Few words on Shekhar Gupta's summarisation

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You’d be surprised to realise how it is much more likely you would get away with saying something entirely facetious and silly, but get into trouble when you try making a serious, sincere point. That, at least, has been the story of my life. At a series of public functions in Pakistan several years ago, I said Pakistan was in many ways as imperfect a dictatorship as India was an imperfect democracy: the central argument being that just as India had not been able to accord all its citizens all the freedoms that a democracy of this quality should have, Pakistan had not quite been able to deny their people all the freedoms that a classical dictatorship should have. That is why a reasonably free media functioned even under Musharraf, an Indian editor was able to say rude things at the launch of a newspaper (by now the widely respected Daily Times) and there was a reasonably independent judiciary; not the kind of things you would see in Saddam’s Iraq, Ahmedinejad’s Iran, or even China and Saudi Arabia. …
Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Posted: Dec 06, 2008 at 0037 hrs IST

By far  Shekhar Gupta’s is the best summarisation and assesment of the current scenario by any one worth his or her pen. The one thing that I’d like to add is, that yes this new found outrage of the middle class is a step in the right direction, but neither will it bring down the governent down nor will it change the system (specially by the ‘methods’ suggested) UNLESS they bring on board to support them  the people whose voice really counts-the countless living in densely populated areas such as  Dharavi, Ghatkopar, villages , rural areas and other places where the elites have never set foot. The poor people, the masses ,who were the first ( and current-remember CST) victims of terror in trains and  in crowded markets. The ones we didn’t give sound bites for, the ones we didn’t hold candle light vigils for. Because these are the people who are the majority of our electorate. It’s these people the netas come to ask votes to, and it’s these people and their support  that  will make possible a change. Not those who appear on news channels nit picking wondering about intelligence failure and NSG reaction time.( Thanks to them the NSG will get their own planes. Never mind the plight of  the millions in India languishing below the poverty line).

The answer is simple. United we stand divided we fall. We must make this a MASS movement. Sms’s and newspapers will help to some extent, but it’s is direct face to face interaction (the kind that our revered netas do in the form of rallies) that is the remedy.  There are millions who vote (who are illiterate , don’t read papers or SMS). And in time of war each man counts.

12 Comments on “Few words on Shekhar Gupta's summarisation”

  1. dneo

    Hi Gul,

    firstly,Its nice to have u back blogging!
    but sad it is the terrorism brought u out speaking from the heart…
    its been more than 60 years since independence and we always call our country as a democracy…United we stand and divided we fall…true we were always divided right from the begining of schooling for example:
    we were always asked as to which religion/caste/subcaste we belong to..based on which admissions take place…that itself is a start at dividing people dont u think?
    first thing that we shud do is stop having reservations among masses…there shud be only 2 reservations: one on merit and another on economically backward …..nothing on d name of religion;
    then we wudnt call out our friends as a hindu/muslim/christian/sikh/…whatever
    according to me this would be a right movement to start with;
    then comes the point of corruption in our country…corrupt officials one can find anywhere in the world..its the people who have to stop giving bribes for their own benifits..if one abides by the rules then he/she neednt worry abt bribes right? i knw its a long way to end corruption but at least it wud start…from grass root levels…just stop giving out bribes to any individual for personal benefits…that is a start
    Hope i was able to get my point through..
    luv to all,

  2. Rahul Deodhar

    Very true Mass movement it must be.

    It means our educated elite or middle class – has to re-learn how to communicate with people who sell their vote for a bottle of theka-alcohol or couple of hundred rupees or a TV for that matter. Or with those who vote in groups (group leader decides who the group should vote for – based on of course whims and personal advantages)

    It means making sure everyone knows how important the vote is. And communicating in English and through Web 2.0 is not going to help. We need something more drastic!


  3. Chevarra

    That’s a very lovely summarization!! U also had very good views!! ” United we stand, Divided we fall, that its so right… Thanks for your veiws,


  4. rajs1

    I have only followed the events through the media while sitting in Geneva therefore my understanding of what is going on is somewhat limited. However, working in the area of human rights, I agree with Shekhar about Pakistan’s imperfect dictatorship. in some ways I also tihnk that Pakistan is on the brink of being a failed state with little control over its provinces, and borders next to Afghanistan. Its intelligence agency remains all powerful with little accountability to any democratically elected government, which remains a key problem. The organisation I work for has been working hard to assist in establishing a national human rights commission in Pakistan to provide a means of redress and some form of accountability for government failure. Similarly we try to work with India’s human rights commission to make it more responsive to the daily violations of fundamental freedoms of people.

