June 16, 2019

The Kaafir Poem

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG8UAQEF7AE

This lovely poem came in the Web Series - "Kaafir"- telecast on Zee5.com
It was termed as "The Kaafir Poem". The writer of this Poem is "Swanand Kirkire"

लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |
जीत मिली हम दोनो को बस, बस आँसू की कमाई थी
तुम पंछी थे और मैं थी मछली,
हम दोनो की अलग थी दुनिया,
अलग सुबह और अलग जहाँ |
सब कहते थे हम दोनों का,
इस दुनिया में मेल कहाँ,
पर भूल नहीं पाऊँगी वो लम्हा,
जब तुमने दिल की धड़कने सुनायी थी
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी

ये बिछड़ना मिलना ये तो शायद मुहब्बत है,
अपने प्यार को वो दे देना,
जिसकी उसे ज़रूरत है
हम दोनो थे क़ैद कहीं,
अपनी समझ की सलाखों में,
तुमने ऐसा रिहा किया,
ख़ुद आज़ादी शर्मायी थी;
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी

मिलेंगे हम ये वादा है ,
रोज़ रात को चाँद के ज़रिए,
मैं भेजूँगी पैग़ाम तुम्हें,
इस बहती हुई हवा के ज़रिए,
साथ रहेंगे सोच में दोनो,
नाज़ुक नाज़ुक यादों में,
मैं कहूँगी मुझको एक मिला था, पागल,
जिसने ज़िंदगी सिखायी थी,
तुम कहना सबसे, एक ज़िद्दी पड़ोसन
अपने घर भी आयी थी|
चलो बहुत हुआअब चुप रहूँगी,
चुप्पी में मज़मून है ज़्यादा,
तुम जैसा बनना, कहूँगी सबको
बस इतना ही मेरा वादा,
इससे ज़्यादा कहूँगी कुछ तो फूट पड़ेगी रुलायी भी,
लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |

P.S. You can read the review of "Kaafir" at my another blog-post here.

Kaafir - Movie Review

Image Credit: https://zeetv.zee5.com/kaafir-character-promos-meet-kainaaz-akhtar-seher-and-vedant-rathod/

Few movies are so powerful that it makes you cry with the protagonists, feel what the actors are feeling. Few movies are so well directed that it focuses at several subtle and sensitive aspects of the society in a very powerful way. Kaafir does all that, and more.
(Kaafir is a Web Series being telecast on Zee5.com. Terming it as "movie" for sake of convenience)

There is a scene in the movie where the protagonist Kainaaz- a Pakistani woman- is sent to jail and inside the jail lockup, first, Hindu women tell her to move away sit on the Muslim women's side, and when she goes to the Muslims' side, Muslim women tell her to shift away sit in the Pakistani section of the jail lockup. The helpless, emotionless expression on Kainaaz's face, breaks your heart. 
In another scene, after a terrorist blast in J&K, some angry youngsters attacked the army officer's house where Kainaaz was staying (since she was a Pakistani). With kainaaz inside with her daughter, they set the house on fire. The two persons who came to rescue both had their relatives' killed in terrorist attacks earlier. One was Suri Uncle's wife who had lost her husband in the very terrorist blast, and another was Vedant, who had lost his army officer brother in a terrorist attacks several years earlier. The incident shows the great divide in society, the divide of blind hatred and matured conscience.
The movie is not only of a Pakistani woman stuck in Indian jails on flimsy grounds of "National security" (flimsy because there was no evidence, and no investigation) . It is also the story of the struggle in the life of a woman, who has to play the role of a daughter, a wife, and a mother in extreme circumstances of the patriarchal, misogynist world. What's more, the movie is also about a righteous man's resolve and conviction in doing the good. The movie is about the fight of good vs the bad elements of society, where ultimately the good wins, but after a lot of pain and sacrifices. 
A still from the movie, where Kainaaz, after winning her freedom from court,
falls on her feet crying, and her little daughter comes running to console her
Look at it- the woman protagonist Kainaaz played by Dia Mirza- first gets ditched by her husband in Pakistan, then she jumps into river to commit suicide, doesn't die but lands into Indian jails. There she gets served 15 months jail term, gets raped by a jailer, and has to remain under extreme circumstances in the jail, not for just 15 months, but for more than 8 yrs!
And look at the male protagonist in the movie- Vedant, played by Mohit Raina, he is from a military family- his two brothers are in army and his father is a retired Police officers. The irony in his life, is that his younger brother was killed by a terrorist, who he himself had got released from jail in capacity of lawyer, under impression that the guy was innocent and not a terrorist! And yet again, he takes up the case of a Pakistani woman Kainaaz! He also takes it up going against his father's constant opposition.

The movie touches upon several delicate issues, and focuses on many conflicting emotions in the minds of the lead protagonists. There is an angle of love and sacrifice, there is the element of guilt, and there is the depiction of great resolve and conviction in face of severe extreme circumstances. Dia Mirza does magic with her acting and expressions, she absolutely dives into the character making it to so real that you feel her pain as she faces. Mohit Raina in his role of the lead male protagonist too plays a great part. The Child actor Dikshita Jain is so cute, lovely and innocent. Several of her innocent questions bring smile on your face. The script writer of the movie has been superb. The movie is replete with several deep dialogues which touch your heart. All in all, this is one gem of a movie, one is a million kind, not to be missed at all. The director, producers and the entire team deserves a huge applaud for making a movie on such theme, with such nuance and depth.

Ending it, I would like to mention a few of the many, fabulous dialogues from the movie:-

"हम जेल वापस चलते हैं अम्मी, यहाँ बाहर मुझे अच्छा नहीं लगता है"

"कायनाज जी, हाथ खुले हो या जुड़े हो, कोई फ़र्क़ नहीं पड़ता; इबादत का तरीक़ा नहीं, नीयत मायने रखती है"

"जेल की खिड़की की सलाखों से जब मैं खुले आसमान और पहाड़ों को देखती, तो मुझे वही खुला आसमान और पहाड़ नज़र आते, जो मेरे मुल्क में भी है क़ुदरत सब के लिए एक है, इंसान ही लकीरें बनाता है"

"दुनिया को अगर नफ़रत की निगाहों से देखा जाए तो हमें नफ़रत का ही एहसास होता है। अगर हम दुनिया को प्यार की निगाहों से देखें तो, प्यार का एहसास होता है"

"मारने वालों से बचाने वाले बहुत ज़्यादा हैं, लेकिन बस बेटा वो चुप रहना सीख गए हैं"

"लोग लड़ते हैं मिलने की ख़ातिर,
पर अपनी तो बिछड़ जाने की लड़ाई थी |
जीत मिली हम दोनो को बस, बस आँसू की कमाई थी " 
(the small part of the longer "The Kaafir Poem" by Swanand Kirkire )

August 15, 2018

Understanding Partition of India: Some of the Best Books to read

So a few years back, I really got fascinated about the partition saga. I got really curious to know more about the factors leading upto partition. I had always read conflicting theories about partition through online articles and social media debates. Some used to blame Britishers for deliberately partitioning India for their own benefits, some blamed Jawahar Lal Nehru for partition, and some even used to blame Gandhi ji for the partition!! All these talks and online readings made in bits and pieces, gradually made me curious about the partition issue, and I thought to read some books on the matter. So below are some of the books I have read, and some quick review about those books:-

