Boom Boom! That’s the sound of the African drum! Mama and the ladies dance around the fire. Boom Boom! That’s the sound of the mine! Daddy and the Men shall go and dig for Diamonds. Boom Boom! That’s the sound of a bomb! Brother and the gents decided to exterminate the embassy. Boom Boom! That’s […]
“…the idea that you can believe whatever you want to is irresponsible and undesirable,” says Daniel DeNicola, professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.
It might be difficult for juveniles, and for adults who have exercised their intellect less often than what is needed to develop an understanding of ourself, to appreciate this rider to the Right To Freedom Of Belief enshrined in most constitutions of democratic nations today. If we were to recall some of the related judgements pronounced in superior courts of law, and the attitudes esteemed lawyers take while arguing the legalese around this ‘fundamental’ right, you will know how little responsibility is factored in their deliberations.
“What we do have is a right to know,” says DeNicola. “For example, you can certainly demand to know what the taxes on petrol and diesel are. That’s why there is a right to information. But knowing is not the same as believing. Everybody learns in school that Earth is round and revolves around the Sun, but there are many who choose not to believe it for religious or other reasons. Just as we know that all people, whether white or black or brown, are equally human, but some refuse to believe it.”
“Even the idea that your beliefs are your own is flawed, for beliefs are often handed down families, or acquired from the influence of peers or persons in authority. For instance, the belief that spending long hours in office increases productivity. While you can’t help being born into a flat-earther family and learning that Earth is flat, the problem arises when you persist with this belief even after getting a masters in planetary science.
“It is rather the sustaining of such beliefs, the refusal to disbelieve or discard them that can be voluntary and ethically wrong.”
“When our beliefs are challenged, it is easy to snap: “who are you to tell me what to believe?” But this common retort has a big problem — it implies that “somebody” does have the authority to tell you what to believe. It’s not the person trying to argue you out of your position, but somebody else, maybe a parent, priest or the head of a political party. Maybe Osama bin Laden. (Or, Adolf Hitler.)
“It also means that your belief is not answerable to reason.”
If it has provoked your thought, read more @ the link herebelow : https://epaper.timesgroup.com/Olive/ODN/TimesOfIndia/#
You have not given
until the giving has hurt you
and has at once quadrupled your cheer !
During Yudhisthir’s rajsuya yagya, after the Mahabharata War, a peculiarly large squirrel visited the site and began rolling on the hallowed grounds. Its body was covered with hair, half of which was golden in colour.
When asked by curious attendees and participants of the yagya, the squirrel said, “O King, I have previously been to a site of glorious giving, rolling on which half of my hair turned golden. I thought, yours was an even grander affair, during which much was given away to the poor, needy and the scholarly. I believed, rolling at this site would convert the other half of my golden. But nothing has happened. It suggests to me that the giving here was not of enough merit. I do not know why, though.”
There was palpable sadness in the squirrel’s eyes as he spoke thus. The king asked the squirrel to describe the “sacrifice” that had taken place at the site of his previous trasforming encounter.
“O King, there wasn’t much there, no grandeur in happening there, no congregation of prestigeous scholars and honourable attendees. It was just a poor family of four, two parents and two children, who had not eaten anything for days. But that evening, the man had chance obtained enough flour for gour flatbreads, which the woman had then prepared and was serving before the seated members of the family. Just before the psrtaking was about to begin, however, they heard the call of a mendicant who had knocked at the door. He asked to be fed because he had not had anything to eat during the day.
“The man, O King, who had answered the call, came back in and asked his wife if it was alright for him to give way his portion of food to the hungry visitor. The woman cheerfully nodded, giving her assent, saying, “Don’t worry, Husband, we have enough between us to partake.” The man invited the visitor in, offered him a seat, and served his plate alongwith a glass of water, asking to be forgiven for the bare fare he was able to offer to the honoured guest.