    One of my observations looking at the media and reactions to these horrendous attacks is a tendency to demonise a nation, through feelings of overt nationalistic pride, and to look at every issue through a security lens. Although I do think there is a definite failure of intelligence, and on the Pakistani side, a strong influence of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, which requires a security approach, I do not tihnk this is sufficient. In adopting such an approach we often miss the point, as to the underlying problems which lead to such acts of terrorism. The profile of some of these attackers is that of poor, disenchanted muslim youth drawn to a fundamentalist way of life. How do we address these youth in a country like Pakistan?

    In fact we have so many disenchanted you in our own country. In many ways, I think our struggle is as much about internal inequalities, discrimination and alienation of populations within India, as it is about an external terrorist threat. Why are tribals being drawn to or subjected to naxal violence? Why are Dalits still being subjected to violence or rapes in many parts of India, or working as manual scavengers purely on account of their caste status? Why are there excesses by security forces in Kashmir, and the National Human Rights Commission of India cannot investigate these complaints?

    I think we need to have a relook at many of our policies on national security, social justice and human rights, and social development collectively. We also need to have a new generation of Indian politicians who can think beyond the current political and security paradigm, and are willing to risk their political fortune, move beyond partisanship according to party ideologies, and come together to seriously address these problems. To begin we need to find a way to get on to party tickets, without being the son or daughter of some politician, an actor or actress, or some other elite. The middle class also deserve a chance at politics.

  5. prasun kulshrestha


    i received this email…i hope u will like to respond here ur views.
    it wud be gud if u cud spare some time to make it a interactive session(more), and knowing & loving ur fans too…we really care for, i believe , this time also u will care to reply.

    the mail is as below:

    1. Do not worry about those who have come thru boats…
    Our forces can easily defeat them. WORRY about those who have come thru votes….
    Those are our REAL ADVERSARIES….

    2. What a shame and disgrace to every citizen of India that the elite NSG Force was transported into ordinary BEST buses, whereas our cricketers are transported into state of the art luxury buses, these
    Jawans lay down their lives to protect every Indian and these cricketers get paid even if they lose a match, we worship these cricketers and forget the martyrdom of these brave Jawans.
    The Jawans should be paid the salaries of the cricketers and the cricketers should be paid the salaries of the Jawans.

    3. An ace shooter shoots and gets gold medal, govt gives 3cr, another shooter dies while shooting terrorist, govt gives 5 lakh.



    waiing gul to comment….love ya

  6. Amit Goel

    “United We stand Divided we fall”.. If we were united in 1947, Pakistan would never have come into existence..

    But might be, this horrific incident is an eye opener for everyone where people are talking togetherness instead of hindu-muslim divide. I am really happy and at the same time sad, for India. It took us so many terror attacks to realize the power of unity.

    God Bless my country…

  7. Gul Panag

    Thank you all for your time and for writing in. I have been absent for a while, but I am back:-)

  8. Dr. Leo Rebello

    Dear Gul : I am going to circulate your well articulated thoughts to
    those who cannot think straight. Incidentally, this is what I wrote yesterday for International Teacher published from Denmark.


    Dr. Leo Rebello, from Bombay, files this special unprejudiced report on the recent terrorist attack on Bombay and gives us the ring-side view.

    From 26th Nov. till 29th Nov. 2008, Bombay, the financial capital and the largest city of India, was under siege of the terrorists. The battle ground was the 5 star hotels, namely, Tajmahal and the Trident and Jewish-owned Nariman House.

    The official death toll stands at 174, but the unofficial toll is much higher at 260 with another 290 injured. At least 23 of the dead include a couple of Britons, five US citizens and six Israelis.

