बे आवाज़


हर छोटी बात आज कल रुला देती है,
कोई परेशान रहे, ये सह नहीं पता, जाने क्यों
पर खैर कौन किसी के ग़म में रोया है कभी
बेशक अपना  ही कोई दर्द याद आता होगा

अश्क अब बहते नहीं है, धीरे धीरे सरकते हैं
डर है इन्हें, कि ये जो हजारों यादें क़ैद हैं हर कतरे में,
कहीं तकिए की सलवटों में डूब कर वजूद ना खो दें 

सिसकियां अब शोर नहीं करती, दबे पैर आती हैं
शायद इसलिए कि कोई सुन्दर सपना ना जग जाए
थोड़ा रो लेने दो, जलती आंखों को कुछ राहत मिले

- Pratyush


Lessons from a Book : #1 Atomic Habits by James Clear

अह्ल-ऐ -सफ़र | Short Poem
  • Habits are just automatic behaviours which help us conserve cognitive energy 
  • Cycle of habit : Cue, craving, response, reward
  • To build habits:
    • Make the habit obvious - keep a book on your bed before tucking yourself in.
    • Habit stacking - associate the new habits with already established one
    • Make the habit attractive -eg. having a social group
    • Make the habit easy - thinking about starting, rather than finishing
    • Make the habit satisfying - set up rewards, habit trackers
  • Instead of setting goals, change the system. True long term thinking is goal-less thinking. You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.
  • Missing a day is fine, but Never miss twice
  • Behaviours are connected. Stack the new desirable habit onto something you already do everyday. Make the connection very sharp - tie it to exact time and place.
  • Always be mindful of latent potential when you want to give it up.
  • Set up Identity based habits, instead of outcome based habits - eg. "I am a kind of person who keeps good hygiene "
  • 2 minute Rule- never start a new habit with spending more than 2 minutes doing it.
  • We imitate 3 kinds of people - the close, the many, the powerful.
  • Many of our habits are modern day solutions to ancient desires
  • Always design for immediate satisfaction , we not not designed for delayed gratification. Add a proxy prize for loyalty.
  • Visual measures - large and obvious and physical habit trackers - this is more satisfying
  • If we can measure a factor, it doesn't mean it is the most important thing.
  • You are genetically and environmentally predisposed to winning in some specific fields. Create your own unique game by combining your specific skills.
  • Boredom is the biggest challenge to habit forming
  • Machiavelli said - Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly
  • The more we are tied to an identity, the more difficult it is to adapt. We become brittle. The best way is to not have a monolithic identity, but multiple small identities. A single belief / goal / dream should not define you.
  • Periodically keep checking if the old habits are still serving you.
  • Sorites paradox is the fact which we can not appreciate naturally, but our habits make or break us in small proportions each day.

अह्ल-ऐ -सफ़र | Short Poem

अह्ल-ऐ -सफ़र | Short Poem

हर दौर में रहते हैं,
नए दौर की तलाश में
सफ़र को दस्तूर बना रखा है
अपने ही ख़्वाबों को
अधर में , भंवर में ,
डूबने को छोड़
निकल पड़ते हैं, रोज,
नये सौर की तलाश में
यूँ ही गुरूर था हमें ,
अह्ल-ऐ -सफ़र पर “सुख़नवर”,
वो साथ तो चलते गए,
पर किसी और की तलाश में ।

The man who single-handedly saved the world

Stanislav Petrov
Stanislav Petrov a Soviet military officer credited with helping prevent US-Russia nuclear war died at the age of 77: Petrov dismissed a warning about US nuclear strike as a false alarm. The probe later proved that Petrov was right and prevented the war. Petrov received several international awards and was honoured at the United Nations.

Petrov lived in a small town outside Moscow with his death making headlines in Russia and abroad only months later

The Story
  • In September 1983, 44-year-old Petrov was a lieutenant colonel on duty at a secret command centre south of Moscow when an alarm went off signaling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • Petrov had only a few minutes to make a decision and dismissed the warning as a false alarm.
  • Had he told his commanders of an imminent US nuclear strike, the Soviet leadership would have ordered a retaliatory strike.
  • Petrov reported a system malfunction and an investigation proved him right.
  • Several months later Petrov received an award “for services to the Fatherland” but the incident at the control centre was kept secret for many years.
Afterwards
  • In 1984, he left the military and settled in the town of Fryazino some 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Moscow.
  • Petrov’s story only became known after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and he was subject of media reports in Russia and abroad.
  • “The Man Who Saved the World”, a documentary film directed by Danish filmmaker Peter Anthony and narrated by US actor Kevin Costner, was released in 2014.

123 Lessons from Mahabharat

Lessons from Mahabharat and Gita that can change our thoughts on life and death - if only one chooses to believe.

123 Lessons from Mahabharat
  1. Shakti hriday me hoti hai, jise hum ichha kehte hain.
  2. Humari ichhaain hi humare jeevan ki vyakhya ban jaati hain. Kuchh paane se mili safalta, kuch na paane se mili vifalta hi humara parichay ban jati hai.
  3. Hum swayam bheetar marte rehte hain par apni ichhaon ko nahi maar paate.
  4. ichhayein mrigtrishna jaise daudati hain.
  5. Ichhaon ke garbh se hi gyan bhi nikalta hai. Jab woh apoorn rehti hain aur tootati hain, vahin se gyan ka prakash aata hai.
  6. Jo mana jata hai woh satya nahi- sirf aabhas hai- parchahhai ki tarah, aur parchhai sadaa prakash se vipreet disha me hoti hai.
  7. Logon me upkaar ko kartavya ka naam dene ki shakti nahi hoti.
  8. Log samajhte hain samarth ko apraadh ka dosh nahi lagta.
  9. Maata pita bachhon ka bhavishya nirmaan karne ki chinta me unka charitra nirmaan karna bhool jate hain.
  10. Shikshak ke hriday me kshamaa aur haathon me dand hota hai.
  11. Jiski deh komal reh jaati hai, uska hriday kathor ho jata hai.
  12. Jis pratishodh ko samaaj ki sahmati mil jaati hai, use hi hum nyaay samajh lete hain.
  13. kamandal ko ulta kar dene se uski riktata kam nahi hoti, sirf paani bharne se kam ho sakti hai.
  14. kabh kabhi koi ghatna humaari sari yojnaaon ko vifal kar deti hai, hum us  aaghaat ko apne jeevan ka kendra bana lete hain,  par kya bhavishya manushya ki yojnaon se nirmit hota hai? Jeevan ko apne anuroop banaane ka prayatn na kar ke swayam ko jeevan ke anuroop baanana padta hai.
  15. Prateeksha adheerta ka hi doosra naam hain.
  16. Is kshan ka naam hi jeevan hai.
  17. Shuddha charitra par chhota sa aarop bhi samaaj ki hriday me shanka ka beej ban jaata hai.
  18. Niyati apna marg swayam nirmit karti hai. 
  19. Bhay keval Aane Wale Dukh Ki Kalpana maatr hai
  20. Balwaan ke Mukh Pe Sada Shanti aur somyata bani rehti hai
  21. Hum apne us ek nirbalta ko jeevan ka Kendra maan ke jeete hain
  22. Nirbalta ishwar deta hai par maryada manushya ka mann nirmit karta hai
  23. Nirnay karne ke baad Chinta aur dukh se  hriday ko durbal karna vyarth Hota Hai
  24. Manushya ke sare sambandho ka Adhar hai Apeksha, aur apeksha ki toh niyati hai bhang hona- isiliye sare sambandh sangharsh me parivartit ho jate hain
  25. Dridhta aur kathorta me antar bahut chhota, par bhed bahut bada hota hai
  26. Yadi sukh nahi mile toh jo mile use hi sukh maan lena uchit hai
  27. Adhiktar nirnay hum duvidha ka upay karne k liye nahi keval man ko shant karne k liye lete hain
  28. Nyay ka arth hai , ki jisne anyayay kiya wo pachhtaye, aur peedit k man me fir se samaj k prati vishwas jage, par jiske hriday me kshamaa nahi woh nyay nahi pratishodh maangta hai
  29. Satya kya hai - jab bhay rehte hue bhi koi tathya bolta hai. Isliye Satya nirbhayta hi hai, aur nirbhayta toh atma ka swabhaav hai
  30. Jab man me aavesh ho us samay liye gaye sankalp par amal karna uchit nahi.
  31. Har sankat ek avsar hai, khud ko badalne ka.
  32. Pashaan me shilp hota hai, pashaan shilp nahi hota, usi prakar prampara me dharm hota hai, parampara dharm nahi hoti, parampara me dharm ko dhoondhna padta hai.
  33. Jab har sukh dharm se hi aata hai, toh bhavishya ki kalpana kar ke nirnay lene ki jagah dharm se nirnay lo.
  34. Achha bartaav sukh ka marg nahi hai, achha bartaav swayam sukh hai.
  35. Mata pita ki ichhayen apne bachhon ka gun aur dosh ban kar janm leti hain
  36. jab tak parinaam par niyantran na ho, yoddha prahaar nahi karta
  37. Samarpan se hi shiksha prapt hoti hai, samarpan se irshya aur mahatvakansha ka ant hota hai.
  38. Phal ka moh na rakhna hi sachchi prarthna hai
  39. Karm chhod kar prarthna karna prarthna nahi parajay hai
  40. Asamarth log vachan dene me sadaiv aage rehte hain
