Monday, August 21, 2017

One Stop Solution to Perceived Love Jehad, Conversions, etc - Marriage under Special Marriage Act

This time around my blog is about a socially important information. The media is full of expressions like Love Jehad, Conversions on the name of Marriage, etc. I am not here to either support or deny those arguments. It is for experts with data to battle it out either way.

Then my readers would think then what am I up to, mentioning these things.

Read on.

When a boy and a Girl fall in love and decide to marry (or decide to marry for any other reason), if they follow the same religion, there is hardly any issue. If both of them are from different religions but they have a good understanding and are not fettered by individual religions, again the life would be problem free.

The problem comes when both belong to different religions and one of them insists to marry under a particular Rite, say Hindu, Muslim or Christian. If a marriage is to be solemnised under the Rite of a particular religion, it is a must for both Bride and groom to be followers of that religion. In the case of Hindu marriage, many Priests overlook this requirement but that is not true for other religions.

Even if the girl or the boy converts, each religion has its personal laws, either codified or by practice. The converted therefore is subjected to those personal laws that he/she has no clue. Take method of divorce in Islam (and I am not discussing its merits/demerits or legality) which is very different. In Roman Catholic Christians, Divorce is nearly impossible and only Church can grant it. Law of Succession also are different.

The biggest question that needs answer is if the love of a boy and a girl belonging to a different religion is true love, where is the need to convert to other's religion. However, a doubt may arise, if one person does not convert to other person's religion and under what Rites they will marry?

The one-stop solution for this issue, in marriages governed by Pure love for each other and not with any other motive, is, such a boy and a girl should marry under Special Marriage Act 1954 which superseded an earlier similar act.

This act is religion-neutral. A girl and a boy belonging to any religion can marry under this act without any reference to the religion or without any need to convert, etc. It is a well-drafted legislation which primarily caters for marriages which can not otherwise be solemnised under any religious rite. Not to say that bride and groom who belong to same religion can not marry under this act. In fact, if I let the readers know its colloquial name, they would find it very familiar, it is conventionally known as registered or Court Marriage.

What are the benefits? The pure love stands out without two religions vying for supremacy. Your religion to you, mine to me. Secondly, all the rights of individuals are clearly laid down and are not infringed upon by any party's religion. This law grants the bride and the groom uniform secular rights and there is enforceability of these rights by Courts which may not happen under other personal Laws.

Without espousing any further on this Law (this job is better done by a lawyer,  I am an Engineer and hence can only profess this much) I can only say, if one is marrying another person belonging to different religion and if that person demands that one converts to this person's religion, one needs to look at the whole affair again. What is the need to do that when other person is expected to accept you on as is where is basis? If their love is pure how does religion comes in?

If conversion becomes pre-condition for marriage, it is my personal opinion that it may not be worth it. A hasty decision and the individual converting would be trapped into personal laws that he / she was not subjected to and about which he / she has no knowledge.

Why would anyone have any objection to marrying his or her love, keeping their religions to where they belong, to each individual, under Special Marriage Act 1954, which is a one stop solution to marrying your love, of life keeping the marriage and married life straight, secular and simple.

The issue is, many young boys and girls are not even aware of the fact that such a option exists. Here is the link to Special Marriage Act 1954 - http://lawmin.nic.in/ld/P-ACT/1954/A1954-43.pdf .

Do read the act and advise others where needed least they get trapped into something they had no idea about.









Friday, August 18, 2017

"Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah" - How to Quote Out of Context and Harm a Nation for Centuries.



The majority community in this Nation is peace loving one. It is so much peace loving that despite numerous attacks they never reacted collectively and rarely repulsed or fought with full force with the attacker. Instead, it just assimilated the attackers within it self. One way it is a great trait but it may also signify that since they did not or could not fight in a united manner,  they just assimilated attackers as a fait accompli.

But then the question that comes to the fore is, it may be good to live peacefully and assimilate the newcomers but why were the attacks not repulsed with full force in the first place? It is hard to believe that with so much of population the counter attacks or the opposition to external attackers (and no religiosity was really involved in external attacks. All attackers actually came for consolidating their power and to destroy known prosperity and loot the wealth of India, religion was merely a fig-leaf to justify their attack) was not what it should have been.

While I am propagating this thought, I am mindful that we had Prithviraj Chouhan, Maharana Pratap, Hemu, etc but most of their resistance crumbled some or the other time (like in the case Prithviraj Chouhan, may be on the 18th time after defeating the attacker 17 times).

