a.nihil

the smallest triviality can become the vision that wipes out the world.

There is a new rape in the country that has become a super-hit. A 26 year old woman was gangraped and killed in a 1.5 hour duration after which her body was burnt and left under a bridge. The police were slow to react to the initial complaint raised by the victim's family but by the time the news came out and became sensationalized, the police started sing praise to themselves at catching the culprits so quickly. The suspects, all between the ages of 20 and 26 are your not so educated, village bumbles who drink and drive lorries at high speed along the highways. It's the faceless mass that makes most of India, the shadow people we wish could be richer, better and earn our country more respect.

The reaction to the rape has raised some serious concerns. The health of the mob can be seen in the nature of dissent they put up and here they are nothing short of being barbaric. There are calls for open castration, public hanging or burning the suspected straight away, without giving any recourse for due judicial process. The second-in-command in the State legislature himself called for a quick hanging of the suspects, which shows that 'we the people' have failed somewhere in our lessons of restraint, justness and mental clarity. Between the famous Nirbhaya case and today, there have been thousands of rapes that have adorned the newspapers and public memory. Much has been talked about the safety of women in the society and there have been many publications in the “do not dress like a slut” school of thought. There have been angry calls for suspects to be hanged across the country and often there is a trivia snippet that comes up, stating how the glorious women loving nations of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UAE treat their rapists to public deaths and chemical castrations.

This is a thirst for blood that we have seen elsewhere, in decimating internal enemies, the perceived outside enemies, religious detractors, inter-communal and inter community marriages..the list is endless, we all want to hang and kill these criminals. We want to police the women, know their locations and tell them not to go out because, hey, men will come and rape you and even if you are my sister or mother, what can be said of your character if you are raped at 9 in the night? Were you trying to elope with someone? What is a woman doing alone outside at 9 in the night? The woman should arm herself with pepper spray and krav maga skills. The reaction to this is now binary: control the women and kill the men, which seems to me a very patriarchal reaction to a problem that has become pervasive throughout the society not overnight but over decades of thoughtlessness and prejudice.

Marital rape in India is not a crime. A woman who is raped within the dimensions of a state sanctioned relationship then it is not a problem, because here the woman is the property of a man. Love marriages in India are a rarity and so are inter-communal marraiges. Marriages usually are alliances between families where it is the responsibility of the men in the family to marry a woman off – this liability also contributes to the skewed sex ratio and men favouring that happens all across India. Our movies have heroes overrepresented and women as sex dolls or mothers, our politics sees no independent women making their mark in the polls, wives, sisters and mistresses of other famous men finding their way through the electorate. It is the same country where menstruation is still a subject of taboo and let us not even talk about sex.

The reaction of the Indian public and in consequence the State always has been to call out for more policing and more separation of the sexes. Different schools, different places to sit in public transportation, different attitudes when it comes to sex and choosing partners and calling for more conservatism in the name of tradition – these are all part of the circular logic of patriarchy that makes the gender divide deeper in India. The logic is as follows, we cannot allow women more freedom because otherwise they will not be safe and so women should not expect more freedom. Online forums are full of people wanting to know of defenses for their sisters and girlfriends, some being happy about emigration and the others wondering which would be the best place to emigrate, This again is a very middle-class, upper caste discourse, the most disadvantaged do not have access to the language and tools of modern discourse, their silence is taken as their assent and the people who make the loudest noise have their voice heard.

It is not the women who have to take care but it is them men that have to be taught how to care. There is no sexual education and no information available about sexual consent. This is completely absent from public discourse, because women are at the end of the day the property of men. There are two routes for changing this – one, an organic women's movement that calls for greater emancipation and representation and two, regular education and re-education of sexual identities and sexualities in the public sphere. What the Hyderabad rape signifies is the inaccess to women – and inacess exists because women were not independent in the first place and men believe that it is their right to have their share of women. Also the reaction to the rape skews the fact that most of the perpetrators of rape happen to be someone known to the victim, which makes reporting these cases even harder and also the brutality of sexual trauma goes unnoticed as there no burnt bodies and Muslim men in the accused.

