Monday, May 11, 2015

Can a cow sit for an exam?

Well why not? Cows are intelligent--and divine.
Evidently, according to news reports, the media was waiting for the cow to turn up, at the Government Degree College at Bemina [Jammu and Kashmir].
Rashid Bhat said he only wanted to expose the flaws in the system, when he registered Kaachir Gaaw (Brown Cow), son of Gura Dand (Red Bull) for an examination!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A temple to Nathuram Godse?

India is truly an amazing country. Mahatma Gandhi has been appreciated for his values of truth and non-violence all over the world. He has inspired peaceful movements in several countries. In India, he is called 'The father of the nation'.
Yet according to news reports, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, will be erecting a temple to Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948. They have acquired land for this purpose in Para village, in Sidhauli, in Sitapur District of Uttar Pradesh. The urn containing Godse's ashes will be placed here and worshipped!
What is the aim of this temple? What values are being promoted here? That Godse is greater than Gandhi? That assassinations and assassins are to be honoured? And does the government have no say in this? Can anyone erect a temple anywhere to any person?
Where are we headed?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pope Francis--and another fake quote

On facebook and the web, this quote below is shared thousands of times. But is it correct?

'It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money — for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history do not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were done in His name.'
There is no record of Pope Francis actually saying this. He did say something about doing good whether one believed in god or not, but as far as I know, did not use the above words.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Place Mill by Barbara Softly

First published in 1962
I read this book soon after it was published, I must have been around 10 or 11 years old. Set in the English Civil War, this book became one of my favourites. The story of Kate, Nicholas, the Miller, and their conflicting loyalties during this war, was somehow gripping and haunting. At some point of time I lost the book, but the memory of it remained with me. And 50 years later, I was able to order a copy and read it again. I still think it is a great book.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor

There was a book fair in the city recently. There were plenty of books at reduced prices. I was looking to add to my collection on world history, and managed to pick up The Berlin Wall. This book [486pages] is an account of the wall from its inception to its destruction. It analyses the politics behind its construction, and during the time it existed, and the numerous people involved. There is a chapter on the heroic escapes from East to West. The book is interesting, the wall being just one aspect of the Cold War.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Who is a Socialist? Mahatma Gandhi's concept of Socialism [1947]

In an editorial entitled, "Who Is a Socialist?" Mahatma Gandhi wrote:
"Socialism is a beautiful word and, so far as I am aware, in socialism, all the members of society are equal—none low, none high. In the individual body, the head is not high because it is the top of the body, nor are the soles of the feet low because they touch the earth. Even as members of the individual body are equal, so are the members of society. This is socialism.
"In it, the prince and the peasant, the wealthy and the poor, the employer and the employee are all on the same level. In terms of religion, there is no duality in socialism. It is all unity. Looking at society, all the world over, there is nothing but duality or plurality. Unity is conspicuous by its absence. This man is high, and that one is low, that is a Hindu, that a Muslim, third a Christian, fourth a Parsi, fifth a Sikh, sixth a Jew. Even among these there are subdivisions. In the unity of my conception, there is perfect unity in the plurality of designs.
"But, in order to reach this state, we may not look on the things philosophically and say that we need not make a move until all are converted to socialism. Without changing our life, we may go on giving addresses and forming parties and, hawk-like, seize the game when it comes our way. This is no socialism.'

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Hero by W. H. Auden

He parried every question that they hurled:
"What did the Emperor tell you?" "Not to push."
"What is the greatest wonder of the world?"
"The bare man Nothing in the Beggar's Bush."

Some muttered: "He is cagey for effect.
A hero owes a duty to his fame.
He looks too like a grocer for respect."
Soon they slipped back into his Christian name.

The only difference that could be seen
From those who'd never risked their lives at all
Was his delight in details and routine:

For he was always glad to mow the grass,
Pour liquids from large bottles into small,
Or look at clouds through bits of coloured glass.