Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Great Illusion

Pic Credit : Erik Johansson

"She hates me, my friend, I'm sure"
"No she's just shy. Don't rub her the wrong way."
They stood at the edge of their colony, all poor.
But dreams had no limits, their eyes beamed, ready to play.

"I don't have enough set apart", he cried.
"Don't make me sell my wares!", she did retort.
O' The regular bickering, the colony sighed.
The words sharp as arrows, yet a quiver empty of thought.

"Little one, I'll always be there for you", she lied
"Pray my child, that tomorrow shall be brighter"
The little one believes, all good lives, all evil has died.
But in the colony, like night and day, Evil and good were always bound tighter

Suddenly, of a great flood, there came chants
Their lives, worries and dreams all perished in the sands
The old lady had woken up and watered the plants
Alas, she knew not, under those leaves there lived a colony of ants.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Memories of the Dew

Happy moments in life are like dew drops. 
Magical, yet fleeting. 
Charmingly beautiful yet hardly seen.
Through the still darkness of the night.
Do I yearn for the warmth of the sun or the misty morning dew.?

For what are dew drops, if not fleeting?
How is something of beauty if it never ceases to exist? 
As the sun rises and the dew melts and trickles away, should I move on ? 
Do I forget and just walk away ?

Or perhaps this is the way it's meant to be. 
Those dark clouds never really meant to stay.
Those old whistling trees and a wet broken pathway. 
When I looked back, is it perhaps, just me ?

Day and night. Night after day is all alright.
I forget to remember as I shall remember to forget. 
For what stays in life is so precious little, very few. 
All I need, are those memories of the dew. 

Those little memories of the dew.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Outrage in the City

Across the street, I saw a man stand; hard
On his face a frown, In his hands a bright red placard
I passed by him and watched him shout
Alone; he was, until there came a lady stout

Both were angry, eyes red and voices hoarse
His job was lost. From her house driven out by force
"Down with the Mayor!", they cursed aloud
"Potholes in the City, Find a way out!"

To two wastrels on the street, he gave placards
They stood in front, equally angry and now his guards
Right from infancy, there is no infection, till old age
That spreads as easily as pure red outrage

For soon gathered a crowd, initially curious
Looking at the motley group, fast turning furious
It reminded them of their lives` failures and strife
Money lost in gamble, A drunkard husband or a nagging wife

They joined the crowd and soon angry they became
"To the Mayor's office", some shouted and they were all game
With sticks and stones, and red angry faces
Marched the mob, for raising hell, for those in high rises

When denied entrance, they found their chance
Eager and excited, they raised hell, like true Che fans
Came the police to control, Alas! the mayor was now stained with grease
Fighting tears, water and bullets, they brought the city to it's knees

Many were taken to jail, some limped home
Roads were blocked, buildings on fire, nowhere to roam
Great was the loss, for fixing; which, more the mayor stole
If only that lone angry hard man, had just fixed a damn pothole!

Alone in the city burning red and bright
I can't fathom, right or wrong, to turn left or right
I oft wonder, what purpose does it serve, this murderous rage!
Outrage in the city, in the mind. Outrage! Outrage!

Pic : The Garden Triptych, Right Wing, Terra Nostra, 1467-68. The burning city
Courtesy : Rolfgross DreamHosters

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Papua and the Cow

"The cow needs to be tamed, as it has gone mad", said the farmer.

"Can you run?", Papua asked the cow. It simply shook it's head. It was not interested. It was looking at the bundle of grass that lay nearby. It kept chewing and drooling from it's mouth shamelessly without caring about anything in the world.

"Can you do something with him?", the farmer asked. "If not, I will sell him off to the butcher's at least then perhaps we will see some emotion on her smug stupid face", chuckled the farmer.

"No!", said Papua. "Give her to me. I will buy her!". The farmer was surprised at first and later shrugged and remarked "Whatever!".

He gladly took the money, Papua held in his outstretched hand.

Papua then took the cow and the bundle of grass and walked on. The cow followed. When he reached the edge of the forest, he removed the rope from the cow's head and let it meander into the woods as he watched it eat some leaves off a tree.

"You are as mad as her, you fool!", shouted the farmer who watched from far away.

"Yes!", replied Papua.

"We are both mad and similar. We yearn freedom to live the life we seek, the way we want to live. When the world does not allow that, we create our own imaginary world and live in them joyously totally indifferent to this stupid world you live in"

The farmer stared back at him, with an expressionless face.

"Get lost, you fool!", he shouted back and turned away.

The two fools walked on free and fair
Alone and filled with joy in solitary firmness
Their worlds collide and to enter them; they dare
Walked the two fools to their calm and happiness
They whistled and sang; their hearts so cool
No one cared for any lonely grinning fool
And hence is retold this foolish story
Of fools, about fools, must be by a fool

Friday, July 10, 2015


The rage of the afternoon sun, quietens the garden
Leaves don't stir and dead is the breeze
Flowers, they stand bright, yet tense and solemn
I walk alone, knows not the world, what one sees

Those songs over the wall of the neighbour's children
The games they play, their cries I hear
At night I know they are burning, faces ashen
For them I plead, but the world shows no mercy here

For the world lives, but yet to many lays dead
Their cries and whispers, to which I lend an ear
The fire rages within my mind, yet wronged is my head
"Please see, Please hear, the beauty of the story in each tear"

I oft wonder, where my world of dreams lies
For infinite is the beauty I see, Deep is the peace I feel
And yet this world seeks to wake me up; I don't arise
 My inner calm, how do I allow them to steal?

At night, the stars alight and this world sleeps; Sigh!
But learn I shan't how they forget, how they keep sailing
A storm in my heart, Rocks their boats not, Why?
From paradise to travel, I fail and keep failing

And still I shall not despair, for my wings are strong
Fly I can, above the castles of lore, through forests green
But there are shackles on my feet that feel wrong
I scream hard and faint, yet I am not noticed or seen.

I bleed and bleed, the brightness of the red, so dizzy
I feel not the pain of the thorn and still the roses fade
Afternoon in the garden, I sit still, my mind numb and busy
O' Asylum, my asylum, to thee; farewell, how shall I bade?

 Pic Courtesy - The Garden at St.Remy's Asylum, painted by the master Van Gogh , Photo Courtesty Hans Ollerman

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The World Below

Higher and higher, as the birds fly
I see my soul escape, to look below
To look down at the world and sigh
What are we ?. From where do we flow ?

The spirit travels to faraway places
And yet always bound by the silver cord
We are but one more, among countless faces
From far above, there is no meaning in discord.

That colony of ants, I see below working
How ignorant I am of their universe
We are but ants to some other being.
The body awaits the soul to know of other worlds

Higher and higher, I become sombre
I hear not, the voices of laughter
Feel not, the wetness of tears, or heat of anger
All that was real, mere illusions thereafter

Paddy fields, are now small green squares
Giant Brick Houses look like mere matchboxes
Roads are mere lines and other dull affairs
Around I look to see what this world offers.

Those brown beetles deep beneath the ground
Or those translucent fishes in oceanic trenches
 Do they care of me, in another realm of air and sound
This ignorance of each being; who avenges?

Multiple universes collide invisible to each other
How small are we, relatively? What rules do we follow ?
High upon a cliff, and yet foolishly together
I may have seen, but not conquered the world below.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Burning of Dharmaganja

The sky was pale in color and the distant chattering of mini vets and parakeets could be heard welcoming the birth of dawn. Chandrapala muttered his prayers and yogic sutras as he completed his bath in the massive swimming pool at Nalanda. Though he usually enjoyed his bath, and considered it an essential ritual of purification and reverence, today his mind was disturbed.

His teacher, the knowledgeable, wise old soul, the person he considered one of the greatest intellectuals of his time, Rahula Sribhadra, had spoken to him with tears in his eyes of how Nalanda was in grave danger. Chandrapala could not understand what his teacher meant. His teacher could often foresee things before they even happened and this prophecy of his disturbed his mind so much that he could not sleep that day. The way of the mendicant was one of great processing of thought, focus and intuition. The power of innumerable hours meditation and the reverberation of the chants of prayer trained the mind so much that it could attain powers which were unthinkable of, for mere mortals.

Chandrapala often chided himself that he was perhaps too lazy and unfocused to not imbibe all his guru's teachings.  He was just thirty years old and was restless to learn all that he could from the masters. Himself a great scholar and practitioner of Ayurveda, he had lived a life of good circumstances, being a descendent of the Royal Pala family. The great guru had come personally to his home and brought him to Nalanda the abode of knowledge of thousands of years.

He had wanted to probe further, but his guru was tired and had to rest and so he had walked to the Dharmaganja to continue his study.  The Dharmaganja was the main library at Nalanda and had a huge number of treatises and scriptures on the teachings of the Buddha, the Vedas and Upanishads, papers on Ayurveda, Astronomy, Mathematics, Anatomy and every work of literature that was of contemporary importance. Works of Scholars from China and Indonesia were at the side in what was a huge adorned hall of magnificent size. Chandrapala had immersed himself in a treatise on Surgery of the Heart in the Ayurveda section when cries were heard set to the sound of horses neighing and people shouting. Chandrapala quickly climbed up the steps and reached outside. There were hundreds of horses and men in war like gear. The constant noise and disturbance seemed like a harsh awakening of Nalanda in trance.

The soldiers wore a green headgear and some of the monks nearby said they appeared to be soldiers of the Mamluk Dynasty. At the centre stood a great black horse, on which sat a bearded Man of Turkish origins. His name was Bakhtiyar Khilji. He had very long arms and appeared to be very angry. Before Chandrapala could make sense of what was happening, the troops had started attacking some of the monks and were asking for the whereabouts of his guru. Chandrapala rushed to his guru's room. He had heard and seen enough. The guru had to be saved. The soldiers seemed to be merciless, as they went about killing and beheading monks. Chandrapala saw his master in meditation and normally would not have dared to disturb as that was not the path of Dharma Vinaya, the path of discipline, but his mind was troubled and therefore rushed and picked up his guru, who was still in a meditative state.

As he emerged outside, the guru quickly opened his eyes and asked Chandrapala to set him down. "O' Learned one, we need to hurry. These rakshasas will kill us for sure, for they know not the path of Shanthi and Dharma. Let us hurry. We have to escape to Magadha", pleaded Chandrapala.

"Set your mind at calm, son. Do not lose control of your mind. Fear not and lay your trust in the ways of Dharma. Let us go to the Dharmaganja. Let us gather some of the scriptures. Come with me.", replied the Guru. Chandrapala followed the guru, marveling at his calm demeanor. As Chandrapala and his guru reached  the Dharmaganja, they saw the bodies of two monks, who had been beheaded at it's altar. Their eyes started to stream seeing the gruesome sight. Rahula was about to touch their writhing bodies, when the smell of smoke touched their nostrils.

The Burning of Dharmaganja had started and it was a heartbreaking sight to see. The Hetuvidya and Shabdhavidya sections were wildly burning with a great intensity and it was difficult to enter through that particular Vihara.

"Come Chandra, we have to at least rescue some of the great Manjusmrita's works", said the guru, his eyes watering and desperate. They rushed through another entrance. Chandrapala was worried, as they could not afford any of the soldiers seeing them and he had to protect the Guru somehow. But his teacher was right, the great scholar Manjusmrita's work on Vajrayana Buddhism was a treasure for the entire world.

When they arrived at that section there was already a soldier there who was setting fire to the gold tinted book shelves. They waited with bated breath for him to leave and then rushed towards the shelves once he had left. The fire was raging and Chandrapala could feel his eyebrows being burnt. His guru was using his feeble hands to put the fire down. They quickly took out two scrolls and two books, but the fire had started raging now. Chandrapala had to pull the Guru forcefully as they were running out of air to breathe. They rushed outside still burning but his Guru held on to the books with all his life.

They were about to go out of the university through the eastern vihara, when they found Cannons and soldiers killing monks outside. Chandrapala knew an exit to the forest on the southern side, a small opening out to the jungle where the mini vets used to rest, but today their cries were not to be heard. They ran towards that opening and rushed though a gap in the columns to the forest outside. The Guru was tired and wanted to rest, but then they heard the sounds of horses and more explosions, so they ran and ran and kept running until they could no longer feel the fire behind. After running for what seemed like eons together they fell down below a huge banyan tree and lost their consciousness.

For days together they rested below the banyan tree occasionally eating leaves and berries. A few days later a few woodcutters found them and took them to their home, where they were nursed back to health and received food and water. The Guru blessed and thanked them for their service. Chandrapala and Rahula then continue their journey up a hill nearby where they built a hut and rested for some time. Two weeks should have passed, but they were shocked and pained when from atop the hill they still saw the fire from the Dharmaganja still raging and burning.

"I curse them! They don't realize the wealth of the world that they destroyed. For what reason did they commit this inhuman act. How many of our lives have they taken", cried Chandrapala one day, in despair.

"Set your mind at calm and meditate Chandra", said the Guru. "O' Learned one. How can you still be calm. Did you not witness this treacherous act. How can you still trust in Mankind? How can you still meditate ?", queried Chandrapala. His face had reddened with anger and his eyes were clouded and misty.

"Because Chandra, that is the path of Dharma", said the Guru. "It is in the times of despair and when you are tested the most, when you have to make an example of your learning, your tolerance and your following and strict adherence to the path gifted to us by the Budha. The path of Dharma Vinaya"

"Mankind will further degrade and may get more intolerant, but by following and sharing the message of Dharma, by making our lives an example, we can lend back to the world the treasures that we lost. I have been reading Guru Manjusmrita's writing and it has given me back the peace of Mind I needed".

"Trust in the three treasures of our path.". "Buddham Sharanam Gachami", he chanted. "Relieve and perfect your mind, for that will give you enlightenment and peace. Focus on the task at hand and cultivate inner peace".

"Dharmam Sharanam Gachami, Continue following the teaching and methods of Dharma". "Teachings of our great scholars are not in books alone. Even books will perish someday and may not be preserved, for time eats up all. What will withstand the onslaught of time is the continuous teaching and methods followed by one exemplary life which will be emulated by generations together. Let us live our lives, by continuing to follow our dharma and we will still be preserving the knowledge that we have learnt. Many have gained knowledge at Nalanda. I am sure they will have the wisdom to share and the world over our teachings will get preserved in some form or other".

"Sangham Sharanam Gachami You should leave me here. I will return back to Nalanda and continue my life teaching our children. But you should take these scriptures and leave for Dharamshala and continue the practice of Sangha, of mutual support and encouragement and spiritual friendship and sharing of knowledge. Live your life, son on the path of Dharma. Follow these three treasures and all the treasures the world lost today shall be regained across the world in one form or another."

After listening to the words of the wise, learned one, Chandrapala became calm. His tears glistened with reflection of the raging fire far away. There was now hope in his heart and sadness at the forthcoming parting with his teacher, but peace  filled his heart, when he thought of his Guru going down to Nalanda later and continuing to teach from whatever shall be left behind.

As he fell asleep, his Guru caressed his forehead and looking at the distant fire raging, chanted silently
"Buddham Sharanam Gachami, Dharmam Sharanam Gachami, Sangham Sharanam Gachami".


