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How the BJP could have handled the Taj

List of Mosques built in India on razing ancient Hindu temples:

https://vhsindia.org/list-of-mosques-in-various-states-which-were-built-after-demolishing-hindu-temples/

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There is no doubt that the Taj Mahal is a misrepresentation of India. For India has gone through a traumatic genocide over centuries ( lasting 800 years) at the hands of Islamic invaders, from Arabs to Persians and Turks to Afghans. However the world hardly has an idea.

Not only the outsiders, even fellow Indians lack awareness about the terror, the muslim reign of India that resulted in devastation of a million temples, loot of Hindu wealth, massacres and mutilations beyond imagination and rape and misrule besides imposition of taxes and forced conversions of native Hindus by the sword, by the Moghuls. This is because the Indian history textbooks from the Jawarlalal Nehru era were drafted by leftist thinkers, and the first prime minister of India leaned heavily to the left even if he proclaimed the so-called Non-Alignment by principle which he did not adhere to. The text books therefore glorified the Moghul rulers as well as the Slave dynasty etc that ran a blood bath of Hindus when they reigned at the Delhi throne until finally the British arrived. In a shocking reversal of facts, the Indian text books also have always underplayed the Hindu-Buddhist emperors whose kingdoms extended as far as Afghanistan and Persia from before the founding of Islam in the 7th century CE. Notable exceptionss lacking elaborations are King Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya and even Maratha warrior king Shivaji whose heroic tales were made to look pale in front of ruthless foreign invaders like Ghori, Ghazni, Alauddin Khilji and Babur who were acclaimed to be and celebrated as national heroes. Tipu Sultan the Hindu killer has even been accorded an official holiday in the state of Karnataka during a Congress term, whereas the south Indian Hindu empires and dynasties that lasted for millennia such as the Chera-Chola-Pandya-Pallavas and the Vijayanagara of Krishna Deva Raya, the Chalukyas, the Pulikesis etc., were brushed under the carpet. None of the newspapers that champion the Taj today like the Hindu have ever come out with an honest perspective on this.

The Congress government that held the reins of power and governance in India for an overwhelming 60+ years at a stretch, never once tried to restore the lost Hindu pride or even do justice to the Hindu kings who fought bravely against these foreign invaders. There were significant omissions of their glorious eras when science, art and literature prospered and not stamped upon like by the Moghuls. The Moghuls were good at only one thing: Urdu/Persian poetry that helped their religion and razing of Hindu temples over which exactly they built their macabre mausoleums. Now these standing landmarks are all we have of the Moghul legacy. Other than Mutton Biryani.

Once I was watching a BBC tv show in which the callous journalist was standing within a south Indian temple precincts and reporting into the mike, that we Hindus had never had knowledge of symmetry! Oh gosh, then I realized something was seriously wrong with these Brits! He went on to add that the moslem invaders taught us Indians symmetry. That BBC could air such a shallow work and analysis is a proof as to how biased the devious mind of the west may work. Mind you, this was before the fall of the New York twin towers. Since then, equations have changed.

Just because we Hindus did not patent trigonometry or calculus or plastic surgery or even the invention of zero as we have not patented even Yoga and Ayurveda for that matter until now, it does not mean all this were invented by the Europeans. Tamil Nadu, my homestate, holds good until today probably the first ever dam – reservoir over Cauvery river built by Karikal Chola, a Tamil Hindu emperor, in the 3rd century BCE. Engineering and science were advanced in ancient India until the moslem conquerers destroyed it all. It is a tragedy that Nehru thought of going to the US and USSR to learn about building a dam – the man who wrote the ‘Discovery of India’ did not know the basic fact that we had it all but lost it somehow.

The British could not even handle the Kailasa temple of Ellora that they dubbed as ‘alien construction.’ They obviously forgot the fact that during the golden reign of Hindu kings when science and maths flourished in India as we produced the universe’s first astronaut and astronomer and even knew the distance of light from sun to Earth, and by the time the Egyptians were building their pyramids, these Europeans were still leaping from tree to tree, untouched by civilization. So anything superior to them, they undermined very cleverly. Ignorance is bliss.

This is how the British pampered the Taj Mahal whereas they studiously and calculatedly neglected the thousands of years old Hindu monuments and temples. One other reason was, up until then at least, the British closely identified themselves with the moslems as they both descended from the same Abrahamic roots whereas Hindus and Buddhists were a different and puzzling entity to them.

Pics : Madhu Jagadhish, the sculpture enthusiast (without his permission lol) and Google Images. Please follow Madhu Jagadhish on Facebook for more on ancient Hindu architecture and culture. Easily every single temple here is at least 1000 to 1500 to 2000 years old. Solid granite carvings mostly out of single rock.

This is just a sample of ancient Hindu engineering and architecture from millennia before, standing good until today.  Like this is some 0.0001% of what still survives in India after 2000 years plus, what the Islamic invaders of India COULD NOT ravage (although try they did). Have you seen these pictures representing the Hindu majority India in our travel/tourist brochures? Or at least in our school text books? Have you seen these true representations of Indian culture presented to Europeans or Americans or even other Asians?

TAJ MAHAL RESPRESENTING INDIA IS LIKE HITLER REPRESENTING JEWS OF GERMANY

Why blame only the British? After all, they left us over 70 years before. We have had a long, long time to rectify the image that represents to most of us HINDU GENOCIDE.

Even the Taj Mahal is supposed to be a demolished and reconstructed Hindu temple originally named the Tejo Mahalaya. Because, only a Hindu building is ever called a ‘mahal’ never a muslim monument. The corridors in the Taj complex are from the Vedic age. Rooms are sealed off in Taj which allegedly contain proof to establish the Taj as originally a Hindu shrine. Govt of India is averse to reopening them – to them it is like opening the Pandora’s Box. The communal harmony of the nation is deemed more important.

What the BJP government could have done or do even now is, slowly remove Taj Mahal from representing India anywhere and everywhere. You need not have to advertise it. Replace it with Hindu-Jain temple or architecture images.

The Taj Mahal makes some foreigners wonder whether India is an Islamic country. I shudder at the very thought. If not for the OM mantra and the Vedas and the Bhagwat Gita and the Yoga and the Meditation, India would come across only as an Islamic nation in the eyes of an outsider.

It is time we put an end to this and let us do it in a mature way. Indian government spends hardly a fraction for the upkeep of finer Hindu architecture and monuments compared to what it expends on the Taj. Let that change from now on.

Erase the Taj slowly but steadily and then finally completely from the world memory and Indian psyche. Replace them with the Meenakshi temple of Madurai, the Rameshwaram temple, the Kailasa, the Lepaksi, the Hampi.

This is how seasoned political parties address such sensitive issues. We Hindu Indians owe none an apology or explanation. No misgivings like Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adithyanath trying to justify Taj attributing it to the sweat and blood of Indians. Thankless characters like Owaisi must be our least concern.

Yes, one day I may visit the Taj, not because I have ever liked it, but because I want to sense the Tejo Shivalaya, the great marble temple it was once dedicated to Lord Shiva, the One Supreme. Prosperous kingdoms in northern India raised Hindu temples in marble in those ages as can be witnessed even today in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

If you do not believe in the Hindu past of the Taj, then it is for those like you that the Allah spared Kasab in the ghastly islamic terror attack of Mumbai 26/11. Otherwise the CNN to BBC, to Pakistan to our own sold-out Indian media including NDTV with its pseudo intellectuals-intelligensia-journalists like Rajdeep Sardesai to his dharm patni Sagarika Ghose to Barkha Slutt would be terming the heinous terrorist act on the sovereignty of India as the work of RSS.

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You Could Be Mistaken For Leftist If You Speak Truth In India Today

The leftists are not on the wrong side always and the right wing need not have to be always right.

Think of last year’s closing down of Delhi schools for days endless as the CO2 level there breached the danger mark. Pollution is a big issue not only in our capital city but through out India.  The Supreme Court of India has by decree banned the fire cracker bursting in the metro therefore this Diwali season. Which has got the right wing up in its arms.

I have a personal case to report. I was in India until last week. The Diwali mood has already kicked in. Boys in my street were throwing lit fire crackers into our house/apartment compound. At least five cars are parked here and 3 to 4 motorbikes anytime. The watchman is an old man who does not have the energy to run behind these lads. I caught a boy red-handed flinging a lit sparkler near our car. With a mild reproach I left him, because if I annoy him I know, more will be coming. I have boys flinging sparklers right to my upper floor balcony. I have piped gas line for kitchen. So before leaving India, I disconnected both my LPG refills and moved them far into the living, away from the balcony, fearing the boys. It is a nuisance I am facing every year, apart from the cloud of smoke ensuing from fire crackers.

We also do burst fire crackers, we light up rockets undoubtedly. But we have reduced it all to minimum over years. No more is it like in the 1970s and 80s. Out of concern for old people, infants and the infirm, I have willingly restricted my Diwali celebrations that has got nothing to do with the leftist propaganda or Muslim or Christian judges allegedly trying to erase Hindu Dharma from the face of earth in a calculated manner.

Of late, I am getting severely allergic to fire crackers. My street in Chennai has about a dozen stray dogs and cats roaming all 24 hours. For a week before and after Diwali, they vanish into thin smoke. My heart goes out to them. We need not have to repeat our elders’ mistake. Diwali can still be celebrated with fanfare without fire crackers as we have managed to do during our days in Malaysia before moving to Middle East.

Everything need not have to be a conspiracy to bring down Hindus!

Thinking of Delhi, I cannot help wonder about Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s stolen car. I may or may not support him but I respect him much more than I can ever respect our Prime Minister Modi. The difference between the two is like the difference between Obama and Trump in the US. One is decent and dignified while the other is loud, pompous, cheap and brash. No prizes for guessing whose handiwork the car theft must be.  Who will dare to touch the CM’s car other than someone more powerful than him? Kejriwal must have made an error of judgement entering dirty politics.  It is not for family men. As for those who post jokes in social media on the car theft, I have one word ‘sadists.’

