Friday, October 29, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

                     “SENTENCE  first – VERDICT afterwards” , said the Queen
                 “Nonsense!” said Alice loudly
                 “Off with her head” the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.
(Alice In Wonderland)


Ernesto "Che" Guevara was murdered by the Bolivian army aided overtly by the CIA. That was in the sixties, when the Americans smelt a commie under every bed. Che was shot point blank like the many murders he supervised at the heights of his undiminished longing for revolution and change to the world order.

Neither the Bolivian army nor the CIA in any remote way feigned ignorance and non complicity of direct or indirect involvement in the capture and murder of Che. A strange streak of lack of duplicity from an incessantly wanton organisation of a democratic country!

Here is an extract from the moments of the assassination.
“Moments before Guevara was executed he was asked by a Bolivian soldier if he was thinking about his own immortality. "No", he replied, "I'm thinking about the immortality of the revolution”. When Sergeant Terán entered the hut, Che Guevara then told his executioner, "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man!"Terán hesitated, and then opened fire with his semiautomatic rifle, hitting Guevara in the arms and legs. Guevara writhed on the ground, apparently biting one of his wrists to avoid crying out. Terán then fired several times again, wounding him fatally in the chest at 1:10 pm. In all, Guevara was shot nine times. This included five times in the legs, once in the right shoulder and arm, once in the chest, and finally in the throat”.

That was in 1967, in the Jungles of South America.

The clock moves and it is 1976, the jungles of Wayand, north Kerala.

Another revolutionary and votary of the leftist ideology Naxalite Varghese is captured by the state police and a constable is directed to shoot the captive. The constable complies with the order after a virtual threat from his superior a DySP . The canard is spread that Naxalite Varghese was shot and killed in an encounter.

It took further twenty two years of perhaps agonising self introspection, traumatic and haunting nightmares and depressing insomnia, for the constable Ramachandran Nair to finally succumb at the break point and confess.

The quirk of the fact is that seemingly the CIA displayed apparent transparency in a murder it orchestrated while in another democratic state, Kerala the state police simply lied like cowards and covered it brazen act of injustice and crime.

How many such encounter killings, a euphemism for extra judicial murders, orchestrated by the State happens in India and goes un- reported? The easy route to the elimination and dispatch of inconvenient men and women in a system that proclaims equality before law, diligence and due process in all matters that touch the masses and the society as a whole!

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine". Che Guvera

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Naked Body

The news was reported yesterday  in the Indian press,and also  mentioned in the media in the USA. The incident provoked outrage and anguish among the devout Hindus spread all over, so said the report. The Hindus are offended! And beware the hurt Hindu- he sure will unleash his wrath, he will like Siva be irrepressible when angered.
The news that is thought to have the potential of becoming a holy war is a video that has been released by the Playboy magazine in the US. The video featuring Sarah Jean Underwood performing various yoga postures while naked has hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.They felt hurt at the misuse of a revered system by Playboy for mercantile aims. ‘The racy video used the age old technique as erotica has irked the devout Hindu’.
Well, well sure a meaty meal and fodder for the Bajarangdals and Siva Sainiks!
Curiosity got me to surf the Playboy web site to see the video. There it was a sample clip for free, with Sarha Jean Underwood a young and beautiful model with an unblemished body performing a bit of surya namsakar and few other yoga postures. It was nothing more than a dance number by a beautiful danseuse.. It is provocative, offensive and hurting only if one sees erotica each time a nude body is exhibited. To me the beautiful physique and the video as such was not smut ,but a thing of awe. And I can only see more people taking to yoga.
I do not know of any dress code or otherwise that has to be followed while engaging in practise of yoga, besides practical ones and dresses that can be comfortable. However it is also matter of fact that the Playboy video is a gimmick, a merchandising gimmick like many other matters used in commercialisation and marketing.But then what is unholy in practising yoga in the nude? 


Now, the devout Hindus who were offended by what they term, 'the misuse of an ancient and revered system’, must answer a few questions before they further their rage.

How many of these folks practise yoga and are yogic?
How do they substantiate the explicit sculptures of Khajuraho,( a world heritage site)? And the many sculptures that one can see in many temples of south India that show profusely endowed women bearing their bosoms? Has anybody felt aroused when they circumambulate these temples?
What do they say about the naga sanyasis that one can see in many numbers when one venture to north Indian towns of Allahabad, Rishikesh etc? I found them amusing.But to the zealous Hindus who are now offended ought to be offended looking at these pictures in this post.

