Fear I

I was standing at one of the windows, watching the parade that day from the third floor.
Suddenly, amidst the noise, three explosions down the length of the road had me falling down on my knees and covering my ears. I looked up and saw people running, flesh strewn about the road and the some of the exhibitions had caught fire. There was just too much to grasp. I was in a panic, sitting there, staring immobilised.
And it was then that I saw,
A pick up van arrive and its tyres screeched as it pulled to a hault. At least ten men came scrambling out of it.
These men wore masks. They opened fire at those who were fleeing and the second a siren was discernible, they separated in groups of three and entered three buildings.
And I saw them entering the hotel I was in.
I just couldnt move. I could hear gunshots downstairs.
I rose and looked at the open door. My thoughts went to my husband who had gone down to bring breakfast.
I saw a couple run past my room and I ran straight to join them.
But I stopped midway when I heard the woman scream. And then, multiple shots.

Was I going to die?
I heard commotion in the hallway.
Mechanically, I sprung into the closet space and slid its door close.
And I held my breath.
I switched off my phone lest it started ringing.
I no longer remember, how long I was in there.
I think I spent my entire life hiding out in that closet.
Almost as if all that had transpired in my life before that was lost in a haze. There was no beginning and I saw no end to that endless wait.
I was like a bullet mid air.

Aparajita

My faith

Wow.
Please go ahead an ban Shahrukh Khan, self proclaimed moralists.
He spoke up and is that what actors aren’t supposed to do? Oh wait, they’re just meant to mind their own business. No one’s bothering them. Why should they be getting vocal?
Oh yeah. You forget, in your misplaced enthusiasm that these are people and they can be sensible and compassionate, unlike some.
And what are they given back?
This is such a shame. Tell me, that I, by taking this action of saying something you do not like, am a traitor. That I do not love my country and I should go back to Pakistan.
But you’d rather tell me that since I am a Hindu, I have been brainwashed by secularists to air such a view. Kudos to you for having such double standards.

The list of the people you banned keeps getting longer. I think India might be racing to the top in the ease of doing business, but look at what’s at stake here. Ever heard of that story?
One day they’ll come for you, and no one will save you because you didnt bother when they took away the rest.

Why should a government, which must have a lot to do, I guess, take a stance on what kind of meat the nation was eating?
I am very sure if some of us had religious sentiments attached to chicken, we’d be banning that too.
The mob is a headless chicken anyways.
What really got me worried is the silence that prevails on part of those who are expected to speak up after any such incident takes place. Someone has got to take a stand. Why are these bigots still making outrageous statements and nobody bothers to put a check on them? Will that be stifling their freedom of expression? So be it, for the sake of national solidarity and the rosy picture our leaders are painting of this nation, in front of other nations.
Intolerance, transcends boundaries. Every country has its own share of idiots who binge on the publicity such foot in mouth comments bring to them but I can safely say, these past months, we have hardly had a debate on any matter of national importance. We are all stuck in this vortex of comment wars.
The repurcussions, are never instant. If such people like Baba Ramdev, Yogi Adityanath and Sadhvi Prachi are allowed to stay put and ignored, thereby encouraging their idiocy, we are in for some Hard Times.

Here on my plate,
Remain crumbs of my faith.
And I wear it like a second skin sometimes.
And when I open my mouth,
All I ever say,
Is a reinstatement of my fickle faith.
Tell me not,
Who to worship,
And when not to speak my mind.
Tell me not,
To be blind,
To your intolerance that kills my belief when you stifle a voice.
When on this dreary road I tread on alone,
My belief is my choice.
And suddenly this place,
That I used to call home,
Lets me know today there is a price,
To what I say.
I wear my faith,
Not on my forehead or on my wrist,
Around my neck it doesn’t decay.
I wear it up my sleeve,
This little lie of morality,
That paints your faces red and your swords rise to defend it,
It numbs my reason,
Yet never moves,
My faith.

