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NAMAMI BRAHMAPUTRA-BIGGEST RIVER FESTIVAL OF INDIA

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THEME SONG

… Namami Brahmaputra,

Kabhi shaant bahe kabhi rudra,

Pal pal mein ek naya chitra,

O Zindagi ke sakha

Yu he behna,

Dur hai shristi,

Brahma tere pita  …

    When the end gets nearer, life gets dearer, childhood comes closer and memories get thirstier. The song brings about wild nostalgia and takes me back in time, some 45 to 50 years when I used to sojourn in Guwahati circuit house, located near the High Court, on the banks of mighty Brahmaputra while driving down from Shillong, then capital of Assam, on my way to Kolkatta with my Parents. So, one can’t help but reminisce those wonderful times after hearing this beautiful song cranked by Mr Bachchan. I was very young then …

    I had not seen the mighty sea, but yes I was seeing the powerful Brahmputra in its shaant and rudra expanse as the song goes. The view from the circuit house was just tantalizing. Each morning as I woke up, I used to rush to the lawns and thereafter run to the railings that divided the circuit house from the long and wide embankment of the river.  As the sun rose, one could see herds of cattle flocking around the shore for water and pasture and their herdsmen, with their long crooks on their shoulders singing those folksongs, perhaps to please the rising sun. A few bare feet—bare chested Deswali milkmen too, passed my sight with their soiled dhotis tied around their slender waist. Generally in conversation, trying to describe the might of the river, while comparing it with the humble brooks in their distant village in faraway states.

    Even, when, it was hazy. From the embankment one could get a vivid view of the lush green Uma-Nandi islet, located in the centre of the river. It had tall trees and a few boats anchored around. From a distance, it appeared as a humble abode for some rural families involved in small time farming. Where, one could distinctly hear, calls of languri bandars (monkeys) coming from there, that could be heard right up to the rooms of the circuit house. The fierce flow of the river made that rhythmic splash at regular intervals, when it hit the shore, while it kept under wraps, its strong undercurrents. Something, that we humans also need to learn. To keep our raucous mood swings under check.

    All around there were hills and hillocks some tall and some not so tall. At a distance one could see a flurry of dinghies and even a couple of ferries carrying people across. By now the sun had arched up and its mirror image could be seen in the river water. The entire panorama is still so fresh in my mind as if it was captured by some high pixel camera about half a century ago.

    I jumped the railings to be on the other side of the circuit house that gave me a feel as if I had touched the river. But the flow of water was still at a distance. From here it looked blue and foamy. I walked the distance and up to the shore without anyone noticing me. Where, I dipped my hands to finally touch Brahmaputra. He was cold. Yet he was the biggest warmth around, for the civilisation. The passing herdsman yelled at me to get back, as the river had strong undercurrents. Meanwhile, his carefree children raced across to me. They appeared ace swimmers. The elder one jumped into the river and swam for a while. The others pointed their fingers towards the circuit house. ‘Yes I’m from there.’ I said. They clapped and asked for some money to buy ‘chanajor garam’ early in the morning. They were four so I gave them eight annas. And they immediately ran away, thinking, I might ask them to return the money as there was no one selling chanajor early in the morning. But soon I saw them at a close by tea stall.

    I waved and they waved back. Soon I was immersed in my own thoughts. Why are some places so beautiful and some so ugly? Why can’t fishes be out water and live with me? Why can’t I walk through the water and go to Uma-Nandi to see those langurs? Why do I need to always do, what others tell me, and not what I want to do?

    Suddenly, I could hear the voice of my Dad’s office boy. He was darting at me, finding me alone and that too on the banks of such a powerful river. The serene and enchanting morning was thus over but it had left a mark in me. I wish I could carry the mighty Brahmaputra with me in my pocket was the last thought.  

