Wake-up Call

It’s been a busy few days, hasn’t it? No, I don’t mean me… just folks at Calcutta, Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad. Something tells me there’s more to come.

Blasts in small towns. Protests turning ugly in the City of Joy. The sleeper cells are waking up, and how! Moving into bustling towns and big cities. Merging with the local populace. Fanning violent emotions. Playing on people’s prejudices. Using the smallest of excuses to cause widespread violence and loss of lives. And causing enough confusion to almost make fast cities go up in flames.

It’s not new. Remember at one point of time there used to be a riot in Bangalore every other month? And what excuses… The death of Annavaru. Saddam’s execution (“There was hardly anything happening in Iraq itself… people will outsource ANYTHING to Bangalore”, said a friend of mine). And if you reading this thought it was coz Bangies simply love rioting and burning buses… well, LeT seems to be having its way.

I lately got my hands on half an audiobook of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. A nice fantasy story for kids, which at the same time, makes a powerful statement about freedom of speech, and why dictators fear it. The dark villain Khattam-Shud kidnaps Princess Baat-Cheet. “Why”, Haroun asks, “Why do you hate stories so much? They are so nice…”. Khattam-Shud replies, “I want to rule the world. And in each story is a world which is beyond my reach”. Holds true, doesn’t it, for Ms. Taslima Nasreen?

And we found a mirror of our blog . Tuna and me were taken aback at first… but then it turned out to be a mirror service for WordPress in Turkey – WP is banned in Turkey! And why? Well, so there was this guy who was famous enough to have blogs making disparaging remarks about him. And his lawyers asked WP to remove the offensive sites, but WP didn’t. So this guy gets a Turkish court to block access to wordpress.com from all of Turkey. Reading the reason behind the mirroring, I remembered there had been a post on the WP blog about it not very long ago, and an update, too. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk must be turning in his grave.

The time seems ripe for another revolution. Not the RDB kind… that only serves to make martyrs out of people. We need education. Freedom of Speech. Truth, and please, not by just repeated assertion. A Renaissance. And it should start with the Media and primary schools, and that’d take care of the rest.

Tailpiece: I found this bit somewhere.

“Aaj Tak harped on the same old refrain that ‘Modi did not call the Army until three days had passed’. When the TV channel contacted me on phone to get my response, I told the anchor that the Godhra carnage took place on February 27, 2002, that the Hindu backlash commenced on February 28 and the Army was doing flag march on the forenoon of March 1… He cut me short by saying that ‘This is exactly what we had said, no action was taken by Modi on 29th, 30th and 31st thus giving three clear days to the murderers…’ I had to cut him short by reminding him that the date 28th was 28th of February 2002 and there were no 29th, 30th or 31st in that month. The phone was of course disconnected.”

Leave aside Godhra, leave aside Modi, leave aside talk of pogroms, carnages and holocausts. Just February of the 28 days (29 in leap year) fame. And we depend on such folks for our daily dose of what’s happening in the world… I don’t know whether to feel more sorry for the ignorant dodos in front of the cameras and behind the mike, or for me and the rest of the Indian populace.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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9 Responses to Wake-up Call

  1. Vishnu says:

    Well agreed media is the worst, uncontrolled and unbridled piece of organized machinery that is feeding people all over India with junk. But the point was Gujarat riots was and is a shame to our country.
    Since Independence though nothing has been as horrible as Partition, Ayodha, Bombay blasts and Godhra riots are examples of how crude and naive poverished Indian masses are in the hands of misleading leaders like Ashok Singhal, L K Advani and parties like BJP and RSS.
    Its the output of their cowardly acts that these sleeper cells slept in INDIA in the first place.

  2. wanderlust says:

    oh, i’m not so sure… the 1984 Sikh riots were far worse. and Rajiv Gandhi justified it saying “When a mighty tree falls, the ground will shake”.
    and your list of misleaders needs to be longer; and include Karunanidhi who fosters hate based on a dubious Aryan Invasion theory, and the Pakistani cricket captain who says muslims around the world need rejoice because we won, and countless other leaders who crumble to votebank politics and follow a policy of implementation of reservations, appeasement of terrorists, topped by our spineless PM and the President to whom spirits reveal the future, who can’t even stand up to defend democracy in Burma, a country with whom we have long-standing cultural and trade connections… I mean, even U2 goes farther than the Indian government did in supporting the fight for democracy in Burma (they wrote “Walk On” for Aung San Suu Kyi).
    but let’s not discuss godhra or babri masjid or the sikh riots here… enough blogs have been written about those, enough number of forums have been dedicated to discussing them, and most of all, the points I chose to make were completely removed from them all.

    Sleeper cells exist in UK, too. Indoctrination is far worse there as we can see in the case of the Glasgow bombers. But I can’t see a single UK leader do anything other than appeasement… I mean, they even went so far enough to suggest a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill that would make sure no religion or race could be ridiculed or parodied.
    And are sleeper cells any solution? It’s just mindless terrorism, taking advantage of the hospitality of the locals, and then stabbing them in the back, being responsible for loss of innocent lives. Holding the State to ransom.
    And after the Holocaust(the real one), you didn’t have Jewish sleeper cells. There was simply an Exodus and then the community went on to pursue education and business wherever they were, and made the world a better place than it was.

  3. Karthik Ram says:

    I guess what is scarier than the violence that we see all around us, is this ‘acceptance’ of violence as inevitable and part and parcel of life.

  4. the Monk says:

    It is the inherent irrationality of religion and/or all the major faiths that exist today- and therefore the inevitable estrangement with the universe as science understands it- that is, essentially, the root cause of all fundamentalism.

    Aaah, that felt good. It’s been a while.

  5. wanderlust says:

    @Karthik Ram:
    i agree. the media are to blame, IMO, again – they don’t emphatically condemn the violence, they even go on to justify, and glamorize it!
    @the Monk:
    uh, this post was not about fundamentalism. it was about the whole idea of sleeper cells, freedom of speech and the misguidedness in the media – i would have put up that tailpiece even if it wasn’t related to godhra. and fundamentalism need not give rise to these…. i mean, look at The Netherlands, they are fundamentalist (as in back to the basics) as far as the ideology of freedom is concerned.
    if you so do want to sermonize about the inevitablity of fundamentalism, there’s always nittsermons, or other blogposts elsewhere on the theme.

  6. the Monk says:


    Chaat is wasted on you.

  7. pr3rna says:

    very well written post.
    //Leave aside Godhra, leave aside Modi, leave aside talk of pogroms, carnages and holocausts. Just February of the 28 days (29 in leap year) fame. And we depend on such folks for our daily dose of what’s happening in the world…// Aaj tak is the worst of the lot.Other than NDTV India most Hindi channels are spreading sensationalism.I don’t understand how can they be so different than their own counterparts in English. Headlines today is much better than Aaj Tak.

  8. Well..! came from the ping on update abt turkey incident.
    Well structured post.. keep going..

    I like that aajtak incident..! aint that cool?

  9. The moment I found this site was like wow. Thanks for putting your effort in writing this article.

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