Tuesday, 11 April 2017

With Malice Towards None by K. J. Thomas

With Malice Towards None
One cannot blame our Prime Minister when he compared Kerala with Somalia in Africa, in his election campaign at Thiruvanandapuram on 8th May 2016. Various survey reports and researches show that about 42,000 Tribal population in Attapadi Block has been living in a very poor, animalistic conditions.  The infant death rate in the tribal block stands at 38, which is three times higher than the state average. The two main-stream political fronts namely the Left and the Congress sadly neglected the needs of the tribal people. Instead at every Assembly election these political parties tried to canvass votes from these poor people, politicizing the tribal issues.  A detailed study done by research scholars of Chittur College, Palakkad, analyzing the livelihood status of tribes in Attapadi block revealed that the Human Development Indices (HDI) of this tribal block and African countries like Somalia and Ethiopia area almost the same.  This is the case with many tribal and non-tribal areas in various parts of Kerala and these people silently suffer their pain and poverty in the midst of affluent and posh areas in the cities of Kerala. Jisha murder at Perumbavoor shows how carelessly the investigation of the murder case was handled by the police and the initial negligence led to the prolong delay in finding out the murderer, just because the Law student happened to be a poor Dalit woman living in utter poverty on the ‘puramboke’ area on the canal.  The law and order situation, unfortunately is fast declining in this “God’s own country’. In the light of these, one can agree with what the Prime Minister said.

 Instead of blaming the Prime Minister, the leaders of the various political parties search for the truth of the reality and join together for the development of Kerala.                                                    Kjt/12-05-2016

VISHU festival - by K. J. Thomas

Sweet thoughts of bygone days – Vishu festival
Today (14th April 2016) falls VISHU, the New Year of all Keralites begins today. At the outset I wish all my readers a happy, prosperous VISHU and may God Almighty bless you all and your friends and family members on this auspicious occasion. I also dedicate this article as my ‘ Vishukkaineettam’ to all of you!
 For me, Vishu is not a mere Hindu festival, but one of important national festivals of Kerala and it is the occasion of ‘Vishukineettam’ for every Malayalee. It is the festival of light and prosperity. There are two stories related to the observance of Vishu. It is the day when Lord Krishna killed the demon Tharakasura and Vishu is observed as the victory of Virtue over Vice.
 The second is related to the demon king Ravana who had never allowed Surya deva (the Sun god) to rise up direct from the Eastern horizon. It was only after the death of Ravana that the Sun began to start his journey from the East. This is why Vishu is the day of light and prosperity symbolizing the rise of the Sun god!
All Keralites, irrespective of religion or politics or caste differences, believe in ‘Vishukkani’ and treat the day as very auspicious for the starting of a venture. They all know that the first impression is not only the best but also last for an  year, whether it is good or bad omen!
The living symbol of vishu for all Malayalees is the ‘konna maram’ (the tree of cassia fistula). You can see this tree softly dancing like the mohiniyattam of a malayalee girl on the way side to the song of her dear breeze, in the gardens and parks. Her golden flowers flutter in the April breeze is a wonderful sight.  We may think the inner dome of heaven had fallen on the earth pouring down the holy liquid gold!
 There is a story behind the birth of ‘Konnappovu’( cassia fistula ). Once there was a poor child who was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. In his dream he saw infant Krishna (kannan) had come to console him in his poverty and sorrow and gave him a tinkler from the gold girdle tied around His waist and disappeared. On waking, the child saw the gold tinkler lying on his bed. But his mother thought the child had stolen it and was beaten up. In deep sorrow and despair, the child cast away the gold tinkler, which hit the tree in his courtyard.  Suddenly thousands of golden coloured flowers blossomed in every branch of the tree. It was a miracle of miracles! The hut became a palace and they lived in comfort and prosperity!
 Ever since then ambitious Malayalees began to plant ‘konna tree’ in every courtyard. During the Vishu period it is a beautiful sight of konna trees stand majestically representing the cultural tradition of Kerala, with millions of gold flowers pouring pageantry of beauty and glory of our age old mythical culture and belief.
If you believe in these mythical stories or not, our Onam, Vishu,  Athapoo and Njattuvelappattu  reflect our cultural heritage transmitted from generation to generation to us on the wheels of time. These cultural values and traditions cement us into the miraculous symbolic universe called Malayalee whether you are Christian, or Muslim or any caste or political ideas to which you belong. These festivals reminds us of the golden bygone days when our forefathers who were farmers and lived in the lap of Nature and they loved flowers, rivers, ponds, water lilies, lotus and shoe flowers, green carpeted hills and valleys and meadows and even worshipped Nature as the gift of God and thought that ‘konnappoo’ had originally been the tinkler of the gold chain tied around the God’s waist and had come to us for our prosperity and comfort of life.  Their life was far better than our sophisticated, ultra-modern, electronic artificial and mobile communication culture covered with plastic ‘ konnappookkal’, plates and dishes. In ancient days our grand fathers had peace of mind. Their life was like the jungle brook bubbling with love and devotion.

 I wish to believe our forefathers’ superstitious ideas because these ideas protected our Natural resources and helped to grow our jungles and preserved our wild animals, flora and fauna. Now wild animals are in conflict with man and kill him whenever the pachyderm is beaten up mercilessly and forced the animal to do hard work for hours together in the timber mills and festivals. These poor innocent pachyderms are forced to parade in the temple processions and tortured with the devastating sound of loud explosions emitted from fire-works. It is high time that we went back to Nature. In this Vishu let’s take a pledge to love Nature, her flowers, green vegetables, animals and make arrangements to protect these wild animals in their habitat – that is jungle and we should not encroach their living place.                                                                                                                                                                           Kjt/14-04-2016                                                                

Yogitha Reghuvanshi - an extraordinary woman - by K. J. Thomas

I salute Yogitha Reghuvanshi , a lawyer who turns a truck driver for her survival. This time I am talking to you about Ms.Yogitha Reghuvanshi from Bhopal, a lean tall young woman. This unknown young lady is the epitome of feminine beauty and strength. A few years ago her husband Raj Bahadoor, who had been a truck driver was killed in a road accident. At that time Yogitha, the mother of two children had been doing her LLB course and was about to practice Law in the court. The death of Raj Bahadoor was a bolt from the blue for Yogitha as there was no one to help this poor middle class widow and soon she found that her lawyer’s profession could not give her enough financial assistance to run a big family of two children and her husband’s old parents and relations, who wanted costly medicines and hospital care. She had no time to beg or cry. She neither waited for the ‘freebees of the government or any other charitable institutions for help. Instead she thought of fighting for survival.
 As she was a novice in the Law court she had very few cases and could not earn enough money to run her family. So she thought of new ways to overcome her poverty and she had no hesitation to become a truck driver to make both ends meet. She learned to drive National Permit heavy vehicles. It was a Herculian task but she was determined. She put down the dark clown and put on kakkhi uniform and began to drive the heavy truck carrying average 1200 cases of liquor bottles regularly from Bhopal to Kerala covering over 2200 kilometers, passing through various states braving extreme climate  and, sometimes there are landslides, hartal, strikes, snow falling, heavy rain and thieves and robbers. Having overcome these odds, she always safely reaches destinations. She takes six days to reach Palakkadu in Kerala, all the way from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
She is happy that her children can continue their college studies and her in laws are quite hale and hearty, thanks to the hard work and determination of the iron lady of Bhopal. Her modus operandi is to collect beforehand as much details as possible about the states through which she is driving her truck. She would collect the telephone numbers of the hotels and motels on the way, details about the resting places, food in various states and the telephone numbers of nearest police stations on the high way. Months passed by and her truck reached the spot always in time and it pleased her clients.  Very soon her contracting company found her one of the best drivers, and her skill in the art of driving was noted by everyone in the field. Moreover she is sincere and a symbol of self reliance and Mahindra Company offered her a new vehicle as a gift and all possible help.
 This unknown, young mother of two children gives us inspiration to face the day to day difficulties of life. When she reaches home after a long drive lasting more than half a month, she writes about her new experiences of life, new friends and, strange places and events she had come across and felt, she says with an innocent smile. She also adds that her education and the knowledge of law always help her to a great extend, to overcome traffic and other problems in her driving career.
 After unloading the liquor bottles in the Beverage ware house at Cannanore, she drove her vehicle to Palakkad godown of the Beverage store. When the unloading was done, she sat again on the driving seat, turned the ignition key and the engine started with a roar, but when her light foot pressed on the accelerator, the truck, like an obedient child of a loving mother moved on along the National Highway to Bhilai, far far from Kerala, where in a small house, four souls anxiously waiting for the horn of Yogitha’s vehicle.  Yes. Ms Yogitha Reghuvanshi has promises to keep, And miles to go before sleep, And miles to go before sleep’. The wheels of her heavy vehicle roll on to a bright future far, far away. Don’t you think Yogitha the unknown young woman is the symbol of self-reliance?                            Kjt/27-05-2016

