startling banals

22 June 2007

Rules are for you

No rules for the government. It can bend any law if there is 'political will'. After all they make the laws. What matters is does it profit the ruling class of MPs MLAs corporators and their corporate cousins. Then that will be termed 'good for the economy'. There are some like Manmohan Singh who are the believers - who believe in the inherent goodness of the free economy. And there are those who reap the fruits of the believers' faith. Again whats good for the economy need not be good for people. The free economy is an article of faith and counter-examples are just exceptions. So just shut up and fall in line. But I must say.. democracy looks cute in constitutions. Constitutions -sweet nothings.

SEZ land acquisition notices in Raigad
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Wither Happy Watchmen?

Anil has a great photograph of a smiling security guard. And I am struck by nostalgia.

3-4 years back, 'Trig' and 'Bakshi' were two major private security guard 'suppliers' in Bombay. Earlier we used to have institute watchmen at the hostels in iit bombay, but then they brought in private agencies. The institute got 'Trig' but in a few months a watchman was caught stealing in hostel 5 and 'Trig' was replaced by 'Bakshi'.

The regular iit watchmen got a lot of respect - that was the custom. We used to call them 'Watchman Saab'. Announcements on the hostel PA system (Public Announcement system - with speakers in every wing of the hostel) used to go like 'Watchman saab come to PA'. The watchman was typically a happy old character with a pot belly. One day I was waiting for a friend at hostel 6 PA system. A hostel 6 guy came zooming with his 'babe' on a bike and started parking it. With great comic sense and timing the watchman turned to me and said 'Ab dekho yeh log kaha jaate hai'. Within seconds they disappeared within the trees and grass towards Powai lake. And he had such a satisfied 'I told you so' grin on his wrinkled face. They were real wise old men these watchmen.

They got a house on campus, a decent salary, health facilities for family and retirement benefits. But then things changed and now the announcement became 'Security guard come to PA'. One regular lukhha night, a few friends and I were having a small chat with the 'Bakshi' night-duty guard at hostel 8 who lent us his machis. He told us of his life in short - he gets almost no holidays, shifts are arbitrary and he is paid 1500 per month, so he drives a rickshaw when he can. 1500 rupees in the year 2003 and no job security. The silent violence of globalisation.
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19 June 2007


धर्मग्रंथ सब जला चुकी है, धर्मग्रन्थ सब जला चुकी है जिसके अंतर की ज्वाला
मंदिर मस्जिद गिरिजे सबको तोड़ चूका जो मतवाला
पंडित मोमिन पादरियों के फंदो को जो काट चुका
कर सकती है आज उसीका स्वागत मेरी मधुशाला।...

Every time I listen to the two mp3s of this epic poem, I wonder at the wit and great sense of Harivanshrai Bachchan. Manna Dey has put his heart and soul in rendering this poem. I uploaded them. Parts 1 and 2. Thirty minutes of peace and pleasure.

मेरे शव के पींचे चलने वालो याद इसे रखना,
राम नाम है सत्य ना कहना, कहना सच्ची मधुशाला

नाम अगर कोई पूंचे
तो, कहना बस पीने वाला
जाती प्रिये पूंचे यदि कोई, कह देना दीवानों की
धर्म बताना प्यालो की ले माला जपना मधुशाला

प्राण प्रिये यदि श्राद्ध करो तुम मेरा तो ऐसे करना
पीने वालो को बुलवा कर खुलवा देना मधुशाला

Google pointed me to a webpage that gives a nice commentary on Bachchan's poetry. I also learnt that मधुशाला was published in 1935!!
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18 June 2007

What gives them so much courage? Responsibilities?

Super-moms of suicide country
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05 June 2007

The Storm - 3 clips

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