Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bharat Ratna for Pt Bhimsen Joshi

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was conferred with the highest civilian award of Bharat Ratna in November this year. It was a truly proud moment for indian classical music. There could'nt have been a more appropriate recipient than him as he has already received all the Padma awards in previous years. At the age of 86, he is an institution of hindustani music. Despite standing at such a height in his vocation, the man exhibits such simplicity and innocence that one cannot help getting impressed with this great man. I had the previledge of meeting him a few years back courtesy my friends in SPIC MACAY and the write up was published in the magazine section of 'The Tribune'

Monday, December 29, 2008

lip service

India completed one month of the Mumbai terror attack on friday last. Being shaken out of its slumber by public uproar;the government has taken 'all steps' to warn the perpeterators of terror from across the border, activated its diplomatic channels to arrange a visit of Condoleza Rice to the subcontinent, sacked few persons in 'responsible' positions, so on and so forth. One of the minister is still keeping the public delusion alive of taking 'action' and of 'options open'.
The biggest misfortune of our country is the intellectual mediocrity of our beaurocracy, non committal attitude of the political leadership and most importantly the short memory of the public. India is perhaps most vulnerable to such terror attacks in future due to its vast coastline. The goverment has not decided on any additional measures to safeguard its maritime boundaries. In my previous post, the requirement of coming up with a BIGGER solutions for LARGER issues was highlighted. The government has done 'too little and too late'. Though the vulnerability of having a large coastline hardly requires over emphasis, the meeting on coastline security at central level is slated in the first week of January. By the time any 'concrete measures' of this important meeting will be 'implemented', the country will probably celebrating the victory of the new government and everything on terror will be forgotten till another terror attack grabs the headlines...

A newspaper cutting from 'The Hindu' on the measures taken by government on coastal security

Thursday, December 18, 2008

writing for 'The Vikas'

[originally published in 1993 in 'The Vikas' ( the magazine of Government College of Men, Sector-11, Chandigarh) of which yours truly was the Editor]
'Miracles occur in contradiction not to nature,
but what is known to us of nature'. - St Augustine
Curious things continue to happen in life which shake the solid pillars of science. A vivid dream coming true the next day, telephone call from the person just thought of. A sudden rememberence of past life. Such experiences however were rarely questioned in a country that gave the world the concept of reincarnation. Long before the term 'paranormal phenomena' was coined,ancient Indians had already discovered the 'Ultimate Conciousness'.
In the past threee decades, a band of investigators called 'Parapsychologists' have begun talking of what they claim as 'scientific peep into keyhole of eternity'.
Many universities are probing into their research, what is commonly called 'sixth sense' or technically the phenomena of 'Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP). ESP types are diferentiated for example TELEPATHY is awareness of thoughts of another person. CLAIRVOYANCE is the ability to know of events that have occured. PRECOGNITION is knowledge of the event before it happened. And PSYCHOKINESIS is the power to influence objects with just mind. The unknown factor underlying all these is 'Psi'. Parapsychology studies these 'Psi' abilities.
Real life examples are gripping. Srikant of a village in Garhwal mountains got up one night in fright for he dreamt his father lying in a field bleeding badly. The next day his mother called from Dehradun to give the same news. Srikant just had the clairvoyant experience. Sudhir is an employee of a Delhi restaurant. He got a visual flash that his friend Kapoor is lying on a road bleeding profusely. Sudhir warned Kapoor not to undertake a journey he was planning but he did not heed his advice. Sudhir got a call later in the day that Kapoor had met with an accident. This is an example of Precognition.
Examples of reincarnation are even more interesting where a casual remark triggered the memory. Ajit Sngh in Chandigarh remembered his previous life whwn his aunt remarked "It's so hot today,that even if I die, you don't have to cremate me,I'll just burn up". Ajit replied -- " Nothing happened to me when they burnt me after I died". He then began talking of his life as a magistrate in Rawalpindi.
Statistics are glaring - 82% of people like Ajit remembered their names and other details. In one NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences,Bangalore) study of 250 cases, most people remembered past life at around the age of three and 77% of the cases were deceased persons whom those people claimed to be.
The research in this field is still very much in infantile state. AP University research found that people practicing Yoga and transcendental meditation had higher ESP scores than others. PU Chandigarh research concludes that extrovert students did well in ESP tests. Garhwal University research on traditional faith healers shows that they do exhibit some psychokinetic ability.
But parapsychologists are still to alter the concept of other scientists towards their research. Despite scientific inverstigations on ESP being conducted since 1927, the august American Association for Advancement of Science reluctantly admitted parapsychologists as members only in 1969.

The Editorial Team of 'The Vikas'.

Ist Row -Prof VK Devasher,Dr DR Gupta,Prof Bhupinder Singh,Dr K Tandon,Dr Attar Singh(Principal),Dr N Mittal,Dr Maghar Singh,Prof JP Garg.

IInd Row - Shyam Sunder,Biramjit Singh,Ashwani Saini(yours truly),Nishi Kant,Malkit Singh,Anil Sharma,Nirbhay Kumar,Anil Kumar,Francis Olalo

The magazine was released by Sh Y S Dadwal then IGP,UT (presently Commissioner, Delhi Police) who is also the aluminus of the college.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The purpose of Life

Recently I had a chance meeting with a person who explained me the meaning of our daily used salutation 'Namaste'. Every human being has an element of divine in him/her. The word 'Namaste' means that the divinity in me salutes the divinity in you. I was so impressed with the interpretation of the meaning that I wanted to note it down somewhere but the gentleman requested me to just keep it in my heart for if it stays with me, it was worth knowing it. His request somehow reminded me of the words of Helen Killer -
" The best and most beautiful things in the world
can not be seen, nor touched
but felt in the heart".
I was further inquisitive to know as to why we fold our hands when we greet someone. The explanation transcends the spiritual and appears rather scientific. Our body has (+ve) positive as well (-ve) as negative aura ( another name for charge) in it. Folding of our hands is an endeavour to bring that aura ( charge) to neutral. Man across various civilisations has been seeking to know the purpose of his being on this earth. There are varied explanations for it. Here is one such explanation which I really liked.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mumbai afterMATH!

"The best part being a pessimist is that;
most of the time you are proved right,
and when you are not; you are pleasantly surprised!"
Last few days were spent putting all resources at my command to learn more about Mumbai terror attacks and all such previous acts of terror elsewhere. The purpose was not to give a presentation, enrich my knowledge etc but pure curiosity. The Mumbai carnage has not only exposed our intelligence system but also exposed the lack of will of our political leadership. One thing which clearly emerges out of this attack is the setting up of a higher benchmark of terror activities not only by local standards but also by global standards. By conventional standards, all cities/districts/states must be self sufficient in countering acts of terror but these simultaneous acts of terror in one city forced the government to deploy the best of resouces at its command to contain it. If the entire nation was put on high alert; then, Why this incident cannot be defined as a War on the nation itself???
There is an old saying in Panjabi - मैनू सहे दी नहीं, पहे दी पई है ( While I am concerned about what has happened but what bothers me is, what can happen in future!)
If launching of terror attacks from the sea is going to be the norm in next few years, what steps can we take to secure our maritime boundaries? If launching an attack on one city by handful of terror-hands can neccesitate pooling best anti-terror resources from elsewhere; what if such attacks are launched on two or three cities simultaneously. Should we not consider outsourcing our internal security arrangements to some other agency like the United Nations (UN) ?
There are many questions which have been thrown open by the recent attacks on Mumbai. Small problems can be addressed by small or piece meal solutions but larger issues require LARGER and BIGGER solutions.