Muse Betwixt The Extremes

It was one of the most beautiful of mornings : breeze on the other side of the glass wall, cozily warmed of sun obliquely on the back, and bright ambience cool through the innerwear and a half-sleeve wollen over my long shirt. Unusually, and very surprisingly, the news daily I was browsing through contributed by not carrying needless conflict on behalf of its political masters and paying clientele. At intervals I could even snatch recalls of the rolling music of Jerry Garcia, bouncing notes of Fleetwood Mac, and the iterating rounded strains of Tull’s flute. It mattered, I guess, that all of that blissful bonanza had converged of its own accord, as an unexpected benediction or a widening windfall that finds you totally unaware. It made crafting this piece a personal de rigueur.

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It would of course be great to have our badminton nimblefoot honoured with Padma Bhushan, alongwith the wrestling champ Sushil Kumar. There have been voices suggesting she shouldn’t have pointedly mentioned the denial. I do not and empathise with her sentiment, of feeling aggrieved after all she had put in over a decade and achieved on ‘super’ competitive international platforms. In fact, I find her sport ahead of amateur wrestling, in terms of prestige and visibility, and the partisan attitude of government officials both inexplicable and inexcusable.

At the Indian Science Congress (ISC), Union Minister Prakash Javdekar wondered why Germany could make use of ancient Indian concepts and adapt them to produce cutting edge inventions, and India could not. Shashi Tharoor spoke sensibly of “modernists sneer” that “mock the credulous exaggerations” … “(but) you don’t need to debunk the genuine accomplishments of ancient Indian science“. Ancient aviation, as described by Maharshi Bharadwaja, was more advanced than modern-day technology, said the paper presented by Captain Anand Bodas and Ameya Jadhav. “The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, 8 chapters, 500 principles and 3,000 verses. In the modern day, only 100 principles are available,” they stated.

Ancient Indian engineers had knowledge of Indian botany and they used it in their constructions, said professor of civil engineering from Nagpur, A S Nene, in his paper. Most of the scholars who presented their papers on Sunday appealed to yo ung Indian scientists and researchers to look at ancient Sanskrit literature and derive advanced methodologies from them. Rajan Welukar, Mumbai University VC, said “one should at least look at the Vedas, but need not accept it“. Vijay Bhatkar, Indian scientist, said “Indians are so used to the slave mentality that we will only need a foreign nation to acknowledge the vast source of information. Once they do it, we will follow.”

The topic on ancient sciences was incorporated in the ISC for the first time on the insistence of Sanskrit scholars, said Gauri Mahulikar, head of the Sanskrit department, Mumbai University . “We believed Sanskrit also had a huge science repository and it should be brought before scientists.They should be open-minded and not have an orthodox outlook to this. This is just a thought, it should be followed by a debate and then experimentation. We cannot do research as we’re not scientists. That is why we appeal to the science fraternity to take this knowledge forward.”

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There was a dark extremely unhappy pall in news about a young man’s death, his recently married wife brutalised and stabbed, and his mother left thirsty and unconscious within a room locked from outside. She had met man over a matrimonial website and planned their marriage before letting their families know about it. They were married in November, mere two months ago, and had gone for a honeymoon in Thailand. Her father told the police that she had grown resentful towards her man as he returned home each evening only to abuse her physically.

App based cab services like Uber and Ola are still banned in Delhi and the National Capital Territory region. The geographical restriction is what I have not understood, if a service is disallowed by the authorities per se because they are not safe. The ban however is justified : someone has to ensure the safety deliverables, which radio taxi operators confirm. The fact that app based services are offered by huge tech firms does not merit a second hearing.

I had no sympathy for Christian Mission verticals and united call to halt the “ghar wapasi” or “return home” program conducted by Hindu organisations. It beats logic to vehementally disagree with a legislative proposal to ban all “conversions” and stand by this status quo in which they could convert Hindus but cry foul when the reverse happened. It is such a shame at a time when half of the population in Western world have turned atheist or agnostic, when sordid sagas of corruption, embezzlement, rape and pedophilia with the Church is still open. It is moot if economic or social causes within the Hindu way, even if unbearable, suggest a solution in their change of faith !

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The two “hero” stories warmed me up real good, both in the police. One, Mallika Banerjee, may not be a decorated encounter cop or a trained undercover agent, but she displayed unusual grit and gumption to bust organised trafficking rings in the capital to earn the sobriquet of Chhattisgarh’s `Mardani’ — The Man. After nabbing 15 traffickers and rescuing 20 children from Delhi’s hellholes, she’s become a blockbuster star in the state. Disguised as salesgirl selling body massagers on the street, facing life threats and spurning big bribes for withdrawing from the investigation, the young sub-inspector of the anti-human trafficking cell worked hard to meet the Supreme Court’s deadline to trace the missing children who, she discovered, were children were sold for Rs 30,000-Rs 35,000 with a monthly fixed payment of Rs 5,000. Afterwards, Mallika said, “I feel more connected to these kids.”

The other story is of a daring crime-intolerant IPS officer Shivdeep Wamanrao Lande, Patna’s Superintendent Of Police (SP). His proactive and no-nonsense policing had made him hugely popular. People had erupted in protest three years ago when he was transferred 10 months after posting in the city. Lande led several raids on illegal trade of spurious drugs, cosmetics, edible items and shady cyber-cafes. He is known to take calls on phone at any hour and acts promptly on complaints. Eve teasers land behind bars even as young women take a shine on Bihar’s supercop: their knight in shining armour. He donates half his salary to the Sangathan which organizes mass weddings of poor girls and runs coaching classes and a hostel for poor students. The initiative has employed scores of young men.

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Is the society responsible for rape or the government ? The UP Minister For Women is sure it is the society, not the government. I personally believe, the society is the cause for the ‘thought’ of rape; the government is responsible for deterring the act, punishing the perpetrator and providing succour to the victim…

The taste of some of the world’s finest wines is changing as global warming alters the way grapes mature, scientists have found. Grapes such as pinot noir, merlot and chardonnay are now growing faster, subtly changing the compounds produced as they ripen and the synchronization between maximum flavour and sugar to acid ratio. Vineyards are thus struggling to identify the perfect moment for picking the grapes, to ensure their wines retain the characteristic flavours.

Climate change is making the identification of the harvest window more difficult. As the atmosphere warms, the desired ratio of acid to sugar occurs earlier in the season. What a tricky challenge !

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Ben Tuft of The Independent reports of a massive mishap in which Sailor Gutzler, a 7 year-old “miracle” girl alone survived a plane crash in Kentucky and walked almost a mile barefoot in freezing conditions to raise the alarm. The crash killed her parents, sister and cousin and Sailor is now being looked after by her grandparents.

Using techniques learnt from her dad, Sailor lit a stick from the flames of her family’s small Piper PA-34 aircraft to help guide her through the woods after the plane crashed in Lyon Country, Kentucky on Friday. She crossed two embankments and a river creek in darkness and near freezing temperatures, before she reached the house of Larry Wilkins, about three-quarters of a mile from the crash site. Wilkins, 71, who immediately phoned the police, said that Sailor was trembling, bloodied and wearing summer clothes when he opened his door to her.

“I come to the door and there’s a little girl, seven years old, bloody nose, bloody arms, bloody legs, one sock, no shoes, crying,” he said. “She told me that her mom and dad were dead, and she had been in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. “Brave little girl, outstanding little girl,” he added.

Indeed.

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I wonder what is the Buckingham Palace is contesting, against a women’s allegations made in Florida court that she was forced as a minor to have sex with Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth, as well as with other figures linked to a disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein. Why, I can understand : HRH… His Royal Highness. “The allegations made are false and without any foundation,“ a spokesman for Buckingham Palace was quoted as saying by the British newspapers. I find the same words mirroring at such defense.

HRH, my foot !

Closer home, a Dalit eunuch scripted history on Sunday by winning a direct mayoral election in Chhattisgarh and is all set to become the mayor of Raigarh. A school dropout who studied till class 8, Madhu Kinnar, 35, would collect money by singing and dancing with other eunuchs to eke out a living. She contested as an Independent, defeated her nearest rival, BJP’s Mahaveer Guruji, by a 4,537 votes.

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Till 1970s in India. lawyers for rape accused mostly succeeded in portraying the victim as a woman of loose character. The judicial mindset reached its crest on September 15, 1978, when the Supreme Court acquitted two Maharashtra policemen, who were convicted by the Bombay HC for sexually assaulting a minor girl Mathura, who had allegedly eloped with her lover. The judges had based the acquittal on medical report showing Mathura to be habituated to sex and that she did not raise an alarm when being sexually assaulted.

Many cringed at the insensitive `Mathura’ judgment. The course correction was done by Justice Krishna Iyer on August 14, 1980, who said: “Corroboration as a condition for judicial reliance on the testimony of a prosecutrix (victim) is not a matter of law, but a guidance of prudence under given circumstances.”

About the mindset, Justice Iyer said: “There are several `sacred cows’ of the criminal law in Indo-Anglian jurisprudence which are superstitious survivals and need to be re-examined. When rapists are reveling in their promiscuous pursuits and half of humankind – the womankind – is protesting against its hapless lot, when no woman of honour will accuse another of rape since she sacrifices thereby what is dearest to her, we cannot cling to a fossil formula and insist on corroborative testimony , even if taken as a whole, the case spoken of by the victim strikes a judicial mind as probable.“

He had also advised against knee-jerk reaction of making the punishment for rape more stringent. Better course would be to sensitise and professionalise the machinery responsible for probe and prosecution, he had said.

Lack of sensitivity among Judges towards rape victims lead to devastating results. In 2007, Oxford Country court judge Julian Hall doubted a 10-year-old girl’s age and blamed her provocative sense of dressing to award a friendly 9-month prison term to the man who violated her. Hall forgot rape was a heinous offence which gets severest punishment world over when the victim is a minor. Did it matter how she dressed or how old she appeared to be ? Hall probably subscribed to the mindset of another Judge – Betrand Richards of Ipswich Crown Court – who had in 1982 created a sensation by his judgment in another rape case.

A young lady on a lonely stretch stuck out her thumb for a hitch. A young man driving a car gave her a lift. He took advantage of the lonely stretch and raped her. He was convicted for the offence. But Judge Richards let him off with a fine of 2,000 pounds saying the girl was guilty of “contributory negligence“ by knowingly taking the risk of hitchhiking at a lonely hour on a lonely stretch.

The judge did not see the other side – the girl was trying to get away from the lonely stretch and had reposed trust in the young man.

In India, Justice Narain Singh Azad of Madhya Pradesh HC could qualify to be counted in the category of Halls and Richards. Eight years ago, Justice Azad had awarded cursory punishments to convicts in nearly a hundred rape cases on the ground that offenders were illiterate tribals. Fortunately, the SC saw the fallacy in the approach and sent back all the cases to the HC for a fresh hearing.

“The unchastity of a woman does not make her open to any and every person to violate her person as and when he wishes. She is entitled to protect herself if there is an attempt to violate her person against her wish. She is equally entitled to protection of law. Therefore, merely because she is of easy virtue, her evidence cannot be thrown out.“

Finally, something to applaud…

Journal : Weather, Labour, Capital…India

It was cool yesterday, the air comfortably crisp. I shut off the bedside fan but did not opt for the thin cover resting on the backrest of foldable chair. In the morning, even the overhead fan was unnecessary, with the tea cup steaming up its flavours. The problems of an older body had receded from my attention.

Why I do not stand with the communists, socialists and all those stridently on the left, is not as much of a mystery as my open empathy for much of what they call for would suggest. People on the margins, the poor and the weak, need those voices to champion their cause : for them to be heard in corridors of power and wealth, by men who could make a difference by their attitude, priority and decision.

However, for very personal values, I do not stand with the lot releasing those welcome notes : one, high in effect, is my pathological disagreement with making a career out of it, howsoever slight; secondly, far from endorsing their animosity for capital, I actually oppose their lack of appreciation of how businesses serve the very constituency leftists represent. And finally, not only do I find myself incapable of a definitive interpretation of history but am loathe at pre-empting it. History will be what it will be, only after we have put ourselves into its motions today.

I compulsorily oppose transgressions that ride on the power of wealth, emblemised in the american kind, but not the entrepreneurship that is universal, that all men and women have in their spirit to help themselves up at gathering capital, helping and taking the help of others along their way. Everybody appreciates labour and ability, and there’s no way an entrepreneur would not. To grudge the promoter’s disproportionate power and rights to decision-making is a non sequitur.

People who have taken the risk with their own money, who have paid others to engage them at their works where there was none, cannot be deprived of our trust just because they have made good ! I have issues with inheritance but there it is, entrenched and raised tall on laws that grant our freedoms. The issues with the inheritors however are more severe and statistically valid : they strut about more on the power of what they have than on the entrepreneurship which built it all up in the first place.

But, in summary, I am not pulling down anyone or anything except as the law allows. That I will beat upon the doors of politicians with my life, to change those laws, is another matter.

Thanks to democracy as we practise here, in India.

New India : Happy India

On the eve of Independence Day — 2014…

The daily I read is a Congress Party mouthpiece, spiritedly in opposition to the ruling National Democratic Alliance. However, going through it today left me palpably happy at how remakably well this country is now governed, thanks to the people of India who chose Narendra Modi to lead the nation’s affairs. The marked degree of difference, compared to how it was during the preceeding decade under the UPA regime, was underscored by an observation of the Supreme Court headlined even by the avowedly antagonistic news and reports the Times Of India routinely carries … ” Stop acting like UPA on Ganga : SC to govt “. To mimick the media, I visualise “sources” reporting Manmohan Singh, the previous captive Prime Minister : “I am delighted and the country is relieved with my (and my Party’s) removal from power …” As I am, and vast majority of people are !

Let me sum up some of the other news that fills me with an euphoric state of well-being :

On his first visit to Kargil as PM, Modi minced no words in stating that Pakistan continues to sponsor terror missions in India, even while emphasising that the neighbour has finally lost the capacity and will for facing a frontal war. Our neighbour has launched four since 1947 and has been soundly, humiliatingly beaten in every one of them. Expectedly, the editorial faults the plain-speak saying, “Modi chiding Pakistan for pursuing a proxy war does nothing to improve bilateral relations.” It would prefer the Indian Prime Minister to adopt a gentler approach, the one which has done nothing to arrest the violence triggered from across our borders and which the people are frankly tired of !

It comforts me that the Govt is now redressing a wrong perpetuated by successive previous regimes that never found it worthwhile to award the country’s highest honour to Dhyan Chand, the hockey wizard who kept India on the top in the game for over two decades. However the cause of my delight is not limited to the person but to the overarching question : What kind of a country do we want ? What national values must we reinforce with our day-to-day decisions ? It rankles that the UPA govt had the great man, the nation’s pride, in its last year’s honours list but went for a promoted candidate instead — the little master of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, who is reported to have gained enough from brand equity garnered from his exploits in the field.

The removal of Gandhi-Nehru name from our national schemes and projects is as a much a matter of my happiness as the hashtags #CongressMuktaBharat and #CorruptionFreeIndia I have actively supported and promoted. A country that has largely shunned such personality intense and cult promotions, the practice reminds me that horribly misplaced slogan coined during the infamous Emergency days : Indira is India — India is Indira … reducing a nation to a person and blowing up a person to equal the oldest nation on earth !

Today, the country premier crime and corruption investigating agency has dared to move a note regarding ‘irregularities’ public sector bank appointments at senior levels and, consequently, the Govt will review several of the suspicious ones. The action would be symbolic of the clean-up this country sorely needs to stem this pervasive corruption that has come to characterise our affairs. The President has given the nod for review of 12 university vice-chancellor appointees, several during the very last days of the previous regime. 

Now even the senior-most founding leader of the much promising and even more abysmally disappointing Aam Aadmi Party has aired his despair of its undemocratic working, inviting all manner ‘sad’ whisperings and lamenting advisories. But the development is exactly along the lines I have viewed the fakeness built into outfit from the start. I am looking forward to its early demise, especially since Delhi has been far better managed since the Party’s govt led by its ‘national convenor’ resigned after merely 49 days at its helm. Look at some of them here below :
 

ON FAST TRACK – Govt sets deadline for 245 services

  • Chasing neighbourhood cops to get a no-objection certificate for a passport won’t be necessary now as Delhi Police has committed to a 20-day deadline for it.
  • This and 244 more services by various state departments, civic agencies and Delhi Police have been brought under the Delhi Time-bound Service Delivery Act as an Independence Day gift. Already , 116 services by 24 departments are covered by the Act.
  • Delhi Police has committed to issuing copies of FIRs to complainants within a day, and complete verification of tenants and servants in 20 days.
  • NDMC has promised to remove obstructions from roads in one day . It will sanction building plans in one day and complete mutation of property in seven days. Even the corporations have agreed to sanction building plans for residential development within 30 days.
  • Bus passes for students, the physically disabled and senior citizens will be issued in a day . The higher education department may agree to issue provisional certificates within 15 days.
  • The department of women and child development has committed to sanction pension to widows and women in distress within 45 days.
  • The notification of these is likely by the end of this week. The law governing time-bound delivery of services prescribes penalties for officers who harass the public with delays.
There is much else to commend the New India : Happy India today. Old boys have now come to join hands to boost infrastructure and the image of govt schools. The judiciary has become extra conscious of their intervention powers : The High Court demanded a report status of kids’ parks by Oct 29. Tourist arrivals remain on the up despite much negative publicity the country has received over the past decade … 
On political front in the states, the mindless ‘minority appeasement’ for vote-bank is coming apart. A quiet campaign to cut the Samajvadi Party leader Azam Khan down to size appears to be at work in Uttar Pradesh. The casteist Bahujan Party’s Mayawati has refused to have any truck with SP, in the latter’s bid to form a joint front against the nationalist BJP. The other ‘joint front’ in Bihar saw a mere few hundred listeners, when the buildup was for hundreds of thousands !

Prime Minister might dare to continue with his habit of speaking extempore while addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, after his Govt launches state-of-the-art warships INS Kolkata and INS Kamorta. The aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was commissioned in June this year. There are 44 warships currently on order in Indian shipyards valued at over Rs 2000 billion, These are part of the plan to steadily build a three-dimensional blue-water Navy capable of taking care of India’s huge strategic interests in the region stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait.

Beti (daughter) … drive in 100 dists with worst sex ratio. The Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has set a 2-year deadline for Implementation. It is one of highest national priority : Save Our Daughters – Educate Our Daughters. It assures stringent action against erring medical practitioners and monitoring of health clinics. The government had allotted Rs 100 crore for the scheme in the Union Budget. India has one of the worst sex ratios, earning the dubious title of “country with missing girls“.
 
The Govt has stood by its declared intent of not allowing FDI in multi-brand retail … But you get the streaming causes behind my delight, right ? !
 
Wish you a Happy Independence Day.
 
 

Paan, My Love

Ha – ah – ha … love them both : the man and the outlet !

No one can make a great paan except with love.

Shot in winter time, rather dark evening.

There is a queue, if did not notice.

Ah, Paan, my love !

Have not partaken as frequently

but the feeling for you is undiminshed …

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The Pan Outlet

Journal : June 20, 2013

It’s a depressing morning.

The colossal calamity due Nature’s fury in Uttarakhand is heart wrenching and the global despair I read in outpourings of minds aware dumps me in darkness. In the celestial underground, Sisyphus eyes the rock before starting to heave against it, in order to roll it back up to the top of the hill.

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Bank of America- Funding Coal, killing Communities

‘We Were Told To Lie,’

Say Bank Of America Employees

http://fe.gd/yuH

“The government’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP),

which gave banks cash incentives to modify loans under certain standards,

was supposed to streamline the process and help up to 4 million struggling homeowners

(to date, active permanent modifications number about 870,000). In reality, Bank of America used it as a tool, say these former employees, to squeeze as much money as possible out of struggling borrowers before eventually foreclosing on them. Borrowers were supposed to make three trial payments before the loan modification became permanent; in actuality, many borrowers would make payments for a year or more, only to find themselves rejected for a permanent modification, and then owing the difference between the trial modification and their original payment.”

Six former employees and one contractor say Bank of America’s mortgage servicing unit consistently lied to homeowners, fraudulently denied loan modifications and offered bonuses to staff for intentionally pushing people into foreclosure.

The allegations were made in sworn statements added to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Massachusetts.

Have we evolved as yet
to having severely punishing laws
against Corporate lies and fraudulent behaviour ?

*  *  *

Call 1098, if you have after-party food that is likely to be wasted !

It’s the Child Helpline in India. They will come and collect the food. It’ll nourish the starved and the half-hungry; and, perhaps, inform him of how the more advantaged in society, in his very own country, live it off.

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How Money Makes You Lie and Cheat

http://fe.gd/yuM

The Rich Are Different :

More Money, Less Empathy

http://fe.gd/yuN

Capitalism channelises bothe the strengths and failures of humanity. Unfortunately, the strengths are few; failures more severe and far too many.

But humanity’s misfortune does not end there. It quadruples with capitalist success; for then, they have concentrated the resources and the means of Surround Propaganda, to beat the dead horse to wonderful tunes of intoxicating music !

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In my country …

English: Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Kedarnath Temple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several Thousands have been killed.

Hundreds of Thousands are stranded for days …

in Uttarakhand.

 ‘I watched my wife being swept away by the torrent’ …

Scores of entire villages have been washed away.

The venerated Kedarnath Temple site is back to how it was 500 years ago !

The catastrophe renders our political process so peurile.

The populist democracy has nothing in it to take up long-term interests of humanity.

Do we need an autocratic leadership then ? Yes, but in this very democratic and institutional set up.

English: Narendra Modi in Press Conference

Narendra Modi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need a leader who strong and wise.

Which is why I regard Sudheendra Kulkarni’s eulogy for BJP‘s LK Advani,

his former boss and mentor, as trash;

his diatribe against Narendra Modi, the one leader I have come to trust for now,

is pure dickscum.

The fellow is making career out political brokering.

Then, there are these small minds who’ve begun their ‘aerial’ visits

and announcing a few ‘millions’ in assistance.

Typically Congressmen, who neither have the balls nor the intelligence

— a perfect mix for moral torpidity, corruption and debauchery.

It has taken the spine out of watchdog institutions,

the bureaucracy and a good part of judiciary.

The Congress leaders compare so vulgarly with the champions who’ve waded the ground with their personal presence, their hand and

RSS Flag

RSS Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

provisions, medicines and relief. They are the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

the RSS, who are the first and completely engaged with any national calamity anywhere.

Am I ‘Sanghi’ ? They don’t even know that I exist.

Or a ‘BJP’wala ? The answer is the same. I’ve never been anywhere close to them anytime in my life.

All that I observe and assess draws my empathy and affiliation. It political, not politics.

Hell, I would not even exactly agree with the slogan : India First …

If it also does not mean : People First ! That’s where my entire concern is anchored.

the-log-hut-blog-header-009.jpg

Journal : Alternate History

The British called its battles of 1857 in the Indian sub-continent, waged by native people, as “Sepoy Mutiny” or terms as dismissive, more or less : rebellion, revolt, uprising or subaltern war ( by sepoy cadres and junior officers in their own military ) ! For long now, after I came across compelling evidence of it being a far more concerted and coordinated affair, the historical lies and half-truths that continue to be taught in our schools and colleges has seemed so shocking and shameful to me. But that streaming propaganda flows unabated over the young minds to this day, despite corrections since suggested by very eminent minds and respectable historians. Why ? Are our people so naive, gullible, stupid or fast brainwashed ? Let me know …

The First War For India’s Independence : 1857

Academics have detailed the economic, socio-political and religious causes behind the war, and this essay would not recount them. What needs to be recalled is that the War was a continuation of British – Maratha hostilities that formally ended with Peshwa Bajirao II’s banishment to Bithoor, near Kanpur, but burned informally among close associates of Nanasaheb, the adopted but rightful heir to Maratha leadership. That circle included Tatya Tope and the Rani of Jhansi, leading generals behind the widespread uprising against British rule.

In January 1856, James Outram crossed the Ganges to depose the King of Oudh and take over the principality. Nana Saheb is reported to have travelled from Bithoor and met representatives of the Begum of Oudh, who was nursing her hurt and was well aware of the angst among the people against the British takeover. 

Situationally, the British invincibility was proving to be a myth and the seething simmer among the native people was palpable. The colonialists had suffered very heavy losses in the 1st Afghan War (1838) in north-west, in battles waged by Santhal tribes eastern provinces, and the Crimean War in Europe. It was also exactly a hundred years after the battle of Plassey (1757) with which victory the British had gained their status to power; the timing had filled the people with the hope that the end of alien occupation was near.

The British had forged very powerful alignments with select native rulers in the country such as the Scindias in Central India, the Sikhs in North, and the Nizam in South. But they had also antagonised very many others through their policies especially framed for reneging on treaties, denying agreed upon priviledges to heirs of erstwhile ruling families and not honouring grants conferred by them. They had pretexts for annexing independent principalities and taking over smaller fiefs of elite nobles, courtiers and commanders. 

On a yet wider scale, the people were extremely agitated by aggressive State policy for propagating Christianity and material reward to natives for conversion of faith. There were social and educational reforms that people resented being imposed upon. Money gathering from the smallest of farmers and traders through adhoc announcements were steep and economic depredation were putting vast numbers out of business. To sum, the vortex unleashed by the white men had disaffected the common people everywhere.

Historical Records And The Untold History

It is strange therefore that India’s post – colonial history remains a mere refurbished form of the same propagated by the British before the country’s independence. Considering the fact that the War was spread over 18 months, upto 36 in places, and involved hundreds of thousand of men, how would it have been waged as mere coincident local disruptions, without money and leadership distribution to a plan ? How does a march of millions of man – miles happen without food, horses and carts, armaments to fight with arguably the most powerful nation then on the earth ? The official account and event sketch by aquiescent historians fail to answer the questions.

At the outset, the officially stated cause triggers like greased cartridge, banishing Sati and Thuggee, abolition of female infanticide and child marriage … do not seem reason enough to start dozens of disparate armed battles against the occupiers at the same time over most of the northern half of the subcontinent. The mutinies had been going on for long but ruthlessly suppressed and completely hushed. Discontent had been brewing for several decades before the First war of Indian Independence over lack of respect shown by British officers to natives in the same army units.

It is questionable that before a single cartridge had been issued, before even one foot-soldier had been asked to defile himself by applying his teeth to the greased paper, the demeanour of the men of the four native regiments at Barrackpur had displayed unmistakable signs of the discontent ? The rage and ire of the natives was especially occasioned by the conduct and attitude of delusional greenhorns, recruited in a hurry, despite no military or administrative experience of value. Most were chicken hearts at single combat, catapulted to glorious fortunes. They could not stand in the sun, much less spill the blood of the fighting natives. What they had was the “system” partial to whites, to their culture and religion, all back-driven and bankrolled by oligarchs led by the Rothschilds. They had control over wealth and resources, the authority to punish and reward, and the mass produced weapons and ammunitions to shock and awe, kill and subdue.

There is material on Rothschild’s involvement in the siphoning off of India’s wealth but 99 times of that is yet unraveled. The Rothschild family owned the trading enterprise, British East India Company. It is they who used Robert Clive for land grabbing and removed him when their purpose was served. Clive was later court marshaled. After Tipu’s death in 1799, the Rothschilds made sure the entire gold was shipped off to their underground vaults in their own ships. Today, the Rothschilds own many times more wealth than the whole of Forbes 500 hold together. 

In those days, Jewish banking families made it a practice to marry their female offspring to spendthrift European aristocrats. In Jewish law, the mixed offspring of a Jewish mother is Jewish. And male heirs always marry Jews. Churchill’s mother was a Rothschilds. His rise to First Lord of Admiralty and Britain’s Prime Ministership was well manoeuvred by his in-laws. The daughter of Jewish banker Ernest Cassel, Pamela, married Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was related to Queen Victoria and Prince Philip. 

Back to the soldier’s “mutiny,” the one at Vellore took place as early as July 10, 1806, in which more than 200 British officers were killed. Soldiers had revolted at Barrackpore in 1824 and in 1852, in North-western Provinces in 1844, and in Punjab in 1849-50. Events reflect the uneasy relationship between the officers and their men, who displayed an obstinate determination to break with their masters rather than continue service on terms that could be disregarded at superiors’ pleasure. 

As was common, Christian missionaries were encouraged and supported by the administration to convert the natives in their units, often by hook or crook. The armymen were made to sit though their preaching everyday. Punishments administered on the men included whipping, corporal torture and making them stand under the blazing sun till they fainted.

Bread And Lotus

Any discussion on the historical events in 1857 must keep in focus the scale it involved : over a million man-miles in just the early months of the War. It would involve elaborate planning and provisioning to sustain the war for about two years. Which is how the mysterious ‘chapati’ and ‘red lotus’ movement, widely reported all over Northern India in late 1856 and early 1857, should be analysed – from the effect they had in serving to keep the native revolutionaries informed and in a state of preparedness. Recent studies, especially in Parag Tope’s Operation Red Lotus, describe in detail very planned troop movements before and after the battles, with illustrated maps.

The book by Parag Tope, a direct descendent of Tatya Tope – the executive mastermind behind the ’57 War of Indian Independence – details the logistical issues that were overcome to allow the Indian troops to march. Hundreds of never before published Urdu letters, written to Tatya during the War, were translated in this effort. The letters provide an insight into Tatya’s administrative acumen in running a full-fledged independent government and demonstrates that the leaders of the war had a clear vision for a free India. His chess like moves and counter moves in the military chronicle, the book sketches, are both a revelation and a fascinating account. 

Maulavi Ahmadullah was another intriguing character, amongst many, in the centre of British attention. He travelled over the Northwest Provinces on a mission which was a mystery to European authorities. It followed that he stayed for sometime at Agra and visited Delhi, Meerut, Patna and Calcutta; and, in April 1857, shortly after his return, he circulated seditious papers throughout Oudh. The executive at Lucknow, alarmed at his progress, despatched a body of troops to seize him. Taken prisoner, the Maulavi was tried and condemned to death but before the sentence could be executed, the War broke out. He escaped from prison and became a confidante of the Begum of Lucknow, the trusted leader of the rebels. 

“That this man was the brain and the hand of the conspiracy there can, I think, be little doubt,” wrote a British contemporary. It was believed that during his travels he devised the scheme of passing on chapatis or unleavened bread over the country far and wide, as a means of spreading awareness of an impending all-out war against the British and a signal to all concerned to be in a state of preparedness.

But no one knew for sure and the British officials were in a tizzy over the chapatis that were arriving everywhere, without any overt sign or script and delivered by messengers who were only bidding as instructed by another equally cipher delivery man. As harmless as it might look, the freckled brown, round chapati — an eternal Indian culinary favourite — caused fear and loathing among the British officers in 1857.

Chapati running’ adopted by the police chowkidars was used as an effective psychological warfare against the British officers. The police chowkidars handed over chapatis, two inch in diameter to other colleagues. They would, in turn, ask them to make some more and pass it on to their counterparts in neighbouring villages. There were around 90,000 policemen who participated in the activity. It was also discovered that the chowkidars obtained receipts after handing over the chapatis. Every  chowkidar  was told that the chapatis were to be given to the hakims (officers) in case they asked for them.

The first mention of this novel strategy was made by G F Harvey, the then commissioner of Agra. While recounting the incidents of 1857-58, he revealed that once while passing through the Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh, the village zamindars told him about this mysterious phenomenon. The Friend of India, an English newspaper, reported in its March 5, 1857 issue that panic spread among British officers when they found that the chapatis had made their way into every police station in the area.

The newspaper wrote that all possible conjectures were made regarding the purpose behind the phenomenon. Some even thought it could be a new system of parcel mail. Inquiries made in the Avadh area about the mysterious distribution of chapatis revealed that they were being sent from the east to the west, and right up to Delhi. The exercise baffled the Britishers to a great extent. The then collector of Gurgaon, M R Ford, wrote an official letter to the commissioner of Delhi, Simon Frazer, pointing out that this was some sort of a signal being sent from village to village in his district. The objective of which, however, could not be ascertained.

Rare documents of the revolt of 1857 indicate that by March 5, 1857, the chapatis had reached far and wide: From Farrukhabad to Gurgaon and from Avadh to Rohilkhand on to Delhi. The chapati rumour resulted in an uneasy atmosphere and prevailed all over the area. The police and the administration were left clueless as the Indian soldiers staged the first armed revolt in Meerut on May 10, 1857. The commissioner of military police, northwest region, W H Kerry, in his report on the uprising quoted the then tehsildar of Meerut, Ganga Prasad, as saying that the mysterious chapatis had reached the southeastern region early that year.

Much later, in his book Life during the Indian mutiny, published in 1910 from London, J W Sherar drew some conclusion about chapati running. He admitted that if the objective behind the strategy was to create an atmosphere of mysterious restlessness, the experiment has been successful.

The chapati movement was set in motion by a cunning group of determined conspirators who had begun plotting the rising months, if not years, in advance. The rapid spread of disorder in 1857– when regiment after regiment had mutinied, and revolts against British rule had sprung up throughout most of northern and central India– made it almost impossible to believe that the rebellion could have been spontaneous.

Lotus flowers and bits of goats’ flesh, so it was rumoured, were also passed from hand to hand during the period. Symbols of unknown significance were chalked on the walls of towns; protective charms were on sale everywhere; an ominous slogan, Sub lal ho gaya hai ( ‘Everything has become red’ ), was being whispered.

The irony is that all this effort actually supplied historians with evidence that the chapati movement had nothing at all to do with the outbreak of disorder some months later– and that the circulation of the breads early in 1857 was nothing more than a bizarre coincidence. But Kim Wagner, who has made the most recent study of the phenomenon, concludes that the movement had its origins in Indore, a princely state still nominally independent of British rule, and that it began as an attempt to ward off the ravages of cholera.

The geographic circulation of the chapattis was not systematic or exponential; their transmission was erratically linear and different ‘currents’ moved at different speeds. Some currents simply ran cold, while others moved in parallel, or paused before continuing. Thus, long after the chapattis reached their northern-most point of Meerut, there was another northwards distribution from Kanpur to Fatehgarh, which was widely reported in the newspapers… The circulation took place along well-established routes of transmission, which followed the main trade and pilgrimage routes between the bigger cities.

At some point the chapattis passed beyond the limits of their meaningful transmission and simply continued through the country as a “blank” message. This allowed different meanings and interpretations to be attributed to them, and the chapattis became an index of people’s thoughts and worries.

Furthermore, the superstitious impulse that still encourages the transmission of chain letters clearly applied in 1857 : Although the original specific meaning of the chapattis had been lost early in the distribution, the dire consequences of breaking the chain of transmission remained, and thus ensured their successful circulation over an immense area. In the event, the chapattis were not ‘harbingers of a coming storm.’ They were what people made them into, and the significance attributed to them was a symptom of the pervasive distrust and general consternation amongst the Indian population during the early months of 1857.

Seen from a distance of 150 years, the chapati movement can appear a quaint anomaly, a strange and colorful rumor of interest mostly to historians and psychologists. And yet it’s just as possible to see the bloody results of the mutual incomprehension between the British and native communities in India as a potent reminder that mistrust and panic can have serious consequences. These are deep waters that we trawl in, and dangerous ones, too.


In The Aftermath

One major gain for the natives from the 1857 War was that the British backed away from their proselytising efforts after and due to this fierce expression of disaffection. Not due to any innate goodness in the British hearts, or any ‘religious’ and ideological ‘liberalism’ that the modern-day Western narrative trots out. 

Administratively too, under the Crown after 1857, the British were forced to reassess their own doings until then : there were more than 75 battles, skirmishes, revolts, mutinies, involving thousands, up to lakhs of Indians across India. And more than double that many conspiracies, plots, hold-ups, explosions, bombings, which were unorganised. These more than 200 violent actions have been completely glossed over by post-colonial Indiaan historians. 

To Indians raised on an official narrative of caste-religion matrix, the 1857 War had a cast of characters that would surprise us : it had kings and common men, hindus and muslims, upper and lower castes. There was Nana Sahib, Azimullah Khan, Tatya Tope, Babu Kuvwar Singh, Rani Laxmibai, Begum Hazrat Mahal, Bhakt Khan, Khan Bahadur Khan, Liyakat Ali, Mangal Pandey, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Ishwari Kumari Devi, Chaudhary Kadam Singh, Mufti Nizamuddin, Rao Tula Ram … The countrymen rose as one against the alien occupiers, their malacious but disguised depradations and their projected superiority.

As the Anglo-Indian War of 1857 continued and wound down, the three leaders, Nana Sahib, Tatya Tope and Feroz Shah disappeared. No one knew what happened to them or where they went. It is usually accepted that the Tatya Tope ‘executed’ by the Colonial Raj as was a straw figure. 

After winning the war at Delhi and presenting the heads of three of his sons to Bahadur Shah Zafar on a platter at Khooni Darwaza, Rothschild’s agents organised an extravagant ball at the Red Fort, even while vandalising the Taj Mahal. The solid gold coated spires  were prised out and replaced with brass imitations. They also prised out the diamonds, saphire, rubies and emeralds, and replaced them with coloured quartz. 

The oligarchs always win.

Journal : Thoughts In Homage …

This day completes 150th year of Swami Vivekananda‘s advent – the Vedanta incarnate.

There isn’t much I have to say that isn’t already available online. I feel less of fervour than the light I merged in through following it from long afar, though I retain the simple verve he himself lived in his last days … of cooking for the poor who came to labour at the Belur Math project site, offering to them a glass of water and feeling blessed, sitting with them and shedding tears flowing in empathy from his universe-wide heart.

But I will recall a couple of his summarising thought …

He was an advocate of religion, for the universal human values it provides to us through our growing up years, when we are not yet capable of raising a values-perspective of our own, when our morals are yet unformed and we have yet not instituted a light bright enough within ourselves to guide our ethical conduct.

But his advocacy of religion was far from being absolute. In fact, he suggested that it was better we remained atheists than accept anything, any thought, without our questioning, without subjecting it to our reason. And, most famously, he declared : It was good to be born in religion but terrible, terrible ti die in one.

Again, he would advise our young to grow strong in body and mind than give themselves to studying religious texts. Football was a favoured sport. To all, he would exhort them to attend to their call of duty, to family and society, but even that was tempered with an opposite : ” Fools burn in the scortching sun of duty …” The value of introspective leisure was always paramount.

Lastly, ever so softly but glowing brilliantly, he says : ” If you are untouched by selfish ways, in thought and conduct, you need not read a word of the what the world of religious texts have to offer.”

Mother of all poisons negating the best of human endeavours… is selfishness. So said #Vivekananda. Capitalism relegates it to the church. In response, my best of online friend, Basudeb Sen, says, ” Socialism and Communisism do not delegate but internalises selfishness among the rulers who enjoy all the powers of the State / society. Democracy camouflages selfishness in numbers. No one knows how to use the poison of selfishness into a potion of love, care and non-interfering liberty.”

To which, I wrote :

The Sanatan Dharma … had found a way, and it is clear that a vast unselfish population including teachers, sadhus, recluses, judges, socio-political governing institutions, householders, govt and business advisors, and students … co-existed with the selfish verticals, keeping the latter in check.

The unselfish values are still publicly espoused values in society and politics … but largely in words, not lived in character. We still speak of the “good.” Our morals and ethics are still formally defined in unselfish terms. We still win elections through raising slogans of public good … but informally, in practice, as we think and live, we have legalised the selfish ways, instituted our business and economy in unbridled selfishness of our lowest common denominating standards, and actually teach and advise how to profit ourselves through making use of such social, political, legal and economic laxities.

Untill now, we find ourselves in such polluted and poisonous waste that we do not know how to extricate ourselves ourselves out of it, pull ourselves back to honest living, sustainable ways, empathetic hearts, reasonable intellects and happy relationships.

*  *  *

Abundant responses to my call of SOCIAL MEDIA CITIZEN INITIATIVE

have been personal, quite as its origin was : in my personal desire to meet people, my contemporaries, who I value. They all have refrained from going public … on the Google-doc I had published.

We will work on how best we would coordinate for an evening of warmth in the days ahead, at a suitable venue in Delhi.

Keep in touch, my friends !

Wishing you the best …

vamadevananda –

Journal : Indians in North-East

The festering wounds of #NorthEast … You can be skeptical, dismiss it with disbelief, ignore it with a shrug or pass on with a sense of helplessness … nothing will make the burn in people’s hearts go away.

It will have to be faced, owned up and justice done – one day, some day – by men and women of stronger moral fibre, with greater courage to look at the truth.

Even those who are beating their chest about infiltration and adverse demographic change need to wrench their eyes from mere ostrich-like politicians or time-serving bureaucrats … and look into the eye of these deeply hurt, marginalised people who no longer own their world anymore because that’s how the representatives and agents of the State have treated them and stamped on their hearts !

Delhi is too insensitive, apathetic and callous. And politics is too spent on its electoral chimera. Judges are too toothless and career anchored. And bureaucrats … are far too empowered and unaccountable. So, who ?

While the country is undergoing an awakening of public consciousness regarding rights, safety and oppression of women, we would like to draw attention to a few human rights violation by men in uniform in NorthEast where RAPE is used as a tool of suppression or domination:

(1) 13 years old Rumi Konwar, then student of class 8 of Changnai village, Sibsagar, Assam was raped in front of her father Prafulla Konwar and mother (both were tied and blind folded) on January 30, 1991. No justice was given.

(2) 13 years old Putala Bora, from Digboi was raped by two Army Men of the Punjab Regiment in her house (Case No. 2/91 under S. 376/34 IPC).

(3) 16 years old Lakhi Gogoi, 20 year old Niru Gogoi, 15 year old Meena Gogoi, 16 year old Jamuna Gogoi and 14 year old Punya Gogoi from Lakhipathar, Tinsukia were gang raped, stripped and paraded in public. Later it was found that ten more girls from the village were raped by Army men. Two girls became pregnant later on.

(4) 16 years old Anonla and 17 years old Sunsunla from Arunachal Pradesh, who had come to Assam for medical treatment, were picked up by Indian Army and blindfolded, beaten, kicked with boots, denied food and gave electric shocks for more than two weeks. Anonla later became partially blind.

(5) 14 years old Bhanimai Dutta who was gang raped by Indian Army on October 16, 1991, at No. 2 Khowdang village near Naoboisha area in Lakhimpur District had died due to her injuries. But her family never got any justice till date for their daughter.

(6) 20 years old Raju Barua, at Gohpur in Sonitpur District, who was gang raped by seven army men and killed. Her family stills weeps at injustice.

(7) 16 Year old Nilima Boro and 14 year old Fouduro Boro who were raped by Army on 18th May, 1992 at Satgiri, Khairahari village under Tangla police station of Darrang district.

(8) 28 year old housewife Undibala Roy of Lubdungguri, Bijni in Bongaigaon was raped by Army men on 22nd October, 1991 (Registered case at Bijni Police station – Case No. 89191- uls 376).

(9) The case of Manoroma Devi of Manipur, who was raped and killed by Army Men was protested severely by the women of Manipur (the nude protest with slogans Indian Army rape us).

All of the above are just a few of the thousands and thousands of examples and real people that lives all across NorthEast. We would also like to draw attention to a few innocents killed by Indian Army and the victims are denied justice as the murderers are provided impunity under draconian law AFSPA:

(I) 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, 18-year old Sinam Chandramani and 8 others were killed on 2nd November, 2002 by Indian Armed forces when they were waiting at a bus stop. This had led Irom Sharmila to begin her decade long fast to repel the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Yet neither the Army nor the Indian State Machine ever apologized for provided justice to the case. Irom Sharmila continues her hunger strike as Indian Army Officers, our savior and defenders wine and dine every day in their camps, probably mocking the attempts of a mere North Eastern woman to fight against the great Indian Army all by herself!

(II) 6 year old child Debajit Moran was gunned down by Indian Army in 2005 at Dibrugarh. Did any senior official (forget the head of Army) visit the family of the child to seek an apology? Our media and everyone in the society are blind. Why does no one even remember innocent Debojit Moran? Are deaths by Indian Army allowed to go without a criticism because they are defending us from Pakistan?

(III) Young Jatin Gohain, 21 years and student of first year from Dhemaji Town worked as a driver to support his own education and poor family. He was picked by the army and several days later, his father found his innocent son’s dead body at Dhemaji police station with his private parts and legs swollen, his skin roughened and face was swathed in blood. Doctors from Civil Hospital denied giving a post mortem report! Do people of Dhemaji remember this?

(IV) Rising musician and Professor of Sibsagar College, Dr Suresh Phukan was picked up by the Indian army and brutally tortured just because he had sung a song called “Udito Suruj” in 1988! Unidentified chemical was poured into his ears, electric shocks were administered to various private parts of his body and Indian soldiers jumped on his body. Finally he had died on March 13, 1991 succumbing to his injuries and mental shock. Today nobody remembers him.

(V) Young Sarat Sonowal, teacher in Bhadoi Panchali Higher Secondary School at Naharkatia, Dibrugarh was alleged to be picked up by Indian Army on November 30, 1991 and after 9 days of missing and tears to his dependent poor family, his body was  asked to be picked up to his family. His entire body was cut into pieces. No post-mortem report or death certificate was issued by the police.

(VI) 80 year old Uma Rajkhowa, Freedom Fighter of India was repeatedly abused and tortured by Army men because he was the father of Arabinda Rajkhowa. He had filed cases against this but to no use.

And loads are there where Men in uniform had committed those kind of heinous crimes against NorthEast people in different states using AFSPA as a discrimination tool. Its uncountable...

News Source: Times of Assam http://bit.ly/FOC354

WHEN WILL INDIA PROVIDE JUSTICE TO THE NORTHEAST???
While the country is undergoing an awakening of public consciousness regarding rights, safety and oppression of women, we would like to draw attention to a few human rights violation by men in uniform in NorthEast where RAPE is used as a tool of suppression or domination:

(1) 13 years old Rumi Konwar, then student of class 8 of Changnai village, Sibsagar, Assam was raped in front of her father Prafulla Konwar and mother (both were tied and blind folded) on January 30, 1991. No justice was given.

(2) 13 years old Putala Bora, from Digboi was raped by two Army Men of the Punjab Regiment in her house (Case No. 2/91 under S. 376/34 IPC).

(3) 16 years old Lakhi Gogoi, 20 year old Niru Gogoi, 15 year old Meena Gogoi, 16 year old Jamuna Gogoi and 14 year old Punya Gogoi from Lakhipathar, Tinsukia were gang raped, stripped and paraded in public. Later it was found that ten more girls from the village were raped by Army men. Two girls became pregnant later on.

(4) 16 years old Anonla and 17 years old Sunsunla from Arunachal Pradesh, who had come to Assam for medical treatment, were picked up by Indian Army and blindfolded, beaten, kicked with boots, denied food and gave electric shocks for more than two weeks. Anonla later became partially blind.

(5) 14 years old Bhanimai Dutta who was gang raped by Indian Army on October 16, 1991, at No. 2 Khowdang village near Naoboisha area in Lakhimpur District had died due to her injuries. But her family never got any justice till date for their daughter.

(6) 20 years old Raju Barua, at Gohpur in Sonitpur District, who was gang raped by seven army men and killed. Her family stills weeps at injustice.

(7) 16 Year old Nilima Boro and 14 year old Fouduro Boro who were raped by Army on 18th May, 1992 at Satgiri, Khairahari village under Tangla police station of Darrang district.

(8) 28 year old housewife Undibala Roy of Lubdungguri, Bijni in Bongaigaon was raped by Army men on 22nd October, 1991 (Registered case at Bijni Police station – Case No. 89191- uls 376).

(9) The case of Manoroma Devi of Manipur, who was raped and killed by Army Men was protested severely by the women of Manipur (the nude protest with slogans Indian Army rape us).

All of the above are just a few of the thousands and thousands of examples and real people that lives all across NorthEast. We would also like to draw attention to a few innocents killed by Indian Army and the victims are denied justice as the murderers are provided impunity under draconian law AFSPA:

(I) 62-year old woman, Leisangbam Ibetomi, 18-year old Sinam Chandramani and 8 others were killed on 2nd November, 2002 by Indian Armed forces when they were waiting at a bus stop. This had led Irom Sharmila to begin her decade long fast to repel the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Yet neither the Army nor the Indian State Machine ever apologized for provided justice to the case. Irom Sharmila continues her hunger strike as Indian Army Officers, our savior and defenders wine and dine every day in their camps, probably mocking the attempts of a mere North Eastern woman to fight against the great Indian Army all by herself!

(II) 6 year old child Debajit Moran was gunned down by Indian Army in 2005 at Dibrugarh. Did any senior official (forget the head of Army) visit the family of the child to seek an apology? Our media and everyone in the society are blind. Why does no one even remember innocent Debojit Moran? Are deaths by Indian Army allowed to go without a criticism because they are defending us from Pakistan?

(III) Young Jatin Gohain, 21 years and student of first year from Dhemaji Town worked as a driver to support his own education and poor family. He was picked by the army and several days later, his father found his innocent son’s dead body at Dhemaji police station with his private parts and legs swollen, his skin roughened and face was swathed in blood. Doctors from Civil Hospital denied giving a post mortem report! Do people of Dhemaji remember this?

(IV) Rising musician and Professor of Sibsagar College, Dr Suresh Phukan was picked up by the Indian army and brutally tortured just because he had sung a song called “Udito Suruj” in 1988! Unidentified chemical was poured into his ears, electric shocks were administered to various private parts of his body and Indian soldiers jumped on his body. Finally he had died on March 13, 1991 succumbing to his injuries and mental shock. Today nobody remembers him.

(V) Young Sarat Sonowal, teacher in Bhadoi Panchali Higher Secondary School at Naharkatia, Dibrugarh was alleged to be picked up by Indian Army on November 30, 1991 and after 9 days of missing and tears to his dependent poor family, his body was asked to be picked up to his family. His entire body was cut into pieces. No post-mortem report or death certificate was issued by the police.

(VI) 80 year old Uma Rajkhowa, Freedom Fighter of India was repeatedly abused and tortured by Army men because he was the father of Arabinda Rajkhowa. He had filed cases against this but to no use.

And loads are there where Men in uniform had committed those kind of heinous crimes against NorthEast people in different states using AFSPA as a discrimination tool. Its uncountable…

News Source: Times of Assam http://bit.ly/FOC354

WHEN WILL INDIA PROVIDE JUSTICE TO THE NORTHEAST ? ? ?

Journal : Musings

The year rolls in anew …

There is a countenance in my view when I write … it is always sad and hopeful, looking intently at me. I am wagering the rest of my lifetime to see her one day skipping on the ropes or pushing the flat round “gittee,” the small disc of stone or clay, with her feet and hop on to the next house in the grid sketched by a piece of red brick … with a smile on her face and cheer in her heart, without fear, despair or hope, when she’ll wrap her arms around my wide girth with a child-like abandonment and make me choke on a cry of joy and recalled pain of all that our people, young and old, have suffered and continue to till this day.

*  *  *

Am I a citizen of this land or is this govt going to confer or, more importantly deny me because I have or do not have one document or another ?

It is strange to even contemplate. What is this govt doing with our citizenship ? It would be a good rule that bars a foreign-born from holding public office high enough to lay down policy for the natural-born. The gap in emotional rootedness we feel for the land and its culture is likely to be too wide between the two.

I am inclined to include the foreign-educated under the same bar … How is the layered concept-within-concept of contrived argument to be understood by the farmer, who has tilled his land without a thought along those complicated lines of identity ?

*  *  *

The avalanche of protest against rape and crimes against women is a good thing that is happening, amidst the inane, corrupt and criminal, callous, insensitive and, yes, incompetence. It was charged … in the media, govt corridors, personal discussions and social forums online.

But as someone pointed out : Is policing and punishment the solution ? I’d say, in India, policing is the problem … a long, long way off to becoming part the solution. The Govt ? The less said the better … an overwhelming majority of the lawmakers are millionaires, all tending to becoming billionaires … alongwith a sizeable proportion being actually charged for rape and crimes against women !

It’s all come from the same pool of the general population that, through its growing up years, has lost the capacity to respect for human beings, and for women in particular. Everything conspires to that effect : the society, dog eat dog values, system that prefers and promotes psychopaths to leadership positions, a sea of population that is marginalised and uncared for, with little in the economic loop for them, the pervasive entertainment industry, the imposed western norms in stark conflict with staid native continuity … everything disincentivises sensivity and empathy, and respect, for others.

And that’s the root problem. Women themselves may be a part of the same problem, in common with the society exhorting individuals to push ahead and surge forward, no matter what. Punishments, both the severity and speed of it, is necessary but not enough. It is the Kantian “absolute value” an individual has for himself or herself that needs to be restored in our awareness, recognised, reminded of and remembered, against all factors sustained by the systemic rot and the hormonal factors rising in the individual.

That is the challenge and the task before us. I see the solution in pervasive culture, the sanatan kind that the Hindus have not yet lost or forgotten, and in real education that prepares individuals for conflicts and urges in life ahead. Do I see any emphasis on these two fronts ? The answer is, ” No.”

*  *  *

If you feel like being a monarch in that moment, as you already are, without needing a grain more, without aspiring for or wanting a thing … it is both your good fortune bestowed by the universe and your victory over the forms of self you have lived with ! #Happiness

Some of my best online friends did not wish me on my supposed birthday, perhaps remembering from my advisory the previous year. This year too, I put up a note … but ended up thanking those who did. To someone who questioned my alternate view obliquely, I clarified : I was less bigoted about the matter than find it vain. Hopefully, I’d have more friends next year who’d be more accepting of the seeming inanity I value.

Finally, the old lady in my house beamed in celebration : the hearing aid was perfect to her 90% deaf ears ! The old one had begun to whistle and feed the sounds of a speeding train into her ears. Now she was back in the connect with her daughter, far-away daughter-in-law, and her young grandchild who murders her mother tongue lovingly because he was brought up with another … the one city folks speak in.

Wishing everybody great health and good fortune through 2013 !

– vamadevananda –

PS : ‎#Delhi recorded minimum temperature of 2.7 degree Celsius at 8.30 am !

          A man on the road below hurried as Pinocchio – Chaplin combine would.

Journal : The River Sarasvati And Its People

Part I : The Saga Of The Quest

http://www.slideshare.net/jannap/vedic-river-sarasvati

The Saga of the Quest for the River Sarasvati :

M.A. Jayashree, M.A. Narasimhan and Haribhau Vaze

There has been many a saga in the history of mankind that has captured the imagination of generations of humanity. In our millennium we speak of adventures of Marco Polo, Columbus’ discovery of the shores of America, Amundsen’s expedition to the North Pole, Vasco da Gama reaching the shores of Bharata and many more. All these look dramatic and fascinating when we realise they were undertaken more with courage and determination than in the security of reliable information. Yet they succeeded in obtaining for posterity enormous benefits in terms of the perspective about the world that we lived in.

One such saga of recent times is the quest for river Sarasvati. Looking back, we see the formidable obstacles that one faced in trying to investigate the history of a river that was non-existent and believed to be a myth : Was there was a real physical river called Sarasvati or was it just a myth, a poetic creation of the Aryans ? If such a river existed where did it flow ? How are we to trace its source, course and termination ? If it did exist : why, how and when did the river disappear ? If it was an ancient river with claims as the cradle of an ancient civilization, is there any archaeological evidence of the its banks ?

Louis Renous 1947 map of the Sarasvati basin

Added to the confusion was the reverential and emotive association Bharatiyas had with the River Sarasvati, that made them identify every other river, big or small, with the divine river Sarasvati itself. They still have the same inclusive approach and attitude towards the rive Ganga. Thus the Haradvati that flows in the north-west region was also Sarasvati. It was the third (invisble) river at Sangam, the confluence of Ganaga and Yamuna at Prayag. A branch of Ganga near Calcutta, a river flowing from Abu to Khambayat in Gujarat, the river that joins the ocean at the Prabhasa Kshetra … all are called Sarasvati. Under such a condition, in the hostile atmosphere of the world of historians monopolised by western scholars who were bent upon proving that the existence of river Sarasvati was a myth, that all literary evidence were figments of imagination and who, demanding material evidence for proof, declared that the quest and the search for it was an exercise in futility, there were bravehearts who proceeded undeterred.

The “Quest For River Sarasvati” scholars came together under the banner of Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti. Yes, we call them brave because they staked their international academic reputation to chase a myth and to prove that the seeming mirage was in fact a reality. The academic world scoffed at them and laughed at the venture. Well, it did last for more than a decade. Most of them are no longer with us now to celebrate the fruition of their foundational quest. This post is to honour and pay homage to them.

Our deepest appreciation and gratitude goes to pioneer Sri Sridhara Vaman Wakanker and his team Sarasvati Samshodhana Mandal. At the same time we recall that the quest for river Sarasvati has a long history, spanning nearly two centuries. All scholars and lovers of Bharata and its heritage fell under the spell of this mysterious river Sarasvati, after going through the vast Vedic literature. They did their best to verify the physical existence of the river with tools then available. The voluntary attempts of Oldham (1893), Wadia (1938), Amal Ghosh(1960), H.S. Parikh (1965), WilHelmi (1969), Alwin, Goudse, and Dr. Hegde(1978) merit our scholarly attention.

Extensive studies to survey the invisible course of Sarasvati in 1942 by Gen Cunningham, Arthur A. Macdonnel, A.B. Keith and Aurel Stein were well publicized. In 1963, Dr Narasimha Narayana Godbole surveyed the route of the Sarasvati in Rajasthan. Dr. M.A. Krishnan gives us in detail the course of the river in his work, Geology of India and Burma, published in 1968. Dr M.N. Godbole’s monumental work, Rgvedic Sarasvati, based on geological research throws more light on many of the ticklish problems associated with the quest.

The current quest had its origin in 1981, when Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti, Nagpur, was celebrating the District History Day at Kurukshetra, in the presence of Sri M.N. Pingale, the Working President of Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti, who drew the attention of the audience to the need and relevance of a research work on the lost Vedic river Sarasvati and the possible consequences of that research on the ancient history of Bharata. Dr. Vishnu Sridhar Wakankar, the senior most archaeologist of the country then, explained with great fervor the archaeological importance of the issue. Immediately there was a vociferous demand from the audience for setting up of a Samiti for such a “Quest.” Thus, the All India Project of Sarasvati Shodhan was born.

It took nearly four years to investigate, consolidate, plan and recruit eminent scholars to form a team to launch the Sarasvati Shodhan project. It was termed as Quest Mandal Expedition and was inaugurated on Tuesday, the 19th Nov. 1985 by the steersman of the Quest, Sri M.N. Pingale. The Quest Mandal headed by Padmashri Dr. V.S. Wakankar, with a team of scholars belonging to all branches of knowledge, set out for Adi Badri in Himachal Pradesh, the presumed source of river Sarasvati. Points of fact were jotted down meticulously as and when they emerged during the visits. Photographs were taken wherever they were considered relevant. Audio tapes, about 19, were effectively put to use to collect more important information related to the river. The notes thus prepared covered a wide canvas including literary sources, art, history, poetry, archaeological remains, oral observations, traditional references, etc.

The Quest team also recorded age-old stories and songs which were full of reverential references to the Sarasvati River from the Charans who reside in Palloo, Bikaner and Karani Devi of Rajasthan. The Charans, as is well known, make their living by singing folk-songs with stories of past heroes and legends.

The Quest got a fortunate filip when the team was provided with clinching evidence about the dried-up river Sarasvati. The Arid Zone Research Institute gave authentic data that literally broke through the great haze of obstruction holding up the quest. A NASA satellite launched in 1972 had taken pictures of a dried-up huge river which ran from the Himalayas to the Rann of Kachchh. The images had been analysed by many scientists associated with scientific institutions of India but none had recognised its historic worth. The compiled information handed over by Dr. Agarwal consisted of studies done on this dried-up river bed by Bimal Ghose et al. (1979), Ramasamy, Bakliwal and Verma (1991), Yash Pal et al. (1980).

The accurate scientific data regarding the course of the river and the time when it went dry gave a powerful impetus to the Quest. The images sent by LandSat disclosed the following : The width of the Ghaggar Sarasvati bed was on an average between 6 and 8 km from its entry in Punjab to present-day Marot in Pakistan; the course of Markanda River got diverted to north-east of Kshatrana and even today the river Sarasvati flows through this route during rainy seasons; the dried-up Y-2 route indicated the width of the present day Choutang River and its confluence with Ghaggar near Suratgarh.

It was clear from the received images that the ancient Ghaggar River got bifurcated near Anupgarh, with one branch getting lost near Marot and the other losing itself at Baireena. It meant that during that period the banks of Sarasvati River had spread to these two places. Incidentally, these details point to a possibility of the Vinashana Tirthin Sarasvati, where Balaram of the Mahabharata offered his reverence to his late father, and that it could be situated near about these two places. The Quest team therefore decided to search for :

1. Information about the course of the river from Adi Badri

through the plains and regions close to Sindhusagar.

2. Traces and collections of the remains and reminiscences

in the environment.

But the search route as indicated by the LandSat was a stupendous, as the dried-up bed was expansive. Dr. Wakankar studied the dried-up bed of Sarasvati with his fellow researchers from archaeological point of view. He was thus able to concentrate their month-long quest only on select spots. The Quest team went though Adi Badri, Ambala District, where the Sarasvati slides into the plains after crossing the mountainous area through Kanthghar, and then to the Shivalik mountain ranges starting from Jagadhari(Yugandhara), beyond which stands the mountain Manu, where the Sarasvati, icy and hidden, flows as an undercurrent through the cracks, crevices and cleavages of the mountains.

The team also visited YamunaNagar, Sarasvata Nagar (Mustafabad), and then on to Kurukshetra where the seed of the whole quest had been sown. At Kurukshetra, under the guidance of Pandit Sthanudatta Sharma, the team went to the actual site of the river Sarasvati in the celebrated city. Remnants and reports related to the site gave the team enough information, motivating them to study in depth the city of Kurukshetra in the context of the course of the lost river. Stone implements of the Prehistoric period were collected in a large quantities from all places visited by the team : painted mud-pots of pre-Harappan period, which are also available in the valleys of Sarasvati (Ghaggar) and Drshadvati (Choutang) at Bhagvanpur, Banavali, Sirisha, Mitthal, Raja Karn ka Keela, Doulatpur, Mirjapur, Sudha, Balu, Kudal, Agroha and nearby places. The team also did a close study of 20 to 30 metres long sand-dunes of Bikaner. In Gujarat, the team visited Ambaji mountains, where Bhel trees are in abundance, and then on to Koteshvar where one stream of the Sarasvati flows underneath.

6-f539097c93

The river, after playing hide and seek, finally emerges on the surface at Siddapur to meet the Nala Sarovar. This mountain range, part of Ambaji, is known as Mainaka, the source of Gurjar Sarasvati. Kunwar, on the banks of Nanuran (Nanukaccha), where the Sarasvati enters the ocean in sevenfolds (saptadha), was the next destination of study. Now Nanu is a sandy desert. Near one of the seven streams, Dr. V.S. Wakankar found pieces of an egg of a Shakha Mrga that helped him to conclude the period of Kunwar could be at least 25-50 thousand years BC. Later, the team came across an old ocean coast harbour called Lothal, which was an ancient city of Nanukaccha. A dockyard specially meant for repair of ships was discovered there. Now there has been an in depth study of Lothal showing the maritime capabilities of our ancestors.

Travelling eastward, on the banks of the Gurjar Sarasvati of ancient times, the team came to the vicinity of the holy Somnath mandir at the junction of rivers Gautami, Hiranmayi and Sarasvati. Thus, the Quest pilgrimage covering a distance of about 4000 km came to an end. Curiously, this Quest did not come up with just a report on the course, date and the civilization that prospered on the banks of the fabled river, as it happens with almost all historical expeditions. It also indicated the possible sites on the banks of Sarasvati for archaeological excavation, the study of which would meet the challenge of proving whether this water mass, which was still flowing underground in most of the places, was really the same river that had its source in Himalayan glaciers.

That seeming impossibility evoked worldwide interest. Many teams of scientists came and did their own investigations and confirmed the existence of the river Sarasvati, proving that most of the narrative history of Bharat, be it folk or of the Vedas, was factual. The spin-off of this information was the opening of another avenue which has never been the forte of history : to resurrect the lost river and bring the hidden Gupta Gamini Sarasvati onto the surface !

That was the task taken up, again, by the Akhil Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana under the title Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalpa. The Prakalpa is now engaged in enabling the waters of Sarasvati flow once again along its course, so that millions of hectares of parched land of this blessed country can become green and give life to over 200 million people. It also provides strength to the devout and vindicates their faith when he and she take a holy dip in their sacred river Sarasvati.

The Prakalpa plans to create National Water Grid in order to reach the Brahmaputra flood waters to Kanyakumari, making every river south of Vidhyas in India a perennial one (jeevanadi) and potentially adding 90 million acres of additional wetland, and enabling four-crop cultivation with availability of water round the year. This revolution would empower rural India consisting of more than half a million villages.

The revival of river Sarasvati is proceeding apace, as part of the National Water Grid : inter-linking of rivers, master plan drawn by National Water Development Agency. The waters of Manasarovar flowing through rivers Sutlej and Beas have already been brought to the Rajasthan Nahar (called Sarasvati Mahanadi Roop Nahar). The Sarasvati Nahar waters have now reached up to Gadhra Road in Barmer District, after traversing a distance of about 1000 km. Another 150 km extension of this Nahar will ensure that Sarasvati River waters will reach Rann of Kachchh and Gujarat.

It’s a miracle of gigantic proportion, my dear reader ! Especially when you consider that the desert of Rajasthan was threatening to extend up to Haryana and even Delhi, the capital city, barely a couple decades before.

The Saraswati Basin Civilisation

Journal : Musings

There’s nothing special about today.
It just indelibly seems so, and that has my whole-hearted support.

#Govts need to acknowledge that allowing speculation is inflationery … a -ve in terms of public good and a crime not categorised yet. Buying up natural resources – land, water, forests, coastal fronts, foodgrains, housing, etc – in order to hoard or do as one pleases, or raise a buiness to serve the Profit Motive, should be regulated to ensure ban, moderation or re-orienting the motive. Without delay…

#BigBiz needs to acknowledge that Promoter’s Profit is not a public good of the same order as wages and affordabilty of the products : Wages signify a social value and are the only honourable method to spread surplus income of a collective enterprise.

What ? Every business is one, if you are still wondering.

And affordability, without compromising on quality, expands out real GDP, gives businesses a real footing in the market and not the fake one pushed up by ads and PR taht crashess every couple of years. Above all, that’s eminently is the very purpose of any enterprise … to produce goods and offer services that will bought and subscribed to by greatest numbers.

Again ? If you doubt…

Retweet if you refuse to shop at @Walmart until they pay workers a living wage! #WalkoutOnWalmart
Look at this : People lie as convenient. What a mess ? A man can quote Rs.37000 crores in one place and Rs.2500 crores somewhere else. And, it is allowed !
#Kasab‘s hanging has spurred #Pak dailies and ppl to issue calls 4 speedy conclusion of trial and exemplary punishment to the 26/11 accused. But how wud this rat #UPAGovt have guessed ?
#RBI makes it clear : #IslamicBanking, whatever eff it means, is impossible under existing laws. Thk God, the stupidity will remain @ bay !

Now #RamchandraGuha, the ‘gr8 intellectual’ says democratic institutions have been undermined by successive #Cong govts. N that, #MMS, the 2-term Prime Minister, a doctor of philosophy and widely acclaimed economist, has been tragic !

#Muslim beware ! Circumcision couldd lead to need for surgical bobbitisation. Stories of female clittorical mutilation r too awful to recall !
Good. The public knew and rued. Now the courts have certified : @DelhiPolce2 is poor at collecting evidence n prosecution is awfully stupid.
The infamy I’ve gained, of sleeping soundly in theatres, was acquired during visits to #Calcutta planetorium in 80s. It’s night time there !
All set to watch #LifeOfPi this Sunday. A rare initiative by me.
See ya …
Vamadevananda –

Journal : My Recent Musings

 

How exactly do you specify that ? Being Human, that is…

Put aside the biologist telling you of your classification or the scientist detailing the features… What exactly tells that you are a human being, apart from the rest of the animal kind ?

I know it is easy to go frivolous, or quote the millions of texts in the library. But what does it mean to you, that you can vouch for, pointedly ?

What sets me apart is my capacity to know, to engage single-minded in that process of discovery of what I seek to know, one after another, and to be able to tell myself what I do know, its how and why, and share it with others. The knowing leads me everywhere… into the universe, the earth, environment, other beings and things, language, arts, economics, values system, and myself.

The next important capacity is to love other people, not just my own offspring, not just for people’s utility value or until they are useful to me, but precisely because of the lifetime of knowing they represent, and
for the values they embody on account of what they know. In fact, love isn’t just directed towards individuals… it invariably includes the “good,” life and growth, light, greenery, panorama, beauty, truth, honesty, freedom, expression… and much of what the universe itself is.

What else or more, as it is with you ?

*   *   *

Cool, L.
But animals can’t tell themselves what they know or and consciously decide to investigate what they do not know, nor can they share with others what they know or invite co-operation of others at investigating what they do not know… in such precision, complexity and detail as human beings can.

There’s no problem, A. Just an attempt at questioning myself at what I might be taking for granted… that, I am a human being, without really, really knowing what that specially and specifically means.

*   *   *

If mere being raised by human beings, and being a part of their family, is the criterion… I’m afraid, even dogs and cats can lay a claim to being human.

#*BrainIsNotTheMind*<https://twitter.com/search/?q=%23BrainIsNotTheMind&src=hash>

I’ve never held in hand or dived into the brain 2 connect neurones, or throttle endocrine glands, 2 deal with matters in the mind !

And, to those who continue to primacy to the animal in man … I’ve not known of any animal devising 84 different, well thought out positions to copulate, or prepare thousands of distinct food preparations and still distinguish their flavours enough to write volumes on each !

*   *   *

*Let me push through one “ridiculous” instance of what it is to be human, of his capacity to know …*

* Is there life after death ? “ What will happen to me after death ?”*

<https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/journal-atharva-veda-pa…>

*These questions seem irrelevant while one is alive and doing well for oneself, in a position to power our way through life and the world before us. But then, who is to restrain us from being whimsical or cruel, unjust and uncaring ? It must be ourselves, for the law allows much transgression in ethics and rarely concerns itself with morals. And, scouring through history or looking about us for how resourceful people behave, it is easy to conclude that men are poor, almost disabled, at doing the job of keeping themselves under their own leash.*

*On the other hand, if it were established that there is life after death, that we shall be put to account for our actions in life, the knowledge would have a profound bearing on how we conduct ourselves here and now.*

I believe most humans do not want to believe that this could be a fact and, indeed, fervently hope they would NOT have to live with the “moral” consequences of their intent and deeds on their conscience even after they’ve breathed their last !

But we’ve heard of cries of truth being “outlandish” before !

*   *   *

Couldn’t disagree with a word of what you said. It’s sickening how they parrot calls for “lasting peace” and cannot have a larger expanse than their family or own body ,,, than their daily dime or a lifetime !

The promised morality and ethics of the rationalist, materialist, and that pitiable bundle of confusion called “relativist” is more a delusion or pious wish, in actual effect. Because morals cannot be derived from the phenomena; they are matters of fact evident to the universal and dilated witness… the truth.

*   *   *

Truth … *sigh* … is not in what we pick up in the book, what Momma says, what ‘great’ men seem or say, not even in what I feel or think or know … it is first and foremost in what I see and know of *my* self, sans thoughts and meanings… in the way I am, within the body-mind structure, and their sub-structures, the subconscious qualifications and attributes that pre-load me and form and shape my emotions and will, my thoughts and meanings, the knowledge I think I know, and the very idea I have of myself.

It’s only after we’ve covered that distance upto ourself … do we get the perspective of the universal structures, material and mental, and its very cause.

Truth … is NEVER contradicted. One may be superseded by a higher, more fundamental or universal one, but never contradicted.

There may not be a truth in our knowledge to accord with that rigorous definition ! Even gravity gets contradicted by a little sprout … it grows upward !

*   *   *

Truth is truth for all times… not yours or mine, local or universal ! No, no, there no scorn or smirk I have while I’m releasing the reply… The fact is that there isn’t anybody who can offer something anywhere close to
this rigorous criteria. And, nobody cares, about that poverty… of truth, in truth !

I just saw a response that seemed to equate the truth with crap… God bless.

And, too, I saw A. go on the defense, perhaps because the doubts did creep in. Or, because he did not know what he was espousing from the start !

Yet, that is the only way forward. If one has not inched there, one has been nowhere.

*   *   *

Cool comebacks …

1) If what you know is changing, then it is not the truth. You need to wait until the changing stops and you are able to say to yourself with certainty that this it … what I now know holds good forever. It does not depend even upon me ! Or, you need to look elsewhere.

2) Truth is not subjective. It is of the subject, but not dependent upon the subject. Whether one knows or not, knows correctly, completely or incorrectly, incompletely … the truth remains, as it ever was and will forever be.

Truth is not understanding, thought, idea or speculation. It is futile, as in it does not make us richer or powerful, nor can it applied technologically.

But it illuminate us and, through that, illuminates all phenomena mental and physical. And that is an infinitely powerful way to be… without fear, want or hurry, without the least sense of inadequacy or incompletion. without any subconscious.

Suppose, I am handed a bolt and asked what is it means. I wouldn’t know a shite except for the description, as it looks and can be metallurgically tested. It’s only when I discover that it is a critical member of an aeroplane, the functions it facilitates, on which hundreds of lives depend … do I get to know what it really means.

So too is the pin hole view : it is a view alright. But what is it of ? I wouldn’t know until I look upon the entire panorama. The whole system view or the universal view, the complete view is absolutely essential, even if I have to understand what a blade of grass means !

That is what truth offers.

*   *   *

“The Soul is One, not many, as is claimed in common parlance in such terms as : my soul, his very soul, the soul of the man, etc… The same Soul reflects in each ideate impression of the individual self in the Mental Space and vests it with its own separate – I – consciousness.”

——

“In truth, the Mental universe of the individual self is more real, infinitely more real, than its material one.”

*   *   *

The #Muslim Herd : @ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/mob-turns-violent-in-lucknow-mediapersons-thrashed/1/213643.html

Maulana Fazlur Rahman Waizi is the imam of Teele Wali Masjid. He is known for his proximity with PWD minister Shivpal

 Singh Yadav and was prominently present in Thursday’s roza iftar party of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

On Friday, after their communal prayer, the Maulana called upon the community to get ready for a bigger war. So, the #Muslim herd rioted, beat up media persons in sympathy with a rioter arrested for Mumbai riots, destroyed vehicles, and left the society in terror !

Is this the form and shape of the “bigger war” Muslim community leaders are preparing for in this country ?

——
‎#India #Hindus r a spiritually secure, OPEN society w/out obligation 2 clerics or community ldrs. #Muslims r opposite, in ghettos n herds.
*   *   *
This is a very traditional fare, slightly laboriously prepared but in varied taste, flavour and form, and called, as it suits from home to home, region to region, in the Indian subcontinent.

What is it ? Clue : It is a seasonal thing, limited to monsoon months from June to Sept…

A blogpost on this preparation, which I personally dig, might take shape soon.

Photo: This is a very traditional fare, slightly laboriously prepared but in varied taste, flavour and form, and called, as it suits from home to home, region to region, in the Indian subcontinent.

What is it ? Clue : It is a seasonal thing, limited to monsoon months from June to Sept...

A blogpost on this preparation, which I personally dig, might take shape soon.

Journal : The Indian Media Is A Bitch

How the Media is a Public Relations bitch ?

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=CAP/2012/08/20/1/Img/Pg001.png

It takes 20% of print area on Frontpage @timesofindia of this day and has precisely zero news or study value. Look at the all percentage “increase” expressions without any base figures. It speaks of total “average” without laying out the population weightages.

So, why did the numero uno among English dailies publish it so prominently ? Evidently, for reasons other than substance or news value. It is to address the #CongressParty’s #IndianMuslim constituents with a “news” they are expected to feel good about.

Is the extremely poor average for the “Total” population meant to rundown the majority community ? I am not sure. But certainly, the media today is a paid up medium of propaganda, with immense power to directly twist public perception on ’empty’ grounds, keep it blind to facts, immediately influence democratic processes and deflect the development agenda from data – based priorities.

The Media in general, and the Indian English media in particular, is a smart jesting and mercenary bitch !

A thread is open @ https://www.facebook.com/vamadevananda/posts/428057053911430?notif_t=share_comment

Journal : June 05, 2012

People believe what THEY want to believe…
not what science says.
Call them modern, post modern… whatever.
In fact, I find all such divides as polemic and fake.

It makes no difference, for instance, to Christianity even if it is
established, as has indeed been done, that Jesus is fiction. For the
anchors at the helm, there’s too much money and power in it. And the
people… they need it.

All politicians, economists, dictators, wealth advisors, fund
managers, shares brokers, religious heads, bureaucrats, leaders…
will tell you in private that there are very few people who will or
can think for themselves.

Surprisingly, despite it all, I would argue that many people do lead
moral and ethically aligned lives, with consequent difficulties and
much forbearance. They are simple, honest, creative, respectful
towards others and the environment, and having ready access to
happiness through sheer choice.

That’s real, without terminological embellishment.

*   *   *

Guarantee for Happiness ? In life ? is just imagined…

But you can choose to be happy,

Even in the face of all that’s difficult and ugly in our own.

That’s because there’s nothing materially real

between happiness and us.

Only stopper is if one hasn’t discovered that as yet.

 I call the one who has… evolved !

*   *   *

Luv these “anaars” ! RT @var_sh_a @var_sh_a

आखिर ज़िन्दगी ने भी आज पूछ लिया मुझसे.

कहाँ है वो शक्स जो तुझे मुझसे भी अज़ीज़ है.

*   *   *

On positive and negative ways in life :

Perhaps, a relevant aspect is how and why we make matters more complex than they are. What + and – are we speaking of ? Energy levels ? There are very known “lifestyle” methodologies for that.

If instead, we are speaking in terms of good and bad, creative and destructive… we cannot avoid bringing in morals and ethics. Usually, in my experience, the choosing “good and creative” ways is a matter of person’s ‘ nature ‘ and perseverance at them is a ‘ difficulty and forbearance ‘ issue.

Franz Kafka, in his “Dairies,” answered the question : What is the most difficult thing in life ? To lead a simple, honest married life.

Of course, you may know, Franz never married… despite being in love. He died at 33, if memory serves me right.

*    *    *

The #CBI is repeatedly raped in courts and #UPAarraigned… but the shameless men and women in them prefer the spoils !

Who says judges can’t be imbeciles ? Regressive#DelhiHighCourtJudges … Will someone challenge the dimwit judgement, allowing an under -15 Muslim girl to marry ? Madness… Sharia provision !

We demand compensation 4 next 7 gens of#BhopalGas victims !

Your thought structure is a little too inanely twisted. Unfollowing you.

Morpheus got it right in #TheMatrix … my tribute to #Anna and my countrymen ! http://pic.twitter.com/Aotjn0ON

Referring to #BhagatSingh …

Pure heart intellectuals somehow acquire this faculty, of looking into the future. Another e.g. Maulana Azad.

@vkhosla Huh… newspapers found the lowest tabloidal denominators to profit.

Broadcasters 2 r learning fast. @timesofindia @ndtv #SansNews

@IndianMuslims need 2 hear the truth when the #Sanatan native sums it up :

” There’s the #Islamic way. And, there r civilised ways to life.”

U know, Sajad, the #Abdullahs r Corrupt Feudals n Debauch,

who’ve stolen billions from the dole we hand out 2 J&K.

When Kalkaji Temple was demolished … in 1667 !

 3 September 1667
Emperor Aurangzeb issued a decree for demolishing the Kalka Temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess. It’s what he wrote that is revealing of a senselessness that continues till date among the Taliban, Jihadists, ISI, Pakistan Army, Wahabis of Saud, Mullahs and orhtodox Muslim clerics everywhere, Kashmiri separatists, Jamaat-e-Islamists… 
Translated, I am told, it reads :
“The asylum of Shariat (Shariat Panah) Qazi Abdul Muqaram has sent this arzi to the sublime Court : a man known to him told him that the Hindus gather in large numbers at Kalka’s temple near Barahapule (near Delhi); a large crowd of the Hindus is seen here.
“Likewise, large crowds are seen at (the mazars) of Khwaja Muinuddin, Shah Madar and Salar Masud Ghazi.
” This amounts to bid‘at (heresy) and deserves consideration.
” Whatever orders are required should be issued.”
The cleric’s request is immediately admitted by the highest arbiter of the land… a complaint based on hearsay…  and 

“Saiyad Faulad Khan was thereupon ordered (by the Emperor) to send one hundred beldars to demolish the Kalka temple, and other temples in its neighbourhood, which were in the Faujdari of Faulad Khan himself.

These men were to reach there post haste, and finish the work without a halt.”*   *   *

The Kalka Temple which stands today was rebuilt soon after Aurangzeb’s death (1707 A.D.) on the remains of the old temple dedicated to Goddess Kali. Two Akhbarat dated Sept 3 and Sept 12, 1667, provide details regarding the demolition of the temple on Aurangzeb’s orders.
Since 1764, the temple has been renovated and altered several times but the main 18th Century structure remains the same, more or less .
The site is very old dating back to Emperor Asoka’s time (3rd Century BC). There is mention of Kalka Temple in the Maratha records of 1738.
All through those centuries, people have flocked to the temple in large numbers, especially during Navratras twice a year.


