Fallacy of white supremacy

Synopsis : The white supremacists in many countries spread the hate campaign and beat up immigrants from many countries because they push their agenda of supremacy over all other races which is a very outdated idea that the whole world repudiates. I focus on the fallacy and its shameful place in the human history .

Fallacy of white Supremacy

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Source : Google photo

This is a topic that is in vogue now more than ever and is causing a lot of debate everywhere so I thought of putting my two cent’s worth on the subject not because it may become an obsolete word someday but because it is a very thought provoking subject. Some whites may not agree with me after reading my blog but I hope it will provoke them to think.

The word racism is inherent in many cultures around the world although the whites take most of the blame or the responsibility for it. Perhaps it is in the human nature to look down on others who are not like them and always find an excuse to denigrate them by saying we are better than them. It does not have to be the skin color although it plays a dominant role in the attitude of some people. Often it is something else.

I come from a country where most people have dark skin so those who have fair skin ( they call them wheat complexion) look down on those with dark skin and feel good about it.  It makes them feel superior so they treat dark skinned people with disdain. Now the mountain people and people who come from superior breeding stock have fair skin but they are still considered non white by the white people.

But dark skinned people also look down on others who are not like them and call them names and feel good about it. I have seen this in the Philippines. The jokes about Sikhs in India or others is a manifestation of disdain because they are different and do not play by the rules of the disdainers. It is the same in the United States where the Italians are called names because they put grease in their hair and have a swarthy skin tone that comes from the Mediterranean sun.  There are a lot of jokes about the Polish people or the Irish people that may not have anything to do with their skin color but the disdain shows.

It is after all in the human nature to feel good about self by denigrating others.

I was once visiting an American friend who had a pretty child. Their visitor was an old American white woman who said to me that my children will never have blue eyes like that of the kid. This statement was so shocking that I got tongue tied which does not happen often with me. This old woman was talking about naked racism that she believed in.

I thought about Pearl Bucks stories in China where she wrote about how the Chinese regarded the blue eyes as wild and not pretty but I was not in the mood of discussing her racist comment and let it pass.

I have many white friends who are not racist and are wonderful people so let us not paint all whites with the same brush. Let us assume that the racist are a minority in a country like the United States where education and technology combined has made people of various races work together and even intermarry in some cases that has brought in more comprehension of other people.  The TV and the movies are an example where blacks and whites work together and romance each other without any negative outcome.

Some of the greatest Hollywood stars are black whose self confidence shines in their movies or TV series. Some of the greatest entertainers are blacks or Hispanic who can turn the white audience into frenzy with their songs. White girls were fainting in adoration of Michael Jackson when he performed in Budapest and had to be carried away in stretchers.

Hundreds of thousands showed up to listen to Obama in Germany where they adore him. So the non whites have made progress and are given due recognition by the whites but there is always a minority faction that clings to the idea of White Supremacy and they have voted in a very racist president  who openly supports them.

This has given rise to the hidden and not so hidden sentiments of these people to come out in the open and shout insults at the blacks and Latinos among others and is backed up the KKK people who are opening new chapters everyday somewhere. The white policemen are now more aggressive if that is possible toward anyone of color and ask for IDs in an insulting tone with a hand on their unbuttoned holster.

The store clerks follow the non whites around to see if they will steal anything and tell a black lady like Oprah that the bag she is looking at is too expensive for her so perhaps they can show her something cheaper.

The kids take their cue from their parents so they have started bullying their Asian classmates and people of color and wear swastika bands and give Nazi salute to each other. In Europe this kind of behavior is coming out in the open where the white skinheads beat up African and Asian immigrants who have dark skin therefore not worth any consideration. In Australia Indian students have been beaten up in Melbourne and other places for the same reasons.

This fire of hatred and superiority feeling among some whites was smoldering for a long time but now is catching the flames because the racist president is blowing hard on the flame for his own political agenda. It is all right now for some to say nigger to a black person and treat him unfairly.

I have lived in the United States for a while in California where I had many white friends who were sterling people. I remember how Alison’s blue eyes sparkled with love and friendship who would come at midnight to pick me up and bring me to the bus station when I could have taken a taxi.

I remember Howard who was so nice to me that it was unbelievable. I remember the Cambridge professor and his wife who kept writing to me for years and there are so many others I do not have space for here but they are white and they are wonderful people so the idea that all whites are racist is totally false and it should be repudiated.

Remember that millions of them voted for Obama and made him a two term popular president. I remember the white women in a church in California who invited to me to speak on Vietnam and lovingly listened to me. The racism that we talk about is therefore not as widespread as it is made out to be but it exists in all countries even among people who are not white as I mentioned earlier.

Let us now see the root cause of this phenomenon called white supremacy and why some die hard whites of low education who live in poverty cling to this notion that their skin color makes them superior to anyone else but superior in what sense?

A black woman wrote a beautiful article on this subject that I cannot reproduce here but basically she asked all whites to examine their own conscience and explain why they feel superior to others when their history is full of rape and pillage, of mistreating slaves and promoting their self interest with the use of white policemen who still use force and intimidation to put non whites in their place.

Now we supposedly live in a democracy where everyone is supposed to be equal in their voting rights but the Republicans constantly deny the blacks their voting rights so that they will not vote against them. They do this by asking for the proof of their citizenship when white voters are not asked such things. They put less number of voting machines in predominantly black districts so that many cannot cast their votes even if they wait whole day in line.  They intimidate and threaten non white voters and claim that they are flying voters and vote in different places but cannot back up the voter fraud claim. They put up rigged voting machines where the voter presses one button but the vote shows up under a different name. They discount the absentee voters from overseas by saying their votes were not delivered on time etc.etc.

The white supremacists are a diehard bunch who feel that it is their manifest destiny to rule over others within their borders and even beyond. This feeling of self importance even if they do not deserve it makes them dangerous enough to vote for a total bigot who thrives on fanning this flame of hatred in their heart. They are not the majority but an obsolete voting system called the Electoral College votes gives them the upper hand even if the opposition gets the most number of votes. They lose by three million votes and still win the presidency because of the Electoral College system that no one understands.

The historical reasons behind the claim of white supremacy:

We have seen the rise of apartheid regime in South Africa that was so racist that practically the whole world condemned it and clamored for Mandela to be released. The world mourned the death of Biko in the hands of the brutal police because he was protesting the injustice of apartheid in a peaceful way.

When a white preacher married a beautiful black woman, their child was considered impure although she looked very white and they were outcasts in their all white community. The child could not be admitted to the school because she had some black blood. It finally ended in the suicide of the black lady.

So the question here is why the whites felt that way and still do in some parts of the world?  I think the answer lies in preserving their advantages they had gained in keeping black slaves in the south whom they worked to death making money for them and lived a good life. The same thing happened in South Africa where they stole the land from the Zulus through treachery at first and later by massacres when they brought in the guns.

So people who lived a life of privilege were loath to give it up in the name of equal rights for everyone. They said that some were more equal than others and still do. This ideology that some are more equal than others is now playing out in the heartland of the United States and in Europe where the Nazi salute is once again fashionable.

The whites write the history that shows them in good light and is taught in all the schools. The massacres of Native Americans, forced repatriation to their reservations, betrayals of the treaties, outright   stealing of their land to build homesteads, the denigration of the natives as savages by the missionaries and their forceful conversion to Christianity by the rabble missionaries using the military as their enforcer etc are downplayed in their history book but the massacre of the Little Big Horn is taught to every child black or white.

They omit the part where the Texan rangers massacred the men and women of Mexican descent but emphasize the Alamo so that is what the kids are taught and that is what they know.

They teach that the whites were the scientists and explorers and wrote books of philosophy so even today every college kid has to read Kant and Hegel. Who else is there? They teach that whites were and still are the inventors who have sent people to moon, have broken the records in flying, diving and sailing. The whites have climbed the Everest first ( It was with Tenzing Norgay) so white are the superior race no matter how you look at it or so they claim.

They conveniently omit the mention of non whites who have been scientists and inventors and who have contributed to the uplifting of the human race in a significant way.

The fallacy of this ideology:   

Now I come to the part where the fallacy of this white supremacist ideology will be seen in its proper light and come to some conclusion.

We all know that we all descended from Lucy who was black and lived in the Rift valley millions of years ago and spread to different parts of the world tens of thousands of years ago so basically we are all black under our skin that changes color through evolution and the climate where people live. This is not based on euphemism but scientific fact that we carry the DNA marker in our blood that has been traced from Africa to Europe to Eurasia to Asia to Alaska and on to the Native Americans that tie us all together this way. The facial architecture and hair among other physical traits have evolved through thousands of years of evolution and is still evolving.

Intermixing of Mongol blood from the East with the European can still be found in the features of some from Ural to southern parts of Europe. The Moslems who ruled Spain for centuries until chased out have also left their imprint in the blood of some Spaniards who dislike admitting it.

In the United States just ask any American about his parentage and he will start by saying it is part Irish, part  Apache, part Italian and part some pirate blood of unknown heritage  so they are of mixed blood.

So we see that the term white is somewhat misleading. It is also known that during the period of slavery, not all whites were slave owners because they were dirt poor and often worked as slave hunters for the rich plantation owners who paid them to bring back the slaves who had  escaped. They were called the white trash and disdained by the rich whites.

The slaves have long been emancipated and are now getting education, jobs and vote in large numbers even electing a black president for the first time. But the white poor people  from the heartland of America still believe in segregation and teach their children  that they are better than the people of color although fail to explain how they are better.

The whitewashing of the pillage and abuse of others in their history books does not change the facts because people are not easily fooled.  I think the passage of time will prove that we are all black under our skin.

Bertrand Russell was once asked about his religion and he said he was a humanist. Perhaps we can all learn from him and be a humanist first and embrace everyone as our brothers and sisters. Then perhaps the racism will die out but it will not happen in our lifetime. I am sure of that.

 

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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A child is a sapling

Synopsis : A child is like a sapling that needs nurturing,care and a proper environment to grow in. Where a child is not provided such care and the proper environment to grow results in a social problem where such a child becomes deviant, drop out and can get into criminality . The blog focuses on this issue with examples.

A child is a sapling

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I often see a child like a sapling that grows into a beautiful tree someday given the sunlight and water and a lot of space around it.  A child also needs the proper environment to grow in, lot of love and care and the space to grow in just like a sapling. This care comes from his parents, his siblings and others who help the child grow up into a nice person.

I used to know a kid in the village who was about 4 years old at that time and was innocent just like any child of his age. He was not chubby but not skinny either and had the innocent eyes of a child. He was very playful and swam in the stream just like a duck. He was not afraid of anything and back flipped into the water from the steep banks while we looked in wonder at his skills at that age.

