Monday, July 16, 2018


We'll put up paintings.
Square ones. I like them square.

And red brick walls on the outside,
but on the inside
all white, nicely plastered.

And an open kitchen.
I always like open kitchens.

When that dream ends
We can go back
to the purple and pink
of the bruises.

The "Shut Up"s and the
"Go inside"s

Surender Sharma Poetry

Yesterday, I was privileged to be at a place where Surender Sharma ji was reciting his poetry. 2 pieces completely stood out and I have to record them:

ये शादी नहीं आसान, बस इतना समझ लीजे
सल्फास की गोली है, और चूस के खाना है.

Ab joke suno. I was trying to share this joke with others and no one knew what Sulfaas ki goli is! Reason #67319 that we should stay in touch with our agriculture sector!

Here is the second:

 नदी ने पूछा कुंवे से , तेरी औकात ही क्या है?

कुँवे ने कहा, ठीक कहती हो बहिन
भटकाव और ठहराव में
कुछ तो अंतर होगा।।।

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Why Jagir Kaur and SGPC should not create trouble

I've learnt one thing from Islam. That it is not the violence of a few that kills a religion. It is the silence of the majority.

And I don't want to let that happen to Sikhism. I do not want to be the majority that stayed silent because 'it wasn't such a big issue.' It is.

So here goes:

1. Guru Nanak said "Ek Onkar" - There is only one God. There is no difference among his people so long as they are all devotees who do good deeds (Kirat Karo) and Recite his name(Naam Japo), preferably as a group united in devotion (Sangat). From the first Guru to the Tenth, the MOST IMPORTANT tenet of the religion has been to get over our caste identity, our superstition and belief in ritual over devotion.

So, if you are a person who uses his caste name in spite of the surname given by Guruji - Singh and Kaur, then you have failed a very basic teaching of the Gurus. You can either be Singh or Bedi. You can't be both.

2. You belong to  a religion which does not even allow different names for boys and girls. Which allowed a woman to reach the highest administrative role in the religion - heading SGPC. A religion that simply requires a member of the family to read from the prayer book. That member of the family can be male or female and usually, it is both. So when you try to honour kill your daughter, what exactly gives you the right to certify other Sikhs after that?

3. Guru Gobind Singh told us before he left his mortal coil - henceforth, the Hukumnama can only come from the Guru Granth Sahib. Not from any human. There will be no more "Gurus". The Granth Sahib is all the spiritual guidance that you need.
So if you try to issue religious edicts, you are directly violating the most fundamental, sacred tenet of the religion -  Sab Sikhan ko hukam hai, Guru Maanyo Granth. Don't you EVER dare issue an order on behalf of the religion.

4. The SGPC is an administrative body - it stands for Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee. - The chief body for administration of the Gurudwaras.

It is neither the religious head nor the spiritual guide of the Sikhs. The Sikhs do not have a religious head. Unlike the church, we don't have a hierarchical structure of spirituality that rolls up to the Golden Temple.

We were told to recite our Bani wherever we were. We were told to keep our heart pure. When you try to take on a spiritual or religious policing role, the rest of us need to stand up and remind you that the Granth Sahib is our Guru and the Bani is our spiritual guide. The Sangat is where we gain our spiritual salvation. The feature of the Sangat is that every human being is equal. Which is why you see people doing Jodon ki seva (cleaning the footwear) at a Gurudwara. We grow up learning that all human beings are equal and deserve the same respect.

No one can tell a person if they are a Sikh or not. There is no indoctrination ritual. No Kalma to read and no baptism to be performed. No one can decide the "degree" of Sikh that one is(another post on that). And if you are so free, work to ensure that first, you read the real teachings of the Gurus and then, you take them to a state that is getting buried under a pile of drugs. And please make a public apology to Karenjit Kaur on your way.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I've started forgetting
A lot
Where i am
Why i am there.

