Intolerance.

Intolerance is defined as an unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own; or an inability to eat a food or take a drug without adverse effects.

Having suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog post, I shall address both and perhaps something else as well. Please do visit Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

Unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behaviour that differ from one’s own.

Ever since India’s Rightist Hindu Nationalist party, the BJP came to power in 2014, this word became synonymous with the Leftist Intellectuals in India and all kinds of things happened. Minor incidents of law and order took on communal tones like Hindu vs Christian, Hindu vs Muslim and Upper castes vs Lower castes and so on. Some took to mass media to condemn the majoritarianism implied in the result of the elections, some returned awards given to them by the previous dispensation as a means of protest, without however, returning the cash elements that went with those awards and generally made, what in my opinion was fools of themselves.

These were the English speaking, reading, writing urban self appointed intellectuals and their tantrums, simply did not reach the people who were none ot the above. The BJP came back to power last month with an increased majority in our parliament and now one sees the same breed of Tolerant Intellectuals analysing the results and coming to the conclusion that they misread the public mood and orientation. Some of these elements wrote for foreign publications as well crying themselves hoarse that doomsday is about to descend on India. As my readers can see, nothing like that happened and some even changed their tones post analysis of the results.

Being a Rightist supporter of the BJP, I tolerated these elements while they were intolerant of me! Now I am enjoying watching them squirm and the Schadenfreude is entirely enjoyable.

That is the beauty of intolerance. The ones shouting loudest that the other is intolerant is entirely unaware that they are being intolerant of the other to start with! And being completely detached, I simply enjoy trumpeting my own intolerance of the intolerant.

Coming to other types of intolerance, I know some wealthy people, the not so wealthy simply cannot be so, who are intolerant of the elements. During the summer months, they disappear to cooler climes and during the winter months to warmer climes. During the wet months they refuse to get out of their homes lest they get wet and miss out on a lot of fun. These people are also usually intolerant of everything around them and totally insatiable be it about food, drink or relationships.

I also know the unfortunates who are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant or some other intolerant and I feel sorry for them while being grateful that I am not any of those. On the other hand, I recently discovered that I was allergic to one particular type of new antibiotics and it was entirely providential that I had anti allergy medication at home as otherwise, I would have been dead with the reaction I had after consuming that medication. Now that my doctor, family and I know that I am intolerant to it, hopefully there won’t be a next time.

Intolerance can take other shpes too and one of the most common in India is the mother in law, daughter in law conundrum and / or the older generation, younger generation one. Here again, it is difficult to do anything about it when one comes across it but one can be grateful that one does not go through this in one’s own life.

I am sure that there will be other types that my readers have come across in their experiences and I look forward to receiving comments on them.

Dangal. (Wrestling Competition)

I spent forty minutes, commuting up and down to the cinema theater, another thirty minutes, parking, walking up to the multiplex in the mall, twenty minutes of advertisement films and finally two hours and forty minutes watching the story being told.

At the end of it all, as I reflect on the experience, I must confess to the effort being worth every minute of it.

All my friends who have seen Dangal liked it and wanted me to see it. I am now in total agreement with them.

Dangal tells a story that needed to be told in so many words. It is all about a father from a region notorious for female foeticide bringing up his daughters to be wrestlers in a society that ridicules him in the beginning but applauds him when his daughters start to win tournaments.

The story, based on a real life family shown on the left, forges two streams, one, that girl children given the appropriate backing can excel and two jingoistic obsession of the father to get an international gold medal through his offspring because he could not.

Great acting, action, direction, cinematography and apt music, makes it a worthwhile experience. It was released last Friday, and is still breaking records for collections.

If you have not seen it yet, do please see it. You will not regret it.

A Sacred Song.

For me, and as it will be be for millions of Indians, the most sacred song will be this.

No matter how many times I hear this, I get goose-pimples.

This one is from Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, a Bhajan on Vitthala.

Another great song which gives me goose-pimples is this one. It is an unusual version but powerful nevertheless.

This topic was suggested by Lin, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, PadmumShackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since so

Statue For Gandhi in London.

gandhi statue

The Indian Weekly magazine Outlook, has a regular feature that publishes some letters to the editors From the the foreign press. This column is called “Par Avion” and this week has this letter in the Daily Telegraph featured;

Say Statue.

On Meghnad Desai’s call for donations to erect a Gandhi statue in Parliament Square,  as Chri­stopher Hitchens poin­ted out, one of the main reasons for Pakistan splitting from India was Gandhi’s well-advertised portrayal of a sle­epy, rural future for India after independence. This cultish ideal alienated Muslims who, understandably, wanted to enjoy the benefits of progress and did not want to be dominated by a spinning wheel-toting Hindu holy man who rejec­ted modernity. Gandhi’s insensitivity led to the split…. There are more than three times as many Muslims in Britain as there are Hindus, two-fifths of them of Pakistani descent. Agai­nst this background, what greater provocation could we dream up than to immortalise Gandhi outside the Palace of Westminster?

~ DAMIEN McCRYSTAL.

I am not a great fan of Gandhi and am not bothered one way or the other about a statue for him in London.  In fact the one already at  Tavistock Square featured above is quite a nice one.  We have enough problems with Indian politicos spending fortunes of statues for their heroes. Here are just two samples; One in Gujarat and the other in my home state Maharashtra.  At least the proposed statue in London will be paid for by private donations and not taxpayers’ funds.

