October 25, 2017

The jokes are now taking a U-turn!

Ever since Indira Gandhi’s death, one has clearly seen that the Gandhi family has been dragged into politics by the party despite the family members being extremely reluctant. It’s no secret that Sanjay Gandhi was the man interested in politics while Rajiv clearly wanted to be far away from it. Unfortunately, the one who was to be in politics went to fly and met his end. And the one who was to be flying, went into politics and met his end. An ironic but perfect mismanagement of resources that, since then, has become a hallmark of the Congress party!
Again, after Rajiv, Sonia was completely disinterested in politics and left the party to P. V. Narasimha Rao. But unfortunately, after the initial stability, the party became shaky; and in the absence of any leader, went back with a begging bowl to the family for support. Reluctantly, Sonia took charge and Manmohan Singh had a double run at the office. But with massive corruption charges flying all around, an anti-corruption movement starting throughout the nation, and Manmohan being completely unable to communicate/manage things, it was back to the family to try and resurrect the party. Unlike in the past, this time, the family failed miserably. While in the past, the family had produced charismatic speakers who could handle the situation, this time, the person concerned was not just an openly reluctant politician, but also a very mediocre communicator – a fact that Rahul Gandhi himself admits openly by saying that he isn’t a good orator like Modi is.
So, BJP has used the social media to malign and make a joke of Rahul Gandhi for about four years now! Sadly, that’s how politics in India is fought – not on the basis of policies, but on the basis of how you can malign your opponent. But the interesting thing about such jokes is that they all come with an expiry date. How long do you keep saying the same old things with different memes?
And BJP is realizing it the hard way. After a four-year honeymoon on social media, the jokes are taking a U-turn. In the last couple of months, I haven’t received a single forwarded WhatsApp meme on Rahul Gandhi. But every day, I receive at least ten new jokes on the PM, FM, BJP President, the CM of UP and RSS/BJP in general. It’s almost as if finally, the Congress party social media cell has woken up. But more damagingly for the BJP, it seems to be peaking at the right time – as the countdown to 2019 begins. The signs had actually not been too good for the BJP of late. The memes aren’t coming out of thin air. After such a thumping win, BJP seems to be committing suicide by squandering away all the advantages.
From the continuing painful deaths in Gorakhpur and around and the BJP act as if nothing had happened, to the multiple gau raksha vigilantes and BJP’s tacit support, the public has been quite agitated. You can try to corner Hindu votes by branding yourself as a Hindu party; but you can’t make Hindus rejoice deaths and killings. Hindus would then rather vote for anyone else.
And that’s exactly what’s happening. From Delhi University elections to JNU elections to Allahabad University elections to the Gurdaspur elections to the Gurgaon Municipal elections, it’s been a spate of back-to-back humiliating losses for the BJP!
Add to that the global criticism on the failure around demonetization, the massively criticised poor implementation of the GST and the attempts to hijack the Congress-initiated Aadhar scheme through over-the-top hype, have converted the three biggest flagship steps of the BJP in three years into nationwide jokes.

YOU CAN TRY TO CORNER HINDU VOTES BY BRANDING YOURSELF AS A HINDU PARTY, BUT YOU CAN’T MAKE HINDUS REJOICE DEATHS AND KILLING

As it is, the Putin-type building of oligarchs in India that has been taking place like never before in the last three years, has been hitting BJP’s image quite hard, with everyone questioning the Adanis, Ambanis and Ramdevs. But nothing has hit BJP harder than the latest Shah-n-Shah of all problems. The entire BJP story was built upon the narrative of “neither will I become corrupt, nor will I let anyone else become corrupt”. Whatever explanations the defamation suits are filled with now, the Rs.50,000 to Rs.80 cr story of Amit Shah’s son has caused BJP the maximum irreversible damage. The jokes are flying thick and thin and no one will ever believe the non corruption narrative of BJP again.
The jokes have certainly taken a U-turn. The question is, will Congress be able to take advantage of the same and deal BJP with the big blow in 2019? The bigger question is, who is there in the Congress who is capable of leading from the front and channelizing the assault? Will Rahul Gandhi be able to take a U-turn as well, or will BJP be able to control the tide and get back in command?







