Posted in Extras

A social activist who calls himself ‘cartnarc!’

Since the basics and essentials are good and well taken care of in wealthy nations, they seem to invent reasons to complicate lives as otherwise it can be very boring and uninteresting, lacking the kind of excitement that can pump up your blood and give you the unbeatable adrenaline rush. These yankies yearn for social issues and have it in them to crusade for ‘just causes’ like for instance, returning the shopping cart to its proper place in the supermarket/shopping malls! A battalion of secret service agents who call themselves ‘cart narcs’ seem to take themselves too seriously in the US. They take it upon themselves to approach the offending shopper who fails to return the shopping cart and leaves it untethered wherever it suits him, leading to chaos in the traffic in the parking lot. Some shoppers may leave their carts in the pavements alongside freeways/highways, irresponsibility at its peak. Our cart narcs appear like apparitions in front of these lazy shoppers and lecture them on the importance of returning carts to their slots in the malls. To the rude or insolent shoppers, they may try to sneak and stick the sticker that reads, ‘I don’t have the habit of returning my shopping cart to where it belongs!’ on the trucks/cars they drive. Funny. A mock exercise, still I marvel at the excuses conjured up in one’s imagination to ‘see problems’ and the rebellion in some (!) to quell the trouble before it gets out of hand! Sometimes I do wish we have matters as trivial as this occupying our minds in India. For us the days start wondering whether we shall have power interruptions in scorching summers, whether the corporation would turn off the water supply, whether busfare/trainfare is to be hiked, etc. We belong in two separate worlds really. Long live the Cartnarcs! I do love them really! Watched a few videos that were interesting! Google to find out more on cartnarcs.

Posted in Political

Why we need universal consensus on Dope.

Through a friend who closely works with Indian mission in the interests of the NRI community, I came to know of the plight of thousands of Indian citizens both men and women who are locked up in dark cells for inadvertently carrying drugs in either their checked-in baggage or hand baggage, a criminal and non-bailable offence in some ports of destination.

There is this harrowing story of a 22 year old engineering graduate girl from Bangalore who was also playing for a band during weekends, having found placement with an IT company on campus interview. Life could not get rosier than that for the happy-go-lucky girl until one day her world turned upside down. Little did she know that the guitar handed over to her by her troupe member would send her to the gaol for a lifetime when she traveled to an Arab country to give a stage performance. In the musical instrument was found a cache of marijuana, legal in most parts of the world but that which is illegal in India and that which can get you a death sentence in Arab countries. Pretty and peppy and the only darling daughter of her well placed parents, the young woman was apprehended on her arrival at the capital of the arab country when the sniffer dogs zeroed in on the guitar that she was carrying for her best male friend and lead guitarist of their band. The intervention of the Indian govt stopped the bright girl from going to the gallows awarding her a life sentence. Refused even a phone call to her parents, legal counseling, and thrown into solitary cell, force-fed beef (being a vegetarian from birth), there has been no news on the girl ever since. The hapless parents reportedly were running from pillar to post to secure the release of their precious daughter, in vain. This is one of the many heartwrenching stories that the social worker for Indian community shared with me.

European countries like Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and especially the Scandinavians go easy on dope. Most of the narcotics that are legally prohibited in other parts of the world are deemed legal in these countries. Restriction of any kind is against human rights for these most liberal societies where the right to choose lies with the individual. Availability of/access to most of these scheduled drugs in Asian countries is next to impossible. If at all one can lay his/her hand on these prohibited drugs, it has to be by illegal means supplied through black markets. Of course, the undercover always exists but the costs could be prohibitive. Singapore is a nation where strict death penalty is imposed on anyone found with banned drugs notified by the nation. No trial as a matter of fact for the accused and the campaign by the foreign missions to secure their convicted citizens caught redhanded with prohibited drugs is actively discouraged. Many rural Indian citizens who were used as ‘kuruvi’ (messenger) to carry drugs unaware, by smugglers and drug mafia have ended up hanging by the end of the rope, with the appeals of the normally-prevailing Indian government dismissed or turned down without a second thought. In this scenario imagine a Singapore* (name of the nation changed) citizen landing in Amsterdam for a PG diploma. Clean until his 22nd year after having served his mandatory stint in national defence, this boy found himself enthralled by the liberties that Holland permitted. Peer pressure is another reason. Sudden financial independence working for the road side cafes to pay for tuition fee/dorm could be a major factor. Asian parents are also mostly highly ignorant by themselves when it comes to narcotics, having no idea what it is about. Two years went by when the young man lived like Roman in Rome, smoking up whatever he fancied, popping the pill, taking to the needle whenever he felt like to get his high. Returning home proved to be his nemesis. Unable to cope up with depression in the dry country and unable to come out of his new found addiction, the boy jumped to his death from a highrise. His parents are yet to come out of the tragedy. In Amsterdam, the young man lived his life ‘legally’. ‘Substance’ obviously is subsidized in these European countries. Local kids growing up in these mature societies face none of the psychological dilemmas that Asian children going there for higher education face. So its all the more prudent for the parents to do a thorough research on the host countries where they may want to send their wards for higher education. A masters degree aspirant is still young and vulnerable enough to take to addictions. When you are in free-for-all terrain all is well when it goes well. Hell breaks loose when the graduates have to return to their home countries someday where none of the substances may be available in open market.

There is normally some education on the prohibitive drugs to be carried into countries that we all have. Something as simple and naive as ‘khus khus’ which any Indian kitchen cannot be without, can land someone from India in death row if carried into Arab airports. Cough syrups are a big no-no. There is a list of scheduled drugs including pain killers that are restricted in many foreign countries. But a spice as innocuous as the khus-khus (that is supposedly seed for opium) (that a good ninetynine percent of Indians are unaware of!) could prove to be so damaging is not comprehensible to most Indian travelers, especially blue collar workers who have neither attitude nor the understanding to contemplate the consequences resulting from their casual and thoughtless actions. Someone who carried powerful painkillers for a cancer patient also found themselves on the wrong side of law in the Arab country where they landed.

The friend affirmed that similar is the statistic of foreign nationals behind bars even in India with no hope of release. The conditions of the Indian prison scene need not have to be enumerated. From basic sanitation to food quality, the standards can be shocking to any international traveler, and why even fellow Indian citizens.

Nations must come to a treaty on how to handle the cases where individuals find themselves on the wrong side of law without their knowledge. Establishing justice can prove to be very difficult on these grounds. Yet, after coming to know of the Bangalore girl, I am totally shaken as to how on a single flight/day our destiny can turn for worse without a warning. Indian government or for that matter, any foreign government has no jurisdiction in foreign courts. And generally, the countries that have stringent laws on substances and narcotics do not allow trial and hand out death penalty unanimously unfettered by the appealing nations. The Amsterdam case can happen to any family. We all send our children abroad for better education and for brighter future. The seemingly ultra liberal societies are dangerous for Indian kids/Asian kids who may not be mentally mature to come to grips with the freedom allowed when it comes to consumption of narcotics in these European countries where even Euthanasia (death by choice/assisted death), nude beaches etc., are order of the day. Age for consensual sex is as low as twelve for children in these countries. So whose responsibility is it when it comes to defining the legal parameters or licence allowed for substance use or abuse where it concerns foreign citizens.

The law governing the narcotics (ab)use by foreign nationals remains ambiguous in most countries. Arab countries are beyond the point of coming to a pact with rest of the world in this one matter. Yet, contrabrand is freely available in ever single Arab country and recently a royal Arab was found dead on drug overdose. Who is the world’s largest opium cultivator. Islamic countries are not exactly lagging behind when it comes to drug menace. Much of their news never makes to international headlines. Indian government too has to create a cell to deal with nations on case-to-case basis and help with the release of unfortunate citizens who may find themselves caught in quagmire in all innocence. Our embassies and high commissions are overworked. Yet this is one area that our foreign missions must focus on. Lastly when parents are to send their wards for higher education to liberal first world countries where drug prevalence is rampant and legal, they have to educate their children and advise caution. There are so many avenues that the Indian government keeps to be working on. Substance/narcotic cases must be accorded top priority. Entering a bilateral agreement with individual nations can be considered. Is it not double standards when allegedly you may find every single substance in, for instance, Dubai, when for the criminal offence of someone carrying substance must be hanged without trial in the Emirates. Nations do have to come to consensus on narcotics cases because, thousands of international citizens reportedly are languishing in dark cells right across the globe for inadvertently carrying banned drugs.

Posted in Pictures Desi

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway

Watched this moving flick in OTT platform. Real life story of a Bengali woman from India who moves to Norway with her husband on her marriage. Trouble brews on the arrival of her second child when Norwegian government appointed child supervision authorities (?) begin paying her home visits. For them apparently, everything Indian seems to be offensive and unsafe. In India, force feeding children, feeding babies with hands, eating with hands, kids sleeping in the same bed as parents – all these are very normal. Even spanking the kids is considered normal and actually happens! The Norwegian authorities regard this as human rights violation (!) and forcibly take the 3-4 year old son and 5 month breast fed baby daughter of Mrs. Chatterjee to put them into foster homes where they say the children may have a safe and better environment to grow up. How will a mother react to the circumstances? Mrs Chatterjee’s natural outbursts and enragement are misused to frame a false case accusing her of being mentally unstable and unreliable when it came to taking care of her children. Then start the crusades of Mrs. Chatterjee who takes on the Norway govt and Velfred, the child care trustees of Norway in getting back her biological children. Norway seems to be good at everything except for human emotions and humanitarian considerations. Its heartwrenching to see the mother fill bag after bag of breast milk, refrigerate it and pass on to her little baby not even weaned off mother’s milk. The authorities promptly do NOT feed the baby the precious milk. Mrs Chatterjee’s husband comes across as the most uncaring and typical male chauvinistic pig that INdia produces in tens of thousands. He is more focused on his citizenship papers and is unmoved by the plight of his own infant children or that of his wife. Court room after court room follow as Mrs Chatterjee violates unintentionally immigration laws trying to flee Norway and enter Sweden. She is deported while the children’s custody is passed on to her brother-in-law who lives with her hostile in-laws. The unmarried bachelor with no childraising experience gets paid big time (rs. 80 lacs in matter of 14 months as revealed in the court by the Norwegian attorney) on being entrusted with the custody of the children the papers for which are signed by Mrs Chatterjee on her husband’s persuasion as she remains unaware of the consequences. Finally after a two year hiatus, the heartbroken mother is reunited with her biological children in Indian courts that take cognizance of her trauma and nullify the Norway ruling. (Well Norway court laws are null and void in India, why can’t these guys get that). In this real life story, our late external affairs minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj played a vital role that helped in bringing the children back to India. It is alleged that Velfred is a scam which puts the immigrants’ children in the hands of local Norwegians who get paid hefty for raising the foster children to fit in their so-called ‘Norwegian society.’ Its cruel and heartless willfully separating the newborns, toddlers and infants from their biological parents and entrusting them from biological parents and entrusting their charge with strange cold foster homes, not all of which are conducive to healthy child raising. How civilized are these nations really that call themselves first world countries. The basic human emotion, compassion, empathy, sensitivity – these are absent in these highly developed societies where the human heart seems to be made of steel and stone. They seem to have absolutely no respect for cultural ethos of immigrants. Scandinavian countries want immigrants to boost their population but their greed is that, they do not want the children to be raised with native cultural values. Mrs Chatterjee now lives in Kolkata, divorced I guess, happily with her two children.

The assertiveness of the Indian government in the case without hurting the bilateral treaties with Norway is remarkable. Sushma was an asset to us the NRI community who live outside India. She took best care of us. We miss you, Sushma ji, none can replace you. Her warmth and care for the workers of Indian origin and her help in bringing trapped Indian women home from dangerous and unsafe zones around the world speak of her immaculate record.

India is not in any way inferior to Norway. We need not be like you at all. We are what we are. We all forcefeed our kids if they don’t eat properly for their own sake. We spank our kids. Our kids sleep with us parents in the same bed, until atleast they turn ten years. Whatever we do, we have the best interests of our children at heart. That is why we don’t have Mother’s day, Father’s day in Hindu society. Our parents live with us in one single JOINT family. We take care of our aged parents and do not banish them to condos or nursing homes. Bloody hell Norway. Only rakshas (demons) will take away a breastfed baby from her biological mother and put the infant in foster care. Is this even civilization. Is this what you call human rights? ARe you guys even human.

Years back this story was splashed across our mass media and print media. Its good to revisit this story as it has relevance even today as more and more Indians work/live abroad. Why are the Europeans and Americans wandering in Bikini in Bali. Why can’t you then adopt to Balinese culture and wear their native clothes.

In whole of this picture, the ruthlessness of the nation called Norway came through. They are very cold and heartless and think inferior of Asian nations and culture. Well, Norway you have everything except for HUMANITY. That is your problem. You have to be a monster to separate a 5 month old breastfed baby from her biological mother and put her in foster care when there was no criminal charges against her.

The case helped open many more pending cases in EU etc. While so, you see the pedophiles, child molesters etc., roaming the Asian cities. Most of them are from these advanced and so-called civilized nations only. They fly all the way to Thailand and Sri Lanka to have sex with minor children.

Asians have better family values. Family is one. Much more affectionate having no shame in exhibiting their emotion. There are things that can never be bought off. One such a precious gifts is the love of a biological mother. Throughout the picture as Rani Mukherjee played the title role, my eyes were pregnant with tears. The travails and shame and the indignity she suffers, the way she fights on nevertheless with such a courage for the sake of her children – these are proofs that these slinky Norwegian women can NEVER EVER match up to an Indian mother when it comes to sensitivity or emotion or love or care. Norway has to do a self-analysis to determine where they went wrong.

Finally, its not just a win for Mrs Chatterjee, its victory for India as India stamped her foot down and made her stance clear. It was a very proud moment as we refused to take nonsense.

Rani seems to have bloated but gave a stellar performance as usual. A natural, she is a treat to watch.

Highly recommended. Norway may find itself in quandary, so it be. Immigrants are not your slaves. Even America and Australia are nations of immigrants only. Neither are immigrants an inferior race. Everyone is abled differently that is all. We are gifted differently. Parenting style varies even within the confines of a society. There is no rule book to follow when it comes to parenting. The underscore is that, the child should feel SAFE AND SECURE AND LOVED AND CARED for by the biological parents. There is no substitute for biological FAMILY. There is no point in raising children in divided families or abusive families or violent families where the children may be pacified with games and gadgets to compensate for lack of love. Children growing up in India may not have the latest toys but they are blessed with parents devoted to them who cherish them, NEVER NEGLECT THEM, but raise them with total dedication, love, care and cultural values. An Indian mother is epitome of self sacrifice. We in India live for our children. They are our wealth. I have no ambition in life except to see that my family is well fed and happy. I have no shame in admitting that the whole purpose of my existence is for my family. My kids are my world. In their success and happiness I see my own. I don’t want individual glory. I am an Indian mother and now a grandmother.

Posted in Political

The Aadheenams have their day.

Sengol/Raj Danda installed amid controversies next to speaker

The Aadheenams of the most ancient temples of Tamil Nadu that have seen the Cholas had their day when the ‘Sengol’ of Thamizh (Chozha) kings was installed by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in India’s new parliament building that was inaugurated with Sarva Dharma (all faith prayers) yesterday. Those who have grown up listening to Odhuvaar singing to Kapaleeshwara or Karpagaambal or Valleeshwara or even Abirami of Thirukadaiyur or Meenakshi of Madurai etc., may know that the Odhuvar tradition is now a dying tradition in our temples. Most temples not only in Tamil Nadu but also in all parts of INdia are controlled by the respective state governments that shamelessly use the Hindu temple fund for financing even the salaries of masjid workers for instance as we see in Kerala. Whereas the poor archakas of the temples are left high and dry with inadequate salaries, the government officials who have no connection with the temples drive latest sedans and SUVs drawing handsome pay packets. In Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, there were even Christians employed in the Devastanams who were ready to fight legal battles for retaining their jobs. This is the true cost of secularism. Temples under the Aadheenam may be free of state government clutches but how are they deploying the funds from the temples under their administration from their overflowing coffers. How many temples in Kumbakonam, Mayavaram etc., are in dire need of basic repairs? Some temple towers (gopurams) that are over 1500 years old are even on the verge of collapsing. Worst maintained and not kept clean. Bribes in the abode of god, be it temple under Tamil Nadu temple and charitable trust (govt department) or those under the aegis of the Adheenams are a dampaner but I understand that special darshans are crowd management tactics. What melted my heart was hearing Thevaram and Thiruvasagam chantings reverberating from our seat of governance in Delhi. Most ancient mantras in Thamizh, the verses have the antiquity and sanctity and aura of the ages old Sanskrit scriptures. It was especially enthralling to note the Odhuvar attached to Kapaleeshwar temple, Mylapore play a pivotal role in the ‘grihapravesh’ or the housewarming ceremony. Interestingly the new parliament of INdia is triangular shaped representing the most powerful Sri Yantra. Two inverted Triangles overlapping each other represent union of Shiva and Shakthi: the static energy and the kinetic energy that is the driving force. Shiva is latent, Shakthi is the force.

Posted in Food For Soul

Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur near Nashik, Maharashtra was very much in news for the controversy surrounding women being debarred from performing the Abhishek ritual to Lord Shani (Saturn). The Shani murthy (idol) here is swayambu (erupted out of earth on its own). Tripti Desai led the march from the forefront to win rights for women to conduct/perform rituals for Lord Shani with their own hands on par with men. I had an opportunity to visit the shrine in the month of April. Saturn phase is on for me right now. To spell it out in Thamizh, ‘ezharai nattu sani’ going on for me. Its tenure is for 7.5 years. This is second time in my lifeline that saturn rules the house in my horoscope. This is on for over an year now. Shani period is supposed to be physically and mentally and even financial exhausting to most. A very testy period in one’s life where we may be facing health woes. We may get ourselves entangled in unnecessary troubles. So I exercised the privilege of anointing Lord Shani with sesame oil with my own hands and perform the abhishegam to Him during my visit to His temple. My two friends still disapproved of my move. There were about a hundred devotees. While most men performed the abhishegam, there was a general reluctance among the women to come forward for the ritual. Only a handful of us dared. The men (husbands) restrained their wives and daughters and stood in queue to partake in the ritual. But nobody frowned when some of us women stepped forward for the ritual. The fee for the ritual is 500 bucks. The oil price was 80 or 90 bucks. The ticket issuing clerk had a disapproving smirk pasted on his face as he handed out the token to me. I hoped to please Lord Shani asking Him to soften His blows or at least give me the physical mental strength to bear shocks and upsets if it comes to that. To anyone who questions change of age old customs, I would like to remind that once upon a time, women were not even allowed to attend schools, not divorce, not remarry. Women did not get a share of family estate/inheritance. There was even the heinous practice of Sati in India. Its not you and I who decide what should happen when. As a total believer, I trust that it was perhaps Lord Shani Himself who decided that the time was ripe for women to perform rituals for Him with their own hands. அவனன்றி ஓர் அணுவும் அசையாது. Whether it is Shani or Lord Aiyappa, the move or decision to grant women entry is decided by the deity not by humans. As an unshakable believer in and follower of Hindu Dharma, this is where I differ from my friends’ view point. My Kerala friends cannot agree with the reforms naturally. By change in norms, I do not state that any disrespect has to be shown to the deity. In Sabarimala, the court case was interestingly filed by a Kerala muslim for entry of women into the hill shrine while no muslim woman can ever share the mosque space with the men. Not a single petition is filed in Indian courts to win the muslim women their equal rights. The women who first broke barriers in Sabarimala were also non Hindus – with a muslim/christian woman throwing a used/soiled sanitary napkin on Lord Aiyappa when with police escort she became the first fertile woman to set her foot in the holy shrine of Lord Aiyappa. Can you imagine a non muslim desecrating an islamic place of worship and getting alive with it. This is my Hindu India. This is the level of our tolerance. We Hindus give police protection to muslim/christians to go in and desecrate our places of worship in the name of democracy and secularism. It broke every Hindu heart when the kind of desecration the woman subjected our supreme deity to, came to light. We left the offenders to their Karma. While I am for equality of sexes and women’s rights, this is a clear case of mischief no doubt. Its good that a film like Kerala Story happened. An eye opener. After the Sabarimala sacrilege, the very next year the entire Kerala state was flooded and crores and crores of property were lost. Washed out. When Lord Aiyappa is ready to receive women devotees in His abode, trust Him to move the earths and the skies not just the courts to make it happen. Lord Aiyappa is viewed as Naishtika Brahmachari by Hindus.

abhishek for Lord Shani at Shani Shingnapur shrine with my own hands…

Let me make it clear that, there was nothing rebellious about my Shani access or worship. I am a practing Hindu and I considered it a blessing to get nearer to Shani Bhagwan. I was full of reverence and faith.

Posted in Political

Defining Moment For Pakistan.

When Pak PM Shri Shahbaz Sharif went aghast that the inferno that the nation saw in last few days reminded him of the 1971 war (with India), there was perhaps a a ring of truth to his words. Pakistan is off bounds for average Indian citizen. Our inputs are from media. However in our recorded memory, this is the first time ever that the Pakistanis went up in arms against their much feared armed forces which was brave of them. Imran Khan, who was illegally stripped off his premier post for batting against their army, was let off by the Supreme court after his illegal arrest by the law enforcement/security. The incident incited violence in the major cities that saw smoke billowing out of raging fires from buildings set ablaze, including on one of an army commander. Pakistan army has been directly behind the wars with India (read: without a justifiable rationale) that cost the nation dear – including the last one at Kargil. Musharraf, Pakistan’s ex general turned self-styled president was single handedly responsible for the unnecessary and costly blunder that set the relationship between the two hostile neighbours behind by a couple of more precious years. It reflected to us Indians, the sheer irresponsibility and inefficacy of their army chiefs and their ruling power as the Nawaz Shariff government at the center watched helpless and fell in line with the overruling army general. It underscored for us one more time, WHO IS THE BOSS in Pakistan. Soon Sharif was exiled to Saudi and Benazir was assassinated. Has Pakistan had a single prime minister who retired gracefully and in peace with wisdom to offer to the next democratically elected top man taking over the mantle from him or her? History has shown that whoever takes the chair either gets exiled or assassinated or his/her term truncated. Imran Khan’s case was the last as he too left the term incomplete. The Pakistan public reaction to the jungle rule of their armed forces comes as a breather. Pakistan military are infamous for their relentless corruption. The quickest way to prosperity is through enrolment in their army, whereas in countries like India, a career in the barracks is frowned upon by the youth normally. Our government has to entice young men and women to consider a stint in our armed forces with attractive sops. Army connections win one business contracts and licences in Pakistan. Army is the be-all, do-all. The all powerful Pakistan army also is the wealthiest organization in their country not surprisingly. Their spy agency will put those like we have in India to shame. Such a network! Pakistan has some good points such as their spy agency, cricket, hockey, ghazal, mountaineering etc. Pakistan natural resources mostly remain untapped. A vast potential herein has been sold over the counter just-like-that to Chinese who have taken over the Gwadar port for access to the Arabian sea. Pakistan is reeling not only under IMF loans but also against a burgeoning Chinese credit that they have to pay through their teeth. Media attributes the lawlessness to Imran Khan in Pakistan but as Pakistan national currency hovered at 299 rupees against US$ last evening, it is palpable that the public unrest is also manifestation of a peaking frustration as the cost of living is no more under control in their country and hooliganism is only the natural outcome of mass paranoia of the countrymen fearing famine and hopelessness in near future. As Pakistan stares at bankruptcy, we Indians keep our fingers crossed and await developments. For a healthy Pakistan is in Indian interests.

Posted in Environment

Western standard is NOT gold standard.

It is not packaged milk fortified with artificial vitamins that is good. It is the cow’s milk or buffalo milk that directly reaches your home without pasteurization, still warm from the beast’s udder that is healthy and good. Indians/Hindus have access to the latter mostly. A peeled orange fruit can never be compared to chemical orange drink with added preservatives and colours.

It is not refrigerated vegetables that are good. Pre-cut veggies are worst. It is buying your groceries on everyday basis and NOT refrigerating them that is healthy. We Indians do the latter.

It is not the frozen meat that is hygienic. It is the fresh cut meat and poultry that Indians have access to that is healthy.

It is not packaged/pre-cooked/tinned/canned food with printed expiry date that you can reheat on oven that is good. It is the freshly prepared food in your own kitchen that is best. We Indians spend hours doing that everyday at home.

All our herbs and spices and nuts and millets make for wonderful feast. Bland pizzas are insipid and tasteless. Indian food makes for gourmet cuisines anywhere and everywhere.

It is not the toilet tissue paper you wipe your asses with that is ideal. It is the water wash with health faucet that is best and most hygienic practice and we Indians do just that. Not only are not we hurting the environment with printing tonnes and tonnes of tissue paper, we are also using water which is the best medium for cleaning any surface. Water is replenishable natural resource that gets topped up with the arrival of monsoon.

Soaking in bathtub may sound luxurious but it is rinsing under a running shower that is hygienic standard.

It is not bottled water that is bacteria free. It is the running water off the tap that is best.

Swimming pools and golf courses and grazing fields for beef cattle are the worst environmental hazards. Hindus are not consumers of beef the production of which drinks up most of the surface water and scrapes earth of its greenery.

It is not sedan that is comfort. It is walking or cycling that is good.

It is not the air-conditioner that is healthy, it is rather the room temperature.

It is not the makeup that is cool, it is the natural way you look that is uber cool.

Eating with forks and spoons are not marks of sophistication or that of a civilized society. It is eating with hands that speaks of the human-food holistic connection. Eating is a spiritual experience for Hindus.

You don’t have to hit the gym at all if you are a practitioner of Hatha Yoga. When you have nothing to call your own, gym will become your refuge.

We even have the Hindu martial arts. We don’t have to take up karate or taekwondo.

It is not brands that are great. It is the ethnic weaves and motifs that I wear as an Indian so proudly that are the best clothes to wear. Our clothes represent our culture, history, heritage. I am wearing my India on my sleeve for the whole world to see.

It is not the synthetic fibre that is fashion. It is natural yarn cotton and silk that I drape myself with that are most environment friendly.

If you are hooked on to western music or western soap as an Asian/African or anyone, it means you don’t have native/desi/local talent. There is a big void – you don’t have authentic pedigree culture. You have not enough of creativity.

If you are watching only the Hollywood pictures, then again your local talent pool sucks. You don’t have ingenuity to produce even quality entertainment.

If you do not have local classical music or dance or art or literature scene, it means you are rootless. You lack imagination. You are forced to appreciate the foreign stuff for you have no alternative.

Anglicization is not culture. It is wearing a bindi in crowded New York or in Arab soil that is culture. Now that is some identity. English language has given me its share of advantages but it shall never become my Thamizh or Sanskrit or Hindi. Thamizh and Sanskrit are older than Latin and are still around. That is the antiquity of my Hindu culture.

Westernization does not make you superior to anyone. In fact it renders the opposite. It makes you a worthless duplicate.

Duplicates galore: a smatter of English words, two or three short reels from western soaps and metal/hard rock do not make anyone cultured or civilized. In fact it looks pathetic on you. A cheap imitation.

If you are Asian/African but are always clothed in western trousers and shirts, it means you have nothing original. You are a copycat who has no sense of self respect or self esteem.

If you are following Christianity or Islam, it means even your Gods were imported or thrust upon you by your barbarian invaders who destroyed your roots and rendered you bastards. I am a Hindu, a pedigree, a non convert, an original. Don’t try to talk me down. A Hindu is a Hindu is a Hindu.

We in India know what we are doing. We Hindus know what we are made of. Wherever we go, we add value to that society. We don’t tear up our adopted homelands with violent terrorism. Hindu Dharma is not here as the one and only longest surviving civilization for over ten thousand years without a break for nothing.

We in India appreciate foreign culture but we never forget what we are made of. We know our value. We know of our authenticity and pedigree. Proud Hindu anyday. We never robbed nations. The muslims and chrisitians did that for survival. We nurture wildlife and rivers and flora and fauna. We worship nature. We have not survived to this day with the sword. We usher in peace and wisdom wherever we go. SANATHANA DHARMA (HINDUISM) is a way of life. Not a violent cult that sprang up with a self appointed nomadic ‘son of god’ or ‘prophet.’ We Hindus have no founders, no founding date. That must tell you something.

Proudly brown. Happily dusky. I am Indian. I am Hindu. I am my natural self. I don’t have to pander to your definitions of beauty or class. I have both, much more than you can ever dream of. I am me. I don’t become your definition of me. In fact you smack of intense jealousy if you are preoccupied with me. Because I couldn’t care less about you. As I tan walking around the vast ancient temples of ours, my heart swells with pride. I belong. I have roots, unshakable roots. I therefore am.

India shall live to eternity and shall remain eternally Hindu. Brook no nonsense fellow Hindus. Rub commonsense into the cowards. Tell them, show them what is genuine, what is fake. Throw their rubbish to where it belongs: in the garbage bin of their closed minds.

When someone looked at my cotton washable handkerchief with disbelief having been born out of the ’tissue’ culture, I could see what the world has come to. The fakes have taken over the world. The bottled water, the canned milk, the frozen food, the tinned fruit pulp, the tissue for wiping your bum, the disposable nappies rather than cloth nappies – now all these are more appreciated and thought of to be better and hygienic substitutes to the naturals. The way we convince ourselves that the fakes are the best is what is more troubling. For we can awaken a sleeping man but not someone who pretends to be asleep.


Why is India still under-developed, over populated and not anywhere near China.

You have to live in the Hindu society to learn why India is backward. It s never the bhogic life for us like the Americans. Our philosophy is Yogic, which means we spend hours in temples, puja, meditation etc – none of which the Chinese do whose only aspiration is materialistic.

This country has been lived on for tens of thousands of years as we are home to stunning range of flora and fauna, wildlife, rivers, mountains, plains, valleys, sea coasts etc., that India was one of the chief cradles of human civilization. The temples I visit each are over an acre easily, and some thousand, two thousand years old. That is our antiquity. Some streets are here for hundreds of years. Ideal geo climatic for centuries that has turned worse in recent years only thanks to global warming, the land of gold and diamonds, agrarian primarily where an array of arts and crafts were nourished by the kings, it is no wonder that India accounts for a sixth of world human population.

But then, are we asking anyone to feed us. We export rice, wheat, fruits, nuts, spices after FEEDING ONE POINT THREE BILLION MOUTHS here. Which is something. Critics of India must check whether they can just manage that simple feat.

