Wisdom : What ‘s That ?

It’s apparently a secular thing. But we wouldn’t really know enough to conclude without also knowing what the term means in real ways, as an attained capability.

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We could write a shelf full of dissertation to helm the topic. But we will not because thereafter we would still feel the need to modify, edit and write some more. That’s the secular way, with thought and word,  that is perpetually afflicted with inadequacy.

I will instead quote three pithy verses of 15th Century mystic Kabir :

1  साधु ऐसा चाहिए, जैसा सूप सुभाय।

    सार सार को गहि रहे, थोथा देइ उड़ाय।।

“The wise is like a winnow : he retains the substance and let’s the chaff fly away.”

2  मन के मते न चालिये, मन के मते अनेक।

    जो मन पर असवार है, साधु कोई एक।।

“Do not be moved or driven by the mind. It changes in endless ways. He is wise who rides and reigns over the mind.”

3  जब मैं था तब हरी नहीं, अब हरी है मैं नाहि।

    सब अँधियारा मिट गया, दीपक देखा माहि।।

“While I was, the Knower wasn’t; now the Knower is and I am not. All darkness (of ignorance) disappeared, after I sighted this flame (of knowledge) within.”

*

The translations should be understood with ease. And if they aren’t, it is we who need to read it again, contemplate and assimilate until they light up our within.

What can be readily observed is that “wisdom” is an unworldly attainment that flows from the Knower-Self, in which the ego-self is entirely subsumed. It is the latter which empowers us to ride over and reign the mind, with which capability one is able to constantly separate the grain from the chaff.

How secular is that when wisdom is not attained simply by more worldly occupation or mere increased exercise in thought and speech ?

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Journal : Dharma, The Orient And The Preserved Indian Way

Truth is not spanned with science, logic, arts, democracy, material development or law and order in society, though every one these are historically part of the human pursuit to create an environment that would universally unshackle the individual and empower him or her.

It is peace alone that alternates with truth : the two arise and beget each other in the human heart. Families and communities enable and nurture a stream of aspirants after the quest for truth, though few attain it in any era, by cultivating beauty and goodness in their midst.

Whilst the fundamentals of such an environment crystallise out universal love for life and liberty, such as they resonate with needs and drives embedded deep in human nature, they each require a long qualification encompassing “go” and “no go” behavioural codes suggesting equally universal restraints and polity-wide moderation for the community to evolve onto a trajectory of a glorious past paving constantly the ways in the present, shaping the polity towards a nebulous future and assuring the individual of a household atmosphere in which people still remember to love.

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That is what Dharma aims to ensure in a nation, communities and families, for the benefit of individuals, life and environment. It is inscrutable to personal vision, not only on account of second or third order causes that are far too subtle to fathom but also because Dharmic codes must build into itself suggestions that do not auto-recommend themselves to common men. Only the wisened would decipher the reasons to appreciate Dharma tenets; for the rest, it must be borne on ubiquitous traditions at first, to which people are conditioned into following in their mundane lives.

Dharma is a compile of social and personal solutions that prempt irreconciliable problems in the collective and wasteful conflicts in individual lives. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are Dharma-Karma-based ways of life and have together shaped the values systems and life perspectives peculiar to the Orient.

In contrast, the Occident including Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, shed its “barbaric” ways with Abrahamic fervour. The Christian part evolved through centuries of bitter strife : first through secularisation of the State and then to democratic ideals and universal suffrage. These were changes induced by thought, secular theories and socio-political ideas. The Islamic part has in the main refused to embrace secular ideals except superficially and has more or less retained the religious social structures and sharia laws as prevailed in the Caliphate.

* * *

I speak of the Indian way with some intimacy because I have lived it. Its uncorrupt form is an integral package that seems to have solved most of man’s civilisational problems — its material and vital needs, mental aspirations, and spiritual yearning. It incorporates a lot of slack to allow choose or leave preferences and is easily adoptable by every growing individual, in manners that suit.

Filial piety and respect for elders and all being are its important tenets. Indian marriages are not give and take contracts, with an annullment clause; they are lifetime committments. And everybody is encouraged to look upon the world, the universe and natural manifestations, as the body of God or the One reality that fosters us all. Its vegetarian cuisines are exhaustive; no one needs to kill anytime in order to eat, if one so chooses.

It is a culture of restrained, moderated, festive living, not of merely fine speech and suave table manners.

Consider for instance the very serious and widespread issue of gender objectification, which causes much of behavioural warps and twists that make places unsafe to women and children, and men collaterally. The process perpetuating it is this filling of attention with gender form, organs, and the experience they yield upon owning contact… It is the juvenile, libertinous way of miscultured people extolled in the name of Freedom of Expression by advertisers, filmmakers, the porn world, politicians and businessmen looking for quid pro quo with women willing or not, and by powerful religious clerics, pastors and bishops.

That is the liberal secular promise to its subscribers and of wolf-in-sheepskin conservatives to their followers. Always masked, rationalising, legally contesting, and on the sly. Because the sensory associations with the object runs an overpowering script, against which the ill-schooled mind is powerless, when the person finds it easier to release that build up within, those drives coiled up of dissatisfactions and failed overreaches, than to succeed at virtuous restraint, to respect oneself and have it reflect upon others.

The world is filled with talk by people who do not walk it.

* * *

Delhi honors a great Muslim and dumps a killer of Shias and Sikhs : Aurangzeb Road is gone. It is now named after Darah Shikoh, who deeply studied and translated several Indian texts including Upanishads and BhagwadGita.

Darah Shikoh was the willed heir of Emperor Shah Jahan.

* * *

छोटा करके देखिये जीवन का विस्तार
आँखों भर आकाश है बाहों भर संसार

~ निदा फ़ाज़ली

Reduce life’s expanse and look :

The eyes fill with sky

And world embraced in arms.

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Mir : The Shamed Witness To Subhuman Muslim Hordes

Khwaja Mir Dard

In 18th Century, Post Aurangzeb India

” After being rescued by Nadir Shah in 1738, Ahmad Khan (later known as Ahmad Shah Abdali) consequently fell into his services.

