Sunday, April 24, 2011

Musings over Easter Weekend

Sharachandra Govindarao Pawar was a clueless non entity till 1967, until when Y.B Chavan roped him into the then National Congress party. He shot into the State and National lime light after the AICC session in Gawhati in 1969. His growth through the State and the echelons at the Center are absolutely amazing. So is the booty, the wealth he amassed. He is alleged ( alleged because until one can be proved guilty) to have close links with the underworld Don, Dawood. He  has a finger in every pie! The recent price turbulence of onion, cotton, the past rise in prices of sugar, the IPL plunder, the Lavas deals, were all it is alleged, masterminded by him, in cahoots with the hoarders, accomplices and barons of sleaze..Remember he was also the defence minister ! He has the rare success in presiding over the ministry of agriculture when he ensured that there was maximum number of farmer suicides in India.His attitude towards the peril of debt ridden farmers and their plight was insensate, and hardhearted.  His nexus with big fertiliser Corporations is a known matter. And recently he has gone on record that India must export food grains and let the food grain market be opened to international trading. Remember this when we are still with a massive percentage of the population below poverty levels. And public distribution is still inadequate and inefficient in most states.He gloated over food grains rotting in warehouses.Reminds us in total of the Emperors of the ancient who presided over vast lands and playing fiddle when men and women in thousands lay famished and their life ebbing away.

And finally, now he has refused a blanket ban on the toxic pesticide Endosulfan ,citing trivial and frivolous reasons. He is blinded to the fact of  its lethal and  biologically mutating nature. And, is as expected seconded by the pliable spineless Prime minister we have.  Do each citizen of this country have to taste a teaspoon of Endosulfan to determine the greater effect it will have on the general population for it to be banned? Indeed he is the brand ambassador for Endosulfan.And it is rubbish and naive to expect anything from him that is inimical to the manufacturers of toxins.

The man is seventy plus and has amassed much wealth that would amaze even the Gods. And he still craves for more for more....! His appetite and lust for wealth will belittle the ravens craving for meal.
His contorted face,which is  facially paralytic , evokes contempt, revulsion and distress.

None will touch him, because in the present government he holds the deck of cards ( MPs)to derail the government. And the power of wealth  will not let nemesis near him."The chickens will not come back to roost".


Gods own country has now something new to offer. "Cesarean Mella".
The report of two gynecologists in a hospital in Alleppy performing twenty one cesarean sections in two days is certainly a boost to the tourism’ possibilities in the state of Kerala. It may also  assist  a rare entry into the annals of the Guinness book.
Yet again a section of the fraternity of ( Physicians) have proved that ethics, morality, compassion and the wisdom Hippocratic oath inspire  is trivialised and rubbished.

“I SWEAR by Apollo the physician, Aesculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgement, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation.
To reckon............, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give a woman a pessary to produce abortion.
WITH PURITY AND WITH HOLINESS I will pass my life and practice my Art............,Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves”.
 WHILE I CONTINUE to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times! But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot".

It is said that the two doctors were haste fully wanting to depart for the Easter weekend vacation. And they did not want calls at odd times to ruin their merriment over Easter weekend. Caesarean sections were performed on hapless women whose gestation period was still two weeks and more away to reach a full cycle. And now the inadequate facility at the hospital will have to bear another twenty one unenviable new born. A threat or possibility of infections and complications can be imagined. Disconcerting indeed!

Kerala has a third of child births through caesarean section. While the all India average is just 8 percent. And WHO recommended figure 15 percent.
Hallelujahs  to the Gynaecologists !

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Std V , Government Model High School

This incident must have happened in 1970. The place was Government Model High School, Thpuram. I do not remember even one  instance since that day when I have confided this matter to any friends or people at close quarters. The matter was certainly grave to spill it to ones parents. But then those were the days, the times, the childhood days where the School Master was divine and anything he does was providentially accepted. To complain or lament at home about a day at school or an inappropriate behavior of a master was certain to invite reprimand. I’m certain that none of my classmates who were victims of the wired punishment that day four decades ago would have forgotten that or dared to confide the matter.

