Monday, November 3, 2014

Kannada and Marathi: So Much In Common!

In the November 1st Rajyotsava special massive issue of Kannada Prabha (over 150 pages!), I spotted a fabulous essay by Dr. Karjoo Katkar. The title read: "The literary Ganga, that came crossing the border". Started reading, though I was in a hurry as I had only 5 minutes. But it was so interesting, that I ended up reading fully.

Then decided, I must blog the highlights from Dr. Katkar's research. His email ID is in the picture attached. So here I go.. The main purpose is to inform the people of today's Karnataka and Maharashtra, how overlapping their history has been over the past 1500+ years! This is possibly one of the closest sister language cultural evolution in India.

Origin of Kannada and Karnataka: 
The word Kannada was also used as "Desha suchaka" or geographical historically, in addition to a linguistic denotation. In 850 CE, Kaviraja Marga literary work had this in Halegannda (old Kannada):
Kaveriyinda maa Godavarivaramirda 
Naadada KannadadoL
Bhavisida janapadam vasudhavalaya
vileena vishada vishesham.
Basically the Rashtrakuta Emperor Nripatunga Amoghavarsha is telling here that "Kannada Nadu" extended from Kaveri till Godavari in the 9th century CE.


First occurrence "Karnataka":
Dr. Ketkar shows that in Mahabharata, in the Sabha Parva and Bhishma Parva, the word Karnataka is found. Among Hindu Puranas from 1000s of years ago, Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana and Padma Purana have the mentions of "Karnataka". In the Sanskrit mega drama Mriccha katika of Shudraka from around 400 CE, there is a sentence "Karnataka kalaha prayogam karomi".  In the Tamil epic Silappatikaram, which is believed to be from 600 CE, "Karunaadar" is used to refer to the people of Karnataka.

Origin of Marathi and Maharashtra:
In Vararuchi's (most likely Katyayana from 3rd century BC) vyakarana (grammar) texts, the word "Maharashtra" is found. Even though the rashtra or nation/state that we know today didn't exist then, it is said that the term was with respect. Per scholars, "Shesham Maharashreevat" and "Maharashtree" were found in some ancient kavyas (prose), denoting the current location of Maharashtra. Some say the same became "Marahatta" and later "Marahti". Per Saroji Babar, the 6th century Pali literary work "Mahavamshi" (most likely this link from Sri Lanka)  refers to Maharashtra as "Maha ratta".

The 13th century Mahanubhava book has "Maharashtra" word. Per Dr. Bhandarkar, "Varhada" or "Varhata" people later became Marathi people. Per Dr. Ketkar's "Marashtra Sanskriticha Itihas", Varhata was the original Maharashtra. The Varhata people migrated from their original place (which I don't know from where), to Krishna Godavari area, culminating in Maharashtra. In the 1190 CE's "LeeLa Charitra", there is a mention of "saari laksha Maharashtra tehi vasavile Ganga teero Triambako vheri". In the 10th century's Dhanapala's "Bhavisya yatta kaha" work, "Verada" word is there which the author suspects as the original word of "Marhada".

In the 779 CE Udyotana Soori's "Kuvayala Malaa Kahaa" work, "Marahatti" word is found. A poet from Kolhapur, Karnapaya wrote "Neminath Purana", which refers to Maharashtra. He's believed to be from 1160 CE per researchers.


The oldest Marathi inscription is actually found in south Karnataka:
The oldest Marathi shila shasana (stone or other inscriptions) was incidentally found in Karnataka's Shravana beLagoLa, very famous for the world's largest monolithic stone statue of Jain Gomateshwara or Bahunbali. Shravana beLagoLa is having more than 2000 years of Jain dharma's history and is one of the world's most holy places for Jains.

At the feet of Bahubali's statue there's an inscription "Shri Chavundaraje karaveeyale" and "Gangaraje suttale karaveeyale". These are believed to be the earliest Marathi inscriptions ever found. Chavundaraya's age is somewhere in the 9th century CE. So Marathi might have existed by then.

Marathi in ancient and medieval Kannada literature:
In the first major poet of Kannada, Adi Kavi Pampa's "Adi Purana" from 941 CE, there is a mention of Maharashtra. In his other work "Bharata", he uses "are hoi" from Drona's mouth praising Arjuna. In another Kannada writer Mahakavi Janna's "Anantantha Purana", there is "Uthi Uthi maagaa baisa jaa tu haLoo" (get up, get up, slowly go and sit in the back) Marathi sentence!

Then Vachana sahitya (literary work) period of the 12th century in Kannada, which flourished into the Lingayat or Veerashaiva movement resulting in the largest single group of people in Karnataka today, also has plenty of Marathi words. For instance, the famous vachana composer Allama Prabhu's one vachana has this.

"Hendatiyillada ganDange
aaru maanisa makkaLu
akhanDita guheshwara haa niraaLu re"

Similarly Sonnalagi Siddarama's or Sonnalagi Siddheshwar's vachanas have Marathi words. Even though he's a Kannadiga, he is worshiped as the "Grama devata" or village deity of Solapur in today's Maharashtra by Marathi people too. There's even a beautiful Siddheshwargad for this saint and poet.

Even Basavanna the founder of Lingayat philosophy and Channa Basavanna's vachanas have a few Marathi words.

Poet Chandratmaja Rudra has written both in Marathi and Kannada. Per Pandit Avalikar, he was a great bridge between Marathi and Kannada literature. His Bhamini's Kannada poems are now found. Similarly Kakhandaki's Mahipati dasa (1640-1705 CE) wrote in both Kannada and Marathi. So far 754 keertanas of Mahipati dasa have been found. Out of them, 45 are in Marathi and rest in Kannada.

Sindhagi in Vijayapura (Bijapur) district of Karnataka had a great Kannada writer called Jakkappaiah.

His "Khanda kavya" is found both Kannada and Marathi.

"Ganesha Amba Vishnu Samba Sura Kadamba vanduni!
Dinesha sadguru paresha pada padma chituni!!
aaga baLikallinda kapivrindamam kuDi!
Raghavendra tenkaDala teerake baralu
pogi kaambuvenendu banda Vibheeshanage Lankadhipatya koTTa"

The above is a story about Vibheeshana in Ramayana by Jakkappaiah, in the same verse of the same chapter, in both Marathi and Kannada! Such examples are very rare to find today. And it keeps happening the same way throughout his Khanda Kavya work.


Kannada in ancient and medieval Marathi literature:
Maharashtra's Varakari panth and Karnataka's Dasa panthas were of the same era. Both thrive in Krishna or Vitthala bhakti (devotion). Marathi saints have openly announced that the Pandharapur's Vitthala or Vitthoba is of Kannada origin.

The great Marathi sant, Jnaneshwar or Dnyaneshwar sang this:

"KaanaDa ho Vitthala Karnataku
yeNi maja laavile vedhim"

Meaning, Vitthala came to Pandharapur from Karnataka. Per Dr.Katkar, scholars have identified many Kannada words in Jnaneshwar's famous commentary on Bhagavad Gita, Dnyaneshwari. The famous researcher Sham Ba Joshi even went to the extent of saying "If one has to fully understand Dnyaneshwari, he or she must know Kannada well". The father of South Indian Carnatic classical music, Purandara Dasa, has translated some songs of Dnyaneshwar from Marathi into Kannada.

Dnyaneshwar must have known Kannada very well.


One of Dnyaneshwar's abhanga is fully in Kannada.

"Akka nee keLe chikkana maatu
karaledasige maruLaadane |
cheluvaane cheluvaane Pandharirayaa
cheluvaane elli korakuvanee ||
Pundaleekana bhaktige bandaa
rukhumaadevi varavithalane"

The great Vachana writers in Kannada used words like Shunya, Linga, Lingabheda, Gurulinga, Shunyalinga, Aradhyalinga kind of words. Dnyanehwar has used those repeatedly in his works in Marathi.

Vithaabai was another Marathi saint. Her Abhangs too have mention of Karnataka. Sant Eknath respected Kannada with this sentence "Navo KaanaDi bhashaa". His works have many Kannada words. Marathi bhakti poet/saint Eknath and Kannada bhakti poet/saint Kanakadasa were of the same era. Eknath's bhaaruDas and Kanakadasa's manDiges have lot of overlapping inspirations.

Marathi literature has a special place for Mukteshwar. He was the grandson of Sant Eknath. Mukteshwar's father Balakrishna used to live in today's Karnataka's Gadag district's Dhambala. There's a temple on the banks of Tungabhadra's Chowdadanapura for this Mukteshwar. Per SB Joshi, Mukteshwar who translated Mahabharata into Marathi, was greatly influenced by the famous Kannada author Kumara Vyasa or Narayanappa from Gadag, who lived a few decades before Mukteshwar.

Here is what Mukteshwar accepts the inspiration from Kumara Vyasa's Gadugina Bharata:

"Majhu Sankrit naahi abhyasa
Karnataka kavi Kumaravyasa
tyacheni aadhar granth vilasa
prarambhila haa hetu"


And as we all know, Sant Ramdas has a special place in Marathi history. He exclaimed like this:
"Chitrakala naana naTaka maNani naam Karnataka" meaning Karnataka is named as that because of plenty for drawing and dramas (nataka).

Gurla Hosur's avadhuta Chidambara Dikshit's biography is there in Marathi. His shishya Rajarama wrote his Abhangas in Marathi. But his samadhi is in Belagavi district's Govaves area.

Chhatrapati Shivaji's family connection with Karnataka:
Shivaji maharaj is an iconic figure in Indian history and particularly Maharashtra. Dr. Katkar digs in many of Shivaji's family ties with today's Karnataka. He even goes to the extent of tracing some ancestry connection of Shivaji's family name Bhonsale with the Kannada dynasty Hoysala, and to Soratur village in Karnataka. He uses Dr. RC Dhere's Marathi research to back his claims. I know that the ancestry part will get controversial, so let's leave it at that mention.

Shivaji's father Shahaji Maharaj was the Governor of Bengaluru area under Adil Shahi patronage. He was in charge of Doddaballapur, Tumakur, Kunigal, Chikkanayanaka Halli and Ramagiridurga areas. B Muddachari has detailed the life of Shahaji in Bengaluru area in his book "Mysore-Maratha Bandhavya".


Shahaji died in Karnataka. His samadhi is at a village called Hodigere in Davanagere district

Shivaji's elder brother Sambhaji Bosale had fought wars in Karnataka. He too died in Karnataka and has a samadhi in a village called Kanakapura in Koppala district.

So the two close relatives of Shivaji, his father and brother, have samadhis in central Karnataka.

When the Moghals chased Shivaji's son Rajaram Chhatrapati, he was sheltered by Rani Keladi Chennamma in Karnataka (different from Kittur Chennamma). When Belawadi Mallamma fought a war against Marathas using an all woman army, he saw his mother Jija Bai's image in her. He respected her and sent her back.

Overall, Shivaji's family and their ties to Karnataka are intense.

Finally..

We have seen the extensive influence of Marathi in ancient/medieval Kannada literature. We have seen the indisputable influence of Kannada on ancient/medieval Marathi literature. We have seen the historical relations involving temples and kings. And there's more during modern times.
  1. Lavani, is a type of folk music and story telling that is popular both in Marathi and Kannada. 
  2. Many sacred temples frequented by Marathi and Kannada people are common.
  3. Dress, marriage, festivals and other cultural aspects are quite close in the border districts.
  4. Food is highly influenced both sides in border districts.
  5. Researcher Vitthal Ramji Shinde (1873-1944) documented the closeness of Kannada and Marathi, using Bala Gangadhar Tilak's article in 1923's Kesari.
  6. Marathi literature's famous Pula Deshpande's mother is from Karnataka.
  7. Famous Kannada writers Da Ra Bendre (Jnanapeetha winner), Sham Ba Joshi, A R Toro all were having Marathi mother tongue. 
  8. Maharashtra hugged famous Karnataka musicians like Bhimsen Joshi and Kumar Gandharva. 
The list is endless...

Let me attach the full page article in Kannada from Dr. Katkar, in two parts here, for those who want to download/zoom and read.






My thanks to Dr. Sarjoo Katkar for giving us lots of information to know how close the Marathi and Kannada cultures and civilizations have been :)

Picture credits: Wiki and Kannada Prabha

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Flush Out Pessimism.. India is changing for good!

I still see a lot of pessimism about the new projects of Government of India.
I want to write in more detail here.

Wake up Indians and NRIs.. Lots of self made leaders have come up. Nirmala Sitharaman arm twisted even the powerful American lobby at WTO meet by demanding that trade facilitation has to be simultaneous with other demands of India. Even Sonia Gandhi's trusted big name Anand Sharma had compromised last time, which this first time minister has set right. Uma Bharti is on the ground trying to clean up Ganga which is a project as tough as climbing Mount Everest on one leg. The Jan Dhan Yojna is pushed by younger team so successfully, that over 7 crore new bank accounts are opened in India in just 2 months. This speed of financial inclusiveness has never happened in India's history! C'mon.. we are talking about 7,00,00,000+ bank accounts in 8 weeks, with automatic life insurance coverage and debit card, in a country where it takes 3 visits for even KYC document for existing bank account in a city bank!



India's inflation is at 5 year low. Mumbai saw a more than 3 Rupees Diesel price cut for the first time in a long time (last time was 2 rupees cut in 2009 Jan!). Indian markets are euphoric and performing better than most world markets. Naxals are surrendering in record numbers. I read recently that there has been a 20 fold increase in maoist terrorists leaving the path of terrorism in the heart of India, and joining mainstream. I saw pictures of CRPF jawans actually carrying surrendered naxals over their shoulders, giving them a mainstream society welcome. The Nehruvian central planning commission which was the white elephant slowing Indian economy is being dismantled. IMF just issued a statement that India will be a $2 Trillion economy this year itself! And might overtake Italy, Brazil and Russian GDPs before Modi's first term ends..

Never before a 1 lakh crore fund for entrepreneurs was setup by the government. I attended a seminar on how young Indians can get into manufacturing entrepreneurship. I was shocked at the energy level.. They are talking about so many start up ideas, while 3 years back 60% was just about IT industry start ups. Smart City is another topic that every MP and MLA is trying to encash on for his or her popularity.

In 1999 when the cyclone hit Odisha, 10,000 Indians died within 48 hours. The land fall speed of that cyclone was nearly 250KM ph.
Just last week, Hudhud cyclone hit not far from there, at Visakhapatnam, AP. The preparation and coordination of both AP state govt and central govt was so good, that in spite of 175+ KM land fall of the cyclone, only 24 people died within the first 48 hours. Yes 24 is also bad, but look at the progress ISRO, meteorological scientists and overall disaster relief of India has come through in the past 15 years. From 10,000 deaths to 0.24% of that 15 years later, is no mean achievement. I don't care if NDA1, UPA1, UPA2 or NDA2 takes credit. But all I say is that, there is no need to feel pessimistic about India any more.


In 2003, when Vajpayee announced Chandrayaan and pushed the scientists, it was of tall order. Not only India has exceeded Chandrayaan expectation since then, it also created all sorts of records in Mangalyaan cost. You would have heard about the euphoria at Madison Square Garden on this.. The heart burn was so big that NY Times even resorted to a racist cartoon which it had to later pull out with apology. In European papers, jasmine flower clad Indian women in saree were prominently displayed as the new face of space scientists! This particular Modi style "dono mutthi band karke" pose was in dozens of country's news papers, bringing India a new recognition.



And regarding working hours - talk to anyone visiting government offices in Dilli. Officers are there on time. Even ministers are considering it as a punishment to work under Modi now as they have to be in office till late night. All the 4 PM booking for happy hours at trendy establishments are slowing from babus. And every project, and every detail is instantly put online so transparency is at it's best level that I have seen.

Regarding the pet project of Modi, the Swacch Bharat (Clean India), I am getting 3 to 5 Swacch Bharat pictures from youngsters across India who have taken it as a challenge to clean up India. I have seen 100s of people who come from a foreign visit to India, and they start about bad mouthing the Indian "filth". Modi is the first man I have seen, who actually came back from a foreign trip, and the very next morning, had a broom in his hand cleaning up a police station's compound!!

I was so happy to see 16 and 17 year old students from a Bengaluru PU college, cleaning up a 500 year old temple pond in straight 7 hours, with no specialized tools or help. Modi's mantra of swacch Bharat has caught the imagination of India and things are going really well.



Here's another example from Rajahmundry, AP.



India is changing from bottom up as well as top down. And it's being led in most cases by young India - those in 15 to 35 age group. Their energy is mind blowing!

I heard in a recent seminar a very cautious words: India's greatest asset between 2015 and 2050 is its demographic dividend. If this is not managed well, or if anarchists and anti-India violent guys are allowed to brain wash them, it will turn into a demographic disaster. The choice is yours. Particularly the well informed, globe-trotting, rich Indians should be in the fore front of guiding young India to realize it's potential and reclaim the 25% share of world GDP that India had for 1700 out of the past 2000 years.

Flush out pessimism, irrespective of your political ideology. We are at the beginning of a very long and steep climb into prominence!

Picture credit: Hindu, NIE and Social media

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯ ನವರೆ.. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧಿ ವಾದದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳೋಣಾ?

ಗಾಂಧಿ ಜಯಂತಿ ದಿವಸ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಪ್ರಾಮಾಣಿಕವಾಗಿ ನೆನೆಯುವುದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬೇರೆಲ್ಲ ವಿಷಯಗಳು ಸುದ್ದಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದವು. ನಮ್ಮ ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯನವರಂತೂ ತಾವು ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಎಲ್ಲ ೬.೩ ಕೋಟಿ ಜನರ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಅನ್ನೋದನ್ನು ಮರೆತು, ತಾವು ಕೇವಲ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಪರಿವಾರದ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಅನ್ನೋ ಹಾಗೆ ನಡೆದುಕೊಂಡರು.  ಅವರ ಕುಣಿತಕ್ಕೆ ತಾಳ ಹಾಕೋ ಹಾಗೆ, ಖರ್ಗೆ, ಮೊಯ್ಲಿ, ಪರಮೇಶ್ವರ ಮತ್ತಿತರು ಉಘೆ ಉಘೆ ಅಂದರು.

ಅಂದ ಹಾಗೆ ಆಗ ಬಾರದ ಅಚಾತುರ್ಯ ಆಗಿದ್ದಾದ್ರೂ ಏನು?

ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯನವರಿಗಿಂಥ ೮ ವರ್ಷ ದೊಡ್ಡವರಾದ ಹಿರಿಯ ರಾಜಕಾರಣಿ ಶಂಕರ ಮೂರ್ತಿ ಅವರು, ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯ ಅವರ ಅರ್ಧ ವಯಸ್ಸಿನ ವಾಗ್ಮಿ ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ ಸೂಲಿಬೆಲೆ ಅವರನ್ನು ಗಾಂಧೀಜಿ ಅವರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಭಾಷಣ ಮಾಡೋಕೆ ಕರೆದ್ದಿದ್ದು. ಇದು ಯಾವ ಪಕ್ಷದ ಅಥವಾ ಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತದ ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶ ಅಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ. ಇದು ಕೇವಲ ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರ ಆದರ್ಶದ ಬಗೆಗಿನ ಸಮಾರಂಭ. ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯನವರಿಗೆ ಸಿಕ್ಕಾಪಟ್ಟೆ ಅಲರ್ಜಿ ಆಗಿದ ವಿಷಯ, ಈ ಇಬ್ಬರು ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರೀಯ ಸ್ವಯಂಸೇವಕ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಜೊತೆ ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಬಾಂಧವ್ಯ!

ನಾನು ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಸಲ ಭೇಟಿ ಆಗಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಅವರ ವಾಕ್ ಚಾತುರ್ಯ ನೋಡಿ ಶಭಾಶ್ ಅಂದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಅವರ ದೇಶ ಭಕ್ತಿಗೆ ಮೆಚ್ಚಿ ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ ತಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದೇನೆ. ಅವರಿಗೆ ನನ್ನಂತಹ ಲಕ್ಷಾಂತರ ಅಭಿಮಾನಿಗಳು ಇದ್ದಾರೆ. ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ ಅವರು ಜಾಗೋ ಭಾರತ್ ಅಂಥಹ ೨೪ ಕಾರೆಟ್ ಚಿನ್ನದಂಥ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮ ಮಾಡಿ, ಹಳ್ಳಿ ಹಳ್ಳಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾರತದ ಮತ್ತು ಭಾರತೀಯ ಸೈನಿಕರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆಯ ಅಭಿಪ್ರಾಯ ಬಾರೋ ಹಾಗೆ ನೋಡಿ ಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇಂಥಹ ಭಾರತ ಮಾತೆಯ ಹೆಮ್ಮೆಯ ಪುತ್ರನಿಗೆ ಏಕ ವಚನ ಉಪಯೋಗಿಸಿದ್ದು ಪರಮಾಶ್ಚರ್ಯ! ಹೋಗಲಿ ಬಿಡಿ.. ಶಂಕರ ಮೂರ್ತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಚಕ್ರವರ್ತಿ ಸೂಲಿಬೆಲೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ, ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಅವರದ್ದೇ ಗೌರವ ಮತ್ತು ಸ್ಥಾನ ಇದೆ. ಅವರೇನು ಈ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿಯಿಂದ ಪ್ರಮಾಣಪತ್ರ ಪಡೆಯೋಕೆ ಹೋಗಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ.

ಇಷ್ಟಕ್ಕೂ ಬಹಳ ಜೋರಾಗಿ "ಗಾಂಧಿ ಪರ" ಕೂಗಾಡಿದ ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯನವರು ಎಷ್ಟು ಮಟ್ಟಕ್ಕೆ ಗಾಂಧಿ ತತ್ತ್ವ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂದೇಶ ಖುದ್ದಾಗಿ ಪಾಲಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆಂದು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ನೋಡೋಣ. ನವರಾತ್ರಿ ಸಮಯ ಆದದ್ದರಿಂದ ಒಂಭತ್ತು ಬಹಳ ಪ್ರಚಲಿತದಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಒಂಭತ್ತು ವಿಷಯಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಗಮನ ಹರಿಸೋಣ.

೧) ಮೊದಲನೆಯದಾಗಿ, ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರು ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಬಹಳ ದೊಡ್ಡ ಪ್ರಾಮುಖ್ಯತೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರು. ಅಹಿಂಸೆ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರ ಪರಮಧರ್ಮ ಆಗಿತ್ತು. ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಹಿಂಸೆ ಮಾಡಬೇಡಿ ಅಂತ ಅವರು ಬೋಧನೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು.
ಆದರೆ ನೀವು ಸಿದ್ದರಾಮಯ್ಯ ಅವರೆ.. ಮೊದಲ ತಿಂಗಳಲ್ಲೇ, ಗೋ ಹತ್ಯೆ ನಿಷೇಧ ಕಾನೂನನ್ನು ತಿರಸ್ಕಾರ ಮಾಡಿ, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾರಿ ಪ್ರಮಾಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಲು ಕೊಡದ ಹಸುಗಳು, ಕರುಗಳು, ಎಮ್ಮೆಗಳು, ಎತ್ತುಗಳು, ಕೋಣಗಳ ಮಾರಣಹೋಮ ಮಾಡಲು ಅನುಮತಿ ನೀಡಿದ್ದೀರಿ. ಇದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧೀವಾದವೋ?

೨) ಮಹಾತ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧಿಯವರ ಜೀವನ ಪರ್ಯಂತ ಅವರು ಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮತಗಳ ನಡುವೆ ಸಂಘರ್ಷ ತಡೆಯುವದರ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದರು.
ಆದರೆ ನೀವು? ಬೇರೆಯವರನ್ನು ಕೋಮುವಾದಿ, ಜಾತಿವಾದಿ ಅಂತೆಲ್ಲ ಜರಿದು, ಖುದ್ದಾಗಿ ಬರೇ ಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕೋಮು ಯೋಜನೆಗಳನ್ನೇ ತಂದು ಸಮಾಜವನ್ನು ಒಡೆಯುವ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನದಲ್ಲಿ ಇದ್ದೀರ. ಶಾದಿ ಭಾಗ್ಯ ಅಂತ ತಂದು ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಹಿಂದುಗಳಿಗೆ ತಾತ್ಸಾರ ಬಿತ್ತಿದ್ದೀರ. ಅಹಿಂದ ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಪ್ರವಾಸ ಅಂತ ಬೇರೆ ಜಾತಿ ಮಕ್ಕಳಿಗೆ ಅನ್ಯಾಯ ಮಾಡಿ, ಶಾಲೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಮಕ್ಕಳ ಹಸಿ ಮನಸ್ಸನ್ನು ಜಾತಿ ವಿಷದಿಂದ ತುಂಬುತ್ತಿದ್ದೀರ. ನರ್ಸಿಂಗ್ ವಿದ್ಯಾರ್ಥಿನಿಯರ ಹಾಸ್ಟೆಲ್ ಅಂತ ಹೇಳಿ, "ಮೇಲ್ಜಾತಿ" ಹುಡುಗಿಯರನ್ನು ಹೊರಗಿಟ್ಟು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಅನ್ಯಾಯ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದೀರ. ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಇವುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತಾಡಿದರೆ, ಅವರನ್ನು ದಲಿತ ವಿರೋಧಿ, ಹಿಂದುಳಿದವರ ವಿರೋಧಿ, ಮುಸಲ್ಮಾನ ವಿರೋಧಿ ಅಂತ ಕೂಗಿ ಬಾಯಿ ಮುಚ್ಚುಸ್ತೀರ.  ಇವೆಲ್ಲ, ಗಾಂಧೀ ವಾದವೋ?

೩) ಗಾಂಧಿ ದೇಶದ ಸಂಪತ್ತನ್ನು ಲೂಟಿ ಹೊಡೆಯೋರ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ನಿಂತಿದ್ರು.
ನೀವು? ದೊಡ್ಡ ಭ್ರಷ್ಟಾಚಾರ ಆರೋಪ ಇರುವ ಸಂತೋಷ್ ಲಾಡ್ ಅವರನ್ನು ಮಂತ್ರಿ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದ್ರಿ. ನಂತರ ಬಹಳ ಜನರಿಂದ ಕಿವಿ ಹಿಂಡಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ಮೇಲೆ ಅವರನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು, ಅವರಿಗಿಂತ ಗುರುತರ ಆರೋಪ ಇರುವ ಶಿವ ಕುಮಾರ್  ಮತ್ತು ರೋಶನ್ ಬೇಗ್ ಅವರನ್ನು ಮಂತ್ರಿ ಮಾಡಿದ್ರಿ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮೇಲೆ ಖುದ್ದಾಗಿ ಅರ್ಕಾವತಿ de notification ಆರೋಪ ಇದ್ರೂ, ಅದನ್ನೆಲ್ಲ ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷ್ಯ ಮಾಡಿ, ಬೇರೆಯವರನ್ನು ಭ್ರಷ್ಟರೆಂದು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತೀರ. ಇದು ಗಾಂಧಿವಾದವೋ ?

೪) ಗಾಂಧಿ ಎಂಥ ಸನ್ನಿವೇಶದಲ್ಲೂ ಕೂಡ ಒಬ್ಬರ ಮೇಲೆ ಕೈ ಮಾಡದ ಅಹಿಂಸಾವಾದಿ.
ಆದರೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸುತ್ತ ಇರೋ ಜನ? ಭೈರಥಿ ಅವರು ಪೋಲಿಸ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಲ್ಲೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ರು ಅಂತ ನಾವು ಒದಿದ್ವಿ. ಅಭಯಚಂದ್ರ ಜೈನ್ ಅವರು ಆಟೋ ಚಾಲಕನ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಲ್ಲೆ ಮಾಡೋಕೆ ಹೋದರು ಅಂತ ಟಿವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿದ್ವಿ. ಇದೇ ಜೈನ್ ಅವರು ಒಬ್ಬ ಕರಾವಳಿ ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತನಿಗೆ ಜೀವ ಬೆದರಿಕೆ ಹಾಕಿದರು ಅಂತ ಕೂಡ ಕೇಳಿದ್ವಿ. ವಿನಯ್ ಕುಲಕರ್ಣಿ ಅವರು ಒಬ್ಬ ವೈದ್ಯಾಧಿಕಾರಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಸಿನಿಮಾ ರೀತಿ ಹೊಟ್ಟೆಗೆ ಪಂಚ್ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದನ್ನು ಟಿವಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನೋಡಿದ್ವಿ. ಇವರಲ್ಲಿ ಯಾರದ್ರಿಗೂ ನೀವು ಶಿಕ್ಷೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟರಾ? ಇದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧೀವಾದವೋ?

೫) ಮಹಾತ್ಮಾ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರು ಭಗವದ್ ಗೀತೆ ಮತ್ತು ರಾಮಾಯಣದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅಪಾರ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡವರು.
ಎಲ್ಲಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಭಾಷಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲಾದರೂ ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಅಥವಾ ರಾಮನ ಆದರ್ಶದ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಉಲ್ಲೇಖ ಇದೆಯೋ? ನಾವಂತೂ ಕಂಡಿಲ್ಲ. ಆದರೆ, ನೀವು ಜರಿಯುವ ಸಂಘ ಪರಿವಾರದ ಮೋದಿ ಅವರ ಭಾಷಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಬೇಕಾದಷ್ಟು ಭಾರತೀಯ ನೀತಿ ಬೋಧನೆ ಕೇಳಿದ್ದೇವೆ!

೬) ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರು ಮಾತಿನ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಬಹಳ ಗಮನ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಅಪ್ಪಿ ತಪ್ಪಿಯು ಇನ್ನೊಬ್ಬರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸುಳ್ಳು ಆಪಾದನೆಯಾಗಲಿ, ಕೀಳು ಟೀಕೆಗಳಾಗಲಿ ಮಾಡಿದವರಲ್ಲ.
ಆದರೆ ನೀವು? ೨೦೧೪ ನೇ ಚುನಾವಣೆಯಲ್ಲಿ, ದೇಶದ ಸರ್ವೋಚ್ಚ ನ್ಯಾಯಾಲಯದ SITಯಿಂದ ಕ್ಲೀನ್ ಚಿಟ್ ಪಡೆದುಕೊಂಡ ನರೇಂದ್ರ ಮೋದಿ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ನರಹಂತಕ ಅಂತ ಅಪಪ್ರಚಾರ ಮಾಡಿ, ಚುನಾವಣಾ ಆಯೋಗದಿಂದ ಛೀಮಾರಿ ಹಾಕಿಸಿಕೊಂಡ ದೇಶದ ಏಕೈಕ ಮುಖ್ಯ ಮಂತ್ರಿ! ಅದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಗಾಂಧೀ ವಾದವೋ?

೭) ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರು ಎಂದೆಂದೂ ಸಾರಾಯಿ ಮತ್ತು ಇತರ ಆಲ್ಕೋಹಾಲ್ನಿಂದ ದೂರ ಇದ್ದರು.
ಆದರೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸುತ್ತ? ಕಾಶಪ್ಪನವರ್ ಅಂಥ ಕುಡಿತದ ಬಾರ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ಪೋಲಿಸ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಲ್ಲೆ ಆರೋಪ ಇರುವ ಪಕ್ಷದ ಸದಸ್ಯರಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಅವರ ಮೇಲೆ ಏನು ಕ್ರಮ ತೊಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದೀರ?
ನೀವು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸರ್ಕಾರದಿಂದ ಕುಡಿತದ ಹಾವಳಿ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡಲು ಏನು ಕ್ರಮ ತೆಗೆದು ಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದೀರ?

೮) ಗಾಂಧಿ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಸರ್ವಾಧಿಕಾರ ಬಹಳ ಅಸಹ್ಯ ಆಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತು. ಅವರು ಹಿಟ್ಲರ್ ಅವರಿಗೂ ಕೂಡ ಒಂದು ಪತ್ರ ಬರೆದಿದ್ದರು.
ನೀವು? ಪ್ರಮಾಣ ವಚನ ಸ್ವೀಕರಿಸಿದ ಮರು ನಿಮಿಷದಲ್ಲೇ, ಸಾವಿರಾರು ಕೋಟಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಹಣವನ್ನು ಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕೋಮು ಆಧಾರಿತ ಸಾಲ ಮನ್ನಾಗೆ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಬಿಟ್ಟರಲ್ಲ..  ಕ್ಯಾಬಿನೆಟ್ ಕೂಡ ಮಾಡುವ ಮುಂಚೆ ಒಬ್ಬರೇ, ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ದೊಡ್ಡ ನಿರ್ಣಯ ತೊಗೊಂಡು, ಬೇರೆಯವರನ್ನು ಸರ್ವಾಧಿಕಾರಿ ಅಂತ ಭಾಷಣಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಜರಿಯುತ್ತೀರಲ್ಲ.. ಅದು ಗಾಂಧಿ ವಾದವಾ?

೯) ಕೊನೆಯದಾಗಿ, ಗಾಂಧೀ ಅವರು ಸ್ತ್ರೀಯರ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಗೌರವ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಠ ಮಾನವ. ಗಾಂಧೀ ಅವರು ನಿತ್ಯ ಪಠಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ "ವೈಷ್ಣವ ಜನತೋ" ಭಜನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹೀಗೆ ಒಂದೆರಡು ಸಾಲುಗಲಿವೆ.

"ವಾಚ, ಕಾಛ್ ಮನ ನಿಶ್ಚಳ ರಾಖೆ" - ಅಂದರೆ, ಮಾತು, ಕೆಲಸ ಮತ್ತು ಯೋಚನೆ ಶುದ್ಧಿಯಾಗಿ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೋ.
"ಪರಸ್ತ್ರೀ ಜೇನೇ ಮಾತ್ ರೇ" - ಅಂದರೆ, ಪರಸ್ತ್ರೀಯನ್ನು ತಾಯಿ ಅಂತೆ ನೋಡು.

ಆದರೆ ನೀವು ಗಾಂಧಿ ಜಯಂತಿ ದಿವಸ ಹಾಕಿಕೊಂಡಿದ್ದ ಟೋಪಿ ನೆಹರು ಅವರದ್ದು. ಗಾಂಧಿ ಆ ಟೋಪಿ ಹಾಕಿದ್ದು ಬಹಳ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಅಥವಾ, ಇಲ್ಲವೇ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಅದೇ ನೆಹರು ಅವರು, ಮದುವೆ ಆಗಿ ಮಗಳಿದ್ದ ಗೃಹಿಣಿ ಎಡ್ವಿನಾ ಮೌಂಟ್ ಬಾಟ್ಟೆನ್ ಜೊತೆ ಹೇಗಿದ್ದರು ಅಂತ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಎಡ್ವಿನಾ ಅವರ ಮಗಳು ಹೇಳಿರುವದನ್ನು ಓದಿ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಪರಮಾಪ್ತ ಸಿ ಎಂ ಇಬ್ರಾಹಿಂ ಅವರು ಇಂದಿರಾ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾಡಿರುವ ಭಾಷಣಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ಗಮನ ಹರಿಸಿ. (ಈಶ್ವರಪ್ಪ ಸಹಾಯ ಮಾಡ ಬಹುದು). ಆಮೇಲೆ ಹೇಳಿ, ನಿಮ್ಮದು ಯಾವ ಸೀಮೆ ಗಾಂಧಿವಾದಾ?

ಮುಕ್ತಾಯ: ಒಂದು ಸಮಾಜ ಅಂದ್ರೆ, ಬೇಕಾದಷ್ಟು ತತ್ತ್ವ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಜನ ಇರುತ್ತಾರೆ. ಎಲ್ಲಾರೂ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮೌಲ್ಯಗಳನ್ನೇ ಇಟ್ಟುಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಸಾಧ್ಯವಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಬ್ಬ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಆಗಿ, ನೀವು ಎಲ್ಲ ತರಹದ ಜನರನ್ನು ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಸಿ. ನೀವು ಕೇವಲ ಕಾಂಗ್ರೆಸ್ ಪಕ್ಷದವರ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಅಲ್ಲ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಪಕ್ಷದ ಬಹು ದೊಡ್ಡ ನಾಯಕ ನೆಹರು ಅವರು ಕೂಡ ತಮ್ಮ ಕೊನೆಗಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ RSS ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಪರಮದ್ವೇಷವನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು, ಅವರನ್ನು ೧೯೬೩ ಗಣತಂತ್ರ ದಿನದ ಪೆರೇಡ್ನಲ್ಲಿ ಭಾಗವಹಿಸುವಂತೆ ಆಮಂತ್ರಣ ನೀಡಿದ್ದರು ಅನ್ನೋದನ್ನ ಮರೆಯಬೇಡಿ!

ಕನಿಷ್ಠ ಪಕ್ಷ ನಿಮ್ಮ ೨೦೧೫ ಗಾಂಧಿ ಜಯಂತಿ ನಡವಳಿಕೆ ಮುಖ್ಯಮಂತ್ರಿ ಹುದ್ದೆಗೆ ಘನತೆ ತರುವಂತೆ ಇರತ್ತೆ ಎಂದು ಹಾರೈಸೋಣ.

Images from: coastaldigest, mangaloremath.wordpress, corruptcongress.wikia and oppanna

Friday, September 19, 2014

You Speak Your Language, I Will Speak Mine - But We Shall Still Communicate!

Let me start with a negative note:
I am fed up of language barrier in India particularly, and in general globally. We humans have divided ourselves into very narrow pockets with linguistic identity. Mother tongue (matru bhasha), National language (rashtra bhasha), state languages (rajya bhasha), official languages (raj bhasha), classical languages (shastriya bhasha), link language, entertainment language, second language, third language, foreign language, invader language, heritage language... etc etc.

Here a chart that I had prepared the last time I got frustrated with language debate. Since then, 2 more classical languages may be coming up - Odia and Malayalam.


What I have learned after decades of seeing language debates and politics... Languages unite in some cases. But in more cases, languages divide us more than they unite. I don't have to give details of how languages have divided millions of Indians today.. how they have made 100s of millions of Indians see other 100s of millions of Indians as "un-Indian". The anger, the snubs, the protests, the beating, the reservations, the school politics, the ganging up, the insults.. it's just ugly in so many cases. In the height of "my language versus your language", many have stopped seeing others as a Bharatiya... or even a human deserving dignity.

The key problem is the unnecessary pride and chest beating.. If you don't learn "my language", you are not equal.. And the natural reaction is that if I abandon "my language" in government and business, it will be lost! And practically it is not possible for a regular person to learn more than 3 languages well - I mean read, write, speak and understand at high school level. With nearly 2 dozen really big languages being spoken by millions of people in each case, India is the land of language conflicts.

Frankly, I am not pro any language strongly.. I am not anti any language strongly. My take is that a language serves a purpose of communicating. Language(s) will help you get diverse information. Each have their own style and strength. They also have weaknesses. I am very proud of mine and you be proud of yours. Personally, I am all for more the merry policy! And that's pretty much it. If you start giving it too much importance and create your whole identity around a language (or opposing some other), it is not the best usage of your time. Languages evolve, borrow words, grow in vocabulary, shrink and die. It's a natural cycle. Some just undergo metamorphosis into one or more daughter languages in the course of time.

But nothing is constant. Kalaya tasmai namah. Everything that's born will die one day.
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And now the positive note:
What if.. we had a system in this 21st century, wherein  
You Speak Your Language, I Will Speak Mine - But We Shall Still Communicate!

Sounds crazy? Sounds impractical? It's not. Let me put in my vision and you tell me if this is possible. If possible, you are by all means free to use this idea and make money in the long  run :)

But I have some ideas.. I am sure you will have lot more. And none of these are not any genius stuff as many would already be in place in advanced pockets of our globe.

1) Let's start with a visit to a tax office, a bank or an insurance office. Take the tax office. You have to deal with a tax form as shown here. You are the "kardaata" or "tax payer" in Guwahati. What if you can't read either of the languages the form is printed in? There are 100s of millions of such Indians who can read and write, but not these two languages at an expertise level to fill in a critical piece of tax information.


No problem..
You take your mobile phone that has a handy scan app built into it, and just scan over that tax form. Or you can use a more elaborate professional handy scan machine.


Voila.. the form is fully scanned and you will see on your device an Asomiya translated version. Better, you will have the ability to key in the Cheque number, type of payment etc. right into the phone. When done, simply press a button to e-print the filled form right there. The office will have it right a the desk.
For those who can afford, it can be in their car. Almost all traffic inspectors in Bengaluru today print their traffic violation payment receipt right on the street using a blackberry phone which can print. 


The job is done. Those printing the challans have no language problem. They can print in one or two languages of their government or institution's interest. Those taking the service don't have to worry about learning the languages. They can fill in any language that they are familiar with. The important thing is for the job to get done well, easily and in an affordable manner.

2) Next - emergency instructions.

You are traveling from Guntur in AP to Mysuru in Karnataka. Almost all literate passengers in this inter state train would know Telugu or Kannada or both. But the night train has emergency instructions only in Hindi and English. Lakhs of people who travel interstate between these destinations would have difficulty reading and comprehending the vital emergency instructions.


Again.. use your phone, even the basic smart phone variety. Click the picture of the instructions. The app will then recognize the language(s) and give you an instant translation in Telugu or Kannada. Problem solved!

Some might say.. what's the big deal in reading these 3 lines? Trust me.. 100s of people died in train emergencies in India each year and even if 2 extra lives are saved crossing the language barrier, that's worth it.

It's not just train. It's for all emergency instructions. Plane, Volvo bus, LPG cylinder, inflammable fluid carriers, hazardous material handling factories, school premise, movie theater.. etc. etc.
When life saving instructions are not in the language you can read, they are NOT life saving! If we can make it truly language independent using sign languages, that's different. But at least here is some way to use the existing system, instead of changing it fully.

3) Moving on - Meeting a stranger for asking directions.

It has happened to almost all of us a few times in life. We ask for directions in a city or village that we are visiting, and invariably the language barrier comes in. In most cases, there's a genuine difficulty. But in some cases involving linguistic animosity, people are rude and won't help you. All of us will know at least 2 incidents in life, where we were shunted out just because we could not speak "their" language. In my view, it's risky to be language illiterate in India, particularly for women.

So here's a simple way out. You meet someone. Put a headphone bud into one ear.

Select the on source and destination language buttons on your phone. Boom... you can have a conversation. Your phone is acting as a real time translator. The other person also does the same. Even if the other person is not equipped with this app, your device will tell you what to tell after translation. Everything happens in real time! No interpreter needed. And adding a couple of simple Namaste, Thanks, Shukriya, Vanakkam will make the other person feel happy and your job will be done really well.

If you take the technology further and use Google Glass, you can do wonderful things without needing much human help. But Indian streets, particularly the non metro downtown areas, are a long way from actually using self-help Google glasses. So you need technology that can be simply used with existing human support that's available.



4) Then - Your PM speaks in Hindi.

Now this is a big issue in some pockets of south India and east India. PM Modi speaks in only in Hindi. Language pride and language hate politics kick in. Learn Hindi...  Don't impose Hindi groups start quarrel. If the PM were to speak in English too, the same things would kick in, but from some pockets in the North or West or center. The point is not language. It's the proficiency we have with it, and the like we have for it. Why not use mine is always the problem!

I can't solve the language problems when we have nearly 24 languages, each spoken by at least a few million people in India. It's next to impossible. For 60+ years people have tried. So what I would try is to let you keep your language and let me keep mine.

With just 20 seconds delay, all websites and TV or radio channels that broadcast PM's speech, can do a voice change-over into destination languages. The technology exists already in Europe which is yet another highly diverse India-like continent.


Europe and UN, with dozens and sometimes 100s of languages are involved, conduct business already without any barrier. We in India are still ages behind quibbling over mundane "you speak in my language" nonsense. In Indian parliament, if you have to ask a question in the 2000 year old INDIAN language Kannada, you will have to take prior permission. Unless you have prior permission, you have no choice but to switch to one of the 2 official languages, which at least 200 MPs from non Hindi regions of India are not proficient in! And they keep quiet and their constituencies suffer because of this language barrier. It's really silly and so non-federal in nature. And the same problem across all legislative assemblies where most Indian languages are shunted out even if there are people in the state speaking those languages.

So what can be done? Let the parliamentarians find their solution. We can focus on the general public watching TV. There are a variety of instant translation mechanism available with human help. All it takes is one person per TV station or one person per group of language channels/sites. Problem solved! No more subtitles issue. No more linguistic protests. It can even be two way in any TV debate. You ask in your language and an instant translation software or human intervention can take the debate to the destination language. You can literally participate in a Bangla debate at 5 PM, a Kannada debate at 7 PM and a  Hindi debate at 9 PM, if you are a channel hopping celebrity.. just kidding :)

If you want the original speaker's language, just select original voice through a remote button. In many cases, the emotion and dialogue delivery in the original language has no substitute in the translation. Additionally, another feature of play original and play translation for each sentence, where needed. This way you will learn some basics of the leader's language too. All these are possible with DVR technology and voice translation technology already. We just need to expand and make them affordable. 

5) Lastly.. you are on the road.

You are vacationing in Pune from Coimbatore but can't understand Marathi..
You are visiting Lucknow from Guwahati, but not proficient in Hindi subtitles.
You are touring Tirupati from Vadodara, and can't read temple displays in Telugu.

You can't read the local news papers.. nor can read street sign boards.. nor can make out the TV scroll. It is practically impossible in India to help all languages at all places.

So..  just point your mobile towards it.


App will get the info, understand the source language, translate it and show you the translation without changing the non-text part. Instantly!

You can use this in movies.. plays.. games.. street.. and even schools and colleges.
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In summary:
  1. No more English panditya needed. Time to take the "elite" advantage away from those who have proficiency in English. They have a distinct advantage in Indian businesses today.
  2. No more fights on Hindi or no Hindi.. Time to take away the "elite" advantage central governments have created for those who speak Hindi, so that they alone can transact in government offices everywhere across India.
  3. No more Tamil pride, Marathi pride etc.. politics. Time to take away regional linguistic chauvinism (sometimes justified, sometimes not) where the anger is against one or two focused linguistic groups.
  4. No more hidden messages in one's language insulting the others. I am sure you all have seen in elevators, taxis, buses, trains, street corners..
  5. No more wasting or ink, paint and time in printing/announcing the same info multiple times. Isn't it irritating to hear the same announcements in 3 or 4 languages at some stations?
Make the world an equal opportunity place for all languages. I have only talked of some basic applications here. There are many advanced ways these can be taken to our education, industry, government, hospitals, temples and beyond. Imagine visiting Gaya and understanding instantly the meaning of those shraddha Sanskrit mantras when attending to the last rites of a dear one? The amount of usage is practically limitless.. all we need is proficiency in ONE Bharatiya language to live happily ever after (I consider English also as a Bharatiya language now).

The best part is that no major investment is needed. With smart phones already with more than 15% of Indians now, it is just a matter of time before 75% will have smart phones. I mean it's possible even before 2020 at the current rate!



So what are you waiting for? Go start a business or create apps to work on these ideas. Be a good Engineer. After all Engineers rule the world :) Be a good linguist to help the engineers. Be a great salesman and use the best finances to get it to all corners of India. Use the technology!

Everyone can understand, read, write and speak all languages. Wah.. now pinch me!!

Pictures used from: Wiki, bemoneyaware, blog.wisefaq, brighthub, pnrstatus.co.in, dailymail.co.uk, marketingmag.com.au, hearbudz, telecomcircle and techmaza.org. All credit to the original rights holders.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dr. Narendra Jadhav Educates On Indian Economy

Today, got a chance to hear the very well informed Dr. Narendra Jadhav. He's an expert on Babasaheb Ambedkar's letters and policies. He's also an expert in Indian economics. He has written 30 books in multiple languages. You can browse more about his illustrious career or visit his website that has plenty of information.


I gathered some very nice points from his talk. They are as follows:

a) Dr. Ambedkar was fluent in Gujarati too, apart from Marathi, Hindi and English. Most people will recognize BR Ambedkar as the constitution formulator and a strong voice against untouchability in India. But very few know that the real forte of this multi faceted man was economics. Dr. Jadhav is a great resource on Dr. Ambedkar and his economics lectures.
b) BR Ambedkar has given a total of 537 speeches in his life in 4 languages. And Dr. Jadhav has compiled all of them in his English series of books. Now planning on releasing a Hindi version by December 6th, after the Marathi versions were done.
c) After independence, PM Nehru announced that India would double it's per capita income every 10 years to double the standard of living levels. But in reality, between 1951 and 1986, India's per capita income grew only at 1.2% (growth 3.3% and population growth 2.1%). At that rate it would have taken 59 years to double India's per capita income. In comparison, China doubled in 10, Korea in 13, Malaysia and Indonesia within 2 decades!
d) LPG stood for Liquified Petroleum Gas till 1991. But soon, PV Narasimha Rao's policies made LPG stand for Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization.
e) India in spite of 16 to 17% of the world's population, only had less than 1% of the world's trade in 1991. So the fear mongering against liberalization was silly. 99.5% of the world's trading economies would not "gang up" to harm an economy that formed just 0.5% of the world's trade.
f) When Deng Xiaoping was asked how come you are liberalizing the economy being a communist, he said, I don't care if the cat is black or white.. as long as it catches mice, I will take it!
g) Post liberalization, Indian economy grew at over 6% between 1992 for over a decade. It peaked at nearly 9% in 2007-08. Without liberalization it would not have grown anywhere near it.
h) Europe is facing severe economic crunch. The larger economies have exploited the smaller ones. PIIGS = Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, are disasters. Now all packages to save them.
g) India is at once in a very long time (centuries may be) kind of Demographic dividend advantage right now. India's average age now is 24. It will be 29 by 2020. By then, China would be 37, USA 38, Western Europe 42 and Japan at a disastrous level of 49. All these regions did very well economically when their demographic dividend was suitable. That means, more hands to work and less dependents to feed. Automatically, the savings would be highest during such situations. India has that opportunity of favourable demographic dividend for the next 15 years. If India messes during these 15 years, this would become Demographic Disaster.
h) The one important factor that Narendra Modi government must focus on during this Demographic Dividend window is the Social Sector - Education, Health and Social Amity. Unless these are taken care of, high growth can not be sustained.
i) In India, the education sector needs to be streamlined in order to realize Modi's dream of better skills for all youth. Right now, the ITI (technical training) is under one department while the general education (non technical, but engineering included) is under another department. This friction between the department of Labour and Department of HRD needs to be resolved.
j) Modi has announced a new department called Ministry for Skills development. This is a great step and a first time ever in India's history. However, this is having a Minister of State leading it, which might make it less efficient when cabinet level Labour and HRD ministries are at friction already.
k) There's a priority Schedule Caste and Tribe funds allocation per department as mandated by government policies. If the state has more SC/ST population than national average of around 18%, they must allocate more by department. But neither the center, nor the states have implemented this till date, in spite of demands for decades. Out of the 68 departments in the prior UPA government, only one had even a line item for SC/ST separate fund account.
j) Regarding black economy, India needs to think of the root causes and solve them. For instance the gold rate differential was 65% more in Mumbai 10 years ago. The 500 gram per head gold import reform of Manmohan Singh made it go to 15% making it unprofitable for smugglers. Similarly, we need strong laws in drugs and other areas to stop the hawala network. Just adding more police will only increase more corruption, and won't solve the problem.
h) Lastly, a very little known fact is that while Ambedkar was the man who initiated skill development in public sector, it was Tagore who initiated the skill development on the private sector via Sri Niketan after his Shanti Niketan project.

A good learning experience, from a very learned man!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Yazidi and Hindu Similarity

Yazidis are in news for a grave situation in northern Iraq. They are being literally exterminated by the Islamic State Jihadis. Only 7,00,000 or so Yazidis remain on the planet today and most of them are in the northern provinces of Iraq near Kurdistan. 1000s have died already this year and their mass killing via siege, starvation and other means is gut wrenching.

The world is watching without doing much to save this extremely rare race. #SaveYazidis cry on the social media is not having much effect as 10s of 1000s of them are on the verge of extinction or capture into slavery by the extreme radicals of ISIS. The situation of women and children starving to death has created an uproar across the world, but not much help is coming forward.


While researching into who these Yazidi people are, I stumbled upon some unmistakable similarity with Hindus of India. Two hours back, I didn't know much, but after putting these side by side, I am almost getting convinced that these Yazidis are a lost tribe linked to ancient Hindus of India. The overlapping features are clearly not some coincidences that you will find among pre-Abrahamic religions of the world.

Yazidis kiss a peacock shaped lamp.
Hindus light a peacock shaped lamp.


 Yazidis temples have pyramid shaped gopura just like Hindu temples.


Yazidis symbol is a wing spread peacock, just like Hindu god Shiva's son, Subrahmanya's mount. The most important point to note is that peacock, the national bird of India, is a native of south and south east Asia or Africa. Not found in the area of Iraq or Syria at all.


Yazidi mural on wall of their holy Lalish temple is unmistakably Hindu. You can see saree, which is an unofficial national dress of India.


Yazidi temple at Lalish has snake symbol at the entrance. You won't find this among other tribes of Arabia or Mesopotamia. For Hindus, Subrahmanya is the other avatara of snakes and worshiped very closely for all snake related pujas like Naga Panchami.


Yellow sun Yazidi symbol 21 rays.
Number 21 is sacred to Hindus (Ganesha). Offerings are in 21 count like Modaka (sweet).


Yazidi marry within their castes like Murids, Sheikhs and Pirs.
Hindus marry within castes.  Yazidis could have something like Gotra system (researching).


Any Hindu with even basic understanding of aarti plate, will see Yazidis as their own.


Yazidis believe in continuous rebirth and reincarnation.
Same as Hindu Punar Janma concept.

Yazidis do not circumcise, a very rare thing in the middle east.
Hindus do not circumcise.

Yazidis pray with folded hands. Hindus pray very similarly to their Gods and Goddesses.
Yazidis pray at sun rise and sun set, just like Hindus. Both face the rising or setting sun when praying to sun.


Yazidis have a symbol similar to Bindi or Tilak during temple prayer, very similar to Hindu forehead custom.


For big celebrations, lighting lamp by females common to both Yazidis and Hindus.


Yazidis men worship Melek Taus by lighting fire in temples.
Hindus' do similar fire based worship to their Gods, with high regard for agni the fire.


As I read and browse, there are more similarities popping up. The trident (Shiva's trishula), the vessels used during worship (kalasha), the sound (something like dhol and shankha), sun worship methods and much more..

I am convinced that they ARE deeply connected to ancient Hindu civilization. Whether through Zoroastrian connection in Persia (today's Iran) or directly via migration, has to be researched. If you find credible sources, please share them in the comments.

And most importantly, please put pressure on the Indian, Iraqi, US, EU and other governments to save them. They have just a few days between life and death, at the current barbarism level of ISIS. Let this very rare and ancient tribe of our earth survive.
 

Pictures used in this blog entry are from these websites. All credits to original copyright holders: 
thehindu.com, www.iisd.ca, china-iraq.org, Wikipedia.com, middle-east-online.com, himavanti.org, alokmu.blogspot.com, metrography, demotix.com, indiandacoit.com, flickr.com, ibtimes.co.uk, mangalorean.com, stuartfreedman, blessingsonthenet.com and vox.com. 

Upakarma: A Harmless Hindu Festival

Yesterday was a day of threads for  Hindus.

It's the Purnima or full moon day in the month of Shravana for most Hindus. Hindus who are keeping the tradition of wearing a sacred thread of commitment (yajnopaveetam), wear a new one on this day. Now a days mostly Brahmins and Vaishyas follow this. The overall number is quite small compared to the total population of Hindus. And Hindus who are keeping the tradition of sisters tying a thread for commitment to the wrist of their brothers (or brother like other men), tie rakhi on this day. Yes, you can call this sacred thread day for these two reasons.

But as you can expect around any Hindu festival, "secularism" creeps in.
Dainik Bhaskar, a big Hindi newspaper started "Main Rakhi nahin baandhungi" campaign. It essentially was for a girl to say "I won't tie rakhi".. unless....

Their theme was to generate "respect for women", but as always, such campaigns are only targeting Hindu festivals. Just a week back imagine if they had started a campaign that "I won't celebrate Eid.. unless...".

Hindus went in full force on the social media against this campaign. Finally Dainik Bhaskar had to suck up and remove this from their website right in time for Rakhi morning.

And then came the day of Upakarma morning. Promptly, another prominent media house's Editor started attacking this Hindu festival on Twitter.
Of course, if you follow the responses, most tried to educate her, and a few tried to dare her attack other religions similarly. Not surprisingly, this Editor of a big Indian news paper started focus on only the favourite points all communists are taught to follow.


Her point 1: Women in Hinduism (particularly Brahmin women) are discriminated and are there only to "assist" a male in Hindu rituals.

Her point 2: Please don't attack Islam or others, irrespective of how discriminatory their practices might be. "Secularism" means, as Editors of big news papers we have guts only to attack Hindus on Hindu festival days. We don't dare to do any such preaching or "conduct discussion" on Islamic or Christian festival days.

Let me focus on the Upakarma part more here as most already convinced the anti Rakhi campaign to end before the festival itself.

First of all, is Hindu Dharma (not a religion per say) anti women?

The reality is that it is not. By and far, Hindu women have been accorded the best status that any religious society offered anywhere in the world. Hindu women have been queens, goddesses, have been revealed sacred verses, have authored plenty of bhakti movement songs/bhajans, have been dancing queens, have enjoyed supreme status when it comes to respect.
  • Hindus (and some non-Hindu Bharatiyas) scream "Bharat Mata ki jai".. Not "Bharat pita ki jai"!
  • Hindus worship Devi Lakshmi for wealth.. the most important aspect for livelihood. 
  • Hindus worship Devi Saraswati for knowledge.. the most important aspect to start any livelihood.
  • Hindus worship Devi Durga for strength.. the most important aspect for any survival or warfare. Female Durga is so powerful that she even steps over the dominant male Shiva's chest at her fiercest moment!
  • Hindus teach their kids "Maatru Devo bhava" before Pitru, Acharya or Atithi..
  • Hindus (yes those "evil" Brahmins in particular) chant Gayatri mantra as the most supreme mantra, dedicated to a female shakti. 
  • Hindus often cite "Janani Janmabhumi cha, swargat api gariyasi" giving mother and mother land the greatest status, even above paradise (if it exists)!
  • Hindus teach at a young age, "yatra naryastu pujyate, ramante tatra devatah", drilling the point that where women are well respected, only there the gods will enjoy (meaning reside). 
  • While almost all religions of the world are for men, by men, to men, Hindu Vedas stand out tall as an exception (yes, the same Vedas chanted by "discriminatory" Brahmins today). Ghosha, Lopamudra, Maitreyi, Gargi and others made women proud by being a part of compilation of sacred Vedas! 
In fact, there are many women poojaris (priests) across India today. They are not in significant numbers, but they exist. I visit a Shani Mahatma temple in south Bengaluru, where the main poojari is a woman in her 50s. Just last year, a famous mainstream temple in Karnataka, the Kudroli Shree Gokarnanatheshwara temple, got two widows as the key poojaris! It didn't last long for other personal reasons from their side, but Hindus by and far welcomed and didn't have any demonstrations against widows becoming main priests of a very famous temple.


