Thursday, April 14, 2016

Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna - Intro to eBook by Arun Acharya

Sri Ramakrishna has been called by many names such as sanyassin (one who has renounced the world), mystic, healer and more. For me, he was a dear son of Mother Goddess. I read his Gospel that contains many of his words that I tried to translate into easy words for everyone to understand.
Sri Ramakrishna in Meditation
Before going into details, I mentioned the main teachings of the revered guru Ramakrishna of many, in the first chapter. These teachings have been repeated many times in the Gospel. The main one talks about "Kamini-Kanchan". The Gospel contains literal translation that goes "Woman and Gold". It has been repeated many times in the Gospel. The true meaning of the words, however, is "Lust and Greed".
According to him, the main problems that hinder spiritual growth of a person are "Lust and Greed". Sri Ramakrishna asked people to stay away from Lust and Greed. This has a subtle meaning. He meant all six passions when he said Lust and Gold; the passions including Anger, Shame, Greed and Lust among others. Of course, for people who have to take care of their families, money etc. is needed. But Sri Ramakrishna had told them an easy method to realize and attain God. I explained the method in the chapters titled "Teachings to Householders - Duties towards family and society" and "Paths to Realize God".
Sri Ramakrishna's main teaching is to dust off the worldly desires even as you live in the world. That God is a magnet and people are needles covered with mud or dust where dust means worldly desires. And these desires, according to the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, keep people away from the love of God. When the dust of desires is removed, people are automatically attracted to the God just as a dustless needle is attracted to the Magnet (God).
He also says that realizing God is easy than one thinks. All one needs to know God and get to God is to create an intense yearning for Him. One can pray to Him in any form he or she desires. One can pray to Him as formless bliss. He never forced anyone to pray. He just taught that repeating the name of God creates a longing for God that, in turn, helps a person in reaching God. Because God cannot keep Himself away from his devotees, if one yearns for God from pure heart, he or she is sure to see God.
Please note that Sri Ramakrishna was not a learned scholar. He did not read scriptures - neither Hindu nor from any other religions. All his teachings are from his own experience. He had the grace of God and the latter showed him how to lead a life to realize Him - in form of Hindu Gods and in form of Gods and prophets of other religions. Sri Ramakrishna practiced other religions also and had divine visions of Christ, Mohammed and Buddha - all of whom merged into him. This, he says, was an indication that all paths lead to the same God. 
Though he did not read any scriptures, Sri Ramakrishna had a lot to teach. He had taught much to many who followed his teachings so realize the path of God and in some cases, God Himself.
 
The book, Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, is available at Amazon Kindle Store. You need not own a Kindle ebook reader to read the book. You can download the Kindle app from Google Play or iPhone market, download the book, and start reading the book priced at INR 61 or USD 00.80.

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How To Solve Unemployment Problem In India - Lessons From Ancient India : Part 2

The best method to solve unemployment problem is to give a deep thought to the social structure of ancient India. We need to go back, into the post Vedic history but pre-Mahabharata history. The sources are a little confusing/contradictory. I have tried my best to keep proper dates and duration in this article - based on majority of articles. That means, if more than one research paper cites a particular date, I've picked up those dates. Please note that these dates etc are just for your reference and may not be exact. The article expands on my previous article on how to solve unemployment problem in India - Education Structure.

PART II: Lessons From Ancient India - Social Structure & Society

This relates to the period when society was structured based on caste. Of course, the caste system still prevails in India but the lines are much blurred and the definition of caste nowadays is more hereditary rather than what is defined/explained in the Vedas - the ancient Hindu scriptures. Not only three out of the four vedas: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda and Sam Veda, but scriptures such as Manu Samhita and other scriptures speak of a social structure based on castes. The point to note here is that the classification of castes/varnas was pretty different from what it is today.

Ancient Indian Society: The Main Divisions

In other word, the ancient Hindu scriptures divided the society into four main sections:
  1. Brahmins at the top,
  2. Khsatriyas at second place,
  3. Vaishyas at the third place and finally
  4. Shudras at the fourth place.

The same social structure is mentioned by Lord Krishna in Bhagwad Gita as well. However, there was another section of the ancient society that related to the untouchables.

I do not really understand how and who created this section but I guess that too was based on karma (or work of the individuals).

We'll talk about the untouchables in the ancient Indian society in a while and see why exactly they were considered untouchables. Before that, let us check out the main four sections of the society and how it worked.

The Main Social Structure in Ancient India - Based On Bhagwad Gita

Much after the Vedas were written, Lord Krishna taught Arjuna about the essence of life in the battlefield of Mahabharata. Vedas and Manu Smriti were pre-Ramayana era: i.e. some 900000 years from 2013AD. According to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad books, Lord Rama was born in year 5114BC. It took another yuga (age) for Lord Krishna to appear. According to the same books from Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the year of birth of Lord Krishna is determined to be 3228BC. But these dates are not exact as most scriptures put Lord Ram in Kriti yuga (the first yuga - age).

According to Hindu scriptures, there are four ages: Kriti or Satyuga when people were still honest and lived peacefully. The sins and cruelty perpetuated a little when the age changed to "treta yuga". This was when demons etc rose to fight the good and finally Lord Ram put an end to these demons. Note that Lord Almighty takes birth "avatar" towards the end of each yuga (age) to restore order in the world. Since we are talking about Bhagwad Gita that was recited on the battle ground on Mahabharata, we will have to look at the dates surrounding Lord Krishna, who recited the secrets of life that came to be known as the fifth veda - The Bhagwad Gita. In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna mentioned about Kaliyuga - the current yuga. Lord Krishna himself belonged to dwapar yuga, the third age/era. It is said Dwapar yuga ended with Lord Krishna leaving for his heavenly abode.

We got a little deviated from the main topic in the above two paragraphs. The point I wanted to make was that what Krishna preached is not much old when compared to the Ramayana era. According to the some sources, the Bhadwad Gita was penned around 3138 BC that is in contrast to the birth year of Lord Krishna as mentioned above. Some sources, such as the Bhagwad Gita Organization, says the battle was fought some 5000 years ago.

The reason why I am trying to bring in dates and years here is to convey something that you might not know: Caste system in ancient India was much different from what it is today. While today's caste system categorizes people based on their birth, Lord Krishna spoke of a system where castes or varnas were decided based on the karma of people. Also note that Lord Krishna never mentioned about the untouchables in his discourse with Arjuna. That means the untouchables could either be lowest of lowest varna/caste or were totally out of the then society.



Flexibility Of Ancient India's Caste System

Unlike today's caste system that ties you to a certain caste throughout your life, the then varna system allowed you to move up or down the varna system - based on the type of work you did. For example, if a Brahmin's son joined army, he would be then Kshatriya. Similarly, if a trader's son spent much of his time studying and educating others, he would be regarded as a Brahmin.

The untouchables were probably not considered part of active society. They would have been people who were not of much education and/or skill. Possibly, the kind of work they did had people keep away from them. For example, cleaning of roads and toilets requires a person to bathe at the end of the day before he or she could go meet other people. I do not think you would shake hand with a person who just comes out of a toilet after cleaning it with his bare hands.

Employment Scenario In Ancient India's Varna System

From the above, it is evident that people had certain skill sets that made them belong to certain caste. They had the option to move over to other castes by improving their skills related to the caste they wanted to move to. There was no restriction on movement among the caste levels. I cannot say the same about the untouchables though as I could not find any related documentation. But I do think the untouchables were pretty poor to afford proper skills required to move up the ladder of the then caste system of India.

That makes you deduce that people were mostly trained for skills rather than just formal education. In other words, not everyone would become Brahmin as their interests and intellect levels would vary. Education and training were provided based on the intellect levels and also on the current caste level of individuals. That made sure everyone had enough skills to earn and to live a decent life (barring the untouchables). I feel the untouchables were the one who engaged in work that was not considered decent and hence were barred from the active society. Examples could be sex workers, crap cleaners, and other odd jobs that were considered unhealthy and contaminating.

To sum up the entire post, the caste system in ancient system was a guide for young to move towards proper education and then expand upon their knowledge. That made sure that no one was unemployed or without work. 

In today's scenario, everyone wants a white collar job. The teachers are paid poorly while the rulers need no training. People are moving from agriculture to cities expecting better paying jobs. Since they cannot impart skill based education and since caste system has become rigid, the government provides reservations for lower castes. Imagine people without proper skills doing jobs that require good training. No need to think too far, just imagine people running the country with no knowledge of what it is all about.

Money could have been the base in the ancient system too but there are references of kshatriyas saving people just because their 'dharma' said so. Likewise, Brahmins of that age were supposed to teach without expecting anything. It was up to the students to pay up whatever they could - after they completed education.

Caste System In Ancient India - Applying Yesterday To Today

There can be many things to understand from the caste system of Ancient India that can help remove the current unemployment scenario from India. To start with, the educators should be given a life that is self sufficient. That also means creating universities for alternative education - not only IITs, Medical and MBAs but anything technical that helps people acquire skills. The facilities should be available to all, irrespective of their economic condition. This is not hard to achieve. I have stressed the importance of skill based education in my previous article on Lessons From Ancient India (see link below).

Then the rulers aka politicians should be properly educated with respect to what they are supposed to do. It is not possible for a single person to learn it all. The academics can be used as consultants. But the rulers can seek consultation only if they know of a problem. Maybe the politicians do not need training in warfare these days but there are many more aspects of politics and humanity where they need good grades. However, education is not a criteria for people to join politics. No need to say everything related to country is in rut.

Finally, the system should be changed a little to support small businesses and agriculture plus crafts. There should be systems in place that not only finance but also guide the aspiring entrepreneurs. Likewise, if proper support is provided to fields like crafts and agriculture, the need for these people to migrate would reduce. This is not difficult and I can see SBA in the US helping out entrepreneurs.

What is happening right now is that the government does not want to help the lower two sections - vaishyas and shudras as they were known. When a govt thinks offering them work only for 100 days a year, you cannot expect progress there. There should be instead training that helps them to start out on things that keep them employed throughout the year. But since the political parties consider them votebank, they will not do anything lest they lose their votes. In addition, oppressing a section of society for appeasement of society further diverts one's mind from constructive thinking. That means, people are stuck with petty problems forever that prevent them from progressing in their life. This is just an outline of current affairs while the above three para gives you an idea of what can be learned and implemented from the ancient Indian social structure.


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Analysis of Mahabharata Characters - Bhishma

Bhishma is one of the powerful characters of the epic, Mahabharata that contains and shows a pious way of life to the mortals living on earth. I am starting this Analysis of Mahabharata Characters with Bhishma as he is the oldest character in the epic/saga and has tremendous influence on the other characters of Mahabharata. Bhishma was the son of king Shantanu and Ganga (the river Ganges in female form). Bhishma was considered one of the eight Vasus (rishis) who had to take birth on earth due to a curse. Before we analyze the character, let us take a quick look at the story of Bhishma according to the Mahabharata.

Background Of Bhishma

Bhismha is considered one of the eight Vasus who stole a cow named Kamadhenu from a sage. When the sage cursed them to take birth as humans, all Vasus asked for his forgiveness. The sage, for seven Vasus who helped the main Vasu to steal the cow, reduced the curse to death just after birth. However, the main Vasu who actually stole the cow was to stay on earth as a mortal.

