Monday, January 19, 2015

Of Karma , Maya & the Intangible Pain.

A couple of days ago an article written by Devdutt Pattnaik appeared in The Hindu.                          I’m at loss for comprehension after reading that article titled “In Maya, the Killer & the Killed”. What was the author trying to convey?  He said much and ended saying nothing.

The author blamed terror attacks on the karma of the terrorised- the victims. He further went on to say      that the emotional violence committed by Charlie Hebdo- the intangible pain their journalism caused to Muslims was what triggered the violent act and the emotional   pain is far more grave and agonising than physical pain or violent retaliation. He quotes an anecdote from the Mahabratha. In Indraprastha royals and princes are assembled in the court of Yudishtira for his coronation, when Shishupala in his eagerness to settle an old score publicly abuses Krishna. After a long forbearance and letting Shishupala indulge in his abusive soliloquy, Krishna decides that he had enough of the man’s invectives and let lose his divine Chakra that decapitates the insolent and disgraceful Sishupala. Here the reader must reach his own conclusion. Or is it that my comprehension is puerile?

Now, the plot is well created with this allegory a commendable prescience. The anecdote can be of quoted by Hindutva prudes to unleash their brand of denouement. Recall the  treatment  meted out to M.F.Hussain, to Narendra Dablokar ( who was shot and killed allegedly by Hindutva goons for critcising the superstitious and inimical customs and practsies ), the fate of Deepa Mehta’s movie  “Fire” and lately of the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan. The same yardstick, with which Devudutt Pattnaik would want us to understand the allegory of Shishupala, will be used with different names and periods by beguilers of various faiths. The same phrase, ”hurt sentiments” was used to hound Salman Rushdie and Tasleema Nasreen, the murderous attack on the Kerala professor Joseph by Muslim fanatics, the many government sponsored murders in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy, the hoary cry against the adaptation of Nicholas Kazhanztika’s “Last Temptation of Christ” by a thespian group in Kerala and now the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Today’s newspaper splashes the RSS   supremo Mohan Bagwat’s statement in the course of his speech to his cadre that India must be made a “Hindu Rashtra”. True to the trope and the fascist philosophy of the Sangh he also alluded to some statement of Rabindranath Tagore to substantiate and garnish relevance to his demand.

Let me take up a statement in the article Of Devdutt Pattnaik. “Will there be a march where people identify themselves with Charlie’s killers? Is that allowed? Who are the killers? Muslims, bad- Muslims, Mad- Muslims, un-Islamic Muslims? The editorials are undecided, as in the attack in Peshawar on school children…. .”  The statement, I will say is deficient and outright naïve, to put it politely.  Who is undecided about the macabre acts in Peshawar? Not the civilised world. Not the conscientious among Pakistanis and Muslims. Not the satanic non-Muslim world. Then, who? Every righteous man and woman bled hearing the gory tale and seeing the visuals on media.

It will be cruelness of abysmal proportion to say the Peshawar carnage was the karma of the, innocent children mowed down by the Taliban.  To say that the Taliban did that because of the intangible pain they felt when the Pak military did what any modern democratic institution in the  civilised world should do, go after fascists and terrorists who are wreaking havoc on the civil society. It was plain and outright barbaric madness. What was the intangible pain the Taliban felt that they had to shoot the teen aged girl Malala in the head and leave her bleeding to die? Was it her karma that she wanted to study, to go to school? The mayhem Islamic terrorist under the banner “Boko Haram”   inflicts on helpless people is not borne out of tangible or intangible scars Boko Haram may have had to bear. The 200 girls abducted months ago by the savages and possibly used as sex slaves or killed after raping them have not any tangible karma behind them to bear the misfortune that befell them. What  bizarre theory is Devdutt Pattnaik endevaouring to convey?