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     Namami Brahmaputra is the biggest river festival of India. It was organized across 21 districts in Assam from March 31-April 4, 2017. Brahmaputra is the only male river by name in India and the fifth most powerful river of the world with very strong undercurrents.

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

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PHILOSOPHER AND THE MERCHANT’S DOG

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

    Once, a rich merchant was crossing a turbulent river in a boat along with his dog.  With him there were some other passengers also, including a philosopher. Perhaps, the unruly dog of the merchant had never sailed earlier. Therefore, it was not feeling at home, in the changing surroundings. And so, it was trying to run helter-skelter and in the process it was pushing the passengers all over. The dog obviously was scared of the unfamiliar sight around. And in the process it was not allowing anyone to even sit peacefully.

    So much so, that even the oarsmen were feeling shaky about his misdemeanours. That had unsettled all the passengers, and where, everyone was somewhat panicky. The, boatman was now beginning to fear about the dog’s rowdy movement, that was swaying the boat excessively. Where, it could have just overturned. And in the process, everyone could have drowned including the mischievous dog.

   But the dog was unfazed and remained in the state of caper and romp. The merchant therefore, was regretting having brought him and was in a state of helplessness. But, he was unable to tame it. In the meantime a passenger who happened to be a philosopher in the boat couldn’t resist.

    He walked up to the merchant and said—‘Sir, if you permit me. In a minute or so I could docile your dog. Upon, hearing this, the merchant was greatly relieved and he gave him the permission forthwith.

    The philosopher with the help of two daring passengers lifted the dog and threw him in the river. Scared, the dog started squealing on top of its voice and started swimming back, towards the boat. Soon it even started pawing the boat—as if fearing for life. The philosopher was watching the dog intently. After a little while he pulled him back to the boat. But the dog was now frightened. So he waddled to a corner of the boat and just sat down. The passengers and even the merchant were surprised at this benign behavior of the dog.

    Merchant asked the philosopher—‘my dog was earlier caper romping all over the boat. But now he stands tamed and is just sitting in one corner like a domesticated goat. How come?

     Philosopher said-

    ‘Sir, without experiencing pain, no one can imagine the agony of others. It was only when I threw him in the river. He could understand the might of the river, the utility of the boat and the struggle of the oarsmen.

     This story goes out to those ungrateful Indians. Who stay in India but keep abusing her. They too should be thrown at Pakistan. Only to realise the beauty of india.

Jaihind

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DHAKA AND NOW NICE DISPLAY A NEW PARADIGM IN TERROR STRIKES

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

Earlier Dhaka and now Nice where 84 French nationals were mowed down by a truck used as a weapon, driven by a lone wolf terrorist as they were celebrating the Bastille-day in Nice, calls for a deep introspection.

And off late one is really not sure of what one will get to see when you switch on the TV or get to read when you unfold the newspaper. Probably it will be about another terrorist attack.

After every terrorist attack we prominently see the head of the state issuing statements, denouncing the killings and cursing the terrorist organization responsible for the bloodshed and a reassurance of protecting the country from further attacks.

But this is not sufficient, because the paradigm is fast changing. In Dhaka attack most terrorists were from high families and in Nice it was a lone wolf. The trend shows terrorists are well educated and could be self radicalized. The Islamic State has been losing territory but gaining wider popular appeal, with its call for individuals around the world to carry out jihad. The barbaric interpretation of Islam used to justify such heinous acts thus needs to be quashed.

At times one wonders as to what is driving these terrorists to massacre. They call it a holy war, where they kill hapless and innocent people to please ‘Allah.’ Definitely this cruelty is no jihad. And there is need for the entire world community and especially the Muslim community to run a structured parallel digital campaign against what these Muslim terrorist groups a trying to preach the capable, young and fresh Muslim minds.

The problem cannot be handled by authorities of any country alone. The civil society needs to pitch in very strongly and much before it’s too late as a handful of terrorists are giving a bad name to the entire community.

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POEM: DHAKA TERROR

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

You adventured to kill, but in the process you too got killed,

And one wonders who asked you to kill?

For if it wasn’t your teachers and friends in college,

Your peers in places, and your siblings and folks indoors,

And God in heaven,

Just who was it who asked you to kill?

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You shot so many in a bloody,

When someone had to shoot you in a scurry,

You stood for someone unknown,

Trusted him more than the known,

But was it for any holy throne?

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To you sermons through social media mattered more,

And not the grace of Holy Text,

Nor the lineage of societal touch that you chose to ignore,

You hallucinated as if killing was the right path,

And the rest needed to be ignored.

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And now when you’re gone,

Leaving behind a storm,

God says,

Son I had sent you there,

To conquer the storm, and not to create a storm.

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Where the world was your oyster,

And so much was still there for you,

As you had hardly arrived,

To create capture and destroy,

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But isn’t it sad my son,

That you only created the bloody killings,

Destroyed human values,

And, captured the Holy Grail.

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And remember my son,

If all would start killing who will create,

And for you,

Without seeing the world,

Without feeling the world,

And without admiring the world,

You decided to slaughter the world,

So now remain unwept and unsung,

In your unrealized world,

While my slain sons and daughters shall rest with me in peace.

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This is a tribute to all those killed in Dhaka terrorist attack. Most of the terrorists who struck here were young and from high families so then how did their values change so much in a short period of time that they created this mayhem?

THE MUSLIM RANT OF DONALD TRUMP

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

    Donald Trump was being willfully scandalous. When he recently said that the U.S. should shut its doors on all Muslims, as his verbal assault. To the equally outrageous gunning down of civilians in California by a couple, owning allegiance to ISIS. Was it a campaign stunt to pacify the public mood, or just a stray ambient outburst one can’t say. But any which way Trump shot himself in the foot with this off the cuff remark. A person of Trump’s stature who happens to be a billionaire and an aspirant for the Republican nomination surely overlooked the demographic sketch of his own country. Whether by sheer ignorance or design he alone knows but by doing so he labeled Muslims in general as the derogatory stereotype.

    On the other hand ‘Uncle Sam’ poses itself as the big daddy of the world. Showing deep concern for everyone in the planet. Simultaneously, it even keeps track of the maze of weaponry better than anyone else in the world. It also preaches terrorism to be a curse, yet remains one of the largest suppliers of arms in the world.  With these analogies one can safely say. Donald Trump exactly knew what he wanted to say. It it was not just an, off the cuff remark. So, it may not be out of context to contend. He orated what the Republicans had in mind?

    If we for a moment run through the world’s demography. We will find, out of a total world population of 7.26 billion people; 2.40 billion (33.06%) are Christians; 1.70 billion (23.41%) are Muslims; 1.13 billion (15.56%) belong to the unaffiliated religions (The religiously unaffiliated include atheists, agnostics and people who do not identify with any particular religion); 1.08 billion (14.87%) are Hindus; 0.49 billion (6.75%) are Buddhists; 0.40 billion (5.50%) practice the Folk Religion (The precise definition of folk religion varies among scholars. Sometimes also termed popular belief, it consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of a religion, but outside of official doctrine and practices); 0.06 billion (0.83%) belong to the other religions and 0.01 billion (0.01%) are Jews.

    Islam therefore, is the second largest faith on earth with around 1.7 billion adherents, and not just a docile race that Trump’s U.S can think of doing without. But currently it is quite definitely under duress, going through some trying times because of Islamic fundamentalism, that is at its worst. As it perpetrates holocausts in the form of terrorism. Because of which, average Muslims are losing their sheen and are not apparently welcomed in some of the most developed and powerful countries and continents of the world such as the U.S., Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand to name a few, for no fault of theirs. But by ranting about Muslims Donald Trump has not only added salt to their wounds but has also hoodwinked the American public in general. For, you can shut your doors on Muslims only when its flooding, but not when its merely seeping.

    If we analyze most religions vis-à-vis countries and colonies. We will find there are: 161 countries where Christianity is in a majority; 49 where Muslims are in a majority; 7 countries where unaffiliated religions rule the roost; 3 countries where Hindus are in a majority; 7 where Buddhists are in a majority; 3 countries where folk religion is in a majority and 1 where the Jews are in a majority.

    The data above only tells us that the World Muslim Population by percentage (Pew Research Center, 2014), constitutes the world’s second largest religious group. And if we dig in a little more on the Muslim population across the world we will find.

Concentration of Muslim population

    66% of the world’s Muslims reside in Asia and the Middle East. They are 27% of the total population of Asia and Middle East with around 1.12 billion adherents, and thus the heart of Muslim civilization on earth. And it is notable they share space with over a billion Hindus in the same region. Balance 34% of the Muslim population is spread across other continents and countries such as Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australia & New Zealand, Melanesia, Caribbean, Micronesia, Mexico & Central America and Polynesia.

    Africa is home to 26% of the world’s Muslim population and 43% of Africa’s population is Muslim. So not surprisingly, Asia, Middle East and Africa together notch up 92% of the world’s Muslim population. And only a paltry 8% is left for the powerful and affluent countries and continents to share. Out of that let us glance at Europe and America.

    Europe has a total of 2.56 % of the world’s Muslim population and 5.85% of Europe’s population is Muslim. If we take Australia and New Zealand, 0.03% of the world’s Muslim population lives there which is 2.2% of their population. South America is home to just around 6.7 lac Muslims which is around 0.04% of the world Muslim population and 0.17% of their own population.

But coming back specifically to Donald Trump; North America is home to only around 35.08 lac Muslims which is only 0.2% of the world’s Muslim population and only 1.02% of their total population. Coming to the U.S. in particular, it is home to only 0.16% of world’s Muslim population, which is only 0.9% of their own population. So the point is, whether Trump says it or not. The Muslim population unlike Asia, Middle East and Africa has traditionally been extremely low in the U.S. and whether it was restricted by design or was never a favourite habitat of the Muslims in particular is a different question altogether.

   A Breibart News review of the State Department and Homeland Security data reveals. United States, admits more than a quarter of a million Muslim migrants each year. To this President Obama intends to add another 10,000 Syrian migrants. In 2013 alone 1,17,423 migrants from Muslim majority countries were permanently  resettled, within the United States. Additionally in 2013 the US voluntarily admitted an extra 1,22,921 temporary migrants from Muslim countries, as foreign students and foreign workers as well as 39,932 refugees from other Muslim countries.

    Even though every year the U.S. admits a number of Muslim migrants. Larger in size than the entire population of Des Moines, Oowa, Lincoln, Nebraska or Dayton or Ohio. Yet it still remains a miniscule and therefore it is not flooding but seeping, where closing of doors doesn’t help.

    The lethal point therefore is that US cannot do without the best of brains whether they come from Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Unaffiliated, Buddhist, Folk Religion, Jews or any other religion; And Trump’s US will have to realize, that you can’t continue to be the big daddy of the world by closing doors on faiths just because of a few rotten apples.

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MAKE #CRICKET AS POPULAR AS #SOCCER–START ANOTHER #WORLD #CUP AMONGST CRICKET PLAYING CONTINENTS

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

In the Cricket world cup 2015 only fourteen teams are playing. Which are divided into two pools that will play 49 matches in two countries, to decide the world cup title. International Cricket Council (ICC) recognizes more than 125 countries that play cricket. But many are not up to the mark to be included in the international circuit, such as the World Cup. ICC has 10 full members, 38 Associate Members and 59 Affiliate Members and that adds up to 107 countries. The West Indies cricket team does not represent a single country.

The world today has 196 countries and with that logic, cricket looks like an isolated game with only 14 countries, vying for the world cup which is far from a world phenomenon. Even when the cheer and clapping is getting louder each day as the tournament progresses in those 14 countries. And so, this magnificent pageant that is hosted every 4 years is only witnessed by a small section of the world. As the game is not as popular as soccer which is played in almost all the countries.

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In the same fashion we also have the shorter version of the game called the T-20 cricket world cup, every four years. And, in addition we keep having individual test matches, ODIs and T-20 series between countries which are generally followed by the supporters of their respective countries only. Recently, BCCI has also launched IPL series to promote, both domestic and international cricket. But, even with all of this, cricket is not getting sold exponentially beyond the 14 countries that participate in the world cup. So, there is a greater need to popularize cricket in less and non-cricket playing countries, by shedding traditional, autocratic and bureaucratic ways of thinking and dealing with cricket.

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The 14 countries that currently play in the international world cup circuit are- India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, UAE, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies, England, Ireland & Scotland.

This more or less promotes cricket in their respective countries only, and to a certain extent in their neighbouring countries. But if cricket needs to spread to other countries by leaps and bounds. Something out-of-the-box needs to be thought through. A better way of popularizing cricket would be to have another world class tournament. Where, we could bunch teams of 3-4 countries, continent wise, and have a world cup tournament amongst them, such as;

Team 1: India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh

Team 2: Australia, New Zealand

Team 3: Pakistan, Afghanistan and UAE

Team 4: South Africa, Zimbabwe

Team 5: West Indies, England, Ireland and Scotland

HOW WILL THIS HELP IN PROMOTING CRICKET?

Cricket was never played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, since Adam was a lad. It only came along with the Britishers and became an endearing and formidable game, close to a religion. Which goes to show, if publicized, facilitated and marketed well. It has the potential to become a game as popular as soccer.

Individual countries, and more pointedly India, may have done well to promote cricket in their own country. But Cricket as such has not seen a deluge of popularity, breaking barriers of borders and continents. Rather, it cocooned in its ego and bureaucracy and never butterflied across the world as soccer or lawn tennis. To sight and example, for so many years Bangladesh had to wait to get Test status and same goes for countries like Ireland and Scotland, that are still waiting.

WHAT WILL CHANGE BY BUNCHING TEAMS AND HAVING A WORLD CUP AMONGST CONTINENTS?

Just citing an example. Increase the team members in the squad of Team 1, as referred above (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) by 3-5 and include new talent from China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives or any other country close by and give them a chance in warm up matches, or even just let them be with the team or include them in practice sessions or as twelfth man to be viewed by spectators back home. As this also will popularize the game back in their countries in a big way. For, didn’t it suddenly make a world of difference when some of our athletes were seen on world stage, in various disciplines at the Olympics?

And, hold this world cup tournament among continents every two years. As this will help in good publicity and brand building because public memory is too short, and keep the venue in some non-playing country or countries that play, but are not world class like China, Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives, Kabul, Spain, or the US to name a few. Request their dignitaries or popular figures to inaugurate and play the game at these inaugural matches. ICC is rich and could allocate a budget for this. Also, give special incentives including discounted tickets to tourists who want to watch the game of cricket from non-cricket playing countries. And just before the tournament, legendary and star cricketers depending upon their popularity like Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting, Sanat Jaisurya, to name a few, could give cricketing lessons to youngsters who want to play cricket.

Give this world cup tournament a well thought through, heavy weight title, making it look like a competition among titans, continents, giants, bravo juggernauts or even ET. For, this will have a domino effect in popularizing the game by leaps and bounds. Especially, in non playing continents or even non-playing countries or countries where the game is not played to its full potential. For where is the continued rejoice if the game continues to hover and be competed around in the same surroundings. Perhaps, the present day cricket may give you a feeling. As if it has been discarded and rejected by rest of the world and only adopted by few countries, with world potential still to be realized; and all in the interest of cricket.

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