Category Archives: tributes

BOOK TALK: LETTERS OF GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE

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Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

LETTERS OF GURUDEV RABINDRANATH TAGORE

    If the razzmatazz of this hurly-burly digital life is beginning to throttle your peace, pace and cheer of mind? If the endemic digital platform—whatsapp, played, more by adults than children, since its invention has turned your life into a hackneyed saga. You need to go back in times for some more sans souci. Let me therefore take you through the synopsis of a letter written by Tagore. That winds-back in time and is indeed a refreshing read.

    Tagore had written many such letters during his lifetime in Bengali. Later, in 1920 he translated them into English. And it goes without saying, that these letters take you to that litterateur’s magnetic world almost immediately. It unleashes that ‘thinking English’ on you that revs up your literary appetite. When you go into a pleasant reverie. It of course, stay’s away from the current day ‘instant English’ with that digital makeup. He narrates each letter in that typical atavistic settings. Today, I have attempted to summarise one such letter for you.

BANDORA, BY THE SEA –written in October 1885

    I have turned twenty seven. While being seated by the sea side in Bandora, located in Ponda Taluka of North Goa. I’m able to capture the gestures of the unprotected sea that huffs and puffs. And while doing so it transforms into the tiresome froth. The sea equates with the feel of some shackled giant as if straining at its bonds. That too, right in front of the gaping jaws of the land. Where, we build our homes on the shore and watch it lashing its tail at the sea. Wow! What a massive show of strength that sends the waves splashing high, like the muscles of a giant.

    Primeval and from time immemorial this battle between the land and water has been going on. The parched earth slowly and steadily is only adding the sea to its kitty and thus spreading a broader apron for its children. Where, the ocean is receding under consternation step by step. Wailing and sobbing, beating its chest in despair, as if to a somber call of beating the retreat. One shouldn’t forget. Sea was once the sole monarch—utterly unencumbered.

    After all, land has only risen from its womb and usurped its throne. Since then sea has become the mad old creature with a heavy crest of foam. It moans and groans, and laments continually. Like King Lear … exposed to the fury of these elements.

    These events of land and sea keep impacting my mind on and on. As nothing else has happened of late apart from my turning, twenty-seven.

    But turning twenty seven is no trifling … happening for me. As I have crossed the meridian of the twenties. I am now progressing to thirty. They say I’m now headed towards maturity an age. Where, people begin to expect fruit rather than fresh foliage consumed hitherto. But alas, where is the promise of fruit. As I shake my head. Life still feels like a brimful of luscious frivolity, with not a trace of deep philosophy.

    Folks in general have started complaining: “Where is that something that we expected of you. In the hope of which, we absorbed the soft tenderness of your childhood? We can’t be putting up with immaturity forever? So, it is high time for us to know what we shall gain from you. We want an estimate of the proportion of oil which even, a blindfolded miller or an unbiased critic can squeeze out of you.”

    It is impossible to delude people into waiting expectantly any longer for results. While I was under age they trustfully gave me credit. But it is sad to disappoint them now that I am on the verge of thirty. But what am I to do? Words of wisdom will not come so easily. I am utterly incompetent to provide things that may profit the multitude. Except for, a snatch of a song, or some tittle-tattle, and a little merry fooling, that I’ve been able to advance. As a result, those who had high hopes will turn their wrath on me. But then, no one has ever begged them to nurse these expectations of me.

    Such were the thoughts that assailed me since a fine Bysakh morning. When, I wake up amidst the fresh breeze and light with a new leaf and flower. Only to find, that I had stepped into my twenty-seventh year.

    Even way back in 1885 Gurudev was able to comprehend the rivalry between the land and the sea. 

By Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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FASCINATING MONSOON

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      An overcast day, makes a lazy weekend that gives an ethereal feel, when you wake up to the light morning drizzle, tip-tap tip-tap. You realise you don’t have to go for work today. But you certainly can take your raincoat and step out, to witness the groovy nature in its mystifying colours, all splashed and splattered for you, so go there and enjoy. Where, the mind feels light, body feels like flying and the senses divine. The combination is indeed rare. Otherwise, there is always so much to do and so much to brood in your routine life.

    I don’t expect to see the holy sun today. Like me he too is on leave. I guess they have a tie-up—the sun and the clouds. When the clouds appear, the sun goes on leave and doesn’t return till clouds leave. Sun might be strong, but today he looks weak, even when he is above the clouds. That reminds me of man. Who too like clouds, tries to block ways of God but is often weather beaten by time … waqt.

    I step out quietly without a sound. Tina is fast asleep. No lunch to be packed, no hurried breakfast to be tabled. Little Khitkhit for a change, is in her own fantasy, and in a hug with her mother. On the verandah one can see a few uncomfortable pigeons, chirping mynas and even a few jumping sparrows, all trying to shrug the rain water off their feathers. The street lights are still lit because of the overcast. They normally fade with sunlight. The first few drops are rejuvenating. It feels like an unusual dawn that’ll refresh you for the entire year. One can’t but miss the few mongrels hiding under the parapet whimpering … as if the agony wasn’t enough that you’ve sent us rains.

    The exterior is all wet as one tip toes to find that confident rhythm along the roadside that has become one big puddle. There are no children around. They all are in the cozy lap of the weekend, oblivious of the once in a while, fun zone outside. The surroundings are still, even when the drizzle has now become a downpour. I’m intact beneath my raincoat. Except for the milkman and the newspaper wala no one else is seen around, barring a few devoted morning walkers. Even the society guards are catching up on their forty winks.

    Suddenly one gets to see the lightning followed by the sound of thunder. The nature is freaking out. I go past the wide streets with tall buildings all around that is now beginning to wake up to a wet dawn. The winding brooks that have sprung up all over have only become more loud and tuneful.

    And as I walk along, I can’t help but think. Why is man the biggest adversary of nature when nature has provided so much for mankind?

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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                                                      https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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A day with Dad

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    I knew for sure. This ever changing world around me will only change further. But I just didn’t know how much. Ever since you left us on this very day many years ago. I have stayed away from Lucknow. And after many years I’m home around this time. Thinking, I would sight the changing times myself. So, on this serene and dismal morning I went out for a morning walk. Pursuing, quite the same route. That, you once frequented. And it gave me a feel as if I was following the same trail that you had left behind.

     To be frank. I wasn’t surprised when I saw. The old surroundings had really sprung up to the hilt, leaving no niche for that stilly calm. The flow of river Gomti has receded and it isn’t what it used to be in your times. It has thinned down. Like the plait of an ageing lady. The chirping Gauraiyas are nowhere to be seen. And no one knows where they have gone. Did you see them by any chance? Did they come to you? Meanwhile some Gods have grown in stature but some remained where they were. The temple of Hanuman Setu has exalted both in pomp and spirits, just like you. But the small Shivalaya near the banks has only greyed. It still emanates of that salt and pepper looks. The overarching, Banyan tree there, has spread all around the Shivalay. As if, protecting, the God of the poor, residing in it. That reminded me of the days when you protected all of us.

     The chauraha has become quite psychedelic as everything out there has changed. The famous samosawalla—Phullu who had his makeshift shop in the middle of it is nowhere to be seen—the samosas are there but the walla has changed. No one knows where he has gone. Some say he is no more. One, Good Samaritan has converted her home into an institution. I wish. Many were like her.

     The chauraha gossips are no more vociferous. The morning newspapers have swapped positions and with that even the feel. From Swatantra Bharat it is now Dainik Jagran and some others. What has grossly depleted over the years is ‘time.’ People don’t have time but enough to whine. Where, morals have declined.

    Even in the faint trickle and rustle of the holy river. I could hardly hear the serenading calls of those joyous koel in the colourful months of spring. That used to be so piercing earlier. It has now been overtaken by the roar of the swarming vehicles thriving on the embankment. That sadly pollutes the vicinity, all along the scorching day. Lots of people walk up to the newly resurrected Mandirs, Ashrams and even a Masjid nearby for peace of mind. Perhaps, someday, their temples within, shall also kindle to the call of the Almighty.

    Most bright children in and around have left for good. I now only find their parents whiling away their time in obsolescence. Is when, I wonder what I got from you and what I gave to my child. If the equations are not comforting peace shall always elude me.

    So much has changed over the years. Yet a few things haven’t changed. Just as, the day and night take their turn. The sun still rises and the rain comes when it has to come. Seasons too, alternate when they have to. But more importantly the chord we struck during our lives will never ever change.

    What I continue to learn from you is, pillars should not change. But they should allow  the change.

    May, you rest in peace.

    By Kamlesh Tripathi: Homage to Babuji (K.P. Tripathi). He left us this day in 1984.

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KULDHARA—JAISALMER: THE HAUNT REMAINS EVEN AFTER CENTURIES

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Ghost towns and villages have often held our attention. But simultaneously, they have also unleashed our imagination to some hair-raising and eerie trepidation. So, its character remains quite aloof, from the oppressive ruins of the rich and arrogant castles and fortresses. One such village, nests in Kuldhara. Located in the deep-seated, desert region of Western Rajasthan. Where, when, you stand under the hot striking sun. You might not get to see a single human form till the horizon. In all earnest, such unspeaking and phantom towns and villages may not utter a complaining word. But then they scream about the enduring trauma. Their inhabitants might have undergone and that gives us a chance to peep into their harrowing lives.

    Rajasthan brims in the expanse of Thar desert. It has no dearth of ghost villages. That remains almost unpeopled for various reasons. But only a few of them have got as much attention as Bhangarh and Kuldhara. Perhaps, due to the myths attached to them. So, while we were in Jaisalmer. It was only natural for us to undertake the sightseeing of Kuldhara.

    It simmers in deep desolate wilderness, at about 18 km, west of Jaisalmer. And it certainly has a story to tell. Where, we came across a young boy named Bhairo Sharma. Who narrated the aghast episode, in an emotional tone. Is when, I reflected after many years. That there was someone doing justice to the forgotten art of storytelling.

    It happened some 300 years ago. When, Kuldhara was a prosperous village. Where, Paliwal Brahmins used to reside under the state of Jaisalmer. The story thus throws up a spine-chilling feel. When, the evil eyes of Salim Singh. The all powerful tyrant and debauch Prime Minister of the state. Fell for the daughter of the village head and desired to marry her by force. He then threatened the entire village of grave consequences, if they did not acquiesce to his wishes.  

    The entire clan of Paliwals then lived in those 85 villages. They forthwith held a council. Where, it was decided, instead of acceding, to the demands of the depraved Prime Minister. They would abandon and leave their village and homeland. To, save the honour and purity of their daughter from the evil eyes of the monster. And soon, they all left for good. But before departing they ordained a powerful curse on Kuldhara. That, after them, no one else shall ever be able to settle and prosper in the village. And from that day onwards the village remains unoccupied, barren and even deserted. It gives an isolated and godforsaken look. Perhaps, quite similar to the unseen yet imagined faces of the residents of those times, that too, centuries ago. It is also believed. People who have attempted to stay here overnight have been haunted away by some strange and abnormal phenomenon.

    The parallel story that runs and appears to be as plausible as the first one is. Salim Singh, upon not being obliged by the Paliwals raised the taxes to such an extent. That it became practically unbearable for the local community to survive in the village. So they decided to migrate to greener pastures. However, people are more inclined to believe the first story. That has a tinge of both romance and mysticism in it.

    The dilapidated and tale-telling houses and monuments are now maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). One can enter the village only after purchasing tickets. After which you drive along the prime street. That appears to be the main boulevard of the settlement. Where, even now, after centuries one feels gloomy and sad. For there are rows of houses with their roofs fallen. And the ruined walls give a sense of melancholic past. Where, the entire landscape is dry, dusty and sun stricken. That conveys a blaring message of atrocious human upheavels. Even, when, the era denoted happiness through righteousness.

    We halted at a location. That appeared to be the hub of the rustic village. Just close by there was a house in good upkeep. We entered to see the rooms that were well maintained. Following the path we even went up the stairs and up to the roof. From where, the entire village was visible. Though, I could not feel any supernatural presence. Yet that element of sombreness struck me while I was there. One could say the animation was missing. Ladies in the group could not withstand the countenance of destruction and slowly walked away.  I could even sight an unvisited and left alone temple nearby. Gradually, we cruised past the ruins available in the form of the crumbling walls. For a moment, it gave me a flash of those lives that lived there centuries ago. There was definitely something spine chilling even when everything around was so calm and unmoved. Perhaps, the collective curse of those helpless citizens was still pulsating there. Where, everything was looking so recent. And one got a feel as if someone was calling you from behind those dilapidated houses.

    Kuldhara remains a desolate place with forlorn looks. Curses don’t die so soon, they say. The ambience brings across a kind of seeping sadness to your heart. Especially, when, one thinks of the unfortunate people.  Who, were forced to leave the land of their forefathers. However the place doesn’t appear to be spooky for any other reason barring the wicked crime spelt in the story.

    Even, when, the ASI has taken over the settlement. It remains to be seen if this village will ever flourish. By flourish I mean—will the lineage of the people, who left generations back. Ever come together to salvage their motherland. And last but not the least. Was this a quintessential example of a migration that moved a civilised settlement? My answer would be no.

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HELP DOESN’T HAVE A COLOUR OR A RELIGION.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Just as terrorism—Help, too, doesn’t have a religion. It can come from any corner. But unlike terrorism, that kills. Timely help sustains life. I had once gone to a hospital in Delhi. To meet parents of some poor young children who were suffering from cancer. The drill was to provide them with direct financial support, for treatment.

    In all we had met about ten children and their parents in the hospital. Our NGO decided to support three out of them. Based on, certain illness criticalities, doctor’s recommendation and the budget available with us. Out of the three. One child happened to be from Sopore in J&K. His name was Abdul. His father’s name was Fareed. Who, happened to be a small-time shopkeeper with a paltry livelihood. Abdul was suffering from cancer for the last one year. And, during that period Fareed had exhausted all his savings. Although, he had received timely aid from the government. But that too had been gradually spent. Slowly the resources were receding, while the treatment was still in full flow.

    When I met this bright child Abdul. I found him in an animated mood. As he was talking to his mother in Sopore over phone. He had come to Delhi for treatment without her. I spent some time understanding the challenges of Fareed. Then decided to give him the good news of our supporting his son’s treatment. Up to a certain level. But he didn’t sound enthused about it.

    First, I thought he hasn’t understood me. So, I repeated what I had told him earlier. This time I spoke in Hindi. But still his reaction was not at all cheerful. I then specifically enquired, if he had understood what I had said. To which he gave me this shocking reply. ‘Janab, I have understood what you’ve said. You want to pay for my son’s treatment. But yours is a Hindu NGO. So, how can I accept money from your Trust. That too for my son’s treatment? It might not cure him at all, and Allah won’t spare me.’

    For a moment I was shocked. I didn’t know how to react. Does religion lay down crude boundaries at such junctures? I thought dismally. But without being deterred. I opened my bag and wrote a cheque, and handed it over to him.

    He held the cheque and looked at it morosely. I patted his back a couple of times. When his eyes went moist. Perhaps, he was at a break point. Where, on one end, was the health of his son and the mounting expenses because of that, and on the other, were his own self created radical diktats. Which, he was trying to blame it upon his religion.

    I said, ‘Fareed Bhai this cheque is neither Hindu nor Muslim. It’s only a piece of paper from Upparwala, for your son. So utilize it.’ And then I moved out.

    After the episode. A couple of months had passed. But that cheque never came to our account for debit. It was only when the cheque was about to expire. I received a text message from the bank debiting it to our account.

    And upon reading the text message. I felt nice. Not because Hindu money had helped a Muslim. But, because Abdul had realized. That help has no religion or face. It is infinite and can come from any corner of the world. And it is absolutely divine to take help. But the source has to be right.

It is a true story. Names and location are fictitious.

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DO YOUR JOB WELL AND YOU WON’T FEEL HURT.

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    On his first day in office as President when Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address. One rich and aristocratic appearing person stood up and said, ‘Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family.’ And with that the whole Senate laughed. They thought they had made a fool of Lincoln.

    But certain people are made of a totally different mettle. Lincoln was one of them. He looked at the man directly in the eye and said,

    ‘Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes for your family, and there will be many others here, who too, wear shoes made by him. Because, he made them the way nobody else could, as he was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes. He poured his whole soul into them. I want to ask you, if you have any complaint about his workmanship? Because, I know, how to make shoes myself. If you have any complaint I can make you another pair of shoes. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius and a great creator and I am proud of my father.’

    The whole Senate was dumb struck. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was. He was proud because his father did his job so well. That not even a single complaint had ever been heard of.

    Moral of the story: If you are excellent at your work no matter what work you do happiness will always be yours.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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Share if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

*****

 

 

BOLLYWOOD, CRICKET & loc

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

indian-jawan

    At times it appears the Indian Army Jawan, who fights terrorism at the Line of Control is only fighting to save his own house, but in reality he is fighting for all of us. But the tragedy with Indians is that they show no solidarity with him. Our Prime Minister preaches so much about terrorism in all international forums. But back home India is a divided and selfish lot. People from all professions are only self-centered about themselves and their professions. We don’t realise by behaving in this insensitive manner tomorrow, people may desist from fighting for the country. What will happen then? There is indeed a greater need to feel for our brave jawans and we must perennially keep their morale high. Colonel Anil Chawla puts it quite beautifully.

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Col Anil Chawla, a serving soldier of the INDIAN ARMY wrote this:

Will sending Pakistani artists back, stopping cricket and business with Pakistan actually end terror from Pakistan?

No, it most certainly will not.

BUT there is an emotion called solidarity.

YOU CANNOT MAKE FILMS, PLAY CRICKET, AND DO BUSINESS AS IF EVERYTHING IS FINE, BECAUSE IT IS NOT.

indian-jawan-3indian-jawan2

It makes the soldier wonder aloud, “Why should I alone bear the weight of conflict?”

This conflict between India and Pakistan is not the soldier’s personal war. He is dying and killing for you and me. Imagine a situation in which the soldier felt, and behaved, like Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt? Imagine if a soldier walked up to his superior and said, “Sir, while I am dying on the Line of Control, these people are going about as if everything is absolutely fine between the two countries.”

Why should he alone sacrifice for India, when others were making merry?

Patriotism and sacrifice is not the sole responsibility of the soldier.

The United States boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and the Russians did likewise when they boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This is what happens when national interest is held paramount. And this is what must happen now.

18 families have been shattered like glass … But the pain of Fawad Khan’s departure is too much to bear, it seems …”

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    Film Stars have nothing to do with terrorism…

    Singers have nothing to do with terrorism ….

    Writers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Directors have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Performers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Journalists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Activists have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Cricketers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Politicians have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Businessmen have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Professionals have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Lawyers have nothing to do with terrorism …

    Then for whom are the Jawans sacrificing their lives for?

    Jai Hind.

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