The Third sex – An overview

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The Third sex  – An overview

The words “hijra”, “khusra” or “khwajasara” make us have goosebumps, we ridicule them, crack disgusting jokes questioning there sexual identity. We never realizing what are those poor creatures facing, a crises that excommunicates them from there family, loved ones, education from all the major social spheres of life. we never ask this question “ARE WE DOING JUSTICE TO THE THIRD GENDER?”

The eunuchs or hijras have been an integral part of Indian society since time immemorial.  An estimated 5–6 million eunuchs live in India.In modern day India, eunuchs often live a ghetto-like existence, in their own communities. They make a living by dancing and celebrating in births and marriages but often have to resort to other means to make both ends meet. Yet, the community isbeginning to make a mark in the national mainstream as well. A member of the eunuch community, Shabnam Mausi, was elected as a member of the legislative assembly in 1999. Others have been elected as mayors and municipality presidents.

The term eunuch – hijra – that we commonly use to mean a ‘sexless’ person has been defined in the dictionary as a castrated man. A hermaphrodite is a creature possessing both the male and female organs. A transvestite is a person who chooses a sex other than the one he/she is born as. Facts tell us that neutralized neutral-sex persons are a rarity. The hijra population in India has a well-defined group structure and regional affiliations with a group head. Though Balucharaji is their Goddess and they revere Ambe Mata, there are religious demarcations. Most of them identify with the female sex. Within the eunuch community, incest is absent. Most of them have worked as prostitutes at one time or another.  Research shows that some persons labeled hijra in India are both prostitutes and celebrants of rites of passage.

Hijras trace their origins to myths in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Rama, while leaving for the forest upon being banished from the kingdom for 14 years, turns around to his followers and asks all the `men and women’ to return to the city. Among his followers the hijras alone do not feel bound by this direction and decide to stay with him. Impressed with their devotion, Rama sanctions them the power to confer blessings on people on auspicious occasions like childbirth and marriage, and also at inaugural functions. This set the stage for the custom of badhai in which hijras sing, dance and confer blessings.

The legend in the Mahabharata is that Aravan, the son of Arjuna and Nagakanya, offers to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. The only condition that he made was to spend the last night of his life in matrimony. Since no woman was willing to marry one who was doomed to be killed, Krishna assumes the form of a beautiful woman called Mohini and marries him. The hijras of Tamil Nadu consider Aravan their progenitor and call themselves aravanis.

 

Hindu epics, puranas and mythology are replete with the courageous feats of true hermaphrodites who, within these scriptures, have always been referred to as the ‘third sex.’ “But after the Arab attack in the eighth century, castration of males in order to put them on specific jobs began on a large scale” writes S. N. Ranade . Centuries ago, guards to king’s harems were castrated to ensure that no co-habitation between royal wives and guards took place. This led to the creation of the ‘third sex’ – the castrated eunuchs. But it was not the end of the story. These sexless wonders realized that perversions did exist in society. Many males found them distractingly attractive. And the potential ‘femme fatale’ was born.

Transgender communities have existed in most parts of the world with their own local identities, customs and rituals. They arecalled baklas in the Philippines, berdaches among American Indian tribes, serrers in Africa and hijras, jogappas, jogtas, shiv-shaktis and aravanis in South Asia. The hijra community in India, which has a recorded history of more than 4,000 years, was considered to have special powers because of its third-gender status. It was part of a well-established `eunuch culture’ in many societies, especially in West Asia, and its members held sanctioned positions in royal courts.

The Eunuchs are deprived of their fundamental rights guaranteed under the part III of the Constitution. Article 5 of the Constitution of India clearly states citizenship as the political status of a person and domicile to his civil rights. A person may be without a home but he cannot be without a domicile and the law must attribute to him the domicile of the country where he was born. This is called the domicile of origin and a person acquires it at his birth . The Supreme Court has also held that citizens include natural persons in the State Trading Corporation case . The Eunuchs in the instant case are citizens of India; still the Eunuchs are deprived of the civil rights guaranteed to the citizens of India. As there is no gender conformity their ability to access the basic civil rights available to all citizens guaranteed under the Constitution are adversely affected.

Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides that “the state shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. In the given case the transgender are deprived of the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Article 7 of the UN. Declaration of Human Rights provides that “All areequal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of law”.

The Indian state policy has not recognized the transgender either as male or female and has failed to recognize hijaras [transgender] as women or man or a third sex. This act of omission on the part of the Government of India has totally deprived the transgender community of several rights which include, right to vote, right to own property, right to marry, right to claim a formal identity through a passport and a ration card, driving license and even employment.

