The one without the birds (just an angry Indian)

I often prefer the company of birds to people. But I take great pleasure in spreading the love I have for the winged ones. And I reckon that this world of ours could always use more love.

Not today though.

I have neither poetry nor birds to show you. If you are looking for love right here and now, please come back again tomorrow. There will be feathers, songs and happiness.

But today, I am just the bile duct of a disgruntled Indian.

Chennai

It hasn’t been a good month for us.

On July 30 2015, the Indian government  executed Yakum Memom for his role in the 1993 Bombay bombings.

Death penalty isn’t an easy topic to discuss in public spaces. Not even in social circles. People have strong opinions about it one way or the other. Those against it are branded as either crazed liberals or stereotypical contrarians and anti-authoritarians. Fiery accusations are thrown about how it is akin to siding with terrorists, pedophiles and rapists.

Chennai

Historically though, the death penalty verdict has been implemented in India amid a myriad of social biases and legal guffaws. As Indians, we are privy to governmental buffoonery on a daily basis. A large percentage of the population, I would assume, instinctively doesn’t trust the government. Whether traffic rules, tax deductions or even the electoral process.

Yet so many find it fit to leave the act of taking a human life in a system this corrupt amd biased.

Chennai

As Billie Holiday once crooned about state-sponsored inhumanity, there’s “blood on the leaves and blood at the root”. At the heart of the Indian legal system, there lies a manipulative monster. One that breathes seductively about nationalism and whispers in our ears that death penalty isn’t murder; that it is merely a perfunctory kill-switch button whenever threatened by particular communities.

Maybe some of us still look at it that way. But I hope we can see the blood on our hands. Smell the death in the air. Sense the hope in humanity slipping away. The monster is not on our side, ladies and gentlemen. It would mean we are monsters too.

N Jayaram, a reputed journalist and a dear friend, has written explicitly on this matter

Death penalty: the Indian authorities’ incredible myopia

How India hanged a poor watchman whose guilt was far from established

Chennai

That’s not all though. In its continued “fight” against sex crimes, the Indian government has banned access to 857 pornographic websites.  Yes, pornography. A sticky habit which has kept plenty of perverts – single and married – inside closed doors, is now allegedly banned. Apparently local internet service providers have received notice from the Department of Telecommunications to block pornographic content. And sex is still a very dirty word in India.

A timeline of Internet censorship

Next up, it will solve the national water crisis by asking us to start peeing in public.

Chennai

A list of things the Indian government will ban in the future

  • Any kind of sexual activity without intent to bear children or propagate misogyny
  • Employment for candidates with degrees in liberal arts
  • Availability of housing facilities for unmarried 30+ year olds
  • Books and films which promote freewill
  • Secularism

A list of things it will allow in the name culture and tradition

  • Patriarchal laws and customs in relation to education, employment and land ownership
  • Marital rape
  • Marginalization of Dalit communities
  • Cultural monopoly of art based on class / caste
  • State-sponsored murder

(Photographs – Chennai)

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48 comments

      1. Yeah you are rite. !! I am still having the after-effects of writing a post about indian women on my blog and I guess I was only thinking along those lines. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks D. This really came from outta nowhere. Someone had told me and i thought it was a prank.

      Ipsos, the company that ran the survey, has a tagline that goes "nobody's unpredictable".

      You, me, a katana blade, their headquarters.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Honest Piece! I think, in India…every damn iniquity is welcome under the societal tags, farmed by few men. Right from the birth…women are cooked to be served for the so called other families…she is hammered to fit into others’ frozen frames. Rightly said…mother and daughter are turned to multi-tasking second-class citizens. To be numbered under citizens..they have to considered humans…unfortunately…that is not the case even. Son is taught to respect only his mother and sister and allowed to ogle at rest of other mothers and sisters…….yet often boasted of its rich culture.
    Thanks for sharing such thought provoking post, Chris.
    Stay Peaceful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This here is why I have hope that something better is going to happen, albeit a few decades down the road is going to end up making a difference in the lives of women in India.

    Accepting the problem is half way through solving it, its good that now, instead of shunning away or shushing and talking in timid whispers people are showing solidarity towards women, loudly, be it one person at a time.

