The English monthly “National Geographic Journal” is a very significant magazine in improving our knowledge of the world. This is the family magazine of Thomas Graham Bell of Canada, who invented Telephone. This magazine provides visual images in plenty about the unreachable locations of the world. Sir Edmund Hillary has written in the issue of May, in a detailed way his experience of climbing the Mount Everest fifty years back, under the title “Life and Death at the top of Everest”

It is a very interesting article supported by lovely pictures. If a few words and news items extracted from this article, are given to those who failed in a few attempts and consequently developed an attitude that there is no life or future for them henceforth. Such persons will automatically realize the contribution of non-stop efforts, self confidence and hard work in one’s life.

Tenzing Norge and Edmund Hillary created the historical achievement of mounting the Everest on 29-5-1953, at 11.30 a.m. We are celebrating its 50th anniversary. After this, 1200 persons both men and women belonging to 63 nations have achieved this rare feat.

Historians have referred to this achievement and of them Walt Unsworth requires a special mention here. He says, “ Had Mount Everest been climbed at the first attempt, the achievement would have been hailed as notable and then quickly forgotten. It was ironically, repeated failures, which gave the mountain real stature!

It was failure in 1852. 1865, 1911, 1921, 1922, 1924 and 1933. Success was achieved only in 1953. Why do we point out this? If we achieve anything easily, its real value can not be realized. Many will understand the greatness, if it is achieved after many attempts. It not only establishes that, if failure is a continuous experience, one day our effort will succeed, but also that success after many defeats has a very special dimension.

The successes which we achieve through hard work, sweating, tears of blood, various kinds of sad experiences, and groping in darkness after the rays of hope are gone, shall live for ever, as in stone edicts. Therefore do not get frustrated in failures and don’t worry that success does not come to us fast. Hunt for success tirelessly, fearlessly, and without getting disgusted, but continue your journey. Make history believing that you have strong enough shoulders to bear any brunt and make every step firmly. You will then realize that even the mighty mountain will be a mastard, for men of this earth. These are the lessons we learn from the experiences of others.


- Translated by Prof. S.F.N.Chelliah

Book Scan : Ancient yet Modern- Management Concepts in Thirukkural


Secularism in Peril :

India's secular state is in a state of slow-motion collapse - Praveen Swami

In 300CE, the historian and cleric, Eusebius, fearfully recorded the rise of a new “demon-inspired heresy.” “From innumerable long-extinct blasphemous heresies,” he wrote, the new religion's founder “had made a patchwork of them and brought from Persia a deadly poison with which he infected our own world.”

Manichaeism, a new religion which posited an eternal struggle between good and evil, had dramatically expanded across the ancient world. Less than half-a-century after its rise, though, the faith had been all but annihilated. Bahram II massacred its followers in Persia; in 296, the Roman emperor, Diocletian, decreed its leaders “condemned to the fire with their abominable scriptures.” Khagan Boku Tekin, the Uighur king, made Manichaeism the state religion giving it a home – but even this last redoubt collapsed in 840.

Eusebius' own Christian faith, by contrast, flourished after it won imperial patronage: the word of god grows best in fields watered by the state's pelf, and ploughed by the state's swords.

Salman Rushdie's censoring-out from the ongoing literary festival in Jaipur will be remembered as a milestone that marked the slow motion disintegration of India's secular state. Islamist clerics first pressured the state to stop Mr. Rushdie from entering India; on realising he could not stop, he was scared off with a dubious assassination threat. Fear is an effective censor: the writers Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar, who sought to read out passages from The Satanic Verses as a gesture of solidarity, were stopped from doing so by the festival's organisers.

In a 1989 essay, Ahmad Deedat, an influential neo-fundamentalist who starred in the first phases of the anti-Rushdie campaign, hoped the writer would “die a coward's death, a hundred times a day, and eventually when death catches up with him, may he simmer in hell for all eternity.” He thanked Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for his “sagacious” decision to ban The Satanic Verses . Now, another Indian Prime Minister has helped further Mr. Deedat's dream.

The betrayal of secular India in Jaipur, though, is just part of a far wider treason: one that doesn't have to do with Muslim clerics alone, but a state that has turned god into a public-sector undertaking.

Underwriting faith

Few Indians understand the extent to which the state underwrites the practice of their faith. The case of the Maha Kumbh Mela, held every 12 years at Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik, is a case in point. The 2001 Mela in Allahabad, activist John Dayal has noted in a stinging essay, involved state spending of over Rs.1.2 billion – 12,000 taps that supplied 50.4 million litres of drinking water; 450 kilometres of electric lines and 15,000 streetlights; 70,000 toilets; 7,100 sanitation workers, 11 post offices and 3,000 phone lines; 4,000 buses and trains.

