The Dog-Shit In Our Brains

SEVERAL FRIENDS REACTED to my last blog — which was not by me (perhaps the reason it was liked) but by Srividya Srinivasan.

As I i mentioned at the outset’ I did not know her as the piece was mailed to me by a freind and I liked it so much I published it with no changes. Everyone who read it ( strangely it does not apear in the list of my blogs) as the link I sent led to it and agreed with all he said .

One reader even pointed out what she forgot: dog shit left on our footpaths to the disgust of morning walkers. In the US all residents in a colony who walk their dogs are asked to carry a bag and a pair ofvtongs to pick up the shit, put it in the oad and drop it in the trash.

The dog shit on footpaths can be picked up and put in trash bins. But what about the shit filling the brains of many who throw all trash on public roads and any place outside their homes? In India we pride ourselve in keeping our houses clean by throwing all trash out – even in the neighbour’s premises.

As the neighbour also does the same. we all live in trash dumps. The dog shit in our brains of those ridiculing the Swacch Bharat drive of Narendra Modi has to be cleared first. Why was keeping clean not thought of by those who ruled for decades? Because you don’t get votes from it?

That reminded me of a cartoon by R K Laxman decades ago. The ubiquitous ‘common man’ of his cartoons is seen telling a political worker at a booth surrounded by trash from the campaign: “You said you will sweep the polls. Go sweep them.”

It is time we all did some did some sweeping. And cleaning up, starting with our brains.

WhatsApp: Bhakts Clash With Dynasty Devotees

EVERYONE IS ON a WhatsApp group today, unless he/she is in coma, cut off from the world or absultey unique.

The number of people who send a ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Goodnight’ message (or several of them) every day on their smartphones in India,despite its high illitracy, is astounding, as is that of users forwarding, without checking or even reading often, what they receive.

No wonder, therefore, that Indians are among those using this messaging app most. Facebook, which owns the app, had to set some special terms, like ‘ only five forwards’ for India and later extend them to other countries.

It was made necessary because the unthinking forwards led to dangerous situatiins like lynching due to fake mesages of child-lifting reaching thousands of people within seconds.

Fake news and provocative messages creating law and order problems spread faster than wid fire. Millions of people get addicted to watching their phones. Once used to read WA posts every few minutes, they spend hours on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, equally addictive.

This causes not only a huge loss of productivity but also reduces actual human contact and face-to-face communication. Another problem arising from it is war of words between those in a groupk who belong to rival idrologies.

Some feel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under attack from ‘Dynasty Devotees’ who want the return of Rahul and his dynasty to power. The DDs call them Modi Bhakts (worshippers). Both sides feel the other side has paid people doing the messagung.

Though some of the posts do seem to be created by the IT Cells of the BJP and the Congress, most are posted by people who strongly feel on issues. Some posts, especially those attacking the other religions, are the handiwork of fanatics/fundamentalists wanting to fan social tensions and even riots.

It is true that Modi, supposed to be more orthodox and backward, as an RSS fulltimer, than the ‘young, foreign educated and secular’ Rahul Gandhi, used the electronic media and technology more erffectively than Rahul initially, but soon the Congress caught up.

Intervening in a raging war of words between two members if a family group, with both quitting the grouo repeatedly in protest (to be added back by the group admin) I had to tell them to refrain from political posts and stuck to family issues.

People have a right to believe that only the Indira dynasty can rule India and that religion can be used for votebank politics or that anyone who talks of nationalism is communal.

Similarly others can not call them psudosecular and say most Muslims stayed back in India after partition not because they were secular but for their property, posts and to make India an Islamic country.

One group can’t question the other or say that everyone here must owe allegiance to this country first and be patriotic.

So no political posts on family or professional groups. One can post them directly to to others who agree with the ideology.

Group admins, held responsible and even arrested for offensive posts, should ensure that politics are to be discussed only on griups that are meant for it.

And people should live here, not on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Too Many Caged Birds: Police, CBI, Probe Panels

Rajeev Kumar IPS: CBI’s target

MUCH NOISE has been made on the issue of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) going to the residence of Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar, IPS, to question him about alleged dilution of cases against ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders involved in Ponzi schemes in which thousands of people were defrauded of millions of rupees.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (‘Didi’ for all) sat in Dharna (protest squat) with Kumar to support him. Eight years ago, she accused him of snooping on opposition leaders!

Most political leaders decried the ponzi (chit fund) schemes. Many citizens, mostly the poor who wanted to get rich, were cheated.

The critics included Rahul Gandhi, now President of the Congress. He now supports Didi, in a U-turn, as Didi backs ‘mahagut(ter)bandhan’, the anti-BJP grand alliance that may make Rahul the next PM.

The Supreme Court first warned the police chief against destroying evidence and then the CBI against arresting him. Now it said he can be interrogated at Shillong. Both Didi and BJP claim they won!

From what appeared in the media, the CBI only wanted to question him. The big drama put up by Didi led to suspicion that Kumar knew too many of Mamata’s secrets or of her support to the fraudsters.

It is widely believed that police dilute cases to ensure that those with clout, especially political, are acquitted by courts. Often such cases are dragged for decades by police

Such people, like the Congress MLA of Karnataka who tried to kill another, become ‘untraceable’ even if they are in a minister’s house or sit in a police station.

CBI has questioned George Fernandes, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah under Congress control very peacefully and found nothing to indict them. These mahagath- bandhan screechers are like terrified chicken when the CBI goes near them. Wonder why?,Jaya Jaitly a close associate if Fernandes, who died recently, said in a Tweet.

The SC had dubbed CBI a caged bird (perhaps during UPA rule?) It is astounding how many state agencies — like intelligence agencies, police, inquiry commissions and even lower judiciary — are caged birds.

So many probe panel reports have concluded just what the ruling party wanted, that one suspects the report is written in advance and only those who endorse it are named to head the panel, which only buys time or hides the issue under the carpet.

It is time an independent agency free from political influence is set up. Three US Presidents, Nixon. Clinton and Trump have been cornered by such an agency.

Caging birds is cruel. It is time they are set free.

© Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved

Great But Unknown Books

(Reblogging post of Sept.2, 2018)

Eliza_Gaskell
Elizabeth C. Gaskell

THE SOCRATIC concept of true knowledge is the ability to know how little one knows. The world’s greatest scientist, Newton compared all known knowledge to one grain of sand on a beach. These equally apply to books: Those who are regarded as well-read or voracious readers know that they had read a microscopic fraction of all the good books written – even in one genre. And some great books are forgotten and remain almost unknown.

One lifetime is not enough to read all the works (including the critical analyses and interpretations) of the books of only Shakespeare in English or of Kalidasa in Sanskrit.

That was, perhaps, how the sarcastic adage that “Classics are books everyone knows about, but no one reads” came into being. But, though unread, classics are known.

Millions of people go through their entire lives without reading a single book (except class books mugged up to pass exams) and talk derisively of ‘bookish knowledge’ or proud of learning from life as ‘graduates of the school of knocks.’ A few authors are known for one or two of their books but many of their works are lost in history,

Will Durant, the American author and philosopher, is famous for his classic ‘ The Story of Civilisation’. How many know of his ‘The Case for India’? The book moved me so much that I felt the government should have bought millions of its copies to distribute them free to anyone who can read English. Another of his books, Our Oriental Heritage also would have made India proud.

I once toyed with the idea of pirating ‘The Case for India’ and distributing it free to thousands or making it a free e-book.

Some very good books are forgotten and stay unknown, hidden under the dust of history. I (and perhaps most readers) had not heard of Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, a contemporary of the great Charles Dickens in the mid-1800s.I would never have known about her if I was not listening to an audiobook of D.H. Lawrence, found it boring and moved on to readers’ comments. One of them said Gaskell’s ‘Mary Barton’ was much more interesting. I had not even heard of her and downloaded that audio book.

Besides ‘Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life” she also wrote A Dark Night’s Work, The Grey Woman, The Life of Charlotte Bronte. My Lady Ludlow, Round the Sofa, North and South, Mr Harrison’s Confession, Wives and Daughters, Ruth, Cousin Phillis, Cranford and the Cage at Cranford, The Moorland Cottage, Sylvia’s Lover and The Pastor’s Wife.

All these books are available on the free audiobook site, Librivox. I would not have known about the book had I not discovered, due to the fear of impending blindness, audiobook sites (I subscribe to several such sites) and Librivox, a site which has most books whose copyright had expired, enabling them to be put ‘in public domain’ with the help of volunteers who read them. Librivox also has an e-book version GuteBooks for those who can read on screen.

ALL the books by Gaskell have received 4, 4.5 or 5-star (out of 5) ratings from the listeners. Some books are available in more than one version, read by a different person.

Here is a writer-up on the book by Martin Geeson, on the Librivox site:

Mary Barton was Elizabeth Gaskell’s first full-length novel. It was published anonymously in that tumultuous year of political change, 1848 – only a few months after the Communist Manifesto co-authored by her fellow Manchester-resident, Friedrich Engels. Engels’s experience as agent in his father’s cotton-spinning factory motivated him to write “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, a classic account of the sufferings of the poor under the factory-system.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s own personal contact with the plight of the poor cotton workers of Lancashire also compelled her to a compassionate examination of their lives; but as a middle-class woman, married to an Unitarian minister, her approach to her subject took on a more emotionally complex significance; influenced by religious faith but also by more personal considerations. In the brief preface to the novel, Mrs Gaskell hints at her initial impulse. The loss of a beloved child in infancy led her to seek a therapeutic outlet, but one which left her uncertain of her capacity to contextualize her public, writerly response to the tragedies occurring in the surrounding society of Manchester’s poorest classes:
“I know nothing of Political Economy, or the theories of trade…” She was, however, determined to portray, in novelistic form, the intimate connection between the private experience of her characters and the social forces of her time. The success of the novel led her to proclaim her authorship and move on to further works of fiction, which have secured her in our times a mounting reputation as one of the leading novelists of the mid-Victorian period.
Certainly, the novel features numerous death-scenes, all conveyed with a depth of sympathy that contrasts with the queasy iambics with which Dickens orchestrated the notorious demise of Little Nell. Mrs Gaskell was not, like Dickens, a London-based novelist observing the sufferings of the provincial poor with a journalistic detachment – as evidenced in his own admirable, Lancashire-based novel “Hard Times”. Gaskell lived among the people whose attenuated lives she chronicled – and however hesitantly, as a début novelist, she rendered their experience in literary terms, her writing presents us with a true insight into the sufferings of individuals at a point in history when the mass of human beings fell casualty to the forms of economic progress following upon the Industrial Revolution. Most impressively she called into question the political and social cost of creating a resentful proletariat despairing of survival in (to quote Karl Marx) a “heartless world”.
Our reader Tony Foster is a resident of Manchester and a near-neighbour of Mrs Gaskell (allowing for their separation in time). His superb narration renders the native speech of her characters with an authenticity which ideally conveys the spirit of this book. A truly moving experience awaits everyone who gives ear to this ‘Tale of Manchester Life’.

Much has been written about India’s poverty and books or films (like Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali) which portray it have a big market (and win awards) in the West where the common man still thinks Indians live on trees. But the picture of utter poverty of the working class in 19th century England is startling.

Most of the readers must have read Mulk Raj Anand’s classic ‘The Untouchable’, at least as a prescribed reading for examinations if not out of concern for an oppressed class of the country and a reflection of India’s greatest evil, the caste system.

However, in my reading for 70 years, I had not come across any mention of the Cagots of western France. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote of them in a story ‘An Accursed Race’ included in book of stories ‘Round the Sofa’. Her portrayal of the inhuman way the Cagot tribe was treated all over Europe and even by the Church is not just appalling; it shows the Indian ‘Dalits’ were not treated half as badly. The other stories expose how the aristocracy discriminated against the ‘commoners’ and even denied them education.

And yet the world knows of only the Indian untouchables and caste. The same Church used that oppression and deprivation to convert millions, adding only to its numbers without improving their social status in any way. Other religions followed the same technique besides coercion. All that came of the conversions was creation of vote banks and politics of hatred.

It is significant that fiction and literature took up the social issues of discrimination, poverty and inequality, strengthening the efforts to set right the system. Very little of such use of literature and fiction is seen in India. True some films and books did come out against economic inequality, corruption and caste system, but they were very few or executed badly. I am not aware of any literary works that exposed the crimes against Kashmiri pandits or victims of caste reservations, sexual harassment or other evils.

With smart phone usage going up day by day in India, it is time a free audio and electronic book site of Indian books comes into being. On one of the audiobook sites I borrow books from the Toronto Public Library in Canada.

Is there a single public library in India which has such a facility?

Budget Disappoints – As Usual

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Six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind). –Poem by John Godfrey Saxe

BUDGET REACTIONS ARE an annual ritual. They never fail to excite and be praised by the ruling party. And the opposition is always disappointed.

The reactions, at least by some politicians, are written out in advance

According to a friend, this budget has nothing for Poor people like Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family. The former peon could only become a multimillionnaire and not as they hoped a billionaire, which is the birthright of any Yadav.

This budget has nothing for poor farmers like Robert Vadra who keep borrowing crores (of course interest free) to buy land.

It has nothing for the working middle class like P. Chidhambaram and family.

This budget has nothing for Industrialists like Mallya, who asked ONLY for fair deal and justice.

This budget has nothing for exporters like Hafeez Sayeed, who is sweating to export terror and kill hundred of innocents for the sake of Islam.

This budget has nothing for the senior citizens like HD Deve Gowda, trying very very hard to keep himself awake at meetings.

This budget has nothing for those born-rich, like Sonia Gandhi.

This budget has nothing for honest people like Kejriwal, who is honest about wanting power.

This budget has nothing for hard(ly) working people like Rahul Gandhi who has to work 24/7 to learn new words of abuse.

This budget has nothing for (eternal) students like Kannaiah Kumar who is studying hard to split India further.

Chandrababu Naidu is disappointed that no law is made to make Lokesh the next Chief Minister.

Many godmen lament that Modi has not shut down all schools, college, banks and offices to build Ram temples in every locality of the country.

Overall it is a disappointing budget!

The Miraculous Flying, Speaking, Dog

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THE DOG IN the picture above is supernatural; it can speak, fly, do a grater job than any human being in any post…even the post of Indian Prime Minister for which several leaders of different partes are fighting – like dogs.

Many leaders of the Indian National Congress have been vying with each other to praise two leaders of the dynasty that rules the party, whose members alone can, according to party leaders like Mani (chaiwala) Shankar (neech admi) Aiyar, can head the party.

In the picture above, perhaps on a family picnic, are members of the Ghandy (wrongly changed to Gandhi) family, watching keenly the blooming of a lotus (incidentally the symbol of the now ruling Bharatiya Janata Party).

All members of the family enjoyed power – some without the corresponding responsibility, because the INC believes that only the dynasty can rule the country. No Congress worker, however senior or whatever merits, can stake a claim. Now Priyanka Vadra, sister of INC President Rahul, is being prepared for the throne in case Raul fails to make it.

This is to prevent the situation his mother faced – of ruling the country through a dummy proxy PM – being (then) inexperienced, not able to speak Hindi and an Italian.

Why the ‘miracle dog’? Because, if all others are not ready to take the PM’s post Congress may choose to install the dog in that chair

Shashi Tharoor, who held the second highest post in UN, knows huge, unpronounceable and unknown English words, and is described as “highly educated and respected” by a BJP leader, finds Rahul brilliant, capable, and the only one fit to be PM.

Sachin Pilot, educated in St. Stephens and at Wharton, both world famous, himself a part of a dynasty, feels Rahul alone can can be Congress chief and PM. His father, Raj esh Pilot died in a road accident days after calling for election to the party chief’s post.

Jyotiradtya Scindia, also from a royal dynasty, educated at Stanford Business School and Harvard, whose father died in an air rash after analysts saw him as PM material, thinks only Rahul without a degree and known for bloopers, can be a great PM.

ALL these and several other bright achievers in INC sing ‘Rahul chaalisa’ daily, praising the dynasty that partitioned India, imposed the Emergency, invaded the Golden Temple and led the Sikh genocide, because that alone can reward them with posts once INC comes to power.

And that seems a possility seeing the way BJP leaders are badmouthing Priyanka Vadra as if her entry into politics certainly means BJP’s defeat.

So, I would start praising and singing paeons of the dog before others start, because there is a possibility of Rahul being found unfit and Priyanka and her children rejecting the post. That leaves the dog.

Before others (surely) do it, I will ‘dicover’ the greatness of the canine.

Hope I will be suitably rewarded for my canine loyalty

By George, What a Life

THE COCA-COLA MUSEUM at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, did not show one major event in the history of the world’s biggest beverage company – or I missed it in multiple visits to it over the years.

George Fernandes, the Socialist leader who passed away today, Jan.29, 2019 at the age of 88, had made the Coca-Cola shut down its operations in India in 1977 when he was the Industries Minister in a coalition government at the Centre. The dynamic trade unionist, who had won an election from jail, was living a vegetable existence for the last few years due to Alzheimer’s. He was so much out of public eye (with our media busy reporting only the diaper changes of Taimur Ali Khan) that many may not be aware that he was still alive.

As I had mentioned in several posts on this blog on the deaths of eminent persons, I refrain from writing about their lives already published and stick to personal experiences about them. It is known that he was one of the main accused in the Baroda Dynamite Case hoisted on him by Indira Gandhi while imposing the Emergency, along with a journalist friend Kotamraju Vikram Rao and CGK Reddy, General Manager of The Hindu daily, as they were all followers of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, but not many would know that charged along with them was Chandru (as we used to call him), manager of The Hindu’s bureau office at IENS building on Rafi Marg in New Delhi.

Chandru and dynamite? Many who knew the bachelor and affable retired journalist, always helping others, would have protested if told that Chandru had hurt a fly. His ‘offence’ was that he had sheltered Reddy in his house when the latter went ‘underground’. With the legal system as it was during the Emergency, all the accused would have been convicted and some, mainly George and Vikram, may have been even hanged – had Indira Gandhi not believed the sycophant intelligence agencies to lift the Emergency, only to lose the elections.

What brought George Fernandes into national prominence, however, was his becoming a ‘giant killer’ by defeating S.K. Patil in the Lok Sabha election of 1969 from South Bombay. Patil, a Union Minister, was known to be one of the strongest candidates with big money power and had an iron grip over Bombay Pradesh Congress Committee.

As one of those involved in the Patil Vs Fernandes campaign in Bombay, I remember how ‘Netaji’ Ladli Mohan Nigam of MP and sometimes Madhu Limaye of Bihar used to plan what Fernandes was to speak the next day. An excellent speaker in English, Hindi, and Marathi, Fernandes executed the script brilliantly. The strategy was planned at the meetings and Fernandes was just the performer.

With an eye on the large Muslim vote of Bhendi Bazar area in the constituency, Sadoba Patil one day issued a statement supporting the choice of a Muslim as the next the President of India. The next day Fernandes addressed a public meeting in Bhendi Bazar. Welcoming the choice, Fernandes spoke of how Ahmed would live in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, with its dozens of rooms and famous halls with dazzling decorations, while ‘Abdul Rehman of Bhendi Bazar’, (a fictitious character) lived in a 10X10 room with his large family and get up at 3 a.m. as drinking water taps opened only then for one hour in that area which had restricted water supply.

Fernandes’ imaginary camera repeatedly spanned from the luxury of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the harsh realities of Bhendi Bazar and almost brought tears to many eyes. It was a campaign that would have made a better book than Theodore White’s ‘Making of The President’ series about the Presidential campaigns in the USA. And even today Congress relies solely on minority vote-bank politics.

South Bombay had some very rich areas, as well as some Gujarati pockets, both believed to be pro-Patil. George Fernandes addressed several small meetings on terraces in those areas. His victory parade that night, with hundreds of affluent youth joining the labour whom Fernandes led as a trade unionist, was memorable.

George, born in Karnataka, came to Bombay to join the trade union movement which was then led by another Mangalorean like him, who happened to be externed from the metropolis then. So he stayed in the Bombay Labour Union office. Others in the union found his stay, with many people coming to meet him, disturbing and threw him out after some days. So for a few days, he slept on the footpath on a newspaper till he could make alternate arrangements.

During the campaign, I heard stories of how some young women, one of them a prominent writer, were enamoured of him. Yet he remained a bachelor till late, when he married Prof.Humayn Kabir’s daughter Leila and had a son.

Being more of a performer than an original strategist, he did not make much mark in Parliament. When the non-Congress government came to power at the Centre, he was given Defence, Railway and Industries ministries at different times.

