Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ram Singh, IAS

The other day social media carried the photograph of a couple leisurely walking amidst greenery. The gentleman carrying a kilta on his back and his wife carrying their kid. But for the details appended to the picture, I would have just glossed over , thinking it a  routine click from North- East India.
As it turned out , the gentleman is Ram Singh IAS, holding the coveted post of a Deputy Commissioner in West Garo Hills  district in Meghalay. It is stated that he walks on foot 10 km to buy fresh vegetables from the village and carries them on his back as the picture shows.
It was further mentioned that he belongs to Jahalma village of district Lahaul & Spiti. He holds a degree in Engineering, and had a stint  in the  Merchant Navy prior to joining the IAS in 2008. His brothers is also in the IAS.
One gets floored with such simplicity and down to earth, polite and humble demeanour , rare to be found in persons holding high office in the Government, generally seen to be stiff necked, haughty and arrogant,  be they bureaucrats or technocrats. As a Himachali, I feel proud of him.
Navratri , the nine day festival devoted to the nine manifestations of Goddess Durga, starts today, with some of the devotees observing fast on all the nine days.Those who donot observe fast at least become abstemious shunning non vegetarian food for these nine days. The Navratri culminate with Dassehra falling on the tenth day. Durga pooja is more prevalent among the Bengali people. The local Kali Bari temple at Shimla these

days is  full of devotees visiting and paying their obeisance to the Goddess.

Happy Navratri !!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Facebook or No Facebook

The other day when a learned  and revered friend put up a post spelling out his own dilemma whether or not to continue with Facebook for very cogent reasons, I faced with almost the same situation put up my comments that  I am happy to repeat and reproduce below.

My take on Facebook is simple. I find it an important and useful interactive forum to reach out to maximum number of people from all walks of life. In  my  ten years of presence on Facebook,out of which seven years post retirement, I have come across wonderful, creative , intelligent people and this otherwise could not have been possible. Being a retired person, I have no time constraints and can log on anytime of my choice.
It is neither possible nor necessary to comment on each and every post, so I have my own preferences. I rarely post or comment on posts with an insinuating political content or having political overtones or undertones . Being interested in Literature, I thoroughly enjoy poetry and other literary pieces and comment on them  if necessary. I also enjoy personal reminiscences posted by friends  and others. I consider it my  privilege to respond to Morning wishes put up by friends and also convey Birthday wishes. As for my own posts, others may judge. The best way is to have some schedule fixed in the morning / Evening to interact, so that other routine is not disturbed.
Facebook  provides liberty of every kind.
In addition I must confess that  my reading has taken a back seat as  I have not been able to go through a few books purchased over a period  sometime back. Facebook and Internet , however do compensate to quite some extent as being windows to the outside world. Social Media is now forcing mainstream media to fall in line and not to suppress news and information in order to pursue their  own express agenda .
It is appalling to see what kind of Public Representatives we are throwing up .
The buck does not stop there. Surprisingly, such obnoxious elements continue to enjoy the tacit and often open support of their partymen who have no qualms about  expressing their solidarity.
It is also amusing to see some friends who burst into poetry at the discomfiture of a particular political entity, sitting smug and nonchalant at some other  similar situation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Anant Pai

Today is the 90th birth anniversary of Anant Pai, popularly known as Uncle Pai, a pioneer in  publishing comic books for Children. He was born this day in 1929 at Kar kala in present day Karnataka.
Having lost both his parents at the age of two, he was brought up by his maternal grandfather. He studied Physics, Chemistry, and Chemical Technology at the Bombay University , and earned Degrees .
He was interested in comics from the very beginning . He landed a job in Times of India and remained associated with comic strips like Mandrake and  Phantom that appeared in the paper.
Subsequently he left the job and created & founded Amar Chitra Katha, a comic series for children, which retold the stories of Indian Mythology, and projected great Mythological figures and other historical personalities . His other ventures included Tinkle, another comic series containing short stories, jokes and other educative material for Children. A popular figure on the Comic publishing scene, he won recognition and received many Awards & honours.
He was also called the Walt Disney of India.
He died on 24th February 2011 aged 81.
Our humble tributes !

