Tensing Carlos Rodrigues

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

I am not a Marxist !

In Politically wrong on June 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

i am not a marxist. i have hated marxism all my life. And have stood by free enterprise even when it was politically wrong to do so. 

The red.

But, no i have not changed my mind, but i see no other option to get out of the situation into which we have let ourselves drift. 

i am not talking about the economic or political affairs. We have a robust and vibrant democracy. i am quite happy with that. that is the reason i am not even for a Lokpal. Yes, the corruption is there; rather too much of it. But that is because we like it that way. i fully agree that it thwarts our economic progress. But the truth is very simple : the day we decide that we do not want it, it will be gone. We do not require a major surgery to extricate it; definitely not a deft surgeon. We need to just drop it, and it will be in the dust, dead. 

But that is not the issue i am agitated about. My nightmare is about the people and their resources – the relation between them. Somebody asked the Gonds what price they want for their sacred hill – what price they want to sell their God for. You may be anything – a believer, an agnostic or even an atheist. But that is a question that gets to your bile sac. The question is not about the sacredness of the hill. The question is about the sacredness of the relationship between a people and their resources. You cannot profane that. 

No, socialism is not a solution for the problem. Because, with that comes centralisation of power. And that is where the problem lies. For the powerful have a vested interest in concentration of control over resources. Democracy is what suits the people’s control over resources the best. But, more of democracy, not less. The people to whom belong the resources should have more control over the resources.

Who is going to give them more control, more power ? No one; they need to wrest it, with force if necessary. That is where marxism comes in – marxism of the proletariat, not marxism of the politburo.

i see no other way out. Do i propose a violent class war ? No, not necessarily. But certain amount of coercion is necessary. Old dirt does not go with sponge; one needs a fairly abrasive scrubber. Democracy has to be the main plank. But a more aggressive democracy. Shall i say democracy of the proletariat, not the democracy of the politburo ?

That brings the focus back on “we”. Yes, we the people. 


Shall we preside over the demise of Indian democracy ?

In Politically wrong on June 13, 2011 at 1:01 am

How did you find the movie “A Wedneday !” ?

Apart from everything else the movie focuses on one very significant point : Ends do not justify means.

That’s exactly where i beg to differ with Anna Hazare and the rest.

We are all fed up with corruption; boiling angry and ready to shoot from the hip. Agreed. But is setting up a Lokpal the solution to the problem ?

According to me : NO.

The Lokpal will act and punish the guilty (i suppose so) when she receives a complaint. The complaint has to be investigated. There cannot be summary trials. Will evidence come forth ? How fast will the decision come ? Given this, will the whole process be “effective” in curbing corruption ? If i am the one who has a vested interest in bribing the man in power – be it a bureaucrat or a politician – will i want to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Whom do you expect to bell the cat then, if  Tom and Jerry have a “symbiotic” relationship ?

So, Lokpal cannot be expected to be any more effective in curbing corruption than the existing machinery. The cure for corruption lies not in recruiting a new surgeon; corruption can be cured only if the patient wills to undergo the surgery.

But i fear worse. Lokpal is not a democratic institution. Frustrated with democracy we are tempted by dictatorship. That may be explainable; but it is definitely not justifiable. Let us not be blinded by our anger. We have set out to create a Frankenstein that may eventually destroy our democracy. Let us not forget that whatever our disappointment with it, our democracy has served us well. It has thrown the mighty into dust and raised the lowly to power. However much its shortcomings may overwhelm us for the moment, let us not dump it in a fit of anger. History shall not pardon us for that.

Why i beg to differ with Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, …

In Politically wrong on June 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

A Wednesday!    is a 2008 Indian thriller drama film written and directed by Neeraj Pandey. It stars Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah in the lead roles. The film depicts an about-to-retire police commissioner narrating a sequence of events that unfolded on a particular Wednesday and which do not exist in any written record, but only in his mind and in those of several individuals who were involved in it, both willingly and unwillingly, and how those events affected the lives of all the concerned people.

The  film opens witMumbai Police Commissioner Prakash Rathod taking a respite after a jog, describing in a voice-over that he is going to retire from office the following day, and how numerous people have been recently questioning him about the most challenging case he had to deal with in his entire career, and how he has been deliberately evading such questions. As his voice-over ends the film switches into a narrative, showing the events that occurred on a certain Wednesday. An unnamed man is shown to strategically carry a travel bag, assumed to be explosives, in the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station and proceeding to place the bag, under the false pretense of lodging an FIR, in the toilet of a police station located near the Mumbai Police headquarters. He then calls up Rathod and informs him that 5 bombs have been placed in different locations throughout Mumbai, which are programmed to explode simultaneously within four hours unless the Commissioner gives in to his demands and releases four militants. In response, Rathod immediately alerts his team involved in intelligence research and surveillance, tapping all the available resources in gathering preliminary information and tracing the location of the caller. Meanwhile, the caller tips off television news reporter Naina Roy, telling her to reach the police headquarters immediately as it is going to be “the most important day of her life”. Rathod suspects the anonymous caller to be bluffing, but his doubts are dispelled as the caller, to prove his seriousness and the police force’s helplessness, reveals that a bomb has been planted in the police station right opposite to the Police headquarters. He tries to trigger the bomb through a cell phone, but it is located in the nick of time and defused.

Meanwhile, as Rathod and his team desperately try to locate the caller, the four militants demanded by the caller are taken to the location specified by the caller.

Click this link to view the last scene of the movie : A Wednesday !

Between the devil and the deep sea … and beyond.

In Politically wrong on June 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

I know you may not agree with me; more than that, you are likely to say the whole idea is ridiculous. I will concede that. For history is full of ridiculous ideas; the only problem is that many of them became dogmas in course of time. So it’s OK. There is, i feel, nothing wrong in an idea being ridiculous.

Let me nokeep you in suspense for long. This is not that big an idea. Surely it will not become a  dogma even in distant future. Or, it may, who knows. So, might as well let me say it.

The idea is simple; yes simple. Goa should give up mining and tourism. Both have destroyed Goa. How shall we survive after that ? 

As a drunkard survives after he kicks the bottle. There will be withdrawal symptoms, sure. But who said there is no life beyond the booze ? 

Get it ? We better do; or else there may not be life beyond ! 

How far the red territory ?

In Politically wrong on June 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Namdeo Dhasal’s feni remark did anger us all then. Thirty years later i am tempted to take recourse to his iconic poetry to describe our plight. Go on and read .. the pathos … the pain … and the ” degradation, obscenity, filth and horror rage untamed”. 


I am a venereal sore in the private part of language.
The living spirit looking outof hundreds of thousands of sad, pitiful eyes has shaken me.

I am broken by the revolt exploding inside me.
There’s no moonlight anywhere;
There’s no water anywhere.

A rabid fox is tearing off my flesh with its teeth;
And a terrible venom-like cruelty
Spreads out from my monkey-bone.

Release me from my infernal identity.
Let me fall in love with these stars.
A flowering violet has begun to crawl towards horizons.
An oasis is welling up on a cracked face.
A cyclone is swirling in irreducible vulvas.
A cat has commenced combing the hairs of agony.

The night has created space for my rage.
A stray dog has started dancing in the window’s eye.
The beak of an ostrich has begun to break open junk.
An Egyptian carrot is starting to savour physical reality.
A poem is arousing a corpse from its grave.
The doors of the self are being swiftly slammed shut.
There’s a current of blood flowing through all pronouns now.
My day is rising beyond the wall of grammar.
God’s shit falls on the bed of creation.
Pain and roti are being roasted in the same tandoor’s fire.
The flame of the clothless dwells in mythologies and folklore.
The rock of whoring is meeting live roots;
A sigh is standing up on lame legs;
Satan has started drumming the long hollowness.

