Today i would like to present in front of you folks my experiences and traves in South Delhi's Safdarjung and other neighbouring areas.
Hope you guys and gals dont get bored by the notes!
Malviya Nagar 26 April: The sun was sunny with the usual soaring tempterature sipping the energy of city dwellers like the ad-commercial( most probably of a glucose or other beverage product) they show on television where they show the Sun in a personified image sipping the energy of people with a straw fixed to their heads !
Hello Netizens, What's on ? Today i would like to dwell upon the open issue of gradation oh human beings on colour, caste and other artificial elements in life.
India is a big country. It has diverse elements in its culture, mores and folkways reverberating in its mosaic like social fabric.
Beauty peagants across the world have the stunning contestants claiming the oft repeated lines: " my country is diverse! "
India too falls among such countries, surprisingly even the climate is not at equilibrium in the 28 states of the country.
Herein follows the irony. The ancient social order of the nation runs on casteist principles and injunctions.
Now, for those who came in late, Caste is a Hindu social doctrine which grades an individual according to his/her's profession.
It is alleged that in history of India, the country which comprised of natives as adivasis ( tribal or hill men) was literally invaded by the first Aryans comprising of intellectuals, scholars, shrewd individuals, artisans and other work force.
The Books say that this section which comprised of godmen or a priestly class i.e. Brahmins were instrumental in creating this format known as caste which in English history has been classified as Hindu social order.
Ironically, the Hindu religion was not born and brought up in this land. "Hindu", Swami Vivekananda in the Parliament of Religions, Chicago had declared is actually is a misnomer.
The term actually means: "the way of life."
The earliest inhabitans of India were the the community of South India dubbed as "Dravidians" by Anthropological studies as well as the tribal peope who had a great civilisation and socio-historical background of their own.
Their faith however, was animistic in nature.They were basically nature worshippers.
There are some subtribes in the North eastern part of India who worship Woman-power as a form of cult-religion.
The tribe belonging To the 13 year old Naga girl, Rani Gaidilieu who rose in revolt against the English in 1930 is an example of such a case.
Without deviating from the case at hand, we will just dwelve into the issue.
During my covering of a Dalit story for my magazine, "HardNews" i met three washermans in the considerably big field of East Vinod Nagar which is also home to garbage and other waste There i was queried by the trio that do i come from a low caste, to which i said no.
I just cross questioned them that what is the crieteria for grading an individual for, we come from the same womb of a mother, have almost the same physical features( though racial origins and other known and unknown factors determine the features)
i asked them their original addresses to which they repolied that they hailed from the border area of Balliya district in U.P.
This is co-incidentally the birthplace of rebel Sepoy, Mangal Pandey of 34th Bengal regiment who had attacked his commanding officers in a parade ground at Barrackpore, West Bengal in 1857 which was the spark provided to the rebellion.
They counter queried mefrom which caste i belonged i said that i was a Muslim and Islam does not promote gradation with a verse in the Quranic traditions interpreted in Urdu asserting that: Ek hi shaih mein khade ho gaye...na raha banda na raha banda nawaz....which means that in the same row of offering prayers there is the slave as well as his master or lord.
They asked me that in India there are hierarchies according to the titles of Muslim names. To this i said that Muslims in the tradition of the holy Prophet are not to identify themselves with some titles. The whole name is a full one, nothing much nothing less.
For example, my name Jawed Akhtar is the full name, Akhtar is not my title. Many people in India mistook titles as Khan to be a hierarchical title.
In fact, it is the reverse. Khan originated from the Kingly Mongolia times during warrior,Chengiz Khan's time. It came to the Islamic regimes of Iran and middle eastern countries along with Central Asia.
Khan is nopthing but Chief or leader to put it simply an exalted title of honour given by the king to his loyal or skilled servicemen.
Its election time and as a Sovereign, Democratic, Republic India has the responsibility to bring its citizens encompassing individuals of all faiths, castes, creed and cult under one roof so as to lead the nation towards progress from all standpoints: Social, Political and Economic .
The following is a report prepared by me on the Dalit community in India's capital.
Go through it and comment.
I dedicate this post to one of the stalwarts of Development journalism in India, Ramnath Goenka awardee,2009, The Hindu's, P.Sainath.
Sociopolitical conditions of Dalits in the run up to the 2009 elections.
Gautam Nagar 20 April: The Dalit community in India’s capital are mainly engaged in professions as Rickshawpullers, Masons, Madaris (Monkey-tricks artist), sweepers referred to as Chamaars and so on.
India’s Social fabric is predominantly caste - ridden. The Profession wise categorization that existed from the Brahmanical and Kingly ages turned rigid with the passage of time.
Dalits, generally considered untouchables are a low caste community in the Hindu social order of the nation. They are skeptic of the governments that rule them. This can be assumed from the state of affairs as far as the community’s settlements are concerned in areas as Khichripur, East Vinod Nagar and Seemapuri among the many other areas inhabited by this underprivileged class of India.
Khichripur, one of the resettlement colonies conceived as a brainchild of late youth Congress leader, Sanjay Gandhi has a considerable Dalit population.
Rahul Kumar, 40, a mason in the area originates from Himachal Pradesh. He states “lack of feasible opportunities to sustain his family brought him so far to the capital.”
“There is no special heed paid to the intricacies and complexities of politics, it is more than enough if we get two square meals a day”, he adds. Elaborating on their socioeconomic conditions he goes on to explain that they basically are a community living hand to mouth. When enquired about the constituency’s MLA’s regard for their plight, he says that no MLA has ever ventured to their area.
He has no other qualms except an earnest request for the administration to grant him and many other families a conducive place to settle down.
Ravindar, a rickshaw pulling lad 24 years of age who barely earns Rs. 100-150 per day while saving nothing for himself states that the pool to be constructed on the highway of the area is to soon deprive them of their last hopes - the makeshift houses they live in.
The municipality is asking them to leave as soon as possible, sans any deadline, for the construction work to take place and extension of the road to be carried out.
Saraswati, an elderly woman in the area who lives along with her husband, Ram Bharose and family states “I am deeply disturbed, am not able to sleep because of our lack of proper housing.” On enquired about the education privileges granted to their children, she said that as far she knows there was no such offer for children of the 10 families living in the area.
The colony presents a sorry picture of gross ignorance and negligence from concerned authorities. There, with the din and grime of dust and littered garbage sans proper sanitation facilities, one is bound to fall prey to contagious health risking diseases. Saraswati adds “We do not avail medical facilities as such.”
Grim Social barriers running on Caste lines comes to the fore when Hardas, a lame old man says, “We are not allowed to take the running water from the supply water line tap.”
“People drive us away from taking water, we manage from some place far away” Hardas adds. He informs, “No MLA or MP visits us to look into our state of affairs.”
The area of east Vinod Nagar is worse and cannot be described in mere words. There is one whole field where garbage, human excreta is dumped and herein the larger amount of Dalit population resides sans proper roofs on their unprotected heads.
There, one comes across refugee tent - like establishments which houses an average of 5 members of a family, without any electricity. One can witness their girl children picking up matter from the dumped garbage and putting them inside their sacks which they would sell to some scrap dealer.
There a mason Deshraj and daily wage labourer, Kamlesh are disillusioned as they do not avail any benefits from the government. They ask that will they ever get some incentive package from authorities. Amidst the din and squalor, one comes across Chatur, a Monkey artist along with his monkey inside one of the tents; he is a bit positive about things and tends to carry a happy go lucky attitude about him.
He says in an interesting strain, “what is to there be so much bothered about in this short life? It is better we give in some amount of happiness to others and also remain happy ourselves in the process.”
Daya, a daily wage labourer 38 years of age and father of two girls says that “when our stomachs are empty. we cannot help to think about the ongoing polls.”
Hari, a sweeper 25 years of age says that he is tired of the poverty and malnourishment seen among his near and dear ones and is depressed and frustrated at the futility of the authorities to improve their conditions.
He says that he will vote for such a political party which stoops down to the level of the social barriers and approaches each problem and issue of not only Dalits but other underprivileged castes of the nation.
“There has been talk about removing the area’s Dalit population regarding the Delhi Development Authority’s move to construct flats”, he informs.
The area of Seemapuri has also to its credit a considerable population from the Dalit community. They too live in literally pathetic conditions with no proper sanitation or water facilities. Raju, 25, a sweeper hailing from Jhansi, UP and an inhabitant of the area says that “it would surely be a miracle if some government really takes up the cause of Dalits in India genuinely by not politicising matters and making their work speak for itself.” He interestingly adds, “then votes of a certain community will not get divided and wasted and people of all communities, castes and creeds will fully be able to participate in the nation’s political process.”
