Thursday, June 30, 2011

' Marriage by Abduction 'Asura Vivah'

Recently I read that as per the Purana's one form of marriage recognised in Hinduism is marriage by abduction or 'Asura Vivah'. This is certainly an anachronism in the modern age , more so when we are in the 21st century, but the Hindu scriptures extol its virtue.
It should not be forgotten that Lord Krishna who had any number of wives did abduct the  beautiful princess Rukmani from her palace in the teeth of opposition of her brother Rukmi and her suitor who was a friend of her brother. Yet Rukmani prayed to the Lord Krishna to carry her away and the Lord responded  by coming in his chariot and defeating all and sundry and carried Rukmani whom he wed with great pomp and show at his palace in Dwarka. It should not be forgotten that Rukmani  in Hindu Mythology is a goddess in her own right, being the goddess of wealth. this is not the only incident glorified, but their are tens of other incidents that are given a great deal of respect and not condemned.
The point is that in case the man who has given Hinduism the epitome of religious thought with the Bhagwad Gita, carried of Rukmani, would it be wrong for another Hindu to do the same in the present age. I think there is no debate on this issue as anyone carrying out such an act will certainly land in jail. Yet this episode of the Lord is glorified in Hindu thought, but then one has to be pragmatic and take things as they come.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Good of The Christian Missionaries in India

India is a vast country and all religions are home to it. The Moslems came in as conquerors and invaders and the Sikhs converted from Hindus and some Moslems. The Christians also came to India but not as conquerors or invaders. They did not come with the sword like the Moslems, but with a message of Jesus Christ. They came to spread the gospel as desired by Christ. This is the inherent difference between the entry of the Moslems and the Christians into India. As the Muslims converted with the sword, death or become a Moslem, the Christians did no such thing and did convert by plain and simple messages. Hence the number of Moslem is 100 times more than the Christians.
Not many know that the first Christian to come to India was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint Thomas. That makes it almost 2000 years back. Over the centuries many preachers and Jesuits have com to India to preach the gospel as desired by Jesus.  They have also done innumerable good things by setting up a string of schools and colleges and hospitals. Not forgetting old homes and shelters for the destitute and sick.
After 1947 however some controversy is created by resurgent Hindu organizations. They have opined that the Missionaries be sent back s they were converting people with money and other things. Perhaps there may be some truth in this, but to condemn the vast majority of missionaries is wrong and does not hold water.
I myself had my early education  in a missionary school and nobody converted me and I remain a staunch Sikh. So the allegation that these schools are converting students to Christianity is to dismissed as hogwash. What is to be appreciated is that the Missionaries went into remote areas of the Bastar region and Assam and spread education and medical services there. Some of them came from Europe and England and never went back, doing as much good as they could. It is a pity that the Hindu organizations over the last hundreds of years had no plans of reaching out to the poor in remote and inaccessible areas. Now to cry ‘foul’ is not correct.
Let us look at what the good the missionaries have done and appreciate their work.  No religion is good or bad but in case a man leaves his hearth and home to enter an inaccessible area to help though he may preach the gospel should be encouraged then condemned. In this respect the murder if Staines is reprehensible. Let us look at the positive side. The church itself now frowns on conversions with inducements and that is the step forward. I am sure the work of the missionaries will be seen in a proper light.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Head Gear or Pagri of the Sikhs

The first Sikh regiment was formed even before the annexation of the Punjab. For close to a hundred years from 1846 the Sikhs were a colorful part of the British Indian Army. In addition even Sikhs who were not in the army wore a distinctive style of turbans also called a Pagri that had its own brand value. Sikhs are now visible allover the world. The painting above is that of a junior Sikh Officer of the British Indian army.  You can see the lovely uniform and his medals proudly displayed. The Sikhs covered themselves with glory for the Raj and  a Force of 21 Sikhs soldiers under Havildar Karam Singh held out against a Moslem horde of 10,000 Afghans at the battle of Saragarhi on 12 September 1897. This is now celebrated as Sikh Regiments raising day in India.
ikhs also migrated to USA at the turn of the last century. the above painting shows the style of the Sikh turban worn in 1916 by Sikhs in the USA. Most Sikhs initially went to California. But after 1947 a flood of Sikhs migrated to Canada and the State of British Columbia had a  Sikh Prime Minister as well. Sikhs are now well settled in the USA and Canada

he Sikhs in India also have a distinction and the Presidents bodyguards sport special dress and turban,the above painting of the Sikh soldier of the Presidents body guard is a beauty.It brings out the regal manner and mien of the soldier as the Sikhs have always made soldiery as their main vocation. Sikh regiments also wear a distinctive pagri that is the hallmark of the Sikh regiments.
Sikh women also wear a turban, but their style is different as can be seen from the photo. These women take pride in being Sikhs and support the head dress as shown after they have been baptised as true Sikhs. The Sikhs are also now part of the culture of England and Pakistan as well. It is not uncommon to see a British bobby with a turban and yes Harsharan Singh a Sikh from Pakistan has joined the Pakistan Army as a an Officer, complete with turban and beard. I am indebted to Shri RM Singh for these paintings.