    This made my day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. in agreement and all, comrade. one thing though – while accepting reality is really important, I see it slow people down more than set a spark in them (myself included). it’s as though they feel that they have done enough by just knowing what’s wrong in India and talking about it. Do-ers are sadly the lack of the hour. But I’ll share the optimism you’ve brought in, and hope for a saner future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true, I’m on a Facebook break because people pass stupid comments about gender equality, everyone wants to pitch in their two cents but only at the cost of getting likes and not doing anything substantial.
        I say start small, you don’t need to join an NGO or start a revolution, whenever you see a women getting harassed or teased at, speak up, make noise and try to instill fear in the minds of the abuser and confidence in the victim. By the way I somehow feel the need to clarify here that when I talk about people doing something, its both the men and women. Lots of times I have seen women stand and act like mute spectators which ticks me off, big time.
        Sorry for the rant..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As a frequent visitor to your country, not as a tourist, but as someone who gets out of town into villages and meets many living under the weight of poverty and illness, kids as indentured labourers, farmers tied to multinationals never getting ahead, often suiciding, etc, I can only agree with you. I have also met wonderful people working in villages around the country, creating livelihoods and dignity, others fighting giants for basic rights ( see the Mehndiganj fight for groundwater against CocaCola) . I love India and her people, but am very saddened by so much that happens there, but also see that ordinary people are making a difference. Thanks for the metaphysical fist-pumping! It is people like you and other great activists doing their best in their little bit of the country that give me great hope that India will somehow correct itself. But there is much to do – from the top down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks for sharing your experiences, beverly. i do agree that hope floats here. i’m no activist as i barely put in the time and the efforts to make a real difference. and from an overall perspective, i’m of the opinion that things have reached a point of no return, but i can neither stop complaining nor contributing to someone else’s tireless efforts. i guess people like me are a part of the problem as much as we want to be solutions.

      as you rightfully said though, there are people doing such wonderful things here, losing so much for the sake of getting at least a little back that i cannot be without hope. like someone once sang, “as if a heart beat wasn’t enough”

      thanks for stopping by again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sincerely hope you are wrong about the point of no return! But indeed, things seem very dark in many places. I have spoken to many people in India – I especially like speaking to young people who can see what’s going on & have ambition to make changes. I have also spoken to friends who make me shake my head in disbelief at the embedded racism in some of their comments. I hope it doesn’t take a revolution to do so, but one wonders how to clean up so much dirty stuff…. . You seem to be quite the wordsmith – words are tools too… you may be making more of a difference than you realise. I hold great hopes for Modi et al.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I never thought about India reaching a point of no return, but upon thinking, you may be right. I too hope that you are wrong, but stepping back and giving it a good thought, it does seem to hold good reason.
        Casteism I thought was because of lack of education, but I see people as educated as PhD’s being shameless discriminating.
        Unreasonable rituals and superstitions I thought would be reasoned, but I see people blindly following it, and that includes me, just to please the elders.
        Respect for women I thought would come with intercultural exchange and education, but I see 5 year old being raped by their own father.
        I also thought that education would bring in civic sense and people would stop littering around as if the Indian territory was a dustbin, but I see the same people throw the banana peels out of the car window who quietly put it in their cars or bags when in a ‘foreign country’.
        I would really like to see some change happening, but going by my experience, its very hard to talk any sense into people who just don’t care.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. now there’s a dissection! very well said and fully agreed upon, comrade. that last line. they just don’t care and its the distinct lack of self-respect and indignity of land as you said.

        Like

  4. “I would really like to see some change happening, but going by my experience, its very hard to talk any sense into people who just don’t care.”

    In my experience, Scribblography, trying to convince others to change just doesn’t work…. we can only ever change our own behaviour…. this creates an energetic movement which can influence others.

    There are some great community initiatives happening now in India: see the Clean up India facebook page; Varanasi’s clean up Ganga project etc.
    One of the most often used quotes is still relevant & comes from your great leader: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

    Please guys, don’t just wring your hands & feel impotent… do something…. it’s your country & your children’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sigh.
    Somewhere down the line, I still fiercely hope that things will not be as bad. Because each day in class I see hopeful eyes, who, hopefully will understand what a screwed up governance/ideology the country has. My two bits to that is to get them to open their eyes to it, and engage them in discussion, when possible! Or at least get them to introspect, once they’ve got their heads out of their romantic liaisons.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so glad that my blog is not focused on all the wrongs done by one person (or government) onto another. I would write so much and so frequently, I would get nothing else in my life done. Really.

    Don’t forget that I live in Texas, the top execution state in the USofA. We are at 10 executed so far this year, I think. There is ALWAYS something in our news about it. As for the short list at the end of your piece, I hope India comes through it without some sort of uprising. I cannot imagine a life lived in fear for being…well, ‘different’ than those who purport themselves to be the template for ‘the best.’

    Liked by 1 person

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