Manipulative media

Source : Google photo of the manipulative media

Synopsis : The manipulative media that push their own agenda , be it political or safeguarding the economic interest of their backers is everywhere but have come under scrutiny by the viewers everywhere who want the truth. So their dominance worldwide is being challenged now by more independent news channels and very dedicated and fearless reporters so the power is now shifting to the common people who will decide how the news should be disseminated.

The media meaning TV, newspapers and other printed tabloids make a lot of money so they become very powerful in influencing the viewers or the readers one way or the other on any subject. They increasingly play a crucial role in the politics of any country or in the international relationships between countries in a positive or negative way.

By and large most people get their information through television news and through the analysis done by some so called experts not realizing that the news media can be highly manipulative to sway people’s mind on any subject in favor of whoever pays the media most. They can and do run ads favoring certain candidates during the election year or they can and do run negative ads on the opponents that may have consequences.

In the process they rake in millions of dollars and increase their ratings but now it has come out that some media especially the TV and newspapers try to increase their ratings illegally by paying certain number of viewers to watch their channels so that it may appear that they are very popular.

The higher ratings can attract a large number of advertisers who pay a premium price for a short advertisement for whatever they are selling. No one wants to spend money on advertisements in a not so popular news media so different TV channels and news media want to be popular by using illegal means and by manipulating the ratings. If caught, they are given a hefty fine and a court reprimand but often they get away with a slap on their greedy wrists and nothing more.

Some TV channels are exclusively political in favor of a certain political party like the Fox TV in the United States while pretending that they offer unbiased news but people are not easily fooled these days and switch to channels that offer unbiased news. The competition for money through advertising and sponsorships is so fierce that the media tend to resort to dirty tricks to become more popular.

During the election campaigns, almost all politicians lie and make fake promises to attract voters and often win although in the next election they are reminded that they did not keep their promises so suffer losses. 

The TV and radio channels as well as the numerous magazines and news papers are controlled by a few very powerful News corporations that have deep ties with some political parties in order to win huge benefits for them in some way or the other. Often we see that the CEO of a prominent news channel is given a top job as the Press Secretary or some such post in a newly elected government if he had supported the politician with money during the election campaign.

In the politics, the donors are often shielded from scrutiny by the public so that they can remain in the shadows and reap huge benefits if their candidate wins. They do so by influencing the government to favor bills that protect their business interests. The news media do the same in order to gain prominence and notoriety so they all tend to play the game of how to make more money to stay in business and prosper even if it means they have to spread fake news, incorrect news, exaggerated news, sensational news that attract more viewers, suppressing news that exposes their shenanigans or simply switch off the focus on certain news if it suits their agenda.

If a news channel exposes such dirty tricks played by their rivals, they can come under attack through fake news, cooked up and fake charges to drag them to court etc. or a massive campaign to discredit them publicly for going against powerful News Corporations who have very deep pockets and crooked lawyers.

One of the most dangerous professions is that of an investigative reporter who reports on the wrong doings of the elected officials or the mafia. They have lost hundreds of very courageous reporters who have been killed for their honesty and integrity in reporting news and the rest are threatened daily by those who see them as a threat to their business. In other countries, the honest and courageous reporters are put in jail on trumped up charges so as to discourage others to expose the criminals.

The news reporters who report directly from the war zones often suffer serious injuries or even death or are captured by the enemies who can then torture them or kill them or ask for ransom for their release. They are the real heroes and heroines who generate news at the cost of the great risk to their lives in very dangerous situations. The people who sit in their news headquarters back home simply read the news or analyze the news they receive from their reporters in the field but they get paid a much higher salary than the poor reporters who take all the risk.

Now the social media like the You tube, facebook, Twitter and numerous other such channels put out news daily, some fake and some real to expose the wrongdoers that millions of people share through their cell phones and computers worldwide . There are some very wonderful and brave people in India who speak in such media fearlessly and expose the people who are corrupt, have stolen public money or have done other criminal acts but they do so at the grave risk to their lives daily. One such brave heart was Rajiv Dixit who was murdered by the goons of a political party because he spoke freely on them and their illegal activities ( read my blog called I miss Rajiv Dixit here )

This threat to the reporters is not limited to them but also extends to those who demand justice and freedom to speak against those who commit crimes. They may be activists of various NGOs who are fighting for human rights, for saving the environment and saving the endangered wild life, who are trying to rescue trafficked women and children, who are helping the rescued prostitutes, who are fighting for justice for those who have been killed for speaking the truth, who are fighting for equal rights for girls and women to have education like what Malala Yousafzai does.

Source : Google photo of Malala Yousafzai

All those people face certain danger from those who see them as threats to their business or ideology so they send in the goons to do their dirty work. These unsung heroes and heroines are soon forgotten because people have short memories and tend to go on to the next topic of interest.