“Saiyad Faulad Khan reported that, in compliance with the orders, beldars were sent to demolish the Kalka temple, which task they have done.
“During the course of the demolition, a Brahmindrew out a sword, killed a bystander and then turned back and attacked the Saiyad also. The Brahmin was arrested.”

*   *   *

There are only a few recorded instances of armed opposition by outraged Hindus, such as at Goner (near Jaipur), Ujjain, Udaipur and Khandela. But there were many more that have not been, of angry outbursts and resistance against Muslim vandalism… instances which did not make into official records of the Mughal state. And that is understandable in the era of deceit and intrigues, under an emperor who was known to be weak of the ear, suspicious, vindictive and brutal.Most of the Hindus took the destruction of these temples philosophically, considering these as acts of ignorance and folly, in vain and futile. They regarded it as a matter in accord with the little understanding of Musalmansand their poor intelligence that left them incapable of comprehending the truth of the matter behind the idol worship or the fundamental oneness of saguna and nirguna worship.

The Hindus believed that Gods and Goddesses leave for their abode before the hatchet or the hammer of the vile destroyers – mlecchas and asuras – so much as even touched the idols.
The idea has been well described in Kanhadade Prabandha (1456 AD) while giving an account of the destruction of the Somnath temple by Sultan Alauddin’s troops in 1299.
*   *   *

General Order for the Destruction of Temples… 9th April, 1669 


“The Lord Cherisher of the Faith learnt that in the provinces of Thatta, Multan, and especially at Benaras, the Brahmin misbelievers teach their false books, in their established schools, to admirers and students, both Hindu and Muslim, who come from great distances to these misguided men in order to acquire their vile learning.
“His Majesty, eager to establish Islam, issued orders to the governors of all the provinces to demolish the schools and temples of the infidels, and with utmost urgency, put down the teaching and the public practice of the religion of these unbelievers.”

This is not the only instance when Aurangzeb prevented the Muslims from acquiring knowledge and wisdom of the Hindu philosophical works and other Sanskrit and Bhasha classics, or sharing spiritual and intellectual experience. He thus stifled the process of fusion, or at least bridging of the gulf between the two creeds of very different approach, principles, values, levels of intellectual attainments and period over which their ideas evolved.

Instead, a ‘ general order ‘ of this type is issued to put down the teaching and public practice of religion by Hindu. There is no intelligible reason for such senseless acts, except profound hatred and fear or absence of critical capacity to examine and discriminate.
But the inferior mental assets of the Islamists proved very costly to people  native to this land, as it continues to be in this age and time. They demolished some of the most lofty, beautiful and venerable shrines of India during the next few years !
However, nothing they could do took a speck away from Benares its unique position and prestige as the chief Vedic centre of learning, dharma shastras, the six philosophies, Sanksrit language and literature, and astronomy.


Eager to establish Islam, or at least perceived to be, Aurangzeb had on the 9th of April 1669 issued orders to governors of all provinces, to demolish schools and temples of the infidels… with utmost urgency, it must be stated, to put down the teaching and public practice of the religion of these (Hindus) unbelievers.
In the sketch above, the artist shows the destruction of  hugely regarded temples at Somnath, Jagannath Puri, Benaras (Kashi Vishwanath) and  Mathura (Keshava Rai)… all highly respected places of worship of some antiquity.
In the centre is a portion of the infamous order of the 9th April.

Journal : May 03, 2012 : Guru Teg Bahadur

There is much work in queue to occupy. But the one least happy and most needed is to reach the elusive reader of a work as wayward as Kalinjar Fort. It keeps you stuck to something that’s past. It’s no longer in my heart. But the absorbing human interest story needs to be read, not only for its novelty value or the mystery surrounding it but for the perspective it offers to human nature and its evolution over the long term.

 @ http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007WYGNNA

A huge and immensely joyous task is to begin on the first installment of Vedanta, the secret knowledge that gives to us the eye for the transcendent, even as it roves over the ephemeral and wrestles with the phenomenal. Without it, no amount of intellectual waxing or rhetorical exhortation is of much avail at effecting the much needed shift in our paradigms. Our fears return, and the primordial one is not even unhinged !

The second matter that I am charged up with is to discover the voices of sensitive minds and rebellious hearts living in barbaric times under the Islamic and Christian occupiers of our land… to hear the “poet” through those oppressive times in the Indian sub-continent in 18th Century and later. I would have the greatest empathy with those tormented souls who would found their lexis and the courage to express them.

*   *   *

GURU TEG BAHADUR

One of the grandest stories ever anywhere, from the annals of Indian history… a real tale of transcendent courage in the cause of universal human values and rights, of unflinching compassion for the oppressed and the downtrodden, and of one man’s infinite commitment to his conviction of truth. My salutations… again and again…

… Guru Teg Bahadur lapsed into deep thought after listening to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, some 500 hundred of whom led by Kripa Ram met the great warrior saint with woes of great suffering at loss of their freedom to keep faith and their religious beliefs. They pleaded for the Guru’s intervention with Emperor Aurangzeb to put a halt to this tyranny. The Guru knew that this was not a problem of Kashmiri pundits alone. Their cries of pain were screams of humanity all over the subcontinent under the hidebound and crude Islamist regime. Nor was it a mere political matter. Their calamitous misfortune was reflective of the senseless adversity which the entire Hindu society was groaning under. Nor was it a case of social repression or economic oppression. It signified a collective indignity that drew the lion in the Sikh Guru to the fore. It was a moment of truth, an issue that concerned the very future of humanity, in the way people of the land would live and believe, look upon themselves and their fellowmen, through centuries to come !

When the Guru emerged from his reverie, his face shone bright as the sun. The call of duty was upon him, and the ringing of truth was clear in his heart. The entire might of the bigoted savagery of the Mughal Emperor had to be opposed, here and now. The Guru’s son, Gobind Rai, barely nine year old, was seated close to him. He asked the Guru about the cause that had sent him into such deep contemplation. The Guru cheerfully told his inquisitive son that there was need of sacrifice from a great man, someone exceptionally holy, for protecting the Hindu society from its misfortune. Gobind Rai, who was brought up in the same spirit of universal love and spiritual regeneration, instantly suggested, “Father, who else is greater than you ?” It sealed the Guru’s steel resolve.

The Background

Guru Teg Bahadur, the son of the sixth Sikh Guru, was anointed the ninth in line in the year 1665 AD. As was the custom since Guru Har Gobind, the Guru kept a splendid lifestyle. He had his royal attire, armed attendants and a seat to suit when holding court. He himself led an austere life and there is no historical mention of any conflict or clash with powers ruling during his lifetime. He travelled a lot to different parts of the country, including Dacca and Assam, to preach the teachings of Guru Nanak and resolve conflicts between neighbouring states when invited. It was during one of these tours, in 1666, that Gobind Rai was born.

These were one of the worst of times in Indian history, when people were driven to the very pits of despair. Four years through his “padshahi”, Guru Teg Bahadur was informed of Emperor Auragzeb’s general decree, authorising and charging every State official of note with the ‘pious’ duty of demolishing all native places of worship and education, converting as many of them into mosques, and prosecuting the persistent non – believers as if they were “persona non grata.” After Aurangzeb’s 1669 order to demolish non-Muslim temples and schools, a Sikh temple at Buriya was converted into a mosque, which the Sikhs then demolished. The Emperor visited Punjab in 1674, and his officials forced many people to convert to Islam. The Guru gave a call to Sikhs everywhere to withstand these persecutions.

Aurangzeb was a terror even to his co-religionists and members of his own family. He had imprisoned his sister and his father, Shah Jahan, and had all his brothers murdered to become an unrivalled authority unto himself. Perhaps to wash his sins in his own eye, he presented himself to the people as being a good Muslim, offering prayers five times a day, leading a simple and frugal life, and defering to the advice and ruling of the Islamic clergy, who thence endeavoured to bestow on him his very elusive ‘peace of mind.’ He sent gifts to rulers of Mecca and Medina in 1659. That year he appointed a muhtasib as a censor to enforce Islamic laws. His main advisors became the chief judge (qazi) and supervisor of ‘pious’ charity. In 1672, he took back all grants that had been given to Hindus. In his zeal to reinforce the ‘pious Muslim’ face in public, he sought to please the fanatic Islamists by converting the native non-believers, especially Hindus, through making their keeping of faith impossible, prohibitive and fatal. His method of measuring the success of his ‘conversion program’ was to weigh the sacred thread worn by Hindus ! A “maund” would imply that about 7000 of them had been either converted or killed

With major centers of learning then, Kashmir was governed by a liberal Subedar, Mir Ahmed Khan, who restricted his administrative machinery to maintaining law and order and implementing the taxation policy of the State. The smooth functioning however was soon disrupted by an overzealous Islamist, Muhata Khan, who was a powerful Islamic scholar of repute. The latter had been sidelined by the coterie whom the brutal Emperor courted, and was hence in dire need of establishing his ‘holier than thou’ upmanship over others in order to tide over his discontentment and regain the Emperor’s favour.

Muhata Khan submitted to the Subedar of Kashmir a list of measures the State must take to penalise, indignify and pauperise the Kashmiri pundits. He was bitterly critical about the liberal policies of Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan and his treatment of the Hindus. He had made it clear that any avenue or opportunity available to the Hindus to advance and progress was intolerable.

Muhata Khan’s charter of demands included the following :

  1. Hindus should not be allowed to ride a horse.
  2. They should not permitted to wear the “jama” (a type of Mughal dress).
  3. They should not keep, carry or handle any kind of weapon.
  4. They should not visit the public gardens.
  5. They should be barred from wearing vermillion (Tilak) on their forehead.
  6. Their wards should not be receive education of any kind.

The Subedar Mir Ahmed Khan refused to entertain any of the proposals submitted by Muhata Khan. He instructed Muhata Khan to keep his distance from affairs of the State in Kashmir.

Attack on Hindu function

But Muhata Khan decided to have his way, by taking the law in his own hands. He set up a centre in a mosque for carrying out his plan. He incited people, who used to come for Namaz, and exhorted them to remain steadfast on tenets and proclamations of Islam, and to bring the Hindu idol worshippers within the ambit of declared Islamic policies of the Emperor. He roused a following of Muslim youth with his discourses,  and raised a group of young men who were ready to to do his bidding. Muhata Khan issued instructions for implementing the resolutions he had submitted to the Subedar. As a result, any Hindu found with Tilak on his forehead was mauled badly, even killed, his home vandalised and women folk abducted, molested and raped. The Hindu could no longer ride horses, a speedy means of transport in those days. And he could hardly carry on with his trade or profession, or official duties of the State, without being presentable enough in a decent dress !

An attack on a well-known trader, Majlis Rai Chopra, took a historical turn. Majlis Rai had arranged for community luncheon in connection with a religious function, to which thousands came. While they were having their lunch in a garden, Muhata Khan, with a band of bigots, attacked them with weapons. Majlis Rai managed to escape and took shelter in the house of Mir Ahmed Shah. But that house too was srounded and picketed by the blood-thirsty rowdies. Mir Ahmed Khan made good his escape by a secret door and took refuge in the nearby cantonment. He waged a battle against Muhata Khan with the help of a company of troops, but was defeated. Muhata Khan arrested and jailed the Subedar, denouncing him as a Hindu supporter, and took over the powers of the State.

Majlis Rai was mercilessly killed and all his property was confiscated. It was followed by many more instances of shameless atrocities on the Hindu community in Kashmir. The new Subedar of Kashmir, Iftikhar Khan, took to the task of forcibly converting the Hindu population to Islam by the sword. The Hindu Brahmin Pandits of Kashmir were among the most learned and orthodox of Hindus and Aurangzeb felt that if they could be brought to accept Islam the rest of the country would easily follow. He decided to strike at their exalted identity by barring the practice of wearing tilak (holy mark on the forehead) or janaeu (sacred thread). There was turmoil among Kashmiri pundits and their families lived in fear of their lives. They bore an ultimatum upon their head : convert or die.

In that conspired atmosphere of terror, many Hindus gave in and were converted to Islam. Among the rest was Pundit Kripa Ram, who had met the Guru several times. He led the pundits to the assuring sanctuary of the Sikh Guru, Teg Bahadur, whose very name meant, “Brave of the Sword.”  Pandit Kirpa Ram Datt would later become the Sanskrit teacher of Guru Gobind Singh and eventually a Khalsa, and would die fighting in the battle of Chamkaur against Mughal forces led by Wazir Khan.

 

The Guru Stands Tall

And Proves To Be Heavier Than A Mountain…

The Guru soon appointed his son, Gobind Rai, as the tenth Guru of Sikhs and thus addressed the Pandits, “Go, my esteemed friends, and tell the Emperor that if he can cause Guru Tegh Bahadar to change his faith and accept Islam, you will all follow suit in his footsteps. If not, he should leave you alone.”

The Pandits rejoiced at the resolution and duly informed Emperor Aurangzeb of the decision. Aurangzeb was delighted with the reduced task of having to convert just one person in order to obtain the cooperation of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs, and the way to bring millions of willing infidels into the folds of Islam. He summoned his officers to arrest Guru Tegh Bahadar and present him in the royal court.

Meanwhile, the Guru left Anandpur Sahib with Bhai Mati Das, Bhai Dyala and Bhai Sati Das, to seek an audience in Mughal court. He was arrested soon after on the way and brought to Delhi in chains. In the royal court, reminiscent of Jesus’ interrogation by the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate, Aurangzeb asked him why he was hailed as the Guru or the Prophet, addressed as the ‘Saccha Padshah’ or the True King. The argument between Guru Teg Bahadur and the Emperor went on for days. Finally, the Emperor posed to the Guru the plain course, and his Islamist sycophants echoed in unison : “ If you really are the One, as addressed, perform a miracle for us to believe the truth.”

Guru Tegh Bahadur was unmoved and in fact reprimanded the Emperor for his blind orthodoxy and his persecution of people of other faiths. He said, “Hinduism may not be my faith, and I may not believe in the supremacy of Vedas or the Brahmins, nor in idol worship or caste, in pilgrimage or other rituals, but I would stand for the right of all Hindus to live with honour and dignity, and freedom to practice their faith according to their own beliefs.” The Guru further suggested : ” Every ruler of the world must pass away, but not the Word of God will not, nor would the Saint who holds it in heart. This is how people call me a “ True King “ and that is why they have done so through two preceding centuries, in respect of my “ House “ and also in respect of all those others who came before and identified themselves not with the temporal and the contingent, but with the eternal and the immortal.”

The Guru refused to perform any miracle, saying, “this is the work of charlatans and mountebanks to hoodwink the people. Men of God submit ever to the Will of God.” Guru Tegh Bahadur refused to embrace Islam, saying “For me, there is only one religion – of God – and whosoever belongs to it, be he a Hindu or a Muslim, him I own and he owns me. I neither convert others by force, nor submit to force. I will not change my faith.”

Aurangzeb was enraged and ordered Guru Tegh Bahadur to be forced to accept Islam as his faith through torture, or be killed. It led to a period of great cruelty on Guru Teg Bahadur’s body, and of his colleagues. The Guru and his companions were tied to hot pillars and heated sand was poured over their bodies, which were scalded and covered with wounds. The torment, in some form or other, became a routine. Guru Tegh Bahadur was kept in an iron cage and starved for many days. When even the intolerable pain and physical afflictions heaped on them proved ineffective, orders were issued to kill each, one after the other for appropriate effect.

The Fatwa or decree of the Royal Qazi specified the precise manner in which the life of each one was to be taken, with maximum brutality : Bhai Dayal was to be thrown in a boiling pot; Bhai Sati Das, to be packed in a bale of cotton and set ablaze; and, Bhai Mati Das to be sawed into two. The Guru was made to watch as Bhai Mati Das, the devoted Sikh, was tied between two pillars and his body sawed into two, as Bhai Dayal was boiled alive in a cauldron of heated water until he died, and, as Bhai Sati Das was wrapped in cotton wool and set on fire.

The Guru bore these cruelties without flinching or showing any anger or distress. Finally, having put these orders into effect, Guru Teg Bahadur was publicly beheaded on November 11, 1675. Before his head was severed from the body, the Guru had enough to recite the first five lines of the sacred book, Japuji.

