August 15, 2017

BEST WISHES

Posted in Uncategorised at 9:20 pm by వసుంధర

Country first. Religion and caste next. The spirit helped us to drive away foreign forces out of the country and achieve independence.

Religion and caste first. Country next. The local forces trying to impose this lunacy on us are to be driven out of the country for the survival of independence.

BEST WISHES FROM FLATFORUM ON THE OCCASSION OF OUR 71ST INDEPENDENCE DAY

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July 21, 2017

Hindi Medium – Film Review

Posted in Chit Chat, Film Reviews at 9:06 pm by వసుంధర

watch the film 

India is an interesting country. Indians in India are more interesting than the country. We are the most disciplined, law abiding and patriotic – if we live in a foreign country. In our own country, we are different. We believe in values, more to preach. We encourage corruption and wrong means for the right end. We seem to be fanatics of our own languages to the extent that we divide ourselves on those lines. At personal level, our craving is only for English, a foreign language very intelligently injected into our veins by the British. We consider English as the language of the privileged. The mother tongue is neglected, if not heckled.   

This is the theme on which the film Hindi Medium was based. The film was released worldwide on May 19, 2017.  

Raj Batra (Irfan Khan) is a rich businessman with no sophisticated background. His wife Mita (Saba Qarim) aspires to be in sophisticated company. She wants her 5-year old daughter Piya to study in a corporate school. Raj can meet the financial demands for admission into such schools but his real problem is meeting the required social obligations. The parents of a prospective student are supposed to be fluent in English and have high class culture. Raj and Mita tried to comply, through a consultant. However, Raja failed miserably to the disheartenment of Mita. Now, they have just one option. The corporate schools have a quota for the poor. Raj is sufficiently rich to bribe the concerned officials to get a certificate that he is very poor. Unfortunately, a situation arose in which the certificate had to be backed by proper evidence. Raj and Mita have gone to temporarily live in a poverty-ridden nighbourhood. There they have come across Shyamprakash Kori (Deepak Dobriyal), a compassionate poor person. Here, the film has dealt with the sufferings of the poor even for basic amenities, along with some interesting and touching twists.  Finally, Pia got the coveted seat but at whose cost? The story had a beautiful climax.

Irfan as expected made his character memorable. Unexpectedly, Saba too could match him. While all actors in the movie managed their roles admirably, Deepak needs a special mention and is sure to make an impression on the audience. The songs are different and well- picturized.

The theme is serious but the film entertains like a good comedy movie. The narration touched many thought-provoking aspects of the society not so common for regular commercial movies. However, it is a mix of natural, dramatic, over-dramatic and some over-simplified situations. The message that the main purpose of education is to make good human beings – justified all these means. In the end, the viewers come out of the theatre wiser, thoughtful and satisfied.      

The movie might not be rated as great. But it falls into the must-watch category for all those who love watching meaningful entertainers.

review 1   review 2

April 17, 2017

I Love Me

Posted in Ponderer's Box at 4:54 pm by వసుంధర

Many think that they love themselves. It is true only if they love to have themselves for company. If you are boring to you, how you are not boring to someone else?

Here is something to support this view point.

Apr 16 2017 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)

o-zone – Face your boredom; it’s there for a reason

Vinitadawra Nangia

boredom toi

Constant dependence on external stimuli for entertainment weakens our inner resources to devise engagement
Back when we were kids, we were never al lowed to say, “I’m bored!“ My father could not accept that in a house he had stocked with all kinds of books, encyclopaedias, good music, and sparkling conversations, aimed at burnishing his children’s minds ­ anyone could find the opportunity to be bored. Indeed, he took our boredom as an affront to his creativity.Dad’s argument was that saying you are bored was like admitting that you are no good for your own amusement and edification ­ what good then could you be for anyone else? This was, of course, a time when TV just beamed a few evening hours of serious educative stuff, and things like cellphones, laptops, video players, CDs, tablets or Kindles, were unheard, undreamt of. What you did with your time was not dictated by the availability or lack of gizmos. Intellectual curiosity, romantic imagination and creative ideas kept the sparkle alive.

The only adrenaline rush youngsters craved came from playing in the park or chasing each other. A bicycle ride around the colony was adventure enough and a fast twirl before you lay down on grass to allow the world to rock and tilt was exciting. It was not unknown to just lie down and stare at the ceiling ­ that was when your thoughts flowed.

