You have played to your audience on this blog in your sarcastic description of him.

    Yoga and Pranayam are indeed greatly beneficial. (Some indeed have had “miraculous” recoveries from otherwise incurable diseases.) and Baba Ramdev has popularized Pranayam for the masses.

    His thoughts on politics are very naive but I never doubt his sincerity and patriotism.

    Regarding his comment on gays, the Hindu tradition is clear on this point. Homosexuality (or any other overt stands on sexuality) is neither a vice (the prudent Victorian stand) nor a virtue (the modern Western stand). These things have their place in life but mustn’t transgress into the public sphere (which is what the whole Gay Pride movement has become).

  120. Certainly i can understand inclusion of baba ramdev to an extent but anna hazare?initially he and his team (not that scandlous as it sounds) put days of peaceful persuation through legal channels to be heard.agreed to work out with the government and be flexible for reasonable demands.but were they heard?instead after coming to limelight serious allegations and personel insults were hurled.it was the government who was bent on dictating terms & my way or the highway attitude since beginning which is sadly now alleged only for Team Anna.thats where the shit hit the fan and it was realised that no means except forceful persuasion will work and to be frank is the truth.these people with no political experience,cornered with all sorts of accusations from all quarters and rubbished from the snobbish upper class keep their struggle alive and doing everything in their capacity for something they feel can be a change.sir i request u to please approach the IAC if you think you know how the movement can be improved.by ranting against them without giving any constructive criticism on how to be the solution in such negative atmosphere you are actually demoralising the spirit that something can be done in our country so deep in political muck.they maybe naive and lack skill but i am proud they have courage.also i think no one in the political sphere can be trusted as much.even if u believe they are evil but then isnt the whole indian politics always been about choosing the lesser one?lokpal law may be archaic inefficient and impractical bt certainly better than having the utopian notion of expecting people to awaken one fine day & say no to corruption themselves.
    Sir i am a huge fan of ur blog bt the only bone i have is ur dismissing this great man (my words) as stubborn & adamant.tell me sir what choice does he have?

  121. An interesting observation-Anna Hazare is conviniently grouped with the other farce using attempted humour by calling him ICL(though i fail to get the analogy) opposed to evidence and logical conclusions for others.no attempt is drawn to highlight his credibility.he served actively in war,pressurised change of liquor laws to curb alcohol menace in maharashtra,has played a crucial role in his home village’s development.his anshans,which are a fashionable laughing stock among the intelligensia,have contributed to welfare of maharashtrians and these are verified facts.Despite his imperfections,he has devoted his whole life to the service of the nation and the people by virtue of his sheer grit and selflessness and there is an overwhelming evidence for anyone to compare and contrast.passing laws after winning elections is highly romantic but totally impractical considering the money and muscle power required,so Anna chose to pressure the parliament(to “discuss”janlokpal bill ,even the biggest cynic would agree its way better than other versions,so the whole point of it being undemocratic is hoax).just because he has a zombie like following doesn’t mean the whole movement is sham(although his team have been screaming their lungs off over an year,putting up revisions after revisions and educating people about janlokpal).all he wants is a sincere attempt from our politicians to honestly discuss the bill and then make whatever changes they please.but a simple and tough thing required for that would be swallowing of ego and moving beyond mindless rabid dislike towards him.

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