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Tag: Thoughts

Rules For Writing : A Compilation

Thirty-five finest writers from past and present share the secrets of storytelling. This is a compilation of rules, tips, suggestions, techniques, and commandments for writing as listed by the master storytellers. Read on!

Zadie Smith


(Source: Image, Text)

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
  10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.
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On Celebrity Social Responsibility

The do’s and dont’s of a citizen’s action list can fall in two categories – what she must do and what she should do. The ‘must’ is largely related to legal duties such as paying taxes, abiding to civil and criminal laws, following traffic rules, respecting the liberty of fellow citizens, and so on. The ’should’ list includes what a citizen does beyond the ‘must’ list.

The ‘must’ list appears very important because we, the Indians, mostly donot understand the difference between freedom and liberty, and also rights vs duties and what others should do vs what we should do. We are very intelligent and rational as individuals but pathetic while collaborating and cooperating. If each of Indians only take care of this ‘must’ list, the country will change and see its pinnacles. The interesting part is that the ‘must’ list doesnt require us to sacrifice much of our resources, money, or time. This is a part of the daily life chores and only ’self regulation’ can make this possible.

The ’should’ list is optional, depending on one’s own choice or discretion – by not doing which one’s not legally or morally wrong/irresponsible. This list is not even required to discussed if everybody is self-regulated and takes care of ‘must’ list for oneself. This list is being discussed only because ‘must’ list is ignored by one part of the inhibitants and the apathy of those who sould have taken care of the ‘must’ list. And thats where the celebrities, corporate, or somehow privilaged section of citizens come into the picture.

A celebrity can be anybody because, according to me, a celebrity is a person who has ‘an area of influence”. A common man can influence herself, however a celebrity can influence a group of people. The larger the area (of influence), the bigger the stature of the celebrity. When a common man starts this mission (in the form of social or political activism), she has to first work towards increasing her reach and the area of influence. A celebrity gets this by default, so, when a celebrity enters in the arena of activism, she starts with the immediate action. And when a bigger celebrity comes in picture, she can immediately make many people acting on that task. So, the celebrity stature gives a person an edge, which is mostly the power to influence and width of her reach.

I think this is the reason people raise their heads towards celebrities. But that doesn’t mean a celebrity must do it, definitely not. In this sense, everybody fall in the same pool, hence it is pretty senseless to criticize a celebrity (or for that matter, anybody) if she doesn’t do it. If she takes care of the ‘must’ list, doesn’t influence others to go against it using her reach, she is already a responsible citizen. What more, she is an excellent professional which is already somehow contributing to the development of the country. If somebody leaves her profession (no matters how lucrative or profitable it is), then it is way too great; if she doesn’t, it is still great. We founded one such organization called ‘Dream India Project’ two years before and during last 2 years, much more people joined DIP and involved in debates and activities. Most of us are excellent professionals and are contributing to our professions very well. I am running my own company and when I spend my time, effort, and money with DIP, it is totally my choice and interest. Same goes with fellow DIPians. Even if we don’t do this, we are responsible citizens and contributing to the development of the country with our works in our professions (and this is already beyond the ‘must’ list). Cribs never help, acts do. And I have found that most of the cribs and complains come from those who don’t act. I feel very great that these kinds of topic are being discussed very widely nowadays.

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Doomsday!

In an effort to make a bridge across fake destinations, this world has become a flock of floating stones. Shallow existence, debased wanderment, going places within and beyond every moment, momentous deeds, symphony of requiems. No height, no depth, no layers. Unquiet, impatient, indoctrinated, titivated, crawling and howling souls. No stomachs, only intestines. No humanities, only humans. No religions, only gods. No earth, only lands. No Is, only YOUs. The world of undefined variables. The shameless variables jumping out of classes and creeds, objects and subjects, functions or processes.

May the dinosaurs laugh soon upon you!

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Okay, I am safe, but 20 of us have already died!

I was about to leave my home to go to Hotel Park, Janpath (behind, Connaught Place) where I was scheduled to have my last dinner with my 3 partners (till yesterday). It was sort of a farewell for me after I ended the four years of collaboration. Just then, I got a call from my senior partner, Rajiv, that we need to cancel the booking at the Park and look for some other place nearby which will be much safer. My another partner, Vijay, was still in Janpath, waiting for us to join him. Rajiv asked me to inform Vijay that 4 bomb blasts have rocked Delhi and he must leave the place asap. Like Rajiv, I tried calling Vijay but couldn’t make it done for next 5 minutes. All telephone lines were jammed. Finally, Vijay got the call and so, I informed him about everything. He started moving from CP but stuck in the way. The traffic was terrific. People were fleeing from entire circle in trauma. Anyways, he reached and we went to PSK to have our dinner. That’s where we sat for the last dinner together. After the end of 4 years of collaboration, I will not be available to attend such official dinners after tonight. Obviously, it was a bit melancholic for me. We had the dinner and we talked about the event. Nevertheless, I was still in shock due to new terror attacks at Delhi. It is 7th year of mine in Delhi and this was the second serial bomb blast in the capital. First time, when it killed almost 80 people in 2005, I was returning to my home from my office and I was only 2 kms away from Paharganj area. I was a survivor. This time, I was 30 minutes late to reach the victim place and I survived again. Many people survived, but not everybody managed to continue living in the city. This feels more horrible when it comes to my mind that I could have been one of them. Yet, the city of DJinns will manage to get the ever-growing speed and I will continue to live my life until the next terror shocks us again. Yet, we will hope for the dawn chorus forever, on the blood-stained streets and ever-laughing ghosts of the terror. Life goes on, isn’t it?

And at 10.45 of night, with a very sad heart, I had to bid farewell to my 3 partners and my 20 fellow citymen who passed away today evening.

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Music: a journey of the man to the unknown

When words leave off, music begins. ~ Heinrich Heine

Prem Joshua

Every time my consciousness gets the hold of my ears, one of the five senses of mine, I hear a rhythm that fills my heart and soul with a random rainbow of sounds and silences. The rhythm is never recited by my consciousness, rather whenever my consciousness wakes up and the senses start working in a synchronized way, every wave entering into circumference of my existence becomes a song and music to my heart to propel it with much more acceleration and sync. I feel the beauty even more beautifully when the world around me appears to be synced with my inner being with a whatsoever sound. I hereby reckon that if there is only one way by which the human connects itself to the nature and the god, it is the music. The waves of music seem to work as the most efficient neuron systems that which exist into the universe. Music, in every form, is the connecting link, be in the form of strings, wind, beats, voice, monotonous, multi-dimensioned, mixed, solo, or even the silence. Music is a source of life and the way to celebrate the life. As Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche had once quoted about music that ‘without music life would be a mistake’, each element of the universe seems to understanding the importance of it and celebrating life without any mistake. I have never experienced any single moment so far when I didn’t dance and sing. And the music I hear using my ears just intensifies the passion of living with the most romantic and lively way.

Ever since the existence of the mankind has been historically registered, the music has been the life for the man. This is the prime medium of communication between the entities where the communication was supposed to be non-existent. Man used music to communicate with existent and non-existent entities both, man communicated the belief in the form of music. It, thus, can be said that if the man has ever be able to communicate with the God (if he ever existed), it was the music which functioned as the messenger, as the Baba Bulleh Shah dances to express his love with the god by singing ‘tere ishq ne nachaya’ or the Yaksha in Kaildasa’s Meghdootam sends the message to his beloved waiting for him at the other side of the country. And the supreme power seems to be appreciating this because the music has came out to us with better rhythms by the help of the several voices of the universe, like the thunderstorm, rivers, trees, wind blows, raindrops, mountains, waterfalls, seashores, and so on. Even the other living children of the world, like birds and animals, have entertained our senses with more beauty and diverse multifaceted sounds. The music has even been able to catch the voices and silence of the days, nights, and space. Thomas Carlyle says – “All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrap pages and hulls!” And this beauty lies everywhere, one only needs to listen and synchronize with all the beings. What other blessings a man could have received from the supreme? Indeed, music is what feelings sound like.

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.

~ Lord Byron

Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan

I recognized it pretty late that the most joyous moments of my life were spent with the companion of music when I intended to connect to the music and sound in an utterly lone silence. Whenever I felt that I am tired and frustrated from the chaos formed within the outside world, I didn’t go to meditation or recreation. I didn’t even feel any need of someone to get hold of this. Nor ignore, surpass, suppress or medicate it. I, however, felt a strong urge to feel it, by letting it get the hold of itself, just like watching oneself carefully and attentively. Watching me has always been a very beautiful experience and in those moments, I could really connect with everything that existed within me and that exists with me. So many strange and unknown things happened. The dullness and restlessness both merged into each other, the invisible elements seemed to be working in a synchronized way, the inside me appeared with the most peaceful, joyous, and romantic mood, and I could listen to only one thing that which was a music and a song which I could never recognize. That sound was something unknown, inexperienced, and unrecognized till the time I listened to that, and it happened every time I heard it. The process of reaching there was always the same but the music always seemed new and fresh to me. It was never the same, never. Outside that world, things appeared monotonous to me most of the times. Sometimes even I appeared the same, nothing new. But the soundtrack of my life was always playing a different track inside me. Or maybe, it has always been the same, but I have been unable to recognize this because the spectrum of the sound was changing the wavelength all the time or perhaps it was so magical that I forgot to examine its attributes. I got lost with it and it got lost with me. Just like an intense orgasm. And after that experience, I was not the same and the moments were so different that I always felt a new system inside me and a new world outside me. The outside world started tickling my senses in more rhythmic way such that everything sounded like music, a much organized and synchronized sound. Everything was music, a pretty and soothing one. I danced on the sound of fans, cycles, parrots, taps, horns, cool winds, leaves, rain, and whistles. I felt elated until I didn’t get tired with the world again. Then, again the same process and music was a cure all the time.

Music was the fellow traveler which traveled along with me, all the way, all the time. This is the case for not only my inner being, but also for my outer joy that which bridges the breezes from the both sides. Music, whatever it is, knows no boundaries. Music is beautiful, be it from any genre, language (or even absence of it), generator, raga, or cord. Whatever mood you carry with yourself, there is a song to intensify it. There is always a song which you can murmur or mumble in any kind of feeling and mood, be it sadness, happiness, silence, tired, celebration, freedom, speak out, speak in or even foot-trapping. I am a listener of the music from most of genres. I listen to each type of genres, generations, voices, instruments, and vocal cords. I love music without any voice and also music with the voices in the languages not understandable to me. Listening to various types of music is basically a journey to me, during which I got a chance to explore them individually. So, every time I listened to a new artist or genre, it was a new experience for me. I enjoyed most of them. It is not that I got hold of one particular genre or artist but yes, some of them got hold of me and kept pleasing my ears. The best experiences are mostly related with the moments I connected directly with them, with full of my emotions and inner self. It was when the chaos formed by my emotions and feelings needed to be synced. It was also when my inner joy and music received a companionship from a rhythm created by the other generators of joy from outside world. Some of the most beautiful experiences came to me also when I attended live concerts of some of the artists I mostly like and those moments were the time of innumerous orgasms. There are too many instances, when there existed only two things – the music and me. Nothing else! Everything else was unknown or non-existent to me. In those moments, I could become conscious to the music only. And when I was elated with the highest ecstasy, I wasn’t aware of anything, neither music nor me. It was one and I can’t really describe that how exactly those moments were. I am very helpless to define that experience, just like that I can’t tell you that how was I feeling like when I wrote any of my poems. I am afraid that I would ever be able to recite my poems in the most exact way. The situation is similar with the moments when I entered into the world of music. Those were the moments of the highest ecstasies.

This is the beauty of music. This is the power of music. And this is how it becomes when you enter into the unknown. Music takes you at the gate of the heaven and the land of the supreme. Music makes you feel that the most beautiful things reside within your self. It is the carrier for all your feelings and emotions that traverse through your senses. And I am glad that this carrier chooses to come to me and help me walk inside and outside me. It makes me dance, sing, run, feel, and understand. It makes me a poet and a warrior both. It makes me evaporate into myself. It makes me ejaculate most of me. It helps me find out that how something feels like. It is a dawn on me with which I can understand the unknown, real, and most importantly, the known. I don’t know that whether the god exists or not, but if there is a god and if there is a way by which the god and his people communicate, it certainly is the music. And it is not just a coincidence that the Siddhartha started traveling on the path of becoming Buddha after he got to know that how the music comes from the strings of Sitar. When you merge with the music, whether it sounds or it is a silence, you feel like that you can’t even be skeptic. You don’t just know that about what you need to be skeptic, logical, or analytical. Music says that whatever the man can manage to invent or explore, the music will always be there to be explored completely. Music will always be left fully unexplored by the mankind. As the world is full of entropy, the world is also full of music. Either we can go through it or we can only recite the part of it that is known to us. The greatest beauty of the music is that its unknown horizons don’t create boundaries for a man which could make a man feel like being in prison. All concepts can only confute themselves; they can never co-exist with the music. Music makes one fly, fly to anywhere, fly beyond all limitations. The poetry and sound and the music always flow with complete freedom, within our mind and heart and soul. This is a sky which sets us free. This is a prison which gives us hope. This is how it should be.

And just like Nietzsche, in music my passions enjoy themselves.

Image Credits: Prem Joshua: www.premjoshua.com & Shafqat Ali Khan - Google Images

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The Annual Autobiography: The Essence

Hence, continuing the tradition, some posts will exclusively be dedicated to the author and his endeavors in year 2007. Actually, there is a hidden strategy behind this tradition which I started few years before. These all annual audits will serve as authorized references to recall all the important things and events related to me in a particular year. And all of these will be flash-backed whenever I start writing the complete autobiography of mine (grin). Well, that’s another dimension, which is quite weird as it seems right away.

The baseline and the theme of last year was about being a true wanderer and being full of joy, happiness, celebration, and sense of satisfaction. The almost 24 years of life had given me too many regrets and the last year was quite destined to equate the imbalance. And I did it, enthusiastically and completely. It was indeed an awesome year, and I kept celebrating my silver jubilee year. The celebration went on and on. I enjoyed this. The endeavors, at first sight, seemed irrational but I found it quite rational, having its own reasons on its own terms. For the first time in my life, materialistic happiness helped me to get spiritual happiness. Or, the attainment of spiritual happiness led me to enjoy material happiness. Whatever! It was fun anyways. The beautiful thing was that I did what I wanted to do at that time. Every minuscule event occurred because I wanted to enjoy them. Random, unpredicted, and romantic. I liked that, beside the fact that it was no way concerned with any of the visionary thing. I liked it more because it was quite earthy and it made me close to myself. And of course, it is a year which I’ll always cherish.

Just like the coin which never exists with only one side, the year had the experiences from the other side also. This other side is not the wrong side, rather it can be correctly identified as a darker side where your quest to enlighten only grows. Mostly came in picture during the start of the year which ended soon, then there were occasionally occurrences of soar moments, and lastly some randomly generated celestial feelings. Though none of them could engulf me or overrule the realm of my mood. Something, nevertheless, kept hunting me. Throughout the year, I also continued feeling a void which, at the end, came out in a different form – a sense of restlessness. Sometimes, it was also like skepticism towards the essence of all the activities. As I make it out now, this is the point which was the child of the materialistic happiness and the mother of a spiritual journey. The journey of happiness and celebrating life. The signature tune of the realness. Something that keeps me going, learning, and finding, which further reverberates the tales of a true wanderer. At the end of each moment, I feel content yet thirsty. Knowings or the understanding of unknowings? Not sure. I come to learn more yet come to understand that I need to learn much more. A string of enchanting moments which further adjoin with each other to form a finely tuned rhythm, whereas unsure about the next moment and unknown to the preceding one. Being joyous in uncovering an answer which is a collection of several other questions yet the quest of wisdom never dies. Having pride being a traveler who halts at each milestone to take rest yet doesn’t consider it a wrongdoing or violation of the values of journey. A musician who can hum the beats anywhere be it a maternity home, love dale, or a deathbed yet wins over every foot which can catch the rhythm, reciprocate, and dance. A journey which is full of scattered, intertwined, zigzagged, endless, and landscaped paths and all of them are sacred and sanctimonious. A bookshelf which is full of fables and poetry. A quench which nurture the quest and a life which lives itself.

Quite an enlightening experience I had, indeed! And this was the year which taught me all this. There are few more things that I would like to uncover here. All of these are by-products of the experiments and experiences I went through last year. First, desires, whatever they are, can’t be fulfilled until they are not completely explored. Fulfillment of desires means you get or receive or accomplish them. These desires can be anything and so do the process of getting them. Fulfillment or attainment of them doesn’t mean that it ended the thirst to attain them. It means you got what you wanted to get but you haven’t yet enjoyed this. Until you don’t utilize or enjoy this attainment, derivatives or process, the thirst will still be on. It’s something like you desired for a palace and you bought it, but you haven’t been able to live inside it. A bud of rose is not beautiful till it grows up as a flower. Exploration is a step next to discovery. The same happened to me and my convictions helped me. Not only I explored my desires but also I nurtured the craving. The attaining process was amazing and the accomplishment made me content. I was no more longing for the same thing after that. It was also about understanding that the craving and desires had no vice, whatever desire it was. If you truly want something, that desire has to be sacred and the craving has to be a virtue. Yet the attainment can be a mirage where you had to take a bit rest and then continue the journey. It can also be a beautiful barrier which looks like a miracle in a desert and gives a feeling of being at the destination. This is a point where you could either enjoy and move on or be delighted and stay. Either none-ness to oneness or there will be synonymous moments appearing like continued forever. And what is needed here is the thorough exploration.

 

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (Oil on canvas: Caspar David Friedrich)

Another important thing was that I enjoyed almost everything. The process and involvement were not singular, it was rather multi-dimensional. Not related or intertwined to each other, sometimes even opposite. But when you are in the mood, nothing does matter. I also explored everything and never proceeded with the formulas and theories. I made my own recipe, cooked, and tasted the cuisines first-handed. The suspicion and heterodoxy was over. At the same time, it also broke the convention and ideas.

Further, the quest and the passion only increased with this celebration. I even found myself too closed to them with joy and greater involvement and suchlike. It won’t be surprising if someday I feel oneness with them, being a part of them or making them a part of mine. Or rather showcasing a different, unique entity formed by them and me.

There are few more things but I am quite unable to pen them down. You know, there are some thoughts which can make you thought-less. You know what it is but you can’t tell or describe. Sometimes, you can only feel but can’t know what it is. And besides, the essences can also have a quintessence. Who knows, next year the quintessence itself will write its own stories. The mirage might be beautiful yet a cliché whereas the desert might have buried more amazing figurines and captivating fables underneath. There might also be a truth behind all the truths. Who knows! Who knows where the quintessence lies.

Hence, I wish the exploration gets continued and the quest and thirst only increases with each discovery and attainment. I wish the celebrations celebrate themselves and the joy enjoys itself. I wish the life continues living itself and the essences continues uncovering their quintessence themselves. I wish the journey never ends with the roads and the milestone comes after each mile of walking yet doesn’t appear as a destination. I wish that, during the journey, I take the path which I think is right and be able to choose the road which I want to. And I hope the wishes come true. I hope.

Image Sources: first, second

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Free Speech: The Great India Debate

Free speech, censorship, and the fanatical reactions – during last few years, these co-related issues have been spread quite aggressively by the interested junta over the entire country and even the whole word, in general. There are mainly three parties involved, to be precise, which have shown a great deal of enthusiasm. First, who gave the spark for this issue by the self-generated customized exaggerations, by the name of free speech, liberty, art, literature, awareness, objectivism, and so on. Second party broadly dealt with all such people and organizations who have supposedly (self-acclaimed) got the responsibility to preserve the purity, integrity, conservancy, and righteousness of some philosophy, belief, tradition, and religion which have never had given proprietorship and caretaking rights to anyone. Third party has always constituted significantly those people from elite, intellectual, laureate, and distinguished classes who show middle-fingered attitude for all other issues except those which coherently don’t need their intervention. The core stuff, which keep all three parties rotating on the virtual orbit fanatically one after another, nevertheless wonders and feels pity about its existence precisely because it doesn’t require involvement of any of them.

Calvin on Freedom of Eexpression

Nude paintings of Hindu goddesses by Madhuri Fida Hussein, Calling “Allah” names by Ms. Nasreen, exclusive comments of Karunanidhi over Lord Ram, and so on. These free expressions get followed by the so-called saviour authorities (read, morons) in no time and then, the game starts with several reactions, like violence, riots, fatwas, multidimensional shouting, banning, eliminations, exiles, moral policing, and so many other things. The great India debate, then, gets initiated by media, gurus, religious bigots, politically baptized intellectuals, elite class, and other socially charged people. Some support free speech, some religious interests. Some refutes some; others attack this, rest cry out for the sake of god-knows-what. “Aam junta” get irritated by this cliché and find nothing quite interesting in all this melodrama which further leads to the wastage of all the efforts put by all three parties. This is not the ignorance of general public, rather this is such obvious that even Manmohan Desaai would have discontinued iterating his formulas by this utter obviousness. The continuous cyclic process of sudden rise and sudden fall, however, don’t affect these bigots because the centuries of dependency has made India full of idle juntas, bigots, morons, and Karats. This is still okay, but boss why are you disturbing the life of common men and daily chores of the nation? Will they ever stop with this? Gibberish is gibberish just like “A is A”, doesn’t matter whatsoever way you use, duh!

I strongly support free speech, freedom of expression, right to speak as a fundamental right, and all such related stuffs. I would appreciate every step that is taken for the advancement of the liberty of the man and the mankind. What else a man can give to the mankind but the growth and to make the earth a better place to live? What is the essence of the existence of a living entity if it is not free? This has to make an axiom, a rule, and a fundamental right – a right of man to be free, beyond any boundaries and not captured by any limitations. A man is free to believe in anything and a man is free to refute to be controlled by any belief. A man is free without violating another man’s right to be free.

Friedrich Nietzsche has mockingly described man into his book Thus Spake Zarathustra and that sarcasm is very much relevant while understanding the essence of man’s existence. He writes:

Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman–a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING.

Man is surely not a rope if a man celebrates its existence and the reasons behind it. A man celebrates it because the existence has a ration and its sheer joy explicitly ejaculates the joy to be free.

The right of freedom for a man also gives him a duty to make sure that this right is not being violated by his free acts and every man is celebrating with joy that he’s free. The natural law identifies the condition that a man has to be alive to get the privilege of being free and the social law identifies the condition in which an individual has the ability to act according to his or her own will. And this has to be rephrased every time the man synchronizes its existence with the nature and the society. The “liberty” will be a most accurate word here which perpetuates this right. Liberty is a rational approach to attain freedom for an individual yet retaining freedom for every individual.

When the individual freedom decides to connect to the collective freedom, it should be weighed with the fundamental rights of the (collective) liberty! And when it crosses the gate, it needs to be verified and that is not the censoring, rather the regulation and moderation. This regulation ensures that all individuals are attaining this right freely and equally. That is why a man is not a bridge – neither for a superman nor for a man himself.

We are individuals and we have attained some fundamental rights, one of them is the right of freedom. We live in a collective society and the society, as an entity, also holds some individual rights. Hence, we ought to take care of some duties and responsibilities. Social imaginaries and beliefs are deeply rooted in the society. If you say you don’t care about the collective entities, such as the society, then your imaginary and consequences of your free ideas also shouldn’t be reflected to the society. Keep the society unaffected! But if you don’t want this and you let your ideas be floated free in the environment for whosoever picks it, the social imaginaries get connected with your ideas at that very time. And at that time, you get plugged onto the duties and collective responsibilities. If you know about the freedom, you also know the ranges and limitations of your free ideas. Freedom is a concept and a concept always holds some fundamental ideas that are meant to serve the collective liberty. Ever heard of liberty, by the by? Bah!

I am no way supporting or defending, either, any of the three parties. But I get pissed off up and again, every time this nonsense screws up the common man’s right of freedom. And I feel like throwing out the first two parties from the earth sooner than later, even out of the gravitational circumference. These two parties constitute one, who inaugurates the free speech show and another, who cries out loud for the violation for its bleh freedom and henceforth celebrates its freedom by sucking out freedom of much many citizens. The irritation gets just increased when all three parties declare their leadership and authorizing responsibilities, whereas the matter of fact is that all of them are simply the morons-in-disguise.

I mean, who gave you freedom to keep abusing people and keeping the police busy with those who got abused? I mean, why we need law and order when somewhere we are the reason behind breaking the peace. Ideas of “liberty” should also be considered, for sake of itself. Freedom of speech is okay, but when that speech is not bringing any positive/progressive thing as a return and you already know that it will have adverse effects, then those speeches should be avoided and at least, should not be justified by the plea of freedom of speech. If you only need to get rid of the frustration inside you, please do it in isolation and bless everyone else. That’s why I prefer rationality, it bloody solves every problem. Take a rational approach and enjoy freedom of speech!

I am not defending those who are against this. And all of recent examples were not equal to those early transformers who had to go against traditional beliefs, ideologies, and societies. Suppose, I quoted “Allah” a moron, what difference did I bring to me or the surrounding or the society? What kind of significant change did I initiate by saying this? I don’t support this kind of free speech which is not based on rational values and which could be synonymous to irrational statement (sort of abuse which could have been avoided) just for the sake for personal bias, self-satisfaction, and free speech. Drawing nude paintings of goddesses or abusing gods – how rational is this? Didn’t they know that it can bring so much of conundrum and tension to the society? I am asking the same question here – Why do people speak, speak up or speak out?

What is more important – free to speak anything or social peace and harmony ? The freedom which can be irrational as well and when A knows that B will beat him up when abused. Its very much okay that Tasleema wants to put her experiences or stuffs about the part of her life when she suffered from Islam. She should, she must! But why abuse Prophet or Islam? Isn’t she generalizing the largest picture in consideration where she actually had to pick that part which was reason behind her suffering? Is this freedom is justified when it is already clear that it is destined to disturb the peace? Whether Ram or setu existed or not, it was the issue related to that bridge (setu). What was the need to comment on Ram and someone’s faith? Should freedom of speech come at the cost of the peace? Shouldn’t Karunadhi have proposed to investigate the truth behind the bridge et al by the help of archeology, history, or geology? Why did the mythology come in the picture, that too, from the person who had to be concerned with the justified solution, rather than being skeptic, biased, or so. Or MF Hussain is perfectly okay with the nude paintings of Hindu goddesses? Or is Mr Raj Thakarey justified by saying “there is a need to throw out north Indians from Maharashtra by pulling their ears”? These all are demonstration of the right to speech. The bottom line is – Speak anything or peace and harmony?

Free Speech

Okay, we accept that our society has mistakenly nurtured some retards. But who gave these moronic organizations and religious bigots the authority and responsibility to start mental asylum saloons and procurement centers! A philosophy, belief, tradition, or a religion decides its righteousness by its own existence and they are not fragile enough that they ever need to assign proprietorship and caretaking rights to anybody else. You gotta believe or believe not, but thy can never decide its range, righteousness, integrity, and all such things. And yes, ya all religious and political idiots, don’t poke your stiff heads for its conservancy and mind your own business, conservancy, and stuffs! Who the hell are you to decide that which thing offends me?

Religions are not so weak that they need somebody else to be assigned exclusively to protect it or whatsoever; rather they are tolerant enough to forgive all these idiotic stuffs. Neither Tasleema nor Bukhari is authority on Islam. Everybody knows that, including those who initiate such issues and transform them into a drama. Basically we all know that they are the politicians and all these drama is precisely politically baptized. There is one very important thing that Indian politicians learned from British Raj – Divide and rule. Politicians have divided the society on several things – religion, caste, region, culture, language, economy, and so on. And this is the only reason behind all the drama and violence happened in the country during last 6 decades. For the historical and contemporary references, refer to chapter#6 (Our culture, their culture) of The Argumentative Indian, Amartya Sen has elaborated it further here.

Why should Tasleema Nasrin exist? Why should Bukhari/Togadia and all these bloody politicians? Why this type of media? They all are the reason behind this fiery and warfare. Collective approach, which has got a root in general public and the public has always appreciated it, is not understandable by these social messiahs. And more than that, the high-time hypocrisy of Indian politicians take all the bites all the time.

That’s why my dear ignoranus and elite fellas, the authorities are recruited to moderate all such things and the laws have been built to enable moderation of irresponsible showdown of speeches and the pro-active reactions of bigots and morons. This is another topic that who will decide the limits and how rational it has to be. But, moral policing is a different thing and the authorities (which are somehow recruited by the public itself) are not supposed to decide it by their own will. Sometimes it happens, but well, there are some flaws of democracy and it also needs some change, but that is an off-topic. We all rational Indians know that who are irrationals, fanatics, and lunatics. We all will be agreeing that political, religious or regional fanatics need the maximum possible regulations. And this thing can be achieved by the people only, who recruit the right authority by using democracy, law, et al. Those people who are sitting in one chamber and deciding on behalf of us are chosen by us, they are given the authority by us. But here, every idle intellectual mind think that they are better intellect than those fellows, only that they chose not to become a Bureaucrat. And that’s what every fanatic and abuser of the right to freedom think and that’s why these kinds of drama occur in the society. Neither Tasleemas stop abusing Allah nor Imaams stop declaring Fatwas. Neither Hussains stop drawing nude paintings of goddesses nor BHPs stop creating warfare in the society. And each of them thinks that they are better than authorities and since authorities are moron and not taking the corrective actions so they are entitled to this. And this gets continues

I am a very big supporter of free speech and believe that no limitations exist for rational individuals, mind it – rational individual. But I am no way a supporter of these kinds of free speech. I believe that laws should exist and someone (maybe I if I become someday entitled) has to regulate this and make sure that it is being maintained and rest of the people help those who are taking care of laws, liberty, collective rights and peace, and so on. I have several ways to express myself and use my right to free speech and most of those ways will not be violating collective liberty and the peace. I also bloody know that what offends me, ain’t I? I have enough minds to think and decide that which thing hampers my beliefs and the symbols and I can no way let other decide it for me. I am a Hindu because of Vedas, Geeta, Hinduism ideologies, Hindu Gods, and my religious heritage; not because of the RSS, VHP, et al. Thy have no relation to validate, authorize, or protect my, or for that matter every Hindu, decision. My neighbor is Islam because of Prophet and philosophies of Islam and he just doesn’t care about all the Imams and Maulanas. We can take care of it, you stay away!

Democracy Is Better Without Free Speech

Images Courtesy: cooperativeindividualism.org, trosch.org, liberty-news.com

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Education for all, where is the goal?

Besides all the melodrama of business and engineering education and the quota for minority and backward classes, the current situation of primary education still doesn’t seem to be improved. The government and the HRD ministry just shrug off by giving excuses that they are spending a heck lot of money in primary education. But when it comes to the resultant, everybody starts playing blame game. I wonder why these politicians are worried about quota in elite institutes more than the primary education and educating the mass, especially those living in rural areas. The union government spends an overwhelming amount of Rs. 24, 115 crore every year for education. This is not a small amount of money and the goal can easily be achieved if it could be spent with a serious goal to increase literacy rate. But again, if we see other way round, this is not also adequate money and this sector should be allotted more money through different schemes and programs. It needs intensive care because education is the most important factor that can stop India becoming super-power by 2020 or so, considering the fact that by 2020-30, almost 75% of Indian population will be youth and this young India needs education now. And while the funds are inadequate for primary and higher education, what is the need of spending more than Rs. 40,000 crore to implement OBC quota in IITs and IIMs? It should surely be considered that which part of human resource is being developed by the HRD ministry and how should the overall goal of HRD be conceived by us. The government advocates the implementation of reservation in elite institutes by referring it as the empowerment of the impoverished and oppressed class of the nation. This gets strengthened by the plan of spending more than Rs 40,000 crore which is considerably much greater amount than the money being spent on primary education. I doubt if anybody can justify this policy of the government when the money spent on some 5000 people is more than the money spent on 48 crore children who needs or going through primary education and a approximately 65% of total population who are studying or needs the education. It is crystal clear, even to a layman, that who needs empowerment and special or just honest considerations from the leaders their parents have chosen with a hope to get justice and genuine benefits from the government. One can imagine that how much improvement could have been brought if the money going to be spent in implementing OBC quota would have been spent in improving primary education and revitalizing age-old education policy. If the reason behind this situation had been the failure of the government system, we would have been satisfied with it. But the most depressing point is the motive and intentions of the policies and our leaders.

As I perceive, there are primarily two main reasons behind the digressing rate of literacy and education in India. First, the policies and second, the way available resources get utilized. In my business life, I follow one simple formula – The difference between getting at least 2% profit and losing your shirt lies in the optimizing the efficiency of available resources. Ditto with the machinery of government and Indian education system. For a moment, we forget the policies of central government in quota system, reservation policies, education policies, least effective research to improve education, education framework, etc. Let the leaders work on their vote-bank policies instead of the education policies. But if they work on rectifying the system which spends the funds and implements the resources provided by the government to run educational programs, India will achieve much greater success in primary and higher education.

Kaushal,a friend of mine reminded me of a quote by Rajiv Gandhi today. Rajiv Gandhi has famously said “If we send a elephant from here, it will become a rat before it reaches to a ground level person“. Almost the same has happened with the case of primary education. The central tells the system to teach the kids “education” and the kids finally don’t even learn the “e” of education. If the government runs the machinery in a way that it could utilize all the available and already existing resources, it will receive at least 70% improvement in situations. The problem is not only the inefficient funds or resources to be spent. Actually, the most severe problem is “not utilization of the available resources” and the policy. For example, take any case of government scheme, for instance, JRY. The center releases Rs. 1 lakh and when it reaches at the bottom level (where it had to be spent) it gets reduced to Rs. 20000. Even in the cases where hierarchy is smallest, for example PMRY, the beneficiary receives no more than 60% of actual amount. You have enough resources but the machinery consumes most of this and there is absolutely nobody to take care of this. The common man has been kept in dark and distant and few are taking benefits of this. Besides the dirty politics and vote-bank agenda, still the government doesn’t spend less money. The main issue is that it doesn’t get spent, whatever the problem is and whoever is responsible behind this.

I agree with the fact that a larger chunk of illiterate, poor, and unaware parents don’t want to send their children to the schools and they rather opt to make them work for livelihood. Here, I second V Raghunathan (writer of Games Indian play) when he says that regulation comes from self-regulation. The government has made a roadmap for every common man who later becomes part of that system. The system tells them how to become crook. And when we talk about the self-regulation, we also need to talk about the regulation policies. A simple example is that when all the reports/data/surveys/census tell that the situation of primary education is digressing, then what is the need to spend almost 40,000 crore rupees in implementing OBC quota in IIM/IITs? Shouldn’t this money be spent for improving primary education? Then, why doesn’t the government try to regulate properly. Obviously, it doesn’t like self-regulation because in same manner, the government will also require to regulate itself.

V Raghunathan says:

For example, consider the Companies Act, which governs disclosure of financial information by publicly listed firms. Today, if a public company does not disclose its financial statements on time, the penalty is Rs. 1,000 a day. This implies that if a company is willing to spend $9,125 on fines, it can go a whole year without making financial information available in the public domain. To me, that almost sounds like an incentive for companies not to file their annual financial statements. How can we have self-regulation when the regulations themselves are so weak? The reality is that back when these regulations were formulated, a thousand bucks a day was a lot of money. Today, you would need to charge corporations a penalty of Rs. 10 million a day for it to be a deterrent. The trouble in India is that the chances or being caught are low, and the consequences of being caught are weak. As a result, we have forgotten what self regulation means.

Well, let me take the topic away from the well-known agenda of government and failure of government policies and most of all, the facts of our leaders and political parties. I move to the education system and the process now.

Let me give you an example from Jharkhand. The teachers (from primary, middle, and high schools) get the highest salary than anybody else. Almost every panchaayat has 4-5 schools, even more. Besides all these arrangements of teachers and schools, the government started “sarva shiksha abhiyaan” for rural areas. Local public got selected for this purpose and a committee of 10 persons from the village got appointed in every village. The job of that committee was to vigil and to ensure the attendance of teachers & students and the availability of midday meals in primary schools. Along with it, some more people got hired by the state government at lesser salary to ensure that the schools are not lacking the teachers. These people have been working on partly-volunteer basis and partly-employed basis. Above this bottom level, there has been a well-formed system of bureaucracy which is responsible behind the implementation of education policies, expenditure of funds, and making sure the system works and works well. The machinery is not much adequate or greatly resourced but it can be assumed that the arrangement is good enough to start achieving sustainable growth in literacy rate and basic education.

Then what happened after all those arrangements?

  • Teachers – They still demand for the increment in salary and they are no way inclined to educate the kids. The only good thing is that they at least appear in the schools more often now.
  • Vigilance – There is not any arrangement to ensure that the money is being spent correctly and the system is running well.
  • Attendance – Still the same. Forget the students, now there are the evidences of proxy attendance of teachers and SSA volunteers.
  • Village Committee – They think that they are given an authority by the government, but they don’t still understand the responsibility that why this committee got existence and privileges.

What is the current situation?

  • There is still unavailability of primary schools in every village.
  • Teachers appear in schools but there is no significant development in terms of teaching style and education patterns.
  • There are no private schools in village as well, so one has to go to the towns or compromise with the education.
  • Though the committee is made from the local people, they don’t do anything to persuade teachers to teach students or to convince the villagers to send their children to the schools. To be precise, they dont do anything at all except dealing with the money that comes from government to be spent on midday meals et al.
  • Villagers are either not aware or not convinced to educate their children and there is nobody available to make them aware about the education.
  • There is no such thing in the government machinery to vigil the functioning of the education department, schools, funds, and related bodies and people. I wonder whether DO and school inspectors exist or not.

To start a NGO or volunteer service for primary education is not a viable and efficient option. If the country has to achieve 100% literacy, there is only one way left that is to make the government system run properly. We can’t only blame the top political leadership because they are at least spending money in education sector. There is flaw in the entire system and everything needs a renovation – policy, government, system, teachers, infrastructure, people, students, everything. This will be hypocrisy if we don’t raise our eyes at the primary education, but only make a hullabaloo about the quota issues, entrepreneurship, higher education, research, and stuffs. Primary education is indeed the primary issue and everybody should understand the fact. Sustainable growth and a developed nation will only be a dream if we fail to provide primary education to each and every citizen of India.

If the term government is about the central government (ministers and all) then they are doing the job fairly well (in terms of providing funds for education system). They have allocated the funds for everything, vis-a-vis, infrastructure, teachers, midday meals, etc. Well, we may say that this expenditure is not enough for 100% literacy and HRD ministry should take care of primary education more than the quote et al, but it could at least be sufficient for 70% growth. But the problem is that even 70% is not literate, that means, the available resources are not even fairly utilized. The worst thing the situation didn’t improve after all these extra arrangements and also there is no sign of improvement considering the process remains still. So, why the resultant is cipher instead of that much expenditure? Definitely some people are responsible for that. And who are those people? Obviously, the people who are involved in this education system – the ministry, the teachers, the committee of local villages, AND the parents. This probably forms the entire system that serves the purpose of union government to provide primary education to each and every child regardless of the socio-economical status and all. Ignore the ministers (union and state). Reason: – Their job is to provide funds only and they are doing that (lets assume for a moment). But still, why to ignore anyone? Why to ignore the mistakes of anybody – even us?

Education for all, where is the goal?

The people involved and the “possible” things they should do and don’t.

1. Minister (union and state) : [political leaders]

  • Make policies(for the reason that the current education is not good enough because the results are depressing, so make new ones);
  • Provide enough fund to implement the policies and infrastructure;
  • Monitor the expenditure and results by taking reports in hierarchical manner (union ministers <- secretaries and state ministers <-the bureaucrats who are handling the education department in the particular state);
  • Ensure the functioning of the department by asking for regular reports from officials and providing extra resources that the system requires;
  • Spend some time on primary education improvement instead of wasting months for quota and related issues;
  • Spend some time on improving course of syllabus, education patters, innovation in system, policies making, study materials/etc.

2. Bureaucrats (all level):

  • Ensure working of the officials in hierarchical manner;
  • Employ reporting system;
  • Make proper channel of vigilance;
  • Initiate programs for making common people(villagers primarily) aware and convince them for education (this can be done by using the same people who are employed for part-time teaching or SSA volunteers at lesser amount of salary);
  • Each DO(of each district) should held a meeting at least once a month;
  • Each DO should manage the district vigilance officials and ensure that each school is being visited by them at least twice a month,
  • Take proper action against the teachers who are not attending schools or involved in proxies or not providing midday meals properly or even not teaching properly.

3. Teachers:

  • Should give reports to the district officials once a month,
  • Organize meetings with villagers,
  • Attend schools regularly,
  • Provide good teaching,
  • Create awareness,
  • Monitor the working of village committees and complain to the officials to dissolve and reelect the committee if the committee is failed to perform as it was supposed to do,
  • Coordinate with villagers;
  • Involve with the children closely despite of their social status,
  • Consult the parents if their children are not performing well or not attending the school.
  • Consult all villagers and take an indirect/unofficial survey to choose the right people for the committee.

4. Village Committee:

They first need to understand that all these arrangements are made for the welfare of themselves, their own children. They should :-

  • Coordinate with the teachers;
  • Monitor the attendance, teaching patterns, and performance of teachers, along with the midday meals;
  • Create awareness, convince, and persuade the villagers to ensure that all kids are attending the school (there are several ways to do it-by social pressures, personal pressure, threat to discard from society that they always do – and at least this can be done by the committee);
  • Initiate to involve educated people in the education process whenever and wherever possible.

5. Parents:

  • Monitor the attendance, teaching patterns, and performance of teacher and midday meals whenever possible;
  • Monitor the working effectiveness of committee and involve with them and persuade them if they are not working properly;
  • Ensure the 100% attendance of their children, Provide them study materials (if cant afford, then ask to the elite and educated people from village or even the teachers and officials);
  • Give them time to study at home;
  • Ensure that they are performing well.

6. Other Villagers:

  • Can do most of the things voluntarily that the committee and the parents are doing;
  • Make parents aware and convince them;
  • Educated people can also help the needy children with free tuition, books, and stuffs;
  • More educated people (who don’t live in villages but visit the village) help children with study materials and resources, guide them, and help whoever deserves to undertake higher education.

7. Kids:

  • Attend school, study well, and don’t waste the midday meals.  😆

Now, these are the possible things that the involved(or not involved) people can/should do. I am not blaming just because I have the only thing to do is to blame. But, if we don’t point out the errors, we can’t possible get the solutions. The errors are, for sure, caused by some bugs and talking about them is not blaming them, rather identifying them. As I think, only WE, the people of India, can’t enable the country to achieve the goal of 100% literacy. But also, the goal of 100% literacy can’t be achieved without the involvement of the people of India. One thing is sure that the government system MUST work properly to let the goal be realized because the government has a very large machinery and system and the public/private bodies can’t replicate that. And without having such machinery, 100% literacy is indeed very difficult, if not impossible. That’s why, perhaps, education, healthcare, and infrastructure are called the basic sectors of government. For 100% literacy, we need government. In fact, rather than “we need support of government”, “government needs our support”. It requires involvement of everyone – we, every citizen of India, the government, and the entire system.

The bottom line is to find a way to collaborate the common citizens (including us) with the government machinery and take bottom-up approach to make it work effectively.

This article was all about the current scenario and the problems associated with it. The left points are:- Citizen’s solution to this issue, the education policy, renovation required in the existing education system, and a roadmap to the 100% educated India. I’ll try to write about other dimensions and next steps very soon. Suggestions are welcome.

Image source: TEDxMumbai, Queen Rania of Jordon

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Saawan rut aayo rey..

India has an implicitly embedded affection for the season of monsoon and the cultural heritage conveys this beautiful tradition very affectionately. The rain has always been a messenger of celebration for the inhabitants of India. Though this celebration has an obvious reason, that is, the importance of rain for the agriculture, the primary way to earn a living in villages. India and the sense and heritage of India have been arisen from the rural India and for that matter, India is almost synonymous to the rural India. Besides, few decades ago, the economy of India was primarily based on the agriculture and hence, tradition and culture of most of the celebrations are very much related with the agriculture. The season of monsoon gives the birth to the celebration every year. So, if the rain is the cause of celebration for rural India, rain also plays the most vital part for India and its traditions. Precisely, rain gives the life to Indians every year. Every year, the monsoon is not only the initiator of the working season, but also of the celebration, love, relationship, art, music, and the colors of nature; as in the preface of “Meghdoot“, Kalidasa writes:

At the end of the summer, after having languished for months away from his Love and losing much weight, he(Yaksha) saw a large cloud nuzzling a mountain peak in the sky. That sight reminded him how he wanted to hold her close to his heart. Her. Who was not there. He held his tears back and stood there quietly. The monsoons were approaching. “May be the cloud can take my message to her”, he thought and he decided to suck up to the cloud. How a cloud, which is nothing but water vapor, can carry a message? But when you are heartbroken and sick with desire, you will try anything.

“Great Cloud. Please help me. I am away from my beloved and miss her very much. Please go to the city called Alaka where my beloved lives in our moonlit house. Lonely women brush their hair away from their eyes and look up to greet you. Because you bring cool rain. And with the rains return their loved ones. Who wouldn’t rather be with their Loves in this romantic season except the unfortunate ones like me who just cannot be there?..”

Since the history of India and its cultural heritage, clouds have been bringing the message of love, life, prosperity, color, and celebration to the people and lands of the country. After a long duration of hot summer, dull and lifeless earth, dry rivers and ponds, yellow leaves, grass-less mountains, and burning sun-rays; the clouds and the rains appear as the greatest blessings for the people and the nature from the heaven. Every cell of the creatures of the earth waits for the rain to appear, like the bird “chakor” waits with thirst and endless passion. Before the rains fall on the earth, everyone talks of and waits for the clouds. Every inch of soil desperately waits to get a new life and celebrate the blessings. A true India can be seen at the time monsoon appears and as long as it stays. Each cell and object of the earth gets a passion to celebrate its reason of existence. And why shouldn’t they? They exist for the celebration! Rivers and ponds poured with water, green grasses and leaves, singing birds and running calves, happy men and women, and much more than that. Men and women usually put one feet at home and another at their farms throughout the farming season, busy with giving life to the lands who further give them life in return. Everybody gets busy in the month of “Asaadh“, the first month of the monsoon season. For the next whole month, people work as never before and the earth decorates herself as the most beautiful peasant of the universe. The sense of life encompasses all the living and even, non-living children of the mother called earth.

If aasaadh is the month of rehabilitation, the next month “Saawan” is the month of true celebration. The job of life-care ends here, and the moments of festivals start. Saawan is a word which brings a feeling of freshness and life to the Indians just by murmuring the name itself. Today’s world refers India as a nation of democracy and spiritualism. I don’t know whether we really excel in democracy and spiritualism or not, but one has to come to India to realize that nobody and no culture on this earth have ever celebrated the life and the love with nature as the Indians have been doing it from the centuries. In the season of rains and the month of Saawan, the nature itself engages herself attentively and generously with each form of celebration of the people. Perhaps only Indians know the importance of singing “Kajri” after singing “Birhaa” for 4 continuous months. Perhaps only they can tell you the importance of music. In a country of sizzling hot summers – the black monsoon clouds bring with them relief and great joy – with a need to sing out and call for the love. As the folklore says, there was woman called Kajli whose husband was in a distant land. Monsoon arrived and the separation became unbearable and she started crying at the feet of the Kajmal Goddess. These cries took the form of the popular Kajri songs.

Only Indians know the relevance of festivals, when in “Teej“, a brother goes to the house of her sister and when in “Rakshaabandhan“, a sister goes to the brother’s house. And the relations, when a brother brings sweets, clothes, and other stuffs for a married sister in her “sasuraal” and gives a message every year that her family in her father’s place have always been with her and every stages of her life. The relation when a sister goes to a brother with Rakhi and the brother promises every year that he’ll protect her for his entire life-span.

In the month of Saawan, every form of celebration can be seen in India. Women and girls go to the gardens and sing and dance together. Jhoolas can be encountered in every part of the rural India. People relive all the relationship and families enjoy all kind of Indian cuisines. Saawan in rural India says it every year that everybody has a reason to live, love, and celebrate.

I basically hail from a village and, however, the urbanization etc are slowly vanishing the original cultural heritage of the India that appears in villages, I have encountered several such moments. There are 12 months in an Indian year and Saawan is the only month that is worshipped in villages. In almost each village, people offer prayers to the nature, god, and their ancestors. It usually takes form of a festival. We call it “Saawani Pujaai” and we usually performs it at the end of the Saawan, with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness. The day of this pooja can differ in villages and locations. People living out of the village visit the place to perform the pooja. The heritage of celebration and tradition gets inherited in each generation and it takes its place quite deeply in people’s heart. For most of the occasions of the gatherings, pooja, festivals, and celebrations; it doesn’t matter whether families are living in villages or have left the villages to earn their living. Families come to villages in Saawan Pooja, youth studying outside come in Rakhsabandhan, and Teej is still important for the newly married girls and her father’s family. Even those living in foreign countries and distant locations still receive parcels containing rakhis every year. The vanishing traditions can be seen in the acts and the methods, but it is almost impossible to eradicate this heritage from people’s heart, mind, and reasons. The reminiscence relives and refreshes the feeling and respect for our culture, traditions, existence, and the vital relation between the nature and the human lives.

India is truly a place of all rational behaviors that exist and there are indisputable reasons behind everything that Indians do, be it music, dance, festivals, tradition, culture, relations, prayers, or cuisines. The culture and tradition of India defends its existence itself. Though Saawan is the ultimate of all, Indians get a feeling of life and a reason of existence throughout the year from their cultural heritage and traditions, in the form of festivals, celebrations, music, gatherings, and all kind of appearances of the nature. It is the cultural heritage of India which proves that everything exists for a reason, though silently and by taking several forms. It is India which truly tells the world the importance of the humanity, peace, art, love, and life. And why not? Indian celebrate every relationship joyously and selflessly in the form of festivals every year. Indians sing, dance, laugh, love, enjoy the sweets, celebrate its heritage, relive the feeling that they exist for a reason and with the same passion, they still celebrate the importance of life and love in the world that is full of inhumanity, fanaticism, selfishness, killings, and depressions. Indians know that why the humans need to celebrate. Indians know the importance of being a human and existence of life.

The Saawan ends today with the celebration finale of the season of rains in the country where the rains fall on the earth with a message of love, life, and tender. It is Rakshabandhan today, the last festival of Saawan, when almost every brother and sister relive their relationships that they shared in their childhood & youth and will share with equal passion, love, and liveliness in their entire lives. Saawan ends today by giving a message of hope that Indian will celebrate it next year again and the farewell song can easily be heard in a distant village, somewhere in UP (perhaps Mirzapur district) where a beautiful young woman is singing this song, popularly known as Kajri :

Bhaiyya more aaye amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi
Bhaiyya more aaya amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi
Na jaibo nanadi, na jaibo nanadi, saawanwaa mein na jaibo
Bhaiyya more aaye amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein na jaibo nanadi

Jhanajhare ke dubawaa gangaajal paani,
chaahe bhaiyya piyen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Sonawaa ke thaari me jewanaa parosen ho,
chaahe bhaiyya jewen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Lawangaa ilaaichi ka bidwaa lagayo,
chaahe bhaiyya poojen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Chun chun kaliyaan main sej bichhaayo,
chaahe bhaiyya soyen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Naa jaibo nanadi, naa jaibo nanadi,
saawanwaa mein naa jaibo;
chaahe bhaiyya aawein chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

(listen to its beautiful rendition by Pt.Channulal Mishra)

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Temptations vs. Aspirations

How many times did I made a distinction between these two terms for myself? How many times did I encountered a situation where I could clearly have experienced these two desires simultaneously? Well, it was very unclear until I found them crossing my way almost all the time. Every time I was about to follow my heart, I was offered enormous temptation. But yes, things were not like this from the start. In the beginning, I didnt have too many choices, then, I had the temptations only. Some years back, I didnt even know about this follow-your-heart thingie. Reason: perhaps, it was not that mature, or its voices were so humble and weak, or perhaps I didnt even know what the heart is. Maybe, I was pretty messed up between these different entities that I was totally unable to make a clear distinction. It is pretty scary to look back that it took almost 24 years to understand the voice, the real one, of the heart. The good thing is that it somehow occurred, but the bad thing is the question am-I-really-willing-to-choose-one?

There is a very thin line between these two terms. It is a matter of consistent behavior of mind and how well we have allowed it to make contact with the heart. There is one more important thing, but it can be nullified when the situation is about follow-ur-heart stuff. It is about making attempt to live according to other’s perception or gain acceptance. It occurs in general conditions and the conditions when you are confused with your choices and desires and decisiveness. The key factor with the temptation is that it doesn’t look bad until it encounters aspiration. Most of the times, temptations and aspirations look synonymous to each other and you cant tell the difference.

Temptation takes many forms. The temptation of money is prominent here, sure, but so is the appeal of being respected, the ache to be loved, and the desire to fulfill other people’s ideals. All can manifest themselves outwardly as “ambition”. Then there is the temptations that sap our strength; the seduction of convenience, and the sedative of tranquility. Even when you started understanding your aspirations, temptations manifest themselves like the inevitable steps to be followed to reawaken to the aspirations. [Po Bronson]

For example, the money. The money, in most of it forms, works as temptation in our lives. Almost all the time, it makes us feel that its the only thing that can help us getting our aspirations. We seem to believe that we cant proceed with our aspirations without the help of money. Second thing, money can be useful if we, sometimes, consider it mere an element of the mixture of the prerequisite things required to live up by the aspirations. It becomes the most powerful temptation when we start considering that it is the only thing that can help us. Obviously, it is almost impossible to overcome a temptation by the help of the same temptation. And the fact is that having money might make it possible, but doesnt make it easy.

The temptation is powerful because it is highly dynamic and the aspiration is powerful because it is highly static or consistent. We weaken temptation by reducing its range, making it consistent and static, and removing its dynamic behavior by which it changes its forms as per the requirements. We weaken aspiration by making it dynamic where we allow it to change its forms as per our comforts and suitability. Let me find out how I did it. During my first 21 years, my temptations were – power, ache to become intellectual, fame, love, sex, money, respect, love, fame, money, and comfort zone. My aspirations were: love, respect, power, money, knowledge, wisdom, success. The morals of this story (of 21 years) are – Both were highly dynamic, both were closely intertwined, no distinctions between them, the situation was so worse that those two were trading their forms most of the times. During next 3 years, somehow I concentrated on the aspirations and didnt care about temptations whether they are being strengthened or weakened. First thing I did was that I tried to make my aspirations as static as possible. Then, I looked back for the temptations and let all my temptations be satisfied. This enabled the temptations not to manifest themselves as ambition. There were two clearly visible consequences of what I did in those 3 years. First, I worked on both unbiased (means, I didnt have any goal or intention to promote or demote any of them) and understood what these both are. Second, I started learning about the follow-my-heart and experienced/understood the ways to make distinctions between the temptations and the aspirations. It didnt really arrive at any conclusion or manifesto for my life, but it definitely designed a framework for the same and it made me believe that there is something like this. I somehow tried to understand the behavior of all kind of temptations. This helped in a way that I started encountering the differences automatically and it kept increasing the distance between these two. So, did I factually overcame temptations? NO. So what did I get out of all this? I have started re-awakening to my aspirations. And what I am gonna do next? Well, truth be told, I don’t really know what I am gonna do next. But, it will definitely be decisive because someone has to win this game and it has to be progressive because it seems to be going in the right direction.

Do I have something concrete to mention here? Probably yes. I think that I have found some secrets. Let me try to write them. First, let the temptations reach at saturation level; second, make temptations and aspirations encounter each other; third, think about the pro-con of the things you are getting or receiving rather than the things you are not getting, etc, etc. I am yet to find rest of the secrets, but I can tell you about some findings as per my experiences and experiments. The most important point is that it is advisable to concentrate on the aspirations. If you dont understand your aspirations, you will never be able to eradicate the presence of temptations form your life. The day you understand your aspirations completely, you will find that you are no more confused and messed up with the temptations. You will be able to identify them very clearly and that’s how you will overcome them. Second important point is that trust the voice of your heart and follow it rather than believing in fantasies and following the words of “self-help books” like Fountainhead, You Can Win, Monk-Ferrari, etc, etc.

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