1) Pakistan or the Partition of India :
Written by Dr. B.R. Amdekar, I read this book first, fascinated by it's title probably. This book has looked at the partition issue from a sociological perspective. Dr. Ambedkar seems to have had an immense knowledge and awareness of historical and political struggles going on around the world, and he has put forth his arguments on that basis. Dr. Ambedkar has discussed in detail about both pro-Gandhi and anti-Gandhi factions, and interestingly he has criticized both. On one hand he has discussed V.D. Savarkar's orthodox, Hinduism related policies, and on another, he has discussed Mahatma Gandhi's policies of  trying to bridge Hindu-Muslim gap by taking steps favourable to them. He has been a fierce critic of Gandhi ji. He has pointed out that despite Mahatma Gandhi's desperate efforts towards communal harmony, there was no let down in Hindu-Muslim riots. He has discussed the concept of  "Country" and "Nation", and he has thrown light on the concept of the famous "Two Nation theory", i.e. there lived two nations in the country named India. A major part of his book is focussed on discussing the huge sociological divide between Hindus and Muslims in India. He has tried to make his point that since centuries of time, there has been a deep divide between Hindus and Muslims in India, due to several factors. All in all, he has implicitly suggested that partition was a good thing to happen, and it was bound to happen sooner or later, due to the deep, unending differences between Hindus and Muslims.

2) Freedom at Midnight:  
Probably the most famous book on partition, written by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, this book is sometimes criticized to be biased towards the Britishers. But I found this book interesting to read. The book is based on extensive interviews conducted of the last Viceroy Mountbatten, his family members, and several other people. So it does seem to be telling the story from foreign eyes, but still it has thrown great deal of light on the partition issue. It has explained how the Indian politicians (including Jinnah) could never come to an agreement, which led to prolonged discussions. The book also tells the interesting fact about why partition was declared exactly at midnight. It also explains, with how much difficulty the exact partition lines were decided between India and Pakistan by "Cyril Radcliffe". And also, interestingly, the division demarcation was never disclosed till partition day. So on 15th August 1947, no one actually knew whether they were geographically in India or in Pakistan. The book also details about the lavish lives of princes of the princely states. It explains how the individual princely states were convinced to merge into India or Pakistan, leaving their hold on power. All in all a great book to learn about partition. A more detailed review of this book can be read here.

3) India Wins Freedom
Probably the best book, and should be must read for anyone trying to learn more about partition, and pre-independence politics. Written by Abul Kalam Azad, this book is special because the author remained Congress President for almost 6 years post 1939, and was involved as a representative of Congress in most talks/negotiations with Britishers- Cripp's Mission, Simla Conference, the British Cabinet Mission resolution etc. So he has given a kind of inside view of the negotiations going on in those times. He has also been pretty impartial about discussing the policies of Pandit Nehru, Sardar Patel and Gandhi ji. He has criticized several decisions of Gandhiji and has clearly written that majority of Congress politicians were with Gandhiji NOT because they believed in non-violence, but because they believed that non-violent ways of protest was the best and fastest way to get Independence. In fact there was a moment when many Congress politicians were in favour of going against Britishers taking violent path. Regarding Gandhiji's murder, he has written in very detail how the conspiracy was hatched and multiple assassination attempt were taken. He has criticized Sardar Patel (being Home Minister) for willful negligence about Gandhiji's security. A large part of the book focussed on several political negotiations with Britishers about getting Independence, and that really throws a great deal of light on what all transpired, why those negotiations failed, and why ultimately the Partition had to be conceded. The most painful part he has discussed in the book, is the betrayal done by Congress towards Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, for not supporting their plea of demanding to keep the NWFP region in India. He wrote that Khan brothers had always been loyal supporters of Congress, but Congress and Gandhiji ditched them in such an important moment. After their region went into Pakistan, both the Khan brothers were jailed and tortured in Pakistan. In short, a really great book to read. The Font and Font size/spacing in the hardcover book available, makes the book slightly painful to read, but for it's content, one must not miss it.

4) The Shadow of the Great Game : The Untold Story of India's Partition :
Again a very exhaustive book, writing about things in very detailed manner. The author "Narendra Singh Sarila" had been ADC to the last viceroy Luis Mountbatten. Being ADC to the viceroy he must have seen things from close, hence his account seem very reliable. The Bollywood movie "Partition :1947" is based on this book. In this book, the author has argued that the partition was done by Britishers as part of much larger conspiracy to maintain hold over this part of Asia. The author has discussed things from the ongoing world politics at that time, and has thrown light on the Russian Vs Britishers fight for geographical supremacy. He has also brought in the viewpoint of maintaining control over rich Oilfield regions. The author's main viewpoint has been that Britishers were willing to leave, but wanted to take back a guarantee that the new, independent country will always support Britain in it's pursuit of increasing or maintaining hold over geographical locations through violent means (if it comes to that). Indian politicians were clearly in no mood to support Britain in any of their motives post independence. But the Britishers gauged the fact the Muslim politicians led by Jinnah were willing to give them this kind of logistic support for their military pursuits. The author was also of the view that the northern parts of India (NWFP, and Gilgit regions) were really important to Britishers for strategic reasons of halting Russians advances. This book is also very important to read the Jammu and Kashmir part of the story. The author has written in detail about J&K aspect, how the state was attacked by first Pakistani military led by British army men, and how they had captured some regions of J&K initially. And how the tribal led invasion was later undertaken by Pakistanis, which forced Raja Hari Singh to write a letter giving consent to merging of the state with India, in exchange for protection from Indian Army. The author also details how India made some mistakes of going to UN at wrong time, when they could have actually taken back the area of J&K captured by Pakistanis. United Nations headed by Britishers and Americans, were clearly biased against India's interests, was what the conclusion of author.

In Fiction
1) Train to Pakistan:- Khushwant Singh has written such a realistic fiction that one gets completely drawn into the story. It seems also quite close to reality, going by the narratives of other non-Fiction books read. Must read to realize the horror of partition through a gripping story.
2) Toba Tek Singh:- Saadat Hasan Manto writes stories so real-life and gripping, that you can relate well to it. He was much ahead of his times. This is a story book containing several short stories based on society and people of pre-partition times. Again a very nice book which gives a quick glimpse into the lives of people in pre-partition times...

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts. Which else books you have read related to partition, and found to be good? Please let me know in comment section.

October 16, 2017

The Funny online Selling Experience

So this was almost 2 yrs back when I wanted to sell my creative 2.1 speakers. The selling experience was both amusing as well as frustrating at times. I posted the ad with photos on two of the popular online websites. I installed their apps too, so that I could respond to any messages quickly. A few of the conversations with prospective buyers were so hilarious that I can still recall them vividly. One buyer had called me asking about the speakers, and after usual few questions, he asked- "Are the speakers having lengthy enough cords, so as to place them in different corners of the room". I was like, 'does this guy even know how 2.1 speakers are like!!' But I calmly replied that these are 2.1 speakers, and not meant for getting placed across the room.
Another buyer called and asked if the speakers have 3.5 mm audio jack. When I replied in affirmative, he asked if it will work with his Samsung phone which apparently didn't have 3.5mm audio output!
One caller asked me to lower the price being quoted in ad. I had already kept the selling price close to half of the current market price since it has just been 1 year for the speakers. When I told him that I don't want to sell it at any price lower than mentioned, he replied- "But several other 2.1 speakers are being sold at much lower price." I was like, "Oh, so all 2.1 speakers are same!"
There was one instance when a girl (or may be a buyer with female name) messaged me, and wrote-
"Heyy, do you want to sell this item?"
I replied- "No, I am just testing the selling feature here."
She:- "I too am new to buying here. Can you help me buy a good 2.1 speaker system?"
Me:- "Yes of course, you can buy mine."
She:- "But I actually want to buy, not just indulge in testing". I repented my first reply, and somehow brought the conversation back on track and explaining about my 2.1 speakers.

Another day, I got a message in my selling website's inbox, and started chatting with the buyer. Here is how the conversation went on:-