  41. Achhi sangati ka mahatva: Pahiya toh bana hi ghumne k liye hota hai, par jab kisi rath se judta hai to sara vishwa ghumta hai, varna kisi kumhar k aangan me pada mitti k bartan banaata hai
  42. Aisa kon sa kshan hai jab mrityu sameep nahi aa rahi hoti, uski kaisi chinta.
  43. Kisi k avgun jaanne k liye sameep rehna padta hai aur gun jaanne k liye door jaana padta hai.
  44. Dharm ka nirnay karne k liye aatm darshan karne ki avashyakta hai, isliye dharm ka nirnay karna sabka adhikaar hai.
  45. Usi ke hriday me abhiman rehta hai jiske mann me bhay rehta hai, wo doosron se sammaan maangta hai , vaastav me abhimaan bhay ka hi dusra naam hai
  46. Jo swayam ko nahi dekh pata wo chahta hai ki dusre use dekhe aur batayein ki wo kaun hai.
  47. Dharm k 5 adhaar hain - gyan, prem, nyaay, samarpan, dhairya
  48. Virodh shakti ka pramaan nahi, Shaktimaan woh hota hai jo sehta hai, jo sah sakta hai.
  49. Nyay karne se poorva apne krodh par ankush avashya rakh lena, krodh se pratishodh janmta hai, sahansheelta se nyay
  50. Sukh ki kaamna karne wale ko sukh nahi prapt hota, sukh jaanne wale ko sukh prapt hota hai.
  51. Bhagya nishchit nahi hota, bhagya toh nirmit hota rehta hai.
  52. Sanyaas saahas ka kaam hai, bhaag kar chhipne ka sthaan nahi
  53. Sukh-dukh, maan-apmaan, jeevan-mrityu, agar tum de sakte ho to ishwar kya karta hai
  54. Gyan buddhi ko sthir karta hai, Dhairya man ko sthir karta hai, prem hriday ko sthir karta hai, samarpan shareer ko, aur nyay aatma ko sthir karta hai
  55. Raja ka saamarthya praja k deshabhiman, mitron k vishvaas aur shatru ki irshya se pata chalta hai
  56. Samriddhi jab dikhai deti hai tab praja rashtra ko aur samriddha banaane ka prayatn karti hai
  57. Safal logon k achhe vyavhaar se logon ki irshya kam nahi hoti- badhti hai
  58. Sammaan kisi k chheenane se nahi jata, wo keval tyaagne se jata hai.
  59. Karm ka yahi siddhant hai - achha karm aur adhik achha karm karwata hai, bura karm aur adhik bura karm karwata hai.
  60. Apni peeda parmatma me udel do - apne sath hue anyaay tummhare karm nahi, par us anyay ko tum jo pratibhaav doge wah avashya tumhara karm banega.
  61. Kshama kar do anyatha pratishodh me phanse rahoge, nyay nahi kar paoge.
  62. Apni peeda me sansaar k dukhon ko dekho, apni peeda ko sangharsh bana do. Jo apni peeda ko gale se laga kar jeeta hai, woh nirbal ban jata hai, kintu jo sansar ki peeda ko hriday se laga k jeeta hai usko srishti balwaan bana deti hai.
  63. Parmaarth k liye kiye gaye yuddha me chahe kitni bhi hinsa ho woh dharmyuddh hai.
  64. Kuchh paa lena jeet nahi, kuchh kho dena haar nahi - yeh keval samay ka prabhav hai.
  65. Yadi kisi sthiti se manushya ko bhay prapt ho toh woh uski paraajay hi hai
  66. Jo apni maryada jaan lete hain woh hi balwaan ban paate hain.
  67. Koi bhi karya tabhi safal hota hai jab shareer chanchal aur man sthir ho
  68. Manushya ko jo dikhai ya sunai nahi deta wo manushya ki nirbalta ban jati hai.
  69. Pareekshak toh santusht na hone ka nishchay kar ke aate hai, kisi pareekshak ko santusht karna sambhav nahi.
  70. Sukh aur santosh koi sthan nahi jahan pahuncha ja sake, ye dono toh marg hain. Sukh ka marg sangharsh ki or le jata hai aur santosh ka marg shanti ki or.
  71. Pran or pratigya, vriksh roopi dharm ki shaakhaayein hain, aur karuna us vriksha ka mool.
  72. Atmvishwaas hi saamarthya ka adhaar hota hai
  73. Bhavishya ka dukh vartmaan k sukh ko kha jata hai, par bhavishya ka sukh vartmaan k dukh ko door nahi kar pata.
  74. Duniya me saare adharmon ka ek hi gun hai, sab bhay se janm lete hain.
  75. Jab hum bhay se pooja karte hain to hum vastav me ishwar ki pooja karte hi nahi, apne bhay ki pooja karte hain.
  76. Satt-chitt-anand hi ishwar ka swaroop hai- isliye hum bhay me ishwar se door ho jaate hain.
  77. koi shakti itni badi nahi hoti ki use parajit na kiya ja sake, koi adharm itna chhota nahi hota jise parajit karne ki aavshyakta na ho - kyuki samay ke sath woh vikaar roop le leta hai.
  78. Phal ka swad vriksh ko nahi prapt hota.
  79. Dharma ke liye yudhha karna koi kartavya nahi - sirf ek nirnay hai, sankalp hai.
  80. Sukh toh pehchanane ki vastu hai , prapt karne ki vastu nahi. Sukh ko jaanaa jata hai, dhoondha nahi jaata.
  81. Shatruta karte samay ahankaar ko bahut sukh milta hai
  82. Vinaash aur nirmaan ki shakti kiske paas hai?
  83. Jo vyakti ye jaan leta hai ki woh swayam kuchh nahi karta, usi k haathon kuchh mahatva ka kaarya hota hai.
  84. Daan deene se poorva agar daaani k haath kaampe toh use daan ka punya nahi prapt hota.
  85. 3 Gun - Tamas (taamsi), Rajas (ahankaar), Satva (Dharma) - inke mel se hi swabhav banta hai. Inka tyag kar k nirgun ho jana hi sarvottam hai.
  86. Manushya sirf 5 mahabhoot nahi- ek shakti bhi hoti hai - jise chetna kehte hain. Par chetna bhi shareer ki tarah nashwar hai.
  87. Atma shareer aur chetna ko sirf saadhan ki tarah prayog karti hai.
  88. Swayam ko apni deh k roop me mat jaano -  indriyon se nahi, vichaar aur gyan se bhi nahi - aur bheetar dekho- wahin aatmdarshan honge.
  89. Jab parbrahma  ke bhaag hue, toh usse purush tatha prakriti bane - tab purush ne aatma ban kar prakriti k pratyek vastu me vaas kiya. Maanvom mein us atma ko moh aur andhkaar ne gher liya. Isliye humaari atma srishti k anubhav ko apna anubhav maan leti hain.
  90. Is moh se jaag kar swayam ko parmaatma ka ansh jaanana hi atma ka kartavya hai.   Jab tak aisa nahi kar pati tab tak punah janm leti rahegi.
  91. Jo aatma swayam ko jaagrit nahi kar pati use dand dena anivarya hai. Agar woh aatma itne andhkaar me doob jaye ki is janam me uska udhhaar asambhav ho gaya ho toh uske shareer ka vadh kar dena hi karuna hai.
  92. Brahma gyaan kya hai: Har gyal ka mool - ise prapt karne k liye 4 yog anivarya hain Saankhyayog --> Karmyog --> Bhaktiyog -->  Gyanyog
  93. Saankhya yog : jo marta hai wo punah janm leta hai, aur jo jeeta hai wo avashya marta hai. Shareer k anubhav vastavik nahi hain, keval maya hain.
  94. Dharm wo maarg hai jis par chal kar manushya swayam ko parmaatma k ansh k roop me dekhta hai.
  95. Srishti hi parmatma hai - parmaatma hi srishti hai. Parmatma hi sab kuchh hai, parmatma k siwa kuchh bhi nahi.
  96. Jeebh katne se peeda sirf jeebh ko nahi hoti - uski anubhooti poore shareer ko hoti hai. Isliye jab tak sansaar me ek bhi manushya peedit hai, tab tak kisi ka bhi sukh sampoorn nahi. Ye jaan lene se karuna aati hai - aur dharm dikhai deta hai.
  97. Tamas Gun - apne maane hue sukh ki or hi dekhta rehta hai, parmatma ki or gati nahi ho paati uski.
  98. Adharm agyaan hi hai. Jab vyakti gyaan ki or dristi karne ko bhi sajj na ho, tab dand hi daya hai - uske prati bhi aur doosron ke prai bhi. Aise me kisi k haatho kisi ka naash ho toh uski karuna ka ant nahi hoga.
  99.  Karm aur Karya me bhed:  Sabhi karya sakaam-karm hain, arthaat wo karm  jiske saath phal ki aasha judi ho. Is aasha me Manushya apne kaarya se bandh jata hai. isiliye baar baar janm leta hai.  Karm nishkaam hota hai, jab bina kisi aashaa k kuchh kiya jaaye. Karm ka bandhan nahi hota hai kaarya  ka bandhan hota hai.
  100.  Humara sukh-dukh, hataasha-nirasha , ye sab paristhiti k kaaran nahi hoti- humne jo aashayen baandhi hui hain unke kaaran hoti hain.
  101.  Karm yog: Duniya me koi karm aisa nahi jiske sath aashaayein jodna anivarya ho . agar bina kisi aasha k yuddh karoge to paap k bhagi nahi banoge.
  102.  Karmyogi Asha ka tyag karta hai, karm ka nahi, saare karya karta hai, kintu unme lipt nahi hota. Kisi se koi apeksha nahi rakhta - kyuki doosron k karm par humara niyantran nahi hota. Swayam ko sanyasi ka laabh deta hai, aur vishva ko sansaari ka labh deta hai. Woh saare karm parmatma k liye hi karta hain.