He would climb the date trees to pluck the sweetest dates and give them to me. I knew that it was hard to climb a date tree but he was not afraid and climbed like a monkey. He did not have a lot of vocabulary but was learning fast. His energy made him hyperactive so he was always running around.

His mother and other siblings did not pay much attention to what he did the whole day or where he went in the village may be because they had other things to worry about. They were poor and always worried about how to meet their daily needs. The father had died and the mother who was an illiterate village woman  did the best she could which was not much.

They had some rice from their farm and one daughter was working as a teacher so they pulled on somehow and always received me warmly whenever I visited them.

Many years passed before I could return to the village again so I visited them to say hello. Many things had changed in the mean time. I was old now and the old lady was much older and bent with age and ague. Then I saw an old man hunched and sitting in one corner listlessly who did not look at me so I asked them who he was. They said he was Babu. That was the name of the child I knew and was shocked.

He was like a skeleton, bent and disheveled. His hair was long and matted and his ribs showed through his torn under shirt but what shocked me was his eyes. They were vacant and without life. They were dull and unfocused.

I was then told that he had become a drug addict and dropped out of school long ago. He kept company of bad people in the village and often lay under a tree or somewhere senseless so people had to bring him home. He had no purpose in his life except to get his next fix.

How did this happen and how that vibrant innocent child of yesteryear turned into a zombie that I saw now? What went wrong? Did their poverty make them care less for him when he needed it most? I don’t know all the answers but here was the case of a healthy green sapling that did not get enough sunlight and nourishment to grow into a healthy tree and withered.

There is another case more tragic although I do not know what is more tragic than a failed person who is now a drug addict but the following story is certainly more tragic.

She was a child of about 10 who used to sit with us while we did our home work in the evening. We did not know where she came from and who were her parents or siblings. I am sure she told us her name but I have forgotten it. We found her curious because she often asked questions about our home work and was a gentle and lovely child so we welcomed her. Ma often gave her something to eat and drink because she felt that the child may be hungry.

She was thus growing up and stopped coming to our house. One day we heard that she had hit her teacher with her shoes so she was promptly expelled from the school. We did not know the details and why she hit her teacher but we felt that something was wrong with her.  We had no idea what really was wrong until one day we saw her near our house being restrained by several men. She was in chains and she was fighting like a tigress and bit the hand of one of them. The girl was insane.

We felt really sad finding her in this predicament and felt very sorry for her because we remembered her as a gentle sweet girl who used to sit with us while we did our studies. So what really happened? How a sweet girl of 10 turned insane a few years later? Why her parents did not take care of her? What were the circumstances under which a seemingly normal person turned totally insane? One day she was found drowned in the river.

We take our normal upbringing for granted not realizing that we were blessed to have loving parents who cared for us and provided us with the environment to grow into normal healthy beings. How many people are so lucky? In any community you will find the people who become drug addicts, deviants, drop outs who turn into the life of crime and self destruction .Their parents divorce and shatter the home life with just a stroke of pen and leave their kids without their protection and care.

Once I saw an old woman in a country fair in the Mojave Desert community that I was visiting. She was a pathetic example of a failed person who was drunk and holding a big bottle of whiskey in one hand while fumbling for a cigarette. She offered me a drink but my friend took me away from her saying that this woman was scandalous. Her teenage daughter was nearby but she was a problem student in his high school where he taught. I could now understand why seeing her drunk mother in the fair grounds.

So it all comes down to the environment in which a child grows up. The poverty per se is perhaps not the reason why someone goes wrong in life. I have mentioned in my previous blogs that in African villages, the kids are well behaved even if they are poor because the elders in the village look after them and punish them if they step out of line. They live in a community where people care for each other and support each other when needed.They do not perhaps turn out to be doctors or engineers but they do turn into honest simple people who in turn raise honest simple children.

In our modern society in the vast suburbs where many middle class people now live do so in isolation. They do not know their neighbors and no one really cares to know who you are. Kids are neglected so they start seeking company that often comes with a price. By company I do not mean the Bible thumpers who avidly seek new recruits in high schools and even in colleges but those who are into mischief , who start growing long hairs, show disrespect to the teachers in the class room and bully other kids for no reason except their looks or because they are smarter than them.

It all starts to go down from there. Smart kids go on to college and become doctors and scientists or teachers but their classmates end up in prison or dead due to drug overdose. Women suffer the most because they end up getting knocked up in their teen years and become promiscuous that has its own consequences  like dropping out of school and ending up selling hamburgers in a McDonalds somewhere or worse  trying to raise their illegitimate kids who are  the future inmates of a jail somewhere.

The fabric of the society starts to be torn by the generation that did not get the support and care of their parents when they needed them most and suffer the consequences. This is happening in many countries where people are under tremendous pressure to meet their basic needs but keep on producing kids they cannot provide for.

I live in Asia where the divide between the poor and the middle class is so stark that it is mind boggling. If you just turn the corner into any street in the poverty ridden section, you will be surrounded by hundreds of kids who come out of the woodwork just like termites. They are mostly illegitimate and their parents  live in the cardboard houses  surviving on whatever jobs they can find which is often not much and does not provide them two meals a day but they are the heaviest breeders  of such children.

Is it any wonder that many of these kids become drug addicts and are shot dead by the police? Is it any surprise that these sweet girls become prostitutes? Given the proper environment to grow, they too could become successful in life. No one wants to be a drug addict or a prostitute. That is perhaps out of desperation that they do it.

In Brazil there are thousands of kids who live in the streets like feral dogs and scrounge for food in the garbage bins. They are the abandoned children of failed people who try to survive on their own and are often killed by the vigilantes or police. The government treats them like vermin that they try to eradicate. They say that it creates a bad impression on tourists and shows their country in a bad light but it is a social issue and not a criminal issue.

The church padres keep on repeating like mantra their opposition to family planning and sex education in schools even in poor countries. They say that the kids are a gift of God but fail to show the poor people how to raise them. That is not their problem. They claim to be the experts in these matters even if they do not raise their own family although some secretly do and others become pedophiles.

People in more developed countries ignore these padres and do what is right. The rich people do not have the problem of money like the poor people although they may have other problems that may be a subject of another blog someday.

The point is that we all need support to grow up normally. It is not a gift from the parents but a right. Often children come because of lust and not love but they too have the right to demand a good environment to grow in.

That little boy called Babu in the village did not get it and that nameless child who became insane did not get it and drowned in the river. Who is to blame for such tragedies?

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

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Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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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

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A life worth living

Synopsis : This is the story of my father who was an extraordinary person and so was my mother who lead an exemplary life of devotion and piety. We can all learn from such persons  how to live a life with honesty and dignity even if they remain poor.

A life worth living

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Source : Family photo of the British medal

He was a young boy sitting and studying his lessons with his brothers around a kerosene lamp in the mud house in a rural obscure village that had no electricity, no paved roads, no running water, no decent shops and full of uneducated and superstitious village folks.

Outside it was pitch dark with wind howling through the bamboo clumps and making mournful sound. The pitiful howls of jackals could be heard that reminded one how remote the village was from any civilization.  He did not mind and concentrated on his lessons.

His father relaxed in his cushion on the mud floor which was dry and clean and kept an indolent eye on his children and no one had any inkling what was coming next.

The disaster struck so suddenly that it left the kids speechless and they froze not knowing what to do but their father knew. A big and extremely poisonous king cobra had struck his thigh while chasing a mouse that it missed and struck his thigh instead. The poison took immediate effect but he managed to say “Thank God it was not my kids that the snake struck. Please bring me outside where I can feel the cool air” and he expired.  There were no doctors and no hospital, no transport even if there was one and it was late at night so there was no help. King cobra did not give much time to people.

His wife rushed in and saw what had happened and fainted. Others came and found the body in its last throes of agony but they all watched helplessly and could do nothing. The snake had disappeared.

His elder brother who lived far away was sent a telegram but it took him several days to come the country being so vast but he came as was his duty to take care of the funeral and help the family although he did not know how yet.

It was in late 1800s when the country was ruled by the British. Soon the question came up about what to do with the kids now because their mother was an uneducated village woman who did not know anything and depended on her husband to run their small farm.

He was a very honest man who had run a farm and managed it for a widow who was illiterate to boot as most women in those days were and asked him to deduct his modest salary each month from the farm income. But her son who grew up spoiled and with gambling debts in the big city one day said the amount he deducted was illegal as there was no legal document to do so. It was all verbal so now he demanded 5000 rupees which was like a fortune in those days.

This honest man was heartbroken and protested but could do nothing as the old widow had died in the interim so there was no one to support his claim that it was his salary that he took each month. It failed to convince the young man  so he found himself in dire straits. He sold some of his farm land to pay off this huge amount but it was not enough. The sheer injustice of it is enough to tear one’s heart apart.

Now he was dead of snake bite leaving behind his seven sons and a huge debt so the future looked dark. His elder brother now was a Godsend who came and decided to place the kids in foster care where they would be given free board and education.

So one day the young boy carried his small bag and walked on the rice paddy dikes for miles to reach his foster home leaving his home, his siblings and mother for an unknown future. He was so young and fearful. He was also sad.

No one could know what was going through his young mind because it was all so sudden. He did not know who the foster parent was and what he was like. He did not know anything about his future but he was to soon find out. His foster home was run by a priest so the young boy had to help him anyway he could. When the priest got paid with a sack of rice for his services, it was the young boy who carried the heavy sack on his frail shoulders balancing himself gingerly on the rice paddy dikes.

When the priest got a basket of vegetable or other things, the young boy carried that as well. The room and board was very modest but he stayed as he had no choice and concentrated on his studies. He was a smart kid and was good with numbers. He was sent to a local school where he was the smartest in his class and one day graduated from high school with a gold medal. He was perhaps 16 years of age by now.

This gold medal and his innocence got him a job with the British officers who saw in him a bright boy with very good potential so the young boy who had never left his rural surroundings and had never boarded a train was now set on a lifelong and exciting journey that took him to distant parts of the great country. For the first time he saw how vast the country was and how diverse the people were. Everything was new to him, the food, the languages and the clothes people wore but he was smart and learned quickly to cope.

He was now an accountant  but had to pass tough exams to become one  and served the British well wherever they sent him. Sometimes it was the South and other times in the far west in what is now Pakistan. He never forgot to send home some money. He also sent his younger brothers to school and paid for their expenses.

Then one day a co worker said to him that there is a beautiful girl who is perhaps 13 years old and from a very good family so he should now consider marriage. He was perhaps 22 year old now so he got married and sent his bride who was just a child to his village because he could not keep her with him where he was. He was living in tents in Waziristan which is a mountainous and primitive area even today.

