Posted in Others

Best Gift On World Elephant Day: Man vs Wild with PM Modi and Bear Grylls, on Discovery HD

What a man! Interesting to watch one of his many facets that make him what he is today.

Walking the Jim Corbett with Bear Grylls – doing this at his age even if with invisible security cordon, is a feat. Yoga must be his fitness secret.

Luckily no wild elephant or a Bengal tiger crossed their path although PM Modi was quick and sharp enough to spot elephant dung in the thick bush. His observation is very good obviously. Wildlife spotting is not really that easy. In fact I have always spotted wild elephants both in Kerala and in Tamil Nadu only in the shoulder areas adjoining the national parks. Wild animals do not know of or respect man-made boundaries. Animal/bird watchers also must have immense patience for any ‘sighting.’ Rare are lucky spottings.

I caught my breath as our PM boarded the haphazardly hand-built coracle (by Grylls) (what we call parisal in Tamil). I recently took a (plastic) ‘parisal’ ride in Kodaikanal where the lake depth was not much. Still the risk of tipping over is enormous. In his age and position, I got alarmed and wondered aloud, whether the PM must be doing that. Of course, his security must have been hovering in the background. The coracles originally made of bamboo are very popular with rural Indians when it comes to river/lake crossings in lieu of boats. They come in handy especially when the river depth is not adequate for boating and the river width is easily navigable.

Fully drenched in rain, PM Modi was treated with as much affection like a son by Grylls. That was heartwarming. The PM answered back Grylls in Hindi for the benefit of all Indians including those who may not be knowing English.

To one of the questions on keeping India clean, Modi ji replied that Indians have good personal hygiene but lacked social hygiene. He couldn’t have put it more aptly. That is a 100% true fact. I realized this during our days in Malaysia. We Indians or those of Indian origin showered maximum. The Chinese went to work straight from bed and showered late in the evening. Showering too many times they believed, could get you cold and make you sick! Yet the Indians stank and the Chinese looked better. Probably this body odour is in our subcontinent gene! We Indians sweat more compared to many other races. Many friends and relatives have remarked on this aspect as to how we Indians maintain better personal hygiene. Yet our breath smells!! When it comes to social hygiene, we draw a big blank almost. Just look at the airport restrooms! You just cannot teach the concept of dry toilets to our masses! Water, water everywhere! Never mind, now many in the west are of opinion that wet toilets (meaning those fitted with hand faucets) are more hygienic, less infectious and environment friendly than those with toilet paper roll! In Yoga centers in India, you can see only Indian squatting toilets used by even foreigners comfortably. Its good for your knees and it is regaining its status. May be one day as they say coconut oil and groundnut oil are actually good (after denouncing them for years that is), the west will come around to this point. Even the way we measure hygiene is different in both worlds. That said, India leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to keeping the nation neat and clean. It is a social consciousness, not a government job. Still, ever since Swachch Bharat was introduced by Modi, I notice a welcome change. Even if it is not a lot, it is good and holds promise for a better future.

The conversation was kept minimal and interesting, going with the flow of the nature trail as Grylls and Modi walked through the tall bushes towards the river.

Normally I hope and look forward to wildlife spotting but today I was anxious!  For once, I wished the tigers and the elephants stayed away! Remember it was none less than the Jim Corbett! The weather seemed awesome and amiable. Untiring, more than anything else. I am sure the rendezvous and the trail itself were handpicked and combed and checked out in advance. That may account for no chance encounter with the mighty Indian elephant or the Bengal tiger by the adventurous duo. Or even the venomous snakes.

The dollops of flashback from PM’s life right from his childhood told in his own words lent the show some extra spice. What a humble background and what an austere brought-up PM Modi has had. What a contrast this is from the spoilt Nehru-Gandhi lineage. His ascension to power is not surprising. The spark is still visible!

Critics of course will say, this is all stunt. So be it. Neither I care nor does Modi Ji hahaha!  He is daring as only he can be. And he is curious. Very inquisitive. Open to learning. Not afraid to ask questions. Or try the turf. Not embarrassed an ounce! Comfortable in strange surroundings. It is easy to see why he is what he is and where he is today.  India is truly a very beautiful and diverse and rich country! I am proud of my nation in every way and all ways possible! Grylls seems to share an affectionate bonding with India as well…

However I would request our PM to stay safe in future and let this be his first and last adventure in unchartered territory. As Bear Grylls himself says, PM Shri Narendra Modi is the No.1 and most important man in the country. Precious, priceless gem. We want him to live a 100 years and if possible 200. Please take better care of your health Prime Minister, India loves you. Love and adore your spirit and your sacrificing self. Sometimes I even wonder whether we Indians deserve such a committed man.

My personal request to you Mod ji, is to ban elephants from our temples and palaces and processions and tourism industry and conserve them in our forests. This way, you will be ensuring that Ganpati lives on for 100-200 more bargained years before going extinct (which will happen eventually in under 300 years. Of course, this will earn you the wrath of Kerala Devaswoms, Mysore and Rajasthan palaces and tourism industry. But Lord Ganesha will bless you and the nation. If anyone can do it, it is you Prime Minister. Believe me this has nothing to do with the Church. And even if this is a conspiracy theory by the missionaries, you will still be extending a fresh lease of life for the Indian Elephant. If you don’t, our grand children from 2100 will not be seeing a single Indian elephant in flesh and blood.

Posted in These Are A Few Of My....

