Learning to say sorry ( by Pritish Nandy )…

Once again, a wonderful write-up from Pritish Nandy. I cannot recall the last time when a Government in India took onus for its actions and behaved responsibly. When was the last time there was an apology for a blunder or a disaster? When was the last time that any one political leader had the gumption to own up to his mistakes? The ego outweighs accountability.

We are an amazing nation. We buy expensive bullet proof jackets that can’t provide protection against bullets. So our top policemen get shot down by a motley crew of novice terrorists who didn’t even know their way around Mumbai city. Subsequent investigations into who bought these jackets and who sanctioned them have run into a dead wall with nothing likely to ever emerge, even though the police themselves are investigating it.
 
We start huge, costly schemes for the rural poor that never reach them because the administration cannot or will not deliver them to the poor and middle men run away with most of the money. So the rural poor keep selling off their ancestral land and migrate to our already overcrowded cities or commit suicide when they do not even have the wherewithal to do that. When their angry despairing kids join insurgent groups to fight back the unjust system, the State calls them Maoists, wants to wipe them out.
 
We buy MiGs and Sukhois that keep crashing off and on. We buy old, outdated Westland copters from the British that even the British forces refused to use. The crashes that inevitably followed kill off some of our best pilots. Yet no one ever investigated such deals. No one ever asked why we buy defence equipment with a track record of consistent failure. As for the copters, if we didn’t buy them, the British would have possibly given them away free to some poor African nation as part of a dubious aid package.
 
We have now bought faulty breathalyser equipment and punished innocent citizens by implicating them in drunk driving cases. Can you imagine the impact on their lives and families? Can you guess what young Nooriya Haveliwala went through, held in Byculla jail for 60 days because her car accident was not treated as an accident on the ground that she was drunk? What was the proof against her? The breathalyser test. Her father died of brain haemorrhage, pleading his daughter’s innocence, while the media went on a rampage claiming she could have been a drug addict too. Who will now give her back her sense of dignity? Who can help those hundreds of young boys and girls whose lives were destroyed by faulty breathalyser tests?
 
Even lie detector tests, narco analysis and brain mapping are of dubious merit. The Supreme Court has now clearly ruled that they can’t be against citizens to prove any culpability. As any psychologist worth his reputation will tell you, such tests are always misleading because they are based on the premise that all people react to the same chemical drugs in exactly the same way and the slightest variation affirms guilt. This is nonsense. It’s only when we assume a person is guilty and have no evidence whatsoever that we look for such options.
 
Exactly in the same way, instead of finding real solutions to our political conflicts, we keep buying weapons, building armies, sending untrained young men nto dangerous war zones, expecting them to win against the uprising of local people. The result’s scary. One group of Indians in uniform fighting another, desperately seeking to assert their own right to be a part of the modern India we all talk about. Whether it’s Kashmir or Manipur, or the badlands of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the problem’s the same. Angry locals are fighting an uncaring State that thinks the only solution to every law and order problem lies in repression. There’s no attempt to reach out, resolve issues, build relationships that can go beyond the feudal structure of the ruler and the ruled. We have forgotten we are one nation, one people. We need to work towards one future. A future that can’t be realised through conflict but needs to be nurtured through an understanding of local issues and concerns, by righting as many wrongs as we possibly can.
 
Can we first start by a baby step? Admit the breathalyser tests were wrong and apologise to all those who were abused, punished and jailed on their basis? It will be a good beginning and a lesson in humility for the almighty State. We can call off all the cases, return all the fines paid. And, while we are at it, can we find out who ordered those dud bullet proof jackets that killed our best cops? Can we punish them? Can we punish the guys behind the Kargil coffin scam? Has anyone apologised to Tehelka for what was done to them by the last regime? Or is the State too arrogant to admit its own mistakes? Also, instead of chasing old Warren Andersen, shouldn’t we hunt down the exact facts about who allowed him to escape from India and why? More important, shouldn’t we simply apologise to the Bhopal victims and give them their rightful dues, however late it may be?
 
A nation that only tries to cover up its mistakes is condemned to repeat them. So let’s admit a few and see if we can set some things right.

Advertisements

90 Responses to “Learning to say sorry ( by Pritish Nandy )…”

  1. Sharmila,

    Thank you for Mr. Nandy’s article. Permit me to differ in some aspects.

    Governance does not come in a package deal. The private citizens aka the voters are perhaps more rational than our intellectuals. They do not pretend that their lives depend on the Central Government’s efficiency or the degree of autonomy of a State Government.

    The days of vocal nationalism were over in 1964 after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. The last remnants of that activist fervour is left only in strikes and hartals.

    Bureaucrats covering up their tracks or hiding skeletons in their closets is one thing, and an entire nation covering up its mistakes is quite another.

    This government is obviously working behind closed doors. And unfortunately there is nothing Indian about those in the cabinet.

    What is missing is the awareness among the people about what liberties they have surrendered to the government. Our constitution, in its current form, is more oppressive than the British regime.