The second problem in the Hyderabad narrative is the call for instant killing of the accused. At this point no one knows what has happened and the trial is mostly being conducted through the traditional and social media. One part of the controversy that one of the main accused is Muslim can be put to rest. He is one of the four accused, all others who are Hindus by name. This is exactly proportional to the religious demographic of India, in essence they resemble India in their plurality of violence. At the end of the day, these accused are people. They have committed a crime which is not viable in a society but their motivations and intent to cause harm are all human. Why would someone be driven to do such a thing? How can we prevent these atrocities in the future are all questions to which these accused have the answer to, atleast in part. Policing further and increasing surveillance only stands as a sign that these people have succesfully managed to terrorize the society, which shows how shaky its roots have been in the first place.

Demanding for a public hanging/burning only makes such a behaviour acceptable in the minds of the populace. What the State can do, even mob justice can do and the institutionalizing violence only breeds more violence in other forms. Adherence to the law of the land and due process also spills in other aspects of living, but the call for violence is a problematic one as it shows that in the case of apocalyptic institutional failure, mob justice will involve public killings and burnings. Mahabubnagar, the district all the accused come from is one of the backward districts in the state of Telangana and according to the 2011 census has a literacy rate of 55%, with female literacy hovering around 44%. It is a rural district with little in the name of industry or employment opportunities. All the four worked with lorries as drivers or cleaners, meaning they would not have earned more than Rs.10000 ($140),, which is a pittance. They are not killers with intent but killers made possible by design, they are the shadow people we are all afraid of the – the poor, the uneducated and the ones for who modernity is still out of reach. Burning them, means burning the shadow people. Instead all efforts should be put in demonstrating that our tax money be used for education, for the upliftment of the rural poor than stigmatizing them further and driving them into cities where they do not belong.

The failure is not of the four accused but of the society as a whole. One might as well burn the society while they are at it, but to remember what the man who smiles on every Indian currency note once said, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

#HyderabadHorror #Rape #Gender #India

With the undue value placed on human beings and human life in general, we sanctify ourselves more than we need to. The idea of what it is to be a human and the value of oneself is very moralistic and detached to the idea that we are at the end of the day animals living in an ecosystem with other beings. The myopic nature of our selves deceives us often to the reality of the world we live in.

There is a population controlling mechanism for most animals on this planet. It can be in the form of predators, disease and natural calamities. Man on the other hand is immune to such happenings, at least on a mass scale. The largest threats to mankind currently are related to stress, eating habits, lack of exercise and mosquitoes. War and strife kill people but not on the scale that is threatening the survival of the human race itself.

Climate change possess that unique possibility that keeps the question of mass-population in threat. With ever increasing technological innovations and the growth of hypercapitalism, inequality, spiritual discontent, boredom.. it is important to question ourselves, how long will this world exist in the shape and form it does? When will the next big change happen that will revolutionize the way we live, not in the form having a new technological advance like a cellphone but a more moral change to the way we live, interact and consume. Sure, cellphones and the internet have contributed to a lot of societal changes but the change has been cosmetic in the way we absorb information while providing tools for more capitalistic and governmental scrutiny of who we are and how we consume.

The present system of how the world operates does not have a perinnial viability, there would be a radical change that will alter the way humans live. In the years that have passed it has been religions, technology and societal systems but the capacity for future developments in these areas are bleak. Sure, a man can live 20 years more and there could Coporation-states but is that what we strive to be? At the same time the population demographics are only going to increase and that too in parts of the world that are under-developed (depending on the universality of the metrics) and still opening to the widespread consumptory disease that must fuel the money making machine. If the entire nation of India, China and a few handful African countries consume the same way as Western countries do so now, it would be a catastrophe on levels even unimaginable now.

Man killing another man is steeped in guilt, justice and morality which is fair, considering our cognitive capabilities. But this lack of any danger also feeds our arrogance, as one can observe that the same people who pollute and destroy are also the ones who call for restraint. I was once at a Climate Change demonstartion where there huge vans with loudspeakers that were going around the city blasting music with people smoking cigarettes and consuming mass produced goods like there was no tomorrow, supporting the same companies and systems that got us into the mess in the first place. This duplicity goes unnoticed and people who go to the extreme and practise some variant of veganism, go full 'alternate' in their lifestyles while conforming to a lifestyle fad, end up consuming a product made by Coca-Cola or Nestle and carefully marketed to not be identified as the parent brand. Though the choice is commendable, the real corporations that pollute escape scrutiny. Corporations in the end are run by humans that might exhort the same fashions that they sell. The intersection between money and morality is one seeped in a lot of truth concessions.

The next big change would not be aiming for net prosperity if it is based on the same rules as and systems as of now. To reshape the current command centers would need a fundamental changefor which no short-term thinking politician or civilian will step up to. In this case a natural disaster is the best hand one can expect, as it effects large population centers a majority of the world's regions. This would also wall-off the places that better adapt to the climate crisis than the ones that do worse, just like any other refugee situation. These climate refugees will be plundered, slandered and eventually slaughtered by the then existing state/commercial establishment without impunity, as when the scarce resources are in question, morality becomes a luxury.

It is in this case that there is a possibility for reorganization. If a power like the US or China is directly impacted by climate change, there will a huge gap in the political landscape of the world, meaning whoever is in power next will be the ones who decide what is going to happen with the planet. Or such a federation will not rise and there will be buffer zones of uninhabitability (like the possibility of Bangladesh and Maldives ceasing to exist while Sub-Saharan Africa turns in a furnace) which act like buffer borders, cutting off the global supply-chain networks. This would make the return of self-dependency a central focus and the powers of global industry are reduced to nil. This is important to go back to a state of relative self-dependency while also the people should be very well aware of the history of the past world to make sure that the dependency on a cut-throat capitalistic world is not made for a few luxurious upgrades. The society need not be some kind of Communist termite hole as well, this would be a world very conscious about the people who live in that space and who are very aware of their surroundings and what they consume. This back to basics approach focuses just on the necessities for survival and not the full menu of things, as in the final calling man will realise that it has been a purposeless pursuit anyway.

So eat your cows, travel by planes, take your SUV everywhere, buy single use plastics, turn on the airconditioner to energy inefficient settings and buy the shares of Saudi Aramco when they go up on sale. Make conscious choices for making this planet uninhabitable, that might be our only ticket out.

#anticonsumerism #globalwarming #climatechange

the utopian ideal

A service is a thing of value carried out because there is a demand for it. A service is an economic transaction, so the party that demands the service should pay for it. What is a government otherwise? A road is built when there is a demand/need for a road being built. There is a need that the populace be secure and healthy, so there is a force that takes care of security and health. There are much more complicated demands relating to scarce resources, trade and foreign affairs which the ordinary person cannot be bothered with – here jumps in the government to the rescue. What should we do in return? Pay for the services provided, in terms of taxes and once in a while do audits if everything is going ahead as promised. One of the vital elements of this transaction is trust, I trust the government that it doing everything as it promised and the government trusts me that I am conforming to my end of the contract.

The Government however is a super-human entity, a reflection of all our tribal selves. This tribal self assembles itself as a mass, averaging out everyone so that it can be an image of the people. This superhuman self of the government is also not directly dependent on the people itself, that would mean a failed state like Libya or Afghanistan has people with lesser average selves than say people in Switzerland or Australia. The foundation on which a government operates also is dependent on other governments and the time at which the said super-human structure was allowed to grow. A country like the United States has around 250 years of existence to its credit whereas Libya and Afghanistan dabbled with dictatorial and Geo-political disadvantages.