“The visitor ate the flstbread in no time and looked at the man, expecting to be asked for more. Even before the man could look at his wife for her advice on the peculiar situation, the woman picked up her share and handed it to the man, to be given to the hungry visitor. But that too was over in no time and the guest waited still, for more. Seeing this, the elder son offered his portion to his father, to be served to the guest. Expecting what was to follow, the youngest of the family also stood and extended his plate to the man even before the guest would have to look up in askance.
“Thus fulfilled, O King, the visitor topped off his meal with quick gulps of water and was soon on his way. The family drank bellyful of water and went to bed on their starved stomachs. It was found, next morning, that all of them had passed away in their sleep. Hearing of this commotion amongst the neighbours, I had gone inside the poor man’s hut and, as is my whimsical nature, had rolled on its floor for a short while. When I next went to the waterhole to quench my thirst, I observed this grand transformation in my look : one half of my body had turned gloriously golden. That half seemed so ethereal and sublime, I danced with joy and blessed the poor family for its deed. Since then, I have been visiting every hallowed ground of sacrifice, much grander than the poor man’s hut, but have been disappointed. And the story repeats here…”
The entire congregation, listening to the squirrel’s words, were shocked to be told how little all the declared ‘sacrifice’, and giving away of wealth and goods, meant in truth, compared to the giving of plain flatbreads by the poor family to their honoured chance visitor.
Patriotism starts with this : a surge of feeling thankful for all the humanity on which my own is afloat.
मोहम्मद बिन कासिम के आक्रमण से एक चौथाई सदी बीत चुकी थी। तोड़े गए मन्दिरों, मठों और चैत्यों के ध्वंसावशेष अब टीले का रूप ले चुके थे, और उनमे उपजे वन में विषैले जीवोँ का आवास था। कासिम ने अपने अभियान में युवा आयु वाले एक भी व्यक्ति को जीवित नही छोड़ा था, अस्तु अब […]
Of all the propaganda we are surrounded in. The art of dressing up a lie or half truth was mastered in the last century in Europe by colonialists, communists and the fascist-socialists. It was then perfected by the advertising industry and, lastly, by the media in print and on air.
This century must rouse the people to sharpen their discriminative faculty and expand their intuitive capacity to see through those well-dressed lies and convincing suaveness with which half truths are presented by politicians, religionists, businesses, criminals, rapists and frauds, and mediamen everywhere.
One of primary need on our part would be our agileness at totally suspending at our own gullibility, to start. The rest would be cultivating habits to employ methods to discern evidence of lies in all that we see and hear, and are being made to believe. The mal intent will definitely show; but the point is : when, after you’ve been the victim or before ? So BEWARE, everybody.
To me, David Goodall’s choice of passing away, finally when he wanted to, is not morbid. Not morbid at all; it instead reminds me of Albert Camus’ posthumously published work, A Happy Death.
“Everyone over middle age should have the right unquestioned to end their lives as and when they choose, but we have quite a way to go in Australia for that,” he said.
On May 10, Professor David Goodall travelled to the Life Circle/ Eternal Spirit Foundation this morning for his final appointment. He was accompanied by his grandchildren and Eternal Spirit staff. He himself turned the wheel to allow the lethal dose of a barbiturate solution to flow into his arm.
David’s chosen music was the Ode to Joy of Beethoven’s 9th symphony. He died at the moment the Song (sung in German) concluded.
David has requested that his body be donated to medicine and, if not, that his ashes be sprinkled locally. He wishes to have no funeral, no remembrance service or ceremony.
He had no belief in the afterlife.
On the eve of his death, David Goodall, 104, Australian scientist, father, grandfather and right-to-die advocate, was asked if he had any moments of hesitation, “even fleeting ones.”
“No, none whatever,” Mr. Goodall said in a strong voice. “I no longer want to continue life, and I’m happy to have a chance tomorrow to end it.”
Mr. Goodall spoke on Wednesday before a phalanx journalists and photographers in Basel, Switzerland. That the inquisitors had come from around the globe to hear what would be most likely the last public words of the man once called Australia’s oldest working scientist was evidence that his campaign to end his life had captivated audiences worldwide.
“I’ve had a good life,” he said hours before his last moment.
Asked if there was anything he still wanted to do, he said: “There are many things I would like to do, of course, but it’s too late. I’m content to leave them undone.”
Pressed about what he would miss, he allowed, “I have been missing for a long time my journeys into the Australian countryside, but I haven’t been able to do that for quite a while”
He was asked about his last meal. “I’m rather limited in my culinary enjoyment nowadays,” he responded. “I don’t find that I can enjoy my meals as I used to.”
On Thursday, he received a fatal dose of a barbiturate intravenously. In order to comply with Swiss law that bans the interference of third parties in the process, he opened the valve to release the solution himself and fell asleep, dying soon after. Some of his grandchildren were with him in his final hours.
At one point, he was asked what tune he would choose for his last song, and he said the final movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Then he began to sing, with verve and vigor.
How would he like to be remembered ? “As an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective,” he said at the news conference on Wednesday.
Speak not of fears, yours or mine
Nor of the future verging on mind
Let’s step back just, hold our silence
And let all pass, away and over far
Before we look at it, now free and unafraid
Without future or past and wonder at last
On this one raging want since the die is cast.
The die is cast, determination locked
Right or wrong, to surge by the day.
There is no foam, nothing fluffy here
Just the wanting every moment
To hit hard where it hurts.
It’s a gift received of deep pain within
That must rebound back to you, for me
To let go of this breath
I have held for too long
And blow all its fire
Upon your face melting.
Sleep well, my enemy, the die is cast
Determination locked to unleash upon you
Tonnes of dark, biting, whorling storm
Of exterminating misery gathered in my heart.
I do not remember the context.
But the expression rings true
For justice to be served.
Not everything is a problem.
Not every solution jumping in your mind is needed.
Though matters may seem problematic
They essentially demand your attention
Till they go away
Resolved of their own
Any which way.
Men are animals
And sometimes they need to be allowed
Before they can be men
Of their own.
But let me caution you
Of times when they are a mob
Or are religiously lobbed upon others
They are a problem that needs to be belted well
By law and brought to human ways
By numbers better organised and equipped
And by the zeal for universal values.
But I will end with saying
That not everything is a problem.
Not every solution jumping in our minds is needed.
Though they may seem problematic
Essentially demanding our attention
Till they go away
Resolved of their own
Any which way.
The gross should have long ago grossed us out. But look around : the world is more involved in businesses related to food, sex, body craft and grooming, than in books and lettercraft.
I am not being condescending. But I do value the self and believe in examining it from time time. As part of that priority, I would prefer to keep the ambience around it clear of matters gross. To do so, it is crucial that our involvement with gross concerns is kept to a minimum, limited to just as much as we need to ensure our good health and survival.
How would you categorise vaginoplasty, necessary or superfluous ?
The objective – subjective idealistic conflict presents an interesting thought but does not go far enough. The first part roots for the thing as it is; the second is all that we understand of it. One echoes the saying, did the tree fall make a noise, without anybody there to hear it ? The other’s reply is unequivocal : no mater what else we observe or measure, we do not really know if there was a sound when it was not heard. The true sceptic is certain moreover : nothing is really known or knowable either way; we not only interpret the object to our senses but we do so allowing full play to our biases, prejudice and inclinations.
But there is more to the story. We ourselves are qualified and conditioned at any point in time by the interpretation then prevailing in our mind.
And the cycle repeats itself a million times…no matter who initiates the discussion or what it might be occasioned by !
Science is determined to not leave things at that. It says, it will define the object truly, in its own constitution and by its own attributes.
Vedanta aims differently, diametrically oppositely : it says, let the interprepations go and witness your own unqualified, unconditioned self. Theoretically, then, the object will reflect in the mind, as it is, without any interpretation.
Just sharing… Do as you may !
“…Silence shrieks and wounds speak
Strength surrenders to stanzas
Pain pen poems down
and bleed till ink runs dry
Some prose of love and some drafts of goodbye…”
Words are fingerprints of the soul Love paints footprints Faith dances on stardust bodies when hope sings on blank paper Syllables of feelings when counted wrong verse flow freely all along Emotions take a different shape when left bewildered Silence shrieks and wounds speak Strength surrenders to stanzas Pain pen poems down and bleed till […]
Been up to Hamilton for a family wedding (can’t post those photos yet as the official ones aren’t out) and visited our daughter in Whakatane… …the view from their home is superb, especially when the sun is painting the fields with gold, but also when the sun is sinking.
जी हां इस वक्त भारतीय राजनीति में उपवास कांड चल रहा है हर कोई उपवास करने की होड़ में शामिल हो रहा है। राहुल गांधी का उपवास अभी विवादों में सुर्खिया बटोर ही रहा था कि प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने भी उपवास का ऐलान कर दिया। विपक्ष द्वारा संसद में गतिरोध उत्पन्न कर देश की विकास […]
The presence of individuals or groups of immigrants from Indian Subcontinent in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC was recognized since the discovery of Indus Civilization at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in early 1920s, because Indus-like seals were found in stratified contexts in some of the most important Sumerian cities. In 1932, C.J. Gadd opened a new line of archaeological research, collecting and publishing in a fortunate paper a series of seals from Mesopotamia (found during digs or acquired on the antiquarian market) sharing what he regarded as an Indian style. Gadd’s interpretation was fundamentally correct, although the series of seals he published also included specimens of what we presently identify as Dilmunite seals, coming from the Gulf islands of Faylaka and Bahrein.
The great seasons of extensive excavations at Mohenjo Daro (Sindh, presently in Pakistan) were over, and the final report by J. Marshall (1931) had been published. Both the inscriptions and the animal icons on the major group of western seals had obvious similarities with the steatite seals unearthed by thousands in major cities of the Indus civilization. It was on the basis of these finds, at least in a first stage, that the Indus valley civilization was dated to the middle Bronze age.
Since then, two generations of archaeologists and philologists have attempted to investigate the problem of Indian communities that had settled in Mesopotamia in the second half of 3rd millennium BC. As identification of Meluhha with coastal areas controlled by Indus-Sarasvati people is almost universally accepted, the textual evidence dealing with individuals qualified as men or sons of Meluhha, or called with the ethnonym Meluhha, living in Mesopotamia in a Meluhha village established at Lagash (and presumably at other major cities as well), clearly points to the existence of enclaves settled by Indian immigrants.
As remarked by M. Tosi … the lack of Mesopotamian imports into the Indus Valley reveals the lesser significance of these connections for the eastern pole. Very much like the Roman trade with India and Arabia, as described in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea in the 1st century AD, the
flow of goods towards the head of the Gulf in the later 3rd millennium BC was determined more by the Mesopotamian demand than by economic integration with the distant lands that supplied these goods from the shores of the Indian Ocean.
The Sumerians and Akkadians interacted more with Dilmun sailors and traders, Indian immigrants and largely acculturated social groups than with the remote “Black Country” of Meluhha. In Mesopotamia and in the Gulf, the immigrant Indus families maintained and trasmitted their language, their writing system, weights and measures (known in Mesopotamia as the Dilmunite standard) … as strategic tools of trade. Their official symbol of “gaur” might have stressed, in a foreign land, their connection with their motherland in Indus-Sarasvati valleys. Nonetheless, they gradually adopted the use of foreign languages and introduced minor changes in their writing system for dealing with new, rapidy evolving linguistic needs.
The Indus communities in Mesopotamia developed, thanks to an intimate understanding of Mesopotamian culture and markets, and opportunisties for profitable trade. They promptly adapted their products and merchandise, pricing and availability, to fast-changing local – political, social, cultural and ideological – environment of markets abroad. Their success in Mesopotamia is easily measured by their efficient adaptation to prevailing order in different lands : politics, wars and change of regimes among city-states; presumably centralized Akkadian bureaucracy; and, even more centralized empire established by Ur-nammu.