    And neither the Congress nor the BJP nor any of the regional parties are willing to make necessary amendments.

    Those at the helm are not even dealing in Indian Rupee anymore. They work out their strategies in US dollars or the Euro ot Pound Sterling.

    What has the common Indian got to do with all this?

    Policemen solve 9/10 cases on the spot. Only those associated with the semi-literate clasess and the rich go to the court and the media.

    A sample of the type quoted by Mr. Nandy is surely not representative of a nation’s guilt.

    • Reader – Mr Nandy has given a rather wide range. From our air craft sourcing, to bullet proof jackets, to breath analyzers. These are critical components and not to be dsmissed. Even to date the govt is not sorry for the bhopal tragedy. One mistake is costlier than the other.

      • Sharmila,

        I fully agree with the examples. Except the last line where the whole nation should feel sorry for it.

        I am not sorry for Sonia Gandhi’s actions. She doesnt even know who I am. And neither would Mr. Nandy be sorry for the actions of the govenrment though he is also a part of the nation.

      • Sharmila,

        Like a Maoist or a terrorist, an affected person would prefer the injuries of a battle than the pain of a guilt that is not caused by him/her.

        I still feel that the days of the anti-establishment nationalism are a thing of the past. We need something else to feel proud of as a nation – something more positive and progressive.

        BTW, I have taken your advice. I am returning to my office chair tonight. On my way to B’lore by road now.

  2. Sharmila,

    I would like to add one note: What will ‘a sorry’ achieve?

    The preamble of our constitution says India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democractic Republic.

    Sovereign is when a nation is Independent… Are we?

    In 1950 the preamble of the Consitution of India did not have the words ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’. These were added in the 42nd Amendment in 1976 by Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Even there, it only provides for equal opportunities in social and economic activities to all citizens. It is not defined as ‘economic socialism’ as in Communist countries.

    The word democratic means that the government is elected democratically, but now we have 33% reservations if a person’s gender is classified by a government approved doctor as a female human being.

    The word Republic means that the Rule of Law prevails.

    We have, through 60 years, eaten the roots of that tree of shelter which was planted by freedom fighters. Not a single word in the preamble makes sense today.

    Is a nation of uneducated people responsible? Who should feel sorry? And who should do something about it?

    • Reader – Sorry will achieve a lot. It will give the country confidence and respect in the leaders it has elected. Besides, it also gives the electorate the confidence in their voting thumb. Do you recall how Clinton said sorry on national TV? It only made him more trustworthy in the eyes of the people. One should also say sorry and mean it. It should not be said for the sake of just saying so.

      • Sharmila,

        Imagine the state of the person who has to sorry. The media will rip him/her apart. CBI will file cases. he/she will have to resign and become a laughing stock. What price the ‘Sorry’?

        I would rather we file a PIL in the Supreme court and expedite such cases instead of waiting for Clinton like honesty.

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Sharmila,
        Clinton apologized for his personal affair with an intern in the oval office – his work place. How could that be applied here in any of the cases mentioned in the post…!?
        ‘Sorry’ might not work probably in India. Is The Public ready for such thing…!? There are chances They might react differently to that word ‘sorry’ thrown at them very unexpectedly….It might be proved more disasterous than…everything else…ever.
        In my opinion neither Gov. nor gen Public are ready for this Huge Step….

      • MonaLisa / Reader – Clintons private affairs became the affair of the public as he was using the Oval office for his extra curriculars. I think sorry will eventually work in India. We have become a nation which is largely blind but not completely deaf. I think the word may actually do wonders.

      • I think Australia’s apology to the aboriginals is a better example than of Clinton’s. I feel India’s memory is very short, i was just thinking about the Mumbai train bombings 4 years ago in July…didn’t get reported in the media..we just remember the 1st anniversary and then forget about it. A “sorry” or a “memorial” or a day to remember those victims every year is needed to remind the state, to try and not commit the same mistake again.

      • Reader – That is why it needs a lot of conviction and strength of character to say sorry. It is a pity, it is hard to come by.

      • Ninad – Excellent example. Apologizing will ensure that Australia will never mistreat it’s aboroginals like they did once upon a time. This is precisely the point that Nandy is trying to drive.

  3. Sharmila,

    This is my opinion of the sense of justice that prevails among the people on the streets… note the last verse after a brutal Hindu-Muslim riot:

  4. We are the ones that elect our representatives and provide them with the opportunity to govern us. So then aren’t we equally responsible for our Govt.? Like Reader very rightly pointed out, we cannot expect a nation comprising of a hugely uneducated populace to come up with the right choices. So one can very well see where the problem lies, but what is disheartening is that the enormity of the problem is such that one cannot hope to find instant solutions. The best we can do as responsible citizens is, lend our support to the Administration by not blaming them for every wrong. It is true that our Govt. is not unblemished, but then which Govt. in the world is?