    The attacks were mainly in South Bombay where curfew was declared and even the High Court, Govt. offices, Bombay Stock Exchange were totally closed. But in a knee-jerk action, the authorities closed all schools, business establishments, and people were advised to remain indoors all over Bombay. Devoid of work or entertainment and nothing better to do, people were glued to the TV news, which created more panic than giving precise information.

    When the security forces claimed that they had killed the 9 terrorists (list has not been released so far) and arrested 19-year old Mohammed Ajmal Amir, people came out in great numbers and protested against the Govt. failure. As a result a veteran Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh of Congress was forced to resign to be replaced by Ashok Chavan, who is a low profile but qualified (B.Sc., MBA), no-nonsense Chief Minister. This itself has created some open revolt in the already divided Congress party govts. headed by the Italian-turned Indian, Sonia Maino-Gandhi.

    Like in 9/11, in 26/11 too the finger is pointed at the Muslims. But the truth is something else. After 9/11 (which was an inside job in which it is said that Israel was involved) and then USA used that opportunity to attack Afganistan and Iraq, it is felt that in this Bombay attack too Israel is involved because according to the locals the Jewish owned Nariman House was the main centre where terrorists had gathered in advance and planned everything meticulously. This is a dice to destroy Pakistan using India against it and also do damage to the commercial capital of India so that India remains mired in war with its neighbour. Hence, even though the media is regularly fed with the police version that Lashkar-e-Taiba (or LeT), the Pakistan-based militant organization, dubbed as terrorist organisation by India, the USA and UK is behind this attack, no official attribution of responsibility has been made by the Indian Govt so far.

    From this ugly incident, the Indians have risen up to realise that our politicians are insensitive, bureaucrats are bums, police are corrupt, the security network is abysmal, there is total intelligence failure and that should bring drastic changes in the forthcoming general elections scheduled to be held in April-May 2009, which hopefully will bring totally fresh law makers.

    Educators, planners, professionals, social workers, human rights activists, lawyers and independent journalists are working for a change.

  9. prasun kulshrestha

    Dear mr Leo, u feel that it was a part of politics and not a terror attack ? u men to sa that israel or someone else tried to damage pak using india?

    dear sir, neither india is a kid, nor america, also i believe that israel is not a kid anymore. I feel, it was completely a terror attack. anyhow we may claim that it was completely a failure of indian govt. & security but it does not symbolises that india is not open with options. I feel, we, people of india, govt, everyone is working hard to fight with terror.

    You, came up with this conclusion now when its attacked on mumbai so badly? where were thses calculations, politics when it was limited to kashmir. 4yr before, it was only kashmir people suffering. now, the suffering has extended to whole nation. now, when it has been targeted to high society, now we say that to make india use to damage pak, it was done!!!! no way!. as gul told, this terror is not new, but everyone is seeeing coz its now upon high society.

    what i feelis, terror must be taken importance in our every five year plans, we must behave strictly while making relations with pak, we must realise & choose every single polititians with a value. if we give votes as important , we could ask for better india.

    and one thing that u said…..Sonia Maino-Gandhi. , this something i can’t comment upon. anywys, if U R CORRECT IN YOUR POINT, WE MUST TAKE OF THIS.

  10. Gul Panag

    I completely agree with Rajs1. Eventually when one digs deep( sometimes really deep) one finds that at the core of every problem lies economic strife, marginalisation, disenfranchisement and discrimination. Kashmir, the North East, Afghanistan, Iraq are examples, what ever may have been the spark, the underlying cause is always economic(exploitation at times). The general rule is, when people are content, doing well ,have hope for a future ,they don’t succumb to radicalism. When they are hungry, poor, illtreated, hopeless; its a different matter entirely.
    I got some reactions to my “prediction” of a revolution in WHAT NEXT??. I wasn’t painting a glorious picture rather a very bleak one. It has already begun in parts of India. Its called Naxalism. AND the fact that its growing at an alarming rate is proof of the fact that it is gaining momentum. Its not a question of IF but WHEN. AND its against the very netas that they sell their votes for that they are going to rise.


  11. Prathik Rajendran M

    Is there a politician reading this blog?

  12. raj

    yes sir,there are many who are reading this blog,Logically prathik rajendran u r better ,but shekar had another ideas that i want to discuss about his film mr india

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