Let us for the sake of an argument consider a government in a relatively stable democratic context (even if a country is not democratic, the functions of the government remain the same. If the basic promises are reneged upon popular rebellions are waiting right at the doorstep) and see why the transaction does not appear to be like that of a service but one that is more aligned towards power centrism, elitism, influence and control.

One of the ideas that we believe that there is some form of the world which is perfect and that we should work hard and change things to get there and systems are created to motivate to do better. One such system is religion where a central God ordains people to do things in a certain way. It is essentially a control system for making everyone fall into line. The image of God falls onto the monarch, the dictator, the autocrat and your garden variety 'democratically elected leader. The other system which is more primal is the family. We are born and raised in families or in communities that value the familial system, where the child is constantly course corrected on a system of predetermined values deemed right by the parents and the immediate community.

When we grow up in such a system, it is hard to imagine a system different from it. There will be no radical new system that will eradicate world hunger, stop all wars and make people nicer to each other on a global level. This is an utopian view that is best discarded, the problems that persist today will persist way into the future and into infinity and understanding that is solving half the problem as it sets the expectations right.

Having this parental outlook to how we view authority also explains the suspiciousness that the system has back on us. This is very akin to a parent always having a close eye on their loving (or burdensome) child, to discipline him to go the way of community prescribed righteousness and whatever self-believed sense of truth they seem to possess. Every action is scrutinized to stop the child from falling into the vices though the parents eventually know that the child will always outgrow them. In the eyes of the government, the citizenry are the perpetual children, they will never outgrow them as the State and its machinery are always older and bigger than them. Politicians invoke utopias like priests promising gods all at the same time trying to see what you think and have the complete ownership of you are. The man on the high throne does not have anything to look down to if there are no people to feel small under.

How to break these bonds created through existence? One of the first things to do is to break the parental attachment while the emotional configuring is still at its immaturity. Break free and realize the relationship is essentially selfish and you were created to fulfill the needs of the parent and your obligation in the participation of the relationship is purely involuntary. Once that is established, the circle of dependency established for generations is broken down and it gives a small glimpse of the absurdness of the political systems outside.

This emotional break is not easy to accomplish and perhaps even impossible in the first generation but it is an important tool to raise future children on, where children are seen as propagators of a race and not as the selfish replication of one's own self. Once this relationship dynamic has been established and all the old rules of how humans have lived and interacted are decimated, it starts giving rise to further cycles of cold, rational beings for whom authority is not something that is seen as a given but rather life itself a series of arbitrary decisions to be made. This wholly independent society of humans can then establish detached political systems that do not focus on ownership and control rather focused on problem solving and rational justness. This is again a perfect worldview and this does not exist. This being's rationality will atleast not be tainted by the ideas which are not ours. We can atleast be in peace that our ideas have never worked anyway and the best way to go forward is to purge them.

The idea of a just government or a perfect democracy are not possible with the systems we have in place now or whatever that will replace them in the future. No matter what activists, journalists, thinkers, writers, politicians and army men scream about, the change will never come. Not now and not in two thousand years. What does matter is to extinguish all the millennia of useless thoughts pursued with their obtuse power structure. Eliminating them would mean starting with a clean state and paving the way for a purely transactional being for whom we have nothing but hope.

#society #governments #governing #utopia

Friends! My comrades in the War of Liberation! Today I demand of you one thing, above all. I demand of you blood It is blood alone that can avenge the blood that the enemy has spilt. It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I promise you freedom!

The above words were said by Subhash Chandra Bose in 1944 to his band of extremist followers called the Indian National Army (INA). He is the darling of the Hindu nationalists in India along with Bhagat Singh, Veer Sarvarkar and Chandrasekhara Azad. Recent myth making also puts hitherto unknown names on the list – Narasimha Reddy from Andhra, the faceless soldiers from the surgical strikes following the Uri attack in Kashmir, the team that put the Mars probe on the red planet.. all of whom are eulogized by Bollywood and lapped up by the latent consumers of media. This brings us to the question, why does India need heroes? Especially, why does India need to manufacture heroes in the presence of none and glorify a powerful masucline personality not averse to war and surprisingly well endowed by Sherlockian intellectual abilities?

