• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Archive for June, 2014

A few stupid questions…

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on June 30, 2014

A lot of media coverage lately has been focused on Iraq and the birth of a a Sunni militia that call themselves the ISIS. Hours of prime time television are being spent on how this menace developed and how it should be tackled. I have also seen a lot of analysts fret about the danger posed by home grown jihadists, Western citizens fighting the jihad in the middle east. This is one time I am happy that Indians cannot travel to Turkey(or most western countries) without a travel visa. If we could, there would be millions of Indian Jihadis battling it out in Syria and Iraq. Returning to the analysis of the current situation in Iraq, almost everything has been discussed as a solution to the threat posed by ISIS. Almost everything.

I find it extremely puzzling that no one seems to explore the option of cutting off the supply of arms and ammunition to ISIS. An army that big surely needs a lot of arsenal to fight such a long battle. Obviously, someone is supplying it to them. And this someone has to be rich because bullets are more expensive than human lives these days. So should I dare ask why the focus is on fighting ISIS on the streets of Iraq when the US and its allies (Saudis and Israel are you listening?) can easily block the supply of ammunition to ISIS. The Intelligence services know where the weapons come from and what route they take (Turks are you listening?). They also know the sources of funding for such lethal acquisitions. Wouldn’t it be easier to just target these and let the militia run out of ammunition?

Israel’s silence during this entire episode makes me uncomfortable. So does the indifference with which the Saudis are treating the matter. Turkey seems surprisingly quiet and relaxed for someone who’s neighborhood is being run over by militants considered worse than Al Qaeda. Arms dealers around the world are enjoying a booming market.

Conflicts continue because someone wants them to, not because we can’t stop them.

Am I just asking stupid questions?

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Ecology in the Vedas

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on June 10, 2014

Rakshas Tal

Last week on the occasion of World Environment Day, I attended a talk that highlighted the occurrence of ecological themes in our religious scriptures. The speaker presented to the audience the “Bhumi Sukta”, a 63 verse hymn from the Atharva Veda, believed to belong to the Vedic Period around 1500 BC. The hymn is a beautiful prayer to “Mother Earth” with words like,

“Mother Earth, may whatever I dig from you grow back again quickly, and may we not injure you by our labor”

I was surprised to hear subjects of renewable resources and alike in hymns more than three millennia old. But then again, human intelligence is not a function of time.

The 40 minute talk was followed by an open for all discussion. As I sat back and heard experts exchange opinions, I wondered how successful the “Save the Earth” initiative has been over the last few decades. A world wide initiative that began in Stockholm in the 1970s has certainly raised a lot of awareness. The developed world and its consumers have seemingly taken the lead in this by voicing protests against exploitation of resources on their lands. However, such an approach has only led to the “export of pollution”. What used to happen on your soil in the past is now happening on mine. Industrial pollution and uncontrollable mining is ruining the ecological balance in India but it is conveniently hidden from the sights and sounds of the developed world. And the mirage of economic prosperity has blinded most Indians towards the existence of an alternative greener way of life. It is not our fault either. With almost half the population surviving on less that a dollar a day, I do not expect a green revolution in India. It is not fair to ask a hand to mouth laborer to fight for the environment at the cost of his own survival and that of his family. So while the developed world has outsourced pollution to the developing world and continues to fuel it by its uncontrollable consumerism, I do not see an end to this menace. The developing countries and their population are just too poor to resist the greed of survival. It is unfortunate that I have to label survival as a greed. As to why I do that can be the topic of another post.

Lastly, the environmentalists have got the message wrong. Its not the Earth that needs saving, its us.

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To open or not….Not!!!

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on June 10, 2014

So here I was in the washroom of a private hospital. Having rinsed and dried my hands I look around for a bin to throw the paper towel into. That’s when I spot this….


On closer inspection (I’m not obsessed with checking out bin stickers, but this one with the ET graphic on it drew me closer) I saw this…


Organs, Body Parts!!! They have bins for that in a wash room??? “Oops!!! I pooped my spleen out, where do I throw it?”

What could I expect to find inside that bin??? No way was I going to explore further.

I left.


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