Archive for: July 2013

Spiritually Young!

Once I was sitting with my friends, after the class when we started discussing about books. We all are book fanatics and the discussion turned wild when each one of us was willing to tell how awesome the book they were reading was. The discussion ranged from Harry potter to Mark of Athena, from Chetan Bhagat’s new love story to the amazing science fiction thrillers. When it was finally my turn, I said I was reading The Bhagavad-Gita and had plans to read the Quran too.

Imagine the response I got: Horrifying looks and startled faces, all saying “Why on earth would you do that? Religion would be the last thing we would read about.”
Upon asking “Why not?” the answers I got puzzled me.

“Religion is boring, we are made to do unnecessary things which have no meaning and people blindly follow these superstitions.”

One said “Religion merely divides people, I believe in equality and religion creates fights between people”

Another said “Aren’t we already too busy with our worldly matters. Why do you have to follow all this, if you don’t necessarily have a belief in God”
All this left me thinking? I might not believe in god or His 10000s of incarnations or the stories woven in the holy books of thousand s of religions in this world. But is religion all about this?
As I see it, religion or spirituality is just an organized collection of beliefs, cultural system and world views that relate to humanity and morality and portray an idol in a preferred lifestyle. The origin of religion is uncertain, but would it be wrong to think that religion merely evolved for the nurture and development of human beings.
Anthropologist John Monaghan states that “It seems apparent that one thing religion or belief helps us do is deal with problems of human life that are significant, persistent and intolerable” then why is religion always coupled with superstition?
There are many instances in Gita where Lord Krishna says:

“I hate no one. I am equal to all living brings (9.29). One who has no enemies among all living beings comes to me and I shall love him the most (11.55)

In the Quran, it is mentioned:

“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has to be distinct from the wrong path”

So is it wrong to say that it is the religion that divides? It’s the people.
Religion is not all about superstition and super natural beliefs. Rather religion teaches you moral ethics. Being spiritual makes you fall in love with peace, the world and ultimately yourself. You see the world with with the same eyes, but your vision towards it changes. You realize how beautiful everything around you is, how beautiful you are. I can say this, as I have experienced it. Religion has turned me into a new leaf!
When you study religion, you’ll realize that it is nothing new or different. You can relate it with your life and get answers to everything. It just shows you the correct path in life. So the day you are confused about the right decision to take or merely frustrated with whatever is happening around you, open The Gita, The Quran or The Bible once. I’m sure you will get all the answers which you can relate with your dilemmas and these answers will help you become a better person.

Maybe god doesn’t exist,

Maybe He is just a blind superstition for some,

But the faith billions of candles, flowers, diyas, and folded palms carry, keeps Him alive in my heart.

In the Bible, God himself says

 

“You will seek me and find me;

When you seek me with all your heart,

I will be found by you.

 

 


Anjali Tapadiya
An article by:
Anjali Tapadiya

The Man on the horse.

Ambedkar

Twenty two and a hundred years ago, an        enigma was born in the Mhow central      provinces of Madhya Pradesh. The British  masters who ruled Indian had little knowledge  of this seemingly insignificant incident. Little  did they know that this human would eradicate  single-handedly the seeds of division they  planned to sow as they left.

Gifted with a parents who had a broad  intellectual mindset and thinking, this young  boy went to school. The previous statement  may seem worthless in today’s world, but, back  in those days if you were not a member of the B  rahminical class of society, even sneezing in  public would land you in jail. Rightly said, this    young boy was bewildered by the treatment    meted out to him by the teachers in the school whom we regard as our ‘Guru’, given the culturally cultivated lives we lead. It dawned upon him that he would be treated thus, owing to the fact that he was an un-touchable; the lowest of even the lowest castes that existed in our country. He was forced to wipe the places where his feet tread, made to drink water only when someone could pour it into his mouth, made to stand out of the class just because the higher caste teachers and students were bored and wanted some fun! Hell, he was even made to write other’s exams given his intelligence and the only payment he got from it was even more punishment

If the modern day cool kid in school would even try to bear half of one of the above mentioned things, he would run howling back to his mommy.
However, one gift that this boy possessed was immeasurable wit and intellectual. He passed out of school and enrolled at the prestigious Elphinstone High School in Mumbai. His community rejoiced and celebrated as he was the only one in a hundred thousand of untouchables to even step into a school campus. Even here he shamed all his competitors with brilliant ease and made them taste dust even though they were socially and economically royal. This winning streak continued and he topped his university examinations and was about to take up a simple occupation. However, he rushed back home to an ailing father who died in his arms

In the neighboring state of Baroda, a similar man of lower class but of the ruling class  saw this boy. The King, or Gaikwad of Baroda as he was known, saw the talent in the boy, now a young man and gave an allowance of £11.50 to go on to Columbia University. Few, if any, could dream of a foreign education let alone one at Columbia back in those days. The young man amazed all and studied Economics, Sociology, History, Philosophy and Anthropology at once. Onlookers were amazed at this ability of a single human being to take in so much at once. And he even beat others at each and every one of the subjects.
The world gifts the brilliance in a person. And so it did. Another door opened for this young man. It was to the London School of Economics. Twenty years ago he looked back on his life and smiled at how a person who was made to sit on a gunny sack in school and was detested by others for no reason whatsoever, was now sitting among the best in the world. As usual he charmed this place too, with his amazing skills. Economics as a subjected is a tough one to study. Doing it along with enrollment as Barrister at the Gray’s Inn, Inn’s of Court, was umm, a tad not too easy. Born out of this endeavor was a wonderful thesis’ such as ‘Ancient Indian Commerce’, ‘National Dividend of India-A Historic and Analytical Study’, and ‘Indian Rupee’. 

