CAPF 2016 INTERVIEW

Date-16th Jan 2017

  • Time-9AM

Due to shivering cold, I woke up late and reached the ‘temple’ of we, the UPSC religion people, 5 minutes late. The CISF security checked us and sent us in. The UPSC is very small and there are no awe creating structures. So dont have any prejudices about it or else you will get disappointed. Nothing feels special there. After the routine procedures, our sequence for interview was told and mine was the second in my group. Everyone was wearing the blazer and only 2-3, like me, were only on shirts. So naturally I was literally shaking by cold. I went for the toilet twice to relieve the performance pressure.

My name was called in and I was to be interviewed by the panel of Chairman Vinay Mittal. I didnt know anything about him, and it helped me. It lasted for around 20 minutes. The peon opened the door for me, immediately in front of me was the chairman. Then it went as follows…

  • Me: May I come in sir?
  • Ch: Yes come in.
  • Me- Good morning sir (said it thrice with a smile, to other members)
  • Ch- Good morning. Please sit down.
  • Me- Thank you sir(with a smile)
  • Ch- Is this your photo?
  • Me- Yes sir.(he then asked me to submit a photo with spects. so it is advisable to have photos with spects.)
  • Ch- So Sarang, I come to know from your bio-data that you were a brilliant student throughout.( I came to know this first time, so was surprised and blushing) So what made you join this capf?
  • Me- Sir, i always wanted to join armed forces. I tried for NDA and CDS but could not get selected. I believe development and security goes hand in hand and Im interested in security area to work for.( I was having eye contact with other three members also)
  • Ch- I also found that you are fond of some different sports kayaking and rowing. What are they?
  • Me- Sir, I got a platform in my college to learn these sports. Both have narrow boats. In rowing  we have oars in our hands and with the help of leg powers we row the boats. In kayaking the pedal has spoons at both the ends and with the shoulder power we row them.
  • Ch- So you were doing it individually or in team?
  • Me- Sir, in Kayaking it is K1, K2 and K4. And I was in K4.
  • Ch- You participated in a competition at Philippines. Was it an international competition?
  • Me- Sir, it wasnt an international competition like state to national to international, but an amateurs one. And we participated at club levels.
  • Ch- Ok. This long distance cycling is your hobby. So how long and where have you traveled?
  • Me- Sir, we traveled 370-380 km distance. I did it twice, one from Pune to Murud Janjira and second to Raigad. Both in the Konkan region
  • Ch- So what problems you faced while your journey?
  • Me- We mostly traveled in the month of December, so we didnt face the problem of heat. But the ghat area is steep and one should control ones bike with sharp turns. Also condition of the Tamhini Ghat is not so good after the monsoons. Hence we faced the problems there. Else all was taken care by the organisers and we didnt face much problems.
  • Ch- So you know how to repair bicycle?
  • Me- Not so much, but taking out punctures and normal repairing I know.
  • Ch- Which is the longest trek you have done?
  • Me- Sir, Katraj to Sinhagad and Harishchandragad
  • Ch- What is the height of Sinhagad?
  • Me- Sir it is 4200 feet.
  • Ch- Your First preference is SSB. So can you tell me the history of the force?
  • Me- Sir, SSB was established in 1963 with the objective of intelligence gathering and manning the border of Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan ( here I wasnt much sure about activities and history of SSB hence it reflected in my tone)
  • Ch- But what was an incidence which led to creation of this force in 1963(I wasnt getting it and getting uncomfortable and he was trying to lead me to the answer. He was very cooperative. But it was I, who was a dumb person. )
  • Me- Sir the Indo-China war.( he was expecting this ans.)
  • Ch- And what special role it did in those years?( I didnt know about this.) Let me give you a hint. What it did in the 70s? (I was blank) Bangladesh liberation.
