Things happen quickly in our country. News and views change within the blink of an eye. By the time we’re understanding one issue, there’ll be several issues with superior severity served to us. We hardly get to the bottom of any of issue. And rightly so, in a land of such great diversity, it is hard for everyone to be united on everything. So obviously there will be certain issues which ought to be resolved. But the issues keep piling up like the garbage near our water bodies multiplying by every passing day.

With the weight of the latest newsbeing so hefty, the news of yesterday becomes no longer relevant and when thebulky news of today comes with the stench of fake news and polarised pollutants, few stories never see the light of the next day. Cases such as thatof the Unnao rape are hardly in circulation now. A lot of stories which are ablot on humanity surface every single day. And many such stories did take placethis year. So, when we think of celebrations for the New Year’s Eve it would benicer if we have a glance at our recent past. At least we can pray we wouldn’t be witnessing these in the coming years.

On a personal note, my father forbade me from writing anything pertaining to political niche. He was apprehensive because my views may hurt someone who is powerful, and the powerful person or organization would choke my career. I wondered why was he fearing so much? After all, we have a freedom of speech, right! Gauri Lankesh, Pansare, Kalburgi would all be saying LOL to that statement from heaven. Why go that far to heaven? We saw the recent incidents when Mr. TM Krishna’s concert was cancelled due to pressure from right-wing activists. Also, we saw earlier this year Kunal Kamra’s show getting cancelled.

Not only them but common people are also shown the whip even if they have a view slightly different from those in power. Farmers protesting for their legit demands, women speaking of sexual harassment, soldiers complaining about facilities or rather the lack of it, citizens questioning the authorities about potholes, students protesting about their legit seats and scholarships are all shown the threat of cane. Pretty directly in few and in a subtle manner in other cases.  So, my father’s fears are legit and moreover, he toils hard to pay monthly installments where on earth can he deal with defamation suits of crores if by chance anyone slaps one on me.

Since we’ve mentioned harassment, let’s say hi to Chinmay Sripada, the ace dubbing artist and singer in the south Indian film Industry. Her voice was in demand for all top heroines in the south. Suddenly when that very voice spoke of harassment against a stalwart lyric writer Vairamutthu, there is a hush from the very heroines who once were wanting to have Chinmay’s voice on board. All those top heroines and actresses stayed mum to the cruel cornering of Chinmay once she spoke her mind. With a mighty movement like #Metoo around the corner, it would be nicer if the film industry gets united and get to the bottom of this issue.

Not only Chinmay, infact, but it’s also our right as human beings to stand by the victims andsupport her while they confront the culprits. Tanushree Dutta, Vinta Nanda,Mahima Kukreja and all the many more women who have been victims of sexualabuse are now telling their stories and sending shivers down the spines ofthose sick victims who committed those heinous crimes. It is time we as acountry stand united on this issue and make woman safety a priority and a soundpolicy.

Tanushree Dutta also mentioned in an interview that Mr. Vivek Agnihotri has harassed her and she narrated the entire incident on the YouTube channel ‘Bollywood Hungama’.  Vivek Agnihotri is the same person who coined the term ‘Urban-Naxal’. His word became a hashtag in twitter and later a debate in newsrooms and so on and so forth. He was blatantly biased towards the right wing and left no stone unturned in promoting his lopsided urban Naxal theory. He wrote a book, directed a movie on similar lines. He is always trying to counter those who ask legit questions to the government.

But he refused to attend a meeting with Aakash Banerjee who was also invited to a certain literature festival where Mr. Aakash was to ask Mr. Vivek Agnihotri aboutTanushree Dutta’s allegations. Aakash Banerjee and Agnihotri’s interview was called off. That interview didn’t take place. Mr. Agnihotri gave an interview to Abhinandan Sekri of Newslaundry. That is quite a watch. You can also see his version of the story where he plays the victim card to a friend of his. Seems like all the right-wing people have a strong unity as many people of the establishment and mouthpieces of the government were the chief guests for his book launch.