It is tragic to see parties led by Dr. Lohia and George Fernandes – some born out of the Emergency which he opposed so strongly, now join hands with the Congress which they all fought – just to win elections and come to power – to be led by a dyngasty.

No wonder Bihar Chief Minister Nitesh Kumar of Janata Dal (U) broke into tears speaking on George Fernandes’ death.

C Copyright – All Rights Reserved

A Seer Above Politics, Religion

A true ‘Ratna’ of Bharat
SHIVAKUMARA SWAMIJI, who passed away on January 21, 2019 at the grand age of 111 years, is considered a ‘Nadeda Devaru’ (walking god) by many, including those who do not belong to the religious sect of Lingayats, whose most prominent pontiff he was.
He headed the oldest religious centre of Lingayats (the sect that the Congress government tried to divide by declaring Veerasaivas non-Hindu), the Siddaganga mutt at Tumakuru, not far from Karnataka’s state capital, Bengaluru. His death, deeply mourned, led to the state government declaring a three-day mourning cancelling all official functions (though a state minister, Priyank Kharge, son of Congress’ floor leader in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, defied the ban).
So much has been written about the Swamiji and so many tributes paid to him by celebrities all over India, that writing about his life would be redundant. It was just days after his death that the list of those conferred India’s highest honour, Bharat Ratna, was announced.
The Swamiji’s name was not on the list.
This led to many protests. Some came from people who were not aware that the procedure for deciding on the awardees takes months and others from those who knew but wanted to either politicalize the issue or take the credit for the act when it finally comes, as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders had that a panel headed by the Union Home Minister had already decided to confer the honour and the procedure had begun.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to the seer in his routine addresses to the nation but did not, as he should have, mention that the honour would be conferred on him. A lot of vitriolic speeches and social media posts lamented the delay in conferring the honour, implying that the BJP was against it. That is politics.
The following story narrated by a friend in the field of social work is significant in saying why he remained relatively unknown:
“During tea break in office today, my Korean colleague asked me ‘Please tell me who is Shivakumara Swami, why are millions of people in such deep grief over his demise?’
“I asked him ‘Do you know Mother Teresa?’
“He replied ‘Of course, world renowned Nobel Prize winner popular for her humanitarian works. Who does not know her? We even had a lesson about her in our textbooks’
”I said ‘Very good. Now think about Mother Teresa, her accomplishments and her ecosystem, subtract religious conversions from it, subtract media publicity from it, add 132 educational institutions producing 50,000 graduates annually to strengthen Indian economy, add Gurukuls, the Indian residential schools of spiritualism, educating 10,000 students annually to safeguard traditional academic learning, add free meals facility to all students, add agricultural initiatives supporting 500.000 farmers annually, and that’s how you finally get Shivakumara Swamiji’
“He exclaimed ‘Wow!! This is absolutely unbelievable! He seems to be a role model for humanitarian efforts for the whole world. In South Korea, we knew about Indians like Mother Teresa & Mahatma Gandhi, but I wonder why we were never aware of Shivakumara Swamiji’
“I said ‘There’s a simple reason for it. The global media never tried to highlight his efforts & achievements, because he always wore saffron’.
A Congress leader was critical of “a singer” (Bhupen Hazarika) being awarded Bharat Ratna, forgetting that a cricket player (whose records are all broken) was similarly honoured earlier. So was actor MGR who spoke of independent Dravidastan.
Another friend, also in social work, thought this was all RSS propaganda. He could not deny that Mother Teresa was more known than Shivakumara Swami or that as a missionary, her primary work was conversion of Indians to Christianity.
Shivakumara Swami is to be seen in the background of some godmen amassing much more wealth than corrupt politicians and some, like Asharam Bapu, Ram Raheem and Nityananda ending up in jail. Religion, it is said, has become the most lucrative business in India.
The BJP demonstrations against Priyank Kharge’s official function, as also the repeated statements demanding Bharat Ratna award for Swamiji are both attempts to politicize the Swamiji’s death.
The friend who criticized Modi for not conferring the award said, “Mahatma Gandhi and Shivakumara Swamiji eluded the Nobel Prize, and not vice versa. Great souls like Swamiji never seek awards in this world. In the next world, they get union with Cosmic Force even which they did not seek, let alone the reward of luxuries in heaven.”
He perhaps did not know Gandhiji not getting the Nobel is the issue of international debate and that the Nobel Committee itself regretted it. They may not have even heard of Swamiji.
The friend also pointed out that Satya Saibaba of Puttaparthi got international recognition even though he wore saffron robes because of publicity. ”Do not fault the media. The world is not against Hindus as the Nagpur set up (RSS) makes us believe. Publicity happens when someone has a machinery to seek it. An effective PR officer would have achieved it for Swamiji,” he added.
I do not know about Mother Teresa but Satya Saibaba whom I visited several times, did not have a PRO. He and the original Shirdi Saibaba were above one religion and never converted people. At Puttaparthi, national days and festivals of all countries, including Pakistan, are celebrated.
In Satya Saibaba’s birthday celebrations I have seen a Pakistani delegation marching as did visitors from more nations than in the UN. I saw people from more foreign countries in Puttaparthi than in New Delhi or even in the USA. Satya Sai has put up world-class hospitals and educational institutions. Those attacking him as fake did nothing but that.
The only foreign countries Satya Sai visited were Uganda (in the dangerous Idi Amin days) and Kenya, though he was invited by many devotees to their countries. His trip to California, for which American devotees there made elaborate preparations, never materialized.
It is not just service that distinguished Shivakumara Swami. “He actually lived a puritan life, did not go overseas to attract attention, and drew admirers and devotees to his own place. We cannot compare him to anyone. He was a ‘Jeevan Muktaha’ of which Adi Sankara wrote in Bhajagovindam. Liberated souls do not seek recognition,” my friend said. No one can deny that.
The recognition is by the people and not by any party. Some political parties may have tried to drag him and his name into politics, but Shivakumara Swami was above it. Fifteen lakh people visited and received Prasad on a single day — which probably only Kumbhmela surpasses.
The pictures of thousands of people weeping over his passing away symbolizes the life of Shivakumara Swami, who wanted jeevansamadhi (being buried alive) and built a grave which he wanted to enter alive, but did not, in deference to the wish of his devotees. It was in this grave that he was finally buried.
One incident related to his equal love for all religions will remain forever in my memory. I went to an Airtel service center to have my cell number, kept in ‘safe custody’ when I went abroad. There I met Burhan Sadiq, who told me he had studied in Siddaganga Institute of Technology.
“I went to Tumakuru and visited the mutt when I came to know he passed away,” Sadiqbhai told me. He did not remember that he is a Muslim.
Neither did Swamiji. He believed in Vasudaiva kutumbakam (the world is one family).

