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.




The Dalit

A few days from now world’s largest democracy, India, will choose its 14th president. The politicians will choose country’s first citizen and the supreme commander of armed forces based on prime qualification of being a Dalit. Both the presidential candidates have illustrious career, are authorities in constitution and have held most prestigious constitutional post purely due to their competence. Still, to be president of country being Dalit weighs more than everything else. Selection based on the birth of person. Unfortunate, despicable and regressive.

That’s the power of being a Dalit, OBC, minority or someone from so called not-so-well-to-do-community. No doubts we will always remain divided by these classes or caste.

Much before Gregor Mendel and Charles Darwin defined laws of hereditary transmission of genes and law of Natural Selection respectively, Manu laid down the caste system based on same principles.

Manu divided human race into four categories or castes. Intellectually most evolved, learned people would be known as Brahmins, the ones who had ability to seek the Brahm. They were bestowed upon with responsibility of enlightening lives of others and being guide for mankind. The second caste was The Kshatriyas, ones with great physical and mental strength, they were warriors. The Vaisyas made the third caste, they did all kinds of businesses and farming. The last and the ‘lowest’ caste – The Shudras- the ones who served all others.

A kid at birth was considered a Shudra, irrespective of the caste his parents belonged to. The kid based on its genetic makeup and thus the mental and physical abilities would choose a profession for himself, thus belonging to a particular caste. A Brahmans progeny had all chances of being a Kahatriya, Vashiya or a Shudra. Same was true for all other castes.

Manu mandated inter caste marriages, in-fact it was considered socially more acceptable to marry outside caste. It ensured all kind of genes intermingled and over all a healthy gene pool existed, eliminating the inferior genes.

Over a period of time the inter caste marriages started becoming rare. Perhaps the human instincts guided people of similar and compatible gene pool to marry each another. With passage of time the paramparas (social customs) became more and more stiff. Brahmans married Brahmans, Kshatriyas married Kshatriyas and so on. Laying foundation for genetic segregation.

Not that the so called ‘Upper castes’ had an impeccable gene pool and ‘lower casts’ had entirely weak gene pool. The upper caste progeny is born with poor intellect, physical and mental attributes and reverse in case of lower casts, they produce progeny with intellect, great physical and mental attributes. The upper castes commanded social system thus oppression of lower castes in hands of upper castes started.

For educated commoner the caste should not have much impact. Yet, workplaces and educational institutions see a deep caste divide.

Reservation leaves deep scars in minds of young upper castes, with system of reservation we are not developing capability in the lower or oppressed castes. We are only positioning them at 25 meter mark in a 100 meter sprint. This is pumping into system inefficient resources.

With passage of time the caste divide is becoming more pronounced in social discourse. Being a lower caste and being on receiving end of something makes you a hero overnight. The lower castes are not really the oppressed ones, nor do they lack in abilities, yet from being a President to a clerk to a doctor to a chief minister being Dalit has a glory attached. Irony is the so called upper castes too want to be lower castes. Just because their kids will stand 25 meters ahead, which is a substantial advantage.

I myself did not go to study MBBS just because I was a Brahman. One with at least 20% less marks than me made to the same course of MBBS, just because he was a lower caste. The day I made it to university in MBA course my eyes were searching for those incapable students who were in my class not because of merit but because they belonged to lower caste.

The modern discourse of caste system has much more influence of social engineering which has happened over years. As the society progressed the caste system should have seen blurring boundaries. Yet, political ambitions don’t let it happen. Reservation system is another big player.

Hi Sexy!!

Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bolen (people call me sexy) was the number which became a super hit while I was in my teens. Within days of its release the producer and director were asked to change the lyrics to baby, baby, baby mujhe log bolen. Yet this song laid foundation of bringing word sexy to living rooms in India, where sex and sexuality are the last things you discuss in open, and that goes till the time I am penning it down.

It was in my 20’s that I looked for the exact meaning of this word in a hard cover English dictionary and it read




Sexually attractive or exciting.

Synonyms read

Sexually attractive, seductive, desirable, alluring, inviting, sensual, sultry, slinky, provocative, tempting, tantalizing.

