News from the box

When you’re at home, like I currently am, your primary source of information become the embarrassingly many 24 hour news channels. Some of these stories registered, which means that they were especially worrisome.

1)  Times Now has run a story about some taped telephonic conversation between leaders of the Hurriyat and some other Kashmiri separatist faction in which these people are allegedly discussing how to make the stone-pelter riots bigger. Times Now claims that this is evidence that the recent riots in Kashmir were engineered by separatist elements. (a) What these conversations prove is that two weeks after the riots began, some leaders of some political parties want the riots to intensify, and not that the sentiments themselves are made up.  (b) Are we surprised that they see an opportunity in the groundswell that is currently present in Kashmir? Would one have said something about some march that Gandhi undertook because he sensed that the people of India were restless?

2) There have been an ever-growing number of  ‘honour-killings’ in North India, sanctioned by Khap Panchayats and supported, if not also carried out, by the family of the victims themselves. What honour these fuckers find in killing their own family members evades my understanding. What I find especially troubling about this pattern is the kind of people who are carrying out these murders. They aren’t old dyed in the wool patriarchs from two generations ago, imposing their ideology on a younger generation. The people committing these atrocities are urban-looking, articulate, probably college-educated motherfuckers. An interview with two of these idiots (aired on CNN-IBN’s Y-Not — as in ‘NOT gen-Y’) was especially scary.

It is a maxim of social thought that the vanguards of social freedom in one century are usually surpassed even by the laggards of the next. Thomas Jefferson may have been a great prime-mover for democracy, but his writings are also unbelievably racist, IF judged by today’s standards; nobody, of course, would do something like that and expect to be taken seriously. It seems, however, that we in India haven’t moved ahead at all. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was preaching women’s equality and widow remarriage in the first half of the 19th century. And here we are in the 21st century, with people having to live in fear of their own families because they married someone from the wrong caste, sect, religion, or whatever else the frikkin’ crazy assholes think brings them ‘honour’.

3) I saw some report about a school in Vadodara suspending students because somebody in the administration found that the students had badmouthed the school on their  facebook pages. Granted, this isn’t nearly as troubling as people killing family members for ‘honour’, but it is a transgression of the students’ right of free speech, and a grave one at that. The students, it seems, later apologized and were reinstated.

4) There was also the story of the boy who was killed because he couldn’t be brought to the hospital on time as the PM’s convoy happened to be somewhere in the astronomical vicinity of where the father happened to be driving. Yes, this is a problem, and it is well known to be a problem. Might I ask the TV channels running this, however, not to run the incoherent  rambling of a presumably grieving mother over and over again? Surely the people of this country can appreciate that this is a tragedy without also being shown pictures of a lady seemingly too choked to string together four sentences?

5) I envy people who have things other than watching TV most of the day to do, because I’m quite irked about the number of mentions of Paul the Octopus on national TV. I mean, it’s OK when it’s done for fun the first one hundred times, but these people mention that damn thing every time they talk about the world cup or football! So much so that I fully expect to be pointed to one of these stories the next time someone I happen to be having an argument with wants to ‘prove’ god to me.

6) The third-place play-off should be starting about now. Loew, Oezil, Podolski and some others are down with influenza, I hear. Hmm…


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