Thursday, 31 May 2012

Something is Wrong!

It’s been almost one and a half months since I wrote my 12th grade Board Examinations. During this period everyone, be it family or strangers that I met ask me one question, “Which Engineering College are you planning to join?” Or “Which Engineering course are you intending to study?” I replied honestly that I had no intention to do so and they give me a weird look. Their reaction, as I understand, is of disbelief and pity. They pitied ‘my foolishness’ to have ignored the hallowed 'engineering' field. 

It’s almost blasphemy for a science student to think beyond Engineering and Medicine. Let me give you a few statistics. 
India produces 7,50,000 engineers every year. Of these, almost 40% scout for a job for almost a year, while around 22 % take almost two years before bagging a job.
There are more than 2,00,000 unemployed engineers in India.
Only 25% engineering graduates in India are employable.
Most of the students who join private engineering colleges have only around 50 to 60% marks in their 12th grade. (Most of these students are forced by their parents to pursue a career in Engineering.)
Who is to be blamed for this pathetic situation? I’m not willing to spare anyone!


Parents are increasingly becoming disappointed, not because their child did not get an engineering admission but an IIT coaching institute’s admission! I do not question the intentions of the parents; they want the best for their children. Unfortunately, most parents do not understand their own child’s pluses and minuses. Is it right to force a child to write IITJEE and AIEEE, when he/she is not able to pass simple Physics class tests? Parents need to move beyond “My son/daughter is studying engineering” now almost a fashion statement. What values are they imparting to the children, when they ‘buy’ seats for a few lakhs? Is education like potatoes and tomatoes to be bought in the market? 

To quote Kahlil Gibran,

Your Children are not your Children
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

Parents have no right to impose their dreams and aspirations on their children. Parents need to shed this "what-will-others-think" syndrome. They need to sit down and discuss with an open mind as to what the child is interested in and allow him to pursue his dreams.


Currently, schools are busy with rat race for marks. When your teacher is more interested in teaching you what might and what might not come for the examination rather than the concepts, you know something is wrong. When there is no freedom of speech in morning assemblies or space for radical thoughts/experimentation, schooling kills individualism.

It is high time that the focus must be on careers and not marks. Career counselling must be introduced in schools. Schooling must be a period where you discover yourself and bring out your individuality. Schools must not be a factory churning out conveyor belt products.

Students Themselves

If, at the age of 18 you are not able to decide your fate, I confess I find it rather hard to believe. When you can rebel for smart phones and bikes, what stops you from raising your voice for your Own life? At times, it is not absolutely necessary to be an obedient child. But you know your limitations better than anyone, even your parents. Have the courage to say ‘No’ without being a rebel. Yes its difficult, but not Impossible!

In the information era, ignorance is definitely no excuse. Students need to understand that internet is not just about Facebooking and tweeting. Why not use Google to check on fields beyond engineering? Why have we all forgotten Robert Frost’s ‘Road Not Taken’ poem which we learnt in the 9th grade? 

Sadly the material world has made 'Money' the single motivating factor for many aspirants. It is a vicious cycle. Parents pay for a degree; the student wants the returns as soon as possible sometimes to pay off loans, but most often it is in the pursuit of harvesting money. India is blessed with a demographic dividend. It could all become a myth, if the youth lack values and vision. Here I find it necessary to say, I admit there are exceptions. 

There are numerous other bright career opportunities available including civil and defence services. India needs vibrant and robust youth, who can take the country forward.  

The purpose of humanity is self expression. What are you going to express when you have mortgaged yourself to an engineering college? Your purpose is not to fall in line with majority but to fight against the odds.

In conclusion, it is my humble request, 

Dear Friend, Have the courage to pursue your dreams. Take up a career which  you love. 

Karthik Narayan

@karthiknarayan1 on Twitter

The writer has just completed his Twelfth Board Exams successfully.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Tweet that Wasn't!

An Aspiring diplomat's observations of India's Finest diplomat's Political Achievements.

If one randomly skims through the newspapers of 2009- 2010 you will notice at least a couple of articles every month on the the new diplomat turned politician, Dr. Shashi Tharoor. It was almost as though the following day's headlines and the Op-Ed columns were revolving around a 140 character view- point of a social- media savvy Minister who was breaking the hallowed rule of silence maintained faithfully by the government's representatives. The obloquy of the media forced the Indian politicians on Twitter to exercise a policy of caution and succeeded in making the others desist the idea of a 'direct connect'

Fast forward to 2012 and you see Shashi Tharoor continues to tweet, expressing views, opinions and even catering to citizen issues that call for immediate attention as candidly as he did before. One is abreast with the latest developments courtesy the tweet-meme. So what has changed? To put it simply, The Media- Attitude.

As a Law student the first rule that is etched in one's mind is the need for Evidence that proves your case beyond reasonable doubt. So here are a few tweets from this year which will help you understand the scrupulous measures undertaken by this Member of Parliament despite the brickbats he received in the past. What is grossly disappointing is that that none of these tweets which throw light upon the essential have found their way to the media in the way an absolutely frivolous comment like 'cattle- class' did. The larger question here is, Does the Indian Media thrive on trivia for higher readership? Is substantive journalism slowly turning into an archaic concept? Is the Indian media now the ghetto redolent of minutia owing its failure to shed light on those predicaments that affect the citizen? The affairs of the State deeply impact every citizen directly or indirectly. However, while national causes get larger coverage, one is absolutely oblivious of steps taken on the International front to improve our relations with other countries. 

 To turn the tables, here is an episodic view of the last five months of 2012 using the same 'tweet' that once stung people, to highlight work done, issues  undertaken and opinions of consequence.

On the Maldivian shift to democracy.

On the Rinkle case that took India by storm.
On the Indo- Russian diplomatic relations
As a UN diplomat, Dr. Tharoor still recommends India to work independently before it seeks UN help.

On Israel.

Dr. Tharoor on a private citizen's plea for help personally takes up the cause.

On the Norway custody row.

On the lesser discussed Latin American ties.
Yes, one learns a lot via Dr. Shashi Tharoor

What you've just read is only a glimpse of the good work that has gone unnoticed. This politico- diplomat leaves no stone un- turned when it comes to India's International Relations and prefers to share his views in black and white. One finds this MP adopts a unique and ubiquitous approach that any mature Indian reader will relate to. What is distressing is the fact that these views are currently restricted to one platform. One is forced to ask if the Media can spend enough time hounding leaders on triflings, isn't it befitting that the Indian reader should know the fact that these leaders also move beyond their realm of being Ministers, adopt a humanitarian approach to work for the greater good?

The aim of this post is not only to highlight the conscientiousness of the Member of Parliament but also to create an awareness among readers about the 'objectionable selectiveness' which has become the motif of the Media. Sparring Twitterati are blessed with the limelight for the extra spice in the newspaper. The concept as Twitter as a medium of political exchange is still in the pipe.


The point of inquiry in the second part of the article is, Are we utilizing the skills of our visionaries enough? Is it not time for the dynamic  members in the Parliament to lead from the front rather than render support from the periphery? Is it not apt that India begins to incorporate the younger Ministers to assume the reign, while the older sapient generation supports them from the background. 

Here the aim is not to demean or disregard the service that the older Parliamentarians have rendered, but as a growing democracy is it fair to choose to live with rigid principles and laws that the older generation clings to. 

Must seniority always trump caliber in the Indian political arena?

It is imperative to explicitly convey the idea to the reader vis-a-vis an example. Very recently the Ministry of External Affairs was faced with an Indo-Italian crisis wherein two Indian fishermen were killed by two Italians while at sea. Media houses deliberated on the possible consequences this incident would have on the international relations between the two countries, the Ministry of External Affairs was still deliberating on possible ways to maintain amity between the two countries while political analysts decided to unilaterally decide who was right and who was not. It was in the midst of this chaotic mess, Dr. Tharoor opined, "If both countries deem it fit, India could deliver the sentence, but the guilty delinquents could serve their sentences in Italy." A middle ground had been found. And that is the essence of being one who has spent a lifetime searching for solutions and more importantly finding ways to implement them rather than the adopt the stance of the Ministry wherein one hardly gets more than a statement by the Honourable Minister.

This is the change that India deserves. Political chicanery can and must take a back seat especially when dealing with International Relations because within the country one can belong to the Congress, the BJP, the BJD or any other party but while dealing with geopolitical issues all these divisions are inconsequential. India is then represented as a whole. 

We need problem solvers. The need of the hour is fore- thought concomitant to skillful diplomacy and not false prudery. We need leaders who will enhance the country's repute in the global community. Shashi Tharoor has been a world icon for over three decades now. Although a new-comer, this leader has achieved much more than many of his comrades. If India deserves the best why not gracefully hand over the Ministry to these able hands sooner rather than later?

It is quintessential that India must retain its position as a charismatic fore- runner in an ever changing world rather than portray itself as a country that is bound by the fetters of age and seniority.

 If the price of the Indian success is dedication, hard work, and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen, here is a leader who epitomises all three and as a responsible citizen who is bestowed with a right to voice an opinion, I believe that we have in Dr. Shashi Tharoor a perfect choice to steer the way ahead for Ministry of External Affairs. 

Having said that, I rest my case.

Please Note: The views and opinions expressed are not subject to media scrutiny.
All twitter handles apart from Dr. Shashi Tharoor's have been duly notified. 

Katherine. Abraham

@katie_abraham on Twitter

The Writer is a Law student and an aspiring U.N diplomat.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Vociferous Bihari's appeal...Please Change!

The fact that I am a Bihari makes people think I am an illiterate,
The fact I am a Bihari makes people to look down upon me, 
The fact I am a Bihari, I am kicked out of everywhere.  
The fact I am a bihari, I am blamed every time 
The fact I am a Bihari makes me fit to be abused in every sense.
 But still, with my head held high am proud of myself for the fact, “Yes, I am a Bihari” but before that, 
‘I am a Proud Indian!’

It was midnight when the train for some 1st yr. Engineering students was delayed by eight hours. The young people decided that they would not spend the night on the isolated railway station in Kalyan (Mumbai) and decided to go take a room at the nearby hotel for the night. They went to a hotel close to the station, where initially they were very warmly welcomed at the reception. As is customary, the students were asked to make an entry in the register placed at the reception table. They filled in all the details, but a tiny phone number changed everything. The students  were confused as to which number they should enter, the one which they used in the hostel at Dawangiri (Karnataka), or the number they used back home in Patna. Sensing their discomfort the receptionist looked at their confused faces and watched them converse in their mother tongue. Within minutes he closed the register and all of a sudden informed them that there was no room available. The students stood perplexed as to what had changed within minutes. It was then that they were asked where they were from. As soon as the students mentioned the name “Bihar” the manager asked them  to leave at once. The students had no place to go and spent the night sleeping on the chairs at the station.

  One of the students who bore the brunt that day for nothing at all was my brother. This is one of the many incidents that we as Biharis face.  Every Bihari has to face some or the other mental disturbance owing to the lack of friendly treatment that they get outside their state. The next incident I recount is the reason why I found it imperative to write this article. This simple incident that happened with my sister, made me question, ‘Why?’

My sister an excellent student is a graduate with history majors, and holds an M.B.A. She went for a job interview in a school in Gurgaon. The principal was very impressed with her and the job was almost fixed, till she asked a very minor question at the end of the interview, as to where she hailed from. On hearing the answer the principal denied the very same person who impressed her a few minutes ago the job which otherwise she was fit for.  The answer : “BIHAR!

“BIHARI?” At times I look at this word and wonder as to what’s wrong with the word, why the single word ruins a career, causes a job denial, a shelter- denial? Why is Bihari always a criminal mind for others?

Above all my question to the readers : ‘Is being Bihari a crime?
How long will we have to listen to the abuses within our mother land and for how long will we have to go through the embarrassment of being a Bihari?

It is distressing, when the educated Indian reiterates such hurtful statements. Often during discussions on India or any topic related to Bihar I hear only the negative side of the State being highlighted.  We sometimes speaks through our own experience and many a time we speak through other’s experiences. Bihar has been a victim of bad governance for 15 years (which is too long) but today it is trying to uplift itself despite the odds. Bihar was recently awarded for the fastest growing states of India. Still people continue to believe in the myth that it is the most poor backward, illiterate state of the nation. And thus ‘Bihar’ has become the synonym of, corruption, violence, failed governance, backwardness, and poverty.

