Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Society that lives on 'Spiral of Silence'

If you think that this revolution lead by Anna and his team gives you the freedom now to go on and preach or express whatever you feel like and believe it will be heard, think again, you might be wrong. Nothing changes for the common man, especially the society which lives dependently on each other's action. What does that mean?

We live in a country which is divided into two sections - India & Bharat. What is the difference? India being the civil society, the mass of people who can tweet, update their opinion, push forward a blog, make the society feel of their presence by appearing on prime time television shows. Whereas Bharat is that mass of people, whose daily lives are dependent on the actions of civil society, whose opinions are minutely listened by the mass of people who can recognize themselves with each other, who believes in living life as it comes, whose life is little affected by some Lokpal or Janlokpal bill.

Am not being cynic. The Bharat whose population is more than that of India live their life on daily basis rather seeing or planning for the future and hoping that they won't have to pay a bribe to get their work done. Rather the Bharat will be much more interested in paying little extra to get their work done than going to some police station or court to file case against corruption. These group of people no matter how many time they go to Pragati Maidan or Ramlila to support Anna Hazare or his team, will at the end of the day prefer to bribe the ration shop dealer to get his list of things out of the shop more quickly than waiting in the queue.

Society runs on actions rather than views or ideas. A major reason for this being a person's fear to getting isolated for being an innovator or being a person of different views. In Mass Communication, we call it - Spiral of Silence. What exactly is this spiral of silence? Formed by Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann, this theory states that the society/media publicizes opinions that are mainstream and people adjust their opinions according to the perceptions of that society/media to avoid being isolated. Individuals who perceive their own opinion as being accepted will express it, whilst those who think themselves as being a minority, suppress their views. Innovators and change agents are unafraid to voice different opinions, as they do not fear isolation.

A common man whose daily life depends on his daily earnings will never dare to go on to a police station to complain about a local babu who might be harassing or making his life miserable. He will rather chose to stay  silent and get used to it. The reasons which usually comes up - "Police and Babus are friends", "I should but police won't listen", "No one voices why should I", "Why waste time in such stuff, I will get used to it or do as the babu wants me to".

This happens when over the years communications fail. A good society is a result of good communication between two persons or a group of people. A good communication happens only when there is a feedback. In the country we live in a feedback rarely comes. As a result the Spiral of Silence governs our life and will be for a very long time.

How can we change this? Well firstly a simple Janlokpal won't help. Our system needs to loosen a bit. A person will chose to bribe and get his or her work done if we have such tight rules and regulations. Also we need a system that works fast. Complain about our Judiciary taking ages to solve cases? Let us talk about the time it takes to make a passport.

Also If you have noticed, there is no feedback at all of how any work is progressing around you. The system should look upon the task of letting people know about the situations. So when someone asks you something its better to reply back. This way the difference and gap between classes and variety of people will lessen.

Most importantly the society which shapes the views and publicizes opinions should consider to take up the views of the billions than a selected group of people, over and over again. Why only Anna as a change agent? Why not talk about the mass who visited Ramlila to support Anna? Anna communicated well, fine. He had a good PR team working for him but how about the billions of people who communicated back by visiting Ramlila and each and every city's protest points to show their support and become the agent of innovation along with Anna?

Lastly if someone feels like a minor person in this world, help him or her to overcome it.

Till then our society will be run by Opinion Leaders and their supporters.

P.S. Views are my personal and not directed towards anyone.

Monday, 22 August 2011

West Bengal, Thou shall be missed.

"And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, 
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
And evening full of the linnet's wings. 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; 
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, 
I hear it in the deep heart's core."

Yes, I feel like Yeats. I feel lost, living in a land that I don't know of. I miss my land, my city and the all the glorious its and bits of history that kept me alive. I miss my Calcutta and now of all, my Bengal.

I feel the end of world has happened. There was a big bang and another new state was formed. I here remain a survivor who has traveled through a time machine, that kept her alive to see the new state.

As soon as the news of Poschim Bongo reached my ears, I feel a part of my heart go more inside and glued more badly to the pericardium, in fear of getting snatched away by fake, desperate, wannabes of my state or the new state that it is now. It is not the name that hurts me more because the name was already there, in bengali, we used it but it is the height of discrimination and madness, the extent of desperate measures to create a new state rather than building from the remains.

Poschim Bongo. I feel our dearest CM is no less than Lord Clive. I as a person whose roots are in Bangladesh, East Bengal, precisely, feel discriminated. I feel just like Lord Clive, our dearest CM is making sure that we be seen differently than those of East Bengal. I wonder if it has come to any one's mind how brutally Bengal was divided and how even Rabindranath Tagore, the poet whom our dearest CM praises so much, tried to overcome the partition through the auspicious Rakhshabandhan to strengthen the relationship of both the Bengals.

The renaming of the state doesn't seem to be in any way good to me. Or a progress, if so ever they had in their mind. This 'namkaran' just signifies from what to where Bengal has degenerated. We have turned into a race which remains on the past, hanging on the glorious cultural that is getting slowly westernized, how we remain insecure about ourselves and try desperate things and in the end appear as wannabes to the other states. Yes. This might sound harsh but that's the truth. Changing names didn't change anything for good. 

We have changed into a set of people insecure about losing our heritage and culture rather than building up new ones. We have changed into people who wants to progress for mere self-satisfaction, so that they can compare themselves with others rather than share. We have changed into a bunch of so-called intellectuals who prefer sitting in a studio, discussing or arguing about the future of our state rather than getting their ass up and working on it. We prefer to plan more than work.

Someone asked me - Give me ten differences between Bengal and India.

Ok here you go -

1. Bengal is full of people who loves sweet more than anything,
2. Bengal is obsessed about Rabindranath Tagore, even though half of them don't know the real surname of the Tagores.
3. Bengalis are supposed to be soft-spoken, friendly people. They have practically forgotten people like Netaji, S. N. Banerjee, etc. hail from Bengal. Bengalis don't fight. They only complain and shout.
4. Bengalis or Bengal is obsessed about Dada and Didi. They care ZERO about Bengal.
5. Bengal has seen no major industrial progress in the last 5 years, Yes right, we lost Nano to NaMo.
6. Bengal is totally dependent on the political netas and netris. If nothing works, we depend on Strikes and Hartals.
7. We had phutchka. Now we have KFC. *Please note Phutchka-Pani Puri and Gol Gappas totally different in taste*
8. We have KKR ran by SRK. I wouldn't be shocked if some KRK shows interest in Kolkata or PoBo.
9. We are a proud State whose people are preferred to be called Bongs and then Indians.
10. We have only one college & university - Presidency. All others are just useless time-pass.

And the list can go on and on.

Why I have put on the list in this way? Practically to show how bengalis or the 'bongs' are treated and lets just accept it, its all because we have given others the opportunity to mock us.

Someone said the word Bongo appears in the National Anthem so its well justified. Please excuse me but does Poschim Bongo appear anywhere? And if that is the way, then why not regionalise each and every state in India. Let us call Maharastra as Maratha. 

West Bengal always came last in the list. Alphabetically. Poschim Bongo elevates them a bit. Darlings, had you selected Bengal, you would had gone straight UP in the list! 
We had IIM-C, third in the list. Now, even though it hasn't been changed, we are IIM-K. How many IIM-Ks we have?

Now for the progress part. Since the name Kolkata came up, Bengal and Kolkata has been facing turmoils, one after the other. We have turned into one state, busy in cleaning the mess to create more MESS. The word stability has disappeared from our dictionary. Since 13th May, 2011, the city's transport has gone from hay to nowhere. And now Poschim Bongo. 

We are being tagged as the PoBo trying to be SoBo. Do we have an unique identity? Our name is all up for jokes. I thought Bengaluroo was the biggest joke. We just defeated them! People from abroad and nearby also doesn't know on which planet Kolkata is and now they will wonder what kind of instrument is Poschim Bongo. Talk about pronunciation, try and record your voice. 

The time our precious leaders spent in changing the name, if they had spent in changing the traffic situations, it would had been much to our delight. I seriously can't recognize with the name.

But even if we are a bunch of cribbers, we will get used to it. Like before. Although with the change of name, my identity of being a 'Bengal'i from Calcutta is lost. May be it is what we are. Sorry!! That's the people of Poschim Bongo are *am a person from Purbo bongo*. May be its right and well justified and may be it is easier for people who find it hard to pronounce West Bengal and end up pronoucing WASTE Bengal but we just changed into a bunch of people who loves dressing up to new fashion rather than changing their INNER SELVES.

Let me conclude by hoping am wrong. This isn't a hate-post but a post by a lost and hurt lover who has no idea what and how things will change for the betterment. I hope when am gone from here, and the state progresses(I just HOPE it does), someone comes to this post and replies - You were wrong, we did progress.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Independent to be a better person - Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day fellow Indians, living anywhere in the world today. As we enter the 64th year of our independence, I sit and look back to those 21 years I have spent celebrating this day, no not 21 years but may be 20 or 19 years(Lets leave the 1st year of my birth). 

What was Independence day to me? Waking up early in the morning, going with father to the quarter's flag hoisting and playing through out the day with other kids. Independence day meant sitting in front of the TV, watching Doordarshan endlessly, years after years, the same thing, over and over. Independence for me as a young kid was what our ancestors had fought to achieve, what the likes of Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji dreamt and hoped about. Independence day for me was hoisting the flag and feeling proud and happy about it.

