An Open Letter to Supriyo Mukherjee Responsible For The Death Of Intellect

Hello Mr. Supriyo Mukherjee,

Hope this letter finds you in the pink of your health. You may accuse me of stereotyping but your surname suggests that you’re a Bengali and I am sure you enjoy your fish and mutton like most Bengalis do.

Anyway, coming back to the letter which you wrote accusing the BJP MLA of beating & killing a horse. Frankly, I was quite amused that the Editor at Scoop Whoop allowed it to be published given the fact that your letter completely ignores the facts of the case. But then I don’t expect any ‘investigative journalism’ from Scoop Whoop writers so let me help you understand how Shaktiman fractured his leg. As you can see in the video, Shaktiman’s leg got stuck in an iron railing and while trying to rebalance he fractured his leg. The following paragraph from an NDTV story on the same reaffirms the fact that BJP MLA “did not strike the horse”.  

1

What kind of a human are you if you have to cook up stories to get your fucking piece get some hits? You were so busy proving how Ganesh Joshi hit Shaktimaan (even when there were videos which clearly proved otherwise). Sorry to burst your outrage bubble but Mr. Mukherjee, you got it all wrong!

Untitled-1

Source: OpIndia

 

How fucked up should your cause be if you need to harm an individual to get your story some hits?

You point out that BJP doesn’t think twice about calling homosexuality a mental disorder. One, you are quoting an individual’s tweet which nowhere qualifies to be the stand of the “party”. Two, if you still think it does; then let me quote Arun Jaitley who recently said that “SC must review Section 377 & allow gay relationships”.

How will you sleep peacefully at night knowing that you falsely accuse someone of a crime and the incorrect letter will be read by many?

May this case come as a harsh realisation and a severe blow to your airy castle built on high moral ground but there are many in our country who vote for Mr. Yadav or Mr. Khan or Mr. Gandhi. They vote for their caste representative. Yes, it doesn’t fucking matter whether you like any particular political party, you can at least vote for your caste & community leader during elections. Had it not been the case, Rahul Gandhi wouldn’t have been still the MP from Amethi & a convicted Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party wouldn’t have won in the recent Bihar elections.

Mr. Mukherjee, we know that you’re telling us that Ganesh Joshi is guilty but we’ve all seen the videos and the photographs. You might not have intentionally written this letter but the stupidity is on your hands.

You cleverly say that this is not a question of animal cruelty or a debate on whether the consumption of animal protein is right or not because you know you’re on a sticky wicket here. Personally, I am a vegetarian and I am totally cool with anyone eating anything (beef, pork or whatever). But I have issues with selective outrage. More so, when the outrage comes from non-vegetarians. If you are someone who believes that the beef ban by certain state governments was wrong then why this hypocrisy of being empathetic when a horse is dead? Interestingly, you quote Mahatama Gandhi who was one of the strongest proponent of cow protection.  Quite melodramatically, you say that the blood of Shaktiman is on Ganesh Joshi’s hands. LOL! Just like the blood of every Hilsa fish is on your hand every time you eat one.

Isn’t it fucking ridiculous how you wouldn’t have written a letter had Shaktimaan been a cow? Are we being that stupid?

We, as a nation, have failed the citizens when we give writers like you a platform. You have failed all the writers and the country.

 

– A concerned human being.

Advertisements

Letter to Sagarika Ghose: All Rightists aren’t ‘communal’ or ‘Sanghi’

Dear Sagarika Ghose,

Hope this letter finds you in the pink green of your health. I happened to read your piece Letter to India’s Right last week where you had written a letter addressing the right wingers and have lectured them on dissent & freedom of speech. As a right winger, I believe that the letter was addressed to me too and since etiquette says that one should respond to letters; here I shoot!

First things first, you accuse us of making social media a propaganda arm of the government & compare us to a “ferocious army”. LOLJK! I was quite amused when I read it because it was coming from the (ex) deputy editor of a channel which chose to edit the infamous ‘Cash for Votes’ scandal video after receiving a call from Mr. Prithviraj Chavan. So, what propaganda are we talking about? Also, for your kind information, social media can be used by any one Sagarika. I repeat anyone; like you use it for your ‘propaganda’ of maligning the entire right wing. And given the fact that we support the government of the day; what else do you expect us to do? You also say that to be pro-government and pro-establishment is now de rigeur on social media. How I wish it was true. At least we would have escaped from the zero IQ tweets where you rant so much about the government.

