piyush kaviraj

feelings and musings…

Leave a comment

The importance of differences in opinion in the evolution of thought

differences in opinion are to ideological evolution what mutation is to genetics! Nicely put forth.. “Just as mutation is necessary for biological evolution, this difference in perception and interpretation is necessary for ideological evolution”.

Reblogged from: http://triformedlamb.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment

A Scotland on Kashmir? – “article from The Hindu”

A Scotland on Kashmir? – The Hindu.

Many thousands of Kashmiris who live in Scotland could vote in the Scottish referendum, but they have little say in their own State

In last week’s referendum, the campaign for Kashmir’s status took a surprising turn when citizens of the State voted overwhelmingly to stay with India. With a 90 per cent turnout in virtually all districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the vote made it abundantly clear that separatist forces, fuelled by neighbouring Pakistan, had been convincingly defeated. Yasin Malik, who had supported the idea of an independent homeland for the Kashmiris, immediately asked for a recount; the vote however clearly stated that the majority of the local population wished to remain with India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had endorsed the referendum is expected to appear on national television to outline constitutional reforms, giving greater autonomy to Kashmir within the Indian union…

Sixty seven years after independence, the Indian state still struggles with such archaic ideas of nationalism; it is hard to imagine that the recent referendum for Scottish independence could ever see a similar call to some sort of partial self-rule in Kashmir.

But the comparison with Scotland is perhaps unfair, for Scotland has been part of a 300-year-old union, and its attempted withdrawal was triggered largely by issues of domestic governance. Kashmir on the other hand poses more complex issues of religious, ethnic and national identity. Without the participation of thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees, obviously no referendum on Kashmir can be fair. Moreover, unlike Scotland, Kashmir’s status as disputed territory multiplies choices, not just for independence, but whether to align with a neighbour, and if so, which neighbour.


Separatist movements in other parts of the world have only marginally succeeded in creating autonomy, certainly not complete freedom. In the 1980 and 1995 referendum, Quebec rejected independence and chose to stay with Canada. The Flemish have campaigned long enough for a territory of their own in divided Belgium. Even separatists in Spain have been inspired by the Scottish vote; Royo-Marine, a Catalonian leader, insisting that “nothing can stop the will of people.” Doubtless Kashmiri separatists also watched the Scottish referendum closely.

At the heart of the problem lies the Indian practice of nationalism, often confused with private patriotism. The country’s status as an old civilisation and a young nation contributes to such collective insecurity and anxiety. It becomes essential to parade around all the symbol of togetherness at public functions — the national anthem, the tricolour, the Ashok Chakra, and an endless array of cultural diehard longings that make patriotic statements to others: Republic Day and Independence Day celebrations, the ‘India Day Parade’ in New York, Ram-Leela in London. The country’s touchy patriotism is also singed easily by petty cricketing loyalties. Even if long-settled Indians in England root for the Indian team, the occasional Kashmiri chant for Pakistan is a slur hard to bear. God forbid an Indian athlete accidentally holds the flag upside down, or drapes it like a lungi, or forgets to mouth the words of the anthem. To a nation unsure of its identity, these are grave, unpardonable insults.

For the most part, the rest of the world treats its national symbols with less reverence and with the banter of easy familiarity, not to be taken too seriously. The American national anthem is sometimes played as a pornographic medley on radio; ‘Stars and Stripes’ is available as underwear, socks, and bandannas. The Brazilian flag was recently converted to a football and kicked around.

Referendums on independence and flags as underwear are of course for self-assured nations that value human choice and dignity over a vague and — now in the 21st century — waning patriotism.

Liberties that matter

Who is Indian, what he eats, who he worships, what company he keeps, in which country he lives, all have little relevance in a world that no longer respects borders. Certainly at the time of independence, when the Kashmir problem was framed, nationalism was a natural sentiment, triggered as it was by anti-colonialism. At the time, it was the binding glue necessary for a country discovering its new identity. That time is long past. But as a people, perhaps, we have not progressed beyond the assertion of symbolic identity — not far enough to see that individual and private liberties may matter more. And that people in Kashmir, or the North East, or Tamil Nadu, might have real reasons to ask for certain freedoms — choices they should be allowed, in the very least, to state.

