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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cool Earth and hot tempers

18 Jul 2007, 1307 hrs IST,

Tarun Vijay

There is only one Earth, the coolest place that sustains us with a mother's warmth. And we identify a small piece on it as our nation, where we live and die.
We inherited a borderless Earth, with water and air and nature's bounties freely available to all. But the humans, more “intelligent” (or cunning?), created boundaries of nations, language, religion and interest regions and fought and killed each other for keeping more and more in the personal domain.
Those who were closer to nature and their spiritual yearnings, like the Hindus, American Indians, Mayans, indigenous people of Brazil, New Zealand, Australia etc faced assaults of unimaginable scale by forces that came to their doorsteps in order to “civilise” them. Religion became the biggest glue to bind communities and it also triggered off the highest number of wars and mass killings. Now, having consumed a great part of freely available natural resources, we are reaping the harvest of greed and mindless destruction of the Earth's warmth. How do we cope with it?
There is a solution that has come from the land of Buddha – Japan. Its energetic Prime Minister Abe, visiting India next month, has put up an ambitious proposal to halve emissions by 2050 and move toward a carbonless atmosphere. Difficult proposition, yes, but living peacefully too demands some sacrifices and unless we are ready to say oui , we are all doomed.
And here comes the Vedic seer who had envisaged the Earth as a large family prescribing the quantum and the limits of sharing the resources of nature. Earth is worshipped as mother, and hence what it provides should be taken as a blessing. Never have the Vedas used an ugly word like “exploiting natural resources”, but the principal theme has been to share and then give her our due in return so that she may feel happy and bless us with more fruits of joy.
Not many would know that there is a fifth Veda too, known as Vriksha Veda, or the holy scripture of the tree, defining and describing the age-old ancient wisdom to protect and nourish trees and other vegetation for the good of humanity. Our mantras, chanted at the time of birth or death always end with a prayer for the peace and growth of all vegetation on this Earth. If we begin to learn what our Hindu scriptures have said for the greater peace and welfare of all, the Earth would be a cooler and a calmer place once again.
The most painful exercise is to see the morning papers and realize what we have done to the Earth's warmth and nation's love. The week this column appears we shall be flooded with how a new President has been thrust upon us in the name of a democracy nobody follows.
Most of the parties have a totalitarian leadership, which doesn't believe in fairly allowing voices of its cadres and people it claims to represent. What they call elections within the party are simply nominations by the top leader and every decision about ministry-making or new alignments or choosing a candidate for a post as important as the President or a Vice President is not by the procedure of any democratic norm but by the choice of his or her majesty donning the supreme mantle of the organisation's hierarchy. Does anyone amongst the decision-makers of the nation -- the real governors -- have a moment or a will to think what's happening to the Earth and the dreams and ambitions of the new generation that make today's India the most young nation in the world? Or do they devote time to change the system, make it more people-oriented, safer highways, better and less costly basic education, cleaner and hospitable railway stations, airports and banks?
Our capital's airport and the railway station must be declared among the dirtiest places even when compared to an African banana republic. The drawing rooms and gardens of our ministers and politicians present a highly mobile and forward-looking society of the elite that vies with a developed European country's pomp and show. But these very gentlemen do not feel any shame to see our public places stinking and like a huge dustbin. And, either the murky politics of the Presidential elections or religious fanaticism make the headlines and the channels dish out crime reports and sloppy page three items as if the thousand million plus souls of this nation have hardly anything positive or worthwhile to report about.
The media reports less than a one percent segment of the nation, hardly devoting space to how the harvest seasons have been affected by global warming, why Punjab farmers too are driven to committing suicide, the new exciting experiments to help tribal farmers grow more produce per acre with rain-water harvesting , how some of the technology wizards have been helping poor and disadvantaged sections to join the global mainstream of new age progress and like the AIDS scandalous falsehood of overwhelming spread, even the IT revolution has become meaningless plastic for the greatest part of our population, taking our neighbours miles ahead of us.
There is a Connaught Place to NOIDA syndrome that has gripped our polity and papers alike. Like the old saying that these north Indians feel their India doesn't go beyond Kolkata, the papers and politicians have their nation shrunk to the Gurgaon-Mumbai-Chennai boundaries.
There was a grand Buddhist celebration in Leh on July 17 with the head of the lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and Ladakhi people. They were there in thousands led by the 12 th Gyalwang Drukpa, to mark the 800 th anniversary of Avalokiteshwara's reincarnation. Have you seen any one-line mention of this fabulously rich, enchanting and colourful heritage festival? If a Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman party was held there or a Liz Hurley-Arun Nayar marriage was solemnized there, the entire media would have forgotten even the Presidential elections.
It's the rich and famous and the corrupt that make or break in every field; they decide in politics, they approach the judicial system easily, the passwords to open all locks are money in the pocket and English on your lips. The language of election is invariably an Indian one, but the script to rule and move ahead is Roman and the language English, keeping the vast millions out of even the primary circles of the good life.
The poor and non-English-speaking population of the nation are used only to vote so that the same stinking lot is brought to power. The real Brahmas, the true Jana Gana Mana that write the destiny of our nation with their blood and sweat, do not make the picture but the killers, extortionists, theatrical performers on high pedestals and the loud mouths. Hardly anyone reports or cares for the North East, reeling under a massive Bangladeshi infiltration, extortion raj of the insurgents, or the two flags and two constitutional provisions in Kashmir, which we claim is “ours” and how children of Chushul or Tawang are studying and what material.
They remain out of our world view where London and Washington are closer to Tejpur and Turtuk. Unless there is a wild outbreak, a heist or a mass killing they are not considered “newsy” enough to be reported. There have been floods in the Indus River in our territory, bordering the LAC, a strange phenomenon in a snow desert region none has reported. And pray how many know that the Indus that gave an identity and a name to our nation and civilisation, passes through Ladakh and is 550 km long before it reaches present Pakistan?
No wonder our memory sticks have not registered the faces of north-eastern fellow citizens as one of us, and they often feel embarrassed by stereotyped Indians calling them a Burmese or a Chinese.
It's all about a mindset. A mindset that represents trivia and believes in exploitation, domination and annihilation. It's too individualistic and abhors collective spirit. It has to be replaced with the Vedic seers' charter of the Earth as a family and a sustainable growth that allows all creation to flower in the vast garden that this planet is.

