In our traditions…(t)here is a universal cosmic connectivity and through that connectivity, the mind boggling diversity becomes a unity. Therefore the approach to life, non-life, the void or anything else we come across was holistic one.The void is not ignored as an empty space or a lumpen matter as something lowly.
On the day when Finance Minister P Chidambaram unveiled his seventh budget – and his fifth for the UPA government – he left everybody stunned with a Rs 60,000 crores waiver of loans for small and marginal farmers.This has left open two huge questions – where is the money coming from, and if this year’s Budget is an attempt to get re-elected. (source)
No one, however, seems to be “stunned” at the thought of who bears the brunt of the taxes not paid by the corporates.
If you ask me, we should have elections every two years…
Update: See Madhukar’s excellent post on the topic
“For the first time since 2000, Delhi’s pollution will increase, causing more smog this winter than the last few years since CNG buses and auto- rickshaws were introduced”, he claimed at a Press Meet in New Delhi, triumphantly waving a copy of the report with his right hand and demurely adjusting the mask on his face with the left. He attributed the rise in pollution levels to the increasing number of cars on the road today.
“The number of private vehicles added daily to the city has increased to 963, of which 308 are cars, while only 31 commercial vehicles are added each day. The city continues to be short of 4000 buses, which again indicates that we made the right decision to stay away from investing in the manufacture of buses and public transport. Thank God we have said bye bye to the old days of socialism when people were forced to travel together in buses and trains. To each Indian, a car, that is the mantra of the new economy, and we are fully geared towards that.”
Mr ByeBye decried attempts by those who are intent to take the country back to the days when his fortunes were a fraction of what they are today. “The continued increase in the demand for cars has a trickle down impact on my fortunes… er…the industry. For example, the increased air pollution opens up a huge market for quality, latex free masks to protect people from pollution. This also contributes to the country’s rising GDP”, he added patriotically. Experts see his statements as an indication that his company is determined to protect Delhi’s residents from pollution caused by the cars manufactured by his ByeBye Cars with latex free face masks manufactured by a group company.
Reacting to the rumours that his company plans to churn a venture called ByeBye Poverty, Mr ByeBye smiled and cryptically said “No… not yet. We, however, do not reject the idea altogether.”
He declined to set specific time line for the other venture that his company recently has been in the news for- Byebye Toilets. “Yes, we have taken serious note of the fact that the number of toilets in the country are shockingly low. 700m people in the country defecate in the open. More than half the population of the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai does not have access to toilets. There is certainly a great opportunity for privatization in this field. We smell a gold mine in shit.”
(For retrogressive views on related issues, see this post.)
Addressing Pakistan’s ‘friends in the West, especially the European and the United States,’ Musharraf said Pakistan needs time to achieve the level of democracy and civil liberties that the Western nations today enjoy. “We too are moving towards your level of democracy and civil liberties, which you have achieved in centuries. We are doing it well. Please give us time,” he said.
Benazir Bhutto has rightly called this ‘emergency’ a euphemism for martial law:
“This is martial law and not Emergency,” she told Dawn News. “The President has declared Emergency to avoid averse ruling from the Supreme Court. We want the martial law to end and constitution to be revived,” she said.
Dictators, tin pot or not, BTW, make good topic for satire. There is no dearth of parodies on Mush at youtube. Sample one below (in biting, earthly Punjabi). And if you understand Punjabi, you would note the religious right wing overtones in the song. Nonetheless, it is enjoyable.
“Tum shayar nahin hotey, toh bahut hi ordinary aadmi hotey”(Had you not been a poet, you would have been a very ordinary man”
These are the words of Aarti Devi, the ambitious, Indira Gandhi- like character in the movie Aandhi, directed towards her husband. The dialogues for this movie were written by Gulzar, and apparently this dialogue is inspired from the actual words that his wife once made in real life to him.
I personally do not have a very high opinion of Gulzar as a poet. In my opinion, Gulzar is far better as a dialogue writer than as a poet. As a poet, he is awkward, plays around with words that sound very well but have little or no poetic embellishment, sometimes making simple things sound more complex.
