Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today I read two wonderful stories in the newspaper. One was sad and the other was happy. Strangely both of them were connected to revolution and violence. Life regularly places people in unusual circumstances and ones ordinary choices can throw up extra-ordinary impact.

Let me write about the sad one first. Kanu Sanyal dies by hanging himself. The great man that he was did not deserve such a weak death. The tragedy is that when he was so fearless all through his life, he had to show such weakness in choosing such an ignoble end. For those uninitiated, Kanu Sanyal is said to be the founders of Naxalism in this country. Naxalism is not about killing and violence, though we may see it like that from media reports. Naxalism initially was about revolution against the injustice suffered by the weaker section of society mainly in rural areas. The upper casts consisting of zamindars, businessmen and priests wielded tremendous power over the poor and the lower casts. Man can endure sufferings and atrocities up to a limit and blame it on karma. When that limit is crossed, then the ambers of revolution flare up. Kanu Sanyal stroked such wild fires during his hay days. Known to be a great leader and orator, he led front the front and had a vast following. Slowly the naxal movement lost stream after the communists came to power in West Bengal and they changed the land holding scenario in rural areas across the state. Slowly the naxal movement shifted to Andhra, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. But the brave man that he was, why did he choose suicide? Was he dejected because nobody wanted to listen to him anymore? Or was he unable to bear the physical pain of old age and assumed that hanging was a brave act? Obviously many people would attend his funeral and cry for him. Sadly the truth is that all his work did not bring him much love. It was an unhappy death.

The other story was about an army-man who was shot at and wounded by militants in Manipur during its period of insurgency in the 1994. Lt. Col. D. P. K. Pillay who was leading his men had received a couple of bullets on his body and could have been evacuated by helicopter. However he chose to stay put and instead evacuated some children from the fighting zone. He waited for the helicopter to return after two hours during which time he continued to fight against the militants. He could have died but he survived. After a period of 16 years he again went back to the same place and met those militants who are now working as farmers as well as those children whom he evacuated. The children are now grown up and have become parents themselves. The militants joked with him about their poor aim and he showed them his scars. They all had a good time, laughed and cried together. Lt. Col. D. P. K. Pillay must have gone through some major emotional crises during his recuperation. The best thing about him is that he carried no malice against those who shot at him to kill him. The people loved and respected him for his selfless deed to save their children. There is so much of love that the imagining the scene of reunion itself brings tears to my eyes. Lt. Col. D. P. K. Pillay tells that he chose to send out the children first because it was not their fault that they were caught in a cross fire. Bless his soul!


What do America and China have in common? Most would say financial clout. But wait a second, there is another factor which both these countries display in gay abandon and in full view of the whole world. I call it shameful but all my friends say that it is apt and the normal. They tell me that it is the way human beings react to circumstance.

America is afraid of persons who are non countrymen who belong to the Muslim religion. China is afraid of its own countrymen. America is constantly mining the Muslim countries for information against American property and American interests at home and abroad. China is also mining for information from within the country which is against its policy and seeks to gag what it calls dangerous propaganda. Both governments are afraid of people and both countries say that they are powerful. Does the fear factor increase with increase in wealth? Does the fear factor increase with increase in power? If yes, then what use is such wealth and power?

America has done a lot of damage to its reputation in the Muslim world. It has always acted in its own selfish interest without caring about the consequence on others. Blind support to Israel without taking other neighbors into confidence has been its policy since a very long time. Now it looks like boomerang time because Israel no more listens to its main patron. Political manipulation of the Gulf countries was a major agenda for America to safeguard its supply of oil. America never cared what other countries thought. Now when Iran is developing its nuclear technology and the whole world is looking the other way, America is at a loss for words. America has been behaving as the policeman for the world on its own for a very long time. Now when it needs help and support the world prefers to wait and watch. Watch what? If you want to believe me, they all are waiting for America to fall. The Muslims of the world cannot forgive America. Why should they? What benefit has America passed on to them in lieu of all the interference, destruction and robbery? Muslims have suffered the most for America’s foolish leadership and greedy policies towards self-aggrandizement. Iraq is living the price for no fault of theirs.

China and its communist leaders running the country knew that all its policies were wrong. They took a quite turn in the 1970’s towards capitalism but refused to hand down real freedom to its own people. Even today they prefer to gag the internet and throw out Google. They are not sure about their own countrymen need for information. The Chinese government believes in information censorship and thinks that they can continue to feed their countrymen with dressed down information. What a pity! China is riding a wild tiger. It is giving its people financial strength, modern education, freedom to think, desire to become a super power and control the world. But it won’t give them the right of self governance. The youngsters in China will soon rise against such foolish strategies because demand for freedom of choice will immediately follow once education and power is achieved. China sounds so scared of an old man and behaves like a child on his every movement, the man being Dalai Lama. In fact China cannot give the Tibetans the only two things that they seek religious and governance freedom within the framework of a united China. That would open up a Pandora box of similar demands from across the country.

