Sunday, November 27, 2011

On Faith and Some Common Notions

I am afraid some of us have got a wrong impression of religion. If you have a problem with the word 'religion' (for Marx's superhit comment "Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions."---Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right) you can replace the word with faith (more appropriate to use as Asians).

RELIGION STRENGTHENS PEOPLE, INJECTS HOPE AND POWER INTO THEM; AND DOES NOT WEAKEN THEM. ALSO, IT UNITES PEOPLE. History gives testimony to this. It was only after Christ came and got crucified that Israel's resurrection was possible...they were no longer slaves of the Romans. It was only after Prophet Mohammed was born and preached His beautiful religion that Arab tribes were unified and stopped self-destruction by internal trifles and was elevated to the glory of one of the most learned races of this planet...human endeavor in every sphere of activity flourished there. Long before them, Buddha came and preached a faith so powerful that Vedic Religion got back its life after it became lifeless with sacrificial rites. And only after Raja Rammohan Roy and Sri Ramkrishna Dev reformed Sanatana Dharma that Bengal's Renaissance followed; produced figures like Swami Vivekananda, Rabindranath, Keshav Sen, Mahatma Ashwinikumar Dutta, Gandhi et al. Please do not confound the power and purity of religion with what Humans made it look like. That would only be false interpretation or "sotyer opolaap"!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yet Another Love Song

Didn't mean to make you feel embarrassed,
Nor did I want to tell you that I'm here.
Fairy tales were so lovely to share
That I pretended that I'm no kid.

Didn't remember hopes felt so heavy in my heart
Nor did I expect it would again be.
All I did was to wait and wait and see
Until it vanished--and there was nothing to bid.

Letters, may your shining glory be my abode--
I'll be a recluse; so sing your hymns to me.
Come winter, and I have a fire ready
To be fuelled by pages she was meant to read.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Are We Agitated For Nothing?

“Why don’t you ask the kids at Tiananmen Square?
Was fashion the reason why they were there?” ---- ‘Hypnotize’, System of A Down

One or two individuals are saying, what is going on in the Ramleela Maidan is a 'circus'. According to them, people who are waving flags, chanting bhajans or sitting for a dharna in front of a MP's residence are all participants in this so called 'circus'. Well, suppose we agree with you (hypothetically), ye spectators of the great Indian ‘circus’. But you know, had this ‘circus’ been never brought to the show, the incorrigibly deaf people whom we chose to run the government would never care to actually listen to what we are saying (I know that you who give this great movement such insulting names fully understand my point as well as that this is no ordinary event and this is going to change the history of our land; but alas – pretending that you are a different species has always been you favourite sport).

One can recall, not from some distant period of history but from rather recent past an event which took place just a few months ago, and not too far from our homeland, when our brothers and sisters in Egypt assembled at the Tahir Square in their capital of Cairo; to bring down an anarchy which had snatched away their freedom long ago. They had their national flags and many posters and festoons in their hand; chanting the good name of God. What happened thereafter is now a part of History. Everyone is aware that they did change their fate. Was it a circus, too, my friend?

Our times are turbulent, hard time, no doubt in that. But what is quiet satisfactory is that we are now able to voice our concern, our disappointment, our outrage to those who have always pretended to be deaf, always pretended as if there has been no grievance, that everyone is better off, everyone is happy with the way we are forced to live. Imagine how it feels when a country, supposed to teach the whole world the philosophy of the Vedanta and the Bhagvad Gita, is ranked 87th among 178 countries of the world in the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International. Shame on us if we can’t follow the footsteps of our fathers and their fathers. Shame on us if we can’t accomplish our job which is specific to our nation, i.e. to teach others how to hold your head high, how to conquer your inner enemies and what is morality and Dharma all about. Are we going to be the Guru of the world, with our standards as low as 87th?

Here’s what we have decided: NO. We shall purify ourselves. First we’ll clean up our household, first we’ll stop giving and taking bribes or favouring someone over others just because they are our ally. We’ll stop using wrong shortcuts to achieve anything. We’ll stop exploiting the weak, and will consider everyone as our equals. As the Lord has said: you (the same soul) are in everyone, and everyone is in you. Others’ pain we shall consider as our own. We are the children of this great ancient land, where the Lord Himself took birth as a human being, in the home of the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, in a small cell in a jail. Again he was born to the king’s palace, and went to live as a beggar, renounced everything (remember Lord Buddha); he even took food from someone they considered untouchable (remember Lord Rama accepting food from Shabri).

So this is how we are. This is how our fathers, and their fathers have been. Let us not forget, in the humdrum of the agitation and the cacophony of the debates around us, that we are the children of the Immortal Being (“Shrinwantu Vishwe Amritasya Putrah” ---“ Hear ye all the children of the Immortal”; from the Vedanta). We must first conquer our inner enemies of greed, jealousy and anger. We must succeed in this, and then no one can stop us reach the heights of Humanity or raise fingers of suspicion at us.

This is not just fashion to gather at places and shout slogans against corruption, or against a draconian law like AFSPA or support the farmers of Singur, Nandigram, Noida, Maharashtra or from any corner of our land; against the exploitation of our Adivasi brothers and sisters and their land, rivers and forests. We feel genuine concern towards these problems, for they pose a threat to our existence as a nation. We are not mere ghosts of the past. We live, and we are thriving. We have every right given to us by the Constitution itself to gather and protest and wave our beloved Tricolour and die to save The Ganga from the hands of its looters and polluters or for any other cause.

We are free people, and so are you. For Freedom we live, and for Freedom we die. We are working to secure the future of our children. To work in that direction and to achieve it, we are ready to do hold our flags high in the air, even if it seems a ‘circus’ to anybody. Vande Mataram.


Now I’m more than a quarter of A century old, And I often think I’ve wasted All my gold; Wish I had got a different, some Other ...