every moment that passes has a message but we tend to distort the guide of the moment to the tune of our thinking that it becomes irrelevant..we misinterpret individuality then but we seldom realize..but the message remains the same..we need to go beyond..alas! we seldom go..
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.
Being the largest functional democracy, we the Indians are inadvertent stakeholders in the democratic affairs of our two neighbours, Pakistan and China, because an undemocratic dispensation is basically confrontational in nature and the situation worsens when there are contentious boundary and territory issues involved, like we have with Pakistan and China. And without any hesitation, it can be said these two countries are blots on the spirit of democracy. One is an occasional pseudo-democracy while the other is a preserved sanctuary of autocracy. Pakistan that was carved out of India in 1947 to appease the proponents of the ‘two nation’ theory has been run by military rulers most of its history. Pakistan’s origin saw one of the worst communal riots the humankind has ever seen. The proposed motherland that was supposed to bring peace and closure from the alleged ‘big brother’ attitude of India was shattered very soon when the military coup followed the partition riots of 1947. And peace remains elusive in Pakistan since then.
"A faint breeze is cutting through the woods, making the leaves of the trees around me tremble. That anonymous rustling forms ripples on the folds of my mind. I rest a hand against a tree trunk and close my eyes. Those ripples seem to be a sign, a signal of some sort, but it's like a foreign language I can't decipher. I give up, open my eyes, and gaze out again at this brand-new world before me. Standing there halfway down the slope, staring down at this place with two soldiers, I feel those ripples shifting inside me. These signs reconfigure themselves, the metaphors transform, and I'm drifting away, away from myself. I'm a butterfly, flitting along the edges of creation.Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard. I try to calm my ragged breathing. My heart still isn't back in one piece, but at least I'm not afraid."
of seats the BJP won in the Lok Sabha polls, sweeping the states like Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar, had this remarkable aspect
of the voting pattern.
Hindus voted across the caste lines, something defying the
caste-riddled tenets of the Indian politics – and it was not because of the BJP
but it was because of the Narendra Modi appeal and it was because of the dreams
the Narendra Modi appeal sold to the Indian masses reeling under the bad
governance of the 10 years Congress rule.
caste is the most resilient reality of Indian politics.
It was expected but it happened sooner than expected – the Shiv Sena snub to the Narendra Modi led National Democratic alliance government yesterday, just a day after the bye-election results were announce, may well be the beginning of the dilution of the perception that ‘this government intends to perform and is here for a long haul’, if left unchecked. BJP failed to live up to the expectations in the bye-elections held in Bihar (10 assembly seats), Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka (3 seats each) and Punjab (2 seats) after its spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha elections this year. It was an unacceptable 7 seats for the BJP. Its Punjab ally SAD won 1. Bihar, the biggest theatre this time with 10 seats in the election fray, and the centrestage of the debate on the ‘bye-elections being referendum on Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav-Congress combine exercise’ certainly let down Narendra Modi and Bhartiya Janata Party because the BJP had performed exceeding well in these assembly segments in the Lok Sabha polls and had won 6 out of these 10 in the last assembly polls. And even these 4 wins are not convincing. The BJP could retain the Hajipur seat with a victory margin of just over 6000 votes while the winning vote margin in Banka was miserable 711 votes. Even in other states, in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the BJP lost its strongholds, Aagar in Madhya Pradesh and Bellary Rural in Karnataka.
It is in such a bad taste that the mind desperately urges
to run away from the TV sets or think of that impossible situation where they
all could be dumped somewhere deep so that their twisted voices cannot surface.
These so called Seers, Gurus, Saints, the modern day
Shankaracharyas, the Sadhus, the religious Satraps, and their ugly bickering in
the name of sanctifying the religion of the Hindus and their silly and
unpardonable crusade against ‘Sai Baba worship’ – who is asking them to
represent us – who are they to interfere in our personal matters?
Yes, practicing religion is personal and no one has any
right to issue a dictat to follow this or that God or this or that Saint or a
dictat on whom to believe in as a God, something that this ill-intended Dharm
Sansad (religious congregation) in Chhatisgarh did yesterday.
And ‘they doing so’ tells us they do not follow the
religion they boast to represent. In fact no religion allows for such gaudy
display of God ownership and faith ownership. Unfortunately, such
‘representatives’ have had a long run.
Every religion, in its true essence, preaches and teaches
love and peace. If we don’t talk of the distortions and the distorted leading
opinions, no one religion imposes itself on the other.
In essence, every religion is anti-crusade, in its purest,
in its spiritual form. In fact, a devout religious soul respects the other
religion the same way as his/her.
And who can symbolize it better than the dear Mother -
Mother Teresa - who was born on this day 104 years ago in Albania, a European country – and who spent her
whole life in India
She was a devout catholic and followed the ways and the
teachings of Jesus religiously. It is said Jesus came to her asking her to be
His messenger, spreading the message of His love and peace by working for those
who needed it the most, the poor, the needy, and in-turn, receiving the love
and peace Himself, because He exists in every such soul.
And she followed the message, with her beginning in 1948
and she was soon to become the Mother. It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love. Our hunger for God, because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image. We have been created to love and be loved, and then he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one - the naked one - the homeless one - the sick one - the one in prison - the lonely one - the unwanted one - and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home. (From the Nobel Lecture delivered by the Mother on December 11, 1979 on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.)
She remained a devout Catholic throughout her life but
devoted her life to the people of a largely Hindu country. She never asked for
the religion. Her doors were open for
everyone. She found Jesus in every needy soul. She became so Indian that she is
known as the ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’. In fact, her religious adherence was
her inspiration, the force behind her Motherly love.
her were in every walk of like, in India, around the world, something
that these religious satraps of Hinduism can never even dream of. That love,
the devotion to her is still there.
happening to her Order is debatable but the Mother is beyond any questions. We
can and we need to rightly question Gods but messengers like Mother Teresa go
beyond the reach of such questions because we experience the God through them. We can touch and feel the God through them. She remains among the people even after her passing away in 1997 because she remains in the soul of Humanity. Saints are like her, a modern day Saint as the TIME Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint rightly says, not like them who were ready to tear into each other yesterday and today, on TV sets, in public. Thanks for blessing India Mother. Thanks for being there for those who needed peace and who desperately needed help. Thanks for being there Mother.
Image courtesy: Indian Express, The Telegraph and Daily Mail
MOTHER TERESA: RELIGIOUS ADHERENCE WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HER MOTHERLY LOVE
Sir Richard Attenborough – The Right Honourable – or the Attenborough who gave us, the Indians, and the world the timeless biopic, the movie GANHDI, his dream project, a historical achievement, a creation for the global humankind to serve as one of the primary introductions to the 20th Century great who is to remain the icon of the humanity in the centuries to come – Rest in Peace Sir (August 29, 1923 to August 24, 2014)
I am reproducing here, with some changes, my article on ‘Attenborough’s Gandhi’ written on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) on October 3, 2012.
ATTENBOROUGH’S GANDHI – EPITOME OF MEANINGFUL CINEMA
Yesterday’s (October 2) the Times of India had a small write up on Sir Richard Attenborough reminiscing about the making of the world cinema milestone ‘Gandhi’ on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma. He focused mainly on his selection as the director of the project as well as the casting of the movie. He said Naseeruddin Shah was the most recommended name for the role of the Mahatma but his search took him to Sir Ben Kingsley.
And Kingsley proved him right.
I am not a film-buff but I love cinema when it comes to the shades of the visual language. My collection is made of good stuff from the world cinema and I enjoy the quality time watching and thinking over the masterpieces. And I can say ‘Gandhi’ is the movie I have watched the maximum number of times. It is one of the prized possessions in my library. The movie is a ‘must have’ for anyone who cares for values and teachings of the Mahatma and prides in having his works as collectibles.
The movie is unique. In spite of the ensemble cast and thousands of extras (with Guinness Book record making 3,00,000 extras in the funeral scene of the Mahatama), the movie delivers extraordinarily well. Very few movies with such a scale of production in the world cinema have done so.
Much has been written on the Mahatma and much is being written. There have been many movies made and being made on him. His teachings and views have been translated into many languages. He reaches to the world fraternity of the day through the words, written and spoken. And for the world audience, the ‘movie’ Gandhi features prominently there, as the gateway to introduce the Mahatma to them who are still not aware of him but want to know about him. It is true of many Indians as well.
The film is an example of the craftsmanship by a master storyteller. Every shot is an inseparable part as if the movie could not have been made about it. Its every frame is a study in point. You can study the use of lighting, of camera angles, of the dress designing, of the sets and locales, of the props used to support characters in every frame, and a brilliant use of the background music. It is a management case study on Epic filmmaking. But two aspects stand out, the aspects that had the most direct bearing on making the movie a masterpiece.
Image courtesy: BBC, Wikipedia, IMDB, Frank Connor
One is the use of specific incidents from almost four decades of Mahatma’s life in India after his return from South Africa. Four decades is a long period and given the fact that India’s freedom struggle had become synonymous with the Mahatma, it was really a task like finding the needles in the haystack of multiple defining moments of the then Indian history. And Sir Attenborough has done it with such a craftsmanship that we never feel jumbled up when a frame transitions to the other. Remember, every frame in this movie had to be a meticulous selection of consistency and relevance of different time-frames spread, sometimes, over the years.
The other important aspect is the way the characters relay the visual language. Everyone is perfect in the role given but Kingsley mesmerises. Not even for a moment we realize the actor playing the role of the Mahatma is a British and not an Indian. Use of silence, sounds and body language enhance a skilfully written script well.
Gandhi standing up, sitting down and standing up again before he addresses the first public gathering in India or the way Nehru’s friends at Champaran convey their acceptance to do what Mahatma asks them to do – simply amazing.
I would say use of silence and the sound of props of the frames are the amplifiers of performances here. Gandhi travels by the train and the film travels on the wheels of the sound generated by the train and the surroundings. Gandhi’s silence speaks through his tears when his life-partner and soulmate Kasturba Gandhi departs.
Symbolism and leitmotifs, we can find many of them in the movie. It’s a multiple time must watch for anyone who believes in the Mahatma and who believes in the transcendentalism of the meaningful cinema.
I watch and enjoy the movie scene by scene every time, sometimes going back to a scene more than once. Here is the YouTube link to the one of my favuorite scenes from the movie where the British Justice, in reverence of the Mahatma’s stature, bows down to him as he enters the courtroom.
Thanks for giving us ‘GANDHI’ Sir. You’ll always remain there as long as the Mahatma remains there to stir the human conscience.
The Mahatma, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma – one
of the tallest personalities of the 20th Century and one among the
greats the humanity has ever seen – is known, discussed and revered around the
The Mahatma’s non-violence is a unique gift to the
contemporary world that is plagues with increasing religious and terrorist
violence with many war theaters killing scores of lives in every part of the
And violence is begetting violence. Use of violence in
suppressing violence has been ineffective so far. A forceful suppression opens
a window of barbarism somewhere else. A forceful suppression of religious and ethic
crusades is only intensifying the fanaticism.
The Indian voter is getting
If it is not a total collapse, it is certainly a wake-up
The results of the bye-elections held in four states,
Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab,
have come as an embarrassing development for the Narendra Modi led National
Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
It is an unacceptable 8-18, unacceptable from the point of
view of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) strategists who are busy writing off
the Congress party and who are still basking in the glory of the overwhelming
victory they scored in the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014.
Of the 18 seats, Congress and its allies won 10 while BJP
won seven and its Punjab ally SAD one. BJP had
performed exceedingly well in many of these assembly segments in the recently
concluded General Elections. And BJP had performed exceedingly well in Bihar, bagging 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats, with its
allies. That was indeed a clear Narendra Modi effect.
Thus, in Bihar, the bypolls were being seen as the
referendum on Narendra Modi’s governance and on Nitish Kumar’s governance, his political
legacy in Bihar and his political alliance
with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The BJP may rush to dismiss the results but given the way
Modi led the BJP and the NDA in sweeping the nation on the electoral turf with
a non-Congress party first time getting so many seats on its own, but any
subsequent loss of his party will be seen in the context of his ‘performance on
delivery of his promises of bringing the better days’ with questions raised on
Yes, he has been a fearless activist and he took on the
state for its anti-people acts in the Naxal violence hit areas of Chhattisgarh.
Yet, during a phone conversation with him for a story in
2010, when he was out on bail before being sentenced in December 2010, he was
guarded in response. He was not willing to speak anything on his line of work
and the recent developments happening around that.
That is what the state does with the activists who take a
different line on the implementation of policies.
Policies are mere written documents until put into effect
methodically and honestly. Almost of the policies are well planned. The problem
lies in their implementation. And the chronic levels of corruption in every
aspect of Indian society – in its political systems – in its social structures
– in the wings of governance – has left millions to live and die in conditions
of abject poverty and no dignity.
Policies are mere written
documents until put into effect methodically and honestly. Almost of the
policies are well planned. The problem lies in their implementation. And the
chronic levels of corruption in every aspect of Indian society – in its political
systems – in its social structures – in the wings of governance – has left
millions to live and die in conditions of abject poverty and no dignity.
This convoluted implementation of
policies is the central reason behind insurgencies in many parts of India including
the Naxal affected areas as well as the in the North-East states when some
ideologically aligned people organized armed groups to demand their rights, especially
in poor rural and tribal areas and in remote and geographically difficult
terrains, where not even the 10 paise of a Rupee spent reached to the intended
beneficiaries. These insurgencies are decades old now.
And like most of the insurgencies,
unable to take on the might of the state to bring the change they intended for,
they end up being the criminal elements and extortionists, because, by the time
they realize they cannot win the ill-conceived armed rebellion they began with
in the land of the Mahatma, they have become too used to of living a life of no
restrictions where they are the government, where they are the executioners.
Some of them who rightly understand
the ‘realizations’, surrender to the government while others who by now have
become like the hardened criminals with a distorted ideology of disowning the
System, decide to run amok and live the life of outlaws.
It was expected. It has been
happening ever since.
We have seen it happening year
after year – Irom Sharmila is released and is re-arrested.
And yes, we know, the state has
been behind it- complicit, willingly and comfortably. Her annual release is
basically technical in nature otherwise the state would not let her go, unless
the court rules so, something that happened this time, something that that gave
her a freedom of more than a day.
Image courtesy: Reuters
The court order came on August 19 quashing the
charge of 'attempt to commit suicide' – she was released on August 20 evening –
the police approached her on August 21 for the usual round as Sharmila
continued with her fast not taking food and water and refusing medical checkup –
and on August 22 morning, she was taken by the police again to the same ‘isolation’
ward of the Imphal hospital where she has spent so many years demanding the
repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – and where a chief judicial magistrate
remanded her to 15 days of judicial custody.
So, the pathetic annual exercise
of the state had a differentiator this time – Sharmila had some extended hours
of freedom where she expressed about and broke down on her desire for freedom – she
spent some time at the site of her protest where she began some 14 years ago – she spent some time without the tube
attached to her nose, something she has been with since November 2000 - she met
people – she spoke and she interacted - and the whole world wrote about her
freedom this time – because the extended hours gave us the direct access to her
– one to one - reaching out, speaking out.
Image courtesy: Indian Express
In previous years, this window was
not available, as without a court ruling freeing her of the charge of 'attempted suicide', the police would release her as one
year would come to an end - only to meet the technical requirement of the law – the Section
309 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with ‘attempted suicide’ and has a jail
term of one year - and then re-arrest her immediately.
This year, when the Sessions
court of Manipur East ruled that Sharmila never said ‘fast-unto-death’ and
freed her of charges under the Section 309 of the IPC, a Section that is set to be
decriminalized by the Indian government, many of us thought the sense would
prevail and the state would act with sanity.
But – but, the state is notorious
by its stubbornness – it is one of the bottlenecks of our functional democracy –
a democracy that has been able to survive and grow – we saw it in case of Dr.
Binayak Sen – we saw it in case of Himanshu Kumar – we have seen it in many
other cases – and there is no end to it in the near future – the re-arrest of
Irom Sharmila reaffirms that.
The state’s pathetic ironies continue.
THE NORTH-EAST CRISIS
Yes, both, the pro- and anti- AFSPA debates have takers but what negative has happened and is happening due to the AFSPA – with many incidents including the November 2, 2000 Malom Massacre – the massacre that called Irom Sharmila, who was 28 then, to begin her protest fast-until-the AFSPA-repeal on the same day – must be accepted honestly by the state in order to come up with some better and ‘acceptable-to-most’ alternative – like has been the demand always – like has been the need always.
Even if Rahul Gandhi fumbled
again while expressing him out, by our common sense, by the sense of the
public, he doesn't deserve to be hooted.
Yes, the political booing is an
altogether different thing in an age when Indian politics has no talking points
left on norms of ethics.
It can be safely said that the
right intent of Rahul Gandhi, once again, chose the wrong or misplaced words to
express what he meant and since his intent was amply clear, he is to be given
the clear benefit of unclear doubt.
According to the media reports on
his address to the congregation of the women members of the Indian National
Congress yesterday, on the occasion of the 70th birth anniversary of
the former prime minister and his father Rajiv Gandhi, this is what Rahul
Gandhi said - Mr Gandhi, referring occasionally to notes, focused a large
part of his speech on urging his party to ensure the safety of women. "In India, we
worship goddesses," he said. "But the same people who go to temples
to pray to goddesses molest you in buses. Every woman in India has been
oppressed at some point," Mr Gandhi said. (NDTV here - http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/congress-needs-woman-power-tsunami-says-rahul-gandhi-to-workers-578851)
Now, that is basically about a
good intent only.
One of the basic tenets of the
human nature is that we all have good and bad elements within our psyche and
which one plays out when and to which scale is circumstantial, shaped over a period
Yes, there are impulsive gaffes
as well, but they clearly come in the ‘to be given benefit of doubt’ category.
Now, by nature, most of us in the
Indian society are religious and every religious person in this country visits
the places of worship and offers prayers – be the person with refined
sensibility on universal norms of social behaviour - or the person with no
regard to moral values and human life – or the persons in the in-between
Yes, we believe Rahul Gandhi was
addressing to this section of the people in our society who become perpetrators
of crimes, from molestation to rape, from fights to killings, from thefts to
robberies, from bribes to extortion. We cannot say they don’t visit the places
of worship, irrespective of why they visit.
Believing in a God must be about
refinement of the character – but we are living in times when value-distortions
have become so common, so as to become the regulars in lives.
But God never accepts them. God
will never accept them. Even if they visit the places of worship daily.
What Rahul Gandhi said was
correct in intent, yes, but he wasn’t politically correct in expressing
His speech should have been
religion-neutral, like ‘places of worship’ in place of ‘temple’, like ‘Goddess’
in place of ‘Devi’ or doing away with it altogether.
The freelance photojournalist and US citizen who was abducted by
the terrorists in Syria in November 2012 was killed by the ISIS (the Islamic
State in Iraq and Syria, the Al Qaeda offshoot, the most barbaric terror group
so far, now ruling the vast areas of Iraq and Syria) on Tuesday according to a
video posted by the terror outfit on social media sites.
The beheading video is so graphic, so gruesome, that it cannot
be watched. I could not. YouTube took it off immediately.
But the video and the photographs were immediately reloaded with
different IDs. Many were posted in reply to my Tweets on paying tribute to
James Foley with his photographs taken from the websitewww.freejamesfoley.organd FBI’s missing webpage on the
Many journalists have been killed in the global crisis hotbeds. Libya and Syria
are the most recent and the ongoing war zones of Libya
that have cost many journalists their lives. But the spirit to tell the truth
cannot be put down by such incidents, a BCC report today from the Mosul dam that was taken by the Kurdish forces from the ISIS yesterday tells us that again.
And there will be many to venture in places like Syria and Iraq
even if the ISIS threatens to do the same to another captured US citizen, the Time journalist
Steven Joel Sotloff, as the James Foley video shows while winding up!
It’s about being in Solidarity with the Humanity – it’s about
the feeling of being there to tell the truth for them who cannot speak – it’s
about the truth, the trust and the care – a role, a responsibility, that sometimes,
even costs sincere and devoted journalists their lives – but the spirit lives –
as echoed by Diane Foley, James Foley’s mother – her words are a moving tribute
to this spirit of standing for Humanity – standing ovation to her – the Humanity
is in solidarity with the family.
RIP James Wright Foley.
But, (the oft-quoted question) why the hell the US and the world are taking so long in uprooting the ISIS? Why the silly considerations every time whenever it comes to act on rogue countries or terror groups, be it Syria or Libya or Bahrain or Yemen or Egypt or Somalia or Nigeria or Central African Republic or many other humanitarian crisis centres, many of which are the making of the policies of the global geopolitics of self-interest? Yes, but Barack Obama’s statement may well be the beginning of the end of the ISIS, the death-knell of its barbaric existence, the US hunt of Osama bin Laden tells us and the ISIS would not have a terrain like Afghanistan to run away, to hide from the US wrath. Obama was looking upset while reacting on James Foley killing a few hours ago and his brief statement had clear message on what is going to be of the ISIS now because whosoever controls this group of death mercenaries has directly challenged the American might by making a deep scar on American conscious. And it has been felt globally.
Yes, it cannot be compared and it is
nowhere near to the history-defining moment of 1947 when Jawahal Lal Nehru
delivered the epoch-making midnight ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech 67 years ago on
first Independence Day.
It is another history-defining aspect
of India, Indian politics
and Indian democracy that Jawahar Lal Nehru’s run as India’s
first prime minister that continued for many years went on to establish a
political dynasty in India,
something that should never have been the case.
Remember, the Mahatma, the Father of
the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi had said to wind up the Indian National Congress in
1948 – “My suggestion is that, in so
far as the Congress was intended solely to achieve Swaraj and that purpose has
been gained – though I do not think what we have gained is full and real Swaraj
– this organisation should be wound up, and that we should put to use all the
energies of the country.”
Yes, that should never be the case. We cannot undo the past
but we can think of the future based the day now. And we can hope so with a
prime minister who has no family and who has willingly and honestly kept his
separated wife (with mutual consent and in harmony) and his extended family
away from any possibility of political patronage.
And the tryst with politics this year on the Indian
Independence Day was about this man only and the sort of political changes that
India has seen with him
after the results of the Lok Sabha elections 2014 were declared on May 16, 2014
giving an absolute and overwhelming majority to a non-Congress party since the Independence in 1947.