  When it comes to matters of bigotry, fanaticism and blinded faith there are no boundaries and the demon has the same face, be it in Peshawar, Paris, or Timbuktu- unwillingness and refusal to recogonise and respect differences of opinion, and varied cultural ethos; intolerance and bigotry.
Confusing the whole issue of the Paris attack allegedly provoked by lawful French journalistic work is missing the wood for the trees. Raising impertinent questions he is only helping to confuse and deflect from the larger aspect and perspective terror has brought to the forefront-the question of journalistic expression & rights and the imbecility of a hypersensitive impetuous minds. Let us take the example of the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan. This is the classic case of political one-upmanship, mass intolerance and whipping of frenzy with the oft quoted phrase, “hurt sentiments”. The local Administration stands culpable and responsible for Perumal Morgan’s literary suicide. To see mass intolerance and herd instinct as reflections of hurt sentiment is naïve. Take the question of Devadasi. The Hindus will be crying foul if someone writes about this abhorrent practice, which in spite of the Supreme Court ruling thrives in pockets, aided and abetted by caste Hindus.  William Darlymple dealt deftly with the subject in his book “Nine Lives”. It is surprising that the Hindutva cronies led by Togadias and Deendayal Batras have not noticed that yet.  If someone criticises the period in ancient India and Hindu history when “sati” – the bride burning in funeral pyre of her husband was a social custom, will he or she be causing intangible pain to the faithful?

To say emotional pain is ignored for physical violence is untrue. Look, even courts take cognisance of mental; trauma and pain .A physical assault of rape is not judged  merely by the act of penetration alone, and is deemed to be committed if the victim is truamatised and hounded emotionally by the perpetrator. Leaving these matters aside and the deflections created by abracadabra of “Maya and Karma”, we have to understand that certain sections of society refuse to shed the medieval mindset and are paranoid at the sign of questions and evidences rubbishing archaic notions and claims. The problem is the temperament of the dark ages that refuses to leave – the temperament that binds and cloisters itself in bigotry and obscurantism.

In Kerala there is an ancient art form called “Chakkiar Koothu”. The performer donned in colourful costumes and paint comes on stage and narrates a story. He might at random pick even the King or the peasant from the audience and spin a satirical tale, mocking their idiosyncrasies. The King is not offended let alone the commoner. The musical art form of “Ottam Thulla” was born out of such a mockery by a Chakkiar of his protégé or help.

Questions have to be asked, however unpleasant we need to confront them and arrive at plausible answers. It could be an answer that might chafe us and threaten the cocoon, the comfort zone we built around, it might provoke. But if the end result is a better understanding and a new revelation, the casting aside of darkness, what we until then erred for light- wouldn't that help much?

It seems the so called religious faithful and puritans (sic) have asserted through the article of Devdutt Pattnaik that when it comes to protecting the outlandish and archaic religious beliefs and practices, the prelates, the evangelists, the Imams, the Mullahs and the Hindutva brigade are all brothers in arms and of the same womb.

Why is a caricature offensive? Why should it be seen so? In fact caricature is used to convey a dissenting message a different perspective. Isn’t it? BTW did God arise and tell one of these faithful that he (certainly can’t be she because aren't women inferior?), that he is pained and outraged by questions and criticisms?

(Dr Devdutt Pattnaik is a physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist and author whose focus largely are on areas of myth and mythology besides management. He has written number of books on Hindu mythology.( Wikiepedia)).

Friday, January 9, 2015


It was quite a long time since we four got together. It also seems in all likelihood that such coming together will be a rarity in the days ahead. I must admit that the physical distance between us is not felt only because of the social media and other applications that have literally usurped physical intimacy and tactile affection. Face book, Whatsapp and the ubiquitous mobile phones make one unaware of the physical distance; emotions have become less important these days. As parent I and C might soon get used to the feeling that though the children are far out somewhere on the planet, pleasantries on the Skype, on the Whatsapp would undo at least to  some extent, the feeling of despondency and loneliness that many vouch is the companion and paramour in twilight days.

While sitting in that fascinating pub in Bangalore that pulsated with young men and women besides a few grey haired like me and C, I wondered briefly, reflectively about my teen and youth. Times have changed or are it that as parents we are different? I guess the later is truer. I felt remorse about a stifling childhood and growing up years. I took care to not to be walloped in self pity and drank the Bavarian beer that was served.