  103.  Fir agar kaarya baandhta hai toh sanyaas kyu naa le - kyu ki tab adharmi log sansaar ko chalate hain jaise - Bheeshm aur Pandu k sanyaas lene se hua.
  104.  Tumhara adhikaar sirf karm karne ka hai- phal toh keval ishwar k haath me hai - isliye na karm se bhagna uchit hai, na koi ichha rakhna.
  105.  Karm yogi ko kaise jaane: jo swad se bachne k liye bhojan ka hi tyag kar deta hai, uske mann se vastav me swaad ki laalsa kabhi jaati hi nahi - use dohri haani hoti hai. Isliye bhojan ka tyag karne se achha hai swad ki laalsa ka hi tyag kiya jaye. Karmyogi apne kaarya se koi ichha nahi jodta, isliye usi k kaarya poorn hote hain.
  106.  Phal ki aasha se kaamna janm leti hai- aur kaamna ka swabhav hai asantusht rehna - asantosh se krodh utpann hota hai. Krodha se ahankaar, aur ahankaar se moh janmta hai, moh ke karan hum achaar aur vyavhaar ka gyan bhool jate hai. Gyan k jaane se budhhi chali jaati hai - aur hum anuchit kaarya karne lagte hain.
  107.  Krishna : Main Sabkuchh hu aur main kuchh bhi nahi.
  108.  Samarpan bhakti ka pratham charan hai. Bhakti koi kaary nahi sirf ek manosthiti hai- jab manushya saare sankalp tyag deta hai, swayam koi pran nahi leta, jo karya diya jaaaye wahi karta hai, apni buddhi, gyan, ashaa, sab kuchh kisi ko arpan kar dena. 
  109. Manushya jiske prati samarpit hota hai uske roop me dhalne lagta hai. Uske maann me koi prashn janm nahi leta hai. Isliye jaanch parakh kar samarpit hona chahiye anyatha patan ho jayega- jaise Karn.
  110.  Sankhya+ Karm + Bhakti : Sankhya se manushya swayam ko aatma k roop me jaanta hai. Karmyog se woh jeevan ke bandhanon se chhot jata hai. Bhakti se parmatma k vastvik roop ka gyan hota hai. Fir woh janam-mrityu se chhot kar sachhidanand ho jata hai- parmatma me samaakar swayam parmatma ban jata hai.
  111. Sharreer ka mahatva: shareer ke anubhavon, vichaar k madhyam se atma ko gyan hota hai. Atma ki pragati aur adhogati shareer me rehkar hi sambhav hai.
  112.  Kshetra-Kshetragya sambandh : shareer ek kshetra hai, aatma Kshetragya hai
  113. Karm ka arth hai nirnay lena, aur uske parinaamon ko sweekar karna.
  114. Hum bandhan se chhotne k liye karm ka tyagkar dete hain, iski jagah , karm karte hue karm k phal ka tyag karna hi karmyog hai.
  115. Moh dusron ko baandhne ka prayatn karta hai, prem swayam ko doosron se baandh deta hai.
  116. Jo swayam k prati kathor hote hain, wo doosron k prati komal nahi ho paate.
  117. Bhay keval raaste me aane wala kankar hai, aur apni Drishti kankar par nahi rakhni chahiye, keval lakshy par rakhni chahiye.
  118. Agar dharm ki raksha karne k liye adharm karna aanivarya ho jaye to is vikat sthiti  me kiye gaye us adharm ko aapad-dharm kehte hain. Par samaya sthiti yeh karna adharm hi hoga.
  119. Jis yojna k saare pehluon par vichar na kiya gaya ho use yojna nahi swapn kehte hain.
  120. Prem aur moh ka antar toh log jaan hi nahi paate. Prem ka janm karuna se hota hai- "main chaahta hu ishwar use khush rakhe". Aur moh ka janm ahankaar se hota hai - "main chaahta hu main use khush rakhu". Prem mukti deta hai, aur moh baandh deta hai.
  121. Pratyek chunauti ka sweekar wo karte hain jinhe swayam par vishwas nahi hota. Aatmvishwaas se bhara vyakti apni yojna k anusaar chunauti ka sweekar karta hai.
  122. Jo vyakti shiksha ko kuchh aur prapt karne ka saadhan mannta hai, uska dhyan shiksha par ekaagr nahi ho paata, aur woh gyan uski aatma ka gun nahi ban pataa. Jis prakar rang kapde ka gun nahi hota isliye dhoop me tap kar chhoot jata hai, usi tarah woh gyan bhi pareeksha ki ghadi me chhoot jata hai, kaam nahi aata . 
  123. Vyakti jeevan bhar doosron se shreshth bannane ki koshish me uttam bhi nahi ban pata.

