An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Obama's innauguration and the coming storm

whitehouseblog.jpgToday, Barack Obama took his oath as the 44th US President. A new chapter was started in the US and the world. I caught some of the oath taking and the full speech. Obama and Michelle then walked Bushes to their copter – the first time this had happened.

I wanted to write about it, but I was more busy in doing a make-over of my own blog. I was told by some very trusted readers that my blog needed to be more simple and easier on the eye. So that is what I did.

Hopefully you will like the new look. There is a contact link up at the top menu, please use it to let me know.

Meanwhile, White House also has a Blog! In keeping with his penchant for using technology, Barack Obama has started the office with a spanking new blog to share thoughts with the people. It is quite in keeping with his pledge of being one of people.

I have seen Obama’s speeches that he has given on his train ride to Washington DC from Philly via Delaware and Maryland (reminiscent of Lincoln’s ride from Illinois to DC). He seems to be getting people ready for what seems like a terrible storm! Sometimes I feel that he is communicating to people what most people already know, buut somehow it seems that he (and others in the Government) seem to know that the storm is even more terrible than it seems or most have imagined! It is not a normal communicating.. but an exraordinary “call to action”.

If I look around, there seems to be a very … very deceptive calm (and chill) in the air. It is un-nerving, because I cannot seem to fathom the depth and extent of the coming storm. It is not just economic. It will also involve war and fighting the terrorism alongside, which is not going to be easy. For, terrorism feeds off of the VERY infrastructure and platform that the prosperous and the stable provide. Saudi terrorists did not come on camels on 9-11, but on US jets and used US laws to get into US and stay here. The same was true of Mumbai attackers and the other LeT and JeM attackers.

Wars are never fought between people. But Ideologies. Ideologies fight. There is always an “aggressor” ideology that is inherently intolerant and full of ego. It challenges and hurts the tolerant ideology. Of course, in its initial advance, any and even the most aggressive of ideologies can be camouflaged in “give-me-benefit-of-doubt” outerwear. Nazis did the same. Communists did the same. Islamic terrorists are doing the same.

When the tolerant gets hurt and retaliate, then the cry is always the same – How is the victim’s aggression any more pardonable than aggressor’s? That is where the important and indeed critical time is lost!

The aggressor always has an alibi – and it is the ruse of past or imagined prejudice or humiliation. Humiliation or past is touted as a strong and often conclusive reason for unashamed aggression! Hitler had the Treaty of Versailles, Duryodhana had Dhritrashtra’s ego and Draupadi’s taunt (from Mahabharat) as the alibi, the Communists had the treatment of the poor by the rich. The pattern remains the same!

How many victims will be sacrificed at the altar of these Alibis is for the world to decide! It took several million Jews for the world to wake up to the aggression of Nazis. It could have taken hundreds of thousands in the war of Mahabharat if Arjun had had his way. It took a strong and ruthlessly direct and soul-shaking message from Krishna to lift Arjun out of that state!

Another pattern with all the aggressors is that they violate human rights and basic code of war. The way to fight them is NOT to break those code yourself or violate the human rights, but to be truthful although blunting the other guy and giving him enough equally terrible blows. It is said that killing of Abhimanyu was a watershed moment in Mahabharat. Until then, the wars were fought with a code of conduct. But from then on, the code was violated. Krishna gave a terrible blow to Kauravas thereafter when he asked Yudishter to announce that “Ashwathama” was dead. Ashwathama was the name of both, Drona’s (Kauravas’ Army Chief) son and an elephant (whom Arjun had really killed). That brought down Dronacharya.. and the war took a decisive turn!

It is not important if Mahabharat was a real war or a mythical one, for it has some of the greatest lessons in human living (even excluding Bhagwad Gita)!

Obama has come at a time when the world needs a Krishna – who will fight the war with principles but also be clear and direct as to not let the aggressor use the alibi to devour more victims on the way to more destruction. Obama has the capacity to be honest an ddirect and challenging as an orator – just as Krishna had been – and also very wise. I will wait to see if he is as action-oriented as Krishna was in his role during Mahabharat.

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