Delhi: A City That Connects the Diverse

India’s capital New Delhi has seen it all.  Kings born, killed and thriving, traitors selling away the nation, poets of incredible eminence write and share their best works, pacifists and the most violent call it their home.  Over the last many centuries the city has expanded beyond what was the core of Delhi – the Old Delhi area.  The New Delhi with expanse on the West and South, where the refugees from partition came and trans-Yamuna area on the East with migrants from UP and other states.

Unlike Mumbai, Delhi had a lot of land around it and so the metropolis kept expanding.  So has the pollution and network in and around Delhi.  It is as if the smog and pollutants from core didn’t have a way to go away since they were ambushed by more of it all from all the sides.  Instead of going down, it has all increased.

Over the past decades, Delhi has done a lot to combat pollution – CNG based public transport and Delhi Metro.  Just the Delhi Metro – which connects Delhi to the nearby suburbs as well – has helped reduce pollution levels by taking nearly 4 lakh vehicles off the roads, cut annual fuel consumption by 2.76 lakh tonne and reduced pollutants by 5.8 lakh tonne a year (source).

With over 47 million people, the National Capital Region (NCR) – with core as Delhi – is India’s largest and one of the world’s largest agglomeration of population.  Jus t this area generates almost 7.5% of India’s total GDP!  Apart from Delhi the NCR comprises cities from 3 nearby states.  Three sub-regions – apart from Delhi sub region – combine to form the NCR: Haryana (13 districts): Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewat, Rohtak, Sonepat, Rewari, Jhajjar, Panipat, Palwal, Mahendragarh (Narnaul), Bhiwani, Jind and Karnal; Uttar Pradesh (7 districts): Meerut, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat, Hapur, Muzaffarnagar; and Rajasthan (2 districts): Alwar & Bharatpur.

In a hub-and-spoke model, Delhi has emerged as a city that has managed to connect and link many disparate cities in a large commercial monolith.  From services to trading and government to manufacturing, the NCR now has something to offer for every career.  In that one city, Delhi brings together people from so many backgrounds, states and languages.  You can find the lovely folks from North-east states in the Majnu ka Tilla area, while South Indians are concentrated around Munirka, RK Puram and WEA Karol Bagh.  There are Kashmiri, Gujarati and Maharashtrian socities in Rohini and Mayur Vihar areas.  Because of so many hues of India in one city, one tends to find taste and colors of many kinds.  It is common to find the North-eastern Momos, or Gujarati and Rajasthani thaalis or the many authentic South Indian restaurants in the city.

Like Tata Motors madeofgreat campaign, Delhi is one city that is truly “made of great”.  Although due to its greatness, it has had to suffer the cost of its own success as a diverse home to everyone who cared to call it his or her own.  In the coming years, if the governments can put aside their petty political ambitions and prejudices and focus on growth and well-being, then Delhi and the surrounding NCR could truly be one of the greatest urban expanse in the world!

Delhi-in-a-Day

How the Historically Intolerant forces are now Preaching India and the Govt On the Virtues of Tolerance

 

When belief is paramount in your sense of being, then imposing it on others and resisting others’ is a natural consequence.  Short of a dishonest act of resisting violence of an uneasy truce, the only way of living in the societies powered by beliefs and ideologies is constant death and violence.  To no real end and no real purpose though.  As long as I am and therefore, necessarily, have a belief, you have another that by definition of my belief (predicated on self-universalism) is an affront to me.  Really speaking, unless you happily let me force my belief on you, your only destiny is death, if I can help it.

When death and constant violence creates havoc with even normal living itself – as was the case during the reign of Tudors in Britain – where, all else being the same (book, God, teachings etc) only difference being “Pope or no Pope”, hundreds of thousands were killed with no compunction or remorse in the most brutal manner known to human-turned-into-devils!  It took Queen Bloody Mary’s terrible inquisitions of Protestants and Reformants, for an entire country to realize that a “ceasefire” – however uneasy or dishonest – had to be established.  It is in those circumstances that the need for Tolerance was born.  If intolerance was a natural companion of belief and ideology leading to most brutal violence and death, then tolerance was a dishonest way to call a ceasefire.  Other ways were to be used to impose one’s belief, but fight they wouldn’t.  At least overtly.

In today’s times, when Intolerance is being preached to India, let us look at the very concept of Tolerance, and the Indian way of Acceptance, a bit deeper.

Tolerance and intolerance are the preserve of a society and population built ground up on belief systems and ideologies.  No one has experienced anything, but even the slightest of difference between one’s belief from another can lead to both being inhumanly brutal with each other.  Is this paradigm even portable or relevant to India?

When representatives of societies structured on belief landed in India, what were the dynamics that played out?

When full acceptance was met with genocide and slaughters

In 52 AD, St Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, landed in Palayur, Kerala.  His aim?  To “spread the word” or in other words – convert.  Palayur of that time was a place where Brahmins and Jews (yes, they had already reached there due to persecutions by Romans!) used to live in harmony.  Using “magic and stealth” Thomas converted many Brahmins with the argument “if I do this and you cannot, then my God is better than yours, so convert”.  A document kept by local Brahmin called ‘Grandavariola’ states that Thomas Sanyasin came in Kali year 3153 or 52 AD.  Brahmins of that place felt so persecuted by this new tactic, that they left the place.  Nambudri Brahmins for many centuries never accepted any water near the Church.  That place came to be known as Chavakadu in local language, meaning “cursed forest”.  In a temple abandoned by the Brahmins, the first Church in India was built by St. Thomas.  Temple remnants of broken idols can be seen to this day.

Vasco da Gama – the Portuguese “trader” was in Zanzibar, Africa unable to make further journey.  The Portuguese would simply go up and down the African coast staying close to the shore.  On one trip, he saw a ship that was three times the size of his own.  Using an African interpreter when he talked to the Indian trader, Chandan, he found that he used to bring spices and teak from India across the seas, in return for diamonds.  He accompanied Chandan, as a safeguard, to India.  This was in 1497-99 timeframe.  By 1524, Vasco da Gama had been appointed the “Governor of India” by the Portuguese and had exclusive rights to trade.  Within 40 years of being invited into the country, in 1560, the Portuguese set up the Office of Portuguese Inquisition, which unleashed a 252 years of brutalities on native Hindus, unparalleled anywhere in history.  Award winning Portuguese novelist, Richard Zimler, who uses the inquisition as the back drop of his novel The Guardian of the Dawn says –

I discovered that historians consider the Goa Inquisition the most merciless and cruel ever developed. It was a machinery of death. A large number of Hindus were first converted and then persecuted from 1560 all the way to 1812!

Over that period of 252 years, any man, woman, or child living in Goa could be arrested and tortured for simply whispering a prayer or keeping a small idol at home. Many Hindus — and some former Jews, as well — languished in special Inquisitional prisons, some for four, five, or six years at a time.

The Viceroy of Goa, Antonio de Noronha issued an order for inhabitants of Portuguese rule:

I hereby order that in any area owned by my master, the king, nobody should construct a Hindu temple and such temples already constructed should not be repaired without my permission. If this order is transgressed, such temples shall be, destroyed and the goods in them shall be used to meet expenses of holy deeds, as punishment of such transgression.

By 1567, 300 Hindu temples had been destroyed.  Rituals of Hindu marriages, sacred thread wearing and cremation were banned by law and anyone above 15 years were compelled to listen to Christian preachings or they were totured.  The Portuguese Army destroyed the Assolna and Cuncolim temples in 1583.

Charles Dellon, who experienced the extremes of inquisition himself has documented the events of those times in his book published in 1687 L’Inquisition de Goa (The Inquisition of Goa).

In 7th century AD, Malik Deenar, a companion of Islamic Prophet Mohammad traveled to India, and constructed the first mosque in 629 AD during the lifetime of Mohammad himself.  That is called Cheraman Juma Masjid in Methala, Kodungallur Taluk, Thrissur district, Kerala.  The name is based on a legend propagated by 16th century book, Tuhafat-ul-Mujahidin by Shaik Zainnuddin.  That legend says that Cheraman Perumal was a Chera king who went to Arabia and met Mohammad and embraced Islam and facilitated Malik Deenar’s journey and construction of the mosque.  The issue is that there was no Chera king by that name.  The only mention of a Cheraman in history comes around 825 AD.

In any case, the Islamic entry into India happened via Malik Deenar in Kerala.  After that, via the Arab traders, Islam came to the Malabar coast and many of the locals were converted.  It is in this place that the community of Mappilas came up.  Mappilas of Kerala’s Malabar coast spoke the same language – Malayalam – and had the same customs.  Yet, the same community started and continued brutal killings and genocide of Hindus for 85 years from 1836 to 1921.  Annie Besant – one of the founders of Indian National Congress reported that Mappila Muslims forcibly converted, killed or drove away over 100,000 Hindus during this time.

The invasions in North India are well known as well.  Mohammad Qasim Shah (1560 – 1620) wrote the books Tarikh-i-Farishta and Gulshan-i-Ibrahim where he reported that over 400 million Hindus were slaughterd during Muslim invasions and occupation.  Dr. Koenraad Elst writes in his article “Was there an Islamic Genocide of Hindus“?

There is no official estimate of the total death toll of Hindus at the hands of Islam.  A first glance at important testimonies by Muslim chroniclers suggest that over 13 centuries and a territory as vast as the subcontinent, Muslim holy warriors easily killed more Hindus than the 6 million of the holocaust.  Ferishtha lists several occasions when the Bahmani Sultans in Central India (1347-1528) killed a hundred thousand Hindus, which they set as a minimum goal whenever they felt like punishing the Hindus; and they were only a third-rank provincial dynasty.

The biggest slaughters took place during the raids of Mahmud Ghaznavi (ca. 1000 CE), during the actual conquest of North India by Mohammad Ghori and his lieutenants (1192 ff) and under the Delhi Sultanate (1206-1526).

The slaughter and genocide by the Islamic invaders in Afghanistan led the main mountain pass to be named “Hindu Kush” meaning “Hindu slaughter” in local language.

What is Intolerance in the land of Acceptance?

None of the characters introduced above – St Thomas, Portuguese Catholics or Arab Muslims – were persecuted in India.  They were accepted the way they were.  Until they forced their beliefs and ways on an unsuspecting population which had accepted many Spiritual traditions earlier coming from Buddha, Mahavir, Charvaka and others.  But there was a difference between a Buddha and Portuguese Catholics or Mahavir and the Arabs.  They seeked to change just the belief and entrench that in historical/geographical-centric context.

Yet, despite all the inquisitions, the derision, the driving out of the locals, and untold genocides – Christianity and Islam was given full space to be practised and flourish.

Even when embrace of acceptance was met with violence of intolerance, acceptance was still the way to go forward.  In fact, had India’s history written in the idiom and ways used by European historians for that region, the suffering of the native Hindu Indians has been unprecedented.  And yet, this is a culture that – barring a few aberrations – did not single out any community for persecution.  On the contrary, Zoroastrians and Jews – who were persecuted at the hands of Arab Muslims and Romans and then Christians – found refuge in this land with full freedom of religious practice.

Christians and Muslims as disciples of Indian Gurus

In the last ~ 120 years since Swami Vivekananda set foot on American soil in 1893, the Americans and many westerners have come in contact with some amazing Enlightened Beings and Spiritual Gurus.  Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramhans, Yogananda Paramhans, Osho, Neem Karoli Baba, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Sathya Sai Baba, Ramana Maharishi, Sadhguru, and Sri Sri Ravishankar.  Many of these Gurus had Western disciples in millions.  Yet, not one asked anyone to ever convert.  If the disciples so wanted, they picked up the Hindu customs or ways, but most would return back to their original faith without any need to do anything.  With the kind of sway each Guru held on their audience, they could have by now converted millions in US and Europe to Hinduism, but they were not peddling beliefs like Sufis and the Missionaries.  They were initiating people into Spirituality or at the very least giving them a taste of something beyond the physical.  A space where belief is a roadblock.  For, Spiritual journey begins only when belief ends!

How would you really define Intolerance in such a land and culture?

The Political Hypocrisy

Let us now focus our gaze on the political expediency which has manufactured the entire Intolerance debate.  An agitation that gained strength and heat just before the important Bihar elections is now cooling off with no one in the last week having given his/her award back for the “rise in Intolerance”.

But, then, this whole movement started very clearly at the behest and backing of the Congress party,  And, it had a terrible leader to initiate the debate on Intolerance in the first place!  Congress leading the march for tolerance is like Hitler protesting Genocide by Jews!

How RSS was demonized

In a report published in 1970, Justice Kapur Commission to probe into Gandhi Assassination noted:

“RSS as such were not responsible for the murder of Mahatama Gandhi, meaning thereby taht one could not name the organization as such as being responsible for that most diabolical crime, the murder of apostle of peace.  It has not been proved that they (the accused) were members of the RSS.”

This was precisely the conclusion of the Punjab High Court into the Gandhi Assassination case in 1950.  Yet, the RSS was banned on 4th February 1948 and many prominent leaders of RSS were arrested.  The Commission of Inquiry set up at that time was the very Justice Kapur Commission, whose report was published after 22 years!!

The promotion of false information on RSS and Jana Sangh was started with the beginning of Indian republic.  Along with the Communists, the second largest party until 1962 elections, started complete subversion of Indian polity, culture and history.  We will discuss how India’s history and culture has been subverted in another follow up article in detail.  For now, let us further delve into the political history of the players at the forefront of the current debate.

How Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee and Gandhi Loyalists Subverted democracy

When Sonia Gandhi led the march to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, the irony of hypocrisy couldn’t be more stark.  Let us go into the events that led to Sonia Gandhi being installed the Congress Party President, a post she holds till date.  At that time, when a commoner – Sitaram Kesari was the Congress Party President and was steering the party – the “Gandhi loyalists” unleashed a coup that threw Kesari out and brought in “Madam Sonia Gandhi”.  Here is the sordid tale of Intolerance and Machiavellian strategies of how an Italian lady was installed at the helm of the political party that – we Indians are told – was at the forefront of India’s freedom from.. well, the British!

On 14 March 1998, 24 Akbar Road was a mute witness to a constitutional coup that saw the rather unsavoury exit of an ‘elected’ Congress president. Kesri was so upset with the day’s events that he kicked his loyal Pomeranian, Ruchi. The ailing Kesri, then seventy-nine, had arrived at the CWC meeting at 24 Akbar Road convinced that a party president could not be forced out. He did not know that before the 11 am meeing, most CWC members had gathered at Pranab’s home to endorse two crucial statements. The first was an ultimatum asking Kesri to step down; the second, a resolution replacing him with Sonia Gandhi.

The moment Kesri stepped into the hall, he knew something was amiss. Loyalist Tariq Anwar was the only one who stood up to greet him. After Kesri sat down, Pranab began reading out a resolution’thanking’ him for his services and invoking Clause J of Article 19 of the Congress constitution.

A horrified Kesri listened to its provisions: the CWC could act beyond its constitutional powers in ‘special situations’ as long as it got the decision ratified by the AICC within six months. Party leaders later admitted that the provision did not specifically say that an elected party president could be removed with its help.

‘Arre yeh kya keh rahe ho (Hey, what are you saying)’ was all Kesri could say when he found his voice. But there was a smirk on the faces of his colleagues. Kesri raved against the ‘unconstitutional’ meeting and loudly protested that he was still the Congress chief. But Prasada, the vice president of the party was already announcing, to thunderous applause, that ‘Madam Sonia Gandhi’ was their new leader.

The axed president stormed out, followed by Anwar. He spent more than an hour in his office, calling up his advisors, but it was already getting difficult to hear them amid the crackers and slogans welcoming Sonia. When Kesri stepped out of the room, his name board was missing, already replaced by a computer printout that said: ‘Congress President Sonia Gandhi’. (Excerpt from 24 Akbar Road: A Short History of The People Behind The Fall And Rise of The Congress by Rasheed Kidwai)

When the Congress Party wanted to install Sonia Gandhi, first as the party President and as the Prime Minister of India, they had moved out of the realm of tolerance/intolerance.  They were ready to circumvent the law of land to do treason.  A foreign born – with several questionable dealings with arms dealers and smugglers of her own origin country – was being made the leader of the land.  This society in it naivette, still accepted it.  Had it not been for the enforcement of law by the then President Abdul Kalam, India would have had an Italian origin lady as India’s PM.

Again, what is Intolerance?

On January 18, 2014 during a AICC meeting in New Delhi, a former diplomat and senior Congress leader showed his contempt and hatred for the PM nominee of his opposition party – the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).  In a question about Narendra Modi he shouted back at the reporter

“I promise you in 21st century Narendra Modi will never become the Prime Minister of the country… but if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him”.

The Doon School; St. Stephen’s College; and Trinity Hall, Cambridge educated politician was quite clearly contemptuous of a commoner.  A person who as a poor kid would sell tea at a railway platform. How could he even aspire to be the Prime Minister of the country?  To the elite burgeosi in the Congress party – intolerant as they have been of the common people – such a scenario was unthinkable!

What was particularly remarkable was that people called it just a “Class fight” and not an intensifying of a hate culture against one man who had steered his party to the door of victory.  Same party, whose constituents and partners had since independence had been systematically persecuted under one pretext or the other.

It is often said that to know the basic character of a guy, a woman in a new relationship should see how the guy talks to the restaurant staff.  That is also precisely the test for politicians – how they treat a commoner?

In Congress Party, we have a clique of elitist, holier-than-thou people who have usurped the power to rule India and structured its culture to favor a few.  A privileged few.  Participation or expression from others – specially the commoners – is not just frowned upon but beaten down mercilessly.

If you look at it carefully, Sonia Gandhi’s installation of Party President after kicking out of elected and incumbent President Sitaram Kesari was as telling an example of contempt of the rich and privileged towards the underprivileged as Manishankar Aiyyar’s shocking rant was.

In the run up to the elections, a journalist with a particularly Anti-Modi bias asked Modi as to why he was not yet the main candidate and what was stopping him?  Modi immediately retorted – “We should all appreciate that in India, there is at least one party which has a democratic process.  And that process will decide the PM nominee after the consultation of the Parliamentary board and other functionaries.  Isn’t internal democracy in political parties a matter of pride?  Or should the PM candidates be decided by their surnames?”

Compared to a set up where a tea seller kid is now at the helm, we have Rahul Gandhi as Congress Party’s perennial PM candidate simply because he is of a particular family.  Others who aren’t from the family – like Sitaram Kesari, PV Narasimha Rao and Lal Bahadur Shastri – are sidelined and disowned despite their contributions!

Paupers don’t Preach!

During Modi’s trip to England last week, the Guardian and the BBC – in an attempt to embarrass the PM, asked him questions on how Intolerance was growing in India.  Both in their content as well as in the press conference.

Those who have never known how acceptance could be a way to live, have now found it in them to preach to India on the importance of tolerance.  When the genocides were being perpetrated on India’s poor by way of orchestrating famines – which occured in 1770, 1783, 1866, 1873, 1897, and 1943-44 – newspapers like “The Guardian” and media house like BBC remained mum.  The foundation of The Guardian was kept in 1821 by a cotton merchant called John Edward Taylor, so it was very active during the worst genocides perpetrated by its country.

As the millions died, pacifist freedom fighters jailed and an entire population made poor by siphoning wealth out of India into Britain, no one in that country really took up the cause of the victims of intolerance.  Not even when Gandhi came calling for freedom.  When Khalistani and Islamic terrorists found safe haven in Britain in the 1980s to today, how many in that press have protested Intolerance of those mass murderers?  If intolerance of thought and deed is what irks them, then why the selective outrage?  Are terrorists’ freedom protected by your country – often used as a bulwark against another friendly country with the facility of plausible deniability – an example of tolerance or intolerance?  How about India giving safe haven to the bombers of 7/7 in London or to the killers of Charlie Hebdo?  Would that be tolerance?

It is these “liberals” – if you can call them that – who now have the gumption to talk of freedom and tolerance.  After they have been silent companions of colonialism and intolerance for over  200 years?

Those who are paupers in terms of freedom quotient should stop preaching others.  Whether it is Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, The Guardian and BBC or the American Press!

Featured Image Source – Flickr – this is an illustration of the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre.  The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when a crowd of nonviolent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab were fired upon by troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer. The civilians had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations which are both a religious and a cultural festival of the Punjabis.

 

 

 

 

 

This Diwali Light a Lamp for Humanity’s Future

 

Diwali celebrations in India start with Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi and then Deepavali on the third day. Diwali is followed by Diwali Padva and then Bhai dooj which celebrates the love between sister and brother.

Diwali is celebrated for two main events.  Narakasura was killed by Krishna and Ram came home to Ayodhya after the exile of 14 years.  Diwali has its importance in all the Indian religions.  While Jains celebrate the enlightenment of Mahavir (the 24th Tirthankar), Sikhs celebrate the release of the 6th Guru, Sri Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes as well from Gwalior prison where he was jailed by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.

Diwali is on Kartik Amavasya.  The lunar new years starts as the Sun enters Scorpio and the month moves from Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) to Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight).

Although many religious commentators and lay men call Diwali to be a symbol of victory of Good over Evil, in spiritual terms the movement always needs to happen from ignorance to knowing.  It is not a knowing of knowledge of the mind, but the knowing of the existential Truth.  It is a realization rather.  In that realization – or enlightenment – a being lights up.  Darkness is expelled and Light emerges.  For those on Spiritual path, that is what Diwali represents.  Journey to light.  Just as the planet takes that step from darkness to light, so do many energies around us.  If we are able to work on ourselves, that possibility is available to us as well.

This Diwali, when the world is going through tremendous turmoil.  Terrorism, blasts, crashes and huge human migration causing strife and pain – we as a humanity need to move from our baser level of living to a higher level.  We have already caused enough damage to our climate and planet that we may have caused irreversible damage to it.

In such times, Diwali is a reminder to connect with the inner existential nature that is common to everyone and everything.  Unless we do that, we are merely reacting and over-reacting to everything around us.  In Spiritual traditions, it is said that the main strength of the human body is that it brings discretion along with it.  Without which, we work through our tendencies (or Vikar).  The problem with today’s world is that even with the body, most of the populace works sans any discretion.  Its the tendencies that are at the forefront.  In fact, primacy of tendencies is celebrated as uniqueness or individuality.  That further takes us away from the liberation of our being from the many limitations of body and mind.  By connecting with the inner self, we will not only learn to work with discretion but also able to look beyond the immediate, the gross and the material.  Maybe that, at least, can save our planet.

So this time when you light a lamp (diya), may that be the light that will help us out of ignorance to realization of a better future for humanity!  Let us remember the profound premise of the Sages who said the following in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.

 असतो मा सद्गमय ।
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
 शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Lead me from the Untruth (asat) to the Truth* (sat)
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality

*Truth in Hindu scriptures has no relation to “factual statement” but Truth is that which is Eternal and cannot be changed.  That, which can be changed or which isn’t the whole, is the Untruth.  In a way it is the movement from temporal to the Eternal

Featured Image courtesy Flickr

Karwa Chauth: Why this celebration of love is so powerful

Whenever anyone has broken the boundaries that come with the limitations of mind and body, what s/he does is in the realm of miracles for the normal people who are defined by those limitations.  When Roger Bannister ran the under 4 minute mile for the first time, defying his mind and body, it was a miracle.  A miracle soon to be emulated by many.  When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay scaled the Everest, that was a miracle.

[bctt tweet=”Why #KarwaChauth? – Touching the field beyond right and wrong-doing #Lovebeyondlimitations”]

Where others broke down, where other gave in to their desires and even body’s needs, many men and women didn’t.  And in those moments of defying their mind and body’s limitations, they prevailed over what others termed as impossible odds.  That is the power of “going beyond”.  Going beyond your mind and body.  You do not become God or start doing miracles.  You simply do things that people often term work of the divine.  Look at what Wim Hof does for example, when he is in extreme cold.  He says Cold is God.

What he does can be physically impossible.  It defies science and biology.

In the lives of ordinary people, Love holds that key where ordinary people sometimes do things that would even surprise them, if they weren’t in love.  When in love, those who can’t live without eating can suddenly forget eating.  Such is the power of love.

The concept of Karwa Chauth and the legend of a wife who is committed and loving and who goes without eating or drinking the whole day stopping Death or Yama from touching her husband comes from that realization.  It is not that when a woman fasts, she will ensure the long life of her husband.  It is not an insurance.  Nor is it some kind of “I do the fast, you get the life” kind of transference.  In fact, it has nothing to do with husband or death.  It has to do with love. [For the uninitiated, Karwa Chauth was celebrated today, Oct 30th, by Hindus the world over]

When love fires the effort to transcend bodily limitations, then one can touch the divine.  If the love is deeper than physical, then the life energies resonate in unison.  In such a couple, an intention of one can impact the whole.

In times of marriages before dating and live-ins, the couples came together in a union far deeper than just physical and compatibility of habits.  How the toilet seat will be kept wasn’t a deal breaker!  In the lives of couples where love manifested deeper than physical, it wasn’t uncommon for both to depart close to each other.  One died and the other just withered away and died within days, weeks or few months.  It was almost as if the life sustenance was gone.  When the very life energies were so tightly bound, for one person to go beyond his or her limitation and shed the limitation of body and mind meant enhancing the life energies of the union itself.  Ask in your family and you will see examples of couples a couple of generations ago who were so close that one’s death brought the other’s within days.

If – which is important – if a person, a wife – in this case – touched the level which lies beyond the realm of limitation (the true realm beyond the “right-doing and wrong-doing), one touched the Divine.  In that experience and state, one could do whatever one wished with one’s life energies.  Even defy death.  For couples so close that their very life energies were intertwined, that meant one taking charge of the whole union!

In the act of fasting one defies the limitations and needs of the body.  Now, that may not be significant at times, but for those who had difficulty disentangling from the limitations of their body in any way, this could be a significant sacrifice and penance.  When one has remained without food or water for the whole day, one understands the pulls that this body exerts.  When love is thrown into the mix and this defiance of body’s pulls is FOR someone whom one is deeply connected to, then the mix of love and bodily defiance can have the possibility to take one to that state of beyond right-doing and wrong-doing.  In that realm or field, one touches the divine.  If, that happened even ONCE in the entire lifetime of Karwa Chauths, your life as a couple and individual could be miraculous.  You aren’t just in touch with that which is the creative energy of the existence, but you also have the ability to define the life of another.

But why women?  Contrary to what feminists may want the world to believe, men and women ARE different.  And, women are the pinnacle of existence.  To equate them to men is to lower their own glory actually.  But who can argue with masochists turned into activists?  In a feminine world, violence doesn’t define the world, love does.  The finer qualities of this existence manifest.  Musuo society in China which is matriarchal and where women lead men, there is no word for Violence!  Men have ruled the world by violence.  That makes them rulers and vanquishers, but not right!  Just because men have subjugated everything from the beasts to fellow humans to even the divine, doesn’t mean that is the right way of doing things!

Feminine energy’s greatest strength is love.  Love can take a woman far higher than any man can get.  That is why Spiritual journey of most women has been via the Valley of Love.  Bhakti or Devotion has been their greatest strength.

Men, known to conquer, on the other hand, have found liberation in Kriya Yoga the most.  They have approached the divine via conquest.  Of their own self nonetheless.  But conquest nevertheless.

That is why what a woman in a union could do simply with her love, a man had to do via tough and hard pilgrimages.  The goal was the same.  To touch the divine.  To be in that field that is beyond “right-doing and wrong-doing”.  But the journeys were different.

Like Rumi’s beautiful articulation neither was love right, nor pilrimage wrong.  They were a means to that state which is beyond these definitions.

No one can define another’s life span.  But when the other is part of one whole of what I call me, then whatever I do for me is done for the whole.  In that, is the most fundamental rationale and the beauty of Karwa Chauth.  Insurance for a husband’s life has nothing to do with it.

Post script:

Things like Karwa Chauth assumed full potency when marriages were done in a certain way and with a certain goal.  When done in those ways, life energies of the couple were intertwined in a very deep way.  Watch this to understand how this was done.  And because of which a woman’s effort to go beyond body’s limitation suddenly took on a life that created a foundational union.

 

 

 

Why does Republicans’ Outrage on the Pope Reminds One of Henry VIII?

Henry VIII’s love for Catholicism during his early years was undeniable but when in May of 1533, his love life collided with the religious dictum of his time that flowed from the Church in Rome, his opposition to the Pope and the Roman Church was fierce.  For a simple belief in Papal authority, hundreds and thousands were burnt alive, tortured in the most unbelievable ways.  If belief is predicated on faith, then how could it take a u-turn so terribly inhuman?  Because belief is never sincere.  It is a prejudice in action.

During his US visit, the Pope talked of many issues like immigration, Climate change, violence and guns, and compassion.  Suddenly, these have rattled the Republicans.  For the Christian right wing, Climate Change is no longer a simple issue of planet’s survival but that of “faith”.  That is why it seems rather incredulous when Rick Santorum reprimands the Pope to keep to his job in a typical Henry VIII’s style.

“The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.”

If Climate Change was merely an issue of contribution to the planet’s survival – conservation, environment, and science – then it wouldn’t be central to the “faithful”.  Everyone would have approached it differently.  It is the ‘Rick Santorums’ who have shaped Climate into an object of faith, and then chided the faith’s keeper to stay away.

Have things changed any since Henry VIII?

Belief is merely a convenient way to propagating prejudices.  Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell used it in ways that their society allowed – torture, burnings, beheadings – to further their own prejudices.  Rick Santorum and senators like James Inhofe do it in their ways using what they have available to them in today’s time.

The Pope, however, is a convenient ball to play around with, in this game.  Not that I am advocating Papal infallibility.  Far from it.  I maintain that Roman Church is nothing more than an extension of the Roman Empire.  Same core, same soul, same decadence and same aggression.  Just the means changed.  Christ was a more potent mascot and ruse to make the crimes toward and genocides of almost every indigenous population look righteous.  If Christ was what he is supposed to be, then he was crucified, tortured, beheaded, skinned alive for last 2000 years in the most terrible ways in every nook and corner of every continent, in his own name!

My entry point is the unchanging face of faith.  A faith that is no more than a facade of religiosity. Passed off as devotion, it is nothing like that.  If someone is devoted to Pope, then he can’t be a “have-some, throw-some” authority.  Would he?

What is true of the Pope is true of every religious symbol.  And it is not related to just Catholics.  It is true of all believers of every kind.  For belief is a reflection of personal prejudices.  It has no significance beyond one’s mind and conditioning.

When such politically motivated prejudices start dictating an entire nation’s direction – not just in religion, but in things like education, science, environment and basic life itself, then things can take a downward spiral that is hard to predict.  Henry VIII’s dance of politics, prejudices and religion threw up terrible nightmares like Cromwell and others, but it took mass and ruthless bloodshed by Queen Mary to help everyone realize how badly it had gone wrong.  Should it take an equivalent of a “Bloody Mary” for this generation to realize this?!

 

 

 

Toupee or Not Toupee

Most of the World’s leaders have some extremely complex issues to tackle with.  How to fight poverty, get the economy on track, hackers starting a national security crisis.  But there is one Presidential hopeful in the US – and if he can do what he has done, may be the most powerful man in the world – has a unique problem at hand.  Rather on his head.  His hair!

Everyone thinks Donald Trump wears such an outrageous head of hair that surely nature couldn’t do such an unaesthetic job on itself for no good reason!  Ergo, it must be a man-made disaster of blonde proportions!

It’s bad enough he has to deal with the blonde reputation, his hair style also didn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence in serious folks.  So Trump used a CNN press conference to settle the matter.  He brought in an independent “observer” who was asked to give her verdict.  The brunette dug into Trump’s hair and gave her pronouncement.

“This is on the front page of the New York Times. I don’t wear a toupee, it’s my hair! I swear. We’re gonna settle this! Come on up here, they’re gonna let you.  You have to do an inspection, real quick. We don’t wanna mess it up too much ’cause I do use hairspray.”  Trump said.

The grinning woman, who later swore she had never met the real estate mogul before, obliged, gingerly patting Trump’s iconic silver barnet.
“Is it mine?” he demanded.

“It is!” the woman, sounding a little surprised.  “Say it, please,” Trump continued, directing her to the microphone.

“Yes I believe it is.”

Yes, it is nature’s blunder not a man-made disaster after all!  Well, since nature and the Divine had messed up on this piece so outrageously anyway, why not take it all the way and blow up the disastrous work as much as one can?  So, on top of Donald Trump – in himself an incredible creation – we have a blonde hair accident.

Significance of Trump

Many decades back in India, the politicians started using criminals to push them to power. They provided them patronage and the criminals and goons provided them manpower to twist the right arms or get the wrong head off its body.

It went fine for some years as the goons got prominence and could get their work done without the interference from the politicians.  But soon every politician was using the goons.. and from the SAME set of the goon pool.  Now, one politician would help and other would screw them.  Sometimes, the same politician would help bring up one guy and then cut him down to size.

In the last couple of decades, the goons woke up to another possibility – cut out the middleman!  Why fight for the politician?  Why not do it himself?  So, India now has a Parliament with 186 criminals with charges of murder and rape against them!

Trump is the equivalent of the criminals in Indian Parliament, just that he woke up too late!  His and his peers’ moneys are used by politicians with smart business executives to buoy their chances and make them look good.  Well, Trump HAS the money and he works with some very smart executives himself.  So why not do what say Jeb Bush would do anyway?  Just get the better speech writer and thinker in place who can help fashion the right take on all strategic issues.  And once the stand is articulated on each issue, just go with it.  Leave the rest for the “Spin team”.  Isn’t that what everyone does anyway?  They tailor make messages for Tea Party, moderate Conservatives, old-school Conservatives and New School Conservatives as well as some undecided!

The result?  He is beating the heck out of every other Republican candidate now!

Businessman Donald Trump is leading his next-closest Republican presidential competitor by 16 points in a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday that saw his support jump 8 points from one released in late July.

Mr. Trump was the first choice of 28 percent of Republican or Republican-leaning voters in the national poll, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 12 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 7 percent apiece.

Trump will get other businessmen thinking.  Why donate?  Why not use for being the President myself?

And, that is a major step down for any democracy, as India has learnt to their dismay.  It is a slippery slope, once it starts there is no end.  He will make the voter in the democratic process completely irrelevant in the US and serve as the start of an end.  His central argument is that politicians (or Washington Insiders) are out of touch and idiots.  He brings sense and change.

Yes, he is right that politicians suck.  In the US and everywhere else as well.  But to subvert the system itself because the process is flawed is the most foolish strategy.  Those who want their freedoms and democracy will be made to feel as it is there, but it will be long gone with the haunting question of Trump’s toupee!

 

 

 

Detailed Historical Context to India-Pakistan Kashmir Issue, Recent NSA Talks and the Way Ahead

The recent NSA talks have – as the author had predicted – been called off by Pakistan.  Numerous analysts and commentators in India and the its opposition parties – including the various intriguing folks in Pakistan – have been coming up with their own versions of the situation.

The author finds discussion of central and most critical facts completely missing in the larger discourse.  It is time we look into them.

1.  Accession of Kashmir to India was Final: The Cabinet Mission memorandum, drawn up by the British, devolved powers to the states left behind.  Apart from the Indian territory, over which the British had direct control over, they had “Paramountcy” over the “princely states” which were ruled by their respective Kings.  The memorandum said that the paramountcy over the 565 Princely states will also lapse and they will have freedom to choose their own future – Independence, India or Pakistan.  This is the relevant portion.

“His Majesty’s Government will cease to exercise power of paramountcy. This means that the rights of the States, which flow from their relationship to the Crown, will no longer exist and that all the rights surrendered by the State to the paramount power will return to the States. Political arrangements between the States on the one side and the British Crown will thus be brought to an end. The void will have to be filled either by the States entering into a federal relationship with the successor government or governments in British India or, failing this, entering into particular political arrangements with it or them.” (Cabinet Mission’s Memorandum)

Since these states were monarchies, the decision to go independent/India/Pakistan was the Ruler’s and not a democratic decision.  It is a basic lesson of Civics for any student of political science.

Interestingly, the Prime Minister of Kashmir, RC Kak, sent identical telegrams to India and Pakistan on August 12, 1947 for “Standstill Agreement”, saying:

“Jammu and Kashmir Government would welcome Standstill Agreement with Union of India/Pakistan on all matters on which there exists arrangements with the outgoing British India Government.”

Pakistan replied back on August 15, 1947:

“The Government of Pakistan agrees to have Standstill Agreement with Jammu and Kashmir for the continuation of existing arrangements …”.

While India replied:

“Government of India wou:id be glad if you or some other Minister duly
authorised in this behalf could fly to Delhi for negotiating Standstill Agreement between Kashmir Government and India dominion. Early action desirable to maintain intact exlsting agreements and administrative arrangements.”

Basically Pakistan ratified the agreement and accorded Kashmir under Maharaja Hari Singh the status of sovereign state and Maharaja Hari Singh as the legitimate ruler.  The finality of Kashmir’s accession to India was also underscored by US and USSR at that time:

“External sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir is no longer under the control of the Maharaja. With the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, this foreign sovereignty went over to India and is exercised by India and that is how India happens to be here as a petitioner.” (US Representative in the Security Council, February 4, 1948)  “The question of Kashmir has been settled by the people of Kashmir themselves. They decided that Kashmir is an integral part of the Republic of India.” USSR representative at the 765th meeting of the Security Council

Therefore, any discussion that debates the accession of Jammu and Kashmir – the ENTIRE Kashmir (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir – PoK – and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir) is an exercise in futile!

2.  Plebiscite and Pakistani Amnesia: When the Pakistan Army officers led the invasion of Kashmir, and India came to Maharaja Hari Singh’s rescue, he signed an “Instrument of Accession” on October 27, 1947.

This was to be the basis of Kashmir’s accession to India.

Given the war and bad counsel to Indian PM Nehru, he took the issue to the United Nations.  There were three resolutions in the United Nations – January 17, 1948, August 13 1948 and finally a supplementary on January 5th 1949.

Interestingly, Pakistan talks of only one clause from the last supplementary resolution without providing any context to it – i.e., the Plebiscite.  And, in the larger national discourse of Pakistan, “Plebiscite” seems to be a buzzword that is thrown around carelessly though with an air of supreme confidence in one’s own knowledge without proper discussion to its background.  Let us check the facts now.

This supplementary resolution of January 5th, states:

 A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed;

So, the basis of this national buzzword of Pakistan – “Plebiscite” – is the completion of Parts I and II of the agreements in resolution of August 13, 1948.  Let us look into them.  The complete text for both are given at the end of the article, but we will look at the critical portion here.

“As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.”

Now, we have two interesting things coming out of this statement:

  1. Pakistan needs to withdraw all its troops from the State of Jammu and Kashmir.  One that was to happen from entire Jammu and Kashmir!  That known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and that which is part of India – a state called Jammu and Kashmir.  After Pakistan had withdrawn its entire set of troops, then India had to withdraw its main forces to a level needed to administer the state.  Please note again that we are talking of the ENTIRE state of Jammu and Kashmir – including PoK and Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. Since Pakistan had to withdraw its forces completely out of the area, it is obvious that – One, it was the aggressor, and Second, the complete Jammu and Kashmir was NOT its territory at all.

We have now established two things:

One, The Entire area of Jammu and Kashmir which comprises the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir – were part of India based on the Instrument of Accession signed by Jammu and Kashmir’s ruler Maharaja Hari Singh – who was accepted by the Government of Pakistan as the legitimate soverign ruler of Jammu and Kashmir via the Standstill Agreement.

Second, the Plebiscite – the buzzword of Pakistan’s ill-informed but very vocal so-called analysts – is worth nothing in any standing.  Its application stands nullified because Part I and Part II of the resolution of August 13 had been completely destroyed.  Why?  That the troops were not taken out by Pakistan and the land vacated is the obvious reason.  But the mischief by Pakistan went further.

And this is where we move to the next point.

3.  Sino-Pak Trans-karakoram Agreement of 1963 and Nullifying of Plebiscite Argument: Along both sides of Shaksgam River, is a 5800 km2 area called the “Trans-Karakoram tract”. This area was quietly transferred by Pakistan to China. This area, incidentally, amounts to a third of the entire Kashmir area. The Shaksgam Valley has been long administered as part of Shigar area within the Baltistan region. The valley also boasts of a polo ground where Shigar kings and nobels would be invited over for a game by Amacha Royal family of Shigar. It is a difficult land though with some of the highest mountain peaks in the world such as Broad Peak, K2 and Gasherbrum. The famous Siachen glacier, where India and Pakistan fight even today is to the Southeast of this area.

Because of the Trans-Karakoram Agreement, the material situation of Jammu and Kashmir – where a third of the territory was ceded to China – had been irretrievably changed.  Plebiscite was thus rendered nullified.

It aggravates the writer as it would most Indians, that in the 65 years since then, NONE of the Indian Governments – specially during the time of 1963 (PM Nehru!) – ever challenged this agreement in the United Nations or spoke about it in International fora!  This one agreement remains the singular greatest betrayal of Indian interests in Kashmir and lack of any challenge from India is an even greater betrayal by the Congress Party and its leaders!

4.  Hoax of Kashmiri Independence and Article 257 of Pakistan Constitution: For all the talk by Pakistanis of how their hearts beat for Kashmiris and how Pakistan is so interested in their “freedom”, one only needs to read the Article 257 of Pakistan Constitution.  Here it is:

Provision relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.-When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.

So here is the process if one did not get it on first reading.

  1. First, people of Jammu and Kashmir accede to Pakistan.
  2. Then, the relationship will be determined as per the wishes of the people of that State.

It sounds like – Once I have arrested you and taken all your freedoms, then we can discuss our relationship.  Am I the only one getting it wrong here or are we on the same page?!

Its perfidy aside, do we understand the meaning of this treachery against Kashmiris which is part of Pakistani Constitution?!  That means:

Unless a Government of Pakistan has amended its Constitution to take away this Article, NO Track-II, Track-III, Track-IV, or whatever diplomacy you may want can be implemented! 

Has any Government you have seen in Pakistan, even remotely tried to do that?  Or had the power and inclination to take the whole nation of Pakistan into confidence to do this?  NO!  The “backstage diplomacy” between India and Pakistan, therefore, is a non-starter from get go!  It will NEVER BE IMPLEMENTED!

5. Diplomatic Losses by Indian Government: The losses by the Indian Diplomats and the Governments in relation to Pakistan have been aggravatingly numerous!  Let us look into them:

Naivette of 1948 UN Action by Nehru: The UN Resolutions and lack of Indian side’s insistence to name Pakistan a clear aggressor and not having any rights on the territory.  It is clear from the whole argument that this was so, but it needed to be clearly articulated.  But before that, India’s forces needed to be given a full clearance to free Kashmir from the invading Pakistani forces.  This was blocked by the British Army officers including Lord Mountbatten and despite messages by Indian Army commanders reinforcements were not sent in by Nehru.  Instead the issue was taken to the United Nations!  (Read – Definitive Story of Kashmir: Part II)

1965 Tashkent Agreement and betrayal of India: In an article written in July 2001, Kuldip Nayar describes how after the rout of Pakistan in the 1965 war – a war that was started by Bhutto as per Ayub Khan himself – Lal Bahadur Shastri did all he could to get peace with Pakistan. Bhutto never wanted that to happen and despite a small phrase added on the Tashkent Agreement – “Without resort to arms” – by Ayub Khan in his own handwriting (still in the archives of the External Affairs ministry in India), Bhutto never really intended to carry it through. (Source and also read The Betrayal of Tashkent in 1965)

1971 War, 90,000 PoWs and the betrayal of Shimla agreement:  This was the greatest betrayal for India, since the one by Nehru in 1948.  And there is no better way to speak about it than to use the words of LK Advani from his book “My Country My Life”.

In July 1972, India Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (who had by now become Pakistan’s Prime Minsiter after the exit of Gen. Yahya Khan) met in Shimla for a summit meeting.  Learning from the exprience of teh Tashkent Declaration, the Jana Sangh took the pains of reminded the government not to yield ground at Shimla.  A resolution passed in March 1972 by the party’s Working Committee said:

Ever since the end of the 14-day war with Pakistan, pressure is being mounted to force India to repatriate Pak prisoners of war (PoWs) and to withdraw Indian troops from Pakistani territory, irrespective of whether or not there is an overall peace settlement between India and Pakistan. [emphasis added]  The Communist Party of India’s resolution calling for withdrawal of Indian troops to the 1948 ceasefire line can well be regardded as reflecting Moscow’s mind…. Any piecemeal settlement of issues that suits Pakistan would be wrong, impolitic and against the best interests of India.  There should be no question of withdrawing Indian troops unless all pending issues are thrashed out and a package deal has been arrived at in the interest of a durable peace between India and Pakistan.

