Personal Liberty and Morality

A compulsive gaze at an English newspaper on my mobile looking for some political scoop, there was none to attract my attention, but, what caught my eye was a news about a food delivery app – Zomato. “Epic reply by Zomato to a customer who refused to accept order”, blared the news title. Dismissing it as usual misguiding headline I proceeded with my work. In any case I was not going to read any news, it was just an addictive tap on my mobile.

After a long day as I switched on the TV, combative news anchors aggressively questioned the misadventure by a nondescript man. This Hindu gentleman had refused to accept food order after he came to know a Muslim was delivering it. He posted it on twitter also and Zomato rebuffed it as well.

Moot point is not what happened on twitter and why the man refused order. At the end of day this man claimed he exercised personal liberty and Zomato and others called it breach of morality. Important question is to what extent morality and personal liberty run as parallel lines. Do they really meet at infinite or they do criss-cross every now and then.

In our country where Bharat tere tukde honge Insha allah slogan are played and replayed on TV and people watch it without even shuffling on their sofas, what can be questioned as immoral is a very loosely defined subject. Yet test of morality and question of personal liberty need to be questioned in very objective manner, without considering the past precedents.

Was he entitled by virtue of personal liberty to refuse this order, yes he was, at least I throw my weight behind this. I come from a place where every feast is cooked by a Brahmin, that too one who wears a Janeau. He never allows anyone into his kitchen, no matter who he is, until the one intending to enter kitchen is a Brahmin and wears a Janeau. No exceptions, what so ever. The society doesn’t even seem to notice it, leave alone questioning it.

A small Muslim village has a peaceful co-existence with Hindus of this town. A feast in Muslim houses has many Hindu guests for whom separate kitchen is set, none objects to it as well. No one bothers to wonder if morality has been breached, perhaps that’s the basis of peaceful co-existence. The people in this town have surrendered and exercise personal liberties for the sake of peaceful coexistence.

If morality and personal liberty run as parallel lines then this debate ends sine die. The rights conferred by constitution, to a very large extent endorse the view that I am free to exercise personal liberty. In that case anyone exercising personal liberty cannot be questioned about morality of his act. Even if we disagree on this, one cannot be accused, shamed and insulted because one who questions believes the other way. Everyone is entitled to his personal views, you have divergent views, so be it, let’s move ahead.

If the lines of morality and personal liberty criss cross, which ideally should, my personal liberty becomes subject of morality. Still, can I be questioned for the choice I made out of my personal liberty? I believe yes, I should be questioned, as this is the only tool which holds the social fabric of morality in place, but by whom is still debatable. Society at large and the self-styled harbingers of morality are not entitled to question it, because all of them have breached morality in exercise of personal liberty innumerable times. How consequential or inconsequential that breach of morality and exercise personal liberty was, is inconsequential.

Such issues are best left to themselves, they will settle with time, collective conscience of society will itself find equilibrium. Issues of subjects like personal liberty and morality are not binary. Lot of grey is there. The debates like this one erupt only when subconsciously we know that the issue is not binary yet we try to measure it on scale of black and white.

Sabrimala- Fanaticism of All Kinds

Eight hundred years, and no more counting, a cherished tradition or a patriarchal mind set or  celibacy of deity or the male ego, know it by whatever name you like, is shattered. Its ready to slip into the league of long forgotten, now irrelevant traditions. There are many in this league and this one is newest amongst them. Women of menstruating age have now started praying at Sabrimala, where lord Ayyappa neither banned nor has allowed women  praying to him, the eternal celibate had first woman praying to him in sanctum sanctorum of shrine of Sabrimala, little after eight hundred years.

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The lordships who sit on high pedestal, in habit of being addressed as lords several times in a single sentence, perhaps will lay first claim to breaking the tradition. But, their claim, unlike their judgement, which perhaps one day will attain finality, will never attain finality. Even if it tends to do so we must stop it. A regulated faith becomes rigid, much more rigid than the tradition in question is. Faith is beyond the concept of law, rather it flourishes in absence of any regulation. It flourishes only when the followers of faith initiate change. The apex court should have recused itself from giving this impugned judgement. Let those in habit of getting their egos inflated hundreds of times a day not decide how we will practice our faith.