Pic Courtesy : Pradheesh K. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Fallacy of the Reservation Policy

A friend once shared me with this experience that he had when he went for engineering counseling. There was a boy there, from his coaching center, who was from a specific backward community and he wanted to pursue Mechanical Engineering, when his parents and some of the other people present there told him that based on his cut off marks and based on the quota system, he can get a seat for Computer Science engineering. The tragedy is that the boy chose the Computer Science option. The tragedy is that the country possibly lost a good mechanical engineer. If you carefully notice here, there are multiple problems here. One is the problem with our mindset, wherein we do not consider that the boy probably has a better aptitude for Mechanical Engineering. The other problem is that our society is becoming increasingly materialistic and wealth-driven. The option of an Engineering degree in Computer Science is considered because of the sad foresight that a profession in the IT Industry will be the more economically viable option in the short term. Here, the fact that the boy would probably be a better mechanical engineer than a programmer is not considered. While these are sad realities, one of the problems is also here that our education system has already reserved a seat for us, based on the community in which we were born, because some of our ancestors were socially discriminated against in a previous era. I am personally therefore against reservations in our education system but this does not mean that I do not want our socially backward communities not to advance and be progressive. It is just that I have serious reservations about the way we have gone about achieving the same.

When the V.P. Singh government went about implementing the Mandal Commission Recommendations in the 1990's there were serious opposition from several student groups, including some sad instances of self immolation. However this post of mine is not intended to add to the protest against government policies. I have not benefited from this policy and therefore I have an inherent bias. I, therefore am not qualified to attack the policy in itself. However, it has to be mentioned that today this policy is more often than not a tool that major political parties utilize to get numbers for the elections or they are scared to take a step against reservations mainly because in terms of whole communities, there is often unanimous demand for reservations and thereby the numbers and the vote banks they represent has the power to topple governments. We have seen this even recently when there were widespread protests during the Vasundhara Raje regime, by the Gurjar community in Rajasthan. The fact that a community is protesting so that it could be slotted as backward itself is a big tragedy, since it shows very much that the problem is not with social discrimination now, but with inefficiency in the implementation of government schemes and education delivery model.

One of the mistakes with these kind of policies is that while they have been implemented across the country, there is no measurement of how effectively they are being implemented. It may be done by some other inquiry commission later on, when the subject is broached upon, but a periodic review process of the implementation and whether it is proving effective must have been included in the policy itself. I was not sure whether this has been done and therefore I had filed an RTI query regarding the same with the Department of Higher Education. Refer DOHED/R/2013/61580/1. To quote my query verbatim,

The Mandal Commission recommendations were implemented for Higher Education in 1990s. Many colleges and universities allot seats based on Caste. Has there been any research or retrospective study as to how much this has helped and how many people from the deprived communities have been uplifted. Are there any statistics present to know how many families have benefited from reservation and how many communities are not backward anymore due to this system.

Also if there are such statistics, are there any plans or guidelines as to until what period in the future this policy of reservations will be followed. How much longer will it take to bring out this percentage of population out of its backwardness.
I received a reply from the Department of Higher Education that no such information was available and that my request has been forwarded to other departments. I recently got the same reply from University Grants Commission as well. Therefore, as of now, we know that there has been no retrospective study of whether this process or policy implementation is proving to be useful or effective. While even recently the present Congress government is standing by the reservation policy, perhaps the question the government needs to respond to is, how much good has come out of it. Is it being measured effectively? If so, how long until we continue to follow the same.

One point of view expounded by the BJP, the other mainstream political party is about creating equal opportunities for all citizens thereby diminishing the requirement for reservations. This, I feel is again in some ways a flawed argument mainly because we also have the trend of many seats going vacant in many engineering/arts colleges across the country. Also there are contradictions in their stance regarding reservations according to regional compulsions as has been seen recently with the move to ask for reservation in promotions for government jobs. It cannot be just a supply and demand problem. The political leadership of the country will have to devise an innovative solution to address the present flaws in the Indian Education System.

At some point in time, in the future if we one day wake up to the reality that India is a country without the requisite skilled labor across all fields it might then be too late to make changes. It could then be too difficult to bring about reform and no one might take accountability. I hope that even if the government of the day does not have the information today, some day it will collect the same, otherwise the fallacy in the current reservation policy will never be exposed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Himalayan Blunder

It is often said that history is written by the victor. However an objective reading of the truth of history requires us to step up and read all versions in order to gain a picture of at least a semblance of truth as to what may have happened. As I write this post, therefore I have to warn the reader that this is my reading of history and the Sino Indian war of 1962 based upon this book and there have been several books regarding the same.

Having said that, this book is special, because often it is the pawn which very intimately is witness to the war than any of the other pieces, or the king himself. This book was written by Brigadier John Parashuram Dalvi, who was the commander of 7 Infantry Brigade, which was at the epicenter of the Sino Indian Conflict of 1962. Post the one month long conflict, when Chinese force overran a lot of Indian territory on the NEFA border, the author was taken captive by the Chinese forces and later returned to India. It is during those months of captivity that he forms the outline for the book. It details elaborately the kind of imbalance in the preparation for the war, the political thought process in relations with China and the events that caused the conflict. It does not therefore hesitate to place the blame where present and identify all the failures of different people in charge at that time. It is therefore critical to note that the book was banned upon it's release and later allowed to be released.

In 1962, the Indian government was headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the book dissects vividly Nehru's priorities for India and his global reputation in terms of crafting India's foreign policy and the non aligned movement. The book details the halo around Nehru's persona and the unquestioned authority with which Nehru ruled the country and his socialist steps to take the country forward and the neglect of the Armed forces. 

The book also details how a person like V.K.Krishna Menon who was the Defence Minister of the time, was often more interested in Foreign Affairs and details how his exploits at the U.N made him something of a maverick and thereby caused his interaction with the generals of the Defence Services leaving a lot to be desired. His disagreement with the great general K.S.Thimmayya being a case in point. Also it often argues against General B.M.Kaul's Forward Post Policy. As per this policy, Indian Armed forces had set up Indian Army check posts in disputed areas of Land, as China had not agreed to McMahon Line, set up during the British Administration of being the natural border between India and China. This erroneous policy costs us dearly as one of these posts at Dhola, becomes the trigger point of the conflict and was the first post which was attacked by the Chinese Army, thereby triggering the conflict. Indian Army had to then go through a lot of difficulty to secure these posts, and most often were in a militarily disadvantaged position and yet had to hold on to them due to political pressure.

While the book could have descended to a massive rant against the establishment, what prevents that from happening, is the author's patriotic and often practical analysis of the situation and his description of events as they happened and his logical questions, which history will find very difficult to answer. It is also his great insight into military strategy and knowledge of Indian history and his recommendations for the future which stand apart and make this a compelling and compulsive read for all Indians who are concerned of India's security and Military strength. While there were many guilty men of 1962, it is always better to understand what we can take back as lessons for the future instead of blaming the mistakes we made in the past. The author is intimately aware of this and therefore uses his words very wisely and often with rightful anger. The herculean hardship that the author as well as the soldiers of the forces he commanded during the short war until they gave their lives for their country remind us of the immense sacrifices made by a simple Indian Jawan. The author upon release comes back to the country after being released by the chinese and is looked upon with suspicion once he reaches India, as to whether he might have been brainwashed. After such travails, it would have been very easy for any normal human being to be highly vituperative, but it is testimony to the author's character that he is very objective, forthright and sincere in his description of the events that occurred.

The book is also enriched further by adding to it's appendix the letter written by Sardar Vallabhai
Patel to Jawaharlal Nehru, which is very insightful and sets the ground rules as to the precautions we need to take in our relations with China. It remains to be said that some of his observations later proved to be eerily true and continue to be relevant today.

Which brings me to the lessons that could be learned from the book for our future.

Civilian Military Interaction - As part of the Independence movement, a lot of the Congress leaders went to jail, participated and protests and fought for the country. While this was happening, the Indian Army was being administered and commanded by British Officers and generals. Post Independence, when Indians formed their own government, the Indian Army which was then respected the world over for it's efficiency was looked upon with mistrust in it's own home. The government enforced civil supremacy and was always suspicious of the Army and always feared a military coup. This forged together unhealthy relationship continued thereon, with often conflicts arising in the interaction between the civilian leaders of the day and military leadership. This culture is evident from the bitterness in the relationships between Krishna Menon and Gen. K.S. Thimmayya, Indira Gandhi and Sam Maneckshaw  and so on. This has sadly continued until recently with the Gen.V.K.Singh episode. While Military rule of a country may not be right, the civilian and military leadership of the day has to be friendly and one of mutual respect. In the Indian case, often civilian members of the bureaucracy have often been disrespectful of the Military leadership and there is a disconnect between the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. We learn from the book that often important strategic military decisions were taken by civilian members of the rank of a Secretary and dished out as orders to the Armed Forces. This has to be therefore improved by making sure that there is minimum political interference with regard to strategic military decisions and at the same time provide complete support. This is best illustrated by our 1971 victory over Pakistan, during Lal Bahadur Shastri's reign. Political Leadership should never break the military chain of command or interfere in appointments of the Armed Forces. There is no role for Favoritism in appointment in Defence where the only criteria has to be performance, experience and capability.

Importance of Infrastructure - Thankfully we have advanced a lot since 1962 and the armed forces near the chinese border today have much better equipment, winter clothing and weapons. However the regions near the chinese border remain ill developed partly due to the difficult terrain and also because of lack of inhabiting population. Despite that, it is a must that we have proper roads built so that rapid movement of troops made possible,  without relying on Air dropped rations, like we did in 1962. The Border Roads Organisation which was set up for this purpose in 1960 has to be strengthened and budgets allocated so that the entire stretch of the Chinese border is well reachable and patrolled. Also such infrastructure will help our Intelligence apparatus as well greatly.

Role of Opposition and Public Opinion - During times of crisis, public opinion and opposition in government have to make sure they speak in an unified voice and irresponsible calls for immediate action should never be made, as a tactful military response must be well-planned and executed with a lot of time taken for the same. Sometimes, it may even be a strategic move for our forces to retreat, so that a more advantageous position could be reached, while attacking the enemy. The popular media of the day and Public opinion should always be channelled towards ably supporting our Armed Forces and standing by it's decisions.

Lastly, one important thread that runs throughout the book is that during 1962, though there was massive Chinese build up along the border, there was never any real fear of war on the Indian side, as it expected that Indian clout in global politics will deter the Chinese forces. Throughout that time both the political leadership as well as some generals of the Armed forces never seriously anticipated war. India, however now has to be always in a perpetual mode of war readiness and should always anticipate war because the recent Chinese incursions and activities along the border have been highly suspicious. Recently the Chinese Army arrested five Indians in Ladakh, while they were in Indian territory claiming that they crossed over. Such incidents should keep us in high alert mode and serious political thought given regarding the same. Also recently there have been allegations of Favoritism in the Indian Army. Such instances show us that we still have not completed learning lessons from the past. At least as a tribute to the great soldiers who laid down their lives in 1962 we have to make sure that we learn these lessons quickly and keep our country secure. For any Armed Forces aspirant, I would suggest they give this book a deep engrossed reading as well, as it often highlights the great qualities of an Indian Soldier.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Back to the Past

Pic Courtesy :

To that realm when time turns translucent
To that era I wish my body and soul be sent
When the line blurs between our known history
And the mythical times of magic and mystery

To those years when master carpenters roamed around
Sculpting the abode of gods from stones
To those times when those lives were real and sound
When sages did penance and turned to bones

To those simpler times, shall I time travel
When she nursed her mean husband's sores
And stopped the sun, until it came to her doors
Where tales of character, I could unravel

The divine connection, that lend it's spirit
To the king who built the biggest temples
And yet chose to bless the lady who served
Her simple food to the tired sculptors

That divine spirit!, Shall thy take me back ?
To those times, when rivers built lives
And forests were but a second home
When skies showered gifts of wet nectar

Till I reach there, I fear, I may lose my rhyme
My rhythm and music and joy; Till I dissolve
In the essence of time and nature
In the magic and mystery of those times.

Let me go. Let me dissolve...