The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

THEY EVEN COMPROMISE THEIR IMMEDIATE TOMORROW..

COLORES INFINITUM

This is being human, this is being natural.

Most of us all are like that.

And in any lifetime, there cannot be a uniform way to go along than this.

This is the most pragmatic way to look at human life in today’s context – the context that is not solely self-defined for most.

Yes, people define it so – in the name of living in present, not going too deep in the future – a future that cannot be assessed – and in order to do so, they even compromise their immediate tomorrow – that is eventually to become their next ‘today’.

And they are not wrong in the ‘worldly sense’. Yes, majority is thrown into the throes of a calculation of ‘then’ that they don’t have any mean to look at. And yes, majority tries to come out of it by correcting ‘today’.

And that is natural. And that is pragmatic.

What is not pragmatic is ‘not thinking about your immediate tomorrow’.

A ‘today’ draws its sanctity from your yesterdays (and past experience) and your immediate tomorrow. Your immediate tomorrow gives you the reason to make your today ‘as better as you can’. And your yesterday adds learned experiences to that.

We are what we feel about us today but the feeling has its construct drawn from yesterday and is reasoned on needs of your immediate tomorrow.

The past is always about learning and the immediate future is always about wisdom of that learning as interpreted in your today.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Friday, 3 July 2015

HEMA MALINI SHOULD HAVE ALSO BEEN TAKEN TO SMS HOSPITAL

A two year old girl has died.

A five year old boy is critical. He is being transferred to the state run Sawai Mansingh Hospital of Jaipur, the main government hospital and medical college of Rajasthan, a state where the Bhartiya Janata Party is in government, the party which has given us a common man rising to the rank of country’s prime minister.

The parents are also critical.

Their Alto car collided with the BJP MP Hema Malini’s Mercedes. Hema Malini is also a major name of the Indian film industry – an actress of movies like Sholay. While there are not so inflicting damages to Mercedes, her car, situation of Alto says how hardly it has been hit.

And the reports, including the police report, say the fault lies with Mercedes and an FIR has been lodged against the driver.

Now, whatever be the case and its details – like speed of Hema Malini’s car and the side of road it was taking and how the accident happened – the details that will emerge with time – we are sure of this thing that Hema Malini is out of danger.

But she was rushed to a five-star hospital and she will remain there overnight – under observation – with all sorts of tests, treatments and doctors – while the family with critical members was sent to the government run hospital – first in Dausa – then in Jaipur.

Why couldn’t the state government send the family to the same hospital – why the critically injured where not rushed to Jaipur along with Hema Malini?

Hema Malini was taken to the Jaipur hospital by a passerby, who was also a doctor, as the reports said. Did he and Hema Malini not realize the dying girl needed immediate attention?

Or they just thought to play ignorant?

When culpability lies with Hema’s driver, she, along with her car, should have been taken to the state run SMS hospital for treatment and further action.

Also, reactions from the big political folks, as their Twitter feeds show, are more concerned about Hema Malini than the girl who has died or the boy who is critical. Most of them were worried about Hema Malini while very few expressed their thoughts on the victim family.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/ 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

AND ARVIND KEJRIWAL IS NO EXCEPTION..

Students of communication (or mass communication) are told the dictum in the very beginning of their coursework that 'communication is power'.

Now how many of them assimilate is a matter of another debate but the 'fact' is becoming more 'tactful' for the political class as we are heading more into the times of political experiments.

And Arvind Kejriwal is no exception.

The 'class' believes communication can do anything. The 'class' believes communication can empower words and associated images to the extent of reality even if reality itself is non-existent. The 'class' increasingly believes in the 'fact' that it needs to spread its 'words' first. The action may or 'may not' follow. That is of least concern or of no concern. Yes, 'action' does have heightened 'concern value' during election times, but communication must have a 'blitzkrieg' sort of presence always.

And Arvind Kejriwal comes from this class.

So, Arvind Kejriwal has come up with a blitzkrieg sort of idea to enhance his governance's and government's visibility by enhancing his government's communication (advertising) budget by some 22 times. It is true that the Aam Aadmi Party, the party that belongs to Arvind Kejriwal (and now Arvind Kejriwal only), shuns any wasteful expenditure - as its founding principle says. But those who are terming this as 'wasteful' increase are not seeing the underlying wisdom of Mr. Kejriwal.