” Nadir Shah was known to be a child molester and it was no surprise that he took 12-year old Ahmad Khan under his wing and the two had a very close physical relationship. He gave Ahmad Khan command over a group of Abdali tribesmen. Nadir Shah had many servants but Ahmad Khan was favored above the rest because of his young, handsome features.

” All the servants of Nadir Shah wore pearl earrings, a feminine touch that he was very fond of. He gave Ahmad Khan the title “Dur e Durrani” (Pearl of Pearls) and which would later on lead Ahmad Khan into changing the Abdali tribe name to the Durrani tribe.”

On 11th of March 1739, citizens of Delhi were plundered and slaughtered, some historians say that nearly 200,000 people were killed.

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Nadir Shah on his return after plundering and slaughtering Delhites for 57 days, took with him the famous ‘Peacock throne’ built by Shahjahan and the legendary ‘Koh-i-noor’ along with 600 million rupees worth of jewellery, gold worth 10 million rupees and coins worth 6 million rupees. His total collection of booty was worth 700 million rupees and also took care to include in his train 100 elephants, 7000 craftsmen, 100 stone-cutters and 200 carpenters.

Nadir Shah’s invasion did irreparable damage to the Mughal empire. Mughal provinces across the Indus seceded to the Persians. Later on, inspired by the antics of Nadir Shah, his successor Ahmad Shah Abdali too invaded India several times between 1748 and 1767 and plundered Delhi.

Ahmad Shah forced himself upon those areas, moving in like a parasite to deplete the regions. His invasions brought forth waves of chaos and havoc. The people of Ghazni and Kabul— later on Herat as well as other regions—desperately fought back as they did during the invasions of Changez Khan. For those people, there was no difference between the atrocities committed by Changez Khan and those committed by Ahmad Shah about six centuries later.

Ahmad Shah murdered innocent women and children, destroyed families and homes, and stole everything in sight because he had no honor. Human life meant nothing to him as he left piles of dead bodies in his wake. In a civilized society, a criminal like Ahmad Shah would have been punished for his crimes. Instead, the Pashtuns bestow a twisted tribute to him, celebrating his inhumanness and taking pride in his barbaric, animal behavior. People became destitutes, were killed, and unnecessarily suffered greatly because of his greed and cruel behavior. And these actions are respected and admired by many Pashtuns today.

His raids would last for days with unending turmoil; nobody was left with clothes to wear or food to eat; many died from inflicted wounds or even by committing suicide, while others suffered in the harsh climates because they had lost their homes. Their livelihood, their grains, their possessions were taken by the looters and sold back to them at exorbitant prices.

Aside from monetary possession, he was also fond of possessing women. In 1756 – 57 Ahmad Shah sacked Delhi during his fourth invasion of India and burgled every corner of the city. He arranged marriages for himself and his son, Timor, into the Imperial Mughal family. Ahmad Shah had many wives to begin with but he just couldn’t resist adding the princess from the Imperial family into his collection.

He had no respect for anybody and the only way he received respect was through leading looting sprees for his tribesmen, encouraging them to steal as much as they could from India and taking any woman they desired. His gang of barbarians would dig up people’s houses to find hidden treasures, leaving the residents homeless and in despair. Torture and beating were common practices to extort booty which consisted of jewels, diamonds, ornaments, etc.

Leaving Timor behind as in–charge, Abdali left India and returned to Kandahar. On his way back, he couldn’t resist attacking the Golden Temple in Amristar and filled its sarovar (sacred pool) with the blood of slaughtered cows and people. The Golden Temple is to the Sikhs what Mecca is to the Muslims; so his transgressions were of great in proportion. He knew that cows were considered sacred by the Sikhs but he disregarded their beliefs and their values.

*

On January 6, 1761, the Marathas lost to Ahmad Shah in the great battle of Panipat. It was a tortuous time for the inhabitants of the region. The plunder and the savage slaughtering began once more. Ahmad Shah’s tribes went home to home, breaking down doors, capturing those inside and burning them alive or cutting off their heads. There was bloodshed and destruction everywhere and nothing and no one was spared. Men of esteem disintegrated into being nothing overnight, noblemen were left destitute, wives and children made captive or killed.

In a later raid, Ahmad Shah inflicted a severe defeat upon the Sikhs but had to immediately head westward back to Kandahar to quell a rising insurrection. Meanwhile, the Sikhs rose again in power and Ahmad Shah was forced to abandon his hopes of retaining his command over Punjab.

During those 25 years, Ahmad Shah weakened India, the prevailing Mughal regime and local governments. He ventured into India numerous times and each time, he returned with gold, camels, women, etc. He left a great number of people dead, destroyed cities and lives and families. All of this seemed like fun to him and adventure to his people.

Upon his death in 1773, his descendants began fighting over the throne. The British took this moment of weakness to step in and create more division. Abdali’s sons were busy fighting against and killing each other, and the British aided the brothers in slaying their enemies, which gradually weakened the state, before taking over.

It is because of Ahmad Shah and his gang of marauders, who crushed the indigenous people of the regions—the Marathas and the Mughuls—that the entire subcontinent of India including today’s Afghanistan was colonized by the British during 19th Century and well into the 20th.

* * *

Mir, the sensitive soul, writes upon witnessing the happenings during the period :

O Thou, who serve !

Have you ever quenched a thirsty heart ?

Come, put the flask to my lips

Till it fills and flows over.

* * *

There’s not a moment’s relief

To this soul rushed of life

In haste are we fated

To try our tasks assigned.

Who so ever I approched

Had his own woes to tell

Before I could give voice

To the wrenching pain

In my own heart.

* * *

O Dard

You’ve not yet seen the ways

And the razing might

Of this world about us.

It fells the blood

Of every parched soul

On these particles of dust.

 * * *

We hear echoes of the same human reaction that led to the rise of Sufism, as a response to increasing material power of Islamic leaders while the religion spread during the 8th Century, through corresponding shift in focus to political and self-serving concerns and all the violent, life demeaning and debauch trappings it brought in its wake.

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Men without count

Have gazed in wonder

At this world before us.

But none who passed on

Ever came to look back on it.

The breeze carries my dust

From one door to another.

O Tear Laden Eye

What’s happened ?

Why linger…

And hold yourself thus ?

They, oblivious of their self

Really know the ways of world.

He indeed is awake

Who sleeps with eyes bunged.

