Hate Me Twice, But Obnoxious Akin Is A Non-Issue.

Don’t fall for their new illusions.

I am posting some select segments of a Facebook conversation I had today with some friends. I am also editing the discussion minimally — only for a better read — without ever changing any contents or points of view.

Here’s the Todd Akin controversy with his outrageous comments on rape. Basically, he said during his senate election campaign in Missouri that “legitimate” rapes cannot make the victim women pregnant; thus, according to him, abortion is not necessary (and the question is moot) for the victims of rape and incest. He is a far-right, conservative, anti-abortion (“pro-life”) Republican. Don’t ask me why so many American politicians are so dumb, let alone illiterate, arrogant, ignorant, offensive and uncaring.

You can read some news on the above here. Click on this line.

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Now, I posted as my status update: “Obnoxious [edited from “stupid”] Todd Akin and his primitive, outrageous  rape comments actually helped Obama for now. Thanks, “liberal” media. But, hate me for saying this: it is a non-issue, and for most voters with no jobs or money, it don’t matter.”

Immediately I got some serious disagreement — some from longtime friends.

PH wrote: “Wow, you’re going to have to elaborate on how its a non-issue when someone running for public office on a major party ticket in the US in 2012 makes offensive and ignorant comments about rape, and uses it as a basis for curtailing women’s reproductive rights. All this in the context of everything else going on with regard to the issue of reproductive rights (cuts to Planned Parenthood for example, which, for many low-income women and girls is the only source of information and access to reproductive health). How is it a non-issue Partha? Or maybe I misunderstand you.”

Quite legitimate concern about my concern. And she is someone for whom I have always had a lot of respect, for her pioneering work with immigrants and minorities. I could not take her criticism lightly.

I replied: “PH: Clarification: it’s a non-issue not because it’s not critically important for the society and especially [for] women, and of course it has long-term consequences. It’s a non-issue for this election which is (should be) primarily about the economy and how corporate America has stolen both the economy and democracy from us — with help from Republicans and Democrats alike. Liberal media will do more of such diversion in the coming months, and at the end of the day, both parties would love to fight it out (as in a bullfight with a red piece of cloth and sword dangling) on those other issues such as guns, God, gays, and such (with no denigration of these values whatsoever). Media love this diversion, because it also sucks people into these two parties, with practically no room to talk about a third alternative.”

Another Facebook friend HB whom I recently came to know and immediately understood her major talent, wrote:

“It is very much an issue because who we elect (at any level of the government) impacts funding and public policy and the way the social contract in this country is drafted. We must be attuned to every elected official’s attitude towards women and minorities as combined we are the MAJORITY! Our issues are the country’s issues and our well-being is the country’s well-being. Now, being familliar with your politics Partha, I know you agree with this basic sentiment. So please explain why this is a non-issue to you? Is it because it is a smoke signal to not talk about the war and the economy in this election season? If so, I agree. However, it is important to address Akin’s comments because he has a say so in our country’s politics as an elected official.”

Absolutely. I have no disagreement with her either. I just wanted to clarify my controversial position a little more. I responded:
“[HB]: But if there is no money at all because the Federal Reserve, banks and Wall Street stole all the money with help from the two big parties, where is any funding going to come from? I knew it would be a sensitive topic to discuss, and I have no regrets that I brought it up so bluntly. Point I’m making here is, what’s the root cause of all the liberal-conservative debate (if there was one)? Answer is: it’s the economy. That is the discussion the two parties, media and Wall Street do not like us to discuss. Hence, the frenzy.”

In this major meleé, who’s mighty merry? (Note: I did not draw this cartoon and do not endorse the full connotation, if any.)

Then, in my usual, narcissistic way, I went on [for which you must hate me: in fact, I hate myself a lot for this inability to restrain myself and my ego, as if it is the end of the world and that I must win over any argument — and I call Akin stupid?]:

“Emotions will not get us far. A level-headed discussion on economics and the current political system’s exploitation of the economy will. If there is one, we’ll see how bankrupt this two-party system is, and how it has stolen the democracy from us the ordinary people. If there’s one, we’ll see the absolute need to create a third choice. Corporate America and its political establishments do not want us to get into that discussion. Hence, the frenzy.”

I wrote:
“Who we elect matters, of course. But then what? Are they going to change the economic structure, or are they going to make cosmetic changes to perpetuate the status quo? Don’t go any further: just look at Clinton and Obama. We had SO much expectation from them! Has anything changed at all? Has democracy returned to We the People? We need systemic change, and not cosmetic change. Economics is at the heart of it all.”
That is the introductory conversation I thought I could extract from Facebook because of it’s urgency and relevance, and post here on my blog — for the many other readers who don’t keep track of my Facebook activities [believe me: you are better off not doing it].
I hope you think about it and let me know your thoughts. Criticize me as much as you like. But think before you do.
Sincerely Writing,

Partha
Brooklyn, New York
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Post Script.
— I also wrote this one last comment to sum it up: “Finally, I did not include a cursory note such as “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings…” etc. because I thought that would be superfluous, especially for people who have known me for years.”
Zero in on this conversation. Period!

So Many I Knew Left So Early…Why…Why?

Ma Ganga…Save Us from Doom and Destruction.

You could read this as a depressing note. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.

Because this note is about death (yes, again I’m writing about death — as if I can’t let go of it, ever). And death is never fun and writing about death is never fun either. It’s especially depressing if it’s about premature death. It’s about people I knew — so many of them — who died early; and they didn’t have to. They could’ve easily lived, and I could’ve easily been with them for some more years, and I didn’t have to feel so miserable that they didn’t live, and that I didn’t have the simple, ordinary pleasure of a simple, ordinary man to spend time with them and see them growing old, and grow old with some others who I wanted to grow old with.

But this is also a note to let my steam go, as if in a psychological therapy session. If you read it that way, it may not sound nearly as depressing.

In this little note of reflection, I’m trying to find reasons why they had to die so early and why I didn’t get the simple privilege of life to spend a little more time with them. Obviously, as you can see, I am hurting. And I don’t want to hurt so much.

You could call this a philosophical reflection. After all, discussing death is often philosophical. Talking about death with a heavy heart must always have an element of philosophy. An afterthought of dying early, prematurely, when these men and women were in the middle of us…with a full life that there was supposed to be…a life that was taken away from them…and a life that was taken away from us — must be philosophical analysis. If not a scholarly analysis, then at least it’s some emotion-framed rambling that may or may not make sense to others. But for someone like me who cannot simply either forget these deaths or brush them aside as harsh but unavoidable reality — this discussion is important.

Like they say in compassionate, educated discourses, it’s critical to close the chapter. Without closing these chapters, life hurts more and life hurts always. And you can’t hurt incessantly. You must move on. I have hurt incessantly, and I want to move on.

I could’ve titled this note “Why So Many I Knew Left So Early” instead of the title I chose — that would’ve been simpler, more prosaic and less emotional. People always charge me that I charge with emotion too much and it affects them negatively. They tell me I need to be more progressive and objective and less sentimental and old-fashioned. (In fact, they tell me that I should not dwell on the subject of death so much.)