Mr. Kejriwal and his party are on the way to do an innovative experiment. Apart from doing work to meet their electoral promises, they also want to see what happens if they don't meet most of what they have promised. They can afford it as they are just beginning. It is still not five months yet from 14 February 2105 when there government was inaugurated again. And they have five years ahead. So, they can attract 'some public wrath' for the overall larger public good. (Yes, such altruism, some selflessness is rare.)

Also, after the 'class metamorphosis' of the AAP is complete, it has to do certain damage control exercises.

First, it doesn't share good relations with media. Media outfits say he is acting like them who happened to be his 'stated reasons to enter politics to cleanse it'. Now, media is not going to change its view until and unless something groundbreaking happens.

But in order to do something groundbreaking, Kejriwal first needs to experience all political grounds - good, bad, ugly, controversial, appreciative, etc. -  and it may lead to negative reporting against him.

And therefore, Kejriwal has taken the task of experiencing controversial ground after his initial offers from Delhi's coffers to subsidize water and electricity, even if it is giving rise to his increasing criticism.

Kejriwal will weather it, like the 'class' usually does in such cases. Yes, to cushion his party members - and the three year old party - with many of its 'prominent' members from media - Kejriwal has come with a respite - by increasing the advertising budget - from 24 crore to 526 crore - that is probably largest, many times of many states, for a state government in India - for spreading the word about Delhi government's good intent - that is evident from his and his ministers' words - action will follow - as the Delhi government promises.

Yes, media and political opponents will criticise the move citing negative points like the huge increase, like wastage of taxpayer's money, like no real work on ground, like taxpayer's money being splurged on practice like spreading the word about the government's work when there is nothing much to talk about, like the controversy around violating the Supreme Court's order on political advertisements, like reneging on its poll promises, like diverting funds from development works to fund expenditures like this and so on.

But this Delhi government would take all that. After all, after becoming so uncommon, Kejriwal's next aim is to make every common man think 'uncommon' - the way he has made the AAP think and decide on its future political course of action.

Yes, communication is power and he has initiated 'tactfully' with the formal process to live this 'fact'.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/ 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

JULY 1: WORLD IS SURE OF HONG KONG'S RESILIENCE TO WITHSTAND CHINESE PRESSURE

July 1, the day comes every year. But for Hong Kongers, the day has increasingly become an occasion to reflect on what their protests have been so far - to think what they should do ahead.

Hong Kong was 'handed over' to China on July 1, 1997 under a British-Chinese agreement that laid down certain conditions for the city-state and former British colony. For Hong Kong, a 'one country two systems' norm was set up and China promised to give the citizens universal suffrage in a phased manner.

But that was just the story as it was thought to be. The reality of the day is starkly different.

Since its takeover, Beijing has been trying to impose the culture and the system of the mainland on this global financial powerhouse. Chinese national anthem is being more and more used. Sometimes, Beijing tries to introduce elements like altering textbooks. One of the regular features is propping up and supporting pro-Beijing lobby of politicians and pro-Beijing group of local Hong Kongers. And the most prominent of Beijing's efforts is a panel of pro-Beijing politicians and its chief executive officer that governs the administration in the city state.

Beijing has even tried to show Hong Kong that the mainland can do better on the parameter Hong Kong has been known globally for - the economic might with a global financial pull. Beijing tried to do that with Shanghai and its stock market last year but failed in its attempt.

Majority of the Hong Kongers, who make the city-state population it but who are in minority in the ruling elite, are worried of the designs Beijing is trying to impose.

Hong Kong always maintained a culture of free speech and expression in an otherwise oppressive dictatorship that China has been and is. Tiananmen massacre incident is a taboo subject in China and many in the generation now see it just a political incident from country's past. But Hong Kong has always maintained the spirit of June 4 Vigil every year with remembrance march and associated events to commemorate the brutal crackdown by Chinese leadership on students and political activists on June 4, 1989. Hong Kong's Victoria Park echoes the global sentiments on this day, be it the British rule or the Chinese autocracy.

Obviously, Beijing does not like it. But it cannot openly do anything about it. So, the other way is to try and prop up elements that support the Chinese viewpoint as is on the mainland. In spite of its sociological problems around income distribution, Hong Kong is still a financial powerhouse and an important global connect centre for the Chinese economy. Beijing realizes it and cannot, therefore, impose itself forcefully on Hong Kong.