Aparajita

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We, the inhabitants of a globalised society, have seen technology empower us like never before. The recent boom in social networking and its widespread reach has demolished barriers between societies and ideas. Internet has suddenly emerged as popular forum to vent public dissatisfaction against tyranny and governments. Anything that happens even in the remotest part of the globe is available at the click of a mouse and manifests the strength to overthrow regimes.
And there have been setbacks. Intrusion in privacy, identity theft, cyber fraud and unnecessary exposure to mention a few. Governments realise that cutting down access to the international web of information is one way to suppress public discontent. In this context must be read Section 66A of the IT Act 2000, amended in 2008 and assented to by the President on February 5, 2009.
It reads as-
Any person who sends by means of a computer resource or communication device-
(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character or
(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device
(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to decieve or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be liable to imprisonment for a term extending upto 3 years and with fine.
It is true that the section deals with a wide array of cyber offences but on the other hand is also vague and prone to misuse. Furthermore, the police has not been provided any training about the sensitivity and proper understanding of a cyber crime committed. Any act that defines a crime must be precise and clearly worded but the section uses the words ‘menacing’, ‘offensive’ which are nowhere defined by Indian law. So what exactly constitutes an electronic message to be offensive or of a menacing character? Interpretation becomes relative and objective.
The recent furore over Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Srinivasan being arrested last week over a Facebook post criticising the bandh like condition in Mumbai after Bal Thackeray’s death and a youth in Palghar arrested on November 28 for posting “vulgar” comments against MNS chief Raj Thackeray and people of Maharashtra on Facebook has opened up debate regarding the gross violation of freedom of speech and expression.
(Maharashtra Police has dropped case against the two girls.
“No chargesheet will be filed in the case… There will be a closure report,”
said DGP Sanjeev Dayal)
The Supreme Court recently admitted a PIL challenging the Act by Delhi University law student Shreya Singhal. A bench headed by CJI Altamas Kabir directed the petitioner to present a copy of the PIL before Attorney General G E Vahanvati who is likely to give his opinion on Friday.
The CJI said, “Arrest of children outraged sentiments of country.”
While cyber activists and several people want the section 66A of the Act to be repealed, some feel that guidelines added to it shall be enough.
Meanwhile the Government issued guidelines on November 29 that state approval from an officer of DCP level in rural areas and IG level in metros will have to be sought before registering complaints under the controversial section.
What bugs me is the fact that are we to be in constant fear that while we voice our personal opinions on political issues, the same might be deemed inappropriate by the Government and we shall be liable to face arrest! The very thought is outrageous.
The very notion of freedom is hurled out of the window.

Section 66A- a short note

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We, the inhabitants of a globalised society, have seen technology empower us like never before. The recent boom in social networking and its widespread reach has demolished barriers between societies and ideas. Internet has suddenly emerged as popular forum to vent public dissatisfaction against tyranny and governments. Anything that happens even in the remotest part of the globe is available at the click of a mouse and manifests the strength to overthrow regimes.
And there have been setbacks. Intrusion in privacy, identity theft, cyber fraud and unnecessary exposure to mention a few. Governments realise that cutting down access to the international web of information is one way to suppress public discontent. In this context must be read Section 66A of the IT Act 2000, amended in 2008 and assented to by the President on February 5, 2009.
It reads as-
Any person who sends by means of a computer resource or communication device-
(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character or
(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device
(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to decieve or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be liable to imprisonment for a term extending upto 3 years and with fine.
It is true that the section deals with a wide array of cyber offences but on the other hand is also vague and prone to misuse. Furthermore, the police has not been provided any training about the sensitivity and proper understanding of a cyber crime committed. Any act that defines a crime must be precise and clearly worded but the section uses the words ‘menacing’, ‘offensive’ which are nowhere defined by Indian law. So what exactly constitutes an electronic message to be offensive or of a menacing character? Interpretation becomes relative and objective.
The recent furore over Shaheen Dhadha and Renu Srinivasan being arrested last week over a Facebook post criticising the bandh like condition in Mumbai after Bal Thackeray’s death and a youth in Palghar arrested on November 28 for posting “vulgar” comments against MNS chief Raj Thackeray and people of Maharashtra on Facebook has opened up debate regarding the gross violation of freedom of speech and expression.
(Maharashtra Police has dropped case against the two girls.
“No chargesheet will be filed in the case… There will be a closure report,”
said DGP Sanjeev Dayal)
The Supreme Court recently admitted a PIL challenging the Act by Delhi University law student Shreya Singhal. A bench headed by CJI Altamas Kabir directed the petitioner to present a copy of the PIL before Attorney General G E Vahanvati who is likely to give his opinion on Friday.
The CJI said, “Arrest of children outraged sentiments of country.”
While cyber activists and several people want the section 66A of the Act to be repealed, some feel that guidelines added to it shall be enough.
Meanwhile the Government issued guidelines on November 29 that state approval from an officer of DCP level in rural areas and IG level in metros will have to be sought before registering complaints under the controversial section.
What bugs me is the fact that are we to be in constant fear that while we voice our personal opinions on political issues, the same might be deemed inappropriate by the Government and we shall be liable to face arrest! The very thought is outrageous.
The very notion of freedom is hurled out of the window.