Shantanu married Ganga on the condition that he would not interfere with whatever Ganga does. For each of the first seven children she bore (the seven Vasus), she drowned them in the river form to relieve them of the curse. However, Shantanu could not stop himself when Devvratha was born and stopped Ganga from drowning him in the river. Thus, the eight Vasu had to live. Ganga left Shantanu and took Devvratha with her as well. Devvratha had his education and returned after many years. Meanwhile, Shantanu was in love with a woman named Matsyagandha (Satyavati). Since the father of Satyavati wanted Satyavati's kids to access throne, Devvratha gave up his claim to the throne. Not only that, he took a vow of celibacy so that his sons do not claim access to the throne and kingdom. He further vowed that he will always take care of the person sitting on the throne as he would see his father's figure in the king. The father granted him a wish of Death Upon Wish, i.e., Bhishma (as he came to be known after taking the vows) could take his own time and decide when and where to die. There are many other incidents that formed his character and I will mention them when and where required.

Bhishma's Love For His Father

 Obvious from the above narration, one can find that Bhishma has a lot of love and respect for his father. He gave up not only the claim to the throne, he also took a vow of celibacy so that his sons don't fight for the throne. This shows that he was very caring when it came to his father and his father's desires. He further vowed that he will always protect the kingdom and king by seeing his father's image in the king. The vows brought him the name of Bhishma.

He was not asked to take those vows. He simply came to know that his father wanted to marry Satyavati (Matsyagandha) and based on what the father of Satyavati said to him, he took the vows on his own to please his father's desires.

Renunciation Of Worldly Things

One may consider that Bhishma never had any desire for worldly things. People fall for power and money. However, he gave up all those at a small age and removed himself from claim and accession to the throne. He never married though was asked by many. His vow of celibacy was never broken. He once kidnapped Amba, Ambalika and Ambika from their swamyamwar (marriage) for sons of Satyavati. Amba told him she loved some other king, upon which, he returned her to the king. It was a different matter that the king now suspected Amba and did not accept her. Upon this, Amba pressurized Bhishma to marry her. But stating his vow of celibacy, he did not marry her. Amba went on to become Shikhandi who later was brought into Mahabharata for killing Bhishma.
    .

Bhishma's Commitment To The Throne and King

Bhishma was so committed to the throne and king that he had to oblige for unworthy or rather, bad decisions of the king. In his presence was Druapadi humiliated but since the then king, Dhritrashtra, did not say anything, Bhishma though he knew it would have bad impact later, could not and did not do anything to save her (Draupadi). His commitment to the king made him blind towards the bad going on in the entire epic of Mahabharata.

He had to fight from the side of Kauravas in the grand Mahabharata war as he was committed to the throne. He was under pledge (as mentioned above) to save the king and his throne. Thus, though he knew that what he was doing is wrong, he did it anyway - just because he had to keep his word (vows).

Weakness of Bhishma

The love or the sense of duty towards the person occupying the throne was one weakness of Bhishma. Though one can argue that it was because of his vows, was it wise to keep quiet knowing that the king might come to harm? Bhishma was quiet when Draupadi was insulted. He knew that it will backfire and that Pandavas will avenge the insult. But Bhishma turned a blind eye towards it.

Another case where Bhishma was quiet was when Lord Krishna showed his Vishwarupa (his godly form) to him and others at the court. Krishna had come to negotiate prior to  war. He wanted to prevent the war. Totally understanding that god was on Pandava's side and that the king had no chance of winning the war, Bhishma did not or could not use his influence to stop the war. Instead, he went ahead to wage war on behalf of Kauravas. What can we call such an attitude if not his weakness?

This analysis of Bhishma, the Mahabharata characters, is not complete. Bhishma played a huge role and I will update this post when I find other traits on own and based on your comments. Please comment to inform me if I left out anything.


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What is Secularism - In India?

India is diverse in many aspects. That not only includes lifestyles, cuisines, languages/dialects, fashion, clothing style but also religions. India is home to more than five religions, where four religions: Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism originated as branches of Hindutva Lifestyle. Even Sikhism has been derived from Hinduism. But this post is not about religions. It is about secularism in India: What is secularism? Who is secular? Is India a secular country? What does Secularism mean? I am trying to answer all these questions by constructing the Hindi equivalent of the word "secularism".

What is Secularism?


Major Religions In India
The Hindi equivalent of the word is "Dharm Nirapekhsta" (धर्म निर अपेक्षता). This Hindi word is actually a combination of three words: Dharma (धर्म), Nir (निर), and Apeksha (अपेक्षा). We take the last word first. Apeksha means "expecting". That translates to expecting anything from anyone. For example, "I was expecting him on Sunday" will translate to "मैं रविवार को उसकी अपेक्षा कर रहा था".

Add "Nir" to "Apeksha" and it becomes opposite: something that loosely translates to non-expectant. Thus, "I was not expecting him" (मैं उसकी अपेक्षा नही कर रहा था) also translates to "he was a non-expectant" (वह निरपेक्षित था). Another better example would be - "This work was unexpected" (यह कार्य निरपेक्षित था).

In short, "nirapeksha" (निरपेक्षा) means "not expecting anything". Add "dharm" (or Religion in English) to it and it becomes secularism. Thus, secularism should mean "not expecting anything from religion(s)". However, not in the Indian context. The above explains what does secularism mean actually and literally. Though "nirapeksha" is more commonly pronounced as "unapeksha" (अन+अपेक्षा), our intellectuals decided to use the former. That means, secularism can also be called "Dharm Anapekshta" (धर्म अनपेक्षता).