The Constitution has not made any provisions in determining the sex of the transgender community. But the medical jurisprudence clearly explains the sex determination in doubtful cases can be done with accuracy .

Article 15 of the Constitution of India provides that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth. The main purpose of Article 15 is to provide equal civil rights to all the citizens without discrimination on the grounds mentioned under the article. It also provides for the state to make special provisions for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens. Backwardness must be both social and educational, caste cannot be the criteria for the determination of the backward class of people . In the given case the transgender community can be considered as social backward class of people and special provisions can be made by the state for their upliftment, but, no such action is been taken by the Government. This shows the breach of duty that has been casted upon the government by the Constitution of India.

There are about 1.2 million eunuchs residing in India. They are deprived of various human rights like right to vote, right to contest in election, right to marry, right to hold ration card etc. They are deprived of such rights because India recognizes only 2 sexes, that is, male and female , and eunuchs being the third sex are being deprived of exercising their rights as all the fundamental rights are available only to male and female.

However, when it comes to criminal liability they are not excluded. The courts always include them either under male or female. But in case of civil rights the courts do not consider them as a legal entity. The Constitution of India provides various rights to ‘person’. Person means natural person and artificial person. Natural person includes all human beings and the eunuchs are no doubt from the human race and they must come under the category of natural person. Two Articles under the Constitution of India i.e., Article 15 and Article 16 have used the word ‘sex’ and the term sex include transgender also. The courts have often interpreted the term ‘ sex’ in a narrow sense that is male and female, and have not recognized the third sex, that is the eunuchs, which indeed has resulted in the eunuchs being deprived of the basic civil and human rights such as right to vote .

This view of law is contrary to the interpretation of the legislature. Before independence there was an act enacted to regulate the activities of the eunuch community. This clearly indicates that they are a legal entity. And also in the statute, wherever the term ‘person’ is defined it has never been specifically mentioned that eunuchs are excluded from the term person. Thus the interpretation of the term ‘sex’ by the courts in India have unfair and not satisfactory thereby violating the rights of the eunuchs.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”. The right to life and personal liberty are inherent in human beings. Thus, Article 21 seeks to protect these inherent rights by prohibiting the state or any person from depriving a person of the right to life or personal liberty except in accordance with a procedure established by law.

The Supreme Court of India has interpreted the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of Constitution of India to include the right to privacy, right to dignity and right to health. The Supreme Court for the first time, recognized that domiciliary visits, which were unauthorized by law violated the personal liberty of individual . In the case in hand the right to privacy of Eunuchs of Sukasthan has been infringed by the state police by arbitrary intrusion into their privacy.

Further, the Constitution requires the rights of the marginalization and unpopular to be protected, even in the face of public disapproval. Mere public preference cannot be a sufficient justification for curtailing a right . Article 21 of the Constitution of India also guards the right to dignity, every citizen of India has a right to live with dignity and through the act of omission on the part of the Government, the Eunuchs have been deprived of their right to dignity, because of non conformity of their sex, they have no access to the rights available to every citizen and it also affects their right to dignity. It is submitted that the states justification on maintenance of public morality for the infringement is not sufficient cause.

Therefore the state is violating the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India in relation to the Eunuchs and the transgender community. It is submitted that the government has a duty cast upon it by the Constitution of India to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of India, which has to be done by classification of the Eunuchs either under male or female and providing access to all the rights available to every citizen of India.

Hijras (Eunuchs) in India have virtually no safe spaces, not even in their families, where they are protected from prejudice and abuse. The PUCL(K) Report on Human Rights Violations against the Transgender Community has documented the kind of prejudice that hijras face in Bangalore. The report shows that this prejudice is translated into violence, often of a brutal nature, in public spaces, police stations, prisons and even in their homes. The main factor behind the violence is that society is not able to come to terms with the fact that hijras do not conform to the accepted gender divisions. In addition to this, most hijras have a lower middle-class background, which makes them susceptible to harassment by the police. The discrimination based on their class and gender makes the hijra community one of the most disempowered groups in Indian society. The systematic violence that hijras face is reinforced by the institutions such as the family, media and the medical establishments and is given legitimacy by the legal system. The hijras face many sorts of state and societal harassments such as:

Harassment by the police in public places
Harassment at home
Police entrapment
Abuse/harassment at police stations
Rape in jails

The law that is used most to threaten the hijra and kothi communities, as well as the homosexual community in India, is Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” even if it isvoluntary. In effect, it criminalizes certain kinds of sexual acts that are perceived to be `unnatural’. The law, which has its origin in colonial ideas of morality, in effect presumes that a hijra or a homosexual person is engaging in `carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, thus making this entire lot of marginalized communities vulnerable to police harassment and arrest. The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) of 1956 (amended in 1986), whose stated objective is to criminalize brothel-keeping, trafficking, pimping and soliciting, in reality targets the visible figure of the sex worker and enables the police to arrest and intimidate the transgender sex-worker population.