If Rahul is Congress, Who Is Priyanka Vadra? Next PM?

    Congress personified: Muslim cap,Christian cross, Hindu sacred thread,                    Rudraksha garland. If unfit, Priyanka can inherit the throne

THE ONE THING common between the ruling BJP-led NDA and the Congress party which may lead the ‘Mahagut(ter)bandhan’ to power in the next Lok Sabha polls is the loud-mouthed ‘loose cannons’ making silly, inappropriate statements.

The only difference, however, is that while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has maintained dignity by not making  such comments Congress President Rahul Gandhi, himself leads the pack in calling him a thief.  Other sycophants joined him to call Modi a ‘chaiwala‘ (tea seller), ‘unpadh gawar’ (illiterate, uncouth  and ‘neech aadmi’ (low class man).

There are many fringe elements in the BJP who know that Modi depends on their votes to stay in power and so use no restraint in making silly statements. So it was no surprise that many NDA leaders chose to comment on Rahul appointing his own sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as the party’s General Secretary in charge of East Uttar Pradesh.

While one BJP leader commented about Priyanka’s beauty being not enough to get votes and others about the party being dynastic, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the appointment was an admission that Rahul himself failed as a political leader and needed another family member to help him out,

Sumitra, who entered politics as a novice housewife who defeated a flamboyant Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister P. C. Sethi in Indore in the 1980s, is a very sober, mature, person. What she said was just what political analysts have always been saying, even before Rahul inherited the party presidentship from his mother who inherited it from her husband who inherited it from his mother who …

The commentators speculated about Priyanka being brought in when Rahul gave ample evidence of immaturity and earned the epithet ‘Pappu’. Her entry into politics was no ‘plunge’. She was always the hidden trump card.