If the Taj is a thing of beauty, nudity in sublime form is beauty personified. The longing and the urge to feel peeved and offended is a birth right too. I guess so!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"I Hate to say Goodbye"

Margret Thatcher often described as the strong willed iron lady in the west of the Iron curtain retired long ago. And she, it is reported is suffering from dementia. She is over eighty.Thanks to the US system George Bush Senior was retired by the ballots. Ronald Regan though he died a few years ago after struggling afflicted by Alzheimer’s, was reportedly behaving senile even while in office.When one cover the European continent and reach Asia it is only in India one will find a Prime minister almost into his eightieth year. Though the average employee of the Government here in India is compulsorily retired by sixty, the political ilk and Mr Singh hang on (wonder if till Kingdom come). Understandably Mr Manmohan Singh is a regent and caretaker of the PMO until the young prince can take over the reins.

There is no intent to deprecate and foul Mr Singh's integrity or his academic credentials. It is also acknowledged that he was responsible for jettisoning India out of the limbo of Nehruvian socialism and license Raj where productivity was licensed and also penalised.
But when many of his recent statements and attention to vital issues of national interests are disconcerting and seemingly emanating from a tired mind well then he must go. Mister Prime minister it is time to retire Sat Sri Akal!

Some of Mr Manmohan Singh’s outlandish comments are inconsiderate, myopic and either without gauging the facts behind or caring a damn.
I quote the news in the Hindu in August 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the Union Government to distribute food grains to the needy millions than let it rot in rain in overflowing government warehouses. It was a Suo -moto decision. And a very piquant observation on the Food ministry and the government! The Government  had meanwhile informed the court that 67000 tonnes of food grains have been wasted rotten and not distributed. Angered at this shameful paradox of millions starving and food grains left to rot and waste the Supreme Court ordered the government to distribute the food grains free of cost to the BPL families .To this Mr Manmohan Singh responded exasperatedly that the government cannot distribute food grains free and the Supreme Court should not interfere in policy matters.
Mr Singh’s statement reflected shameful perception and was immoral, it also had no legal substance as letting food grains rot was against the right to life guaranteed by the Fundamental rights of the constitution. Art 21 of the constitution directs the Governments to protect the right to life of every citizen, and no policy can renegade the basic and fundamental rights. A highly irresponsible statement from a Prime minister!

The Hindu dated September 8, 2010 reported that the Prime minister emphasising the economic progress of the country as of paramount concern said, “We cannot solve problems perpetuating poverty in the name of environment. And if mineral wealth of the country cannot be exploited, growth of the economy will be affected. When it comes to poverty eradication, environmental concerns must take the back seat”.
And yet again a bizarre and myopic statement! Was the PM lobbying for the Vedanta, POSCO and other multinational and national conglomerates? Can he provide one example where poverty has been eradicated by virtue of environmental destruction, and dispossession of tribal’s and other locals? The irony is men like Mr Singh who takes decisions on matters that have long term negative implications on environment and society will not be around a few years on to feel and see the demons they have let loose. His statement is unjust to the impoverished millions and to posterity.

 The Hindu dated October 24, 2010 reported another statement of the Prime minister. He said that Naxalites are the biggest threat to the nation. What he forgets is that Naxals are not biological phenomenon. They are social creations of a lopsided, insensitive ,selfish, avaricious economic agenda that was peddled by successive governments ,and that Mr Singh seems to advocate.

Propriety must also include hanging your boots when you cannot discern why you wear them.It is time to bid goodbye.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Legendary "Lungi"

Just as the national bird of Kerala is Mosquito, her national dress is 'Lungi'. Pronounced as 'Lu' as in loo and 'ngi ' as in 'mongey', a lungi can be identified by its floral or window-curtain pattern.  'Mundu' is the white variation of lungi and is worn on special occasions like hartal or bandh days, weddings and Onam. 