India is a country where the community that decries reservation the most cannot give up its 100% reservation when it comes to our ancient temples governed by Agama vidhi. We would rather let the Germans and Americans study and research our Vedas than share the knowledge and wisdom with our own people. The side-effects are those like Mayawati and Thirumavalavan and who do we have to blame now. But a glimpse into the non-Agama temples will reveal to you the ultimate truth: that how the crude and raw spirituality of masses is rather pure and far superior to that you may find in the Agamic temples, with no Vedic chanting or even proper bhajans. In its simplest element, folk Hindu Dharma which you may find as with ‘ Arasa Marathadi Pillaiyar’ to Mariamma temples can touch your soul.  There is even a Bodyguard Muneeshwara temple in Chennai where new vehicles are first offered their puja. What about our Kula Deivams? Aren’t these family deities mostly situated under Banyan trees or in Paddy fields? In villages in Thamizh Naad who rules is Karuppannasamy if not Aiyanar. The female deities are Pachaiamma and so on. Is n’t this also a way of worship in Hinduism? What are the offerings given to rural deities? Mostly meat. If only the Vedas and Vishnu Sahasranama could be your passport to Moksha or so you think, then I can feel nothing but sympathy for these people and India. As far as bhakthi is concerned, it is of zero consequence whether you can recite the Vedas or the Upanishads.  Rama did  not hesitate to taste the bitten fruits of Sabari. To me, Scriptures are merely an added advantage, nothing more.  If anything they should help you expand your vision, not get narrow-minded and headstrong. My housemaid who is a worshiper of Ma Durga for very many years who offers meat to Mother Goddess in the month of Aadi, knows neither the Bhishma nor the Vidhura.  Blank on Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Zero knowledge on Kashi-Rameshwaram. Yet not a single tuesday Rahu Kaal Puja she has missed in over 10 years. I wonder how many of us who profess profound knowledge on Hindu religion can match her piety and spirituality or even sense of commitment.  Well, my maid is still a Hindu, and could be a better Hindu than all of us who knows.  The very denial of some people of the rural practices and underestimation of others’ religiosity or spirituality spells clear only one thing: sheer ignorance. If this is how certain sects who think they are superior to others merely by virtue of birth interpret Hinduism, then it is their problem, not others.

Twenty years back there was no Ganesh Visarjan processions in Chennai. It’s an entirely recent phenomenon that needs to be checked and banned. I am a Hindu and why should my faith be suspect only because I think rational? I don’t want road blocks, I don’t want any more harmful chemicals and varnishes from killing my ocean fish, as simple as that. I want to go back to the days of peaceful observance of Ganesh Chaturthi where we all performed the Ganesh Visarjan individually in the sea as and whenever we found time. Mumbai’s own practice of mass and public Ganesh Visarjan started during the British days. It gave the freedom fighters a reason to defy the British and gather crowds for protests. Now it has grown to mammoth proportions. Any restrictions will attract the wrath of the majority. Who will bell the cat.

The day of the Visarjan in Chennai, the traffic is closed on arterial roads and security is beefed up. Then what about cases of emergencies? That one day, we have to remain within home avoiding the city roads. Is this what you call Bhakthi? Shame.

Religion IS the last refuge of a scoundrel. No two opinions on that. Whoever uses faith to his/her political/economic/social advantage cannot be trustworthy. One day their true persona will come out.

A thousand lies cannot hide a single truth for long.

Finally, I will round up the post with this: Ganesh Visarjans are happening more now and Pandals are getting bigger because more people are getting/being unemployed in India with each progressive year. What to do, but the population has to engage itself somehow. There are 2-3 avenues open for the masses for that: Bollywood/Regional films, Liquor shop – the convenient TASMAC in Tamil Nadu, then one festivity or another. Invite controversies, blow petty things out of proportions, distract the frustrated Indians – there you go: no more national issues, no more GST/Demonetization doubts, no more growth rate debates.

Alright, celebrate Diwali folks as per your wish. Our beloved Prime Minister Modi from Gujarat that’s making a hideous statue for Patel right in China, will be glad to supply you all with Chinese  fire crackers. As much toxic as it can get. Pollute the Yamuna like Shri Shri, cut through the elephant corridors like Sadhguru, destroy wetlands and forests and contaminate Ayurvedic preparations with chemicals for the market like Baba Ramdev, who is there to stop you. All you have to say is ‘Ram Ram’ all the way.

 

 

 

 

Religious Or Spiritual ?

This was my fifth time in Kerala and never have I left Kerala without a darshan in their ancient temples some of which may date back by millennium.

My Nair friend always would caution me thus, ‘do not touch the Namboodhiri’s hands!!! if you do, you will have to bear the Punyajanam expenses for cleansing the temple!!!’ So I am always on the alert you see, although I could never figure out why I would want to touch the Namboodhiri’s hands!!! Yeah, my friend meant accidental brushing I knew.

This month also I rounded off my all-girl trip to Kerala with a visit to Shri Vadakkunathan temple in Thrissur. Now this is an old video. Ever since the temple got listed as World Heritage site, it is maintained even more immaculately believe me. I could spot the difference. The last time I was there was in 2013. In a span of 4 years, the temple has undergone excellent renovation and beautification like laying of lawns etc., that have added to the splendorous glory of this magnificent Shiva temple of over an acre which was left untouched by Tipu Sultan who demolished every other Hindu temple in the vicinity during his terror reign.

The four preceding days in Kerala, I was angry spectator to Jayasthambams and Kodimarams, Hindu symbols installed in their Catholic churches. The daring and cunning attempt by the converted christians hijacking everything Hindu and passing it off as their own frustrated me and my friends. So far we have read of this stuff in papers and online. But coming face to face with such an ugly reality could make your blood boil. I wonder why none has filed a suit in the Supreme court of India to uninstall these Jayasthambams from churches across India and to demolish churches styled like Hindu temples to lure converts, especially the blue collar population who are not good with letters. Even the RSS cannot gather enough muscle to gang up against the Vatican perhaps?

The day I visited Vadakkunathan temple, I had an oil head bath. Since I have mild sinus which was building up into one big head ache for almost a fortnight with daily head baths, within minutes, my face bloated that morning with the collected fluid and I wasn’t quite keeping well. Yet I pushed myself the extra mile because I did not want to leave Kerala without a darshan of the Lord and His Missus. I could picture Adi Shankara in the temple precincts, I thought of a 1000 year faithfuls thronging the temple that lent it its aura which made it impossible for me to miss the temple.

As usual when we started as a group, my Nair friend, a native of Thrissur, warned us about the sanctity of the Namboodhiris. The way she sounded was like, we girls were about to pull the hands of the first Namboodhiri we set our sights upon!

So we entered the temple precincts and started following a fixed path as traced by my friend. I wanted to deviate a bit as my friend told me that the temple’s inner sanctum sanctorum would remain closed from 9.00 to 9.45 am when the Naivedya would be offered to Lord Shri Vadakkunatha (Shiva). I wanted to move quick because we had limited time at our disposal. But my Kerala friend would have none of it. She said, the order of things had to be followed! I did not want to start an argument with her right within the temple so reluctantly followed her in the designated path.

Normally I do follow such an elaborate ‘pradakshina’ in temples but when I am pressed for time like during tours, I change or cut short the prescribed ritualistic round-up. I straight away head to the Moolavar Sannidhanam (the chapel of the main deity) within temples as I have been doing for every single visit of mine to Arunachaleshwara temple in Tiruvannamalai. This is like our annual pilgrimage and usually we start for the temple by 6 am and return by evening the same day. Tiruvannamalai lies 200 km to the south of Chennai and is at least 100 acres vast. Every Sannidhanam (chapel) within the temple by itself is huge. The temple could be at least 1500 years old.

Walking through the temple in the prescribed Pradakshina route, I and my friends were mesmerised by the sheer beauty and grandeur of the temple which was spotless. Hats off to Namboodhiris for maintaining it spic and span.

But I still had a small distraction by way of mild head ache. My face had bloated maximum by this time. The sun was out by morning 8 am sharp and within minutes I was soaking in sweat, totally tanned. The roughly hewn cobbled and unpolished granite of the temple left untouched over centuries was hurting my feet unclad of chappals but I bore it willingly. A small price to pay for a darshan of my Father and Mother.

In one small Sannidhanam that I don’t want to name was this Namboodhiri. Before we reached this point, we stopped at a few more Sannidhanams where Namboodhiris gave us ‘Prasad’ – dropping it into our extended hands from at least a foot height. We understood the reason. Unlike Tamil priests, the Namboodhiris were NOT chatty. They maintained a stoic silence and a neutral expression that gave away nothing. Their religiosity made me shiver really. My friend need not have warned us girls. Goes without saying how you have to conduct yourself before a Namboodhiri.

My friends dropped cash in the Aarthi copper plates before getting the Prasads. I did not. I normally give my offerings in temple Hundis. Never to individuals. Whether it is Agama temple or non-Agama, i follow this principle.

In the said Sannidhanam, as usual my friends gave offering of 10 rupees etc., but I extended my hand for the Prasad without any offering. The Namboodhiri in charge looked past me and offered the prasad to my other friend. Whether he discounted me because he mistook me for Ezhava because of my tanned look or because I did not give an offering, I do not know. Not the one to give up so easily, I adroitly extended my hand again for the Prasad. Finally he relented and gave me the prasad without as much of a glance at my face (none of them looked at our faces anyhow). The incident proved to be a dampener to me.

I could not come to terms with a servant of God treating His/Her devotees differently right in the place of worship. I asked my friend. My Nair friend explained, the Namboodhiri tribe was drying up. The Agama temples were in danger of continuing traditions. No girl wanted to marry an Agama priest.  We weren’t giving the Namboodhiris any charity, we were only paying for the Prasads we were receiving.  Anyway they received paltry salaries. In that case, I asked my friend, what about poor devotees who cannot pay up. My friend had no answer to this question.  Nevertheless I was hurt. Like by a thorn that became a sore reminder. I told my friend about my habit of offering always for the temple Hundis. The Nair she is, she said it was good to give charity to Brahmins. You earned Punya. Exasperated, I rushed towards the main Sannidhanam, that of Shri Vadakkunathan.

By this time it was already 9 am. The Sannidhanam was closed but a small wicket gate like thing remained open. As I tried to enter the Prahara through this door, a Mallu girl who exited told me in face NOT to enter as time was up. She asked me and my friends to wait upto 10 am. We disregarded her and made our way into the outer sanctum of Lord Shiva going by the name of Vadakkunathan in Thrissur. Here I had a hearty darshan of my Lord finally. The Namboodhiris here gave us ladies a sharp disapproving look. But somehow they did not stop us or send us back as they did with every other devotee in the Prahara. For reasons unclear to me until now, we and we girls alone were not asked to leave upto 9.10 am that morning from the Sanctum of Shri Vadakkunathan. They left us be as the entire Prahara wore a deserted look except for us girls and the Namboodhiris getting ready for Naivedyam!  The small sore incident from a few minutes before I ignored and prayed to my heart’s content to Lord Shiva, the One and the Only One. I knew my anger earlier was justified though. But I let it pass. I prayed sincerely for my family first and nation next and for all souls in trouble finally. I prayed even for the elephants of India/Kerala. And lastly I could not help asking the Lord for the hypocrisy hurting the Hindu temples and Sanathana Dharma to end. ‘Not in Your precincts my Lord’ I said, ‘when your own servant can differentiate between your devotees.’ ‘Not in your premises, in your abode, should the elephants suffer!’

That day, the darshan was like a miracle. As we outed, the Sannidhanam was closed for next one hour. We made it next to the Paramekavu Bhagwathi temple. The Shakthi here is the Lord’s consort but dwells in Her own abode. Here too I saw some rituals with which I did not wholeheartedly agree or disagree. But I told my Nair friend that I did not believe in superstitions. I believe in God straight. I needed no angel, no saint, no messenger, no prophet to intervene on my behalf. My faith was a matter between my Mother and Father and me. My friend introduced me to ‘muttu’ offering of coconuts to Devi Bhagwathi. I whispered a quiet but sincere apology to Mother Shakthi. I had reasons for my views and if anything I thought, my Mother Goddess wished me to think the way I thought. I offered a ‘Muttu’ for my son in the temple. This time I believed it hundred percent. The Namboodhiri who performed the Muttu on my behalf asked me to pray with eyes closed for a minute. He then said a small but sincere prayer himself and really wished for my prayer to come true.  The conviction with which he did it moved me.

I realized good and bad exist everywhere. Why should this Namboodhiri be any different. Of course not wanting to try out my luck anymore I had given my offering in the copper plate before the Muttu. Yet somehow I believed, this manservant of God was different from the other one who showed me disrespect and disregard right in Bhagwan’s sannidhi. Imagine what could happen to the SCs/STs in our temples.

 

So ever since the temple visit, I was plagued by the small disturbing act of the Namboodhiri that refused to leave me in peace. I kept arguing with my friend as to who gave him the moral authority to suppose he was in anyway superior spiritually or morally, than me. My friend said, that is the way the Namboodhiris are trained. None can run temples like them. There are non-Agama temples too in Kerala, just like in rest of India, she said. But these ancient temples were governed by the Agama Vidhi/Shastra as they should be. Risking being labelled a Leftist, I have to say, I cannot agree with this Manu Neethi ever.

I was asking myself a thousand times, who was right. I believed I was but it looked like the whole world was against me.

But I believe the Lord always leaves symbols or marks to answer your questions. Just today I had one more argument on Agama temple rituals and on the supposed sacro-sanctity of the Agama priests who inherited their professions only by virtue of their birth. I concede they train hard for their priestly duties.

Here came the answer I was seeking: This is a copy & paste job from a Facebook Post:

 

இரண்டு மூன்று ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்னால் ஒரு தீபாவளிக்கு அடுத்த நாள் என்று நியாபகம். நண்பர்களின் வற்புறுத்தலால் மருதமலை முருகன் கோவிலுக்கு சென்றோம்.

கிளம்பும் போதே நான் காலை டிபனுக்கு “குடல் குழம்பு”டன் இட்லியும், முந்தையநாள் செய்த மட்டன் வறுவலும் சாப்பிட்டு விட்டே சென்றேன். நண்பர்கள் சைவம் சாப்பிட்டு பக்தி மார்க்கமாக வந்தனர்.காலை 9 மணிக்கே செம கூட்டம்.

100 ரூபாய் டிக்கட் எடுத்தாலே மாலை 3 மணிக்குத்தான் தரிசனம் செய்யமுடியும்னு பேசிக்கிட்டாங்க..
கோயிலுக்கு வரும்போதே இப்படி ஒரு ஆட்ட அடிச்சு தின்னுட்டு வந்தா இப்படித்தான் நடக்கும் என்று என்னை முறத்தான் ஒரு நண்பன்.

நமக்கு கோயிலுக்கு செல்வதே கொஞ்சம் அலர்ஜி.. இதில் இப்படி வரிசையில் நிற்பதென்றால் தெரிச்சுடுவேன். எனவே நண்பர்களிடமிருந்து நான் கழன்டுகொள்ள என்ன செய்யலாம் என்று யோசித்தபோது கூட்டத்தில் இருந்து ஒரு பெண்மணி அழுதுகொண்டே வந்தார்.

நான் நண்பர்களை விட்டு அந்த பெண்மணியிடம் சென்று ஏன் என்னாச்சு என்றென். அவர் தன் 3 வயது மகனை கூட்டத்தில் தவற விட்டுட்டேன். மேலே எங்கு தேடியும் கிடைக்கலைங்க என்று கதறினார்.
நான் நண்பர்களிடம் நீங்க போய் சாமிகும்பிடுங்க. நான் இவர்க்கு ஏதும் உதவ முயற்சிகிறேன் என்றவுடன் நண்பர்களும் வேறு வழியில்லாமல் என்னுடனே வந்தனர்.

அந்த பெண்ணை அழைத்துக்கொண்டு மைக் செட் அறைக்கு சென்ற வழியில் அவருடன் வந்த இன்னொரு பெண்மணி குழந்தை எங்கு தேடியும் கிடைக்கலை. வாங்க அடிவாரத்துக்கு போய் பார்க்கலாம் என்றார். அப்போது நான் கொஞ்சம் இருங்க. எதாவது போலீஸ்காரங்க கிட்ட சொல்லி அவர்களின் ஒயர்லெஸ் மூலமாக அடிவார காவலர்களுக்கு தகவல் தரலாம் என்று சொல்லி மலைமேல் கூட்டத்தை ஒழுங்கு படுத்தும் பனியில் இருந்த ஒரு பெண்காவலரிடம் நடந்ததை சொன்னேன்.

அப்போது அந்த காவலர் இப்படி தவறி வந்த ஒரு சிறுவனை மீட்டு இன்னொரு பெண்காவலர் பொறுப்பில் கோவிலுக்குள் வைத்து இருக்கிறேன். அது உங்கள் மகனா என்று பாருங்கள் என்று அந்த பெண்மனியோடு சேர்த்து எங்களையும் கோவிலுக்குள்ளே அழைத்து சென்றார். அங்கே மருதமலை முருகனின் கருவறைக்கு அருகிலேயே நாங்கள் தேடிவந்த சிறுவன் அமர வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தான். அவனைப்பார்த்ததும் அந்த பெண்மனி தன்மகனை கட்டிக்கொண்டு ஓ வென அழுதுவிட்டு எங்களைப்பார்த்து ரொம்ப தேங்ஸ்ங்க என்றார்.
நானும் அந்த காவலுருக்கு நன்றியை சொல்லிவிட்டு மீண்டும் வரிசையில் நிற்க புறப்பட்டோம்.

அப்போது அந்த காவலர் அந்த பெண்மணியிடம் இவர்கள் யார்? உங்கள் உறவினர்களா என்றார். இல்லைங்க , நான் மகனை காணாமல் தவித்தபோது உதவிக்குவந்தவர்கள் என்றார்.
அப்போ அந்த காவலர் நீங்க சாமி கும்பிட்டாச்சா என்றார். இல்லைங்க இனிமேல்தான் வரிசையில் நிக்கனும் என்றோம்.

அப்போது அந்த பெண் காவலர் நேராக எங்களை மருதமலை முருகனுக்கு அருகில் அழைத்து சென்று இப்படியே தரிசனம் செய்துட்டு போங்க.
இனி வரிசைக்கெல்லாம் போனா சாயங்காலம் ஆயிடும் என்றார்.
நண்பர்களும் அந்த காவலருக்கு நன்றியை சொல்லி முருகணை தரிசித்து வந்தனர்.

நான் காலையில் குடல்குழம்போடு டிபன் சாப்பிட்டு வந்ததற்க்கு முறைத்த நண்பனை பார்த்து எப்படி தரிசனம் என்றேன்.
எல்லாம் மருதமலை முருகன் செயல் என்றான்..

#நீதி
பழைய கறிக்குழம்பு சாப்பிடுவதற்க்கும்
பக்திக்கும் சம்மந்தம் இல்லை….

ஆன் திஸ் டே.

So I rest my case here. I believe my instincts. I believe in equality and justice. I will never tolerate injustice or inequality to my knowledge as much ever as I can. If I do react, it means there is a justified reason for my word and action. Nobody is superior by virtue of birth: by race or skin colour or faith or community or caste.  Or even by IQ. We are all equal – at least we are on equal footing. May be not equal in literal sense but equal in most ways and different in others. Yet we are one and the same – humanity that is.

 

 

Flying With All Indian Crew

Flown with all-India crew in domestic flights but flying the international route was different.

Once we did take Indian Airlines flight to Malaysia but that was long time back.

Only an Indian pilot would announce to air passengers to look down at Lord Balaji’s abode in Tirupathi-Tirumala as it happened when I flew to Chennai from Doha. Landing permission apparently was delayed and the flight had to circle back. I thought Tirupathi was a good 4 hour drive – or atleast 3 hour drive from Chennai. To fly that far and get back in 10 minutes as I guess was unbelievable. Got an idea about aircraft speed even if we have general awareness on these things by way of figures and statistics. By the way, nothing was visible other than dazzling lights that lit up the hill top holy shrine that marked it different from the surrounding landscape.

The return flight was commanded by Pradeep Subramanian, a Chennaiite and co-pilot Karan Bhatia, from Delhi. Normally I am used to being greeted ‘salam alaikum’ etc. in flights, but Indian flights are different. I welcome the neutral ‘good evening ladies and gentlemen and boys and girls’ which i suppose is standard Indigo airline style. In Hindi, of course, the greeting is always ‘Namaskar.’ Good, no religious sermon was forcefully played to our ears (to which I routinely used to shut myself). After flying the gulf airlines for years, I had forgotten what it is to be secular and unbiased while flying.

I won’t say the budget flight was itself luxurious, it was n’t really. Too much turbulence given the size of the aircraft.  Pay extra for food. Food still sucks. Legroom very limited. Still, its a pleasure to fly with an-India crew with all these little inconveniences. Knowing that your city guy is your captain is a good feeling. Proud feeling. And as I said, not having to listen to religious indoctrination felt the best about this flight.

Last year I flew a domestic airline from Kochi to Chennai which was commanded by a gorgeous woman pilot. Such a smooth take-off and perfect landing. Kudos to women pilots! Air India operates an all-women 24 hour nonstop service in Mumbai-New York sector.

The Hindu custom of feeding the Gods…

I grew up in a family where we fed the crows first early in the morning the first morsel of food, after offering it to Mother Goddess Annapurna (Anna in Sanskrit means food), the one in charge of food grains and abundance department.

There is no Hindu festival or worship without offering food to God first. It could be kheer or sweetened rice or fruits or whatever or it could even be meat as in some tribal and rural communities. Whatever, we each offer our Gods, what we can afford.

After the Aarthi is performed, we assume that the Gods and Goddesses have consumed our offering. Later we offer a portion of the offering to the crows who we consider our ‘pitrus’ (deceased parents and grandparents and in-laws in the family). It is only after such a ritual is complete, we can touch our food to eat.

Even today through length and breadth of India, this custom is strictly observed – atleast on auspicious days if not possible on working days. Observing the custom is a must especially during such days as Amavasya (new moon) etc., and during religious ceremonies.

Even so, the christians and muslims in India (even if they are converts) have the habit of mocking this tradition practised for thousands of years by our ancestors.

My friend quoted the Sringeri Mutt seer and gave me this explanation on the Hindu custom of offering food to our Gods, often ridiculed by muslims and christians who ask us whether any God can eat our food really. (Never mind their gods call for bloody sacrifice by way of brutal killing of hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep and turkeys to feed the gluttons that they are).

The seer answered the question to a muslim man who was asking him the rationale behind the offering of food to Hindu Gods.

The seer said, ‘when you read a book, you imbibe its substance. But do the letters in the book disappear and get into your system? Does the subject of the book vanish once you have it by heart? Yet you know, the essence of the book is in you now. But the book still stays printed and has not gone blank. You have taken matter from the book, the book has given you something, yet the book has not become empty or blank.

Similarly, when we Hindus offer food to our Gods, the food is eaten by the Gods with love and blessings, but the food still remains for us bhakths (devotees) to later consume. Like the substance of the book you read that is digested by you, our Lord and His Missus relish and ingest our food. Yet the food remains in the banana leaf (normally we offer food for Gods in banana leaf at least in south. we may also offer food to Gods in silverware or goldware (if you can afford even if the God may not ask for it!)) physically for the whole world to see. But in his/her heart a Hindu knows, believes and acknowledges with gratitude that the Gods have accepted the offering.

The muslim man was shaken by the explanation, I believe.

Every Hindu custom and belief is strongly rooted in logic and reason and immense faith. Do not let others get away with their ignorance and rude comments. Hinduism does not promote or encourage terrorism or nepotism or subjugation of women to inferior position like others do. Only Sanathana Dharma lists the order of priority thus: Matha, Pitha, Guru and Deivam (mother, father, teacher and god). Which faith will consign itself to lowest level of priority as ours does. Which is why I am a Hindu. No other fake or imported belief system in the world can come out with such a profound truth and insight as this.

Be proudly a Hindu!

The importance of being earnest…

This Navratri, I am purposely staying behind in India for a longer period to soak in spirituality and temple culture so synonymous with Chennai. This is celebration time in entire India. Sharadha Navratri the current one, of the three that we have each year, is the most special. As northern India reverberates with Garba dances, as Kolkata ushers in the most revered Durga Puja with splendourous Pandals and as Mysore will see the elephant procession for Dusshera (the 10th and the grand finale day which is Vijaya Dasami), it is celebration of womanhood through the length and breadth of India these two weeks. Temples are open 24 hours, bhajans are heard everywhere and the count down to Diwali is on.

Navratri is especially for the Sumangalis – married women with kids. Hinduism could be the only way of life in the world where we have Women for Gods, holding important portfolios (!). Goddess Saraswathi is in charge of the department of knowledge and wisdom, Goddess Lakshmi is the bestower of wealth and fortune and the supreme Goddess Parvathi or Shakthi is the driving force or energy behind us.  Shakthi means power literally. Together the trinity of Mother Goddesses are responsible for whatever life we live today. The degree of their influence in our life can determine the quality of our life. Where Saraswathi is generally, Lakshmi will follow with Shakthi.

Which is why we Hindus do ‘Aksharaabyas’ (the alphabet introduction in food grains using fingers) to little children, on the day of Vijaya Dasami with the blessings of Goddess Saraswathi. In fact schools across India, give admissions to KG kids on this auspicious day. I got my son admitted to school during the auspicious occasion of Vijaya Dasami only.

Saraswathi Puja, the 9th day of Navaratri also doubles up as ‘Ayudha Puja’ in Tamil Nadu. On this day, we worship books, musical instruments, tools, machinery everything that may make our life easy. The Hindu culture requires us to be grateful and indebted to even inanimate objects that help us in our everyday life.

I miss Navratri very much in Middle East. I miss the fervour of the occasion, the spirit of the festival and the gaiety associated with this spiritual as well as shopping season. New stocks arrive in India in this season.

Navratri means endless fasting and Pujas at home celebrating the Mother Goddess. It is also time the woman in each and everyone of us is shaken awake. There is a Shakthi, Lakshmi and Saraswathi residing in each and everyone of us. I can’t believe at times that, in a nation and culture where the powerful gods are women, there are crimes today happening against women.

In Doha too, I used to have peaceful Navratris no doubt. Friends had golu there too. In fact last year I started the 48 day (one mandala) chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranama (which i recite anyway on tuesdays and fridays) right during Mahalaya, the Amavasya meant for Pitrus (and also for Mother Goddess Varahi) that precedes Navratri.

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This year, I am happy hopping temple to temple and house to house, having great darshans of Mother Goddess and attending beautiful Golus in friends and relatives’ places. We don’t have Golu (arrangement of dolls in steps) custom in our family.

It is customary for those of us visiting Golus to recite a bhajan.

Recently in a Golu, I saw a girl a few years younger to me sing a soul-stirring carnatic composition that almost moved me to tears. The reaction was the same with every guest – half a dozen of us there for the Golu.

Later that night, the invitee, a friend of mine, called me. She broke to me the shocking news that the girl who sang in the golu that evening had a teenage son dying slowly of Muscular Dystrophy. I was devastated hearing it.

It was then that the calm of the girl’s face dawned on  me. She seemed to have accepted her destiny. The verses meant a total surrender to the Lord and His Missus. I understood why.

I was talking to another common friend of ours to whom I mentioned this. This third friend of mine narrated to me the case of her own girl cousin of our age or a few years younger, who shared a similar fate. She was also nursing a son who was getting beyond control with muscular dystrophy.

I couldn’t believe that within 24 hours i learned about two persevering mothers who died each and everyday watching their teenage sons suffer and die because of muscular dystrophy. My heart goes out to them. Their patience and their selfless service cannot be described in words. I don’t have to go see their boys. I have had a distant relative who went out the same way. Very recently, my school friend lost her husband to the same condition.

The girl’s sweet and melodious rendering of the touching carnatic piece with a haunting gloominess about it still affects me. What a remarkable control.

I hope this happens to no mother in the world. Not even to our worst enemies.

One thing I have to mention here : these boys now in the late teens with progressed muscular dystrophy were born normal babies. They had a normal infanthood crossing every milestone just like other kids of their age. The symptoms came up one after another after their 3rd or 5th year only.

My male relative who lost his life after a prolonged illness for the same reason just like my schoolmate’s husband got it in his 40s.

No family precedent in any of these cases. Someone said, the flawed gene repeats every 49th generation. Not sure how true it is.

This is the most important reminder I received this Navratri I can say. Everytime I try to feel a little euphoric, I am pulled down to earth and reality by my Mother Goddess who cites me the reasons to remain earnest. And grateful for the blessings I have in my life.

What does it take for your life to turn upside down in a jiffy. It is important to stay positive, but it is even more important to stay humble. There is no virtue greater than humility in the face of success.

In the meantime I wish some permanent and lifesaving medical cure is discovered for Muscular Dystrophy/Cerebral Atrophy. This is the worst scenario of creeping disability until finally the afflicted lose their lives after years of pain and suffering and helplessness and loss of dignity. Research is on in the field for years but so far only the symptoms can be treated.

I remember court cases where mothers filed mercy petitions requesting Euthanasia for their dying sons that have been dismissed by our judiciary. Please Govt of India and Prime Minister Modi ji, please reconsider these cases and allow mercy killing.

My sincerest prayers for the two boys and their mothers, their families – not for a miraculous cure but for less painful eventuality lurking in the corner.

Years back I watched an interview by Tamil actor Napoleon who also served as a minister in DMK cabinet. The film star broke down in the screen relating to the audience the condition of his young son who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Napoleon went to the US seeking treatment for his ailing son where physiotherapy helped his son a long way to lead a normal life. The actor back in India started a free therapy school for children affected with the condition in a young age. This is for the section of our society who cannot afford physiotherapy or other expensive treatments for their sick children down with retardation.

As the daughter of a mother who taught the deaf and dumb kids for 16 long years who served her school until the very last day of her life, I very much can empathize with the pain of the parents more than the suffering of the kids. What else can I offer them, other than prayers. I cherish the memory of my mother who once rallied up in defence of a girl called Rosy who she took into our house for over a month before she married. Her fiancee had mentioned something like marrying her out of sympathy. I was not even a teen then but my mother I recall was not happy with that comment. She  made the groom take back his words. She argued for the dignity of the hearing and speech impaired christian girl Rosy who was in no way inferior to other girls of her age. Finally the marriage went through.

I am touched in this age, how important it was for my mother that the dignity and self-respect of the disabled was preserved. She was not just their teacher. She was like their mother hen.