Two women who made it to the shrine in pitch dark will also lay claim to breaking the tradition. Indeed they deserve applause. But, for eight hundred years none dared, none protested, if at all there was any resistance to this tradition, it was never seen. Why did they need clutches of law to climb the hill where Lord Ayyappa resides. Its regressive. The end did not justify means. Why name calling now? Why criticise tradition now? Why protests now? Just because, perhaps, by protesting, name calling and criticising traditions you win a badge of a liberal, with pseudo being silent.

Women praying at Sabrimala is a tale of series of fault lines. Faulting parties being, the society, the Lordships, the women and the priests.

Priests resisted women of menstruating age from visiting the shrine on pretext that Lord Ayyappa is an eternal celibate. Perhaps they obliquely suggested the Lord might lose celibacy with women entering his abode. Now that two women made it there is Ayyappa no more a celibate? If he is or he is not a celibate any more makes no difference. What had to be done has been done.

Sabrimala today stands closed for 2 days. The temple is being purified. The resistance to women’s entry to Sabrimala was never about impurity which women might cause, then why purification. Resistance was based on protecting celibacy of Ayyappa. Celibacy can’t be restored by any means, for sure.

The priests are as myopic as the Lordships were along with two women entering the shrine.  What lordships did was fanaticism of judiciary, what women have done is fanaticism for the sake of glory and what the priests are doing is fanaticism of inverted faith.

Gay, Straight & The Unfaithful

 

It took less than a month and India transformed from rainbow nation to a nation with two additional colours to rainbow, blue and pink if not red. Practically, nothing changed on ground, gays were part of our society as much as the straights were and as much as the unfaithful were. Only thing that changed with judgments striking down sec 377 and decriminalising adultery is that the society which talked about sex in embarrassed whispers is discussing sex in open.

Its not that gays and the unfaithful did not exist before, they were as naturally ubiquitous as the straights and the faithful were. The judgments gave legitimacy to gay or lesbian sex and decriminalised adultery and provided fodder for the wise and philosophers to conduct inconsequential but prolonged discussions, nothing more nothing less.

Usually the law should reflect cultural values of the society but in India its reverse, already existing value system of country took an eon to reflect in the law. The cultural heritage of this country has been documented for ten thousand years, when Ram was born and it got documented as Ramayana so was Mahabharata, documented five thousand years later. Both epics have enough to suggest that infidelity and same sex relations were a common place. Mahabharata has its foundation on Satyawati, who conceived and delivered a child produced by union with maharishi Prashar even before her marriage. Entire genetic lineage in Mahabharata, be it Dhritrastra and Pandu or the five Pandavas, were born outside legitimate marriages. The society of those times accepted it as a norm. Paintings and sculptures from yore depict gay, lesbian and so called unnatural sex.

Laws of country can be made and discarded by legislation and the Supreme Court of India, this flexibility in law making and its interpretation ensures the society keeps evolving, keeping pace with the ever changing morals of society.

In striking down Section 377 and in making adultery only a moral trespass and not crime, did the Supreme Court cross the Lakshaman Rekha and defined morality? Defining morality can’t be prerogative of legislation or judiciary, this right rests with the society and constitution of the country makes enough space for it. Interpretation of fundamental rights is so liberal that it will naturally allow society to define morals and keep judiciary and the legislation out of this process. Change in moral values will essentially stem from dissent against existing moral norms, however small the dissent may be.

Morals are bound to change, for good or bad of society, is not known now. The philosophers and the wise will have another opportunity to deliberate upon it in hindsight, their deliberations will be as inconsequential then as they are today.

May I Submit Lordship

May I submit lordship, in capacity of a private citizen and a party against your order to create VIP lanes at all toll plazas.

“It is disheartening to note that the vehicles of VIPs and sitting Judges are stopped at toll plazas… It is very unfortunate that sitting judges are also compelled to wait in the toll plaza for 10 to 15 minutes.”- Madras HC

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It indeed is disheartening that you and many ‘self-assumed VIPs’ have to wait at a toll plaza for 15 minutes and my submission is, it’s equally disheartening that I and any ‘not so important person’ like  me too has to wait at a toll plaza. Lordship, my understanding of constitution of India tells me that there should be no VIP. It’s only the feudal mind set and intoxicated sense of entitlement which created VIPs in this country. You being, as they say, ‘Nyay Murti’, should have been the last person to stand for privileged treatment which without doubt emanates from sense of entitlement.

Lordship, you only have to produce your ID card and prove your identity at toll plaza when you as VIP don’t have to pay toll. Important question is why a learned person like a sitting judge or a mantri should not pay toll. Its petty amount lordship and it won’t matter to you and other VIPs. In the same breath, lordship, I wish to inform you that I take pride in proving my identity whenever I am asked to do so, it’s my duty.

Also lordship a pertinent question is, who made you a ‘VIP’? The society who paid for your education? Or the society which pays taxes and you draw salaries? There is no objective criterion to establish that your contribution to society is more than any other commoner like me. Rather, there is enough evidence to suggest that there are many nondescript people who have made such contributions to society that have impacted the society more than yours and mine contributions have.

Lordship, one sitting on pedestal of power should display utmost humility. Only then can he contribute to society constructively. Be it of power, lust, love, entitlement, anger or any other intoxication, it makes a man unworthy of constructive social existence.

Hope next order is not of contempt proceedings against me but it’s about reducing waiting time for everyone at toll plazas.

I rest my argument Lordship.

The Hug & A Slap

You are no different than Navjot Sidhu, my 30 IQ younger brother Montu-the Moron (MTM) announced, as he served me black tea without sugar and a bowl of Gulabjamuns. Not even looking at him, partially hurt and half-heartedly I asked him for the reason of comparing me with Sidhu.

MTM – You are engaged in two diametrically opposite acts of having tea without sugar and eating bowl full of gulabjamuns, just like Sidhu, who is hugging an enemy supposedly engaged in masterminding 2020 referendum, exporting terrorism to our country and killing our jawans every other day and at the same time claiming he cares about country.

Hit hard, I dropped the last gulabjamun back in bowl and pushed cup of black tea into his hands.

Me – What do you think about Sidhus act of going to Pakistan and hugging the Pak army chief.

MTM – Think? Is there any need to think over it? He is free to hug any one he feels like. Mika too hugged Rakhi Sawant and almost swallowed her lips, you hand no opinion then.

Me – Rakhi Sawant and Mika were private citizens, Sidhu is not. He represents people.

MTM – That does not mean he surrenders his rights. Free will is his right. You and likes of you have merrily indulged in Sidhu bashing on every account, from who sat next to him to how Imran ignored him when he presented Imran with a shawl.

Me – There is something called probity, rights come next to it. Probity demanded, he conducted his self with extreme caution. At such ceremonies nothing happens by chance, everything is preplanned. He should have used maturity and political acumen to avoid embarrassing moments like sitting next to Masood Khan.

MTM – And the hug? Sidhu has already said it was an emotional reaction to an overwhelming news.

ME – If you can’t control your emotions and get overwhelmed at every news, you probably should denounce public life. How could he have forgotten the sons of soil who got killed by Pak army? I even doubt he represents people.

MTM – So like most, you feel that he is a traitor.

Me – Not representing people and being a traitor are two different things. For sure, it was grave insult to the sacrifices made by our soldiers. No nationalist should do it.

MTM – why so much of noise on Imran ignoring Sidhu? Sidhu claims he spent 40 minutes speaking to Imran on peace and other issues.

Me – It’s only what he claims. Did he speak about peace in backdrop of referendum 2020 or when Pak army was violating cease fire and pushing militants into our country? Its not for any random leader or citizen to broker peace with neighbour. There are processes and procedures for that. I believe Imran had already slapped Sidhu when he ignored Sidhu publicly and Sidhu returned the favour with a hug.

MTM – It’s only your biased presumption.

MTM walked out of discussion thumping his feet to convey his displeasure.

Me (raising my voice)– Keep in mind you moron, consistence without reason is virtue of fools.

MTM – I am already one just be cautious about yourself.

Me – Let me tell you, we are country of people with big hearts and intelligent brains, not all are born morons.

The Incompetent Preceptor

While none wants to have an incompetent preceptor, yet, I believe, working under an incompetent preceptor can be a boon than bane. Learning never stops, so does your quest to seek teachers. Few are forced upon others are chosen. The chosen ones, more often than not, will be more competent than the one who chooses them. On the other hand, the forced ones are pure stroke of luck.

Our bosses are the ones forced upon us, they might be more knowledgeable than us, yet, as they say, redemption does not come from what one knows, it comes from what one becomes out of that knowledge. At times, greatness, responsibilities and dynamism are forced upon, even when one never has it.

I had a great fortune of working with an extremely incompetent preceptor. He wore at least four badges of having successfully closed down the companies or departments he had worked for. His reputation flew to us even before he did, a million dollar question was, how quick he will live up to his reputation. For the fifth time in a row he proved he was consistent, another badge got place on his shoulder. From knowledge to dynamism, responsibilities to onus of leadership, greatness to humility, enthusiasm to positivity and competence to wisdom, everything was forced upon him.

He could never teach me what to do well, he knew none, but, every action of his taught me what not to do if you want a happy team, committed employees, transparent process, customer centricity and much more. His biggest contribution to learning curve of all employees was – just don’t practice what he does, and you will have a great organisation, even in absence of your ability to positively contribute to organisation.

With due respect to him, let’s call him R, I list down seven of his great commandments below, with a warning, practice them and you are doomed. Also with a piece of advice, if you know nothing else, just avoid his 7 commandments and you will build a great organisation.

Commandment No 1 from R

My answer is no, now tell me your question:- You just being a spec of dirt cant have a good idea which organisation can implement. I am only source of good ideas. After all in Bhagwat Gita Lord Krishna told us the same, whatever there is, is Him.

Commandment No 2 from R

You are always wrong: – Discussion is not on merits for this, it’s a given precondition for engagement.

Commandment No 3 from R

Praise me even if you are writing an Obituary: – No matter what you are writing or discussing it has to have prelude which has composition of my praises.

Commandment No 4 from R

Diversity of views is treason: – Having any views which are not mine tantamount to treason. If you dedicate your views as mine, an outside chance of pardon does exist.

Commandment No 5 from R

Credit of success is mine and burden of failure yours: – If you succeed, sing a hymn in my praise, after all idea was mine. If you fail- it was your idea, and if I am too kind, you failed to implement the idea well.

Commandment No 6 from R

You smile and you are not serious: – Always carry a frowning and horrid look, smiles are not meant for office.

Commandment No 7 from R

Don’t talk to your colleagues: – No matter he sits right across you. Write a mail or call him on intercom, if you are talking to him, no doubts, you are gossiping about me.

While you read this, I have moved ahead in life and the preceptor has successfully put another company to rest. May its soul rest in peace.

Apologetic Kejriwaal

Like every evening I looked forward to have evening tea with my 30 IQ younger brother, Ugly-The-Fugly. His company is best stress buster and enlightening too. As I walked in he showed me apology letter from Arvind Kejriwaal, the chief minister of Delhi addressed to Ugly-The-Fugly himself. He hopped he danced and he whistled in joy, Kejriwaal has apologised to me he screamed. I looked at my wife perplexed and half smiling, she winked, signalling its rubbish as always.

As it turned out he had got a link on whatsApp, fill your name and you get a personalised apology letter from Kejriwaal. As I settled on sofa the news reader announced Kejriwaal had apologised to two more political rivals of his. He has brought himself to such a shame, I muttered as Ugly-The-Fugly settled next to me with his cup of tea. I knew today we will be talking on Kejriwaal and wasting no time Ugly-The-Fugly shot his first question at me.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Aren’t you happy a chief minister has apologised to me?

Me- I feel so proud Ugly.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Is it not fair for a person to go wrong.

Me – It is. Everyone goes wrong.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Then why so much noise about Kejriwaals apology. He went wrong, he realised and he apologised.

Me – He hasn’t realised he was wrong.

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Ugly-The-Fugly – Then what are the apologies about? They say he is going to apologise to another man, at whom he hurled few abuses in the court room as well.

Me- He actually does not mean it. He is apologising as he realises he will go to jail if the court decides the cases. He is trying to reach an out of court settlement.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Then he must have embarrassed himself and his party in a big way. How would he face his family.

