Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shri. Dhandapani Desikar

Mogadalai always gives you great many links to materials which you would have missed for sure. Thanks for all those posts by him. In fact, I am planning to collect a selection of those links and make it a single post or web page!! Those links should not be lost in the maze of labels and posts.
Here is the link (Mogadalai's post is here) to Sriram Venkatkrishan's article in The Hindu.
From The Hindu article:
...Born in 1908 at Tiruchengathangudi in Thanjavur district, Mr. Dhandapani Desigar learnt Thevaram, Tiruvachagam and Tiruppugazh from his father. Desigar hailed from a family that boasted of a strong Oduvar lineage with father Muthiah Desigar and grandfather Murugiah Desigar being well known exponents...
...Later he learnt music formally from nagaswara vidwan Sadayappa Pillai. He also learnt Tamil hymns from his uncle Manikka Desigar. His first concert was at a fairly young age at the temple town of Tirumarugal...
...He learnt Isai from Kumbakonam Sri Rajamanikkam Pillai for about five years...
...The resultant financial difficulties mad e him seek refuge in his sister’s house in Kumbakonam and there he began learning music from Pillai. A warm friendship was to spring up between guru and sishya, so much so that when they were both given the title of ‘Isai Perarignar’ by the Tamil Isai Sangam in 1957, the guru did not in any way feel slighted and both cheerfully accepted the honour...
...Given his penchant for Tamil hymns, he was cast in and as ‘Thayumanavar’ (1938), ‘Manikkavachakar’ (1939) and ‘Nandanar’ (1942). The last, made by S.S.Vasan, was the greatest hit of Desigar’s film career and credit for this was shared by him with Papanasam Sivan for his wonderful music. Desigar also acted in a film with a Vaishnavite theme, ‘Tirumazhisai Azhwar’ (1948), besides singing playback in ‘Mudhal Thedhi’ (1955) and ‘Tirumanam’ (1958). His tune for the song ‘Tunbam Nergayil’ in the film ‘Ore Iravu’ (1951) is a work of genius...
...In the 1940s, Desigar, to quote The Hindu, became one of the pioneers of Tamil Isai (Tamil Music) movement and composed songs in Tamil. Such was his love for Tamil that he did not think it unusual to sing songs in that language in T iruvaiyaru during the Tyagaraja aradhana of 1946. The conservative element, however, did not like it and after he finished, organised for a purification rite at the Samadhi!...
...After a successful tenure of 15 years at the Annamalai University, Desigar left rather suddenly in 1970 and returned to Madras for a life of domestic bliss with his beloved Devasena. He remained associated with the Carnatic Music College (now the Isai Kalluri) and also with the Tamil Nadu Sangeetha Natak Sangam (now the Eyal Isai Nataka Manram) till his death...
...M.M.Dhandapani Desigar had passed away on June 29, 1973...
...It was the end of a long life that had been dedicated almost in its entirety to the propagation of Tamil Isai...
Very informative article. One thing struck me in the article. Sriram has quoted The Hindu too often, I think. Citing the source is a good practice when you refer information and materials that are not known widely; and also in support of your opinions and ideas. But he even quoted The Hindu to write "Desigar acted in Tamil pictures, wrote The Hindu."!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Manmohan Singh - A Liar?

We can understand if the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh is a servant; a servant to his party and its leader.
But is he a liar? I do not know. Hence there is a big question mark hanging at the end.
PM Manmohan Singh says:
Pratibha Mahila Sahkari Bank Limited had to be shuttered, like 71 other cooperative banks in Maharashtra, because of environmental reasons (A cooperative bank Pratibha Patil had launched and named after herself).
But Reserve Bank of India, RBI, in February 2003, recommended the scrapping of Patil’s bank. The RBI’s report represents a scathing indictment of Patil’s bank on a range of counts from poor loan recoveries to abnormal increase in non-performing assets.
From Indian Express
It was not proper to target Patil because many sugar mills in Maharashtra were facing financial problems.
But RBI cancelled the licence citing the following:
1. Financial irregularities
2. Faulty loan policy
3. Her brother admits taking loan from bank meant for women
What did PM imply? Facing financial problems and financial irregularities are at the same level? See what servile power can do to once well-respected finance brain!!!

Weak and Vulnerable - In Demand

...The 'cooperative' bank for empowering women liquidated under orders of the Reserve Bank. The sugar mill bankrupt, having swallowed over Rs. 20 crore of unpaid loans. We see the very same pattern in the other endeavours of our next President...
...Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, who has been so exercised about enforcing morality on the media, is unmoved. 'A visibly upset Dasmunsi hit out at the NDA for trying to malign Patil's image,' The Indian Express reports. 'In the process, he drew a parallel between Patil's case and "many political leaders" whose brothers, sisters and relatives were loan defaulters and also "electronic media industry" which has been slapped with plenty of notices.' Surely, the answer is to bring them to book too. Surely, the answer is to do what so many of us have been demanding for so long - namely, to publish the names of all bank-defaulters. Not to pick one of them at random and make her or him President of India! ...
...It so happens that all the events, documents, proceedings in court, communications, etc., pertain to the period before Pratibha Patil was plucked from nowhere to be the Presidential candidate. And they are being recounted today precisely because Pratibha Patil has been nominated to become the President of the country. Till the other day, these were frauds of some district politicians. The murder was of concern primarily to the Jalagaon people. Precisely because Pratibha Patil is likely to become the President, each facet -- the financial frauds, the murder, the deliberate derailment of the investigation -- becomes a matter of urgent national concern...
...So, the only inference is that they (Sonia Gandhi and others) knew of the antecedents of Pratibha Patil and for the very antecedents selected her...
...And that stands to reason. A person who is weak and dutifully submissive is already Prime Minister. But he has one defect - being financially honest, he is not vulnerable. There is always the danger, inconceivable though it seems at present, that at some point, he may throw up his hands...
...So, what is needed is not just a weak person. What is needed is a person who is weak and vulnerable...


It is dark. Darkness. Am I sleeping? I do not think so. My eyes are wide open. I try to close my eyes to check if they are open. Palpebras squeeze darkness into my eyes. I again open my eyes. Darkness spreads loneliness. I move my hand to see what is around. I cannot stretch hands to full. Confinement of the mind is sin. It arrests growth. But it sustains strength. Till death, that is.

Again I move my hands to touch the roof. Slowly. Slowly. Touch. I withdraw my hands immediately. A messy substance sticks to my nail. What is it? It is dark. Darkness everywhere. I can hear some sounds as if a river flows. As if there is a waterfall. As if someone walks. As if someone dances. As if someone cries. I sharply listen to my surroundings. Where am I? The sound of darkness is the greatest of all burdens. Listen. Sound of darkness travels fast in the medium of loneliness. Faster if fear is present. The presence can be felt. The presence of fear can be smelt. It smells like the sole of a new born baby. It also smells like the petals of fresh flowers that are just bloomed. What is the smell of darkness? Is it… It is.

I am struggling in the dark. I never knew that darkness has a face. I know now. Darkness has a face that smells. Someone pushes me down. Oh! I have been caught. Caught in the stream of existence. Caught. Caught. Naught. My face is facing down. Trying to lift my head. I cannot. I want to get up. I cannot. I can only move my tongue. Tongue licks the ground. Tongue tastes the taste of darkness. How to go out? Wait. Waiting is over. How to go out? Wait. Waiting is over. How to go out? Out of darkness. Out of pain. Out of pain that comes after pleasure. Out of pleasure that comes behind pain. Someone shouts at me. Someone pushes me.

The face of darkness is everywhere. There is light. But it fades now. How about going there? There is light. But it fades now. There is light. It hurts. Am I waiting for something that will hurt me eventually? I am not sure if this is called waiting. Living cannot be put inside the box of waiting. Living is life. Waiting is death. But dying is to face the darkness through darkness. I move my hands. I move my legs. It is dark everywhere. I feel for the first time that there is something with me. Something that cannot go away. Confinement is sin. I open my heart. A cool breeze that soothes.