There are a lot of hidden facts about Bihar that people are unaware, Given below are just few of them:-

1. Bihar has comparatively more no. of graduates than Kerala and Andhra Pradesh combined.
2. As compared to Maharastra and Gujarat, the number of ‘Biharis’ in the IIT field is more. In fact 17 just from one district “Gopalganj”. 
3. The crime- rate in Mumbai  is double that in Bihar. (unlike the common misconception that people still hold.)
4. The number of people killed in communal wars in Bihar is 1/75th of Gujarat.
5. Bihar produces a greater amount of wheat than Punjab.
6. Bihar consist of more number of literate people as compared to Kerala and Karnataka together.
7. Bihar alone produces more no. Of IAS officers than Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Gujarat combined together.
8. Bihar is the only state in India where till date no farmer has committed suicide.
9. The number of female graduates in Bihar is more than those of any other state. 

Bihar's History is one that every Indian ought to be proud of:

1. It was here that Buddha gave his first thought.
2. It’s the place where Rishi Valmiki wrote Ramayana, the greatest epic of the world.
3. It’s that very place where Chanakya wrote his first book on Economics.
4. It is the land where Lord Mahavira founded Jainism.
5. The father of surgery, Rishi Shushrut lived in this soil.
6. The Kamasutra was written here, by Vatsayana.
7. It was the land of Ashoka the Great.
8. Aryabhatt, the most ancient mathematician was from Bihar.
9. It’s  the place which still preserves the world’s best and the most ancient university, “The Nalanda University” 
10. Ashoka chakra comes from the very place Bihar, which today adorns India’s national flag.
11. It gave India it’s first president, Dr Rajendra Prashad.
12. This soil had produced a lot more eminent writers, poets and artists. 
13. Sher Shah who defeated the mightiest Mughal Emperor and who introduced the Postal System and Rupiya  in India was born in Bihar.
14. The 10th guru of  Sikh was born in Bihar
15. Mahatma Gandhi started the civil disobedience movement from Bihar.
16. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar the National Poet of India was born in Bihar.

We might know some of the facts stated above but many, we don’t. It’s time that we should stop following or repeating talks that we have been hearing since ages and via highly unreliable sources. If we really want to comment about anything, we should and must know the facts about it first. And why do we even have to comment on it anyways? And if it is a problem, it still is a part of India and it’s our duty to cure it, just the way we take care of each and every part of our body .   We call biharis  “Bloody Biharis”  in India. But when we go to other countries we become “Bloody Indians” and that’s when it hits us. 

If India is the 2nd most populated nation of the world, Bihar is the 3rd most populated state of India.

If India Brains are appreciated, Bihari Brains are very much an integral part of it.

If India is rich in history , Bihar has only added to the richness.

If India is rich in it’s culture, tradition, colour, festivals, Bihar has contributed just like all the other 27 sisters she shares home with.

Each and every district, state together constitute in building the nation, “India”, therefore each states is equally important whether it be Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand or Bihar. 

Migrant labour of Bihar contributes to 50% of the total work force nationally, it’s sad to say that workers are busy building other’s home while their own home has no ceiling. But still they built homes happily because they think about nation building on the whole and not just about building up a state. 

Remember: Small bricks together built up a strong house, but one strong brick alone cannot build up a house. 

According to the recent report of IBN7 the Rural Migrant rate in Bihar has been brought down by 1/3rd due to the new economic scheme of the Bihar government. Have we ever thought of the consequences as to what will happen if all the Biharis return back home? 

There will be no chai walas, no rickshaw pullers, no vendors, no maids, servants, nothing, it’s because Biharies believe in the Dignity of Labour. They are happy, and honest in every work they do, no matter how  hard they have to work to feed their hungry children. They are the people who know how to smile in every circumstances. 
Preamble of India

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolve to constitute India into a SOVERIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all it’s citizen :
JUSTICE, social economic and political 
LIBERTY, of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity 
And to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of individual and the unity and integrity of the nation;

We, in our Preamble, say that we are SOCIALIST, but are we really socialist? Because all I have seen around me is that we have always been discriminated, if not on the basis of caste and creed,  then on the basis of Region, Religion, Language ,Culture etc.

We talk about EQUALITY. Does equality mean forcing our own brethren out and can we call ourselves equal when ?

And we talk about FRATERNITY. Where is fraternity ? when we cannot welcome our own brothers and respect them for who they are just because they belong to some other part of the country?

Sometimes I am frustrated into asking why are we ever having this entire concept of single citizenship in India, because if the above is the situation, I feel it’s farcical. In reality we are beating our own brothers and sisters and kicking them away and we do not allow them to stay if they come from other state. If we all agree to this then why aren’t we having the concept of Dual Citizenship like those in U.S.A and other countries? Why are we having one thing in our constitution and entirely opposite thing in practical life?

Is the Preamble, the very first page of our Indian constitution been reduced to a mere page  to read?

So it’s India who actually needs the help because the states are only the parts dwelling in the body, India. And it will be possible only when we start the work at the grass root level.                            
Let’s not forget,

If a Village shines, the District will  shine,

If the District shines, the States will shine,

If the State shines, the Nation will shine.
If the Nation shines, India will shine, and
If India shines, the World will shine!

Bihar has been a victim of bad governance and has remained in darkness for a long period. But today it dreams of a better tomorrow. Let’s give a helping hand for it to get up and surge forward so that it may contribute more in the nation building process. And why only Bihar? There are other states too who are in need of help economically, culturally and politically. We need an over all sustained growth if we want to restore the India of the old.

And as far as Bihar is concerned, it will shine again one day like it always did. It will take some time, but it is all ready to move ahead and shine again because, “I am ready” ! And if i am ready, Bihar is ready, because I, as an individual, believe that if I work for the upliftment of  Bihar I will be able to make a difference and create a change! 

Reference links :

Uploaded by ibnlive on Nov 17, 2011 (

Kumari Ranjana Bharti 

The Writer is a Law student and an Environmental Activist and is the recipient of the CM's Award for Potential for Best Leadership qualities in Bihar.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Indo - Nepal : A Brief Commentary.

The relationship between India and Nepal is a characteristic "Macro- Micro Power" relationship, one between unequal partners. It has witnessed many ups and downs since its initiation in Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed in 1950. The Indo-Nepal relations are strengthened by the common ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities. The minor strains has been largely attributed to difficulties stemming from geographical location, economics and the problems inherent in big power-small power relations.

Historically, Nepal was being ruled by Rana oligarchy till 1950 when there was a revolution in which the Nepalese people and King Tribhuwan participated succeeding in overthrowing the Ranas and bringing democracy to the country. King Tribhuwan fled to India and the Indian Government supported the democratic forces in Nepal. Had it not been for support from India, it would have been difficult for the democratic forces in Nepal to succeed in ending the despotic regime. Most of the leaders of Nepali Congress were living in India and had close rapport with leaders of freedom movement in India. There was a time in the 1950’s when India had paramount influence in not only international relations but also in domestic affairs of Nepal. Prime Minister Nehru stated in the Indian Parliament in 1950 “We have had from immemorial times, a magnificent frontier that it so say, the Himalayas. The principal barrier to India lies on the other side of Nepal and we are not going to tolerate any person coming over that barrier.”

Geographically sandwiched between the two rising powers of Asia, India and China, Nepal has traditionally been in the sphere of Indian influence. Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship marks the beginning of India’s engagement with Nepal. The last six decades of this relationship have not been always rosy. The first bout of tension between the two countries was when Nepal openly criticized India’s 1975 annexation of Sikkim which was considered as part of Greater Nepal. In 1975 King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev proposed that Nepal be recognized internationally as a zone of peace; for which he received support from China and Pakistan. In 1978, heeding to long term demand of Nepal, India segregated trade and transit treaties; but in 1988 when these two treaties were up for renewal, Nepal's refusal to accommodate India's wishes on the transit treaty caused India to call for a single trade and transit treaty. Nepal took a hard-line position on this issue, which resulted in a serious crisis in Indo-Nepal relations and a virtual blockade of economic relations between the two countries which lasted till 1990. Eventough economic factors were major factors in the contention between the two nations, but India was also dissatisfied with Nepal’s acquisition of Chinese weaponry during that period; Treaties and letters exchanged in 1959 and 1965, included Nepal in India's security zone and precluded arms purchases without India's approval.

It could be discerned from the Indo-Nepal relationship that democratic governments in Nepal have always insisted on strong and amicable ties with New Delhi and it’s generally during the monarchist regimes that the relationship between the two nations has been strained. The security and economic cooperation between India and Nepal got an impetus in early 1990 with visit of Nepalese prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattari and later Mr. Girija Prasad Koirala. The 1950 Peace treaty was revised and Nepal was accorded additional economic benefits. India sponsored Nepal admission into United Nations in 1990. The relations soured again in 2005, when King Gyanendra took over the reins of the country, not to be normalized till 2008 when democracy was restored and Prachanda became the Prime Minister of Nepal.

In 2008, Indo-Nepali ties got a further boost with an agreement to resume water talks after a four year hiatus. Both governments issued a 22-point statement highlighting the need to review, adjust and update the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Under this treaty India would  provide a credit line of up to 150 crore rupees to Nepal to ensure uninterrupted supplies of petroleum products, as well as lift bans on the export of rice, wheat, maize, sugar and sucrose for quantities agreed to with Nepal. India would also provide 20 crore as immediate flood relief. In return, Nepal will take measures for the "promotion of investor friendly, enabling business environment to encourage Indian investments in Nepal."

Apart from a shared culture and ethics, trade and economic interdependence between India and Nepal play a central role in the Indo-Nepal relations. India shares an “open border” with Nepal, one of its only kinds in the world, where free movement of capital, people and resources could take place across borders of two countries. One doesn’t need a visa to enter Nepal; you can cross the border as many times as you wish in a day and vice versa. India is an important trade partner of Nepal, and Nepal is an attractive FDI destination for Indian investors. Attractive incentives, Government’s positive attitude towards investors, low cost locations, cheap labour cost, easily trainable workforce as some of the factors which will make it attractive to Indian investors. Out of total FDI in Nepal, 36% is Indian FDI invested in sectors like tourism, consumer durables, garments and carpets. Indian companies as Dabur, Colgate and Hindustan Lever have set up factories in Nepal with the objective to export their finished products to India. Another sector in Nepal which holds strong growth prospects is hydroelectric power generation in which it enjoys a comparative advantage given its geography.

Of late, India has become increasingly concerned about the security challenges arising out of Nepal. The first shock to the Indian establishment in this regard came when the Indian Airlines airplane was hijacked by terrorists in 1999 at Kathmandu. The territory of the only Hindu kingdom in the world, that India had assumed would remain in friendly hands, was used to conduct terrorist attack against the airline of the country having the largest Hindu population. The Annual Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 published by the US Department of State had the following to say about Nepal:
“Limited government finances, weak border controls and poor security infrastructure have made Nepal a convenient logistic and transit point for some outside militants and international terrorists. The country also possesses a number of relatively soft targets that make it a potentially attractive site for terrorist operation”.
Also, the increasing Maoist Insurgency in Nepal is a matter of concern for India. There appears to be a nexus between the Maoist in Nepal with similar outfits as People’s War Group in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. India is linked with its northeastern part by “Chicken’s Neck”, a narrow strip of territory between Nepal and Bangladesh. If insurgency in Jhapa district of Nepal were to spread to Chicken’s Neck, India’s control of the entire Northeast might be endangered. Thus, a peaceful resolution of the Maoist Insurgency is in India’s strategic interest.

The border management with Nepal calls for immediate attention. The “open-border” policy has acted as a safe haven in which illicit drug and narcotic trade, Maoist insurgency, terrorist activities and human trafficking take place across India-Nepal border threatening Indian security. As a country between three nuclear powers in a high potential conflict area, Nepal’s strategic importance has increased considerably.

India should strive to uphold its influence on Nepal; and boost the ties which it historically enjoys with Nepal. Given our cultural, ethnic and linguistic proximity; India has an ample scope to wield its “soft power” in Nepal. Thus a foreign policy approach which integrates security and economics is required to give an impetus to the Indo-Nepal relationship.

Sudhanshu Sharma

@SSharma2217 on Twitter

The Writer is a student of International Business and works for Standard and Poor.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Evolution of Story- telling in Indian Cinema

Indian cinema initially started off with a different objective, it was nothing what we think it is today. The initial films were more or less a technological portrayal of mythology, the idea of writing a screenplay for a film or pitching a separate story for a film is fairly a new one.

The Indian idea of a 'story' is deeply rooted in its culture, heavily loaded with melodrama with its own stereotypes. The quintessential in every Indian story was the presence of a ruthless or a brutal villain. But some writers and filmmakers broke tradition, braved all these odds and made films that are completely unacceptable to the 'larger than life' concept for which the Indian film industry is an epitome. Though the idea of story telling has evolved to a large extent, the stories typically remain confined to the usual humdrum with slight modifications. Let me introduce you to how this has evolved.

 Here are a few jargons that you need to know for a better understanding

Narrative: A narrative bears a similar meaning to the word story, but with a slight difference. A narrative is basically how a story is sequenced or how the events in the story are arranged. There are many kinds of narratives, the 2 most popular ones are linear and non-linear

Plot:  Plot is the core of the story.

Conflict: A conflict is the crux of the story.  It is the rupture between two characters or the issue which leads to the twists and turns or the very issue of the story deals with is called a conflict. Most of the stories have the same conflict, basic human issues like poverty, bigamy, fear, helplessness etc. But the narrative of each of this conflict is ultimately what matters. Its called 'handling' the story.

 Let me explain this to you with reference to the Indian context, for example there are two films built around the same idea but both of which delivered a different product, a different aura ultimately giving the audience reasons to cherish them. Most young audiences have the tendency to write off older cinema hits as melodramatic. how interesting to note then that Kal ho naa ho and Anand  both movies that were made decades apart revolve around terminally ill protagonists but convey different meaning. While the former was portrayed in a rather melodramatic fashion, the latter plays out to be a positive film. The protagonist embraces death with a smile, the narrative and the structure of the story is completely different, even the story is but the conflict is the same here. I take absolute pride in calling Hrishikesh Mukherjee a man with a forethought to have made Anand like Good night Bill , way before Good night Bill was even made.

The idea of an Indian narrative:
 The idea of a typical Indian narrative almost entirely owes its style to the theater tradition, the written films that initially came out of the country was based on the Sanskrit play tradition where the climax of the play cannot be a tragedy. Remember that this is contrary to the Greek theatre where Tragedy was the most important form of the drama. In India, the trend continued till the late 1940s and the early 50s. Many such films where the conflict was deep and varied (loaded with many issues) managed to conclude on a very happy note, the screenwriters were forced to employ Deus ex machina, a tool not commonly employed.
This tradition was broken by none other than the 2 most prominent personalities of Indian cinema , Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak. And the one man who inspired them to do this, was none other than Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who with his stories touched the most volatile and deeply moving human emotions. He ended his stories on a sad note, which turned out to be a revolutionary idea back then. So , it was Ray’s Pather Panchali and Ghatak’s Nagrik that started off the trend of a tragic films, both men maintaining their own individual styles. 

Ray had mild subtleties all over his film, for example in Charulatha where the protagonist has fallen in love with her Brother-in-Law, there are no melodramatic scenes, excepting for that one scene of revelation. He westernized the stories, however traditional they were. This was his idea of reaching the modern intellectual back then . 

Ghatak on the other hand, was the master of melodrama. His films were high on melodrama, conflicts had many issues to deal with. But the bravest thing he ever did was not employing deus ex machina . Be it Mege Dhaka taara or be it Suvarnareka, the stories ended the way they ought to. The only exaggeration his films ever had were the melodrama, but the man had it coming. 


These two men were the pioneers of change; the change here was the narrative and sometimes the conflict. Bimal Roy came up with the exceptionally good concept of employing mixed emotions, his movies were safe bets yet tragic. The finest example for this remains Madhumati, both the hero and the heroine die in the end, but Roy compensates for this by introducing the concept of re-incarnation. The film made a mark, it was the first of its kind a beautiful love story with a fantastical touch. 

Then came an entirely new generation of filmmakers loaded with ideas of evolution in their minds, two most prominent filmmakers from this era are Guru Dutt and Hrishikesh Mukherjee. They not only changed their narratives but also changed the centre point of the conflicts. They revolutionized stories. Here is an explanation as to how they did it.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s idea is here explained by analyzing one of his finest films, Musafir. The story is made from the viewpoint of a house, the film has many characters, the most important thing is there was more than one conflict in the film. Here, Mukherjee allowed the traditional storytelling to take a toss, he did not segment the film yet he told many stories. Employing a non-living thing as a view point was a revolution in itself, also breaking the idea of one story and one conflict. Indian cinema owes a lot to him. Even after coming such a long way. 

Guru Dutt, on the other hand introduced some revolutionary 'conflicts' itself. Kaagaz ke phool a film about a filmmaker who loses his Midas touch and ends up dying in an empty studio, was the conflict of the film itself was new to that generation, films themselves were not very old back then. Dutt’s effort went unnoticed back then though. Another interesting aspect this film introduced, was telling a story in retrospect. It is sad to notice that, Dutt was not given his due back then.

Soon after this generation came the filmmakers of the 70s, some really worth noting. Here are a few, who made films that mattered K.Balachander, Yash Chopra (Only for Deewar), Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Moving to the Southern cinema, Balachander, was a person who broke all the odds in Tamil cinema back then and single handedly raised Tamil cinema from a playground of melodrama to a place where practical stories existed. He revolutionized the stories, thought his screenplays and characterization was a little flawed. 

Deewar, on the other hand was the first film to openly adapt the pattern of hero’s journey laid down in Joseph Campbell’s the hero with a thousand faces. Buddhadeb Dasgupta came up with the first and the foremost non-linear narrative cinema, Kaalpurush in 2005. His previous films like Tahder katha, had a different plot and conflict altogether. But his masterpiece came in Swapner din, where no characters have a negative shade and yet there was a conflict.

The modern idea:

The modern idea of film- making in India has undergone a series of changes ever since and has only constantly evolved with the help of these film- makers. Rituparno Ghosh and Mani Ratnam for instance. Ghosh introduced the idea of ending a film between reality and fantasy for instance the use of a poetry to end Dosar, a film about extramarital affairs or even Abhoman, which ends in a vague note with an aesthetic interlude.