On Saturday, 1st November 2014, twitter suspended a couple of accounts and most of these were the soldiers of the “ferocious army”. Poor us! We soldiers can’t protect our own accounts on twitter & you ask why we are seeking to shut down all our critics & opposition? On the contrary, I would like to remind you that it was the “Left Liberal” Congress which tried to stifle the voices of dissent when it was in power. Remember how Kapil Sibal instructed Google & Facebook to ‘screen’ content? I hope you at least remember the suspension of twitter accounts of your fraternity folks – Kanchan Gupta, Shashi Shekhar et al. Did you write a letter to the secular government? No? Okay!

images (1)

Also, since you feel we are shutting down voices of dissent, I must give you a quick revision of history.  India has a long standing record of banning books and films. Yes, the BJP & other right wing parties have done it but the “left-liberal” Congress & CPM governments don’t have a good track record too. Nehru: A Political Biography by Michael Edwards, was banned in 1975 because the author made sweeping comments about Nehru such as that his life was a “series of dependences (sic) on stronger characters than his own”. India Independent by French historian Charles Bettelheim was banned in 1976 because it was critical of the government policies. The True Furqan: The 21st century Quran, originally written in Arabic as al-Furqan al-Haqq, was banned in 2005 following claims that it mocked Islam and was the work of American evangelists as part of a US-Israeli conspiracy. The left front in Bengal promoted a ban on Taslima Nasreen’s Lajja which talked about the atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh following the Babri Masjid demolition. The smart, charming & suave Rajiv Gandhi banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses because it offended his vote bank of Muslims. Last but not the least, Javier Moro’s The Red Sari which was supposedly based on the life of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was banned in 2005. The list can go on but you are an intelligent & well read journalist so I am sure you got the point!

It is also heartening to see you talk about debate & dissent. After all, you believe in the right to dissent so much that you blocked me on twitter for reasons best known to you. Why is satire not acceptable? Why is dissent not to be tolerated?  For you, any critic of the media or the Congress is an “Internet Hindu”; any hint of disagreement and one becomes a “Sanghi”; any small critique means one is a “minority-hater”, “communal”, “Khakhi knicker wallah”, who must instantly take up membership with the RSS or Bajrang Dal.

I have always condemned the demolition of Babri Masjid and I regard it as a blot on India’s democracy. My heart went out to the crying widows and children who lost their loved ones in the Godhra riots. I believe that the attack on Christians in Kandhmal was shameful. And guess what? I know a hell LOT of rightists who share the same emotions because though you paint all rightists as ‘blood thirsty-minority hating’ species, we are human beings at the end and are made of same blood & flesh like you.

Having said that, I don’t suffer from selective amnesia like you. I castigate the Sikh pogrom in Delhi & the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits also. My heart bleeds equally for the Hindus who died in Godhra riots & in the Sabarmati express in 2002. I also feel strongly for your fellow Bengalis in Deganga who were tortured by mobs from minority community in 2010.  It was good when you visited the Muzzafarnagar riot victims in the camps but I would have loved if you had visited the refugee camps where Kashmiri Pandits are living since last two decades; just like you wanted Mr. Narendra Modi to visit the Gyanvyapi mosque after visiting the Ganga ghat.  As a nationalist, I felt outraged when a group of Muslims in Azad Maidan vandalised the ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’.I also feel angry when my fellow countrymen show disrespect to the national song, anthem & refuse to sing it and no ‘freedom of speech’ crap justifies it.  If I question the media for selective outrage & coverage and if that makes me communal then so be it!

Lastly, you question us on our economic policies. Now it’s kinda cute that somebody who never questioned the ‘economist’ PM for the falling economy is asking questions within 5 months of the government formation. The fact that inflation today is at a 3 year low, World Bank predicting a healthy 5.6 % GDP growth & Moody predicting a rating ‘upgrade’ for India speak a lot about the economic policies of the government. Of course, government deregulating diesel prices, increasing the FDI cap in defence, aviation & real estate, raising the income tax exemption limit by Rs 50,000 for all taxpayers below 80 years of age, reducing the excise duty on food & footwear industries mean nothing to you.

