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…

Who are we ?

What is our destiny ?

by Brad Steiger

I find myself now in the seventh decade of life still asking two questions that in one way or another the great majority of my 165 published books have sought to answer: 1.) Who are we as a species? 2.) What is our destiny?

The basic reason that I wrote Worlds Before Our Own (G.P. Putnam‘s Sons, 1978; Anomalist Books, 2007) is that I have always found it incredible that such sophisticated people as we judge ourselves to be, do not really know who we are.

Archaeologists, anthropologists, and various academicians who play the “origins of Man” game, reluctantly and only occasionally acknowledge instances where unique skeletal and cultural evidence from the prehistoric record suddenly appear long before they should — and in places where they should not. These irritating artifacts destroy the orderly evolutionary line that academia has for so long presented to the public. Consequently, such data have been largely left buried in site reports, forgotten storage rooms, and dusty archives where one suspects that there is a great deal of suppressed, ignored, and misplaced pre-historical cultural evidence that would alter the established interpretations of human origins and provide us with a much clearer definition of what it means to be human.

There is now a basic academic consensus that the “homo” lineage goes back at least three million years, and that an ancestor of modern man evolved about one million years ago. Homo Sapiens, the “thinking man,” (our own species), became the dominant planetary life form on a worldwide basis, about 40,000 years ago.

It is difficult enough to explain the sudden appearance of Homo Sapiens at that time, but it is an even more complex question to ponder why Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon man correspondingly disappeared. And academic warfare rages unceasingly over whether or not Neanderthal and our ancestors were two separate species or whether they interbred.

And just as scientists are adding to a growing body of evidence that humankind developed in Africa, a Hungarian excavation surrenders a Homo Sapiens skull fragment in a context more than 600,000 years out of alignment with the accepted calendar of man’s migrations across the planet. Hominid fossils are unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia, indicative of 1.77 million years old; and a homind tooth found in Niocene deposits near the Maritsa River in Bulgaria is dated at seven million years old.

What happens to Darwinian evolution when there are such sites as the one in Australia, which yielded Homo Sapiens (modern man), Homo erectus (our million-year-old ancestor), and Neanderthal (our Stone Age cousin) in what appears to be a contemporaneous environment? Then there is the Tabun site where Homo Sapiens fragments were found in strata below (which means older than) classic Neanderthal bones. In August 2007, scientists dating fossils found in Kenya challenged the conventional view that Homo Habilis (1.44 million years) and Homo erectus (1.55 million years) evolved one after the other. Dating of new fossil evidence revealed that the two species lived side by side in Africa for almost half a million years.

Somewhere, in what would appear to be a biological and cultural free-for-all, there must lie the answer to that most important question: Who are we?

But just as we are trying our best to fit skeletal fragments together in a manner that will be found acceptable to what we believe we know about our origins, footprints are being found in stone, which, if they are what they appear to be, will make a total shambles of our accepted evolutionary calendar. In Pershing County, Nevada, a shoe print was found in Triassic limestone, strata indicative of 400 million years, in which the fossilized evidence clearly revealed finely wrought double-stitching in the seams.

Early in 1975, Dr. Stanley Rhine of the University of New Mexico announced his discovery of human-like footprints in strata indicative of 40 million years old. A few months before, a similar find was made in Kenton, Oklahoma. At almost the same time, a discovery of a footprint in stone was revealed in north-central Wisconsin.

In Death Valley, there is ample fossil and skeletal evidence to indicate that the desolate area was once a tropical Garden of Eden where a race of giants lived and fed themselves with palatable foods taken from the local lakes and forests.

To speak of a race of prehistoric giants in what is now the desert sands of Death Valley is simultaneously to refute the doctrine which decrees that man is a relative newcomer to the North and South American continents. While on the one hand, new radiocarbon dates demonstrate that the Bering Land Bridge and Cordilleran Ice Corridor were not passable until 9000 years ago, an increasing amount of physical evidence indicates that man was surely in this hemisphere much earlier than that recent date.

For one thing, corn, an American contribution to the dinner tables of the world, is said to be, at 9000 years, our oldest domesticated seed crop. Some agriculturist had to be in the Americas more than 9000 years ago in order to domesticate the seed. Ancient squash seeds, peanuts, and cotton balls dated at 8,500 years old found in Peru’s Nanchoc Valley constitute additional evidence that New World farming was well established. Conclusive proof that such ancient farmers did exist in the Americas was offered when a Humble Oil Company drill brought up Mexican corn pollen that was more than 80,000 years old.

The anomalous Indian blood seration and dentition, and the geographic distribution of the American Indian, demands an impossible genetic time scale in which to transform Asiatic immigrants to distinctive New World inhabitants.

Even if we attempt to keep some kind of peace with the accepted theories of New World habitation, we must grant more evolution in 40,000 years in North America than that which took place in more than one million years in Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Skulls found in California, which are clearly those of American Indians, have been dated at 50,000 years old. But we are left with another mystery. A 140,000 year old American Indian type skull (via metric analysis) has been found at an Iranian excavation site.

What of the lost Amerindian civilization of Cahokia, complete with pyramids and a great wall? One site, near the present city of St. Louis, may have contained a metropolis of more than 250,000 North American Indians.

And who constructed the mysterious seven-mile walls of the Berkeley and Oakland, California, hills?

And which pre-Mayan peoples engineered an elaborate waterworks in Yucatan to irrigate crops over 2000 years ago?

The Caracol Tower at Chichen Itza is a remarkable Mesoamerican observatory that seems to have correlated its findings with similar sites in North America, including Mesa Verde, Wichita, and Chaco Canyon.

One of the most heretical theories that I suggest in Worlds Before Our Own is that the cradle of civilization might possibly have traveled from the so-called New World to the Old. Now, in December 2007, years after Ruth Shady Solis found the ancient city of Caral, Peru, scientists have accepted the carbon dating of 2,627 B.C.E., thereby establishing the civilization in South America to be much older than the Harappa Valley towns and the pyramids of Egypt. Caral must now be recognized as “the mother of all civilizations,” the missing link of archaeology, the Mother City.

Scientific knowledge has seemingly been prized by the inhabitants of every culture, known and unknown. Rock engravings, which may be as old as 60 million years, depict in step-by-step illustrations an entire heart-transplant operation and a Cesarean section. The ancient Egyptians used the equivalent of contraceptive jelly and had urine pregnancy tests. The cement used in filling Mayan dental cavities still holds after 1500 years.

No fabric is supposed to have been found until Egypt produced cloth material 5000 years ago. How, then, can we deal with the Russian site which provides spindle whorls and patterned fabric designs more than 80,000 years old?

Not only did the ancient Babylonians appear to use sulphur matches, but they had a technology sophisticated enough to employ complex electrochemical battery cells with wiring. There is also evidence of electric batteries and electrolysis in ancient Egypt, India, and Swahililand.

Remains of a metal-working factory of over 200 furnaces was found at what is now Medzamor in Russian Armenia. Although a temperature of over 1780 degrees is required to melt platinum, some pre-Incan peoples in Peru were making objects of the metal. Even today the process of extracting aluminium from bauxite is a complicated procedure, but Chou Chu, famous general of the Tsin era (265-316 A.D.), was interred with aluminium belt fasteners on his burial costume.

Carved bones, chalk, stones, together with what would appear to be greatly ornamented ”coins,” have been brought up from great depths during well-drilling operations. A strange, imprinted slab was found in a coal mine. The artefact was decorated with diamond-shaped squares with the face of an old man in each ”box.” In another coal-mine discovery, miners found smooth, polished concrete blocks which formed a solid wall. According to one miner’s testimony. he chipped one block open only to find the standard mixture of sand and cement that makes up most typical building blocks of today.

A gold necklace was found embedded in a lump of coal. A metal spike was discovered in a silver mine in Peru. An iron implement was found in a Scottish coal-bed. Estimated to be millions of years older than man is believed to have existed. A metal, bell-shaped vessel, inlaid with a silver floral design was blasted out of solid rock near Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Two hypotheses may explain the presence of these perplexing artifacts: 1) that they were manufactured by an advanced civilization on Earth which, due either to natural or technological catastrophe, was destroyed before our world’s own genesis; 2) that they are vestiges of a highly technological civilization of extraterrestrial origin, which visited this planet millions of years ago, leaving behind various artifacts.

Even if a highly advanced extraterrestrial race might have visited this planet in prehistoric times, it seems unlikely such common, everyday items as nails, necklaces, buckles and vases would have been carried aboard a spacecraft deposited in such widely separated areas; for such artifacts have been found in North and South America, Great Britain, the whole of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Mid-East.