I had moved out of the Holy Angels Convent where I had my early formative primary schooling (kindergarten to IV STD) and was admitted to the Government Model High School which then was the foremost among institutions. And I was in strange, bossy, rough terrain a far cry from the school managed by nuns.

The class was STD V, E division. Male tutors were frightening, scarier than the ladies and nuns who managed class in the Convent and corporal punishments were a common fact those days. Krishnan Nair a diminutive, slightly bald headed teacher was authorised to teach us the second language, Malayalam and Social Studies. We were daily directed to write in a two line book, two pages of Malayalam. This was with the intent to better our hand writing. Krishna Nair called us each to his table at the head of the class room and surveyed our home work of “two line writing”. He began reprimanding the ones whose writing was not good. Boys were literally shivering when they noticed the form of punishment he meted out for poor writing. I do not recall what went through my mind waiting for my turn. Finally I was called to his table. He opened my book and surveyed tapping quite sadistically the cane he held in one hand .It was not the caning which frightened us. And, because in his scheme of punishment caning was dispensed that day. He looked at me with a wry smile and began his short sarcastic reprimand. Then, like he did to the boys before me, put his hand under my trouser and started gleefully pinching the skin of the testes. His long clawed finger nails, I remember went deep into the supple skin. I writhed in pain and involuntarily lifted one leg. The torture I guess went on for a while. Then he caned my bottom and sent me to my bench.

The pain of the cruel act and most of all the shame and the ignominy of that man doing that on us put us down considerably. There were quite a few boys who escaped the infliction and they were giggling in hushed laughter. But nobody, I understand went home with the story and no parents turned up with any report against Mr. Krishnan Nair.
I do not know if Mr. Nair had any condition that prompted that perverted penalization, or if he was fascinated with such distasteful attitude. However no repetition of the incident happened.

I wonder if he is alive this day. If he is he must be in his seventies.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Must Read Lecture- "Harold Pinter"

Harold Pinter, Oct 30, 1930 – 24 December 2008), was an English playwright, screenwriter, actor, theatre director, poet, left -wing political activist,and Nobel laureate He was one of the most influential and imitated of modern British dramatists. Pinter's writing career spanned over 50 years and produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches, and letters. The excerpts from his Nobel  speech, please gather time to not leave this unread.

Nobel Lecture

 There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.'
I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?
Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other and are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand and then it slips through your fingers and is lost…………………………
Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into …this territory. Politicians on the evidence available to us are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.
As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Qaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.
The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.
But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.
Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities and the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.
But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.
Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.
The tragedy of Nicaragua was a highly significant case. I choose to offer it here as a potent example of America's view of its role in the world, both then and now.
I was present at a meeting at the US embassy in London in the late 1980s.
The United States Congress was about to decide whether to give more money to the Contras in their campaign against the state of Nicaragua. I was a member of a delegation speaking on behalf of Nicaragua but the most important member of this delegation was a Father John Metcalf. The leader of the US body was Raymond Seitz (then number two to the ambassador, later ambassador himself). Father Metcalf said: 'Sir, I am in charge of a parish in the north of Nicaragua. My parishioners built a school, a health centre, a cultural centre. We have lived in peace. A few months ago a Contra force attacked the parish. They destroyed everything: the school, the health centre, the cultural centre. They raped nurses and teachers, slaughtered doctors, in the most brutal manner. They behaved like savages. Please demand that the US government withdraw its support from this shocking terrorist activity.'
Raymond Seitz had a very good reputation as a rational, responsible and highly sophisticated man. He was greatly respected in diplomatic circles. He listened, paused and then spoke with some gravity. 'Father,' he said, 'let me tell you something. In war, innocent people always suffer.' There was a frozen silence. We stared at him. He did not flinch.
Innocent people, indeed, always suffer.
Finally somebody said: 'But in this case "innocent people" were the victims of a gruesome atrocity subsidised by your government, one among many. If Congress allows the Contras more money further atrocities of this kind will take place. Is this not the case? Is your government not therefore guilty of supporting acts of murder and destruction upon the citizens of a sovereign state?'
Seitz was imperturbable. 'I don't agree that the facts as presented support your assertions,' he said.
As we were leaving the Embassy a US aide told me that he enjoyed my plays. I did not reply.
I should remind you that at the time President Reagan made the following statement: 'The Contras are the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.'
The United States supported the brutal Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua for over 40 years. The Nicaraguan people, led by the Sandinistas, overthrew this regime in 1979, a breathtaking popular revolution.
The Sandinistas weren't perfect. They possessed their fair share of arrogance and their political philosophy contained a number of contradictory elements. But they were intelligent, rational and civilised. They set out to establish a stable, decent, pluralistic society. The death penalty was abolished. Hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken peasants were brought back from the dead. Over 100,000 families were given title to land. Two thousand schools were built. A quite remarkable literacy campaign reduced illiteracy in the country to less than one seventh. Free education was established and a free health service. Infant mortality was reduced by a third. Polio was eradicated.
The United States denounced these achievements as Marxist/Leninist subversion. In the view of the US government, a dangerous example was being set. If Nicaragua was allowed to establish basic norms of social and economic justice, if it was allowed to raise the standards of health care and education and achieve social unity and national self respect, neighbouring countries would ask the same questions and do the same things. There was of course at the time fierce resistance to the status quo in El Salvador.
I spoke earlier about 'a tapestry of lies' which surrounds us. President Reagan commonly described Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon'. This was taken generally by the media, and certainly by the British government, as accurate and fair comment. But there was in fact no record of death squads under the Sandinista government. There was no record of torture. There was no record of systematic or official military brutality. No priests were ever murdered in Nicaragua. There were in fact three priests in the government, two Jesuits and a Maryknoll missionary. The totalitarian dungeons were actually next door, in El Salvador and Guatemala. The United States had brought down the democratically elected government of Guatemala in 1954 and it is estimated that over 200,000 people had been victims of successive military dictatorships.
Six of the most distinguished Jesuits in the world were viciously murdered at the Central American University in San Salvador in 1989 by a battalion of the Alcatl regiment trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. That extremely brave man Archbishop Romero was assassinated while saying mass. It is estimated that 75,000 people died. Why were they killed? They were killed because they believed a better life was possible and should be achieved. That belief immediately qualified them as communists. They died because they dared to question the status quo, the endless plateau of poverty, disease, degradation and oppression, which had been their birthright.
The United States finally brought down the Sandinista government. It took some years and considerable resistance but relentless economic persecution and 30,000 dead finally undermined the spirit of the Nicaraguan people. They were exhausted and poverty stricken once again. The casinos moved back into the country. Free health and free education were over. Big business returned with a vengeance. 'Democracy' had prevailed.
