The Sunrise….

November 1, 2008

Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku: A hoax or divine miracle??????

Over the years the Indian media especially Malayalam TV channels have been airing the live visuals of Makaravilakku with commentary, but most of them stood far off from the truth. That has prompted me write this blog.

General conception: A celestial light appears around Jan 14 every year at Ponnambalamedu in the Sahyadri ranges of the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. This is called Makarajyothi/Makaravilakku. It is believed that Swami Ayyappan/Dharmasaasta/Hariharaputra reveals himself as this celestial light to bless his devotees. Millions of pilgrims travel from far and wide to witness this spectacle. This is what at least 80-90% Hindus believe about the spectacle.

Skeptics’ version: The skeptics say this is a stage-managed show by the Travancore Devasom Board, and Govt. of Kerala.They say the authorities lit the huge pile of camphor and produce this light. Infact in 1981,The Kerala Yukthivadi Sangham climbed Ponnambalamedu and lighted a number of fires confusing the devotees with many Makaravilakkus.

The reality: The reality lies somewhere between the two. If you go through the authentic literatures, the truth is very well explained. Actually Makarajyothy and Makaravilakku are different, not the same as conceived by most. Makarajyothy is a star that appears in the sky during that part of the year. It’s a celestial phenomenon and this can be explained scientifically. Makaravilakku is man-made fire in ponnambalamedu.

What made people believe Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku are same: Makaravilakku actually was the festival of the tribal community (adivasis) who resided Ponnambalamedu forest areas. They used lit fire intermittently 3 times each representing Lord Shiva, Lord Maha- Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Later in early 40s Ponnambalamedu was taken over by KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board).But the tribal community insisted that every year this festival has be continued without failure and this has to be organized by KSEB. Later in 60s and 70s, Travancore devaswam board understood Makaravilaaku is a duck that lays golden eggs and can bring crores of revenue. They along the mainstream Hindu organization started spreading the propaganda that Makarajyothi and Makaravilakku are same. Now people from various parts of India come to see this spectacle.

How the current stage-managed show works: The TDB authorities get themselves ready with huge piles of camphor and wet blankets in Ponnamabalamedu. When Sreekovil of Sabarimala is getting opened they will get the indication through phone (earlier days radio commentary was used). Immediately they will fire the camphor and cover with wet blankets, intermittently, to give the blinking effect.

Its high time the so-called Hindu organizations and the government organizations come in open and lay this fact in front of the public and educate them.

October 4, 2008

Sympathizing terrorism: A new fashion in modern India

Its a fact…. and its growing in dangerous proportion, manured by the so-called human rights activists, media and the political bigwigs. Be it in the Delhi cop Sharma’s murder case, Gujarat bomb blast, ban of SIMI verdict, parliament attack case or the Kashmir issue.

Soon after the media celebrated the killing of MC Sharma, started the new controversy. One of the militant arrested after the encounter, Saquib Nisar, was not a terrorist and he is an MBA student……..Why an MBA student cannot be terrorist?, and soon flashed the news from his college authorities that he attended exams on the day of Delhi blast and he had a good conduct. But after that day the news almost vanished to nowhere creating feeling in viewer that , Saquib Nisar was indeed innocent. But truth was completely different. Yes Saquib attended all exams except that of the penultimate day of the blast. And infact he was on leave from his office (where he worked part-time) on the penultimate days of all the blasts that happened in Bangalore, Ahamedabad and Delhi. Moreover the Minister of Home, one of the senior most party leader of ruling coalition, came in support of its students which was fighting against government for their release

Now the Gujarat blast case, the day after Gujarat police arrested the militants in connection with the Gujarat blast, went the MPs of the party, which leads the coalition in the Centre to sympathize with families of those arrested. On the same day of the ‘SIMI ban’ controversy, the minister for railways, and Mulayam Singh came forward speaking against the ban of SIMI. The next is the most shocking of the lot. The culprit sentence for death punishment for 7/11 parliament attack case, Afzal, gained support from the mainstream political parties, and human rights activists started agitations for his release. Then the great Booker prize laureate Arundhathi Roy coming in open asking for the partition of Kashmir.

I am not against giving human consideration to the people who deserve it. But it should not be given to terrorists who have become great threat to humanity.