The Gurus body was left to lie in dust, in Chandni Chowk, the area right in front of the Red Fort, where no one dared to approach for fear of the Emperor’s reprisal. But a severe storm swept through the city and, while it raged, a Sikh named Bhai Jaita managed to collect the Guru’s sacred head under the cover of darkness. He brought the Guru’s precious remain to Anandpur Sahib, where Guru Gobind waited for the latest to happen. Another Sikh, Bhai Lakhi Shah, smuggled the Guru’s headless body in a cart and brought it to his house nearby, where the Gurudwara Rakabganj today stands. Since a public funeral would have been impossible, Bhai Lakhi Shah cremated the body by setting the entire house on fire !

At Anandpur Sahib, on November 16, 1675, the young Guru Gobind Singh and the grief stricken widow, Mata Gujari, placed the late Guru’s “head” on a pyre of sandalwood, covered it with roses.  Guru Gobind lit the pyre to complete the cremation rites of the departed saint

Never before in the annals of history, or after, has a religious head of one faith stood so tall and heavily steadfast, as to sacrificed his own life, for the sake of another religion, for their rights and freedoms.

Thus ended the mortal saga of the ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur.

What Happened After …

The Guru’s sacrifice had symbolically but completely smashed the arrogance of the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. It proved to be a great event that galvanized the nationalist forces politically. It led to a surge of pride and self-belief that swept over the entire length and breadth of India. Apart from firming directions for Guru Gobind Singh’s opposition in Punjab, it engendered the rise of several formidable forces against the Mughals, under whose patronage the native people suffered religious oppression and administrative tyranny : Rana Raj Singh in Rajasthan, Shivaji in Deccan, and Chhatrasal in central India.

In sum, inspired insurrections and collected mobilisations broke the back of Mughal forces in the subcontinent and finally, barely five decades after Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom, drove the myth of Muslim supremacy and Islamic grandeur into the ground.

The Emperor’s Lament … in last hours

During his last days Aurangzeb came to realize that the days of the Mughal dynasty were numbered and that he himself was largely responsible for sowing the seeds of destruction.

Azma fasad baq !” were his words, which means, “After me, the chaos !”

The last words of Aurangzeb, addressed to his sons from death-bed, echo mournfully :

“I came a stranger to this world and a stranger I depart.

 I know nothing of myself – what I am and what I was destined for.

 

“My back is bent with weakness and my feet have lost the power of motion.

 The breath which rose is gone and has not left behind even a ray of hope.

 

“The agonies of death come upon me fast.

 My vessel is launched upon the waves !

 

“Farewell, Farewell !”

Guru Gobind Singh’s Letters To The Emperor …

The contents of this letter, written in 1704 in Persian, reads as follows :

NAMEH GURU GOBIND SINGH BA AURANGZEB

(Letter from Guru Gobind Singh to Aurangzeb)

This letter clearly shows that it was written from Machhiwara, after the battle of Chamkaur, after the Guru had seen the brave sacrifice of his two elder sons in the battle field. It also reveals that though Guru Gobind had suffered heavy losses in men and material, he was in no way overcome or feeling vanquished but, instead, was full of confidence, faith and courage.

Observe how the Guru chastises, shames and reprimands the Emperor for is deceit and unbecoming conduct…

1          In the name of the Lord of Sword and Axe.
In the name of the Lord of Arrow and Shield.

2          In the name of the Lord of Men of Heroic Deeds.
In the name of the Lord of Speeding Steeds.

3          He, who has given you kingship, has entrusted to me

the task of defending Dharam and Righteousness.

4          Your frantic activities are confined to deceit and diplomacy,

whereas my efforts are based on faith and truth.

5          The name of Aurangzeb hardly behoves you,

for kings should not indulge in deceiving others.

6          Your rosary is nothing more then a collection of beads and thread…
the beads to ensnare and the thread as a net to enslave others.

7          You kneaded the earthly remains of your father with evil deeds

and with the blood of your brothers.

8          And with that mud you built your house to live in.

9          I will now storm you like rain water

and deal with you with the sharp edges of my steel arms.

10        You have met with failure in the Deccan

and are coming back thirsty from Mewar.

11        If you now turn you eyes to the north

then you will find your thirst quenched and parched throat set right.

12        I will place fire under your feet

and will not allow you to drink water of the Punjab.

13        What if the sly fox has killed the two cubs of a lion with deception.

14        The lion itself is alive and will wreak vengeance.

15        I do not now ask you for anything

in the name of your Allah and your scripture.

16        I have no faith in your word.

Only the sword will now serve its purpose.

17        Even if you claim to be a clever leopard,

I will ensure the lion remains outside your net.

18        Even when you talk to me, if you will,

I will always speak of the path which is pious and straight.

19        Let the armies on both sides draw up opposite to each other.

20        And let there be a distance of three miles between them.

21        There, then, I will come alone

and you may come along with your horsemen.

22        You have had easy fruits and enjoyed the unusual gifts

but have never met the warriors, in person.

23        Come forward yourself, armed with a sword and axe, for a duel

and kill no more the innocent people in God’s creation.

Bhai Dhaya Singh had taken this letter to Aurangzeb on December 26, 1704. By the time he arrived Aurangzeb and been briefed about the Guru having suffered being uprooted from Anandpur Sahib. He felt the injustice done on his part, especially since he had been promised on solemn oath to Quran a safe passage to the Guru from Anandpur.

The Emperor assured Bhai Dhaya Singh that he would make ample amends and extended an invitation to the Guru to meet him in the Deccan. Bhai Dhaya Singh shrewdly suggested that a written letter would be more appropriate. The Emperor agreed and sent two messengers with Bhai Dhaya with his letter to the Guru. The return journey of 900 miles lasted three months.

The Guru heard Bhai Dhaya Singh’s report, of how sympathetic and remorseful the Emperor was while penning the reply. There was a mixed light of magnanimity and sombreness on the Guru’s. He decided to send another, even more detailed, letter to the Emperor, in which he neither accepted nor refused the invitation.

The ‘Zafarnama’ by Guru Gobind Singh :

Salutations to God…

O Master of miracles, O Eternal and Beneficent One,
O Provider of sustenance, O Deliverer, Bestower of Grace and Mercy ! (1)

O Giver of Bliss, O Great Pardoner, Who holds me by the hand,
O Remitter of sins, O Bestower of daily bread, O Charmer of our hearts ! (2)

O King of kings, O Giver of Good, O Guide of the Way.
O One without colour, without form, without equal ! (3)

He who has no material possessions, no army, no ground to stand upon,
Him too, Thou blessest with Heavenly Bliss. (4)

Separate from the world yet most powerful, Thou O Presence,

Who givest Thy gifts as if Thou wert here before us. (5)

O Thou Pure One, our Cherisher, our only Giver.
O Thou Merciful One, who givest to every land ! (6)

O Greatest of the great, Thou art the God of every land :
Of Perfect Beauty, Merciful and Giver of sustenance ! (7)

O Master of intellect, O Embellisher of the meek,
O Refuge of the poor, O Destroyer of the tyrant ! (8)

O Protector of the faith, Fountain of eloquence,
O Knower of the Real, O Author of revelation ! (9)

O Master of intelligence, O Appreciator of Wisdom,
O Diviner of secrets, O Omnipresent God ! (10)

Thou knowest all that happens in the world,
And Thou resolvest all its problems and doubts. (11)

O Thou all-knowing God, O Great One,
Thou alone art the organiser of our lives. (12)

The Guru’s Memorandum to Aurangzeb :

I have no faith in thy oaths,
Even if thou bringest in God as thy witness. (13)

I haven’t even an iota of trust in thee,
For all thy ministers and thy courtiers are liars. (14)

He who puts faith in thy oath on Quran,
He comes to ruin in the end. (15)

But beware; the insolent crow can lay not its hands

Upon one whom Huma, the Bird of Heaven, protects. (16)

He who seeks the refuge of the tiger
Can he be harmed by a goat, a deer or a buffalo ? (17)

Had I vowed on the book of my faith, even in secret,
I would have withdrawn the infantry and cavalry from the field. (18)

And, what could my forty men do (at Chamkaur),
When a hundred thousand men, unawares, pounced upon them ? (19)

The oath breakers attacked them,

Of a sudden, with swords, arrows and guns. (20)

I had perforce to join battle with thy hosts,
And fought with muskets and arrows as best as I could. (21)

When an affair is past every other remedy,
It is righteous, indeed, to unsheathe the sword. (22)

Hadn’t I taken thee to thy word upon the Quran,
I wouldn’t have chosen the path I did. (23)

I knew not that thy men were crafty and deceitful, like a fox.
Else I wouldn’t have driven myself to this state. (24)

He who swears to me on the Quran
Ought not to have killed or imprisoned my men. (25)

Thy army dressed like blue bottles,
Charged us, of a sudden, with a loud bang. (26)

But they who aggressed not against us
Were left unhurt, unmolested by us. (28)

But, he who advanced from thy ranks beyond his defenses,
Was hit with such deadly aim of my single arrow that he was deluged in blood. (27)

When I witnessed thy general, Nahar Khan, advancing to war,
I gave him the taste of a single deadly arrow. (29)

And many of his men who boasted of their valour,
Fled the battlefield, in utter shame. (30)

Then advanced another one of Afghan blood,
Rushing forth like flood, like a gun-ball, or a deadly arrow. (31)

He made many assaults with great courage,
Some time with conscious skill, and at others like a mad man. (32)

The more he attacked, the more he was mauled,
And then while killing two of my ranks,
He, too, fell dead in the cold dust. (33)

But the cowardly and contemptible Khwaja came forth not like a man,
And hid himself behind a wall. (34)

Had I but seen his face,
I could have helped him too with an arrow of mine. (35)

At last, many on their side fell on the ground
Hit by arrows and our death dealing bullets. (36)

There was, indeed, an overpowering rain of these,
And the earth turned red like the lalla flower. (37)

Torn heads and legs lay in heaps,
As if the earth was covered with balls and sticks. (38)

The arrows whizzed, the bows twanged,
And it brought forth from earth only cries and yells. (39)

There were other dreadful, vengeful noises too, of weapons and men,
When men, the bravest of brave, battled like mad. (40)

But, what kind of chivalry is this in war,
That countless hosts should pounce upon a mere forty of us ? (41)

When the lamp of the world veiled itself,
And the queen of night came forth with all her splendour.(42)

He who trusts, however, in an oath on God,
His Protection too is on Him; in need, He shows the Path. (43)

So, not even a hair of mine was touched, nor my body suffered,
For God, the Destroyer of my enemies, Himself pulled me out to safety. (44)

I knew not that you, o man, was a perjurer,
A worshipper of self and a breaker of faith. (45)

Nay, you keep no faith, nor mind religion,
Nor know God, nor believe in Mohammed. (46)

He who observes the tenet’s of his faith,
He never to breaks a promise, after he makes one. (47)

You have no idea of what an oath on the Quran is :
Nay, you have no faith in the one God. (48)

Now, even if you were to swear a hundred times on the Quran,
I’d regard not thy word, not an iota of it. (49)

Had you ever a mind to keep thy faith,
You would have taken courage and come to me. (50)

From when you gave your word, swearing in the name of God’s Word,

It was incumbent on you to keep your faith. (51)

If your majesty were to be present here before me,
I would have with all my heart posted you with your treachery. (52)

Do now what is enjoined upon you,
And stick to your written and plighted word. (53)

Both the written word and the verbal promise of your envoy,
Should have been fulfilled by you. (54)

He alone is a man who keeps his word :
Not have one thing in heart and another on his tongue. (55)

Your promise was to honour the Qazi’s word,
If that be true, then come thou to me. (56)

If you want to seal thy promise on the Quran,
I would for sure send the document to thee. (57)

If only you were gracious enough to come to the village of Kangar,
We could see each other face to face. (58)

On the way, there will be no danger to your life,
For, the whole tribe of Brars accepts my command. (59)

Come to me that we may converse with each other,
And I may utter some kind words to thee. (60)

I’d send thee a horseman like one in a thousand,
Who will conduct thee safe to my home. (61)

I’m a slave of the King of kings,
And ready to obey His Call with all my heart. (62)

If He were to order me thus,
I’d with utmost pleasure present myself to thee. (63)

And if you are a believer in one God,
Tarry not in what I ask you to do. (64)

It is incumbent upon you to recognise the God,
For He told you not to create strife in the world. (65)

You occupy the throne in the name of God, the one Sovereign of all creation,
But strange is thy justice, stranger thy attributes ! (66)

What sense of discrimination is this? What regard for religion?
O fie on such a sovereignty ! Fie, a hundred times !! (67)

Stranger than strange are thy decrees, o king,
But beware : broken pledges boomerang on those who make them. (68)

Shed not recklessly the blood of another with thy sword,
Lest the Sword on High falls upon thy neck. (69)

O man, beware, and fear thy God,
For, with flattery or cajolery He can be deceived not. (70)

He, the King of kings, fears no one,
And is the True Sovereign of heaven and earth. (71)

God is the Master of earth and the sky :
He is the Creator of all men and all places. (72)

He it is who creates all – from the feeble ant to the powerful elephant,
And is the Embellisher of the meek and Destroyer of the reckless. (73)

His name is : “Protector of the meek.”
And He is dependent upon no one’s support or obligation. (74)

He has no twist in Him, nor doubt.
And, He shows man the Way to Redemption and Release. (75)

You are indeed bound by your word on the Quran,
Let, therefore, the matter come to a good end, as is your promise. (76)

It is but in abiding that you act wisely,
And be discreet in all that you do. (77)

What, if you have killed my four tender sons,
When I remain, like a snake coiled. (78)

It is not brave to put out a few sparks,
And stir up a fire to rage all the more ! (79)

What a beautiful thought has Firdausi, the sweet-tongued poet, expressed :
“He who acts in haste, plays the devil.” (80)

When both you and I will repair to the Court of God,
You will bear witness to what you did unto me. (81)

But, if you forget even this,
The God on High will also cast you off from His Mind. (82)

God will reward you amply for your misdeed,
Which you launched with all your recklessness ! (83)

This is the keeping of faith, the act of goodness :
To put God above love of one’s life. (84)

I believe not that you know God,
Since, from you, have come only acts of tyranny. (85)

The Beneficent God also will know thee not,
And will welcome not thee with all thy riches. (86)

If now you swear a hundred times on the Quran,
I will not trust you, even for a moment. (87)

I will enter not your presence, nor travel on the same road,
Even if you so ordain, I would oblige you not. (88)

O Aurangzeb, king of kings, fortunate are you,
An expert swordsman and a horseman too : (89)

Handsome is your person and your intellect high,
Master of lands, the ruler and the emperor. (90)

A skilled wielder of the sword and clever in administration,
A master-warrior and a man of charitable disposition. (91)

You grant riches and lands in charity,
O one of handsome body and brilliant mind. (92)

Great is your munificence, in war you are like a mountain,
Of angelic disposition, your splendour is like that of Pleiades. (93)

You are the king of kings, ornament of the throne of the world:
Master of the world, but far from religion ! (94)

I warred with the idol-worshipping hill chiefs,
For, I am the breaker of idols and they their worshippers. (95)

Beware, the world keeps not faith with any:
He who rises also falls and comes to grief. (96)

And look also at the miracle that is God,
That He may destroy a whole host through a single man ! (97)

What can an enemy do to him whose has God as friend ?
For the function of the Great Bestower is : To Bestow. (98)

He grants Deliverance and shows too the Way.
And He teaches the tongue to utter His praise, in love. (99)

In times of need, He blinds the enemy,
And protects the helpless from injury and harm. (100)

And he who acts in good faith,
On him, the Merciful One, rains His Mercy. (101)

He who serves Him with all his heart,
God blesses him with the Peace of Soul. (102)

What harm can an enemy do to him,
With whom God, our Supreme Guide, is pleased. (103)

The Creator-Lord is ever his refuge,
Even if tens of thousands of hosts were to proceed against him. (104)

If you have the pride of your army and riches,
I bank upon Praise of God, the Almighty. (105)

You are proud of your empire and material possessions,
While I am proud of the Refuge of God, the Immortal. (106)

Be not heedless : for the world lasts but a few days,
And man will depart, one knows not when. (107)

Look at the ever changing faithless world :
And see what happens to every house, every denizen. (108)

If you are strong, torture not the weak,
And thus lay not the axe to thy empire. (109)

If the one God is one’s Friend, what harm can the enemy do,
Even if he multiplies himself a hundred times ? (110)

A thousand times let an enemy assault him,
And yet touch he would not even a hair of his head. (111)

This letter is called “Zafarnama” –  the  Epistle of Victory.