But this 'policy' was by no means restricted to Central America. It was conducted throughout the world. It was never-ending. And it is as if it never happened.
The United States supported and in many cases engendered every right wing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the Second World War. I refer to Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, and, of course, Chile. The horror the United States inflicted upon Chile in 1973 can never be purged and can never be forgiven.
Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.
I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It's a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, 'the American people', as in the sentence, 'I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.'
It's a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. The words 'the American people' provide a truly voluptuous cushion of reassurance. You don't need to think. Just lie back on the cushion. The cushion may be suffocating your intelligence and your critical faculties but it's very comfortable. This does not apply of course to the 40 million people living below the poverty line and the 2 million men and women imprisoned in the vast gulag of prisons, which extends across the US.
The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant. It also has its own bleating little lamb tagging behind it on a lead, the pathetic and supine Great Britain.
What has happened to our moral sensibility? Did we ever have any? What do these words mean? Do they refer to a term very rarely employed these days - conscience? A conscience to do not only with our own acts but to do with our shared responsibility in the acts of others? Is all this dead? Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention. It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'. Do we think about the inhabitants of Guantanamo Bay? They are news - a small item on page six of news paers.. They have been consigned to a no man's land from which indeed they may never return. At present many are on hunger strike, being force-fed, including British residents. No niceties in these force-feeding procedures. No sedative or anesthetic. Just a tube stuck up your nose and into your throat. You vomit blood. This is torture. What has the British Foreign Secretary said about this? Nothing. What has the British Prime Minister said about this? Nothing. Why not? Because the United States has said: to criticise our conduct in Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly act. You're either with us or against us.
The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading - as a last resort - all other justifications having failed to justify themselves - as liberation. A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people!
We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.
How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice. But Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore if any American soldier or for that matter politician finds himself in the dock Bush has warned that he will send in the marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the Court and is therefore available for prosecution. We can let the Court have his address if they're interested. It is Number 10, Downing Street, London.
Death in this context is irrelevant. Both Bush and Blair place death well away on the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. 'We don't do body counts,' said the American general Tommy Franks.
Early in the invasion there was a photograph published on the front page of British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. 'A grateful child,' said the caption. A few days later there was a story and photograph, on an inside page, of another four-year-old boy with no arms. His family had been blown up by a missile. He was the only survivor. 'When do I get my arms back?' he asked. The story was dropped. Well, Tony Blair wasn't holding him in his arms, nor the body of any other mutilated child, nor the body of any bloody corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your shirt and tie when you're making a sincere speech on television.
The 2,000 American dead are an embarrassment. They are transported to their graves in the dark. Funerals are unobtrusive, out of harm's way. The mutilated rot in their beds, some for the rest of their lives. So the dead and the mutilated both rot, in different kinds of graves.
Here is an extract from a poem by Pablo Neruda, 'I'm Explaining a Few Things':
And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.
Jackals that the jackals would despise
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate.
Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives.
see my dead house,
look at broken Spain:
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.
And you will ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land.
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!*
Let me make it quite clear that in quoting from Neruda's poem I am in no way comparing Republican Spain to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. I quote Neruda because nowhere in contemporary poetry have I read such a powerful visceral description of the bombing of civilians.
I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.
The United States now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, with the honourable exception of Sweden, of course. We don't quite know how they got there but they are there all right.
The United States possesses 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads. Two thousand are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. It is developing new systems of nuclear force, known as bunker busters. The British, ever cooperative, are intending to replace their own nuclear missile, Trident. Who, I wonder, are they aiming at? Osama bin Laden? You? Me? Joe Dokes? China? Paris? Who knows? What we do know is that this infantile insanity - the possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons - is at the heart of present American political philosophy. We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it.
Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.
I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.
'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it.'
A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don't have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection - unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician.
IWhen we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From the Trivandrum Club