Sikh women also wear a turban, but their style is different as can be seen from the photo. These women take pride in being Sikhs and support the head dress as shown after they have been baptised as true Sikhs. The Sikhs are also now part of the culture of England and Pakistan as well. It is not uncommon to see a British bobby with a turban and yes Harsharan Singh a Sikh from Pakistan has joined the Pakistan Army as an Officer, complete with turban and beard. I am indebted to Shri RM Singh for these paintings

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fast as a Political Weapon

Anna Hazare has threatened to go on fast from 15 August in case his demands for the Lok Pal bill are not accepted. This I find a strange phenomena and perhaps relevant only in India. In all my travels abroad I have not heard of fast unto death to achieve a political objective  on the scale in India. This is the enigma as the fast is resorted to by anybody to press home a point.
Recently some one mentioned at the bar in the US club that fasting is an Indian tradition and hence relevant to India. But this individual perhaps did not understand that though fasting is an Indian tradition, yet the foremost exponent of the fast, MK Gandhi never resorted to a fast to win independence. He fasted on many issues, but I don't recollect reading that he fasted unto death to free India from British rule.
This is where Anna Haze and his followers must understand. Fasting is a good thing , but to use it as apolitical weapon is wrong. Perhaps Anna and his ilk must be made aware that the result of  fast is dependent on the approach of the government in power. What if there is  totalitarianism ? Then there is every chance that a fast unto death will surely result in death. Perhaps Anna and his followers will not want that. It is good to remember that the fast as weapon had no effect on the Portuguese who ruled Goa for close to 4 centuries.
Thus frequent resort to this system of fast unto death must be done away with. The fast as a political weapon needs to be put aside and the second alternative to it, a mass disobedience movement  staffed by the common man is the answer. Gandhi was adept at it and it did put some pressure on the British government.
Again such a movement is possible only in a democracy and any civil disobedience movement is bound to fail where the government is autocratic or a dictatorship.
Anna Hazare and his supporters must thus ponder over the fact whether a fast serves any purpose. Won't he be better of in organizing a mass movement against corruption? Something that Gandhi did with some success.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gandhi and Sex, Was he Gay as Well

Gandhi is almost like a Demi God. This is the result of an assiduous campaign to build up Gandhi by the Congress party and Nehru. Thus Gandhi is almost like holy cow and very little debate is tolerated about him.  I remember some time back a program was aired on TV where one of the participants mentioned that perhaps Gandhi was Gay. This unleashed a storm and the program taken of the air.This is a pity for Gandhi had his foibles and one must not forget as time passes the follies of Gandhi gain in magnitude.
One aspect of Gandhi’s character which is taboo is sex. His supporters and that includes the Congress party would like this to be kept under wraps. But some facts and pointers have emerged which show that there is every chance that Gandhi was bisexual.
One name crops up in Gandhi's life and that is the name of Hermann Kallenbach. He was a German body builder and was with Gandhi in South Africa. In fact the rumor mills say that he was the reason that Gandhi stopped sex with his wife in 1908. In a letter to Kallenbach Gandhi wrote   "Your portrait (the only one) stands on my mantelpiece in my bedroom".
Gandhi was close to this man, but one cannot insinuate a gay relationship. But perhaps the facts may never be known as it was something personal between kallenbach and Gandhi. Bu there is no doubt that in a further letter to kallenbach he mentioned that he (Kallenback) had completely taken possession of his body. He referred to Kallenbach as lower house and himself as upper house. He also made kallenbach promise not to look at women with lust. Gandhi also wrote to Kallenbach 'how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance',This is surprising.
What Gandhi meant is difficult to decipher, though in his ashram salt was forbidden and sexual intimacy between inmates frowned upon. But Gandhi continued his friendship with kallen bach till 1914 when Gandhi returned to India. Gandhi wanted his friend to accompany him to India, but with the first war around the corner, the British did not allow Kallenbach to come to India.

