Sunday, November 30, 2014

Clash Between Gandhi and Bose and Role of Nehru

Gandhi, Nehru and Subhas Bose are 3 towering figures of Indian politics and the freedom movement. The basic difference between Bose and Gandhi was ideology. Gandhi believed in the creed of non violence and Bose talked of revolution. Nehru without much of a base of his own sided with Gandhi and became the anointed heir apparent. In late thirties Bose put forward his theory with vehemence. The net result was that it alarmed Gandhi and Nehru. The mass of Indian population also were galvanized by Bose's call for freedom at any price. This again was not to the liking of Gandhi and he saw his support base shrinking. Matters came to an head in the Lahore session of the Congress party in 1938. Gandhi went public in his opposition to Bose. Above all he opposed the candidature of Bose for the President of the Congress party.
Gandhi in a public speech made it clear that Bose must be defeated and his candidate Sitaramiah be elected. Both Gandhi and Nehru thought that in the election Bose would be defeated. The election result shocked Gandhi. Nehru sulked at the result which brought out that Gandhi's nominee had been defeated by a wide margin. Gandhi's prestige took a nose dive, but he resolved to oust Bose. Gandhi now resorted to his favorite ruse non-cooperation. He refused to meet Bose and also did not meet him. He started a policy of noncooperation with Bose. At this time Subhas Bose wrote a long letter to Nehru requesting support to run the party. It is on record that Nehru ignored the letter and later sent a cursory reply, skirting all the issues raised by Bose. Thus a situation was created by Gandhi and Nehru, where Bose could not function as Congress Party President. The situation was clear to Bose that Gandhi wanted him out of the party. Bose took the extreme step and resigned as Congress President. He parted ways with Gandhi. The exit of Bose was a relief to Gandhi and Nehru. The rest is history as Bose charted his separate course of action and raised the Azad Hind Army to fight the British Raj.

The man who wrote the KamaSutra: Vatsyayana

The Kama Sutra is a famous Hindu treatise on the art of love. But not many would no much about the author of this treatise namely Vatsyayna. Richard Burton translated the Kama sutra which was originally written in Sanskrit. But even he could not unravel the life of this author of the Kama sutra.
Life of Vatsyayna Thus the writer of the Kamsutra remains a shadowy figure as hardly any authentic biography of this man is available. We can only make an attempt to glean something about his life from the book Kamasutra itself. However we know the complete name of the writer which was Malinaga Vatsyayana. In all probability he was Hindu and one can surmise that he would have to be a Brahmin. This is so as in those ancient times only a Brahmin was supposed to be the custodian of wisdom and education and had access to all the learned granths and books. The lower casts like the shudras had hardly any access to knowledge and education, hence we can conclude that Vatsyayna must have been from highest caste. Again we can glean that Vatsyayana was probably a man of influence and lived an opulent life. He must have had a lot of leisure time available which he could devote on his writings. In addition the writer must have been steeped in Hindu thought and thus was in a position to interpret this part of Hindu philosophy.i.e. Achievement of God and self realization.
Writings of Vatsyayna Vatsyana besides transcribing the Kama Sutra is also credited with having transcribed the Nyaya Sutras This is an ancient Indian text of philosophy that was composed by the Buddha Gautama inn the 2nd century B.C. There is a subtle difference in the two books as the Kama Sutra tackles Kama (or sensual pleasures) in contrast to the Nyaya Sutra which delineates the paths for achieving moksha( Salvation) in a mans life. Period of Vatsyayna The period of during which Vatsyayana lived cannot be pinpointed though we can make a general assessment. From the Book itself, we learn that he was a resident of Benares. This is very plausible as Benares has for centuries been a holy place and seat of learning of the Saints and Rishis( holy men) of the Hindu religion. There is also a real possibility that Vatsyayana just put into print what was ancient folklore from the Vedic age (2000BC).
Vatsyayans himself mentions that the ruler of Kuntal Satakarni Satavahana, killed his wife while making love to her in the heat of passion with a kartari (small dagger). Kuntal is supposed to be the Jat land (modern Western Utter Pradesh). This king is believed to have ruled during the first century A.D., and hence we can safely conclude that Vatsyayana must have lived during this period. However the Mathematician cum astrologer Daivajna Varahamihira, in his book 'Brihatsanhita' writes of Vivah Patal( marriage world). This appears to be taken from the Kama sutra. Now Varahamihira who was from South Bengal is said to have lived during the sixth century A.D. Therefore one can conclude that Vatsyasana must have lived before him. So we can roughly surmise that the period of Vatsyayana's existence as perhaps from the first to the 3rd century AD.
Vatsyana as an Immortal Another aspect that defies logic is the mention of Vatsyayna in the Bhagavad Gita ( the Song Divine ) of Lord Krishna. This mention has made Vatsyana immortal as the Bhagavad Gita, is one of civilization's seminal texts on philosophy and religion. But whatever the period during which Vatsyayana lived, we must thank him for his treatise that is both educative and informative.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Retired Armed Forces officers Make Good Lovers

Love is something that everybody yearns for , but few achieve it. For a woman love is a great solace. It gives emotional satisfaction and above all a woman may also get sexual fullfillment. This is where a military soldier who has retired comes in. Firstly a soldier retires when he is comparatively young and secondly he is economically secure with a good pension. Thus he is a man who can indulge in any hobby and has also all the time to indulge in any fantasy he can think of.

As per Freud and others a man thinks of sex most of the time. Here is the catch, a civilian at the age of the officer is still working and may not be secure. The officer thus has all the time to realize a dream and that can be with a woman, married or otherwise. He is also by nature of his job much fitter. I have known many young girls having a relationship with a soldier who has hung up his boots. Many have got themselves impregnated by the retired soldier and hope for a more permanent relationship.

In this it connection its worth knowing that widows of the American Civil war are still drawing pension. The war was fought in 1865 and one can wonder how a widow can still draw pension? The fact is that during the great depression when bread and butter was hard to get, a retired soldier with a pension was a good security bet. Girls in their teens married men 3/4 times their age. The men got sex and happiness and the young girl gave her body, but got economic security. The men died but the pension devolved to the widow.

 Coming to a sexual relationship a bored housewife with a husband in a horse race in the corporate world is more likely to find happiness in the arms of an ex officer. Apart from his greater fitness, he would also have all the time to love the woman and satisfy her. Acts like oral sex and satisfaction for the woman can open a door way to bliss and another world. Acharya Rajneesh was correct after all.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The True Face of Modi: Is he just another Politician?

Narendra Modi is often compared to Jwaharlal Nehru. He is supposed to be making a similar impact. But it must be rememebred that Nehru committed some cardinal blunders and these have been the proverbial thorn in the indian throat. Firstly he created the linguistic states which in fact sowed the seeds of regionalism. He also left behind the Kashmir problem and the border dispute with China. Worse he downgraded the professional indian army and reduced india's to a second rate power in asia behind China and just having parity with pakistan.
What about Modi ? He is doing great in his foreign policy and earning brownie points for it. But like Nehru he must not forget that all talk of a great power is dependent on military might. How much is Modi aware of this? Has he studied mao's famous dictum" Political power comes out of the barrell of a gun"?. It appears Modi is committing similar mistakes by downgrading the army status and not equating it with the other civil services. a point is that OROP which is already there in the IAs is not approved for the forces. Even the saunction of salary as per the fitment scale is paid to sevices from 2013, while civil have been paid from 2006. The matter is now in court. Modi talks of OROP as dear to his heart, but it looks an eye wash. Modi also made promises of black money. i am afraid Modi will complete his tenure and no black money will come back to India. how will he get it back when the foreign nations will not give teh details. Why should they? This money bolsters their economy and they will not cut their own feet. Modi is thus just again as a shrewd politician folling the masses. Lastly a leader's personal life should be an open book. In case of Modi it is a big black dot. He deserted his wie and now she moves in a cycle rikshaw while Modi travels in a Mercedes. He never divorced her and that is is another blot on his life. A leader who is dishonest in his personal life, how can he be a role model for the Indian youth. I hve raised some points for discusion.Modi may still prove me wrong and rise above Nehru, but that will require a herculean effort and an appreciaition that a the status of a nation is dependent on military might.

Remembering KL Saigal: A Legend in his own right

Now when Amitabh Bachan rules, there are very few people who are aware that the first superstar of Hindi Cinema was KL Saigal. In a short span (1904-47) KL Saigal carved a niche for himself as one of the immortals of Indian cinema. He was what is termed a singing star, which was the fashion when Saigal entered films. Who can forget his eternal song ‘Jab dill he toot Gaya…’ from the film Shah Jahan whose music was composed by another legend Naushad.
Saigal was born in Jammu and dropped out of school. But his mother had a deep influence on him and he took to religious music in a big way. Subsequently he went to Lahore and there befriended one Meharchand Jain. They became fast friends and Meharchand took him to Calcutta which was an important place in Indian cinema then, there he was introduced to KC Boral who was impressed with his singing and looks and gave him a break. His class was appreciated by Ravindra Nath Tagore who allowed him to sing Rabindra sangeet, something not normally allowed to a non Bengali. Saigal who learnt fluent Bengali acted in 7 Bengali films before shifting to Bombay in 1941. Now the songs of KL Saigal had become a rage all over India. He also starred in a number of films, some of them all time hits. Among his hits were Shahjehan, Devdas, Didi, Street Singer and many more. He in all acted in 36 films, but what endeared him to the public was his singing. Some of his songs like toot gaye sab sapnemere, Mohabbat mein kabhi aisi haalat etc are eternal hits. In all Saigal rendered 185 songs and now his name is loved all over the world Even Tehran Radio has broad cast his songs Saigal however was addicted to the bottle and this proved his undoing. Alcoholism took a toll of the great singer actor’s life and he died young at 42. As he knew his end was near, he went to Jullundur a place in Punjab he loved and died there. Saigal is held in high esteem by all singers and there is no doubt he was the first superstar. It is about time he was given his due.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How the Armed Forces Top Brass allowed Officer cadre to be Downgraded

At the time when India became free in 1847, a Major was in protocol at par with a District Superintendent of Police. The downslide really commenced when General Cariappa was appointed the Army Chief in 1951. Cariappa for all his good qualities was in reality not the man to be the Cin C of a professional army. He really had no strategic sense and there is not even one paper or note by him to Nehru about a possible threat from China. Having become the Army Chief after superceding Lt Gen Kulwant Singh, he was beholden to Nehru and the first list of protocol was issued during his time. The downgradation of the service ranks started from that time. Cariappa did nothing to arrest this debasement and I am told he was just enjoying himself as Army Chief.
Subsequent Army Chiefs also failed to arrest the decline in parity of an officer of the Armed forces with their civil counterparts. This is hard to understand, as the Army Chief headed the only organized force in the country. One reason for the lack of initiative was the defeat at the hands of China in 1962. Along with Nehru, the service Chiefs were criminally negligent about the Northern border. Having lost the war because of their own lack of strategic vision, the civil authority loomed larger over them. The Chiefs of all 3 services failed to bring any pressure on the government.In fact the downslide continued till the armed forces were at the lowest rung of the ladder.
A major blame for this must again go to the service Chiefs. in 1983/84 when Venkatraman was the Raksha Mantri, he suggested the rank of Lt Colonel in 13 years. But I do recollect the service Chiefs themselves turned down this proposal on the plea that it will 'devalue' the ranks. This was a shortsighted approach as the civil services were rising to DIG rank in 16-18 years. Thus it was service chiefs who cut their own feet. In any case 25 years down the line this did happen. The top brass of the army are basically men of straw. One must wonder how much love they have for the rank and file. It is silly that a Army Chief could knock the door of the Supreme court on a case regarding his age , yet he never did approach the court for a legitimate demand of OROP. As things stand , one cannot have much hope on the top brass. They have let the armed forces down at every stage. They have failed to bring up points to the government. perhaps its the survival instinct that is paramount as the Chief having risen to a position would like to enjoy that perk of office. Why get into a spat with the government ?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Narendra Modi and the BJP have let down the Armed Forces

