What Is Wrong With India?

Cover ups.

Communal violence.

Basic labour laws missing.


Severe social problems.

Satirists arrested for making fun on politicians.

There is no end in site. What in the world is wrong with India? And Indians?

Lately I have been really disillusioned with the new India. Not a single piece of good news.

And then there is this, self effacing and  self congratulatory promotion by the political mastermind of the Gujarat massacre. The “reaching out to public” exercise where questions and questioners are selected carefully. (in Hindi)

To me this is THE problem. This politician (and others like him) are the real problem of India.

Mumbai Attacked, Again

Another day, another attack.

Another mindless bombing, innocent people dying.

It’s become the circle of life in Mumbai. I wonder how much can that city take before the psychosis of living with the fear that a bomb could go off next to you drives people over the edge. Already there are statements appearing on the web that border on mob mentality where you go where ever your anger leads you. Here are what some of my close friends are posting on their wall on Facebook :

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Time to get up and take control. If you agree let’s make this a movement. Hang that Kasab (Pakistani Islamic terrorist who was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks) or I am not paying taxes to the government for them to sit and feed the man who injured the soul of Mumbai!! An appeal KILL THAT KASAB OR CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT!!

I understand you are angry and upset but I do not understand how killing Kasab will stop terrorism? Once Kasab is dead will the terrorists just stop? It did not happen when US go Osama Bin Laden so why would it work in this case?

And if the person is saying that we should hang Kasab because he is guilty and the government is just dithering by not hanging him right away, then I have to ask, do you want to be like the terrorists? In other words do you want to take Kasab in the back and shoot him just like the terrorists do or do you want to go through a process that are entrenched in a democratic society. Yes, they can be slow but that’s why it’s called a due process. Leave no stone unturned. That’s how you fight terrorism.

I have been very disappointed by the response to this later attack from fellow desis (some of them are my very friends). There have been shouts across the board for more security. What does that mean? Do you want an Orwellian police state? Do you want to be told what you can do each moment you step out?

If yes, then may I suggest you try North Korea.

I was also disappointed with the response to the bombing by the authourities. I mean, I do not expect them to have a police presence at every corner (I would hate that kind of society). My problem is that I saw pictures of injured being carried in the back of delivery vans, injured lying about with no professional help, no fire men, nothing. WTF! I thought after repeatedly being bombed, the authourities would have learned by now how to RESPOND to a bombing even if they cannot PREVENT one.

And the media. Oh my god! What is wrong with the desi media? The hyperventilating reportage from the scene of the blast with no concern for the privacy of the victims and their loved ones makes me want to puke.

I have no idea how to end this post on a positive note because there is nothing positive about this tragedy. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

Sometimes I Do Not Understand India

In Delhi in 1996 to make a long distance phone call, you’d either have to be very rich or use one of the private maintained phone booths. Basically you’d walk to the booth, give the head honcho the number you want to reach and then sit and wait for your turn because, invariably, there were quite a few people waiting to make a call.

The one I used to frequent was a small room that had opened right next to my apartment. The phone was in a small make shift booth in one of the corners of the room. It was a glass booth with curtains to give the caller perceived privacy. Perceived? Because people in the room could clearly hear the entire conversation of the person in the booth even though no one could see in the booth.

So one evening I went to the booth to call my folks for my weekly call and gave the number and waited for my turn amongst 5-6 other people. I knew it would take time so I had taken a book along which proceeded to read. Inside the booth was a woman who, maybe because of a bad connection, was talking fairly loudly. So, even if you did not want to hear her conversation, you had no choice.

And this is how the conversation was going :

“Yes mum. Life is really hard here working all the time.”


“Yes mum he helps out as much as he can but his work sometimes takes him away for a few days and then it becomes very hard to handle the kids and my work”


“Yeah. That’s why I am calling. Please send me some body who will help out with the house.”