As part President, Atalji met Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Shimla and urged her not to agree to the release of PoWs and withdrawal of Indian troops without securing a permanent settlement with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.  Sadly, the Shimla Agreement turned out to be another betrayal.

Equating terrorism in Pakistan and India by Pakistan at Sharm Ek Sheikh in 2009: Balochistan (and India’s involvement there) is a controversy theory that has been spun by Pakistani intelligence agencies to further their own interests in persecution of the Balochis.  That story of “terrorism in Balochistan” was added to the Joint Statement after the meeting between Dr. Manmohan Singh (Indian PM) and Syed yousuf Raza Gilani (Pakistani PM).  Here is the relevant text:

Prime Minister Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice. Prime Minister Gilani assured that Pakistan will do everything in its power in this regard. He said that Pakistan had provided an updated status dossier on the investigations of the Mumbai attacks and had sought additional information/evidence. Prime Minister Singh said that the dossier is being reviewed.

Both leaders agreed that the two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Baluchistan and other areas

What it did was equate the Pakistan orchestrated terror in India and Pakistan’s fabricated stories of ethnic fights in its own country propagated by its oppressive military regime!  Balochistan has nothing to do with Indo-Pak relationship.  It is an internal matter of Balochistan and Pakistan.  By talking about it in the same breath as 26/11, the Manmohan Singh Government of Congress threw away India’s diplomatic plank just like Nehru, Shastri and Indira Gandhi had done in 1948, 1965 and 1972!

Preparation and Home-work by India in run up to NSA talks

One of the charge by the media – which always seems to be sucking up to the Congress and opposition – and the Oppostition (any coincidence?!) is that there was no “home-work” prior to the NSA talks and it was all a confused strategy.

But was it?

UAE is one of the most important Arab states which has had strong relations with Pakistan.  In a sort of coup and a very significant move, UAE signed a Joint Statement with India to crack down on terrorism and radicalization, including use of religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries.

Please remember – one of the most important places where the Pakistani Jehadis go hide when the trail on them is hot in Pakistan itself is Dubai!  The idea was to encircle Pakistan and close its “escape routes”.

This came after the closing on the Charbahar port deal with Iran – another neighbor and ally of Pakistan.  This port is in direct competition with Gwadar in Pakistan.

Just a day before the start of the NSA talks, the news came from the US that US was set to suspend the military aid to Pakistan as it is being now termed as a “Hostile State”.  This is no small change in the policy of US establishment towards Pakistan.

Best negotiations do NOT happen during the negotiations, but before it.  The best way to win in any negotiation is to defeat the opponent even before you enter the room.  Pakistan knew it was cornered even before the negotiations.  Indian Government was merely herding Pakistan to a point where it would cancel the talks itself.  The aim was to impress upon the talks about terror happening, and not to cancel them.  If Pakistan went into the talks it would be badly cornered, and if it didn’t, it would come out as a loser and one who stopped the discussions in world’s eyes!

So far from “confusion” or lack of strategy – the strategy was very clear – to make Pakistan either fall into the trap (sit for talks it was already cornered on) or renege on the meeting and lose the diplomatic battle.  The latter was the easy way out so it went for that.

But it takes the likes of Barkha Dutt and Manish Tewari to take the diplomatic and strategic victories of this Government and reduce it completely!

Way forward

Stage is now set.  For behind the scenes war.  Track II diplomacy is the work and past time of idiots.  Because unless some of these smart alecks can make the Pakistan leader abrogate Article 257 of the Pakistani Constitution, the Kashmir “out of the box” solution is basically “Out of the Window”!

The effort for India is to corner and completely isolate Pakistan from all sides.  It has lost a major Sunni ally in UAE and a Shia ally in Iran.  Both its neighbors and close allies.  It will further have issues in Middle East and also the Central Asian countries.  Once its isolation is increased even amongst the Islamic nations, then it will be time to further squeeze the screws on the home front and see the implosion of the majority of the economy and polity as Pakistanis know it.

So, if you are so worked up about the talks – and its not happening? – then you are basically an idiot who is better off reading Hardy Boys or Famous Five of Enid Blyton.  Your IQ hasn’t much expanded beyond that.  And that goes for Barkha Dutt and her ilk as well.  And, btw, Modi’s foreign policy is Modi’s and a different from all because he is the PM of the country!  Its time we knew that.

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UN Resolution of August 13, 1948

PART I: CEASE-FIRE ORDER

A. The Governments of India and Pakistan agree that their respective High Commands will issue separately and simultaneously a cease-fire order to apply to all forces under their control and in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as of the earliest practicable date or dates to be mutually agreed upon within four days after these proposals have been accepted by both Governments.

B.The High Commands of the Indian and Pakistani forces agree to refrain from taking any measures that might augment the military potential of the forces under their control in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. ( For the purpose of these proposals forces under their control shall be considered to include all forces, organized and unorganized, fighting or participating in hostilities on their respective sides.

C.The Commanders-in-Chief of the forces of India and Pakistan shall promptly confer regarding any necessary local changes in present dispositions which may facilitate the cease-fire.

D. In its discretion and as the Commission may find practicable, the Commission will appoint military observers who, under the authority of the Commission and with the co-operation of both Commands, will supervise the observance of the cease-fire order.

E. The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan agree to appeal to their respective peoples to assist in creating and maintaining an atmosphere favourable to the promotion of further negotiations.

PART II: TRUCE AGREEMENT

Simultaneously with the acceptance of the proposal for the immediate cessation of hostilities as outlined in Part I, both the Governments accept the following principles as a basis for the formulation of a truce agreement, the details of which shall be worked out in discussion between their representatives and the Commission.
A.

1. As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State.

2. The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistani nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.

3. Pending a final solution, the territory evacuated by the Pakistani troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the commission.

B.

1.When the commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistani nationals referred to in Part II, A, 2, hereof have withdrawn, thereby terminating the situation which was represented by the Government of India to the Security Council as having occasioned the presence of Indian forces in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and further, that the Pakistani forces are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India agrees to begin to withdraw the bulk of its forces from that State in stages to be agreed upon with the Commission.

2. Pending the acceptance of the conditions for a final settlement of the situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Government will maintain within the lines existing at the moment of the cease-fire the minimum strength of its forces which in agreement with the commission are considered necessary to assist local authorities in the observance of law and order. The Commission will have observers stationed where it deems necessary.

3. The Government of India will undertake to ensure that the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will take all measures within its powers to make it publicly known that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human political rights will be granted.

4. Upon signature, the full text of the truce agreement or a communique containing the principles thereof as agreed upon between the two Governments and the Commission, will be made public

Republican Conundrum: The Only Benchmark of Belief is Fanaticism

If belief in one and only ideal and ideology is the sine qua non of one’s identity, then how does one evaluate one’s progress or worth versus others?

If you have heard or read anything, you will understand that whatever you “gather” of what you have heard or read is not what was actually said or written – but your interpretation of that.  You interact with the world through the prisms and windows of your own prejudices and paradigms.

Now let’s go back to our question above.  If there is one ideology or book or ideal that is promoted and you have to believe in it then how do you measure your worth and ensure uniformity of that belief?  You will understand that just as a book is what you make of it, the ideology of your belief is  also what you make of it.

So, the belief of one person in an ideology is not the same as belief of another in that same ideology.  It has never been and it can never be.  That is the curse of our minds which is nothing but a ball of prejudices gathered over our lives – thanks to our upbringing, society, readings and influences.

If one ideology does not provoke the same understanding of it in everyone, then how do you:

(1) Ensure uniformity?

(2) Find distinctions?

The answer to the first is – make the hues as starkly black and white as you can.  Any presence of hues/greys will introduce interpretations and therefore further divergences within the ideological group.  That is why the aim of all the leaders of every belief system is to create stark contrasts.  “With us or Against us”.  “Believers or Non-believers”.  and the list goes on.

In stark duality lies the way to uniformity, despite the prejudicial intellect of a mind.

No human endeavor is without the urge to be better than the other.  Even two siblings fight over who is loved more by a parent.  There is a race for distinction over the other in whatever way one can make it possible.  When all else fails, the shade of one’s hair color will do as well!

So, when the drive of the belief systems is towards uniformity of minds borne out of stark contrasts, how do you ensure distinction?

The answer is a simple one.  Fanaticism.

The drive for stark contrasts fuels fanaticism, while the urge for distinction takes fanaticism to fatal extremes.

How better to swear your allegiance than to be killed and kill others for your belief that knows the world in only contrasts?  “With us or Against us”.

I can only become a better believer if my fervor is more than the other.  Leading to fanaticism.  Otherwise, its just a world of prejudiced minds full of hues being forced to a world of stark contrasts.  In a world of forced uniformity – how else can you achieve distinction?

And this has been the conundrum that most states which stitch their governance mechanism to a religion – the most potent and feared of all belief systems – face.

The world of Islam has seen this issue for many centuries now.  And, it has been the most obvious in the last 30 years or so.  As the specter of Jihad was created in Pakistan and the US along with the Saudis created the infrastructure of hatred – the mujahids were the feared warriors who defeated the Soviets.  Then came the Taliban – fueled by the hate-filled Madrasas of Pakistan, who defeated every other group of Jihadis to emerge the greatest monster unleashed in modern times.

But they were moderates compared to what was yet to come.

One very perceptive Indian politician – Bal Gangadhar Tilak – had once said “Revolutionaries of one era are moderates of another”.  Its important to say that firebrand Tilak was the first to call for India’s independence from the British.  Yet, he didn’t allow Gandhi – yes the iconic symbol of moderation! – to start his first Civil Disobedience movement (the Noncooperation movement), because… it was an “extremist step”!  Gandhi waited until Tilak died.  Two days later Gandhi went live.

After Taliban came the Al Qaeda and the many extremist Jihadi groups.  In the last 2 years however, all of these groups look decidedly moderate.  What we have now is ISIS.  They want to destroy all the others.

Republicans and the Right Wing movement

There was a time, way back in the early 2000s when George Bush was the epitome of the right wing Christian mindset and the rest of the Republican ideologies that derived from the positions that the Republican party thought suited their business interests!  Otherwise, how can a mind be so concerned about violence against a foetus calling itself “Pro-life” and also be fanatically backing guns?  Or put another way – how can someone pump in money for everything in the name of Jesus – a being who had not an iota in him that called for survival or violence – and hold him as the “Savior”, the “Greatest man” and all the rest of it, and YET be mindlessly backing guns?  The problem is that Jesus is a belief.  So is the concern for the foetus.  Such concerns and love do not spring from the consciousness, but from belief.  Jesus and the concern for the foetus is an ideology.  Given enough money and the right nudge, this belief system can make enough space for guns.. bigger and terrible guns as well.  Even wars.  Terrible wars fought based on outright lies (remember Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame?).  Torture and violence unspeakable.

The buffet of ideological components predicated on belief do not sit with each other at the level of consciousness.  The reason why such a thing happens is because the passion for belief created by numbing of the hues of the minds into stark contrasts – also freezes the inherent life of consciousness.

Once the fervor of belief and freezing of ideologies was set in motion – most put in place by money and many by even baser elements of the human mind – the new tools of promotion and communication afforded by the internet and the monies that came with it – created an even more potent cloud of Fanaticism.

From Bush to Ted Cruz and Tea Party to now Trump, is the snow balling of the components in the ideological menu of Republican right wing.  Pro-life, guns, wars, no government, no immigration, no social security..  etc.

Trump is reaping what Reagan sowed.

The ideological components which used Jesus as a convenient platform now have a life of their own.  Trump is as far from Jesus as the Earth is from the farthest star in the Universe, but who cares?  He has all the rest of the ideological components pat down.  Jesus can wait.

A party which paid dearly for having prejudices against the Hispanic immigrants aired so openly and brazenly in the media and otherwise, Trump pushes its chances further down.  If Tea Party’s fanaticism did Mitt Romney in the last time, this time Trump has taken the prejudices to another level on the scale.  And, the masses brought up on the ideolgical cocktail of those “components” are lapping up.  The guy is leading!

Trump is trumping reason and any sense that may have still been left in the party’s constituency.  And with that Republicans have become their own caricatures.

Revolutionaries of one era are the moderates of another, as Tilak once said.  And, Ted Cruz is the moderate of today.  If that doesn’t present a conundrum damning enough, one doesn’t know what will?

Lessons from Indian Caste System and the US Presidential Race

Everyone has got India’s Caste System completely wrong.  Castes – the four:  Brahman (teacher/intellectual), Kshatriya (fighter/Law Enforcement), Vaishya (Businessman/Trader) and Shudra (Blue-collar worker) – have been prevalent in every society in all times.  Never has a society existed without these four predominant roles and people who fall in these categories broadly.  Some straddle, but mostly these are the four inherent vocational tendencies that people perform.

The scourge of Caste System was NOT because there were castes, but because there was immobility between them.  For most of India’s ancient and medieval history, the Rishis and Gurus were all from the “lower castes” (Blue collar).  From Ved Vyas to Valmiki to the later Gurus, most were from families doing menial work.  The Ashrams and the Universities during those times taught kids different skills.  And based on what you learnt, you got into that profession.  Getting into a Guru’s disciple-ship was predicated on the Guru’s discernment of who was or wasn’t suitable for that vocation inherently.  Subjective yes, but isn’t entry into which University subjective even today?

When the invasions occurred, the Ashrams and Universities like Nalanda and Taxila were destroyed.  The vehicles for mobility between castes were destroyed as well.  That created castes frozen in filial and hereditary lineage.  Moral of the Story: When Open education system is destroyed, Caste System is a verity.

In the race to browbeat the Indian caste structure without properly understanding why its nasty ruins manifested due to social upheavals – we miss out on something that has kept this culture and civilization in place.  The primacy of Intellect in governance.  Every King had a Royal Guru, whom he consulted.

I am sure people will charge on saying – “Well, afterall he was too interpreting scriptures”.  Sometimes, not always.  Even when he was, the scripture in Indian / Vedic sense did not equate to an Abrahamic scripture.  Vedic scriptures consist of two components – Smritis and Shruti.  Shruti is the unchangeable component (includes Vedas), while Smritis are contextual to a time and culture it comes about (Arthashastras, Puranas etc).  Shruti is the articulation of the source that an enlightened being.. any enlightened being “taps” into.  What Valmiki touched, what Krishna touched, what Buddha touched, what Mahavir touched, what Nanak touched or Ramana touched is unchanging Source of Creation.  Its articulation is Shruti.  That never needs to be in memory.  Every enlightened being – no matter how educated or how illiterate (Nanak or Kabir for example) can experience and articulate.

Anything else with social relevance is of memory.  So, Smriti.  It is of a time and of a place.  That which belongs to one place, is also changing.  That is why Smritis have changed and will always change.

So, while Royal Gurus were Enlightened beings – and so articulated the source of creation, they also created the Smriti of their times.  Their particular tradition.  That wisdom was the work of a Guru.  And the Guru was at the helm of the whole Governance system.  The warrior (i.e.; King) was guided by him.  Rules for the rest were inspired by the wisdom of the intellect and higher consciousness of a Guru and enforced by the Ruler.

This served this culture really well for many millennia.  It takes some doing to remain a consistent civilization for over 7000 years.

The American Elections Field and Intellect

Today we saw the first GOP debate for the 10 candidates for nomination in the Presidential race.  The front-runner was Donald Trump.  He came from behind and has already surged ahead of Jeb Bush and indications are that he will continue to surge ahead.

When asked about his business practices – specifically his filing of many bankruptcies – he said: “I used the prevalent laws”.  He also boasted of how he paid many politicians, “including many on this stage”!  He made it apparent that he was very rich.  $10 Billion rich!!

Looking at Obama, one saw how an intellectual – a well-educated person – was at the helm of affairs.  A Brahmin in his ways.  He may not be an enlightened being, but he has a steady head most of the times.  That intellect guided the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces that he is.

Barring Ronald Reagan, most of the Presidents in the US history have been intellectuals.  Those who weren’t (including Reagan) have created greater long term mess while sorting out short term problems.

Looking at Donald Trump it became apparent to one that the pendulum was shifting to a place where the Vaishya was to be at the helm.  Having the money and making the money needs a lot of compromises of consciousness.  Such a person cannot have the balance needed to hold the steering wheel of the nation with a steady hand.  Only a sharp, well informed and conscious intellect can do that.

Trouble in Future for US Generations

The US Education system is as stacked against mobility now.  The poor cannot fully access the best universities.  Some can and they – like Obama – are exceptions.  And only they make the mark.  Unbeknownst to most, the US society is now experiencing the beginning of the era of fossilized castes.  Lawyer’s kids will inherit their law practice.  Politician’s kids become politicians (Clinton, Bush, Kennedy) and so on.

In such a time, we have a wave in the social universe of US which is buoying up a leader who cares for “profits at any cost”.  Will the intensely “proud of his wealth” guy leave his business interests outside the gates of White House?  I surely doubt.

The rich-poor gap is enlarging and will continue to grow.  So will structures in the society be hardened.  As will the ideologies.

No matter who comes in as the next President of the US of A, the future remains bleak in my eyes… unless one of the jokers who makes it to the White House can find a real Enlightened Being to lean on!

International Yoga Day: Controversies, responses and Why Yoga?

Well being has nothing to do with your belief system.  If your cholesterol is in the right limit, it is so because your body is working fine.  Not because you believe if Climate Change is real or not, or if god is a woman or man.  Chemicals in your brain, the electrical circuitry of your nervous system and the hormonal cocktail of your organs works best when in harmony and does so irrespective whether you are Rightist, Leftist, Right-of-Center, Left-of-Center, Fringe Right or Fringe left.  Thankfully, organs in our body do not care for which scripture you pledge on.  In fact, they would work just as well, if a Tea party Rightist died and his organs were transplanted in a gay person with radically different views and ideology with no interest in any god “up there”.

To evaluate the nonsensical construct of ideological bearing on one’s well being, one needs to look at one’s ownself a bit deeper and see if anything besides one’s mental gymnastics gets impacted by your choice of religion, belief patterns and political hues.  The answer is no.  Try hitting your self with a Bible, Quran and a Torah and see if your body hurts any different?