    • Melwyn / Reader / MonaLisa – That is true, we are responsible for who we bring to power and given the mandate is from the majority illiterate, we never get it right. The point about saying sorry is not just about conviction and integrity, it is about trying to make ammends. No point in apologizing for a goof up and not doing anything about it either. Take the Bhopal gas tragedy for instance. The Congress is not sorry as yet for the disaster, they also allowed the CEO to escape. But, if they were sorry, the chlorine leak that happened yesterday in Mumbai would not have occured. There are innumerable ticking time bombs waiting to explode, yesterday was only a small one. Did you know that India is a big dumping ground for nuclear waste from the EU and the US? And who signed this deal? The monitoring agencies toe the Govt line and play cat and mouse games.

      TIMES NOW has for the first time blown the lid of how radioactive waste is making its way to Indian shores and becoming a part of our scrap, getting into our products and resulting in our steel being rejected by the very countries that have disposed them in our countries.

      We’ve seen toxic ships find their way to India. We’ve see world garbage dumped at our ports. But now, it seems we are also the dumping ground for contaminated radio active waste.

      Sometimes between late last year and early this year, a ship carrying a consignment of contaminated Radioactive steel scrap quietely entered into Indian water. Around the same time in Germany, a consignment of elevator button was discovered to be contaminated with Cobalt 60, a radioactive isotope cobalt used in nuclear medicine. A similar alarm had also gone off in France too.
      Both the countries traced the exporter of that deadly consignment to here in India.

      The first victim of this waste is a foundry on the outskirts of Mumbai.

      Reporter: Do you have enough space to store such huge consignments?
      Pranay Goradia: It is in one portion of the plant.

      Reporter: But you need space
      Pranay Goradia: It is heavy iteam which can kept in one corner of the plant.

      Reporter: Is it here?
      Pranay Goradia: Ya, here.

      The web is more complex, just showing how deeply the radioactive waste has gotten into our systems.

      Reporter: We have been informed that your company supplied radioactive contaminated scrap to Vipras Castings. But they returned the steel to you.
      SK Modi: Yes, it is lying in with us. But as per AERB instructions we have buried it in our factory campus.

      Reporter: How many tonnes?
      SK Modi: It’s 21 tonnes of steel.

      But, despite the toxic alert the contaminated radioactive steel continues to be on the factory’s premises where it shouldn’t be in the first place.

      We sought answers from India’s monitoring agency the AERB and the agency chose to dodge.

      Radioactive Expert Scientist Dr Pushp Bhargav, said, “It could be harmful to workers who got exposed. AERB should take care of such contaminated materials.’

      TIMES NOW asks

      – How did radioactive steel come into the possession of Indian manufacturers?
      – How did the contaminated steel leave unchecked from Indian ports?

      Fears are that more contaminated steel will find its way back into the Indian markets with absolutely no check whatsoever. That just like Alang – and the ports in Tuticorin – waste from the rest of the world will be dumped in our country – with no accountability whatsoever.

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Sharmila,
        All those issues PN discussed in his post and the other you mentioned in your above post are nothing but the projection of heightened corruption spreaded at every level of politics and bureaucracy.
        If politicians are that clear conscience sorry breed then none of such things would have happened. If any scattered incident would have happened, the responsible one would have been punished such a way that no one else would dare to even think about doing any such thing against ppls/nation’s interest. But the scenario is totally opposite. India is becoming a dumpster for unusable planes,ships,subs whom no one in the world would ever touch/use. It has become a garbage for developed countries to dump their waste and other radioactive hazmats like some other third world countries. Such things don’t happen without permission of Governance now or before. Funny thing is Gov./politicians and bureaucrats forget that they have to breath same polluted Air, have to drink same water unless they drink nothing but mineral water from US or European countries,
        They are forgetting that if those chemical factories explode or atomic reactors create another Chernobyl then those chemicals or gas or radiation will equally affect them. They won’t be spared ‘coz they are some celebrities or political leaders.
        Its a terrible picture of Today’s India where most of the decisions are taken against interests of commoners. The soldiers who guard the country have not been spared either is an irony. Law and Order is required for the safety of public but when police is so Corrupt then how can one expect everything in order..!? Its silly that police are given more power to misuse it against public. how pathetic…..!
        Ultimately everybody has to be Sorry for such wrong decisions and incidences. i wish they could keep their conscience checked…India would have reached different heights by now.

  5. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    Touching post. Especially where Mr. Nandy speaks about the rural poor taking extreme steps like suicide or joining insurgent groups, blinded by anger and frustration. As voters, are we the public to be blamed for having been fooled by the politicians’ false promises pre-elections? In whose hands can we trust the future of our country when every second politician is a crook? Should I as an Indian feel guilty and apologetic for their greed? I dont know… Reminds me of the Tamil movie ‘Amaithi padai’ (1994) in which Satyaraj excellently portrayed the ugly side of a politician.

    Perhaps we need thinking intelligent Indians like Pritish Nandy in our govt. Good post, Sharmila, and thank you for sharing.

    Aish.

    • Aish – Good to hear your POV which differs from the rest. Pritish Nandy was in parliament on a ticket from the Shiv Sena but said he had enough. Again, a case of how good men cannot survive in Indian politics.