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July 31, 2017

Secularism vs Sickularism! And the winner is...

As our PM Modi calls for strict action and immediate FIRs against Gau Raksha vigilantes, we need to think far beyond. Such acts won't vanish till we allow secularism to be mocked and in fact become fashionable through the use of words like "sickulars" to describe secular people. Our PM now needs to clearly and loudly state that not only would killing of human beings in the name of cow protection be treated with an iron hand but even any statement against our constitutional pledge to be a secular state won't be tolerated. Secularism should be the only religion of this nation till people become atheists – that is, till they give up their immature and illogical religions based on the false concept of existence of different varieties of man-made Gods.
 In fact, leave alone religion and god, to me personally, it's a shame that in 2017, we still have a word called atheists. I mean, do we have a word for those who believe that the Earth is round? Do we have a word for those who believe 2 + 2 = 4? Do we have a word for those who believe that humans can't fly? Do we have a word for those who believe that humans cant have ten heads? Well, the answer is no. Because all that is normal and requires basic intelligence. On the contrary, if we were to define people who don't understand such basic logic, we would need to form a new word that would basically mean "low IQ people in need of special care." 
If we don't have a word for people believing in basic and normal things, then why do we have a word for those who don't believe in God, something for which, in 4 billion years of existence of Earth, there has been no evidence? I often wonder, why don't we address the believers of God simply as "low IQ people in need of special care"? 
Actually, I am not joking. Research after research has proven that people who believe in God or religion have lower IQ. Just take a look at some of the below mentioned studies: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mrpersonality/ 201312/why-are-religious-peoplegenerally- less-intelligent 

However, my idea in writing this article was not to humiliate anyone who believes in God. Only education can help them overcome their intellectual handicap; and over time, just the way people learnt that the Earth is round and it goes around the Sun and 2 + 2 = 4, they will learn that there can't be anything called God and being religious is really stupid. The real problem is that schools and colleges don't give us real education. They don't make us question everything that's not based on evidence. 

As I keep saying, I am always worried about kids seeing their favorite biology teacher – who teaches about evolution and fossils – at a Sunday mass/Thursday Sai Baba temple/Friday namaz... The kids clearly would learn nothing, for if evolution were to be true, and the biology teacher really believed in it, she wouldn't be found in a church or a temple. The same goes for the physics teacher who teaches about the universe and at the same time wears a stone on his finger; or the chemistry teacher who teaches about the chemicals required to spot life on other planets and keeps a Monday fast or eats vegetarian food on Tuesdays; or the history teacher who is supposed to teach about facts of the past and comes to the classroom with a red tika on his forehead; and the geography teacher who is supposed to teach about the formation of landscapes and keeps navratra fasts. Because then there is no need to teach anything, as God believers have one answer for everything – God created it! That's genuinely scary and pitiable. Imagine, then what's the need of teaching all these subjects like biology, chemistry, geography et al? After all, where is the role of science compared to, for example, the amazing intelligence of primitives who wrote the Bible, where all the species of animals on this planet stay within walking distance of Noah's house! We can either teach in class how life on Earth came as a result of the process of evolution over 4 billion years or teach how God created man and woman. We can either teach how rains happen scientifically or teach how praying to rain Gods and fasting for it, brings rains. If we teach the former we must not do the latter. 
The premier institutions across the globe don't teach about the irrationality of primitive, unscientific and brainless religious systems and don't have proper subjects on relationships and sex. Instead, across the world, one would find a cross or a church inside the campus, a Ganesha or a Saraswati statue at the entrance of the school, or prayers to the non-existent Lord every morning... And with this, we give rise to generations of idiots and semi-frustrated and unbalanced souls... Those who will either disrespect others on the basis of man-made stupid differentiations like caste, colour or religion, or on the basis of sex. Someone will put pathetic forwards on religion (either running down some other religion or praising their own – both of which are signs of equal amounts of stupidity and lack of rationale) and someone else on women... And we will have a nation trying to deal with Gau Raksha vigilantes and rapists. Religious fools and sexists, two typical character traits of the ill-educated garbage that premier institutions keep producing all across the world. 

As I mentioned earlier, that religious individuals have low IQ is quite evident by almost all researches done around the world: however, those who – apart from practicing it – go to the extent of pulling down other religions in public and in public forums like Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, You Tube etc are perfect examples additionally of how religion finally makes you irrational extremists. Be it Islam, Christianity, Sikhism or Hinduism.

That brings me to the original question in the heading! Secularism vs Sickularism. And the winner is.... quite evident from a beautifully written article that I read the other day:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ourhumanity- naturally/201103/misinformation-andfacts- about-secularism-and-religion 
In this article, David Niose brings out how secularism not only is rational but also leads to less crime, sexism, murders and every ill one can think of. The article is based on a path-breaking research paper by Phil Zuckerman of Pitzer College, titled Atheism, Secularity, and Well- Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions.

 Zuckerman analyzed a wide array of data comparing religious nations to less religious nations and also, interestingly, religious states within the United States (i.e. "Bible-belt" states) to less religious states. 
He found out that religious people were more likely to engage in: 
Criminal behavior: Citing four different studies, Zuckerman states: "Murder rates are actually lower in more secular nations and higher in more religious nations where belief in God is widespread." 
He also states: "Of the top 50 safest cities in the world, nearly all are in relatively nonreligious countries." Within the United States, we see the same pattern. Citing census data, he writes: "And within America, the states with the highest murder rates tend to be the highly religious, such as Louisiana and Alabama, but the states with the lowest murder rates tend to be the among the least religious in the country, such as Vermont and Oregon." 
And these findings are not limited to murder rates, as rates of all violent crimes tend to be higher in "religious" states. Zuckerman also points out that atheists are very much under-represented in the American prison population (only 0.2%). 
Marriage and family: Zuckerman cites a 1999 Barna study that finds that atheists and agnostics actually have lower divorce rates than religious Americans. He also cites another study, in Canada that found that conservative Christian women experienced higher rates of domestic violence than non-affiliated women.
Unprotected sex: ...Teens who make religioninspired "virginity pledges" are not only just as likely as their non-pledging peers to engage in premarital sex, but more likely to engage in unprotected sex. 
Not just the above, but he also observed that atheists were happier people. The most secular nations in the world report the highest levels of happiness among their population. Similarly, atheists were more altruistic: Secular nations such as those in Scandinavia donate the most money and supportive aid, per capita, to poorer nations. Zuckerman also reports that two studies show that, during the Holocaust, "the more secular people were, the more likely they were to rescue and help persecuted Jews."

  Research after research has proven that people who believe in God or religion have lower IQ

 

And last but not the least, Zuckerman, citing numerous studies, shows that atheists and agnostics, when compared to religious people, were actually less likely to be nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic, dogmatic, ethnocentric, and authoritarian. Secularism also correlates to higher education levels. Atheists and other secular people are also much more likely to support women's rights and gender equality, as well as gay and lesbian rights. Religious individuals are more likely to support government use of torture .


Need I write more about the virtues of secularism? The Chinese Communist Party has directed its people to give up religion. Yes, while becoming non-religious should be the ultimate goal of education and every nation, the minimum we need to start is by making secularism a non negotiable tenet of daily life. Something that can't be questioned. Something that can't be mocked. Instead of making it mandatory for Indians to stand for national anthems in cinema halls and fanning primitive concepts of nationalism that are actually non-secular and racist (specially in the case of India where nationalism instantly means abusing Pakistanis, which in turns fans anti-Muslim feelings and turns non secular), the Supreme Court might as well make it mandatory to respect secular tenets of the Constitution of India.









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