In spite of the general unpopularity of catastrophism, there does seem to be a number of recently discovered “proofs” of ancient cataclysmic changes in the Earth’s crust which may account for the nearly total disappearance of these prehistoric worlds. Geological evidence indicates that these changes were both sudden and drastic might have completely overwhelmed and destroyed the early inhabitants and their cultures.

Perhaps the most potentially mind-boggling evidence of an advanced prehistoric technology that might have blown its parent-culture away is to be found in those sites which ostensibly bear mute evidence of prehistoric nuclear warfare.

Large areas of fused green glass and vitrified cities have been found deep in the strata of archaeological digs at Pierrelatte in Gabon, Africa; the Euphrates Valley; the Sahara Desert; the Gobi Desert; Iraq; the Mojave Desert; Scotland; the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt; and south-central Turkey. In contemporary times, such material as fused green glass has only been known at nuclear testing sites (where the sand had melted to form the substance). It is quite unsettling to some to consider it possible that these sites provide evidence of a prehistoric nuclear war. At the same time, scientists have found a number of uranium deposits that appear to have been mined or depleted in antiquity.

If it is possible that nuclear annihilation of a global civilization did occur in prehistoric times, it seems even more urgent to learn who we really are before we find ourselves doomed to repeat the lessons left to us, by a world before our own.

India : Blooming Tentatively

India Gate
India Gate (Photo credit: bijoy mohan)

India celebrates its independence today.

I believe, it celebrates a transfer the “transfer of power,” from British colonials to Indian occupiers.

India is independent, more or less, depending entirely on how you as a family and as an individual have been able to milk the opportunities it threw up along its course through 66 years. An objective look is unconvincing : there are the Western nations who have leveraged their spoils from this country, and others, with their new found enterprise and apetite for more. They are the first world, with privileges to set the agenda and the terms. That renders other countries less than independent. Diversity and respect for it is more lip service than real; its preservation is more frowned upon than encouraged.

The second world, Russia et al, take their cues from first world’s leadership : the exploitative national interest. It works for them; not for others less fortunate, in might or economic endowment.

Then, in Indian context, is unhappy Pakistan and hegemonising China. They both deliver the “cuts” that makes this nation bleed and mired.

Most Indians are neither free nor empowered to be. All the international debilitents have their internal equivalent who betray the country’s interests, people welfare, development opportunities, social collation, cultural cohesion, political focus and centeredness.

I pray. The world wouldn’t be with much of its enablers and positive moderation without India.

The pic below is a metophor for how India is poised today. Let’s wish ourselves well … blooming tentatively.

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Beauty Of The Quest

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part X : INDIA (1924)

The Talmud relates that the dove brought the first olive branch to Noah from Mount Moriah. And Mount Moriah and the mountain Meru both lie in Asia. Here is the beginning of all things. Here is the source for all travelers and all searchers. Here is raised the first image of the Blessed Maitreya—Messiah—Muntazar, the Messiah now awaited by the Mohammedans. Thrice powerful M ! Here, above all disputes, the teachings have raised up the olive branch of the new world. Here is ordained the universal commune.

Some one voluntarily approached and touched our tent ! Who is this man, with his long black braid and a turquoise earring in his ear, and garbed in a white kaftan ? It is the Lama, Pema Don-dub, the local ikon painter. We ask, “Can you paint for us the Blessed Maitreya, exactly like the one in Tashi-lhunpo ?” He consents and now he sits on a tiny rug in the corner of the white gallery, and with various pigments, paints the Image full of symbols. He prepares the fabric for the painting and covers it with levkas (a mixture of chalk on glue), and irons it with a shell. He works exactly like Russian ikon painters. In the same way does he grind his colors, heat them on a coal pan; and thus does he keep an additional brush in his thick black hair. His Tibetan wife helps him to prepare his colors.

And so, in the corner of the white gallery is being conceived the ingenious image, many-colored. And each symbol upon it more clearly defines the Blessed One. Here is the frightful bird-like Garuda and wise Magi and Ganeshi, elephant of happiness, and Chintamani, the Steed, bearing on its back the miraculous stone, Treasure of the World. A sacred cycle of chosen symbols. And upon the image and the hands is laid pure gold.

Like our ikon painters, the artist lama chants hymns as he labors. The chants become more fervent; this means he is beginning upon the Image itself.

And another wonder occurs, only possible in this land. In the deep twilight when the waxing moon possesses all things, one hears through the house the silvery tones of a handmade flute. In the darkness, the artist lama is sitting upon his rug, playing with rapture before the image of Maitreya-Messiah-Muntazar.

The Strings of the Earth !

Talai-Pho-Brang.


Panoramic Kashmir
Panoramic Kashmir (Photo credit: NotMicroButSoft

PIR-PANZAL (1925)

Where have passed the hordes of the great Mongols ?

Where has the lost tribe of Israel concealed itself ?

Where stands the “Throne of Solomon” ?

Where lie the paths of Christ the Wan­derer ?

Where glow the bonfires of the Shamans, Bon-po, of the religion of demons ?

Where is Shalimar, the gardens of Jehangir ?

Where are the roads of Pamir, Lhasa, Khotan ?

Where is the mysterious cave, Amarnath ?

Where is the path of Alexander the Great to forgotten Taxila ?

Where are the walls of Akbar ?

Where did Ashvagosha teach ?

Where did Avan-tisvamin create ?

Where are the citadels of Chandragupta-Maurya ?

Where are the stones of wisdom of King Asoka ? . . .

All have passed by way of Kashmir. Here lie the ancient ways of Asia. And each caravan flashes by as a connecting link in the great body of the East. Here are the sandy deserts on the way to Peshawar; and the blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-La. And in the flight of the eagles is the same untiring spirit; in the fleet steed is the same unalterable motion. Nor does the world of roses and shawls of Kashmir resemble that forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.

Sacre du Printemps“— when we composed it together with Stravinsky, we could not conceive that Kashmir would greet us with its very setting. In Ghari, camping out by night, when the vivid spring sky became afire with stars and the mountains were azured, we observed rows of fires upon the mountains. The fires started into motion, separated and strangely circled about. Then the mountain slopes became aglow with these fiery processions. And in the village below, dark silhouettes began to whirl about brandishing resin torches on long staffs. The flaming circles proclaimed the end of winter frosts. And the songs proclaimed the Sacred Spring. This is the festival of the Ninth of March.

Bulbul,” the nightingale, sings on the apple tree. The cuckoo reckons out a long life. White linens are spread on the meadow and a samovar is boiling. Red and yellow apples and sweet cakes are passed around to those seated upon the spring grass. The eyes of the violets and the white and yellow narcissus are woven into a many-hued carpet. At evening, flocks of ducks and geese completely cover the tiny islands over the lakes. Small bears steal out on the spring glades. But none fears them—unless the mother-bear is with her cubs. . . .

The river banks are sloping. A line of boatsmen steer their canopied boats. . . . Upon a broad road the oxen drag themselves and the wheels grind along. Three-hundred-year-old plantains and tall poplars guard the ways. And the teeth of the encoun­tered travelers gleam often in the smile of greeting.

In the sheds lie the sleighs—veritable Moscow sleighs. In the yard, a crane screeches above the well. The straw roof is over­grown with green moss. Along the road are gnarled willow trees. And the greetings of the children are noisy. But where is this ? Is it in Schuya or Kolomna? It is in Srinagar, in the “City of the Sun.”

Tiny, big-bellied pillars—small ornamental designs—steep little steps of stone—the gilded roofs of the temple—creaking, orna­mented window-shutters—rusty locks—low little doors with their “curtesy”—carved balustrades—slanting tiles on stony floors—the odor of old lacquer—small windows with diminutive panes. Where are we then ? Is this the Kremlin of Rostov ? Are these the monasteries of Suzdal ? Are they the temples of Yaroslavl ? And what of the endless flocks of daws ? What of the naked branches behind the windows ? This is the chief palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir. How curious is everything which re­mains from antiquity. But the modern additions are hideous.

Upon the road are many Fords. In the hotel dining room one sees the faces of Americans. In the jewelry shop, side-by-side, hang two paintings—one of the view of Delhi, the other the view of the Moscow Kremlin. Among the crystals into which one gazes for destiny; among the sapphires of Kashmir and the Tibetan turquoises, are shimmering green Chinese jadaites—and like a garden, many-colored are the borders of the embroidered kaftans. Like precious shawls, the rooms of the museum are strewn with minute Iran-designs and “Gandhara,” belabored by destiny, unifies the cleft branches of West and East.

In the styles of the temples and mosques; in the angular carved dragons; in the tentlike, sloping hexagonal tower, is seen an unexpected combination of the old wooden churches of Norway and the Chinese pagodas. Out of one well is drawn the Roman­esque Chimera, the animal ornaments of Altai and the tiny animals of Chinese Turkestan and China. The Siberian paths of the nations have carried afar the same meaning of adornment.