We in our house also saw in those days a steady stream of visitors – mostly parents of the girls who wanted a second opinion. Or who just came home to chat up my mother about the destiny of their unfortunate daughters. Disability never made us flinch. It was part of life as I got used to spending working saturdays, vacations, sports days, annual days etc., at my mom’s school along with my sister. Blind kids doing sack race or the deaf and dumb kids enacting a play, nothing sounded strange to our ears.

One day an aged mother of a little girl with high BP in her red blood shot eyes came home.  She was losing her vision in both eyes. My mother did not work for blind section. But she guided the anguished mother who came home everyday. Things like these were normal routine life for me until  my mother left me one fine day just like that. Mother Goddess picks the best first for Herself.

1982. Thirty five year later, my mother can still bring tears to my eyes. That is a MOTHER.

Anyway, I have my Mother Goddess ever since.

Only in last few years I am praying to my Mother Goddess to either give HEALTHY CHILDREN or no children at all to couples. All along we had big big families and extended families in India where the disabled could still be cared for. Now our families are no more joint families but are nuclear, shrunk very much in size. Today we are living in a man-eat-man world. Where can the disabled children find help or moral support. They also tend to become a big financial drain on their families, unwittingly.

More number of Muscular Dystrophy cases in India of late. Worst of the disabilities I can say. I heard of this medical condition for the first time only in 2010 or so when our relative got afflicted. Now it looks like it is more prevalent than I thought was possible ever. Indian government should invest more in research in this field. Every single child is the prize and wealth of Indian nation. We cannot allow such a precious life to be plucked away brutally well before its time.

Finally, complain less about life, appreciate every blessing, money is comfy but not all, and be good and do good. Hindu Dharma is all about the Law of Karma. Past, present and future. Be compassionate and considerate, less cruel and more generous.

Let us include the disabled and progressively disabled in our everyday prayers from now on, if we have not already.

Things Money Can’t Buy

Its good to be home after a while. Longer this time. Time to reminisce what all you miss in your life. The original classical Carnatic Music of South India,  the instrumental classical, the native Bharatnatyam recitals, the live artists painting, the temple sculptures leave alone the thousands of year old rock solid unpolished granite temples, the chiming temple bells, the chanting of OM mantra LOUD, the chanting of Sanskrit slokas, the lavish wedding feasts yet on the simple banana leaves, the spices not imported but all from right here in India – from saffron to cardamom, and cashew nut to raisins, the mangoes (not this time as this is no mango season), the coconuts, the scent of the fresh jasmines, the coconut trees, the coriander and mint, the curry aroma that we all love, the vegetarian cuisine, the Filter Coffee, the rustle-bustle of silks and home grown cottons, or even the early morning cawing of crows… India is one country where we have not shot down the ravens because they may dirty our buildings (India is dirty anyway still that’s not a reason) (while most world nations that talk big on animal welfare and conservation were first to get rid of entire population of ravens in their cities and towns)… these are just a few things I  miss outside India…

Whoever says money can buy you happiness. Money for one thing cannot buy you health. Money cannot buy you culture. Money cannot buy you pedigree genes. Every time I touch down in my ‘punya bhoomi’ India (never mind that soon as I disembarked from Indigo flight to my shock I was put into an airport bus to which I had to climb down attached stairs, then was forced to carry my cabin luggage+laptop+handbag on stairs again as the escalator was not working … and by the time I reached Immigration my heart was in my hand beating wild and fast)… in spite of a couple of drunkards rolling over the roads on your way home in inebriated condition, in spite of the hot and humid air that is the signature of my hometown Chennai engulfing you swiftly and smothering you with a coat of all-round perspiration in matter of minutes, India gets to you.. to me.. sooner or later… the way I always know Her, always love Her.

I guess I have written about this: once in Langkawi as a tourist, I had to suppress a smile when the Malaysian guide tried maximum to invent a story as proof for the antiquity and culture of his nation. I wanted to tell him, ‘come to my country, it is there staring at you in every nook and corner for thousands of years now.’ Such a used phenomenon like well worn clothes that nobody presently bothers about – I saw again only in Florence, in Italy. Every street there had a monument that so naturally and casually dated back to times from before the birth of Christ. The local Italians seemed to have lost interest except in tourism that was a big money spinner. I thought wryly of what we have in India today. Similar scene. Same disinterest. The signs of a previous glorious life ceased to matter.

None in India or elsewhere wants to remember  how once we were the richest nation on earth – and that is why Columbus started his voyage to discover India landing in America. And that is why he called the natives there Indians thinking they were us Indians from India. 1000 years under barbaric Islamic rule and 300 more under the enslaving British have forever damaged our self-respect. Not that our forefathers were cowards. Hindu-Buddhist culture forbade them from fighting back – from killing women and children. Even in wars, the Hindu dharma was practised. Lie or deceit had no place in our civilization.

This is how the Ghaznis and Ghoris could get to ransack India. They were pardoned over a dozen times until they came one final time to finish off the Hindu rajas. Too late today, we have learnt our lesson: that is why we have no sympathy for the Syrians or the Rohingyas of modern times. India is first for peace-loving Hindus and Buddhists and Jains and Sikhs. If you are a Christian or Muslim, don’t be a terrorist or subscribe to separatist or terrorist views. We are weary of backstabbers. Be like the Parsis. Be like the Jews (those remaining in India).

So much is still left over in India after centuries of persecution by the invaders, which is like a miracle. Notwithstanding relentless conversions funded by the church with foreign sponsors and things as scary as Love Jehad and even news of global terrorists trying to make a headway in India, it is still heartening to see more number of little girls starting to learn Bharat Natyam, our classical dance, the crowds thronging our temples, increasingly flourishing music festivals, the dance programs, the literary groups, the artist villages. Even the sculpture schools are doing great as I saw on a recent drive through the ECR. All is not yet lost. One thing that we still lack is good financing. But art and culture never died for lack of funds.

What oil and gas cannot buy is this. What dollars and pounds cannot even think up is this. Unfortunately, many Indians are now equating welfare with economic status. Personal finance translates to bliss for them. Distant America and Europe are like a dream. I don’t deny that India can never be that although even in India you can buy private jets and palaces and go on cruise or book your tickets to Austria if you do well, but let me remind that what none of these places on earth can give you is this ROOTS.

I hope my fellow Indians realize how gifted we are: our children need not have to struggle with mathematics or science, it comes naturally to them; our kids grow up soaking in classical music and dance, our youngsters could be well read compared to American or European kids perhaps, our teenagers are as smart as any in the world, as best as they can come…. and these are the things that money still cannot buy… and something that a dinner of curd rice with mango or gooseberry pickle can beget you… seriously (!) (Curd rice cools your body and Amla pickle does wonders to your brain)

I and my friends can still take a stroll in the streets of Chennai flaunting our diamond jewelry without fear of getting mugged. We can withdraw cash in daylight in ATMs in front of anyone and walk back home safe. India is still a largely safe country than how it is portrayed by BBC or CNN. The things that we take for granted in India like I said, you cannot even dream of repeating in France of Italy or UK or US or Australia. I am not so sure about our capital Delhi though. I have heard of friends getting robbed in Malaysian capital.  Out right murders possible in Indonesia and the Philippines if you attempt that. It really pains to see how viciously the foreign media is pushing forth their agenda to tarnish India. This slumdog nation still produced a Sundar Pichai and a Satya Nadella even very recently. That must mean that the basics, the fundamentals here are far healthy than how they are reported in media.

Chennai is seeing a general deterioration – I am not denying that. But this is a universal phenomenon. I don’t think that way, any city or any spot under the sun may be improving. Things are only getting from good to bad, bad to worse, worse to worst. India is not the only case and Chennai is not the only city seeing a spurt in crimes or degradation.

So at what cost is economic development possible? At loss of peace of mind. At loss of our values and ethics.

That India is ticking in spite of our politicians is amazing. I don’t know whether it is Swachch Bharat effect, but I find less garbage these days in Chennai streets.

There is a dubious government at the state level, yet things are moving on in Tamil Nadu. Things are getting done. India is alive and kicking. Matters are moving. So may be somewhere somehow, we are right. We are GOOD.

Of late I am seeing how even Yoga is being hijacked, how anything Indian is either stolen (by way of patent or copyright) or ridiculed in foreign media … which points to only one thing: either envy or a grand sabotage plan. Or may be a combination of both.

I want the best for our kids, their future is very important. They have to imbibe our native culture and traditions.  At least our scriptures don’t preach violence and terrorism. GenNext have to learn to respect our value system. I will still say, India is the best place for children to grow up. At least Asian children to grow up. Despite corruption by Bollywood etc., India is our best bet. Commuting by our buses and trains and making your way through our sweaty crowds in hot sun will what make them wholly human – not learning the letters in air-conditioned schools. The tough survival makes it possible for our people to be compassionate toward others.

I am glad and in fact relieved, my son went to school in India and completed his basic engineering degree in India even if not in a creamy institution.

Secondly, let our kids learn that opulence does not automatically lead to happiness and contentment. In India, what people lack is ONLY MONEY. The rest we have.

Years back I had an American relative visiting. Second generation. I was cooking chicken for her. Fresh. But she was appalled (not because I was a vegetarian!) by the sight of fresh chicken. She could not come to terms with eating that which was not frozen or packed in the first place (american way of life). My maid was around and together  we explained to my guest how the chicken was in fact very fresh, and was cut only 10 minutes earlier.

I then gave her water cooled in earthenware (after in fact purification by Aquaguard system) in a glass and she said she could only drink bottled water in India (!). No use of trying to convince her that  any water either in India or America once bottled is bad. I was giving her running tap water purified by UV rays and cooled in a earthern pot naturally. I then understood that nothing natural or good may look good to her. By the way she was raised in the west, natural and good things to her were contaminated and unclean. But anything preserved and packaged and stored for months was most hygienic and healthy.

Same with Milk. I heated up pasteurized milk not older than a day as delivered in India. Villages and towns in India get direct fresh milk from cow breeders. My guest wanted only the packaged milk, full fat, low fat etc., etc. All with shelf life running into months. The freshest milk I offered looked adulterated to her.

