piyush kaviraj

feelings and musings…


No one wants war, yet no one denies it

Given the first opportunity, states have jumped into the warzones on command of the so called administrators, having mandate of their citizens. In the name of the land and people, wars are summoned and brought to the shores of those very citizens’ home. We all know and understand who has to bear the brunt of wars, strives and conflicts. Insurgency across borders, quest to seize more land, desire to have new nations, fanaticism to propagate one’s religion, or the insatiable hunger to be the world power have lead to numerous expeditions throughout the history, be it Alexander the ‘great’ or Hitler; ISIS or Chechen; China or USA.

The recent photographs of a drowned Kurdish child have been doing the rounds across the internet. It is actually ironic that the selfish needs of few lead to horrific experience for millions of innocents. As the photographer, Nilufer herself has accepted how difficult it was to click those pictures. She claimed her reaction on seeing the corpse of the small toddler was “becoming petrified”. In her own words, “Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was lying lifeless face down in the surf, in his red t-shirt and dark blue shorts folded to his waist. The only thing I could do was to make his outcry heard” She took the pictures to share her feeling and make an “outcry”


Let’s ask ourselves honestly. Who is responsible for Aylan’s death? Who is responsible for the death of Children in USA, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand our very own country? It’s all of US-every single person from each country who remains nothing but mute spectator while carrying out the daily chores for him/her and the immediate family members.

We will make hues and cries on the social media for a few days. Some of us are so damned that we do it mostly in hope of getting more likes and retweets. Oh yes, Candle light processions are not to be forgotten, for a few days and then…. who cares! Life moves on, so do we.


Another crisis till I write another article, self-bashing. Let me enjoy till then.

Piyush Kaviraj


(Photo Credits: Internet)

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Spread happiness to stay happy

Movies like “Bawarchi”, “Anand” and “Kal Ho Na Ho” portray characters who can meet, mingle with and befriend any fellow human being on this earth. Making friends and winning confidence of people looks like the easiest thing to them. They bring a glowing smile on the face and an aura of happiness around. Are such people confined only to movies? Is it a difficult task to undertake and execute in the real world?

Do such people have some special talent to achieve this? I don’t think so! To open ourselves to meet some stranger and spread happiness around him or her is not an un-achievable feat. It requires a change. A positive vibe and a self confidence, powerful enough to reassure those around us. However, those changes have to be explored or inculcated within us. Some may find it difficult in the beginning but it shows good results. It may be acquired like a reflex with continuous practice.

People may ask  about relevance of such a habit. Is it worth enough to take such pains to modify ourselves in order to improve the conditions around us. Yes! it is. It is worth and it will always be relevant, in all ages. Don’t we often complain about lack of a healthy and good environment at work-place, hostels, classrooms, societies etc. There is a lacuna which has to be filled to make the environment healthy and conducive to productivity. This rectification can be done by changing our attitude, the way we think and our approach to life. The balance in nature demands a continuous and dynamic give-and-take relationship. So if we want happiness and positive vibes, we have to take measures to begin this ourselves, from within each one of us.

Let us practice this art. As the saying goes, we get what we give, sooner or later. Lets us spread happiness and get some in return.

First published at: http://www.speakingtree.in/spiritual-blogs/seekers/self-improvement/spread-happiness-to-stay-happy

Tweet: @piyushKAVIRAJ

© 2013 Piyush Kaviraj

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Poetics of a nation: remembering Nehru – An article from The Hindu

Shiva Vishwanathan presents a nice introspection of Nehruvian era. Jawaharlal Nehru cannot be seen merely as an object of history, a fragment of policy. He was a dream, a hope, a claim to innocence, an aesthetic, which gave to modernity a touch of elegance. Link to the article- http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/opinion-on-jawaharlal-nehru-125th-birth-anniversary/article6600161.ece?homepage=true

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This week, India will celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. I must confess that I hate anniversaries when they turn out to be rote affairs, when memory, which hurts like frostbite, is presented painlessly. I hate this era that measures Nehru with calipers and titrates his foreign policy. It is a dull world today when memory turns inane and history seems empty. Life must indeed be meaningless when almost two decades of the Nehru era produce less meaning than five months of a Modi regime. When memories fade, icons die, and when an icon dies, something dies in all of us.

Nehru cannot be seen merely as an object of history, a fragment of policy. He was a dream, a hope, a claim to innocence, an aesthetic which gave to modernity a touch of elegance. I think that is why Gandhi opted for him. The practical Gandhi realised that one needed the impractical Nehru to survive the first decade of Independence. It is only the impractical who survive, who understand desire, hope and dream. Words like development and planning are dull words borrowed from a dismal social science. Nehru gave them a touch of poetry and it is only the poetics of the first decade that allowed us to retain hope and dream differently.