Just to give you a perspective, India when last had the right-wing government at the centre saw huge economic growth. Vajpayee in his tenure showed true commitment to liberalizing reforms. For example, Life and general insurance were opened to the private sector with foreign investment permitted up to 26 per cent. The small-scale industries reservation was substantially ended. In the area of macroeconomics, the government had freed administered interest rates on many government savings instruments, which had held the rate above market rates. The inflation rate below 5 per cent reflected on the government’s success in streamlining the monetary policy. The current account deficit had remained low during the NDA rule showing a modest current account surplus. The rupee had remained stable with foreign exchange reserves rising from $29.4 billion at the end of March 1998 to $113 billion at the end of March 2004.

Over the past few years, you have created a mainstream thinking that it is almost a taboo to carry the right wing label which conjures up to images of Trishul holding fanatics who are out to slaughter minorities or anyone who disagrees with them. Historically, cultural nationalism or brute majoritarianism have been associated with the extreme right. But, extreme left has been equally destructive. If Adolf Hitler committed innumerable crimes in the garb of right wing politics; so did Joseph Stalin in the name of left wing politics. Fortunately, in India there is little or no room for the either extremes so we can either lean to the left or to the right while standing at the centre.

Yours truly

Rahul Sharma

 

A rejoinder to Arvind Kejriwal on his 17 questions to Narendra Modi

Now a days, it’s difficult to ignore Mr. Arvind Kejriwal as he is all over the news channels, newspapers and social media. I happened to read the 17 questions which he asked Mr. Narendra Modi and argued that his claims of development are nothing but a farce. Frankly, a person who couldn’t run a government for 49 days questions a CM who is in power for 13 years seems more farcical though. Khair!

As a young voter of this country, I see Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister and would definitely want him to be one. So, I try to answer the questions to the best of my ability as a ‘Aam Aadmi’.

Q1. Why does your government buy solar power at Rs 13 per unit? Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are buying it at Rs 7.50 and Rs 5 per unit, respectively?

A1. Gujarat is the pioneer Indian state in solar energy. When they started, the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd had signed 88 agreements to buy 971.5 Mw of solar power for 25 years at a blended price of Rs 12.54 a unit. It’s a DAMN AGREEMENT! Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam is pushing for a 25 per cent rate cut from what was agreed in the original power purchase agreements. You should also know, that Gujarat is NOT Madhya Pradesh. The land prices have shot up in the last few years and hence the investors are demanding higher rates. This is plain business. Thought being born into a Bania family, I am sure you would understand.

Also, the prices are fixed by the regulators and NOT by the government.  In this case Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) just like prices in Delhi are fixed by DERC.

Gujarat wants solar power tariff reduced


Q2. You claim 11% agriculture growth in state while your government’s data says production has shrunk at 1.18% annually and revenue declined from Rs 27,815 crore in 2006-07 to Rs 25,908 crore in 2012-13. Why?

A2. I thought you would have done some reading on this Mr. Kejriwal before raising the question. Narendra Modi’s claim of 11% growth is echoed by the ASSOCHAM report (2011) which says that Gujarat recorded the highest decadal growth from 2001-2010; the time Modi took over as CM. So, for heaven’s sake, read this:

Gujarat records highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97%

Also, the Gujarat government was presented the Krishi Karman Commendation Award for higher production of food grains in 2013. Of course you will say that all these are corrupt institutions and awards are bought by Modi.

A decade of agricultural revolution

As far as the decline in production you point out, what’s the big deal in that? In a year there might be several reasons ranging from low rainfall, high rainfall, pest attack etc. that can affect the agricultural production. The production might increase in one year and can decrease in another. Understood? Of course, Yes. You are an IITian!

2202014Narendra-modi-and-Kejriwal400x300

Q3. In the past 10 years, two-thirds of all SMEs have shut down in Gujarat, especially in your home town Mehsana where 140 units out of 187 died away. Do you want to concentrate all power in the hands of a few big industrial houses?

A3.  ‘Humne suna hai’ – Seriously Mr. Kejriwal? You must have heard some awesome things about Gujarat also, why not believe them too? Reminded of this popular saying in Hindi ‘Hawa mein Teer Chodna’. You “found out” that 140 off industrial units had closed down. Proof? Anything that supports your claim? If yes, we will talk.


Q4.  You claim to have eradicated corruption in Gujarat. People here claim that up to Rs 10 lakh bribe is demanded for appointment of a ‘talati’ (revenue official).

A4. I will make you meet people in towns and villages who say Arvind Kejriwal is stupid. Will you believe them?

On a serious note, LET’S BE REAL Mr. Kejriwal. There are thousands of employees who work for any state government and it would be indeed foolish to believe that all of them would be honest and won’t take any bribe or gifts. If some of them do, then it is for the people to report the issue to the authorities. Did they report? Of course you didn’t ask them. Did you? If they reported and still no action was taken, then you blame the government.


Q5. Your ministry has people like Babu Bokhiria, convicted for three years in a mining case, and Purshottam Solanki, accused in a Rs 450 crore fishing scandal. Why?

A5. Your minister Somnath Bharti is racist who told women from another country to pee in public and Kumar Vishwas is a male chauvinist who calls the nurses from Kerala ‘Kaali-Peeli’. Couldn’t you find sane-thinking people for your ministry among 9.8 million Delhiites?

Coming to the question, the ministers you mentioned are “accused” and as far as I know being an accused is not the same as being guilty. So, let the law take its own course. If the charges are proven, they will be expelled.

Q6. Why have you inducted in your cabinet a minister who is the son-in-law of the Ambani family?

A6. Is there a law that prohibits induction of a minister who is a relative of any businessman? To my knowledge, NO!


Q7. About 13 lakh people applied for 1,500 posts of ‘talati’ recently. How can you claim to have solved the problem of unemployment?

 A7. Err… when did Mr. Modi “claim” that there is NO unemployment in Gujarat? I am told you can find everything on Google, so I did try to search but couldn’t find any such statement. Even the most developed nations suffer from unemployment and it would be idiotic to even expect that a state government can solve the problem of unemployment completely!

Also, there are thousands of people who apply for government post every year but how on earth is this a measure of unemployability? I have a job but if I apply for a government job, then according to you I am unemployed. Don’t you think it’s a VERY BAD measure to analyze the unemployment rate? Meanwhile, you can read this report which says Gujarat has the lowest urban unemployment rate in India.

Gujarat records lowest urban unemployment rate in India

Q8. Why is your government exploiting young graduates by paying them only Rs 5,300 per month for five years on contract basis?

A8. You say why would any ‘educated & self-respected’ individual work for Rs. 5,300. There are lakhs of youths in Indian states who are educated and yet are out of jobs. Sitting at home without job hurts the self-respect most and many even end up their lives.

Whereas, here the Gujarat government is providing the people employment. Is Rs. 5,300 less? Yes; for you and me. But for a person who is sitting idle at home and has the burden of running a family, it is not less. Also, I happen to be a Human Resources professional and whatever little Labor Law I have read, the Gujarat government is no where at fault and is not flouting any of the labor laws laid in the country.

Q9. The state of government schools can be gauged by the fact that only three teachers teach 600 students at some places. What is your comment?

A9. Dear Arvind Kejriwal, before I answer the question let me just throw light on few of the achievements of Gujarat government in education. The concept of ‘smart classrooms’ which is often heard in city schools has made its way to the smallest of villages in Gujarat. The Vataman village of Ahmedabad district & the Ajab village of Junagadh district  are live examples where students get to learn through computers and other audio-visual aids. The Punsari village has schools with CCTV Cameras, 24 hour Wi-Fi and solar powered lamps.

With such education system, the country can surely progress. No?

As far as your claims of “finding” colleges with 3 teachers, why don’t you name the colleges? Where are they located? Why don’t you support your claims with proof?

Q10. Medical and health services in Gujarat are in a shambles and in grip of corruption.

A10. In just four days, you came to the conclusion that health care services are crippled in the “entire” state. You can give these superheroes a run for their money yaar!

Coming to the question, again you just vomit out some statements which are not supported by facts or figures. But I will give you facts about the efforts taken by Gujarat government towards improving the health care facilities.

Gujarat government rolls out healthcare scheme for poor

Healthcare boom in Gujarat

Q11. At least 800 farmers have committed suicide in Gujarat in recent years as the government has stopped subsidies and not paying support prices. What is your reaction?

A11. Again, you just throw figures without quoting any credible source. Though I don’t deny that farmer suicides have occurred in Gujarat like all other states but I have a problem with you blaming the Gujarat government for it.

