All set to chant NaMo, am I?

Well, I am not a huge fan of NaMo, as some of you may know. Yet, I’m willing to give him and his party a chance for the simple reason that I believe that this country is in dire need of a change in the leadership.

The previous government  has had its run for 10 long years and made a complete sham of the trust that its people placed on them. Now its high time they handed over the reins to someone else. Moreover now the people have shown their distrust for Congress by not giving the party any chance to be voted back in power.

So then it is only natural that they place their trust on another party, which may not be essentially a better one, may I add, but which may just be as deserving to be given a chance. Hence BJP. Hence NaMo.

Now where Modi is concerned, I have my reservations. There are no two ways about it. The manner in which he disposes a radically religious ideology is not something that I am entirely comfortable with. Also going by the kind of controversial cases that have been hovering over his head, whether proven or not, one can only presume that he may not be the cleanest of the leaders that we have today. But then, none of our leaders are very clean or honest to begin with, are they?

Except of course Arvind Kejriwal and his party who seem to have their ideology and vision perfectly in place. But their impulsive and dramatic approach may have cost them the due credibility this time. Add to that the fact that they are still in the budding stage, inexperienced makes them an improbable option, not yet ready, in my eyes, to be at the helm.

Which brings us back to Modi.

Now I have been reading a lot of articles, engaging in a lot of discussions where there have been strong dissent over NaMo. And I completely understand the sentiments behind them. But we are at a stage where, be it Congress or BJP, we are none  the wiser. And, since Congress has already got its chance and crumpled it beyond repair, let us give BJP a chance too and gauge how well they make use of this opportunity.

To give credit where its due, Narendra Modi, in the last few months, with the kind of aggressive rallies he has done, with the kind of issues he has shown keen interest in addressing, has shown an impressive mettle and determination. At this point I can only hope that his radical and extreme ideologies will not come in the way of serving his people. For all said and done he cannot afford to take the expectations and faith that ride high on him for granted.

So let me rather keep my personal opinion of him aside and keep an open mind to come to terms with the larger picture of a clear mandate that the majority of the people of my country has given to him and his party. They have earned it.

One month on…

..since the gruesome incident in Delhi that shook us all from within, has anything changed?

Well, going by the stats, nothing much..

Every day there are more and more such incidents of brutality being reported causing us all grave concerns and making us wonder if ever there will be a time when our women would feel safer and freer in this world.

We are still as angry, as seething, as outraged as ever.

There still are morons amongst us who shamelessly showcase their narrow mindsets by uttering innuendos like, ‘she asked for it’, or ‘she should not have ventured out so late in the night’, or ‘rapes are on the rise because men and women are interacting with each other more frequently’ or ‘girls should stop wearing jeans, skirts or anything that is remotely western’, ‘girls must wear over-coats in order to avoid getting raped’!!!

What blows me off further and makes me cringe with disgust is when I hear people say that the 23 year old girl should have given up fighting while the rapists were ripping her apart since they were far stronger than her. “She should have just laid there and enjoyed the ride” was what an acquaintance had to say while we had a discussion on the incident. How pathetically sickening is that mindset!

Its a shame that even in today’s day and age we get to hear of our ministers blaming the ‘adverse positions of the stars’ for the crimes against women! Or those spiritual-gurus who believe that women could ‘save’ themselves if they addressed the rapists as ‘bhaiyya’ and plead for mercy..or those illusional sadhus who impart the message that chanting a few mantras would keep the rapists and the probable danger of getting raped at bay!

Here when the need of the hour is to impart the right kind of education to our children and creating more awareness in them about safety and self-defense, we are being urged to let our beliefs be governed by such regressive ideas like chanting mantras and getting our stars re-positioned et al? Are we in the 21st century still?

We still seem to be as helpless as ever.

The protests to bring about more stringent laws, the cries to treat our women with more respect and be more sensitive..havent any of this moved us in any which way to enable us to change the way we think or behave?

Well, I do see a small gleam of hope..

For one, the very fact that we are still talking about it, writing about it is a sign of change. It still is a major major talking point in my house, among our friends and family. So much so that I was surprised to see one of my friends’ 12 year old taking part in the conversation and putting her thoughts across. To my eyes, it was a good sign that our youngsters were as affected, aware and concerned too.

More and more of us are awakening to the fact that we cannot let the pressing issues of safety of women be swept under the carpet anymore. We are taking our right to question the authorities and demand answers from them more seriously which is evident in the way committees are being set up by the government to expedite the case, more policemen are being put on the roads.

More and more incidents are being reported which again a good sign because, while its extremely distressing that these incidents are still rampant, what is also noteworthy is that THESE ARE BEING REPORTED.

Yes, we need to move on, as I keep hearing from people. Life is about moving on, yes..but it does not have to be about forgetting, does it? Let us not forget what the 23 year old brave girl went through on that fateful night. Let us not forget how brutal those 6 rapists were. Let us not, for a second, forget how terribly weak we as her fellow beings, were when we just stood there as meek spectators while she and her friend lay on the road naked, mercilessly battered and bruised. Let us not forget that the one desire she had all the while fighting to stay alive was to see her perpetrators being punished.