Spirits are known to provoke consumers to enter the arena of spiritual, philosophical and political discussions, often plummeting into arguments. And it is best that is avoided, else the soothing qualities of even the finest of Single Malt will be desecrated.

Three of us, I, A (my b-in-law) and a friend of mine T, got together at the club yesterday evening. Sitting in the air-conditioned bar away from the big screen outside on the lawn which displayed live the IPL match, I and T were as usual engaged in the oft discussed topic that is generally the subject when some of us meet. Because, it is so stupid and funny, that it is a better substitute to any exhaustive subject which would not assist any relaxation. After all it gives a good feel when we think like teenagers and when we know that we are half a century old.

But yesterday the discussion bordered around the elections, the probabilities and possibilities of the candidates in the polls.T, though he has comparable outlook and opinion about things in general, is certainly directed by a conservative mindset .The discussion about the candidate from our assembly constituency was brought up by one of us. And when I and A, preferred the LDF supported independent candidate to win, more because not only is he a better person, but the other resembles a lineage of graft, sleaze, innuendos, corruption, nepotism and money power. Also he has a sickening history of defections. He is the progeny of the notorious  chief minister Kerala had. T was quite upset and disagreeing. He kept repeating that his man was better and he can do things. And if his father was corrupt, he had also brought about developmental changes to the State. He also opined that we must look towards the states like Bihar, Orissa and Gujarat, that have done exceptionally well in areas of change and development. He picked the change that has come about in Modi’s Gujarat as an illustration. I contended that it is foolhardy and criminal to applaud the so called development that Modi is credited with and which he uses deftly to camouflage the parochial agenda he professes and ethnic/religious cleansing that is his plank. We asked him in what way Modi was different from Adolf Hitler, when it came to the head count and systematic decimation of the minorities? And now with the UPA bludgeoned by its own filth there is an ominous possibility that Narendra Modi, as candidate for PM should the BJP win the next general elections. T, insisted that the news purveyed about Modi’s cleansing act and the slaughter in the riots a decade ago was highly exaggerated. Now let me put across that T, is no fanatic Hindu or an activist of the rightwing VHP etc. He was born into a Roman Catholic family and is a regular church goer. A guy you will not dislike, a witty character and he does not gossip or spread canard about the other. In fact he avoids such situation where someone approaches him with malice or gossip.

Coming back to the support for the candidate from our constituency in Trivandrum, T was rather peeved about our points, but would not let go or admit. He understood that his statements did not carry much and he found our points rather difficult to refute. However it was timidly revealed by him that his parish church had organized a felicitation for this candidate. And the church had issued a diktat, a pastoral letter to the flock that this man must be voted to the Assembly.

I went home wondering why an educated man like T, could not break the shackles imposed from outside and use his faculties to decide on matters such as this. Why get led by a group of Prelates with various agendas and motives. After all it is the very same philosophy that decried the “liberation theology” practised in Latin America, against the US led insular regimes in the last century and it is also the very same imperious outlook that refuse to whole heartedly condemn the atrocities subsequent to the great voyages of Christopher Columbus and Vasco- da- Gama, the Inquisition and the Crusades. And as recent as a year ago this philosophy and thinking ensured that no solace, comfort or benefaction was provided to Professor T.J.Joseph of Newman College, whose limbs were chopped off by a group of well organized thugs driven by Islamic religious fanaticism.

Conceptual acceptance, as it is seen here, is something I find quite difficult to understand as it belittle or ignores reason, thought and decision. On the brighter side, perhaps, it is because opinions are as diverse as it is that there seems to be an enjoyable zest to life! And I guess one cannot shut out oneself to another person, only because he has a different opinion. May be some day the twain shall meet!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zen & the Art of Motor-cycle Maintenance.

Coming back to the city where I was born and lived the initial twenty and one years of my life and being here now for almost four months on the trot, I decided to look back into the initial days of my life here in Thiruvananthapuram. Since leaving this city in 1982, I have not lived here for more than a few days on the trot. Any trips back to this city have been for brief time  lasting at the most three days. Consequently, though I did notice the change that has been happening here, to the roads and lanes, to the trees and the once prolific population of birds, the cleanliness that was vivid, the once sparse traffic , the classic architecture, buildings with history ,atmosphere , life and beauty and most of all the people who dwell here.

I rewound back to those years three decades ago and decided to reminisce about the men and women who lived in my neighbourhood, who have walked their life into the sunset. And Doctor Antony’s recent post instantly reminded me about the story of the man who lived may be a hundred meters across my house.
He was an officer of the Constabulary,but known more for his off uniform feats. It must have been in the mid seventies and his “Norton” motor –bike was perhaps the avant-garde in a town which only had the antediluvian “java” , “Lambretta”, a “Rajdoot” and the Royal Enfield Bullet . For some, together with his Norton motor-bike, he was a sex symbol.He was a kind of an iconic figure physically and riding his motor bike, he ensured that he dispersed the air with imperiousness and arrogance. He was the coach of the wrestling aspirants at the gym. I remember him dancing, pulling off his shirt in drunken revelry when the news about Mrs Indira Gandhi’s election defeat came across the official display board at the Central stadium,( that was in 1977).

