Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Friday, 15 May 2009

Have we forgotten our god?

For centuries we have had a number of individuals propagating various forms of religion and beliefs, today we are living in extremely stressful times and none of us really has the time or the inclination to work things out ourselves, like instant food we are constantly looking for instant solutions for all our problems and our needs.

We are satisfied or overwhelmed by things, which happened a couple of thousand years ago, there is a greater belief and following if the proof of events that described arrival or communication with heavenly body is scant. The growth of such a following depended on the post marketing of the events, rituals and philosophies that evolved along with it.

Today, when we are killing each other in name of religion and god we have truly forgotten the god who lived amongst us in the 20th century, who knows? maybe 2000 years down we will believe in him and give him the same status that we are giving the early birds today!



The best way to find yourself

is to lose yourself in the service of others.

God sometimes does try to the uttermost

those whom he wishes to bless.

When I admire the wonder of the sunset or the beauty of the moon,

my soul expands in the worship of the creator.

Happiness is when what you think,

what you say and what you do are in harmony.

If we are to teach real peace in this world,

and if we are to carry on a real war against war,

we shall have to begin with the children.

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself,

I wont presume to probe into the faults of others.

There’s sufficiency in this world for man’s need

but not for man’s greed.

It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves

honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings.

It’s easy enough to friendly with one’s friends,

but to befriend the one who regards himself

as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.

The other is mere business.

In a prayer its better to have a heart without words

than to have words without a heart.

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry,

and one who has faith in god should be ashamed

to worry about anything whatsoever.

To give service to a single heart by a single act

is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean;

if a few drops of the ocean are dirty the ocean does not become dirty.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Mumbai that was.

The city of Bombay originally consisted of seven islands, namely Colaba, Mazagaon, Old Woman's Island, Wadala, Mahim, Parel, and Matunga-Sion. This group of islands, formed part of the kingdom of King Ashoka (170 B.C.), which have since been joined together by a series of reclamations.

After his death, these islands passed in to the hands of various Hindu rulers until 1343. In that year, the 'Muslim Rulers' of Gujarat took possession of the islands, and ruled that province for the next two centuries. The only vestige of their dominion over these islands that remains today is the mosque at Mahim.

In 1534 the Portuguese, who already possessed many important trading centers on the western coast, such as Panjim (Goa), Daman, and Diu, took Bombay by force of arms from the 'Mohammedans'. This led to the establishment of numerous churches which were constructed in areas where the majority of people were Roman Catholics. There used to be two areas in Bombay called 'Portuguese Church'. However, only one church with Portuguese-style facade still remains; it is the St. Andrew's church at Bandra. The Portuguese also fortified their possession by building forts at Sion, Mahim, Bandra, and Bassein which, although in disrepair, can still be seen. They named their new possession as 'Bom Baia' which in Portuguese means 'Good Bay'.

About 130 years later the islands were given as dowry to the English King Charles II on his marriage to Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In 1668 the islands were acquired by the British East India Company on lease from the crown for 10 pounds in gold/per annum. Obviously the British did not value these islands at that time. The Company, which was operating from Surat, was in search for another deeper water port so that larger vessels could dock, and found the islands of Bombay suitable for development. The shifting of the East India Company's headquarters to Bombay in 1687 led to the eclipse of Surat as a principal trading center. The British corrupted the Portuguese name 'Bom Baia' to ' Bombay'. This name was later changed to 'Bombay' by the British, The Kolis who are the fishermen of that area, called a small section (Babulnath to be precise) of the islands, 'Mumba'. Also a temple which housed the goddess Mumbadevi prompted the political parties to change the name to Mumbai recently.

The first Parsi to arrive in Bombay was Dorabji Nanabhoy Patel in 1640. The Parsis, originally from Iran, migrated to India about 900 years ago. This they did to save their religion, Zoroastrianism, from invading Arabs who proselytized Islam. However, in 1689-90, when a severe plague had struck down most of the Europeans, the Siddi Chief of Janjira made several attempts to repossess the islands by force, but the son of the former, a trader named Rustomji Dorabji Patel (1667-1763), successfully warded off the attacks on behalf of the British with the help of the 'Kolis', the original fisher-folk inhabitants of these islands. The remnants of the Koli settlements can still be seen at Backbay reclamation, Mahim, Bandra, Khar, Bassein and Madh Island.

Bombay then had a succession of British governors, who attracted Gujarati traders, Parsi ship builders, and Hindu and Muslim businessmen; and made the city more populous. A city court was started to uphold the law. A fort was also built, none of which remains, except a small portion of the wall. Governors like Oxenden, Aungier & Grant helped Bombay grow and set up hospitals, roads etc

The Zoroastrian Towers of Silence on Malabar hill were built by Seth Modi Hirji Vachha in 1672.The first fire-temple was also built in the same year by Seth Vachha opposite his residence at Modikhana within the British fort.
Both of these structures can still be seen today although they have been expanded and strengthened.