Here in North America such help is very expensive but in India, personal help is within the budgets of everyone. Even I as a student had a maid help me (and my flat mates) with cleaning and cooking everyday. Anyway, on with the conversation :

The woman says “can you please send someone from (ed : I forget what city she says here but I remember thinking, boy that’s far off) as soon as you can? But can you make sure that he is not more than 15 years old”

At this point, my head went up. I was mildly shocked. How can she ask her mom to separate a kid from his parents to look after her kids??? And then she said something that made everyone in the room look up from their magazines and books with shock.

“Please make sure that he is not into studying or learning. Or that he is looking into coming to Delhi and think I would be responsible for his well being.  I don’t want to have to deal with that crap.”

She continued with this line of conversation for a good minute or so and the whole time we were all looking at each other in shock and I know what everyone was thinking. Here is an educated woman talking about getting help for her kids from another kid and she wants this help not to be inquisitive or have a education-oriented mind. She just wants a servant. Someone at her beck and call.

And that’s what I hate about India. This subjugation of a population because they are of a different social strata. Of a different caste. Of a different region. This is very common in India and is prevalent among the so called educated class as well. India will forever be mired is bickering amongst it’s population as long as such attitudes exist.

What brought about this rant from me? This :

Sunil and Arvind Parmar, owners of a tea stall in Surendranagar, Gujarat, break
for lunch while their servant Mangal, an 11-year-old Dalit boy is made to sit under the table.


Here Are Some Things I Have Learned In The Past 24 Hours (Updated 1st Dec. 2008) (Updated 2nd Dec. 2008)

  1. Terrorism is now a fact of life in India no matter how much India prospers.
  2. Terrorism in India will always, ALWAYS, be supported by countries surrounding India which includes Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka to name a few. But nothing will be done about it because reprecussions of any military action will be met with force from not only the offending country but also but the world at large. And political action is not possible because our politicians lack the imagination. India will continue to take blows.
  3. Twitter is the best place to go if you want up to minute updates of the situation on the ground. I think today the number one traffic generator on Twitter was #Mumbai.
  4. Politicians of the current Congress party are uninspiring and verbal fumblers.
  5. Politicians from the RSS are demagogues and dangerous. I think they are going to use this terrorism act to their advantage in the up coming 2009 election. Look out for Thakeray and co. to completely exploit this day.
  6. Politicians blame everything on Pakistan from the word go. Getting the facts and then starting the blame game is something these idiots are not really familiar with.
  7. Sara Snider of CNN who is in Mumbai covering the Mumbai terrorism, is a fucking moron. See this clip (http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/2008/11/27/sidner.bpr.live.shot.chaos.cnn). Her comment on people “celebrating” outside police lines because they are just curious on lookers was outrageously insensitive. I was really happy to see a brave gentleman interrupt her bullshit on live TV. Kudos to you sir.

Updates to follow.

> The blame game has started. There is no doubt that there was involvement of Pakistan citizens on the attack. I think the question is, is the State of Pakistan involved?

> Will there be a intelligence overhaul? No idea and I don’t think the public will be informed either way. Anyway, if this attack was, as is being reported in the media, from Pakistan, there was no way to prepare for it or avoid it.

> It is important for everyone to understand that the attack hit home for many elite and upper middle class people which changes the whole dimension of this episode and it has the potential to have far reaching effects on how terrorism will be treated in India.

It was easy for the ruling class and the bureaucratic class of India to ignore bomb attacks that took lives of mainly poor people over the last few months but this attack has hit the rulers. And that is pathetic on so many levels. This incident will confirm that a “rich/richer” life in India is worth MORE than a “poor/common man” life. And that will never ever change.

Updated on 2nd Dec. 2008

> So far the best analysis that I have read, regarding the Mumbai attacks is here.

“Secular” India

I guess at times I am enthralled by the fact that India is truly a secular and a minorities championing country. The Prime Minister is from a minority religion, a woman is the president and an Italian born Indian citizen runs (allegedly) the party in power. I mean, where else can you find such welcoming people?