The most disturbing factor in this is that the outcry for human rights is seen only in the case of terrorists. Even when the 18 Indians boarded ship is held hostage in Somalia for the past 16 days, I don’t see any action taken or even discussed for their release. Why don’t those innocent people doesn’t have human rights. Or do the terrorists deserve more human rights than these innocent people.

This precedence should be plucked at root to further reduce the aftermaths.Its time for India to raise voice against terrorism, start debating in public and corner the political parties who use these for petty political gains.

September 20, 2008

India pays tribute to Mohan Chand Sharma, its bravest encounter specialist

 

Sep 19,2008 : India salutes its brave son, who became a martyr for his motherland. India pays rich tribute to martyr MC Sharma. Long Live Shahid Mohan Chand Sharma!. This is the biggest loss for Delhi police after the death of Ranbir Singh earlier this year.

Inspector Sharma(44),, who was killed in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar encounter with terrorists today, was described as one of their finest by the Delhi Police.

As per tip off from Gujarat Office, Delhi Police specialist cell stormed into an apartment at Jamia Nagar where 5 terrorists were holed up. Atiq, wanted in connection with the serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi, and one of his associates were also killed, while two managed to escape. One was held and has been taken for the interrogation.

Inspector Sharma, who was awarded a Police Gold Medal for gallantry on Republic Day this year by the President of India, has in all received 150 rewards in his police career so far, including seven gallantry medals. He had neutralized 35 terrorists while he was responsible for the arrest of 80 of them. The officer had also neutralized 120 gangsters so far. He was involved in more than 75 gun battles, several involving dreaded gangsters from the badlands of Uttar Pradesh.In his time time, his team solved the Red Fort attack, the Parliament attack, and the 2005 Diwali blasts cases.

Sharma had always led from the front. He has shown the way to the Delhi Police. Such was the character and dedication of Sharma, he left his little son sickbed in Delhi’s Kalra Nursing Home with dengue fever saying “I have to rush… I’ll be back in an hour. We have some good leads. Pray for us. We have to get the right men and bring this (bombings) to a stop.”. At that time son was battling for life with urgent need of rare O+ blood.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police was formed in 1986, when militancy in Punjab was at its heights. It used to be known as a dumping ground for police officers who either did not perform well or were not in the good books of senior officers. In 1998, things began to change. Ashok Chand was appointed DCP. Encounter specialist Rajbir Singh, who had by then made a name for himself, was posted as ACP. Ranbir Singh handpicked his team from officers whom he had worked with earlier. Mohan Chand Sharma, Badrish Dutt, Lalit Mohan Negi, Hridya Bhushan and several others joined. And since then, there has been no looking back..

Sequence of events :

 ..

  • As per information from Gujarat police the special cell takes position on the buildings around apartment block L-18.
  • Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, who was not wearing a flak jacket, knocks on the front door of an apartment on the fourth floor of L-18 building.
  • Sharma asks the inmates to come out for police verification. Occupants open fire from a .3 mm pistol.
  • Three bullets hit Sharma; two pass through his body. Sharma falls down as the policemen take shelter.
  • Head Constable Balwan Singh suffers injury on right hand.  

 

September 15, 2008

TCS buying stake in TechMahindra?

Following earlier reports that British Telecom (BT) may actually exit its Indian joint venture with Tech Mahindra, new speculations say that the stake may be acquired by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). BT has 31 percent stake in Tech Mahindra.

Analysts say that this development may be due to two reasons. Firstly TCS is strong on the telecom business vertical and secondly BT is a valued customer for the software major.

Looking to exit from the Indian venture Tech Mahindra, British Telecom (BT) is understood to have offered its 31% stake to Tata group company TCS. BT may be mulling to exit totally from the venture, sources said, but no confirmation could be obtained either from the British entity or the Indian corporate house.

Asked if British telecom had approached with its offer to sell its total or part stake, a TCS spokesperson said “We do not comment on market speculation”. Sources said the approach could have been driven out of synergistic angle as TCS has a thriving telecom practice and most importantly BT is a valued customer of TCS.

It is also not clear at this stage whether BT has kept Mahindra & Mahindra, the single largest stakeholder with 44% share in Tech Mahindra, is in the loop about its latest move. Although the valuation of the company has not yet been done by any professional investment banker, the market cap of the company is close to $2.5 billion as per the current share price of firm.

At the close of trading on Friday, Tech Mahindra quoted at Rs 759.75, down 2.42% on BSE. Asked if the company has talked to TCS, BT spokesperson stated “BT does not comment on rumours and speculation. BT has operations and investments worldwide which we regularly review. India remains a critical market both for BT and our customers, and we expect to continue developing both the operational network and service that we have established over a number of years”.

Tech Mahindra, which has 65% of its revenue coming from BT, recently got a $700-million contract from a UK company. According to an analyst, BT’s exit may prompt other telecom rivals to look at business opportunities with Tech Mahindra. Tech Mahindra spokesperson said, “We do not comment on rumors and speculation. As a strategic partner of BT, we have enjoyed a great relationship with BT over many years and will continue delivering on long term contracts and winning new business.”

PS.: Reports direcly taken from some national dailies.

September 11, 2008

The curse of Kosi or criminal negligence….

Filed under: India,Politics — arjun2k @ 3:25 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

 

Its that time of the year again…..The TV channels and the print media is celebrating another human massacre…

 

 Authorities say they have so far rescued more than 300,000 people left stranded after heavy monsoon rains caused the Kosi river to flood. However, more than twice that number are still homeless and in urgent need of aid, and relief is being hampered by extensive damage to roads.

 

 Who is responsible for this? Is it a GOD made calamity or negligence by the authorities?

 

On 18 August a dam on the Saptakoshi burst, triggering the subsequent flooding in Bihar. 1956, the Kosi barrage came into being after a bilateral agreement between India and Nepal. Its estimated lifespan was 30 years. The barrage completed its estimated lifespan way back in 1986. Since then, 22 years have passed, but neither the state government nor the Centre showed any interest in constructing a new barrage or renovating the old one.

 

 But years before its estimated lifespan of 30 years, the river started changing its course eastward. The then Bihar government was aware of the fact, but it did not asked the Centre for diplomatic level talks with the neighboring country. But state and central governments also remained silent about the impending disaster.The Union government shying away from saying that Breach in Kosi Dam is due the Nepal’s negligence, which didn’t allow the engineers to repair the dam, but the Bihar government said the center has not taken this matter seriously with Nepal.

 

Despite the flood-prone history of Bihar, the state governments have never showed much interest in dealing with the situation in advance. In fact, since the country’s Independence, the Centre never initiated diplomatic talks with Nepal. Of course, floods occur due to natural causes such as incessant rains, but by constructing a series of high dams on the Indo – Nepal border the extent of floods could have been reduced.

 

As per the 1954 treaty with Nepal, the safety and the maintenance of embankment is India’s responsibility. The lack of coordination from the Nepalese side and lackadaisical attitude of Indian government has paved the way for this catastrophe.

 

 For past few years we are seeing floods in Bihar year after year. The same explanation is given. We either blame Nepal or form a committee to study the finding of previous committees. Those working on pre and post disaster management planning argue that India’s approach has changed dramatically since the act in 2005 and miracles should not be expected overnight. While in principle that is true, at least in this case there were enough indications that the embankments were breached. But these experts are repeatedly ignoring the warnings given by people the living there. Reports say the locals had predicted the floods well in advance and some even migrated to new destinations. But our authorities prefer listening to the so called experts who have absolutely nothing to do with the life as is lived in these areas.

 

The media and the people who boast Indo-US nuclear deal as a feather in Dr.Singh cap and emergence of new Bihar under a capable Nitish Kumar should not turn a blind eye on their respective governments’ mismanagement.

Vivekananda’s explanation on idol worship and many GODs theory of Hinduism

Filed under: Religion — arjun2k @ 12:24 pm
Tags: , ,

I have just taken a small excerpt of Vivekananda’s speech at World Parliament of Religion on Chicago, 19th September 1893…..

 “…

Superstition is a great enemy of man, but bigotry is worse. Why does a Christian go to church? Why is the cross holy? Why is the face turned toward the sky in prayer? Why are there so many images in the Catholic Church? Why are there so many images in the minds of Protestants when they pray? My brethren, we can Do more think about anything without a mental image than we can live without breathing- By the law of association the material image calls up the mental idea and vice versa. This is why the Hindu uses an external symbol when he worships. He will tell you. it helps to keep his mind fixed on the Being to whom he prays. He knows as well as you do that the image is not God, is not omnipresent. finer all, how much does omnipresence mean to almost the whole world? It stands merely as a word, a symbol. Has God superficial area? If not, when we repeat that word ‘omnipresent’, we think of the extended sky. or of space – that is all.

As we find that somehow or other, by the laws of our mental constitution, we have to associate our ideas of infinity with the image of the blue sky, or of the sea, so we naturally connect our idea of holiness with the image of a church, a mosque, or a cross. The Hindus have associated the ideas of holiness, purity, truth, omnipresence, and such other ideas with different images and forms. But with this difference that while some people devote their whole lives to their idol of a church and never rise higher, because with them religion means an intellectual assent to certain doctrines and doing good to their fellows, the whole religion of the Hindu is centered in realization. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples or churches or books are only the supports, the helps, of his spiritual childhood; but on and on he must progress.

He must not stop anywhere. ‘External worship, material worship’ ?,’ say the scriptures, ‘is the lowest stage,’ struggling to rise high, mental prayer is the next stage, but the highest stage is when the Lord has been realized., Mark, the same earnest man who is kneeling before the idol tells you, ‘Him the sun cannot express, nor the moon, nor the stars, the lightning cannot express Him, nor what we speak of as fire; through Him they shine.’ But he does not abuse anyone’s idol or call its worship sin. He recognizes in it a necessary stage of life. ‘The child is father of the man.’ Would it be right for an old man to say that childhood is a sin or youth a sin?

If a man can realize his divine nature with the help of an image, would it be right to call that a sin? Nor, even when he has passed that stage, should he call it an error. To the Hindu, man is not traveling from error to truth, but from truth to truth, from lower to higher truth. To him all the religions from the lowest fetishism to the highest absolutism, mean so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the Infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association, and each of these marks a stage of progress; and every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength till it reaches the Glorious Sun.

Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas and tries to force society to adopt them. It places before society only one coat which must fit Jack and John and Henry, all alike. If it does not fit John or Henry he must go without a coat to cover his body. The Hindus have discovered that the absolute can only be realized, or thought of, or stated through the relative, and the images, crosses, and crescents are simply so many symbols – so many pegs to hang spiritual ideas on. It is not that this help is necessary for everyone, but those that do not need it have no right to say that it is wrong. Nor is it compulsory in Hinduism.

One thing I must tell you. Idolatry in India does not mean anything horrible. It is not the mother of harlots. On the other hand, it is the attempt of undeveloped minds to grasp high spiritual truths. The Hindus have their faults, they sometimes have their exceptions; but mark this, they are always for punishing their own bodies, and never for cutting the throats of their neighbors. If the Hindu fanatic burns himself on the pyre, he never lights the fire of Inquisition. And even this cannot be laid at the door of his religion any more than the burning of witches can be laid at the door of Christianity.

To the Hindu, then, the whole world of religions is only a traveling, a coming up, of different men and women, through various conditions and circumstances, to the same goal. Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them. Why, then, are there so many contradictions? They are only apparent, says the Hindu. The contradictions come from the same truth adapting itself to the varying circumstances of different natures.

It is the same light coming through glasses of different colors- And these little variations are necessary for purposes of adaptation. But in the heart of everything the same truth reigns. The Lord has declared to the Hindu in His incarnation as Krishna: ‘I am in every religion as the thread through a string of pearls. Wherever thou seest extraordinary holiness and extraordinary power raising and purifying humanity, know thou that I am there. ‘ And what has been the result? I challenge the world to find, throughout the whole system of Sanskrit philosophy, any such expression as that the Hindu alone will be saved and not others. Says Vyasa, ‘we find perfect men even beyond the pale of our caste and creed.’ One thing more. How, then, can the Hindu, whose whole fabric of thought centers in God, believe in Buddhism which is agnostic, or in Jainism which is atheistic?

The Buddhists or the Jains do not depend upon God; but the whole force of their religion is directed to the great central truth in every religion, to evolve a God out of man. They have not seen the Father, but they have seen the Son. And he that hath seen the Son bath seen the Father also. ..”

“…

Descend we now from the aspirations of philosophy to the religion of the ignorant. At the very outset, I may tell you that there is no polytheism in India. In every temple, if one stands by and listens, one will find the worshipers applying all the attributes of God, including omnipresence. to the images. It is not polytheism, nor would the name henotheism explain the situation.

‘The rose, called by any other name, would smell as sweet.’ Names are not explanations.

I remember, as a boy, hearing a Christian missionary preach to crowd in India. Among other sweet things he was telling them was, that if he gave a blow to their idol with his stick. what could it do? One of his hearers sharply answered, ‘If I abuse your God, what can He do?’ ‘ou would be punished,’ said the preacher, ‘when you die.’ ‘So my idol will punish you when you die,’ retorted the Hindu.

The tree is known by its fruits. When l have seen amongst them that are called idolaters, men, the like of whom, in morality and spirituality and love, I have never seen anywhere, l stop and ask myself, ‘Can sin beget holiness?’ ..”

For the full speech check

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_1/Addresses_at_The_Parliament_of_Religions/Paper_on_Hinduism

 

 

 

 

September 7, 2008

NSG’s waiver to India – Kudos to Dr.Manmohan Singh

Filed under: International,Politics — arjun2k @ 4:24 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

 After 26 hour long high-voltage diplomacy, NSG lifts 34-year-old embargo on India’s Nuclear Trade. Kudos to Dr.Singh and his team for enabling the nuclear re-birth of worlds largest democracy and ending the nuclear apartheid era.

This marks the emergence of the Dr.Singh as India’s strongest and most capable Prime Minister ever, blasting off his critics who often addressed him as the puppet Prime Minister. This is a befitting reply to the anti-nationals, whose pro-China and anti-US ideologies stand above the national interest.

 This opens up full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the world, ending the decades-long isolation from the nuclear mainstream. This achievement has to be seen from the fact that this is an actual U-turn from the NSGs long standing principle. In fact, NSG was formed in1974 to isolate India from the nuclear mainstream after her 1974 Nuclear Tests.

 The major highlights of the draft,

  • This waiver will place India in elite nuclear club, establishing a defacto nuclear power status (more…)

February 4, 2008

The US Presidential Election Process

The US election process looks very complicated to an outsider. In a layperson’s terms, a party primary election conducted in the states is the first process in selecting its nominee to fight for the post of President.

In US, there are two large political parties the Democrats and the Republicans. Before the actual election, these parties follow an extensive selection procedure for identifying their Presidential nominees. This selection procedure itself usually takes around 8 months.

Each person who wishes to be a candidate for his party tries to win delegates (representatives) from each of the 51 states. These delegates are picked by the states themselves. The timing and method of picking delegates varies from state to state.It can happen anytime within the 8 month process.

Again there are two methods of elections that a state can use. The caucus and the primary. A caucus is when people in an area come together at a public place and meets to talk about the election and select the delegates there itself. A primary is like a normal election, where people go to a polling station and vote for the person they want. There are no meetings, and the ballot is a secret. Most of the states follow this method.

The caucus and primary can again be classified as open, closed or modified.Closed – only registered members of a party may participate Open – any registered voter may participate Modified – Independents may declare party affiliation and participate .

After all the states pick their delegates, they hold the national convention. All the delegates get together in one place and vote for the person they want to be the candidate for their party. This person is called the nominee.

Now for the general election, each nominee for President runs together with a candidate for Vice-President on a “ticket.” Voters select one ticket to vote for; they can’t choose a presidential candidate from one ticket and a vice-presidential candidate from another ticket.

The national presidential election actually consists of a separate election in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia; in these 51 elections, the voters are really voting for “electors” pledged to one of the tickets. These electors make up the “Electoral College.” (In most cases, the names of the electors aren’t written on the ballot; instead the ballot lets voters choose among “Electors for” each of the tickets, naming the presidential and vice-presidential candidates each slate of electors is pledged to.) Each state has the same number of electors as it has senators and representatives (there are two senators from each state, but the number of representatives depends on the state population in the most recent census). The District of Columbia, although it isn’t a state, also participates in presidential elections — it currently has three electors.

Super Tuesday: In the United States, Super Tuesday generally refers to the Tuesday in early February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party’s presidential candidates are officially nominated. Since Super Tuesday primaries are held in a large number of states from geographically and socially diverse regions of the country, Super Tuesday typically represents a Presidential candidate’s first test of national electability. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party’s nomination. Convincing wins in Super Tuesday primaries have usually propelled candidates to their party’s nomination.

In 1992, after losing earlier primaries, Democrat Bill Clinton emerged as a candidate “back from the dead” when he convincingly won a number of Southern primaries on Super Tuesday. Clinton ultimately went on to win the Democratic nomination and the presidency. In 2008, Super Tuesday is February 5; 24 states held primaries or caucuses on this date, with 52 percent of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41 percent of the total Republican Party delegates at stake.

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