He came back to India as a lawyer, economist, anthropologist, journalist, writer, philosopher, activist, thinker and the most important of all, a ray of hope for the millions who searched for a light in the darkness of oppression.

He fought for the untouchable peasants and leaders alike as a lawyer, was consulted by the viceroy on economical and legal matters, prepared the outline of what is today known as the Reserve Bank of India. As in those days, a foreign returned, west educated person, always was expected by the Indians to join the freedom struggle against the British and so he did. The pages of modern history show that he brought forward the oppressed and depressed classes of society who were the true essence of this country (Read: Bahujans)

Popularity attracts envy and envy brings along jealousy and even here it did. Shrewd eyes plotted to bring him down. The eyes of those cruel political masters who planned to torment this country even after independence.

He entered politics and fought elections. He was brought down illegally not once, not twice but thrice, losing his deposit each time! Hell, they even made him lose contesting against an uneducated peon! He still did not give up. He went to Bengal and got elected to parliament

The British left India and partitioned it for good. The country was teetering on the brink of falling into the cruel hands of dictatorship. But Indians posses that spark of revolution which no other people do. Majority prevailed and this man was given the titanic task of drafting a constitution for the nation.

He went about this task in a systematic way. He made sure that at least one person from every community played a major role in drafting what was to be the divine book of governance of India. He made sure that Upper-castes would not have a chance to commit the atrocities they once did on untouchables and Dalits.

He made sure that every Indian could relate to any issue pertaining to the nation no matter how big and complicated.
He made sure that river of cultures, languages and religions our country is, would always be preserved through the echelons of time He made sure that the shadows of dictatorship would never cross democracy and destroy it.

He made sure that one day every Indian would be proud because they were born in this country, no matter how underdeveloped and poor people may call it.

He was the man on the horse who came riding through the mist, the man Indian awaited.Sadly, the people whom he campaigned against still wield power today. Power enough to sideline his name in history and to make sure he is forgotten. The media is censored, books are banned, voices are thrashed and every thing is done to prevent a social revolution. But that small boy with the round spectacles on the gunny bag lives on. Bhimji Rao Ambedkar inspired every person who lost hope in life. If a small boy could create a revolution by studying while sitting outside his classroom, shunted and ridiculed from the rest, his only mistake being that he was born an untouchable, then why can’t we who roam in AC cars, eat out in 5-Stars, wear a thousand buck apparels and are educated with teachers themselves coming home? But one day, another man on the horse will come and that small boy will surely smile!


Ziauddin Sherkar
An article by:
Ziauddin Sherkar

To expect or not to expect?

9 ‘o clock. Everyone is geared up.  The timer shows 15 seconds remaining. He tightens his tie, sips a glass of water, adjusts his specs and reshuffles the papers in his hands. After a quick glance at  the laptop in front of him and he sits up straight. 5 seconds to go.  Around households in the country husbands snatch back the remote controls from their wives and the kids are sent to have dinner.
The studio reverberates with energetic music and the camera starts relaying.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME”

The ideal prime time Indian news journalist is here.

The voice of a million and the savior of a billion, he is ready to take on everyone (read: Safely in an AC studio with bouncers at the entrance).  Every panelist on the debate listen more than they talk and it is evident from their frustrated faces that they might as well own up everything and spill the beans than argue with him. His anger at them is paralleled or maybe exceeds that of the anger of angriest in the most angrily scripted reality show ever!

Half an hour into the show, he announces the interval with a typical ‘There’s more to come yet’ smirk.  The panelists ask the respective camera men with them, about how much more do they have to blabber before being allowed to take leave.  Meanwhile, back in the studio he peers into his laptop to check the best planted questions from which he is going to choose. The show resumes and so does the battering of the participants and their senses alike…

It is every parent’s dream to have a child who spends an hour with the newspaper and is well informed. Little does the unaware adolescent know that he is made to see what he sees and to hear what he hears by a group of demented minds? There are hoardings and adverts everywhere making one aware against being brainwashed or radicalized. Little does one know that the biggest and most incriminating brainwashing artifact is the one on which we all spend a 5 rupee coin to buy each and every day! True that no knowledge makes you a fool or simpleton but incomplete or incorrect knowledge wrecks havoc.

To read is a virtue but to read between the lines is excellence. How many of us check the history, credibility and honesty of a piece of news before mentally accepting it? We don’t! Kitty parties, corporate events, club evenings, evening tea, and even ticket queue conversations reverberate with our so called intelligent and know-it-all political talks. However as the Justice Katju school of thought said, the idiots we are, it is us, the real culprits behind everything.

Media plays an important role in our democracy and is even unofficially its fourth pillar. The Indian Media has the power to bring power into account and justice to effect. Just one question to all the greased palms out there: Is that extra 0 to your income or that 1 square feet more of space worth a million lives being disgraced?

One of the most glaring incidents on the recent scene was the one where the producers of a particular well known and popular media house made an attempt at extorting millions from  a elected representative (It actually turns out that even the latter wasn’t a good boy! But that’s a story for another day). Such incidents leave our trust banks smarting and pave the way for even more hope eradication from democracy. When the masters play foul, we expect the media to bring it to light. When the media and masters both eat from the same pocket, then it becomes, umm, a tad too difficult for them to win our trust without waving wads at polling booths.

With the hope that the above paragraphs create if not a flutter, a nudge at the most, put to yourself and the media this question: To expect or not to expect?

 

The author is Executive Editor, Intellectual Post


Ziauddin Sherkar
An article by:
Ziauddin Sherkar