Let Actions Speak, Not Mouth

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Sri Rama Krishna once said “In this age of kali, truth should be our highest dharma. All of us must have our mind and our mouth in sync.” How we experience day in and day out, that truth remains the biggest casualty in our lives. We say one thing in public, while we act and believe something that is exactly the opposite of what we speak.
Mr. Tarun Tejpal is an experienced journalist, an accomplished writer, a brilliant publisher and a successful business man. He has published a Booker Prize winning abook, he has organized sting operations that had unsettled government/s and forced ministers to resign. In a decade, Tejpal has been named twice among the fifty most powerful people in Asia and in India.

Tarun Tejpal, by his own admission, gets bored of routine activities. Like a maverick, he wants to do new and exciting things. In the process, he never cares about blurring the line between legal and illegal. Tejpal had created Tehelka. He has seen it brought to ground following his sting against NDA government. With Shoma Choudhury, his loyal deputy and managing editor, Tejpal had resurrected Tehelka, as a news magazine that takes up position for the marginalized and underdogs of our society including issues related to women. Professionally, both Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury have positioned themselves as left of centre, they have targeted through their publication political right and big business with a zeal. Shoma is scathing in her criticism of media, of big business and of politics. Some of her notable quotes and writings:
1.       “contrary to some of the optimism on this panel, I think journalism in India is in a pathetic state” and that “journalism has become “a corporate rather than a political act;
2.      ”India’s political, corporate and media establishment sounds like a mobile cocktail party, gliding, champagne glasses in hand, in and out of each others’ drawing rooms, television studios, boardrooms and award ceremonies like actors in an elaborate charade.’’
Yet, neither Tarun Tejpal nor Shoma Chaudhury had shown any compunction in accepting money from corporate houses, that too from not so clean business groups. To start his THiNK Fest in Goa, Tarun Tejpal had sacrificed his own reporter Raman Kirpal’s investigative report on illegal iron ore mining in Goa. According to reports, the mining had cost exchequer nearly 3000 crores in lost revenues. With the political blessing of central command of congress party, Tejpal had traded the report for permission to start THiNK Festival. Grand Hyatt, the conference venue,was funded by mafia money, whom Tehelka journalist target, as well as the venue had come up violating environmental guidelines against construction activity on beachfronts.
However, double standard does not end here. In the same venue  where Shoma chaired a session on rape survivors, Tarun Tejpal assaulted a junior colleague sexually. Shoma can be shrill, scathing and uncompromising when it comes to people who she considers her opponent, yet when it came to complaint against Tarun Tejpal, the first thought that crossed Shoma’s mind was survival of her institution. Who will finance it, if Tarun Tejpal is gone?
It reminds me of a story where a scholar of Bhagwat Gita used to preach everyone about fleeting nature of life. How son, daughter, wife, parents all go away some day or other. He would quote Gita so glibly. One day he was found lamenting the loss of his son, who passed away. When reminded of his own preachings, scholar responded “this is my son”. I smell such hypocrisy in Shoma’s action.
Bigger question remains where does Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury stand on their often publicly professed positions. Definitely, both of them failed the young journalist in their organisation, while vociferously fighting women’s cause in ther professional lives. They have no sense of shame in taking money from people, with clean or shady past, whom they tear into shreds in their professional lives, whom they vilify day in an day out, especially if they fall in the other end of political spectrum.

Tags: Tarun Tejpal, Shoma Chaudhury, Tehelka, THiNK Fest, Goa, Writer, Publisher, Journalist, 


The Lowland : A Book Review

The Lowland is a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is the story of a middle class Bengali family caught in the maelstrom of political turmoil of late 1960s and early 1970s. It is the story of a father who loses his two sons, along with hopes and aspirations, one to police bullet and the second one to the USA. Parents who are not allowed to perform last rites of their son, yet who have to live on reminiscing memory of their departed son.

Two siblings who are temperamentally different, yet have a deep bond of brotherhood. Younger brother, Udayan, is daring, passionate, intelligent and ready to takes up cudgel on behalf of poor and disposessed. Udayan joins naxalite movement during his days in Presidency college. Udayan also marries a girl of his choice, Gouri. Udayan kills an off duty police officer. He suffers from the guilt of his action. Eventually, Udayan was hunted down and killed by central reserve police force in front of his parents and newly wedded wife.
Subhash is the older brother, who is cautious, conventional, responsible, and obedient. Subhash completes his chemical engineering degree from Jadavpur University and moves to Rhode Island for a post doctorate. Subhash is not a rebel but he is not selfish. Subhash marries Udayan’s widow in the face of prophesy of Subhash’s mother “Gouri may never love Subhash, because she loved Udayan. Also, Gouri is too aloof to be a mother.” Udayan’s daughter, Bela, was born in Rhode Island. Bela considers Subhash to be her father and a beautiful bond emerges between them even when Gouri leaves Subhash and Bela.
Gouri is one of the most complex character. She loved Udayan, yet she marries Subhash. Gouri was never grateful to Subhash. She slept with Subhash, yet she never loved Subhash. Gouri was aloof to her daughter Bela. Gouri left Bela with Subhash and moved to west coast of the USA. Other side of Gouri was her desire to study philosophy, her brilliance and her desire to excel. She completed her doctorate. Was Gouri a selfish and opportunistic person? Did Gouri not want to associate with any symbol that reminded her of Udayan? Gouri did not bother to take her daughter, indicating she lacked maternal instinct. Was she being generous to Subhash, knowing how dearly Subhash loved Bela? Gouri did not  face Subhash to inform about his decision to leave for west coast. Does this indicate her guilt or lack of any accountability? Or Gouri was so haunted by Udayan’s memory that she was on the run from Udayan’s family, Udayan’s child and from herself?
Bela is a second generation American kid who had her roots in India. Bela is scarred by her mothers departure. She is afraid to get into a relationship. Also, Bela becomes furious when informed Subhash was not her biological father Yet she acknowledges the sacrifices Subhash has made for her, and fatherly love Subhash has bestowed upon Bela.  Bela grows up like a copy of Udayan. She has rebellious streak of her father, the same sense of independence and strong will. Like her father, Bela distrusts capitalists system. She does not like corporations, supermarkets etc. and grows her own food.
The Lowland creates characters that are realistic with geunine aspiration and despair, happiness and pain, shades of selflessness and self centeredness,  impulsive and calculating.  The Lowland is a story that deals with human agony. However, the novel is not dark and depressing. There is hope, at each page and each chapter one anticipates something new and different. For me the most beautiful part of the book is when Bela tells a shell shocked Subhash, after Gouri has left them “Baba I will never leave you”. I encourage everyone to read the novel. Jhumpa Lahiri has a very flowing style of writing. At no stage reader is bored. Always there an anticipation of what is coming next.

Strong immunity healthy life

“A healthy mind lives only in a healthy body” goes the saying. For a normal healthy body to function body’s internal system has to occur properly. A pillar of internal system is our immune system. Immune system protects our body from invasion of bacteria and micro-organisms.
 Avinash moved to a FMCG company in Delhi as regional sales director. He had greater responsibility and better pay package. In first month of his job, Avinash realized he was under pressure to deliver. He would get out by 7.30 am each morning, to beat the traffic. He reached home not before 8 pm in the evening tired and depleted of energy. He would bring work home and work weekends. Although Avinash felt guilty for neglecting his family, he had no choice but to work like a man possessed.
 Avilasha, Avinash’s wife was both unhappy and worried. Her husband did not have time for family. He was persistently under pressure and looked tired. Lack of exercise was making him to gain weight. He was irritated and complained of headache. Avilasha also noticed that Avinash was catching cold very often. Avilasha dragged Avinash to a general physician one Sunday morning. Dr. Sarin heard Avinash out, and him to adviced Avinash to try Dabur’s Chyawan Prash coupled with some pxhysical exercise.
 Dr. Sarin explained that working in a pressure cooker like situation at his work place, his own expectation to do excel, coupled with a sense of guilt were playing havoc with Avinash’s immune system. As a result, Avinash felt tired, caught cold more often and generally felt exhausted. If immune system remained weak, then in long run Avinash may fall ill gravely. Regular allopathic medicines will not address they symptom without addressing the actual cause of the disease.
Chyawan Prash is a mixture of multitude of herbal extracts. This knowledge was gathered over thousands of years of experience of many practitioners of Ayurveda. Active ingredients of many herbs act to strengthen immune system of a person from inside and try to ward of attack by external and internal threats.