And even an idiot knows that the trump card is always thrown in when the other cards in the pack are weak and defeat appears imminent. Another factor that silenced the parties, all of them started to oppose the Congress, was that ALL of them were themselves dynastic.

Had they not been disparate to cobble an anti-BJP front ‘mahagut(ter)bandhan’ to garner the Muslim votes, which BJP had  already alienated due to its  Hindutuva image, the parties now backing the Congress would have criticized her entry.

The Congress either is not confident of fooling Muslims or does not want to lose the Hindu vote entirely.  So Rahul, Feroze’s grandson and son of an Italian  Catholic, declared himself a  ‘janevudhari’  Brahmin (without a sacred-thread ceremony) and put up posters  declaring Priyanka an incarnation of  Durga, the Hindu goddess. Of course that is secular, as is the caste-based choice of  its candidates.

So these developments reminded me of a blog I had put out last July, which I reproduce here.  It said —

              RAHUL IS CONGRESS, INDIRA WAS INDIA

Rahul Gandhi’s tweet saying “I am Congress” might have reminded many of his grandmother Indira Gandhi’s Emergency-days campaign (by her sycophants, apparently at her instance), that “Indira is India”.  (I have heard Dev Kant Baruah, the then Congress President, say it in the Central Hall of Parliament. It  is another mater that he was later thrown out of the party).

That no individual is indispensable, that the party is above the leader and that the nation is above party is what any sane person would agree with.

And yet, in most developing countries individuals have been using their power to make it seem that they alone mattered more than everything. Once in power,  all tend to retain power for all time by hook or crook (often by the latter).

The tendency to be lifetime rulers, common in tribal African nations, seems to have spread now to China and Russia, reminiscent of ancient kingdoms ruled by autocratic kings.

Congressmen, obviously, believe that Indira Gandhi can be succeeded only by Rajiv though he had no political background, Rajiv by Sonia though a foreigner, inexperienced and unwilling and Sonia by son Rahul though he was unfit and more of a comic figure.

In fact a senior Congress leader Mani (neech aadmi)Shankar (chai wala) Iyer declared there could only be two persons considered for party Presidentship – the mother or the son. Despite overt wooing of Muslim vote banks, the grandson of Feroze was declared to be a “Janevudhari” Brahmin (wearing sacred thread) though no thread ceremony (Upanayan) was held. He even invented a gotra.

Had Rahul refused (as his mother Sonia did) the sycophants would have unhesitatingly opted for his sister Priyanka and if she thought going to beauty parlours was more important than the strenuous job of being PM, they would have found great talents in her children. If they too preferred playing to the hard job of PM, Congressmen would not hesitate to enthrone the family’s dog which they would find  miraculous and far superior to any of their own selves.

Even those who believed in the dynastic rule of kings would not have been such great believers in dynasty. All because every one of them belongs to some caste and are bound by caste rivalries, while the Indira dynasty had to no caste as Nehru’s daughter Indira married Feroze, either a Parsi or, as some say, a Muslim.

And these casteists, who demand reservations for Dalit (low caste) Christians and Muslims (who claim to be casteless), call Bharatiya Janata Party communal!

All parties with dynastic leaders now join hands with the Congress. But all want the throne.

If Indira is India and Rahul is Congress, what is Priyanka? The next PM?

 

 

Is This What We Fought for?

(AnAugust 2017 blog reblogged)

Relevant even on Jan 26, 2019

AS A FORERUNNER TO AUGUST 15, INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE DAY A FRIEND MAILED ME an old film song from the 1959 film Didi, sung by Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra and Mohammed Rafi.

The song, ‘Humne Suna That Ek Hai Bharat‘ (We heard that India is United’) summarises India’s recent history – its journey from a struggle for Independence marked by unique principles of non-violence and civil disobedience to dynasty rule, caste rivalry and communal disharmony, not to speak of the dirtiest politics imaginable.

How meaningful were old songs! From those soulful songs that touched hearts to today’s shouting and meaningless cacaphony of ‘lyrics’ without harmony is a similar journey of deterioration.

It was a film that starred the late Sunil Dutt. Can any reader remember the film? Or the name of the first boy on who was shown singing the song?