So, even if it agreed to give universal suffrage to the residents of Hong Kong, it came with the rider that Beijing was going to be the ultimate holder of power. Hong Kongers are free to elect their next leader (chief executive) in 2017 but they are not free to elect 'whom to elect' - that is what Beijing had proposed in the name of 'universal suffrage' leading to 'more democratic rights'. The Beijing proposal that was voted down on June 18 by pro-democracy legislators after an intense debate of two days required Hong Kongers to elect their next chief executive from a panel of three names 'shortlisted by Beijing'.

Now that the proposal is struck down by the pro-democracy groups, the old mechanism of electing the next chief executive would be followed in 2017 - sans any pseudo-democratic assurance. A pro-Beijing electoral college of few will install someone who will be no more than a Beijing puppet, the case now. And that would be without any spectacle of 'democracy'. And it is routine business for Beijing administrators in China. They have been far more ruthless in crushing dissent on the mainland.

When the pro-democracy protesters were gathering for their march on July 1 'handover' day last year, they were talking about the way ahead on pressurizing Beijing for a 'true democratic' proposal. The mood on that day was optimistic and resilient about fighting ahead as the Beijing's proposal was still not in.

Beijing did what it had to do. Hundreds of thousands took to the street to oppose the 'autocratic proposal' in the garb of democracy'. Protests, that were named Umbrella Revolution, raged for months. The civil disobedience nature had few incidents of minor violence. But, as expected, Beijing did not relent.

This year, on July 1, the mood is driven by the developments since then. With the so called 'democracy proposal' by Beijing struck down, the political deadlock is in the air. Protester are very clear now that Beijing will not relent, not in the near term and their 'struggle for democracy' needs to go back to the drawing board at the thought level to decide on what they have to do ahead. The multitude of such thoughts, reflecting on the developments so far, will come with a spontaneous response ahead. The world is sure of that.

The world is sure of Hong Kong's resilience to withstand the Chinese pressure. The world is sure of the culture of free speech and expression that has made June 4 Vigil and July 1 Handover Day march regular features of Hong Kong's social fabric. The world believes in them. The protesters should have confidence in themselves.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Here are some of the photographs from today's march: 

 Image courtesy: Alex Ogle - The Telegraph
 Image courtesy: Anthony Kwan - Getty Images
 Image courtesy: AP
 Image courtesy: Isaac Lawrence - AFP - Getty Images
 Image courtesy: Bobby Yip - Reuters
 Image courtesy: Liau Chung Ren - Reuters
Image courtesy: Tyrone Siu - Reuters

JULY 1 AGAIN :)

COLORES INFINITUM

Then, in 2009, it was Wednesday, on July 1. Now, in 2014, on its 5th Anniversary, it’s Tuesday.

That was the line with which I has started my write-up last year on July 1, the anniversary day, if I should say, to reflect on my journey so far.

On July 1, 2009, I had posted my first entry on 'Beyond This Life' - http://severallyalone.blogspot.in/ - a write-up on Dr. Binayak Sen's case.

Its Wednesday again, on July 1, when I am completing six years on this journey, that I know will take me to the place I am aiming for.

I continued with my writing efforts like in the previous years - trying to go deeper into what I think about - trying to add more to what I have been writing about. Yes, this year, less of it was in public domain through my blogs and more in personal records.

Also, this year, I have been able to put together my personal website - www.santoshchaubey.com - and it is developing in a good overall platform now. I intend to develop it as a personalized web journal with different categories devoted to individual themes.

July 1 is my personal blogging day. Six years ago, on July 1, without any thoughts, I had embarked on a journey to give me an opportunity to write in an organized way.

Six year after, when I reflect back, I see a journey that that has been consistent, diversified and has vivid memories to motivate me to do more on the path.

To quote from my write-up last year - "Words do fail, as I wrote a poem ‘Words, Almost As They Fail’, but on my blogs, they come to stay with me and July 1, my Personal Blogging Day, is the day for me to revisit the days so far to look ahead."

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/ 


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

NOW WHO WILL BUY IT? NO ONE. EXCEPT AAP.

Well, today was another step in the 'unravelling' saga of the uncommon common man Arvind Kejriwal and his uncommon 'common men' party, the Aam Aadmi Party.

After presenting a budget that was not innovative enough to the promises he had made while he was asking for votes (apart from hiking budgetary allocation on education), his government today hiked the upper limit on the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Delhi by 10%.

That gives the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party, flexibility to 'manoeuvre". Now, what will they 'manoeuvre', only they know. On its part, the government is saying the move is not about 'price increase'.

Now who will buy it?

No one.

Except the AAP.

And there are reasons behind it.

In the run-up to the elections, the AAP announced many populist sops including free Wi-Fi, schools, hospitals, free water and low electricity tariff. The overall list is long and beyond scalable limits. Even Arvind Kejriwal admitted, after winning the absolute majority, that he was not looking at fulfilling 'all the promises' he had made.

Now, all that requires money and Kejriwal has already started the process, by subsidizing electricity and water. There are no innovative proposals to raise more money to fund these 'populist measures' but empty rhetoric like the one Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister, proposed today. His 'common sense' wisdom told us today that a common Delhiite was able to save some money (in thousands) thanks to his government's anti-corruption efforts.

So, the 'common' Delhiites have more monetary resources to meet the ends now - with the AAP's grace. That eases some of the burden of the populist promises. For others, some that the government wants to meet in light of the upcoming polls, with continuation of the most populist measures like subsidies of water and electricity, there are flexible 'manoeuvrability' measures like the one proposed today.

No one is buying the government's arguments and reports have already started saying that prices are to set to increase after the AAP government hiked the upper limit of the VAT from 20% to 30%.

On the contrary, the first policy move of the government post 'Swaraj' budget is set to increase prices of cooking fuels and fuel oils. That will have a cascading effect on other items for sure - as another 'common sense' wisdom says. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Monday, 29 June 2015

NDA GOVERNMENT MISSED THIS OPPORTUNITY

Sushma Swaraj says she won't resign. Vasundhara Raje Scindia says she won't resign. Pankaja Munde says he won't resign. Smriti Irani says she won't resign.

They all say they haven't done anything wrong. They all say they did, whatever they did, was in good faith. They say opposition is gunning with empty cartridges.

Their party is defending them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained a stoic silence on related developments. Expecting that he would word his opinion on these matters during his monthly radio talk programme, Mann Ki Baat, was just an expectation. As expected, he did not speak anything even remotely related.

Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely and other leaders and spokespersons are busy proving innocence of the leaders in question. Yes, they know they have a tough job to do but they also know that they will get through in the prevailing political situation.

Yes, the kind of response Narendra Modi got on his electoral promises did qualify for a changed course to look the norms of political probity, something that is the normal course as the humanity defines, but the first test-case is now a missed opportunity.

The ministers in question should have resigned much earlier, taking the exit route on their own, till they came clean. Contrary to the perceptions that it would have emboldened Congress and the political opposition to charge the government even more, the move would ensured more points of political credibility for Narendra Modi.

Public's trust in the new political entrant Aam Aadmi Party is an example of that. Yes, the AAP has come in a self-destruct mode within three years, but it won because it promised to change the course of politics to what we have forgotten - targeting corruption and following a life of probity.

Like Rahul Gandhi has missed it - like his delayed visits to farmers in Maval - like his 'reaction' on the Lokpal Bill - Narendra Modi, too, missed it this time. He and his government would have out stronger in both cases - if the ministers would be guilty - or they would have proven their detractors wrong - deriving strength from following what 'is morally correct'. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Sunday, 28 June 2015

NO PLACE FOR ETHICS IN TODAY'S POLITICS

It is true there is no place for ethics in the politics of the day.

Had it been so, Sushma Swara, Vasundhara Raje Schindia, Smriti Irani, Vinod Tawde and some more BJP members would have resigned or would have apologised for their roles in the alleged controversies related to them.

Had it been so, Congress would have come clean on Robert Vadra and other scams and controversies related to the party leaders.

Had it been so, some politicians would not go so berserk in different Indian states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal among others.

Had it not been so, we would not be talking about the 'practical norms' of the politics of the day where ethics have no space left, where every political outfit is seen on the same platform when it comes to follow the value-system.

Had it not been so, the elector would not have gone with a new political entity, the Aam Aadmi Party, with no history and credentials. Unfortunately, that experiment has started losing its steam within few months only and the deterioration looks 'planned' and irreversible. Before the assembly polls this February, the BJP had eight months to deliver but couldn't gauge the mood.

Had it not been so, the dynasty politics would not be a debatable issue in Indian politics.

Had it not been so, family-bias, nepotism and political corruption would not have become so routine, like it has become now.

Had it not been so, politicians would not consider themselves in a different, higher class than us. Had it not been so, we would not have such a common VIP culture.