Narendra Modi started his election campaign by addressing ex ex-servicemen rally from Rewari in Haryana in 2014( beginning). He announced to gathering that once he and the BJP is voted to power, he will make sure that OROP will be sanctioned for the officers and men of the Indian armed forces. What is OROP? It means One Rank One Pension and is a long-standing demand of the services. It also means that all soldiers will draw the same pension at any given point. This was essential as soldiers who have retired 2 or 3 decades back are drawing just about 30-40% of the pension drawn by a newly retired serviceman.
Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janta Party made a big show of this and also included sanction of OROP in their election manifesto. It appeared that after 3 decades of the demand having surfaced, the ex-soldiers would at last get their due. But alas it has not happened! The BJP having won the election thought it fit to forget about the election promise. Narendra Modi is a past master at manipulation and he announced the sanction of OROP was 'dear' to his heart and he would not rest till it was sanctioned. yet, the same Modi failed to instruct his Finance and Defence Minister to go ahead to issue the government letter for OROP. Both the Finance Minister ( Jaitley) and the Defence Minister ( Parrikar) have in interviews said that OROP is 'complicated' and there is 'lack of clarity' on it and as such there is a need to refer it to a tribunal. This shows the thinking of the BJP top brass which is conditioned by age-old practices in vogue from the time of Nehru to keep the armed forces down and not give them their due. The downgradation of the armed forces commenced from the time of Nehru and Narendra Modi is following exactly that policy.
The fact is that the political leadership has not realized that adage that a nation's respect is dependent on its military power and by such petty acts as not granting OROP, they are seriously undermining the morale of the armed forces. Does the political leadership realize that the ONLY unifying force in the country is the Army? Just withdraw the army from Kashmir or the North East and see what happens.There will be wide spread secession from the union. The BJP is indulging in self-defeating policies and one must accept that Jaitley who all along was just a agitationist has really no concept of world power. The BJP and Modi are playing with fire by not giving the soldier his due. The bell tolls for a nation that is ungrateful to its soldiers both retired and serving and I am sure Modi will hear it before he is out of office.

Book review: John Masters "Bugles and the Tiger"

John Masters was a rare breed of Anglo-Indians who wrote about India. He was a man with golden pen. Kushwant Singh the noted India writer says about John Masters ‘EM Forester understood India while John Masters understood Indians John master lived in India and was born here. His father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Indian army and John masters also followed suit. He was educated at Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1933. John Masters spent a fair amount of time with the Kings Own Gurkha rifles and served with them in the North West frontier. His book ‘Bugles and the Tiger’ is an account of his life during that period.
Sometimes, I wonder where this beautiful book has been hiding. It is a fabulous account of a young officer attached to a Gurkha regiment in the wild North West frontier where the watch word of the Muslims tribes was Jihad at all times. The Book makes fascinating reading and in my opinion is one of those rare books that one must read. Masters autobiographical account recounts his passing out from the Military college at Sandhurst and his joining 2/4 Gurkha Rifles on India's Northwest frontier. The strain of the book brings out the love of John Masters for India, the country people and the Gurkhas. It is clear from the book that the Gurkhas loved him as well This book creates a vivid picture of a Gurkha regiment and the interaction between the common soldier and the British officer. In fact it gives a rare insight into military life. Life in the military, more particularly in the British Indian army was hard but, people who have gone through it loved it. Masters faced all the dangers as he battled die hard fanatic Muslims intent on Jihad, with the Gurkha troops under his command.. Last Word
I first read this book as a cadet at the Air Force Academy on the recommendation of my Instructor. The book surprised me and I have read it 3 times after that. The book is a joy to read and even if you are not a soldier it makes excellent reading. John Masters is intoxicating and once you have read this book you will want to read his other books. He was a master of prose and all India should be proud of him. John Master passed away in 1983, leaving behind a rich heritage of excellent books.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Indian Whiskey Rules the Roost in the World

The British ruled India for 190 years and gave many gifts to India. They also reduced Indians to second class status, but some of their legacies really helped India like the railways and the army. In addition the British also introduced whiskey and allied drinks in India. Once the products were introduced many enterprising Indians in collaboration with the British opened distilleries in India and some are now big names like Mohan Meaken and Kingfisher. These were referred to as IMFL or Indian made Foreign liquor
IMFL became popular in India and after independence and liberalization of economy foreign manufacturers of Scotch whiskey also started manufacturing their products in India. Indian made whiskey have now reached international standards in quality and good Indian whiskey is close to scotch in taste and flavor. India has gone forward and recently an international survey has shown that the 10 top selling brands in the world seven are from India. The only Scotch whiskey brand in the list is single malt Glen Livet. It is indeed surprising that 7 Indian brands are the top selling brands out of the first 10 in the world. The topmost brand with maximum volume in sales is Imperial Blue followed by MacDowell No 1.
The sale of Indian made foreign whiskeys has grown by geometric progression. One reason is the price as Indian whiskeys sell at 50% of the cost of similar Scotch whiskey. In a match with price and quality, IMFL scores and thus more and more buyers are drinking Indian made whiskeys. In Pakistan, UAE and even Europe Indian Whiskeys are stocked in the bars and there is no stigma attached to them. There is now a new development and top Scotch brands are now bottled and manufactured in India. Thus one can get Black Label, Chivas regal and other top brands made in India. Indian made whiskeys are indeed dominating the world. But one important point is that IMFL cannot compare with the rare brands of Scotch which have their own flavor. At high end parties the elite will still prefer Scotch whiskey, as a whiskey like Royal Salute cannot be duplicated in India.
Indian made foreign brands are becoming more popular and it’s a feather in the Indian cap that the out of 10 top selling brands in the world 7 are Indian. In the next decade it is possible that even the high end brands of Scotch could be replaced by Indian made whiskeys.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Desert Safari and the Belly Dance

