Arnab Ray (or Greatbong as he is known through his blog) is one of the most famous Indian bloggers. He is also a published writer withYatrik being his third book after May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss and The Mine. While I haven’t read his previous two books, I have heard a lot many good things about them and therefore decided to pick Yatrik without a doubt in my mind. Does it work? Let’s check it out.
‘Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister’ is Tabrik C’s first novel. He is a political enthusiast, entrepreneur and perfumer. His novel is a political thriller which deals with one man’s journey across countries to confront inner and outer demons out to wreck havoc on India.
The blurb goes like this –
“India is on the edge as a subversive internal revolt against the constitution, and the threat of jehadi terror of an unthinkable level, are looming on the horizon.
Ringing Shiva’s damaru in and out of the Parliament, a sudden turn of karma catapults outsider Siddhartha Tagore – a conflicted genius, music maestro and prodigal son, with forceful views on China and Pakistan into national prominence as the head of the Opposition Alliance and finally as the newly elected Prime Minister of a disturbed nation.
But buried secrets are being resurrected and threaten to expose the past. Twisted within the double helix of menacing politics and hidden lust, ‘Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister’ is a scorching account of Siddhartha Tagore’s fascinating journey from Harvard to 7 Race Course Road.
Politics is a game which few people want to get into. Though everyone cribs that we don’t get good ministers in our Parliament, no one wants to even think of joining politics. Why waste your time in the country when you can live a great life outside the country? Why take the pain of developing the nation when nothing has happen for years on end. The young generation thinks so on and so forth. But then what we get is a group of people who keep abusing each other, abusing our country and the trust we have put in them. Some don’t even seem happy with abuse. They go to the extent of throwing chairs, knives, pepper spray and god knows what at each other. And even then, we call ourselves a democracy.
Manifestos, development of the people, welfare blah blah are all passe. Who cares about it when you can fight with your opponent just by abusing him? If one calls his opponent ‘impotent’, another brings the word ‘nightwatchman’. Then there are others who call each other jokers, ‘man of low stands’ and many other things.
Corruption as we all know has been ingrained in our Indian psyche since time immemorial. Whether its simple things like paying the auto guy an extra Rs 50 just because it’s night or complex ones like paying capitation fees running in lacs to educate our children, corruption has always been there in some form. Obviously many people wouldn’t call this corruption and say that it’s part and parcel of everyday life in India. And it’s only the ministers who are always corrupt in some form or the other.
Anna Hazare who? Why are all our news channels and newspapers suddenly concentrating on him throughout the day? What has he done that even the politicians don’t have the courage to face him? How dare he openly tell news channels that no politician has the right to come and sit with him on the stage?
On 2nd December 1984, the worst industrial disaster in the world took place in Bhopal when tons and tons of deadly methyl isocyanate gas (MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide Plant. It was a disaster which killed thousands directly and millions were and are affected indirectly causing limb damage, poor nervous system disorders, blood related disorders even to this day etc. It destroyed the entire ecoystem, water table and every single thing around it. There were many counter claims and charges over the various problems which caused it. It included poor management practices, no safety practices involved, giving money to pass their papers and what not! But in the end as usual people suffer and they had to in face of an incompetent government who never bothered about them.
In India, what our ministers care about the most is the money. Be it the power plants, the nuclear technology or anything else, if money is filling up the coffers, lets seal the deal – thats the attitude. This is one reason why the people in this country are scared about the installation about nuclear power plants. Be it, the Kudankulam power plant being built in Tamil Nadu, the cobalt 60 radioactive isotope found in Delhi, wastes deposited in the nearby rivers, ponds and lakes – one thing is common to all. They have all become a big example of polluting our natural ecosystem which we do need now more than ever. Finally what we see is just the fact that these companies are trying to improve their standing by talking about their so called CSR initiatives.
In the case of Union Carbide there were many warnings since a couple of years about the problems and lack of safety practices being followed at the Bhopal plant. But instead that person called Warren Anderson (the head of Union Carbide) thought that Indians are bloody fools and why to spend much on safety unecessarily. Even if a few Indians die it wont be a big deal. He knew that the Indians sucked up to the feet of the Westerners and they do even to this day. So even if something were to happen at the plant, Warren knew that he would be able to escape very easily. And thats what happened.
He was sent out of the country by then chief minister Arjun Singh who facilitated his early escape. Amazing isnt it? Our ministers sucking up to the feet of the Westerners so much that they didnt care of the people who were affected by this tragedy.
Over the last few weeks since the judgement of just a 2 yrs prison term with a measly fine of US $2000 has been announced the people of this country have felt even more humiliated. What the hell does our government think that a 2yr prison term and such a fine without even holding Warren Anderson guilty would remove the scars of that day? After such a judgement one can only say that our own government treats us as just some piece of shit which can thrown into the dustbin (read DEATH) as and when they want.
One thing I have realised MONEY, STATUS AND POWER is the most important when you reach the doors of politics. Who cares if the general public dies or lives? Do we?