Today i realised
Making me forget my life
Is anesthesia
Of the Gods

Friday, July 13, 2018

Dowry Deaths in India: The role of the parents

Growing up in Hyderabad, I used to open the newspaper to the crime page and read daily reports of women who had either died, or had committed suicide as a result of "stomach ache."

In some cases, there were clear reports of burning women to death. On average, there were 2-3 such reports every day.

On growing older, I wondered, if there are 3 reported deaths per day in one city, how many would there be all over the country? NCRB answered that question - roughly one dowry death every hour in India. Consistently. Since 2001, that number(deaths per hour) has not crossed 2.

What is the problem?

Dowry Deaths in India from 2001 to 2016 Source: NCRB data
I have added a Trend Line to the graph so we can clearly see the DIRECTION of the crime. In 2014, the worst year yet, a woman lost her life to dowry every 52 minutes.

This is not going to be a post about the causes of dowry. We all know the causes of dowry deaths.

What can we do to stop dowry deaths?
Here is what you need to consider - of the literally THOUSANDS of cases that I have read over the years (all the way from 1988), not ONE has happened right after the marriage. All deaths, every single one of them, is preceded by abuse. Months and years of abuse. Abuse that the woman almost always reports to her family.

There is a separate legal clause that deals with harassment for dowry.

The ratio of abuse to death cases ranges from 13:1 to 10:1. For every woman who is killed, at least 9 to 12 other women suffer dowry related abuse - so much that they make a formal complaint.

This is what makes one angry:

The parents, in every single case, turn a blind eye to the plight of the woman. The dowry death happens in the marital home. If you know your daughter is being abused or harassed for dowry, what is she doing in her marital home?

If a parent endangers the life of their daughter by forcing her to stay in a physical space where it is known that she is in danger, should the said parents not be prosecuted? In suicide, this is abetment to suicide. In murder, this is being a complicit accomplice.

I honestly feel that there should be a change in the law. Parents who ignore a daughter's plea related to dowry abuse, should be prosecuted. They should not be the petitioners. They should be the co-accused. How can you put your own child in almost certain danger, and then cry hoarse when that danger comes true?

Counter - For every woman who dies, 9 to 12 do not. They continue to live in their marital homes. So if the daughter raises an alarm, should she be removed from that danger?

If you were a husband or in law abusing a girl for dowry, would you stop, if you knew that the girl will be removed from the marital home AND there will be a police complaint against you? Yes, I think that a lot of men will stop then. Because dowry harassment is bullying. And in its most fundamental form, bullying is an act of cowardice that cannot stand up to courage. In the face of courage, it wilts and succumbs.

Yes, the problem and the solution are not that simple. But I simply cannot find a way to forgive parents who allow their daughters to remain in danger in their marital homes and then cry hoarse when the girl dies.

The problem is with the perpetrators. But the perpetrators are not just the people who commit the crime. The definition of "perpetrator" must be expanded to include the people who, through passive complicity, allow the crime to happen and in fact, create conditions that give the perpetrator the courage to take the step from harassment to abuse to murder. There were no consequences for what was done earlier. Why should one fear consequences for this? (At a conviction rate of 34%, the absence of fear is completely justified, but that's for another day)

I don't usually agree with Gandhi, but this one: "The criminal commits the crime, the society prepares it." , can be completely translated to "The in laws commit the crime, the parents prepare it."


I don't know whether its ironic or apt, that my staple medicine is called Tears Naturale Forte.

Blood Diamonds

Blood Diamonds... 2 तरह के होते है. पहले वो, जिनको पाने में खून बहाया जाता है. दुसरे वो, जिन्हें खून के आंसू पोंछने के लिए खरीदा जाता है.

इस धरा का, इस धरा पर, सब धरा रह जायेगा

 - Heard from somewhere. Loved it.

Lessons Learnt


I sat down to deliberately
peel the thin skin
that had just started to form
on the just-beginning-to-heal wound.
I thought it would be fun.
It wasn't.

Don't do that
to your wounds
even if they heal now
they will come back to haunt you

Today, I learnt
that the rights we sometimes do
are so wrong.

This isn't making sense
to anyone but me.