Monday, December 01, 2008

dont blame pakistan..try blaming the washing machine

NOTE: i dont have a solution to the problem of terrorism. if you are looking for something concrete to do, read no further :)

dont blame pakistan...

mostly 'cause it is not a country. just like india is not a country.

pak is looking like it is taken over by extremists (read ISI/Army/JeM/LeT) and india is most definitely taken over by corruption. a nation is some place where the will of the common people is expressed, atleast to a certain measure in the will of the administration. is this true about our two countries? i.e. does the pak govt look serious in its efforts to curb terrorism, and does the indian govt look serious in its efforts to curb corruption? and these are not some fringe issues. they are central to the safety and well being of commoners in both countries.

i would say the US is a country. most of its citizens were against the war in iraq and that has cost its president and his party dearly. there is atleast a hope that the new guy will deliver closer to the peoples expectations.

so if we are not a country then what are we? just a billion people without an identity? what happens to our patriotism. what happens to all those songs and speeches that we were made to recite as kids and are imprinted on our minds? this whole idea of belonging to a "country" 'cause you were born in it, feels much like the caste system. you get your nationality by birth, you are taught that your country is the greatest and that all others are fine but not as great as yours. so when there is a conflict of interests, anything (even killing!) is fair if it is done in the name of your country (replace country with god and you have..viola jihad!).

believing in god and country is great, do it by all means. maybe a long long time ago these institutions were really unadulterated, so people got used to believing them easily. but in todays day and age are priests and politicians the most charitable people around?
problem here is that we outsource our thinking. i dont want to get into the nitty-gritties of issues. i just want a notion which everyone accepts to be sacred so that i can make my peace with the stupid questions (how can we help end terrorism) and merrily focus on the important ones (how will i get a pay hike :P).

we need to move from geographical location based loyalties to value based loyalties. it would mean a paradigm shift in todays political order. and i dont see it coming any time soon, 'cause for that to happen most humans will have to think for themselves :P

gandhiji once said "the only tyrant i accept in this world is the still small voice within me" :)


try blaming the washing machine....

"we accept the reality of the world that we are presented with" - The Truman Show

brainwashing is not very hard. all it takes is a clever and systematic control of information. you take away that control and the machine stops. if we want to stop this hate between india and pakistan and the grass root level, all that needs to be done is let the media in. allow all indian channels private and public to be seen in pakistan and vica-versa. i am sure there will be a lot of propaganda channels too, but who cares? most extremists are that way because they have never seen the other side. you show them that and you give them atleast something to think about.

it is hard to believe that whole of pakistan hates india and visa-versa. sure we are not the best of allies but the khunnas sud be limited to cricket matches and hockey games. i dont think the common man is really very different in the two countries. so when there are blasts in mumbai why do we feel that we should retaliate against pakistan? its because its engraved in our brains that the basic unit for war is a country. and that is the exact wrong assumption on which terrorism thrives. we need to change the unit of war to organizations, not countries.

once pakistanis realize that most hindus are peaceful and do not hate muslims, and indians see that most pakistanis are peaceful too, then we will we able to focus on the real enemy

until then...ignorance will take its toll

Thursday, November 27, 2008

enemy like

NOTE: i have not been oppressed nor have i been an oppressor. i have no insight whatsoever into why terrorists do what they do or how it feels to be a victim of their acts. wht follows is a purely theoretical/intellectual quest to understand/comprehend this phenomenon.

human race has always found creative ways of settling disputes, from verbal abuse (this has established itself both as an exact art and as a separate branch of linguistics) to homicides and from gandhigiri to genocides. gandhigiri being a topic for another day...

so can you kill a human being? well, if you eat chicken you are already close to killing animals for your need/pleasure. human beings are just animals who look a lot like you :P ok on a serious note...humans have been killing each other for centuries now. from organized killings like wars and terrorist attacks to individually motivated actions like assassinations and murders.

individual killers are some what simple and easy to understand. the good old "i dont like you i will kill you" school of thought. they are stupid idiots agreed, but not pertinacious (at least not after getting caught :P) lets leave them to their fate...

conventional wars have always been a necessary evil. but it has evolved from jungle style herd clashes (all weak must die) to more civilized stuff like the geneva convention (declaration of war, acceptance of surrender, humane treatment (relatively :P) for prisoners of war, etc). its well accepted as a fact of life now (like we have police for individual criminals we have the army for criminal countries :P). lets move on to the new kid on the block...

why would anyone become a terrorist? some say they are a bunch of crazy people who come out of some god forsaken place on this planet and trouble us just because they are jealous of us. well if thats the case life ould be very simple.
but going by the saying that your terrorist is someone's freedom fighter, let us assume that terrorists are a product of long periods of oppression by a disproportionately stronger adversary. he (he=he/she henceforth) cannot fight a conventional war and he cant be expected to tolerate atrocities either, so he goes out and kills someone "enemy like".
that is a very dangerous abstraction and the fundamental flaw in the doctrine of terrorism, if there is such a thing. it represents the urge to take revenge without the restraint of understanding the problem. but unfortunately its a very practical one.
if my family is killed in a terrorist attack carried out by "a" person of some nationality/religion do you really expect me to find "that" particular person and kill him back? no its very difficult to do that, its much easier to just kill a bunch of hapless guys with the same nationality/religion. yes, the nationality/religion is very important, just killing random people might let out the pent up anger, but it wont give that sweet sense of revenge!