Dubai is an exotic place and one that is not constrained by rigid Islamic rhetoric. It's a refreshing place where the ruler His Highness Sheik Mohammed al Maktoum has ushered in a liberal society that embraces the secular ideals of Islam. He has as a sign of his greatness also permitted a gurudwara in Dubai at Jebel Ali about 25 km from the city centre.
One other aspect of the liberal atmosphere is the belly dance. This is peculiar to the Arab culture and consists of a young woman dancing before a gathering dressed in long loose skirt that is slit at the sides, to get an excellent view of the legs for the viewers. In addition the girls naval and waist is bare with the skirt tied low down the hips to give an excellent view of her midriff. Normally girls also while doing the belly dance wear a sleeve less blouse or a skimpy one with just straps to hold it in place. The dance consists of the girl dancing and undulating her hips to the accompaniment of music, mostly Arabic. Sometimes the dancers will gyrate to the tune of Hindi songs as well. Most of the girls doing the belly dance are from Lebanon, Egypt or Syria. But sometimes girls from India are also inducted to take part in the Belly dance.
The belly dance is normally the last item in a desert Safari and the entire tour with the Belly dance comes in a package and costs anything from 150-200 Dirhams. It is better to book in advance and also get a good seat in the land rover The desert safari kicks off with a drive though the sand dunes in a land rover and after a tortuous, all the tourists will converge to a Bedouin village.
Here Alcohol is also available on payment and a sumptuous buffet is laid out with roasted meats. Its excellent fare and after you have eaten, the belly dance commences. It’s a lovely sight to see the girl dancing and gyrating her hips and in the process giving an excellent view of her thighs and legs. This is the last item and after that the visitors are driven back to their hotels. Some dancers can get daring and allow the loose skirt to slide down as well with a tantalizing view of a dances in a semi nude condition. Such belly dancers cost more than normal. A belly dance is the piece de resistance of the evening and not to be missed.
When in Dubai or the UAE one can book a desert Safari in advance. But make sure that the belly dance is part of the programme as many desert safaris’ so not have the belly Dance, but will charge you the same amount. At the Bedouin village take a vantage seat as the belly dance is done in the centre of a small arena with men and women sitting all around on the carpet laid out with cushions and rugs. Sit comfortably as the belly dance can go up to 30 minutes. You can relish a mug of beer while watching the girl display her wares and art. But remember that Alcohol is not part of the all inclusive charge for the Safari and has to be paid for in hard cash there. Once the Belly dance is over the signal for the end of the Desert safari is announced and all go back to their land rovers to travel back to their respective homes and hotels

Battle of Jamrud 1837: Sikh-Afghan War

Jamrud is a fort about 10 miles off Peshawar. Located at the opening of the Khyber Pass, it formed the outermost limit of the Sikh Empire. It had been captured by the Sikhs under General Hari Singh Nalwa, the Commander-in-Chief of the Sikh Army. The Sikh expansion plans were westwards, as Ranjit Singh the Maharajah of the Sikhs had signed a treaty with the English, which limited his southern border to the river Sutlej. (Treaty of Amritsar 25 April, 1809.) Expansion Westwards
Ranjit Singh had thus perforce to turn his attention towards the West. The Afghan empire in a series of battles with the Sikhs had been steadily losing their territory. Thus Punjab, Multan, Kashmir, Derajat, Hazara and Peshawar which were once part of the kindom of Kabul were lost to the Sikhs. The loss of Peshawar was particularly galling as the inhabitants were fellow Pashtuns and the town was the summer capital of the Afghan Emirs Towards the end of 1836, Hari Singh Nalwa attacked and captured Jamrud. The frontier of the Sikh Empire now bordered the frontier of Afghanistan. This Sikh victory at Jamrud was followed by the resounding defeat of the Yusafzai chief, Fatteh Khan of Panjtar.
The Siege of Jamrud In 1837, the Sikh Army was recalled to Lahore to take part in celebrations during the wedding of Kanwar Nau Nihal Singh, who was the grandson of Ranjit Singh. Reports suggest that the Dogras had passed secret information to the Afghans about this. The Afghans were thus encouraged to attack. Accordingly on 23 April 1837, the king of Afghanistan declared a Jihad and besieged Jamrud fort. The Sikhs inside the fort were heavily outnumbered, but they put up a stout resistance against some estimated 20-25000 Afghans. The Afghans also started an artillery bombardment of the fort, but Sikhs held on.
The Defeat of the Afghans Against all a message was conveyed to Hari Singh. The General though sick, came to the rescue of his beleaguered garrison at Jamrud. Heavy fighting took place and eventually the Afghans were forced to lift the siege and retreat into the Khyber Pass. The Sikhs General Hari Singh however died in the fighting. The Khyber Pass then became the northern boundary of the Sikh empire.

Book review Theodore Dreiser “Jennie Gerhardt”

Introduction Theodore Dreiser is generally recognized as one of the top American novelists of the last century. I read his book “Jennie Gerhardt “while on my last visit to the states about 3 months back. It is s one of his finest works. He wrote it in 1911 and the book will still interest readers though more than a hundred years have elapsed. The Novel
The novel is the story of a woman named Jennie Gerhardt. Dreiser delineates the life of the woman from childhood till her old age. It is an excellent example of the naturalist school with which Dreiser is associated. The heroine of the novel the girl Jennie Gerhardt ultimately succeeds in fulfilling her love after a life of trial and tribulation The Story The novel commences from the time Jennie Gerhardt a poor woman without means falls in love with a senator. At that time she is working in a hotel in Columbus, Ohio. The senator wants to sleep with Jennie and as part of his plan announces that he will marry Jennie and also look after her family. Though there is an age difference between the senator and Jennie, she acquiesces to sleeping with the senator. They have sex. Dreiser now creates a twist in the story as the senator dies and Jennie is pregnant with his child. A daughter is born, who she names Vesta. Jennie now changes her place of residence and moves to Cleveland. She takes up another menial job as a lady’s maid in a prosperous and well known family. She meets Lester Kane a well to do man from a business family. She falls in love with him and goes away for a visit to New York, leaving her daughter behind. Kane wants to marry her, but the fear of family resistance to his marrying a woman below his class forces him to propose that Jennie become his mistress.
Twists in the Tale Jennie reveals to Kane that she has a daughter, but Kane accepts it and the couple start living together in Chicago. The family of Kane opposes this relationship and the father leaves a will that Kane will not inherit the family business till he leaves Jennie. Despite this the couple visit Europe and Kane meets a high class woman named Letty Gerald. Jennie is in a bind when she comes to know that Kane has been disinherited because of her and that he also loves Letty. She prevails on Kane to leave her. He accepts and marries Letty. Tragedy now strikes Gerhardt as her daughter dies of typhoid. In the meantime Kane falls sick and when Jennie learns about it she is heartbroken. Her love for Kane comes to the fore as she nurses him till his death. Jennie as a consolation and a purpose in life adopts two orphans. Assessment The novel has an undertone of pessimism and the main protagonist Jennie achieves true love after a tortuous life. The novel is one of the best by Dreiser, who in a writing career spread over 40 years wrote 11 novels. I really enjoyed reading his novel when I was holed up in Chicago with someone close.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Krishna Menon and the MIG 21: First Russian Fighter Jet for IAF