I will now pick up another similar sounding word - upeksha (उपेक्षा) to explain secularism in India. Before that, let us take a look at how using the "upeksha" word changes the entire meaning of secularism.

Apeksha vs Upkesha (अपेक्षा बनाम उपेक्षा)

As discussed in previous section, adding "un" or "nir" to most words makes it opposite. For example, "he is wealthy" is "वह धनी है". And "he is not wealthy" would translate to "वह निर्धन है". This is just for your reference that adding 'un' or 'nir' to most of the Hindi words, changes the meaning of a word to its opposite.

Now, coming to Upeksha, it means "Ignoring". It sounds similar to Apeksha (only the first sound being different) that means "expecting". For example, "He was ignoring my talk" would translate to "वह मेरी बात की उपेक्षा कर रहा था".

Secularism In India

It makes a fine combination of Dharm (religion) with Upeksha (ignoring) to reveal the exact meaning of what is secularism. You ignore the religion or you do not have any expectations from the religion. Good so far. But we have the "nir" word that changes the entire meaning. Thus, Dharm Upeksha (धर्म उपेक्षा) stands good for secularism based on the meaning of secularism we derived from the phrase "धर्म निरपेक्षता".

Coming to Indian political scenario, rather than real society and culture that adopts all religions as equal, the meaning of secularism stands different - based on the word "Upeksha". That is, instead of using "Apeksha" (expectance) with "nir" (not), we seem to be using "Upeksha" with "nir". That would make it Dharm Nirupekshata" which, in turn, would translate to "not ignoring dharma or religion". And that is the fact - our political parties just cannot ignore the religion of their voters. For them, different religions are different types of vote banks. They just cannot ignore religions and instead of not expecting from religions, they tend to expect a lot from religions. That is, the whole meaning of 'secularism in India' changes - from non-religious expectant to religions-expectant, based on the phrase "dharm nirupeksha" (religion non-avoidable).

I guess I have been successful in explaining the meaning of secularism as such and also what is secularism in India. If you have doubts or anything to add, please comment or send me a mail using the Contact page.


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How To Solve Unemployment Problem In India - Lessons From Ancient India : Part 1

If we take a look back at ancient India, during its glorified history, we could get lessons on how to solve unemployment problem in India. It is well known that different rulers and even queens took proper care of their society that was based on a system that reduced unemployment during those days. Let us check out how to weed out unemployment problem in India by looking at the days when India was still ruled by kings and queens.

PART I: Lessons From Ancient India - The Educational System

Not only unwanted subjects,
But also a tough competition,
Ruining Kid's Childhood,
Making Them Inferior and Suicidal
I cannot say about the scenario after the entry of Moghuls as I did not do proper research on that. I could not get relevant papers that I could trust so I will go a little back into the history. At that time, people were happier as they could find one or more income sources and that is what we are discussing here.



Present society is like: 1) Go through elementary education that teaches you languages and a little of History/Geography and science; 2) you then specialize in an area of your choice or rather, the choice of your parents and peers; 3) and keep on applying for jobs related to that field of your expertise.


The system of education these days has unnecessary subjects up to the matriculation. I do not mean to say that History, Geography, Math etc should not be taught. They are essential - but only up to certain extent. After you pass the Intermediate and say, wish to get into nuclear physics, you will have to learn Calculus, Alzebra and Geometry as well. And not to mention Chemistry. This is the way the subject choices are provided. While I agree a little math is required for nuclear physics, there is no (I repeat - no requirement) for you to study the details of Chemistry's solutions to learn and deduce from Nuclear Physics.


In other words, the present day education system wastes much of your time that you could have otherwise spent learning just what you want. Imagine you got into physics right after basic education, i.e. after learning the basic math and languages. You would - in this case - get seven more years to study your own preferred subject. That means, by the time you graduate in Nuclear Physics, you have learned many more extra things.


Poor Frog Killed In Name Of Education
For People Not Opting Biology,
Why Force Them To Dissect Animals?
I have been running my business for almost 7 years. I worked as computer technician, writer for Neilson data before starting own venture. I still do not know why I was taught Calculus or for the matter, Algebra - though the latter was a bit interesting, there is no practical use of it in my line of trade. I do not know what I learned by dissecting a poor frog. Rather, if I would have been given an option to study business management and related subjects, I would have been far better.


Because what you study during your formative years, stays with you for rest of your life in case you implement it. And because in most of the cases there is no need for the 'extras' you learned in the present day education system, your just wasted your formative years. Probably, learning languages is the only thing good about the current system. That too, is good up to a limit. They shouldn't force you to learn all the major languages - Hindi, English in addition to regional languages when they know you'll be spending most of your time dealing with something else. If you wish to become a literary person, probably a research into languages and phonetics might help. But for that, you'll have to wait for 10+2 years?! Why? And even after, you have to stress out on some other topics that are mostly irrelevant to the profession you wish to engage in. Right?


Coming to the problem of how to solve unemployment in India, when we look at the ancient system of schooling, the kids were divided according to what they were supposed to do. That means, if someone was to become a soldier, he would get arms training from the very beginning - with some other subjects related and necessary for growth and communication. If someone wanted to become a Vaidya (doctor), she or he would start early - dealing and identifying herbs in forests and assisting other practicing doctors as interns. Thus, they would be preparing themselves for the trade or profession they were willing to pursue.

Image From "Look And Learn" Website
Teaching Different Things To Different Kids
Based Upon Their Interest & Traits

There was also a time when parents of these kids gave them enough choice to choose their profession. If practical training has to start at a tender age - inputs from elders are a must. It happened that kings prepared their offspring to become warriors while doctors wanted theirs to become doctors. In most cases, the guru (teacher or trainer) identified the traits of his/her student and helped him/her select a profession and excel in that. Not like today where you are fed all dishes and for a particular dish, you have take supplements as well. Not like today where you have to excel in all the subjects to pursue further studies in a particular field of interest.


There were two main aspects of ancient India education system:
1. Character Building
2. Skills Training


A Data Aggregation Showing
White Vs Blue Collar Jobs
Note: Self Employed Not Included
Unlike today, where everyone wants a white collar job with big companies, the education system of older days was based on what you were good at. That provided you with omni-options. You could go work for others, with others or start your own trade. I guess there were some good crown sponsored facilities to help the then students start on their own. I've also read of those ancient universities helping out their students in trading or setting up own ventures by way of loans and/or providing security for loans from crowns. All they needed was to demonstrate their skills unlike today where you have to pay certain percent of loan amount as bribe and have influencers on your side to get approval for a loan under any government scheme.


All through the training, you were also made to study the books that helped you build a character suitable for the profession. The character building was probably based on inputs from Vedas and differed for different students pursuing different professional training. For increasing the chances of employment - especially the self-employment scenario - character building is much necessary as it teaches you how to treat others and how to be your best. Naturally, that included communications, showing respect to ladies and elders, loving younger ones, and things like that. That is an art while skills are related to trade.


To emphasize the second point, students were given practical training in skills rather than just a formal educational. The certificates were based on practical exams rather than just formal penning down the answers.


The aim was to provide an education that helped the students get employed rather than get a job. There is a difference between employment and a job. A job is where you work for others. Employment could be a job for others, with others or for self. Self employment, is the best method to remove unemployment.


If such an education system is brought back to India,

1. where the parents and trainers can find out your traits and help you out to select yourself a profession in your early age

2. and you are started early with the trade you want to master,

the problem of unemployment would be solved.


When speaking of how to solve unemployment problem in India or anywhere, I do not mean offering them appointment letters, but helping them shape their career in an early stage and providing them with necessary skills to pursue a profession whether for others or in form of self-employment.




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Caste Based Politics in India - POV1

A popular politician said she does not like caste based politics in India and that her party does not believe in caste based society. A day earlier, on July 12 2013, HC banned caste based rallies. Probably, that was the reason she thenceforth does not like caste based rallies. This statement came two days after she addressed a Brahmin rally and one day after HC banned caste based rallies in India. When I called it bluff, a question popped up from somewhere saying what makes me think she believes in caste based society...



Made me think - Maybe she doesn't really believe in caste based politics in India and maybe my views are biased. Let's check it out here. 


The previous leader of that party had a vision to equate all castes in the society. But in the Indian society, caste system is so deep rooted that inter-caste relations often break strongest of bonds and even lead to honor killings. Forget others, even my 'liberal' family saw months of tension when younger brother said his girl friend belonged to a lower caste.


Anyway, we are not talking about the entire caste system in India here. It just cannot be removed by any law or regulation. It cannot be removed in a day or two just by putting some people in jail. If it has to happen, it will be a very long duration - spanning decades - reform. People need to be educated on respecting fellow human beings to remove any kind of divisions in a society - be it caste based, religion based or economy based. People need to be trained mentally in a manner that they don't even think of these divisions. That is possible only if the people leading them - the politicians, intellectual leaders etc - start ignoring caste etc divisions.


However, the way our country is moving, I can see politicians further emphasizing caste system and religion divides thereby creating further rifts. After all, different castes are/were different vote-banks and caste based politics has been in India since pre-independence era! Among the many kingdoms, there were kings who organized elections for different posts even much before India became one huge mess of a democracy. The people were selected by kings and people were to vote for them in a way that the one most preferred would get that post. Even then, people were influenced by caste and voted mostly to "their own" instead of "merit".


Coming back to the present, the above mentioned lady politician came to power more than once in the Uttar Pradesh region of India. Let me make it clear here that I am not a political pundit and I do not have much of statistics. But still, if the vision of a caste-less or rather, equal-rights society of B R Ambedkar was to be carried on, there should have been some work on the issue. Right? All we got was distorted constitution in India, reservations plus widening rift among different religions and then castes. All for sake of politics!


I do not know what exactly this lady did for the dalits, the so called lowest section of caste based society on which - her party depends to get political power. She, if wanted a caste-less society, would have empowered the dalits. I never heard of she implementing any special plans for them and other down-trodden castes of the society.


There are central government schemes already in place: A reservation system that takes care of many things related to down-trodden, lower castes and poor; an employment scheme, a self-employment funding scheme and even some education scheme for downtrodden. If you are a dalit (or for the matter, some scheduled caste or backward caste) and you scored even 1% in the IAS, you are sure to get an administrative job - irrespective of whether you can do it or not. The quota system will make sure you override any brilliant but undeserving general caste person to get that job!


The least that our politician - in question here - could do was to educate the dalit (votebank) about the existing policies and help them enjoy the benefits. But did that happen? And if that itself did not happen, what else schemes did the so called (transformed in 2 days) propagator of caste-less society do? The fire and the feeling that these castes were oppressed in the past is kept burning and I'd say it is these politicians who keep them reminding that they are different, that their great grandfathers were oppressed, that once upon a time, they were untouchables. 


Ambedkar changed many things. Society now has reduced many barriers - though not completely: There is a long way to go before we forget castes and religions to accept our humanity first. That would be possible only if people forget the past. But when they are made to relive their pasts in accounts of political speeches, books and textbooks etc, it is hard to imagine that such divisions will ever be erased. It was "amusing" to note that government school books explained in a chapter about how a person from different religion in India did not get a home on rent until he changed his name.


