<link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans%3A400italic%2C700italic%2C400%2C700">Portuguese Wikipedia Archives « Aam JanataSkip to content

2

I think we should rename our country. We have a lot of states, and the government insists we are all united. We are no different from America - both are big, democratic countries and the correct way to describe democratic countries is by explicitly stating all the states in it are united. Just see - United States of America. Doesn't it sound grand? United States of India sounds so much more impressive than plain old India. USI - nice acronym. You can't even acronym a one word country. IND - how dumb - as though half the name fell off an ancient sign board.

And we are so much better than America at all the democratic things. If we take into account our young age, we are even better than them.

  • Democracies have inclusive value systems. India's history is far older than America, and we have included so many influences, people can't even count.
  • Democracies have problems with terrorism. We have at least three times the experience of America with having a problem with terrorism.
  • Democracies make sure to protect their country from dangers. Even when it means really long military interventions. We have less experience than America, but we are a young country. We can easily improve. If we see Kashmir, we already have a longer intervention than America.
  • Democracies have accents. Kidding you not. We are so good at this, that people in America have started calling up India for help, because Indians have a better American accent than Americans.
  • Democracies have strong economies. What do I say, if I start talking of India's growth, it will sound like bragging.
  • Democracies have strong film industries. These industries reflect our increasing progress as a western culture.
  • Democracies have elections. Check.
  • Democracies thrive on dissent. Dissent is good for TRP. Democracies take strong, conspicuous stands that allow opportunities for plenty of dissent and when things seem to cool, they emphasize those stands. Compromise is death. No story there. Democracies avoid compromise at all costs, so that they can provide a good, strong opportunity for sustainable dissent.
  • Democracies nurture scams. For one, they directly encourage the pillar of business to flourish, for another, they are good for TRPs and lead to dissent if handled well. Which is when political parties show their true worth.
  • Democracies have uniform cultures, values and clothes. We are now definitely replacing our culture, values and clothes with western ones.
  • Democracies have symbols for their currency - good looking symbols, that is - not like the stupid British pounds, like their designer was in a hurry and used the letters he already had. But then, what do you expect from a mere monarchy?
  • Democratic countries have a strong respect for the businesses that make them grow. Governments are all corrupt, but democratic governments adapt their corruption at great personal sacrifice in order to be capitalist. Not like a certain neighbour of ours. But then, what do you expect from a part-time dictatorship and failed democracy?
  • Democracies know better than countries that are not democracies. Check. We do know better. Ask our neighbours. What is more, we have thousands of years of experience of having the best thinking. Many intelligent people in America are from India or want to become Indians.
  • Governments of democratic countries have mysterious processes shrouded in protective layers of national security so that other less evolved countries don't copy them.
  • The four pillars of democracy are - business, film industry, politics and military.

However, the most important measure of a democracy is that all the people agree on what is best, and the government sees to it that they are informed about it. We are working on this. It would have been better if we weren't infested with pesky activists with ill formed, half baked and absolutely dangerous misconceptions of democracy. Such people should be arrested and never let out of prison. They prevent people from understanding correctly what they really want.

Thus proved.

Dear friends, we should start a petition to change the name of our democratic country. If you agree, please sign below with your name and comments. If you don't, you realize, don't you, that you are really a communist and traitor?

4

Marking the three regions of the <strong class='StrictlyAutoTagBold'>Indian</strong> state ...
Image via Wikipedia

This is in reply to an email thanking me for supporting Kashmir's struggle for freedom. Let me get this right. I am NOT supporting Kashmir's struggle for freedom. I think its a stupid idea. I believe that Kashmir is being brainwashed for an evil political agenda. However, I accept that my opinion is irrelevant. I am supporting their right to make their own decisions - however stupid, because I am a citizen of a democratic India.

Frankly, I think India should hold a plebiscite. And yes, I am Indian and Hindu too. Let Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh decide their own futures.

What do I imagine will happen? Jammu and Ladakh are happy where they are. Azad Kashmir is already Azad, and it will merge with Indian Kashmir creating another Afghanistan for Pakistan. I don't doubt that Kashmiris have no intention of letting it happen, but with Pakistan, dissent is not an option.

I don't see much of a difference whether it is Pakistan or freedom. With Pakistan as a country nearing collapse, bent on its obsession with India, there is a possibility for nuclear war, with Kashmir the landlocked sitting duck between three nuclear powers.

I think it is extremely unwise for Kashmir to separate from India at this stage, but I accept that it is likely never going to be wise, so if you want your freedom, one day or the other, you are going to jump into the fire.

