The Candid Eye

June 19, 2010

The art of healing

The art of healing

SUHEL SETH, Jun 8, 2010, 03.43pm IST

I was in Chandigarh watching television on May 30 when the news of an assassination attempt on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar flashed across all screens and then began, in typical Indian fashion, the analysis of this near-fatal event without an iota of accuracy or on the basis of an informed decision. I have to confess, while I am neither a member of the Art of Living Foundation nor have I ever done a course, I have, for many years admired the manner in which Sri Sri has galvanized millions of people across the world to believe in a simple set of values: all of which revolve around human character and happiness. I wanted to call him and check how he was but in the interim, I was disappointed at the positions that everyone began taking. It was no rocket science to understand the silence of the state Government of Karnataka: no one in their right minds would have wanted to say anything on the subject when they were preparing to host their first Global Investor’s meet barely four days later. But it was P Chidambaram who surprised me the most and this was a very different Chidambaram. Not the one I had seen address the press admirably early in the morning of February 14, 2010 when the German Bakery in Pune had been the target of a vicious bomb attack the night before. At that time, Chidambaram was measured and was clear that he would offer a view only after thorough investigations were done.

But this time round, when the attack on Sri Sri took place, Chidambaram alluded to some dangerous theories; one that Sri Sri was not the real target and second that this could have been an inner-ashram feud. Yes, comments made without even a whiff of an investigation: made perhaps in passing but ones that, in hindsight have proven to be more damning than Chidambaram can imagine. This then triggered off a wave of theories: something that only we in India are brilliant at: commenting on things that are in circulation but have no roots.

I finally called up Sri Sri to enquire about his well-being and he was more amused than angered. He was more concerned about his assailant and anguished at the allegations that were circulating. But not once did I hint even a dash of anger or for that matter frustration. He talked about the calmness at the ashram and the happiness quotient therein. He talked about forgiveness and moving on and then said, he couldn’t understand why things were being said when there was no truth in them. This article will hopefully help him understand an India that is not so calm and not so happy. This is an attempt to awaken Sri Sri from the oasis of peace he resides in and fosters. And something that reflects on the general malaise that has come about in our society.

Television has made many of us instant commentators: silence is no longer a virtue nor is smiling away your troubles: you are either seen as guilty or as one who has something to hide. So Sri Sri should have never been silent or for that matter happy that his followers, one of whom was shot, were alive and more importantly happy. He should have given a dozen television interviews and made it to the front pages and prime time headlines: that would have kept him in currency not for peace but for violence: exactly what the terrorists and now the Maoists feed off.

But before we march into the next crisis, let’s pause and think what all of this has really done: it has created an impression of an inner feud which doesn’t exist; it has made Sri Sri come across as publicity-hungry which he clearly isn’t: he was as well-known before May 30; but the damage it has done is considerable: we have almost, without unsettling Sri Sri, created a level of cynicism and anguish amongst his followers in this country’s rule of law; in our ability to forget and forgive and most importantly to move on. With all the utterances around, we have confused and confounded some very happy people living in that ashram and who are helping the poor and the distraught. So while we may serve the cause of TRPs and individual one upmanship, have we really addressed the larger malaise of unhappiness and anger? Of desolateness and isolation? Of social stigmatization and separatism?

I genuinelybelieve we have many lessons to learn. Our media today is playing into the hands of vulgar sensationalism and our politicians are falling into this trap. We as a nation think it to be hip and cool if we knock the good that our fellow country-men are engaged in. We love to pull the ones that are doing good down with a ferocity that is seeped in negativism. Rather than praise the good work, we invest emotions mired in cynicism and disbelief. Are we increasingly becoming a nation that is suspicious and bitter? Or will we allow ourselves to be happy and optimistic. Many a time, each one of us that has the option to speak in public or write in newspapers want the easy way out. Criticism and not critique are the birthmarks of this India. But then this is a downward spiral. It will make us even more miserable than we need to be. It will make us despondent when we don’t need to be and more than anything else, our very attitude will deter people from pursuing the path of good and nobleness. Sri Sri runs the Art of Living program. But given what one sees around, there is a crying need for us to invest in an Art of Healing program. We need to placate and please; we need to progress and prosper and not be bitter and banal about every thing good around us. Perhaps May 30 was a lesson which we need to learn from; a signal to every Indian to be proud and not picky about everything good about our own people; our own values and our own culture. It is easy to cast stones at everything but very difficult to pick up the pieces of shattered souls. The time to stop this is now. The time to move on is now.Sri Sri has the ability to move on and he will; the happiness quotient will not see any dip or turbulence except that we will make every human being question his own integrity and his own belief system, the next time he wants to say what he really feels. Sri Sri was happy when I spoke to him. No words of rancour or remorse. But then, he is evolved. What if he wasn’t? Do we want soap operas in this country every time a tragedy occurs or do we actually have it in ourselves to let our silence heal us: from within and comprehensively?

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February 24, 2010

J&K: Boatman’s betrayal

Who can save the boat that the boatman is determined to sink? Hindus in Jammu fear the possibility of fresh holocausts as Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s red carpet to terrorists in PoK reinforces the politics of Muslim precedence in J&K, and strengthens Kashmiri Muslim resistance to full integration with India. The state last month broke a 19-year tradition and refused to unfurl the tricolour at Lal Chowk, a decision that demoralized armed and para-military forces in the state.

While successive Indian governments have failed to redress the citizenship and human rights of refugees, mostly Hindu scheduled castes, who migrated to J&K after Pakistan grabbed parts of the state in the 1947-48 war, and again after the wars of 1965 and 1971, the UPA has with alacrity welcomed PoK-based militants to the Valley. Nearly one lakh Hindus remain excluded from the socio-economic and political life of the state, denied voting rights, education for their children, bank loans, and the right to own property, since 1947.

More dangerously for the Republic, religious cleansing operations are covertly going on in the Muslim-majority areas of Jammu, though the state government is hiding the magnitude of this internal displacement. The matter was, however, raised in the PM’s Working Group on Centre State Relations for J&K, though it seems to have been ignored.

Bemused Pandits and a stunned nation are at a loss to understand what prompted the Centre to unilaterally announce an open door policy for the terrorists who unleashed genocide and drove nearly four lakh Hindus out of the valley since 1990. So far, only 7,000 families have been sheltered in government camps in Jammu; the rest are dispersed nation-wide and left to fend for themselves. They suffer unemployment, serious health and psychological traumas, a falling growth rate of the community; but they are nobody’s children.

Yet, on Feb. 11, 2010, home minister Chidambaram said the Centre was ready to “welcome” Kashmiris (read Muslims) who crossed the LoC for arms training for insurgency operations, if they relinquished militancy. He had previously surprised the nation by announcing resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, despite lack of tangible moves by Islamabad to control terrorism. Chidambaram defended the amnesty mooted by chief minister Omar Abdullah on grounds that it was recommended by the Justice Saghir Ahmed Working Group appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, though this has been challenged by BJP member Arun Jaitley.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has contested this bird-brained scheme as Pakistan could use it as a cover to push foreign militants into the country. Azad argues it will be difficult to establish if the youth being accepted are the same men who went to Pakistan for arms training, and if they have genuinely eschewed violence. When Islamabad is refusing to hand over the accused in the Mumbai 2008 terror attack, how can New Delhi adopt a surrender policy that facilitates further infiltration of militants into the country?

It is estimated that nearly 4,000 youths crossed the LoC during the 1990s; many returned quietly, but about 800 remain. In 2006, these youth met an Indian delegation to PoK that included Omar Abdullah (PUGWASH Conference) and pleaded for help to return, claiming they were “homesick.” That may be true, but when separatism continues to thrive in J&K as a whole, and militancy is on the upswing, there is no political logic for such generosity. There are also complications like men who married local girls and have children who are Pakistani nationals.

Many Hindus view the amnesty scheme as a new incarnation of the J&K Grant of Permit for Resettlement Act, 1982, which was ultimately stayed by the Supreme Court on a petition by Mr. Bhim Singh of the Panthers Party. Sheikh Abdullah had piloted this legislation after his victory in the July 1977 state elections; Dr Farooq Abdullah became chief minister in September 1982 after the Sheikh’s death.

Like his father, Farooq too tended to raise the bogey of autonomy from time to time, in order to retard the process of the state’s integration with the Union of India. The Resettlement Act aimed at the resettlement of Kashmiris (read Muslims) who had migrated to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir or Pakistan itself, and wished to reunite with their Indian kith and kin. It was disliked by the state’s Hindu community which saw it as a ploy to deprive Hindus of the migrant properties which had been allotted to them. These fears have now been revived.

Observers saw the Bill as a step in the direction of concretizing the plan for a Greater Kashmir by ensuring an effective Muslim majority for the districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Governor BK Nehru received a plethora of complaints against it, which prompted him to send a message to the legislature outlining its legal and constitutional infirmities. But an adamant Farooq Abdullah got the assembly to pass the Bill again on October 4, 1982, and the Governor was constrained to give his assent.

Thereafter, the President referred the Bill to the Supreme Court, as the power to grant citizenship vests with the Centre, and not the states. But the apex court returned the matter last year without remarks. However, acting on Bhim Singh’s writ petition challenging the Act’s validity, the court took note of rising cross-border terrorism in J&K, where by then 50,000 persons had fallen victim to militancy, and stayed implementation in February 2002; this is still valid. It was argued that the Act was prima facie “ultra vires of the constitution.”

The UPA owes the country an explanation why the wars and sacrifices of 1947, 1965, 1971, Kargil, and the continuing thousand cuts which culminated in the spectacular violence of Mumbai 2008, are being discounted in this cavalier fashion. What compulsion drove Kashmir’s dominant Muslim majority to hound their unarmed Hindu brethren with violence and threats of violence issued from loudspeakers attached to mosques, to molest Hindu women and threaten to retain them as captives while forcing their men out of the land? Kashmiri Muslim obduracy continues to pose a threat to national security, yet the Centre is willing to risk the entry of more spies, saboteurs and outright terrorists, to stoke emotions and push the state in the direction of independence/secession. We need to know who is setting this treacherous agenda.The author is Editor, www.vijayvaani.com

November 3, 2009

Joke of the week!

Filed under: India,Pakistan,Terrorism — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

Any more terror attacks from Pak will be retaliated: Chidambaram – Ha! Ha! Ha! is the immediate response after reading this news.The home minister needs to be reminded often that Pakistan is rogue state and it’s never going to learn its lesson. Just a couple of terrorist attacks now and then on Indians would make this guy blurt out some nonsense like this.

P Chidambaram

P Chidambaram

A few hundred or few thousand people are killed in a deadly terrorist attacks – The Permanently Muddleheaded(PM) leader once again reiterated his stand that India will not tolerate anymore(?) attacks.

Wondering whether it is a right of any citizen of this country to expect security and justice from this Congress government.In India, the government is for the Congress ,by the Congress and with the Congress.

Permanently Muddleheaded (PM) would say something similar after such an attack.Time and again our CC(Congress Crooks) have proven that it would pamper terrorists but kill thousands of Indians(1984 crusade) on a whim.

Each time, an attack is carried out, it would be a different face who would utter these statements with added feelings.The Joker Prince of CC had earlier said that he can defeat terrorism in 15 minutes.

Now, it is Home minister’s turn to be a joker.What is guaranteed from these CC are fun and amusement.Joker of the week award goes to P Chidambaram.

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