But my dilemma about the title was that if I chose “Why So Many I Knew Left So Early!” as the title, it might have sounded as if I was merely complaining about these deaths. Or, come to think of it, it may have read (without the note of exclamation at the end) as if I was actually narrating the reasons about the deaths with absolutely confirmation that I indeed knew the reasons behind these early deaths. Choosing the title would always be quite difficult for such a note — a note that most people would not want to read more than once and if they read it at all, it would be quick and cursory only because the readers simply could not not avoid the urge to know what I had to say (thank you, brothers and sisters from all over the world).

No-name bloggers like with no pedigree or media or publishing house sponsorship have even more difficulty to choose the title of the blog and its length or format because there is always fear that these global, friendly readers might get turned off by depressing subjects and lengthy discussions, and may not return (and I want you all to return, believe me!).

Crossing Life’s Bridge into Neverland…Perhaps.

Then, I couldn’t simply be disingenuous about what I had to say about these deaths. I neither knew the real reasons they had to leave so early, nor did I mean to complain-only about these untimely deaths. Of course, I knew why they died if you asked me the physical reasons behind them — like, my mother’s ovarian cancer when she was forty-two, or my childhood friend Subroto’s untreated clinical depression and his suicide at the age of forty-six just a few days after his father’s death, my brother in-law Ashim’s death at forty when a drunk driver hit his bicycle on the morning of Holi a few years ago, my big-brother-like maternal uncle Buddha’s death at the age of thirty-five when someone shot him in the head and left his body on his office floor, death of my wife’s most jovial uncle at the age of fifty or so when he had his early-morning breakfast and left for his neighborhood tea shop only to be electrocuted of live wire submerged in waterlogged street, my mother’s closest sister who loved me just like her own child died of meningitis when she was perhaps thirty or so leaving behind three little children, or my mother’s oldest brother Biswanath who out of poverty had a severe, untreated anxiety disorder only to die of a cerebral aneurism when he was in his forties and had to leave four young children behind, etc. I always knew the physical facts behind the deaths. I also saw some of them dying close up — like my mother and my uncle Biswanath; I remember seeing this uncle in his death bed at the Calcutta Medical College hospital emergency ward, breathing his last out of a bunch of tubes.

I could’ve seen them growing old and dying at a mature, normal age. That did not happen.

Or, two of my Scottish classmates Anjan and Nikhil — whom I met through Subroto — died so suddenly when Anjan, then a newly-graduated doctor, fell on the street one fine morning and died of a massive stroke. Nikhil was killed with his whole family — his parents, wife and child — when he was driving back to Calcutta from Delhi and an out-of-control supply truck crushed the entire family to death.

Then I can think of some other deaths that I never thought would affect me at all because they were neither my friends nor relatives; they were only people I knew from a distance. But looking back, they all touched me deeply one way or the other. Like, the death of a young, happy boy Suranjan whom I saw the day before his last, who was playing basketball in our Scottish Church School’s courtyard when a mismanaged, poorly-built chunk of cement that held the basketball basket fell on him and one other kid to kill them instantly. Or, the other young man from Buddha’s alley whose name I cannot remember now — whom I saw acting in an amateur play with Buddha who a phenomenal actor and director, just days before his death; one morning, on his way to work, he fell off an overcrowded no-door Calcutta bus pedestal and got run over by the dilapidated, double-decker bus. He was the only earning member of his large family with a number of unmarried sisters. We were in college at that time and had enough courage and desire to go see the remnants of his body and blood strewn on Beadon Street.

All of it is real. I did not make anything up.

Or, like, when I was five or six years old, a young man Ranjit, I think sixteen or seventeen  years of age, who happened to be the elder brother of a boy I used to play alley football and cricket with, hanged himself to death (or did he take poison?). I was the only child then: my sister wasn’t born yet. My parents were so concerned that the incident next door might hit me hard — they did not let me see the dead body laying on a wooden cot before the funeral procession. I remember I only heard some subdued wailing of Ranjit’s poor mother. Or maybe, I’m only imagining. I was too small. That I think was my very first encounter with untimely, shocking death.

Why did Ranjit kill himself? I don’t know. Maybe, he failed in love? Maybe, he failed in his high school exam and could not find a way out of their poverty; I knew for the fact that they were extremely poor. His younger brother Rabin who played ball with us, I remember, would always be overly cautious that the ball we played with would be lost and then he’d have to come up with the money-share for the lost, thirty-paisa ball. Therefore, every time he bowled in a game of cricket, he would yell, “I’m not responsible if the ball’s lost!”

I still remember that so vividly!

In a few years, when I was a high school student and doing well in my exams and all, I saw Rabin working as a part-time usher at our local, North Calcutta theater halls where my parents would take me for a weekday evening, discount show of Satyajit Ray or Charlie Chaplin.

Rabin never finished school.

Ranjit killed himself. Many years later, Ganesh, another friend from the same North Calcutta alley who set up a small grocery shop in our Calcutta neighborhood to make ends meet, only never to be able to make ends meet, killed himself. On top of their humiliating poverty, he also had to come up with expenses for his old parents’ health care, costs that recently went completely out of control in post-socialism India. I was not in Calcutta when Ganesh died; I was already in the U.S. studying journalism at Columbia University (and already considering myself to be a part of the elite U.S. media). It was incidentally about the same time when Subroto stood in front of a speedy commuter train only to be cut up in half.

Ganesh, Subroto and I played and gossiped together back in those romantic Calcutta days. We could grow old together. That didn’t happen either.

Didn’t I say I must tell these stories to close some chapters?

Help me do it.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Yama, our Hindu God of death.

President Obama: Gun Kills. Gun Kills Everywhere. Wake Up!

Connecticut Mother grieves. Gun and violence took away her child.
Connecticut Mother grieves. Gun and violence took away her child.

December 14, 2012. — Another scary, sad and traumatic day with a new gun rampage in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. At least 18 children were killed by gunman in an elementary school. I wrote on my Facebook page: This is not a civilized country. And God does not save the innocent.
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August 6, 2012. — Another scary, sad and traumatic day with a new gun rampage in Wisconsin, USA. This time, a number of innocent Sikhs fell victims to this hate. I pray for the victims’ families and express outrage.
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“The NRA is an organization that is adamant about no controls on weapons, in spite of the fact that we have federal laws that say you cannot sell guns to minors, to people with psychiatric problems or drug problems, or convicted felons. And yet they pressure Congress and the White House, and they’ve been doing it for decades, to not fund enforcement of those laws.”

— Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York. Quoted from The Hill, July 23, 2012.

_______________________________________________

I hope you forgive me for being so undiplomatic today. But first, I want to say a prayer for the victims and their families and loved ones in Colorado.

Also, I remember Trayvon Martin. A few weeks ago, I wrote: “Trayvon Martin Would Still Be Alive If Zimmerman Had No Gun. Simple.” I hope you read it too.

Now, after today’s gun horror in Aurora, where a mass killer killed and hurt a large number of innocent people, President Obama said that the tragedy serves as a reminder that “life is very fragile.”

“Our time here is limited and it is precious.  And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives.  Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another,” he said.