Role of Krishna Menon
 The MIG 21 has been the backbone of the Indian Air Force for almost 5 decades. During this period the MIG 21 and its variants have done yeoman service for the IAF and have to say the least done well. Credit for the induction of the MIG must go to Krishna Menon the defense Minister of India. In 1961 he took a monumental decision to go in for the Soviet plane in preference to comparative Western fighters. The deal was swung by the Russians as they offered to give technical knowhow to manufacture the plane. Accordingly two MIG plants came up in India at Nashik and Koraput and these plants manufactured over 600 planes for the Indian Air Force. the bulk of the IAF squadrons were equipped with the MIG 21.

MIG 21 Vrs F-104
 The MIG was a Mach 2 supersonic interceptor with a delta wing and single engine. But its endurance was only 45 minutes and hence great care was undertaken in planning missions with this aircraft. The MIG first saw action in the 1965 war. But its real forte emerged in the 1971 war when it proved the better fighter than the Pakistan Air Force F104 star fighter. The Star fighter was a gift of the US to Pakistan. The MIG 21 was also used in the 1999 Kargil conflict when one plane was also lost to a stinger missile. Its last kill was the Atalntiq Naval plane which was shot down in the Kutch.

 The plane over the years has done excellent service for the Indian Air force. The MIG 21 is a supersonic interceptor that has an air-conditioned canopy. It also carries missiles.
The IAF has however lost over a 100 MIGs in accidents and ground attacks over the years. This does appear an inordinate large number as 83 pilots have also died. But people feel that these accidents are not a reflection on the plane and to prove it the earlier Chief Air Marshal Tyagi regularly flew it.

 The MIG 21 is now going into the sunset and the upgraded version is slated to be phased put by 2017. But the era of the MIG and the history of the IAF are linked for ever and can never be erased. The MiG 21 remained the backbone of the IAF fleet for almost 5 decades.

Obama is now a Lame Duck President: Americans have Themselves Contributed to his Failure

The recent midterm elections have had one effect and that is the President Obama's last 2 years as President will remain inconsequential like his earlier 6 years. When Obama was voted President, the Blacks were elated, but I don't think the whites were too enamoured of having a colored Afro American as a President. Though it must be understood, that Obama in the classical sense is not a black Afro American as he had a white mother. A fact that will perhaps never be clarified is as to how American Obama was as his father was a Kenayan. What ever it may be, Obama by a chemistry of votes became President, but he was hemmed in by Congress. In addition his personal beliefs honed over the years as a senator, militated against him following the role of the previous Presidents. He didn't want America to fight the Muslims and he was lukewarm to Israel. In addition his autobiography 'The Audicity of Hope' is full of double speak and he went on to record that in case the winds blow against Islam he would stand shoulder to shoulder with Muslims.
Obama thus had his vision which was entirely different from previous presidents. It was obvious that a white Congress would not give him much leeway. The result is for all to see as the USA has slid from its global power position and despite the best of efforts to appease the Islamists by Obama, the Wahabbi concept of America as the great Satan has not changed. Obama has now sepent 6 non-descryptyears in the White House. I am afraid he has nothing much to show as Congress has curtailed all his actions. Perhaps if he had his way he would have liked America to be friends with the Muslim world and maybe even ally with them. This has not happened and now with the defeat in the mid term poll the US President is a lame duck who just has to live out his last 2 years as President. Obama will go down in history as the US President who took the first steps in downgrading the US role in world affairs. Gorbachov of the USA ? This is not such a farfetched idea anyway.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ravana the King of Sri Lanka and Lover of Sita

Ravana was the king of Lanka. In Indian folklore he abducted Sita the wife of Lord Rama and took her to Lanka (Ceylon). Rama then mounted an invasion army that crossed to Sri Lanka. In an epic battle Ravana was defeated and killed and the Lord Rama brought Sita back. This is all related in the Ramayana.

Ravana  is reported to have ruled during the period 2554-2517 BC. Ravana was supposed to have 10 heads, but Lankans feel that this represented the 10 kingdoms that he ruled. Ravana is very much a historical figure and historians generally credit him as the ruler of Lanka with his headquarters at Polonnaruwa which is located in North Central Sri Lanka.

There has been a revival of sorts in Lanka and it is pointed out that Ravana had made great advances and also invented the pushpaka vimana or the airplane. In addition he is held in high regard as a physician. 7 medical books are credited to Ravana which were originally written in Sinhala and later translated to Sanskrit. Ravana's medical books are NadiPariksha, Arka Prakashata, Uddisa Chiktsaya, Oddiya Chikitsa, Kumara Tantraya and Vatina Prakaranaya.

 Hindu texts of that period also credit Ravana as a man who ruled the 3 worlds and was a follower of Shiva, the creator and destroyer. He is reported to have been administered the juice of immortality by Shiva. He had also mastered the Vedas and all the religious books of the Hindus. Hindu texts also agree that Ravana was a virile king, who was fond of women, his favorite wife being Mandodri.

 Indian texts in particular the Ramayana mention that Ravana abducted the lovely Sita from the Jungles of central India and took her to Lanka.He was the son of a Brahmin called ‘Vishrava’ and a princess called ‘Kaikesi’. When Kaikesi came of age to be married, her father ‘Sumali’ the king of the Daityas, wanted her to marry the most powerful and noble man in the world. He refused a lot of offers made by a number of princes and went to Vishrava instead. He agreed to marry Kaikesi. Yet, he told that Kaikesi approached her in the wrong time, and the children that were to be born to them will be bent towards evil.