  • Me- But Sir, it mans Indo-Nepal Border and Bangladesh border is in eastern side.
  • Ch- But it had some special role to play.
  • Me- Sorry Sir, Im not aware about this.(I dont know whether he was checking me or I had less knowledge. But in all it created the bad impression as i was supposed to know everything about my first choice.)
  • Ch- What job as an Assistant Commandant you would do?
  • Me- Sir, Ill focus upon improving the quality through following SOPs though it is very difficult in jungle areas to follow them. Ill keep my force motivated (interrupted)
  • Ch- Yes, exactly, how you would motivate them especially when the recent video coming out?
  • Me- Sir, i would lead by example so that they would follow it, understand their psyche, and have grievance redressal mechanism within.
  • Ch- Should we wait for grievance to happen?
  • Me- No sir, I should Check the supply.
  • Ch- Is that enough?
  • Me- Sir, I should also have lunch with them to understand it.
  • Ch- (took some book and asked me question) Tell me the difference between naxalism, terrorism and insurgency.
  • Me- terrorism is creating a sense of terror among the people by fundamentalist ideology like imposing sharia, insurgency as in north east to have separate state and secessionist demands and naxalism was initially inspired by Maoist ideology fighting for tribal rights of jal, jangal and jameen; but now they dont have such ideology and have vested interest.(here i could not give pinpointed ans and stumbled up at many places. the chairman was leading me every time but i could not give neat ans and he seem unsatisfied to me. here i would suggest that one should create a good ans for such static questions as they can be answered very well. It also shows your attitude. From here on my interview was going down as every time I did the same thing. And overall the pressure was building on me resulting into lack of confidence. ) Then chairman passed the baton to M1
  • M1- (trying to read my name) So what your friends call you, Pofale or Bhanudas?
  • Me- Sir Pofale is my sirname, Bhanudas  is my fathers name and mine is Sarang and may friends call me Ranga.
  • M1-( smiling and with a cheerful mood, he was cooperative throughout) so Ranga, you have done your Production Engg. To a layman like me what it actually is?
  • Me- Sir, it deals with the Production Process and everything related to the workshop of the factory like Operation Research, Total Quality Management, Automation.
  • M1- So you must be a specialist in it.
  • Me- (I didnt know what to say as i could barely clear my engg. and if I had said yes then he could have asked me questions on this. So I reluctantly said yes.)
  • M1- So what do you feel about Make In India. What is your perspective on it? Is it becoming successful?
  • Me- ( I was supposed to be prepared about this, but uttered the normal ans) Sir, as we can see the FDI is coming in, various state govts have their own initiatives and the ease of doing business is improving, there is a lot of movement.(I was also supposed to tell about low employment and employability, SME sector and much more. Hence, here in comes the serious preparation to help)
  • M1- What is the status of production in India? ( here I didnt get the question and asked the counter question)
  • Me- Sir quantity wise or quality wise?
  • M1- both
  • Me- Sir we lack quality in designing and production( he interrupted me)
  • m1- But do you know anything about automobile that our TATA cars are also exported to other countries?
  • Me- Yes Sir, When I was in Philippines, I saw TATA cars on the street
  • M1- So there isnt everything wrong about it.
  • Me- Yes Sir, these are good things but we can improve a lot.
  • M1- So, When you wanted to join armed forces which force you wanted to join?
  • Me- Sir, as i was immature at that time I wanted to join Air Force only. But now Im flexible to work anywhere.
  • M1- (smiling) So you mean immature people join Air Force. ( I started defending). Yes yes, there is glamour of aircrafts and uniform. (suddenly M2 jumped in)
  • M2- You work in the NGO? What it does?
  • Me- Sir it works in the Child development and women empowerment.
  • M2- (he thought child development is like ICDS scheme hence asked) What is reason of malnutrition?
  • Me- Sir, the first is the adolescent and pregnant women have low weight and later after child birth, the child is healthy till the first 6 months but after that many tribals have to migrate for work. There is also less reliance on indigenous variety of food like nachni.
  • M2- (not convinced) asked do you work in tribal area?
  • Me- No Sir, the NGO works in Pune itself.
  • M2-(He seemed unprepared to me as he did not have his own questions prepared. He seemed frustrated and annoying). Which is the recent road being developed which is useful for CAPF?
  • Me- Sir, the recent focus on PM Gram Sadak Yojana is good for security purpose.
  • M2- No other initiatives?
  • Me- Sorry sir , Im not aware. May I guess.(He reluctantly said yes.) The Chardham road in Uttarakhand for pilgrimage also and security also. (No one seemed convinced.)
  • M2-What can be done to improve our competence in manufacturing?
  • Me- Sir we have to focus upon improving R&D, logistics and higher value chain of production. We have logistics cost of 18% while China and European countries have it 12%. We can also invest in food processing area as our after harvest losses are around 95000Cr. (somehow I felt confident here and back into the game. But M4 turned out to be a havoc as i could barely answer his questions and he was the least interested in me and aggressive)
  • M4- What is One China policy?
  • Me- (took a long pause with eyesight down) Sir it is to consider, China and Taiwan as a single entity and not different from mainland China.
  • M4- But why it is in news now?
  • Me- (again took a long pause) Sorry sir Im not aware.(he started leading me but not in a cooperative tone but as if a teacher is scolding a student like you dont know even this simple fact)
  • M4- Ok tell me what is the history behind it.
  • Me- (in a low tone with confidence going down)  Sir Chang Kai Shek in the initial years of Chinese Revolution was forced to live in Formosa and it got a government there. (I knew this, still he was looking at me like what the hell are you talking about and if you dont know then just shut your mouth up.) hence i said, sir im not so sure.
  • M4-(Leading aggressively) was china always a member of UNSC?
  • Me- Sir Taiwan was the member and China got it into the 1971.
  • M4-(surprised) are you sure?
  • Me- Im not so sure sir. (My confidence was so low that even i knew the right thing but didnt say it.)
  • M4- So what is the reason for the issue now?
  • Me- Sir South China Sea issue
  • M4-nono
  • Me- Sir the Taiwanese govt. is asserting the independence
  • M4 -they are asserting it everytime. You know the recent Trump election and then
  • Me- Yes sir he is getting close to Taiwan etc etc.
  • M4- Is he a controversial President?
  • Me- Sir, in his campaign he did have sexist remarks and against cimate change treaty, but the campaign and actual president-ship is always different.
  • M4- Why is he opposed of treaty for climate change?
  • Me- Sir there is a lobby in the USA which dont think that climate change is happening and their vested interests in shell oil and loss to the American economy.
  • M4- What is India’s stand on climate change? Are we agreeing to the treaty?
  • Me-(here my confidence was almost as low as the end point of the Mariana trench. I was fumbling and no word was coming out of my mouth. I was too scared with M4s attitude.) Sir we have ratified the treaty and we prefer CBDT(didnt remember the full-form)
  • M4- But India is thermal power dependent.
  • Me- Yes sir, but with solar programme and International Solar Alliance we are trying to shift to renewable.
  • M4- What is the problem with solar power?
  • Me- Sir, initial cost of investment, its fluctuating power due to seasonal variation and also lack connection to greed and also land acquisition as we lack land in India.(I was stammering a lot here and didnt clearly pronounce many words. Suddenly Chairman took over)
  • Ch- What is the target for solar energy?
  • Me- Sir it is 100GW
  • Ch- Till when we aim to achieve it?
  • Me- till 2022.
  • Ch- Ok. You can leave now.
  • Me- Thank you sir, have a nice day to all.

So this is it people. I thought I took the interview preparation tooooo lightly. My confidence was low overall. I hope I at least get average marks. So my suggestions are have a good confidence whatever may come, do good preparation for remaining days and dont forget to wear a blazer. Its essential to keep you warm.   Also many a times transcripts dont tell the true story because it also depends upon our body language, voice, confidence and fluency in speaking.That is why I have given my situation in brackets. This will help you and also to myself in future. So I wish you ALL THE VERY BEST!!! Come with flying colours

Sairat- The Film Which Begins In The End.

Sairat-Marathi-Movie

          A boy falls in love with a girl. Chases her. She falls in his love. Both are from different castes generally and in particular, boy from a lower caste & girl from a higher caste. Obvious economic differences follow. They run away. Start a new life and are happy till the end.

          This is the age old story we Indians are forced to see and also being loved to be forced by our bollywood and other regional film industries on us. Then what is so unique and different in Nagaraj Manjule’s Sairat? Each incidence in the film can be pointed as a different from the traditional films.

          The director himself is different. His clarity of thoughts about what he wants to show in a film is crystal clear. That is why he has so much of the command over the film as a medium of reflecting the true mirror of the society and entertainment. This is the unique combination which very few film directors actually get, at least in India. This is reflected in the ways he has reflected the lives of every character in the film.

          Parshya, the lead actor, is shown as a normal boy and not a hero. He is a daring person as he dares to fall in love with the daughter of the village landlord and an ambitious politician. He doesn’t fear the consequences. But he never fights with anyone which is out of his reach physically. He is rescued all the time by his love, Archie. This itself shows the difference where masculine and feminine attitudes aren’t shown traditionally but in a contextual settings. She rides bullet, tractor, fires to defend with the great boldness. Rather they could run because of her bold attitude. Most of the love stories in India remain only till the half of the first half of the story due to lack of such a boldness in girls. They cant be blamed for this because their attitude is socially constructed. But the power of love, if it is true at all, can create such boldness if they want and it is subjective. They also fear future consequences. But given the option between living a life of 2-3 years with the person I love and then die and living a frustrating life with the stranger, I would have chosen the former one irrespective of gender. This exactly what Archie does which is not at all heroic. We all in our own stories need to decide between these two options. And here, choosing the less travelled path, as Robert Frost said, will make the whole difference.

          Then the film also shows the life after running away from home successfully. In all the difficulties, there still remains a little humanity shown by the Telugu woman. So, no need to be skeptical all the time with the world. But the thing is what you would do if you can help someone in such situations. Not because such things happened with you in the past, as with the Telugu woman or may happen in the future, but just because you can help for the sake of helping. Then Parshya takes the responsibilities every normal person would have done when in the same situation. For Archie it takes time for her to adjust with the situation, but she manages it. The director has shown the actual life in the slums with great skills. The house with metal sheets, the stinking common toilets, the insecurity women face while having a bath and other such conditions. It shows the nature of human being to adapt to changing conditions and the power of love makes it easier where you stop smelling the odour of the blankets. The couple doesn’t become millionaire as happened in the movie of Amitabh Bacchan, Sooryavansham. They have normal upward mobility.

          The other details shown by Nagraj Manjule are also to be noticed carefully. Pradip alias langdya, after receiving a ‘gift of cut nails’ says namaskar to another differently abled person because he knows that only another differently abled can understand his emotions more correctly than anyone else. Not even his close friends. The situation of Parshya’s family being outcaste and begging before the self interested caste panchayat is seen all over the nation. As a boy grown up in a city, throws up many questions on me as, who are they to decide how someone is to live? Why people just don’t mind their own businesses? What prestige they get by demeaning another human being? With no answers to such questions, I hope the career option which I have chosen, will provide me opportunities to at least free some of them from such utter nonsense and barbaric acts. This will provide a solace to my mind and soul. Try and find out your own answers. Don’t think what difference I will make for the whole society. Skeptical mindset is in the genes of we Indians.

