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Cold Powder- Paperback & ebook

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Both e-book and paperback for my book ‘Cold Powder’ are now available at Amazon. You can purchase from here

  1. Paperback
  2. e-book

 

Written by Karuna

April 16, 2017 at 5:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Cold Powder – ebook

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e-book for a change – Difference is that I wrote it. I wrote this book in 2013. I completed it last year. Edited. Versioned and so on. Finally I decided to publish it as e-book. Self publishing platform is suitable. It is for light reading. Fiction. Crime & Love. Set in the northeast it explores a relationship between a drug traders wife and his business partner. The story weaves through north eastern states tracking drug routes. There is no truth in any bit of the story – it’s all fiction. All characters are fictitious in nature.

Written by Karuna

April 15, 2017 at 1:12 pm

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Elusive Peace

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I can’t remember what peace feels like. The last time that I felt really peaceful was when I saw Kanchenjunga in Kalimpong in 1986. Or when I was atop a mountain. No sounds around. Just nature. That is true mental peace.

When I think of peace in society, I think of safety. When did I last feel totally safe and free? Not so long back. I think after 2011, I haven’t really felt safe. That is when I started interacting with Thane area. Lots of public threats in Thane. In 2012, my bag got snatched and it jolted me. I met Hindu fundamentalists who ruined not just my mental peace but social interactions. I was made conscious that I was living in a flat, where I paid rent to Muslim brokers. Brokers further deposited in a Sindhi Hindu trust. They didn’t know that. I didn’t realize till later that that was one of the reasons that those ladies harassed me a bit. They were all bhakts.

That micro situation has become macro today. Bhakts bullying people without fear of law. People killing each other in public without fear of law. A man slain in the dairy office with people watching. A farmer slain lynched by mobs while transporting his cow due to a misunderstanding. Poor farmers being beaten up in Gujarat for not vacating their land. People fearing to eat non-veg in public. The list goes on.

I recall the communal riots in 1992. The shops which were burnt. A visual memory of the dairy and sweet shop with blackened walls and broken bottles still stays there. Kerala Muslims owned sweet shop and UP Hindus owned the dairy. Colourful sweets were strewn over the foot path while the walls inside were black. Milk cans overturned as the shop was just a black hole. Remember mobs rushing through streets and broken bottles thrown on building windows. Bomb blasts were worse.

The social order is being tested to the breaking point. High pressure is applied. People are no longer secure that they will not be harassed if they have a Muslim name. Women are not sure that while passing through a Muslim area, they will not be stoned or stared at or spat upon.

Citizens are not sure whether the govt. will not rake up a fake case against them. Whether their money is safe anymore. Journalists are even more fearful of sudden attacks. Vitriolic posts by trolls and an outpouring of nafrat online is a clear portrayal of the present regime’s nafrat for citizenry.  PM goes online and during his mann ki baat spews out hatred with a smile and through clenched teeth. More hatred when offline and on internet. Modi must be absorbing the hatred he encounters when with Hindu nationalists. He passes it on to people.

Propaganda which spreads hatred against women, modernism, non-veg eaters, non-Hindus, young lovers and others. Anti-Krishna squads, young lovers being beaten up or killed, women being put in purdah and burkha again; freedom of movement, association and speech are being restricted.

Riots have been on the rise since 2012 but have peaked in 2015. These are home ministry figures. Communal fear and subtle or small incidents go unreported.

  • 2014 – 644 riots
  • 2015 – 751 incidents
  • 2016 – 278 incidents in the first five months. – MHA or Ministry of Home Affairs is still to release data. Why the rest of data is not released is still a mystery. Is the government desperate to prove that communal riots are on the decline since 2016?

All in all peace has a bleak future in the country. Globally incidents of hatred have risen since 2014. India too has seen the impact of this worldwide hatred.

Govt has hardly tried to mitigate communal issues. Now there is little chance, esp. with Modi killing NGO’s who support secularism.

Our constitution is more under threat than it ever was before. Our values are being slowly eroded. One day your grandchild may ask you, “Can you tell me about the secular era that India went through?” Will secularism become a thing of past forever?

