Monday, November 22, 2010

Bharat's counselling by Shri Raam - Paradhin ahe jagati, putra manavacha

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The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Valmiki. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. 

In the course of story, after Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, Dasharatha who had grown old expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi—her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant—claims two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata.

The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi's demands. Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana. After Rama's departure, king Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passes away. Meanwhile, Bharata who was on a visit to his maternal uncle, learns about the events in Ayodhya. 

Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his father's orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile. It is here that Raam counsels the gried-struck younger brother about realities of life. This scene is one of the hallmarks and defining moments of the Raam's story which unravels his steady mind, his unwavering adherence towards truth and promise and his love towards his family. At the end of this scene, Bharata carries Rama's sandals, and keeps them on the throne, while he rules as Rama's regent.

Geet Ramayan is a collection of 56 songs in Marathi, written by noted litterateur G.D.Madgulkar and composed and sung by Sudhir Phadke. The collection of songs contains the gist of Ramayana in chronological sequence. Following, is the 25th song of the album which is one of the most philosophical compositions of modern Marathi literature..

Paradhin ahe Jagati Putra Maanavacha

दैवजात दुःखे भरता, दोष ना कुणाचा
पराधीन आहे जगती पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा.... (धृ)

It is destiny that breeds misfortune, dear brother (Bharat), its not your fault... Mankind is dependent on other higher forces, it not your fault...

माय कैकेयी ना दोषी, नव्हे दोषी तात,
राज्यत्याग काननयात्रा, सर्व कर्म जात,
खेळ चाललासे माझ्या, पूर्व-संचिताचा,
पराधीन आहे जगाती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा... १

It isn't the fault of Mother Kaikeyi, nor is it father's misjudgement.. Abdication of kingdom and Exile was all borne out my Karma.. It is the fruits of previous karma, that I am facing, dear brother, don't blame yourselves for my misfortune... 1

अंत उन्नतीचा पतनी होई या जगात,
सर्व संग्रहाचा वत्सा, नाश हाच अंत
वियोगार्थ मिलन होते, नेम जगाचा
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...२

The climax of all progresses in this world is in downfall. The end of all "collection" is always desolation, my dear.. People meet to say goodbye eventually, dear brother.. Don't blame yourselves.. 2

जिवासवे जन्मे मृत्यू, जोड जन्मजात
दिसे-भासे ते ते सारे, विश्व नाशिवंत
काय शोक करिसी वेड्या, स्वप्नीच्या फळांचा??
पराधीन आहे जगती पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष न कुणाचा...३ 

"Death" and "life" are siblings, dear, both come into existence together, one cannot exist without another.. Whatever you can see and perceive is all going to fade away like a dream, one day.. Why then are you sorrowful of dream fading away, dear brother?? - 3

तात स्वर्गवासी झाले, बंधू ये वनांत
अतर्क्य ना झाले काही, जरी अकस्मात
मरण कल्पनेशी थांबे तर्क जाणत्यांचा
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...४

I understand it is shocking to realize death of father and exile of brother.. Although it isn't unthinkable, it was all too sudden.. The flight of human imagination stops with prospects of death, dear brother, don't be so grief-struck...4

जरा-मरण यातून सुटला, कोण प्राणीजात ??
दुःख मुक्त जगला का रे, कुणी जीवनात??
वर्धमान ते ते चाले मार्ग रे क्षयाचा
पराधीन आहे जगती पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष न कुणाचा...५

But tell me, did any living being escape from old-age and death?? Did anyone live without having to face sorrows and misfortunes?? Whatever is walking the path of growth today, is also walking the path of eventual decline... Why then be so upset, dear brother, my misfortunes aren't your fault...5

दोन ओंडक्यांची होते, सागरात भेट, 
एक लाट तोडी दोघां, पुन्हा नाही गाठ
क्षणिक तेवी आहे बाळा, मेळ माणसांचा
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...६ 

Its like two logs of wood floating in ocean... The waves bring those logs together for some time and then same waves break their bond, the logs separate never to meet again... The association of men in this world is similar, dear brother...6

नको आंसू ढाळू आता, पूस लोचनास
तुझा आणि माझा आहे, वेगळा प्रवास
अयोध्येस हो तू राजा, रंक मी वनीचा
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...७ 

Do not shed tears now, wipe your eyes.. Your journey and mine is different... Go and become king of Ayodhya, while I become a hermit in forests...7

नको आग्रहाने मजसी, परतवूस व्यर्थ
पितृवचन पाळून दोघे, होऊ रे कृतार्थ
मुकुट-कवच धारण करी, का वेश तापसाचा?
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...८

Don't force me to return, brother I won't budge... Lets honour father's word and give his soul and ours, peace... What difference does it make to that inner peace if one wears royal clothes OR straps of hermit?? Do not blame yourselves...8

संपल्याविना ही वर्षे, दशोत्तरी चार
अयोध्येसी नाही येणे, सत्य हे त्रिवार,
तूच एक स्वामी आता, राज्य-संपदेचा
पराधीन आहे जगती, पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...९

Without completing the exile of 14 years, I will not return to Ayodhya and this is final truth.. You and you alone, dear brother, are true owner of the kingdom.. return and rule without blaming yourselves...9

पुन्हा नका येऊ कोणी दूर या वनांत
प्रेमभाव तुमचा माझ्या जागता मनात
मान वाढावी तू लोकी अयोध्या पुरीचा
पराधीन आहे जगती पुत्र मानवाचा, दोष ना कुणाचा...१०

Please, do not return to forests to persuade me.. Know that in spite of what transpired, I still love you... Go and make Ayodhya Rich and prosperous by ruling Justly... Do not blame yourselves...10

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bipinchandra Pal on India and Clash of Civilizations (1923)

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Thoughts of BipinChandra Pal from "Nationality and Empire" published in 1923 - Guys, this book is delight to read... highly recommended...

"This Pan-European combination [that we now call the Westwill be a very serious menace to the non-European world. It will be bound to come into serious conflict with both Pan-Islamism and Pan-Mongolianism [metaphor for Expansionist China]. If Europe can settle her internal jealousies betimes, she will be able to dominate easily both the Islamic and the Mongolian world. Nothing will prevent in that case the parceling out of the Muslim lands on the one side, and of China on the other. But that is not very likely. It will take, at least, as long a time for the European chancelleries to forget their past jealousies and present rivalries, as it will take for China, now that she has awakened from the sleep of ages, to put her own house in order and organize her leviathan strength to hold her own against the entire world.

"The same thing is likely to happen in the Islamic world also; and the fall of Turkey in Europe will hasten this combination. It will not be an organized confederacy like that of China and Japan, but a far more dangerous, because more subtle, combination of the hearts of countless hordes who hold nothing so dear, neither land nor life, as their religion. And the real strength of this Pan- Islamic outburst will come from Egypt and India [which then included present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh], where it will be safe from the crushing weight of the Pan-European confederacy. England will not allow her European confederates to interfere with her own domestic affairs; such interference would break up the confederation at once. She will have to settle this Pan-Islamic problem, so far as it may affect her own dominions, herself." 

Then describing where the danger for India will come from, Pal writes under the title "Our Real Danger". "And it is just here that our safety from this possible Pan-European combination also lies. Because of the British connection, India will have nothing to fear from any possible combination of the European powers. The same is also true of Egypt, though perhaps in a lesser degree. Our real menace will come not from Europe but from Asia, not from Pan-Europeanism but from Pan-Islamism and Pan-Mongolianism. These dangers are,  however, common, both to India and Egypt and Great Britain. To provide against it, Great Britain will have to find and work out a satisfactory and permanent settlement of the Indian and the Egyptian problem, and we, on our part, will have also to come to some rational compromise with her. British statesmanship must recognize the urgent and absolute need of fully satisfying the demands of Indian and Egyptian nationalism, and India and Egypt will have to frankly accept the British connection - which is different from British subjection - as a necessary condition of their national life and freedom. To wantonly seek to break up this connection, while it will only hurt Great Britain, may positively kill every chance and possibility of either Indian or Egyptian nationalism ever realizing itself."

Predicting and pleading the need for the alliance of the West and India, Pal writes under the sub-head "Our True Safety": "Indian nationalism in any case, has, I think, really no fear of being permanently opposed or crippled by Great Britain. On the contrary, the  british connection can alone offer its effective protection against both the Pan-Islamic and the Pan-Mongolianism menace. As long as we had to consider Great Britain alone or any other European Power for the matter of that, while thinking of the future of Indian nationalism, the problem was comparatively simple and easy. But now we have to think if China on the one hand, and of the new Pan-Islamic danger on the other. The 60 millions of Mohammedans in India, if inspired with Pan-Islamic aspirations, joined to the Islamic principalities and powers that stand both to our West and our northwest, may easily put an end to all our nationalist aspirations, almost at any moment, if the present British connection be severed. 

