Sunday, August 16, 2015

Shiraz (Part 2)

I had been waiting for this day. The car made its way through a relatively narrow Faizabad Road, passed through some century old houses …and there we were,somewhere between Chowk and Nakhaas, in front of a simple looking, almost a make-shift, shop. Before I could fully analyze the complete lack of aesthetic sense used in the construction of the shop, a strong, almost pungent aroma hit me, a combination of dry fruits and juiciest mutton it was, with a freshness of the best quality of rice. Thus, it took me a little time to realize , that despite being made in a dark, unhygienic, almost dungeon-like place, Idris’ Biryani was one of the best that Lucknow could serve.

It was the last day of my vacations. I wanted to make most of it. The hot biryani assured me that I had made every minute of it. Mutton, just melted in my mouth, I chewed the dry fruits like a soul famished for months, and my taste buds were making love with every grain of the perfectly cooked rice. I was busy relishing my visit to this culinary heaven until, a voice came.

“Ama khaiye…sharmate kahe hai?”

The waiter encouraged Shiraz bhai who was a little shy in ordering another plate of this tasty offering. My father , who was well into his second course, caught hold of the scene.

“Ama Shiraz khaate kyun nahi ho…ye asli biryani hai, tum jo bade* ka meat khate ho na, use kahin achchi hai, sharmao mat, khao”

He smiles, murmured, a very low,but very courteous, “jii sahib”, and thus we continued on our tasty sojourn.
I, by now, was completely at ease with Shiraz. Last night we roamed around Gomati Nagar just to get some good puffs.We used to talk simple things, Life,lucknow, cars, jobs. Nothing philosophical, just some light chat filled with good humour, which made the journey in the car seem much shorter.

“Bantu bhai, joote rakhe hain kya puraane”, he had asked me yesterday. “Wo hua kya kii Eid me naye joote liye the par saala kutta utha k le gaya parso”

“Hmm”, I said, indifferently
“Aur kaminapana dekhiye kutte ka , saala ek joota le gaya”

”theek hai ghar me bol doonga”

We were ,now, on our way to home, passing swiftly through University road. I was proudly playing my Ghazal collection on the stereo. Actually, playing is a wrong word, I was displaying my affection of ghazals to my father,in order to prove, and that too, in desperation, that I was also a good listener, as they call it in Hindi – Sangeet ka paarkhi. And so Jagjit Singh started.

Jhoom kay jab rindon ne pila dii…

Father(in display of pride): “to kaisi lagi biryani?”

Shiraz – “achhci lagi sahib”.

Father : “tum pata nahi kyun wo bade ki biryani khate ho. Are yaar humein bhi pata hai achchi biryani
kaisi hoti…aisi kya baat hai”

Sheikh ne chupke chupke dua dii…the song continued..

Father :”waah waah…dekho ye Jagjeet Singh Sikh hai..talaffuz dekh rahe ho inka”

Shiraz( almost blindly) : jii ….

Father( as if some premonition has hit him): Talaffuz samajhte ho ?

Shiraz (with a mix of desperation and smile) : nahii sahib.

Father(irritated): “yaar tum bahut bekar musalman ho yaar…. Uchcharan(pronounciation) samajhte ho..wahi hota hai…”

Smiles, now were inevitable. Shiraz gave it in first,laughing away gracefully at his lack of getting talaffuz right. Gradually we all dipped into a pool of light moments. Meanwhile Jagjit jii was now at his full throttle

Ek kami thi Taj Mahal me …
Humne teri tasveer laga dii…

The whole atmosphere was emphatic as we approached a ‘larger than life’** signboard of Shakun Medicals. This part, the medical shop part, is a short but by no means sweet custom of my family. A day filled with a good ride, good food, great music, has to end with the gulping down of some boring tasteless antacids. And so, abiding by the culture , and with a whisper of “My dawai le ke aata hoon”, my father marched on towards the medical store. Jagjit Singh has just finished a stupendous rendition, we both sat, inspecting the various parts of the recently bought Alto. A curious silence lingered, like the one which is there between two songs in a cassette.

“Aap sunni hain kii Shiya?”, I asked. This question was spontaneous. I didn’t think, nor had I intended to ask such a question. It just…came out.


“matlab aap to sunni hai naa?”

During the first query , I knew I didn’t tread on the right path, but still I was confident. But that ‘jii” of his, humble, though it was , made me drown in a sea of guilt. I started loathing myself for projecting a man , willing to earn his bread through hard work, in the X and Y axis of religion and sects. I was desperate to change the topic but then
“haan bhayiaa..suuni hii to hai” he replied back with an utmost innocence , stream of which washed away my fears, guilt and apprehension.

“to aap Muharram manaate hain kyaa?” , I expected a negative reply.

A nonchalant semicircular tilt of the head signifying just the obvious proved me wrong.

“Achca to app logon me aur shiyaon me kuch fark hota hai na?

“pata nahi bhayia…hum to kaam se kaam matlab rakhte hain. Hamaare liye to sab ek.

I smiled and put up a wry “wo to hai”, thinking that the discussion was going towards the same old ‘Hum sab ek hain’ rhetoric. I saw my father crossing the road , and fastened the seat belt.

Ek baar humre gaon me…..”, Shiraz, strangely carried on”…arthi jaa rhi thi..hum aur bhai baithe the…bhai kahin – ye batao ki tum in logon(Hindu) se kahe dosti rakhte ho. Hum bole kya farak padta hai yaar..mar ka to sab 1 hi jagah jate hai..un k yahaan jala dia jaata hai….hamare yahaan matti daal di jaati hai sab ek hi to hai…kyun bhayiaa”…..

I was short of words, no I was speechless, or perhaps I was speechless and trembling, and before I was back to normal , father marched in with a trademark “ saali bheed bahut thii”

I was right ,when I thought that Shiraz will comment on the ‘Hum sab ek hain’ funda. But the innocence which was written all over his village story blew me away.I will never categorize Shiraz as a common man. I will put him in the most ill fated column of ‘exploited men’. He is one of those who like to march on the path of truth and honor ,who never fail to put their whole life and soul on stake for the sake of daily bread. And when some revered geniuses of our society strike a communal spark, they are the ones who get the worst of that period, they are the ones who get killed, and if I may use the words, then they are the ones who get screwed , who are fucked up.

What Shiraz explained was true and logical. But that was not its beauty. His statements were sweet simple and reflected the aura of bare truth. He had given the example of death to prove his point. Death , the ultimate reality, the absolute incident which happens to each and every one of us. Death which comes alike, be it a Hindu, Muslim or a Jew. One of my very good friends often says “Dharm ka arth hai dharan karna”. Perhaps the logic is right. Religion means to imbibe raher than to follow. For Shiraz , religion meant being faithful to the duties that were there for him to perform. He categorized people through a lens where religion meant the way you were dealt by nature. Nature was equal for all, and so were the homo sapiens for Shiraz. He failed to answer the intricacies of Islam, but quite simply he had imbibed in himself , and followed the true values of religion. Religion , that he practiced by being honest to the responsibilities that life had in store for him.

Exactly 3 hours later I was there at the station. Shiraz was there too, unloading my luggage. I was still feeling a little bit guilty. He started carrying the bags. I took the heavier one from him. As we reached the gate he smiled , and while extending his hand for a last handshake, asked me

“Bantu bhayia ..wo joote?”

“Shit”, I thought. I had missed telling my mother about it.

“Haan , wo maine mummy ko bol diya hai”, I lied, somehow avoiding his eyes and handshake. I don’t know why, perhaps my guilt was overpowering my courtesies.

I rushed towards the train, reached the platform and turned back. I thought it would be good to give Shiraz a warm wave of the hand. But he was to be seen nowhere. Then suddenly I saw his back, he was busy unlocking the car. I tried calling him, but didn’t , nor did I wave the hand, instead ,swiftly boarded the train.