Noah’s flood submerged the earth.

I too, shame of a man

Have wrecked the heavens.

O the little bird

In love with the rose

May you be safe…

For I fear the cruel

Sharp-tongued beauty

Who is in the grove today !

O Preacher, frighten me not

With your story of Judgement Day ?

I have washed clean with tears

The scroll of my deeds.

In these words will blossom too

Many smiles, much laughter…

For I sow the seed of verse

On this very soil today.

The world’s temper

Does not moderate

Though I did absorb in me

The heat and the cold

Of the times I have seen.

Jhansi – Dec 14, 1835 : A Testimony

Truth Within, Shines Without

It’s a window into those times about 200 years ago, generations before Rani Laxmibai entered the royal house of Jansi. Captain Sleeman, discharging magisterial duties, traveled to Jhansi and met the “Chiefs of Jhānsī” in the matter regarding succession dispute that then prevailed. As it obtains from his testimony, the State was blighted since the times of Raghunath Rao I at the turn of century before. The British Indian official records in his memoirs :

RAMBLES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF AN INDIAN OFFICIAL
On the 14th Dec 1835, we came on fourteen miles to Jhānsī. About five miles from our last ground, we crossed the Baitantī river over a bed of syenite. At this river we mounted our elephant to cross, as the water was waist-deep at the ford. My wife returned to her palankeen as soon as we had crossed, but our little boy came on with me on the…

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Hallaj : The Outsider To Islam

Mansur al-Hallaj

(c. 858 – March 26, 922 AD)

A Persian mystic, revolutionary writer, and a pious teacher of Sufism … most famous for his poetry.

During one of these trances, he would utter : Anā l-Ḥaqq … “I am The Truth,” which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, since al-Ḥaqq … “the Truth” … is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah.

In another controversial statement, al-Hallaj claimed : “There is nothing wrapped in my turban but God.”

Similarly he would point to his cloak and say, Mā fī jubbatī illā l-Lāh … “There is nothing in my cloak but God.”

Who amongst the Islamists, then or now, will appreciate the man who found the truth in own form, not in the Book nor in an usurper prophet ?

Mansur’s utterances led to a long trial and his subsequent imprisonment for 11 years in a Baghdad prison. He was publicly executed on March 26, 922.

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Mansur or Hallaj Came From…the Fars province of Persia, from the family of a cotton-carder.

(Hallaj means “cotton-carder” in Arabic).

His grandfather was a Zoroastrian. His father lived a simple life, and this form of lifestyle greatly interested the young Mansur.

He wrote : ” If you do not recognize God, at least recognise His sign… I am the creative truth —Ana al-Haqq— because through the truth, I am eternal truth.”

Even beyond the Muslim faith, Hallaj was concerned with the whole of humanity, as he desired to communicate to them “that strange, patient and shameful desire for God…”

This was the reason for his voyage, beyond the Muslim world (shafa’a)… to India and China.

Today, many honor him as an adept who came to realize the inherent divine nature of all men and women. The Islamists though continue to see him as a heretic deserving death by every means approved amongst Muslim clerics.

To me, Mansur’s fate reminds me of several others in Christendom… of those heretics who were put away “without shedding of a single drop of blood.”

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Mihyar (1000 AD) : The Bad Muslim

Abu ‘l-Hasan Mihyar Ibn Mirzawaih

unnamed

” The travellers who have just set out,

From whom you are now separated,

Have left behind them

Hearts which shall ever refuse

To admit of consolation

For their loss. “

Thus wrote Abu ‘l-Hasan Mihyar Ibn Mirzawaih, or simply Mihyar, a native of Dailam who gained great reputation as a poet. He had been a Zoroastrian, a ” fire-worshipper ” as they were called, who later converted to Muslim ( Shia Islam ) faith.

He saw…

In the aftermath of Arab victory over Persia in 7th Century, Zoroastrian places of worship were desecrated, fire temples were destroyed and mosques were built in their place. Many fire temples, with their four axial arch openings, were usually turned into mosques simply by setting a mihrab (prayer niche) on the place of the arch nearest to qibla (the direction of Mecca). Zoroastrian temples converted into mosques in such a manner could be found in Bukhara, as well as in and near Istakhr and other Persian cities. Urban cities, where Arab governors made their quarters, were most vulnerable to such religious persecution : the citizens were forced to conform or flee. Many libraries were burnt and much cultural heritage was lost.

Over time, persecution of Zoroastrians became more common and widespread, and the number of believers decreased significantly. Many converted, some superficially to escape the systematic abuse and discrimination by the law of the land. Others accepted Islam because their employment in industrial and artisan work would, according to Zoroastrian dogma, make them impure their work would involve defiling fire, which they held as sacred.

These factors continued to contribute to increasing rates of conversion from Zoroastrianism to Islam. A Persian scholar commented,

“ Why so many had to die or suffer ?

” Because one side was determined to impose his religion upon the other… “

The contempt for the Arabs that brought forth Islam on to the Persian populace was famously captured in the following verse from Firdausi’s Shahnameh, Iran’s national epic written around 1000 AD :

” Damn this world… damn this time… damn this fate…

That uncivilized Arabs have come to make me a Muslim.”

In the centuries that followed, Zoroastrians faced much religious discrimination and persecution, including forced conversions, harassment, as well as being identified as najis (polluted) and impure to Muslims, making them unfit to live alongside Muslims… therefore forcing them to evacuate from cities and face major sanctions in all spheres of life. Zoroastrians have been subject to public humiliation through dress regulations, to being labeled as najis and to exclusion in the fields of society, education and work.

Great Poet, Bad Muslim

It was around A. D. 1003-4, and Al-Kasim Ibn Burhan said to Mihyar :

” Mihyar, by becoming a musalman you have ( merely ) passed from one corner of hell to another.”

” How so ? ” asked Mihyar.

Al-Kasim replied :

” Because you were formerly a fire-worshipper and now you revile the companions of our blessed Prophet in your verses.”

The rebellion and critical assessment of his new found religion must have shown in Mihyar’s compositions.

He is often referred to as a ” bad Muslim ! “

Mihyar writes :

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[ Once a Zoroastrian family converted to Islam, the children had to go to Muslim religion school and learn Arabic and the teachings of the Quran and these children lost their Zoroastrian identity. Those who had converted just for the convenience could not revert back to Zoroastrianism because the penalty for renouncing Islam was death.]

