In A Woman’s Bosom
She emerged from the wavy and tranquil waters of the lake:
Glistening, limpid, sanguine,
It seemed that she had come for an interlude of fun,
Not in any disappointment with the world,
But with a vision of having fun with herself.
This is an aspect of a woman:
Self-involved, controlled, romantic.
God created man and woman in different images
To satisfy the design of life,
Man is an outsider but woman has roots in earth,
He is a challenger and a searcher,
She is an absorber and nurturer.
Man likes to explore,
But for a woman everything is a rediscovery of herself,
She is what she is
But he is what he would like to be,
A child is his mother’s extension
But his father’s reflection,
Woman possesses but man occupies.
In love woman does not give herself to man
But absorbs him within herself,
While a man gives a part of himself to her,
So when love breaks woman feels empty,
But man feels diminished,
Woman prays to God to absorb his message,
A man prays to become his message.
Life is not divided between absorption and radiation,
Between being and becoming,
Between reflection and action,
But it is a juxtaposition of many indispensable gems.
A woman endeavors to live within nature,
To her a lot of the architecture of politics
And business woven by man is irrelevant,
If it were left to her the world would be more peaceful,
Like a lake she is self-contained,
While man raids, she assimilates,
Her world is her universe.
If man is the searing energy of sun,
Woman is the soothing shade of an evening,
If man is the creator of the world,
Woman is the relief from its excess.
Time is till moist with woman’s tears,
In her bosom lie compassion and tenderness,
She is the long-awaited shore for her tempest-tossed lover,
A sane instinct for life over its destruction,
Woman’s genius for life has yet not been appreciated,
She is a ray of light which has yet not been given a chance to illuminate.
Suffern, New York, Oct. 14, 2010; Sept., 2018; March 16,2019
The Agony of Article 370 – The Legal Framework that Binds Jammu and Kashmir State with India
The notoriety of Article 370, the legal framework that connects India with Jammu and Kashmir State (J&K) as a nation, has grown to a mythic level for its political implications both among its vested players and its casual observers.
This article attempts to demythologize Article 370 and bring it down to its functional basis, which was the original intent of its framers. But to do that one has to go to the birth and evolution of the Kashmir Problem, to engage in its details, as the devil lies there.
When Britain decided in June, 1947 to leave India the problem of the latter’s effective survival after its exit from the scene became a gnawing anxiety for it, as India had remained a fragmented fabric throughout its deep history. But the lines of the pattern of new India were already inscrutably crystallizing. A lot of Indian Muslims had already decided to have their own space as far back as early twentieth century. The ongoing accelerating Indian freedom movement, comprising both Hindus and Muslims, to free India from the yoke of Britain, did not bring the two closer, but put them on divergent goals of achieving separate nationalities, Indian and Pakistani. Following historical outline aims at providing an experience of the evolution of Article 370, which is more meaningful than just learning its dry final facts.
Instrument of Accession
Instrument of Accession (IOA) was a legal instrument which Britain first created in Government of India Act 1935 for precisely establishing its relationship with the Princely States. But when Britain decided to leave India in June 1947 (Indian Independence Act 1947), it was decided by Britain, Indian National Congress, and Muslim League that IOA should be used to facilitate the incorporation of the Princely States in the new nations of India and Pakistan, which were called dominions at the point of their independences in 1947, before they made their constitutions and fully became republics, breaking completely free of the British yoke.
By 1947 India under Britain was divided into British India and Princely States. While the former was directly under the British government the latter were 578 states, basically ruled by either their princes or their controllers, but having a subsidiary alliance relationship of suzerainty or paramountcy with Britain. Typically, Britain controlled their defense, foreign affairs, and communications. British India had 54% of India’s area and 77% of its population. The territories under British India were called provinces but those under the princes were called states.
By early 1947 it was well established which provinces of British India will the new dominions of India and Pakistan incorporate. Although almost all the princely states had also decided which new dominions they will join but at the time of the independence of India and Pakistan, August 15 and 14, 1947, a few states’ incorporation took up to several years.
The significant situations were that of Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Jammu and Kashmir. While the Instrument of Accession for the Princely States was set up for the princes to decide which new dominion they wanted to join but the reality of the religious composition of the three mentioned states, where the religious orientations of the princes and their subjects differed, forced a change in it. The amendment, accepted by all the three parties, Britain, Indian National Congress, and Muslim League, spelled that in case of differing religious orientations between a prince and his subjects, the will of the subjects would prevail in choosing which of the two dominions they would join. In case of Junagarh, where the prince created a lot of difficulty in following the amendment, a plebiscite was conducted which decided that it will go to India. In case of Hyderabad the situation was more complicated as Nizam wanted Hyderabad to be an independent nation, though his Hindu-majority subjects wanted to join India. India did not want to have a foreign nation in its middle, so it forced Hyderabad to join it by a military intervention in 1948.
Since Maharaja Hari Singh of J&K harbored a deep ambition to make his state an independent nation, a Switzerland of the East, he would not choose one of the two dominions he would like to join even after their formation on August 14 and August 15, 1947. He asked for a Standstill Agreement to have more time to decide from the two entities, which Pakistan granted but India did not respond to. As India did not have any cards to play with, as Maharaja leaned for independence and the majority of his subjects were Muslims, it did not do anything to capture J&K. As time ticked on Pakistan’s greed to acquire J&K swelled, seeing Maharaja’s indecisiveness and India’s lack of hunger to get it. On Oct. 22, 1947 it attacked J&K, its army camouflaged by a tribal militia, giving an appearance of their revolt against Maharaja’s government over some grievances. Maharaja had a miniscule army which evaporated momentarily. As the invaders came closer to Srinagar, Maharaja panicked. He sent an SOS to Governor General of India, Mountbatten, on October 25, 1947, to help him save his countrymen and himself. Mountbatten recommended to the newly founded Indian government that Maharaja should be helped, but only after he accepted the IOA. Indian government accepted his advice and Maharaja signed the IOA on October 26, in Jammu, where he had run after invaders closed on him in Srinagar. The following day, Oct. 27, Mountbatten, on behalf of India, accepted it. But it is one of the errors of history that Kashmir’s accession to India is celebrated on Oct. 26, while it was consummated on Oct. 27, when Mountbatten signed it into law.
But one item in the approval of the IOA, not mentioned above, influenced the subsequent history of J&K-India relationship. While India accepted Maharaja’s IOA, it added a rider condition to it, which was conveyed in the approval letter Mountbatten attached to it. That condition is the following:
“….it is my Government’s wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soiled cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by reference to the people.”
What it meant was that the accession of J&K to India would only be completed after the will of its people about the accession is determined. India did this to be consistent with the principle it used in incorporating Junagarh and Hyderabad with it. Also, because J&K was under an invasion, people’s will could only be properly known when it was cleared. It did not specify how that will could be determined. But it is well known that there are a few ways to do that: plebiscite, elections, through an empowered panel. But popular notion among the people, politicians, and the press was that it would be done through a plebiscite.
There was a second element in IOA that was also significant, though not as much as the first one. It was the Clause 7 Maharaja added to the standard IOA:
“Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future constitution.”
It meant that Maharaja was not obligated to accept any future changes in the constitution of India which it might think applicable to his state. Only foreign affairs, defense, and communications were under the union government but all other matters were under the state government.
India’s war with Pakistan in defense of Kashmir went on through 1948, but on January 1, 1948, India went to U.N. to plead for forcing out of the invader, a ceasefire, and a plebiscite. Pakistan accepted the ceasefire, which took effect on Jan. 1, 1949. But it took U.N. sometime to investigate the Pakistani attack. Then on April 21, 1948, under U.N. Security Council Resolution 47, in Chapter VI jurisdiction, it asked both the countries to accept certain conditions before a plebiscite was conducted. Because Pakistan would not fulfill U.N. conditions, therefore, the plebiscite was never conducted. U.N. could not enforce its resolution because its Chapter VI status was non-binding. Later, U.N. declared that since the demographics in J&K had changed significantly since the Pakistani attack in 1947, it was unfeasible to conduct the plebiscite. In 2003, President Musharraf of Pakistan announced that Pakistan will drop the demand of a U.N. resolution on Kashmir Problem. In Nov., 2010, U.N. announced that it had dropped J&K among the disputed territories in the world.
Outside the U.N. Nehru twice offered Jinnah a plebiscite but he declined it, because he believed Pakistan would lose it. One of the things Pakistan relied on in its attack on Kashmir was the support of Kashmiri Muslims (KMs). But it never received that support. Mountbatten, in 1948, at the end of his term as the Governor General of India, with the agreement of India, offered Pakistan a division of Kashmir, which it rejected. Then in 1954, during Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mohammed Ali’s visit to India, Nehru offered him a plebiscite. Ali rejected it because he insisted that General Nimitz, then U.S. representative to U.N., be the plebiscite in-charge, which Nehru did not agree to, as he wanted someone from a smaller nation for that job. This was the last time India offered Pakistan a plebiscite. But plebiscite in J&K was put to death by its Constitution when it declared in Article 3 (Part II): J&K is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. Since Musharraf’s time Pakistan has given up on the plebiscite to solve its claim on Kashmir. Its new thinking is that since Kashmir has Muslims as its majority, it ought to be with it. In the last decade majority of Kashmiri Muslims, about 95%, have moved away from joining Pakistan, instead they want to be an independent nation.
Constitution of India
There was a significant shortcoming in the newly formed dominions on account of a lack of a constitution to govern by. It was decided by all parties that India Act of 1935 would serve as a temporary constitution until new constitutions were framed. But it was done after some revisions to it, and served under Indian Independence Act of 1947, as a temporary constitution of India until Jan, 25, 1950, when on the following day, Jan. 26, India became a republic under its own constitution.
In India the work on the framing of a new constitution started right at its independence. The constitution had to incorporate in its framework broadly two areas: Union government and the Princely States. Since the latter were incorporated in the Union on a voluntary basis, it was Union’s obligation to ask them if they would accept the union constitution fully or of if they would like some amendments to be made to it. If they wanted the latter, they were asked to send their representatives to the Indian Constitution Assembly or to make their own constitution assemblies to create the amendments. Most of them were unable to make the assemblies in time. But a few of them did: Saurashtra Union, Travancore-Cochin, and Mysore. All the suggested amendments were accepted by the Union. Eventually, all the States accepted the Union constitution, except J&K, which wanted to have its own constitution. India had no choice but to accept it.
In May, 1949, the rulers of all the states agreed to accept the finalized Union constitution, with the exception of J&K, which fell in a separate category altogether.
J&K negotiated its constitutional relationship with the Union from May through October, 1949. It was agreed upon that it would set up its own constitutional assembly to frame its constitution. While it would take time to get that done, meanwhile, a temporary framework was created. That was called Article 370, which during its drafting was called Article 306A. It is Part XXI of the Indian Constitution, under Temporary, Transitional, and Special Provisions.
Nehru appointed a minister in his cabinet, without portfolio, Gopalaswami Iyyangar, especially to frame Article 370. Iyyangar had been a Prime Minister of J&K for six years and, also, a Dewan. So, he was considered eminently qualified for the job.
Article 370 was debated in the Indian Constitutional Assembly in the presence of the five representatives from J&K: Sheikh Abdullah, Mirza Afzal Beg, Maulana Massoodi, and Moti Ram Baigra. (I do not have the name of the fifth representative) Some of them had some disagreements initially with it but eventually they were taken care of. On October 17, 1949, Article 370 was unanimously approved by the Constitutional Assembly of India. On Nov. 25, 1949, Karan Singh, acting as the Regent of J&K signed it. And on January 26, 1950 President of India, Rajendar Prasad, signed it into law.
Salient Points of Article 370
- It fully incorporates I.O.A., notably its clause of J&K’s accession to India. (Article 1,b,i)
- Union Parliament can only make laws for J&K which fall within the three spheres of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Communications, as stipulated by IOA. (Article 1, b, i)
- But because IOA did not give details of which items in the Union and Concurrent List covered the three spheres, a mechanism of establishing them was set up. President of India in consultation with the J&K Government can do it. (Article 1, b, i)
- Also, the same mechanism will deal with matters beyond the three spheres, if India thought that they were needed for good governance, with concurrence of J&K Government. (Article 1, b, ii)
- Since J&K Government was not fully developed by January 26, 1950, Maharaja of J&K, in consultation with its Council of Ministers, for the time being, was considered the Government of the State. There were no Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers at that time, only thing there was was Maharaja;s Proclamation of March 5, 1948 to form a constitutional government. It was expected that when they were formed, along with the J&K Constitution, then the final Government of the State would be established. This clause was put as Explanation in Article 370, which made Sheikh Abdullah unhappy, and has figured in Supreme Court’s deliberation on Article 370. (Explanation)
- If laws outside the three spheres of IOA are created, as indicated in Item 4 above, before the Constitutional Assembly is commissioned, then they would be subjected to its review before they are considered final. J&K Legislative Assembly could only give a provisional approval to them meanwhile. (Article 2)
- President may declare Article 370 void, modify it, may make exceptions to it, or change dates of its or its clauses’ applicability, if recommended by the J&K Constitution Assembly. (Article 3)
Maharaja’s Proclamation of March 5, 1948 declared that J&K would have a constitutional government. Which implied that a new constitution would be created. The extant laws were not set up in a constitutional framework to meet the situation flowing from IOA.
But Maharaja by his proclamation on June 9, 1949, transferred all his powers over the government to his son, Karan Singh, because of his stated reason of health. He left J&K soon after, never to return.
Karan Singh made a proclamation on May 1, 1951 to convene J&K Constitutional Assembly. In it he also cited some items in the original proclamation by his father on the subject of not being able to meet the present situation.
J&K Constitution Assembly was set up on Oct. 31, 1951 by J&K Legislative Assembly. It went through rigorous steps of establishing the basic principles of the future constitution and covered significant matters affecting its citizens and its relationship with India.
The correspondence on the negotiations on the constitution’s framework and some of its significant items among Nehru, Abdullah, Ayyangar, Patel, and other national and state leaders is imbued with passion and a sense of high purpose. Especially, passionate and poignant are letters between Abdullah and Nehru. The former was a nitpicker but latter wanted the integration of J&K and India to be consummated fast, leaving the details to be settled later. Abdullah had come to believe by his arrest on Aug. 9, 1953 that Indian government was not going to be honest in giving J&K the full extent of autonomy it owed to it by virtue of Article 370. Though he trusted Nehru but he was not sure about other Indian leaders. By his exit from the Constitutional Assembly it lost its most demanding leader. These negotiations between Indian and J&K leaders over the content of J&K’s constitution were called Delhi Agreement. They were just negotiations, they lacked legal authority.
J&K Constitutional Assembly was dispersed on Nov. 17, 1956 and was dissolved on Jan, 25, 1957. President of India, by his Order on Jan. 26, 1957, made it effective.
Salient Point of J&K’s Constitution
Note: There have been 29 amendments made to J&K Constitution since its inception on Jan. 26, 1957.
- Preamble: J&K has acceded to India on Oct. 26, 1947.
- Article 3 (Part II): J&K is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.
- Article 4 (Part II): J&K territories are those which were under the Ruler of the State on Aug. 15, 1947.
- Article 5 (Part II): The executive and legislative power of the State to extends to all matters except those with respect to which Parliament has powers to make laws for the State under provisions of the Constitution of India.
- Article 147 (Part 12): No bill shall be introduced or moved in State Legislative assembly to amend or change the above indicated Articles 3 and 5, which relate to J&K’s relationship with India.
- Also, if J&K Assembly wants to make changes to some aspects of the institutions of Governor and Election Commission, then it needs President’s assent for them to come into effect.
- J&K has its own flag but it can only be flown with deference to the Indian national flag.
- Article 48 (Part VI): Defines Pakistan administered Kashmir as “Pakistan Occupied Territory” and reserves 24 Assembly seats for it, which remain inoperative till the territory is handed over to J&K.
- India has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the State. Only the State can initiate such an emergency.
- India can declare security emergency in the State only in case of war or external threat, but not on account of State’s internal disturbance, unless State asks for it. Under certain conditions, India can impose Governor’s rule.
- Matters related to Defense, Foreign Relations, Finance, and Communications are directly under the jurisdiction of India.
- Head of State is the Governor, who is appointed by President, for five years at a time, and serves under his pleasure.
- Citizens of India who do not qualify to be Permanent Residents of the State do not have a right acquire property there.
This article was made part of Indian Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954. It protects J&K’s Permanent Resident and other state laws above those of the rights of any other citizen of India. Like an Indian citizens outside J&K cannot own property there and cannot claim state government jobs and other protections meant solely for J&K citizens. This article was incorporated in the Indian Constitution without a debate. Because of these matters it is considered to be a dark spot in India’s Constitution and is being challenged in the Supreme Court. It was a gift given by India to J&K to make its accession to India strong.
Life after Article 370 and J&K Constitution
Article 370 stipulated that J&K Constitutional Assembly could declare it to be inoperative or be operative with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as it may specify. But it did not. So, it became permanent. But why is it still called “temporary, transitional, and special” under Part XXI of Indian Constitution? It is because it helps India to impose new legislation for J&K through Article 370, giving an appearance that the integration between India and J&K is still incomplete due to the history of latter’s accession to India.
Ninety-four of the ninety-seven entries in the Union List were extended to J&K, as were 260 of the 395 Articles of the Indian Constitution from 1954 to 1994 by Presidential Orders made under article 370. The validity of these orders have been upheld by the Supreme Court of India. Its rationale has been that even though the J&K Constitutional Assembly was dissolved on Jan. 25, 1957, India could make new laws for the State with the concurrence of its government. This defies in the face of Article 370, which mandates that new laws have to be concurred by the Constitutional Assembly. So, logically speaking if the Assembly ceases to exist, then no new laws can be made for J&K. But who are we to challenge the Supreme Court, it makes the laws of the land.
J&K’s Constitution was overridden by India in the following matters:
- J&K had the Head of State, Sadar-i-Riyast, elected by its Legislative Assembly. Karan Singh became the first such head in 1952. But India got it changed to Governor, appointed by President, on Nov. 24, 1966, after the State Constitution was amended on April 10, 1965, by the use of the Sixth Amendment, in violation of the Section 147 of the State Constitution.
- India amended State’s constitution debarring the state legislature from amending matters with respect to Governor, Election Commission, and the composition of the State Upper House (Legislative Council).
J&K’s political leaders and people believe that India has committed a fraud by passing laws beyond the dissolution date of its Constitutional Assembly but latter believes that it has done so by the permission of Article 370, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. So this erosion of Article 370 is very much affecting the relationship between the two. The former is calling for going back to pre-1953 level of J&K’s autonomy.
Concluding Thoughts on Article 370
Article 370 is not the devil behind Kashmiri Muslims’ political insurgency in Kashmir but it is a catalyst for that. If it were not there the place would have been quieter and more cooperative with the center. Engendering more private businesses in J&K and, therefore, more jobs for the unemployed youth. The supreme irony is that Kashmiri Muslims do not know the extent of harm they are doing to themselves. By living in a permanent state of anarchy, Kashmiri Muslims are destroying their economic growth and peace of mind.
Kashmiri Muslims by nature are slothful. Their only expression of energy is in talking, and there are no facts so sacred for them that they cannot twist them into figments of their imagination to protect their ego, past inhuman actions, and Islam. They hounded out innocent Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, who were miniscule and a harmless community living with them ever since the advent of Islam in Kashmir in 1339. The original inhabitants of Kashmir were Pandits, dating back to 5,200 years.
The concept of plebiscite to determine the political status of J&K, which originated in India asking for it in IOA in 1947, was put to death when J&K settled the matter by providing in its constitution, in Article 3, in 1957, that it was an integral part of India. Also, the constitution forbids Article 3 to be amended.
Article 370 stands like a sword of Damocles for the center, for its autonomy privileges to Kashmiri Muslims is potent with separatism, alliance with Pakistan, and turning Kashmir into a Middle East-like Islamic state, discouraging Hindus to travel there, let alone living there. This is all the more painful because India is the largest democratically secular nation in the world.
The supreme irony is that Kashmir cannot be independent as it does not have the economic and military resources for that. Within weeks after the hypothetical independence of Kashmir, Pakistan will capture it, and Kashmiri Muslims will be rendered second-class citizens. Even independence overseen by U.N. will not prevent Pakistan infiltrating to control reins in Kashmir. Sensible Muslims know that but they want to keep the anarchy alive in Kashmir as it helps them maintain their political power, financial resources, and ego.
India cannot let go of Kashmir because first of all it has done nothing illegal and immoral in holding on to it. It was not India that captured Kashmir but it was Kashmir that asked for its help when Pakistan attacked it in 1947. Ceding Kashmir to its arch enemy will invite huge security problem for India. It means Pakistan will be nearer to New Delhi by about 500 miles in north. Indian military will strongly advise against it and Indian Parliament will never approve it.
What Should India Do About Article 370?
What should we do about Article 370? First of all, it was a necessary legal instrument to let India and J&K live together. A lot of effort and cool thinking went into its formulation. Why it failed was because J&K political leaders promoted a lot of distrust between India and J&K, which they attributed to Indian manipulation to undercut it. This lead to a permanent state of anarchy in J&K, which has suffocated its political, economic, and cultural progress.
Although India can keep on effecting legal changes in J&K through the mechanism embedded in Article 370, as it has done since Jan. 26, 1950, when it was born, but that cannot give it a peace of mind, as the continuous political turbulence in Kashmir is politically unsettling to India. Kashmir is a bomb waiting to explode, with the connivance of India’s arch enemy, Pakistan. This foreign policy implication of Kashmir Problem is not something India can throw under its rug. Let us see if it is feasible to jettison Article 370.
But India has never asked for the abrogation of Article 370. But recently B.P.Yadav, a lawyer based in Andhra Pradesh, petitioned before the Supreme Court of India, that it be abolished and that all laws of India be applicable to J&K. The Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, H.L. Dattu, on October 30, 2015, decided that “We can strike down a provision if it is unconstitutional but we cannot be asking Parliament a provision. It has to be done by them.” That meant that Article 370 has been in Indian Constitution for 66 years and, therefore, Supreme Court cannot remove it, so it is Indian Parliament which has to come up with a new law that abolishes it.
If India is strong on changing J&K political nightmare, it must pass a new bill in Parliament rescinding Article 370. Supreme Court then will have no choice but to accept it. There will be uproar in J&K and Pakistan will beat its chest, and some nations will castigate India for its immorality. But that would not matter as history is replete with cancellation of treaties among nations and their parts.
Suffern, New York, May 3, 2016; Rev. May 4, 2016; Rev: May 7, 2016; Oct. 11,201; Feb. 2, 2019
Book Review : The Circle of Memory – An Autobiography By Dr. Subhash Kak
How should one review this book whose author calls it an autobiography but which actually is a chronicle of his ideas on his innate spirituality seeking support of science?
Spiritualists are people who believe that human mind was created by God. They see two kinds of entities in the universe: human mind and physical matter. In fact, getting indirect help from Quantum Mechanics, even the physical matter is a creation of the former.
Marshaling a lot of help from modern physics and the ancient Indian sacred texts, Vedas, he puts a pitched defense of spirituality. But spirituality and science cannot share the same room. The author believes man and universe are one and the same thing. But his defense of that thesis is weak.
Dr. Kak’s big moment with his spirituality came when in 1992 he discovered in Rgvedic times some rituals and temple architectures used forms and designs based on the facts of astronomical knowledge of the day. It meant for the author the union of man on earth with the Gods in the universe. From that moment onward he has been very relentlessly searching for similar connections in human history.
Human consciousness is a local enterprise inside human brain, though it suggests a cosmic self. That is all the spirituality man is born with. Beyond that it is up to the man possessing that to expand it into something material. There have been people who have developed their intrinsic spirituality into “cosmic” spirituality. But they are small in number.
What the author strongly misses is that consciousness is strongly dependent on ideas. If you compare the ideas of primitive man and modern man you find a huge gap. In almost every area the ideas have changed: child rearing, society, relaxation, sex, etc. Ideas are based on experience and their interpretation by the logical mind. The ideas about these subjects a hundred years ago were different than what they are now. Ideas about self-have also changed. Modern man believes that a lot of his life is dependent on how he thinks about it, rather than on destiny that a man of earlier times thought.
To search for the roots of human consciousness in religious ideas and in ideas emanating from Quantum Mechanics is a foolish thing to do, as human consciousness as we know it now has been around some 70,000 years when homo sapiens experienced a significant growth in their cognition. When one is old enough to be meaningfully self-aware, one sees some vague connection to some unknown entity. This is consciousness in its basic manifestation. Many children do not even notice it. To this primitive self-consciousness, as the child grows, he may or may not relate his new significant experiences, depending on his emotional needs and the environment he lives in. Most of the human beings grow up to be religious, at varying levels. But they do not necessarily have a cosmic consciousness the author is after. In fact, a very small number of people achieve that. So, it are the ideas of freedom, love of humanity, and creativeness, etc. that enrich human mind, which has been known from the ancient times. Inner security and happiness can be achieved by mastering the ideas associated with living. Search for the knowledge of consciousness beyond what we already know about it is unnecessary.
Dr. Kak is more known for his exposition of Hinduism in the most favorable light than for his achievements in his profession of computer science, which are good. He vets old as well as new scientific ideas through their approval by Vedas. At the time of Vedas the scientific knowledge was on idea basis only. That is, there was no testing and there was no such thing as scientific methodology. In today’s science a theory has to be rigorously tested, it can not contradict established theories, it has to make predictions that have to come out true, and finally it has to stand the test of time. He extolls ancient Indian science and mathematics to such an extent that Indians in India feel guilty of neglecting to have done so themselves. It may be that it was for this reason that the Indian government recently made him a member of a science panel advising the government. The author believes in the Vedic concept of akasa, an ether like entity, from which other elements are believed to have been created.
I am amazed why the author chose to be a scientist instead of being a Hinduism scholar. A couple of years ago I asked him why would a profound and intense spiritualist like him live in the bastion of world materialism, U.S.A. He just mumbled to the effect that the circumstances of his life had to be blamed for that. The fact is that he is able to smoothen out contradictions between the two.
The autobiography lacks the revelation of the process through which the author became a spiritualist. He never talks about his inspirations, dejections, loves, and failures. In that sense the book is dry. We very much learn the heavy armor of intellectuality he lives under. But the danger to an intellectual lies in the cocoon he may build around himself, thereby denying himself the natural flow of life. He says in the book that there has been no watershed experience in his life that turned his life around. Also, he says “…but for those who have travelled beyond unquestioned belief, the past is less than living history.” That is how an intellectual may destroy the fine fabric of experience of his life. But no one should think because the author being a spiritualist lacks ambition. He is a man driven by strong ambition for achievement and recognition.
The book delineates the prodigious intellectual labors the author has expended in support of his spirituality. But the cruel irony is that he will never be finished with it, because the scientist in him will often sneak an objection to his spiritualistic theories. The book could have had a smoother chronological flow than it has. Contextually dissimilar sections of the book have been grafted together at times which impede its overall flow of the narrative. Though the author has given a detailed account of his birth and early life in Kashmir, but he is not a Kashmiri in practice, as are not many members of his extended family. He studiously keeps away from Kashmiri Pandit community and I doubt if he can speak Kashmiri fluently. Also, I think, he has not been to his motherland in decades. These are among the many contradictions that make the author’s personality.
The book has been put up with great labor and ardor, summing up a life of purposefulness and achievements.
Suffern, New York, January 21, 2019
On Human Consciousness Part 1 of 2
These days it is hard to avoid reading about human consciousness. It has become a buzz word in intellectual as well as popular discussions about human mind, life, and mankind’s future. Though consciousness has been a subject explored in distant antiquity, but it got a strong impetus after 1935 with the advent of Quantum Mechanics (QM), a branch of physics dealing with elementary particles.
What is human consciousness? An intelligent lay man would say that it nothing but the workings of human brain. That is an answer which cannot be dismissed. Afterall if there were no brain there would not be a consciousness as we know it.
But the consciousness that philosophers and scientists are talking about is not just the workings of human brain, but a specialized product of it. It is a fundamental awareness of his existence that every human being carries with himself. It has nothing to do with his worldly life, other human beings, fear of death, etc. But it is his awareness of his existence in the universe. What is his relationship with the physical universe, what is he doing in it, who drives him, where does he end? What is the essence of his existence? This is what we mean by human consciousness. This perception is not continuously present in him, but can be easily summoned by him at times, and at other time it requires effort.
The problem of the human consciousness is how it is produced? Can it be controlled?
These questions have been asked since homo sapiens developed consciousness, after the significant cognitive expansion 70,000 years ago. The questions asked were: who he was, was he being directed by someone or something? The idea of God emanated from this mystery surrounding him, which is still the most popular answer to it.
Human mind is developmental, which can be easily seen from the thinking of man thousands of years ago compared to his thinking now on virtually everything. Thinking on survival, child rearing, physical and social surroundings, etc. These changes have been brought about by his experience leading to knowledge. We continue to learn. Knowledge leads to ideas. Idea is conceptualization of experience, where it is possible to do so. Modern man is a store house of knowledge. So, we cannot say that a foreign agent or agents control human mind.
Spiritualists are people who believe a foreign force is responsible for the creation and workings of human mind. This is because, they argue, you cannot otherwise explain where human mind came from and how it works. But that is fallacious as human mind is evolutionary and it is a developable resource. Ideas are the key elements of its developments. It is conceivable that after some time no new ideas are developed, as they have all been exhausted. This we are talking about man’s ideas about himself. For the ideas about things outside himself, like the physical world surrounding him, the ideas have still a long way to go before they ae exhausted.
So, human consciousness has developed over thousands of years, and is still developing. The machine that helps in the production of ideas, the primary elements of consciousness, the brain, must have also evolved. The most significant milestone in its evolution came some 70,000 years ago when its cognitive abilities enlarged significantly. ……..
One of the upshots of Quantum Mechanics (QM) is that physical reality exists only when human beings make an observation of it. That is, without the observation, and human beings are the only observers that we know of who exist in the universe at this time, there is no reality. This is a huge condition to prescribe, as the development of science is based on the basis that physical universe exists independent of human beings. It is understandable that at elementary particle level we may not be able to clearly and precisely make observations, but we cannot say that they do not have a past, present, and future. We may have to rely on statistical methods to get some information on these conditions, but there is no denying that these properties do exist.
QM’s strange assumptions have encouraged spiritualists in thinking that human beings play a part in prescribing what physical reality is and where it is. Although QM has nothing to do with spiritualism, but spiritualists have taken QM’s outlook on physical reality to endorse that universe and human mind are made from the same stuff. They have gone as far as believing that man’s consciousness creates physical universe. That is, matter is created just by man’s apprehension of it. Einstein, who was one of the founders of QM, could not reconcile with its latter developments. Since QM uses statistical methods to determine some of the physical attributes of elementary particles, he created the famous expression, “God does not place dice.” Meaning that the fundamental laws of nature cannot be statistical. Universe exists independent of man by its own laws.
Many thoughtful men, since time immemorial, have ascribed man a spiritual dimension. Not that there was ever a proof for that, but the thought that he has an ability to understand universe so he must have a universal dimension to him. The concept of cosmic consciousness ingrained in man has roots in that thinking. Hinduism is explicit in according him a Brahman potential. Brahman is universal consciousness. That is, beyond his worldly and individualistic soul, encapsulated by atman concept, he has the scope of attaining the universal self. The problem with such concepts is that not everyone has the inner framework to embody them.
So, human consciousness is a general self-awareness, which not everyone is aware of. In the hands of ambitious, thoughtful, and imaginative people it can lead to a high-level experience of life. In India there are ascetics who go through established programs to develop a higher level of consciousness. But it must not be easy, as I have never met a man who achieved it. Even if getting there, holding on to it must be challenging. Even an inferior state of higher consciousness is better than its common level.
The basic consciousness a human being is born with, after growing up and some introspection, points toward something larger than oneself. This is what most of the human beings possess. But it does not become something of a force until it is worked upon. Then again due to an individual’s potential it may never flower into something significant.
(To be continued in Part 2)
Suffern, New York, Jan. 20, 2019
Enigma of Kashmir Problem
English poet Edmund Spenser described tragedy as a theory killed by a fact. A theory on anything is one of the greatest works of a human mind. So, when a theory is proven wrong on account of a fact discovered in the subject being observed, it is tragedy for the mind.
Kashmir Problem has had the life of a theory being offered to a set of situations in Jammu and Kashmir state of India since the onset of the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947. While Jammu and Ladakh provinces of the state are allied fully with India, it is the province of Kashmir that has given creeps to India since about 1950.
What ails the fabled Kashmir Valley? It is its obtuse Muslim majority of 96.4%. It would like to have an absolute Islamic governance as well as the culture in it. In the earlier years, 1950 -2000, it wanted to join Pakistan. But subsequently seeing that nation’s epic and disgusting political and governance problems, the Valley Muslims were pushed to choosing the independence path alternative. But why an independent Kashmir? India is the world’s third largest Muslim country, with about 189 million people. They have an absolute freedom to pursue their Islamic faith, including being governed by Sharia laws, which cover some parts of their social life. In fifty years from now, it is projected, that India will become the largest Muslim country in the world. Then why this desire to become an independent Muslim country? At 1947 epic partition of Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, about 30% Muslims chose to remain with India than join Pakistan.
Kashmir has been a Shangi-La place for most of its history due its natural beauty, natural barriers to enter it, foreign occupations, and closeness to many foreign countries. This has created an aloofness with the rest of India. Maharaja Hari Singh, the erstwhile king of Jammu and Kashmir state and Sheikh Abdullah, its first Prime Minister and fabled hero, wanted it to be an independent nation.
Kashmir’s integration with India has been a perfectly legal thing. When in 1947 578 Indian princes were asked to chose between India and Pakistan, 565 chose India and 13 chose Pakistan. Kashmir’s accession to either of them was delayed due to Maharaja’s harboring a desire to make Kashmir an independent nation, a choice that was not on the table. Even after Pakistan and India became two new nations on August 14 and 15 respectively, Maharaja continued to remain undecided. When on October 22, 1947 Pakistan attacked Kashmir under the disguise of a tribal uprising against its government, Maharaja ran away from Srinagar to save his life. This precipitated, painfully, for him to sign the Instrument of Accession on Oct. 26, in order to get military assistance from India to fight Pakistan out of his state. India signed the treaty on the following day and rushed its military the same day to push the invaders out.
India attached a rider to the treaty stating that when the life in the state returned to normal, a plebiscite would be conducted to determine its people’s wish to affirm the treaty or join Pakistan. This was done because Kashmir had a majority of Muslims living in it, even though its king was a Hindu. Same logic was used in the choice of accession of the states of Junagarh and Hyderabad between India and Pakistan, where the majority people were Hindus but the princes were Muslims. In case of the former a plebiscite determined that the majority of the people wanted to accede to India, while in latter the will of the majority Hindus to join India required a military intervention of India.
India’s war with Pakistan in defense of Kashmir went on through 1948, but on January 1, 1948 India went to U.N. to plead for forcing out of the invader, a ceasefire, and a plebiscite. Pakistan accepted the ceasefire, which took effect on Jan. 1, 1949. But it took U.N. sometime to investigate the Pakistani attack. Then on April 21, 1948, under U.N. Security Council Resolution 47, in Chapter VI jurisdiction, it asked both the countries to accept certain conditions before a plebiscite was conducted. Because Pakistan would not fulfill U.N. conditions, therefore, the plebiscite was never conducted. U.N. could not enforce its resolution because its Chapter VI status was non-binding. Later, U.N. declared that since the demographics in J&K had changed significantly since the Pakistani attack in 1947, it was unfeasible to conduct the plebiscite. In 2003, President Musharraf of Pakistan announced that Pakistan will drop the demand of a U.N. resolution on Kashmir Problem. In Nov., 2010, U.N. announced that it had dropped J&K among the disputed territories in the world.
Kashmir decided to have its own constitution, as it was allowed to do so under the Instrument of Accession, which the other 564 princely states did not. J&K Constitution Assembly was set up on Oct. 31, 1951 by J&K Legislative Assembly. It went through rigorous steps of establishing the basic principles of the future constitution and covered significant matters affecting its citizens and its relationship with India. J&K Constitutional Assembly was dispersed on Nov. 17, 1956 and was dissolved on Jan, 25, 1957. President of India, by his Order on Jan. 26, 1957, made it effective. Significant parts of the constitution relating to the relationship between Kashmir and India are:
Preamble: J&K has acceded to India on Oct. 26, 1947.
Article 3 (Part II): J&K is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India.
Article 5 (Part II): The executive and legislative power of the State extends to all matters except those with respect to which Parliament has powers to make laws for the State under provisions of the Constitution of India.
This article stipulates that the relationship between Kashmir and India is to conform to the requirements of Articles 370 and 35 A
Article 147 (Part 12): No bill shall be introduced or moved in State Legislative assembly to amend or change the above indicated Articles 3 and 5.
After the creation of Kashmir’s constitution both India and Kashmir thought everything in their relationship was engineered meticulously, that too willingly, therefore, future should flow smoothly for their alliance. It did, in a rough way, for about three decades. The malevolent Islamists in Kashmir would time to time raise their heads in form of meetings, speeches, and protests, expressing their deep unhappiness with Kashmir’s alliance with India. They believed Kashmir naturally should be a part of Pakistan. But their evil designs were manageable.by the state. Then in 80’s disturbing and ugly political infighting got out of control, resurrecting the bogey of Kashmir’s integration with Pakistan. Pakistan seized the opportunity and planned to overturn India’s hold on Kashmir and prepare grounds for its empowerment there. One of the consequences of the anarchy it unleased was the forced exodus of about 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits. Subsequently, Kashmir regained stability, but the opposition to Indian rule became stronger than before, and Separatists became a force to reckon with.
Kashmir province’s militants know no rest. They want to turn it into an Islamic Republic of Kashmir. For which effort they are financed by and morally supported by Pakistan and some Middle Eastern countries. In a decade Kashmir has seen the profusion of several hundred Wahhabi Islamic mosques. Besides the religious centers that they are, they are also militancy centers. They support militants with money and encouragement. When a strike is called for by the Separatists, the shopkeepers and the other non-government workers are paid by these mosques against the losses incurred due to the strikes. This is treason. There are many other treasonable activities that militants and non- militant sympathizers indulge in.
Even with a lot of improvements in the world moral level, it is still a very unfair place to live in. Take for example women’s equality with men. U.S. is the country where maximum progress has been done in this area. Yet the progress is still far from the desired level. There are lesser number of women CEO’s than men CEO’s, and they are judged more strictly than men are. There is still high level of racial discrimination in the world. There are many more problems of morality that still exist in the world, though they have made progress. When a part of a country wants to leave that country there is a strong resistance to it from the country. This is because the country thinks that the part has been with it historically, culturally, and legally, and, generally, over a long period of time. That is why countries do not give a divorce to their parts easily.
