Archive for March, 2019

MAHATMA GANDHI

March 21, 2019

A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF MAHATMA GANDHI ON HIS 150th ANNIVERSARY

(1869-2019)

GW 001

 

FOR A WORLD OF PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE!

Ref: https://www.gandhiserve.net/about-mahatma-gandhi/?fbclid=IwAR1ItRTYExrq3sOjcI6C8eZmEn3Q05cv3ootjKxFzD-gOolWALiD3hecBWc

Mahatma Gandhi 000

Mahatma Gandhi during an evening prayer at “Palm Bun”, Juhu Beach, Bombay, May/June 1944.

About Mahatma Gandhi

 

When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948, he was already a legend. He was born as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi 1869 in Gujarat/India. He showed the world that social and political changes can be achieved not only through violence and terror, but also through love and compassion.

The tradition of nonviolence (ahimsa) plays an important role in the Indian culture – and its religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Tolerance for other religions, and a vegetarian diet forms an integral part of their lives. Therefore, Gandhi’s love of truth and his commitment to nonviolence are expressions of ancient traditions on the Indian sub-continent. Predominantly, Gandhi tried to realize and eradicate his own shortcomings on his path to self-transformation. He tried to meet all living beings and creations of nature with great respect and humility. He argued and fought for his convictions and aims using nonviolent means, and was always ready to compromise. Gandhi lead India from colonial dependency into political independence. He not only achieved political rights for his countrymen, but fought also for social and economic equality.

GANDHI WAY PNGMohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in the town of Porbandar in the state of what is now Gujarat on 2 October 1869. He had his schooling in nearby Rajkot, where his father served as the adviser or prime minister to the local ruler. Though India was then under British rule, over 500 kingdoms, principalities, and states were allowed autonomy in domestic and internal affairs: these were the so-called ‘native states’. Rajkot was one such state.

Gandhi later recorded the early years of his life in his extraordinary autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. His father died before Gandhi could finish his schooling, and at thirteen he was married to Kasturba [or Kasturbai], who was a few months older to him. In 1888 Gandhi set sail for England, where he had decided to pursue a degree in law. Though his elders objected, Gandhi could not be prevented from leaving; and it is said that his mother, a devout woman, made him promise that he would keep away from wine, women, and meat during his stay abroad. Gandhi left behind his son Harilal, then a few months old.

In London, Gandhi encountered theosophists, vegetarians, and others who were disenchanted not only with industrialism, but with the legacy of Enlightenment thought. They themselves represented the fringe elements of English society. Gandhi was powerfully attracted to them, as he was to the texts of the major religious traditions; and ironically it is in London that he was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita. Here, too, Gandhi showed determination and single-minded pursuit of his purpose, and accomplished his objective of finishing his degree from the Inner Temple. He was called to the bar in 1891, and even enrolled in the High Court of London; but later that year he left for India.

After one year of a none too successful law practice, Gandhi decided to accept an offer from an Indian businessman in South Africa, Dada Abdulla, to join him as a legal adviser. Unbeknown to him, this was to become an exceedingly lengthy stay, and altogether Gandhi was to stay in South Africa for over twenty years. The Indians who had been living in South Africa were without political rights, and were generally known by the derogatory name of ‘coolies’. Gandhi himself came to an awareness of the frightening force and fury of European racism, and how far Indians were from being considered full human beings, when he when thrown out of a first-class railway compartment car, though he held a first-class ticket, at Pietermaritzburg. From this political awakening Gandhi was to emerge as the leader of the Indian community, and it is in South Africa that he first coined the term satyagraha to signify his theory and practice of active non-violent resistance. Gandhi was to describe himself pre-eminently as a votary or seeker of satya (truth), which could not be attained other than through ahimsa (non-violence, love) and brahmacharya (celibacy, striving towards God). Gandhi conceived of his own life as a series of experiments to forge the use of satyagraha in such a manner as to make the oppressor and the oppressed alike recognize their common bonding and humanity: as he recognized, freedom is only freedom when it is indivisible. In his book Satyagraha in South Africa he was to detail the struggles of the Indians to claim their rights, and their resistance to oppressive legislation and executive measures, such as the imposition of a poll tax on them, or the declaration by the government that all non-Christian marriages were to be construed as invalid. In 1909, on a trip back to India, Gandhi authored a short treatise entitled Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, where he all but initiated the critique, not only of industrial civilization, but of modernity in all its aspects.Gandhi returned to India in early 1915, and was never to leave the country again except for a short trip that took him to Europe in 1931. Though he was not completely unknown in India, Gandhi followed the advice of his political mentor, Gokhale, and took it upon himself to acquire a familiarity with Indian conditions. He travelled widely for one year. Over the next few years, he was to become involved in numerous local struggles, such as at Champaran in Bihar, where workers on indigo plantations complained of oppressive working conditions, and at Ahmedabad, where a dispute had broken out between management and workers at textile mills. His interventions earned Gandhi a considerable reputation, and his rapid ascendancy to the helm of nationalist politics is signified by his leadership of the opposition to repressive legislation (known as the “Rowlatt Acts”) in 1919. His saintliness was not uncommon, except in someone like him who immersed himself in politics, and by this time he had earned from no less a person than Rabindranath Tagore, India’s most well-known writer, the title of Mahatma, or ‘Great Soul’. When ‘disturbances’ broke out in the Punjab, leading to the massacre of a large crowd of unarmed Indians at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar and other atrocities, Gandhi wrote the report of the Punjab Congress Inquiry Committee. Over the next two years, Gandhi initiated the non-cooperation movement, which called upon Indians to withdraw from British institutions, to return honors conferred by the British, and to learn the art of self-reliance; though the British administration was at places paralyzed, the movement was suspended in February 1922 when a score of Indian policemen were brutally killed by a large crowd at Chauri Chaura, a small market town in the United Provinces. Gandhi himself was arrested shortly thereafter, tried on charges of sedition, and sentenced to imprisonment for six years. At The Great Trial, as it is known to his biographers, Gandhi delivered a masterful indictment of British rule.

Owing to his poor health, Gandhi was released from prison in 1925. Over the following years, he worked hard to preserve Hindu-Muslim relations, and in 1924 he observed, from his prison cell, a 21-day fast when Hindu-Muslim riots broke out at Kohat, a military barracks on the Northwest Frontier. This was to be of his many major public fasts, and in 1932 he was to commence the so-called Epic Fast unto death, since he thought of “separate electorates” for the oppressed class of what were then called untouchables (or harijans in Gandhi’s vocabulary, and dalits in today’s language) as a retrograde measure meant to produce permanent divisions within Hindu society. Gandhi earned the hostility of Ambedkar, the leader of the untouchables, but few doubted that Gandhi was genuinely interested in removing the serious disabilities from which they suffered, just as no one doubt that Gandhi never accepted the argument that Hindus and Muslims constituted two separate elements in Indian society. These were some of the concerns most prominent in Gandhi’s mind, but he was also to initiate a constructive programme for social reform. Gandhi had ideas — mostly sound — on every subject, from hygiene and nutrition to education and labor, and he relentlessly pursued his ideas in one of the many newspapers which he founded. Indeed, were Gandhi known for nothing else in India, he would still be remembered as one of the principal figures in the history of Indian journalism.

In early 1930, as the nationalist movement was revived, the Indian National Congress, the pre-eminent body of nationalist opinion, declared that it would now be satisfied with nothing short of complete independence (purna swaraj). Once the clarion call had been issued, it was perforce necessary to launch a movement of resistance against British rule. On March 2, Gandhi addressed a letter to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin, informing him that unless Indian demands were met, he would be compelled to break the “salt laws”. Predictably, his letter was received with bewildered amusement, and accordingly Gandhi set off, on the early morning of March 12, with a small group of followers towards Dandi on the sea. They arrived there on April 5th: Gandhi picked up a small lump of natural salt, and so gave the signal to hundreds of thousands of people to similarly defy the law, since the British exercised a monopoly on the production and sale of salt. This was the beginning of the civil disobedience movement: Gandhi himself was arrested, and thousands of others were also hauled into jail. It is to break this deadlock that Irwin agreed to hold talks with Gandhi, and subsequently the British agreed to hold another Round Table Conference in London to negotiate the possible terms of Indian independence. Gandhi went to London in 1931 and met some of his admirers in Europe, but the negotiations proved inconclusive. On his return to India, he was once again arrested.

For the next few years, Gandhi would be engaged mainly in the constructive reform of Indian society. He had vowed upon undertaking the salt march that he would not return to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, where he had made his home, if India did not attain its independence, and in the mid-1930s he established himself near a remote village, in the dead center of India, by the name of Segaon. He named his new home Sevagram – village of service. It is to this obscure village, which was without electricity or running water, that India’s political leaders made their way to engage in discussions with Gandhi about the future of the independence movement, and it is here that he received visitors such as Margaret Sanger, the well-known American proponent of birth-control. Gandhi also continued to travel throughout the country, taking him wherever his services were required.

One such visit was to the Northwest Frontier, where he had in the imposing Pathan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (known by the endearing term of “Frontier Gandhi”, and at other times as Badshah [King] Khan), a fervent disciple. At the outset of World War II, Gandhi and the Congress leadership assumed a position of neutrality: while clearly critical of fascism, they could not find it in themselves to support British imperialism. Gandhi was opposed by Subhas Chandra Bose, who had served as President of the Congress, and who took to the view that Britain’s moment of weakness was India’s moment of opportunity. When Bose ran for President of the Congress against Gandhi’s wishes and triumphed against Gandhi’s own candidate, he found that Gandhi still exercised influence over the Congress Working Committee, and that it was near impossible to run the Congress if the cooperation of Gandhi and his followers could not be procured. Bose tendered his resignation, and shortly thereafter was to make a dramatic escape from India to find support among the Japanese and the Nazis for his plans to liberate India.

In 1942, Gandhi issued the last call for independence from British rule. On the grounds of what is now known as August Kranti Maidan at Mumbai, he delivered a stirring speech, asking every Indian to lay down their life, if necessary, in the cause of freedom. He gave them this mantra: “Do or Die”; at the same time, he asked the British to ‘Quit India’. The response of the British government was to place Gandhi under arrest, and virtually the entire Congress leadership was to find itself behind bars, not to be released until after the conclusion of the war.

A few months after Gandhi and Kasturba had been placed in confinement in the Aga Khan’s Palace in Pune, Kasturba passed away: this was a terrible blow to Gandhi, following closely on the heels of the death of his private secretary of many years, the gifted Mahadev Desai. In the period from 1942 to 1945, the Muslim League, which represented the interest of certain Muslims and by now advocated the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims, increasingly gained the attention of the British, and supported them in their war effort. The new government that came to power in Britain under Clement Atlee was committed to the independence of India, and negotiations for India’s future began in earnest. Sensing that the political leaders were now craving for power, Gandhi largely distanced himself from the negotiations. He declared his opposition to the vivisection of India. It is generally conceded, even by his detractors, that the last years of his life were in some respects his finest. He walked from village to village in riot-torn Noakhali, where Hindus were being killed in retaliation for the killing of Muslims in Bihar, and nursed the wounded and consoled the widowed; and in Calcutta he came to constitute, in the famous words of the last viceroy, Mountbatten, a “one-man boundary force” between Hindus and Muslims. The ferocious fighting in Calcutta came to a halt, almost entirely on account of Gandhi’s efforts, and even his critics were wont to speak of the Gandhi’s ‘miracle of Calcutta’. When the moment of freedom came, on 15 August 1947, Gandhi was nowhere to be seen in the capital, though Nehru and the entire Constituent Assembly were to salute him as the architect of Indian independence, as the ‘father of the nation’.

Gandhi Speech

The last few months of Gandhi’s life were to be spent mainly in the capital city of Delhi. There he divided his time between the ‘Bhangi colony’, where the sweepers and the lowest of the low stayed, and Birla House, the residence of one of the wealthiest men in India and one of the benefactors of Gandhi’s ashrams. Hindu and Sikh refugees had streamed into the capital from what had become Pakistan, and there was much resentment, which easily translated into violence, against Muslims. It was partly in an attempt to put an end to the killings in Delhi, and more generally to the bloodshed following the partition, which may have taken the lives of as many as 1 million people, besides causing the dislocation of no fewer than 11 million, that Gandhi was to commence the last fast unto death of his life. The fast was terminated when representatives of all the communities signed a statement that they were prepared to live in “perfect amity”, and that the lives, property, and faith of the Muslims would be safeguarded. A few days later, a bomb exploded in Birla House where Gandhi was holding his evening prayers, but it caused no injuries. However, his assassin, a Marathi Chitpavan Brahmin by the name of Nathuram Godse, was not so easily deterred. Gandhi, quite characteristically, refused additional security, and no one could defy his wish to be allowed to move around unhindered. In the early evening hours of 30 January 1948, Gandhi met with India’s Deputy Prime Minister and his close associate in the freedom struggle, Vallabhbhai Patel, and then proceeded to his prayers.

