Thursday, January 30, 2020


By Promod Puri
As the thought of writing this piece cropped up, I was reminded of an old Hindi film song penned by Sahir Ludhianvi: “jayen toh jayen kahan, samje-ga kaun yahan, dard bare dil ki zuban, jayen toh jayen kahan…”.
Translation: “Where! Where shall we go, who would understand here, the cries from the minds full of pains.”
And that is precisely the plight of Muslims in India. “Go to Pakistan,” “send them to Pakistan,” are the xenophobic cracks that are often being hurled against them by the neo-nationalistic extreme Hindu fanatics. And most of the Hindu population is apathetic to these recurring taunts.
Jayen toh jayen kahan,” where shall the Indian Muslims go?
From generation to generation, the land of their birth, rooted in the soils of the nation, breathing its air and dust from coast to coast, from the Himalayas to the tip of Kanyakumari, the 138 million-community has been made to feel that they do not belong to India. The very land to which it has contributed immensely over the centuries in every walks of its life. Its feelings and emotions lie in the nation’s struggles and achievements.
“Prove your ancestry here,” and “show your papers” is the coming up legalities Muslims in India would be facing in the corrupt bureaucratic setup fired by the bigoted government of Bhartiya Janata Party. That has substantial backing from the rest of its extended family, aka as “Parivar.”
Yes, they have the “papers” scattered and entrenched all over the country.
Their ‘papers’ are in the words of Kabir, Ghalib, Alma Iqbal, and, more recently, in the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi and Javed Akhtar. Their ‘papers’ are in the eternal voices of Mohammad Rafi, gazals of Begum Akhtar, and many more. Their papers are in the music of Naushad Ali, Khyamm, and A.R. Rehman, in the Shanai of Bismilla khan, in the classical voice of Bade Ghulam Ali khan, in the Tabla beats of Ustad Zakir Ali khan. They are in the talents and dialogues of Muhammed Yusuf Khan alias Dalip Kumar, Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India” Nargis Dutt, in the versatilities of Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan.
The papers reflect in the sword of Tipu Sultan, Param Vir Chakra martyr Havildar Abdul Hamid, flying in the fierce shots of Sania Mirza, and in the philanthropist industrialist Azim Premji.
“You’re asking for papers?” They are framed in the marble beauty of the Taj Mahal, in the sacred shrines of Ajmer Sharif, in the sprawling complex of Jama Masjid.
The ‘papers’ are in the patriotic and intellectual sentiments of ex-presidents of India: Zakir Husain, Fakhruddin Ali Ahamed, and APJ Abdul Kalam.
The certification papers government is demanding are being carried by the students and the faculty on the secular campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University. They are in the mammoth rallies all over the country, and in Shaheen Bagh, the epicenter of peaceful protests. This is where the national Tricolor of India is proudly hosted by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and others in the spirit of “Hum Hindusthani.”

Sunday, January 19, 2020


By Promod Puri
Distorted, false, or unrealistic information twist our thinking. As of result, our perceptions are flawed.
Endeavoring for the true nature of things helps brain circuits to function naturally in the evolution of a sound and conscientious or attentive mind.
Human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity. It is in this role and treatment that logical and well-grounded thinking can be fostered.
In addition to that, our simple thinking processes play a significant role in invigorated and stimulating brain functioning. These simple functions involve self-discerning and grasping of ordinary tasks and their executions.
In the contemporary tech and virtual world, most of the very basic thinking processes can be taken over by gadgets. For example, Roomba, the cleaning robot, or Alexa, Amazon’s cyber info help. Or when we google to retrieve a word sitting at the tip of the tongue, instead of exercising the brain to do the recall.
With these gizmos and “hey google” help services, in our day-to-day activities, there is likely little left for our brains to do.
Keeping our brains active by doing easy tasks along with the gathering of authentic and honest information and knowledge can help in forming rational and sound opinions and judgments.
Conceived opinions and judgments influence our mindset viewpoint. And most of the time, our actions and reactions are based on retrieving the intellect from the installed position.
Mindset basically means pre-set assumptions or beliefs that are ready to be applied without or with the least entry of new inference or reasoning to a situation or issue. It is a predisposed state of mind, a psychological construct that can be rigid or subject to change.
In a world where our social, political, and religious preferences become our mindset views, this outlook must be created only by logical and judicious approaches. With that rational infusion, the mindset discernment resides well in our intellectual senses that are not hijacked by false information and in the vogue thinking devices.
In politics, mindset views are often generated thru capable propaganda machinery. For example, the mindset impression is that Cubans are the happiest people in the world under the Communist regime. The ground realities are different.
And so is the situation in Venezuela. Appalling living conditions in the country have forced many poor Venezuelans fleeing to neighboring nations like Columbia.
The myth of overall happiness and contentment not only prevails in the Left or Communist domains involved in brainwashing the public and the rest of the world. Dictatorial or authoritarian regimes and established democracies also indulge in forming mindset thinking in public thru disinformation, hype, and publicity.
The implantation is manifested by all the political ideologies and their running systems. In the authoritarian and autocrat regimes, propagated indoctrination is a crucial part of their regulated strategies.
We can recognize no political system is perfect for producing the results the public wants for its peace and welfare. But the mindset commitments in both the socialist and capitalist structures are created that promise outright prosperity.
The mindset behavior initiated toward a political ideology is being propagated by leaders, and then gets rooted in the general public. In a democratic setup, the Left and Right political mindset are quite conspicuous in the general public.
The political Left-Right binaries seem to be eternal. While the world is getting more integrated through the development of the internet and social media, these binaries reside well in the ideological mindset status quo of socialism and capitalism.
In the contemporary world, production and reproduction of information and knowledge should impact our mindset political views. But this is not happening. Rather extremes of Left-Right scenario we often observe across the globe give a fair assessment of how mindset views stagnate political thinking.
In the realm of religion, most people do not read the fundamentals of scriptures. They gather their religious knowledge or information, not from the revered books, preferably thru the third party, mostly the priest class. The education or learning we receive can be biased or prejudice. But this is where the mindset views are embedded that often stay lifelong or even passed on to the next generation.
In the mindset commitments, both theists and atheists are firm on their radical views if god exists or does not. Over the centuries, both have struck themselves with the myth or non-myth of god. In this approach, separate isms have emerged as atheism and theism.
The followers of these isms have not gone beyond creating a new understanding of God.
We often debate that God was self-created, or He is just an imaginative creation of man? But that should not be an issue either. The rational non-set contemporary mind seeks re-inventing the institution of God.
In this exercise, seeking the practicality of God in its moral-based messages is more acceptable rather than a non-visible physical image residing up there, somewhere.
But we do not want to disturb the status quo of mind struck in the yes and no of God’s physical existence.
In social behavior, too, people with mindset attitudes related to race, class, or caste do not think outside the box. The discriminatory behavior toward fellow human beings constitutes the worst kind of mindset attitude practiced all over the world.
The centuries-old caste system in the Indian sub-continent is a humiliating mindset practice by the upper caste against the lower caste members of the society. As a result, prejudices are formed that remain firm without ever being reviewed.
Sufi philosopher Baba Bulleh Shah touched the subject of social mindset behavior. He remarked that people don’t peep into their own mindset, thinking to diligently review its impact on the individual and the society one belongs to.
He says: Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na.
Translation: one reads to become all knowledgeable yet fails to ever read oneself.
Overall, Political, religious, and social or cultural fanaticism are the results of mindset biases.
Another aspect of mindset attitude lies in the trendy motivational messages we often come across in social media like Facebook.
For example, the buzz words we often hear these days are “be positive.” Precisely, we’re advised to have a positive mindset. But a rational mindset can have a negative or positive outlook as well. It depends upon the outside factors that can be controlled, or maybe not.
“Be positive” is quite a motivational message. But its acceptance and preservation are to be based on realistic recognition of the facts.
The expected positive results from the “be-positive” attitude, in most cases, do not come automatically. For that outcome, the “be-positive” sentiment needs to be fed by willpower. And the latter is attained through strong character built over time with moral commitments.
The “be-positive” stay requires patience. That wait can turn out to be negative too. Of course, we can’t be advised: “be negative.” But this advisory relates to caution or apprehension about things we face or undertake.
A positive or negative attitude is subject to change as nothing is permanent in this world. Realities are a changing phenomenon. Their adjustments are a reality too.
And if the mindset is not exposed to the existing or developing realities, with our cemented views, we soon face a concrete dead end.
People, who are adamant with fixed mindset views of issues facing them personally or the society they live in, are trapped in their sealed intelligence. While the world out there is changing.
A fixed mindset tends to be wired, plugged in, and acts in default mode.
But in principle, mindset is not a settled term. Instead, it is flexible. It can be allowed as a growth mechanism in our cognitive senses.
Our set views based on beliefs or assumptions, self-introduced or by others, need to be reviewed for their acceptability and pragmatics. That way, mindset creates a powerful incentive based on rational factors in the changing real world.

Saturday, January 11, 2020


By Promod Puri
“Satnam Waheguru,” two simple words of profound spiritual significance.
A companion in solitude, Satnam Waheguru, where the universal truth of His wonders is accepted with utmost reverence. And that adoration becomes a prayer, Satnam Waheguru, Satnam Waheguru….
‘Sat’ stands for Truth, ‘Nam’ identifies that Truth.
‘Wahe’ is a feel of ‘wow’ moment, an exclamation of the divine Wonder.
Guru is interpreted here as the path that leads us from darkness to light. It is the journey towards truth and enlightenment.
Satnam Waheguru is a pragmatic or logical approach towards the understanding of God, rather than worshipping Him as a divine image.
Satnam Waheguru is meditative in its spirit installing harmony in our conscious mind.
For that reason, Satnam Waheguru is a repetitive mantra that flows well with our inhaling and exhaling breathing. Here the mantra breaks down into four steps: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru; repeat: Sat-Nam-Wahe-Guru….
There is no healing or therapeutic value in the Satnam Waheguru mantra, but it does initiate a conscientious mind of spiritual values.
Satnam Waheguru, in all its elements, is a mantra, a prayer, and a divine companion in solitary moments.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


While the Lathi-raj, enforced by the police and goons, is in full swing, the BJP bhagats are kept ignorant and brainwashed that everything is normal, India is progressing, and going to the moon.

For most of the Hindu population, especially in urban middle or upper-middle-class, there is insensitivity towards the seriousness of the new anti-minority Citizenship Act, that deprives the citizenship to “undocumented citizens.” 

Their consciousness can’t hear the nationwide protests against the discriminatory law. They are not sitting on the fence. Instead, they have boxed themselves in fear and apathy.

That is the sorry state of India today.

-By Promod Puri

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Creating Mindset views

By Promod Puri
Distorted, false, or unrealistic information twist our thinking. As of result, our perceptions are flawed.
The phenomenon produces “brain bubbles,” according to Kelly Lambert, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Richmond, in The Conversation.
The “bubbles” are not actually any physical formations in the brain. It is instead a metaphorical assumption, to suggest something symbolic but not existing.
When the brain bubbles burst, they corrupt our perception or thought processes. Staying in the real world or striving for rationality controls the development of brain bubbles that are otherwise responsible for distorted thinking.
Endeavoring for the true nature of things help brain circuits to function naturally in the evolution of fair and conscientious decisions.
Human brains are built for sophisticated and complex activity. It is in this role and treatment that a rational and “well-grounded” thinking can be groomed.
However, our simple thinking processes also play a significant role in keeping the brain functioning tuned up.
In the contemporary tech and virtual world, most of the very basic thinking processes are taken over by gadgets. For example, Roomba, the cleaning robot, or Alexa, Amazon's cyber info help.
With these gizmos, “What is left for our brains to do!”
Keeping our brains active for easy tasks along with the gathering of real information and knowledge can help in forming rational and sound thoughts.
After all, thoughts influence our decisions. And the last kick starts our actions.
In a world where social, political, and religious opinions become our mindset views, these very views must be created only by rational approaches. They reside well in our cognitive senses that are not hijacked by thinking gadgets.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


In the spirit of exchanging New Year greetings, we wish peace and happiness for all humanity.
Human beings, animals, plants, mountains, rivers, seas and everything visible and non-visible in this shared universe are all inter-connected and inter-dependent to each other. We seek peace and peaceful existence for all.
Peace in all the cosmic environments influences peace in humankind as well.
Aum dyauh shantirantariksam,
shanti prthivi, shantirapah,
shantirosadhayah, shanti vanaspatayah,
shantirvisvedevah, shantirbrahma,
shantisarvam, shantireva, shant sama, shantiredhi
Following is a translated version of the peace mantra:
“May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere.
May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees, and creepers.
May peace flow over the whole universe.
May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman.
And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.
Aum peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!”
(Translation by Swami Abhedananda, Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, India).