This Schedule caste community ignored, is to be brought under the Indian mainstream quickly, even if it means going against some age old rigid practice involving categorisation of people, to generate a potent working force for the nation and ensuring equilibrium in human resource development
Today i would like to place in front of you all my report on the 1984 Sikh killings.
Gautam Nagar, April 10: “A killer should be held responsible individually for his acts not his family or the community he belongs to”, thus lamented Kartar Singh, aged, 35 Head Granthi of the Gurudwara Singh Sabha in New Seemapuri area of North East Delhi. This was rhetoric of the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi by frenzied mobs in the city after learning that the Prime Minister was shot dead by two of her bodyguards who were Sikhs.
The Anti-Sikh riots , following former prime minister, Indira Gandhi’s assassination by two of her Sikh bodyguards on Oct 31, 1984 has left an indelible scar on the psyche of the Delhites who were witness to the alleged state sponsored genocide of the Sikh community in and around the capital city.
The triumvirate area of Seemapuri, Shahadhara and Seelampur provide a grim reminder not only of the violence against the Sikh community by angry mobs on the fateful day but of the candidature of Mr. Jagadish Tytler, one of the accused in the rioting.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had on Nov, 2007 closed all cases against the former union minister for his alleged criminal conspiracy to engineer riots against Sikhs in the aftermath of Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination, triggering off protests from the community. The CBI had earlier in its report to the Delhi court stated that no evidence or witness was found to corroborate the allegations against Tytler of leading murderous mobs during the riots.
The general opinion among the victimized community hasn’t been favorable to Mr. Tytler’s candidature which also sets the image of the Congress party in the public spectrum on somewhat infamous lines.
Kartar Singh alleged that there was a 48 hour deadline plan by key Congress MPs as well as sympathizers of that time to carry out this genocide.
Commenting on present politics at work in the 2009 General elections, he stated “opportunism is rampant” and was not in favour of Tytler getting a ticket from Seemapuri and added this was a grave injustice from Congress’ side to give him the opportunity to contest. He affirmed that they will go out of their way to lend support to any other political party excepting the Congress.
Gyaniji of Gurudwara Gobind Garh in Shahdhara, Ramnagar area had this to say regarding the infamous incidents of ’84, “Tees Hazari was the spot where the accused leaders had rendered inciteful speeches against the Sikh community so as to gather public support.”
While an elderly figure of the same Sikh temple who didn’t want to be named echoed opposition party, BJP’s allegations that the “CBI is being run by the Congress.” This he pointed was the reason that the investigation agency gave a clean chit to the accused MP. He went on to add that some sections of Hindus and Muslims also provided protection to Sikh members in the locality.
He added that as a citizen of this country he wanted the government to carry out justice and separate milk from water. Commenting on the present political scenario he said “the General elections will once again see a coalition government for, the aura of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi is over.”
Commenting on similar lines Mr. Nirmal Singh, 48 a caterer in Kubulnagar area of Shahdhara said he simply cannot comprehend Congress’ idea of making Jagadish Tytler contest from Shahdhara. He said that CBI giving him a clean chit despite the heap of allegations on him is not on.
He and his friend, Mr. Inderpal Singh, 39, who owns an auto parts manufacturing factory in the area itself were witness to the mayhem. They added that rioters comprising of lower class people as well as individuals from outside the city burnt down paint, toys, and auto parts shops including dairy product outlets.
This they alleged was carried out in connivance with the Police. They added that mobs had marked the business establishments of Sikhs in the area 15 mins. before the attacks.
They went on to add that the silver lining that was the full support of the residents belonging to different faiths they received that day, which didn’t led to any casualities.
They complained that whichever government comes to power do not hold any sympathy for the Sikhs. They were of the opinion that the ‘84 incidents are reminded only at election times. On issues of Governmental relief, Nirmal Singh had this to say, “H.D. Deve Gowda’s term saw 3 lakhs of rupees being given to the victims families.” The amount of one lakh increased from Rs. 10,000 granted by earlier governments to death incurring families.
They had an earnest prayer for any government which came to power of not politicising issues or repeating incidents which disrupt public calm.
Rakesh, a resident of Seelampur pointing towards the neighbouring houses stated that violence against Sikhs took place in front of his eyes. He went on to add that his friend, Hargovind had taken many Sikhs and their families in his vehicle making them wear Burqas worn by Muslim women to escape the rioters.
