Friday, November 12, 2021

 MY REMEMBRANCE DAY:

 It all happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, of 1918 when the First World War hostilities formally ended, and the occasion got the flag of Remembrance Day.

World War1 began in 1914 until 1918. During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan, the United States, and Canada (the Allied Powers).

In the four years of the war, 16 million soldiers and civilians alike were dead.


Remembrance Day is the armistice day to mark the war's end and remember and honour those who die in the line of duty.

For that reason, Remembrance Day is a sad day that human lives got sacrificed by the decisions and orders of the ruling elite of the combating nations.

On the battlefields, humanity gets divided as enemies. Human beings appear marked targets. Those who got killed become martyrs, and the killers emerge as heroes.

When 16 million people died during WW1 as soldiers and civilians, imagine how many families faced devastation, how many children were orphaned, how many women became widowed.

But that is least remembered. What is more significant is the essentiality of war.

It is staged with utmost fervour of nationalism and patriotism so that "by the sacrifices made by the courageous and brave, we live in the free world."

True, their sacrifices matter. But why war in the first place. Is it the failure of the leaders or their intentions that ignite a war?

The ruling leaders are not hurt or die on the battleground. The soldiers die.

The First World War, the Second World War, and the ongoing wars on every continent of the globe cost trillions of dollars annually in military spending with catastrophic consequences impacting every aspect of the planet earth.

When there are no more wars, nations dissolve their armies, factories that manufacture deadly bombs, missiles, tanks, etc., and even the AK-47s get raised to the ground; that would be the signal for my Remembrance Day.

-Promod Puri

Thursday, November 4, 2021

 RELIGIONS NEED TO BE FREE FROM FANATICS:

Fanatic Hindu, fanatic Muslim, fanatic Sikh, fanatic Christian, Jew, or Buddhist!

These are the labels we often hear or assign to persons of different faiths based on our involvements and experiences or by the society with its blanket overlook.

The prefix fanatic undoubtedly contaminates the purity of religion to which it is attached and obscure its spiritual pathways?

Moreover, the pejorative affix over a while creates the visible face of a religious order. In this frame, expressions like Islamic extremism and Islamophobia influence the perception of Islam in its religious presentation.

Religious fanaticism develops when ritualistic commitments get more emphasis and involvement than apprehending and pursuing the theological education offered by faith.

Zealous engagement focusing on the security, protection and preservation of the rituals, customs and traditions of religion reflects the mind of a fanatic believing that service or commitment to the faith lies in these acts.

No religion in the world faces danger; instead, the fanatics make the followers believe so.

In this behaviour, fanatics get obsessed with ceremonial practices, only believing that is their religion.

Ritualistic flavours of different faiths give a strong and bonded sense of belonging and identity to a fanatic who leeches on to a religion sucking its divine vitality.

 

While rituals give religion character, identity, and dynamics, the excessive and exuberant practices create fanaticism that offers nil attachment to a faith.

A fanatic is a fanatic to the core with a raging and rough temperament who does not need separate identities like fanatic Hindu, fanatic Muslim, fanatic Sikh, fanatic Christian, Jew, or Buddhist.

-Promod Puri

 

Friday, October 22, 2021

 THE HYPE OF PROTEIN AND THE TASTE OF GHEE:

Growing up in India, the most nutritious food item loaded with protein besides vitamin A and other healthy stuff was the mighty ghee. Nobody cared about its fatty contents as calories.

I don't know on the health chart what ghee's status shows up now in India. But in most of the economically developed nations, protein is the king.

Recommended by health professionals and followed by extensive advertising, protein has buildup as an essential component of daily intake of healthy food.

Protein supplement production represents a billion-dollar industry globally. Its formulation is mostly a combination of whey and casein, both found in milk or peas, soy, and brown rice.

Protein is a complex molecular arrangement that meets our need for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs.

Protein bars, protein shakes and smoothies, besides the regular protein content in animal food, fulfill our daily protein requirement. However, the hype for protein has escalated its consumption much more than what we need.