  6. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    Clinton is one of the Best and Finest President US ever had. Firstly the decision to apologize publicly was taken for a reason. He had two options available then….Either he apologize publicly or he has to face the impeachment.
    PPl accepted his apology ‘coz he proved himself as ‘The President’. We would consider him ‘The wisest & Finest’ one in last two to three decades. His personal misadventure didn’t affect or hampered his ability of decision making as ‘The President’. Besides his second term was about to be over soon.
    What he did was unethical and unpardonable…however he was the most loved president after John F Kennedy.
    If he had to apologize for any of his political affairs or issues, he would not have been spared by ppl and judicial system. I certainly would vote for him again if the constitution is amended and third & fourth term is permitted. Bush Sr. or Jr. has a track record and proved that right, brought US economy down, drove it straight to the worst recessions ever….!
    Clinton was the one who turned that deficit into surplus again in trillions…made certain necessary worthwhile changes……who wouldn’t love him…!?
    I find no such qualities in Indian politicians or any related situations…..thus the comparison seems quite inappropriate and out of context.

    • Monalisa – that is precisely my point. To apologize needs conviction and Clinton undoubtedly had it. He was also the best that US has ever had without a doubt. And let me tell you one more thing, had he made a bundle even in his political portfolio, he may not have been pardoned but the next President would have undone his mistakes, this is the whole point about apologizing so that the past can be dumped and the present started right and afresh. There is no point in saying sorry and nothing happens thereafter,.And , sadly as you point out there is no one to match up to Clinton, hence the point that Nandy is trying to drive.

  7. Sharmila, Aishwarya, Monalisa, Melwyn and Ninad

    Firstly sorry for the day long absence. I have just travelled 4500 Kms since 0630 this morning till now. There is still a dynamic internal inertia going at 550 mph. I am back to my workplace after a short vacation.

    Please allow me to place my takes on the discussions above.

    I have read and own a copy of Bill Clinton’s Court Proceedings in the case that lead to the senate’s proposal of an impeachment. Please note that Bill Clinton “never” apologised for his affair with a white house staff in his office. Mr. Clinton apologised for “lying and misleading” the court under oath.

    I can quote his entire submission here but that will occupy too much space. Just take my word.

    Let me also add that Clinton has been one of the finest Presidents that US has seen. A tenure that created a surplus budget of 3 Trillion US Dollars, which was squandered by Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan.

    Clinton had nothing to apologise to the people of the US about Monica Lewinsky. He never did. He was not the President of Vatican City. He was the President of the United Stated where the dignity of the individual is constitutionally held above the mundane. He apologised for misleading the judge during his deposition. This was accepted by the senate and the impeachment proceedings were dropped. An affair with a staff is not illegal in the US. The Starr offensive used it only to leverage the actual case with some saucy gossip and media support.

    This is very unlike President Nixon.. who resigned a few seconds before his impeachment after the watergate scam. That was definitely unconstitutional.

    “Sorry” coming from a person in authority and social responsibility has legal implications. Public service is a funny business. We have seen scores of Japanes Ministers and PMs resigning for reasons that are strangely considered a privilege by Indian politicians.

    My only resistence to Mr. Nandy’s article is in his conclusion at the end that the entire nation should feel sorry. I am not able buy that. I don’t feel sorry for something I am not responsible. If integrity is the virtue of recognizing that one cannot fake one’s consciousness, I will not accept an unearned guilt. And even if my life depended on who governs the country, I wouldn’t deal with a gun on my head.

    Kudos to Aishwarya for her POV… BTW, what is POV? Sometimes I am floored by the new set of abbreviations…

    Regarding Melwyns contention that people who vote the government into power should admit their mistake… I agree to a large extent… with one qualification that I made in my first comment… that in India people who actually vote on election day have a different rationale about voting than those who benefit from it or debate it later in the media. The intellectuals hardly vote because for them it is a number game and they benefit more from their prevaling influence on public opinion than actually standing in the queue and casting one single vote.

    And I wholly support Ninad in the need to keep reminding the nation and the government of the pitfalls of a democracy. The process is painfull but worth the effort.

    On disposal of radioactive isotopes… in the ME all sources are disposed in Madagascar off the coast of South Africa.. a site approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency…

    What is worse than other countries dumping their waste in India is that we have isotopes like Co and Ir being used every day for Non-destructive testing of metal welds in the oil & Gas Sector in KG Basin, Cairns Energy sites in Rajasthan, in Patalganga, RIL Gujarat etc. Where are these isotopes stored and disposed? Radioactive elements cannot be destroyed or neutralized. Once activated they continue to release ionising radiations for their entire half-life which can be anywhere from 130 years to 210 years. The RPIs and RPAs (people who are qualified to handle these substances) are trained by BARC at Trombay and Kalpakkam in TN. After that there is no trace of what they do and where they disappear…

    The difficulty is in convincing our leaders to pass bills/laws in the parliament and enforce them. For a common man it is impossible…

    Sorry for the length of this entry…

    • Aishwarya Says:

      Reader,

      Thank you. IMHO, your POV is insightful and thoughtprovoking.