This is the hottest part of the calendar with a strange heat permeating the city
But let us not get depressed because of that !
Let me relate to you all some tendencies of people i have encountered in the city.
I dedicate this post to my Assamese friend who literally can be described as footloose, instinctive and exuberant, Mridushmita Chaudhary , a graduate from Miaranda House.
Gautam Nagar, 17 April: Strange are the ways of humans the mammal, the vertebrae or one who is considered to be the “rationalizing individual.”
The almighty made Human beings it is said in World religions as Christianity, Judaism, Islam from the mud of this earth and he/she will be mixed in this “element” one day.
I am not preaching, even if I may sound so! These months in Delhi saw me encounter lots of people.
They strangely have different wavelengths. People have different perspectives, ideologies, mental wave lengths etc.
It is said in psychological studies, a person who might have destructive mentality hidden from the public eye or who in their comprehension want to build for themselves a self image that, he/she is a tragic hero or heroine shouldn’t wear dark coloured clothes.
Running on similar lines, it is also considered in this discipline that a person who wears jet black clothes to other shades has a criminal bent of mine for colours, it is perceived, have a radiating effect on the wearer.
My respected roommate, Abhishek Pandey has strange ego problems; I am no authority to dissect his psychology, though I would out of goodwill suggest a sitting with some good psychologist. For, contrary to popular belief, it is not crazy people who should consult one. Animalistic tendencies or uncommon trends that an individual displays in his/her’s lives are different forms of “madness” or out of the place psychologies.
I should seem to be giving too much importance to this fellow if I keep on bragging about him. His girlfriend calls at night and he talks with her late till night, say 2:30 am (though I don’t know the present timings) and any peace loving individual would be disturbed in such a state of affairs!
One night when I talked it over while the call from Kanpur was going on (that is where he and his girlfriend hails from!), he started to show tendencies which were not at all expected from him, He told everything which was out of place from the matter at hand, he told me that for so many days you are not disturbed how come today! It was followed by his opinion on my IQ, for he stated that by assuming oneself as “superior” doesn’t make that person superior, the brash lad was pinpointing me as the subject of superiority and I couldn’t comprehend when I showed signs of superiority!
With no offence meant to their Love connection over the phone, I didn’t understand why on earth he behaved in that manner.
I have no feelings of jealousy over others, we are human beings, we are born to err otherwise we would have been divine. But I try and curb unnatural tendencies as far as Possible. This world is too short for execution of these trivial tendencies. One should try and overcome these and I guess contrary to the twisted mindset of a cult of individuals from Islam, this is the real Jihad, the struggle of goodness over everything which is evil.
But at least this encounter of mine is smaller in proportions compared to what Dr. Mateen Syed of Hamdard University in the capital had to face.
Mr. Syed, a pious and God-fearing surgeon, colleague of my Father, Dental surgeon, Dr. S.M. Ali during his stint in this oriental institute for medical sciences had to bear with drunkard roommate.
Years later my father had related to me that in one corner he would be busy taking God’s name by shuffling the rosary, known as Tavees in Islamic Culture his roommate would be engage in guggling down alcohol .
Humans have this strange habit to think of this transitory world as permanent. They cover themselves up to the neck with different luxuries. A young man from a small town would see his ultimate goal as the accumulation of wealth, a plush house, luxurious car(s).
Is this the real ends to be realized, by the means at hand? Economist Adam Smith’s assumption comes into play here:
“Human wants are unlimited”!
The bus conductor here behaves in the most obnoxious fashion, he literally abuses the passenger, threatens their peace being not able to provide them with seats with the migrant population from neighboring Uttar Pradesh and Bihar flocking in numbers unimaginable in these very buses, while the original Delhites, not being externally aggressive in their behaviour submit to their outrageous antics inside these overloaded vehicles.
So what happens to their places of origin, it gets a bad name in a similar manner where a single potato or fruit which is rotten damages the rest which are not!
The Blame game between The South India and the North India continues, aggravated by these external tendencies.
Now for some encounters in the city, I am undergoing my internships from a monthly Magazine based in Gautam Nagar for which I have to change two vehicles, one which halts at INA market adjacent to the famed Dilli Haat and crossing the road and taking another one heading to Yusuf Sarai, the stoppage at the starting of the Gautam Nagar colony which is not accessible to a bus because of its constricted size. Gautam Nagar is also the residence address of one of the famous Dilliwalas, Shahrukh Khan.
