Old religion, new religion, god, science

How our secular beliefs are to be defined?

A survey of latest intellectual  developments in various branches of sciences and knowledge

Religion is still a force as well as a taboo! Religion is a subject to which every thinking person has to return one day or other.In India, religion is a strong force and also a strong impediment for secularisation and liberalisation of society.

Many of the great philosophers like, say Bertrand Russell and here in India Dr.S.Radhakrishnan have written much and created vast readership. I have read them in great, extensive ways. Russell is yes, quite brilliant, he wrote so clearly that won him vast readership, even today he is selling well. Karl Poppar says, in his autobiography, that Russell could write pages  and pages of such clear English without almost changing a word! Such was his writing skills.  So too I would say of our own Radhakrishnan. He could write very chaste and readable English with apt quotations from unexpected quarters, novelists and such then currently favourite writers and thus impress the readers. Equally, he was a great orator. So, he won his day,so to say! Indians easily fall for even empty rhetoric! But then I often ask:how much of Radhakrishnan will last? Now, after so much of my life lived in the way I had lived, that is, without office or the publicity that comes with it,what I think of Radhakrishnan’s thoughts? I have to say, rather candidly, Practically nothing he thought as his original thinking! Read More →

Many of the great philosophers like, say Bertrand Russell and here in India Dr.S.Radhakrishnan have written much and created vast readership. I have read them in great, extensive ways. Russell is yes, quite brilliant, he wrote so clearly that won him vast readership, even today he is selling well. Karl Poppar says, in his autobiography, that Russell could write pages  and pages of such clear English without almost changing a word! Such was his writing skills.

So too I would say of our own Radhakrishnan. He could write very chaste and readable English with apt quotations from unexpected quarters, novelists and such then currently favourite writers and thus impress the readers. Equally, he was a great orator. So, he won his day,so to say! Indians easily fall for even empty rhetoric! But then I often ask:how much of Radhakrishnan will last? Now, after so much of my life lived in the way I had lived, that is, without office or the publicity that comes with it,what I think of Radhakrishnan’s thoughts? I have to say, rather candidly, Practically nothing he thought as his original thinking!

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Kamaraj as  I knew him

Kamaraj had played historic roles in the evolution of modern India. In Pre- Independent India he built up the Congress Party in Tamil Nadu as a strong well-knit organisation. In post-Independent India he became a role model for efficient administration. His Chief Ministership took TN to the forefront of development. He introduced free education, free meals scheme which now has become the education development model for the whole of India. The author had the rare  privilege of working closely with Kamaraj for well over a decade till his last days. Here he shares some rare information and insights.

Kamaraj as President of the Congress party

It was at this time I came into personal contact with Kamaraj! I was drafted to the AICC assignment through my Bengal contacts by Atulya Ghosh, the then Congress Treasurer.  As I was the only Tamil speaking AICC political expert and as I was always active in AICC affairs, I used to visit Kamaraj at his residence almost every evening to be with him.
It was  the time when visitors, more so the journalists and favour seekers would throng his residence, I  came in handy for Kamaraj to answer some of the queries and also communicate with him all sorts of matters and information. So,  I was eye-witness to some of the dramatic events too. Read More →

I made him speak at Oxford!

Swami Rangandananda,till  now the president of the Ramakrishna Mission had passed away recently. Born  in the Kerala village of Trikkur, near Thrissur in 1908,the swami had  very impressive life, starting as a humble young boy to reach the top and emerge as a scholar, speaker and philosopher.Why I write about him here is that I knew him,off and on, as I myself went to a Ramakrishna Mission school in Coimbatore where he was a frequent visitor. I knew him also in Kolkatta as I was a student in Santiniketan and again I was a frequent visitor to the Vivekananda Culture Centre of which he was  the moving spirit.

Once I remember to have gone there and found myself attending a very interesting lecture delivered by one Tagore (the name I forget),the  talented Tagore family members were all  very distinguished in different fields of arts and culture,this Tagore in his flowing silks, was a brahmo exponent.The Tagores were brahmos and in a way I should say I myself was greatly influenced by this doctrine, as this was much propagated by Raja Rammohan Roy to Rabindranath Tagore himself. Our weekly prayers at the brahmo ‘mandir’ was a special experience for us, students, with the Sanskrit texts read and the Rabindra sangeeth  sung so beautifully by students.In fact,I became a semi-Bengali in my love for Rabindra sangeeth and the very artistic and spiritual environment that prevailed there. Read More →

Governor,West Bengal

An old acquaintance!

Gopal Krishna Gandhi

I just read the recent  convocation address of  Mr.Gopal Krishna Gandhi,the Governor of West Bengal at the University of Burdwan. It makes interesting reading and also it kindled my meories of the days past when I got to know the  current Governor  in his young age,perhaps in his teens near Geneva!

Before that anecdote,I want to share how much I enjoyed his convocation speech.He starts with the few anecdotes himself, friends and admirers calling him as a direct successor to Willam Bentinck and Lord Curzon! “One person got mixed up with the phrase”Excellency”and some notions of family distinction  as to say to me,”Sir,I am honoured to meet someone from so extinguished  a family!

“Such  humour apart,Gandhi says one historian wrote him to say that the Bengal Governor now is in a position now,that was once occupied by Nawab Sirajuddaowla! The word, nawab,we are told,is a name for a deputy,the deputy of the Emperor in “Dillee”as it was originally known.And then the Governor goes to the fateful date in Indian history:23rd June 1757,on that day the battle of Plassey(Palashee) was fought and lost! India became once more a slave country! Gandhi is a sensitive person and he traces our historic shame in some detail and tells us how much the British learnt to tell lies, lies about Black Hole of Calcutta and other lies.This is a lie,tells the Governor,for he points out to the fact that the cell into which was stuffed one hundred and forty-four persons measured eighteen feet by four feet and they  all died the next day after  Nawab Sira juddowlah’s  troops took control of Calcutta in June 1757.This story,the Governor tells his audience, had not been fully investigated, not many historians believe this story,no monument for the tragedy exists and only one historian stuck to the version and yet the Black Hole story dominates the imaginations of the British as well as the Indian public. Read More →