Reflections

CHANGE AND HOPE,IN POETS’ HEARTS

The extreme cold this winter took me back to Ali Sardar Jafri’s Five Nights of Lucknow, first published in 1998 as a collection of 11 terrific essays.

In the chapter titled Fourth Night, it is written how stormy the weather was in December 1941. This was on the eve of the civil disobedience call against the British by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in August 1942, to quit India. Politics around the world was hot and Indian hearts and minds were filled with hope of a better life after the retreat of the colonialists from South Asia.

PLANET LANDFILL

I ’m happy to see the garbage outside my doorstep swept away in recent days. The only worry is that the filth may have been removed from this doorstep only to be deposited at another. This out of sight, out of mind policy is no long-term solution to a clean country.

THE ROOT OF GENDER MALICE

Save our Women” is an independent and most interesting report on crimes against women in Uttar Pradesh (UP). The report was written by social activists Shefali Misra and Hema Badhwar Mehra, both Aam Aadmi Party contestants in the last Lok Sabha elections. Appalled by the ever increasing abuses suffered by women in UP, Misra and Badhwar—hailing from Sitapur and Badaun, respectively—decided to revisit Badaun, Bareilly and Mishrikh.

LEFT RIGHT MIX-UP

The ink had hardly dried from Narendra Modi’s signature as the country’s 15th prime minister when news poured in from Europe that it had voted for the Right.

Reportedly, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right Front National (FN), too, cried with joy after her triumph in the recent European Parliament elections that have propelled to power an angry but motley crowd of radicals, from xenophobes and racists to neo-Nazis.

SECULARISM OF THE INDIAN STATE

Images of the Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajnath Singh wearing a skull cap and Narendra Modi rejecting it inspired many a heated debate on secularism at a time when Hinduism is used for political gain and its plural and tolerant nature is threatened by fanatics in ironic imitation of monotheistic religions.

Some describe secularism as a critique of religion, others imagine it as a strict separation of politics from religion. The modern believe that politics is public while religion is private.

THE GENEROUS GENT

I first met Khushwant Singh in 1979. This was the time when I could not wait to make Delhi my destination, or maybe move to Mumbai, the Mecca of all opportunities.

I had had enough of the city of my birth!