Let’s venture out to quiet place
Where time has come to standstill
Where moments love to freeze
And at such a place
Sitting under shade of each other’s soul
Ponder about those days
When we be missing from this world
And yet life’s beauty be prevailing around
In all its majestic grandeur
And such an introspection
Would add a new dimension
In our existence
In our collective silence
Conceived as your silence merged with mine
That annihilated our beingness
And as that happened
We kept coming close
To the realm of Absolute
Which steadily and slowly
Kept moving towards us
Silently embracing our collective silence
The separation vanished altogether
And prevailed absolute oneness
Untouched by impermanence
Gaining entry into realm
Where oneness gets wedded to totality
In light of incessant togetherness.
Hindi Version Of The Poem:
Information About The Picture:
The picture clicked by me shows River Ganges flowing through my village situated in Mirzapur District, Uttar Pradesh, India.
It’s pathetic that Congress party can go to any extent to embarrass ministers belonging to newly formed NDA government. It has questioned the ability of Smriti Irani to handle HRD department citing her academic credentials. In this regard, it needs to be stated emphatically that intelligence is not limited to rotten degrees alone! Read life sketch of great minds and one would notice that they were dropouts. And as I say so neither I am advocating futility of studying nor I am quashing worth of degrees. I am simply adding a different perspective!! Our former PM Manmohan Singh ji had brilliant academic record and he possessed prestigious degrees offered by foreign universities. However, this general feeling now rules the minds of electorates that his prestigious degrees were of little use as they did no good in solving major issues plaguing the nation. It’s so ironical that Congress members are not aware of the fact that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!
An interesting conversation in this regard took place on various social media sites. I am posting here views of some of the participants for my readers.
Educated lot is more stupid and unrealistic because they are not street smart! Educated people are making more mess in every field. Uneducated lot is involved in corruption in conventional manner which can be traced but ones committed by educated lot involves hi-tech means and thus remains untraceable. Highly educated ministers in previous UPA government like Kapil Sibal, A Raja and others remained hand in glove with controversial forces instead of taking appropriate decisions to serve the interest of nation. They simply viewed the Indian issues from Western perspective! Most of the IIT Graduate are supporting Arvind Kejriwal who introduced a welcome move of distributing tickets to uneducated people belonging to lower echelon of society.
Please understand the difference between “Structured Academic Education of West” and “Knowledge imparted by system”. Politics is all about society and people. Guru imparts Knowledge and Professors of premier institutes like IITs, IIMs and AIIMS are academicians only are at the beck and call of Irani only! It is high time educated fools understand that they are fools involved in fooling common man!! It is like fire brigade on way to “Putting down Burning Flames of India” is attempting to sweep the dirt on the road leading to spot. And claim dirt should be removed. Why are you objecting??
Mra Satish Awaiting Justice, Thane, Maharashtra, said:
Dr. Shashi Tharoor, though only a Minister of State, performed eggscellently in MEA / HRD etc. in the previous government, looked after cricket and love affairs etc. free for the country, side by side. All the world loves a lover. So maybe he was not booked also for certain matter, in which common man with family taken into immediate custody and harassed. So for higher Cabinet ranked Smriti, it sure can’t be easy, if one compares!
Why not Smriti for HRD? For a minister what is important is decision making at right time and at right place with the help of officials. A minister’s task is to intercept the best idea, which he/she can easily do after entering into consultation with experts.
Maybe professors need to join politics and become minister. BTW, IITs are nowhere in global rankings and research output.
Uneducated lot have the same potential as the educated lot. They have performed well whenever they got an opportunity. It’s time to harness their potential. We should not jump to rash conclusion stating the appointment of Smriti Irani a blunder.
Sara Chimthanawala, Nagpur, Maharastra, said:
Education is not only College Degrees, it is the knowledge & wisdom one acquires with the various situations & events in life. I am not saying that college degrees are not necessary, of course they are mandatory, specially in today’s competitive world. History shows that most of the brilliant minds & discoverers etc are not graduates, but they left a mark in the world & a trail for us to follow. Let’s “Think out of box ” as they say & give this lady a chance to prove herself. Let us not sit on judgement even before the goods are delivered, let us keep doing our best & bring glory to our country.
Sunil Kohli, New Delhi, said:
Our former PM had so many qualifications but of what use? Bill gates,who is hardly educated, created wonders. What matters is how and how much you deliver. Yes if you don’t deliver then people will find loopholes. Congress did not deliver as expected by people. So people started digging the past of Sonia Gandhi but that was not so when UPA came to power in 2004. Old saying: If company of books makes you educated then librarian would have been the most educated person. Similarly, if degrees could make you perform then Man Mohan Singhji should have been the most successful PM. Therefore, its performance, performance and performance.
A king had no woman in his cabinet. So he inducted one. One day the cabinet ministers went for boating. Centre of the river the boat capsized. This woman minister ran over water, brought another boat and saved every one. Next day the male members complained to the king “Sir, what type of minister have you inducted in to your cabinet!! She doesn’t even know how to swim.”
Bhanu Prakash said:
I think development matters more than entering into debate about being educated or uneducated!
Yaksh Nigam, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, said:
I can prove that, educated persons are more dangerous that the uneducated ones. A leader should be good from heart and not only academically good.
Tell us what should be the qualification of a Defence or Home or Finance or HRD minister? She is quite a capable lady. A good manager need not to be a management graduate.
Rupesh Masand said:
As very rightly said, it’s ‘performance’ in the end of the day & educational qualifications don’t seem to influence it. So dear friends, let’s wait and watch Smriti handle the proceedings (though handling IIT & IIM might be a real tough job!!!!), rather being judgmental from Day One.
Do people belonging to IIT and IIM have more brains?
Rohan Dharesh, Bangalore, Karnataka, said:
Formal education is a complete failure and we see this in real life. People who get high ranks fail in real life. Theory and practical is totally different. Indian education system is based on Lord Macaulay’s prescription for slave countries but the Nehruvian constitution has continued with it shamelessly. We need to kick out this system of education that is all about corruption, donations, extortion, marks and passing exams. Today’s textbook theories and postulates have no place in real life. Albert Einstein was a dropout; so were most of the great people. This stands as evidence that western form of education is flawed.
Manmohan Singh Ji had umpteen degrees and doctorates and the way he would govern was horrible. Every speech of his was written and prepared by his secretaries and his voice was so meek that he himself would hardly be able to hear. His degrees taught him that the poor are responsible for inflation, that money does not grow on trees, that minorities had the first right to natural resources, that history would be kinder to him etc. Manmohan has proved to be the worst PM ever and even the Pakistan PM called him Dehati Aurat!
If we really believe in independence, then we need to change the education system immediately from the Macaulay slave system of education to that better suited to an independent country. We need to get rid of western concepts of exams, marks, extortion in the name of education. IITs and IIMs need to be reformed and Indianised from the present Westernisation.
MNCs are real culprits: First, for playing havoc with sensibilities of innocent buyers; Second, for brutally misrepresenting facts. They make you feel inferior and then they use the resultant guilt complex to sell soaps, fairness creams, shampoos, deodorants and etc. That’s how they make contribution in growth of a nation. And women are the easy victim in this whole game! Perhaps they never really understand the whole game. Just because MNCs make you available few products in easy way do not absolve them of their gory crimes. After all, it’s they who kept us deliberately in dark about real facts. And instead of true facts brainwashed our minds with wrong ones using ferocious advertising resting on celebrities. I wish to substantiate my views by presenting few examples..
We have so many natural fruit juices like ones prepared from green mangoes, ones prepared from sugarcane, ones prepared from Bael fruit or ones prepared from lemon but then they made Indian kids/youths to believe that soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi are the best!! And yes, when a girl drinks Coke with a boy it creates more seductive impression! One needs not simple milk but milk mixed with Bournvita which works wonders for kids. Many propagate a false view that these natural product are not available and even if they are available consumers are not aware of it, but I like to let you know what’s happening where these are available and where people know about them. In our villages Neem tree’s branch was best to clean teeth but now children use toothpaste and that too fluoride mixed! Everyone knows excess amount of fluoride is lethal for teeth but MNCs will never let you know that. Village women now use shampoos and they feel shy to use mud of Ganges which I rememberl was used quite frequently in my childhood days!! I mean MNCs have changed the whole mindset. Worse, you can notice wrappers of shampoos, soaps etc. on the banks of rivers!
The real danger arises from the conditioning that follows once we become addicted to useless products made by the MNCs. Not a long time back Sarees and Salwars were most desired clothes on part of women in our country. Now most women wear jeans despite the fact that medically it’s ominous. Definitely, they ensure availability of necessary things of everyday use in easy way but at what price? Now modern kids prefer fast foods. So isn’t good food available in kitchen? No it’s available but since women have become working ladies, having no time to make food, MNCs used fast food as healthier and tastier food than home-made foods!
Similarly silicon implants have become order of the day since that makes them more confidant which comes with notion that bigger is beautiful!! Whether or not a woman has values but if she is fair looking, of course, after using certain cream, at least in India, she becomes center of attraction. She not only gets many rich boyfriends but also gets a decent job! And yes, if man is good natured, it means nothing if he has dark colour. So become fair and then every woman will seduce you..And if you own a certain brand of bike or car then that would be much better. What’s the implication? A man with good values and living simply is good for nothing!
So please meditate over it. It’s not the issue of easy availability and it’s also not about vanity alone. It’s more about demeaning the glory of simplicity and simple life. It’s about distorting our mindset and in turn corrupting our living patterns, corrupting our approach towards life.
Views Of Two Readers Who Participated In A Conversation On This Issue On One Prominent Social Networking Website:
All cleaning products are available in nature. Mud of a certain type is the best cleaning agent for both the body and utensils. MNCs would never want people to know natural cleaning products and even if they know, they would indulge in propaganda and make product usage by people fashionable. Its like making people believe that Coke and Pepsi is good for health. Many of the world’s movements are also done similarly and with ulterior motives and feminism stands as a fine example. Feminism and the so-called women’s empowerment is a part of this marketing strategy. They want women to ‘feel’ disempowered and oppressed, fight with the men, work and earn money only to be spent on cosmetics and luxuries. I have seen many women refuse to give money to their husbands for running their families. Many others waste their money on beauty products, shopping, shoes, clothes, bags, perfumes, foreign tours and more. Remember all the Miss worlds, Miss universe shows that were held since decades now. In the 1990s, all of a sudden from nowhere, many of the titles went to Indian women. Post-2000, its gone to other countries mostly. This is a marketing trick to make women in India feel attracted towards their products. Every woman since then wants to be a Miss world.
Carmen Ampuero, Lima, Peru, said:
I am sure that we could find cleaning products in nature but how many are aware of them? Do people know about such naturally available products? Is it feasible to use them? Are they easily available in various parts of the world, especially within close proximity of their surroundings? I think that led to mass manufacturing of such products in artificial way by the MNCs. Yes, vanity is an important factor in growth of cosmetics. Both the sexes around the world are being “USED” to ensure profit gains for MNCs. By the way, of late, I see more men than women tempted by the desire to use cosmetics.
I have no hesitation in admitting that Allahabad (ancient name Prayag) redefined my beingness.It made me down-to earth, allowing me to view life in its true shades. Although I tried my best to capture all the shades of Allahabad, I am sure I would have missed some beautiful locations. I hope future writers would explore these untouched places in a colourful way. However, in the last part of the photo feature, I have shifted my attention from modern landscape of Allahabad to areas which still remind of the ancient times. Infrastructural bottlenecks prevented me from using state-of-the-art technology in capturing the images and that made me bit depressed. However, now in the aftermath of the publication of photo features, I feel pretty satisfied that I still came to do some good work. These photo features are a tribute to great city Allahabad- my birthplace. A city that taught me how to emerge successful in rising above contradictions to have glimpse of the Absolute!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
Allahabad enjoys a glorious legacy. It’s a city that has been dominated by best minds since time immemorial. Its ancient name Prayag is associated with Rishis (saints) and Devas (demigods) eager to have an opportunity to live in this city. Sri Rama, incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and, Sri Shankaracharya, incarnation of Lord Shiva, both came to interact with this city in their own ways. Needless to state about Kumbh Mela, which provides it a global appeal. And who can forget its role in Independence movement? And in post- Independence era, it still continues to dominate the course of this great nation by giving birth to remarkable thought patterns. Leading politicians, top bureaucrats, great literary figures and etc. all belong to this city. This city wedded to realism is very very slow in embracing ultra-modern changes, but now it has started accepting bizarre changes all in the name of being in tune with time!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
(These are excerpts from the speech delivered by Arvind K.Pandey at Jagat Taran Girls Degree College, Allahabad, on January 12, 2014 in a programme organised by Kritisankalpa Society to celebrate birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Other notable speakers who expressed their views on this occasion included Swami Nikhilatmananda, President, Ramakrsihna Mission, Allahabad; Justice Rajesh Tandon, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Uttarakhand; Justice. Palok Basu (Retd.), Allahabad High Court; Dr. Milan Mukherjee; Devendra Tiwari and Senior Advocate Ashok Mehta.)
Today we find that youths are at the receiving end of so many challenging issues.The transition phase has introduced them to complex living patterns, which has left them high and dry. They not only remain the most exploited lot but also remain frustrated and depressed. That’s because pressure to perform is at its peak in materialistic times. They are unable to choose right means of survival. Worse, imposition of outdated patterns of living by the silver hairs has made youths a sorry figure. Against this backdrop, the values shared by Swami Vivekananda seem to be last ray of hope as they infuse within the being supreme confidence and positive feelings.