The USA National Academy of Medicine recommends a daily protein intake: 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. A dedicated athlete need not take more than120 grams of protein per day.

The academy warns that a high protein diet can strain kidney and liver function and increase heart disease and cancer risk.

Moreover, when we replace meals with a protein bar, shake, etc., we also risk missing out on the rich sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and many other benefits of real food.

Protein intake presents its consumption limits per day, so does the time-honoured ghee.

But the latter also has its culinary value. Besides its taste and flavour, ghee occupies a good spot in our cultural, traditional, and religious affairs.

The Punjabi delicacy of 'Sarson da Saag' and 'Makki di Roti' offers a dry look unless it gets garnished with a topping of a spoonful of ghee. What could be savorier than the sweet and heavenly combination of ghee, 'shakkar,' and 'Makki di roti' for the dessert?

Love your protein within the recommended limit. And enjoy the ghee but in moderation according to taste while keeping an eye on the waist.

-Promod Puri

 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

EGO: AN OVERVIEW: 

(Warning: 992 words to step on this reading. 5 mts. read.).)

What is ego?

It is the nature of a person's attitude and expression of opinion where I, me or mine dominates.

"What I want, "what satisfies me," or "it is mine," all these simple assertions exhibit ego or self-interest.

Ego means 'I.' In fact, the Latin word for 'I' is ego.

'I,' 'me,' and 'mine' induce our thinking, motives, arguments, etc., with an egoistic penchant.

Our reactions to the outside world or others' thinking, viewpoints, attitude, or actions get influenced and biased by 'I,' or the ego. It inscribes its mark on our thoughts, behaviours, reactions, and experiences.

Essentially, ego is the personal view that people form about themselves.

The personal perception can be realistic without exaggeration of own achievements and abilities while recognizing the accomplishments of others.

However, 'I’-dominated personal views may reflect self-recognition and self-appreciation. An example is "I'm an intelligent and most knowledgeable person. Ego stops us from saying, "I'm not intelligent" or "I'm stupid."

Ego is not our true self. It is a self-image or self-concept that we create for ourselves with a conscious mind.

When loaded with 'I,' ego gets visibly identified as an impulse to promote self-admiration or praise. An opinion about one's features and importance gets distinguished by the person's amplified vision of self and self-importance. Misconception about the self evolves, and that blocks critical reaction.

In this situation, ego dominates the mental space; one becomes a narcissist. And the individual seeks the external endorsement of acknowledgement, appreciation, or applause.

The creation of self-image gives identity to a person. But when the self-portrait drifts beyond its true character, it generates self-esteem. The expression we often hear is 'big ego.'

Conceit is synonymous with a big ego, meaning an excessively favourable opinion of one's ability, importance, intelligence, etc.

The term egomaniac refers to exaggerated self-portrait.

Another term is egotist, where people excessively talk about their intellectual, academic, astute, or wealth superiority and want everybody to accept it.

Establishing a reasonable identity of self is the basic expectation of ego. But when one goes beyond that, the person becomes a victim of egotist personality traits.

In this psychological behaviour, the ego earns its nasty ranking. It generates a delusion of greatness that includes overestimating intellect, fame, affluence, etc.

EGO DEVELOPS EARLY IN LIFE

The ego is a crucial part of personality development that begins in early childhood. In a baby's little world, a sense of importance lies with the omnipotent feeling.

Societal norms adjust egocentric behaviour with gradual reconciliation to more realistic views of the self during growing up. Moving towards the ideal self is a natural experience for most people.

For some, the head gets more swollen with self-esteem because of an inferiority complex from the standards set by society. Or the individual becomes the self-spokesperson as nobody does the job to publicize a sense of achievement that the community otherwise refuses to recognize. Moreover, it is the inability to assume or understand any other viewpoint accurately besides one's own.

Egotism, egotist, egotistical or egocentric carries the same explanation of egomaniac people. They display excessive, bragging, boastful, self-worshipping, narcissist and self-centred signs with no regard or interest in the successes or achievements of others.

Who are the victims of this behavioural oddity?

The egoistic mannerism lies in all classes, including intellectuals, intelligent and informed academics, writers and poets, celebrities and luminaries, priests, preachers, and politicians, limiting the poor from the middle to the upper class.

A self-centred person gets easily identified when the individual indulges in self-publicity.

Dominating their space on social media, egoistic folks display their handsome looks, attractive physical features, or stylish outfits through an intensive presentation of self photos in diverse poses. The exhibit gets supplemented with bragging and boasting of every trivial achievement.

AN EXPOSITION OF EGO CORRUPTS THE HUMAN MIND

When an exposition of ego develops, it creates the right prescription to corrupt human behaviour and narrows its field of vision. Moreover, our values are compromised.

In Sikhism, egoistic mentality gets censured.

It is one of the five denounced evils. 'Ahankar' is the word in Punjabi meaning ego. The other evils are 'kam' (lust), 'krodh' (anger), 'lobh' (greed), and 'moh' (attachment).

"When there is ego, there is no God; when there is God, there is no ego!": Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Sikhism applies 'nimrata,' meaning humility, to ward off the ego.

Nimrata develops through 'Sewa (service) by volunteers in the Sikh tradition of langar, communal eating in a Gurudwara.

Nimrata befalls those who partake the food while sitting on the langar hall floor and sharing the meal with others irrespective of caste, social or economic status.

IMPACT OF EGO

Does the ego of one person impact the entire community of people?

Not really. Society is not much touched or troubled though it might feel a bit turned off from an egoist. The damage is at the personal level.

The significant impairment, however, develops when political leadership gets corrupted with egotistical behaviour. That happens all over the world, from the most democratic nations to the dictatorial regimes.

Egotistical mindset attitudes of governing leaders steer the policies, programs, campaigns, attacks, and invasions in most parts of the globe, while nationalism and patriotism shift towards misleading directions to align with the egotist temperament of ruling heads.

History is the witness where egos of the kings, dictators, autocrats, elected presidents and prime ministers caused innumerable tragedies worldwide. 

Peace in the world, peace in the environment, peace for the poor get quashed just by the self-centred adamant behaviour of the egoistic rulers.

The egotistical or narcissistic behaviour of political leadership poses real challenges for peace and security in the world.  

However, when it resides in the minds of ordinary folks, egotism creates just a minor repellent feeling. For sure, when they brag, it is always a marathon delivery. But one good thing about egoists is that they don't talk about other people!

-Promod Puri

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

WHAT IS WRONG WITH FRENCH SECULARISM

 


 

Unlike in Canada, French Secularism sees no hyphenated identities – only French or Not French. Whereas, in Canada, its social, religious and political strengths lie in its clearcut multicultural identities. For example, Chinese-Canadians, Indo/South-Asian Canadians, Latino- Canadians, etc., etc.

The French majority population seeks freedom of expression by suppressing the freedoms of minorities as to how they should wear and worship.

France needs pluralistic Secularism – one that tolerates minority ethnic communities' cultural and religious symbols and values. For example, in 2015, a Muslim advocacy group sued a municipal authority to offer an alternative to pork in school cafeterias. The group won the case not because it violated religious freedom but the menu violated children's rights.

French Secularism needs some adjustments to be secular in its contemporary multicultural society. It can't be monolithic.

Monday, September 21, 2020

There Is Faith In Trudeau's Ethnic Sentiments









He is a "thoughtful and intelligent guy," according to former Liberal leader Bob Rae. In his policies, we're creating a better and more compassionate Canada.



There Is Faith In Trudeau's Ethnic Sentiments

His father, Pierre Trudeau, was an intellectual statesman. Justin Trudeau falls into that grade. The genes are there.

 

 Trudeau's leadership role in handling the current pandemic crisis demonstrates his compassion and caring for all Canadians. The food must be on the table, and the necessities of all Canadians, are comfortably met have been the major concerns that he handled with passion.

