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Perspective | Oped | Reflections

PERSPECTIVE

GAME SHOW CONTROVERSIES
Regulatory body needed
by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
I
N the history of game shows on Indian television, no season has witnessed as many controversies as the current one. Already, major questions have been raised regarding the fairness of the process of selecting participants in the second —and now aborted — season of Kaun Banega Crorepati.

On Record
Public-private partnership needed to help weaker sections: FICCI President
by Manoj Kumar
W
HILE opposing the government’s move to introduce reservation in the private sector, the industry is ready to participate in any scheme that can be introduced in the union budget to promote Public-Private partnership for educating and training the youth of the weaker sections to get jobs in the highly competitive private sector, observed S.K. Poddar, the newly elected President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.




EARLIER STORIES

Guaranteed jobs
February 4, 2006
Pay panel pill
February 3, 2006
Scope for diplomacy
February2, 2006
Airport blackmail
February1, 2006
Delayed IT refunds
January 31, 2006
Cabinet Mark II
January 30, 2006
Serious journalism must remain part of democratic dharma
January 29, 2006
Crisis continues
January 28, 2006
Go ahead with N-deal
January 26, 2006
Go home, Buta
January 25, 2006
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

MPLADS should not be scrapped
by Puran Singh Yadav
T
HE objective of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme is to facilitate developmental works with an emphasis on the creation of durable community assets in MPs’ constituencies. It can also be sanctioned for disaster relief.

OPED

Empowering the citizen to fight terrorism
by Col (Dr) P.K. Vasudeva
T
errorism is nothing new in India. We have been fighting insurgency since 1960s in the North East, since 1989 in Jammu and Kashmir and in the mid 1980s in Punjab. Delhi has always been a vulnerable city. The assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984, the transistor bombs and the random terrorist attacks that struck the city through the 1980s led to a stepping up of security for the city’s VIPs.

Profile
End game for Sachin Tendulkar
by Harihar Swarup
L
eaders, artists and sportsmen do not remain on the top for ever. They rise to the zenith, earn name and fame, some become icons, some become legendary figures in their life-times, but the high pedestal on which they stand one day begins to shrink. Having strode the cricket scene like a Colossus for sixteen years, the base of Sachin Tendulkar too appears to be shrinking.

Diversities — Delhi Letter
The architecture of life
by Humra Quraishi
I
T may sound ironic but the day ‘Satish Gujral — A Retrospective’ took off at the National Gallery of Modern Art, the bulldozers were heading towards the famed address 1 and 2 MG Marg, which is said to also house the studio cum outlet of his daughter and son-in-law.

  • Bond with this Bond

  • Another Gandhian gone

Editorial cartoon by Rajinder Puri

 
 REFLECTIONS

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GAME SHOW CONTROVERSIES
Regulatory body needed
by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

IN the history of game shows on Indian television, no season has witnessed as many controversies as the current one. Already, major questions have been raised regarding the fairness of the process of selecting participants in the second —and now aborted — season of Kaun Banega Crorepati. The issues that have surfaced in the past few weeks are serious as shows are not only prising open existing fissures in society but also using unfair means and hoodwinking viewers.

Before analysing the negative impact of the shows a quick recap on the controversies: The murmurs about unfair selection of winners was first aired by a senior Bollywood singer who claimed that Qazi Tauqeer had been favoured by the judges because he was from Jammu and Kashmir and having the winner from the terrorist-riven state was “politically correct”.

Even before the controversy died down, there was fresh hullabaloo over the dancing show featuring television celebrities — Nach Baliye — after reports in the industry media that the winners’ relatives gave them immense support by way of “over 2,000 SMS votes”. Other contestants also alleged that the victory of Sachin and Supriya was a foregone conclusion because the duo was from Maharashtra where the show had the highest following in the state.

From the time TV channels allowed viewers to participate in the voting by sending SMSs and calling pre-designated landline telephones, they opened the shows to manipulation and regionalism. In the current season of Sa Re Ga Ma, participants were encouraged to seek votes from people from the state of their origin by imploring them in their mother tongues.

Participants from Andhra Pradesh thus spoke in Telugu and the one from Assam sought votes in the name of Assamese nationalism. Why, one participant even beseeched viewers in the Haryanvi dialect. The result: the reported threat by Assam’s ULFA to the producers of the current show on Zee TV, with a simple game show becoming the victim of open regionalism.

