Signs Of The Times


    By Humra  Quraishi
    Its so easy to throw about distractions …yes , the whole of this capital city sits distracted by that ‘CD in circulation’ news . Whether it is fake and fabricated, it has put Abhishek Manu Singhvi in a terribly tight spot and kept the rest of us away from theatres and cinema halls. With this rationale : why spend so much to view Dirty Picture when there are options and alternatives .

    Also, there’s this saner point of view – its one of those personal and private encounters which should not concern you or me .And , perhaps , not even shock us, because several of those who’s who on the circuit do indulge in sexual escapades , promising the moon and all that lies sprawled under it …Its one of those realities that gets brushed under the carpet , the very next morning or, perhaps , the same evening . Only the naïve sit shocked and taken back by such news trickles ; only those who don’t seem to realize the horribly twisted times we happen to be living in, under those façade of development and the ‘developed’ us !

    The bigger tragedy of these distractions is that the actual and serious news lies sidetracked .In fact, this week there have been at least two news- reports of prisoners getting treated in one of the worst possible ways .A woman prisoner lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail has alleged that the jail staff had her beaten and scratched by HIV positive / infected inmates .And with that this woman fears for her life and that of her two year old daughter also sitting languishing with her Then , there came in news of a Chennai based prisoner so brutally beaten by the cops that his teeth were broken ,lips cut , jaw fractured …Mind you , these are just those few reported cases .There’d be hundreds of prisoners sitting at the mercy of the jail staff , who hold complete sway over these captives .Last month didn’t we get to hear those cries of imprisoned Adivasi woman Soni Sori …she pleading for help, to be rescued from the torture she’s subjected to by senior cops .

    Isn’t it time we get to know what’s happening behind those high walls ? Isn’t it time to treat those imprisoned in a saner cum humane way and not unleash brute force on them ?


    Mid – life crisis seems to be hitting many a politician of this land .In fact, before I write any further I feel its important we revert back to the rather apt term for them – rulers . For, under the garb of democratically elected leaders , these politicians are behaving no better than rulers of yesteryears who’d passed those ‘off – with -your – head’ kind of sentences!

    Either these today’s rulers have gone plain berserk , sitting riddled with phobias or else power has gone right up their heads .This is directly or indirectly affecting the average. For you can’t lampoon .And nor joke. Or even come up with a protest or two ! What sort of democratic fabric is this , with those political goons holding sway !

    Although , Napoleon Bonaparte had once quipped – ‘ In politics stupidity is not a handicap’ , but these are not a series of stupidity riddled moves coming from Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal …these are dangerous signals , relaying dictatorship strains of an unsettling sorts .And , mind you , she is not the only politician who seems to be throwing about such relays. Ask the young men and women residing in the so called disturbed locales of this country and they have enough to offload on this . Perhaps , the only factor that prevents them from offloading is fear. Yes, fear of that official machinery at work and the aftermath …fear in the shape and form of cops and that unlimited power at their command .

    In the Kashmir Valley and also in other locales of this country you do not have the basic freedom to write or draw or caricature what you actually want to. No blatant or spontaneous unleashing . No, you can’t even shriek or cry aloud .And there is no given forum or platform like New Delhi’s symbolic Jantar Mantar .Either the political goons will hound you or if they spare you the cops will be right there, at your doorstep !

    The apolitical sits between the devil and the deep sea . Unless , of course , he or she sits saddled with a host of well connected friends or with those clichéd god fathers on the heady political circuit .

    HOW to WASH ?

    As soon as this invite landed for the launch of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in schools ) conference by Jairam Ramesh on April 25 , I sat thoroughly rattled. How can you even think of launching such big worded conferences when most of our schools are without those basic toilet or running water facilities . And why just schools ! Come May and there ‘d be those water woes in most parts of this city .

    In fact , last summer I was an examiner at one of the top rung educational institutions situated in South Delhi and was aghast to find the water –less situation . Besides a rationed supply of drinking water, the rest of the scenario stood parched …no , not a trickle emerging from those taps .


    With this trend of books emerging on doers and news makers, this book on Sachin has hit the stands – ‘Sachin- A Hundred Hundreds Now’(HarperCollins) Written by the veteran sports journalist V. Krishnaswamy , the introduction is by Rahul Dravid and the foreword by Ramakant Achrekar .


    And with this trend of books on doers and performers and the activity – wallahs, I’m almost certain a book or a film on them could soon hit the stands .An expansion of CDs …without sounding prude , these latest films and talks around sperms or sperm – donors do sound silly and stupidly frivolous in this day and age when our children lie battered and bruised and killed by their very own .

    Where are those good old days when the human form was intact and genuinely cared for and not ruined by these modern day hollow tactics !


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