 His two consecutive wins, though the second one with a reduced majority, demonstrates the rejection of ultra-right-wing politics of discrimination, anti-immigration and fake security concerns. The electoral mandates have restored the confidence in Canadian values of humanism and compassion.

 Justin Trudeau's rise to political leadership has been like that of an ordinary common man. He worked his way to climb that ladder. He was not handed life in politics on a platter as the son of a legendary former prime minister.

 His adult life began as a school teacher, snowboard instructor, bouncer in a night club, and playing the role of a war hero in a World War 1 TV drama. These credentials show the traits of a young man trying to gain some space in society.

 He also has a tattoo of the Haida nation printed on his arms. He loves ethnic food; his first outing with his date, now his wife Sophie, was to Khyber Pass, an Afghan restaurant in Montreal. He is an ace Bhangra dancer too.

 From this simple portfolio, we can see him as a down-to-earth leader with a thoughtful and intelligent approach to run the affairs of the nation.

 Trudeau pursues a humanitarian and independent foreign policy not influenced by the big brothers south of the border. This foreign policy puts Canada in its traditional role of no-combat military involvements, but for peaceful missions only.

 His domestic liberal policies include: legalizing marijuana, protection of transgender people, reuniting families of immigrants, reinvigorate ethnic cultures and diversities, and bring more diversity in the government. One of the outstanding features of his leadership has been welcoming refugees.

 Mr. Trudeau has recognized the right multicultural fabric of Canada. It was also the hallmark of his father's political life when he declared multiculturalism as the official policy of the Canadian government.

 He recognizes the contribution of Canada's ethnic diversity that makes this nation a genuinely multicultural society of equal opportunities. He has shown his enthusiastic participation in Canadian ethnic and cultural events too.

 There is faith in Mr. Trudeau's ethnic sentiments. And that is the kind of leadership, the ethnic communities feel encouraged to see their involvement in Canadian affairs.

 

-Promod Puri

 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Jalebi: The Queen Of Indian Sweets

JALEBI: The Queen Of Indian Sweets





Jalebi is the ultimate sweet in the Indian confectionary delights.

Unlike most other Indian sweets, it is crispy and loaded with the syrup in its swirling tubular round, but a flat body. Made with yeasted white flour, Jalebi-making is art with quick and round hand movement when fried for its crispy texture—and then immersed in sugar syrup to get its “injection” of sweetness.

Jalebi experts say that this sweet indulgence, when prepared, must be fried in pure desi-ghee, not any vegetable hydrogenated oil.

The luscious delicacy has to be eaten by hand despite its sticky surface. Lately, a new fad has emerged, especially in Indian parties. It is the Jalebi with ice cream, a double-double dessert that goes well after the spicy-hot dishes.

Another combination is when Jalebi get immersed in a bowl or cup of boiling milk, and then immediately scooped out with a spoon. It is the favourite of my long-time friend, Harminder Magon, a celebrated master in Indian cooking and author of the bestselling book, “My Epicurean Journey.”

Jalebi-milk combo has therapeutic value also that it can work much more quickly to calm stubborn coughs than any lozenges or syrups available in a drug store. Try it, the cough will be gone, but you may get hooked to “dudd-jalebi,” as they say in Punjabi.

Jalebi finds its space in social behaviour as a pun when a cunning person is called “straight like a jalebi.” Or a charming talker is referred to as “sweet like jalebi.”

The personality of Jalebi lies in its blissful enjoyment of sweet taste that it stands out boastfully among all other Indian sweets. But its ego is challenged by Karela (bitter melon). According to my respected friend Zile Singh: “Tuut jande ne maan Jalebian de jithey Karela langh janda,” Translation: Jalebi’s self-pride gets shattered when a Karela goes over.

Jalebi does have close minor cousins called Boondi. These, in reality, are the Tim-bits of Jalebi, same texture, same taste.

Enjoy Jalebi, the queen of Indian confection, straight or with milk, anytime, including midnight all alone and guilt-free craving for something sweet.

-Promod Puri