          The end of the story awes everyone. And the real film starts here, not on the screen, but in our minds. Everything doesn’t become alright with the passage of time as expected by Aarchie and Parshya, in the end. The attitude of revenge is so entrenched in our society that acceptance of whatever happened in the past is not at all easy. Prince and his family didn’t get anything from such revenge. But why people don’t understand that one doesn’t get any prestige by such acts. In fact, the end of the film, with the blood footprint of the child depicts, as I interpreted it, that such revenge can take the society on the paths of end and nowhere else.  Why cant we live simple and silly lives? Why cant we just live and let others live?  I think answers to such questions of love marriages in general an inter-caste in particular lie in the whole societal structure.

          First of all, our parents don’t want to lose the authority and responsibility they have in selecting a bride or a groom. When there is any challenge to such an authority then it creates a backlash. There are also other questions of how society would treat us and so on. But why can’t our parents understand that their happiness lies in the happiness of their child and society should matter a little. Again this is very simplistic statement and there are many other complexities. But problems could be solved with the strong backup of the parents, which very few get.

          People should also understand that not every relation could be seen from power and dominance perspective. A true humanity should be the base of the society. We should just see others as humans having their own ambitions and likings. This seems to be a utopia today. Societal problems are very complex and cannot be solved so easily and so early. But as we youth are in such a society which itself is at crossroads, it puts the onus on us to initiate a change. One need not be Parshya or Archie, but can definitely become Salim, Pradip, Mangya, that telugu woman. I know this is difficult. But if you cant be one of them then at least don’t become the Prince. Because, sometimes inaction itself can be a reward.  While watching movie I heard few comments when Parshya was hanging himself or even in the end. These comments show the inability of the society to understand such emotional incidences. Our society is so immature that they cant separate entertainment from the serious scenes which are shown to give some messages. If we cant put ourselves in the situation of the character, there cannot be any sympathy expected from such creatures towards others. This is the biggest obstruction in the process of change. Thankfully the process has begun, though in a nascent stage, will flourish some day. Nagraj Manjule has to be thanked for this. We need much more such independent directors who can challenge the existing dominant cultural sphere and create a new egalitarian approach in society rather than the saas-bahu serials which show every house like a palace and woman wearing lots of jewellary and the poorest of the poor watching it aspiring to be like them.

          Sairat is the new beginning full of romance, comedy, action and all with a tinge of reality which provides subtle social messages. After Fandry , Nagraj Manjule has proved himself again. We hope he will keep entertaining us and provide a trigger for social change in his future explorations of ideas in reels.

 

 

‘Love, Life & Relationships’

Few days ago, at 11.30 in the night, my mobile whistled. It was a friend , rather a little sister, asking me some weird question- ‘ What is love?’ I don’t know how she came up with that question, and as I was too tired to talk on such a tiring concept of love, I just messaged her ‘love is eternal, unlimited and unconditional.’ Then I went into my own eternity (slept).

But from next day, my subconscious mind started thinking about it. I started thinking, why did I message only those three words ‘eternal, unconditional and unlimited,’ that too in sleep? This started a cycle of thoughts in my mind and today I am writing this.

Again I don’t know how did she come up with that question, however what I know is that she asked the least eligible person about love. The person whose encounters with love are not that lovely. Really I don’t know anything about love. I haven’t read Nicholas Sparks, Shakespeare or for that matter any such novels. But here I will try to write what I observed in my daily life and then put them as ‘my’ concept of love. May be my understanding of love will help you to understand what you shouldn’t understand love is all about.

Another thing is, writing about love is not an easy thing. Because it is a normative concept loaded with the value-judgments. So it is difficult to disentangle your personal sense-experiences in the past while writing. But I will try to be neutral and just note down my observations. With this you figure out ‘what love is?’ or probably ‘what love is not?’

When you think about love, the poem of the most renowned Marathi poet Mangesh Padgaonkar comes to my mind. He said ,

                        ‘prem mhanje prem mhanje prem asta, te tumcha ani amcha same ch asta.’

 With great respect to the poet , I would like to go against this concept of love. Because this is not all inclusive concept and love can never be the same anywhere in the world. It is as diverse as the fingerprints where none matches with the other. Every love relation is different. Love between mother and son is different, between mother and daughter is different , between teacher and students, between friends , between girl and boy, husband and wife all are different from other. Rather every love goes through different loves throughout its life. Love between mother and son is different when she is pregnant, when the child is just born, when it starts walking, when he/she gets young and so on. Also love is different between husband and wife before marriage, when they get newly married, when they get a child, when they get older. The last part is beautifully shown in the Marathi film ‘Uttarayan.’

So what I mean to say is that, there is a probability of no. of loves as 7 billion factorial, as there are 7 billion people on this planet. Thus we are getting the no. as infinity. Sorry for being too mathematical about such a romantic concept of love. But in the end we will come to the no. as ‘ZERO.’ So lets go from infinity to zero.

Many a times passion, compassion, empathy are the concepts which we use interchangeably with love. But I don’t believe they are one and the same. When we say engineering is my passion, that doesn’t mean you are in love with engineering. It means you want to pursue it. You want to possess it. Passion can be linked with possession of something. If that passion is strong then you maintain that possession and if stronger , then take it to the advance level by living it throughout your life. If this passion is weak, then you don’t enjoy what you have acquired and probably search for different passion. This is not the thing with love. Love can never be measured in positive or comparative degrees. It is always ‘the superlative.’ it is always the best , the highest. There is no lower or higher love. It is absolute, fundamental and indivisible. And there is no question of enjoying it. Because it becomes an integral part  of your life. And if you leave it, then surely, you wont die but you will be in vegetative state. Thus love is not possession. It is a feeling where you and the other are equal. Possession shows authority.

The next is empathy or compassion. Empathy is to feel the pains of others and do at your own level to reduce that pain. Baba Amte’s work for leprosy affected patients show empathy. Love is more than this. He loved humanity, that is why he could feel their pain. Other people couldn’t feel it, because of this lack of sensitivity. However this is a cosmopolitan understanding of love. We as a common person may not have it. We can love only our close ones. Observe it in your own friend’s circles. Few are always more equal than others.

Also there are different levels of love. It might be physical, romanticism or as a principle.  Physical means you like the physical aspects of someone. Like face cuts, hairs, eyes, voice, etc. it might linked with attraction. When I asked my friend about how love happens, he said, through eyes. But I want to ask, what if one of you were blind or does that mean visually impaired people cant love? In fact their understanding of love is above all us’. Their love is romanticism. They love the person as it is. they love the character of the person and not just physical attributes. Such a romanticism is due to trust or higher level of understanding they have between them. They just have an image of a person in their minds. And they live. They live like anything.

The next level is principle. This is a difficult level to attain. Here you love the person as a principle. Principle means it is an integral part of your life, whether that person is alive or not, whether that person loves you or not, you will always love that person. To make it easier to understand, the prominent example is ‘Mohabbatein.’ The love aspect of Shahrukh Khan is of principle. Hence she is always with him. No need of this worldly presence.

If you listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Ghazal- ‘Afreen Afreen’  you will understand these three different levels clearly. He goes on to equate physical and romantic level with Allah, the eternity. This is what the principle for him. So our quest should always be to ascend from physical to romantic to principle level. Then only one can love the person fully.

This makes me come to the question of – ‘why do we live?’ The relationship between life and love. Whether we love to live or live to love? Confusing no!!

When we love to live, we love our own life. And the person who loves his/her own life, cant sacrifice own life fully for the others. Such a person cant love anyone truly. He may not find happiness in the happiness of others. Such a person could never be truly happy. They could only be pleasure seeking people. And this pleasure would be temporary, neither eternal nor unconditional nor unlimited. Only love could satisfy all these 3 conditions.

