Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Two Faces of Media

Lately, I've been pretty appalled by the two-faced nature of media (print, television, even radio) not just in India, but around the world. You hear the media's version of the story, which is often far, far from the factual sequence of actions. Take the pink chaddi campaign for instance. There are two sides to the coin, but the completely pseudo-secular Indian media took its own 180º take on it.

So, my sources for news used to be (notice the past tense) mainly:
  • Times of India
  • The Hindu
  • The New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • CNN
  • BBC
I'd stopped reading the BBC website a long time ago, because most of the information on there is unreliable. You see, a couple of years ago, I didn't know any better. I assumed, like most people, that the media is credible, and that its the best source of correct information.

I have come to know better. These days, I may click on the above websites a total of a couple of times a month, if at all. There are in fact, several factually correct, reliable and informative sources online, which I am happily discovering. Some of them are blogs (long live blogging!) and others are non-mainstream websites.

When a newspaper can give expensive valuable word count to radicalized elements like Arundhati Roy, who not only do not project a mainstream Indian view, but actually defend terrorist activities on Indian soil and after each incident, find ways to justify terrorism and loose treatment to terrorists/murders, then I lose all respect for that news source, and that newspaper quickly loses my business.

Lately, I've been engrossed in a whole new genre of blogs which I've been discovering one by one (links to the right), with a wealth of information. For example, Indians who are really interested in knowing about the security situation of India should read ex-RAW Chief Vikram Sood's Perspectives or ex-Indian Police Officer KPS Gill's website SATP.org (instead of listening to the lunatic Barkha Dutts on NDTV).

Barkha Dutt deserves a whole post dedicated to her non-existent professionalism, and shoddy journalism, which resulted in the loss of a woman's life in the 26/11 Massacre. But several more knowledgeable bloggers have already ripped her journalistic incapabilities to pieces - so I will leave her alone for now.

I have no doubt that false-news reporting media are close to extinction. But we need to accelerate the process and put them out of their misery sooner rather than later.

Long live the bloggers of the world!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Its soon going to be two years since I've been in Barcelona. Strange how time flies, and strange how life progresses. I was reading over this blog, when it was in its early stages. It was a strange feeling. I know I wrote that stuff (early 2007 posts, especially while I was travelling) but it seems as though someone else wrote it. It seems like a little girl speaking. Those writings almost seem childish to me now, similar to a little child opening wrapped gifts and explaining all that she got. Yet, it was me just two years ago.

Now I feel more aware, and possibly less capable to just let go the way I used to. They say that the more you know, the harder life is, or that 'ignorance is bliss.' I'm starting to wonder whether there is any truth to the saying. Because, its true, I do feel more aware. I've also become very sporadic writing here, and when I do, its something or the other that I have to vent about.

The economic crisis is at its peak. Spain has more lay-offs than any other EU country. Those of us still working are being told we're lucky to have our jobs. I'm started to wonder though if I've been sucked into the grind. Why do I feel so insignificant? As though I'm really not contributing one useful thing to the world?

I hope whatever it is, it passes. The winter has already been going on for too long.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Blame Game

I’ve been caught up in life’s struggles, and haven’t been able to dedicate time to the Bodeguita for a while. Today, I’d like to link to François Gautier’s Cry O My Beloved India (Chapter II), written about five to six years ago, but still holds as true today, as it did then. Here he rightly points out that each time a bomb explodes in India, we are quick to point a finger at Pakistan. Each time a natural calamity occurs, the NGO’s cry about not having adequate prevention mechanisms and blame everyone. Each time a politician ignores, belittles and humiliates the majority masses and creates special laws and quotas for the “minorities,” we blame the politician.

Each time we blame someone, who in turn blames someone else, and the chain goes on. That has become our national past-time. But the truth is friends, that we ourselves are to blame. We, the majority of Indian citizens sit back and allow a pocketful of Nehruvian Marxists to hijack and rewrite our ten thousand year long recorded history - Romila Thaper, leading the pack of these fraudulent so-called historians – along with Satish Chandra, K.M. Shrimali, K.M.Pannikar, R.S. Sharma, D. N. Jha, Gyanendra Pandey, and Irfan Habib – who have blatantly lied to the nation, making us mimickers, and chasers of the West, and ashamed of our own greatness. We, who allow the press and the 24/7 news channels to dish out grossly misinformed stories, and we sit at home and watch the manipulated, agenda-ridden lies thrown at us.

As François Gautier rightly says below, India’s greatest enemy is the passivity of the 850 million Hindu majority, one billion worldwide, inheritors of the most ancient civilization still alive on this planet, holders of the last true spirituality on this earth. Read the full article here.
"Today, every time an ill befalls India, a bombing here, Global Warming there, it has become a habit of Indian leaders – Hindu leaders, sorry, as the present Government is labelled as a Hindu Government – to throw the blame on the rest of the world: Pakistan for the attack on Parliament, or the United States for the Global Warming. In the same way, Indians always hold responsible their politicians, for all their woes, political, social and even ecological. If it is not Pakistan, it is the Christian missionaries, who are converting downtrodden tribals.