Our tolerance to intolerance | India

holy cow Discussion on intolerance in India, invariably boils down to Hindu-Muslim binary. The term however has a much wider connotation. But, again, let's start with a salute to the Holy Cow.


Back in 2015, BBC India's correspondent Soutik Biswas had claimed that 'the humble cow is India's most polarizing animal'. Recently, India’s food fight has turned even more deadly. Mohammad Akhlaq allegedly consumed beef, placing himself on a similar footing as other grave offenders like murderers and pedophiles, and the events that ensued are a typical example of a seemingly noble proposition of protection of cow, being easily morphed into something inhumane by rabble-rousers.

Then of course there is the equally sacred issue of the Indian Army. These days, there are increasing incidences of zealous claims of patriotism and nationalism. The root problem in both cases is the same - anthropomorphization of the state as "Mother India" and cows as " Mother Cow" has inadvertently caused us to be overly protective of the country and the bovine. Also we often refuse to acknowledge the nuanced nature of these issues for the sake of cognitive parsimony, and merely choose to see things in black and white. Now, every time someone mentions the word "Army" our pupils dilate, and we get ready to pounce if he makes a statement which does not have the words 'courage' and 'sacrifice' in it, along with, preferably, a reference to Pakistan laced with a string of adjectives. It is not a question of whether army is infallible or corrupt , but whether we, as citizens of a functional democracy, have a right as well as responsibility to keep a tab on their public operations, particularly if it involves exceptional powers like AFSPA and results in death of Indians at the hands of the very organization that has always been hugely respected in our country.

In the process of hating we sometimes inadvertently tend to become more like the subjects of our hatred. We are so obsessed with being critical of a failed state, that we have now begun to cultivate their fundamentalist attitude within ourselves. A student of Delhi University roots for peace between India and Pakistan and is mercilessly bullied and harried by ardent followers of a particular ideology. Even central ministers, born in a state that has suffered enough due to border dispute with China, fail to empathize with the desire of a peaceful ecosystem that is naive, yes, but innocuous nevertheless. Overcome by nationalistic fervor, we tend to forget that peace and harmony are our USP. We have used this ideology to give valid justifications of a number of our foreign policy decisions including Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and even for our stand on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). While a majority of India still swears by it, the politics behind calls for and approval of such shaming and summary rebutting of individual views are often overlooked by even the educated Indians. A similar, but more evident exploitation of the prevailing nationalist sentiments was seen after Kanpur train derailment, when leaders at the top rungs of the government proclaimed that it was the work of ISI, when NIA itself was mum. If they were even a tad bit sincere in there allegations, surely, a poll rally at Gonda was not the best place to whine about it.

Just around that time, another self-proclaimed sacred institution of India decided, suo moto, to invoke the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act of 1971 and interpreted it somehow to squeeze in a mandatory ceremony before screening of every film. The bewildered petitioner tried to protest that all he sought was to prevent commercial use of the National Anthem, But the deed was done. The mighty pen had spoken. Soon after the verdict a bunch of pseudo-nationalists roughed up a man for not standing up during the anthem in a cinema hall, only to discover later that the man was wheelchair bound. "Oh, my bad", they shrugged and settled down right in time to enjoy the skinny actress shake her assets on a chartbuster rap with female bashing lyrics.

Meanwhile, a fifteen year old Nahid Afrin manages to get a fatwa issued against herself for engaging in satanic rituals like dance and music, and a sixteen year old girl from Kashmir is made to tender an 'unconditional apology' for 'unintentionally hurting sentiments' , after being bombarded with unsolicited religious advice and misogynistic abuse. Unconditional apologies are so much in demand these days. We might not have even heard of the term when we were sixteen.
In Ramesh vs Union of India, the Supreme Court of India famously observed that “the effect of the words must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong-minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view”.


Just to put things in perspective, in not so distant past we were also outraged when a seventeen year old 'juvenile' used a steel rod to gauge out the intestines of a student, ostensibly out of some childish curiosity. He might as well be perched on a bed somewhere giggling, that he got away without any 'unconditional apology'. At that time, the protesters successfully managed to stave off any political agents and what resulted was the single largest mass movement of recent times that did not involve even one political speech. That might as well be the most meaningful, spontaneous and necessary protest I have seen in my lifetime. The sad thing about it is that many of us have now forgotten about the fateful events of 16th of December. Why else would the Nirbhaya fund still remain underutilized. The particular spot on the Mohanlalganj-Memaura road is still not properly lit at night. The good thing, however, is that we will soon forget about Zaira Wasim and Gurmehar Kaur and Nahid Afrin too, and let them be.

Then there have been some trolls on celebrities too. Sonu Nigam, one of the most popular Indian male singers of our times, started off making valid point about loudspeakers shrieking at 4 AM in the morning, forcing the believers and non-believers alike to dispose of their comfortable morning dreams. But due to an insufficient reference to temples and Gurudwaras owing to word limit, his blue tweet somehow acquired a crimson communal tint and immediately lost their gravity. The tweeteratti, however, were more laconic and managed to celebrate his singing prowess as well as castigate him for his insincere comments, call it a publicity stunt and compare him to other singers, all within 140 characters. Similar admonition was meted out to Evan Spiegel when he touched a raw nerve with his 'alleged' comment in which he tried to shift the onus of low penetration of his ridiculous app in India to the incapacity of the 'poor' Indian to live in the moment. While Mr. Spiegel was perhaps excessively and peremptorily targeted, this perhaps was the result the general perception among the Indians that Western companies are never quite enthusiastic about releasing software products customized to Indian needs, while China is one of the first countries to get access to them.

Far away from the enraged Indian, but not so far, is the Indian bureaucracy, anchored in its security, with arbitrary, orthodox, intolerant politicians at its helm. It is unfortunate that even the more educated and polished ministers sometimes get it wrong. For instance, one respected union minister responded to a question by saying - "freedom of speech does not allow us to speak against our sovereign nation and will amount to sedition." This is against the interpretations of the supreme court in various cases, notably including those in 1962 and 1995.