Let me get down to the main argument of mine. First damage to majority psyche came from so called
जाति प्रथा (Caste system). According to the Caste system, only the people belonging to warrior clan were entitled to bear arms, protect society from all kind of aggression and were solely responsible for putting up resistance whatsoever.

The balance 3/4 of the people (3 castes out of 4 by Varna division) consisting of Priests, traders and workmen communities were told to concentrate on their profession. This 75 % population was de-franchised from arms and warfare. They never picked up arms, not even as citizen soldiers to join the warfare when the need for all to take up arms and stand up arose.

In a nation fed on basic teaching of Srimad Bhagwat Gita of कर्मण्ये वाधिकारस्ते फलेषु कदाचना कर्मफलेह्तुर भुरमा ते संगोस्त्वकर्मानी॥  , ४७ (meaning - You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Let not the fruits of action be your motive, nor let your attachment be to inaction), the 75 %  population were fed that your karma is practicing your profession, protecting yourself and your nation is not within your Karma. You just do your duty as Priest, Trader or Craftsman. It is for Warrior clan to fight because it is their Karma not yours. 

In turn loot, killing, humiliation and all other attended things became part of nation's Karma, because the nation was let down by 75 % of its population under a misplaced notion that bearing arms is not theirs but someone else's duty (karma). All this was happening when the basic teaching of Srimad Bhagvat gita had ordered that do not fear death as death is merely a change of body by your soul because the Atma (soul) can not be created nor can it be destroyed - नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावकः चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो शोषयति मारुतः .२३ (The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind).

The 75 % of the Indian population (by caste division not by absolute numbers) believed that taking up arm is not their Karma. Even bigger damage to the Indian psyche was done not so much so by Varna system but by numerous well-respected teachers and preacher of various sects who very confidently preached, to the masses, quoting out of context, what was prescribed only for the holy men (including the preachers), “Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah. This injunction was never meant for the common man but the common man was feed that this is your “Param Dharma” (the most sacred duty) overlooking the basic teaching of Srimad Bhagwat Geeta.

Here is the proof of my statement (least I am called Preposterous)  The full text of this shloka from Adi Parva is as under

अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः सर्वप्राणभृतां समृतः
तस्मात पराणभृतः सर्वान हिंस्याथ बराह्मणः कव चित
Meaning - Verily the highest virtue of man is sparing the life of others. Therefore a Brahmana should never take the life of any creature.

As seen from above, if the full text was used, it was very evident that this diktat was meant for only Brahmanas (Which may not be the full truth anyway). That would mean, at least in the context of  Shloka mentioned above, which was and is often half quoted or quoted out of context, the other three Varnas, namely Warriors, Traders and Artisans, that is three out of four Varnik divisions (and not Warriors alone) were free to bear arms to protect themselves and their nation, if only they were fed correct information, there would have been lot many additional warriors to fight the invaders.

Let me now examine if it was an injunction for all Brahmanas (is it appears to be, by verbal translation). Was it true for even Priest class? In Kurukshetra War both Dronachrya and krupacharya, brahmans and married, fought on the side of Kauravas and so was Ashwathma, Dronachrya's  son. In recent times, there were Brahmin Chieftains including 
The Peshwas in the Maratha Kingdom right from Shivaji's days who fought for Maratha Kingdom and spread the Maratha Kingdom far and wide.

Thus It actually applied to Sanyasis (and not to all Brahmans) who have to leave all the worldly things and be kind to all the living being. But if it was an injunction for all Sanyasis, how come Lord Parshuram picked up Arms despite being a sanyasi (under exceptional circumstances). The famous novel Anand Math by Bankam Chandra Chatterjee, which had the patriotic song “Vande – Matram” in it. has a central theme of Sanyasis taking up Arms to fight against a repressive regime. If taking up arms were forbidden for Sanyasis at all times, these examples would not have been there.

As can be seen, there was no absolute compulsion of "Ahimsa Param Dharma" on even Sanyasis, therefore, the Brahmans including Sanyasis were also free to pick up arms when needed. It must be mentioned that in the normal course, it was not expected for brahmans to be armed with anything more than knowledge but remember, that was valid only for normal times, not during exceptions when they could bear arms and use them.

