The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 30 November 2009


Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)


Since I last wrote I think things are changing for the better, though regiments and contingents are still rising. The European force that marched from Allahabad to Cawnpore has defeated the rebels upon four separate occasions, and has taken 40 guns, of course, not without loss. They were too late to relieve the unfortunates at Cawnpore, who numbered, men, women, and children, some 500 souls, out of whom not one survives to tell their misery. They were besieged in their intrenchments by about 20,000 men, who kept a continual cannonade upon them, and not until they had been without provisions and shelter of any kind for three days in the hottest month of the year, and upon a sworn promise of being allowed to proceed by boats to Allahabad did they surrender themselves. They got into the boats, and had proceeded about a mile, when guns were opened upon them from both sides, the boats sunk, all the men were killed, and the women taken away for a worse fate. Those latter poor wretches were found down a well hacked to pieces. They had been kept and slaughtered by divisions as the attacking column neared Cawnpore, and the sight that met the eyes of the Europeans upon their driving these demons from Cawnpore, was something awful. It (the news of this?) has now spread throughout India, and the feeling of Europeans against natives is as deep as it can be. The Cawnpore force burnt the palace of the Nanah Saheb, the head of these miscreants, but he had wisely run for it ; he will, when hard pressed, most probably commit suicide, so we shall not have the pleasure of putting him to death. This force crossed the Ganges, and by this time will have relieved the small garrison at Lucknow, who have had a hard time of it; but I imagine no terms will ever again be asked from natives after their treachery at Cawnpore.

Delhi is still in possession of the rebels. Our army before it has not been able to act from want of a siege train, which by last accounts was quite close, so we hope soon to hear of its downfall. The native merchants in this town say it has bean taken, but with great loss to the Europeans.

There are some 100 Europeans stationed here now, so we all feel more relieved, as in case of a row, there is some place to run to. I am living in a room in the mess, and there is another for H. when he joins. I am afraid there will be great confusion about letters for some time; direct yours to Grindley & Co., Calcutta, for we cannot say where a week may find us.

Sunday 29 November 2009


Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)


Since I last wrote, things have been getting from bad to worse. Up to date, the principal stronghold of the insurgent Sepoys, Delhi, has not been taken from them, that is we have not heard of its fall. The Sepoys have fought right well, and there will be a long list of killed before the country is thoroughly quieted. Our men, as far as it is possible to judge, are faithful, but they have not as yet been opposite insurgent Sepoys, though we had a good bout with villagers, armed with matchlocks, swords and spears. There were about 300 of them, to whom we had but 50 to oppose, but we charged them and they, emptying their guns, fled. We killed about a dozen of them. At first I thought we should have had a good tussle, as they were well posted behind a bank waiting for us, and remained until we were within 200 yards of them, and then their hearts failed them; unfortunately we had no cavalry or they would have suffered very much. This foray was to avenge the death of a magistrate and two indigo planters, whom these robbers caught by themselves and cruelly murdered. They cut off the head of the former and only his mutilated body was found. We burnt and destroyed twelve villages. A party of European soldiers had been at them before, and we were followed by a strong party of infantry and cavalry; so I expect they will be rather chary in future of killing Europeans. You will see by the papers what slaughter of unfortunate officers, their wives, and children, has been committed, and at present their murder cannot be avenged from want of European troops, in fact the latter can merely hold their own. All the force going to China has not been intercepted; it will be upwards of a month before troops can reach us.

Government has a severe lesson in trusting to native troops and denuding the country or European. They have lost lachs and. lachs of rupees both in money and property. What is to be done when the country is settled, it is hard to say. Life in India for years will be miserable not on account of fighting, for I imagine that will all be settled by the end of the next cold weather, but moving about continually, no society of any kind, for all the ladies that have not left up country are only detained by the roads being impassable; when they are clear they will be off to Calcutta, and not one will come up for years. Our name as an army has gone, and Native Infantry another name for treachery and murder. I write in rather a despondent manner; I am not generally so, but I can see nothing in the future to alter my opinions. I acknowledge upon our arrival here our position was so critical, and in case of a rise in the regiment our chance of escape so small that the whole of us felt very uncomfortable, but now a great part of the danger is removed, and unless a party of rebels come in here and compel our men to mutiny, they will remain staunch. Still the uncertainty preys upon one, and I shall be very glad when it is all well over.

W. B.'s regiment was blown to pieces, having in the most absurd manner mutinied with the army, where the Europeans were about five to one. All the officers I believe escaped.

Saturday 28 November 2009


Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)


I write you this from Beaullah on the Ganges. We have arrived thus far safely on our journoy. T- is at Chuñar all right; the Sepoys have half of them at least rebelled. The Madras Fusilleers walked into them at Benares, and though there were less than two hundred Europeans, polished off three regiments. They were however backed up with some guns, and I believe the loss of the mutineers was chiefly from the grape.

Our regiment, or rather the skeleton of it now left, most of them being on leave, remains as yet faithful and from the number of European regiments now arrived and daily arriving, I think the worst is over. « « « *

Dont think we are rubbed out if you don't hear from us.

Friday 27 November 2009


Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)


Here I am still on the river; we can hardly expect to get to Mirzapore before the end of this month. As yet our Sepoys have behaved well, and as long as they do so we are all well. T- was all right a few days ago, and the rest of the regiments at Mirzapore perfectly quiet, yon may fancy what sort of times these are when I tell you that out of seventy odd regiments 4 have rebelled, the rest are mostly disarmed.

One of the ladies belonging to our Corps came down yesterday. She and her husband's sister had to travel for a long time on foot, eating rice and & kind of pea boiled, like the coolies, and in great ' danger of their lives. Two of our Sepoys escorted them in. The mild Hindoo has been coming out strong.

Thursday 26 November 2009


Extracts from letters written to a lady resident in Brisbane, whose two sons were officers in the Indian service during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and were stuck in the area around Banaras. (Published in The Moreton Bay Courier on October 31, 1857)


You will be anxious to hear how we are getting on' in India during these stirring times. On the 13th May we left Calcutta and started up country for Allahabad, having £20,000 Government money on board the steamer. None of us on board thought of mutiny, a supposed local disaffection in the 19th and 34th N.I. Regiments had been suppressed. So you may guess our surprise upon reaching the first station after getting through the Sonderbands, to hear of the rising and massacre at Meerut, but on getting up higher our surprise was changed into anxiety at hearing of the fall of Delhi and the robbery of the treasury.

It came home when we considered that we were entirely in the hands of our own men, and so much money on board, there was nothing to prevent their working their wicked will upon us and seizing the money. Every station we came near, an orderly met us with an order to move on and not on any account to land. The further we got up the worse matters became, and by the time we reached Benares the whole of India was up. At that place our destination was changed to Mirzapore, about fifty miles lower down the river. Upon our reaching Mirzapore a telegraph was put into the commanding officer's hands to the following effect: - "The 47th N.I. intends to rise and seize the treasure upon arrival at Mirzapore." You may fancy our feelings under the circumstances, as in every case the seizing the money has been preceded by the murder of the European officers. But I am glad to say it was a false report, the men landed quietly, and up to the present moment have remained so.

So few regiments have escaped disaffection that it would be nonsense to say we have entire confidence in our men, but we live in hope all will go well. We have very few men here, and the Government has a large sum of money in hand, the men's savings in Burmah, both these circumstances are in favor of their remaining quiet, and I think they will. Within the last few days news has come in of Delhi being retaken, and some 15,000 of the rebels killed. Cawnpore is still held by some 400 Europeans against thousands. Lucknow is the same. Allahabad is quiet, the town half destroyed, and a force starts at once for Cawnpore. The greater part of Oude is in a state of anarchy, and it will take time to reduce the country to anything like the fancied security that existed before the 10th May, but I think the danger is now over. European troops are arriving daily from Calcutta, and proceeding up country. I should be very glad to see some 80 men left here, but I imagine they cannot spare them, and I feel certain that as long as no force comes here, the men will remain all right. There is one station, Pagode, some 40 miles hence, upon which we keep a sharp look-out, if it go, we must cut and run, even if our own men remain staunch, as we have only 100 fighting men and they have 700, rather too great odds.

All kinds of reasons have been given for the insurrection, but the most popular one now is, that the head men of Delhi and Lucknow seeing the security that the Government thought they were in, and having denuded India of European troops, it would be a fine opportunity to raise the green flag, and gain the empire, but as they wanted the assistance of the Hindoos, the cry of the cartridge was raised, but you will see all this in the papers.

H- is with the left wing of the regiment coming up in country boats. They left Calcutta 31st May, and will probably reach this about the end of July, a long and tedious journey. I got a short letter from him at Bhagulpore, dated 21st that he was then all right.

If it had not been for all those disturbances we should have had a very pleasant time of it here. It is a very pretty place, and the society being much more various than is usual in military stations in India, there was less shop and more gaiety. Races, balls, and pic-nics, were the order of the day, not four months ago, now it is most miserable, all the ladies have left, and only a few of the gentlemen have returned, consequently the houses are empty. There is an army to be formed at Allahabad to scour the country, but I am afraid they will not include us, but we shall be kept here to do 'watchman's duty.

The Moreton Bay Courier views on publishing these letters:
Written without any View to publication, but merely for perusal in the home circle, and to quiet domestic fears, these letters present an unvarnished and unexaggerated picture of life, as it is at present in our Indian empire. We feel that any lengthened comment on our part would but weaken what is so well said by the gallant soldiers themselves. How many of these epistles find their way now as messengers of joy or sorrow to British homes and are opened with anxious heart and trembling hand at the domestic hearth. We sincerely hope that the approaching Christmas season will not bring further tidings of Indian disasters to darken English homes - the palace and the cottage like - but that the triumphant career of our arms will have restored peace to India and the undisturbed sway of old England over all her dominions.

Tuesday 24 November 2009


Human qualities often come in clusters. Altruism, inner peace, strength, freedom, and genuine happiness thrive together like the parts of a nourishing fruit. Likewise, selfishness, animosity, and fear grow together. So, while helping others may not always be “pleasant,” it leads the mind to a sense of inner peace, courage, and harmony with the interdependence of all things and beings.

Afflictive mental states, on the other hand, begin with self-centeredness, with an increase in the gap between self and others. These states are related to excessive self-importance and self-cherishing associated with fear or resentment towards others, and grasping for outer things as part of a hopeless pursuit of selfish happiness. A selfish pursuit of happiness is a lose-lose situation: you make yourself miserable and make others miserable as well.

Inner conflicts are often linked with excessive rumination on the past and anticipation of the future. You are not truly paying attention to the present moment, but are engrossed in your thoughts, going on and on in a vicious circle, feeding your ego and self-centeredness.

This is the opposite of bare attention. To turn your attention inside means to look at pure awareness itself and dwell without distraction, yet effortlessly, in the present moment.

If you cultivate these mental skills, after a while you won’t need to apply contrived efforts anymore. You can deal with mental perturbations like the eagles I see from the window of my hermitage in the Himalayas deal with crows. The crows often attack them, diving at the eagles from above. But, instead of doing all kinds of acrobatics, the eagle simply retracts one wing at the last moment, lets the diving crow pass, and then extends its wing again. The whole thing requires minimal effort and causes little disturbance.

Being experienced in dealing with the sudden arising of emotions in the mind works in a similar way.

Matthieu Ricard

Monday 23 November 2009


Verbal volleys involving the meek faceless icons of our country still presenting democratic India’s true federal dream to its sons and the so-called harbingers of the sons of the soil continued on the day 2, though, as expected, the fizz has fizzled out, the way Phyan gave us the much needed reprieve. But as my words went day before yesterday, the much sought after commodity, the publicity though largely through the media glare, is there. Boldened by the gain, the beaky fellows tried their hand on a dissenting but gentle voice that was honest and sincere enough to express it’s independence in a country which sells its democratic dream on every possible platform but seldom tries to do a quality check. That voice believed in unity of independence the entities.

Since the gentle voice is heard across the length and breadth of this landmass, the master sees an opportunity here to get publicity by confronting the views expressed by the voice as dissenting, branding him anti to ‘his people’. Next higher level of cheapness in getting publicty comes into play as the master views the opportunity even higher this time. So he releases a volley of words yet again in his typical style of branding and brandishing. The drama is set in motion. He advises his ringleader and the band of goons to be on the call.

But wait. This time the pedagogy of goonship saw a loophole in its near perfect syllabus. The voice to be at the core of the victimization process proved to be a silent crusher of their emotions, for the voice had much bigger emotive connect with the larger number of subjects, who are born to be victimized only by the fraternity of the ringleaders and the masters, than the manipulated and accommodated base of connects of the goon’s ringleader and the master. The basic fault line for the master was in his assessment of his subject, an apolitical voice, a mass figure, whose connect with it’s support base is through it’s skill that doesn’t require backtracking for fear of commercial losses caused by vandalism of goons and ringleaders; many incidents that we witnessed in near past involving some key mass figures in this country backtracking on their fundamental right of freedom of expression.. It has become the most blatant irony of this country that it cannot have a political but non-controversial figure to be followed.

Yes, so the degree of the desired outcome for the convoluted goons became somewhat convoluted itself. Though they got one inch closer to what they were trying to get, clearly seen in endorsement of their viewpoints of sectarian oratory of ‘for my people’ in one of India’s most industrialized states on issues, trivial and vital. But their failure in this attempt of application of their training leads them to think for course correction. They find an easy way out. In a classic example of making a line smaller by drawing a bigger line near it as they have realized by now that it is beyond their daydreaming capacities to manipulate the existing line even by an inch, they try to numb the gentle voice, that is yet to speak any word on this controversy, with voices of parallel emotive connect, again to their dismay, just to their bad luck of some more loopholes in their pedagogy again. Bolstered by the endorsements and in a hurry to save the face, the ringmaster and the goon try next degree of audacious shame. They drag some names to humiliate their subject voice. The cheapness becomes pricier. Comparison of contributions made is carried out and the spectacle is thickly impregnated with sectarian viewpoints of the master who has always believed in the policy of offence. Probably defense was never in his vocabulary.

But, as mentioned earlier, the pedagogy of goonship is not free of loopholes, much in the line of the cliché ‘nothing is perfect’, the outcome of this damage control exercise could not be even a mirage, to try onto something again to save the face. Like the gentle voice, the other dragged voices, too, didn’t bother to lend their words to this whole episode of venom spitting. But as the cheap is the pricey now, the goonship will find a new target, for they are aplenty. The tenet of the modern management, that don’t waste your resources in mending and tackling an almost impossible problem or competitor or target, find an alternative or the middle way out, has probably gone down well into the extended syllabus of the goonship, for goons know their worth; for master and the ringleader know the worth of the goons; for they know the worth going low to scale high in the spaces; for they know such dissenting and gentle voices can be counted on fingertips; for they know these apolitical and gentle voices don’t meddle in the expanding brotherhood; for they know the middle way out to not to stir the base of voices of emotive connects of such apolitical voices, something that may really jeopardize their game. After all, ‘spiral of silence’ is not just a theory in words only.

But why?

Why the brotherhood of the goonship gets prominence into the narrow by-lanes of the spaces?

Saturday 21 November 2009


The goons barge in. Set their ransacking machinery in motion once again. Start honing their tried and tested skills of vandalism with working on office furniture, their users and the end product. They do everything with a degree of audacious confidence. Say cheering hello to the camera eyes recording them, for they know it is now the easiest way to get publicity. They don’t care if the means are going to start a fury; an outrage that would spark a debate for few hours, for they know the poor memory of their subjects by now. Indeed it is what they are looking for. So they complete their work with required mastery. Leave more than enough of a trail to fill the spaces with words. Security comes in. Regulators arrive. They inspect. They communicate with the feeble victims. They come to pose before the lenses. Make bold and promising statements. Get their due in the spaces. They leave. They, too, leave a trail to be followed by the spaces. Some pawns are already there to be scapegoated. The ringleader gets the due, for himself, for his master. More than expected publicity for the goons has already crept in. The analyses, the debates and the scapegoating processes have seen the light of the day, just once again. The day comes to an end. Another day takes off. The ringleader goon comes out. He apologizes. He apologizes just for the slight inconvenience caused. He doesn’t regret his deeds. In fact, he shows himself to be victimized and veils ‘for his public’ cover to defend his hooliganism. Some political maneuvering takes place. After due assessment of political fall-out and subsequent pros and cons of decisions to be taken, a consensus is reached that the best way out is to serve the guy with a soft approach, for his gains may multiply if situation is handled according to rule-books. This goon and every other goon of this genre and their ringleaders and masters are in convenient know of this accepted and well assimilated fact by now. They always knew they would be left almost untouched, for the brotherhood of goonship is getting larger and wider. They know their use and hence their price in the present political scenario. They are always ready to barge in anywhere to hone their skills of vandalism, for the level of debasement has probably squeezed the catch phrase of ‘cheap publicity’ out of their senses.

Friday 20 November 2009


Indian Fox: A common meso predator in Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh


“We are considered a conglomeration of different faiths, castes, languages, customs and traditions. Whatever we might say in defence or take pride in our ‘unity in diversity’, the world at large believes we are a hotchpotch nation.”

A debate topic on a blog starts saying like India’s slogan of ‘unity in diversity’ doesn’t work and the world at large sees us as a hotchpotch nation.

India is like a microcosm of the macrocosmos of world. We can easily find many Indias in this part of the world, slated to reflect a confusing identity, but is there truly a confusion of this sort? Nations have changed, their characters have metamorphosed but the basic human identity has remained the same over the ages. This basic human identity is at the core to set its other variants. We have always had group identities; identities of fistful of trendsetters; and identities of seas of followers. These identities subsequently reflected in identities of smaller communities; in identities of larger population groups; and in identities of nation states. But this ‘many’ at micro level remains around that sort of ‘many’ at macro level. Layers remain the same. Ethos remains the same. Their scope and paradigms take a shift based on the level they are operating at.

'Unity in diversity' is not India specific. No two human beings are same. The world is heading more and more towards individualism and it is not a new phenomenon. The world history is replete with individuals who really matter. We may represent sameness collectively with this difference of individuality. If we comply, we stay. If we cannot, we split. This basic entity of identity is reflected at every level of societal and population DNA. We make and break identities. That is process of evolution. The subsequent de-stability is a vestige of this process of evolution, to move towards more rational ways. Post-modernism might be a recent literary catch-phrase but what it signifies was always there – making your sphere ‘you’ specific, whether right or wrong. That vestige of process of evolution of identities gives us the rare chance to debate on the post-modern ways of thinking that we inculcate, consciously and sub-consciously.

This multitude of ‘we’ makes societies, communities and nations. This multitude of ‘identities’ is at the core of this process. This multitude of ‘differences’ and hence ‘vestiges’ is in the backdrop of striving for more, seeking corrections, demanding rectifications. We cannot simply do away with it. The world may believe we are a hotchpotch nation but we see that sort of thinking as hotchpotch way of thinking.

Saturday 14 November 2009

WE EXIST.....?????

All of us born to exist. Sometimes, in the wider contour of existentialism, we arrive at the realization to debate whether we existed or not; are we existing or not. Most of the time, we know we exist. After all, existing is purely post-modern in its overtures. Yes, overtures they are. Overtures as they suggest us, to abide by, and not to abide by ‘what’s going on’, - to break the mould, the reshape the mould, or to break the self, - to assume a modified identity, to signify the change, first for self, then for others, or to remain the same.

It is debatable whether existentialism is absolutely individualistic, largely individualistic, or fairly individualistic inculcating the sense of a self with some supporting selves.

The answer can never be in absolute terms. The social structure evolves locally interpreting the underpinnings of all vital possibilities of its outreach. Localization has an inherent trait of maintaining lines of differentiation. So this evolution has limitations; limitations of accepting and assimilating. The larger units that are nothing but an amorphous whole of these smaller social entities have the similar problems of outreach. Only, at this level, the differentiators start adopting a monolithic structure.

The only common thread in this confusing conundrum is the concept of existentialism, something that propels the evolution to change or to adopt to scale the next level of adjustability’; ‘aptness’ is still a word not to be used here.

We all exist because we all believe in the small world around us. We believe we exist as that small world exists. We develop mutualism to draw meanings, to give meanings. This small world may be an individual or a group of individuals. The development of this small world is the only factor that has sustained evolutions; that has created civilizations; that has made us born to exist.

Wednesday 11 November 2009


Be careful of your thoughts. Whatever you send out of your mind, comes back to you. Every thought you think, is a boomerang. If you hate another, hate will come back to you. If you love others, love will come back to you. An evil thought is thrice cursed. First, it harms the thinker by doing injustice to his mental body. Secondly, it harms the person who is its object. Lastly, it harms all mankind by vitiating the whole mental atmosphere.

Every evil thought is as a sword drawn on the person to whom it is directed. If you entertain thoughts of hatred, you are really a murderer of that man against whom you foster thoughts of hatred. You are your own suicide, because these thoughts rebound upon you only. A mind tenanted by evil thoughts acts as a magnet to attract like thoughts from others and thus intensifies the original evil. Evil thoughts thrown into the mental atmosphere poison receptive minds. To dwell on an evil thought gradually deprives it of its repulsiveness and impels the thinker to perform an action which embodies it.

Very carefully watch all your thoughts. Suppose you are assailed by gloomy thoughts. You experience depression. Take a small cup of milk or tea. Sit calmly. Close your eyes. Find out the cause for the depression and try to remove the cause. The best method to overcome the gloomy thoughts and the consequent depression, is to think of inspiring thoughts and inspiring things. Remember again, positive overcomes negative. This is a grand effective law of nature.

The science of thought power is very interesting and subtle. This thought-world is more real relatively than this physical universe. The power of thought is very great. Every thought of yours has a literal value to you in every possible way. The strength of your body, the strength of your mind, your success in life and the pleasures you give to others by your company - all depend on the nature and quality of your thoughts. You must know thought-culture, and develop thought power.

Swami Sivananda


The air space scene was hot this evening with debates and analyses on Manu Sharma’s parole fiasco, his links, why he got parole, how he misused it, how he cheated the system, how everything backfired among others.

Two main themes were:

• Is Delhi police shielding son of a senior police official who had a tiff there at LAP, the bar where a brawl involving Manu Sharma took place? Reports say about Delhi Police Commissioner Dadwal’s son.
• Delhi Police detained businessman Sameer Thapar of JCT fame in a case of mistaken identity.

Given the societal arrangements that we are living in, it had to happen. All the links and patronage that Manu Sharma may enjoy had to take the backstage, in order to surrender to the interests of the mightier ones. A commoner would certainly be more interested for the momentary relief that wrong was backtracked so quickly this time in this case, just in days of controversy coming to the surface and Delhi CM denying any wrong in parole to Manu Sharma, for a commoner identifies more with a Jessica Lall.

Thanks to media this time. The pressure has worked efficiently. Media is questioning the police motive, government’s role, and the system functioning. We cannot expect that a commoner will identify her or himself to this extent and would go to identify his or her own identity and life circumstances amidst all the prevailing complexities that look trivial on surface but have potential to derail any life at any given moment.

Let’s see if we ever can come to feel restless until we get the whole pie of what should be delivered. Manu Sharma should just be the beginning at this stage. We need to identify us to the extent that why the action was quickened after mightier names got involved and why not when the report of Manu Sharma misusing parole surfaced first. Till then, it’s the sluggish race as usual to see the faceless justice getting some face. Till then it is just another momentary relief.

Monday 9 November 2009


What Raj Thackeray has got done today is yet another deafening addition to the debasement of the face of Indian polity. The spate is going on. It is becoming epidemic now. The beak has become so stiff that it is threatening to drown the boat called India.

We have reasons to believe it. Spiral of politicians like Madhu Kodas and Raj Thackerays, many political goons belonging to every political party and every Indian state, is getting sharper and sharper. There happened to be a clear demarcation between a politician and a criminal when our academic forefathers had established Political Sciences. As the ages rolled on, the line of demarcation got thinner and thinner. Once there could not be a line. Then came a period when a line, though the bold one, could be drawn. The bold line was subsequently replaced by the thin line. Time keeps on moving uni-directionally. The thin line becomes the fine one and keeps on getting finer, rapidly now. Comes the days we are living in. The line is almost blurred to the extent that its constituent dots are threatening their cohesive gel of an imminent drought if the crisis is left unchecked anymore. Here comes the deepest of ironies. The dots find that they cannot trust the source of the solvent that is entitled to lubricate their cohesive gels.

Pity them. Pity India. For, the trepidation seems much more intense here than any other country with such a huge biomass. Pity India. For, it is getting leaders who believe they are rulers, and their voters are ignorant bunch of creatures. Sure, they believe their voters are just biomass, and not human beings. Pity India, for their number is on the rise. We proudly say we celebrate democracy when elections come. We break spiral of silence by sending out a government out of the office when no one had expected it. But we forget the basic necessity of our existence.

India has a constitution; an elaborate and detailed one. It is embedded in democratic values. It was written when there was a clear demarcation between a political thought process and a criminal mindset. Today when the criminal and corrupt mindset is getting the upper edge, the values find themselves amidst debilitating chances of survival. Slowly they have stopped speaking for themselves. Whenever they find some expression, most of the time, they find some sort of serendipity or some forced execution. The natural outcome: Democracy has become an occasional celebration, something that was our birth-right.

Today was day of debate parleys. Today was an occasional day for culture of debate in our country. We recently missed a debate on Madhu Koda deeds. The culture of debate, the backbone of democracy, is looking desperately to find some space. We need to accept India never had a culture of debate given its socioeconomic and political weavings in the post-impendence existence. Koda was not the first case of corruption. Raj Thackeray is not the last face of political hooliganism. But we have comfortably forgotten misdeeds of their predecessors. Almost of them still have secure political careers. A common Indian is not very hopeful about Madhu Koda and Raj Thackeray by the precedents already set. Let’s see when and how we forget this episode in the coming days!

Sunday 8 November 2009

Saturday 7 November 2009


This one is one of my favorites, a poem written by Naqvi Sir, published in 1974, in the collection 'Saat Swar'. Naqvi Sir was just 20 when this collection of poems was published in Varanasi.

Qamar Waheed Naqvi, 'Saat Swar', 1974 

Friday 6 November 2009


I hope most of us are still aware of Shanmugam Manjunath who sacrificed his life.

What for?

Many of us would dismiss that in just one go -- for honesty -- and for human values, values going deeper into backstage with each passing moment, and this all in the veil of pragmatism. On 19th Nov., 2005, this IIML grad and sales manager of Indian Oil Corporation was found shot dead in his car in Lakhimpur-Kheri, and that in the age of 27. And for what -- he had raided and sealed some petrol pumps for adulteration. S. Manjunath, the teacher of his IIML professors was no more between us.

But what was our responsibility? Could we adopt even an iota of values of pioneers like Manjunath, Satyendra Dubey, Binayak Sen or Himanshu Gandhi? A selfless struggle to bring the process of change on the horizon.

Some media reports have pegged Naxals’ annual extortion operation at around 1500 crore and see, a Madhu Koda can easily outmaneuvers them in just few years of political career. Who’re mercenaries of debased interests? Finding that is getting tougher and tougher. Identities are coalescing and tentacles of vested interests are infesting virtually every area of our social habitat now.  

We need the change. We desperately need to save our social habitat. We need functionality of values back. Surely we need messengers of change. We always need to see that the sacrifices like Manjunath and all others do not vanish in the pages of history. We need to discourse the sensitivity. We need to see what has been the individual sensitivity? What has been the sensitivity of people as a whole? Are we able to question ourselves? I think we must question ourselves, our orientations.

I believe there are multitudes who share this sort of thinking. Such thoughts come to them time and again. I do believe that human consciousness will ultimately find its way one day when a Manjunath and a Satyendra Dubey would not have to get gunshots to follow their lives on the principles once the societies had accepted as functional norms.

