Thursday, 19 December 2013

Sant Gadge Baba ‘Swachata Abhiyan’

Sant Gadge Maharaj

Gadge maharaj or gadge baba was a saintly social reformer. His vision for the villages continues to be a source of inspiration for many political parties. He was born on February 23, 1876.  Tomorrow i.e.
December 20th happens to be his ‘barsi’. He died on this day in 1956.
What was unique with this saintly reformer? He motivated people to stop animal sacrifice as a part of religious rituals. He campaigned against alcohol and drug abuse. However, the most important facet of his reforms was his ‘swachta abhiyan’. He would travel from village to village and encourage them to maintain cleanliness. His influential ways won him a large following.

What is more important is that he inspired villagers to follow “do it yourself mode”. In this, the villagers would not look for outside help- financial or otherwise. They would collect the resources and keep the village clean themselves.

The Government of India has announced National award for sanitation and water in his honour. The abhiyan or campaign does not offer any funds. However, it offers very attractive prizes to the villages who achieve first three ranks. Dressed in attire which invoked attention, Baba carried a broom in his hands. So did his followers. On arrival in any village, he would lead his followers to start cleaning the street briskly. The villagers would do the same enthusiastically. Famously, he would repeat the following words:
“Give food to the hungry, shelter to the needy, clothes to the naked, protection to animal and trees, aid for girls’ marriages. Further, he would say ‘live clean and simple, stop intoxicants and care for the environment’. With these simple words he was able to create large number of admirers. It is heartening to note that 33,000 out of the total of 42,000 villages in Maharashtra have stepped forward to participate in the Gadge Maharaj Swachta Abhiyan. There are good prizes to be won by the villages. Three cash prizes in each district – Rs.5 lakhs , Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs. Besides, the best village in the entire state gets a prize of Rs. 25 lakhs. The second gets Rs 15lakhs and the 3rd – Rs 10 lakhs from the chief minister on Maharashtra State on the 1st of May. The villagers can spend the prize money on a project of their choice which benefits the entire village.


The procedure for judging the villages is also very interesting. There are checks and balances in the selection and judging process. In fact, the Criteria for assessment of villages is so elaborate that the judges have to consider as many as 85 criteria.


In fact, it is a lesson for us in the metros and large cities. If residents of cities adopt same ‘do it yourself’ mode our cities would be far more clean.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Duty First!

Bhagwad Gita

Chapter 3 of the Bhagwad Gita is about ‘Karamyoga.’

The Discourse deals with the importance of keeping oneself engaged in an activity related to one’s duty. If further explains that no one can ever remain idle. You may not engaged in physical activity, but you can never make your mind stand still. The mind will always be engaged in some kind of activity even when you are sleeping. You may not be aware of this. But the mind never sleeps. Through out this chapter, in fact throughout the great wisdom book, it is emphasized that everyone must keep on performing their duty.


The western thoughts lay a lot of stress in the process of visualization. Some people may call it dreaming in the day. The best selling book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne particularly stresses that you can achieve anything in life, if you repeatedly visualize the achievement. There lies the rub. You may be confused what is better? Which school of thought is more suitable? In fact, when Rhonda or any other thinker talks about visualization, they are not recommending to enjoy the pleasures of achievement mentally. And that is what Bhagwad Gita prohibits human beings – not to enjoy achievements mentally. The emphasis is on work. Likewise, western thinkers also lay emphasis on work. The repeated visualization is suggested only to reinforce your determination. Once you are determined to succeed, there is no stopping. You may have problems on the way, but you are bound to reach your goals sooner or later.


Napoleon Hill, author of the famous book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’, says, “The human mind can believe, The human mind can achieve.” Further he asks, “what do we mean by belief? Wishing won’t making it so….” A wish is not a belief.

Another great achiever, Steeve Jobs has been laying emphasis on implementing the ideas. According to him, thinking out-of-the-box is necessary, but putting it into practice is extremely important. About him it was said “he works from the gut and intuitively”.