Let us not forget that we are now beyond that stage where we could be complacent enough to think ‘such things would never happen to us’.

So yes, let us move on.. but with a purpose. The purpose to keep talking about these issues. To stop being weak. To keep demanding accountability from (ir)responsible politicians and authorities. To keep talking to our kids. To keep listening to them, to keep hearing their concerns for we never what they may have to tell us. To start teaching our boys to respect our girls, to keep telling our girls to command that respect. To keep teaching them to say NO to bullying, eve-teasing or any form of abuse. To keep encouraging our girls to defend themselves, get them to learn some form of self-defense. To keep demanding for more stringent law-enforcements, to start promising ourselves that we will speak up, raise our voices and reach out to help, even if the person in trouble is someone we may/not know.

I realize that I am parroting what has already been said, what is already being said. But I still do, because the way I see it, the more you talk about it, the more it will stay in your memory, the more you feel agitated, driven to change your own mindset, compel other around you to change their own.

Lets hear it for the ‘real’ people in power!

The terrorists! They have the power to keep us all on toes and make us dance to their gory-tunes. They bomb cities, crash into buildings, hijack air-planes all in the name of religion, faith or worse still, freedom!

The news channels are abuzz since morning with the Odisha MLA Jhina Hikaka’s release from the Maoists hold. I have been following this whole drama ever since the Maoists began their terrorizing intimidation by kidnapping Italian tourists and later on the MLA a month back. The Italian hostages were released after the government agreed to release some 27 prisoners of which some are hard-core Maoists. And now the MLA has been released on the condition that he will quit his post and snap all ties with his party.

Which sets me wondering how vulnerable we still are to threats and black-mailing, how challenged we still are when it comes to the security of our nation. These terror-mongers are the ones who are really running the show for us, arent they? They call the shots, they decide who should be in power, who should not. Who should be arrested and who to be released. And if there’s any deviation to their strategies they resort to all possible crimes from extortion, to hijacking our air-planes to abducting ministers,tourists, etc. to murdering innocent people. They may have their reasons for rebellion, but does holding the nation to ransom justify their cause?

And as I type the words there are efforts being made to secure the release of the district collector who has been abducted by the very Maoists. Will the government successfully find ways to rescue him and put an end to the Naxalite hooliganism or will they cow down to the terrorizing pressure yet again?

**Some fleeting thoughts that needed letting out, pardon the vagueness in the post**

Commonwealth G(Sh)ames!

Yes, thats what the Commonwealth Games,one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, seems to be turning into- a BIG shame. And all because of a bunch of power-hungry and corrupt people who have been dubiously claiming to run our country.

I was ecstatic and immensely proud, when I got to know, a few years back, that my country was going to host the event in 2010, and even prouder upon knowing that Delhi, the city where I was born and bred and which I love with all my heart, was where the Games was going to be held.

But the last few months, that is, ever since the news about the shoddy handling of the CWG project has bee doing the rounds, have had me anything but feel proud.

I was in Delhi last month. And despite finding the entire city dug up with piles and piles of muck and garbage at every other corner, I did have a small tinge of hope that things will be fine as we drew in closer to the start of the games.

But when reports of misappropriation of funds, of mishandling of this project by our very own politicians started emerging,the very hope began to dwindle.

And the last two days, in particular have had me go through a gamut of emotions, none of which is happy in nature, by the way.

I’m furious, depressed, frustrated, saddened to see the organizers handle this project so callously thereby tarnishing my country’s image in front of the whole world.

With the Commonwealth Federation terming the Athletes Village as “filthy and uninhabitable”, an under-construction foot over-bridge near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium collapsing, causing grave injuries to people, athletes from different parts of the world either withdrawing their participation or delaying their arrival, with grave concerns of security growing, I’ve never felt so embarrassed as an Indian.

10 more days to go for the Games to start and it seems there’s still a lot of work to be finished. Even though our leaders are insisting that the Games will be one of the most successful ever, yet going by the photographs that are being circulated across the web, of the conditions of the games village, I really dont know what to expect.

The BBC has put up images on its website showing conditions inside rooms at the Athletes Village .

I’m forced to wonder if this is why we elect our leaders. If this is why we trust them. If this is why we pay our taxes. So that they can stuff our hard-earned money in their own pockets and squander the country’s resources with no accountability whatsoever?

Our country may have got freedom from the British and even found her way to be a part of the Commonwealth Nations. But has she freed herself from the vicious web of corruption, malfeasance, red-tapism? NO. Will she ever? I hope so. As the saying goes ‘Hope costs nothing’. So lets hope.

Last week has been very hectic, and I’ve hardly been blogging. But the happenings in the last two days have affected me so much that I couldn’t help myself from jotting a few thoughts down. Just had to take it out of my system! Phew!