 Maniratnam on the other hand made films with different emotional elements altogether, he used subtle emotions in his narrative even to express the most difficult of emotions. He was probably the first filmmaker to make a film on political ego, with Iruvar

It has however been not an easy journey for Indian cinema, many rejections, many criticisms. It has however come very far from mythology. Something to be proud of, we all do appreciate Hollywood for its brave themes, little do we realize that in America not many things are controversial, in India, well we have a list... 

 Sai Prasad Narendra

@SaiPNarendran on Twitter

The Writer is an aspiring writer/filmmaker who constantly feels out of place in a Law school!



Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Reclaiming the Indian Dream- Why ‘Tharoorians’ are important.

"Politics, "we are often reminded “is the art of the possible", “but in the incompetent hands of selfish politicians, politics is reduced to "the art of the passable", doing only that which is merely sufficient, barely adequate. While such an indictment of politics may be legitimate even in the most advanced liberal democracies, nowhere is such cynicism more common and sadly more appropriate than in the largest democracy in the world, the Republic of India. When it comes to politics even the most optimistic Indian sinks into despair and finds in caustic skepticism a safe refuge from the qualms of responsibility. 

Ask the most patriotic ‘Desi’ about Politics and you can see the face sour into an expression of smug disapproval,- 'Kuch nahi honewala'- ‘Nothing is going to change’ is a modern day Middle Class Mantra. And this at a time when the famed Indian entrepreneurial spirit is sweeping across the world, from the Punjabi Dhaba in the remotest corners of Iowa, to the Bengali sweet stall in Bermingham,from Indian curry to Bollywood dance, from the spiritual export of Yoga, to the material acquisition of brand Jaguar, from the multinational steel magnates, to the ‘desi’ IT czars-the surge of Indian enterprise seems to know no bounds, the barons of Indian business heed no boundaries. But step out of the illustrious gallery of the Mittals,Murthy’s,Tata’s and Ambani’s and walk the dusty roads of contemporary Indian politics and you will encounter the life size cut outs of the Modi’s, the gargantuan statues of the Mayawati’s, the huge posters of the Gandhi’s and milling around you will be the disappointed millions their haggard faces, despondent, silent-the faces of a divided and apparently impotent citizenry habituated to choosing ‘the best among the worst’.

What is the cause of this perception of the great Indian failure-the failure of political leadership?
It surely cannot be our Democratic institutions, our Elections Commission and Judiciary are among the best in the world. It cannot be apathy or lethargy on the part of the electorate; people do turn out to vote in substantial numbers. Is Illiteracy, casteism, communalism or some inherent deficiency in the Indian mindset responsible ,partly maybe, entirely certainly not. How could this be when the earliest leaders of India that golden generation of Nehru’s, Patel’s, Azad’s, were elected by a people less literate than their progeny are today and surely no less communally sensitive, vote as they did within five years of a brutally sectarian partition. The blame, if at all it is to be pinned must be placed squarely at the doors that lead onto the corridors of power. If India's politics has failed to live up to its halcyon promise, if the 21st century hasn’t produced its Nehru, Azad or Patel ,the fault lies not so much in the Indian electorate as in the Indian Politician. But surely this is old stuff, to blame the Neta for his shameless venality or bungling incompetence is nothing new! 

It is not this generally acknowledged failure of the ‘Political’ class that I would like to dwell on but a far more sinister and crucial shortcoming, a failure that to my mind is the gravest sin against the unparalleled idealism that made India possible, namely the failure to imagine ,the failure to dream!

But before we expatiate on what this failure to dream has entailed, and what its possible causes may be, let us examine India’s political blunder-land, by heeding the kings advice to the white rabbit in Wonderland-“begin at the beginning …”-Let us begin, then by describing the average contemporary Indian politician. 

The average successful politician i.e. one elected to parliament is 52.8yrs old. While the median age of the electorate that put him/her in parliament is less than half that age. The ‘he's’ predominate over the ‘she's’ in parliament overwhelmingly, only 10.8% of the present parliamentarians are women and shockingly a whopping 69.5% of these women are from families with political connections Most of the parliamentarians are elected from constituencies in which their community or caste dominates or at least forms a large proportion of the electorate. 162 MP’s have criminal charges pending against them. Among the few non familial politicians who manage to get elected the vast majority enjoy some form of support from the established families, are handpicked by them or emerge from extremist right-wing or left wing groups. Some have even given up illustrious careers as gangsters or ‘rowdy sheeters’ in order to serve the nation by representing their constituents in Parliament.

It is to this body politic that the political problems of India have to be fundamentally traced. While the electorate cannot evade blame for electing such candidates in the first place the clichéd excuse that there is no better choice sadly holds true at least in most cases. So, after the national whipping and churning of India’s 740 million strong electorate (as of 2009) through 15 general elections, numerous state elections and innumerable local elections , what was meant to send the crème de la crème of India to parliament has thrown up ,at least in the general perception, the scum de la scum of India. But such generalizations notwithstanding, this mass perception that the politician is responsible for all of India’s political woes deserves serious consideration. Can most of the evils that plague the contemporary political scenario in India be justifiably traced back to its leaders? 

Let us put this hypothesis to test in the most general terms.

Our elected representatives are much older than our electorate. Countries like Spain, France, the U.K, U.S.A, Russia, with populations much older than India’s have heads of state ranging in age from 45 to 55. Most of India’s cabinet is over 60 the prime minister is over 70 and this, it bears repeating, in one of the the youngest nations in the world. Can it be that the youth has lost interest in politics, or is it that the present structure of the political system makes it impossible for young talented citizens who would otherwise have successful careers as doctors, engineers or corporates by their mid-thirties to enter politics and replicate their early success in politics too? Is this why the Indian youth have turned away from idolizing or even admiring mainstream politicians, preferring instead the hyperbolic Anti-political symbolism of a father figure from Ralegaon or the shrill messianic fervor of right wing groups. Youth certainly has a lot to do with charisma, and charisma in turn fosters passion and inspires loyalty, in this case to the parliamentary system. The Indian parliament unfortunately possesses few members with any youth appeal. The parliament sessions include instead long winded, dull, dreary speeches by old croaking raspy voiced white clad parliamentarians who break out in periodic fits of yelling at each other or simply walk out. Is it the electorates fault if it looks to the antics of self-proclaimed civil society in Ramlila maidan for inspiration? But yes, there is still hope. There must be at least a few 'young Turks' in parliament who could rediscover the high idealism that suffused India’s freedom struggle, young parliamentarians who could articulate the angst and frustration of the youth. The present Indian parliament it turns out has 66MP’s aged under 40. But even behind this promising figure lies a hard reality-the sordid saga of family Raj. 

Patrick French’s painstaking research has revealed several shocking facts about these young politicians. “Two-thirds of Indian MPs under the age of 40 are from political families” it turns out. Moreover all the Map's aged under 30 without exception have family connections to politics. As these young MP's age, more and more of India’s parliament will come to be occupied by people who have politics in their blood, so to speak. Blood lines of the privileged will wield the power not only to shape India’s future but more importantly the prestige and privilege of political patronage. Once having stamped a firm familial foot print in the sands of power this dynastic trend threatens to paralyze youthful dynamism and destroy any hope among the middle class youth of replicating the career of a Sardar Patel, Azad or Ambedkar. The engine that drives the entrepreneurial spirit is the desire for upward mobility, social, economic and even political. In a population raging with youth but deprived of this incentive, insensitivity towards the democratic method is only to be expected. The Left wing Maoists may be the harbingers of this trend and who knows the right wing may be its ultimate beneficiary. The trends are already clear and justify a sense of foreboding in anyone who cares for India’s democratic, secular, plural nature. The Anna movement brought to fore the power of the middle class youth, not only in the virtual world of the blog, tweet and troll but in the all too real world of dharma’s , fasts and ‘revolution’. It was clear from the beginning that the principal motive force driving the movement was a strong distaste of the Indian ‘political class’. That the Government and the Opposition was perceived to be led by a coterie of sycophantic loyalists did not help. This dynastic trend only reinforces the image of a political ‘class’, bound together by clannish family loyalties rather than a common national vision. The exasperation and middle class outrage that the Anna movement embodied and gave vent to can be seen as the direct result of the virtual exile of the middle class from the political landscape. It must be noted that even though the movement was predominantly against national scams involving a Corporate- Politician nexus it was the Neta and not the corporate that would bear the brunt of the assault. The reason why corporates weren’t targeted as fiercely as the netas is because the middle classes see businessmen as embodying their aspirations. 

Politicians, because they have turned into a ‘political class’ fail to appear to be aspirational figures. Which ordinary Indian can aspire to the prestige of a Gandhi, Thackeray or Abdullah? While a Tata, Ambani or Birla,even though they owe their wealth to business dynasties are nevertheless seen as being only an M.B.A away. The corporate ladder is open to all with good brains, but the political doors, like Ali Baba’s cave open only to the particular shibboleths of famous family names, to ties of blood not the trial of brains. A recent episode serves to exemplify this complete disillusionment, distrust and hatred felt by most Indians to anything even remotely ‘political’. The outrage with which the news of Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination to the Rajya Sabha was met with was as astounding as the news itself. Some sober minds raised legitimate questions of a general nature such as-whether the cricketing icon was fit for the position, whether a Rajya Sabha nomination could be conferred more as an honor rather than as a duty-others, still sober raised legitimate questions about the politics that may be behind the nomination. But a more dramatic and disturbing reaction ensued. The hashtag “#unfollowsachin’ began to trend on twitter, right wing sympathizers condemned him, presumably as a political reaction, but ostensibly (and this is important) on the grounds that by accepting the nomination of a corrupt government Sachin had opened himself to the charge of being corrupt. Motives were quickly ascribed perhaps he has skeletons in his closet that the government has promised to keep from tumbling out, some even suggested that the richest sportsman in Indian history had been bribed, the more charitable ones chose to seek refuge in the statement ‘he is being used by those politicians’ thereby at least absolving him of direct guilt. What was striking about this episode was the sheer anger that any association, however tenuous,with 'politics' can provoke. “Politics is too dirty for good people, even the best are ruined by politics” seems to be the underlying feeling. That even a veritable player like Sachin Tendulkar can be brought down by a mere association with Parliament, shows how strong the Anti-politics politics is to the ideas of social organization is in contemporary India. The natural consequence of this dangerous disillusionment with parliamentary democracy is desperation. And desperate times, as we all know, call for desperate measures, and desperate measures history amply demonstrates are extreme measures and extremism whether of the left or right wing will only grow as this desperation grows and this poses Indian democracy an existential threat. 

The number of criminals in Indian politics is also increasing. This ‘criminalization of Indian politics’ ought actually to be called the ‘politicization of India’s criminals’. As power and clout begin to accumulate around the privileged class of politicians, a body of willing enforcers whose job is to perpetuate and protect the politician become necessary. These muscle men are becoming an integral part of local level politics and this nexus between goon and godfather soon becomes more than just a symbiotic relationship. The recruitment of muscle men (and women) into the rank and file of political parties has evolved into an indispensable part of the political dispensation. It was only natural for the criminals to themselves power their way into the political class under their patron’s eye. This open trend has further disillusioned the law abiding citizen and served to alienate him from the Netas.

Possibly, the gravest charge of which present day Indian politicians are guilty is that of blatantly promoting caste and communal polarization with a view to harnessing the power of identity politics. This shameless caste and communal maneuvering is in many ways the result and also in some ways the cause of the aforementioned ills plaguing the Indian political scene. When identity-religious, caste based, or regional becomes the major or sole criteria for electing representatives all other aspects of the candidate’s public life become irrelevant. Indeed even the candidate him/herself becomes irrelevant. Only the party counts and the parties stand on polarizing issues counts.This inflames polarization and further stokes the fire of extremist politics. The shrill voices of hatred and prejudice occupy the center stage and leaders who would otherwise represent the fringe of a fringe come to flow in the mainstream, vitiating public discourse with vile and hateful propaganda. 

In all this what is lost and relegated to civics textbooks and history classes is the dream that was independent India. On August 15th 1947, India’s founders, a group of extremely intelligent and farsighted, if unduly idealistic individuals, led their country to nationhood. A country that was, to Churchill’s mind ‘no more a nation than the equator’ was brought together to form a modern democracy. Even the most ardent claimant for India’s nationhood, however, had to acknowledge that India wasn’t a nation in the strict European sense of the word. There simply was no single basis upon which an argument for its underlying unity could be made. It did not have a common language let alone a common culture. Religion in post partition polarized environment could hardly serve as the driving force behind a democracy and we owe our founding fathers an eternal debt of gratitude for having recognized this (something the Pakistani leadership failed to grasp with disastrous consequences). After the unlikely Gandhian dream of peaceful independence had been shattered by a violent partition Religion threatened to tear the subcontinent apart. A more all-embracing power had to be summoned to invoke nationhood. It is a credit to the incredible genius and indefatigable Idealism of the first generation of independent India’s leaders that they sought and found this power in a common vision, a common dream-the Idea of a Democratic, Secular, Republic.

It is this invention, this remolding of India, this deliberate refashioning of the nation’s ethos to incorporate elements of the Indian identity which empowered a democratic impulse and this conscious suppression of forces that might rend this vision that was the greatest contribution of India’s first politicians. 

Fast forward to today’s politics-How many politicians articulate this glorious vision and stand by its core values? 
In the sludge of communal identity politics, caste combinatorics and winnability permutations this dream has all but faded from the eyes of the nation. Their seems to be no contemporary politician who can even pretend to match the idealism of a Nehru proclaiming the redemption of India’s pledge, a Maulana Azad ascending the steps of the Jama Masjid to urge his compatriots not to leave their homeland or a Sardar Patel whose Iron-will forged a Union from the crucible of communal fervor and princely recalcitrance.

So, is contemporary cynicism about India’s politicians absolutely justified? Is there no redeeming feature, one promising prospect in this political muck? 
A few years back most young Indians would be tempted to answer in the affirmative. Indeed the majority still do. But in the last few years a slight sliver of light has emerged on the dark horizons of our political class. A single ray of hope has given some among the youth hope that a liberal, democratic, plural nation is not just a forgotten dream but our common inheritance.

Dr.Shashi Tharoor won the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency seat by a landslide in March 2009. The distinguished diplomat who almost made it to the highest office of the U.N he had predictably been written off as an ‘outsider’ by the ‘political class’. But this ‘outsider’ baggage was and continues to be his biggest asset and is what makes him such an exciting new voice in India. One of the few successful professionals in the Parliament, his life story defies each of the points we have marked as the stereotypes that distinguish India’s political class.

1.He does not come from a family of any political influence and is free from the taint of hereditary political inheritance.
2.He is highly educated and a distinguished writer. Above all he is a remarkable speaker and his extraordinary eloquence is and always has been directed not at bombastic demagoguery or instigation but at articulating the inspiring vision of Modern India to a whole new generation.
3.His civility (in a parliament which, only too often echoes with the most unparliamentary language not to forget fist fights, Hulk like seat uprooting’s, walk outs etc.),rational mode of argument, immense scholarship seem almost out of place in the cruel cacophony of our 'Netagiri'. 
The first Indian politician to adopt twitter as a platform to communicate with the people, it was this openness that led to his first run in with Indian hypocrisy. 

The same media that often calls for transparency and openness from our politicians became (to the glee of the opposition and even some of his colleagues no doubt) a serial Tharoor baiter. His crime-using clever English idiom and unusually subtle vocabulary (if -‘interlocutor’-one who takes part in dialogue or conversation-Marriam Webster dictionary-can be called that), unusually subtle that is for a country and a media used to decades of mulling over the intricacies of the latest 'Laluism', or grasping at the crudities of the latest right wing hate speech and inured to the uncompromising ambivalence and aggressive insolence of the major party spokespersons. With such an environment of crudity, rudeness and rough rustic humor it is small wonder that Dr.Tharoor's polite humor, subtlety and sophistication came across as shocking. Of course he  ‘was unaware of Indian sensibilities’ why else would he be ill-advisedly idiomatic in his humor and lavish in his vocabulary. All the holy cows of Indian politics were offended at his holy cow remark and in a moment (not a few of them from his own party) became wolves baying for this ‘outsiders’ blood. They got their revenge soon enough after a media managed crucifixion led to Dr.Shashi Tharoor’s resignation as minister of state for external affairs. 

Was there truly was no hope for a hardworking, self-made professional in India’s politics? 
If all the sleaze and self righteous furor that surrounded Dr.Tharoor's resignation is any indication then one would be led to conclude in the negative. So, what is it then that makes the pluralistic, non-confrontational, professional style that make marks Shashi Tharoor's politics important, in spite of the fact that Dr.Tharoor himself had to resign when faced with conventional style politics. The answer can be encapsulated in one single word- 'Vision'

In a nation reeling with 'a scam a day' the average Indian seems to be tending dangerously close to being ashamed rather than proud of 'democray' in India.In such a situation an articulate politician who once again brings out that great tradition of Idealistic statesmanship that the Indian founding fathers upheld and celebrated is indeed God sent. 

How rare is a politician who in the midst of blatant caste and communal, regional and linguistic vote bank politics reminds us of the majesty of the Idea of India- "In India we celebrate the commonality of major differences; we are a land of belonging rather than of blood." -“The only possible idea of India is that of a nation greater than the sum of its parts.” And even rarer is a politician who breaks ranks with his party men or places his conscience higher than his 'high command' as Dr.Tharoor has done on various issues (most recently on the strike called by the UDF in Kerala as a protest against the killing of a former member of CPI-M). Dr.Tharoor is virtually the only politician who has consistently maintained a high standard of discourse even when his opponenets have resorted to scurrilous slander. It is these traits that mark Dr.Tharoor out as a new and powerful voice for a new India and it is a great credit to his ability that he seeks to do this not from the platform of the rumbunctious activist or the T.V studio of a high brow pundit (both of which he could have easily become) but as an elected representative of his people. I am sure that inspite of being 'controversy's favorite child' for the Indian media and inspite of what may be pereived as his elitism when all is said and done history will judge him with the same courtesy that George Orwell extended to Gandhi in his famous 'Reflections on Gandhi' - "regarded simply as a politician, and compared with the other leading  political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind."

May his tribe increase and for this to happen 'Tharoorians' must increase. It is this dynamic group of 'Tharoorians' who are prepared to set their narrow identities, prejudices and old habits aside and elect many more Tharoors to Parliament are important . 'Tharoorians' can, it is my belief, help reclaim the Indian dream.

Syed Faizan,
@syedfaizan87 on Twitter

The Writer is a medical graduate and hopes to specialize in Psychiatry. He is deeply interested in politics, creative writing and history.

Syed Faizan's series of Sonnets 'Indian Sonnets' can be downloaded as a free e-book at