Surely, for the way my bringing up happened, I never found this word suitable enough to be used in daily life. In past five years I have seen a gradual increase in use of this word, especially on the social media, mostly used when someone of fairer sex looks beautiful. We have strong unwritten rules to use this word. It’s strictly woman to woman. Let a male friend use this word for a woman and he will be blocked at the least. If he were a colleague a case of sexual harassment would surely come his way. If he were family friends, the ties, gone for ever.

So what’s so sexy about the word sexy, or what’s not so sexy about the word sexy. I had never bothered about it, while I always found the use of this word a bit weird when used to describe someone looking beautiful as sexy. Beautiful isn’t sexy, and sexy, most of the times won’t be beautiful.

Why would someone try and look sexy, inviting lustful eyes. One would like to look beautiful, graceful, intelligent, authoritative, etc. but not sexy.

The other day, my 8 yrs old daughter on returning from school asked me why was sexy a bad word. She explained she had caught this word from a song on television and along with few friends she had sung it front of the teacher. Teacher telling them it was a bad word.

It was for the first time when I was forced into think on this word seriously. Only few seconds at hand and I had to answer. While I was thinking another question followed, what does sexy mean?

Well darling you are too young to understand the meaning, but yes, it’s not too good a word and you can always avoid using this. I somehow wriggled out. But yes, my thoughts on sexiness of the word sexy had undergone a paradigm shift, just in few seconds.

My classmate recently sent a message describing word sexy on a whatsApp group. Her message created an uncomfortable silence in the group. She had explained sexy was powerful, beautiful, intelligent, illuminated, graceful, dignified, wise and so on.

Why use such a negative word to describe such positive traits?


Yes you read it right, forgive and you commit a grave sin. But before we proceed further just pen down why would you forgive anyone? And under what circumstances?

Forgiveness has been considered as the biggest virtue, we assume forgiveness brings us close to God. But forgiving someone does absolute opposite of it. Whatever reason you wrote before reading it further, you assume the other person was wrong, had committed mistake or had hurt you. We become judgmental while forgiving someone, without considering the circumstances under which he acted the way he acted and without knowing what his intent was. We become judge, jury and the prosecution and handover a trophy of greatness to our own selves for that great judgement.

Before you forgave, you, for sure might have felt anger and pain, which you might have felt- emanated from actions of others. What you felt, happened because you see the world that ways. Thus, feelings of anger and pain cannot be ascribed to someone else. They are yours and you are responsible for them.

Biggest error in process of forgiveness is that we hold other person guilty, for doing that, we are not qualified, neither has God empowered us to do so. What the ‘erring’ person did to you was his Karma. The cosmic law of Karma will take its own course and reward or punish him. You are not entitled to forgive or seek retribution. Your role is to forget and move ahead, because cosmic law of Karma delivered to you what you deserved.

“I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you”- Lord Buddha.

Holy texts talk about forgiveness at length. But only when such texts are read and understood without considering their context. Whenever forgiveness is talked about, its talked about in the absence of duality of existence i.e. Oneness with God. Forgiveness is talked about in absence of existence of good and bad, day and night, fair and unfair and so on. Once concept of duality is put to rest purpose of forgiveness becomes infructuous.

For good to exist bad must exist, for darkness to be felt we must experience light, for us to be joyful we must experience grief. A counter force is necessary to experience all of them. But to experience divinity and for divinity to exist no counter force is needed and that is absence of duality, that is Oneness with God. A Hindi hymn sums it up very well “हर देश में तू, हर भेष में तू, तेरे नाम अनेक तू एकही है” (You manifest in every shape & form, but it’s only You that exists)

Shiva is one of the most revered deity in Hinduism, where Sanskrit word Shiva translates to – ‘The one who always does good to all’. A hymn addressed to Him says (replace Shiva with ‘one who does good to all’) There is nothing apart from Shiva; there is nothing other than Shiva; whatever there is, is Shiva; There is nothing that is not Shiva; there is no time that is not Shiva; there is no place that is not Shiva.

The core of discourse of forgiveness is pivoted on concept of Oneness and absence of Duality. When we understand that everything that exists, exists to do good to all, forgiveness loses its significance. Anything that does good to all cannot be source of anger, pain or grudge.


