Tag Archives: India

UnCrushed Leaves – Srirangam (Temple Town)

History is an integral part of this town, no matter how much we resist, we need to talk some more of it. More so, we have complied it by hearing it from the people who praise this city and preserve its culture. So here we go, admiring the work of men.

 

Eternally together, We stand
Eternally together, We stand

Incidentally, Sri Rangam is the only place which all, the 12 Vaishanava saints, (a.k.a Arzhvars in Tamil) have praised in their hymns. These hymns are popularly known as the 4000 Divya Prabandha.

In one of the works of Andal, a Saint, she records her dream of marrying Sri Ranganath of Sri Rangam in a form of poem called Vaaranam Ayiram. Later she claims in her work that this dream became reality and she married Sri Ranganatha and became one with the lord. Interestingly, the wedding rituals of Sri Vaishnavas are based on this format and practiced even to this day.

Heard on the Street:
The story of the temple as per some of the above mentioned records goes like this: The very idol of Sri Ranganatha at Srirangam was handed down to Rama from his ancestors, who worshiped this form. This was gifted by Rama to Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Then Sri Ranganatha chose to remain at Sri Rangam and face southwards, where Vibhishana could pay his daily salutations from far south Sri Lanka.

Aging with the beautiful Sunlight, still young for generations to come
Aging with the beautiful Sunlight, still young for generations to come


Around 10 century A.C.E
:
At a later point in history, around 10th A.C.E this place was even more enriched by Sri Ramanujacharya, who proposed the Vishishtadvaitha School of Vedantha Philosophy. He made Srirangam as the head quarters for the school. He developed and implemented integrated systems for protecting the Vedic/Tamil literature, carving spiritual paths through self empowerment, by creating employment,
businesses, learning, teaching, debating, composing opportunities etc.; everything being Sri Ranganatha centric.

Sri Ramanujacharya lived at Sri Rangam initially for brief period before going to Melkote in Karnataka. Then after 12 years he returned back to SriRangam and lived for 60 years until he attained samadhi. One can find the Idol of Sri Ramanujacharya inside this temple, which is believed to be the self manifestation from his samadhi state.

The Silent Wait
The Silent Wait

Trivia
Srirangam is refered to as ‘Kovil’ meaning ‘The Temple’ within the community for its uniqueness. As a testimonial to this one could see the businesses, residential quarters do exist inside the temple even to this day.

One could see living tradition being transferred generations after generations since the time of Sri Ramanujacharya to this day. Some of the literary accounts claim that during the life time of Sri Ramanujacharya, when he use to go on the walk, 800 spiritual aspirants would follow him wherever he went and gave discourses on philosophy.

Am I not magnificent?
Am I not magnificent?

Another interesting place inside the temple is the mandapam where Kamba Ramayanam, a Tamil Ramayanam composed based on Valmiki Ramayana was presented. As a sign of approval for the scholarly work of the poet Kamban, Lord Ugra Narasimha appears as though laughing and enjoying the literature instead of his usual posture of being angry while killing HiranyaKashipu.

At this juncture we would like to thank Mr. Arun Koushik, who shared his understanding of history of the place. When we meet in the next post we shall share about life at Srirangam &  more…….

By ‘dod’ Rangers

 

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UnCrushed Leaves – Srirangam (Living History)

The Thought:
We have embarked on the Journey of “UnCrushed Leaves“. In this endeavor of ours we tend to bring to our patrons a glimpse of unseen parts of India. Places which mesmerize and journey that’s fulfilling. Our first destination is a small town nestled in the lap of river Kaveri, in south of India (Tamil Nadu)

Srirangam – Where Time, Tradition and Tranquility come together

Srirangam - The beauty of a Temple Town
Srirangam – The beauty of a Temple Town


Srirangam – Location:
River Kaveri, one of the seven important rivers in India, takes origin at Talakaveri in Karnataka and flows through the midland of Tamil Nadu to reach Bay of Bengal at Poombukar. Enroute, it flows around three important islands which can never escape from the attention of someone who is on a quest, may be religious, spiritual, architectural, historical or simply a traveller.

Srirangam – The Timeless History:
All these three islands formed by the river Kaveri have an interesting theme in common – they host a temple for Sri Ranganatha, one of the forms of Vishnu, where Vishnu rests on the bed of the “Anantha Shesha” the  Serpent.

– The first one is at Srirangapattana (a.k.a Adi-Ranga),
– Second at Shivanasamudra (a.k.a Madhya-Ranga) and
– Third one at Srirangam (a.k.a Anthya-Ranga).

Unphased by Time, I still full of ColorsUnphased by Time, still full of Colors

Among the three, Srirangam holds a special place. It is an important center for the Sri Vaishnava School of Vishishadwaitha Vedantha. Historical records of India were documented in an integrated form such as poetic references, songs of folklore, literary references, stone inscriptions etc.

In relatively recent times, this temple has been renovated time and again by every dynasty that ruled South India. Tamil literature has a large number of accounts that have praised the glories of this Temple.

One of the distinctions being that the temple architecture is a replica of Vaikunta, the eternal abode of Vishnu.

Timeless Pillars - Many Years have passed through the roof on my Shoulders
Timeless Pillars – Many Years have passed through the roof on my Shoulders

The  journey of Srirangam shall continue with “UnCrushed Leaves”……

By ‘dod’ Rangers

 

Hats off to Blogger Community

Let us admit, at the onset, that we are overwhelmed writing this post. We started writing this blog few months back with the idea of bringing out our collective thoughts on democracy. As for any new initiative we only had ourselves to rely on and egg on ourselves. Once we started the blog, we found tremendous support and encouragement from the blogger community worldwide. This added to our strength and we found we are not alone in the pursuit.

Must admit the world of bloggers is a parallel intellectual universe, that has the potential to define the way people think. Every time you dip into it you gain more and are kindled to think better. Hats off to the community. Thank you.

Carrying on, once we start covering India and it’s democracy, we got few suggestions from the blogger community that we should cover various places in India as well. The idea being to explore the untouched parts of India which are also not part of the avid travelers itinerary. Must admit it is a tall ask, but knowing well the support from blogger community we have embarked on this journey as well. Together we shall make it happen. We are fortunate to have few people, who share this dream and are now part of ‘dod’ family.

Today would like to introduce “UnCrushed Leaves” to all of you.

UnCrushed Leaves
“untold journey”

Sights and sounds, stories and dreams,
the culture of people, the secrets of streets.
Show me the irony and tell me the tales,
how this place has grown and how it made you change.

“UnCrushed Leaves” is an endeavor of few who, by their nature of being, have adapted themselves to their surroundings. They are not the wanderers but seekers, who soak in the places they visit. They pull out experiences, which more often than not, are redeeming. “UnCrushed Leaves” is an attempt to get one closer to such experiences.

Lets start the untold journey.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

Indian General Elections 2014 – Results

Well over the last leg of the biggest dance of democracy across the world, which saw millions of people vote to elect their representatives who would lead them into the future, we observed great amount of enthusiasm among people & matching performances from their leaders.

Performances, yes that’s what we saw from the leaders. Over the last two months of campaigning it was not issues that were discussed, it was not future policies of the country that caught the attention, it was not even employment, infrastructure, health care, environment or trade relations with world that found merit.

What we saw was a great drama for democracy with top leaders busy in exchanging personal barbs at each other. It was like abyss with no end. We believe that at some point in time, these interactions got people so involved that even the TRPs of running soaps on Indian television would have taken a hit.

We hope that this is not the prequel of things to come. This is not what India needs. India needs Results and result oriented discussions and interactions. The campaign started out well with all parties raising issues and putting forth their plans for the nation but later degenerated into a mad rush to gather headlines and public eye. In most scenarios, it looked like the race to get best media coverage at what ever cost.

We hope that, once the new government is formed they would be result oriented and erase the past two months as a forgetful part of their run to be head of world’s largest democracy.

