The New York Times has published a Christmas OpEd piece (yesterday online and today in print) that talks about religious intolerance in India and how ‘hindu militants’ are forcing conversions of Muslims and Christians and has blamed our PM, Narendra Modi for not doing enough to stop this and other attacks.
Initially, I wanted to write a long and deeply researched rebuke of this kind of hypocrisy, but I’d rather let a picture say a thousand words –
According to Dictionary.com, a genocidaire is a person guilty of genocide. The definition of genocide, though, itself is the topic of focus of this article by Cynthia Haven on Stanford University’s blogs. She uses it as follows, to describe how Joseph Stalin’s actions helped shape the general definition of the word – Continue reading →
Recently, while reading a Wikipedia article about a Star Wars villain called Khan Noonien Singh, I stumbled across a reference to John Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. Walking that treacherously enlightening path of Wikipedia linked articles, I reached the page about a Frenchman named Collin de Plancy and his book called “Dictionnaire Infernal”. This is a book published in the 1800s, classifies and describes 69 demons according to Christianity and provides detailed drawings of their physical characteristics.
So here I was, standing with some friends at a McDonald’s in Boulder, Colorado and we’re excited at knowing that there’s a whole menu for just about a dollar for us poor Indian students 🙂
We stalk the lady at the counter asking her about the various options we had and we settled on the Cheeseburger as it seemed the most vegetarian and superbly cheap! We then asked her about the ingredients of the cheeseburger to confirm our suspicion that we had found a veg burger in the heart of one of America’s greatest junk food joints! She told us that the Cheeseburger has cucumber, pickles, onion and cheese.
Our ears were ringing and our blood pressure shot through the roof thinking about cheese. We quickly ordered three cheeseburgers and a large coke(another dollar~fixed price for any size) and received our order, filled up our coke, picked up some ketchup and sat down.
The first thing I noticed when we sat down was that the cover of the burger said something odd. It said “100% Pure Beef”.
As I looked at the packed burger and then at the happy faces of my friends, I felt a bit of guilt but I pushed it away and waited with bated breath. They opened the packages and dug their first bites into the burger. They looked at me and I looked at them. I was perplexed at their reaction, either they were supposed to react crazily to the taste of beef or smile at me and tell me that it’s really tasty. But they looked perplexed and were probably wondering why I was not biting into my cheeseburger! I slowly asked them how the burger felt. They responded in the affirmative. I noticed that there was a tikki(cutlet) in the burger. From past experiences in South Africa, I knew that in meat-eating countries, a tikki in a burger is bad news for vegetarians.
So, I got up and went to the lady at the counter and asked her a simple question- Does this burger have beef in it?
She slowly, sweetly, responded- Yes.
I was holding cow’s meat in my hands. I went back to my friends who had dropped their delicious burgers due to my suspicions and told them that there was beef in the burger.
They looked at me wide-eyed. Religion was in question here! They had just bitten into beef! A few remarkable reactions later, we were still confused about what to do. Then, a kind lady sitting next to us asked us what our problem was and told us to be firm and ask for the Manager and ask for a replacement.
We went to the counter, asked for the Manager, explained what our religion states and got the burgers replaced.
My appetite was dead by now and I just ordered a coke(another dollar down the drain) and finished it in peace.
For this strange reason, it wasn’t a typical ending to a day. After all, we had just experienced what the Real American Cheeseburger is all about!
It is meant to be a memorial for the nation’s war dead but seems to be more of a monument to India’s slothful bureaucracy. The army has wanted a memorial inscribed with the names of nearly 50,000 soldiers killed in four major wars since Independence. The British-built India Gate has the names of fallen soldiers from the two World Wars who served in a colonial army. Free India’s National War Memorial proposal has been through various various ministerial hoops for a decade now. The first objection was that the memorial would block the view of India Gate. The Ministry of Defense responded by saying that the memorial would have the martyrs’ names inscribed on marble slabs in the ground below eye-level. Now the Ministry of Urban Development has reservations on the project due to “certain statutory clearances and availability of land”. Never a shortage of feeble excuses when it comes to honouring India’s war dead. – India Today (August 17, 2009)
The Akshardham temple in Delhi is magnificent. Maybe opulent is a better word. 356 ft (109 m) long, 316 ft (96 m) wide and 141 ft (43 m). high, covering an area of 86,342 sq ft (8,021.4 m2), it provides a breathtaking view of religion through the ages. It is a monument of worship. Worship of money, that is. Magnificent sculptures, fountains etc show how money can buy everything. This can be expected in a country where books like White Tiger are criticized for depicting the truth.
It is inexplicable how we can manage to spend millions on temples and other places of worship and yet turn a blind eye to the millions who live below the poverty line. The Indian Army wants a memorial for their heroes. Frankly, God for me is that unknown soldier who patrols the border, making sure his countrymen can sleep peacefully and asking for nothing in return. Why doesn’t he deserve a memorial? Just ask yourself, if you are in the middle of a war, who would you rather have by your side? A beautiful idol of your God or a trained soldier with plenty of ammunition? Doesn’t that unknown soldier deserve better?
His head held high, encompassing all boundaries of politics, religion, region, caste and creed.
He is Everywhere.
He commits every type of crime- financial, moral, physical and non-humanitarian, knowing of his prowess and that of his money.
He is omnipresent, omnipotent and has every physical size, shape and appearance possible.
He is the black market and the black money and every black deed ever committed. He is friend to all, the terrorist, the dacoits, the politician, the policeman, the tax man, the reporter and the reportee, the society and even the common man.
He is Robin Hood when he wants to be, Hiranyakashyap when he feels like it and even the Leader of the Nation when it must be so.
He is the Nano and the Ferrari, Jet Airways and Kingfisher, Satyam and Infosys, Haryana and Punjab.
He is the MF and the PF, the fixed dividend and the High Risk.
This is not just a statue, this is THE STATUE.
This won’t be spit on or shit on or decapitated. Instead, it will be revered forever, as the True Saviour of our Nation.