 Lungi is simple and 'down to earth' like the mallu wearing it. Lungi is the beginning and the end of evolution in its category. Wearing something on the top half of your body is optional when you are  wearing a lungi. Lungi is a strategic dress. It's like one-size-fits-all bottoms for Keralites.
 The technique of wearing a lungi/mundu is passed on from generation to generation through word of mouth like the British Constitution. If you think it is an easy task wearing it, just try it once! It requires techniques like breath control and yoga that is a notch higher than sudarshan kriya of AOL. A lungi/mundu when perfectly worn won't come off even in a quake of 8 on the Richter scale. A lungi is not attached to the waist using duct tape, staple, rope or Velcro. It's a bit of mallu magic whose formula is a closely guarded secret like the Coca Cola concoction.
 A lungi can be worn 'Full Mast' or 'Half Mast' like a national flag. A ’Full Mast' lungi is when you are showing respect to an elderly or the dead. Wearing it at full mast has lots of disadvantages. A major disadvantage is when a dog runs after you. When you are wearing a lungi/mundu at full mast, the advantage is mainly for the female onlookers who are spared the ordeal of swooning at the sight of hairy and also skinny legs.

 Wearing a lungi 'Half Mast' is when you wear it exposing yourself like those C grade movie starlets. A mallu can play cricket, football or simply run when the lungi is worn at half mast. A mallu can even climb a coconut tree wearing lungi in half mast. "It's not good manners, especially for ladies from decent families, to look up at a mallu climbing a coconut tree"- Confucius (or is it Abdul Kalam?)
 Most mallus do the traditional dance,Kudiyattam. Kudi means drinking alcohol and yattam, spelled as aattam, means random movement of the male body. Note that 'y' is silent. When you are drinking, you drink, there is no 'y'. Any alcohol related "festival" can be enjoyed to the maximum when you are topless with lungi and a towel tied around the head. "Half mast lungi makes it easy to dance and shake legs" says  Candelaria Amaranto, a Salsa teacher from Spain after watching  'kudiyaattam' .
 The 'Lungi Wearing Mallu Union' [LUWMU, pronounced LOVE MU], an NGO which works towards the 'upliftment' of the lungi, strongly disapprove of the Gen -Next tendency of wearing bermudas under the lungi. Bermudas under the lungi are a conspiracy by the CIA. It's a disgrace to see a person wearing bermuda with corporate logos under his lungi. What they don’t know is how much these Corporations are limiting their freedom of movement and expression.

  A mallu wears lungi round the year, all weather, all season. A mallu celebrates winter by wearing a colourful lungi with a floral pattern.
 Lungi provides good ventilation and brings down the heat between legs.  A mallu is genuinely worried of global warming more than anyone else in the world.

  A lungi can be worn any time of the day/night. It doubles as  blanket at night. It also doubles up as a swing, swimwear, sleeping bag, parachute, facemask while entering/exiting toddy shops, shopping basket and water filter while fishing in ponds and rivers. It also has recreational uses like in 'Lungi/mundu pulling',very much like tugging the rope events, a pastime in households having more than one male member. Lungi pulling competitions are held outside toddy shops all over Kerala during Onam and Vishu. When these lungis are decommissioned from service, they become table cloths. Thus the humble lungi is a cradle to grave appendage.

Courtesy Abdul Wahab

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Surreal Experience

It seemed like the inside of a catacomb. Or was it an Egyptian tomb? It was feebly lit; darker perhaps inside- a solitary oil torch seemed to be eternally shimmering.
The air was archaic, the smell was stifling. I wondered how I came about inside there. I moved down the bend the granite walls menacingly pointed at places. They were colder than the mummified cadaver I stumble upon in the semi darkness. Beyond the bend in the tunnel it was darker, as the light thrown from the oil lit lamp was too feeble to reach farther.
I saw ancient trinkets strewn leisurely on the floor, partially covered by the dust and sand. Dust inside a catacomb? I wondered. Looked very much like the inner self of “genteel" world outside from where I wandered in, covered intermittently in dusty sand and corroded too.
I do not know how long I moved around. Deep in there, time seemed to have stood still, comprehension of time was nonexistent. Time ceased to exist. I slowly realised that I was not claustrophobic, I did not feel stifled, though it indeed must be repressing, I failed to feel though!, I did not miss the air outside, or the light of the day.. I felt more at ease in there amongst the mummified kings and queens.

