Anyone moving to India from a western country will take one look at the number of political parties in India and wonder “how the hell do they agree to ANYTHING?”
That was what I wondered when moving here and it’s what I wonder to this day. I’m still not sure if I will ever want to vote in this country as it’s near to impossible for me to understand or know what each person or party represents. Is it a power agenda? A political one? A religious stance? An old family tradition party? Because they all have mustaches? Who knows…? (For further information on the amount of political party’s click here….if you dare! )
But still, every day I read the news and every day I try to understand the political atmosphere in India and every day I am still failing. I imagine a lot of people do.
The one thing that I am positive on is my deep and unrelenting dislike for two in particular. Or rather, one which holds 12 seats in the Fourteenth Lok Sabha and their right-wing Hindu offshoot (and unregistered) party.
Yes, I’m talking about the Shiv Sena and Sri Ram Sena.
You may remember the Sri Ram Sena…they are the one’s responsible for the 2009 Mangalore Pub Attack. Essentially, Hindu men decided to teach Hindu girls what their cultural duty was by not going to bars and pubs by beating the crap out of them and the guys who stood up for them.
Then there is the Valentine’s Day debacle that happens here every single year. Last year was my first inoculation for the tripe that one Pramod Mutalik spews. Unfortunately I came after the Valentine’s Day celebrations but I got a taste of it again after the Mangalore attacks. And let me tell you, it was FASCINTING. An excerpt from the newspaper last year.
On January 2009, Muthalik announced an action plan to target couples found dating on February 14, Valentine’s Day. He said “Our activists will go around with a priest, a turmeric stub and a mangalsutra on February 14. If we come across couples being together in public and expressing their love, we will take them to the nearest temple and conduct their marriage.”
Uh huh….yeah. I told Bear that we should have come here for Valentine’s Day, walked around holding hands and smooching in public and Sri Ram Sena would have given us a free marriage and manglasutra. That way, we could tell his family “But they MADE us get married without your consent!!!”
THIS year is no different from the last I suppose. Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Mutalik was back in the paper today. This is the same man who ordered attacks on young women in bars, attacks on couples on the street, the kidnapping of a young girl from a bus and the beating of a young man among numerous other violent events that he has caused, incited, inflamed or ordered. And why was he in the news? Because, while at a debate for banning Valentine’s Day Celebrations, he was attacked by two youths who smeared black soot on his face. Yes, that’s all they did to him.
“I will not spare them. Wherever they might hide, I will not leave them. They should be punished…justice has to be ensured.” ( From pink chaddi to black face; Pune Mirror By Mirror Bureau Posted On Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 11:54:46 PM)
“Height of Irony”? I say NSS aka No Shit Sherlock.
And let’s not leave the Shiv Sena out of the fun.
No No…they are making life extra fun this year. Let’s see…there were the physical attacks on the Hindi and Marathi TV News channels. The verbal attacks and threats made against Sachin Tendulkar for saying the Mumbai belonged to all Indians.
Bal Thackeray’s response?
The Sena supremo advised Sachin not to stray into politics: “Keep this in mind — people praise you when you hit a six or a four. However, don’t use your tongue to bat against the just and legitimate rights of the Marathi `manoos’. They will not like it.” Thackeray signed off the letter with an “affectionate warning”: “Don’t lose on the pitch of politics whatever you have earned on the cricketing pitch” (Sachin Tendulkar unites all of India once again; Times of India, TNN, 17 November 2009, 12:32am IST)
I’m not quite sure how being a proud Nationalist is a bad thing or how it has anything to do with politics but apparently Bal Thackeray see’s things that I do not.
Another favorite this year was the Marathi Manoos and the great SPEAK ONLY MARATHI edict. They even went so far as to take on the Big B himself, his wife and his family. Of course, this was way back in 2008 but they’ve managed to carry it on till now. First by buying a plane ticket for Jaya Bachchan and saying “We won’t let her live in Mumbai.” Scarrrrry (Speaking National Language is anti-Marathi: MNS, Shiv Sena; Jai Bhihar News Desk – September 9, 2008).
Then of course there were the attacks on Samajwadi Party chief Abu Azmi inside the legislature after he insisted on taking his oath as a legislator in Hindi. MNS members (which is a break off of Shiv Sena by Raj Thackeray and even though he and Uncle Bal don’t like each other very much, they still believe the same crap), all of which were first time members in the House, gave an edict days before that anyone taking the oath of House in anything but Marathi would be sorry and regret it. So, when Azmi took his oath in Hindi, MNS members jumped up and while chanting slogans rushed the podium, pulled it away from Azmi and started beating him on his head and chest. (Jai Bihar News Article: Marathi Eunuchs attack Azmi for taking Oath in Hindi – I particularly like this one since it says at the bottom of the article the following: “A Congress member, Baba Siddiqui, took the oath in English. Speaking to media persons later, Siddiqui, defending his decision to take the oath in English, said the MNS did not object to it since Thackeray’s sons study in English-medium schools.” Bwahahaha)
And of course the latest news of the Shiv Sena violently protesting SRK’s newest film “My Name Is Khan”. Why you ask yourself?
Is it politically corrupt?
Is it full of nudity?
Is it a negative representation of India or Hindu’s?
Is there no scene with SRK in a wet white shirt?
No, none of these things. It’s worse, much worse. And once you hear why Shiv Sena and Bal Thackeray want you to NOT go see MNIK, even to the extent of beating you for your own good if you DO go see it (along with smashing windows at the theater’s and tearing down signs and posters) is this….
Because….shhhhhhh….don’t read this too loudly….you could get into trouble if you do….
BECAUSE…SRK said that it was a shame that Pakistani players didn’t get selected for the IPL Cricket matches. And also that Mumbai belongs to all Indians.
I mean…can you believe the AUDACITY of that man? I mean…how DARE you ok? So now, unless he apologizes, and says that he agrees that the evil and naughty Pakistani Players should never be allowed to play in the hollowed IPL ever ever ever then Shiv Sena is going to burn SRK effigy’s and protest his love movie! SO THERE! (Shahrukh Khan hits back at Shiv Sena; OneIndia Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010, 13:20 IST )
Also, Shiv Sena is currently debating as to whether or not to allow the Australians to play in the IPL because some Indians have been attacked in Australia. He got his butt smooched pretty good on February 7th by Sharad Pawar “as a cricket official, not as one of the most senior cabinet ministers in the government that runs the country.” After posing for photographs that show him accepting a bouquet of flowers from Pawar and BCCI president Shashank Manohar, Thackeray has apparently agreed to “consider” their request.
Well, thank GOD for THAT! I mean, seriously folks…because Thackeray is like the MOST influential and important person in India…we HAVE to keep him happy right? Otherwise, we might have some sort of Taliban inspired riots on our hands. Right? RIGHT? (Here’s firm action: Pawar runs to Sena; The Telegraph: Samyabrata Ray Goswami, Mumbai, February 7th, 2010) PS: Please read this story if you read no others. This one was a REAL eye opener. Siiiiigh.
The Associate Press summed it up perfectly for me.
“Shiv Sena has been trying to hold the country to ransom with their divisive politics that almost tantamount to domestic racism. Such politics is harmful for a democracy like India and should not be encouraged.”
So, in light of all the crap going on this year, I have decided to do the following.
To go to see My Name Is Khan with my husband on VALENTINE’S Day and hold his hand and feed him chocolates (IN PUBLIC) while wearing pink chaddi’s (that I can later throw if need be) and wait for my free manglasutra.
PS: This post states that both of these groups are naughty, however it only IMPLIES that perhaps they should be spending less of their time trying to tell other’s how to live their life and more of their time trying to make that life a better one. I don’t know…by working on important topics say like…Poverty, Educational Standards in India today, the rise in Suicides in youth and college students, the rise in prices of daily food, corrupt politicians, unpaid or missing taxes (from both sides), pollution, destruction of India’s natural resources due to land grabbing/hoarding/encroachment, etc etc etc. I only IMPLIED these things because it should be a GIVEN. IMO