As I started growing up, Independence day view started changing. I saw Nepali soldiers guarding my father's factory while the Indians made fun of the Nepalis. I saw people looking back to the glorious days of past, how they fought and struggle to make sure, we the kids have a better future. I saw men and women fighting on news channels, discussing the present status of our country, discussing about the corruption and comparing with the past.

And now Independence Day for me is all about hoping for a better future, trying to be a better citizen and doing something in anyway possible for my country. Even though there is much hatred, anger inside me, even though I am frustrated to see my India and my state go nowhere, angry to see people give up, sad to see the blame game, I celebrate this day, at least for the people who fought to free us. Think about countries like Sudan, who still struggle to rise, think about Afghanistan, messed up in their own fight.

Yes we live in a country where the people who are supposed to lead us are themselves corrupt. Yes we live in a country where terrorists roam freely and people are scared to step out after a certain time. Yes we live in a country where more than 50% of our population is homeless and poverty stuck. Yes we live in a country which feeds on false promises. But let me ask you something, would you have preferred to live under the British rule then? Would you have preferred to live being a slave for some Britisher, polishing his/her shoe, while they enjoyed a bright 15th August morning, doing luxurious thing, while we starred at them, admiring? Could you give up this life you live? And prefer to go back living a life without computers, television, Blackberries and Ipods? I really wonder.

Remember the Indian team that won the World Cup wouldn't had been there then, if we weren't independent today, neither you would get the right to point and blame the politicians whom you elect, who is as corrupt as the man who handles your ration shop at your locality.

Why would anyone want to think about some other country? Yes then why worry about the other states or even the other districts in your state? Why care about who is doing what? If you care about your country and countrymen so much, why not stop living where you live, in the most posh area of the city, stop going to mall, stop recharging your cellphone everyday, stop having meals four times a day and share it with the people who can't enjoy any of these.

Every year this day comes, to remind us of what we have done in the past, making me believe that with struggle we can achieve whatever we want to. With struggle we can make India a better place to stay, to live, we can try and make our country a better place for our future citizens. Stop cribbing, complaining, start doing something for your place, state, country. 

Its not so easy but who says there is harm in trying. Don't give up until you achieve. This day should remind us the BRAND we are, that we can be. 

Had not we achieved Independence, we would had got lost somewhere in the pages of time, a country yet to be independent. And for the corruption, struggle, cribbing and complaining, we are humans, living in a third world country, in a developing country, a little hope and belief will never hurt.

Always remember good things happen only when you think good. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

No more starting the day with Twitter

For my sister, the day started something like this -
6:30 A.M. - Get up from the bed
6:30 A.M. - Sit in front of the desktop, switch it on.
6:31 A.M. - Log in to Facebook.

Almost everyday I saw her following the same routine. Her life revolved around Facebook. So much that she spent more cell phone balance on Facebook than sms or call. So much that she sometimes borrowed my cell phone to Facebook.
Well all these wasn't something new, surprising to me. Myself being a twitter addict I understood her addiction for the social networking site.

For me my day started something like this -
8:15 A.M. - Wake up, still on the bed.
8:16 A.M. - Log in to Snaptu & then Twitter.
8:20 A.M. - Facebook.
8:30 A.M. - Get up from the bed.

Every single day passed like this. My day ended with a tweet, started with a tweet. No joke. Twitter become like alcohol to me. Twitterholic I became. There hasn't been one place from where I have not tweeted (except the bathroom!!).

Twitter has been a home to me. I felt safe, surrounded by wonderful people whom I used to believe can't be real. Met them, got close with them. Twitter just changed my view about life in a social networking site. Something that Orkut made me hate.

But like alcohol, everything has it's negative. And I just decided to get over it. Finally one day I deleted my account (also my Facebook, even though I will have to return to Facebook as my relatives have already started calling up and demanding I return).

Calling twitter off is like giving up smoking. You see it and you feel like once, just once, makes you feel weak in your knees.

Now I don't wake up to twitter. Even though the first thing I do is, check my cell after which I realize I don't have a twitter account to keep my mind glued to. I miss it. Yes I do. But it's something I have been deciding to do and then giving up the idea. Like a smoker, every time I decided I will constrain myself but in vain.

Life has turned slow without twitter, trust me but I don't regret deleting it. Someday I will return but only when am sure I am ready or when my mind is off too many things and I am sure I am in my correct senses. May be when my work calls for it. Or may be I never return to twitter. There are people who I know is living a life without Twitter.

About the wonderful people I met on twitter, I have Google + and Facebook that I will have to return to (my relatives I say their demands) and am always a call away.

Honestly every morning waking up without twitter, I feel alone but I guess that's what I want coz twitter was turning out to be my alcohol a bit!