Experiences, Feelings from the heart, Poetry, Social issues

The young victim

This poem is dedicated to all of us- victims of a suffocating educational system with burdensome evaluation patterns. It is a matter of shame for any educational institution when the institutional torture it inflicts upon students is so severe that even the most hardworking and sincere ones cannot perform their level best.

I am the child carrying a bag bigger than herself
I am the student rushing from one tuition to the next
Or one who is just a month away from my degree
Bombarded with work he can’t finish in a century

I run, unaware of my destination
I collapse, gasping for breath
But I stand again to finish one more chapter
As my own will experiences a slow death

There are expectations from elders
Dreaded punishments from teachers
Ridicule from rivals
Contempt from competitors

I read but do not register a line
I write but the words don’t seem to be mine
I study but do not critically analyze
I think but produce no ideas

I now know what Marx meant by alienation
When nothing feels like your own
Neither your dreams, nor your goals
And work makes you feel overgrown

I don’t want to wake up to a new day
Because I will have to continue what I left before
At this young age, I want to disappear
Rather than read, interact and explore

My brain refuses to concentrate
As my heart isn’t into what I have to do
The bird wants to sleep undisturbed in its nest
So that tomorrow it can begin a journey anew

I don’t want to fulfil expectations anymore
I don’t want to match any standards
I want a free reign for my imagination
I want to explore different worlds

Frustration, depression, irritation
All gate-crash like uninvited guests in a party
The rebel within roars in indignation
To surpass every institutional limitation

Nothing can be learnt from too much work
It just becomes an imposed formality
Done in haste, whether good or waste
Life staggers between ‘dead’lines

I succumb to pressure
I lose my enthusiasm and motivation
“How much done?” displaces “How are you?”
My existence revolves around marks and submissions

Freedom and time are what I need
To think of new ideas, to try and try again
To learn from my mistakes
To knowledge  and wisdom so gain

When I see little kids play
Naughty, innocent and carefree they chirp..
They look so cheerful and happy
I wish I never grew up

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Feelings from the heart, Poetry, Social issues

I dissent, therefore I am

When pedestals are misused
Power is abused
When minorities are marginalized
When rebels are ostracized

When I am not considered a compatriot
When a government infringes upon my food right
When draconian laws continue to terrorize
When my caste determines my might

When three countries claim over my state
When nobody cares what residents want
When terrorists and soldiers ruin us the same
Day or night, the fear of death does haunt

When protest is sedition
When consent is the condition
When disagreement is criticized
When dissent is criminalized

When my freedom remains enshrined in a constitution
When I am denied the right to practise it
When I demand what I am entitled to
I am tortured so that I quit

When activism is blasphemous
When compliance is the norm
I am not a mere gush of wind
I will wreak havoc like a storm

I don’t know if I am national
Or if I belong to this nation at all
I don’t know if I am patriot
If I don’t bow to it or extol

But I know I am being alienated
I know I am being demonized
My differences being disregarded
I know I am being dehumanized

I realize, therefore I am
I question, therefore I am
I dissent, therefore I am
I condemn, therefore I am

I agitate, therefore I am
I retaliate, therefore I am
I mobilize, therefore I am
I revolutionize, therefore I am!

Social issues

Beef-sessed

I belong to a country where the government also decides and denies food rights of its citizens. It could raid your refrigerator to find beef, or worse, lynch you to death on mere suspicion of you having consumed it. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Pathetic, more so.

Probably even Fascist or Nazi regimes never dictated diets. There is a twist in the tale, because only consumption of flesh of a cow is problematic. This country is one of paradoxes. Here, Hindus worship cows as their mothers, but do all of them respect their own mothers or women in the household?

Certain groups of people argue that others must therefore not consume beef as it hurts their religious sentiments. However, their sentiments are not hurt if pork or buffalo meat is consumed.

If killing one particular animal hurts religious sentiments of some people, why does the killing of pigs, buffaloes, chickens, fish, etc. not incite the same fury within them? Where is secularism gone in the country? Will it ever become a part of the lives of people or only rust away in one line of the preamble of the constitution?

Where does this hypocrisy end? Does any particular majoritarian religion have the right to forbid other minorities from practising their own beliefs? It is not about tolerance or intolerance, it is about acceptance. We all have the right to hold beliefs and practise our own religion. But we do not have the right to curtail the freedom of others.

The government has no right to determine food rights of people. Followers of one religion cannot dictate laws for followers of other religions.

Are we really a free country if our government interferes into our personal lives? Are the colonial days back? Are we inhabiting a secular, democratic country or a Hindu left-wing country?

If we really need a ban, it has to be on the colonial attitudes of the government. Today. democracy in India continues to be in grave peril. Unless we profess equal freedom, democracy and rights for all, we cannot be a free nation in the true sense.

I support the right to food without restrictions. Do you?

Poems, Politics in India, Social issues

Independence woes

This is a poem penned by my friend, Aman Lodha. 15th August was India’s Independence day. He dedicates this sarcastic poetry to India’s corrupt MPs. It is a brilliant piece of work and I could not resist the urge to share it.

Thanks for murdering democracy
Thanks for the continuous hypocrisy
Thanks for washing out parliamentary sessions
Thanks for the political ‘lessons’
Thanks for the ‘morchas’ and slogans
Thanks for behaving in the Parliament like hooligans
Thanks for delaying implementation of the GST bill
Thanks for delaying the much needed economic uphill
Thanks for taking some fraudulent oaths!
Thanks for stagnating India’s growth.
Thanks for this time too, living up to our expectations
Thanks for stalling the work and displaying your straight-forward intentions.
What a perfect example for young students you set
Shouting, banging desks, everything seems perfect.
Opposition or ruling party, who is to blame?
Whatever it be, it’s a shame.
Thanks for giving us frustration, disappointment and sadness in abundance.
I wish you all politicians, a very happy Independence!

Social issues

Rape or no rape?

India is a country where daily life is institutionalized by religion. Be it marriage, childbirth or puberty, every phase of life has a myriad of traditions attached to it. I am proud of my country’s culture and traditions; I do not condemn them. But if a human right is violated in the name of religion, the very existence of the institution comes to be questioned.

I wish to talk about marital rape. For those of you who do not know, marital rape is simply rape with one’s wife. Most Indians would be amused to read this. Sex within marriage is not rape, that is what we are conditioned to learn. But just because a woman is a man’s wife, does the husband have the right to force her to copulate and inflict violence upon her if she does not give in to his coercion? If this behaviour is done to any woman apart from one’s wife, it a crime, a rape. But what if this happens to one’s wife?

Interestingly, even the Constitution of our country does not criminalize marital rape because “Marriage is a sacred institution”. Is sanctity more important than the right to live? The institution itself would break down if the wife dies! Then what is the point of not criminalizing a violent act only because it is governed by religion? Are we placing religion above law or are we succumbing to age-old malpractices because we are not bold enough to SPEAK UP?

Last week, I started a petition against this on Change.org. The petition is not getting the number of signatures it should be getting. Maybe our generation is such that we will never talk about something unless and until that happens to a near one. As bloggers, I know you are all aware human beings. It does not matter which country you belong to. Human rights are beyond any boundaries of nationality; they represent humanity.

I humbly urge you to sign this petition that advocates the cause of criminalizing marital rape. Gender equality cannot be imposed until such practices are supported within our families. As Marx rightly points out, it is the religious superstructure that supports the economic base wherein it is the man who financially supports the family. A woman is dependent on her husband for bringing up her children- this economic dependence is one vital reason why women do not raise their voice against marital rape.

It won’t take you more than 30 seconds. Please sign this petition by clicking on the link- Criminalize marital rape

You too could share this link on the sites you actively use for social networking. It is time we do something for humanity. You could indirectly help save many lives. Also, I am not being biased. This petition will also fight for men who are victims of marital rape. What could happen to a wife could also happen to a husband.

I am grateful to my friends Simran and Akshata, who have helped me promote the cause especially by using Facebook as an effective medium for the same. Thanks a lot for the support!

We must not let the Muggles let us down.

Social issues

Power: used, abused or unused?

I enjoy interviewing people. It all began during our fieldwork to a remote village in Maharashtra, called Honala. I was interviewing the Up- Sarpanch or deputy head of the village. While I was asking him about the political scenario of the village, I could not help being annoyed with his habit of spitting on the road every two minutes. Agitated, I pushed away the so-called questionnaire and attacked him, “What are your plans for the cleanliness of the village?” His reply only added to our fury. “None as yet”, the illiterate fellow said.

Case two was something that happened today. I reside in Chikuwadi, an area in Borivali west (Mumbai). We have this recreational  park where we had this social gathering today. Our MP, Mr. Gopal Shetty and Mr. Vinod Tawde (Maharashtra state minister for primary, higher and technical education as well as medical education and culture) were the ‘esteemed chief guests’.

I was ardently listening to their speeches. Mr. Tawde started narrating the entire tale of what happened after he proposed Marathi films being screened in multiplexes during prime time and was apparently quite proud of it. While he was leaving, I could not resist myself. I asked him, “You’ve done your bit for Maharashtra’s culture. What are your plans for education in the state, since you are the education minister too?”

“At school level, we shall incorporate courses that raise emotional quotient of children; at college level, it is all okay”, came his curt reply; he then left from the scene. We very well know that even in best colleges of the city, students don’t attend college and teachers are not willing to teach either. When such fundamental problems exist in the creme de la creme, one can obviously predict the scenario in the mediocre colleges.

If the ministers do not realize the importance of bringing about radical changes in the system, who will? It is sad to see their nonchalance. Development and not votes should be their ultimate goal. When political leaders don’t care about changing the status quo, who will?  They have the power; why do they misuse it or do not use it at all?

Will these questions, along with the one I asked the minister, always remain unanswered?

Social issues

No to nobility???

This post is an attack on the seemingly diminishing nobility of the noblest of the noble professions- teachers, doctors, etc. A few incidents shall clear the purpose of my claim.

In some of the premier deemed universities of the country, students are seen in turmoil. In spite of being reputed institutes with professors not qualified less than a Ph. D., students face a lot of problems when it comes to academics. Some professors don’t bother to ensure if all students understood everything. They don’t mind going away from the residential campus a day before the exam, even if students have doubts or difficulties. If reported to the authorities, they deliberately set tough question papers, including concepts never even touched upon in class. Some professors don’t recommend any reference books at all to study from so that students who missed lectures cannot write the paper at all. Is vengeance an attribute of a noble teacher? Why make so many sincere ones suffer because of a few naughty ones? Why not improve oneself than seek revenge for staining one’s so-called pretentiously ‘clean’ image in front of the authorities?

Are these people even worth being referred to as teachers? Is that how young India is being trained for the future? Are we producing bright young leaders or simply a confused lot of unused brains? Are we going to create responsible citizens or simply another generation of least dutiful professors, content with the whooping salary and secure government job that they have?

Further, talking about doctors, I went to an Ayurvedic doctor who had her dispensary in a store selling Patanjali products, to seek remedy for my pimples. Her behaviour was shocking. She simply recommended me 3-4 medicines to be bought from the store. Neither did she ask me my name, age, eating habits, history, since how long did I suffer from them, nor suggest me any prohibitions or ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. Apparently, she was only interested in selling off the products and not in the welfare of patients. Dejected, I left from there, without buying any medicine. A doctor with no intention to treat a patient cannot treat me at all.

I stay in a residential campus away from home for my higher studies. My institute has a tie-up with a nearby hospital; thus we are not charged any consultancy fees when we go to the doctor. Consequently, he is never serious when we go to him. He is clueless whenever we ask him the cause of our disease or illness. He gives random answers such as “hundreds of reasons could have caused you this allergy”. Every patient knew that. If that was what we wanted to hear, why would we travel 15 kilometres and go to him in the first place? We travel so much and the doctor literally shoos us away in less than two minutes, no matter how severe the illness. What is the point in going to the doctor if this is how we are going to be ill-treated?

If doctors become so materialistic and money oriented, whom on earth should we trust in troubled times? ‘Patch Adams’ (1998) is a movie beautifully illustrating that more than medicines, it is the hope, love and care a doctor provides that cures a patient. A smile, politeness and friendly behaviour is more effective and magical than any other treatment. A doctor is a saviour; an angel. Every year, lakhs of youth appear for the medical CET and NEET. Medical colleges charge fees in six to seven digits but do they teach basic communication skills to medical students? Do they teach them the humanity it takes to be a doctor? Is the knowledge of anatomy and medicine sufficient to be a physician? Maybe that could produce a medicine-giver; but definitely that cannot produce a healer!

Yesterday I went to a bakery along with my father to buy bread. Two packets of the same company had different prices. When dad asked the shopkeeper the reason for the same, he rudely asked my dad to read it on the packet as he did not know anything. Why does he even run a shop if he has no knowledge of the products he sells?

Be it occupations requiring skilled or unskilled labour, nowhere do we find capable practitioners. This precisely is what hinders the development of our nation. Countries such as Japan and Singapore which have a population even less than a quarter of India’s are quite ahead of us, mainly because of the sincerity, dedication and efforts people put in their work. It is not so difficult to be honest and loyal to one’s OWN job!

It is time we think and introspect our own moralities and where our loyalties lie. Life is not about enjoying the position one has; it is about striving to deserve what one has been entitled to. Only then, escalation to higher positions is possible. The next time you try to be dishonest towards your work, think again- is that how you want to see our country a few decades later? The future depends solely on your decision and how you influence the ones around you by it, because:

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