Posted in Socio-Cultural

Pathan

Sometimes, its hard to believe that these Afghans ruled India for a while.

As the Pathan picture gets into controversy, I would like to blog of what I know of Pathans. They are of Af-Pak origin and I have exposure to them in Middle east. Right from the airport you cannot miss them and they are tailormade for some semi skilled professions where they have made their mark. Our locality in gulf is mostly Pathan dominated although the labourers were moved to Labour city with all facilities for them at one spot as the city grew and the world cup preparations were on. I saw a few buildings torn down that were very old and were leased to big pathan groups and obviously the men have moved over to labour city. Otherwise, whichever part of the country you are in, you can find the pathans crouching and huddled together in groups in the traffic islands between busy junctions! Wherever I go for walking, again they would be there as gangs, sharing a common bread. I live in a housing colony where 95% of households are Indian. In fact that’s the reason I wanted to live here. You can opt to live in mixed community but there is the comfort factor. My previous flat was in a largely arab dominated apartment complex where I sincerely could not tolerate the beef smell that would ooze into my home from all directions. See, most people who talk about secularism just cannot understand a vegetarian’s delicate senses. Its not about hate for beef at all. Its that we cannot even stand the smell. I don’t find fault with others’ food habits. Its just my level of tolerance or intolerance that’s all. Moreover, you can be friendly with other nationalities to a certain extent. There are filippinos and arabs among others who are very nice to befriend. But beyond a point, that intimacy that we Indians share can be had only with those from India or with those of Indian origin. I am saying this because, I have instant rapport with Sri lankans, Nepalis even Bhutanese, Bangladeshi and Pakistanis. That kind of closeness I find only with people of the INdian subcontinent.

As for pathans, we find them very handy because they live among us in this locality. I could call them for any plumbing, electrical work or tank cleaning. I wanted Ikea for my kitchen here but when I was in India, my hubby cleverly booked our counters and cabinets from a pathan at throwaway price. Actually the quality is better even if the aesthetics are sacrificed! But my kitchen fittings have been serving me good for over seven years now whereas all the expensive posh Ikea ones that my friends got had to be replaced. There is an exclusive pathan shopping complex near where I live where you can find anything to everything such as nut and bolt and curtain rods to curtains, clothes, winter jackets, boots, fabrics, leather ware etc., etc. And yes even furniture and plumbing, electrical appliances. Rates are okay, and in fact much cheaper. So most of us settle for the pathan stuff as this is not our real home. We are living in rented place. Mine is a 25 year old flat but it is in ship shape except for some minor complaints. Our painting works get done by the pathans. The dry cleaning shops here are run by them. There are a few exceptions though: barber shops have been taken over by Bangladeshis and nobody can beat Indians when it comes to groceries and provisions. There are some restaurants run by pathans and obviously we can’t eat at them. However even the pathans visit our Kerala bhais restaurants to sample Indian food. My street would be flooded by the pathans haphazardly parking their trucks. Yes, mostly they are truck drivers. Or they drive trailers. Before world cup, my area was spruced up. Here nobody questions them. Their lifestyle is part of the community fabric. I miss them now and wonder wherever they went! Now the look of my street is kind of European! The roads are clearly marked and any wayward parking is ruled out. Mysteriously the pathans have disappeared. One reason could be that the free zones left for parking their trailers etc., have been converted into parks and parking bays for the world cup. They have since been closed to easy access. Without parking, the pathans cannot exist. So may be they have moved to wherever they have parking facilities. Some even sleep in their trailers.

The well doing pathans ( khans) are all mostly Indian! But I understand that the labour class pathans are also very rich – some of them, not all. They may be shabbily dressed but they earn handsome from subcontracts. They are in employment of major multinational oil and gas and civil construction and electrical and mechanical companies. They do tough job and get paid very well. I once saw such a pathan hold a family wedding in a star hotel where I went for a speech club program. They seemed out of place but they were real dressed well. Obviously a rich pathan!

But I would always wonder aloud, how simple their life is. They probably own not more than 2 or 3 sets of shalwar kameez. They eat from common thali their bread and biriyani. Beef is very cheap here so they have plenty of it. Their place of worship is everywhere. Their entertainment is gossiping in groups, as I said, huddled together in traffic islands! They go to public parks to access free wi fi to call back home. Their cost of living is way too low. Living conditions not that bad. I believe, most of them don’t even repatriate money to their native countries. They go home once an year to their families, get their wives pregnant and come back happily to resume their life in middle east. By the time their sons may turn 18, you can find them join their fathers. Family business! You need people of all kind to carry on with normal life. so many, many invisible links in the chain that make our life livable. Pathans to me are one such a main connection to comfortable life in middle east even if they are hidden from public view. If you drive down the desert, you can see the old bedouin settlements leased by pathans. Out of nowhere these camps crop up. Their job in the great arabian desert is to rear the camels and tend to other works in the area. Highway drivers to some 99% are the pathans. Nobody can handle trucks and trailers like them! In India, its the Singhs (Punjabis).

Pathans in India are comparatively very well accomplished and doing a great job. Of course not all pathans are blue collar workers. Back in their own countries, they must be prospering in all walks of life. In middle east or anywhere, the Indian domination cannot be ruled out. Indians bulldoze every other nationality frankly with their immense talent pool. We reduce others to middle level or lowest levels of employment and that is what I always think when I see the pathans. But as I said, we need men for every job. Pathans carved their niche in middle east with their tremendous appetite for manual labour and semi skilled jobs. They are best at it and most reliable.

Generally Indian women stay careful with pathans. Not because we fear them. We in middle east have to always keep in mind that we are dealing with men who don’t get a chance to be with women for years sometimes. They don’t booze either. So to be on safe side we are weary of pathans who we engage for all kinds of work at home, that’s all.

One pathan gave me his visiting card knocking on my door telling me he lived just the opposite of our compound and that he was available 24 hrs for carpentry, plumbing, electrical works and house painting, tank cleaning etc., etc. He went door to door giving the card but I was really impressed by the interest he took in his business. The details printed in the card had so many errors still, that was a wonderful effort!

I have a soft corner for the pathans always because they work so hard and they are very contented in their simple lifestyle. My hubby jokes in my previous janam I was a pathan (before 1947) and probably a Kashmiri or Paksitani Hindu (before 1965) who got massacred at the hands of Pakis. So in my present janam I was graced with a birth in proper Hindu dominant India. But my affection for pathans is proof that I have karmic connection with them! Our Indian husbands can be impossible. My hubby would dutifully point out pathans to me wherever we drive and say, ‘look your cousins!’ I would say had I married one of them, my life could have been simplest and happiest! Very few pathans have their families with them in middle east and those who do are considered pretty wealthy. They live here for generations but they are not citizens.

The Khans of India must realize how well placed they are and in fact fortunate that they find themselves in the other side of the border. I would not like to stereotype the pathans but the truth is, the exception is a miniscule percentage. Most have no education but aren’t concerned either! Or may be their sense of righteousness is better than ours. Perhaps their lifestyle is far more peaceful. But then why are their nations so war torn.

Even last evening I went to a pathan shopping place. Almost all shops here are owned by the pathans but the Bangladeshis have been steadily taking over their spots. Except for the truck and/or trailer driving, the Bangladeshis have forayed into every single sphere of the pathan stronghold. They are much smarter, more intelligent and hardworking. Their physical strength cannot match the pathans which is why they have left out the driving of trailers I guess!

Meanwhile you cannot even find much of Indian manual labour, as Indian labour is very expensive and Indian community has moved much ahead in the ladder, with being placed in executive positions and professions. I have watched pathans salute many times Indian men with respect. Pathans do hold Indians in respect. That respect comes from the Indian’s social hierarchy. We all do our bit in my opinion and we can coexist in this world filling gaps in each other’s hemisphere.

I have heard of gossips about pathans but I can’t obviously share them here. Crimes happen everywhere. We, especially, women have to be vigilant because whatever said, we are still vulnerable.

Once long back we dined in a fine Afghan restaurant. On seeing us the pathans did not know what to do. They had a sumptuous hot bread basket and surprisingly a couple of veggie dishes. It was my son’s idea really and this eating place looked upscale. The breads were too good from the land of tandoor. For subzi I ordered a bindi stew. The men went for a lamb dish. We weren’t given plates and we were expected to tear into the bread and dip it directly in the subzi! We made a special request for plates. The staff were amused but gave us individual plates as Hindus never will share a thali. For us its abhorrent.

Brings back memories of a group of pathans in Dubai terminal waiting for their flight. They had a 20 hour transit. They were all hunched over a mammoth paper package that was thrown open. A dozen hands reached into the biriyani at the same moment! That comradeship always would impress me. But my hubby as usual came with a retort. ‘You know why they have that custom. In olden days like mogul times if the food may be poisoned, it was to ensure that everybody died the same time!’ Trust was deficient he said because, Aurangzeb killed his own brother to ascend the throne. Whatever, I was looking at the pathans sprawled in the airport floor without a care in the world, not bothered who is looking, who is not. Snoring loudly they went to sleep fitfully! I wished life was easy and uncomplicated for me!

Posted in Political

Should only Delhi be the capital of Bharat, ji?

Delhi was Indraprastha in Mahabharat from another plane of time. Delhi has been in the thick of things for centuries, believed to have been the capital of the Pandavas. India’s destiny is closely linked to how Delhi evolved with time. So the significance of continuing to have Delhi as India’s capital is understandable. Even so, why should not there be an alternative to Delhi. Today I was watching the you tube video of building plans for a new Indian parliament in Delhi. I was struck by a thought. Our capital city was also the seat of the Delhi sultanate. Aurangzeb ruled from Delhi. The British Raj functioned from Delhi where the viceroy’s residence was turned into Rashtrapathi Bhavan, the presidential palace, on India’s independence. India retained much of the colonial architecture from the British days and Delhi profusely was Mugal in make-up. I am yet to visit my capital city frankly! But from what I see in media I feel no soul connection to India’s capital. That kind of India is something most of us Indians cannot identify with. Lost is the Mahabharath umbilical cord to Delhi. Delhi is now more and more identified with its residual mogul imperialism. So average Hindu, especially a south Indian, can hardly connect to Delhi. We cannot reckon with our invaders from Middle east, Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan. Taj Mahal has got nothing to do with us. The south largely remained insulated to mogul invasions. Indian history still has the point of view of those who invaded and occupied India over native Indians. We seem to celebrate our invaders and we have forgotten our own golden ages of Chandra Gupta Maurya, Ashoka, Vijayanagara empire, Maratha empire and Shivaji, the Chera, Chola, Pandiya, Pallavas of the south. We have forsaken our ancient Bharat when our Maharajahs ruled just from the Delhi throne. Our history text books underplay local heroes and glorify the invaders. Good to have a multicultural society but not at expense of losing our own perspective. India’s Hindu heritage must be preserved. India’s soul is Hindu not anglicized or arabized. Delhi is hardly representative of the real Bharat. Why should not India have Her capital moved to, say, Orissa for instance. My vote is for this not-so-developed state of India which lies to our south east. The new capital city must not be raised over destroyed forests. Orissa and southern states were hardly touched by the Moguls in direct conflict even if some princely states down south could have become their vassals before falling in step with the British, the Travancore and the Mysore states being the glaring examples. Arcot in Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad in Andhra were administered by mugal vassals who reigned the region without winning a war. So south mostly retained the essence of Bharat without much of distortion. It is vital to build a capital for Bharat from where neither the British nor the Islamic invaders of India governed us. While we accept our pained history as it is, it is also important to break away from the slave mentality or the colonial mindset. We have to disconnect with our troubled past for which moving the seat of power to somewhere outside Delhi can be crucial. India is not merely the mugal empire or the british raj. India is an enigma and the Indian subcontinent is flanked by seas on three sides. We are a varied landscape and diverse population. We need to centralize things. The capital must be reachable, identifiable to all and by all Indian citizens. Even Andhra Pradesh or Telengana is a good choice to build our new capital. Tamil Nadu and Kerala may not be advisable because of easy access by sea. Orissa is a larger state and the capital can be situated far away from the coastline. Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have vast extent of reserve forest areas. We wouldn’t want India’s new capital to be built across our elephant corridors. Moving our capital to geographical center of our nation could give us better sense of inclusiveness in my opinion. Security issues need to be studied in detail. Just wondering!

Posted in Political

Perception of popularity also can breed popularity!

That’s my takeaway today from international media. I don’t own this quote. I have borrowed the idea for my own contemplation in this private space of mine where I don’t have readers. So please don’t give it the plagiarist tag.

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I can cite quite a few political and economic developments/fall outs owing to this so-called perception of popularity. And then there is the timing. Ruling governments do advance the general elections if the going is good for them to cash in on their reigning popularity or perhaps the perceived popularity among masses. They probably bank their decision on flash midterm poll wins and local Panchayat (civil body) election seats. Media role also cannot be ruled out. Media invariably become mouthpiece for those in power projecting a false reality with their own opinion polls, exit polls, expert panel discussions etc. The center is always on the spotlight. Sometimes this can backfire as it happened when the BJP government called for early elections in 2004, a good six months ahead of the schedule by December. The Lok Sabha and Rajya sabha (lower and upper houses of parliament) went to polls simultaneously in phases in the April and May months (as it is always in India – in some six or seven phases considering our geographical extent and the mammoth 1.3 billion population – we are the world’s largest democracy) that the ruling party shockingly lost on very narrow margin. Their record was unblemished in that 4.5 year period and they were riding high on the popularity wave. The exit polls and opinion polls were in their favour. Finally the election fiasco was pinned on anti-the incumbency factor. Had the 2004 general elections in India been held by December, BJP could have won the elections hands down. Ironically their constructive term had been rudely cut short by their own making. It was the very first time in modern Indian history that a non Congress government completed a full term at office at the center. The surprise Congress win put the nation’s oldest party back in charge for the next ten years. BJP finally returned to power only in 2014. In 2019, they were reelected to power.

Opinion polls and exit polls are but about a selected sample and they cannot be used to extrapolate general predictions about a future outcome. This is especially true of India where the electorates are huge. A slice of sample is hardly representative of a vastly varied and diverse and populous electorate typical of the Indian subcontinent. There are variations to consider and it is entirely possible that the sample collected and analyzed could be that standard deviation. However, in favour of TRP ratings, the media houses miss this simple logic. No wonder their projections are skewed and are drastically different from ground reality. The media did predict rout of the BJP once again in 2019 that the party went on to win on a massive scale unprecedented in history.

There is this take on our EVMs, the electronic voting machines which have come under introspection. It is ironically always the opposition that is weary of the EVMs. When Congress was at the center, the BJP blamed their losses on EVMs. Now when the BJP is at the center, the congress party would like to attribute their dismal rout on the EVMs that they found to be faultless and defended when they were elected to power. INdia’s population makes it advisable that the EVMs are operational in our general elections. Battalions of election officers are enrolled all across the country and the actual election exercise in India starts two years prior to the election date. Mooted by the Election commission of India, the classroom hands-on training for official staff kicks off months earlier, and the materials and the EVMs are prepared and plans devised with a roadmap for the upcoming elections finalized accordingly. Its a gigantic national exercise worth a Phd for interested political studies candidates. I would recommend foreign journalists to study our case with our government written consent. Last elections in 2019 were held in seven phases over two whole months for both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha across our 29 states and 6 union territories. I have been casting my electronic ballot for over 20 years now. Its a great indigenous democratic exercise that India has perfected that even some first world nations have lost. Its not that easy to rig the EVMs and there are foolproof checks at every stage to rule out manipulation. Finally the manual voting is punched for the electronic vote that can be counterchecked for rigging if any party contests results. Even I have to agree that no one hundred percent foolproof system may exist when it comes to voting process. The EVM debate hots up every year before elections and there are the two sides for and anti EVMs as expected.

Sometimes the masses are taken for granted when it comes to their voting preferences or rather prejudices, which will not serve any purpose. Today in India, even the lowest middle classes or the BPL (below poverty line) families are politically aware and know the differences between the Lok sabha/Rajya sabha polls for the lower and upper houses of parliament as against the State assembly polls. You can see the way the public vote for the two. When it comes to Lok sabha elections, the masses vote for a strong center sometimes bypassing state interests. When it comes to state elections, they go for performing governments. Linguistic and regional politics take a natural precedence. If you are non performer, you will stand to lose your constituency in reelections. Modi is reelected not because of his BJP party or Hindutva alliance. Modi is winning because he is good for India and he has pushed for economic development raising our living standards. He has passed on benefits to rural India, the business community, to the common man and the industrial sector all at the same time never neglecting any quarter. Typically you can see the anti-government or pro-west or the left media focusing on nonperforming areas whereas his track records in reality may speak of a different story.

Perception of popularity breeding popularity sounds interesting! This is especially true of conspiracy theories. Brainwashing was happening all around in India during and after demonetization and GST introduction that without a shred of statistical evidence, based on media reports and on the rants and raves of the influential and opulent elite stashing black money, the public who willingly bore the brunt were made to wonder whether they were put to suffering to serve vested interests. The sacrifices of the common Indian on the street in this phase of time was phenomenal. Grudgingly the aam aadmi chugged along serpentine queues until the stroke of midnight for those freshly minted notes of currency in lieu of the old rendered useless overnight. The timeframe for tendering the old notes back to the reserve bank in exchange through commercial banks was limited. The lower middle classes I spoke to were happy participants in the exercise not grumpy always as made out by the media. The familiar leftists were on the discussion forums downplaying all that was received well in reality by the general janata. I am seeing how GST works only too very well and can recall the stiff opposition it met with. Now for whole of India, just one point tax and no more queuing up in the borders for our trucks: remember we are a 29 state country with trailers running on all-India permit. This saves time, precious oil, manpower and over all that double billing or double taxing.

As in Biden’s case, actions speak louder than words. The benefits realized will outweigh the criticisms.

Which is why I have totally stopped reading the Indian print media and don’t watch our mass media anymore. I directly discount our social media propaganda posts as well. Like fellow citizens I watch for translation of bills and/or legal statutes and accords and pacts into actual benefits for the public. I watch for the social development indicators. I will not gauge my country with the imported Audis. I measure my country with the locally made drab Ambassador which is the true indicator of my nation’s economic health. I don’t go by the stockmarket boom that can have no correlation with actual industrial growth and output. I go by the bonuses dispersed based on quarterly results booked by an FMCG corporation for instance. I go by the books. I look for the export quantum of wheat over imports. I keep tab with the varying interest rates. I watch for the infrastructural developments and how that directly affects my life. Metrorail saves the day for us and any government that mooted the project can hope for reelection. Not surprisingly the next state government is only adding more routes and further many kilometers to the viable project to win the popularity match. Today in India, whichever party is to form the government at the center or state level, they have got to perform. We cannot rule out bribes and red tape entirely from my country but the strong governments see to that this social corruption does not weaken the momentum of their economic engine.

You don’t have to be a literate to factor in the social indictors into your assessment methods to decide on who to vote for. I have seen how the mind of the blue collar workers functions. They are far smarter. They are even better politically aware. Nobody voted for BJP in Tamil Nadu, but the masses all got the Modi app in their phones and have subscribed to Modi health insurance! My maid’s mother received 40-60 radiations without paying a single paisa thanks to the state-central govt sops (still the woman died, can’t help) with the Modi health card and a driver’s aging father got a cardiac bypass surgery done for free at the state of art govt multispecialty hospital in Chennai with the same Modi card. The opinion on BJP is fast changing in the state. There is almost no Indian citizen today without at least a zero balance bank account introduced by Modi and the Aadhar ID is a great leveler.

Perform or Perish: now this is the slogan in India. This applies to any government that gets elected to office. Its not about Modi or BJP or Congress or even the State governments. Corrupt state governments are thrown out in the very next round of general elections. Perceptions can persist but practicality is different.

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I record my gratitude to my Journalist-writer guru who is a big influence on my spectrum of thoughts. I am a housewife and I write for just me myself, still it counts. I am interested in learning anything and everything and this is an offshoot subject from mainstream that has relevance to today’s political-economic scene we have here in India.

A juicy bit of news: General elections date are not fixed just like that in India. Astrological consultations are done in alignment with the birth star of the leader of the political party to ascertain which date is auspicious to contest elections and from which constituency from whatever direction. It reminds of me of how Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia used to fix election dates in consultation with astrologers in Malaysia as the locals would tell us. Mahathir’s grandfather was Kerala muslim who migrated to Malaysia. As far as Indian general elections are concerned, more than anything, believe me or not, the kundalini (birthchart or horoscope) of the PM candidate plays a vital role in deciding dates and even the winning of the polls!

Posted in Political

Is Cricket Overshadowing All Other Sporting Activities in India.

Yes, the game of cricket overshadows all other sporting activities and achievements in India sadly. There are more sponsors for cricket than for any other sport. As the T20 world cup for cricket in underway in Australia, we also had some jubilant sporting news pouring in other parts of the world when fellow Indian sports(wo)men have made us equally if not even more proud. Indian junior mens’ team went on to win the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament gold cup in Malaysia. Indian Shooting team has had its best stint winning 15 medals including 5 gold in Changwon ISSF world cup emerging on the top of the table. Former world no.1 Saina Nehwal once again moved into world top 5 in Badminton women. And the icing in the cake is winning the French Open Tennis Men’s double by the Indian duo Chirag Shetty and Swastik Sai Raj Reddy that hardly made waves in the media. Add to that the men’s Badminton laurels and the Chess ratings. India has been having a phenomenal sporting time but none of these seem to catch the attention of the masses or our media which is deplorable. As much as I enjoy cricket I would really want our news channels and sports channels to cover more of Indian sporting taking place not only in India but also in all corners of the world. I can imagine what cricket is to India as I stayed tuned to the India-Zimbabwe T20 match with 90,000 other spectators watching it live in Australia this sunday. If so many thousands of Indians had to spend their sunday at the stadium watching the game of cricket, then clearly cricket is religion to us. The french open tennis men’s double win almost meant nothing to fellow Indians as I observe. Tennis is kind of popular in India with us regularly playing/winning mens doubles etc., with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathy in the past and not to forget Sania Mirza. There has been a lull ever since our tennis stars retired I know. To rekindle the latent interest in tennis, its going to take a few more wins for the Reddy-Shetty pair. All said, hopefully we have unequivocal coverage for all sporting events in India in future in our media.

Posted in Political

The Diwali Dhamaka 2022

Rishi Sunak takes PM oath on Bhagwad Gita; heralds a new era in British history. Lights the Diwali Diya outside the 10 Downing street. The global Hindu has arrived. If not already with Sundar Pichchai, Satya Nadella etc., etc…

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When India lost the 4th wicket I switched off tv in yesterday’s world cup T20 cricket match at MCG, Melbourne against arch rival Pakistan. Then a quick browse put the score at 80/4 with 70+ runs to score in 39 balls. Impossible but achievable I thought and went back to watching the match online. What a game of cricket that was. Virtual feast of batting from Virat Kohli who has been out of form lately. The pressure was building up immensely and the 90,000+ crowds in the stands jeered flagwaving adding to the tension in the air. After a point, it didn’t matter to me. The match was worth the money and time. Ravichandran Ashwin’s quickfire intelligence missing the wide won the match for India in the last ball. Exalted but I am no more that gung ho over cricket like I used to be once upon a time. I know this is still big Diwali 5000 wala for Indians glued to their tv screens across India. A win in the world cup mattered and more importantly against Pakistan. And today came the icing in the cake. Rishi Sunak becomes the first Indian origin prime minister of UK and media celebrates it as ‘reverse imperialism.’ Moment to cherish. 10000 wala nothing less! What a Diwali pataka!!! Brilliant fireworks. ISRO also, not to be outdone, launched a batch of 36 satellites including its heaviest for UK into space late last evening as Diwali gift for the nation! What a Deepavali India! Good job, well done! Proud of you Bharat! Happy Diwali everyone! Jai Hind!

Posted in Political History

Proof for ‘Dravida’ identity in Soundarya Lahari

तव स्तन्यं मन्ये धरणिधरकन्ये हृदयतः

पयःपारावारः परिवहति सारस्वतमिव ।

दयावत्या दत्तं द्रविडशिशुरास्वाद्य तव य-

त्कवीनां प्रौढानामजनि कमनीयः कवयिता ॥ ७५ ॥

tava stanyaṃ manye dharaṇidharakanye hṛdayataḥ

payaḥpārāvāraḥ parivahati sārasvatamiva ;

dayāvatyā dattaṃ draviḍaśiśurāsvādya tava ya-

tkavīnāṃ prauḍhānāmajani kamanīyaḥ kavayitā . 75

Translation of 75th sloka in Soundarya Lahari composed by Adi Shankara in the 7th century CE in Sanskrit:

Oh daughter of the king of mountains,
I feel in my mind,
That the milk that flows from your breast,
Is really the goddess of learning, Saraswati,
In the form of a tidal wave of nectar.
For, milk given by you, who is full of mercy,
Made the child of Dravida*,
The king among those great poets,
Whose works stole one’s mind. ॥ 76 ॥

The Arya – Dravida dialogue is raging debate always in India. Anyone born north of the Vindhyas is Aryan – today’s north Indians. Those from the south of dividing line of Tropic of Cancer or the Vindhya ranges are the south Indians or the Dravidians. There are conflicting theories on the Aryan-Dravidian divide. Some paint everyone the same while some point out to racial differences. In recent times, attempts are made to establish that the Aryan Dravidian division is a British concoction to aid ‘divide and rule’ practice of the Raj and a mischief and that there is no evidence to the contrary. Most of what you read about the so-called Aryan-Dravidian oneness floated by US based and Indian/Hindu intellects sound too very convincing that you have to pinch yourself to ask whether indeed you the dusky south Indian could be the same as the Punjabi or Bengali or the Maharashtrian or the Kashmiri or the Bihari or the Gujarati for instance. The fact is that when you are a Tamil or Kannadiga or Andhriite or Keralite, you know you are Dravidian and you are way different from the Aryan Indians. Yet we are Indians, that is the point. So it is extremely disturbing when you are repeatedly told that there is no credence to the Aryan-Dravidian division theory propounded by the British Raj.

Well, evidence emerges from Soundarya Lahari that i am learning online. The hundred slokas in Sanskrit composed by Adi Shankara in the 7th (seventh) century CE is the irrefutable proof to the existing Aryan Dravidian equations of those times in ancient India when Islam was not yet born and Christianity had not yet reached most parts of the world.

And ages before Bhagvad Pada and Adi Shankara, we have had references right from Ramayana that is now deemed possible in another plane of time. Lord Ram who ruled Ayodhya was Aryan. Ravan who ruled Sri Lanka was Dravidian and in all probability spoke Thamizh as against Ram’s Sanskrit! Kerala celebrates the festival of Onam until today waiting for Mahabali’s return. This is one province in India where Hindus have not celebrated Deepavali until very recently. Keeping with times however, Diwali is set to become more popular.

The seventy fifth sloka of Soundarya Lahari mentions (Adi) Shankara (as understood) breastfed by Mother Goddess which is the reason for his mukthi and/or enlightenment and the gift of prowess of language at such an young age. Penned by Adi Shankara, the sloka mentions in the words of Bhagavad Pada (guru to Adi Shankara), Devi breastfeeding the ‘Dravida shishu’ or the Dravidian baby. Another historian from the ancient Bharat, Kalhana who was from Kashmir, also is recorded to have made mention of the Dravidian kingdom (of whose existence we have no evidence) in his acclaimed work ‘Rajatarangini.’

I have copy-pasted this from wiki:

Rajatarangini:- is a metrical legendary and historical chronicle of the north-western Indian subcontinent, particularly the kings of Kashmir. It was written in Sanskrit by Kashmiri historian Kalhana in the 12th century CE. The work consists of 7826 verses, which are divided between eight books called tarangas.

Accordingly the Aryans are the north Indian brahmins with surnames such as Mishra, Bhat, Pandit, Bhattacharya, Sharma etc.. Among the Dravidians, the south Indian brahmins are referred to as ‘Mukhya Dravida’ (which inconspicuously refers to the rest of the south Indians as Dravida).

Even our Hindutva activists and RSS and BJP cannot defy or overrule Adi Shankara and Bhagavad Pada I suppose? I wonder how the so-called the Hindu thinktank and the self-certified custodians of Hindu Dharma and Hindu interests around the world can miss such a grand evidence staring right at their faces in very important and renowned Sanskrit literary works that date back by some 1500 years at least. The men who wrote these scriptures were protagonists of Sanathana Dharma holding the beacon for others to follow in the entire Bharat Varsha.

Okay I get it. You want to refuse Dravidian ideology because you want a united India. And in your estimation, a united India is singular in identity. But you cannot simply brush under carpet the genealogy of an entire Dravidian race. Thamizh is as old as Sanskrit. A parallel civilization existed and flourished in Thamizh Nad when there was Indus valley civilization in the north. In fact, we had a more advanced civilization (rever Keezhadi).

Being Dravidian may be different but that does not make any of us less patriotic or less Indian. I have NOT stepped onto Delhi and I am not exactly keen. I have not been to the north at all. But I am as much Indian at heart as any of the north Indians and who knows, much more a Hindu probably than most north Indians. Neither is the Hindi language a prerequisite to Indian citizenship.

I think it is time to put the Aryan-Dravidian debate to rest. Well, there is a third ethnic branch in India which is the yellow race or the North Eastern people from the seven sister states. Dubbed the ‘chinkis’ for their chinese features, the north easterners too face the flak in northern India. These chinkis are those who are making life easy for us all around India – from working in billing/cash counters in shopping malls and waiting at our tables in restaurants to servicing at the beauty salons. They fill out a big gap in India for disciplined labour at low cost in essential FCMG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods division) industry. But for them our society will be bereft of quality workers in the secondary sector of the Indian economy.

Diversity is the beauty of India. Why the denial. Unity in diversity is our strength. Let be. Why should the Dravidian history be suppressed. Dravidians need not have to sync with everything Aryan. We can still be equal and patriotic Indian citizens harbouring nationalist ideology.

I never for once imagined Rabindranath Tagore planting the word ‘dravidian’ in his composition that went on to become India’s national anthem without a shred of evidence to such an entity or distinct regional identity. With that one single coinage he covered and clubbed the entire south in one master stroke. Merited the Nobel just for that!

EVR will be the eternal hero whether you like it or not. EVR was relevant in Indian history especially Dravidian history. He matters to the masses. If not for EVR entire scheduled community of Tamil Nadu would be now converted Christians. Human rights matter over matters of faith. The south is forever proudly defiant. Far more literate. Progressive in thinking. It is possible for some of us to retain our Dravidian roots and at the same time admire Modi. Not many self-congratulatory and self-appointed saviours of Hindu Dharma can get that.

When Sanathana Dharma survived without a Mecca or Vatican, a Koran or Bible, an Imam or Pope, the one and only unorganized religion of the world that is Hinduism can look after itself, don’t fret. I shall not entrust my precious Hindu Dharma into the hands of bigots and hypocrites who want to lie deliberately and twist history. Hindu Dharma shall prevail to eternity with or without you.

Religions have to evolve with time. Hinduism has evolved for better with centuries. Like any religion, we have our flaws but we are working on them. Flaws in Hindu Dharma gave birth to Buddhism and Jainism which again slipped into the rhetoric rendering them pointless.

We are a nation who wouldn’t even want to table the facts of Keezhadi archeological excavations to the world. Jainism reached Thamizh Nad first over Hindu Dharma. And unto then, the ancient Thamizh had no recorded religion. Hinduism fast replaced Jainism and not always without violence. Now I am waiting for someone like Shashi Tharoor to steal my ideas and speak in UK next!

Posted in Economic

Diwali Sale

Surprisingly the safety shoes for engineers and office shoes are best at Hush Puppies that we normally associate with dainty feminine strappy sandals! I am not into HP at all like many women are. Just own a single pair over 12 years old but that still is doing good which can double up as testimony to the brand. Men aren’t big shoppers like we ladies are. So my hubby just wanted to have a look not buy really before comparing prices. Caught off guard when the sales girl told us that a 50% off was on. The catchy ‘buy one get one free’ thing we all lap up so enthusiastically and end up piling the mountain of clothes that we hardly get to wear! The leather shoes were too good and we ended up buying a pair for him on good bargain. So we asked the girl why wasn’t the thing advertised? Not even a board display? We know what a sale at HP means to discerning customers. Boy haven’t we been amused by the rush year after year. To which the girl who was also their cashier replied, in middle east, any sale had to have a premier first, and then get the ministry clearance. There would be audit inspections so that the sale is effective and not a hogwash. So the sale we have in the malls with their global brands just do not happen at the whim of the enterprises. Its a long drawn legal-bureaucratic affair culminating in the sale we all throng. The process for initiating the sale commences months earlier seeking approvals and submitting figures waiting for sanctions. Really? I am a resident of middle east for 15 years now although I fly up and down on and off. I am aware of the rules and regulations and guidance regarding bumper prizes, lotteries etc., that we have in the shopping malls. The sale must give genuine discounts and must not be eye-wash. A sale meant a REAL SALE in this part of the world – of that much I was aware. Which is why we the NRI community as well as other expats always prefer to wait for the sale. Its a big, big draw for us women naturally who would go for the bags and shoes and clothes and skincare not to leave out the home linen and even cutlery. The footfall in the malls you know when you see it – like you are having a stampede!

In other words the counter girl said, the application for sale was processed but until it was received, the sale could not be announced to the world. Any walk-in customer could be appraised of the prevailing discounts, that’s all.

Really impressed with the system we have here that makes sure that the consumers’ interests are well protected and that we have value for money. The discounts are genuine and are a shopper’s delight. Good administration is all about regulation and fair and even and transparent functioning of institutions that hold the power to influence a society. The benefits if any are passed on to the masses without holding back. How many checks at every level.

I wonder what is the protocol that we have in India when it comes to the marathon sale beginning with Aadi discounts in Chennai showrooms to gallop at full throttle through the Navrathri and then the unstoppable Diwali season followed by Christmas and Pongal. The merchandise under purview is not limited to clothing. Jewelry shares the top spot with silks and other apparels. Even bags and shoes and watches are on sale. The entire spectrum is on the ‘off’ mode to put it in nutshell. From electronics to even bank loans and cell phones and laptops, virtually everything is subsidized on Diwali offer.

But then,

  • ARe the sale of clothing/merchandise/electronic/jewelry/footwear/accessories or whatever we have in India regulated? If so, by which authority, state or central govt.
  • Are the sale genuine sale. Is the discount REAL DISCOUNT compared to the MRP (marked up retail price). One often gets a feeling that the prices are hiked before the sale and during the sale the prices are at par with MRP levels in India.
  • Do we have any inspection checks at every stage to ensure that the sale announced are genuine and that the consumers are not taken for a ride.
  • Are the govt sops passed on to customers during the sale.

I don’t deny that India is an ocean and we do already have in place various mechanisms to facilitate workings of these nature. Yet I would like to know or confirm from someone that there is in place such an effective system in India when it comes to discounts offered by retailers during festive sales in India. What a timing. Aren’t we now precisely primed for the Deepavali. We are bred on the psychology of waiting for the Diwali or New year sale for going for the latest smart tv or Android phone or clothes or even for booking that flat in ECR. We Indians are hopelessly addicted to ‘sale’ aren’t we. My friend used to joke, ‘osila kudutha phenyl kooda kudippom’ which means if phenyl is offered for free drink, we shall drink it too! Sadly this is our mass mentality.

Posted in Political

Why Is The BJP Winning.

Tamil Nadu Vs Gujarat

DMK vs BJP

Dravidian vs Aryan

Secular vs Hindu

Income generated from liquor business vs Zero income from liquor industry

Corruption vs Clean State

Shamelessness vs Pride

Irresponsibility Vs Growth and Accountability

Desh drohis vs Patriots

Tamil Nadu government reportedly earns roughly thirty eight thousand crores of rupees per annum from liquor industry. In fact it is a major revenue generator for the state. Instead of administration, our government glosses over brewing liquor and bottling and marketing the brand through TASMAC all across the state. You find the outlets even in posh malls of the city these days. No prizes for guessing who owns the breweries and the bottling plants: the same two or three political families who also own tv channels for propaganda mission that act as canvassing vehicles during election times. Again no prizes for guessing who will get licences for the TASMAC shops. The same old political cronies who will also be allotted prime housing plots and engineering college licences for licking the boot of the ministers. Welcome to Tamil Nadu the Dravida stronghold.

You have to see Chennai on friday evenings and saturday evenings. Queues in TASMAC disrupt traffic. The weekly wages of the poorest blue collar workers are completely and heartlessly sucked by the TASMAC. Have you heard of any other state or central government in the world that is engaging in liquor business. One level up: now TASMAC takes online orders and delivers at your doorstep.

Compare this to Modi’s Gujarat that at least legally earns zero income from liquor business. No liquor shops in Gandhi’s homestate since 1947. No breweries. No bottling plants. Contraband may flourish but the state’s coffers are not filled with liquor revenues. So Gujarat is one state in India where progress is not at the cost of the state population. When Gujarat can make it to the top as a dry state, why cannot rest of India.

Another big money spinner for Tamil Nadu is the Hindu Religious and Charitable board that has taken over most of the state temples for administration.

Tamil Nadu govt lays hands on hundreds of crores of rupees in Hindu temple funds to finance non Hindu causes and for running government. Boasting that they are atheists (who would anyway break fast during Ramzan with muslims and cut cakes for Christmas with christians) , why should they so desperately seek the Hindu temple funds. Such a monumental shame. Where is all this money going: Money from TASMAC that they wanted to close when Jayalalitha was our chief minister. Plus money plundered from Hindu temples. Do they have the honesty or guts to touch the church money or masjid money. Their heads will be rolling in dust should they attempt. COWARDS.

I can cite an individual case here. Earlier, FDs were made out in individual temple trust names from the collections thereof that went to Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable board. Now the present government has allegedly ordered the temples to make out the FDs in the board’s names so that the temples cannot even claim their lawful collections.

From real estate to film production suddenly the political mafia is everywhere.

Why is the center unable to act against these daylight robbers.

The property taxes in the state have been hiked cent percent. For what. You see heaps of garbage everywhere remaining uncleared. Swachch Bharat kept Tamil Nadu tidy. Whose brainchild was that.

The lower middle class who voted for the DMK are feeling the pinch. Let them. When you sell your vote for money, you have to pay through your teeth for the entire term, which is what they are now doing.

Posted in Political

Sri Lanka: A Replay Of Ramayana?

The videos of ruling party members’ homes and sedans going up in flames and the masses indulging in vandalism and looting in the Rajapakse palace taking to the swimming pool in a finishing touch, are very disturbing. Contrary to feeling victorious, me a Tamil who is supposed to rejoice at these happenings, find myself immensely pained by the developments in Sri Lanka. Vengeance is best served cold, they say. The island nation at the foot of the Indian peninsula met up with its Karma finally but that hardly makes us Indians happy. The unruly mobs and the shattered economy and the breaking up of law and order are a grim reminder as to how easily we as society can degenerate into uncivilized uncouth brutes wrecking havoc in course of destruction. I am someone who never appreciated reading from ‘Sundara Kanda’ of Ramayana, about Hanuman destroying even the Ashoka Vana or the ‘vanara’ (apes) uprooting trees in Kishkintha in celebration of victory. And Sri Lanka is so closely related to us not merely geographically but also culturally. What a replay of scenes from the very Ramayana! It is like the monkey kingdom having a free run with the wily king ousted. The Rajapakses may seek asylum in India but that is the last controversy India may seek. The common man in Lanka is suffering without food, medicine, school and transport. In short, Sri Lanka has just collapsed at every front: economically, militarily and politically. He/she need not have to a Tamil. Whether Tamils or Sinhalese, they are all Lankans. This is the worst time in history for both of the ethnic races. Sri Lanka did not suffer such a cruel fate even when there reigned Tamil militancy. The current crisis is not wrought in by the Tamils. It might not be easy to cleave out of the mess they are in today, and I am no political pundit to predict how this can ever be done either. China of course is the one prime reason or the only reason Sri Lanka is finding itself in dire straits today. Add up corruption and you get the picture. And these are Buddhists and Buddhists are known for their principle of renouncing worldly interests. With Sri Lanka and Burma, we have the rare scenario of the Buddhist governments growing greedy and bringing tragedy to their own people. The complexities that we now find in Sri Lanka can make for a good case study and should serve as a warning for other nations stretching it too far. Even for India, this is like an alarm bell to keep things rolling. Keeping my fingers crossed and watching out for Sri Lanka. Haven’t been there strangely but we do have a connection with Lanka.

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There is a legend about the Sri Ranganatha temple gopuram (tower) in Sri Rangam and Sri Lanka. For centuries the gopuram remained unbuilt because it was believed that Lord Vishnu in his sayana (lying) position was looking at Sri Lanka straight. If the gopuram would be built, then His protective vision will be blocked and Sri Lanka will burn (because of curse heaped on Ravana). But ex Tamil Nadu chief minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) completed the tower and got it inaugurated by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Within an year, MGR, Gandhi and the Sri Rangam (mutt) jeeyar all were no more. There was never long last peace in Sri Lanka after that. Successful Sri Lankan governments have been carrying out many ‘shanthi’ pujas to appease the Hindu gods because the islanders believe in the Hindu legend as they are part of our cultural history.

Posted in Political

A Hindu Rashtra Where Every Citizen Is Equal

World can do with a single Hindu nation, no doubt. After all there are dozens of Islamic and Christian nations and even a Jewish one. There are Buddhist countries. It is of course sad that Nepal which was the only Hindu realm in the world has gone communist. India, where the world’s most ancient faith – the one and only unorganized religion the universe has ever had – has every right to proclaim Herself a Hindu Rashtra. India is the cradle of human civilization. Hindu dharma was born here and began flourishing right in our soil. Hindus are not warriors by race and have no significant history of invading others or enforcing their culture by sword as it has happened with the Abrahamic fold. India will be doing the world a favour by promoting soft power that is Hindu philosophy. We are not seeking a Hindu nation in Africa or America or Australia or Arabia or Europe. We are seeking a Hindu nation right here in India that we did not even seek during 1947 partition.

With strict enforcement of certain fundamentals of course, India can be Hindu desh by constitution. NO SPECIAL RIGHTS OR PRIVILEGES TO HINDUS ON BASIS OF BIRTH OR CONVERSION. EVERY INDIAN CITIZEN MUST BE ON EQUAL FOOTING BE HIM/HER A HINDU OR CHRISTIAN OR SIKH OR MUSLIM. The soul of India is eternally Hindu, no doubt about that. Even so, there are some disturbing posts in social media such as this one:

However I wouldn’t go by the vote count. After all, this is just limited to the world of Twitterati. Like exit polls that hardly predict exact election results, this post can be nothing more than the standard deviation, the variation we inevitably sample from a whole lot. Hopefully. This is a dangerous trend. It makes me wonder whether even aspiring for a Hindu rashtra is dangerous business. I guess it is unfair to expect India to stay neutral and secular when our minorities will stay opposed to family planning citing religious reasons, will refuse to come under the umbrella of one single common statute for all Indians irrespective of faith, etc. So when you expect to be governed as per your faith, it gives rest of Indians a sense of insecurity. Widespread missionary activity sponsored by foreign church and propagated by local evangelists is another reason why Hindus want to go for a constitutionally Hindu nation. In which case I would still want every Indian citizen to enjoy equal fundamental rights.

FREEWILL CANNOT BE THE PREROGATIVE OF ONLY THE SECULAR AND DEMOCRATIC STATES. FREEWILL MUST PREVAIL UNIVERSAL INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY IN THE ISLAMIC BLOCK WHERE CONVERSION MAFIA MUST BE GRANTED A LICENCE TO PREACH AND PROPAGATE OTHERS WAYS OF LIFE. UNLESS AND UNTIL THAT CAN HAPPEN, THERE IS NO POINT IN SERMONIZING ON EQUALITY AND UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD. India and America and Europe allow and practise such a freewill. When reciprocation is denied, expect the curtailment of freewill in some pockets. Why cannot there be a Hindu banking in Pakistan or Saudi for instance if we have to have Islamic banking in India.

As a Hindu nation,

  • India can deem christian conversion mafia illegal and punishable by law.
  • Enforce strict family planning for muslims
  • Maintain Hindu majority 80: 20 versus others/non-Hindus. India’s democracy is dependent on India’s demography. Now that is the golden rule.
  • Remove the word ‘secular’ from our constitution in the first place. It was after all inserted by ex PM Indira Gandhi in 1976
  • Stringent action against any Hindu who may provoke/assault non Hindus safeguarding minority rights and restoring in them a sense of security.
  • No special concession for Hindus. All citizens to enjoy equal fundamental rights.
  • Unfavourable support to Hindus will prove to be counter productive. It will dilute our quality and promote mediocrity and substandard. If Hindus have to survive, we have to cultivate a competitive spirit. The moment you eye concessions, your edge is gone. Meritorious must win. Even in our neighbouring country sometimes they let the best brains to prevail irrespective of their religious orientation.

Some of us have our children living in foreign countries. I wouldn’t rule a backlash!

Secular democracies are like joint bank accounts from who anyone and everyone can draw out indiscriminately. India is a classic case. But Islamic nations are private accounts and fixed deposits that none can touch. Tell me then why we must have joint accounts in that case. Why can’t the Hindu account become a fixed deposit, recurring deposit, private account locked for years, with zero withdrawal option! Just a thought to illustrate, what is expected unfairly of secular nations like India.

India can continue to remain a secular democracy when all Islamic nations in the world also constitutionally become secular democracies with their royalties suspended. Now that is fair game.