Friday, November 9, 2018

TRAVEL ADVISORY: INDIA CHANGING NAMES OF ITS MAJOR CITIES


It is the case of old wine in new bottles.
And a lot of new bottles are needed by some provincial governments in India when it comes to filling up with new names to the ancient cities and towns in the country.
While they can’t change the historical and cultural character of the cities, but the new labeling seems to be the current political hype running across India, especially in the saffron-ruled state of Uttar Pradesh.
If you’re visiting India and going to Allahabad, don’t get confused when the landing sign reads “welcome to Prayagraj.” Yes, that is the latest name change for the city known for its biggest religious fair in the world, called “Kumbh Mela.”
Allahabad, I mean Prayagraj, was the hometown of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and it is for the country’s most popular film star Amitabh Bachchan.
Another name-change casualty occurs to the major rail junction town of Mughalsarai, near Varanasi (formerly Banaras) as it is now officially called Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya.
And if you are traveling down to the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the cosmopolitan city of Ahmedabad has been recently renamed called Karnavati.
For those who are visiting India after a long time, the name-change travel advisory includes that Bombay is now called Mumbai, Bangalore is Bengaluru, Chennai replaces Madras, and Trivandrum to Thiruvananthapuram.
(I had to copy and paste the last one to avoid mis-spelling).
So, if you are visiting India, don’t feel lost in your favorite cities adopting new names. Some of them need little practice to pronounce correctly. However, these are the same towns and cities with the same character and the same hospitality.
It is just the same old wine in a new bottle.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

CELEBRATION OF LIGHT


Diwali, the celebration of light
In this light there is hope.

Diwali, the celebration of sharing
In this sharing there is caring.

Diwali, the celebration of love
In this love, there is compassion.

Diwali, the celebration of faith
In this faith, there is bliss.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

LEARNING FROM SUNFLOWER IN PRAYERS TO SUN GOD



sunflower 2

by Promod Puri
Surya Devta or Sun god enjoys a unique status in Hindu iconography as the visible divine personality emerging from the horizon every day.
But when it is not seen because of rain or cloudy sky, a devotee can learn from the devoutness of sunflower towards the Sun.
Sunflower is a true devotee of Sun God. Rain or shine sunflower always follows its God in the direction it moves in the celestial circle.
Sun’s celestial arrival frees a devotee from ritualistic customs or caste-based barricades and taboos to have an independent face to face obeisance and worship. The sun god is approachable without any medium.
The Sun’s universal distribution of light and energy has been recognized since Vedic time as the ultimate source of life, the cause of our existence and the environment it nourishes.
From a metaphysical viewpoint, light and energy occupy fundamental ranking in Hindu faith. And the Sun is the spirited and analogous force in this numinous discernment. Light and energy are the divine elements to lead us to the path of knowledge, reality, and truth. The Gayatri mantra predicates the divinity of light and energy.
The life and soul of the universe are the Sun.
(Photo credit: Ashok Bhargava, Vancouver, Canada)

WITH WORDS AS BRICKS WRITING IS A CONSTRUCTION JOB



“words are the tools of writing.”
But not quite so!
Words, in fact, are the bricks and mortars we select and gather to build a structure. Its architecture and construction are based on our thoughts, opinions, and feelings, perceptions and impressions, or sharing of information, knowledge, and experiences.
In our learning faculty, there is a library of words being accumulated from early childhood. We retrieve them from our memory cells to begin the composition of a story, novel, essay, poetry, and all other literary and non-literary works or writing a simple personal diary.
Moreover, voluminous dictionaries offer thousands of words stacked in alphabetical order.
Just like bricks, words are cast in different sizes, but each carrying its own identity and impact. It is in this semantic profile that words give an outlook and character to writing.
Words are liberal in their nature. If a word is not the right one or it does not fit into the rigid demand of a writer, it offers a whole stockpile of alternative synonyms choices.
Words are not the writing tools, but when they are put together by the skills of a wordsmith, the whole composition becomes a tool by itself. Primarily, a composition is the tool of communication which we need as a compliment to speaking. But writing goes beyond spoken words. It stays longer or forever.
Is writing hard work? Not really, so far as there are enough bricks around in different sizes and shapes, along with a sound idea or subject matter, that a structure can be built and redesigned or even renovated.
The technicality of writing lies in its grammar as well as those little but indispensable characters, called punctuation marks, offering control and disciplinary mechanism in this creative development.
However, objectivity, sensitivities, and rationality are the basic guidelines in raising a writing structure which is otherwise stalled when these feelings lack honesty and sincerity.
Under these guidelines, writing offers good companionship. As well as “writing is the only way to talk without being interrupted.”(Jules Renard, novelist, and playwright).

