The Purchase of Populism

The entire discourse about populism from Putin to Trump to Modi to Bolsanaro to Boris is about the purchase of ideas and services to a population feeling left out.

Politics and the provision of resources are intrinsic concepts. A narrative of othering and resource capture through primal and primitive identity politics has fuelled populism. All these right wing leaders are elected, and are rightly popular.

The left has lost ground, as it has lost touch with the access to resources narrative. The idea of the electoral left has shrunk.

Pravasi Lives Matter.

South Asian Migration to the GCC since the 1940’s and even earlier have provided livelihoods for millions of people who did not have an opportunity of a college education, starting with Bahrain and Kuwait with the oil boom. I am not including the centuries of trade from the Banias.

The educated lot migrated to the West, but these men and women who helped/help grow the Gulf also helped their families and communities grow. There are counter narratives of social issues in Kerala due to migration, but Kerala always traded with the outside world, unlike the North, wrapped in a history of strife and partition.

I have met hundreds of men and women over the years who have built lives back home out of nothing. A friend of mine from who is illiterate started supporting his family at age 9 in Lucknow, came to Muscat as a cook in a coffee shop at Darsait, retrained himself as a driver who runs his independent gig. Stuff of a movie script.

Technicians, Laundry walas, Barbers, small coffee shop cooks and servers who fill lives of other migrants of the more affluent varieties, support families with their meagre remittance.

These lives matter. Pravasi Samman, worthy of every award.

Airports and Citizenships.

Ever since I was a child, the airline status ticker at the airport fascinated me as the world converged on a tracker although only much later did I realise that on an Indian Passport I would need a visa to most countries including the country I grew up in, and emotional citizenships relegated to sovereign worth and Foucaudian Biopolitics.

As a second generation permanent gulf middle class migrant transience is reality, we belong to the places we belong to, inspite of the color of the travel document.

The salvation is the Shwarma at Istanboly at Al Khuwair, Muscat and the Dumpling Noodle at the Kopitiam In Clementi Block 708A.

My soul travels to these places when I sleep.

Yogi, Ram Rajya and a ‘Political Hindu’ Paradigm 

The Yogi’s appointment as CM is a shock doctrine application of a leader which staunch Hindutva credentials. Such a decision would be unthinkable even in 2014. This is keeping in mind the elections in Gujarat, MP and Chattisgarh as these are the fortresses to win again. A certain Hindutva politics is mainstream in these states, which border UP and each other. If Demonetisation was shattering, it was certainly ominous of the times to come. JNU, HCU and Ramjas are blips on a radar. 2019 and beyond shall see bigger reforms. The design of which we saw on November 8th @ 8pm and today with Yogi. 

These are interesting times for a majoritarian politics with a ‘growth agenda’ . Modiji has redefined politics. I see an alienation among voters in the Deep South though, particularly Tamil Nadu’s Dravidian heartlands. The new AIADMK will lease space to the BJP, if Rajni Saar comes on board with Tamil Nadu’s very religious ethic. Kerala with the largest number of shakhas, is another growth area. 

The spaces of resistance will have taken on a subversive, stealthy mode online as surveillance under the national security imperative will increase. India will have an aggressive foreign policy with defence getting a much needed push, started under Parrikar. The fish curry though lured him away. 
Mamata di will face the heat as Bengal is the final frontier with 42 seats. I am sure Amit Bhai, along with Babul Da is working on it. 
The game for 2019 is on. It will be fought on BJP’s terms.


In the era of now

Bringing money on the table

Buys respect

More people

Fewer Opportunities

In Academia, is grants

In the private sector

Is called Business Development

In the Non Profit space

It’s known as Fund Raising

The bottom line is the green back

Bitcoin or not

Money is the fuel of the engine

Of life

Damascus in Dubai: Reconnections through Food

Kafteh. Syrian Restaurant in the Diaspora, Aroos Damascus in Deira, Dubai retains a semblance of a community with a shattered homeland.

No service staff spoke in English, which in a global Dubai is refreshing as this is an an Arab Muslim City, which is conveniently lost in the Tagalog and Urdu or Malayalam cacophony. Language can resist the overarching objectives of meta globalisation.

The old world Arabic charm was there as in a Turkish House in Muscat.





Home is a past

Where atrophied dreams

Seek empty reconciliation

Innocent, reckless aspirations

Who had told you to build castles

In the ethereal web of firing neural networks

Home is where one finds one

Let it be a dream, stunted

At least I am me

For a flicker of a thought