In some countries their governments take great interest in spreading false news like what Hitler did in Germany.

                                 Google photo of Joseph Goebbels

He appointed Joseph Goebbels as the Propaganda Minister to spread fake news. Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent anti-Semitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. (Wikipedia.)

Goebbels was very good at what he did because he was a master of manipulation through fake news that pleased Hitler very much. He controlled what was to be published in any printed media and what could be shown in the movies but this is still being done in some autocratic countries like China where the freedom of press is very limited. They do not spare anyone who raises his voice in protest including the world famous artist Ai Wei Wei.

Google photo of Ai Wei Wei

But in so called democratic countries, this manipulation of the media goes on without any shame or guilt because it serves the economic interests of certain people who are in the politics, big corporations and other business.

The media manipulation is nothing new. It has been practiced since a long time by the state, by the people in power and the very rich and powerful people to safeguard their business interests. The form and the methods have also evolved over the years as the technology for the widespread dissemination of news worldwide brought in powerful tools to do so like the television, radio and Internet. Now the news can spread to all parts of the world no matter how remote using the satellites and wireless radio frequencies.

Today we live in the world where people can see each other and talk to each other in real time through Skype seamlessly. There are many such video transmission channels available for free to anyone who has a smart phone or access to a computer. You can send a video file, photos or written texts to any corner of the world instantly so the news can spread very fast especially bad news.

The big news corporations tend to sensationalize bad news like war, famine, genocide, natural calamities , corruption scandals, sexual misbehaviour of some people more than good and decent news so people start forming negative opinions about certain countries from where the bad news are frequently reported. This attempt to sensationalize bad news gives the TV and radio channels a better rating than the ones that report mostly good news. Who cares if India sends a mission to the Moon? The reaction is why they are wasting their money on Moon mission when we hear that there are so many poor people there?

So what you hear or see in the media are often filtered to present only a derogative side of a country and rarely its successes.

The movie industry also plays a very important role in forming opinion about certain issues. Goebbels made movies to show how great Hitler was and what a good job he was doing while also showing how bad the Jews were sucking the blood of the German economy. His movies never showed the concentration camps where the Jews were being gassed or the Gestapo torture methods.

The Hollywood movies still use stereotypes to show how backward the Mexicans or the Chinese are and still make movies to show how backward and pathetic the Native Americans are. This is the bread and butter of the endless Western cowboy movies showing Injuns and squaws groveling in the dirt. You add the real Indians with their horrible English accent and the Chinese to that list to get a very biased opinion among the viewers but the reality is very far from the movies. Still it makes some impression on the gullible. These unwashed, uneducated foul mouth people with bad teeth and worse manners also claim that the world is flat among other things.

One thing the big TV and radio news channels that manipulate news for the profit of their sponsors and backers do is that they underestimate the power of the social media that uses the share button to spread real or fake news instantly and freely throughout the world. They fail to understand so underestimate the power the smart phone users have at their fingertips to create a Tsunami of millions who make their opinions on any issue known. I mentioned earlier that there are very brave people like Rajiv Dixit who using the You tube media have exposed numerous corrupt people and have brought tremendous pressure on the Government to punish the guilty at a great risk to their own life. There are many such people who are highly respected by the masses so they listen to them whenever they speak including the Government.

They create a mass reaction in the country through their expose to seek justice for someone who was murdered or is in jail on trumped up charges where the police beat him or her to make them sign fake confessions to crimes they never committed. This mass awareness has come through a revolution called smart phone that everyone has these days.

There are very intelligent young and not so young people who speak very fluently and passionately on current issues and do a better job of investigative reporting than the paid professionals. They are the social activists who are not afraid of the police or the goons of the mafia so they expose the crimes, the cruel policemen in the pay of the politicians, the corrupt officers of the government and many others to bring the issues to the front and to get justice.

One such girl in Sudan through her protests has been able to bring about great changes in the government because she has the persuasive power and the eloquence of her oratory skills that people admire. She was like the catalyst who started a firestorm there to bring about changes.

The manipulative media that follows the official line rarely has the courage to do so. They either ignore the social activists or give them the least coverage but the common people with cell phones make videos and post them on You tube that millions watch instantly. This revolution in the social media that spreads news instantly and without cost is a nightmare for the well-established news media run by the big corporations.

The downside of the instant messaging in the social media is the spread of fake news that some people make out of malice and to counter the real news if they are paid by the politicians who are under scrutiny so the common people discard them and delete them. You can never underestimate the basic intelligence of the masses.

In the undemocratic countries like North Korea and China, people pay a high price for voicing their dissent but it also happens in the so called democratic countries.

Remember Jane Fonda, Mohamed Ali and many others who openly criticized the US involvement in the war in Vietnam? They were constantly harassed by the FBI and were dragged to many Senate hearing to explain why they were so vocal. Jane Fonda was treated in Hollywood as a leper and was shunned even by her famous father Henry but she persisted and proved in the end that she was right in her protest.

