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.

Posted in Pictures Foreign

Review: Queen’s Gambit

Every Chess aficionado’s dream: something like the Queen’s Gambit, limited series on OTG platform. Glued to it literally. Almost believed its a true story but did wonder why I could not place Elizabeth Harmon anywhere from my memory like the way I could Bobby Fischer. Or for that matter the Polkar sisters. Fischer was living memory, that much I can vouch for. Not that I am a player with strategy, more of a rookie who has now digressed to clumsy lows, out of practice. My online rating has dipped to dismal stat, not to speak of! Chess, at least the speed chess that we play in the 10 minute format online, banks on reflex. If you don’t have the lightening reflex, you may not make it. That way the timed format in Chess to me appears like any other game where the player’s reflex must be sharp. Even if Queen’s gambit is based on a novel by one Walter Tevis, from way back in 1983, it made for a super series that kept me on my toes. Not that I could follow each and every move, Most the games are pictured dramatic but one or two moves here and there were graspable. I guess most of us open with the queen’s gambit as I have seen the description every time I make it. How a chess player winds her way up the ladder to top slot is amazing. The gender equation is also nicely fitted in. As we know India produces her share of women grandmasters in Chess. The interest is even more spiked after we hosted the Chess Olympiad very recently in my hometown Chennai, a rare honour. My city has also produced three times world champion in Chess, V Anand who beat Garry Kasparov. But the way chess is followed like a religion in Russia is flabbergasting. Chess originated in India and was the game of the royals (Hindu kings) (at least they were good at vanquishing the enemy kings in checkered board!). The character who played Beth Harmon is Anna Joy. She has done a marvelous job keeping her poise and holding her head high. She looks intelligent enough and doesn’t look a bimbo! The male chess players remarkably seem to lack the masculine build we credit with athletic sport players. What is the point they are making here? Kudos to the director who made Beth win the one against the Russian GM without having to pop up the pills. Beth comes across as quite a character. She is mentally strong, living on her own, is independent and is shyly fun loving keeping with her personality. I got emotional watching the final she played with Borgov when the former US champions she bet to reach the spot where she was, gang up on phone to give her last minute tips. That overseas call was a good directorial touch and so was the closing scene when Beth walks in the streets of Moscow to play with the sidewalk retired chess players who give her a standing ovation. That mother Alma’s character! Alma adopts Beth and showers unconditional love on her which goes a long way in establishing Beth’s career as a professional chess player. For a chess player, Beth dresses up class keeping with contemporary times. Those upturned blonde curls remind one of Marlyn Munro. Trend of the 60s? One more character worth mentioning: Shaibel who initiates Beth into the world of chess. Its a well made series, slick and period.

Incidentally the first woman chess grandmaster from India goes by the name S. Vijayalakshmi! (She is not listed. Must be international master). The second is Koneru Hampi who is still playing (listed as first woman grandmaster from India).. India has so far produced 81 grandmasters at world level and comes after Russia and the US. The lion’s share of maximum no. of ranked chess players comes from my home state Tamil Nadu! Proud of the feat! In total 124 international masters from India with some 42 woman international masters. The picture made me google for the India story! The world no.1 Magnus Carlsen was in Chennai in connection with the world chess championships that we recently hosted. The event drew crowds and was spectacular.