It was a big eye opener for me as to how the west perceived India. India was richer than all of them, it dawned on me. We ate the freshest vegetables and fruits without much of preservation, we consumed the best and freshest milk and meat, we slept even sometimes on floor which is the best for our back, most of us do not care for air conditioners, we enjoyed choicest classicals be it music or dance or art or other performing art forms, but we were still poor by the indices of the west. But tinned and packed and frozen and preserved food with shelf life extended for months was supposedly healthy choice to the First world nations. Local and traditional and native fresh cuisine was unwelcome. Ready-to-eat pizzas and fast foods were preferred choice.

The shocking fact is that, my own fellow Indians now subscribe to such views. Material welfare seems to undermine the real quality of life that we have here in India. We are intrinsically far better off than most of the western nations but none would believe that. 

Poverty and good living are relative terms. They can never be defined or measured in a scale. Most Indians who may not even own a car or fridge may still eat the healthiest lunch and be attending world class concerts owning tolas of gold left safe in their bank lockers. So who can say who is rich and who is poor.

One visit to Europe illustrated to me how rich India still is. The richest Arab nations in the world still do not possess assets as held by Indian temples for centuries. Not even Vatican can come close to India’s Hindu temple wealth. At least a dozen of our worshiping places may be richer than Vatican, but may be refusing audit. The British still could not decamp with all that was with us. Neither could the Islamists get away with our stash over a 1000 years.

I for one thing today, no more have the urge to prove anything to anyone. I know. Most Indians know. That is it. As more and more of us fly outside India, work outside India, live outside India, we come to realize, how rich India really is. Culturally. Historically. Even Economy wise. The colossal Indian Railways, the third largest network in the world for instance. It moves billions of tonnes of man and machinery. Investment that cannot be measured in currency. Value that you cannot compute in absolute terms. When one calculates the GDP of a nation or the Per Capita Income, things like these never figure. The very set-up of Indian Railways could be mind-boggling. There is nothing that India does not own or possess or make. From safety pins to satellites that is. We may not be China because we are Hindus and Buddhists. We still eat well and celebrate life. If materialism alone should be our pursuit, then we can become another China no doubt. Neither did Chinese suffer persecution the way we Indians have over millennia. They have had it comparitively easier. The inherent spirituality of Indians and our values and ethics will always make it impossible for us to emulate China.  Or even Russia.

Be grateful to the host country if you are outside India, but remember it is they who put you there. Had the islamists not ravaged us for a 1000 years, had the British not departed with our wealth, we would still be in India. A Hindu only gives back his/her best to the host nation. We don’t repay by way of terrorism as some have done to America or Europe. But then men like Churchill gave India only 5 years of survival on independence in 1947. America pumped hundreds of billions of dollars, is still pumping billions into Pakistan. Remember, in 1971, America was about to join Pakistan and attack India. One lady Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of India, castrated both Pakistan and America in one stroke cutting Pakistan to two parts.

Time has proved who is who. Even in hostile Arab countries today, Indians have earned a good reputation with hard work and quiet existence. We are givers and builders and contributors to society we become part of. Hindus are only capable of serving humanity as medicos and engineers and techies and CEOs and teachers and scientists.  Hindus are connoisseurs of performing arts and craftsHindus are not saboteurs or terrorists. It is not our culture. It is not in our blood. Hindus are no warriors. So if the Buddhists in Myanmar want to drive out the Rohingya Muslims, trust the Buddhists over the Rohingyas. If Buddhists can become violent, then there must be a justified reason. 

In America and Australia and Europe, the Indian diaspora is well respected for this reason. India means Hindu to them mostly (and generally). Inspite of damaging work by BBC/CNN, Time magazine etc, the Indian contingent is doing India proud. Through all this, the desis are enriching our culture.

My friend keeps telling me, the final followers of Sanathana Dharma will be only American whites and Europeans as they are predicted to dump Christianity and take up the Eastern faith as believed by some scholars. In India itself my friend says, Hinduism will die a slow and painful death as Vatican and Saudi may finally succeed in converting the country totally in a century or two. Finally in India, the Hindu religion she says, might be in the hands of the ‘pulaiyan’ only – the lowest and most degraded caste/community or human being who may still stick to his faith.

After over tens of thousands of years of struggles and survival, it tears my heart to hear or read these words – God forbid such a worst fate.

If India is to turn majority Christian or Muslim, then it means time for HINDUS TO COMMIT MASS SUICIDE. It is a relief to know, it won’t at least happen in MY TIME.

If there is someone who can prevent that from happening, i will say that is RSS.

 

 

The Pre-Islamic Past of Middle East

I am hearing about Lebanon’s Yogic connection a lot these days that I tried to google to ascertain facts. Fascinating find here.

http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/history-of-yoga/baalbek-lebanons-ancient-yogic-connection/

What a blessed nation Lebanon is. So did Adiyogi Shiva Himself place the Guru Puja stone in Baalbek in Lebanon? Amazing. Unbelievable. Elephants used in the erection of the monument makes absolutely no sense! Yet I know. I believe.  Finally the lotus flower that is very specific to Hindu philosophy. The lotus is all too common, one learns, in the Taj Mahal marbles.  Why not. After all, was it not earlier the Tejo Mahalaya?

My interest in Lebanon and Jordan deepened because, Yoga retreats seemed to be very popular tourist destinations in these countries that are not Arab. I always wondered how and why. There are self-styled gurus in America, many of whom are whites. Same with Europe. Practically in every European city we visited we saw Yoga classes and meditation courses boards. So I dismissed the Lebanon connection where it concerned Yoga. That is not all. Chanced upon this rare picture from National Geographic.

 

 

Om Nama Shivaya!

 

 

Culinary Porn?!

How is my Culinary Porn collection?! From MY KITCHEN. Authentic recipes. A small serving of my homely cuisine. Is this not feast fit for a king???

Learned of the word for the first time today. I must have known, having posted very many recipes from my kitchen here.

Googled it but when I clicked on Google images, I was in for a rude shock (not rude really)! Apparently Google forgot the word ‘culinary’ in the phrase going by what I saw there!

Anyway, reminded me of my 20-year odyssey in the virtual world. Almost. Because although I have transformed into a keyboard warrior now, originally that was not how I started!

My first blog was penned well before the millennium – in India Times space actually which came free, from Malaysia my residence then. It now makes me realize how fatty-rich the guys must be! Modi ji please order an IT raid at Times of India office today! Also at The Hindu!!!

A few verses that I dared to call poetry became my first blog post that still found some readers!!!

It was an experimental period when I was looking for various platforms for expression of thoughts and ideas. I had quit work before arriving in Malaysia, and until then I did not know what it meant to be at rest, having run all my life.  Writing was cathartic but the IT web space was single dimensional. I sought to expand my horizons and that is how I landed in Yahoo pages.

Now Yahoo had a different and interesting page lay-out and most importantly scope to upload pictures – again, must have been the year 1999. Having a PC at home was something then and owning a scanner-printer was unimaginable!

I was fortunate to have a 24 hour nonstop dial-up network internet eonnection which was reliable.  I decided to diversify and the thought of a food blog hit me from nowhere.

We lived in Terengganu, the northern plains of Malaysia for over 2 years, where we used to frequent a Chinese restaurant that went by the name ‘Regent.’

My husband loved Malay and Chinese food over Indian (which was butchered by Malaysian Indians beyond recognition anyway) and my little son enjoyed their sea food immensely. Terengganu coast was popular for its sea food spread – prawns, king fish, river fish and crab more so especially. My beta’s favourite there was stuffed crab. Sungais were short rivers that ran every 30-40 kilometers in Malaysia and in Terengganu, they met the sea at full throttle (not spent like in India) in rich blue-green hues which reflected on the fertility of the equatorial Malaysian soil. Malaysia, particularly Terengganu, was a natural paradise for those with fishing as hobby, and reeling in your catch, parking your car for a couple of minutes, even sometimes en route to work was not considered out of ordinary! Fishing equipment was in the boot of every car.

I think I missed all things good in Terengganu where it concerned food – being a vegetarian.

As a vegetarian, I found Malaysia punishing, but surprisingly that is not so here in the middle-east. There are more and better Indian eating places now in Malaysia, but there weren’t many in 1997-2001. KL, Penang, Kuantan and other cities and towns with sizable Indian population were manageable. Terengganu the Malay hinterland was an altogether different story.  Kelantan, the next state was worse. There were a few Indian restaurants here too but nothing was palatable to me. But even in Kelantan,the northern most part of Malaysia touching the Thai border, we have dined at an Indian restaurant where Punjabi Singhs turned out hot, fluffy idlis and full vegetarian meals on banana leaf for us (on request) and chatted us up in Tamil! I think Malaysia is the only nation on earth where Sikhs could be more fluent in Tamil than in Punjabi/Hindi! Even our flat owner in KL was a punjabi Sikh who spoke to us in Tamil.

I started liking Chinese food in Malaysia. In KL, it was possible and comparatively easier to order chinese vegetarian food.

The chinese restaurant Regent understood my vegetarian requirements. You have to spell it out for them clearly: no egg, no fish, no meat, no chicken, no beef, no pork, no shrimp sauce, only sayur (vegetables) only tomato sauce, soya sauce, chili sauce, white pepper!!! And please toast the rice in a fresh pan, not in a used one in which you have toasted meat or chicken fried rice or whatever! Use fresh oil, not the leftover from fish fry! And please, don’t mix up the laddles, spoons, serving spoons! 

I parroted this desperate plea to whichever restaurant we went. Some understood, some agreed, some understood but would not agree and so on and so forth.

In one incidence, a Malay restaurant gladly agreed and accepted my demands. In a few minutes hot food arrived but I did not touch it. On inquiring we were told that since I wanted only sayur (veggie), the chef had removed the meat from it and left the gravy with onion, garlic, tomato anyway!

Yet another day we were dining out on way back from an island resort, with a Malaysian Indian Tamil family. We ordered food and our Malaysian Indian friend asked the Malay chef about the gravy of the fried rice when food arrived. The chef replied that it was beef gravy but with beef pieces removed (our friends had clearly insisted they wanted no beef). Our friend asked the Malay muslim chef whether he would similarly eat Pork gravy rice with pork pieces removed. A scuffle broke out and we had to make our way out on empty stomachs without eating there!

So I grew tired of explaining my predicament to Malay and Chinese restaurants in Malaysia that whenever we went on road trips (which was often in Malaysia during weekends etc), I would cook my own food and take tiffin boxes to put in fridge in the resorts to reheat later in the microwave. Mostly we went to weekend chalets in the islands that dotted the Terengganu coast from the South China Sea side (where exactly you have international maritime dispute today with the Philippines and China engaged in a serious war of wits), to some of which you could even ferry your jeep (we did not use fancy words like SUV then, a jeep was a plain jeep, nothing more). Or you could park in the jetty close to the waters where transfers to and fro were most convenient. I remember taking my electric rice cooker along and vegetables and cooking in the resort. Because in deep Malay heartland, no way could a vegetarian survive other than on fruits and milk (which came in milk powder form). (May be world was less civilized then?) (I still could not stay away from coffee so we bought the expensive ‘Fern Leaf’ brand milk imported from New Zealand, considered a luxury. My Madras Filter Coffee had Chinese lovers, my husband’s friends! I took kilos of fresh ground coffee from Chennai every time I flew to Malaysia. People came home for my coffee).

Back to Regent, I observed how they tossed the special vegetable fried rice for me, understanding my vegetarian sensibilities. Chinese, some of whom were Buddhists, understood what it meant to be a born vegetarian. The problem was only with Malays. The Regent, like most Malaysian chinese restaurants in those days, was run as a family business. The chef, the waitress, the barman, the cashier were all family members, mother, daughter, son and father.

Malaysian Chinese Fried Rice – the Nasi Goreng was different. It was spicy.

In Restoran Regent (Malay word for restaurant is restoran, word for Ice cream is Ais Krim and now you can guess the Malay IQ), the chinese women put in straw mushroom (vegetarian mushroom) (never button mushrooms then), spinach, spring onions, bean curd (i never heard the word ‘tofu’ there) and fresh soy chunks (not the hardened ones you have to soak in India) (but then neither did we hear of this Manchurian concept in Malaysia, thoroughly an Ind0-chinese fusion from Wang’s Kichen, Kolkata, originally)! Then they added a dash of soy sauce. I would not ask for tomato sauce. In a side place (real small with diameter hardly 3-4 cms), they would put before me grated garlic with soy sauce. And a pot of hot chinese tea (note this was before the green teas became a rage or were even known).

Now this kind of chinese fried rice which was entirely and 100% different from anything I had ever tried, did not have carrots or beans or green peas in it.

I became addicted to it that I decided to try it out at home and did manage to put forth exactly the same version that was served by Regent to me during our weekly visits. The rice I used for this fried rice was Thai rice (not like the one you get here in Doha) (as Thailand was only 4 hours away from where we lived, we got top of the range No.1 quality Thai rice in Malaysia. STILL believe me or not, Ponni Raw Rice from India was the best seller and most expensive brand in the entire south east Asian nation. No.2 was Basmati rice from India again. )

The chinese fried rice from Restoran Regent, i have not found anywhere again in my life. I have tried the Nasi Kandaar Malaysian restaurant in Chennai. Tried a few even here in Doha. They have Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng etc but never what I ask for.

I think it is Regent’s own recipe.

Once in the year 1999, I made the same Regent style chinese fried rice with Thai fragrant rice. The sayur (veggies) were: bean curd, spinach, straw mushroom, spring onions and fresh soy chunks. I clicked the ingredients and uploaded the pictures for the first time for my food blog in Yahoo. I wrote the recipe.

I had a few faithful followers of my blog then (mostly men hahaha) and i got some rave reviews.  It was a hit post.

Yahoo soon removed the blogs (3-5  years later) and I lost my first ever photo uploads and kitchen recipes.

My husband’s favourite Malay breakfast was Nasi Lemak served with dried fish. Rice would be cooked with a pandan leaf in Malay style with the leaf removed when the rice is done. In fact the 4 years we lived there, he always breakfasted out because Nasi Lemak in Malaysia cost only one ringitt then. My son loved their Sathay.

I think I had pictures of him eating Sathay as well.

My other favourite Malay food was Kozhithiyo (i don’t know if I have spelled it right). It is not noodles exactly, more like the spaghetti, easier to spoon. Zeroed in on a Malay restaurant that also understood our food requirements, willing to go out of the way to  serve us.

They made me the finest spaghetti-like Kozhuthiyo in my life, spicy and loaded with sayur. I am also by the way searching for Kozhuthiyo ever since. The best like I remember from our Terengganu days.

And last but not the least were the Kuihs, also from Terengganu Pasar Malams (night markets) (obviously a Kerala/India influence) that were steamed dumplings in rice packed with sugared centers of scraped coconut etc (like our Modak or Kozhukattai with Poornam filling or Uppu Kozhukattai exactly). Just like in India, these kuihs were cooked and served wrapped in banana leaves. The kuihs were sold by Malay families in the weekly night markets, not to be found anywhere else or in restaurants. Came straight Kampung (village) Malay kitchens. My husband’s chinese friend sent me almost everyday kuihs he gleaned right from kampongs in Terengganu because he wanted to give me back something for my filter coffee!

I wish I could have taken pictures of the food we ate then.

Clearly, the word ‘culinary porn’ somehow reminds me of our Malaysian days.

For a life time vegetarian like me landing in a foreign country for the first time, the very sights of restaurants could give a cultural shock.

My first experience in a chinese restaurant was having to witness a chinese family sitting around a large, real large fish, cooked right on the table with sauces and herbs, with each chipping in to stake his/her share with knife and fork from his/her side. Around 6=8 of the family including father, mother and kids were sharing the single fish, cutting out slices from every side.

Instant and involuntary reaction from me: rising bile in my throat about to erupt into a big vomit right on the family and on the table!

Rushed out of the restaurant the same moment… and since then, I have come a long way in life…

During one of our road trips that lasted over 10 days during the Chinese new year time, after rounding up Penang, we entered the east most point of Klantan where the North South Expressway hinges on Thai border. It used to be virgin forests in those days. When we drove through those mountainous forests the other side of which was Thailand where numerous elephant corridors crossed, we never spotted a car in front of us or one after us. I am told that, even that thick forest is now ravaged by human intervention. Well, just a few feet before the forest cover began was this Indian restaurant. Malaysian Indian Tamils served us food on banana leaf. But the catch was, they had ‘nethili’ rasam and ‘nethili’ sambar (dried fish rasam/sambar). It was a first time once more for me to come across something as weird as neithili rasam/sambar. I thought chefs back home in Tamil Nad would commit suicide! So having found an Indian restaurant, I still had to forego my food but at least the 2 men in my family had something to eat.

I have full video recordings of some of our road trips, especially one to Penang and Langkawi driving through the North South Expressway to Singapore. Those days, I know, will never come back. Never did we imagine then that one day we would find ourselves in Middle East.

After our Malaysia days, I switched over to a couple of more blog formats and finally moved over to WordPress.

Here my objective was first to post only my kitchen recipes although I am clearly not a foodie.

Then I decided to become a keyboard warrior hahaha , a paper tiger!

This is where I fight my battles, I pour out my heart… but food is still my favourite topic to write about. By the way, I called my Food Blog, ‘Feast Fit For A King!’!!!

As I am not a gourmet cook or the so-called foodie, I never cared for pictures. I also go by the conviction that, food that looks super, need not have to necessarily taste good or do good (to your health and fitness). My food is plain and simple but it will always be sumptuous and healthy. Some say it is yummy – but I cannot speak for myself. Therefore my pictures are hardly flattering. I am seriously surprised how foodies can post such unbelievably good and sexy (!) food pictures. So that explains Culinary Porn! One thing i cannot stand is my food platter referred to as ‘exotic!’ What I cook is staple South Indian fare, more specifically Thamizh cuisine. Not junkie or dribbling with wasteful fat or oil loaded with calories.

I also sincerely believe you are what you eat. Cooking is also cathartic, and eating, a holistic experience for me. Everything is spiritual where I come from. Food for us is therapy for body, mind, soul. Whether sexy or porn I do not know, but my food is good for your home and heart. 

But I guess a few pix of mine, still may qualify for the word ‘Culinary Porn’ – and let me post them in my other blog Curry Leaf, under the same title.

Meanwhile,  I have a few more recipes and photos to download and write up the recipes.  Won’t qualify as culinary porn, but now that I know what it is, i shall try window dressing (that I normally hate) from now on …

 

Kids Born Out Of Mixed Parentage

Kids born out of mixed parentage can be geniuses. Must have something to do with the DNA mixing from two entirely different gene pools. This I have seen in my family, in the case of my friends and relatives.

Out-of-caste (love) marriages were not unheard of even in my parents’ generation. Inter-religious marriages are also common now in India although we don’t look at them kindly anymore like we happened to a few years back. Inter-religious marriages mean, door closes from the Hindu side forever. One hundred percent. Conversion has never been allowed in Hinduism but is happening lately. Very rigid compared to Christianity or Islam where conversions are norm and too very easy and acceptable especially upon marriage. The main reason you have to be born a Hindu and cannot convert into one is that, your gotra comes to you by genetic inheritance, something that cannot be acquired on conversion. This is what sets Hindus apart from Abrahamic followers.

Of course Hinduism is now a universal faith with followers from all around the world. No more is Sanathana Dharma limited by genetic factors or geographic boundaries in this modern age.

Inter-caste and inter-state marriages are happening in a big way in India now.

My mother was a working woman over 50 years back – in the year 1965. When it was not really fashionable for womenfolk to work. She completed her PU from Stella Maris College. Yet our family used to be very conservative. My parents lived in the same street from childhood but had never spoken to each other. They were from the same community. Theirs was an arranged marriage. I remember my mother telling me, when my parents were newly married, they still went to cinema accompanied by an adult (my father’s grandfather)!!! My Mother-in-law used to smirk at me saying, how she had to talk to my father-in-law always from behind the doors and never in the living room directly (this comment for her son and me sitting rubbing (!)  next to each other in the sofa watching tv)  in the joint family. Only when they were alone finally in a nuclear family, she could talk straight to him in the face without an intruding elderly family member.

The interesting story my MIL keeps telling me is, how my FIL used to come and pinch her in the foot at night because the whole family with grandparents to little nephew-nieces lay side by side in a single row in the big hall to sleep. It was their secret signal! Bedrooms were meant for only changing clothes. My MIL used to tiptoe to the upper floor when the entire extended joint family slid into a deep sleep in the midnight hour! Sometimes a great grandma could sneeze and spoil my in-laws nightly rendezvous plans! This is the way my MIL  conceived 5 kids in 10 years from 1955 to 1965 !!! I used to tease her that if not for this censorship, she would have littered a dozen!