Steven Covey

More recently, Steven Covey, author of the famous book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, advises everyone to be proactive. According to him, being proactive is the first habit which anyone who wants to progress should inculcate. He starts his chapter in this context with a beautiful quotation from Henry David Thoreau which reads as,

“I know of know more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious Endeavour".

To me it appears that all these great achievers were inspired by the above referred chapter of the Bhagwad Gita. In this regard, I had also written a poem called duty first which I am repeating below:

Duty First:

Row the boat of ‘duty’
Sail safely across the sea.
Search through your mind
What your duty can be.

Never is there a situation
Nor any circumstance
That could ever affect your intention
Of duty; you want to perform.

Hindrances, hurdles even hurricane
May hurt or shake your resolve.
With devotion to your duty;
Greater courage will evolve.

Duty first, always in mind
Greater joy; you will never find.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hare and the Tortoise!

The Hare and The Tortoise

Long ago when I was young and in school, I read a story, of the Hare and the Tortoise. They ran a race.

Hare and the Tortoise

We all know that the Hare rightly thought that the he was fast. But he was wrong in thinking that he could take his victory for granted. He fell asleep during the race. The Tortoise overtook him and won.

hare and tortoise

Later on, the Management Gurus made some additions to the story.

Having lost the race, the Hare does some contemplation. He is unhappy that in spite of the fact that he is a fast runner, because of his casual behavior he lost the race. Now he decided that true to his speed, he must win the race and gain back the lost self-esteem.

So he went to the Tortoise. He said “Lets have another race”. The Tortoise agreed. And they had another race. This time the Hare, did not take it casually. He did not sleep on the way and won the race by a handsome margin.

The Tortoise was sad. At the same time he felt that since his speed is slow, it was just natural that the Hare won the race. But he decided that he must find a way to win back his lost glory. He applied his mind and thought of a plan. After clarifying the plan in mind he went to the Hare and invited him for another race.

hare and the tortoise
The Hare readily agreed. He knew that he would never commit the mistake done in the first race. But then the Tortoise said that this time I will decide the route. The Hare agreed. The route was planned in such a fashion that there were two-three ponds on the way.  When the race began, the Tortoise slowly ran on the land but easily swam through the ponds. On the other hand, the hare had to run around the ponds and lost a lot of time for covering the distance. The result was that the Tortoise won the race this time. He was happy that with his clever plan he could win the race from the Hare who was obviously faster and smarter than him. He credited himself that it was the victory of his wisdom.

The Hare was very upset for some time. But then he thought, why not make friends with the Tortoise. He had some qualities and abilities, while the Tortoise had some others. If pooled together both could become a great force. So he went to the Tortoise, and suggested to him that they would one again follow the same route; but that occasion they would not race each other. He said, “We will try to cover the distance, in the shortest possible time”. The Tortoise thought for some time, brooded over, and asked the Hare to explain what he intended to do.

Hare and tortoise
The Hare said I am smart and fast. You are slow, but wise. Let us pool our speed and wisdom. Let us try to cover the distance in the shortest possible time.  So they ran again – this time together.  At first the Hare carried Tortoise on his back, but when they came to the pond, it was the Tortoise who swam across, carrying the Hare on his back. In this manner they were actually make it to the finishing line, much sooner than before.

Hare and The Tortoise

The moral of this story is that if we work together, we win together!
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Who Drives your Life?

You might say that the subject is a misnomer. Since it is your life, you only drive it. However, it is not always so. You continue to do certain things by force of your habit. And your habits are formed over a long period of time. Now, consider these questions. Do you always do what you want to? Even when you have possibility to choose, do you always make a choice as per your liking? If not. Why not?

Most of us take decisions because of our considerations towards various other people. A husband may not like to do something, may not like to go to expensive places for eating out, may not like to spend too much money on fashionable clothes, and yet he does so because his wife likes these things. So, in this case, wife is the driver of husband’s life.

Conversely a wife may not like to do certain things but she has to because of the wishes of her husband. This is so in most of the house-holds in Indian villages and is also true among many families in urban India.
Let’s take another example. Anyone working in an office has to perform his/her duty. It is understandable. But how often he finds that the senior dictates the way in which a particular task has to be performed by the junior. People who are not assertive tend to follow others thinking that they are destined to do so. In these cases also, they are not themselves driving their life. Some other people do.
Let’s, now take an example of a different kind. An individual have a passion for making money. He doesn’t want to do anything where there is no possibility of profit in terms of money. Here greed is the driver of his/her life. Many a lives are ruined because of greed. At times, people may realize that it is not right. And yet, all their actions are driven by the unstoppable force of greed. Obviously, here greed is the driver.
Obsession with religion could be yet another strong force in a person’s life. There is no doubt that religion plays an important role in keeping the individual on the right track, socially and spiritually, yet an obsession with religion may create an un-called for problems in his/her domestic life.
The worst situation is when the person is obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure. Pleasure is not happiness. Its definition could be different for different people. But pleasure seekers mostly end up in achieving nothing. All bad habits take charge of the person only when pleasure seeking becomes a form of mania.

It’s a worthy exercise to stop and think who the driver of your life is, contemplate on significance of life and take full control of your own life for achieving your goals.

I invite you to add comments on the views expressed.

Thanking you for reading.


The Great Sufi Singer Reshma

Reshma was born in Bikaner, India in 1947. Later her family shifted to Pakistan. She belonged to a Gypsy  family. They keep on moving from one place to another doing odd jobs and entertaining themselves with folk music and dance.

Reshma was spotted for her talent by Pakistani Television producer when she was 12 years old. He organized her appearance from television and performance from Radio. Instantly she became very popular.

As most Folks singers are, the forte of Reshma lies in her depth of her voice. Unlike others she was very articulate listening to her songs one can really discover the spirituality of the #Sufi singers.
One of her songs was used by RajKapoor "Ankhyon ko rehne de ankhyon ke aas pass” she became so popular in India that she was invited to perform in Mumbai. Her perform one accolades her real popularity in India viewed with the song “Lambi Judai” which the famous filmmaker Subhas Ghai made her sing for his film Hero.

“Dama Damm Mast kalandar” was also sang by Bangladesi singer Runa Laila , while there is big difference while Runa laila’s interpretation also became very popular  but it did not have any tings of Sufi  singing. So when Reshma sings the same song it gives a totally different experience.

Thank you.


Great Loss to Lovers of Soulful Music

During the past few days two great singers of this sub-continent have passed away. Manna Dey the great Indian singer passed away in Banglore and great sufi singer Reshma who was born in India too passed away in Pakistan.

A humble tribute to Manna Dey 

Manna Dey, who had a very long stint of singing film songs and non film songs was perhaps the most versatile singer of the Indian film industry.  Listening to his songs, I feel that the recognition and respect due to him was not aptly granted.  Among the modern Indian singers Manna Dey’s was second only to Mohammad Raffi. But he was not given as many songs as some of his contemporary singers.
When Manna Dey came to sing his first song – ‘Upar Gagan Vishal’, he was only 18 years old. The producer of the movie asked the music director how can this young lad sing a song so replete with lofty meaning. The music director was confident of Manna’s ability and convinced the producer. The song became one of the greatest hit of that time.

Both myself and my wife have been ardent fans of Manna Dey. A couple of years ago, we came across an ad.  in the newspaper about the performance of Manna Dey’s songs. The adv was not very clear about the performance whether Manna Dey himself will sing his songs or some other singer. Yet we had gone to the concert. It was good but the singers were no match. However, a few days later, a big adv appeared that Manna Dey himself will perform. How could we miss the opportunity. I must say it was one of the greatest performances I had ever attended. More than ninety years old singer sang with great gusto and enthusiasm continuously for three hours. It was amazing. The hall was packed and Manna Dey received a standing ovation. Audience clapped and clapped for a very long time. Probably this was his last live performance.
I have selected five of his great numbers from the youtube. It will be a befitting tribute to a great singer if you all view these videos and listen to the soulful music of Manna Dey who is no more.
Na to karvan ki talash hai...
Aye bhai zara dekh ke chalo...