Now, he was a fantastic swimmer too. And he used to volunteer and pick young boys and supposedly took them in his tutelage, be it on the wrestling mat or in the swimming pool. He had this preference for young boys who were into their teens or in their adolescence.

He did not know me in person, nor did he know that I was living near his house. He might have noticed me at the gym and at the pool. But since I was not keen about wrestling, was not eager for a swimming coach and was comfortable watching him from the distance, I never came to his proximity. He was regular at the swimming pool in the evenings by 6. He used to venture in, in his swim trunks and walk around the fifty meter long pool, bare- chested and like a rogue Elephant conscious of the awe he has created. He enjoyed  exhibiting his naked torso and only with the protective cover of his swim trunk. He ventures into the pool and does a few laps of nonstop free style, breast and back stroke, before floating around in the water observing others in the water. He had this acrobatic way of slicing the water with his palm, sending up a wave of water as from a wide jet stream. It was, I understood his way of stamping his presence. By then, usually the flood lights of the pool would be shut off except for one, sending shadows across most part of the pool.
One day we happened to engage in a conversation while we were leaving the pool. And I answered  his queries about my school /college etc.He had come there in his vintage Studebaker car and he offered to give me a hitch –hike to the city center.Though I politely thanked him and tried to move on, he insisted that it was not a problem for him and he also lived near the city center.While we moved on I told him that he could drop me near his house and I lived near by. Anxiously, (I felt), he asked me where near his house I lived. I told him the ancestral name and also told him that I understood that he was the college mate of my maternal uncle. I do not remember much conversation after that.He dropped me where I wanted to be dropped and went on his way. I do not remember him showing any signs of acquaintance or acknowledgement thereafter, whenever and wherever we have met.

Epilogue- My telling him about ancestral house etc was a kind of a defensive tact which in fact ensured that he did not invite me to join his shady idiosyncrasies. Though I have had heard many exploits of his and his enticing young boys for homosexual acts, I was not convinced until I saw myself one evening. It was at the swimming pool and the lights were going off. There were only a few of us in the pool. This boy may be aged fifteen hurriedly swam past me and got out of the pool. I had noticed him quietly being held and putatively coached by our man, in the far corner of the swimming pool.Now,I could see him clearly in the shadow of the lone flood light. While he got out, with a blushed appearance, I saw that his member was erect and he was trying to avoid others seeing the erection through his swim suit. Our gentleman has had homosexual routine with him. When I confided this to another person there, he giggled and said that the  officer was a infamous homophile as well as straight.

A few years down from then, I heard that this man had a cerebral hemorrhage, and died instantly. .

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A small Riposte

I love brick bats and derogatory comments against my view points. But if these were enhanced with substantial points and reasoning of the opposite view, the whole process of airing on the Blog would be much thrilling and great. But when one wears blinkers and one is audaciously obstinate to open ones eyes, when one is fearful of the light, well then can we ask for anything better? Faith is not an inviolable or an absolute notion or subject. It better be substantiated, lest it may be classified with superstition and hearsay. And if faith is hurt and offended because of a contrary opinion, see how fragile faith itself is! Though I agree that one has the right to stick to faith

I wish that there were a dozen apostles, god men, alive and who could at the drop of the hat change the world. The miseries, the fear, sufferings, poverty, hunger, diseases, death, wars, destruction, the list wish can grow. If only the Gurus, the Bhagawans, the Saints, the Majis, the Swamis could get together around a table and eradicate and banish once for all, the list of bane I mentioned! Until then it is difficult and impossible to be convinced about the incarnate forms they are, or to be convinced about the sorcery and magic they connive.
The great ones who have passed through this world and some who are still amongst us do not stake claim for greatness, immortality or Godliness. They have not and do not play intrigue and stage tricks on us. They have lived their life in full and have not yearned or craved for physical immortality. But we and generations to come will notice the noble deeds they did without the trappings of pomp, godliness and magic. And certainly they are the Gods we have to bow to.
Now please read interesting comments on my views on the SaiBaba.

