Monday, 30 November 2015

Salman Khan to receive Gyanpeeth Award for Twitter literature

Pearls of wisdom

Renowned painter, humanitarian, and actor Salman Khan will be conferred with the prestigious Gyanpeeth award for his contribution to contemporary Twitter literature, the Times of India group announced today at a joint press conference with Ministry of Culture.

He has accomplished the feat by trouncing some of the stalwarts of the genre the likes of Chetan Bhagat, Shobhaa De, KRK, et al., who have created masterpieces on Twitter over the past few years, e.g., Chhota Chetan’s tweet, “What do historians do? I am genuinely curious. This happened. Then this happened. Then this. Ok work done for the day.” is considered by many as one of the finest literary works post independence.  However, as the guideline clearly suggests that the award cannot be given for a single piece of work, Bhai’s collage of artworks on the microblogging platform proved to be the winner.

We asked the jury members what sets him apart from the rest, and they said, “His range.  He has written about various issues on Twitter from world tourism to Yakub Memon judgement, even though he had absolutely no clue who Yakub Memon was.  Now, that’s called creative imagination.”

Flipping through the printouts of his tweets, one of the jury members said, “When we read some of his tweets, during the evaluation process, we realized that he puts his soul into each of his works.  His tweets not only have an aesthetic value but also send a strong message to the audience.  For example, look at this creation.  This is not a mere tweet, this is a gift to human race, and see how the audience has connected with it.” he pointed towards a tweet that read, “Hi,” to emphasize his point.

“Not just that, he has also invented a new language to communicate with the world that challenges the narrow confines of conventional forms of expression, much like how Shakespeare approached his work on a smaller scale.  We have already set up a team to conduct research on the history and origin of the language, and we have declared his tweets as national treasure in order to protect and conserve them,” he beheld the tweets one more time with profound admiration as he concluded.

Meanwhile, a festive mood ensued in virtual world as millions of unidentified siblings of the beloved Bhai celebrated the news on various platforms with usual frenzy.  A new Facebook page – ‘Gyanpeeth Bhai’ graced humanity, which garnered 16-million likes till reports last came in.  The contributors have listed all his accomplishments on the page and also the ones he has been unfairly deprived of, which include:
1.    Nobel Peace Prize for his endeavor to improve Indo-Pak ties in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
2.    Bharat Ratna for excellence in the field of music in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
3.    Godfrey Phillips Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding acts of bravery in various roles.
They have also urged the government to declare him the national bird for his peacock dance in Maine Pyar Kiya.
So You Think You Can Dance

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Narendra Modi echoes Aamir Khan’s sentiments, says he is already living outside India because of intolerance

Aamir Khan and Narendra Modi discussing intolerance

After Aamir Khan made a startling revelation that he is contemplating on leaving the country, and was subsequently lambasted by everyone including his grocery shop owner, he finally found support from an unexpected quarter, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the reason behind his frequent foreign trips is the same wicked intolerance.

This came as a major blow to those who had already written articles or prepared arguments for talk shows holding him responsible for an environment of unrest, especially on Twitter, which is worst affected during any crisis (experts are predicting that even World War III could be fought on Twitter).  Now they have to redo everything and accuse him of shirking responsibilities when the nation is reeling under a crisis.

We asked Mr. Modi, as the baggage handlers were loading his suitcase into Air India One, if he runs away from the situation then who would reassure the citizens of the country that everything is under control, and he said, “Chetan Bhagat and Anupam Kher.  They have taken it upon themselves to prove something that we are not fully aware of.”

“But things were quite pleasant initially when I assumed charge as the Prime Minister,” he went back to a reflective mode as he continued, “The country was still recovering from what had just happened.  No one was criticizing me, no one was raising any question, which gave me a lot of confidence and I made a couple of extra promises to people.”

“But one day, while I was sitting on a park bench, reading ‘101 Manmohan Singh jokes’ with a reassuring smile, someone called, ‘Feku,’ in a hushed tone.  I turned back but couldn’t see anyone.”

“Later when I logged into Twitter to share a Rahul Gandhi cartoon, I realized that the term had spread like wildfire on internet.  It was annoying.  I mean, what’s the point of having a 56-inch chest if you cannot use it anywhere other than in your speeches?  Unfortunately, if you are not Ra.One then it would be really difficult for you to enter the virtual world and beat up people.  So, I decided to stay out of the argument and left for Brazil.  Yes, FIFA World Cup was going on during that time and I watched a couple of matches as well.  But when I came back, I noticed that people had coined more term to troll me, and I immediately left for US.”

“Since then, whenever I come to India, I realize that I am responsible for everything including kids not scoring enough marks in their exams.  I have become a refugee.  I am visiting countries I did not know existed before I became Prime Minister.  I don’t even use Twitter anymore.  I have given the ID and password to my driver who logs into my account occasionally to wish everyone on DIwali and New Year.”

Aamir Khan in his statement also said that his wife Kiran Rao feared the safety of their children.  To which Narendra Modi said, “Just imagine if I had kids.  People would have said, “Woh ja raha hai Feku ka ladka,” he looked into the distant sky as he started climbing the stairs.

We tried to contact Aamir Khan for his reaction but he was taking suggestions from a few intellectuals, except Taslima Nasrin, about a tolerant country where he can live without any fear, and hence was not available for comment.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Can Hindus and Muslims coexist in India?





Of late, the internet and news channels have been abuzz with conflicting views on various issues and practices, some of which even date back to prehistoric era, and one has to wonder how tolerant we are towards people from other communities and religions.  But irrespective of our stand on religious tolerance, we, Hindus and Muslims, would continue to coexist in India because no one is giving us an alternative option, although, these debates would only make the process a bit strained.

Recently, actor Kamal Haasan said that intolerance existed from 1947 and that’s why we became two nations, and rightly so.  Actually, intolerance existed even before 1947 and there are enough evidences of that.  Clash of ideologies will always be there because of how things evolved in the past, but by undermining the very existence of a group of people, we would achieve nothing other than cluttering up our minds with unwarranted trivialities.

We are not born with communal ideologies.  As a matter of fact, they don’t even fit into our scheme of things during a large part of our growing up years.  We adopt them gradually as certain factors around us start influencing our judgement and force us to look at things from a different perspective.

Harmful elements are there in all communities who relentlessly impose their set of beliefs on us.  We cannot fight them individually but we can certainly reduce their influence on our society by not conceding to such ideologies, but this can happen only if we, as individuals, don’t harbor similar thoughts.

Communal attacks are often initiated by organized groups and not individuals.  However, they come from within the society as we create a favorable environment for them to grow with our tacit approval of their points of view, which not only disrupts communal harmony but also hinders the progress of our nation.  If an attack on a group of people yields a sense of satisfaction for the other and we try to justify the act, then coexistence wouldn’t be a natural and peaceful process.

To be honest, I don’t know what secularism stands for because the flag bearers of secularism have virtually abused the term.  They play a key role in planting the seed of bigotry in our minds when the communal forces fail to do that.  I probably wouldn’t have known what communalism is if I hadn’t seen or heard them aggressively attacking people of a religious faith in the garb of protecting the other.

But now that we are more mature than how we used to be, we can dismiss such misleading propaganda, because all that matters is that we live peacefully together, and that can happen only when no Hindu or Muslim is subjected to unfair treatment.

We find it quite annoying when terms like Hindu terrorists or Muslim terrorists are used.  Yes, we cannot exercise political correctness and address an issue at the same time, but pointing the finger at an entire community for the acts of a few defies common sense.  However, the responsibility, to some extent, lies in our hands as to how we project ourselves.  Yes, the views of outsiders are often biased as they are based on preconceived notions and not facts, and we can disregard them as frivolous, but it that’s how we look at it, then we shouldn’t be concerned about how we are categorized by them either.

It’s a cliché that we should be Indians first and then Hindus or Muslims, but there are few (which include pseudo-seculars) who do not hesitate to defame the nation for petty gains, at times just for a mere pat on the back from their peers.  Fortunately, we have enough sensible people in our country who negate these forces and make it a wonderful place to live in.

We have come a long way from being regressive, prejudiced, and savage barbarians to reasonably civilized human beings.  We have shunned wrong practices, embraced progressive beliefs, and moved towards a purposeful way of life.  Things shouldn’t ideally go wrong from here on.  And we are definitely not going to see Hindus and Muslims killing each other on the streets every day.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Mughal documents suggest that artists returned gold mohurs in protest again intolerance in Aurangzeb's reign



Historians made a startling revelation today that a group of calligraphy artists at Aurangzeb’s durbar had refused to accept their rewards, citing growing intolerance in his reign.  They made this announcement after examining a few documents from the Mughal era (a young boy, however, briefly claimed that the pages were actually from his history textbook).

According to their report, on 19th July, 1679, Aurangzeb invited a group of calligraphy artists at his durbar where he intended to reward them with a few gold mohurs for their contribution in the field of art and culture.  But in an unprecedented turn of events, when they were presented with the gold coins, they looked into oblivion and said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and put Aurangzeb in an awkward position.  He was all set to hand over the mohurs and look at everyone present there with a self-assuring smile.  Little did he know that those party poopers would screw up his grand panache.

The report further reveals that the incident sparked a huge debate across the nation and the citizens were divided over the issue.  Many dismissed this symbolic gesture as politically motivated whereas others genuinely believed that there was an environment of fear in the country.  During that turbulent period, a rebel prince called Jujharu Goswami launched a vicious attack on Aurangzeb.  The fearless commentator, social reformer, and mighty warrior had pledged himself to expose the Mughal emperor and clean up the society.  Legend has it that every night as the clock struck 12, he was seen outside Aurangzeb’s palace, interviewing his helps.  And all he wanted was truth.

The historians have also found a transcript of an interview Jujharu Goswami held with a disgruntled painter, which clearly indicates that he was much ahead of his time as far as investigative journalism was concerned and could possibly have pioneered this art form.  Here is an excerpt from that historic interview:

Jujharu:  Mr. Anonymous, you not only asked for anonymity but also covered your face with a plastic bag.  May I ask you why?
Anonymous:  Because I am anonymous.

Jujharu:  Ok, fair enough, but what leads you to believe that there is intolerance in the country?  Who is intolerant?
Anonymous:  That guy.

Jujharu:  Please be specific, Mr. Anonymous, and please don’t try to dodge my questions.  I ask you again, who is intolerant?  Is it Aurangzeb?
Anonymous:  Yep.  There was a lot of freedom earlier as we could paint whatever we wanted to, but not anymore.  In the past 20 years I have painted over 1000 portraits of this guy…I mean, Aurangzeb and that’s all I have been doing since he took over.  Every time I start a new sketch, he comes from nowhere and sits in front of the canvas.  I have forgotten how someone looks like without a beard.  When I look at my wife, I see beard on her face.

This enraged Jujharu Goswami, according to the report, as he declared war against Aurangzeb and started mobilizing his troops on the banks of Indus River.

Accounts vary as to what followed next but history books suggest that the decline of Mughal Empire started immediately after that.

Also published here