I am very happy to know that President Obama still did not lose his poise and eloquence even after this gruesome mass killing that shook the entire world. Really, he should not because he is the president of USA; a president must keep his poise and emotional balance even under extreme circumstances.

I congratulate him for his calm.

However, I am not a U.S. president and I have no power to change the way things happen here in America or anywhere else in the world. I cannot change the way Obama sends drones to drop bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan — bombings that have killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children. I have no power to change Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy in Iran, Egypt or Syria and new war drumbeats in the Middle East — just the same way I could not do anything to change the policies of Bush and Cheney that started this millennium’s first genocide in Iraq and Afghanistan. I could not do anything to stop New York Times and other powerful media from publishing bogus reports on Saddam Hussain’s so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction — reports that helped validate the genocide and eventual rat-trapping and killing of the tyrant despot. Similar fate happened to Osama Bin Laden, and I had to no power to know what exactly happened to him during that military raid in Abbottabad.

Of course, I am not comparing terrorists in other countries with mass killers here in America. I have no power to make such a comparison either. These are apples and oranges that could not be compared.

I am a powerless man with no money, no media, no military and no mass support. I am a powerless man who can only imagine what went on with those fear-stricken people in that Colorado movie theater today. I can imagine their scared-to-death, white faces before their death. I can only imagine what those poor victims thought just before the mass killer who armed himself with guns and explosives and ammunition mowed them down — one after the other.

I can imagine placing myself in that crowd of horrified, screaming victims of gun violence. I can imagine placing my family and my children there too. I can imagine the hit and the hurt and splattering blood when a bunch of ultra-modern, powerful, lethal bullets pierced through my heart and blanketed my world with one final darkness. In the final moments, I can imagine I was praying to God that my wife and children be left safe. I was only wanting that they be left alone.

In those final moments before my deaths, I imagine I was praying to God that this be the last gun barbarism, ever.

President Obama, contrary to some of his predecessors, always says something that somehow resonates and stays back with you. In fact, he said this today (and so, yes, a very powerful man that he is, his thoughts were not much different from those of me, a very powerless man):

Upon learning the Colorado gun violence news, the president said he thought of his own two daughters.

“My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I’m sure you will do the same with your children,” he said. “But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.”

[Mr. President, I would include some little facts here — facts of lives of very powerful people and their families — like the presence of secret service and combing operations and VIP security and bomb-sniffing dogs and all other such paraphernalia, but I won’t. Because I want to give you the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe you’re being honest about your wife and daughters.]

Congratulations again, President Obama. That’s exactly the type of words that won the hearts of millions of poor and powerless people like me four years ago, around this time. I am not sure what’s going to happen this November; however, if somebody asked me to vote for your calm, poise and eloquence today, you got my vote, Mr. President, one more time.

But I would positively vote for you if you thought about not just Sasha, Malia and Michelle and my children here in America, but the millions of children who’re losing their parents and siblings and uncles and aunts and nephews and nieces every single day — because of bullets shooting out of mighty guns and tanks and bombs dropping out of the wide-open holes of those drones.

I would definitely vote for you today if you stopped that violence once and for all. Those children are hurting too. They’re hurting and bleeding and crying and writhing in pain. I can  imagine that as well.

With your very sharp mind, critical thinking and eloquence — totally unlike your predecessors — couldn’t you imagine that, Mr. President?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not ever going to take away the grim, dark reality in Colorado today. I am praying for the victims and their families and loved ones. I am shaking in fear. I am not being able to sleep tonight: just the same way I could not sleep when Columbine, Northern Illinois, Virginia Tech happened. I could not sleep when Trayvon Martin was killed this February. I am bleeding deep inside. I am imagining over and over, again and again, myself and my family and children in the middle of that barrage of bullets in that movie theater today.

But President Obama, you have not done anything to stop this gun barbarism here in America, either! In fact, you refused to do anything about it.

With your indifference, gun lobbies and gun markets and NRA’s have flourished even more in these four years. All of these powerful people and organizations are now likely working for your defeat this November. So, wake up!

With your indifference and support from your own administration and political allies for gun lobbies, gun violence has spiraled out of control. So, wake up, would you?

Gun has no place in a civilized society. In no other place in the world — First World or Third World — free guns have taken so many innocent lives.

No other country in the world — First World or Third World — media and movies and video games have glorified violence, killing and guns and bombs. Don’t you get it: this violent mindset is a direct result of that glorification! Would you please wake up?

President Obama, think about your powerful children and family, and think about our powerless children and families. And think about those millions of hapless children and families all over the world.

Stop this violence now! Stop this barbarism!

That’s all I wanted to pass on tonight. I hope you take it seriously.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Late Breaking News!! IMF Just “Bought” A New India President!!

The Three New Stooges!

Allegedly, an unprincipled, corrupt political system with an unprincipled, corrupt media just elected an IMF-nominated and Corporate-America-backed career-partisan politician as the new president of India — a man who as the longtime finance minister has brought the country’s economy to the brink of doom. 

I hope you read this little blog and the accompanying blog on IMF and Wall Street’s global politics and terrorism, and share them with your friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for your time for reading and sharing.

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Background:

The Indian president has always been a nameplate: a rubber stamp for the prime minister. But there’s a strong possibility that Pranab Mukherjee’s (the person in the middle — see photo with Sonia Gandhi) incumbency will change this because (1) he is the current finance minister of India and ALSO the current IMF director of India (very few know this); (2) in all likelihood, through putting him as the next India president, IMF will perpetuate its economic status quo that began during Rajiv Gandhi and his then-finance minister Manmohan Singh (India’s current prime minister: the bearded man on the left); (3) media do not mention, let alone discuss in-depth, the role of IMF and its Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) that turned a once-egalitarian (egalitarian compared to what it is now) economy upside down — both in India and elsewhere such as Argentina, Greece, Italy and Spain; (4) Sonia Gandhi, India’s de facto queen mother, is completely unchallenged by India’s so-called democratic political hegemony and media establishment when in actuality, she’s been a part of the country’s catastrophic and historic corruption, inflation and violence; and (5) Sonia Gandhi is obviously transferring power from now-prime minister Manmohan Singh so that she can put her son Rahul Gandhi, a political neophyte just like his father Rajiv Gandhi, as the next prime minister in 2014 (or 2019), and that her handpicked president Mukherjee can expedite that process. Of course, this is all assumption based on the current scenario. It might change as the political landscape of India is changing fast.

Foreground:

Fascists and bigots are now supporting a new, scary, global economic fascism!

India’s far right Shiv Sena, a Hindu outfit originally created in the 80’s allegedly to violently break down a legendary textile workers’ strike in Bombay, just threw their support behind Sonia Gandhi’s handpicked presidential candidate. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray said: “Islamic terrorism is growing and Hindu terrorism is the only way to counter it. We need suicide bomb squads to protect India and Hindus.”

Indian media that often brandishes secularism, does not say a word. The liberal pundits and political parties do not cry foul either.

International Monetary Fascism — also known as IMF — is playing their scary, scandalous game to take India over. It’s the beginning of a long, dark era of recolonization.

History Repeats Itself!