To Mr. anil,

There exists thin line between superstition and faith...having said that what is faith to me cud be superstion to some one else..but i beleive what i see..not unverified allegations from closed minded people..all said..whether aged or not, when some one close to you is not well..any one feels such it is very important to be cautious and to note that we dont disrespect others faith...u say sai baba is fooling my opinion you are fooling people by by writing unverified (which never happening) events..good luck dude..keep writing takers here.. Ganesh


I believe that people like Anil has to voice themselves for attention sake!They don't have a view to express, they can only be loud and can only remind us of likes of Rakhi Sawant!

Very simply he could have kept his view and expression of speech to his blog or to his like minded people, but Nah! how can we expect a likes of Rakhi Sawant to not to indulge in the acts of bragging! 

We are people of mental strength, we should completely avoid even replying to such people!! 

Especially when we all here to celebrate the man, the bhagvan and his life, my guru! ( Signature)

Mr. anil..

to question is anybody's right..but to say bad things about someone who has transformed lives of millions of ppl positively is somthing really sad..check out this link to know (a glimpe) of what baba has done to society ..

also, can you proudly say if you have changed a 100 ppl's life atleast positively? if not, what credibility we have to talk of somoone who is respected by so many..even if you want to criticize get the facts and proof..dont keep yelling.. 

, too agree with the Swapna. Media has no work other than finding some news and making them sensational by including anything in it. So, i too, request every reader believe what she is saying and do not listen and act on media sayings' blindly.  Ganesh

Mr Anil..

pls look at the faith the person who has written the blog has on Sri Satya Sai..Millions of us feel the same way the blogger feels..i think ppl like Anilkurup need to learn to respect others faith and thats is what secularity is all comment like anil in such a sensitive suituation is the height of sadistic mentality..i studied ther for 7 yrs..Sai baba is the means more to me than my parents..hope sense dwans on you Mr anil..Thxs  Ganesh

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


A few years ago, I and C made a visit to a house of a very near relative. His wife saw us at the door and in her usual pompous style took us in. She announced that we were lucky to have them there in the house because they had to make a last minute change to their programme of journey to Puttaparathi (SaiBaba’s abode).She was in her own description a devotee of the Baba.And she attributes all her money, her collection of gold jewellery to the blessings and will of the man she calls God- “SaiBaba”. But she did not discuss or comment as to why the Baba’s prowess was ineffective when it came to her chronic diabetes and acute hypertension and that she has to constantly pour out as much money she throws after gold and diamonds after her medical bill too.

She informed us that they had to postpone their travel to Puttaparathi because SaiBaba tripped and fell in his bath and was advised rest by his doctors and also had cast on one of his limbs which fractured in the fall.
We were seated in their sprawling living room, when she summoned C into the pooja room. C winked at me to follow her as both of us were getting bored by the lady’s grandiloquent oration of her wealth and of her divine unionism with this sorcerer SaiBaba ,( oh apologise- incarnation of god).She wanted to show us a miracle that the Baba brought to her pooja room that morning. Sitting in Puttaparathi or rather laying in his bed with a fractured limb, he through remote conduct brought “vibhoothi” (sacred ash) into the pooja room in Chennai. She showed us a handful of ash lying at the foot of the huge portrait of the Baba , kept in the pooja room. We, out of ennui and forced politeness nodded to all that she wanted to convince us.
Soon, we left the house after some parting pleasantries to her and her husband. Outside the gate we could not hold back our gleeful laughter at what is called faith, which people like her are obstinate about and are intoxicated with. C in passing said that we ought to have asked the lady why SaiBaba could not fix his fracture with his divine powers while he could bring in the holy ash into the pooja room, and while he has many times over picked out Rolex watches, laddus and Siva lingams from the void.