Me – That’s his problem Ugly.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Why did he say such things which had no substance. A man of sane mind would never do that.

Me – He wanted to project himself as a saintly politician.

Ugly-The-Fugly – But then his conduct should have been saintly.

Me – Hmmm.

Ugly-The-Fugly – This apology would shatter his image of saintly politician, if all it were there.

Me- It will.

Ugly-The-Fugly – I suppose he was trying to be saintly politician at cost of others.

Me – True.

Ugly-The-Fugly – Are such people not more dangerous for people and politics both, more than a typical politician.

Me – They are, one can’t be good because others are bad.

Ugly-The-Fugly snatched TV remote from me to tune in to a music channel. It played his favourite song chikni chameli……… he broke into dance once again holding the apology letter in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

Relationships Without Expectations

Fortunately, no covenant is entered while human relations take shape. Pure chance, act of destiny, a casual smile or a reluctant handshake or other acts like these lay foundation of long lasting human relationships.

Unfortunately, a few relationships are forged based on covenants entered, covenants of material consideration, such relationships are anything but for sure are far from happy and comfortable. We enter employer employee relationships, they have consideration, and they are stressful. Marriages for considerations of dowry end up in marital discords.

Unfortunately yet again, relations become sour over a period of time, thanx to our expectations. We expect people to act in ways convenient to us, while they are driven by free will and will act as they should, after all that was basis of relationship.

Expectations never move around alone, they come with an unforgiving companion, frustration. Frustrations come with self-inflicted misery for which none other than ourselves is responsible, because expectation begins with a capital ‘I’ and so does frustration, it too begins with our self-centred ego. The moment we start expecting we start downplaying, and then insulting other persons individuality.

A mother and kid relation, a relation between two siblings, a relation between two friends remains happy and strong till the time either of them expects nothing from other. The moment phrases like ‘I expected you…’, or ‘I thought you would’ or ‘you should have’ enter our relationships they become sour.

Why would a person bound by free will do as you expected him to do, no sane reason exists. If you though someone will act in a given way, it was your thought not his.

Don’t demand from a relationship, let it be free, if it has something for you it will come to you and if it has nothing let it go, without regrets. Holding on too fast to a relationship is like searching water in desert, the mirage keeps eluding you and you never return happy.

In a relationship, give I must and expect I must not.

What about having it as a new year resolution.

 

Theism Leads To Atheism

Belief in God has been a practice since times immemorial. Religion plays a vital role in defining the practices and systems which guide people through the system of complex beliefs that define God. Civilisations spread over large geographic areas had common systems of beliefs, and civilisations separated by geographic barriers developed different set of beliefs. Term Religion had no place in social systems.

Yet, ancient Greek systems of worship and Gods had a striking similarity with the practice and beliefs of Aryans which is now called ‘Hinduism’. The Gods, the weapons a particular God carried, the powers and duties ascribed to the Gods were very similar. With civilisations growing in size and geographies and thinkers trying to find explanations to unanswerable doctrines in existing religious practices started defining beliefs in their own way to create more systems of beliefs or religions. Centres of influences, to further strengthen their influence also created new religions. The ones who still disagreed with the existing systems of beliefs became Atheists.

Present day narrative of religion is entwined around human desire to overcome nature and its laws and is governed by eternal darkness which engulfs us all. To begin with, religion became a refuge from the sufferings, we had and have someone to fall back upon or to blame for those sufferings. Religion gets engraved in our minds, from tender years, in such a manner that we are prejudiced against any thinking which questions religious practice, and thus pushing us into irrevocable slavery. The ones who found it difficult to cope with above two became atheists.

Atheism on the other hand liberates one from all bondages that current narrative of religion imposes. Theism and Atheism get demarcated by the narration of religion we follow. A liberal religious practice, confirming to the laws of nature and the liberty to question the narrative of religion, where philosophy does not become the abode for the weak, but it encourages enlightenment, erases all differences between atheism and theism.