Thursday 5 November 2009


"If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." - Albert Einstein

When was the last time you sat through a meeting and said to yourself, "This is a complete waste of time!"? Was it yesterday, or even just a few hours ago? Why did that gathering feel so tedious? Perhaps it's because the leaders posed the wrong questions at the start of the session. Or, worse yet, maybe they didn't ask any engaging questions, and as a result, the meeting consisted of boring reports-outs or other forms of one-way communication that failed to engage people's interest or curiosity.

The usefulness of the knowledge we acquire and the effectiveness of the actions we take depend on the quality of the questions we ask. Questions open the door to dialogue and discovery. They are an invitation to creativity and breakthrough thinking. Questions can lead to movement and action on key issues; by generating creative insights, they can ignite change.
Consider the possibility that everything we know today about our world emerged because people were curious. They formulated a question or series of questions about something that sparked their interest or deeply concerned them, which lead them to learn something new. Many Nobel laureates describe the "Eureka!" moment of their discovery as when the "right" question finally revealed itself—even if it took them considerable time to come up with the final answers.

If asking good questions is so critical, why don't most of us spend more of our time and energy on discovering and framing them? One reason may be that much of Western culture and North American society in particular, focuses on having the "right answer" rather than discovering the "right question." Our educational system focuses more on memorization and rote answers than on the art of seeking new possibilities. We are rarely asked to discover compelling questions, nor are we taught why we should ask such questions in the first place.

Actually it is quite easy to learn the basics of crafting powerful questions. However, once you understand the importance of inquiry, it's hard to turn back. As your questions become broader and deeper than before, so does your experience of life. There is no telling where a powerful question might lead you.

Eric Vogt, Juanita Brown, David Isaacs
  • What is the Indian approach – focusing on right answer or right question first?
  • What role does our education system play in it?
  • Can there be a fitting answer or set of answers to such propositions?
  • Right question or right answer first – what can be the determinant circumstantial attribute?
  • What is the universality of this proposition?

Wednesday 4 November 2009


Sometimes we feel we are living in a world that is nothing but an illusion. Most of the moments of life go unwarranted when thoughts are at a subconscious play. We are unable or unwilling to listen to them not realizing their influence on confluence of imminence and chance. They do affect us. Sometimes we feel conscious about our position and our place in the reality of the world. Thoughts emerge at the surface more often. We human beings are basically manifest creation of conscious, subconscious and unconscious thoughts. The gravity of their web decides the direction of stay here to make a living out of the life.

Web of Thoughts: Ragini's Sketch Impression


Tuesday 3 November 2009


The prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Award 2009 has found a match this year in Dr Jaya Arunachalam. It’s not the first time and it’s not the last time when Dr Arunachalam has been conferred with a prestigious recognition for her efforts. The important factor to be mentioned here is nature of her efforts. Like I wrote in one of my earlier write-ups, she has achieved much of her success with help of collective efforts involving the civil society by playing a pivotal role through her initiative the Working Women’s Forum (India) in bringing together the diverse groups of people with means and people seeking means to form a steady flow of subsistence for the needy. Dr Arunachalam’s belief in being an activist and not a fighter compliments the potential of ‘we’ bound by a cause and it emphasizes the need for collective effort.

The need is to believe in power of collective effort. The task before us requires as many helping hands as possible to come together and form a chain of undying spirit. The hunt is to be for likeminded partners to come and share their thoughts and extend their help to the cause of the mankind, graduating from a man to the men.  Obviously the most important asset here is the personal commitment.

We must not claim to be different; nature of the cause requires amalgamation. But, yes, we need to be different for the initiative once we decide over it. In Delhi alone there are over 60,000 registered societies and organizations that claim to be engaged into some sort of empowerment or ‘rectifying an anomaly’ work. Let’s think about the pan India scene. It will start looking disturbing right from the very beginning if we decide to go on social auditing for even a fraction of it. Still a common Indian is looking desperately for an aggregation of differentiators; looking for a consorted effort to help them to get ahead in the race of just standing on their feet.

It was always there – the need for the human factor to every life. It has not come just now when efforts to empower the last person and make her/him parallel to the official definitions are needed to stand out. But have we learnt? Have we been able to zero-in on the nature of efforts that we need to mobilize?

Such efforts speak for the ‘we’ factor. They too know they have proponents and not just a single one. But they need as much multitudes together as possible. This idea and just a discourse-knowledge of ‘others are there too’ is needed to be propagated.  There are some out of numerous who are working to bring some change. The commitment is to be extended among all. There must be a willingness to share the vision and commitment in order to create a ‘differentiator’.

What can be the basic differentiating contributions? Contributions from organizations as well as individuals can be in terms of thought process sharing, conceptualization of themes and projects with relevance for social empowerment, volunteer association for some manpower hours of highly satisfying outcome to name a few.

