Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Rationalist's Open Window





-Promod Puri

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Ignoring its ritualistic aspects, 
Hinduism truly is a 
“union of reason & intuition."


Why?thumbnail rabba
That is a big question mark Rabba Hun Kee Kariye does not answer. Nor does it intend to answer. But it does shake our morality when we are drawn on religious fronts of hate.
Rabba Hun Kee Kariye is a documentary on bloody mayhem following the partition of India in 1947. “It constitutes a vital link in the chain of Partition memories.” In doing so, the film creates a pictorial monument of genocidal killing, which cannot be blacked out either by time or by society.
Vancouver-based UBC scholar and documentary filmmaker Ajay Bhardwajpresents a powerful and compelling presentation about the horrors and dreadful count of mass killings inflicted through religious vengeance.
Earnestly crafted by Bhardwaj, the 65-minute documentary in Punjabi, with subtitles in English, is a captivating presentation of interviews scripting the brutal chapter of recent Punjab history after the partition.
Bhardwaj’s camera roams the fields and streets of the Indian side of Punjab, in its Ludhiana, Bathinda, Patiala, and Malerkotla districts. It instinctively captures the insanity of humankind in its indiscriminate but sudden eruption of hatred against fellow human beings.
The gripping narrations by aging witnesses in the documentary bring a vivid portrait of hate which the fanatic murderers of ‘47 often boasted with some pride in the slaughter of those who are different by their religion only.
The film besides presenting the dreadful carnage through the eyes of the witnesses earnestly seeks the commonalities which bind the people together. In this exploration emerges a sense of “guilt and remorse.” It is a feeling of consciousness which “they expressed in a language that is distinctly their own, in their unique tradition/cultural specific ways — a language often ignored by the portals of academia. Yet this seems the most powerful organic response of Punjabi people against the genocide of 1947as also the silence of the state”, as Bhardwaj observed in filming the documentary.
Religions might be different in their names, but all of them have the same bottom-line of universal brotherhood. Poet-philosopher Mohammad Iqbal says Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna… (religion does not teach hatred among us).
Sharing the same culture, same language, same skin color and looks, same music, and the same literary heritage have been beautifully laced together by popular Punjab singer Puran Shahkoti in his explanations as well as musical presentations in Rabba Hun Kee Kariye.
Then why this sudden butchery by fellow neighbors living side by side for generations. And despite all that oneness, it happened.
 Promod Puri (
(The above picture is of Prof. Karan Singh Chouhan, a retired linguistic scholar who was one of the interviewees, and who witnessed the 1947 communal riots). 

Monday, June 10, 2019


Today’s problem can be a solution to tomorrow’s problem.
While today’s solution can generate a problem for tomorrow.
It is the uncertain, but logical nature of possibility.
-Promod Puri

Monday, June 3, 2019


1. Restore confidence in the judiciary
2. Restore confidence in the Election Commission
3. Restore the independence of media
4. Restore the independence of the Reserve Bank of India
5. Restore the supremacy of the country’s constitution
6. Restore the credibility of the department of statistics
7. Control fanatic bhagats lynching and terrorizing minorities,
killing and threatening dissidents, writers, and journalists.
8. Remove the atmosphere of fear and vengeance.
9. Keep Hinduism intact, being damaged by Hindutva zealots.

Sunday, May 26, 2019


Recently I read an interesting article on 7-Eleven stores and their worldwide growth in 17 countries besides the ones in the USA where the company was founded in 1927.
Around the world, 7-Eleven has 68,236 stores, and the largest presence is in Asia. The new owners are a Japanese holding company who bought 7-Eleven from the Texas-based The Southern Corporation indownload (10) 2005.
My only interest in reading the long article was back in the ‘70s when I migrated to Canada. 7-Eleven was one of the places where I had my initial jobs.
The job interview was quick, and I was hired right away without any previous experience selling Slurpees, cigarettes, candies, etc.
After a few days of working at the store, my manager asked me “if you don’t mind, can we call you Peter,” as my first name was “little hard to pronounce.” “No problem” was my instant response.
The name change, however, got a further adjustment, when the manager, followed by other staff, started calling me “Pete.” But for me switching names from Promod to Peter and then Pete was complimentary designations.
The experience at the 7-Eleven was quite interesting meeting customers and enthusiastically handling money, a first in my life.
My uniform over my shirt was the jacket with printed 7-Eleven logo all over the fabric. The outfit reminded me of those shawls wrapped by Sadhus in India with omnipresent “Ram, Ram…” prints.
According to the article, the Japanese company has announced its plan to start opening 7-Eleven stores in India starting this year.
In that case, it would be interesting to watch a Sadhu walking in the store with Ram, Ram….print shawl meeting a guy with 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven jacket.
And that reminds of the “Modi, Modi…” suit which did not hit the fashion among his “bhagats”. Otherwise, it would have been another catchy scene at 7-Elevens in India.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


A  juggernaut of all the resources and forces, while crushing the opposition, pulled the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under prime minister Narendra Modi’s command to another massive victory in the just concluded India election.
An army of hard-core members of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), the leading partner in the alliance, disciplined media, unlimited funds, absolute and effective use of social media, plus the disunited Left and Centre opposition all contributed to Modi’s and party for another five year of running the largest but blighted democracy in the world.
In this juggernaut which continues with promises of more development and economic wellness, there is going to be a further rise of Hindu fanaticism. And that could be the chilling wave for the minorities, Dalits and lowest of lowest under dreadful casteism of India.
Hopefully, Modi will grow up from a shrewd politician to a true statesman. That is the Modi India needs to govern the diverse nature of the country’s population.
-by Promod Puri