Lord Clive’s East India Company, with sabotage from a bunch of their paid spies and operatives, took India over in 1757. Then they ruled, looted and destroyed the country for the next two centuries before they broke the country in three pieces, created famines, killed millions, and made millions more permanently destitute. Now, two hundred and fifty years later, their new reincarnate IMF,  World Bank, the global corporate puppeteers and their notorious intelligence agencies, with help from their Indian operatives, are going to take over the country of 1.2 billion people — eighty percent of them haplessly poor — for the next number of centuries.

The Barbaric, British Partition of India, 1947.

Sounds too much of an exaggeration? Okay, quiz me on it. I’d love to take up on your challenge.

IMF is almost there to put its own man Pranab Mukherjee — the current finance minister of India and ALSO the country’s official IMF director (never disclosed by media)– as the next president of India. The “democratic” process is almost complete. Billions of dollars have changed hands underground to bring necessary votes to the table. Those few still bargaining for a better deal will be dealt with — in cash or kind. Media will be euphoric, vindicating Indian democracy.

You can quote me: you shall see eulogies in New York Times soon. I’ll come back and tell you when it happens.

New IMF “Renaissance” in Italy. They Got Spain Too!

The new colonists have just recently put their own men on top of two other major democracies Spain and Italy. India — the largest democracy in the world today — is their latest kill.

And the entire takeover is happening in broad daylight — in a nonviolent, bloodless, even invisible coup!

It might sound like I’m staging a major drama and scaring off people on unfounded allegations. First of all, I am a small, powerless Indian-American man sitting in New York — 10,000 miles away from New Delhi.  Secondly, I have no political or monetary stake here: I do not belong to any of the political or non-political parties that are busy playing the game. Plus, I can’t do much damage to anybody — let alone the mighty IMF or Sonia Gandhi family — by writing a small, no-name blog.

Don’t worry: I cannot upstage anybody’s game.

But I still want to write and talk about it because I am convinced this is exactly what is happening, and I just cannot be silent about it. I may be poor and powerless, but they could not YET take away my education, analysis and conscience, and my decades of grassroots political experience, both in India and America.

I believe what is happening in India right now is absolutely horrendous and this silent, bloodless coup can bring India to at least another century of miserable slavery. I know this takeover will kill countless poor people and families in the subcontinent.

I told you before that IMF’s New Terror in India is Going to Kill My Family. I’m telling you again: it’s going to be a genocide where hundreds of thousands of innocent and poor people will lose their lives and dignity. Women will lose their honor. Children will die of new starvation. Workers — men, women and children — will be thrown into even more brutal subjugation and violence.

A horrendous inflation and price rise for oil and essential commodities — we see it happening right now — will devastate millions of poor and middle-class Indian people.

I said it before, and I’m saying it again. You decide.

I’m inviting you to read the other recent posts I wrote here on my blog — on this subject. Please let me know what you think. Please let me know if there’s anything we can do to stop the International Monetary Fascists before they reoccupy India with their invisible and media-overlooked weapons of mass destruction (you can call it WMD or SAP): (1) permanent economic policy change by opening the floodgate to multinational, corporate investment, (2) drastic devaluation of Indian currency, (3) total privatization and deregulation of India’s economy, (4) destruction of India’s social welfare system, (5) obliteration of the nationalized banks and financial systems, (6) repression of labor union and workers’ rights, and (7) drastic cuts in taxes for the rich.

This is IMF’s new “Shock and Awe.”

I am NOT crying wolf. I am warning you about the violent, grotesque wolf that is about to start mass killing. I told you this before and I’m telling you this again, now.

The New IMF Terrorism in India Can Kill My Family. Read it here. Click on this link. Let me know what you think. Let others know about it too. Please.

Let’s do something about it. Can we do anything about it?

If you decide not to, let me tell you: YOU ARE NEXT!

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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Horrible, Old Wine in a Horrible, New Bottle!

T = mc2 . Einstein. That’s My Life.

(You can call it Part 2. I urge that you read both Part 1 and Part 2 together.)

The Time of Life Clock. Simple Description.

Recap from Part 1 of this post.

I came up with a plan and figured that T = mc2 perhaps could be one simplistic way to summarize my life – life of an ordinary, no-name, no-pedigree, mediocre, half-poor, half-educated, brown person who spent the first quarter of his life in India and the second quarter in America. I thought I could use my basic arithmetic and algebra skills (practically no math learned past high school) and come to a final tally of my life’s income and expenses, and profits and losses.

So, I thought, this could be the simple formula to summarize my life:

T = mc2

Where T is total time of life, m is total involved money (used, gained or lost), and c2 (or c x c) is the product of two major costs I had to incur over all these years — both in India and America.

Therefore, to put it in words, it is:

Time of life = Money involved x Cost1 x Cost2 .

[That’s Equation One]

Now, the question is, how do you break down the equation and show it part by part?

Here’s an attempt to do it.

First, let’s talk about the costs. In today’s market-maniac world, that’s perhaps essential: to know the costs to live.

Okay. Let’s see.

Cost1 or C1 is a product of all these factors, and I’m putting them together as they should be.

C1 = Earning Education x Earning Experience x Building a new life in an old land and in a new land x Winning Relationship x Building Family x Making Friends x Winning Praises and Rewards x Accomplishments x Achievements x Finding Coworkers x Keeping Supporters x Sustaining Sympathizers x Creativity x Activism x Critical thinking x Organizing x Making people think differently

[That’s Equation Two]

In short, C1 is the total product of all the good things that you earn, gain, develop, nurture and refine — because you want to do it.

In short, C1 is the total product of positive things I built in life — things that made me nice, happy and smile.

My Dr. Jekyll

Cost2 or C2 on the other hand is the total product of almost the opposite things you find in C1. Here they are.

C2 = Spending experience* x Spending education* x Loss of lives that directly impacted me x Loss of hopes x Sacrifices I was forced to make because of leaving behind my family, friends and society x Loss of friends x Lost and betrayed relationships x Insults x Injuries x Loss of stability x Stress x Anxiety x Fear x Physical and Emotional Abuse x cheating by establishments

[That’s Equation Three]


In short, C2 is the total product of negative things impacted my life — things that made me ugly, crabby and sad. The Mr. Hyde in me — that I often talk about.

(But look at the elements with an asterisk *  — i.e., spending experience and education — these are not necessarily negative. We might say these are “necessary evils.” You must spend some to gain some.)

I hate him. But he is so real!

Now, for the math buffs out there, you might immediately find a fallacy in Equation Two and Three. The fallacy is, things that I built (or won) and things that I lost (or destroyed) are really inversely proportional to each other. In other words, spending experience (from C2) is really inversely proportional to earning experience (from C1 ).

Like, spending experience = 1/earning experience.

Another example would be, losing friends or family members is inversely proportional to making friends and building family. A third example would be rewards and praises: are they just the opposite of insults and abuses?

Like, rewards and praises = 1/insults and abuses.

So, in other words, people might say, it’s total fallacy, because C1 essentially crosses C2 out, and therefore, we end up with a cliché or conundrum, which is T = m. Time of life = Money in life.

You might say, what new did you teach us? We always knew that “Time IS Money!”

You made a good point. But unfortunately, you are wrong.

[You, at this point perhaps a little irked]: Show me I am wrong. I’ve been very patient so far.

