Of Women in Rajput Society and the Questions of Sati and Mirabai - Thoughts and Experiences

Letter from Mirabai and Tulsidas' Reply (courtesy The recent outrages and controversy over the history of Maharani Padmavati of Mewar and the aptness of her valiant action has created quite a storm. One particular accusation that has been thrown around callously is the position and role of women in Rajput society, one of the most influential castes in Rajasthan, and having significant clout in almost all parts of north and east India in one way or the other barring perhaps Punjab, Bengal, and the Kashmir and Indo-Tibetan regions. The ancestry of Rajputs, mostly from the Gurjara Pratihara times, also has been discussed significantly even recently in the Swarajya article on the Karni Sena too . The article also highlighted caste tensions, more on which will be dwelt in another aspect in this article. Of course, I must qualify that my caste too is Rajput, though not from Rajasthan, but it is my observation that we have broadly the same cultural sensibilities despite

Air Pollution in Delhi - What Can Be Done?

Air Pollution Affects Everyone, and Needs Multi-Dimensional Solutions (image: Indian Express) There is enough discussion already on the politics of tackling the air pollution crisis that has engulfed Delhi-NCR right now. I am not going to dwell on that. What I will instead do is to explain the causes of air pollution in Delhi, and how a graded strategy plan much in line with the GRAP of the Supreme Court appointed EPCA is necessary to understand just what it will take to solve the problem. People may think that it is a problem only for Delhi. However, other cities should also take a leaf and tackle the problem, as in their case numbers are not necessarily under attention. CAUSES Air pollution in Delhi-NCR has always targeted two main culprits - transportation and industry. The role of industrial emissions and transportation has been discussed due to its evident nature for decades now, with the first public interest litigation being filed in this matter way back in the 1980s by th

Hindu Decline, Not Rejuvenation, Lies in Creating a Nation of Minorities

Gudi Pawda Procession (Courtesy: Times of India) R Jagannathan’s take on the idea of dissolving ‘inward looking Hindu varna-jati’ set up in order to create a million minorities for the larger benefit of Hinduism is an idea that seems to be getting traction, especially in the light of decisions pushed under the acutely problematic Right to Education Act. There is this belief that this will enable Hindus to probably survive the onslaught of Abrahamism inspired secular state. However, this argument is problematic at several levels, and often does not seem to take cognizance of history completely, while also suggesting that exploitation of loopholes in the current legal set up will allow Hindus to practice their traditions. However, these assumptions do not hold water when examined against the current set up, which we shall discuss. Overcoming the Caste Barriers - Dharma Has Always Been Fighting the Issue Caste barriers, caste and casteism are three distinct threads that often get co


एक ही बात थी जो तुमसे कहना चाहते थे दिल की हर तह में बस तुम्हें ही रखना चाहते थे मगर ये मुमकिन न कर सके सच्चाई के पत्थर ने ख़्वाहिशों के आईने तोड़े थे उनके बेहिसाब टुकड़े किये थे कामयाबी की उम्मीदों के कुछ बुक्कल भी सिलवाए थे वो वक़्त की उभरी कीलों में उलझ कर सब उधड़ गए थे वो रात के चाँद को देख के कुछ सपनों के फूल महकाए थे बेमौसम हालात की आँधी ने गुलशन ही उखाड़ फेंके थे बस अब मायूँसी रह गयी है हाथ जिसे पूछने कोई न आता है वो ग़म की काली गहरी रात हर पल एहसास कराता है अब कुछ भी नहीं है मेरे हाथ जो था हालात उसे ले गए थे दो वक़्त की साँसे छोड़ पीछे मुझे तनहा छोड़ कहीं खो गए थे

Reforming Temple Administration in India Part III – Judicial Successes of Chidambaram and Kamakhya

In the first two parts of the series, we examined the Akali Movement to understand the key political and legislative lessons that can be explored and incorporated to some extent in administering Hindu temples. However, that is not to say that there are not any ongoing efforts to free as well as reform the administration of key temples. In this part, we shall examine two key judgments in this regard that led to outcomes in favour of the petitioners – the Chidambaram temple case and the Kamakya shrine case. We shall derive the key arguments that caused the Supreme Court to overturn government attempts at taking over the temples, and understand their implications for other bigger temples across the country. We shall also examine why the arguments against this freeing do not have any merit to them, and need to be dismissed altogether as they do not have any credibility to them. The Chidambaram Natarajar Case in Tamil Nadu Chidambaram Natarajar Temple in Tamil Nadu In January 2014,

Reforming Temple Administration in India Part II - Learning from the Management of Sikh Gurdwaras

Gurdwara Sisganj Sahib in Delhi (Courtesy: Wikipedia) In the first part, we had a brief glimpse of the history of the Akali movement to wrest gurdwaras in Punjab out of government control. In this part, we shall have a look at the administrative models arising from the movement, which have seen several amendments over time, but have remain pretty much the same in principle and spirit since 1925. We shall elaborate particularly on two aspects of gurdwara management and administration set up, namely the constitution of the Boards as well as the management of the properties and finances of the gurdwaras. We shall also examine the criticisms obviated by such models, and explore the key takeaways for Hindu religious institutions in order to propose alternatives to the current governance model that we see with temples. The Administrative Models of Gurdwaras in India - Observed Differences There are gurdwaras across all parts of India, and that has meant that the way many of them ru