|Thursday, September 28, 2000,
End of Olympic
Panja’s foot in
INDO-RUSSIAN COMMON INTERESTS
Factors behind Hindi’s
Kashmir must see through Pak
Atman, Khizr and Akal
End of Olympic road
IT is settled now! India will have to make do with one and only one Olympic medal that came its way through gritty Malleswari. The more fancied campaigners have all fallen by the wayside. The most painful is the thud caused by the last-minute debacle in hockey. The draw with Poland is being seen as a case of being so near and yet so far. All this may give an outsider a feeling that this was India’s final match. The fact of the matter is that the victory would have only put India into the semi-finals. As is well known, the climb gets only steeper after that. But we have become so used to losing that even making it to the semis had come to be a cherished dream. After all, we have not made even that grade in the past 20 years at the Olympics. An equalising goal two minutes before the hooter by Poland put paid to the hopes and aspirations of a billion people on that black Monday. One does not know whether to celebrate or mourn the haul of just one bronze medal with which the contingent will return from the Sydney Millennium Olympics. It is a matter of some solace because there have been many occasions when we have come back empty-handed. At the same time, it is a matter of great shame for a country of a billion people that it can produce virtually no medal winners. The reasons why we suffer this ignominy decade after decade are very well known but almost impossible to compile, for the very simple reason that they are just too many.
Actually, there is not one factor in favour of a medal hope and a million against. To cut a woefully long, tragic story short, the sportsmen have to fight against impossible odds to compete - let alone win. If ever they are successful, it is despite the system and not because of it. Whether it is the politicians or bureaucrats or sports administrators, they are all involved with one game or the other not to promote it but to promote their own interests. In all this, the sportsman himself becomes only incidental, “expendable”, as they say in army terms. Take Malleswari’s case for instance. She is being feted and deified now after winning the medal. But while she was passing through hell while preparing for the Olympics, every trick in the book was used to break her spirit. It is a miracle that her zeal survived. There are hundreds others who give up in frustration. There is an indefinable trait of running down the front-runners in the national psyche. Just as we remember the ideals of the Father of the Nation on October 2 alone, we glorify the sports stars only after they deliver, and that too not for too long. We want them to triumph but are unwilling to give them what it takes to become a winner. What is completely forgotten is that a potential winner has to be nurtured and groomed almost throughout his or her life. That is how countries that are only a fraction of India’s size sweep the medals tally. It will be no use beating our breasts about the poor performance. That charade has been gone through many times before. What is needed is a collective resolve to set things right. Whether it is excessive stress on cricket at the cost of other games or the interference of ex-officio sports administrators who cannot distinguish between a football and a volleyball, and are there only to wangle free foreign trips, all that ails sports is well known. Now is as good time as any other to dismantle such stumbling blocks.
Petrol war within
A bitter wrangle has broken out within the BJP-led alliance government with the Petroleum and Finance Ministries adopting conflicting postures on raising the prices of petroleum products. With one eye riveted on the political popularity chart, Mr Ram Naik, the petroleum czar, wants to cushion the blow to the consumer by limiting the increase to one-third of what is warranted. This does no credit to a government which never tires of asserting its determination to push through the second generation reforms. Nor does it gel with the alacrity with which it raised the prices of foodgrains sold through the fair price shops. A lower price regime essentially benefits the urban middle class which is always vocal and this government is afraid of provoking this segment of population. This dithering may ward off short-term discomfiture but will invite a long-term problem. For one thing subsidy on petroleum products has already gone up, making a mockery of the repeated resolve to abolish the system of stable prices and cross-subsidisation. That commitment was made by the United Front government three years ago on the basis of the Vijay Kelkar committee report. Crude today costs twice as much as last year and after a brief decrease as a response to the US government decision to release 30 million barrels from its strategic reserve, it has resumed the climb. In the first three months of last financial year, crude price ruled between $ 16 and $ 18 a barrel and today it is between $ 28 and $ 30 a barrel. During all these months domestic price of most products has remained unchanged; the two exceptions have been cooking gas and kerosene. The government is complaining that it is becoming impossible to underwrite the huge difference between import price and the sale price, which comes to about Rs 1000 crore every month. The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal to raise the prices but a sharp difference of opinion has blocked the implementation.
