Sunday, November 05, 2006


I am the son of a punjabi muslim father and a bihari hindu mother. Whoever met me, tried to figure out my identity. In fact when i was younger i was racked for years myself, trying to find out whether i was a hindu or a muslim.

But is it fair to look at identity only through the prism of religion? If religion is one source of forming our world view, there are other too, maybe varying in importance, but nontheless prevelant.

While nationality is an obvious identity marker, our economic status and our economic outlook also forms our world view. so does our social condition and outlook. Also individually, I might be less influenced by religion than by my profession as an actor and a writer and i might find that, that has also been a factor in my world view.

My family, my education, my friendships in early life and even now, The way i look, the small town I grew up in, the world and society I saw around me, the way women were treated, the sports I played, the books I cherish, all contributed in no small measure in forming my unique identity I possess now.

Yes it is true that for some, religion might be the most marked influence. But even in that, for one it could be the faith and spirtuality that is influencing him and for another it could be just the feeling of being bound by a community or a religion.

For others it could be their economic outlook they are most driven by. For others their politics independent of religion and for some their profession might be their marked influence.

It is not to say that religion is not important in an individuals life.It is important but only one of the things that make him. If we see people only through their religious affirmation, then one label fits all people of that religion. It might give us a false certainity that we know that person. But surely we do not, for then we have stuck a label, and sucked out all his loves, all his hates, all his concerns, indeed all his humanity from him.

As for myself I am still trying to figure out my identity. But for sure I know that I am a human, as I am an asian, as I am a brown, as I am an indian, as I am a muslim, as I am a hindu, as I am a liberal, as I am an actor, as I am not in favour of absolute and wholesale privitization, as I am in favour of affirmative action...........

The list goes on. Maybe one day I can reply to a person , who upon hearing my name says ` oh so you are a muslim`, as if he has figured out everything about me. I can then say to him ` yes I am, and I am much more`.

bobby parvez

Friday, October 27, 2006

mulayam singh was concerned. after all he was a people`s leader and the farmers in his state were in acute distress.
also the elections were on next year and he could not afford the farmers ire.

so he called his officials and said` go out and show the farmers that the state cares`.

the officials scurried back and sweated for days even in their air conditioned offices.they filled in all the relevant data and computed the compensation to be paid to each farmer.

Finally the cheques to be paid to farmers were ready.

one such official left from lucknow in his official jeep in search of a farmer 200 km. away.

after traversing through the dusty by roads of UP , as soon as he entered the farmers hovel, he saw that the farmer was about to consume some insecticide.

the official was very angry` how dare you try to take your life. dont you know the state cares`?

the farmer was nonplussed seeing the mighty official.
he could not offer him food for he had none.

the official waved his hand` i have come to help you, after all the state cares`.

the farmer knew this was an opportunity to let the state know of his problems.
he recounted the lack of irrigation facilities in the village.

the official said benignly` dont worry the state cares`

`the drought has made us paupers`

`dont worry the state cares`

`the lands have become barren`

the official was becoming a little weary
`the state cares`

`whatever little we grow , the minimum support price is less than our cost of production`.

the official knew he was dealing with ignorant folks.
` dont worry the state cares`.

`the banks dont give us loans for seeds or fertilizers`

by now the official was angry and knew the time had come to shut the farmer up. he whipped out the cheque from his official bag and handed it over to the farmer.

the farmer was ecstatic.

the official came back to lucknow and reported to mulayam ,`the message had gone across to farmers that the state cares`.

the farmer still has nothing to eat. but the cheque takes pride of place in his hovel. it is a cheque for rs. 3 and it costs him rs.7 by bus to go to the nearest bank which is 25 km. away.
but he is happy. for at least he knows,

`the state cares`

bobby parvez

Thursday, October 26, 2006

today`s new age capitalists like the ambanis are very happy. the economy is looking up. the growth rate is set to rise further even from 8%. the companies quarter on quarter profits are steadily rising.

In all this just a little pause. Gandhi ji when asked whether he disagreed with capitalism, remarked that people who have a genius to make money, should be encouraged to do their job, but they should plough back a substantial amount of their earning into society.

these new age capitalists, as far as my knowledge goes, have failed completely on this front. ms. ambanis, whose husbands empire run into 1000`s of crores, one runs a school for rich kids with lakhs of rupees as fees, while the other promotes art events.

beyond a point money, other than giving a feeling of power, loses all value. but i think the ambanis and other present day capitalists neither have the world view nor the sensibilities to part with a little of their money.

their greed knows no bounds. and their foolishness. for it is their foolishness in not ploughing back into society a little bit of their money, that will set the tide against capitalism and sound it`s death knell. and then they will rant and rave and shout and complain and protest.

but then they will have nobody to blame but themselves.

bobby parvez

Thursday, September 28, 2006

just write

The clash of civilizations?

the clash of civilixations, the theory propounded by the hawks in american governance and mr. osama laden and vocally supported by the hindu right here in india is not based on application of mind or on some basic truths.

the idea of a uniform islamic civilization presupposes the fact that a muslim in india, a muslim in iran, a muslim in the congo republic , a muslim in malaysia , a muslim in argentina and a muslim in sweden will all have the same world view, the same approach towards other people.
this would be the same as saying, a buddhist in india, a buddhist in japan and mr. richard gere would think akin. apart from having the hots for demi moore , i think that would be a serious fallacy.

also the internal contradictions within islam and indeed all religions are too vast to be ignored. if one has been in lucknow and been a witness to the bloody confrontations between shias and sunnis, or indeed between other denominations or if we see the recent history of national wars between iraq and iran or the creation of bangladesh , when these having contiguous cultures can erupt between themselves, then it is time to give the civilization theory a quick and unambiguous burial.

yet there has been a rise in militancy worldwide and people, muslims up taking arms from many countries in the name of islam. that has to be seen in the context of erosion of state authority, due to internal or external factors. if people lose faith in their state then it is possible that they give their allegiance , temporarily maybe, to another available authority.if a few people from a particular state are stressing that in the name of islam, it does not mean that all the people in that state are of the same mindset. why some people have lost faith in their state and how the same people in american governance who propound the pernicious civilization theory, are also responisble for the same ,is matter of another debate.

The reach of popular american media is pervasive and is imagined to be the truth. but the civilization argument is patently false. let me make it clear that i am in admiration for many things that america and american people stand for. but formulations like this, whether they come from mr. bush or mr. laden are to be severely opposed.

the clash is not between ephemeral civilizations but it is between the forces of fundamentalism and those who oppose it. that is the real fight. and in that fight i oppose mr. laden as i oppose mr. bush as i oppose mr. modi here as i oppose the bombing of lebanon as i oppose the sucide attacks on israel as i oppose the twin tower attack as i oppose the colonialism of iraq.
bobby parvez

Sunday, August 20, 2006

finally i too am a blogger. and hopefully i do write something which when i read it myself, i find interesting. or i might find myself in touble with myself. this duality is interesting as ravan the god-demon in indian mythology had ten heads. or ten personalities.anyway coming back to multiple personalities does western philosophy talk too much about finding the real personality of a person forgetting that man is composed of so many elements. now i am not an expert in philosophy but as the blog says if it bothers you just write.