Kartarpur Corridor Reflects Teachings Of Guru Nanak:

By Promod Puri

It is hailed as a “Corridor of Peace” between India and Pakistan.

The Kartarpur Corridor is a long-awaited and welcome historical development for Sikhs worldwide. The much-desired Corridor connects the border town of Dera Baba Nanak from the Indian side and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan.

The 4.7 kilometers border corridor is a sacred passage to the historic site of Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), settled and assembled the faith’s commune after his missionary travels.

The highlight of the Corridor is that it is visa-free for pilgrims and devotees of Sikhism and from other religions to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur.

Till now, Sikh devotees from the Indian side gather in large numbers on higher places to have sacred viewing of the Gurdwara across the border.

The Indian government at one time was reluctant to the Corridor project, because of the poor state of the relationship between the two countries. Instead, it offered to install several powerful binoculars close to the border for viewing of the Kartarpur Gurdwara.

With the change of mind, perhaps the original proposal was mooted by ruling BJP prime minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, that the present Modi Government tends to be a partner in the project.

An 800-meter-long bridge over the Ravi river to lead up to the transit terminal where shuttle buses take the pilgrims from India to Pakistan.

The Kartarpur Gurdwara is a revered Sikh historical shrine where according to one Lahore-based historian Fakr Syed Aijazudin, the place houses the last copies of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism.

The Kartarpur Corridor has been an old, forceful and relentless demand of the Sikhs to the leadership of both the countries. It was only in September 2018 that the Pakistan Government unilaterally decided to start construction work for the Corridor.

The announcement was instantly welcomed by the government of India when prime minister Narendra Modi compared the decision to the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying the project may help in better relations between the two nations.

The peace Corridor is complete close to the 550th-anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev’s birthday.

The Sikh Guru founded Kartarpur in 1504 AD and established the first commune for his followers there. He lived in Kartarpur till his death. It is believed that the tradition of langar, an iconic part of Sikh faith, began here.

Guru Nanak was a firm believer in “karta,” meaning a doer. This relates to a person who besides being religious, is actively involved in doing work to earn one’s pious living. While in this engagement one also keeps social and family ties, rather than seeking a religious seclusion life as a hermit in search of god and peace. Hence, he named his place of final settlement Kartarpur.

The original 16th-century shrine on the banks of river Ravi was built by the followers of Guru Nanak Dev, including many Muslims. But it was ravaged by floods. The present Kartarpur Gurdwara was built by late Maharaja of Patiala Sardar Bhupinder Singh in 1925 at the site where Guru Nanak died.

After the partition of India in 1947, the Kartarpur region was awarded to Pakistan. The Gurdwara was sort of abandoned and showed signs of ruin. Later in 1995, the Pakistan Government began the repair work and fully restored the sacred Sikh shrine in 2004.

The sanctity of the site was always upheld by Nanak’s Muslim devotees as well. And today Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib has emerged as the ultimate symbol of peace among the Punjabis on both sides of the border.

The “Corridor of Peace” would be the eventual tribute by both the nations of India and Pakistan to the teachings of Guru Nanak.

-30-

Promod Puri is a Vancouver-based journalist, writer, and author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Tradition.” Websites: promodpuri.comprogressivehindudialogue.com

-30-

Promod Puri is a Vancouver-based journalist, writer, and author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Tradition.” Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com 

 

COMPLAIN, SHOULD WE OR SHOULD WE NOT!

by Promod Puri

I may be a complaint type of person. So are some or perhaps most of us of this nature.

Actually, I have not done any google research to find statistics about the extent of this addiction among us. The reason is even if I shovel to dig for the numbers these would be available in some percentage like most surveys report these days.

Whether it is desired or not the trend is that a lot of information and data come in the mathematical veil of percentage.

Example: there is a new small apartment building of 10 or 20 suites coming up in our neighborhood, and the latest sign says “90 percent sold”. Why don’t they make it more clear and simply say nine or 18 sold and only one or two are left.

Another one: the merchandising sales are advertised like “50% to 70% off”. Again we don’t get the actual prices of sale items unless we visit the stores advertising these super special sales.

This subtlety of percentage is always baffling to me. Anyway, the point is that I am complaining even about trivial matters or things.