Fave Films

Nobody asked for my fave pictures but I wanted to write the list down anyways:D Looks like it is a trend. My top 10 all time favourites: (List may grow as and when I remember)

  1. Avatar anyday. Seen it a 100 times, may be a 1000 times. Frame by frame, scene by scene by heart. Never tire.
  2. Lion King. Old one. Animated picture. It is like family film for us. We got to watch it only by 1998-99 for the first time in our new VCD in Malaysia. For months, we went to sleep watching the picture. The latest one is good. But as my now 25 year old son asks, how can you better a picture that is already the best. No scope for improvement!
  3. Personally for me the old film ‘King Elephant’ screened for us in our school auditorium in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore – where I did my primary was a turning point. Nothing I can recall but it infused, fueled a love for wild life especially elephants in me. Now various versions are available in You Tube but I am not convinced I am looking at what I saw way back then with little girls and boys of that tender age.
  4. Mr. Bean, Tom & Jerry (old series), The bug life, The Dinosaur. Family favourites as we saw them as family as my son was growing up.
  5. Old Black & white Tamil pictures of director-producer K Balachander: Aval Oru Thodarkadhai (she is a novel or serial story common in those days in weekly magazines), heavy theme and way ahead of those times (late 1970s) (family drama)
  6. Old black & white tamil picture of K Balachander: Avargal  (them), ahead of his times (late 1970s) (family drama)
  7. Tamil picture of K Balachander: Thanneer Thanneer (water, water) (1980s)
  8. Tamil picture of K Balachander: Sindhu Bhairavi (1980s)
  9. Tamil picture B & W of Jayakanthan Novel remake: Oru Nadigai Nadaagam Parkiraal (an actress watches a drama) (1970s)
  10. Tamil picture of K Balachander B & W : Aboorva Raagangal (1970s) (rare raag or tune) (far ahead of those times)
  11. Tamil picture of Bharathi Raja: Padinaru Vayadhinile (at 16th year) that saw the debut of Sri Devi, Kamal Hasan and Rajni Kanth in late 1970s. May be not debut but their second films that brought them to limelight . The trio went on to rule the celluloid screen for next 20 years. Stars were born overnight. Sridevi as ‘Mayilu’ , Kamal Hasan as ‘Chappani’ and Rajni Kanth as ‘Paratta.’ A must watch. Director Bharathi Raja and Music composer Ilayaraja too became sensations who went on to conquer the south Indian film industry.
  12. Tamil picture Black & white: Aval Appadi Thaan (she is like that) (late 1970s) ahead of those times
  13. Tamil picture of Kamal Hasan : Thevar Magan (Thevar’s son) (remade as Viraasat in Hindi with Anil Kapoor) (1990s)
  14. The Sound of music. We all grow up with it. Needs no intro.
  15. Titanic: I still cry when Jack dies. Exposes the snobbish arrogance of the rich. Magical love story.
  16. Pretty Woman: Love Vivian to the moon and back and of course Richard Gere. There is so much of kindness and decency and dignity in this film. The hotel manager for instance. What a character. Then the way Gere treats Julia Roberts, respecting her as a fellow human being putting everything else aside. Vivian’s head held high under all circumstances. I like that. The picture comes as a ray of hope, a promise, a dream come true.
  17. Shall we dance: Midlife crisis. Another Richard Gere gold. Most middle age couples can identify with this film. Susan Sarandon, a gem. Jennifer Lopez omg ! Love the Latino dances. Dances can be therapeutic. I do clumsy Zumba myself!
  18. A Lot like Love: Ashton Kutcher! Adore him and his sense of humour! Unfolds in phases. This kind of love is more convincing and practical and sustaining!!!
  19. Pride and Prejudice. Classic Jane Austen. Old is gold.
  20. Little Women. Girls who grow up in all-girls home not with much male company can identify with this picture.
  21. Troy: Omg. Brad Pitt!!! I am like that ant and he is like that walking god whose boot i can’t see, but he is a dream!!! Achilles is demi god.
  22. Hindi pictures: I watch but nothing is heart’s favourite because I am used to watching south Indian pictures with strong storyline, characterization, good editing and screenplay-dialogue-direction, substance sans even make-up at times. That makes it difficult for me to accept Bollywood films even though I enjoy watching a few of them time to time. Tamil pictures too sometimes don’t have logic, but they are still better. Less stupid. More realistic. And also we get to watch the originals while most Hindi films are remakes of south Indian pictures. Love Sanjeev Kumar. For no reason. May be for his smokey eyes and voice.  Somehow he was and is my dream man always! Along with Vinod Mehra. Unfortunately he passed away very early. Chitchor could be my most favourite film from 1970s . Love it for its innocence and sweetness. Amol Palekar, another favourite hero. Tamil pictures in 1970s and 80s were way ahead of those times. Even today they may not be palatable to some. What a treat and what a feast to one’s mind’s eye. I can watch them over a 100 times even today in tv. Bollywood went into the hands of Dawood gang with the start of the 1990s that saw the Khans promoted in a big way. This has led to unprecedented levels of decay and quality destruction in the Hindi film industry.
  23. Shawshank Redemption: Years back recommended by my son. Got addicted to this picture ever since! Like it mainly because my son asked me to watch it 😀 also now I like it on my own!
  24. OMG how could I have forgotten Bahubali! India’s answer to Troy! Both part I and part II, with the picture dubbed in Hindi and other state languages. To be watched in Inox/Imax cinemas only – to do it justice. Of the same grandeur was Padmaavat. Prabhas and Rana Dagupathy from Hyderabadas hero and anti-hero in Bahubali became overnight national sensations. What a different breed from the hairless Khans of Bollywood!!! Padmaavat – aesthetically made with the beautiful dusky Deepika Padukone. Period picture. The climax!
  25. ‘Tare zameen par’ – i found the one Bollywood pic made by Aamir Khan who i normally loathe. You will understand this picture when you have grown up along with special children or children with learning disabilities. My  mother taught hearing and speech impaired middle school girls so I could connect with the film. Teaching or training even these grown up teens with functional faculties was not easy. I bear witness. Plus I see a number of ADHD children under autism spectrum these days. It is not easy on the kids or on the parents. Can freak us out, and what must be a happy dreamy life can turn out to be a nightmare for no one’s fault. I would say, these are God’s special children and if we beget them, it means in this janam we have accepted this Karma for a reason. This is our unfinished agenda/life mission. Of course easy to give a discourse until we are in the spot. My heart goes out to the parents of special children first, because the kids themselves remain unaware of their unique condition. ‘Tare zameen par’ deals with very light ‘dyslexia’ which is just the tip of the iceberg. Like step 1 in a 10 or 20 step ladder when it comes to impaired learning/learning disabilities. Extremes are Down syndrome/cerebral palsy for instance. I see them in my life. I am connected to them in my life. I have seen the parents’ denial and then finally their lame submission to destiny. I talk to these mothers. Fathers. Dyslexia and ADHD are nothing really. Not grave conditions considering what I have seen. My heart goes out to the parents first always for their selfless sacrifices.
  26. There are some more like ‘Mundhaanai Mudichu’ (the marital tie – actually the tie of the sari pallu with dhoti in the wedding ceremony as the newly wed walk around the Agni or holy fire) of Bhagyaraj for instance from early 1980s. I can go on and on, but stop here. This family drama set in rural surroundings was the first adult picture I saw. Released when my mother was still around, we girls were not taken to the cinemas by our parents. I got to catch up with it in my standard 10 (rather sneaked to see it) when a neighbour bought a new VCR in 1984. How to tell an adult story without vulgarity, how to crack adult joke that won’t still make you squirm – the picture did it. Excellent screenplay and intelligent humour that became the trademark of actor-director Bhagyaraj. Every teen wanted to secretly watch this so-called hit adult picture in those days! The only tv channel Doordarshan never played it. Finally I got to watch it with peace in tv as India changed, sometime after the turn of the millennium!!! It is still stamped in my mind that this film is adult film hahaha! Watching it these days I recognize the master story telling by the director and low production costs yielding maximum revenue in those times. The way it must be.
  27. Now I shouldn’t be going on… ! The rest that I love, I have here reviewed. From Pariyerum Perumal to 96, the latest from Tamil film  industry. Now real full stop!

As a policy, i switch off a picture if there is too much death, violence etc. Big no to horror pictures, serial murder films, scary movies etc because these leave negative vibes in our home and mind. If I am watching, even my hubby switches off tv whenever such scenes roll. Very disturbing and unsettling these could be even if only fictional. Always for positive vibes. Let’s fill our homes with happiness and contentment. Then there is no need to light aromatic candles! ( I never did that)! Good home food, good classical music and dance and cricket in tv/laptop, good books, good friends – heaven!

Funny part is watching films on tv as family. I remember that if steamy scenes were played, I would change channel. Once my son when he was 8 or 10 took the remote from me and changed channel whenever there was a steamy scene on tv!!! Kids learn from parents.

 

Posted in Political

The Roar Of The Lioness: Sushma Swaraj

SUSHMA SWARAJ: The Prime Minister India Would Not Have  …

Never expected to write sort of an obit for our beloved External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj who right now is being cremated in Delhi. Almost as popular as PM Modi in diplomatic circles, Sushma made it on her own to the top, no blue blood in politics. She was 67. Not the age to die. She touched many a heart cutting across nationalities, forging closest ties with SAARC countries, serving her best to NRI community and standing tall at global summits with her short but fierce stature. It is not even an year since she became the first Indian minister to be invited to OIC where she quoted from sacred Sanskrit texts to an Arab audience. She minced no words in calling a spade a spade and did not desist from her scathing attacks on terror. No wonder, when most foreign dignitaries mourn her loss, our neighbour Pakistan BLACKED OUT media news coverage on her because, they were the hardest hit by her in world stage. Sushma Swaraj brushed shoulders with world leaders as an equal. She did India proud with her roaring addresses, all the while draped in beautiful saris with kumkum (vermilion) lighting up her bright, cheerful face. Sushma was striking as the bold and confident, yet traditional Indian Nari, the face of Modern Indian Woman.

Listen to Sushma Swaraj at OIC in Abu Dhabi, that made Pakistan, the founding member of OIC skip the meet! Sushma quotes from Rig Veda:

 

Yet, Sushma wasted no time when it came to issuing medical visas to Pakistanis who tweeted her for help. The ex External Affairs minister was easily accessible and approachable to the commoners not only from India but from world over via Social Media platform. She negotiated and rescued hostages and made NRI lives easier forever, streamlining procedures. Her humanitarian side despite the power she wielded won her many hearts from all sections of the society. She will be hard to replace.

Om Shanthi Sushmaji! You will be sorely missed! Many of us fancied you for No.2 after Modi ji, as his likely successor. It is not to be. Why cannot BJP leaders take better care of their health. Second precious gem lost after Manohar Parikar, CM of Goa and Ex Defence Minister. Mother India’s most cherished children.

Posted in Political History

Red Letter Day In Indian History : Jammu & Kashmir Wholly Integrates With India

RECLAIMING BHARAT FROM TERROR IDEOLOGY : Indian Jawans / Martyrs who laid down their lives for the nation done justice. 

  • All images from Google

In a historic move, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah revoked Article 370 and Article 35 ‘A’ giving special status to Jammu & Kashmir, with a majority voting in Rajya Sabha. With this, the integration of the Jammu & Kashmir with the Indian Union is complete. The state stands bifurcated (or trifurcated?) as distinct Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Bravo Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, Home Minister Shri Amit Shah ji, and National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Kumar Doval ji, we recognize your exceptional courage and determination and sheer grit and willpower and we are immensely proud of you as we have never been of any Indian since 1947 – including Mahatma Gandhi. What a winning combination you are. Mastermind!

Peace is this, not Satyagraha which is blackmail. Constructive actions go a long way in ensuring-restoring stability and equilibrium. Not confusing decisions like Gandhi and Nehru duo’s. Harmony is in integration not in fanning bloody terrorism. Courage not cowardice builds nations.

India will have to be on red alert, because Pakistan, our neighbour swarms with terrorists waiting to get back at us. Kashmir terrorism has largely been their making.

Scrapping of article 370 was the need of the hour. When Kashmiri baniyas can walk freely in Chennai streets selling their carpets and silks and hold expos in our urban neighbourhood making a living, we need to see this is reciprocated. When Kashmiri youth can attend our universities across India and work in our tech parks and can get recruited in India’s civil services, it is only just and fair that we too have access to the valley, not only as tourists but as potential residents ! When Rohingya terrorist infiltrators can settle down in Kashmir, why should not Biharis and Bengalis.

Vaccinations hurt. But vaccines are life savers. Modi’s panacea for the nation is for India’s immunity and eternity. Red Letter day in Indian political history. May be today feels better than it ever did on August 15, 1947.

Who is Donald Trump and what is his orbit of power. What is China to us. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has to be naive to imagine that anyone can dissuade or deter India. India’s woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi broke Pakistan to two pieces right under the nose of US President Nixon and Henry Kissinger, liberating Bangladesh. We don’t need America or China’s approval. Our all weather friend Israel is our strongest ally. We Indians are in a far better shape now than we were in 1970s. India is pumped up with energy and self-confidence and marching ahead at full throttle under the dynamic leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi ji. The trio Modi-Shah-Doval is the best India has ever had since the times of Chankya when it comes to political wisdom and acumen. Balakot is not long or far behind us. India is not Syria or Afghanistan or Libya, even President Trump must know. India’s solid track record and credibility and respectability have guaranteed us that much berth for a smooth passage. India is prepared for the jolts of aftershock. We are shockproof enough. We will sail through this storm together! Let our Kashmir Hindu Pundits finally return home to safety and security!

Besides, India did nothing that Pakistan has not done before. Bhutto in 1974 similarly abolished special status for Gilgit Baltistan in POK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) and populated that part of Kashmir with Pakistanis which is least Kashmiri today with a completely altered demography. Foot in the mouth of Pakistan media. Indian media as well.

Omar Abdullah family and Mehbooba Mufti family and also Lone family have had their coffers filled to brim. Let Kashmiris finally prosper with rest of India.

The Indian state has always come across as soft power. We flex muscles rarely. When we do, you will see ACTION. Nehru-Sheikh Abdullah’s shortsightedness and grave blunder stand rectified today, 72 years after India won her independence from the British. For a Hindu, the islamic invaders will remain the worst sadistic and barbaric in memory and history. The British were  in comparison, a lot more benevolent. The only logic for Indian muslims to idolize terror is that, their ancestors were converted either by force or by bribe and so today they embrace what they had to by default (of birth). An invader is an invader and India’s islamic invaders were the most perverse and that won’t change, because they raised a Taj Mahal (over Tejo Shivalaya). No institution building in islamic terror reign in Indian history, only massacres and rampages, razing of Hindu holy places and temples. This went on for a 1000 years unchecked. Will those like Shashi Tharoor lecture on the invasions. How many so-called intellectuals like Ramachandra Guha will dare to shed light on Hindu genocide that continued for centuries.

Gandhi is past and behind us. Modi is future and right before us. Historically terrorized and denied justice, subdued by brute force, emotionally blackmailed by the minorities, it is not surprising that the Hindu awakening is a reality today. For our very survival. It was only in 1990s that the Kashmir Hindu Pundits fled the valley, driven out by islamic terrorist Kashmiris. Those who stayed back were butchered in cold blood, their daughters raped and slaughtered. Village by village, the pillage and violence and bloodshed continued, instigated and fanned by the woman prime minister of Pakistan, Benazzir Bhutto.. How easy it is to ethnic cleanse an islamic province of its minorities with virtually no hue and cry anywhere in the national/international media! This pattern is seen in Pakistan next door and even in Middle East. Have you ever come across a single media report in Pakistan/world on the massacre of Kashmir Hindu Pundits and their exodus from the state. It was Kashmir then. It might be Kerala tomorrow if Article 370 or 35 A must continue.

India has to fight her own lone battles. She will.

Jai Bharat Mata ki!

Har har Narendra Modi ji!

Har har Amit Shah i!

Har har Ajit Doval ji!

Posted in Economic

INDIAN SPACE RESEARCH ORGANISATION (ISRO)

ISRO needs no intro and is much written about. So, just a pictorial journey here with ISRO that has captured the imagination of every single soul in this one billion club nation. From humble beginnings in Thumba to the present launch of Chandrayaan 2, India’s second Moon Mission to the darker side of the Moon, on the heels of Mangalyaan the Mars Mission, ISRO has come a long way. From being ridiculed and chastised for ambitious missions to being denied legit credit for original discoveries (such as water on the lunar surface by Chandrayaan 1), ISRO has not walked a bed of roses. After all, India’s first rocket was carried by bullock cart and on the pillion of a bicycle when we embarked on our space mission. ISRO has proved many critics wrong and in the interest of humanity, continues with its tradition of nationalistic and scientific pursuits undeterred by setbacks (such as a couple of unsuccessful attempts). ISRO’s Moon Mission 2 (Chandrayaan 2) cost India less than 50% of production costs for Hollywood’s ‘Avengers.’ (To be edited)

Posted in Food For Soul

Decoding Dharma – 2: The Madras Theosophical Society

 

The Theosophical Society is right in Chennai. It’s famous banyan tree is still a well known landmark. In fact when Chennai was still good old Madras, my aunt’s school used to take their high school girls for picnic to the tree that sprawled over a huge area leaving a cool shade. My aunt’s school is in Adyar bank even today. I can’t believe that once upon a time, the school used to open with a snake charmer leading them from the front. The classrooms used to be riddled with snakes from Adyar river. It was only in the 1970s and  1980s. Gradually things changed as India changed and soon there was no more work for snake charmer in the school premises.

So that is how the Theosophical society became familiar to me at a young age. Because of my aunt for whom, the banyan tree was like an icon as she daily commuted by city bus to her school which was close to the society.

In history text books, like anyone else, I have read about Annie Besant and Madam Blavatsky. More about Annie Besant who supposedly spearheaded the Home Rule Movement in India. She apparently moved on to other things, drawn by India. More so, the Hindu spirituality. Actually I had no idea. Many Chennaiites have been infatuated with the Theosophical society founded by her and J Krishnamurthy. However I have always remained immune to J Krishnamurthi. In fact, I did not even attempt to comprehend what they were trying to tell us. I didn’t know much about Annie Besant after whom Besant Nagar, the Chennai suburb is named. JK Foundation schools are popular for their style of syllabus and free thinking philosophies. More than that, I have never tried to find out honestly anything about this curious trio. Rukmini Arundale, the founder of Kalakshetra school of the classical dance form Bharat Natyam similarly was a close acquaintance to the spiritual thinkers. There was one more: Henry Olcott.

It is interesting to learn from Sadhguru, why they came to India exactly over a hundred years before, what drew them to India, and ultimately of the great Indian/Hindu spirituality and of Shiva. It is tragic that in a nation that beholds so much truth and wisdom about creation, there is today hectic foreign-sponsored activity to pull us Hindus away from native faith which is the only standing truth in the universe. That which truly transcends logic and theories and prophesies to lead you to the ‘true conscience.’ Or what you may call, the state of ‘Nirvana.’

The way I look at Sanathana dharma and at India has since undergone a massive change. I understand my belief system better now. I don’t care what others may want to think or how others may judge. It doesn’t matter.

I have heard of JK, Annie Besant etc over years but as I said I hardly paid attention to their interests or philosophies or experiments. The banyan tree that was once the center of many Tamil film romances (‘Aadi velli’ song for one, starring Kamal Hasan and Sri Devi from Moondru Mudichu in the black & white era of late 1970s), and the Theosophical society hardly attract visitors these days. Now strangely I know better. I understand the relevance finally. Aurobindo also was a freedom figher who later on became a spiritual guru who founded ‘Auroville’ in Pondicherry near Chennai that draws global citizens who make it their home. Pondicherry (now Puduchery) Mother from France, similarly is like a guru to many Tamils. I see Mother’s picture in many friends’ puja.

India is a spiritual enigma. I do not even attempt to explain these things to a non Hindu. Firstly you will be ridiculed. Secondly, they are followers of self-professed prophets who claimed to be sons of gods. Whereas we are from the land of Shiva who never had biological father or mother, who never had to be born to die… Is Shiva an alien. Are we His creations the way we humans today may mutate species in science labs. I will explain this. A Hindu child grows up hearing about ‘Yuga.’ ‘You cannot understand Yuga’ my granny used to say, ‘a Yuga is like millions of years for you but only one minute or one hour for Shiva.’

To an ant or a snail or a centipede or grasshopper, a walking human being is a living God no doubt. The ‘ant and the boot’ story. How many lifetimes of the ant is our single day. Shiva is the walking giant. We are the ant, millipede, grasshopper, snail. To realize Him is impossible for us for the way it is for the ant to picturize the human being. I try to realize Shiva. I can’t. They say Yoga is a tool that can elevate you to a higher level of conscience. So this is where Yoga and meditation come in. They help in focusing, nothing more. Neither am I good at Yoga nor is my intelligence that evolving. I can’t go beyond a level. In fact I cannot climb over my layman level. I don’t even try because I know my limits. My limitations are not only physical but also intellectual.

To those few who can raise themselves without the help of opium to a higher level of consciousness, I bow my head in respect and awe.

None of us can become a Gautam Buddha or Satya Sai Baba or Ramana Maharishi or Swami Vivekanand or even Osho. Living in their lifetimes is enough for me. Mahans are born every century.

I have not had a darshan of Puttabharthi Sai Baba when His phyical body was here. But I believe in His noble soul. I can understand what message Sadhguru is trying to convey. I am grateful I have a chance to listen to Him. No I am not a fan of Him and He is not my guru yet.

But Sadhguru helps me a lot in decoding Shiva. I am obsessed with Shiva and Shakthi. I just can sense that none of Hindu history is fanciful imagination or work of fiction.  In some other plane of time, I believe like any other Hindu, we have had this past. A lie cannot be carried on for 15,000 years to near perfection, only through word of mouth except for last 50-60 years.

Hindus say, in death we blend with the ‘jyothi’ – we become the collective consciousness, we add to the collective conscience- provided we are freed or liberated from the cycle of birth and rebirth (Nirvana). Our Karma decides that. (One step further: we may get to choose our rebirth to correct our previous Karma. Like a project assigned.) A Hindu heaven is this liberation or higher intelligence or conscience. Our prayers always ask, seek this supreme knowledge. There is no way you can compare Hindu Dharma with Christianity or Islam for this reason. The Abrahamics just lost it before they even began. period. Please leave us alone and don’t try to convert Hindus. Hindus are on right path even if most remain unaware.

SHIVA IN CERN, SWITZERLAND This is a mere ‘copy and paste’ job: Shiva and the God Particle.

உலகின் மிகப்பெரிய அணு ஆராய்ச்சி நிறுவனமான CERN நிறுவனத்தின் முன்பு 6 அடி உயரமுள்ள நடராஜர் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்ட தினம் இன்று (2004)

CERN – ஸ்விட்சர்லாந்த் நாட்டில் அமைந்துள்ளது உலகின் மிகப்பெரிய இயற்பியல் ஆராய்ச்சி நிறுவனம். 27கிமீ பரப்பளவில் 100 அடி ஆழத்தில் அமைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது . அணுத்துகள்களை ஒன்றையொன்று மோதவிட்டு ஆராய்ச்சி நடத்தப்படுகிறது .கடவுள் துகள்களை (GODS PARTICLES) பற்றின ஆராய்ச்சியும் நடத்தப்பட்டு வருகிறது. அதுமட்டும் இன்றி பல்வேறுவிதமான இயற்பியல் சம்பந்தப்பட்ட ஆய்வுகளும் இங்கே நடைபெறுகின்றன

கிறித்தவர்கள் அதிகம் வாழும் ஒரு நாட்டில் ஏன் இந்து மத கடவுளின் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது என்று தெரியுமா? அதற்கான காரணத்தையும் அவர்களே கூறி உள்ளார்கள்.

“காலத்தால் பதில் சொல்ல முடியாத பல கேள்விகளுக்கான பதில் இந்த சிலையில் அமைந்துள்ளது என்று ” குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார்கள்

அதாவது அண்டத்தில் உள்ளதே பிண்டத்திலும் உள்ளது என்பதை சொல்லாமல் சொல்கிறார் நடராஜர் .

அவருடைய வலது கையிலிருந்து இடதுகால் வரை உள்ள அமைப்பு Milky way என்று அழைக்கப்பட கூடிய பால்வழி மண்டலத்தை குறிக்கிறது . நடராஜரின் இதயம் அமைந்துள்ள இடத்தில் சூரிய குடும்பமான சோலார் சிஸ்டம் அமைந்துள்ளது .அவரின் இடுப்பை சுற்றி நிற்காமல் ஓடிகொண்டிருக்கும் பாம்பு நேரத்தை குறிக்கிறது. அதுமட்டும் இல்லாமல் அவரை சுற்றியுள்ள நெருப்பு வட்டம் பிரபஞ்சத்தை குறிக்கிறது

அருவமாகவும், உருவமாகவும் ஆகாயமாகவும் காட்சி தர கூடிய ஒரே கடவுள் நடராஜர் தான். சிதம்பரம் நடராஜர் ஆடிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் ஆனந்த தாண்டவம் என்ற கோலம் “cosmic dance” என்று பல வெளிநாட்டு அறிஞர்களால் அழைக்கபடுகின்றது.

அணுவின் அசைவும் நடராஜரின் நடனமும் ஒன்றாக கருதபடுகிறது.

அதனாலேயே “அவனின்றி ஓர் அணுவும் அசையாது” என்று திருமூலர் கூறியுள்ளார்.

1972-ஆம் ஆண்டு, ப்ரிட்ஜாப் காப்ரா என்கிற பிரபல அமெரிக்க அணு விஞ்ஞானி ‘The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu view of matter in the light of Modern Physics’ (சிவனின் நடனம் : நவீன பௌதிகத்தின் பார்வையில் வஸ்துக்களை பற்றிய ஹிந்துக்களின் நோக்கு) என்கிற தலைப்பில் Main currents in Modern Thought என்ற விஞ்ஞான சம்பந்தப்பட்ட பத்திரிகையில், சிவனின் நடனத்துக்கும், உப அணுக்களின் நடனத்துக்கும் உள்ள இணக்கத்தைப் பற்றி முதலில் விவரமாக எழுதினார்.

1975-ஆம் ஆண்டு இந்தக் கட்டுரையை விரிவுபடுத்தி ’The Tao of Physics’ என்ற தலைப்பில் ஒரு புத்தகமாகவும் அவர் எழுதி அது உலகிலேயே அதிகம் விற்ற புத்தங்களில் ஒன்றாக பிரபலமாகியது.

அதில்,. ”எப்படி இந்தியச் சித்தர்கள் படைப்பைப் பிரிக்க முடியாத, எப்போதுமே செயல்பட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கும் ஒரு நடப்பாகப் பார்த்தார்களோ, அப்படியே தான் நவீன பௌதிக விஞ்ஞானமும் பிரபஞ்சத்தைக் காண்கிறது”

”பிறப்பும், இறப்பும் நிற்பதே இல்லை.

அதுபோல், பிரபஞ்சம் என்கிற தத்துவத்தின் அடிப்படையில் அணுக்களின் நடனம், அணுக்களின் பிறப்பினாலும் இறப்பினாலும் நிற்காமல் தொடர்கிறது.

கோடானுகோடி அணுக்கள் வினாடிக்கு வினாடி உருவாகி, மறைவதுதான் பிரபஞ்சத்தின் நடனம் (cosmic dance). அதுவே தான் நடராஜரின் நடனம்” என்கிறார் காப்ரா.

சிதம்பர நடராஜர் கோவிலுக்கு மேலே பறக்கும் செயற்கை கோள்கள் செயலிலந்துவிடுமாம் காரணம் புவியீர்ப்பு மையத்தின் செண்டர் பாயிண்டில் சிதம்பரம் நடராஜர் கோவில் அமைந்துள்ளதாம். அதுமட்டும் அல்லாமல் இந்தியாவில் உள்ள ஐந்து சிவஸ்தலங்களும் ஒரே நேர்கோட்டில் அமைந்துள்ளதாம் எந்தவிதமான அறிவியல் ஆய்வுகளுமற்ற காலகட்டத்தில் எப்படி இது சாத்தியமானது என்பது இன்று வரை புரியாத புதிராக உள்ளது

ஒட்மொத்த அண்டத்தின் குறியீடாக நடராஜர் அமைந்துள்ளார் என்பதை குறிப்பிடவே சுவிட்சர்லாந்தின் ஐரோப்பிய ஆராய்ச்சி கூடத்தில் நடராஜர் சிலை வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

”பரமகுருவாய், அணுவில் அசைவாய்” என்று அருணகிரிநாதர் பாடிய திருப்புகழை நினைத்துப் பாருங்கள்.

தென்னாடுடைய சிவனே போற்றி..!

எந்நாட்டவர்க்கும் இறைவா போற்றி..!

Posted in Political

How India Votes.

(to be edited/updated shortly)

India is home to 1.3 billion. We are just done with the business of electing our new government at the center. And this is a #latepost on our Election process. Nevertheless, i wanted to write about it. Democracy in India is colossal as our nation is. Nearly a billion of us get to exercise our adult franchise. After all, we are the world’s largest democracy. So how do we go about it at all? Of course, we have elections going on for nearly a month, in 7 phases for different regions! And then it is time to sit back and admire at our handiwork!

Revolutionalizing Democracy:

MANUAL VOTING-COUNTING TO EVMs  (the Electronic Voting Machine), it was one giant leap for India 

I can recall the voting and counting centers in Mylapore, where I grew up. Polling booths were as many (like we have in present day scenario) where we had to manually cast our vote in the ballot paper that went into the ballot box. Foul play was a distinct possibility as the ballot paper was printed one. Booth capturing and rigging were not unheard of in troubled areas. Mostly, the name of the adult franchisee figuring in the voters’ list was the only mandatory proof required to cast one’s vote. These voters’ lists received inputs from the contesting political parties themselves which were not above mischief like unauthorized addition/ deletion/ duplication of voters in the electorate. Absence of verification of foolproof photo IDs and matching bio-metrics in the pre-computer era gave rise to numerous loopholes in the electioneering system.

Counting centers were limited in number, still much more than what we have today. For instance for nearly a dozen polling booths, there would be a single counting center in the ’80s. Chennai was good old Madras then. As a populous metro, we could have had not less than a dozen counting centers if my memory serves right. Indian General Elections were grand exercise. Why I recall with such a nostalgia the period upto the 1990s is that, more than the polling itself, it was the counting which used to turn out into a kind of ‘mela’ (village fair). India’s burgeoning population made it colourful and interesting. Every polling booth had thousands of voters listed. Manual counting of votes no wonder was bound to be tedious. The counting would go on for 2 to 3 or even 4 or 5 days at times wherein the electorate could be densely populated. Men and women would picket around the counting centers. Every party that fielded candidate and Independent contestants were allowed 2 or 3 witnesses each who would take turns to keep count as the drama lasted for days. There have been many instances of recounting ordered. The process in short involved excessive labour and depended heavily on manual computation where errors were order of the day,.

Finally, the assimilation process would begin after voting-counting got completed in entire India. Television and Radio coverage was secondary to local news mostly! Leads and Trails frequently changed positions! A number of votes also would get disqualified. Today we have NOTA option in the EVMs (the option that lets you mark that you do not favour any candidate). A pan-India picture of the elected representatives and the government forming would emerge almost after a week. A lot of data needed to be collated, correlated and very many disputes and clarifications sorted out.

Mind boggling! I cannot think back to manual voting/counting days ever again in India! General elections in this 1.3 billion nation is a mammoth exercise. Apart from discrepancies arising out of manual errors, there was time lag from polling time to counting. The restlessness of the counting period however brief, would put the entire nation on tenterhooks. This brief anxious waiting time used to witness violence and bloodshed in sensitive centers.

It is good that things changed for the better in late 1990s thanks to the introduction of the EVMs.

Only once have I exercised my manual voting right in Mylapore. I was heavily pregnant at that time. April or May month, some 10-15 days before my delivery, I walked to my school in Mylapore and cast my vote for the first time in my life. I was 25 then. The year was 1994. My address had not yet been officially changed and my name was listed in Mylapore voting list. I had some so-called ‘voting slips’ that served as my ID proof – those which were issued to me by all parties contesting!!! So I took the bunch with me to the polling station. The counting center then was PS High School for my Lady Sivaswami School polling booth and a couple of more from the area. Festival atmosphere prevailed in the RK Mutt Road where counting was underway in the PSHS, that was cordoned off to vehicular traffic. Cool drinks and ice creams were sold by hawkers to bystanders who kept vigil outside the premises round the clock for nearly 3 days! We would ask everyone passing through our street, who was the current lead! My uncle walked to the school every 2 to 3 hours to get firsthand information for us! I did not know then that it was the last time we were casting votes manually in India and that soon, we would be having a separate bar-coded Voter’s ID and EVMs the Electronic Voting Machines, although there were talks of it for very many years.

I can recall with amusement how some party workers offered to drop me back home in cab looking at my condition when I cast my vote. In fact, local Cable tv clicked a few pictures! Now that is deemed illegal by EC (the Election Commission). In pre-EVM era, it was common practice with political parties to ferry aged and sick people to polling booths. For last 20 years however, you have to singularly walk the last 100-200 meters to the polling booth in India. No mobile phone or automobile or whatever is permissible. Thorough and complete security check with ID proof verification. I am not sure about wheelchairs. May be they need to be sanitized by security personnel.

As for Polling officers, I do see equal strength of staff to man the EVMs in current times as in the non-EVM years, including some technical personnel. The ruckus associated with manual voting is done with. Now polling is a peaceful process in India. It takes less than 10 minutes for security verification as well as electronically casting your vote.

In 2001 or 2002 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, I voted for the first time in an EVM. An EVM is very user friendly and the entire voting process gets extraordinarily simplified and very organised. The EVM is undoubtedly devised with the rural Indian in mind. We in India are trendsetters and pioneers in the Electioneering process. Voting process gets smooth and hassle-free with the EVMs. Grievances addressed then and there. The counting when it started that year, was over in an hour for entire Chennai. Something that would last for 4-5 days like a Test Cricket Match, was finished before it began, well almost! The speed and accuracy of the EVM is what captured my imagination.

THE ELECTION COMMISSION OF INDIA

The Election Commission of India renders a fabulous job. The entire exercise of training officers for Elections, managing security, supplying the EVMs and counting the votes etc., rests with them. Every EVM has to display a different set of candidates with party symbols which is possible only after the last day of nomination. The interval between filing for nominations and actual elections is brief. In this limited window, the election commission gets to work although when it comes to drawing up the latest electorate voter list etc., the commission is at task all 365 days of the year. Updation is a never-ending process for them. Election Officers in India are trained for weeks before the actual general elections. They go to job a lot earlier than the common man gets to know about it. The Election officers and his/her deputies are trained to conduct the election process in a smooth fashion after being educated on the EVMs. They can also deal with any hick-ups in the process along with Security, armed security if situation warranties. The EVMs are free of technical glitches after many trial runs in the lab with the election personnel. In the eventuality of a faulty EVM if any, the same can be switched over with tested and functional one that may be ‘standee.’ The authorization and execution of the election process and such exigencies are reviewed and sanctioned by a hierarchy of government officers. Mostly government staff are recruited as Election officers. Once they are deputed for the job, the officers may not refuse the election work just like a citizen appointed for Jury to dispense justice cannot shirk his/her responsibility in the US or UK.

Before moving to the EVMs, a short recap of the Indian Government set-up. We have the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha or the Parliament at the central level. States have their own Assemblies.

THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are the Lower and Upper Houses of Indian parliament. 

The Lok Sabha or the Lower House of the Parliament has 545 seats, made up by the election of up to 543 elected members and at a maximum, 2 nominated members of the Anglo-Indian Community by the President of India. A total of 131 seats (24.03%) are reserved for representatives of Scheduled Castes (84) and Scheduled Tribes (47). The Lok Sabha MPs (Member of Parliament) are directly elected representatives from the 29 Indian States and 7 Union Territories of the Indian Union.

Rajya Sabha, the Upper House, is a mixed and curious bag.

Out of the 250 Rajya Sabha MPs, 238 members are nominated by the States and the rest 12 are nominated by the President. Which makes the Rajya Sabha MPs non-elected members of the Indian Parliament. Sachin Tendulkar for instance became a Rajya Sabha MP. He was the president’s candidate (Sports). One-third of Rajya Sabha MPs are also rotated every 2 years. So it is also possible that at times, the ruling government in the center with an absolute two-thirds majority in Lok Sabha may still have to put up with a hostile Rajya Sabha if in case the MPs from the previous government should be concurrently holding the upper house office having been nominated by non-allies in State governments. Recently there was an opinion in media on why therefore State Assembly elections must be held concurrently with the Lok Sabha elections. As we know, this is not the case in most states that have had midterm elections in the past. We have had even Lok Sabha elections midterm. For Bills to be introduced, passing the Rajya Sabha could prove to be acid test if the House weighs heavily in favour of the opposition nominees, even if the presiding government at the center may be holding an overwhelming majority. The Rajya Sabha however could thus serve to be a good strategy or check for majority governments pushing through debatable bills. A very much necessary restraint when the Opposition is weak.

BACK DOOR ENTRY THROUGH RAJYA SABHA

When Congress party staged a surprise come-back in 2004 General Elections, the nation would not have Sonia Gandhi for prime minister given her citizenship issues. Dr. Manmohan Singh was a safe bet, him having handled India’s finance minister portfolio under ex-prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.  But Dr. Singh never had to contest any Assembly election let alone Parliamentary elections. His appointment as Governor of Reserve Bank of India was purely apolitical as also as the Head of Planning Commission, both of which offices he assumed as a bureaucrat. Later he became the Finance minister, handpicked by Rao when Congress won the 1991 Lok Sabha elections riding high on sympathy wave after the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. The promotion was considered a natural step by political observers who hailed the choice of prime minister Rao. As Indian economy was ‘opened up’ by Rao in landmark budget reforms that were to steer the nation in a different and hitherto uncharted course shortly, Dr. Singh’s economic vision was widely acclaimed to be bold and encouraging by political analysts and economists.

A similar back-door route landed Dr. Singh in the Prime Minister’s office a good ten years later when India’s grand old party returned to power once again in the Lok Sabha elections advanced by BJP in power. Prime Minister Singh was unanimous choice of the party on ruling out Sonia Gandhi, and his election to PM post was vetoed/ratified by his election to Rajya Sabha or the Upper House, from Assam, nominated by Congress party to which he now was affiliated.

So India offers out-of-box options (or perhaps unconstitutional means) for someone to be elected for plum posts through backdoor channels as it happened in the case of Dr. Manmohan Singh who went on to serve the nation as prime minister for 10 long years. Ex-PM Rao was brought back from his retirement when the nation was in crisis with Rajiv gone, and the congress party was in dire need of a senior leader to take on the PM’s job in the ensuing scenario of chaos and confusion. Rao later redeemed/ratified his appointment by winning a Lok Sabha MP seat from his native state Andhra Pradesh within the stipulated six months. But PM Rao was an immensely popular man by his own right, who had a lengthy and colourful political career behind him that guaranteed him his Lower House (Lok Sabha) berth. Either that or the Rajya Sabha berth. Unlike Rao’s, Rajya Sabha neatly fitted Dr. Singh’s bill as the low-profile Manmohan Singh had remained a bureaucrat all his life, with zero exposure in public life. Dr Manmohan Singh remained India’s Closet Prime Minister for the next 10 years holding the highest public chair in the nation, what an irony!

Amendments to the Indian constitution are the need of the hour. It is time to tweak the stone age statutes and make provisions for ratifying the election to PM/CM’s chair by a candidate ONLY on/by his/her securing the MP/MLA seat in Lok Sabha/Assembly constituency elections within a stipulated time-frame of, say 6 months. India can do without a PM heading the nation/state who may fall short of winning the supreme confidence of his/her electorate. Only free and fair public elections can give credence and authenticity to the high chair claimed by a PM aspirant, losing which he/she will be condemned to nothingness. Such an amended clause will pre-exempt greedy mongers and only the meritorious shall survive the acid test of legitimacy.

THE AGE OF THE EVMs (THE ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES) 

The then Chief Election Commissioner Shri TN Seshan turned a new leaf in the history of electoral democracy in India introducing the EVMs to Indian voters during his tenure between 1998-2001/02.  The EVMs came with riders: Declaration of Assets by candidates contesting elections, ban on political parties receiving donations from the public and/or organizations, regulation on rallies and banners/posters, political meetings, media Ads, and use of loud speakers etc. with time restrictions etc. In short indiscriminate campaigning was not tolerated., Canvassing to stop forth strictly 48 hours before the actual election dates, to enable the law enforcement agencies to take charge and ensure that law & order would prevail.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ecs-evm-hack-challenge-under-way-10-facts/articleshow/58972313.cms

Indian EVMs are stand-alone machines built with once write, ‘read-only’ memory. They are battery powered and not linked to any network wireless or otherwise. The latest version of the EVMs includes the VVPAT system. VVPAT is, Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail. This is a double security measure introduced by EC to rule out tinkering with EVMs or hacking of EVMs (a routine claim by the losing side!)There was even an open challenge announced to hack the EVMs by the EC to prove their effectiveness. The EVMs could not be hacked. It goes  on to prove how allegations against the EVMs are baseless. The EVMs are securely devised by neutral government electronic and machine corporations and are 100% tamper-proof. In the recently concluded Lok Sabha Elections 2019, all the 22,000 EVMs used in the election process were VVPAT verified to rule out any electioneering fraud and to ensure free and fair elections to our parliament. If indeed there is rigging or hacking, the EVM count will not match the VVPAT which is audit of voters paper trail.  In short, the VVPAT double checking-cross checking with EVM count is irrefutable proof to conduct of free and fair elections in India. 

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/elections/lok-sabha/india/evm-vvpat-pass-test-in-lok-sabha-polls/articleshow/69469579.cms

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/not-a-single-mismatch-between-vvpat-slips-evm-count-ec/778175.html

ARMED PROTECTION FOR BOARD PAPERS & EVMS!

Once in my son’s school I have seen how the board exam papers of class 12 were transported: in armoured vehicles, with armed guards!  Some 100 m-200 m area is cleared on all sides 2 hours before the board exams start. No other classes can function during the exam hours in the school premises which function as board exam centers. The other school activities get scheduled for the afternoon session, after a 2 hour gap from the exam closing time. Board exam rooms are sanitized and sealed hours before schedule examinations. The future of India lies as much in our Board Exam Answer Sheets as in Ballot Papers/EVMs. I recall that the boys and girls’ uniform shirt and trouser pockets needed to be cut out before they entered the exam halls. Only clear transparent pouches allowed. No belts or shoes, only open sandals. No watches, no mobile phones (naturally). No jewelry including hair clips for girls! CCTV monitoring of the exam halls and the 200 meters surrounding areas and entire school premises! And I am talking about the year 2011 school board exams atmostphere. Looks like ages already

The adherence to strict code of rules and regulations in school board exams conduct in India is clear indicator as to how the general elections must be monitored and handled in the country.