Yes, that you have, indeed. Thank you.

Well, wait a minute then. Let me explain.

See, you need to find the end result of those multiplication products. I’ll give you an example. In my life…in anybody’s life…spending education cannot be exactly inversely proportional to earning education; do we use all the education we gain, ever? Of course, we might say, we never really “spend” education — that is one treasure in life that we can never run out of how much ever we use it. But that’s too much philosophy. My philosophy here in these formulas is much simpler: this is a philosophy you can touch, taste and smell. It’s real. There is nothing abstract about it.

Similarly, you see, earned rewards, praises, promotions and compliments are not exactly the same amount you lose by being insulted, injured, or physically and mentally abused. Again, you need to see the end result of the product: do you have more insults and abuses than rewards and compliments? Or, do you have more on the plus side of the equation? You find out. You are the ultimate judge.

I won’t take too much of your time. You’ve been very patient.

Therefore, at the end of the day, it all boils down to this.

T or total time of my life = Total Money involved in my life X Total product of Cost1 elements X Total product of Cost2 elements.

I think it is a very fair, balanced, realistic and simple formula to summarize my life. I really do.

I would ask you to test this formula in your life’s situation. See if it works for you too. If it does, then it’s a universal formula – irrespective of man’s economic or social class, caste, race, nationality, religion, lifestyle choice or color.

I have every reason to believe my formula would prove to be universal.

I’ll let you decide on the other, possible mathematical and scientific aspects of the formula.

Remember, T sits on the left hand side of the equation. Time of life is the most important determinant here. All the other aspects of life – including the so-called all-important money in today’s world – sit on the right hand side (the variable side).

T is the absolute truth here. Whatever way you come up with your own measurement of T for your own life, it’s going to be an absolute truth – for you.

Everything else is there to help calculate our total time of life.

That’s the ultimate message here. From me.

I hope I came across nice, simple and clear with that message.

Thanks for brainstorming with me. It’s been fun.

Thank you, Sir Albert. You’ve been quite an inspiration. You brought out a mini-Einstein in me. That’s incredible, given where I was and where I am now!

Wow! So gratified!

___________________

Post Script. — I also doubled checked on the qualitative applicability of the equation by trying its various possible forms. Like, if Time = Money X Costs, then Costs = Time/Money. Also, Money = Time/Costs. Think about it: all the various possible forms actually work quite well.

___________________

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

People have had other concepts of time-money relationship. I think my formula is unique and much easier to understand.

One Last Tagore Birthday Before My Death

Satyajit Ray, an agnostic, thought Tagore was like a God.

It took me a long time to decide on the title. I thought about it and thought it over.

I read it once. I read it twice. I paused and read it again. Finally, I decided. This is it. This is the title.

No, I don’t want to make it sound corny. That’s not the purpose. I truly feel that it could be one last time I get to live on the 25th of Baisakh — Tagore’s birthday — which normally falls on the 8th of May. This year, it’s the poet’s one hundred fifty-first birth anniversary. This year, just like any other year, much fanfare is happening in West Bengal and Bangladesh, various Bengali neighborhoods of India, as well as cities across the world wherever there is a community of Bengali people — big or small.

There will be Tagore’s songs. There will be Tagore’s plays. There will be Tagore’s poetry. There will be Tagore’s dances. There will be talks about the poet-philosopher’s poetry and philosophy. More resourceful Bengali communities in places such as Calcutta (Kolkata) and Dhaka and London and Toronto will put out special literary publications to observe the special day. Some will try experimental music — using Tagore’s songs. Some will stage Tagore’s famous plays — Post Office, Land of Cards or Red Oleanders from a new, refreshing point of view. Some will perhaps have an exhibition of Tagore’s paintings.

I know here in New York, a group of Bengali musicians and artists is putting together an audio book of Tagore’s short stories — the Man from Kabul, Return of the Little Boy, the Postmaster — with help from young-generation, college-age Bengali-American boys and girls. Kudos to them.

I have no doubt there’s going to be countless other events, programs and performances all over the world to celebrate this occasion. Especially, Tagore’s 150th birthday was particularly celebratory; it is likely this year many places are perhaps completing their year-long observance with special wrap-up celebrations.

Tagore Dance Drama in U.K.

I could not be a part of any of the numerous gatherings — either in America or Bengal. I am not a part of any of the numerous Bengali clubs, societies and organizations — either in America or Bengal. I do not live in India anymore. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood where there is a small smattering of immigrants from West Bengal; I know once they had an association that held Durga Puja and therefore, perhaps, Tagore Jubilee as well. But I know the group slowly dwindled, some old inhabitants left this unsung corner of New York City and some others went back to India. In any case, we never hear from them.

There is a large Bangladeshi community within walking distance of where we live in Brooklyn. In fact, working as an immigrant rights activist especially among the South Asians, once I had made an estimate that only this community counted about 30,000 people. It is a large community that has associations from many known and unknown districts of Bangladesh; they frequently host their picnics, street fairs and Eid dinners. But I am not sure if they ever hosted any Tagore birthday celebration. I learned from various friends that most of them came from conservative-Muslim areas in Bangladesh where “Hindu-liberal” Rabindranath Tagore was not such a household name. That is not to say all conservative Muslims are anti-Tagore or anti-Hindu.

In some other West Bengali and Bangladeshi communities in New York and New Jersey, there will be programs and performances. But these days, after working with and for especially the Bangladeshi community, it has dawned to me that inviting someone like me who is not from political Bangladesh is not a priority. After living in New York City for so many years, my family and I have accepted the fact that in spite of our desire to belong with a larger, undivided Bengali diaspora, we are not, in any real sense, part of either a “mainstream immigrant” Bangladesh or West Bengal. (Apologies for using an oxymoron.)

Chances are, we will not know if there were Tagore celebrations in New York or New Jersey where my long, post-9/11 activist experience once had an estimate of some two hundred thousand Bengalis — over eighty percent of whom were from Bangladesh. Practically all the weekend Bengali-language parochial schools and practically all of the two dozens of weekly Bengali-language newspapers and magazines operating and publishing out of New York are Bangladeshi.

The Land of Bengal: a Glorious History of a Thousand Years.

For a long time, my family and I were actively involved with one of the weekend schools where I taught advanced-level Bengali to just-graduated students, and my family members participated in their cultural programs. For a number of years, especially after 9/11, as an important part of my immigrant rights activism, I wrote columns in a number of Bengali weekly newspapers and magazines — Thikana, Ekhon Samoy, Bangalee, Sangbad, Porshee.

With the schools and publications alike, I always did what I always do: educate the community about the difference between culture and kitsch, and speak and write about human rights and justice. When I worked professionally for two immigrant advocacy organizations — one in Jackson Heights, New York City and the other in New Jersey, I also worked with Bangladeshi immigrant families who bore the brunt of a terribly unjust and primitive immigration system here in the U.S. Among other activities, I worked with a few men and women who were in prison for a long time for minor immigration violations; I also worked with some others who were spared from prison detention or deportation because of our work.

I have many friends and acquaintances. I built precious connections with journalists, activists, writers, singers, playwrights and music teachers. I always felt proud to have thought I was a member of the larger immigrant Bengal and immigrant South Asia.

