It’s About Time Youngsters Start Taking Politics Seriously

India’s political landscape is changing. Every second day, we see a political unrest rocking the world. A political leader lands in controversy. Protests are organised, petitions are signed, seminars are held, but at the end of the day, we find it hard to find a solution. 

Ever wondered what the problem is? The problem is: youngsters aren’t interested in politics. Well, we can’t blame the youngsters. Almost every year, we see chairs being thrown by our respected MPs during Rajya Sabha meetings. No matter how disinterested you are, you can never run away from politics. Political decisions keep affecting you throughout your lives.

The moment your high school is over, you get yourself enrolled in a university. Quite frankly, it is quite easy to keep political developments at bay during graduation. As a student, political events taking place in and around the country never caught my attention. During graduation, we had 10,000 different things to look into. All of us wanted a job, and that’s about it. And so, in a quest to get our hands on a lucrative job offer, we distance ourselves from anything that’s even remotely political. 

The Truth (Well, Yes)

No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to run away from politics. Politics is all pervasive. Suppose a housing bill is passed. It will affect all the students who plan to buy a new house. Furthermore, if metro fares are hiked by the AAP govt in Delhi, students commuting through the rapid transit are bound to get affected and so on and so forth. You know what they say about “personal being political”? One cannot escape politics and one must not either.

The Necessity Of Being Politically Aware

As students, we need to make our presence felt. It forms an important part of growing up. Start speaking about what you believe in. Universities provide you with an excellent platform to make yourself heard. Discuss, debate, critique policies and statements by our leaders. Not everybody needs to become an MP. You need to stay on top of the political developments because all of these developments, no matter how small or insignificant they might appear, will end up affecting you in the long run. 

I remember attending a seminar at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi back in 2012. Arun Jaitley (Minister of Finance 2014-2019) had been invited has the chief guest. He was an Honorable Member of Parliament back then. He spoke on Public Accountability and Legal Reforms in India. I was asked to attend the lecture because many of my batchmates were on leave and some wanted to simply reach home a bit early. I decided to attend the lecture in order to grab some chai and samosa. That lecture, I must admit, rekindled my interest in politics. The lecture was enjoyable. It kept it me on the edge of my seat. I was so engrossed that I completely forgot about the chai-samosa. Today, I make it a point to keep myself abreast of all the political developments.

But Why Aren’t Youngsters Interested In Politics?

Politics doesn’t sound exciting. There’s a belief that Indian politics does not do anything for the welfare of its citizens. Most of us think that politicians are busy lining their pockets. This happens to be a common belief. Furthermore, the country’s current political landscape does not take every youngster into account. It goes without saying that a lot of political debates fail to attract youngsters. They aren’t ‘exciting’, but the lack of excitement certainly cannot undermine the importance of such debates. Just once in your life, go and attend a seminar, a debate, or a protest, and your outlook towards politics will change. 

As far as the protests are concerned, the contemporary student activist has a host of resources at his disposal. Gone are the days when dharnas and hunger strikes were organised to protest against oppressive governments. Today, all we need to overthrow a government is a successful, channelised social media campaign. If there are enough signatures on an online petition, then the parties in question will have to step down. Power cannot be retained if people go against you. Hierarchies can be broken today, and that’s a luxury we didn’t have earlier.

The decisions taken by those in power will take years to come into force. Many of the decisions will be implemented only after you’ve graduated. Nothing will change overnight, but being politically aware and active will always help you stay on top of the game. If an oppressive government comes into power, a politically-informed citizenry can make it bite the dust.

‘Wake Up Sid’ is One Sincere Attempt to Highlight The Issues Faced by Youngsters…

It certainly would be no overstatement to say that today, a youngster’s life has become as complicated as it possibly can. The degree of parental pressure to succeed on the academic front is immense. Also, a vast majority of parents still nurture this belief that choosing a conventional career path is the only way to succeed in life. The slang ‘Mera beta engineer banega’ has still got a considerable amount of steam left in it.  Parental pressure often ends up robbing children of the small joys they come across in their lives. Continue reading “‘Wake Up Sid’ is One Sincere Attempt to Highlight The Issues Faced by Youngsters…”

Four Short Films Made by Students Which Deal With Social Issues…

That films are an integral part of our life is no hyperbole. Cinema, because of its wider reach and accessibility, is no less than a mirror which helps us reflect on a host of issues that the society comes across.

The likes of social media platforms such as YouTube have allowed amateur filmmakers and students to come forward and voice their concerns regarding anything and everything under the sun.  From blood donation to physical disability to the ever-growing problem of child abuse, countless videos are being churned out by students in with an intent to mobilise public opinion and bring about a desirable change.

Continue reading “Four Short Films Made by Students Which Deal With Social Issues…”

Life Cycle…

To whom does this body belong?
I don’t know whose body is it
It’s the same old story,
be it night or day

I seem to have forgotten the world
or has this world forgotten me?
my mind is running riot; I’m baffled
From where is this smog rising?

My mind seems to be flooding with forgotten memories
I don’t remember anything
It’s a flood of broken memories
I seem to be losing my mind

What are these memories turning me into? (A hideous, crimson monster)
I can’t escape
I’m losing myself
It is a nightmarish dream
that keeps haunting me while I sleep

I see my body lying motionlessly in an ocean of grief
All my words are lying in disarray right in front of my eyes
Hollow bodies, fragile and mortal
Floating aimlessly like dead weights

Our bodies are wilting away like dead leaves
Exhausted, depleted, and lost
I vanish into thin air
To return, in another form…

 

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

Bullying and Communal Violence: Muslims are an Easy Target

One of the many things I hate about communal violence is that it ends up claiming the lives of innocents. The people who instigate the violence often end up finding an escape and the innocent victims are made to pay for somebody else’s fault.

Skimming through opinion pieces and news stories has been my habit ever since I was a teenager. It helps me keep track of the good, the bad, and everything in between.  Of late, I have come across quite a few stories wherein hate crimes against Muslims were brought to light. There have been cases of islamophobic bullying being carried out in the Western world. A research report issued by the Council on American-Islamic Relations brings to light a significant surge in the anti-Muslim incidents post 2017.

It is profoundly disturbing that the Muslim world has, for long, been pigeonholed. Some call them terrorists while others call them orthodox and rigid. Discrimination against Muslims is not something new. It has been happening for ages. Be it in the company boardrooms or professional sports, discrimination against Muslims is scaling new heights with each passing day.

The problem doesn’t end here. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Hatred against Muslims isn’t just limited to the boardrooms, it is everywhere. It begins in schools, where Muslim children are stereotyped and labeled ‘backward’. They aren’t accepted as part of social systems. Islamophobia isn’t just marked by illegal detentions and arrests. It seems to have crept into our daily life.

Very recently, I came across a news story wherein a park in Noida (India) was waterlogged in order to prevent the Muslims from offering their evening Namaaz (prayers). Also, workplaces in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have been asked to instruct their Muslim employees to refrain themselves from offering Friday Namaaz in public places. Now, waterlogging a park in order to avoid a peaceful religious gathering showcases nothing but fickle-mindedness of the authorities involved.

 Making people Feel Inferior is a Human Nature

Talking about hate and bitterness reminds me of the endless conflicts between the Sikhs and the Muslims. As I am a Sikh, you’d think that I hate Muslims, but you’d be surprised to know that some of my closest friends are Muslims. I sit with them when I am at work, while I eat my lunch, etc. Over the years, I have realized that people love to hate somebody.

I remember being bullied for being a Sikh. My turban was untied by a bunch of bullies and quite shockingly, one of the bullies happened to be a Sikh hims. Stories of children being bullied on the lines of religion happen to be a commonplace. The sad part is that the media doesn’t consider such stories to be newsworthy and peppy.

It comes as a surprise hatred against isn’t just limited to non-Muslims. It comes from other Muslims as well. Take the example of Syria. The country has turned into a bloody battlefield wherein countless innocent people are being slaughtered by rigid Muslim factions.

Creating a Healthy Environment

The first step to getting rid of hatred is to realize that all of us, irrespective of religion, sex, caste, etc. are nothing but human beings.  This reminds me of a dialogue from the popular Bollywood film “My Name is Khan” starring Shah Rukh Khan wherein his mother tells him that there are only two types of people in this world i.e. good and bad. The sooner we realize that bullies don’t have a religion, the easier it would be for all of us to keep moving in life. Forget Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, and Isaahi, judge a person by his/her habits and the world would be a better place ( hopefully).

Bits & Pieces

As I lay in bed, with your arms wrapped around me
I couldn’t think of anything apart from thee
When the heavens opened, the earth, in its entirety,
succumbed to the soft-falling shower.
As we lay beside each other, my heart skipped a beat
I guess it symbolized latent power

Overflowing streams of thought overpower me
As I think of you, with a thousand inked pages
Lying in front of me
At yet, not a single word has the power to describe you,
because you’re a spirit, completely untamed and free

Today, when I hold my pen between my fingers
I tend to realize that you’re quite a humdinger
You made me write what was untold
It lied there, in the coffers,
So cruel and cold

Whenever, in the shackles of ignominy, I am caught
Pieces of you overthrow the clutter
It is here that memories begin to return
And curtains of darkness, thick and suffocating
Begin to burn

Again, as I lay in my bed,
with a thousand fragments of unspoken thoughts lying beside me,
I look into your eyes
which have, after a long night, become heavy and red
You count up to three
And, as always, a piece of you flies into me

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest

A Passing Shower…

There’s eternal beauty in your eyes,
but the world thinks it’s a lie
I just can’t take my eyes off you
I don’t know why

We stood there for hours
And yet, neither of us could speak
A few silent whispers escaped your lips
While both of us lay silent, roared aloud the passing shower

There’s a thread which kept us together
In days bright and sunny, as well as in inclement weather
As I held your hand, you began to mumble
Right at this moment, our hearts began to crumble

It’s a turmoil, but not a never-ending one
Moist eyes want heat and light
It’s cold, and it’s white
Our sky doesn’t have a sun

“Your love brought me back from the coffers”, she said
As she finished saying this, her eyes turned red
I want to tell her what those words did to me
I fell in love with her all over again, can’t you see?

 

Picture Courtesy: Pinterest