Why we must stop linking the World Cup Victory of Germany with its past!

Worldmasters!

Two days ago, I witnessed, along with over 200 other people the 113th minute goal by Goetze. It sealed the FIFA World Cup 2014 for the German Mannschaft (team). Those few split seconds at the end changed to resounding display of sheer joy. I noticed people crying on this victory.

For a country where football is another religion, it is not hard to believe how happy the people are, within the next few minutes people were out on the streets singing and merry making. The usually reserved locals were smiling at strangers, hugging and high fiving them.

Soon the Internet is also abuzz with articles about the German efficiency, and of course the usual mention of the Blitzkreig (a reference to WW II war strategy), and of course twitter is filled with Nazi jokes. Finally, I am also starting to observe the indirect linkage of the sports victory with the dark past of the Fatherland.

Frankly, it is annoying. Germans are taught enough lessons through school to understand and reconcile with the past, but the world keeps reminding them. They are tired, of the stereotype, of the world not letting them be. It is in bad taste to keep reminding them of the past, where they have made huge efforts to move on, and deal responsibly with their history.

Modern Germany is not the same as Nazi Germany, and will never be. Period. The flying of the Black, Red and Gold flags by fans is a celebration of being World masters of football. The victory of 2014 has probably lesser ‘nationalistic’ significance than the victory of 1954 when the Miracle von Bern happened, that was when Germans could restore some pride.

Probably, the biggest sign of the current times is the fact that Klose and Podolski are much celebrated and loved, or that I could share the final moments of the match with a hall full of people who were Germans by the love of the game and not by their color or race.

PS – Some idiots started trying to sell a victory t-shirt using Nazi symbols on Amazon.de, it is filled with users requesting the product be taken out.

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Elections 2014: The People have spoken…

The four words of the above title have been repeated multiple times since this Monday on various news channels. While, I being not in India was denied the opportunity to vote (as postal ballot is not a reality for us), the rest of the country did.

It has been a remarkable 6-7 months, I have seen normal friends on facebook turning into fanatics, have seen the discourse of the lowest quality where an opposing view was either coming from an AAPtard, psedu-secular, communal, pseudo-liberal, pheku and what not.

The saddest part of all this has been the fact that numbers and statistics have been cleverly selected and shared to prove points, everyone has data points.  It seems nobody is wrong. They also conveniently offer that judiciary has spoken while at the same time doubting the judicial results on the opponents.

By the end of it, I also sarcastically started annoying my wife with abki baar… on each sentence. But it is no laughing matter, being the world’s largest democracy we had a chance to speak our minds.

Tomorrow (it’s today already?) the results will be out, and we will soon have a new Government to crib and blame about. Finally, only time will tell if our representatives will again do the 5 yearly Great Indian Vanishing trick.

I may sound cynical, but whosoever gets chosen, I only hope they bring all the change they might have promised. As often said before, my only wish is what Tagore wishes years ago:

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Imperfect

Its been just around a week in Geneva, the perfect city in the perfect country of Switzerland. Life seems so systematic, organized, punctual and respectful. In between extra polite Bon jours of ever helpful citizens of this city and the rough brawny and loud existance back home, I seek peace.

Its strange, life seems much more balanced, comfortable and easier here…its simply a perfect place to be. Yet, I am counting days to return, to an imperfect country where I’d start cribbing the moment I reach and start comparing it with good ol’ Geneva.

Why? Simple. Its the place I call home, its not perfect…its far from perfect but it still is home. Its the place where most memories and moments of my life have been, its the place where things can change, there is an opportunity to improve and make it perfect. There is so much to do.

Yes, i have met too many Indians living outside India and cursing it. I do not like it, I respect their decision to move out but with the same decision they forfeit their right to be critical of the place. If you cannot be a part of the journey you have no right to talk of its destination.

I know I’d go back home and crib…but its home, imperfect home.

Power to People

Am no political observer, neither am I qualified to comment on politics. However, the recent spate of revolutions in the Middle East starting from Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and now Libya calls for my attention. It is history being written, something which might torture future students of Political Science and history with another chapter in the books!

In roughly every 100 years over the last 2-3 centuries the world has witnessed a new political uprising  and a new philosophy.

The July Revolution and  the French Revolution were targeted at the monarchy and feudal structures in France, they ushered the transformation of a heavily aristocratic and religiously influenced governance structure to a democracy(partial). It was a movement of the working class, and the unemployed people…

A century later the proletariat rose up in Russia in the October Revolution and uprooted the Czar’s rule. The philosophy of socialism and communism was an attempt to distribute the weather equitably to the people, a different political movement, led by Lenin and the likes.

100 years after the 10 days which shook the world, new movements have born in Middle East. The theme is similar, people want development, and self-governance more than ever. But the difference is the absence of central leadership, there is no single face in these uprisings, people lead them. Another difference is, it is no more only the labour/working class but a mixture of people from all walks of life, who want better governance. Its a movement of all classes, its faceless, peaceful and co-ordinated through volunteering!

Yes, each revolution in these centuries is themed on development, and opportunities but the causes and the methods are different. It is unfair to call these revolution as the Social Media uprisings, for it is a medium to an end, not the starting point.

Gandhi couldn’t be more relevant today, peaceful uprisings are indeed making a difference!

Gone and be Gone

Death, a topic which makes us (except a few) uncomfortable. It is a discussion which we wish to avoid, we have been conditioned to do so.

But death isnt always the end of a life; partings, break ups, death of a relationship or just gradual drifting away is akin to death. People who go away from your life are perhaps dead to you. Sometimes this death could have been avoiedd, on other moments this death was necessary for life to move ahead…for new people to be a part of.

Does it have a purpose? I do not know…is a soldier’s death worth it. Millions have died in the last few thousand years in the name of their tribe, kings, kingdoms, and countries…without knowing the outcome, without realizing that their kingdoms, nations and borders have changed since then….the purpose itself changed. So was it worth it?

The curious case of the whistler Assange

If you haven’t heard of Julian Assange, I’ll suggest you NOT to move anything further in reading this post. Do click the Back button on your Browser while you are at it!

Assange, the whistle blower, ex-hacker, and the pain in the arse for Governments around the world is touted to be one of the front runners to be the Time Man of the Year. This man has been on the run with an international manhunt launched on him, for his Wikileaks have shaken the core of administrations around the world.

Arrested yesterday, we may never see him free again, his website has been was brought down, attacked, bank accounts sealed, paypal accounts sealed, even the Swiss Post account locked out. Yet, thanks to Netizens around the globe, the documents are still out for anyone to peruse! Never before, since Osama, had we noticed such a mad rush to block out and bring down a single man. Has he killed anyone? Did he commit war crimes? What wrong has he done, that its necessary to clamp him down? He brought the truth out, thats what he did!

To me he is the most differentiating person I would have ever read about, straight out of those racy novels, a la Forsyth! What particular crimes has this man committed (except for the current Swedish charges?), he dared to publish and reveal the truth in multiple times…

What benefit did he achieve from bringing out the truth? Why didn’t he bargain and earn with the the truth? I do not know…maybe he wants to die a hero or maybe not.

For all of us out there, who have been repeatedly told about corporate policies for whistle-blowing, and how you shall be protected if you speak up the truth of any wrongdoing in your organisations, this, this right here is the harsh reality of being a whistle-blower. Your fate may not be any different, your organisation may react similarly. That, my friend, is the bottom line!

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Do vote for Assange on the TIME website for the Man of the Year: http://me.lt/4v82a