sketches

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Month: December 2011

Kashmir Tales – 2

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Flower of hope…

It was an unusually harsh winter. Old man Bab and young child Baccha passed most of the winter huddled together. Old man held the child close to his heart. They survived  because of the warmth that only human touch can produce.

Bab had seen many winters before, only to welcome the spring sun as it kisses the wet earth and see a  hundred flowers bloom and hear the air fill with distant rhythm of a ‘Chhakri’

But this winter is different, he thought. It is a particularly severe winter. It does not seem to end. 

“Baba, Where do flowers go when the ground is covered with snow?” asked Bachha as he cuddled closer to Grandpa.

“They wait, they pray, their roots huddle together…just like us” Bab whispered.

“Have you seen this happen before?”

“For hundreds of years. Our winter never ends. Our God has forgotten us.” tears formed in his old, arid eyes.

“But why does this happen to us?” innocent quiver of the eyebrow.

“Because we are full of hatred. We are wretched people, we hate our kin.”

“Is hate like this winter? Will it never end?” asked Baccha

“Yes. It can. You can make it happen. You can let all flowers bloom, red and yellow and golden…” said Bab. Both fell asleep under that pleasant shadow of a hundred flowers.

Baccha got up in the morning and peeped through the window. Golden rays touched the ground. He saw the snow melting away. He saw tiny blades of grass sprouting from the ground…and he saw this most magnificent of flowers. Grandpa is wrong, he smiled, God has not forgotten us.

 

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Anna Hazare – Advantage ‘Anna’!

Anna-21-150x150Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come! In India’s current context it is not even an idea. There is a dire and desperate need to cleanse our system of corruption.  Lock, stock and barrel.

Prior to April 2011, an overwhelming majority of Indians were despondent, devoid of hope. Anna (colloquial for elder brother) was a local hero in Ralegan Siddhi, Maharashtra, having fought relentlessly against political wrong doers for over 25 years. He is a cult figure in that area, a dedicated leader who transformed his languishing village into a self reliant, progressive, flourishing community. No mean task that, however, still an obscure and localized achievement on a national scale.

Till Anna Hazare exploded on the national scene in April 2011, with an overwhelming pan national support, cutting across age, caste, religion and regions.  He touched hearts, stirred and mobilized public sentiment against corruption, like no one before, much like Mahatma Gandhi had done in the ’30s and 40’s.

From a local hero to a symbol of national hope. Why?

Anna is simple. He walks his talk. A Gandhi like minimalistic lifestyle, brutally frank opinions expressed in a rustic, hard hitting style of communication.

He is tough as nails. No dichotomy of word and action. A proven non-negotiable approach.

He is ‘Indian’. India rediscovered ‘Nationalism’ through Anna’s simplicity. There is a sudden respect for the Gandhi cap. There is a melody of nationalism in the air.

He mistrusts politicians. He shares a deep mistrust for the ‘politicians’ with 1.2 Billion people of this country. He understands the sly and unprincipled ways of Indian politics. The whole nation is loving him for that.

He is a ‘young’ old man. Energetic, full of stamina, optimism and die-hard approach, he is a role model for the young. He connects with youth who constitute half of India. His sway over youth helps him to keep the movement peaceful. They listen to him with respect. Never before have we seen a  connect so strong and a sentiment so clear.  All at a scale that can detonate political equations in the country with blinding intensity.

He is strategic. He plays his pieces carefully, with professional élan, starting with simple notes and then weaving complex symphonies. He is unpretentious yet totally in command. He leverages his strengths to the T.

India can now dream of a life without corruption. Suddenly hope has touched our shores, like a whiff of a long forgotten fragrance.

It is now or never, if the political class lets him survive that is. Till then it is advantage Anna!

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