      Aish (abbrev).

      🙂

    • Aishwarya,

      Should that be POW – Prisoner of Words? That indeed I am…

      Let me guess, POV is Politically Obsolete Version?

      🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Privately owned vehicle (POV). Power wheelchair (POW). For now, its gotta be the former! 🙂

        Kudos to my ‘politically obsolete version’?? Aarggghhhh!!!

      • Not yours. Mine – what you called my insightful and thought provoking – thats a poltically obsolete version.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        I guess scandals dont go obsolete…people may forget bombings and attacks and deaths…but not political ‘affairs’.:P

    • Reader – Thank you for your detailed note. Frolicking in the white house is a moral offence in every sense of the word and Clinton does not have to be a member of the Vatican to feel remorse. Yes, he apologized for perjury, he apologized for lying he did not have an affair, but admission to perjusry is admission to guilt for carrying out the affair in the first place. I recall he apologized to the nation for his code of conduct, he calls it ” inappropriate relationship”. Watch this video –

  8. My point is, this man who held the highest office has said sorry to the entire nation what is stopping our petty netas from? A question with a million answers I suppose.

  9. Reader – If you proud and feel resposible for a nation’s achivements one must be equally ashamed for the nation’s failure. If India is what she is today, as in a surging economic force I would like to believe I am responsible for her growth as I work and pay my taxes as we all should rightfully be. But, if India has failed as in the case of Bhopal, I am ashamed. Because I am not the voice of the people but the Government I elect is, I expect the Govt to feel ashamed.

    • Sharmila,

      The system runs the machinery. We are bound by a constitution, the functions of the executive and the judiciary. The voice of the people is the executive. Not you and I.

      The Bhopal fiasco was not the result of a law that was by-passed. It was because of a law that did not exist on that day.

      In our democractic framework we have a right to appeal and challenge the performance of the administration. Although, as per the law, you cannot even walk into a police station and file an FIR against a government officer, even if he is a bus conductor.

      For a voice to be heard is not enough. For a change to occur, we have to propose changes in the relevant laws, rules, regulations and legislation. The state governments publish gazzettes every month or so which issue fresh regulations or write-off old ones.

      Instead of demanding a public apology, I would rather write to the Governors and Legislators depending on the subject if it is in the state list or center list.

      Most normal issues of an area like Law and Order, Environmental protection, Health and Safety, and developmental projects fall under the purview of the district collector. We can walk into his/her office and state our observations.

      I have personally found that it works.. and it works better than calling a TV reporter.

      I would not ask a Collector or a local corporator to apologise.

      The most difficult part is to get a new bill passed in the parliament. At the moment only the likes of Tata, Ambanis, Narayan Murthy or FDI dealers are able to do that. Even that has a legal procedure but it doesn’t work.

      • Reader – Yes, all valid points and yes, the executive is the voice. A voice which should realize it’s shortcomings when it should. I agree that the collector or corporator are the last link of the chain, but it does not mean that they should not take onus for things just becaus they are told to make things happen.The buck does not stop here.

  10. Sharmila,

    A million answers indeed. Permit me to explain myself. My opinion above reads too lopsided.

    Clinton’s Presidency without a doubt has been the best that America has ever seen or shall probably see in the future. He accumulated a 3 trillion dollars surplus and global support for Americans. He was planning to invest that in health care. He was a master statesman whose achievements were smeared by a political campaign. American Presidents do not have the power to influence the moral lives of their people. Their constitution does not give them powers to override an individual citizen’s freedom. And the most honorable part is that Clinton’s family stood by him against public opinion, which, I feel, was better than what the Pope did with his Bishops.

    George duh dud Bush threw it all away and spent it on Halliburton and Lockheeds for Oil and Arms deals. Israel suddenly got exposed. Most cash cows including India and China moved to Euro and a basket of other currencies. Iran went nuclear. Pakistan and North Korea turned rogue.

    We really cannot compare the political ethics of the US and Japan to India. Scandals and sleeze are considered part of the privileges of an Indian poltician.

    I personally feel, if people intrude into private lives of politicians, the good ones will stay away, because after all personal life is always more important than social service. And the rich and powerful cannot be forced into public service. The poor can go find self-employment. A government can only launch and sponsor projects that the private enterprenuers have to execute. If each one has to submit his personal life to public scrutiny only tyranny can survive.

    The public apology that Mr. Nandy has advocated is a Gandhian weapon. It breaks the heart of person who has to do it. If he has any self-esteem left after that, he will never do anything in the interest of the people. I do not support an apology of that sort.

    I prefer the call of Jesus Christ. Let him/her apologize first who has never done a mistake. Or else just forgive and move on.

    • So, in the recent case where ND Tiwari was rolling with prostitutes in the Raj Bhavan was something the public should have ignored?

    • You have a point and I will not deny that its rampant in India. Ministers are served with men or women as they please in the circuit house which is their official residence on duty. Alcohol, outrageous parties and business deals are made. The arrangements are often done by the protocol officers in charge of the ministers comforts.

