|Saturday, February 10, 2001||
THIS refers to Raman Mohan’s "The emergence of Haryana" (January 20). While Haryana has crossed many hurdles to be ranked amongst the states with the highest per capita income in the country, yet one wonders whether this is actually the result of a strong political will and a long-term administrative vision.
In fact, political leadership and bureaucratic vision has failed to set a strong base of infrastructure in the core fields of agriculture, industry, health-care and education. This is not to underestimate the progress made by the state in these sectors for the last 34 years, yet our efficacy in many related fields has remained stagnant.
The most serious matter
of concern is the neglect of quality education and growing crime amongst
the youth. Our educational policies have concentrated more on quantity
than on quality in education. Often educational reforms have resulted in
the indifference of teachers, parents and society towards the healthy
academic grooming of the child. Our know-all and omnipotent
administrators rarely tolerate the ‘interference’ (the term used for
creative and workable suggestions) from the educationists and the
intelligentsia of the state.
Hence the moot question is whether our administration will be able to check the downward slide and whether our political leadership will be able to rise above personal and parochial considerations and devote itself honestly to the allround development of the state. In the present-day world, patchwork solutions will only complicate and jeopardise the development and socio-culture texture of the state.
Khushwant Singh happens to hold an extreme stance ("Of time-wasting rituals", January 20), when he includes among the litany of his ‘meaningless rituals’ some of our most cherished anthems and songs, and this he does for the simple reason that we are required to stand up at attention when they are sung in public.
Rituals are, as a matter of fact, an integral part of our culture. They help keep alive the spirit of the moment with which they are associated. They do not simply mark the start or end of the functions concerned, but also bring out their significance.
The mumbo-jumbo rituals, need to be shunned, but the inspiring and educative ones must be followed. Singing of anthems and songs such as Jana Gana Mana, Vande Matram and Sare Jahan se Achcha cannot be summarily dismissed as time-wasting exercises. These compositions seek to unite in our minds the diverse strands of our culture and lead us to that sense of unity which underlies that diversity. At the moment, when quite a number of people from amongst us are laying down their lives to keep alive that unity, to make a fuss over the inconvenience of standing up for a couple of minutes only betrays one’s lack of a sense of responsibility towards the nation.
Again the writer needs to know that the term Shiva in Dey Shiva bar moehai refers to the goddess Parvati and not Lord Shiva, and that it is one amongst thousand names with which we invoke the goddess Durga.
The writer has aptly remarked that rituals are charming in themselves but they take a lot of time, implying thereby that carrying out such meaningless procedures is a sheer waste of time. Rituals, rites and ceremonies are performed ostentatiously and with monotonous regularity in our country without a thought to the time wasted in conducting such ceremonial acts. Obviously we are not time conscious, whereas people in developed countries find little time for standing on ceremony.
Once I came across a Canadian at Jaipur. I asked her what basic difference she found between the people of her country and our county. She replied that Canadians always complained of paucity of time while it seemed that Indians always had a lot of time at their disposal. It was implicit in her reply that Indians wasted time, unmindful of the blessing it can bring if utilised appropriately and judiciously. We are called expert imitators. So why can’t we imitate the good points of foreigners?
Rather than whiling away precious time in performing time-consuming ceremonies and getting immersed in ritualism, we should exhort ourselves to devote it to constructive purposes by which the welfare of mankind can be ensured. Optimum use of time can certainly work wonders for the betterment of our present and future generations.
TARSEM S BUMRAH
It is a pity that we have not yet let go of our colonial past. The democratic traditions of the past 50 years have not yet percolated into our consciousness. The equality that it ensures has itself not been accepted by the public. Many people still consider themselves inferior and believe in sycophancy, bowing before bigwigs and do not attempt to live with self-respect. They want to stay in the good books of their leaders and hence make every effort to show their loyalty and sincerity. But rational and committed people like Ujjal Dosanjh cannot appreciate such time-wasting tactics. People in the West or for that matter well-educated people in any part of the world, want to know more about the ideas, opinions and vision of their leaders. But in India we do not have such leaders as can speak with intelligence and vision before the public for long and hence command the respect of the people.
This refers to Manohar Malgonkar’s article "Guru power" (January 7). Gurus sans gyan represent lamentable degradation of the Hindu philosophy. Perfection of siddhi explains the Bhagavadgita, is possible by two ways. Either one may pursue the path of knowledge to understandfully the cosmic design and the reality of the soul or take the less demanding course of going about routine activity with equanimity. Interestingly, the end effect in both cases is the same. Mind when freed from turmoil and turbulence finds the purity of reason and detachment. And detachment leads to moksha the ultimate goal of human effort.
Any guru trapped in the opulence of an ashram cannot but be slave to the senses, which is the lowest stage in spiritual evolution. Obviously, such a person is least qualified to lead others to the path of salvation or moksha.
For moksha, in simple words, is the process of shedding the baggage of identity. By making people his followers the guru unwittingly imposes upon them a new identity. Sadly, the story does not end here. Unsuspecting devotees are sucked into the whirlpool of cult, God recedes into the background and guru becomes the object of veneration and worship. A free soul gets ensnared and becomes a captive disciple. Success of godmen and guru is not glorification of Hinduism but its betrayal.