The cosmic law of Karma ensures no injustice is inflicted upon anyone. By punishing someone for his sins or by forgiving him for the same we try to interfere with the law of Karma. Though we have no authority to do so and we are incapable of doing so. The only choice we have is choice of forgetting and moving ahead. We don’t forget and don’t move ahead just because our wisdom is eclipsed by cosmic delusion, we are thus a bewildered lot.

Rays of Hope- By Dr. ‎Nuvddip Dhesi

Amidst the raging storm and droplets of water saturating everything around me
Piercing the heart of the clouds I see
Rays of sunshine with myriads of hues.
These are the rays of hope
Brimming with immense scope.

Amidst the throngs of people who have visited the alleyways of my life’s journey
There were kindred spirits who held me in my bleakest moments.
These are the rays of hope
Who never let me fall into the abyss of darkness
They endowed me with the courage to bear all harshness.

Amidst the ships that sail the tempestuous waters
There are ones that ride the treacherous waves.
These are the rays of hope
They fuel my fiery aspirations
And are the seeds of my inspiration.

Life in extreme conditions

Amidst the life’s cacophony
There are melodies that charm the heart
Symphonies that are a work of art.
These are the rays of hope
That keep me tranquil and prevent me from falling apart.

Dr Nuvddip Dhesi

Leave Your Religion Home

धर्म -ग्रन्ध  सब  जला चुकी  है  जिसके  अंतर  की  ज्वाला

 मंदिर  मस्जिद  गिरजे  सब  को  तोड़  चूका  जो  मतवाला

  पंडित  मोमिन  पादरियों  के  फंदो  को  जो  काट  चूका

  कर  सकती  है  आज  उसी  का  स्वागत  मेरी  मधुशाला


They beat him to death as he supposedly had consumed meat of The Holy Cow. The houses were set on fire as their holy text was desecrated. A Fatwa issued to chop his head off for disrespecting Islam.

None knows how many times they worshiped the holy cow, none can tell if they ever read The Granth Sahib with clean mind. Even the Moulana who issued fatwa wondered what Islam was all about.


But my question is – Is your religion so weak that it can be insulted? If so, shun it now than later.

If your cow’s killing leads to blood bath lets find another mother. The udders of cow teach to feed selflessly.

If holiness of Granth Sahib is disrespected at its desecration, believe me we need obliterate some parts of this holy text as they teach us to love selflessly and sacrifice courageously.

Leave your religion home if it’s so fragile that any act which disagrees with it can’t be tolerated. Leave your religion home if Allah gets insulted by someone’s utterances. Leave your religion home of someone’s nude depiction of Goddess hurts you (you yourself depict her nude). Leave your religion home if you are hurt by one not covering his head while praying.

God is not your private property, I will respect him as much I wish to, and will make fun, criticize and fight with him as much as I wish.

Bhagat Singh’s Inqulab is Gandhi’s Satyagrah

Today is the death anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. He went to Gallows with two fellow revolutionaries Rajguru and Sukhdev. Bhagat Singh, One of the greatest inspirations for Indians. Inqulab Zindabad (Long Live the Revolution!) – a slogan given by him hasn’t lost its relevance even today, nearly a century after it was coined. Yet, Bhagat Singh is one leader who has been misunderstood the most, or at least has not been understood completely.

Before I write more about this Great Soul I set the rules which will guide us throughout this piece. First and foremost, I will not extrapolate what Bhagat Singh would have become had he not gone to gallows at the age of 23. Humans are no mathematical equation, life experiences have profound effects on the way we behave.  I will abstain from making assumptions on what future potential he held. I will not compare him with anyone. Not with Che Geurvara and Fidel Castro (attempts to draw comparisons to both have been there, Bhagat Singh was for conversion of mind set of adversary and the oppressed without use of force). Will not compare or contrast him with Gandhi. Not that I am insecure about the stature of these gentlemen had in society, and also not that I hold more or less reverence to Gandhi and Bhagat Singh, only because his greatness deserves no comparisons, it deserves absolute respect.

We are so ill informed about him that many think he went to gallows on 14th Feb. Every valentine’s day is preceded with the messages calling all not to celebrate valentine’s day but pay homage to Bhagat Singh. Most presume him to be a gun wielding and bomb dropping leader. We assume him to be such leader who, with Inqulab Zindabad slogan could have lead masses to mount a carnage on British. We assume all wrong and too less.