While replying to an RTI application, the Gujarat government stated that between January 1, 2008 and August 20, 2012, 115 farmers had committed suicide. And most of them had ended their lives because of growing debts caused by crop failure. 115 deaths in the last few years and you say 800. WOW!

By the way, read this How did Gujarat Become a Farming Paradise?

Q12.
 Four lakh farmers are waiting for years to get electricity connection. How can you claim 24×7 electricity availability? 

A12. 4 Lakh farmers without electricity. WOAH! That’s news to me. So, in four days you visited the villages in Gujarat and even got a count of farmers who don’t have electricity? Nice. Why don’t you name these villages?
While you continue to nit-pick, read this story about the scientists in Gujarat working on a novel concept of providing electricity to villagers

Power to farmers: Gujarat scientists float novel concept


Q13.Farmers have not been paid adequately for acquisition of their land for industry while the Ambanis and Adanis have got it for just one rupee per square meter. Some farmers have not been paid any compensation at all.

A13. May be you didn’t know or may be you chose to ignore but  the Gujarat government in 2011 revised its compensation figures and introduced a new ‘jantri rate’. which gave the farmers much higher compensation whose land was being acquired. Farmers whose land was specifically acquired for the Narmada canal network benefitted from it. The new janri was three times the old one and the farmers received a 30% hike in the prices. Where is the injustice?

Q14. Despite raising the Sardar Sarovar dam’s height in 2005, the Kutch people have not been provided water but industries have been. Why?  

A14. Oh dude! An NGO (AAPke bhai-bandhu) raised this issue few years back and the SUpreme Court REJECTED the plea to increase the quotas of water for Kutch region. You love anarchy and I am sure you will now brand the Supreme Court corrupt but sadly we respect the law of the land.

Supreme Court rejects plea for more Narmada water to Kutch


Q15.
 Despite assuring Punjab that the Sikh farmers of Kutch will not be deprived of land allotted to them, the Gujarat Government has not withdrawn court cases. Why?

A15. Narendra Modi “assured” that no Sikh farmer will leave Gujarat; he did not assure that their land will be given back. Last I read, farms of 52 farmers have been defreezed and rest cannot be defreezed as they are not farmers or Santhani land-holders as per official records.

As the matter is subjudice, why do you want the government to withdraw the case? What if they win? Will you still hold the same opinion? Why not wait for the judgement?

Q16.
 How many aircraft and helicopters do you have? And who owns these? How much do you pay or someone else pays? Why don’t you make public these air expenses?

A16. I would have loved had you asked the same question to all the Chief Ministers but you seem to have a personal grudge against Modi. Next, you will ask him how many underwear you have? Jockey or VIP?

A person who overstays in the government bungalow even after resigning as the Chief Minister, gives his ministers brand new Toyota cars, takes a Religare private jet sponsored by India Today doesn’t deserve an answer on this.

Q17.  If you become the PM, will you raise the price of the KG Basin gas, which has already been doubled by the UPA government to $8 per unit?

A17. Hypothetical Question. Yawn! Why should he talk about his policies even before he has become the Prime Minister.  One thing is for sure but that it won’t be and should not be free like the water in Delhi.

Flashback: 13 moments from 2013

1. Jhaadu ka Jaadu

Though their leanings towards the left worries me but have to give it to Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party for their splendid debut in the Indian politics. They represent (or at least claim to) represent the voice and concerns of the ‘aam aadmi’ who wants to see a clean and non-corrupt system of governance. Aam Aadmi Party has clearly emerged as a credible alternative to the two major national parties in Delhi. I am no astrologer but their future looks bright and they will surely make the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 more interesting!

2. I am Malala 

The beautiful dark-eyed Pashtun girl Malala Yousafzai  who was shot by the Taliban for voicing her opinion on girl’s education wowed all of us when she addressed the United Nations. It was a moment of pride for Pakistan who has of late been in news for all the wrong reasons. More power to her because our neighbour needs many more such girls who can save Pakistan from becoming a banana republic.

3. Farewell, Master

As they say cricket is religion in India and Sachin Tendulkar is the God for millions of Indians. The master blaster decided to call it quits after a splendid career of many years. Every Indian was glued to the television as he played his last test match. Many of us (including me) might not be a fan of the sport, but whatever little we have seen is because of Sachin. In fact I used to stop watching the match as he got out. Many of us couldn’t hold back our tears as Sachin gave an emotional speech at Wankhade.

