You Start Dying Slowly!

Live life royally so that you don’t start dying slowly!

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A friend shared with me a poem “You Start Dying Slowly” by Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet. The funny part is, this information is a hoax. An article in Latin American Herald Tribune reports, “Muere Lentamente” is the work of Brazilian poet Martha Medeiros.

Martha_medeiros_tv_brasil

It is remarkable how this Brazilian poet, despite not getting the acclaim and recognition for her work, is taking it all in stride. The article says she is not losing sleep over it and has “enough of a sense of humor to laugh at all this.” That speaks volume of a person who is not dying slowly. You can read the full poem here. https://7minutesonline.com/2017/03/13/you-start-dying-slowly-poem-by-martha-medeiros-which-has-been-erroneously-attributed-to-pablo-neruda-for-a-long-time/

I have chosen to share some important lines from the poem.

You Start dying slowly 

If you do not appreciate yourself 

When you kill your self-esteem 

If you avoid to feel passion 

At least once in your lifetime, 

To run away from sensible advice… 

We should take some time to find out what in you is dying slowly. Whether it is a job you have long wanted to resign from, or your desire to migrate to a place where you feel like you truly belong, or even for once wear something else instead of black, or to order Bhel instead of your favorite Upama or maybe you want to eat pani puri from street side vendor! We’re all in a rut somehow. It’s time to get out of our comfort zones and to finally live life fully!

What happens is that we are stuck into our day to day routine. We do the same things every day, eat, drink, go to office, come back home, watch TV and go to sleep. Most of us are afraid to change. Afraid of what? I do not know? We also have apprehensions about talking to persons not known to us. We think twice before we call a long lost friend when we get his/her phone number after a long search. “I hope that I am not forgotten. Now the person has become a big shot, will he talk to me as a friend?” All these small things always keep on pulling us back.

I have tried to explain below how the thoughts in the poem are real world things. These examples show that you have destiny in your own hand provided you don’t start dying slowly every day!

A friend called me and said, “Pramod do you have some time for me?” I said come over. When he came home he said, “Can we go out?”. We went about 10 km from home and went to a lake shore. I could see that he was completely stressed out. He said, “Pramod I wanted commit suicide but my wife convinced me otherwise. I was traveling and staying in a hotel.” He was working in a reasonably decent organization and had no work-related problems. He further said, “I just don’t feel like going to my office. Somehow, I hate the atmosphere in the office though personally I have no issues.” He said many things and in the end after about 45 minutes he asked me what he should do? I said, “Change the job.” He said that since he did not have any job offer how can he leave a well-paid job? I asked him, “Will you all starve if you don’t get paid for one month?” He smiled. Next day he resigned, within 8 days he got another good job. He bumped into me after a year or so, all smiles and fresh as ever.

Another friend was a couple of years junior to me in engineering college. After second year he decided to leave the course as his calling was theater! He took a degree in arts and managed to get a job in an insurance company where they allowed him time for his passion! If he had not dared to follow his dream, I don’t think he would have been happy, ever!

Mohan

Leading actor Dr. Mohan Agashe did his MD in psychiatry after his MBBS degree. I need not tell you what he has achieved in acting field including a Padmashri! But most will not be aware of his work in Medical field. I called Mohan today to get the details about his work in the medical field. In post Independence India there was hardly any work done on Mental Education, Services and Research. Mohan conducted a study for the nation vis a vis, state of Maharashtra. He generated a project report on the subject. His report was accepted by Government of Maharashtra in 1988, a decision was taken to establish Maharashtra Institute of Mental health. Established in 1991, this institute trains people to take care of patients who need psychiatric help.  Thanks to Mohan, the pioneer, who was instrumental in starting formal Mental Health training in India. I am sure Mohan must have been advised by many to take up medical practice after he completed his studies which was a sensible advice; but Mohan continued to pursue his acting passion along with medical career. Rest as they say is history!

STen

There was an eleven-year-old boy who was passionate about cricket! How can an eleven-year-old be so passionate that his middle-class parents allowed him to stay with his  relatives, to help him to follow his passion and dream. At the tender age of 16 plus Sachin Tendulkar started playing cricket for India. Basically, this happened because he had passion. Hard work, discipline, for next so many years were things which helped him play for record 24 years for India!

Friends what Martha has said in her poem is aptly displayed in the caricature below.

 Snoopy

Opposite of “You start dying slowly” is you live your life royally! To live life royally you don’t have to do things royal! You should do small things in life that you want to do! As per latest term used these days, create a bucket list of things to do before you die! Make sure that you follow your dreams. In the real world there is always a discrimination by colour of skin, height, smartness, sex, money and many other parameters. But we should not forget one thing. We humans are all a special edition, created by HIM. No two persons are same. We should be proud of what we are. We should have self-confidence about ourselves. Many a time we do not understand our own abilities, our expertise and our own self. Be proud of what you are and what you have achieved. But for that you should have tried your best in whatever you did.

