Reflections and rumination, Society & Culture

The holy cow of dissent

There is serious misconception about what dissent is, what is the idea of a nation, and what is democracy. Democracy enables one to participate in the idea of the nation. You are the nation in many ways. It takes time to build this idea of the nation, and each election, each generation adds a little into it. If at any point, any individual feels that the current state of affairs are a sharp departure from this collective idea of the nation, they are entitled to notify their dissent. However, their dissent cannot be against the shared idea of nation itself, it can only be against those who execute the will of the nation.In short, dissent needs to identify where the government ends, and a nation begins. The moment they dissent from the idea of the nation, they move from the dissent to treason.
Why is dissent against the idea of nation treason 

Nationhood is a contract that we agree to. When we identify as citizens of any particular country, we agree to recognize it’s collective idea. In return we enrich it with our participation through the elective process, and abide by it’s laws. This contract is the basis for our stay, and protection by the state. The moment we dissent against the shared idea of a nation, we no longer have the moral right to enjoy pleasures of the nationhood.

Then what should a disgruntled dissenter do?

To start with, they can continue to participate in the elective process by choosing the right representatives. If they can’t find anyone to represent themselves, they can contest elections themselves. If they feel they are completely at odds with the shared idea, and would not get much support in elections, they can choose to find another nation that is more in tune with their idea of the nation. Or, they could make themselves indispensable, enrich the nation with their contribution, thus gaining more influence, and then attempt to seed their ideas again. Sadly, none of the prominent ‘dissenters’ of India are enriching her with contributions beyond their dissent. The hollow, impotent dissent has no takers. However, they are not the only one who do not understand dissent. The government of the day, doesn’t either.

How the state should approach dissent 

The idea of the state has moved from being a ‘parent’ to a ‘facilitator’. The responsibility thus on those that run the nation, is not to crush any voice of dissent, but to simply facilitate means of intellectual purification. A dissenter must be asked to validate their dissent with actions, as the state provides the means. For example, in the context of J&K, it could be asking the dissenters to build model of governance, and provide a model village for implementation of the model. If the dissenter rises to the occasion, then confidence on state is built up, if they don’t then they lose face.

Unfortunately, we are at a strange Mexican standoff as far as the idea of dissent is concerned. Those who employ it, are not judicious in it’s use, and those who are to tackle it, are caught up with indecision. In Yuval Noah Harari’s thought – provoking book – ‘Homo Sapiens’. He remarks how all the nations are but figment of our imaginations, and depend on our willingness to accept the idea as a reality. Coming days will tell us exactly how willing we as a nation are to accept a uniform idea.

Humanity, Society & Culture

What could be done to abolish caste


BJP has been appropriating all national heroes India has. Since the agenda has moved from being simply pro-hindu to being pro-hindu + progressive, this kind of symbolic appropriation is nothing unexpected. Hindu upper castes feel in control, they love the spin BJP gives to traditional vitriolic. Right wing think-tank is continuously at work to create progressive sounding rhetoric that changes little on ground, except polarizing the masses further. There is one key problem that BJP would love to address, but haven’t dared so far. Reservations.

Taking away reservations will not bridge the gap between lower castes and upper castes. It will only fuel the anger against ‘savarnas’ or upper castes for taking away priviledge that the community had got accustomed to. Also, it would be unfair for really underpriviledged communities, many of whom are even now marginalized. In many ways, this is a catch 22 situation with seemingly no answer. If you don’t give reservations, underdeveloped communities suffer, if you do, then the bias against lower castes strenghthens. Handing out reservations to economically underdeveloped is often pitched as a way out, but in a corrupt country like ours, how difficult it is to falsify economic state? Many of our politicians do not even have a crore in their bank accounts after all!

The only way out I see is offering reservations to progeny of inter-caste, and inter-religion couples. This could make a marriage in lower caste desirable for many upper castes if it means consolidation of wealth. Sure many fourth or fifth generation ‘lower-castes’, who are under-privileged would benefit, as they would be closest to what upper caste hindus find attractive. Yet, a state sanctioned benefit for breaking down caste barriers could have long term positive repercussions in annihilation of caste from India.

The question is, who will bell the cat?

Economics and Politics, Relationships & Families, Society & Culture

Why Comparing Ashoka and Taimur is ridiculous

I see a lot of people indulging in whataboutery over Saif and Kareena’s son being named as Taimur. Their point is, if a lot of Hindus can be named Ashoka, why can’t muslims be named as ‘Taimur’? Here are my reasons why the two are not quite the same.
1) Name Ashoka existed way before the emperor, and its roots can be traced to the tree by the same name. A lot of Indians have named their kids Ashok not because of the emperor, but because of the tradition of this name in Hindu culture.
2) Ashoka has been ‘sanitized’ as a figure of great humility by historians, while his real history is forgotten. Taimur’s history is very much that of a barbaric plunderer, with not even made up stories of his kindness. Thus any attempt to recreate his legacy is provocative.
3) Because people are named Ashoka, it doesn’t mean there should be people named Taimur. If we go by that logic, why don’t we name our kids Stalin, Hitler, or Genghis Khan?
While the parents retain this right of namjng their kids whatever they fancy, its a little strange statement to make in this day and age.
Economics and Politics, Life changes, Relationships & Families, Society & Culture

What Rahul Gandhi really wants


Have you ever seen another man so desperate to ruin his own reputation than Rahul Gandhi? Perhaps Arvind Kejariwal can be tough competition, but his reasons to become a national joke are quite different. I suspect he is trying to play India’s love for dramatics to his advantage. Since patriotism, development, and authoritarian leadership have already been claimed by Modi, and liberal socialism has too many faces, he has perhaps gone for downright ridiculousness. However, despite his ridiculous statements, you can see a pattern emerging from statements made by Kejariwal. He has rightly identified that there isn’t any other leader worth gunning for, and simply attacking Modi would be enough for him to stay in news. This pattern is starkly missing with Rahul Gandhi. Over the years, he has made some astoundingly ridiculous statements. With the resources, available to him, and the life experiences that he has gone through, he shouldn’t be this naive and politically clueless. Consider this.

This man grew up in the shadow of his grandmother’s assassination, his uncle’s supposed accident, and finally his father’s assassination. Yet, his worldview appears too optimistic, like a teenager with will to change the world. That just cannot be true. I could consider his initial hiccups as a learning curve, but after spending more than a decade in public life, even the worst performers pick up a thing or two. Look at Priyanka Chopra, she started out as an awful actress, and now she has landed herself in an overly sexualized Hollywood role. That’s progress for you right there. Anyway, there is no reason for Rahul to not improve as a politician, unless… unless he didn’t want to.   Imagine for a minute that he was actively trying to sabotage his career. Wouldn’t making himself to be a fool suit perfectly? However, you would be thinking why he might want to do that. He is practically a political royalty. Why wouldn’t he want to be in power? If you assume that he isn’t as naïve, and has an average intelligence, a study of children with PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) can help.

Alcohol and children

Children who have witnessed ritualistic alcohol abuse of their parents often stay away from alcohol. They have no intention of undergoing same catastrophes. They are also likely to avoid other behavioral similarities with their parents, just to be sure. Seems very logical, doesn’t it? Similarly, Rahul Gandhi with the horrendous history of deaths in his family should not want to be a politician at all. So why is he one? Because he is compelled to by the congress, and his mother. But why would a grown man listen to his mother?

The single parent trap

Young adults who have lost their parents tragically, tend to gravitate more towards the surviving parent. This can be intense if the parent and kid have opposite sex. Men usually grow out of their mother’s influence, breaking the Oedipus complex after puberty. Since India is a largely family oriented country, this age gets pushed a little further. Rahul would have been a young adult, or a pre-pubescent teen when he lost his father, leaving his family in disarray. And believe me, no amount of connections, and money would be able to replace this loss. This could have left him completely incapable of standing up against his mother, no matter what his personal wishes are. So he has done what any average man who doesn’t want to get into a fight will resort to. Tanking the fight.

A long failure

Now, the tragedy of Rahul Gandhi really starts taking shape in front of you. Imagine someone desperately trying to throw the fight. Maybe it’s an average Joe up against Muhammed Ali. While Ali is taking the fight casually, Mr. Joe would still get hurt. But what if he falls at the first punch and doesn’t get up. Surely it would end the fight. Not in case of Rahul Gandhi. Despite his numerous attempts to get up, the referees have held him by the shoulder, lifted him in front of killing punch machine that is politics in India. Each time he falls more spectacularly than the previous time, only for congress sycophants to lift him up on their shoulder, and to eulogize him.

The latest threat to bring in the earthquake could also be another attempt by him to throw the fight, and I believe he should be allowed to. He has a right to enjoy his life, and his privilege even if it means advising political euthanasia. We live in a democracy after all.


Humanity, Reflections and rumination, Society & Culture

How demonetization made me healthier


Frankly I am tired. Of all the cribbing around the long lines, about elaborate hyperbole on how  it hasn’t done anything at all. I think one must look at every policy change positively. I think demonetization is helping the common man get healthier.

Here is why: 

  • I walk more in search of working ATMs.
  • I stand more than usual due to queues.
  • I avoid junk on street as well as copious chai I used to consume.
  • I sleep on time, because I need to get up early to hit the bank.
  • I am making a lot of friends at the bank, so social life is booming, and that is good for my mental health.
  • Finally, I have completely stopped drinking, because I would rather spend what money I have on food, and other basic necessities.

Honestly, the inner fakir is loving it. 🙂 🙂

advertising, Branding and Communications, Economics and Politics

How Rahul Gandhi Could Make Political Come-back


Rahul Gandhi has been made into a national joke. People think he is completely incapable of leadership, and has been given the mantle due to nepotism. They are partly right. However, for better or worse Rahul Gandhi must work at redeeming himself in eyes of the populace, or make space for his sister. Politics, like brand building is all about perceptions. At least, that is one way of looking at it. Often a product doesn’t sell with strategy X, even after trying hard and employing all the dirty tricks in the book. Why? Possibly because it has some irredeemable quality. And who better can teach turning irredeemable things into USPs than Volkswagen?

Accept who you are
The Volkswagen Beetle was a ‘reasonably ugly’ car when it launched. So there was no chance of it competing with likes of Chryslers and Fords. It completely turned this handicap into an advantage by accepting what it was, and created the campaign aptly launched as ‘the Ugly one’. It garnered a lot of sympathy for the brand. Rahul Gandhi is often thought to be naive, and yet he pretends to be all knowing, big boy. He is not that, nor will he ever be. However, naivety is excusable for three types. Artists, idealists, and the young. So in order to accept his naivety, he must choose either of the three.

From Pariah to a dreamer
Rahul Gandhi needs success desperately, and in order to achieve that he must learn from his enemy. Narendra Modi is an expert at selling dreams and successfully shedding the tag of a political pariah. He has an advantage though.In many ways he is a suave charmer that is easy to believe in. Yet, he is a seasoned politician, so his dreams are received with skepticism. Rahul on the other hand has no such backlog. If he can come up with compelling dreams for the nation, he will be ridiculed yet again, but back your dream with little data and people may notice. Right now, he just needs to occupy the mind-space again without being completely kejriwalled.

A fresh Start
To rebuild his political career, Rahul must first wipe the slate clean. It means getting rid of culture of sycophancy and elitism in his party. The new party line should be own up sins of their forefathers. Only then will people trust them again. There is also a need to do some hard word in constituencies that they own. Think of it like advertisement for the new ‘launch’. Once again, learning from the Gujarat model of trumpeting  may help. Concentrate on things that directly impact voters like roads, electricity, and cleanliness, and you would soon have a ‘model town’ that you can show off as your ‘dream’. Take notes from Anna, visit to Ralegaon Siddhi perhaps.



In many ways, Congress as a brand is dying it’s natural death, so it may not be so bad to re-brand it, much like how Snap-deal has done with themselves.Get rid of the hand and tri-colors. It seems ridiculously transparant, but symbols are powerful, they can recreate excitement. It’s a huge gambit, but if Rahul Gandhi backs it up with some token actions, like retiring Mani Shankar Aiyyar, and making Shashi Tharoor, the vice president, he would have a very good chance of at least surviving. Then, it would be pretty much a long struggle to gain back trust, but it’s not impossible. Will this change anything for India? Maybe not, but it will be worth my time to see how it works.


Against All Things Different

Ever wondered about that school crush, and thought how ridiculous it was? Well everyone does that, but what about the current crush? Chances are that you would eventually realize how equally ridiculous that is. But as is the popular setiment, ‘it just works for us’, or even worse ” opposites attract”. I somehow never liked the term. Opposites shouldn’t attract, as it creates unnecessary civil resentment sooner or later. Why do we  not choose people and jobs, or as a matter of fact anything that is simply covenient, right and perfect for us? For ages we have tried to perfect our art, our science, our politics, our corruption, our felonies, and our machinations, our immorality and even our sin. Yes, so why indeed do I not try to stick to what is perfect for me. Technology is much simpler to understand. If only we could be as logical as computers! 

Now I would certainly get an argument that how would that make us human? & detestably, what is the point of life if everything is so neat and tidy. I will tell you what the problem is. Its very simple. What do we understand and define as ‘different’. Isn’t it merely what has been classified as a rare choice? Rare choices never need to be logical. Nor do they gurrentee plesant results all the time. If you go into sheer numbers, there cannot be a single person in the world who thinks differently. There ought to be someone who thinks like you. And let me get this right, why should unanimity be condemned when in fact that is the base of every society. When a large group of people agree on something, it creates a constitution, a nation, a state, and much more. It creates a society. If everyone thinks differently, there can never be a consensus, and thus in turn no society. To take this in comic book paradigm it will create a chaos, and anarchy which is perfectly represented by the joker, where as order is represented by Batman. While, we all  like oker, as a character, we do in the end want Batman to win, don’t we? But we are not doing so in our real life. Which is not only illogical, but also disasterous for the times to come. 

Imagine a scenario, where everyone starts his or her own organization, no matter how great the idea is, the idea itself is frightening, as it would make us lose on a great deal of time, the time it will take to let the best idea win, and rest die.  So coming back to the choice of life partners, shouldn’t we choose people who are like us, that will prevent from a lot of mishaps. You see, what you think as different than you, is just a matter of opinion. Eventually the different will be mundane, and the mundane may become extra ordinary. How do you then defend your decision. In such scenario, the wise idea would be to simply go with a path of least resistance. Of course now you would say that life is all about resistance. So that proves only one thing. Indian Cricket is dead.