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Monday, January 31, 2011

Doing Nothing Roxx!!

A friend of mine had quit his job and was, supposedly, preparing for civil services about three years back. During this preparatory sabbatical, his parents once took him to a community function. The purpose of such community functions generally is to help people of the community find suitable matches for their sons and daughters. Simply speaking, girls and boys are put on display during such events, so was my friend. While on display, a lady came up to him and asked him the grand old million dollar question, "Son, what do you do"? She might have approached him considering him to be a prospective candidate for some girl in her family. The reply which my friend gave was although not unique, but, is not expected at such get-togethers. Foolishly, something very natural to him, he spoke the truth. He said "Nothing"! This reply shook my friend's parents to their core and in turn they turned his life into hell by abruptly ending his “preparatory sabbatical”. He used to stay with me in Delhi and prepare. Thus, he was also warned of serious consequences in case he kept any further contact with me.

I am also in a similar, not same though, situation these days. I am looking for a suitable job for myself. Suitable jobs and wives seem to be concepts of yester years only! These days, one needs to be a good manager instead. Initially, in this golden phase, when I used to wake up early in the morning and look at the clock, a sense of depression used to creep in for a moment, thinking that its time to wake up. The very next moment my mind used to ask itself. Where do you have to go today? The mind also used to itself reply very promptly, “Nowhere”! Ha Ha!! “Nothing to do, go and sleep”, this feeling used to fill me up with elation. Subsequently, I used to pull my blanket again and then used to sleep for as long as I wanted to sleep. I loved this part of the situation and still love it, but now, I uninterruptedly sleep for as long as I wish to sleep!

The relief of having no pressure to do anything brings happiness, but at the same time, the question, how to pass the day all alone brings in dismay. I "love and hate" the situation at the same time! Love and hate for having nothing to do and being alone for the rest of the day. Watching your flat mates rushing in order to get ready to go to office in the morning makes you happy for being in this state, but also, brings in the sadness of a desperate lonely housewife. Thankfully, I haven’t developed the habit of chit chatting with maids like many housewives do. Although, you have all the space and time for your self, but at times, it seems too much! You feel elated for having all the time in the world and sad for not having enough activities to pass the time.

This mental conflict of Love-Hate, Elation-Sadness helped me to understand the good old words of wisdom which i always knew (I am used to learning things the hard way), that, like a coin, life also has two aspects for every situation. It’s your attitude and perspective that matter and help you in having a peaceful and positive state of mind!

PS :- Title thanks Gtalk status of a friend a few years back. I hope you remember it friend!

Have you ever had a similar fire-freeze moment - an unforgettably magical moment when you felt two strongly opposite emotions? Love/Hate? Elation/Sadness? Anger/Sympathy? The desire to move forward yet run away at the same time?

Please comment/share/brief your fire-freeze story both in the comment section of this post and at the url:


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

India-The Hindu Way

The best ever explanation I have heard of a computer is from my friend, Mr Ambuj Oberai’s father. He used to sell Wipro PC's in the 80's. He used to explain a computer, to his customers, by comparing it to Human Beings. He used to say that a computer comprises of two parts, Hardware and the Software. This is comparable to the body and soul/thought of a Human Being respectively. Software resides in the hardware and controls it, similarly our soul/thought controls the actions of our body. Hinduism has been the soul/thought of Indians since time immemorial.

India has always been a prosperous land where nature itself supports development of Human Life. This is evident by the fact the sub-continent is home to about 22% of the world's population with only 2.2% of the world's land surface area. Thus, India has been a country which has attracted various softwares/thoughts from across the world, since time immemorial, and accommodated them. Indians always believed that accommodating these thoughts is a part of development of the society. But, Indians were deceived in 1947 when a part of their soul asked for its own land! A particular thought (Islam) that India had accommodated long ago wanted its own land. India was partitioned into two countries, one being for Muslims (remember that the remaining India still belongs to people of all faiths), while it was evolving into a modern nation state (I emphasize on the Modern Indian State Factor). India, then, paid the price for being liberal and accommodative and is still paying the price for the same.