That isn't counting the rent that ought to have been paid on the 15,000 hectares of land used for the festival – nor the salaries of the hundreds of government servants administering the Kumbh.

Last year, the Uttar Pradesh police sought a staggering Rs.2.66 billion to pay for the swathe of electronic technologies, helicopters and 30,000 personnel which will be needed to guard the next Mela in 2013. There are no publicly available figures on precisely how much the government will spend on other infrastructure – but it is instructive to note that an encephalitis epidemic that has claimed over 500 children's lives this winter drew a Central aid of just Rs.0.28 billion.

The State's subsidies to the Kumbh Mela, sadly, aren't an exception. Muslims wishing to make the Haj pilgrimage receive state support; so, too, do Sikhs travelling to Gurdwaras of historic importance in Pakistan. Hindus receive identical kinds of largesse, in larger amounts. The state helps underwrite dozens of pilgrimages, from Amarnath to Kailash Mansarovar. Early in the last decade, higher education funds were committed to teaching pseudo-sciences like astrology; in 2001, the Gujarat government even began paying salaries to temple priests.

In 2006, the Delhi government provided a rare official acknowledgment that public funds are routinely spent on promoting god. In a study of its budget expenditure, it said it provided “religious services, i.e. grants for religious purpose including repairs and maintenance of ancient temples, contribution to religious institutions and for memorial of religious leaders like Guru Nanak Birth Anniversary, Dussehra Exhibitions.

The study did not reveal precisely how much had been spent on what kind of religious promotion. It did, however, note that spending on a broad category called “cultural, recreational and religious activities” had increased steadily — from Rs.526.5 million in 2003-2004, to Rs.751 million in 2006-2007. In 2006-2007, these kinds of activities accounted for 0.74% of Delhi's overall budget – ahead of, say, environmental protection (0.17%), mining and manufacturing (0.59%), and civil defence (0.12%).

India's clerics, regardless of their faith, have long been intensely hostile to state regulation of religion -witness the country's failure to rid itself of the faith-based laws that govern our personal lives. In the matter of the perpetuation of their religion, though, the state is a welcome ally.

The contours of the bizarre theocratic dystopia that could replace the secular state are already evident. The state tells us we may not read the Satanic Verses , or Aubrey Menen's irreverent retelling of the Ramayana ; it chooses not to prosecute the vandals who block stores from stocking D.N. Jha's masterful Holy Cow , James Laine's history of Shivaji, or Paul Courtright's explora-tions of oedipal undertones in Hindu mythology.

Regulation on what we eat, drink

It doesn't end there: the state regulates, on god's behalf, what we may eat or drink – witness the proliferation of bans on beef, and proscriptions on alcohol use in so-called holy cities. It ensures children pray in morning assemblies funded by public taxes, provides endowments for denomination schools and funds religious functions. It pays for prayers before state functions, and promotes pseudo-sciences like astrology. And, yes: it censors heretics, like M.F. Husain or Mr. Rushdie.

Even the rule of law has been contracted-out to god's agents. Last week, a self-appointed Sharia court issued orders to expel Christian priests from Jammu and Kashmir; neither the police, the judicial system nor political parties stepped in. In many north Indian States, local caste and religious tyrannies have brutally punished transgressions of religious laws. In 2010, the National Crime Records Bureau data show, a staggering 178 people were killed for practising witchcraft.
For decades now, Indian liberals have shied away from confronting theism, choosing instead to collaborate with the marketing of allegedly tolerant traditions. Back in 2005, the Human Resource Development Ministry set up a committee to consider how state-funded schools could best promote tolerance. Lingadevaru Halemane, a linguist and playwright, made clear the committee was chasing a chimera. “These days,” he argued, “whichever religion dominates in the area, they open the schools.” Local culture, he said bluntly, “will be dominated by the dominant group.”

Spurious secularism

Leaving aside the question of whether India's religious traditions are in fact tolerant — a subject on which the tens of thousands of victims of communal and caste violence might have interesting opinions — this spurious secularism has served in the main to institutionalise and sharpen communal boundaries. It has also allowed clerics to exercise influence over state policy — insulating themselves from a secularising world.

The strange thing is this: India's people, notwithstanding their religiosity, aren't the ones pushing the state to guard god's cause. India's poor send their children to private schools hoping they will learn languages and sciences, not prayer. Indian politics remains focussed on real-world issues: no party campaigns around seeking more funds for mosque domes or temple elephants.

Eight years ago, scholar Meera Nanda argued that “India is a country that most needs a decline in the scope of religion in civil society for it to turn its constitutional promise of secular democracy into a reality.” “But,” she pointed out, “India is a country least hospitable to such a decline”. Dr. Nanda ably demonstrated the real costs of India's failure to secularise: among them, the perpetuation of caste and gender inequities, the stunting of reason and critical facilities needed for economic and social progress; the corrosive growth of religious nationalism.