Talking of unity, one recently remembers the Statue of Unity. The tallest status in the world is now in India.It’s great. It’s wonderful. But at what cost? By the way, the purpose is to remember and reinstate the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The same would’ve been achieved by opening a university or a world-class medical hospital at that very place with the very amount used to build the statue. Another statue of Lord Ram is being commissioned on the banks of Sarayu river.  Are building statues in public interest? Is it in political interest? Or for someone who has vested interests in flaunting a symbol of tokenism?

The moment when someone says vested interests, it is obvious we hear the word temple.  True and we see it right now by the polarised nature of our debates and dialogues relating to religions. Temples have latelybeen major talking points in our country. Obviously, it is for political reasons and for individuals or organizations having vested interests incaressing communal elements. The Sabarimala temple is one temple which haswitnessed the wrath of polarisation. The verdict which said women too couldenter the Sabarimala temple didn’t go down well. Many review petitions havebeen filed and the matter is sub judice right now.

Right-wing organizations couldn’t stand this change of women entering Sabarimala and entire Kerala was rattled. Is it really a question of faith? Or is it a gimmick to raise this issue just a couple of months before the big election? Or will the supreme court turn its landmark judgment, are few questions which would be addressed in the coming weeks?

Another temple which right-wing politicians often mention is the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Ram Mandir is one temple which every right-wing politician latch onto whenever there is an election around the corner. This time too is no different but this time it’s got new wings with a right-wing government at the center whose interest matches with a section of the Hindu sentiment which calls for building a temple at the disputed site. But what about Babri Masjid? Won’t the people who broke the masjid held accountable? Certainly, no one seems to be interested in that part.

The Supreme Court of India has stated that it has put the matter aside till January next year stating it’s not a priority. Certain extremist sections even abused the supreme court when it said the Ram Mandir wasn’t their priority. Manish Sisodiya of the AAP said he would rather have a university at the disputed site which would be open for all religions and children of all religions will get access to world-class education. According to Mr. Sisodiya, that should be the way forward rather than fighting for a temple or a masjid there.

Since we are talking on religion, let’s talk about LGBTQ also on the same lines. The historic verdict of the supreme court came on 6th September 2018 striking down the criminalization of consensual sex between individuals of the same sex. The court’s unanimous decision in the Navtej Singh Johar vs Union of India, section 377 was struck down. The moment this colonial law was struck down, there were celebrations allover the country amidst the angry rants of religious fundamentalists.

They still see this law as something against religion and few of them took this a notch above absurd telling that gay people are challenged and they needed treatment. Few staunch fundamentalists also challenged the decision by filing review petitions to overturn the verdict. Obviously, only those who are all over feudal ideology would opt for a review petition in that case. Also, you can’t debate on facts, you esteemed news channels who’ve given hell a lot of airtime to those feudal and patriarchal parrots on news debates.

Since we’ve stumbled upon the news, let’s talk something about our news channels. Not to mention their subtle yet simple nexus with politicians or political ideologies. It is this nexus which reduces news to mere views of the biased and partisan editor. And not to mention the third-rate screaming, the yelling, banging benches, hurling abuses and all sorts of reality show gimmicks being portrayed as journalism. The theatrics, the occasional nationalism oozing programs, the frequent communal programs, the same spokespersons getting personal, the moderator pandering to his political master in the garb of being truthful leaving the underbelly of his master’s dark secrets to the wind also are a part and parcel of our news organizations. Well, this isn’t journalism, it’s hooliganism of the highest kind. With one-sided interviews and lopsided reporting, these news organizations have reduced the rich soul of journalism to soulless your sensationalism.

This news often acts as fodder for those who are brainwashed with communal waters. Clipping from this news is often taken, tweaked, edited and are sent across through WhatsApp groups and are being fed to people. This is propaganda. Pure propaganda propelling through this WhatsApp groups are costing the lives of people. And this has grown at alarming rates in recent times. Earlier WhatsApp forwards was confined to just fake products or fake promises of weight loss or others. But currently what we see in the social media is blasphemy and other fake news being peddled as an authentic source of information. The fake news about child lifters cost lives of many. Some of them became so insensitive that they photographed the killings. Not to mention those killings which happen on communal lines, the recent example being Swami Agnivesh who narrowly escaped a violent mob attack.

Not that the government is not doing anything. It is doing work, only in areas which it wants. The country’s economy is in soup. When fugitive offenders like our Prime minister’s Mehul  Bhai who said Bye to our country with stuffed pockets abscond our country, our government acts in a very serious manner. So how to get them back and how to get those wasted crores of money. The government came up with many innovative ways to tackles this issue. For instance, it is trying hard to reduce the autonomy of the Reserve Bank of India. Often termed as arm-twisting the RBI and its extortion by a few. The dividends issue, the PCA (Prompt Corrective actions), the 3.6 lakh crores which the government is eyeing have all been news which recently surfaced. The gravity of the issue is of greater relevance and should concern us as citizens. The government is asking the RBI its reserves or rather demanding it for its purposes. Urijit Patel, the RBI governor had to step down citing personal reasons. But seriously? Personal reasons?? LoL!! Not only in the RBI but seems like many senior officials have exited out of their premiere government posts citing personal reasons. Eminent personalities like economist Surjeet Bhalla, Arvind Panagariya (ex-vice chairman NITI Aayog), Arvind Subramanian (former chief economic advisor) have resigned from their respective posts. Who’s next?

Every time we come across a serious case, the cases which mattered the most we hear a name. Cases which shattered our country are all handed over to our premier investigating agency, the CBI(Central Bureau of Investigation). All the sensitive cases are handed over to the CBI for investigation. Now when an organization of such stature is in soup, what more can we expect about the esteemed organizations in our country. Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana, technically the top two officials in the CBI have levelled charges against each other. The series of events that followed is rathe run fortunate. Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana were sent on leave. A new director Nageshwar Rao was appointed who transferred more than 10 officers overnight who were dealing with a sensitive case involving people in power. Corruption charges were also levied against the top officials of the CBI. #Acche Din.

Shakespeare once famously said, “Arose by any other name would smell as sweet”. So why change names of cities and places if the essence is the same. If by the mere presence of a name would bring such a change then we are wrong. One must remember the assassin of MahatmaGandhi also has a “Ram” in his name, yet he committed a sin which even Lord Ram can’t forgive. Yet the government is keen to bring development by changing names. ‘Developing something needs time, effort and money so that is not possible. So instead they thought let’s change the names of cities in the name of development. Let’s loosely lace history and paint a communal colour on cities by changing their names must be one genius idea from the people in power. Else we wouldn’t be having these many changes in the names of cities. Let’s briefly look at a few.

•    Mughalsarai junction to Pt. DeenDayal Upadhyay station

•    Allahabad to Prayagraj

•    Faizabad to Ayodhya

• There have been considerations to change the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati, Muzzafarnagar to Lakshmi Nagar and Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar

No one opposes these moves if they first develop the cities and then they can name the city whatever they want. We are even fine to live in a city called Nathuram Godse Nagar if it provides all facilities for its citizens with a communal free and healthy environment. Changing names is merely progress.

There has been a humongous wave of nationalism off late in our country. Nationalism seems to have woken in the country only after 2014. And there have been certain organizations which are verbally distributing certificates of Nationalism to people. These outfits come up with an extreme sentiment of nationalism. They carry the national flag, but they certainly do lag a lot in understanding the value of the flag or our idea of Nationalism. Our Nationalism lies in our values which spread peace brotherhood and harmony not in acrimonious acts of violence against anyone with a perspective different from the majority.

Navjot Singh Sidhu was the recent victim of this pseudo nationalist propaganda. Siddhu embraced his old cricketing rival and Pakistan’s newly elected Prime minister Imran Khan and General Bajwa and has discussed the talks relating to the Kartarpur corridor. But that wasn’t received well with the right-wingers who often see our neighbour country as an opponent rather than a mere neighbour.

Singh Sidhu was the recent victim of this pseudo nationalist propaganda. Siddhu embraced his old cricketing rival and Pakistan’s newly elected Prime minister Imran Khan and General Bajwa and has discussed the talks relating to the Kartarpur corridor. But that wasn’t received well with the right-wingers who often see our neighbour country as an opponent rather than a mere neighbour.