It is still dark. I taste the sands of time. I taste the heat of fire. I hear the sound of cries. And I have to sleep now. Eternity blows the conch. The vibration that shakes my heart is the first step. I have to sleep now. Eternity blows the conch to make a seed out of me. To create flowers is to live like flowers. It starts drizzling. To create is to live. It starts raining. I lift my head. It is pouring. It is pouring in the dark. Pouring out.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lessons All Over

Jim Fedako, an anti-positivist, spots economics lessons during his travel:
1. Man does not need government in order to satisfy desired ends, even in a world of scarcity.
2. It's the arbitrary application of the whims of officials that gets you every time.
3. Government destroys character of the population. A proud population of fishermen is reduced to simple tax consumers.
4. What is sold as a benefit to the community is actually theft from one group of residents in order to benefit the group of residents who grasp the elbows of those in power.
5. Regardless of the obstacles, entrepreneurs will adjust their lives to satisfy consumer wants.
6. Private ownership provides a much better environment.
7. The state steals the wealth of future generations — the children — in order to provide social security for the current generation — the parents.
8. Either we learn our lessons from the Romans or we will be the archeological site of a subsequent generation.
Read more here.
Positivism from Marxists site
A General view of Positivism from Marxists site
Wikipedia on positivism though the quality of that page is disputed.

Business Wonders

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has dissociated itself from the ongoing media campaign and Internet voting to pick the "Seven New Wonders of the World", saying the exercise is a complete private undertaking.
A press note issued by UNESCO said it is not involved in the campaign and there is no linkage between its World Heritage protection programme and the ongoing campaign.
Read more here.
The campaign was launched in 2000 by Bernard Weber in his private capacity. Why did the UNESCO release the disclaimer now?
Is there a business angle to it? Maybe an enterprising way of building the brand value!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crest and Trough

From Khuswant Singh's autobiography - got from here:
“But, to be honest, what inspired me to write were not great authors but second-rates, mainly Indians, who had been published in England and the United States. I read Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R. K. Narayan. I felt I could write as well as they, and if they could be published abroad, so would I. I was not far wrong in my self-estimate.”

Writing is Sadhana

Makarand Paranjape writes:
...I am not sure I’ll see Raja Rao again. Rao, who turns 97 on Tuesday, is not the man he once was...
...The last time I met him, in America, he could not remember the names of his own books, among them such acclaimed works as Kanthapura (1938) and The Serpent And The Rope (1960), which brought him international renown years ago...
...After a decisive event in which, as he put it, he prostrated before Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, weeping till the floor was bathed in his tears, Raja Rao finally turned further southwards, to the ashram of Atmananda Guru in Kerala...
...His classes were very popular. He was known to walk into the lecture theatre filled with 250 young, inquisitive minds and say, “You may ask me any question you like.”...
...Raja Rao considered his writing a sadhana, a spiritual discipline. Reading him is also a sadhana. Like the great Russian writers Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, his fiction elevates the spirit, taking the reader to a higher plane of consciousness...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Source is One

Raja Rao writes:
"Whether it is through Dante or Shakespeare, through St Thomas Aquinas or Nietszche, you come back to the Upanishads and the Vedanta, realising that wheresoever you go, you always return to the Himalayas, and whatever the rivers that flow, the waters are of the Gangotri."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Memory of the World Register

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme, in 1992, to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.
The mission of the programme is available here:
1. To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world's documentary heritage.
2. To assist universal access to documentary heritage.
3. To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.
There are four entries associated with India.
1. India - The I.A.S. Tamil Medical Manuscript Collection: Mostly Tamil Medical Manuscripts preserved at the Institute of Asian Studies reflect the ancient system of medicine, practised by yogis. This system explains the methods of obtaining medicines from herbs, herbal roots, leaves, flowers, barks, fruits etc. The proportions of the ingredients as well as the specific processes are explained in detail. (added in 1997)
2. India - Archives of the Dutch East India Company: Nominated by Netherlands with co-operation from India, Indonesia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. (added in 2003)
3. India - Saiva Manuscript in Pondicherry: Within a collection of 11 000 manuscripts that concern mainly the religion and worship of the Hindu God Siva, is included the largest collection in the world of manuscripts of texts of the Śaiva Siddhānta. In the 10th century CE, this religious tradition, a major current of Hinduism, was spread right across the Indian subcontinent and beyond, as far as Cambodia in the East. It long represented the mainstream of Tantric doctrine and worship and appears to have influenced every Indian theistic tradition. Its surviving texts, the majority of them unpublished, range from the 6th century CE to the colonial period. This unique collection thus furnishes much of the dwindling evidence remaining today for scholars to reconstruct a chapter in the religious annals of humanity. The collection is presently housed in the French institutions of research in Pondicherry. We have now framed a collaborative Indo-French project with the Indian government’s National Mission for Manuscripts. Our ultimate objective: to put the whole Śaiva collection online and so make it available to scholars throughout the world. (added in 2005)
4. India - Rigveda: The Vedas are generally known as the scriptures of the Hindu community. However, being among the first literary documents in the history of humankind, they transcend far beyond their identity as scriptures. The Rigveda, the oldest among the four Vedas, is the fountain source of the so-called Aryan culture in all its manifestations that spread beyond the Indian subcontinent to large parts of South and South East Asia, as well as parts of Central Asia. This valuable treasure of the ancient world has been preserved in the form of manuscripts in India, and handed down over centuries from generation to generation. Out of the total number of 28,000 Manuscripts housed at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, the 30 manuscripts of the Rigveda form a valuable part of the collection. These manuscripts evince several unique features in terms of scripts, accentuation marks and support material used, among others. Even the pioneering Indologist, Prof. F. Max Müller, used one of the Rigveda manuscripts currently at the Institute to prepare his famous critical edition of the Rigveda, complete with a translation of one of the earliest known commentaries – that of Sayana. The material in this collection of Rigveda manuscripts was also used to prepare the well known Critical Edition of the Rigveda by the Vaidika Samshodhana Mandala, a premier institute in Pune for Vedic Studies. These manuscripts are of a high value as unique examples of the intellectual and cultural heritage not only of India, but of the world. (added in 2007)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Georgia Tech international campus in India