If I were Kashmiri, I'd be using the umbrella of India's protection to cooperate, negotiate and get rights, peace and development with minimal risk to my people. For all the 'genocide' claimed in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have far greater deaths per day from Islamist conflict. And make no mistake, a free Kashmir will be Islamist or will be forced into it inch by inch like Pakistan. Not because of your values, but because there is no way you can fight the Taliban when you have radical leaders yourself. You already have plans for an Islamic state. It hasn't made people happy in many countries.

I hear that Kashmir has always hated India. That is not so. Kashmir was absolutely fine with India other than the great Indian complaint - corrupt governance and political dissent. The government, corrupt or not was Kashmiri. Its not like freedom is going to change all that. Separatists have dissent among them too.

Whether in India or outside it, you guys are going to have to work your way through all that.

On the other hand, the biggest problem with India is human rights abuses. You have attention for that. This can be worked with. Fixed. If more people are able to attempt a solid governance, you will have leaders dedicated to the welfare of Kashmir that you can elect who can take much stronger stands against abuses as well as for good governance and development.

However, all this said, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, however ghastly. If Kashmir wants independence, India should withdraw forces and leave them alone on the condition that we aren't made a yo-yo of. As in, once we are out, we are out. Then no more money and protection and whatever - just treat it like any other independent country. Not because we hate Kashmir, but it hurts to be hated when you care. The Indian population shouldn't be subjected to this further. It hurts that Kashmiris didn't grab the opportunities for freedom Pakistan created for them in 1965 and again in 1999, choosing instead to let Indian soldiers die to protect them from capture (like 1948) and then promptly forgetting those sacrifices the countless rescues and humanitarian work, the protection from militants (though I now doubt if anyone wants the militants killed)... to focus on the abuses that happen, and instead of working with the country to stop them, you choose to call the country evil. This hurts. If Kashmir becomes free, it must not expect India to bail it out of any problems in the future.

The soldiers were wrong, but that doesn't make what you do right.

I care that you guys find joy, but I am sick and tired of looking the villain because I'd like you to stay with us.

One curiosity: Why didn't Kashmir choose to fight for its freedom when Pakistan attacked with the express purpose of supporting your 'freedom struggle'? Why warn soldiers, when you could easily have joined the invaders and recaptured your homeland? Obviously, there is no dearth of people among you who are willing to brave bullets for your freedom. So why did you stay?

Frankly, I think India should hold a plebiscite. And yes, I am Indian and Hindu too. Let Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh decide their own futures.

What do I imagine will happen? Jammu and Ladakh are happy where they are. Azad Kashmir is already Azad, and it will merge with Indian Kashmir creating another Afghanistan for Pakistan. I don't doubt that Kashmiris have no intention of letting it happen, but with Pakistan, dissent is not an option.

I don't see much of a difference whether it is Pakistan or freedom. With Pakistan as a country nearing collapse, bent on its obsession with India, there is a possibility for nuclear war, with Kashmir the landlocked sitting duck between three nuclear powers.

I think it is extremely unwise for Kashmir to separate from India at this stage, but I accept that it is likely never going to be wise, so if you want your freedom, one day or the other, you are going to jump into the fire.

If I were Kashmiri, I'd be using the umbrella of India's protection to cooperate, negotiate and get rights, peace and development with minimal risk to my people. For all the 'genocide' claimed in Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have far greater deaths per day from Islamist conflict. And make no mistake, a free Kashmir will be Islamist or will be forced into it inch by inch like Pakistan. Not because of your values, but because there is no way you can fight the Taliban when you have radical leaders yourself. You already have plans for an Islamic state. It hasn't made people happy in many countries.

I hear that Kashmir has always hated India. That is not so. Kashmir was absolutely fine with India other than the great Indian complaint - corrupt governance and political dissent. The government, corrupt or not was Kashmiri. Its not like freedom is going to change all that. Separatists have dissent among them too.

Whether in India or outside it, you guys are going to have to work your way through all that.

On the other hand, the biggest problem with India is human rights abuses. You have attention for that. This can be worked with. Fixed. If more people are able to attempt a solid governance, you will have leaders dedicated to the welfare of Kashmir that you can elect who can take much stronger stands against abuses as well as for good governance and development.

However, all this said, I strongly believe that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, however ghastly. If Kashmir wants independence, India should withdraw forces and leave them alone on the condition that we aren't made a yo-yo of. As in, once we are out, we are out. Then no more money and protection and whatever - just treat it like any other independent country.