Petroleum Minister Naik wants the Finance Ministry to pitch in and mitigate the impact of a price rise. He argues that as a result of the huge increase in the landed cost of crude, import duty collection has gone up and it is as good as unearned and definitely unbudgeted income. Import duty is 32 per cent and if Mr Yashwant Sinha agrees to slash it to 20 per cent, diesel prices need to go up by about Rs 5 a litre to pass on the extra burden to the consumer. Mr Sinha will have none of it. He dismisses the whole idea of using levies to moderate prices. And retorts: will Mr Naik agree to a mighty increase in import duty if crude prices tumble? Other Cabinet Ministers are keeping themselves out of the debate, not wanting to be seen as irresponsible (by suggesting status quo) or anti-people (by supporting a price rise). Mr Naik has split the solution into three parts. He will uniformly set a higher price; will compensate the oil companies at a future date (maybe after five years) and press Mr Sinha to write down the levy structure. But Mr Sinha is out of the country and will be back later this week. Which means Mr Naik has some days more to
procrastinate. And the petrol price problem can wait.
Panja’s foot in mouth
RUNNING a coalition government in India is, perhaps, the most trying assignment for the leader of the disparate pack. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the initial years used to grin and bear the follies and foibles of his colleagues. He has now cut out the grin. He simply bears them for the sake of his own health and the survival of the patch-work arrangement. If he were to document the source of his woes in office, he would mention the names of at least three ministers from Bihar (Mr George Fernandes, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr Sharad Yadav) and two from neighbouring West Bengal (Ms Mamta Banerjee and Mr Ajit Kumar Panja).They seem to have decided to take turns in creating avoidable controversy, which is not only bad for the health of the fragile coalition but also causes hiccups in the stock market. To be fair, Minister of State for External Affairs Panja was counted among the least troublesome of the "troublesome colleagues" of the Prime Minister. The last time he attracted public attention was when he decided to try his hand at acting, probably for killing time. He must have lost patience waiting in the wings for a second entry while the rest of the trouble makers were having a field day attracting media notice for all the wrong reasons. Mr Panja is now once again in the news. He was last sighted in Baghdad with his foot firmly in the mouth, with the sole objective of humouring the globally isolated Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Even before Mr Vajpayee could take off his "US dust" covered shoes Mr Panja reportedly has kicked up the kind of dust which may cause US President Bill Clinton to sneeze with discomfort. The innocent Mr Panja, perhaps, does not know that the sneeze of even a lame duck US President would measure very high on the global Richter scale of political events.
It is well known that international diplomatic opinion is in favour of the lifting of the decade-old crippling sanctions slapped on Iraq for the stupidity of having invaded Kuwait. The sanctions are immoral because they have added to the pain and suffering of the common people. They have failed to make President Saddam fall on his knees and seek forgiveness from the global community for the audacity to have challenged the might of the USA. Russia and France have broken rank and have decided to resume humanitarian flights to Iraq by finding a hole in the UN resolution. The USA and Britain are unbending in their resolve to make "that man Saddam pay for his war crimes". Mr Panja on his mission to Baghdad forgot the dictum that when two elephants fight it is unwise to try and separate them and even more idiotic to back any one of them. Where was the need for him to make the eminently avoidable remark that India too, like Russia and France, would consider the option of resuming flights to Baghdad? India has indeed enjoyed a special and warm relationship with Iraq and in the event of the global pressure being eased it may become a major source of meeting the country's burgeoning demand for oil. But the possibility of the USA coming out more aggressively in favour of India's stand on Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism is tempting enough to warrant restraint in utterances on a diplomatically sensitive issue like Iraq. What Mr Panja committed during his visit to Baghdad was a political blunder. But what the hyper-active MEA did, in its clumsy attempt at damage control, was even worse. Mr Panja's diplomatic faux pas. at a crucial stage in the context of the evolving new bonds of friendship between the USA and India, may have gone unnoticed, but for the shrill reaction of the MEA. He had spilled a drop of tea in full view of interested parties. But the MEA, as if by reflex, tried to remove the small stain before anyone noticed and turned it a big smear.
INDO-RUSSIAN COMMON INTERESTS
MOSCOW has viewed the growing links between Pakistan and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the role that Islamabad and Kandahar have played in arming, training and supporting fundamentalist Islamic groups in Central Asia and Chechnya with growing anxiety, anger and concern. It is no secret that Chechen terrorists have received active support and sustenance from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Taliban regime has even accorded diplomatic recognition to the Chechen separatists. Earlier this year, Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev paid a highly publicised visit to Pakistan, where funds were openly collected for the Chechen “jihad” by organisations like the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) —groups whose activities abroad are supported by the ISI. Reacting strongly, the Russian government stated: “The fast growth of religious radicalism, separatism and terrorism in Pakistan can have the gravest consequences for the stability of all countries of the region without exception, as well as for Pakistan’s very statehood. Moscow is compelled to assert that Delhi’s accusations of the backing to cross-border terrorism are beginning to seem more and more well-founded.”
Shortly after the Janata government assumed office in 1977, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee assured his anxious Soviet counterpart, Andrei Gromyko, that Indo-Soviet relations were strong enough to withstand and transcend changes of government. Much has changed since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The Russian Federation today faces multiple of serious problems and challenges — both political and economic. Moscow has been dependent on Western funding and goodwill for the past decade. The country can no longer afford to undertake large-scale economic projects abroad on concessional terms.
It has also not been able to assert its views on issues like the supply of cryogenic engines for India’s space programme, the supply of weapons to Iran or the Anglo-American vendetta against Iraq and Yugoslavia. In these circumstances, Moscow has been forced to look for allies in the United Nations. Its growing relations — military, political and economic with China — have to be seen in this context. But in a larger context, Moscow shares New Delhi’s views about the need for a multipolar world order and has consistently supported India in its bid for permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council.
Russia is fortunate that after a period of political uncertainty, its leadership is now determined to learn from the past mistakes and reassert the country’s rightful place in the comity of nations. Born on October 7, 1952, President Vladimir Putin is Russia’s first post- World War-II leader. Hailing from a family that went through immense suffering during the siege of Leningrad, Mr Putin is the third former KGB official to hold high office in Russia, following the example of Yuri Andropov and Yevgeny Primakov. He was targeted and selected by the KGB when pursuing a distinguished academic career at the Law Faculty of Leningrad State University.
Posted to Dresden in the then East Germany in 1988, Mr Putin returned to Leningrad just as the Berlin Wall was being torn down and Mr Gorbachev leading his country to disaster. His sharp intellect, organisational abilities, political skills and intense loyalty were recognised by St. Petersburg Mayor Sobchak and Boris Yeltsin, who saw in him the potential and qualities of leadership so essential if Russia was to overcome its complex political and economic challenges.
The Putin dispensation has lost no time in spelling out its security and foreign policy doctrines. Moscow recognises that its main security challenges presently are internal. It has acknowledged that its present economic difficulties have led to terrorism, organised crime and narcotics posing a threat to the country’s pluralistic society. It has spoken of a “semi-crescent” stretching from Kosovo through Turkey, the Trans-Caucasus, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the Xinjiang Uighur area in China. Mr Putin believes that “there are Chechnyas lurking everywhere” and that the entire Central Asian region will be destabilised if the Taliban forces reach the Tajikistan border. He is realistic enough to recognise that Moscow cannot confront NATO or the West, and has, therefore, sought a policy of engagement. The Russians are, however, only too aware that their internal weaknesses have resulted in Western inroads into their traditional spheres of influence like the Baltic republics, Eastern Europe and even Central Asia. While its political isolation and economic vulnerabilities have led to Moscow seeking a wide-ranging partnership with Beijing, there is perhaps a realisation slowly dawning that China has its own great power ambitions. New Delhi should frankly share its concerns on this score with Mr Putin, especially given the unrestrained Chinese propensity to transfer nuclear, missile and conventional hardware to Pakistan.
Russia has been and will remain a crucial and indeed predominant partner in India’s defence preparedness. A long-term agreement on military technical cooperation that is valid till 2010 was signed when Prime Minister Primakov visited India in December, 1998. The Kargil experience has shown that it is essential for us to rapidly modernise and augment the firepower of our armed forces. Moscow will be more than forthcoming on this score. While the Indo-Russian joint Commission has sought to promote economic cooperation in areas ranging from power, coal and the oil industry to culture and the environment, Moscow hopefully understands that in a globalised world economic order, Indian companies will be looking for goods and services that are internationally competitive. Likewise, we will have to take measures to develop a more competitive edge for our exports if we are to compete with countries like China for a share of the Russian market. With annual bilateral trade reaching barely $1.25 billion, the scope for expansion is immense. Further, there is need to explore the possibility of expanding cooperation in areas of dual use technologies, especially in the light of wide-ranging American restrictions on the transfer of dual use technologies to India. As the Russian economy picks up strength, one can be sure that Mr Vladimir Putin will be far less prone to yielding to external pressures than his predecessors.
Russia and India are today facing direct challenges to their pluralistic societies from forces driven by extreme interpretations of religious concepts. Russian support for our position on Kashmir has to be viewed in this perspective. It is not without significance that the 1994 Narasimha Rao-Yeltsin Declaration proclaimed that India and Russia “reiterate their support for each others territorial integrity as constituted by law and enshrined in their respective constitutions.” The Indian Constitution holds that the whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, including portions now under the illegal occupation of Pakistan, is an integral part of India. New Delhi will no doubt make this clear to its Russian friends. Given the shared concern of Moscow and New Delhi about the policies of the Taliban, there is little doubt that the Putin visit will produce wide-ranging measures to deal with the menace posed by religious extremism. The Russians, like the British before them, are only too aware of the dangers of getting involved excessively in Afghanistan. In its zeal to attain “strategic depth,” our western neighbour appears to have learnt nothing from the lessons of history.
The Russians have been consistent champions of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. While differences on the nuclear question with Moscow will persist, it needs to be remembered that the Russians have always acted with restraint on issues pertaining to our nuclear programme, especially after the May, 1998, tests. New Delhi shares Moscow’s concerns about the national missile defence system that the Americans are proposing to develop and deploy. India and Russia have been discussing the text of a strategic partnership pact during the past few years. This pact will be signed by the Russian President during his forthcoming visit to India. But, above all, India and Russia share common interests in safeguarding their territorial integrity and pluralistic societies against the onslaught of the forces of religious extremism, and in promoting democratisation of the world order. President Vladimir Putin will, therefore, be a welcome and honoured guest when he arrives in New Delhi on October 2.
Factors behind Hindi’s
THE Millennium’s Grand All-World Conference on Hindi was held in New Delhi from September 14 to 23. It is hoped the event would give a great fillip to the cause of Hindi to emerge not only as the sole dominant language of India but also as one of the major languages of the world. After all, it is the official language of a country with over a billion people.
Why September 14? For on that date in 1949 the Constituent Assembly designated Hindi as the national language of India. High hopes were raised that soon Hindi would be all in all, as English was during British rule.
But things did not shape according to people’s wishful thinking. In the first flush, the people of UP and Bihar felt that the future belonged to them as they were God’s chosen people, speaking the constitutionally chosen language. This tongue, they thought, was their birthright. Their argument was that they were born with it while others took years to achieve that standard. This attitude did not make Hindi more popular with the people in the western and eastern parts of India. Non-Hindi-speaking people constitute the majority in India. The Hindi belt remained the place having the poorest strata of society in India. Also with time, non-Hindi-speaking people’s opposition to Hindi progressively evaporated.
The other day a staunch supporter of Hindi lamented that with time the importance of English was getting higher and higher while Hindi was losing its ground bit by bit. Hindi had a much greater status in 1949, with high hopes of its monopoly in the future. Today, said the enthusiast, it is on the downward slant. The fact remains that English is the predominant language in the discussions in Parliament, conferences and meetings — national and international — while Hindi has to remain content with its official status. It seems as if English is our de facto national language.
Even the DAV people, who once fanatically swore by Hindi, have opened over 500 English-medium schools all over the country. Before Independence, the number of well-known English-medium schools could be counted on the finger tips. Today they are spread all over the place, even in small towns and villages.
Press views mean opinions expressed in the English language papers. The vernacular readers (though constituting a majority among newspaper readers) do not catch the headlines. Hindi papers are read and Hindi speeches and writings generally are restricted to those whose knowledge of English is inadequate. Prestige and intellectual superiority go with the foreign language, whether we like it or not.
What are the causes for this slow progress, rather non-progress of Hindi? The chief reason is the inadequacy of our language. Due to the fault of the sponsors, it has not risen to the excellence and worldview of English.
The original Hindi was so Sanskritised that common people could not understand it. There was no use of exchanging a half understood national language with English, more popularly understood by the intelligentsia. Even Nehru said he could not understand Hindi on the signboards at UP’s railway stations (e.g. niramish bhojanalaya). It was not the people’s language. It did not have behind it the power of the heart-beats of India’s countless millions. Even today, with all corrections being made, often we cannot understand an item in official Hindi on the T.V.; we will know what it means only when we hear the news in English.
Under the compulsion of circumstances, the much-maligned cinema popularised people’s Hindi, that gave the films welcome in all parts of our vast land. The newspaper world is changing for a more acceptable Hindi, though the government-controlled media (electronic) continues in the same old way. In place of serving the sons of the soil, the scholar’s hobby is to show off their deep learning.
All languages in the world have been shaped by great men of letters; famous poets and writers whose sentences found an echo in the heart of the millions. For instance, in our case too, lines of poetry, maxims and other quotable quotes of Tulsidas, Kabir, Surdas and many others live to this day and are often sung or stated. Can this be said of our present-day authors and poets whose writings constitute the literature of the hour, not literature for all times to come. We have touched Himalayan heights in quantity, but where is the quality? The governments — state and central — every year award prizes of lakhs of rupees, but no one reads those works. These are dumped in stores where they provide a feast to white ants and termites. An occasional work of merit or purple patch passes without much notice.
It is not generally remembered and that our official Hindi was created by the babus sitting in government offices. The government gave them lists of thousands of the current English words and terms, and they were to supply their Hindi equivalent. They were the employees of the Language Department, no geniuses or men of letters. They invented a whole set of new vocabulary to substitute for English terms. Those clerks could not work wonders in coining new words. They represented the commonest mediocrity. Those new coinages were printed in the shape of dictionaries and the people were ordained to adopt them. The official media did adopt them, making their Hindi as another Esperanto. This was a grotesque situation.
In all cases, a language is evolved by degrees and later lexicographers come and compile them in the shape of a dictionary. Take the English language. Chaucer (1340-1400 A.D.) is said to be its father. But the first English dictionary came 400 years after its birth — Dr Johnson’s Dictionary in the 18th century.
We put the cart before the horse; the dictionary first and the evolution of the language later on. This is the crux of the problem. At the start a wrong direction was given. A language invented by petty clerks was supposed to be great India’s official language. With the best will in the world, it could not come on the top. The little corrections made during the last half a century have not been able to lift today’s Hindi to be on a par with other great languages of the world. The partisans put the blame on the anglicised intellectual aristocrats for being English-minded and not having that patriotic love for our own Hindi. The truth is that the language’s own inadequacy is the cause.
India’s national language cannot be the local tongue of Bihar or UP. It must borrow enough words from other Indian languages (each has a wonderful store of words worthy of all-India adoption) to make a composite language for the whole of India.
THE Akhil Bharatiya Sarkari Typists Association met in Shimla during the summers to decide how their work can be reduced when the paper work in the secretariats is increasing despite the slogan “Paperless Offices by 2000”. The consensus was that nothing is going to come out of the “slogan” and they will ultimately have to take action on their own. Using the highest unitary principle of thought, they passed the following resolutions:
Resolution 1: Letter “c” is bootless and burdensome. It gives two sounds, those of “s” and “k” for which the latter letters can be used. It was, therefore, resolved by the assosiation that, in future, “c” shall not be typed in any offisial korrespondense. All Kommissioners, Sekretaries would be requested to go through this resolve that the House had made so that there okkured no konfusion.
Problem to be takkled later:
Whether the Chief Minister / Sekretary be typed as Shief or Khief Minister /Sekretary?
Resolution 2: ‘ph’ is troublesome and enhances the work unnesessarily. It be replaced by “f”. The filosofy behind passing of these resolutions is that konstant use of finger tips on the keys of typewriter or komputer boards leads to many nerve related diseases, so reduse the use of keys by making a kouple of these redundant. There are 278 words starting with “ph” in OED. With the adoption of this resolution, the keyboard-work on these words shall be kut short by 50 persent.
Resolution 3: After using the above spellings for six months, the publik shall be prepared to aksept komplicated modifikations, so all double letters shall be done away with and silent letters shall be made silent for ever.
“It has ben resolved that ofisial korespondens shal not kontain any dubl leter and would simply ignore the silent leters. Sivil Servants in India wil have resons to rejois at this as the problem of larning wild spelings would kom to an end, therby imensly redusing the work load of typists al over the kountry after six months.”
Resolution 4: The Asosiation further resolved that in the final fase of work-load sheding, “th” would be riten as “d” where it gives the soft sonant, “ou” as “u”, “w” as “v” and “s” as “z” plus “ti” as “s” depending upon the requirement of pronunciason.
Wid des desizonz de sentens, ”When the schools closed for winter vacation, it was they who decided to visit Lucknow” vud be riten az, ”Ven de skols klozd for vinter vakason, it vaz de demselvz vho desided to vizit Luknov”, derby redusing de typ-lod by 14 persent.
After pasing des rezolusons, de Asosiason felt dat de Goverments vud apresiat de konsern of de typists and son adopt de rasonal, praktikal, realy sensibl styl of riten English so as to lesen der work-load. Furder, evrivun vud den understand dis ezy, wel-put language and de publik vud be hapy — de ultimat gol of any goverment.
Kashmir must see through Pak gameplan
NEW DELHI (ADNI): If the Hizbul Mujahideen and other smaller Kashmiri militant group genuinely have the good of Kashmir and its people at heart they will unconditionally end the bloodletting they have been indulging in at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence. Their activities have caused human suffering and economic hardship among a people who have made it clear they do not want to join Pakistan.
Pakistan has itself released the figure of 70,000 Kashmiris killed in a conflict not of their making. The ISI is, of course, using the figure to make out that the Indian security forces have been indulging in indiscriminate atrocities but the underlying irrefutable truth is that these were sacrificed on the altar of Pakistan’s territorial ambitions in Kashmir.
The figure will be higher if those who have been decimated in Pak-held Kashmir particularly among the Shia community there are also counted. The world is already aware of the manner in which this community which forms the core of the Northern Light Infantry was used as cannon fodder during the Kargil misadventure. They have risen, time and again, against the atrocities committed upon them by the foreign mercenaries who have tried to lord it over them, especially the Afghans steeped in the Sunni fundamentalism of the Taliban.
The Hizbul Mujahideen during its brief ceasefire in August indicated that it had done so to spare their brethren undue hardship. If that were indeed the sentiment then it should ponder on the effect its activities have had on the tourism trade which is the Kashmiris lifeblood during the resurgence of the current round of terrorism in the valley and elsewhere.
There were clean indications that tourism was picking up and there were more visitors, both foreigners and Indians, to Jammu and Kashmir thereby enabling the Kashmiris to earn more than they have done in recent years. The destruction of the electric pylons in Jammu put an end to the already fitful supply of electricity to the people of the region.
Can it be gainsaid that there is a ripple effect of a terrorist strike of the kind perpetrated simultaneously at Pahalgam and other places on the means of livelihood of the people of Kashmir? If tourists do not come it is not just the houseboats that stand still in the water. The handicrafts industry as a whole suffers and the effect is felt right down to the ponymen whose bread and butter depends on the number of trips per day.
Sections of the Hizbul Mujahideen itself have begun to realise that by acting as the catspaw of the Inter-Service Intelligence (which is a government unto itself with a fundamentalist agenda that became the credo of the Afghan Taliban) has only severely affected the lives and welfare of their own kith and kin.
This realisation become apparent after the attempt by the Pakistan Army to use Kashmiris (the Northern Light Infantry) as cannon-fodder and expendable spearhead which, if it had succeeded would have fulfilled the Pakistani dream of capturing more territory in Kashmir. In the event of failure, however, even their dead bodies were left to rot in the Kargil heights.
Having been exposed as being nothing but stooges working on behalf of Pakistan by their insistence on inducting it into the dialogue process the Hizbul Mujahideen has since promised that within the next two months it would put forward a bigger package for negotiations. Nothing can be bigger for the besieged Kashmiris than an opportunity to pursue their lives and livelihood in peace, to be spared the death and destruction that militancy has brought down upon them.
It is only Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control who have suffered grievously. For Pakistan the past 10 years of attempts to wrest the valley from India have merely been a “low cost option” in which the Pakistan Army itself does no fighting but takes the credit for whatever the Kashmiris have done.
But it is aware that the Kashmiri mujahids are not going to sell their motherland to the Pakistanis on the spurious basis of the “two-nation theory”. And that is why Islamabad and the ISI have been recruiting mercenaries from Afghanistan and the Arab world to do their dirty work under the battlecry “Jehad!”
It is also now clear to both that no Government of India can hold any negotiations outside the Constitution of the nation because that is what defines its territory and its sovereignty. Gimmicks that grow out of Pakistan’s annexation of a part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be allowed to hold sway from behind the facade of a “Kashmiri uprising”.
Atman, Khizr and Akal
ATMAN is one of the concepts around which the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita revolves. The concept of Atman occurs under different names in other ancient texts like the Upanishadas. The concept of Atman enunciated in the Gita pertains to something within an individual that is higher than the physical body. Its attributes are many and varied. Atman has neither a beginning nor an end. It is free of defects and is immutable. Atman does not die with the body. Weapons cannot harm it, fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, and the air is incapable of drying it. It is non-spatial and non-temporal. It is smaller than the smallest at the individual level and bigger than the biggest. Atman is not body specific and it has a universal character. Khizr is a figure that appears in a Sura of the Koran, entitled ‘The Cave’. Khizr, ‘The Verdant One’, plays a great role in Islamic mysticism and also occurs in some non-Koranic tales. Khizr is said to have ben born in a cave, meaning in darkness. He is the ‘long-lived one’, who continually renews himself. He is dismembered at the end of time but is able to restore himself to life. He is a counselor, a paraclete. Khizr symbolises not only the highest wisdom, but also a way of life which is in accordance with this wisdom and transcends reason. Even in this age, Khizr lives in the religion of people as a friend, adviser, comforter and teacher of revealed wisdom. Some believers consider him to be 'First Angel of God', a messenger. The concept of Akal Purakh occupies a prominent place in Sikh scriptures. it means timeless person and this concept has been elaborated by Guru Gobind Singh in Dasam Granth. The Akal Purakh is beyond the bondage of time and space, and exists within everybody. He has no caste, no creed, is bodiless, and has no marked features. He is the King of Kings and is greater than a thousand gods. He is the kindest of all and is a Superyogi. All forms of the Akal Purakh, says Guru Gobind Singh, appear wonderful and they belong to the same enflaming energy. he is not a closed essence but a multidimensional being manifesting at various places at different times. Many visions and polarities meet within Him. The Akal Purakh is thus a Supreme Being, is multidimensional and multipolar. Atman, Khizr and Akal Purakh, introduced in different philosophical thought processes at different times and at different locations have some common features like ternity and wisdom that is supreme. Except Atman which resides within, khizr and the Akal Purakh at times appear as if they are figures without. But taking into consideration all the attributes of Khizr and the Akal Purakh, one is convinced about their place also being within. There is a unity of the three concepts and the great psychologist, C.G. Jung, has highlighted this point in his writings, especially with regard to Atman and Khizr. According to Jung, there are certain collective structural elements of the human psyche which are inherited like the morphological elements of the human body. Jung calls this collective psychic substratum the 'collective unconscious'. Collective unconscious forms the major component of the self, asserts Jung, and this component has been equated with Atman and Khizr. Because of the similarity of the two with the Akal Purakh the latter can also be equated with the collective unconscious. Three concepts that originated at different times and at different places have a basic unity and in essence point of the same theme. The writer is a Professor of Physics in Punjabi University, Patiala.
Khizr is a figure that appears in a Sura of the Koran, entitled ‘The Cave’. Khizr, ‘The Verdant One’, plays a great role in Islamic mysticism and also occurs in some non-Koranic tales. Khizr is said to have ben born in a cave, meaning in darkness. He is the ‘long-lived one’, who continually renews himself. He is dismembered at the end of time but is able to restore himself to life. He is a counselor, a paraclete. Khizr symbolises not only the highest wisdom, but also a way of life which is in accordance with this wisdom and transcends reason. Even in this age, Khizr lives in the religion of people as a friend, adviser, comforter and teacher of revealed wisdom. Some believers consider him to be 'First Angel of God', a messenger.
The concept of Akal Purakh occupies a prominent place in Sikh scriptures. it means timeless person and this concept has been elaborated by Guru Gobind Singh in Dasam Granth. The Akal Purakh is beyond the bondage of time and space, and exists within everybody. He has no caste, no creed, is bodiless, and has no marked features. He is the King of Kings and is greater than a thousand gods. He is the kindest of all and is a Superyogi. All forms of the Akal Purakh, says Guru Gobind Singh, appear wonderful and they belong to the same enflaming energy. he is not a closed essence but a multidimensional being manifesting at various places at different times. Many visions and polarities meet within Him. The Akal Purakh is thus a Supreme Being, is multidimensional and multipolar.
Atman, Khizr and Akal Purakh, introduced in different philosophical thought processes at different times and at different locations have some common features like ternity and wisdom that is supreme. Except Atman which resides within, khizr and the Akal Purakh at times appear as if they are figures without. But taking into consideration all the attributes of Khizr and the Akal Purakh, one is convinced about their place also being within. There is a unity of the three concepts and the great psychologist, C.G. Jung, has highlighted this point in his writings, especially with regard to Atman and Khizr. According to Jung, there are certain collective structural elements of the human psyche which are inherited like the morphological elements of the human body. Jung calls this collective psychic substratum the 'collective unconscious'. Collective unconscious forms the major component of the self, asserts Jung, and this component has been equated with Atman and Khizr. Because of the similarity of the two with the Akal Purakh the latter can also be equated with the collective unconscious.
Three concepts that originated at different times and at different places have a basic unity and in essence point of the same theme.
The writer is a Professor of Physics in Punjabi University, Patiala.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
—The Holy Bible. The Gospel
According to St. Matthew, V, 3-9. *** Jesus, Master, teach me to see that everything which touches my daily life is to be used by me to mould my character and make me meet for the high company I shall one day mingle with in the land of brightness. *** That I may be Thy gleeful child; that I may enter fully into the glad mirth each day’s life contains; that I may know “the deep power of joy”, I pray Thee, O my happy Master. —Charlotte Skinner,
The Marks of the Master, chapters 2-3.
*** Pray take care of me as you deem fit I await you with each blink of my eyes; Please come, I long for a glimpse of your face. There is no end to my failings and faults, Take not my shortcomings to heart. I am a slave even of your slaves; My Lord, after union, do not part. Mira longs to remain In your shelter, O Master. Turn all her attention To the feet of the Lord.
Jesus, Master, teach me to see that everything which touches my daily life is to be used by me to mould my character and make me meet for the high company I shall one day mingle with in the land of brightness.
That I may be Thy gleeful child; that I may enter fully into the glad mirth each day’s life contains; that I may know “the deep power of joy”, I pray Thee, O my happy Master.
—Charlotte Skinner, The Marks of the Master, chapters 2-3.
Pray take care of me as you deem fit
I await you with each blink of my eyes;
Please come, I long for a glimpse of your face.
There is no end to my failings and faults,
Take not my shortcomings to heart.
I am a slave even of your slaves;
My Lord, after union, do not part.
Mira longs to remain
In your shelter, O Master.
Turn all her attention
To the feet of the Lord.
—Mira Bai, “Mhari sudh jyun jano jyun leejo ji” *** O Perfect Wisdom, When will thy Truth ever new and full of light, Shine in the sky of my heart? Through the long night I wait And watch the eastern horizon, With face upturned and folded hands, In hope of new happiness, new life and a new dawn of day. What shall I see, What shall I know? I know not what that joy shall be. New light in my inmost heart; By that light, full of great joy I will go singing towards my home Who would desire to linger in dreary exile? —Maharishi Debendranath Tagore,
O Perfect Wisdom,
When will thy Truth ever new and full of light,
Shine in the sky of my heart?
Through the long night I wait
And watch the eastern horizon,
With face upturned and folded hands,
In hope of new happiness, new life
and a new dawn of day.
What shall I see, What shall I know?
I know not what that joy shall be.
New light in my inmost heart;
By that light, full of great joy
I will go singing towards my home
Who would desire to linger in dreary exile?
—Maharishi Debendranath Tagore,
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