The spiritual gift of India to the world has already begun. India's spirituality is entering Europe and America in an ever increasing measure. That movement will grow; amid the disasters of the time more and more eyes are turning towards her with hope and there is even an increasing resort not only to her teachings, but to her psychic and spiritual practice. -- Sri Aurobindo (from the message broadcast on the eve of August 15, 1947)

Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Occupational hazard if one has to stand up for truth and justice

Q&A: A priest has to stand up for truth and justice
It is unusual for a priest to take on a state government. Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit priest based in Ahmedabad, believes that his duty is not limited to saying prayers for the faithful but also to speak up against violence and injustice. The French government bestowed on him its highest civilian honour and the National Commission for Minorities recently gave him the Minority Rights Award 2006 in honour of his commitment to human rights. He spoke to Humra Quraishi about the dangers of communalism:

What prompted you to speak out against the Gujarat government after the 2002 pogrom?

I did — and continue to do so — what I thought was the fundamental duty of any citizen: To defend the victim and to stand up for those who are at the receiving end even if the perpetrators happen to be powerful. I have not done anything extra-ordinary, only what was expected of me. It has been difficult of course. There have been all kinds of allegations against me, several threats and I have been kept constantly under surveillance. But I call all this an occupational hazard if one has to stand up for truth and justice.

Has the situation of minorities in
Gujarat improved?

The victims of the
Gujarat carnage are still fighting for minimum compensation and, in most cases, they have not received any justice. There are people in other parts of India who are genuinely concerned about what is happening in Gujarat. But, somehow, this has not evolved into a civil movement which is absolutely necessary to prevent the communalisation of the country and the continued erosion of our constitutional values.

You are a priest. Your critics could say that a priest's job is to be busy with prayer sessions and not get involved in political issues.

Yes, I am a Jesuit priest and I am very clear that the responsibility I am mandated with is to take a stand for truth, justice, compassion and peace. Unfortunately, the role of a priest has been stereotyped and even to a great
degree, compromised. Many of my critics will be very happy to see me confined to the four walls of a church. That is not what Jesus came for, that is not what He preached, that is not what He died for.

How do you perceive the role of 'secular' parties in fighting communalism in
Gujarat?

The way most leaders of the so-called secular parties are behaving, vis-a-vis the communal situation in
Gujarat, is tragic. Their mindset is that if one takes a stand against the communalisation of Gujarat, he will be alienating the majority community of the state. I think most citizens are much wiser and, in the end, will vote for a party that is honest. POSTED BY C-INFO AT FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2006. Interview with Cedric Prakash - about the dangers of communalism (The Times of India, 23 Dec, 2006)


Immediately after the findings of the Sachar Committee, Union minister for minority affairs A.R. Antulay declared that he not only agreed with the PM to grant a “fair” share to the minorities but that he was “for including Dalit Muslims and Christians in the reserved SC/ST category. By just changing their faith, their status, social and economic backwardness and the burden of being downtrodden for centuries does not change overnight.”
Another Congress leader Veerappa Moily joined in the chorus. Not to be left behind, especially given the forthcoming elections in UP, Mulayam Singh too is advocating the case of Muslim reservations. With an almost inaudible whisper, he and others are heard uttering the unutterable word ‘dalit Christians’, an otherwise forbidden term in political circles. All this is like manna from heaven for dalit Christians who have been fighting an almost losing battle for several decades to be recognised as dalits.
The Constitution allows neither the government nor indeed the courts to play hide and seek with the fundamental rights of dalit Christians. Yet in 1950, then president Rajendra Prasad, by presidential order, denied granting amenities to the dalits of other religions except Hindus. In 1956, however, reservation privileges were granted to the Sikh dalits by an amendment in the presidential order of 1950 and in 1990 the same was approved for Buddhist dalits. Earlier reservation to tribal Christians was given on the basis of their geographical location and not religion; and while tribals continue to enjoy their rights after converting to Christianity, the ‘dalits’ do not.
A PIL filed in 2005 by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation and others, challenging the constitutional validity of 1950 presidential order, is pending in the Supreme Court. In 2005 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh constituted the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities under retired chief justice of India, Justice Ranganath Mishra. The Commission will advise the government on the identification of the socially and economically backward sections among the minorities. It will also suggest the necessary changes in the Constitution. The Commission is expected to submit its report next April.
Vincent M. Concessao, archbishop of Delhi and the president of the National United Christian Forum, in a recent media statement, has registered a strong protest “against government’s apathy towards dalit Christians”. He observed, “As the feast of Christmas is around, it would be truly a Christmas gift if the government could positively respond to the repeated appeal of dalit Christians for what is their due.”

'Don't do to Goa what rest of India has suffered' Wendell Rodricks, IE, 20 Dec 2006 


I settled in Colvale, Goa, in 1993, after a successful debut in design; having lived in many cities: Muscat, Istanbul, Los Angeles, New York, Lisbon, Paris. I come to Colvale for peace, creative inspiration and to prove that it was possible to exist in mainstream India despite living in a remote village in Goa. While everything went according to plan, I have suffered many moments of anguish as to how my beloved village has been selectively and systematically destroyed.
The government of Goa acquired the Covale plateau for developing an industrial site in 1993. Though villagers could not buy land at Rs 250 a square metre, the land was offered and sold to Binani Fibre Glass for 10 per cent of the prevailing rate. When the factory opened, it attracted a manpower force that is 95 per cent non-Goans. All promises for local employment proved to be an eyewash. Colvale was forced from rural to urban status. Old people suddenly got electricity, water and telephone bills that were so high that some cut their telephone lines.
With Binani came pollution. Colvalkars were shocked when coconut trees, mangoes, bananas and their own skin got black patches. I have one on my back as well.
The National Highway opened in 2000 and cut a wound in the heart of the village. Each day some animal or human is harmed or killed. It is heart-wrenching to see a calf licking the head of its mother cow, killed by a speeding truck. A young boy ran into his mother’s arms after school but a truck stopped the embrace by a metre. Buses and trucks throw out cartons of soft drink and junk food packs. No one can clear this nondegradable garbage.
The government wants growth. So do we. But where is the infrastructure? People have no parks, no roads, no water, no electricity, no medical facilities.
Goa is at the crossroads of her very existence. Her soul; her identity and her beauty is being mercilessly sold off, all for the petty gains of a petty few, in the guise of the monstrous, evasive and sinister ‘Goa regional plan 2011’.
We are set to witness an unprecedented social disaster if mega 5-star projects, townships, condominiums, golf courses, resorts, etc take root in our precious land. The regional plan that will cut forests, destroy the entire coastline of Goa and permanently destruct the reason why Goa is a tourist state. Let Goa not go the way of other Indian states burdened with badly planned urbanisation.
We hope the regional plan is scrapped. We are saddened and angry, at how our beautiful village Colvale was destroyed. We do not want this to happen to any other Goan village. We have suffered and been guinea pigs of a so-called progress. Do not let the rest of Goa suffer what we have endured. For the future of Goa and as a testimony that we were not silent witnesses to an atrocity, we need to protest and combat the evil forces that have permeated India’s golden state. The writer, a fashion designer, is based in Goa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Material evolution is a direct consequence of the evolution of consciousness

Western scientific fundamentalism Vs Christian obsession, November 25, 2009 By Ashis Pujari

Dawkins presents empirical facts about evolution without understanding its causes in the least. His primary objective is to disprove the existence of God. Now that does appeal to folks who can't make any sense of the Bible - which is basically a nonsensical and rather politically motivated scripture.

Western science only pursues matter - rocks on mars, gadgets, particle colliders, space ships, capitalism.. and such. Obviously its description of evolution will center around Genes and Chromosomes. But those are just symptoms of evolution and not the cause. It uses logic through trial and error to prove/disprove theories. The human mind by nature is imperfect and is only meant to be a tool for our survival. It is no surprise that these theories get busted every now and then.

Eastern Indian philosophy has predated the Christian era by at least 4000 yrs and acknowledges evolution in manifested nature (Prakriti). It says that the mind is not enough to understand who we are or what is the purpose of life. Simply stated - a part of the whole can never completely comprehend the whole unless the "part unites with the whole". Species don't just evolve through random selection or mutation - they evolve because they "aspire" to evolve. Material evolution in fact is a direct consequence of the evolution of consciousness in living beings. God is a not a "tall bearded white man" but is the field of Eternal Consciousness that pervades all matter and non-matter in the Universe. We humans can choose to evolve as well - for example through Yoga we can enhance the capabilities of our body, mind and spirit; through Ayurveda we can live longer, healthier lives; through meditation we can realize our true potential and our place in the universe.
Amazon.com: Ashis Pujari's review of The Greatest Show on Earth


I really wonder what Joseph Campbell would say to Hitchens and Dawkins and the like. It seems to me that those two are perpetrating a world view that considers myth as consisting entirely of fear-based nonsense which can only be taken literally and therefore must be rejected outright. They are representatives of a hyper-materialist ideology apparently pre-emptive of any capacity to digest symbolic material so as to manifest the mind state of one's native divinity. Instead they would have us all cling rigidly to the dogmatic worship of what is "evident" to a mind narrowly conditioned to believe that the little section of the psyche involved in linear, conceptual processing is somehow the one and only abode of a vague superstitious entity they call "truth". Religion, if you know what that word means, can never be harmful, but it so happens that it barely exists at all in the modern west. It was stamped out almost entirely by the early pseudo-christian church and the frankly rather stupid literal-minded scientism which replaced the intellectual supremacy of the church is having a go at putting the last nails in the coffin.

Joseph Campbell would have us wake from our forgetful stupor to recall where these myths come from and what they are for, whereas our modern tunnel-visioned evangelists - whether those who take myths literally and believe them, or those who take them literally and reject them while proffering their own crippled fundamentalist ideologies - would have us all follow suit in the forfeiture of our own depth, transformed into shallow little drones running entirely on the paltry fumes of conceptual data. 
Posted by rampart to Savitri Era Open Forum at 5:38 AM, February 21, 2010


I am still walking around with the ideas that came up in this blog, which means God, religion and nationality. Just now I was reading a chapter in a little book about Hegel from Peter Singer where I found Hegels idea of God and his idea about consciousness evolving …
Robert Whittemore called Hegel a panentheïst which means ‘all in God’. It means that all in the universe is part of God (that connects to Panteïsm), but also that God is more than the Universe because he is the whole and the whole is bigger that the sum of it’s parts (holons). Just like a human being is more than the sum of the parts.
In this idea God is more than all parts of the Universe, but God does not stand apart (we all agree about that). Cells are not identical to men, just like individual parts of the Universe are not identical with God.
Hegel does not see God as eternal or unchangeable, God is the essence which wants to be visible in the world. And once God is visible, the world should evolve to perfection so that God can be more perfect. The forward movement of history is the path of God to perfection. 

Hegel’s term ‘idealism’ has a different meaning than we give it, for him it is about ‘ideas’, God is the absolute idea, which means the ultimate truth of the Universe, sum of its parts. History is the necessary path of human consciousness evolving towards absolute knowledge: human minds freeing themselves from imprisonment in self-images towards understanding the inherent universal nature of mind.
We experience reality through structures in consciousness, self-knowledge means that we understand how consciousness constructs reality. Hegel believed that at a certain point reality would not be an ‘unknowable beyond’ but that consciousness would be able to know ‘directly’: Absolute knowledge is attained when the mind realizes that what he seeks, is itself…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Peace requires a rather more complicated orchestra

GAUTAM BHATIA 20 Feb 2010, TOI
A problem unto himself, the Indian abroad is an immodest ambassador of goodwill.

Without question, western democracies still remain liberal at the core. However, the abject failure of multiculturalism is today most noticeable in societies once perceived as liberal and pluralistic. Denmark, the UK, the US, France and Germany were in the 1980s not merely 'tolerant' of their immigrant populations, but encouraged the differences that made society more varied. On paper at least multiculturalism was a thoughtfully wonderful idea. English chicken tikka masala, the German currywurst, the Harekrishna street chanters of San Francisco, are all the sillier manifestations of the larger failed idea. But the turban, the burqa and the minaret are now the xenophobic blinkers around European governments ^ symbols of the rising mistrust of brown immigrants. It is hard not to notice the discomfort of the western politician when confronted with issues of race.

There are obviously some serious ethnic issues in a society that till 34 years ago promoted itself as a Whites Only country. Like
South Africa, Australia's legacy of the official policy will probably be felt for many generations. And yet for Indians in the West, tolerance now is not just an expectation, but a birthright. As children of an economic boom, and naturally chauvinistic by culture and religion, the Indian abroad is an immodest ambassador of goodwill. In a place still nursing its wounds from the time of a perfect white society, alien Indian ways do not just make for some unreal cultural contrasts but will doubtless continue to unearth some dormant Australian fears and prejudices. The writer is an architect.

Edited by Roger Eatwell, Matthew J. Goodwin

Since the 1990s, there has been a growing concern about the resurgence of extremist and radical movements in the Western world. Although a variety of challenges to the liberal democratic order have emerged, the main focus of concern among academics, policy-makers and practitioners within Europe and beyond has been on the growth and activities of Islamists and to a lesser extent the extreme right… Published February 22 2010 by Routledge.

STOI, 21 February 2010

War is always much easier to start than peace. You need only a trumpet to launch hostilities. Peace requires a rather more complicated orchestra; there will be discordant notes from some insistent trombone; the bass could be playing a military march; all musicians might  not read from the same sheet; and there is always the likelihood of liberal violins airing  strains more relevant to heaven than to realists who live on earth. If the maestro-conductor tears his hair occasionally, you can understand why.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

M.N. Roy was a colonial cosmopolitan icon of the interwar years

M. N. Roy Marxism and Colonial Cosmopolitanism
By Kris Manjapra
This is a work of South Asian intellectual history written from a transnational perspective and based on the life and work of M.N. Roy, one of India’s most formidable Marxist intellectuals. Swadeshi revolutionary, co-founder of the Mexican Communist Part, member of the Communist International Presidium, and a major force in the rise of Indian communism, M.N. Roy was a colonial cosmopolitan icon of the interwar years. Exploring the intellectual production of this important thinker, this book traces the historical context of his ideas from 19th-century Bengal to Weimar Germany, through the tumultuous period of world politics in the 1930s and 1940s, and on to post-Independence India.
In this book the author makes a number of valuable theorectical contributions. He argues for the importance of conceiving the ‘deterritorial’ zones of thought and action through which Indian anti-colonial political thought operated, and advances a new periodisation for Swadeshi on this basis. He also argues against viewing ‘international communism’ of the 1920s as a single monolith by highlighting the fractures and contestations that influenced colonial politics worldwide.
A fresh and insightful perspective on the history of India in the interwar years, this book will be of great interest to scholars and students of the modern history of South and East Asia, America and Europe, and to those interested in anti-colonial struggles, Communist politics and trajectories of Marxist thought in the 20th century. ISBN: 9780415446037 Published December 21 2009 by Routledge IndiaM. N. Roy: Marxism and Colonial Cosmopolitanism (Pathfinders) Kris Manjapra, Retro-modern India: Forging the Low-caste Self (Exploring the Political in South Asia)Political Agency and Gender in India (Routledge/Edinburgh South Asian Studies Series) Manuela Ciotti Ritual Matters: Dynamic Dimensions in Practice

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hinduism in its brahminical construct is as pernicious, if not more, as it is in its Hindutva avatar

ARTICLES OF FAITH — Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court: Ronojoy Sen; Oxford University Press, YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, ... SHAIKH MUJIBUR REHMAN
As the contemporary Indian political folklore suggests, secularism as state ideology has become contentious ever since Hindutva emerged as a major political plank. For the academia, the history of the contentious nature of this debate is somewhat older, and intriguing. What is, however, striking is that the political and academic streams of discourse have employed two different connotations of secularism. The political strand focussed on the fairness of the way the concept is applied in practice, with one section even accusing the state of being biased towards the minorities, particularly Muslims. On the other hand, the academic discourse stressed mostly on its genesis and on questions such as whether it is Western or Indian in origin. While both allude to the part the Supreme Court of India has been playing in this area, citing its different verdicts wherever necessary, there has been no systematic research into its proactive role. This book fills this vacuum quite comfortably.
On landmark cases
How the Supreme Court has been addressing the issues related to Hinduism and minority religions such as Islam is discussed extensively under different heads. In each chapter, considerable space is devoted to analysing the landmark cases that have a definitive bearing on Indian secularism. Among the significant points the author makes in his multi-layered argument is that the judicial verdicts are, in some measure, reflective of the dominant personalities of the court at a given time. In fact, the chapter titled, “Judging Religion: A Nehruvian In Court,” is entirely about P.B. Gajendragadkar, who served as the Chief Justice of India during the 1960s, and his was a dominant voice in matters of religion. Going by the manner in which the public debate and political campaign have proceeded in the area of secularism, there is a perception that the state’s relationship with minority religions, particularly Islam, needs to be grasped sensibly in order to make sense of its practices. In an attempt to depart from this dominant perception, the author devotes two chapters to discussing how the Supreme Court has been shaping the country’s political portrait and, in the process, created a lot of confusion about the connotations of ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Hindutva’. According to him, the confusion is partly due to the absence of Gandhian view of Hinduism in judicial discourse. He needs to have also noted that Hinduism in non-Hindutva sense is not completely compatible with the idea of tolerance. In fact, Dalit scholars such as Gopal Guru, Kancha Ilaiah, and Gail Omvedt consider that the idea of Hinduism in its brahminical construct is as pernicious, if not more, as it is in its Hindutva avatar.
Deviating from the conventional path, the author suggests that secularism needs to be visualised in a broader relationship not just with Islam but also with Hinduism. He devotes substantial space to the issue of minorities and Islam, with one chapter dealing exclusively with the question of Uniform Civil Code, one of the most contentious issues figuring in the secularism debate. This well-written chapter, however, could have profited from a discussion on the drafts that various civil society groups based in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune have been working on since the later part of the 1980s.
Insights
Viewed in the context of the vicious communal attacks witnessed in Kandhamal recently, where Christians were the target, the valuable insights offered into the way the courts have handled conversion-related issues acquire special relevance. How the Indian state grapples with religious conversion is, as the author says — and rightly so —“in many ways very central to the constitutional experiment with secularism.” Equally noteworthy is the chapter that deals with minority rights in running educational institutions.
Scholarship
This book, however, is not about the “unfettered role of religion and religious practices.” While discussing the core dimension of Indian secularism, he suggests that the court “rethink its language of uniformity in favour of one accommodative of religious and legal pluralism.” Otherwise, he warns, religion and faith could be hijacked by religious fundamentalists. The book, the core of which is a product of the author’s doctoral work, has further enriched the wealth of scholarship on secularism. In addition, it should serve as a valuable source for students of law and Indian politics. ARTICLES OF FAITH — Religion, Secularism, and the Indian Supreme Court: Ronojoy Sen; Oxford University Press, YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs. 675.

A precise cut Shylashri ShankarFE Home
Sunday, Jan 31, 2010
Understanding the role of religion in society and the effect of judicial intervention on a country’s polity is vitally important today, says Ronojoy Sen in Articles of Faith. True, but how does one write in an interesting fashion about a topic (court judgments on secularism) that has been over-analysed? The lateness of the author’s entry is a function of the process where the transformation of a Ph.D thesis (in his case from the University of Chicago) into a book takes years. The author, a journalist and a Visiting Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and the East West Centre in Washington DC, faces the insurmountab le challenge of introducing a fresh flavour to a jaded palate.
Ronojoy Sen’s driving question is: “how has the higher judiciary interpreted the right to freedom of religion, and, in turn, influenced the discourse on secularism and nationalism?” (p. xiii). He focuses on the Indian Supreme Court’s rulings on the constitutional Articles of Faith (25-30), a topic that has already been addressed by many scholars.
The book reviews landmark cases such as the 1966 Sastri Yagnapurushdasji vs Muldas Bhundardas, where the apex court defined Hinduism as a way of life; the Shirur Mutt case where the test for the essential practices of religion that qualified for constitutional protection was first proposed; the Aruna Roy vs Union of India ruling where the court made a distinction between religious instruction and religious education; the TMA Pai and other cases on the rights of minority educational institutions; the Stanislaus case that denied constitutional protection to a right to propagate; the Jasani case where courts enforced disincentives for converting out of Hinduism, and the Shah Bano and Sarla Mudgal cases where the court linked the uniform civil code with national unity, and the Hindutva judgment. The final chapter analyses the Nehruvian motivations for former chief justice PB Gajendragadkar’s judgments because he “is a key figure in the tendency to rationalise and ultimately homogenise Hinduism”. (p. xxxvi).
Ronojoy Sen’s argument, which mirrors previous arguments by other scholars, is that the court’s rulings have homogenised and rationalised religion and religious practices, especially in Hinduism, along the lines of “classical or high Hinduism that originated with the 19th century reformation of Hinduism” (p. xxxii). The court’s emphasis on an inclusivist form of Hinduism, the author argues, led inexorably to the Hindutva judgment where the court conflated inclusivist forms with an exclusivist version of Hinduism promoted by Hindu nationalists. Like Derrett and many others, the author argues that the inclusivist discourse failed to take into account the pluralist nature of Hinduism and instead created a monolithic version of Hinduism.
Through an analysis of the main positions in the Constituent Assembly debates, he traces the muddy contours of secularism in India. He argues that the Nehruvian formulation of secularism “won the day” but its oscillation between “sarvadharma sambhava (goodwill towards all religions) and dharma nirapekshata (religious neutrality)” (p. xxiv) later contributed to the legitimisation of an exclusivist Hindu nationalism within Hinduism.
However, Rononjoy Sen’s discussion of the relationship between the court and the political arena is unclear. At several points in the analysis, he seems to be arguing that the court influenced the political movement towards an exclusivist Hindu nationalism, and at other points he argues that the court’s ruling “was representative of the politics of a time when Hindu nationalists had acquired a legitimacy” (p.195). If so, Sen’s argument that the court’s propensity to homogenise Hinduism in the name of modernisation led to an overlap with the Hindu nationalist agenda seems more a function of the inclination of the political elite. In response to such a critique, the author says “too much though should not be read into the judiciary being influenced by the ‘tides and currents’ of the time” (p.196). The author then goes on to cite Rajeev Dhavan’s warning about analysing the behaviour of the court as being “technically unpredictable” (p.196). However, his discussion of chief justice Gajendra- gadkar’s rulings shows a symmetry between the desire of the elites in the judiciary and Parliament to bring about enormous changes in people’s habits, work, living patterns, moral conduct and world view, (p.194), but the fact that Gajendragadkar’s intellectual mentor was Jawaharlal Nehru implies that the court was influenced by the political elite rather than the other way around.
For the lay reader lost in a thicket of debates on secularism, the book provides a nifty summary of the main position, the patterns of the apex court’s rulings, and the historical sources of the judiciary’s position when it tries to balance “religious even-handedness on the one hand and religious reform on the other”. 
—The reviewer is Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Aesthetic pleasure is a learned and acquired skill that requires patience and perseverance

I believe that the expressive arts can bring young people much more than simply aesthetic pleasure. True, inculcating a cultural hobby is not an easy task. It requires patience and perseverance; aesthetic pleasure is a learned and acquired skill. Yet if music and dance are encouraged and validated by our school system, we would be doing our youth a big service. Yet in today’s busy world their value is readily sacrificed to accommodate, for example, extra science or maths lessons.
Let us assume that an important role of education would be to enable students to make sense of the world around them; to equip them to deal with reality. A very vital part of human experience is linked to the ‘senses’: we see, we feel, we touch. This experience might be difficult to put into words but is vital to our emotional well-being. It is often through these experiences, or maybe the memory of these experiences, that we collate our own conceptual tools; often it is these that determine our values, our goals, our aspirations.
Elliot W. Eisner, in the Art of Educational Evaluation summarises this caseas follows: “Each symbol system — maths, the sciences, art, music, literature, poetry and the like, functions as a means for conveying what one knows to others. Each system has unique capabilities. Each symbol system sets parameters upon what can be conceived and expressed.”
We often use the verb ‘to know’ in the educational context. The expressive arts constitute another way of ‘knowing’. Knowing how to be aware of any stimuli, be it tactile or social; knowing how to connect with various types of experiences; knowing how to distinguish nuances within a given context; knowing how to react to beauty; knowing how to pursue quality; knowing how to listen, not just with the ears, but with the mind.
These are the qualities that can, maybe, help our youth to deal with today’s pressured world. They are faced daily with unbelievable pressures. Choices supposed to bring freedom are sometimes terrifying. We are now faced with a situation where our youth are actually choosing death over life. The writer is founder of the Mumbai-based Sujaya Foundation
Sujaya Foundation is a five year old Mumbai-based not-for-profit organization. Our aim is to bridge the digital and linguistic divide through education. We offer educational services to underprivileged school-going children in the areas of Mathematics, Science, English and Computers and educational services in English and Computers to underprivileged youth. We then try and offer opportunities for employment in the BPO industry.
Our unique feature is that we are a niche NGO using the best pedagogical practices. The Foundation achieves this objective through a small dedicated team along with committed volunteers.
The aim of the Foundation is to provide education to the under-privileged by incorporating the best pedagogical practices at an Elementary as well as an Advanced Level. The Foundation attempts to bridge the gap for its students between education and employment.
While it is true that India's administrative language seems to be English it is also true that millions of young people are deprived to access to quality language skills in English. This automatically limits their opportunities in the labour market besides rendering them socially diffident and excluded. One of the objectives of Sujaya is to actively intervene through formal and non-formal educational activities to significantly improve the linguistic competence of bright, hardworking students who are trapped in an education system which does not teach English with a view to develop oral skills. Thereafter the foundation is committed to helping them secure a job.
Volunteers are an integral part of the progress and dynamic of Sujaya Foundation. Our volunteers come from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, for instance even from the corporate world who have contributed immensely with their professional work ethic.
Sujaya Foundation, established in 2002, is registered under the Mumbai Public Trust Act, 1950. Its Board of Trustees comprises the following persons:
Name of Trustee                    Particulars
Ms. Neelambari Store Rao     Managing Trustee, Sujaya Foundation
Sister Felicity Morris              Managing Trustee, Prem Daan
Mr. Rajesh Pant                     Director, Kandor Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Gunit Chadha                  MD (India) and CEO, Deutsche Bank, India
Mr. Jaithirth Rao                    Chairman and CEO, Mphasis
Mr. Jagdish Moorjani             Chief Operating Officer, Citius IT Solutions Private Limited
The Managing Trustee of the Foundation is Ms. Neelambari Store Rao who has been in the field of education since 1982.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Politics is the finest form of management

 Biraja Mahapatra  View profile   More options Feb 8: Hi Campaigners, 

Today is the birth day of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The man/saint, who was poisoned five times in his life in the 19 century. The reason:- he was opposed to superstitions and an exponent of spread of education as the single most effective weapon to save the land from slavery and people from narrow mindset. 
Personally, as a student of history, I hold him in the highest esteem as compared to all other saints I know of. A good number of disciples he could create and they included Lala Lajpat Rai, Veer Savarkar and Hansraj and his immense faith in tradition gave us today more than 2000 educational institutions in the country. 
This is the biggest achievement for creating good citizens and people for the country. I can imagine how much he may have struggled for the soil and how much love he had in him for the people. This is what our Dharma teaches us. 
India must beacon light to the whole world not because of Hinduism but because of the Dharma which has been very succinctly explained by Swamiji in Beliefs and Disbeliefs. He said,
“I accept as Dharma whatever is in full conformity with impartial justice, truthfulness and the like; that which is not opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas. Whatever is not free from partiality and is unjust, partaking of untruth and the like, and opposed to the teachings of God as embodied in the Vedas - that I hold as Adharma." 

Indian faith system has been built up over a period of thousands of years. So many risis and thought leaders have given so many ways for smooth survival of the humanity and those which withstood the test of time have been retained and those not have been discarded. Swami Dayanand was a great contribution of time and would remain alive in the minds of those who truly think of the country. 
That is why Sri Aurobindo had once said “I have seen so many saints sitting on the mountains of Himalayas but the one on which Swami Dayanand is sitting is the highest”. It is a true complement in deed that Swami Dayanand deserved as he was probably the first one to foresee a political India with samskara (the process of culture) as its true foundation and he relentlessly worked on it until his death. 
With love 
Biraja Mahapatra 

Build India Group (BIG), a Delhi-based civil society, campaigns for a citizen's pledge to the country. The organisation believes that if citizens across the country demonstratively pledge their love and loyalty in unison to the nation at an appointed time, then the electrifying moment arising out of it can be the best launcher of hate against terrorism and corruption. BIG is also working towards establishing a university of politics in India with the focus that politics is the finest form of management. It believes hating politics is a crime against democracy. If you agree with us, please join this unique movement. For details please log on to www.buildindiagroup.org.

A book titled My Call providing the roadmap for the organisation is available with linuxbazar. Here is the link you can log in or send to people to buy the book online using credit card, internet banking, cheque/dd, google checkout, paypal etc. http://www.linuxbazar.com/my-call-by-biraja-mahapatra-p-35178.html 
with love 
Biraja Mahapatra
Moderator