My space

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Images of a super power

I had a trip to my in law's place in Chennai recently. We went to a temple in the outskirts almost 50 Km from main city . Chennai heat was really awful and I was thinking it was horrible to travel in the hot sun though we were in a taxi.But what I saw really altered my thought and I felt ashamed of myself.

The road which goes to the temple was being laid by some workers.They were working diligently braving the sweltering heat. Most of them did not have shoes; forget shoes, some had broken Hawaaii sandals.They were not wearing sun screen to protect their already black skins. They were wearing torn clothes with traces of tar and cement all over it.They were working amidst the hot sun and rising dust quietly as if it is a silent resignation to their fate.There were no shops atleast in 2 KM vicinity, which means they had to get water and food also when they come to work.That too carry it and walk as they dont have vehicles of their own.I felt so bad seeing them , but as most of us do, I just remarked ' Paavam' and diverted my thoughts.
On the way to the temple I also saw poor farmers and ladies dressed in old clothes taking buffaloes for grazing.The place where the temple was a village and I could see many poor faces around.

This is the country that is going to become 3rd largest economy by 2050. And the images what you see no way assure you of that.Roads are being laid, but what about the lifes of the labourers who actually do that.They get a measly 50 Rs a day, which amounts to just 1500 a month if they work for all 30 days.and 50 Rs is hardly one USD.Statistics show that half the population of this economic super power live at less than 2 USD( around 100 Rs) a day.And if you see the prices of essential commodities , they are sky rocketing.Do these people atleast have right to a hand-to-mouth existence.

Ever wondered how people like this live in India. We dont bother as our main consideration is impending promotion or salary hike.Media also has failed in generating public awareness as all they show is Liz Hurley - Arun Nayar wedding saga or Ash-Abhi episodes. Or trying to play the 'India arrives' theme time and again when a biggie like TATA or BIRLA acquires some company.For God's sake TATA and BIRLA are not whole of India. Gandhiji said ' India's heart is in its villages' , but who is bothered to develop people from grass root level.

I dont know how to improve situation here, but next time you hit a road or highway be thankful to the labourers who have toiled in hot sun to lay it.That is the least we can do.And next time you complain about your job, just think how lucky you are to work in the comfort of AC and not in hot afternoon sun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why our temples are full and minds empty

This is one question that makes me really ponder on the state of affairs in our world.People are more religious and into spirituality than ever before, but the collective consciousness of our society has suffered a silent death.

All temples, not only temples all places of worship are so crowded and praying has become a business.You go to Thirupathi stand in queue for 4 hours and see the idol for 2 seconds amidst pushing by temple priests and authorities.Where do you feel the devotion.Go to Mookambika, same story on special days. I still remember paying 50 Rs to get into the special queue on a crowded day on which we ventured to the temple.Special queue is through another door and allows you access to 'God' faster.Some temples have VIP queues also. Remember how Karunakaran ( who was chief minister of Kerala) used to visit Guruvayoor temple with his security pushing the common people aside.

So we have made God exclusive property of the rich and powerful, common people who cant afford to pay have to stand in queues and languish.The more you can donate to temple, the more special privileges you get in return.And its an ideal way to hide all your black money.People who dont even spend one 'phooti-kodi' on the really needy go and give diamonds and gold to God. If they have so much money, why cant they spend to alleviate atleast some problems in our world. There are too many things that need attention like poverty, AIDS reasearch, education for poor etc.Swami Vivekananda had told that service to human kind is like serving God. But who cares about human beings.

I am not against anyone putting money in temples. But What is that utilised for.Temple renovation and maintenance to a certain extent Yes. There are temples which get as much as 700 crores a year in India. Do we know what is being done with the money.God is just a concept which came into existence so that morality and discipline prevails in society.And temples were places for social gatherings.But today they have become arenas to show off your wealth and opulence.All the simplicity and divinity of temples are lost because they are run like business houses today.

People are extremely religious now-a-days but forget their basic responsibilities towards their family, society.There are lot of saints also who have sprung up to cash in on this trend.You see any of those channels dishing out spirituality, those are the things which we know already, but still people go and throng those abodes of 'spirituality' as if it is fashionable to do so.And the main beneficiaries are those ' Acharyas' and 'Acharinis' who make fast buck by selling spirituality to a spirituality starved world.

We would expect people who are extremely religious to be extremely good too.But unfortunately that is not the case.It may be because people just go and pray for all material benefits .How many of us actually pray for others, for our world.The ladies who are in temple for most of time are the ones who actually torture their daughter in laws.People who spend fortunes on 'Rath Yatras' think twice before giving a 20 Rs hike to their poor servants.Not every one of course, but there are too many people whose aim is just to pray in all possible temples but do not have any sense of responsibility or sensitiveness to understand and help others.There are people who are so religious, but forget to keep their own minds off destructive and negative thoughts.Why the crime rates are so up even when people are religion oriented than ever before.Is this the purpose of religion and God - to instigate all sorts of violence against humanity; Or to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to problems of other people and indulge in just devloping oneself by hook and crook.I dont believe in any religion or God which does not ask human beings to live peacefully and let live.

Next time you go to temple fill your mind with righteouness and virtues.There is no point in getting our temples crowded and emptying our minds of good values.It does not require temple, religion or God himself for you to be a good human being.Remember each little word of kindness, each little act of love makes this world a much better place to live in.