That evening, as Gandhi’s time-piece, which hung from one of the folds of his dhoti [loin-cloth], was to reveal to him, he was uncharacteristically late to his prayers, and he fretted about his inability to be punctual. At 10 minutes past 5 o’clock, with one hand each on the shoulders of Abha and Manu, who were known as his ‘living walking sticks’, Gandhi commenced his walk towards the garden where the prayer meeting was held. As he was about to mount the steps of the podium, Gandhi folded his hands and greeted his audience with a namaskar; at that moment, a young man came up to him and roughly pushed aside Manu. Nathuram Godse bent down in the gesture of an obeisance, took a revolver out of his pocket, and shot Gandhi three times in his chest. Bloodstains appeared over Gandhi’s white woolen shawl; his hands still folded in a greeting, Gandhi blessed his assassin: He Ram! He Ram! [Oh God! Oh God!]

As Gandhi fell, his faithful time-piece struck the ground, and the hands of the watch came to a standstill. They showed, as they had done before, the precise time: 5:12 P.M.

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Namaste, Gandhiji –

Poem by Leonard Dabydeen

Footprints on the sands of time
glow with birthmark
each glittering step
unshaken and challenging
not by yielding to temptation
but thirst for truth
for the awakening of men
for soul-searching
in glimpses of the Transvaal
for monsoon moments
in vestibules of maharajas
turnstiles in South Africa
under a mango tree in India
ricocheting in global rumbles
for peace and non-violence
and as the wind whispers
in a stormy weather
where wars create bedrocks
for sleepless journeys
I clasp my hands
in solemn gesture
as if it were the beginning
of the end
namaste, Gandhiji.

Gandhiji, Namaste –

Poem by Leonard Dabydeen

 

I

shouted

when I heard

the shot rang out

his frail hands in solemn prayer, hey Ram.

 

Today I mark his final ‘Namaste’

satyagraha

no more fight

ending

war.

 

Fight Your Way

by Leonard Dabydeen

 

Fight

your way

to freedom

like Gandhiji

make no prison walls block your hopes and dreams. 

 

We Are All At Fault –

Poem by Leonard Dabydeen

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

We are all at fault
you and I
and others too
in the canon of our trajectory
catapulting peace over perjury
harmony versus angst
no one cooks rice
without sifting it
always some undesirables
within complex webs
of our minds
where our karma revolts
or echoes involuntarily
in matrix of peace and sanctity
as we grapple with sinews
and seek bhakti
embellishing dharma
being this change we wish
for you and me
immersing melodic stotras
within gems of Bhagavad Gita.

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Ghost of Yesterday’s Past

March 21, 2019

Ghost of Yesterday’s Past

 

When the ghost of yesterday’s past haunts you

and you visualize this image swirls

in many of your slumberless nights through

how do you shuffle your waking hour twirls?

 

Day by day as the ghost tweets in your mind

you speak to your friends in gobbledygook;

behind your toupee blubber head, they find

everything that complements how you look!

 

With every chance you gripe grumpy twitter

nothing more puerile and putrefying

oh, my God what diddlysquat critter

giving cronies much to belch his lying!

 

 

 

Perhaps desire of war is forthcoming

let’s pray end is sooner than beginning.

Flood

March 21, 2019

Flood

 

water o’er flowing

river banks eroding fast

infrastructure weak

River banks

Interstellar Visitor

March 21, 2019

Interstellar Visitor

(Oumuamua)

Wandering around

hurling through the Milky Way;

stranger from afar.

OUMUAMUA

 

 

Coming of Spring

March 19, 2019

Coming of Spring (haiku)

Cackling geese above
heralding coming of spring
streams over flowing.

Geese Flying

 

COMMENTS (From Face Book – March 2019)

Mydavolu Venkatasesha Sathyanarayana Wow, great imagery! A perfect haiku.

Leonard Dabydeen Thank you, bhai.

Indira Babbellapati “Fly away home”

Leonard Dabydeen Thank you, didi. ‘Home’ is a beautiful four-letter word.

Subhash Chandra Leonard Dabydeen, a Zen Master. (Your Haikus kindle epiphany).

Leonard Dabydeen Thank you, Subhash. This accolade from a distinguished master story teller as yourself lifts me to a higher plateau. It’s as if you’re presenting me with the Koh-i-Noor. God Bless!!

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Our Future World (Sonnet)

March 18, 2019

Our Future World

They who live by their own chagrin, acquire

moth that spiral in their mind without peace;

fetch hate, animosity as desire

never to see our world a happy place.

 

Often times by foolish wit denigrate

our hopes and dreams far beyond squint of eye,

they criticize and also peculate

day by day they usher grandiose lie.

 

Step by step we massage Gandhian thoughts

and follow in faith a path righteous

ahimsa our kindled lamp against krauts

satyagraha our stand prestigeous.

 

Walking in Mahatma’s footpath joyous

we build our future world so enormous.

 

GENERAL COMMENTS (Face Book)

Pedapudi Rama Rao Good write, dear Leonard.

 

 

BONDED FRIENDSHIP

March 17, 2019

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS

Dabydeen LLEONARD AND INDIRA 9 YearsIndira Babbellapati

CELEBRATION OF 10 YEARS OF FRIENDSHIP

LEONARD AND INDIRA 9 Years

Netaji

March 16, 2019

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bhose

Netaji

by Leonard Dabydeen

Not by spirit and determination alone

but by duty and bounded responsibility

mind-filled heart-beat be known

as all join hands for Netaji Jayanti.

 

A century and some years pass us by

but nothing will blanket Netaji intransigence

for his unequivocal cry

rid British from India with consequence.

 

“Jai Hind! Jai Hind! Jai Hind!”

battle cry: Give me blood and I

will give you freedom “, not in wind

only with unsolicited patriotism to die.

 

Netaji made many colourful friends

in a world torn by hostility

rich with political fiends

not always in consort with Gandhi.

 

Netaji beamed his love for India

in glowing spiritual guidance

of Swami Vivekananda

holding Bhagavad Gita soul alliance.

 

And so in satiating moksha

Netaji boarded a Saigon plane

leaving his India in awe

never, never to return again.

 

Netaji has embedded his faith

Like an indelible stain

unrequited by some in wraith

all over India a heroic name.

Path ( Sonnet)

March 16, 2019

PATH PNG

The Path

Where the path is made of pebbles and stones

rough on the feet and painful on the toes

tread you must with caution not to break bones

‘cause you never know the distance it goes.

 

Where the path is beyond your estimate

but go you must because you made this choice

turn not around as if to hesitate

for the journey may be yours to rejoice.

 

Where the path is layered with obstacles

brace your mind to o’ercome without recluse

some challenges Life creates with riddles

for the glory may be all yours to choose.

 

Sometimes it’s a bridge you just have to cross

with positive mind set; expect no loss.

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BOOK: DREAMS SHATTERED AND OTHER POEMS by Manab Manik

March 16, 2019

Book Review:  Leonard Dabydeen

BOOK Dreams Shattered

BOOK: DREAMS SHATTERED AND OTHER POEMS by Manab Manik, Authorspress Publication (2019)

Book Review: Leonard Dabydeen

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: Authorspress (2019)
  • ISBN-10: 938833289X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9388332897
  • ASIN: B07N69CNZZ
  •  ₹ 295 / $15

Exploring realism in the underworld that dreams are made of.

Manab is an explosively evocative poet with an insightful vision of us people as die-hard dreamers for a better world, be us farmers, vegetable sellers, rickshaw pullers on the crowded streets, or potters and masons. His heart palpitates in tsunami aches and pains to see commoners’ dreams shattered in quest for daily bread and longing to rise above their poverty. These 65 poems will move you to deep understanding of a world we should not disregard.

Born in 1984 and brought up in a poor middle class peasant family, Manab has felt hunger and poverty and seen dreams in the eyes of the members of his family.

Manab attended Vidyasagar University, Midnapore, West Bengal, where his major was English Literature. At present he is an Assistant Teacher of English at Mugbasan Hakkania High School near Kolkata.

Dreams Shattered (p. 20)

Our marriage of five months seems to me five years,

These days I’ve spent with sighs and pains and tears.

E’en five days with my husband’ve hardly been spent,

As an employee to a distant office I was sent.

In each month I would earn rupees sixteen thousand,

That’s fully spent by my father-in-law and husband.

To go on my job you gave me force and force,

you made me work with fear of divorce.

My heart would ache seeing the wedding photos in frame,

My heart would ache as you thought me only an A.T.M.

To an institution I was married, not to you,

Despite my pains I ne’er after lovers few.

Adieu! Adieu! Ne’er look at my dead face,

At Doomsday I’ll tell my aching tale in any case.

 

Manab is a prolific poetry writer.

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FACEBOOK COMMENT (15 March 2019)

  • Mydavolu Venkatasesha Sathyanarayana This 14 line poem in Alexandrine feet and iambic meter shows the poet’s poetic skills, social awareness and strength of expression. Kudos Manab.