The Candid Eye

November 10, 2009

No apocalypse in 2012, says Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar

The world is not going to end in 2012.The reassuring voice dispelling fears of an apocalypse in that year brought a collective sigh of relief to the audience at the SMX convention center.“We are going to see 2013, as good as 2012,” declared international humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The spiritual head of the UN-affiliated The Art of Living Foundation gave this assurance not as a prophet but as a social activist who has taught people of different traditions and faiths the “art of living” through techniques that calm the mind and instill self-confidence.It was a question begging to be asked amidst the anxiety generated by cataclysmic changes in the earth, fanned by a viral marketing hype for an upcoming disaster movie called “2012” directed by Roland Emmerich.

Apocalypse

Apocalypse

Forecasts of this cataclysmic or transformative event are based mainly on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21 or 23, 2012, the so-called ancient Mayan calendar prophecy.It is not a doomsday scenario but a new beginning in humanity’s consciousness, explained Sri Sri, echoing what the modern-day Mayan elder, Guatemalan Chile Pixtun, has been saying about the prophecy.

“During this time, the planet and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era,” said the white-robed Indian teacher, a namesake of the popular Indian musician, called Sri Sri (meaning His Holiness) by his students.

“We are going to see a new consciousness developing, that of humanism,” he told a small media group that he met before his public talk.

Unfounded fears

He recalled similar events in the past that stoked similar unfounded fears.“Remember 1999, featuring the famous Nostradamus prediction? The second millennium came and the world is still existing.”“Remember the fall of communism? It took another 20 years to bring capitalism to collapse.”

“Today, we live in a culture of caution and uncertainty of the times where banks can no longer be trusted. We live in a time when one’s savings and livelihood can be wiped out overnight,” he said.

He enjoined people to seek inner peace in the midst of a dynamic changing world, “to develop new attitudes and new ways of coping with the difficulties and hardships we are facing such as disasters, typhoons and flooding.”

Ignorance creates problems

Saying that ignorance creates problems, Sri Sri travels to nearly 40 countries every year, committing to his role of “educating people, removing prejudice, teaching compassion.”Sri Sri was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee in 2008, in recognition of his work in peacemaking and conflict resolution in such areas as Iraq, Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Cameroon.

Before coming to Manila for his second visit, he was in Bangkok, Thailand, to speak at a Unesco conference about the need to eliminate a major social disease—depression—indicated by the growing incidence of suicides and drug abuse.

He said he was visiting Manila to see for himself the trauma relief efforts of AoL’s Philippine volunteers on the victims of the recent twin calamities of “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.”

Trauma relief

Local AoL volunteers have teamed up with the Red Cross to provide not only food but also trauma relief workshops, called the Breath, Water, Sound program, for thousands of people in the evacuation centers. The course consists of breathing exercises and sound meditation with lots of drinking water (for detoxification) to help manage stress.

Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar

Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar

Volunteer Denise Celdran has conducted the course for 12 street children that Childhope street teachers had gathered at the Museo Pambata. She remarked that the children don’t have the judgmental intellect that too much education can sometimes bring.

“They are open and accepting and treat everything as fun and games,” she said.Every Saturday, for two to four months, the kids ranging in age from 7 to 13, learn breathing exercises and meditation in addition to regular schoolwork conducted by the Childhope street teacher. They are taught how to still the mind and feel safe within themselves.

The children were presented to Sri Sri during his public talk. The street teacher reported how they have shown a remarkable transformation, particularly in attention span and attitude.

Major social disease

Sri Sri considers depression a major social disease. “Conflict and stress steal human satisfaction,” he said.His approach places sustainable development and social uplift side by side with value education.Through programs that help people rid themselves of stress and inspire them to see the bigger meaning of life, Sri Sri has been successful in making violent aggressors calmer, happier and less prone to destructive emotions.

People who came to listen to his public talk, called “Let Love Win,” did not hear a lot of words being said but were treated instead to two hours of destressing into music and positive affirmations.It was long enough for Sri Sri to make his point: Why worry about 2012?

Source: Inquirer

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September 6, 2009

Naxalism – a threat to unified nation of India – 5

From TOI.

NEW DELHI: The CPI (Maoist) has a budget of no less than Rs 60 crore for carrying out its armed struggle during 2007-09.

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Bodies of police personnel killed in Maoist attacks at Nayagarh (PTI Photo)

And of that, Rs 42 crore is earmarked for arms, ammunition and explosives, Rs 2 crore for intelligence gathering, an indicator of how Naxalites are prepared to pay an entrenched ring of informers. The remaining amount is allocated for transportation, computer training, propaganda and documentation.

The revelations came from Misir Besra, a top-rung Maoist leader who was arrested in Jharkhand recently. The statements by Besra, also known as Sunirmal, are significant in view of Friday’s attacks in Orissa as Besra, a “politburo” leader, had specifically spoken of police stations in the state being on the Naxalite hitlist, along with a few individuals, politicians and officers in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The Nayagarh attack points to the authenticity of Besra’s “product”. If his comrades knew of his arrest, the determination to still go ahead with the attack speaks volumes of the confidence and gumption of the ultras.

Even though the Naxalites have of late taken a beating in Andhra Pradesh, the group’s leadership remains firmly in the grip of comrades from the state. As many of seven politburo members are from Andhra Pradesh, with four — including party general secretary Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathi — coming from Karimnagar, a district long affected by Naxalite presence.

The secretive ways of the Naxalite leadership and its success in avoiding identification despite on-off peace talks had put investigators at a disadvantage. But now, agencies have an exact idea of the structure headed by a politburo comprising 14 permanent members and six “alternate” members.

While Ganapathi is party general secretary, the permanent members include Mallojula K Rao, Cherukuri Raja Kumkar, Prashanth Bose, Nambala Keshavarao, Pramod Mishra, Sumanand Singh, Katakam Sudershan, Akhilesh Yadav and Balraj. Each has a responsibility with respect to ‘military’ operations, intelligence, propaganda, training, documentation, budget and procurement of arms and ammunition.

Officials believe that most of them might have even been taking shelter in urban areas with the help of unarmed sympathizers whose number could be anywhere between 50,000 and 70,000 across the country.

“Disclosures made by Besra about the leadership will now at least help us launch our efforts in the right direction as he gave us feature-wise details of the commanders and politburo members,” said an official.

Though the politburo is the top decision-making body, lower cadres are being managed by regional bureaus, zonal/state committees, district/division committees and squad area committees. The basic armed unit, called dalam, has eight to 10 guerrillas trained in using landmines and launching surprise attacks.

While extortion from contractors, miners, tendu leaf traders and other forest produce, including ivory and sandalwood merchants/smugglers, is a basic means of finance, arms and ammunition are usually looted from the police. Besides, they procure explosives, mainly gelatine sticks, from contractors in mining areas.

A particular politburo member, Pramod Mishra of Aurangabad, Bihar, was made operational in-charge of New Delhi during the 9th congress of the Maoists. In the congress, held in the forests of Bheemband in Bihar for 10 days last year, it was decided to put one urban combat team specifically to identify targets in Delhi and Haryana. Ganapathi is the man who heads the CPI (Maoist) and its armed wing, People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), having nearly 11,000 armed cadres spread over as many as 13 states.

He is certainly not the only one who runs such a huge ‘army’. There are nearly 100 others who are part of the Naxalite command structure with their central committee comprising a team of 14 dedicated full-time politburo members.

Security and intelligence agencies, however, do not exactly know where Ganapathi or others live and operate from. They found out from Besra that the top leaders shift their bases depending upon their own intelligence.
Besra has hinted at locations which encompass dense forest areas of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar (along the Nepal border), AP, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Abujmad in Chhattisgarh, the Palamau-Chatra belt in Jharkhand and the dense Dandakaranya forests in north Telengana region of AP are, however, considered the three main hideouts.
vishwa.mohan@timesgroup.com

September 5, 2009

Naxalism – threat to unified nation of India – 4

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August 29, 2009

Naxalism – A threat to unified nation of India – 3

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Maharashtra State (Central India)
A 40 sq km area on the Maharashtra Chhattisgarh border is considered a ‘Liberated Zone’ where even the police do not venture. There are around 25 villages in this zone. Naxalites hold military training camps here and even run an arms factory and a printing press.

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August 28, 2009

Naxalism – threat to unified nation of India – 2

Jharkhand State (Eastern India)

27 Oct 2007: Armed Naxals massacred 17 people including a former Jharkhand Chief Minister’s son in Chilkhari Village of the state’s Giridih District.

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Bihar State (Northern India)
One of the poorest Indian States

13 Nov 2005: 200 Naxalites attacked the Jehanabad Jail, freed their comrades and assassinated leaders of the Ranvir Sena, the upper-caste militia. More than 300 prisoners made use of the opportunity to escape as the jail was under Maoist’s control for almost two hours.

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August 27, 2009

Naxalism – A threat to unified nation of India – 1

FACT India has put up an excellent online exhibition on the Naxalism , which has been identified as the “the single largest threat to the internal security of the country” by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the past.  A two-day Conference was conducted in Norway, Oslo, which focused on the internal armed conflicts in South Asian nations of India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal, discussed possible solutions and ways and means to achieve them. For more details, visit their website.

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