Monday, October 26, 2009

पसायदान - Pasaaydaan

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आतां विश्वात्मकें देवें। येणें वाग्यज्ञें तोषावें।
तोषोनि मज द्यावें। पसायदान हें।। 1 ll

जे खळांची व्यंकटी सांडो। तया सत्कर्मी रती वाढो।।
भूतां परस्परें पडो। मैत्र जीवाचें।। 2 ll

दुरितांचें तिमिर जावो । विश्व स्वधर्मसूर्ये पाहो।।
जो जें वांछील तो तें लाहो। प्राणिजात।। 3 ll

वर्षत सकळमंगळीं। ईश्वर निष्ठांची मांदियाळी।।
अनवरत भूमंडळीं। भेटतु या भूतां।। 4 ll

चलां कल्पतरूंचे अरव। चेतना चिंतामणीचें गांव।।
बोलते जे अर्णव। पीयूषाचे।। 5 ll

चंदमे जे अलांच्छन। मार्तंड जे तापहीन।।
ते सर्वांही सदा सज्जन। सोयरे होतु।। 6 ll

किंबहुना सर्वसुखीं। पूर्ण होऊनि तिहीं लोकीं।।
भजिजो आदिपुरुखीं। अखंडित।। 7 ll

आणि ग्रंथोपजीविये। विशेषीं लोकीं इयें।।
दृष्टादृष्टविजयें। होआवें जी।। 8 ll

येथ म्हणे श्रीविश्वेश्वरावो। हा होईल दानपसावो।।
येणें वरें ज्ञानदेवो। सुखिया जाला।। 9 ll

- संत ज्ञानेश्वर (ई.स.१२७५ - १२९६)

Translation -

1. Oh Luminescent Principle which makes up the entire universe, please accept this oblation and grant me the fulfilment (prasaad) of this task.

2. Those who take pleasure in needlessly inflicting pain on to others, rid them of this mentality; enable them to enjoy the pleasure one gets by doing righteous deeds; let all the living beings, concurrently, find friendship and peace with each other and self...

3. May the darkness of unrighteousness in the universe be dispelled by the rising sun of righteousness and duty; Let all the righteous desires of every living soul be fulfilled and may they find peace...

4. Let every living soul always find the continuous company of pious, righteous people who desire and think of nothing but well being of everybody all the time..

5. Those saints who always move around amongst people, fulfilling their wishes like mythical tree, granting them peace, energetically spreading the message of righteousness using the sweet words which are like heavenly nectar (let everybody enjoy the company of such men all the time)

6. Those saints with minds as spotless as moon, with radiance as brilliantly pleasant as morning sun, let such men always be friends with common man in all times...

7. Let everybody obtain the grace, peace and knowledge of the primordial spirit of the universe after attaining material and spiritual success in life's all aspects...

8. May all those who find light after reading this book, emerge victorious against all seen and unseen desires of mind...

9. Upon hearing this (wish-list), the master of the universe said," So Be It !!!" Then the composer (Gnaaneshwar) attained state of complete harmony and peace...

I guess, the universal principle truly accepted this wish list of this great young man. Or perhaps, the supreme principle said what it wanted to give mankind through this great young man. The saints, revolutionaries, reformers, teachers, authors, artists, warriors, poets, painters and each and every one of us are those people who can leave this world around us fragrant. All we don't have is the knowledge about the existence of this fragrance gland within us.

Let this wish-list initiate our quest of finding that hidden potential within us to make this world a beautiful place...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Necessity for a Common script and National Integration..

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The issue of a common link-language for India has been around for long time now. However, the entrenched linguistic pride of speakers of different languages have made it difficult to attain the solution to the issue. The language "Hindi" which is being propagated by Central government as a candidate for link-language has met severe opposition, especially from South Indian states.

I propose a novel solution to this problem of linking the people of India with each other. The solution according to me is not common link-language, but a common script for writing all the Indic languages. Here, a tamil song written in Devanagari script is produced to demonstrate the ease with which it can be flawlessly rendered by any person who can read Naagari script.

आळीइले मुक्कुलिक्कुम अळगे
आवियिले तत्तलिक्कुम अळगे

उन कुळलोडु विलैयाडुम काटराग उरुमारी
मुन्दानै पडि येरवा .... मूचोडु कुडि येरवा....
उन इडै ओडु नडमाडुम उड़याग नान मारी
एन्ना लुम सूडेरवा...एन जन्मं ईडेरवा...

आळीइले मुक्कुलिक्कुम अळगे
आवियिले तत्तलिक्कुम अळगे

उन तिनेंड्र कन्नत्तिल तिम्मेंड्र नेंजतिल
इचेंड्र इदळ वैक्कवा.... इच्चै पोल इलै वैक्कवा...
उन उम्मेंड्र सोल्लुक्कुम इम्मेंड्र सोल्लुक्कुम
इप्पोदे तडै वैक्कवा...मौनतिल कुडि वैक्कवा....

अगम पादी मुगम पादी नगम
पायि सुगम मीदि
मरैतालुम मरक्कादु अळगे..
अडि वानं सिवंदालुम कोडी पूकल पिलंदालुम
उनै पोल इरुकादु अळगे...

अळगे अळगे वियक्कुम अळगे...
अळगे अळगे वियक्कुम अळगे...

Translation -

Oh beautiful shining pearl... Oh ravishing beauty...

Shall I turn into cool breeze and caress your curly locks of hair..
Shall I become the cloth you wear and feel the warmth of your body....
Or Shall I become your breath...
And attain Nirvana...

Oh Beautiful Shining pearl...Oh Ravishing beauty...

Shall I kiss you on your cheeks, and also touch your heart
And let you know all my unspoken desires...
Should I stop all your gasps of "aah" and "umm"...
Or should I put an end to your silence...

The pleasure given by your beautiful face, your divine body is unforgettable...
Neither the horizons of dawn and dusk, nor the divine Lotus from heavens match your surreal grace...

Oh beautiful.. Oh Beauty.. Simply wonderful beauty....


Beautiful song with ethereal Kangana Ranaut on screen personifies the very epithets of sensuality and erotica.. The lyrics and the "Bhaavam" of the singer expresses it all, I need not say anything more, as it will be an insult to the composition. Kudos to Lyricist, Music Composer and Singer.


The exercise of writing this song in Naagari script gave me an insight regarding the unity in diversity of India. One has to understand that script is not equal to language, it is merely a way of representing a language. I have represented Tamil in Devanaagari script, similarly it is possible to write any language in any script, as long as the pronunciation of that version is same as OR very closely similar to the original.

I noticed one thing during my stay in Europe, that over the period of time Europeans have standardized their script. All the major European languages, except Greek and Russian, use Roman script for writing their language. The linguistic rules and pronunciation patterns of different alphabets, vowels and words have been standardized according to the necessities of every individual language. However, the script in general is uniform. This makes it relatively easier to learn and partially understand other European languages, once one knows any particular European language proficiently.

For example, a French person does not find it difficult to read German language (although with French accent) as both languages are written in same script. Furthermore, since both the languages are derived from Latin, it is relatively easier to understand certain words which are derived from Latin/Greek because they more or less mean the same things in all the European languages. The Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, Slovakian, Macedonian) are somewhat different from Latin derived languages, with quite different pronunciation patterns, yet they too use Roman script with appropriate modifications.

When we apply this scenario to India, we have 26 official languages, most of which are written in at at least 10-15 different scripts. All of the North-Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit and South Indian languages have many Sanskrit words which have been borrowed over the period of time. It is easier for any Indian with fair understanding of his own mother-tongue to vaguely understand any other Indian language, if he is able to read it and give some thought to it.

If one script is used for writing all the languages of India, a Punjabi person who can proficiently read the common script, will be able to communicate with a Tamilian, when he is visiting Chennai. Similarly, a Bengali person will very easily be able to establish a very rudimentary communication with a Gujarati person in his own language.

As literacy is spreading in India, more people know to read and write. Written language will be of more and more importance in India henceforth. Single Common Script will bring about a tremendous boost to sense of National integrity in India. Instead of forcing some language (Hindi) on non-native Hindi speakers, it makes more sense to introduce common script and let everybody keep their own language, without having to force a common linking language on people.

A Maharashtrian like me can read this song exactly like a native Tamil speaker does, just because it is represented in script which I can read. Everybody on this blog, who can read Devanaagari script can perfectly read this song. Imagine how easy will it be for a Bengali tourist in interior Karnataka with a quick-learn kannada book (written in common script) to establish rudimentary communication with local Kannadiga in his own language. The sense of alienation will slowly start decreasing and integration will be on rise.

Furthermore, those interested in literature of languages will then have greater access to the languages, which were previously unreadable, because it is written in common script. This will help towards enrichment of all the languages of India as ideas will flow throughout India transcending the barriers of script and anonymity. Diversity will enrich and unity won't be sabotaged in the process. Not at the cost of Unity.

