” Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man – Independence Day 74 ” – August 15, 2020.

Independence Day, India, August 15, 2020.

       India steps into another rung upwards in its life of  ” Independence ”  today ( from 73 to 74 ). The PM in Delhi, and CMs in States will unfold the tricolor today and address the nation. 

          We have good reasons to be proud of India’s  growth and advancement through these 73 years since our Independence. Our journey from extreme conditions of poverty to being the fifth great economy in the World is not ordinary. It is, in effect, a remarkable accomplishment. Combined with the manner in which this has been recorded from being a newly independent Republic in 1947/50 adds strength and pride to every citizen of this nation.

         On the one hand we have been progressing at an accelerated pace, specially during this millennium, with our food warehouses overflowing. On the other hand, the fact that we are still ranked 102 in World Hunger Statistics (2019), sticks out like a sore ‘thumb. Many still live on streets.

          Hutments limited to only big cities in earlier days have spread to small cities and towns too. Educational institutions have witnessed an impressive growth, while at the same time unemployment also looms large. Our sorrows and setbacks can be easily listed.

          It is not difficult to witness some parallels between the newly independent India of 1947 and the relatively highly advanced India of 2020.

          Then, we had to fight for the protection of Kashmir and Hyderabad ;  today we are fighting for the protection of Ladakh.

          Then, we had our religious sense and emotional feelings riding  high ;  today it burns red and hot even after the fire has been doused.

          Then,  our economy was in great distress ;  today our economy is struggling with no clear direction.

           Independent India’s pride lies in our Democratic election process. It is a matter of pleasant surprise that a country with a population of 130 crores with different languages and diverse religious consciousness can continue its journey successfully in a Democratic manner.

          Indian voters are also proving their ingenious abilities by electing Leaders in different Elections in tune with the needs of times since Independence. Every PM since Independence has been the “right” choice of the people in their times without any doubt.

          Without Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s reign during the first 17 years, India could well have been another fragmented African Nations of today. Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi ,  Morarji Desai ,  Rajiv Gandhi ,  Narasimha Rao ,  AB Vajpayee ,  Dr Man Mohan Singh , and our present PM Narendra Modi – have all recorded excellent contributions to the development of the nation with clever and new ideas fitting the situation.

          Even after all these, fear and worries about the future still fill our minds more than happiness or joy. COVID-19 has made our lives injured and deranged. The spread of the disease continues from cities to rural areas. That medical infrastructure in rural areas are wanting is a fact. Hence, the scare even when India can take solace from the fact that the ratio of death is low.

          Indian democracy is strong ; but the political parties and the elected representatives do not behave conscientiously is raising doubts in our democracy at the same time.

          Even as the wind of COVID-19 was flowing strong in Rajasthan, the responsible elected representatives of the ruling dispensation was conducting the normal operations from luxurious hotels and resorts, reflecting poorly of governance.

          What can be said of the attitude of the Central governing dispensation indirectly encouraging manoeuvres to gain power breaking legislative norms – which didn’t succeed finally though ?

          What can anyone decipher from the events of Tuesday in Bangalore when the popular Friends of India and the Social Drmocratic Party (both Islamic dispensations)  indulged in rioting raising serious doubts about the maintenance of religious consciousness ?

          That it has been seriously misguided could well be an inference.

          Every such incident is an example of increasing the gap between the minority and majority populations.

          This is the time when people are left to feel bad about the absence of a  “Mahatma Gandhi ” among our population.

          This also brings us to a situation kindling the pangs of nostalgia for the days of 1950s,  1960s,  or even 1970s.

          We came out of the challenges strongly soon after independence ;  and, sure, we will come out of the challenges now too.

          The  ‘time’  has come,  the  ‘man’  remains to be seen.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Saturday, August 15, 2020 –  11.59 a.m. (IST)

   Tidbit  :  ” You can’t make Omelette without breaking Eggs “.

 

 

 

Standard

” Education in Adversity Counts for National Growth ” – August 14, 2020.

          Eminent Tamil poet Avvaiyar said , “Ilamaiyil Kal”.  Translated in English, it reads :  “One should learn everything in young age”. Threat to education today for students in schools and colleges, in particular, is not just real but dangerous too.

          Military might and powerful opposition are not just necessary to destroy any nation today. A mere withdrawal of  support for  ‘Education’  is enough to destroy it. A fundamental requirement to build a strong social infrastructure in a nation is Education. Extending beyond that are the benefits in terms of economic, scientific, technological, environmental, and political awareness created because of Education.

          COVID-19 has already signalled the imminent changes in teaching and learning processes. For the first time in the history of the World, schools and colleges have been closed for students for months at the same time indefinitely, uptil this day. Inability to hold classes for students and for the conduct of examinations at the right period are the direct end results of this factor.

          About 30 crore students in India are now struggling to cope with knowledge acquisition and may end up struggling to find employment too. Should this interruption continue, India’s potential of becoming a powerful nation will be more problematic than what anyone would have previously hoped for. 

          ” Only Education can lift the country out of poverty “.

          Break in Education, as uncertain as it is now,  should not become a barrier to our desire to make this country as “India’s Century of technological prowess”.

          COVID-19 has created a state of ‘Educational Emergency’  needing urgent treatment not with antibiotics or vaccines but with a positive and firm response to curb the interruption. “Save the Children”  association records that at least a crore students will not be able to go to schools even after the threat of COVID-19 is contained . According to UNESCO, at least 160 crores of students have been barred from attending educational institutions because of this pandemic. This constitutes 90% of the total student population of the world. African nations fear for the future of their students and national growth. Interruptions in India are not ruled out completely.

          UN’s  edict to have Universal Education by 2030 will see a major setback now. Reports mention that about 1.2 crores of children will be pushed to the level below poverty line due to the economic slide now. Also expected are drastic cuts in the education budgets of many nations in the light of COVID-19 emergencies. About ₹ 5,76,000 crores will be cut according to the report. About ₹ 14,36,000 crores will be spent for the containment/control of COVID-19.