As a young boy he grew up chanting Gaitary Matra, yet religion had less influence on him than the events that surrounded him and the country, he died as an atheist. He mastered English, Punjabi and Urdu, not by formal education but mostly by self-education. A keen student who kept learning till the last days of his life.

While we celebrate Inqualab, it’s important to understand his concept of Inqulab – The revolution which he wanted to usher. In his message to students Bhagat Singh said, “Today we cannot ask youth to take pistols and bombs…”, he continues, “so that we will be independent and exploitation of man by man will become an impossibility”. He, in a letter close to 23rd march 1931 again wrote, “My heart nurtured some ambitions for doing something for humanity and my country.”

Having being known for killing British officer and then becoming famous for dropping bomb at parliament house (a bomb so designed that it was harmless) Bhagat Singh never wanted to kill. Said two acts of Bhagat Singh could never have terrorised any one, leave alone the British Empire, but he shook the conscious of Indians and The Inqulab began.

After Killing Saunders he ran away, perhaps, partly out of fear and also because he knew killing Saunders served no purpose, greater purpose awaits him. After dropping bombs at the parliament he had enough time and opportunity to run away, yet he did not. And to this account he says, “We deliberately offered ourselves to bear the penalty for what we had done and let the imperialist exploiters know that by crushing individuals, they cannot kill ideas.”

His Satyagrahi approach became more and more pronounced as he approached the climax of his plan. The plan of doing something such which shook the consciousness of the country and then during the trial sent out a strong message to the masses. The message was unequivocal, revolution for good of humanity and the country, Inqulab by self-sacrifice and sufferings.

Bhagat Sigh got brutally beaten up many times while in police custody only because he challenged the unjust and unfair system of British Empire. As a true Satyagrahi he observed a fast of 102 days in the jail. Sending out a strong message of revolution to the masses.

Inqulab and Satyagrah are the same concepts, expressed differently by two individuals, both influenced by different life experiences and separated by time and space. Inqulab was conceptualised and executed within a time frame of 5-7 years, even less. Concept of Satyagrah evolved over a great length of time. Perhaps that’s the only difference why we perceive both of them differently.

Special thanks to my good friend Paramjit S. Virk.

She Won’t Regret What She Said, But What She Did Not Do

Gurmehar Kaur took the country by storm with her video. The dichotomy again came into fore with her video, dichotomy, which is basic principle of our existence. Good and bad, light and dark, fair and tyrant and so on we are dichotomous. Then why much ado about nothing.

For sure Gurmehar chose a topic and a medium to express herself on that topic, which without doubt would have shot her to fame (eye of storm).

She, for sure deserves compassion first than criticism. Compassion in the way we interpret what she said. It’s a fair chance what she meant was not what we interpreted. Given this assumption we can simply arrive at a conclusion that she just advocated for peace between India and Pak.

The freedom of speech does entitle her to express her opinion on any topic she deems fit. But freedom alone is not a virtue, with it comes responsibility, and with it also comes the onus of being aware of the social environment.  If my freedom of speech triggers the slogans of ‘Aazadi’ in campus where we expect people will be groomed to build the nation, I should sacrifice my freedom of expression. If my freedom allows political leaders to redefine slogans of Aazadi in such manner that they become legitimate, I should sacrifice my freedom. That sacrifice will certainly be much smaller than the sacrifice which Gurmehar’s father made. Because of people like her father we have all the freedoms we have.

But the story for me and you nearly ends here, we will move ahead. Some of us will call her names, others will shout slogans of Aazadi yet another group will empathise with her and many will use it as catapult to make political gains. Debates and discussions will certainly define the social discourse on such topic in future.

But for Gurmehar, it will have long lasting impact. She may or may not take pride in what she said, but what she did not do as a follow up to her video will certainly haunt her for long. In her hindsight she won’t take pride in running away. She certainly will have difficult times convincing herself that it was fine not to stand up for herself. She abandoned herself, it will turn out to be more painful than the pain inflicted by trolls.

Valentines Day

Sitting three tables across in the coffee shop she beheld me with piercing gaze, looking deep inside my eyes.

Stubbornness of my eyes yielded nothing.

Yet she continued her conversation, “I love you”, she said.

My eyes said nothing.

She corrected herself, “let’s be friends at least.”


Waning moon made its appearance at the window sill, smiling at the conversation we were having.

My arrogant eyes made no concessions.

Yet she talked and talked, at times with her cup of coffee and at others with my inexpressive eyes.

She got up abruptly and paid bill for both of us- walked away, not even giving a gaze over her shoulders.

I followed her as the moon had a bigger smile on its face.

She started her car and drove away.

I yelled from behind, “let’s be friends at least.”

It was too late.

As I stood in despair, the moon hid behind the clouds.

She tapped my shoulder from behind, “let’s have a coffee together”, she said.

Moon blushed and made no appearance.

We shared the coffee table and eyes did all the talking.

In Search of Happiness

I sipped aromatic tea slouching in my rocking chair, aroma of rain drops mixing with dry soil and whispers of gentle breeze took me down the memory lane. Images of my childhood to teens, from my university days to my marriage, from my first job till few days back became vividly alive. All images conveyed me one thing in common, I had an extremely happy past, yet I wasn’t happy today…. In my present. It suddenly reminded me of the fact that at every stage of my life I had remembered my past and found that my past was happier and present wasn’t, rather present was sad at the least.

While a kid I had many good friends, we played, quarrelled, laughed and enjoyed to gather. We had almost everything, hand chiselled cricket bats rubber balls and a big playground to play. Yet I did not enjoy it, I wanted a real bat, a leather ball and pads to play and that all eluded me and so did the ability to enjoy those moments.

As I grew up I had a real bat, leather ball and pads too, yet I wasn’t happy. But I wanted to be a better player. Many more unfulfilled desires played havoc with my ability to stay happy. I must confess, I desired almost everything before the time was ripe to possess it.

While in class four I wanted to be in class six, I just could not wait to write with a pen. And pen was allowed only in class six. I simply did not enjoy what happened in class 4. I wasn’t happy while in class 4 because others, I assumed, were happier than me, simply because they were in class six. Nevertheless I arrived in class 6, already having realised happiness is not in writing with a pen, and real happiness was in being in college, after all it relieved me of the strict discipline of school. Freedom, I realised, was real happiness.

College was not far off, I got subjects of my choice, very good teachers to teach. I went around with my friends, we played music on canteen desks, we screamed, we yelled and we laughed a lot. But those in class six while I studied in class four had made to medical colleges and many had girlfriends as well. I wasn’t in a medical college, I assumed being in medical college was perhaps a precondition for a girl to fall for me. I wondered, what use this freedom is of if I don’t have a girlfriend.

I and my best friends would go out for strolls daily dreaming about a bright and better future. We would talk for hours on how happy we will be in years to come. The cups of tea and sumptuous servings of jalbis we had to gather, did not please us as much as their memories do today.

I realize today, my unfulfilled desires had good friends, comparisons and jealousy which made my life miserable.

I never went to medical college and never had a girlfriend as well. But I went to university, studied Management and lived in hostel. The days spent there still bring smile on my face. But I wasn’t in a best ranked university and my room did not have an attached toilet. There were hostel mates who could spend much more than me. And yes, I did not have a motorbike as well. I knew I will be happy when I have all this. Only once I get a good job.

I got a job, a motorbike, luxurious room and I spent generously. But those in class six had married by now, had kids and drove cars. I wasn’t happy yet, but happiness wasn’t far away, I assured myself. Dreams started becoming a reality, I married a loving girl, and have a daughter, own house, good income and two cars. Almost everything that the class six guys have, and almost everything much more than I ever dreamt of. But the cars are not big enough, after all my neighbour owns bigger ones.

By now drizzle had stopped, I had a heavy heart and I decided to go out for a long walk. As I walked by the nearby slum, I heard incoherent voices singing folksongs while music was being played with spoons and other utensils, scantily clad kids danced, everyone there was so happy. I stopped by and shook my legs with them. They offered me a worn out chair and a cup of tea. Chair did not rock but trembled, tea was too sweet for my taste and wasn’t that aromatic, but was much tastier. Ah!! Slum dwellers too were much happier than me as was my neighbour.

I perhaps am Sisyphus, the king of Ephyra….. the baggage I carry never lets me realise that happiness is now and here.

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