Georgia Institute of Technology is setting up its international campus near Hyderabad.

Read about it here.

From the report:

MoU signed

The Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government for setting up its international campus near Hyderabad.

Field of interest?

Focusing on systems engineering and research, the Georgia Tech aims to help in meeting the requirements of global corporations having large operations in the country such as IBM through its Indian campus, according to Gary Schuster provost of Georgia Tech.


It will first set up its facility near Hyderabad in over 20 acres of land and later expand its academic and research facilities to a much bigger campus that would come up in 70 acres in Visakhapatnam.


The first academic courses at its Hyderabad campus are expected to commence in 2009.


With regard to faculty requirement at its proposed campuses in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, he said the faculty from Georgia Tech would take care of the teaching requirements for the initial years. "In the long-term, we aim to hire 80% of the faculty from India while the Georgia Tech faculty will spend 20% of its time here," Schuster said.

PS: Thanks to VB for sending me the link.


Laptops with no hard disk drive?

Laptops come with flash memory then.
This might well be the beginning of the end for the hard disk drive. In mid-May, Dell became the first manufacturer to market a laptop using flash memory instead of a hard drive. Other manufacturers will be joining the company before the year's end with Solid State Disk (SSD) technology of their own. For users, this is all good news.
What about the cost?
Dell is currently offering flash memory with 32 or 64 gigabytes of storage - relatively small compared with hard drives. That's because SSDs are currently more expensive to produce. "The costs are significantly higher than for a comparable laptop with a traditional hard drive," says Christoph Kaub. Consumers should plan on shelling out several hundred more dollars. "We hope that the prices will drop significantly by the end of this year or the beginning of 2008," Kaub says.
Market dynamics?
The usefulness of flash memory in desktop PCs is questionable. Conventional disk drives and RAM maintain a significant cost advantage over SSD. "I think the prices for traditional drives will continue to sink, meaning that SSD will have a hard time competing in the near future," Kaub says.


Dogen, a Zen Buddhist, had written this poem.
A white heron
Hiding itself
In the snowy field,
Where even the winter grass
Cannot be seen.
1. To read more about heron, visit this link. There is an ethereal picture of heron there!!
2. To see winter grass, please go here. To know its family, visit this link.
3. To understand more about this poem and why Dogen had called worship, do create a link to your heart (following the tradition of Zen!).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Research? In Govt. controlled institutes?

Research? In Government controlled institutes? - wonders The Times of India.
From the editorial published on June 16, 2007:
Government-controlled research institutes in India are generally in bad shape. Crippled by bureaucracy and cashstrapped, they stifle rather than nurture talent. This is true not just of smaller organisations but premier institutes such as the much-vaunted Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). IISc, for instance, attracts some of the brightest brains and is endowed with substantial funds. However, research fellows are paid a pittance and the labs are woefully ill-equipped to facilitate projects. Often, unable to complete their work, fellows leave mid-way to seek greener pastures in laboratories abroad.
The story is not different at various central universities or in the IITs. There is very little original work that comes out which is recognised by peers globally. The number of papers published in widely respected journals and patents received by professors and research fellows in these institutes are negligible in comparison to the credits earned by their counterparts abroad. The truth is that IITs merely nurture professionals to feed the needs of industry elsewhere. The glory story begins and ends with the hoopla over hefty pay packets that graduates are offered during campus placements.
India’s claim to being a big player in the global economy rests heavily on its ability to come good in the knowledge and services sector.
And the editorial cites two sectors of importance - Information Technology and Biotechnology!!

Friday, June 15, 2007


From Raja Rao's essay The Meaning of India:
India is not a country (desa), it is a perspective (darsana); it is not a climate but a mood (rasa - spiritual mode) in the play of the Absolute - it is not the Indian who makes India but "India" makes the Indian, and this India is in all: it is that centre of awareness wherein one's self dips again and again into the hearth of Agni, as the sacrifice is made. All acts are rites when "the perfect performance of our tasks, whatever they may be, is itself the celebration of the rite" - so says Ananda Coomaraswamy. Of such is the meaning of India. And in that rasa he that liveth, liveth in India.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Research? Beware!!!!

From Satish K. Sharma's article in The Times of India:
In 1999, after a research finding suggested that listening to Mozart improved the intelligence level of children, parents in the US made a beeline for CDs of the maestro's music. Nursery schools began playing his symphonies and some states distributed free copies of the CDs to families with newborns. Soon enough another finding debunked the so-called Mozart effect. Sceptics warned that exposing children to classical music early might harm them by over-stimulating their brains. So many questions were being raised about research findings that in 2006, the US National Institutes of Health funded a research project to foster research integrity. The lesson is obvious. No point in rushing to changing one's views, thoughts or lifestyle just because a new finding questions these. Rather, one should question the finding itself and look for the hidden side. That alone will help in gleaning the truth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ગમતાનો કરીએ ગુલાલ - गमतानो करीए गुलाल

ગમતું ગુંજે ન બાંધીએ, ગમતાનો કરીએ ગુલાલ
गमतुं गुंजे न बांधीए, गमतानो करीए गुलाल
gamtuM guMje na baaMdhIe, gamtaano karIe gulaal
ગમતું, गमतुं, gamtuM : What we like, What we care, What we are fond of, What we cherish, What we are pleased with, etc.
ગુંજે, गुंजे, guMje : a sort of pocket, a small pouch, any small and enclosed space, etc.
ન બાંધીએ, न बांधीए, na baaMdhIe : do not keep it secret, do not bind it to a small space, do not hide it, do not keep it a closed space, do not put it in a suffocating binding, etc.
ગમતાનો, गमतानो, gamtaano : That which we like, That which we care, That which we are fond of, That which we cherish, That which we are pleased with, etc.
કરીએ ગુલાલ, करीए गुलाल, karIe gulaal : Let us spread them like we spread and share fragrant colours during Holi, Let us spread and share them happily like we do during Holi, Let us share them with affection as we share joy during Holi, etc.
Let us not be the reason for slavery of goodness. Let us free them from our petty confinement and color the world in red-goodness, blue-goodness, green-goodness, etc. Let us bring the rainbow to our hearts.
Sharing is one of the fundamental attributes of inner compassion. To share something is to state that the partaker is as important as partaking. It is nothing to do with the thought of getting something in future. Nothing to do with it being an outcome of the past benefits accrued. To share is to live. It does not go into the future. Things that go to the future await death at the end. Sharing that comes at the end of series of convenient actions culminates in the deep pit of death. Inner compassion does not differentiate between sorrow and joy. It does not want to hold on. It does not want to give it away. It does want to share. To share is like standing beneath the falls. It washes away both sorrow and joy. When sorrow is shared, sorrow ceases to raise its head. When joy is shared, joy ceases to dance with crippled legs. Sharing puts sorrow and joy in their place; in their native state which is non-existent. When sorrow is removed, it brings happiness. When joy is erased, it brings fear. But.. But.. Sharing is an alchemist. A transformer. When sharing happens, though it removes sorrow and joy, it opens up path for the river to flow. The river of life. It opens up the flower. To prepare for the bloom. It brings dark clouds. To cool the dry earth. It mixes the color. To spread all over the Life. Not to share is to prepare ourselves for a destructive brisance. Not to share is stopping the flow of life. Not to share is dying with the mask of living. Making everything black so that eyes cannot see. No light for the soul to saunter. To share is the natural state of life. It is the only state of life. To share is to invoke the inner compassion outside.
Let us ...
ગમતાનો કરીએ ગુલાલ
गमतानो करीए गुलाल
gamtaano kariye gulaal
PS: Thanks Chetan - for bringing this Gujarati proverb to my attention; and for explaining patiently.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shri. Dharampal