Written by Karuna

April 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

UP – BJP’s new headache

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Big Problem in UP. If what is happening in UP, is any indication of times to come, there will be a serious issue in the country. The RSS never accepted India’s freedom, as it was based on secular values. The greatest injustice the British did to the sub-continent, even bigger than the Jalianwala Bagh massacre, is the partition. It was a partition not just of the land but of people. It caused a divide so deep that it still smoulders. Even now Hindutva elements believe that country has to be freed from other cultures. And it’s not just Muslims but other religions too that will face discrimination. No doubt that Gandhiji was martyred for his secular value or what was perceived as pro-Muslim attitudes. Gandhiji’s would have undoubtedly succeeded in bridging the gaps. Something that Muslims didn’t want.

We need leaders like Gandhi and Maulana Azad to contain the two religions. None are to be found.

What is the RSS agenda likely to be in UP?

  • Ethnic cleansing – Harassment of non-Hindus will continue.
  • Caste system – Re-establishment of outcaste and outdated caste traditions
  • Economic benefits – While the law of the country has provisions for the oppressed, in a federal structure the state government can create policies to disadvantage backward castes.
  • Women – Again, Manusmriti type of policies are to be expected where role of women will be more conservative

Yogi will seek to govern ( nay, rule)  as per the Hindu religious scriptures or rather the RSS interpretation of extreme form of Hinduism. Indoctrination and blind faith are just two characteristics of this culture.

Question is why has Modi agreed to the Yogi as the CM. As per reports neither of the two ‘gujarati gaddhes’ (Modi and Shah) liked the idea of Yogi as the CM. So, has the BJP leadership become weak, as the pro-Hindutva elements take control? Is the position of the pro-hindutva elements in BJP so strong that they are dictating terms? How does Modi plan to control them in the future? What does this forebode for the centre? Will Modi be able to control the Yogi at the state?

Again, will Yogi’s policies be so extreme that UP will become the chink in Modi’s 2019 campaign? More and more strong activism is needed in UP. Not only does the media need to be on guard, so does the opposition. The people in the state will have to be assertive and refuse to submit to the extreme measure that Yogi has started with. Already ‘vikas’ or development is being replaced by Hindutva development. Will this be the big decision that BJP will always regret?

Written by Karuna

March 19, 2017 at 4:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Morning mists

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Mists curling.

Spirit fingers

Unfurling.

Skeletal hands

Of bare tree branches.

 

Streams of fog

Enveloping

Thatched roofs

Hay bales all,

Scattered cow sheds.

 

Crows caw caws

breaking  eerie

silence

of morning mists

the blanketing white.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Karuna

March 15, 2017 at 6:06 pm

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Congress in crisis mode? Post 2017 assembly election scenario.

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Speculation is rife on #RaGa‘s disappearance from the media. If Rahul Gandhi appears daily, he becomes the target of all ridicule and if he doesn’t, his whereabouts become a subject of speculation.   

Does the Congress need new faces in the fore front? Gandhi is obviously not getting them there. The party image is badly battered as the bjp stakes claim in both other states, where Congress has emerged as the single largest party. As of now, the game is to say no to congress at any cost. It’s a desperately hungry bjp screaming no from every rooftop.

His campaigning did not garner votes in UP. His style and rhetoric had a negative impact. Though he engaged the audience, there was not much retention. I think the disconnect was wherein in spite of efforts to project himself as a UP boy, he was still not perceived as one or even as very capable. The perception is that he is managed by either mother or sister. Voters prefer a didactic strong approach and a man of the world as it seems. In cases, it could even be too much campaigning.

Would keeping a low profile help him? Obviously he has tried. Then, the media speculates on his whereabouts. Maybe the Gandhi family will be better off as a permanent remote control while party will develop new faces for the field. An occasional appearance would retain his mystique. Obviously when they get to know him upfront, people don’t really like him enough to vote for him. An image that is so bad that even P.K. could not fix it much.

In Punjab, the Congress leadership is strong. Congress needs to seriously develop regional leaders who have been around in the party for a long time as leaders in the forefront. With older leaders having ego issues and being miffed at insensitivity of leadership, there needs to be several points of control and contact. Congress better get it’s act together soon as TN and Maharashtra may see mid-term elections, if the current political scenario is anything to go by.

The test of strength will come now, as the party organization sinks into a crisis mode of sorts. This crisis apart from being an internal crisis is also in media spotlight with long term consequences. Essential for leadership to be visible and be seen as dealing with it correctly. Else the disappearances will be seen as guilt and give flame to rumours. Just as it is a test of leadership, a crisis is also a test for the cadre. The resolution of the organization to survive and succeed has to come from within the structure and not just from top down. Rajiv Gandhi always believed in the ‘Congress grass’ (which is actually used to refer to a local plant with white flowers like the Gandhi ‘topi’. And they itch when touchedJ), or leadership at the grassroots level. That is the approach that the Congress needs to develop more actively. Initiative from bottom-up rather than remain in awe and fear of the top or expectations from leadership to steer the ship.

The question is whether the Congress has a will to survive; has change agents and an open organizational structure. The very fact that the leaders hang onto one person and one face to seek continuity is a bad sign. What the Congress strategy will be to handle this crisis, remains to be seen. That strategy will either build it into a strong opposition or a weak party which will fade away. BJP remained in opposition for twenty years as it built its cadre actively among the Hindu majority and banked on right wing extremist organizations to do propaganda. Will Congress survive and expand its cadre and influence over the years? It should if it has any hopes of resurgence. A strong opposition will one day form a strong ruling party.

 

 

Written by Karuna

March 13, 2017 at 4:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Let People Decide

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crowds These political rallies are mind boggling. Look at the masses of people who just come out on the street.

To a large extent, it’s collective madness. People screaming slogans; waving flags jumping around one another and craning to see political leaders. People are even willing to take a few lathis.

This kind of group makes you wonder if they are the not-so smart people and whether they will vote with collective foolishness. However, in the book – “ The Wisdom of Crowds” by James Suroweicki, the author says:” The fact that cognitive diversity matters does not means that if you assemble a group of diverse but thoroughly uninformed people, their collective wisdom will be smarter than an experts. But if you can assemble a diverse group of people who possess varying degrees of knowledge and insight, you’re better off entrusting it with major decisions rather than leaving them with in the hands of one or two people, no matter how smart those people are.”

In short, mass voters make a correct choice as they are a diverse mix of informed; ignorant; wise and foolish people. It is better to let the masses decide than make a single or a couple of vote count. In an organization, the employees are better decision makers than committees.

This can be disproved in many cases. Take for instance, the referendum for Brexit. While UK suffers as it parts, will it work in the long run? Or the vote for Trump? Is that good at all for US? Collective wisdom can be questioned in many instances. But does that make a case for special voters? Or votes with more weightage?  It would be against the very concept of equality under law and democracy. That would be more like an oligarchy. Against the very nature of Fundamental Rights, which treats every voter as equal.

In U.P., the vote bank is huge. There are over 14 crore voters (2015 Jan) and the number of seats in assembly is 404 seats. The budgetary allocation for U.P is naturally equally large and runs into lakhs of crores. Thus, these voters become very important as U.P. elections will also decide the fate of the nation at a later stage in national elections as well. The leaders will have to trust the voter. It’s true that the north Indian vote bank rules the nation by sheer numbers and ot weight-age or any claim to superiority.

Crowd behaviour was interesting to note. Neither leaders were giving any speech but the crowd was simply there enthusing and encouraging the two young leaders, in their forties. They indulge in a lot of political sloganeering. Politicians are larger than life in our country. They are looked at with hope as saviours’ as ‘maai-baap’. This often creates unrealistic expectations of leaders.

I expect the vote to be sharply divided between the caste and class lines. The upper class rich brahmin vote is likely to go to bjp. The Muslim and lower class & caste vote is a divided vote as Janata Dal; SP; Congress and BSP ; RSP fight for it. Inspite of such huge numbers, there is  the likelihood of no clear majority.

The collectives vote is thus swung and easily influenced. The voters are not just influenced by their own foolishness but the collective foolishness of the group. A group which is led by some very shrewd voters who herd them like a dog it’s collective of sheep. The person whose only task is to control the voter. The voter who fervently queues up and casts his vote for the party that either doles out the cash or grips his mind with a vivid fairy tale, painting colorful pictures, thinking little whether tomorrow, the leader will have the ability to sustain him and the rest. The fervor he feels is more of induced fervor – the word vote, vote and vote echoing in his mind.

Source: Images -Wikimedia

Written by Karuna

March 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized