Sunday, December 22, 2019


By Promod Puri
“Canada is the best country in the world.” Alongside Vancouver prides itself with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd standing as the “most liveable place.” But underneath all these rewarding certifications, there are visible sites that take away some appeal from Vancouver’s alluring image.
The fast-developing metro, with its massive and lavish highrises, is also the home of homeless people. They mostly dwell under the very shadow of its thriving and affluent downtown core.
According to the latest figures, over 2200 people have been counted who don’t have shelter to live and sleep. The situation is more pathetic and deplorable in the harsh cold and rainy months of Vancouver.
Out of these numbers, as per the recent survey by the City, 23 percent are women and teenage girls. The same is the percentage of people who are 55 years of age or older.
The homelessness problem can be realized in the context of Vancouver’s chronic rental housing shortage. Poverty and homelessness go together. With small income or very low-income, affordable housing is just impossible to find.
Sidewalks, parks, and back alleys are the shelters places. Another accessible site for these destitute people in the front entrances of stores the moment their shutters are down at night. Cardboards are often the material for their makeshift dwellings. A few lucky ones carry tents.
Poor health with weather-related ailments is the result when these indigent souls are down with flu and pneumonia, etc. Then there is a mental issue as well.
Poverty and homelessness are the afflictions that go along with Vancouver’s worldwide reputation as the “most liveable city.” But not for these poor folks.

Friday, December 20, 2019


When political opposition becomes ineffective, or it is almost non-existence, political anarchism takes place led by leaderless young revolutionaries against the governing party and its leadership.
This is precisely the situation in India where the Congress Party and other major opposition groups, including the Left fronts, are hardly visible on the street to oppose the anti-Muslim acts in the government’s new citizenship amendments.
India has exploded in recent weeks with violent protests by the students from every major university in the country. They’re demonstrating against the discriminatory rejection of Muslim migrants, while fast-tracking permanent residency for non-Muslim refugees from the neighboring countries.
The students’ demonstrations and outcries have been met by police firing and brutality. The war game has started. “People’s Power” seems to be emerging in an anarchist spread by the students’ solidarity.
-By Promod Puri

Thursday, December 19, 2019


by Promod Puri
There have been some severe and quick fundamental transformations taking place in India to reweave the social and secular fabric of the nation.
In this operation, the country’s citizenship act has been stoked to allow only non-Muslims, migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan for permanent residency.
This is where the problem erupted and escalating to angry protests all over the country and triggering strong condemnation across the globe.
The Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in both houses of Parliament early this month. In the majority ruled Bhartiya Janata Party coalition, prime minister Narendra Modi’s trusted lieutenant Home Minister Amit Shah delivered the controversial changes.
The changes are clearly discriminatory both in its spirit and practice. It lays the path for non-secular India to make Muslims feel outcaste. They can’t be part of saffron India conceived in the Hindutva frame.
“if Hindus in Pakistan want to move to India, why not Muslim in India go to Pakistan,” was one anti-Muslim post I recently noticed on the social media.
That is the mood the BJP and its ‘Parivar’ are catering to meet their longstanding agenda of a theocratic and monolithic “Hindu Rashtra.”
The very notion of such a state violates the fundamentals of the Indian constitution as a secular nation in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. India, unlike Pakistan, was not envisioned as a purely Hindu state at the time of the partition in 1947. The commitment to the secular character of the nation was authored and signed by its first law minister, Dr. Ambedkar.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, along with another BJP government trap, the National Register of Citizens, sends out a clear message that Muslims are being segregated to be second-class citizens in a country where ethnic and religious equality is enshrined in its constitution.
India is the home of the third-largest population (10.9 %) of Muslims in the world after Indonesia (12.7 %) and Pakistan (11.0 %).
The idiotic argument of “go to Pakistan” is racist, anti-national, and anti-constitutional. This is the same constitution upon which the BJP lawmakers and their partners offered their pledge to uphold its fundamentals of secularism.



By Promod Puri

Nationality, caste, color, creed, ritual-based religion: do we still have to wear these badges? When these identities become obsolete, dead, and gone?
Nations across the globe have become or becoming cosmopolitan in both the physical and virtual worlds.
Political boundaries are only relevant to the administrative and bureaucratic functioning of governments. But not for propping up nationalism and its related precept of patriotism.
In a universal temperament, caste, color, creed, and ritual-based religion are irrelevant. Instead these antiquated social and faith-based divisions clog the advance of peace and harmony in our lives.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Who Knows!

I’ve heard, you’ve heard:
“Humans beings are the most
Intelligent and favorite
Creation of God.”
Birds, cats, dogs, donkeys…..
Probably think equal as well.
Trees, plants, and flowers
Likely hold the same pride too.
Who knows!
He Knows
May be maybe not.
Who knows!
-by Promod Puri

Friday, December 13, 2019


By Promod Puri
In Hindu and Sikh religious activities, Satsang is a popular religious tradition.
It is group participation that involves listening or reading of scriptures, discussion on spiritual and theological topics, and singing of hymns. Some activities also include brief sessions of meditation.
Satsang can be a daily, weekly, or monthly get together. It usually lasts for an hour or two. With divine feelings and sentiments, Satsang ends as a social meeting along with light refreshments.
Satsang is derived from the Sanskrit word “satsanga.” By splitting the name into “sat” and “sanga,” its actual meaning is revealed as ‘true’ and ‘association,’ respectively.
It is an association of like-minded people seeking as well as creating an environment of spirituality with or without any guiding or an enlightened individual.
Questions and answers often become part of the entire Satsang session. And whatever the heat is produced during the dialogue and discussion period on religious topics abates by the soothing music and group singing by the participants. This part is also referred to as Kirtan.
Satsang creates pure religious consciousness.
Can we have Satsang within ourselves without the company of others and create the same spiritual ambiance and realization as in a group setting?
The answer can be “yes.”
Satsang basically means being in the company of truth. The “sat” and “sang” reside in the nobility and divinity of our thoughts and our karmas based on them.
It is a disciplined and conscientious activity creating an ongoing Satsang.
Although we miss some of the most visible features of group Satsang, self-Satsang has its own virtues with its harmonic overtones and contentment.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


By Promod Puri
Hats off to the Republic of The Gambia, one of the world’s smallest countries in West Africa, who launched proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the latter’s crimes and genocide of its Muslim population.
Most influential nations in the world who champion the cause of human rights, including Canada, have never thought of going to the ICJ to seek justice for the Myanmar Muslims. The Gambia government must be applauded for this initiative.
The Gambia brought the case against the Myanmar government led by Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She is defending her country before the International Court in The Hague, where three-day proceedings began December 10.
The Gambia is asking the court to order Myanmar to bar ongoing atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims, averting further irreparable harm.
The case focuses on the clearance operations carried out since October 2016 by Myanmar’s military rulers against the Rohingya Muslims. It is a distinct ethnic and religious community group that resides primarily in the Rakhine state.
These operations amounted to a genocidal campaign of violence that included mass murder, forcible displacement, rape, and other forms of sexual abuse. The UN says that over 742,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since 2017, who are living in dire conditions in the refugee camps.
In defending her government and the military junta, Peace Nobelist Aung San Suu Kyi told the court the case against Myanmar is “incomplete and incorrect.” And that it is an “internal armed conflict.”
Ms. Suu Kyi was once an international celebrity who was an icon for the cause of democracy. Now she is a de facto ruler of Myanmar serving her military bosses who kept her under house arrest for many years.
Ms. Suu Kyi was bestowed with honorary Canadian citizenship in October 2007 for being a champion of democracy for her nation. But considering her total denial of military violence against the Rohingya Muslims, she was stripped of her honorary Canadian citizenship in October 2018.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


By Promod Puri
Priyanka Reddy, Asifa Banu, Jyoti Singh, and hundreds perhaps thousands more became victims or going to be next: now, today or tomorrow.
Headlines make the scene. Speeches and statements drum up. Anger, frustrations, and emotions ventilated. Slogans are raised, “hang them, shoot them.” Protests are organized, candles are lit. Articles are written, rewritten, poetry composed. Social media is flooded with outrage. And a lot more expressed, discussed, and debated.
Meaningful but helpless expressions become just rituals. Continue for a few days, remains dormant, and then come back when another news of national shame breaks out. The cycle is renewed and rerun.
In its response, can the nation go beyond this emotional and enraged cry?
The hungry sex devils don’t care and are immune to all the public outbursts. During the barbaric moments, the evil lust dominates and erases any civility, morals, or even the laws against the vulturous acts of violence and rape. There is no fear and shame for them in society or their own families.
That is the reality which transfers a man, a teenager from being a human to a beast.
They are diseased with a behavior disorder. The syndrome erupts with an uncontrolled desire to grapple the victim, molest, and burnt alive. In those horrifying moments, the unconstrained sensual appetite supersedes the society’s protests and the legal punishments, including hanging. Their mental faculties are deranged. The aftermath consequences do not matter.
The civil society’s sentiments and strict legal statues do have impact and solace for the victims and their families. But this is a disease that can’t be controlled by candles, protests, poetry, prose, and punishments.
Who are rapists? Medical and psychological investigations can reveal the symptoms of the disease to determine the profile of a rapist.
The seriousness of the disease and its escalating spread must be of utmost concern for the nation’s medical community, especially in the faculty of psychology and related faculties, along with social scientists to deliberate on all aspects of the rape issues.
After all, it is not only the women who are raped but in the developing rape culture, the entire nation is a victim too.
(Promod Puri is a writer, journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs. And Traditions.) Websites:,, and

Thursday, November 28, 2019


By Promod PuriGuru-Nanak-Dev-Ji-230x300
When Guru Nanak Dev, in his myriad spiritual experiences, saw the frame of cosmos beauty, he expressed his gratitude to the Almighty in creating such a splendor.
The lines he wrote at that moment were his reverent commendation of Nature’s arrangements in the universality of its presentation. His few words of appreciation and gratitude were his Aarti, devotional poetry of enlightenment describing His luminous lila.
Guru Nanak captured the scene, a pageant of nature’s elements together in sync performing the Aarti in a heavenly concert.
Aarti is derived from the Sanskrit word “aratika,” where it denotes clearance of ‘ratika’ or ‘ratri,’ meaning darkness.
Guru Nanak’s offers his Aarti in the following verse:
“Gagan Mai Thaal Rav Chand Deepak Baney, Tarika Mandal Janak Moti,
Meaning: Upon that cosmic plate of the sky, the sun and the moon are the lamps; the stars and the constellations are the pearls and jewels.
Dhoop Malyanlo Pavan Chavro Kare
Sagal Banraye Phulant Jyoti,
Meaning: The fragrance of sandalwood in the air is the temple incense, and the wind is the fan. All the flora of the earth is the altar flowers in offering to You.
Kaisi Aarti Hoye Bhavkhandna Teri Aarti
Anhata Shabad Vaajant Bheri”
Meaning: Oh, God, the destroyer of fear, what a wonderful feeling it is in offering this beautiful Aarti! A lamp-lit worship service this is! The celestial vibrations are like the sound of temple drums.
Note: The original Aarti of Guru Nanak Dev has a few more additions to it by saints Bhagat Ravi Dass, Sant Sain, Sant Kabir, and Bhagat Dhanna. And then there is the final contribution to the Aarti from Guru Gobind Singh.
Nanak’s Aarti has universal appeal as to how we all share Nature’s continuous ceremony of lights, the shines of Sun and the Moon, the twinkling of stars, the fragrance of plants and flowers around us.
It is with these sentiments that Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore suggested that Guru Nanak’s Aarti should be declared as an international anthem for all humanity.
(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions. Websites:,, and

Sunday, November 17, 2019


In democratic-elect governments like India, Turkey, 
download (6)the Philippines, and several African, Central, and South American nations, there is an emerging wave of fascism and despotism. Liberalism, meaning individual and minority rights, are fading in these countries led by demagogues invoking the sentiments of nationalism and patriotism.
Greek philosopher Plato in 380 B.C., predicted the peril of democracy that can lead to the rule of tyrants supported by the majority population.
-By Promod Puri

Thursday, November 14, 2019


By Promod Puri
This Cherry never blossomed to the changing realities of diverse and culturally rich Canadian society.
Don Cherry’s colorful (in costume only) long career as hockey commentator ended abruptly with a blot on his iconic stature. At the fag end of his life, after more than three decades on the air, his stylish apparel also got stains of racist rants against Quebecers, indigenous and the rest “you people.”
From his little domain of “Coach’s Corner” on the Sportsnet, Mr. Cherry delivered his last diatribe November 9, zeroing in on immigrants, new and old, who don’t wear poppies to mark the Remembrance Day.
The controversial remarks on the sports network clipped his job. He said, “Now you go to the small cities, and you know, the rows and rows … you people love … they come here, whatever it is, you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that. These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”
The divisive wordings of “you” and “our” is a type of racist thinking prioritizing the superiority of one group of people as more Canadian than the rest. It endorses the stereotype that immigrants are apathetic to the significance of Remembrance Day.
Wearing a poppy is not a certification to Canadian patriotism. The solidarity to Canada is not a one-day visible affair on Remembrance Day, but an on-going contribution of all us born in Canada or anywhere else.
No matter how much iconic Don Cherry might be in the realm of hockey, but his remarks certainly show a lack of historical facts that there were thousands of troops from the entire British Empire who fought along with Canadian soldiers in both the First and Second World Wars.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What Next After Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi Verdict:

Neither Hinduism is enriched, nor Islam is poor with the Supreme Court verdict over Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi case.
In their spirituality, none of them reside in the bricks and plaster monuments. Though the fundamentals of religions are often buried in the foundations of temples and mosques.
The 16the century Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, which was demolished by Hindu mobs in 1992, is now going to be grandeur Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ram, believed to be his birthplace. But the possession was with a heavy cost that saw one of the deadliest religious riots.
Well, a new temple is ok, but there is enough land to build a hospital there as well. Who knows one day in that very hospital, a Hindu patient would realize that the blood he received was from a Muslim donor? Or that a Muslim patient got a new heart from a dying Hindu patient.
By Promod Puri

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Ram and Ravan are the most known mythical rivals in the Hindu scriptural narratives.
Ram is addressed as Lord by his being an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, “the preserver” in the Trinity divination. The rest two are Brahma, “the Creator,” and Mahesh, “the Destroyer.”
Contrary to Ram, the status of Ravan is given as a “demon” king according to the Hindu holy book Ramayan.
A major part of the epic volume is devoted to fighting evil. Ram is the warrior, out to destroy Ravan, the “devil king.”
According to the narrated story, Ravan abducted Sita, the wife of Ram, in revenge that the latter, thru his brother Lakshman, mutilated the beautiful figure of Ravan’s sister, Shurpanakha.
The fight between Ram and Ravan over the abduction of Sita and her rescue has been plotted in such a dramatic way that connects with the overall mission of eliminating the “forces of evil” and bring back a regime of peace for the people in the kingdom of Lanka.
A tense spirited battle followed in rescuing Sita, who was not inflicted with abuse and harm while in custody of Ravan. Besides her recovery, the whole episode leads to its consequence that it was a war for righteousness against the forces of evil, respectively, represented by Ram and Ravan.
Customs and traditions followed from the epic’s anecdotes. And all that resulted in crystalizing the images of good and bad as portrayed in the Ramayan.
The symbolic burning of Ravan on the major Hindu festival of Dussehra, meaning 10 heads, in northern, central and western parts of India reflects the defeat and death of evil, and the ultimate triumph of good.
Nonetheless, when we explore the personality of Ravan in the maze of multiplex stories, we find him a man of multi-talents with great administrative skills. He was a scholar with complete knowledge of Shastras and the four Vedas. Ravan Samitha, a book on Hindu astrology, has been credited to Ravan as its author.
His wisdom and knowledge were so vast that the imaginative ten-head portrait, without biological explanation, is justified.
Ravan was a follower of Lord Shiva, and an accomplished maestro of a musical string instrument, Veena.
The personal character of Ravan is revealed when Sita passed the controversial “Agni pariksha” about her purity. The ritualistic fire-test was sought by Lord Ram that involved plunging into flames to know her chastity during the time spent under Ravan’s captivity.
With his treatment of Sita in his custody, Ravan proved to be a man of virtuous and moral character. Moreover, in the contemporary Hindu thought, there is no dispute about Ravan’s scholastic and theological credentials along with his divine reach.
But the conflict revolves around his ethnicity and caste identifications.
Was he an Aryan by race or belonging to the indigenous Dravidian people of India, called Adivasis? Was he a Brahmin, Kshatriya, or Shudra/Dalit by caste?
Ravan, the “devil king,” is revered and owned by a section of Hindus belonging to Brahmin caste, Dalits and Adivasis of South India. He is worshipped along with Lord Shiva in many Indian temples. In several parts of India, some Brahmin sub-caste claim to be descendants of him. The Gondi tribe in Central India are proudly committed to their ancestral lineage with Ravan.
In the southern states of India, especially in Tamil Nadu, Ravan is embraced with Dravidian roots.
His identity as a Dalit is turning into a very popular movement in Punjab, where the Valmiki clan is upfront seeking to ban burning of Ravan’s effigy on the Dussehra day.
A respectable online publication, The Citizen, in its September 23,2019 edition, carries an interesting article revealing that in the Dalit-dominated districts of Doaba and Ferozepur “it has become increasingly common for Dalit families to use the names of Ravan’s family and his mythological soldiers as surnames.”
Ravan Sena Bharat (Ravan’s Army India) president Lakhbir Lankesh told The Citizen, “We see the burning of these effigies on Dussehra as an insult to Mahatma Ravan. The Dalits and Dravidians have been painted black over the centuries. For us, there are only two categories of Arya and Anarya. After the Aryan invasion, the other was pushed to the margins.”
Similar dissent can be noticed across the country from North to South, and East to West, as well as among some Hindu diaspora abroad. There also seems to be a systematic misrepresentation of Ravan over the centuries.
The identity of Ravan in terms of tribal ethnicity and caste hierarchy is hard to confirm from the piles of complex and contradictory mythological stories. But both Indological and social anthropological research would help review the personality and mythical believability of Ravan.
Demonizing of Ravan is a sensitive issue given the emerging voices from a large section of the Hindu population, especially from the so-called Lower-caste communities in India and abroad.
Ravan can keep his role of being a villain opposite Ram, the hero, in the epic drama of Ramayan for a balance to the equation. But out of it, a festival like Dussehra is smoldering to the devout feelings of all those who venerate him both for his divine and scholastic attributes, as well as ethnic or caste-based ancestry.
(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions.)    

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


By Promod Puri
Irrespective of the party’s reduced numbers from 39 to 24, Jagmeet Singh’s led New Democratic Party is going to have more clout in the governing politics and policies of Canada.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberals won 157 seats compared to 177 in the 2015 election. Short of 170-mark, the ruling party needs NDP’s backing for its second term to rule as a minority government.
The 24-seat NDP win, in fact, has halted the surge of the Conservative Party that raised its strength from 95 to 121. Throughout the election campaign, the poll numbers gave the Tories some percentage point lead over the Liberals.
The loss of the Liberal seats did not result in the gain for the Tories. Come, Jagmeet Singh, the NDP did not let Canada’s political Right to takeover the loosely linked Left-of-the-centre and the Left political turf.
In the election juggernaut, the NDP leader led an impressive and clean campaign that earned him the distinction of as the most admirable and likable leader compared to Trudeau and Andrew Sheer of the right-wing Conservative Party. Jagmeeet Singh’s popularity was rated at 59 percent compared to around 30 percent each for Trudeau and Sheer.
In fact, the proud turbaned leader emerged as the real hero in the electoral fights throughout the campaigns, where besides campaigning, he was seeking acceptance of his ethnic identity as well.
An interesting interaction took place on October 2 when a fellow Canadian in Quebec asked New Democratic Leader to “cut off” his turban to look “like a Canadian.”
In a poised and cool manner, which is the image he has created for himself, Jagmeet Singh responded: “I think Canadians look like all sorts of people.”
The man tried another approach: “in Rome, you do as the Romans do.” A polite response from Mr. Singh: “But this is Canada, you can do whatever you like.”
In agreement, the man nodded, “I hope you win.”
Jagmeet Singh came to federal politics only in 2017, and it has been a challenging task to introduce himself in an outfit not much seen before. But he dared to do so without compromising with his Sikh identity. Even many among the Indo-Canadian community have been uneasy with his round style of “pagg.”
Ethnic identity representation is part of the Canadian mosaic. Jagmeet Singh contributes to this aspect of Canadian multiculturalism both in his personal and political life.
Besides being a symbol of Canada’s multiculturalism, Jagmeet Singh, as leader of the Left-leaning NDP, now has some control steering the direction Canada moves domestically and globally.
In the upcoming minority government, he and his party, in partnership with the Liberal Party, are expected to resume the progressive agenda that made Canada a global symbol in the worldwide struggle against the rise of authoritarianism, populism, and white nationalism.
The Trudeau government was marked by compassionate policies to welcome thousands of refugees in the last few years, increased immigration quotas, a record number of ethnic and women ministers in his cabinet, and emotional apologies for the serious wrongs past Canadian governments committed on indigenous peoples and visible minorities.
But lately, there has been a conspicuous erosion of his progressive platform that relates to environmental issues, human rights, and continuing sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, notorious for its human rights violations and crimes.
The Liberal-NDP combine will get Canada back to its liberal, humanist, and compassionate image in the world left with a few rules-based, progressive, and true democracies.
(Promod Puri is a writer, journalist, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions. Websites:,, and 

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Computer screen and our eyes don’t see eye to eye with each other. But we can’t avoid their working relationship.
We know, prolong staring rather than looking at the screen is damaging to our eyes. Staring means reduced or no blinking of eyes, while looking involves frequent blinking. The ideal is 12 blinks per minute while on the computer.
Ophthalmologists suggest a “20-20-20” formula to avoid tired or dry eyes. That means taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes, and to look at something 20 feet in distance. This eye break allows both relaxation and plenty of blinks.