Readers Opinion
Cool Earth and hot tempers
Tejbahadur , USA , says: Simply brilliant!!28 Jul, 2007 0038hrs IST

Rahul , Alwar , says:

A very good article indeed. Quite clearly the 'ruler' mentality has to change and people at the individual level also have to make more efforts to improve themselves 'despite' the education system that we are currently stuck in that doesn't foster 'personality development', which should be the aim of any education besides knowledge.20 Jul, 2007 2023hrs IST

Naved , Delhi , says:

A cool article no doubt. I have distributed a hundred copies of it to my friends. But I must say, Tarun Vijay should also write about where the Hindus have gone wrong in their assessment of Muslims, why Muslims do not feel confident to trust Hindus, why is a normal friendly relation between Hindus and Muslims so rare? How many Hindus would know what's happening in a Muslim mind? Being a majority it's their initiative for coming closer that counts. Moreover, the great Hindu organisations do not represent the majority Hindus, who are outside the pale of Hindutva brigade. Like Leftist in India, I think Hindutva politics has also reached its point of descent.20 Jul, 2007 1418hrs IST

kapil , USA , says:

Brilliant article by Tarun Vijay. I have become a big fan of him.18 Jul, 2007 2206hrs IST

Jayant , USA , says:

Dear Shri Tarun Vijay, I am glad you were able to find voice in TOI. Kudos for a great article. sincerely, Jayant18 Jul, 2007 2205hrs IST

Pratima Dutta , Bloomington, Indiana, USA , says:

Dear Sir, In reference to the column by Tarun Vijay, titled "Cool Earth and Hot Tempers", I would like to express discontent with attributing Japan as the "Land of Buddha". As every child in this great country of ours is aware, the land of Buddha is India and definitely not Japan or any other country in the Far East. Worst yet, to attribute Japan with Buddhism in this day and age is similar to associating China with great religious tolerance. Japan and its people barely have any remnants of the religion left in them. They have proudly, in the name of economic prosperity, since the war, have willfully relegated anything and everything associated with the east; for in their opinion, the East symbolizes tradition, age-old customs, proletarians--all of which is associated with underdevelopment, which of course the Japanese are not to be a part of. Economic prosperity for them is synonymous with vending machines, the typical American white wedding (although Christianity is not a fad either), brilliant stake houses and pizzas that harbor a brief whiff of sushi if one is not paying too much attention. All in all, let us not make the mistake of pandering to our neighbors to such an extant that we give up a part of our soul in that process. Japan was never the land of Buddha and will never be either. Sincerely, Pratima Dutta 18 Jul, 2007 1856hrs IST

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