Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Belief beyond border - live and let live

I loved this title of an article about religions in The Times of India.

I felt very sad when I read this news and this one. Pakistan or Taliban, were using bombs in crowded places to terrorise our cities. Now, they have resorted to attack other religions directly, esp. the religions of India.

When our cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and lastly Pune) were attacked, we showed restraint in attacking Pakistan and are still inviting them for 'talks'! We are still keeping Kasab in 'custody' and looking after him, literally, even after the video evidence showing him clearly in the Mumbai terrorist attack.

As this article in TOI says, 'In a country like India so helplessly addicted to religion, the gods don't just abide. They migrate,mutate and fraternise. Different streams of faith meld and swirl like a dancing dervish into a melting pot of beliefs: a pot in which a heady plurality triumphs over hard ideas of purity.Benevolent,smiling gods regularly hop across religious lines to help those in need.'

When we went to Tirupati, must be some years back, before the terrorist threats, I saw two purdah clad muslim women standing in the queue to have a darshan of Balaji (I have seen the sign in most Hindu temples that 'non-hindus' are not allowed inside! Still I saw two muslim women and when I smiled at them asked them if they visit this temple often, they said 'nearly every year'!). And no one in the queue troubled them in any way.

When my first son was very small, whenever he cried without any visible reason, the maami (an old orthodox brahmin lady) who was staying with us to take care of him (I was working then), took him to a nearby dargah to have a black thread with a talismaan, tied around his neck by the moulvi! She believed that the baby would sleep if the black thread was around his neck! She never hesitated to go to a muslim shrine. It was a common practice in the nearby houses which were full of brahmins.

I had a muslim neighbour once and we were very close friends. Once when her Ramzaan kheer did not come out properly, I prepared it at home and gave it to her because she did not want her husband to know that the kheer got curdled while preparing, which is a bad omen! She had many guests also at home! Her children were very close to me and some of their Pakistani relatives who visited them used to like our vaththal kuzhambu and saambaar! They were wondering how vegetarian food tasted so well! I learnt some Urdu word pronunciation from that friend! Except non-veg. food, I did not have any problem in mingling with them.

I know many of our Christian friends who follow some of the Hindu rituals during wedding, child birth etc. Thaali (mangal sutra) also is worn in yellow thread. They don't behave like aliens to our culture. The Velankanni church here, in Besant Nagar (Chennai) is visited by many Hindus, even brahmins!

The TOI also writes:

Think, for instance, of the Zoroastrian woman who is a staunch Ganesha bhakt.Or the Muslim teacher who places his hand-written Urdu petitions before a statue of St Anthony. Or the pious Hindu with a caste mark who travels cross-country to pray for his child's health at the centuries-old dargah of Khwaja Garib Nawaz.

A shrine to the 12th-century Sufi saint,the dargah has long been a pilgrimage spot for Hindus and Muslims alike. It was bombed in a terror attack in 2007, a blast that was seen by many as an attack on the idea of religious unity. Of the 10,000 pilgrims who visit the dargah every day, more than forty per cent are non-Muslim.The dargah itself has long been an icon of secularism,even in divided Ahmedabad.The Mamajijiya Pirdada ni dargah here is maintained by an all-Hindu committee headed by a devout Jain,Jitendra Kankuwala,who shuns both onion and garlic and believes that "one force guides us".

"When all religions lead to the same god experience, why should we be closed to experiencing god through different paths? The very idea of god is absolute. So how can there be many absolutes?'' asks Fr Frazer Mascarenhas,a Jesuit priest and principal of the prestigious St Xavier's College in Mumbai.

I think the last paragraph says it all! We can only write and discuss about respecting each and every religion and say we should love all human beings. Most of the terrorists involved in the US and other huge bombings were well educated people, so we cannot just say 'education will help'...should we just say 'we have to live with it?'

We can try our best not to promote the politicians who disturb our religious harmony.

Added this link now (24.2.10 - 9.45 pm) : Thank god, we have not stooped to Pakistani level and never will. I wanted to include this also in my post and forgot, as usual. For us, religion is not important. Every human being is created by God and no one disagrees with that thought ...why should we think that one religion is better than the other?

I remember reading a news about Narayana Hridayalaya, Bangalore, treating a Pakistani child who was a heart patient, a couple of years back. I agree that ordinary Pakistanis think just like us but they are not able to control the fanatics. Now, read this:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An alien bird in our backyard!

I saw this bird in our backyard last week sitting like this on our compound wall. I saw it continuously for nearly 6-7 days. I have never seen this type of bird earlier. I have seen a gray bird with black polka dots sometimes, but couldn't photograph it. It was looking like, nearly a crow but with slightly flat belly. I don't see it now.

I tried to take a close-up photo and zoomed, but it looks blurred!

This photo also looks blurred but we can see its beak clearly. The beak looks like an eagle's, but it doesn't look like an eagle otherwise. RED eye!

It was eating the curd rice I had kept on the washing stone for the crows. I saw it eating on two days. Normally the crows never leave even one grain of rice. Did they fly away after seeing this bird? I have noticed that if any new bird came in their area, all the crows shouted together and 'shoo'd them off. Whenever I saw this bird, it was alone!

Solilo had recognised the Red-vented Bulbul bird when I did a post about them. I did not know the name of the bird till then. The Bulbuls have nested in the same place, for the third time now! I had left the nest for some months on the small tree itself. Then removed it. They built it again for the second time and hatched two birds. The nest was small at that time. Some two weeks back I saw the nest slightly bigger with extra twigs and 3 eggs are inside! Again the two amma-appa birds are roaming here!

Now, can anyone recognise the alien bird in the above photos?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forget Thackerays - Hail Jagani who is making a difference in the life of our farmers!

Mansukhbhai Jagani from Gujarat ploughing with his motorbike-turned-tractor.

I read this article in today's Hindu newspaper in Science and Technology section. I felt so happy to see that this paper has given a lot of space for this (ordinary news, in today's type of media coverage!) article. These people should be highlighted more for their service to our nation, yes, this is a service, I would say. Now, to Mansukhbhai's invention:

Drought, a scourge of humanity, makes living impossible for farmers, destroying land, men and farm animals alike. With the death of cattle, and lack of water for irrigation, ploughing barren fields becomes futile.

But not for Mr. Mansukhbhai Jagani an ordinary, not well educated farmer in Mota Devaliya village, Amreli district, in Gujarat who proved that “where there is a will, there is a way.”


Using his old motorcycle, the farmer developed a machine system called 'Santi' for small farm holdings, complete with attachments for tilling, weeding and sowing. Several farmers in the district have caught on to the idea, and there are now close to 40 Santis in the district.

It costs between Rs. 14,000-18,000, making it much cheaper than other mechanical ploughs and it performs several functions such as weeding, ploughing and sowing for an acre.

Cost effective

The machine proves to be cost effective and fuel efficient, can plough an acre of land in just half an hour consuming only two litres of fuel. Ten hectares of land can be weeded in a day and the cost of weeding is a mere eight rupees a hectare.

“This device has the potential to improve productivity and reduce operating costs for farmers who are currently using bullocks but cannot afford the cost of tractors or power tillers.”

With the help of National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Ahmedabad, Mr. Jagani got a patent in India and in the U.S. for this device.

Global applications

The knowledge and skill of this rural genius impressed everyone present. In fact, his motorbike-polycultivator is considered a typical example of a product with global applications.

With design inputs from NID, Ahmedabad, help in patent-application-filing from Boston, U.S., based THT, law firm and business-plan development by Sloan School of Management of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the innovation has literally gone places.

Let us just hope that this useful invention becomes more popular throughout our country. The government can take some action in this regard.

Edited (14.2.10): I was in a hurry on Friday when I posted this article. Came back today from Cuddalore and corrected the fonts, which was not looking nice at all! Sorry!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some pleasing songs...

This song is from yesterday's episode of Balika Vadhu, our favourite serial! The voice of Kailash Kher is so pleasing to the ears!

We watch Music ka maha muqabla often. Though we liked the other musical shows directed by Gajendra Singh (saregama, saregamapa...and others), this one resembles like an English rock show! We enjoyed the other shows better. Still some gems are coming out of this show too.

These two songs are sung by a new singer Rehmaan. The emotion he expresses in them are beautiful.

Anwesha sings 'Manmohanaa'. This young girl is going to go places. Here she is:

This is the toughest song sung by Rahul Vaidhya and Anwesha...an example of the high caliber of our budding singers.

This is a pleasant surprise, watching these young people singing pure classical based songs, so nicely. Now, you enjoy this! My next post will be about the baby kittens and their antics!

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