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Brutality of Men in Khaki

For the last two days I have been preoccupied with the high-handedness or plain dadagiri of the Police of Siddharthnagar Distt.  of Uttar Pradesh when they nearly  killed an auto driver  in the presence of his five year old nephew on the pretext of some violation of the recently amended Motor Vehicle Act. A channel rightly compared the beating and manhandling of the victim to killing of Jarasandh by Bhim in the Mahabharat by tearing the legs apart. The visuals did suggest  this. But for the video recording of the episode going viral, this blatantly cruel and uncalled for brutal action of the men in khaki would have gone unnoticed , without them facing the consequences .Even now despite their having been placed under suspension and the assurance that they will be charged with and tried for alleged  attempt to murder, there is little hope of the Police learning to behave themselves. This is only one of the many instances of Police exceeding their brief and not getting  to pay for their actions. They seem to be under the impression that they can do any thing in the name of Law & Order. They were equally in the eye of the storm when they beat up even innocent boys and girls  and came down heavily as  ill conceived anti - Romeo squad.
Once again they seem to have been let loose on the public in the name of traffic rules violations.In any case they rough up only the apparently  weaker and vulnerable class of people and literally cower before the high and mighty. Of sadistic  nature , they seem to be always waiting for an opportunity to throw about their weight.
One can only wistfully hope for the better times !!

Friday, September 13, 2019

हिन्दी दिवस - पूर्व संध्या

कल हिन्दी दिवस है । सभी को अग्रिम शुभकामनाएं !
जब से होश संभाला है , सब कुछ हिन्दी से ही आरंभ हुआ है । राजकीय समारोह भी होंगे हर वर्ष की तरह और हिन्दी में उत्कृष्ट कार्य करने के लिए सरकारी कर्मचारियों/ अधिकारियों को सम्मानित भी किया जाएगा । उन सभी महानुभावों को भी अग्रिम बधाई। अपना तो मुझे इतना कुछ याद नहीं पर मेरी बेटी के अक्षर ज्ञान का परिचय मुझे उस समय मिला जब पहली बार उसने दीवार पर लिखे किसी विज्ञापन में अक्षर जोड़ कर 'टिकिया' शब्द पढ़ा । मुझे और मेरी पत्नी को बहुत प्रसन्नता हुई । वैसे भी जहाँ तक उत्तर भारत का सम्बन्ध है, सामान्य परिवारों में अक्षर ज्ञान हिंदी से ही आरम्भ होता है ।
भाषा को ले कर मेरी न कोई समस्या है न पूर्वाग्रह अथवा दुराग्रह । टकराव है तो सिर्फ स्नॉबरी या ओढ़े हुए आभिजात्य से , जिसका सम्बन्ध किसी भाषा से न हो कर व्यक्ति की मानसिकता से है जो किसी भी भाषा भाषी में होने की संभावना रहती है । हिंदी का दम भरने वाले जो लोग अपने बच्चों को अंग्रेजी विद्यालयों में शिक्षा दिलवा रहे हैं, शायद विरोधाभास में जी रहे हैं ।
हिन्दी के अस्तित्व को कोई खतरा नहीं , ऐसा मेरा मानना है ।

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Chandrayaan 2 & Ram Jethmalani

How does Sunday or Monday matter to a non- working  retired person like me  !
Perhaps not at all.  But  Sunday or any other public holiday does matter a lot  to students especially School students and employees to whom a day off means an opportunity to relax as well as to catch up with a lot. During early  days of  my employment at Shimla,  I spent Sundays having a nap after brunch, browsing through the magazines and newspapers that  I subscribed to. Newspaper had a special charm because of the extra Magazine section that made interesting reading .I also fondly remember that  my  father was also in the habit of a nap after brunch. It was a given  that either of us who got up early  would prepare two cups of tea and wake up the other to have it. My father had a fastidious taste for tea and  the fact that he approved of  tea prepared by me  made me happy that at least I could make good tea.
Coming to the Chandrayaan 2, kudos to the ISRO scientists for the enormous amount of efforts in the project despite last moment glitch.  No credit however to the  over enthusiastic visual Media that  put up  amusingly hyperbolic headlines  prior to the momentous event . Same trend was visible at the time of Cricket World Cup.
Today itself we have lost Ram Jethmalani, a  leading lawyer & a former Union Law  Minister.  A person of impeccable credentials as far as legal acumen is concerned, his remaining active till into his nineties was simply amazing .
Humble tributes to the luminary !!

Thursday, September 5, 2019


In right earnest, we cannot be prejudiced towards any profession, job or calling as we need people from all fields to plod through life.But yes, on a  personal note, I put teaching, medical, Armed forces on top , as these are not mere jobs or professions but  much more besides as these entail  enormous social & national responsibilities . Unfortunately, in our country we already have a job crunch and most of us end up being round pegs in a square hole or vice versa . Good if one is in the profession or calling  by choice and not with the compulsions of only making both ends meet. More than anything this applies to the teaching fraternity , keeping in view the all important role that they are called upon to play.
The importance of a teacher is highlighted in films and film songs as well.
Of the  movies I happened to see, Jagriti comes to mind that shows an ideal teacher . The song 'Aao bachcho tumhen dikhayen jhanki Hindustan ki' is a case in point. Another movie is :Boond jo Ban Gayi Moti', and the song ' Hari Hari Vasundhara Pe Neela Neela ye Gagan '. Another song from Ganga Jumna ' Insaaf ki dagar pe Bachchon dikhao chal ke' has a permanent appeal .
Yes, and I forgot to mention Bachcho Tum Taqdir ho Kal ke Hindustan ki ' from film 'Asha' !
I never tire of listening to these songs  .
Happy Teachers Day !!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Happiness in Small things & Udaan


As I wake up in the morning , the first thing is to thank God for adding another day  (?) to an uneventful ,drab, dull life .
Going by the clock, I scrupulously abide by the routine of going to toilet, preparing morning tea for wife and me  , opening Facebook and net surfing . The timely arrival of  part-time help for mopping cleaning is assurance that the day will pass peacefully , otherwise the lady of the house , a cleanliness buff has to spend extra time besides cooking etc.The next peace quotient is the immediate response by the kids on phone as my wife sticks to calling them daily  on mobile in the Morning and Evening to know their welfare.It is time to find happiness in small things.

This last week, there was the news of sad demise of Ms.Kanchan Chaudhary, the 1973 batch IPS officer, the first woman DGP to head the Police in a state.As expected, the social Media recalled the Doordarshan serial Udaan inspired by her and made by her younger sister Kavita Chaudhary who also played Kalyani Singh, the lady super cop & the central character . Kavita Chaudhary also appeared in the iconic Surf ad, as Lalita ji, the wise housewife.
Good serials and ads like all good things stay in mind.

फादर कामिल बुल्के

बेल्जियन मूल के  भारतीय  विद्वान फादर कामिल  बुल्के (Father Camille Bulcke)की आज 110 वीं जयंती है । आज ही के  दिन 1909 में बेल्जियम के वेस्ट फ़्लैण्डर्स  राज्य के एक गाँव में जन्मे कामिल बुल्के ने आरंभ में सिविल इंजीनियरिंग में स्नातक परीक्षा उत्तीर्ण की और उसके बाद1930 में ही प्रचारक बनने का निर्णय लिया । 1932-34 में हॉलैंड से दार्शनिक प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त  करने के उपरांत भारत का रुख किया । कुछ समय दार्जिलिंग में रहे  उसके बाद  वर्तमान झारखण्ड के गुमला में   पाँच वर्ष  तक गणित का अध्यापन किया । इसी दौरान हिंदी के प्रति इनकी रूचि  जगी ।
1939-42 में धर्मशास्त्र का  प्रशिक्षण लिया  व 1941 में पुजारी के रूप में मान्यता मिली ।
1942-44 में कलकत्ता विश्वविद्यालय में संस्कृत में स्नातकोत्तर  अध्ययन उपरान्त 1945 में उपाधि प्राप्त की ।1945-49 में शोध कार्य किया व 1949 में इल्लाहबाद विश्वविद्यालय से इन्हें हिन्दी साहित्य में डॉक्टरेट  की उपाधि मिली । इनके शोध का विषय ' राम कथा का विकास' था ।
1949 में ही इन्हें सेंट ज़ेवियर कॉलेज में  संस्कृत व हिंदी  का विभागाध्यक्ष नियुक्त किया गया ।श्रवण शक्ति में बाधा के फल स्वरूप इनने अध्ययन और शोध की ओर ध्यान केंद्रित किया । 1950-51 में इन ने भारत की नागरिकता ग्रहण की ।
अंग्रेजी- हिन्दी शब्दकोष  का संकलन किया व हिन्दी में एक उपन्यास 'नील पक्षी' की भी रचना की ।
हिंदी भाषा और भारतीय संस्कृति के प्रति इनका प्रेम अद्वितीय था और कवि तुलसी के प्रति अपार श्रद्धा  ।
1974 में इन्हें पद्म भूषण से सम्मानित किया गया व हिंदी के उत्थान हेतु बनाये गए राष्ट्रीय आयोग के सदस्य भी  नियुक्त हुए ।
17 अगस्त 1982 में  दिल्ली में इनका निधन हुआ ।
महान हिन्दी प्रेमी विद्वान को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि  !