According to the two main diagnostic systems used in the Indian medical establishment, transsexualism is defined as a `gender identity disorder’. The doctors usually prescribe a sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), which currently resorts to hormone therapy and surgical reconstruction and may include electrolysis, speech therapy and counseling. Surgical construction could include the removal of male sex organs and the construction of female ones. Since government hospitals and qualified private practitioners do not usually perform SRS, many hijras go to quacks, thus placing themselves at serious risk. Neither the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) nor the Medical Council of India (MCI) has formulated any guidelines to be followed in SRS. The attitude of the medical establishment has only reinforced the low sense of self-worth that many hijras have at various moments in their lives.

With every single thing going against the Eunuchs; a notable amount of awareness has also been seen all over the world. Around the world, countries are beginning to recognize the rights of transgender people. In a landmark judgment (Christine Goodwin vs. the United Kingdom, 2002) the European Court of Human Rights declared that the U.K. government’s failure to alter the birth certificates of transsexual people or to allow them to marry in their new gender role was a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. It said that a test of biological factors could no longer be used to deny recognition legally to the change of gender that a transsexual had undergone. In New Zealand, in New Zealand Attorney General vs. the Family Court at Otahuhu(1994), the court upheld the principle that for purposes of marriage, transsexual people should be legally recognized in their re-assigned sex.

Of  late the Indian hijra community has begun to mobilize themselves through the formation of a collective. Sangama, an organization working with hijras, kothis and sex workers in Bangalore, has played an important role by helping them organize and fight for their rights. Its services include organizing a drop-in centre for hijras and kothis, conducting a series of public rallies and marches, using legal assistance in case of police harassment, and establishing links with other social movements.

The organizations of the hijra community can be seen as constituting a larger movement of sexual minority groups in India. Theyare challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 and are organizing a campaign questioning the government’s stand that the law should remain. The discrimination and violence that hijras face show that it is high time that both the government and the human rights movement in the country begin to take this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

Yet, It is difficult to warm up to this strange creature we meet in the train or on the streets, with exaggerated gestures, a low-cut blouse sans breasts, a voice so raucous and manly and a manner so obscenely revolting that our immediate response is to shy away in disgust. We silently fume at this person’s gumption in demanding – not asking – not requesting – not begging, mind you – some money in exchange for a package deal in blessings – sukh, paisa and beta. But for this strange species of humanity, who happen to be eunuchs more by design than by birth or accident and rarely by choice, nothing is what seems to be. When a section of human beings becomes a cliché of our making, never mind the pressures of our social conditioning, it is time we questioned their claim to be treated only as normal human beings who can love and hate, construct and destroy, as strongly and as powerfully as ordinary mortals can.

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ARE WE THRIVING ON CASTE POLITICS ?

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DEAR PRIME MINISTER SIR,

The relationship between caste and politics in Indian society has been subject of intensive study for many years. Grass-root political arenas as well as political parties have always remained and continue to remain dominated by elites of castes which compete with each other to form caste coalitions of supporters strong enough to maximize control over local resources and enhance opportunities to become players in political system. A survey reveals the crucial role played by castes in politics and awareness of the lower castes of their political gains. It has been found that the higher caste groups had lower political interest and low castes higher political interests. Political awareness was high among the higher castes and was low among the lower castes. Lower castes by organizing themselves in pursuit of collective interest were able to emerge successfully. The involvement of these castes organization in politics has changed their position in hierarchical pattern of Hindu society. Caste solidarity and political power helped them to achieve higher social, economic and political success. Caste has become one of the most formidable elements of group formation within political parties in India. The patronage and pecuniary resources available to the political leaders enable them to create a coalition of factions on caste basis, whose leaders are bound to political elites in power in a complex network of personal obligation ties. Each of these leaders had a group of followers tied to him in accordance with the same set of caste principles. The personnel of these castes factions may vary but whatever may be their social composition they demand and to a higher degree receive from their members full support. Political parties gamble caste support in various ways. Power shifts from one dominant caste to another and the focus of power shifts from one caste itself to another on caste basis. The loyalties of castes are exploited in voting. New alliances cutting across castes are also formed.

Three factors-education, government patronage, and slowly expanding franchise (including 18-21 year old young persons in electorate)-have penetrated the caste system because of which the caste system  has come to affect democratic politics in the country. Economic opportunity, administrative patronage, and positions of power offered by the new institutions and the new leadership drew castes into politics.

