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Mon, 30 Jan 2017:

We're into the second act, people!

This is a moment of despair, but you know what the second act is. It is a moment of character, where you get to find out if you're part of the narrative or not. Some of you reading are definitely looking away, but this is really for those who are staring out at the world in despair, watching it stare back into you.

Remember what the second act is - it is the rising action. The heroes' attempts to fix the crisis leads to ever worsening situations. And they can't win, because they haven't got the skills to deal with the forces of the other side. They must not only learn how to wield the light saber in attack, but also to believe in the force that flows through.

There's a part of me which wants to unplug the news and go back to where I have a vote. I could've done a runner with a clean conscience, refusing to fund the process with my taxes. But I've got a tiny american with me, who never got to decide what his future looks like. I cannot remain idle in his defence, but I didn't sign up to die trying.

So, I must think of the second act and what it demands.

Bassiano: And I beseech you,
          Wrest once the law to your authority:
          To do a great right, do a little wrong,
          And curb this cruel devil of his will.

Portia: It must not be; there is no power in Venice
        Can alter a decree established:
        'Twill be recorded for a precedent,
        And many an error by the same example
        Will rush into the state: it cannot be.

In this fight for essential liberties, the rule of law is overturned, we are lost. I hear the words of the lovely Portia from the Merchant of Venice. Thus we must look to the lawyers, to ride in like the cavalry. In Shakespeare's words of "The Butcher" in Henry V, lawyers for sure remember the laws and not easily forget that all animals are created equal.

JACK CADE: I thank you, good people:- there shall be no money; 
           all shall eat and drink on my score; 
           and I will apparel them all in one livery, 
           that they may agree like brothers, and worship me their lord.

DICK:      The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

The soap box and ballot box have not helped, let's just hope the next box has got enough stopping power. I'd hate to get to the last box, because down that way madness lies. To learn politics and law, so that my children may learn literature and art is no sacrifice, but the last box leaves us without civilization.

I don't know how this will all end. I'm not anxious anymore though, because there's one thing I worried about - that world would turn away in apathy. Because in the end what we will remember most often will not be the words of your enemies, but the silence of your friends. Do not imagine all is lost, do not mistake being out of power with being in the minority - there are more of us, when the numbers are in. This plot arc is long and we're just into the second act.

And though wise men at their end know dark is right, do not go gently into the good night!

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

posted at: 03:00 | path: /observations | permalink | Tags: ,

Wed, 14 Sep 2011:

Anna Hazare has proved me wrong. Maybe I'm bitter about that.

To begin with, I never thought the entire country could be distracted away from Sonia Gandhi's cancer & hospitalization. But it turns out that a Gandhian (*sic*) fasting can actually do that. I wasn't spared either - I was debating about the protests and its impact on future democracy to notice this. But in retrospect, Soniaji failing to survive that surgery was an actual national crisis than anything the Team Anna could cause or prevent. It would've been an all-out civil war to fill that particular power vacuum.

And I feel like a sucker. But that is merely the conspiracy theorist in me talking.

Now, let me tackle the bonafide followers in said "Team Anna". I would like to welcome you to the land of unintended consequences.

Just because I approve of your goals does not mean I approve how you go about it - hunger strike or protests. Netaji & Gandhi had the same vision of a unified India. And I'll say with no doubt that they never saw eye-to-eye on the means. If you are trying to devise a legislative way to solve corruption in India, you are barking up the wrong tree. A social majority movement would work, but then you have a luxury Gandhi never had - elections. That is, if indeed you believe enough in democracy to go through with it. But more on that later, let's first assume that the legislations go through.

Making something already illegal, more illegal does not work. The problem was never the legislation, but more in terms of enforcement. Honestly, Kanimozhi never even suspected she would be in jail (I'm glad she is) - deterrence is a non-factor for career politicians. The issue is one completely of enforcement and the problem right now is that the bosses of enforcers are the criminals involved. Producing a different authority body would solve this, but it's a solution with a limited shelf life - until that authority is corrupted or worse, neutered.

Upping the severity of crimes has an even more negative effect. When vigilance raids on police stations in Kerala picked up, my dad was in the home department as one of the good guys. He used to lament that the extra enforcement merely upped the risk involved in taking bribes, pushing up the "rate" as a sort of risk-offset. Ironically, during the raids, people suffered more - paid more or had their needs ignored.

I don't mean to drag down the new-age revolutionaries here, but this is a democracy. Every uninformed voter in this country dilutes my personal vote. If you can bring that majority over to your fold and fight this battle against corruption, I'd stand with you and vote - the only other way would leave bloodstains across history. But the media based guilt fest that you staged was shameful. If this was the best attempt at fixing corruption in this country, I don't want to really support this movement.

Let's assume you want to start a social revolution and bring aboard the majority. The problems start from the top - I don't think very many would want to live in an Anna Hazare world. To begin with I don't eat meat, don't drink, and have never smoked. I don't gamble and I've *never* paid a bribe. But those are my values and they work for me. I might not stand to lose much in an Anna Hazare world, but I wouldn't let him take away my freedom to eat meat, if I wish to. He might be an incorruptible man, but he's still a fascist who values his written laws over the real legislature's. And even worse, he's not open for negotiations - I get to do what I'm told (yeah, we all clap when the politicians are in his cross-hairs).

A "cure": Maybe there will be a more moderate leader who's policies on my private life are more sane? No, the story gets even worse. If Anna Hazare fails to make any impact on indian politics and its kleptocracy, would you support a new leader next year? Could it be that this is a ploy to disillusion the vocal intelligentisa into not supporting revolutionary leaders? Something to convince the indian middle class that the only people the protests affect are the plebs, while the politicos sit in some farmhouse upstate. A political vaccine if you will, to build up some antibodies to clip off the next cycle of protests in the bud. Even if they didn't mean it, would it work that way?

All in all, the whole episode illustrates the failure of democracy. Its weaknesses exploited by both the politicians and protestors - but two wrongs make a right, so it's okay.

“The first sign of corruption in a society that is still alive is that the end justifies the means”
        -- Georges Bernanos

posted at: 19:18 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: , ,

Fri, 12 May 2006:

Hospitals are such boring places to sit around. Sitting around in the lobby watching a bald seven year old tug on her father's hand is just too painful. Except for a few minutes sometime around 11 when all the cured pass out through the doors, the atmosphere is sterile and sounds like what a library should be. So I finally gave in and started staring at the TV showing the current events in Kerala.

Yesterday was the election results day. It is hardly a week after the elections, but thanks to all the voting machines the counting is quick and painless. You'd have hardly needed an election to predict the results. LDF (Left Democratic Front) won out 98 seats out of the 140 in offer. Basically, CPI (M) won out an entire majority this time around.

Communism, just like economics, has an entirely new model in Kerala altogether. If Kerala is a nursery for educated labour, it is in no small way indebted to the reforms by the communist regimes. Quite ironic that the Kerala's booming tourist industry and its main export product, viz people, has been due to communist non-developmental strategies. Kerala under the left has always invested in the people and seen its best being drained out into the Gulf, Bangalore and the U.S. Incidentally, that wasn't such a bad thing considering the prevalence of the joint family system.

All in all, the incumbents lost. Or more accurately, the incumbents have never won in Kerala. Now, we'll be introduced to the same old brand of Left corruption - party donations which trickle down instead of the Right's upwards kickbacks.

I've said this before and I'll say this again - democracy dilutes the power of the individual and rationalizes the actions of the mob rulers.

Hospitals are depressing. Facts for the day, there.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

posted at: 02:30 | path: /misc | permalink | Tags: , ,