If wishes were horses

Here’s the thing: I grew up in Kentucky. I sold insurance door-to-door. I sold ladies’ shoes. I worked at an all-night liquor store. I would buy suits that were too big and too long and cut the bottom of the pants off to make ties so I’d have a tie to go on job interviews. I grew up understanding what it was like to not have health insurance for eight years. So this idea that I’m somehow the “Hollywood elite” and this guy who takes a shit in a gold toilet is somehow the man of the people is laughable.

That’s George Clooney on Donald Trump. The interview I took that clip from is wide-ranging, sharp, incisive, and worth reading in full.

Today has been a day of making wishes. First when I saw images of sportsmen and the owners of their teams take the knee in defiance of Donald Trump. Then when I read this.

Don’t you wish our own public figures had the courage of their convictions? Hell – don’t you wish they had some convictions?


Why is this not “sedition”?

The recent Jat agitation for reservations left at least 30 dead and approximately 200 injured, besides who knows how many women raped, their lives shattered. It also resulted in a reported Rs 250 crore in damages to the Railways; Assocham estimates Rs 20,000 crore loss overall. In its wake, the state government has been reduced to saying it will issue gun licenses to traders who suffered at the hands of the rioters — just what we need, open anarchy with everyone shooting at everyone else. Law and order outsourced is an emerging business model, seemingly.

So now what do we have? Jat leaders saying cases of arson and rioting registered against the community should be withdrawn, or the riots will start again, and be worse. The community has actually set a deadline — 72 hours — for government compliance.

Why is this not sedition?


“Polarisation” is often talked of as a political ploy. This is what happens when you play the politics of division, of polarisation — you lose control. And it all goes up in flames.

In passing, reading Anumeha Yadav’s piece rebutting the spontaneous combustion theory of the Jat riots.

Non-violent mayhem

I like Raj Thackeray. Unlike the garden variety rabble-rousers who call for tongues to be cut off and heads to be chopped off and rape women because they think they should get reservations, the guy has a gentle, caring heart. Vide this exhortation to his followers:

Now I will tell you what you should do. When you see any new rickshaws with new number plates, stop them, take the passenger and driver out of the vehicle and burn the rickshaws,” he said.

In his concern for the lives of his fellow men, the MNS chief is an example to us all.

In passing — how the hell is it that in a country where sloganeering invites the full might of law and government, politicians of every stripe routinely call for violence without even the raising of an official eyebrow?

The Delhi government’s JNU probe report

Here it is, in full.

All is well

Bhim Bassi saw no violence, only some jostling.

The district magistrate of Bastar saw no attack, only stage-managed drama.

The Haryana police see no sign of rape. Neither does the government.

This is our world — one where the institutions designed for our protection are aiders and abettors of the crimes against us.

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Hamam mein sab…

TMC goons in Burdwan University the other day. Congress goons in Kanpur yesterday, pelting stones and eggs at Subramanian Swamy’s car. As reprehensible, as worthy of condemnation, as the BJP’s various groupings of goons creating mayhem in various trouble spots.

This is why I believe — and keep repeating — that the students of JNU and of the other universities that have come out in support of Kanhaiya Kumar and Rohit Vemula should keep politicians of all stripes at a distance.

Armies and the Man

The army is increasingly coopted into a BJP-led bait and switch. The ploy is simple, and effective: tack on the army to any and all rants about JNU, nationalism and related tropes; contrast the “free-loading”, slogan-shouting students with the army that is fighting terrorism on a daily basis on our borders and demand that you take sides: students, or army? A recent Rajesh Sinha piece in The Wire examined this tactic in some depth.

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