Coming back to our leader's comment that she does not believe in caste based society, what did she do for the very people of lower caste on whom the party counts for votes? Did they build schools? Did they build better shelters? Did they ensure employment for them? Most of the schemes that they say they implemented are ones run by the central government. And they too, do not provide any kind of respite.


At ground zero, this section of the society still lives in one room houses. Their children suffer due to lack of proper education and some do not even make it to the world because of health problems. All because of the caste based politics in India that keeps them uninformed of the many government schemes they can benefit from. If they know they can get good schooling because the law says so, will they suffer? No. But the information is not provided to them. Rather, they are told stories on how their ancestors were oppressed.


Instead of building schools, ensuring employment etc, this madam went ahead to build parks, statues etc monuments to create a history for "HERSELF". This is the only aspect I saw of her rule - or probably the only aspect projected by media. Every major city has a park named after Ambedkar. The park contains few statues of elephants, the party symbol and of course, a statue of the politician in question.


I may be missing on the schemes she started and the help she might have extended to the dalits, who vote for her. After all, I depend on mainstream media for news and maybe the media neglected her "good" side. If I did miss anything good, please drop me a note so that I can make corrections accordingly. The above is not because of my hate towards politicians or my love towards the downtrodden.

When Will Their Living Conditions Improve?

The post is about how politicians change their colors per the situations. The post is about someone asking me what makes me think that the said politician and her party believes in a caste based society. The post is also about India's HM who right after taking oath, thanked the supremo that he - who is a dalit - was made the Home Minister of India. With such factors, caste system and caste based politics is here to stay for long. With such mentality, all the political parties will sure make use of the castes and caste based politics in India. And not only that, they will make sure the mentality prevails - for eternity.


PS: Not intended to hurt anyone. If it does, I apologize in advance. If you want corrections or your POV added to the above, please contact me directly.




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Politicization Of Religion in India - The Hindu Unrest

Someone posted a blog on IBN-LIVE asking why Hinduism should not evolve with current modern world? It further stressed on politicization of Hindu religion and the fact of Hindu unrest by quoting Salman Rushdie. While I do not think Hindu unrest is yet a worrying factor, it may turn out to be a violent movement if politicization of religion in India is not discontinued immediately. I'll attempt to answer why I think so.


Quest is Hindu is Quest

The blog asking if Hinduism/Hindutva amounts to fundamentalism and why are Hindus becoming intolerant etc was penned by some IBN-LIVE journalist named Sagarika Ghose (Twitter Handle @SagarikaGhose).


I will first put up some of her questions that she asked about politicization of Hinduism and its evolution requirements in modern world. I guess she missed quoting other forms of religions politicization such as Muslim Appeasement and special packages for other Muslims and certain Christian communities. I too will leave out those in this blog post and cover them later.


Basically, her blog has three main points:

1. Politicization of Hindutva

2. Rising Hindu Uprising/Intolerance

3. And finally a set of more questions of whether or not Hinduism/Indianism should evolve to become what I comprehended as being more liberal.


I am working on the first two questions in this post as they are more similar and relevent to each other. I will need more space to write about evolution hence will cover it in a different post but the answer is yes, we did evolve. How else do you think Hinduism/Indianism survived all through the time? All other older cultures, Mayans for examples, stuck to their principles and vanished. If arguments are required, I will present them where I discuss evolution of Hinduism - as said earlier, in a different blog post.


When Did Hinduism/Indianism Start?


Maybe carbon dating could have helped.
But we did not keep all records of Hindu culture.
Just that some of them managed to reach
current generation in form of reflections by others

The first two questions about politicization of Hinduism/Indianism and the rising intolerance of Hindus bring up similar arguments. As far as I know, Hinduism has been tolerant for ages. It is only the last few decades that have seen an increased movement in Hindu culture. That is more because of politicization of the Hindus. The Hindu culture dates back to .... well, there is no record for that.


Ramayan was written some 900,000 years ago. This, again, was not determined by the pages of the book but by determining the carbon dating of artifacts mentioned in the Ramayana. Vedas came much before that. We did not keep all the records and much of the knowledge regarding to all that ancient science was lost - they were not handed over to lower generations. I did some research on what probably happened to all that science and will present it a separate blog post.


Politicization Of Hindutva

Coming back to this post, Hindutva/Indianism was unadulterated till some centuries ago. I will not pick up caste etc issues here else it will be a too long post. I am speaking about overall culture that was common across castes. That had been preserved and there were no visible signs (or need) for any kind of religious unrest until people came to know that there are lands beyond their sight and should be captured for benefits. It had been (rather, has been) the tendency of people (in this context, kings and rulers), to gain more. In the greed for more, while the Indian kings moved out of the subcontinent perfectly protected by Himalayas and oceans, people from other parts of the world, especially the Middle-East came attacking Bharatvarsha (as it was called prior to Moghul Invasions).


A Rough Map
Sixteenth Century Bharat Based On Manuscripts

The Middle East conferred the title of Hindustan to Bharatvarsha while the Western (Who was that Columbus?) called us India. We stuck to these two titles and forgot Bharata, even as its original form was distorted due to wars and later by British.


It is when the British entered into the scene did the Hindu politicization started. During the rule of Muslims/Mongols too, it was separate. I mean they did differentiate between their own religion and culture of the then existing Indians, they did more of it for conversions rather than politicizing Hindu for own needs/wants/greed (whatever you may want to call it). Hinduism never called for conversions as it was never considered a religion by those who follow it. We "now" have some people who treat it as a religion, saying you are Hindu if born into a family embedded in Hindu culture and follow certain rules as laid by their religious gurus.


Hindu tolerance can be seen during that rule of Moghuls as well. People who had been following Hindutva/Indianism as a culture are mentioned as working in the courts of these invaders. We also have examples of many a fine art and sculptures that these Hindus built using their skills and culture for the foreign invaders. An example is Taj Mahal. The way it is designed, it is difficult to determine if it was indeed built by a foreign ruler or was just a redesigned temple. There are several documentaries and books on this topic if you wish to pursue the topic.


My basic argument is that politicization of Hindutva/Indianism started only after the British entered Indian soil. They already found more than two cultures and in a bid to take over the country, they divided people on religious lines and used the infighting for their own goals. Later, the same tendency was taken up by leaders of Independent India for partition of the country and is being used continuously to corrode the society.


A corroded and broken system means more power to the leaders. There are religious leaders everywhere from both cultures who kind of dictate what is good and what is bad. They are just there for own profits rather than guidance. The need for a teacher (guru) makes the innocent fall prey to these leaders who are influencers in their area and are used by politicians for many a purposes. The vision of Hindutva/Indianism took a backseat, offering more emphasis to the tools elders used in their pursuit of knowledge and perfection.


Fear Distorts Understanding
Fear Induces Wrong Emotions
Fear Can Make You Kill Others
There have been riots on religious lines ever since the powerful understood it is easy to disinform masses and show them fear. It is hard to tell who provoked whom but the bottom-line of everything was and is fear. This fear is the root of Hindu unrest. Other cultures in India have been using conversions by hook or crook. That is seen as a threat to the Hindu culture and hence the unrest. The religious leaders and politicians hold reigns only as long as people are afraid of losing their culture and pride. Once there is a balance or the fear is eliminated, you will find the normal Hindus as caring as ever.


The current politicians dividing people into minority and majority and assuming that majority has no needs - going to serve the so called minority (but not actually doing that as well) is further distorting the minds of religious leaders. Then, there were/are provocative speeches from other communities regarding elimination of Hindu culture. If I were to say I'll annihilate your family, wouldn't you go to any extent for self defense?

Another example is sharing a house. Initially, it will be difficult for you but you'll adjust. And then I start using your things but you are fine with that too. Then I threaten to throw you out of the house and make it entirely mine. What will be your reaction? Would you tolerate that too? Or would you start preparing to avoid losing your home? Same applies to the Hindu unrest.


There is much more to say and discuss but I will cut it here as the above summarizes politicization of  religion in India, especially distorting Hindutva/Indianism to an extent that there are sections that started believing in violence.

Summary

In case I confused you, politicizing Hindutva and Hindu unrest is related to
1. The divide and rule politics of British (say 10%)
2. The continuation of religious politics by post 1947 governments, politicians and religious gurus (remaining 90%).
That means, the system went wrong somewhere that lead, is heating up followers of Hindutva and probably will continue pressurizing them until they explode.


There are few methods by which the unrest can be contained and eliminated completely. The main point is to stop using religions as dividers. And that can happen only in an atmosphere where fear is absent or at the least, is not misused. Given the way world is engaged in appeasement of certain communities and the violent methods of those communities to convert people forcefully, I do not see it happening anywhere in near future. Politicization of religion in India pays off and it pays off just because India has a number of religions scattered throughout the country.


Link To IBN-LIVE Blog: Modern Hindu



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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Concept Of Government - How Early Governments Were Formed

There have been kings ever since we know history. Later, kingdoms changed to different forms of governments - some with kings and some totally by public. Ever wondered how the first government came into being? What is the concept of government? Who was the first government? How was the first government formed? I won't answer all the questions here. Rather, I will put down my thoughts on what I think is the closest story to how the first government was formed.


Early Days On Earth

To understand the concept of governments, we must look back to the  Stone Age. Most of us know about the cavemen. They hunted and provided for food. Cavemen lived in groups, often a family. Later, they discovered wheel and fire, which served as a boon to our existence. The tendency to live in groups must have come over by the fact that their ancestors were apes. And apes, just like most of the animals, live in groups - mostly for protection. The fact that unity is power is more known to animals than people today.


You might ask how are cavemen related to the concept of government! Cavemen did not have kings and society or an established culture. You are true. Cavemen did not have a society based on certain guidelines as it is today. But it did have groups that can be resembled to societies and probably, each group had its own "head" to lead them. Isn't such a tendency seen in different types of animals - monkeys, zebras and even birds etc?


Per historians, the first civilization was found in Mohan-jo-daro. However, the remains of Mohan-jo-daro show that they already had kings. We have to look a little more into the past to understand the concept of governments - how societies came up with kings and later transformed into governments as we see them today. In other words, to understand how the first government was formed, we'll have to delve into the history a little earlier to formation of societies (and barter system).

The Rule of Dacoits

Statue of Priest King From Harrapa
Please dont misunderstand, The article talks
about a period much prior to this king existed
Cavemen were kind of nomads. They stayed at a place only till resources lasted and upon exhaustion of the resources, they moved out in search of next shelter that provided them with food and water. Naturally, these shelters were located more around rivers where they could hunt and eat. That does not rule out dense forests as well.


As they became more and more civilized by gathering and processing information about things around them, they started colonizing. The discovery of agriculture further strengthened these colonies as people started sowing and reaping their own stuff.


Others in the colony came up with selling goods. It might have been the barter system as there is no mention about any form of currency at that stage of history. This must have been what the historians call the "New Stone Age". Yes, the concept of government dates back to that period. 


While most people were busy growing and selling for a living, there were few people who felt why should they work! These type of people were not interested in growing or hunting their own food or in bartering for clothes etc. Being powerful, they started looting others in the colonies. When the people did not have enough to provide these dacoits, the dacoits moved to other colonies. Different colonies were forced to give away food and other items to these dacoits who might have used weapons to threaten people.

Rise of Kings

We are talking about dacoits looting people in the earliest civilizations. As with animals, they must have marked their areas. Just as animals mark their area – which is not visible to human eyes – they too created boundaries for looting people. What I mean to say is that these boundaries prohibited these looters from crossing into the area of other dacoits.


Sooner or later, they realized that looting people of all their goods is not good as the victims would travel into other areas. One theory says these dacoits started offering security to the people who lived in their boundaries – from other dacoits. This turned into a respectful profession. Offer security and help them solve their differences while receiving grains and other items as tax. This was the rise of kings, the early governments (and this could be the answer to how the first government was formed).

Modern Governments

Coming to modern day governments, there are still few countries that are ruled by kings. Some nations call them kings and other nations call them presidents. These kings prepare someone (mostly, from their own family) to handle the governance and when time comes, they pass on the reins of government to the person they trained.

But when the atrocity of such rulers extended beyond "point-of-patience", several groups of people would become rebels and fight them. In current world too, you will find that almost every country with dictatorship, single-man-rule (monarchy) has one or more rebel groups fighting the ruler (government).

The first instance of Republic (elected by people of the land) was indicated in Rome by historians. The aristocrats must have thought of expanding to provide better governments and for the purpose, they would have nominated different people allowing the citizens to elect their favorite representatives into government.


This could be the first form of democracy – government by the people, for the people. Today, most countries are republic – meaning they can elect representatives into the government. There are instances of monarchy too. Even in case of kings/queens, people are allowed to select representatives who'd govern them.


This is a rough analysis on the concept of governments – based on what I read about the subject. I suppose this is how the early/first government was formed. If you have any other hypothesis or wish to add to the above, please comment or write to us


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Unemployment Problem in India

This post expands on my previous blog on how to choose a college course. We discussed there that formal degrees, while good, do not provide a guarantee to a decent job. We talked about how your favorite subjects can provide you with vocational training that can be used either for job or own venture - as required. This post attempts to explain the unemployment problem in India - through a different lens. 



I will not provide figures and statistics but rather, will talk about main causes of unemployment in India. A friend of mine asked how to choose college for a good job. This question acted as if someone triggered a remote bomb and my mind was full of major factors of unemployment across the world. Analyzing a little, I found few factors for the unemployment problem in India and third world. You might think why I placed India in the same line where I used the phrase 'third world'. That is because of the natural mindset of people. India has grown and progressed a lot but the basic mentality of people remains same.

How Does Mindset Matter? And What Mindset?

The mindset of third world countries is that you need to get a good job to be successful in your career. The emphasis is on 'job'. In other words, it means working for other companies. And the bigger the company, the more is your value. This, in turn, translates to being successful is having a good job.

This mindset stops people from trying out own ventures - the basic answer to the problem of unemployment in India or elsewhere. You get to study in whatever your family thinks is the best school for you. You go for coaching after school, you spend  your entire time trying to get past the cut off criteria to gain admission to colleges that may or may not help you get a job of your desire.

In fact, you live for others. Your capabilities are under constant scrutiny by way of comparison to the jobs held by your neighbors and relatives. Your people want you to be a step ahead of them and in the process, you forget that you were given this life to live it and not waste it in pursuit of money.

But the mindset has been thus. And if you opt for self-employment, people's thinking defaults to the mindset that you were not able to get a job and hence, you are self employed. But believe me, self employment is the only key to solving the unemployment problem - in India or elsewhere. Tell me if this is wrong.

Reducing Unemployment In India

Lately, many college students start their own ventures - in India too - even as they are still studying. This is a good sign of things to come. One own venture not only employs you, but also several others. Creating employment for self is an art. You can do it. A person will never be unemployed if s/he wants to earn. People can also earn by supplying water. Many people in Hyderabad (India) are into this business. And they have full fledged staff involved! They do not own tankers. Their staff employs bicycles with plastic containers!

How To Go About It?

The best answer is – Select a college/institution that offers alternate education to help create own careers. Mainstream educational degrees may or may not bring you fruits but if you have something technical at hand, you can always leave the category of "job seekers" to join "job providers". This not only answers what to study but also how to get employed even before you get to the employment market. There are colleges and training institutions that provide you hands on experience. By the time you are out of that college, you have both the training certificate and experience at hands.

Now, if your training certificate cannot get you a job, just use the experience to set up an own venture. It is not necessary that you pour in plenty of money to start a huge set up. You can do it on the Internet - thereby eliminating the need for rental etc expenses. If you have a bigger plan that needs funding, you may try out the private banks for loans. We do have some governmental projects to fund business but you know how government projects operate. While you can give them a try, keep trying for funding in alternate ways - contact angel investors or even go for crowdsourcing.

Summary

I know this is a poorly written article that does not provide many pointers. I was in a hurry to post it so gave less time to the different thoughts coming into my mind. I am - however - willing to assist you with your plans in case you too are willing to take a step towards eradicating unemployment problem in India by setting up own venture. I have some contacts and experience that "may" help you move ahead with your plans. Just send an email and I will get back to you with some or the other solution. Remember that only you can employ yourself - whether for others or for yourself. 


PS: Am surveying the unemployment/employment in ancient India - some 900, 000 years from today (that is, into the age of Ramayana. Please give me a little time to come up with my findings. I will replace this or add a link to that blog as soon as it is up. Meanwhile, if you have any inputs or leads, please help. Thank you!).


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