Heavenly foods of India

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Source : Google photo of the Golden temple in Amritsar, India

Synopsis : I usually write about social issues so I thought what could be more social than food in India where people really go out to enjoy food in other’s company which is a great social event. India is known for its great food but only very few who have visited have learned its rich diversity in food and its very rich culinary history where various recipes from various parts of the world have been blended to create something unique to each region.

You will find  dazzling varieties of food with the local twist in each part of the great country called India , some vegetarian and others non vegetarian that will surprise you and your taste buds in a way that will make you feel that you are literally in heaven. That is why I named this blog The heavenly foods of India that will show you foods from Imphal to Chennai and Bengaluru in the south. The videos are self explanatory so do not need my comments.

I have tasted foods in many countries but none compare to the taste and quality of Indian food some of which are displayed in the following videos. It is not for nothing that India is called the country of spices but what is amazing is how they use the spices to bring out so unique taste in food that only Indians know how.

But I start the blog with not food but the visit to Amritsar Golden  temple and the Sikh religion that makes Amritsar the holiest city of their very unique religion. In the later part of the video the reporter will also show you a very unique feature of Sikh religion that welcomes anyone irrespective of their religion, caste, color, race or ethnicity to their temple and feeds everyone who so wishes all day , every day of the year. They never stop. You will see them feeding Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Jews and the Sikhs all together because they welcome all. This is a very unique feature of their faith. Other faiths have a lot to learn from them about their tolerance of other faiths.

Most people outside India do not know much about the Sikh religion and how it originated hundreds of years ago there , what are its main features and why the Sikhs wear turban and do not shave their facial hair. Some Sikhs living in the United States have been mistakenly identified as Muslims and have been attacked by the ignorant people who have never heard about their great religion.

Here in the Philippines the Sikhs are misunderstood and stereo typed as Indians . They are Indians but they are unlike any other people in India where all the religions of the world thrive and co exist peacefully although there have been some communal tensions due to some quarrels because of some misunderstanding or fanatical zeal that I will write about here.

In summary, some Sikh militant activists rallied to separate from India and form their own country, Khalistan and took refuge in the Golden Temple of Amritsar, from where they tried to mobilize all Sikhs to their cause through an armed revolt. The Indian army encircled the temple and, after a long battle, killed all the militants but the temple was also damaged by the fighting. This undermined the feeling of some Sikhs in the armed forces who tried to reach Amritsar to provide military assistance to the rebels, but were arrested. The Sikhs who were the bodyguards of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi murdered her in New Delhi because she had ordered the attack on their temple in Amritsar. Later, the temple was repaired thoroughly.

Birth of Sikhism in India: (source: Wikipedia)

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, with about 20 to 30 million Sikhs. There are about 500,000 Sikhs each in the United States and Great Britain. Here are 5 things to know about faith. The sacred book of Sikhs, “Guru Granth Sahib,” teaches that there is one God, that men and women are fundamentally good and equal before God, that everyone has direct access to God. and that the way to get closer to God is to serve our fellow men. Sikh religion was founded in 1469 by Guru Nanak in the Punjab region of India. Guru Nanak and his nine successors shaped the fundamental beliefs of religion in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Sikhism has evolved in times of religious persecution. Two of the Sikh gurus – Guru Arjan (1563-1605) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675) – were tortured and executed by the Mughal rulers after refusing to convert to Islam. The persecution of the Sikhs triggered the founding of the Khalsa as an order to protect freedom of conscience and religion, endowed with the qualities of a “Sant-Sipāhī” – a holy soldier. The Khalsa was founded by the last Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

All Sikhs must believe in five K (Kirpan, Kachcha, Kesh, Kara and Kanghi), which means that they must always wear a dagger or a small knife (Kirpan), an undergarment called kachcha, should not cut hair or shave (Kesh), wear a steel or silver bracelet (Kara) and hold a comb in the hair (Kanghi). They are forbidden to drink alcohol, cut their hair, have sex with Muslims, commit adultery, eat halal meat and have priests.

The Muslims who invaded India several centuries ago brought with them the ideology that Hindus must accept Islam, either by coercion or by force, so they massacred the population en masse while they refused to do it. A particular group of Hindus who were so persecuted and threatened with death fought back and swore never to give up their faith, so they became armed and protected themselves.

They lived a harsh life so they grew their hair and beard and learned martial art to protect themselves and their women laying the foundation of a new faith called Sikhhism and built a magnificent temple in Amritsar that they covered entirely with gold. This temple keeps the original and sacred scripture called Guru Granth sahib that is read everyday throughout the year. This recitation has not stopped since the temple was built centuries ago.

It is the sacred duty of all Sikhs to visit the temple at least once in their lifetime no matter where in the world they live. Photography is not allowed inside the temple so you can’t see the splendor and breathtaking view from inside but a visit to the grounds in itself is awe inspiring as the video will show you.

The Sikhs carry Hindu names as a testament to the fact that they were Hindus but with a twist. They spell their names slightly differently from Hindus to differentiate themselves from the rest so Jitendra becomes Jatinder, Surendra becomes Surinder etc. Sikhs are wonderful people. They are fierce fighters in the defense forces of India. They are very hard working and honest and they are very intelligent and have attained very high posts in the government. One became the President of India and another became the most decorated chief of the Indian Air Force.  They have also spread out through out the world and can be found in many countries where they have settled down.

So I hope you will learn something about the great Sikh people by watching this video.

1.  The Golden temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India

2. Food in Chennai , South India

3. Food in Bengaluru in Karnataka, South India

4. Food in Imphal in North Eastern State Manipur, India.

Note: Imphal is the capital of Manipur State in northeastern India. Netaji Bose and his army fought the British and deployed the Indian flag for the first time after victory there though he did not succeed to liberate all of India. The inhabitants of this region seem different from the rest of the Indians because of their ethnic origin in the mountain tribes of Myanmarand southern China. Their food is also different from other spicy dishes in the country, but it is delicious.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Why do we imitate?

Source : Google photo of night club dancing

Synopsis : The blind imitation of the Western culture that contradicts your own values and traditions is something to be avoided unless you are rebellious of your own values. There is always something beautiful in your tradition of dance, music or some form of entertainment that has been practiced since a very long time so western imitation can never replace it.

We see a worldwide trend of countries in Asia , Latin America and even in Africa where people are blindly imitating the Western culture especially the culture of night clubbing, excessive drinking and resorting to very risky sexual behavior that is normally quite alien to their native culture.

This brings them in conflict with those who try to maintain their values and culture but find themselves fighting an uphill battle with the younger generation that imitates the western culture without any hesitation so the businessmen take advantage and set up night clubs and other venues where young people congregate to drink, dance and resort to risky sexual behavior all in the name of having a good time. Needless to say that the club owners make a lot of money so they do not care how people behave as long as they pay to have a good time.

At times things get out of hand and some people start a fight or a ruckus when they have too much to drink that leads to some destruction of properties that the owner does not like so he keeps a few musclemen who step in and stop the fight by taking the trouble makers by their cuffs and throw them outside. It does not matter to them if they continue the fight outside because that comes under the purview of the police that soon arrives and takes away the miscreants to teach them some manners that are in short supply at such places.

Women who go to such night clubs to have a good time often complain of the sexual harassment they suffer where they are groped by some bad boys who take the liberty when they are drunk or under the influence of drugs that are freely available so again the musclemen step in to control them before it really gets out of hand.

We observe that night clubbing , excessive drinking and engaging in risky sexual behavior has become a part of the Western culture that are now being exported to other countries where the young people see nothing wrong in having a good time after a hard day’s work or during the weekends.

When I was in college in California, the aggies with their stetson hats, cowboy boots and big buckle belts always reminded that it was the TGIF time meaning Thank God it is Friday time when they gathered somewhere to drink and dance that often ended in fist fights over some girls and breaking a few chairs but the venue owner took it as the cost of doing business and charged the miscreants double the price of broken chairs and glasses and raked in some extra bucks.

This TGIF culture was deeply rooted in their wild wild West past when the only place in their ramshackle miserable frontier towns was the saloon where the cowboys gathered, drank, gambled and went upstairs to cavort with whores who were grateful for some business. Often gun fights broke out between rivals over insults or perceived insults resulting in quite a few casualties, broken glass and chairs so the sheriff stepped in, arrested the miscreants and hanged them the next day in the public square that the town people came to see because justice was swift in those days and entertainment for the onlookers was always welcome.

So the saloon culture was born that made some money for the owner and gave some employment to the whores who gathered there from various parts of the country in search of some business. This is the staple of the Western cow boy movies in Hollywood that is widely imitated in other countries. The gun fights and the dead bodies was just the part of the charm of these hovels of dirt that attracted the rough and tough people who outnumbered the nice and decent people who enjoyed the hanging in their public squares because entertainment was rare in their towns.

If we fast forward to the present time, we notice that this penchant for a good time has evolved into the TGIF and other forms of entertainment giving birth to a whole new business opportunity for those who want to make money anyway they can so numerous joints are put up in some shady parts of their towns where they hire some musclemen to keep law and order to a tolerable level. The whores upstairs are gone but are replaced by amateur sexually liberated women who do not hesitate to go out with a stranger after a few drinks and groping to continue their fun somewhere else.

Such venues are the gathering places for the common as well as not so common people of shady characters who supply drugs to their clients there or mix some drugs into the drinks on the sly to some who are then taken advantage of later. Others gather there to discuss their business of illegal drugs, trafficking and other nefarious activities. Their goons keep a sharp eye on who comes to their joint especially if they are policemen on the look out for some free drinks.

There are several types of these night clubs depending on the types of clients they attract. I was cautioned by my French teacher in Washington, D.C. not to go to the place near my hostel that perked my curiosity so one day I went in, paid for an expensive glass of beer and saw a naked woman only in her panty gyrating on a table. The clients were all men some with beard, tattoos and rough clothes who were drooling and shouting obscene vulgar things at the poor girl who was only trying to make a few dollars to pay for her rent. The whole place reeked of stale beer, smoke and vulgarity that disgusted me so I walked out and realized that my French teacher was right after all and I should never have gone there.  

Then there are more fancy places where a band plays on the stage where a naked or nearly naked woman wraps her legs around a shiny pole to do what they call pole dancing while men shout insults at her while gulping down their beer or liquor. Some even get excited after some drinks and try to climb onto the stage to grab the poor woman so at that point the musclemen come in to cool them down that may require taking them by their cuffs and throwing them out.

I remember walking the streets near Pigalle in Paris where the touts will try to pull your hand saying naked women are on show so come on in. This sort of sordid joints appeal to those who get excited just looking at the naked women while others go there out of curiosity. The Amsterdam night clubs go a step further where women do sinful things that I will not elaborate here for the sake of decency.

These so called night clubs offer variety of services to their clients who are mostly men who have nothing better to do than to go out and drink until they can’t walk so I call them sorry people who are shallow with low level of education lacking sophistication, manners and taste.

There was a small town in Texas where the criminals opened up a sinful place to cater to sinful people so the town folks were very angry that such a place was corrupting their folks and the youth so they complained to the sheriff to shut the place down. The sheriff then raided the joint and smashed the liquor bottles and trashed the place that did not sit well with the owner who was a mafia man.

The sheriff also outlawed all the whore houses that had come up to cater to a growing clientele so that too was opposed by the owners who did not like to be deprived of their lucrative source of income so they planned to kill the sheriff. The sheriff had a sport car that he liked to run at high speed but one day his brakes failed that crashed his car and killed him on the spot. This led to the resurgence of the shady places once again. This is a true story that was made into a Hollywood movie later.  

Now I come to the night clubs that are sprouting like mushrooms everywhere that attract men, women, boys and girls and the in betweens who gather there to drink and dance often with strangers because they are lonely and need a venue that provides them some excitement. The club usually has a high dais or platform where a fellow called disc jockey plays loud music that he modulates by scratching the LP on the player back and forth exciting the crowd below into a frenzy. These DJs are highly paid for their talent to scratch the discs and putting up a good show. To make the joint more exciting, they use fireworks, blinking colored lights that rotate on a big ball hanging from the ceilings. They also have numerous night clubs especially for the LGBTQ crowd.

