Sidharth Vardhan

Ambedkar’s legacy

Rajnath Singh‘s statement “Because of the rampant misuse of the word (secularism), there  have been instances of tension in the society” was the second most hilarious thing I have  heard this week. The biggest misuse in recent times has been of words ‘Hinduism’ and quote ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti’ (the phrase never stops being funny) – we all know who is misusing them. Rajnath Singh also holds credits for the third most hilarious statement – that BR Ambedkar had never thought of putting the term ‘secularism’ in the Preamble as it was “in-built in the Indian system”. I mean, if it was in-built, the amendment only made it more explicit – far easier to understand. Right? Why is so much concerned about it? To think that this guy is our Minister of Home affairs! The statement topping the list of hilarious statements of the week was, of course, when N. Modi announced a ‘debate’ on increased incidences of intolerance. I mean what is supposed to mean by word ‘debate’ – is he denying any increase in incidences? Or, whether or not his government will take any actions? Ask him any questions and his answers are obscure party slogans; you will never see

Stepping into madman’s shoes

(Review of ‘The Sound and the Fury’ , a novel by William Faulkner First read on August 24, 2015 ) “Caddy smelled like trees.” William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury) Hritik Roshan in a still from movie Guzarish There is a bollywood movie Gujarish about an ex-magician who meets an accident and is now suffering paralysis from neck down for several years. Finally he requests an amendment in law to make Euthanasia legal, so that he could kill himself. In one scene when he is asked if he wishes to say something before the verdict is given; he says he wishes to show a magic trick to the court. When it is allowed, his assistant brings in a box. The magician asks the lawyer of the state to volunteer, judge orders the lawyer to do so. The magician requests the lawyer to sit in the box and his assistant locks the door upon him. A few moments pass – as people expect magician to do something. He just sit calmly, till the lawyer starts screaming from inside the box. The magician starts talking about some random subject(weather) and thus further frightening the lawyer. After a couple of minutes,the magician

The Urgency

(A short story by Sidharth VardhanFirst written on October 5, 2015) “We have to be there as soon as possible.” That was objective. The idea was clear. It was never officially stated but it couldn’t be clearer – a natural deduction given the urgency everyone had shown would tell you that they knew it too. After all, it was natural to reach the destination as soon as possible. They all had to dive as fast. He did. He was really fast, ahead of them all. The others, it seemed, had lost their focus in chattering. He had just finished giving them fifth phone call – and they were still so far away. Moreover, it seemed from their tones that they think of him to be really pushy. He had reached there first, all alone and started waiting for them. The urgency shown at the beginning of the journey was still fresh in him, slowly turning into frustration with time. Why would they stop so regularly and start chatting when they were always behind? Was there the unstated rule that one must entertain oneself while on the way? But that didn’t seem to be the truth – you can’t be doing

The Monkeys by fire ; The Old Man in the Woods

(A short fiction by Sidharth VardhanA tribute to KafkaSeptember 24, 2015) We monkeys have sat by this ever-burning fire for generations because we are afraid to go outside the perimeter of its light into the dark. Although we have tried to look beyond into the darkness every day hoping to find something; yet all of us are afraid to go outside in dark. And this fear is not baseless, for whoever has entered the darkness has never returned. Thus this fire has a very central role to play in our lives. It has been there for as long as memory goes back into the past. One is often tempted to ask who created it in the first place – you can depend upon monkeys to let their curiosity rule them. While over the years, the organized efforts have been made to increase it by feeding wood and thus increasing perimeter of its light – one must add ‘quite successfully’; the question of its origins remain debatable. Some argue that it was always there – but the imagination finds it hard to deal with infinities. These days it is even contested that it was a result of an explosion. However, a

An Unwanted Friend

(A short fiction by Sidharth Vardhan First written on November 8, 2015) There is this man who seems to have taken the notion in his mind that I’m his friend …  which I’m not. To be honest, I’m scared of him, don’t like him, wish to run away at the mere sight of him. Still, he manages to find me – and starts telling me about his sufferings, he doesn’t seem to be able to talk about anything else. I found myself incapable of consoling him, though I do really feel sorry for him whenever he is around – I’m thus left sad without helping him an ounce.  His listlessness is contiguous, sometimes it makes me go without food for days. I guess you will understand when I say I feel frustrated with all this. And he is always finding me only when I would be alone. Not always, of course, I still find my moments of blissful solitude which as you know I treasure above all else, though those moments are becoming increasingly rare. Still, I’m always scared of him finding me and so continuously seek company. I find his pity – whether it is self-pity or pity on me

The demons within us

(Review by Sidharth Vardhan ofDemons by Fyodor Dostoevsky Also translated into English as ‘Possessed’) Wanna start with a 1984 like quote, here is one from ‘Demons’: “‘He suggests a system of spying. Every member of the society spies on the others, and it’s his duty to inform against them. Every one belongs to all and all to every one. All are slaves and equal in their slavery. In extreme cases he advocates slander and murder, but the great thing about it is equality. To begin with, the level of education, science, and talents is lowered. A high level of education and science is only possible for great intellects, and they are not wanted. The great intellects have always seized the power and been despots. Great intellects cannot help being despots and they’ve always done more harm than good. They will be banished or put to death. Cicero will have his tongue cut out, Copernicus will have his eyes put out, Shakespeare will be stoned that’s Shigalovism. Slaves are bound to be equal. There has never been either freedom or equality without despotism, but in the herd there is bound to be equality, and that’s Shigalovism!”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Demons) ‘Demons’ kind of

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