Martin Luther King was killed by someone just because he wanted equal rights for all in the United Sates. His civil rights movement was a success but he never lived to see it. Bobby Kennedy was killed because he had started to investigate some very powerful people of their wrongdoings.

What hurts me most is when a corrupt policeman or a judge tries to force a journalist, a reporter or an activist for a cause to reveal his sources so that they too can be arrested on false charges and beaten in jails. This happens in many countries in secret interrogation centers, in jails and in torture rooms where the innocent are thus punished. We know that no reporter or a journalist worth his salt will reveal his sources because he has the moral obligation to protect him or her. No court of law anywhere or a cruel policeman in the pay of the drug mafia or a politician can legally force a reporter to betray his sources but they suffer just the same. It happens in democratic countries even today.

In conclusion I should say that the profession of the news reporters is a noble one that the common people in any country understand and support. What they do not support are the biased and manipulative TV channels and other media that do not present the truth and serve only the interest of those who pay them.

Therefore, I foresee a boycott of the big news channels of big corporations if people come to know their true agenda. I also see a decline in the movie industry that promotes drugs, violence and prostitution like what is happening now in Mumbai because the people will boycott them to show their anger. It is the same anger they show when they vote out the corrupt politicians so the power is now shifting to the people everywhere that makes bad people accountable for their crimes. Truth always prevails in the end but to get there, some people suffer needlessly.

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

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

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India as I knew it

Source : Google photo of the Holi celebration in India

Synopsis : A country like India has many facets to it. It has the physical beauty, the rich cultural heritage, the landmark world heritage sites, the religions, the wildlife, the flora and fauna, the rich heritage of the tribes, the festivals that people enjoy, the diverse food ,the languages, the clothings, the art and handicraft etc. all make up many facets of a country. I will present mostly the sheer physical beauty of India in this blog and have included numerous other power points on India in the links.

India evokes many emotions in my heart. The sound of cuckoo birds and peacocks , its green fields where you can see the Nilgai placidly munching on grass, its lofty snow clad peaks of the mountains in the north, the lush Eastern and Western ghats covered in emerald green tea gardens, its Thar desert and the salt pans, the majestic and astounding forts of Rajasthan, the crystal clear lake of Dahl in Sri Nagar and lofty peaks, its forests where lions and tigers roam freely, its extraordinary beauty and its varied people, their customs, traditions and culture, numerous religions all make India a very unique country that evokes nostalgia in anyone living abroad. People who have never visited India have no idea how beautiful the country is and what it has to offer to dazzle your senses.

I have seen India changing over a period of 70 years from the days of poor connectivity, poor roads and infrastructure to a modern India that is transforming the country at a break neck speed creating world record every day in mega engineering projects all over the country. It is a country now going digital in a way unseen elsewhere in the world, where almost all the services are going on line, where the young people are Internet savvy, where changes in every sphere are coming faster than people can cope, where new laws have been enacted to unify the country through uniform education system, uniform goods and services tax , uniform nationwide ID system that allows access to all government services including banking, farmer protection laws, universal health care for all citizens, massive housing schemes for the poor, roads and electric connectivity to all the villages, new dedicated freight corridors to transport freight all over the country from ports to consumers , new airports everywhere are some of the changes that have taken place since I left the country some 50 years ago. India will soon have a nationwide uniform civil and criminal laws.

The new super highways and high speed trains connect to all parts of the country where most people still travel by trains or buses. The phone connectivity has improved in a way no one had foreseen before the age of fiber optic cables that give you instant connection nationwide and worldwide. Millions of people in urban and rural areas carry cell phones that connect them to anyone anywhere anytime instantly.

But today I want to present to you a power point of photos that will show you India in all its beauty from the peaks of Himalayas to the shores of Kanyakumari in dazzling photos . It will show you the physical beauty of India that will leave you breathless. The power point will focus more on natural beauty and less on modern India with its super highways and new airports, new high speed trains and new everything.

It is a fast developing country that is technologically advanced and sends missions to Moon and beyond using its own rockets and satellites and is a militarily strong nation to take on any challenges.

At least 10 species in the Ganga face extinction: Ministry reports -  environment - Hindustan Times
Ganga river dolphins in India

Source : Google photo of Ganga river dolphins

When I was a child, I used to see the dolphins playing in the Yamuna river when there was no awareness of their value and importance among the poachers but now slowly the awareness has come and they are being protected in the rivers of India. I used to hear the call of wolves and hyenas near the cities but they have gone away to more forested areas as the population has grown and cities expanded.

The Dancing Bears of India: Moving Toward Freedom | Saving Earth |  Encyclopedia Britannica
Dancing bears in India

Source : Google photo of dancing bears of India

indian peacock - Google Search | Peacock pictures, Peacock, Most beautiful  birds
Peacock is the national bird of India

Source : Google photo of peacock in India

I used to see the bears and other wild animals that the nomads used to exploit to gain a small living but that too has changed so now the bears are protected in sanctuaries where they are given all the care they need. You can still see the peacocks in vast gardens in any city where they show off their dazzling colors and move around freely because they are protected. The tiger and lion population is slowly increasing in national parks that are numerous and guarded by the armed park rangers so that is very good news in a country where poaching still goes on.

Source : Google photo of Gir lion in India

Which country has both tigers and lions? - Quora
Royal Bengal tiger of Indita

Source : Google photo of Royal Bengal Tiger in India

The captive crocodile and gharial breeding program of the government has helped save the animals and their numbers are increasing as well. The breeding farms later release the crocs and gharials into the wilderness where they grow up naturally.

Gharial Conservation at the Bronx Zoo - YouTube
Gharial of India

Source : Google photo of gharial that is protected by law.

The elephants, rhinoceros , cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, mountain lions, panthers,red pandas, numerous species of deer, hyenas, foxes, wolves and other wildlife are now protected so they too are increasing in numbers.

There was a time thousands of years ago when the population was small and the forest cover was extensive where the animals and the tribal people lived in harmony but that has changed. Still there are many national reserve parks and forests where one can see the wildlife like lions and tigers any time. While some tribal people still live in forested areas, most of them seek employment in cities and villages where they reside. ( See my blog on Tribes of India here ).

I have prepared 8 power points on India wildlife , birds and history that you can see here using the link given below :

Link : https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmoX9W4gHulzkVBmmp-4dV5TfSTw?e=qQy2Yh

I have also prepared 35 power points on Indian art and crafts that you may see using the link given below :

Link : https://1drv.ms/u/s!AmoX9W4gHulzhklBL0QUHftOhNTD?e=EFUVEz

Now you can see the sheer beauty of India in the power point presented here that you may share with anyone anytime.

https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmoX9W4gHulzm1BL2OMJmIJW43ja?e=48jURh

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

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Wonderful caves of Ellora and Ajanta

Source : Google photo of the Kailasha temple in Ellora

Synopsis : India represents one of the oldest civilizations in the world and has numerous World Heritage sites like Ellora to prove it. Anyone visiting India should see these scattered gems of temples, viharas and hand dug cave temples of Ellora , Ajanta and numerous other sites like Khajuraho that represent the very best of ancient India in all its glory.

There is a World Heritage site near Aurangabad in the Maharashtra state of India that boggles the mind because there is nothing like it anywhere in the world. It is called the Ellora cave complex among which is situated the most monolithic rock cut temple called Kailasha temple. It is larger than the Parthenon and in its sheer size, beauty and complexity it stupefies the visitors.

Ellora is known as the only such site in India and in the whole world where three major religions ie Hinduism, Jainism and the Buddhism come together in its clusters of rock cut temples, shrines and Vihars that show tolerance and celebration of the three religions together that makes it so unique. We were so impressed by what we saw that I made a powerpoint on it that I will present in this blog.

I found the English narration of Ellora and the Kailasha temple that shows in detail in the subsequent videos the rock cut temples and the monasteries at Ellora that will open your mind and no doubt will leave you spellbound as it does anyone who has ever visited the site.

What is not known to the public is that there is a vast underground cave complex right under the Kailasha temple that is completely sealed off to the public by the authorities because no one has ever returned from it who ventured to investigate what lies there hidden. Some say that whatever lies hidden there emits radiation so it is harmful to humans. Other say that the temple was built by the Aliens using a technology unknown to humans who left their tools in the basement caves . Whatever is the truth is hidden now from the public because the government does not want anyone to venture into those labyrinthine caves because it is dangerous.

Aurangabad is a city known for its numerous monuments like the Bibi ka Maqbara, the grave of the Emperor Aurangjeb , the water powered grinding mills etc. but what lies just near the city is more astounding like the Daulatabad fort and the Ellora cave complex that attracts visitors from around the world. The caves are only about 31 kms from Aurangabad and the Daulatabad fort is about 12 kms from the city.

The 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff, not far from Aurangabad, in Maharashtra. Ellora, with its uninterrupted sequence of monuments dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, brings the civilization of ancient India to life.

The caves at Ellora are man made and cut from the rocky hills some 1400 years ago starting in 600 AD and cover a period of over400 years. The Jain temples were added after the Hindu and the Buddhist temples to make a total of 34 caves, monasteries and the viharas that were hand dug over a period of centuries but the most astonishing fact is that the Kailasha temple was cut from the rock from top down. You can find some similarity of it from Ethiopia where there are rock cut churches cut from top down to bottom but there is no comparison because the Ethiopian churches are very crude and simple while the Kailasha temple is anything but.

Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela | Ancient architecture, Ethiopia, Ruins  architecture

Source : Google photo of rock cut church in Ethiopia

The scientists say that the sheer volume of rocks cut and removed to create the Kailasha temple that runs into hundreds of thousands of tons and done only in 12 short years is not possible unless some special technology was used that points to aliens. According to them ,the volume of rocks cut and removed would have taken thousands of workers more than 100 years so how could they do it only in 12 years ?’No one knows the answer that may lay hidden in deep underground caves that no one is allowed to enter.

The entire complex of Ellora that contains more than 34 caves were dug by hand by workers using only chisel and hammer over a period of more than 400 years . It became a major pilgrimage site for all three religions that still coexist peacefully in India making India so unique in the world.

You may have heard of another World Heritage site in Maharashtra called Ajanta caves that are some 102 kms from Aurangabad . They are all Buddhist caves unlike Ellora but are no less impressive. I will post a powerpoint on Ajanta here as well for you to see and appreciate Ajanta.

Watch the first video on the greatness of Kailash temple with English narration here.

Source : U tube video in English

Source : U tube video on Ellora ( in English )

Source : U tube video on Ellora ( in English )

Source : U tube video in English

The power point below is on Ellora caves that I made after our visit.

https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmoX9W4gHulzgkOVWVFnOE_10dJ1?e=2Vv2aH

The power point below is on Ajanta caves in Maharashtra state of India that is also a very unique site of Buddhist cave temples that still have incredible paintings and statues of Buddha but are less intricate in carving details than Ellora Hindu and Jain temples. However, Ajanta caves are richly decorated with paintings showing the life of Buddha.

https://1drv.ms/p/s!AmoX9W4gHulzgkIJEfgoWS03bGAc?e=IigArd

These two videos are in English on Ajanta caves

Source : U tube video on Ajanta in English

Source : U tube video on Ajanta in English

 

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

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What remains?

Mummy of Pharaoh Ramses II

Source : Google photo of Ramses II in the Cairo museum

Synopsis : Life is never meant to be eternal so we are born, we live for a while happily or miserably and one day lie down to sleep forever. Our footprint on the wet sand is soon erased by the ocean waves but it does not mean that we never existed. We leave our trace no matter how faint behind in some form or other like our DNA that is carried on by the future generation. But is it only DNA that we contribute or something more? What really remains?

Last year my wife and I went to Egypt and stood in awe in front of the mummy of Pharaoh Ramses II in the National museum of Cairo. We also saw the mummy of other kings and queens there like Hatshepsut and Néfertari. In Luxor we saw the mummy of Tutankhamun later. We were looking at the remains of a person who died thousands of years ago but his body was very carefully preserved through the long process of mummification to preserve it forever. We could see his face, the high ridge of his nose and cheek bones and some hair on his head.

Here was a king who had Moses as his companion since childhood but later when Moses grew up and realized that he was Jewish and had a role to play in the emancipation of his people who were crying out for his help to set them free, he came into loggerheads with Ramses . The rest is history as mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible so I will not repeat it here.

What is interesting is that there is no trace of Moses anywhere, no grave or monument has ever been found or any skeleton or his bone fragments because the Jews did not preserve his body like the Egyptians so all we know about Moses is through what we learned from the Old testament. It however, does not mean that his remains will never be found because some people are seriously looking for him.

The Egyptians took the mummification process seriously or rather they were ordered to preserve the body of their kings and queens by the royalty themselves who began the construction of their final resting place deep underground in the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor and elsewhere . Their crypts were buried deep underground with many treasures and other artifacts that would be needed by the dead in their afterlife. Then all traces of the location were effaced so that no one would know the location to dare to disturb the Kings and Queens in their eternal sleep . The fact that the thieves found some of the locations and robbed many of the tombs of all the treasures is another story that is not worth mention here.

The Jews in Palestine continued their traditions even under the Roman rule and buried their dead in often secret or not so secret underground crypts so many such tombs of very important historical people have been recently found although the final resting place of Jesus is still being searched. The bones of the skeleton do not deteriorate so can last thousands of years without mummification so many important remains have been found in Israel and other countries of the Middle East.

A computer generated image of a 3D model created from 70 photographs. For more information on this project see https://vimeo.com/66036184

Source : Google photo of queen Arsinoe IV

They found the remains of the Queen Arsinoe IV of Egypt who was murdered by the order of her half sister Cleopatra but she was not mummified as per Egyptian tradition although her few bones have been identified. Arsinoe was killed on the steps of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, her blood staining one of the wonders of the ancient world. She was perhaps twenty years old. ( Wikipedia)

Today I want to write about what remains of the vast majority of the common people like us who are not descendants of Kings and Queens so I had to give you a bit of history above to set the tone of this blog.

The Moslems bury their dead wrapped in a simple white shroud and place it in a shallow grave in the ground with a simple headstone .Even their kings and queens are buried this way to show that in death all are equal to the common people . It also shows their humility and belief that all people rich or poor are equal in death so they are buried the same way. Only in some countries you will see very grand tombs of their royalty like in Agra where Emperor Shahjehan and his queen are buried in Taj Mahal. His son Aurangjeb who became the Emperor chose to be buried in a plain grave like a pauper under the sky near Aurangabad that we have visited.

The Hindus do not bury their dead but cremate within 24 hours just like the ancient Romans and Greek did. This method is practiced all over the world now because people find it easier, simpler and hygienic as well besides saving land. Imagine if millions of people start burying their dead, soon there will be very little land left.

The topic of death and cremation or burial is a morbid one but an essential part of our life because no one lives forever. Most people do not like to think about such things because it makes them feel impotent to do something about it so they look for extreme measures to keep looking younger and try to ignore the facts of life as long as they can.

In some countries, the relatives and friends of the departed mourn for a while where women wear black dress for some time while in other countries like the Philippines people just wear a black plastic tag on their blouse or shirt to show that someone in their family died. They go on living normally because the death of someone does not change their life in any specific way. Women tend to show their grief this way more than men.

In the Hindu culture, the death of a family member is mourned briefly so after a few days a priest is called and some rituals are performed to appease the soul of the departed . At this time some 14 Brahmins are invited and given food and gifts because that is what is required. Then they put up on the wall a photo of the departed to remember them for a while. The next generation soon finds such photos irrelevant and takes them down to replace them with some of their own.

It is hard to feel any emotion for some one who died a long time ago whom you did not know personally like your grand father or great great grandfather or grand mother so you take down their photos and keep them in your attic where it collects dust.

So what really remains after we leave this world? Some people are remembered with a statue in a public square or with a great mausoleum built by the state because they were very important people who did something for their country but we the common people do not fall in that category. We are born of humble parents , live an ordinary life just like everyone else and die one day of some disease or old age so we are turned into ashes leaving no trace behind except a faded photo on the wall that too comes down after a while.

During the war , we the ordinary people become the cannon fodder and die in the battle ground where the bodies rot or sometimes taken away for cremation or burial. Hardly anyone remembers all those millions who died this way because the burden of remembering all the millions becomes too great for any people. The lucky few are remembered in some way by their government but soon the next generation forgets them and moves on with their mundane life.

If you go to the Middle Eastern countries, you will see their modern cities and impressive infrastructure but no one remembers all those poor migrant workers who built such beautiful cities but were treated badly by their employers. Does anyone remember those thousands of workers who toiled for more than 20 years to build a masterpiece called Taj Mahal? Does anyone remember those people who built the Pyramids or the Great wall of China? They built something extraordinary but left no trace of their own. The tourists snapping photos do not even care.

So I come to the question – what is our life worth and how we have contributed in some way to make this world better? What will people remember about us who were the ordinary people? Is it necessary that some people remember us when we are no longer around? The story of the common people is a universal one. We are born in humble homes, we get some education and may be get an ordinary job that provides us sustenance and nothing more and then one day we find that we are old and counting our remaining days.

Some of us through our efforts get to live a comfortable life and start accumulating all kinds of things to fill our homes but one day it becomes irrelevant to the next generation if we are lucky enough to produce the next generation. Many are not so lucky because they do not get married and raise a family of their own. Our mundane life makes us believe less in ourselves and more in fate but this is where I disagree.

I have come to know that no single life is ordinary and everyone has a tale to tell that is worth listening to but the tragedy is that very few people make up their mind to tell their stories in some form or other. In the African countries, there still is a tradition of village bards who will tell you the stories of the people who no longer exist because they have an oral tradition to do so but that too is changing in the modern world so the bards are slowly disappearing.

There is a reticence among the common people to talk about themselves no matter how great their achievements in life so their stories remain untold. But if someone keeps a diary to write it all down so that people come to know about it later then their stories come out that may have great impact on everybody.

Source : Google photo of Anne Frank

If Anne Frank did not leave her diary, who would have known how she had suffered in the Nazi camps? Jewish Anne Frank hid in 1942 from the Nazi’s during the occupation of the Netherlands. Two years later she was discovered. In 1945 she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. ( Wikipedia)

Once I was shown a sculpted graphite slate by a widow who so proudly told me how talented her late husband was. I was stunned by the beauty of the sculpture that would have added a shine to any museum in the world but he never got the recognition. There must be so many such people who were great artists, musicians, sculptors, writers , philosophers or athletes who remained unknown and in obscurity. They had the talent that never saw the daylight.

Why they had to die in a concentration camp in Bergen Belsen before the world came to know about them ? Why couldn’t Anne Frank grow up to be a great writer of great fame but had to die so young? Why do so many talented people die without leaving a trace like that gentleman sculptor whose name I still do not know?

We all have dreams and aspirations but not all people achieve them due to reasons of their own though we all make some contribution to our society and our country in some way. It is a fact of life that we are not remembered even by our own relatives let alone others. Our memory is long on the hardship we suffer and the insults we receive but short on the contributions other have made and make. If only the tomb stones could talk, what wonderful stories we could have heard.

Secretly we all wish to be remembered for what we have achieved, how we have raised honest and successful children etc. but are ashamed to talk about ourselves as if it is a sin. It is never too late to leave behind something for posterity.

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

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Controlled emotions

Control your emotions

Source : Google photo

Synopsis : We are all full of emotions of all sorts that often control us because we do not learn to control them and end up in trouble. The blog looks at the way we can learn to control our emotions and look at all the difficulties with a philosophical viewpoint.

We often find ourselves in a situation where we are faced with people who use uncivil words, are rude and show extreme arrogance. The gentle people are shocked at such behavior of people so they keep quiet or just walk away to avoid confrontation but aggressive people react with aggression of their own.

This can lead to serious quarrel or physical altercation for reasons that soon spin out of control to make the matter worse that can have severe consequences. People who have short fuse are the most vulnerable because they are unable to control themselves and get angry quickly over real or perceived bad behavior toward them. To them it is an automatic self-defense mechanism by which they try to protect themselves or their loved ones.

All animals are emotional by nature but some animals show remarkable control over them and are very tolerant. You will never see a lion reacting in a violent way when the cubs keep climbing all over the lion and even bite his tail. He simply grunts and ignores their pesky antics. He reserves his anger for more serious matter like when a strong rival shows up to lay claim over his territory and over his lioness. Then he fights back but backs down if the rival accepts his supremacy and submits.

In fact the animals show remarkable control over their emotions that we as humans can learn a lot from. Animals show love for other species and can even help them out of a mortal situation but we often fight with our own kind and show no love or compassion for them let alone other species.

Have you ever seen the elephant crying when he is released from his chains after suffering of many years? Have you seen the rescued dolphins come near you to touch you and show their gratitude and love? They all have emotions and show it in their own way.

But we do not learn from the animals and cannot control our emotions like anger that is often triggered by some events. We yell at a driver who overtakes us on the highway at breakneck speed or forces his way into a parking slot where you were about to park your vehicle. We get angry quickly when someone elbows you out aggressively in a queue while you are patiently waiting for your turn for something. We can get angry for a number of reasons so it seems to me that of all kinds of emotions, the anger and its expression in words or deeds is the most prevalent in human beings while in the animal kingdom , they show tolerance and patience.

It often starts with the childhood. A child is not born angry but he learns to be angry when he sees that his needs are not addressed. If he is wet or hungry or tired and sees that no one is attending to him, he may show anger. A strong willed child can show his anger more than a submissive child. He can be angry enough to throw tantrums over silly demands because he has not yet learned to restrain himself or understand why he is not attended to while his mother may be sick or under depression over something.

He can be angry if he sees domestic violence frequently because he is small and unable to stop the physical abuse of his mother by his father or someone. In school he can get angry if some other kids start bullying him so he can get into fist fights or he becomes a bully tormenting other kids.

All these emotions like love, hate, anger, compassion, hurt feelings, vengeance, rebellion etc. are learned experience. A child is at first like a sponge who soaks up everything he sees or feels around him so he is a product of his upbringing.

He learns compassion and love for others from his parents if they are compassionate and show love for others. If he finds them always angry at each other or towards others then he too picks it up and starts to think that being angry is right. He learns hate if he sees it in others. He learns spitefulness, bigotry, lying, cheating, deceit, jealousy, meanness and many such negative values if he sees it and copies it because no one tells him otherwise. He learns religious intolerance and mistrust of others who are not like him from his parents who try to imprint their values on him while he is still young. So we see that some children are very sweet and adorable while others are monsters reflecting the way they are being raised.

What is controlled emotion ?

Controlled emotion is like a pond that hardly has any ripples. People who can control their emotions stand apart from those who cannot control themselves. It starts early but one can learn to control emotions even later in life through a process called self-introspection. Before you react, you start to think of the consequences so you back off and become calm like a pond with no ripples. I was told that meditation helps make a person calm but I also knew some people who pretended to be religious but could not control their anger. They can never accept that others have a right to be different than them just like the mullahs who take religious extremism as their way of life causing mayhem everywhere.

They get so emotional and angry that they start foaming around their mouth while they shriek and curse the infidels and the rest. They get very angry because of their conviction that they are always right.

I think this is the source of all human problems. When we think that we are always right, we get angry at those who do not share our values. All the bloodshed in the history of mankind has been caused by this arrogance and the feeling of self-righteousness.

When I look at the serene Buddha, I too feel a calmness that comes over me. Buddha was the epitome of serenity even when faced with adversity in his life. How could he remain so calm and unperturbed? Can we emulate him and learn how to control our emotions?

By learning to control your emotions, I do not mean you become an unfeeling, uncaring person who is emotionless. It means you learn to control all your emotions and become calm but you never lose your humanity. That is why people are generally attracted to highly spiritual people who exude an aura of calmness that makes them special. They will listen to your problems with compassion in their eyes and may suggest solutions. But when it comes to their personal matters, they remain aloof and calm. They may go without food for a few days or sleep under a tree somewhere but it does not bother them at all because they take asceticism seriously. They detach themselves from all worldly affairs so that they can devote all their time to spirituality.

This detachment comes from the total renunciation of everything we are so fond of. They do not crave for any special food, comforts of life, fancy clothing or even a comfortable shelter. You will see the Buddhist monks in their saffron or deep red clothes going out in the morning with a begging bowl in hand that pious people fill with food. This is their daily ritual because their life depends on such hardship they happily accept in order to be spiritual.

But ordinary people are not like them because we have to live in the world of our own that is filled with anxiety, fear of unknown and complexity of inter human relationships. We cannot give up our emotions like the monks even if we try. Controlling them often seems difficult.

The emotions are different for different age groups. A child’s emotions are related to his need for food, comfort and attention but a young girl seeks companionship through her cell phone , group chats or by constantly sharing inane photos of herself to attract attention. She gets very upset if no one greets her on her birthday so her emotional needs are different from a child.

At a certain age we tend to start asserting ourselves. Some call it rebellion. We do not like to be told all the time what to do, what to wear, what to eat, what company we should or should not keep so we get angry when we feel that our freedom to do what we please is under threat. I have seen young woman fighting with her parents because they do not approve her drug addict boyfriend and even saying words like I hate you. This is very common in the Western societies where people grow up differently than in the East. Their values are different from societies where people automatically show respect to older people.

In India , we never argue with our parents and take their decisions as commands but it is very different in the Western world where young people may answer back with retort. In the Asian culture , people show respect to old people and value their wisdom but not so in the Western countries where they say that you have to earn your respect so there are fundamental differences. These differences show in the character of a person later. We are essentially a product of our culture.

Young people tell each other that they have no life without a cell phone because it makes them connect with others but if you think about it for a moment, you may realize that one’s life does not depend on a cell phone or it should not. The material culture promotes this dependence because it serves the business interest of those who promote it.

People who make an effort to be in physical contact with another person feel happier than the one who chats whole day looking at a small screen cell phone. The physical nearness with another person whom you like makes you happier but the world is in love with the cell phones so interpersonal relationships that need physical contact suffers. We become lonelier if no one calls.

The loneliness extracts a heavy penalty in the form of depression that is also a kind of emotion that is very harmful. Some people may even lose their mental stability if they are always depressed for one reason or other or they start to drink. Here I will share with you a classic story of a friend of mine who suffered terrible depression.

He was a very bright and intelligent person who had a good job in an international research center, had a wonderful wife and a lovely child but one day he left his job and went to a country in Latin America where he got better salary. Here his misfortune was waiting for him when one day the rebels captured him and kept him hostage for ransom for a long time. Finally after suffering in the rebel camps where they kept him under primitive conditions, he lost all hope of living until  someone came up with the ransom money for him so he was finally released.

But his wife had left him and his grown up son also moved away so he took  to drinking and died alone because he could not come out of his depression. When you cannot control your emotions, it will end up controlling you as it happened to my friend. He just did not have the will to start all over again , find a job and get his family together.

The injustices of life can make a person angry who suffers and sees no respite so it is very difficult for anyone not to get angry or depressed. But I have found a secret that is really no secret at all so I will share it with you.

It starts with a very determined plan of your life. If you are determined to become a doctor or engineer or an IT professional, it means you have to be disciplined enough to spend long lonely hours of studies to pass tough exams. Once you have achieved your goal, you must dedicate your life in the service of others even if it means that you serve the poor as a country doctor or an IT specialist who helps the poor through IT skills.

Secondly , (and this part is really what makes you a worthy person) is to be satisfied with what you earn and never accumulate needless money that you do not need to live modestly but comfortably. Having more money than what a person really needs can become a curse so running after money like that friend in Latin America can often lead to unhappy situations where you lose control of your life. It does not mean that you do not save for your retirement someday. It requires sound money management skills that sadly many people do not have.

A calm person is a thinking person who thinks very deeply about everything and takes his time to come to a wise decision that can change his life in a positive way. Too much emotion can often cloud your judgment so you can make serious mistakes like starting to drink or seek solace in drugs. The anger can be managed if you learn to meditate and look deeply into yourself.

So learn to control your emotions before it starts to control you.

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

les blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

My 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-русскиu

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