Sunday, 30 August 2009

Your father looks like you...

Swami Gulagulaananda asked:
"Is it possible for your father to look like you?"

I happened to read an article on today's newspaper that spoke about some film maker who said that he believed that Lord Krishna truly existed and walked the earth, and he was going to make a film based on it. He said that Lord Krishna was born in 3112 BC. BC clearly indicates before christ... The name of his movie is going to be "The Indian Jesus"... Sheesh! How can you make that kind of an error? It is exactly like telling someone that his father looks like him. You can tell him that he looks like his father. Similarly, you can perhaps call Jesus as the Western Krishna, but not the other way around, since Krishna comes earlier than Jesus chronologically... Of course, I feel he chose that name to make it more appealing to the Western community - But this kind of behaviour is something that I strongly denounce. I liked his idea of making a film about Krishna, but the name is something that I strongly dislike. This is not me saying it with a fanatic mindset, but more so in a logical sense [Making it clear before I see stupid comments :P]

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

What ?!?

Swami Nikhilananda said:
"Think in the language in which you speak; a literal translation seldom gives the right meaning"

This is a small incident that happened a year back. I had attended a wedding reception, and I happened to be talking to my friend's father. The conversation was quite interesting, and he was doing most of the talking. We were both standing and talking, and I had my dinner plate in my hand. He had already finished his dinner... So, as we spoke, I found him saying "what?" at the end of each sentence. Like, for example, "The situation is getting really bad these days... What?" And when he asked me this, I thought he was just testing if I was paying attention or not... So, I repeated whatever he said, "The situation is getting really bad these days"

But as we spoke more and more, he went on adding "what" at the end of every other sentence. I didn't understand why he kept feeling I was not paying attention to him, and I kept repeating his sentences... And I was not able to have my dinner properly. Finally my parents asked me to finish up faster as we had to leave shortly. So I excused myself, and finished dinner. The other day, I was talking to the friend, and he also put "what" at the end of his sentences. This surprised me a little, because I knew that this could not be hereditary in any way.

At that moment it struck me - They speak Marathi, and in Marathi, they put the word "kai" which stands for "what" in the end of sentences. Perhaps these guys were doing literal translation from Marathi to English in their minds. So, I was thinking and chuckling to myself what my friend's dad must have been thinking of me for repeating each and every sentence of his :P I thought he was asking me to repeat, while for him, it was merely a way of talking. He must have thought I am an idiot for repeating every sentence... Oh well, I guess the next time he says 'what', I will just smile and nod along, what? :-)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Independence versus freedom

Baba Gyani Triviani said :
"It has been so many years since we got our freedom from the British. But, are we truly independent?"

There is a difference between freedom and independence. And those of you who don't know the difference should quickly check out the dictionary. Freedom is something great - something, which you won't be able to appreciate till you don't have it. Often, freedom is a word that is mistaken for a lot of things. People have used blogs for freedom of speech and expression. You need to understand that freedom of speech and expression doesn't mean that you can go around maligning people, or spreading slander. One must understand this difference. Freedom doesn't mean you wear revealing clothes or behave obscenely. There is a fine line of difference. This doesn't mean that I am orthodox in thoughts or behaviour - most definitely not. I strongly support freedom, in the truest sense of it. Try going to a country like China or Korea. And then come to India or go to the USA. You will realise what freedom is...

However, in India, freedom is a great thing that is because of two reasons - One, you are in a great country with vibrant democracy and freedom to do what you want, because the law permits it. And two, because you can do anything and get away with it, because the law is very very very slow... (You can add a couple more verys to suit you :P) However, like I said before, people do a lot of things that they shouldn't be doing, and then take cover under freedom of something, that protects them - Or so they think. I hope you bloggers know that you cannot post anything that you want on your blog, and then get away with it, citing freedom of expression, or even by posting disclaimers. Thus, I would like to request all of you to avoid misusing freedom, lest it be taken away, and then you realise the value of it.

The next section deals about independence. Independence basically should be saying that you can sustain by yourself, without support from anyone. This is the surest sign of a superpower. In reality, you can say to a certain extent that no country can be fully independent, for resources are not equally distributed and so on. But when I am talking about independence, I am mostly referring to the financial aspect. No country should be able to dictate terms to India, by saying that, if you don't yeild to our views, then we are not going to give you money/arms/oil/things you need... The only way one can truly be independent is if one is in a position where one doesn't need to succumb to any kind of foreign pressure.

