Posted in Political History

Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram

My friend forwarded to me in social media, the new or perhaps the oldest and authentic version of ‘Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram’ which we can say is the national bhajan of India! Popularized by none other than the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, there is no flag hoisting ceremony of any kind without rounding off the occasion with the soulful composition sung in chorus all across our country. The devotional sarva-dharmic song is etched in our hearts from our school days and this is no exaggeration. Now when I hear the original version of Raghupathi Raghava replacing a couple of verses that mention the Middle Eastern Gods with the authentic Hindu god names, with our PM’s sanction, I have mixed feelings. Believe me, I just cannot have enough of the authentic version. I am a great devotee of Lord Ram. And I love Bapu’s bhajan equally dear with its altered verses from very young years like my fellow Indian citizens. There is so much of goodness here and eternal divinity. So sometimes I wish, things are left as such without disturbing the equilibrium – in this case with the Bapu’s words that resonates in all our hearts reinforcing our faith and unshakeable trust in humanity. Why stir the hornets’ nest that is brewing sweet nectar. To what end. India is all ours. None can deny that the soul of India is Hindu. Of course I would have loved a Hindu Rashtra but I wouldn’t want any Indian citizen, particularly minority, to be left out or feel alienated with this dream of mine. I guess, you can understand my logic when you live as minority in foreign soil where alien gods write your cheque every month. Interestingly, my friend’s son studied at a Christian country and works there now. Many of us make a living in the Gulf states. It is true that India has had a violent and tragic past because of our invader-marauders who came from here. But presently, the Hindu India also gains a lot of stability and economic support from Middle east. Our bulk of oil & gas import is from this region. The gulf states favour India over Pakistan even if our hostile neighbours are followers of Islam. It shows how impartial the Arabs are. They care for substance over anything. Wherever that is, they do not hesitate to trade with or make bonds. And their kind of trust and ally is very strong and reliable. My humble request to my Prime Minister on this Republic day is to NEVER do anything to undo the goodwill generations of Indians have earned for our country. No Indian citizen must feel insecure and/or excluded from our mainstream society. You may do whatever to stop conversion and/or take on terror, and you can do what it takes for our national security, but please do not do anything that will break the age-old kinship we Indians enjoy over caste and creed. At the end of the day, we are all Indians. Today I came across pictures in social media of expat Indian muslims hoisting our national flag in arab countries. I came across christians celebrating our Republic day. Our own younger people are studying/working in christian/islamic nations. NRI funds India cannot do without. If we want acceptance anywhere in the globe, then India has to embrace all her citizens as what we say in Thamizh ‘oru thaai makkal’ EQUALS. Again I do love the original version, but let Bapu’s version be the one that is always on our children’s lips.

Can’t resist Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shenai:

Can’t help sharing Vaishnava Janato by Lata Mangeshkar either:

Bapu’s version of Raghupathi Ragava Raja Ram that became the national slogan during India’s independence struggle against the British:

When you stop singing Bapu’s version, you are starting to dismantle all that has come to make India for what she is. Bharat Mata is Mother India to every Indian citizen and the entire Indian diaspora spread across the globe. Let not some of her children be rendered orphans thanks to thoughtless actions of our politicians. The worst insecurity someone can have is that of not belonging anywhere. Let no Indian citizen be subject to this trauma. Or are we witnessing a deconstruction of our recent history as we know it.

Posted in Pictures Foreign

Review: Everest

Watched Everest for umpteen time today. Can’t recall if I have already done the review years back!

managed to get this original pic of the team.

The indomitable nature of human spirit never seems to stop avowing me. What is even the reason to make it to the top? As the climbers say, it is there and that is good enough for them. I have heard of logjam in Everest ascent and every picture that shows the littering and overwhelming human presence in the Himalayan peaks always kind of wears me down. Yet as I said, the very endurance capacity in us humans is admirable and this is something that makes me think is what helped us evolve as the no.1 in bio-chain or food chain on planet Earth topping all other living organisms. This is how the human race crossed continents and is set to conquer space. So may be this is good.

From previous productions on Himalayan peak ascents, I understand that Mt Everest could be the world’s summit yet it’s not something unattainable. With ropes pitched virtually to the top on pre-determined and handpicked routes, Everest could be within reach of any aspiring decent climber. For most parts, the ascent also seems more slopey over 90 degree vertical even if the landscape is interspersed with ice shelfs and gulfs and deep drops into gorges. Avalanches can happen anytime and storms can brew and blow over by the minute. Even in summers, climbers have to wait for opening up of a precious rare window with favourable climate when they have to factor in their ascent. There are climbers with oxygen support and then there are those who resist oxygen assistance. Frost bites and hyperthermia, disorientation and snow blindness are just a few of the manifestations of the high altitude sickness associated with high mountain trekking and summiting snowy peaks. Statistics as reported in the film reveal that one out of four perish in scaling Everest. Brings to my mind Jeffrey Archer’s ‘Paths of Glory’ that is on George Mallory who could have been the first to make it to the Everest summit but who died on descent. I loved this book but I would have wanted to remind Archer that many, many Sherpas of Nepal have been doing this for centuries, millennia without glory. The arrogance of these thickheaded men! I do read this old man but he gloats too much!

Back to the pic, I want to say this about the guide or leader of one of the expedition teams Rob who lost his life in the Everest turning back on the Hillary steps to get back at the summit for the sake of Doug who shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The humane gesture cost this great man his life with his unborn daughter Sarah (born 1996), being carried by his wife Jan. Rob, you should never have done this to your family man. But you are such a wonderful soul that every time I see this pic, I think you are lying still up there, closest to Lord Shiva. And you died doing what you loved the most and hearing words of love from your wife. As for Beck, another drain on energies. This kind of guys must abstain from ambitious mountaineering because they can slow others down. A good climber could end up paying the highest price of losing his/her life thanks to these thoughtless careless guys who want to scale the Everest when they may not be totally fit. Ok, agreed I am the last person who must be saying this totally unfit! And after viewing Meru, I have to rethink those words of mine, sure. But sometimes when there is loss of life, it makes one wonder whether it is all worth it. My heart goes out the Japanese woman climber Yasuka , is it. And Harold. In case of Harold, being a seasoned climber, he is still going ahead with his Delhi Belly well aware of the disastrous consequences should something go wrong. What is the point in his entire team making it to the Everest summit. I think, Harold invited death virtually. Doug loosening himself out of grip is unpardonable and virtually delayed/led Rob to his untimely demise.

How can a picture on Everest leave one with so much emotion!!! I ended up crying for Rob and Jan and Sarah as usual. Good to see young Sarah all grown up and beautiful. Yet her dad was snatched from her cruelly for no fault of hers.

I think this particular picture portrays human greed (by way of Doug and Beck), humanity (by way of Rob) and thriving human spirit by way of all other mountaineers who scaled Everest that day. The Everest is THE insurmountable task and doing it must be lifechanging. I have watched many movies on trekking and scaling peaks around the world, but every time I see such a picture I am thoroughly moved. I am grateful that God at least gave me enough stamina to climb Tirumala on foot in an younger age!!! That’s the maximum I could manage and I wouldn’t want to test it again though I guess I can do it again with bulging knees even now (and then rest for a week with unbearable joint pain)! The thing is we must know, upto what point we can stretch our energies.

While watching K2, I recall the frame where they showed literally mounds of human poop frozen in snow. And the littering these climbers leave behind. That is something extremely sad. I think simultaneously the Himalayan peaks also need to be cleaned up. The warming up of Himalayas and the melting of glaciers can adversely affect the climate, ecology and bio-diversity in Nepal and India. I wonder whether these guys would be littering so much the Alps where there are stringent regulations. I know, because I have been to the top (on rail only)! You are not cleaning up behind you because a third world nation cannot afford to keep checking on you in those high altitudes – and is this fair and square. This is what I would like to make as my final comment on Everest hopefuls. Do clean up the Himalayan peaks on your ascent and descent. You have done enough environmental damage already warming up our snowcapped peaks and melting our pristine glaciers. As much as I admire the human spirit in you guys, the Everest and other peaks of Himalaya will be better off without you. If you can help it, DON’T SET YOUR FOOT ON EVEREST OR MERU OR ANY HIMALAYAN MOUNTAIN PEAK, Bye.