4. Year of Judgements

While the judiciary set an example by giving death sentence to the men who brutally raped the girl from Delhi; it let down the homosexual community when it upheld the law that criminalized homosexuality. In fact the judgement was a letdown for all the Indians who stand for liberty. Had the court decriminalized homosexuality, it would have been a milestone in India’s history.

There were many other talked about judgements too. Like the one which sent Sanjay Dutt & Lalu Prasad Yadav to jail or the one which accused the Talwar’s of killing their own daughter Aarushi. And last but not the least which gave Narendra Modi a clean chit in the Gujarat riots case.

5. Mangalyaan

India’s maiden spacecraft to Mars was launched this year under the ‘Mars Mission’ project. There was a lot of cynicism about India’s ability to pull it off or whether India should spend on these projects. However, all the naysayers went quiet as the ‘Managalyaan’ successfully cruised towards the Mars. A moment of pride for all Indians.

6. Maid in America

The year also saw the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade and the alleged mistreatment by the U.S. officials as she was accused of flouting the U.S. norms by underpaying the maid (who was also an Indian) and not having proper documents. India reacted strongly to the arrest while U.S. said that they were just following the law. Interestingly, in this whole debate nobody really seemed to believe the maid. Class bias?

1

7. Namo Namah

Apart from the Aam Aadmi Party making news, there was one more person who was all over making headlines – Narendra Modi. Love him or hate him but surely cannot ignore him. Narendra Modi’s anointment as the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate was an important moment in the Indian politics. Fighting all the odds and internal politics within his party, Narendra Modi rose to the top and is now leading the party into the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. If we go by the number of people who attended his rallies this year, the mood of the nation seems to be in his favor and we might just see him as our next Prime Minister!

8. Nature’s Wrath

One of the worst natural calamity that hit India this year was the floods in Uttarakhand which left thousand displaced and hundreds dead. The famous pilgrimage site for Hindus; the Kedarnath temple was also affected to a large extent. It will take almost 2 years for the hill town to get back on its knees.

While the floods saw poor disaster management by the state; another incident saw excellent management by the state governments. The cyclone ‘Phialin’ hit the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh & Odisha this year and brought back memories of Tsunami. However, because of the excellent management; the evacuation was done on time and there wasn’t much loss of life.

9. Muzzafarnagar Riots

Another blot on India as riots broke out in the Muzzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. Like always, the politicians instead of calming the people , instigated them. A large number of people from a community left their homes fearing death and are living in tents. Last I read, over 30 children have died in the camps due to severe cold. Cry India, Cry!

10. Year of Good Byes

2013 will also be remembered as the year that took away many legends from us. Shamshad Begum, Manna Dey , Reshma (Music), Rituparno Ghosh (Director), Jiah Khan, Pran, Paul Walker, Farooque Sheikh (Actors) and Nelson Mandela. May their soul rest in peace!

11. The Lunch Box

The year also saw this gem of a film – The Lunchbox. If we will look back at the history of Indian cinema then this shall be seen as one of the finest films made in the country.

12. RIP Tehelka

The editor Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a journalist working in the same organization. What followed was the management’s disappointing response, leaked e-mails, resignation of its ‘holier than thou’ Managing Editor Shoma Chaudhury and eventually arrest of Tarun Tejpal. A magazine that has always taken a high moral stand failed itself when it came to standing by one of it’s employees. Read  Open Letter to Shoma

13. Hanged Till Death

Afzal Guru, the accused in the Parliament attack was finally executed as the President (rightly) rejected his mercy plea. A heated debate followed the execution with many calling the trial unfair and as expected it saw protests in the valley. My only complaint with the police was that in times of internet & mobiles, they chose postal service to communicate the news of his execution to the family. Of course, they never wanted the family to know in order to avoid repercussions. Sad!

2

P.S. – The ‘moments’ are not ranked. So there is no Number 1 or Number 2. Just 13 moments from 2013! And on that note Happy 2014 !!

An open letter to Shoma Chaudhury

Dear Shoma Chaudhury,

Hope this letter finds you in the best of your health; though I am not sure given the recent controversy that has surrounded your magazine. You must be wondering why I write this letter to you. I write this letter because I am so angry and disgusted with the way you have handled the recent incident of sexual assault in your organization. Your magazine has always taken a high-moral ground and has emerged as a crusader for everything that’s wrong around us. More importantly, as the Managing Director you have always been vocal about the issues related to communalism, corruption, and specifically women rights & empowerment. Your twitter timeline smells of morality, justice, truth and everything that an ideal world should have.

