Monday, September 28, 2009

Buddham Saranam Gacchāmi

Today is VijayaDashmi, the day of great joy and celebrations for the Indians. The Hindu population of India celebrates this day for some mythologic reasons, but we, the Buddhists in India, celebrate this day with a more strong and more historic reason. This is the day of resurrection of Buddhism in India after hundreds of years of suppression. On this day in 1956 (October 14, 1956 according to Gregorian calendar), Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar embraced Buddhism with his millions of followers at Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur.

Thousands of people visit Deekshabhoomi every year on this day from what distant states and unknown regions to pay tribute to that great man. Let us join them. They are the part of us. Let us say from the deep of our heart: Buddham Saranam Gacchāmi.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good fences make good friends

Sometimes I feel that I take both of you very much for granted. I think that both of you are yet single, have no major family worries to disturb you, and are well to do. With feelings like this, I want you to be in my service anytime whenever I need; and when I found you not available for me, it hurts me the most. Is it really the best approach for a friendship? Certainly not! It is not even a good one. Friendship is not only expecting and taking. Friendship flows, at least should flow, bidirectionally. Though being one of the closest relations, it must have some limits for expectations from each other so that it should forever go on happily. Sometimes I really have this kind of thoughts and they really disturb me. Yesterday, when I tried to call you and you were not available for me, I had a sudden flair of such thoughts that made me depressed for the most part of the evening until you called me back. It was not your fault. You were trying again and again to contact me, and from my side, I was also dialing up for you. It might have caused my cellphone to be engaged. It was a cent percent technical problem, but I was in no mood of understanding the situation. I just wanted some suggestion from you. I just wanted you to be with me. And I felt that you are not available for me.

Perhaps, you know the poem of Robert Frost: Mending Walls. Often I feel that it metaphorically refers to friendship: One friend who does not believe the necessity and existence of walls between them and the other who understands the importance of them. Robert Frost takes the part of first friend, who argues that do they really need walls between their fields when there are no cows to cross the borders, but his neighbor just quotes an old adage: “Good fences make good neighbours.” Robert Frost, as I do, did not believe in this philosophy at first, but by reaching to last line of the poem, he ends it with his friend’s words, as if he is fully agreeable to him: Good fences make good neighbours.

I too did not believe in the necessity of a fence. But it does exist. You must accept it in a friendly manner. After all, it is for our well-being and not for anything else. Last night taught me this fact so that I can go on happily with no childish thoughts for such silly things. I will try my best to respect each other. You too feel free to let me know if you ever find me crossing my fence. Let us respect the fences to be good friends forever.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Old Civilization and Our Inheritance

To know the old civilization let us try to forget the present for a while and go back 2000 or 3000 years in Egypt and in ancient Knossos in Crete. The ancient civilization took root in these two countries as well as in what is called Iraq or Mesopotamia, and in China and India and Greece. Greece, perhaps, came a little later than the others. So that the civilization of India takes rank in age with its sister-civilizations of Egypt and China and Iraq. And even ancient Greece is a younger sister of these.

What happened to these ancient civilizations? Knossos is no more. Indeed, for nearly 3000 years it has been no more. The people of younger civilization of Greece came and destroyed it. The old civilization of Egypt, after a splendid history lasting for thousands of years, vanished and left no trace behind it, except the great Pyramids and the Sphinx, and the ruins of great temples and mummies and the like. Of course Egypt, the country, is still there and the river Nile flows through it as of old, and men and women live in it as in other countries. But there is no connecting link between these modern people and the old civilization of their country.

Iraq and Persia-- how many empires have flourished there and followed each other into oblivion! Babylonia and Assyria and Chaldea, to mention the oldest only. And the great cities of Babylon and Nineveh. The Old Testament in the Bible is full of the record of these people. Later, in this land of ancient history, other empires flourished, and them ceased to flourish. Here was Baghdad, the magic city of the Arabian Nights. But empires come and empires go, and the biggest and proudest of kings and emperors strut on the world's stage for a brief while only. But civilizations endure. In Iraq and Persia, however, the old civilization went utterly, even as the old civilization of Egypt.

Greece in her ancient days was great indeed, and people read even now of her glory with wonder. We stand awed and wonder-struck before the beauty of her marble statuary, and read the fragments of her old literature that have come down to us with reverence and amazement. It is said, and rightly, that modern Europe is in some ways the child of ancient Greece, so much has Europe been influenced by Greek thought and Greek ways. But the glory that was Greece, where is it now? For ages past, the old civilization has been no more, and other ways have taken its place, the Greece to-day is but a petty country in the south-east of Europe.

Egypt, Knossos, Iraq and Greece--they have all gone. Their old civilizations, even as Babylon and Nineveh, have ceased to exist. What, then, of the two other ancients in the company of old civilizations? What of China and India? As in other countries, they too have had empire after empire. There have been invasions and destructions and loot on a vast scale. Dynasties of kings have ruled for hundreds of years and then been replaced by others. All this has happened in India and China, as elsewhere. But nowhere else, apart from India and China, has there been a real continuity of civilization. In spite of all the changes and battles and invasions, the thread of ancient civilizations has continued to run on in both these countries. It is true that both of them have fallen greatly from their old estate, and that the ancient cultures are covered up with a heap of dust, and sometimes filth, which the long ages have accumulated.But still they endure and the old Indian civilization is the basis of Indian life even to-day. New conditions have arisen in the world now; and the coming of the steamship and the railway and the great factory has changed the face of the world. It may be, it is indeed probable, that they will change as they are already changing, the face of India also.