Swami Vivekananda truly recognized the potential of youths. He always believed that “strong, vigorous, believing young men, sincere to the backbone” can change the face of globe. “A hundred such and the world becomes revolutionized.” However, when we look at the state of affairs prevalent in their lives, it leaves any thinking soul quite worried and sad. Very recently, police entered inside the campus of Allahabad University and students got beaten black and blue with laathis as if they were hardcore criminals and not innocent students. If you hear about the experiences of these youths, you would be in great pain to hear about their exploitation. Acharya Manu rightly states that silver hairs alone do not constitute wisdom but in Kaliyuga the white hairs have become confirmed sign of knowledge! No wonder they are always in conflict with younger generation. They are more often than not involved in quashing the innovative spirit of youths, leading to dissipation of enthusiasm from the lives of youths.
Swami Vivekananda believed that each soul is a “potentially divine soul” but misguided silver hairs with their outdated notions have turned these younger souls, bubbling with optimism, into a potentially destructive soul. Swami Vivekananda possessed a revolutionary spirit who had dared to ask uncomfortable questions from older lot. He rightly believed that “each generation should be inspired afresh” and “men should not be taught to imitate a personal ideal, however great”. One of the fatal errors committed by older generation is that it tries to impose its views all in name of sharing experience.
Some of the well-made flicks like Three Idiots, Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Paan Singh Tomar, to name a few, capture well the conflicts generated by old minds in the lives of youths. It’s evident that optimism and energy found in youths deeply impresses any conscious thinker of Vivekananda’s stature interested in creating new order of things.” My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions.” It’s another thing that in a nation which prefers argumentative tradition-something highly praised by Amartya Sen-the youths get tamed on one pretext or another.
The lives of youths seem to have got trapped in ills of modernity. Or, why else are we seeing advertisements related with prevention of AIDS on National Youth Day? Isn’t this sad reminder of the fact that there has been erosion of values among the youths? Or is this indicative of fact that things have gone out of control since what was once upon a time treated as immoral has gained some sort of acceptance in Indian society? Whatever it is, it indicates crisis of values. We also need to accept that priorities of youths have changed and their role models have also changed. Their role models are the ones which do not inspire them to be do good and be good. They are the ones which encourage them to earn name and fame within short span of time. So what’s the role of a spiritual powerhouse amid this new set of perceptions?
Even if we take into account new changes that have hit the lives of youths, there is still much space left for spirituality. That’s because materialism cannot give them real peace of mind. It cannot quench the thirst which exists inside our soul. No wonder youths have been hit hard by giant dragon called depression. Let’s also not forget that India is land of discovering inner peace. It’s not the land to multiply external source of happiness. And so likes of Swami Vivekananda would always be influencing our lives. They are the ones who keep us above from the realm of negativism. Youths are depressed because external world has limited means of satiating one’s desires, wherein seekers are more than suppliers! On the other hand, the inner world is infinite in nature and the competition to own this inner world is less. So people in race of inner peace have greater chances to remain happy than the majority which is in the race to conquer external world.
Swami Vivekananda’s views will always remain relevant among youths since they enable the youths to rectify their approach towards life. They rejuvenate our dull spirit, by making us shift attention from the external world to inner world and in the process this great truth gets revealed: “The aim of life is to realize God…He alone is real and everything else is false…Religion is realization.” And once you attain realization you come to feel every moment that” all power is within you, you can do anything and everything.”
P.S.: This post also appeared in Northern India Patrika On January 18, 2014.
It’s a matter of great satisfaction that prominent publications related with mainstream media have begun to embrace issues related with men in a fair way. The various bodies working for the cause of men across the nation have decided to ferociously protest against the recent amendments made in Hindu Marriage Laws which are not only anti-male but also do not augur well for the cause of society. I must appreciate The Times of India and its correspondents some of them whom I know personally quite well for being sympathetic towards issues sensitive in nature. The complicated issues cannot be dealt with in a proper way unless we know both the sides of story and this type of fair reporting allows us to be more informed about aspects which remain neglected owing to lack of dissemination. Right now some of the well known Men’s associations based in Bangalore, Pune, Nagpur and elsewhere are working hard to create awareness regarding misuse of laws, which they call legal terrorism. The activists right now are engaged in having dialogue with Members of Parliament with a hope to apprise them of with concerns of Men’s Associations. I am sure the day is not far when gender-neutral laws would get introduced to provide a better shape to Indian society now on the verge of disarray due to blatant misuse of power by the feminists, enjoying support of negative powers operating within the nation and in foreign lands.