प्रयास

Written by my dear friend Abhishek Jain, the following poem conveys our collective feeling.
upsc
भर-भर के पन्ने तोड़ दी कलमें ,
इतना मगा कि पड़ गए सदमें।
किया यूज़ नीला कभी काला पैन ,
सजाया कॉपी को किया अंडरलैन।
सूरज उठा तब गए सोने को ,
मिला नहीं एक पल खोने को।
किया नहीं कभी नैन-मटक्का ,
फोकस रखा करते थे पक्का।

 

निकल गयी तोंद  गिर गए बाल ,
 घिस-घिस के हो गए बुरे हाल।
हर महीने की पढ़ी योजना ,
खुद की बनी पंचवर्षीय योजना।
कर-कर के मर गए अथक प्रयास ,
मंज़िल मिली न एक्को बार।
फिर भी मन न मचलता है ,
जानता है, प्रयास ही सफलता है।
by –
Abhishek Jain

अनुभूति – by Abhishek Jain

first love
मोबाइल को फुल रिचार्ज कराके ,
बिना बात के बातें करना ,
बात फिर भी ख़त्म न होती ,
प्रथम प्रेम की अनुपम अनुभूति।
सारी रात करवट ले-लेकर,
खुली आंखोँ से स्वप्न देखना ,
नींद कभी न पूरी होती ,
प्रथम प्रेम की अनुपम अनुभूति।
बात-बात पर गुस्सा होकर ,
यूहीं रूठना और मनवाना ,
 हर पल मेरे हृदय को छूती ,
प्रथम प्रेम की अनुपम अनुभूति।
प्रिय-विरह के दुःख में पिसकर ,
हर चेहरे में उसे देखना ,
मधुर मिलन के सपने बुनती ,

प्रथम प्रेम की अनुपम अनुभूति।
by –
Abhishek Jain

Jainism and some answers

Minority status

Now there are 6 communities classified as minorities under National Commission on Minorities Act, 1993. Jains were added in the central list in 2013 end before which 5 communities were there.

It differs state to state.

Punjab – Sikh majority

J&K, Lakshdweep – Muslim majority

Mizoram, Nagaland – Christian majority

Why?

Because it is a distinct religion which is numerically very small. So, by the very basic definition of minority religion, it is one. It was so recognised in most of the states.

Benefits?

Can maintain there own religious institutions. Will have more autonomy and safeguards in maintaining educational institutions, trusts, temples etc.

People can benefit from scholarships, education and self – employment loans. The benefits of MSDP (Multi Sectoral Development Program) will not be there because there are no concentration areas.

Jain being a relatively prosperous community does it need such benefits?

There is no doubt that it should be classified as a minority religion. The autonomy and safeguards are required for minority religions world over. Our Constitution also gives that. It does so to deal with every possible situation which may arise in future. Human history is replete with instances where such safeguards were found necessary. Jains also have impoverished people who will be benefitted with welfare schemes. It is pertinent that such schemes should have income related criteria to ensure that only people is need get benefits.

Why Jainism declined from its birthplace?

I wouldn’t say that Jainism declined absolutely. It came as a corrective measure against the undesirable practices which came in Vedic religion. The aim was not to establish a grand religion or to spread world wide. In that respect, we see that the influence of the thoughts of Buddha and Mahavira have left indelible mark on different religions. From killing animals as a part of religious ceremonies to adopting vegetarianism, inclusion of principles like Satya, Ahimsa, Aparigrah, Brahmcharya, Asteya etc have been included in almost all communities. Even if we say that they are not original thoughts of Jainism, Jainism must have reinforced them.

Why buddhism flourished while jainism declined?

Jainism was very stringent. It leaves very little room for variations. It was not at all possible for Kings to follow such principles. Also, it makes it less attractive for potential followers. Further, it can be said that strict reliance on vegetarian food was feasible in the Ganga plains. It is extremely difficult to follow that in the coastal areas like Odisha or in high mountains like Ladakh.

Reason for prosperity?

Protestant values – frugality, spirit of enterprise – Habit of saving, emphasis on personal conduct, virtuous life and education

Historical factors like business communities adopting the religion

Santhara – do you support it?

Yes ! In the form that I understand it. In Jains we have 2 kind of people – Moksha Margi who follow Mahavrata and Grahastha who follow Anuvrata. People who are walking the path of Nirvana for 30-40 years when they feel that the time of leaving this body behind is coming, they prepare themselves for a controlled stable departure through a long and elaborate process called Santhara. Ideally it is of 12 years. They start taking less food, increase the frequency of fasting and concentrate more on meditation. There should not be any pain or suppression of urges. There should not be suppression of hunger, there should be no hunger. The idea is not to have urges. (Jain monks Pluck their hairs by hands in a very stoic way)

Similarly, when someone having high spiritual attainments face a life threatening disease and there is no way out in Ayurvedic medicines or naturopathy, then with the permission of their Acharya they may choose to take Santhara. But it is given only by the head Acharya of the Sangha and it is a rare thing and allowed only to monks/saints.

The movie Ship of Theasus (Director – Anand Gandhi) shows one such story. But the monk there was in pain and he himself realised that he is not able to maintain his calm and composure during Santhara. So he chose to rather have a treatment than having ill thoughts.

Can a Jain do his/her job as an Officer or say a Police Officer properly with Jain values?

Definitely! In fact I believe that my values will guide me to work more efficiently and more effectively. Jainism emphasises on doing one’s duty properly and on

Detachment (one should not have Moh) which enables one to take tough decisions.

empathy – work for reducing others’ pain

Humility and Aparigrah – will help in saving oneself from all the lures which trap people commonly in these services.

Relevance of Jain principles in today’s society ?

Inner peace – contentment – a feeling of humility and gratitude – Will make people’s life better in today’s chaotic world

Non-violence, tolerance – will bring peace in the world

Crime, violence, corruption will reduce if everyone follows moral principles which are so well detailed in Jain philosphy.

फिर कर लेने दो प्यार प्रिये – दुष्यंत कुमार

Just a thought..nothing personal in it… don’t read too much!

अब अंतर में अवसाद नहीं
चापल्य नहीं उन्माद नहीं
सूना-सूना सा जीवन है
कुछ शोक नहीं आल्हाद नहीं

तव स्वागत हित हिलता रहता
अंतरवीणा का तार प्रिये ..

इच्छाएँ मुझको लूट चुकी
आशाएं मुझसे छूट चुकी
सुख की सुन्दर-सुन्दर लड़ियाँ
मेरे हाथों से टूट चुकी

खो बैठा अपने हाथों ही
मैं अपना कोष अपार प्रिये
फिर कर लेने दो प्यार प्रिये

My UPSC interview questions

Interview – April 29 – 1st in Afternoon

Board – P. Kilemsungla Ma’am

 

Questions by Chairperson –

  1. You have written Teaching as a hobby, what kind of teaching do you do?

  2. What did you gain from teaching slum kids?

  3. Are you still in touch with these kids?

  4. What could be done to improve the education services in rural areas?

  5. Give me two solutions which would be effective in bridging the quality of education rich and poor students get?

 

Member 1 –

  1. What is the difference between society and civil society?

  2. Do you think the difference is artificial? Wouldn’t it be better if we have only – a society and not many civil societies?

  3. Name major insurgencies which happened in India after 1947.

  4. Explain any one of them. (Explained Punjab issue)

  5. How do you see the role of administration in dealing with this particular issue?

  6. What can we learn from this?

 

Member 2 –

  1. You studied Metallurgical Engineering, then why did you opt for Sanskrit Literature?

  2. In ancient times, there used to be no writing mechanism or printing, how did our ancestors retained such vast literature?

  3. Why are we not able to remember even one verse?

  4. What were you doing for past four years after graduation? (Told about joining PMRDF)

  5. Is this scheme workable? Do you think such programmes should be there at all?

 

Member 3 –

  1. You were talking about Shruti and Smriti as modes of keeping record. I want to check your memory. Tell me Maheswar Sutra.

  2. What is the importance of Maheshwar Sutra?

  3. Have you read that Kalidasa has described several regions in India apart from Kashmir where saffron is grown?

  4. How do you think he could possibly know such things?

  5. Have you read Ritusamhara of Kalidasa?

  6. You must have read that Kalidasa was a dumb person earlier. How did he change?

  7. What can we learn from this?

 

Member 4 –

  1. How can we tackle the problem of slum proliferation in India?

  2. Is microfinance a workable option in low cost housing sector?

  3. You must have heard of high profile resignations lately – in India and elsewhere also?

  4. Do you think that such resignations are justified?

 

Overall, the board was very cordial. At no point did they show any positive or negative expressions. I did not give good answers in situation based questions. Even in other questions, I gave very general answers. 

Review of Everyone Loves a Good Drought by P Sainath

A very nice post about the book I recommend to everyone.

a reader's words

Everyone Loves A Good Drought
By P.Sainath
Penguin India 1996, Price : Rs 295/- Pages: 470
ISBN: 0-14-025984-8

Palagummi Sainath is a bitter man.

On a Times of India fellowship in the year 1992, Sainath has toured some of the poorest districts in the country to know how the poorest of the poor citizens of free India live.

Exist might be a better word.

The book under review is a collection of reports that the author filed during his tours. Some of the reports kicked up controversies and in a few cases even led to some action on the part of the authorities. It is another matter that these were a drop in the ocean, and provide only an academic satisfaction in the otherwise grim scenario.