          ” This will likely foster child labour again” ;  “Child marriages and early marriages will go up”;  ”  A  UN  report predicts that the pandemic could lead to additional 13 million child marriages over the next decade all over the world. 

          ” Education will become a high-hanging fruit ” ;  ” Economic depression/recession will become serious “.  The field of Education today has put students on career crossroads.

          About 25 lakh students and  2 lakh teachers have been connected with the help of the app, “Microsoft Teams”.  ” Microsoft Azure ”  gives the lead to South Korea in promoting remote learning. Education Ministers in Malaysia and Philippines use the “Microsoft Teams” app for monitoring the conduct of classes ;  exchange of information ;  presence of teachers in schools ;  and working of Educational TVs.  Hong Kong also has resorted to these applications. They help the teachers/faculty to enhance their skills too. It is an example of the successful synergy between teachers/faculty ;  students ;  parents ;  educational administrators ; government and private institutions.

          In many places, ‘virtual education’  promotes knowledge exchange in specially urban areas. Many Asian Countries have been making reasonable progress in imparting education amidst the Corona challenges with aplomb.

          There does not appear to be any concrete solution to complete control of COVID-19 as at present. Closure of Educational institutions have resulted in the future of local employees, migrant employees, and rural students/children a big question mark. The government is now compelled in its promise to take education to the people in the last rungs of the Social status. COVID-19 should not be a hindrance to its accomplishment. Efforts to fructify the promises are ongoing, nevertheless.

          Availability of suitable technological  infrastructure makes the continuation of education possible in urban areas, at least partially. But rural ares are not fortunate. About 23.8% of houses in India are digitally well connected.  42% in urban areas and 14.2 % in rural areas have digital connectivity. Only 12.5 % of students use smartphones in India. These statistics make digital education even more a challenging task.

          Government and private institutions should come together to tackle this anomaly in society. This is obvious, everyone will say.

          Many institutions are already engaged in on-line education. It is the right method now. But it comes with the price of a change in pattern of traditional education. It brings some new experiences to teachers/faculty as well as students. Education while sitting at home can increase the laziness. Exercise routines and regimen outside homes get restricted. Interactions and exchange of views are curtailed. Also, live experiments and exercises in labs and classes are impeded. Teachers’ special interests on students get reduced. The basic need for an effective synergy between students, teachers,and parents are affected suddenly.

          Assimilation of information through on line education varies with the age of individuals. Research shows that about 25 to 60 % of the information on line are remembered by students. Some reports highlight the beneficial effects of this mode of education in big terms, while some others differ. Those reporting positive effects cite the less time required (about 40 to 60 % only) to study a topic on line as proof of effectiveness.   

          Impact  of the closure of  Educational institutions due to COVID-19 is a big setback to our society. Methods to improve and sustain the progress of education in this critical period are too well known :  ” Educational TV ;  On-line education ;  Virtual education ;  e- learning apps and software ;  Use of technology ( apps, smartphones, social media, internet etc );  changes in curriculum ;  changes in teaching style ;  –  to facilitate education and acquisition of knowledge are all either in practice already, at least in some institutions ,  or are being enhanced.

          Tamil Nadu’s  efforts to begin a Special TV  Service Provider for the purpose of Education only is a welcome step in this direction.

          The crux of successful education still remains in the following triad :

          A synergy between  Students,  Parents,  and  Educational Administrators.

          This is more important now, than ever before.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous”

   Friday,  August  14, 2020 –  11.09 a.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ” One should pursue learning even if he begs to meet his needs “.

 

 

 

 

Standard

” Kerala’s Triple Tragedies ” – August 13, 2020.

Rajamalai landslide in Kerala.

                 “Misfortunes never come single “.                 In vernacular Tamil it is also said thus :  ” Only the injured leg will get injured again; and the family that lost its value once will lose it for ever”. Kerala State today exemplifies this proverb fittingly.

          Kerala, touted as the best in the control of COVID-19, had the misfortune to run into a series of blows, natural or otherwise, with ‘three’  in this August itself and a successive  ‘three’  in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (all in August).

          1.  August 16, 2018 :  It all started on this day with the worst flood in a century, the unprecedented rainfall in the monsoon season in August. Level 3 calamity was declared (a calamity of a severe nature). About 483 people died ;  140 were missing ;  one million evacuated ;  14 districts placed on red alert ;  property damage was estimated at ₹ 400 billion ( $ 5.6 b)

          Even before this, nature spread the ‘Nipah’  virus which was traced to the fruit bats in the area. Kozhikode and Mallapuram districts suffered the worst. It claimed 17 lives. Outbreak was contained and declared over in June 2018.

           2.  August 8, 2019  :  Heavy rainfall in monsoon season caused floods ;  red alert issued in 9 districts;  orange alert in 3 districts ;  and yellow alert in 2 districts ;  thousands evacuated ;  121 died ;  80 landslides in 2 days ;  1781 houses damaged fully ;  14542 partially damaged.

          3.  August 7,  2020 :  “Three misfortunes in a single month ;  First,  (a)  heavy rainfall causing floods during monsoon season ;  red alert issued in 3 districts – Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Idukki ;  orange alert in 5 districts ;  people evacuated.  Second,  (b)  On the same day Air India Express flight 1344 crashed in Kozhikode tabletop airport ;  18 passengers out of a total of 194 died ;  it included the 2 pilots also. Third,  (c)  On 8th August 49 people died during a landslide at a tea plantation in Rajamalai near Munnar ;  usual rainfall of 427 mm during August was exceeded in just 10 days to 476 mm ;  more than 50 persons from local forces and the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed to sift through the debris ;

          The dead were mostly from Tamil Nadu. They were all either tea plantation workers or petty bourgeois running small shops for more than 100 years in the area. About 22 km from Munnar, at Rajamalai near Pettimudi mountain slope, they were all living in a four tier house. About 12 have been rescued out of the 83 in that area. About 55 bodies have  been recovered till yesterday. They all belong to Tuticorin, Tenkasi, Sankarankoil, and Chingleput districts in Tamil Nadu. Death toll included individuals of all age groups – from infants to elders.

          Kannan Devan Estate has offered a compensation amount of ₹ 5 lakhs to each family;  Kerala Government has announced a compensation of ₹ 5 lakhs to each family ;  PM has announced a compensation of ₹ 2 lakhs to each family from PM Relief Fund. It behoves of the Tamil Nadu Government to make necessary arrangements for the welfare of people living in that place through financial relief and erection of proper shelter for their safe living in future.

          This is an excellent opportunity for Tamil Nadu to share not just miseries and memories of this tragedy, but also the relief pie in a munificent gesture. 

 

   ” Dieu avec nous”

   Thursday, August 13, 2020 –  10.09 a.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ”  A single death is a tragedy ;  a million deaths is a statistic “. –  Joseph Stalin.

Standard

” Final Year Exams and the Future of Engineers – Anna University ” – August 11, 2020.

          Ten years ago, Engineering students, specially Computer Science students, commanded special respect. Indians, specially, South Indians, in this discipline wielded enormous power and expertise that it gained special importance among all engineering courses.

          Politicians, industrial magnate(s), and other ultra rich individuals started engineering colleges. Cattle sheds transformed  into classrooms, and agricultural lands transformed into concrete buildings and colleges.

          With the demand increasing by each passing day, the regulations for admission of students also were slackened. A pass in plus 2 can guarantee an engineering education. But in engineering institutions you are pass only when you secure 50% . Out of about 15 lakh candidates entering the engineering institutions, about 80% could not secure jobs. Many colleges lacked the necessary infrastructure. Poor quality of teaching and learning resulted in poor turnouts. It was an ill wind blowing nobody any good.

          Colleges suffered shortages of faculty. Anna University, Tamil Nadu, in this year’s examination proficiency report recorded at least 2 colleges where none passed. It caused a reduction in the number of admissions with many colleges winding up. It continues still.

          2020 is the year to be christened the life threatening year. Coronavirus is the main culprit. Nobody can hazard a guess as to when a return to normalcy will happen. Politicians have no problems. Big and medium businesses also have no big problems. As far as schools are concerned, all students have been granted a pass without examination this year. Engineering students other than those in the final year have been declared as having ‘passed’  without examinations.

          AICTE  and   UGC  had earlier announced that final year engineering students can also be declared as ‘passed’ without examinations. But there has been a change in their stance now. Without examinations grade sheets/mark sheets cannot be provided. Hence, their decision that examinations have to be conducted now. Academic pressure on students is intense because of this.

          Usually the examinations will be conducted in April/May and results will be announced in July. This will help students to work on their progress in terms of higher studies or jobs. A degree certificate, at least a provisional certificate, is needed for the purpose. Thousands make their way for studies abroad. Without the conduct of examinations they are particularly left in the lurch.

          Since the lockdown began there have been calls for prompt action on this. In response the administrators declaratively sent notices to the effect : ” Prepare for the Examinations ”  many times without any date being specified. The Vice-chancellor of Anna University had announced the completion of examinations by the end of July. July is over now. August has also started. There is no sign of examinations.

          Engineering students in general study their core subjects during the second and third year. There are six examinations in total. This year they have all been declared as having passed without those exams.

          At this juncture, our thinking goes towards the students who are struggling against their twin challenges of  (a)  supporting their parents after their proudest moment of securing a degree ;  and  (b)  seeking admission abroad after being proud of their accomplishments in college. Final year students usually select their three preferred courses for the examination. In some colleges, students in the final year do only a project without any other examinations.

 

The problems exist in the case of Anna University only. Private colleges have already announced their results. Deemed universities have announced their results after online tests.

          Students doing their preferred courses and working on projects shall undergo tests without fail. Education department officials pitch for examinations with their strong belief that examinations ( marks, grades, and performance) alone can hold a fair competition among students in future advancements.

          But this will not be subjected to any research by anybody. In all job interviews, knowledge and skills for the job based on their subject of discipline will alone be put to test with little concern for marks secured. It makes the final tests a less important factor.

          Foreign admissions will close by September. For on-line examination, Anna University has sought a contract point before August 13, 2020. For the contract to be finalized and the process to be made practical – how long will it take – is a journey into the unknown even for the officials.

          If the decision has been taken during the early lockdown period, the results could have been released by now. During the lockdown students were asked to submit their exam fees. They were all sitting at home then. They also paid the fees. But, for them, ” when the exams will be held”  still remains an unknown. There’s still a question mark hanging over their future.  

          It is imperative that Government, CM, or AICTE should take a firm decision and make the necessary announcement without further delay is the high expectations of the students.

          This is the way all three can live upto expectations while considering the issues fairly and do justice to the complex solution on hand and to the students.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Tuesday, August 11, 2020 –  3.09 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ”  The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art ” – Leonardo da Vinci.

Standard

” Right the Wrong ; Kozhikode Aircraft Accident – Real and Not a Bad Dream ” – August 11, 2020.

          A dream-like incident was the accident of Air India Express flight from Dubai to Kozhikode on Friday, August 7, 2020. ” Did it really happen, or did I dream”  is the thought still going through the minds of those people who escaped and even among the general public.

          On the night of Friday, the Air India Express flight overran the runway and slipped into the deep valley and broke into two pieces. About 154 including 10 children, 2 pilots, and five stewards were travelling in that flight. About 18 people including the two pilots lost their lives. Many others were wounded seriously.

          Considering the design of the runway and the water logging due to rains in the place, why the plane was not diverted to land either in Kochi or Coimbatore is still puzzling. A question that points to the misjudgment of the airport surveillance authorities.

          Experts and analysts have warned with caution the operations of aircrafts in rainy seasons as being dangerous. Reason attributed to this opinion lies in the  ‘tabletop’  runway in this airport.

          A runway designed at a raised terrain with steep lows on one or both sides is called a  ‘tabletop’  runway. There are five such airports in India in this category. They are :  Lengpui in Mizoram ;  Kozhikode and Kannur in Kerala ;  Mangaluru in Karnataka ;  Shimla and Kullu in Himachal Pradesh ;  and  Paying in Assam. Even in America and Netherlands such. ‘tabletop’  runway exists.

          In Mangalore in 2010, a Boeing 737 aircraft met with an accident. Experts at that time cautioned about such an incident happening in Kozhikode also.

          Lesson  1.  –  We have failed to learn the lessons taught in safeguarding the aircraft passengers.

          The aircraft 737-800 that met with the accident in Kozhikode has been in service since 2006. Even if it is not new, it cannot be dismissed as an old aircraft either. The age of an aircraft is not based on years of existence. It depends on the number of hours clocked. Looking from this point of view, the aircraft’s life can be a safe 30 years. It has not passed that limit yet.

          The aircraft left Kozhikode for Dubai at 10 in the morning to bring the Indians back home. It is a repatriation flight ” Vande Matharam”. The aircraft would have undergone proper safety checks prior to its departure. Chef Pilot, Deepak Sathe, is well trained ;  an expert pilot recognised as an astute academic ;  a thorough disciplinarian with awareness and practices of his flight duties ;  and a person with a strong sense of presence of mind . He has also served in Indian Air Force with a long and distinguished record of service.

          Lesson  2.  –  Pilot error can be ruled out.

           Chief Pilot, Deepak Sathe, according to available information attempted to land twice unsuccessfully and has taken a go round in the atmosphere – perhaps working on gut instinct to starve the plane of air fuel in a bid to avoid any danger. Heavy rains also cast a cloud over his normal view/sight. Runway was further filled with water. Hence the precautions he took to hold the plane in sway for a considerable time before landing is indicative of his ability to react quickly and stay calm in a dangerous situation. Result was seen in the plane breaking into two parts and not catching fire as happened in Mangaluru. Hence the death toll of 18 out of 154 and not the entire list of passengers ( 158 ) as in Mangaluru.

          Lesson  3.  –  Presence of mind, an asset quality for a pilot.

          The generous helping rendered by the public to the distressed passengers needs commendation. Setting aside the thoughts of the possibility of the passengers carrying COVID-19 virus, the public swiftly and actively engaged in rescuing the passengers ;  sending them to hospitals for treatment with a sense of urgency and purpose. Within 2 hours of the accident, all passengers have been shifted to the nearby hospitals. When the doctors vouch for the fact that the sensible and responsible act of the public is the real reason why the casualties list is not high, we feel like bowing our heads to their humanitarianism.

          Lesson  4.  -. Immediate response and help from nearby areas and public is a need.

          The accident raises several questions. Experts opined that many airports in India are not totally safe. In some airports, the length of the runway is less than the Internationally prescribed limits. In some, safety measures do not satisfy the requirements. About two years back, the International Air Travel Organisation had cautioned the shortfall in safety measures in cities including Chennai. These complaints come to the fore again in the wake of this accident providing a dire warning to the authorities concerned.  Reports of air safety analysis and findings are not made public usually.

          Lesson  5.  –  Air Safety Analysis reports to be made public for fresh ideas and views.

          There have been some general recommendations too now :

          (a)  Kozhikode airport to be declared as a Code 3C airport for only narrow body aircrafts ;  (b)  Ban landings on runway 10 during monsoons ;  (c)  Ensure all runway conditions are enforced ;  (d)  Approach and Landing accident training for pilots ;  and  (e)  Be transparent and safety oriented always.

          Conclusion  :  

          ” Faults should be made known ;

          Questions need to be answered ;

          Wrongs should be put Right ; 

          For people to hold their normal position “.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Tuesday,  August 11,  2020 –  10. 19 a.m. (IST)

    Tidbit :  ”  In flying I have learned that carelessness, and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks ” .  –  Wilbur Wright,  Sept  1900.

Standard

” COVID-19 Will Promote an Individualistic Culture in Our Society ” – August 10, 2020.

             A Jain monk lived in a thatched hut. One day it caught fire. Neighbors extinguished the flames and rescued the monk. The entire hut was reduced to ashes. Few among the neighbours tried to console him sympathizing, “you are an ascetic and a very good man. This should not have happened to you.”  The monk smilingly replied, ” Did anything bad happen to me ?  No.  All these days I was not able to view the moon due to the thatched roof. I don’t have to worry now. I can see the moon daily and also sleep well.”  This reflects the attitude of Jains in general. 

           Being happy even in times of misery is an attitude that everyone needs in times of crisis like the one we are in now (Corona pandemic).

          Human beings have always been regarded as higher order social animal. No distinctions made. Today’s Coronavirus behaves with no distinction whatsoever in spreading the disease. For centuries long, human beings have not been trained to live in isolation. It requires a specific kind of training. From the days of the hunting community to this modern age human beings lived in groups. Whether it was cattle-breeding;  live-stock growth;  or agriculture – collaborative work and labour was the primary need. When towns became prominent in the later ages, administration required collaboration in establishing the military strength, power, and societal economic activities. Still later in history, the feudalistic society and the industrial revolution society emphasized the need for collaboration. This is how the human relationships is strengthened in our society. The celebrations of the religious entities in modern society accelerated these relationships. Likewise during birth, death, and accidents people gathered. All these things were in effect the needed or essential actions speaking louder than words in human society.

          Long before Governments began enforcing environmental laws, individuals were coming together to protect habitats and the organisms that live within them.

          Coronavirus on the other hand presents a contrarian picture. Whether you live in a multistorey apartment or in an independent dwelling, you have to maintain ‘social distancing’ (at least 6 feet minimum);  and you need to wear masks when you step out. If you slacken the pace of Control, the risk of contracting the disease by others increase.

          Diseases spreading through the medium of air, water, or animals is a common feature. That it raises its power to spread to others quickly s also something common happening for ages. But Coronavirus has the special capability to spread the diseases if an individual spends even little time in a contagious environment. It spreads through air particulates, through coughing and sneezing, or even by touching the nose or mouth with hands. Scientific research reveals the links between our hands and face. It is natural for every human being to take their hands near their faces oftentimes in a day. These are normal habits too.  The time that people need to change their normal habits as above is the prime reason for the spread of the disease.

          Corona pandemic is preparing our Society for a totally new way of approaching our work habits.  “Self Help is the Best Help”  is the lesson that it teaches in our life.

          Learned people in society always insist that  ‘solutions to problems’  emerge from the problems themselves. There is widespread anger now at the scientific insistances on strict standards of actions. Science, however, has made us aware of the background to the disease,  ability of the spread of diseases in environments,  measures for protection and control  etc.  Vaccine research is also becoming the priority in the absence of effective control through drugs and treatments that we have been used to for decades/centuries.

          We regard all people as friends ;  establish relationships with anyone we like ;  travel and share our requirements with everyone ;  think of living in a borderless world ;  enjoy festivals, meets, and gatherings ;  or other social celebrations. Coronavirus today has created a ‘unque’  Opportunity to live in a totally different manner. 

          ” Think Globally and Act Locally ”  is the proverb we must hold for living during this crisis time.

          In fact it is not just at local level;  not just at the level in streets;  not just at the level in apartments;   but  it is at the level of  INDIVIDUALS.

  Individualised learning ;  individualised approach ;  individualised decision-making ;  individualised dressing ;  individualised protection ;  individualised competition;  individualised designs –  in effect a sense of  “individualism”  will gain ground in our actions in future.

 

” Dieu avec nous “

Monday, August 10, 2020 – 10.29 a.m.  (IST)

Tidbit :  ” Capitalism stresses innovation, competition, and individualism “.

Standard

” Colour, a Power that Influences the Soul ” – August 8, 2020.

Adi Shankara

          God’s creation has not been uniform across all human beings. Be it the human beings; be it the flowers – all exist in different hues. They are meant to capture the subtle hues of all the areas in the Universe.

          We ganerally hold  “White”  as the representation of peace. Some say that it is ‘supreme truth’;  many aver it is a symbol of purity. All Christian priests wear white clothes only.

          Depending upon one’s thoughts and conception, the meanings of Colors vary.

          “Green”  represents elegance and verdure. Agriculturists make a vow that Green is their  symbol. Rulers and administrators keep the promise with their heads high that Green is the eternal representation of our Food Revolution.

          Muslims hold Green as the finest representation of their pleasantness, interests, and thoughts.

Priests in “Yellow” costumes.

          Females hold  “Yellow”  as their welfare, prosperity, and auspiciousness. Yellow is the prime colour seen all over in all auspicious functions in homes. Dancing with Neem bunches to prepare the signature item Pongal during the harvest festival in January, the clothes they wear will all be in yellow colour. Citing the verse  ” Buddham Charanam Gachchami “,  Buddhist bhikkus (monks) who offer prayers and bless their disciples also wear ‘yellow’  clothes only.

          Blood is “Red”  in colour. “Our goals and targets can be achieved only after shedding blood”  will be the thundering call by the revolutionaries. Psychologists regard this as the “colour of sign for enjoyment”.

          “Blue”  is sky’s own colour. Economists will always call for ‘blue revolution’. Intelligentia will expect  ‘blue sky thinking’  to be done before formulating any project.

Lord Krishna, black

          What can be said for  “Black” ?  Is that a sign of ignorance ? Is that the colour of the clothes of the life snatching ‘Yamaraja’, the deity of death ? Or, is it the colour of the clothes of ‘Shani Baghwan’, the son of Surya, who delivers his own justice depending upon our deeds (karma)? In general, black in our society has come to represent sorrows and miseries. But, let us also remember that  LORD KRISHNA is black in colour. Black is one of my favourite colours too. I see it as signifying astuteness, strength, and perseverance.

Priests in “Saffron” costumes.

          The long journey of the long-standing glory and pride of our Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, has dominated the  “Saffron”  colour in style and personality. Be they men or women, when they reach a stage of maturity in life to wear saffron clothes will have their minds filled with tolerance. Ascetics leading a simple and strict way of living throughout India wear “saffron”  clothes mostly. Whether it is sanctified traditional temple celebrations,  consecration ceremonies, or Lord’s processions – all streets in the town/city will be filled with saffron flags. Agni, pulled in a Chariot with seven horses, has in front the rising ‘Saffron’  only.

          The majesty and magnificence of Swami Vivekananda while delivering his triumphant and inspiring speech in Chicago, U.S.A.,  outlining the Hindu pride was adorned in Saffron clothes. He blessed his disciples and offered them saffron clothes.

          Riding on a lion, Sri Kumaraguruparar went to seek land from the Mogul King for establishing a mutt adorned in Saffron clothes only.

          The revolutionary CM of Andhra, late NT RamaRao, lived till his death in Saffron clothes only shirking all colourful apparels. UP, CM, Yogi Adithyanath, is sporting saffron clothes only. He is an ascetic bachelor. That is also one reason why he didn’t participate in his father’s death ceremony.

Students turning to become priests.

         Whether an individual is a religious beggar on the road, or a monarch of a Kingdom, when he sticks to austerities and ascetic life he wears only saffron clothes. It is a symbol of purity. It is for this reason that our national flag also bears this colour in prominence.

          This is also the reason that distinguishing people based on colour (saffron clothes wearing) is regarded the height of innocence and ignorance.

          Hermits who travel around the world wear only saffron clothes. Indians or foreigners may be different in their thoughts and interests but respect the saffron colour the most. This is the culture of India.

          It is common for bachelors (brahmacharis) to wear only white until they are initiated by a Guru in a one-on-one ceremony to observe spiritual discipline thereafter wearing saffron clothes.

          ” Wound burnt by the tongue will burn and never may heal;  but colours neither hurt or wound the inner or external body of any individual”.  It is common for the devotees of Swami Iyappa to wear  ‘black’ costumes, wear basil beads Garlands, and observe fasting for several days before they proceed to the temple.

           Devotees of Lord Muruga on their journey to  “Pazhani”  wear saffron clothes.

          Devotees of Mel Maruvathur Amman go to the temple wearing  ‘red’  clothes.

          The festival where the largest number of people congregate – Kumbhmela – is a saffron atmosphere wherever you see.  Saffron and purity are actually interwoven. In the mutts of Tamil Shaivites, one can see priests wearing saffron clothes.

          The flags of different political parties may sport different colours. But they are all based on ideals and goals that they envision. We need not be insouciant or allergic to the colours of the various parties, as colours have their origin set several thousand years ago.

          All colours are equal in front of pure thoughts and actions. But to show hatred or aversion to any one colour is not admissible.

          In Sri Lanka, the Buddhist monks have special, reserved seats in trains. The seats may be left vacant but no one other than a monk will sit on those seats. When people see Buddhist monks on roads wearing “yellow”  clothes, they will immediately bow before them and seek blessings.

          In Kerala, people do the same thing to priests wearing “White”  clothes. 

          Sadly, in Tamil Nadu the  Saffron colour has become the source of irritation. Difficult to comprehend. To see the need for reverence is the missing part ; while on the contrary harassing, maltreating, or persecution is becoming the order.

          In Maharashtra, a few months ago, (on April 16/17, 2020)  3 people who were travelling in a car to attend the funeral of Guru Sri Mahanth Ramgiri (70 year old Chikne  Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri,  35 years old Sushilgiri Maharaj, and the driver, 30 year old Nilesh Talgade) were stopped, dragged down from the car, and severely beaten with sticks and axes till death. It happened in Palghar. The reason afforded was the mistaken impression that they were kidnappers of children and organ harvesters. That it happened in front of the police watch adds insult to injury. All the three killed were wearing saffron clothes with basil Garlands and to have mistaken them for kidnappers does not hold any water. Anyone who has watched the proceedings on TV would have tears pouring from their eyes.

          That  Saffron  colour lost against murderers  is the chilling Truth.

          ” IT  IS  NOT  THE  FAULT  OF  THE  COLOR;  BUT  THE  FAULT  OF  THOUGHTS “.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Saturday,  August 8,  2020. –  1.19 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit  : ” Without Black, no Colour has any Depth “.

 

 

Standard

” India Gets into Everyone’s Heart Without Leaving ” – August 7 , 2020.

Populated India.

          World population today stands at 771, 84, 17, 430.  India’s population is 137, 36, 79, 242. Uncontrolled growth of population is a drag on the prospects of our fertile natural wealth of which every citizen has a responsible share. The steep decrease in nature’s abundance is alarming.

          A nation’s progress rests on the availability of the following elements :   pure water;  nutritious food;  education;  and  population control. India constitutes 2.4% of the total land area of the world;  and  4% of the total water resources of the world. In terms of population it constitutes 17.8%. About 171 lakh individuals are added to its population every year. About 33 children are born per minute in India.

          We all entertain our dream of making India a great developing nation. To succeed in this attempt our population growth should be controlled – something that has been touted in Conferences, Workshops, Conventions, forums, and meetings since the early seventies.

          PM, Modi’s dream is to make India self sufficient in all sectors in our path to becoming a formidable world power. He also shares the belief that the twin requirements towards fulfilment of his dream involves the elements of education, and population control.

          Most of us will remember the efforts of our Late PM, Indira Gandhi, succeeding in some manner without actually the expected degree of success though – due chiefly to lack of continued interest, support, and involvement.

          PM, Modi’s second dream is to make India a $ 5 Trillion economy (approximately, 75 lakh crore rupees). Of the 254 countries in the world, the GDP contribution of the first 20 nations is about 78.5 %.  It is comforting, however, to note that India stands fifth in this list. India’s GDP in 2019-2020 is  $ 3.3 Trillion. The other four countries are :  U.S.A.  with  $ 22.3 Trillion;  China with $ 15.7 Trillion;  Japan with  $ 5.4 Trillion;  and  Germany with $ 4.5 Trillion.

          Raising the GDP by $ 1 Trillion will take at least 3 to 4 years in the normal circumstances, i.e.  in an environment sans natural disasters, internal or external disturbances,  or  Corona like pandemics. It means, raising the level to $ 5 Trillion will take a minimum of 6 to 7 years. It must be kept in mind that other countries will also be progressing during the period either increasing the gap or maintaining the gap or in rare circumstances decreasing the gap. This is the conundrum that we have been trying to solve for decades without success.

          Youth, comprise about 50% of India. They have the capacity to work hard. India’s desire to achieve the target, in particular, to outsmart China in the race has all possible elements of requirements. The only question pertains to the pivot on which our growth can be accomplished and sustained. It is that, whether we have suitable jobs for all the youth with potential to work and produce.

          In terms of population density, India stands first with 414 individuals per sq k.m. ;  Japan is second with 370 per sq k.m. ;  China is in the sixth place with 150 per sq k.m. ;  America has only 36 per sq k.m.  If we compare the land areas of America ( 9.63 million sq k.m. ) and China ( 9.60 million sq k.m. ) with India ( 3.29 million sq k.m. ) ,  India is just about one third. America and China are 3 times larger.

          When China adopted the policy of  ” one family, one child ” , ( now permitted to have two ) ,  we must also be tempted to follow the adoption for our benefit.

          We need to follow the principle strictly for at least 10 years to catch up with others, after having missed several decades, if the dream of India becoming a powerful nation has to be realised. It should be the edict/government order that families with more than 1 or 2 children will forfeit the rights of all Government benefits. The population optimal for our growth now is just 80 crores or less. Even this is 3 times more than that of America.

          England’s economic legend, Thomas Malthus’s theories/principles need to be followed to match our requirements and needs now. ” Population naturally grows faster than the supply of goods and so failure to control this growth leads to disaster “.  Failure to control population will result in GDP progressing in linear fashion (like 1,2,3,4 ..) ;  and population will rise like in multiplication (1,2,4,8,16  ..).

Agriculture, backbone of India’s economy.

          For India to be counted in the list of fully developed nations, two factors are essential : (1) Controlling the unregulated population increase ;  and  (2)  Giving importance to Agriculture with a push towards more agriculture related production jobs. This will make our economy strong and increase individual savings, making it a powerful nation in the world. It will also be marked as India’s greatest accomplishment without military might in show.

          ” INDIA  WHICH  TAUGHT  EVERYONE  ELSE  HOW  TO  COUNT  WILL  ALSO  MAKE  EVERYONE  DREAM  HOW  TO  FRUCTIFY  IDEAS”. 

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Friday,  August  7,  2020  –  6.09 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit : ”  India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across the border ” –  Hu  Shih  ( Former Ambassador of China to U.S.A. )

Agriculture, the pivot to India’s economy.

 

 

 

 

Standard

” Events of the Struggle for Ram Temple Construction in Ayodhya ” – August 5, 2020.

Following is the sequence of events in the Ram Janmabhoomi  –  Babur Masjid  land dispute :

B.C. 100    :  King Vikramaditya constructed the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, birthplace of Lord Ram

A.D. 1528  :. Mogul King Babur’s Commander, Mir Baqi, constructed the Babur Masjid in Ayodhya. Ram Temple was said to have been demolished.

1853.         :. Saints of Nirmohi Akhara, the Hindu religious denomination tried to capture the Masjid. Riots ensued. British Government separated the Masjid into two parts – Inside the Masjid, Muslims were allowed to perform their prayers. Outside, near Ramcharithpura , Hindus were permitted to offer prayers.

1857.            :  First Indian Independence war period witnessed Muslims’  preparedness to hand over the temple to the Hindus. British Government refused to honor that.

1883.             :. British Government again scuttled the efforts of Hindus to take control of the Temple. It blocked the entire area with barbed fence. It also locked the Temple.

1885, Jan 27  :  Mahanth Raghubir Das filed a litigation petition in Faizabad Court for building a Ram Temple in that area. Rejected by the judges.

1936.               :. Shia Law Board made its claim to take over the Babur Masjid since Mir Baqi was a Shia Muslim.

1946                 :  Since the Masjid was constructed for Babur, a Sunni Muslim, the rights go to Sunni Muslims has been the verdict of Faizabad Court.

1949, Dec 22/23 : Inside the Babur Masjid idols of Ram , Sita, and Lakshman were placed at night. Fearing that removal of the idols will cause riots, the district collector of Faizabad, KK Nair,  refused the orders of the Central government. The temple remained locked.

1950, Jan 16.  :  Influential persons from Ayodhya including Gopal Singh Visharad and Mahanth Ramachandra Das;  filed a suit in Faizabad Court for permission to offer prayers in Ram Temple.

1959                :  Nirmohi Akhara filed a suit making its claim to the disputed land.

1961                 :. Sunni Waqf Board filed a suit for the removal of idols from Babur Masjid.

1984                  :  Ashok Singhal of Vishwa Hindu Parishad started the Movement for recovering Ram Temple forming an association.

1984, Oct 7       :  From Bihar’s Sitamarhi to Ayodhya – VHP started a pilgrimage journey. It had to be stopped in the middle due to PM, Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

1985, Dec 31      :  Saints’  Conference in Udipi made its request for opening the Temple for offering prayers. Gorakhpur mutt Chief, Mahanth Advaithyanath (UP, CM, Yogi Adithyanath’s  Guru) organised a committee for Agitation.

1986                   :  Babri Masjid Action Committee was formed for the protection of the Masjid.

1986, Jan 25     :  Lawyer, Umesh Chandra Pande filed a petition in Faizabad Court for the opening of the temple gates.

1986,  Feb  1      :  Court ordered permission to offer prayers in the disputed site.

1989                   :  BJP in its election manifesto included the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya as one of its core ideals.

1989                    :  Ramsila pilgrimages throughout the country was initiated in a bid to send bricks with Sri Ram inscribed on them to be used for the erection of foundation.

1989, Nov 9         :  Outside the disputed area of the Temple in Ayodhya, Ramsilaniyas Bhoomi Pujan was performed. 

1990                      :  With the support of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, RamJyothi pilgrimages throughout the nation were held. Karsevaks marched towards Ayodhya.

1990, Sept  25.    :  BJP leader, LK Advani began the Rath Yathra from Somnath Temple in Gujarat to Ayodhya.

1990, Oct  23        :  Advani was arrested in Samasthipur, Bihar.

1990,  Oct  30        :  UP, CM, Mulayam Singh Yadav resorted to shooting which resulted in the death of Karsevaks in considerable numbers.

1992, Nov               :  With the support of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Ram Yathra was conducted throughout the nation. Karsevaks again marched towards Ayodhya.

1992,  Dec  6           :  Babri Masjid in Ayodhya was knocked down. A temporary temple for Ram made. Riots and revolts in many places in the country. About 1500 people died. Dissolution of UP, MP, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh governments.

1992,  Dec  10        :  RSS, BajrangDhal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were banned.

1992,  Dec  16        :  Justice MS Liberhan commission constituted to look into the cases of demolition.

1993  Jan                 :  Central government took over the disputed land (2.77 acres) and the 67.7 acres of land adjoining it.

1993,  June  25        :  Ram Janmabhoomi Niyas Board was formed for the construction of Ram Temple under the headship of Mahanth Ramachandra Das Paramahamsa. Work on temple pillars started in Karsevakpur.

1993,  July 4          :  Bans on Hindu organisations were lifted by Judge PK Bahri.

1993, Oct  5.          :  Babri Masjid demolition enquiries begin. BJP leaders LK Advani, MM Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharathi,  and Sangh Leader, Ashok Singhal were charged.

1998,  Mar  15      :  Atal Bihari Vajpayee (BJP) forms the Government. Ram Temple agenda surfaces again.

2002 – 2003           :  Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal of Kanchi gets engaged in peace talks

2002  Feb              :  Ram sevaks in Ayodhya perform Purnahuti Yagna. The sevaks returning to Gujarat were caught in train fire in Godhra station. About 59 died. Gujarat witnessed religious riots immediately after this.

2002  April           :  In the Lucknow special division of Allahabad high court, Ayodhya disputed land enquiries begin.

2003  Jan            :  India’s Archaeological research organisations begin research to find the existence of the temple below Babri Masjid.

2003  August     :  Research revealed the existence of a temple below the basement of Masjid after excavation.

2009,  June 30    :  Justice Liberhan commission submits its report to PM, Manmohan Singh. Charges were framed against the 5 BJP leaders as per the report.

2010,  Sept  30    :  Judges SV Khan, Sudhir Agarwal, and DC Sharma pronounce the verdict on Ayodhya land dispute. Accordingly, the 2.77 acre land should be equally divided among Ram Lalla, Nirmohi Akhara, and Sunni Waqf Board. The temporary Ram Temple in the centre of Babri Masjid shall belong to Ram Lalla.

2011,  May 9       :  The high court verdict was contested by all three. The Supreme Court stays the order.

2017,   Aug         :  A three judge bench headed by Deepak Misra begins enquiries on the land dispute again.

2019,   Jan         :  A five judge bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi  begins enquiries on Ayodhya land dispute.

2019,  Mar  18    :  Former judge, FMI Kalifulla, Art of Living chief, Sri Sri Ravishankar, and senior lawyer, Sriram Panju , the three member commission was established by the Supreme Court for peace talks.

2019,  Aug  2     :  The three member commission reported the failure of peace talks.

2019,  Oct  15     :  Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi,  SA  Bobde,  DY Chandrachud ,  Ashok Bhushan, and S Abdul Naseer conducted a 40 day investigation. It comes to a close on this day.

2019,  Nov  9       :  Supreme Court gave its final verdict on Ayodhya land dispute. The land measuring 2.77 acres belongs to Ram Lalla. Central Government should establish a Trust for the construction of the Temple. The State Government should give 5 acres of land for the construction of a mosque separately.

2020,  Feb  5   :  “Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Thirtha Kshetra Trust headed by Mahanth Nruthya Gopal Das with 15 members will be constituted for the construction of Ram Temple” – PM  Modi announced in the Parliament. The 2.77 acre land as per Supreme Court verdict, and the 67.7 acres land adjoining it will be given for the purpose.

2020,  July  28  :  Final depositions in the Babri Masjid demolition case were recorded in the CBI special court.

2020,  August  5 :  Bhoomi Pujan ceremony for RamTemple construction in Ayodhya was performed.

 

” Dieu avec nous “

Wednesday,  August 5, 2020  –  6.59 p.m. (IST)

Tidbit  :  ” Temple converts prayer into peace “.

Continue reading

Standard

” Ram Temple in Ayodhya ” – August 5, 2020.

          ” Let bygones be bygones ”  –  what’s done is done ;  don’t worry about the past, especially past errors or grievances. This is what all parties are calling for in this moment of celebration by the Government.

          Bhoomi Pujan and laying of the first brick for building a majestic Ram Temple in Ayodhya will be the disruptive and avant-garde ceremony to take place today marking an auspicious beginning to the Ram Temple.

          According to Hindus, Babar constructed a mosque in the birth place of Lord Sri Ram in Ayodhya in 1528. Subsequently in 1885 Mahanth Raghubir Das filed a suit in the Faizabad court calling for the construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya. This set the course for all differences. 

          The end came with the Supreme Court on 9th November 2019 giving the verdict in favour of Temple construction in Ayodhya. The Court also ordained that an area measuring 5 acres in Ayodhya be given to Muslims.

          That both parties to the controversy felt pleased with no further arguments or critical inquiries is something that will be considered to be a sign or message directly from the God Himself. It also provides a revealing insight into the nation’s priorities that all parties hold in this critical hour submerging all doubts and differences completely. A significant outcome.

          ” This is India. In our flower-gardens (also pleasure-gardens as I see), the flowers of  ‘communal harmony’  will dance rhythmically and sway enduringly ”  –  this is the big reveal here, according to me.

          For the construction of the temple, a trust christened Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Thirtha Kshetra was started. The Trust resolved to complete the construction of the temple with a height of 161 feet, constituting 5 domes in 3 floors,  within a period of 3 years.

          Today is the day of  “Bhoomi Pujan”  ceremony initiating this noble effort.

          According to the decision of the Supreme Court, last Saturday an area measuring 5 acres of land in Dhannipur Village, Ayodhya, has been allotted and necessary documents provided to Sunni Waqf Board.  PM, Modi, participates in today’s ceremony. About 175 individuals have been invited. About 135 constitute priests, seers and sages, and leaders of communities. Sacred water and sacred earth from around the country have been gathered.

          Puja materials and other objects of worship from Kanchi  Shankaracharya is the special offering.

          About 5000 holy bricks sanctified by the Lord’s Sacrament has been sent from Tamil Nadu. Also, a brick made of Gold weighing 5 kg with the name  ‘Sri Ram’  inscribed on it along with a Silver brick weighing 20 kg are offered from Tamil Nadu.

          ” An important aspect of the case pertaining to the land in Ayodhya is the ownership of the 2.77 acres, the beginning of the challenging suit filed by Hashim Ansari first. After his passing away in 2016 at the age of 95, his son, Iqbal Ansari, pursued the case “.

          Iqbal Ansari has been invited to this ceremony.

          He says :  ” It is Lord Ram’s wish that I should participate in this ceremony. After the Supreme Court verdict any dispute regarding the ownership of land is deemed to have been settled. Besides participating in the ceremony, I will present our PM with a shawl bearing the name of  ‘Sri Ram’  and an epic in verse form describing the glory and pride of Lord Sri Ram  (Ramcharithmanas). Differences and disputes based on religion have ended. This is the significance of the temple construction “.

          His words signify the reflection of renaissance and revival of ‘communal harmony’ in India.

          Let this day mark the beginning of an India without any differences of opinion based on religion. 

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Wednesday,  August 5,  2020  –  9.01 a.m.

   Tidbit :  ”  Many are the names of God and infinite the forms through which He may be approached ” –  Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

 

Standard