The involvement of castes in politics resulted in two things: the caste system made available to the leadership the structural and the ideological basis for political mobilisation, and two, leadership was forced to make concessions to local opinion and organise castes for eco­nomic and political purposes. Political parties also mobilise caste support. In fact, the problems of mobilisation of masses today are the same as they were four dec­ades ago. Just as in the 1930s and the 1940s social reformers believed that without the awareness of masses, their organisation for political activity was not possible, similarly today also politicians try to get support from the caste leaders and at the same time drive home to them the utility of political means in achieving their goals. Caste has become a determinant factor of ‘political elite’ status. Studies conducted on political elite by scholars like Sirsikar, Sachchidananda, Ram Ahuja, S.K. Lai, etc, have all pointed out that in the emergence of elite, higher castes have an extraordinary advantage over the middle and the lower castes. Before independence, generally the upper caste groups occupied the centre of the political stage in the Congress party engaged in the freedom struggle but after independence, individuals from the middle and the lower castes also entered political power field.

The reservation policy enabled individuals from the lower castes to emerge as leaders, while elite from the middle castes emerged due to their improved educational and socio-economic status. Thus, caste system which had only ritualistic function assumed the new role of regulating political behavior of the people.

Ethically, caste and democracy differ from each other and cannot co-exist because caste advocates fragmentation of society whereas democracy stands for the unification of society. Caste is leased on inequality by birth. Democracy is based on principles of equality. Caste advocates social exclusion and democracy advocates social inclusion. Caste provides wealth, power and status to specific groups but democracy provides equal chance to all categories irrespective of bias. But, the peculiarity is that both caste system and democracy co-exist in Indian society.

Caste discrimination and repression exists in India since ages. The caste prejudices still plague our society and even become influential factors at the time of elections. Politicians encourage and exploit their attidues for their own gains. Discrimination against low-castes is widely prevalent and has kept a large percentage of our copulation backward. It is perhaps one of the main causes of India’s backwardness.

Many social reformers such Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati tried to end caste discrimination. People acquired great awareness and the caste system is not followed so rigidly today, particularly in the urban areas. The developments of science and technology and progress in industry have changed the outlook of the people to a great extent.

Casteism poses a serious obstacle in the functioning of democracy. Many of the professional politicians exploit Casteism and at election time ask the people to vote for them on caste considerations and they also succeed in their evil designs. Even illegitimate and immoral practices are resorted to in securing the interests of one’s own caste. By promoting narrow loyalties, Casteism has weakened the modernization of the polity. By retaining outmoded caste cohesion, Casteism has stood in the way of the building up of a secular society. Casteism has become pervasive. It has entered into the marrow and bones of a sizeable section of the society. Its root has gone deep into Indian soil. It cannot be uprooted overnight. It is in the interest of both the individual and society that Casteism should be eradicated from the Indian social matrix at the earliest.

Caste-based discrimination is the most complex human rights issue facing India today. To date, the tools used to assess its status have been divided by discipline-human rights, legal and social science. Although significant contributions toward understanding untouchability have been made in each of these areas, it is difficult to comprehend the scope and pervasiveness of the problem without combining the tools of all three. It is a form of discrimination prohibited by international human rights law. Although it may not be equated with racism, it is quite clear from several references made by several UN treaty and charter-bodies that this issue warrants due recognition as an example of gross human rights violation that needs to be taken into consideration by all human rights mechanisms available in the UN system. The Indian constitution makes clear the “principle of non-discrimination on the basis of caste or gender”. It guarantees the “right to life and to security of life”. Article 46 specifically “protects Dalits from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”. It is a familiar Indian story: judicial indifference (as well as cost, lack of access to legal representation, endless red-tape and obstructive staff), police corruption, and government collusion, plus media indifference causing the major obstacles to justice and the observation and enforcement of the law. Unlike middle class girls, Dalit rape victims (whose numbers are growing) rarely receive the attention of the caste/class-conscious urban-centric media, whose primary concern is to promote a bollywood shiny, open-for-business image of the country. Indian mind is pregnant with Victorian gender stereotypes, fuelled by a caste system designed to subjugate, which trap both men and women into conditioned cells of isolation where destructive ideas of gender are allowed to ferment, causing explosions of sexual violence, exploitation and abuse.