"The four-hundred millions of the Chinese empire can, not only gain an easy footing in India, but once that footing is gained, they are the only people under the sun who can hold us down by sheer superior physical force. There are no other people who can do this. This awakening of China is, therefore, a very serious menace - in the present condition of our country, without an organized and trained army and a powerful navy of our own - to the maintenance of any isolated, though sovereign, independence of the Indian people. Even if we are able to gain it, we shall never be able to keep it, in the face of this Pan-Islamic and Pan-Mongolian menace. And when one considers these terrible possibilities of the world situation as it is slowly evolving before one's eyes, one is forced to recognize the absolute need of keeping up the British connection in the interest of Indian nationalism itself, for the very simple and sufficient reason that there is absolutely much greater chance of this nationalism fully realizing itself with rather than without this connection." 

Migraine of Managing Pakistan's failure

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by Shivshankar Sastry

The problem is that the moment Pakistan ceases to define itself as anti-India, everyone there will wake up and notice that they are basically Indians on the western periphery of the subcontinent. so what was the point of Partition and all the wars and the great Jinnah and all that propaganda if it was all pointless in the end? 

And as people have pointed out time and again the most powerful tool for negating India is to hide behind Islam, saying India is Hindu and that Pakistanis are Muslim and cannot be Hindus and therefore not Indian. A complete negation of India's Hindu ethos is required for Pakistaniyat to integrate with India. This will not happen. Ironically Pakistanis have reinforced the middle-eastern connections of Islam and made it more local than global with all the passion of the neophyte eager to prove himself more pious than the prophet, more loyal than the king.

Pakistan at a deeper level and at a level not acknowledged by modern thought that revolves around liberalism and human rights, has been constructed as a retreat of Islam. No amount of suffering and privation, no number of deaths can be too great in order to protect Islam.

In practical terms what Pakistan has done is to set up any opposition to Pakistan as opposition to Islam. How is the world dealing with this?

The west- Pakistan's biggest sponsors, are now finding out about Islam in Pakistan and they are being judgemental about Islam. The west is searching for the chimera of an unattainable "moderate Islam" where women will show there faces and party with strange men. This is one type of conflict with Islam.

The Indian way has not been judgemental about Islam. Islam can be Islam - as long as it coexists with others. This is also a type of conflict with Islam - but probably less so than the conflict in the west.

The Chinese way is to ruthlessly beat down and suppress anyone who disagrees with the group beyond a point. The Chinese speak a language that Islamists understand. Still they will cheerfully combat Islam if that is needed. Pakistanis are too scared to oppose China. They see China as the conqueror of India - a nation that Pakis fear. 

So what Pakistan has done is to set up a conflict with Islam by way of which economic and physical strife for Pakistanis can be ignored or dismissed as a necessity in the larger interests of saving Islam. In my view there are only two ways of dealing with the dilemma that Pakistan poses to the entire world. One is to oppose Pakistan and be accused of opposing Islam.  The other is to let Pakistanis get as much Islam as they want. 

The Indian way has been to allow the Pakistanis to get as much Islam as they want. That means allowing the Taliban to rule if necessary but defending India against the consequences.

The western way has been to try and prevail on one group of Pakistanis who are arbitrarily designated as "moderate" to oppose and fight others who are designated as extremists. For India this is a problem because Pakistanis change their behavior to suit the west when they need money, but remain true to their cause of protecting Islam from outsiders. China has trouble in Xinjiang so China too is like the West and will pay one bunch to oppose another. 

The west are encouraging civil war in Pakistan by supporting an paying one group to oppose another. It so happens that the group that the west supports is also the group that China supports.  India may be the only country that opposes civil war in Pakistan and actually talks about the mango Abdul (average Pakistani). In my view India is also the country that is least likely to be affected by a Taliban takeover of Pakistan because Pakistani behavior towards India has always been Talibanic. It would make little difference. 

Pakistan today is the result of all these conflicts and conflicting methods of dealing with it. The west and china are both willing to pay and arm one group of Pakistanis to fight someone else - be it India or the Taliban. India is the only country that is not paying some group in Pakistan to fight anyone. 