And if bearing arms and using them for just cause was forbidden, why would lord Kirshna tell Arjuna in Kurukhstra war to treat the Mahabharat war as a war for just cause and against injustice hence fighting this war is his dharma, to be performed without attachment (as espoused in various chapters of Srimad Bhagwat Gita), despite knowing fully well that this war was to cause doom in Bharatvarsha. 

I hope I have been able to conclude that there is no religious or Varna restriction on bearing arms on any one belonging to any caste or sub-division in India. Particularly when the need to protect what is sacred to the nation, protecting self, family and society against any aggression, internal or external. Alas, if only this was clearly brought out in our society many centuries ago, our history would have been very different.

When it was the question of the survival of the Nation, Village, Communities or neighbours and own family, picking up Arms and fighting for the Just Cause was a duty for every Indian. It is so even today.

Alas, The population of this nation was quoted an important teaching only partially, out of context by some teachers and leaders who possibly themselves did not go deep in the meaning of the full sholaka (given below) or out of some vested interest-

अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः सर्वप्राणभृतां समृतः
तस्मात पराणभृतः सर्वान हिंस्याथ बराह्मणः कव चित

And the worst is, this misquoting was done for many centuries by some teachers of various sects of those times,  thereby damaging Indian Psyche which paved way for many centuries of attacks by invaders and subjugation of the nation. The people of this nation did not pick up arms even when their families and their own survival was at stake, when their houses were being burnt and women being dishonoured. Why? Only because people thought that they are following the great (conveniently told only partially)dharma - अहिंसा परमॊ धर्मः. What a shame.

I don't claim to know more than great teachers. In fact, I know very little compared to them. I am only trying to tell India and Indians, when it comes to आत्मरक्षा,परीवार  रक्षा or राष्टरक्षा, taking shelter behind Ahimsa is cowardice. All should come out and defend themselves, their families, their neighbours and their nation. For other times, Ahimsa can be followed. 

Time to put things in correct perspective. Even Rigveda commended in verse 1:39-2 “May your weapons be strong to drive away the attackers, may your arms be powerful enough to check the foes, let your army be glorious, not the evil-doer.”

Let us not pretend to be Ahimsak in the face of aggression to hide our weakness but rather do your Karma (duty), of Self Defence and defence of our Kith and Kin. Let the boggy of Ahimsa perpetuated as the "only truth" be forgotten and removed from our collective psyche.

Ahimsa towards those who are weak, defenceless and vulnerable is our duty even without being holy men or Sanyasis, but in all other circumstances, when danger to our life, life of our kith and kins and well being of our nation, “Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah” does not apply to anyone including Sanyasis. for picking up arms in the righteous cause of self-defence.

There never was a religious injunction on the common man irrespective of his Varna, Caste or sub-section but the whole nation was fed wrong information thereby damaging our Psyche and thereby allowing the nation to be subjugated and suffered. If only everyone had fought against invaders, things would have been very different


PS – 1. While many texts on the internet show these two phrases as a full Shlok, “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma, Dharma Himsa Tathavia Cha” I have not found any citation for it. 

2.    Also read : http://patriotsforum.org/अहिंसा-परमो-धर्मा-damage-caused-by-preachings-of-hindu-swamis/

3.    Response of a reader in : http://sellingthesecondamendment.com/hinduism-and-self-defense/

Friday, July 21, 2017

Essential Andaman in 8 night / 9 days - Detailed Travelogue - Day VI

Day VI -

Having arrived yesterday and witnessed the spectacular sunset at Laxmanpur II beach, today we were to cover other attractions of Neil Island.

In  that list first place was Laxmanpur I beach (if it can be called a beach, which it is not) where we were to see Natural Bridge, a rock formation that has become a bridge due to centuries of erosion of rocks under it. here was a catch in this visit. The place can be accessed only during low tide which was around 0930 this day.

This peculiarity gave us adequate time to roam around on the sea front behind our hotel for some time. It also gave us time to have leisurely breakfast. Post breakfast and check out, we headed for Laxmanpur I (and this time I would not call it a beach). After a short travel, we reached the parking space from where it was about half a kilometer walk over the volcanic ground and then ankle deep water (thus a strong and water resistant footwear is necessary for this visit). We took a guide and moved towards the main site (and I would recommend a guide as a must).

