Friday, October 17, 2008

Blog Wars: Billy Cat's Post


We all look for saviours:
In God, in art, in imagination, in need,
In a world shaky with insecurity and threat,
In violence and silence,
In the comforts of our soul,
In pretty pictures we make for ourselves,
To place on a mantel, a wreath of flowers around it,
Rosary and holy water in place,
Facing east.

Come together,
in the name of the pure,
systematically stereotyped, under the norm of another.
Unsighted but surrendered to belief,
for protection, for camaraderie,
for someone to stand up for you when you fall.
Drugged in hope,
That runs in blood.
Generation after generation.

Challenge the labeling.
Unassuming but dangerous,
Racing at the pulse during dialogue,
But silently pinning name
under forefathers,
in religious conviction.

Awakened by its flaws,
by its wrongs,
by the millions still asleep.
Blinded and cozy,
under the warmth of its sanctuary,
feeding it as it grows way beyond its control.

The snores of so many
resonate in the violence.
But bound to the faith they are recognized with.
by the ones who lead them to divinity.

In what?
Carriers and bowlfuls
will not bring me what is inside.
And spirituality will die
with every conversion, every imposition,
with every one destroyed.

Few will light a candle to their names,
and resume whispering in hymns of silence.
Amen. ]

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Blog Wars: Vineeth's (Bibinho) Post.

There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are either agnostics, atheists or religious fundamentalists. A fundamentalist 'knows' that God exists and whatever is said in the holy book of his religion is the truth for him. Similarly, an atheist knows that God does not exist and to believe that he does is a dangerous delusion. Then there are the agnostics, in doubt about the existence of God or more precisely, what sort of God. Yet leaving all of them aside we get to the billions of people who merely have a profound belief in God.

For an atheist with his scientific reasoning, prooving how incredulous the existence of a supernatural God is, perhaps easy. Even a child can see the huge holes in the reasons offered by the major religious texts of the world to show the existence of God. Yet there still remains a large number of 'believers' who want to believe in a power out there just to hold on to a faith that their lives is not just about the material world but is also a  part of some grand cosmic design that has some pre-ordained meaning to it. 

These people have no doubts in believing that God exists just as much as their children or their parents or their friends. To them questioning the existence of God is a matter of survival. If there was no God then at the end there would be no point in their lives. So they just 'have to believe'! They just 'have to have faith'!  

All the religions of the world just exploit this basic instinct of humans for their own materialistic needs. This world is just all about power and glory and whatever weapon is to be used to achieve this, man will use it. This has been prooved over the years and will continue to be the same. Just a look at how religions have 'evolved' over the years is enough to show you this. The old testament which proclaimed that a child who swears at his parent should be killed has over the years turned out to be unacceptable even though it was supposedly Jesus himself who said that only the strict adherance to the text of the testament can lead you to heaven. But with passing times came the New testament and with it 'gentle' Jesus. What is this 'new' 'sacred' book if not an attempt by a religious thinker to tinker with his religious believes in a way as to keep it acceptable to the changing world?  

This is pretty much the same with almost all religions. If sati, casteism, child marriage and other social evils were propogated with the help of Hinduism, similar practices can be found in Islam, Judaism and almost every other religion. Over the passage of time all this has been conveniently 'modified' to ensure the safety of the religion. 

But all this has been done only because there still remain people who 'need' their faith just as much as they need bread. As i have already said, it is a matter of survival. A religion or faith in a God provides people with some direction in life. Faith in reaching heaven or in karma etc. keeps the 'common' man going. To blame religion for all the problems of the world is unrealistic. Religions exist just for man. Man created religion and religions created god. At the end of the day the root cause for all evil is man himself.  

For survival, man will do anything. It is afterall survival of the cunningest, boldest, strongest and the fittest.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Wars: Lead Post. The root cause, Religion.

At the outset, let me make it clear that this is to hurt religious sentiments, for, that’s the problem, religion. Not one religion, but the entire concept of religion. I doubt if God, if he really does exist,  really wanted his favourite disciples and messengers to write books about how to lead life, only to be conveniently misinterpreted by his ‘followers’ a thousand years later and fight over which line means what, and more so, spread terror, forcefully convert and burn places of worship in the name of god.  Krishna churns out the Bhaghvat Geeta in the middle of a war, Manu writes stupid one-sided laws because he thinks he knows life like the back of his hand, Allah comes to Mohhamed and whispers the secrets of leading a perfect life in his ears and he writes it down for us, and the Bible is written for some random reason before Jesus was born and it is suddenly accepted as the way to lead life after Jesus becomes a star. Then kings of Europe and Popes conveniently change it to suit their needs.

As much as we can blame our forefathers for getting sucked into this vacuum called religion, and our present citizens for spreading the religion and spreading violence and terror in the name of god, you have to blame that common man, who first asks his fellow citizen what his religion is, that common man, who bases every problem and the solution on religion, the common man who endorses religion in a public manner.  And the biggest culprit of all is that common man, who silently feels happy when his religion wins. He might not go out and fight for his religion or spread it, but he feels happy when someone else does it.