By 2000 BC, their integration with Mesopotamian social and economic reality seems to be total. The acculturation process involved collaboration with local religious institutions, worship of foreign divinities, production of ornaments with foreign religious symbols, adoption of impure foreign rituals in life and death and, it may be easily imagined, suffering possible discrimination by their compatriots at home for having eaten impure food. The price of their success might have been their apparent contamination with Mesopotamian habits, creeds and ritual practices : a circumstance that may assuredly have not escaped the attention of the conservative and tradition-minded leadership in their home-cities in Indus-Sarasvati valley.
If, as Parpola duo suggest, Meluhha is the origin of “Mleccha”, it would have been especially galling to be addressed as “barbarian or foreigner,” which is what the word means in Sanskrit !
* * *
There is extensive presence of Harappan seals and cubical weight measures in Mesopotamian urban sites. Specific items of high volume trade are timber and specialty wood such as ebony, for which large ships were used. Luxury items also appear, such as lapis lazuli mined at a Harappan colony at Shortugai (Badakshan in northern Afghanistan), which was transported to Lothal, a port city in Gujarat, and shipped from there to Oman, Bahrain, and Sumer.
Indus Valley versus Africa
A number of scholars suggest that Meluhha was the Sumerian name for Indus-Sarasvati Valley Civilization. Asko and Simo Parpola, both Finnish scholars, identify Meluhha (earlier variant Me-lah-ha) from Sumerian documents with Dravidian mel akam “high abode” or “high country”. Many items of trade such as wood, minerals, and gemstones were indeed extracted from the hilly regions near the Indus settlements.
Earlier texts (c. 2200 BC) seem to indicate that Meluhha is to the east, suggesting its location in the Indus-Sarasvati region. Sargon of Akkad is said to have “dismantled the cities, as far as the shore of the sea. At the wharf of Agade, he docked ships from Meluhha, ships from Magan.”
However, much later texts documenting the exploits of King Assur Banipal of Assyria (668–627 BC), long after the Indus Valley civilization had ceased to exist, seem to imply that Meluhha is to be found somewhere near Egypt, in Africa.
There is sufficient archaeological evidence for trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Impressions of clay seals from the Indus Valley city of Harappa were evidently used to seal bundles of merchandise, as clay seal impressions with cord or sack marks on the reverse side testify. A number of these Indus Valley seals have been found at Ur and other Mesopotamian sites. The Persian-Gulf style of circular stamped seals, rather than rolled seals, are identified with Dilmun; they have been found at Lothal in Gujarat, India, as well as at Failaka Island (Kuwait), and in Mesopotamia. These widely dispersed finds are convincing evidence corroborating long-distance sea trade among these regions.
We are less sure of what the commerce consisted of : timber and precious woods, ivory, lapis lazuli, gold and luxury goods such as carnelian and glazed stone beads, pearls from Persian Gulf, shell and bone inlays were among the goods sent to Mesopotamia in exchange for silver, tin, woolen textiles, perhaps oil and grains and other foods. Copper ingots, certainly, bitumen, which occurred naturally in Mesopotamia, may have been exchanged for cotton textiles and chickens, major products of the Indus region that are not native to Mesopotamia—all these have been instanced.
African hypothesis :
Later texts from the 1st millennium BC suggest that “Meluhha” and “Magan” were kingdoms adjacent to Egypt. Assur Banipal writes about his first march against Egypt, “In my first campaign I marched against Magan, Meluhha, Tarka, king of Egypt and Ethiopia, whom Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, the father who begot me, had defeated, and whose land he brought under his sway.”
Apart from Assur Banipal’s reference, there is no mention of Meluhha in any Mesopotamian text after about 1700 BC, which corresponds to the time of decline of the Indus-Sarasvati Valley civilisation. This is a single instance reference to Meluhha nearly 1500 years after the ‘high tide’ of contact between the Indus Valley and Sumeria in 2000 BCE. Direct contacts ceased even during Mature Harappan phase between these two centers. Oman and Bahrain, Magan and Dilmun had become intermediaries. Sumeria had ‘forgotten’ the Indus Valley after the sack of Ur by the Elamites and subsequent invasions in Sumeria. Its trade and contacts shifted west and Meluhha passed into mythological memory. The resurfacing of the name probably relates to cultural memory of similarity of items of trade.