Tagore Festival Toronto

Yet, there is a strange disjunct — an insurmountable wall — between me and my family and the societies both in the Bangladeshi and West Bengali community. West Bengali immigrants do not know us well: we live in a not-affluent area in Brooklyn mostly inhabited by African-Americans, Jewish people, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Bangladeshi immigrants do not think we are one of them because we came from India — a country they do not know anymore. The conservative-Muslim Bangladeshis (the variety I mentioned above) do not like or understand a liberal-progressive, one-nation Bengal that Tagore and his predecessors from Bengal Renaissance envisioned. The young-generation, liberal-educated Bangladeshis do not know the common history and heritage of two Bengals shared over one thousand years before the British cut the land of Bengal in halves, erecting insurmountable, blood-soaked borders.

Yet, a very large section of Bangladeshi Bengalis (it’s a very strange term, in my opinion) — most are Muslims — are moderate in their religious and social views, avid music, theater and literature lovers, and are the biggest consumers of music and movies from Calcutta and West Bengal — even today. Strangely, however, some of them have a general apathy, indifference, ignorance and often anathema about political West Bengal and India. When they find out I am from India and not from Dhaka, Sylhet or Chittagong, they talk to me differently. Again, I’m not generalizing. How can I, when I have so many special friends from Dhaka, Sylhet or Chittagong?

New York’s Bengali paper Thikana published a nice review of my Tagore album. I keep working with them.

There are quite a few other Bengali immigrants both from Bangladesh and West Bengal — highly educated, scholarly and erudite — who are satisfied with the small society they have and therefore do not feel any particular urge to invite outsiders like us. New Jersey or Long Island — where most of these more affluent, educated West Bengalis live — is like a group of islands only connected by long-distance, car-driven highways, creating more distances between people. We do not have the time or desire to go out of New York City to see either a Durga Puja or a Tagore performance, and return more depressed that we never felt truly welcome.

All of the above — the entire, personal, true story I told here — is a slow but sure recipé for death. If I was not a high-energy, activist, never-say-die-type personality who would go out of his way to find new friends, colleagues and communities and stay involved with newer and ever-challenging, creative activities — immigrant movement or labor education or Brooklyn For Peace or Durga Puja or Bengali New Year celebration (or even the Tagore-150 we organized in Manhattan last year with help from New Yorker) — death would have come much faster. In my twenty-five-plus years of living in the U.S., I have seen a number of people — a few of them being highly talented but decidedly loners — falling victims of this extreme alienation followed by depression, dark diseases and death. I always, always carry that fear deep inside that one day, I’m going to be a victim of a similar alienation and die untimely.

My new Tagore album: maybe you’ll like the songs — I hope you do

Every year, therefore, at this time when the rest of the world is celebrating the life and work of this incredible genius named Rabindranath Tagore, the question comes to my mind: am I going to live one more year to see the next Tagore birthday celebration? Which song would be the last Tagore song I hear before I die? Which Tagore poem would be the last one I read? Which short story would I translate the last before I perish — and perish prematurely?

I hope I didn’t make you too sad or perturbed and I certainly hope I didn’t make it sound too corny, as if I was trying to draw your sympathy — sympathy for a forlorn soul.

If you feel that way, I am sorry. I do not have anything to offer you to compensate for it — other than the two dozens of Tagore songs I recorded. I also have a few translations of these songs as well as translations of a few Tagore short stories.

I also have a YouTube of one of my talks on culture and Tagore — a talk I gave recently at an Indian university. And if I may say it, I have recently managed to compile a whole host of my essays on Tagore in relation to cultural erosion and globalized kitsch. I’m actually in the middle of writing a book on the above.

I hope you receive these gifts I leave for you, and forgive me for my personal, not-so-cheerful rambling.

Celebrate Tagore. He showed us an educated, modern, progressive way to live. He was not a perfect man. In fact, he had many flaws. I do not consider him a God. I consider him a very important, humanist philosopher-poet teacher who taught us human spirituality, universality and peace.

Tagore taught us the message of emancipation: in Bengali, the word is Mukti. It means inner freedom: liberation of the soul. Nandini showed us the way in Red Oleanders.

If this is the last Tagore birthday before my death, I want to remember him that way.

I hope you get to know him.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

Land of Cards

Trayvon Would Still Be Alive…If Zimmerman Had No Gun. Simple.

Scared? You should be.

Trayvon Martin would still be alive today if his killer Zimmerman had no gun. It’s simple. As simple as the bullet that killed the poor kid.

As Bill Cosby said just a few days ago, and I am paraphrasing: “It’s not about race. It’s about guns.” That is where the debate and action should be.

I know what I’m talking about. It’s very real for me.

My uncle Buddha — my mom’s youngest brother who was like a big brother to me — was shot and killed by a gun.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time and words on this subject. I don’t have to. It’s pretty easy to get.

Did you read the paper, watch the TV, or follow the news on the radio? In the last few weeks, almost every single day, some people — innocent people including children — got killed here in America because of guns. Somebody found a gun. Somebody bought a gun from Wal-Mart or some place like that. They brought the gun to school. They brought the gun to their workplace. They brought the gun to a shopping mall. Then, they shot and killed people. They blew skulls out. They destroyed lives. They destroyed hopes and dreams.

Let there be no illusion. Let there be no confusion.

Guns kill. Guns kill the innocent. Guns kill children. Guns can kill my children. Guns can kill your children.

I’m not here to scare you for no reason. Guns are scary. Let’s be afraid of guns. Let’s be afraid of people and groups behind the scene.

Let’s be afraid of people who’re pushing guns. Just the same way we should be afraid of people who push drugs. Or, those who push pornography. All three forms of vicious killers — guns, drugs and pornography — are abundant now in America. They are beyond control.

They can all kill us. They can all kill our children. Some do it slow. Some do it fast. But, they all kill.

Guns kill fast.

Does the above sound like a sermon? So be it. I have no other way to put it. I don’t have to spend a lot of time and words on this subject. I don’t want to. It’s pretty easy to get. (Even though watching American media, you wouldn’t get it. They don’t mention guns much, if at all.)

Killed by Legislation and Profit.

The so-called Stand Your Ground law in Florida and other states here in America is stupid, primitive and motivated by profit. (Update: even the Norway mass-killer claimed self-defense — the theme for Stand Your Ground law). Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York, in his new crusade against the gun violence and gun lobby and National Rifle Association, used a lot of good logic against the powerful NRA. But he did not mention the gun industries’ motivation of profit and the big Wall Street people and politicians behind passing the law. The same Bloomberg is using his NYPD to arrest peaceful Occupy Wall Street protesters every single day. (and I have yet to see a major coverage in major media).

Without mentioning the drive for profit, and that too at the expense of hundreds of innocent lives, the big Bloomberg talk against NRA is meaningless.

If you talk about NRA, you talk about the gun industry. You talk about the war industry. You talk about the pervasive culture of violence — promoted by media and TV and Hollywood. They promoted it in USA. They promoted it all across the world. Guns and bombs and grenades and mines and remote-control explosives and computerized drones are big business.