Not because we hate Kashmir, but it hurts to be hated when you care. The Indian population shouldn't be subjected to this further. It hurts that Kashmiris didn't grab the opportunities for freedom Pakistan created for them in 1965 and again in 1999, choosing instead to let Indian soldiers die to protect them from capture (like 1948) and then promptly forgetting those sacrifices the countless rescues and humanitarian work, the protection from militants (though I now doubt if anyone wants the militants killed)... to focus on the abuses that happen, and instead of working with the country to stop them, you choose to call the country evil. This hurts. If Kashmir becomes free, it must not expect India to bail it out of any problems in the future.

The soldiers were wrong, but that doesn't make what you do right.

I care that you guys find joy, but I am sick and tired of looking the villain because I'd like you to stay with us.

One curiosity: Why didn't Kashmir choose to fight for its freedom when Pakistan attacked with the express purpose of supporting your 'freedom struggle'? Why warn soldiers, when you could easily have joined the invaders and recaptured your homeland? Obviously, there is no dearth of people among you who are willing to brave bullets for your freedom. So why did you stay?

To indians:
The Army General is right. Forces can control militancy, but they can't solve people's problems, and the political leadership has no interest in resolving the issue, or they are unable.

If it seemed like a solution was around the corner, it made sense to hold on to Kashmir while we worked at a solution. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have any solutions. How many generations do we expect to keep in limbo while we sit on our hands and ignore the elephant in the room?

Sure, the Kashmiri Pandits suffered. We didn't do anything then. We haven't created a situation where they can return home. It isn't like we are going to be able to create it in the future either from what we know so far.

Is there a point hanging on to history and trying to reverse everything to a time where we felt in control? Time moves on. Perhaps India should too.

Not saying this is just. But just solutions don't seem to be in sight, and what is happening is far more unjust. Personally, I don't see the point in holding on to a land when the people are not ours. Just hold the damn plebiscite for the three regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and let the regions go the paths they choose once and for all.

There was hope after the all parties visit, but we have squandered that as well by simply ignoring the issues that burned and going back to canned offerings - jobs, development, etc. The investigations that should have happened at top speed are dragging their feet - THAT was the real hope. If we could prove that a Kashmiri is as Indian as an Indian and deserves the same justice. Unfortunately, we don't think that, do we? We just want them to remain with us believing that.

This thing is only going to get a lot worse. And with Pakistan nearing collapse, it will get really bad. Sure, Kashmir will suffer, but a suffering that they are fighting for the right to go through. Who knows, perhaps it could bring calm? Or perhaps not, but at least it won't be either India's problem, or a problem blamed on India.

We need to respect their freedom of stupidity. Everyone has the right to make their own mistakes.

4

India is one, and this and that and the other. What one? Kashmir wants freedom, but it is an integral part of India. Someone wants Bodoland, but it is an integral part of India. As though the people don't know what they are a part of or what they want to be a part of. Patronizing at the politest. Downright insulting to the common man of India.

I know this will not find many takers, but I need to say it. Hold that freaking plebiscite. If Kashmir wants freedom, withdraw troops and let them do what they want. Even if it is Talibanization and massive killings of women and minorities or whatever. Give people the option to come into India if they want, and if they don't, just LET. THEM. GO. Jammu wants to stay? Let it stay. Ladakh wants to stay? Let it stay. Just hold plebiscites wherever anyone says they want freedom. Let the majority of that land decide.

We have got our freedom and for six decades we are spending a heck of a lot of time convincing people they are Indians, when they think they aren't. What is this obsession? The purpose of having a united country was united resources, a greater international identity, political power, common currency, etc. It wasn't as though we were aiming for world records in population or land. So lets get around to acting on the objectives with those who have accepted they are Indians.

Sure, many places may want and get independence, but what use are those places to anyone if all that is going to be happening there is this massive argument about nationality accompanied by militancy and destruction of life and property and inevitable human rights abuses and expense? We spend more in Kashmir than we get. Spend not just money, but lives, peace, international reputation, etc. We have the world's largest population of poor people. Give the freaking army a paid holiday and spend the money on the poor. Seriously. Walking out of Kashmir frees up so much money. If we even gift it to the poor for the next ten years, India will be a different story. If we use it wisely to make their lives better, there is not telling what we can achieve.

Get those troops convincing people they are Indians in the North east out, and you can build toilets for all of India within a few years and save 54 billion on top of that. Sure, those countries may get Islamized or whatever, but isn't it really their business how they run their countries? Don't tell me with our vast savings we won't be able to defend ourselves if needed. Heck, get some updated military stuff while you are at it.

