Being Indian in America.


Dirty Business: India’s “Coalgate” story and Ramesh Agarwal, the environmental activist

Here is a little video about Ramesh Agarwal, who won the Goldman Prize 2014 for environmental activism. He prevented some large scale land-grabbing in Chattisgarh, India, by tracking new development projects on tribal lands and preventing their implementation.

English video is just below the Hindi one.



Read more about Ramesh Agarwal here:

India has a mob violence problem.

mob violence

The average Indian city-dweller of the seventies was curious, eager to learn new cultures, romantic and mostly upright. As India grows in GDP and economic glory, there isn’t enough largesse to protect the idealist everyman. Congested cities have been breeding a sort of desperate, clawing, frustrated and aspiring Indian who has turned away from his conscience.

This week, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being wooed in the US by Silicon Valley companies vying for market share in India, a curious mob murder was triggered by an announcement in a Hindu temple– recently a Muslim family had allegedly enjoyed a meal containing beef (after Mr. Modi’s government had banned it arbitrarily in the area, while allowing Hindu families to butcher beef for export). The family head, a 50 yr man, father to an Indian Air Force personnel, had his head smashed in by an angry mob of more than 100 Hindu men who also brutalized his 70yr mother and other family members. For now, I will put aside the fact that the police collected evidence, meat from the victim’s fridge to test for bovine DNA. I will also ignore the fact that the victim’s son is in the Indian Air Force. The murderer was a mob.  In 2014, a perfunctory look at mob violence in India made me write the paragraphs below. It is emotionally exhausting to research this subject. Daily harassing peaceful human rights activist gatherings as mobs, the Indian administration has not named mob violence as a focus for law enforcement.

30th September, 2014, a scarce 2 days since Modi’s Madison Square rah-rah about India, I watched a video that captured a Delhi mob attacking 3 African men, even as they stood in a Delhi Police Booth. There must have been at least a hundred Indians wielding cameras on their phone, who were not participating, but who did not have the spine to intervene. The police were unable to take control of their own booth for at least 10 minutes. That the sticks and stones thrown at the African men came, not from one or ten assailants, but from every direction in the huge, ridiculous mob that chanted jingoistic exclamations of national pride, just proves that ultimately, Indians give quicker expression to their bigotry than ever.

28 September, 2014: American Congressmen and sundry celebrity flotsam paid their respects to Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister who once mocked a Muslim man, Ehsan Jafri, on a telephone conversation. Jafri had called Modi to send law enforcement to protect him and his Muslim neighbours, who were in the path of a large Hindu mob that was killing Muslims. Modi taunted him, sent no police help, looked the other way, and Jafri and his neighbours were brutally dismembered soon after the call.

As a gesture of love for Modi, a mob of his Hindu supporters in New York assaulted a journalist who had documented the grievances of those who question his integrity.

August, 2014: A mob beat a woman, 55, to death, because she allowed her daughter to wear jeans.

July, 2014: A mob beat a man to death in reaction to a false rumour that he may have raped a 7 year old girl.

June, 2014: A mob of Shiv Sena supporters went on a rioting spree until they found a random Muslim boy to kill because someone posted distorted images of their Hindu leaders on Facebook.

May, 2014: A small mob of 9 men lynched a teenage boy for beginning a love affair with a girl from a higher caste.

Throughout 2012 and 2013, girls were publicly molested in pubs, resorts and parks by mobs on moral policing patrol. These mobs were most often members of Hindu religious groups, purportedly preserving Indian culture when they were assaulting the girls, sometimes with policemen and TV crew documenting the events.

There are so many lynchings in India that we even had this lynching that I think is ok, because the 200 strong mob of women, were victims of the the victim, who had been raping them and other women from 300 families for too long, with no police intervention.

9 ways shared posts slow down human evolution

I  missed the Reddit boat. What is that monstrosity of a website? How is it legal? My most horrifying thought ever, “What common quality in human beings makes Reddit popular?”

Internet, the great democracy, is exactly in the state of omnishambles that the greatest democracy ever (USA) and the biggest democracy (India) embody today. I attribute the state of omnishambles to the “contributors”, “Around the web” articles and trash content that even an admirable publication like The Guardian allow on their website. And so we have friends who share articles about the miracle anti-aging treatment that angered that woman’s plastic surgeon.

You probably spent 2 hours this week reading these websites. This includes time reading them on your handheld device in queues, public transport, red light, on the morning throne, all of it. O, you would share more of those, but you already know they should not be read by people with any sort of role in society!

For this discussion, we will use the one true umbrella under which these culprit publishers seem to  fall, “click-baiters”. Why are click-baiters so despicable?

  1. Click-baiters make you think that their shallow content is important to your existence.

For eg., Jezebel, the ‘angry young woman’ blog that rightfully gained attention for their clear moral conscience and upright values around feminism. Today, “contributors”, “forums”, “platforms” and parent Gawker have completely hijacked the “online estrogen revolution” to target women with pulp they couldn’t sell elsewhere.

The current Jezebel is a caricature of itself.

  1. Click-baiters make you feel cool

So your friends re-posted a web-link you shared. You can choose to change your definition of cool by raising your standards in everything you do, including social sharing. If you have to block it from work, it is not worth your time, believe me. Sexual content and tips you find online will only make you an awkward, odd lover. Just go back to the bedroom and reconnect with your flesh-and-bones lover. Yes, really. Also, cilantro will not cure your cancer. Also, it is not cool for a publication to post a titillating image of a woman as the thumbnail for an article against rape.

  1. Click-baiters make you think that you are actually a reader.

You want to keep up with contemporary culture, I get it. Yes, please read newspapers. Daily Mirror does not count. Huffington Post might make for good entertainment for some folks who, I’m pretty sure, aren’t readers.

  1. Click-baiters make you think that you can be happier.

You have probably reached the point where you know many things in theory (me too), but are squandering your time reading how to be even better, even sexier, even happier. If you want to be happy, meditate, slow down and forget the electronic screen. Yes, that might be all it takes. A television screen is also an electronic screen. Give a chance for those brain cells to come up with their own ideas. Your ideas, your own thoughts, what a concept!

  1. Click-baiters make you addicted to juicy titbits.

Life in the real world is not a thrill-a-minute ride. Lazy, languorous moments are an indulgence that only the most evolved societies hold up as sacred. I must praise Calcutta, for having engrained a constant question in me.-Is there any part of this moment that I have not relished?  Typically, human beings in any assembly connect at the basest of common denominators, just look at the print industry! You like thrills? Try It will blow your mind. Unless you love Reddit.

  1. Click-baiters make you jaded.

I have been feeling lately that there was surely a time when I wrote forty words about some financially poor person who said something that a ‘normal’ person, with Internet access, would not utter. I have been feeling this, of course, because I notice it more when others make this mistake, and that is pretty often these days. We have become mean, jaded people. Sad.

  1. Click-baiters make you write badly.

Many of us, especially in America, write and talk as if we read and write English as a side-effect of  flashes of lightning hitting our heads, not from years of reading and composition. Click-baiters are able to impress and target us with their lazy, rhyming, NSFW headlines on which our very identities seem to pivot. Once more, those ideas and concepts on which our very identities pivot, can be found at and The NewYorker in a very accessible and non-pompous format.

  1. Click-baiters make you look away from the real and the amazing.

You probably just read a headline about maternal mortality in America (O yes, likely worse than Rwanda!) yesterday, but forgot all about it, because, in the next minute, you read about how everybody is scandalized by Rihanna’s transparent dress or any other celebrity’s outfits. First of all, they are very hard working artists. How come you didn’t know that Rihanna has her own foundation for terminally ill children, as well as supports about 23 other organizations? Look it up!  It can’t be said enough. They make you look away from injustice, save for the few seconds it took you to “like” and share some story about savage Indian men or misogynistic US frat boys. Please, at least read articles before you share them.

  1. Click-baiters add clutter.

So if you keep sharing their bogus articles, I will unfriend you.

Are You a dilettante of Human Rights?

Do you not know what you know you could know, that others know?


If you answered

Mostly a. You either didn’t understand the question or you are a sociopath or you are the elected Prime Minister of India- congrats!!

Mostly b. Novice. Keep reading this site

Mostly c. Dilettante, you have good factual knowledge and are at a plateau when it comes to action.

Mostly d. Engaged citizen, journalist, activist or driver of that car.  Congratulations! You put your money where your mouth is. We all aspire to be you!