The best thing parents can do for the children  besides ensuring a good education and grooming, is to let them walk free into their lives. How true are the words that “to love is to let fly free, let go”!  I hate to be trapped by conventions and stereotyping and would not want them to be shackled either. The discerning ability of choosing right over wrong is ammunition and confidence enough to go forward. I guess they have that in them.
A friend while in conversation with me yesterday told me that he was thinking of groom hunting for his daughter who would be coming to the country on vacation in the coming summer. I wondered why and asked him why he would not seek her opinion; ask her if she is in that frame of mind. Parents tend to follow conventions and stereotyping. Life has all now become too familiar and too predetermined for comfort. Is marriage and procreation the acme in human life that human beings must aspire for?

An NRI friend from childhood was here a few months ago and over dinner which they graciously fed me with the lady stated loudly, “I’m certain you and C must have by now collected all the gold one possibly could”. I knew instantly what she was alluding to and that she wanted it out of my mouth. I feigned innocence and with a wry smile, said. “What? Why must we collect gold like bounty hunters?”                                                                                                                                             “You know for certain. Don’t you? R is twenty one and soon you would be thinking of marrying her away.” She said.

I briefly told her that we have no fascination for gold nor have we ever gone to bed without supper and hungry saving gold. Besides though we would strongly advise the children to ensure a family if they were to have children, these matters are to be left to them than as parents we lord over their lives even after they have flown. We have not chosen their professions either .It was their individual choice.

I hope, if the kids amble into this Blog they would be reminded,”do what you folks love to do than let ye be shackled by what others want of you”. I guess the kids have grown understanding that. Hope.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Perils of Speaking

A few days ago a good friend called on my mobile and told me that he finished reading all the posts on my Blog- some 380 odd that I wrote from 2008. He said, my postings peaked in 2010 and 2011 and tapered off to a trickle in the year that went past. It took him, a fastidious soldier to calculate that. Else who bothers? Do I? No. Blogging was more about letting out oneself, a sort of stress and ennui buster and I seldom kept counting posts or participating in marathons in the Blogdom.

It is easier to and safer too, to write about inanimate matters and dogs, cats or bugs- folks who do will vouch, I’m certain. For, writing about them you could write what you honestly feel about those creatures and your relationship with them. Your earnest observation or even swollen feelings will not elicit comments from them. You may have no fear about them frowning at you for a candid and what you might rightly feel is an honest observation, or accuse you of calumny. But write about the folks you moved within the past week, an old face and you may see a few grimaces, frowns and expressive annoyance accusing you of slander and innuendo. Some may feel you are prying, ostensibly puritanical while being an incorrigible hypocrite and shoot off their reprisals, chafe and profanity. Besides, all the feelings that one keep cannot be from the land of fairness and goodness. That tells the partial reason for the parsimonious blogging over the past couple of years. Why, as an old chum put it, “invite self corrosion?”

In the present day world, more precisely in the more civilised (sic) modern day society we live, the perils of wielding the pen or exercising the tongue are insurmountable. It is not the pernicious zeal of safe guarding and holding on to one’s opinions but the fierce malice towards all ideas that are non-confirming to ours.  A friend called me a pit bull, derisively. He stated I was being too brash, audaciously and unnecessarily blunt with some comments I made. He was petulant about my observation on the “Good Governance Day”. But yet, I find it neigh difficult to stave off the urge to write if not with malice, with vehemence when it calls for. It is utterly daunting to me.

Yet another person wondered aloud why I was expressing opinions that would not be acceptable to others. Why, why? I stood back and mused, tried to reflect am I culpable of the alleged misdemenour?

Having asserted thus, there were indeed matters to reflect and put in words, such as for instance meeting an old acquaintance-a knavish person after a quite a few years. While having lunch with her the, her infamous and feral mechinisations fleeted through my mind. I came back with the firm opinion that a few years more of aging since I last confronted her may not have mellowed her wee bit and she would still be capable and wily as before.

To me it is astonishing how some folk(s) change with wealth and trappings that until recently was a distant carrot and a mirage to them. Malarkey at its acme! New chums, wealthy acquaintances, and gilded social gatherings assorted with celebrities well, well…! One can only remember the past and leave a deep sigh, while taking extra care to keep a distance.

How far can one get candid, about the world around, the people you know and about oneself? How honest can one get, can one be with one’s opinion and yet not be honest enough to provoke? Or is that standard exalted and worthy? What could one say when confronted with the question what fucking business does you have to comment?                                                                                           Finally I might have ended up provoking the holy nobles by using the “infamous” word above. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Year End Musings

The year seems to be ending with the first sign of the physical existence of the Maoist in Kerala. I’m persuaded to wonder if the Maoist incursion was the only woe that was missing in God’s own State. When conversions and home comings are the rage of the day, perhaps the insurgents will baptize the tribal in the hills of Kerala into their ways. And could someone blame and cry wolf for that?

Leopard cannot and will not change it spots. The question if it is the ‘will’ or ‘cannot’ that stand out can be debated. But the fact remains that the spots that were before, stays put. But yet, I like many others hoped for the impossible. The shenanigans orchestrated these days through the charade called “Home Coming” is falling flat against the thesis and the scholarship put forth by eminent historians that India is a land where 92 percent of the present population are descendants of emigrants. It was believed at a not so distant time that Dravidians were the original inhabitants of India, that view has since been considerably modified. Now the generally accepted thesis is that the pre-Dravidian aborigines- the ancestors of the present day people, who we call Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), were the original inhabitants. So factually speaking most of us will have to leave the sub-continent lock-stock& barrel, because we simply do not belong here and we criminally usurped the land of the original inhabitants or say the early inhabitants.

 Mercifully the extraneous factor that always decided our economic fate – the crude oil price has plummeted southwards and the Leopards could revel in the fortuitous boon that has come about. Though that has not alleviated our plight and the hardships in our daily chores, the Leopards could quote statistical wonders that have come to play in their favour. Foreboding of a return of the mother and son and the coterie of sycophants are also helping the felines.

While we brace ourselves for more aggressive posturing of the Leopards who simply cannot shed their parentage, people in Kerala have something to cheer when the year whimpers out. The Gandhian KPCC President V.M.Sudheeran has lost out with his obstinate autocratic style of functioning, one that perhaps he simulated from his icon Mohandas Gandhi. Tipsy days are back again and here to stay and Sundays can be reveling as before. That is the sole solace that seems to strike a chord in me in this whole year that went past.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

...of the taboo of Phalluses & other Glands in Phallic culture

The matter is simply misplaced morality- to define it more precisely misplaced notion what is supposedly thought as morality and the eagerness to embrace it as a vindication and display of undue conceit -moral vanity. When such thinking is seen in adults those who are educated, erudite, articulate and in respectable position it is false and stinks of emptiness and hypocrisy.

“To each his own”, is an agreeable dictum for social living. But I can only disagree with people using it to proclaim higher moral grounds for social consumption and acceptance. However in the context mentioned in the next paragraph, I presume that the opinion that led to the “red flag” was egregious and silly.

A few months back a chat group was begun on the social media platform “WHATSAP” by former graduate class mates. The group was ostensibly called “the class of 80”. Great!  About thirty class mates from the 80 batch were successfully enrolled into the group. And dear, some of them are hyper active on the platform, both after office hours and during office hours too. I myself have been an occasional visitor and picking up subjects I could discuss, though opinions in those discussions would converge and also differ, fair enough.  The group is being administered by a jolly good friend and he throws up an occasional “yellow flag” and even a “red flag” depending upon the acceptability of the comments or posts. A means of control and I presume it is to act as a sieve and control of obscenity and revilement of members of the group that could not be entertained.

But I'm afraid it was downright ridiculous when the administrator flagged me down with a ‘red’ when I posted this piece on the platform.

His act can be shunned as frivolous and trivia I suppose, but such opinions originating from people of whom some of them were vociferous and active on the social media in support of the dissent towards moral policing and the “kiss of love “protest, I wonder what outrage is explicit in this innocuous post quoting a physician who was awarded the Nobel for medicine. And the quote was factual and forthright without mincing words stating the pitiable priorities in medical research funding.

Yes it is apparent that the words “boobs” and “penises” certainly offended and enraged the administrator. What miserable and unfortunate organs are they that the creator perhaps in a petulant mood callously foisted upon hapless women and men! For me to post an observation from a notable physician who referred to those words in the right context and in the in correct spell is manifestly obscene, repugnant and gauche. So went the judgment, I presume.

Now, this reminds me of another incident which was comical in almost the same context. When the “Kiss of Love” protest was in swing, I irresistibly posted my observation and opinion on my facebook page against the fallacy of what is termed culture and the hypocrisy of moral policing. A post – a rebuttal , tongue in cheek,vile and vehement was posted by a person on his facebook page assailing my stand and vilifying what he called the advocacy of unrestrained sex. He baptised voices against moral policing as that of votaries of copulation in public like dogs and immoral behviour in public. What amused me to no end was that he, the protagonist was a self confessed fascinator of many homosexual liaisons in his more youthful days. Politely I must term his comment amusing and rebut him by saying he cannot see the wood for the trees.

Now where is threshold for hypocrisy and acceptable moral behavior? What was offensive about the comment of the Nobel laureate and posting it on social platform? Why was the administrator reluctant and peeved to let a discussion originate on the subject?

Looking at the  outraged rejoinder on facebook ,is it perhaps alright to be unrestrained and unconventional at heart and in private while being a puritan by day light?

It will be a wonder if  a few Bloggers would respond to this post. The words are too  abhorrent to mention , to comment . Aren't they ?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

....of Gospels & Evangelism

Few days ago I received a personal letter by post from a Pastor Paul Malla who as I could see from the address printed on the mail head represented the Gospel of Christ, an evangelist organisation. The letter was sent from Trichur the citadel town of Christianity in Kerala State.As all such messages it was replete with cajoling, enticing,  subtly baleful and artfully sinister proselytism.
In such occasion in the past, I chose to cast such letters and unsolicited pieces of evangelism into the place that is rightfully its own- the waste bin.But this time around, I chose to respond and shot off an email to Pastor Paul Malla.I did not expect a reply and neither did it arrive nor ever will.

"Thank you for the message sent to me. However dear Pastor there was nothing new and different in it,than the many I have received since my school days in a convent school that was run by wonderful nuns .

But yet,may I ask you something that I always asked after receiving such messages,
Firstly,you mentioned about Jesus coming back into the world. You tanatalisingly,(you might have thought), held out this golden carrot.Could you tell me when that would happen? Before this Xmas? Frankly, I doubt if he would dare, because no man or the son of God who cares a hoot for his life will plan a second coming after the fantastic(sic) treatment meted out to him some 2000 years ago when he came here last, through a circuitous route of virgin conception and birth. 

Secondly, you mentioned about non believers being damned and believers washed free, cleansed off their sins and that of Adam &Eve. Are you serious about this? This is the kind of calumny and guilt you create in people. I will call this an effervescent and banal joke.Sounds tempting though, to be washed off one's sin and the sin of one's forefathers that you guys foist upon people.

 Pastor let me tell you something.You folks who are paid marketeers, salesmen and more politely evangelists (of all faith) thrive upon the insecurity and fear that you create in the minds of the poor, gullible people vis a vis the sins that you talk about and accuse them of. You make them feel damned by such vile accusations and reap the en masse conversions to your fold.This is predominant in all Semitic faith.You now do it subtly while Islam does it through intimidation and physical abuse- murder.Well once you burnt people at the stake for refusing to convert,didn't you?
Pastor Paul stop this hocus pocus of the holy ghost , virgin conception- parthenogenesis , birth and resurrection stories.

Tell me truthfully, did Jesus ever exhort to form a church, a religion during his missionary days? And even if he did, supposedly, is this the kind of Church and faith he exhorted or envisaged in his sermons?

Baptism or the ritual of immersion in waist deep water was a ritual practised by the Jews as initiation. An ancient ritual was later turned by you Christians into a tool, a weapon that served as the sword of "Damocles" to coerce people to join  your fold.You have been perpetuating the meanest crime all these years while you proclaim from the pulpit that damned are the ones who are not baptsied. You stuck the so called original sin on the masses and it  stayed put on them like limpets and infesting their souls.In you letter addressed to me you branded me a sinner and fit candidate to rot in the netherworld.

Pastor Paul, is it not the subsumed principle and corner stone of civilised canon of society that no man be damned for life and  his faith and belief must not condemn him for eternity?But you did. You accused me of sinning and condemned me,my children and posterity too to eternal hell unless I baptise and repeat "hallelujah" to Christianity and Christ.

Your eloquence is fascinating like a book on wizardry and repulsive for its sinister intent and ideology. I wonder if you acknowledge that such vile misdeeds and misrepresentation under the cover of religion is possible only in India.