It still makes him a very fine lyricist, though, because music works as a distraction from the words, and then there are those flashes of brilliance. Take for example, one of the otherwise very fine songs: Humne dekhi hain in aankhon se mehakti khushboo”- eyes that smell like flowers? I find this one difficult to swallow. One can pull out many other examples, and probably this will be the subject of another post.
This post, however, brings out some discussions on his lyrics from deep down the internet archives- I first read them in the mid- 1990s, and this thread pertained to comparisons between Sahir Ludhianvi and Gulzar. The internet browsing community then was dominated by the fans of Sahir, I have a feeling that the tables have now turned and Sahir is less popular than Gulzar. A whole generation has grown up without listening to Sahir as much as it has listened to Gulzar. The fact that Sahir died nearly three decades ago, and his best work was in the 1950s and 60s, makes sound him far less contemporary than Gulzar.
Sami Mohammad satirized Gulzar’s style in this interesting re- write of some of Sahir’s popular lyrics in the style of Gulzar. The thread was called “Gulzar becomes Sahir”. The style that Sami has chosen is more like the Gulzar of the 1970s and 1980s, I’d wager that the Gulzar post 1990s is more mature as a lyricist.
PART I: Gulzar’s extraordinary vocabulary! (Words such as bartan, chappal, taxi,
bus, train, etc)
1S. Haseen champaee pairon ko jabse dekha hai
Nadi ki mast sadaen bula rahi hain tumhe
1G. Haseen champaee pairon ko jabse dekha hai
Bata ki Hawaai chappal bula rahi hai tumhe
2S. Dil ki bechaen umangon pe karam farmaao
Itna ruk ruk ke chalogi to quayaamat hogi
2G. Tum aaoge to noor aa jaega
Itna ruk ruk ke chalogi to local train chooT jaegi
4S. Aap jo phool bichae unhe hum THukraaen
Humko Dar hai ke ye tauheen-e-mohabbat hogi
4G. Tumne to aakaash bichaaya
Mere nange paaon me zamin ki gard hai
Mohabbat maili ho jaegi
5S. Pyaar par bas to nahin hai mera lekin phir bhi
Tu bataade main tujhe pyaar karun ya na karun
5G. In pyaar ki lambi sadkon par, public bus to chalti nahin phir bhi
Jo ghoomti phirti rehti hain, main woh taxi hire karun ya na karun
PART II: The complex Gulzar. Simple things expressed in an unnecessarily
complex manner. “Ghoomake dena” !
6S. Lo aaj humne toR diya rishta-e-ummeed
Lo ab gila karenge na kisi se hum
6G. Neele aakaash ke ghoonsle par jo ummeed ke boodhe baba thhe unhe humne
alvida keh diya
Duniya ke samandar ko gile-shikwon ki boondh se na chheRenge hum
7S. Tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao to ye haq hai tumko
Meri baat aur hai maine to mohabbat ki hai
7G. Sust raste aur tez quadam raahen tumhe meri yaad nahin dilaae to kya
Pathhar ki haweli se sheeshe ke gharondon tak meri rooh tumhaare ehsaas ko
8S. GHam aur KHushi me farq na mehsoos ho jahan
Main dil ko us muquaam pe laata chala gaya
8G. GHam ka kinara jahan KHushi ke kinare se bachkar kinare se milta hai
Usi kinare par maine apne dil ke kinare ko kinare laga diya
9S. Tum agar mujhko na chaaho to koi baat nahin
Tum kisi aur ko chahogi to mushkil hogi
9G. Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin lekin
Barfili sardion me kisi bhi pahaad par
Bhool bhulayyan galion me kisi ajnabi ke saath
Tumhe uRte hue dekhunga to mushkil hogi
10S. M: Hum aapko KHwaabon me la la ke sataenge
F: Hum aapki aankhon se neenden hi uRaden to ?
10G. M: Hum aapko KHwaabon me la la ke sataenge
F: Aankhon me neend na hogi, aansu hi tairte honge
Aansu ke samandar me neend ki naaov (boat) nahin aa paaegi
PART III: The ultra-complex Gulzar. Jab kuchh samajhme na aae, then use
contradictory lines to make things look profound.