Today that is on 17th of April I met two Iranian women unable to cross the road. They wanted to reach the INA market, were in a auto rickshaw , approached me for help I told them they could cross he street with me with a single cut existing in the whole divider of iron railings which people dangerously cross over to go to the other side given the number of vehicles plying coupled with their speed.
They refused. The Auto Walla wasn’t able to understand their dialect of Hindi either. Adding to their woes, he was complaining me that they understood him fully well and were not giving him his proper fare. I told the driver to take them to the subway connected to the market famous for groceries and daily wares.
Quickly introducing myself to the ladies complete with trademark head scarves I set off for my office.
Its Election time, there has been quite some interesting trends and shifts in the political scenario and the topic we'll discuss today is the Sawajawdi Party's Election Manifesto which has raised quite a few eyebrows, Herein is a report i have prepared just go through it and comment what you feel about.
SP manifesto: Back to dark ages?
The Samajwadi Party’s election manifesto clearly said that they are against English education and the use of computers besides many other suggestions.
Justifying the 16-page manifesto, Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav reportedly said that abolition of what is being termed as “expensive education in English” would settle down social disparity and provide an equal footing to aspirants from the National language as well as regional ones.
Elucidating further, he alleged, that sectors wherein work can be executed physically sans the aid of machines, computers would be abolished.
Going against the ‘grain’ of development which has been set by English as the medium of instruction and communication in workplaces and institutes, the leader reportedly said that the party manifesto will ensure that ‘English’ as a language will be removed from offices and Educational institutes.
In the launch of the manifesto, Mulayam took a dig at Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh which was an open response to the PM’s statement in which he said that he would have resigned had the Indo-US Nuclear deal fallen on the floor of the house in July last year.
Mulayam affirmed that his party had saved Mr. Singh from resigning but the latter got humiliation in return.
Projecting the party as a scapegoat, the SP veteran claimed that the UPA government has overlooked and insulted the 39 member strong ally.
The manifesto has been at the receiving end from various quarters especially, the opposition parties which has leveled their propositions against it.
Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of UPA party president, Sonia Gandhi, who was campaigning in Sonia’s and brother Rahul’s constituencies spoke to reporters in Amethi regarding the SP manifesto “I don’t think it was drafted by a serious person, they (party people) should rethink about the issue because such promises in the 21st century seem surprising.”
Priyanka stressing on the Computer issue added, “banning computers won’t take the people anywhere. It will not benefit anyone.”
Besides, the issue of English education and computers, Mulayam also threw his weight behind opposing the use of agricultural machineries (tractors, harvesters etc.) claiming that these deprived poor labourers of their opportunities during the harvest season.
Interestingly, he has another point of justification behind this suggestion which holds that cattle should take over the tractors as regards ploughing of land so that they don’t end up going to the slaughter houses.
Of what seems like taking a leaf from the Left, he affirmed that though the party had strong ties with the corporate world, it advocates as per the manifesto to corporate salaries on par with government pay.
The manifesto also pledged issuing of visas to Muslim students from South Asia, Middle East and European countries after a gap of 15 years for studying at the Islamic education centre of Darul-Uloom Deoband in UP.
All said and done, it is difficult to comprehend as to how the party think-tank consider these promises populist and vote-winning in a century when the poorest of Indians aspire for “ English education” or try to learn the minimum of computer skills.
Statistics show most of the Indian states which had abolished “English” in the state run schools in the seventies and eighties have now reversed their policies. One can see that even former chief minister of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu who had opposed the computerisation of government departments backtracked towards the end of his tenure.
The suggestions of the manifesto puts some serious questions on Mulayam’s ultimate objective for it is known that he had served as a central minister (holding the Defence portfolio) which casts no doubts on his traveling abroad. This itself suggests that he is aware of the fact that India’s reputation outside is built on the twin-engines of a considerable English knowing population besides its I.T. proficiency.
This debatable manifesto contradicts the law of the land for even the Constitution mandates over 20 languages, including English. India’s vast diversity being a reason, the language essays an instrumental role of providing the only politically acceptable medium of communication, given the fact that the Southern states will not accept Hindi.
As far as the “expensive” element of the language is concerned, it is only because of the premium attached to knowledge of the same.