Friday, December 12, 2008

Mirror, Mirror on the wall....

..who is the bravest of them all?

I know, I know. Its an impudent question to ask. But I can’t help it. I mean, I have been thinking of it because of the media coverage (what else!) of the Mumbai terror attack. The killing of 3 top Police Officers and the NSG commando was all over the channels. And the funeral procession of their bodies was also widely covered. But none of the channels talked about that Asst.Sub-Inspector who took the bullets in his body while trying to fight the terrorist with just his 'lathi', in true 'Bollywood style'! The police now have one terrorist responsible for the attack in their custody. Courtesy: Shri Tukaram Omble. The media was completely silent about this man and what his family was undergoing (at least initially. I watch TV less, so if they have compensated for their lack of fair coverage later, I know not). So I was feeling perversely happy yesterday when the Home Minister in his opening statement on terrorism talked about Omble before taking the names of ATS Chief and others. While accepting the fact that death is death, what I want to say is that there is enormous difference in the way they have died. The difference between the death of Abhimanyu and Upa Pandavas in the story of Mahabharat. Let's see what the Government does for Omble's family. Because I feel that they actually need it.
Dr.Manmohan Singh had once made my day. He was the Finance Minister of India then. As a college student I had attended a lecture by him at the Bangalore University. I had gone all by myself to the program without telling anybody, not even my classmates 'coz I was not even sure whether I would finally go. I was, as always, in two minds. My schools and also the college had been within three kms of my house. So it was a big thing for me to go beyond the familiar places. At the campus there were those ‘big intel’ guys and gals who were either PG or M.Phil or PhD students (I had presumed that no one but they would be allowed to attend the lecture, so I had carried my college ID card as well!) Looking at them, I was becoming more and more self-conscious. Everything about me, I found, was quite odd with that place. My baggy salwars, two plaits, bindi, flat chappals, jhola type bag. I was hopelessly feeling small (since I had already passed the growing years, I was actually trying to prove science wrong somehow and become 5’6” by the time I passed out of the college!). Unable to gather courage to initiate conversation with people, I made a very brisk entry into the auditorium and chose a corner seat. I was early by half an hour. With the passing of every minute, feelings of inferiority, inadequacy increased. I was feeling as though the entire hall was just looking at me. I was feeling even more conspicuous since there was no one in my row. I was so nervous and anxious, that I almost got up to go. But I lacked courage for that also. I stayed put where I was. Dr.Singh came on time and I listened to him. Of course, I understood very less what he was talking about. But the firm conviction in his low-pitched voice and those two pair of mild, twinkling eyes floored me completely. I was infected by his enthusiasm, optimism and commitment. He was the man who had said ‘nobody can stop an idea for which the time has come’. It was amazing how after the lecture, oblivious to everything else, I walked out feeling tall from inside!
This flashback came because last week I was again listening to Dr.Singh. At the function, which I attended, the PM deviating from his prepared text, explained how he is a politician by accident. And what he loves most is teaching. This time, I could hardly see his eyes behind those thick pair of glasses leave alone read the expression in them. I felt a sudden stab of pain. Nothing turns out as we expect them to be. See, I am not even 5’3”!
At my college they used to say if Nehru had USSR as a model to emulate and Mrs.Gandhi, somewhat went by China, Dr. Singh does not see beyond USA. Its quite ironical that we have had our own 9/11, as dubbed by the media, during Dr.Singh’s tenure. People say that he should never have become PM in 2004. But imagine if Lalu or Shivraj Patil had become PM back in 2004. I say, don’t even try to imagine!
I have made an interesting but also quite an intriguing discovery. Hindus have three ways of worshipping divinity, right. One, by giving the divinity human or animal form for the sake of worship. Two, through mantras and finally by graphically depicting divinity in Tantras/chakras. Sri Sankara apparently created Sri Cakra. This 9 avarana cakra is supposedly useful in understanding the creation of brahmanda (at the cosmos level) and also at the individual level (man). At the centre of the Cakra is Bindu (a point), which represents Siva-Sakti and from which the creation has taken place. Isn’t it interesting? I want to study more about this.
This reminds me of Calvin. Once a dejected, frustrated Calvin complains to his father ‘ its not fair, I have to keep postponing things that I want to do for the sake of doing things that I have to do!’. His father with a smile of triumph replies, ‘welcome to the world, my son’!

1 comment:

Atoorva said...

While reading your attending Dr.Singh's lecture in an 'intel' crowd' I was reminded of a similar incident from my school days. It was the year of the infamous kar seva which later on resulted in demolition of Babri mosque at ayodhya .I was in 12th standard at a school in Kanpur.The school was run by a trust who aligned with the rightist parties organising this kar seva. Many of the students also had similar family affiliations .One of our Hindi teacher(who was otherwise a favorite teacher) went to Ayodhya to participate . Those were the days when news channels were not there to give you minute by minute gory details of the world. People used to survive with rumours and hearsay. So when she came back many of my classmates were curious to know about the hapenings of Ayodhya . On popular demand she stopped teaching and started narrating the story of'brave men, women and children who died in teh name of ram " The gist of her story was that every muslim is a murderer and every hindu is a saint . I was disgusted with such interepretation of the events. Moreover I was very clear in my mind that such things should not be told in schools . Otherwise scared of any kind of attention and hence mosly silent and unnoticed in the class , I suddenly found myself standing and saying straight to the teacher" You should not be doing this Ma'am . This is a school and not some bajrang dal office " and I walked out of the class. I felt very nervous once I was out in the gallery .I had never dared to such extent before. But I felt as you say "tall inside" afterwards . Though that teacher never talked to me for rest of the year , I still feel proud for having courage to say what I wanted to.