From wikipedia:
Dharampal, is a Gandhian thinker, historian and major philosopher from India. He authored The Beautiful Tree, and Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century, among other seminal works. He was born in January 1922 into a rich Vaish family of Kandhla, a small town in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh.
Among the established Indian historians, Dharampal has yet to find his place compared to the sheer significance of his contributions. His books are based painstakingly, and entirely, on colonial British documents of East India Company, and commissioned surveys, conducted in parts of India, before the annexation of India. His writings are abundantly rich in written references and references, to documents outlining the deliberate colonization agenda of British imperialism. He shows the determination of British civil servants in colonizing India as per set patterns, often referred by Gandhi as "divide and rule" rationale.
Dharampal effectively dispelled colonial myths and facile untruths about Bharat, the deliberate underplaying of civilizational achievements, and at bringing out the real strength, structure and working of the Indian society.
He passed away on October 24, 2006 at Sevagram (Gandhi’s ashram) near Wardha (Maharashtra).

From the article written by D. P. Agarwal:

An encounter, which affected Dharampal greatly in this context, is best recounted here in his own words:

Around 1960, I was travelling from Gwalior to Delhi by a day train, a 6 or 7 hour journey in a 3rd class compartment when I met a group of people and I think in a way that meeting gave me a view of India, the larger India. The train was crowded. Some people however made a place for me. And there was this group of people, about twelve of them, some three or four women and seven or eight men. I asked them where they were coming from. They said that they had been on a pilgrimage, three months long, up to Rameshwaram, among other places. They came from two different villages north of Lucknow. They had various bundles of things and some earthen pots with them.

I asked, what did they have in those pots. They said that they had taken their own food from home. They had taken all the necessities for their food-atta, ghee, sugar - with them, and some amounts of these were still left over. The women didn't seem to mind much people trampling over them in the crowded compartment, but they did feel unhappy if someone touched their bundles and pots of food with their feet.

And then I said they must all be from one jati, from a single caste group. They said, 'No, no! We are not from one jati, we are from several jatis.' I said, how could that be? They said that there was no jati on a yatra-not on a pilgrimage. I didn't know that. I was around 38 years old, and like many others in this country who know little about the ways of the ordinary Indian-the peasants, artisans and other village folks.

And then I said, 'Did you go to Madras? Did you go to Bombay?' 'Yes! We passed through those places,' 'Did you see anything there?' 'No, we did not have any time!' It went on like that. I mentioned various important places of modern India. They had passed through most, but had not cared to visit any.

Then I said, 'You are going to Delhi now?' 'Yes!' 'You will stop in Delhi?' 'No, we only have to change trains there. We're going to Haridwar!' I said, 'This is the capital of free India. Won't you see it?' I meant it. I was not joking. They said, 'No! We don't have time. May be some other day. Not now. We have to go to Haridwar. And then we have to get back home.'

We talked perhaps 5 or 6 hours. At the end of it I began to wonder, who is going to look after this India?


From Gurumurthy's article:

By meticulous research of the British sources over decades, Dharampal demolished the myth that India was backward educationally or economically when the British entered. Citing the Christian missionary William Adam’s report on indigenous education in Bengal and Bihar in 1835 and 1838, Dharampal established that at that time there were 100,000 schools in Bengal, one school for about 500 boys; that the indigenous medical system that included inoculation against small-pox.

Not many know of Dharampal or of his work because they have still not heard of the Indian past he had discovered.


Sharing ...

J. Krishnamurti, in his first talk (17th November 1981) with students at Rajghat, Benares, discussed about sharing.
From that talk:
Krishnamurti: I think about five years ago I was walking along there, one of the villagers - he didn't know me, I didn't know him - gathered a few leaves and sticks and all that, set it on fire and put a pot with a little rice, an onion in it, two or three drops of oil and was cooking it. I watched him. I watched what he did, gathering leaves, gathering sticks, putting fire to them, and putting the pot with a little rice in it, oil, a large onion, and he cooked it. When it was properly cooked he looked at me and he said, 'Will you share this with me. Take a little'. I couldn't because he said, 'This is my whole meal for the day.' You understand what I am saying?
A student: Yes.
Krishnamurti: The whole meal for the day and he was willing to share that little bit of rice with me. You understand how generous that is, what an extraordinary feeling that he would like to give you something. He didn't know me. Have you got that feeling? Feeling of sharing something with another. Or do you want to keep it all to yourself?

Guru creates forehead's ruga!!!!

J. Krishnamurti has provoked many with his incisively challenging questions, and penetratively intriguing statements. Many were the responses. Many were the reactions. Approvals. Disapprovals. And judicious mix of both. Admiration. Disaffirmation. And imprudent mix of both. He has evoked all of those along with their various blends.
Did Raja Rao meet JK?
Raja Rao mentioned about JK in his On the Ganga Ghat, and in The Meaning of India where he described his meeting with Nehru. The Samvad article, available here, has something that is more forthright.
From Samvad article:
"The most moving sight in Banaras are the common people, going into the river to leave their commonness behind, to try to become something more than themselves. And then you see the train going across the river on the bridge. That sight is unforgettable."
My next question is, "Did you know J. Krishnamurti? He writes movingly about Banaras too."
"Yes, I (Raja Rao) met him on a number of occasions."
"What do you think of him?"
"I am not a prejudiced man. I have nothing against him. I valued him highly. He was a very fine being."
"But he said that there's no need for a guru."
"Well, that was the stupidest thing he ever said. He was trying to be oh so modern...."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Realizing the Belief ...

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why is it not there in the Chessmaster?

Raja Rao's introductions and prefaces are as meaningful as his books. In fact, some are repeatedly published in many collections. For instance, consider his Kantapura piece. In certain sense!!, it is more popular than Kantapura.
This blog has been giving you the excerpts and snippets from Raja Rao writings once in a while. More regularly in recent times. Mogadalai calls that as love-in-fourth-stage!!
But Raja Rao's, first book in the trilogy, The Chessmaster and his moves does not have any introduction. I just wonder why.
An absolutely interesting absence indeed!!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Body in the Ganga - Ganga in the Body ....

Saraha wrote in the eighth century:

Here, within this body, is the Ganges and Jumna ... here are Prayaga and Banares - here the sun and moon. Here are the sacred places, here the pithas and upa-pithas. I have not seen a place of pilgrimage and an abode of bliss like my own body.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In Search of ... my bride

From Raja Rao’s (a sort of) introduction (this is reproduced in his The Meaning of India) to The Policeman and the Rose:
… These stories were written mainly in France, and at the time when Valéry and Gide dominated the literary universe. A south-Indian brahmin, nineteen, spoon-fed on English, with just enough Sanskrit to know I knew so little, with an indiscrete education in Kannada, my mother-tongue, the French literary scene overpowered me. If I wanted to write, the problem was, what should be the language of expression, an what my structural models – Sanskrit contained the vastest riches of any, both in terms of style and word-wealth, and the most natural to my needs, yet it was beyond my competence to use. To marry Sanskrit and Gide in Kannada, and go further, would have demanded an immense stretch of time, and I was despairingly impatient. French, only next to Sanskrit, seemed the language most befitting my demands, but then it’s like a harp (or vina); its delicacy needed an excellence of instinct and knowledge that seemed well-nigh terrifying. English remained the one language, with its great tradition (if only of Shakespeare) and its unexplored riches, capable of catalyzing my impulses, and giving them a near native sound and structure. “I will not write like the English,” I was to write in an introduction to Kanthapura, “I can only write as an Indian.” I will have to write my English, yet English after all – and how soon we forget this – is an Indo-Aryan tongue. Thus to stretch the English idiom to suit my needs seemed heroic enough for my urgentmost demands…. So why not Sanskritic (or if you will, Indian) English?
… Thus both in terms of language and of structure, I had to find my way, whatever the results. And I continued the adventure in lone desperation. I was now truly in search of – my bride…
When I read the above, I wondered (and pondered) at his search of my bride. Raja Rao himself threw a light on it in one of his articles on – guess what - words.
The word is alive. It is alive in the sense in which a caterpillar, a starling,
a hippopotamus is, or like vriksha (tree), spanda (pulsation), ishvara (god)
are. The word has membranes. It is palpitant, breathful. The word has
self-existence. For each word has, first a noumenal, then a cosmological, and
finally, a phonemological reality.