But Gandhi did mention in a letter that how much kallenbach had taken possession of his soul and body. During this entire period it is on record in Gandhi’s own admission that he had no sexual relations with his wife and began to refer to her as mother.
With advancing years Gandhi had the privilege f indulging in his desires under the guise of experiments. Thus he started sleeping with his niece, the 17 year old Manu. When some inmates of his ashram were aghast and objected they were summarily packed off by Gandhi.
Gandhi thus was an ordinary human being with all the desires and dreams of an average male. Only he perhaps gave his urges a garb of ‘experiments with truth’.  This is not to denigrate Gandhi, but to try and form an objective assessment about him. Perhaps at a later date his relationship with Kallenbach will also be revealed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Word about the Ex- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Some time back an agitation  for a mechanism to check corruption was launched by two men, Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare . To face such a momentous agitation which is justified by all  people, the head of the executive namely the Prime Minister had an important role to play. In India's case the role should have been played by the Prime Minister, Mr. Man Mohan Singh. But I am saddened to note that this man was unable to give any leadership and the only result which is emerging is that corruption and big underhand deals ruledthe roost as never before  with this man at the helm of affairs.
I do not recollect such big corruption deals that rival the national budget and run into thousands of crorers of rupees have ever occurred in any other period of India's history after 1947. The fact is at that time the men who headed the executive were leaders in their own right and had the love of the people. In addition they had a following among the people and were elected leaders in their own right. Take the case of Nehru, Shastri, Indira, Rajiv, Vajpayee and others were all men who were leaders and stood in parliament on the strength of their votes.
Unfortunately the sad part is that the Ex-Prime Minister di not have that standing. In fact, I doubt if this man could even win a panchayat  or a local election and obviously his personal folloing on the national scene was extremely poor. He was  the Prime Minster, courtesy  a set of power brokers led by the widow of the late Rajiv Gandhi and thus is beholden to them. This  hemmed his ability to lead the nation and the result is that in the battle against corruption where he should have given the lead ,  see him dithering. Perhaps he was not convinced himself of the actions forced on him,but he played along and that is a sin which he will have to explain to posterity.
We must record and I am sure that its is a first in world history where a man is foisted on a billion people by some power brokers  as the Prime Minister. India needs a leader and a great leader at that,but Sardar Man Mohan Singh did not fill the bill. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Peoples Movement against Corruption-Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdas

Two men have shaken the placid Indian political waters as never before.  This is something that has never happened for many decades as the mass of the Indian people thought it their fate to continue to subsist, while the politicians and their cohorts piled up billions in corrupt deals and stashed them away abroad.
The first was Anna Hazare. He led the way with a fast that made the government bend and agree to enact legislation for a national law on corruption, hanging fire for more than 4 decades. The second is Baba Ramdev the yoga guru who has taken up cudgels against black money and money stashed away abroad. The Baba is to commence his fast today i.e. 4 June 2011.
India is a democracy in name, but in reality it is controlled by a set of hard nosed leaders whose agenda is clearly partisan and certainly not nationalist. Take the Congress party, it is a far cry from the party of Gandhi. This party has ruled India for much of the period after independence.  But the period has been marked by rank corruption and big money deals that defy imagination.Thus corruption has eaten into the vitals of the system and the Congress party must be held responsible for this degeneration. Add to this the fact that the party has foisted a Prime Minister ManMohan Singh who cannot even win a Panchayat election, let alone lead any battle against corruption and the picture of nation in the throes of deathly corruption is complete.
It was assumed by the politicians all along that the Indian people would accept anything and lip service was the only thing required to pacify the masses. But perhaps they were not aware of the anger among the masses and this has been channelized by Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare into a mass movement. Mind you the government has tried all its tricks to cage these men, but the mass anger has borne fruit and the government is wary.
This is only the beginning of the road and the fight ahead is long and hard, but if the Indian people show resolve , maybe a new dawn may come. But for this we will have to support men like Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev.This is the need of the hour.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Younger Women Older men, the Sexual Equation and Benefits for the Older Man

 In the services I have observed a lot of senior officers having a relationship with a younger woman and nobody frowns on it. The fact is that for over 4000 years  there have been umpteen cases of older men having relations with younger girls and women. In fact in the olden days it was the prerogative of the king or nobleman to take a younger girl as his consort or concubine and no eyebrows were raised. The ancient Hindu manuals in particular laid great stress on a sexual relationship of an older man with a younger woman as a recipe for youthful vigor. In addition they also mentioned that such a relationship would bear the fruit of a longer life. Thus longevity and sex with a younger woman are inter-related. 
Longevity and Sex with Younger women
 Modern scientists have been studying   this aspect of the relationship and some startling facts have emerged. Scientists at Stanford University and Denmark have carried out some studies on this phenomenon and have concluded that men are apt to live longer in case they have a relationship with a younger woman.

The Age Difference
 By definition a younger woman would be anything between 15 to 25 years younger than the man. Though there is no hard and fast rule. However the point to be borne in mind is that an age difference will have a physiological effect on the metabolism of man and will spur him forward with good resultant effects.
Though times have changed where in the olden age a man of means by right could abduct or carry off a younger girl, yet it is not a difficult proposition in the modern world to strike a relationship with a younger woman. One question that may be asked is that a man benefits with a relationship with a younger girl, but what about the women. Does she gain anything? This is more a matter of individual opinion and philosophy, but a younger woman will appreciate the greater adoration and physical play that an older man will bring in.
We are not concerned with the ethics of such a relationship, but purely on a biological level a relationship with a younger woman will bring untold benefits to a mans health and longevity.