Buyer : "Hi, May I know why are you selling your speakers?"
Me: "Because I want to buy a better one."
Buyer: "Is it working fine?"
Me: "Yes".
Buyer: "Then why are you selling it?"
Me: "I told you, because I want to buy a better one, and I need money for that."
Buyer: "Which speakers are you thinking to buy?"
Me: "Haven't fully decided yet, but why do you want to know?"
Buyer: "May be I too will buy the same speaker, if good enough"
Me: "Do you want to buy my speakers or not?"
Buyer: "Yes, yes I do."
Somehow, we agreed on the price and then I asked for the location of exchange. 
Me: "So where do you want to meet for taking the speakers?"
Buyer: "Anywhere in Jammu city."
Me: "WHAT!! You are from Jammu?"
Buyer: "Yes, I thought you too are from Jammu."
By now, I was frustrated as hell,but somehow persevered.
Me: "Sorry, then no point discussing. I stay in Hyderabad."
Buyer: "Heyy, By any chance, can you courier the speakers?"
Me: "Yes I can, if you pay the additional courier charges"
Buyer: "Ok, please courier then. I will transfer you the money as soon as I get the courier."
This was the limit of my patience.
Me: "Good Bye", and I blocked the person.

Now, after so many months of the experience, when I came across the Cashify.in website, I found it to be a very promising website for selling old electronic items.

Disposing of e-waste is another big issue that can be solved by such initiatives. Many times, we don't sell our electronic items, because of the hassles involved in selling. With such hassle-free experience of selling, with no negotiations and haggling involved, I think cashify comes up with a very great initiative. #CleanUpCashOut is the mantra, i.e. you clean up your old electronic items, and you get cash out of it! You can know more about the cashify, by watching these two videos- Video1, Video2.  Use coupon CLEANCASH and get an additional Rs 250.

December 26, 2016

The losing Compassion and Empathy...

Image Source:- lonelyplanet.com
Sometimes you do something and immediately after that realize the mistake. But by the time you realize it, you also realize that you can hardly do anything about that. So a sense of guilt encompasses you, a guilt which you can't do anything about! 

Today while coming back to my flat, a poor couple on road, with a kid in the arms of mother, stopped me and pleaded for money. This is fairly common scene in Hyderabad, and I immediately ignore and brush past such people. But this time, the guy called back saying he doesn't want money, even food will be great. I had almost moved ahead, when I recalled that my this month's quota of helping people in need was still pending. So like a shrewd businessman I smelled an opportunity there- an opportunity to fulfill my monthly resolution, an opportunity to get some instant gratification. I turned back, told the guy to come with me and I will buy them Dinner. I signaled them to cross the road with me to the other side, where I knew an affordable restaurant. I went there asked the person on reception, to pack a dinner for two. I paid for that, took the packed food, and handed it over to the guy standing outside the restaurant. That's where I did what I immediately felt guilty about.  While handing over the food packet to the guy, I showed great hurry for leaving, didn't even look towards the guy, and quickly instructed him to move away from the place (so that he doesn't cause trouble to the restaurant owner). All this while he was politely thanking me for the food!! The moment I moved away from them doing all this, I realized my mistake! I realized my mechanical nature, my inhumane approach towards the family, my selfish nature to fulfill my resolution without caring for the intent. But the moment had passed, there was no going back, I could hardly do anything about that. I was in hurry to reach my flat, but once I decided to buy them food, I should have done that with a sense of empathy. That empathy was missing, that humane nature was missing. I did that as if I was doing a favor to the family, with no emotions, no humane connection with the family! Particularly, the hurry shown while leaving them, put myself to shame. I might have helped the family, but the intention of helping was missing. I immediately felt a pang of guilt, which I felt so helpless about. I just promised to myself to do better now onwards... 

The incident made me think, why have we become so mechanical and so self-centered in our life? We are we always in so much of hurry, that we forget there are other humans around, some of whom may need our compassion and empathy, much more than anything else! Money seems such an easy way out. Spend some money and suppress the need of helping with compassion! Where are we headed! Life seems moving so fast that we don't even want to stop think about the pain and suffering of others....

December 18, 2016

The Journey of Life...

Image Credit:- andriathompson.wordpress.com http://tinyurl.com/j3rkxld )
So busy we get in our life, that we forget to ponder on it, reflect on it...
the various hues and the shades, the various ups and the downs, seem to have been dumped deep down in memory.
Things that used to matter most, seems to have went into oblivion...
people who used to be omnipresent, seems to have moved on to different world.

