Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Search.....

The Search continues...

For life
For peace
For joy
For love
For meaning

At times I wonder , is it worth it at all , or its just that I complicate matters for myself , or is it a deep hurt....a feeling of being used by one and all ..........

Kashi Khanda

The Trinity -Ganges , Shiva and Kashi stand mute spectators to a tradition forgotten by many , but not by the following people who are doing their bit to protect the traditions of the great Hindu faith and an amazing city :

  • The Young priests who every evening unfailingly do the Ganga Arti at Rajendra Prasad Ghat

  • The poor Bramhin who has devoted his life to the service of Shiva

  • The sentry in front of Vizzy's once palatial mansion , whose wrinkles tell us that he continues to fight the failed attempts of urbanization of the city

  • The gallis that are home to the Sastry's who came years ago from Andhra and lead by one Gopinath Sastry still run institutions which evangelise the scriptures

  • The beggar who dresses up like Shiva and chants "Bom Bhole" to attract the foreigners for alms

  • The generations of waiters at Baba Thandai who has been serving thandai and bhang for more than a century now

  • The children of the gallis , who have no place to play , so they make the ghats their playground and swim in the Ganges for entertainment

  • The sadhus at Dasasamedh , Ashi , Manikarnika et al , who smoke the ganja ......

Go visit Benares and experience your roots , I have done it , why dont you !!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Radical Islam now reflected in Sports

I am a bit late writing this post , but nevertheless thought that the topic was too important to let it pass . All of us are well aware of the ridiculous comments that the losing Pakistani captain Shoaib Malik made in the post match press conference of the T20 finals at South Africa . His comments attracted some attention of the media , who in no uncertain terms denounced Malik's comments of support to the Pakistani side by all the Muslims of the world . His comments had some responses of sections of Indian Muslims who felt offended by Malik's remarks and for once seem to reject the concept of universal Islamic brotherhood . However Malik's comments need to be understood in a wider context . Today people like Malik unfortunately represent a larger radicalization of civic society in the sub-continent .

Pakistani society has undergone rapid Islamisation in recent years. Malik's comments were well thought through and was intended to assuage feelings of the ultra conservative galleries back home and telling them that though they had lost the finals, they were still good believing Muslims. The need for such public affirmation of faith is a trend which links to the rapid increase in the ranks of "24-hour Muslims" in Pakistan. I have been watching Pakistani cricket from the late seventees and never before has there been a need of players like Imran,Zaheer , Rameez etc to reiterate their religiosity because that constituency wasn't big enough then. Ultra conservative Muslims were still a insignificant portion of the civic society . Malik's comments prove that things have changed and changed very rapidly ......I am sure there has been a deep radicalization of Pakistani society for Malik to make the kind of comment that he did

The Islamization of the Pakistani team was lead by Inzamam ul Haque . Inzy made it a point to thank Allah after every match and his poor command of English was masqueraded by a few common sentences which he parroted out and which invariably used words like "Bismillah" , 'Insallah" and phrases like "By the grace of Almighty Allah..." and so on . Inzy was seen lead his men to great success (not on the playing field ..) to prayer meetings , ...this could have lead to the conversion of Yosuf Yohanna to Islam and the new look Mohd Yusuf sported a Maluvi beard to show his allegience to his newly adopted relegion. In Inzamam's team, where the captain was seen as a religious talisman, Shoaib Malik was part of the group which had joined the Tablighi Jamaat, a sect that preaches a bare-boned, conservative version of global Islam.

Sportsmen and cricket teams are resonable microcausms of the larger civic society and public affirmation of faith by the Pakistani team shows that ultra conservatives have taken over Pakistan . While this is indeed an internal issue , the implications on India which has more Muslims than Pakistan and also coupled by the fact that educated Indian Muslims are now participating in international terrorism (ex-Bangalore doctors case) is non trivial . Its high time that the UPA stop designing sop schemes to woo the Muslims anticipating a mid term poll and do some concerete work in defanging the threat of radical Islam in our own doorstep