Still, I feel the nature of complaining gives us an outlet to express our dislikes or disapprovals about something or most things we come across or experience in our day-to-day life.

There are an extensive cross-section and mixed bag of complaints; an endless list of our grudges against governments, politicians, leaders, bosses, and mothers-in-law/daughter-in-law; corporations, businesses, lawyers, doctors, dentists, and plumbers; friends and relatives (mostly at their backs); culture, traditions, systems, religions, and even God (why not); weather, environment, health and bad knees; etc, etc.

And then there are complaints about complaints, quite genuine ones. Here is a sample: a friend is meeting his buddy after quite some time. His first remarks the moment they meet are like this “why you did not inform me about your father’s death”. Before the buddy comes up with a reply, the friend continues “anyway, I am sorry to hear that….”. The very basic civility is to express condolence before complaining of not being informed about the sad news.

My own experience with a complaint is regarding talking with relatives in India by phone. A few of them, the moment they pick up the phone, sarcastically say ” finally you have come to remember us” or ” you are phoning us after a long time”.

Again the underlying social grace is to express thanks for my phone call and then complain if one has to. Here in Vancouver, Canada, the den of preserved Punjabi culture, the complaint goes like this ” O’ phon phan maar liya kar kadi”.

And then some people don’t have any distinction between a complaint and a compliment. Example: “Oh you look weak, you have lost so much weight, are you ok” or “you have put on quite a weight”. And then followed by “Nice to meet you”!

I don’t know what is the psychology behind being of complaining nature. But complaining can be considered as healthy criticism (sometimes). And for that reason, we should be in the elite category of being called critics like food critics or film critics.

So, shall we keep complaining? It does give an outlet to express oneself as well as some status of being a critic. Anyway, please do complain if you don’t like this piece.

 promodpuri.com

A Love Story Hacked By Mahatma Gandhi

This story is not an attempt to downgrade his personality, but it reveals how Gandhi became from ordinary to an extraordinary human being. He learned from his experiences, moved on, and became one of the great leaders of the world in the contemporary history of the world.

by Promod Puri

While Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence activism got him international fame and many followers, an important part of his personal life and preferences has been revealed in an unknown small book by Professor Kris Tangri.

Kris Tangri lived a retired life in Victoria, Canada, after a very successful academic career in Canadian and American universities. He died a couple of years ago in his mid-90s

Kris reveals in his book that during his university days in India, he fell in love with a fellow student who was the granddaughter of Gandhi. The romance went for quite some time and finally, the couple decided to get married.

But according to Kris that was not acceptable to Gandhi. For the only reason, he figured out that he was a Punjabi getting into a Gujarati family. It never happened before.

Otherwise, Kris in his young days was quite handsome, educated, intelligent and belonged to reputable and established Punjabi Khatri Hindu family. He had all the required qualifications to be accepted by Gandhi and his family. But he was not a Gujarati.

Despite, the initial no to this proposal, the couple was adamant and the engagement ceremony was performed. At this point, Gandhi came with a condition that the marriage could only take place if the couple did not see each other for the next seven years as a test of their everlasting love for each other.

The destiny had its own plan. Kris was to leave for Europe for higher studies. And while abroad, due to lack of fast communications, he lost his contact with the person he loved.

Gandhi’s scheme worked and his granddaughter in the meantime got married, which Kris learned when he came back to India.

Well, that was Mahatma Gandhi known for his universal fight against racism and prejudice, but in his personal life, he was just a Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

 

https://promodpuri.com/

What Happened When India Became A Republic

image

India adopted its own constitution on January 26, 1950, and became a republic. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the law minister who was the principal author of the nation’s constitution. Among the most significant features of the constitution was declaring untouchability unlawful.

“After centuries of hitherto unchallenged and illegal authority relating to human rights violations, Manusmriti in terms of laws of India became illegal overnight.

“Under Manu’s dictum, the denial of intermarriage between different castes helped the caste system to gain its footing and fortify the social composition he envisioned. His optics resulted in an altogether new culture in the society which dehumanizes Shudras and Untouchables, deprived women of their basic freedoms and empowerments.”

 

Excerpt from Hinduism: beyond rituals, customs, and traditions. Progressivehindudialogue.com

Nepal’s Menstrual Huts

Nepal’s menstrual huts: what can be done about this practice of confining women to cow sheds?