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill - book review by K. J. Thomas

THINK & GROW RICH                                                                                                   Napoleon Hill
The book titled “Think and Grow Rich” written by Napoleon Hill, a great American writer is an international best seller published in the year 1937. This book speaks about the magic formula of success. This formula was given to Napoleon Hill by Andrew Carnegie, the great American industrialist and philanthropist when the author interviewed the American millionaire in the year 1908.
 The author says,” All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in an IDEA!
An intense, burning desire for something definite is the first step towards riches. But your strong, intense desire must be mixed with your strong FAITH!
Remember that every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.  Therefore you need obstacles on your way to achieve your desire for wealth!
Desire backed by faith push reason aside and inspires one to achieve his goal!
FAITH means visualization of and belief in attainment of desire. This is the second step towards riches.
Among the emotions, there are only three most effective emotions which are FAITH, LOVE and SEX.
When these most effective positive emotions are blended together, have the power to strengthen our thoughts which reach our subconscious mind and develop into INFINITE INTELLIGENCE!
Faith and Love are spiritual whereas sex is physical. The mixing of these powerful positive emotions open communication between the finite thinking mind of man and Infinite Intelligence!
How can we develop our FAITH?   We can develop our faith by repeated instructions given to the subconscious mind because faith is a state of mind.
Repetition of positive and strong orders to our subconscious mind is the only method of developing the emotion of faith in human being!
You must remember that a mind dominated by only positive emotions is the best place for the birth of FAITH! Therefore one should always be    OPTIMISTIC in spite of hundreds of failures and obstacles!
AUTO-SUGGESTION: Faith can also be developed by ‘Auto-suggestion’. An Auto-suggestion is that one should believe that FAITH is the eternal elixir which gives, life, power, and action to the impulse of thought.  Therefore Faith is the starting point of all accumulation of riches!
One must write down on a paper very clearly what one wants to achieve. One must write down one’s major aim very clearly such as accumulation of riches and so on.
Secondly, one should repeat his/her thoughts twice in a day – in the morning as soon as one wakes up and just before one goes to bed at night!
Thirdly one needs self-confidence to put one’s plans into practical life. One needs, consistent and continuous action towards the achievement.
Through Auto-suggestion, one’s dreams can be converted into some practical means of attaining the aim!
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger for faster man,
Bjut soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can!”

The emotion of LOVE, in human heart and brain, creates a favourable field of magnetic attraction, which causes an influx of the higher and finer vibrations which are afloat in the world. This is why all great men’s achievements were backed by the strong influence of WOMAN!

FAITH was the basis of all the miracles performed by Jesus Christ! 
This miraculous power of faith was reflected on the deeds and words of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of Indian freedom struggle!
There are many shining examples of great men who put into practice this magical formula of attaining riches and I quote below only one among them! It is the miraculous story of an young man named Charles M. Schwab who was hardly 38 when he put into practice this magic formula- “All achievement, all earned riches have their beginning in an IDEA!” This philosophy was the warp and the woof of the entire transaction of the United States Steel Corporation which was formed in the year 1900.

First the idea of the United States Steel Corporation was born in the mind of a young man Schwab. His faith, his desire, his imagination, his persistence were the real ingredients that created the six hundred billion gigantic steel company in America! This idea was created by him alone through his imagination. Second, he mixed faith with his idea. Third, he formulated a PLAN for the transmutation of his IDEA into reality. Fourth, he put his plan into ACTION with his famous speech at the University Club where some millionaires including J.P. Morgan, John W. Gates and others. Fifth he applied his PLAN with PERSISTENCE and supported it with firm DECISION. Sixth, he made his way for success by a BURNING DESIRE.  When his speech convinced the millionaires, they were ready to buy the various small companies of Andrew Carnegie. Finally Schwab convinced Carnegie that the sale of his companies would give him a huge profit and Carnegie agreed to sell his steel companies for $400,000,000. All parties were happy and contented. The thirty eight old Schwab had his reward. He was made president of the new corporation and remained in control until 1930.

In order to convert our burning desire for attainment of riches or anything into reality, one must follow six steps which are given below.
1)      Fix in your mind the exact amount or the exact aim you desire.
2)      Decide exactly what you want to give in return for the money or aim you desire. One must remember that nothing important can be achieved without sacrifice. So you should give your hard work, persistsence and strong will power.
3)      Fix the date on which you achieve your aim or wealth
4)      Create a definite plan to achieve your aim.
5)      Write out clearly on a paper all the above steps such a making a brief statement of the exact amount of money you desire, the time limit and all other things you have planned.
6)      Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, just before going to bed and as soon as you wake up in the morning.
After doing these steps, you must see and feel yourself already in possession of the money/aim (as if you have already received the money or achieved the aim!) Thus you communicate the object of your burning desire directly to your SUBCONSCIOUS MIND in a spirit of ABSOLUTE FAITH!
Through the repeating of this procedure, you voluntarily create thought habits to convert your desire into its monetary equivalent.
Next step is organized planning. It is called ‘the crystallization of desire into action. Join with groups of people you may need for the creation and carrying out of your plan for the accumulation of money making use of the ‘Master Mind” principle.
One must avoid the bad habit of procrastination because it is the bitter enemy of decision. Procrastination leads to failures.
“If you are influenced by the opinions of others, you will have no desire of your own”.
Another quality to be encouraged is persistence. It is the sustained effort necessary to induce FAITH.
The basis of persistence is the power of will. Will power and desire, when properly combined, make a powerful pair.
One must remember that every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.
The mystery of sex transmutation   : Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires.  When driven by this desire, human beings develop keenness of imagination, courage, will power, persistence and strong creative ability.   Transmutation of sex energy calls for exercise of will power. The desire for sexual expression is inborn and natural.  Therefore, the emotion of sex contains the secret of creative ability.
“The sixth sense is CREATIVE IMAGINATION. The faculty of creative imagination is the direct link between the finite mind of human being and Infinite Intelligence.
Whenever ideas or concepts flash into one’s mind through a hunch (inspiration), they come from the following sources:- 1) Infinite Intelligence
                                      2) One’s subconscious mind
                                      3) From the mind of some other person who has just released the thought, or
                                        Picture of the idea or concept.
                                     4) From other person’s subconscious store house.
One’s subconscious mind is a store house where every sense impression and thought impulse are kept. These waves have reached the brain through the five senses of human being.

What are the ten mind stimuli? They are 1) the desire for sex expression
2) Love
3) A burning desire for fame, power, finance and MONEY.
4) Music
5) Friendship between either of the same sex or those of the opposite sex.
6) A master mind alliance based upon the harmony of two or more people
7) Mutual suffering
8) Auto-suggestion
9) Fear
10)Narcotics and alcohol

Sex energy is the creative e energy of all genii.  All the great leaders in all fields of life were driven by the force of sex.
The mere possession of sex energy is no enough. This energy must be transmuted from desire for physical contact, into some other form of desire and action before it will lift one to the status of genius.

The Subconscious mind consists of a field of consciousness, in which every impulse of thought that reaches the mind through the five senses.

The subconscious mind works day and night, but conscious mind works only when we are wake up.
The subconscious mind is the connecting link between the finite mind of man and the Infinite Intelligence.
There are seven major positive emotions. They are
1)      The emotion of desire
2)      The emotion of Faith
3)      The emotion of Love
4)      The emotion of sex
5)      The emotion of enthusiasm
6)      The emotion of Romance
7)      The emotion of Hope.

There are seven major negative emotions. They are
1)      The emotion of Fear
2)      The emotion of Jealousy
3)      The emotion of Hatred
4)      The emotion of Revenge
5)      The emotion of Greed
6)      The emotion of Superstition
7)      The emotion of Anger.

One must remember that positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the human mind at the same time. Only one must dominate.

Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thoughts.
The creative imagination is the ‘receiving station’ of the brain, which receives thoughts, released by the brain of others.

The subconscious mind is the ‘sending station’ of the brain, through which the vibrations of thought are broadcast.

The sixth sense is the door of the temple of wisdom.
The sixth sense through which Infinite Intelligence will communicate voluntarily without any effort from the individual. This principle is the apex of this philosophy.
The sixth sense is a part of the subconscious mind and creative imagination. It can also be called as the ‘receiving set’ through which ideas, plans and thoughts flash into the mind. These flashes are called ‘hunches’ or inspirations.
The sixth sense is the medium of contact between the finite mind of man and the Infinite Intelligence.
“Through the aid of the sixth sense, you will be warned of Impending dangers in time to avoid them and notified of opportunities in time to embrace them”.
Thus your sixth sense is your “guardian angel”. Success comes to those who become success conscious.

If you pray for a thing, but have fear as you pray, that you may not receive it, or that your prayer will not be acted upon by Infinite Intelligence, your prayer will have been in vain!

Prayer does result in the realization of that for which one prays. If you have ever had the experience of receiving that for which you prayed,  your mind was free from fear and doubt and you must have had a robust faith that your prayer would be answered and actually, got it. There are no obstacles between the finite mind of man and Infinite Intelligence. The communication must be based on patience, faith, Persistence, understanding and a sincere desire to communicate and your prayer will be certainly answered in the positive manner!.

The subconscious mind is the intermediary, which translates one’s prayers into terms which Infinite Intelligence can recognize, presents the message and brings back the answer in the form of a definite plan or idea for procuring the object of the prayer.

Before your prayer will reach Infinite Intelligence, it probably is transformed (“stepped up”) from its original thought vibration into terms of spiritual vibration.  Faith is the only known agency which will give your thoughts a spiritual nature.  Remember FAITH and FEAR make poor bedfellows. Where one is found, the other cannot exist.                                                                                                                          Kjt/29-01-2017

Painful Thoughts - 2 - K. J. Thomas

Painful thoughts-2    Tragedy at Paravur Puttingal Devi temple
Mr.Prime Minister, you did an excellent job when you rushed to the Paravur Puttingal Devi Temple ground yesterday, to see for yourself the debris of the man-made inferno.  You reminded us of your sacred principles uttered by you at the swearing in ceremony, that “you would be pradhan sevak and not pradhan mantri”.  ( You said  “ I shall be the first servant and not the Prime Minister”).  We, people of Kerala bow to your dedication and love for us.
We all know that the tragedy at Puttingal Devi Temple ground was due to utter carelessness and negligence on the part of the organizers and politicians who flouted the order of the district collector.  The Kollam collector had denied permission for the Puttingal Devi Temple fireworks competition, but in the eleventh hour the local politicians put pressure on police officials to go ahead with the fireworks.  The illegal and the most devastating fireworks began around 12-30 and ended in the wee hours of 3.30 killing more than hundred people and more than 400 people were maimed, creating a man made inferno in the holy place.
Many years ago Sree Narayana Guru had foreseen the dangers of fire-works, and wanted to stop the firework display at temple.  He said, “Kariuym,  Karimarunnum Venda” ( we don’t want elephants and crackers), because it was not part of Hindu tradition
About ten years ago the Supreme Court had banned bursting of crackers at night. The Supreme Court in a judgment on July 18, 2005 imposed a total ban on the use of sound emitting firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am. 
This dangerous situation had been foreseen by many residential people in the neighbourhood of the temple premises and had warned the concerned authorities beforehand but they all ignored these saner voices.  The neighbours had objected to the display of the firework competition, because every competitor wanted to outsmart his rival by using more and more deadly explosive chemicals including Pottasium Chlorate to make the display more effective and colourful and the fanatics wanted to enjoy this primitive, savage fun.
In the four hour long fire- works, the most awaited item was a ‘Sunflower’ (Sooraykanti poov)  the way colours would unravel in the open clear sky, resembling a sunflower field in full bloom. But the sunflower turned out to be the killer flower eating away more than hundred people in the wee hours of the tragic Sunday.
In various Christian church festivals, now a days display of fireworks is a must and a regular attraction drawing thousands of people. In many Christian church festivals, many competitors are there to conduct this sound and colour game and they use very powerful chemicals to defeat their rivals in this dangerous pastime, flouting all the laws and orders issued by the government. Those who oppose this cruel, primitive custom were ostracized by the people and even church authorities in Trichur district a few years ago. 
 Many scholars say that ‘vedikkettu ritual’ (fire work ritual) is a feudal hang over promoted by the kings and the elite class of the ancient time and it is not at all essential for the rituals either in the temple or in the churches and it must be banned.  This huge amount can be converted to be used for the welfare of the poor people in Kerala.
 Swami Chidanandapuri said that instead of lavishing on elephant processions and fire work display, if the money had been channelized to the various welfare activities, the Hindu society would have been greatly benefited by it. 
In the last three years alone, 451 people have died in Kerala in accidents related to fireworks. Hindu scholars say that word ‘Utsavam, which is a part of the Tantra Shastra, has been corrupted over a period of time. Utsavam is a six or 12-day kriya done to seek pardon for straying from the spiritual path. Nowhere in the ancient scriptures, it has been mentioned that temples need to burst crackers even as offering to gods. Temples in India appeared in the mythical ‘Dwaparaka Yuga and there was never a mention of usage of firecrackers in the Upanishads or Vedas.
Fireworks are not at all a part of Christian rituals. There is no mention of fireworks in the Bible. Jesus Christ taught his disciples the spiritual beauty of silent prayer and meditation. All other rituals are added later.
 Almost all the victims of the fireworks accident at the Puttingal Devi temple belonged to lower middle class and working class.     They are born to suffer while the rich and the powerful enjoy the benefit.                                                                                                                                                                                Kjt/12-04-2016

The Repentant Sinner - short story - by Leo Tolstoy

The Repentant Sinner                                             short story                                                    by Leo Tolstoy
‘The Repentant Sinner is a beautiful, thought-provoking short story written by Leo Tolstoy, who was a great Russian novelist and philosopher, thinker and moralist. This story is based on the 42, 43 lines of 23rd Chapter of St. Luke’s Gospel in the Bible.
 When Jesus Christ was nailed on the cross between two thieves on the Golgotha mount, one of the thieves repented and, recognizing Jesus as the son of God, prayed to Him that he might also be remembered when Christ reached Heavenly Kingdom.  At once Christ replied that he would be with Jesus in Paradise that day itself. This golden offer of love amazes every reader of the Bible. This part of the Bible teaches everyone of the infinite love of God even to the repented sinners of the world at the last minute.
 The Bible proclaims ‘God is love’ which is a miraculous experience for every sinner because God knows the weakness of human beings.  Once there was a man who lived for seventy years in sin and fell ill but even then he did not repent. But when he was dying, he wept and repented and prayed to God to forgive him as He had forgiven the thief upon the cross.
The soul of the sinner believing in the mercy of God went to the gates of heaven and knocked. The voice of St. Peter told him that sinners were not allowed in Heaven. Then the soul of the repented sinner told St. Peter that Peter had the great fortune to hear the Bible teachings from the holy lips of Jesus Christ and Christ loved Peter and raised him to the status of the leader of the twelve disciples and Peter witnessed the miracles of Jesus.
 Yet, Peter betrayed Jesus on many a number of occasion.  When Jesus and his disciples were praying to God at the Getsamene garden, Christ saw Peter sleeping in spite of repeated requests of Christ to pray with him. Thus Apostle Peter disobeyed his master three times. Still Christ forgave Peter for his human weakness. Again when Jesus was arrested and taken to the High Priest for trial, Peter denied publicly three times that he did not know Jesus. When Christ was nailed to the cross, Peter and other disciples ran away in fear and took shelter in a safety place and thus Peter abandoned his loving master for his own safety.
 In spite of a life-long companionship and teaching from Christ, Peter the Apostle could not reform himself. Then it is natural the repented sinner could not do any good deed while he was on the earth. But these arguments and requests of the repented sinner did not make any impression upon the saint and the gate of heaven was not opened to him and the voice of Peter was silent.
 But the spirit of the repented sinner continued to knock on the gate and this time the voice of King David to get out because sinners were not allowed in Heaven. The spirit of the repented sinner said that the King of Israel committed many a number of sins.
 David was loved by God and made the dwarfish, illiterate shepherd was raised to the highest rank in Israel by crowning him as the country’s king. God blessed him in innumerable ways and was given wealth, beautiful wives and children.  Yet he coveted Uriave’s beautiful young wife Bethsheba. Uriave was David’s trusted soldier and was willing to die for his beloved King David. But ungrateful David killed the brave soldier in a treacherous manner and possessed his wife. While she was bathing, the King saw her and called her to his palace and slept with her and she became pregnant. So David wanted to possess her by any means. He sent Uriave to the battle and arrangements were made in secret to kill him in the battle. Then David made Bethsheba his wife.
 Yet Heavenly Father forgave David’s crimes, when he repented and allowed him a place in Heaven. When the repented sinner’s spirit explained how God’s mercy helped David and requested him to allow the spirit enter the Heavenly kingdom, the voice of David was silent.
 But the repented sinner was not disappointed and began to knock on the door a third time. This time it was the voice of John the Divine and the sinner was very glad. The sinner knew well that John the Divine was the most beloved disciple of Jesus Christ.  Among the four Gospels written by St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. Mark and St. John, only John’s Gospel begins with the sentence “In the beginning there was Word, Word was with God and Word was God. Similarly this is the only gospel where the reader can find the wonderful sentence “God is love”. Therefore the repented sinner requested St. John to let him enter the kingdom of Heaven, because John alone enjoyed the depth of God’s love.  At once the gate of Heaven was opened and the repented spirit entered.