The young bride who was the apple of her parent’s eyes and who had grown up in a city now was making a journey in the company of total strangers who had promised to bring her to the remote and primitive village somewhere in the east. So with fear and trepidation she followed because she trusted her husband whom she only met briefly during the marriage who was now her life partner. She was also very shy so could not tell the strangers that she needed to go to pee somewhere so suffered the pain silently. It was all very traumatic for a girl so young. The boat that brought  her to the village glided to a stop late in the evening  so she stepped off and followed more strange people who showed her the way with kerosene lamps. How traumatic it must have been for a little girl !

Her husband through the arranged marriage lived somewhere west of the country she did not know exactly where but was sure that someday he will bring her there when the time was right.

That he did. They lived in many parts of India and raised their growing family as best as they could. Their children were all born in different cities as they moved around so much.

The young man one day was called by his British officer who proudly presented him a silver medal minted in London with his name inscribed on the rim and said the British government  gave this extraordinary medal to him in recognition of his loyal and sterling service to the empire. The photo of this medal is shown above.

But he was a humble man and never showed the medal to his children. He loved to play a musical instrument called Esraj but his children never saw him play. He had many talents but never talked about them.

Times passed swiftly for him and his family. The kids were growing up so he demanded and got a transfer to a bigger city where the kids could go to proper school and perhaps college later on. His daughters got married one by one and left the family. He now longed to go back to his native village where he wanted to retire but his relatives would have none of it. They were making windfall profits from his share of the farm that would stop if he retired in the village so they opposed. This is the real sibling relationship no one talks about.

So heartbroken he then built a decent home in the city. His wife sold her gold ornaments to pay for the land and some costs but finally she had her own home and she was proud of it. Together they raised the family and sent the kids to school and later college.

They were the ideal couple who seldom quarreled, seldom spoke harsh words, seldom spanked their kids and always taught them good values, honesty, hard work and tolerance to all faiths.  They were the kindest and most loving couple one could imagine. People respected his integrity and fair treatment of others. They were the most generous and hospitable people one could find.

But the fate had a very different plan for him. One day he was diagnosed with cancer which he ignored at first but it got worse and had to be operated. He suffered the pain silently along with his loving wife. She stood in crowded buses for hours to bring him food everyday because the hospital food was so bad. No one gave her a seat in the bus so she suffered silently and never complained such was her lifelong devotion to her husband who needed her now.

The operation was not successful so he died a few months later at home and in terrible pain. No one could do anything but watch tearfully as he took his last breath. His wife lived on to an old age and a life of saint but finally one day she too breathed her last thus ending a long life of trials and challenges, adventure and tragedies, a life full of travel and uncertainties, a life full of joys as well as sorrows.  They were my parents. I miss them terribly.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

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-русски

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How to spoil a game?

Synopsis : Now a days we hear many scandals regarding doping in games to gain advantage which is very unfair to those athletes who do not take drugs. This blog focuses on this issue and gives a good examples of Nadia Comaneci who at the very young age proved that one can achieve greatness without the drugs.

How to spoil a game?

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Source  Google photo of Nadia Comaneci

She was just a child and beautiful. Her body was perfect and supple when she took to the parallel bars effortlessly. It was so amazing that the judges were spell bound as we all were all over the world watching her on TV when she flipped with a grace and poise unseen on parallel bars since a very long time. She got the perfect 10 in the Olympic gymnastics competition. Her name was Nadia Comaneci.

She alone showed the world how rigorous training and discipline paid off and won her the gold medal at such a tender age. There were many such moments at the games that happen every 4 years somewhere. Countries compete to host the games which require investing billions of dollars in building the facilities, the stadia and the Olympic villages where the athletes would stay and in security.

It takes many years of intense labor, effort and a lot of money to finish the entire infrastructure under tremendous time pressure and the watchful eyes of the Olympic officials who are always nervous because the games have to start on time and cannot be delayed.

The Olympic torch is then lit and travels through many countries until it reaches the venue to light the giant torch there to mark the start of the games. The athletes from all over the world who had been training for this moment all their lives parade with their national flags in trepidation because they have to compete with the best in the world in every game and come away either with medals or in disappointment because everybody is watching them on TV.

I wonder what went through the mind of that child called Nadia when she was performing difficult flips on the bars but she knew.

It started thousands of years ago in ancient Greece where the games were held at first. The runner who brought the news to the king about the enemies congregating in massive numbers ran nonstop 30 miles and dropped dead of sheer exhaustion while whispering his dying words to the ears of the king. Thus the marathon race was born to honor the runner who thus died performing a duty.

Over the centuries, the games spread in popularity and attendance. The participants came from anywhere and for the first time an athlete was equal to anyone irrespective of his skin color and ethnicity. People loved and admired these athletes who did their best just to win a laurel of leaves that the king put on their heads because it was the highest honor.

The venues were primitive as compared to the present day and the games were limited in variety but they were revived after many centuries to honor and continue a great human tradition and spread to every continent on the planet. More types of games were added and specific stadia were built for them.

Now it is a multibillion dollar affair that includes huge revenues from ticket sales and the worldwide TV coverage franchise. At such times money is spent like water and the countries sending their teams put their prestige and national honor on line just to win.

The winners of gold, silver and bronze are showered with recognition, fame and very lucrative sponsorships that earn them millions of dollars. They are the stars that everyone talks about. Their countries honor them with gifts and cars and new houses.

The rot:  This pressure to win at any cost has now introduced a cancer that is spreading and brings shame to the games that is casting a dark shadow over it. This cancer has a name. It is called cheating.

Have you ever wondered how come those athletes from East Germany, Russia and many other countries were winning so many medals and often by narrow margins? They were machine like in their performances and people marveled at their super muscular bodies that rippled in their wet suits. They were cheating.

It is called doping. They were taking performance enhancing drugs secretly to gain unfair advantage over their competitors who did not use drugs. Some countries will go to any length to take such measures just so that their athletes can bring home the gold.

One  seven times  winner of the tour de France  finally admitted after denying it for years that he had taken such drugs to win. He lost all sponsorships and was forced to resign from his top post and banned from any future bike race.

Now the Olympic authorities have set up modern labs for testing the urine and blood of all athletes before they can participate in any game but this rot has reached the labs as well. The athletes were submitting clean water instead of urine so the system of testing itself has become corrupt because very large amounts of money change hands.

The dead athletes of Greece in ancient times are probably turning in their graves to know such corruption in such a beautiful game called the Olympics. They could never imagine that their glorified games would turn into this but it has.

A pure child like Nadia is perhaps an exception now. People lose their faith when they are told that doping is so widespread and lose their respect they once had for the game participants.

Once I was in Rome wandering through the campus of the University there on the banks of the river where an Olympic was staged I don’t remember when. You just have to take a right turn from the Vatican, follow the road all the way to the river and you will come to the University campus. Just across the river is the youth hostel where I used to stay.

I saw the beautiful mosaic of tiles on the ground depicting various games that Olympic Games included. These mosaic pieces made of tiny colored pieces of ceramic were beautiful and just like what you see in Pompeii and other places but now they were broken in places and missing in some parts. It is hard to imagine that it was once a venue of the Games because it looks shabby now.

This brings me to another subject related to the games. It is the enormous cost of hosting the games and later getting into a financial mess because of borrowed money just like in Greece and Rio. The glitz and glamour of brand new venues is to impress the world so the world is impressed. The fireworks, the colorful parades, the fluttering of flags, giant TV monitors, the tight security everywhere, the new buses and hovering blimps all come at a cost but who is counting?

If you see the same venues in Athens or Rio and elsewhere you will be shocked. They look abandoned, full of weeds and in disrepair because no one uses them and the paints fade just like the beautiful but damaged mosaic in the campus of the Rome University.

So the question is why countries go through such enormous expenses just to host the games for a few days and then pay the costs for years to come? It is because the prestige the games bring so for a few weeks a country becomes the center of attention of the world. The tourists come in large numbers and the hotels and related industries reap the benefits for a while. But often the expensive tickets to the games are unsold because poor people can’t afford them and they watch them on TV at home.

There is nothing more discouraging to a world class athlete than to see the near empty seats in the stadium because they thrive on accolades just like in ancient Greece. But the ticket price remains high. Finally the games are over, the torch extinguished in dramatic ceremonies and the athletes start packing to go back to their countries. Soon the vast stadia are empty and desolate where they were packed with people a short while ago.

This tradition of hosting the games in new locations every 4 years continues and new athletes start training rigorously with hope to win the next time.

The sporting countries like the United States, Russia, China, Australia  among others take home most of the medals but others are lucky to win just a few medals and many do not win at all. They say that winning is not everything and participating is everything but I am sure all athletes want to go home with medals so some cheat while others who train honestly for years bite the dust. Who can compete with drugs?

I have seen how a great nation like India spends so little in training the boys and girls to participate in the Olympic Games. They do not have facilities, trainers, money for their proper nutrition so many aspiring boys and girls train under such conditions. Given the proper attention to their needs, they too can shine and become world class without the drugs. Human beings all have the potential to excel given the proper environment.

I like to see the Olympics games free from scandals and doping problems. I would like to see the games played on a level playing field where everyone has a chance to succeed no matter where he comes from because that was the ideal of the original Olympic Games. Most athletes are not cheats and dopers. The long distance runners are often from Kenya or Ethiopia where they practice running away from cheetahs or lions and develop their running skills naturally without drugs.

I would like to see the games not politicized by any country for their political ends. Remember when Russia refused to attend the games in the US and the US retaliated? This is not the ideal of the games but politics and corruption ruins the games and countries are left holding the bag. Perhaps one day all athletes will stand up and fight the corruption and play clean games. Only then the Olympics will be restored to its original glory but I am not holding my breath for that to happen anytime soon.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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My blogs at Wix site

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

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Биография Анила по-русски

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Everything fades

Synopsis:  Eventually everything fades into oblivion because nothing is permanent except the pyramids. The glory, the accolades, the publicity and the fans that follow the celebrities fade away and the new generation remains ignorant of the past celebrities. This story is about my uncle.

Everything fades:

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Source : Google photo

I saw him for the first time when I was a just a child but the memory is still vivid. He came to our house with his beautiful wife and a baby to visit. We were told that he was a movie star and had appeared in many movies already and may be working on new ones.

People did not believe us when we told our friends that a movie star had come to visit us but it was true. I will reveal at the very end of this blog who he really was but not yet so hold on.

In those days in the 1940s the movies were all black and white and made in only 16  mm format. The cameras were primitive when compared to now and the sets and settings were simple. Often the movies were shot in villages or gardens or cities as the story demanded so no elaborate studio settings were needed.

We used to make fun of such movies because they never showed the hands of the hero if he was playing piano or other instruments like violin because they did not know how to play piano or violin so someone played and the hero just pretended to play.

It was also true when the heroine started to sing because we knew that she did not know how to sing. She just lip synched the songs someone else sang. This is still true. When the scene was shot in the studio, it was quite evident when the moon painted on a screen wavered because of electric fan but it was all fun just the same.

The movie star explained to us that they had to ride a mock up horse to show they were riding a real horse but it was all fake and legs of the horse were never shown because it was made of spring that someone had to shake out of the range of the camera to make the horse seem galloping. But it was all fun just the same.

The movies in those days were also called bioscope although those words have faded altogether from the collective memories of people.

The movie industry has come a long way since then with ultra modern Dolby sound , 72 mm wide angle screen projection, modern cameras and very elaborate sets and settings not to mention huge budget. No one will watch a black and white movie anymore in 16 mm. Those days are over.

The movie goers are now used to tremendous computer generated scenes, actions that are breathtakingly difficult and often dangerous, 3D movies, scenes shot with multiple cameras in dazzling colors projected on a screen 4 stories high and 75 feet wide. We watch movies like The great wall in aircon comfort munching on pop corn and just plain stupefied by the cinematography  and acting of Matt Damon.

But in those days of 1940s, everything was primitive. The movie houses were full of bed bugs, dirt and torn seats. The most expensive seats were at the back that cost 75 US cents but the front seats went for as low as 20 cents. After running for several weeks, they sold the tickets at reduced rates so we often waited until it went down to reduced rates.

At the back of the movie house worked the artists who painted the posters in bright and gaudy colors that were then paraded downtown on the heads of coolies to advertise the showing. These posters mounted in frames and decorated with lights were all joined with long cables attached to a generator that people pulled so the parade of posters was a spectacle by itself with all the colored and dancing lights and a band in front to make tremendous racket.

There was no advance booking so we had to fall in line to buy our 12 cent worth of reduced rate ticket but getting to the window was a struggle because there was no discipline. People shoved and pushed while the touts and scalpers offered the tickets at a higher price to those who did not like shoving and pushing.

There were no double features either. You had to show up on time and not in the middle of the show and had to leave when the show was over so the janitors could get to work and clean all the peanut shells people scattered.

We kids were very naughty so we rolled the coke bottles down the slope from behind which made a lot of noise especially when people were very engrossed in a romantic scene or tragic something. We also brought the tin frog to make more racket while people tried to hush us furiously while pinching the butts due to bed bugs but it was all for fun just the same.

At half time the lights came on and people rushed out to pee in the alleys because there was no toilet anywhere but first had to get a token from the gate keeper who checked it when you returned to your seat to make sure that you were not sneaking in without paying. At this time the chai wala kids took over the place and rattled the tea cups under your nose to take the order and annoyed people to no end. The peanut sellers were not to be outdone either.

The movie always started after some endless commercials of soap, digestic tablets or vitamin pills and some trailers of the movies to come but finally the title of the movie and the names of actors etc. started to show up. It was hand written and filmed such was the technology.  We had to endure such movies for at least two to three hours because people wanted their 12 cents worth and not less.

In religious movies, the pious audience even threw some coins onto the stage where the urchins fought for them in plain view creating more ruckus. Those were the days.

With this background let us return to our movie actor hero visiting us who told us many stories and how movies were made in the studios in sweltering heat with strong make up and people crowding behind the camera.

The heroines wore make up for sure but their lips looked black in the black and white movie. The color was not invented yet or the producer could not afford it but no one complained.

Our movie hero lived in style and was mobbed by young female and male admirers but mostly females that has not changed a bit after all these years so I feel pity for Matt Damon and Brad Pitts because they are always hiding or running away from the fans and the paparazzi.

His wife was so pretty but she was a housewife and did not like the movie world so all of a sudden at a young age when he was making a lot of money and was popular, he quit the movies and retired. The movie people were in shock and could not understand why and where he went.

He came to our home town, built a nice house and planted roses in his garden. His once handsome face now burnt black in the hot sun was unrecognizable except to his friends and relatives and he grew old. He had a golden voice and was a recording artist in his heydays. He made many records at the HMV studio in those days before the age of LPs but he sang no more now and played no more violin and piano.

He said that he was old and had lost many teeth so he was a shell of his former self and was very self-conscious about it. He preferred directing dramas where he taught young boys and girls how to act and sing during the pooja festival.

Twice we saw his drama played in the rented movie houses where the tickets were all sold out but that too was now in the past. He was a great artist in a true sense because he could act, play violin, sing and was very good in painting water or oil color masterpieces. This much talent in one person was hard to find in those days but I saw him wither before my eyes.

One day I approached him in his house when I showed up with a small tape recorder and requested him to sing but he at first hesitated saying his voice was no longer the same as before etc. but I was persistent so finally he pulled out his harmonium and sang no less than ten songs that I recorded.

The small Sony tape recorder recorded all the songs faithfully but was unable to play in their full grandeur because it had very small speakers but that changed when I was able to record the songs in my computer many years later and transferred them all to a CD that I played in my stereo. Only then his beautiful voice reemerged as if time had cast no shadow on it. I was thrilled to have made this recording of this great man and preserved what I could in a CD.

I then visited him at his new home where he usually stayed indoor and rarely went out because he had aged and had many illnesses.

His once beautiful wife too had aged and was only a shadow of her former self reminding us all that beauty is so fleeting but they welcomed me warmly. I saw some of his paintings on the wall that I photographed, printed and gave him copies and I sent the CD full of his songs to his son who is also a good singer and is making a name for himself.

He waved from his balcony sadly as we pulled out of the drive way on our way to the airport because I had a feeling that I was never to see him again. The sad news came only after a few months that he had passed away.

So this is how it all ends. Where is Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor? Where is Hepburn and Bogart? They just remain a distant memory for some as they continue to fade away until the next generation says who was he? Does the cruel passage of time make us all irrelevant someday? He was my uncle.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

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-русски

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Greed for oil

Synopsis : The human greed for oil is insatiable because the entire industrial world depends on oil .We burn oil in millions of tons daily to fuel our vehicles, ships and planes. We burn oil to fight wars. This massive consumption of oil globally has its consequences in terms of greenhouse gas effect that increases the global temperature and causes desertification  and melting of glaciers. Now there are alternatives that this blog focuses on.

Greed for oil

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Source : Google photo of Ekka

Long ago there was a time when people used to ride in horse drawn carriages. They came in various shapes and models from a simple one horse drawn carriage called ekka to two horse drawn one called tonga in India. In England they made quite luxurious carriages called phaetons and broughams with plush leather upholstered seats, two big brass lamps for lights in the dark and a covered cabin almost like a car being drawn by two or more horses.

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Source : Google photo of English Brougham

There was a footman riding on the foot board behind the carriage to warn the public of the approaching vehicle and serve as a servant to open and close the doors for the classy riders. These fancy carriages have disappeared from the roads in India but I remember one when I was a kid. But In England one can still see them on some special occasions. The coachman had a bag under the carriage just below the horses to catch the poop and often a bag of mealies for the horses as well.  ( Source : Google photo)

Ordinary folks in rural India and elsewhere used palanquins to carry women. They also images-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source : Google photo of Indian palanquin

came in various models but the common one was carried by four sturdy footmen, two in the front and two in the back because paved roads in rural parts were nonexistent  so the palanquins were the choice of transport  for women who did not like to walk through mud and wanted the comfort and privacy. These palanquins were perhaps a copy of similar one back in England with perhaps a bit of modification. They too have disappeared from the roads now  as  new paved road networks  are spreading all over the country. ( Source: Google photo)

Back in Europe and in America the era of industrial revolution was approaching that led to the invention of the internal combustion engine so it was not a stretch of imagination to make use of this new engine to do all sorts of things like pumping water to running machines in factories. But the most amazing use of this engine was in the transport so the car was born that changed the history of mankind.

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Source : Google photo of a primitive car

A German engineer called Diesel  developed an engine that worked on heavier fuel called diesel and named after him that did not need a spark plug to ignite the fuel air mixture  but  car makers did not take him seriously so at first diesel engines were ignored. The inventor was in deep debt he could not get out of and took his life not realizing that someday his engines would be used worldwide but alas he did not live to see it. The diesel engine revolutionized the road transport because it was used to drive trucks, locomotives and in all sorts of places from factories to boats to submarines and even planes.

The world now was hooked on oil that was discovered in the deserts of the Middle East and other parts of the world. The Bedouins who lived in the desert of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere had seen the black oil patches in the desert here and there but they did not know how to make use of it and preferred their camels or horses. Besides the camels were and still are more suited to travel over sand so they ignored the black oil until the internal combustion engine and diesel engines were invented.

This crude oil could not be used as such so the Europeans and Americans took leases of vast tracks of oil fields they developed by searching and digging oil wells and built the refineries to refine the crude oil. They had developed the technology and had the money to do it so they set up the pipelines and refineries all over the desert sand in Saudi Arabia and other oil producing nations and recovered the cost of development by buying the oil very cheaply and selling at a good profit.

The demand for the refined oil now called gasoline and diesel fuel was insatiable as the spread of its use everywhere brought in the modern era to various countries. One by product of the refinement of crude oil was bitumen that was now used for paving the roads by mixing it with fine gravel and compressing it with road rollers.

This development of asphalted roads everywhere  opened up the inaccessible parts of the world so the use of vehicles of all sorts from cars to trucks to buses spread rapidly all over the world making it easier to travel and transport goods over vast distances with relative ease.

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Source : Google photo of steam engine

The spread of railways was more expensive and time consuming but making roads over more or less flat terrain was easier because a road could curve and bypass a difficult part unlike the railways that had to run more or less in a straight line . So at first the railway engines relied on cheaper fuel called coal or wood to generate steam that ran the engines but that would change as new and more efficient diesel engines started powering the railway. Now in India one hardly sees the old steam engines anywhere although I used to ride in steam powered rail cars when I was a child and was very impressed by their size and thunder. The whole platform of the station shook when it glided in and the horn was so loud that it put fear into our little heart.

Then came the electric railway engines that now power the trains in many parts of the world. In Japan and China they are now called bullet trains that travel at high speed and whisk you from place to place in no time at all.

But the demand for fossil fuel has increased and not decreased all over the world specially in countries that do not have such deposits and are dependent on oil producing nations that are a few only. So most non oil producing nations are totally dependent on the imported oil and are at the mercy of the cartel that controls or manipulates the price of oil named OPEC.

At first the oil sold for a cheap price of less than a dollar per gallon so the use of mass produced automobiles spearheaded by the Ford motor co. became widespread in the United States and in Europe that used the newly made paved roadways and highways. This also led to the establishments of suburbs everywhere where most people now live.

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Source L Google photo of Citroen 2 CV

Then in Europe too the mass production of automobiles like 2CV by Citroen and Volkswagen in Germany and minuscule Fiats in Italy led to the common people owning cars for the first time in their life and attaining greater mobility but the upward moving middle class wanted more than a 2 CV or Fiat so the expensive gas guzzlers came followed by more SUVs and the like but European countries do not produce gasoline except a few so the imported gas costs a lot more than in other countries. ( Photo of 2CV –source Google)

European cities that are old were established for horse drawn carriages so the streets are narrow where parking is a serious problem. Many car owners do not have garages so they park their cars of both sides of the road leading to traffic congestion and other problems. You can see the old ladies in uniform giving out parking tickets and place them on the windshield of illegally parked cars. In America one can find the speed traps to catch erring motorists everywhere but that is mostly a trap set up to make money and nothing more.

The boom in the oil production and refineries in the oil producing countries led to their own development with the oil money so some countries are going overboard with spending this huge amount of money they constantly earn. You can see this in Dubai where in the middle of the desert they have built a modern city where you can do roller skating on ice or throw snow balls in modern malls . They have built roads and massive urban settlements where bougainvilleas bloom where there was nothing but sand a generation ago.

Massive desalinization plants have been set up so people have clean drinking water in abundance for the first time in their life. The Bedouins are giving up camel riding in some parts and riding in SUVs and 4 wheel drive monsters because of the oil revenues.  In Saudi Arabia and other countries there has been a breakneck speed of infrastructure development with new roads, schools and hospitals, new housing and irrigated farms where all sorts of things are grown.

Elsewhere in the world the oil has hastened development of roads and other needed infrastructure where bitumen is used to pave new roads. The refining of crude oil produces many by products like bitumen, gasoline of various grades, kerosene, jet fuel and even wax, diesel fuel and refined oil used for engines.

The cleaner and refined jet fuel has given unprecedented rise in air travel so millions of people fly everyday traveling from one part of the world to other in hours.  Massive ships transport people and goods and crude or refined oil all over the world because they use diesel powered ships.

The downside of oil consumption:       

I discussed so far the effect cheap oil had in the development of infrastructure and transport etc. but it comes with a price. I remember a time when the crude oil was just 4 dollars a barrel but then it started to rise to unprecedented levels and reached over 100 dollars a barrel that made oil importing countries many difficulties because everything you buy is tied to oil whether it is food or the bus or train ticket.

It causes high inflation and misery for the fixed wage earners who see the devaluation of their money leading to reduced purchasing power due to high cost of imported oil that fuels the economy. The oil price has come down to about 60 dollars per barrel but it is still high so has an adverse effect on the world economy. Poorer countries suffer the most.

The rise of the middle class in countries like India and China where millions of people own  small cars or want one badly has led to massive traffic jams that extend for miles on any given day. I have earlier mentioned about traffic and parking problems in Europe and North America  but now this is spreading all over the world . The annual road accident deaths in countries like India and China are shocking in sheer numbers and keep on rising as more and more vehicles hit the road. In the United States more people die in road accidents each year than all their losses in the Vietnam War for example.

The problem of massive oil spills:

We have all heard and seen the effect of massive oil spills in the ocean when an oil carrier runs aground somewhere like the case of Exxon Valdez in Alaska or BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico causing massive pollution, destruction of marine life and causing the death of birds and other wildlife. The oil is then brought back to the shores that leave thick muck on the beaches for miles and even reaches inland that destroys the ecosystem. The magnitude of such oil spill is hard to imagine but it happens once too often as more and more massive ships are built that carry millions of gallons of oil everywhere.This is a potential threat to the ocean and the environment so what can people do to avoid such disasters?

The alternate source of energy:

So people everywhere are pushing for an alternate source of energy like wind, solar, hydro power and nuclear energy but we all know what happened in Chernobyl or Fukushima so many countries are developing wind and solar power farms that will supply their energy needs in the future.images-4Wind, solar and hydro power are called clean and renewable energy because they do not pollute the air and are limitless in generating power. So large solar farms are being set up in India, China, United States, France, Spain and other countries.  India wants to generate 100 GW of power from solar alone in the next 10 years and is well on its way to get there. ( source : Google photo)

In Spain and France they harness the solar energy by reflecting mirrors that concentrate the solar poimages-2wer onto a tower where it heats the water to generate steam that then runs generators to produce electricity.

(source : Google photo) In Iceland they generate power through the geothermal projects because they have an abundance of geothermal energy because of volcanoes. In the Philippines not too far from our place, they generate power from geothermal plants so there is the worldwide trend toward the development of renewable energy source so that one day all countries will meet their energy through wind, solar and hydro power.

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Source : Google photo of solar farm

It will reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuel and they will produce clean energy that does not pollute the air.

The opponents of clean energy:

You and I think that clean energy is good for everyone so that some day we will be able to breathe cleaner air and save our oceans from pollution but the power companies do not like this trend and oppose because it may hurt their profit margin so in the United States they are lobbying against the development of clean energy sources and are stopping people from using solar panels that generate more than enough energy for them. They do not want to buy this excess energy of solar power to feed into their grid.

The oil producing countries are also not very keen on this new trend. Imagine if the whole world someday became energy independent then who will buy their expensive oil that is their only source of income?

Electric cars of the future:

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Source : Google photo of electric car

We all know that the gas and diesel vehicles worldwide produce massive quantity of pollutants that create the green house effect that is having serious consequences due to climate change. The climate change is real no matter how some stupid people claim otherwise. The El Nino and la Nina   are weather phenomenon that is affecting every country in the world.  The Kyoto protocol that many countries signed up and followed through in Paris agreement is a necessary step in the right direction to fight climate change but a lot more needs to be done to counter the ill effects of climate change.

So the development of electric cars like Tesla and others are so exciting. One car maker in Europe claims that its car can run 450 miles with just one full battery that can be recharged in a short time. Others are offering a fully charged battery at convenient locations that can be re loaded to a car in less than a minute where you leave your battery to be recharged by them for others.  Such cars are not cheap but the prices are coming down due to competition and soon there may be the one you and I can afford. Who will then buy the gasoline or diesel cars that pollute so much?

The new electric cars are completely wired to the internet and some of them can self drive using computer technology and cameras. In such cars you will be able to just relax and enjoy the ride while the car drives itself. This technology is already here and will develop more in the future. People are already talking about self driving buses and even trains and planes although I will not dare to fly in a plane without a pilot yet. There may even be self steering /piloting ocean liners someday. The  power of technology is endless.

Once I wrote about the possibility of an air powered car someday which is not a stretch of imagination at all. A car can run on compressed air that a compressor will provide but initially the compressor will need a source of power like a battery which will recharge itself as the car runs.

May be a completely solar power car could be developed just like the solar powered plane that made a flight round the world not too long ago. I am sure the engineers are working on such projects that one day may become a reality.

The point is that all countries need to get away from the dependence on fossils fuel and need to be self dependent using only renewable energy because fossil fuel is finite and will run out one day.

Those who do not develop the solar, wind and other sources of clean energy will be left behind and will continue to pollute their country increasing the health hazards for their citizens.

The greed  and dependence on oil does nobody any good in the short or long run so leaders need to be more pragmatic and look to the clean future that benefits everyone.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

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-русски

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Ghosts and souls

Synopsis : We all hear stories of ghosts and souls .There are many photos as evidence that they exist although why they do not get nirvana is anyone’s guess. Some say that they are unhappy so they linger at the place of their former life making it haunted.The blog takes this matter seriously and encourages people to show respect to the departed so that they can get some peace .

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Source : Google photos

The topic of ghosts fascinates me but I am sure I am not the only one. Millions of people all over the world share with me this fascination and some will even tell you that they have seen ghosts and have photographed or video filmed them. I will post a few such photos to suggest that they are real and exist.

We all know that the life that resides in a body leaves the body after the death of a person making the body lifeless. There are rare cases where it has been recorded that a person dies , his life leaves the body and then after sometime returns to the body so the person wakes up and tells the doctors and nurses that he had a near death experience. Most don’t believe him and attribute this phenomenon to an impossibility and explain that the electric shocks given to the patient revived his heart that started beating again.

Whatever the reasonings may be, I cannot believe that it has nothing to do with a persons’s religious beliefs and cultural upbringings. After all the doctors and nurses are human beings and are subject to their own beliefs that may tell them that there are no such things as ghosts. The Christians are taught that there is no reincarnation  of the soul so it usually boils down to beliefs.

I admit that I have never seen a ghost and it is quite likely that I never will but that does not mean that they do not exist because I have heard many real stories told by real people who say that they have seen ghosts.

There was a very old house in my home town that originally belonged to a Moslem but they left for Pakistan after the independence and sold their house to a Hindu as many others did at that time. Usually a grave is found inside such a house that Hindus respect and put some flowers and burn joss sticks to please the souls. Hindus strongly believe in ghosts and after life so these are serious matters for the Hindus including the topic of reincarnation.

Now this old house that was poorly maintained by the residents was literally falling apart but the grave that I saw inside of this house was well maintained and cared for. They always burned some joss sticks and put some flowers there everyday to appease the soul of whoever died there because they believed that the soul will get angry if they do not show respect.

But  like many things in life, this practice was not maintained and people stopped caring for the grave. The next generation did not care for the souls and ghosts. One night during the full moon , a tall bearded fellow was seen on the roof that scared the devil out of the residents but it did not stop there.

One fellow who used to sleep on the second floor always locked his door before he went to bed but one night woke up because he felt that someone was sitting on his chest so he could not breathe. When he suddenly woke up, he saw no one and the door was still locked from inside. This incident scared him to no end and from then on they started caring for the grave and put joss sticks there. No one saw the old man with flowing beard any more so they sighed with relief.

There was another house in our neighborhood where someone had hung himself for some reason. We were always scared to go to that house because of this and saw that one room where the fellow died was always locked up. But the ghost of that person hanged around and made a racket now and then by pushing and shoving metal pots and plates in the kitchen. They are the poltergeist ghosts scaring people for no reason.

There are many such cases that have been recorded by others but I just mention these two stories that I personally know.

Source : Google photos

We know that the life that resides in a body is a form of energy that has been photographed leaving the body as some of the photos here will show. This energy called soul then perhaps becomes a part of the energy of the universe that Hindus call the state of Nirvana and does not come back in a new form in a new body so it is not reincarnated.These two photos above show the soul leaving the body of the dead . The internet is full of such photos .

They also believe that not all souls achieve this nirvana because they were bad people and did bad things while living so they do not get to the state of Nirvana and are bound to return to start a new life somewhere in some form. A man may be born in his next life as a cow or a pig depending on the gravity of his mischief.

These two photos show  ghosts perhaps in a tormented state  (Source :Google photos)

So Hindus pray and propitiate the departed souls by offering them worship and perform a Vedic ritual near Ganga river in a place called Gaya. Then the soul becomes free and attains Nirvana. Since this is a matter of belief, some people choose not to believe and ignore the propitiation part but most people are afraid that the un propitiated souls may come back to haunt them so they do it as a sort of insurance and not really because they believe in it.

These photos show the ghosts sitting around in one and may be thinking of mischief in the other. ( source : Google photos)

Once President Johnson was visiting Pakistan where he was in the US embassy in Islamabad that many believed was haunted and advised him not to stay there and stay with the ambassador but the president did not believe any of it and found himself locked inside a room very mysteriously. This made him very nervous and shouted for help so the door was smashed to release him . No one could explain how the door suddenly closed and locked the president in. I am sure he never went back to that place again.

People say that there are two types of ghosts. Some are good ghosts and others are bad ghosts. Good ghosts are the souls of good people who for some reasons cannot become free and get nirvana so they hang around to protect the people they love and are like the guardian angels. There is a photo of an old woman ghost who is watching over a sleeping baby who is probably her grandchild. So she is the benevolent ghost like an angel.

ghost

The bad ghosts are the souls of people who in real life were really bad people and did many bad things so they can never get freedom and nirvana .They can hang around for centuries and stay in old abandoned houses or such places. These ghosts are up to no good and can harm people in some way. Some possess the living and turn them mad so the Catholic priests are called to exorcise them. The movie Exorcist is worth watching in this context.

Others inhabit a house and bring curses on all who live there by making them unhappy so if you are looking for a house to buy then do some research by asking people who lived there and why they left because surely your agent will tell you nothing if indeed the house had a horrible history. But the locals may know a great deal and warn you not to buy the property. Often there are records of what happened like murder or fire or some such tragedy there so check the old old news papers that some local libraries keep.

ghost-stairs

Bad ghosts are also mischief makers and push around furniture or break things, slam doors to scare people etc. The movie Poltergeist is worth watching on this subject.

The possessed people are often fake. I knew an old woman who was a first class crook who pretended to be possessed and would tell the farmer where to find his goat and who took it but the farmers are simple folks and gullible so they paid this woman not knowing that she had her own people in the crowd who would chat with the farmer to get all the information and then secretly tell the old hag what they learned. This is how she made money so there are many fake people who claim to talk to the spirits and tell you what lottery number you should get which is a winning ticket.If it was so easy they themselves would be millionaires and would not need to fool people but simple people are easy to deceive.

A story of reincarnation :

I know the story of The reincarnation of Peter Proud  that was made into a movie in Hollywood and it goes something like this:

There was a young fellow in California who kept  dreaming of a particular house somewhere  where  something happened that mattered to him. He did not know where this house was and what happened there and how and why he  dreamed about this house  all the time but it bothered him so much that he decided  to find this house to find out what had happened there and why he was  a part of it. So he started to drive all over the country looking for a house but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack so his girl friend got exasperated and left him.

He then pushed on and found that this particular style of house he was dreaming of was found in the east coast in the Boston area so he went to Boston to look for it. He took a room in a hotel and found a nice tennis court in the backyard where he played some tennis. There he met with a nice young woman who played tennis well so they got acquainted.

Then one day while he was driving around an old old neighborhood, he saw the style of houses there somewhat similar to what he was looking for but not the house he was searching. Then all of sudden he was in front of an old dilapidated abandoned house that was exactly like the one he often dreamed so he saw a young girl who was washing her car nearby  and asked her who lived in that house and why it was in such a bad shape. The girl did not know anything about who had lived there but suggested that she could show him the house if he wanted by getting through a broken window. She did this with a wink suggesting something else but the fellow called Peter was not really interested in her.

Now the young lady he had met while playing tennis was quite attractive so one day she invited him to meet with her mother and present him as her boyfriend and assured him that she was a great old lady of aristocracy.

The old lady offered him tea and at first was quite happy that her daughter had met such a good looking gentleman but noticed that the young man was playing with the spoon and rubbing it around the rim and whistling a tune and was thunderstruck. It was the mannerism of her late husband so she knew that he had come back.

She said that he should not have come back and have sex with her daughter who was really his daughter as well in his previous life.

Now let us find out what really happened to her husband so many years ago. Her husband was a philanderer   who was very fond of swimming in the lake late in the evening. So one night when he came up for air found his wife with a piece of wood standing at the edge of the lake and hit his head hard so he lost consciousness and drowned. It was reported in the local papers but the police never found out who killed him or why.

You can now imagine the rest of the story. This young man called Peter Proud’s body was found floating in the lake where he had gone to swim the night before.

In India such a story would be believed 100percent because reincarnation is a strong belief among the Hindus but the Christians take a different view. Still it is quite interesting that such a movie was made in Hollywood and not  Bollywood.

So the souls do come back to live another life somewhere. My late aunt believed that I was the reincarnation of my grandfather who died of snake bite in his village although she could not back up her claim with anything more substantive than her belief. I really dislike snakes and stay away as much as possible.

The unhappy souls who cannot get freedom from the cycle of birth and death thus end up as ghosts because of their past deeds so the word karma is used here.  Hindus say that if you have done good deeds in your life and lived like a saint meaning an honest person then your karma is good and you get to heaven or some such place.

But if you have done bad things in your life then your karma will catch up with you even after your death and your ghost will wander forever in abandoned houses or some such places. When you do bad things in life, you incur a debt which has to be paid back with good deeds. Those who become ghosts are perhaps the evil ones who had done evil things so they do not get a second chance and live in a kind of purgatory. It all depends on the gravity of the misdeeds. Stalin or Hitler would probably not get a second chance to redeem themselves so probably live in Kremlin  or somewhere in Germany bothering people.

But sometime the Good Lord gives you a second chance so you come back and do good deeds in your next life to wipe off the debt. Then and only then your soul will get the freedom that all Hindus yearn for.

I often wonder what bad things I had done in my past life that made me come back  so I have been extra careful this time doing good things so that the Good Lord will relent and give me a free pass. Now there is no harm in hoping ,is there?

 

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Crime and punishment

crimepunishment

Source : google photo

Synopsis : The news media are full of crimes committed everyday somewhere so people become inured to such news but crimes are a social phenomenon that have their origin in the degradation of the social life of people due to economic pressure and the opportunity for stealing public money. The punishment given to criminals are often harsh to lenient but seldom people talk of rehabilitation of them. The blog throws some light on the issue.

 

We hear almost every day and see it in the TV news that horrendous crimes  are being committed in every part of the world as a routine  but seldom the criminals are brought to justice. When Mexican drug syndicate leader is arrested, it makes big news but rarely people mention how the drug smuggling continues and who are doing it.

We all know how the smugglers from Latin America are always working on new ways to bring in drugs to the markets in North America because that is their major source of income. They fly the drugs in using private small planes and land in a dirt strip somewhere, they use false bottoms in trucks to hide huge amounts of drugs and cross over from Tijuana or other parts south of the border. They use high speed boats and even submersibles to bring in drugs.

These criminals have a lot of money to buy high tech gears to equip their boats and planes that warn them of approaching coast guards or agents at the border. They have communication equipment and listening devices so that they can hear the police chatter and take advantage to evade capture. They dig tunnels under the border fence and bring in drugs and they use mules who risk their lives for just a few dollars and often get caught.

Today I would like to write not just about the drug menace facing the humanity but about criminality of all sorts that plague the nations all over the world.

Criminals lure uneducated girls in the villages of Nepal with a promise of good jobs in big Indian cities and promptly sell them to brothels from where they cannot escape. This is called human trafficking and it is happening on a very large scale worldwide. They take huge amount of money from desperate people who are fleeing their country due to war , oppression or famine and want to go to Europe where they hope to get jobs and a new life.

These traffickers then put them on rickety boats without life jackets and send them on their way to Lampedusa or other such islands in the Mediterranean but thousands have died when their boats capsized. Others have been rescued by the Italian or Greek coast guard people and brought them to camps in Europe where they languish for years before the authorities can decide what to do with them. Some are intercepted by the Australian coast guards and sent to languish for years in prison camps in remote islands administered by Australia because no one wants them.

Then there are war refugees from the Middle Eastern countries who are fleeing to safer countries and they too are victimized by the criminals who promise to smuggle them across some porous borders in Hungary or Lithuania for a huge sum of money and quickly abandon them at the first sign of police or border guards.

Some are economic migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan or other poor countries who are desperate for a better life in Europe  pay the smugglers huge amount of money to get them fake papers and passports or even fake visas so it is a thriving business that keeps on growing.

The human smugglers place attractive and innocent ads in European news papers offering secretarial jobs or guest relation officer jobs in hotels to young and often pretty women and trap these women into the life of prostitution in the Middle East from where they cannot escape.

In China and Vietnam they recruit young women for prostitution in Hong Kong or Macau so these poor girls of rural villages who think that they are being offered jobs in factories or offices  end up as slaves of pimps and brothel owners.

According to the UN reports there are millions of people being trafficked this way earning the criminals billions of dollars. What is tragic is that the victims are often the poor people who are desperate to find a country that will promise them a better life than they have in Somalia , Libya or Syria so they take the desperate measures to cross the ocean in unseaworthy boats and die in the process.  Often the bodies of babies wash ashore in Italy or Greece.

In some countries the authorities are complicit in the business of trafficking and make money out of the smugglers or they close their eyes to the prostitution that thrives in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and do little to rescue these hapless women from their life of misery because they say they need these foreign women to serve the need and to safeguard their own women.

Then there are slaves called bonded laborers who are forced to work without pay in brick factories in India or Pakistan just because their parents borrowed a paltry sum they could not pay back. Some of these slaves are as young as ten.

There are some efforts to rescue these children from time to time but only a lucky few get such help from the NGOs or the government while countless others languish in their life of slavery. The NGOs are threatened with violence by the slave owners or the pimps so they are afraid and have limited ability to help in the face of such odds but their work nevertheless is admirable.

A Nepalese woman who was trafficked and managed to escape her brothel now works full time helping and rescuing the village girls. She has opened up a shelter for them where they learn a trade to earn a living but the scale of the problem is too big for just one woman to handle.

Then there are smugglers  of tiger skins or skins of endangered animals, of looted artifacts from Angkor Wat or other temples in Cambodia, ivory smuggling,  looted artifacts from graves in Egypt and other countries , smuggling of rare live animals, birds and such so the list is very long . It all happens because the criminals make a lot of money this way. If they get caught once in a while, they pay a fine and spend a few weeks in a jail somewhere but eventually take up where they left. It is all part of the operating cost.

The terrorists in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan sell drugs to finance their insurgency so poppies are grown in big farms where the opium is extracted. The poor farmers say that it is their only source of income so they keep on planting poppies. The terrorists pay the local governors or others or threaten them with death if they interfere in their operations.

It is the same story in the Northern Burma called Myanmar these days where the war lords make huge amount of money from poppy fields and sell the drugs to Thailand, Vietnam and other countries. The Vietnamese officials made great amount of money from drugs they imported in their private planes and sold to the American soldiers who then shipped them to the United States in the body cavities of dead GIs.

I will not even get into what the Yakuza in Japan or the Italian mafia in Sicily or in the United States do because their illegal activities are well known and shown in movies like Godfather but it is fair to say that there are criminal gangs like mafia in every country you can imagine where they operate either with impunity or in collaboration with corrupt officials.

There is a thriving business of the manufacture of illegal and fake travel documents of any kind that the criminals use to get around. Not all the countries have e passports and the data base that scans people at the borders so these then become the back doors for illegal entry. Just walk down the streets of Amsterdam and pass the word around in some shady night club where naked women dance and serve drinks and you will meet some of these characters who will get you any document you can think of for a price.

In the movie The day of the jackal, the assassin goes to Bayreuth in Germany to get a fake document from a fellow who is very good at making them and kills the fellow after getting his fake passport. He then proceeds to assassinate De Gaulle , fails and is shot dead by the police inspector.

This is the criminal world we live in. No one really is safe from the crime because it touches the lives of millions of people daily. While most people are ordinary people who live their ordinary lives and are decent people who mind their own business, there are those who are anything but decent.

Criminality starts early

It is not a coincidence that ghettos where very poor people live are the spawning ground for the criminals anywhere. It starts with a broken family where a single mother struggles with her laundry washing job and where her illegitimate children live a life of destitution and hopelessness. They drop out of school early and join gangs that terrorize the neighborhood and are into selling drugs and running women as prostitutes.

Later they graduate to a higher level of criminality that may include contract killing or collecting money from people who owe them by beating them up like Rocky Balboa.

The sale of retail drugs brings them money and fancy cars and clothes so they are hooked. The feeling of “we will not be deprived of anything and will get it by any means” is strong among them so they get into this life even if it means ending up dead in a gully somewhere.  The mafia people bring their victims to the desert near Las Vegas, give them a shovel to dig their grave and then kill them. It is all done very neatly and professionally in the name of doing business.

Now let us go to the villages in Africa and see why the criminality is so low there. In Africa the villages are often remote and isolated. Some villages in Mali are so remote that it is difficult to travel there over bad dirt paths during the rainy season. This isolation is a blessing for them because it brings all the villagers closer to each other. They all know each other and are somehow related through marriage. There the village chief who is an elected person is supreme and is respected.

All the village quarrels   are sorted out at the village council meetings where a fair system of justice prevails. The village council chief who is also the village chief makes his decision based on certain facts so people accept the ruling and peace is restored.

Outsiders are not received by anyone unless the village chief orders them to do so while the visitors wait under a tree. Once the order is received, the villagers then receive the guests and clean and prepare a hut for them. Women then bring hot water to wash and prepare the meals for them all as a part of their hospitality. Only then the village chief will ask the visitors the reason for their visit.

Petty criminality like stealing a goat or some corn from the field is swiftly punished by the chief who may impose a fine or restitution in other ways. No one can do anything illegal without the knowledge of the village council that meets and takes certain measures to stop such activities.

But what is the most interesting part of their social life is the fact that old people keep an eye on all children to see that they behave well. Now try spanking  someone’s  kid in America who is misbehaving and see where that gets you  but in many countries in rural Africa the kids are well behaved and their parents are grateful to the elders for their discipline.

In cities where the elders do not have such power and where there is no village chief and council, things are different so the crime thrives. In that way, Bamako and Dakar are no different from any ghetto in the US or Europe where there are gangs that operate with impunity.

Now we come back to Asia and see that people live in isolation in middle class communities and do not know their neighbors so do not care what happens to them. It is like in Europe or in North America where the massive suburbs where most people live breeds this isolation and aloofness among the residents. The villages in Asia are still somewhat close knit but very unlike the villages in Africa.

Sure there are villages in India , Pakistan or Bangladesh where the village council rules  and settles petty matters but they are also bound by their tribal and cultural and religious rules so it is not unheard of a village council ordering death by stoning of a person who is guilty of blasphemy or some such offence in Pakistan. They ordered a young rape victim in a village in North India to parade naked because she dared to accuse their sons of rape. Here their prejudices and caste based bias kick in not to mention their tribal customs and fanaticism.

So it is not the same as in Africa where the village chief is chosen by the villagers based on his character and moral values.  The often unfair judgements of village councils give impunity to the wrong doers like I mentioned in my previous blog called The prejudice of caste so it may be worth reading in this context.

In Haiti there still is a kind of social justice that prevails where people go to the houngans or the voodoo priests who may punish a wrong doer in a certain way. We have all heard how they turn a person into a zombie if he is found guilty of a terrible crime. They make a poison called tetradotoxin from the puffer fish and administer it somehow so the fellow appears dead for a few days but gets up in a zombie like state.

In other countries they have tribal councils, village councils and village chiefs for social justice where the court system fails them.

So the criminality at first starts in a small way like stealing or selling drugs and goes up from there. Such people come from families where they get no support and where the parents cannot afford to give them a model home and care they need. But just being poor is not the reason to turn to criminality as I have mentioned earlier. In African villages they have a communal support system and people look out for each other so being poor there does not mean they all become criminals. Their societies are based on certain ethical standards and moral values that are influenced by their religion or tribal customs.

It breaks down when people move to cities and live in ghettos so we see the rise of criminality more in cities and less in rural areas.

Punishment :

The court system found in many countries deals with the punishment part and can be a very lengthy and costly process for the defendants who may be too poor to hire good lawyers to plead their case and often get punished with very long jail sentences for minor crimes. Often we see the justice system in some countries favoring the whites and punish the blacks for the same crime. In the USA some 2 million people languish in jails at a great cost to the taxpayer and more jails are being built to accommodate more felons every year while in other countries people who commit a minor offense are given some community work to do and get into a drug rehab center if the offense is drug related.

It is proven that rehabilitation works better than incarceration because a person who has made a mistake in a fit of rage gets a second chance and learns from his mistake. Jails often make people hardened criminals who cause riots and make mayhem if they are incarcerated long enough.

In other countries, the drug pushers and users are killed by the police or vigilante groups that work outside the law but drug users and pushers can be successfully rehabilitated in a properly equipped detox centers. Poor countries do not have such facilities or not enough to accommodate all who need them so the police go on a killing spree.

To fight crime the police need training, proper equipment, moral and ethical standards, respect for the defendant’s rights, respect for the justice system and unbiased look at the violators but police people in many countries are corrupt, poorly trained and come from a caste based system like in India where they feel superior to lower caste people and treat them unfairly.

So once again I come back to the root cause of criminality. It is not poverty as such but the dissolution of basic family values, loss of moral and ethical values that the destitute families cannot provide, lack of decent home, lack of affordable education system and a ghetto living that promotes criminal behavior in a young person who at first joins the gangs to feel empowered and goes downhill from there.

I hope that as countries grow in their economic health, they can raise the living standards of the very poor and marginalized people in their society like they are doing in China. They have uplifted no less than 450 million people out of poverty and have provided them with decent housing and jobs. It does not mean that they have solved all their problems but they have taken a significant step in the right direction.

The ban of guns in private hands also plays a significant role in diminishing crimes as it has been in Australia and India so their methods can be emulated.

I do not suggest that the Haitian houngans start opening up chapters in many countries to fight crime but every country can take meaningful steps like China to reduce poverty and criminality with quick and strong punishment for the wrong doers. Until then we are all at the mercy of bad people.

 

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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Prejudice of caste

Synopsis : The prejudice of caste is widespread in India among the Hindus who look down on the low caste people called the untouchables that leads to often tragic consequences. There needs to be more social awareness to redress this problem. The blog tells a story of how the low caste people are fighting back.

Prejudice of caste

quote-we-call-upon-all-communities-to-be-tolerant-to-reject-prejudice-based-on-caste-creed-malala-yousafzai-92-28-47

Source : Google photo

I know a real tragic story about a girl in a remote village in North India who was a victim of caste prejudice that is so widespread there. She was born in a low caste family of illiterate share croppers  who were too poor to send her to school so she too grew up like her parents. They lived as the out caste in the fringe of their village and were frequently abused verbally as well as physically by the upper caste land owners who looked down on the low caste people as pariahs and abused them with impunity.

When this girl was still very young meaning less than 13 years of age, she was hastily married off to a much older man also illiterate and of low caste who routinely beat up his very young wife and repeatedly raped her . She was still a child and cried due to his brutal attacks on her sexually and physically but was unable to leave him and go back to her parents. In India the parents often wash their hands off once they get their daughters married and leave their fate in the hands of the husbands and their relatives .

Before marriage she was routinely  sexually harassed by the village youth hence the hasty marriage but the marriage did not solve her problems but made her life truly miserable. So one day she ran away from her brutal husband and went back to her family asking their help but they said that they could not do anything and advised her to go back to her husband.

So she sought the help of a cousin who was sympathetic to her cause and gave her shelter but his wife hated the girl and treated her abominably . Still she stayed and persevered because she had no one to go to and tried to figure out what to do with her life. She was about 18 years of age by now and in good health in spite of all the beatings and hardship.

Then one night some young men of the village caught her alone and gang raped her. There were 20 of them who took turns while people who heard her shrieks shut their doors and ignored because she was after all an out caste, illiterate girl who was wandering around late at night alone so may be she deserved it. They left her bleeding and in terrible pain in the dirt and laughed after giving her a lesson because they said she was too sassy.

Finally she got up and somehow made it back to her cousin and told him how she was gang raped by no less than 20 men whom she identified and asked his help in reporting it to the police but he told her that the policemen are upper caste people who rarely investigate the rape of a low caste woman and  bring the culprits to justice.

In desperation she then asked him to introduce her to the gang of bandits who lived in the ravines called behar . They were the outlaws but they chose this life because they too were victims of injustice in the hands of the upper caste land lords so they became the outlaws and killed the land lords whenever they could and then fled to the ravines where the police could never find them. They were like the modern day Robin Hoods . I had earlier written about Man Singh who was a real life Robin Hood who helped people whom the rich land lords abused with impunity but one day the police caught up with him and shot him dead.

This group of outlaws hiding in the behar was sympathetic to the plight of this young girl who was so brutally raped and promised her revenge. She stayed with this group, learned to use firearms and the tactics of attack and after some time took over the leadership of the gang with one burning desire that was to take revenge on her rapists.

So one day she found out that all the rapists were in the village due to some village affair so she made meticulous planning and showed up with her gang at midnight when the moon was full and dragged out all the 20 men from their beds one by one and locked their doors from outside. She and her gang members then tied up all the men to posts in the center of the village and taped their mouth. The terrified men did not know who this woman was and why they were dragged out like this in the middle of the night but knew that nothing good was to come out of this.

The young woman also brought out her very abusive husband , tied him up and taped his mouth shut. They all trembled in fear and begged for mercy  but she said that the day of reckoning had finally come for all of them who had raped her so brutally many years ago.

At her command they opened up with machine gun and shot all of them dead while the villagers who heard the shots trembled behind closed doors but could do nothing. The next morning they saw the 21 bodies covered in blood and flies. The vengeance was so terrible that each person had been shot multiple times.

The news of this massacre spread far and wide that alerted the police who then started a massive manhunt for this gang of outlaws headed by a woman who were very elusive . The outlaws  struck anyone found to be guilty of abusing poor landless farmers or anyone. Often a poorly written paper warning of what was to come  was pinned on trees or branches .

Women in India applauded the courage of this woman who had taken such revenge on her abusers and wondered at her courage because  many women in India are victims of such outrage and can do nothing but silently tolerate their abusers. But the policemen hunted her day and night without success until a great social worker called all the outlaws to come to his meeting and formally surrender themselves to the authorities who had promised them amnesty if they brought in their weapons and other comrades.

The life of an outlaw is harsh and pitiful because they are always on the run . No one dared to give them shelter or food and some worked for the police as informers so one day she along with her companions came to the meeting organised by the social worker and laid down her arms and surrendered. This was a big news and was covered by all the media nationwide. She was hailed as the bandit queen who had finally surrendered.

She did not realize how popular she had become and how unpopular she was with the policemen and the women who had become widows in her native village so the fire of revenge burned bright on their side now and they sought an opportunity .

The bandit queen realizing that she was greatly admired for her courage in taking revenge and seeking justice this way then started campaigning seriously for election to the parliament and won a seat. She was now a parliament member and was accorded all the privileges such a post gave her including  body guards because her life was still in danger in spite of the amnesty.

But the policemen and the villagers never forgave her and blamed her for the death of their husbands and relatives ignoring the fact that  they were the ones who had committed a crime when they had raped her. This culture of impunity is widespread in a caste based society where people of lower caste are routinely abused even today. Most policemen belong to the upper caste who come from the land owning class.

So one day the assassins caught up with the retired bandit queen and now a parliamentarian and shot her dead bringing her tumultuous life to an abrupt end.

The caste based society among the Hindus is an outdated system that is perpetuated in the name of religion and tradition although the Indian Constitution says that all people are equal and have equal rights but traditions and social rules are much harder to change than what the Constitution says so this discrimination continues.

The government has made tremendous progress in giving lower caste people better opportunities in getting education and jobs but it is still a steep hill to climb for many specially in rural areas where the abuses continue.

The original concept of caste was based on safeguarding privileges of higher caste people who enjoyed land, property, education and wealth at the expense of low caste people so they are not eager to give those privileges up any time soon. It is just like the slave owners in America who fought hard to continue slavery because they benefited from it.

The low caste people clean the toilets , sweep the roads, collect the garbage, work as landless farmers, do all the work that the upper caste people hate to do so the system continues. The stigma of un touchability is added to the poor people  to make them more downtrodden so that they are always “kept in their place” although with education and job opportunities  some are improving their lives that was not possible before independence. Still it will take a long time to change the mentality of the upper caste people who denigrate these people although they feel that their days of superior human beings are numbered with the result of the dilution of their privileges.

Now imagine an upper caste person who has to clean his toilet and collect the garbage or farm his own land. This is not easy for him to accept because that is not the tradition.

As India makes progress toward modernization with rapid infrastructure development all over the country, the class and the caste structure is coming under pressure. Now the children of the so called low caste people get education and get government jobs so they do not have to sweep the road and collect the garbage like their parents.

But the stigma still prevails. The children of slaves who now have education and jobs in the United States are still treated badly by the white policemen who just can not accept that blacks are equal to the whites so throw them in jail for minor traffic violations and a broken tail light  while a white teenager who rapes a girl is given a suspended sentence by the white judge and a slap on the wrist only.

So it will take many more generations for the low caste people in India to take their rightful place in the society with the help of the government and the private sector so that one day all people will be treated equally under the law and no one will enjoy impunity if he commits a crime.

Such a change will come only if there is a change of heart and people are treated with respect and consideration irrespective of their social status and background. I can see the outdated social system of caste slowly crumbling and may someday usher in the era of equality for all  but it is a very very slow process.

So what do young women do who are raped by village thugs with impunity whom the policemen will not investigate? Will they too become bandit queens and end their lives in bloodshed? Is there no hope for abused women worldwide ? Who they will run to for help ?I do not know the answer.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

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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

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Биография Анила по-русски

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Result of hard work

Synopsis: There is no substitute for hard and honest work. This blog gives an example of a person who succeeded in making a living for him through hard work and honesty .

hard-work-to-become-good

Source : Google photo

There was a young man who did not have much in a way of formal education so suffered the fate of being unemployed like so many other people. But one day he decided to do something about it and started selling tea by the roadside during the Magh Mela festival that lasts for a month attracting a huge number of pilgrims.

In India any one can start his own business  any time unlike in other countries  where  a  business permit is required, fees paid and a lot of paperwork is required before a person can start a business no matter how small . The Indians are blessed because there is practically no regulation.

So the young man sat by the roadside whole day selling hot tea to pilgrims who were only too happy to buy a cup to ward off the winter chill. At the end of the month the young man made a profit of 900 Rupees. It may not sound much these days but 60 years ago 900 Rupees was a tidy sum not to be snickered at so with this amount in his pocket he came to my father and asked him to keep the money for safekeeping.

My father was a very honest person and always willing to help anyone in need so he was trusted and highly respected in our community. The young man did not trust his relatives with the money and told my father that with this small amount he wants to open a general merchandise store.

At first it was a ramshackle shack he rented and sold candies, stationeries, pens and the like because 900 Rupees was not a whole lot of money but he persevered and slowly built up his stock of things to sell as his customer base grew. I could see him taking meticulous notes of what people wanted and every afternoon pedaled his old bicycle to buy the things people had ordered the previous day. People were sympathetic to his effort to stand on his own two feet and patronized his store. My father was his first customer which he never forgot and the fact that my father kept his money safely.

Over the years his store prospered and he moved to a better location and decided that he wanted to get married because he was earning enough to support a wife. So a plain looking scarecrow of a woman was found and they got married at a minimum cost while neighbors and friends chipped in to pay for some expenses because everyone loved the great courage of this young man and his untiring effort to make his store a success without any help from anyone. The banks in India do not give loans to small entrepreneurs like him so he got the money by selling tea.

Then one day his doctor told him the bad news. He had TB. It was heartbreaking news for everybody because everyone rooted for him and wanted him to get well but TB is an expensive disease to treat. No one knew what happened to him for a long time because he had simply vanished leaving his store in charge of a relative.

This relative knew nothing about running a store and had never worked in his life so he ran down the inventory quickly and failed to collect what people owed the store. We all felt very sorry for the demise of his store that was his lifeline and we all knew how hard he had worked to establish it. Then one day the young man returned with puffy cheeks and good health because he had beaten the dreadful TB but the store had to be rebuilt from scratch so again he started to pedal his bicycle and buy the things people wanted to buy so slowly his efforts paid off and his store regained the financial health. It was brimming with goods of all kinds. Now the suppliers started to come to his store to inquire what he needed so he did not have to go to buy them downtown any more.

His scare crow wife gained health and they moved to a newly rented place where he also kept a room full of goods that his store needed. He bought his wife jewelries and told me one day that he now had a CD player which was the current fad.

He was now ageing with a lot of grey hair but still very jolly and rotund and with a great sense of humor. He always greeted me happily and was eager to know where I lived and what I did. He had known me since I was a 10 year old kid and always showed great pride in me. Alas that was the last time I saw him because he passed away quickly due to jaundice. His wife soon sold the store and left the town for good because she knew nothing about running a store even if it was so well established.

I write about this remarkable young man and his struggle because I believe that hard work always pays off in the end if one has the stamina and determination to succeed as he did.

This brings me to another story that is also heartbreaking.  It was in my father’s village in Bengal where his elder brother lived. He wanted to do something useful in his life for a change and asked my father to finance his store that he wanted to open in the village. So my father built him a store from scratch and filled it with merchandise but this uncle did not know how to run a store and gave all the goods away to people who promised to pay him back but never did. He kept a meticulous record of who owed him how much but was never able to collect so the store closed, its roof caved in and walls collapsed turning a once neat store into a heap of mud.

So why the young man succeeded while the older man supposedly wiser failed? This is something to think about. We all face uncertainties in our lives at some point and need help. It can be a simple advice or a definitive guide to the road to success. When all is said and done, each person is literally responsible for determining his own future so every decision he makes determines his future.

It is not enough to get a college education these days as many young people find out to their dismay. I often asked the college students in my dorm in California what they wanted to study and why they were taking the courses they did. What they expected to do when they graduated? The usual answers I received were, I don’t know or I have not figured it out yet.

I was very impressed by a young girl in my home town who one day asked me what she should do for a bright future to which I suggested that she should study hard and enter a competitive IAS exam ( Indian administrative Service) .To my surprise she took it to heart , prepared hard and passed the exam.

After her training at the academy she was assigned as the district magistrate of a town with all the perks her job was entitled to including a big salary, free bungalow, servants, vehicle and many such benefits. I could not be happier for her success.

A classmate of mine who lived near our house also showed his mettle when he said that he will study hard to pass the forthcoming university exams so we studied together whole night for months and passed the exams with good grades.  So the hard work pays off.

I also know that many people come forward to help when they see a young person is trying his best to succeed in his life. There are many kind people who have struggled themselves in their younger days and know the feeling of exasperation that comes to someone trying hard but not getting anywhere.

But the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual. People can help to some extent but the individual has to do his best and try the hardest. If you work in an office and always do more than your fair share of work and do an excellent job then you can be sure that someone will notice it and recommend you for a promotion. People who procrastinate , who show up late for work, leave early and do not prepare the report the manager wants on time are the losers and often get fired.

So I have come to realize that one trait that is most valued in a person is honesty. An honest person is a hard working person who always tries his best often without accolades. An honest person has a conscience that tells him what is expected of him and he does the job. He is a reliable person because his conscience bothers him if he lets people down when they depend on him.

The young man selling tea was an honest person. I miss him.

 

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

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

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-русски

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