According to an opinion edit page on Hindu dated May 11th, 2015, “Political justice – achieved in some respects over time by means of affirmative action -managed to overcome social injustice at all? After all, the Constitution guarantees the right to equality of all citizens and affirmative action for Dalits. Years of following the policy of affirmative action has yielded a high degree of participation and representation of Dalits in politics and in governance. But without progressive social consciousness permeating society at large, constitutionalism, state actions and political equations simply do not suffice. It would help if the political actors who have accommodated Dalits among their party and governance structures, due to the their sheer weight of numbers as a representative section, also believed in and worked as conduits for social transformation. Perhaps if Dalits were not merely accommodated but were accorded leadership roles in parties, that could aid this process of social activism. “

Caste discrimination has not been totally rooted out. We can put an end to this evil by spreading education and creating awareness among the people throughout the country. Only education coupled with economic improvement would erase the discrimination. This might take one more generation. But it will go away surely. Let’s extend our helping hand in spreading education, as it is the only solution of most of our problems.

ADV SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,

SAMBALPUR,ODISHA,

 

Save the Youth – Save the Nation

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Save the Youth – Save the Nation

Dear Sir,

I am starting with Swami Vivekananda , “Now for that, I want young men. “It is the young, the strong, and healthy, of sharp intellect that will reach the Lord”, say the Vedas. This is the time to decide your future — while you possess the energy of youth, not when you are worn out and jaded, but in the freshness and vigour of youth. Work — this is the time; for the freshest, the untouched, and unsmelled flowers alone are to be laid at the feet of the Lord, and such He receives. Rouse yourselves, therefore, for life is short. A far greater work is this sacrifice of yourselves for the benefit of your race, for the welfare of humanity. I will tell you in plain language that you work best when you work for others. The best work that you ever did for yourselves was when you worked for others. This life is short, vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive. Be not afraid of anything. You will do marvelous work. The moment you fear, you are nobody. It is fear that is the great cause of misery in the world. It is fear that is the greatest of all superstitions. It is fear that is the cause of our woes, and it is fearlessness that brings heaven even in a moment. All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; Stand up and express the divinity within you. Therefore, “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.”

This quote not only inspires but also keeps many focused in their odyssey of life. Addiction is a global phenomenon and a mental disease. It is eating up the social fabric slowly in India also. It has become a family disease because it affects everyone of the family who is involved with the addict. Countries like Afghanistan, Columbia, and Jamaica have had their economies rocked and destabilized by the illegal market while bribery, corruption, and conflict have ruled. There would be clear information and awareness about the risks involved and guidance on how to seek treatment. It is time to allow adults the freedom to make decisions about the harmful substances they consume. A stable and contained problem is easier to address than one which is expanding chaotically, provided it is seen as an opportunity for renewed commitment rather than an excuse to decrease vigilance. There are the two major legal drugs that kill far more people than illegal drugs: tobacco and alcohol. Although these are legal and regulated, they continue to put enormous strains on social systems such as police and health services. In the World, an excess drinking culture is affecting many young people and is a constant theme on mainstream news. Drug addiction erodes a person’s self-control and ability to make sound decisions, while sending intense impulses to take drugs. Recovery requires total abstinence. One has to follow a spiritual lifestyle. Finally We have to Live Spiritual and Think Spiritual and awareness on abuse will change the Youths.

Addiction is a menace. Every day presents the risk of overdose death or accidental injury. Even if a person escapes this kind of harm, the addiction itself rapes the individual of all self-esteem. They become neglected and start harming others. It needs understanding. My humble request to you sir, please do contemplate and pay heed to voice of many suffering youths. Nobody by choice becomes an addict. They need compassion and awareness on this topic. Without youth the nation will rot someday. Please save the youths.

Regards,

Adv Siddhartha Mishra

#BlogToPM-Standardization of Education

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|| A Request ||

My request to Hon’ble Pm , Mr Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Hrd Minister, ,” Sir , I am simple  lawyer, I am not that great like you. I was listening to Ex Hrd Minister very intensively ,  each and every word . She talked about NCERT , students are taught distorted things in class iv and vi , madamji , I am Kendriya Vidyalaya , pass out , still I have all those old books with me from Class 1 to class 10th , normally most guys don’t keep . I have never found anything distorted . Even , two students from CBSE, Ncert coming to me for tuition . I am teaching them personally . I am not blaming you , but these are my clarifications. My request to all parties , can we stop caste politics , just for chairs . With folded hand sir, Please, let there be a standardization of education , where rich and poor , son of IAS and IPS , son of Politicians and Rulers ( Kings ) study together under one umbrella of education. No Doon school , No convent, no saraswat shishu vidya mandir . no agaan wadi, no madrsa education .Why this boundary ? Let us study under one roof.