In my next post I will talk about Reshma.

Thank you.


Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Mark Twain was a unique American writer. One cannot find another writer who could laugh at the stark realities of life and who could succinctly identify the irony so very dominant in our lives.
He once said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ”
It is ironic that the man who has evolved so much, who is civilized and educated over the centuries when compared to a dog miserably falls short of the quality of loyalty, which is so clearly visible in the pet animal.
But, in the fast changing world concepts change. The big question is that for leading a happy, progressive life which are the principles that transcend the limits of time and space. What are the principles that we must stick to even today? What are the principles that need to be discarded or modified?
Thus, our story of the dog and the man brings us to the core question about ‘loyalty’ and its importance today. I seek your participation to review the virtue of ‘loyalty’ in the present environment.
Choose one of the four:
  1. Loyalty to country
  2. Loyalty to the organization you look for
  3. Loyalty to the spouse
  4. None at all
Please take a few moments to participate in our poll on our face book page

Symptoms of Malefic Effects of Shani Dev

Shani Yantra

Today, I shall talk to you about what are the indications, according to our scriptures, when malefic influence of Shani Dev appears. How does it affect you and your life? The same are briefly stated as below:
  1. You are leading your life in a normal way. You face usual difficult and you also achieve accomplishment to your hard work and in application of mind. But suddenly you fight some strength negative thoughts of confusion keep on troubling you. You start getting angry with your near and near once often with little or no reason.  Unnecessarily you start arguing on small issues which does not happen to be your normal nature. In some circumstances you need to become alert these comprise symbol Shani Dev malefic influence.
  2.  In a family, the lady of the house shows similar symptoms and you are unable to understand what has gone wrong. Why this sudden change? The lady is not to be blamed. Again, this is another symptom of ‘Shani Disha’. Whether it is man or a lady, the negative emotions like too much envy, jealousy, anger to unbelievable extent, inability to concentrate on any important task- these are also symptoms of Shani Dev’s malefic influence.
  3. At times, the problem manifests itself in some long drown disease.  Hurts from sudden fall, accident and the like and consequent suffering are other indications.
  4. If the spouses find that suddenly their behavior with one another has undergone a drastic change for the worse. It could yet be another indication.
  5. Continuous financial losses which are surprising and unexplained also show Shani’s bad influence.
  6. Sometimes, along with various problems lines on your hands become darkish and so do your nails. This is another indication.
  7.  Yet another Symptom comes in the form- someone in the extended family is attacked by disease or even sudden death. The loss affects you very badly in your personality, conduct and work.
These are indications as explained in our scriptures. As I said in the preceding post, Shani Dev delivers justice to the humanity. He rewards the human beings for their good deeds. Likewise the wrong doing are reprimanded.
Often suffers are advised to conduct special Pooja to reduce the malefic influence of Lord Shani Dev.
Symptoms of Malefic influences of ‘Shani Dev’

Shani Dev in His Chariot

In Hindu tradition, Lord Shani is considered as chief of all planets. He is considered extremely hostile and full of anger. Those who believe in astrology are afraid of ‘Shani Saad Sati’ or seven and a half years of malefic influence of Shani Dev.

Once Mata Laxmi ( Godess of Wealth) asked Shani Dev, “I grant fortune and wealth to my devotees. But you destroy it. More than wealth you destroy the ‘Peace of Mind’ of the human beings. They are mortally afraid of you. Why do you do that?”