India needs this the most. Especially with the impending threat from China, we need to be ready. An aggressive growth is required. Our economy should be self sustaining, and shouldn't be dependent on economies of other countries. We shouldn't be waiting for other countries to be supplying arms, weapons and technology during times of war. It is easy to hold us at ransom at that point. Being indigenous is what is most important. For two reasons, we get to save a lot of money, and secondly, we are self reliant. There is not much difference between India and any other developed countries in terms of intellect. More often that not, I think we are far superior in terms of "Brain Power". However, it is not getting utilised for unknown reasons - Either a major move should be made towards making the system transparent, or those fearing skeletons dropping out of closets should open their eyes and view reality. Today you make some money, agreed, but on the longer run, you and your kin won't even be alive to use it - What is the point?

I therefore urge each of you to learn the importance of freedom and independence (self reliance) and spread the message around. Dependency is the worst crutch that you can carry around. Jai Hind!

PESIT alumni meet

Swami Nikhilaananda said :
"You cannot have a great car and a potholed road, nor can you have an excellent road with a lousy battered old moped. The idea is to have both - and yes, it is possible"

Today is a special day for two reasons - The Indian Independence day, and also the PESIT Alumni meet. PESIT is a brilliant college, but unfortunately, it has a reputation of that of a school - It's not at all as bad as it has been made out to be. I actually got so annoyed at one point of time, with all the comments from my friends from other colleges, that I decided to go around asking people from my college if they really did find it so hard to live in.

Believe it or not, not a single person said that they hated the college, or had any major issues. Everyone had some small complaints, like security guards bothering us... But hey, no system is perfect. I know everyone has atleast one issue with everything. So, we all love our college, and we have had so much fun. I was actually telling one of my friends that among all the colleges and people I know from other colleges, I don't recall anyone saying that they bunked a day, and went to Wonder La :P Well, we did... So there, nyah! For all who think we are nerds, or live in some kind of a concentration camp, beat that (Ok, fine, some of you may have done bigger things, but my point is, we are still in the game :P)

Our alumni meet today was preceeded by a flag hoisting ceremony, and a very nice talk by the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore university. After having breakfast (served by the new canteen at PESIT, for those who know not, food point no longer exists) we all met at the OAT, with the usual discussions about random things, exchanging juicy titbits and gossip scoops, and the all new swine flu, we all walked towards the seminar hall, which was jam packed. We had heard that earlier, alumni meets were hardly attended. But this time was a lot different. We had people from 1996 and 1998 batches as well. That is really something.

So, after the usual descriptions of every departments, there were several prizes given away. This was followed by a speech by Professor D Jawahar. Perhaps one of my favourite orators... You should listen to him speak. He will blow you off your feet. You will begin to realise that an institution will become successful not just because it has a great management, or because you have a bunch of great students. Everything works like that - You should always have the best of both. You cannot have a great car, and a road full of potholes. You can never drive at full speed, and its full potential is never realised. Nor can you have an excellent road laid out, while you ride a lousy battered old moped. Again, what is the point? Similarly, students who are very good, will go up, no matter what kind of infrastructure is given to them. However, the extent up to which they realise their potential is limited. And an institute can never go anywhere if it doesn't have good students. I say this, because all the great infrastructure that they provide, is like pearls before swine.

However, I would like to mention one thing at this point. The structure of our college, is like a corporation. The management is like the management of the company. However, the students are like the clients, who take from the college, as well as workers, who give to the college. Efficiency can truly be achieved, if the middle management can effectively deliver - It is they, who should bridge the gap, providing to the students, what they need... Although the college is spending so many lakhs and crores of rupees, the electronics department was sometimes left wanting, when it came to lab equipment, or components. These are trivial things, but unless they are quickly and efficiently tackled, we won't reach the heights that we should - Inspite of having a great management, and a great set of students.

The management is not foolish, and has provided complaint boxes, which should be used by the students, who hesitate to do so, some times perhaps because of their fear of rubbing their immediate superiors on the wrong side for bypassing them. But then, I am sure students would not want to do it, if their wants were satisfied at their immediate level. This is not about a particular college anymore. The discussion simply can be used anywhere. Generally, the immediate reaction to a mistake being pointed out is to become defensive, and start pointing out the mistakes of the person who has pointed out yours. Isn't it better to correct your mistakes, and once you are perfect (which may never happen) start pointing out others' mistakes if you still want to have a grudge (which should never happen if you are perfect, as holdig grudges is not perfection by definition :P) This is not applicable only if it is a deadlock, where each one cannot progress without the other resolving their issue. A discussion with an open mind is very important under these circumstances.

Yes, there is truth when you say that we must be the change first, and then you can point out others' mistakes as everyone and everything is lacking in something. But it cannot be used as a weapon all the time, for, I can still point out your mistakes, while I am correcting mine. As we are aware of the quote:

Swami Gulagulaananda said:

"If I am a chain smoker and you are one, and I ask you to quit smoking saying that smoking causes cancer, you should be verifying if what I said is true or false, and then if true, quit smoking for your own good instead of telling me to mind my business as I smoke myself. The advice is for your own good, and you are the one who will suffer, irrespective of whether I suffer or not. We should be looking into the truth of the matter. "

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Need for a united India

Swami Gulagulaananda preached:
"A bundle of sticks will never break, a single twig shalt quickly snap;
Beware of all these foreign helpers, for this is indeed a vicious trap"

I don't know if a lot of people are aware of this bit of news that I just happened to read in today's Times of India. A Chinese web-site claims that if Beijing exerts a little pressure, then India is already ready for dismemberment. They claim that by forming an alliance with all of India's neighbours, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, China is going to splinter India into 20-30 smaller independent pieces. It also claims that India was never a country at any point in her history, and was merely held together by Hindus (who have been termed as decadent)

Well, whether this is factually true or not, is secondary. Let us have a quick look at the status. There are certain facts that we need to understand. India is a vastly diverse country, having all kinds of people, belonging to all kinds of sections - We have Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and every other religion that you can think of. I am primarily focussing on religion rather than languages and other types for a reason. Most of the fights that occur are because of these. Either the fights occur among religions, or within religions. And let us face it - Every religion has castes within them. So, let us not get into that argument. If you don't believe me, you can look it up. They may not term them as 'castes' but may call them as sects, classes or whatever you wish to call them.

Then there are also several types of freedom organisations within our country - Each fighting for his or her group's cause. We have the ULFA, Naxals, revolting Nagas and several more. Mind you, I am talking about internal organisations, and not the ones that come from across the border. What is the problem with these organisations? The main problem is that they are weakening us from within. They are like termites that are corroding the structure from inside, while a powerful outsider can, with one massive blow, just crack open the entire federation and leave each piece for the hungry wolves.

Among the countries listed above, China is the deadliest of all. The rest of them are merely minions comparatively. Their collective power is nothing compared to India's, if they try to go head on against India. So, what is the better option? Start creating a weakness from within, and then land a blow from outside. Ok, analyse the countries. Nepal and Bhutan are smaller than almost every Indian state. This means that, they can only support China by providing land. Bangladesh is like an explosive in your belly. India is the only neighbour on every side of Bangladesh, and with a large population, they can start pouring into India, and create a lot of trouble later. Pakistan is relatively very formidable, because of their nuclear status. And nothing needs to be told about China.

However, these smaller countries need to understand that China is not going to spare them in case of an invasion. They will simply be devoured by the dragon. Pakistan will get a lot of spoils, most notably Kashmir. Somehow, it reminds me of World War II with China being equivalent to Germany, and Pakistan like Italy, and these other smaller aggressors like their equivalent in Europe. Sadly, the opposition in this case, is only one country. A country, with a great potential, but sadly corroding from within. A country, which can still offer a stiff resistance, as long as China is not coming head on.

But this teaches us a valuable lesson - We should learn to be united in spite of all these differences. The only way we can even stand a chance, is if we don't weaken from the inside and stand like one solid block, without any fragments. As we know, the chain always breaks at the weakest link, and they intend to create numerous weak links, but perhaps providing arms and ammunition and supporting those who want to split India from within. We should purge out the weak links - either by holding a dialogue, or by an aggressive alternative... The objective of this move is very clear and singular: To ensure that no weak link remains on the inside. And another very important thing that we should learn to cultivate is to work with single minded devotion and work very aggressively towards reaching that goal. China has been doing this quite a lot. A lot of people criticise China for being ruthless, not democratic, etc. But if you look at the end result, if China is pervading while India is eating dust, we would rather not have the current thing going on... It is time to drop the facade, and get ready for action - Jai Hind!