Finding Vegetarianism in Indian culture

The “Vegetarian” v/s “Non-vegetarian” debate has been on for centuries in India. The debate comes  with mockery, disgust, guilt, doubt and confusion. I happen to be a classic specimen of a confused vegetarian (or not) Indian .

Let me give a little background, I was born and raised in a North Indian Orthodox Hindu (Sanatan Dharma) environment, which in general, prescribes a Vegetarian life as the right way-of-life (Dharma). I accepted this as truth, and remained a strong promoter of vegetarianism for very many years without question. Very few people around me ate meat, which was obviously aDharma (sin).

The first seeds of doubt came during my under-Grad days, where out of my gang of 12 friends, only 2 of us were vegetarian and we were the butt of many jokes due to this. Using quick Math, only 17% of my group of friends was vegetarian, then 83% were serious sinners. Extrapolating the numbers to the world (assuming everyone outside India ate meat), only about 3-5% people on earth seemed to be vegetarian from that angle (there was no Google back then to confirm this). I used to wonder – with so many people eating non-vegetarian food, Hell (Narka) would be very a very busy place.

Well, I had the doubts but I stuck to my strict vegetarian regime. A few years later, I was reading about how all religions tie together and came across a clear reference in the Book of Genesis that eating meat was allowed by God !!! My image of “Dharma” started to shake… Religious differences apart, God is undoubtedly One… How could different people have different Dharma for something as fundamental as food, based on the religion they were born in??? There had to be a prescription that works for all because God created everyone alike. Politicians carved out religions. (We all get to use Azithromicin during strep-throat infections).

When staged with such fear and doubt about one’s belief system,a person has 2 choices:

Continue reading “Finding Vegetarianism in Indian culture”

Open letter to Mr. Vadhera from a well-wisher

Dear Mr. Vadhera,

Since the very day you tied knot into the royal family of India, I have admired the courage, yet have been concerned for about your shortsightedness in the decision of falling in love with Biancaji. I understand Mr. Vadhera, that love is blind and one does not get one’s beloved’s color of blood checked, but your enthusiasm in bringing Indian industry’s standard on top of the world was so much that you may have not noticed that Biancaji belonged to “the” royal family and had very blue blood. At times I wonder, you may have known this all along and your heart just over-powered on your logical part of of the brain.

Mr. Vadhera, you have been anything but an honest businessman contributing to the growth of the country. Your manufacturing and Real Estate businesses are growing above he clouds and the world has its eyes on you to be the next Ambani. But, I’ll tell you a secret today… These opposite party people are jealous of your progress and they are unfairly trying to taint your name with some dirty titles like “corrupt” and “extortionist” and many others I can’t recall at this time. In addition, I must tell you that the people of this country and this evil social media thing is not helping you. I may be alone in this battle, standing by your side, argue with my friends that you are the best possible human being in the world, but what can one voice do Mr. Vadhera? For what it’s worth, people of India didn’t listen to Kejribal ji, how can you expect them to listen to me. Continue reading “Open letter to Mr. Vadhera from a well-wisher”

Let’s define the word “Communal” for Indians

Let’s begin with defining Communal from the Oxford Dictionary

communal – ADJECTIVE Shared by all members of a community; for common use:a communal bathroom and kitchen

Err…. This is not what the news in India makes me believe. I always thought being Communal meant you were a religious  extremist. So, drawing stings out of a hair, by definition if we were to identify communities – there could be different type of communities. Let’s try and explore these different type of communities along with trying to understand their root.

Territorial Communities

  • Tribal people are communal. They do everything for the community
  • Inhabitants of Indus Valley Civilization were communal
  • Connan – the Destroyer might have been doing something for his community
  • Elephants, Jackals, Monkeys, Wolfs and like many other animal, we – Homo Sapiens (a.k.a. Human Beings) live in communities.

Being communal is natural for social animals. That’s where members of the community watch out for each other. They provide food, shelter, security and a common ground for thinking and development. It provides a common ground for building society. A society in which all members are a part of the same community.

In older times, when there was no religion, community was defined by territory. So, wars between tribes to occupy more land could be called communal riots. These tribes, due to communal conflicts started guarding their territories and deployed armies and over the years they became what we now call are countries. Wars between countries, to protect borders, can technically be called communal?

We just established that countries are nothing but Honey-in-blew-up-our-community. I am not undermining the complexities and hierarchy of today’s communities. Country is a community, State/Province is a community under country, District/County is under it, City/Town under it, a division/neighborhood, houses. So, my identity can be drawn down to any level of community I belong to. So, an argument between neighbors on who should get the fence repaired can be communal disagreements?

Faith Based Communities

Back in the day, all members of the tribe had a common object as their God. So, these types of communities did not exist or should I say, they had a 100% overlap. As larger territorial communities started mixing, their set of beliefs and traditions started mixing up. And as a part of building identity within the territorial community, a religious tag got on people making people a part of a matrix of communities. Here, I’ll bring sub-faiths into the mix. So, now you were an Indian Muslim, or a Punjabi Hindu, or a Malyali Christian, or a Mumbai Sikh, or an Atheist, or an Agnostic. Hindus and Muslims fighting over temple/mosque land is definitely communal riots.

Occupational/Caste Communities

I’ll keep going back to territorial communities, because that’s the root of Communal-ism. When the tribes built their territories, the first few occupations probably were Hunters, Guards and home keepers. Leaders in hunting packs may have emerged and then as some equals became more equal, the less equals became servants. Slowly, but surely society emerged, more professions grew and people’s identity was known by their profession or the profession of their father. Some occupations were considered superior than others and people identity got another title in the form of Surname. Commonly called – Caste… So, now people were Traders, Cobblers, Blacksmiths, Kings, et al by birth giving another interesting aspect to one’s identity and sub-dividing community. In the modern world, people don’t usually follow the occupation of their fore-fathers, but it gives them an interesting mix. So, an IT consultant with a last name Blacksmith will fall under 2 groups – Ancestral occupation identifier and current occupation identifier. So, an Architect and Builder arguing over the stability of the front wall of the house is a communal conflict?

Economic Class Communities

Free markets, capitalistic economics, global village, free movement of resources creates another divide in the society – The income inequality gives rise a the Class based communities… this one needs no explanation… Upper Class, U-M, Middle, L-M, Lower, Poor – above poverty line, poor below poverty line. They all have arguments and there is always conflict in interest of different strata of the society.

Racial/National Communities

People move for variety of reasons – in search of food, truth, answers, peace, better life or run away from law or were moved around by colonials. Whatever said and done, they move and they take their physical and behavioral characteristics with them. So, a person’s origin becomes a part of his/her identity and there are communities called out as say Ukrainians in Canada or Nepali’s in India. People from different origins, but similar physical characteristics merge into the indigenous communities usually within 2-3 generations, but people who look different remain a part o a different community forever. So, an Italian in India will be in the Southern European community in India.

Where did India go wrong?

The point of capturing demographics for census world-over for profiling the the ethnic mix (used for variety of reasons – social, product marketing and of course political). Indian politicians have made every possible effort to divide and alienate people falling in every community type in every possible way. For… no guesses here… the vote and the power which comes from it. For this vote, every politician wears a hat when addressing people in the community he’s addressing. A hat that people from that community can identify with. And then the politician talks about the gains to that particular community. So, is it not a communal speech?

  • Rahul Gandhi making a speech to uplift Amethi sounds pretty communal to me. But who cares about him… He’s a moron anyway…
  • Police giving special beating to a goon because he hit a cop, the police might be communal in looking out for the cop community
  • The so-called “secular forces” coming together and waging a media war against NDA, could be communal as these “Secular forces” built a community against Communal BJP and became communal themselves.
  • The army definitely is communal in all shapes and forms. It”s single mission is to protect the borders of the community of India.

I can keep expanding this list for 5 more pages, but I’m sure you got the point that India defined a word incorrectly. India took a perfectly useful word like “Communal” and plagiarized it to mean only religion-based communities. Media and politicians re-defined Communal as the opposite of Secular. The poor word’s feeling trapped in a jail. Let’s try and free this word from the clutched of evil politicians and media. So that I can proudly claim that I am communal and will service any community I can be associated with.

What India needs to do…

Its time to for India to go back on all other types of communal identification except territorial and economic

The political agenda of every party has to be agnostic to religion, race, caste, state or any other ethnic profile. The agenda needs to be trade, infrastructure, jobs, economy, talent retention. The moment a politician goes to a temple and addresses a group of Hindus and says I’ll do this particular thing for your community, the question needs to be how will it help India in the short and long term. When the same politician goes to a mosque and says the same thing, the question needs to be – will your special grant to Muslims reduce unemployment rate in the country. On the point of reservations in educational institutions, the question from Dalits should be why is reservation being given to a Dalit whose household income is more than Rs. 5 lakh a year.

No politician has ever identified with “India” with all population and might and diversity as one single Community. A larger community that encompasses Hindus and Muslims and Dalits and Assamese. Every one who holds an Indian Nationality belongs to the Indian Community and they all walk towards a brighter, developed and and advanced India. Every Indian needs to be Communal and work towards the betterment of his community – the Indian Community. As long as the common goal is to work for our larger community “India”, no one has to be ashamed of his ethnic identity. Politicians, who lure people by making them think that their community is a small division, and not India as a whole should be crucified in the elections.

What Indians need to understand is it is OK to be communal and look out for one’s community. What politicians need to understand is that dividing the country in the name of exploiting communities in ever shape and manner is pulling India down. National policy should needs to be built around national interests, and not religious interests, not caste interests. National policy need to understand the territorial strengths and weaknesses; it needs to understand the economic class gap and work on expanding the middle class and boosting economy.

If we are able to reach there, India will be truly a great nation… where the community is India and communal riots occur only if some other country lays its evil eyes on any part of India.

Alas!!! no one will read this because to bring this change, “Political Will” is required.


10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

As a father of 2 ferocious daughters, cannot agree more…

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Image My children, both on handheld devices, learning and laughing.

Last week the Huffington Post ran this article titled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

As an educator who advocates for the intentional and appropriate use of technology, I could go on about this forever. But instead I’m writing here as a mother.

Here are my 10 reasons why I will continue giving my children handheld devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1) Because banning things never, ever, ever works. 

Remember when your parents wouldn’t let you watch rated R movies so you just went to your friends’ houses to watch them? I think I’d rather have my kids using technology and handheld devices with me beside them. Where I can engage with them, answer questions, and limit content if I have concerns.

2) Problem solving.

When my kids…

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We… The Shameful people of India – part 2

May her soul rest in peace and God give strength to her family. But… this may sound brutal, but she is better-off dead than alive….. for her sake….. and for the sake of the revolution.
  • Had she lived, the Government would have taken the matter to courts and the rape case would’ve gone on for 6 years resulting in max only 7 years imprisonment for a few of 6 goons. Others would’ve spoken got fewer for giving statements to save themselves. Now, they’re all up to 14 years (or maybe death)
  • In every hearing of the case and pre-hearing discussions, she would have had to re-live the rape 100 times only causing her more torture.
  • She could never ever be able to live a normal life or an hour without nightmares.
  • Media would’ve asked her questions which would’ve made her feel that she had rather died.

But, more importantly Continue reading “We… The Shameful people of India – part 2”

We… the shameful people of India

Just read about the gang rape in a bus in Delhi… This is pure evil… I am at a loss of words and my heart is filling up with anger… anger for I don’t know who or what… anger on the society that teaches us from the day of birth that the bloody male child is a superior being or angry with the government which is doing nothing to control female infanticide which proves the point and create an imbalanced sex ratio.

I don’t hold the 6 goons responsible for this because this happens every day 100 times, 100 different places, in bedrooms, in offices, in hotels, in cars, in fucking graveyards… this one sure is getting media attention because of the amount of brutality involved. 
Continue reading “We… the shameful people of India”

Who stole my Turkey!!!

Hype, a couple of parties, a lot of hoo-lalala, and ‘then’ there was the shopping…
Shopping for what I needed and shopping for what I did not need. Shopping for things I would have shopped in summer and shopping for things I would have shopped in 2012. shopping even for things I would have shopped in 2022.
The retailers and manufacturers combined are blackmailing us with prices that we will not get for the rest of the life and forcing us to buy stuff now. So, the question is when I shop Black Friday starting 2 Fridays in advance and run out of all money in banks and credit, where do I buy my Turkey from?

10-point program to a Lazy Weekend

Writing after a long time. I hope this is useful to all guys who are like-minded with me.
This is a guide for the guys who deep down inside their hearts are nothing but lazy couch potatoes, but are forced by the pressures of job, family and society to work hard on weekdays and weekends… Work here, need to necessarily means job, but any work like cleaning up the car, drive to grocery, take kids to a play ground/area, etc, etc..
Now, I understand that not any of the work can be compromised. You are or at least appear to be a responsible employee and a husband and would definitely like to keep it that way. But, would like to have one of the much longed lazy weekends where the bum inside you gets satisfied.
The key to a successful weekend that will satisfy the you inside is in following the 10 points explained below. The essence is to be captured in a typical project cycle

The Honest Thief

Back in 2002, I had come to Panchkula from Mumbai on a vacation right after the close of my MBA semester exams. I was lazing-off in the winter sun wishing why the sun shouldn’t be like this all year and in Mumbai too, when my mom called from inside and asked me to get some grocery from the local market. Cribbing and grumbling about getting up and going out, I wore a jacket, straightened my hair with fingers, took the car keys and drove to the market. After the shopping, as I moved towards the car, I was bumped into by a couple of guys and I was like… watch your step boys and moved on dreaming about lying face down in the sun again in about 5 mins time.

So, in about 5 mins, I was back to my original routine of lazing in the sun, when there was another distraction. The newspaper boy wanted to get paid and I reached for my jacket to fetch my wallet out. Not there. I checked the inside pockets, jammies, boxers, my bed-side, car’s dash-board, under the car seat… nowhere… I went back to the shop to check but no luck and I knew why 2 guys bumped into me out of nowhere. I was robbed!!! Continue reading “The Honest Thief”

The Pseudo Democratic Indian

I’ve been following the US Presidential elections quite closely ever since it was a face-off between Hillary and Obama, through today, when Obama has made history by becoming the first Afro-American President. And I couldn’t help but keep comparing this election to a typical Indian Prime Ministerial Election.

There are striking similarities and differences between the 2 election processes (which are reserved for a different blog) but there are things that strike me which are a doom for India and helps explain why America is a superpower.

Continue reading “The Pseudo Democratic Indian”