Sara Parker, Liverpool John Moores University and Kay Standing, Liverpool John Moores University

The tragic recent deaths of a mother and her two sons in a chhaupadi hut in Nepal has again brought the issue of this exclusionary practice to the forefront of international human rights and media attention.

Despite being illegal, chhaupadi, the practice of exiling menstruating women and girls from their home – often to a cow shed – is still practised in some areas of Western Nepal. Chhaupadi is an extreme example of the stigmas and restrictions around menstruation that exist not only in Nepal, but also globally. The recent protests at the Sabarimala temple in India, which women of menstruating age are not allowed to enter, is another example of menstrual pollution beliefs.

The image of menstruating women and girls being forced to leave their homes and be confined to a cow shed dominates media coverage of the issue in Nepal. But this view oversimplifies what is a much more complex issue. Chhaupadi is not only limited to the physical practice of sleeping in a shed – it goes beyond this to include deeply rooted cultural beliefs about impurity, which see women and girls as inferior, and lead girls to internalise these feelings. Girls are told they are impure form a young age, which can have a damaging effect on their psyche and sense of self-worth.

Many NGOs and activists are destroying the sheds – and the Nepalese government has introduced new penalties and sanctions, such as removing state food support and other services. While this might seem like a welcome move, in some areas there are reports that this can make it more dangerous for women and girls as instead they sleep outside in caves or the jungle without shelter or mosquito nets. These practices are deeply ingrained in culture and society, so many women may leave their homes despite sanctions for fear of bringing harm if they don’t.

Tham Maya Thapa, Nepal’s minister for women, children and senior citizens, believes it will take time to end chhaupadi. This is a custom that has been deeply entrenched in Nepalese society for hundreds of years.

What can be done?

Nepal is an exceptionally diverse country of 125 ethnic groups. To tackle chhaupadi, a nuanced understanding of how menstrual practices and beliefs differ among varied religious and ethnic backgrounds is required. Although chhaupadi hits the headlines, there is no one all-encompassing single narrative on menstruation in Nepal.

We have been researching gender, education and gender-based violence in Nepal over the past 25 years and are working on a project on the origins of menstrual beliefs and practices which explores the diverse range of beliefs, practices and historical and cultural roots which underpin menstrual health customs in all seven provinces of Nepal.

We are working with local organisations and activists such as Radha Paudel, to challenge menstrual stigma, as a a deeper understanding of the diverse menstrual practices beyond chhaupadi is needed to do so. Our previous research has highlighted a range of stigmas and restrictions, such as not being able to visit the temple and participate in religious ceremonies, as well as being forbidden to look in mirrors, cook, or have any contact with men. Because while chhaupadi is a serious human rights issue, other issues of gender-based violence, such as sexual violence and domestic abuse do not get the same widespread media coverage.

A range of academics and activists are challenging the media representation with photography, film and art which empower women and girls to speak out about their experiences. These can be powerful tools, ensuring that the voices of women and girls are heard and highlighting that women and girls can be active agents of change, rather than simply passive victims of oppression.

Working with local organisations

Collaboration with local communities and partners is key to changing attitudes, and this can be done using participatory and creative methods. For example, a team of experts from the University of Pittsburgh in partnership with Nepal Fertility Care Centre used collaborative filmmaking to include girls in the conversation around menstruation.

The girls who made the film have gone on to be advocates for change and are challenging menstrual stigmas and taboos in their community. Bringing them to Kathmandu increased the confidence of the girls, and engaged policy makers, government ministers and NGOs. The film received an international audience at the Kathmandu film festival as well as media coverage.

Meanwhile, the MenstruAction conference in Kathmandu in December 2018 brought together local expertise working towards challenging stigmas and restrictions and enabling and empowering women to realise their sexual and reproductive rights and their basic right to be free from harm and discrimination. Government ministries need to engage in these events and work together with grassroots activists to promote change.

Complex problems require complex solutions. Menstruation is often framed as a “health and hygiene” issue, but a range of actors are needed to bring about long-term change. The media have a role to play in raising awareness, too – but they must be careful not to sensationalise the issue, and to also listen to – and report – the voices of activists and change makers in the community.

Only when we put women and girls and their voices at the centre of research, policies and interventions, can we truly understand the nuanced nature of the deeply embedded practice of chhaupadi.The Conversation

Sara Parker, Reader in Development Studies, Liverpool John Moores University and Kay Standing, Reader in Gender Studies, Liverpool John Moores University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

ON WHAT GROUND LEFTISTS BACKING VENEZUELA’S DICTATOR

Why the political Left must always support the dictatorial and one-man authoritarian regimes with the bogus tags of being socialist.

This time it is Venezuela where the fraudulent dictator Nicolas Maduro is ruling the nation with the same style as his predecessor Hugo Chavez. Simply because of another aspirant to the presidency has been approved by the “capitalist” USA?

In the meantime, the so-called socialist rule under Madura has put Venezuela under severe economic conditions where the very basic necessities of life are hard to get and buy. The law and order in the country are worst, the garbage is piling up, and the people are desperately trying to get out seeking asylum in the neighboring countries or even to the United States.

On what ground the Leftists are supporting the dictatorships of Venezuela?

-Promod Puri

A Bird’s Eye View of India On Its 70th Republic Day

By Promod Puri

Republic Day on January 26 is an official colossal event in India every year to celebrate the adoption of its constitution marking the nation as an independent democratic republic. How the country looks after all these years since its Independence from the British Raj in 1947! Although, the statistics have changed as this article was written a few years ago, the overall picture of India remains the same. Maybe not! Especially when there has been quite an ideological transformation to reweave India’s social and secular fabric in the last just over four years.

The cliché that India is a country of extremes when explored make it so complex and contradictory that all the realistic but conflicting arguments and statistics just balance out each other.

And that leaves a juggernaut of overviews or images of the country, making it one of the most complex and hard to discern societies in the world.

The extremes of India can be as high as Himalayan peaks. Or these can be as deep as the Indian ocean. They cover all the aspects of the nation and its mass of 1.21 billion people brimful in the space of 3214 kilometers from north to south and 2993 kilometers from east to west.

These billion-plus people, growing at the rate of 1.34 percent per 2011 estimates, speak over 185 different languages. Twenty-nine of these are categorized as “official.” That means each one of them has over one million native speakers.

The linguistic breakdown continues with countless dialects as part of the family of each of the official languages. The plethora of languages and dialects result in multi- multicultural distinct communities retaining their ethnicities in India’s democratic environment.

In addition to the linguistic and cultural divide, India’s population is further splintered along the world’s major and minor religions. These religious affiliations are then sub-divided into hundreds of regional and ethnic sects.

Hindus dominate the religious demography with 80.5 percent of the population. Hinduism has the maximum number of sects within it. Muslims form the second largest group with 157 million followers. And that earns India the distinction of having the third-largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia and Pakistan.

India is the birthplace and cradle of four religions namely: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Christianity touched its soil about 2000 years ago, almost at the same time, it entered Europe.

Whereas the religious, linguistic, and cultural plurality in the country seeks peaceful preserve under the nationalistic jingle of unity in diversity, occasional bursts of communal riots dampen that spirit.

But the realities of contemporary India lie in its voluminous changes and no change at all. It is a wide-open scene of extreme disparity in all fields and occupations along with overwhelming and mind-blowing figures, which offer cheers as well as despairs.

Among the top stars of the shine-India parade are the 57 Indian billionaires out of 1210 in the world. Per the Forbes annual list of ultra-rich, their net worth ranges from one billion dollars to 22.4 billion.

The Indian billionaire club membership includes industrialist Mukesh Ambani. He is top on the Indian list and 9th in the global rank. His $2 billion vertical palace has, besides luxurious features, quite a view of the reality of India at ground zero.

The place is a scene of sprawling slums whose dwellers represent 41.6 percent of India’s population living below the new international poverty line of $1.25 (purchasing power parity) per day, reveals the World Bank.

Leaving aside the Ambani family and the rest of the billionaires as their personal achievements, the nation itself produces impressive economic growth figures.

As such, India’s economy at $1.632 trillion is the 9th largest in the world by GDP (referring to the market value of all the goods and services produced in the country), and at $4.057 trillion is fourth-largest by PPP. The country’s GDP growth is being maintained at around 8 percent, while GDP per capita is $1371 with inflation at 9.72 percent.

India’s total merchandise and services import and export trade is worth $606 billion, and it has amassed $308.62 billion as a foreign reserve in the last decade or so.