Hence there should always be a person, a thing, a noble cause for which you could die for. Here you live to love. At this stage, things like space, ego issues, family problems, class, caste, religious differences don’t arise. These are excuses. And human being always excuse himself. Even if you die for your love, you would live a short but worthy life. Worthy of suffering in return for love.

Such a life, where you are connected with the universe and the ‘cosmic dialogue’ with the creative and destructive aspects of universe starts. Such dialogue always creates few positive signals, that makes you feel the depth and meaning of love. Its here that you start understanding the relation between life and love.

I promised you that we will come from infinity to zero. Here we are. When this cosmic dialogue starts, you are moving towards zero, the void, the spaceless, the timeless object. Such a zero could be seen in a silent Korean movie, ‘Zero Gravity.’ A man and a woman who are fallen in love in the end are shown standing on the weighing scale. The reading of the scale shows ‘Zero.’ That means now the world around them doesn’t matter to them. They are the world in themselves. Others are only moving objects. If we could get such void stage of ‘zero,’ we will get to know that love is eternal, unconditional and unlimited. I think this is what the poet Mangesh Padgaonkar was talking about when he said it is the same for all of us.

Rest I will live up to you. Your personal experiences and your own understanding might be different. If you like you may enlighten us with your concept. Till then ‘feel the love in the air.’

Why I am an atheist?

I was in third standard. It was Saturday, so my school was over at 12’o clock. I immediately rushed my home, because on every Saturday at 1 pm, it was my favourite serial, Mahadev on DD. Many of us might have forgotten Doordarshan. I was not interested in serial, but everytime I used to watch two things, when other two mouths of Mahadeva speak? Because only the middle one used to speak and second, when will the two hands at the back of Lord Vishnu move? They never used to have any movement. I am damn sure you guys also had these questions when you watched this serial. Later I realized that these are just ways to show that The God is different from other human beings and He has some great great powers!  The small Sarang could only infer this much. So brilliant he was! Hehehe!!

But this started few questions in my  mind. How this world is created? How are we made? Then as per the Hindu philosophy, Lord Brahma is The Creator of the world. But I think this philosophy is invalid. Tell me who gives you birth – A woman! Then how can a man – Lord Brahma, create this world? If the right to produce and reproduce is given to the woman by nature itself! So isn’t it a simple thing that the foundation of the concept called ‘God’ is itself very weak that as it doesn’t give any role to the woman here? (Last time also I wrote about feminist issue, but don’t think I am a feminist. In fact I fear those who are feminist. If you are one, stay away an arm’s length from me!)

WHY I AM AN ATHEIST? Is the best piece written by Shaheed Bhagatsingh. Here, he says, being a socialist, I need an ability of critical thinking, which religion doesn’t allow. He wanted to solve the problem of inequality, poverty and make society free from imperialism. So the best solution was social revolution. He couldn’t be a theist or religious person. Because religion itself has made or contributed to this hierarchy among the human beings and created inequalities. This concern was subaltern

Today when we stop at any signal, (if we stop), at least at one signal, a downtrodden would come to you. Mostly, they are women, small children and handicapped. We often neglect them and move. Some give them money. But think if God had been there, had he/she let their own creation beg, sleep on road, collect food from waste dumped on roads? If God had been there, had he/ she created a person blind, handicapped, less-abled? Of course no! Even if Krushna had been there, he would have come to save these people as he went to save Draupadi, those 16000 women and later saved Pandavas! What do you think, is there any God?

My father, I call him Baba, gave me an answer when I asked the same question to him. He was a pujari in a temple, people call him Guruji!. I thought he was the best person to answer this as he was daily in touch with The God. To my surprise, he said, ‘Beta, God is truth and truth is God.’ I didn’t understand that time. Later on when going through Gandhi’s autobiography, ‘My experiments with Truth’, he said the same thing. ‘God is truth. God is not a person, it is a principle.’