Ravana was the eldest of the sons that they had. He was named “Dasagriva” or “Dashanana” since it is believed that he had ten heads. But this may be because he had the power and strength of ten men. Some say the ten heads were due to the reflections of a crystal necklace gifted to him by his father at the time of his birth or he had the mental strength of 10 people. Ravana had two brothers, Vibhishana and Kumbhakarna and one sister, Meenakshi (Later named Supernlakha,)

Why did Ravana abduct Sita? The Ramayana mentions he did this as an act of revenge for his sister Supernlakha, whose nose had been chopped off by the brother of Rama, Laxman. When Ravana took Sita to Lanka he kept her with him in a separate palace in Central Lanka. He visited her everyday and lavished gifts and presents on Sita. The Ramayana mentions that during this entire period of captivity of Sita, she remained chaste. This does not gel with the actual facts as a beautiful woman in the custody of a powerful king cannot be left untouched. Hindu texts do not discuss the relationship of Ravana and Sita in any detail.
Ravana palace where he kept Sita                       

He did lavish gifts on her but the core issue is untouched. As Rama was the 8th avatar of Vishnu perhaps in deference to Rama this issue is left untouched. But now people in the 21st century can draw their own conjectures. Would Ravana a virile king spared Sita?

Introducing the Dabral Baba: Man with ESP and Spiritual Powers

India is the home of spiritualism. Right down from the Vedic age, the Indian environment has thrown up a significant number of holy men with super powers. The Hindu religion has a deep philosophy, and it's only now that Westerners have started understanding this complex spiritual heritage. Ujjain is one of the holiest places in the Hindu religion. Situated at a distance of about 80 km from Indore, it is the abode of Lord Shiva, the most powerful god in the Hindu pantheon.

Located at this place is the famous temple dedicated to Kaal Bhairov, who in real terms is another form of Lord Shiva. Kaal Bhairov is Shiva, in a fierce manifestation and when in this form the god dons a necklace of serpents and generally is the anti-thesis of the peace loving Lord Shiva.
Also staying at Indore is a man who by prayer and penance to Kraal Bhairov has been blessed with superpowers including telepathy, ESP and clairvoyance. Popularly called the Dabral Baba, he resides at Rishi Nagar at Ujjain. Dabral Baba is an educated man and is a postgraduate. He was at one time an employee of the University of Ujjain. He retired in 1978 and since then spends his time in prayer and helping people to discover them. He guides them and also gives uncanny forecasts that by themselves are to say the least startling.

 The Dabral Baba is easily approachable and gives 'darshan' to his followers and believers every day between 3 and 5 pm at his residence. People, from as far apart as Mumbai and Delhi come to get the blessings of the Baba, as well as seek spiritual guidance for their problems. The Baba stays in a small house with his son. All the visitors assemble in the courtyard and the Baba who is sitting inside a small room meets all the visitors one by one in his chamber.

Generally he holds the hands of the person in his palms and then relates some uncanny observations and forecasts. In case you have a question, you can ask the Baba who will then give you an answer. I had occasion to meet the Baba thrice and every time, I have come away wonderstruck at the spiritual power of the Baba. His forecasts have come true and then there is the desire to meet him again and again.

 The Baba takes no money and if at all you wish to take anything, take a packet of Ladus (Indian sweetmeat), which the Baba will distribute to other followers, who have come for his Darshan. The Dabral Baba is a phenomenon that cannot be explained. It is obvious that he derives his power from the God Kaal Bhairov, whose follower he is. This is one of the wonders of spiritual India, which has no rationale. Science comes a cropper in trying to explain the powers of the Baba. Surely he is a man of god.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

What is Nude Yoga and how it Benefits Man

Yoga is an Indian spiritual exercise concept that has an additional benefit of toning up the body. Basically it consists of holding poses called Asana for some length of time. Yoga is intrinsically linked with Hinduism and generally has a twofold purpose. It tones the body but also elevates the mind to a higher plane. This part of Yoga is difficult to understand and practice and cannot be achieved with a Yoga guru. Swami Shraddanand was a Yogi (master of Yoga) and had his ashram at Nirmal GAO in Bassien Road. The Swami is no more but he advocated doing Yoga in the nude without any clothes. It must be understood that the nude Yoga recommended by the Swami is not part of mainstream Yoga and can only be indulged in by a man or a woman who has achieved some degree of proficiency in normal yoga. The swami died almost a decade and a half back, but his concept of Yoga in the nude is very much valid even today.
Yoga in the nude is to be done only by a person who has mastered and reached a higher level of Yoga. In case a person is shy of doing nude Yoga in a gathering than it is best to practice it alone in a bare room with only you and a mirror. The mirror is essential so that you can see yourself as created by god. Women undergoing Yoga and the men as well, are advised to do naked yoga in their natural form without use of hair remover and razors. Shaving the beard is not included as a taboo.
Yoga in the nude after a period of practice in solitude is to be done in a gathering with a mixed grouping of men and women. The basic aim of Yoga in the nude is to make a person aware of his or her body and raise him to a higher level that leaves sexuality behind. It is difficult and that is the reason it is recommended only for persons who have reached some level of proficiency in this field. Yoga teaches concentration and relaxation. Both essential ingredients’ for the human mind. It also tones the muscles and advanced Yogi’s can also by a mixture of celibacy and the Sir Asana (head stand) develop ESP powers. Many Swamis in India have developed these powers through yoga.
Nude yoga is generally to be done in the morning before the sun rises. The participants under the guidance of a guru are to enter a large hall with small mats for each participant. The practitioners are to divest themselves of their robes and clothes and commence the logic session as directed by the Guru. It is generally seen that participants of Nude yoga do have very little sexual thoughts as they concentrate on reaching a higher plane. But attractions can develop which in itself is a good thing. There are to be no inhibitions and the aim is to have an awareness of the body and reap the benefits of Yoga to reach a higher spiritual plane.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Tale of Blue Beard: a lovely tale for all Times

Blue Beard is a mythical character. He lives in our mind as an example of a man who was both lusty and wicked. He was known as Blue Beard, because of the color of his beard which had a bluish tinge.