I want to apologize to Martha Medeiros. She has inspired me to add a couple of lines to her poem! Friends, you also suggest your own lines!

You Start dying slowly 

When you do not show empathy for others 

When you do not want to give back to the society 

When you don’t help people in need! 

Martha, thank you for allowing me to take the liberty!

Work is Worship!

Everything else is after WORK is completed!

                                          श्रावण मासी हर्ष मानसी हिरवळ दाटे चोहिकडे, 
                                          क्षणात येते सर सर शिरवे क्षणात फिरुनि ऊन पडे 

These are the first two lines of the famous poem श्रावण मासी हर्ष मानसी by celebrated Marathi poet बालकवी ठोंबरे, Balkavi Thombare! The poem is the celebration of the month Shravan from the Hindu Calendar. Every child who had taken education in Marathi in our times knows at  a least a few lines, even today. It has become part of Marathi folklore.

We were going out somewhere, while entering the car a drizzle started. Today we went out a couple of times and both times it was same. In one moment there was rain, the next moment a heavy shower followed by a peek a boo by the Sun! I said to Jaya, “This is typical weather for the Hindu calendar month of Shravan.” I hummed the above lines; but then I remembered that currently the Hindu month going on is Ashadh! This is due to Adhik Mass in Hindu calendar. This calendar is based on Lunar month which is 29 ½ days of our normal calendar. To compensate for this loss of days, every two and half years we have Adhik Mass.

I am good with this but there is a major issue. All Hindu festivals and everything related to the God is celebrated as per Hindu calendar. The palkhi, (https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/palkhi-the-great-tradition/ ) the Palaquin procession terminates on Ashadhi Ekadashi i.e. 11th day of the month of Ashadh. This is where the issue starts. Large number of farmers take part in the procession and the total time taken by Palkhi to reach Pandharpur is 21 days. It is expected that they complete their work in the farms and take some time off for Palkhi. For a couple of years Palkhi starts in 3rd week of June and if there is Adhik Mass then it starts later in July as per Gregorian Calendar. Our seasons are discussed based on Gregorian calendar. So, rain gods follow the Gregorian calendar. Now, how can farmers be away from work, in major part of July, when they need to be on the farms?

Palkhi, bhakti, pooja all these things are fine but if the appropriate things are not done at the right time on the farms, the produce can get damaged, quality can go down! In fact, all the crop could go bust! How to do the right things? Has this ever been discussed in farming community? The farming depends on vagaries of weather, market conditions, disease and many such variables! So, if they remain away from the farms at the wrong time, then I shudder to even think what can happen. 21 days is not a small time to be away.

This brings us to other subject on the topic of farming. The subject that is being discussed much is the excess production in certain areas of farming. In many areas production is quite high and ever-increasing population also is not able to consume it. Let us look at Sugar. Since sugarcane is a cash crop, everybody wants to grow sugarcane. Our annual requirement of sugar is 25 million tons and we have produced 30 million tons. What to do with this sugar? International market is also weak hence the price that one gets is also not remunerative. Strikes? Government support? Government cannot support everything.

Same thing is happening in animal husbandry. Once people realized that milk production is a good business, a large number of people went into that business. They got themselves imported Jersey animals which produce a lot of milk compared to local animals. They took loans and when the going was good everything was fine. Large number of cooperative organizations have come up which collect the milk, process it and bring it to market. Excess milk is converted into milk powder. Milk collection has become quite organized but India has fully market driven system. Government may give some support but ultimately it is buyer and seller system. Excess production and supply will put the rates under pressure and which currently has happened. Solution? People are being misguided by the so-called leaders. They have asked the people to throw away the  milk every day and not give it to collection centers. With this, endless loop is formed where farmers lose more money.

Is it the way to do it? In many European countries milk business is under stress, most of the time. A few farmers do commit suicides but there is no suicide epidemic. They protest in a different way. They take their cows in large numbers to the departmental stores as a protest. They create traffic jams by bringing the tractors in the cities with the purpose of creating jam. In a factory in Japan there was some labour dispute going on for a long time. With no solution in site, the workers resorted to a novel method of protest. They kept on manufacturing shoes only for the left foot. After one week of this protest, a solution was reached. There was only temporary loss in sell but production did not suffer.

In the initial phase of independent India, there was shortage of everything. Food, Milk, Grams, Grain, you name it, we had shortage. We were forced to accept low quality grains, generally fed to animals in the US, as we had no choice. In last 40 years we have made a lot of progress. Go to any market, go to any shop. We see abundance of everything. The way we survived shortages, we have to learn the art and science of handling excesses also. It is the right balance of keeping manufacturing expenses under control, at the same time we should manage to keep final selling price under control, to keep inflation under control.

This needs a lot working together and the system must try and become independent of government support. After all government is you and me. If one hand is paid in excess then the other hand will also need money to buy costly stuff. It is all fine to say that it is middlemen or agents who are the culprits. But the major markets for everything are towns and cities. Reaching produce to the right market at the right time, needs planning, logistics, storage which many a time has to be cold storage. Even with great storage and logistics, Europe is supposedly sitting on big mountain of butter. Similarly, India is sitting on a mountain of milk powder.

It is easier said than done. Farmers have no time and money to do the marketing of their crop. This also needs money.  As far as Maharashtra is concerned, we don’t see problems in farmers from Konkan and Western Maharashtra. The milk problem appears to be problem of more developed society same as in Europe. But in eastern and north eastern areas of Vidarbha and Marathwada these problems and suicides are in large numbers. Experts need to study the reasons for this and find out the real problem behind this. It could be something social, it could be something to do with aspirations. It may be related to way the people think.

In the society, these upheavals keep on happening but the so called advanced communities keep on advancing socially in each generation. They don’t depend on government support and dole all the time. Till the time, societies don’t follow the basic ethics of “Work is Worship”, there will be problems galore. We see that in the  large cities like Mumbai and Pune, any person who wants to work has work. The fighters among them move up fast in the society, not those who want support, all the time, generation after  generation! Don’t make looking for support from someone your habit. Find your own solution, your own path. Take part in Palkhi if it is in June as hundreds of years seems to have proven that during this period basic work for the farms is done and end June and beginning July is a lull time! By all means, during your farming schedules, follow Hindu rituals but not Hindu calendar!

Lathe Joshi!

How to handle Tsunami of change?

Lathe Joshi is a film about one Joshi, who is an expert lathe machine operator. As per the famous rule of this world, “Change is the only constant”, one day his world changes when the workshop owner decides to close his workshop as it is not profitable. Joshi loses his job. But he is not willing to change. He does not want to acquire new skills, nor does he want to retire and join a bhajani mandal to pass his time. He tries to buy the lathe from his old owner but it does not work out. His wife, and son change as per needs of the modern world; though they struggle initially, later they settle down with a reasonable success taking up modern work. They change with the time. Joshi who is known as Lathe Joshi remains Lathe Joshi and has a tough time in later life as he is out of tune with his family, who try to help Joshi. 

We see many Lathe Joshi’s in this world! Last 50 years of previous century changed our world drastically but the changes in the 18 years of this century are breath taking to even reasonably techno comfortable people. Many new things, modern things are making life easy and tough at the same time. Many gadgets that were standard in any office, have become extinct e.g. type writers, filing cabinets, typists, filing clerks. Now every person whether he or she likes it or not needs to reskill, retrain. If it is not done then it will not take time for these people to become Lathe Joshi.  

But is it necessary to change everything old? No way! Everything in the world does not become modern. Old values of love and empathy remain intact! We should all respect each other as human beings. In many areas, what changes is the method of doing things, processes being followed but basics don’t change.  

When anyone goes to take a loan from a bank, that company or the individual needs to provide various documents. These documents now can be submitted electronically, processed electronically and approved electronically. I am sure loan departments of banks are shrinking. We see the same thing while making payments and withdrawing cash. It is said that in next five years number of physical branches of banks will reduce drastically! More Lathe Joshi’s?  

Modern technology makes buying a totally new experience. Amazons and Flipkarts are changing the way we buy things; items bought still need to be shipped so shipping industry will not change. In fact, there will be more and more jobs available in this sector. The courier service, tracking of parcels will become more efficient. But in logistics basics don’t change! Whenever we have any issues with these companies, we chat with their representatives. These “representatives” are many a time BOTS, robots who can chat with you. There could be one human supervising 10 BOTS, same as self-check-out counters in the malls. As far as humans are concerned, obsolescence will happen! Retraining for people in this field is a must!  

Obsolescence looks to be the name of the game but it is difficult to predict what will happen in future. When experts find it difficult to predict, for common person it will be almost impossible to predict and judge about future. Look at the automobile industry. Since last decade, people have been talking of Electric Vehicle (EV). But it looks like finally everybody is jumping the bandwagon. In an IC Engine vehicle there are hundreds of parts in the drive train, which is in between radiator in the front and the exhaust system at the back. These hundreds of parts will be replaced by about 18 parts in the EV. Out of these 18 parts 10 will be electronic controllers! What will be the scenario in 2030/2040? This change is bound to happen once the inflection point is reached.  

An inflection point is an event that results in a significant change in the progress of a company, industry, sector, economy or geopolitical situation and can be considered a turning point after which a dramatic change, with either positive or negative results, is expected to result. Companies, industries, sectors and economies are dynamic and constantly evolving. Inflection points are more significant than the small day-to-day progress typically made, and the effects of the change are often well known and widespread.  

The automobile sector changes, will affect this world in both good and bad ways! Good way is that air pollution will reduce drastically due to lesser use of petroleum products. World will become free of OPEC hegemony. But the bad part will be that  hundreds of thousands of parts currently used in the industry will not be needed. These industries will become obsolete, even though they may want to change. The industries like casting, forging, heat treatment will shrink in size, drastically, world over. This obsolescence will be simply path breaking and breath taking. Top manpower, highly skilled, will become Lathe Joshi’s in very large numbers! Even though they may be willing to change, system will find it difficult to accommodate such large numbers.  

Friends there appear to be obsolescence of two kinds, one is like our friend Lathe Joshi. He simply refused to change and adapt. He did now want to go with the flow and change. Lathe machines were replaced by modern system performing many things simultaneously. But the changes I have mentioned due to EV, are mind boggling. I was chatting with a younger friend running a service industry and manufacturing machinery, for auto industry. His is a core automobile business. He is running the business very successfully. While we were discussing life in general in a party, I asked him a pertinent question about effect of EV’s on his business model. He said, “Pramod, I simply shudder to think about it. I am in business for 25 years, I have funds, I have technology and I have risk taking ability. Business  men running auto ancillaries today, will have to adopt from 2030 onward. There will be thousands of people with my background running businesses very successfully today. How can they re-skill themselves? How can they retrain themselves? It is going to be extremely tough. Luckily by that time, I should be around 70, so it will be left to my next generation to bother about these things.” He smiled and said, “I will make sure that I have retired by then”.  

If a smart person like my friend who employs 100 people, does not know what to do ten years hence, what will these 100 people know about their future?  I am definitely a positive guy but as of now, I am also flummoxed! Yes, there will be solutions, but people will have to make massive changes in their thinking. In whatever new industries come up, people will have to retrain massively to join them. When a lathe was replaced by machining centers, it affected a small group of people world over. But the advent of EV’s is going to create a tsunami and will create more Lathe Joshi’s in the initial period, as there will be millions and millions who will have to adopt! Retrain, re-skill from today? What skills will not be obsolete 20 years hence, I do not know!  

 

Palkhi! The Great Tradition!

” Do you need a reason a reason to be with God”?

Even writing about Palkhi gives a sense of feeling that cannot be explained in words. This great tradition started about 800 years back there are various theories about the same. But what we see are now two Palkhis, one is Dnyaneshwar Palkhi and the other is Tukaram Palkhi. Palkhi is a palaquin procession carrying the footprints of two great saints of Maharashtra, Dyanoba and Tukoba as they are lovingly called. As expected, the old traditional things anywhere change with time, but the basic core does not change. The belief and love of the God Vithoba is to be seen to be believed. Palkhi culminates in the city of Pandharpur a day before Ashadhi Ekadashi in the month of Jyesth (June-July). The famous Mandir of Vitthal and Rakhamai is the place where all reach and have maha puja on the next day, the holy Ashadhi Ekadashi.

This blog is mainly for people who do not live in Maharashtra so I am assuming that they may not be aware of this phenomenal event taking place every year! I have shared some lovely videos, the number of videos are a little more than what I normally share. 21 days of ritual following hundreds of years of tradition is the beacon for the society to pursue a life of piety, in this part of the country. The way faith is bringing together hundreds of thousands of people, from different walks of Life, pun of course intended, is unbelievable. I have taken liberty not to give meaning of some Marathi terms in English.

I feel that more and more experts from various fields should come together and can help make the Palkhi an even better experience. More donations can pour in to support the 21 days of ethereal journey year after year. Government does help but there needs to be a self-generating system which can make things better during Palkhi. Food, hygiene, medical help, sleeping areas all can be definitely improved. I am sure improvement in wash room arrangements will be appreciated by all. Currently all the work is mainly done by small organizations, they provide food stalls, tea stalls and many such supporting things. But if this is available all through the 21 days, people will be happier and will continue this pious journey for years to come. This is one tradition that has not diluted in the essence of what is achieved and what all are looking for! The meeting with their beloveds Vithoba- Rakhumai on Ashadhi Ekadashi.

Tukoba Palkhi starts from Dehu road and Dyanoba Palkhi starts from Alandi. They merge in the city of Pune. The people walk the 250 kms distance in 21 days. This annual pilgrimage is called wari and those taking part in wari are warkaris. There and many other Dindis (is a sub group of Palkhi) honouring various saints that join the procession on the way. There is one Dindi that joins Palkhi from as far as 550 kms. It comes from a town called Ankali in Karnataka. This Dindi is led by two white horses and has 50 people in it. This tradition has started 185 years back. They travel from Ankali to Alandi in 11 days to join the Palkhi!

Along with the Dindi (Palkhi) procession, service (seva) to the poor and needy, like Amrut Kalash (annadana – donation of food), Narayan seva, medical help and building and repairing of rural infrastructure, is done. This is known as Seva Dindi.  From last two years “Niramal Wari” has also started to keep all villages clean during the Wari.