Let’s face it: you cannot talk about one element and exclude the others. They are all connected to each other.

I have no sympathy for the culture of violence. I know Obama frequently talks about Gandhi and his so-called non-violence. Good. But Obama never speaks against the all-powerful NRA. He’s afraid to upset them and lose the Southern conservative votes (and Northern gun owners). Neither does Clinton — either the man or the woman. Republicans and conservatives and American feudals and cave men and women tout the Second Amendment to tout their God-given right to carry a weapon. Good. At least we know they are primitive. But Democrats — the so-called civilized, modern people also never take on NRA and the gun lobby. I believe they are either hypocrites or stupid. I don’t care. Either one is bad.

Guns kill. Every single recent, blood-curdling episode — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, San Francisco, Trayvon Martin, the Colorado Congress woman, Ohio, Pennsylvania…just name it. Guns were the single-most important factor in the killings. Yes, baseball bats can kill too. Yes, knives, swords, poison, drugs and pornography have killed thousands of men, women and children over the couple of thousands of years of recorded human history. But never, ever one single weapon of destruction has been able to destroy lives so fast, so massively and enormously — before the gun was invented and marketed.

You think. You decide. You act.

In 2009, guns took the lives of 31,347 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour. This is U.S. government’s data.

Think about Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, San Francisco, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Trayvon Martin. It’s simple logic. Had the killers carried a baseball bat or knife or sword or poison or drugs or pornography, would they be able to kill so fast and so massively? If the guns and ammunition were not so easily available, would the killers be able to use them so easily?

Think about how these innocent young men, women and children would still be alive. They were somebody’s children. They could’ve been your children. They could’ve been my children. I wrote about it before. I shall write about it again.

The same NRA and gun lobby and conservatives and feudals and primitive, pre-historic profiteers and politicians and press often tout God especially during election times. Would God — any God — approve such massacres? Would Jesus approve it? Would Moses approve it?

I don’t want to spend any more time and words on this subject. It’s fairly simple. Guns kill. Nowhere in the civilized world outside USA people carry guns, or buy and sells guns at Wal-Mart and such places. It’s unthinkable. And those countries and societies do not lose their children every other day because of gun violence at a shopping mall or school or day care center.

I do my part. You do yours. Stand Your Ground.

Shun the Gun.

Or, one day, just like my uncle Buddha, somebody in your family might get killed. It’s a very real possibility.

Believe me, I’m not making it up.

Trayvon Martin would still be alive if Zimmerman had no gun. It’s simple. As simple as the bullet that killed the poor kid.

 

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Koch-ALEC-NRA-trinity

My Kid’s Name is Trayvon Martin — reposted

NOTE: I am re-blogging this post on this sad, one-month observance of Trayvon Martin’s death. A seventeen-year-old’s life was suddenly taken away from his parents, family and friends. I strongly feel he could be my kid, and I mourn his loss. I hope we all come together and fight back against this all-pervasive wrong. Let us save our kids from guns, violence and injustice.

onefinalblog

UPDATE JULY 14, 2013. Zimmerman has been acquitted. ONLY HAPPENS IN AMERICA. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/us/george-zimmerman-verdict-trayvon-martin.html?hp&target=comments#commentsContainer

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Update April 11.Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with a second-degree murder. Visit news athttp://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/george-zimmerman-to-be-charged-in-trayvon-martin-shooting-law-enforcement-official-says/2012/04/11/gIQAHJ5oAT_story.html

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“Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking home from a 7-Eleven in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26 when he was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer who had called police and reported a “real suspicious guy” wearing a hoodie.

Martin was found dead, unarmed, with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

The neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested.”

This is NBC news today. I therefore put it in quotes.

What is so special about the news? Which part is the one you don’t understand?

If you ask me, I understand all of it. Here’s how I understand it — point by point.

1. Trayvon Martin was…

View original post 690 more words

My Kid’s Name is Trayvon Martin

My Kid’s Name is Trayvon Martin

UPDATE JULY 14, 2013. Zimmerman has been acquitted. ONLY HAPPENS IN AMERICA. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/us/george-zimmerman-verdict-trayvon-martin.html?hp&target=comments#commentsContainer

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Update April 11. Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with a second-degree murder. Visit news at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/george-zimmerman-to-be-charged-in-trayvon-martin-shooting-law-enforcement-official-says/2012/04/11/gIQAHJ5oAT_story.html

______________

“Trayvon Martin, 17, was walking home from a 7-Eleven in Sanford, Fla. on Feb. 26 when he was shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer who had called police and reported a “real suspicious guy” wearing a hoodie.

Martin was found dead, unarmed, with a bag of Skittles and an iced tea.

The neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self-defense and has not been arrested.”

This is NBC news today. I therefore put it in quotes.

What is so special about the news? Which part is the one you don’t understand?

If you ask me, I understand all of it. Here’s how I understand it — point by point.

1. Trayvon Martin was a seventeen year-old kid.

(He could be my kid. He could be your kid. He could be anybody’s kid.)

2. He was walking home from a 7-Eleven in Sanford, Florida. It was February 26, 2012. It was after dark.

(He could be my kid. He could be your kid. He could be anybody’s kid.)

3. He was unarmed.

(That’s not a crime. Right?)

4. He only had Skittles and an iced tea with him.

(That’s not criminal, either.)

5. He was followed by a so-called neighborhood watch volunteer — whatever that means — who had a gun.

(That sounds scary to me — especially if I put my kid in that situation.)

6. Trayvon Martin, the seventeen-year-old kid who went to buy Skittles and iced tea at his neighborhood 7-11, wore a hoodie, this so-called neighborhood watch volunteer — whatever that means who had a gun — reported to police that he found a “real suspicious guy.”

(That sounds scary to me — especially if I put my kid in that situation. Wearing a hoodie is normally not criminal. What do you think?)

7. Trayvon Martin, unarmed except for his Skittles and iced tea on him, was shot dead. They found his dead body on the street.

(The kid is now dead. He was seventeen. He was suddenly killed by a man who thought the kid was “suspicious.”)

8. The so-called neighborhood watch volunteer whatever that means, George Zimmerman, claims he acted in self-defense.

(I want to act in self-defense too, if my kid is suddenly killed. What do I do? Please let me know. I shall follow your advice. I don’t have a gun. I don’t kill. What can I do?)

9. Therefore, from the NBC news report, it is obvious that the so-called neighborhood watch guy, George Zimmerman, meant his act was shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

(In fact, the guy never denied it. Ever.)

10. The guy who shot and killed an unarmed seventeen-year-old boy was not arrested.

(He was not arrested even though he never denied he shot and killed an unarmed kid who went to to buy Skittles and iced tea at his neighborhood 7-11.)

As you can see, I understood the whole story. I have no confusion. I have no illusion.

I got more news tonight on Trayvon Martin.

His parents appeared Wednesday on the “TODAY” show and said their child had been frightened for his life because he was being followed by Zimmerman.

“He was on his way home. He had every right to have on his hoodie. It was raining. Why not put on his hoodie to prevent getting wet?” his father said on “TODAY.”

This is the ONLY part I do not understand. I have seen my kid wearing a hoodie even when it’s not raining. In fact, I myself wear a hoodie every time I get a chance — in sun, in rain, in cold weather, in pleasant weather.

In fact, I plan to wear a hoodie at the Million Hoodie March in New York. I plan to wear a hoodie in front of Fox studio here in New York, especially when Geraldo does his show in that big, jail-like building.

NY Post before 9/11. How fierce they’ve changed!

Have you heard about Amadou Diallo? No? Look it up. He was an immigrant from Guinea who lived in the Bronx. One cold night about twelve years ago, he was shot and killed by New York Police Department cops who thought Amadou looked suspicious. Amadou did not have a gun. He was killed instantly, with a barrage of bullets the cops fired at him. The cops who killed him were all acquitted by the American justice system.

Have you heard about Sean Bell who was killed in Queens on the night of his wedding? No? Please look it up.

I don’t know what will happen to the so-called neighborhood watch guy who thought Trayvon looked suspicious, and therefore followed him and then shot and killed him.

I cannot predict the American justice system. I only feel strongly tonight that my kid’s name is Trayvon Martin.

That’s all I wanted to say.

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Trayvon Martin’s Parents are Us

Nightmare on Boyhood Street

A special note: I’d like to take a moment to thank all the readers especially those who read it from places I otherwise have no way to reach. It is a matter of great comfort that this post was read in countries — other than India, USA, Canada and U.K. — such as Austria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Spain and Thailand (and some more). I believe the cruelty and violence I described in this blog is global, and there is enough reason to believe that we are trying to find solidarity here — to stop this brutality. Thank you, readers. I hope you take a moment to share it with others. -Partha

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Nightmare on Boyhood Street

Today, I remember a day from my school life. I was thirteen at that time – an eighth grader. It was Calcutta, India. It was perhaps a late summer day.

Calcutta’s name has now changed to Kolkata. Bombay has changed to Mumbai. Madras is now Chennai. A lot has changed in India since then…a lot…especially with the invasion of new shopping malls, MTV, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Has child abuse changed in India? If your answer is yes, show me how. Give me some examples. If your answer is no, tell me why not.

Here is a real story from a real life.


Bang, bang, bang…

Punch, punch…

Whack, whack, blow…

Slap, slap, kick, thud…

A stout, muscular man in his forties held a young boy by the hair. He held him down with one hand. With his other hand, he beat up the boy mercilessly. He beat him up continuously. He punched him on his head and upper body. He slapped him fiercely, repeatedly, on his tender cheeks. He pulled his hair so hard that the boy was almost airborne. He pulled his earlobes so strongly that they were blood red. The slaps made reddish pink finger marks on his cheeks.

Along with the beating, the man groaned, ground his teeth, and grunted, “Huh, huh, huh…”

The boy took the abuse…the horrible beating. But he did not fight back. And he did not cry out, or ask for mercy. He did not ask him to stop. He did not show any visible sign of pain.

That made the man even angrier. He became more violent. He forced the boy to sit in an animal position, with his palms and knees touching the floor. The man then climbed up on him, and started to hit his back with his bent elbow. He also kicked him…or did he?

The violence went on for nearly ten, fifteen, twenty minutes…maybe, half an hour. The man lost his sense of time. The boy did too. He was nearly unconscious at this point.

The entire episode happened in a classroom. It happened in front of some forty or fifty frozen, traumatized, eighth-grade students. They watched it with horror;  some covered their faces. A few of them fell sick. Another boy urinated in his pants. One of their teachers was doing this to one of their classmates: they couldn’t believe their eyes! But none of them stood up or said a word against the barbarism. They watched it in complete silence…for the entire time.

Ashu Kar, a teacher in our famous, 150-year-old, missionary Scottish Church Collegiate School, was famous for his bad temper. There were a few other teachers who were even more notorious than him. They were never known for their quality of teaching or love for the students; they were only known for their dexterity to mercilessly, violently beat the kids.

But luckily, these men would not teach us, some of the best students. Back then, Scottish had merit-based promotion; they would always place us in Section A because we topped in the final exam. The abusive teachers would not take our classes. We were privileged to get some of the phenomenal educators of Calcutta whose presence in the classroom was like a gentle breeze coming off the ocean. Shyamadas Mukherjee of Mathematics, Bijan Goswami and Amiya Roy of Bengali, Rev. Santosh Biswas and Sudhendu Deuri of English, Nitya Sengupta of Chemistry, and Tarun Datta of Biology. Then, there was our famous headmaster A. R. Roy, known for his personality and poise. They were great teachers. We learned from them as eagerly and as fast as blotting paper would soak up water or ink – through every possible capillary of our young, inquisitive minds. We’d look forward to their classes.

The horrible hangmen would get the poor, “backward” students in Section C, D or E. We’d often hear horror stories from them. Even in elementary school, in fourth grade, there was severe student abuse. And I’m not even talking about the verbal abuse that was commonplace: teachers would make personal, intrusive, insulting, snide, negative remarks, constantly on a daily basis, to students that did not do well in tests or failed to turn in the homework; particularly, students who came from underprivileged families. Indian boys and girls were used to verbal abuse. At home, they got it from their fathers, uncles or neighbors. At school, they got it from teachers. The verbal insult and undermining would dash their self-esteem once and for all.

Now I’m talking about the more serious, inhumane, physical abuse. We the “good” boys from Section A came to know about them in middle school, since maybe, when we were in sixth or seventh grade.

Police beating a child

There were two men named Mr. Jana and Mr. Dafadar who took Section E classes only: boys who did the poorest in last year’s finals. They brought in class their own special teaching methods and tools. Every day, they’d enter the classroom, and before doing anything else, call out some students they decided the worst backbenchers. They’d line them up outside the classroom facing against the wall, with their arms all the way up, the length of the arm touching the wall, as if cops doing a shakedown on them. I’m convinced these teachers were cops or military men before they became teachers; they did it to their sixth, seventh or eighth-grade students exactly the way cops did it to suspected, frisked criminals. Or, in case of today’s India or USA, anyone the cops or military might suspect to be trouble makers.

Jana and Dafadar – I don’t remember which one was more dangerous – would then return to classroom, take attendance for the remaining students, give them some meaningless work to do – maybe, a bunch of arithmetic or English grammar problems from the textbook without showing them how to do it, and return to their “favorite” students waiting outside. Now, they’d stick out their personal, two-feet-long, wooden ruler scale or a long, bent cane, and spank the students real hard until they all cried out in pain. Some diehards would not budge; some of the kids were so used to it that they’d look the other way, and chuckle while the bad cops kept beating the others. If they’re lucky, they’re spared. If Jana and Dafadar caught them chuckling, they’d have some more special treat that day.

Some E or D students regularly cut classes. They also nicknamed the abusive teachers: Jana and Dafadar were called Jharudar or something, meaning the sweeper; alternately, it could mean the one who beats badly.

That was them. Then there was our Ashu Kar. In between, there were some more child molesters – big or small.

Why do people get so violent? Why are some people so cruel? What pleasure do some big, powerful men get out of beating young boys or girls who can’t resist or fight back?

Sigh…tears…sigh…tears…sigh…

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

Owner beating child worker at a textile factory