Avinash went back to Dr. Sarin after a month. He was feeling much better. His tiredness, constant headache and general irritability was not there. Although work pressure was still there. Avinash was able handle his professional responsibilities much better. Avinash decided to send a thank you e-mail to Dabur at the following address: www.daburchyawanprash.com.

Tags: Chyawan Prash, Ayurveda, Immune System, Work Pressure, Healthy Lifestyle

Indian Mars Mission : Outrageous or Outstanding!

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India has launched a mission to land a probe to planet Mars. Worldover, only five countires including USA, USSR, European Union, China and Japan have undertaken similar mission. We shall know only after another 11 months, if Indian spacecraft will  land on Mars. We cannot, however, undermine the hard effort, the ingenuity, innovative thinking and courage to dreame of scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).  Indian mission was cost effective because it was achieved spending 450 crore rupee, a fraction of budget allocated for space programs of developed countries. The mission was launched in a record time of fifteen months and followed an innovative trajectory.

Many have criticized indian dare in space exploration. Should a poor country like india spend money on esoteric scientific ventures, when a bulk of her population still do not have access to clean drinking water, sanitation, education and electricity. Indian poor suffer from hunger, malnutrition, disease among others. There is urgent need to overcome social and gender inequalities, female foeticide, dowry death, and general ill treatment of women. One international news paper went to the extent with headlines that Indian rocket is funded by British taxpayers. So much for paltry 100 Mn pounds British donate in charity for Indian poor!

I realize Indian society is riddled with problems. India has been trying to address them as much as she can. India has attempted to create an inclusive society and tried to feed her population even by stretching her national budget to the maximum possible extent.
We cannot undermine the direct benefits of space exploration in the areas of telecommunication, weather prediction, navigation among other things. When cyclone hit Indian east coast, only 21 people actually lost their lives because people were evacuated based on advanced warning.
Experiments like exploration of space, breaking down of atoms etc, may be useless from utilatirian point of view, but life cannot be lived simply on bread alone. Humans are curious being. Unless intellectual hunger of Indian scientists are quenched, scientists will move to countries or places where they can satisfy intellectual hundger. If man-kind had waited till all his earthly needs had been fulfilled, we would not have electricity, locomotives, motor cars, aeroplanes etc as inventions.
India has been trying to eliminate poverty since past sixty years. Despite subsidies and affirmative action, problems remain. Money government spends somehow does not reach real needy. It is time we move on. There is need to develop other aspects of life. Simply  crying about poverty, one may not be able to eradicate poverty. There has to be fresh approach and fresh vision. India must not desist from attempting space missions. We may not be able to fathom the significance of such exploratory research today because we lack vision, our posterity will never forgive our short sightedness, if we so act.



Tags: ISRO. Mars Mission, Space Exploration, Poverty, Illiteracy, Malnutrition, Gender Inequality, Female Foeticide, Subsidy, Affirmative Action 

Invoke Mother in Our Lives

Autumn is a season of festivities. Navratras, Durga Puja, Deepavali, and many other religious festivals based on diverse faith and belief system of communities come one after another.

My religious tradition takes me to Durga Puja. As I bow down in front of the deity, I worship as mother. The object of my worship is not a timid and docile mother. Rather, my goddess is a multitasker with ten arms. She bears weapons in her arms, she rides lion, slays demon and in general exudes power. In this form mother Durga killed Mahisasura when invoked by tormented devas. I look around I see the dichotomy. Nirbhayas are still raped and brutalized in the form of bride burning, dowry death,  human trafficking femal foeticide and so on. How do we invoke mother in our lives?

Swami Vivekananda propagated strength alone can wipe out weakness and cowardice.  Gandhiji has shown that a lifestyle of truth and nonviolence can help us conquer our inner and outer demons. However, some demons understand the language of force alone. If all else fails, we must not be averse to use of force. In a democratic society only government is allowed to use force, we need effective governance at all levels to rid us of evils afflicting our society.