Written in Persian verse it was sent from Dina in 1705 through two Sikhs, Bhai Dhaya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh. It was not entrusted to the Emperor’s messengers because of the nature of its content and because the Guru wanted to know from his Sikhs the instant reactions of the Emperor upon reading it.

Although Bhai Dhaya Singh and Bhai Dharam Singh travelled with great speed they could not get an early audience with the emperor. They stayed at the house of Bhai Jetha. It was some months before the Sikhs met the Emperor. The Guru had instructed Bhai Dhaya Singh to speak boldly and fearlessly to Aurangzeb when handing over the Guru’s letter.

The Emperor read the letter and felt that the Guru was highly intelligent, truthful, and a fearless warrior. He was nearly 91 years of age and his body started to tremble from feelings of remorse and regret of what he had done in his life time. Again, he put pen to paper and wrote a letter to the Guru, stating his inability to come to the north and requesting the Guru to meet him in Ahmadnagar at his earliest convenience. The letter was sent through royal messengers.

The Emperor’s peace of mind was lost. He wrote another letter to his sons in which he states : ” I do not know who I am, where i am, where i am to go and what will happen to a sinful person like me. Many like me have passed away, wasting their lives. Allah was in my heart but my blind eyes failed to see him. I do not know how I will be received in Allah’s court. I do not have any hope for my future : I have committed many sins and do not know what punishments will be awarded to me in return.”

The Zafarnama had a demoralising effect on Emperor Aurangzeb, who saw his end looming over the horizon. The future seemed so very bleak. He saw Guru Gobind Singh as his only hope… the only one who could show him the right path in truth, as was hinted by the Guru in his epistle. Although he had greatly wronged the Guru, he now knew the latter to be a man of God and wanted to meet the Guru in person, to seek his own redemption. He issued instructions to his Governors to withdraw all orders against the Guru. He instructed his minister, Munim Khan, to make arrangements for the safe passage of the Guru when he came to meet.

The Guru was not willing to go to Delhi yet and, instead, stopped outside the town of Sabo Ki Talwandi. According to Sikh chronologists, it was at Sabo Ki Talwandi that Guru Gobind Singh untied his waist band after a period of nearly eighteen months, and breathed a sigh of relief. This is why Sabo Ki Talwandi is known as Damdama Sahib (place of rest). It was at Damdama Sahib that Mata Sundri, the Guru’s mother, learned of the fate of four Sahibzaday – sons of the Guru and Mata Gujri. And, it was here that Guru Gobind Singh re-wrote the Adi Guru Granth Sahib from memory and added the Gurbani of his father, the martyred Guru Teg Bahadur.

Upon receiving the Emperor’s letter, Guru Gobind let th matter rest for a period before deciding to meet the Emperor in Deccan. He felt that Aurangzeb’s invitation was extended with due humility and concluded the time was right to accept it in view of the Emperor’s old age, without compromising on his oath to mete out justice to anyone who resorted to acts of barbarity.

Unfortunately, by the time the Guru entered Rajasthan, news came of the Emperor’s death at Aurangabad. Historical records, kept by Bhai Santokh Singh, show that the Emperor had lost all appetite, capacity to digest, and could not expel waste. Whatever he consumed acted as poison in his body. He remained in great pain and torment for several days, terrified, as it were, by ‘angels of death.’

Born in 1616, Aurangzeb had lived for about 91 years, his last Will (appended below) confirms the degenerate state of his physical and mental health.

What The Emperor’s Last Will Reveals …

The Emperor’s last will was recorded by Maulvi Hamid-ud Din in chapter 8 of his hand-written Persian book on the life of Aurangzeb.

1       There is no doubt that I have been the emperor of India and I have ruled over this country. But I am sorry to say that I have not been able to do a good deed in my lifetime. My inner soul is cursing me as a sinner. But I know it is of no avail. It is my wish that my last rites be performed by my dear son Azam. No one else should touch my body.

2       My servant, Aya Beg, has my purse in which I have carefully kept my earnings of Rupees 4 and 2 Annas. In my spare time, I have been writing the Quran and stitching caps. It was by selling the caps that I made an honest earning. My coffin should be purchased with this amount. No other money should be spent for covering the body of a sinner. This is my dying wish.
By selling the copies of Quran I collected Rupees 305, which is also with Aya Beg. It is my will that poor Mohammedans should be fed with sweet rice procured with this money.

3       All my articles – clothes, ink stand, pens and books should be given to my son Azam. The labour charges for digging my grave will be paid by Prince Azam.

4       My grave should be dug in a dense forest. When I am buried, my face should remain uncovered. Do not bury my face in the earth. I want to present myself to Allah with a naked face. I am told, whoever goes to the supreme court on high with a naked face will have his sins forgiven.

5       My coffin should be made of thick Khaddar. Do not place a costly shawl on the corpse. The route of my funeral should not be showered with flowers. No one should be permitted to place any flowers on my body. No music should be played or sung, I hate music.

6       No tomb should be built for me. Only a chabootra or a platform may be erected.

7       I have not been able to pay the salaries of my soldiers and my personal servants for several months. I bequeath that after my death at least my personal servants be paid in full, even as the treasury is empty. Niamat Ali has served me very faithfully : he has cleaned my body and has never let my bed remain dirty.

8       No mausoleum should be raised in my memory. No stone with my name should be placed at my grave. There should be no trees planted near the grave. A sinner like me does not deserve the protection of a shady tree !

9       My son, Azam, has the authority to rule from the throne of Delhi. Kam Baksh should be entrusted with governance of Bijapur and Golconda states.

10     Allah should not make anyone an emperor. The most unfortunate person is he who becomes one. My sins should not be mentioned in any social gathering. The story of my life should not be told to anyone.

Translated from a history article published by Sh Ajmer Singh, MA,

in the Fateh weekly Nov. 7th, 1976.

(According to wishes of the emperor, his grave made of ‘kuccha’ bricks can still be seen in Aurangabad).

And thus ended Emperor’s Aurangzeb’s reign of fifty years.

He was over 90 when he died.

His death marked the beginning of the decline and fall of the Mughal dynasty.

Journal : Jan 01, 2012 : 9.00 AM : Digest & Movie Review

Woke up to some warmth in the morning. It was warmer than had been over the past some days. But then it rained at places and the sky remained overcast.

There were friends of the younger son who had slept over and are still to break their slumber. They fell short of booze last night and borrowed vodka from my stash.

The elder one had a basket of emotions to handle, before his departure for Johannesburgh on Monday. We talked about us for sometime. Mother was with us. We slept well past midnight.

  • Life is. The ” shoulds ” are for us to exert for. For sure, and now. The past is behind the moment; the future is potential in it… in the now. One by one, in the now, one ” should ” applied at, at a time.
  • The important thing is for us to be able to choose our thoughts. It’s a skill… God ! Yes, a skill, not a religion, that is acquired, like any other, with practice. Only, it is unusual for us to do; we are used to going downstream, after the thought is upon us and we are with it. Hence, to remain upstream, before the thought emerges, is truly uphill; and clearly, scarce. Most people I know do not have it. One, yes, a singular, who has, took a life time to acquire.

We learn to choose to think during our schooling years. But thoughts are informal ” matter ” to the mind. They rush in to fill… anytime, all the time. They arise on the back of emotions rolling incessantly, of feelings sensed subconciously, whereof thoughts are automatically triggered. Then, the conscious faculty becomes aware of the thought, but not before being already taken up by the accompanying emotion – the subconscious and the subrational flare in our vitality.

We can choose our thought, even the informal ones, without the subrational emotion and its the vital surge. Yes, we can choose the thought … in the rational light of the intellect, in the full knowledge of the meaning it includes, known or unknown. In time, the thought in the mind will release its meaning and spill out in the form of emotion.

We can choose our thought… to examine it. Or, just to be happy !

     If only we would.

  • Anna Hazare is ill but reportedly better. Arvind Kejriwal has once again made an impassioned plea for true democracy, in which the will of the people is represented in the Parliament, not the machinations of the party high commands.

Our Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, ought to realise that people are no longer touched by promises and prophecies. They want it for real, here and now.

Pranab da must understand that in a country where the opposities are equally true, where the national language is actually ” foreign ” in large parts, regional aspirations are a measure of the good health of our nation, and not something of an inconvenience to be rued over.

Mr Chidambaram and Congress Party leader, Rashid Alvi, need to understand that nothing they say to the public is believable any more. They stand discredited and are regarded as untrustworthy.

As it is said, you cannot fool all the people all the time !

* * *   * * *

              Dec 02, 2012

  • Three earthquakes… in Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia… greet the new year day ! Fortunately, no damages are reported.
  • Dropped the elder one at the airport early morning. It was foggy, very severely in patches. Missed the turn to the terminal and had to u – back. Sadly, one can no longer give company in the lounges until boarding is announced. We, mother and myself, could wait just enough in the passageway, to see him wheel away the luggage towards the terminal entrance, before a stern voice on public address system order us to turn the wheels of our car.

Back at home, she discovers Montecristo cigars and Marlboro cigarettes in his drawer. The woman would normally be cool while I smoked anything.  But this once, she brought the two packets to me and said with an indulging smile, ” Here, you could smoke these !” I noticed something soft in her look and accepted the gift with conspicuous joy.

  • Madhu Koda, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand now in jail, grafted INR 35 billion, US$ 700 million approx. The Income Tax department has sent a notice for INR 12 billion towards tax and penalty. So, the swindler can keep the balance INR 23 billion of ill-gotten wealth ? !
  • The Times Of India never fails to join the debate when people opine or suggest that there are dresses which are immodest, which show skin enough to drive perfectly normal men to drooling, some drooling men to coveting, and few coveting men to molesting and raping.

The daily states it loud : ” Nothing can justify rape or molestation.” We all will agree. But I also appreciate the immediately empirical facts about human behaviour : Immodest dresses prompt unacceptable behaviour among few men.

  • There are two broad personality qualifications which prevent one from having the skill or power to choose one’s thought and disposition.

–  One… lethargy, indolence and indifference; and

–  Two… passion, desire and frenzy.

Also, the time of the day could matter ! It is common knowledge that the early hours between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. facilitate the best.

  • The Right To Food Bill is the next most important legislation on the table. But provisions in it are being opposed by the states. It may block its passage in the Parliament, as it happened with the Lokpal and Judicial Accountability bills.
  • The Prime Minister has expressed the hope that media will do away with ” paid news “ on its own. Well, sir, what will compensate the media owners toward loss of revenue such news generate ? And, even before that, what is your own and your party’s crdibility in the matter, being the pioneer and past master at planting motivated and expedient news ?

  • Sunil Gavaskar, the batting legend says, ” Alarm bells are ringing for India.” I am not sure. Do bells sound when there is no one to hear it ?

* * *   * * *

Movie : Imagining Argentina – My Impressions

 

Antonio Banderas has a furrowed brow in the best of the times. In Imagining Argentina, a powerful and disturbing political drama, his look best serves the part of the passive but tortured head, Carlos, of a children’s theatre company in Buenos Aires in late 70s, when Argentina was under a repressive military dictatorship. The leading lady, Emma Thompson, comes across as authoritative, as his character’s journalist wife, Cecilia, with her tight demeanour, pursed lips and hard stare.

As is well known, I have no ability whatsoever of reviewing a movie that involves multiple technologies, abilities and skills. So I will borrow those from more knowledgeable reviewers while weaving my appreciation of the art, the story and style, and what it meant to me.

This is a riveting film but not of the ” popcorn ” kind. It is a labour of love. Imagining Argentina is about the best and the worst within us,  narrated with passion. It does present suspense, devotion and romance, but also a few probing insights into human nature that give credit to its makers. Considering how the information and advertising space is occupied, whether in print or as broadcast on air and the web, it is not surprising that the movie has received little publicity.

I found the narrative beautiful; it kept me on the edge of my seat. The acting is just right to convey the storyof how more than 30,000 people – families, husbands, wives, sons and daughters – disappeared during those years between 1976 and 1983, when the dreaded regime was overthrown. The director, Christopher Hampton adapts the storyline from a prize-winning novel, takes poetic license weave the desperate, helpless and unhappy conditions under which an entire population lived. He imagines, with some realism and a lot of daring. The rather passive protoganist, Carlos, suddenly discovers the ability to see everywhere… all those places of rape, torture and execution, where people and children snatched from their homes were illegally held for weeks and months, if not shot. Carlos could hold the hand of a boy, whose father has disappeared, and divine the parent’s fate. He set up a tent of sorts, drawing the multitudes… heartsick relatives – sad, anxious and weeping – just wanting to know what’s become of their loved ones. Carlos says it, like he sees it, even when he sees their death. That is his single means to rebel, defy, and oppose the all – powerful military dictators and their fascist enterprise.

Hampton, an Oscar winner for his Dangerous Liaisons screenplay, is far more skilled with words than visuals. The conversations between Carlos and Cecilia are smart, allowing Banderas and Thompson to sparkle. It speaks of a conversation they had before they were married, which Cecilia recalls to remind him of a detail he’d forgotten. She tells him, she was explaining to him her desire to be a journalist and asking difficult questions from everybody involved, especially the powers that were. She says, “You said, ‘Ask me a difficult question.’ ” And, she reminds him, she had responded, ” ‘Will you marry me ?’.” The effect, of how she had proposed to him, was magical… to both Carlos, in the movie, and the audience that included me !

Hampton could have been more creative in portraying Carlos’ visions, to distinguish them from scenes carried the story forward. His imaginings are portrayed in the colour and style, not in black and while or grainy, which make it difficult to separate that which was in his visions from the mainstream reality which the director captures in the film. The doubt lingers : Is Carlos on the level or is he a charlatan ? Or, is he gone mad with his personal grief, the loss of his wife and daughter ? On the other hand, the technique offers to the audience the opportunity to regard Carlos’ visions as real, as events truly happened then. An opportunity that I availed.

Carlos can’t see Cecilia as clearly as the strangers he’s asked about by others. On an elusive search to rescue her, he journeys to the countryside, hither and thither, and chances upon an elderly couple, memorably played by Claire Bloom and John Wood, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. It’s from them that he learns how to live with a reality that oppresses, denies, denudes, enslaves, restricts, tortures, rapes and kills. ” Imagine an alternate reality… ” the couple suggest, one that will pervade the mind and suffuse the heart, raise the spirit and strengthen, in contrast to the reality in our sight and experience. Thornton’s work does that in Imagining Argentina, in Carlos’ clairevoyance which becomes a metaphor for rebellion that wins over the neat hordes of subhuman spirit.

In another marvelous conversation, Claire Bloom’s character explains why they keep so many birds on their estate. Hampton neatly ties this in with an ending that’s fills the despairing heart with hope. It’s wonderful, to say the least.

Imagining Argentina adds a postscript listing the number of people who have “disappeared” around the world, including 90,000 in Iraq. It brings the reality of the subject matter closer to us. Despite its several flaws that critics point out, the human – interest film does a fine job of highlighting a major cause of misery that we serve to ourselves. It helps us imagine what it is like to loose our loved ones on account of unbridled drive for power that humans have, and its unchecked misuse that snatch our relatives and friends away from us, you and I who are left behind… feeling and living the dark misery over and over again, in vain.

The movie suggests… if you are living a pervasive nightmare, there is no alternative but to re – imagine it ! For life – giving empathy and positive memory are powerful personal means and long – reaching political instruments in themselves.

* * *   * * *

Argentina’s Dirty War and the regime of Generals from 1976 to 1983 is one of the darkest secrets of history. It has been examined by poets and journalists, by writers such as Colm Toibin and Lawrence Thornton. And yet the silence about this period is deafening, especially since the amnesty which released the perpetrators from all responsibility of that terrible time and their terrifying deeds.

Imagining Argentina is a red flag bravely waving.


In 1976 the intellectuals – professors, journalists and writers – began disappearing… kidnapped and taken to secret hideaways, tortured, raped, and disposed off… all in the cause of protecting the viability of the military regime led by General Videla that projects the ruse of communist avalanche it has sworn to battle against and protect the people from. But fascism and communism are close cousins and, as Argentina’s history of the period shows, it is easy to trip over to the fascist position through battling the communist scourge.

This episode of Argentine history should be remembered as part of human evolution tale.

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