This is evident by a number of practises which are still prevalent in independent modern Indian State. Majority of Indians including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists etc consider cow to be a sacred animal. It has been given the status of "Mother" in Hinduism. Thus, Hindus pray cows. But, it is ironical that "Cow Slaughter" is legal in India which has a Hindu majority. The argument in favour of cow slaughter being, banning cow slaughter infringes upon the eating habits of some communities and hence, banning cow slaughter, is a non-democratic and non-secular move. Democratic value of secularism is only expected out of Hindus. Others have been exempted from practising it. Still, ironically, Hindu is called communal and India, anti Islamic!

Another important observation that can be made is the absence of a common civil code. This means that Muslims in India have immunity to some of the laws which are applicable to the rest of the population. Muslim personal law board is the custodian is of these laws. If Pakistan was made for Muslims, then people who did not want to abide by "Common Law" should have moved to Pakistan. How can there be a separate set of rules for a Muslim and a separate set for the rest of the communities. Casteism and Sati Pratha can be banned by law but Polygamy, Triple Talaq etc cannot be banned by law because they are under the premise of the Muslim Personal Law. All this, despite the fact that India is a Hindu majority country. A Hindu is still advised to practise religious tolerance, Strange Indeed!

Some people make a hue and cry about the proposition by some political parties to make religious conversion illegal in India. They consider that religious freedom is the soul of India. Soul is very discretionary for Muslims, it is only used to their personal advantage. No one wants to look at the fact that conversion also promotes "Religious Comparison" which is a basic reason for communal discord. A person will convert to another religion only when he finds one religion either better or lucrative (most of the times there are financial benefits attached to conversion) than his existing one. Why allow conversion when present day law has the provision of banning discriminatory practises in religion (Only Muslims are immune to law by means of personal law board). Still I hear voices(from well educated people) which say that Muslims feel that they are unwanted in India, only problem for Hindus is that there are 20 crore Muslims and such a large number can neither be killed nor driven out of the country. Thus, have to somehow adjust. What a ridiculous thought?

There are many other discriminatory practises but, the final issue that I would like to take up in this blog is the biggest controversy that surrounds India for centuries, The Babri Masjid Issue. Can you imagine of a country in which there exists a mosque (which belongs to the minority community) at the birthplace of the most revered religious figure of the majority community? Leave apart the idea of having a place of worship. India had such a place! Babri Masjid was at a place where the most revered religious figure of Hindus, Sri Ram, was born. It was brought down after one of the biggest movement’s of independent India in 1992. Although, Hindus have not been able to make a temple at that spot till now, the issue has been blown out of proportion by Muslims. Many consider it to be the trigger for resentment of Muslims in India. Muslims still stake their claim on the site.

I do not want to get into any of the legal aspects of the dispute and just want Muslims to compromise their stand on only this issue for the sake of mutual brotherhood. Hindus, as narrated in the article, have compromised on all issues which were offensive to self but were in the favour of Muslims. If Muslims consider India to be their motherland and value the sentiments of Hindus, I expect them to compromise on this issue. Today, Babri Masjid is only an issue of compromise for the sake of peace.

Let us leave apart the history of creation of India. After taking into account all that is said above which takes place in present day independent India, it is high time that the so called educated and liberal Hindus take a stand on this and stop considering Babri Masjid, or any of the above mentioned issues, as religious issues. They should consider these issues as issues of understanding between two communities. Else, there will be a time when their liberal thought will cease to exist and Hindu will have no identity in the world. Identity of Hindu is completely dependent on India, if India exists Hindus exist and vice versa.

Now, this might have confused all people who have read my earlier blogs, they must be thinking how come a person who speaks about liberal and modern thought has suddenly developed a fundamentalist tone! This has a reason and I am going to discuss it now.

Almost, no Hindu will find a fault with my blog. Everyone will believe in what I have written because this blog has been written from their perspective. Many Muslims might contest the thought because they have been told about a different “Idea of India”. They will contest the fact about India being a single country since time immemorial and Cow Slaughter. Many would say that India was always ruled by different rulers and was never a single country. In any case, it is only a matter of perspective on issues and the above arguments are enough to convince a Hindu that Hinduism is under threat. Thus, one has to agree to the importance of perspective and intent even while discussing facts.

All the above mentioned Hindu resentment can be very easily contested by the logic of liberal and modern thought which most of the Indians want to follow. But, when issues like the one in Kashmir come up and the scale in which they come up, it gives a very strong reason for Hindus to believe in the above mentioned logic. This also gives an opportunity to Hindu Fundamentalists to exploit the Hindu sentiment. Thus, it becomes the responsibility of every one of us who believes in modern thought to start creating a positive opinion with the intent of making a progressive nation and society as a whole.