*Beef's meat
** Sorry for that bad similie

Shiraz (Part 1)

“to Shiraaz bhai aap Husainabad hii me paida hue the kyaa”

What I got as an answer was a gradual sideways semicircular turn of the head, his eyes widened in the process . His lips pouted inwards and it remained there, until he returned to a slightly normal expression. For the next 2 minutes as he , with an almost snobbish glance fiddled with the gears and the rear view mirror of the car ,he was not the same old Shiraz whom my father had hired as a driver. He was enjoying those moments, he was enjoying my question about his genealogy , and he felt privileged ,it seemed ,of being born in one of the historically most coveted places of Lucknow.

Husainabad,in Lucknow, is the sum total of what Lucknow was once famous for,and has the single largest contribution in bringing the city to the history books. The lanes and streets here, where Meer once wandered still echoes of what was said about its Nawaab – “jisko na de maula usko de asifuddoula” . The rumi darwaaza , ghantaghar,imambara stand here as a witness to the affluence of courts where Wazid Ali Shah penned the immortal “Babul mora naihar chooto jaaye” . He was the same Wajid Ali, for whose ageing teeth but exotic tastes, gelawati kebab came into bieng, which later were immortalized by Haji Murad Ali as Tundey kebabs.

As a kid, who was fascinated by history, I was intrigued by Husainabad for its historical antecedants. And when I came to know about Shiraz bhaai’s Husaainabad connections, my interest in him was inevitable. But Shiraaz was no Nawab who built palaces, wrote thumris or maintained Harams. Nor was he of the likes of Mir, who died a death struggling to be a shayar ,he was once in Delhi. Shiraaz was an Indian who was born in the years after independence, and like many of them , was still struggling his way out of the cactus of poverty

Shiraz had three facets to his life, a combination of which had a devastating effect on a poor man. He was jobless, was married and had two children. His day started , unllike ours does with a cup of tea, with a job hunt in order to secure a dinner for his children. “ Aaj subeh se soch hi rahe the ke kya karein , tabhi sahib kaa fone aa gaya kii 3 k liye driver chahiye, to hum aa gaye”,he told my grandmother in a mixed tone of relief and nervousness. At last he had secured 3 days of food for his family, but an a abyss was nearby when after three days , he had to think, “kya karein” again. But despite such gross hurdles, Shiraz had an almost clich├ęd sense of pride that he was born and brought up in the ‘pehle aap’ culture of Lucknow. One could have felt it form the tinge of chasteness in his spoken Hindi.

“To bhayiaa…aap Bambaii me kaam karte hain”….he asked me….while struck in a traffic jam. I always wanted to interact with him, I don’t know why…perhaps due to his Husainabad birth(which I came to know a couple of days earlier)and to an extent , he also wanted the same from me. But in a society filled with complex status quos, a primitive(read simple) social communication is a bit tricky to start. But he had finally broken the ice
“Haan……aap gaye hai wahaan?”

“hmm” , a relaxed tone, again not looking at me, instead, playing with the steering.

“Achchaa….kab….kahaan rehte the…kitne saal rahe wahaan aap”

“Hum Bantu Bhai”,by now he had come to both know and call me by my nickname,”kai jagah rhe hai…dongri…mumbra..par ghovandi me ek lamba arsa rahe hain”

“Aur karte kya the wahaan”

"Are wo cement k pipe nahi hote hain..aap to jante hi honge….wahi jo pul me lagane k kaam aate hai..wahii supply karte the…..Latur tak tiruck le jaate the”

He thought I was one big shot residing in Mumbai. It was visible from his “aap to jaante hii honge”. Honestly I did not have a clue what pipes he was talking about…but then its not everyday when one holds you in such a high esteem …so I decided to keep quiet.

“to kaisa lagaa Mumbai”.

“bhayiaa…..sach bataayein..humein pasand nahi aaya”.

“kyun?”…a giggle came out naturally.

“ek to bhyiaa wahaan wo line lagane ka systim…ama kya bekaar kii cheez hai yaar….aur sabse badi baat…humein yahaan lakhnau me koi maare to kam se kam humein pata hai ki koi bachaane aaega…par wahaan..sala mar jao..kafan chadhane koi na aae”, rarely did shiraz used logic to prove his most of the cases , he never had any point…but this time he had one…and he put that bluntly and logically…I , a self proclaimed Mumbai-obsessed was both amused and aghast

I tried to rebut him with all my might..but in the end could only muster a ‘hmmmm’..because somewhere even I knew that he was right.

“vaise parla(vile parle)abse acchhi jagah hai Mumbai me..kyun?”, he spoke as if playing a winning shot of the discussion he had already won.

And from my a dull but formal handshake of the losing side..another ‘hmmmm’ followed.

It happens sometimes, when a man has a glorious past behind, but the all pervading time tells you that the future is going to be tough, he tries to escape the stark realities and ignore the truth. That person lives in an imagined time machine, where he knows he cannot run away to the past, but doesn’t accept the future either, thus living in and enjoying his own ‘customized environment’. Shiraz, too, had invented one such machine. He knew well that today Lucknow was a centerpiace of malls,of multiplexes, of ‘Mayawati’sque (read picturesque) Gomati Nagar , but he continues to live in a Lukhnau whose lanes were once filled with the aroma of biryani, where a drunken Majaaz wrote somesoulful poetry and where nazakat and nafasat came before any other necessities of life. Shiraz bhaai was a man with a lone principle , that come what may, he will continue to live, and God willing die not as a Lucknowite but rather as a Lucknavvi.

to be contd....................

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Re: Bharat Ratna Ghalib

(this is a post in reply to Mr Markanday Katju's article today in the Indian Express)

“Hui muddat ki Ghalib mar gaya par yaad aata hai.......wo har ik baat par kehna,ki yun hota to kya hota”

One can associate , quite dramatically though, this couplet to be one of Ghalib's last. But instead ,these lines convey intense speculation, and experimentation, that Ghalib applied in cross examining this world.

Mr Katju, today, in his article in The Indian Express expressed his strong will for Ghalib to be awarded the Bharat Ratna. And in his strong(rather rude) critique ,lashed out his anger at sportsmen(read Sachin) and film stars(read Amitabh), for whom there is a popular support for conferring the Bharat Ratna.

His point of view, sadly, reflects the rigid attitude that he possesses. He, through his statement, is in stark contrast with the views of Ghalib and Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay whom he so avidly supports to confer the accolade , posthumously. Ghalib, other than his poetic expertise , is known for his flexibility of thoughts,and his open defiance to type caste customs. Mr katju, sadly, offers , none of such views to the readers.

To keep it simple, he opposes the support that Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan have for receiving the award, calling it a mockery of the award itself. He, however, failed to keep the following points in mind during his rhetoric.:-

1. Cricket is the pulse of India, and Sachin Tendulkar, for the past 20 years , has relentlessly worked to keep this pulse running. He came to the cricketing world at the age of 16, and his battling in this area still , at 38. So for more than half of his life time, he has been represented as the face of India, and he still strives enough to keep that face untainted. One of his greatest contributions has been the self belief that he has imparted to the nation's youth. Coming from humble backgrounds, and working his way out with enormous labor, he has proved to the nation that anything can be achieved provided there is perseverance and determination. One has to observe his demeanor to know how saintly he is, and a look at his statistic will prove his sheer artistry in the cricketing field.

2. Cinema is an interface through which people, irrespective of class , color, ethnicity , interact with each other. Amitabh Bachchan , it will be apt to say, has been the face of this platform from our country. A person ,or rather a combination of sheer artistry, pure gentleness, and unwavering dignity. He has been there at the helm of the film industry for the past 40 years, have been doing diverse kind of roles, and more importantly, at the age of 70, excelling in them. On seeing him act, cinema does not seem to be some blitzkrieg action, but an art form , in which you need talent to perform, and values to succeed. It is a well known fact that through his life, he has been portraying the common Indian citizen, be it the angry young man of the 70’s or a truthful principal of a college in 2011, with sheer perfection

India ,in 2011-2012, is an evolving country. Its not that Ghalib, or Sharat Chandra, are forgotten heroes, , they deserve an honorable place in the archival aisles of our history, but to rule out sportsmen and film stars, when it come to performing artistic, national and scientific service, is totally wrong. Tendulkar and Bachcan , collectively ,for the past 4 decades, have tirelessly labored to keep the baton of India at the top.When the country is at its lowest ebb in the context of corruption and terrorism ,they are the faces that have kept the head of our nation high. Today, sports, and performing arts are an important indicator of our national prosperity. And the two great persons , criticized so vehemently by Katju, have excelled in these fields , thus doing a commendable national service

In the end I cannot sum it up better than by admitting that yes, Ghalib and Sharat Chandra have a right to get the nation's highest Accolade, but awarding it to sporting legends, and cine-artists, will not be a mockery, but a celebration of , the modern and resurrected India and its heroes .

Friday, December 16, 2011

We the people

“Time is the biggest healer”, and in the present paradigm, this statement glows in perhaps its most glittering sheen. What great age are we living in, when a website in the US is contemplating a presidential nominee , when one of the most autocratic rulers this world has ever seen has been put to one of the most hideous deaths that, again, the world has ever seen. And last but not the least ,when some facebook posts have triggered a country wide revolution, a movement that gave them the flavor they desperately sought for- a taste of democracy.

Democracy- a word with Greek origins that generally has been put into practice when all the other ways of ruling a state have failed. As it is often quoted – the worst form of governance but the best one available. Leftist often argue that a human, naturally, is a communist. But one cannot hide away from the fact that social nature is what overrides any of the inherent tendencies of man.

A normal human being needs social interaction for his hygienic survival. An environment where he can communicate , criticize, laugh, cry thus developing different traits of a personality. A democratic set up is where one gets such an environment with the highest degree of freedom. And what happens when things go the other way round? Imagine a guy in a wooden box with no ventilation, what is the most probable end result?...a destroyed box with an injured but satisfied guy out of it. Today’s Tehrir and yesterday’s Tiananmen were such incidents.

So when democracy helps us to avoid such coups , then why it is termed as the worst form of governance? When every person has got an equal voice, an equal status, there is bound to be a clash, but , in the midst of such heat and fire, we do get the best shaped idea that run a long race but, its the slowness that frustrates. India can be termed as one such frustrated country. The reason is that after more than 65 years of independence and being led by some of the best statesmen , the country still rots in the filth of corruption and poverty. But for a country that was judged to Balkanized within years of its independence , a fairly united stand tells about the magic that the democratic scepter has created. And one cannot help but admit that it was our freedom, our popular stand that helped us to make a transition from a socialist environment to a more open one, in a peaceful way.

Lastly, it will be a gross misjudgment to judge democracy as a form of governance. Its a way of living life in a pleasant oxymoron. Here we have conflicts when we care for a common cause , we fight but we value the hard earned peace, and we often find ourselves plunged in a dark abyss but we know with freedom and ample opportunities we will , someday, see sunshine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mahatma v/s Anna

The words written below are some random thoughts that often clung to my mind when I saw an iron willed Anna adamant and hell bent on fasting at Ramlila Grounds, when a larger than life poster of Gandhi jii glowed from the background.

