Guest post by T.R. Ramaswami
With elections just six months away things will begin to get hotter and hotter as this election is in a way a no-hold barred contest. And after the recent 5-state results even more so. The country has arrived at an electoral turning point. It is in this context that some of the balderdash relating to some of the issues that have a knack of sprouting just before elections needs to be clarified.
The first issue is “secularism”. What is secularism? It means that the state does not sponsor or have an official religion and al citizens are allowed to practice any religion of their choice. There is also another important religious choice like NOTA – YOU NEED NOT HAVE A RELIGION OR BELIEVE IN GOD. In fact atheists are the most secular. But secularism has been made political by first introducing the word in the Constitution during a turbulent time – the EMERGENCY. Now were we not secular from 1947-1975? India is not secular because that word is there in the Constitution. It is there because the majority in this country belongs to a secular religion. Show me one country in the world which has a minority religion of more than 10% and is secular. And show me one home country of a minority religion here which will allow even the majority there to say and do what they can here. Secularism has become a political tool where even God has to deliver an acceptable rate of return during elections. Perhaps the correct spelling should be “SUCKULARISM”.
If we are secular then we need a secular civil code. Let us formulate one and throw it open WITHOUT COMPULSION to all Indians. There are many who want to boot the religious clergy of mullahs, bishops and purohits out of their lives. In one generation religion will cease to be a vote garnering issue.
The next subject is the statement that the minority vote is so important that it will decide the fate of any election. This is an insult to the minority and the majority. It implies that the minority individuals have no will of their own and are no better than a herd of buffaloes. But there is one more angle. If the majority voters are about 65 crores (80% of the voters) and the minority is only 15 crores then how does the majority allow the minority vote to be the deciding factor?
So here is a clarion call for the majority. Register yourself and come out to vote. This call is not to ask you to vote for this or that party but ONLY TO VOTE. After all in a democracy the majority decides and what it wants prevails. Right?
And remember – if the majority does not vote then it has no right to wail or complain that the minority is deciding the polls. They will. And bad netas are elected when good citizens do not vote.
Festivals and family & friends are the 2 most important pillars of Indian life around which our entire society is build. Luckily this Diwali (19th of Oct 2009) we got a unique chance to not only combine the two, but also give a glimpse of the Indian life to over 40 friends from 11 different countries. There was representation from all the continents except Antarctica.
We had lit not only the entire floor but also the staircase leading to our 3rd floor. Then there was a small prayer ceremony/puja in 2 languages (Marathi and Hindi) to worship the god before the celebration began. The guests not only got a chance to witness how Indians worship, but they also took active part in aarti and tilak (the small bindi we put on their forehead)
The prayer was followed by a 3 course meals. The menu of the day included:
1. Indian Tea as the starting drink
2. Alu Chat
3. Masala Papad
5. beef boti masala for the starters
8. vegetable pulao
9. alu gobi ki sabji
10. aachar for the main course
11. apple raita
12. Kheer for the main course
“Baatne se mazaa dugna hota hai.” You can have twice the fun if you share.
Arranging for this dinner was a lot of effort, especially since we were preparing since afternoon of the previous day for this event. However seeing the excitement at our guests faces and the joy of sharing our culture with so many different nationals made it totally worth the efforts.
You can find the pictures of the event on 1 and 2
The flames have died out. Yet still within the burning embers we hunt. History is written by the victors, but within these embers the clues stay. What happened to the losers ?
How much is myth and how much is the truth.
What is the truth?
Where is the truth?
Do we have to believe all that has been told?
Am I being unpatriotic as I search for the answers. Am I ridiculing my religion my value system. If it is so then let it be. I cannot be or will be a part of a system which lays its foundation on lies. Am I so moralistic ? No I am not. Morals are a pennies worth to me. What is it but that which I have been taught as a young child. I refuse to believe all that has been blindly accepted. For within me still burns the fire. I cannot just accept everything as the others do. Living my life as per others wishes. Doing things because others do the same. I need to know. And the need drives me here. The pages of our past. Glorious past as they call it. I am not sure I am not certain. To put in distinctively as Pegasus once asked.
Did the metal age come to all parts of the world simultaneously ?
Did Buddhism die out in India so easily?
Why weren’t Ram and Krishna Gods before the Bhakti movement?
And so it begins