* * *
Shu-ilishu’s Cylinder Seal …
BY GREGORY L. POSSEHL
“Some years ago, while perusing the great Assyriologist A. Leo Oppenheim’s Ancient Mesopotamia : Portrait of a Dead Civilization, I found a reference to the personal cylinder seal of a translator of the Meluhhan language. His name was Shu-ilishu and he lived in Mesopotamia during the Late Akkadian period (ca. 2020 BC, according to the new, low chronology).
“I was interested in this man because Meluhha is widely believed to have been the Indus Civilization of the Greater Indus Valley in India and Pakistan (ca. 2500–1900 BC)—the focus of my own research. Based on cuneiform documents from Mesopotamia we know that there was at least one Meluhhan village in Akkad at that time, with people called “Son of Meluhha” living there. Therefore, to find evidence of an official translator was no surprise, though it is nifty when archaeology can document this sort of thing.
“To learn more I tracked down a photograph of Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal in a substantial volume found in the Museum Library—Collection de Clercq. Gathered together in the 19thCentury by a wealthy man, this collection is composed of objects purchased from dealers with little, if any, provenience data presented. Therefore, we do not know where Shu-ilishu’s cylinder came from. Despite this, I asked our Museum’s Photo Studio to make a black and white negative and several prints of the cylinder’s rollout impression. I have subsequently published this rollout in several places—renewing interest in Shuilishu. This cylinder seal has now become commonplace in discussions of Persian Gulf archaeology and the Indus Civilization’s contacts with Mesopotamia.
“My late colleague Edith Porada, the world’s leading expert on Mesopotamian seals in her day, confirmed the information presented in Oppenheim’s work. She also noted that the seal had been re-cut from its original appearance (not unusual) and that its style was Late Akkadian (ca. 2200–2113 BC), possibly even from the succeeding Ur III period (ca. 2113–2004 BC). During the spring of 2003, when the topic of Meluhha came up during a seminar I was addressing, I showed Porada’s letter to a small group of students.
“Thinking afresh about the re-cutting of the seal, I decided that the reading of the inscription should probably be checked. Did it really say that Shu-ilishu was a translator of Meluhhan ? I took the photograph I had copied from the Collection de Clercq to Steve Tinney, my colleague in the Museum’s Babylonian Section .”
The founder of Mesopotamia’s Akkadian dynasty, Sargon the Great, boasted that : The ships from Meluhha / the ships from Magan / the ships from Dilmun / he made tie-up alongside / the quay of Akkad (translated by Samuel Noah Kramer).
Magan and Dilmun are modern Oman and Bahrain, respectively. This inscription, other cuneiform documents, and recent archaeology in the Arabian Gulf tell us about the maritime activity between Akkad (modern Iraq) and Meluhha (modern Pakistan and India) during the 3rd millennium BC..
“He was kind enough to look at it and confirm everything, at least as far as the rather poor image allowed. It occurred to me that someone should probably track down the original seal and make a fresh impression, but where was the “Collection de Clercq” now—in Paris? I was sure I would get to it someday, but that is where I left things until a splendid piece of luck dropped it in my lap.
“In the spring of 2004, the “First Cities” show opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On June 10, 2004, I visited the Met with a couple of students. The show was a truly magnificent display, with treasures from the Near East and India set out in a very attractive and informed way. The Penn Museum’s material from Puabi’s grave at Ur was there, as was the British Museum’s famous Royal Standard of Ur. The “Priest-King” from Mohenjo-daro had been lent by the Pakistan Government—he looked great !—and the Louvre had also been very generous with its loan of various objects.
“The students and I did our tour through the galleries and then lingered, reading labels again or with greater concentration than on the first pass through. I was in a gallery near the “Priest-King” when I spotted Shuilishu’s cylinder and a clear impression of its rollout. It was a part of the Louvre’s loan. The “Collection de Clercq” had found its way to the Louvre, and Joan Aruz, the Met curator of the show, had been good enough to put it in her loan request. I showed the students and retold the story of why it is important.
“I knew that Tinney should see the fresh impression, but maybe I could do even better. After consulting with Aruz and her staff, it was agreed that I could approach Annie Caubet, Conservateur Général, Départment des Antiquitiés Orientales at the Musée du Louvre, and seek permission to make a fresh impression while Shu-ilishu’s seal was at the Met. Caubet’s answer was virtually immediate and positive. We could make a fresh impression and it could be a part of the “loan” collections at the Penn Museum. This was all accomplished, and Tinney reconfirmed the original translation. The Penn Museum now has a very fine rollout of the seal in its collections, where it can be used as a research tool for many, many years.
“The writing of Meluhha (the Indus script) remains undeciphered, in spite of many claims to the contrary. The inscriptions are short, and this makes the job of decipherment very difficult. To break the code, what is probably needed is a body of bilingual texts, like Jean-Francois Champollion had when he deciphered the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the Rosetta Stone. The presence in Akkad of a translator of the Meluhhan language suggests that he may have been literate and could read the undeciphered Indus script. This in turn suggests that there may be bilingual Akkadian/Meluhhan tablets somewhere in Mesopotamia. Although such documents may not exist, Shu-ilishu’s cylinder seal offers a glimmer of hope for the future in unraveling the mystery of the Indus script.”
* * *
I might continue with a piece on the fascinating linguistic and etymological evolution of Indian language from Mleccha and Arya vaach of those hoary times in pre-history !
In electoral politics, NOTA — None Of The Above — makes no sense. By choosing NOTA, we are saying, we are voting for none of the candidates in the list. It can only be our expression of protest. One of the candidates, of a particular political hue, will win anyway. His party will anyway either form the government or sit in opposition. That is how democracy works, with positive expressions, not negative choices.
On the other hand is TINA, a clear choice of the voter who, right or wrong in the opinion of others, knows that there is no other alternative to the choice he was then making. It is the clearest expression, without a shred of doubt.
It you are living in a democracy, choose TINA, not NOTA.
It will shortly pass into folk lore which, in the Indian subcontinent, abounds with umpteen instances of the Lord of the Universe being moved by his devotee’s simple will. This one was narrated by the younger sister of an elderly lady, who was passing on in her years and frequently suffered bouts of indifferent health.
She lived in Mathura, a large town in the northern region of Central India that was closely associated with Lord Krishna’s life. It was the seat of Yadav Kingdom, ruled by a tyrant whom the young Krishna had killed. It was a city Krishna had successfully defended a dozen times against the powerful army of Magadh Emperor Jarasandha. It was the place he had evacuated the last time Jarasandha had laid seige and had led its people to the safety of Dwarka, on the west coast in Gujarat. Mathura is close to Gokul and Vrindavan, where Krishna had spent his childhood and growing up years; and to Barsana, the village in which the kind, older woman Radha lived. Their uncorporeal love was legendary, between mature Radha and boy Krishna, much sung and diversely described in texts ancient and modern.
The lady was ill for some while then. She would often ask to properly bathed, as had been her routine over the decades before she sat at her worship corner in her home. But pouring water over her body, in weakened physical state was disallowed by the physician who was treating her. Besides, one couldn’t predict when exhaustion would overwhelm her body through the bathing process. The woman was well aware of these material factors to her being; but she would yet make an insistent plea every morning before relenting in the face of opposition by her two grown up sons and kind daughters in law. She would acquiesce to their sincere pleas and give in their service to her, take her breakfast and medicines prescribed, and sleep off while one of them would massage her legs and feet.
One day, just hours after midnight, while it was still dark, she felt being woken up by her elder son, who softly spoke into her ears : “Mother, would you want a bath now ? Come, I’ll help you through it.” The old lady was full of joy at this opportunity to go through the daily ritual of her lifetime. She would once again be able to present her clean self before Krishna and pray, singing praises and chanting his name. She was led to the attached bathroom by her son, who prepared a bucket of warm water for her to use and brought washed and nestly pressed clothes to change into.