I have seen women funeral priests, woman marriage purohit, women conducting yajnas and much more.

So it's silly to come out in public to say that Hinduism is against women. I am focusing beyond the tweets of Malini P, as there are plenty of such women who relish the idea of bashing Hindu men and Hindu ideology itself. I am sure the same "intellectual" women would hide if we start asking to show some women Moulivis or women Bishops in India from other religions.

If you have to sum up in 2 lines, the core essence of Hindu philosophy of an "educated man", this one propagated by Swami Vivekananda, stands out.



It's not that Hindus don't have women beaters, rapists, eve teasers, murderers and much worse. But they are NOT justified by Hindus by any means, quoting some scripture. They in fact many would demand that such men should be punished the same way Rama punished Ravana, or Bhima punished Keechaka.  But hey.. it's possible to convince those with an open mind and not those brainwashed by communist ideology. You can only place the facts on the table and expect them to introspect some day.. yes some day! They live only in the topics such as Sati (which have ceased to exist since centuries), Sabarimala temple (which is one temple, with a unique reason), Sita's agni pariksha and a few other pet topics that they use to beat up Hindus, particularly on their festival days.

Are Hindu women not allowed to wear any sacred thread?

Quick answer is, Hindu women are very much wearing sacred threads. There's no restriction. Keeping in mind practical limitations, they wear different types of threads. Threads over the wrists, around the neck and around the ankle are common ones.

Now the longer answer:

Brahmins, Vaishyas and Kshatriyas mostly follow the sacred thread ceremony (that is worn around the torso from neck to waist). In some cases, many other castes, traditionally considered outside of these three, also follow. In Karnataka, Devanga, Goldsmith and dozens of other castes also follow this. But mostly Brahmins keep the thread throughout the year. The basic essence is that the sacred thread gives the right to perform vedic yajnas and other rituals. (Not merely wearing thread, but also knowing what they are performing). For those who were not doing Yajnas, this was not a part of custom. There were many yesterday who openly were showing their thread on social media. It's only 3 Rupees for a pair of threads, so in no way this is "elite" who prefer not to wear.


The basic idea is that the human body is sacred and the 3 strands represent Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. By wearing the thread, one would remind about the divinity inside himself, and keep the body clean (physically, spiritually and otherwise). A man is expected to change the thread if there is "impurity" such as blood on the body, death in the family and many more. And there's always a yearly ceremony where as a group that community changes thread.



Since 20th century and 21st century customs don't have the main thread for women (they have other threads), a married man also wears his wife's part of the thread over himself. The second thread (with 3 strands) that he wears is for Grihasta ashrama. Every time he prays Gayatri or performs other pooja, the reward is automatically shared with his wife. Those who teach Vedas usually wear more sets, but that's more complicated. Just like festivals where women pray for their husbands, here the man not only conducts yajna (fire sacrifice) for himself and his wife, but also for his entire family and society.

For married women, mangala sutra is the main thread (now in the form of gold thread) in 20th and 21st century. Other threads like those tied on wrists are immensely popular for girls and most wear. For instance, Bheemana Amavasya in Karnataka (south Indian equivalent of Kadva Chauth) sees lakhs of girls wearing thread on their wrists after a vrata.


They are kept and disposed off as sacredly as a man would wear and dispose off old threads. So the contemporary tradition is that mangala sutra is the main thread for a woman, and Yajnopaveetam is the main thread for men. A married man has the second set of strands and a married woman has the mangal sutra. That way, society can identify the wedded aspect easily, in places where threads are made visible.

In some communities like Lingayats in Karnataka, women wear threads across their body (like cross bar) just like men or around the neck. There would be a Shiva Linga tied to the thread.

For Hindus, every thread over the body is sacred. There's nothing like one thread is more sacred than others.

What do Hindu men do in Upakarma? Is this ritual anti women? Is it against "lower" castes? 

That is termed in Sanskrit as Upa Karma (upa meaning near, and karma is duty). It's also known as Avani Attam in Tamil, Janivarada habba in Kannada, Gamha purnima in Odiya and so on. Usually a "dwija" or born again Hindu performs this.

The procedure differs from region to region, and from veda to veda. Here are some steps for the Yajurveda Upakarma.
  1. Ganapati puja praying for obstacle removal. 
  2. Invoking Gayatri for shakti into the sacred thread. 
  3. Worshiping ancient Hindu sages who have guided us with knowledge all along. 
  4. Wearing the thread. One for wife also in case of married men.
  5. Rishi tarpana (offering prayers to the ancient rishis or sages who guided us). Kaanda Rishi tarpana is performed with the help of head priest or Brahma seat occupier.
  6. Deva tarpana (offering prayers to all the gods who protect and guide us).
  7. Pitru tarpana (offering prayers to the ancestors from both father and mother's side who enabled us to be living on this planet today).
  8. Brahmacharis or bachelors perform a special agni karya or fire ritual.
  9. Full fledged fire ritual and fire sacrifice called Upakarma Yajna (no, no blood involved. Not that kind of sacrifice). 
  10. Among many other steps, the key is that prayashchittha (atonement) for all the mistakes and sins our families might have committed during the past year. 
  11. Lastly, there is a long set of mantras or prayers for better rain, peace in the society, guidance to walk in the path of dharma, and much more. 

There is NOTHING in the Upakarma that preaches discrimination towards other castes (not present there) or gender bias. There is no cursing or preaching against "enemies" of a particular ideology. There is no sermon making people fear the "all powerful". There are a series of shanti mantras for betterment of everyone on the planet! There is in fact a particular phase where not just the current family, but also women like matamahi are paid tributes, going 3 generations up to women of the family.

The only catch here is that these fire rituals that involve vedic mantras, must be performed by only those who have been initiated into the rituals. The initiation called Brahma Upadesha is usually a step to make the boy or man aware of why's, what's and when's. Otherwise it won't make sense for the person participating. That's why mostly you will find Brahmin men today performing these on behalf of everyone in the society. If someone who has not been initiated wants to participate, there are 1000s of outlets in temples and mathas, where initiation can be obtained and they can join irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. The best part is, one does not even have to "convert" to Hinduism. Read this to get a glimpse of European and African origin Hindus who follow Hindu rituals. I have personally seen European origin men actively participating in Hindu fire rituals after wearing sacred threads, and even getting married in proper Vedic manner.


All they need is a vow for restrictions on food, and advice on puja and homa that a thread wearing person is expected to follow.

In fact, the most *hated* Hindutva man Veer Savarkar ("seculars" chide him as hindu supremacist), presided over a Yajnopaveetam ceremony for former Hindu untouchables (Dalits) in 1929 at Malwan. This was a historic step in correcting the course of Hinduism which had steered off due to mistakes by some Hindus.


The complete step by step  of what's performed in Upakarma is listed in this PDF.

In summary:
  1. Hinduism has probably bestowed the best status for women among any traditional religions or similar setup. 
  2. There's no restriction for women becoming priests or wearing sacred threads. In fact there are many festivals like Varamahalakshmi, which are specially for Hindu women, involving sacred thread. 
  3. There's no restriction for women to perform Hindu rituals. Many are doing it actively. 
  4. There's nothing against women being performed during the "male festival" Upakarma. Similarly there is nothng against men performed in "female fesivals" like Lakshmi pujas. 
  5. As it is practiced today, Upakarma is essentially for "upper" caste males, but that does not make it against anyone else. Everyone is free to join them during 21st century, if they feel a need to perform Vedic rituals for self and for the society. Hindus have tried their best to remove the historic barriers.
  6. There's absolutely nothing against any caste, religion or "non believers" being said or done during a Hindu festival like Upakarma. 
When will the self-styled "intellectual" Editors wake up to the reality?
And when will they develop "balance" to criticize ALL religions' festivals on the day of those festivals?

Images taken from: Facebook, Twitter, yensures.com, logbookwasilla.com, kheper.net, daijiworld.com, www.dw.de, kgbyoga.wordpress, anandsp1.wordpress and bharathgyanblog.wordpress, resurgencehinduism.blogspot, agniveerfan.wordpress. Thanks!