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The stream of love


All we need is a spark of imagination
That’ll fan into a raging flame
That devours the devils of hate
Who struggle intently our hearts to maim .

All we need to soothe our souls will be
The remembrance of a shared melody
To reclaim that timeless song of love
From the surrounding cacophony.

All we need are some sprightly showers
Of bubbling smiles and outstretched hands
That awaken springs deep down below
And make gurgling streams in the desert sands

http://palestine.trendolizer.com/2016/10/sbs-news-thousands-of-israeli-and-palestinian-women-have-spent.html

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Mind, heart and the Matrix.


This is such a compelling video.

Gregg Bradden gives us all the reasons why we need to stay away from the calls to align ourselves with one group or another and continue perceiving the “other” as separate from us and hence to be handled with mistrust in the least and hatred at the worst and instead dwell on our positive positve emotions that want the world to be a better place.

Because only we can make it happen.

Here are some excerpts from the video.

“For the past 300 years, our science has been based on tow false assumptions.
T he first is that everyone is separate from everyone else. What is happening in one place has no effect on what happens anywhere else and if it looks like it, it is only a coincidnece.
The second false assumption is that our inner experiences –thoughts, emotions, feelings and beliefs have no effect beyond our bodies.”

“Studies now prove that it is human emotions, specifically the magnetic fileds produced by the human heart during certain kinds of emotions, that now our darkness is extending far beyond our bodies into the physical world and now to such a degree that there are satellites, hundreds of miles away from the surface of the earth are able to pick those up”

“When a certain number of people come together and they choose at a moment of time to create a precise emotion in their hearts, that emotion can literally influence the very fields that sustain the life on planet earth.”

“What makes this beautiful is that every human on this planet is linked to the magnetic field, but not every human on the planet has to be consciously aware of the relationship to benefit what a few number of people can come to understand .”

“The bottom-line is this….when we choose to feel feelings that create what is called coherence in our bodies..coherence is that quality of the language between our hearts and our brains, certain kinds of heart-based experiences such as appreciation,gratitude, forgiveness care, compassion…those are the ancient understandings that have always been taught in the truest traditions of our past and now science is finding that those same traditions are now documenting this real effect in our hearts. When we can feel those feelings in our bodies , they are mirrored in the field in which everybody benefits from the experiences of a few.”

“The world around us..our own science is now telling us that there is a field of energy underlying all physical reality. It is known now by names that range from simply the field, some people call it Nature’s mind, some scientists call it the mind of God, some call it the Matrix, the divine matrix and so on”.

What we’re now beginning toi understand is that when we create the felling of what we choose to experience in our lives , everything from conscious choices, the perfect relationship, abundance in our lives,healing in our bodies , healing in the bodies of our loved ones, those feelings are creating the patterns of magnetic fields in our hearts that are literally re-arranging the stuff of this quantum soup, this quantum essence, allowing the pattern of what we manifest in the world around us. It is less about attracting from the scientific perspective and more about consciously creating the template within us knowing that the stuff of the universe will congeal around the template in the world around us to simply mirror-reflect what we have claimed.

In other words, a very simple way of looking at this and you’ve probably heard this before, is that we must become in our lives, the very things that we choose to experience in our world”.

-Gregg Bradden

 

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Aligarh-hindi movie by Hansal Mehta


I’m glad I went to see  the hindi film “Aligarh” this afternoon. I almost missed it . My daughter had booked my ticket online , but at the counter I was told that it had been booked for yesterday . I rechecked the message delivered on the mobile and realised that it was sadly true. Fortunately, lots of tickets were still available for the current show and so apart from the money  she lost, all was well.

 

One vaguely remembered reading about the newspaper reports that spoke of a professor of  Aligarh Muslim University, in North India ,  being caught on video in a compromising position with a young rikshaw-puller  and his subsequent suspension from his post , at a time when a High Court had revoked Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code  which made homosexuality a criminal offence.  Some journalists had broken in into his house, barged into his bedroom and filmed them. Almost immediately, four of the faculty members had turned up at the place and from that point onwards, life had become a nightmare beset with persecution and humiliation for the sixty four year old professor who had spent over two decades , teaching Marathi in that University.  Two days after the petition filed by him in the High Court was decided in his favour for revoking his suspension , he was found dead  in his rented house. The post-mortem  had revealed that there were traces of poison in his blood.

professor siras

 

Hansal Mehta’s cinematic version of this true-life incident is remarkably well executed.  Manoj Bajpai ,  enacting the role of Professor Srinivas Ramachandra Siras is superb. As the soft-spoken, unobtrusive, almost nondescript professor whose lonely evenings were spent with a glass of spirits and old hindi songs of Lata Mangeshkar,  his portrayal etched the character indelibly in the viewer’s mind, I felt.

 

Raj Kumar Rao, in the role of the young  Delhi based journalist  Deepu Sebastian Edmond, then working with the newspaper Indian Express, who had followed this case along with his photographer colleague Tashi Tobgyal, is also very impressive.

deepu sebastian.jpg

 

It was Deepu  who had  highlighted the culpability of the persons who had intruded upon the right of an individual to his  privacy and against whom no action had been taken.  In actuality, Deepu and Professor Siras, had never met and there had been only one conversation on the phone after the judgement was delivered. In the film,  they are shown to have met several times and the mutual understanding , respect and affections that developed between them have been very   touchingly depicted.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JezwsQKpXuU

 

“I don’t like the word gay”, the professor objects in the film.” To me it is like poetry, an indescribable urge”

And how can that be a crime if that relationship is  between two consenting individuals , if it doesn’t  impose or intervene or disrupt another’s space or rights or well-being?  That it is  unnatural , is the reason provided by  almost all religions and the law. How can an individual help the way he feels about love or it’s expression if that is how his nature is ? Isn’t Nature itself a testimony to the fact that homogenity is against the very nature of Nature itself , with it’s myriad forms, colours, contours , climates, niches and nurturing ,  food cycles and courtship and reproduction.

 

In this age of taking sides , of information and counter-information and misinformation,  of strident voices dominating  every aspect of human existence , of confusions and helplessness, how does one sift through the incoherence and arrive at any conclusion? How does one know for sure that what one is standing up for is indeed the Truth in the shifting sands of morality , patriotism, religious beliefs, definitions of propriety, social norms, traditions , culture   and so on?

The truth is perhaps that one may never know . May be the only way we can justify our perceptions is by gauging the truth of  our own feelings . For me, the touchstone would be whether  my alignments are motivated by love or animosity for my fellow human beings. Which side I am on is not perhaps of  any significance .

 

 

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 28, 2016 in Community, Movies, Uncategorized

 

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I stand with JNU


Life is just wonderful for me as an individual, right now and for most of the time I am without any feeling of gnawing guilt that there is something wrong about me being so happy when that isn’t the case for many of my fellow-beings.

Some days , however, the guilt does take over , like today, watching and  listening to the video in which  P.Sainath  is speaking to the students at Jawarharlal University , in solidarity with the struggle going on in that campus.

It was years ago that I read ,”Everybody loves a good drought” and if I think back , it was reading about the realities of poverty-stricken rural India  from a person who had gone around the countryside documenting it first-hand , that one felt this enormous urge to be part of something bigger than myself  and connect.  My association with a humble effort to bring some education to children of migrant families from rural India , now residing in an urban slum in the National Capital region,  was in many ways an expression of that desire.

I do realise  that even in that desire to be part of something like this, is also about the self…the need for absolving oneself from the  responsibility  for the distressing circumstances around us.

But that is another  personal jihad.

In Sainath’s own words, he is a field reporter  who, who till last year, spent more than 250 days in the countryside  and studies  and reports about the realities at ground zero.

To me, as to many others, he is one of those who has maintained utmost integrity in his journalistic profession.

So I tend to completely trust what he says  and in the cacophony of all the different channels on television and social media,  a voice like his , gives me a better insight into the larger picture  and the long-term  consequences of economic policies  that have been manifesting itself in rural lives.

Sainath is an alumnus from JNU.

These are some salient excerpts from his speech:

According to the Socio Economic Class Census  data , in less75% of rural households which constitutes around 883 million people , the income of the main breadwinner is less than Rs.5000 and if that limit is raised to Rs.10000, it will include 90%.

He describes the current years as a period in which there is the greatest degree of inequality.

Pitched against the above above average  income of rural India , is the Forbes report which ranks some Indians as the fifth or sixth in the list of dollar billionaires and for a better perspective , he draws attention to India’s ranking as per  the Human development Index, which is 135th, which is lower than all Latin American countries, fifty positions lower than Vietnam who went through the ravages of the world war, and twenty positions below Sri Lanka , who had a civil war going on for thirty years.

 

Another glaring aspect of this wider picture that he was sketching in his speech was that of the  declared assets of elected representatives through the years. While the number of crorepatis  amongst them was 32% of all M.Ps in 2004, it was 53% in in 2009 and a whopping 82% in the 2014 elections.

So who is getting richer at whose cost?

 

Anybody who questions these inequalities which is being systematically  created by political and corporate vested interests, is being branded as a criminal and cases are then slapped upon them. This is what has been going on in Odissa and Chattisgarh  and elsewhere, where corporates are setting up their industries, taking away agricultural and  forest land and curbing restrictions on the forest rights of tribal communities.

When we talk of love for our country, is it just an abstract idea?

Is patriotism and nationalism worth their names if it doesn’t include empathy and concern for those whose rights to a dignified survival are being gradually eroded away with state collusion?

Are we  a free nation if the majority  of our brethren are left with no real choices to make about the things that spell the core of their existences?

India is a country which has  some of the most regressive practices on earth, said Sainath, but then adds that it also has some of the most fascinating and brilliant things about it as well…a land where 833 million people speak 780 living languages, out of which 6 are spoken by more than 50 million people, 3 are spoken by more than 80 million people and  one is the language of 600 million. One language (Jeru in the Andamans) is spoken by just one person and another  (Saima in Tripura) by seven persons. This diversity is India and this is the richness it possesses.

Sainath has done extensive investigative studies on the agrarian crisis and the farmer suicides in the Vidarbha region and elsewhere. As he mentioned in  his speech, he is a field reporter who till last year,   spent more than 250 days in rural areas  and he hasn’t been a stooge of any particular Government. So what he says should have some legitimacy.

The responses to the matter of farmer suicides from the Government, intelligentsia, media and the general public have been generally lukewarm, he blames, although he gives more credit to the empathy of the general public as compared to the other three.

And then we have an elected representative of Maharashtra describing these suicides as a fashion trend and another from Andhra who had remarked that they did it for the compensation. The compensation, says Sainath is Rs. I lakh, 30% alone of which is paid to the widow in cash. Of the remaining 70%, which is tied up as a fixed deposit, she gets only the monthly interest of Rs.446 or so.

That’s how insensitive we have become.

Comparitively, he mentioned , the officers of the Defence Institutions where he had given lectures were more  empathetic and concerned  as many of the jawans were farmers in uniforms and they were witness to their  tension and worry when they received a distressing telephone calls from home.

What is at stake here in the present protests, in the context of the arrest of the JNU student leader  Kanhaiya Lal, is the liberty to dissent  and Sainath emphasised in his speech that the fight was not just for their immediate demands , but against the criminalisation of dissent.

With the death of the ten soldiers under an avalanche in Siachen, the figures of casualties in the Glacier has risen to 879 , says an Indian Express report.

Is it lack of political will  that we cannot resolve these border issues.? Who gains from keeping these conflicts alive here and elsewhere in the world?

Who is the enemy of the state?

Does the State always work in the interests of the human beings, they are supposed to represent?

Is it sedition when you speak up for the latter and raise slogans against the former when it is perceived that they don’t?

 

Jawarharlal Nehru University definitely stands for a place  where all such questions  have always been raised and debated.

I’ve spent around 34 years in Delhi . Now a persistent regret  has raised it’s head…that I never had an occasion to visit that campus.

 

I stand with JNU.

This is the You Tube link of Sainath’s speech. It’s long , but worth listening to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3dq6pApmhk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 20, 2016 in Community, Uncategorized

 

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Of Crime and Punishment


As I’ve confessed before, I get  hooked to watching serials involving criminal investigations. Nowadays , I watch “Criminal Minds” .  In this series,the “Behavioural Analysis Unit “ of the FBI , works on narrowing down on the perpetrators of crimes with the help of behavioural clues  that the “Un Subs” or Unidentified suspects leave behind  through the nature of the crimes, the weapons used, the degree and kind  of torture involved, the profile(s) of the victims they choose and so on.

 

It must be stressful for people working on such cases throughout their careers , who  would be becoming  aware of the immenseness of the violence and intensity of negative feelings that lurk in the human minds and the circumstances that lay the seeds and the factors that contribute  to their growth and ultimate fruition , if one may call it that.  One of the actors Mandy Patinkin , who was playing the role of  Senior  Supervisory Special Agent , Jason Gideon, chose to leave the show  because he was deeply disturbed by all that was being portrayed  in it. His departure was written into the script  in the same way…..the letter left behind him  in that particular episode  mentioned that he could no longer make any sense of it all.

 

There was one particular episode,” Open Season”,  in which the team was investigating a series of murders in  a National Forest, just before the start of the hunting season. The victims appeared to have been running away from someone …hunted down like animals  and shot down with a bow and arrow. The perpetrators , it turned out,  were two young boys, who had been orphaned when they were five or six and had been brought up by an uncle, who never sent them to school or allowed any kind of social interaction.  All that they learnt of right and wrong  was from the only adult in their lives…this uncle ,  a distorted human being himself. Agent Gideon explains to his colleague how easy it would be for the boys  to do what they did, considering that affirmation of their worth  in their eyes, depended solely on the approval of their uncle   and the fact that the moral compass was totally lacking in their lives.

 

There is a scene in this episode where one of the boys is wounded  and  when Agent Gideon reaches him,  he whisperingly begs that his brother not be shot at , as he was the only one he had in his life and the  officer gently strokes his forehead and consoles him saying, “it’s okay son, it’s okay”.

 

I had mentioned about the  film “Human” in a recent blog…..a series of interviews with a cross-section of people all over the world talking about their experiences with  love, forgiveness, poverty, war , loneliness and so on. The first part of this series, begins with Leonard  from U.S.A  and what he had learnt about love. This is what he said:

“ I remember my stepfather . He would beat me with extension cords and hangers and pieces of wood and all kinds of stuff . After every beating , he would tell me,”it hurt me more than it hurt you” and “I only did it because I love you “. It communicated the wrong message to me about what love was. So for many years, I thought love was supposed to hurt and I hurt everyone that I loved and I measured love by how much pain someone would take from me. And it wasn’t until I came to prison, in an environment that is devoid of love that I came to have some sort of understanding about what it was and was not.  ….and I met someone and she gave me my first real insight into what love was,  because she saw past my condition and the fact that I was in prison with a life sentence for murder , not only murder, but the worst kind of murder that a man can do , murdering a woman and child. …and it was Agnes, the mother and grandmother of Patricia and Chris, the woman and the child that I murdered who gave me my best lesson about love because by all rights, she should hate me. But she didn’t and over the course of time and through the journey that we took….it has been pretty amazing….she gave me love…..and….and  (he grows silent here and the tears stream down his cheeks…) she taught me what it was.

 

As I read   reports and reactions in the newspapers, TV channels and in the social media , about  the juvenile  who was one of those  in the gang who committed the horrendous rape and murder  of a young girl on a Winter’s night  in Delhi  three years ago,in a moving bus,   being allowed to walk free, I try to sift through my own emotions . I can gauge the pain of the father, though unable to internalise it completely, who wanted to give his daughter all possible opportunities in life to go ahead ; I can empathise with the mother  who would be living through the pain her daughter suffered many times over , every time she dwelt on that fateful night.  At times, anger comes welling up  from the guts like puke  with the knowledge  that such incidents make all parents  become fearful  for the safety of their daughters  and that the only way they can handle their fears, in a country like ours,  is by making their movements  more restrictive.

 

And yet, when I read in the papers today , about the people in the boy’s village in Badaun District in U.P, describing him as a good boy , who never got into any fights   during the time he lived in the village, of his mentally unstable father and of his mother  for whom the only source of livelihood was the money he sent her after moving to Delhi, of the tiny hutment  which didn’t even have a proper roof till last year, of his siblings who are only eight and ten years old,   I wonder about all of the circumstances that had directed his life to move away from that village which is still ready to forgive and accept him back into their fold and  to befriend the others  and participate in that horror.

 

How did he lose his moral compass ? Is he alone responsible?

If I was in his place would I have been different?

Would I seek and hope for forgiveness?

Would I change as a human being if I was forgiven or would I be emboldened to repeat ?

Would others be emboldened ?

Is fear of punishment to be the only factor that will remove the existence of crimes?

Like Agent Gideon, I find  that  I can no longer make sense of all that’s going on.

All I know is this…that even as I hate what he did….I’ll  find it immensely easier to  think about it if I learnt that Nirbhaya’s parents forgave him .

 

 
 

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Wilderness


Sometimes the soul stiffens
Into long silent screams
And each slice of self is crushed
And each belief wrung out.

Hope cringes back in terror
And recognises itself
In all it’s vulnerability
Too small and weak to shout.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lynzybilling/where-syrian-children-sleep#.suAXdJl8q

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Community, Poetry

 

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The Daily Me


Violence yet again  rocks a European  city . The perpertrators are said to be members of the ISIS . They were heard to be shouting “Allahu Akbar “  and therein lies a tale, narrated by some, thankfully not  all.

According to that story  everyone across the  world who believe in a God as the source of everything  and call that source by the name of Allah become partners or accomplices  or at least are silently acquiesing  and tacitly  approving these deaths.

“Why are the muslims not protesting enough? “

“Why is there no outrage?”

The “terrorism  has no religion “ response on the social media  has become passé , they declare and is too lame .

After reading  very many such posts on the Facebook,  the social media I am a member of,  I was curious enough to find out if this was indeed true.  I just googled using the words “Muslims protest against Paris killings “ and 74,50,000 links showed up at that point of time.

These are a couple of them:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/11/14/how-muslims-around-the-world-condemned-the-paris-attacks/

http://www.alternet.org/media/muslims-around-world-condemn-paris-attacks

I then googled  “Muslims silent on Paris killings” and 36,10,000 links showed up. A cursory glance at some of the initial pages though, were in fact, those that pointed towards  muslims speaking up against the current attack and the earlier incident of the  Charlie Hebdo attack.

http://www.ibtimes.com/moderate-muslims-use-jesuischarlie-condemn-charlie-hebdo-attack-paris-1775986

I then remembered reading an article  in the New York Times  written by Nicholos Christoff  titled ,”The daily Me” .

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/opinion/19kristof.html?_r=0

It is  a very, very perceptive way  of looking at the way we search for information  that matches our own line of thoughts, attitudes , beliefs or prejudices and I can often see the truth in that,  in the way I  choose the key words while googling for something whenever I want to quote something that will affirm what I set out to say.

“we generally don’t truly want good information — but rather information that confirms our prejudices. We may believe intellectually in the clash of opinions, but in practice we like to embed ourselves in the reassuring womb of an echo chamber.”

As far as Indian muslims are concerned,  may be they are not as vociferous  perhaps  as their Hindu counterparts when it comes to denouncing dastardly acts committed in the name of religion, going by  the numbers who do so.  But then the Hindu population is far more . I wonder how the numbers who raise their voices reflect in terms of percentage and whether at all,  the voices raised are heard or registered.  Also, Hinduism  has hundreds of years of an inherent tradition of allowing dissent in thinking and giving expression to the same.  Islam , on the other hand , is a relatively new religion and it’s followers who are ordinary citizens , in a country where they are in a minority are perhaps a little diffident of speaking up and choose to go silently with their lives. It would be very far from the truth, however to conclude that they support such violence.

I’ve always felt that the more distance,   both physical and mental , that we keep  from those we perceive as the “others” , the more we are prone to falling prey to our prejudices .  I don’t know if this is absolutely true, but may be most  of us are more comfortable in forging friendships with only those who share  our beliefs, whether it be religious, political or something else. I admit that is largely true in my case.  But may be that is why the distances grow.  May be we need to have sane conversations for a start  , which does not resort to name calling and four-lettered abuses with people  who don’t share our views and without our egos getting in the way.

May be we need to listen more and not immediately think of ways to counter the other.

Although, perhaps, that is precisely what I am doing now 🙂 🙂

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2015 in Community

 

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