Monday, December 26, 2011

The old order changeth…

The old order changeth…yielding place to new

(595 words)

By: Kalidas Sawkar

The more developed northern hemisphere of the globe is in turmoil, the USA and the Europe are witnessing economic and commercial protests on the scales seen for the first time, post WW II; India is having its own share of the tumult and is counting number of freedoms it wants, but what is making impact is the political and Governmental upheaval that is going in the Islamic world. All these are protests of various kinds, economic, social and political but can be summarised in a nutshell, the protests are against the establishment and hierarchy of the haves vs. have-nots. Old system is being challenged and the younger newer generation wants a larger share, having been told by the developments in societal, scientific and economic thoughts that they do not lag behind their peers in any way, in fact could be better. Arguments could follow but to illustrate interestingly, Veena Malik and her cover picture on FHM magazine would make a great impact as an example. The whole world loves a beautiful woman and they even love to hate her. Veena Malik’s photo would serve to conjoin economic, political and conservative vs liberal perceptions of archetypical societies of the world where culture hegemony has ruled supreme for an unduly long time.
The free and ever penetrating media has made the world knowledgeable on line and that, too, peacefully and quickly. If, we make a ‘deep impact’ and blast a meteor millions of kilometres away and bring back to Earth the material spewed by the rocket sent on it, just across the border, in India, things are happening; a raunchy Bollywood movie, ‘A dirty Picture’, where a scantily clad but charming woman is being wowed and appreciated by Indians, but, in Pakistan another woman is closeted by her society in a burqa. Whatever women there may opine, it is a woman’s biological need, social function and health requisite to be seen as much as to see. Rest of the world, too, is slowly waking up to its security needs and banning the burqa in public places. Essentially, what is achieved by making a woman wear a burqa, besides the demand of a segment of the religion? As Mark Twain experienced in his ‘Innocents abroad’, even a woman clad in burqa is well adept to signal a man of her romantic inclinations.
If, in India Anna Hazare can attract the multidimensional, cross cultural and multi-layered country together, it is an anguish of its citizenry that cries out against centuries old corruption by politicians, officialdom, corporates and even spiritual leaders. The process up to now has been nonviolent but if left unheeded would someday explode just as it has done during the ‘Arab spring’
(Referring back to our example, have a studious look at this charming and mild form of protest, not at what has been or not exposed but with what this was achieved. (This micro-mini shorty/panty is green in colour, with a star distinctly seen and just a crescent moon is missing to complete the Pakistani flag; more, a few pockets are strategically placed and a loud and clear abbreviation of ISI is seen on one arm, but what sends a signal is the hand grenade in the other hand with its pin about to be detached. Sex is a strong instinct and a good model makes it explosive.)Veena has just dropped a bomb on Pakistani terror cum socio-political system, that too doing it from the soils of rival neighbouring country. Would Pakistani society wake up or it wants to go invite the Arab spring into its nation? It would be dangerous considering the N-arsenal in that country.

Published in the Herald of 23rd December 2011, may be for diplomatic reasons sentence in bracket is omitted in published version.

Me, Kalidas on 18th December 1961

What went through the minds of simple Goans on 18th December: Ex… Me!

By: Kalidas Sawkar

Every Goan must have woken up that morning wondering about planes flying low at the top of coconut trees. My mother was under strict instructions never to wake up any person who is sleeping, but here she was shaking me excitedly telling ‘Kalidas, Kalidas, wake up there are lots of planes out there flying very low’. I turned over sleepily since the preceding few days that had become a usual phenomenon. But, mother didn’t give up I did, woke up and ran outside in our compound, my excitement at full blast. The unimaginable was coming true, becoming real and the freedom was at hand.

Whatever went into my mind, 14 years and 97 days old?

For self, my aspirations went sky high. The horizons of opportunities were opening up, education of varied kind would be there and I was game for it all. Next was, as a book worm I looked forward to easy excess for that great literature of which I had read only cross references and sighed. Before 1961, there were two libraries in Mapusa and I had ransacked them all. I had read practically every Marathi book in the catalogues and the librarian in charge would get exasperated with me. He would tell me to read English since he knew I studied in English medium school. He would continue, ‘there are so many books in English ‘even’ I wouldn’t be able to finish them’

I had understood, after completing my education I had to do something, work, but in Goa at that time nothing was working accept the match box factory at Ponda. This factory had become a permanent excursion spot for Goa schools and I had no intentions of working in a match box factory. For self, I had thought of inexplicable mirages, board rooms where important decisions are taken, real intellectual work as being done such as BARC, TIFR, looking at the stars for more knowledge of the space. Yes, in 1959, Russia had already blasted at the moon, which was among Lord Shiva’s protectorates and I rejoiced at that event, being a confirmed agnostic by that time. I wanted to attend meetings held by Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders, no not Ram Manohar Lohia, I thought he was a bit cranky, but I did not mind Atal Behari Bajpayee and a few others.

A great opportunity was waiting for me and my friends after liberation. Cricket. Period. The various grounds, the Brabourne stadium, the Green Park, The Chepauk, and so many others were for me on the ninth cloud. Nawab of Pataudi, Abbas Ali Beg, ML Jaisimha, Bapu Nadkarni, and others were my deities. I did not bother much about films then, nor now, but would have liked to know if one could touch these celluloid people or they were just like ghosts.

And last but not the least, the Gods own relationship, the cousins! A posse of them along with their parents were my chief attraction after liberation. Even though we met for Ganesh and vacations, I was ready for more of the good things. Portuguese had incurred my curses since they restricted any crossings across the border. I had been suffocated for relationships; I knew instinctively, I stand to gain positive impacts from them and wanted to check their reactions to me as well.

Possibly on that day as I went to bed I felt what Swami Vivekananda must have felt standing at Kanyakumari and facing India.