So, unless and until it becomes too impossible to ignore, unless and until it becomes too corrosive to hurt electoral prospects, the leaders named in the Lalit Modi controversy would not step down. Yes, the BJP is at the receiving end this time, but it knows it is in the government and even the opposition has many weak spots and it knows next parliamentary elections are four years away. The BJP strategists know the political opposition is trying to squeeze in the maximum political mileage from the ongoing episode and they are 'focused' at minimizing it.

So, Arvind Kejriwal didn't ask Jitendra Singh Tomar to step down when questions were first raised about 'fake degrees' of the law minister. Ideally, Arvind should not have made him minister because the row around his degrees precedes his electoral victory. Probably, he feels he is safely home for at least five years.

So, Indian politics is dominated  by personality cults around political parties and political parties evolving and revolving around a person or a family.  

So, a norm sans 'ethics' - in the name of being practical - has become the political pragmatism of the day. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Saturday, 27 June 2015

MASALA FILMS: SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING KARMA

(While watching Karma  – a Hindi blockbuster movie by Subhash Ghai, starring Dilip Kumar, Nutan, Anil Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher, Sridevi and Poonam Dhillon)

Some of the Hindi blockbuster movies made by some of the biggest names in the industry – the A-league directors – and starring some of the biggest actors – contradict the ‘fact’ that cinema is a serious communication tool – though indeed it is.

It is, in fact, the most serious communication tool for ‘soft power’ projections, exploited exceedingly well by the United States of America.

We may not know what is Scotland Yard or RAW but we certainly know what is FBI or what is CIA. Even Israel has done well on that front. People the world over know what is Mossad. We may not know ISRO or ESA but we certainly know what is NASA.

Anyway, ‘masala’ is a tried and tasted genre of filmmaking in India – a melodrama of action, comedy and romance. Here, with this genre, that is an unspoken norm in films across India, filmmakers aim for an entertainment product that can give them handsome return. In doing so, they try to stuff every ‘hit’ formula in products (films), irrespective of the elements of logic, to pull the cinema-goers.

A big production house, a famed director, the ivy-league actors, a good music and now a days, an efficient marketing – any of these elements or a combination of these elements can ensure handsome return for a ‘masala’ movie – even if the elements of logic are largely or completely ignored.

A holistic treatment for a ‘masala’ movie, something that we see in the cult Hindi hit Sholay, is not found in most of the films. And that is the case with this movie also.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/  

Friday, 26 June 2015

FRIDAY'S TERROR ATTACK IN FRANCE..

A suspected Islamic terrorist beheaded one person in an attack that didn’t happen in some Middle-East or in some crisis-torn African nation. It happened in France. And within six months of the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 9 in Paris. In an Islamic State orchestrated attack, terrorists had killed almost entire editorial staff of the magazine behind the controversial cartoons of the Prophet. No one has taken responsibility of today’s attack yet but the signs are clear.

Reports say attacker targeted an American gas and chemicals company, Air Products, which has an Iranian-born Shiite CEO, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in South-Eastern France. The target says much – an American company with a Shia CEO in an  European country that is also an important ally of the US in ‘coordinated’ aerial attacks on the IS. Yes, the attacker didn’t get the ‘scale of destruction’ right, but if he was trying to send a terror message, he was obviously on the spot.

The perpetrators of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo are dead but the world doesn’t know about their allies. Also, wife of one of the terrorists, who attacked a Jewish store, reportedly fled France successfully to join the IS.

Also, the French Police say they, so far – had thwarted five terror strikes since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

But they could not thwart this one. The sixth happened today. And it is not about the dead-count, it is about the message.

The Arabic inscriptions on severed head, on beheaded body and on flags tell all and the IS, sooner or later, will take responsibility or will come with a statement glorifying the attack. After all, it’s a propaganda savvy terror outfit with a ‘larger than country Caliphate’ ambition.

With this attack in France (with a beheading) on a day that also saw two big terror attacks by the IS (or its affiliates) in two different continents, Kuwait in Asia and Tunisia in Africa, terrrorsts have tried to send their message once again – through killings and destruction – like the IS does so everyday in its area of control – like it’s propaganda videos of brutal executions show. The attacks were coordinated across three continents on a Friday, around the prayer time, in the holy month of Ramadan.

The war, if we say so, has proved a show of reluctance so far, with limited achievements that have failed to deter the IS. The ‘so-called’ coordinated attacks have been dragging on for months but the IS remains a major force in North and West Iraq and in large parts of Syria. And as long as it remains so, even a status-quo will keep threatening the world with more terror designs.

Today’s were, in three countries, across three continents, certainly one (or some) of them.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/