The inroads of the sea at Worli, Mahim, and Mahalaxmi turned the ground between the islands into swamps making Bombay an extremely unhealthy place at that time. Reclamation work to stop the breeches at Mahalaxmi and Worli were undertaken. In 1803 Bombay was connected with Salsette by a causeway at Sion. The island of Colaba was joined to Bombay in 1838 by a causeway now called Colaba Causeway and the Causeway connecting Mahim and Bandra was completed in 1845, which was done by Lady Avabai Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.

In the mid 1800's the cattle that people owned used to graze at the lush Camp Maidan (Azad Maidan). The British, always ready to levy taxes, started a grazing tax, which most people could not afford. Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy spent Rs. 20,000 to buy some grassland near the sea front at Thakurdwar and saw that the starving cattle grazed without a fee in that area. In time the area became to be known as 'Charni' meaning grazing. When a railway station on the BB&CI railway was constructed there it was called Charni Road.

On Saturday 16th of April, 1853, a 21-mile long railway line, the first in India, between Bombay's Victoria Terminus and Thana was opened. In 1860, the railroads connected Baroda and Central India. With the Suez Canal also opening in Africa, Bombay saw a great economic boom. Cotton being the main export. Many families made their fortunes during that time. Even the Americans imported cotton during the Civil War that started in 1861. The population of the city went from about 13,000 in 1770 to about 644,000 in 1870.

In 1858, after the first war for Independence, where people like the Rani of Jhansi played a big part, Bombay was taken back by the crown and the East India Company was in dire straits. Governor Frere had a fountain made in his honor at that time. Which was later called Flora Fountain, but this is a fact that is quite unknown to the general public.

Then in 1863, the Governor got piped water from the lakes (Tulsi, Vihar & Tansa). After which they banned all open water storage systems like water tanks and wells, which were breeding grounds for mosquitoes. This was met with a lot of opposition.
The latter half of the 19th century was also to see a feverish construction of buildings in Bombay, many of which such as, the Victoria Terminus, the General Post Office, Municipal Corporation, the Prince of Wales Museum, Rajabai Tower and Bombay University, St. Xavier's College, Elphinstone College and the Cawasji Jehangir Hall, the Crawford Market, the Old Secretariat (Old Customs House) and the Public Works Department (PWD) Building, still stand today as major landmarks. The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Darbar at Delhi in 1911. The Princess Dock was built in the year 1885 and the Victoria Dock and the Mereweather Dry Docks in 1891. Alexandra Dock was completed in 1914.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Are there true friends? Acid test to find some.

Are you a true friend to someone? Then you should know what true friendship is.
True Friendship
How can we find true friendship in this often phony, temporary world? Friendship involves recognition or familiarity with another's personality. Friends often share likes and dislikes, interests, pursuits, and passion. How can we recognize potential friendship? Signs include a mutual desire for companionship and perhaps a common bond of some kind. Beyond that, genuine friendship involves a shared sense of caring and concern, a desire to see one another grow and develop, and a hope for each other to succeed in all aspects of life. True friendship involves action: doing something for someone else while expecting nothing in return; sharing thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or negative criticism.

True Friendship - Relationship, Trust, Accountability

True friendship involves a relationship. Those mutual attributes I mentioned above become the foundation in which recognition transpires into relationship. Many people say, "Oh, he's a good friend of mine," yet they never take time to spend time with that "good friend." Friendship takes time: time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, time to invest in each other's growth.

Trust is essential to true friendship. We all need someone with whom we can share our lives, thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. We need to be able to share our deepest secrets with someone, without worrying that those secrets will end up on the Internet the next day! Failing to be trustworthy with those intimate secrets can destroy a friendship in a hurry. Faithfulness and loyalty are key to true friendship. Without them, we often feel betrayed, left out, and lonely. In true friendship, there are no backbiting, no negative thoughts, no turning away.

True friendship requires certain accountability factors. Real friends encourage one another and forgive one another where there has been an offense. Genuine friendship supports during times of struggle. Friends are dependable. In true friendship, unconditional love develops. We love our friends no matter what and we always want the best for our friends.

Friendship and Self-Love

Three Forms of Friendship: based on and aiming at
(a) Immediate Pleasure. E.g. Romantic love
(b) Utility/Commercial friendship: a kind of instrumental friendship. E.g. acquaintances or social climbers.
(c) Perfect or complete friendship: exists among the people with certain level of maturity.

Why C is the highest form of friendship
1) It is based on excellence/experience
2) They are loved for their own sake.
3) It incorporates the other two kinds of friendship.
4) It is lasting and enduring.