If you want further debate on the subject please write back in reply to this message.Else, I shall presume that you have nothing to say and that you without demure admit to the mumbo jumbo that you folks have been shamelessly wheeling for the past 2000 years and in the bargain converting people of ethnic pagan faith and worship- people who in their simple ways revered, supplicated and prayed to Nature,  into Christianity.

It is a different story that you have a dozen splinter groups amongst Christians and each one vying for the wealth evangelism brings.The evangelist group who spins the most horrendous and fearsome tale of sin, destruction, illness and stories of hell gets to garner the major portion of the bounty, the booty.Have you ever strived to build a society, a laity that does not live in fear of sin, but rather would conscientiously go about living their affairs? Why do you not help people, let them live their life here on earth in full, than dream of a paradise that is seen only in frescoes of ancient painters and alluring stories of lore and legend. Who amongst you raised a finger against the killing of Yazidi Christians?As for the cruelty and murder you evangelist perpetrated on the world- the native Indians of America, the tribes and Negroes in Africa, the aborigines elsewhere- those stories are chilling to even create nervous breakdown in even the most hardened felon.You did all this to convert people to a faith that you created in the name of a man who probably lived and preached, love, peace and compassion.

Fantastic(sic) Pastor Paul and shamelessly shameful are your intent.
I prefer an eternal hell to the Harry Potter kind wizardry , sensation and nonsense you reel."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Perhaps, it may be a bit early to write a blog when obituaries and eulogies have not totally ceased. Nevertheless! The guy is dead and gone and he had left a decent bounty that he would not have made if he had not chosen politics as a career.

How far did he get in up the ladder? Well he was the councilor of a city ward. That is a not an awfully exalted position by the way. If you ask about his education, I seriously doubt if he reached near matriculation.

He was born to poor subsistence labourer parents in a hamlet few kilometers to the north, outside the city. I guess he lost his father very early, for when I saw him first as a boy of ten or eleven he and his mother had moved into a single room –makeshift home in a rundown apartment  near my house in the town. She eked out living by doing menial work and chores at different homes in the neighbourhood.
He was certainly unable to cope with school and was an indifferent student. Later when he dropped out of school, or as some say when he decided that he cannot pursue school exams with moderate marks to pass, his distant uncle took him into his fold as an errand boy at the Lawyer’s office where the former was an aid.

He was dark skinned and was muscular for his age. Even at the age of thirteen or fourteen he had strong limbs and broad chest. He excelled in Kabaddi kicking opponents down and tackled mercilessly and roughly while playing football. Kids, skinny as I was stood not even a fortuitous chance confronting him at Football or Kabaddi. He simply elbowed us down, jostled us flat as a beaten pan. I remember he was merciless. His career graph I presume was aided by that quality, to take his rivals head on and bulldoze his way. He must have been tactful in later life. Some say, people preferred to not confront him and let him have his run.

The eulogies that came from political bigwigs who flocked to his house hearing his sudden death was enviously rattling and umbrageous too. “His early inspiration for public service came while he was a student”, the State president of his party, clad in white spotless cotton fabric remembered him. “That was when he joined the student wing of the party and became an active and dedicated party loyalist.” Some spoke about his foresight, his uncanny acumen, his passion to toil for the needy, the poor and the marginalised. The paeans seemed endless. Every day after he was dead, local vernacular dailies carried his picture and a glowing obituary.

When he died he was on the director board of a cooperative bank, (what he knew of banking and the cooperative movement is mystery. His middle school education was not a constraint. But then we have a plus two dame running the country’s Education and Human resource ministry), he was the party district secretary, he was nominated to the University senate (again defying the pathetic limit of his education), and he was the president or treasurer of the local temple (where, locals allege in almost muted tone that he was in cahoots with God and made enough from the temples revenue). Above all he had always put his money on the political party horse that won. He, in the little world of politics that he could travel, always ensured that his finger was in the pie.

If he did not achieve greater success or amass more wealth than he did, it must be because that there were bigger chisellers in the party than he. It is astonishment unrivalled that if an ordinary political party member who could go no farther than being elected councilor of a ward, could generate as much wealth as he could, the extent of booty that bigger sharks in politics siphon off is impossible to gauge.