Way the wind blows

Sweet and sour

This is a clear indication that the ‘aam admi’ knows that voting is his privilege as well as his duty.

There was very little violence and most of the exercise carried out peacefully. Muscle men and booth capturing are past history. So are vote banks based on caste or community. People look forward to improving their living conditions and cast their votes to the party which promised to do so. Nitish Kumar’s victory in Bihar proved that appeals to caste or religion together no longer count for much.

The rout of the Communist government in West Bengal should teach Communist party leaders, particularly Prakash Karat, a lesson. Dogmatic Marxism, rampant trade unionism, frequent strikes and blocking roads by taking out huge processions of workers took a heavy toll of industry and prevented Bengal from becoming a leader in industry. Also, its leaders’ allergy towards everything American was childish beyond belief. They have paid a heavy price for their obscurantism.

The demise of Karunanidhi’s DMK is to be welcomed. He treated Tamil Nadu as his family property. His son Stalin was to succeed as chief minister, his daughter Kanimozhi got a ministerial position in the Central government as if it was a part of her dowry. All the scams that ruined the reputation of Dr Manmohan Singh’s government were the doing of DMK ministers. The prime minister should be happy to be rid of them. Only last year Jayalalitha said she would give unconditional support to the Central government if it dispensed with the DMK. I hope she will stick to her word.

Assam stays with the Congress for the third time. In Kerala, another bastion of the Communists, the leftists’ support declined, and the Congress support increased.
So what do we make of the results from the five states? As far as I am concerned, I see the wind is still blowing in favour of the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi — respectively president and secretary of the party. And the Central government headed by Manmohan Singh re-assured of a full five year team in office.

Buddha jayanti
Every Buddha Jayanti I am reminded of the one I spent in Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh). It was something special in the Buddha calendar and eminent Buddhists from many countries were expected to offer prayers at the Stupa. Dr Radhakrishnan, then vice-president of India, was to play the host and make inaugural speech, I was commissioned by All India Radio to cover the event for Indian listeners.
The Sanchi Stupa dates back to the third century BC. I had visited it when I was staying in Bhopal. There were many sculptures depicting Jataka tales from Buddha’s life including one empty shrine under an open umbrella and footprints of animals, birds and human beings.

When I reached Sanchi, a whole city of tents to accommodate visitors had come up. The ceremonies started as soon as the sun went down and full moon cane up. Dr Radhakrishnan, who was a great orator, made a spell-bounding speech to welcome our guests and touched on the salient teachings of the Buddha — notably the all pervasive ‘dukha’ (sorrow) and the need to learn detachment to combat it. Then came the chanting!

Buddham Sharanam
Gachhami
Dharmam Sharanam
Gachhami
Sangham Sharanam
Gachhami


By the time the ceremonies ended, it was well past midnight. I walked about the fields taking in hallowed atmosphere. Now I live in a crowded Delhi where garish electric lights blot put the moon and the stairs from vision.

Arab in Yankee land
Mohammad, a child of Arab parents, was enrolled in a school in New York. On the first day, his teacher asked: “What is your name?”
The boy replied: “Mohammad”. “From now on your name is Johnny as you are in America.”
In the evening, when he came back home, his mother asked, “How was your day, Mohammad?”
He said, “My name is not Mohammad. I’m in America and my name is Johnny.”
His mother slapped him and said angrily, “Aren’t ashamed of trying to dishonour your parents, your heritage, your religion?” Then she called his father and he also slapped him. Next day when the teacher saw him with his face red and asked what happened? Mohammad said, “Madam, four hours after I became American, I was attacked by two Arabs.”
(Contributed by J P Singh Kaka, Bhopal)

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