Kashi Vishwanath: A temple that captures the Hindu spirit

I cried.

Don’t remember much of my first Kashi Vishwanath temple trip although mom swears it had happened when I was a child. The second trip was much more recent, April 2014. I was excited to visit one of the most important pilgrimages known to Hindus. 


We landed in Kashi at the peak of a typical hot UP summer, but the site of our beautiful heritage hotel that gave an old “haveli” vibe with a gorgeous mural of Shiva, cheered our spirits. After quickly freshening up, we called a taxi and headed straight to the temple. The cab dropped us outside an alley surrounded by two-wheelers and cars. Two policemen stood on both sides of the alleyway with a board on top that read, “Kashi Vishwanath Temple Gate” in Devanagari. He must’ve brought us to the parking side entrance, I thought. We hopped out and asked the driver as to how we could get the prasad for offering. “You’ll find it inside”, he said, pointing to the alley. 

Equality does not mean sameness

If our backgrounds, hopes, dreams, languages, expressions, bodies and preferences are all different, then how can one feminism define us all? If we insist on boxing women into one monolithic feminism, it is bound to fail many of us, as it will devolve into a competition of who can shout louder.

This is when privilege steps in. An English-speaking, rich, urbane woman will always have more access to amplify her voice over that of the native-language speaking subaltern. This often leads to “saviour complex”. Well-meaning but privileged women start imagining that they can be the representatives of these underrepresented native women and they can “uplift” their lives by advocating “change”, “reform” and “progress”. Underlying this, is the troubling assumption that subalterns lack agency, are too meek to decide for themselves, and share the aspirations of the progressives. This is exactly what is happening in Sabarimala.

Section 377 has nothing to do with Bhartiya Sanskriti

Bharatiya society and its ideas of morality have historically been much more fluid than Victorian ones. In fact, that was one of the main reasons our white colonialist masters called us barbarians and savages and were determined to “fix” us. From the elevated status of women in Bharat [1] to its innate acceptance of human sexuality (khajuraho), everything about Bharatiya society offended the colonizers’ sensibilities. Society and its rules are fluid, they change with time and our erudite ancestors recognized that. 

एक अफसाना भर नहीं पद्मावती

पद्मावत इसलिए भी महत्वपूर्ण है, क्योंकि जायसी अपनी रचना में शायद अनजाने में ही सही उस युग की महिलाओं की विवश परिस्थितियों का प्रतिबिंब खींच गए। जायसी कहते हैं कि अलाउद्दीन खिलजी को चित्ताैड़ के राजा रतनसेन द्वारा निष्कासित किए गए एक कवि के जरिये रानी पद्मावती की अद्वितीय सुंदरता का पता चला। खिलजी रानी के बारे में सुनकर कौतूहल से भर उठा। उसने लाव-लश्कर समेत चित्ताैड़गढ़ की घेराबंदी कर ली और रानी को अपने हरम के लिए मांगने लगा। रानी ने साफ मना कर दिया, पर परिस्थितियों से विवश होकर उन्होंने खिलजी को आईने में अपना प्रतिबिंब देखने की अनुमति दे दी। रानी का प्रतिबिंब देखकर खिलजी हवस से और पागल हो उठा। उसने चित्ताैड़गढ़ पर हमला तेज कर दिया, परंतु राजा रतनसेन के वीर योद्धा टस से मस न हुए।

Culture of abuse and misogyny in Indian politics: A Reality Check

Its no secret that a culture of verbal abuse and misogyny prevails in Indian politics, rather shamelessly. We, the voters, have learnt to live with it. In fact, it won’t be a stretch to say that if the politician is a woman, we almost expect her to be subjected to sexist remarks. Women from across the political spectrum are subjected to the crass misogyny that passes for discourse in Indian politics, from Mamata Banerjee to Smriti Irani, there is hardly a woman politician who hasn’t been targeted.

Bihar polls: Nitish Kumar’s copycat strategy fools no one; Lalu may be only gainer

As much as Nitish Kumar seems to hate Narendra Modi, he seems very much in awe of him. His entire Bihar campaign sounds like a carbon copy of  Modi’s 2014 campaign. What Nitish Kumar doesn’t realise is that the memory of the 2014 election is way too fresh for this. From “Parche pe Charcha” that reminds you of “Chai Pe Charcha” to “Ghar Ghar Dastak” which reminds you of “Har Har Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi”, he appears to be copying every detail from the Modi campaign. “Phir ek baar, Nitish Sarkar” is not too different from “Ab ki Baar, Modi Sarkar.”

Make in India: Can Modi make it happen?

Virtually everyone agrees that India’s manufacturing sector has tremendous potential for the growth. India has a large, young population (1.25 billion people[1], over 800 million[2] of whom are aged 35 years or less) whose income levels are low (Per-capita income stands at a modest $1,500[3] p.a.) – thus providing the industry with a large pool of inexpensive labour. However, manufacturing only accounts for a mere 15.1% of GDP[4] currently.

‘धर्मनिरपेक्षता’ यानी राजनेताओं की ‘वोट बैंक’ की राजनीति

विश्व भर में धर्म निरपेक्षता का अर्थ होता है की राज्य का कोई धर्म नहीं हो, परन्तु दुखद सत्य यह है कि भारत के कई राजनैतिक दल, जो स्वंय को धर्म निरपेक्ष कहते हैं, उन्होंने धर्म-निरपेक्षता के अर्थ को ही बदल डाला है! इन दलों के अनुसार दूसरों को साम्प्रदायिक कहना, विशिष्ट सम्प्रदायों के लिये पक्षपाती कानून बनाना अौर कुछ समुदायों के धर्म-गुरुअों के अागे माथा टेकना, धर्म-निरपेक्षता की पहचान है। अालम तो यह है कि अाज कल इन दलों में होड़ लगी हुई है कि कौन किस अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय की ज़्यादा खातिरदारी करेगा! क्या धर्म या जाति के अाधार पर समुदायों के बीच भेदभाव करने वाले स्वयं को धर्म-निरपेक्ष कहलाने का अधिकार रखते हैं? कदापि नहीं।


91 seats across 11 states, 3 UTs go to polls today on 10th April, 2014.

Choose wisely, choose cautiously. Pay attention to the candidate but also pay attention to the party she belongs to.

Understand what the candidate’s stand is on national issues because the role of an MP is not limited to her constituency like an MLA. Her most important contribution to the democracy is the representative vote that she has in the Parliament. She will vote on your behalf on issues that will affect your well-being, our nation’s well-being directly. She is your voice in the Parliament. Make sure you agree with her viewpoint on various national issues like defense policies, the economy, job-creation policy, reservation, women’s issues, foreign policy, among other things. The choice you make today will decide the fate of the nation for the next 5 years.

कांग्रेस के नेतृत्व में चल रही UPA की सरकार द्वारा, बड़े पैमाने किये जा रहे भ्रष्टाचार के कारण, हर नागरिक के मन में सरकार के प्रति जबरदस्त अाक्रोश भरा हुअा था । तभी अाया यह जनलोकपाल आंदोलन जिसका नेतृत्व अन्ना हजारे अौर उनकी टीम में शामिल अरविन्द केजरीवाल, किरन बेदी, प्रशाँत भूषण, इत्यादी कर रहे थे । इस अांदोलन ने भारत की जनता का ध्यान कुछ यूँ आकर्षित किया कि सैकड़ों भारतीय भ्रष्टाचार के खिलाफ एक विश्वसनीय अावाज खोजते, देश की सड़कों पर उतर अाये थे। देखते ही देखते यह अांदोलन भारतीय जनता की न िसर्फ एक भ्रष्ट बल्कि स्वयं के भ्रष्टाचार के प्रति उदासीन सरकार के खिलाफ चल रही लड़ाई का प्रतीक बन गया था। इस अांदोलन को मिल रहे जनता व विपक्ष के जबरदस्त समर्थन के कारण सरकार को हार कर अन्ना व साथियों को बातचीत के लिये बुलाना ही पड़ा । लेकिन जब एेसा लगने लगा कि धुंध के बादल अब छट जायेंगे तभी अचानक से सब िततर-बितर हो गया़़़़


A conscious attempt is being made lately to discourage the pride, the loyalty and the respect we have for our motherland and its constitution and we will not allow it. As an Indian, I am proud of my country. Our freedom fighters fought to free India from the shackles of the British, they fought for justice, for our rights and for our civil liberties. We have reached such a stage where people are undermining India’s strongest pillars, the army and the police. The time has come that we unite against the forces detrimental to the idea of India and undermine its sovereignty. We the people of India stand against anarchy, in support of the forces that unite India and keep us going.