It really angers me to see BJP forcing their way into flying the tricolor in Kashmir, while they do little about the Maoists in the regions they hold. Almost like to be an Indian and get your country's attention, you must first want to not be a part of India.

Why is BJP so obsessed? Surely the percentage of Hindus in India will be far better once that huge chunk in Kashmir is out? Or is it really that we want to rule the land and ignore the people? The Congress is busy with packages and silence. Everybody is obsessed with figuring out how they can get people to agree that they are Indians, totally going overboard with their disproportionate allocation of National resources for people who don't even want to be Indians, while people who want to be Indians suffer.

We have issues with corruption. We have issues with poverty, education, healthcare. We dream of being a developed country and recognized as a superpower and getting a permanent seat in the UN. I say, ditch every region that thinks its not Indian and you'll free up a lot of time, money and attention to pursue what REAL Indians who believe and want to live in a United India want.

You want to be a democracy, then you must let people decide. Even if they are misguided. We must stop this National patronizing policy of knowing their needs better than them.

I think it is incredibly suicidal for Kashmir to want to leave India, but I also believe that it is their right to do what they want with their lives and their land. As it is my right to belong to India and ask why the hell it is that there is inflation and poverty and all these horrible things not being addressed better.

I got an SMS from Airtel warning me that my mobile phone usage was Rs.6,000/- something and that my outgoing would be disconnected if I didn't pay up. Pay up before my billing cycle, that is. In the last entire year, my mobile bill has  never exceeded some Rs.500/- and my last bill is Rs.392/-. I just don't like using the phone much - ask all those people criticizing me for not staying in touch. Nothing had changed. So I called the Airtel helpline and after a lot of waiting with their automated system, I got through to a "customer service representative", (which is chargeable and not free support) who informed me that my mobile usage was over Rs.7000/- and not what Rs.6000/-. I brought up the obvious issue that something was wrong here. And after saying "I am sorry" some twenty times, he told me that I would have to look at the bill when it got delivered after my billing cycle was complete and pay the amount it said. I explained again that it was not possible that I use the phone so much and can I speak with someone to investigate this, and he repeated that I would have to pay the bill that would be generated when it arrived and nothing can be done till then. I pointed out that the SMS threatened to stop outgoing calls on my number unless I paid BEFORE the bill arrived, since the amount exceeded some arbitrary limit they had assigned to my account, and he said that in that case my outgoing calls would be disconnected if I didn't pay immediately, and told me to pay at the earliest before finishing off with a long winded spiel about how he appreciates my call and to feel free (its paid, remember) to call if I needed to know anything else. He told me that soon I would be getting an SMS asking me if I were satisfied with the customer service I got and I should...... I disconnected. I got an SMS thanking me for contacting customer support. Then I got an SMS asking me if said support was satisfactory and to reply "YES" or "NO", which I angrily replied with a big, fat "NO", which I hope peeled the rubber off a few wires somewhere. That was quite stupid and I was justly treated with yet another SMS thanking me for my 'valuable feedback'. Reliance Energy Some time last year, we suffered a few really bad power cuts. Something wrong with the transformer for our locality. Each time I called their helpline and each time the experience was similar. One of the times was around midnight. The baby had just put the husband to sleep and nodded off. The world was at peace, when.... you guessed it, but only because you know what I'm writing about. We rarely have power failure in  Mumbai, and it usually is brief enough that by the time you figure out illumination, its rendered unnecessary. This time it seemed longer and I got time to wonder about the mysterious lack of electricity. With both my men fast asleep, I took the opportunity to do something about it, just in case it was overlooked in the night. Headed out. Neighbour's house, dark. Lift - not working (I almost scratched my plan then and there). Walked down, no light anywhere. Watchman missing as usual. Was drifting back toward our wing rather aimlessly not knowing what next, when I saw a shadowy figure near the meters, poking a flashlight and investigating something. It turned out to be another resident not able to sleep without the creature comforts. We walked further, and the mysterious watchman was found sleeping. The resident took comfort in berating him, while I went on and hit the street. Everything was dark. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. No electricity for anyone. Oookay, I decided to call up Customer service to warn of an outage for our area. I just told the story in detail, because now you are going to suffer the very boring and inefficient call I made. CS: Hi, I am so and so, how may I help you? Me: There is no electricity in our area. Yogi Nagar. CS: What is your Customer account number? Me: Huh? CS: Madam (and its really patronizing, like he meant 'dimwit') on your bill there will be a number which is your customer account number (blah blah) Me: My number is *********** (I figured it would save time) CS: And your bill is in the name of (our builder's name - like any self-respecting builder, he hasn't transferred it to the members yet) Me: How does that matter, the electricity is down for the entire area! CS: We register the complaint on your name Madam (dimwit) Me: (I verified the builder's name) CS: Can you tell me your phone number? Me: My phone number? The bill is not in my name. CS: We need it for our records.