I am a devout Hindu Brahmin, I support a Janeu (Yagopavit), a sacred thread which is worn around left shoulder and symbolises affirmation to sacraments and that I shall always remain within the framework of socially acceptable behaviour. Being a devout Hindu Brahmin I have a strong belief that Hinduism itself teaches us Atheism. Essentially, our disagreement with current religious practice and our complete confirmation to correct narrative of religious practice, both lead us to Atheism.

Most revered deities in Hinduism – Brahma, Narayan, Shiv and Shakti are more metaphorical than being real beings. Brahma or Braham is super consciousness, it cannot be a physically existing object. Naryan is Nar and Ayan. While Hinduism has a very complex definition of Nar, a simple definition defines it as soul. Ayan in Sanskrit means abode. Narayan is abode to the soul. Shiv itself is has no form and thus no existence, Shiv in Sanskrit means the one gifting wellbeing to all. Shakti is wand of energy. The energy which can only be realised by Yog or union, union with super consciousness.

Metaphoric presentation in Hinduism does not halt with deities. The weapons they hold too are metaphors. Trident, the most prominent weapon in hands of Shiv and Shakti is a complex metaphor. Trident is represented by a long shaft and three sharp spears at the end of shaft. The spears represent Kaam/Karm (actions), Arth (Knowledge) and Dharm (the righteous way of living). The shaft represents Moksh (liberation or realisation of Super consciousness). Kaam, Arth and Dharm lead to Moksh.

Bhagwat Gita, nowhere talks about rituals. It talks about leading virtuous life with subdued senses, the senses which are source of Lust, Anger, Greed, fear and attachment to physical being. Theism practiced in true form does not need the concept of God and that perhaps is atheism. Atheism on the other hand leads you to realising super consciousness within, and that’s what actually theism teaches.

 

The Cult Business

Saints selling salvation – across religions, across casts, across countries across continents. In India, two things see no slow down, Religious tourism and cult business. We have super rich saints, clad in robes of different hues (saffron does not give you competitive advantage). It’s been a steady stream of these Saints being found on the wrong side of law, yet the followers refuse to accept what they see.

Cults are built around four corner stones and one protective shield. Fear from God and God men, Exclusive ability of God man to unite you to God, Larger than life image of God Man and of course our desperation to be free from sufferings in this life and union with God beyond. Vote bank politics gives it a protective shield and none can question them.

Till the time we keep searching God outside our souls we will keep building Cults of all classes, be it Ram Rahim, Asharam, Rampal Yadav, Shri Shri, Sadguru et al. why I name them in one breath? Because a cult is a cult, it can never be good. One cult may have entirely different character than another, but this character gets differentiated only by degree and array of vices which thrive in the cult and his asharams. Religious insecurity and fear stems from practice of finding God outside our soul.

Fear that gets ensconced in minds of disciples in guise of devotion to master or The Guru is common vice that prevails all across. Assumption that the blessings of the God man can set us free from sufferings is root of fear from the God man. He may or may not say so, yet his economics is directly proportional to the amount of fear you have.

How can a Guru lead millions of devotees to salvation? He can’t even guide them to proper way of meditation. Why at all a Guru should tell me to follow a particular way to unite with God. Why can’t he just let me follow my own path where he can be a guide, a mentor and a student himself? But that does not make economic sense, masses won’t follow that Guru, because masses just need a quick fix. Masses want shortcuts to alleviate sufferings and union with God, only if possible.

Larger than life image of Guru creates around him a sect of followers, disciples and devotees inflicted with anoesis. You visit any of the ashrams and you see mammoth pictures of The Gurus. You visit any of his disciples house and you find Guru’s pictures at all prominent places and temples. Why should a Guru create such image? The moment Guru tells you that he too has to undergo sufferings as you do, the image of his sainthood is demolished in your mind. The cult comes to an end.

Until and unless a Guru tells you that he is no panacea to sufferings you have, he is not true Guru. Until and unless the Guru tells you that he too isn’t sure if he will achieve salvation, he has vested interest in sainthood. Until and unless a Guru tells you that he can bless you but he needs blessings as much as you need them, he is cheating you. Until and unless Guru tells you that your struggle for salvation is only yours and no one can be your companion in this struggle The Guru is leading you to perpetual darkness. If Guru does it, the cult gets entombed and business stops.

 

 

 

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