10 August, 2013

Jai Hind

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most structive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only”. Mark Twain.

On august 15 India celebrates its 66th independence day. Time for me to think about my nation.

I am very grateful to my mother India. India taught me to live and tolerate any one who accepts me and who doesn’t accept me. India taught me to be patient to all situations and to live in a diverse world of all different races, religion, language, color, etc.

I just wanted to mention my school experience. It was my best time. As a kid, I started to see kids of all religion studying together. Early morning we gather together before we begin our classes singing our national hymn. Then we recited our pledge. It is so even today. And then after our classes we end the day singing our national anthem. It taught us to hold our hands together to feel as Indians above all differences between us.

Just to add the pledge of India we recite every day morning during the assembly runs so.
India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion. In their well-being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

That is the reason Shashi Tharoor said so. “Indian nationalism is the nationalism of an idea, the idea of an ever-ever land, emerging from an ancient civilization, shaped by a shared history, sustained by pluralist democracy”.

Jai Hind

11 June, 2013

Rape and Economy

The recently published report of the chamber of commerce in India about the tourism in India shows some hope that at last the governing people with sit together to find a solution for the whole this of rape saga in India.  it is an international metaphor that the ruling body open their eyes when something affects the economy of the nation.

The case of all environment protection voices now days is an example. There was a time the whole so called developed nations were on a spree of modernization and now when it was observed that without caring the green the whole development is a waste and it will at the end of the day affect the financial stability.

The published report says that in the last six months time the foreign tourism in India declined by 35%. It is after the very brutal rape happened in Delhi. Those who have followed by blog would have already read at least three times I did mention about that and the various other incidents happening in India against women.
This rape culture has brought down the very high brand name ‘India’.  Apart from thousands of Indian women mercilessly being raped and killed in India, the world also noticed that the attitude towards foreign women were also not different.

 A Swiss woman was raped in March and then followed by many other incidents against foreign nationals. A British woman had to jump out of the hotel window to escape a rape assault by the hotel owner, an American woman was gang raped and to the latest that an Irish woman getting raped. These are only namesake known information and if we look into the reports we would see a lot of such incidents reported.

2 Million People are working in the tourism sector in India and 7 million people are profiting from the income from the tourists visiting India. The tourism sector brings every year 18 billion dollars to India. The government is concerned now as the decline of foreign tourists will affect the whole economy of the nation at least to some extent.

This is an eye opener and the government is thinking of measures to provide enough security to tourist areas and as well as to chart out a plan how to conscientize the whole of India about the value of respecting the freedom and integrity of women. Change can be invoked only when something affects the economy of the nation.

Stand up, Putin

After a long time we saw some bold statements from Vladimir Putin. His reactions yesterday regarding the conflicts in the Arabian region and about America are very much to consider.

Among everything what he said, I just and I simple like one statement from him. “Stalin was dictator and tyrant, but I’m sure he would not have used atomic bomb on Germany”. Right, he has rightly said.

China is much more concentrated on its internal development and building up of a international base with aid projects and military supplies to the small countries. Russia was very busy building up the nation after the US edited or orchestrated Soviet collapse. US used this period or phase to just dominate the international politics and dictate the rules of the game.

There is a tendency seen now that the western idea of democracy is the best form of democracy and as part of bringing order to the world, this could be introduced everywhere irrespective of the culture and history of the region. One of the main agenda of the European Union is also to introduce the whole world to the democracy. After all it is this democracy that voted to crucify Jesus and free Barabbas. (I did read this elsewhere and don’t remember the exact source)

All what America said and did was through the sponsored media explained away and interpreted as ‘the right’. The truth was all what US said and in this case European Union was just following the explanations. The world is not only west. Putin collected the courage and aired his views now. Some of the important remarks are worth reflecting.

I just quote him from what  Putin said in  answering the question of RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

Regarding Syria. "From the outside some people think that if you bring the entire region in compliance with someone’s specific idea of democracy, things will settle down, and everything will be all right in that region. But that’s not true. Considering that region’s background history, culture, religion – you cannot interfere with it from the outside.”