Blue Beard was a nobleman who lived in a palatial castle. He was overtly fond of going women, who he married and these women then mysteriously disappeared. The local people wondered about it, but so grwsat was Blue Beards hold, that none questioned him or had the courage to ask him

Blue beard once again married a young lovely girl. She was delighted to be the wife of such a man as she revelled in his affluence.  The girl was allowed to go all over the castle, except one room. She was intrigued about it and asked Blue Beard about it, but he brushed aside her question. This intrigued the girl more and she began to wonder what that closed room contained.

One fine day Blue Beard told her, he was going for an errand to the town. He gave her the keys of the castle and all the rooms, with the usual injunction not to open that one mysterious room. As she heard the horses hooves peter away, she decided to open the room. The girl went to the room and used the key to open the padlock. The rusty lock opened and she unbolted the door and stepped inside.

The room was in s state of semi darkness and it was some time ere she could get a hang of the place.. She almost stifled a scream as she saw the room contained skeletons of all the earlier wives of Blue Beard. It was obvious that he had killed all of them after they had been deflowered. She rushed out of the room and  was accosted by Blue Beard. He was smiling , but soon his smile vanished and he announced that as she had disobeyed his injunction he would kill her ere the sun went down. Frightened the girl went up to the terrace to pray for deliverance and also watch the sun going down.

Two brothers of the girl who had heard about the mysterious disappearance of the girls in the castle had set out to rescue their sister. They rode hard and fast and reached the castle ere the sun was setting. In a furious battle Blue Beard was killed.

Its a lovely tale and it grows on your mind. What a character this Blue Beard was!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Guru Nanak and his Visit to Dacca

Guru Nanak is the founder of the Sikh religion. The Guru was born in 1469 and before he had touched 40 he had completed 4 major tours. These tours involved travels to Baghdad, Mecca, Tibet, Eastern India and Ceylon. Guru Nanak completed all his travels at a young age and then settled down in the Punjab, where he preached his message of one god. Guru Nanak travelled to East India around 1499. He was accompanied by his aide and ministeral, Mardana. This tour is recorded in the Janam Sakhi ( life story) as related by Bhai Bala. There are many versions of the Janam Sakhi, but all of them agree that he visited Bengal and Assam which in the Janam Sakhi is referred to asKamrup.Guru Nanak travelled in the garb of a holy man (Fakir). He and Mardana normally travelled along with a caravan or a group of travelers.
The Janam Sakhi also records a miracle at Sylhet (now in Bangladesh). As per the Sakhi (story) when Guru Nanak visited Sylhet, A great magician converted Mardana into a lamb. Guru Nanak however recognized Mardana as a sheep and broke the magical spell and freed Mardana. This greatly relieved Mardana who as sheep had realized his helplessness. This had a profound effect on the Pir who became the follower of the Guru. This miraculous story is not being taken in the literal sense, but points to the great power of the Guru. There is also Sakhi of Guru Nanak meeting a witch in Assam, who had the power of flying on broom stick. Guru Nanak by his miraculous power made the witch to accept him as her master. This tale is again symbolic. Guru Nanak also visited Dacca and spent many days there. He held discourses and spread his message of one God. There is Gurudwara in Dacca that commemorates the visit of Guru Nanak in the Dacca university campus. I am told there are 7 Gurudwara in Bangladesh. There are about 18000 Sikhs in Bangladesh who form a vibrant community there. Dacca can be easily reached by a direct AC bus from Calcutta or a direct flight from Delhi/Calcutta.

Obama Has Lost Control of Congress: How does it Reflect on Obama as President

President Obama has many firsts to his credit. He was the single US President who never started a war and he was also the first Black( Afro -American) President. But I am afraid that is about all and his period otherwise was a lack luster one. In fact I can't help feeling that I saw shades of Gorbchov, the Russian president in him. He was a man hemmed in by centuries of colored people belief and the fact that America was supposed to be a world leader. The fact that he was colored perhapss clouded his thinking about keeping the image of America ahead as a world power. He carried out significant shifts in US policy , particularly in the Middle East where his approach was decidedly luke warm towards Israel.
He was also not clear how to deal with China and his policy of disengagement actully saw American prestige slide down in the world. The nearest I can think closer to his policies and lack lustre tenure is that of Jimmy Carter. Carter lost in a re-election, but Obama supported by a large Black vote continued and won. But just sitting in the Presidents chair is one thing and being decisive is another thing. Obama frankly lacked the 'inner magnetism' associated with a great leader.
Now Obama will face a hostile Congress as the mid-term election has shown the US President low in popularity scale. His opponents have won and control the Congress. The next 2 years will be hard for Obama and the US will have to put up wwith him. Looking in hindsight, Obama was the wrong man to head the Presidency at this juncture. The US economy is not going up and American influence in the world is going down. In addition his tenure as president has seen a rise in Muslim fundamentalism. I am afraid his predeccessor George Bush and he have contributed greatly in any chance of winning the war against militant Islam. Despite all talk of terror having no religious color, the fact is that all terror groups led by the ISI and al Qaeda are Muslim. Obama who spent 2 years in a Madrasa( Muslim School) has failed to recognize this, perhaps because of the conflict in his thinking of the rights of the Afro American and the US power.
Removals of Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi,both bulwarks against Muslim fundamentalism including Hosni Mubarak has spelt the diminishing role of American policy in Middle east. You don't get an ambassador killed like in Benghazi everyday. His cover up was atrocious as some in his adminstration tried to link it to a film of Prophet Mohammed made in USA, which showed Mohemmed in a negative way. Thus Obama will pass the next two years in his office doing "Kadam Tal" meaning marching on the spot and not moving forward. His will be a forgettable presidency.

Bangladesh and Nepali Girls are Slaves and Traded as a Commodity in India

Officially the slavetradeis banned in India for that matter all over the world. But the laws that exist on paper are flouted as the guiding principle is poverty. As with all trade acommodity sells when buyers areavailable. It is a classic case of need coupled with supply and demand. Slave markets haven’t really gone away and they exist in varying degrees from Africa to Asia. In India there is a flourishing slave market for girls from Nepal and Bangladesh. Both these nations are impoverished and thus easy prey to this nefarious trade.
I have pointed out one of the commodities in great demand is young girls from Bangladesh and Nepal. Great poverty in these 2 nations has spawned a trade in girls. Nepalese girls fetch a higher price as they are fair and considered better than Bangladesh girls, who are darkish. Given the fetish in the sub continent for fairness, it is obvious that Nepali girls fetch a higher price.
The price of a girl also depends on age and other factors. Virgins are the highest priced. What I write is a fact.The market for Nepal girls is at Siliguri in North Bengal. I was able to visit this bazaar where the girls are traded. Men folk from Nepal actively sell the girls. A BEAUTIFUL Nepali virgin can fetch a very high price. It could touch 50 thousand rupees. Once a girl , the buyer can keep her as maid, bed mate, maid or anything. He can also sell her later. Many are forced into prostitution. Girls from Bangladesh are more in number and cheaper. Generally they are however considered more loyal. Small illegal bazaars exist close to Kolkata. The slave trade has really not gone away

Rituals that bring Power to a Man: Worshiping the Godess of War Chandi

Chandi is the GodDess of war. She is another incarnate of Durga the Supreme Goddess. Chandi is worshiped by millions of soldiers and there are rituals that will confer superpowers on the disciples of Chandi. Guru Gobind Singh in his "Dasam Granth" has an entire chapter dedicated to Chandi called "Chandi di Var". This chapter eulogizes the glory of the Goddess Chandi. He in fact spent 40 nights in the Himalayas perfecting the rituals that brought him close to the Goddess Chandi and he attained super powers of ESP among other things from the Goddess.

I will now relate a tale which is true in every sense. As it concerns my father, I am inclined to believe it. When the old man was young he met a Chela or a man of spirits who gave him a mantra. He told my father to recite the Mantra every night after midnight in a pond of water when he was half immersed in it. My father duly carried out the Mantra till on the 40th night when strange things began to happen. The pond was filled with crocodiles who rushed towards my father. He held his nerve , but lo and behold the Crocodiles vanished and he was accosted by big flames all around. The pond was on fire.

 This is the time he lost his nerve and fled from the pond reciting the Jap the sacred prayer of Nanak all the time.
Next day he met the Chela and related all that happened. The Chela admonished my father for running away and told him that Chandi was just testing him. Had he braved two or 3 more tests the Goddess herself would have appeared and granted him powers of ESP. I really do not know what to say of this tale. But as it is related by my own father, I think it is true. I wonder how my readers feel about it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Understanding Acharya Rajneesh: a Man who is a Great Thinker and Philosopher

I wonder how many people know about Acharya Rajneesh. He was a professor of philosophy in a college in Jubbulpore, before he had a vision and set up his own religious cult. Rajneesh moved to Pune and his teachings attracted many people including foreigners. The Acharya re-interpreted the old Hindu concept of Tantra and brought out a new technique in meditation. Many doctors have vouchsafed the beneficial effect of his meditation technique.
Rajneesh is wrongly identified with open sex or free sex. He preached something different in which sex and orgasm had a very low priority. To understand Rajneesh takes time and one will have to read a number of his almost 200 books to get an idea of what Rajneesh meant. However he did accept the Hindu concept of sex as a path of salvation. But it’s not a cut and dried approach, but a deep philosophy that needs understanding.
An incident about Rajneesh stay in college is worth recounting. While attending a class of Philosophy Rajneesh asked the professor a man of letters that did he know how many teeth Aristotle's wives had. This was a silly question and irritated the professor. Who asked him why he had asked this foolish question. Rajneesh replied that Aristotle had stated that women had fewer teeth then men. At least he could have counted as he had two wives. Thus he struck a blow at the man who is considered the father of logic. For Aristotle just went by the prevalent belief at that time that women had everything less then men. Coming to sex, Rajneesh is again not understood. He stated nothing new. Everything he wrote and said is there in Hindu Tantra, so I wonder why stress is laid on his sexual advice as he had a lot of other things to say. He was a brilliant man and deserves to be remembered and followed. It will open another world that is difficult to reach and needs a Guru.

Paradise Means Lovely Virgins who Re-grow Hymens and Boys who Attend

Lovely virgins who regrow their hymens for sensual pleasure This is a concept of Paradise that will appeal to all men. A place of eternal bliss with magical, lovely women virgins, complete with hymen intact and breasts that never sag. Women whose sweat smells like musk and who have large eyes and are perpetual virgins.They are houries or beautiful women who have no hair except eyebrows. In case one can have a pick than a number of them , to be specific 72 would fill any mans cup of joy. Yes ! its good to dream of a sensual paradise. A dream that adds substance to a dreary world. Anybody can be taken in by such dreams, particularly a fanatic when he is told that is something that is sacrosanct.
This paradise which is sensual in nature is one of the beliefs that is part of Islam. It is also mentioned in the Koran and thus is the word of god. Frankly, this is one belief that is a great motivator as it creates something that all men desire. The hourie is the most beautiful woman in the world a celestial virgin of great beauty.

Ismail ibn Kathir (born 1301 in Syria) wrote quite extensively about the 72 Virgins from the Quran in his commentary on it called "Tafsir ibn Kathir. This is a widely accepted commentary in Islam

A few selected quotes are quite motivating. It was mentioned by Daraj Ibn Abi Hatim, that Abu al-Haytham 'Adullah Ibn Wahb narrated from Abu Sa'id al-Khudhri, who heard the Prophet Muhammad PBUH saying, 'The smallest reward for the people of Heaven is an abode where there are eighty thousand servants and seventy-two houri, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from al-Jabiyyah to San'a. Al-Tirmidhi, Vol. 4, Ch. 21, No. 2687.
QURAN 44:51-55): "Verily! The righteous will be in Paradise. Among Gardens and Springs; Dressed in fine silk and also in thick silk, facing each other, and We shall marry them to Houris with wide, lovely eyes."