It is ironic that many thousands of Kashmiris who live in Scotland could vote in the Scottish referendum, but have little say in their own State. Obviously, a settled long-term political peace is a necessary condition for any referendum. Under the present cloud of acrimonious rhetoric, a Bilawal Bhutto screaming hoarse about Kashmiri possession, and a State reeling under a natural calamity, the Indian stance needs to be balanced by cautious wisdom. Sadly, whenever ideas of partial autonomy and greater self-rule are raised, the government puts up institutional smokescreens, and claims allegiance to archaic and oft-repeated measures and processes. A nervous nationalism quickly comes to the fore with the persistent refrain about India’s integrity, United Nations resolutions and at what level to talk with Pakistan. When the only solution sought is perpetual stalemate, the problem will never go away.

(Gautam Bhatia is a Delhi-based architect and writer.)

Leave a comment

What is the shame about?

I have no idea how my friends and peer would react if I have to tell them, while crossing a Pharmacist/general store, that I have to buy a sanitary pad for a female friend or my sister. Its a taboo word which brings nothing less than a wicked smile and a silly sense of embarassment. Menstruation and sanitary pads are sort of forbidden words which can only be ‘whisper’ed, not openly acknowledged or discussed. Prerna .has stayed-free of the pressures of our hypocrite and pseudo-modern society and blogged the following: Well written and Kudos!! I hope this article would serve as an eye-opener to many! Read on…


I go to the medical shop and ask for a sanitary Napkin.

First, I myself use a euphemism to a ‘pad’. I then correct myself, and say, bhaiiya Pad chahiye.

Then I think, why didn’t I just call it a pad first? What is wrong with a pad? It does not sound wrong? Why was I so sophisticated about it? I decide, that next time I come, I will call it a pad directly, no euphemisms. I won’t even use the company’s name until the shopkeeper asks my choice.

Then he asked me the company, I told him, Stayfree. He asked me the size. I told him. A friend of mine from college, a male friend came inside the shop. I smiled at him. He  saw me holding the pack of pads. Then he took his pills and went on his way. He did not even talk to me. He was shy that he ‘caught’ me buying pads.

Then the shopkeeper suddenly emerged with a newspaper, and two polythenes. He took a newspaper, wrapped up my pad, then took up a white polythene, and then put the white polythene in the black polythene.

I said, “Bhaiiya, bomb nahi hai. Aur itna plastic waste mat kariye. Charas leke nahi jaa rahi.” ( Bhaiiya, it is not a bomb, and do not waste so much plastic. I am not taking hashish anyway.)

He just looked at me with a confused look. I removed the polythene, and all the cover ups he had given the mighty packet of pads. I was not even carrying a bag. I just took the plain Stayfree packet in my hand, and I WALKED towards home. And by home I mean college. I live in my college.

Sadly the route I took inside college had nobody. Nobody could see what I had done. I just wished somebody saw me with the packet. Because I  bet their reactions would have been priceless- shocked, and flustered.

Why? Why is a packet of pad a matter of shame that it has to be covered up? Why is that it is not simply thought of as medicare? I bleed in a gap of 27 days every month and hell, so did your mother, so does your sister, so does your girlfriend. It is not a matter of shame- it is actually a sign of the health of a woman. Please, I hold hands and I beg of you, not to buy a black polythene covered pad. Just throw it directly in the shopping basket.

And my dad buys sanitary napkin for me, if my mother is unwell and I can’t go out for some reason. Guys, if you are told by your girl-friends, girlfriends, wives, sisters or mothers to buy a pack of pads- do not be ashamed. It is not a matter of shame- it is something a girl needs and it need not be a matter of shame. Please, try and be logical about this. It is not a matter of being flustered. I bleed, I need something to cover it up, and you are buying it, and I am buying, and if you are a seller you are selling it, you don’t have to cover it up under polythenes over polythenes. It just symbolises our society- covered up with hypocrisies and bullshit and whatever is underneath gets lost.

%d bloggers like this: