A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)


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Tolerance, the need of the Hour!

I just thought I would share the text of the speech, in the Elocution for Group III, (Stds. 5, 6, and 7), with a time limit of 3 minutes, for the All Kerala Bhavan’s Schools Cultural Fest, 2008. This speech was delivered by Niranjana, a class VII student of my school, on the 22 November, 2008. She won the Second Place! Congrats, Niranjana… 🙂 I know, I have already told you, but then this day, I feel that this should be shared by more, and so this comes to be here:

She said:

Quote

 

“The only hope of preserving what is best, lies in the practice of an immense charity, a wide tolerance, a sincere respect for opinions that are not ours.”

 

Honourable Judges, Respected Teachers, Parents and dear friends, these words of Philip Gilbert Hamerton, speak of the importance of tolerance, and how much we need it at this critical hour in our nation, and indeed the world!!

Down the ages, the spirit of Tolerance has been part of the Indian Psyche – it is in her warp, weft and weave, displayed in moments we celebrate festivals, the spirit of humanity, cutting across the boards, at all levels – the strata, community, religion or region. It is this, within us, the almost instinctive feeling we have that binds us over narrow man made compartments, especially in the mind!

Even now this is manifest in our governance- is there another country that can boast of a Hindu President, a Muslim Vice President, a Sikh Prime Minister and a Catholic Defence Minister?

And that, dear friends, is the rosy idealistic picture! Reality often tells a different story.. Since Independence, which itself saw moments of deep intolerance, fundamentalism, regionalism and communalism are on the rise!. Witness the recent happenings in Mumbai, perhaps the most tolerant and cosmopolitan of our cities – is this a final countdown to a communal meltdown too? Isn’t it time we took stock of ourselves?

The simple act of accepting another, not just in spite of but because of their differences is the key to thinking tolerantly. I’d like to share the experience of listening to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on the 10th of this month, at Trikkur.

Where there is righteousness,

he said,

It leads to beauty of character;

When there is beauty of character,

It leads to Harmony in the Home;

When there is Harmony in the home,

It leads to Order in the Nation;

 

and

 

Order in the Nation will lead to Peace in the World!

A timely reminder this! That you and I can make a difference! With education, awareness, and by beginning at the beginning – with the child! Imprint in its mind, heart and soul the courage of conviction, the need to do the right.

In the words of the Serenity Prayer :

May God Grant Us

The serenity to accept things we cannot change

The courage to change the things we can

And the wisdom to know the difference!

Thank you!

Unquote.

As always, I had bought little mementos for all the participants of the different groups, bookmarks, cards and little gifts for the little ones of the classes 1 – 5. But this time, this (above) is what came back… a lovely hand painted card a key chain from Niranjana (Class 7), and a lovely scrawl by Sreya (Class 2; she recited a beautiful poem, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra B. Welch, and a story of “The Cook and the King”; got A grades for both!!!) along with those cute pencils and a scented candle.

The pictures tell you :), don’t they? Treasured possessions, for me; and more, they (the children) are the reason I still believe… 🙂

1 December, 2008

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An Open Letter to the Government of India

India

29 November, 2008

An Open Letter to the Government of India

I have to, in some way, express this deep anguish over the many losses our nation has faced today.

Though one cannot quantify the loss as more or less important, I do feel gaping holes have been left with the demise of the bravest of our countrymen, of the NSG, the Mumbai Police and the ATS.

And at this point, I come back to a bickering Government and the IAS Babus, over the Sixth Pay Commission. Are YOU so gutless, as to still pursue that YOU are worth more that these brave souls who dared to go in where YOU WOULD NOT? Is that grade of the Lt. Colonel still a bone of contention? How much further will we take this Babudom’s Autocracy??

Can’t the Government, unanimously, cutting across all boards at least NOW, NOW, for heaven’s sake, say that there will be no more anomalies and will accept unconditionally the Service Chiefs Requests on that?

They are only asking a little of what they deserve. And no one who dares to call themselves an Indian this day would begrudge them this little they can do for the Services.

I know that this seems inappropriate, but what better occasion than this to drive home the point that it is these poorly paid soldiers who unhesitatingly, unstintingly and unconditionally put themselves in the line of fire; and did not boast about it in front of the media.

They are the unknown faces of succor to the nation and yet, we do not give them a single benefit they deserve.

Nothing.

That is saddest part of today’s governance. That YOU will not do this, for those, who lay their lives down, laughing in the face of danger, and making sure we can sleep in peace at night.

Can you Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Defence Minister, and Mr. Home Minister, not do something about this?

Please?

Hoping that this will be received with an open mind, and a generous spirit, and the Heart of an Indian

I submit,

A Grateful Indian

***

I wonder if my vision is earthworm like at this moment, but there is a feeling deep within, something that has been wanting to take the Government by its collar and shake it senseless, demanding to know why even now, they quibble over giving anything to the soldiers. I am not an expert on the exact content, but I do enough to know that injustice has been done, is still being done, in not accepting the perceptions of the Services.

The country, the taxpayers are only too happy, so why is the Government, as always, creating obstacles, by giving in to the Babus, the IAS?

Why?

30 November, 2008

Edited to add: Just found this, on Mr S. P. Joshi’s blog, Random Thoughts. It really gives an eye opener of a view, simplified for us to understand, of the reason why the anomalies must be corrected, and the SErvice Chiefs requests be met. It is called The Armed Forces of India.Do excuse me for using it without permission. But it elaborates your comment very well too.


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For Peace

For Peace…

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!

May Peace and Happiness Prevail…

May there be peace in your heart
Where it should, really, all start…

May there by peace in your eyes
So that from there it flows, gently to arise…

May there be peace in your utterance
And all that you speak, makes a warm difference…

May there be peace in every deed
To bring harmony to those in need!!

May all of us be these symbols
of Peace, ringing out from from us, the Cymbals!!

A fairy tale, a dream dreamt, yet untold
I know: but why can’t we make so bold

As to try and be peaceful
and thus, make the world more beautiful?

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu!
Om Shanthi…Shanthi….Shanthihi…!

7 May, 07

****

Another re-post. The hope is strong, still. So I had to share this one too. The prayer is derived from this entire sloka, which has nothing to do with religion, just an expression, from ancient scriptures on the need for universal harmony, that holds the key to existence in society, harmoniously. Something we lack, sadly, utterly, today.

svasti prajabhyam paripalayantham nyayeana margena mahim maheesah
gobrahmanebhya shubamsthu nityam lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu

Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. May peace and harmony prevail. Although this mantra does not appear in any of the existent Veda sakhas [Vedic branches], it is an expression of the universal spirit that we find therein.
For peace and harmony to prevail, the kings–i.e. the politicians and leaders–should have a healthy approach towards their subjects and govern according to principles of dharma. And that is what the ancients interpreted it as. Is it any different now, in our contemporary context?

28 November, 2008

Picture, Courtesy: http://www.womenretreat-vcws-us.org


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I still Hope..

This morning, from the Warzone Mumbai, that screened on the news channel, I went to school, where it was business as usual, being in a sense, far removed from the happenings in Mumbai. At assembly, the news was read out by Niranjana, and she shared the latest happenings, in numbers and quotes from newspapers and news channels. I was glad she did. I hoped that a sombre mood would prevail, and hoped for the seriousness of it all to sink in, in the minds of the children.

But children will be children, right? My class, the sixth, were busy with the cleanliness campaign, having newly discovered the value of dignity of labour. We had a session yesterday, where I shared some of my own school day tasks. I take heart. Something has transferred itself to them. So I share what I saw just before I left for school. And I ask them, is there anything we can do? Re-phrased. What can we do?

Silence for a while. A young boy pipes up, “Shoot the terrorists.” So we discuss this, and we realize that this is happening. But isn’t that something an elder person would do? What can you do? Re-phrased. What can we here, do? “Pray” came a quiet voice. A young girl. Suddenly, I realized I had been rather insensitive.

Quickly I asked them, do you have anybody in Mumbai? Are they safe? Some nodded. The same young girl looked a little worried. Anna, I asked, anyone there? Yes, teacher, she said. And are they safe? Yes, but they live very close, in Colaba. Hmmm… so did you all speak to them. The response was affirmative. But the atmosphere in the class changed. They empathized with her. At the end of the period, I noticed how some children went across to her to quietly ask her things and speak to her.

In the eighth and ninth standards, the responses were more vocal. Condemning the news channels, especially those taking mileage out of the happenings, and yet sharing all that they knew of what they had seen, they were still not able to go beyond, “Shoot them all”, when it came to what we could do. Treat each other better? I asked. Smiles. No, I insisted, begin there, and see how it ripples out. What if something like this happened again, and to someone who we knew, us, also? Can we make a difference I asked? Usure looks again, but some more positive nods. The how of it, well, they still had to define for themselves. So I spoke of that wonderful story of the man on the beach throwing the gasping starfish back in the sea. It is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever heard. The bell rang, as I wound up. I simply told them how it made a difference to that one starfish, thrown back to life. Could we not in some way internalize that??

Why am I telling the children this, I wondered? But then, there is no one else who would understand it so well, and no one else I would trust to change and make that difference.

And that is why I still hope.


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Give us a sense of…

May I first of all say that most of the media is doing a great job covering the events, of horror, and keeping the nation and the world updated

BUT…..

Right through day yesterday and the entire night, to very moment I am at the keyboard, this is what I have been listening to, sometimes, ad nauseum, from news Anchors, Journalists and…

Give us a sense of…

How you feel… your son is inside the Taj, isn’t he?

How you feel… what was it like being in there, with the terrorists firing inside?

What you saw, as you descended the stairwell…

Do they the journos, and anchors have any??

SENSE

that is??

Some of the comments border on sheer and deliberate insensitivity, as they hog limelight, telling you that these are pictures coming only from their news channel and no one else has!!!! What do you do with this inanity, at this crucial hour of terror!!

I just wondered what would have been the scenario if one of the terrorists had called up Arnab at Times Now… Unthinkable…

He’d go on…
I’d like to give our viewers, brought exclusively by Times Now.. a

Sense of…

blah blah blah blah….

Sadly, even Barkha Dutt, went somewhat overboard.

Will someone please tell them to get some sense, and sensitivity and sensibility!

27 November, 2008

P.S. I am going to be late for school, but what the heck, I had to write this down! Now, give me a sense of … what you think.. !