Lord Shani respectfully answered,’ Mateshwari ( Mother), I have been appointed as the ‘Chief Justice’ of Humanity. Just as Yama grants ‘Death’ to human beings, I grant justice to these individuals according to their ‘Karma’ (wrong doings or good deeds). The lord Almighty Bhagwan Shankar has given me the task of evaluating the good and bad deeds of human beings and grant them reward or punishment according to what they deserve. Therefore, I humbly submit to you Mata Laxmi that it is only the lack of understanding on the part of human beings that I am blamed. People are afraid of even my name. I am just performing the duty accorded to me by Lord Shanker ( Mahadev). Further, said Lord Shani, “Some people out of their personal greed and desire to live a luxurious life carry out misdeeds, cause harm to their fellow human beings and engage in other nefarious activities. It is my duty that they are punished accordingly.” Shani dev continued, “but Mata, I also bestow great rewards on those who are engaged in welfare activities of mankind, who reach out to those in difficulties and help them. These great souls receive health, wealth, happy family and all other great pleasures not only in this life but many others that follow.  Mata, it is only as per my judgment they are punished or rewarded.”
 Shani Shinganapur Temple. It is located in the village Shani Singanapur. The village is in Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra. Devotees from all over the country visit the temple to receive the blessings of Shani Dev. Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors. There are only door frames. No theft is ever reported in the village.

In my nest posting, I shall talk about how to identify when lord Shani’s malefic influence starts and also what needs to be done to mitigate the malefic influence of Lord Shani.

How do you manage your Time?

Time Management
Time Management
I had written a poem on time some time back. I repeat some of the lines of the poems to my students to find the message deserving careful consideration. The same lines are repeated:
Value of time is often little known:
For time’s inherent wealth scanty respect is shown.
Any other possession if you happen to lose
you can hope to get it back If you choose.
Wealth of time will never return
Simple lesson though many of us don’t ever learn.
Every moment of time you must use
to achieve anything, you may choose.
 In the changing environment I think Time and its proper use have become critical. Fat salaries for corporate CEO’s require harsher targets for the team to achieve. Undoubtedly, this creates great pressure on him. He tends to lose the simple joys of life like quiet reflection in the morning besides yoga or exercise, spending quality time with his family and pursuing at least one hobby seriously that he loves the most.
The good thing for the CEO is that today he/she cannot be fooled by just sweet words or clever flattery.  Performance appraisal is based on the real time strategic figures which are computed instantly.

Therefore it is necessary for each one of us to do the following:
  1. Prepare the time log
  2.  Work out our priorities each day
  3. Use time planners
  4. Think positively and always put our plan into action.
  5. Each day the tasks can be categorized as under:
  • Group 1: Routine tasks
  • Group 2: Ongoing projects
  • Group 3: Planning and development
Ideally, the maximum time of about 50-60% should be allocated to Group 3 activities. Group 2 activities deserve 25% and Group 1 just 15 %. However in practice we find there we consume 60% of our time in routine jobs, 25% on ongoing projects and just 15% on group 3 i.e. planning and development.
Just give it a serious thought and try to make best use of your time which never comes back. You must spend some quality time with your family.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with festivities lasting ten to twelve days every year. The occasion for the celebration of the birth of Lord Ganesh, son of Lord Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesh symbolizes intelligence and application of mind. There are many incidents in Lord Ganesha’s life which symbolize his sharp wit and presence of mind. Among them the most famous of them is his competition with his elder brother Karthikeya.

As the story goes Lord Shiva called both his sons and told them that whomsoever circles the world three times will be given the prize of a magical Mango which was presented to him by Sage Narad. Ganesha realized that his vehicle the mouse, would be of no match against the swift flying peacock of his elder brother. He thought for a moment, smiled and took three circles of his parents. When they asked him why they were circling him, he replied that they were his world, and taking three circles of them was equivalent to circling the world three times. Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati were very pleased and they gave the fruit to Ganesha.
The festival falls in the fourth day of the waxing moon in the Hindu lunar calendar month of Bhadrapad which mostly falls in September according to the English Calendar. While the festival is celebrated all over the country, it is in the Indian State of Maharashtra that the celebrations are specially famous.
In medieval history, the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi can be traced back to the times of the great Maratha King Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. However following the decline of the Maratha empire, the festival lost its state patronage. It was the famous freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who revived this festival as a community celebration and to gather people in his fight against British Rule.

Indeed he has left behind a lasting legacy. Every year the festival gets bigger and more and more people revel in the worship of the Lord and seek his blessings.

Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai

Ganesh Chaturthi

I have a Dream! - Martin Luther King

I have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
In the history of American politics, the 28th August was a memorable day. It was on 28th August 1963 that Martin Luther king delivered his famous speech – “I have a Dream.” It was a great speech that will be remembered by all progressive societies for many decades. Not only did it motivate the black American to rise and demand their citizenship, but it is also regarded as one of the greatest speeches ever written and delivered to very large audience with unmatched enthusiasm and great alacrity.

The contribution of Martin Luther king for securing equal rights for African Americans is greater than anyone else. But for him it would have been impossible for Barrack Obama to become the 44th president of the most powerful nation on the earth.

The greatness of a leader is seen and recognized from the high degree of passion with which he/she is devoted to the cause. That becomes the force which is difficult to be faced and fought with by the opponents. Great leaders with great passion and total selflessness can bring about sweeping changes every society needs from time to time.

If we were to select main qualities of great leaders, I would list the following in order of importance.
  1. Selflessness
  2. Passion for a cause
  3. Excellent Public Speaking abilities
  4. Unending coverage
How I wish that today we may also have some leaders with some semblance of what a great leader Dr Martin Lither King was.
Can you spot one?

Religion - A Uniting Force!

What is religion? If the devil and the angel are both residing in one’s mind – why is religion so necessary? The devil is strong and grows at an immense pace. But the angel is initially weak and needs constant support of the individual concerned. Religion is a set of rules which one follows to tame the devil, and to nurture the angel.
T.S. Elliot
T.S. Elliot
Each religion teaches the same. There could be a difference in methodology. There could be a differences in some of the rituals. There could be differences in the ways in which each religion is taught; but the objective is the same. The common objective therefore, should be a uniting force. So said the playwright, poet and thinker – T.S. Elliot. “Religion must be a uniting force, but unfortunately some selfish, self-styled religious leaders connive it to divide humanity.
Swami Vivekanand
Swami Vivekanand
Swami Vivekanand delineated the same idea in his famous speech at the world Parliament of Religions in Chicago. The same is reproduced below:

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. l thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects. My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:
As the different streams having there sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to thee.

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:
Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Nobel Laureate


The recent interview of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and its report in the media has created a huge controversy. As most of us know by now that Amaratya Sen is reported to have said that he is not in favor of Mr. Modi as Prime Minister. Further, he gave his reason that as C.M. he allegedly failed to protect the minority community in the state of Gujarat.


Mr. Sen’s eminence in the field of economics is undoubtedly of a high order. Whether his theories have hold any relevance for our Country is all together another question. Most of us are also aware that he does not live in India and has definitely not in Gujarat. If that is the case one wonders about the basis of his comments on the condition of minorities in that state. Does he base his opinion on media reports? Or on feedback provided by the ruling Congress? And has he tried to make any kind of assessment by actually visiting the state?

Of course, there is no doubt that Rajya Sabha member Chandan Mitra should not have talked about stripping Amaratya Sen of the Bharat Ratna. He has also expressed his regrets, though a bit late. But the question remains, whether Sen should have passed the comment about Mr. Modi (a democratically elected chief minister) in the first place?


The matter does not rest here. Further, Sen is said to have stated that he would return the award if former Prime Minister Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpee were to say so. The question that immediately comes to mind is whether Sen was aware of the condition of health of Mr. Vajpayee. And where was the question of dragging the former PM into the controversy when the highest civilian award is bestowed by the Government of India. Finally, in dragging the name of one of Modern India’s most successful leaders (at a time when he is ailing) has Mr. Sen conducted himself as a Nobel Laureate?