My humble request to Hon’ble Pm , Mr Modi and Hon’ble Hrd Minister,” Can you implement Vivekandanda education system across India and Standardization of Education . Subhash Bose said , ” One must learn his/her own mother tongue but English has its own privilege. ” Without being biased , Can you hear my appeal ?

More than half of India’s population is below 25, which needs to be trained. There is no standardised education in rural areas/urban area, minimal facilities and there aren’t trained teachers available, even if the will exists. While we lay stress on central universities and the IITs /IIMS and things like that, actually 90 per cent of our higher education is in the state universities. And that is 20 years behind the central universities, if not more. Too many of our universities are producing graduates in the wrong kind of subjects – things not required for the changing job market. The quality is dismal in a large number of cases.we don’t have a credible accreditation system in higher education and are suffering because of it. But the system is huge- we have more than 700 universities, 35,000 colleges, about 4,000 odd engineering colleges, probably more than that the management schools.

In your words ” Skiksha ko ranbhoomi maat banayiye ” I am ending my request with simple and secular prathana
” ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः

सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः ।

सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु

मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत्

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

“May all be prosperous and happy

May all be free from illness

May all see what is spiritually uplifting

May no one suffer

Om peace, peace, peace ”

 

 

Live and Let Live

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To protect someone you don’t need to belong to any political outfits/ party or sangathan . A sensitive heart is sufficient. While in my evening walk I saw a cow following an auto . Then suddenly a gentleman Mr Gopal Maharana came in byke . He told me to help him following the auto. We stopped the auto ( the auto number is there in photo), a loving calf was inside. I had an argument with them. Either they wanted to sell the calf or some other purpose , God Knows. A PCR van was coming , I informed the police . Some how we managed to rescue them. Mr Maharana went to his office and I alone stood by them for 2 hours. Perhaps God wanted it. I followed both of them and finally near Chinmaya mission , Sambalpur , there is a khatal . They both peacefully went there. Humans are becoming more animals. I’m not in search of sanctity, sacredness, purity; these things are found after this life, not in this life; but in this life I search to be completely human: to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to get lost, to be found, to dance, to love , to be so human.I believe that my own morality — which answers only to my heart — is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and Wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.

 

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Rock Bottom – My Inspiration

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Every favourable situation weakens your mind, and odds strengthen you. We lack infirmity of will. But it is ok. We rise, we fall but we have to stand. I hit the rock bottom. A complete defeat. I surrender and the rock was God.

We will not achieve, we will not master that which goes unplanned in our dream world. We imagine first, and then we conceive the execution of a plan. Our minds prepare us for success. They can also prepare us for failure if we let our thoughts become negative. In this path of my recovery, I have to rigorously honest. If I at all cheat, I will cheat to myself. Life is a continuous sadhana. In the words Paramhamsa Satyananda , “Assaults , abuses , injustices, taunts , harassments , discomforts , etc . have strengthen my personality . Let me – Adapt, Accept, Accommodate, . Bear Insult, Bear Injury; highest sadhana.  Be fearless, Cowards never acquire power of life.”

I was into addiction during peak of my life. Everything got ruined. I was assaulted by some hooligan lawyers because of my honesty. War is justified only when it is meant to fight evil and injustice, not for the purpose of aggression or terrorizing people. The real war is within … change of thoughts and our personalities. A rebel reforms himself. Everything in Mahabharata is symbolic. Krishna awakens Arjuna … how to control the senses and emotions through Yoga. It is an inner awakening rather I can say. It is to face the inner war within infected by self –centeredness, jealousy, self seeking, self-delusion, anger, envy and prideful self Confidence, Ego and Big I.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of my life —unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my failures and my past , I could not stay sober and peace of mind; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

Acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God.

I find the willingness to do this by contemplating the lessons learned from past suffering – lessons which have led to the blessings I now enjoy. I can remember, if I insist, how the agonies of alcoholism, the pain of rebellion and thwarted pride, have often led me to God’s grace, and so to a new freedom. So, as I walk along, I repeat still other phrases such as these, “Pain is the touchstone of progress” -“Fear no evil”- “This, too, will pass” -“This experience can be turned to benefit.

Spirituality is the only solution to a chemical problem and everything is linked to each other. My sobriety teaches me to be accepting and tolerant of the views and opinions of others. A spirituality that embraces all men – rather than a narrow and restrictive religion – is my prescription for life. I have
exchanged bigotry for freedom, and I am happy in God’s world. Complete defeat-what a concept! That must mean surrender. Surrender-to give up absolutely. To quit with no reservations. To put up our hands and quit fighting. Maybe to put up our hand at our first meeting with the Divine and admit we’re failures.

