Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Afghanistan Rethink

Lately there have been lengthy discussions comparing Afghanistan with Vietnam without any meaningful conclusions or suggestions. The most recent one is an article (See the link below) by Frank Rich in New York Times.

What is forgotten in this comparison is that North Vietnam had not attacked America while Al Qaeda has. Also North Vietnam’s goal was to unify Vietnam albeit under their communist rule.

Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamic fundamentalists have same global agenda and want to establish their brand of Islamic Caliphate to rule the world. What is happening is not new. It is a continuation of the relentless execution of a plan which has been going on for over past one thousand years. Just look at the history of the Persian and Byzantine Empires. The Islamic fundamentalists know that the secular democracies are weak hearted and divided and will fall sooner and later. They will never give up unless they are totally eliminated.

Unfortunately Obama’s rethinking has so far has sent a message of confusion, hesitation and weakness to the world in general and Taliban and Al Qaeda in particular. No wonder Talban have increased their attacks in Afghanistan recently.

Let us not forget that if America loses in Afghanistan then Taliban and the Islamic fundamentalists will also take over Pakistan, an unstable nuclear state, in the next few years. This will create a very dangerous situation to United States and the secular world. The stakes in Afghanistan are much higher than they ever were in Vietnam. The secularists need to decide whether to face up this challenge now or meet the fate of Persian and Byzantine Empires.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Missile Defences in Europe

I agree with President Obama’s decision to cancel missile defence system plan related to Czech Republic and Poland (See the link below). In my opinion, Europe should take complete responsibilities for its own defense and America should even phase out all its troops from Europe in due course of time. Immediately after World War II there was a need to have a strong American troop’s presence in Europe for its defense. However after the end of cold war and the fact that Europe is affluent, American tax payers should not keep footing the bill for Europe’s security.

A lot faster than Usain Bolt...

Usain Bolt was big news in August 2009 and showed the world that he was the fastest man on earth. However an 8 year old female Cheetah named Sarah bested Bolt’s world record of 9.58 seconds for 100 meter run by over 3 seconds. Sarah also broke the 2001 record of the fastest mammal. See the following link on this story and for Sarah’s incredible run.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It is hard to say Good Bye...

It has been over six weeks since my eldest sister’s husband, JijaJi, passed away due to cardiac arrest. His death was so sudden and unexpected that it was a real shock to all of us. I had spoken to him only a month earlier and he was cheerful and doing fine.

My eldest sister Jiji and I were very close and I have very fond memories of her from a very young age. When I was three year old, my father was at that time posted in a small city. Jiji used to go to school early in the morning and every afternoon I eagerly waited for her to come home. It was a joy to see her again. She used to laugh and hug me and we used to spend some quality time together. Our bond only grew stronger as we grew up and we had always been there for each other in time of our need.

JijaJi was a perfect life partner for Jiji and I know that she was very happy with him and they were happy together. He was an educator. He was highly respected by his peers and colleagues. He was one of the few people I have come across in my life, who did not expect anything from anyone and who would go out of his way to ensure that he is not a burden or problem to anyone. A saintly person, his love was for love sake. Our entire family loved him and we felt very fortunate that he was part of our family.

Unfortunately, Jiji passed away fifteen years ago. It was difficult to accept the fact that she was no more. However, Jija ji’s continued close relationship with us had acted as a cushion. After Jiji’s death, JijaJi immersed himself in his work at the Technical Institute he was associated with for a long time. After his retirement he continued working with his Institute as a consultant helping the Institute expand in other locations.

Now we have also lost JijaJi. It is difficult to reconcile with the fact that both Jiji and JijaJi are gone forever and it is so hard to say good bye.

I know that being a follower of Shri Krishna; I am not supposed to grieve. In Bhagvad Gita (BG), His sermon on the battlefield to His warrior friend and disciple Arjun approximately 5,000 years ago, Shri Krishna teaches us:

“The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.” BG 2.111

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” BG 2.131

“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.”
BG 2.201

However we are human and it is natural for us to feel both joy as well as sorrow. It is understandable to grieve and cry when we lose a loved one. What Shri Krishna is teaching us is that we should not let ourselves be overwhelmed by grief into inaction. We should also not let grief, death or fear of death cloud our judgment to stop us from performing our duties.

We should cherish the memories and the time the loved one spent with us enriching our life. Although we should realize that the departed soul is on his next journey and we should pray for his peace and for his peaceful journey to the next life. The departed soul has moved on and eventually so should we.
1" 'Bhagavad Gita As It Is' text courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. Used with permission."