Reply to a fanatic

Dear Chaitanya,

Just for the record, I am a Christian. I appreciate your voice standing up to the rights of Hindus. And I think it was rather deplorable that nobody spoke the “other” side of the Gujarat story, and I think the press (at least the English press) was unnecessarily biased.

I would have preferred to write to you personally, but that seems kind of difficult. Anyways, in your writings, you seem to give the impression that India stands as a country, because Hindus, in general, (and since they are the majority) are a tolerant society that will take a lot of abuse just so that the country will not split. I know I am oversimplifying, but only a wee bit. Also that Hindus have always been preached to and so have become pliant.

Was it always so? I am not a know-all and would love to be genuinely answered. The Indian tradition / civilisation dates back to many centuries. Did the Hindu religious culture get anywhere in history, to be a spent force? History would seem to say no. And if so, does it say anything about the Hindu religion/culture? I hope you will read me out patiently.

The vedic culture is supposed to be one of the most powerful incentives of goodly/godly living. And history is witness that wherever and whenever the vedic culture was prevalent, there was peace and prosperity in the land. Why is it not propogated, at least among the Hindus now?

But your statement that India is a tolerant country, (Who, BTW, is being tolerated and why?) because of Hindus and for that fabric to be maintained, the Muslims and the Westerners (I hope that is your euphimism for Christians) need to be watched and careful “reactions” engineered, I am afraid, is laughable, but not funny. Ah, that is what the real Hindu religion/culture is all about, eh? Suffer everything and then when things seem to be getting out of hand, REACT. Hello, at least I react whenever it pains me, and not be tolerant of the pain and react when things have gone beyond a point. That is called hypocrisy. And I refuse to believe that this great country was steeped in that, as you would have me believe. This country has produced some of the most outstanding persons throughout history. Right from vedic periods down to the modern day, this country has been blessed with an abundance of spirit that has manifested itself in varied triumphs in myriad disciplines. Sure the country has gone bonkers, less often than not, but to blame it, oh-so-easily on Muslims and Westerners is, to take a dim view of the intelligence of your readers.

It is so easy to talk of minority bashing when you are in the majority mob. I will appreciate even your ham-handed attempts at “saving” the Hindu religion/culture the moment you appreciate the courage of living as a minority in a country where the likes of you espouse the need to use “engineered reactions”.

Hinduism will survive, not because of you, but in spite of you.

Jai Hind!

Godhra – Wither goes thou?

There was a tragedy. A complete compartment got burned. People died. OR

There was a conspiracy. A bogie was meticulously burned and its passengers killed.

Be it either ways. What should a government do? Try and get the situation under control, immediately, using all the available resources. Using all available resources, find the cause of the incident. If it is a tragedy, provide succor to the bereaved. If it was a conspiracy, hunt down the accused and put them on trial.

What did actually happen? And therein lies the tragedy. All your short-sighted comments about Hindu vs Muslim, population control, nazism, pseudo-secularism and what nots look eerily like a well oiled plan to not discuss the real issue at all.

You can fool some people all the time, all the people some time but not all the people all the time.

The truth must come out and fortunately, it will. Inspite of false figures, inspite of SIMI, inspite of pseudo secularists, inspite of RSS, “inspite of” all the machinery available to the authorities to find the truth, inspite of NGOs, inspite of everything.

Why credit cards

I dont understand the concept of having a credit card. To get a credit card, I need to pay something like Rs.750/- (average) annually. In return I get a credit card that allows me to buy goods from the market on credit (ranging from a day to 45 days). If perchance I am unable to pay the due “sufficiently” before the due date, I am slapped with a late fee. (This again ranges from Rs.100/- to Rs.250/-)

Where do I pay the due from? From the money that is there in the bank. Obviously, white money. Cant, of course, pay be cash. So, perchance I had black money, that cant be laundered.

So, to use my own hard earned money, I pay the credit card companies Rs.750/- every year. If that doesn’t raise anybody’s eyebrows, I can only suspect your intelligence quotient.

In most of our financial transactions, we are extremely prudent of the interest that we have to pay. However, here with credit cards, it is but natural to pay some thing as ghastly as 48% on credit items. Where does your prudent thinking go in such cases??

The sorry state of subscribers who paid only their minimum balance is so widespread that I only need to state it here as a point. Their plight is only too well documented in various media.

Yet, after all this, still the hankering after credit cards can only mean that the Indian mindset is still captivated by the western culture and the absolutely idiotic notion that whatever they do is best. Hoo Boy, when will you guys learn?????

Change is ever constant

Today, my daughter started to cycle. I could sense in her the joy of mastering a new activity. As long as she struggled, it was a pain for both her and I. Then when she came to grips with it, the joy surged through her and she wanted to go full throttle through the colony lanes! But of course, she had not mastered it. She was only still learning!!

That is how it is with all activities. The initial times are very discouraging. Our spirit screams out, “Do we really need to do this? Can’t we skip this?” The typical response to change is to maintain the status quo. Then when the new idea percolates down to the epidermal layer of our brain, the receptacle of our senses opens up. Their is more openness and when we fully master it, there is abounding joy at having mastered the subject.

Fringe Benefit Tax

The logic behind FBT is all very fine. The problem begins when FM insists that loss making companies and companies with less than 5-10 emploess also have to pay it. I dont understand the logic there.

Travel expenses are genuine expenses. If there are enterprieses who are “resourceful” enough to pump up such expenses in their balance sheet, I think the way to deal with it should be to penalise those enterprises rather than blanket bomb the entire populace with the FBT. If you are unable to catch the robber, it is hardly justified that you brand the one you caught as the burglar!

An enterprise, a new one at that, thrives on its ability to reach out to more and more clients and thus make its brand known. But if you are going to tax me for travelling, I will certainly think twice. Probably I would still end up travelling and even paying the FBT. But I would be one heck of an unhappy taxpayer. And unhappy taxpayers dont forget easily.

Moreso, when there exists avenues wherein the FM could have taxed and did not do it. But then it is so dashed easy to milk the already lactating cow (damn the fact that it is a skinny one), than hunt for another cow to milk. Too much work!!

In the end, the FM gets a deluge of curses, the govt gets booted out for bad governance (oh yes, that is exactly what it is), the employer is unhappy, the employee is morose. The Tax Dept can sit on another pile. Gandhiji’s talisman can go climb the nearest commode and get flushed out.

FBT should be implemented, but only as long as they are “benefits” AND they are “fringe”. And if the finance ministry cannot figure out how to define them, go learn English or get out of governing. You are a burden on others.