I just want to point out something to Mr. McCrystal and hopefully, his hero Mr. Hitchens, wherever he may be now. He claims that the Muslims went to Pakistan to enjoy the benefits of progress. If they did why are there more Pakistani Muslims in the UK than Indian Hindus? And most of those Hindus are either immigrants or descendants of the Ugandan Indians or the highly educated and prosperous Indian professionals. And Mr. McCrystal, you will do well to study how much progress the UK Muslims have made in the UK and compare it to the progress made by the UK Hindus there.

No, Mr. McCrystal, by all means object to the money being spent on a statue for Gandhi, I will heartily support you, even if it is privately raised, as it could surely be put to better use elsewhere, but use some logic for the reason for objecting. And just to make it a little more interesting for this debate, do you think that the Hindus in the UK will object to a statue of Jinnah being put up in London?  And do you think that the Muslims there will be able to raise the funds if they wanted to?

And Mr. McCrystal, between the two countries, which do you think has rejected modernity?

Sardar.

sardar

There is a great big debate now going on in India as to whether the new government in Delhi is deliberately underplaying / degrading the Nehru family legacy while hijacking another Indian National Congress icon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

My readers know well that I have not been a fan of the INC since the sixties of the last century for some very personal reasons and the dislike for them grew just more when I suffered as a victim during the National Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi.

From among the old INC figures some figures however have always meant to be heroes for me like Rajaji, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Kamaraj etc, and so when my friend Ramesh J, not my partner in crime Ramesh T, recommended that I must see the film Sardar on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, I sent for a DVD and have just seen it.

First things first.  This film was made and screened in 1993.  That is over two decades ago when the INC was firmly in power in most of the country unlike today.  So, it is not as though this film has suddenly been revived to showcase the Sardar.  Moreover, I was warned that it would be almost three hours long of viewing but I would enjoy the experience. When I had posted in my facebook wall that I had bought the DVD, many people commented that it would be a great experience.

It was. As a person who was born before India became independent and who had grown up with stories of how India won its independence and stories of its great leaders, revisiting many events from my boyhood was a riveting experience.  I only regret that I was unable to see the film when it was released.  I was really too involved with my career at that point of time to see movies and this was one such missed opportunity.  It is never too late and I am glad that Ramesh got me to see this marvellous film with a powerful story about a man who fully deserves all that he is now getting after years of neglect from the Nehru family and its sycophants.

The acting, direction, editing and dialogues/script all merit appreciation and the trouble taken to depict the period with appropriate dress, vehicles, furniture etc is commendable.

I personally believe, that this is a film that every Indian must see and preferably shown in schools to children when they study Indian history and the period of independence and the immediate aftermath.

I really have no choice in the matter.  The film gets [rating=6].

Courage And Conviction. A Book Review.

I have never reviewed a book in my blog but I suppose that there had to be a first at some point of time and what better book to review than this one.

Courage_and_Conviction.jpeg

A friend who is a retired Indian Air Force officer had reviewed this book for his select group of friends in his mailing list and I quote from that review. “……..the enigmatic smile, the charismatic face of VK, got to me again. I threw down xxxxxx and picked up VK. For two days I did not go to work and read the book in two straight sittings, till past midnight. After reading even the Index, till the back cover, I just put the book down. ‘Courage & Conviction’, is echoing in my mind, resonating between my ears. It is an ‘un-put-down-able’ book.”

This friend is a phlegmatic no nonsense kind of a practical businessman who is incapable of hyperbole. Coming from him this was like what is said in Tamil, வசிஷ்டர் வாயாலே ப்ரும்மரிஷி Vashishtar vaayaley Brihmarishi. Transliterated this means that it is like Sage Vashishta calling someone Brihmarishi. The background to that is that it was extremely difficult to get Vashishta to accept someone as Brihmarishi. Many tried but few succeeded. That little diversion is for another blog post in detail!

I was quite impressed by the review and rang up my friend and asked him whether the book will be as appealing to me, a civilian and his unequivocal response was that it would indeed be and he further added that every Indian must read it to understand what goes on behind the scenes in the Indian army.

I promptly bought the book and exactly as with my friend, I could not put the book down till I finished it.

It is an amazing story of a soldier starting from his childhood to becoming the Chief of the Army Staff and the trials and tribulations that he goes through in the process. There is every bit of human emotions that all of us go through playing throughout and added to that the shenanigans of interpersonal problems, bureaucratic apathy and/or skullduggery, politics, corruption etc, makes for a remarkable read.

Since he is much younger than I am, every incident that he writes about happened during my time, every problem India faced was made known to all of us, and the Indian army’s joys and sorrows were shared by all of us.  There are people who feature in the book that I have met and known and some of the things that the General writes about comes as a surprise, albeit pleasant.  I have been to almost all the places that he writes about except the border areas and the front lines.  I have known other services officers who have had similar problems with their families and particularly family accommodation and children’s education.  It was as though the General was articulating what many of my friends could not.

General V K Singh now retired, fought another battle a few months ago and got elected to the Indian parliament. He is currently the Minister of State of External Affairs and Minister of state (independent charge) for the North East Region. When that assignment was announced, I was quite puzzled as were all my friends but after reading the book, everything falls into place and the logic of that combination is impeccable.

The least I can do for such a book is to recommend it as being very readable. Kunal Verma’s presence is very palpable and the General readily acknowledges this.  I hope that all my Indian readers and those non Indians interested in reading about a soldiers’ soldier will read this book. I have no hesitation giving it a [rating=6] rating.