Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thoughts on India

Thoughts on India
By: Ken LaRive

In order to get me on a 28X28 rotation I’m going to have to put in 35. I’m not used to being away form home this long, and though the pay check will come in handy, at my age money isn’t my greatest motivation. Life is indeed short, and the concept of working for money should not take precedence.

We have two full fledged doctors out here, Dr. Deepak, a young man who is about to go back to school to be a Pediatrician, and Dr. Pradeep, who is mastering the Hindu thought from a more pragmatic sense. He is teaching me through the eyes of his Guru, Tej Gyan, introducing to me Maksh, Maya, and the idea of Happy Thoughts. I’ve found our conversations to be most stimulating, and together they are attempting to help me face myself, the noisy scramble of my inner dialogue, and I’m told it is the road to finding peace, something I have found very illusive. There have been a lot of preliminary, before self reflection can take place, before meditation, and I have learned the concept of Maya, the illusion of man made design.

I have read a bit of the Rig-Veda, the oldest book in the world, and the fundamental essence of both Hindu and Zoroastrianism, predecessors of both Judaism and Christianity. I was astounded by the words spoken so long ago, six thousand years, and how relevant they still are today.

Dr. Deepack’s friend is our training officer, Sahab Singh, who has also taken me into the Hindu mind with stories of gods and their lives. Mr. Singh is a Sikh from the highlands of India’s far north, and is of the warrior class. Then there is my night man, Ravi. I call him “Jinn” because he accomplishes so much on his tour he must have a Jeannie’s help. Over many a meal of yellow dusted curry, fresh bread, and bowls of ripe pineapple and papayas, he takes me across the width and breath of India with explanations of the many differences of religions, and India’s rich heritage that goes back into the mists of ancient history. Dr. Deepak has given me a magazine that is a special anniversary issue of India Today, 2006, and I found it most informative. There are contemporary columns by some of India’s most renowned writers, Deepak Chopra, Siddhartha Dhanvant Shanghvi, Vinay Lal, and more. I’d like to share with you the focus of their thoughts and a couple of excerpts from The Hindu, a well known English newspaper.

I will start off with a very pronounced insight from Arvind Panagariya, in the essay “Will India overtake the Chinese Dragon?” He writes: “The Indian economy performed better between 2003-04 and 2005-06 than during any other three-year period since Independence. During these three years, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP)-a measure of the country’s total income-has grown 45 percent in dollar terms. Merchandise exports have doubled and service exports have tripled. The total number of vehicles produced during these three years exceeds the entire stock of registered vehicles in 1990-91. In telecommunications, India has gone from a total of five million telephone lines in 1991, to five million additional telephones every month.

These developments have placed India among a handful of future economic powers.”

Vinay Lal writes “Will Democracy Survive?” is an amazing essay of the struggle for Democracy to survive. The answer he prescribes to is: “Only if we have the wisdom and the courage to gamble everything on it.” Lal shows the dreams and visions for a democratic India, and the fear of its loss... He writes: “The wisdom and resilience of ordinary people have been exemplified not only at the ballot box, but in grassroot movements and cultural practices of syncretism.” He adds: “…the constitution of India remains, despite attempts to subvert its emancipatory provisions, a document and a vision that holds the promise of equality, justice, and opportunity.” At the end of this well thought out essay Lal mentions Gandhi. “…though Gandhi’s assassins never seem to rest, the specter of Gandhi remains to haunt, guide and inspire Indians who are resistant to everything that passes for “normal politics”, and have not succumbed to the oppressions of modernity.” And then Lal finishes with a powerful thought: “As I have elsewhere written, Gandhi took great risks and was not in the least cowed down by history, the sanctity of traditions, or scriptural authority. Six decades ago Indians entered into a tryst with destiny. The unique experiment that constitutes Indian democracy can only be sustained if we have the courage to gamble everything on it.”

Benazir answered the question: Will India and Pakistan for a viable Asian union? Answer: Yes, but only when Pakistan is a democracy.

Tarun Khanna answered the question: When will corporate India go global? Answer: When it claims the Diaspora dividend.

G. Parthasarathy answers the question: Will India and Pakistan press the nuclear trigger? Answer: No, but nuclear weapons are an irreversible reality in Asia.

Dr. Firuza R. Parikh answers the question: Will there be designer babies in the future? Answer: Yes, but technology should be used responsibly.

Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal answered the question: Will India get a seat on the United nations high table? Answer: Why does India need it? What has the United Nations achieved?

In The Hindu newspaper, Saturday, December 16, 2006: “Herbal cure for malaria… Leaves from the Chinese herb Artemisa annua have been used to treat mosquito-borne malaria for more than 1,500 years. Now, drugs based on the herbal extract artemisinin, or ginghaosu, are the main hope in the battle aginist the disease which kills one person worldwide every 30 seconds.”

And finally, an excerpt from The Hindu on the same date: “Eighty rats were on the loose on a Saudi Airline flight, after eating their way out through a leather bag. They belonged to a passenger, who was held for questioning.” Thought this noteworthy… Like there aren’t yet enough rats in Saudi.

Today we are having a bit of down time fishing for a wire-line that has parted just below the casing, and so I will continue my schooling with Dr. Predeep. Today, he told me, after fifteen minutes more of preliminary explanation, that he will guide me into the practical aspects of meditation. He says that there is a method that can sweep all damaging and unwanted inner dialogue away at one time. It is only a proper focus, a proper attitude, where Truth and understanding can be found. I almost swallowed my gum when he said, “It will take you further along your Path to Truth like nothing else can.”

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