      I dont think ND Tiwari or Ram Naik (who fondled a God-help-us-ugly airhostess of Air India in flight!) will ever regret their actions even if they are forced to publicly apologise for them. In my opinion an Indian politician’s immoral acts, even if in their personal lives, as is common, is a cultural issue. I do not see a public apology bringing an end to it.

      Except among a certain class, morality associated with relationships with women are quite distorted in many sections of the society. In some places like the circuit house or the inspection bungalow chauvinism is considered macho… even if secretly the whole world knows that the politcians is not capable of anything man-like. Dont ask me to name them.

  11. Sharmila,

    Okay, peace. Please let me try to draft an apology for the powers that be:

    1. MIG, Westland Choppers and Sukhoi deals

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I, Defence Minister of India, on behalf of the Air Chief Marshal and all the senior members of the cabinet, apologize to the nation for purchasing faulty aircrafts and copters that have killed our own pilots instead of the bombing the enemy territory. I attribute this failure to the fact that although all of us who were involved in the purchase of these machines have flown in them, we are not pilots and were quite impressed by the powerpoint presentations of the British and Russian salesmen. The party high command has moved me from Ministry of Defence to Ministry of Railways.

    2. Rural Development Schemes

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    I, Minister for Rural Development, tender my unconditional apology for mis-appropriating the funds allocated by the Central Government and using them to build malls and multi-plexes for my son-in-law in the metro. I hereby resign my position and withdraw from all public services as I have no use of it any more.

    3. Faulty breath analyzers

    I, Minster of Home for State, apologize to all those who were affected by the faulty breath analyzers. I assure you that these instruments gave accurate results when they were tested on the police officers.

    However, I take moral responsibility for the failure of the instruments and have instructed the IGP to use it only on government employees.

    Giving due respect to the wishes of my high command I hereby resign with immediate effect.

    4. Legal harrassment by CBI and the courts

    I, Minister for Legal Affairs, hereby apologize to all the citizens of the United States of America for the harrassment caused to Indian citizens by the Indian investigating agencies. I had passed an order that petitions be allowed only against those below the poverty line. But before that order could be signed I was asked to step down. I promise that I shall fight for the order to be enforced before the next elections.

    5. Scandals, scams and sleeze

    I, the President of the Congress Working Committee and the operator of the Prime Minister’s remote, hereby apologize to the entire nation for the grave mistakes of the party and our allies. We never meant to implement our election manifesto but unfortunately some over- enthusiastic party workers took it very seriously because during the elections each party worker had cast 10,000 votes with their own hands.

    Lately, the party has been strongly criticised for re-shuffling the cabinet and keeping the same ministers in different portfolios. This time we have out-marshalled our critics by apoointing the same ministers in the same portfolios.

    We thank all the people of India for their continued disinterest in good governance and administration.

  12. MonaLisa Says:

    Sharmila,
    That ‘more’ does not have to be any of us….right…!? 🙂

    • MonaLisa – Ha ha..does not have to be any or.:)

      • Quote

        I have spoken openly in the world. I always taught in synagogues or at the temple… I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surley they know what I said…

        If I said something wrong testify as what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?

        Unquote

        Jesus Christ, John 18:20, 21, 23.

    • So sad.. and I thought I had found martyrs for a Cause!!!!

      🙂

  13. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Martyrs…!? damn…! what is that…!? duh duh….not in my dictionary for now…. 🙂
    What Cause…!? what cause are you talking about …!? 🙂

    • I might have proposed that we find some good, educated, cultured women to get married to our male politicians and improve their ethics and morals. We could make their statues and put them up in our farms.

      Women politicians are clever. Most of them are not married at all or are single. Like Mayawati, Mamta, Jayalalitha. Those are difficult to tackle. But we can find a way.

      • Men are quite an incapable lot left to themselves you think? It takes a woman to mend their ways.!

      • Hmm… tricky question… I will try to answer that… don’t hold me to it…

        ===

        Please sign below in triplicate and submit to the District Magistrate:

        I, Sharmila, hereby indemnify Reader for his personal opinions on this subject

        🙂

        ===

        Methinks, it takes a wife for men to realise how vain is all this pursuit for power and wealth…

        ===

        And now, I am going to hide somewhere.. before MonaLisa or Aishwarya draw their daggers at me…

        🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Reader,
        It’s an outrageously hilarious proposal…..! man…! you got a very peculiar innovative mind..! 🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Reader – Where are you…? Ha…there you are!

        Okay now…there’s good news and there’s bad news.

        The bad news is I found you (under the bed isnt a good hiding place). The good news is I couldnt find my dagger…just my best pair of tweezers. So its going to hurt, but not all that much.

        But why would I hurt you when you are right??

        A woman IS the best thing that could happen to a man.

        🙂

      • Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa,

        This has apparently gone past. Sharmila, you can take back the indemnity. Seems like I won’t need it for this one.