Monday, September 17, 2018

“Adarsh Bahu” University Certification


“Adarsh Bahu,” that is not the title of a forthcoming Bollywood release. But it is a newly-introduced three-month course offered by a university in Bhopal, India.

After the completion of the “Adarsh Bahu” curriculum, a certificate will be handed to the successful graduates.

Unlike most other courses which help in securing jobs, this one will “prepare brides who will keep families intact. It is part of the women empowerment”, according to the vice chancellor of Bhopal’s Barkatullah University.

Two issues come to mind about this innovative university-level course.

1. Will it be an added qualification for girls which can help the future in-laws in their selection of “Bahus” for their desirable and reliable sons. Or without this university qualification if it could be a disqualification, in other words, “rejection.”

2.Why the course with all its good intentions, is not simultaneously launched with the title “Adarsh damaad,” meaning ideal bridegroom.

-Promod Puri

Sunday, September 9, 2018

RIGHT TO CHANGE RELIGIOUS VEHICLE


Religion basically is just a vehicle for delivering goods of spirituality, ethics, and morality. If the vehicle fails to deliver the desired goods or it is loaded with unethical and immoral junk by its operators, the recipient can refuse to accept that delivery. And rightfully seek another vehicle which only delivers the good stuff.

In his apostasy, this is what social reformist and anti-caste crusader Dr.Bhumirao Ramji Ambedkar did.

-by Promod Puri

Friday, September 7, 2018

THE PUN IN BEING AN INTELLECTUAL


By Promod Puri

Sometime back my nieces and nephews along with a few of their aunties and uncles formed a family group on the social media and named it “The Intellectuals.” The idea was to stay in touch with each other wherever we’re globally settled.

Since its formation, the group, despite being calling itself as intellectuals, hardly has any intellectuality in its social conversation or gossip communications. The Intellectual bunch uses the WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. to convey greetings on special occasions, and share family news. And in lighter moods, many of the posts are simple jokes, sensible as well as pointless and ludicrous.

In its informal mandate, the question is, why the group call itself “The Intellectuals.”

Since the family social club originated in India, it seems the title has appealed to its membership as being intellectual in the country these days has an irony of pun in it. In fact, the ‘intellectuals’ rather be non-intellectuals to avoid the snobbery generated in its labeling.

The word is slang both in political and social terms. It suggests intellectuals are ignorant of ground realities despite their academic and idealistic learning.

Willfully calling somebody as an intellectual is to mock the narcissist nature of an individual who is otherwise loaded with bookish knowledge.

Intellectualism has been sarcastically ridiculed and criticized for its failure to communicate at the level in which ordinary folks can comprehend. Their wisdom and idealism remain circulated within their own isms.

Mostly Leftists scholars and thinkers are the victims of intellectual sarcasm. For that reason, it is often a bitter taunt by the political Right against the political Left.

There is some truth in the egoistic psychology of the elite community of intellectuals. Subtly and satirically that the nature of intellectuals has been a wit for “The Intellectuals.”

( Promod Puri writes on human interest, social, political and religious topics. He is the author of “Hinduism beyond rituals, customs, and traditions.” Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and promodpuri.blogspot.com)