This is at the physically experiential level.  Quantum physicists are today talking of Quantum entanglement – where two electrons at the opposite ends of this Universe may be functioning as one with full synchronicity and information sharing.  Sounds strange?  Well, even the great Einstein was “spooked” and refused to accept the truth of Quantum world’s complete departure from the classical mechanics’ central precept of “Local Realism”.  He termed this possibility of “oneness” well beyond the speed of light, as “spooky action at a distance”.   Notwithstanding Einstein’s ideological paradigm, nature doesn’t give two hoots for that belief of classical mechanics and the reality of Quantum Entanglement has been scientifically demonstrated with photons, electrons, large molecule and even small diamonds.

Quantum entanglement in the motion of macroscopic solid bodies has implications both for quantum technologies and foundational studies of the boundary between the quantum and classical worlds. Entanglement is usually fragile in room-temperature solids, owing to strong interactions both internally and with the noisy environment. We generated motional entanglement between vibrational states of two spatially separated, millimeter-sized diamonds at room temperature. By measuring strong nonclassical correlations between Raman-scattered photons, we showed that the quantum state of the diamonds has positive concurrence with 98% probability. Our results show that entanglement can persist in the classical context of moving macroscopic solids in ambient conditions.

If one were to understand and accept the constant and all pervasive “entanglement” of the Universal substratum – information and particles / energy that lends itself (rather manifests) to the physical structures, then we would also have to accept that any part can best function when in sync with the “rest”.  What is “entangled” at the sub-atomic level in me with “star dust” of the far away galaxy is best manifesting in my physical self, when I am in tune with it.  When I accept that I am no more a “creation” at a physical level, but a manifestation of the quantum information, then I feel the need to seek and experience the harmony that is obviously there.

And, that seeking of harmony starts when belief in the classical structures of ideology ends.  Just as how science had to go beyond the total disbelief of someone like Einstein to finally get onto the road of seeking the reality of quantum entanglement.  Quest for seeking union of the existence began when certainty of mental ideologies ceased.

Yoga – meaning Union – is that quest from a different paradigm.  Yoga starts when your preoccupation with what is “classical and physical” ends.  Sadhguru describes the first Sutra of Patanjali thus.

This is why the first sutra is “and now yoga.” That means, you know nothing works and you do not have a clue about what the hell this is. The pain of ignorance is tearing you apart. Now, yoga. Now there is a way to know.

When the mind is beyond the make-believe and wants to “know” in the real sense.  Move away from characterizing something that it doesn’t understand as “spooky or godly”, then seeking starts.  That’s where Yoga begins.  And so does science.  There is nothing more “secular” than real seeking.  Both, Science (when not a prisoner of ideological strait-jackets) and Yoga are such seeking.

International Yoga Day: “… and now Yoga”

When International Yoga Day (June 21st) was announced with India mooting the idea at the UN last year, it was not just an acknowledgement of India’s heritage and contribution to the world, but also the acceptance that we now need to seek inwards.  We are all witness to the damage that this planet has seen thanks to our urge to live well.  We have made everything better, smarter, more efficient and more effective in its ways.  Yet, universal well-being eludes us.  In such a time, International Yoga Day is an idea which finally forces us to collectively cry out – “… and now Yoga”!

Yoga: Celebration of the Open Source

Yoga, the science of the inward experience of one-ness is predicated on many millennia of work by various beings who came and gave selflessly without the urge to patent their work or brand it.  They used the available work by others and created their own constructs, ways, methods and cocktails after years and decades of serious work.

Today, when one just sits in a certain posture with a certain “mudra” (way of holding your fingers and hands) and regulates breathing in a certain way to see almost miraculous and long term impact on blood-pressure or cholesterol or brain cells, it is because this whole package has been used and tested for many many millennia by millions!  It is not a product of one guy getting up in the morning and suddenly deciding that lets give this a “test ride” and see if it works?  The “packages” – of mudras, chanting, postures, breathing et al – are not random.  They are deliberate and worked upon by millions of very accomplished beings.  Just as a Dreamliner 787 is predicated on decades and centuries of research work in the field of aviation and all pervasive science.  To even imagine it to be a product of “random enlightenment” would be the height of absurdity.  Ditto for Yoga.

The reason why the science of Yoga has been perfected at such deep and subjective levels is because everything was open source, yet strongly managed.  Once a Guru perfected one method is every way, that was the only way he would impart it and make sure it was received that way by his disciples.  Idea was not to be fanatical but to make sure that something as subjective and prone to impurities (with radically different impact) stood the highest of “quality standards”.

To be sure, Yogis – specially the greatest of Masters – have struggled between the two: Quality Control and Open Source structure.  How do you impart something openly for it to be “rejigged” while making sure that every iteration met with the highest standards of quality?  For even one wrong breathing sequence could alter the very way energy flowed to your brain and heart!

The fight of the Religious fanatics

While some Muslims find it against their religious ideology to bow before the very basic elements of this existence – the Sun, the Universe, the air and the rest; some Christians think Yoga is the work of a devil for it invokes “strange gods”.

Strangely, Muslims do not realize that formless god means that everything is divine.  For, if there is anything that is “not God”, then God has by default a form!  If something can be uniquely identified as “different” from another, it mandates form.  Formless Divine is predicated on inability to identify.  And that is only possible when everything is divine.  If everything is divine, then what and where do you not bow down to?

This message was driven home in Mecca by the first Sikh Guru – Guru Nanak, when he was lying down with feet towards Mecca mosque.  When the mullah there objected, Nanak opened his eyes and asked the mullah to turn his feet in the direction where he didn’t see his God.  It is said, that wherever he turned, he saw Mecca.  He fell at Nanak’s feet and apologized.

Unfortunately, Muslims talk a lot about formless god, but are scared to even fully understand the ramifications of that conclusion in context of this existence.  That is why they have lived in the quagmire of dualities of Believer/Non-Believer, God/Satan, Hell/Heaven etc.

The truth is that nothing completes and fructifies the central precept of Islam – the formless God – the way Yoga does.  Only if Yoga is fully experienced, that the formless could be truthfully talked of.  Until then it is a hearsay.

Christians, on the other hand, were instructed by Jesus on how “Kingdom of God was within”.  Neither has anyone seeked that divine, nor has anyone paid heed to the kingdom.  Instead, Jesus has been used as a mascot by those who wanted to proliferate their own hegemony on others.  One, who was against religious fanaticism and the nonsense of belief such that he would fight against the clergies of the temples of his time, is now celebrated in the very structures that he opposed.  Just that now they bear his name.  Unfortunately, the truth is Christianity of today owes its central structure not to Jesus but to Constantine’s Nicene Creed.  And, that is why the belief system of the Roman mindset upstaged the Spiritual underpinnings of Jesus’ legacy.

In Yoga lies the very method to get in touch with the “Kingdom of God”.  For, there is no credible way of stepping inside other than the ways of Yoga.

Unfortunately, even the Hindus, who have considered the work of ancient Sages as their heritage, have brought Yoga to a level of belief.  Without understanding or putting the requisite work, they not only “do” Yoga but also impart it in ways that are many times counter-productive.  I have read “scientific explanations” of many upstarts of the various postures, chanting etc.  Strange esoteric and psychological explanations are put forth to explain methods/ways that have existential import.

That is why, it is imperative that India – and the Yogis of today – now work to put together a Quality Control Structure around the practice and imparting of Yoga.

Controversy in India and Bright Silver lining

Despite the fact that India mooted the International Yoga Day, it has been mired in controversy in the religious and ideological cesspool of local politics.  It would be important to take a look at the sad situation as well as one example of silver lining.
Muslim group, AIMIM:

“We object if yoga is made compulsory, suryanamaskar is against the basic teaching of Islam. We are not against any form of exercise but why aren’t they making martial arts or any other form of physical activity compulsory,” asks All India Majlis-e-Itehadul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

The All-India Muslim Personal law Board (AIMPLB)

“Narendra Modi is functioning like the PM of RSS and not as the PM of India… It is dangerous for the secular fabric of the country,” AIMPLB spokesperson Maulana Abdul Raheem Qureshi reportedly said.

Catholic Bishops Conference

The government’s assurance notwithstanding, there were reports that the Catholic Bishops Conference of India has expressed displeasure over the decision to organise Yoga Day on Sunday, considered “sacred” by Christians.

Political parties:

“The PM is known for headline management in everything. He’s holding a yoga event for a day but does he practice it himself? He doesn’t realise that India is a composite culture,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.

In this rather gloomy atmosphere, there is a ray of hope.  The very wonderful and sane announcement from the Indian Orthodox Church in Ahmedabad on International Yoga Day.

 

Press release from Indian Orthodox Church on Yoga Day

 

With that message, let us move beyond ideological differences and learn to use this day to dig deeper into ourselves and look at the basic religious constructs we have followed directly in the eye.  If we move beyond our ideological scare-crows and be with the central precepts of even our religious paradigms a bit more honestly, we will find that Yoga is not just not “bad”, but essential for the pursuit of divine!

 

(Featured Image source: Flickr)