It appears to me that "economics" is often utilized in variable ways. If the elite of Pakistan who get paid by both the US and china are well off, the economy they represent is touted as positive and progressive. What is ignored is the vast mass of mango Abduls who are the tools used by various groups to fight someone else. Nobody can predict exactly what will happen in future, but from an Indian viewpoint I believe it would be ideal if various entities (US, China) stopped paying Pakistani groups to fight others. Since India is unable to prevail upon he US and China to stop paying some Pakistanis to fight others we have to search for positives in the bad bargain that we have got. 

Perhaps the best positive for India will be civil war in Pakistan. If others are paying Pakistanis to fight Pakistanis - that is the best bargain Indians can get. Ultimately Pakistanis will turn on each other and their sponsors.  Only a prolonged sate of chronic civil war, strife and large pockets of hunger and anger in Pakistan can erase or modify the delusions of Islamic supremacy that has tried to ignore both the geography and the history of the civilization around the Indus.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Irony of being "Mahatma"

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Statement: Nobody understood Hindus more than MKG... and nobody misunderstood non-Hindus more than MKG...


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (MKG) viewed the world from Vegetarian-Gujarati-Baniya glasses. These glasses however partial they are, are purely indic in origin. So in other words, contrary to many other senior INC leaders (Except Tilak, Lajpatrai and Bipinchandrapal), he had the world-view and the empathy to connect with rural masses of India beyond Western Maharashtra, Southern Punjab (around Lahore), and Urban Bengal. Gandhi's attire and way of reaching out to people made them feel responsible towards a national cause. The efficacy of Satyagraha on India's independence is a shoddy cover-up. But what cannot be denied is that, he awakened the dormant rank and file of Hindu society from 1920 to 1939. This awakening of Hindu society in these twenty years of Gandhi is mark of sheer genius. He found the pulse of Hindus and could project the control over that pulse many times at will over large and diverse Hindu population. 

He made available a safe way for a Hindu man to contribute his tiny bit towards a national cause and raise his political awareness. The rise in the political awareness of mango Hindu is perhaps one of the single biggest contribution of MKG for mother India. Typically, a Muslim had a higher political awareness than a Hindu of national and particularly of international politics. A Muslim abdul going to madrassa will know about Turkey, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca-Medina, Egypt, Baghdad and related stories. The phrase of Room-Shaam  (from Rome to Siam) is made popular in Indian languages after the influence of Islam. A Hindu showed lesser awareness of international and national situation (at least places) except for popular pilgrimage places. The Polity is inherent part of Islam. In Indic religions, Artha is segregated from Dharma and Moksha (which is what pilgrimage is about).

The glasses gandhi were Indic. This was a totally Indic way of looking towards polity and Indic way of mobilizing masses for a particular cause. I am not saying this is the only way, other way is that of Shivaji and Govindsinghji. However, in given times, he was the only one to have both a unique "hindu" world-view as well as empathy of the masses. This is where Bipinchandra Pal and Lala Lajpat rai could not compete after death of Tilak. These three had the world-view similar to Shivaji and Govindsinghji. Tilak had both but his age was against him. And Tilak's political and ideological heir, Veer Savarkar, lost out precious years in imprisonment at Andamans.

These Vegetarian-Gujarati-Baniya glasses of MKG were the source of his greatest strength and greatest weakness. He looked at everyone through these glasses. These glasses of him enabled him to feel the pulse of 80% of Indians. But this made him totally disconnected from remaining 20%, the Indian muslims. He viewed IM from these glasses too, and this is what led to his undoing. Starting from Khilafat, he continuously misunderstood Islam. His conviction and his successes with Indian Hindus made him callous to the warnings of others who understood Islam, including the warning of Muhammad ali Jinnah while his opposition to Khilafat movement in 1917. He tried to control and pamper them as he pampered and controlled the "harijans" or the "Dalits" of hindu society. 

His personal integrity and purity of character is comparable only to a Rishi. However, only Hindus venerate chaste Rishis. The saints of Muslims and Christians are proselytizing warlords who are proficient at killing or converting the heathens (St. Xaviers, for example). He totally misunderstood this part.

Hence the statement - MKG understood Hindus more than anyone else in his times, and he repetitively misunderstood Muslims more than anyone else in his times.