Over the last few years, I've written quite a few blogs which am not proud of right now on a second reading. Some of those blogs were written in a fit of anger, as reactions to some off incident. The lack of proper research shone through, as did the unwanted usage of expletives. There was lot of rhetoric and as much lack of substance. I would like to use this post to set some of those wrongs straight and apologise to some personalities who were subjected to unwarranted criticism due to lack of knowledge and proper research. And added to that, writing in the heat of the moment resulted in clouded judgement thus producing one sided articles. I would like to apologise to...(Not that any of these personalities gives a damn to what I write...Just that I thought its better to own up your mistakes)
1. Arundathi Roy
I've n't bashed anyone like I bashed her. From making noises about her supposedly pseudo-intellectual behaviour to calling her a bitch, I've done it all in this blog. Till sometime back, I was a firm believer in the unlimited goodness of the nation that is India that I failed to see the shades of grey or rather the total blackness on its part in several cases. And when she talked exactly about those greys and blacks, it made me uncomfortable. For me, anyone who questions the nation was equivalent to a terrorist and so it was easy for me to brand her as one. The idea of state sponsored terrorism was hard for me to swallow, until a certain Binayak Sen went to jail. That opened my eyes to a new world where the state was even worse than some of the so called terrorists or maoists. It was all there for me to see, just that I closed my eyes and shielded my ears to something which went against my beliefs, until a hard enough knock made me wake up. I used to view human rights activists as pests who were out to demean the nation and hog the international limelight. The idea that their presence is a necessity for a healthy democracy dawned on me much later. We need people who risk their lives and ask those hard questions. We need people who lays their reputation in line while expressing their views which might be mis constructed as anti national by vested interests and mis-informed bloggers! I still don't agree with many of Roy's views but now I know that atleast half of which she speaks is true as far as India is concerned. Sorry Ms. Roy, for all those harsh words. You didn't deserve any of those...
Now, here comes a double flip. First, I started off as a flag waving member of the 'tolerance' club. I had seen only the 'bharatmata' painting and I found nothing wrong with it. Then I came across a site where some of his 'selected' works were featured. It consisted mainly of Hindu gods and godesses in compromising positions with titles which were formulated to stir up anger. There were one or two paintings of a fully clothed muslim lady(again titled). From that day, I been a strident critic of the man without ever caring to do a research on his body of work. I never had a problem with hindu gods painted in whatever positions he liked. It was the double standards that he supposedly displayed in portraying muslim ladies fully clothed which angered me. And then, recently he passed away. My first reaction was, 'good riddance'. Then, out of curiosity, I decided to dig a little and what it throwed up shocked me. His body of work was massive and the ones featured in the site were drawn sometime in the 60s. Most of those titles in the site(which were designed to stir up anger) were made up by the site owner. Until mid 90s, no one in India really bothered about these few paintings. That was when the Hindutva brigade came into limelight. Once the Ayodhya issue was milked to its capacity, they needed something new to latch on to. Someone digged up the old paintings and thus started an orchestrated campaign to kick Hussain out of India. Sadly, most of us fell prey to that game, hating the man till his death. A quick run through of his work will tell you how these few paintings were insignificant compared to his mammoth repertoire. The bigots never talked about the other beautiful paintings he made of Saraswathi, Gandhari or Mother Teresa. I am not an art connoisseur, but some of those paintings touched even a layman like me(although a large percent just flew over my head!). You can view some of those works here- http://www.mfhussain.com/paintings/ . I feel guilty as well as sad for inadvertently playing a part in drumming up hatred against a great artist. I am no different from those bigots of the Hindutva brigade!
3.V.S.Achuthanandan and the leftists
My criticism of Achuthanandan came with the package of being a staunch anti-leftist(for the first 24 years of my life). I could never empathise with the ideology of a party or a man who came with a red flag wherever some development was about to happen. I could never digest the fact that someone was making such a big fuss about a few huts being relocated for an IT park or some other mega development project. That was until words like corporate plunder, land grab etc entered my dictionary. Come 2008 and there was all the hullaballoo about Achuthanandan's 'dog' remark at late major Unnikrishnan's residence. The night I saw that, I sat down to write and all I could see was an old filthy useless politician making fun of India's slain hero. Once it was published, I got calls from many, including one lady from Mysore who was particularly emotional, asking me whether I've atleast heard of the land reforms that VS helmed. Truth be told, I didn't have an idea of the man's history in Kerala politics before the 90s. I didn't bother to read it up at that time too. It was after several months when I saw 'reason' and 'consistency' on the left side that I bothered to read some history. And boy, din't I repent! The anti-leftism is a thing of the past for me. The left and the few who still believe in that ideology(or atleast the watered down version of it) are an absolute necessity in the Indian political landscape, even if it is in a handful of states. The day the red flag bites the dust completely would surely upset the balance of our democracy.
Stop scrolling Barkha Dutt and everyone of that ilk....am not gonna apologise to you! My opinions on you still stands the same and I don't think I'll ever change it, because some more research did harden that opinion...
From today, I vow never to write anything without proper research. I vow never to use expletives in my writings, so that the message don't get lost in all the din. I vow never to write when I am angry. I vow, even after all this I won't hold it back in cases where it necessitate the presence of a raised finger...!