But then there is bullshit like this :

Taslima Nasreen forced to leave India again

So here is an authour who has done no wrong to anyone except write poetry and about the women in Islam. For that she :

has again been “forced” to leave India after her brief stay here, prompting the controversial writer to question the country’s alleged secular credentials.

The writer, who returned to India on August 8, said she had to leave on October 15 following the government’s dictum.

“Yes, I was forced to leave India once again… The government gave me resident permit for 6 months with a secret condition that I must leave the country in a few days,” she told PTI in an e-mail interview.

“Gave a 6 month visa with the condition that she leave immediately”???? WHAT?? So the all powerful, all secular government of India bowed and cowered to a segment of the population that has better things to revile in the country like poverty, corruption etc. but instead focuses it’s energy on an authour!!?!!

I know it’s all politics but there comes a time when a government needs to stand up for a principle. This author had to flee her birth country because of the fatwa placed on her. This was the perfect opportunity for the government of India and the state government (which is, ironically, a communist party i.e. an anti religion party) to demonstrate their secular credentials.

And why would anyone want to object violently to what a person has written? This is what really irks me about Indians. They take little silly issues like a book and make a huge deal out of it. Why?

Only In India

Lynching is alive and kicking in India

A day after the tragic death of Graziano Trasmissioni Chief Executive Officer LK Chaudhary inside the factory and at the hand of his own employees, 136 sacked employees have been arrested.

The incident has stunned the corporate world and raised a disturbing question: could the tragedy have been averted if the police had reached on time?

Chaudhary, say his friends, was a mild mannered man. The 48-year-old CEO of Graziano Trasmissioni led a 1000-strong work force. The violence on Monday inside the plant not only claimed Chaudhury’s life, it also sent 26 of his employees to the hospital including 10 who are in the ICU.

Mob mentality is a really dangerous thing especially so in India where passions can be raised quickly. And boneheaded statements from politicians like this really do not help.

Describing the killing of L.K. Chaudhury, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an Italy-based company Graziano Transmissioni in Greater Noida as a fallout of the “simmering discontent among the workers,” the government on Tuesday said, this should serve as a warning for managements.

“It is my appeal to the managements that the workers should be dealt with compassion,” Minister of Labour and Employment (Independent charge) Oscar Fernendes told journalists here.

There are disparities in the wages of permanent employees, contract and temporary workers. The workers should not be pushed so hard that they resort to whatever that had happened in Greater Noida, he said.

Only an uneducated fool or a pandering politician could say something so monumentally stupid. Never mind that the company carried out a legit action by firing workers it does not need. I am sure that workers must have been peeved, after all they are the ones who lost their lively hood, but does that really justify beating and killing the management?

This is one aspect I really hate about us Indians. We get inflammed, incensed very easily with deadly consequences. Am wrong in picking on Indians? Probably. But history says something else. 

1, 2, 3, 4.

Oh Dear God!!


How is it possible for a country that offers this :-

New Delhi – India’s satellite launch vehicle PSLV-C9 is set to launch 10 satellites in one go on Monday, officials said.

The PSLV-C9 is scheduled to put in orbit the Cartosat-2A remote sensing satellite along with an Indian mini-satellite and eight foreign nano satellites, S Satish, spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), said.

“The 230-tonne rocket (PSLV-C9) will carry a luggage of 824 kilograms,” he said. Cartosat-2A weighs about 690 kilograms an carries a panchromatic camera that can record high-clarity images covering a swathe of 9.6 kilometres.

…..have people that believe in dumb sh*t like this?

Religious traditions are diverse and sometimes as bizarre as they can get. A village in Solapur, Maharashtra, has a dangerous tradition of throwing newborns from a height of 50 feet onto a sheet, which is held by devotees.

The infants are thrown off the roof of the Baba Sheikh Umar Saheb Dargah in Musti village in Solapur. This is an age-old tradition practiced by couples who are blessed with a child after taking a vow at the dargah. The devotees also believe that this ritual is good for the health of the child.

….and here is the kicker…..

Both Muslim and Hindu families take part in this ritual, however the state administration chooses not to interfere and provides heavy police security during the ritual every year.

So, terrified children are deemed not to need protection but people who throw children from 50 feet do? Sometimes, I am glad I am not raising my daughter in India.

World’s Largest Democracy

As you go through this blog you will notice that there is one that really irks me about India. The repeated and hyped up lines “India is shinning”, “India is the new superpower” or “India is the world’s largest democracy” grate on my nerves each time I hear it. People who mouth these lines obligingly, are the ones who are living comfortably in their apartments/condos while earning a decent salary completely oblivious or willfully ignore the huge number of disenfranchised fellow Indians who go about their lives eating mango kernels for sustainment. That is the real picture. Yes, it’s true that in some sectors of the population India is doing quite well….but how can one make big claims without understanding that most of the claims are just empty rhetoric.

Here is a case of State gone mad. This is a story of a doctor who, like Gandhi, gives up everything for the sake of helping other people. His story is of encouragement, inspiration and ultimately, in the “world’s largest democracy”, disillusionment.

The story of Binayak Sen is the story of the dangerously thin ice India’s democratic rights skim on. The story of every dangerous schism in India today: State versus people. Urban versus rural. Unbridled development versus human need. Blind law versus natural justice. It is the story of an India unraveling at the seams. The story of unjust things that happen — unreported — to thousands of innocent people, the story of unjust things waiting to happen to you and me, if we ever step off the rails of shining India to investigate what’s happening in the rest of the country. Most of all, it is the story of what can be done to ordinary individuals when the State dons the garb of being under siege


OVER THE YEARS, Binayak’s medical work had morphed into social advocacy — the two umbilically linked in a state like Chhattisgarh. As Dr Suranjan Bhattacharji, director, CMC Vellore, says, “Binayak walked the talk. He was an inspiration for generations of doctors. He stirred us. He reminded us that it takes many things — access, freedom, food security, shelter, equity and justice — to make a healthy society. He was the alternative model.” In 2004, CMC honoured Binayak with its prestigious Paul Harrison Award. In a moving citation, it said, “Dr Binayak Sen has carried his dedication to truth and service to the very frontline of the battle. He has broken the mould, redefined the possible role of the doctor in a broken and unjust society, holding the cause much more precious than personal safety. CMC is proud to be associated with Binayak Sen.”

Yet, barely three years later, on May 14, 2007, in a Kafkaesque twist, the State pressed a button and deleted Binayak Sen’s long and dedicated history as a humanist and doctor. The police arrested him as a dreaded Naxal leader and charged him with sedition, criminal conspiracy, making war against the nation, and knowingly using the proceeds of terrorism (sic). Imagine the bewilderment. “Just a namesake doctor” the prosecution asserted, and with that act of wilful cynicism, a life of soaring vision and service was extinguished. Reduced to the rubble of the Indian justice system.Since Binayak was arrested, three courts have denied him bail, most damagingly, the Supreme Court on December 10, 2007 — International Human Rights Day: an ironic detail.


Sometimes the true measure of people is revealed in the small, random remarks of those who know them. When the Supreme Court denied him bail, an old man told an activist at a rally for Binayak, “If the courts are not going to free our doctor, should we storm the jail?” Then he continued ruefully to himself, “But what’s the use? All the other prisoners would run away, but Dr Binayak would stay back.”


With predictable myopia, the Indian State has been meeting grievance with violence, illness with extermination. Not cure. Draconian laws. CRPF battalions. IRP battalions. Increased militarisation. Thousands of crores for upgrading police. Special funds for Naxal-affected States. An invitation to competitive violence: that has been the government’s response to grassroots militancy. In Chhattisgarh, this manifested itself particularly harmfully in 2005 as the government-sponsored counter-revolution: the now infamous Salwa Judum, which pitted villager against villager and triggered a bloody civil war. 644 villages have been forcibly evacuated by the government, their residents forced into sub-human camps. Smoke out the support, is the State’s war cry. Civil rights activists tell you, the State’s real quarry is not even the Maoists, but the iron-rich soil, ready to be handed to private corporations, Nandigramstyle. There are rumours that the makeshift camps are now going to be turned into official revenue villages, which will force tribals to abdicate all the original evacuated land to the government. All of that is speculation still; but the excesses of the Salwa Judum are real.

It is against this backdrop that Binayak Sen caught the self-serving eye of the State.


Binayak Sen, however, seems curiously aloof from all of this. As the police hustle him into the van, he presses his face against the iron bars and says urgently, “You must understand, there is a Malthusian process of exclusion going on in the country. You cannot create two categories of human beings. Everybody must wake up to this, otherwise soon it will be too late.” The concerns of the humanist are apparent even through the imprisoning bar. “If they arrest people like me, human rights workers will have no locus standi. I have never condoned Maoist violence. It is an invalid and unsustainable movement. Along with the Salwa Judum, it has created a dangerous split in the tribal community. But the grievances are real. There is an on-going famine in the region. The body mass is below 18.5. Forty percent of the country lives with malnutrition. In Scheduled Castes and Tribes, this goes up to 50 and 60 percent respectively. We have to strive for more inclusive growth. You cannot create two categories of people…”

I have no idea what the future holds for India. Maybe it will be able to pull out of this dream and start living in reality. Maybe the people will realise that it’s important to have a strong society both in the urban and rural communities. Maybe none of this will happen. Then India is bound to self destruct.

Here are some more cases of "India Shining"


A young, married couple, who chose to spend a relaxed Sunday evening at Bugle Rock Park, Basavanagudi, had a horrifying time after two policemen hurled filthy abuses at them, roughed them up, threatened them and took them to a police station.

Even more shocking about the intimidation was that Nisha and Vikram (names changed) were merely enjoying the evening breeze on a bench. The couple has been married for four years now.

In fact, they were chatting on their respective mobiles around 6.45 pm, when a plainclothes constable approached them and questioned them rudely. Asked if they’d done something wrong and whether he could prove his identity, the constable jeered at them: “Oh, you want to see my ID, I will show you now.” Then he pulled Vikram by his collar and roughed him up.

Later, a cop in uniform emerged and threatened to kill Vikram. His wife Nisha, a journalist with a national daily, said she would call higher police authorities for help. But they abused her too. When Vikram protested that they couldn’t treat her so rudely, the policemen said derisively: “Want to know how we treat you? Come to the station and you’ll know.”

The couple was taken to the Basavanagudi police station in a jeep. When the matter was brought to the notice of the higher-ups, the station in-charge apologized and sent the couple away. However, when the issue was being sorted out by the inspector, the policemen slunk away.

I fail to understand the logic of people I know and the articles I read day in day out about how well India is doing when above occurrences are common in a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore. India Shining indeed.

India Shinning?

All those people who claim that India and it’s citizens are on their way to prosperity, here is a dose of reality :

A low-caste Indian man has been killed for shooing away cattle belonging to upper caste people in the western state of Madhya Pradesh, police say.

Kailash Bagri, 40, was beaten to death and his body was then burnt in the district of Dhar, about 290km (180 miles) from the state capital, Bhopal.

Police say Mr Bagri objected to oxen being tethered in front of his house.

He was then beaten for his “insolence”, say police, who have yet to make any arrests in the case.

The body of Mr Bagri was so badly burnt that police had been unable even to recover his bones, district police chief Chanchal Shekhar told the BBC.

Villagers were also threatened not to report the matter to anyone, but Mr Bagri’s son managed to slip out and report the matter to the police the next day.