Take the Saffron Terror for example. People I know sit at home and watch on television how those cruel goons are burning churches and killing people, and say “Oh my god! What are they doing?” But deep within them, they like it. They like the fact that their religion is showing power, and the other religion, is just waiting to avenge this. They are sitting and plotting for the next bomb blast. For what? Religion. And the worst part in all of this, the politician who is making money with every blast and riot and conversion, knows the inner sentiments of people. He knows they like it, he wants them to like him, he needs their vote, he does it. Again and again. Karnataka is up next. We can see the Modi effect coming, the number of SIMI activists are increasing and growing stronger, and conversions are slowly rising.

So who do we blame? Blame yourself. Blame you parents. Because you and your family never understood one fact, every religion has creeps. Every saint, sadhu, mullah and godman is a faker. And that goes to EVERY religion. Blame yourself if you take the side of one religion. There are good people in every religion, and there are bad people in every religion too. And the bad ones are more. Stop living in a utopian world.

Communal cleansing is bad. Killing the kaffir and a million innocents in a blast is bad. Conversion is bad, not only forceful conversion, but conversion itself. Keep the “law allows it” argument to yourself. Twenty years in India I have understood the worth and the correctness of law, that too for religion! We don’t even have a uniform civil code.

I take permission from Rags to narrate her incident. She went to cover the recent church attacks in Udupi for The Manipal Journal. She met an acquaintance there who is known for his rightist inclination. He said, “Oh, nothing much, these are just small incidences.” Two minutes later, while she is standing outside the hospital and having a first-hand interaction with the three or four mildly injured people, she gets a message from a Christian sympathiser, “15 people badly injures, 1.5 lacs worth of property demolished.”

Both of them were wrong, both of them are a part of the problems our country faces. They take sides, they are adding up to the problem. They are divinding the country, they are suppressing and spreading hatred.

They say Saffroner led riots are ‘reactions’. Yeah right it is! What kind of an impulsive reaction is an orchestrated attack on thousands of people? They say Islamists terrorist have gone to the level for bombing because they have been pushed to it. Oh, give me a break. They enjoy the laws they want, they are pretty much well off economically and if they have the power to spread terror to this level, they have the power to eradicate all problems without bombing. They say conversion is not wrong, hell it is! Why do you need to convert if you really believe in god and just helping someone out! It is the same old colonial funda, convert as many people for political gains.

However, this is not to say that religion should be done away with. All this while, I was talking about religion in practice. Religion in principle, though to me looks useless, can be followed. But keep it to yourself. You can pray to god at home, you need not go to Tirupati, Mecca or The Vatican. And yeah, let us not even talk about giving grants to temple, Haj and Churches from MY TAX MONEY, when I hate these concepts.

And yes, secularism, whatever it means, is a big joke. Congressmen should go take a hack. You can’t have equality in religion when ALL the decisions are based on religion and you give useless reservations in education and employment based on religion and caste. Ok, do it, but don’t call it to be a way to do any kind of justice. Lets learn a bit, a bit, from the secularism in France.

The bottom line is this, if you want “peace and equality”, take that concept called religion and tuck it under your coat. Keep it yourself. Today, you are the problem. You support your religion publicly; you think your people are right. No, every religion has creeps. Every religion has to be blamed. If Ram made a mistake, so did Ahmed and Antony and vice versa. Like they say, “Taali ek haath se nahi bajti”. Sabko pakdo, sabko maaro. Aur aisa maaro ki woh vaapas na aaye. (Catch hold of every one of them and hit them. Hit them so hard that they won’t get back.) And yeah, Ahimsa can wait till it is actually possible.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2007-Resounding Success