        Indeed, a woman is a good thing to happen to a man. There would be no justification for a man’s laziness otherwise. Try getting a hot cup of coffee while watching football if there are only men in the house – either the sugar will be replaced by salt or there is black pepper and ginger in place of coffee powder. You realize it only after falling out of the chair…

        For an Indian politician a good house-wife would be a blessing in disguise. He can do all the good work in the office and return home in the evening to a smart, smiling wifey in jeans and T-shirt, with a plate of lovely-home made aloo paratha or a bisse bele anna ot kesar bhaat neatly arranged in the bedroom… and no shopping lists…

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        If only it were so easy to get our politicians to do good honest work… Anyway, lets dream big for a better India.

        Err…why is the food neatly arranged in the ‘bedroom’? Men!!!

      • Why not bedroom? He is a poltician, na? He will keep all his options till a whip is issued by the high command. If the wifey objects to serving food in the bedroom he might have it in the hammock in the garden. The dining table is for junior to do his homework.

        BTW, I learnt my script writing from Prof. Kader Khan during his Jeetendra-Sridevi-himself and Shakti Kapoor days… so, you can expect the most absurd plots and scenes keeping the theme intact!

        🙂

      • Aishwarya Says:

        I get the picture…Sridevi in jeans and t-shirt with a plate of sambar saadam. Indoors is safe. Hammock could be precarious.

        Your scripts are good. We could call it Himmatwala 2…:)

  14. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Wow…! that’s a lot of credit to entire gender….!
    Duh…Duh…poor men…! xould they do anything without us…!?
    Aah…! could they even exist…!? 🙂

    • MonaLisa,

      You are a woman. So my answer is: No, men cannot live without women.

      🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Reader,
        Nice to know that dependability of your answer relies on the gender….lol…! again, gender plays a big role…! wow…!
        BTW….How can you tell I woo man..!? yet to achieve that ‘Hood’…!
        🙂

      • I definitely did not say that you woo man… that was a mistake.. I, Minister of Self-defense, hereby apologise for the error in the spelling… I did not mean woman or woo man.. I meant woe man… 🙂

    • Still better. I will leave the choice to you.

      No man cannot live without a woman.

      Do the punctutation… 🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        Reader,
        Li’ll correction required….to your sentance.
        No (straight) man cannot live without a woman… (but a Gay man can….)
        🙂

      • Nope. A gay is not a man or a woman…

        Try again…

        Clue: Put a comma after the first or second or fourth or fifth word…

        Your choice. I leave the meaning to you. Its unfair to argue with the fair.

        🙂

      • MonaLisa Says:

        No, man, cannot live, without, a woman…….is that what you mean…Reader…!? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Its not important what I mean. I am a courteous man. What ever women decide always suits men. Most man, I know, like exclusiveness. At one point in age they prefer to exclude everyone and everything. Many women like to include and be included – to share. So it depends on how much one is prepared to stretch the bonds. Sometimes it breaks, sometimes it bounces back…

        🙂

    • Correction: Punctuation…

  15. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Thank you for letting me know that quality of the gender i belong to. I take it as a compliment in today’s world. Men did woe women for century…so which goes around comes around….! not our fault at all… 🙂

    • Hmmm.. I can tell if that reply is a threat, challenge or an opportunity… duh duh Reader…

    • Correction: Serious error. I meant I “cannot” tell if your reply is a threat, challenge or an opportunity… now that also justifies duh duh …

  16. Back to school…

    Back in my office chair.. today..

    There is something similar about the first day at school and the first day in the office after a vacation… Momma, I want my momma…!!!

    As I opened my office I think I was expecting a five headed fire dragon sitting in my chair… but it wasn’t there ofcourse…

    And I am back in the restful pose.. I don’t get paid if I sleep at home you know… but here, I am in my rightful place… the world slogs it out in the heat and dust… some dream and work hard… some work hard without dreaming..

    But I, Minister of Harmony, only dream…

    Ciao..

    🙂

  17. MonaLisa Says:

    Reader,
    Fantastic…! To be get paid for Dreaming…!
    attachments and detachments are two side of a coin. its good to be attached with, though detached and vice versa.

  18. MonaLisa Says:

    Ohh…! so you are a ‘Dream Merchant’…!? Reader..!

  19. A dream merchant’s business is like setting up a roadside kiosk for poetry – there will usually be no buyers, and when there is an exceptional one… there will be no proper currency to exchange…

    Imagine a poet’s outlet:

    Poet (seller): Poetry, M’Lady, would you buy a verse..?

    Buyer (Lady) : Eh?

    Seller : Would you buy poetry? Here is a free sample from Bill Shakespeare:

    “O frowning Fortune, cursed, fickle dame!

    For now I see
    Inconstancy

    More in women than in men remain.”

    Buyer: Really? Do you take money?

    Seller : “Give to Caesar what is Caeser’s, and to God what is God’s” said Christ

    Buyer: I don’t buy poetry. Do you have any Indian rupees or US dollars?

    Seller: I have ten rupees.

    Buyer: Good. I will give you five for the ten, is that okay?