” May a persisting rain-cloud

whose waters bear the sand

even into people’s dwellings

refresh and reanimate with its contents

the abode which my mistress occupied

at Rakmatain.

How can I renew

my intercourse with Omm Malik

now that the places in which we reside

are separated by ( the country of ) Zarud

and its two mountains ?

My heart, though far from her,

sees her with the eye of desire

and is happy;

but who will enable my eyes

to see her in reality ?

How pure, good God ! And yet

how troubled is our mutual love !

how far is she from me every morning

and yet how near ! “

And, again :

[ When persecution, suppression and oppression of dhimmis and najis reigned… ]

” O for the night I passed

at Zat cl-Athel ( the tamarisk grove ),

when her image came

( to visit me in a dream )

and rendered that night so short !

O, how dear that remembrance !

O, how dear ! The Fear ( of discovery )

treading in the foot-steps of love,

approached me in all its terrors;

May God not diminish

the length of their road !

They had nearly gone astray,

in the darkness of the night,

but they were directed ( towards us )

by the brilliant lustre of my beloved’s teeth. “

And yet, again :

[ While departing from his land of birth, to far off Baghdad… ]

” And my heart remained at the sand-hill,

in the reserved grounds of the tribe.

Turn, ( my friend ! )

towards those grounds

and say to my heart : “Fare well !”

Then pursue your journey

and relate a wondrous tale;

say, that a heart went away

and left the body standing up.

Say to neighbours

who dwell at al-Ghada :

“How sweet would be the life

one leads at al-Ghada,

were it to endure !”

India’s Mainstream People

Hindus, India’s mainstream people, rarely congregate or unite for a Hindu cause. That is their non-communal nature, by their upbringing and way of life. They give people with different colour, beliefs and ways, a long rope of welcome even, as it turns out, at much cost to their own life, economy, and onslaught on their long cultured values.

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Our 1000 year history in immediate past offers enough, enough evidence of :

a) how much we will tolerate and forebear,

b) the nature and extent of what we will still preserve and out-survive, and

c) how well we will adapt and build our strength, without terrorising or imposing upon others, and spring back to top.

Today the mainstream people of India have much to reclaim, wrest back … history, culture, ways, values, language, perspectives, family foundations, and geography. It is a nation wide cause, to push back the rootless secularists, imagination powered liberals, and communal aggressors alien to self restraining and self correcting ways of Dharma tenets and Karma demarches.

It is a historically crucial juncture for our nation, our people, their present and their future. We’ve given enough and are depleted of our own essence. We’ve tolerated enough and now find ourselves driven to the edge. We deserve our present unapologetic poise and our collective right to acquire, reclaim, take back and reincubate, rebuild and resurge.

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Henceforth, the Hindus will congregate for their own cause, unitedly act in every which way to throw off these ideological aggressors, for one fundamental reason : the aliens, to us in the mainstream, each are jostling to establish worse options — uncivil, inhumane or subhuman — amidst the continuously evolving ways we have been raised on, in our homes and our society.

Both Christians, represented by their staging missionaries and crotch hot parsons, and Muslims, who’ve lent their identifying mark on global terror and local crime alike, are demograpgy subversives. There is little liberating religion in them; just a quest for numbers and political votebank power.

To us, the Hindus, there are no minorities in the mainstream. Our Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains, and tribes with every conceivable variety defined and not, are just the diversity essential to spell the universal truth : the One, manifest variously.

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President Trump

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It’s begun. All those who must write to put bread on their will pen thousanda of articles to predict behaviour, bring in quote from past, and raise fears… mostly in very respectable mental projections, analyses, fiberal values and ideological beats.

I have my eye on Trump, too, but without forebodings, without that psychological conditioning of having been for or against. I wait for what he says and what he does, and not necessarily from what he’s said in past. He’s the POTUS now. There are matters he now has to decide upon, directions he has to give. That really should begin the recording of consequences and our assessment of what his presidency means for America and the world.

I am definitely not among those who are still crying about a fair electoral result and even more removed from those who want him to fail.

May God be with him.
May he make wise decisions through his tenure.

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Love, Language And Libido

The neighbour’s little kid was shown the door because it was late and he refused to heed his mom’s repeated call, to call it a day. The mention of going to his playschool next morning brought out a fierce negation. He is all of two and a half years, barely.

The women conspired to rope me in because he values my stand on any matter, for or against. But I refused to play the women’s game. At the same time, I said, “But you, young man, has to leave now. Come again tomorrow.”

The boy retorted, “I will not.” His voice was heavy even as he looked me in the eye, face contorting, eyes moistened.

“What, not go now or not come the next day ?”

He paused reflecting, and replied, still looking at me in the eye, “No. I will come.”

He felt relieved, let out his breath with a smile, collected the little plastic toy chair, his shoes and wollen cap, and walked out proudly without looking back. His mother reminded him, “Say goodnight.” He did, adding “sweet dreams”. Still without a turn to face me.

I was dazed at his courage, intelligence to reflect and choose the right things to say, and his love. He was a man at his small size and age. One of the finest I have met in my 60 years.

* * *

There are English equivalents to tastes expressed in Hindi language : meetha (sweet), teeta (chilly), khatta (sour), etc. But what is the equivalent for “kasaav” ?

Kasaav is a common taste we find in ayurvedic herbs harad and baheda. It is felt in raw eggplant, shimla or degi mirch, even fish. It is what we feel grinding on small, unripe, shelf old guavas. In food preparations, this taste is frequently covered by khatta additives like aamchoor or tomatoes, by adding a sweet agent or pungent mustard.

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Kasaav is somewhat bitter and has a harsh feel to the pallette. Now then, what equivalent do we have in English language ?

What do you say ?

* * *

Sex or, more exactly, hunger for sex is an universal emotion humans share with the animal world. Sure it is more complex than the felt organic heat of hunger in the loins, since it metamorphoses from very affectionate feelings kids have for their parents at young age. Yet, among late teen and older adults, it is the overpowering emotion associated with body hunger when we utter the phrase.

The hunger is triggered by the gender form, physically before us or shaped in the mind from memory, and primes up of its own to an intensity that demands behavioural release or diversion in order to cope with it. Which needs capacity to control on our part, to moderate or choose an appropriate action acceptable to us and to our environment. And, if we indulge, to draw and ensure the partner’s consent.

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Trigger and control. The first is mostly beyond us and the latter requires training, mostly informal and personal. For all-season animal that man is, the capacity for control is necessary and exclusive to mankind. Empirical facts render the simply described phenomena more complext : for instance, men dress up to appeal and women to provoke attention. That skews the environment in favour of sexual encounter. Indded, the first impressions of each other people have, when they meet and interact, is sensually felt. Regardless of what they’ve sorted and believe, their healthy vitality is always open to trigger.

Normally, the control too is never far, unless we are in a private space where control becomes exponentially challenging, and risk of failure increasingly heightens. Groping and inappropriate touch is commonly heard of but rape and molestation, mostly by a mob, is not unknown in public places. The situation spells a breakdown of moral and ethical facade of man, overcome by loin wrenching hunger.

Modernity has increasingly spiked the triggers. Feminists demand rights to their freedom to do so. That is counterweighed by pragmatic conservatives who not only call for more muted sartorial covers but also for stiffer kangaroo court punishments on those who fail at controls over their hunger. Both the extreme stance need a moderated, more understanding of the real ground, on which men want women but without committments and women want men but without a baby.

Society itself is more accepting overall of these attitudes but real psychological and material consequences to unconsenting or unprepared adults, men and women, even minors, must still forbid failures to fight off seduction, honey trapping, outright forced or baited intercourse. Whilst we all might be happy if there was nothing in the environment to fight against, I am not sure if everyone would agree nor that it would be possible anytime soon. As it is, with few having an unbreakable moral fiber in their loinous mesh, everyman is a lone wolf in this context whose behavioural failures can neither be predicted nor prevented, nor deterred by police or punishments by law.

I wish our public places would become more safe and secure, and accepting of adult volition. That is, to start with. I wish more strength to all of us, to remain greater than our moral conflicts, to be as respecting of others, adults and minors, in our private spaces too. There will never be an era in which none of us would ever fail but let not us be the ones to do so.

There are proven ways to succeed at building our capacity against such failures. I know of many who have walked the path and have experienced evidence of the fruit at end of it.

My Daily Cup

It, amongst other things, makes my morning. I associate it with the morning sunlight that diffuses across light orange curtains on wide glass walls before the balcony my bedroom opens out to. It is my daily cup of cheer, joy, and dose of addiction I happily look forward to.

It isn’t easy to write about something so personal, like the jaggery-coated sesame rounds we ritually consume this time of the year. How do I share my experience of that, and the love it fills me with ? Plainly, I can’t. So, I’ll do the next best thing here : tell you how I prepare the cup, in its two avatars.

Light, Subtle and Simple (anyday)

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1 Pour water in a large cup, full.

2 Transfer to a saucepan and switch on the induction heater, set at midway of its 2 KW rating range.

3 Bring over the Darjeeling tea and unflavored condensed milk jars, and a saucepan lid, close to the induction heater.

4 When the water boils, pause the induction and pour into the cup. Wait for half a minute and pour back 3/4 of the water in cup into the saucepan.

5 Restart induction. Water will come to boil shortly. Keep a loaded regular-spoon full of Darjeeling tea leaves in readiness.

6 Switch off the induction as water comes to boil, pour the tea leaves into the water and place the lid over the saucepan. Note 2-3 minutes after mark on the clock.

7 Empty the cup of the 1/4 water into the sink. Take a stirring spoon (small), dip its tip into the unflavoured condensed milk jar, raise it back up vertically, wait till just about a drop remains on the spoon, and put the spoon into the cup.

8 Note it’s about 2-3 minutes after the tea leaves were put in the water. Pour the brew over filter into the waiting cup, with the stirring spoon.

9 Stir the brew in the cup. Give it another couple of minutes, munch a piece of plain cookies if you will, before sipping twice in succession.

10 Say “Aaahh.” Wait, feeling the light into the room, before taking your next two-sips…

II  Dense, Strong And Bursting With Complex Flavours

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1 Pour boiled over double-toned milk in a large cup, full.

2 Transfer to a saucepan and switch on the induction heater, set at midway of its 2 KW rating range.

3 Bring over the Darjeeling tea, CTC tea, and a saucepan lid, close to the induction heater.

4 When the milk boils, lower the induction to lowest rate and add a regular-spoon full of CTC tea. Let it rise to boil thrice, in less than half a minute.

5 Now switch off the induction, add a loaded regular-spoon full of Darjeeling tea leaves to the decoction, and place the lid over the saucepan. Note 2-3 minutes after mark on the clock and wait

6 Note it’s about 2-3 minutes after the Darjeeling tea leaves were put in the milk. Pour the brew over filter into the waiting cup.

7 Give yourself a few minutes, munch over plain cookies, before taking two quick slurping sips in succession, and say “Aaahhh.”

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India’s War : Mainstream vs The Islamic Scourge

Admittedly, it’s a war out here that has prevailed since a thousand years. It’s a war of preserving a way of life that espouses humane diversity, freedom for individual enterprise and thought, liberty to be and let others be, to love with respect without causing harm or encroaching upon others, to reinforce an environment in which unconflicted families and children are raised, which promote the capacity to discriminate and uphold the right, aspire for peace on land and prosperity among people, holding all life sacred everywhere, without bigoted attitudes.

It’s a war between ways of life : of values systems humane vs inhumane or subhumane, and life perspectives karma here and now vs an imagined paradise of milk and virgins to be had. In India, it’s a war between the generous, humane and karma believing mainstream, who’d evolved beyond the ‘ideologically born-equal, liberal’ rights to freedoms, onto to a way of festive living found on instituting freedom itself in the heart of each one of us. From that culture, which prompts members of the mainstream to rise and raise, we were all pushed back, regressively, into this borrowed ideologically constituted morass since independence, based on a book of laws and principles and judicial arguers and prophets to interpret them.

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The similarity our modern state has with religio-social polities, structured and regimented as in Christianity and Islam, does not end there. Gone were the soft, flowing, self shaping but deep rooted people of before, with which inner asset they could withstandsuccessive tyrannies over a millennium. What has made inroads into their polity, especially since 1947, are people who are mere armies of politicised communities structured to enforce conversion through fear and lure, blasphemy and apostasy laws, falsehood and deceit, and to motivate mobs and hordes through organised, megaphonic charity touted in churches and mosques.

The takeover of State machinery, institutions and politics, by church-worshippers and mosque-goers was masked but complete. They aligned themselves with liberals and leftists, prominently labelled as progressive, who suddenly proliferated with State patonage and diverted taxpayer largesse. Much of the 100-year lease of vast land holdings of sectarian institutions — Christian and Muslim — has since lapsed but the properties bestowed have yet to be restored. There are several other grants to rank religious and communal beneficiaries : Haj, madrassa, wakf, etc. that seem conspicuous beside laws establishing State control over temples endowed by personal contributions of mainstream people.

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How then do these State carryovers from jezia centuries, and the politics of divide and rule policies from colonial era, appear to the mainstream people of India ? A deep, deep sense of loss of their cultured pagan freedoms designed to rise in truth, art and craft, and raise in compassion and love, through self effort and self-empowered enterprise. All that stared at them, through post-independence decades was an environment that promoted materialised alien ideologies, superficial and uprooting, which caused them to fall and fail, while non-native social morphs structured around religious politicism, indoctrinated missionaries and directed soldiers, creeped over them and succeeded.

India’s mainstream people remember that loss too vividly and painfully, and will always do until their entire collective experience finds a satisfactory, openly acknowledged closure. To cite an intense impact, it was once normal to nonchalantly lookover even the most bizarre of faiths people kept, and find them acceptable. More remarkably, everyone without exception enjoyed the right to be free from religion, to extents determined by their individual preference. These native societies were never organised or led by hundreds of thousands of networked tinpin god’s reps, daily applied for their own great convenience, around books and prophets and dominating men, as it happens in Christendom and the Islamic world.

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Like all things today, this war in India is being politically fought and faced everywhere. However, the comeback of its mainstream people, after a long long slumber, harkens to a continuity that is almost hoary but well preserved in their texts which, to their surprise, do not appeal to any religious identity nor exhort them to any communal behaviour whatsoever.

It is that spritually cleansing heritage in their root that called the rise of Indian mainstream against sullen Islam and sullying Christianity. It will only end with countrywide acceptance of universal values and truly humane ways.

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Guru Gobind Singh Uses Both His Sword And His Pen To Make The Most Powerful Tyrant Pay Dearly And Reflect With Remorse

What happened after Guru Teg Bahadur’s martyrdom …

The Guru’s sacrifice had symbolically but completely smashed the arrogance of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. It proved to be a great event that galvanized the nationalist forces politically. It led to a surge of pride and self-belief that swept over the entire length and breadth of India. Apart from firming directions for Guru Gobind Singh’s opposition in Punjab, it engendered the rise of several formidable forces against the Mughals, under whose patronage the native people suffered religious oppression and administrative tyranny : Rana Raj Singh in Rajasthan, Shivaji in Deccan, and Chhatrasal in central India. Much later, towards the end of 19th Century, Swami Vivekananda would often fill his eyes with fire and express aloud the wish for such martyrdom at the hands of British occupiers of the land.

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

The Emperor’s Lament … in his last hours :

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

“Azma fasad baq !” were his words, which means, “After me, the chaos !” The last words of Aurangzeb, addressed to his sons from death-bed, echo mournfully…

“I came a stranger to this world and a stranger I depart. I know nothing of myself – what I am and what I was destined for.

“My back is bent with weakness and my feet have lost the power of motion. The breath which rose is gone and has not left behind even a ray of hope.

“The agonies of death come upon me fast. My vessel is launched upon the waves !

“Farewell, Farewell !”

* * *

Guru Gobind Singh’s Letters To The Emperor … one of which was clearly written from Machhiwara, after the battle of Chamkaur when the Guru had seen the brave sacrifice of his two elder sons in the battle field. It also reveals that though Guru Gobind had suffered heavy losses in men and material, he was in no way overcome or feeling vanquished but was instead full of confidence, faith and courage. The Guru chastises, shames and reprimands the Emperor for is deceit and unbecoming conduct…

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

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

3 He, who has given you kingship, has entrusted to me the task of defending Dharam and Righteousness.

4 Your frantic activities are confined to deceit and diplomacy, whereas my efforts are based on faith and truth.

5 The name of Aurangzeb hardly behoves you, for kings should not indulge in deceiving others.

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

7 You kneaded the earthly remains of your father with evil deeds and with the blood of your brothers.

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

9 I will now storm you like rain water and deal with you with the sharp edges of my steel arms.

10 You have met with failure in the Deccan and are coming back thirsty from Mewar.

11 If you now turn you eyes to the north then you will find your thirst quenched and parched throat set right.

12 I will place fire under your feet and will not allow you to drink water of the Punjab.

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

14 The lion itself is alive and will wreak vengeance.

15 I do not now ask you for anything in the name of your Allah and your scripture.

16 I have no faith in your word. Only the sword will now serve its purpose.

17 Even if you claim to be a clever leopard, I will ensure the lion remains outside your net.

18 Even when you talk to me, if you will, I will always speak of the path which is pious and straight.

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

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

21 There, then, I will come alone and you may come along with your horsemen.

22 You have had easy fruits and enjoyed the unusual gifts but have never met the warriors, in person.

23 Come forward yourself, armed with a sword and axe, for a duel and kill no more the innocent people in God’s creation.

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

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

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

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The ‘Zafarnama’ by Guru Gobind Singh :

Salutations to God…

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

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

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

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

Separate from the world yet most powerful, Thou O Presence, Who givest Thy gifts as if Thou wert here before us. (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Guru’s Memorandum to Aurangzeb :

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

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

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

But beware; the insolent crow can lay not its hands upon one whom Huma, the Bird of Heaven, protects. (16)

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

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

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

The oath breakers attacked them, of a sudden, with swords, arrows and guns. (20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From when you gave your word, swearing in the name of God’s Word, it was incumbent on you to keep your faith. (51)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What The Emperor’s Last Will Reveals …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Translated from a history article published by Sh Ajmer Singh, MA, in the Fateh weekly Nov. 7th, 1976.)

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

And thus ended Emperor’s Aurangzeb’s reign of fifty years. He was over 90 when he died.

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

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Guru Gobind Singh : Growing Up On Moments Of Truth

GURU TEG BAHADUR, The Ninth Guru,

Father Of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

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

“… Guru Teg Bahadur lapsed into deep thought after listening to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, some 500 hundred of whom led by Kripa Ram met the great warrior saint with woes of great suffering at loss of their freedom to keep faith and their religious beliefs. They pleaded for the Guru’s intervention with Emperor Aurangzeb to put a halt to this tyranny.”

The Guru knew that this was not a problem of Kashmiri pundits alone. Their cries of pain were screams of humanity all over the subcontinent under the hidebound and crude Islamist regime. Nor was it a mere political matter. Their calamitous misfortune was reflective of the senseless adversity which the entire Hindu society was groaning under. Nor was it a case of social repression or economic oppression. It signified a collective indignity that drew the lion in the Sikh Guru to the fore. It was a moment of truth, an issue that concerned the very future of humanity, in the way people of the land would live and believe, look upon themselves and their fellowmen, through centuries to come !

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

The Background

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

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

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

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

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

Muhata Khan’s charter of demands included the following :

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

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

Attack On Hindu Function

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

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

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

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

The Guru Stands Tall

And Proves Heavier Than A Mountain…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GURU GOBIND SINGH

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

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

Thus ended the mortal saga of the Ninth Nanak, Guru Tegh Bahadur. It was the unforgettable legacy in the heritage of the Tenth Guru : Govind Singh Ji.

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Action : Rubbing Firestones

Action, its need, gathers the self to a point. In its absence, the moment diffuses without meaning. BhagvadGita, the celestial Sanskrit poem, lauds the man absorbed in his quest for knowledge but is more partial towards those who do not shirk from doing what needs to be done. That is because, for one awake and aware, the need for action grounds the body and mind, the factors involved cause the mind to spread into the environment, to analyse and assess, and the concern for making our action meaningful reflects the controls we require over our self. It is a complex thing, without doubt, made even more so if we are to avoid the imagined superpositions from the real face of how our action is to work.

All action needs the will for action. But if action is to like rubbing of firestones, to cause an illuminating fire in darkness, the will for action must be cultured, elevated from its bed in emotion to one flowing from our understanding of our need for action, its factors and process-bound consequence. Our action must first be in our mind, in the light of what we know, what we believe and what we understand.

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Finally, the will for action must strengthen in our breath, which must have the capacity for fire, now simmering and still and then moving in the light summoned within, as needed. The nurturing of will is in effect the culturing of our elan vital, the life force strummed and tightened with our breath, to ready ourselves for the act.

The capacity we build and possess is more valuable than our action. It makes things happen both without and within.

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Mistakes : Correction And Punishment

Mistakes are common facts. Everyone commits them, be one pauper or king. The wise have the knowledge and experience to have learnt from them; the ignorant repeats them. We each may expect our next one sooner than the time we’ve spent regarding a mistake by another.

Mistakes have consequences; otherwise, they wouldn’t be categorised as such. They injure our time, effort, money, body or soul, more or less, and are notoriously repetitive if unchecked. Therefore, it is rational that they be corrected, learnt from, and not repeated. It means that mistakes, and our learning from them, need to be remembered.

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The liberal theory is that punishment is unnecessary to a mistake; we just need to correct it. It is widely propagated that punishments inflict a psychological trauma. That isn’t true, we’ll soon dwell on why. The debilitating effects of extreme punishment, such as was rigorously enforced by medieval Christian institutions everywhere, is fairly well documented. We only have to refer to historical reports and gory tales of “Inquisition” tribunals in Europe and colonised countries… Joyce brings that out well and Dickens follows its social pervasiveness in their respective works.

But punishments aren’t extreme in unregimented societies, such as it prevailed among Hindus, in India and it’s diaspora, except as excesses committed by individuals because of personal suffering or failure. There are graded punishments that parents and teachers are allowed in the process of correcting one’s mistakes and impressing the experience package in memory, so as not to repeat the same mistake in future.

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This introduces a vast consideration in our understanding : all punishments are not traumatic; only extreme, loveless ones are. I remember, one of the first serious punishment I would suffer for my transgressions in childhood : withdrawal of love. It would torment me, prompting prolonged introspection and bringing up that clarity and resolve to correct and remember. It would be elevated to corporal kind only rarely, when it was established even in my realisation that I had been blunderous or had repeated the same too many times.

I hope Child Welfare authorities in Europe, especially Scandinavia, read up this blogpost and desist from treating cultured child raising norms in Indian immigrant families with their own “evolved” socialist christian values.

Christian Offensive In India

A Christian, 30 years in India, writes…

“… If ever there was persecution, it was of the Hindus at the hands of Christians, who were actually welcomed in this country, as they have been welcomed in no other place on this planet. Indeed, the first Christian community of the world, that of the Syrian Christians, was established in Kerala in the first century; they were able to live in peace and practice their religion freely, even imbibing some of the local Hindu customs, until the Jesuits came in the 16th century and told them it was ‘heathen’ to have anything to do with the Hindus, thereby breaking the Syrian Church in two…”

Truth Within, Shines Without

Will Hinduism survive the present Christian offensive ?

Text Source : http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/oct/25franc.htm

When Prime Minister Vajpayee was in the US in September, the National Association of Asian Christians in the US (whom nobody had heard about before), paid $ 50,000 to the New York Times to publish ‘an Open Letter to the Hon’ble Atal Bihari Vajpayee, prime minister of India.’

While ‘warmly welcoming the PM,’ the NAAIC expressed deep concern about the ‘persecution’ of Christians in India by ‘extremist’ (meaning Hindu) groups, mentioning as examples ‘the priest, missionaries and church workers who have been murdered,’ the nuns ‘raped,’ and the potential enacting of conversion laws, which would make ‘genuine’ conversions illegal. The letter concluded by saying ‘that Christians in India today live in fear.’

The whole affair was an embarrassment (as it was intended to be) to Mr Vajpayee and the Indian delegation, which had come to prod American…

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Notes India : My FB Page

Seems like yesterday when I’d celebrated this page-community of 200+ …
It’s now 300+. Happy Me.