If the truth principle itself is God, then it is something that can be searched for, experienced and realized everywhere. Hence God is everywhere! This surely helped me overcome my intellectual reservation about God. It also provided a harmonious meeting of spiritual and scientific inquiries. Also at this stage, I realized the intellectual level of my baba. Baba Amte, Abhay Bang are the persons who found the truth and are in quest for it. Bhakti marg also comes to help here!

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I  was in Pandharpur, so visited Vitthala temple. I just wanted to know why people come here every year in Wari, walking for hundreds of kilometers and hurting themselves. When I entered the temple after almost an hour’s queue, I started searching for The God in that standing statue of Vitthala. I couldn’t find one. I was upset. Later while reading Kabeer, I found its answer. Kabeer says

       Puja karu na Namaz gujaru
       Ek nirakar hruday namaskaru
       Kahe kabeer bharam sab bhaga
    Ek niranjanmu mann laga

He says, I don’t worship God, I don’t recite Namaz. Because God is nirakar, without any  form, without any attribute. God is in me, I am The God.

So, all confusions are over now.

So, my dear friends, God is in us. Why go to temples, masjids and churches? Search it within yourselves, in the souls of people around you. Serve them. This is what Vivekananda call unity of ‘Jiva and Shiva’. Serving human is serving God. Even if you go to the temple next time, do one thing! Don’t ask anything in return from God. See what you find. Everyone will find different answer. Because truth is relative, so is God!

It was a very beautiful and joyous day for me as I had taken a day’s holiday from days long study to meet my tryst with destiny – UPSC. I was with my friends, rather best friends, attending wedding of sister of one of our closest friends. We were roaming around, chatting and laughing. Suddenly, a truck came with few goods. We started helping our friend to take those goods down. One by one, we unloaded. It was first microwave oven, then mixer, then refrigerator, then washing machine, then LCD TV, then a double bed, then a sofa set and then a perfectly original Indian Godrej cupboard! Hushh! Tired! Till now I got what it was for. I started calculating the amount. It was approximately 1.5 Lakhs.

At this moment, I remembered the prefixes written in bold on the wedding card before the names of both groom and the bride. It was Er. (engineer). Both were software or IT engineers. A cycle of thought started running in my mind.

All these equipments were to be given as streedhan (I would like to call it as dowry) wore manifestation of modernism, rationalism, individualism, critical thinking, liberty to innovate led to industrial revolution and these machines both the groom and the bride were engineers that too IT that shows the symbol of post-modernism – knowledge based society. But still these marriage institution, family cultural roots, identity were in feudal age.

No doubt, India today witnesses this paradox among feudalism, modernism and post-modernism. But the main victim of this – is the youth of India. They are not understanding the state of flux within these ‘isms’. So picture looks shabby.silhouette-of-indian-bride

Youth today cries of liberty to wear whatever they want, liberty over social media, space, liberty to eat, drink, smoke the way they want but when it comes to the marriage institution, command goes to the feudal age. The answer is “I wont go against my parent’s wish.” Here liberty and individualism doesn’t come up. The situation of girls is more vulnerable here. I can site many examples where a well convent educated, science/ medical/ engineering graduates marry early and all in all they loose their reproductive rights. So where does modernism go here? One might give answer as culture, family values, tradition. But the same values don’t matter while Indian students studying in American university, waiting to end the semester so that they can visit the strip clubs. So these values and culture are selective. When it is up to others, modernism prevails, but when it is up to ‘me’, ‘my family’ – feudalism prevails.

When Deepika Padukon calls for ‘My choice’, she doesn’t understand this freedom. In the head of the moment of ‘Feminism’, she forgot that she was representing only ‘bollywood modernity’ which has already lost its roots from Indian reality after 1991 liberalism. I fear, this will fracture the whole marriage institution in India.

In such a ‘transition stage’, youth are witnessing many other state of flux of ‘isms’. I will come up next time on it.