This is in line with the idea of the Western male, the all powerful white man who has fought two world wars and is right now on top of the global hierarchical structure, controlling the economy and the politics of the world. Though this narrative is faltering in the West, for the postcolonial populace it still remains the same dream thanks to the signs of marketing and wealth shown through the diktats of Trump, the blitz of a Hollywood campaign and the deep advertising campaigns run by American/Western corporations in the subcontinent.

How can a poor nation fight against the Big Man sitting thousands of kilometers away and earn his respect? Being meek is a way of going forward but also how long can this subjugation go on? There should be a sphere of life where the Indian is better than the Western man (and he is already better than the African or the Asian. Latin America is too far away to exist and Arabs?) and here comes the idea of cultural superiority. The cultural superiority talks about the greatness of the vedic era and vedic philosophy – which is stripped completely out of its social context and espoused with superior religiosity. Hear an Indian talk about philosophy and boast about the impartiality of the said philosophy while also denigrating the Abrahamic religions for their inflexibility of ideas.

This cultural superiority however does not have a global audience. It is limited to an elite few even in the West, that is people who can be bothered. How can the perception of the country and its men, no matter how little, be changed in the lowest common denominator of population in the Western world? The fight in their heads in not won by reason but by the show of might. The optics of violence has a greater impact, think how overestimated the fears of ISIS was to what it actually was, but when the enemy is made to look strong, you take notice.

But how can one show might if they do not have any muscle? This is the same reason the Hindu right loves to hate Gandhi, he was too soft and called for non-violence and divided the country. How dare he do that before we could spill any blood and have it on our hands to show the future generations and keep them in a subconscious check? This is same reasoning used by the United States, subconscious warfare. If you have the courage to ruffle its feathers, the mighty eagle will swoop down and whoop your ass.

The psychology behind how this masculine aspect of the Indian government (and if extrapolated to the global context, then every government) functions is the same as how a high school bully functions. Brutalized perhaps in another aspect of life, the kid tries to show-off before his equals and underlings. Usually the fight with the bully can be broken with the simplest show of might but most of us are even scared to shake up the status-quo. And what does the bully keep on doing? Inventing myths and creating more auras of power around him while the truth might be different. The mob always believes that all that glisters is indeed gold.

For example, check the Balakot Air Strikes and the Surgical Strikes both instances in the past years where the Indian Government tried to paint the world red. Misleading information aside, the attacks have been celebrated and as linked above have been made into easily consumable Bollywood films – amplifying the chest thumping into the farthest reaches of the country. The self-congratulatory nature of the propaganda can also been seen it being awarded the 66th National Film Award by the BJP government, hence finishing the circular logic of 'we did great actions because the film shows we did great actions and the film is great because here's the awards it has received'. The Ballot Air Strikes also conveniently took place under complete media frenzy just before the national elections in April this year. The projected success indeed helped coverup all other BJPs shortcoming with the ailing economy, the effects of demonetization (which also conveniently happened before the Uttar Pradesh election season of 2016) and general lack of things to show.

The bully wants to destroy. The bully wants to have six-pack abs to deter any opposition and appear sexy in the big boy's club. The bully is just starting to realign his perception in the rest of the class and if you don't stop him now, it will be much harder to stop him later on. Notice that the bully is exclusively a 'he' and notice that all his actions are cosmetic. The blood thirst from before the independence of the country is not fulfilled yet and they dream of showing might to the world. What remains true for now is that India is a poor country with very little to show as of now. More on these issues later, coupled with tactics on how to confront this bully and examining if there is any way out of this mess.

Until next time, stay angry and stay informed. Sleep with an eye open and be sensitive to any word or action. They take you by the finger throw you down to the lurches. Beware.

#fasicsm #india #balakot #rightwinged #hindu

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