The country, once “the brightest jewel in the British Crown was the poorest nation in the world regarding per capita income,” is now considered an economic powerhouse.

But the other side of the coin is, as per the World Bank figures, 75.6 percent of the country’s population is living on less than $2 a day (PPP) and where over 315 million people with their 50 cents a day income eat their hard-earned daily bread squatting on floor as dining chair and table are luxury items for the poor.
Despite the fact, the poor in India dispense 80 percent of their income on groceries; the spending does not buy them nutritive and protein-rich food.

India has the highest number of malnourished people, at 230 million, and is at 94 of 119 in the world hunger index. Forty-three percent of India’s children under five are underweight, the highest in the world.

The UN estimates 2.1 million Indian children die before reaching the age of five every year, which is four every minute.

Malnutrition often linked with diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and measles is due to lack of access to healthcare and medical services which are related to the problem of poverty.

On the poverty scene, India remains at an “abysmal rank” in the UN Human Development Index, it is positioned at a 132nd place in the 2007-08 index.

India does not hide poverty. Or to be more explicit it can’t.

Thanks to its vibrant and alert democratic system which allows social activists and groups, and the media to openly raise the plight of poor, their sufferings, exploitations, and struggles in the developing as well as stagnant India.

Whereas the poverty scene is quite extensively debated politically and socially, the government itself provides the statistics. And that is one bureaucracy which has earned its reputation internationally.

There are thousands of organizations in the country and a few political outfits exclusively working on many fronts to help the poor and creating awareness of the opportunities available to advance this section of the society to acceptable living standards. Thus, India currently upgrades 60 to 70 million people from the poor to the middle class every year.

An estimated over 300 million Indians now belong to the middle class, one third have emerged from poverty in the last 10 years. And with ambitious expectation, at the current rate majority of Indians will be middle class in 2025.

The question is who belongs to the middle class or how much income is needed to get into this section of the society.

The demarcation is so elastic that the World Bank has stretched it from $4500 to $20,000 per household per year. Whereas, an Indian agency, the National Council for Applied Economic Research, has limited the figure to $4000. And even some say an earning of just $1000 per household of four persons per year is ok to belong to the middle class.

For that inexact and somewhat ambiguous definition, the middle class can be divided into lower-middle-class, middle-middle-class, and upper-middle-class. Together this burgeoning part of the population is the major booster to the country’s economy exerting its influence on most aspects or facets of India.

The country is bursting with expansion on all fronts. With the ever-increasing population, India faces huge problems and huge challenges to meet the growing needs of its people whereby a mere glance at statistics provides some clues to discern the nation.

LITERACY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
In the field of education, despite its tremendous expansion, 25 percent of the population is illiterate. Only 15 percent of Indian students reach high school and just seven percent, graduate.

The 2011 census reveals “every person above age seven, who can read and write in any language, is considered literate.” As such, 75 percent of Indians are literate.

The higher education system in the country is the third-largest in the world. India has about 240 universities, three of them namely the Indian Institute of Technology, the Indian Institute of Management, and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, are listed among the top 20 varsities in the world by the Times Higher Education list.

There are hundreds of medical and engineering colleges churning out tens of thousands of graduates every year. Besides, there are as many polytechnic institutions, and thousands of primary and secondary schools dotting the country all over.

Still many of these learning places are running under-funded and under staff in shabby and disappointing conditions. In a recent study of 189 government-run primary schools, 59 percent had no drinking water, and 89 percent had no toilets.

INFRASTRUCTURE
India is on the move. Its rail network is the largest in the world with 63,465 kilometers of rail tracks. It is the fourth heavily used system in the world transferring over six billion passengers and over 310 million tons of freight annually.

The colossal rail system connects practically every nook and corner of the country. Still, there is a chronic shortage of trains which are mostly jampacked, and even offer a familiar scene of commuters riding on roof-tops of rail compartments.

The roads network is the third-largest in the world with 3,320,410 kilometers’ length including some recently completed national and regional highways. While most others are still very old, extremely narrow, and very poorly maintained. The latter are the backbone of local and inter-city transportation where except for airplanes, all other types of vehicles, from bullock carts to Mercedes and Jaguars run side by side along with two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cyclists, vans, buses, trucks, etc.

In a typical urban scene, pedestrians and moving vehicles share the street along with stray dogs and cows. And it seems everybody has the right of way. It is a matter of maneuverability as to how to get out of the traffic jams in India’s extended rush hours which start early in the morning till late evening seven days a week.

There is a lot of road construction and improvement going on all over India and that includes building new highways and flyovers to ease congestion. The star of modern India’s transportation infrastructure is the so-called Metro passengers-only rail which is amazingly very efficient in its operations and unbelievably clean including the tracks and stations.

Despite tremendous progress in the infrastructure, India has a poor record of road safety, around 90,000 people die from road accidents every year, and that is about 13 persons every hour.

Certainly, rails and roads dominate the Indian transportation system, but air travel is perhaps the fastest growing sector in the country with over half a dozen domestic airlines compared to only one not long ago.

As we move on to realize and comprehend India, corruption, black money, and unethical, dirty and criminally polluted politics blight the country giving a message of hopelessness if the nation will ever cure itself of these ills.

In 2010 India ranked 87th out of 178 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perception index. Corruption is the vehicle by which most of the bureaucracy at all levels of government move or resolve issues. Perhaps one of the biggest contributors to this aspect of the Indian economy is the trucker community who according to Transparency International pays $5 billion in bribes annually to get moving.

India’s black money or underground economy is estimated to be $640 billion in the year 2008, and certainly, it is growing thru corruption and under the table deals. Some news reports claim that “data provided by the Swiss Bank Association Report 2006, showed India has more black money than the rest of the world combined”.

The Swiss Bank Association as per its 2006 estimate suggests that India topped the worldwide list for black money with almost $1,456 billion stashed in Swiss banks, this amount to 13th times the country’s total external debt.

With those whopping sums of black money, it sure feels like “India is a rich country filled with poor.”

With corrupt and black money, there is the criminalization of politics as the nexus exists among criminals, politicians, and bureaucrats. Criminals enjoy the patronage of politicians of all parties and the protection of government functionaries. Gang leaders have become political leaders, and over the years, criminals have been elected to local bodies, provincial assemblies and even to the national parliament.

The corruption, the black money and the contaminated politics in the country along with pathetic and deplorable widespread poverty, while being denounced, resented and protested, are at the same time accepted as inevitable norms in the country. And these issues are as much tolerable as the open garbage littering the streets of India. Still, life goes on despite being intentionally ignored as visible realities.

However, equally striking realities are the whopping increase in cell phone subscribers and internet users running into millions. There are impressive, exciting and trendy big shopping malls. Several lanes modern highways, freeways, and flyovers are changing the urban and countryside landscape. Many five to seven stars hotels with fluently English-speaking staff; latest models of luxury cars and in plenty the visible realities.

Famous brand name expensive clothing and most household accessories; millions of barrels and bottles of finest wines, whiskeys, and scotch; multistory commercial and residential buildings with ultra-modern amenities and luxurious decor, and skyrocketing real estate values which are among highest in the world add to the cultural and architectural scene of modern India.

The whole landscape of urban India looks different not only in physical outlook, but the affluence has brought quite a change in the social culture of people as well. The American and European culture seems to be part of the Indian cultural mosaic especially among the young, educated and well-paid professionals and the business people.

That is the new reality of contemporary India which is represented by the rich and the middle-class sections of the population, but that creates an illusion that the nation is a land of enormous prosperity. And this illusion is reinforced by the media thru their various programming, commercials and advertising whereby India looks spotlessly clean, and people are quite well off and happy.

The current disparities, contrasts, and extremes of present-day India offer both apprehensions and challenges for the nation.
And keeping in mind the ever-growing demands of its surging population along with limited resources and limited land area, the Indian political, social and spiritual activists and leadership along with its educated and well-informed bureaucracy and intelligentsia, all must redefine to replace the popular concepts of progress, development and the standards of living, otherwise, the present insane race to seek super economic power status will eventually be disastrous for India and its environment.

The goal is to seek an egalitarian society with an even overview of India with fewer gaps between its extremes.

(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions).

 

NOOR JEHAN’S VOICE KNOWS NO BOUNDRY BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN:

downloadAudibly residing forever in the hearts of Hindi filmy music lovers is Noor Jehan’s renditions of Aawaz de kahan hai (a duet with Surendra); Mere bachman ke sathi muje bhool na jana, dekho dekho hase na zamana; and Jawan hai mohabbat hasin hai zamana, lutaya hai dil ne khoshi ka tarana (film Anmol Ghardi).

Malika-e-tarannum Noorjahan’s distinct and immaculate voice uplifts the spirit and clarity of the lyrics. Her sweet but eloquent and uninhibited style continues to echo eternally across India-Pakistan borders.

It was Naushad Ali (assisted by Ghulam Mohammed) who scored the music for these alluring compositions. He was one of the most talented and creative melodists credited with popularizing the folk music especially from the Hindi speaking belt of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, his signature compositions were often based on classic Hindustani music.

Read more and enjoy by clicking the link: https://promodpuri.com/2017/08/26/hindi-filmi-music-part-1/

Anarkali Offers Most Melodious Songs

mv5bodzlmmi1odktnzq3os00ntjmlwfknmytoddjmgu1zjnkndu1xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynduzotq5mjy@._v1_ux182_cr0,0,182,268_al_anarkaliAnarkali (1953) offers a bonanza of most melodious songs with superb poetic depths.

C. Ramchandra composed tuneful and forever popular music of the film. A maestro in musical compositions, he liberally delivered his art in Anarkali.

It was one of the very few films in which all the songs, without exception, were hit numbers for years and years. Even today listening to Anarkali songs offers delightful engagement both in its lyrical reflections and serene music.

These songs  will always remain as crafted jewels with everlasting brilliance:

Ye zindagi usiki hai, Aaja ab to aaja, Mujhse mat poochh, Dua kar gham-e-dil, Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag, Mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai, Zindagi pyar ki do char ghadi, O aasman wale shikva hai zindagi ka (I love the lyrics of ‘shikva’ meaning complaining to god), Ae baad e saba zara ahista chal and Mohabbat mein aise kadam dagamagae.

Read more and enjoy the songs by clicking the link: https://promodpuri.com/2017/08/26/hindi-filmi-music-part-1/

SABARIMALA TEMPLE CONTROVERSY

A Renaissance in South Indian Hindu Tradition

“the entry of two women, including a Dalit woman – Bindu and Kanakadurga – into the temple in the early hours of January 2, 2019, stands as a symbolic historical corrector that marks a small victory reminding one of the colossal efforts ahead to take many such remarkable first steps.”

-Carmel Christy K J, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, University of Delhi, in the Conversation.

Ganges: sewers could be making water quality of India’s great river worse

via Ganges: sewers could be making water quality of India’s great river worse

Kumbh Mela: It Is All Ritual And Politics

By Promod Puri

Ritualistically inspired and politically promoted by the Hindutva regime of India’s Uttar Pradesh province, the world’s largest religious congregation, the Kumbh Mela, began January 15 until March 4, 2019, in the city of Praygraj, formerly Allahabad.

Devotees come to the historic city where Hindu sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati confluence.

It is a pilgrimage with the strong belief that all the sins one has committed will be cleaned with a simple dip in the holy waters. And one can re-emerge and start his or her life with a clean slate. Moreover, one gets “mukti’, meaning liberation from the cycle of life and death according to Hindu belief.

This year’s Kumbh Mela besides its ritual and traditional values has political importance also because of the upcoming parliamentary election in India. As millions of pilgrims from all over the country are expected to attend the mela, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, is spending millions of rupees in arrangements and facilities to cash in on the goodwill it would generate.

As per the ritual of the bath or few dips in the holy waters to cleans one’s sins is concerned, it does not carry any rationale. This ritual can be accepted as part of Hindu customs and traditions of pilgrimage to the revered rivers, especially at their confluence point, called Sangam.

Expecting, that a devotee can wash off all the bad deeds he or she has committed can’t be accepted to realistic and progressive Hindu mind.

17th-century poet, humanist and philosopher Bulleh Shah has aptly condemned these kinds of ritualistic beliefs. He says:

Makkay gayaan, gal mukdee naheen
Pawain sow sow jummay parrh aaeey
Going to Makkah is not the ultimate
Even if hundreds of prayers are offered

Ganga gayaan, gal mukdee naheen
Pawain sow sow gotay khaeeay
Going to River Ganges is not the ultimate
Even if hundreds of cleansing (Baptisms) are done

Gaya gayaan gal mukdee naheen
Pawain sow sow pand parrhaeeay
Going to Gaya is not the ultimate
Even if hundreds of worships are done

Bulleh Shah gal taeeyon mukdee
Jadon May nu dillon gawaeeay
Bulleh Shah the ultimate is
When the “I” is removed from the heart!

(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs and Traditions. Websites: progressivehindudialogue.com, promodpuri.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)

Top of Form

 

Story Behind Lohri Song Dulla Bhatti Wala, Ho…

Lohri is a traditional Punjabi festival of pure secular nature. It is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians.

January 13th every year is the marked date for the festival in both India and Pakistan’s Punjab regions, and all over the world where Punjabis are settled.

They say it is a celebration to mark the end of harsh winters of the region. But there is folklore linked to the popular Lohri song Dulla Bhatti Wala Ho….

It is “a legend of Dulla Bhatti, whose real name was Abdullah Bhatti and lived in Punjab during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Dulla Bhatti was regarded as a hero in Punjab, for rescuing Hindu girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market of the Middle East. Amongst those he saved were two girls Sundri and Mundri, who gradually became a theme of the Punjab folklore.” -Source Wikipedia.

-Promod Puri

Roundtrip Of Behaviour

behaviour

Addiction

Addiction to being right is a

commitment to mindset views.

-Promod Puri

ADDICTION

ADDICTION:

Some people are addicted to being

right, all the time.

-Promod Puri

Sounds From The Wandering Bowl

 

By Promod Puri
A holy man in saffron stole proclaims:

“close your eyes, forget the hunger

meditate for transcendental wonder.”

 

Heard from a nearby mosque,

“Allah is great,”

get blessed from the devout place.

 

More cordial and sacred invites:

Buddhists, Christians,

and other lights.

 

In our woeful sail,

we put on

badges of multi-faith.

 

Then an abrupt flash:

“There is no god, my friend,”

“take refuge in our progressive den.”
Another message,

another thought

in the maze of multi-paths.
Some wise folks gave us the direction: “stay on the Left,”

promising shelter, food (with vodka and rum),

but, “don’t grumble, stay mum.”
Others plead us to the Right

to become “great again,”

affirming wealth in the promising lane.
We’ve put on all the tags, walked all the treks,

victims of the system, with marks

of terror and wars.
In chopping waters, dingy boats

hunted and chased by the security guards,

we search for safe and snug spots.
With loads of bricks on our heads,

raising buildings but living in the sheds.

And for some the homeless one,

the roof is the sky, the sidewalk is the bed.
To earn some cash,

we pick up

the empties and the scraps.

 

No status, no class, we’re inferior by caste,

working down the drain with suffering and pain.

Underpaid, underage, bonded helpless and muted slaves.

 

We’re the statistics for discussion and debate,

agenda for conferences, data for references,

stories for journalists, a challenge for writers and artists.
We’re an assignment for researchers and experts,

appraising our grades, analyzing our fate,

from national to international poverty-line,

from below to above-poverty-line.
Covering these lines are the lofty goals,

till then,

we have only empty bowls.

 

(Promod Puri, is a novice poet, a veteran journalist, writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions).

 

January 1st Should Be Declared Broken Promise Day:😃😃

Happy New Year, and along with it comes to my annual ritualistic list of do’s and don’ts.

Over the years I, and I’m sure most of us, must have made hundreds of New Year resolutions. And if a fraction of them had been accomplished all these resolutions would have created a revolution in our lives. But it has never happened. We prepare a fresh list with some new promises along with the leftover from the previous years’ lot.

In any case, the first day of the year is the right beginning to launch our consented commitments. And for that reason, like Friends Day, Lights Off Day, etcetera, January 1st should be declared the Broken-promise Day.

This would be the day when not only we make resolutions individually, but we can seek promises from our politicians, or remind them the pledges they made the previous year or the years before.

But as the saying goes promises are meant to be broken, and politicians are experts in that tradition. After all politics and promises are synonymously related especially when the later is broken, which is often the case.

Still, the idea of Broken-promise Day on January 1st can be very promising, and I think the date is still vacant or unfilled for its declaration.

By Promod Puri