The need is to look forward to catalyze a pattern change in the way development assistance works nationwide by connecting the local and the global to achieve large scale development driven at the grass roots. Human development is about expanding the capacity of all human beings to take control of their destiny and reach their full potential. Remember, ‘we’ as a ‘unit’ can do wonders to make a difference.

Monday 2 November 2009


dy gh dh rks ckr gS
dy gh dh rks ckr gS

tc esjs vUrj us

eq>s fQj ls iqdkjk Fkk

eSa dgha [kks lk x;k Fkk

fQj ls le; ds lUukVksa esa

'kCn dgha HkVd x, Fks

mu ladjh foyhu gksrh xfy;ksa esa

ftudk dHkh dksbZ ljek;k gh ugh jgk

esjs vUrj us eq>s >d>ksjk

dgk dgka tkrs gks

D;k rqeus fdlh ls ;gh 'kCn ugha dgs Fks

cSBks nks ?kM+h fuokZr esa vkSj lkspks

rqEgsa D;k gksuk Fkk vkSj D;k gksrs tkrs gks

thou ewY;ksa ds rqEgkjs izfreku D;k gS

D;k ;gh ugha rqEgkjs vfLrRo dk lkj okD; gS

dy gh dh rks ckr gS]

tc eSaus lUukVksa ls [kqn dks ik;k Fkk

tc esjs vUrj us eq>s fQj ls cqyk;k Fkk

lUukVs vkt Hkh ogha gSa

ij laokn dgha izLQqfVr gks  x;k gS

vkvks pyks [kkstsa fQj ls fdlh fuokZr dks

fQj ls mu izfrekuksa dks xढ़us ds fy, 

Sunday 1 November 2009


Chaos and Faith are so intertwined in our lives that occasionally they transcend all the subtleties to take us to the realm of crude questions and innocent realities.

We are born. We grow up. We decay. We depart. The unidirectional flow that life has adopted has dominating role of Chaos. The elements so ingrained are probably the most dynamic constituent that represent the faculty of reminding beacons – the need for us to know us; to take us from ignorance to knowledge; to make the known larger an entity; to bring as much order to our that existence of ‘I’ and ‘us’ as we can; to validate the Faith that sustains us. We arrive with Chaos, totally absent minded of everything. We start growing; realizing what belong to us; realizing what is ‘us’. Subconsciously, consciously, spontaneously, compulsively, we bring Order to outdo the Disorder. Faith gains dominance over skepticism.

Life has a flow.

But the Disorder never goes. The Chaos remains there. It manifests vitally in the final moments to tell us where we faltered; what we couldn’t do to bring the harmony of the Chaos in sync with the tune of the Order. At moments it leads us to question our Faith.

Chaos turns us to the Faith. It turns us away from the Faith.

Faith has different dimensions in our lives. It manifests in varying forms infiltrating us in varying degrees. Though we may develop spiritual, religious, ritualistic, atheistic, monotheistic, ignorant and every other conceivable dimension of individualism, we sustain and continue the tradition of Faith and Chaos is its driver.

As a normal human being, we turn to the Supreme, be it a tragedy, to seek his protection or to complain; be it a celebration, to convey our thanks; be it our day to day lives, to pray to sustain our lives in a proper order. The Faith scrolls on. Some of us who don’t believe in the institution of the Supreme, have varying degrees of Faith in their own capabilities given the prevailing circumstances in their lives.

Faith is the God. Faith is the Supreme. Faith is the realization of the Self.

And Chaos is its alter-ego.

Life is the sum total of the cumulative outcome of equations of ‘Poise-gained’, Poise-lost’ and Poise-sustained’.

Chaos alters the Poise. It brings about modifications and change in our day to day lives. It may have both aspects – supporting and disturbing. Consequences vary from transforming effects to ruffling of a few moments. It disturbs the Faith that we have in life and its driving forces. It leads us to scrutinize. We start scrutinizing us. We tend to scrutinize everyone else in our social sphere. Chaos magnifies. The process takes its course. We go through the event or the eventuality and accept the outcome. In some cases, some of us revolt to change the change. The disturbance recedes. The Poise alters the Chaos.

During some of these moments, the magnifying Chaos may lead us to the moments when our helplessness takes us to the purest of us, when we criticize us first; when we can honestly see our faults; when we can see the fault lines in our living sphere involving people and relations that form the congregation of ‘us’. We put the sharpest and straight forward questions to us first. During some of these moments, we get platonic with our senses; we may get back the largely missing innocence. We come to see the reality as it is and not as we had started perceiving it. These moments of introspection may lead us to the nearly perfect Order in our lives if we are able to sustain them.

But something happens most of the time that pulls us to the reality that we were living in, where we tend to justify us for every deed of us. The nearly perfect Order tilts more towards the Chaos on the horizon. Again we find us engaged in equations of the Poise – the Poise of the Chaos and the Order.