But it is interesting and rather wonderful to think of this long range and continuity of Indian culture civilization, right from the dawn of history, through long ages, down to us. In a sense, we in India are the heirs of these thousands of years. We are in the direct line, it may be, with the ancients, who came down through the north-western mountain passes into the smiling plains of what was to be known as Brahmavarta and Aryavarta and Bharatavarsha and Hindustan. Can you not see them trekking down the mountain passes into the unknown land below? Think of them, those distant ancestors of ours, marching on and on, and suddenly reaching the banks of noble Ganga flowing majestically down to the sea. How the sight must have filled them with joy!

It is indeed wonderful to think that we are the heirs of all these ages. But let us not become conceited, for if we are the heirs of the ages, we are the heirs of both the good and the bad. And there is a great deal of evil in our present inheritance in India, a great deal that has kept us down in the world, and reduced our noble country to great poverty, and made her a plaything in the hands of few peoples. But have we not decided that this must no longer continue?

Sunday, September 6, 2009


The first term used to describe India is sovereign. What does it mean? It means supremacy of power that is not limited by any law inside or outside the state. Sovereignty is a basic characteristic of the state. A state cannot exist unless it is sovereign. There are four basic characteristics of the state: People, government, territory, and sovereignty. Out of these four, sovereignty is the most important one, because it distinguishes a state from other forms of human institutions. Other institutions may have people, they may have government and administration of their own, they may possess land, but unless they have sovereignty, they cannot be termed as states. For example, Indian Cricket Board has people, autonomous administration, they possess their land, but it is not state because it is responsible to some another authority. It has to follow the laws of India. Similarly, the states of Maharashtra, Kerla, or any other state, they have three other components but do not have sovereignty, so they are not states in a legal perspective.

In the preamble, we have proclaimed our sovereignty in ourselves. In a democratic country like ours, people are sovereign. This is called as popular sovereignty. But legally, our sovereignty lies in our constitution and the authorities described by it.

We, the people of India (Part I)

The preamble of Indian Constitution: Students recite it everyday in schools and we too have heard it and read it for several times, but did we ever try to realize its meaning? Do we really understand the importance of those golden words that proclaim our supremacy above all? Do we ever care to remember our resolution to constitute our country as our great heroes had dreamt? Very rarely do we care to understand the dreams of those great sons of this land, who burnt all their lives to confer us such a noble framework. Let us take this opportunity to read, think over, and work as per the preamble of the Indian Constitution.

Here is the exact draft of the preamble. Let us read it once again by heart.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


Have you learnt it by heart? Did you get the feeling of it? If yes, let’s move towards the discussion.

You may have noticed the preamble has only a single, but comprehensive sentence. It is drafted so, because the legal language has to be very exact and accurate. The beauty of legal language lies in its bareness and straight-forwardness.

The preamble starts with “We, the people of India.” It implies that it is being proclaimed by the people of India, by you and me! And why are we proclaiming? Because we have resolved solemnly to achieve two objects: The first one is to constitute India as a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic state; and second is to secure all its citizens justice, liberty, equality, and promote fraternity among all of them. Having this resolved solemnly in our constituent assembly on 26/11/1949, we adopt, enact, and give this constitution to ourselves.

This is the first-hand meaning of the preamble. We will discuss the detailed description of the specific terms used in this draft in our next sessions.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Birthday 'SIR'

Today, I am not calling you 'Master', because I really want to call you 'Sir' from the bottom of my heart. You taught me many things that helped me to live life successfully. You gave me the view how to look towards life positively; you told me that a girl also could be in love with me; I also can live normal life as others; I also can have the feelings of love.

I was nothing before meeting you; and you also know this well, but now I feel I am little worthy to live in this world. My life was totally different before meeting you both, aimless, directionless, and I was wandering in darkness. You created interest in me for literature, arts, history and so many branches of knowledge. You told how to look at a particular thing and what to think about it.

Sometimes, when you both discuss on a particular topic, I find I can not understand what is going on, but after discussion, one of you explains it to me in details, then only I can understand. I know my grasping power is not so well, but even you tell me explaining everything well; this is the most valuable thing for me. I want to learn many more things from you, so please adjust me, a friend who wants to live always with you, who wants to listen you always.

I will be always younger before you both in every aspect of life. So, please don't leave me, I want to be always with you till the last beat of my heart.

So please let me call you 'Sir'. I want to express my sincere gratitude on this occasion of your birthday.

Once again Happy Birthday Sir!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Vinod

Vinod Suradkar, or simply master. I still remember the day when I first met him. Before meeting him, I could not ever imagine that that day was going to introduce me with a to-be lifelong friend. It was almost a love at first sight. In fact, I tried to avoid him before first acquaintance, but when we met each other and had a little chat, I found that our likes, dislikes, thoughts, beliefs, and even lives were so similar that within no time we became good friends.

So well learned and yet so simple in nature and in his looks that no one, or sometimes even I, cannot believe that this simple-looking man can have such a good fund of knowledge. But the thing for which I appreciate him the most is his love towards literature and his ability to appreciate it critically.

Sometimes, I just think that why these boys love me so much? What did I give them? Am I really worthy for their love? But all these questions remain behind when we get an opportunity to meet together. We have a lot of fun talking all over the nights discussing on every subject under and above the sky, but very rarely we can get such opportunities.

Vinod is having his birthday this week. I am not even sure if it is 4th or 5th of September. I always found it a formality to wish each other when we lived together. But now when he lives far away from us, I find it my honour to wish my best friend from the bottom of my heart: Happy Birth Day Vinod.