The ‘problem’ with Islam – a short analysis

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Every religion has broadly three aspects:

Mystical: Pertaining to mythology and supernatural aspects of religion. This could be the basis of creativity as well as of blind faith and non-scientific temper.

Socio-political: Pertains to how the society should behave and be governed. This aspect gives rise to civil and criminal laws and deals with people on an aggregate level.

Philosophical: Pertains to ideas like ethics and morality. The socio-political aspect is in a way dependent on this, after factoring time, and together they form culture. Continue reading

Where is the Ambedkar that Islam needs? And it needs one badly

Ambedkar
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Every time there is some news report on caste atrocity by the so-called upper castes, our “liberals” never fail to remind us of the ‘ugly reality’ of our society and the Hindu religion. Hinduism is reduced just to caste. And due to the evils of caste-system, Hinduism is declared the most violent society in the history of human civilization.

Now contrast the reactions to those when every time there is some news report about an act of terror carried out by a Muslim group or an individual. The same set of people never fails to remind us that all religions are the same. Islam is reduced to ‘peace’ (even though its literal meaning is ‘submission’, not peace). And due to merits of peace, Islam is declared just as peaceful or violent a religion as any other in the history of human civilization.

The reactions might appear totally diverse but there is one commonality – the response (attack on Hinduism in the former case and defense of Islam in the latter case) is carried out ostensibly to protect a set of people (the lower castes in the former case and the Muslims in the latter case).

The victim in a case of caste-atrocity is the person from lower caste (obviously), while the victim in a case of terrorism becomes the Muslim who might have to face persecutions due to ensuing Islamophobia (umm…).

Essentially the liberals end up fighting the crime yet to be committed when it comes to Islamic terrorism.

And this is why the problems within and around Islam are never discussed. Those who raise the issues with Islam after a terror attack are painted as perpetrators of Islamophobia – a crime the liberals were already geared up to fight. It works like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Continue reading

It is not just Barkha vs Bhakts, it is also Barkha vs Gunday

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Barkha Dutt, the celeb journalist from NDTV, has written a book and it’s getting negative reviews (one star) on Amazon, by scores of people who have most probably not even read a sentence of it. It’s silly, but it’s not unprecedented.

Barkha is blaming it on “bhakts” – a term she and other “liberal” commentators use very liberally to describe people who support Narendra Modi. And the truth is, most of those giving one star and negative reviews to her books are indeed Modi supporters.

So this is all about Barkha vs Bhakts? Or rather just about Bhakts, who last month, angered by Aamir Khan’s comments on “rising intolerance”, raced to uninstall the Snapdeal app and give it a bad review on app stores?

Can we simply close the case because these Bhakts appear as an organized gang of online goons? Gundays harassing a “liberal” law abiding citizen Barkha?

Yeah, gundays, rather Gunday. There lies another story.
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“Growing intolerance”, and why Congress loves it

sonia-rahul
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Indian National Congress, the grand old party of India, suffered its worst ever electoral defeat in May 2014. Reduced to 44 seats, it was staring at a risk of being pushed to the margins if immediate corrective steps were not taken.

The reasons for its defeat were pretty obvious – corruption charges, anti-incumbency, lackadaisical leadership of Rahul Gandhi, and Modi wave.

However, if you analyze them as a pragmatist, these reasons don’t warrant any “corrective” step. They are transient in nature. For example, Congress could simply shrug them off with the following responses, and the party won’t really be wrong: Continue reading

BJP’s back to back defeats in Delhi and Bihar – no lessons learnt

Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar
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Bihar assembly election results are out. BJP has lost the second assembly election in a row.

Coincidentally I was in Bihar in February early this year to attend my brother’s wedding when the first defeat – in Delhi assembly elections – had taken place. I had written about BJP losing Delhi elections then.

Based on what I witnessed and experienced during my trip in February, I felt, before the Delhi results were announced, that the BJP was more likely to lose Bihar than Delhi.
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Reservation for Patels – what it shows about our politics and society

Poster at Kranti Rally of Hardik Patel
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A 21-year-old guy named Hardik Patel hogged headlines in the mainstream media and trended on social media today. He addressed a rally that was reportedly attended by over 4 lakhs Patels – who wanted to be declared “backward”.

This guy is demanding that Patels – who are traditionally considered socially and politically ahead of other castes in Gujarat – should be included in the list of OBCs and given the benefits of the reservation policy.

The demand sounds like trolling, but since it is taking place in the offline world, it’s some serious business. And when it comes to reservations, it’s always serious business in India.

Reservations are about politics and are about society.

Let’s first talk about the politics. Continue reading

A dummy’s guide to understanding Net Neutrality and issues around it

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It’s almost certain that most of you have not only heard about the term “Net Neutrality” but also support the cause. Most certainly you have also gone through various articles explaining the issue, including a video by AIB that is being talked about by everyone in the mainstream media.

The video by AIB makes an analogy where a person is asked to pay different prices for different rides in a park. This is termed unfair and akin to violation of network neutrality. However, if you’ve gone to an amusement park, that’s exactly how it operates.

That might make some people wonder if Net Neutrality is unfair to private businesses, for what is already happening in an amusement park is being termed wrong when replicated in the digital world.

To the credit of AIB, it’s never easy to come up with a perfect analogy. They have done enough to spread the awareness, and this article is an attempt to complement their effort by using a different analogy, which I believe is nearer to how it is in the virtual world.
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Why journalists hate trolls

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At the outset, let me make it clear that I’m making a distinction between what is being labeled as “trolling” and criminal online behavior such as cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, hate-mongering, etc. However, this distinction is NOT made by a league of critics (most of them journalists) who are on a mission to purge the social media by launching a War On Trolling, much like Junior Bush launched War On Terror and declared that “if you are not with us, you are with the terrorists”.

In that case, I’m with the trolls (as defined by them). Continue reading

BJP helps Kejriwal become the CM of Delhi, PM next?

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Consider what every Modi hater would say about Narendra Modi a couple of years ago:

  1. He is just a PR creation. APCO is backing him.
  2. He has support only on internet, can only become Prime Minister of Twitter.
  3. He may win Gujarat, but India is not Gujarat.

Now consider what many BJP supporters say about Arvind Kejriwal of late:

  1. He is just a media creation. Lutyens media is backing him.
  2. He has got only army of AAPtards trending hashtags, no ground support.
  3. He may win Delhi, but India is not Delhi.

Does it sound like Arvind Kejriwal is on his way to become the next Prime Minister of India after winning Delhi thrice, just like Modi won Gujarat thrice earlier? And, well, technically he has won Delhi twice already!

The BJP has to realize that the “bhagoda” Kejriwal is here to stay for the long race. They can continue to reject him like Modi haters used to reject Modi, and thus help Kejriwal become the next Prime Minister of India, or analyze this phenomenon and learn their lessons.

In this article, I try to analyze what made Kejriwal click with Delhi’s audience and why BJP’s strategies failed.

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If we are done critiquing the cartoons, can we now critique the faith?

Je Suis Charlie
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Almost a week has passed since 12 employees at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were killed in a terror attack, and since then we have seen widespread condemnations of the attack, fringe celebrations of the attack, critique of the magazine’s cartoons, and a unity rally by some world leaders.

While widespread condemnations and fringe celebrations have now become “natural reactions” to any terror attack (yes, that’s the world we live in), the new aspect this time was critique of the cartoons drawn by those mercilessly murdered, which was virtually victim blaming.

And it was done almost immediately, almost as a natural reaction, not as an afterthought.

Earlier today, Charlie Hebdo released front page of their next issue, which is a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad – very mild and constructive by their acerbic and disruptive standards – and people are critiquing that too.

The terrorists, and their apologists, must be smiling.
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