11S. Hum intezaar karenge tera quayamat tak
KHuda kare ke quayamat ho aur tu aae
11G. Koi waada nahin kiya lekin, kyun tera intezaar rehta hai
Tere aa jaane ke baad bhi, hume tera intezaar rehta hai
12S. Main pal do pal ka shaer hun
Pal do pal meri kahani hai
Pal do pal meri hasti hai
Pal do pal meri jawani hai
13G. Main pal do pal ka shaer hun
Woh pal, jo aanewaala thha, lekin jaanewaala bhi hai
Jab main isme zindagi bitane ki sonchta hun
To duniya mujhpe hansti hai
Now we all know why the Narmada Bachao Andolan failed. Despite numerous marches, despite the indefatigable Medha Patkar’s serial hunger strikes, despite the efforts of many grass- roots workers and despite Arundhati Roy’s eloquence.They all failed to find a connection between the site of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and Lord Rama.
They could not even find an association with Shabari, the Bhil woman who offered the gods ‘bers’ and that apparently were left half- eaten. It was left to the RSS parivar to discover the exact spot where the encounter took place, and it started the Shabari Kumbh Mela to commemorate the event. Too bad the spot did not lie exactly where the Sardar Sarovar dam stands.
But the NBA has itself to blame for not having done a one up and discovered the place sooner, since the RSS discovered the site only in October 2004. Had the NBA done its due diligence it certainly would have located that place to be exactly where the Sardar Sarovar Dam stands today. And the RSS brigade would have stepped in to lend the NBA a helping hand.
The NBA could then have outsourced the entire opposition to dam to the Hindutva brigade that certainly needs no further inspiration to get going for a cause than its association with Lord Rama. It would have deepened fissures within the Hindutva family and even have dislodged the pride of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, wrecking the family from within.
The NBA’s fault lay in that it tried to oppose the dam in the name of the poor, in the name of the adivasis who would be displaced. Worse, it tried to base its case on data and “scientific evidence”, which was easily countered by equally authentic statistics and real scientific evidence from the state governments led by both the BJP and the Congress.
Contrast this with the case for the Ramar Sethu also called the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. All it needed to build opposition to the project was not the question of its ecological and environmental impact, not speeches in the name of the poor or its RoI but to invoke an association with Lord Rama. So much so that it woke up the sleeping Dravidian in M. Karunanidhi, who went asking for Lord Rama’s engineering qualifications.
On Saturday, addressing a public meeting at Erode in Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi, while opposing the stalling of Ram Sethu project, had said “who is this Ram? From which engineering college he graduated?” (link)
This would be amusing were it not just so silly. Not so much the question of Lord Rama’s engineering degree but that of Karunanidhi remembering that there was once upon a time a movement called the self respect movement that he belonged to and that had posed questions like these in circa 1967. The era of Rip Van Winkles is not yet over! Soon he may also remember that Periyar garlanded Lord Rama’s statues with slippers.
From the point of view of those who oppose the project from environment and displacement concerns and who seem to be getting only the space in the “Letters to the Editor” page, like this one, the good news is that everyone from Lal Krishan Advani to Ram Vilas Vedanti is now on the job.
Free of cost.
Having been out of work (and media attention) since Advani’s Jinnah fiasco and Vedanti’s appearance in a TV ‘sting operation’ few months back, they now have a serious task at hand. Advaniji is already planning yet another Rath Yatra.
Those with a Marxist inclination need not feel out of place either- Karunanidhi thanking the VHP for issuing the call for his beheading illustrates one of the central dictum of Marxist dialectics- the unity and struggle of opposites.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi reacted curtly to the threat, saying “the head is not just something that is on your shoulder, but it’s also an address.” Talking to CNN-IBN, he said: “Even if someone takes off my head my address will remain in TN.”
With that much needed reassurance for the inhabitants of Tamil Nadu, the stage is now set for a win- win deal for everyone. Environmentalism in India is now in safe hands. The fishermen whose livelihood is directly impacted by the project and who have had no one to listen to them now have hordes of Ram Bhaktas battling for them. Amen!
(For anyone interested in a non- Hindutva opposition perspective to the project, based on outmoded ‘scientific’ studies, see this paper in that quaint journal called the Economic and Political Weekly. Link via Pankaj’s blog. Also check out the Wikipedia entry)