This blog also intends to put forth the complexities that exist in the Kashmir issue from a larger Indian perspective. It is not as easy as autonomy or Plebiscite, there is a larger picture associated with it. I hope, as one of my senior says, good sense prevails after reading this piece of writing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Kissing Kashmir

The other day, i was watching a debate on the BJP's flag hoisting issue on TV,Prof Radha Kumar ( kashmir issue interlocutor) was also a part of the debate. Looking at her points and accent, it seemed as if Basanti from Sholey had been appointed the interlocutor for the Kashmir Issue. With due respect to her credentials, i did not find her points impressive at all.Although,it was for the first time that i was listening to her. During the debate, i was confused. My confusion was that despite being an ardent supporter of the fact that "Kashmir is an integral part of India", why was i not supporting the flag hoisting campaign? Kashmir is an integral part of India and every Indian has the right to hoist the flag in any part of the country as flag hoisting a matter of national pride. Still, was not ready to accept it in this case. My confusion was making me restless.

Later in the night,unable to sleep, i got the answer in terms of an analogy. I started comparing BJP's flag hoisting campaign to that of a husband's desperate attempt to kiss his estranged wife who is seeking divorce. On being opposed, the husband supports his move by saying that "kissing is a gesture of love"!! What a strange logic? Does this fit in the context and situation? I then understood that this was exactly my confusion, the logic given in support of the campaign that flag hoisting is a matter of national pride.
My only question is, despite kiss being a gesture of love, how does it help in saving the marriage in this case?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Kaliyuga's "Akshaya Patra"

Most of us are in the quest to understanding the meaning of life, our reason to live. This quest might seem unending right now, but for sure, it does have benchmarks of understanding. I believe that these benchmarks of understanding and the subsequent translation of this understanding into action help us in defining a person as a wise, good or bad part of the society. Misunderstanding is dangerous though!

My understanding also has a few benchmarks; the first is of considering a man/woman (not mentioning woman is a benchmark of misunderstanding life) as a living organism. By considering a man/woman as an organism we get to know the importance of food. As an organism, we need only three things to survive, food, water and air. All these three were initially provided to us free of cost by nature. Today, sadly, food is a commodity which is not available free of cost (we recently heard our economist PM teaching food economics to the country when food was rotting in government godowns), water is getting commoditized which is visible by the number of disputes over river water and soon in the future, looking at the pollution levels, we will have to buy air! In any case, we all should acknowledge the understanding that the organism side is the primary side of any man/woman.

Second benchmark of understanding is of considering a man/woman as a human. Here i would define human as an organism which lives in the society and follows a some rules and leads a specific way of life. These rules are a result of the thousands of years of evolution which transformed a man/woman from being a mere organism to being the dominant organism called Human. As our life span is limited, all these rules cannot evolve in a life time. Thus, human innovated the education system! This system compresses all the evolution into a structured program which is then taught to men and women so that they transform into humans.

Keeping apart the success or failure of our education system which is an unending discussion, we will have to appreciate the fact that a man/woman is first a living organism and then a Human. One has to qualify as a living being and only then can he or she can qualify to be a Human. Sadly, we have forgotten this! Despite knowing the fact that "Empty stomachs do not understand any ideology", we preach without considering the earlier mentioned fact.

Post independence, Government of India realized the fact and launched a mid day meal scheme for children going to school. This scheme has contributed significantly in raising our levels of literacy from 12% in 1947 to about 68% today. But, as we know, we are home to about 17% of the world's population and government's efforts alone cannot solve the purpose. A literate and educated India will contribute positively to the modern world. Thus, working for a better India is like significantly contributing for a better world.

Pandavas were blessed with unlimited supply of food by the Sun God. In Kaliyuga, we believe that god resides within us. Thus, let us bless the "Kaliyuga's Akshaya Patra" so that we meet the ambition of transforming the world into a better place by ensuring that children do not study empty stomach.

We might also be doing this at an individual level. But, joining hands with likeminded people will surely act like a shot in the arm. Supporting people like Mr Madhu Pandit Das, who have unquestionable and unyielding integrity, in their life's mission in the easiest means of contributing towards achieving the goal.

I hope that the readers appreciate the idea and support Akshaya Patra. Kindly click here to donate .