We were looking forward to visiting the Natural Bridge. We did not know that even before we see the bridge, we would be privy to a virtual marine park kind f marine life. This became a true bonus.  These shallow ankle deep waters are home to sea anemone, sea cucumbers, star fish, etc. To get a glimpse for yourself, see the photos below.



Sea Cucumber 












Sea anemone 


Star Fish

Afer witnessing the marine life as we walked further,  the natural bridge in its pristine glory was visible. We were about to become shutterbugs when our guide told us to hold on till we go on to other side of the bridge (definitely can not be done once tide starts flooding (increasing)).

Once we crossed over to the other side skirting the bridge (no one is allowed to walk under the bridge and nor any one is allowed to climb over the bridge) we realised how true his statement was. The bridge is even grander viewed from the other side (may be because morning sun rays come from that side). The view was just awesome.

Natural  Bridge



See this is what is called Natural Bridge

Had to Support this Falling Rock


We visited Bharatpur beach next( the whole of Ramayan is present in Neil but surprisingly Ram is missing) which is The Beach in Neil where one can either enjoy the beauty of the place or indulge into taking a dip into the sea or enjoy water sports and if one is very enthusiastic, both can be done, enjoying the beauty and also water based activities. We, however, opted for only viewing the beauty.

Seen Such Colours ever - Bharatpur Beach

Makruuz Liner

Boats to take people for Seaborne Activities

There are a large number of shops here who are selling sea shells, Shankhs, a variety of T - Shirts, tea, coconut water, etc. It is where I picked up a Shankh and learned to blow it. Having managed to blow this smaller one, I bought another bigger one which was even easier to blow.

After spending adequate time at Bharatpur beach we headed to Sitapur beach. It is a horse shoe shaped  beach (well, almost there type, not truly horse shoe shape) with tree lined smaller mountains on both ends. This beach is also not safe for swimming. This is where we photographed the beach (nothing new about it) and had our Titanic moments with romantic photography (that was after a long time).
Sita Pur Beach

Sun and Sand

One more View


It was time to catch our Makruzz Ferry (which was on Jetty for some ime as it has over one hour layoff at Neil). After a jurney of over one and half hour we were back to Port Blair.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Majestic Tigers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh - Day III - Appointment with Tiger(s)

Day 3 - Final day - 01 June 2017
.
This was our day of taking a morning safari trip to best of 3 regions of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, the Tala region. The anticipation was written large on our faces (obviously of sightseeing Tigers) when we got up at 0420 to board safari gypsy which was to come at 0500 hrs.

Early Morning at Mogali Resort

Mogali's Jungle

The resort had provided us a cup of tea at 0445 as committed to us the previous day. As we had our tea the gypsy was there, dot on time. Since we were already ready with our cameras and binoculars, we boarded the vehicle and started for Tala gate.

Waiting in Anticipation  Tala gate

After verification of identity (by examination of Aadhar card) we waited for the gate to open. Gate opened at 0600 and we were in to a lush green beautiful forest bathing in soft morning Sundays and morning light chill. Chirping of birds all over the forest was a bonus.

Where are the Fish

What Colours?

Perfect Stillness

Two are a company

Keeping an Eye

Snow Capped Mountains at Tala? Just some clouds
As the vehicle progressed the lush green landscape gave way to hilly terrain and back to lush green plains. There was lot of bird activity but being early morning and lush green trees with thick canopy reduced the chance of sighting them.

I am Around - A Pug Mark


I am so Happy

How do I Look
In the mean time the driver got news of Tiger cub sighting at some place. Our gypsies immediately changed directions towards that area. Going there, it was a “wait n watch” time for us. There was a trainee elephant tracking that cub and we were tracking the elephant.

During waiting for the Cub we also found a Hornbill (hope I identified it correctly) sitting atop a leaf less tree. That got photographed to best of our ability in wildlife photography.


Under trainee Elephant




An Eagle

Meditation

Should I fly away

Still Thinking

Horn Bill




Run, they are coming

Hush, Finally crossed safely



After a prolonged wait some of us saw motion of that cub at a long distance but that was all we could see. This was supposed to be a cub from a group of 3 young cubs of 12 month age and tigress mom.

Getting tired of the wait we decided to go to “central point”, a real central point to all four routes (each safari vehicle is allotted a specific route in the forest out of four routes, A, B, C and D). Another important point is, this is the only place where one can get down from the safari vehicle, go to toilet (both ladies and gents toilets are available) and have a cup of tea or have some thing to eat.