The fort of Akbar stands firmly planted. But after you have climbed the steepnesses and flights, you may perceive that the old bricks and the claybeaten cement barely hold together. The arches are ready to give way.

Nishad, the garden of Akbar, occupies the site from the lake to the hill—a high place. The structures are modest and upon the corners are the little towers so beloved by him. They are characterized by simplicity and brightness.

Shalimar—the garden of Jehangir—is also in character with its possessor, standing “for itself.” There is less of outward show, but more of luxury—of that luxury which brought the descend­ants of the Moguls to poverty. The last Mogul, in Delhi, secretly sold furniture out of the palace and destroyed the valuable fac­ings of the walls of Shah Jehan and Aurungzeb. Thus ended the great dynasty.

The weaver of Kashmir accompanied the making of each of his designs with a special chant. Such a searching for rhythm reminds us of the great harmony of labor.

No song relates why the mountain “Throne of Solomon” bears this name. This is a place of such antiquity. Janaka, son of Asoka, had already dedicated here one of the first Buddhist temples. Seven centuries later the temple was rebuilt and con­secrated to Mahadeva. . . . But whence comes the name of Solomon? The mountain received the name of Solomon from a legend that Solomon, desiring a respite from the conventions of a sovereign’s life and from the burdens of his court, trans­ported himself upon a flying carpet to this mountain with his favorite wife. Here, again, we come upon the mention of that “flying apparatus” possessed by Solomon. A similar mountain is in Turkestan and in Persia.

It is not alone the mountain “Throne of Solomon” which transports the consciousness into biblical spheres. In the valley of Sindh the prophet Elijah is reverenced in a special manner. Most stirring are the legends; how the prophet sitting in his cave saves fishermen and travelers. Under various aspects, at times benevolent, at times stormy, the prophet appears to defend the works of justice and piety. Mohammedans and Hindus, divided by many differences, equally reverence the prophet Elijah.

Purple iris will always recall Moslem cemeteries. They are covered with these flowers. But there is also joy. The lilacs have blossomed, lilies of the valley are nodding and the wild cherry tree glistens.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gate


Journal : Thoughts On Iran

Iranians need help, not war or sanctions, to oust their regime,” said Reza Pahlavi in Al Arabiya News in May last year.

http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/18/214828.html

Reza Shah Sadabad Palace (کاخ-موزه سبز (قصر سن...

There is no doubt about the Persian influence in Middle East and Central Asia region. It flows from history. Nothing that the West has in mind will change that.

Reza Pahlavi’s views comes across as sensible, sane and insightful, over the noises orchestrated in the media for a while now. He calls upon Israel to help the Iranian people in toppling the current regime instead of launching military attacks against the country to stop its nuclear program. Any misadventure on part of Israel and US – a war on Iran now – will cause a tension with Jewish people worse than it already is with. In fact, it would regress by milleniums, back to how it was during the reign of Cyrus the Great.

Besides, a war against Iran will not achieve the end… because the nuclear program will not really stop. It will only be delayed for a while, Reza says. The only real solution lies in overthrowing the present “Ayatollah” regime. I believe no one in the world would disagree with that.

The programme to waylay the current establishment does not pass through economic sanctions, but is best routed through standing by the Iranian people. People uprisings in recent past has reflected the public apathy for their government… but they are unarmed and know that violence would only bring out the regime’s superiority, its arms and massive cadres schooled by the regime and paid to serve their masters with dedication.

Civil disobedience is the more viable option. When diplomacy fails and war is an unfavorable option, only the Iranian people weigh upon the regime from inside, Reza suggests. Taking the regime’s “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity would also be in order, for best effect… a proposal that would require the Security Council’s recommendation since Iran was not a signatory to the Rome Statute, as was done to bring the former president of Ivory Coast on trial. The Ayatollah aides could then be indicted by the reformed justice system within Iran.

Admitting to plaints of the Shah regime’s several drawbacks, Reza stresses that it was not as bad for the people of Iran as the present one. He slams the Iranian establishment for discriminating against minorities and wished making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the foundation for Iran’s new constitution. The diversity prevailing in Iran could be protected through decentralisation, he feels, by granting a measure of autonomy to each of the provinces, which would then be able to safeguard the rights of minorities and guarantee equality among all citizens. The ethnic groups could have the right to keep their language and further their respective culture.

The response of people on the Al Arabiya web page have been encouraging. A reader lists the three groups of people who would oppose Reza Pahlavi’s suggestions : the Mojahedin, the Fadayain and the Republic’s Ayatollah regime :

Apart from this minority, over 80% of the Iranian people support Reza Pahlavi or are neutral !” He remains a key political figure popular among the people of Iran.

A Parsi representative of the pre-Islamic people of Iran points out that there was no other country he knew of with as extreme a chasm between the people and their government. The Iranian people were cultured, fairly well educated, tolerant, hospitable, hard working and enterprising. In contrast, he lambasts, “these scum bags” have taken the people of Iran to Arbestan of 1400 years ago and have left a legacy of widespread poverty, high unemployment, total lack of respect for women and human rights, an oppressive judiciary as practiced in the seventh century, prostitution through poverty, six million drug addicts and corruption galore. The Iranian people have nothing against anyone except the mullahs and their ways.

Another reader lauds the Shah leadership while castigating the brutality of the ruling clerics. He says, the Shah brought modernity into Iran. He encouraged liberal education both at home and abroad, had social programs and policies to help women… while the Islamists were committing acts of violence across the country and blaming the Shah for cracking down on their brutality. These sub-humans are doing the same…now.

A reader in the West compares Reza Pahlavi with Nelson Mandela, which seems a stretch. But more fair on the balance, he adds, ” Though I cannot agree with everything Mr. Pahlavi says, the important point is that the people of Iran know his love for the country. He is seeking a better life for all Iranians, much like his father did. We had a very good life back during the Shah’s reign. I was young and don’t remember much but I would want Shahzadah Reza Pahlavi back in Iran and back in power….”

Of course, at the head of a democratic government, the reader adds.

Perhaps he is informed of the disconnect the Pahlavis developed with their own people while catering to Western interests, taking to their ways, and pushing the country with unacceptable fait accompli.

Shah-i-Zinda

A Memory Out Of The Blues

IIT_Kharagpur_Main_Building

I remembered Kiron … #IITKharagpur #PatelHall from 33 years back.

But let me ease you in the context.

I’d cooked “the best fish in the world.”

That’s no hyperbole; there were just two very discriminating palates sharing the half a kilo delicacy

and they didn’t stop raving about it, congratulating each other after dinner. I swear.

It hadn’t been too bad a day too; the day before yesterday was depressing, which I blogged about.

Today was merely warm and humid, a condition that makes me profoundly uncomfortable and unhappy but also brings my immense patience to fore.

So why did I remember Kiron Bhat, and how ? Mind you, the charming person was a “he” proper if the name confounds. And he was not even my friend, one who would be in the group that goes out on “adda” or loafs about for a good glimpse of the female form. He was two years my senior; his mates I remember were Vam, Kunal, Joe, Som …

We lived in the same hostel, Patel Hall Of Residence, during our days in the alma mater. We were friendly if not chums, sharing a high smoke or two and tossing up a glass of drink, which would be always welcome but mostly obnoxious. We would have hailed each other while passing by or would have had a conversation in the foyer or in the canteen on the first floor.

But I did remember Kiron today evening, at great length, beaming some of the sketches across to the goddess spread in the easy chair before me. The trigger was fish; or must have been, from the image I powerfully recalled : Kiron, on the other side of the service slab in the mess, putting marinated pieces of fish ever so tenderly in the boiling curry, not unlike a Master Chef who knew precisely the dish he wanted it to turn out.

We all waited, excited. Back them, I’d have it but had no great love for the aquatic animal. But this was special. And Kiron was kicked happy, smiling, sure and assurance personified. The fish was probably “bhetki” — a delicate one to prepare but not too messy to partake. There was a chatter full of expectation.

Remembering you Kiron Bhat : Your small dark face with a stubble or a frenchie, curly hair, slender build, amiable and always helpful, ready to appreciate a joke with a good laugh. And the charming smile …

Where are you, Kiron Bhat ? Do your mates hear my call ?

Bless you … wherever you are !

And, thank you, even if it is 33 years late.

PT

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.

*  *  *

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.

*  *  *

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 !

*  *  *

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

Light, Beauty And Truth.

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part IX : INDIA (1924)

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

In the twilight under the flowing stars, in the purple sheen of the mist, sounds the soft voice of the lama, telling his calm tale of the “King of the World,” of His power, of His action and wisdom, of His legions, in which each warrior shall be possessed of some extraordinary gift. And he tells of the dates of the new age of general well-being.

The tale is taken from an ancient Tibetan book, wherein, under symbolic names, are given the future movements of the Dalai-Lama and Tashi-Lama, which have already been fulfilled. There are described the special physical marks of rulers under whom the country shall fall during the reign of the monkeys. But afterwards the rule shall be regained and then will come Someone of greatness. His coming is calculated in twelve years —which will be in 1936.

When the time came for the Blessed Buddha to depart from this earth He was asked by four lords of Dharmapala to bequeath to mankind His image. The Blessed One consented and desig­nated the most worthy artist, but the artist could not take the exact measurements because his hand trembled when he ap­proached the Blessed One. Then said Buddha, “I shall stand near the water. Thou shalt take the measurements from my reflection.” And the artist was thus enabled to do so, and exe­cuted four images, modeled from a sacred alloy of seven metals. Two of these images are now in Lhasa and the remaining two are still hidden until the appointed time.

One Tibetan ruler married Chinese and Nepal princesses in order that through them he might attract to Tibet the two sacred images of Buddha.

Twelve hundred years after Buddha, the teacher Padma Sambhava brought closer to men the teachings of the Blessed One. At the birth of Padma Sambhava all the skies were aglow and the shepherds saw miraculous tokens. The eight-year-old Teacher was manifested to the world in the Lotus flower. Padma Sambhava did not die but departed to teach new countries. Had he not done so the world would be threatened with disaster.

In the cave Kandro Sampo, not far from Tashi-ding, near a certain hot spring, dwelt Padma Sambhava himself. A certain giant, thinking to penetrate across to Tibet, attempted to build a passage into the Sacred Land. The Blessed Teacher rose up and growing great in height struck the bold venturer. Thus was the giant destroyed. And now in the cave is the image of Padma Sambhava and behind it is a stone door. It is known that behind this door the Teacher hid sacred mysteries for the future. But the dates for their revelation have not yet come.

Wherefore do the giant trumpets in the Buddhist temples have so resonant a tone ? The ruler of Tibet decided to summon from India a learned lama, from the place where dwelt the Blessed One, in order to purify the fundamentals of the teaching. How to meet the guest ? The High Lama of Tibet, having had a vision, gave the design of a new trumpet so that the guest should be received with unprecedented sound; and the meeting was a wonderful one—not by the wealth of gold but by the grandeur of sound !

Why do the gongs in the temple ring out with such great volume ? And, as silver, resound the gongs and bells at dawn and evening, when the atmosphere is tense. Their sound re­minds one of the legend of the great Lama and the Chinese emperor. In order to test the knowledge and clairvoyance of the Lama, the emperor made for him a seat from sacred books and covering them with fabrics, invited the guest to sit down. The Lama made certain prayers and then sat down. The emperor demanded of him, “If your knowledge is so universal, how could you sit down on the sacred books ?” “There are no sacred volumes,” answered the Lama. And the astonished em­peror, instead of his sacred volumes, found only blank papers. The emperor thereupon gave to the Lama many gifts and bells of liquid chime. But the Lama ordered them to be thrown into the river, saying, “I will not be able to carry these. If they are necessary to me, the river will bring these gifts to my monastery.” And indeed the waters carried to him the bells, with their crystal chimes, clear as the waters of the river.

Talismans… A mother many times asked her son to bring to her a sacred relic of Buddha. But the youth forgot her request. She said to him, ‘I shall die here before your eyes if you will not bring it to me now.’ The son went to Lhasa and again forgot the mother’s request. A half day’s journey from his home, he recalled the promise. But where can one find sacred objects in the desert ? There is nought. But the traveler espies the skull of a dog. He decides to take out a tooth and folding it in yellow silk he brings it to the house. The old woman asks of him, ‘Have you forgotten again my last request, my son ?’ He then gives her the dog’s tooth wrapped in silk, saying, ‘This is the tooth of Buddha.’ And the mother puts the tooth into her shrine, and performs before it the most sacred rites, directing all her worship to her holy of holies. And the miracle is accomplished. The tooth begins to glow with pure rays and many miracles and sacred manifestations result from it.”

A man searched for twelve years for Maitreya-Buddha. No­where did he find him, and becoming angry, he rejected his faith. As he walked along his way he beheld one who with a horsehair was sawing an iron rod, repeating to himself, “If the whole of life is not enough yet will I saw this through.” Con­fusion fell upon him— “What mean my twelve years,” he said, “in the face of such persistence ? I will return to my search.” Thereupon Maitreya-Buddha himself appeared before the man and said, “Long already have I been with you but you did not see me, and you repulsed me and spat upon me. I will make a test. Go to the bazaar. I will be upon your shoulder.” The man went, aware that he carried Maitreya. But the men around him shrank from him, closing their noses and eyes. “Wherefore do you shrink from me, people ?” he asked. “What a fright you have on your shoulder—an ill-smelling dog full of boils!” they replied. Again the people did not see Maitreya-Buddha, for each beheld only what he was worthy of seeing.

The lama says, “There are three kinds of teaching—one for the stranger, one for our own, and the third for the initiated who can retain. Now through ignorance they slaughter animals, they drink wine, they have property and eat meat and live squalidly. Does religion permit all this ? Where is beauty, there is teaching; where is teaching, there is beauty.

The people here are sensitive. Your emotions and desires are transmitted so easily. Therefore know clearly what you desire. Otherwise instead of Buddha you shall behold the dog.

That which is hidden in the past is not of importance—that which in age-old books, copied and unfinished, lies covered with dust. For the new construction, that which now resolves itself into life is important. Not through library shelves but through the living word is measured the possibility of future structures.

Under Kinchenjunga are secreted the caves in which are rest­ing the treasures. In stone coffins the cave dwellers are praying, torturing themselves in the name of the future. But the sun has already defined the future; not in secret caves, but in full sunlight one perceives the worship and expectation of Maitreya-Buddha. It is now three years since the Tashi Lama solemnly and openly dedicated the great New Image in his Tashi-lhunpo. The intense, invisible work progresses.

The Tashi Lama is now on his way to Mongolia by way of China. Unprecedented through the ages is this event. Mystery ! Incidentally, it may be that through Sikhim passed only the ab­ducting detachment and the Lama himself moved on to Mon­golia.

On a sacred morning upon the mountain started to glow rows of fire—another mystery !

Just now the wave of attention is turned toward Tibet—behind the mountain rampart events are stirring, but Tibetan secrecy is great. Information is contradictory. Whither disappeared the Tashi Lama ? What military manoeuvers proceed on the Chinese border ? What transpires on the Mongolian line ? A year of events !

Sikhim is called the land of lightning. Of course, here also occurs lightning but is it not simpler to call it “the land of future steps” ? For it would be difficult to imagine a better threshold to the mysteries of the future than this unexplored, rarely pene­trated country of rocks and flowers.

As behind a tiny silver apple on a saucer, do the hills and steps of the Himalayas reveal themselves. Hundreds, perhaps more, are the monasteries in Sikhim, each crowning the top of a summit. A small temple in Chakong; a big suburgan and monastery in Rinchenpong. Upon the next mountain appears gleaming white Pemayangtse, still higher, Sanga Chöling. Tashi-ding is almost unseen. On the other side of the valley is Daling and opposite Robling and still nearer Namtse. For a distance of forty miles one may behold the monasteries, for we must not forget that here one sees extremely far.

And again before us is the wall to Tibet. And not the back­bone of the lizard but the snow-white girdle is outlined upon the peaks of this wall—the girdle of the earth. Let us point the arrow northward—there must be the base of Mount Meru.

English: I took this photo of the 110 ft (35 m...
110 ft (35 metre) Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River, Nubra Valley near Diskit Monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Awakening …

Of  Religion, Enlightenment and Liberation (Moksha) …

” It’s great to be born into religion but terrible to die in one.”  ~ Swami Vivekananda

Русский: Свами Вивекананда Свами Вивекананда в...

Religion has connotations :

To the historically aware in the West, it is dogmatic …

and has led to cramping of man’s urge for freedom, Inquisition, Crusades,

social hold to power by the clergy, priviledged heirarchy

of self-proclaimed God representativess … That’s a lot of history to beware of !

In India, on the #Sanatan way, religion has aimed for liberation, of absolute kind …

to freeing the individual of all books, limiting religious practices,

and every other hold on man’s spiritual expansion.

It’s all that man needs for his spiritual, mental and physical well-being !

Hence, “secularism” has a meaning in the Western context,

and our West inspired members of Constituent Assembly included it our constitution.

Indian courts of law have consistently deemed Hinduism to be non-religious, to being a way of life.

The word “secularism” has hence no meaning, no context in the #Sanatan way.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures (forms) of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Jung

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung

Secular enlightenment sets the human being up with knowledge,

intellectual insight –  with humanity and humanism.

Spiritual enlightenment is the next level,

where the entire life and the whole existence is embraced.

 

Liberation, the summum bonum, is quite quite another …

–  where the discrimination between mtl form and ego being is absolute and permanent.

–  where the discrimination between mental form and witness being is absolute and permanent.

–  where discrimination between spiritual form and pure consciousness is absolute and permanent.

" Die Inquisition in Portugall " - O...

 

* * *

I’m back to challenge this namby-pamby-ness … (in the Buddhist way of constant prayer to save oneself from the rough impacts of life on our being, cycles of peace and discontentment, agitation and calm, etc.)

One, the mind is agitated not only because of discontentment. Sometimes, life throws up a situation when we have fight for what seems just, or an event is rolling in to harm all that is dear to us … but this love for fake peace will forever throw us into a paralysis, when the need of the hour is that we deliberately allow power to flow into the mind and vitality, and wield it. 

Two, even in the case of discontentment, when the mind is agitated, it is good … for that is how it will exhast itself. We only need to be awake while it happens. That capacity to remain wakeful is important, not a constant call for some imagined calm.

Life is … face it with strength, embrace it with love. Come what agitation, we must remain awake to make deliberate choices, love even the enemy we are fighting against, and live through the experience mindfully as it happens.

With that strength and capacity to discriminate, love and struggle, perhaps, life itself will sue for peace that we will gratefully accept with honour, while putting aside our guard and allowing relief to take over. One day … life itself will open the way to peace and contentment — in reality, not just in our wailing imagination.

That is the Sanatan way … as distinct from the Buddhist one.

Journal : Legend And Conjuration

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part VIII : INDIA (1924)

Are the inhabitants of Sikhim poor ?

Where there are no riches there is no poverty. The people are living simply.

Upon the hills, amidst blossoming trees, stand the quiet little houses. Through the colored branches shine the bright stars and glimmer the snow-covered peaks. Here are people carrying their vege­tables; here, they pasture their cattle and smile kindly. Here, with fairylike music they walk along the steep paths in wedding processions. Knowing of reincarnation they quietly cremate the bodies. And they are singing. Mark, they are often singing.

Verily, one can sing under a canopy of various flowers and plants. Orchids, like colorful eyes, cling to the trunks of the giant trees. Pink, purple and yellow bouquets are strewn along the way like bright sparks. And these are not simply plants; many have their ancient powers of healing.

Nature awaits here full of gifts. Come hither and be cured. Charura, Parura, Orrura are the three important curative fruits against cough, cold and fever. Charura is like a yellow cherry; Parura like a green chestnut and Orrura like a yellowish-green crab-apple. All three are sharp to the taste and full of tannin. Here is the red bark of Aku Ombo, to cure wounds. Salve against fever is Sergi Phurba, like a dry giant bean. Chuta, the dry bitter root, will cure swelling and heal the throat. Bassack is a brown powder for colds. The red-stemmed Tze produces magenta; bitter Purma is for incenses. A broth from the roots of Berekuro is effective for women’s ailments. The flowers of Dangero heal the stomach, much like the flower of the red rhodo­dendron; while the leaf of Dysro is a disinfectant for wounds. Memshing Pati is a sacred plant in Nepal, where it is used for head ornaments at festivals. Endless are the useful plants…

The leaves of the herb Ava Duti are said “to soften” stones, just as do the “snow-frogs” * in the Himalayas. Therefore, if upon a stone you see the print of an elk’s foot or the paw of an animal, it seems they have eaten or touched this wondrous herb. Turning again to legends : near Phalut, on the road to Kanchenjunga, grows a precious plant, the black aconite. Its flower lights up at night, and by its glow one locates this rare plant. Here again is the trace of the legend of the Russian fire flower, that enchanted blossom which fulfills all wishes— and which leads us not to superstition but to that same source wherein so much still lies concealed.

* Snow-frogs”—a legend which attributes to snow-frogs the ability to soften stones.

Before our gates was found a strange gift. The branches of a fir tree, rhododendron and some other plants were there, with their leaves pointing to our house, and covered with a flat stone. This is a conjuration (Sunnium) and the man who raises this offering receives upon himself all which is sworn upon it, whether of good or evil, sickness or sorrow, or joy. For many days it lay there and even horses shied at it. The same conjuration we observed in the suburb of Jaipur; there in the middle of a street, in a flat basket, lay a lamb’s liver, flowers and three silver rupees. None touched them. These conjurations are of very ancient origin.

Everywhere are legends of the accidental discoveries of sacred spots, the revelation of which was followed by dumbness and even death. Thus it is told that one Shikari (a hunter) in Assam, accidentally wandered into a sacred place and beheld its mys­teries, and when he attempted to reveal them he was stricken dumb.

On the shore of the sea is moving a stick. It moves on alone and near the top of it is tied a lighted tinder. Thus do the conjurers of the coast of Malabar invoke their conjurations to burn the house of an enemy. Doctor Jones of Calcutta tried to overtake such a stick but it “walked away” beyond his own pace.

A legend from around Mongolia : “A venerated mother died and her son was desirous that a high lama possessed of exalted powers should perform the services over her. But such a lama could not be found. The son at the moment of death deposited the spirit of the departing one into a sandalwood casket, strongly sealed this sanctuary and himself invited the best lamas from Tibet. The lamas concentrated upon the casket; one of them be­gan to change in countenance, first becoming red, then blue from exertion. Then suddenly the casket burst into splinters before the eyes of all. This lama was able to free the spirit and thus could perform the service.”

The people here know everything; they have heard everything. One can remember and disclose all things in the twilight : of “Nam-Yg” (heavenly letters)—the letters and sacred books which are falling from heaven; of rings of silver or turquoise which change their color as a sign of foreboding and warning; of Si, the stone bead, sent from heaven to guard the health; of the finding of objects which disappear afterward. All this is known.

A woman was very pious and dreamt that she might receive the image of Buddha. Working in the morning amid her flowers she discovered an image and brought it into her shrine. But soon she forgot it and Buddha disappeared from the shrine. Next time the woman found in her garden a whirling sparkling stone and put it into a coffer and forgot it. Then the stone disappeared. Neglect always results in the disappearance of the bestowed happiness.

Do not record the things which can be read in books but those which are related to you in person; for those thoughts are the living ones. Not by the book but by the thought shall you judge life.

Understand the sparks of the primordial bliss.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

Truth & I

This is a spin off from a discussion on the web … on God !

“Is this not an important part of the dynamic multidimensional mind …

Can you find nothing of value with meeting this view, at least as a challenge ?”

My response to the plea is that starting any discussion with God is a bad idea.

Perhaps, ending up at that would make for more sensible exchange.

Consider, what God can we really speak of while we know so little about ourselves ? Sharing personal experiences is fine because that would be on an informal and subjective matter. But to write something on stone would be premature without a clear perception in our truth, with which others can relate and which one can stand up and defend using commonly understood terms.

I do speak of bliss and the Self because they are in our experience and notion; it isn’t the same as speaking of God. Is God relevant to the dog sucking on the bone ? I am not sure if he is even aware of God, but it is plain that nobody in the entire universe is more pleased, fed and satisfied than a dog with a bone. And, like it, our senses need their respective objects to home in, not God as a hard, formal entity. Experience is a matter between the world and us, or us and ourself, subject to rules and laws, norm and order. And the Self is indisputably evident to each one of us.

When I broach bliss infinite, I also speak of zero identity, silence and love, and of the process to take ourself from being between the world and ourself, from sense and vanity, to love without object, to silence without thought. What remains is peace that I term as bliss infinite. So when people with vanity speak of God, I instantly choose to be counted with atheists.

It’s impossible to find someone without vanity ordinarily, much less hear him speak… of God. I am fortunate to have met one such and have heard him speak, when it was plain that he was referring to the all-inclusive truth supreme. The common skepticism at any mention of the over-individualised notion of “inner reality” is understandable. I mean, only an overly vain person would com-municate notions of the “inner” to the dog perched on his senses !

The dog is equally an individual and he ‘knows’ that all other individuals are no different. He would be right in wondering what the whole babble and brouhaha was all about. Almost all voluntary attempts by us at introspection are short-lived and prove to be more of fad or diversion, which make no difference to the individual’s spiritual content or moral perspective. Forced attempts, imposed by others, are worse. 

There is something fateful or innate at work when the introspection abides for long, deepens with increasing withdrawal from material values, without loss of honesty. There is a surge of courage and quiet determination to live by one’s own accepted truths.

* * *

Dawkins was in Jaipur and I found his view a lot more balanced, less bigoted and militant. All knowledge or realisation must deal with morality. As an aside, that is my compelling argument against intellectual property rights. What damned “rights” on knowledge of any kind ? Or, why must we have to give references, when all of what we wish to say is ours, with us ? If it’s not, we shouldn’t be saying it anyway.

The formal aspect of Truth or truths is onerous. There are libraries out there where it goes dry. It is the informal one that I wish to put across : it is mine… and for that reason could be shared with everyone. That Truth is… my HOME, that which is truly me and mine, which I am, with which I can rest without fear, be absolutely free and fulfilled, which nothing in the whole universe can remove or distort. There is no other Truth than the one which is our Home. 

This is no parable I’ve begun. People are spent on a ” home ” for themselves. They build, buy, rent one for their body… a house or apartment, car or craft. But then the worst amongst us, who constitute the 99%, come to believe that the home they have so invested in is also the ”home” to their emotion, to their thought, their identity, and their happiness !

What is concurrent within us, the ego-person, is a build up and an intensification of vanity… which says : I possess; I win; I acquire; I am successful. It is all a matter of process that is normal to our drive and inevitable in our quest.

But, as surely as sure can be, it is vanity too that blocks our outgrowing, our evolution and progression into the true Home …

for our emotion – which is Love,

for our thought – which is Silence,

for our identity – which is Void, and

for our spirit – which is Bliss Infinite. 

The vain phenomenon limits us to what we have, even as it automatically makes us pore over all that we do not have. Without liberating ourself from that acquisitive pitch, we can never give up our right to pride … and can hence never view people with Love or see things with Silence.

To my mind, these are the real aspects and issues to spirituality : Home of the Self and being Void of Vanity. I find these ideals more pertinent to my quest than God. It is these that will address the monstrous twists with which we reduce ourselves to the gutter.  

I myself have experience with belief in God … the Hindu way, which posits that God is all there is in eveidence. It served to connect me better with others, the environment around, and with the wider universe. It topped up my capacity to accept life and its experiences, both happy and sad. It also shored up my ability to remain focused on whatever I had set for myself and fortified my moral strength through clarifying my values perspective.

But I’d fully appreciate if one did not believe in God and could still avail the stated capacity, ability and strength for himself.

* * *  

Our monstrous idiot, Digvijay Singh of the Congress Party, says :  

Can an individual be allowed to hurt the sentiments of the ”people ?” 

My answer is a clear ” Yes,” provided the individual is true to himself in intent and the mode and manner is completely non–violent. I can visualise the Charvaka, the Jain, the Advaiti and the Buddhist … standing in the courtyard of a temple, before a Vaishnava shrine or any place of worship or congregation, professing their contrary beliefs without any physical obstruction or violent opposition. 

That is the culture of this land from ancient times.

That is what we must all affirm today. 

Freedom is above all the freedom of speech and expression… which must allow every person to say what the people do not want to hear, what they disagree with, and what they might find hurtful to their belief.

Of course, I repeat, with the caveat that the expression be accompanied with peace in mode and manner. 

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 : Musings …

#Lobby : The Other Side Of Corruption http://t.co/obVaESPD– red de publicación y opinión http://t.co/QJODQgw5
“At $ 17,500, the grand old #Saudi man was purchasing sexual comfort for lifetime ! The great Custodian Of Mecca #Islam #Muslim #Sharia”
“‎#Owaisi All bravado vanished in a moment ! Indian #Muslims ought to see this lying coward, apology of a ” leade,” resort to excuse.”
“‎#Congress is status quo party. #UPA the corrupt regime. WOMEN BEWARE of rape. MEN, your unlivable margins. YOUTH, your unaffordable educ’n.”
“‎#Jharkhand Govt in crisis : Time for some horse play, Koda style. High time too, for the honourable legislators to fetch some crores !”
“‎#Syria That US co-opted UN Secy-Gen, Ban Ki Moon, finds Assad’s speech “not good enough.” It isn’t it abt Syrians anymore, eh ?”
“In a poll @timesofindia asks, Who’s most “desirable” amongst 100 females. How shl men imagine ? Coffee or a porn session with them ? #WTF”
“‎#Pakistan ensures relevance 2 #India thru 1 LOC cross border violations 2 Lauching / encouraging terror attacks & 3 Paid Media / #AmanKiAsha”
“We hv a bumbling, incompetent State. But our Police in #AndhraPradesh also wets its Khakhis with fear when faced with criminals ! #Owaisi”
“What is rarest of the rare in law ? Bereaved nephew n husband of stabbed-raped pregnant women asks :http://t.co/5WU3mM92 Let’s #SHOUT”
“‎#Asaram’s statements do not surprise. Not after Nirmal Baba. What astounds is his followership ! R these idiots from Bharat or India ?”
“Bhagwat, Owaisi 2 sides of coin, says #JD-U leader; #BJP protests http://t.co/otDYZ0GG || Huh … what a partner, what a party leadership !”
“Panel headed P Chidambaram recommends up to 50 % reduction in base price for 2G auction that will begin March 11.http://t.co/kDd3O2kZ
“Why can’t the #IndianJudiciary disrupt itself ? Remember, how numb n dumb it got when #ShantiBhushan publicly challenged them !”
“Why is the #IndianJudiciary so dumb abt improving itself, taking action against errant judges, so drooling abt post-retirement assignments ?”
“I am a voice without a form. It may be that I shall find it good to get outside of my body-to cast it off like a worn-out garment. But I shall not cease to work! I shall inspire men and women everywhere, until the world shall know that it is one with God.”
“We do not have to define our #self ! We only need to discover, and be. #Life
“Who am I … is a point of departure when we r attain the choice of dissolving in the answer, whereafter our individuated #being is over !”
“‎#AlQaida already owns north Mali, Somalia, getting strong in Turkey, Tunisia, Maldives, Yemen, Algeria ! Taliban set 2 b back in Afghan. 2/2″
“‎#AlQaida chief’s bro met Syria armed opposition. Is that #US strategy : Let Syria go the way of Libya n Egypt ? 1/2”
“‎#SC commutes death to life coz the barbaric perpetrator of heinous double crime, murder + rape, was drunk ! ? Did it bar him from drinking ?”
“How #ChurchOfEngland ties itself in knots : Women were anyways barred. Now gay bishops in civil partnership are allowed but if celibate …”
“‎#UPA Govt is back 2 its usual “political” comfort. Shiela’s sham padyatra, Alka Lamba‘s insistence, Police chief’s continued fabrication …”
“‎#Nirbhaya’s friend : This #UPA Govt showed respect 4 the citizen and initiated change only when faced with public anger, not otherwise !”
“This division of same geography between Bharat n #India is needless. It is similar in effect 2 how politicians hv bn dividing our society.”
“‎#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.”
“‎#India How sorry, despicable n sad our politicians and judiciary seems … one is most empowered, the other most honourable. All drooling !”
“Believe me, nothing whatsoever different … my winter evening time menu is fixed – the cap rotates anticlockwise on the colourless, odourless warming thrill with anything light titbits, followed by a sumptuous bowl of hot soup, and a cup of great unflavoured Coorg coffee, when everybody else goes off to sleep and I to my essays !”
 My bond with every soul who aspires to honesty and truth, to serve the good and joy in creation and stand with those who suffer, no matter the failures, is a million times stronger than any relationship others might claim to have with me. It is the rule I have scrupulously lived by through over half my lifetime. Wish you the best of health and fortune through 2013 …

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 Modern Contradiction We Live To Chase

All identities, esp religious and political, demand loyalty to a “Super” Order …  a Church, an Ummah, a Socialist Internationale, a Maoist dream, a grand global collective that bars dissent. In aspring to such a grand social or political order, it actually strikes at the *family* affiliation, the first informal institution and nursery of love that has little difficulty in embracing dissent.

But super orders insist on an exclusive affiliation, an uniformity in their ranks, raised along a rather tall hierachical structure, that brooks no deviation. It has set values that deny diversity of human thought and dismiss the creativity that the child in us delights in. The denial rules out a better or improved understanding; the dismissal takes away from our lives our capacity for love, our joy and happiness.

What remains, without the freedom to soar in thought and expand love in our hearts ? A society without family … the one and only collective that includes diversity of human nature, understanding and creativity. That is a recipe to a terrible disorder, not a grand order … for at no time and under no circumstance can human beings live without those freedoms, that allows us to meet again in love after pursuing our diverse ways, however long it takes, and makes reconciliation a natural, pervasive matter of fact in lives.

What remains is what we modern men see about us : failed religious orders, failed political dreams, failed education systems, failed democracies, failed enlightened values, failed behavioural norms, failed … human beings !

It’s the modern contradiction we are living, the chimera we are chasing without the family … that alone will accept us as we are, encourage us however different we seem, imbibe in us that sea of tranquility and rootedness signified in our feeling of love, on which we can build an understanding that is at once beautiful and true, and good for us all.

Let’s embrace the family. Let’s raise one in love, peace and knowledge. Let’s set the tradition, in truth.

Journal : Musings

Elections 2014 

My senior friend, Basudeb Sen, brilliantly observes :

“2014 is going to be much tougher than it was in 2009 for the Congress. The corruption stigma may still haunt its poll prospects. Its only hope lies is a miraculous economy bounceback and direct food subsidy flowing in a large measure in 2013. Still Congress may need a stronger UPA3 coalition partner support. And, the left parties, especially CPM is waiting for an opportunity to give outside support to Congress so that they can regain a status of some importance in national politics, and will keep trying to keep BJP at bay.

“However much one may dislike Cong and consider support to BJP, BJP does not show much unity and any alternative, internally consistent election manifesto attractive enough to people. If N Modi repeats his performance with at least 110 seats on 21.12.12 and the BJP accepts him as the next PM candidate without the slightest of reluctance, and keep Sangh Parivar absolutely quiet, BJP can still hope to get to power, provided a new NDA is strong enough.

“If CPM is ready to offer outside support to Cong., Mamata’s TMC may provide outside support to NDA just to keep CPM away from links with the Central Govt. Either of BSP or SP can deny support to Congress if they find the deal could be better with BJP. The Tamil lady may join the side that gives more cabinet post allocation to her party nominees.

“BJP is yet to show any triumph strategy.”

There’s nothing I could add to Mr Sen’s analysis, except of that chance build up to an elusive “wave” … which seems least likely to be in favour of either the Congress or its allies. On the other hand, the political polarisation along 2 – alliance columns is nebulous in favour of NDA and, as Mr Sen observes, fraught with opportunism in the UPA camp.

Only a big enough margin between the individual counts of the two behemoths – BJP and the Congress – will clarify the day.

Killing Culture

Gunmen shot dead 30 children and injured several others in a school in Connecticut, USA. It is such a collosal loss of life, love, opportunity and future. My friend, Francis Hunt, says :

” My heartbroken sympathy goes out to all the families whose children were murdered in Newtown. To the families of the dead teachers as well. Looking from Europe, where the possession of firearms just isn’t an issue for the overwhelming majority of people – and where we honestly don’t feel threatened in our unarmed state – I find US gun-culture very hard to understand.”

But Obama felt that this wasn’t the time to talk of such issues ! There has been a spate in the series though that lends an urgency to the matter, including the fundamental one :

What value abides with us in a world without order, but for the pervasive niche of porn and media ? What do we make of the leadership – religious, political and economic – that leaves us to this existential chaos before us ? These questions preoccupied Albert Camus through every one of his works over half a century ago !

Because, indeed, it isn’t just the society in the United States. Europe’s quiet still seems tenuous : Athens, Spain, Italy, Portugal … saw riots and expressions of people’s angst. How will the British take it as the NHS gets dismantled ? Sweden’s killings have not vacated in our minds. The Muslim world seethes the same …

The latest from China reports of a knife-wielding man injuring 22 children and one adult outside a primary school, as students were arriving for classes yesterday. It again is one more in a series of periodic rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens.

A Beautiful Soul

Let me wind up with the thoughts of an exceedingly beautiful soul and musical genius extraordinary, whom the world has not heard … Annapurna Devi !

She is one whose success about the middle of the last century troubled the much eulogised Pandit Ravi Shankar and inspired the Hrishikesh Mukherjee classic, Abhimaan !

The Western world might not even be aware of the instrument but Annapurna Devi’s is “The story of the greatest surbahar player you never heard.”

For more : http://t.co/plwYF5zG

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 : Two Poems

The Exile

It all began early but in immediate context

The vocation chose me ere I could assent

And got trained at which I wished no part

To meanings much that meant little

And cures, tall lures that ended short;

My wager lifelong thence began

To keep out money from what I am

Definitions the world and people heap

On a new-born yet to awake from sleep

Thus it continues, clear since it has been;

I live and earn to meet the needs

With mind turned in on the spirit 

Being the being ‘thout supports

Unpropped, at peace, witnessing

Life’s deserts and wondrous oasis.


O yes, I’ve been rebuffed …

For not being ambitious enough

And have roved all over

From one place, one job to another

Suspect, to my employers

Of being unwise and unsafe

Meant huh… but nothing here

Unpawned I moved like a bow full stretched

Arrow in place to fly sharp fearless

Without wile, no vile, I would veer never

From bull’s eye now large straight to steer,

For people, never mind, are nothing, I say

They held naught my want, just antipathy

For I’d pass them by as I’d dull hokeys

 

Damn the hierarchies, the fools organised

At lives I’d spurned, the lords and lackeys.

* * *


The time to move on was then never too far

My woman would trouble and I’d look beyond

For those about would love and make her cry

Through uprooting days, wound up domicile

And I’d watch the little boy, his undisguised glee

Laughing, glad real, untouched, forward looking. 

*** ***  

Being Deep Asleep

The being in deep sleep is without compare

It’s us in unique bliss but with self unshared

Without body dreams, mind ego, just vitality

No thought, no desire, no impressed identity.

It recharges the mind field that feels so refreshed

De-loads all organs and liberates the instruments

No honey traps to interfere, no nagging to tire

And the fun, dear reader : we are there somewhere

Only, we don’t know and not as we think of ourself.

 

No gap, no knowledge, but they come back in tact

The name, tax sense and dues return in fact

Skills, emotions, pollution, tea, family and friends

Come to party again in throbbing non-existence. 

* * *

 

This morning

When the dawn was yet to break

My mind unburdened

Did not jog the Memory

And stayed content

With the self of deep sleep

Who is free of matter

Of time and space, and who

Liberates and pervades

The swallow pairs playful

About the ground I stand.

 

Yonder, circling on high

There’s an eagle I see

Prey in beak

Floating placidly …

Sudden as if in jest

It releases the prize

And eyes its fall

Supremely confident …

Waiting, waiting till last

Before swooping down

To regain the stuff mid-air

In one precise sweep. 

* * *


Isn’t the caretaker lad’s honour unworldly ?

Is the barber, silently at work, meditating ?

Being, pure being, immense

Ha la la la, in view

Cool blaze issuing from depths

Of each I and you

Etched and projected

Into forgetfulness of itself

To identify with form

Love and feel forlorn

And chase the world

Settle into the mirage

And take it for real…

From which I now awaken

Allow the origin to reclaim

Reconcile at the source

But fiercely accentuate

This segregation absolute

Between the me-universe

And the witnessing self.

 

Oh yes, I’d wade into it again

For acts in truth and joy

To hammer at the privileged

Fake immortality and ploy

 

For the last man to know

He’s free, immortal, God. 

*** *** ***

 

Journal : Of Zoroastrian Past And Present

Today …

It was heartening to know of Uzbekistan Zoroastrian Anjuman from its announcement of their presence and their activities on the web.  

The Uzbekistan Zoroastrian Anjuman has been officially registered with a membership of 7,000 Zoroastrians.  The Amordad Newspaper refers to the website of this Anjuman and has reported that Mr. Rostam Abido Komiolof, the President of this Anjuman, informs of 400 members of this Anjuman who are students with the skill to read, write and speak the Avestan Language. The Majority of the Uzbek Zoroastrian’s medium of instruction is Russian & Tajik version of Persian. 

Mr. Rostam Abido Komiolof is hopeful that the Zoroastrians of Uzbekistan will pursue the Avestan Language and one day makes it the medium of instruction in Uzbekistan .  One of the Zoroastrian student member of this Anjuman, Ms. Anna Chankui, is a first class student of the Avestan Language and Mathematics in her school.  Another Zoroastrian student member of this Anjuman is the best student of the Avestan Language and has won the first prize in Uzbek language Olympiad. 

Mr. Rostam Abido Komiolof says that Uzbekistan has Zoroastrian cultural roots since thousands of years and this culture is alive and active till date.  He said that after the Arab invasion of ancient Iran which included Uzbekistan , Islam was forced upon the people of Uzbekistan 4 times.  The people of Uzbekistan resisted the imposed religion of Islam and have kept their Zoroastrian cultural roots alive. Famous Mathematicians, Astronomers and Physicians like Kharazmi, Birooni and others have safeguarded the Zoroastrian Principles and, based on them, have made important inventions and discoveries.  Famous poets like Roodaki, Daghighi & Ferdowsi have based their poems on the Bright Vision of Asho Zarathushtra.  

He further stated that the people of Uzbekistan have great faith in the Zoroastrian Religion; they love and have firm devotion in its ways.  The festivals of Norooz and Sadeh are very important for Uzbek people. During these festivals people visit the ancient Fire Temples and offer their Avestan prayers.  Now Norooz has been officially declared as a National Holiday. 

In Uzbekistan ’s capital city of Tashkent, reading of the Shahnameh has gained importance among the people.  The Avestan Gathas and Ferdowsi’s work have been translated in Uzbek, Russian and Tajik version of Persian language.

The Ministry of Education of Uzbekistan has chalked out a plan for teaching the Avestan Culture to 6 Million Uzbek students and it will recruit 800,000 teachers to implement the project. 

The Uzbekistan Zoroastrian Anjuman has invited Zoroastrians world wide to visit the site: www.avesta.org.ru  and get an in-depth view of Zoroastrians living in Uzbekistan .  If any one is interested in visiting Uzbekistan and obtaining a tourist visa should email to : info@avesta.org.ru

* * *

In Past …

According to the Tarikh-i-Bukhara, a history of Bukhara written about 944 A.D., Islam had to be enforced on the reluctant inhabitants of Bukhara. The Bukharans reverted to their original beliefs no less than four times : “The residents of Bukhara became Muslims. But they renounced [Islam] each time the Arabs turned back. Qutayba b. Muslim made them Muslim three times, [but] they renounced [Islam] again and again, to become non-believers. The fourth time, Qutayba waged war, seized the city, and established Islam after considerable strife….But the people espoused Islam overtly and practiced idolatry in secret.”

Many Zoroastrians were induced to convert by bribes, and later, out of economic necessity. Many of these “economic converts” were later executed for having adopted Islam to avoid paying the poll tax and land tax. In Khurasan and Bukhara, Zoroastrian fire-temples were destroyed by Muslims, and mosques constructed their place. The Tarikh-i-Bukhara records that there was considerable outrage at these acts of sacrilege, and there was a concerted resistance to the spread of Islam. One scholar sums up the situation thus : “Indeed, coexistence between Muslims and Zoroastrians was rarely peaceful, cooperation was fleeting, and conflict remained the prime form of inter-community contact, right from the initial Arab conquest of Transoxiana to the late thirteenth century A.D.”

A similar situation existed in Khurasan : “The violent military conflicts between the forces of the Arab commander Abd Allah b. Amir and the local Iranian lords, combined later with the destruction of Zoroastrian religious institutions, produced lasting enmity between Muslims and Zoroastrians in Khurasan.”

The early conquests of Zoroastrian Iran were punctuated with the usual massacres, as in Raiy. If the town put up brave resistance to the Muslims, then very few men were spared, as for example, at Sarakh, only a hundred men were granted amnesty, the women were taken into captivity; the children taken into captivity were brought up as Muslims. At Sus, a similar situation emerged – about a hundred men were pardoned, the rest killed. At Manadhir, all the men were put to the sword, and the women and children enslaved. At the conquest of Istakhr, more than 40000 Iranians were slaughtered. The Zoroastrians suffered sporadic persecution, as their fire-temples and priests were destroyed, as for example, at Kariyan, Kumm and Idhaj. In a deliberate act of provocation, Caliph al Mutawakkil had a tree, putatively planted by Zoroaster himself, cut down. Sometimes the fire temples were converted into mosques. The fiscal oppression of the Zoroastrians led to a series of uprisings against the Muslims in the 8th century. We might cite the revolts led by Bihafarid between 746 and 748; the rising of Sinbadh in 755.

Forced conversions were frequent and pressure for doing so often led to conflict and riots, as in Shiraz in 979. To escape persecution and forced conversion, many Zoroastrians emigrated to India, where, to this day, they form a much respected minority and are known as Parsis. Conditions for Zoroastrians became even worse from 17th Century onwards. In the 18th century, their numbers, to quote the Encyclopaedia of Islam (2 ed),”declined disastrously due to the combined effects of massacre, forced conversion and emigration.” By the 19th century they were living in total insecurity and poverty, and suffered increasing discrimination. Zoroastrian merchants were liable to extra taxes; houses were frequently looted; they had to wear distinctive clothing, and were forbidden to build new houses or repair old ones.


When Qutaibah bin Muslim, under the command of Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf, was sent to Khwarazmia with a military expedition and conquered it for the second time, he…killed all their Zoroastrian priests and burned and wasted their books, until gradually the illiterate only remained, who knew nothing of writing, and hence their history was mostly forgotten.

* * *

The following is the purported correspondence between the Arab Caliph and the last Sassanid King of Persia, 642 and 650 AD :

Letter From Arab Caliph Umar To Zoroastrian Shah Of Iran

Bism-ellah Ar’rahman Ar’rhim To the Shah of the Fars

I do not foresee a good future for you and your nation save your acceptance of my terms and your submission to me. There was a time when your country ruled half the world, but see how now your sun has set. On all fronts your armies have been defeated and your nation is condemned to extinction.

I point out to you the path whereby you might escape this fate. Namely, that you begin worshipping the one god, the unique deity, the only god who created all that is. I bring you his message. Order your nation to cease the false worship of fire and to join us, that they may join the truth.

Worship Allah, the creator of the world. Worship Allah and accept Islam as the path of salvation. End now your polytheistic ways and become Muslims that you may accept Allah-u-Akbar as your savior. This is the only way of securing your own survival and the peace of your Persians. You will do this if you know what is good for you and for your Persians. Submission is your only option.

Allah u Akbar.

The Calif of Muslims Omar Ibn-Khat’tab

*

Letter From Zoroastrian Shah Of Iran To Arab Caliph Umar

In the name of Ahura Mazda, the Creator of Life and Wisdom …

From Yazdgerd, the Shahan-Shah of Iran

to Omar Ibn Khat’tab, the Arab Caliph …

In your letter, you summon us Iranians to your god whom you call “Allah-u-Akbar”; and because of your barbarity and ignorance, without knowing who we are and whom we worship, you demand that we seek out your god and become worshippers of “Allah-u-Akbar”.

How strange that you occupy the seat of the Arab Calif but are as ignorant as any desert roaming Arab ! You admonish me to become monotheistic in faith. Ignorant man ! For thousands of years we Aryaee have, in this land of culture and art, been monotheistic and five times a day have we offered prayers to God’s Throne of Oneness. While we laid the foundations of philanthropy and righteousness, and kindness in this world, and held high the ensign of “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds”, you and your ancestors were desert wanderers who ate snakes and lizards and buried your innocent daughters alive.

You Arabs, who have no regard for God’s creatures, who mercilessly put people to the sword, who mistreat your women and bury you daughters alive, who attack caravans and are highway robbers, who commit murder, who kidnap women and spouses ! How dare you presume to teach us, who are above these evils, to worship God ? You tell me to cease the worship of fire and to worship God instead ! To us Iranians, the light of Fire is reminiscent of the Light of God. The radiance and the sun-like warmth of fire exuberates our hearts, and the pleasant warmth of it brings our hearts and spirits closer together, that we may be philanthropic, kind and considerate, that gentleness and forgiveness may become our way of life, and that thereby the Light of God may keep shining in our hearts.

Our God is the Great Ahuramazda. Strange is this that you too have now decided to give Him a name, and you call Him by the name of “Allah-u-Akbar”. But we are not at all like you. We, in the name of Ahura Mazda, practice compassion and love and goodness and righteousness and forgiveness, and care for the dispossessed and the unfortunate. But you commit murder in the name of your “Allah-u-Akbar”, create misery and subject others to suffering ! Tell me, truly, who is to blame for your misdeeds ? Your god, who orders genocide, plunder and destruction ? Or you, who do these things in his name? Or both ?

You, who have spent all your days in brutality and barbarity, have now come out of your desolate deserts resolved to teach, by the blade and by conquest, the worship of God to a people who have for thousands of years been civilized and have relied on culture and knowledge and art as mighty supports. What have you, in the name of your “Allah-u-Akbar”, taught these armies of Islam, besides destruction and pillage and murder, that you now presume to summon others to your god ? Today, my people’s fortunes have changed. Their armies, who were subjects of Ahura Mazada, have now been defeated by the Arab armies of “Allah-u-Akbar”. And they are being forced, at the point of the sword, to convert to the god you’ve named as “Allah-u-Akbar”. And, they are forced to offer prayers to him five times a day, but now in Arabic; since your “Allah-u-Akbar” only understands Arabic.

I advise you to return to your lizard infested deserts. Do not let loose upon our cities your cruel barbarous Arabs who are like rabid animals. Refrain from the murder of my people. Refrain from pillaging my people. Refrain from kidnapping our daughters in the name of your “Allah-u-Akbar”. Refrain from these crimes and evils. We Aryaee are a forgiving people, a kind and well-meaning people. Wherever we go, we sow the seeds of goodness, amity and righteousness. And this is why we have the capacity to overlook the crimes and the misdeeds of your Arabs. Stay in your desert with your “Allah-u-Akbar”, and do not approach our cities; for horrid is your belief and brutish is your conduct.

Yazdgerd Saasaani