The year 2007 was a historic year for YELL club. In fact i would go a step further and say it was the turning point for the club. The club which was found in September 2006 had a rough run in the initial semester. But then again there were various factors for that. Firstly it was a group of 9 people to be precise who started the club. The idea was very new and students in the college weren't sure whether it would work out or not. We organized two discussion forums in the beginning (which now goes by the name of 'Shout Out') which got a descent response. By the end of 2006 we realized that we will have to market this club in a better manner in order to reach out to the students. We were firm about one thing from the beginning that the core of the club would be "expression" and for the club"quality matters more then quantity" . The club would act as a forum for all students to come and express themselves. Obviously music and dance wouldn't fit in this category as we already had a cultural committee in place to organize that. We started the year 2007 on a different note. In Feb we organized a 'public speaking' workshop which was conducted by Dr. George Mclemore, Rtd prof University of Texas Pan America. The workshop was for MIC students and had a free entry. The aim of the workshop was to make students to come forward and drop their inhibitions to become better expressers through public speaking. And to our surprise we had a turn out of 30 students. Whats important to note here is that we were asked to take only 25 students but due to the huge demand for participation we had to close the intake of the students at 30. The workshop was instrumental in making the students aware about the club and its objectives. The workshop was followed by a inter MIC debate competition which was held in the month of March. The debate competition saw 8 of the best debaters coming forward and voicing their opinions in an hour long fierce debate which saw a huge response from the audience. We went a step ahead in the month of April by organizing the University level photography certified workshop. This workshop was again conducted by Dr. George Mclemore who is also a known photographer and has just finished writing a book on photography. 30 participants from 10 different colleges of Manipal University participated in this workshop which was conducted on two days over a period of one week. This workshop was a resounding success which bolstered the image of the club. YELL was now not only known in MIC but also in different colleges of Manipal University thanks to this workshop. In fact there were a few people who wanted to join the club at that time but we weren't ready to take members yet. The semester saw the club organizing three major events which saw a encouraging response and the club got the much needed publicity. But this was not the end. The academic year ended on a all time high when the club was issued the ISO 9001 certificate. We couldn't have asked for a better ending to the academic year. As we headed in the new academic year by now the club was stable enough and clear about its objectives it was time to start enrolling members. We enrolled members from the existing batches which were the 2nd BAJC, 3rd BAJC and MS 2nd year. We decided not to register members from the fresh batches that included 1st BAJC and 1st MS. But instead we organized an exclusive 2 day literary event by the name of "Expload" for the freshers. The 2 day event included debate,dumb charades, creative writing and extempore. This event was organized to give the freshers a platform to come forward and exhibit their talent. The event got a good response and day 2 ended with the prize distribution. Expload gave the freshers an idea and feel about the club. Once the event got over we started registering the freshers in the club. September 5th was the last date and to our surprise 55 students joined the club. It was heartening to see that in it's very first year the club was able to register so many members. We had to select 4 news members for the core committee from the new batches to expand it to 10 members. After a 3 hour long rigourous interview session we finally selected 4 new freshers out of the 26 candidates The subtle message was that people started believing in the club and its activities. The other events organized were "Shout out" and Bibliomania which was the brain child of the UG 1st years. They organized the event which saw the book lovers of MIC come together. The mother of all events was organized in October- The first ever Intra MIC literary Events... "The YELL WEEK". The event was organized for 5 days that included 8 literary events... The objective of the event was to infuse enthusiasm among students for literary activities and also at the same time build a good literary team for the college. YELL was delegated the responsibility to build a good literary team for the we decided to raise the bar and made the events a bit tough...this way we would expose the participants to the tough competition that awaits them in inter college events. Its a gradual process and if we keep organizing events like this on a regular basis and keep raising the bar then we will surely start winning events in tough inter college events. This is a long term strategy which will surely prove fruitful in the years to come. The YELL week saw 56 participant from all the the 5 batches. The best part was that people who are shy in classes not only participated but also won events. This underlines one fact that everyone has talent, it just needs to be nurtured.

In retrospect the last semester was the most happening semester for YELL club. We have taken not a single penny from the college and university but still have ensured that we give away quality mementos and certificates to encourage more participation. But the key of the last semester i would say was the cohesiveness which with the whole club worked..the team work displayed in all the major and small events was the key behind the club's success. There are a few freshers who have shown a lot of enthusiasm and i believe they are the future of this club

But i believe this is just the beginning and it is time for us to raise the bar even higher.We are now firm within the college and now its time to prove ourselves outside. In November YELL also tied up with 'India First' a Bangalore based youth NGO. The vision both the organizations share is to help each other grow across India and build a umbrella of all the youth based clubs and organization to come together and emanate mass social campaigns across the nation. The coming semester is going to be even more challenging as we gear ourselves up to organize the first ever Student Media Convention by the name of 'Manipal Student Media Convention'. The idea is to bring media students, students interested in media and experts from the industry for a direct interaction. The Convention would serve as a interface between the experts and the fiture of media. The theme for the convention would be "New Media". The biggest challenge is to get sponsors. I am sure the way we have worked in the last semester we will surely be able to execute this event on a large scale and make it a grand spectacle. I would like to end by stating that this is just the beginning. We still have a long long way to go and have to set newer goals for the club. If we work cohesively and with the same enthusiasm then sky is the limit. Looking forward to the next semester with a hope that we will pull out some more pleasant surprises. Till then keep YELLING......

Sameer Ahmad Hashmi

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jam Round II- 22nd November,2007

The IInd round of Jam was conducted on 22nd November, 2007. After the YELL WEEK got over this was the first activity organized by YELL club. The main idea to hold round II was to involve more ppl in Jam. The results were pretty evident with 4 new faces participating in Jam who didn't participate in The YELL WEEK Jam. The six participants were- Vineeth, Amie,Vikarn,Naim,Ragamallika and Kaushik. Ram was the moderator for the event while Ajinkya and Sonali were the scorers. After 4 crazy rounds to everyone's surprise Naim piped Kaushik by a whisker to win the evnt. It was heartning to see new ppl getting interested in the event. YELL plans to hold more of such activities in the coming semester on regular basis to encourage more participation from MICians in literary events.