Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not Happy

I saw this interview on rediff:


And then, I went on to see the remarks by the readers. Some of the remarks were highly abusive of Gandhiji and Pandit Nehru.

Sad, very sad!

Btw, read Gandhiji’s autobiography some time back! Yeah, should have read earlier!

I read the original version written in Gujarati and I must say I was very impressed. As an average Indian, we don’t know much about Gandhi-the man, his life, his ideologies except for what we have seen in the ‘Gandhi Jayanti’ movies!

I highly recommend the book.

Another thing- while I was reading the book, I checked the total number of copies printed so far. It was a 2005 reprint and I don’t remember the total number of copies but if I assumed 10 readers per copy, the total number of readers wasn’t coming out to be even 10% of Gujarat’s total population! That, when the book is priced at 30 rupees.

Sad, very sad!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A workman's observation!

I always reach my workplace on time. Just like you.
I mostly work nights. Just like you.
Thousands of tiny metal pieces shine just like you on my desk.
I have been doing the same thing for years together. Just like you.
There is nothing much to life except work. Just like you.
There are times when I work 7 days (err, nights) a week. Just like you.
My absence is always noted but my presence is taken for granted. Just like you.
In appreciation, all I get is words. Just like you.
There are so many like me, nothing much happens if I die. Just like you.
There are people who make a living out of observing people like me. There are also people who make a living out of observing you.
My work is studied by scientists. So is yours.
My every single movement at work is pre-determined and precise. So is yours.
I am paid peanuts. Hey stars, hopefully, God would be a better paymaster!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vibrant Gujarat!

I am a Gujarati. Though I have mostly stayed in Mumbai, I have spent enough time in my homestate to know it well!

I am not excessively possessive about my state. I don’t wear my ‘Gujjuness’ on my sleeves. I don’t feel the need to boast about my state or fellow Gujaratis. I am far too individualistic to believe that I would have (more or less) grown up to be me, regardless of where I was born and where and how I was brought up!

Yet, I am close to Gujarat. I like the state and I love its people. [I may have my share of complaints about my state and its people, but that is hardly the point…]

And that’s why it pains me when Gujarat is mis-represented.

In last five years, Gujarat has been in the news a lot of times and mostly for the wrong reasons. In fact, when you talk of Gujarat with an outsider, the first thing that the other fellow brings up is Godhra. And every Tom, Dick and Harry that you talk to minces no words to loathe the incident, criticize the administration and eventually term the state ‘unsafe’ in some way or the other!

Even so, almost 5 years after that unfortunate incident, whenever everyone and anyone talks about Gujarat, references to Godhra are unfailingly made. Gujarat isn’t only about Godhra, it never was and it will never be. Godhra incident was unfortunate, no doubt but equally unfortunate has been the way this incident has been discussed and unilateral conclusions have been made by people (mostly outside Gujarat). In particular, I think the English media’s handling of the entire issue was (and still is) high-handed.

I don’t want to go into various facets of the issue. I just want to say that ever since the incident happened, it has been blown out of proportion. In the wake of the incident, law and order situation was bad in Gujarat but I don’t think it was as bad as reported. I know people who have traveled from Mumbai to Gujarat just 2 days after the incident and have told me that the news channels were grossly exaggerating.

How many of us have not taken the media on its face-value on this incident?

I am not trying to defend the administration. All I am saying is that our conclusions on this incident (and on Gujarat) may be based more on perception than on fact. Have we wondered what the regional media reported? Have we talked to people who are from Gujarat or were in Gujarat when the incident happened?

To me, the way Gujarat’s image was tarnished nationally and internationally was unfair and since I come from that state, painful. And that we still continue to make references to the Godhra incident every time we talk of Gujarat is just unbearable. It’s not like scrubbing the wound, it’s like making another. If we think that the Godhra incident was so moving that we have to bring it up each time in connection to Gujarat, why didn’t we bring up Gandhi whenever we talked about Gujarat before the godhra incident?

I think the state has moved on from that unfortunate incident. It’s time everyone else does, too!