India cannot undo this harm until god and god's will are ejected from our public life. No sensible person would argue that the school curriculum ought to discourage eight-year-olds from discovering that the tooth fairy does not exist. No sensible person ought argue, similarly, that some purpose is served by buttressing the faith of adults in djinns, immaculate conceptions, or armies of monkeys engineering trans-oceanic bridges. It is legitimate for individuals to believe that cow-urine might cure their cancer -not for the state to subsidise this life-threatening fantasy.

In a 1927 essay, philosopher Bertrand Russell observed that theist arguments boiled down to a single, vain claim: “Look at me: I am such a splendid product that there must be design in the universe.”

The time has come for Indian secular-democrats to assert the case for a better universe: a universe built around citizen-ship and rights, not the pernicious identity politics the state and its holy allies encourage.

India's secular state is in a state of slow-motion collapse. The contours of a new theocratic dystopia are already evident.

- (Courtesy: The Hindu 21-01-2012)

Ariyan Dravidian Divide :

The true face of Aryanism was unmasked

“Who is instigating division among the people of India? Who is breaking the unity and integrity of India? Whether it is you Aryans, wearing the poonool (cotton thread), a symbol of caste disparity created by Manu Sasthra, who are breaking the unity and integrity of India? Or are we breaking it?” thus challenged Dr.K.Veeramani, President of Dravidar Kazhagamd the Aryan Community.

A public meeting was organised and conducted at Periyar Thidal, Chennai in the evening of 8th and 9th January, 2012 condemning and countering the views expressed in a book under the title “Breaking India – Hoax of Dravidians and alien’s intervention” written by Rajiv Malhothra, and translated into Tamil by Aravindan Neelakandan.

The meeting was presided over by Prof.A.Ramasamy, President of Dravidian Historical Research Centre. Dr.N.K.Mangala murugesan, General Secretary of the Centre welcomed the gathering. Kavingar Kali.Poongunran compered the meeting.

In his concluding address, Dr.K.Veeramani countered, criticised and condemned the false claims made in the above book written by Malhothra.

“They were telling all along that the conception of Dravidianism is a hoax. But the Aryanism has reached a stage to be called a hoax. Malhothra says that it was the Christians who created this Aryan-Dravidian divide.Was Manu Dharma Sasthra written after the advent of Europeans in India? No. It was written well ahead some 2500 years back itself. They say that Dravidianism is a hoax. But Dravidasthan was mentioned in the encyclopedia of ‘Abithana Sinthamani’. Mention of Dravidians was also made in Rig Veda. What Golwalkar, their guru or teacher, has written in his book “Bunch of Thoughts” considered as the bible of the R.S.S.movement. He writes: “The four fold division of caste system, in vogue throughout the country, was mentioned in Thirukkural. Valluvar placed the chapter about Heaven as the first chapter. Thirukkural is a Hindu work explaining the best Hindu thoughts in the best Hindu language.” Malhothra also says the same thing, but in a different note. He says, “Thirukkural mentions news about Puranas and other traditional Vedas in many places. The way of Hindu life put forth in Thirukkural should be understood without any doubt.” Who are this Malhothra and Neelakantan? They are the disciples of Golwalkar. They are staunch R.S.S. followers.

Nobody need to teach R.S.S. how to twist matters. Didn’t Murali Manohar Jozhi, while he was the Minister of Human Resource Development in the BJP Government introduce Astrology and Vaasthu as subjects in the Universities? Didn’t a full year was declared as “Sanskrit year” and wasn’t more than one crore of ruppees spent for the celebrations?

Didn’t they convert through computer the symbol of oxen into the symbol of horse and thus claim that the Sindu Valley Culture is Aryan culture and not Dravidian culture?

We must understand that whenever required, they will talk about Aryan-Dravidian divide. Actually these are the people, who are justifying the caste divisions, are also trying to break the unity and integrity of India. Not the Christians, Muslims and other people belonging to the minority commu-nities.

Didn’t Golwalkar justify Varnasrama Dharma and the creation of the caste heirarchy? In a book “History of Tamils” written by P.T.Srinivasa Iyengar, mention was made about Dravidians. When so much was spoken about Aryani-sm, Dravidianism, Manu-dharma etc, Malhothra pretends that it was the Christians and foreigners who have created the myth of Aryan-Dravidian divide.

Dr.K.Veeramani thus exposed the true face of these religious fanatics, caste obsessionists, and tradition mongers tearing away their masks.

Book Scan : Target 3 Billion – By A.P.J.Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh

Target 3 Billion – By A.P.J.Abdul Kalam and Srijan Pal Singh