A young green leaf is beginning to swing at the door of desire.
Frustration’s corpse is being sewn up.
A psychopathic muse is giving a shove to the statue of eternity.
Dust begins to peel armour.
The turban of darkness is coming off.

You, open your eyes: all these are old words.
The creek is getting filled with a rising tide;
Breakers are touching the shoreline.

Yet, a venom-like cruelty spreads out from my monkey-bone.

It’s clear and limpid: like the waters of the Narmada river.

Namdeo Dhasal (translated by Dilip Chitre).

Place it in the context of the Maoist insurgency in red corridor. You may find it a far fetched idea today. But tomorrow is still beyond us. As was today thirty years ago when i heard Dhasal’s feni remark. Let us look beyond the places and people – at the issues. Please do not be alarmed; but concerned definitely. The tide of time does not care whether we have understood it or not; it comes in anyway.

Could Balli be a call for soul searching, and action ?

Beggars are choosers now.

In Politically wrong on June 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

There will be a lot of factfinding about the Balli violence. Were the tribal activists drunk ? Who burned the two activists ? Was the goverment highhanded and brutal ? Did the police over react ? Did UTAA preplan the violence ? 

A lot of facts may be found; though all that is found may not be facts; and all the facts may not be found. But it does not really matter. For facts are hardly the truth. That is why perhaps i was reminded of that wintry evening in Aurangabad, thirty years back, almost. 

What is the truth ? I do not know. But i know Balli is more than a flash in the pan. Balli is just the flare that shot off  a fire that has been kindling  for long now – at Cavrem, Rivona, Tilamol, … . It is not just about mining trucks and accidental deaths. It is about the choices a community is making about the resources it owns. 

Beggars cannot be choosers. Please do not mind my using that phrase. But that is what we were back in 1982, when we felt the dalit pain and sang songs of despair. That is all we could do. The world heard us; but called it beautiful poetry. Even awarded us for it; and feted us on the dais.

Times have changed. We no longer just cry. We act and retaliate to assert our freedom to choose. Right or wrong is ours to decide. More than anything else, we want the freedom to choose. We shall not beg for it, we shall not wait for it. For the resources are ours. Nothing else matters; for everything else we have. That is the difference between then and now.

Before Balli burned.

In Politically wrong on June 6, 2011 at 3:54 am

In the winter of 1982 i happened to join a group of Konkani writers for a workshop on Short Story at Marathwada University, Aurangabad. The workshop was organised by Western Zonal Council of Sahitya Akademi. Yes, in those days i did write short stories; and that is how i got into the group. However joining the group was no certification of the quality of my writing. The group included Pundalik Naik and his wife Hema, Tanaji Halarnkar and Harishchandra Nagwekar. But the workshop or the Konkani short story is not the subject of this post. What happened one evening there is what makes me write this; was that any way related to what happened at Balli a few days back ? This is just a loud thinking. But if you find some sense in it,Sociomitosis do give it a hard thought.

One of the evenings, after the official sessions were over, we were hosted for an informal chat over a cup of tea, by the Marathi Dalit Sahitya Mandal. Aurangabad was then, perhaps it still is, the heartland of Marathi dalit literature. The gathering was presided, if i remember right, by   Namdeo Dhasal, “poet feared and revered, founder of the Dalit Panthers, comrade of controversy, born untouchable.” (Dilip Chitre). As the evening wore on and discussions hotted up, in his inimitable “spume of raw fire” language he asked us : “How’s that there is no dalit literature in Konkani ?” Knowing very well that one of us was indeed a dalit; but Dhasal might not have ever read his works; for they cry for the land raped my mines and a people enslaved to despair. We tried to brush off the comment on the ground that there is dalit literature in Konkani, but we do not call it so. But Dhasal had his explanation. According to him probably feni numbs the pain of the Konkani dalit, the pain from which gushes forth the dalit literature.

Has the effect of feni on the Konkani dalit withered, so that Balli happened ?