Discovery of Nehru

Remembering Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru on his 129th birthday. I write this particularly as we live in the time of hate, and today he is the most ‘hated’ and discussed person in the Indian political arena. Vilification of Nehru with fake news and photoshoped images has become the favourite passtime of digital trolls and born haters. It could be jealousy or desperation that drive right wing politics to ignore or even erase him from the pages of history, but the more they ignore him, the more he will be loved and remembered, because the legacy of Nehru has been etched indelibly in the making of India. Gossiping about others private life is like a national sport to us and Nehru is perhaps the most misunderstood person and a convenient target of gossip-mongers. People never get tired of speaking about his philandering or his relation with Edwina Mountbatten as if Nehru is all about his relationships with women. A close relation between a woman and man may not be necessarily physical, it could be spiritual,emotional or intellectual, but when you are frustrated and carry sex 24×7 in your head, you cannot go beyond that. Platonic love doesn’t exist for you. However, an erudite, refined and charming Nehru might have attracted women, and as a widower Nehru was not committing any crime. And jealousy cannot be cured. Though I had a penchant for biographies of great personalities, as a stupid and rebellious teenager, I was never keen to read Nehru or even Gandhi, because Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh and Che were the flavours of the season plus those evergreen Latino authors. My discovery of Nehru has begun with ‘Glimpses of World History’ and couldn’t help but adore his sunny personality. His intellect, varied interests and vast knowledge on almost all subjects are really appealing but his aesthetic sense and sensitivity are more an endearing quality and definitely a rarity among states men. Nehru might have made mistakes and might have been humiliated by Machiavellian designs of China, and he paid for it with his life, he could never recover from that huge betrayal till his death in 1964. An idealistic Nehru’s thoughts and views on nations, people and issues were greatly influenced by Gandhiji who was his mentor and whom he considered as a father figure. Gandhiji was for disbanding the armed forces and the pacifist Mahatma’s influence could have left its mark in many of his political decisions. Haters can hate, but Nehru will remain as a shining star on the horizon of world leaders. No politician till date can match to the intellectual prowess and creative genius of Nehru. Gandhi who had been mentor of Nehru for more than thirty years had no doubt about Nehru being a true Jawahar (Jewel).


A Doctor with God's signature in his hands

"No legacy is so rich as honesty," Shakespeare. He is a loner in the crowd, a rare gem among doctors and altruistic in a money-minting medical profession.Calm,gentle and compassionate Dr.Nelson Kattikatt walks alone in the privileged world of medical field with the serenity and grace of a blessed healer.His compassionate care makes him stand out among the doctors when a majority among them are immune to the plight of patients. His calm and sagelike aura is quite tranquilising even to the violent mental patients at the Government mental hospital in Trivandrum where he is the Chief Psychiatrist. Today when society as a whole belive that success is about amassing wealth and sensual gratification, and care little about the humanity as a whole, with his ethical and socialy responsible practice, he tries to live up to the words of Gandhiji that “ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourselves in the service of others.” He lends compassionate ear to each patient at the hospital and helps those who cannot afford costly medicines. No wonder, his patients adore him and shower him with adjectives as ‘ doctor with the signature of God and doctor with a blessed hand.’ Despite his humble back ground, money hardly tempts this brutally honest doctor and he does choose the road less travelled when pharmaceutical companies bribe the doctors with costly gifts and free overseas travels and laboratories with commissions. He stays away from such temptations and suggests laboratories to give reduction to patients instead. He has been maintaining this principle since his medical college days and those values are always very dear to him. And he strongly believes that doctors have a duty towards society unlike many other professions. ‘Service to humanity is the primary duty of a doctor.’ He says. How can he be detached to money in a world of materialism?” As a deeply spiritual person, it is easier for me.” pat came the reply. When speaking about the adoration of his patients, he speaks with the same detachment, ‘Whatever I am today is due to the grace of God, I am just a tool." In many of my interactions with him, I never have seen him losing his cool even in extremely tough situations; the hard realities in life might have tamed him to be tolerant, he reasons.As the son of a small shop keeper and the shame and inferiority complexes that thrust upon him by a society that glorifies money and influence, had deeply haunted him throughout his childhood, yet fighting against all odds, he has emerged as the Chief Psychiatrist of Kerala by his strong will, which reminds me of the quote of prophetic writer Khahlil Gibran, “Out of suffering emerges the strongest soul.” Like many exceptional people Dr. Nelson seems to be a misfit among his colleagues, has been misunderstood often and struggle to cope up. But nothing detracts him from serving his patients. For him it is service beyond the call of duty. Dr. Nelson is a voracious reader too and used to write poems during his school/college days, won many accolades for elocution,poetry writing,essay writing etc . But his creative side is in hibernation after became busy with medical practice, which he feels to be dusted off. Unfortunately, as the saying goes that no prophet is revered in his homeland, noble souls like him are not recognized in their own land.


Story of Krishna

      I met Krishna, a Nepali Chef during a Sunday service at a picturesque village in  Manali last year. It was a Nepali Christian gathering in a home amidst a lovely garden in the background of snow capped mountain, having rose ,apple , pears and cherry; the scent of beautiful rose flowers filtering through the window added a rare divinity to the interior of the home. I never had come across such devoute Christian gathering in my life, there was an intense spiritual pulling in the room, the young girls and boys in the choir were literally in tears out of pure bliss, Krishna seemed to have lost in divine love.
While walking back home through the narrow path lined with giant Himalayan Cedar trees(Devdaru) on either side, I asked Krishna as to what attracted him to Christ. ‘ Love’, he said without batting an eyelid. While trying to figure out his answer, he added, “ Madam, you will never understand the pain of a human being who doesn’t have anybody in this world.” He narrated about his cursed life in Nepal as an orphan, as a poor homeless child who was treated like an insect, his addiction to alcohol, drugs and many vices, his pain,hopelessness,anger and poverty. He said it was a foreign missionary who helped him come out of his wretched life through the love of Jesus Christ. Later he gave up all his addictions and found a job as a Chef in a star hotel in Manali.
 It was drizzling, and those light drops of rain helped me hide the tears streaming down on my cheek. The Nepalese gathered in that little home might have similar stories of pain and poverty, of desires, dreams and fears. But do we care to listen to the innate feelings of our fellow human beings in this toxic religious hate- mongering era? Aren’t our inner longing for love, our dreams feelings and fears the same? What difference it would make if Krishna finds Love in Christ or vice versa? Isn’t love the great healer? In our silent meditative walk, many such thoughts crossed my mind. I didn’t even realise it when we  almost reached at Krishna’s hotel. Krishna went in to work  with an invitation for dinner at his hotel. And the unpredictable mountain weather have it, Sun popped up from nowhere.


Ode to Love

Love is a perennial theme for literature, films.music and other art forms  around the world.The Malayalam film, ‘Enu Ninte Moideen’(Yours forever Moideen)which I watched recently, is a real tribute to love. This real life story of two young hearts belong to different community, in the 50s of Kerala is exceptional in many respects, especially due to the unparallel sacrifice in the love-history of the world. Based on the life story  of Kanchanamala and Moideen, a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy who had fell in love against the wishes of their family, the film celebrates love with  its beauty and tears. I couldn’t help but think of prophetic author Kahlil Gibran’s words while watching the film as those words appears to have written for them.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully’

   Love was their oxygen and the beauty of their  Platonic love is both enlightening and inspiring. They breathed love and spoke the language of love which others couldn’t realize.Perhaps the spiritual depth of their love had enabled them to endure the ordeal that they had to face for that.The ultimate sacrifice of Kanchana  and of Moideen for their love in the  Kerala of 50s’ might be beyond the comprehension of today’s smart phone generation.They had to face death threat,extreme physical and mental torture as they belong to different religions. But their love had triumphed as love is the ultimate truth, though Moideen was snatched away from Kanchana in the guise of death. But even death had failed to separate  Moideen from Kanchana’s heart. She still  lives as the unwed widow of Moideen by looking after the social services he had begun for destitute women.They proved with their life that Love is a precious gift that elevates the spirit, in an otherwise immortal existence.

  Love can transcend the limitations of body and its desires, Kanchana and Moideen  seemed in love through ages and life after life. Their story pained me though I was so delighted to see  two pure souls  in love. I felt a deep admiration for them  while  struggling to stomach the death of Moideen .
 I left the theater with a heavy heart, as if clouds of pain burdened my soul, yet I could see  butterflies of love fluttering over me.


Nature,the beloved

‘Men may come and go, but I go on forever’, British poet Mathew Arnold had written  to celebrate the  immortality of Nature, the eternal nurturer of all beings.Nature is beyond any definition, she amuses , enlightens , excites and give  immense joy to mankind and all the beings. She expresses through her abundant wealth of greenery, scent of smiling flowers, unlimited freedom of rivers and through  ever receiving oceans.Nature is a perfect feast to the eye and soul.

Nature provides us life without any expectations, The flowers hardly aware of their beauty or the fragrance they spread around them, the river never think that she quenches the thirst of all living beings, and trees never get proud for supporting every living things. The Sun hardly prides about being the light of the world and the Moon doesn’t think it being the king of night.But we humans think highly of  ourselves, while in reality we do not give anything in return to nature or other beings except pollution, deforestation and disaster.We  are the only being that exploit  and use everything around us, we are the only beings that hardly respects Nature and other life forms on earth.  Is  intelligence makes us blindly selfish and arrogant?

 Will Nature ever forgive us for the great harm that we cause to her? Will she take revenge on us rapists and exploiters of her precious being? I do not know. But I wish if human beings were more grateful, more compassionate to know the essence of Nature and  her selfless love.


Minority Report

  ‘India is trying to be a super power with all this poor people, it is not possible’ said  my Swiss  friend while having lunch at Delhi’s Imperial Hotel.  'Tourists hardly prefer to come in this dirty country that is even costlier than Thailand, and Thailad is very clean’,she further added. Then she kept on explaining how she get sick whenever she comes to India due to pollution, dust etc including her bad,funny  sometimes strange experiences in India as a woman.Yes we are very tolerant people, I thought. And we Indians live in a cocoon thinking that our country is perfect and most tolerant in the world.

  We do not think it an issue when we see filth around us, when we see children begging around us, of course we get to know about murder,rape and other such evils on a daily basis. But we are used to such things and life goes on. Perhaps we are more interested in silly things. These days we are caught up with another issue to fight over-Nationalists Vs Anti-Nationalists, though we never dare to call our corrupt politicians anti-nationals!According to the  'guidelines' of Hindutva brigade, anyone belongs to minority community or one who criticizes PM Modi is anti-national. I had a taste of their venomous attacks in online forums , my crime is that I belong to a minority community.

   I grew up in an India where I was least bothered about my religion, it never occurred to me that I am a Christian. But  these days whenever I try to write my opinion in online forum, I get trolled targeting my religion.One person even called me ‘Britisher’, ‘destroyer of civilizations’ ‘rice bag converts’ (I am sorry, they do not even know the history of Christianity in Kerala)and someone who ‘worship Goddess Sonia’.((Frankly I do not have any idea where Sonia Gandhi stands in my life and  what she has to do with my views.)Anti-national,professional  hater of Hinduism etc are common abuses and some I cannot even write here. I am sure those online trolls do not have any idea about the culture or history of India but somewhere I feel let down by my compatriots, one part of me gets angry and other part of me gets hurt.Who has the right to question my 'Indianess?', Who are they to question my patriotism?
  When actors like Sharukh Khan and Aamir khan have voiced their concerns over growing intolerance in India, they too are trolled by the online Hindutva brigade.
Even people go out to burn Aamir’s effigy(I just wonder where do we get all those youth to destructive work? Do they participate with equal enthusiasm to some constructive work to build a better India?)