In your first encounter with the journalists after the email was leaked, you wore a smug look and instead of trying to answer them as the Managing Director of the magazine, you had the audacity to ask one of them “Are you the aggrieved party“? What if I put the same question to you? Were you the “aggrieved” party when you spoke about those dead in the communal clashes of Gujarat or were you the “aggrieved” party when you talked about the rape victims in Chhattisgarh? Sorry ma’am, but one need not be the victim always to speak about what’s not right. Like it or not but we all are the “aggrieved” party. DEAL WITH IT!

I also happened to see your interview with NDTV and CNN-IBN and I was amused to see the always articulate Shoma repeatedly coughing (acting?) and trying to answer in a low baritone.  You even ‘lost focus‘ and were ‘confused’ towards the end. You also had the arrogance to say ‘I should start speaking in Spanish‘ to Rajdeep Sardesai during the interview which showed how irritated you were while trying to defend the indefensible. Anyways, I was more nauseated with the way you guarded yourself. I would bring to your notice few points:

1. The email which you wrote to the employees implying that there has been an ‘untoward‘ incident. After reading the victim’s account in the form of another email which she had sent you, I was aghast. Do you really think it was an ‘untoward‘ incident? What stopped you from calling a spade a spade? Wasn’t it downright an incident of sexual assault?

2. Moving on, I am sure your command over the language English is much better than mine but even a school student can tell you that ‘Rescuing‘ is NOT the same as ‘stepping down‘. The accused decided to go on a break for 6 months and you call it ‘Atonement’? And this comes from the woman who had this to say a few days back! Hypocrisy thy name?

1

3. A magazine that has been so vocal about the setting up of ‘Lokayuktas’ in certain states couldn’t get its own house in order and set up a committee as guided by the Court in the famous Vishakha case? Why? It is only now that you have decided to probe the matter when voices have been raised demanding an inquiry.

4. You also called the whole incident an ‘internal matter’ between the two persons. Doesn’t looks good coming from the Managing Director of a magazine that is known for its sting operations.  Going by your rationale, all the ministers caught taking bribe in your magazine’s sting operations shouldn’t be probed at all. After all it was an ‘internal matter’ between the parties taking and giving bribes.  The Vishakha Committee expected you to take ‘action’ as an ’employer’. What did you do?

5. Justice doesn’t always come through police and courts. Really? Why bother doing stories on your favorite Narendra Modi or for that matter anyone who is accused for any crime. Ishrat Jahan case which your magazine so passionately took up shouldn’t concern you anymore since according to your logic justice has little to do with courts. No? We should probably ask all criminals to take a six month break for repentance and come back. No?

6. The incident doesn’t involve Tehelka. Sorry, but it very much does! Quite like how every corruption case concerns Congress/BJP. Don’t you demand answers from the said parties even though those accused in scams are involved in their personal capacity?  You can’t just escape!

7. You also said there is ‘another version‘ of the incident and the matter is with the standing committee. Pretty much like there is another version of the Aarushi Talwar murder case where you defend the accused. Forget cases, I see a different version of Shoma Chowdhury in the last three days.

8. Lest I forget, when asked by Nidhi Razdan why Mr. Tejpal was not fired immediately you said ‘We are a small organization and there are financial considerations’. I was shocked when I heard it and couldn’t believe you actually said that! Your efforts of always putting up a high moral ground fall flat. Where did you sell your soul lady? Where are your ethics?

I wonder if we would have ever known about this incident had the Email written not leaked on the internet. You of course had no plans of getting the accused justice as ‘unconditional apology‘ and a ‘six month break’ seemed perfect to you. It takes guts for a sexual assault victim to come out and speak about it. Rather than helping her and setting an example you chose to cover it up. It shows your inability to stand up for someone who needed your support. It shows your intellectual hypocrisy.

As I end, I would like to leave you with something you said some time back;

2

Heaven or hell is not important. What is important is that how will you face yourself? Remember, this will haunt you always. thInk!

By the way time you change the line that defines your magazine; TEHELKA – Free, Fair, Fearless FARCE, FARCE, FARCE!

Regards,

Aggrieved Indian