Affirmation in life plays a significant role. We must be willing to change ourselves than changing the external factor of life. It will change automatically. All is well. In the midst of turmoil, let us remember, all is well; in the midst of the pain of self-awareness, all is well. The struggle of the turmoil, the pain that accompanies the lessons of self-awareness, are preparing us for becoming all we are meant to become. We each have a special gift to offer in this life. We will come to understand those gifts and be able to give them as we grow with the pain of self-understanding. All is well. Deep down happiness ripples, it’s rippling to the surface of our lives.

Bhagavad Gita enlightens us how to you face and overcome fears/worries/social pressures/envy/Jealousy. It is not a philosophy a practical tool. An action taken too soon can be as ineffective as one taken too late. It can backfire and cause more problems than it solves. Usually, when we wait until the time is right – sometimes only a matter of minutes or hours – the discomfort dissolves, and we’re empowered to accomplish what
we need to do.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and Wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Written as a part of #ChatterPrompts

 

 

Smart Phones – The Era of Integration and Dis-integration

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The concept of smart phone was first thought by Theodore Paraskevakos in 1971. The world was unaware of such a device. Smart Phones are highly advanced and are good in multitasking, but they changing our lives in a negative way.

The interaction between people in the world in the form of rapid interchange of ideas, money and trade is overwhelming. The era started with this concept, has brought progress as well regress, gains as well as loses, new opportunities as well as new problems. Human beings face tough challenges to lead life in this contemporary world. And, technology has become the deciding factor for people’s standards.

Life becomes updated and flexible with facilities to get connected to people and resources at any time. The mode of communication is open through several ways allowing people to enjoy and make best use of advancements. Also, people get better exposure to social life when they use smart phones with many different applications and accessories. People in all industry verticals use smart phones on a regular basis. The development in technology has given people better means to lead their life and enjoy being associated with different things. The applications one can access using their smart phones are unlimited. It is interesting to know more about the applications and use them for accomplishing different works in quick time. People feel prestigious and do not feel inferior in the society when they are aware about technology and technological advancements.

The adoption of Smartphone’s has been tremendous all over the world. Surveys show that 80% of the world population use mobile devices and 42% of mobile subscribers in India use Smartphone’s. According to a survey, large number of people almost up to 65% is using their Smartphone’s to read news feeds, post status updates, read and  reply to messages and post photos. This shows that now people are leaving PCs and moving towards Smartphone’s. According to analysts, the long dominated giants is experiencing bad times due to the rise of Smartphone’s and tablets, and the pressure to gain market share in mobile device market is causing fractures in long partnerships. It is true that still millions of PCs will continue to sell, but the Smartphone’s and tablets will see more considerable growth in future.

The launch of the iPhone in 2007 transformed the humble mobile phone from a one-trick tool for communication into a catch-all platform whose functionality is constantly evolving. When the editors of Popular Mechanics drafted a list of “101 Gadgets That Changed the World” in 2012, the smart phone topped the heap, trumping technological milestones such as the TV (No. 3), the personal computer (No. 5), the telephone (No. 7) and the light bulb (No. 10). “The Smartphone … is now a pocket-size PC,” the editors wrote. “It facilitates instantaneous personal connections that make phone conversations seem like cave paintings. … The device seems to have limitless potential.”

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“The human brain is wired to adapt to what the environment around it requires for survival,” writes Amber Case, a cyber-anthropologist and CEO of mobile platform Geoloqi, in her survey response. “Today and in the future, it will not be as important to internalize information but to elastically be able to take multiple sources of information in, synthesize them and make rapid decisions.” In 2012, Time Magazine and mobile technology company Qualcomm conducted a joint survey of 5,000 smart phone users in eight countries. When asked how the smart phone had changed their lives, the most common responses were that it brought them into closer contact with their friends and families and helped them be better informed. At least 75 percent of respondents in every country agreed that this constant connection was mostly positive. The ability to remain in constant contact can sometimes lead to a disconnect with loved ones. According to Pew Research’s 2014 study “Couples, the Internet and Social Media,” smart phone attachment can create romantic friction when someone feels ignored in favour of what’s on their partner’s screen. About 25 percent of married or partnered respondents to the study say they find their significant other’s phone use distracting.

A new category of consumer has emerged known as the “smartphonatic,” defined as someone who changes shopping, banking and payment behaviour after switching to a smart phone. Globally, a quarter of smart-phone owners are considered smartphonatics. Among this group, 80% use their phone for mobile banking, and 70% use it for mobile payments. While smart phones are making personal money management more convenient, in many contexts they are also the source of gross distraction, and rude and even dangerous behaviour. For example, even with all we know about texting and driving, some smart-phone owners say they check their phones while behind the wheel. Many states are moving quickly to discourage this behaviour through beefed-up distracted-driver laws and some significant points.

