Saturday, January 30, 2010

My People!!!

How did I survive the two month fieldwork of IRMA? As Prof. Shylendra told us before the trip "Village life is tough but village people are nice." I could not agree more. So here are some people who made my two month stay as comfortable as it could get.

The kid's name is Ajith. Not a tribal name at all.He was named by the Primary Health Centre Nurse when he was born. An entertainer in the real sense of the term, playing cricket and football with him was something that I enjoyed a lot. He came across as very inquisitive as every kid does, and was particularly fond of my digital camera and mobile phone. I only hope he recognises me when I visit Toranmal next time.

Sakar Singh Chaudhary aka Gotiya dada was our immediate neighbour. A karmyogi who believes that his job in this life is to till his land, grow crops, drink alcohol, occassionally beat his wife and graze cows. For two months, he used to entertain us with his stories in the night and managed to call me "nithun" by the end of my two months stay. The village is made up of his family members and he knows everyone in the village. I only hope he is alive when I visit Toranmal next time.

Manisha and Ravindra Thakur. My hosts and caretakers for the two months. If it was not Manisha tai, my stay not have been as memorable and comfortable as it turned out to be. I owe an enormous sense of debt to this lady who is an embodiment of strength, will power and all the virtues of feminity which we associate our mothers with. From making her husband give up alcohol, earning an income by undertaking various livelihood activities, she was a person who I admire and look up to. I hope that she has been able to undertake all the livelihood activities which she was planning to and undertake them successfully.
These are some of the many who live in our villages, the ones who make news if they join the Maoists or commit suicide. It is a sad commentary on India, that after more than sixty years of Independence, we the educated class have managed to build cities feigning ignorance of the seventy crore people who toil and grow food for us.
Belated Happy Republic Day

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mani Shankar Aiyar ko gusaa kyon aata hain?

IRMA's annual inter college fest "Udaan" had Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Former Minister of Panchayati Raj, Sports and Youth Affairs, and Petroleum as the chief guest.
He is known for creating controversies (remember the Bhagat Singh controversy?) and also a sycophant of the Gandhi-Nehru Family.
He also ran into trouble as the Petroleum Minister when he was brave enough ( and I compliment him for that) to take an anti-Ambani stand and had got himself removed from that post.
He was also defeated in the last general elections.
So Mr. Aiyar, as a politician would, ranted about everything that is wrong with India for over an hour, how the India farmer should go on tilling his farm irrespective of whether that creates enough income or not, how liberalisation is bad, and also had time to take potshots at Mr Ambani ( very personal and very demeaning) and also at his Congress members especially PC.
His entire speech seemed as an attempt to vent his bitterness. He took potshots at IIMA students calling them "inferior creatures". Mr Aiyar left no one in his attack.
His speech is of a person who, post- 1991 has seen the shift of power from the corridors of Delhi to the markets, of how a uncouth Gujarati businessman unlike the suave and powerful orator, St Stephens and Cambridge educated Aiyar earned thousands of crores with help from the INC, had sons who could remove him from his ministry and he could not do a thing.
He spoke about creation of millions of women leaders at the village level post the empowerment of the PRIs. This would delight someone at IIMA, but not at IRMA where any PRM student would tell you that the women are just rubber stamps and the real leader is her husband or father-in-law. Maybe he should reserve such comments at the five-star hotels where he prefers to dine and tell his Americal and European friends on the romance of poverty. We at IRMA dont need that Sir. Thank you very much.
Such an undiplomatic speech coming from an ex-IFS officer makes me wonder how good he was in his job. Maybe sychophancy ruled then and hence he could rise in the ranks.
Surprisingly Mr.Aiyar is scheduled to address the "inferior creatures" at IIMB at their function. More surprising is the fact that he is addressing at a insitute who has this man in its Board of Governors.
Would love to hear his speech there!!! Good luck Mr.Aiyar.