Rajneeti is one of the biggest movies of our times in terms of the number of stars (or so called stars ;)) it has. They cast includes Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Nana Patekar, Nasseruddin Shah (in a blink and a miss role), Katrina Kaif and many others. It is directed by Prakash Jha of Apharan, Gangaajal fame. So you can be sure that this movie is gonna be up there in the list of hard hitting realistic movies!
The movie starts off with a fiery speech from a leftist leader, Nasserudin Shah against the govt where one of his lines aga goes like “Yeh Janta bhookh ki maari hai, inhe do wakt ki roti de do ya paise de do yeh kisi bhi party ka jhande utha lenge”. After hearing this in the first few minutes you realise that this movie is gonna be one hell of a ride. One mistake by him sends him on a self imposed exile which introduces rest of other characters of the cast. Partly inspired by Mahabharata and the Godfather, this movie grips you throughout those 3 hours.
Sleeping with a woman to give her an election ticket, buying seats in an election with money, giving people money to come to the rallies, rigging of electronic voting machines, populist politics you name it each of these issues and more is tackled in this drama.
Many people may find the movie intense, violent and too serious. But thats the nature of the subject and Prakash Jha deserves accolades for that. Even the songs More Piya and Bheegi Si have been reduced to few seconds. Assembling such a huge starcast is a mammoth achievement in itself but giving them equal author backed roles is the perfect icing on the cake.
Ranbir Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai and Arjun Rampal are the standout performers by a distance. I was really surprised by the way all these three potrayed their different roles in such an amazing manner. Katrina Kaif does a pretty decent job as a Sonia Gandhi lookalike though she doesnt have much of a role other than giving a very melodramatic speech in the end.
In the end the amazing performances and fantastic story with the constant twists and turns where each one is behind the other baying for his / her blood make this movie a must watch experience for every movie lover.
Rating – 4.5 / 5
Raj Thackeray, Bal Thackeray, Lal Krishna Advani, Uma Bharati, Varun Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Murali Manohar Joshi etc etc – What is the common thread connecting all these people? I am sure your first answer will be politics..right? Yes you are right. BUT!..Another very important thing which connects them is the fact that all of them have more or less been successful and built up their images or dynasties with what one can call “A game of blatant divisive politics so as to woo particular chunks of our population and increase their respective vote banks”. And mind you for all whatever we say against politicians dividing our country, all these politicians have been elected by us. So can we say that divisive politics is a valuable political ideology?
Let’s take the case of Bal Thackeray. Shiv Sena was formed so as to promote the cause of the Maharashtrians. Somewhere down the line, they fell prey to the Hindutva agenda and started supporting the BJP. From “trying” to improve the cause of Marathis to attacking Muslims, speaking on any topic possible be it about movies being obscene to the public or sending SRK to Pakistan as if they are the moral police of this nation, digging up the cricket pitch in the country when the Pakistanis came here, threatening Karan Johar to change “Bombay” to “Mumbai” for his movie Wake Up Sid, issuing threats to Australians against coming to our nation because of attacks on Indians on their soil, attacking people who celebrate Valentines Day etc their transformation has been complete to a party which believes in politics of division. But have they lost their vote bank? Ok, they may have lost it a bit to another amazing party “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena”. But overall year after year they have been elected by “us” – the masses. The reasons may not be the fact that they are too good but that there are no other options or people are not really interested in voting too much as can be seen from the 41-42% turnout in the previous elections in Mumbai. But whatever it is, time after time they have come up with horrendous statements and rules and regulations against people and personalities and engaged in mindless acts of violence and have easily gotten away with it. Sena’s mouthpiece “Saamna” has become the “mouthpiece of division”.
Lets talk about Raj Thackeray. He started his own party “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena” on the “Sons of the Soil” theory because he wasn’t treated equally alongwith his brother Uddhav Thackeray in Shiv Sena. Although it was a breakaway faction from the Shiv Sena, their basic ideologies were similar. MNS also came into prominence through controversies like attacks on North Indians, asking all shopkeepers to rename their boards in Marathi, denunciation of Abu Azmi and attacking him (Ayesha Takia’s father – in – law) for taking his oath of office in Hindi, attacking North Indian politicians and more. But what was the end result? Any guesses?? They got more no of seats in the 2009 elections when compared to Shiv Sena. I am not supporting their ideology or their way of functioning. But the fact is that they have come into prominence by an extremist form of politics and if we really see from the point of view of the number of seats, they have been successful.
Lal Krishna Advani and Narendra Modi are senior leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party. BJP is the current form of Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was formed as the political wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Over the years with the increasing influence of RSS, a Hindutva ideology started developing in the BJP circles. Thus came the Ram Janambhoomi Movement which led to Advani being at the forefront of the Babri Masjid demolition and then there were the Gujarat riots under the reign of Narendra Modi. Yedurappa, the Karnataka CM who was from the BJP was accused of turning a blind eye to the attacks on women in the pub in Mangalore by Ram Sena and also the attacks on Christians. Christians were even attacked in Orissa under Naveen Patnaik. Though BJP has lost the last two elections, Advani was once seen as PM candidate. Can you believe it? A guy who was at the forefront of desecrating a mosque and being involved in large scale riots was once thought to be a CM candidate!! That’s the beauty of politics in our nation. I salute Modi’s industrial vision of developing Gujarat like no other state in this country. But at the cost of what? Despite the large scale human right violations, he continues to be the CM of the state year – after – year, term – after – term because he believes that people won’t bother to do anything till he gives them the basic necessities of life. And that’s what we are doing – NOT BOTHERING! One official recently called him the Gandhi, Ram, Rahim of our era!! – WHAT THE HELL!!!!!
Varun Gandhi became famous (or one can say rather infamous) for two reasons, no 1 – probably he is the only Gandhi in the BJP and no 2 – he gave the famous speech in Pilbhit talking against the religious minorities especially Muslims. But what happened? The end result was that more and more people started talking and discussing about him. He became famous despite not winning a single election. Amazing! Uma Bharati, once a part of BJP and then moving to create her own party was and has been one of the biggest motor mouths anyone has ever seen. She talks 100 times more than what she really does. But who cares! In the end she did get the votes when she required.
My aim here wasn’t to prove the fact that whosoever engages in a divisive political ideology would be a successful politician. Neither was it my aim to say that having such an ideology is good because I MYSELF DONT SUBSCRIBE TO IT. From the examples I have listed here, I have just tried to prove a point as to how, many of our leaders are following such an ideology and have been more or less successful over the years. So even though it may not be politically correct, their motto is “Follow such an ideology till the sun shines and one keeps getting the votes! What else does one want? When the votes are coming, why change?”
Mumbai has always been known as one of the few Indian cities which easily accommodates people from different places and regions. Its like the melting pot or if one were to say the potpourri of different cultures, languages, people etc. Hundreds from all over India be it Bihar, UP, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Assam everywhere arrive here each day with dreams in their eyes to build a great future for themselves. It is the home of the largest movie industry in the world (Bollywood), home to icons such as Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan, the territory of the one of the best examples of supply chain management in India (The Dabbawallas), the Financial Hub of the nation and so much more. The 26/11 attack in Mumbai was an attack on the heart of the nation.
Politics like any other city of India has played an important role in its development and if you may call it destruction too at many times. Bal Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena in 1966 based on the militant ideology that Maharashtra belonged to the Marathis and they should be given preference over the migrants from other states. Over the years, this ideology of “Marathi manoos” became little bit less extremist as the party expanded to a pan – India base and aligned with the Hindutva agenda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In all this, the Shivsainiks (Shiv Sena party workers) became infamous for different agendas be it opposing Valentines Day celebrations, opposing the movie “Water”, ransacking offices such as Zee News, digging the Feroze Shah Kotla pitch in Delhi, violence against Muslims and what not.
MNS (Maharashtra Navnirman Sena) was formed in 2006 by Raj Thackeray, nephew of Bal Thackeray because Raj felt that Shiv Sena had fallen from its former glory since it was run a few petty clerks. Even though MNS and Shiv Sena are different parties, both stand on the same “Marathi manoos” ideology. In March 2006, he unveiled his agenda for the development of Maharashtra as well as the “Sons of the Soil” theory.
Sadly, the party has been known for all the wrong reasons till date. In 2008, the MNS workers attacked shopkeepers and workers from North India as well as Bihar. They beat up North Indian candidates appearing for the all India Railway Recruitment Board exam in Maharashtra. Jet Airways was threatened by Raj Thackeray to take back the probationary employees who had been shed in a cost cutting move. Abu Azmi, the richest MLA in Maharashtra was thrashed recently inside the assembly for taking his oath in Hindi (even though the constitution says that a minister can take his oath in Hindi which is the official language of India unlike what was said by an MNS worker, English or a regional language).
Gandhiji – I know most of you will be like why am I talking about that man here and what is his relevance in today’s world. Well, he worked for the Indian independence so that all of us be it Kashmiris, Gujaratis, Tamilians, Assamese everyone lives with a sense of unity. Politics has played a key role in any piece of development in our country. Interestingly, India has the highest number of political parties in the world. Over the 60 years since our independence, our nation began to divide on the basis of caste, creed, religion, location, colour be it reservation for religious minorities or scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST), ill treatment of SC/ST, sons of the soil theory in MP, Maharashtra, Andhra, problems between North and South Indians and what not.
We always say that we face danger from Pakistan and terror groups located there. But I think, our biggest problem is within. Though it may sound cliche, but I would still say this – “We all say that we are Tamilian, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayali, Bihari and what not but very few of us really say that we are from India”. Till the time we have this point of view we would continue to be weak in front of any nation in the world.
Our politicians are supposed to work for the development of human kind. Be it Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi everywhere there is the need to improve infrastructure, sanitation, education and basically the overall quality of life of the people. Its always said that our country is rich but the people are poor. Despite so many pressing issues to solve, the politicians of today are sadly engaged in promoting the “sons of the soil theory” which basically destroys the concept of a united India.
I would like to end with a small line from Chetan Bhagat’s recent novel – “2 states – the story of my marriage”
“My sons are neither from the state of Delhi nor from Tamil Nadu. They are from the state of India.”