1.What was the strange request of one the thieves on the cross to Jesus Christ?

2.What is the similarity of the request of the repented sinner and the request of the thief on the cross?

3.What is the amazing quality of Jesus response to one of the thieve’s request on the cross?

4.How many voices responded to the request of the repented sinner when he knocked on the gate of Heaven?

5.How Peter the Apostle disobeyed Jesus while praying at the Gethsameni garden.?

6.How Peter betrayed Jesus at the courtyard of the palace of the Chief Priest?

7.How Jesus was betrayed by Peter the Apostle when Jesus was nailed to the cross?

8.What are the crimes of David the King, according to the repented sinner?

9.What was the response of David to the request of the repented sinner?

10.Who is Bathsheba?

11.Who is the second son of Bathsheba?

12.What was the response of John the Divine to  the request of the repented sinner?

13.How many Gospels are there in the Bible and explain the uniqueness of St. John’s Gospel?


Notes on a story 'A Chronicle of the Peacocks' by Intizar Husain

1.       Portray the horrors of war as unfolded through the image of the peacock
2.       Attempt an appreciation of A Chronicle of the Peacocks, commenting on the liberal use of various myths and images.
  In this short story titled ‘A Chronicle of the Peacocks (Morenama)’, Intizar Husain, the great Pakistani Urdu probes into mythical and historical roots of the pluralistic, complex culture of India where he was born and brought up  and at the time of partition he went to Lahore and stayed there. He is well versed in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He says that he always feels there is a Hindu sitting inside him. ‘A Chronicle of Peacocks is a brilliant story of partition, exile and lost memories. There is a liberal use of various images and myths.  The theme of the story is the futility of war. The author believes that we are all war criminals. Ashwatthama, the war criminal of Kurukshethra still lives in each of us. This is why war breaks out between India and Pakistan, between Iraqis and Kuwaitis, between Americans and Iraqis. The heroine of the story is the Peacock, the bird of beauty, innocent and royal grace. Once upon a time the peacock was the bird of heaven. But the poor bird helped the blind old man to enter the kingdom of heaven. The old man was none other than the Satan who prompted the Eve and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and they were kicked out of heaven by God. Then God punished Peacock too and thus peacock has come to live on the earth. There is an allegorical touch in the story. The peacocks, the koel, the duck , the royal swan and all other birds are compared to the prophets of ancient times. Those saintly souls suffered for the destructive activities of human beings. Similarly now the flora and fauna of Nature are being destroyed by the destructive, criminal activities of man, the homosapiens. Every human being is a modern Aswatthama! Who destroys Nature through wars and other criminal activities.
Now these innocent birds suffer pain and destruction thanks to the criminal activities of man. Both Pakistan and India tested nuclear weapons. India’s nuclear test was conducted on the desert of Pokhran in Rajasthan. This terrible explosion killed hundreds of innocent peacocks and many of them flew away for life. This news saddened the author. A few years ago he had visited Jaipur and  had met thousands of peacocks at the guest house.. These birds had come there to welcome the author. He thought of himself in the very cradle of beauty, love and peace.
 On another vision the author saw a lonely duck covered with oil, dust and dirt. It had not eaten for many days, because the sea was covered with dirty oils coming from the battle field.  Wars are going on everywhere and thousands of civilians are killed, innocent beautiful birds are ruined. The author says that these birds suffer for the cruelties of man. They are like the prophets of ancient times. Once upon a time, there were innumerable lakes and streams and beautiful royal swans swam in the crystal clear water. All the lakes are dried up. Even the lakes at Manasarovar in the Himalayas have been dried up and the swans are perished.
The author came from Lahore to visit Delhi. He walked through Sravasthi and saw a peacock sitting on a green hill lost in thoughts. Mahatma Buddha had lived there a long time ago. In his imagination he moved down the ages and reached Indraprastha, the city of the Pandavas. There he saw and enjoyed the beauty of thousands of peacocks, the whistle of the Koel and the songs of various birds. He saw fruit trees. It was a golden age of prosperity and peace! Then he thought of the peacocks of Rajasthan and reached there. But on seeing him, those birds screamed in terror and rose from the hills and trees and flew away. Then he felt some one was walking beside him. It was the ghost of Ashwatthama, the great criminal of Kurukshetra who used the Brahmastra and destroyed the wombs of all Pandava women folk. Lord Krishna cursed him to wander alone for three thousand years. When Parikshit, the son of Uttara became the king at Hastinapur, he asked Vyasaji why the wise men of both the Pandavas and Kauravas did not think of the futility of war. Vyasaji replied that all human beings become selfish and do foolishness at the time of war.  The author says that Ashwatthama, the war criminal is still alive in the minds of every Indian and Pakistani,who are the present generation of Pandavas and Kauravas.  When the author crossed the border, he was happy that he had escaped from the war criminal. But when he reached his home at Lahore, he heard a footstep behind him and he saw the ghost of Ashwatthama!
FILMING INDIA                                                                                             Mrinal Sen
Mrinal Sen, the great film maker of Calcutta is the pioneer of parallel cinema movement in India. His first film was Raat Bhore (the Dawn) which was released in the year 1956. He gave a new sense of direction to the Indian cinema. Sen was influenced by the Italian neo-realistic cinema and also Satyajit Ray, the great film producer of India. He has been awarded ‘Padma Bhushan as well as the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour given to a film maker in India. His autobiography is titled “Always Being Born”. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In his interview with Ramin Jahanbegloo, Mrinal Sen opens his mind and reveals how he became a film maker. He says that he is a film maker by accident. In the 1940s Mrinal Sen was a voracious reader and used to go to the National Library in Calcutta to read books. At that time he was not interested in film world. But one day he accidentally came across a book on cinema on its aesthetics and sociology. Its author was Rudolf Arnheim. This book captivated his heart and soul and began to enjoy many good films through Calcutta Film Society. Then he started writing on the aesthetics of cinema, on its philosophy and social importance. He was attracted to Soviet cinema, neo-realistic Italian cinema etc. Finally he made his first film ‘Raat Bhor’.
.His second film ‘Nil Akasher Niche’ won the appreciation of not only the film goers but also Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, who enjoyed the political content of the film. It was about a Chinese hawker selling opium and cheena silk in the streets of Calcutta. The film dated to 1930s when the militarist Japan attacked China and our  national poet Tagore condemned the attack. His next film ‘Akash Kusum’ was praised by many critics for its technical quality and there was a debate between Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray on the film which appeared in an English newspaper.  In the interview Mrinal Sen talked about his three films better known as Calcutta trilogy. They are: Interview, Calcutta-71 and Padatik..                                                                                                                                                                                                      His two films: ‘Ek Din Pratidin’ and Ekdin Achanak dealt with the social problems of the daily lives of Calcutta people. These two films so shocked the viewers of the city that they wanted to know what happened to the working girl and also the missing professor in ‘Ekdin Achanak’. He told them “Sorry I don’t know what happened to the working girl.   I made this film for you to disturb your mind. Only then these social problems could be solved” 
 Mrinal Sen made “Genesis” in 1986. The story of the film is about the growth, development and decay of civilization. The parable of the film is that two birds are flying with a single worm.. A hunter follows them, but does not shoot. A man asks the hunter why he does not shoot the birds. The hunter replies that he knows the birds will fight and be killed each other and he gets the worm. This is the way the rich always exploits the poor.
 Mrinal Sen became famous as a film director with the release of Bhuvan Shome in 1969. It is the story of an “honest” Indian bureaucrat in the Indian Railways. Buvan Shome is brought up in British education and tradition. He seemed to be a strict disciplinarian but he is corrupted at the end of the film. He meets a corrupt ticket collector in a railway station and wishes to correct him. But after receiving his hospitality and the gifts at his house, Bhuvan Shome forgives his corruption and he is promoted to a bigger station where he can make more money. The film is a satire on bureaucracy.
“Padatik” is the film of a young extremist who escapes from police custody and the political party gives him shelter. But he questions the leadership. Although he is loyal to the party, he thinks that the leadership is corrupted. This re-examination of the left extremist movement makes the film highly controversial.
Calcutta-71 is a film of many stories of poverty and exploitation. The film begins with a family suffering from poverty and flood in the monsoon of Calcutta. They suffer silently without much protest. In the last episode of the film the young protagonist protests against poverty and exploitation and gets killed. In this film Mrinal Sen shows the horror and ugliness of poverty.