Sainath’s main findings can be summarized in one word- apathy. Apathy towards the victims of rural poverty in the country. Around this core, he…

View original post 1,042 more words

The Curious case of Crimea and Her Big Neighbour

One year back how many of you heard about an area called Crimea? I guess, not much people. All of a sudden this area on northern coast of Black Sea; once controlled by Cimmerians, Scythians, Greeks, Romans, Goths, Huns, Byzantines, Golden Horde, Ottomans etc. became a political hot potato. If that Malaysian plane episode was not there, this place would have occupied 80% of international prime time.
A little bit of History
Crimea’s association with Russia officially starts with the conquest of Crimean Khanate by Russian Empire under ‘Catherine the Great’ in 1783. Russian Empire fought hard for this place. Later, from 1853-56 Russia fought with French, British, Ottoman, Sardinia and their allies for Crimea; which later came to known as Crimean war.
After Russian civil war, Crimea became a part of Soviet Union. The twist came in 1954, when Khrushchev transferred this region to Ukrainian SSR. He might not have imagined that, Soviet Union would break up. However, that too happened in 1991 and Crimea became a part of independent Ukraine.
Russian Navy
By the way let me tell you one more interesting fact here. Russian Navy has three Military districts,
1. Western (head quartered in Severomorsk, Kaliningrad),
2. Southern (head quartered in Sevastopol, Astrakhan) and
3. Eastern (head quartered in Vladivostock).
You can locate these places in maps and see where they are. Vladivostock is very far away from Moscow; Severomorsk opens to Barents Sea; Kaliningrad is not geographically connected to Russia. This increases the importance of Black Sea Fleet head quartered at Sevastopol (this place is in Crimea).

Containment after 1991?

US and western powers, might have thought about containing Russia by wooing former Warsaw Pact countries to EU. Russia made some noises when some of them eventually joined EU and later in NATO. Meanwhile EU expansion started touching the doors of former Soviet Union member states. For Russia, Poland or some former Warsaw pact countries joining EU is one thing, and Ukraine joining EU is altogether a different thing. Problems in Ukranian capital, between groups having support from Western Capitals and Russia’s own Victor Yanukovich only made the matters worse.
Washington Post reports that, “Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and join Russia, election officials said Sunday, capping a heavy-handed campaign that blocked most voters from hearing a vision for any alternative to unification with Moscow. Crimean election Spokesman Mikhail Malyshev said the final result was 96.77 percent to rejoin Russia and 2.51 percent against.”
Will Putin annex Cremia to Russia? May be yes, in any way there isn’t much scope for a truly independent Cremia.
Vladimir Putin - Riding a bear

Vladimir Putin – Riding a bear

What will happen next?
Will US and allies really impose crippling sanctions on Russia? Or all these hue and cry are just for the sake of making some noises? I think US have limited options here. They need Russian support in Syria, they need Russian support in pulling out rest of their troops from Afghanistan. At the same time, US needs to reassure their Eastern European allies on security. They also need to show to rest of the world that, they are in control.
However, it is difficult for European countries to impose sanctions on Russian. Many of them depends on Russian oil and gas for fuelling their economy. The main question here is, will Western European nations sacrifice Russian relationship for Ukraine, which anyway doesn’t occupy much higher place in European strategic calculations (if they have one)? I don’t think so.
US still holds some cards here. They can open their huge gas reserves to their allies on other side

of the Atlantic (in case Russia reduced the oil and gas supply) to get their support. This will help US to get EU support for imposing tough sanctions on Russia. I think there will be some sanctions, and suspension on talks. Nothing further. This crisis may still go in the same way of Georgian question went. Situation may change if entire Ukraine became unstable.

China and Syria might be smiling… for time being South China Sea and Syrian crisis went further down in emergency list.

The story of a blind girl

There was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:

“Just take care of my eyes dear.”


This is how human brain changes when the status changed. Only few remember what life was before, and who’s always been there even in the most painful situations.

Life Is A Gift

Today before you think of saying an unkind word–
think of someone who can’t speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food–
think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your husband or wife–
think of someone who is crying out to God for a companion.

Today before you complain about life–
think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children–
think of someone who desires children but they’re barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house, someone didn’t clean or sweep–
think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive–
think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job–
think of the unemployed, the disabled and those who wished they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger or condemning another–
remember that not one of us are without sin and we all answer to one maker.

And when depressing thoughts seem to get you down–
put a smile on your face and thank God you’re alive and still around.

Life is a gift – Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it, and Fulfill it.

A glass of Milk, paid in Full

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.

He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”

“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Year’s later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words:

“Paid in full with one glass of milk”

Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.