Showing posts from 2022

Some Thoughts on Delhi's Administrative Chaos

Map of Delhi-NCR (source: NCR Planning Board) The problem of Delhi in Independent India has perhaps been a puzzle since its inception.  Until 1901, Delhi was one of the five administrative units of Punjab province, comprising the five districts of Karnal, Ambala, Rohtak, Hissar and Gurgaon . However, as Delhi became the capital of British India in 1911, these districts were reconfigured and placed under its own local government as a separate province. Later, some areas of Meerut District (Shahdara) of the then United Provinces (today's Uttar Pradesh) was merged into Delhi. Eventually, the British government classified as a Chief Commissioner's Province under the Government of India Act, 1919 and 1935, equivalent to a present-day Union Territory.  Post independence, Delhi was a Category C state at the time of Independence, with Chaudhary Brahm Prakash being its first Chief Minister. A Nairobi returnee, the man had despite being a Congressman faced significant problems with Anand

Shakti's Authority in India - Two Traditions Show a Path of Dialogue

Durga Fighting Mahishasura, Nurpur Shaili ca 1760 (courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum )   Ever so often there is so much noise about the power of the Divine Feminine, the Mother Goddess. Some generated veneration, while others generated debate and controversy. In the midst of all this has been lost the celebration of the Shakti, the Cosmic Force that drives the entire cosmos. That she is the progenitor of everything is perhaps why Shakti was visualised as The Mother, the Jagat Janani, the Jagat Amba among the Hindus. As the great revolutionary and thinker Sri Aurobindo had written in his pamphlet Bhawani Mandir : The Shakti of war, the Shakti of wealth, the Shakti of Science are tenfold more mighty and colossal, a hundredfold more fierce, rapid and busy in their activity, a thousandfold more prolific in resources, weapons and instruments than ever before in recorded history. Everywhere the Mother is at work; from Her mighty and shaping hands enormous forms of Rakshasas, Asuras, Devas

Events Raise the Heckles - The Absence of a Counter Narrative in Punjab

Three disparate events have occurred that seem disconnected on the surface but should worry us all. Arshdeep Singh , the left arm bowler representing India in the Asia Cup cricket tournament, was subject to information and psychological warfare of the worst kind. A vilification campaign was run from across the border, positing him as a Khalistani cricketer. Unfortunately, in the current simmering environment, there were quite a few people who walked right into the trap set. What was absolutely appalling was also the fact that popular reference intermediaries like Wikipedia were caught flashing such narratives.  Questions on accountability apart, the narrative setting effort was considerable, with known anti-India baiters inside India also trying to talk the same language as these elements of anarchy, clearly betraying signs of a well orchestrated intelligence operation. There has been a desperate effort for a while across the section to show all Sikhs as enemies of the state, which is

Remembering Sri Aurobindo's Nationalism in His Words

  Sri Aurobindo at the Bengal National College in 1907 (courtesy Sri Aurobindo Institute ) 15th August is celebrated as India’s Independence Day. It is also the birth date on the Gregorian calendar of one of India’s most celebrated children, a man who left an imprint in the temporal and spiritual worlds in a way few have. That child of Bharat Mata, of Shakti, was Aurobindo Ghosh. Dr. Karan Singh, a scholar on Indian philosophy, had written an interesting book about Aurobindo Ghosh many moons ago, calling him the ‘Prophet’ of Indian Nationalism. The choice of terminology seems rather problematic to this day, but perhaps one can forgive it for the intent it wishes to highlight - that the sleeping spirit of the nation, when it needed a jolt, a thousand watt powerful lightning strike, had the opportune man to do it in the form of Aurobindo Ghosh.  For a man who had grown up in England, Sri Aurobindo’s fierce spirit of nationalism had a remarkable quality to it. While Dr. Karan Singh attrib

The Bhagat Singh Question that Some Don't Want to Address

Courtesy: Indiatimes Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar)’s Simranjit Singh Mann asked for the removal of Bhagat Singh’s portrait from the museum at the Darbar Sahib, calling him a terrorist, and sent shockwaves through the political landscape of Punjab.  However, this is not the first time that he has raised this demand, but the shock value this time is higher given that now he is a Member of Parliament from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat.  Criticism has come from every party, with people asking him to stop insulting the image of Bhagat Singh and his role in the freedom struggle. What is interesting though is the silence of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on the entire matter. The youth wing of Mann’s SAD(A) has actually shared a letter with the SGPC to support their demand. In this letter, Bhagat Singh claimed that he was an atheist. That is definitely true; in fact, one of his most famous essays, “ Why I am an Atheist ” is a major lighthouse for the Marxists of India despit