As our life keeps expanding to the wider horizons, our earlier, closer connections with things and people who used to matter earlier, keeps on waning...
newer people and newer set of things make entry into our life, grabbing space in our already cluttered life.
Can't we stop, take a breath, observe, look back at life, and contemplate over things happening around? Can't we take a break every once in a while to think over our life's happenings? Are we prioritizing things wisely, are we spending our times judiciously, are we bringing good changes around us, are we being humane? Can't we think over things that matters most in life... 

November 20, 2016

Demonetization: How good is the move ?

Image Source:- http://www.countercurrents.org/ ( http://bit.ly/2g6p4Sy )
Several good steps have been taken by the current Central Govt, but the two major decisions that will be remembered for long, are the Surgical Strike on Pakistani terrorists in POK, and the current demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. While the demonetization being termed as "Surgical Strike" on black money was a bit too much, but then it does seem to be a great idea. However, there are several other things which need to be pondered upon.

Initially, the sudden announcement of demonetization came as a shocker but a pleasant one. The most surprising and appreciable thing was the secrecy with which the entire plan was put into action. But then, what came next was shocking! The ATMs were announced to be out of service for 2 days. So it was expected that they will start working from the third day onward. But forget third day, the ATMs remained out of cash, even after 7 days!! There has been utter chaos for cash. All this thanks to the horrible implementation by the Government. They first banned use of notes, and then started printing new notes. None of ATMs had anything other than Rs 100 notes, which drastically decreased the vending capacity of ATMs. The new Rs 500 notes were not even available with banks, they were still under printing. The Rs 2000 notes were so out of dimensions that they couldn't be made available in the current ATMs. So Govt first banned the notes, without making the equivalent notes available with banks/atms. Needless to say, the great looking idea was spoiled thoroughly and forced Govt to head to disaster management tactics!

But talking of some major issues:-
  1. Do I welcome the demonetization idea?
  2. Will it ensure development?
  3. Do I appreciate the efforts put that went into implementation and planning?
  4. Will it reduce corruption and black money?
1. First, Yes I absolutely welcome the idea. The idea in it's core looks great. If it will not curb corruption or black money much, at least it will definitely kill the counterfeit notes in circulation completely. 

2. Will it ensure development? Quite an unrelated issue, but I think it won't affect development much. Removal of counterfeit notes, and curbing black money to some extent, it will surly boost development for a period, but then after some time, development will hinge on the core issues. On the other hand, development may even slow down for the near future. There are already news of GDP growth rate likely to go down in coming quarters.

3. Do I appreciate the efforts and implementation plan? Absolutely not! What initially came as a great plan, later turned out to be a horrible mess. Come on, which Govt first bans notes, and then starts printing them! What was Govt even thinking! On top of that, this situation of chaos is going to remain for significant number of days. When PM himself has asked for 50 days, you can very well understand what is going to happen. For 50 days or more, there are going to be severe restrictions on withdrawing of your own hard earned money from Bank! Why should Govt block your money from getting withdrawn! There can be several issues for which one can need cash in lakhs, which one can't withdraw even if he has enough in his own account, all legally earned. Already, there has been news of some deaths due to the chaos. So it's quite apparent that the great looking idea was turned into a disaster.

4. Will it reduce Corruption and Black Money? Corruption- absolutely not. Black money- Yes to some extent definitely. Corruption will continue with new notes, I think corruption has hardly got anything to do with demonetization. The Black money though, will certainly be reduced to some extent. Even though most of the black money is either invested in properties or other non-cash items like Gold, whatever black money is there in cash, those are definitely going to be curbed. There are news of black money getting turned white through various clever means, but even despite all those tricks, a significant amount of cash black money will definitely be reduced.

All in all, a good move, but with horrible implementation. It could have been far better, had Govt prepared better for the big decision. With so much of inconvenience to public, it doesn't come out to be a great thing to happen. For catching 1% of people, Govt is troubling 100% of people, in some cases, threatening the lives of innocents, so all these take the sheen out of this great looking idea.

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