Thank you, dear members, for your interest and support. Reminds me of the origin when I’d thought of putting up a pagefull of reads for just five interested readers !

To All My Friends On WP Or G+ …
— Please visit the curated page on Facebook. Click Here.

— Suggest fine content writes, poems, photo features I could reblog or post on the FB page.

Happy Holidays !

Journal : Into The Winter Season

It is difficult to encapsulate my feel of the moment this early December evening except perhaps in images, each emblematic of long narration behind them : a spearheading Modi disrupting India multidimensionally, a Trump making Americans feel collosally stupid, a burning Middle East, a flexing China and crouching Russia, pouting Europe, clearing Africa, sliding Latin America, grasping Japan and a clutching, sputtering and misfiring, Pakistan.

There is a small window of gray before darkness descends on the moment. The TV screen lights up in its forlorn corner while the woman grates veggies for dinner and the young man, just in from work, munches over baked potato twirls. The crassy emptiness of the image threatens to smother another, more real, within. Will it; won’t it ?

Images in sight and images in heart. Images with one image. One versus many images. Until the writer intervenes to develop a third, the philosophical one, occasioned but absorbing of all that select themselves in the process. Such as we have in The Fall, crafted by Albert Camus. There is a narration that is almost intellectual, in there. But wouldn’t you agree, the most powerful were those objective images in its backdrop ? The shops in fleamarket, the restaurant frequented by sailors, the foggy pathways by the canals, the sea and the shiphorns. And those images of mankind. And that one which Jean Baptiste Clemence carries of himself, in his heart. And, finally, the one he’s hung in his closet, of the presiding judges.

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It isn’t just this one work, dominated by circular images. I am reminded of Camus’ other works well : The Outsider, with a linear trail, and The Plague, which has both straights and eddies. In fact, there isn’t a single writer of eminence who hasn’t penned his own take of images before and within himself. All of whom, of which, I recall.


Speaking of images, the soft power of a country lies in its current consistency with its heritage, traditions and views on globally important issues. In the US, where the term was formed, softpower was defined as the ability of a country to persuade others to do what it wants without resorting to force or coercion.

I do not agree with this hard Harvardian definition, “to persuade others to do what it wants.” I find softpower in the nature of appeal … the way a life issue, a nourishment then in people’s want, resolves itself through autoselection of one geospecific practice, example or offering, amongst more than one choices before the globally aware individual. However, thoughts on the matter clarify with what the experts elaborate : Soft power lies in a country’s attractiveness culturally, politically as it plays out within it, and by the legitimacy and moral appeal of its international policies.

India is not the biggest tourist destination on planet earth. Its people are not best known for keeping their environment clean, as perhaps Europe does. Its rural communities are not as alive as depicted in Fiddler On The Roof. It does not have noodles and the range of non-veg cuisines, easily handled with spoon and fork, as the Chinese or the Japanese can rustle up. Nor does it have a showcase of technology and infrastructure of everyday use.

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What India has is an antiquity rich with civilisation, an unbroken line of examples in inner courage, uniquely developed spiritual sciences and native medical knowledge, a truly chaotic rainbow nation that still makes sense together, regional diversities that emerge every 100 miles any which way, a plethora of “pagan” beliefs that have gone under or virtually vanished elsewhere, a history marked with longest dark age, a milling population that still breathes hope over myriad deities, each sensed here and now, a riotous range of languages, festivities, dialects, sartorial colours, cuisines largely vegetarian, and an adaptive way-of-life compass that corrects itself without much intellectual discourse.

Today, India is not only the birthplace of all extant panentheist and atheist religions, it is hegemonistically speaking the least aggressive powerhouse nation on earth. Since millennia, it has been home to persecuted refugees from far off lands — Jews from Syria and Parsis from Iran — and a potboil of people with every racial hue. It is a country that is willing to pay in order to maintain the diversities on its bosom. And, above all, it has the genes to check the religious regimentation that Christianity and Islam bring in their wake.

Freedom, in India, is the very warp and woof of a common man’s life : in the way he survives, celebrates, and protests.

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Hindu — The Word

#Hindu — the word — is identifying of us, the mainstream people of India. It is a hard identity only while facing the political, predatory, spiritually cipher Abrahamic religions — Christianity and Islam. Events in India’s thousand year long past, reinforced in the present, has convinced us that indiscriminate, soft, embracing sense for other belief systems is misplaced and self destructive.

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Hindu — the word — is not a particular hard descriptor otherwise. That indescribable fluidity is still etched in how we accept ourselves regardless of the apparent strangeness we present amongst us on account of diversity in evidence — languages, deities, clothes, food and rituals. This acceptance of differences in ways of life is not intellectual but found on an inalienable softness built into inner structures that form our very being as individual people.

Hindu — the word — is hence more enigmatic, wonderfully undefined but pregnant with meanings, than any other I have come across. Which, of course, is transcendental to how the word is regarded by linguists : as an adaptation of Sindhu, the River Indus in the north west of the country.

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America, The Idea Liberals Puff Up

“For those Americans—Democrats and Republicans—who cherish America’s global role as a beacon of freedom and democracy, a Trump presidency presents a clear and present danger. Leaders in both parties must meet this challenge head-on before Mr. Trump irreparably damages our cause.”

So, the WSJ carries. That the writer is personally anti-Trump, in thought or pathology, would not have arrested my surf on web. It is this idea projected on America, as beacon of freedom and democracy, that reminded me for long how the US bedded dictators and junta rulers everywhere, how it fomented trouble in sovereign countries and caused utter disasters on account of the liberal “mission,” not unlike the missionaries who take on the “white man’s burden” and leave people in superstition, ignorance and colonised.

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The US — America — turned into a big dog international bully under that unbridled mantle of beaconous ideology, which was misused and worse by its delusioned champions. It seeded intentions divorced from reality, from the fraternity common amongst equals, the friendliness and humility we bear for people in various climes and polity, who are the same striving and aspirational but appear and seem so different. America, if it had not ideologically tippled over, would have gathered the world around itself.

I hope the Trump presidency will keep America on real grounds and not be rushed by slogan shouting in its streets, media, or in invitations from politicking opportunists abroad.

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