These are questions which need answers. I would invite your comments on this issue.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Yesterday, the 23rd of July was the birthday of Lokmanya Tilak. Born in 1856, he was a truly great leader of our freedom movement, who was conferred the title of ‘Lokmanya ‘- one who has been recognized as the People’s leader. He was the one who heralded the concept of Sampoorna Swaraj.

It is sad to note that our media, including the electronic media, which has all the time and words to sensationalize the most commonplace happenings did not lend any coverage to this great soul of our country.

               I append below excerpts from his life,so gracefully published in Wikipedia for our countrymen, who like to remember this great Lokmanya leader.

               In 1894 , Bal Gangadhar Tilak transformed the household worshipping of Lord Ganesha into a public event. The  large community celebration .

He was an educationist. The Deccan Education Society that Tilak founded with others in the 1880s till today, runs much respected Institutions in Pune like the Fergusson College.

It was he who started ,The Swadeshi movement. This being a part of the Indian independence movement and the developing Indian nationalism, which was an economic strategy aimed at removing the British Empire from power and improving economic conditions in India by following the principles of swadeshi (self-sufficiency; Hindi: स्वदेशी svadēśī), which had some success. Strategies of the Swadeshi movement involved boycotting British products and the revival of domestic products and production processes.

He, along with other leaders, coined the concept of Sampoorna Swaraj.

He was indeed a great leader.

Our Cultural Heritage!


Today is Shayani Ekadashi also known as Ashadhi Ekadashi


It is believed that Vishnu falls asleep in Ksheersagar - cosmic ocean of milk - on Shesha nāga, the cosmic serpent. Thus the day is also called Dev-Shayani Ekadashi (lit. "god-sleeping eleventh") or Hari-shayani Ekadashi (lit. "Vishnu-sleeping eleventh") or Shayana Ekadashi. Vishnu finally awakens from his slumber four months later on Prabodhini Ekadashi - eleventh day of bright fortnight in the Hindu month Kartik (October–November). This period is known as Chaturmas (lit. "four months") and coincides with the rainy season. Thus, Shayani Ekadashi is the beginning of Chaturmas. Devotees start observing the Chaturmas vrata (vow) to please Vishnu on this day.


A fast is observed on Shayani Ekadashi. The fast demands abstainance from all grains, beans, cereals, certain vegetables like onions and certain spices.

This day, a huge yatra or religious procession of pilgrims known as Pandharpur Ashadi Ekadasi Waari Yatra culminates at Pandharpur, in Solapur district in south Maharashtra, situated on the banks of the Bhima River. Pandharpur is main center of worship of the deity Vithoba, a local form of Vishnu. Lacs of pilgrims come to Pandharpur on this day from different parts of Maharashtra. Some of them carry Palkhis (palanquins) with the images of the saints of Maharashtra. These pilgrims known as Warkaris, sing Abhangas (chanting hymns) of Saint Tukaram and Saint Dnyaneshwar, dedicated to Lord Vithoba.


This is yet one more display of our rich and varied cultural heritage!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Bad films, Apt response?

This morning I came across a queer report in the newspaper. The headline read “Wrath of the audience”. 

The report detailed how audiences have been tearing the theater seats to vent their anger if the film turns out to be shoddy and boring. Strangely, the report also said that children’s geometrical instruments are used by some people to make the task, of causing damage, easier.

Some of the movies responsible for irking such peculiar responses from the audience ,named in the report, are Himmatwala, Yamala Pagala Deewana 2, The attacks of 26/11, Zila Ghaziabad, Ishq in Paris, Aurugzeb, Aatma, Rangrez ,Jayantilal ki love story and I, me aur main. So many films, in a span of 4/5 months have fared so badly. Then why do they make such movies?

While there is certainly no justification for the audience to misbehave in the fashion described, there is good reason for the producers of the movies to contemplate and think.

The issue of unruly social behavior also concerns the relevant ministry of the government. I would go further and say that our education system is also flawed and needs review and requires correction. In the 21st century this kind of public behavior is almost barbaric.

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