There was such a joint in Manila where young people gathered one night to celebrate something or other and were drinking and dancing like there was no tomorrow not knowing that literally there was going to be no tomorrow for them. The place had one narrow door to enter that opened only from outside into the club. Soon the firework and overheated wires caught fire that burned swiftly the very flammable ceiling material turning the whole place into a blazing inferno. By the time the revelers realized the danger they were in, it was too late. They frantically tried to push the door open to escape but the door could only be pushed in from outside so more than 200 or so young people burned to death very horribly.

Then the funeral parlors descended on the burnt bodies like hungry vultures and fought over them to rake up business even before the relatives and friends could claim the remains that showed the dark nature of human beings at such tragic times.

We hear of such tragic incidences in many such clubs in different countries but it does not stop or discourage the revelers frequenting the night clubs because of their belief that bad things may happen to others but not to them. Most of these night clubs violate the safety standards that often lead to the disasters like in Manila while the corrupt safety inspectors fill their pockets to ignore the fire safety violations.

Why do we then imitate this western culture that is being promoted by the Holly wood movies, various TV shows and the social media? What does it have in common with the culture of the country and why young people are so attracted to it that they forget the tragedies that many joints of this nature produce? This culture imported from the West promotes drinking, promiscuity among women and men, irrational behavior, drug culture and outright criminality.

Recently a beautiful young woman was gang raped by no less than 14 people in a place in Mumbai where drugs, liquor and sex was the theme. The poor girl was not only raped, she was beaten unconscious and was thrown from the balcony of a 14th floor building. Her naked body was found smashed on the sidewalk below but the police called it a suicide because some prominent people had raped her and participated in her murder. The investigation is still going on but no real culprit has been arrested.

Some people say that imitation is a form of flattery but why there is this need to flatter anyone or any culture? We notice the pernicious effect of this sort of imitation on the younger people in so many ways. They now buy blue jeans only to shred the jeans on the thighs and knee with razor blades so that they can follow the trend. If this is the latest Western style then they must also imitate them no matter how ridiculous they look.

If the women in the West wear thongs on public beaches then women in Asia also start to wear them creating quite a scandal in some countries. If skin tight yoga pants that emphasize the crotch is the fashion, women in other countries start imitating because they want to be up to date when it comes to fashion.

Young girls shake their butts in a very sexual manner and upload their videos in U tube that gets them a lot of viewers because they have seen such behavior in Hollywood movies and TV shows so they imitate.

Some boys color their hair bright yellow or pink, wear tattoos and ear rings or put safety pins in their eyebrows and studs on their lips because they too are imitating this part of the punk culture of the West. The hippies started the counterculture trend during the Vietnam war to show their rebellion that soon spread to other countries where the young people started imitating them. Some started throwing away their bras because that became a bold fashion statement. These counter culture people congregated in places like Kathmandu and Marrakech in Morocco where weed is very cheap and easily available.

So I come back to the question – Why do we imitate? I will post here a video made by Karolina Goswami where she discusses the reasons so you should watch it. She makes some very valid points and warns the young people of the danger of imitation that is so pervasive in many cultures that are suffering the loss of their own values and traditions so please watch it here.

Source : U tube video of Karolina Goswami

The urge to imitate the Western culture is inherent in the psyche of the younger generation of many countries where less restrained young people with money in their pockets see nothing wrong in imitating the worst aspect of the West in the name of having a good time. They say they like to have a good time so they tend to modify their definition by including drugs, alcohol and free sex. This prospect excites both sexes so now we see a proliferation of night clubs in many countries that shows the growth of the counterculture.

The parents and the authorities find themselves at a loss to provide an alternative to them because a classical theater that presents only classical music, dances or drama does not excite the younger generation as much as the loud music, wilder dancing ,the free flowing alcohol and the prospect of some sex . Women dance lasciviously in skimpy clothes and freely imbibing drinks that may be laced with drugs on the sly. Such places are often prowled by bad boys who are on the lookout for a vulnerable woman who may later agree to go out with them to continue their fun.

Then there are bars where single or divorced women gather to have drinks and talk but they notice right away if a good looking gent is sitting alone so they ask the bartender to send him drinks. If the man raises his glass to thank the women, they move in and start a conversation. This sort of place is also sprouting in many countries now.

People who tend to imitate others lack originality in themselves. You may imitate the good example of someone because it may help you develop a better personality or skill. You may imitate a beautiful design of a house that you like and build one similar to it. You may imitate the good manners and polished behavior of a person who impresses you or you may be inspired to imitate the person who studies hard to pass tough exams to become a successful professional. You may borrow books from him or study with him so that you too may have a bright future.

But to imitate blindly a bad culture imported from somewhere does not improve your life in any way possible. If you have your strength of character and are the kind of person who is not easily swayed by the peer pressure then I salute you. To the rest I can only say that not all imitation is flattery.

 

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media.

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Prepare yourself

Source : Google photo

Synopsis : Most people in this world live a mundane life and die of their old age but only a lucky few die in their sleep with a smile on their face because they had lived a full life fulfilling all their duties and obligations. They are called the true independent souls. The blog explains how anyone can prepare himself for the day so that he can live his life on his own terms until the last moment.

There was a cruel and fanatical Moghul king who ruled India in the 16th century. He was called Aurangzeb who had ascended the throne after killing his elder brother who was the crown prince and put his father the Emperor ShahJahan in prison in the Fort of Agra.

Aurangzeb ruled over the Hindus whom he considered the unbelievers so he desecrated their places of worship and razed to the ground their holy temples all over the country. He then forced the Hindus to convert to Islam under the threat of execution so he is remembered as the most fanatic anti Hindu ruler who made many enemies by fighting the Hindu kings and killing them. This is how the Mughuls expanded their territories.

In his old age, he became very thin and bent from his waist down but he still insisted  to be carried in a palanquin to go to the battle field because his battles were never ending until he died leaving behind the widows and children of his enemies.

As he neared his death when he was near 90 years in age, he continued to knit skull caps that he sold to the faithful Moslems to earn a few pennies that he saved for his funeral. He did not take a penny from his treasury and wanted to die on his own terms so he ordered that he should be buried by the road side in a village near Aurangabad in a shallow grave, wrapped only in a white sheet of cotton cloth. He ordered that no monument shall ever be built on his grave so that his remains will always be under the sky.

Source : Google photo of the grave of Aurangzeb near Aurangabad, India. The marble screen was built by the British.

Source : Google photo of Aurangzeb and his quotes

He regretted all the cruel and bad things he had done in his life and begged for the forgiveness of Allah and he died utterly alone and very lonely. All his wives and most of his off springs had died so there was no one to shed a tear on his death. We visited his grave near Aurangabad where it is still under the sky, just covered with a white sheet and a Tulsi plant.

Tulsi is a holy plant for the Hindus so why a Tulsi plant was planted on his grave is still a mystery. Perhaps it was his way of making atonement for all his crimes against the hapless Hindus during his reign as king. The British later built a marble screen around his grave to protect it. He was after all an Emperor of India. His empire started to weaken after his death and at last fell apart after the British exiled the last Moghul king in 1857.

As a ruler, Aurangzeb in his old age prepared himself to be buried as he wished and left the money to do so that he earned by knitting skull caps.

He was an extreme example of how some people prepare themselves for their burial and last rites. He did not want grandiose mausoleum built using his treasury money so he was very different from his forefathers who ordered massive mausoleums built for them like TajMahal , Humayun’s mausoleum in Delhi and Akbar’s mausoleum in Sikandera near Agra.

Now I come to the present era of common people living under stress, financial difficulties and tremendous cost of medical care that people cannot afford so how do you expect them to prepare themselves for the end?

I have a good example here of a friend who lived in retirement in his old age doing some gardening and numerous charity works but he was very self-effacing and humble. I urged him to share the photos of his lovely vegetable garden so he did after some hesitation and sent me some beautiful post cards that he had designed. He was a graphic artist.

When he was told that he had a short time to live, he started to give away most of his prized possessions to every one’s surprise. He donated his extensive collection of cameras, lenses etc. to a nearby University and donated many such valuables to others while keeping to himself his medical issues. He paid to a funeral parlor for his cremation and asked them to spread his ashes under his favorite tree.

He did not ask anyone’s help and died knowing that he had lived his life on his own terms. Very few people can do that because in their old age they become dependent on others to take care of them. They fail to prepare themselves for the day when they breathe their last.

In this country people leave behind huge hospital bills that their relatives have to pay somehow because the hospital Shylocks will not release the body unless they get fully paid. The longer it takes for the relatives to pay, the bigger the bill becomes.

When the body is finally handed over to the relatives for the last rites, the funeral parlor people show up to claim a lot of money for the preparation and burial of the deceased so again the relatives are hit by the large expense the second time driving them deeper into debt.

It is not unheard of that the close relatives have to sell their house or land to pay the bills because no one has so much money to pay for all the expenses. The insurance does not cover it all but only a small fraction.

This topic is a serious topic because I want to discuss here how anyone can prepare himself or herself for the day when the end comes because it does as sure as sunrise.

Now I am not talking about the rich or the super-rich who have all the means at their disposal to do whatever they wish. They do not have to knit skull caps to earn a few pennies like Aurangzeb although he was the Emperor of a huge country called India.

I am talking about the common people like you and me who are born, live a simple life and one day leave this world without leaving anything called their legacy. They are not great writers, scientists, engineers or award winning artists, singers or actors. A short time after their demise, no one really remembers them or feels their absence. Their photos and memorabilia collect dust in the attic.

Yet these simple folks once were living beings who lived an honest life, paid their taxes and helped those who needed their help. They were religious so they donated whatever they could afford to their temples, Gurudwaras or Churches. They brought up their children well and took good care of their spouse. They may have had musical talents but were humble and never showed their talent to anyone publicly.

I knew a great violinist who lived in our neighborhood whose talent was not recognized by anyone so he played his violin alone in his living room that the passerby’s could hear and wonder at the sweet melody. He took to the bottle that ended his life one day because of frustration and poverty.

The vast majority of people in the world fall into this category of common people like the violinist I just mentioned although not everyone takes to the bottle in frustration. Some become very religious and live a simple life.

A friend of mine who was a brilliant and very intelligent person had a very good job in an International Institute.  He had a nice family and a small adorable child so everything was perfect for him and his family until one day he decided to quit his job and move to a Latin American country where there was a long running war and where the narco mafia ruled.

He was captured by the rebels and held hostage for many years until a huge ransom was paid for his release by his relatives. He moved to a small town in the US and found that his wife and children had left him so he was alone and sad. He too took to drinking heavily that eventually ended his life but he did write to me before he went. So what was his legacy and how he prepared for his end? I don’t know.

I greatly admire people who remain independent until their last breath. I don’t mean people like Aurangzeb who was cruel and did many bad things. I mean the common people like you and me who live a simple life, raise good children and prepare themselves for all eventualities so that no one needs to worry about them. Such people are born independent and remain independent until their last breath. They leave behind no debt and leave enough money for their spouse to live on independently.

By their nature they are people without bad habits like drinking, gambling, smoking or borrowing money they never pay back. They are honest and live or try to live a clean life. They are also good savers.

So saving is the key word here. I believe that anyone who has a job or a business can save a part of what they earn for the retirement days. Some earn a small pension that may allow them to live a modest life. If you try to save even a small part of what you earn, it can accumulate over a long period of time to a surprising sum that comes in handy when you are old.

Another way is to downsize, sell your huge house and move into a small apartment or cottage somewhere to reduce the cost of living. The added revenue to your savings can help you live a simple but independent life somewhere. You will not need your big car, big house and large flat screen TV any more. A simple bicycle will do.

You will not need your expensive watch, fancy jewelries and fancy clothes so sell them to monetize. Believe me when I say that no one cares how you look, how you live your life and what you do. People are not interested in you unless you are Barack Obama.

So it is up to you to take care of your life until the end because no one is really responsible for you except you. But people will respect your independence and say that you lived your life on your own term without resorting to knitting skull caps to earn a few pennies.

     Here is a quote that I find inspirational .  ( Google )

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media

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Mis blogs en espagnol 

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Blogger.com Medium.com 

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 Biographie d’Anil en français 

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Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch 

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Unprecedented effort

Source : Google photo of the renovated complex of the Vishwanath temple in Kashi inaugurated by PM Modi yesterday

Synopsis : When something happens after centuries of waiting and disappointment , it is rightly called historic because it changes the course of history in a grand manner like what has just happened in Kashi on December 13, 2021. Rarely a person comes to correct the historic wrongs done in the name of religion but that is exactly what has happened with the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor yesterday. It will make Mr. Narendra Modi immortal .

Source : U tube video of the inauguration of the temple in Kashi

What happened yesterday December 13, 2021 in Kashi was unprecedented in the history of Hindu India and the person who made his dream project of Vishwanath temple complex renovation a reality was the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The whole ceremony of the inauguration of the temple complex by Modi was telecast live around the world to show its importance that very few non Hindus will ever understand.

Kashi also known as Benares or Varanashi is the most ancient city that has been continuously lived in the world. Its written history dates back some 5000 years so Kashi is indeed a very very old city that is known as the abode of Shiva making it the holiest city to all Hindus in the world.

Source : Google photo of Mughal king Aurangjeb who destroyed Hindu temples and forced Hindus to convert to Islam.

But Kashi Vishwanath temple was attacked and ruined by the cruel and fanatic Moslem ruler Aurangjeb who had the temple desecrated and demolished to build a mosque in its place in 1669. The temple priest had jumped into a well carrying the Shiva linga in order to save it from destruction. It is not known if he died in the well.

The Hindus watched the desecration silently with tears but could not do anything to stop the heavily armed soldiers Aurangjeb had sent. He is known as the person who did the most damage to Hinduism by destroying their numerous places of worship and forcing the hapless Hindus to accept Islam with sword on their neck. In Uttar Pradesh alone that has a population of over 200 million has the most number of Moslems in India who were forcibly converted to accept Islam but they were all Hindus.

The looters and destroyers also came from Afghanistan for the pillage in the 12th century and many times later because they knew India as the Golden bird so came to loot, kill and desecrate famous Hindu temple of Somnath in Gujarat and others. That temple was looted and destroyed 18 times but now it has been rebuilt after the independence of India in 1947. The massive temple of Ram is also being built in Ayodhya where the mosque built by Baber after destroying the Ram temple there in 1527 was demolished in1992 by the Hindus.

Source : Google photo of Queen Ahilya Bai Holkar

Then in the year 1780 a valiant queen Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore who was a great devotee of Shiva renovated and rebuilt the temple as it stands today. In 1835 a great king called Ranjit Singh donated 1 ton of gold to cover the top of the temple that will blind you with its brilliance today as it did centuries ago.

Source : Google photo of Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Over the centuries following the desecration of the Vishwanath temple, people started encroaching on the temple land and built illegal houses that enclosed within their homes numerous very very ancient temples so they were completely hidden to the public. These beautiful and historic temples were discovered only when over 350 houses were demolished to create the space where the new temple complex was to rise. People were stunned to see these temples for the first time in centuries so the new corridor has now freed them and rehabilitated all of them to restitute them to their original form and glory.

One stolen image of Goddess Anna Purna was recently brought back to India from Canada and reestablished in the complex corridor.

Due to the encroachment of the temple land by the illegal settlers, it had made the access to the temple very narrow and difficult for the pilgrims to reach the temple of Shiva to offer their prayers and pooja. The access to the river from the temple was also very difficult because of all the illegal structures that are now demolished to make a wide access corridor . Now all pilgrims can bathe in the river and take the holy water of Ganga and walk up the stairs to reach the temple directly passing through the massive courtyard and through many ornate gates. All Hindus follow this ritual of first bathing in Ganga and then carry the Holy water to the temple and offer it to Shiva. Mr. Modi was not amiss in performing this ritual that the whole world watched on TV.

All the workers who had built the massive corridor toiling for over 2 years through the covid pandemic and the lock down but still working 24 hours a day everyday without break had assembled in one side to wait for their beloved Prime minister.

They could not imagine in their wildest dreams that he will come, bless them all with flowers and show his humility by sitting with them on the steps to talk to them and personally thank them for their effort and hard work. The workers were overjoyed and the whole world watched it. The invited guests watched in awe and learned a few lessons on how to be humble.

Old and people with disabilities are provided with facilities like elevators and walking escalators to reach the temple easily from the river. The huge space can now accommodate at any one time 100000 pilgrims easily.

The temple is surrounded by the gallery to show the history, prayers and Mantras etc inscribed on marble in black letters for everyone to read. There are bookstores for religious books and reprints of scriptures, visitor’s assistance center, food court, guest house and security offices that keep an eye on the entire complex through CCTV cameras. There are more than 20 such massive buildings in the complex , 4 main entry gates and the stone paved stairs all the way to the edge of the river. Pilgrims can now arrive in modern boats that run on CNG at the jetty and climb the massive stairs to reach the temple complex.

In the courtyard they can rest, pray or meditate, do yoga or simply sit on benches to soak in the majesty of the temple and bask in its glory for the first time in the history of Kashi.

The entire road from Godhowlia crossing to the main gate of the complex has been widened and paved with pink stones of Chunar. There are stone benches for the visitors to rest on all along the way and the entire street is well lit with light posts and the motor vehicles are blocked to enter the street by the electrically operated bollards that can come up or sink into the ground as the situation requires.

All the shops on both sides are painted in a uniform pink color making it now a very pleasant street to walk on without traffic and motor vehicles. The entire city of Kashi has been cleaned up, painted pink and with street lights . The overhead offensive wires are gone and the whole city is wired with fiber optic cables underground to connect to the Internet. Kashi is well on its way to become the Smart city.

Even the narrow lanes and streets reaching the temple are paved with new stones and both sides are painted with beautiful scenes of ancient India and the pictures of famous religious sadhus and rishis. The new drainage system, buried cables and clean stone paved narrow lanes are now all done making the lanes easily passable.

Kashi Railway station, new modern airport building, ring road around the city, numerous overpasses to ease the traffic and LED lighted streets , the new highways linking Kashi to other cities are now helping Kashi to become a modern city while preserving its ancient history and culture.

Near Kashi are the holy Buddhist shrines and stupas in Sarnath where Buddha meditated thousands of years ago. The access road to Sarnath and the entire complex is beautifully maintained to receive the faithful who come from all over the world.

In this video the Prime Minister inspects various development projects in Kashi personally starting at the temple complex. .

Source : U Tube video Of PM Modi visiting Kashi projects that were recently completed .

Source : Google photo of the Chief Minister Yogi of Uttar Pradesh

The other person who helped in the fulfillment of all projects in Kashi including the Vishwanath corridor is the Chief Minister Yogi who is modernizing the whole state with new airports, new expressways, new hospitals, schools and colleges, modern railway stations, bus terminals etc. to get the State ready for the 21st century with the state of the art facilities. He is tireless like Modi and has reduced crime rate very significantly in the entire state.

I remember the time when I went to Kashi to visit the Vishwanath temple and bathe in the river Ganga at the Dashaswamedh ghat . I had to pass through very narrow lanes often obstructed by a nasty bull or a cow that roamed freely and bothering everybody. The gutters overflowed but one could smell the scent of flowers and joss sticks near the temple . The shops were selling anything you wanted but mostly catered to the pilgrims and their needs like flowers and joss sticks or sweets. I offered my pooja and came out because no one was allowed to linger there due to the crowd pressing you on all sides.

I saw the playful dolphins that swam near the ghats and wondered why no one protected them in my home town where there were plenty of them always playing near the Fort. The Kashi dolphins are safe from poaching because people are now more aware and protect them. May be they will multiply and spread to other parts of the river.

I found a simple room and a wooden bed with a dirty mattress on it because I could not afford a fancy hotel room so I was like most pilgrims who come to Kashi from all over the country. I understand that this has changed now. Many new guest houses have been built that are clean, modern that offer you very good service, good food and place to stay at low cost. Kashi food is excellent and cheap.

Source : U tube video of the modern Khirkiya ghat in Banaras

Kashi is changing fast . Its residents are blessed with a benevolent government that is pouring millions of dollars to develop it. Khirkiya ghat, Lalita ghat, Manikarnika ghat and many others are being developed to make them modern. Paved with pink stones of Chunar and LED light illumination makes them attractive for the tourists now.

If you just visit the Vishwanath temple corridor, you will know what I mean. The river water is clean and the dolphins still play there. You will arrive in Kashi in a superfast modern train and wonder at the airport like railway station and proceed to Godhowlia from where you may walk on the newly paved wide and well lit street that looks like a London street and arrive at the temple.

There you will stand spell bound at the massive main gate and wonder what it was like before . You will be better off not knowing.

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Who is primitive?

Source : Google photo of Bushmen of Kalahari who are simple, self sufficient and happy

Synopsis : Some people call others primitive and treat them as subhuman who need to be shown what civilized people can offer them to improve their lives starting with a Bible. Such self-proclaimed people have brought misery to others who are not like them so they try to justify themselves with words like manifest destiny. But the notion of primitiveness is as obsolete as it was when it was first mentioned. All people have a right to live the way they want and believe in what they want to believe.

Michener wrote in his novel Hawaii how the inhabitants of the Polynesian Islands in the Pacific Ocean sailed thousands of kilometers in their dugout canoes to reach the Hawaii islands centuries ago without a compass or any other navigation aid. Their ancestors taught them how to navigate through the ocean using just the stars as their guide.

They knew the stars, the constellations and the true north guided by the Pole star so they sailed the open sea using their knowledge and a rock solid faith in the wisdom of their forefathers who had learned it from theirs.

Thus the celestial navigation knowledge was passed on to them generation after generation that made them excellent seafarers .Even today they sail in their home made canoes from one island to another using their ancient knowledge.

When they arrived in Hawaii, they found the islands rich in soil and with abundant rainfall that made them grow their food easily .The sea provided them with all the fish and the forest teeming with wild pigs and other animals so they had plenty of food all year round. They found a safe haven in Hawaii where they lived happily until the Christian missionaries arrived to save their heathen souls from purgatory.

In one chapter Michener wrote about a missionary woman who was pregnant and was having a hard time giving birth so the Hawaiian women came to help because they were excellent midwives and knew how to help a pregnant woman at the time of child birth.

But they were not allowed to enter the tent so they waited patiently to be called to assist but it did not happen. The pastor did not believe that these so called primitive women had the skills as midwife so they were ignored while the pastor read from a handbook how to deliver a baby because it was his first time to do so. The woman cried in pain and heaved but the baby would not come because it was stuck while the Hawaiian women pleaded that they could help and save the baby and the mother but the pastor would not listen.

When the baby was finally delivered, it was still born because the baby did not get the oxygen right away so died. The women waiting outside heard that the baby was still born because the pastor did not know how to deliver a baby so they cried .Their collective wailing could melt a stone but the missionary heart was tougher so it had no effect.

The Protestant missionaries denigrated the Hawaiians in every way possible and laughed at them when they told them how their ancestors came to Hawaii in dugout canoes with the help of celestial navigation centuries ago. To the missionaries such tales were just fiction because they did not believe that the primitive people of Hawaii had the knowledge or the sophistication required to navigate through the open seas so long ago.

They came from the mainland to convert these heathens to their brand of Christianity to save their corrupt souls that had no religion so they looked down on them and ridiculed their rich culture as primitive. They had come to educate them and show them the true religion so they worked hard on them to convert them. Later they wrote to the US Congress to declare Hawaii as a state of the United States to legitimize their role in civilizing the primitive people.

These tough missionaries had a low opinion of anyone who was not white so they showed that they were openly racists and considered themselves as superior to those who were not white. They believed that only the whites had developed the knowledge of navigation and had built modern ships that could cross any ocean using compass and charts that they had prepared. They did not believe that the Hawaiians had any knowledge of medicine although the Hawaiians had a very rich knowledge of plants that they used to cure many illnesses. This knowledge came down to them through generations but the missionaries did not believe them.

They said that Hawaiians had no written language so how could they be called civilized therefore it became their duty to teach them the alphabets so that they could read the Bible. They set up schools for them with heavy emphasis on religion and building churches everywhere. You will notice that the missionaries do this all over the world wherever they go to civilize the native people.

There was such a fellow who went to a forbidden island in the Andaman and Nicobar in the Bay of Bengal where some tribes live. He was warned that the islanders do not like outsiders and kill them before they even land on their shores but he ignored their advice and went ahead in his boat to spread the religion among the natives because that was his mission.

Later the river patrol boat found his body on the beach full of arrows and had difficulty in retrieving it because the islanders did not let anyone to approach them. This news was reported in most of the news media that eulogized the missionary and his valiant effort to bring Christianity to the primitive people but never mentioned that the islanders had a right to live in their own way.

Gauguin captured the sad mood of the Tahitian women in his painting showing the pernicious effect of evangelization by the missionaries there who ignored the rich culture of the Tahitians.

Source : Google photo of a painting by Gauguin of sad Tahitian women

Now you will notice that I used the word primitive a number of times so now I will discuss this idea of who is called primitive and who is not in more detail. James Michener has always been my most favorite writer because he wrote about such issues as racism of the missionaries in Hawaii in the most unbiased way and backed up his writing with infallible data that he researched on for many years before writing his masterpiece.

Long before the white people arrived in the United States of America, there were very civilized people with very rich culture who lived in complete harmony with the nature. They had lived there for many thousands of years so had adapted well to the land. They were mostly hunter gatherers who lived in exquisite animal skin tepees that they could dismantle quickly to move on following the seasons and the source of food.

Source : Google photo of Native Americans and their beautiful tepees

They made excellent clothes, shoes and jewelries and were expert hunters and fighters when they needed to fight to protect themselves from other tribes or from the white invaders who came to ravage their land and to kill them because they called them savage people. They were called Indians or Injuns and their pretty women were called squaws by the uneducated people called white trash.

The whites considered them less than human and an impediment to their rapacious desire to occupy as much territory as they could so they brought in armed soldiers and built numerous military posts surrounded by thick walls. When the Native Americans protested, they were killed. The whites introduced alcohol and venereal diseases to which these native people had no immunity so they died in large numbers. They died of cholera, small pox and other imported diseases because they had no immunity.

This self-proclaimed superiority of the white people over others was responsible for the slavery in America and other countries that led to the destruction of great people in the North, Central and South America on a scale never seen before in the history of mankind.

The whites proclaimed their manifest destiny to rule over less than human people, take their land and property, kill them at will if they resisted, and sexually molest their women and even children in order to destroy all that was dear to the natives. So they invaded many countries and took the possession using military means to begin the process of looting all they could find as precious like gold and silver.

This wealth was then shipped to the countries they represented like Spain or England. With the military conquest came the rabid missionaries to spread Christianity using any means including imprisonment and torture.

The bestselling book called Aztec written by Gary Jennings is worth reading here if you really want to know the gory details of how the Spaniards treated the proud Aztecs and decimated them and their rich culture after looting their gold. It was all because the white people called the Aztecs primitive who had never known Jesus so it was their duty to civilize them and turn them into the Bible thumping Christians. They succeeded beyond their expectations.

The white people invented the word Manifest destiny and used it to justify their behavior toward all the people they called primitive giving rise to the notion of racism that still prevails in many countries even today.

Their invasion of lands where people lived in peace and prosperity was justified by their greed for new land and resources in order to enrich their country so all the colonial powers like Spain, England among others became rich. It did not matter to the Kings and Queens of Europe how the riches were obtained as long as the ships loaded with gold and silver returned to fill their coffers. Many such ships foundered on their way so millions worth of gold and silver sank in deep waters.

I have always deplored the notion that any human being is superior over others but it has been responsible for all the bloodshed in the history. They used brute military power to conquer land and dominate over people in order to loot their resources. These invaders called themselves Christians, wore gold cross in a chain on their necks, prayed in churches and brought with them the rabble priests to forcibly Christianize the heathen because as Christians they felt that it was their solemn duty to do so. The methods used were not important to them.

They brought so much wealth back to their kings and queens that they were given great titles, rewards and huge properties by their sovereigns who always lusted for more wealth. It did not matter to them how such wealth was acquired in the first place.

Children are taught even today wrongly that Columbus discovered America and other Spaniards brought Christianity to the primitive people everywhere. Pizarro, Hernán Cortés and Columbus are called great Conquistadores or great discoverers of new land and wealth but it took a writer like Gary Jennings to write about their cruelty.

They justified their cruelty by saying that they were sent by their sovereigns who financed their ships and their adventure who in return were expected to pay back their kings in riches so they had to first conquer the land and then collect the riches using whatever means necessary. When the king like Moctezuma was no longer useful to Cortes, he was garroted.

Source : Google photo of the People of Papua New Guinea who are happy in isolation

Today I was watching a video on the people who live in Papua New Guinea in isolated villages where they build beautiful bamboo houses and get all the food they need from the rivers teeming with fish. They are called primitive by the outsiders but they live happily and simply. They sing and dance. They make their own clothes and make shell jewelries. They live in complete harmony with the nature. Just because they do not have a written language or practice your brand of religion does not make them primitive.

Source : Google photo of beautiful bamboo houses in Papua New Guinea where isolated people live happily.

So primitive is an obsolete word that should never be used to describe people who have a rich culture of their own, rich history and who live simple but happy life. They definitely do not need the outsiders to tell them how to live, how to dress and which God to pray to.

What would our world look like without such rich diversity?

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media

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Stop all animal torture

Source : Google photo of a sad caged lion

Synopsis : We need to be aware that all animals are precious whether domestic or wild so they should be loved and protected . This awareness should be taught to every child in every school in the world so that the future generation will learn to love the animals and protect them. Many species will become extinct unless we do this.

There is a park in the town of El Obeid in Sudan where there are a number of steel cages that keep wild animals for people to see. People who visit the park have all seen the wild lions in the cages and ignore them but the kids poke the animals with sticks in their ribs knowing full well that they cannot fight back.

The adults do not stop the kids from torturing the lions because torturing animals in their culture is not an issue that occupies their mind. I have seen the same thing in Mascara where I used to work in Algeria. There the tethered animals were routinely tortured by the children who poked their anus with sticks but their parents never told them that it was wrong to torture animals so they should stop.

Now you can imagine that those children have grown into their adulthood after so many years so what they will teach their children who also torture tethered animals for fun? They did it themselves when young. Children must be told what is right and what is wrong.

I saw the tortured lion in its cage in El Obeid that roared in anguish and slammed its body into the cage in rage but this torture never stopped. I stopped and saw the pain, the hopelessness and the rage in the eyes of those lions who were still fighting it not knowing that they will never be free and will surely die in captivity.

All over the world we are responsible for the animal torture even if we do not torture them personally. It is because we do not stop our children who torture wild animals or even domestic animals so we are complicit. We have all seen the wild bears in India that are made to dance for you for a few pennies by their handlers and surely we have seen the wild monkeys with rope around their neck to dance and make people laugh. The handler makes the monkeys dance with the threat of beating so the monkeys are afraid of the punishment.

The bears suffer the most because their handler pulls the bear with a rope through its nostrils that are very sensitive and painful so they cry out in pain and submit. People watch the bear dance, throw a few coins at him and pass on but never ask the handler to stop the torture of a wild animal that has never meant any harm to anyone. Once I saw at least 18 bears on the road from Agra to Jaipur but stopped counting because there were more. All these bears are tortured the same way by the nomads who eek out a meagre living. The bears have torn nostrils filled with pus and infection but who cares? If they die of infection, they are thrown away like garbage and soon replaced by new bears caught in the forest so this horrific trade continues.

In China they put the bears in small cages and milk their bile that is used in the Chinese medicine. The extraction of bile from a living animal is a very painful process for the animals so they howl in pain but who listens?

The baby elephant that was used as a mascot during the Asian games in India was tortured to make him learn how to sit on a ball and do other tricks but the people did not see the torture the poor elephant was subjected to away from their eyes but the baby elephant shed tears of pain. They are very sensitive animals who show a wide range of emotions.

In Florida a whale called Orca that used to swim in the huge tank and entertain paid visitors to the Sea World one day dragged its trainer under water and held her until she died because the animal was greatly angered by the captivity. The wild animals are only happy when they are free. They refuse to be domesticated like dogs or other animals.

I think it is inherent in all living being that they value freedom more than anything else. You can see it in their eyes. There is no animal as sad as a caged bird that seeks freedom but knows that it cannot fly away. Some cruel people clip their wings so they cannot fly away someday.

We think that the animals are there to entertain us so we put them in cages and teach them to mimic some words to make us laugh. There are millions of parrots and mynahs in cages that can never escape and feel the air under their wings but I am sure a small hope lingers in their tiny heart that someday may be they will become free.

When I see the tortured tigers and lions in circus, I feel very disturbed. Here is a video of a tortured tiger who looks pitiful so watch this video to feel his pain. That should be enough for you to stop going to circus forever. If all the circus goers feel the same way, the circus owners will go out of business and perhaps release the animals into the wilderness.

Source : U tube video

There is another video that shows a tortured lion that was saved from its death almost by a miracle.

Source : U tube video

In India some NGOs have started a rescue process for the bears and buy them from their handlers to put them in an animal shelter they have established near Agra where the bears get proper veterinary care, good food the company of other bears they can play with.

These tortured bears show their gratefulness for the help they get by embracing the shelter workers and shedding tears of joy. They do not harbor ill feelings toward the humans that have tortured them and show forgiveness. We have a lot to learn from them about forgiveness because we too treat our fellow humans with utmost cruelty.

Watch this video here on how the bears are tortured in India by their handlers.

Source : U Tube video

Source : U Tube video on dancing bears in India

In Kenya there was an elephant that escaped from its captors in the circus and went on a rampage killing many people and destroying property. Sadly no one understood the reason why the elephant was so enraged and the cruel people shot him dead.

We humans have always been cruel to animals both wild and domestic. The domestication of wild animals was started by early humans who tamed them to plough their fields or draw water from the wells among numerous other chores so they did not treat their animals badly. They were fed and sheltered properly because they were useful animals that helped them in their agriculture.

The domesticated chickens laid eggs for them and the cows gave milk. Later people raised the animals for meat or wool so a new industry developed where millions of animals of improved breeds are now raised in massive operations in many countries to satisfy the need for eggs, meat or wool. People have set up modern factories where the meat or wool are processed that are then exported to other countries.

My blog today focuses more on wild animals that are being killed for sport  or are captured and sold to people who mistreat them in circus or private homes. Beautiful wild animals are killed for their pelt or ivory or horns like in rhinos just because of greed for money so rare animals are on the verge of being extinct.

The Romans slaughtered thousands of wild lions and tigers during their sport fests that sometimes lasted many weeks. People cheered in the coliseums when a lion killed a gladiator or the gladiator killed the lion. Either way they did not care as long as someone or the animal died in a horrific manner. Romans encouraged this blood lust .

The enraged bull tries to gore the matador in the bull ring where thousands go to see the bloody battle saying Ole Ole every time the matador makes a score meaning stabbing the poor bull. The bull eventually bleeds to death in the name of sport.

Recently a wounded bull bleeding heavily stopped in front of the matador as if asking why he was being tortured this way. It did not attack the matador but just stood there bleeding so the matador was in tears, kneeled down in front of the bull in supplication and asked for its forgiveness for his sins. He vowed to never fight a bull again and retired from the sport. Now there is a demand from animal lovers in Spain and in Mexico to ban this blood sport forever. It remains to be seen if it will happen and the sport will be banned by law forever.

I have previously written about the mass slaughter of dolphins in Japan where they like to eat the meat. You can buy a chunk of whale or dolphin meat in any Japanese supermarket where they will fry the meat for you to take home. They kill the whales and other sea mammals in the name of “research” and harass the Green Peace ships that try to protect the whales. No amount of international pressure to stop the slaughter deters the Japanese whalers. It is just a business for them the same way the shark hunters kill thousands of sharks to slice off the fins that they sell for soup.

There was a time when Europeans and other hunters shot thousands of bisons from their train windows just for fun and let the animals rot in the sun. The Native Americans never understood the penchant of the white man for such slaughter in the name of sport. The tribes killed only those animals that provided them with meat and the skin. They never wasted animals like the white people did.

I still believe that we can live in harmony with the wild animals that normally do not harm us and want to be left alone. The wild animals fight back when we encroach on their territory but we should try to understand it from their point of view. The human encroachment on their territory puts their existence in danger so they fight back. The nature reserves are shrinking worldwide because the human population is increasing around the nature reserves so animal- human conflicts occur frequently resulting in the death of precious animals.

I think we should teach our children that all animals are precious and should be loved and protected so that when they grow up, they will become the activists to run NGOs to protect them or become important officials in the government to promulgate laws to do so. Our generation has not done enough to protect all wild animals but perhaps our children will be able to do so if it is not already too late for some species.

I thank my eldest sister who freed the pigeon I had put in a cage when I was young. She told me that all animals need to be free and not in a cage. I have never forgotten this lesson.

James Anthony Froude quote: Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the  only...

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media

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tumblr posts    

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Anil’s biography in English.

 Biographie d’Anil en français 

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Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch 

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Биография Анила по-русскиu

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What is justice?

depositphotos_41648917-stock-photo-justice-scale-and-gavel

Source : Google photo 

Synopsis:  A slow and cumbersome judicial process that is corrupt creates enormous backlogs in the courts that result in the delay in the deliverance of the justice people seek there. The blog looks at the origin of this system and suggests ways to reform it so that speedier justice is available to all the litigants. 

There was a king in India who was known for his fairness in judging people who went to his court with their problems and sought justice. One day two women went to his court with a kid that both claimed as their own so the king had to decide who the real mother was. This was long before the advent of DNA testing. The king patiently listened to the arguments put forth by the two women and finally came to his conclusion.

He asked his executioner to split the kid in two with a sword and asked the two women to share the kid this way but the real mother begged the king to spare the life of the kid and said that she was willing to give the kid to the other woman. The king now knew who the real mother was and gave the kid to her custody. The other woman was then punished with lashes for falsely claiming the kid.

There are many such stories that fill the annals of history before the modern day court system was introduced and a breed of immoral, inept and greedy lawyers in black gowns filled the hallways of the courts everywhere. They look more like vultures that prey on aggrieved people who seek justice for the wrong done to them. They file their papers, are given a docket number and a date for their hearings, pay the required fees and seek the counsel of the vultures who now descend on them in large numbers.

They see a client as a source of money for years so they keep on postponing the hearing date each time the client comes to the court seeking justice. The lawyers on both side of the cases do the same so a case can linger for years and the litigants may even die but their cases do not come up for hearing that frustrates the litigants. But the lawyers get paid just the same in the meantime so they take advantage of the system that permits them to postpone a case for years just so that they can make money. They are not interested in the justice but want to keep their cash cows as long as possible.

The Kings and Queens of the past gave swift justice without charge and punished the guilty so how did they dispense justice quickly and fairly? They were not lawyers but they depended on their own intuition and were very smart to figure out who was telling a lie and who was not. Sometime a king ordered a case to be reviewed in a few days’ time while his agents sought new information by seeking witnesses and facts.

220px-jamal_al-din_husayn_inju_shirazi_-_two_folios_from_the_akbarnama_-_walters_w684_-_detail_a (2)

Source : Google painting of the execution by elephant in the Court of Akbar in Sikri

In Fatehpur Sikri near Agra where Emperor Jalaluddin Mohammad Akbar established his capital, there is a huge peg of stone where a monstrous elephant was kept tethered. After hearing a case often the king ordered the guilty party to be brought forth to be executed by the elephant that was trained to put its leg on the chest of the culprit. This was swift justice that needed no appeal in lower court, higher court or the Supreme Court because the king was the law and his order was final.

The justice system now requires large number of jails but it is the tax payer who foots the bill for making the jails and keeping the prisoners there for years while they await a final verdict. The entire penal system has developed into a massive business that some private companies make huge amount of money from. They build massive jails, maintain them, supply the food and clothes for the inmates and maintain security at a high cost to the tax payers while constantly bidding for more contracts to build more jails nationwide.

The law schools in the meantime keep on producing more graduates who become the black robed vultures in the hallways of numerous courts looking for their preys. How did this corrupt system come into being and who was responsible for it?

To understand the entire legal system, you have to go back a few hundred years in our modern day history and find that the legal system that most countries practice had its origin in the United Kingdom of Great Britain that ruled its colonies. The Indian court system was set up by the British so the laws promulgated were just copies of it that were used in the British court system. They set up the courts, enacted the laws, set up the law schools, built massive court buildings and brought the whole colony under their legal system that kept on getting more and more complicated.

To make the legal system very complicated they insisted on paperwork, records and docket system that buried the cases for years under the mountain of paperwork before a case even came up for hearing. It made people wait endlessly for justice, made them bankrupt feeding the greed of the lawyers and the voracious appetite of the courts for fees and more fees so it made the system inherently corrupt.

It was said that the justice delayed was the justice denied but the system became too cumbersome to make any reform although many justices have tried and failed. To make the matter worse, they introduced the jury system as was practiced in England. The jury system was based on just asking the common people to sit at the court and examine the merits and demerits of any case without any legal training whatsoever and decide as a whole on the verdict that they presented to the judge. No one could excuse himself or herself from the jury duty once summoned by the court so this system still continues today. It was under the reign of Henry’s son, King John, that the first example of the western world’s modern jury system was created. The jury system dates back to the 12th century in England. History of the jury system.

The_Jury_by_John_Morgan

Source : Google photo of a trial by jury

A jury is a group of persons selected from the community that is charged with hearing a legal case and delivering a verdict on it. Juries are used in both civil and criminal cases, and they base their decisions on testimony and other evidence that is presented at trial. In death penalty cases, they may be charged with imposing a sentence on a criminal defendant.

The concept of the jury system can be traced to Athens, Greece, around 400 B.C. These earliest juries heard arguments in legal cases but did not apply law. According to author John Gunther, quoting Aristotle, juries in Athens instead decided cases based on their “understanding of general justice.”

The vast empire of ancient Rome rejected the idea of juries, opting instead for a professional court system in which ordinary citizens had no role. The dark ages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire had little use for law, not to mention juries, and the jury system of justice lay dormant until the twelfth century. Around that time, Italian scholars revived the rule of law in Europe with the force of their arguments.

In Great Britain, the jury system was not used until the twelfth century. Prior to that time, the Catholic Church dominated the legal system with its ecclesiastical courts. Judgment and punishment were carried out by the Church through the “ordeal,” a form of torture in which a wide variety of physical pains could be inflicted on an accused criminal.

Random crimes could be resolved with the “hue and cry,” a process in which a person publicly called for a posse to hunt down and thrash a suspected criminal. Civil disputes often were solved by “compurgation,” a method that required each party in the case to bring several friends, or “compurgators,” for verbal support; the party with the most compurgators won the case.

In the twelfth century, English monarch Henry II formulated the earliest British version of the jury system when, after a struggle with the Papacy in Rome, he ordered that a group of regular citizens would decide disputes over land in secular courts. However, Henry II also utilized inquisitions and ordeals and the hue and cry remained the foremost system of justice.

It was under the reign of Henry’s son, King John, that the first example of the western world’s modern jury system was created. For Lord Denning it was also “the bulwark of our liberties”. In Ward v James a civil appeal, he stated that “whenever a man is on trial for serious crime, or when in a civil case a man’s honor or integrity is at stake, or when one or other party must be deliberately lying, then trial by jury has no equal.” Yet, he went on to conclude that in personal injury cases trial by jury had given place to trial by judge alone, because, I quote: “trial by a judge alone is more acceptable to the great majority of people. …judges alone, and not juries, in the great majority of cases, decide whether there is negligence or not. They set the standard of care to be expected of the reasonable man.”

In the criminal courts, it is the jury who set the standards of the reasonable man and woman and decide issues of negligence. They decide far more complex issues than simple dishonesty. Is the distinction between criminal and civil trials one of principle or pragmatism? ( Wikipedia

Bill of rights and Magnacarta: 

Magna Carta Libertatum (Medieval Latin for “Great Charter of Freedoms”), commonly called Magna Carta (also Magna Charta; “Great Charter”),[a] is a royal charter[4][5] of rights agreed to by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.[b] First drafted by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton to make peace between the unpopular king and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons.

Neither side stood behind their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War. After John’s death, the regency government of his young son, Henry III, reissued the document in 1216, stripped of some of its more radical content, in an unsuccessful bid to build political support for their cause. At the end of the war in 1217, it formed part of the peace treaty agreed at Lambeth, where the document acquired the name Magna Carta, to distinguish it from the smaller Charter of the Forest which was issued at the same time.

Short of funds, Henry reissued the charter again in 1225 in exchange for a grant of new taxes. His son, Edward I, repeated the exercise in 1297, this time confirming it as part of England’s statute law. The charter became part of English political life and was typically renewed by each monarch in turn, although as time went by and the fledgling Parliament of England passed new laws, it lost some of its practical significance.

At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus.

Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles. The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century.

It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the United States Constitution, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.[c] Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.[6] In the 21st century, four exemplifications of the original 1215 charter remain in existence, two at the British Library, one at Lincoln Castle and one at Salisbury Cathedral.

There are also a handful of the subsequent charters in public and private ownership, including copies of the 1297 charter in both the United States and Australia. The original charters were written on parchment sheets using quill pens, in heavily abbreviated Medieval Latin, which was the convention for legal documents at that time. Each was sealed with the royal great seal (made of beeswax and resin sealing wax): very few of the seals have survived. Although scholars refer to the 63 numbered “clauses” of Magna Carta, this is a modern system of numbering, introduced by Sir William Blackstone in 1759; the original charter formed a single, long unbroken text. The four original 1215 charters were displayed together at the British Library for one day, 3 February 2015, to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. ( Wikipedia

The bill of rights, the Magnacarta itself and the establishment of courts to hear the criminal as well as civil cases through the judge and the jury system thus became the foundation of the modern day justice system that is now found in most democratic countries. Kings and queens no longer dispense justice although some have powers to forgive a person who suffered the miscarriage of justice . Almost all the heads of states have this power as well that they can use to save the life of a person through their act of clemency who has suffered enough.

Today I would like to focus on what is really wrong with the justice system as practiced in many countries that is under scrutiny because of corruption. Recently a noted criminal in Uttar Pradesh state of India who was responsible for the death of 8 policemen and many more injured in a gun fight fled the crime scene. A massive man hunt was initiated and the fellow was caught a few days later in another state. He tried to escape the policemen who then shot him dead but he had plenty of time to reveal his secrets to the police.

He openly bragged that he had many policemen, important politicians and even judges in his pocket who gave him protection from prosecution in exchange for large sums of money. He sounded like a mafia boss that he indeed was.

Frustrated with the corrupt justice system, many countries have developed a parallel justice system that punishes the guilty with expediency and very little cost to the litigants. In Haiti, they have such a system that is illegal but brings justice to the poor that is far more effective than their court system that is full of corruption.

Similarly in India all villages offer justice through their elected village council that is a legal body to those who seek justice that may usually involve land disputes or water rights but may include cases of rape or domestic violence or inheritance issues. In Africa many countries have a similar set up in their villages where the village council settles their land dispute or other civil cases but refers the criminal cases to the courts. Many justices of the Supreme Court in India have tried to reform the criminal justice system but made no headway until now.

Now the government of Mr. Modi has begun the process of reform by first abrogating  more than 1200 laws that had become obsolete and is determined to abrogate all the old laws of the British Raaj that are still being used. The Parliament makes new laws that address the current situation of the law and order.

Secondly the corruption in the judiciary and among the lawyers is also being tackled and the guilty are being punished but to succeed, the reforms must be deep and longer lasting. Only a corruption free judicial system can dispense justice quickly and fairly so small steps are being taken to overhaul a deeply entrenched system that was left behind by the British colonialists.

Lastly a modern system of computerization of all the laws, cases and important documents are urgently needed to speed up the cases and reduce the immense backlog that chokes the courts everywhere. This will be a major step in the speedy delivery of justice to all who have the misfortune to go to a court for whatever reasons.

A paperless court that has digital records of all cases and the interrogation of a litigant via webcam from any part of the country can reduce the enormous cost of a physical presence in a court room and speed up the judicial process. In the digital world, a jury can be assembled from any part of the country to deliberate on a case through a virtual meeting thus reducing the cost and speed up the process.

In fact all the courts in a country could be interlinked digitally for a referral on a similar case so their verdict and all the pertinent documents can be instantly transmitted. It is a fact that swift money transfers directly to someone working for the government has eliminated the middlemen thus reducing corruption in India but more can be done in the judicial system as well.

It is the age of technology that we should all take advantage of. The whole world will be better off if it can be achieved and the guilty can be punished swiftly without resorting to the tethered elephants. One must not forget that the crime rate was very low in those days when people knew what punishment awaited them. 

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Note : The previous blog called Reform the justice system is related to this blog but this blog gives greater clarity on the evolution of the justice system in England and the Magna Carta and the bill of rights.

Reform the justice system

Source : Google photo of the justice system needing reform

Synopsis : The reform in the justice system worldwide to make it easier for the poor people to get justice at a minimum cost and hassle is long overdue but it faces many challenges due to vested interests of non-reformists. The blog looks at many issue that need addressing as well as the parallel justice system prevailing in some countries that serve the poor better.

Once I was in a court room not as a litigant but as an observer where the hearing on a case was in progress. There was a poor man who had been summoned to be present for the hearing.  He obviously had come from a distance spending a great deal of money that he could ill afford and was showing great signs of distress and discomfort but it was just the start of a circus that was being played in the name of justice so I was shocked.

The lawyer who was grandstanding and repeating words like “ I must remind you that you are under the oath “quoting from Perry Mason in English that the poor man could not understand. So the questions thrown at him were first translated into the language he understood so that he could answer them that had to be again translated back into English so the whole process became very tedious and lengthy.

To make the matter worse, the court stenographer who did not know stenography kept interrupting the procedure because she could not write in her yellow bond paper fast enough with pencil and frequently asked how to spell some words. It was quite obvious that she did not speak, read or write English so why was she employed to be the court steno?

Why was English the court language when it was not spoken or understood by anyone including the lawyer who was only quoting what he had memorized from the Perry Mason movies? Why the judge did not order the lawyer to speak only in the vernacular so that the hearing could proceed speedily? Why the court had appointed a woman as a steno who did not know stenography and who could not understand, read or spell English words? I was not amused and felt sorry for the poor man fidgeting and sweating in that court room that was poorly ventilated and was hot.

I was very annoyed by the comic nature of the proceedings and thought that the whole thing reeked of a farce that the poor man was being subjected to in the name of justice wasting everybody’s time doing injustice to the justice that the court was supposed to deliver.

The corruption of the justice system whether criminal or civil is a worldwide phenomenon that has created a backlog of cases in every court in any country where the litigants may have to wait years for justice that they in the end may or may not get. It ruins them completely because the tremendous cost of litigation and the years they have to wait for the justice that may still be denied to them if the crooked lawyers have their way takes its toll..

It is said that the justice delayed is the justice denied but looking at the court proceedings I wondered if the poor farmer who was dragged to the court will ever get the justice and how he will pay for all the cost.

The criminal justice system that had its roots in England in the past centuries was imposed on its colonies like India and other countries by the colonialists that still remains in place using laws that have become obsolete and meaningless but the court says that they do not make the laws. They just implement them.

It all starts at the local police station where a person may go and register a case against someone who had committed a crime like rape, murder or assault so a First Information Report or FIR is lodged by the attending policeman citing violations of many laws. A judge may then issue an arrest warrant so that the offending person may be put in jail waiting for a trial to begin so that a verdict may be reached on the case.

But if the complainant is a poor person in shabby clothes seeking justice or a poor woman who says that she was gang raped by many men will often be ignored and the policemen may not register an FIR from her. It changes if the person reporting a crime is well dressed and comes in a fancy car then he may even be offered a cup of tea. This prejudice against people of lower caste who are mostly poor is widespread in India.

So I will go back to the time in England when a poor starving boy who stole a loaf of bread was arrested and dragged to a court room without the representation of a competent lawyer was sentenced by a tough judge after a preliminary hearing and sentenced the poor child to be transported meaning sending him in a slave ship to Australia that had become a penal colony for England. Thousands of poor men, women and children were thus transported to Australia where many perished under extremely harsh conditions. Those who survived the long sea voyage, scurvy and diarrhea were forced to work to build prisons and other buildings. Here is a video to watch on the subject.

Source : U Tube video on transportation of convicts to Australia

Transportation had been used as a form of punishment since 1717. Under the “Bloody Code” , courts were looking for a punishment which was not as extreme as hanging, but tougher than a fine. In the absence of proper prisons, transportation seemed the answer and was used for over a hundred years. In the 18th century convicts were transported to America. After US independence in 1776, however, this option was closed and the British government looked for another destination. Australia had been mapped and claimed as British territory in 1770, so convicts began to be sent there. From 1787 to 1857, 162,000 British convicts were transported to Australia. Seven out of eight of these were males; some were as young as nine or ten; some were over eighty. Many political prisoners were transported, including Luddites, Chartists, the Tolpuddle Martyrs and Irish Nationalists.

They were sent first to the “hulks” -disused warships. Conditions on these rotting vessels were often terrible, with death rates of one in three. The long voyage to Australia could take six months. Many lives were lost among the convicts, locked in iron cages below decks in insanitary conditions, although by the end of the transportation era more care was taken and loss of life on the voyage was minimised.

Once in Australia, convicts lived in barracks and worked in gangs, building roads and bridges or working on farms or quarries. Some were sent out to work for farmers. If they behaved themselves, their sentence could be reduced by a “ticket of leave.” The majority of convicts decided to stay in Australia at the end of their sentences, recognising that they could make a better life there than returning to Britain and, probably, poverty and crime.

By the mid-19th century, however, opinion was turning against transportation. The “Bloody Code” had ended. It seemed wrong to offer convicts a free passage to build a new life in Australia when some people were paying to go. Removing criminals to another land did not seem to have had any effect on the crime-rate. Prisons were now considered a better method of punishing and/or reforming criminals and many new ones were being built. Most of all, Australians began to object strongly to their country being used as a dumping-ground for Britain’s criminals. ( Source : Wikipedia )

The courts in England were filled by lawyers in black robes in every corridor who looked important carrying voluminous documents with very sinister looks on their face because they literally were responsible for the fate of those who had broken the law in some way. The punishments were so severe for stealing a loaf of bread that even a starving child was not spared.

The courts are now filled with dockets that are given a number that the court clerk decides to present or not to present to the judge depending upon the severity of the crime or when the docket was filed but it has led to massive corruption in the justice system making the court clerks very rich.

Those who cannot pay the clerk may have their cases languish for years and never see the day when a verdict is reached. Some litigants may die, witnesses may vanish, documents may be forged, some people may be threatened or intimidated by the offending parties so there may be many reasons why a case is delayed for years.

The lawyers benefit for this delay because they get paid each time a case comes up for hearing so they always try to postpone it to a future date causing severe anguish to the people seeking justice.

A court is a horrible place filled with fear, anxiety, trepidation and a sense of finality that can destroy a person even if he is not guilty of any crime. We hear of numerous cases of miscarriage of justice when an innocent person is put in jail for twenty years for a crime he did not commit so who pays for his lost twenty years? Does a simple apology suffice? Why were innocent and hungry children sent to Australia and not given few loaves of bread and sent home? Was there no social service for them?

Now a days literally any person can be put in jail on trumped up charges that he has to fight in court and spend a great deal of money and time in jail just to prove that he is innocent.

I will now go back to the time when the king presided over a case and decided swiftly if the accused was guilty or not and gave the verdict accordingly. His court was not filled with back robed lawyers hovering over the accused like vultures but filled with dread and a sense of finality just the same because the king decided the fate of the accused without lengthy deliberations.

Source : Google photo of the elephant executing a convict in Akbar’s court

I have seen myself how justice was done during the time of Emperor Akbar. In his new capital Fatehpur Sikri , Akbar had a massive elephant chained to a peg of stone. This elephant was trained to execute a person who was given the death penalty by the king by stepping on his chest. The king was a very busy person and had many duties to fulfill as a ruler so his time was precious. This swift method of justice worked so well that very few people violated the laws. No one could be bribed in the King’s court.

Now many justices of the Supreme Court in India have demanded the reform of the justice system because they being lawyers have experienced the corruption that delays the justice but they have come up against a deeply entrenched system that maintains the status quo.

The lawyers benefit from the delays and the courts benefit from the income they get from the fees the litigants have to pay so people suffer. The lower courts are filled with cases filed there on frivolous grounds that do not merit court’s time. You will frequently hear of cases filed by people who want to sue someone for defamation even if they are known to be criminals. This has created a huge backlog of cases that wait for years to be heard.

To complicate the matter, there is a shortage of judges everywhere while the number of lawyers keep multiplying. Many universities churn out Law graduates in record numbers who want to become lawyers.

I will now write about a parallel justice system that exists in some countries even today so I will start with Haiti where I used to work as an agronomist. The Haitians often take their grievances to a court run by Houngans or voodoo priests who meet secretly or often not so secretly to deliver justice. You can hear their drum beats late at night when they gather somewhere to perform some voodoo rituals that are attended by a large number of people. These rituals are of religious nature that are not approved by the Bible thumpers but its origin is rooted in the African tribal culture they brought to Haiti long ago.

Source : Google photo of Haitian voodoo priests who run a parallel justice system

The houngans or the voodoo priests prepare a very powerful toxin they derive from the puffer fish and mix it with some other secret stuff. If someone steps on the powder unknowingly, he loses all control over his body and becomes like a corpse but does not lose his consciousness. This is how they punish a person who has committed a serious crime by making him a zombie They do not rise from their coffin but wander around after losing their mind.

In Africa where I have worked in many countries, I have learned that in all their villages, they have their village councils headed by their village chief. The chief and all the members of their village council are elected freely by the villagers so they serve free of charge for a certain period. If a member or the chief dies, they elect a new chief or the member again. The village council hears of cases of land dispute, domestic issues, petty crimes, thievery, sex related abuses and all such matters that they try to solve.

Source : Google photo of a village council in Africa for justice

Often the punishment can be in the form of a few goats or cows that the offender must give to the offended party or some money. They also serve as a counsel in the case of domestic violence or disputes. There are no jails for the accused but people generally respect the verdict of the council in any case so I found that their system really works in rural areas. The urban area crimes are a very different matter that are handled by the police and the courts.

This parallel system of justice at the village level in many countries in Africa and in other parts of the world serves the poor better than their court system rife with corruption and inefficient docket method delaying justice.

In any civilized society, we are supposed to be governed by laws that are promulgated by the elected members of the parliament or congress if the country has a democratic system. There are thousands of laws dating from antiquity while new ones are made all the time. There are thousands of old and obsolete laws that are no longer valid today but no one dares to remove them.

Now the present Minister of Law in India has been given the task of removing all the obsolete laws made during the British rule in India but it is a daunting task for any one person so I am sure he has a team of experts working on the subject.

One proposal that has been around for a while in India is to bring a mobile justice system to the poor where they live where a judge can solve the case quickly and move on to the next village. How it will be implemented remains to be seen. Most of the cases in rural areas come from land dispute that may often lead to violence. Then there are rape and sexual domestic violence cases so mobile system can bring relief to the poor people.

In the Philippines, they have the barangay ( barrio) courts where small disputes can be resolved often amicably without expensive lawyers and court fees. I have taken some offending people to the barangay office myself who had behaved badly.

The serious reform the justice system needs and demands worldwide has many obstacles thrown at it by the people who have vested interest in keeping the status quo.

Meanwhile people seeking redress to the injustice they suffer are waiting.

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What is beauty ?

16-1

Source : Google photo of the beauty the whole world appreciates

Synopsis : Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder as the cliché goes but true beauty is universal as exemplified by Miss Spain who was judged to be the Miss World. However different people have their own ideas about beauty and will go any length to promote it so this blog looks at the notion of beauty among different people.

Note : This blog is the new updated version of it published 5 years ago.

Human beings are obsessed with this question since they evolved from their primitive life so long ago and always disagree when it comes to define what beauty is. People say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if you are the beholder and happen to be a strict orthodox Moslem or Jew then your definition of beauty will be wildly different from someone in another society. So how people define beauty essentially depends upon his religion, his ethnic background, his cultural background, his tribal heritage, his customs and taboos, his upbringing and lastly his education and social awareness.

The Caucasians for example like women with strong and pointed jaws and call such women beautiful while in Asia a woman with softer facial features, oval face and almond shaped eyes would be considered beautiful so there is no standard that is universally agreed upon because there is a strong cultural bias involved when it comes to calling someone beautiful. This cultural bias is inherent in all cultures because people are taught from their childhood what should be or not considered as beautiful and are loathe to accept anything contrary to their beliefs.

There was a time in China when a woman with very small feet was considered very beautiful so they bound their feet from their childhood very tightly .It resulted in agonizing pain all through their miserable lives because walking became so painful due to the enormous deformity that feet binding caused yet the practice continued until Mao Tse Tung banned it forever. You may not like Mao Tse Tung because he was such a monster in his personal life yet he did something good by declaring that men and women are equal and this abominable practice of binding the feet must stop. Some time it takes a strong person of ruthless courage and audacity to dictate to people who must give up certain practices that are inhuman and so painful.

I remember Kamal Ataturk who banned the practice of wearing Turkish Fez and veils for women in Turkey that was a very traditional Moslem country so women for the first time in their life felt the freedom from the oppressive veils that their men forced upon them and have never looked back since then. Turkey is considered to be one of the few Moslem countries where the women have been able to liberate themselves from the past taboos and norms through education and asking for equal rights thanks to Kamal Ataturk setting up an example of moderation that other less liberated women can aspire to. But Mao Tse Tung and Kamal Ataturk were called revolutionaries for a reason who decided that men must not judge women and dictate to them what they should or should not do and left a lasting legacy that changed their nation. Fidel Castro is another such legend who changed Cuba forever through his bold moves to make women equal to men in every way possible.

I include now a video on what is considered beautiful in different countries that you may not totally agree with but in each culture, people decide what is beautiful and what is not so some of them go to extreme measures as shown in the video to make themselves beautiful.

Source : U Tube video

When we come back to the notion of what is beautiful, we come back again to people who paint themselves into a corner in defining what is and who is beautiful so two people will never agree on this subject. Dark  people crave for lighter skin and fair people roast themselves in body tanning beds with ultra violet rays even if it is known to cause skin cancer. Women lie naked in beaches around the world to get a tan even if it is known to cause cancer.  You will read in the Indian newspapers matrimony section any day the ads for a bride who has wheat complexion by which they mean a woman of fair skin although some wheat varieties are quite brown in color.

In Burma the tribal women wear neck rings from a young age to extend their necks because long necks are considered beautiful by their men. They do it by adding rings each year that press down the collar bone with their weight and deform it permanently. The pity is that they can never take the brass rings off because the extended neck would collapse without it and bring about a quick death. In Africa especially in the Southern part of Ethiopia and Somalia, there are tribes that consider women with lip disks beautiful so these poor women cut their lips and insert a flat disk in it that they gradually increase in size over the years. I still do not understand how they can eat or drink anything with such disks on their face but the tradition continues.

9a1ad0f3699da83d6b696f279bf9415a

Source : Google photo of an African woman with braided hair.

In other parts of Africa, the Dinka people in South Sudan consider their women pretty who wear facial scars. These scars are made by cutting the skin regularly and putting on the poultice of herbal paste to heal it. Some tribes wear the scars on their face and body to distinguish themselves from other tribes who may develop a different pattern of scars like cattle branding in some countries. Among the Fulanis of West Africa, men wear make up with paint, beads and other means to attract females during festivals where women gather to select their mates. This is not so different from the birds that try to attract females with colorful plumage or by decorating nests with feathers and pebbles.

You will notice that in the animal kingdom, usually it is the male that is more beautiful and gorgeous than the females where the males fight it out to win their mates. The females then get to choose the strongest and healthiest males who will then sire genetically strong offspring.  Now it is scientifically proven that humans do the same although it is done subconsciously. When a man looks at a woman for the first time, he checks out how wide is her hips and how tall she is, how large her breasts are etc. because he is wired to think that way in order to decide if the woman will produce healthy kids. Women too are genetically wired to think of their male partners from the point of view of breeding although it may sound a bit crude but such are the laws of nature that guide us through this process even without us realizing it consciously. They are impressed by the tall, athletic looking male with broad shoulders, narrow hips and strong physique. This is called the first impression that may lead to some patent pick up phrases men like to use to impress the girl.

But in all societies, they place more emphasis on female beauty than on male so it is a boon to the industry that produces mind boggling array of products that will turn an ugly woman into a beautiful one instantly. There are creams to whiten the skin, creams to make the breasts bigger and fuller, elevator shoes to make a woman taller when nothing else works, hair colors of numerous  shades , special bras to uplift the breasts, special jeans ( at a  special price for a limited time) to hide the bulges. So women low in self esteem fall for these gimmicks and have helped make the cosmetics a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. These snake oil peddlers see no limit to their income as long as some women feel that they are ugly and need their dubious products. The TV is full of commercials of this type of ads 24, 7 so you can imagine its effect on people.

We know from the history books that Cleopatra took a milk bath in a gold bath tub everyday to make her skin soft and beautiful but she was a beautiful woman albeit vain as most women are  but don’t worry . The cosmetics industry has something better at a cheaper price. Who said women are not suckers? The traditional society depends more on its resources than the commercial products because of economics so it is a practice among the Hindus for example to scrub a woman with a paste of milk cream and turmeric before the all too important marriage interview. They swear by their Holy book that it works and turns dark skinned and unlovely women into someone more presentable. If they fail the interview then they must try again such are the rules of the traditional society.

The western woman on the other hand is more gullible to the snake oil peddlers and will try anything to look better. It may include Botox injection or cosmetic surgeries or who knows what else? The wise people say that a beautiful woman does not need Botox or surgery to look better but it falls on deaf ears of women who think they are not pretty and want to improve their looks by cosmetics and clothes. Women more than men are influenced by what others think of them and not by what they think of themselves. Then there is peer pressure. If wearing very tight shorts cut to the crotch is the fashion then they all run to buy the shorts. If wearing jeans cut in shreds at the knee is the fashion then they buy such jeans and the razor blades. No woman wants to be accused of not being  in tune with the current fashion be it the hair color, tight shorts or shredded jeans. The fashion is a fad worldwide but like all fads, it changes every now and then.

I see this craze here in the Philippines where some women over 60 forget their age and wear inappropriate clothing that are more suitable for teen agers and even go to church like that to the dismay of the padres. A great deal of what you see as fashion starts overseas somewhere and is brought to you through the TV and the movies  so it becomes the thing to do unless one wants to be labeled as old fashioned and not with the current vogue.

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Source : Google photo of an African woman of Fulani tribe in Mali

Now let us go back to the tribal societies of Africa and try to understand why they do what they do to make the women look pretty and what is it they consider pretty. Again it all comes down to what men think of them because their make ups, beads and paints are meant to impress their potential mates so it is more biological than anything else. They did not have the beads before the Westerners came to “discover” their land and the tribes. The traders brought with them beads, paints and mirrors, clothes, trinkets and tools and lastly guns so that the tribes could massacre each other paving the way for the whites to settle on their land. So the tribes used seeds of plants to make necklace, natural colors made from plants and earth to paint their body, animal teeth as decorations, animal hides to make clothes and women braided their hairs. This braiding is an art and time consuming but it does make a woman look very pretty. You only have to see how the Malian women braid their hair in so complicated and beautiful ways.

Scooper - Mali News: Dear Ladies, See The Latest Hairstyles We Are  Currently Eyeing This Christmas

Source : Google photo of hair braiding in Mali

Our daughter was so impressed when she went to Zambia that she had her hair braided the African way that took her hours to untangle later but such is the price women pay to look pretty. I am not talking about cutting the skin to develop scars because that is too extreme but there are ways a woman can look better without spending a lot of money. The African women know this so they go for the intricate hair styles that do not cost money but a lot of time. They say they have all the time in the world so who is complaining?

arabian-sudani-indian-pakistani-latest-mehndi-desings-fashions-trends-2011-2012-2013-2014-mehndi-styles-images-www-latestmehndidesigns-blogspot-111

Source : Google photo of women with henna design

Another thing women in some countries do is to paint their hands and face with henna to look pretty. In India henna is known since a long time but you have to see the Egyptian or the Sudanese women how artfully they paint their hands. It is also used widely among the women in the Middle East when they are at peace which is seldom.  Then there are the nose piercing, ear piercing and belly button piercing that many women do to wear ornaments. The hippies started even piercing their eye brows and put rings there but what do they know?

The puritanical societies in the United States still look down on any kind of piercing and are shocked if their daughters pierce their ears and wear rings. As I have written earlier, the likes and dislikes are rooted in their beliefs, their tribal customs, their upbringing and many other things so what is considered beautiful in one country may not be considered so in another. I am partial to women who have oval face, soft jaw bones, almond shaped eyes that are big and expressive , good skin, tall, black lustrous hair that is long and well groomed, good posture, long neck (without the rings) and regal poise. Only Amparo Munoz comes close. I do not consider Hollywood movie stars pretty although some have sunny personalities  but then I may be biased in favor of Asian or Middle eastern women because I was brought up to appreciate beauty in women in a certain way only.

So my last word on this topic is what makes a woman beautiful is not necessarily her pretty face and all the other attributes that I mentioned earlier but her inner beauty that shines through if she is a loving, caring, moral, very educated, with empathy for others, not vain, not selfish, helpful, generous, gifted with artistic abilities, sharp mind and a loving heart. Such a woman is a lovely woman anywhere.

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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Transmigration of souls

Source : Google photo  of the Sanskrit and Hindi text from Geeta

vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro ‘parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi

SYNONYMS

vasamsi—garments; jirnani—old and worn out; yatha—as it is; vihaya—giving up; navani—new garments; grhnati—does accept; narah—a man; aparani—other; tatha—in the same way; sarirani—bodies; vihaya—giving up; jirnani—old and useless; anyani—different; samyati—verily accepts; navani—new sets; dehi—the embodied.

TRANSLATION

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the souls accept new bodies, giving up the old ones.

Synopsis : Transmigration of our souls does take place in the mind of the believers of Geeta where Krishna gave advice to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra but we now look for the evidence of the transmigration . The blog asks some serious questions about the soul and prods the minds of the curious to ask more questions.

We hear of people who do not believe that a soul exists and it can transmigrate to another body in spite of evidence that soul exists and it does take up another body to continue the cycle of life and death. We also know that some Christians use the words Born again wrongly because they do not believe in the rebirth of a soul so they say Born again to mean a change in their religious status from being a Catholic to a protestant one.

The denial of the existence of soul because of their religious conviction is understandable from their point of view but not understandable when presented with proof that the soul really exists and often exists in a tormented state called ghosts that linger in the place of their last life where it had a traumatic experience due to murder or accidents where a person died horribly. I have written a previous blog that should be read here in this context.

https://aumolc.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/ghosts-and-souls/

Geeta is a religious book sacred to all Hindus and read by non-Hindus as well where Krishna gives some advice to a reluctant Arjuna in the battle field of Kurukshetra when Arjuna asks Krishna how he can fight and kill his own relatives. Krishna answers to him that it is a fight between what is right and what is wrong so Arjuna must fight to do justice and be on the side of what is the right thing to do.  In the process Krishna also says the famous words ( verse 22 in Geeta ) mentioned above that is the topic of this blog.

The soul exists and transmigrates meaning it takes up a new body to live a new life somewhere and can be reborn many times until it reaches Nirvana meaning freedom from the cycle of life and death.

This concept of a soul transmigrating to take up another body is deeply ingrained in all Hindus who are guided by the teachings of Krishna in Geeta .They try hard to get Nirvana so that they do not have to come back to the Earth to be born again. They go to Prayagraj to bathe at the confluence of the two great rivers Ganga and Yamuna during the religious fair held there every 12th year called Maha Kumbha Mela.

To appease the souls of their departed ones, they perform some rituals called Pinda dan when they offer some food and prayers to the souls in Gaya near the Ganga River so that the souls are pleased and get freedom. It is the duty of all sons to offer the food and prayers to their parents and siblings who have died but now only some people do it citing many excuses.

When you see the proof of ghosts that have been photographed or the souls leaving the body of a person, your doubt about their existence disappears but the uneducated people who have never seen a ghost tend to believe in it just the same because this belief is passed on to them by their older folks who have not seen the ghosts either. Such beliefs among the common uneducated people are called superstitions.

In India you will find many old houses that were left by the Moslems who went to Pakistan after the partition in 1947 but they had this practice of burying their loved ones inside their homes. Later the Hindus bought their houses and found a grave in an alcove inside so being Hindu they showed their respect and burned incense and joss stick on the grave to appease the soul. I saw a grave in an old house myself but the next generation did not show respect so they ignored the grave.

Then one day some residents saw an old man with white hair and flowing while beard in a long gown standing on the edge of the roof during the full moon that scared them. No one saw again the ghost of the old man when they started praying and burning joss sticks again. Now that house has been demolished.

We had such a grave in our own rented house where Ma put some flowers and burned joss sticks there. No one really wants to live in a haunted house where some disgruntled ghost makes trouble so they play safe by showing some respect.

Geeta says that our mortal body is discarded like old clothes and the soul comes into a new body somewhere. No one really knows how long a soul wanders around looking for a new body but people believe that eventually the soul decides where to be born again. It has nothing to do with its religious views on the matter because the soul does not have any firm conviction about a religion so it may decide to be born in a Moslem or a Jewish home in its next life. The soul also may not have a gender so it may be born as a boy or a girl or of the third sex.  

Geeta also says that the freedom a soul seeks from the cycle of life and death can be obtained if the person does good deeds during his lifetime on Earth but gets to be born again if he has been a bad person to get a second chance to get in the good grace of the Eternal being called God. How many times it has to come back depends upon how bad it has been in its previous life. This is a strong warning to those bad people who end up in the purgatory later because of their karma. This idea of purgatory is common to many religions. Karma means whatever you do in your life. All karmas good or bad have consequences . The rebirth of a soul is believed to be a result of karma.

So to be a good person is emphasized in all religions but their definition of what constitutes a good person and what he must do in order to be called a good person varies a great deal from one religion to the next because it depends upon the explanations given out by the so called guardians of their religions.  They often vehemently disagree with others if their definition is put to discussion by those who may have doubts. This disagreement often leads to sectarian and communal violence ending in tragic loss of lives.

Now we see that the whole world is split between the hardliners and those who tend to be more moderate and take a lenient view on the issue. The hardliners persecute those who do not agree with them so we see it in many countries where the minorities, the Hazaras, the Yezidis, the Bahai, the Sufis, the Ahmadias , the Sikhs, the Jains ,the Hindus and numerous others who are very moderate  are relentlessly persecuted. This conflict between the hardliners and the moderates exists in all organized religions.

Our body is made of matter that disintegrates when we die but while living, we are energized by a soul living in us that leaves the body when we die. This soul is like a bundle of energy that powers our body. Once it is free meaning free from returning to another body, it is supposedly absorbed in the Universe of energy. Many people who had near death experience say that they saw a very bright light that could be his soul leaving his body.

At a certain age we start to show some interest in the theory of the transmigration of our soul. There are many books written on the subject that may shed some light on it but the average person does not have the time or the intent to  read all there is to read so he reverts back to just his belief.

I think that a soul does exist and it does transmigrate but how it is done is beyond my ability to explain. Does the soul enter the embryo or does it wait until a baby is completely formed inside the womb? Does it know if the baby is malformed and has no chance of surviving outside or does it choose only healthy babies? We do not know these answers.  People may have as many opinions on it as a street dog has fleas so it is better not to get into such topics.

What interests me is the notion that we all have souls and we are responsible for keeping it in our healthy bodies. A soul may not be happy living in a very sick person and may wish to depart to give relief to the sick person. How long a sick person suffers is related to his karma.

On the other hand it is known that some mystics in Himalayas or in Tibet live much longer than an average person so their souls are perhaps happy with their very old bodies. It depends. Some people say that Shangrila really exists.

I am more concerned about what happens after I expire. This topic is perhaps of universal interest. Nobody comes back to tell us what he or she was in his or her previous life that could shed a lot of light on this subject. There are cases where a child remembers his or her previous life and gives precise information on who he or she was and where he lived etc. but most people do not believe in it. Not remembering your past life can be a blessing.

I was told that the ghosts can communicate with the living through a medium or through other means. They often tell the living what they should do to free them from their agony and the state of limbo. They show gratefulness if you offer prayers and do what they want you to do by leaving the house they haunt. If they can’t leave and gain their freedom, they may linger there for hundreds of years.

If you visit the massive fort of Chittorgarh in Rajasthan in India, you will be told that the souls of all the women who jumped into the fire to save their honor and dignity 800 years ago can still be heard screaming in agony during the  dark moon. The tinkling sound of their silver anklets can still be heard when their souls march to the fire pit. No one stays in the fort after 6 pm. There are many haunted forts and palaces in India where people are afraid to visit even during the daytime. I wrote a blog some time ago called Why we make our own demons that you should read in this context.

https://aumolc.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/why-we-make-our-own-demons/

I have always been curious about souls and what happens to us when we die. It will be very interesting if someone could educate us on this topic with facts and provable data.

Here is a photo of a soul leaving the body that someone took at the site of an accident.

Source : Google photo of a soul leaving the body of an accident victim

Source : Google photo of a ghost coming down the stairs.

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Forgetting is a blessing

Source : Google photo

Synopsis : We all have good as well as bad memories of people we met but our brain thankfully deletes the memories of bad people and their names because they never became our friends. This ability of our brain protects us from hurt feelings so it is a blessing.

When I was a student, I had to memorize a lot of things in practically all subjects. How much we retained in our brain depended upon how much we could memorize and how well we memorized. The test  came in the examination hall when we were given the question sheet and a blank answer book so we read with some trepidation what the questions were because there were always some surprises.

Now we had to seriously read the questions and decide which one to answer first so that we could use our time in the most efficient way to answer the questions in the three hours we were provided. If we knew the answer to the questions then it went quite smoothly and became easier for us to write the answers.

The trouble started when we came to the questions that were tough to answer so we usually attended to them the last but with less worry because by this time we were sure to pass the exam since we had answered 4 out of 6 questions well to our satisfaction. But the last two questions became a source of concern because our brain did not come up with the answers quickly the way the first four did.

So to come up with a strategy for tough questions, I devised a method to memorize the answers that I could instantly recall at the time of the exam.

In our entomology class in college we were taught how many types of antennae the insects have and what were the names . All the types started with an alphabet so I made a word out of it like  AKRABOTERI that was easy to remember. The word I made up had no meaning but it made me remember what each alphabet meant.

Now it so happened that this question was asked in our final exam so I wrote down the word I had memorized and answered in detail all the types after making a sketch with colored pencil of the antenna, the name and what insects have this type of antenna. The result was that I scored high on this exam so it was mentioned in the certificate of graduation as a special mention. I tried this method in other subjects as well because it served me well during my studentship in college.

It is the memory that is needed to study any subject and do it well because if we cannot remember then we cannot learn that subject well enough to pass. It is the nightmare of every student if his brain goes blank during the exam time so he desperately seeks the answers that he needs to pass.

In our real life we are no longer required to remember our subjects because we have passed all exams and now have a job somewhere but to get there, we often face a job interview when some awkward questions may be thrown at us to which we may not be able to answer satisfactorily. The real life is different from the college life that required us to study hard and remember our subjects.

Our brain works in mysterious ways that we humans often fail to understand. The efficacy of brain power varies from person to person that determines the IQ of that person. Some people remember everything effortlessly because they have photographic memory but they are rare people. Such people succeed in overcoming whatever challenge they face in life and become great scientists, engineers or mathematicians.

But for the rest of the humanity, we are stuck with the average brain capacity that often depends upon the environment where we grew up. Illiterate and vulgar parents do not teach their kids anything except what they know which amounts to nothing while the educated parents can teach their kids a great deal of what the kid needs to be successful in life.

The teachers can encourage the brain power of students by asking questions, giving surprise quizzes or by giving home work that requires serious thinking that can hone the brain a child has to learn various subjects although it does not work equally for all. That is why in every class, there are those students who stand out while others sit in the back benches. A good teacher helps those who lag behind so that they too can graduate someday.

While I understood the power of the brain in retention of anything we learn as we grow up passing through many stages in our life, I also started to realize that forgetting something can also be a blessing which now brings us to the subject of this blog.

Our brain has the ability to retain the memories in some shape and form. It can be vivid or just a blur depending on the importance of what we try to retain. I think it is a part of our nature that we try hard to remember pleasant things about good people but do not try at all to remember unpleasant people. I remember for example my high school roll number 97463 even after 60 years because it was my first board exam success at a tender age that opened up the whole world of education and excitement for me. It made me excited to go to college where I would learn great things. I remembered because it was so important to me.

If you do not know what a Board exam is, it is an exam organized by the Board of Education that holds exams in all parts of the State you are in and where hundreds of thousands of students in different cities take the same exam at the same time. The examiner remains anonymous and the examinee just writes his roll number on the exam answer book. When all the exams in all the subjects are done, the result is tallied in the Board office meticulously and published in the news papers later.

This ability of our brain to delete certain bad memories gives space in our brain for things to remember that has a positive impact on us. The impact of positive thinking cannot be over emphasized because it helps us become a better person. Remembering good people who have been our mentors and helped us in many ways makes us grateful and humble. Our parents, siblings and friends can all be remembered with love and gratitude. Our high school and college teachers who helped me in some way are all remembered lovingly although most of them have passed away.

We meet all kinds of people in our life in our school, college and later in our office, in our community where we live, in our society in general and even on the streets and other public places. We meet discourteous, ill mannered, arrogant and selfish people everywhere. We meet them in government offices, in our work places, in the markets, in the rural and urban areas etc.

Such people always leave a bad impression that you try to erase so our brain comes to our aid and deletes such people in order to increase our mental wellbeing and keep us sane. If your brain is filled with bad memories of bad people, it causes severe depression that can physically make you unable to cope with it. Severely abused people often take their own life to escape such mental torture.

Others become extremely paranoid, mistrustful of others and vengeful because they fail to get solace or justice for what was done to them. They grow up with resentment and become mean, arrogant and selfish toward others whom they try to use for their own selfish reasons.

It is quite amazing what a child remembers since the time he becomes aware of people around him. He at first does not know how to speak but tries to imitate what he hears and tries to remember. People do not believe when I say that I remember my first birthday and the period before that when lying on my back , I used to pull up my toes to suck. It is not unusual. There are many such people who will tell you about their earliest memories.

Babies in the womb of their mothers are known to listen to music if the mother plays piano or sings to the baby. Later after his birth he may avidly listen to music and develop an interest in it to the extent that he may become a singer or a pianist himself later in his life. His likes and dislikes have to do with what he retains in his memory.

If a child had a bad experience with a spider or an animal, he may develop a fear of it because his memory tells him to avoid it. If he got an electric shock or burned his finger, he will remember it and avoid it in the future.

This ability of the human brain to remember bad things serves a purpose. It protects the kid in the future by reminding him not to mess with spiders or bad animals. His bad experience with some people makes him avoid them in the future so he learns to keep his distance from them but also deletes the memory of them later.

We are naturally attracted to people who are gentle, kind, trustworthy, helpful, friendly with empathy for others, generous, highly educated, with high moral values and with integrity. It is hard to find all these qualities in just one person but we are attracted to them if we find them. We try to emulate them because they become our moral compass and give us direction in life. He may be your parent or a teacher or a friend.

The brain retains good memories of them and deletes bad memories of people who were not our friends. I have lived and worked in many countries but I cannot recall the names of my coworkers in the projects because they did not become my friends. I did not keep in touch with them and soon forgot their names and faces but I still remember a taxi driver in Sheung Shui  in Hong Kong who was so nice to me so long ago.

I do not remember who were my classmates in college in California but I remember the college president who became my mentor and helped me. I do not remember the names of my housemates who did not become my friends even after one year together living in the same house but I remember a gentle German who gave me a ride in Sicily so long ago and stayed with me in the campsite in Catania with a bottle of wine and talked to me for hours. I kept in touch with him for a long time.

So forgetting some people is a blessing and remembering good people is also a blessing. If you only care to write it all down in your memoir or in your blogs, people will be amazed to read your stories. I know that you are reading my blogs in more than 140 countries because you like to read my stories and about my experiences in many countries under difficult circumstances.

This way I give tribute to those good people in so many countries who helped me when I needed them and who extended their hands to me in their genuine friendship that I grasped eagerly. I cherish such good memories of them even today after so many years.

If you read my biography in the links given below, you will learn a lot about how I spent my years in so many countries and what challenges I had to overcome in order to reach my present age.

My brain has discarded the memories of bad people like old clothes that have no value but has retained the memories of the good people so that is a blessing. You too should cherish the friendship and good memories of all the good people in your life who have been your mentors, your teachers or your friends who stood by you when you needed them most.

Write about their good deeds if you are an aspiring writer. Tell others about them and set up scholarships in their name if you have money and want to preserve their memory forever. They deserve nothing less.

Let all the bad memories disappear from your mind like dark but fleeting clouds to let in the sunshine in your life.

Note : My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese languages at the following links as well as my biography. My blogs can be shared by anyone anytime in any social media.

les blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

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My blogs in Japanese

https://achtrjee.wixsite.com/mysite/blog

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русскиu

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