“Where is the logic in that? Our Western counterparts often tell us that the Al-Nusra is one of the key organizations in the Syrian military opposition. But it has been dubbed terrorist by the US Department of State, and it doesn’t even hide its links to Al-Qaeda. So will you let this organization join the future government of Syria? Our Western counterparts say no. Are you going to just make them go away once you have victory in Syria? They don’t know. It’s totally unclear.”

“What do you have there now? There is a war of everybody against everybody among various tribes, there is war for resources, and, I’m afraid, if we go the same way in Syria, there will be same havoc in Syria that we’re now witnessing in Libya”

10 May, 2013

Feeling wanted

The best time I enjoy in Switzerland is the weekends. It is not because of the weekend parties and time to rest. But on weekends I get the time to do some ministries. It is somehow turned out to be something good for my soul. I had the opportunity these two years to celebrate Eucharist in some of the old age homes. It touches my heart.

I love the way they look at the altar and the interest in participating in the Eucharist. Their intense attentiveness and the glance with some real hope when the prayers are said touch me in my heart. Then by wishing peace if I go to them at least in the front row, they take my hands in their palms and even though they may be able to say anything their touch speaks very loud.

Last year for the Easter I thought that since this is a special occasion I could go to each and every one in the chapel to wish them peace. Some eyes were wet. Some don’t want to leave my hand. Some ask me whether they knew me earlier.  

They just need a touch. They just want someone to spend time for them. They just want somebody to look at their eyes. The only very fact of so much feeling wanted, I feel from them make me more faithful in God. What is the other hope they have at this age when they knew that they are just on the summit of their own lives? Like to be just being available for those who feel wanted.

NB: one of my colleagues celebrates her 25th birthday and she is sad thinking that she is becoming old. Ok. The real old people may look and laugh at her mercilessly. 

23 April, 2013

Oh my God, the story continues in India…….

Sexual assault and protest and then the discussion in Parliament. Strict rules are again formed but the act of sexual violence continues.

and this time a 5 year old girl, a four year old girl and a nine year old girl is raped. two are battling for life. and the nine year old's throat was slit after raping her, to kill her and to avoid her identifying the rapists. and in all these cases the neighbours were the culprits.

Official show that a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. However, many incidents of sexual crimes go unreported. India's conviction rate for rapes and other crimes against women is among the lowest in the world.

I am also for the strict rules and I don’t object any death penalty for the culprits. But I am sure also that penalizing alone doesn’t save women from these lustful men.

The European Union, United Nations chief Ban ki Moon and the Amnesty International are all very vocal against the death penalty in India. I would say that it is time for them to shift the focus from trying to abolish the death penalty to press the Indian government to implement the measures for the emancipation of women in India, and to educate everyone properly about sex and humanity.

Once when Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons are burned alive by radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India, the Australian government responded very effectively and the Indian government had to yield to their pressure.

What happened when a Swiss woman was raped by seven men in India and her boyfriend beaten up? Swiss government issued a warning to the other tourists and then thanked the Indian government for bringing those culprits in front of justice. It is all after in 2008 a Swiss woman working in the Swiss embassy was raped in the parking slot.

It is time for the whole world to react and respond with stringent measures and save the woman in India. it is not the terrorism, it is not the economic depression, it is not Pakistan, it is not poverty that is the greatest evil and enemy of India. it is the Indian cultural taboo which permits no one to express their love and care to others in front of another third person but to do anything and everything in the dark.

I just remember what John Lennon said. “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”

What is the future of the world when more than one sixth of the world population is in India and when they behave so? Among the more than a billion people there 65% are below the age of 35 and India is the land from where the most migrate for valid reasons. If India behaves so with the women it is not a domestic problem alone but an international problem. I don’t like this sort of culture being transmitted outside India. So time for the international community to react.

03 April, 2013

Novartis and the verdict

The major discussion in all the international news channels these two days was the legal battle Novartis led for the patent right for their cancer medicine Glevic  in India. It lost the legal battle which began in the year 2006. But who won the case?

As propagated in the media, the chief beneficiaries of Monday's Supreme Court ruling will be India's Cipla Ltd and Natco Pharma Ltd, which already sell generic Glivec in India at around one-tenth of the price of the branded drug. It is a victory to all the Generic produces as India is the factory of the generic medicine producing 20% of the world’s generic medicine.

The patent rights and the rules in India is different from other countries as the Novartis found it easy to get the patent rights in 40 other countries including US, Russia and China.  Novartis’s patent application was rejected in part because of Section 3(d) of India’s patents act. It is as follows.

Section 3(d) is one of those provisions. It explicitly requires that patents should only be granted on medicines that are truly new and innovative. For new forms and new uses of existing medicines, Section 3(d) requires patent applicants to prove significantly improved efficacy before a patent can be granted. 

Novartis was arguing that a new "beta crystalline" form of Glivec is more effective and hence qualifies as a new invention, and hence should get patent protection. India has refused protection for Glivec on the grounds that it is not a new medicine, but an amended version of a known compound. The Supreme Court, in a 112-page analysis of all the claims and counter- arguments disagreed. It said that the beta crystalline form was nothing new. It has always existed in the original amorphous form.

Whatever it is, the basis on which the verdict is issued is to be considered. For the other developed countries the intellectual property and its rights and the research costs are important but for India, a land which houses millions of poor people, a judgment based on the consideration for the poor and needy was important and it was what mattered.

India has an estimated 3 lakh CML (chronic myeloid leukemia) patients, with 20,000 added every year. Glivec is sold by Novartis for about Rs 1.2 lakh per month. Indian manufacturers sell the same drug at a monthly cost of Rs 8,000. Moreover Novartis has reported a net profit of $9.6 billion in 2012 on sales of $57 billion Glivec sold. In a land where 40% of the population earn less than 1.25$ a day, this judgment is justifiable. This judgment gave a huge sigh of relief from thousands of patients in India and in dozens of developing countries as the fear of an almost 15-fold escalation of drug costs receded.

It was a decision or a justice done for the poor. In a land where a rough 20,000 new patients of leukemia spring up, this decision is justifiable. An objective justice is not suitable here. May be Jesus’s way of knowing the victim and the subjective understanding of the accused before judging them is an example.

I understand this situation better since I know a family which lost their father due to leukemia only after selling their whole property and house to treat him. The whole life’s saving of the family was spend on him but could not save him at the end. As a person who saw the tears in the eyes of their family in losing him and later the wet eyes not having enough to live on still, I welcome the decision of the supreme court with both the hands open and appreciate the concern of the judges for the poor.

14 March, 2013

Habemus Papam

The white smoke did not bring any special joy but the announcement made me joyful. There are some reasons that I am happy about him. It is not all those leading candidates indicated in media and bets placed who became at last the pope but a simple, humble and a man of social justice.

I need to just put some facts here that could give an indication of the goodness of Pope Francis.

  • ·         He is s son of an immigrant Italian (From Turin to Buenos Aires)
  • ·         He is simply known as Father Jorge.
  • ·         A pope outside Europe after 1282 years
  • ·         As a Latin American, he is from this 46% (according to CNN and according to Pew Forum of religion and public life it is 39%) Catholics of the whole world who were never represented and this brings justice to them.
  • ·         Undisputedly accepted fact that he was the voice of the poor in Argentina.
  • ·         He washed the feet of the AIDS patients on the holy Thursday and set an example
  • ·         He lived in an apartment like a poor man renouncing the bishops palace
  • ·         He gave up his chauffeured Limousine in favor of the public transport travelling with the general public
  • ·         He cooked his own meals
  • ·         First pope to adopt the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi
  • ·         Broke the tradition by seeking the prayer of the people first before blessing them

There can be a lot to add but these were some important matters from his life that caught my attention.
I would pray with a happy heart and seek God’s blessing upon the church at this historic moment and thank God for helping the church with a person with such a heart for the poor and to give a pope who is liberal on social justice.

09 March, 2013

Iviva Chavez

Running to the papal conclave, the whole world attention turned towards Venezuela to mourn the death of Hugo Chavez, the undefeated fighter against imperialism and American Hegemony.

BBC, CNN and all media with right wing thinking tried their best to highlight the negativities and to show the world his life and presidency in another cynical angle. Even now after his death a number of articles are published showing that he was a failure. I don’t believe in this as I am well aware of media politics. Right is not everything done by US and its dependents.

Hugo Chavez was a bold charismatic socialist leader who could rally the states with similar thinking to show the world there can be another world order other than dictated and manipulated by US and the rich allies. He said in the UN boldly referring to George W Bush that this gentleman who is the president of US whom I refer to as Devil came here as if he owned the world. I do appreciate that.

 But Chavez was not against humanity and human concerns. Even though he was against US international politics, he donated heating oil to help the victims of hurricane Katrina and Rita, which destroyed the fuel processing facilities in US.

Chavez lived in poverty and this poverty denied him to stay with parents. He suffered in his life with humiliation, poverty, and suffering without food led him to be the country’s most populist leader and to be termed as the savior of the Venezuela. The country Venezuela was known to the world through Hugo Chavez.

He came to know that the country with rich oil reserves did grow rich but the wealth did not flow to the hands of the poor. Reading Marx, Lenin, Mao and attracted to Che Guevara and following the philosophical ideals of Simon Bolivar he invented his own socialism mixed with catholic faith. He was attracted to the Liberation theology which was popular in Latin American countries and got tactically suppressed by the official Catholic Church. He wanted to be a priest in the Catholic Church and placed the roots of his socialism on Jesus Christ and called Jesus the world’s greatest socialist and revolutionary.

A devout catholic, follower of Christ, soldier for the poor, he cried in the church praying for his health. Even this did not help him to criticize the Catholic Church and to the extent of telling the world that he doesn’t believe that Pope Benedict is not the God’s emissary to the earth. He appealed to the Catholic Church in Venezuela to stop criticizing his socialism and affinity to communism and to take part with him in the process of eradication of poverty in Venezuela.

Hugo Chavez in his last tweet on February 18 wrote „I am still clinging to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory!!! We will live and overcome“.

The main ingredients of his socialism were to give importance to education, social justice, national sovereignty and he went to the extent of forging a Latin-American integration.  And his approaches attracted apart from the anti-American friends other celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Courtney Love, and Sean Penn among others. It was the generous Haitian aid from Venezuela during Chavez time that attracted Sean Penn to him. Sean Penn said „US lost a friend it never knew it had. Poor people around the world had a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have”.

Poverty of Chavez in his childhood made him a follower of Christ, his undying zeal to help poor to be liberated made him a socialist. As a catholic socialist, he showed the world; Christ is not housed among the rich but also among the poor. Even if the church doesn’t encourage a radical liberation theology, Chavez took it to the international political arena. Along with the Venezuelan brothers and sisters, I also respect him. Long live Chavez!!!

28 February, 2013

Pope of the century

On 24th April, 2005, I remember that with so many other friars I was also seated in a TV room in Kerala, waiting to see the new pope. As the window opened and Joseph Ratzinger came out, so many of the viewers went out of the room with disappointment.

I still believed that there is something going to happen in the church and after all my belief was not based on the Pope or the Catholic Church but on Jesus. A renovation with him as the Pope was impossible and no one expected anything other than what he did till today. Nothing special about that.

But still I personally think that there were three good occasions that make be remembered for a long time.
In 2012 he met Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary icon as a friend and urged for some changes. My theme is not on what he discussed with him but he had the openness to meet him at least. Fidel Castro was never considered or taken positively by the church. To me it is more important as I come from a land (Kerala), where the Bishops and church representatives consider the people who follow communist ideas as infidels and treat them not as friends. During the time of state elections pastoral letters were read urging not to give vote for these ‘atheists’.  May be because I do see some metal in their life, I have photos of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara on my wall.

In 2011, Pope called on 12 astronauts circling the earth in space shuttle Endeavour from Vatican. This is history, and absolutely history. He appreciated their efforts and courage to do that and told that they are ‘our representatives spearheading humanity’s exploration of new spaces and possibilities for our future’. This gesture is from a person representing the Catholic Church, which one made Galileo pay his life for telling a scientific truth. This is from a Pope who is the head of the Catholic Church which once were reluctant to accept anesthesia when it was first discovered.

In December 2012 he became part of the social networking site of Twitter sending his tweet through @Pontifex from an iPad. He was a modern pope in a narrow sense but still looking at a person from the angle of positivity helps me to stay positive in life and in church.

25 February, 2013

Feb 25....... a day of controversial decisions

It is not a surprise to the catholic faithful to know that Pope Benedict is very conservative and he doesn’t want anyone of progressive thinking to take a lead role.

The two decisions that he took yesterday make me think a little more critically and to approve those decisions in my heart is very difficult. After announcing his decision to quit the papacy and just before the date of the end of his office, hurriedly he made these.

What I am referring to are the matter of accelerating the already decided resignation of the lone cardinal from England on March 17th to February 25th and then changing the rule of the conclave allowing to meet immediately after the resignation of the pope. He has the power to do that but the timing and the intention behind it is very dubious.

Just two days before Cardinal Keith O’Brien announced that the new pope should allow priests to marry citing his reasons and said that he would initiate a discussion on this matter among other Cardinals when he reaches Rome on March 1st. he also said that he has not decided on anyone as the next pope. He is the lone representative of the mainland British Catholics.  Now pope anticipated the already decided date of his resignation based on some ‘sexual allegation’ from March 17th to yesterday.

Then the second decision to anticipate the conclave without any delay was announced on the same day.

My subjective conclusions are that Pope Benedict, who remained as the strong opponent of any progressiveness and dedicated his whole life for the rules and traditions of the church without initiating any deliberations on the issues church faces in this century, doesn’t want any progressive ideas being discussed among the carefully selected cardinals according to his plan through any progressive thinking person. This cardinal Keith O’Brien’s absence can guarantee no such moves and by the anticipation of the conclave he makes sure that no extra days are given for further reflections.  Till his last breath he tries his best to delay the much awaited solutions to the various issues.

My only prayer is to wait and see whether at least this time Holy Spirit will intervene or not.

What Cardinal O’Brien said? -
"the celibacy of the clergy, whether priests should marry – Jesus didn't say that."

"many priests have found it very difficult to cope with celibacy," and while he had never considered marriage himself, "I would be very happy if others had the opportunity of considering whether or not they could or should get married."

"we know at the present time in some branches of the church – in some branches of the Catholic church – priests can get married, so that is obviously not of divine origin and it could get discussed again."

"open to a pope from anywhere if I thought it was the right man, whether it was Europe or Asia or Africa or wherever."

23 February, 2013

CEO of Catholic Church

Resignation of the pope has happened after 600 years and so to say we have the chance to wish him a good life in his rest of his life. He was clear in his words and message that he cannot do justice to 1,2 Billion Catholics at this age of 85. He is the man of the times. He had proved that he is also a human being with a likely burnout stage as any other human being.

His act of resignation has got a message to the whole world of Catholics who are also unlikely to sense this message. When I say to sense the message, I may be wrong. We all sense that and we all know that but sometimes we are not read yet accept the fact of the humanness in the Popes, cardinals, Bishops, priests and all religious.  They are all human beings and they have the same flesh and blood as all human beings and their thought patterns can also be influenced by any other human beings. They also have emotions and feelings.

He might have got the inspiration to resign from his own friend, Rowan Williams, who also surprised by deciding to resign early as the Bishop of Canterbury. At that time of his resignation, there was really a discussion in the inner circles about the like to be resignation of Pope Benedict also. And at last it happened so.

By the resignations he just proved to the world that he was just a CEO rather than God’s man on earth. He brought the fancied ideas and beliefs to the reality. Faith need to be tied to the reality and life with the threads of rationality and it helps not to jump from the faith realm to superstition.  I believe in Jesus who was the son of God and who reformed the society rather than being projecting him as a magician.

20 February, 2013

City State Vatican

It is the time now, we hear a lot about the new  would be Pope and the election. People waiting for the white smoke outside in Peters Square again.  

Certain facts make me just think that these kind of things are in a way very crude and the system takes us to a time before Jesus.

Pope is to be the head of the state of the Vatican City, a city state (not too many) existing in the world map. Yes it is like the old Greece city states where the democracy made the first coming. They themselves have changed that system of monarchy at the time and democracy was established. But the Vatican still continues to be the only elected monarchy in Europe and the almost 800 people in the city state have no voice and right to elect their leader.

Their Monarch would be elected by some people of religious importance from all over the world and the leader would be someone from outside the state. Even though UNO and EU and also the ‘World Police’ USA try their best to install democracy all over the world, they conveniently close their eyes in from of this system.

As we all know that the election of the pope is not a mystery or based on a revelation from God, and the mystery may be the way he is elected, by whom he is elected, and for what he is elected and for whom he is elected. Catholic religion hijacked the Vatican state and the members of the state have to oblige with the election process.

Women have no right. Even the citizens are excluded by the system. No right to protest and no freedom of expression and no right for a free and fair election. Those who are subjected to law are denied the right to form the law.

It is time to have a separate democratic government for the people and to introduce the system of democracy, or even better a direct democracy (taking into consideration the small number of population). Let the religious head be the head of the church and not of the state.

At the end I always think: Did Jesus mean this or did church want that so? 

13 February, 2013


It is the time of Lent now. And I thought of trying to sacrifice on something this time. I am not really a fan of Lenten fast. But still I thought let me try at least in a very small way to set a check in my life. So I decided not to eat meat. I still wonder how I could make such a decision. After all I say always that I love ‘schweizer fleisch’.

Don’t misunderstand me. I did not take such a small step based on the present horse meat issue.

Last week I was with my colleague for an exam preparation. And he set before me bread, fruits and dry meat. I said, no, I don’t take meat because of lent. The very immediate response from him was, you, you George, you are fasting? I don’t believe this.

The very bad side of this is that my three colleagues have birthdays this month and student friends are back at the university and they call for parties. I need to say a ‘no’ to so many parties and also I need to explain why I don’t take alcohol and meat. It is only when man decides something all these extra temptations occur.
To be true I would say that this is for the first time in my life that I am doing some sort of sacrifice during lent or any other fasting time. How difficult it is to make a sacrifice even on small matters like avoiding meat and alcohol?

No problem. Pope Benedict made a sacrifice on his papacy……….. Why can’t I make a sacrifice on meat and wine?

08 February, 2013


I enjoy being an Indian living in Europe. It is very interesting to encounter a lot of questions from my friends and colleagues. They are all curious about India. The questions raised by them are interesting and provocative.

Is India still a land of snake charmers?

Do you all still practice black magic and believe in spirits?

In which caste do you belong?

The answer to the first question would be a yes and no. you may see a snake charmer anywhere and believe me, we have specially arranged them to continue their work for the sake of tourism. An international tourist comes in search of these and we have special centers or areas where to take them and show them all that they are searching for. Snake charmers, black magicians, cows on the road, tuk tuk, spirit worship and so on. Yes we are marketing them.

Recently in a speech by the present icon in Indian politics, Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, he said that he replied telling that Indians have gone a step back and they are now engaged with mice rather than snakes. Yes, as the highest exporter of software and computer programs, Indians are mice charmers now.

I have already written a couple of times about caste in India. But in the society where I am brought up, I never heard of caste and divisions. I don’t know my caste and even my parents don’t know that. I recently asked them about that since my European friends are curious to know that.

Later, for fun sake, I tell my colleagues whenever they raise this question that I belong to the caste of fighters (kshratriya), because I sense in me a spirit of ‘never die’ attitude. Fight against the odds till the end and one day when we look back we will see the long road of life overcoming all that prevented a forward step.

01 February, 2013

Beyond borders

Just watched a 2003 film ‚Beyond Borders‘, directed by Martin Campbell and starring Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen. The film reflected the real-life interest of Angelina Jolie promoting human relief work. The film was a box office failure. But it could make some sort of awareness about the poverty and war suffering.

What caught my attention was a small scene where Sarah Jordan (Angelina Jolie) and Dr. Nick Callahan (Clive Owen). Sarah rescued a dying woman and brought to the camp where Dr. Nick Callahan works. She was later operated without giving anesthesia. So Sarah got shocked and questions why she is operated without giving an anesthesia. The following dialogue was very catchy.

Sarah: She is in pain.
Dr. Nick: She is beyond pain.
Sarah: Have you asked her that?
Dr. Nick: Hamadi, ask her?
Hamadi: (after speaking to the lady in her mother tongue). She says she feels the pain of hunger. She says hunger of pain is more than death. She says that you stole her away from death which was lighter than pain of hunger.

This film made me lose my sleep. I did have hunger in life when I was in North India but the pain of hunger is something different. Have you had such a pain of Hunger which is more than death? My request would be not to waste even a pinch of food and also to teach our children not to waste any food only respecting the millions who die without food in Africa and in Asia. I come from a country where one third of the population of 1.27 Billion are below poverty line.

Some days a film inspires more than bible and all scriptures. 

24 January, 2013

respect to teacher

I am brought up in a culture where teachers are respected more than gods. This tradition of respecting the teachers who implant light of knowledge in our hearts dates back to the age old legends in the Indian scriptures. In all the schools and universities pupils are trained to respect and honor teachers and it is expected from them without any exception.

I was shocked once at the university here in Switzerland when a student from our project group sends a mail telling him to get the handouts for our presentation printed and to bring to the class. If it were in India, it is a justified reason to suspend the student. In India even when we ask a question to the professor we used to stand up in respect to him. Devotion to the teacher is considered as a proper attitude in India.

It is the country where the famous Guru Drona and his disciple Ekalavya lived. When Drona asked for Ekalavya’s thumb as a gift, ekalavya without hesitation cut his thumb off and gave him. Such is the respect and obedience to a teacher.

In another legend in Mahabharata Karna offered his lap for his Guru to sleep and while he was asleep, a Bee stung his thigh and bore the pain as he did not want to disturb his sleeping Guru. It bled profusely and he was in severe pain but he did suffer for Guru Bhakti which means respect for teacher.

With all these back ground when I see such an email, I wonder. “anbei schicken wir Ihnen unseren Handout. Wir bitte Sie es auszudrucken und es mitzubringen.”Another cultural shock. may be a teacher or a professor here in Europe is more a friend.

17 January, 2013

Forcing a faith

„We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another“. Jonathan swift.

Shocked to read news last December 25th in Spigel.de about an Indian student being attacked and his tongue slashed. What is the reason? Only because, he refused to get converted to Islam.

He was attacked on Christmas Eve when he was on the way to his place in Bonn. The men enquired about his religion and asked him to convert to Islam, warning him they would cut his tongue if he refused, Der Spiegel reported.  The attackers beat him up and slashed his tongue and fled in a car. People have become crazy on religion. „The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world“. Georgia Harkness rightly said that.

When people practice religion without human affection and dignity, educated and rational ones start hating even that word religion. I may not be wrong if I say that religions have brought more violence and death rather than peace on earth. People believe in religion rather than on God. The point of discontent for Karl Marx was not God but religion and the God that religion created. No objection to what he said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.

I may not be wrong if I quote Dalai Lama whom I see more authentic and spiritual than some of the other religious heads. “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection”.

A take home message would be: please do experience God in whatever faith you are or without a faith in religion, but please don’t insist on the same experience on others forcefully.

10 January, 2013

cow better than a human being

The Kukke Subramanya temple in the sound kannadiga district of the state of Karnataka is very famous or better to say so notorious for the over 400 year old tradition of the practice of a ritual called ‘made snana’. What does it mean?

It is a custom or a ritual of people rolling over (urulu seve) the leftover of the food eaten by the Brahmins. Even the food is served differently and the upper caste people never sit along with the other caste people ('pankti bhedha' (discrimination based on caste/religion/gender)). What is the problem if it is a ritual and something to do with the faith? The problem is only when the low caste people are made to roll over the food eaten by the upper caste people.
In India you find million reasons to divide people. And the most popular and accepted way of dividing people and holding one’s head high is of diving people into high and low castes. People are proud of establishing that the other is a low caste in comparison to oneself. So in this practice what happens is just that the high caste Brahmins are establishing and confirming themselves over the other people condemned to be in the low caste that they are superior to them.

In this world where the inhuman traditions and customs are being abolished and man try their best to consider everyone equal over the divisions of caste, religion, creed, race, language etc., and the government is endorsing such a division in the Kukke Subramanyan Temple. The courts do not use their power to stop this abject injustice.  So where is the equality of human beings here? Where is the basic human dignity? What is the respect for the fellow human beings? These practices are sometimes more than the apartheid practiced in South Africa.
In a country where through social reformation the practice of untouchability, child marriage, sati (widow jumping into the pyre of the dead husband) etc. were abolished, these practices continue now or get reinvented in this 21st century where the right wing Hindu nationalist parties are widening their interests through politics based on castes and religion.

It is not a problem of one religion. All the world religions have a different version in India. Muslims divide themselves on the basis of Sunni, Shia, Alavites, mohammadiya, high and low castes and on so many other minor divisional categories. Christians divide themselves on the basis of denominations, rites, newly converted and traditional, adivasi Catholics and dalit Catholics and many others. Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists and all find their own different ways of dividing people and setting each one as high and low.

The religions have become a cause to divide the humanity in a very abject and crude manner, killing each other and protecting against caste mixing. The ‘holy cows’ yearn more respect than the human beings in India. To all those who believe in rebirth, please do pray to be born as a cow in India in the next birth.

04 January, 2013

Weird reactions

Actually my new year was not so enthusiastic since I was reading a lot about the reactions and responses with regard to the gang rape issue. She had to be flown out of India because of the inconsistency in her health and she remained critical and then succumbed to death. she breathed her last in the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

Millions of Indians are protesting and the reactions to the protests from the politicians were not fitting. Sushil Kumar Shinde, the home Minister of India, appealed to the protesters to calm down because their protests have brought shame on the country.

Actually this incident of gang rape and the rape tradition of Indians bring more shame than the protests. He is worried about the reputation of India being slashed since the protests of millions in all the cities brought the international attention.

Abhijeet Mukherjee, the son of President Pranab Mukherjee and a Congress MP from Jangipur in West Bengal, said on a TV channel on Christmas: "Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them, they were highly dented-painted - they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes."

After calling this gang rape as a minor incident, Botsa Satyanarayana, the congress party leader from the state of Andhra said to the shock of the reporters at the press,  "Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers".

These comments and reactions reveal the real color of the politicians and the attitude towards women. It is a country where women are treated in public and in literature as Goddesses and in the dark treat them as objects for sexual pleasure. When will India learn to respect women as equals to men?