Posted in Environment

Under Threat: Bitra: Floating Marine Reserve, India.

Ref: How the Bitra Floating Marine Reserve was born – by Rohan Arthur and T R Shankar Raman , from ‘At the feet of living things’ -edited by Aparajitta Datta

Always amazed by fish spawning frenzy spotlighted by underwater videos that we come across in Animal Planet etc. Never knew it had a scientific name: FSA (Fish Spawning aggregation). What is more surprising is learning that India has a Floating Marine Reserve (among a handful) at Bitra, Lakshadweep group of Islands falling under the Union Territory, off Kerala coast, in the Arabian sea.

Some of the books I have read on the wildlife in India were authored by wildlife research aspirants who were gathering material and evidence for their doctorate. The Bitra Reserve apparently was born thanks to the efforts of two such ambitious and enthusiastic PhD candidates of Fisheries who had chosen Bitra for their studies. I am blogging this from a series of essays on Indian wildlife conservation efforts in about a quarter century until the 1990s. Some articles lie outside the purview of the scope of the book obviously, because the Bitra scene is from very recent. One of the group of islands of the Lakshadweep archipelago, Bitra is an impoverished fishing island where naturally fishing continues to be the way of life. The two researchers Rohan Arthur and T S Shankar Raman venture into this sleepy fishing center and stumble upon the FSA off the reefs of Bitra sea. They discover in the year close to 2012 that there is the FSA (fish spawning aggregation) ritual happening under sea near the reef where the square tails aggregated in tens of thousands to spawn their litter. A rare event in Indian territory, the Fisheries guys congregate with the locals and take steps to preserve the FSA from damages of fishing.

Seriously I wish they hadn’t tabled their findings! In a bid to submit their papers for their diplomas, they have given away the precious info to the locals that they seem to exploit for commercial gains. The earliest boost for their venture was the kudos that came from the Fisheries department itself that went against their grain. The department seconding to save fish is anathema to their founding principles and motto. No wonder, the plans fell flat in their face as the local fishermen refused to comply with the restrictions and started fishing vigorously in the delicately balanced marine eco system with the mother boats that made a killing catch every season of spawning (around new moon day a particular time of the year). Thus in matter of ten years the FSA fish count has dropped by over 90% . Human greed knows no bounds. Educating the local fishermen, bringing the awareness is a slow process but can work in the long run. Hopefully by the time realization dawns, there are still square tails left out in the Arabian sea/Indian ocean to make it to the Bitra reef for their annual appointed FSA.

Will the center look in and do something decisive about the protection of the Bitra reef and FSA therein? #narendramodi

I am banking on our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji on saving the floating marine reserve at Bitra and the annual FSA, saving the square tail and other fish species from extinction in near future. FSA is way of nature. We shall be making or breaking the natural cycle in Bitra shortly as frenzied fishing activity near the reef can drive the fish away from the FSA pool which for some evolutionary/geographic/scientific reason has been natural selection for the fish species since ages.

Posted in Environment

India doubles her Tiger population.

India Tiger Count tops 3000. Now pegged at 3167 as per latest census .

As we celebrate 50 years of Project Tiger in India that was rolled into motion way back in 1973 for conservation of Tiger the national animal, it emerges that India has recorded a doubling of the Tiger population since 2010. The thirteen tiger countries of the world met at St Petersburg in Russia at an international tiger conservation forum, the Global Tiger Summit where it was decided to boost tiger breeding doubling their count in the next twelve years by 2022. India achieved the target well within time. India accounts for 70% of the tiger count in entire world. Bengal Tigers and tigers from across India have seen a surge in headcount in the various wildlife reserves and sanctuaries spread around the country. India is also home to the native (Gir) Lions, (Indian/Asian) Elephants and a stunning array of wildlife – both flora and fauna. To those who ask why is our population 1.3 billion, this is the reason. For millennia we had the ideal weather conditions that natured both human race and the wildlife that helped them breed and thrive healthy and happy in this part of the world. As man and beast jostle for space in this cramped peninsular subcontinent of ours in modern times, conservation efforts are proving to be an increasingly tougher job. A highly bio-diversified country, India boasts of both the snow peaks of the Himalayas as well as the Thar deserts; the serene beaches of the south; the mangroves; the biosphere of the Nilgiris or the western ghats that are home to widest range of avian population in their rainforests as well as exotic fauna such as the sandalwood trees; the eastern jungles recording highest rainfall in the world per year. The elephant corridors and the tiger corridors of this country have been here for thousands of years, from long before recorded human history. Only in recent times they have cut short or taken over by human greed. As our prime minister visited Bandipur sanctuary in Karnataka from where he drove into Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu right through the forests in recognition of the golden jubilee year of Project Tiger, the nation celebrates the big cats of the country with enthusiasm and vigour. Last year saw the re-introduction of Cheetah in India, brought in from Namibia. The native cheetahs of India were hunted down to extinction by the British (who are behind the extinction of many species of wild life) alongside the erstwhile royals of India.The nation mourning the loss of life of one precious fertile female cheetah was compensated with the arrival of four healthy cubs from a cheetah mom late last week.

adorable cheetah cubs born in India after a 70 year hiatus…

The Tiger countries of the world:  Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia (locally extinct), China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR (locally extinct), Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Viet Nam (locally extinct).

Rounding off with some adorable shots from the Tiger reserves of India. The disturbing image is that of the tourists, but then the tourists pay for the tiger conservation efforts.

Posted in Food For Soul, Political History

Jambudweepe, Dakshina Parve, Bharatha Khande, Bharath Varshe

One more historical evidence from Hindu prayers and Puja rituals. Most of us are familiar with the Sankalp(am) we have to perform before starting a Puja or Homam (a ritual with the holy fire) or before going for an Archana (customized service-like) for the Hindu deities wherein we have to mention the place (our location), time, names of the devotees with their birth stars as per Hindu calendar. Until today we mention the place as Jambudweep (the large continent which was once an island landmass), followed by Dakshina Parv (south face) (southern part of the Jambudweepa), Bharath Khand (Greater India), Bharatha Varsha (Indian subcontinent). (The pundit/purohit invokes the deities with details usually on our behalf. In home pujas we invoke the deities with the minute details by ourselves). (This means we are summoning the deities of Puja to that particular geographical spot personally. Our identity or address is the geotag with our name, birthstar, Kula/Gotra (family/clan/lineage) specifics. The Jambudweep is the landmass that was once surrounded by water. It can be now comprising the entire Eurasia. Dakshina Parv refers to the southernmost part of the continental shelf. Bharath Khande is the Greater Bharat or Akhaand Bharat comprising of present day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and even parts of erstwhile Soviet Union such as Tashkent (Takshashila), parts of Azerbaijan etc. Hindu Dharma was prevalent in Baku of today. There are Sanskrit inscriptions preserved. The old Sankalp that we have not edit to current times must be from primordial times.This was a time when the tectonic plates had not yet had the head-on collision, exactly where there was once the Tethys sea which later on was replaced by the mighty Himalayas, the newest mountain range in the geography and history of Planet Earth. Interestingly all our prayers OMIT the Himalaya region but mention the Jambudweep as a separate island entity (Dweep in Sanskrit means ‘island.’ (We have until today the Lakshadweep (a lakh or million islands – an archipelago) which is a union territory of India (in the Arabian sea near the coast of Kerala)). The name for the country is Bharat, after Bharatha, who comes in the lineage of Lord Rama. For millions of years, India has thus gone by the name Bharath. Bharat is the original name of India, not Hindustan which was the name given by the Persians. India presently goes by Her name given by the Europeans. I for one thing never paid attention to these details even though we go through these motions in most of our rituals. We blindly recite the sankalp hardly paying any attention. For our weddings and other muhurats (auspicious timings for occasions like nuptials, pujas etc.,) we strictly follow the Hindu calendar in India. Our stock exchanges open and close annual accounts on the Hindu new year day which is the Amavashya (new moon day) of Diwali. In Tamil Nadu we adhere to the Tamil Hindu calendar. Our new year is just around the corner April 14th and this is the day Bangla, Punjabi, all of South, Behari, and even most of South East Asia including Bali/Indonesia, Thailand etc., celebrate their new year. The sankalp mention of Jambudweep, Dakshina Parva, Bharatha Khand/Bharat Varsha succinctly omitting Himalaya region is an indicator to the rituals observed in another plane of time, perhaps preceding even the times of Ramayana and Mahabharatha. River Saraswathi discovered deep down earth’s crust buried in a supposed catastrophe that changed our planet’s geography forever is another indication that there was a robust Hindu civilization far advanced in different dimensions preceding the current human evolution. It is possible that we merely picked up the pieces left over our ancestors to start again from the remnant of an old world. I have always felt this when reading the Sundara Khanda of Ramayana where there are details of the chariot of Ravana, the king of Sri Lanka that went by the name ‘Pushpaka vimana.’ Didn’t Ravana play Veena which is still the revered ancient/contemporary/native stringed musical instrument for Hindus. Then there are the surface to surface, surface to air, air to air missiles mentioned in the Mahabharat and even in Ramayan. These disjoint proofs pointing to another plane of time, another world are available in Hindu texts/scriptures that cannot be from the recent history of the human race. Unfortunately they cannot be cohesively or entirely interpreted without scientific backing. Interesting that I got to listen to this piece of information from a lecture on Soundarya Lahari, composed by BhagawadPada-Adi Shankara in the 7th century CE. Sadly as this is Hindu history, no research may follow or even encouraged, because the Abrahamics are always bent upon disproving anything with Hindu origins. Lately there is a changed mindset wanting to know what is what, with an element of curiosity about assembling the jigsaw puzzle for a better understanding about human ancestry and evolution. This is why we need to study our scriptures in depth: they throw valuable information in every single verse. Ancient Hindu scriptures are a repository of knowledge and info that can shed light into the mindset, prevailing culture and civilization of human race that is not recorded history. The galaxy did not come into existence from the birth of Christ. Most Hindu customs and even everyday rituals must be contemplated for their purpose and antiquity. Some excavations shall never be carried out. Some exhibits shall never be tabled. Some truths shall lay buried and never be discovered. Besides, you can never relate to the lost world with the threads of evidences you unearth here are there. The vital connection is severed by time and space.