Thursday, December 04, 2008

Where I stand.

People often ask me - Do you just criticize? Or do you ever offer a solution?

Apart from of my 'anti-India' and 'anti-Hindu' and 'pseudo Secular' (this term is quite lovable once you get to love it) rants, do I have anything to offer?

Just so you know, I don't really appreciate being called an 'anti-Indian' by people just because they can't quite respond to my arguments.

C'mon. Throw some debate at me. Not lip.

But to answer some eternal questions that come my way once and for all.

Q. Who am I to speak about India? After all, I'm NOT Indian, am I?
So shut my trap.

A. True. I'm a Maldivian guy who's been India all his life. I can understand about 5 Indian languages.. can read and write a couple of them.. have most my friends here.. Am at home with both North and South Indians.. Love Indian cuisine.. appreciate Indian folk dances.. understand Indian sensibilities.. am inspired by Gandhi and Tagore.. read Indian history.. and aware of Indian law and familiar with the Indian constitution.. Hell, I'm more Indian than most of you are - or ever will be.

So no, I won't keep my trap shut.

Q. Am I a Hindu basher?

A. No.

Q. Am I a Muslim basher?

A. No.

Q. Am I a fundamentalist/extremist/radical/fanatic basher?

A. Yes.

Q. Am I communist?

A. No. Call me left-of-center if you HAVE to label me.

Q. My idea of Secularism?

A. Absence of religion from Government. Constitutional ban on mention of any party with any religious affiliations. Banning of any party that mentions religion or indulges in linguistic chauvinism.

Q. Why?

A. If you can't represent all citizens, you have no business being in government.

Q. My views on Sethu Samudram project?

A. Should NOT be built. But on purely environmental grounds. The beauty of a coral reef and marine life cannot be substituted. Not to mention the livelihood of hundreds of fishermen.

Q. My views on Hindutva?

A. It is NOT nationalism. It's pure chauvinism. If being Anti-Muslim, Anti-Musharraf and Anti-debate encompassed being a 'Hindu', then my idea of the Sanathana Dharma is totally off the mark.
I have a far more favorable view of the Hindu religion to associate it with the likes of Togadia and Yogi.

Q. My views on Kashmir?

A. There's a post somewhere below on this. Find it. I'm all for including Kashmir in a *ahem* secular, liberal republic like India, rather than a volatile, unstable country like Pakistan.

But I believe it's not for me or India or Pakistan to decide. It's for the Kashmiris to decide. I'm not sure I see that happening anytime soon though.

And yes, the Indian army DOES have a lot to answer for.

Q. My views on the Indian Army?

A. The same as any army. Terrible, terrible human rights record.

Q. Does that take away from their glorious achievements and bravery?

A. No.

Q. My views on the Kashmiri Pandits.

A. Tragic story. They need to be rehabilitated and given back their homeland, and their security ensured. Security comes with peace. Peace from Justice. And Justice from Political will to solve that eternal migraine called as Kashmir.

Q. My views on the Congress Party.

A. Dilapidated party, out of shape. But is centrist. Leadership needs to move out of the Gandhi threshold.

Q. My views on the BJP.

A. Hypocrisy. A 'tough on terror' party that won't condemn terrorism. Cannot ever be free from its radical hindutva roots.. and until then, cannot be my favorite party. Development is all fine, unless it comes at the cost of ripping apart a society for votes.

Q. My views on the RSS and associated 'parivar'.

A. Ban the bastards.

Q. My views on SIMI and associated 'mujahideen'.

A. The bastards have been banned for good!

Q. My views on Indian Muslims.

A. Poor, backward. Requires a strong leadership. They haven't had one since Nehru.

Q. My views on Pakistan.

A. I think Pak-bashing in Indian movies is a tad too overdone. After all, It is a country. With humans in it.
It is normal to have friendly relationships with that country. The Maldives has excellent relations with it.. and it's normal to find people in my country who don't wrinkle their nose upon hearing that word.

And they have a serious law and order problem. Fundamentalism and militancy are its bane. But then, so is it in India.

Having said that, I truly believe India needs to put pressure on the Government of Pakistan to crack down on militants - and do the same at home too.

Q. What I believe politics is about?

A. Building Infrastructure, Building schools, Education, Peace, health care, justice, security, foreign policy, economy and very very importantly, FREEDOM from oppression.

Q. What I hear politicians speak about instead?

A. Hindutva-minorityappeasement-Ram sethu- Muslim - Pakistan - Muslim -Hindu- Hindutva-Hindu-Hindu-Muslim-Hindu-Muslim-Mandir-Masjid-Ram- Hindu...

Q. My views on 24X7 news channels.

A. Disgusting. Every last one of them. Utter, unbearable, unforgivable trash.

Q. What do I think is wrong with India?

A. Too many people in politics with a hat rack for a head. No visionaries.

Q. What do I think is wrong with the world?

A. Too many people in politics with a hat rack for a head. No visionaries.

Q. What do I think should be done to improve things?

A. Education and literacy, for a change. Banning communal politics outright would help immensely.


That's enough Q&A for now.

And to all the 'critics' out there - I enjoy nothing more than a healthy debate/discussion. I have gladly eaten my words when I've been proven wrong.

No amount of outrage, heated or impassioned rhetoric and sloganeering has ever changed my views (in fact, they reinforce my beliefs)

But quite often, a single calm logical comment from you can convince me to accept your point of view.

Well. That's about my views in general.

So do I just criticize, and have nothing constructive to offer?

I admit I don't have any ready made 'solutions' for India or the World's problems. But what I do have is a vision - and a promise that India holds, given it's unique place in history, it's culture and young population and it's rapid growth in influence.

I'd like to see it become a truly secular, liberal republic - and not another Saudi Arabia, albeit a saffron one.

Hope that clears the air a little.