A brilliant blogger
About six months back there was a blog post that moved me so much that the moment I finished reading it I had to link to it. I do not read too many blogs, especially these days, and chances of my reading a blog that I hadn't already noticed aren't great. But once in a while you do come across blogs, that were not on your radar, via friends' e-mails, comments or site meter. And I noticed a blog today and I would like to share with you the great reading experience.
The blogger in question, Ashish Thakare, is not a new blogger at all. It's just that I never noticed his blog before. Some of you could be Ashish's readers as well. After all, he's there in the blogrolls of a few prominent blogs.
There are a lot of bloggers in India today who try to listen to those who do a stupendous job in articulating the concerns of the underprivileged. These bloggers are keen to project the findings of these offbeat journalists and academics. Names like Uma, Vikrum, Shivam, Abi, Pablo and Krish immediately come to mind. Then there are journalists and writers who do admirable work themselves and blog about it. Dilip, Annie and Sonia and several others, for instance. And Ashish is a great addition to this latter category.
I was randomly reading posts from Ashish's blog -- Seeking Equipoise, it's titled -- and the impression that I get is that the blogger is candid, concerned and gutsy. I'll end with a few quotes from the blog and will request you to check it out.
Koteshwar Rao cannot stop laughing at the irony of his name. His name means ‘lord of crores’. In reality he is struggling everyday for a meal. His only source of income is the two acres he owns. Last two years have been hard for Koteshwar Rao -- his cotton crop failed to get him profits.
There are many such ‘Koteshwar Raos’ in the Palnadu region who are inching towards their doom due a severe agrarian crisis.
As Koteshwar Rao starts spraying pesticide on his farm, he hopes the approaching harvest season will fetch enough money for the ‘survival’ of his family. The farmers in Palnadu today are caught in this vicious circle of ruthless moneylenders, failed crops and government apathy.
The popular perception that while travelling in areas with naxal presence, one faces a threat from them. But the fact is that the Naxals will never cause harm to civilians, villagers; they will strike only the symbols of the state-predominantly the police. I would rather say that one feels threatened by the police. (I was sort of interrogated by an inspector as I was waiting for my team to pick me from Veldhurti mandal. He was told that some ‘outsider’ was talking to people and officials in the Mandal office; and that was reason enough to ask me questions indirectly through a panwallah. It was a bit ridiculous to have the inspector first asking the panwallah the question, who in turn asked me. It was a weird three way conversation which ended with me walking up to the inspector and asking him to speak to me directly.)
The night passed by and I wondered whether every night in Durgi was just like this one.
... the media now seems to have lost its direction. (I say this in spite of being a media person and put myself under the scanner). Take the Gurgaon episode, where the employees of the Honda factory went for a strike and then were mercilessly beaten up by the Haryana Police (rather the goons of the Corporate giants). As the state terror was being unleashed, the news channels were debating the impact that the strike will have on the investor confidence. The remote foreign investor was more important than the Indian laborer who was struggling for his legitimate rights. It was easy to condemn the laborers for the strike, but then we all forget the fact that when a laborer goes on strike he/she never has it easy. At stake are the daily wages, the basic question of feeding the stomach and whether the next morning will dawn or not.
An interesting aspect of globalization is that the nation state is pressurized ‘from above’ and also ‘from below’. Pressure ‘from above’ means pressure from global institutions like (UN, WTO, IMF etc), MNCs, NGOs (e.g. Greenpeace) etc. Pressure ‘from below’ means that citizens of a state now are able to connect and identify with their counterparts in other states more easily and intensely. Technology has rendered geographical borders redundant.
There cannot be a denial of globalization. It is a true phenomenon which affects every society and state. The main question lies in how the states use globalization to deliver good governance and achieve the goal of welfare state.
All the debates regarding the Gurgaon episode speculated about its effect on the Foreign Investment Scenario in India. The entire galaxy of experts did show concern but for the big corporate giants.
The question that arises is -- for whom does the state exist and function?
I do agree that labor reforms and concerned issues need to be resolved. And I also feel that labor reforms should keep in mind the inevitable forces of globalization. But what is happening now in India is disgusting. The Gurgaon episode epitomizes the predicament that India faces. What will emerge out of it will play an crucial role in defining India’s development.
In my personal opinion Arundhati Roy is a ‘one-book wonder’ who has been hyped up a lot. I tried reading her novel The God of Small Things but found it too boring and then just left it. Some may find that I am being too judgmental about her but I regard her as a socialite and a rebel (word used in a negative connotation) who rebels for the sake of it and raises questions without really seeking to answer them.
Ashish is just 21 and I understand from his blog that he's currently a student at the Asian School of Journalism. His posts and his style show a level of maturity that's very striking. I wish he's going to be consistent and comes up with many more posts of the same quality.
In one of his posts he wrote about his joining the ACJ.
With dreams in my eyes, hope in my heart and a promise to work hard I make a move to a new destination; and I quote the lines by Robert Frost which always guide me: miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep!