The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Friday 18 May 2012


Kapil Sibal is just one edition of the interestingly interesting political product class – yes product, because he is a ‘made’ politician, installed to rule over us, a lord, by the other lords. So, at times, he looks confusing how to act politically sound. In his ‘exemplary’ career at the polity’s ‘top’, he has sounded more politically incorrect than it was expected to be accorded for. And he has sounded fluently absurd when it comes to reacting on rational issues that you and I consider human factors of growth.

Now he has sounded another absurdity (profound intellect in his thoughts) and nailed the cartoons in the NCERT textbooks. He is worried about their effect on the ‘impressionable’ minds.

Let’s see how the Webster’s dictionary (or any other) defines ‘impressionable’ – it’s an adjective that implies – subject to or susceptible of impression; easily molded; plastic.

Mr. Sibal said, "We believe textbooks are not the place where these issues should be influencing impressionable minds. That's our position. The same cartoon in a newspaper may well be acceptable but the same cartoon or a series of such cartoons attacking the political class or a community in a textbook which has a tendency to influence impressionable minds may well not be acceptable.”

A long thought vision, is that so? These students are voters of the future and let them not be aware of the satirical take on societal lapses like corruption and sluggishness that looks epitomized in many politicians of the day.

But would that work Mr. Sibal in an age of information overdose especially when these cartoons were part of class XI-XII curriculum and not of kids? (Okay, you have other plans like regulating the Internet, so you may tend to think like that - but that is as much a reality as you becoming the next prime minister of India.)

Anyway, the cartoons in question were well researched having good intent of making pedagogy entertaining. There was nothing unhealthy or vitiating in their context. But the elite mindset of the political class would never buy it.

Plastic fantastic! That’s it. Why can’t textbooks be realistic and objective?

Within a month, the NCERT books with the cartoons are to be reprinted and distributed.

So fast a purge! Why don’t they act so swiftly when it comes to the issue of reforms?

They act swiftly when it comes to raising their salaries and perks but a Lokpal Bill takes over four decades and still looks a remote possibility; Women’s Reservation Bill is again the similar story; Right to Information took around 20 years of struggle (and the political class is hell-bent on making it toothless). The list is long.

Is the political class considers us, the common Indians, cartoons? May be! Instead we should start seeing them like this if they don’t mend their ways.

We Indians are blamed to have poor memory in forgetting the ill-deeds of our politicians. But we are not like that. Okay, we do have short memory but there might be a day when we would say enough is enough. When it can happen in a Bihar where a Lalu Yadav can be shown the door, when it can happen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, when it can happen in Liberia and Yemen, why can’t it happen in India – a protest to change the way governance should work.
The last year is still not so stale when we saw the high-talking lawyer in him (and his other colleagues) taking a beating forced to retreat in the backdrop. His face saving clicked only because of the clique around Anna Hazare that killed the anti-corruption movement.

We have seen his bravado on occasions like his useless defence of his colleague lords on issues like 2G Spectrum Scam, on empty worded educational reforms, in saving face of his prime minister during the Parliament debate on Lokpal Bill or many other scams associated with the United Progressive Alliance government.

Most of the moments, he looks so pathetically belligerent! (And he is not alone!) This is one ‘top’ when there is seldom any vacancy.

Also, he probably forgets regularly that he is the ‘Human Resource Development’ minister too. The cartoon issue caught him unawares like his other colleague lords. The cartoons were cleared by a committee of the Human Resource Development ministry. The books are in circulation since 2006 but enlightenment to one lord supreme, P L Punia, came after six years, in 2012, that it was demeaning the national figures and devoted political class. And the induction was so fast that it could infuriate even Vin Diesel by its pace.

So except one, all other lords were hand in glove. And cartoons were condemned vocally. The 'seriousness' of the issue reflects in the Parliamentary hours ‘devoted’ on the issue which raked up the House on multiple days and ensued ‘levitated’ debate.

And our Mr. Sibal had no idea what to say except to toe the line happily. The political elite in him, as well as in the most of the politicians of the day, is like this only, ready to kill the spirit of democracy on any given day. Even the last year gave us enough dose of these acts by the ruling political class, like denying permission or crushing silent and peaceful protests.

Indeed there should be catalogues of cartoons, range of books with satirical political cartoons aimed at the political product class Mr. Sibal and his colleagues belong to.

Cartoons were never really so important in India like they are today, thanks to Mr. P L Punia, Mr. Kapil Sibal and the larger product-class politicians. Long live the cartoons.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -