Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Things I do not understand

There are some who would think I am smarter than I look. They would be wrong. While there are those who make observations which are all their own work, and others who know what’s going to happen before it happens, there are things, many things, which leave me puzzled.

Like I was watching Monserrate being sworn in the other day and wondered why a minister has to take the “Oath of Office and Secrecy” in a government that pledges to be transparent?

Like if the move to give HIV positive people Below Poverty Line status, is it not a fine line between BPLs and OBCs? Will HIV positive people also agitate for reservations in government-run institutions and the private sector too?

Like when the blast victims of Bangalore and Ahmedabad were resting in pieces, the Union Home Minister said that security was a state problem. If that is so, why have a Union Home Department or a Union Home Minister?

Like if Georgia attacked South Ossetia first and Russia retaliated in a many-eyes-for-an-eye manner, why is Georgia asking for international help? And why did the USA whisk its military advisors from Georgia as soon as Russia retaliated?

Like who is responsible for destroying the life, yes life, of the weightlifter from Manipur framing her so that she was dropped from the Olympic squad. After such a terrible thing was done to her, would heads be seen to roll?

Like what does one do about NGOs on multinational pharmaceutical companies’ payrolls, who conduct Phase III experiments on low income patients in Goa saying that of course it is through informed consent? How can it be informed consent when the patients cannot read or write and have no concept of short or long-term side effects?

Like if hockey is relegated to the dustbin of public indifference after winning gold eight times in the Olympics, how long will the euphoria over Golden Boy Bindra last? Especially when people in India are more interested in firearms for offence rather than sport?

And there’s so much I cannot understand about the Kashmir situation. Why do the Kashmiris, or the media, or the human rights activists, never talk of the thousands of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits ‘Kashmiris’ hounded from their homes and occupations in the valley? When pilgrims go on the Haj pilgrimage paid for by Indian taxpayers, why does the taxpayer also have to pay for their excess baggage when they return? With all the funding going into the Haj pilgrimage why do they object to a hundred acres of land being given to the Amarnath shrine for building shelters for Hindu pilgrims so that they can rest from their 40 km trek through impossible terrain and foul weather? And if the Kashmiris from the area itself are happy about it because they earn enough from the Amarnath yatra to feed their families for the entire year, why are the political parties objecting?

Like I thought that charity, like religion, was supposed to be very quiet, very personal and intensely private? But such a song and dance is made about charity, and religion too for that matter, clearly, it’s all about self-publicity rather than self-effacement?

And here’s one more for the road: they have detox centres to cure addictions of all kinds, alcoholics, drug-users; why don’t they have detox centres for those who are addicted to power and pelf or poishem?

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