Showing posts from 2017

On the cliché "I will act according to what my conscience tells me"

Next time you hear anyone resort to 'conscience', or even if you are tempted to resort to your 'conscience', on matters that, well, matter, think about this - 

"Why is conscience called one's "manahsaksi"? Conscience is fit to be only a witness(saksi), not to be a judge. A witness often gives false evidence. The mind, however, doesn't tell an untruth - indeed it knows the truth of all things. " There is no deceit that is hidden from the heart(mind), " says Auvvai. Conscience may be regarded as a witness. But nowadays it is brought in as a judge also in dharmic matters. As a witness it will give us a true report of what it sees or has seen. But on the basis of it we cannot give on what is just with any degree of finality. "What I think is right, " everybody would try to satisfy himself thus about his actions if he were to be guided only by his conscience. How can this be justified as the verdict of dharma?

We often hear people sa…

A Book, and a Tanjore painting

Jerry Pinto's review of the book 'Smritichitre' by Lakshmibai Tilak (English translation by Shanta Gokhale) convinced me that i should buy it, and i did. Indeed a wonderful account of the people and the circustances in familiar places of Maharastra, the book covers the period from the last couple of decades of the 19th century, and the first three of the 20th century. Experience the author's angst as her spouse hastens steadily from one faith to another, and she ends up treading the same path.

In the same newspaper edition as the review, i got to read another fascinating account of one man's beloved collection of Tanjore paintings. "The gods and goddesses in the iconic paintings often have “stark staring eyes”. This is because, Singh suggests, in the Indian tradition of darshan, you do not just look at the deity but the deity looks back at you. The box frames are a three-dimensional representation of a shrine. The religious cannot be disconnected from the aest…

Lifestyles Vs Livelihoods


More fascinating possibilities

"....reminds us of the persistence of primal floods rising to punish human beings for their greed. Most often, the stories tell of a giant fish rising to save humanity. We have our own version in ‘matsya avatar’ with Vishnu taking the form of a fish to save Manu, the designated survivor of humanity. The Sumerians’ tales of Gilgamesh talk of Sage Utnapishtim, who takes his family, his animals and enough grains, to start all over again after the deluge.
Then there’s the Aztec myth of a couple that climbs a tree with two ears of grain to save themselves from the flood. And the Norse myth of Odin and his brothers who kill Ymir, an ice-giant, the frost in whose veins melts and floods the earth.
Maybe our own Ichthyosaurus is a reminder of the fragility of all life forms in the everflowing flux of time. Or how closely connected we all are by our myths and heredity. Surfacing as the oceans begin to rise, the Ichthyosaurus of Kutch lives again." Source

So once again, let us revisit the…

Fascinating possibilities

1. "Climbing Australia’s giant red rock Uluru to be banned"
"The rock’s traditional Aboriginal owners’ connection to the site dates back tens of thousands of years and it has great spiritual and cultural significance to them." Source

2. "Tribe rejects plan to build tram, hotel in Grand Canyon"
"Members of the Navajo Nation Council have rejected legislation to build an aerial tram to take paying visitors to a riverside boardwalk in the Grand Canyon in the U.S. Critics showed up to urge lawmakers to oppose the project. They have said the area is sacred and that the proposed development would mar the landscape". Source

3. "In the dim past what we call Hinduism today was prevalent all over the world. Archaeological studies reveal the existence of relics of our Vedic religion in many countries. For instance, excavations have brought up the text of a treaty between Rameses II and the Hittites dating back to the 14th century B. C. In this, the Ve…

T M Krishna in conversation with Ananya Vajpeyi


Addressing the 'trust deficit'....

All NGOs work for some cause.  And their funding is under scrutiny.  The government or its designated department gives approval after ensuring the legitimacy of the cause.  At the time of registration, let the govt provide a seed fund, open the NGO's account in a chosen bank, and announce that the NGO can seek funds from anyone who wishes to support the cause.  The funds would be routed through only this account. Can't transparency be ensured this way?  And political parties also can be considered non-governmental organizations! Quoting from NGOs’ foreign funds and a trust deficit ".... foreign funding of NGOs is dwarfed by other foreign money coming into India. Of this, the amount used for potentially questionable purposes is about 13 per cent. Let us look at another set of issues. All organisations working in society need to be transparent and accountable, including NGOs, whether domestically or foreign funded. The RTI tries to do that for the government. But beyond the NGOs, …

Ruralize, don't urbanize! Why do we clone our cities?

A few years ago, living in Thiruvananthapuram and watching the city - a lovable overgrown village really - burst at the seams, these were thoughts that i had shared (see Stop the cloning of cities) - Indian cities have been trying hard at developing into clones of big cities across the world, and succeeding. (Aside: In the matter of solid waste management they are just clones of each other). Bangalore was a laid back garden city till about a couple of decades ago, even though it was the aerospace-cum-electronics hub of India. If we put together all the pros and cons of living comfort, standards of living, and quality of life, we will find that the present Bengaluru has unfortunately lost its overall charm. 
We have let globalisation and technological revolutions invade our urban spaces and our mind spaces so much, and at too fast a pace, that entire sections of urban residents have forgotten to pause, look around, smell the earth, and think of whole lots of other people to whom globali…

Of "Jellicut" aka "Pulikulam" & "Palingu" & the entire imbroglio

Some amazing facts here - From Jellicut to jallikattu"It is only the Jellicut (identified as Pulikulam) that has been described scientifically (between 1870 and 1930) as a “small bull specially bred for bull-fighting/taming in the Tamil region“, according to the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh." i read the piece with great interest. Scientific management is one logical route to protecting native breeds and all of the so-called IP, though i prefer to term it knowledge base instead. One experiences mixed feelings on learning that a few other countries have recognised the unique traits of native Indian breeds, and taken efforts at tapping the preferred qualities for better results; beginning with the fact that “American Brahman” is “the first beef cattle breed developed in the US”. Here are a few questions that occurred to me as a layperson, following the dismaying developments of the past few days 1. Are there clear indications about the A2 milk Vs A1 milk? …


On Gandhiji's birthday in 1992, the Govt established the  Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Integrated Rural Energy Planning and Development (MGIIREPD) - with a view to “TAP RENEWABLE ENERGY TO THE FULLEST” and with a mission to Combat Climate Change and develop it as a “CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE” especially related with Strategic Knowledge Centre. 

The Institute - obviously set up by the Govt of the day - was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Combating Climate Change (MGICCC) through an office order - perhaps intentionally - 30 Jan 2009. 

As given in the website, "The main objective of the Institute is to organize the Training Programmes for Government, Public Sector and Private Sector Officials in the areas of Pollution Control, Waste Management, Bio-diversity, Greening, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism. Institute is tasked to conduct Education and Mass Awareness Programmes for School Children, RWAs and Rural Women and Ex…