Harnessing science

Imagine a country which suffers two genocides, the Bengal Famine and Partition. Imagine a nation littered with refugees and the bittersweet memories of displacement. Such a nation could have turned melancholic, bitter, even tyrannical. Yet with all the violence, India of the Nehruvian years had a touch of innocence. Indians felt they had done the impossible (win freedom) and now wanted to repeat it. It was Nehru who gave India that lightness of being, that childlike innocence and yet that sophistication that came with a civilisational confidence.

Nehru inspired a generation to hope and believe. In fact, it was the first decades of Independence that could be called the Indian century because Nehru made India feel that Indians were special.

We used science as an enzyme of hope, an elixir of development. Where else could a nation talk of the future as belonging to science or those who make friends with science? The concentration camps were still a stark fact and the atomic bomb had been tested over Japan.

No other nation saw science as a dream. The Russians and the West saw it as a tool of economic development. Nehru insisted science was culture, a form of playfulness, providing a sense of discovery and excitement. This was a man who felt that science would prolong his discovery of India and even the world. For Nehru, science was not about productivity. It was a way of looking at the world. In fact, if one looks at Nehruvian scientists one senses that same elegance about science, whether it was P.C. Mahalanobis, Homi J. Bhabha, K.S. Krishnan, Vikram Sarabhai or Satish Dhawan. For all of them, science was not just knowledge. It was an aesthetic for approaching the world, an insight we have lost in this dismal age of the information revolution.

One is reminded of a story about the Russian scientist, Nikolai Vavilov, who spent his student days with William Bateson at Cambridge. Vavilov was once referring to an English colleague, a nuts and bolts empiricist. Vavilov claimed that he was a good worker but insisted in his accented English that he had no-“Phi-Lo-so-phee.” Nehru provided philosophy to the first years of Independence.

I admit it had a touch of innocence. In fact, it was re-echoed in Hindi cinema by Raj Kapoor, who, like Nehru, was an incurable romantic, who saw in being Indian and nationality, a dream of a different being. When Kapoor sang “Mera¯ ju¯ta¯ hai Ja¯pani¯, ye patlu¯n Inglista¯ni¯, Sar pe la¯l topi¯ Ru¯si¯, phir bhi¯ dil hai Hindusta¯ni¯,” he was reciting one of the new anthems of the Nation, a country, a generation which believed it had a tryst with destiny.

Ideology and elegance

Even ideology had a touch of romance. Today one laughs at socialism and the dreams of the Left when one watches the dreary rhetoric of the CPI(M). But ideology in that era was an aesthetic of justice, a poetics of solidarity with people. I know the words might sound empty today but when the Indian People’s Theatre Association performed, or Nehru spoke ideology, Marxist-Socialist ideology made sense of the world. As an old Marxist explained, in India, Marxism was not just about class. It gave a touch of class to the way we thought of the world. One misses that elegance, that aesthetic of democracy when we talk of secularism today as it gets viscous with political correctness.

One must remember that the first decade was an idealistic decade. When I think of my parents or their friends, one senses the deep celebration of India. Every Indian felt his sacrifice was worth it. It was a moral, aesthetic and scientific world where character-building, nation-building and dam-building went together. There was little cynicism, a great realism about poverty and yet a hope that nation-building Nehruvian style was one of the great epics of the century. India has lost that epic quality of hope and innocence.

May be the Nehruvian era needed that touch of pragmatism we call Patel. May be Nehru could have absorbed the insights of Rajaji. At that time we had such a surplus of leaders, from Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Rajendra Prasad, B.C. Roy and Rajaji that we did not realise that the first decade was a festival of leadership, with each individual adding to the richness of the Indian vision.

“India could not have been India without harvesting the achievement of the Nehruvian years.”

I remember when the Nehruvian era died. For me, as a child it was a composite of two events. India, invincible India, the India that gave us Dhyan Chand, lost in hockey at the Rome Olympics. For my biased mind, cricket, tedious cricket, only emerged into the limelight after that. Then, even more poignantly, India lost a border war with China. It was a collapse of a world view where India which had conquered colonialism was mired once again in defeat. Nehru, our immaculate Nehru, sounded old and vulnerable. There was a loneliness, a tiredness about him. When a legend is threatened, mediocre critics like termites creep out of the woodwork of history to recite his mistakes. The magic was gone and Nehru faded soon afterward. The question “after Nehru who?” popped up soon and one then senses the momentous nature of the loss. One realised that for all the mistakes, those were the last magical years of the nation.