Some of the clearest victims of  arbitrariness are documentary films and fictionalized biopics kept in check by CBFC and FCAT. In Indian Express Newspapers vs Union Of India, Justice E. Venkataramiah observed : “There could not be any kind of restriction on the freedom of speech and expression other than those mentioned in Article 19 (2) and it is clear that there could not be any interference with that freedom in the name of public interest” . Censorship has reduced to an oxymoron in today’s world Given the reach of television and the internet. For example Rakesh Sharma’s film on the Gujarat riots was stopped. It has been screened extensively in the country and abroad. Not even one protestation followed. Nevertheless, CBFC went on to ban 'The Painted House', 'Mohalla Assi' and finally 'Lipstick Under My Burka' for being 'women oriented'. The film bagged the Audience Award at Glasgow Film Festival, Spirit of Asia Prize and the Oxfam Award.

All these events however raise some serious questions about the state of affairs. Is an India, distracted by the tumultuous cacophony of enraged 'nationalists' indeed profitable to some sections of society? Have we set our priorities right when the courts send out moral dictums on the decorum in a cinema hall, while hundreds of acid attack victims wait for their 'tareekh'? Is it really possible to prove one's loyalty to the nation or community by slapping Amir Khan or Sanjay Leela Bhansali. These questions may seem rhetorical to someone closely following the developments, but even to the uninitiated it is at least a food for thought.

In this game of rage and enrage, while 'professional offendees' keep blaming each other, the 'Real Aam Aadmi' needs to understand that the fault does not lie exclusively with any particular section or ideology. Everyone has a stake in our precariously dangling democracy and so everyone needs to partake of the responsibility too. Let us all, the common men and women and students, take a break from all the shouting and slandering, sit back and filter out the more pressing problems and talk about it. The media, politicians and bureaucracy will follow. Our forefathers trusted us with democracy, let us redeem that trust.

India: The society then and now


India prides itself with a several thousand years civilization that nurtured high spirituality, deep insights about environmental issues, sensitive planning systems such a vastu shastra, creative art forms, and a scientific temper. We credit ourselves with the invention of the zero and numerals 1 to 10 that replaced the clumsy Roman numerals in the West.

Since ages, India nurtured a self-reliant egalitarian society. Such a value enriched societal structure emerged because of India’s democratic ethos symbolized in Ram Rajya, the just rule of the epic monarch, Ram. According to Indian scriptures, every village coordinated by the district should be a self-sustaining tiny republic. The village parliament consisting of all adult men and women, controls all village resources and decision making such as administration of justice, police, education, healthcare, land, water systems and forests. Women were thus franchised in India for four thousand years whereas they got enfranchised in the West only in this century. It elected a council for day to day work, usually for a year, and could remove a councillor any time for misconduct.

The state could demand only one-sixth of local revenues for higher level functions and coordination, but could not interfere in local matters. If a king demanded more, it was the duty (dharma) of every citizen to remove him, if necessary, by force. Thus, the village parliament drew authority from the dharmashastras, not from the ruler. Ram nurtured an empire of such true democracy from Kashmir to Sri Lanka through love, using force against a truant ruler, only if it became necessary.

Over India’s long civilization, some aberrations crept in its social structures. Castes originally based on profession, similar to the Smiths and Carpenters of the West, got converted into those based on birth, and one got demeaned as untouchable. Some exploitative customs also crept in. The Muslim rule brought in some social conflicts but did not dislodge India’s tiny republics, though it somewhat increased the tax on Hindus. The East India Company too did not dislodge them. One of its Governor Generals, Sir Charles Metcalfe, observed in his minute of 1932 that he dreaded everything that had a tendency to destroy them.

British imperialism brought all village common property such as land, water systems and forests under state control through the district collector thereby depriving local communities of all their authority. On attaining independence, due to paucity of resources, the Indian leadership adopted a Constitution that borrowed heavily from exploitative imperial practices. This has led to all round social, environmental, economic and political degeneration.

Today our society is structured on an exploitative political system — centralized, non-transparent, bureaucratized. On top of it, we adopted the fundamentally faulty Westminster system. Gandhi and his true democracy in which power flows upward from the people, were dumped.


We cannot go back to old systems. That will be both impossible and undesirable. Culture, economy and politics are dynamic. They keep changing and evolving, more often than not, for the better. Just as a tree sheds its leaves and flowers every year. But what must not be disturbed is the root of this tree called India. For the westerno-modern aspirations of the new bourgeois, under the clamour of the fundamentalists and the in tumult of fascists, the mumble of the simple small town Indian must not drown.



Why was Dr. Kalam loved by all




The following is an account of meeting between Dr. Kalam and Balaji Viswanathan, apolitical observer.

I have met President Kalam four times. In those times I have come to understand why he is so highly revered. Here are some of my experiences.
April 2001: The first of the meetings came in when we he was a National Security Adviser and visited our college for inspecting some of the student projects. Our college had a deep relationship with DRDO – India’s defense research organization and he wanted to apprise himself of some of the new developments.