Everywhere we go people are glued to their phones; from the grocery store to the gym to the public restroom. This trend isn’t just irritating and borderline rude, it’s also addicting. Sixty percent of all World Population are proud owners of smart phones, 24% of those check their phone while behind the wheel, and 80% of them check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. It used to be such a priority for employees to keep a firm separation between work life and personal life, but with smart phones, that line is blurring more and more. Emails can be accessed easily and quickly from smart phones, as well as instant communication at all times from co-workers and bosses.

Today, in a period characterized by financialization and globalization, where “information” is king, the idea of any commodity defining an era might seem quaint. But commodities are no less important today, and people’s relationships to them remain central to understanding society. If the automobile was fundamental to grasping the last century, the smart phone is the defining commodity of our era.Smartphones is a godsend for the dramaturgical aspects of life. They enable us to manage the impressions we make on others with control-freak precision. Instead of talking to each other, we can send text messages, planning our witticisms and avoidance strategies in advance. We can display our impeccable taste on Pinterest, superior parenting skills on CafeMom, and burgeoning artistic talents on Instagram, all in real time. Take texting rituals, which, with all their complex, unwritten rules, now play a commanding role in the relationship dynamics of most young adults. One need not deal in toxic nostalgia to admit that new, technologically mediated rituals are displacing or radically altering older conventions.

It’s as if you’re in a smartphone zombie apocalypse. I’d like to ask you honestly what your morning looks like. I personally wake up, turn off the alarm, and start checking notifications from dozens of other applications on my smartphone. Some mornings I’ve found myself an hour later, still in bed, in a very uncomfortable posture, still browsing on. What is going on? It’s an addiction that many of us share, but usually choose to ignore. Social media is all about displaying the better version of yourself, showing off to your friends that you go out, that you have a more fulfilled life than they think. But how much are these people actually living the moment? You could call me a hypocrite for bashing the very technology I overuse myself. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not criticizing the technology here, but the problems that are related to society. Do not think what you get out of it but think of what you can bring out of it.

I am following the principles what Paramhamsa Niranjananda Sraswati of Bihar School of Yoga , Munger opined in an article …. Harmonising the mind ,” Pratyahara and dharana constitute the third and fourth stages in the practice of yoga, according to the yoga sutras. It is not important to sit down and close your eyes to practise pratyahara and dharana. Remember that the aim of pratyahara and dharana is stilling the activities of the mind. The pebbles that we throw into the still waters of our mind are known as pratyayas. The ripples they create are known as vrittis. The pratyaya is the stone and the vrittis are the ripples. A pratyaya is an impression that goes deep into the mind, into the psyche and that impression creates a reaction which is the vritti. You cannot stop the vrittis from altering the natural state of mind, but you can make an effort to release some of the impressions that go into your mind.

Meditation is not the only way to practise pratyahara or dharana. It is also important to reduce one’s involvement with the world of objects. Let me make it clear in a slightly different way. You sleep at night and when you wake up in the morning you are absolutely fresh and relaxed. Generally what do people do after waking up and drinking their cup of tea? They read the newspapers, turn on the T.V. or radio and listen to the news. What kind of news do you listen to or read about? Scandals, murders, accidents, thefts, criticism. You throw such negative pratyayas into that fresh, relaxed state of mind. These are the first impressions that your mind receives early in the morning. Stop that for at least two hours! Don’t turn on the telly or read the newspaper for at least two hours until your mind naturally becomes active and extrovert.

This is a very important matter. Allow your fresh, relaxed mind to come to its natural state of vitality in the course of time. Don’t plant the seeds of negativity early in the morning as the first input. You will find that your day becomes different. You are free to do, read or see anything after two hours but give yourself this time to wake up. This type of affirmation to yourself is the beginning of pratyahara and dharana. It is not sitting cross-legged in a meditative posture. Disciplining the mind and lifestyle is the beginning of pratyahara and dharana.”

Finally, I don’t think we’re heading to the right direction when it comes to mobile technology, smart phones and tablets are supposed to bring innovation into our lives, get people connected and save us some time by facilitating simple tasks, not that it doesn’t have the potential for it, but what I really see in most cases is the exact opposite effect. Of course it still brings many benefits to our modern society, but when it reaches a certain point it starts being harmful, time consuming, counterproductive and even dangerous.

Siddhartha Shankar Mishra

(Author is a Legal practitioner  and a writer )