A true friend is one who:
(1) Wishes and does good things for a friend, for the friend’s sake
(2) Wishes the friend to exist and live, for his own sake
(3) Spends time with his friend. They want to be in each other’s company.
(4) Makes the same choices as his friend. They share the same values
(5) Share his friend’s distresses and pleasures

"Having millions of friends is not a miracle, but it is a miracle if you have only one friend who stands by you, when millions are against you".

Try This
a) Tell your friends that you are broke and on the verge of bankruptcy, or
b) Tell them that you have a terminal disease, or
c) Tell them that you are leaving town for good.

Those who stay with you after hearing any of the above are probably your true friends and will be with you all through your life.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Have we got our freedom cheaply? & Do we deserve it?

Compared to the struggle, the misery and the violence other countries in Africa, Middle East, Latin America, Europe and the Far East have gone through or are going through, we definitely got our independence cheaply. We have to thank Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and other freedom fighters for it. Had it not been for his unique and novel strategy of non-violence, the Brits would never have given up this jewel in their crown. The best part was that he frustrated them and set the sun on the British Empire; it was the partition which caused more misery and violence. Even after independence we enjoyed a good relationship with the Brits.
This letter was written by a British imperialist advocating the continued rule of India. The letter was written some time in the late 1890s and only sections are legible.
I present below those legible sections:

Why does India need Independence ?

Dearest cousin…
….These Indians are incapable of ruling themselves…first they were ruled by the Moghul rulers and then they are now ruled by our own great country – Great Britain… Indeed, Alexander the Great would have easily conquered India if his soldiers had had more discipline…and India then would have been a nation of conquered peoples throughout almost all their recorded history…Such people have no right to independence…It is a privilege to be ruled by Great Britain...these primitive Indians should be grateful for this ennobling rule by our enlightened nation…
India is not even a nation – it has never been a nation…We brought order and unity to it and now these primitive savages want freedom? That is ridiculous… what a ridiculous idea - half-naked barbarians ruling themselves?

This country is barbaric, I tell you…We are here to teach them logic and to teach them what true religion is…They get married to dogs, did you know? They burn widows! Do such a people deserve to rule themselves…?
My dear cousin….just during the last decade, I have noticed how appreciably the standard of living of the Indians has improved…its rich now enjoy tea and biscuits and all the comforts that British nobility can give it…and this will in time, with our glorious British rule over India…will filter to all sections of the population…That is vastly superior to what India has ever had and will ever have…let India be a British colony forever, and these simpletons will rise to the very heights of civilization that Great Britain has reached…We the British have improved the communications vastly in many chaotic parts of India. And linked to all our other colonies, India will go global at this rate…

And these fools speak of Independence . They just can’t appreciate what they are enjoying…

Since India is so closely bound with the British Empire , why not let it be and leave it to be so?
Most fervently in the British rule of India
Lord William D. Montgomery

To deal with the second question - there is no doubt that the best working democracy in the world today is the Indian; we are really and truly free people, you can say and do (of course within the law for the common man) anything in this country. With a population of around 1.2 billion, in 2004 if you lived in a city and earned Rs 540 and more you would be considered living above the poverty line; the percentage of Indians below the poverty line in 2004 was 26%. The all India crime rate is 14% per lakh of the population, only 61 % of the population is literate and there are volumes one can write on the religious violence. Even after 60 years J&K and certain north eastern states want to separate from the union. To talk about corruption: the most disquieting aspect of the widespread corruption in India is the fact that it is no longer confined to politicians or the government machinery alone. It is prevalent amongst almost every section of the society at every level. Today, if one would say that any particular Indian is honest to the core, it could only be a case of an exception rather than a rule. It’s amazing, only god knows how the country is run. We have miles to go and only hope that either a religious bigot or a crazy politician does not take the reigns of a dictator.

A brief history of India :
Aryan tribes from the northwest infiltrated onto the Indian subcontinent about 1500 B.C.; their merger with the earlier Dravidian inhabitants created the classical Indian culture. The Maurya Empire of the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C. - which reached its zenith under ASHOKA - united much of South Asia. The Golden Age ushered in by the Gupta dynasty (4th to 6th centuries A.D.) saw a flowering of Indian science, art, and culture. Arab incursions starting in the 8th century and Turkic in the 12th were followed by those of European traders, beginning in the late 15th century. By the 19th century, Britain had assumed political control of virtually all Indian lands. Indian armed forces in the British army played a vital role in both World Wars.

Monday, 25 February 2008

How many days are you truly happy in a year ?

If you are truthful to yourself your answer should be under 45, rest of the days one is pursuing it or cursing one's luck for not having it.

Ketki adds: we are responsible for our own happiness despite of challenges and loss. Therefore, take charge and be happy!!

Ivan adds: Stop counting. Be happy.

Rekha adds: Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. Happiness is all in the mind and see what treasures we can pluck from our own brand of unhappiness.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mohandas Gandhi