Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Favourite Textbook (as oxymoronic as that is)

In India after Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha (2007, p. 529), describes Indira Gandhi's behaviour during the Shah Commission's investigation of the excesses of the Emergency:

Three times she was called to the witness box; three times she came, and chose not to answer questions, claiming she was bound by the oath of Cabinet secrecy. A journalist victimsed during the emergency saw this as an 'outrageous attempt to make a mockery of the proceedings of the Commission'...

When I read this, the first image that came to my mind was one I had seen more than five years back in my NCERT Political Science Textbook for Class XII (2007 edition):

Cartoonist: R K Laxman for the Times of India
On Indira Gandhi's confrontation with the Shah Commission

I went back to the book, then realised what a glaring omission I had made in the list of books that defined growing up, for me. The book was simple, unbiased and liberal. But what made Pol Science my favourite subject, were the references to the relevant films of the time, the snippets from newspapers, and of course the cartoons. At worst these served as mnemonic devices. At best, they managed to place the textual information in context, also allowing students (at least me) to gain real perspective into current issues. If you don't believe my rambling, here is some visual evidence. These would make a better point (not to say a more entertaining blog post).

Cartoonist: Ajit Ninan for India Today
On the rise of coalition politics

Cartoonist; Sudhir Tailang for HT
On the V.P Singh Government being supported by the Left and the Right

R K Laxman for the Times of India
On the Emergency

Cartoonist: Kutty
On the manner in which State CMs were being chosen

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Random Observations Aboard (and about) the Delhi Metro

1) The Metro signage is a sight for sore eyes to a woman in Delhi, especially at the end of a frantic, solitary walk through desolate roads on a dark, wintry evening.

2) Women can be vicious. And I am not just talking about the pushing and shoving to get inside and out. Last week I heard a middle aged woman call a college student besharam for holding hands with her boyfriend. The woman’s friend concurred. According to her boys can’t help fall in love. “Aur phir ladkiyan bolti hai rape ho gaya, rape ho gaya”.

3) People listening to music forget they are in a public place and start singing along. Loudly.

4) An advertisement in the Coach exhorts people to join the Navy- calling it a profession with honour. It also helpfully has a picture of a war zone, promising potential recruits a video-game like experience. Their words.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year Resolutions 2013

1) Blog more
2) Read more in general - fiction, non fiction, even newspapers!
3) Read less blogs, especially the ones about films