The night before he was supposed to come, at around 10pm he just came over in his jeep with no security and thrilled the students doing the decoration & settings for the following day’s event. People were stunned to see an eminent guy with a massive security threat just walking like that and asking people what they were working on. He said he wanted to meet the real hardworking people who were relegated to the back on the event day.
There was a big commotion in the hostel that night as everybody ran to grab some paper or the other to get his autograph. Then on the event day, he patiently listened to all our ideas, even though many of our ideas were too impractical if I think about it now. He acted as though he was our buddy, and not the highest ranking scientist in India.

February 2003: By this time, Kalam had already become India’s President. I was in IIT Delhi for a student event. A couple of months before that, I got an award from the Institution of Engineers on a defense related idea and wanted to tell our President that. So, I walked up to Rashtrapathi Bhavan (President’s Office) and wrote a poorly written handnote in the front desk saying I want to meet the President for some of the ideas I was working on how to develop India. They thought it was weird and said they will send the note to his secretary. You don’t just walk to meet the President of 1.2 billion people. It was crazy, but I was just a stupid teenager who had a more simplistic view of the world.

Actually,it was my grandfather who moulded me a lot who gave this idea of directly writing to the President. He had a keen sense of people and thought the President Kalam might read it.

The next day evening as I came back from my competition, my uncle with whom I stayed in Delhi looked very excited. He said the President’s office called and they asked if I was free the following day. Free? I would run in the middle of a highway to meet the President of India, revered by a billion people. That was the most positive shocking news I had ever heard. The President wanted to meet some random teenager in response to a poorly handwritten note. My uncle told me not to get my hopes too much and maybe someone in President’s office wanted to meet me. But, if I ever get a chance to meet his excellency, I should try to take a photograph with him.


The next day, I took an autorickshaw to the rashtrapathi bhavan and still didn’t know that I will meet the President. I got out of the Autorickshaw and told the guard that I was here to meet the President. Looking at me and the autorickshaw he was barely able to contain a laughter. He then called up the office to confirm and let me walk.

After 30 minutes of security checks, I was outside his office. Then couple of his assistants came and trained me on how to act when I’m with the President. They told me how to eat, how to respond, etc. My heart started to pant. I was totally unprepared as I didn’t expect to meet him. I didn’t even have a good set of formal shirts for that event. I looked totally out of place and didn’t have anyone to ask my silly questions on how to behave. I was alone and afraid. As a teenager, life didn’t prepare me for that day.

Then the moment came. I was asked to enter the President’s Office. I expected to see a huge coterie of assistants and a few security guys. Stunned to see that there was none. The President was alone in his desk working. I closed the door and stood. The President offered me a seat and asked me to explain my ideas.

In the next 30 minutes, I talked about all the various science papers I had written and the President not just put up with that, but kept making notes & comments on my papers. It was like a dream and was tempted to pinch myself to realize what was happening. Within a few minutes he drilled into the ideas and went into the minute details of the papers, while still keeping the talk jovial. He even joked about how the President was forced to wear these formals, while he would have preferred to wear the folded fullsleeve shirts. At the end of 30 minutes, his secretary came in and said it was time for his next appointment.

So, I stood up, thanked him and went out. Oops, I forgot to take a photograph with him. I then gently asked his secretary, if I can take a photograph with him. The secretary replied that it is not a custom to take a Photograph with visitors in that office and President was to be there at an another event in 1 hour. The President heard that and called for his photographer. I was clumsily dressed and looked awkwardly and entered his office once again. (Give that he is never late for any appointments that 5 extra minutes probably took away his rest time before he went on to meet business leaders at FICCI.)

(I dressed like a complete idiot during the teenage times)

After I came out, his secretary asked about the next time I will be in Delhi. I told him that I will be around for independence day (August 15). He just made a note of it and left. This is the greatest day of my little life. I got to chat with my hero for more than half hour.

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August 12, 2003: I was in Delhi again at my uncle’s place. Once again, the President’s office called. I was even more shocked this time, as I didn’t even write a stupid note this time. I was called once again to meet, remembering the previous conversation. It seems the President wanted to meet a couple of teenagers on the eve of our Independence day. This time it was a shorter meeting at 15 minutes and the President once again put up with my impractical ideas on how to change the nation.
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Later, I had seen him a couple of times at Microsoft in 2008 after his Presidential term. He was there for an event and although I didn’t get a chance to meet him one on one, it was great to see His Excellency. In one of the events – a dinner hosted by Bill Gates Sr (father of Microsoft founder), Gates Sr remarked that we should call Kalam always a President (in the US, once a President always a President). I agree.


A lot of people claim down to earth, but our President was in a different level. He had a an extraordinary memory, patience, attention to details and more importantly kindness. While at office, he had almost turned the massive President’s office into a science & social lab, inviting ideas from all over the nation. He was in in his 70s and was past his peak. Even then his mind was relentlessly working on science & language. He seemed to do his work by himself and inspired others to do the same.

He was a quintessential Gandhi in a scientist robe and the greatest President we had ever had. In a nation where politicians act like pigs looking for the next avenue to rob, he was sitting there building bridges with common people, doing research, writing books and talking science. Our nation was gifted to have him.