42

Today, there is news of yet another Kashmiri student dying in an Army encounter. The Army says that it had received information on suspicious activity and had laid an ambush. When they detected movement, they challenged the persons, and on not getting a reply, they opened a fire in which Manzoor Ahmed Magray a student of the 12th class was received fatal injuries while another unidentified person escaped.

A helpless acceptance seems to have paralyzed India. Human rights abuse must not be tolerated, yet its happening. The army is struggling to change, quite visibly, but suffers from a tremendous credibility deficit. Human rights abuses have become THE crucial link to Kashmir. Address them, and you have a foot to stand on.

I am not blaming anyone here. Not the Army, not the Kashmiris, but several important questions arise.

  • How is it that so many of the killings are supposedly by accident when locals claim that they are in cold blood? Why is the Army making so many "mistakes"? What is being done about this phenomenal lack of competence if they are genuinely mistakes?
  • If the Kashmiris know the process (and its been publicized often enough) that they are asked to identify themselves and attacked if they don't seem legit, what prevents them from answering? There must be a greater effort to find this out. What are the people doing or thinking that they believe its not a good idea to answer when asked by the Army? Again, I'm not saying that they necessarily have something to hide. It may be possible that they simply are scared of the Army getting their hands on them, but this needs to be found out. Too many stories involve innocents not answering and trying to escape when asked to identify themselves.
  • Is the Army actually following SOP? Are they asking people to identify themselves before attacking for sure? Are they asking loudly or clearly enough that it is understood? Are they allowing enough time for response? Or is it possible that they may want to surprise militants and may choose to bypass this, only to claim they did it later?
  • The burden of proof lies on the person who is Armed. While it is true that the Army personnel may be trigger happy considering that many stories of militants opening fire after being called to identify themselves also abound. The Army needs to relook at this protocol to see if it can be modified in any manner that decreases chances of careless/mistaken killings and possibly improves chances of capturing militants alive as well. I would say, if not fired on, and without being certain that the intruders are militants, there may be a possibility to attempt other ways of intervention. I am not a military strategist, and I am not trying to be patronizing, but surely their task becomes heavier from the regret of innocent deaths as well as the resistance because of them?
  • There need to be protocols around evidence collection. If this was an ambush based on information, it wasn't like an unpredictable, stray incident. There should be some planning of audio/video recording while laying out the ambush, which can be later used to prove that they did indeed do what they could to prevent the death. It shouldn't be rocket science, considering that cheap and effective equipment is easily available.
  • There need to be investigations into some of these "too good to be true" deaths of innocents. What are the chances of the Army receiving a specific tip off enough to plan an ambush at the same time when no militants seem to be there, but an innocent conveniently wanders into the trap? Is there a possibility of deliberate misinformation in order to destabilize the region? Efforts should be made to find out if the innocent wandering into the trap was planning to go there for something specific that could be passed to the Army to set him up and who and how many people knew of it. This could include efforts to look into if it was convenient for anyone to choose to set him up to die.
  • Kashmiri leaders need to look beyond the "evil India" rhetoric and while protecting and protesting against the misconduct of soldiers, they also need to see if this is being misused to create deaths for raising an uprising. I am not saying that they shouldn't blame Indian soldiers. What I am saying is that they should focus on non-exploitation by anyone, not just soldiers.

Why am I raising all these questions? Because it is quite evident that if the Army wanted to kill a few people for giggles, they wouldn't need an elaborate charade of ambush and all that. If they wanted to fake it as an encounter, they would need to scope a suitable target. Plus, the Army is seriously making a lot of effort to rein in wrongdoing. This makes me think that this incident was extremely unlikely to be intentional, even if the Army had evil intent.

I refuse to believe that the pure freedom fighters who could kill other separatist leaders and plan for protests to have a certain number of deaths or pay stone pelters would hesitate to get a few innocents killed one way or the other at the hands of the Army when they saw that things are cooling down. Particularly when this comes on the heels of two innocent girls being killed by militants who unexpectedly drew flack from the population. If they want the anger focused on India again, this seems logical.

Again, not saying that they did this either, but things are obviously not how they seem, and while the Army is the reflexive and most popular target smoking gun and all, its not the only one on the horizon.

Something is obviously being done intentionally here. The question is who is doing it and why.