It is believed that participation in Ashadi Dindi and Seva Dindi helps an individual in many ways by bringing good health, peace & prosperity in his life. Chanting the continuous glory of the God in the Ashadi Dindi procession and Seva Dindi purifies an individual, there is an inner cleansing that takes place in Mind, Body and Spirit and the participants tend to lose their individual identities and experience bliss. It develops all aspects of human personality and helps us understand the true purpose of Life.

Management in Wari is a great wonder. It can possibly be compared with the Dabbewalas of Mumbai (http://mumbaidabbawala.in/) for precision without having any modern management tools. Their simple target is to meet Vithoba on Ashdhi Ekadashi in Pandharpur, their only tool is faith!  Most of the people taking part in Palkhi are uneducated or less educated farmers. In recent past, highly educated people have started taking part and one Dindi is called IT Dindi. There are thousands of people taking part in the Palkhi.

The whole is divided into a sub groups called as Dindi. There are more than 200 Dindis on each route. Each Dindi has between 100 and 500 members. The Palkhi is at the center of the Wari procession and around half the number of Dindis are ahead of the Palkhi and the other half are behind. All Dindis are assigned their number and position in the procession and the sequence is strictly followed. The numbers are mentioned as follows: e.g. 5th Dindi ahead of Palkhi. There are many unregistered Dindis also, who join the Wari, they walk well ahead or extreme back of the official Wari procession.

The timetable of Wari route is published well in advance and is strictly followed. It is well defined and minute details are made available including starting location, the location of breaks including lunch, rest, night stay location. Palkhi follows its timetable strictly and things like, inclement weather, heavy rains are simply ignored. None of the warkaris are seen with any special gear against the rains though it is high rainy season in Maharashtra.

Every morning, early dawn, after worshiping the Saint’s footwear, Paduka in Marathi, the Palkhi sets out at 6 am. A Tutari (wind instrument) is blown thrice to alert all Warkaris. At the first signal, all Warkaris get ready to leave. At the second signal, the Dindis stand in the queue as per designated sequence and at the third signal, they start walking. After 4 to 5 km, they take a quick break for breakfast. They take break for lunch as per the given schedule. Though they have their own arrangements for food, many people and organizations are taking part in giving support, this number is increasing day by day! They provide, water, medicines and many things required on a daily basis. Yesterday I read about a group of barbers who provided free shave to those who wanted it. It is said to be a question of faith. There are many people in support system who give their day, though probably they lose their daily wages on that day. This is simply done for their beloved Vithoba!

Every Dindi has one truck or a similar vehicle where the luggage and food material is kept. This is used at the night stay location every day. The Warkaris just carry the emergency material, Tal, Abhang book etc. during walk. The management ensures that the tents are set up and the food is prepared before the respective Dindi arrives at the location. The Dindis also decide the sequence in which the Abhang to be sung. Most of the Dindi members know all the Abhang but the newcomers carry the small book while walking. At any point of time, only one Abhang is sung in the Dindi. The warkari who adorns the garland of Tulsi is called as Malkari. The person who carries Veen in the entire journey is called the Veenekari. These persons have a special status in the Dindi and whole management is driven by them. Any dispute during travel between the Dindis is resolved by them at the stay. Though it’s a huge mass of humanity, I have rarely heard of any serious disputes ever taking place, thanks to Vithoba! Can we humans always keep same faith in day to day life and live the life of Warkaris? We read of murders taking place based on very minor disputes!

From last few years, the additions of doctors have improved the medical facilities in the Wari. The doctors do take care of the members who have got infected or become weak during travel due to walking. There are a few professional doctors, who close their city practice and devote their 21 days in the wari and take care of the Dindi people every year.

The stay arrangements of each Dindi are well defined and planned at every location. Most of the Dindis make stay in the temples available in village or in the tents.

What do people earn by walking the walk? The zeal with which it is done year after after, shows that it is not the journey but their faith in Vithoba to help the achieve the life of piety. With such large number of people keeping aside time, in their yearly schedule, to go and meet Vithoba, it’s a good sign for the society. My cousin Prafulla, who retired as an engineer, and teaches yoga, joins Palkhi every year for ten days! He is 70 plus. I am going ask him after he comes back this year, why does he take part every year? I am sure he will say, ” Do you need a reason  to be with God”?

Vitthal Vitthal Jay Hari Vitthal!

Sanjay Dutt! An Enigma!

Shashi Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt are both Punjabis who have been movie stars. Comparison ends there!

This is the dream sequence song from 1951 movie Awara, picturized on Sanjay Dutt’s mother Nargis; it’s a real dream song to the core. On the other side, the life of Sanjay Dutt is a nightmare.

Normally, I would not have written anything about Sanjay Dutt. He is just one of the many film actors, and he is still alive so there is not going to be an obituary. But then why am I writing about him? Recently a biopic, Sanju, was released on life of Sanjay Dutt! I thought that biopics are films which tell us the true story about the person, warts and all! Ranbir Kapoor has played the role of Dutt. Reports say that he has acted quite well and has picked up the mannerism of Dutt correctly.

When any movie is produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani combine, it is expected to reach certain standards as proven by Munnabhai MBBS and Three Idiots. Business wise, Sanju has done exceedingly well. It has joined the so called 200 crore club, already! It has excellent performance by Vicky Kaushal, as Dutt’s friend in the movie; it is felt as if the role was written keeping Vicky in mind.

Movies are part of our modern lives and it is an industry where hundreds of crores are spent, earned and lost. In this industry, hundreds are working and taking roles in real life of top actors to sweepers at the studios. For every successful artist or a technician there must be tens or hundreds who never made it. We only see the glamour part of it but we never know the tough times they go through. Successful people of the yester year, were equally crazy about this profession and have mortgaged their homes to produce the movies.

Till the end of last century, movies were more about dreams  of individuals and stories were also dreamy and mostly were not real-life stories. In the current century, the near real-life stories have been used to produce movies. So, when I started reading about Sanju, and that the combine of Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani are producing it, I was looking for an epic. Epic it is, but it is in showing lack of guts! Sanjay Dutt is one spoilt human, who had everything going for him. Illustrious parents, who both became Members of Parliament Sunil Dutt and Nargis. When Nargis died at the age of 51, to cancer, Sanjay was 22 years, not a baby or of tender age by any means. Both the parents were known for their love for the nation and were known as good humans.

Dutt

I will not bother about the correct dates and chronological order of the events that took place in Dutt’s life. My question is why the producers did not have the guts to show warts? The meaning of Biopic is a biographical film! When you decide to make a film on a controversial subject like Dutt, is it right to hide the ugly parts from his life? Is it right to blame the media for portraying Dutt as a terrorist? As if Dutt was a real saint! Is it right to hide inconvenient parts from his life?

The film lacks the risqué in its telling. It’s too safe and apologetic in its tone. Movie claims that Dutt was wrong; sure, but most of it is a figment of imagination, concocted largely by the media, harps the movie time and again. Unsubstantiated newspaper reports claimed that  he had RDX at his house, which resulted in him being branded as a terrorist. So, in Dutt’s life, the villain is Media according to a biopic endorsed by him. Was AK 47 captured in his home a figment of imagination?

The film also hides his first wife, Richa Sharma, their daughter by marriage Trishala! What was the need to hide these things? His affairs with many top actresses are also not mentioned. Okay, a film can have only certain length but so many important aspects of his life should not have been pushed under the carpet.

As a human, I am not sure how to rate him. Years back when Jaya and I were traveling back from Delhi, he came to the same restaurant as we were in, at Delhi airport. As film buffs, we did manage to take a photo of Jaya with Sanjay! Even then, he did not show any warmth, or a smile. Maybe he was tired at the end of the day! But it is their job to show, even if falsely, that they are happy all the time, in public! They are celebrities after all! That is the price they have to pay as celebrities.

The popularity of the film Sanju is way up there! It has done big business. Why did this happen? I think when people go to watch any movie they do not bother about what I have discussed here. They don’t care about truth or hiding of the truth! They don’t bother that this person had at least some hand, maybe indirectly, in Mumbai bomb blasts. Why did he think that it is appropriate to have AK47 at home? To save his sisters from rape? The family honour? General people don’t care about all these points. That he made hundreds of calls to people who were known terrorists and were directly involved in bomb blasts, is simply immaterial to the general public, when they go to see a movie! They probably want to forget about the real-life stresses, to go into a dream sequence. After all it was Dutt’s mother Nargis who gave us a treat of the great dream sequence song “Ghar Aya Mera Pardesi”. People simply don’t bother! I have written about two actors who died in the recent past. Shashi Kapoor and Sridevi. The title of my blog about Shashi Kapoor was “ Shashi Kapoor-The British Punjabi”.

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/shashi-kapoor-the-british-punjabi/

This guy, Dutt, has similarities about being a Punjabi and being in movies. But that is where the similarities end! Shashi Kapoor was a thorough gentleman and a good human being. Dutt had advantage of starting at even higher station in life than Kapoor, but he has messed it up, starting with drug abuse and getting involved with terrorists! For not being honest to their craft, Rajukumar Hirani and Vidhu Vinod Chopda come down two notches, as far as I am concerned!

About paying public, they care two hoots about morality and truth! As long as they like what they see, they don’t care! They come to see the dreams! It is for us, the so called intellectuals, to discuss threadbare Dutt’s life, maybe over a glass of Chivas Regal!

Righteous Violence!

If someone slaps you on a cheek, don’t show him the other one! Hit him back! We don’t need Gandhis!

अहिंसा परमो धर्मा is a Sanskrit phrase popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and is repeated many times across the world to emphasize non-violent ways of Indians. It means “Non-Violence is the ultimate Dharma”! In Sanatan Dharma this line is applicable to the renunciates and ascetics! Even if one is attacked he should not defend himself even if there is danger to life because in Sanatan Dharma you identify with Atman and not the body. 

I feel that in real life the second line of this phrase is purposely hidden by so called peace loving people. The full phrase is 

अहिंसा परमो धर्मा 

धर्म हिंसा तथैव च  

Non – Violence is the greatest Dharma, So too is all righteous violence 

When these two lines are taken together, what we can understand is that non-violence is relative! It is the moral responsibility of the person to use violence if it is used to stop greater violence or evil.  

The first line of the phrase was made popular by Gandhi. But Nathuram Godse apparently believed more in second line; he felt that Gandhi had done great harm to India and he took a violent decision to kill Gandhi! It is well proven, post-independence, that violent means are part of ruling a country. In olden days also, the kings resorted to violence and if required they killed people. Same is happening in today’s times. The Naxalite movement is causing a big headache to the Indian state. Initially, appeasement was tried but a stage was reached when this movement started becoming stronger and more violent. Government had no option but to take aggressive stance. This resulted in guerilla warfare where government forces are systematically destroying the violent groups but at the same time they are allowing some of them to surrender and change their ways. Only the strong state can talk of peace, because the other side is aware that otherwise they will get brutally crushed. Kashmir issue is for a completely separate discussion.

A society has an Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), Spiritual Quotient (S.Q.) and a Knowledge Quotient (K.Q.). But it also has Fear Quotient which, which is based on Valour Quotient. But post-independence, due to over dependence on non-violence, India as a  country had become famous for peace and non-violent ways, especially in international dealings. This led to our society having abnormally high Fear Quotient and abnormally reducing our Valour Quotient. 

The result of such thought process was what happened in China war. At the time of China war, our defense minister Krishna Menon was telling everybody that our ordinance factories were busy manufacturing Lanterns! Such weak Leadership of Menon under guidance of Nehru resulted in India having a bloody nose in International diplomacy. China for some reason wanted to teach India a lesson, under very smart slogan Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai (Chinese and Indians are brothers!) Luckily for India, China stopped the war unilaterally otherwise we could have lost many North Eastern States! Nehru wanted to gain personal popularity on the world stage and was gunning, pun not intended, for Nobel Prize of peace! What did he gain? A bloody nose, shame and ultimately died a sad man!  

Subsequent Governments took time to come out of this “Peace Movement”! Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, realized the meaning of being strong and aggressive. Soldiers of the Indian army had fought under the British rule in second world war and had battalions of Sikh, Gurkhas, Rajputs, Marathas and Mahars with great tradition of Valour! What they needed was the support from the government by way of policy.  

Indira Gandhi took the decision following the second line of the phrase, धर्म हिंसा तथैव च! Result was 1971 war against Pakistan! In ten years, India had changed from 1962 debacle to 1971 Victory, which resulted in defeating aggressive Pakistan. At the beginning of this war, Pakistanis were so confident about winning, that they had made statements like, “One Pakistani soldier is good enough to Kill 10 Indian soldiers!” They made such statements because of our post-independence history and conciliatory stand on the global platform. India was always talking of peace, and non-aggression pacts. We never bothered about having weapons, ammunition. Indian polity was changing internally and end result was creation of Atomic Bomb, against all odds. 

Indian thought process had changed so much during 1971 war that India were threatened by USA during this war. They said that they were sending their seventh fleet in Bay of Bengal to help Pakistan! India kept on negotiating with US and on the side, before the fleet could arrive, they made Pakistan surrender! Currently when US is again threatening India about non-supply of missiles, India has joined hands with Russia for these missiles. 

In Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna tells the same thing to the great Warrior Arjuna! On the battle field, Kauravas had opted for Yadav army and Pandavas had opted for advice of Lord Krishna. Ajuna tells Krishna that he can not fight a war with his cousins Kauravas, his Guru Dronacharya  and his Grandfather Bhishma! He almost puts his weapons down and says, “I cannot fight this war which can lead to total destruction of the people I love and respect.” Lord Krishna tells him, “O son of Kunti (Arjuna), either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.” 

Friends, the history of mankind has been brutal. But the wise and smart know one thing that this brutality should not be used for the sake of brutality! But if required, this should be used forcefully and effectively for just cause!  

Whatever people may say about Gandhi’s “Quit India” movements contribution to push British out of India. People claim that this made British go away! I don’t believe it for one minute! It is the Tilak’s, Savarkars, Netaji Boses, Bhagat Singhs and Rajguru’s of this world who pushed British to the brink! Ultimately, the proverbial last straw was the Mutiny of the Naval sailors in 1946, that led to their final decision to quit!  

 

 

The Final Journey!

Don’t follow rituals blindly, instead learn from their teachings!

Eleven  people died in the land slide when pilgrims going to Kedarnath got trapped. Two people died and about 1000 are trapped but now most are rescued! This happened in Pashupati nath and Manasarovar yatra. This was due to inclement weather. A friend of mine went for Char Dham yatra sometime back. Before starting the journey when they were already near Himalayas, he had fever. He decided to brave it out. He really had a tough time for a long time, after coming back. I am aware that all these pilgrimages, are about religious belief and individual choice. When people take informed decisions, it is for them to decide where to go when to go! At the end of the journey, there is proverbial rainbow of achieving Nirvana!  

Travel is one of the biggest teachers that teaches us about many things about life. But what is the reason for taking up any journey? Above journeys are for religious reasons and there are journeys for enjoyment, rest, and some are adventure journeys. For adventure journeys, people normally prepare in advance and such journeys are taken at an early age when the mind and body are both alert and strong. My observation is that above mentioned pilgrimages are in Himalayas, taken much later in life, to achieve peace of mind by following traditional religious practices. This is risky because of the age factor as well weather and young age of Himalayas.  Himalayas are very unstable.

I did a bit of research to find out the significance of these journeys in Himalayas. Things appear pretty vague and nowhere is any mention made that these journeys are a must as per mythology! The Mahaprasthanika Parva of Pandavas, started when they took the final journey, is consistently mentioned in various discussions! At the end of Mausala Parva, Vyasa advises Arjuna and his brothers to retire and renounce their kingdom as the purpose of their life has been served. Arjuna informs Yudhishthira of Vyasa’s advice. Draupadi and the brothers agree. So, it was about renouncing everything and taking the final journey.  

In fact, the story from Mahabharat of the Mahaprasthanika Parva should be used by people to understand life and follow the path shown in the Parva. When Pandvas started their final journey, Draupadi fell and died first! (Depicted in first picture below) Every one of them died because of their frailties. Draupadi died because she was partial towards Arjun. Yudhisthira said that all should be treated the same way. Next to die was Sahadeva; he died because of his pride and vanity. He felt that none of them was equal to him in wisdom. After that was Nakula’s turn; he also died because of pride and vanity. He always thought that he was the most handsome man in the world. Next was Arjuna; he too died because of his pride and vanity. He always used to boast that he was the best warrior in the world. He once told Yudhisthira that if needed, he could kill all his enemies in one day. Next was Bhima; he had the vice of gluttony, he never used to bother if others needed food! This story explains us about life’s frailties and their effect on us!

I must share one very important aspect from this story. Pandavas befriended a dog on their last journey. (Depicted in picture on the right side)  After all of them die except Yudhishthira, Lord Indra in his chariot arrives to pick him up to take him to heaven. Yudhishthira refuses to climb into the chariot without the dog! Finally the dog transforms and appears as deity Dharma. He told Yudhishthira, that his job was to check if Yudhishthira kept his virtues under all circumstances! When we live our life, the deity Dharma is hovering around us too,  in the form of  a virtual dog! It always keeps on tracking if we keep our moral standards high all the time. But we humans don’t learn these important teachings and try to follow blindly the so called traditions without understanding the thought process behind them.

When people take this arduous journey in the Himalayas in today’s times, do they take it as a final journey? What would be purpose of this journey otherwise? Is it adventure? Is it a trek? Is it pilgrimage? There are major weather-related issues on these journeys in Himalayas; besides that for Kedarnath yatra there is always a terrorist threat. Weather even in summer is always inclement. At least, I don’t see any logical reason to take up these journeys! The mythology clearly mentions that it was the final journey of Pandvas as Vyas Muni had suggested to them that their purpose of life was served.  

I feel that people should not follow rituals of going on these journeys blindly, without understanding the real meaning of these stories; in today’s time, it is never intended to be the last journey. Instead people must make sure they have no vanity, no vices. They should be considerate to others. They should treat everybody equally.  They should be humble though, all can not reach Yudhishthira’s virtues. 

Himalayan sojourn is taken up without giving a thought whether it is right thing to do. From the family’s perspective, is it correct to take such risky journeys? What did the people who died, achieve? To my knowledge, after talking to many people who have taken this journey, they are not sure if it was worth the risk, though they may have achieved “Nirvana”! But none of them had taken such a journey following philosophy of Pandvas. For one of my recent blogs, the title was “Was it worth”? But the journey I had mentioned in that blog was a hectic journey but not an arduous and risky. Are these Himalayan pilgrimages worth it?

Similarly, I want to ask the same question if it is worth it, when the journey is very tough, where deaths occur regularly? To me correct thing will be to learn from the teachings given in mythological stories instead of blindly following the rituals! People mainly forget that Pandvas had started their “Final Journey” so risks did not really matter!