The lady took her bath while her son wsited outside, ready to heed her call for help, if she needed. She changed into her new clothes, whereafter she was led by her son back to bed. She had tired of the effort she had to spent by the time she sat on her bed. “Son, I am exhausted. I will lie down to rest for a while before offering my prayers to Krishna. Go for now; I will give you call when I am ready.”
Her son assured her and helped her to lie down. She fell asleep while her son was still massaging her legs and feet. It was a deep, happy slumber that lasted through the night. Next morning, waking up, she gave a call to her elder son, lamenting her sense of loss at having missed out on the rest of the after-bath routine : her worship to Krishna. The members of her family quickly gathered around, enquiring about her need, any discomfort she might be feeling or help she wanted.
“No, no,” the woman cried, “it was nice bathing today, thanks to the elder one. But what good is it, since I missed out on my prayers before the Lord ? Come, take me to temple corner at least now !” But the sons and their wives were shocked, especially the elder one who had slept undisturbed through the night. He let the others know; his spouse too confirmed the truth. They also enquired of the lady if she wasn’t mistaken, had hallucinated about something she had intensely desired.
“No, I am not mistaken and have not hallucinated about the whole thing. Look at these clothes I am wearing now ? Are they the ones I had slept in ?” The wives turned to their husbands and nodded their agreement. They all then wondered and wondered again, disinclined to believe that someone other than any amongst them had served their mother fulfill her deepest desire.
It had been none other than Krishna, the dearest Lord of her lifetime, they all finally agreed. Which however caused the old lady to rant aloud an even more heart renting lament : “Lord ! Lord, you came to serve your maid and this ignorant one did not even recognise you. Lord ! Lord ! What am I to do now…”
She wailed incessantly, inconsolably in her ecstasy.
“It’s frustrating to not be able to make a start, but the soil is still cold and sodden. When the last of the snow retreated into dark hedges sheltered from the sun, the land may have thawed but it was once again saturated with the deluge of heavy rains. We must be patient. Experience tells me to wait to put in the carrot and radish seeds. Still, I would like to get out and prepare the soil, prune, and tidy.
“Instead, I watch as the channel I dug to protect the track from runoff has been destroyed in places by the cattle. The potholes are growing, despite a mini break in the weather several weeks ago when we filled dozens. The moles, rats, and rabbits have left us with some ankle turning land. Repairs to some of the outbuildings remains on hold as it is too wet to make the needed interventions.
“At this time of the year, it is hard to focus on anything other than the cold and wet. But, there is a beauty in this seemingly dead of winter. The grass is not simply green, but accented with colours of gold, brown and red. Layers of cloud upon cloud cover the sky in multiple tones of grey. Gone for the winter are the summer migratory birds and it has been months since the Swallows and House Martins have been here dive-bombing about the house feasting on insects. I know their return soon will announce the arrival of spring, so too the Cuckoo.
“The wildlife is different during this time of the year as much of it is in hibernation or just lying low until spring. Much, but not all. The earthworms are being tugged out of the ground by our chickens as they seek foraged delights. The Sparrows, Tits, Robins, Finches, Nuthatches and Jackdaws are taking it in turns to sustain themselves on the seeds we put out daily. And none of this winter rain, wind, or mud has stopped the walkers. Why should it? If we waited for fine weather, then we would never go outside. These intrepid souls have been out in huge numbers loaded with their binoculars, cameras, maps and walking sticks.”
Judgement is a function of intelligence. So, unless one is thick as rank stupids are, one would judge whatever is before us : happening, situation, thing, being, person, attitude, choices or behaviour. Having thus understood, we would discriminate and categorise the thing in our judgement as right or wrong, beautiful or ugly, true or false, likeable or not, valuable or worthless.
Who, in life, can live without this faculty to discriminate and capacity to judge ? This blogpost may not seem to be very orderly or brief but its young author drew my appreciation for departing from the cliche, the common social media talk at which people speak first and think never.