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Showing posts from August, 2018

The Politician

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Fiction Dr Zachariah slowed the car. Someone was waving a hand standing on the road. The man looked wounded. It was dangerous to stop the car because it was almost midnight and the endless rain continued to pour down reducing visibility considerably. Moreover, he was exhausted after a very long day at hospital which culminated with a surgery. Nevertheless he stopped his car and lowered the glass a little. Both the doctor and the wounded man on the road were stunned for a moment as they recognised each other. “Doctor, please help me, I’m injured badly.” The man pleaded. “Hmm, hop in.” Dr Zach opened the door and the man crept in with some difficulty. “Dry yourself,” said the doctor giving him a towel which he pulled out from somewhere in the car. “What happened?” “I was attacked,” he said. “A masked gang. Must be the commies.” The man who was known as Raghav ji was a local leader of the BJP. Fights between the BJP and the Left parties were not uncommon in the

The holiday is over

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The school reopens tomorrow after the Onam holidays. There was no Onam, however. The historic deluge that washed Kerala mercilessly stole the joy out of Onam. There were no grand celebrations. People were busy returning home from their relief camps, cleaning up their houses and seeking where and how to begin anew. Even now thousands of people are living in relief camps because they have nowhere to go; their houses have been washed away entirely or they are not habitable. While it has been heartening to see the way the people of Kerala cooperated with one another to bring life back to normalcy, it was extremely painful to watch the way certain sections fished in the troubled waters. The attitude of Prime Minister Modi and his supporters has alienated the people of Kerala almost entirely from the dominant political narrative. The financial aid given by Modi to the state is a pittance against what is required. Mr Modi rubbed salt into the wound of insult by saying no to countries th

Modi's Truths

Truth is a fabrication. Barrows Dunham, American philosopher who was dismissed from the Temple University for his liberal views, wrote that “truth has been suffered to exist in the world just to the extent that it profited the rulers of society.” The rulers fabricate truths for their own benefits. We are not speaking about scientific truths like water boils at 100 degree Celsius under normal temperature and pressure or the sum of the three angles of a triangle is 180 degrees. We are speaking about truths given to us by our political leaders. And religious leaders. And quite many other leaders. Leaders, in the final analysis. Leaders often soar on the wings of fabricated truths. Kerala is passing through the most tragic catastrophe it ever witnessed since the creation of the state. The state government’s rough estimate is that ₹35,000 crore will be required to rebuild the state. The central government initially promised ₹100 crore which was eventually raised by ₹500 crore.

How to make Religion meaningful

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A 9 year-old boy was beaten to death by a 64 year-old Buddhist monk for being playful during a religious ceremony. The boy was a novice; i.e. a beginner in monkhood. It happened in Thailand yesterday . Many monks in that Buddhist country are facing serious criminal charges such as cases of extortion, sex and drug abuse. A month back the infamous “jet-set monk” was sentenced to 114 years in prison for money-laundering and fraud. The abbot of the popular Golden Mount temple in Bangkok was caught in May with $4 million of unaccounted money.   From a monastery in Gangtok during a personal visit How do they expect such little boys to be 'religiously' serious? Notice the cane in the monk's hand. Recently the Christian Churches in Kerala were rocked by many sex scandals involving priests and nuns. We are too familiar with the atrocities committed by godmen in various parts of India. I was personally associated by necessity with a cult run by a godman whose greed f

Intimacy

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Intimacy is rooted in understanding. It is impossible to live without at least one intimate relationship. As John Powell says in The Secret of Staying in Love , “No one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” Intimacy is that mirror. Understanding each other leads to the discovery of each other’s inner beauty. It heals the wounds that inevitably mar that beauty occasionally. It can remove scars too. Intimacy has the tenderness of a soothing balm. Intimacy is a melodious poem that keeps on composing itself endlessly. Its rhythm is like the flow of a mountain brook; there are occasional stumbles and rumbles too.   “Is physical intimacy the only thing which matters in a relationship? Can you live without it and yet be happy?” Blogger Anushree Aggarwal raised the question . Why can’t one live without physical intimacy and yet be happy? There are plenty of people w

Dear Maveli

Dear Maveli, The sight of your beloved Kerala during this Onam will break your heart. There are no floral carpets to welcome you. The air does not resound with joyful songs. The charming thiruvathira dancers are not seen. Where are the tigers of the pulikali? What you find all over your land is devastation. Hills collapsed in the fury of gushing waters. The waters carried away homes and roads. They carried away the flowers that used to bloom cheerfully for you. Whole townships like Cheruthoni are ruined entirely. Rivers have changed their courses and redrawn the map of your country. What is left is helpless gloom. And our determination to spring back to vitality. We will bounce back. In spite of the hostility of our present king who calls himself our Pradhan Sevak just to mask his colossal narcissism. He has not only refused to help your country with the required assistance but also blocked the assistance coming from across the borders. So, you see, we have to fight not

Floods and the Gods

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The god I was given in my childhood was too eager to punish. His impatience with mankind is coeval with the species itself: he drove out the first couple from Paradise for eating the forbidden fruit. Why God planted that tree with the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden is one of the umpteen questions without answers when I confront my religion. Was it because God knew that Adam and Eve would break his rule and so he could punish them gleefully? Soon after the first couple’s eviction from Paradise came the deluge, when Noah was 600 years 2 months and 17 days old [Genesis 7:11], which destroyed almost the entire creation because the biblical God lost his patience with his own creation. What a bad creator! And what a bad God to lose patience so promptly and so destructively! He lost patience again and again. Fire and brimstone destroyed people whom he considered wicked. An incorrigible God! When the disastrous deluge hit Kerala recently people of different religions and

Education without distortions

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One of the pedagogical models that fascinated me while doing B.Ed. was Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomy. The model presents three domains all of which should get due attention from the education system. They are cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning and refer respectively to mental skills, development of right attitudes and creation of a value system, and physical skills. The present education system in India is heavily loaded in favour of the first. A lot of knowledge is imparted to students. Certain skills are developed too in the laboratories and playgrounds. When it comes to the affective domain, a lot more remains to be done. This is the most major drawback of the system, I think. If due attention is paid to the affective domain, our students will move out of the schools with a well-developed value system of their own. The way hatred is spread through the social media and other platforms is a clear indication of failure in this regard. Anyone with a clear v

Why Franco Mulakkal should be a saint

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Franco Mulakkal is the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Catholic Church. He has been accused of raping quite many nuns. Many nuns chose to leave their religious calling because they didn’t want to live the duplicitous life that their ‘good shepherd’ wanted them to live. It is too obvious that this bishop is nothing less than a rapist. But it is necessary to protect him and eventually declare him a saint. Why? I have been following the comments on many Whatsapp groups which I belong to by the necessity of wanting to belong somewhere. Yeah, we all want to belong. Imagine the millions of believers whose sense of belonging is threatened by the sins of a villain like Franco Mulakkal. It’s terrible, if you can understand that threat. I am not a believer and hence not shaken in any way. But I’m concerned about the people who mean a lot to me and whose lives are shaken by Mulakkal’s sins. It’s not possible, they tell me. The Fathers are holy. These simple, humble, l

Reliance Swindling Corporation

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This Independence Day brought me a symbolic ‘gift’. The fact that it came from Reliance Life Insurance Corporation adds a peculiar irony to the ‘gift’. Back in the heyday of my life in Delhi, I received a phone call offering me a “single premium life insurance policy” from Reliance. I had to pay ₹ 50,000 just once and would go on to enjoy a whole lot of “long term benefits”. I leaped at the opportunity as the promises were lucrative enough. The agent rushed to my residence and the paper works were completed hastily. However, when I received the policy certificate I realised I was cheated. It was not a single premium policy at all. My subsequent personal conversations with the staff in the Reliance office (which kept shifting from place to place in Delhi almost every month like a fugitive) made me realise that the office and its agents played tricks on potential clients to foist misleading insurance policies on the latter. I was already trapped and had no choice but carry on

Death of the Text?

“In the beginning was the word,” says the Bible. Man is a word-making animal. One of the first things he did as he started walking on two legs must have been coining words for effective communication. Words continued to be coined enriching human languages from the time of the earliest cuneiform texts. Man cannot live without the texts. “Is the written word doomed?” The latest In(di)spire forum questions. No, it isn’t. The vlog and the blog will coexist just as the TV and the print media do or the novel and the movies do. True, more people are taking to the TV and the visual media. Video blogging has become quite popular too similarly. Yet the power of the word, the primordial power of mankind, will never be lost. Words create texts. And words will continue to exercise their charm on readers for ages to come. Even today there are plenty of people who enjoy reading the newspapers in spite of the fact that the TV brings the news more efficiently and attractively. Literature c

Politics need not be a bad word

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It’s rather rarely one comes across an article that highlights the goodness of politicians. Today I stumbled upon one such article in Malayalam written by one Abdul Rasheed . He mentions how G. Sudhakaran got a bank to write off a loan in order to save an old, impoverished woman from losing her home. Just a few phone calls and some instructions: that’s all what it took for the minister to bring a new life to that woman. The writer also appreciates the recent visit made by Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala to the flood affected regions of the state. They shared the same helicopter putting aside their political rivalry.   Image courtesy Yoyo daily The article goes on to say that Pinarayi’s government has already extended financial help to 234899 people in the last two years of its governance. A sum of ₹ 423 crore reached those people from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Most of that money came from the state-run lo

പിന്നെ കുറെ തമാശകളും.

മീശക്കാരൻ കേശവന് ദോശ തിന്നാൻ ആശ തോന്നിയപ്പോൾ കീശ തപ്പിനോക്കി. കീശ  കാലി. മേശ പണ്ടേ കാലിയായതാണ്. പണ്ടേ എന്ന് പറഞ്ഞാൽ ഏതാണ്ട് demonitisatioന്റെ കാലം മുതൽ. രാവണന്റെ കാലം. Oh, that's doing injustice to Ravana, thought Kesavan. Ravana had some ethics. He didn't touch Sita because she didn't permit him to do that. ചിന്ത കാട് കയറുകയാണ് അല്ലേട കേശവാ? ഇതാണ് മലയാളികളുടെ main പ്രശ്‍നം. മനസ് നിറയെ കാടാണ്. കാട് നിറയെ  മനസും. കാട്, കറുത്ത കാട്. മനുഷ്യനാദ്യം പിറന്ന വീട്. കൊടുംകാട്ടിൽ തളർന്ന ചിറകു വീശി തകർന്ന പൊന്മാൻ ഇരുന്ന വീട്. "എന്ത് ചേട്ടാ?" ചായക്കടയിലെ ഭായിയുടെ ചോദ്യം കേട്ട് കേശവൻ was jolted. Bhai, aren't you a Bangladeshi? Kesavan wanted to ask him. ഈ ബെന്ഗാളികൾ എന്താ ഇങ്ങനെ പെരുകുന്നത്? ഇവർക്ക് വേറെ പണി ഇല്ലേ? എവിടെ നോക്കിയാലും ബംഗാളി മാത്രം. ചുമ്മാതാണോ മോഡി ഭായ് ഹിന്ദുത്വ പറഞ്ഞു  പെരുക്കുന്നത്? ഇളിഭ്യനായി കീശയിലും മേശയിലും കാശില്ലാത്ത കേശവൻ വായ് നോക്കി ഇരുന്നപ്പോൾ local RSS leader ആ വഴിയേ  വന്നു."No work, man?" ഉണ്ണികൃഷ്ണൻ നേതാവ് ചോദിച്ചു. "എന്നാ

Writer, think

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Image from CNN Asia My job keeps me in touch with young people. An alarmingly increasing number of these young people tell me that they wish to leave India and settle down in a liberal country. I encourage them. India is governed by a warlord whose mindset belongs to the medieval era of fanatic wars. As a result, mindless violence is spreading across the country like a terminal cancer. If you surf the writings on social media such as Facebook, you will realise that there is a whole army of people who propagate violence as the need of the hour. What is the need of the hour specifically? Once again, it shocked me to realise that the projected need is the redemption of Hinduism from its enemies in India. Who are the enemies? The Muslims, of course, first and foremost. And then the Dalits, the Christians, and so on. The very first premise of all that logic is wrong . Hinduism has never been in any danger in India. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been the religion of the major

The Cynic and the Monk

They are the opposite poles of the continuum that stretches from cheerful despair to sad optimism.   The cynic is a sad man who laughs away his blues with the soothing belief that life won’t be any better than this. The monk is a happy man who wearies himself with the longing to make life holier by staying away from its inevitable pollutions and then preaching cleanliness to the miserable wretches who are condemned to wallow in the filth. However, there is something common to both the cynic and the monk. Both reject the world. The cynic is afraid of the world and hence says No to it with masqueraded cheerfulness. His No is his shield held against the pains and dregs that life will inevitably bring if he dares to say Yes to it. The monk appears to say Yes to life but is in fact saying No to a lot of things. While dark humour is the natural tool of the cynic, rubrics are the monk’s knights in shining armours. While George Orwell’s donkey Benjamin is the cynic, the Biblical Moses

Friendship

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Until someone from my Delhi days called me yesterday evening, I was not aware that it was friendship day (1 st Sunday of August). I transferred the phone to Maggie as soon as he enquired after her. The call ended soon which was what I wanted. Friends – I’m scared of many them. My experience with friends has been such that friendship is a nightmare for me with the exception of a few souls who don’t wait for friendship day to call. When a Catholic priest who was my teacher for a brief period extended friendship on Facebook recently, I accepted the offer with considerable hesitation. When he wrote on my page yesterday that he prayed for me I became really terrified and wrote in response that attention from religious people had always spelt disaster in my life. I had my own perversions and idiosyncrasy which made me an outsider in any society. Most of those perversions were worked to their bizarre extremes by certain religious people who took it upon themselves to reform me. As

Blogging and Earning

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Mediocrity encroaches on everything. That is a natural law. Religions become mere trade of illusions and delusions under mediocre priests and other leaders. Politics becomes trade of power. Writing becomes a similar trade too. The true worth of each of these is brought down to the quagmire of pedestrianism by mediocre people who always rule the roost, thanks to the natural human craze for power and wealth. Blogging has not escaped this fate either. Much of what you get these days on blogs is just uninspired pettiness that masquerades as supernatural wisdom. Almost every blogger you meet these days is an expert on something like parenting, nutrition, or lifestyle. There are good writers among them, of course as there are good religious leaders and good politicians too. “Is it correct to always convert a passion into a profession?” That is the question raised by an eminent blogger, Arvind Passey , at Indiblogger , a blogger’s community. “Does this destroy the essence of blogg

Hope Springs Eternal

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Image from videohive Hope was the last item in Pandora’s Box. Pandora was the Greek predecessor of the biblical Eve. Like Eve, Pandora was the first woman of mankind and the sole purpose of her creation was to bring evils and misery into the world of men. She descended on mankind with a box that contained all the evils which were let loose as soon as she reached the earth. Hope was left behind in the box where it still remains like a mirage. Was hope left behind in the box because it was another evil, the ultimate evil? Hope can be a terrible evil if it gives you false aspirations and destinations. Imagine the common man on the street or the adivasi in the jungle who hopes that one day a Messiah will come to deliver them from the exploiting and mendacious politicians. Messianic hopes are quite asinine if you know the story of this donkey from the circus which was asked by a launderer’s donkey, “Why do you endure such painful and risky acts? Why don’t you run away and j