No one knows who got the raw deal in the Rafale fighter jet deal, but it is really a deal with so many twists and turns. First, it was the price debate. The opposition wanted to know the price at which the deal was fixed whereas the government didn’t want to reveal. At that point, it was a curious case of corruption. Then came in the interview of the former French President who said France was not given the choice to select the offset partner neither did Dassault.

Then the next twist came in when HAL(Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) was taken off and the manufacturing contract of Rafale was given to Anil Ambani’s defence organization which was barely a year old. Thus, started the saga where the opposition blames the government for corruption in the deal. Still, not even a single Rafale has flown to India. For the record, you can find a documentary in Amazon prime which explains about the Rafale aircraft. So, what’s there to hide or why the privacy?

Brahminical patriarchy is one issue which the mainstream media got completely wrong. Seriously everyone was stating this term as an anti-Hindu statement issued by the chief of Twitter. The Twitter chief was seen standing with a few women activists holding a placard which said “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy”. This basically meant to end Patriarchy and caste atrocities, Brahminical mindset refers to those who think they are superior, and all others are just inferior beings living at their mercy. But highly educated news anchors and even an IPS officer acted like an illiterate and assumed Brahminical to be related to a caste in the Hindu diaspora which is the Brahmin community. These illiterate bunch of well-dressed gentlemen trolled the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as Anti-Hindu.

The floods in Kerala were bad and the entire city needed to be remade. It was a disaster. But what’s disgusting is to see certain individuals citing obnoxious reasons for the disaster. One individual said people in Kerala eat beef, that’s the reason God became angry. Another individual said God showed his displeasure in women asking the court to enter the Sabarimala temple that’s why he’s created. Amidst this insensitivity, the people of Kerala rebuilt their city and hope everything goes on track to them in the coming months. We may not contribute much to the people of Kerala. The least we can do is to show our support not to mock their plight.

Prevalence of violence has been immense in recent times. In the absence of a good authority and when propaganda prospers through the WhatsApp groups, this is what we are left with. People losing lives and their families getting shattered. The core of the incidents may not be that significant, but the aftermath is disturbing to any sane being in this planet. Mobocracy can never and shouldn’t replace democracy no matter what. But with the misplaced priorities of the establishment and the politicians who share similar ideologies have silently authenticated and justified these cruel activities by not taking stern action on the very first instance. As a result, we see atrocities in cities and villages alike. Few examples of such cruel inhuman instances of arson include Kasganj, the recent incident in Bulandshehar and many more.

Let’s do a fun exercise at last. Given below are news which surfaced recently. Also, there are few cooked up statements as well. Figure out which are factual and which of these are fictional.

Fact or Fiction

•    Nirav Modi clicked in a jacuzzi while India’s economy is in jeopardy

•    Justice for Asifa is still a distant dream

•    Triple Talaq is for the empowerment of women

•    Adultery law has corrected its former flaw

•    Activists arrests, criminals garlanded

•   Don’t grow sugar cane. People are getting diabetes said Mr. Yogi Adityanath

•    Reduction in LPG prices, eat more since you’ve got to walk as fuel is out of your budget

•   Farmers distress, still gotra of Rahul Gandhi to be discussed says BJP spokesperson

•    99.3% of our currency is back into circulation after demonetization

•   Shourya diwas to be celebrated on 6th December(Babri Masjiddemolition day)

•   Kanwariyas welcomed with showering flower petals, protesting farmers welcomed with water cannons and canes.

  • 16% reservations for Maratha quota approved.

•   The cow is the priority. Thug life to be renamed to Cow life through an ordinance

•    Mainstream news channels reporting unbiasedly.

•    India wins a seat on UN Human rights council with highest votes.

•    Not even a single drop of Ganga has been cleaned says National green tribunal.

•   Muslims must not have a voting right in India if they don’t acknowledge their ancestors were Hindus says, Subramanian Swamy

•   Cow dung is more expensive and precious than Kohinoor diamond said Supreme court of India according to Mr. Sambit Patra

•   SRM University Dean advised girls not to make an issue out of sexual harassment

•    Motilal Nehru’s actual name was Moinuddin.

•   There was internet during the Mahabharata era.

Pics credit:  thewire.in, ravepubs.com, jammulinksnews.com