But history has shown us that the worst enemies of Hindus are Hindus - not Muslims, or Christians, not Pakistan or the United States, as many Hindu organizations, such as the RSS, or the VHP claim. Islam could not break the backbone of Hindu India, in spite of ten centuries of the most violent and concentrated rape, killing, converting, plundering, razing thousands of temples. Nor even the British, who in three centuries of rule, via Macaulaysm, massive conversions and insidious breaking of India’s social system, particularly at the village level, could not subdue the Hindu spirit. Nor even globalisation and Americanisation, which India is so far resisting fairly well, contrary to many Third World countries which got swept away in no time. No, the greatest enemy of India is the passivity of the 850 million Hindu majority, one billion worldwide, inheritors of the most ancient civilization still alive on this planet, holders of the last true spirituality on this earth. We can forgive the writers, intellectuals, academics, all of them Hindus, who continuously, keep belittling, here and abroad, India’s Hindu and ancient culture and way of life. After all, most of them sincerely believe that Marxism is the only answer to India’s inequalities and social injustices. It is thus in the name of Marxism that generation after generation of Nehruvian intellectuals have trampled upon Hindu culture, which they feel has been responsible for casteism and social inequity. The irony of it all is that these Marxist intellectuals have always been a tiny minority of India, and that the overwhelming silent Hindu majority allows itself to be run down, to be despised, to be throttled, all in the name of secularism and democracy, which should be rather called cowardice. The Gujurat riots, however horrible they were, signalled that for the first time Hindus were not taking things lying down and were sending a strong warning to their enemies. And the Indian English media and the foreign press, who got it all wrong in their prediction of the Gujarat polls, instead of ranting about ‘Nazism and Hindu fanaticism’, should do some sincere introspection and realize that Gujraratis are just ordinary Hindus who are fed-up of their way of life being made fun off, of being burnt, their women raped, their parliament and temples attacked.

Many people here are also full of complacency and delude themselves. The other day I was giving a lecture at the Sri Aurobindo ashram in Delhi and an elderly gentleman in front cautioned me not to be too pessimistic. “After all, he said, the world knows about India and the good things Indians do”. Do they ? This is a grand illusion: from France to the United States, from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia, India today is not taken seriously politically, to the point that in its fight against Islamic terrorism, the US uses Pakistan, which whatever its plus points, actually sponsors Islamic terrorism all over the world – and ignores India - which whatever its minus points, is a pro-western working democracy, which has heavily suffered from jihad in the last ten centuries. Does anybody in the world give a damn about Kashmir, where there has been an ethnic cleansing without parallel in the world – 300.000 Kashmri Pandits, refugees in their own country ? Name one country in the world which sympathizes with their plight. If India is to become the spiritual leader of the world, as many of India’s modern prophets, such as Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have prophesised, then India has to come-up, industrially, politically, militarily even, in the eyes of the world.

Sri Aurobindo came to announce the ‘supramentalization’ of the earth – man after man - but he and the Mother found that the brightest of their disciples could not follow them past a certain point and that the bulk of their ashram did not understand what they were trying to do. And they both had to leave. People think that bowing down in front of Mother and Sri Aurobindo’s photos, doing some departmental work and daily reading a few lines of Sri Aurobindo’s extraordinary epic, Savitri, equates to doing sadhana. But is not that a delusion too? At some point, we have to cast a frank look at ourselves, at the state of our ashrams, when our Masters are gone, at India and at the world… Are we the way we should be? Are we at the stage the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, or Ramakrisha, wanted us to be? Sometimes, in her intimate conversations with Satprem (the Agenda of the Mother, Mira Aditi Center), the Mother would despair of the lack of receptivity of her disciples and of this earth. Why did she go? Did we, her own disciples, fail her, as every disciples have failed their masters throughout the ages and made of their spiritual teachings the rigid and intolerant religions we witness today?

India’s curse is the age-old Hindu passivity, this lack of civic sense, of commitment for the others, which Christians and Muslims possess to a certain degree, this infighting amongst themselves. Last week, I was invited to participate in a workshop in Konarak; the purpose was noble: make of Konarak a living temple where puja and aarthi are performed again, so as to attract more tourists and give back to Konarak its ancient vibrancy. But as soon as I entered the conference hall, two groups started shouting at each other and nearly came to blows: one wanted the conference to be opened to everybody, the other incommunicado. When some kind of order was restored, speaker after speaker gave, in true Indian tradition, empty rhetoric speeches, praising the ‘ancient glorious past of Konarak’ and nothing came out of the meeting. The same phenomenon can be observed amongst the different Indian organizations in the US: no unity, no creating of a powerful lobby on the lines of the Jewish one, so that the upward, law- abiding, rich and brilliant Hindu community of the US can make the voice of India heard. But we witness only squabbling: who will be the President, the Vice President, who will give the vote of thanks, who will be photographed with the US President…How sad… This is also why India’s oldest political party, the Congress, is incapable of finding a worthy Hindu leader amongst its own members, many of whom are intelligent and sincere. And by stooping down to Sonia Gandhi, they are repeating the same old story of India’s ancient princes and maharajas betraying each other and bowing down to a foreign ruler, be it Auranbgzeb, or His majesty’s Viceroy. Who betrayed the mighty empire of Vijaynagar, the last great Hindu kingdom to the Muslims ? Who betrayed India to the British ? Who is betraying India today ? Answer the question yourselves.

Cry o My beloved India. Look at what thy children are doing to thee."