Sunday, March 15, 2015

Under Threat: My Idea of India!

Something has been bothering me for a while now. I feel threatened, my thoughts feel threatened, my voice feels threatened. My identity feels threatened. My identity as an Indian feels under a question mark today, I cannot express in words completely. It's just a sinking feeling.

Blame it on my roots and formal education that sowed the seeds of the idea. The idea that India is a modern nation. The idea that everyone is an equal citizen of this country. The idea that I can be myself without being asked for my religion or faith. The idea that a girl and a boy are equals in this country. The very idea that freedom of thought and rational thinking is the cornerstone of our culture. The idea that law will treat everyone the same, irrespective of caste, creed, color, or sex, and definitely faith. The idea that there is diversity in unity. The idea that millions of freedom fighters sacrificed their lives for this idea. For Freedom. What shame!

What shame when today we are hell bent on poisoning the air with slogans of GHARWAAPSI, LOVEJIHAD, and many more. What shame when a thousands of NIRBHAYAS happen all over the country and yet we blame women for the sick behavior of our men. What shame when we BAN content just because it is based on facts we do not want to accept. What shame when we harp on economic growth and BUY media to write or publish the all is beautiful story of India. What shame when the young intelligentsia of the nation start mocking SECULAR thought as SICK and when being a LIBERAL is being left oriented or being aligned to a certain political party. Culture!

Indian culture is one of the toughest things to define, for the idea of India as a nation state never existed before the 1850's. There were kings, kingdoms, nobles, peasant, and traders and artisans and so forth. No identity of faith. Identity of birth or identity of region, that's was the centerpiece of our cultural showpiece. If every Indian followed Hindutva, why did the Marathas raid and plunder the people during their reign? Why did the Mughals not destroy every Hindu place of worship? Why did we have people like Kabir and Surdas speaking of deeds and spirit and good in every faith and not one religion in particular? Why did the British India had 540 or more princely states and not just one single unity called India or Bharat? Facts!

Fact is, the idea of India itself is so modern that it's hard to give a cultural identity to it, without encompassing the fact that diversity of faith, language, beliefs and cultures is what is the soul of this idea. Rational thinking has been the soul of Hindu thought and scriptures, and it is the fundamental reason why India over centuries has blended so well with other cultures, because we have been and are free thinking people by design. Fact is India is not what the Mughals conquered or the Marathas won from them, it is not the legacy of Ashoka or the Bharat of Mahabharat. It is a beautiful thought of a nation state, a modern nation state, whose very conception deserves merit to the founding fathers and mothers of this nation that I was educated about in my early years. Foundations!

The strength of any structure relies heavily upon its foundations. The idea of India was laid on the foundations of secularism, freedom, liberty, justice and equality. I see all these foundations under immense stress today. Being a secular is akin to being pro minority today, and the fierceness with which this has been attacked, calls for a deep introspection. We should go no further away than our neighbor Pakistan to realize the perils of a fanatic nation, whose condition is worse than a dying corpse today. Look at any modern nation, and as most Indians, I too have an American dream. The beauty about America, like India, is the way, the state runs. It gives a shit to your faith. Make money and America loves you.

Freedom is such a lame word in today's age. Everyone is free in this country, British went back in 1947. Well then, why the fuss? Well then, a free country cannot guarantee employment to millions. Our rhetoric is filled with minority bashing, and this is a free country. Its not that this never happened before or that all this is new. Sympathy, that's how most Indians reacted to all this before. A SICKULAR journalist would publish some article calling for freedom of religion and the moderate Indians will hail the publication, and everybody keeps calm. Today, a dangerous apathy is taking over the Indian Psyche. The rich never cared, so lets spare them. It's the middle class, the exploding middle class, whose apathy is reaching to meteoric levels. The media is controlled by the elite and they hardly care but for the TRPs and the advertorial money. The India of past, not very past, had a voice of reason. The economic euphoria coupled with the rhetoric is sinking that voice. Fast, and furious.

It might also be the case that people have stopped caring about the rhetoric and are not interested in wasting time in protests or condemnations. But, is our silence giving confidence to the voices which do not believe in the idea of India, the way it was conceived during the freedom struggle? Are we allowing our foundation to be attacked far too often by termites or do we think its too deep and well rooted for minor tremors to collapse the structure?

I have never felt this way before,about my idea of India, under threat. I will always want my future generations to grow in a free, liberal, modern environment. Present times pose a great challenge to that aspiration. I wish the foundations emerge stronger post these tremors. I have my doubts, though. Yet, whenever I walk out of my home and meet commoners on streets, at restaurants, at workplace, I feel hopeful. I see people like me. People who want to work and derive meaning out of their lives. People who have aspirations for a better living. People who love happiness and peace. It's their silence which worries me, and it's their capacity for rational thinking, which gives me hope.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Master of Networking!


Ask any undergrad kid preparing for a business school, what is the reason for him to do an MBA, and you are sure to hear him say, " It will help me network with blah blah...."
If not synergy, then networking has to be most abused word in business school circuit. Right from the day someone gets a shortlist for a business school till the time you graduate out and move to your professional career, all you want to be good at, is networking.
After all, don't you want to be in the best job that you can land yourself in an Indian Business school. No doubt your profile needs to be awesome ( a secret formula that checks the awesomeness of the profile ), but if you are not making news, not connecting with the right people, then, you are not there, as yet! You need to network with your seniors, after all they are the people who will help you with your placements, your being into the "coveted" groups in the campus, and what not. Then you need to network with your alumni, after all, they been through it, done it all, and now it's their turn to be on the other side. They are there for you, just that those poor guys might have a decent job and a family to chose as a priority. But then, it's your duty, to network with them. If they are not on your LinkedIn contacts, gosh, you are not exploiting your opportunities well.
Talking of LinkedIn  well, how can one forget the social networking sites. As if you don't have 500+ contacts on Linkedin, the courts will issue a non-bailable warrant against your crime of poor networking. It will be a great contest where people are asked to list down their contacts on LinkedIn or Facebook, or even asking them names from their contact list and mapping their recalling ability. I am sure the results would embarrass most people. But does that matter? Do you actually care about what's happening to your network? A more interesting question to ask a B school student or even a MBA professional with decent professional experience would be to give the percentage of friends he/she has in their network. I can only fathom the situation, but then, as any MBA would say, "It Depends!"
"Waqt aane par Gadhe ko bhi baap banana padta hai" - This metaphor, ironically, captures the art of networking that B schools preach and practice with utmost stupidity. It's actually funny, observing people do this thing, daily, in their life and work, and succeed. It's not that I do not network, neither can I avoid the lure of it. It's not a bad thing either, in fact, looks like most things in life thrive on it. Just that sometimes, it feels too cliched, too artificial, the whole thing about networking. I have learned more about it than any subject of management in the past 4 and a half terms.
Or maybe, they should change the name of the course, call it Master of Networking, instead of an MBA, then, I shall have my peace!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lonely in yet another party

Last night, we had the most rocking insti party of this academic year at IIM L. The music was great, so was the mood. With three weeks to go for the D Day of junior batch, it was kind of interesting to see so many of them turn up for the insti party. Given the diversity factor in this batch, it is expected to have some "masala" in these parties. And yesterday was no disappointment in that. For all the gossip mongers, there were enough couples hanging in each other's arms, all in the gaze of the public world, swaying to the tunes of Linkin Park.

Then there were the group of so called friends, hanging and dancing around in circles, looking into each other's eyes and enjoying the satisfaction of being with people who love and care about them. As I observed these groups from the dilated pupils of my eyes, jumping and dancing to the beat, I realised one shocking thing. I was not alone, no! Most of them, most of us, we were lonely, trying to hide that loneliness, in the rhythm of the music, in the kick of the alcohol, in trying to act wild and cool. I could see people hopping from one group of people to another, to gain attention, to be recognized as one of them, to have that feeling of " I belong". Sadly though, even in that glamour and trance of the environment, you could see mortals, wounded by jealousy, insecurity, captured by the mirage of image and all that shit. You could see that even though people were dancing to the tune of the beats, it was not music that was driving them, but some inner desire, to be liked, by one, and all!

Thankfully, the kick got to me, and I lost myself to the music on the floor. After that, all I saw was happy souls jumping in the air. An expression of self-love, freedom, so pure, I guess it lasted for a fraction of a second, but what a feeling it was. Then, loneliness returned to the party.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Egypt in news again

It is well over two months now that the presidential elections have happened in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood has rose to power in perhaps the most liberal Islamic country of the Arab World.
What was and still remains the biggest concern with this development was the relations Egypt has with long term rival and neighbour, Israel. Recent developments along the disputed Sinai border between Egypt and Israel have again made tensions soar in this highly volatile region. The attack by fundamentalist forces along the Sinai border and the army action by Egypt to counter it might well be the biggest test for the newly formed government, who is still struggling to get out of the shadow of the Egyptian Military, who still holds the key to power in Egypt.

It is testing times for the people of Egypt, who now have a bigger threat of a slowing economy, dismal public services and rising tensions with Israel. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Monsoon Weddings

Monsoon's are here, and it's raining marriages this season.

We Live in a time when visiting Facebook every day has become a ritual, and to the my utter dismay, the only images that I see floating around on Facebook these days are of my friends getting engaged, married or celebrating the birthday of their kid. What has happened to the world! 

At 26, it's not that I expect this to be unusual, most of my friends have settled either in their technical job or are enjoying the post MBA stint with some of the best corporates in the world. Still, ain't it too early to get married? Obviously, your girlfriend's dad won't wait for you to get a breather, neither will your girl friend. Is it that this is the time when everyone in life thinks that's it's the perfect time to "Settle Down", which in itself is an illusion created to fuel and sustain one of the most fundamental societal institution called marriage.

By the time I will graduate out of IIM Lucknow, most of my good friends would have already settled down, ( which also shows the bad timing of my MBA programme :P ) and the whole situation freaks me out to the core, imagine talking to your "matured, settled friend". 

It's time to take out my umbrella, for it's raining marriages this monsoon!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011



Just feel like shouting out loud, punching someone in the face!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Two minds

It is close to 6 months at hell and I am still going with the flow. There is no plan. No goal.

I am a part of a team, and in two minds. To deep dive, let it indulge me completely, or, still think of life ahead of it.

When I came here, I was a man on top of the world, having made it to an IIM. Here, that confidence has taken a hit. I wanted to change India, look for ideas that had the potential to change India.
Here, corruption caught me, corruption of thought. Never had I imagined in life that competing is the ultimate habit, you cannot take things easy.

Close to 13 months remain. This journey seems lost at the moment.