At one point of time, in my in-laws’ big ancestral house, at least 4 branch families lived together as a colossus joint family comprising of nearly 60 to 80 family members! Where was the question of privacy. But this also fostered a good understanding between couples and brought them together in an unpredictable way. Husbands and wives learned to read each others’ mind even in a crowd across the hall way, mastered the sign language and could decipher the shift of eyebrows. Today this basic understanding is something that most in our generation with total privacy lack.

Comparatively both my parents came from smallest sized families. My mother and aunt were only two sisters. My grandfather underwent vasectomy in the 1940s before independence after the birth of my aunt. He told this to me myself saying he never wanted a son and wanted to stop with 2 daughters. A revolution in those days. He was a B.Com., graduate who had graduated in the 1920s from the famed Loyola College. Yet, my grandfather wanted his daughters to work only as school teachers and serve the country. My aunt got selected to work for Reserve Bank and my mother for Electricity Board, but my grandfather refused to let them work with men !!! Sometimes I can’t believe this contradiction from the man who underwent family planning surgery because he was happy and contented with his two daughters and did not want a son, a feat in the 1940s. Neither did he force family planning on my granny who begot my mom in her 13th year but could still read and write English, Tamil and Telugu (thanks to her neighbours) even in that tender age! I had a super granny whose morning habit included reading the print newspaper The Hindu.

My granny told me, once my mother was listening to transistor radio so intently and humming to herself an old Tamil picture song of actress Padmini. Must have been late 1950s. My grandfather came riding home silently in his Bajaj scooter. (My grandfather rode his scooter from his teens until the late 1980s when he was over 60 years). My mother never heard the scooter sound. She never saw her father entering the wide open door and gazing at her. From behind, my grandfather took the radio from my mother’s hand and off he went in the scooter again. He sold the radio that same day to someone. My mother cried that night into her pillows. She was in her teens. The very word called ‘cinema’ could not enter our house. Still my grandfather encouraged his daughters to pursue their education and made them high school teachers. My mother underwent special training to teach deaf and dumb kids. By 16-17 years, both my mother and aunt were independent women working as teachers capable of taking care of themselves. They took a public bus to school and were not expected to hand over their pay packets to their parents.

India is like that. When you look at the academic and career achievements of our women, you may think we are rebels or we are ultra progressive. Yes, in most ways. But when it comes to social or familial life and connected responsibilities, forget the jean-clad Indian women. We will be the first to light the diya and touch the feet of our in-laws in sheer respect (and also some fear)! My sister used to tell me how the Mumbai girls were totally different from how Bollywood portrayed them. They would be wandering around in minis and micros and pointed heels but the moment the Saas came home, they would transform into the dutiful bahus observing numerous fasts every month, performing every other puja, cooking up  feasts for their extended family, etc., etc.

Mixed marriages may be exemptions from this stereo-type but not necessarily. A friend of mine married a muslim but has raised his entire (lower middle class) family to admirable levels. One more cousin of mine is also married to a muslim. She comes home but none of us do visit her.

Otherwise there are a number of inter-caste marriages in both friends and relatives circles. As the married parties are mostly Hindus, there haven’t been a problem although there may some adjustment issues. There are now even north-south unions. Earlier, south girls used to be looked down upon as kind of inferior because of the dusky skin tone. Presently the scene is totally changed. South Indian brides are going places literally these days. Won over people not with looks but with books! As caste and regional-state and language barriers break down in India slowly but steadily, the modern mantra is ‘any Hindu!’ This is a very healthier scene and choice. The Rishis cannot get more happy.

My distant relatives had had their daughters, sons marrying foreigners. A boy married a Friench girl. A girl married an American white boy. So we have broken all thresholds I must say!

Kids, I have seen, born to inter-caste parents are very brainy. Very high IQ levels.

I had an arranged marriage only. I never knew my husband prior to March 7, 1993 and we married on June 23. But after marriage we discovered a few very distant relations between our two families. This is because, we are marrying within same community for generations. So it is possible that our blood lines have criss-crossed somewhere before – may be generations back. Whichever Senguntha Mudaliar I may meet in Chennai could be somehow related to me these days! It is alarming! Really! If we investigate deeply, we may end up finding a connection!!!

Same Gotra marriages are not allowed in Hinduism (entire north and in some sections of south). First cousin marriage is strictly forbidden among Hindus, considered incestuous. But down south, if the gotras are different you can marry your (cross) cousin. For example, straight cousins cannot marry each other. Like the children of brothers. Children of sisters. But a brother’s son or daughter can marry his sister’s daughter or son. Cross cousin marriages are permitted because, the sister gets married and goes to another family/gotra. She assumes the gotra of her husband’s family tree. Her children born under new gotra in a strange family will be inheriting different gotra/Y chromosomes, not that of her parents. So the children can marry back into her parents’ family.

But north or south, not even the second cousin marriage is permissible between straight cousin (between children of brothers’ male cousins and children of sisters’ girl cousins). All straight cousins in north and (with cross cousin exemption) in south be it first cousins or second cousins or third cousins cannot marry.

My north Indian friends used to tease me relentlessly about this proven logic. They would be shocked by the south indian custom that allowed cross cousin marriages. But let me assure you, even these cross cousin marriages mostly stopped with the last or my generation. Not many of my parents generation had cross cousin marriages. One of my friends married her cross cousin. In my generation it was minimal, almost non existent. Now it is totally off. Full stop. Whether it is love marriage or arranged marriage in India, we can be more than certain that there is not the least chance of someone marrying from within the same gotra. We have outgrown that custom in south for our own sake. Awareness of genetic health issues made it possible for south Indians to put an end to cross cousin marriages as we have been a lot more literate for ages compared to north. We needed no written law.

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-people-oppose-marriages-within-the-same-%E2%80%9Cgothra%E2%80%9D

Why are same gotra marriages prohibited in Hinduism. This is the scientific reason. Straight cousin marriages will lead to harmful gene mutations and congenital defects thereby. For ‘vamsavridhi’ or for the family clan to grow, ancient Hindus wanted their offsprings to marry outside their home families into other blood lines so that the gene pools could get freshly recharged.

Cross cousin marriages where the gotra changes for daughters of the family after marriage was considered slightly safer which is why they were allowed in south. Even in south, straight first cousin marriages are considered taboo and incestuous. In north one hundred percent, first cousin marriages are prohibited even today. If you marry a woman of same gotra, it means you are marrying your own sister because you and she may have descended from the same gene pool whose Alpha male originally could be the same ancestor. It is like blasphemy therefore for Hindus to marry cousins.

However even that is changing these days. Where a population exceeds a billion, who can trace whose gene to where???

There are no more unwritten codes that anyone has to adhere too. Rarely some love marriages bring a boy and girl of same gotra together. It is now tolerated because mostly even in such cases, the girl and the boy may be totally unrelated by blood in these modern times!

We don’t know what future has in store for us.

I can say, marrying within community, even if not of same gotra, has led the Hindu gene pool to go stale somewhat. This is why I believe, we Indians today are not as smart as our ancestors, the ancient Hindus.

Now as we see, the inter-caste marriages are producing brilliant hybrid kids (and even some RASCALS)!

My son will be of marriageable age in a few more years. So what about him? I know I cannot decide for him but if he decides to opt for arranged marriage, of course we will look within community first. But in recent years, we are also looking at arranged inter-caste match for him with any of our friends’ daughters. Have not ruled out both options. BUT DEFINITELY NOT IN BLOOD RELATIVES CIRCLES. For the first time however, I may or may not take up my son’s horoscope. Neither my parents nor my in-laws were blood related before they married. 

I wouldn’t be thinking about it, but my friend out of the blue suggested that, I should place my beta’s horoscope first in our Kuladeivam temple (Family deity) (in an Arni village) before taking it out to study for his marriage or career prospects. I take it as a command from my Mother Goddess Herself. So i have decided to do just that. Whether or not I may consult his horoscope, I have decided to get the blessings from my Mother for him for his future.

But whoever my son chooses as his life partner – be it a Hindu or Christian or Muslim, an Indian or whichever nationality, of whichever race, of whichever tongue Tamil or Hindi or whatever, as a mother, I will only welcome my daughter-in-law as my own daughter into my home and hearth. I of course have laid 2 conditions for my son should it be a love marriage (i) the girl must be a Hindu (ii) the girl must be at least one day YOUNGER than him. Any Indian state okay. Any Hindu caste okay. Any mother tongue okay. But this is just a word of caution as a mother.

It is too early to think on these lines anyway…

Let us see…

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What a super race ancient Hindus were. To what extent they thought and practised religion scientifically. What are Abrahamic folds before the ancient Hindu wisdom! Which one of them even thought about something close to Gotras for gene preservation as our ancestors did. Today we are talking about DNA and genetics, but without using names our forefathers still somehow figured it out exactly as we know genetic science today a few thousands of years back. Their X and Y chromosome knowledge base is awesome although they never labelled them so. By deigning the first cousin marriages as taboo and incestuous, our Hindu ancestors effectively prevented undesirable inbreeding.

It is not a fluke that Hindus are a universally acknowledged pedigree intelligent race (in spite of the creeping element of mediocrity within us). It is by having lived such a disciplined and scientific and spiritual life for generations spanning centuries, millenniums, we are what we are today. And perhaps this must also serve to be a reason for us to have inter-caste marriages within Hindus irrespective of castes-communities-states-languages in this present age, but NEVER with other race/religion people. Here we can learn from the Japanese and even Germans. Hindu gene pools are carefully cultivated and nurtured for eons. PEDIGREE BREEDING.

By eliminating the degradation of Y chromosomes with cancelling out the first cousin marriages through history and thus successfully eliminating inbreeding within the population, Hindus have been enriching the gene pool from mutation-deterioration over ages. Even today irrespective of any caste or creed, you cannot find a first cousin marriage in any corner of India among Hindus speaking any language. Blasphemous, incestuous for us. Something that Islam does not practise and will never so because first cousin marriages are the norm of their society leading to absolute dilution of the Y chromosomes leading to widespread congenital abnormalities. Could be the reason for the bhais’ low IQ???