In the electronic age, time is soaked up by the gizmos at hand, and innui relieved by jumping from one screen to the next. Nobody allows themselves time to get bored. And that is a problem. Ease of stimulation has left us incapable of exploring our own selves or to allow the mind to just be, to drift in and out of deliberate thought. This stifles creativity and a deeper, philosophical exploration essential to existence. Constant dependence on external stimuli for entertainment weakens our inner resources to devise engagement.

Boredom is not an enemy; it is your means to discover your own strengths, instigate new thoughts, and replace tedious routines with new things. But because we do not allow ourselves time to indulge, it’s becoming a scarier proposition, one that people cannot imagine dealing with. Boredom is a call for drawing upon your internal resources and meeting your own self. It is when we stand naked in front of ourselves ­ with nothing in between. That is when you see yourself as you are.

We have to learn to be comfortable in that state.Face it. Feel it. Let it sink in. Absorb it. Let it suffuse your being. In short, look boredom in the eye, understand where it comes from and see how you can use it creatively to move on to something better.Think. Are you bored because you do not enjoy your work? Or is it because you do not feel in control of your life? Is your boredom a signal that you need to think through your life and make certain adjustments and changes?
In the TV crime drama Dexter, the forensics expertserial vigilante killer Dexter says very telling ly at one point, “I’ve always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger; it’s boredom.The battle against it is responsible for most of the events across the world ­ good or ill.“

Indeed, for those of us who do not have the inner resources to engage us in a positive manner, there is the danger of moving to destructive means.We all know at least a few people who spend too much time indulging in mental games and getting their kicks out of playing with other people’s minds.Such an indulgence sickens the mind and makes one obsessive.

And then there are those who push the limits of their physical prowess beyond the feasible. Overstimulated by gizmos and unable to face boredom, they jump from one adrenaline-pumping adventure to another and stretch their limits to see how far they can go ­ from drugs to sex to crime to rash driving or worse.

Our best bet then is to at times sink in to boredom and from that state, let the mind wander asking questions, seeking answers in its quest to find our own unique creative solutions.

Be a Writer and be Happy

Posted in Ponderer's Box at 4:41 pm by వసుంధర

If you have thoughts to share, do not use the phone as media. Write down on a paper and first share with yourself. Then you may share them with your friends. Yes, you have become a writer. It is not just for recognition one should write. Please remember – real writers are always a happy lot. 

Here’s one real writer who is sharing his thoughts on this subject.

link

I have evolved spiritually since I became a writer: Amish Tripathi

Apr 16 2017 : The Times of India (Hyderabad)

amish tripathi

Before I started writing, I was a banker for 14 years – your typical IIM-A kinda of a guy, unhappy with everything. I was hyper-aggressive and hyper-competitive. Even if I got a bonus, I’d want more. If I didn’t have a cabin, I would crib. When I got one, I wanted a bigger one. If I got a promotion, I would crib it’s come too late. I was trapped in that vicious rat race cycle.
The process of being a writer changed me as a person. It changed my thoughts; the subjects of my books changed me as a person, spiritually.

Shaky start, gritty mind

My journey as a writer wasn’t smooth from the beginning. I was rejected by 20 publishers. Since I was never attached to the concept of failure, I kept at it. I had a well-paying full time job till I wrote my first two books. Only when the money from the royalty became bigger than my salary did I quit to become a full-time writer. You have to look at the practical side of living and pay your bills. I believe in being realistic. I also believe we have to live in the world we have, not the ‘ideal one’ in which we think should exist.
 Hence, I’m still competitive but what has changed – I’m no longer controlled by the external symbols of success and failure. Neither am I driven by external manifestations of power. That attitude has given me a lot of freedom. When you are not attached to things, nothing can stop you. Lord Krishna’s words of wisdom always echo in my mind – do not be attached to the fruits of your labour. That’s the most empowering statement of life. If you remain detached to the results, failure doesn’t fill you with demotivation and success doesn’t fill you with ego or pride. You become unstoppable!
 A disciplined approach
 I start my day at 5 am in the morning. I exercise and go through the ritual of reading four newspapers. I begin writing by 9 am. I’ve observed that I’m more diciplined on my writing days than normal ones. Somedays, I write for hours, on others, I face a writer’s block. The idea is not to get frustrated. I read five to six books simultaneously.

March 22, 2017

A Balanced View on Uttar Pradesh

Posted in Ponderer's Box, Religion at 6:33 pm by వసుంధర

Here is an article showing unusual balance for nowadays. Such realistic analysis is what our country is looking for.

Secular Manifesto For Change

imggallery

Saba Naqvi

A Yogi Adityanath could not have been elevated to CM of the country’s largest state had there not been a complete hollowing out of secular values. For those of us who still have secular stardust in our eyes, let’s recognise that secularism as practised in India has been reduced to electoral management, that first sees Muslims as a herd and then tries to keep that herd together.

It’s a vaguely insulting formulation, particularly as practitioners of the craft of secular politics have auctioned out the task of delivering the imaginary herd to a bunch of middlemen, all too often clerics or strongmen with criminal antecedents.It should be crystal clear by now that they repel others and have brought Indian Muslims to the point where candidates who presume to be the people’s representatives are unelectable and the community’s vote has been rendered ineffective.

The secular model currently offers no counter narrative to challenge Hindutva that claims to unite people above caste and region in a national symphony . All of this has been some time in the making.The clout of clerics increased ever since Congress famously capitulated before them when it overturned the Shah Bano judgment in 1986. This reinforced the “separateness“ of Muslims and contributed to the rise of BJP in national politics.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) was at the heart of that churning. Founded in 1973, it is a collection of clerics with a motley crew of professionals whose main purpose is to protect Sharia law. Half its members are life members who represent an orthodox male viewpoint, by default promoted by the state that swears by secularism, that actually means separation of religion and government.Frankly , the Ulema should have no complaint with Yogi Adityanath, the head of a religious order, occupying political office! The same clerics also have their hand in managing Waqf properties that can be described as religious endowments made in the name of Allah for the benefit of the poor. There are approximately 3,00,000 registered Waqf properties in India on about four lakh acres of land (the second largest land holding after Indian railways).It is a national resource that should have been developed for the welfare of the community (the Sikh community is a model to emulate here). Instead, many Waqf boards are repositories of corruption, both petty and large. Yet they get away with it because any demand for scrutiny is described as an attack on Islam.

It’s all rather pathetic. There is actually precious little that the Indian secular state has given the Muslim community except to ensure that they live for eternity in the museum of stereotypes, most notably that of the clerics who mostly talk rubbish when they showcase their views on television. The imagery of these men as “sole spokespersons“ only works to counter mobilise. The community has slipped on all human development indices yet an entire mobilisation has thrived on the argument that they are appeased. It’s true, the clerics have indeed been appeased in a manner of speaking.

The real wealth of the Muslim community lies in its artisans, weavers and craftsmen who make both functional and beautiful things with their hands. It lies in the intellectual reservoirs of poetry and literature, in music and architecture.It is a real irony that over 200 years ago a poet such as Mirza Ghalib would mock the mullahs so relentlessly while we in contemporary India were doomed to take their views so seriously .

These elections have also exposed as a zero sum game the cynical mathematical model that works with the presumed value of the Muslim vote. Indeed, a politician such as Mayawati should recognise that her projection of the mullah-meat tradermuscleman candidates fitted communal stereotyping and hurt rather than helped a community she so grandiosely set out to represent. She spoke so incessantly of Muslims that a casual visitor to Uttar Pradesh during the elections could be forgiven for getting the impression that the state was voting to elect a minority CM! Now that the shock of the verdict has registered some voices are beginning to express bitterness against the mullahpolitician nexus. A process of introspection has begun and at the very least the community must recognise that in the narrative emerging in India their only utility lies as an image that is a caricature of the multiplicity of Muslim identities in India.No one will shed tears unless the change comes from within. Here are my humble suggestions for a manifesto for change:

Tell the mullahs to restrict their activities to the masjid. Ban them (short of issuing a fatwa!) from appearing on TV . Be vocal about stating that you have different role models. Begin the process of examining the structures of law boards and Waqf boards, managed by groups of men guarding their turfs.Get professionals to create a genuine welfare structure for the community .

Ask for participation in existing government schemes instead of harping on separate identity constitutional guarantees. Build campaigns over economic issues, jobs, small loans, education and not issues such as triple talaq. Yes, you will be baited but don’t fall into the many traps.

Salvation lies in propagating the many cultural traditions that unite, not those that separate. Take on the conservative views on music, women’s right and freedoms. Highlight the pluralist traditions.

If someone comes asking for votes on the basis of fear and tells you that Muslims are supposed to be in the frontline of the battle to save secularism, turn around and tell them in that case it may not really be worth saving.

The writer is a journalist and author

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