WPC: Oops…!

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Yea, you’d think I should have been able to notice those damn fingers while clicking but call it a slight-of-the-sun, I only realized how I ruined a perfect shot when I got home and saw those big Yeti fingertips staring at me from the computer screen.

I can’t even crop this one as it would just disturb the equilibrium. I had it perfectly framed, and got zilch.

Oh well.

Location: Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad. 


 

For WordPress’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops

Thank you India for proving your #Intolerance once again..!

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The Effin’ TRUTH!

 

I did not want to write this post. But after seeing so much stupidity and hatred on social media, I thought there needs to be at least some sort of sane argument over the matter.

So then, what exactly happened?

Aamir Khan, one of India’s top film star has made a comment recently on the country’s rising intolerance. The below are his exact words –

“As an individual, as part of this country as a citizen, we read in the papers what is happening, we see it on the news and certainly, I have been alarmed. I can’t deny. I have been alarmed by a number of incidents. When I chat with Kiran at home, she says ‘Should we move out of India?’ That’s a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears about what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day.”

And how did India respond?

  1. Slammed him for insulting and betraying a country that made him a star.
  2. Drew religious remarks, just because he’s a Muslim.
  3. Abused him for disrupting the integrity and harmony of the country.
  4. About 85000 people (and counting) have uninstalled the e-commerce app SnapDeal and left 1-star reviews on app stores. Some people who did not already have this app have installed and uninstalled just to give a negative review. Why all this? Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for the service, that’s why.
  5. People have pledged to not watch any of Aamir’s movies ever again as he’s a traitor.

Basically, all hell broke loose.

But what does it say about us as a society? Are we not being intolerant by doing all or any of the above. One person has shared his feeling and opinion, and that’s enough to put us into enough a raging fit that when I open the internet, all I see are ‘Open Letters to Aamir Khan’ with people criticizing his shameful comment.

Also, how amusing it is that most of us will just believe whatever the media tells us. If you read his statement that I copied above or even better – watch the actual interview on YouTube – at what point did he even say that he wants to move out of India? It was his wife who made that remark out of fear/frustration, and he’s as alarmed as we are that it has finally come to this. He’s sharing his fear and concern and not a single person says, “I’m sorry Aamir that you feel this way.”? I’m not trying to defend him here, but just look at this whole thing from his perspective. Has he really committed treason, as a certain group is calling it now? Aren’t we reading a little too much into all this?

Is India really tolerant or intolerant? That’s a question that has no answer. But I’ll say this, we’re tolerant,  somewhat. No nation can boast of the kind of diversity we have, and to cap it off, we are a predominantly Hindu nation but with three Muslim actors at the helm of Bollywood. But the truth is we seem tolerant only when compared with other nations. On our own, not so much.

Is there zero intolerance in India? If anyone answers “yes” to that question, then they’re clearly delusional. So why can’t we even let somebody trying to call a spade a spade, call it so? I’ve said this before, if we don’t accept that we have a problem, we’ll never get better.

Look what one unruly comment by an actor has brought out in us? And most of us think that the only way to show our patriotism is by uninstalling an APP from our smartphone? An app that has got nothing to do with the person in question. What actually have we achieved instead of showing our lack of sense?

We all know that Aamir Khan is one of the more sensible and empathetic out of all the celebrities, so let’s not become judgemental all of a sudden, and that too on hollow premises.He does not deserve the backlash, and neither should you be wasting your time in propagating it. Instead, think, and try to face the reality instead of running away from it.  

WPC: Trio

The 1964 cyclone that hit the Indian coastal town of Rameshwaram and the nearby settlement of Dhanushkodi was one of the more deadly calamities that India has seen. The huge tidal wave swept through the town devouring anything in its path, which included a moving train carrying about 100 passengers and also destroying almost every building in the town of Dhanushkodi.

What you see in this photo is the Railway Station, or what’s left of it. After the cyclone, the town did not get any new infrastructure so even today if you visit, you’ll witness a sleepy and disconnected village that still lives in the shadow of its past with dilapidated buildings and fisherman huts.

 

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All that stands today.
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From a different angle.

 

 

For the Daily Post’s prompt: Trio

My two cents on religious intolerance.

A lot of things are going on in my country lately – evil things, intolerant things, inhuman things – each one punching a hole deeper into my heart. How did we become like this? When did rape and murder become justifiable? Intolerance of any kind is harmful to the society. But I’m afraid that is where we’re going to end up in near future. India is a country that prides itself with the slogan, “Unity in diversity”. But all I see is “Hatred in diversity” looming on the horizon.

When a certain Health Minister of the country proclaimed to the masses, “Promote Indian culture, not condoms, to prevent AIDS”, I should have been wary that this was going to be the beginning of a string of other comments aimed at plastering archaic morals on the population. What exactly is “Indian culture”? There is no definitive answer. But if you know anything about culture, it’s that it’s not a constant. Culture morphs according to time, and nobody gets to decide and write down laws according to which you are supposed to live your life. What the aforementioned health minister meant when he referred to Indian culture is that sex is between a husband and wife only. And yet, you have Hindu Gods who broke this rule all the time. So where exactly are these morals, this self-proclaimed “culture” stemming from? Ooh, I know, the pigeon brained human.

And this is the problem when you bring religion into everything. Sometimes, life is just life, without any divine and spiritual underpinnings. So why does practicality go out the window in most of the cases? The only explanation I can come up with is this – it makes them feel good about themselves. And sometimes, humans will go to any lengths to achieve it. Is pre-marital sex wrong according to you? That’s fine, it’s your opinion. It’s your decision. Total respect. But you need to now that that doesn’t make you a better person than me. You’ve just chosen a different lifestyle. That’s all there is to it. But more importantly, you have no right to go around criticizing people who break the rule you have imposed on yourself. And this is where our society fails.

Now I know for a fact that the majority of the urban Indian population doesn’t give a shit about all of this. Most of us have learned to “live and let live.” Which is great. But I also know for a fact that there are a lot of people out there who get outraged with the deeds of others. How can two men, against nature, sleep together? How in the name of God can a Hindu eat beef? How can a woman wear skimpy clothes and not be calling attention to herself? But the thing is, these are not your problems. If you don’t understand them, so be it. You have all the right to worry, you have zero right to oppose.

You have all the right to worry, and zero right to oppose.

Just this last week, a Muslim man was lynched by a mob of Hindus based on rumors that he was consuming beef. Here’s the interesting thing, the man in question was a Muslim who has no obligation whatsoever to forgo beef. And yet, the village community found it horrifying that somebody could actually eat cow. You can understand their worry, given their belief system. But to actually go ahead and inflict death on that person? No amount of “culture” and “religion” can justify this. While I’m happy that the President of India Mr.Modi has finally broken silence on this matter and urged everyone to stay united and not heed provocations by communal leaders, I’m not still happy with the way a lot of other things are going on in this country.

There is just too much intolerance and hatred floating around. And sometimes even among educated people. And this is what saddens me. Because for a country to progress, the last thing you want is people fighting among themselves. But there are some groups out there( religious, right-wing, whatever you want to call it) who seem to be hell bent on polarizing the population over religious matters. Call it the Indian equivalent of Jihad, if you may. And it’s terrifying.