Monday, March 1, 2010


“So what is it that you want Bo? It seems that you enjoy being in the confused state permanently, and more than that maybe you enjoy giving pain to others”, Mr. S was exasperated. He had heard Bo out and was angry at his foolishness. He was sure that Bo was timid and scared about what people would think about him.

“So you THINK that you are a sadhu. What kind of madness is this? You would make a fraud sadhu.” Mr. S continued. “Tell me, do you think about sex, do you think about making love to a women?”

“Yes, I do.” Bo’s replied without looking into the eyes of Mr. S.

“Then what the hell! I have heard of such sadhu’s who thinks of having sex with each and every women they come into contact with. And you know what kind of people they are, don’t you? If you continue to suppress your normal urge like this, then you will surely end up becoming one such sadhu.”

“Sadhu, my foot!” Mr. S wanted to avoid being harsh because he was certain that Bo was being honest about everything. Bo was uncertain about his own feelings and needed a support, a guiding hand which would place him on the right road. But he was also sure that in such circumstances, others can do very little. There is saying in this land, Aikave Janache, Karave Manache, ‘Listen to the world but do what your heart tells’. Bo would ultimately do whatever his heart dictates. However, at this moment it seemed that Bo was not sure of anything.

Mr. S was sitting in his office with Bo since over an hour, listening to his confusion. He visualized the circumstance in the life of Bo who is a small time businessman in his mid forties. Bo was unmarried and nursing a broken heart. Bo saw himself as a looser because, one the girl he loved had thrown him out of her life and second because inspite of all his hard work over the last two decades he hardly had saved any money. In the worldly sense for a man, the word success was spelt as ‘wife, children, property and bank balance’. Bo had none of these. Mr. S strongly felt that Bo was depressed and lacked self confidence. Bo was overwhelmed in self pity and could not accept and see a window of opportunity leading to happiness. Bo was a fool. Mr. S was convinced. But how could he help Bo to come out of his shell and move on in life. A wonderful event had unfolded in Bo’s life, a new girl had walked in, and here he was trying to run away from it. Foolish Bo! Stupid Bo! Mr. S screamed in his mind.

“Ok Bo, listen, tell me, have you met her?”

“Yes, just once.”

“And you talk to her every day!”


“Did you know her before? Did you come to know her through some relatives or friends?”

“No. She just contacted me out of the blue, through the internet”

“Ideally you should not have allowed such contacts to develop. How can you know someone over the internet?”

“Yes, I know that. But I have been talking to her for the past three months. She is a good person”

“So you do love her, don’t you?”


“Does she also love you?”

“Yes she does. She wants to marry me. She is about my age. She will be very happy if I am positive. But my heart is not permitting me. My mind is positive but somehow the green signal is not there.”

“Then Bo, listen to me, you marry her. You should get married. When you live in civil society, you have to follow the rules of society. Now-a-days people have live-in relationship where they live together without any marriage. Do it that way if you want to. Don’t worry about what other people will say. A partner in life is very important when you become old. Children are of no use. They go away one day. But if you have a life partner in the form of a spouse, your old age becomes less difficult. Believe me becoming a sadhu is not easy. Taking off your modern clothes and going to the jungle may sound easy, but what about food. Who will feed you? If you have the money only then you can buy food. For that you have to earn. If you want to be a sadhu, then why are you staying in society, working and earning money? I don’t think you have the courage to become a sadhu.”

“Yes, I don’t have the drive to become a sadhu as yet. But listen Mr. S, it is not about becoming a sadhu. I want to take up a spiritual quest. I want to lead a spiritual life.”

“Listen Bo, the choice is between two courses of action. One is where you abstain from physical pleasure and worldly ambitions. The other is where you become a part of it. You are unfortunately situated in the latter and thinking of the former. Your situation is not normal. You have to make a choice between the two.

“Yes Mr.S, I understand what you are saying. But I am unable to control my feelings. From my past experience I have learnt that I am cannot hold a relationship together. I am not meant for a committed relationship. I have also learnt that there is no real and permanent happiness in a committed relationship. Marriage creates responsibilities and expectations. Holding such an image to be a part of personal character or trying to live up to that image becomes an act filled with desperation and fear. Further I don’t want to take up any action out of fear, like fear of loneliness. I want my actions to be based on love for the universe, absolute freedom, openness of spirit and sacrifice of self. I do love her but marriage with her will hurt her in the long run when I won’t be able to live up to the image of a normal husband. I cannot love only one person when I love the universe. My spouse will only become a part of my universe and nothing special. It will be difficult for her to digest this. If I like to lead a life of austerity and sacrifice how can I expect her to do the same. Won’t that be cruel? However I am very confused about one thing. Why did she appear in my life all of a sudden? Nothing happens without a reason. I am unable to understand the reason.”

Mr. S was exhausted. He had wasted more than an hour with Bo and it was like banging his head on the wall. “If you keep meeting her and talking to her, then one day you will definitely end up marrying her” was all that he could add submissively.