There were many, some were laid on their back. And I felt some seemed to squat as if they held the posture for eons. And some were quite dismissive at my appearance inside there. Yet some seemed to frown the intrusion. Their convoluted faces and limbs seemed to tell that they were unforgiving, for being interned for those many past centuries.
Rattle snakes sans rattle slithered in silence- were they fearful of the mummies?Mummies who have now been constricted and interned for centuries and in temperamental existence. 

I moved into another chamber, then another, and still many other. Each chamber had a paraffin wax torch claiming to be burning to eternity; they were haughty in their statement even with the pale light they threw around.

And the Kings and Queens, perhaps, consorts too resting in perpetual anger. I did not feel fear, did not see the need to flee the way I took to flight from the world outside. But I saw that it was a one way ticket to in there- you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.
I remembered the song I loved much, because it reverberated from far away gently and then vehemently into my nerves and I felt the mummified Kings, Queens and their cohorts were coming alive, “On a dark deserted high way, cool wind in my hair……” 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Why, why offer her right
When cruelly smitten on her left?
Perhaps gather some self respect
turn her cheek and move away
if retaliation is not her will.
I fail to fathom her psyche
I fail to understand, and in anguish I rest.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do we need the Albatross?

Do we need Kashmir?
Why do we carry an albatross now for sixty years and more and with the prospect of carrying it perennially, and to our detriment?
Letting go Kashmir – will it have a domino effect on India? Perhaps yes in some parts of North East with covert and overt interference by China. Will it affect the unity of other states in the Union? Absolutely not! But if the integration of the minds of the people has not happened in almost seven decades since the end of colonial rule and dawn of independence, when will it ever integrate to the idea of one country, INDIA?

So then why hold on to a stretch of land and people who are alienated than ever before and also in the bargain invite terror attacks anywhere in the country, fuel enmity and conflagration risk with Pakistan? The consequences of these factors are dearth of money for development and growth as well as uncertain security.
Kashmir is no more a paradise on earth! In the first instance the paradise was messed by Nehru’s wrong foreign policy of dragging the issue to the UN. And then back tracking on the UN resolutions on plebiscite. The dispute festered all along.The paradise has been messed up by successive governments both in the state and the centre, that now beyond Srinagar it is foreign land for the people living in Kashmir. They call it India like it is China and Pakistan across the borders.

The British were vile and smart to run away with a messy lot of some five hundred plus Princely states. They never expected , nor wanted any kind of unification to happen.Though when compared with the military action in Goa the accession of Jammu and Kashmir was quite legal. It was the prerogative of the ruler of the Principality to accede or be independent.And  he chose to be with the Indian Union.

Can Kashmir be independent or can it guard its independence should it cede from the Union? The Kashmirites have no fascination of being in Pakistan, now with all the Al Qaeda mess in that country, and besides it is now almost a failed State. Though the better bet would be to continue in the Indian Union, the hearts and minds of the people are wounded and alienated. And now they would prefer independence from both India and Pakistan.
How can India handle the situation?
I feel that a plebiscite under UN supervision may be held in Kashmir with the condition that should the plebiscite result favour an independent nation the foreign policy and defence of Kashmir will be controlled by India, like it is with Bhutan and Nepal. This would be a safe guard to Kashmir and will deter China from nosing around. Because when Kashmir is an Independent country,China then can no longer allege that India is illegally occupying the territory. On the western front the only factor that vitiated Indo- Pak relationship will be done with. And Al Qaeda will be partly jobless. The subject of India’s illegal occupation and subjugation of Muslims in Kashmir will no longer be a fodder for the various terror groups. This will help Pakistan to have internal stability and India to save precious money and energy in military campaign against Pakistan.
Once the only bone of contention is cleared, on what will Pakistan see adversity from us? In fact most part of Pakistan except the tribal belt of NWFP, has cultural commonness with Hindi speaking belt of India.

As it was told by the Chief of Indian Army, once the terror threat from Pakistan is negated and the reason neutralized India can be on guard in an efficient way against the unreliable and unfriendly China that has long term eyes on the North East. India- China bhai bhai is Nehruvian folly and a myth. China is mighty economically and militarily and we do not stand a chance should China express aggressive intent.

I wonder if my Brigadier friend sitting and surveying now in Raniket bordering China would comment on this in his capacity as a civilian if protocol permits.