Let us concentrate on the villains first. In Gandhi’s time, there were the British. Anna today fiddles with indigenous men, who are born out of this country’s very soil and act as its protectors. The British were imperialists, they did not rule our country, they ran it, for them India was a business, and they , for most part of their tenure proved to be good businessmen. Our netas come down from a different genre. Unlike the British, they regard serving the nation as their duty , pledge for upholding the constitution, but when it comes to deeds, they keep it simple, rape the nation .
So when it came to waking the country, Gandhi had a tough job, because he was fighting shrewd tacticians, who, incidentally at that time were best at their jobs, and secondly Gandhi had to arouse a nation which after years of incessant harassment laid numb. Adding to the worries , was the neo rich class, which was largely divided , and too possessive about its stand. Anna got, what Gandhi would have strongly wished for- a healthy environment. He got a vibrant and educated middle class which at Gandhi’s time was extinct.
The populace during Gandhi’s time, albeit ultimately supporting him, were habitual of seeing their nation chained. They never had IITs,IIMs,a booming economy, and a self belief that Anna saw in today’s generation, thus compelling Gandhi for intense introspection and spiritual thesis before arriving at a doctrine. So Gandhi with an impoverished India by his side went on to fight some shrewd strategists, and , it is alleged that on similar lines, Anna with a resurgent youth, raised the baton against the Khadi clad men, who mostly are devoid of formal education, let alone being strategists.
The aforementioned allegation is what I stoutly refrain from accepting. Gandhi, in all his movements simply broke the law. He did this to expose the autocratic environment the people lived under. His unlawfulness was symbolic of the fact that ‘ enough is enough’ and that the tide had risen to unmanageable levels. Along side he told Indians , not to accept the fear, but to face it with all the gusto one could muster. He attempted all this non-violently because he was pragmatic enough to understand that any other path in this poverty struck and diverse nation can never lead to a united and a free nation. His hunger strikes, interestingly, were for his own purpose,. Those were his spiritual takes, his introspective journey, to solve the dilemma , if ever, he was in.
Hunger strike is an arch weaponary in the kitty of Team Anna. But in the midst of all the chaos, we tend to overlook a gift that Gandhi, in due course of time has given to Anna, and which has he3lped in making these hunger strikes what they are-heroic.That gift is a democratic and free India. The freedom of speech, an independent media, a self dependent block of the population, and a good education has made this hunger strike a battle of good over the ugly.

When Gandhi faught and broke the laws, there were no rights, no constitution, no democratic institutions that upheld the sovereignty of the Indians., so Gandhi had no other choice. But today when we have achieved what Gandhi had dreamt of , then a hunger strike , though may seem fascinating by analyzing the corruption levels, ultimately ends up keeping the country’s republican structure at ransom.
Anna’s methodology tends to undermine the governance and politics of the country when the real problem lies in the aforementioned politicians who harass and rape our motherland. It should be kept in mind that the real victory is not achieved by proving a point at Jantar Mantar, but by respecting the constitution, following the ethos of democratic process,thus strengthening the institutions of this country, institutions, due to which for the past 60+ years we have boasted to be the largest electorate in the world.
Having said that the people’s anger is totally justified. But then we should remember that the the anger which has made us responsible citizens would easily have been an illegal action in any undemocratic environment. It’s the freedom given to us that has made us think so vocally about our country. Of course these are beautiful times when so much young blood is there for the country, but then trying to make things work on the grounds of a strike which is becoming synonymous with “my way or the highway” is pushing things too far.

Instead we should try to bring change in ways some people thought we would when they framed our constitution, when they conferred it a republic. It should be remembered that by-passing is no solution but strengthening our nation is one. We should try to analyze our democratic set up, participate in governance, reform various sectors ,and try to make parliamentary institutions citizen-friendly and transparent, which from times immemorial have been used against us, and these can be achieved when we shed the robe of observers and become participants. That way we might be similar to what Gandhi would have been today , otherwise in his very own words, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind”.

Friday, December 2, 2011

BEING ANNA -Reloaded

Anna* is back again....with a bang or not, only time will tell,but his presence can be felt. Words like parliament,resolution and most importantly hunger strike are bubbling again in the atmosphere. A revolution is being sensed, smelled and expected soon.

If we go by the general consensus, which means views of people which altogether lead a normal life(for some. it’s boring) life, then it’s the rebuilding of the nation that is taking place, times are great, its India shining...or is it?. If it is, then where will we put( in the scale of shine), our constitution that grants us the freedom that has made Anna's act a heroic stance? An act that , 60 years ago, could easily have been another Jallianwaala Bagh episode.

There's no doubt about Anna's integrity towards the issue, but the incessant use of hunger strikes and boycotts are taking the subject to rather unfriendly shores. In a country where each of us have been given equal rights, and most importantly equal opportunities , the path of hunger strikes is a kind of a short cut that contradicts our republican structure. The direct effect that it has on the citizens is that they have started to undermine democracy, thereby developing a scorn towards everything political.

When ,on one side Anna has succeeded in driving the youth to a just cause , on the other hand his philosophy has drifted the young guns from politics and politicians. The hunger strike methodology can, in near future lead to a domino effect , when no matter what the cause is , a similar movement may rock the stage.

Anna , by distancing himself from politics, has become a mere symbolic reality, at times when we desperately need a leader like him. It must be remembered that to uphold the nation's democratic fervour, we have to follow the path that upholds the countries democratic power. And when there is people's control, the only way changes can be made are through elections. We need to understand that common good can be achieved by participating and winning in the elections, by coming to power, and replacing the bad ones by the good and more sincere ones.

Corruption, for which the Gandhian is fighting , is not an issue. It is a disease that everyone is suffering from, and strikes are no way of curing it, rather it makes it more fatal, because of the growing mistrust it creates among the people for the institutions, the pillars of this country. Secondly, Corruption is basically an effect , rather that a cause, as it has been projected. The inept policies against a booming economic growth is a catalyst for increasing this filth. It should be noted that a common man resorts to corruption as a need, not as a habit. Therefore, a mere check may backfire, by that check becoming tainted too. In the long run , only robust policies can paint the picture in desired colors. That is possible when a bravado like Anna plunges into the political battlefield, thus making the whole structure solid.

Anna is no 'second Gandhi', he is the follower of country's father who's dream it was to see the nation being led by its heroes. Today, when we almost hate the khadi clad men that govern us, its time for Annaq to get rid of the hunger strike way, become representative of the people, lead the nation as people's hero , and built an India, Gandhi once dreamt of, and Anna himself, still dreams of.

* = Anna here is synonymous with Team Anna


Religion is a complex term. It will be an understatement to call it just a word in the lexicon. It is basically a subjective reality that appears to be a vast entity, often transcending realism. Religion- on hearing the word ,one is filled with respect,awe and revernece,towards a certain set of rules that we dare not question ,let alone break.

That respect towards religion is anachronistic in modern times because it certainly inhibits our ability ro reason and question. If we have a look at all the modern democracies we will see that there is always a growing tussle between the free spirited thought and the rigid norms of religion. For those nations, which are on their way towards a democratic set up,this friction is more pronounced.

The aforementioned conditions are effects of a wrong perception of religion and religious thoughts, that we have been garnering for centuries. We , round the globe,in almost every case,project religion as unquestionable. It seem to be word handed over by God and mere asking for its validity is gravest of sins. It is easy to analyze and tough to admit that this is a wrong perception of religion.

The correct answer to the question “What is religion?” would be that it is a set of thought processes embedded with principles that helps make people's life smooth and ethically strong. The concepts of religion are never accountable to the wishes of a particular 'great one' as that will make it synonymous with autocracy. Viewing the situation historically and socially, the main reason for religion to come into existence is to render the society a peaceful ethical and to the as much a possible, a life on their own terms, thus making flexibility , the charm of any religion.

Flexibility brings religion as a topic of heated debate. The problem with the society is that we need to look religion as a set of principles that must remain unchanged , unbridled. This creates a collision with the modern social life which is adaptable to changes.

The main motive of religion is to take human life to a better level, but our rigid take on this institution is making things difficult. We often concentrate on the petty do's and dont's and project ourselves as true followers. Any particular principle of religion depends on the historical ang geographical condition when it was enunciated. We should pay attention to only those theories and try to bring to action only those practices which are correct and ethical irrespective of caste , society and time frame.Such a treatment of religion will bring it not only closer to modern democratic principles but will try to fill the rift between various theologies.

What we need is a critical analysis and filtering only those practices which serve for the betterment of humanity as a whole. In simple words it would be catering to what any religion and its practices and philosophies actually asks for.