{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back from Home...

I visited my hometown this Diwali, technically I did not visit on Diwali because I spent Diwali in train but it was by and large a Diwali holiday. So this is a mandatory post, my hometown's little blue diary. Almost nothing changes there in a big way but with different events in place, it takes different flavors, like any other small town. This was the election (for Chairman and Ward president) time, which is mixed with Diwali, Eid and a few murders, in short the atmosphere was delightful, full of rumors and heated. At every Gali corner, there were small crowds which discussed the prospects of winning and losing, the weak and the strong grounds, logical voting equations based on caste, power and religion, and of course money, which transcends all evils. There were women discussing the women candidates on the basis of their husband's image, might and power. This is a fun time for children, this vacation they fired crackers and collected pamphlets and party paraphernalia, apart from watching Malaysia in Don (or Don in Malaysia). The old people cursed congress/BJP leaders and doctors/lawyers in the same sentence, they only talked with pride of the relatives who left them for bigger cities or for better countries, in short, those who are well settled, according to them. The atmosphere is filled with songs of two kinds, the religious and the patriotic, both kinds sung by Lata Mangeshkar. This is as high as my hometown can get.

I came back to Delhi on 26th Oct and got to know that the elections were by and large peaceful with couple of murders and few clashes. Also I took the DVD of Children of Heaven with me, most of my relatives loved it. I like that film too but as usual I became a little suspicious of the film when it was unanimously appreciated. I did a promise to my cousin to write about him on the blog. Here it goes: He is 8 years old. While talking about Rang De Basanti with him, I asked him what would have happened if the heroes were not killed towards the end, he replied "phir to film kabhi khatam nahin hoti, teen ghante se jyada koi film nahin hoti". Kill them to end the movie, a closure is required at any cost. It was such a plain verdict. He did even better to describe the cast, "Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan ki behan, aur ek foreigner ladki" !

Apart from this, there are few things that are on the discussion list to avoid the void of 'Aur batiyiye...'. One was Munnabhai and the other was Afzal's hanging, to balance the comic and tragic scales of conversations. I did a secret poll (secret because no one knew it was a poll) and got some astonishingly predictable results. Everyone liked Munnabhai (much better than Rang De Basanti) and everyone wanted Afzal to be hanged asap, some even wanted to execute all of the suspects and even the whole community. Almost all of them are quite sure about their decisions and gave examples from history to support it. As it is evident, there is little coherence between their two decisions, Gandhigiri and Hanging (Actually, one of the person added a twist in the tale by saying that Gandhi supported hanging of Bhagat Singh, he liked Munnabhai for its entertainment value and I think he was advocating hanging for the same purpose too, although big words like terrorism and patriotism sounds better). I don't like to insult my folks but they are much like rest of the world.

Adding few links. Read Arundhati Roy's take on Afzal's Hanging (Its a long one, I haven't read it fully yet) and Bhagat Singh's take on Love.


Indrajith said...

Does it make sense for the state to hire murderers to kill defenseless victims on death row, in order to prove that hiring murderers to kill defenseless victims is morally wrong?

Alok said...

I liked the Munnabhai and Afzal connection. Quite insightful... :)

And that bhagat singh link was great. I didn't know about it.

Alok said...

What you say about the provincial small towns and their people is so true. Whenever I visit patna I feel the same thing, even though it is the capital city.

In a way, for all their small mindedness and hypocrisies I much prefer the people in those small towns than those in the big cities. in all their negative characteristics they are at least more human.

km said...

Like you (and Alok), I too grew up in a small town in UP. So I can instinctively relate to your experience. Much as I hated living in that small town, I simply do not enjoy *living* in a big city :)

Re the Afzal case. I am stunned by the ferocity of the court's response (but not surprised.)

It's shameful. Our cultural legacy includes Buddha and Gandhi. And now, the entire country is baying for Afzal's blood.

So much for the alleged spurt in "Gandhigiri" in India.

Satish said...

When will our dear NRIs stop giving their innocuous views. The public in India does not want to hang afzal, it wants to see the law upheld. If supreme court has given a wrong decision, so be it.
Why our potential migrant brothers who live in the India of their childhood and in some other projected mental world are bothered. May be after afzal's hanging they will have to look for some other topic for their bedroom discussions.

anurag said...

Indrajith, sorry I am not able to understand you, can you please elaborate.

Thanks Alok and km.

Thanks and welcome to the blog :)

The public in India does not want to hang Afzal, it wants to see the law upheld.

I dont think so. Most of the people I talked to ridiculed SC for being so soft. I dont know you have or not but I have met ppl who advocate the British Rule as more fair and also believe that India should also implement laws as they are in some Islamic countries, kill any suspect/convict in public. You may be right to say that ppl want to implement law on 'others'.

May be after afzal's hanging they will have to look for some other topic for their bedroom discussions.

Satish, we all do that, whether we are potential migrant brothers/sisters or not. The key is to do them as rationally as possible, not to be carried away by any propaganda. Also, I think its better to judge an argument from its own merit than from the background of the person who gives it, although I know its difficult for us to do that.

If supreme court has given a wrong decision, so be it.

This is grossly wrong to say. Since the decision doesn't effect us directly, so be it...?? Dont you feel like the traveler of 'In the Penal Colony' ?

km said...


This is Anurag's space, so no debates here. But we could take this outside - over to my blog, I mean :))

P.S.: "our dear NRIs"? Hey,thanks for the show of affection.

Satish said...

Anurag, your blog is a place to be. Kudos for creating and maintaining this space.

I have come across the ideas you mention such as briish rule better etc. In this regard I think public has no belief in our justice system. They think that justice is never done in this country and guilty always escapes. In their way they advocate as much as their thinking support them. In India a law is reviewed several times before being legislated and there is a procedure to do that. Thankfully our middle class amateurs do not have much say in that.

I am sure Afzal was represented ably by defence counsel considering how other accomplices got better deal. Nowadays there is human rights commission and court trials are transparent. There must be some strong thing against Afzal.

To argue rationally about an argument first we have to be able to think rationally about the subject. I have problems when people start invoking budda, gandhi to hanging of an individual. It is a legal case, a fair trial has been conducted and punishment awarded. Its a bench which has given judgement. Neither Indian public has awarded punishment, nor they appointed judges. It is an esablished system which at this point has thought. There is a burden on Supreme court to mainain consistency as its own judgements are often cited as tools for defence.

I am not for any hanging and quite indifferent to the result in this case. In a country where thousands die for several other small reasons, to ponder upon death or life imprisonment of a criminal is waste of time. May be president should utilize his time some where else.

Thanks for the space. :)

Rajeev said...


Alok said...

I am not for any hanging and quite indifferent to the result in this case. In a country where thousands die for several other small reasons, to ponder upon death or life imprisonment of a criminal is waste of time.

If you really want to provoke people, at least do it in style. This is so childish!

And I will come before long and so take your "potential migrant" barb back :)

anurag said...


....its own judgements are often cited ....

Thats why we should be more careful, that it should not make wrong decisions !

anurag said...

Rajeev, Thanks for the 'Yo!!' ;)