Institution building

Today, given the mediocrity of his epigone and the autism of the Congress party, we forget that the Nehruvian era was the great period of institution building, where we initiated community development, celebrated planning, built our great IITs, revitalised our science laboratories. India could not have been India without harvesting the achievement of the Nehruvian years.

I remember my old friend and teacher U.R. Ananthamurthy. Before he died, he left behind a great manuscript, a testament, a manifesto. URA criticised the Nehruvian years but he made a more critical point. Nehru might have made mistakes but Narendra Modi is the mistake that India might regret one day in its angry backlash against the family. Nehru was a classic. Our current regime is a footnote. It can only become history if it destroys the Nehruvian years.

Today, there is an epidemic of seminars, conferences and newspaper articles about 125 years of Nehru. Writers will give Nehru the good conduct certificates he does not need and praise his concern for poverty and his interest in science. The Congress is petty enough not to invite Mr. Modi but pompously invites guests from overseas. It is an un-Nehruvian act in its aesthetics and one must condemn it. Yet, what will be even more depressing is the social science litany about a man who gave us the poetics of a nation. In our current politics, it is not memory and its poignancy we are evoking. Our anniversaries become dull timetables, empty acts of repetition. When the magic is gone, only an official catechism remains. It is simpler to open a book of photographs and travel down memory lane. I wish there was something simpler, more abstract, a simple poem that caught the magic of the man without shrinking it to nostalgia, because Nehru, our Nehru deserved much more.

(Shiv Visvanathan is a professor at Jindal School of Government and Public Policy.)

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The article can be found at:  http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/opinion-on-jawaharlal-nehru-125th-birth-anniversary/article6600161.ece?homepage=true

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From what to how!!

A new perspective to Story of the Tortoise!! Do read.. Don’t teach what to do and what to ask. Teach how to do and how to ask. Empower people, don’t spoon-feed them!


Newton, Einstein, Edison, Graham Bell, Hooks, etc . Well, most of the famous names which we keep hearing are not Indian.

Every new technology, new successful ideas, new theories- all come from some other country.

We have the richest resources, the best brains, and a competitive manpower but still, we trust imported things and prefer them to the Indian products.

Why ???

Any answer???

 As you all know, when we were children, we came across the story about a rabbit and a tortoise in which tortoise won the race even though it was slow.

Ok that’s nice.

Now if I ask what is the moral of story then I am sure each one of us will say that “slow and steady wins the race”.

Really great, amazing.   Why did it happen that everyone learnt the same moral???

You know why?

Because we were taught so.

For me moral…

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उफ़! ये पागल सोच!

तो आखिरकार बारिश आई खारघर में! शाम से रुक रुक कर होती बारिश रात भर बरसती रही. आधी नींद में याद आया की बाहर कपडे हैं सूखने के लिए. उन्हें किसी तरह अन्दर किया. अन्दर करते करते ख़याल आया की मेरे तो बस कपडे बाहर रह गए थे.

मुल्क में और मुंबई में ही लाखों ऐसे हैं, जो परिवार समेत बाहर रह जाते हैं. भींगते रह जाते हैं. आस लगाए रह जाते हैं. कभी फ्लाईओवर की छाँव में खड़े होते हैं, कभी बड़े दुकाने के दीवारों के आसरे में छिपते हैं. जो बारिश हमे गर्मी से निजात दिलाती है, जिस बारिश में मेरे कई साथी मोर की तरह आनद उठाते हैं, वही बारिश कुछ लोगो के लिए नारकीय स्थिति उत्पन्न करती है.

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बॉलीवुड के हर गाने याद आते है. किन्तु उनके लिए तो ये ही पंक्ति- “रहने को घर नहीं, सोने को बिस्तर नहीं!!” उपयुक्त प्रतीत होते हैं. ये कैसी विडंबना है साथियों. हमने तो सोचना भी बंद कर दिया है. समय किसके पास है!! क्रेडिट कार्ड के खर्चे, कार का पेट्रोल, ए.सी. का बिल, ब्रोक्कोली की कीमत, रेस्टोरेंट में भोजन, बॉस के डेडलाइन… बहुत काम है. ये किस पागल सोच ने मुझे बहका दिया? मेरे घर में तो बूँद नहीं टपक रहे!! फिर मै सारी दुनिया का टेंशन क्यों ले रहा हूँ?

शायद ये सर-दर्द के वजह से हो रहा है. दवा के दूकान से क्रोसिन या डिस्प्रिन लेकर सो जाना चाहिए!

उफ़! ये पागल सोच!

Picture Source: (http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/homeless-people-are-miserable-lot/article2666747.ece ; http://changeisinu.blogspot.in/ )

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