but if you really think about it, isnt it like punishing my neighbor for my mistakes? just because to the outsider we look similar (both are say, indian looking) and maybe share the same taste in food?
yes we are both indians but is that enough to treat us the same? for all you know we might be completely different as individuals. clubbing large groups of people together on the lines of nationality/religion/etc and giving them common attributes just simplifies things for us. but these are obvious oversimplifications which are fine in casual conversation (indians are lazy :P) but stupid when someone starts believing that they are actually true (all indians want to destroy kashmir so kill them 'll).
when you say you are indian, should you be responsible for every action of every soldier of the indian army posted in say, burma? or of some politician from jharkhand? shouldnt everyone just be responsible for his/her own actions are their direct consequences? all for one and one for all is good _only_ when you personally know who the "all" are. doesnt make sense to stand behind every citizen/member of a country/religion just because you also belong to that country/religion.

there is a thin line between patriotism and fanaticism. most people will equate non-fanaticism with non-patriotism, especially in such emotional times. and i dont blame them. i just have to look at _any_ page in history to realize that logic and reason are the first things to be tossed out whenever there has been an appeal to our fear and pride (personally i am not a big fan of pride, national or otherwise. its too close to ego for my taste)

i guess these terrorist attacks is a proof that some/most people would rather kill than think. i compared terrorists with freedom fighters before. their motivations might be similar but there is a vast and conceptual difference in their methods. chaphekar bros did not kill any random brit that they saw on the street or their families. they were dissatisfied by rand's policies and wanted to make _him_ pay for it. cant find a logical flaw in that :P

Friday, June 27, 2008

no kidding

time runs out fast. the other day we were discussing marriage stuff on the same table where we had discussed office politics, hot chicks, campus placements, engineering submissions... . so i figure talkin abt kids wont be far behind. this is one of my "write now, read later" kinda posts. i know this is a sensitive issue so its best to write abt it when you are not too close to the fire

we generally act our age. software professionals dont behave like kids in office (though they may behave worst :P) and kids do not behave like chartered accountants on playfield. i guess we grow up just because we have to. The body is growing no matter what, so if the mind decides not to, it just looks stupid. the body knows what its doing, it grows up, grows down and perishes. but the mind is clueless. it knows it has to change but doesnt know why and what to. so it looks around and quietly does what others its age are doing. This is all fine till you are shifting from playing hide n'seek to playing cricket, from learning arithmetic to understanding calculus, from partying with friends to romancing your girlfriend. but when your mind wants to shift from enjoying your marriage to having kids, its a paradigm shift. and it is _not_ ok to do it just because everyone else is doing it.
I say its not ok because you have the right to do anything with your own life, but do you have the right to get a new human in this world just because you have run out of answers to "wht nxt?" and want some fun in your and your family's boring life?

why have kids? this question obviously doesn't have a practical answer except that they are a high risk insurance policy and a high cost pension plan. there are other answers, some emotional some egoist and some plain stupid. here is a random sampling..

A: giving birth and raising a kid is the greatest joy one can get.
Q: i think this is true. but is it right to use somebody for your own joy and entertainment? you want to give birth because its fun?? i would suggest adoption and a school teacher job if you are so in love with bringing up kids.

A: No its great only if they are your own flesh and blood.
Q: This is plain and simple ego. What is so great about your DNA? get over it, kid is gonna be as good/bad as you raise it to be, if you are damn lucky that is. In most cases how a kid turns out is as unpredictable as the weather.

A: What if everyone stops having kids? the human race will end.
Q: yes i have actually heard this argument :P however stupid a question may seem, it deserves an answer :) when you ignore violence, turn a blind eye to corruption, roll up the window when a beggar asks for a buck, does it occur to you what if the whole humanity starts doing that? if everyone did what we do, humanity would have ran out of luck a long time ago. So dude, stop thinking about human race and think about your own, like you always do.
on second thoughts, if it actually happens that one generation decides it wont reproduce and humanity dies a natural death, it wont be such a bad end afterall. the earth wont mind for sure ;)

A: I want my kids to get to do things i didnt get to do, i want them to become what i could not.
Q: you are a loser, accept it and get on with life. dont drag an innocent being into your world of unfulfilled desires.

A: my family name should go on.
Q: yes fantastic. go spawn a cricket team.

A: I am a female, I have an instinct to be a mother.
Q: again the same thing. you have an instinct, it is fun for you to be a mother. wht about the kid? r u not using it for your own enjoyment?

A: its been 5 years after marriage. there is nothing new in life. I get bored.
Q: atleast this is honest. I can identify with you man. im gonna have the same problem. but i hope i wont get a kid to solve it for me.


Please dont get me wrong, the intent is not to ridicule. but it is sad that I haven't heard a single answer which appeals to any sort of rationale. If you have one please share it.

NOTE TO SELF: i dont think you will ever ask your parents why they got you here, but if you ever decide to have kids of your own, u've got to visit this post and pen a reason you believe in.