And, back to the present-since the past few days there has been information in the news papers and TV channels that SaiBaba is critically ill and his vital parameters are not showing great response to medication. Yes what else can one expect while in the late twilight of life and when one is eight seven or so? And to the ardent fans, devotees of this “holy man”, SaiBaba, I do not hesitate to ask, why is the fact of nature and natural laws of mortality slowly tightening the noose around this man? Why is it so if he were God and an incarnate? Why could he not use his miracles and mystical powers to extricate from the laws of Nature? Remember, myth and legend has it that Sree Krishna was transported to heaven in flesh and blood after being stung by the arrow of the hunter. He did not die like ordinary men and leave his physical body. But, why, is SaiBaba bedridden and at the mercy of medicines and doctors to sustain his life a little longer. Could he not use his sorcery that he is famous (infamous) for and extricate himself from the agony of illness, old age and death that will soon happen to him ,like it will to all of us one day?

This post is to throw questions and not to encourage beliefs for the sake of faith, supernatural or superstitions. The label of “apostate” has more sheen than the pseudonym of “gullible”. Hiding behind attributed mirages, calling things inviolable and matters of faith is the easiest way to enact a “Houdini”, a great escape from reality and inconvenient questions, answers and facts. The proverbial tree of apples in the Garden of Eden was a cunning ploy to ensure “man” never questions and is tethered. The ploy seems to be working in various ways, the most effective being “fear”.

The incorrigible ones will argue that the Baba is God because he has established many avenues and foundations of charity and philanthropy. They may pin point the hi-tech and super speciality hospitals where the needy can harbour. The schools and universities in his name, so on and so forth!
But is the tag of mystic, performer of miracles and magic, divine incarnate and a life in the vulgarism of opulence, a necessity to convey the message of love, peace, and caring for the needy? Certainly not  and a humble soul like the late Mother Theresa is a perfect example.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 2,2011

In the present times in this country when it is starved of “HEROES” and accomplishments that would bring pride, the decimation of the oppositions in the ICC World Cup was savoring and delightful. Individual accomplishments in their own spheres are not many that we can boast about, at least in the times from the not so distant past. The magnificence of a Sachin Tendulkar and the team India, the tenacity of Sania Newal, the never say die spirit of Leander Paes, the rise from nothingness of a P.T.Usha are but a few that comes to mind.The country has to eventually harbour on its individuals who excelled in the arena of sports, when all seem to be lost if not going down the abyss else where, be it politics, public or social life.

I was cocooned in the air-conditioned comfort of the sprawling ball room of Trivandrum Club with a few friends and our families watching with varying emotions and moods the WC final last Saturday on the huge screen that was specially erected. It brought back memories of that June night in 1983, when a dozen of us got together at a friend's house here in Trivandrum to watch the David vs Goliath finals of the Prudential Cup. Those days only a few house holds had Television sets and in color. Since there were no separate Sports channels then, we had to agonisingly tune into the BBC for the match progression, while Doordarshan enamored itself with the Samachars and News in English. And robbing us off the sensations at Lords!

Tendulkar being scooped by the odd man with odd hair and odd action sent us into almost terminal shock. The gradual but tenacious recouping of the match from then on , the measured but composed frontal assault by the captain M.S.Dhoni and the eventual  dispatch of the cricket ball that saw India lift the World Cup was a befitting end if not shall I hope the beginning of a different India, a India that stutters for resurgence?

However standing along with the rest in that room that day and applauding amidst the vociferous yells of “Bharth Mahan” and “Vande Mataram” took away to some extent, the sheen of the win. It was after all a game, a game for civilised people! The hollers and cries of “Vande Mataram” reminded me of the war cries with the very same catchwords by the kar-sevaks atop the Babari Masjid and the sword wielding arsonists in Gujart.

 Verbal descriptions of cynic, faultfinder, sceptic and much more if any will not be hurting as the unwarranted and wild invocations that was made after the memorable win.

Driving back home through the revelry on the road I felt that at last we have something rightfully worthy to exult and  relish amidst the money laundering and sleaze that this country has come to be known for. And the din of that realization will take a while to settle down or be eclipsed. Until then, “Go India Go…..”!