With respect to the results, whoso ever comes to power is not the real outcome of this elections. We think that winner in this elections are the common citizens of India. Record polling of with over 66% voter turn out, the 550 million people who voted have made it clear that in future “Results only matter”.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

Visit our views on needs of democracy & it’s people

 

‘dod’ Mumbai Local Story – India’s Future (Final Part)

dod_Mumbai_Local

 

…………….. (Continued from earlier post)

It was 8:53 am and the local reached Kurla. There was a mass exodus of people from the local, as most of them were working in the BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex, which was not far from this station. In came Adil, a well built up guy in his mid 30s, Adil was working in the sales function of a multinational.

“Hey Software how are you” said Adil, referring to Shanker who was a software engineer working with a bank in Fort.

Shanker said, “Good Bhai jaan, but Jignesh looks slightly off today”. He wanted Adil to needle Jignesh. Adil was quick to jump on the que said, “What happened Shares (Jignesh’s nick-name, again framed by Adil), market is bullish but your face shows like bears are hugging you”.

It was lot of laughs around with Adil and Shanker doing a tag this time around. Jignesh said, “Well guys lets get through our discussion on national pass time (referring to Shanker with his laptop open), we just have 20 min left to reach CST”

Adil ignoring the Jignesh’s comment said “Yes Software, what are your findings, I am excited to share my views”.

By now the people around have also stopped their regular chit chat and were focusing on what Shanker had to state.

Shanker looking up from his laptop said, “We were to find out top three areas where new government need to focus so that India may have next five years of growth and prosperity.”

He continued,  “As per my findings there are two large group within India that, if attended to may lead to rapid growth. These groups are Farmers & employable youth in India”.

Jignesh intervened, “Any numbers? or just thoughts you have?”

Shanker knew this was coming, he said,” India has over 263Mn people involved in agriculture”. He paused a bit, looking at the numbers.

Jignesh was absorbed as soon as numbers were out. he said, “I am all ears, please continue”.

Shanker continued, “With respect to youth, India is all set to become the youngest country in the world by 2020 with the median age of 29 years. There are 430Mn youngsters in India between age of 15-34 years”.

Adil added,”So if we have policies that could take care of people involved in farming, create opportunities to skill the youth and have employment opportunities. We would have given booster to nearly half of India’s population, which shall add to growth.”

Jignesh added, “Wow thats amazing. I think, to create employment, there should be proper impetus on infrastructure & health care services. This way the growth shall plough back social benefit as well.”

Uncle sitting at the seat, said “Bhai, why don’t you guys slow down a bit and relay it again for benefit of all.”

Shanker, now closing his laptop said,” Yes! indeed it is so apparent. three points that new Government should have as their top priority :

– Policies for boosting agricultural, hmm…something like a “next green revolution” for people in agriculture.

– For the youth, skill them and create employment opportunities, in infrastructure & health care sector. “

Adil adjusting his shirt, added,” third point needs to be, to have policies to create innovation and foster entrepreneurship. This would create self fueling employment opportunities.”

People around clapped at the conclusion. Jignesh along with others was beaming too. Taking the opportunity, Shanker said, “Looks like Jignesh has got a clue on which sectors to invest in next five years.”

Jignesh winked and said, “Yes of course, I hit lot of opportunities while traveling in this Mumbai Local.”

There was a loud laugh and people were all happy to have reached the conclusion as the train arrived at the final destination, Mumbai CST.  The three friends went out together followed by others.

Every one alighted and compartment was empty but all who were part of discussion, they  were filled with hope & clarity of thought about their nation.

Hope their “hope” sees light of day.

Mumbai local, with a loud hooter, again moved to ply on the same route.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

‘dod’ Tram Story: The King Makers

Two men traveling in a tram. It is a hot & humid Kolkata summer. They got into a debate. Getting into a debate is not uncommon in this part of India, it is rather an opportunity to flex intellectual muscle, but with ongoing election fever, any debate other than politics, shall raise eyebrows.

Mr. Das, looking out of the window of slow moving tram, said, “fourteen years have gone dod_Tramby and yet the things have not changed.”

Mr. Saha, wiping the sweat on his forehead remarked, “What are you talking about, CPM (Communist Party) is no longer in power, it is DiDi now. (Didi, referred to head of ruling TMC in West Bengal)

Das, smirked, “Saha, let me tell you, National Parties in India are just rubber stamps. They over last 14 years could not make government on their own.”

Saha for a while could not get head or tails of it, but he did not let his Bengali spirit cow down so easily.  He said, “Sauti (true), but you need to have evidence for same.”

Das was now in full spirit, ignoring the beautiful Victoria Memorial and some cool breeze that gushes along on this stretch of tram ride. He straightened and said, “You know for all these years no matter who was at the center, the state parties where the ones who ruled.”

Knowing that he had Saha grappling to grasp, he continued, “Saha as per past stats, state parties have cornered 28% of seats in national elections, which leaves the national parties to no alternative but seek their support to have 51% majority”. He added, “Worst is that this gives state parties unusual say on national issues and corner key portfolios in the central government. Remember, this is without them having any say in any other part of India.”

Saha understood that Das has got a one up on him, but he still probed further, “Do you have the stats handy?”

Das was now enjoying the breeze as tram moved forward on signal turning green. “Yes, of course, I have the proof. Here you go.”

With this Das showed Saha a piece of paper and it read as follows:

Seats won in the year           2009         2004         1999

National Parties                         376              364         369

State Parties                                146              159         158

Unrecognized Parties              12                 15           10

Independents                               09                 05           06

Total                                                 543             543         543

State Party Seats/Total          26%        29%          29%

Saha knew today Das had come prepared. He acknowledged it and added, “Yes, that is what makes Didi in West bengal, Amma in Tamil Nadu and Bhenji in Uttar Pradesh, key to this elections”.

Das remarked, “Sauti (True), if stats have it’s way they have key to 28% of seats and are the kingmakers.” They both laughed together and got ready to get off the tram.

By ‘dod’ Rangers

Indian Democracy: The Goliath Muscle

At the onset, we would like to thank all readers, we call them patrons, of “dod” blog. Based on the feedback of our patrons, on David & Goliath series, we have done analysis of muscle power of these states. Muscle Power? Yes, here we are talking about the economic muscle. Lets see if we get surprises down here.


We have taken GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of these states for comparison and dipped into databank of Planning commission of India. Visit them at
http://planningcommission.nic.in . To analyze further we are computing another national ratio, National GDP/Seat Ratio, which comes out to be Rs.0.17 Lacs Crs. or 17,500 Crs. This ratio indicates Revenue (GDP), read resource, under management per seat.

 

The Goliaths

GDP 2012-13       (Rs. Lac Crs.)

Seats

GDP/Seat

(Rs. Lac Crs.)

State GDP as % of India’s GDP

Uttar Pradesh

7.69

80

0.09

8.2%

Maharashtra

13.72

48

0.28

15%

Andhra Pradesh

7.45

42

0.17

8%

Bihar

3.08

40

0.07

3%

West Bengal

6.22

42

0.14

6%


Lets analyze the Goliaths, Maharashtra is the top state with maximum GDP contribution (15%) to the nation. Bihar does not figure out in top 5 GDP producing states, while West Bengal barely manages to stay in 5th spot. Followed closely by Gujarat. With an exception of Bihar, top seat contributors also are top GDP produces for India.


Lets analyze the GDP/Seat of Goliaths. Here Maharashtra, and if we are benevolent, Andhra Pradesh, have GDP/Seat ratio higher than India’s average. Thus even though in absolute terms three Goliaths have larger economic muscle, read GDP, but their GDP/Seat ratio is less than national average. We believe that seat allocation is to manage resources of the country better, than Goliaths are not the best performers.

 

Solution for Goliaths, we may sound simplistic, but it is logical that Goliaths need to increase GDP or reduce the number of seats. We believe the former is the option and not the later.


Any guesses on the economic muscle of Davids?

By “dod” Rangers