Unlike Europe, India's core Sanskriti is very strong and efficient towards politically and culturally consolidating India time and again. Uniformity brought about in the script will keep the Indic core tightly unified in these hard times when peripheral and centrifugal forces in India are gathering momentum.

We need a common script and all Indian languages must be written in common script. This is the need of hour.

**Acknowledgements - I sincerely thank Mr. Sathyanarayan Rangarajan and Mr. Kartik Srinivasan for helping me in writing and editing this song in Devanagari script.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

On Netaji Subhashchandra Basu, Indian Independence and World-War 2

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World War Two (WW2) and Netaji Subhashchandra Basu's friendship with Germany and Japan is bashed as a wrong move by many centre-left intellectuals and commons. Gandhi was staunchly against this move of Netaji. The common argument given by the proponents of this view-point is that British were much more tolerant and democratic than Germany or Japan. If Hitler had won WW2, then perhaps India would have been a German or a Japanese colony and would have suffered a fate much worse than she did under British occupation.

I think, there is a serious fallacy in this argument. All these rants are assuming that it was very easy for British to occupy, conquer and rule India. While the ground reality was totally different. The process of colonization, that too of a giant country with huge population is impossible without the cooperation of local people. And that cooperation is difficult to achieve without highly disintegrated state of national polity which was the case with India in 1818. And in spite of these broken nature of India at that time, British had to fight countless wars with Indians, 3 major wars each with Marathas and Sikhs, and sustain a major outbreak of Public anger (1857) before they standardized their rule in 1858.

If we consider the disintegrated society of India broken by petty regional bickering and rigid, pathological casteism, it stands as a stark contrast in front of Indian society in 1940, which was rejuvenated, risen and million times more nationalized and united. British could complete India's conquest because of lack of unity amongst Indians and nothing else. It is impossible for even god to rule vast country like India without the cooperation of Indians. British could do it because we cooperated.

People of Bengal celebrated when Siraj was defeated in 1757. People of Pune celebrated when Bajirao-2 was defeated in 1818. People would have bitterly fought back if Germans OR Japanese would have attempted to colonize India in 1940s. It was becoming progressively difficult and expensive to rule India after 1935. The public opinion was too much in favour of non-cooperation. Any threat of external enemy would have instantly unified India against the invaders, be it German OR Japanese. It would have been literally impossible to rule India even for Japanese or Nazis, with owing to this unified non-cooperation of Indians. Hence, there is nothing wrong in what Netaji Subhashchandra Basu did when he asked the help of Hitler and Japanese to fight and overthrow the British regime of India.

Consider this scenario. If Bose would have succeeded in entering Bengal, imagine the tremendous support he would have received from common man. And now juxtapose the artificially created Bengal famine of 1943 wherein 4 million people died. Don't you see anything fishy about this strategically convenient famine? Was it simply co-incidence? I think not... The timing of this artificially created 1943 famine and Subhashbabu's success are deeply connected. Imagine the support Netaji would have got if he had reached Bengal. British calculated this hazard and induced this famine in Bengal which decimated the strength, the population and the morale of Bengal so that in case Basu manages to reach Bengal, he won't get as much support as he otherwise would have.

Geo-political implications and importance of India's independence.

India's independence in 1947 was a momentous occasion, not only for India, but for countless other third-world countries. It is so important, that many people fail to grasp its real importance. But it came with a price of debilitated India. If one cares to read Mackinder's Heartland theory of Geographical Pivot which is quite widely circulated and known among the people who are acquainted with international geo-politics, one will understand the backdrop of the great game, the reason of India's partition and its effect on the prosperity of India.

The heartland theory states that "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island (Eurasia); who rules the World-Island controls the world."

The Nation which has access to Central Asia and Indian Ocean trade-routes, will undoubtedly be the largest economy in the world. Russian Empire was trying for this since the time of Aurangzeb. British empire was staunchly resisting this.

This is essentially a Euro-centric theory, but its last two clauses are particularly important. Heartland is central asia which is extremely resource-rich. India had a natural supremacy over the heartland for about until 1947 since the dawn of civilization. The only country which can possibly have Central Asia-Indian Ocean access is India, owing to her geographical position. Hence, India was largest economy in world until 1800 AD. In 47, this connection was artificially cut off by creating Pakistan from India. Central Asia was made further inaccessible for India by allowing Pakistan to keep the Northern Areas of Kashmir out of India's dominion, simply because that is the second possible link between India and the heartland (Central Asia).

After a millenia, there was everything about Indian state which was Indian in origin. The flag, the symbols, the anthem. India with 500 princely states within, 30 major languages, different castes, cultural differences, frankly british did not expect India to last long, yet India did despite all odds. The memes which Savarkar, Netaji, or for that matter even Patel were expounding were much more Indic and Indigenous than those expounded by Nehru. The foreign-policy and decision making of Nehru was highly influenced by the foreign policy of British.

It is highly unlikely that Nehru betrayed India on his own when he declared a cease-fire and plebiscite in Kashmir. There are proofs now which suggest that many British officers of BIA assisted the pathans who had invaded kashmir in 1948 to capture the major region of Gilgit and Northern areas. This is the second possible link of India with the geographical pivot, the central asia. Such was the influence of the British on India's administration during 1947.

What world war two did for India?

1. British were forced to industrialize India in terms of weapons manufacturing and ordinance factories which were negligible in India prior to threat from Japanese and INA invasion.

2. Thousands of Hindus joined the army and gained valuable war-experience. This helped a lot during and after partition. Savarkar must be given some credit for this.

3. British were preparing to leave India anyways by 1950-55. WW2 hastened that process; but in that hassle, they supported jinnah and partitioned India. Partition worked out for India with partial good and partial evil effects.

4. WW2 and the threat from east forced British to give Andaman and Nicobar naval bases under Indian control. They could have very well kept it with themselves. They were also giving India Chittagong, but Nehru refused. It was strategically important region, which Nehru let go. Just like Aksai Chin, Just like Northern Areas and Just like Tibet.

5. WW2 and performance of Indian soldiers increased the reputation of India a lot. Since it was the only largest democracy in Asia with potential of developing strong military force, India was offered permanent place in UNSC, which Nehru declined.

6. Gave Indians to regroup and rise on their own terms. If there was no WW2, British would have given undivided India independence by 1955-60 and the resultant India would have been strategically strong yes, but would there be a chance of peaceful co-existence of Hindus and Muslims in India?

7. Symbols are important. When was the last time when the geography of modern India was ruled by people who followed the Sanskriti of India? even if politically segregated, when was the last time? It was before Ghurid invasions. for good or for evil, WW2 caused partition and gave some time for Indic Sanskriti to regroup.

8. However, there are trade-offs. WW2 broke people like Subhashchandra Basu from INC. The towing of British interests which was done by Nehru would probably not have happened if Basu or even Patel were the PM. Now, would it be good for India or bad for India, that's a different issue and falls within the domain of counter-factual history.

9. The important point is, Hindus were determining the foreign policy of India after a millenia. For 1000 years, there was no Hindu ruler, which interacted with world with a particular policy in mind. Hence the understanding of the world was meagre in Hindus at the time of partition. Ordinary illiterate Muslim had heard of places like Istanbul, Rome, Mecca, baghdad, hazira, jerusalem, egypt from his religious teachers. Ordinary illiterate Hindu of that age did not. There were simply no or very few individuals within Hindu society with independent thoughts over the foreign policy of India and place of India in the global politics; leave alone having a first hand experience of the same.

10.British India never had to deal with outside world. The Indian/Hindu leaders cared about internal matters alone. The policy of British India towards rest of the world was made in England. Subash Basu was one such person who actually interacted with prominent powers of the world on Indic terms without looking through British glasses. When he met with Hitler, with Tojo, he spoke with them about Indian interests which were not in coherence with British Interests, but with Indian interests alone.

Was this good or bad, its difficult to say, but fact remains that Netaji had much better understanding of international politics than INC leaders had, especially when it comes to thinking of National interests which are viewed in completely neutral and uninfluenced manner. In politics, there is no friend, no enemy, no sympathy and no apathy. There are only interests. All the talk of principles and stuff is not relevent in international politics. Ribbentrap-Molotov pact is testimony to this fact.

Germany and Japan sympathized Indian cause because it was their interest. USA too sympathized Indian independence (Atlantic Charter) because it was its interest. Later, British favoured partition, supported Pakistan in all its proxy-wars against India to further their interest. War is merely an extension of politics. War without politics and vested interest is waste of time and resources.

Netaji's opinion was definitely based on his correct assessment of India's place in global politics, her potentials and drawbacks and strengths. What would have happened, if Germany had won the WW2, is different matter, but what can be said with surety is that it would have been impossible for any foreign power to rule India of 1940. Netaji's strategy was definitely well thought out and worth a shot.