Ironically, whether it is Indian Idol, Fame Gurukul or Sa Re Ga Ma, all shows claim that they are trying to locate the “voice of India” but in the process of selection are using methods that divide the regions. This is a far cry from the time when the entire nation responded to the voice of Lata Mangeshkar regardless of her Maharastrian origins or when very few were concerned about the Bengali roots of Kishore Kumar.

Clearly the blame for opening old wounds in Indian society lies with the TV channels. Instead of demonstrating social responsibility and playing a positive role in ending decades old fault-lines in society, the channels have instead played a role in furthering them. Whether any action should be taken against them or not is for the administration to decide and open to judicial interpretation, but the irresponsible manner in which the channels have produced game shows, makes it a fit case for a concerned citizen to file a Public Interest Litigation seeking a restraint order on channels from telecasting shows that widen the regional divide.

The channels are also treading on thin ice when inviting viewers to respond to game shows. By asking viewers to either participate in contests or vote for one of the contestants the channels are entering into a direct commercial transaction — money has to be spent to send SMSs or to make calls to pre-designated phones with IVRs — without offering adequate information about the nature of the product.

When a consumer buys a product, seeks a service or spends money for any indirect offer (for instance, ordering flowers to be delivered in another town), he has adequate information.

However, TV channels make no effort to publicise the rules that govern game shows. The viewer must be informed thoroughly so they could decide whether to spend money or not — however small the amount may be — by sending SMSs.

Given the sheer volumes of SMSs on various shows — Indian Idol the first saw around 5.5 crore votes being cast and Fame Gurukul a shade under that —the amount of money being collectively spent and collected by channels and their media partners is staggering and runs into crores of rupees.

Details regarding KBC’s selection process does raise questions regarding its fairness. To the charge that a few people had managed to get into the Fastest Finger First round twice and a few BSNL/ MTNL employees (media partners of the channel) had managed to get into Fastest Finger First, Star TV has explained that rules allow a person to appear twice on the Fastest Finger First round and does not disallow BSNL/ MTNL employees as the companies are national telephony service providers and not restricted entities.

On both counts there are lacunae. It does not require the skills of a Shakuntala Devi to comprehend that as numbers get funnelled down from 25 lakh to 500 to 100 and finally to 10, with a combination of skill, quotas and random selection at each stage, the probability of one person making it twice is near zero.

Moreover, if the channels had a revenue sharing arrangement with the two telecom companies — as broadcasters usually do — then their employees should be considered representatives of restricted entities and thereby disallowed to participate.

TV channels, in their search for megabucks and higher TRPs, need to be more transparent and open themselves to scrutiny. At the moment there is no regulatory body to speak off, but the time could not be more appropriate to create one. Rules governing game shows should be publicised more systematically and people need to be convinced that the voting process is fair and not ‘fixed’.

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On Record
Public-private partnership needed to help weaker sections: FICCI President
by Manoj Kumar

S.K. Poddar
S.K. Poddar

WHILE opposing the government’s move to introduce reservation in the private sector, the industry is ready to participate in any scheme that can be introduced in the union budget to promote Public-Private partnership for educating and training the youth of the weaker sections to get jobs in the highly competitive private sector, observed S.K. Poddar, the newly elected President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). In an interview, Mr Poddar who is also the Chairman of Gillette India and Zuari Cements besides heading other companies, insisted that the government should make efforts to empower the SCs and STs who are finding it difficult to earn their livelihood.

Excerpts:

Q: Keeping in view the concerns of the Left parties and civil society organisations, how should Indian industry deal with the issue of reservation in the private sector?

A: We are strongly opposed to reservation in the private sector keeping in view the adverse impact of this policy on the economy. Further, it would affect the work culture and efficiency of the enterprises that are working hard to remain competitive in the global economy. One can ask the government what has it done to fill over 80 per cent seats lying vacant reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the administration and vocational institutions. However, we are also concerned that millions of people mostly the SCs and STs are still living below the poverty line and finding it difficult to earn their livelihood. Most of them are illiterate and lack adequate skills. So the government should make efforts to empower them with required skills. Industry alone cannot be expected to take care of them. However, if the government comes up with any scheme of public-private partnership offering suitable tax breaks, we would voluntarily participate in it and encourage our members to contribute to help the youth to get jobs in the private sector.

Q: To what extent has the UPA government has succeeded in meeting its commitments made during the last Budget and where in your opinion are further corrections are required?

A: The UPA government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has undoubtedly evolved a policy framework to put the economy on the trajectory of a high growth path. We are satisfied with the initial performance of the government keeping in view its coalition structure. The Government has announced major decisions like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and National Urban Renewable Programme besides the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the infrastructure sector. What is now required is that the government should emphasise on the implementation of these policies and especially increasing investment in the infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

Q: At a time when the Left parties are opposing disinvestment of government stake in the pubic sector as well as labour reforms and are demanding that tax on luxury goods be raised, what are your expectations from the coming budget?

A: We are confident that the government would continue to push economic reforms despite the opposition. We expect that the Finance Minister will make efforts to simplify the tax structure, withdraw or simplify the fringe benefit tax besides lowering the corporate tax. The industry feels that the government should sell its stake in all then non-strategic public sector units through public offers. Since there seems a consensus among the political parties on winding up the loss-making public sector units, the Budget should move in this direction. In the strategic sector like oil and defence production, I feel the government should at least keep a 26 per cent stake and have a say in management control through veto power. There is also a need to speed up the labour reforms in industry and trade to create more jobs considering the integration of Indian industry with the global economy. To begin with government can introduce labour reforms in the export oriented units and later move to other units.

Q: What will your agenda be for FICCI in the coming year?

A: In the recent past the role of industrial chambers is changing from mere lobbying with government departments to participating in policy making and offering inputs to the government based on research and surveys. We will make efforts to work in collaboration with the Central and state governments to make India an investment destination of foreign capital. A beginning has been made at the recently held WTO ministerial talks in Hong Kong where FICCI helped the Indian government to strongly put forward the concerns and views of India.

Q: What is your take on extending the “Right to Information” to the private sector especially the organised large units, whose decisions affect the consumers and the communities where they are working?

A: I do not feel any need to extend the Right to Information to the corporate sector considering that large private companies are already accountable to society through their shareholders. Besides, there is a risk of competitors seeking information for business purposes in the name of right to information.

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MPLADS should not be scrapped
by Puran Singh Yadav

THE objective of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) is to facilitate developmental works with an emphasis on the creation of durable community assets in MPs’ constituencies. It can also be sanctioned for disaster relief.

The scheme was launched in 1993 with Rs 5.00 lakhs per MP, which became Rs one crore from 1994 and was further stepped up to Rs 2.00 crore per annum per constituency from 1998-99. Since the inception of the scheme, 8,77,571 works were recommended throughout the country by the MPs and out of that 7,76,675 (88.43%) have been completed at the cost of Rs 12732.16 crores (88.98%) out the total sanctioned amount of Rs 14308.80 crores.

It is argued that the MPLADS contravenes the spirit of the Constitution, as the job of the MPs is to legislate, formulate policies, and monitor the implementation and not to participate directly in the administrative system, to disburse money and execute works. The execution of schemes should be left to the executive.

Secondly, procedural irregularities like sanction by the DCs without proper recommendation from MPs, and allowing of works without technical sanction and administrative approval, have been pointed out. Thirdly, it is said that a proper mechanism has not evolved to monitor the implementation of the scheme, resulting in under utilisation of funds. Lastly, malpractices by MPs have also been alleged.

The corrupt practices were highlighted recently in a TV sting operation, where some MPs were shown accepting bribes for sanctioning of the works under the scheme.

Should MPLADS be scrapped? Has it lost its relevance? No. The MPs only sanction/recommends the works. The implementation, i.e. scrutiny of works, technical estimation, administrative and financial sanction, supervision and monitoring is taken care of by the district authorities. The funds are not directly disbursed by the MPs. In many cases crucial projects are sanctioned, which were either ignored by the district authorities or was not eligible under any other existing scheme.

As for corruption, it cannot be eradicated by scrapping schemes. Had it been so, all the rural development programmes would have been wound up by now, where corruption is rampant and leakages are high.

If we look at the achievement of MPLADS during the last decade, it is evident that utilisation of funds under the scheme is about 90% and the nature of works taken up under the scheme, like educational infrastructure, health, sanitation, drinking water, child care facilities, and construction of roads, have improved the quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Therefore, instead scrapping the scheme, the black sheep found to be guilty of corrupt practices should be dealt with in accordance with the law and debarred from contesting elections.

The writer is Project Economist in District Rural Development Agency, Rewari (Haryana).

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Empowering the citizen to fight terrorism
by Col (Dr) P.K. Vasudeva

Terrorism is nothing new in India. We have been fighting insurgency since 1960s in the North East, since 1989 in Jammu and Kashmir and in the mid 1980s in Punjab. Delhi has always been a vulnerable city. The assassination of Indira Gandhi in October 1984, the transistor bombs and the random terrorist attacks that struck the city through the 1980s led to a stepping up of security for the city’s VIPs.

This heightened security left most of the citizens out of the purview, who instead had to learn to put up with the inconveniences that accompany “VIP security”. At the same time, such lopsided security implied that it could never be foolproof. The series of bomb blasts in crowded market places in the capital on October 29, followed months after blasts struck some of the city’s cinema halls, and comes four years after the attack on Parliament in December 2001. In recent years other Indian cities, such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Jehanabad and Bangalore have been victim to terrorist strikes.

The fact remains that as a class of activity, these incidents are bound to take place whenever those with diabolical intentions plan to do so. There is failure of intelligence on the part of intelligence agencies and also complacencies on the part of civil and paramilitary forces in Delhi who have not been able to keep a track of terrorist movements not only at one place but at a series of places. How can the government instill confidence among civil society and ensure maintenance of peace to every citizen of the country and justify the exorbitant expenditure on the national security forces?

Only after the incident the security forces start checking the ordinary citizens at the entry and exit points of the crowded places and get slack after sometime. Would it not be a trifle more sensible for the security agencies to allot more people and equipment for such duties throughout the year, which would accomplish the task before the tragedy happens, instead of waiting for some more lives to be lost?

All the major airports all over the country have stringent entry-check stipulations throughout the year, which have certainly made the job of the terrorists more difficult. Terrorists cannot be wiped out from Indian society, but certainly the pressure on them can be increased manifold to make their existence difficult.

The step that is being mooted is the establishment of a separate terrorist intelligence agency involving different wings of the army, the police and the paramilitary forces that will enable the pooling of information, technical and other resources. Without the active involvement of the citizen, however, these moves will have little impact.

As the cities struggle to accept the inevitability of a terrorist attack, it is the citizen, as demonstrated again in the instance of Delhi, whose vigilance can do more to thwart its intent. Over time, as seen in most Indian cities, terrorism has managed to sneak in through the undersides of a city’s belly, taking advantage of the loose yet widespread hawala networks, its “soft” entry points, the ease with which travel and other documents can be forged, and the prior existence of an easily targeted and vulnerable populace such as immigrants from neighbouring countries.

Yet, citizen alertness in Delhi led to a bomb being diffused in time in the crowded Khari Bouli market and quick thinking on the part of a driver and conductor dramatically reduced the number of casualties in a public bus. Again, with the state agencies responding slowly, it was left to the citizens to transport the injured survivors to the hospital.

Meanwhile, a fortnight afterwards, the state shows every indication of slipping into its usual complacency – as seen in the confusion surrounding the payment of compensation to the victims and its inability to fully inform public of a possible suspect that led to the innocent being targeted. While state agencies, especially the police personnel, need to become more accessible, citizen groups too can come together to ensure greater vigilance; whether it is through installation of closed circuit cameras or security personnel engaged in monitoring the city’s public spaces.

It is time that terrorism and the response to it evoked a reaction; not to bring in laws that deny the ordinary citizen his/her liberties but in empowering the individual, helping in the creation of true citizens who have a stake in the State and in the well-being of fellow citizens.

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Profile
End game for Sachin Tendulkar
by Harihar Swarup

Illustration by Sandeep JoshiLeaders, artists and sportsmen do not remain on the top for ever. They rise to the zenith, earn name and fame, some become icons, some become legendary figures in their life-times, but the high pedestal on which they stand one day begins to shrink. Having strode the cricket scene like a Colossus for sixteen years, the base of Sachin Tendulkar too appears to be shrinking. He is 33 and time has been catching up with him, but he has to be given the benefit of doubt and not damned for his stunningly dismal performance in Karachi and earlier at Faislabad.

Reports from Karachi say that the master blaster had a head on collision (while running) with Mohammad Yousuf on the second day of the test resulting in an injury on his cheek. His tennis elbow injury had taken him off the field for sometime and might have affected his psyche and, as a result, his reflexes might have become slower. The injury has healed but he could not wish it away from his sub-conscious. One of his favourite strokes –the flick – appears to have been cramped. Sachin had undergone rough patches earlier also but always bounced back. Will he be able to do so this time also?

It was Moin Khan, Pakistan’s former wicket-keeper who had first noticed the decline in Sachin and forecast that the much eulogized cricket genius might be on his way out. His assessment, after watching the Faisalabad test, was: “This may just be beginning of the end of Sachin Tendulkar, the man we all respect, adore and love because of his tremendous natural talent and humble attitude”.

Many commentators then disagreed with Moin Khan but after watching Sachin’s performance at Karachi, they appeared to be convinced that Moin’s assessment was almost correct. So wrote the former wicket-keeper: “Sachin, as I saw batting him at Faislabad, was certainly a shadow of himself who had in the past courageously faced and ruthlessly punished the greatest bowlers of the past decade”.

It was ironic indeed that it was in Karachi where 17 years back Sachin took his first step to greatness and now it was the same city where he has shown signs of decline. Described as a child prodigy he made his international debut in ODIs and Tests at the age of 16 against Pakistan and faced the fiery pace of Wasim Akram and Waqar Yunis.

He then went to England as part of a national side, and has not looked back ever since. In batting, he reached a stage that others can only dream of. He has the distinction of destroying practically every bowling opposition in the world—from Shane Warne to Saqlain Mushtaq to Waqar Yunis to Allan Donald. His name struck terror in the heart of bowlers all around the world and he earned the sobriquet “Master Blaster”.

There is nothing this cricket wizard could not do. He opened the batting for India in one-dayers, batted as number four in test matches, bowled right arm off breaks, leg breaks and even googlies. He had also tried his hands at wicket-keeping too but gave it up in pursuit of batting. His shots have come to be known as “Tendulkar specialities” and include the straight drive, the cover drive, the square cut and the pull shot over mid wicket.

A short but powerful man, each of his shots are hit with so much power that the ball simply rockets to the fence. By the time Sachin reached 25, he became the most experienced player in the Indian team. His selfless approach and devotion to cricket coupled with the lack of ego problems made him one of the most approachable and likeable personalities in the cricket world. No wonder he commanded a huge fan following all over the world.

It was his great cricket mind that saw him appointed the Captain of the Indian team in 1996-97, making him the youngest skipper in the history of Indian cricket after Pataudi. At 27, he became the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in one-day cricket, making the record in the third game of a five-match series against Australia in March 2001. In an amazing career he had scored by then a world record 28 hundreds and 25 half centuries.

Here are some little known facts about Sachin. He got the name Sachin because his family members were all huge fans of the legendary music director Sachin Dev Burman . He always wears his left pad first before his right pad when he goes in to bat. He has the National tricolour pasted inside his kit bag which is, perhaps, a constant reminder of what the country expects of him. Sachin has won the maximum amount of man of the match awards in international cricket.

He is also one of the few cricketers to change his bat manufacturers often. He started his career with a Spanserils Greenland’s (SG) switching on to Power, then to Slazenger and then to BASS before his current bat manufacturer MRF. Sachin uses one of the heaviest bats in world cricket. His bat weighs 3.2 pounds which is about 1.42 kgs.

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Diversities — Delhi Letter
The architecture of life
by Humra Quraishi

IT may sound ironic but the day ‘Satish Gujral — A Retrospective’ took off at the National Gallery of Modern Art, the bulldozers were heading towards the famed address 1 and 2 MG Marg, which is said to also house the studio cum outlet of his daughter and son-in-law.

In fact, the very sight of sheer destruction on that road — connecting Gurgaon to Mehrauli to New Delhi — is so stark that for the last few days groups of shocked people are just hanging around.

Of course, there was no business, except the business of destruction and accompanying depression. Difficult to say how many will actually recover from it. In fact, on this note we get back to Satish Gujral and on the month long exhibition of his works (Feb 1 to 28) and with that we focus on him — Satish Gujral.

His autobiography ‘A Brush with Life’ carries much — his grit and will to survive — and it should be read by people who really want to be there in spite of all possible odds.

As Khushwant Singh writes in the foreword — “Everyone who is anyone knows that Satish Gujral is stone-deaf. But not many people know that he lost his hearing when he was only eight years old. No better example of personal courage and striving for excellence can be found in India and perhaps the world. Satish Gujral is among the highest rated painters, muralists, sculptors and architects in the country. Without any degree or training in architecture, he has designed many private and public buildings, including the Belgian embassy in New Delhi. You will not find a sentence expressing self pity in this entire narrative. There are many references to how he was hurt by ill mannered, thoughtless remarks from people around him; he dismisses these people as individuals who knew no better.”

Yes, if you were to meet Satish Gujral he would come across as one of the warmest of persons — a big hug will be followed by smiles, merry laughter and a bagful of jokes.

Probably that’s why Satish Gujral hasn’t aged — his eyes still retain the mischievous look of a school boy. And his memory is so perfect that he can recount instances without missing out on a single detail and together with the actual recounting his face will get charged with emotions.

Bond with this Bond

Moving on, the week-long book fair got several writers travelling down from Australia, Canada and several other countries. Earlier it was publishers who’d do much of this sort of travelling but now there seems to be an expansion of sorts.

On the Indian front our very own Bond, Ruskin Bond, decided to come down from the mountains and interact with his readers. And though I haven’t read the latest from him — Tales of the Open Road (Penguin) — I love the openness about him.

He talks in the most unaffected way — he has no hesitation in stating that he doesn’t know how to work on the computer, doesn’t possess a mobile, and above all he would even tell you that there has been very little to report on the emotional cum romantic front. Single he remains but again not one of those moaning, groaning type of bachelors.

Another Gandhian gone

Wali Khan died last week in Peshawar and with his passing away one can say that we have lost another Gandhian. After all, he was the son of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan who was the closest associate of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact, in 2004 I had met and interviewed his son Asfandyar Wali Khan and the Pathan streak of talking from the heart was writ large. He is not just the grandson of the Frontier Gandhi but also the leader of Pakistan’s Awami National Party. It was a long interview but because of space constraints I can put forth only a few extracts from whatever he’d said about the turmoil in the world and on the changing world order — “If you have two badmashes in a village it is okay. They will be busy settling scores with each other. But there will be chaos and confusion if there’s only one badmash left. That’s the trouble in today’s world. There is only one badmash left.”

And on why we have forgotten the likes of Frontier Gandhi and his own memories of his grandfather he had said — “No this isn’t entirely true. In fact there are at least seven students in Germany and another group in the US who are doing research on him. In the mid 90s I was travelling in India and on the way to Agra we stopped at a motel and a man came up to me and touched the khadi kurta I was wearing and kept saying ‘Frontier Gandhi used to wear such khadi.’

“About my memories about him — most of the time he was in prison. In fact he spent almost 33 years in jail in Pakistan and for seven years he lived in exile in Afghanistan. I managed to spend only two years with him. The greatest aspect about him was his stark simplicity and also that he lived life according to his convictions. And he definitely believed in non-violence. He’d said that the military and warfare do not really solve a thing and sooner or later one has to resort to non-violent methods, which is to have a dialogue.”

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He who follows the law lives happily and sleeps tranquilly. The wise man rejoices in the law set down by the sages who know and understand the truth. It is the foolish who consider it clever to avoid the law.

—The Buddha

“No one can inflict the punishment of God.” Similarly, the closeness of God and the intimacy between God and accepted souls are experience beyond anything in the world of ordinary sense or feeling.

—Islam

Do not seek him outside. Do not run after pilgrimages or priests and ask them for salvation. The best way to is to seek him in your own heart and feel the peace of his presence. Sit quietly and try to experience this.

—Ramakrishna

In order to gain a spiritual frame of mind, personal discipline, austerity, penance, good conduct, selfless service, yogic practices, meditation, worship prayer, rituals, and study of scriptures, as well as the company of holy persons, pilgrimage, chanting of the holy names of God, and self-inquiry are needed to purify the body, mind, and intellect.

—Bhagavadgita

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