Friday, October 9, 2009

Abhishek Induwar's promise

On October 7, 2009, Maoists beheaded inspector Francis Induwar and left his dead body on a highway. The Maoists had demanded the release of arrested politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Kobad Ghandy. Government of India did not relent and as a consequence Francis was killed. The video is heart-rending. Most likely, the executioner was 28-year old Kundan Pahan, a self-styled CPI (Maoist) zonal commader known for his murder streak.
I am with Abhishek. If someone killed my father like that I would have taken my revenge. I cannot express my hatred enough for these murderers, especially the maoist sympathisers. Many of them are in the US, enjoying the spoils of US imperialism and trying to strike a moral stance. A "class act," in my opinion. Dear Abhishek: study hard, build your capabilities, and most importantly, have an open mind that allows ideas to come freely from the top, bottom, left, and right. Stay away from ideologues. The rich are not agaist the poor. Many rich people want to genuinely help the poor. The communists drive a wedge between the two.
The maoists have a long history. It started with the Naxalbari movement. Many starry eyed and confused students - supposedly brilliant, too - of India, especially Bengal, murdered many people. The state reacted and there were many so-called "encounter deaths." The Maoists, it seems, are following the footsteps of Chairman Mao, a fascist leader who is responsible for killing millions in China. The confused Naxals, once sloganeered "China's chairman is our chairman."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Let a thousand "Alok Raj"s bloom

Panchayat polls are going on in Nandigram, located in south western West Bengal, a state which has been ruled for the last thirty years by a "democratically elected" communist party. Hooligans of political parties are having a field day terrorizing the local people and making them vote for their respective parties. Local police here is an extension of the ruling communist party. Luckily, however, we have the Central Reserve Police Force personnel trying their best to ensure law and order. The CRPF officers' promotion and transfer are not in the hands of the ruling political party and they do not care to appease the local political goons by looking away.

From this conversation between Alok Raj, Deputy Inspector General of the CRPF who is on duty at Nandigram, and Laxman Seth, local communist goon who is also an "elected" Member of the Parliament of India, we understand why India needs more officers like Alok Raj:

More about the incident here. CRPF has pledged that they will ensure fearless voting. Meanwhile Nandigram's police officer-in-charge has claimed he was "beaten up" by the CRPF. Probably the "officer" was spreading fear.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

WTF question of the day

Should libertarians preach?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Allah tero nam, Ishwar tero nam

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Not this, not this

Thanks to a rendition by Amit Paul in the recently concluded Indian Idol competition, I came to know about Rabbi Shergill's 'Bulla ki Jaana'.
The lyrics of the song (Suman Kashyap's translation is reproduced below) is written by eighteenth century Punjabi Sufi poet Bulleh Shah.
Bulleh Shah's amazingly powerful lyrics is an example of apophatic, or negative, theology. This attempt to describe the undescribable is found in the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu traditions. My favorite is the ever-searching and ever-wanting mantra in Advaita Vedanta:
neti, neti or not this, not this.

In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya is questioned by his students to describe God. He states "The Divine is not this and it is not that" (neti, neti).

Thus, the Divine is not real as we are real, nor is it unreal. The divine is not living in the sense humans live, nor is it dead. The Divine is not compassionate as we use the term, nor is it uncompassionate. And so on. We can never truly define God in words. All we can do is say, it isn't this, but also, it isn't that either". In the end, the student must transcend words to understand the nature of the Divine.

In this sense, neti-neti is not a denial. Rather, it is an assertion that whatever the Divine may be, when we attempt to capture it in human words, we must inevitably fall short, because we are limited in understanding, and words are limited in ability to express the transcendent. [Link]
Plotinus, the die-hard third century Platonist, took inspiration from these eastern ideas, and wrote the famous Enneads.
Generative of all, the unity is none of all, neither thing nor quality, nor intellect nor soul, not in motion, not at rest, not in place, not in time...

If any one were to demand of nature why it produces, it would answer, if it were willing to listen and speak: You should not ask questions, but understand keeping silence as I keep silence, for I am not in the habit of speaking.
(as quoted in Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's The Bhagavadgita)
Bulleh Shah, Yajnavalkya, or Plotinus's thoughts are a whiff of fresh air. They release us from our habits of thought.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

This weariness, forgive me, my lord

This weariness, forgive me, my lord!
If ever, I fall behind in my journey.
My heart trembles in a strange fear
Forgive me that agony, forgive me my lord!
This impoverishment, forgive me, my lord!
If ever, I look behind;
In the heat of the day, in the blaze of the sun,
Your garland withers on the worship tray;
Forgive me that dullness, forgive me my lord!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Captain of our souls

What more can we say about our country's darling son? In every way he has shown us the path, inspiring a nation by his ideal of sacrifice and service. More photos here, with descriptions.

Rabindranath said, "If you want to know India, study Vivekananda. In him everything is positive and nothing negative".

"We perceive his influence still working gigantically, we know not well how, we know not well where, in something that is not yet formed, something leonine, grand, intuitive, upheaving that has entered the soul of India and we say, Behold, Vivekananda still lives in the soul of his Mother and in the souls of her children.",
wrote Aurobindo.

The monks of Ramakrishna Mission work tirelessly for the welfare of the needy. Their activities are carried out in various parts of our country on the basis of the principles of Shiva Jnane Jiva Seva ("Service to people as service to God") and work is worship.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Santana - Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock 1969)

Mike Shrieve - Drums
José Chepitó Areas and Mike Carabello - Timbales and Conga
Gregg Rolie - Keyboards
David Brown - Bass
Carlos Santana - Guitar (Gibson SG Special)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Ustad Rashid Khan declines invitation

Ustad Rashid Khan has declined to participate in this year's North American Bengali Conference. Here's what he had to say:

Dear Debashish da,

I am sorry to inform you that, I shall not be able to perform for your Banga Sammelan Concert to be held this year in.

My experience this year in April, in the US, was a nerve wrecking one. We are Artists, who have been awarded and felicitated by the highest offices in India and abroad. We represent the Culture Heritage of India but I am sorry to say that my experience there was such that I don't think I would want to go there for a second time and face such humiliation.

Hence, I would ask to be pardoned, and an once again taking this opportunity to thank you for having invited me to your conference.

Lots of love & regards to my audience and best wishes to everyone.

You can read the letter on NABC website. Look under the left frame (International Performers).

Ustadji is one of the finest vocalists of Hindustani Classical. He comes from the Rampur Sahaswan Khayal Gharana,and was trained by the famous Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan. We spent whole nights waiting to buy tickets to his concerts at Nazrul Mancha, the Open Air Auditorium at Kolkata. I remember once we touched his feet after a concert. Ustadji is also a glaring example of the success of the Guru-Shishya parampara (which is a way of imparting tacit knowledge) in Indian Classical Music.
A whole day would be spent on practising just a single note. [Link]
Reminds me of a comment in Rock Street Journal: Santana (one of my favorite guitarists) can squeeze color out of one note. Malmsteen's unnecessary speed does not impress me much. Well said!

After hearing him, none other than Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (who comes from the mesmerizing Kirana Gharana) remarked,
"There is now at least one person in sight who is an assurance for the future of Indian vocal music."
Ustadji's rendition of the Yaman is one of the best I have heard till date. If you have napster, look it up. Also hear his Hamsadhwani, a very popular Carnatic raga known by the same name in Hindustani Classical. Here is a clip [10:10 - 7:20; there's a little conversation in between) of Hamsadhwani from Ritwick Ghatak's film 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (The Cloud Strapped Star).

Thursday, June 7, 2007