    Seller: “It is never in my power to escape unconquered” said Tagore in Gitanjali…. here is my ten.. give me the five..

    Buyer: God bless you dearie… I will be back tomorrow..

    Seller: You are welcome

    • Fantastic Reader. I hope poets set up shop soon:)

    • MonaLisa Says:

      Wow…! That makes two of us Sharmila…! I Would love to visit such an outlet….Reader…!

    • Guys hold your guns.. a court jester earns more than a poet… I am going to outsource the poet’s kiosk… and the franchise owner will have to pay full amount in advance… with a pay-back equation of -2.0 he is going to be bankrupt by end-Q1…!!!

      🙂

  20. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂
    You are backing out/off now Reader…!? Thought you are ‘A Man’ of his words..!
    Not Fair…! 🙂

    • I am a man, not a poet. I couldn’t write a poem even if I had a brain transplant…

      And I am not fair, that I am sure… I am sort-of wheatish brown…

      🙂

  21. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂
    Do you mean ‘A Poet’ is not ‘A Man’…!? Is it a different gender altogether or what…!?
    Pls. don’t torture yourself with that transplant and all..fairness doesn’t come with it…its a part of the entire package…you have it or you don’t….! 🙂

    • A poet is all soul and spirit (also spirits in some cases)… a soul doesn’t have a gender….

      The creator probably had a little clay leftover and He made something for aesthetics… luckily the leftover was not much…

  22. MonaLisa Says:

    🙂
    Much of ‘Spirits’ indeed…! Btw…’A Soul’ in a body have have A Gender…. Poets don’t come out with a stamp on forehead..! Do they…!?

  23. There was a girl named ‘Vani’ in the remote town of ‘Aashray’.

    She was disappointed. Her world was a black and white pencil sketch. She added colors to it once in a while but the colors were too ephemeral. They did not stay. They did not last.

    Someone said change is good. Was it really? How much is good?

    She cared because caring is good. Is it really? How much is good?

    Every illness is a little of death. Every pain is a little of death. That’s not true.

    Death is not a perpetual state of illness or pain. Death is nothing.

    Illness and pain are a sign of life. Is happiness an exception? How much of anything is good?

    A purpose gives her life a meaning. So is life that purpose ? That’s not true. The purpose is a choice. It is not her life. It is karma.

    Life is a value. She nurses it. She cannot disect it. She cannot add colors to a transparent fact. Colors divide and discriminate. How much of that is good?

    She was disappointed. Her world was a black and white pencil sketch. She added colors to it once in a while but the colors were too ephemeral. They did not stay. They did not last.

    There was a girl named ‘Vani’ in the remote town of ‘Aashray’…

  24. Wow…! Astounding….! Reader….! I am totally speechless….!
    The questions you raised are so basic yet beyond one’s imagination…. Probably most are not cultivated or programmed to think of these aspects….but to overlook such questions if arises in one’s mind…
    Your every How much is difficult to answer…yet when you raised it, you must be having answers for that too……Hope you share it….

  25. MonaLisa,

    I am still learning.

    Vani means voice or speech and Aashray means shelter. I wanted to write in conceptual prose but decided on a parable style just to give it a human feel.

    The question of ‘How Much?’ is universal. The answers are also universal in a way.

    How much of anything is good?

    The choices are:

    1. As much as I need

    2. As much as I can share

    3. As much as my work deserves

    And that includes every thing… feelings, perceptions, knowledge, virtues and values.

    There is no process, value or virtue in this world that does not primarily exist in an individual.

    I do in the world what I do at home. I agree or disagree with the world according to what I practice.

    For example, if a thief enters my house I kill him. In the outside world I disagree with human rights activists when they talk of the rights of the thief to be given a chance.

    My father did not believe in free lunches. We performed to his satisfaction in whatever he expected us to do. So, in the outside world I do not believe in a welfare state.

    That probably decides my choice.

    How much of anything is good? As much as my work deserves.

    I am still learning.

  26. Where is Sharmila?

  27. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Eid Mubarak di…………I hope you remember me.It has really been a long time.Actually,Ramadan kept me busy all the time.It has nearly been 60 days that I didn’t comment.Just came back after praying eid.I’ll start disturbing you again by commenting here,which I feel is now mandatory.Catch you later…….:)

  28. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Its a brilliant piece out of Mr.Nandy’s book.We really have forgotten to apologize and are wasting resources to assure a false sense of security.

    Sorry di,I finished the biryani myself.Actually,you were a bit late in asking for it.Certain is your share on the next Eid.

    If you have seen my blog,you may have thought it has been abandoned by me.But as I told you Ramadan and my preparations for studying abroad kept me a bit busy.So,I wasn’t able to write something.But I am surely gonna write in a couple of days.Will tell you when I do

    • Hope you had a lovely Eid Salman. Do let me know where you are off to for your studies and wishing you the best. Yes, this piece from Nandy is brilliant.

      • Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

        I think I told you earlier that I am trying for London.But due to some reasons it has now been decided to go for Canada Inshallah…….thnx di

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: