Some politics…

After deciding that I was going to stay in India a bit longer I realized that I don’t know much about the political situation here. I mean, I know basics, but when I open a newspaper I immediately turn to the international section. A long time ago, I remember that I used to ostracize expats for living in a country and not paying attention to local politics. I’m trying not to have an opinion, as a part of India I’ve become, I’m not Indian and don’t understand a lot of the background or cultural contexts to where I live. Bal Thakery is one example. He was the founder and leader of the Shiv Sena, a political party in Maharashtra. He died last week and the entire state shut down. It’s pretty amazing how everyone can stop to recognize a political figure, I just wish he was one that I could respect a little more; it makes me wonder how so many people have so much respect for him. Sound familiar…he blamed non-Marathis for the economic woes of Maharashtra, he wanted all of the non-Maharashtrans to leave. He was also almost single handedly responsible for the Mumbai riots in the 90s between the Hindus and the Muslims. Some things he did were positive, like create infrastructure – the highway that connects Pune and Mumbai was his pet project. Mumbai shut down. Pune shut down. If people didn’t shut down, some people from the Shiv Sena paid a visit and told them to shut down; a girl in my salsa class is a dentist and while working on Sunday someone told her to stop and close her office. How do the two relate if you have nothing to do with the guy who died and, if you’re not in mourning? They want to erect statues for him. Two girls were arrested in Bombay for making an offensive statement on facebook which protested the complete shutdown of the city. Her friend ‘liked’ the comment and both were arrested. The police are now being sued and there was quite an outrage about the arrest. The CM is trying to get those police officers suspended and arrested themselves. It’s just very crazy for me to comprehend all of this; Even more surprising for me was the amount of people who expressed so much sadness at his passing.
The second big news event was the hanging of one of the men responsible for the 26/11 terror attacks, Ajmal Kasab. He was secretly transferred to a jail in Pune. The man hanging him didn’t even know who he was. I found it strange that it was kept a secret…from everyone.

Away from politics, things are great. This week begins my after school arts program at one of our schools. I’m nervous. It’s my initiative. We’ll see how it begins. I spoke to my dad today. It’s snowing. Here it gets to the low 50s in the evening, sometimes, but remains in the high 80s during the day. It’s confusing for your body and hard to dress for. Some interesting instances occurred on the road last week, but I can only seem to remember one. I was riding with Sachin, each on our own bikes, and a cop pulled me over. I have all my documents, it wasn’t at a light and I didn’t do anything wrong, it was just a check. As soon as I pulled all the way to the side, he walked over to me and just whisked me forward. Who gets told to move on after being stopped?

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