    They say that they are hurt by Aamir’s words.Why they do not get hut or betrayed seeing a little girl begging on street? Why they do not feel ashamed seeing  filth aroud them? Why they do not get hurt when daughters of India are raped and abused?Why do they not ashamed seeing the cancerous corruption in the society?Why do they not react with such passion and aggression against all this social evils?
Did they ever reach out and ask a person belongs to minority religion, how does he/she feel? I do remember the panic and insecurity feeling of my Muslim friend in Delhi during Dadri incident, and many Muslims share that insecurity feeling. Only a person belonging to minority community can feel that and it is  really insensitive to brand those who speak out their fears as anti-national, it doesn’t make us human beings. Besides people jump to compare India with certain autocratic Middle Eastern countries and Pakistan, but those countries are not model states and our democracy is modeled on western system.  

    The issue is that we mix religion with politics and this trend is getting dangerous with the ascent of BJP to power. A deliberate attempt to polarize majority Hindu vote is going on in India and it would only pull India backwards.Europe has learned her lesson from the mistake of mixing religion and politics,ofcourse with a heavy price. I do not know when we are going to learn that.Again Pakistan is a perfect example of a failed nation for the fault of mixing religion and politics. Thanks to our founding fathers especially Gandhiji,Nehru and Ambedkar to whom we are indebted to the secular aspect of the constitution.I wish our youth to wake up and work for a better India rather than wasting their time and energy on divisive and viscious agenda.


Alyan goes to a World sans Border

         Little Alyan(drowned Syrian toddler)might have gone to a world having no borders, suffering and pain.But the pic of the still body of the little boy on  Turkish sea coast had conveyed the horrors of war and  apathy of  world in silence. The  birds fly on sky neither aware of the borders nor worried about its nationality, same applies to flies,bees and countless wild animals that do not stop at the border  fearing  deportation. Humans having a higher intelligence coupled with an evolved soul made divisions amongst ourselves with  religion,race,colour and class and segregated earth with boundaries only to scare away another human being!

         We created a world that would make us insulated   in our cocoon,                              we drew borders to keep ourselves away  from others who are less fortunate than us due to historical/geographical/ political or so many other reasons. But when we started having this national identity?The developed Europe was a battlefield once  and had meddled with all parts of the world, colonized most of the world and redrew their borders,but those nations which turned away from Syrian crisis do not even seem to have a sense of history.Millions of Europeans/Jews were displaced,murdered and fled as refugees to different part of the world during world wars. But today the refugees fleeing for life are called as ‘illegal immigrants!’ Weren’t those British who migrated  to Americas,Australia and Newzland illegal immigrants? Not to mention  the brutalities and exploitation the colonisers /migrant Europeans had inflicted on the natives in Asia, America and Africa. And Haven’t Asia and Africa contributed to the prosperity of Europe?

         Another inconvenient truth is that Europe  particularly UK and US is part of the problem of present day middle east crisis, so are Arab countries like Saudi,Qatar,Kuwait etc.Suni Saudi Arabia helped rebels to fight Assad govt(Shia) in Syria at the same time helps suppress Shia protests against Sunni regime in Shia majority Bahrain, the Shias in Bahrain are denied many rights and live in kind of ghettoes.

         For me the idea of nations itself is looking at the world with a narrow perspective, we are not owners of planet earth though we pretend to be so and nobody has the right to keep all resources for themselves, besides helping another human being  in distress or any living being for that matter is the basic duty of us humans.

          We create so many imaginary identities about nation,race and religion, but what we lack in this influx of identities is the ability to love and empathise. I wish for a world where there would be no boarders, where we could rise above narrow nationalism.