Don't have Any Doubts
Even before we are done with our cup of tea our driver got to know of sighting of another group of a tigress and her three cubs (about two years old but still dependent on their mom) in a place called Andhiyari Ziriya (a spring of that name). Some photos taken enroute are posted below.

View from the Center Point




A Beauty - Name unknown to me

That made us gulp our time and quickly mount the vehicle and rush. The driver and guide got busy looking for tigers. The warning calls of the monkeys were getting louder. After some time they sighted another elephant with some people on the back (how does one get this elephant ride at Bandhavgarh is a mystery to me despite many inquiries). And as they watched the elephant (who was possibly tracking the tiger) a tiger was also noticed moving towards the road where our Gypsies were standing.

Arrived

Her Majesty 

Magnificent 

Wow


What a view that was. The majestic Tiger (actually a tigress as we were to realize later) kept walking in proud steps and nonchalantly crossed the road right next to our vehicles and soon vanished in the jungle.

Our guide was very experienced one (as stated by our driver) who soon realised that this tiger will have to reappear around Andhiyari Ziria area. He guided the driver to that area.

At Andhiyari Ziria we were not alone. There were about six to seven gypsies who arrived almost with us (and we were told some impatient visitors saw the single cub and left the forest to return to their hotels, just few gypsies was a possible confirmation). Then the wait started.

The Omni present big elephant was seen in the area (how easy it was to sight Tigers atop an elephant, I wish I had one) but the wait was still on. We were rewarded for the wait. There was a tiger (rather tigress) walking through the Nullah that flew from the mountain to plain and passed through this point. The tigress was moving from downstream to upstream towards mountains taking her time and resting in the Nullah water to cool herself. We waited with breath held for her to progress towards us and then on to hills.

  
Here comes the  Queen of the Jungle

Walking on


Waiting for Some One?
We did not know then what lucky we had turned out to be until we saw another tiger (her cub number 1) following her. Then came the second cub and the third. We could not believe that we are seeing not one, not two but four Tigers walking in the Nullah as if attending a parade walking one after the other in a straight line.
Bonus Three


Wait, Where are you going?



Perfect Synch

Where is our Mom

What a magnificent sight it was. They paused in the Nullah for a while, rested on the ground for a while and continuing their journey towards the hills in a seniority order with their mom in the lead.

Let me Sit and Think


Its Too Hot in Tala


Slowly, steadily and majestically they walked over the ground parallel to Nullah (as our gypsies were on the bridge on the Nullah) to there destination, each one crossing the road behind our vehicle. A sight to behold and cherish for days to come. In all the sighing was for about 30 minutes of visual treat.

Leading the Pack


Time to March


Boys, Lets Go


Let Me follow my Mom


Tired of Bathing 

Commanding Steps


I don't bother about you all


Marcthing on to My Den

Bidding good bye to the tigress and her 3 cubs we reluctantly turned our vehicle out of that area. It was already about 1000 hrs. Crossing the territory of the forest, watching few more birds, spotted deers, Sambhar, Monkeys and wild boar we returned to the main gate at about 1045. It was a very enjoyable trip to Tala range of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve with a absolutely huge bonus of sighting four grand Royal Bengal Tigers.

It was then a return to Mogali Jungle Resort, lunch and the return trip to Jabalpur. This trip took us four hours including a stop over.

In the end of this narrative which I enjoyed putting together I can only say “guys and girls, just come out of your comfort zone and go and meet the Kings (and Queens) of the Jungle at Bandhavgarh. Only advice is, get online safari booking at forest@mponline and then tailor your plan of travel accordingly. Else you will have to endure a few hour's hardship पर safari for current booking as I did endure.


Lastly, there was a board at the exit of the range which said’ “Perhaps you may noy have seen me but please don't be disappointed, I have seen you” (see photo below). There lies the key to happiness when one visits the tiger reserve at Bandhavgarh or elsewhere. Happy Safaris.

PS - Some answers to questions one would like to ask.

Best time to visit a Tiger Reserve - from April to Start of the Monsoon when water shortage in the deep forest brings out all animals into open at few water points in the forest.

Among Pench, Kamha and bandhavgarh (My ratings)

Beauty  in descending order - Kanhs, Bandhavgarh, Pench
Chance of Tiger sighting  in Descending Order - Bandhavgarh (highest per capita tigers by area), Pench, Kanha (Ever green forest)