Then he quotes a Sanskrit sloka:
Many a man who sees does not discover the word.
And many a man who hears does not hear it.
Yet for another it reveals itself like
A radiant bride to her husband.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Precise..nah...Approximation would do.... - Manu writes

Precise..nah...Approximation would do....
Read on.....
I recently overheard a conversation that I will remember for a long time to come:
"Why should one strive for precision, when approximation could work just as well?", asked one.
"Well.. the context deicdes it all. If one wants to lead an ideal life, then perhaps, one could get close enough to it by doing good deeds, being compassionate and a myriad ways of leading life well. Here, approximation is good too. But if one is striving for Enlightenment... then there is no approximation. One is either enlightened or not; there is nothing in between"... - Thus spake my wise old man.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

An Experiment in Honesty

From Raja Rao's preface to The Great Indian Way:
... The writing of this book has been an experiment in honesty. Facts of course are there, but facts are shrill. They have a way of saying more than they mean, and disbelievingly so. The silences and the symbols are omitted, and meaning taken out of breath and performance. Facts have to flow into event - there has to be rasa, flavour, to make facts melt into life. And the Indian experience is such a palimpsest, layer behind layer of tradition and myth and custom go to make such an existence: gesture is ritual, and each act a statement in terms of philosophy, superstition, historical or linguistic provincialism, caste originality, or merely a personal one, and yet it's all a whole, it's India. Thus to face honesty against an Indian event, an Indian life, one's expression has to be epic in style or to lie ...
... The Pauranic style, therefore, is the only style an Indian can use - fact against custom, history against time, (and I was going to say) geography against space, and it is these coordinates that have to change and make the life larger than it seems, and its small impurities and accidents and parts, must perforce be transmuted into equations where the mighty becomes normal, and the normal in its turn becoming myth. Prose and poetry thus flow into one another, the personal and the impersonal, making the drama altogether noble and simple ...
... The Purana is never true except against the background of Truth - that is where the essence of fact shines ...
... If I have written thus another life of Gandhi, it's because most of the biographies (whether American or French, Greek or English) are true generally to facts but not so to meaning. There are, however, biographies by Indians - the official and monumental one is an extravagant dictionary of dates and facts, and the more able and personal ones exhausting demonstration of the amalgam of human existence ...
... A biography of Gandhi it seemed to me had to be written as it were from the inside, desperately, faithfully. It's an ambitious task. Should one dare it - I have ...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Let us play Raja Rao

Raja Rao's introductions to his books are as fascinating as books themselves.

From Raja Rao's introduction to The meaning of India:

... I AM NO SCHOLAR. I am a "creative" writer. I love to play with ideas. It is like a chessgame with horses, elephants, chamberlains, and the Kings which might fight with one another. The game is not winning. It is for rasa - delight...

... I enjoy the juxtapostion of ideas. I play. The end, I have been taught, is not a question of success or defeat, but the abolition of contradiction, of duality - and of the peace it should bring to one. I play the game knowing I am the game. That, is the meaning of India...

...When this battle is over, you go, step by step, up the Himalayas, to Manasarovar. You are alone there. The sun shines on the high snows. The waters sizzle, but you can see and hear silence. The wonder is there is no listener. No. None...

...These essays were written for different occasions mostly from the last thirty years. I must be forgiven for repetitions, sometimes, especially of the Purusha Suktha, and sometimes, even of my personal interpretations (in foolishness or ignorance) of texts. In one case, of Nala and Damayanti, there is such a mixup of myths, I must be forgiven for this misdemeanour...

...It is just the game. Come, let us play, you and I...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Raja Rao's Ganga Ghat

When Raja Rao writes, words show different dimensions accompanied by a shift in meaning that may possibly lead a reader to go beyond them.

He writes To The Reader in On the Ganga Ghat:

These stories are so structured that the whole book should be read as one single novel. All persons and places are not true - but real. There is a glossary at the end for those who need any particular name or word explained. Yet, it must be said, why not just flow with the Ganges.

He also quotes Sri Atmananda Guru before that To The Reader.

What is that?

"Water Does Not Flow"


Raja Rao has written the following on the editor's copy of On the Ganga Ghat:

Hoping this book when read would be like a dip in the waters of Benares.