Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Egg

Credits : Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless.
You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Death Penalty is not the Solution for Rape Crimes but a Retrograde Step

On Thursday Aug 22 2013 , a 22-year-old woman, an photojournalism intern with an English magazine, was allegedly raped by the five accused at the Shakti Mills compound in one of the Mumbai’s most affluent areas Parel  in evening 8 pm when she had gone there with a male colleague on an assignment. The accused tied the hands of the victim’s colleague with belts and took her to a thicket where they took turns to rape her. The incident, which is reminder of the December 16 Delhi gang-rape case of last year, has sparked nationwide outrage again.

In between two cases in Mumbai and Delhi, there have been numerous other cases in both the cites, though they mostly doesn’t make the headlines. These aren’t even counting the sexual assaults which never go reported, walled away by shame or hidden inside our homes. If there has been any positive to these horrendous cases, it has been the enormous outcry from Indian society. In December last year,  student-led protests in New Delhi grew to encompass Indians from all walks of life. Tens of thousands took the streets with the clear message that something has to change, and that women should no longer have to live in fear. A similar wholesome outrage is witnessed now after the shameful incident here in Mumbai.

Among the many progressive and constructive calls to authorities to control the menace, there are sizable number of people  calling for mandatory death sentence in cases of sexual violence.The anger felt is completely understandable, as it is the desire to impose stricter laws around sexual violence to ensure that what is happening in Delhi, Mumbai and every other part of India, should never happen again. But imposing the death penalty would just perpetuate the cycle of violence.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the circumstances or the nature of the crime. It is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment, and a violation of a fundamental human right - the right to life. Today, 140 countries in the world have abolished executions in law or practice. Only some 58 countries (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China in south east Asia) are actively practicing it.  In the European Union member states, Article 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union prohibits the use of capital punishment.  The United Nations General Assembly has adopted, in 2007 and 2010, non-binding resolutions calling for a global moratorium on executions, with a view to eventual abolition. Over past fifty years, there is a global trend moving towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Throughout history, there is no evidence to suggest that the threat of execution works as a special deterrence. In London in 18/19th centuries when even pickpockets were hanged publicly, those gathered to watch the spectacle of hanging use to get their pockets picked again.

In present context of Indian situation, certainty of punishment rather than the severity is the solution. Its the woefully low conviction rate for these crimes which has to be addressed. Imposing the death penalty for sexual assault cases would only worsen this situation, as judges would hesitate to give such an extreme sentence, and the legal process would become even lengthier and more complicated. The laws and the justice system must be reformed, and the definition of rape, which is currently far from adequate, should be amended. Many women are reluctant to report crimes, fearing humiliation and degrading treatment by the police, or the social stigma that comes from society at large. The efficiency of Indian legal system coupled with abatement of sexism from our society is the way forward.There is no question that the country's women deserve much better legal protection, but the death penalty is not the answer.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Idiots at Birth

Its independence Day ritual in subcontinent and both India and Pakistan celebrated their 66th Independence day by passing resolutions (1 & 2) against each other.  No better example to prove that both nations even after separation of sixty six years posses same idiotic DNA. After quite 2012, 2013 witnessed many cross firing instances at Line of Control resulting in casualties on both the sides. Through the exact reasoning for such intermittent "unprovoked" clashes between two mighty and expensive armies will need some new branch of philosophy to be invented, the resultant has been algorithmic accusations and counter accusations of LOC ceasefire violations from both the sides.
Such atmosphere of animosity gives an otherwise mundane independence day some relevance to both the sides. England is old lost history and apart from few cricket matches, there is no other competition left between UK and subcontinent nations. All meaning of nationalism and patriotism today is best defined by how hard you detest your neighbor. Lets accept that, to hate and to blame is sexier than to love and to accommodate. We all intrinsically love to hate and wish to kill. Best examples are plethora of best selling video games where you kill and destroy all along the way to clear different levels and stages.
Whenever the armies on both sides execute these lest we forget reminders for their masses, its the media on both sides who act as flag bearer of nationalism ranting out loud about failed aman ki asha. Yes it will fail more often than not because its a walk on tight rope. Our war mongering news anchors with no or distorted knowledge of history (or present or future) along mass of this country who desire for billions of Bhagat Singh or Subash Chandra Bose to born again for India (except for one in their own families) just find it more in fashion to detest the neighbor.
Most of the Indians have either already assumed India to be world's greatest superpower (capable to defeating even china or aliens if they come) or they are ignorant of perils of two heavily and equally nuclear armed nations living in continuous stand off. You can choose your friends or enemies but not your neighbor. Fact remains that peace and talks will ever be only solution, no matter how many bullets cross any side of the border. You just don't have any other solution. 
The US pull out (with no apparent victory in Afghanistan) in 2014 is deva vu of 1989 erstwhile USSR pull out of Afghanistan (with its implications on Kashmir). With world fast into globalization and unions, no one can afford another lost decade like we both had in 1990s. Now lets accept that game spoilers to peace will continue to exert their influence, and best way to go ahead is to establish a talk process between two countries which could not be held ransom to any misadventure happening. We have to grow up and find solutions to peace anyhow.
We both have lost 66 years to idiocy .. Lets learn from History..

*Pic taken from Aman ki Asha blog

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking A Stand Against Nationalism

Over dinner talks....

Friend to me,  "Say, Bharat mata ki Jay" ( Long live motherland India)
Me, "Bharat mata ki Jay" ( With a Grin )
He,  "Say, Pakistan Murdabad" ( Let Pakistan be doomed)
Me,  "Ohh common , I wont ever say that..."
He,  "It shows you have no love for your country you are born in, Country which has given you everything from identity, to living, to protection against same Pakistan you are fond of.."
Me,  "My Love for India is not a function of showing detest for Pakistan. I love India and love Pakistan too.. And I believe that there should be no conflict of interest between my feeling for two"

When You take a stand which is against populist nationalism in countries over the world , such events become perpetual part of your life. Some end with banter while some even go till tempestuous accusations. They start complimenting you as Pseudo Secular sometimes even Ingrate to India. I feel frustrated but then I believe that being ingrate to humanity is more important than being Ingrate to India. Sometimes I wonder, I still get away with my affection for Pakistan  as I am born into Hindu majority family of India. But if I was born Muslim, they would have tagged me as traitor, terrorist or whatever so easily. This desultory labeling is  product of disease "Nationalism" which most of us suffer from. Nationalist just love tagging people. Nationalist tag all Kashmiri Muslims as terrorist because their dumb neurons will never let them comprehend that many Kashmiris could just be what Bhagat Singh was for India. I sometimes wonder for people who believe British were evil colonizers , are now hypocrite in case of Kashmir ? People whose ancestors fought for so long for right to self determination are so blind to same demand raised by Kashmiris ? Nationalism making us blind to facts and honesty, blocks rationality and our minds becomes fortress of banality. The first seed of this blind nationalism are sowed in our schools when we learn that map of India containing Pakistani kashmir and Askai Chin as integral part (Atoot Ang) of India. Why are we not taught they are land of long dispute between countries? Why are we not taught truth and facts in first place? With mind obsessed in nationalism, you become blind to fact that we can be wrong at times, we can commit crimes and sins too. While any fact presented to us which conflict with our nationalistic ideas bring cognitive dissonance to our thoughts and we look for blame outside especially on weak and minority. Moreover those who manage to unlearn these fallacious teachings to discover and relearn the truth are termed as easily termed as ingrate or traitor to country.

Coming back to debate, I dont hate Pakistan because I don't find a reason to hate it. A country is made up of people who live in. When I talk to ordinary Pakistani, he is no different than any ordinary Indian. We have idiots lost in Nationalism on both sides. Though still I could find more self  introspective people on that side of border. Just like they will blame us for Kashmir living hypocrite when it comes to balochistan issue, we will blame them for attrocities on minorities keep closed eye on perpetual human right violations here.
So what separates the people of two countries? If I judge by human quality, If I have to hate Pakistan then I have to hate India first. Some might argue that Pakistani establishment has been Anti India from its very beginning. But truth is same thought process is prevalent on this side of border. India will blame Pakistan for 1965 aggression, Terrorism support in Kashmir and Punjab, Kargil war and Pakistan will blame India for Kashmir occupation, Siachin aggression and interference in Bangladesh civil war. Truth is both countries have to tried to inflict as much damage as they could have done and again there is really nothing to choose between to the two when it comes to idiocy . Both countries have piled up expensive weapon and nuclear arsenal while keeping millions starving. Pakistan being a smaller country, will face paranoid of bigger country more and hence we find more dependence on defense establishment on that side of border.

Indian Nationalist use propagation tools of slogans like "Hindus not extremist enough" and  "India is a soft state". Such views are practiced even after India has witness some of the most horrific stories in Gujarat 2002 and Delhi 1984. This is in spite of heavy militarization from Kashmir valley to North East states. Cheif culprit in 1984 Anti-Sikh roits "Sajjan Taylor" enjoyed political life in Z Security and architect of 2002 Anti-Muslim riots is in race to be probable Prime Minister of India. Fact that Narendra Modi is seen as penecea of Indian Problem tells a lot about how much this disease of Nationalism has crept into Indian Minds. At one side we are ready to forgive (even accept that he was involved) Modi for his crimes and to accept him for highest working post of this country while on other hand we are so blood thirsty nation yelling death for Ajmal kasab and Afzal Guru. Its the barbaric hypocrisy of our nationalist society. A killer is a killer, no matter he is Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Indian or Pakistani or whatever. Will we rise above prism of man made classification of a humans by Caste, Nationality, Region, Religion, Color and start looking any person as human first? God must be regretting for creating humans made same by DNA but we ourselves took the task of division and associations. Its just due to our gregarious needs where we lack confidence in our individuality and look for associations based on Nation, Region, Color, Caste and Religion.

Regionalism, Caste-ism are not very different from Nationalism and are infact subset of it. Plight of Biharis in Maharashtra or Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir is a consequence of same thought process on which Nationalism is based upon. They all invoke same feeling of identity instigating into tag - Us or Them. We can not think of removing one from society keeping others roots deep intact in society.  For example for a Jat who is nationalist will go defensive once he will hear about rumors against Khap Panchayat. Because for him both are part of his identity and more he is close to his clan, this tribe-ism will take precedence over Nationalism much to discomfort of staunch Nationalist. This is because Nationalist believe in one size fit all approach for whole Nation. This is no different than what Pakistan believed that only religion can bind two East and West Pakistan together. Even for all their problems, nationalist have same blind reasoning and solution. Be it for kashmir, Manipur or Chattisgarh. This superficial thought process keep them away from ground realities and truth.

Hitler said, “The effectiveness of the truly national leader consists in preventing his people from dividing their attention, and keeping it fixed on a common enemy.”. Bush has used it successfully in USA, Pakistan Army has used it Pakistan, Chinese communist party in China, Putin in Russia, BJP has used it successfully to rise to power from ashes in India. This obsession to seek line of fault on others than to seek within thus creating a sense of false perfection and pride within that community . Nationalist leader use utopian dream and combine them with unacceptable desires to sell it to masses. While talking of restoring culture and giving sense of group identity they profess that existence of other group somehow puts their own survival at risk. And to survive they have to mobilize in own identity grouping based on caste, tribe, nation, religion, language and build a shell around to keep out foreigners (who doesn't fit into majority). And with this habit whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled good or bad. Individuality looses its value and what remains is superficial tagging.

This Nationalism and Religion are just opium of masses.  They are no different when it comes to common disrespect for the individual, their intolerance for the necessary private margin of dissent and disbelief which keeps us all free. Religion and Nationalism though pitching for equality human values and right, have been greatest cause of loss of human lives and human rights through out history. When religious community based majoritarianism seek to capture the state, they can be nothing but exclusionary, discriminatory, intolerant and prone to use violence against minorities, secularists and dissenters. 

Before we were Jews , Hindu , Muslim, Punjabi, Marathi,.. We were Humans first.. And interestingly we still are; We have just forgotten it..

When ever I am asked about my identity, These verse of Bulley Shah play in my mind..

Bulley Shah Dee Zaat Kee Puchni, Shaakar Ho Razayaan.
Do not ask Bulleh Shah his caste identity; Be thankful and be content with the lord’s creation(Human)

Sunday, March 10, 2013


After more than two years of dull, I am making a comeback with new Ideas, new ideology and new outlook.. Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today after 1 year of Non Blogging activity .. I hereby disown all my older blog entries .. I am going though process of rejuvenation of my views and ideologies . Once crystal ,will start blogging  !!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Kashmir Valley in United States of Hindustan

Few days back I saw a Note by Kashmiri on present situation . I was among the first to comment. Followed a series of discussion .. Then I presented my 10 point consolidated view (During a boring 20 mins call with Canada Client in Office ) .. I thought to publish my comment to that Note tonight as I think its also apt as my "Open letter to Kashmiris and Government of India"

( 1. My views are Pro Government of India . Thought I have tried to understand other point of View also.. I am talking straight Politics with hardly any room for emotions
2. It was my reply to chain of discussion so I may have made some references to above comments . Please visit the note for those comments
3. I will publish text of this Note as first comment to this Post , Its better if you go through the note note first so that you could get relevance of what I am speaking on )

First link to his Note

"I got some interesting views above ... But I have few discussion points which I would like Pranjal , Nirjhar , Gowhar to answer..

1. As rightly said by someone above.. Every citizen is slave of government it elects . And similarly , Kashmir is also controlled by Govt in Delhi and
their own elected Govt of Kashmir . Thats how it is true for every state of India.. Though Kashmir enjoys more autonomy . Democracy is election of your masters (by majority) .So Kashmir is no different slave of Government of India than any other state of India .

2. Concept of India as Nation never existed before 20th century . We had so many kingdom and regions in Punjab , Bengal , Sindh , Balochistan , Kashmir , Hyderabad , Mysore ,......And fact is we still all are all different . Like me a Jatt - We are not like Biharis , Bengalis , Kashmiris , Nagaland , Tamil , Telgu , Gujarati , Marathi . But again we preserve our own identity under flag of nation India . And thats basic essence for survival of country which is more diverse than even whole of europe. There is cry from some in Nagaland , Punjab(Khalistan) , Assam , Manipur , Tamil Nadu for seperation . Even Maoists want self rule .. So Should we divide Indian Into 50 countries?

3. Kashmir wants separation , Tomm even people like me will demand a separate homeland for Jatts in Haryana or Punjab or rajasthan because government of India is insensitive to our cultural Identity of Khaps or some other reason.. But again I know we have to work for our cultural autonomy being a part of "United States of India" as I call it..

4. And if someone will argue my previous generation rulers signed annexation to India , Why should I bear for what they have done.. I could even go on and demand separate nationhood for my State , city , or even my home as that would be "My own right to be governed by Me" (As Kashmiri people call their motto of struggle) .. Think about it. When it is about City , house can be overlooked in demands .When its about Nation , State demands can be overlooked for National interests ..

5.Hindu population of Kashmir has decreased even since centuries and it came down from 16% in 1940 to less than 2% now.. Where was Kashmiriyat then ?? I think Kashmiriyat died the day when Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee and live as refugee outside their home in kashmir . Ethinic cleansing of Non Muslims is indelible blemish on kashmir .. But sad no one talks about it .

6. I agree Armed forced are doing atrocities . Beause there is Nothing black or White in this world . But again I dont think Amry is enjoying away from home.. Its because there is atmosphere of mistrust and terrorism originating from other side of border.. (I hope you will agree here) .
I do feel those Army men who commit crime should be punished by law and I could see that start to happen .. But truth is Army or Police commit crimes everywhere in India. every state. So Kashmir is no hit list state . And crimes are by product of such atmosphere though very condemnable where government of India should look into.
But once peace comes to Kashmir , Army will be reduced and gradually out of cities as we saw that happening in 2007-08.. So lets stop violence and make Kashmir free of Armed Forces.

7. People who are on street are mostly unemployed , or with unsatisfied job, And people will stomach full are here on internet . Again its not not an defence to bullets fired by Armed Forces but you cant match stone for stone in fight as Armed forces will be out numbered . So Lets end this cycle of voilence . Also Armed forces should learn better ways of Mob control .
Also If a 9 year old kid died due to bullet , There opens many questions to who people responsible ? Army , his parents , Mob who put him in front....

8. Lets get realistic .. At any cost . This world second largest Armed Force and 4th biggest economy of World will never give up on Kashmir as stretegic location of Kashmir advocates need to hold it . Kashmir once free will act as bridge between Pakistan and China and against India .. Same reasons why India holds even siachen Glacier and Nepalis get access to Indian Army ans other Jobs.
Which ever political party will ever think of it ,can forget comming to power in life time..
So best way is autonomous Kashmir with its foreign Affairs, Currency , ... under Govt of India Rest under government of Kashmir .
More important is people movement to and from Kashmir to rest of India .. Only then only it can become economically rich and it can believe itself to be part of India.

9. Lets think even if Kashmir becomes free country. What that Independence be worth for??? Such a small valley will always remain a poor country . At least now kashmiri people comes to rest of India to study and earn...
Will Kashmir valley , Such a small country ever be stable sandwich between countries hostile to each other???

10. And at last onus is also on we rest of Indians .. We should also accept Kashmiris with love and feel them that they are part of this a " Combined Multi cultural States of Hindustaan" . And for Kashmiris , Though we know its tough to forget what you have gone through but remember , " You cant change the past but you can create a beautiful one " . I know its much easy said than done.. But ways of love always prevails as success ..

And in last solution to kashmir also lie on successful relations of India and Pakistan. Lets clear the mistrust , Open our hearts , Make borders irrelevant between two countries . Unite both Kashmirs ... When Germans can do it.. We also can!!!! We need to over come this trust deficit and Hate .. History teaches us that it should not govern emotions...

Jai Hind , Jai