Kashmir has been a part of India for seventy years in its recent political history, and beyond that overall for thousands of years. Demands of Kashmiri separatists to let it become an independent nation are fraught with tremendous difficulties. First of all, only India’s parliament has an authority to break Kashmir off India. There is not a single vote in the parliament to let that happen now and in foreseeable future. Even the members of the parliament from Kashmir are not expected to vote for it. The reasons for it are that Kashmir is legally a part of India, also, its severance from India puts it in a huge militaristic deficit with India’s arch enemies, Pakistan and China. The separatists do not have the military power to break away Kashmir from the clutches of India. So, for foreseeable future there is no chance that Kashmir will become an independent nation.
So, Kashmir Valley Muslims are damaging themselves in hitting against a concrete wall. This is seen in the high rate of depression and suicide there. The life in the valley is depressive, anxiety-laden, bereft of joy and excitement of yore. Cultural and social activities are meager. Many a youth have given up schooling, leading a life of purposelessness, devoid of ambition. Drug use has shot up. Murder rate has shot up and every other day militants do their misdeeds of disturbing the peace and create arson. Why cannot genuine Kashmiri political leaders talk with the separatists and reason with them that an independent Kashmir is impossible to achieve? That being the case why disturb Kashmiris’ peace of mind and let people concentrate on their lives, help their children achieve a good education, and have some joy in their hearts. I recently talked with a Kashmiri leader about this line of thinking. He agreed with me on all the points, but said emphatically that separatists do not want to hear that their wishes are insane. But good leaders would try.
How long will such a state of anarchy and mayhem last in Kashmir? Apparently indefinitely, as Kashmir leaders are dishonest in wanting a reasonable level of peace there. Even though separatists constitute only 5% of the people but there exist 95% soft-separatists. The latter are pro-India during peaceful times, but when terrorism and strikes occur they show their support for the die-hards quietly.
What should India be doing to enforce a reasonable normalcy in Kashmir. It can stop the treasonable actions of mosques from aiding militancy. It can freeze their bank accounts. It can monitor and cut off suspected foreign communications and financial assistance, through electronic and other means. It can talk to Middle Eastern countries aiding treasonable activities in Kashmir. It can threaten them with breaking diplomatic relations with them. It can threaten the so-called soft-separatist leaders, who are in the high-level government jobs, with dismissals. It can send, every few months, a high-level Indian leader to Kashmir who would tell Kashmiris bluntly that India would never give Kashmir the independence they are clamoring for. Turning their eyes off the soft-separatists has been a monumental problem created by India since the exit of Sheikh Abdullah. If only India had been bluntly honest in dealing with them Kashmir Problem would not have grown to such a difficult level as it is at now.
Although there are several elements that have been driving the Kashmir Problem for seven decades, as described earlier, but Pakistan’s role is the most pivotal among them. India could have held its feet to fire for that. A blunt and vigorous stand against its intervention in Kashmir could have if not completely but quite to a significant level reduced its leverage in the creation of anarchy there. Why does not India keep the bogey of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Azad Kashmir alive, a 36% area of the original Jammu and Kashmir state, thereby keeping them defensive. Any Western country in place of India would have done much better than India has done to keep its legitimate state away from Pakistan’s greed to snatch it from them
.That brings us back to the assertion made at the beginning of this article: tragedy lies in the death of a theory by a fact. After Kashmir’s constitution was made by Kashmiris in 1957, which specified an unamendable article in it, which prohibits the separation of Kashmir from India, one would have thought that that would bring the demise of the Kashmir Problem. But it proved to be only a good theory. Due to India’s laxity in keeping the dragons of independent Kashmir in check, the facts developed thus killed a good theory. So, Kashmir Problem will go on existing for an unknown time. I think when a new generation of Indians come to political power in not so distant future, they will pursue it with utter honesty and vigor, thereby taming Pakistan’s greed and Kashmiri separatists’ insanity.
Suffern, New York, October 13, 2018
Summer Moods at Cirque
After a long brute winter
Flowers are once again blooming at Cirque,
As if there are no seasons,
Summer is all
Have you walked on its resurfaced roads
And felt that you could go on forever?
Or splashed water in the refurbished pool?
You only wonder why they close it ever.
Have you had a reverie on a bench besides the pond?
Memories past and present fuse,
Time seems to freeze,
You feel a mood beckoning you to follow it.
Going down Dakota you feel you are in a new country,
Charming architecture with broad streets,
Exquisitely decked driveways,
With smiling women at balconies.
Cirque’s brilliant foliage forever framed by Ramapo Hills,
Its rhythmic undulations dancing to an unknown tune,
You are ensconced by a dream sometimes, maybe a fantasy,
That you are living in a paradise, without realizing it.
Suffern, New York, August 11, 2018
Catharsis of an Evening
Shades of evening have descended silently,
Everything is tinged with an ethereal grace,
Mind touches new terrains,
New meanings sprout from nowhere.
Man is a ray of sun wandering aimlessly,
A woman is earth’s womb,
In love man gives something of himself to woman,
But she absorbs him into herself.
Word contains the meaning of universe
While a soul reflects it,
Wisdom is a graceful way to look at existence,
Faith is the ultimate glue that keeps it together.
Men have come and gone
But the music of life never shuts,
World is but the skin of humanity,
The inner message never changes by it.
Suffern, New York, August 19, 2018
Walking Down Fox Court
Sometimes I loiter down Fox Cout, my neighborhood,
In a stream of consciousness ruminating,
What have I ever done, what will I do
In the remaining short time on earth.
My reverie is broken at times
As I think of the magic of Fox Ct.,
Its cute boxy row houses,
Standing silently in impeccable serenity.
I am reminded of the luminaries dwelling on it:
Rabinowitzs, Kaplans, Smiths, Warrens,
Wondering whether I am disturbing their privacies
With my unbounded ideas and uncouth personality.
The names of the beautiful women on the street flash,
Possibilities loom large,
But I am reminded of my acute diffidence and shyness,
But still enjoy the elixir of the untapped resource.
Suffern, New York, August 13, 2018
I Will Still Love You to the World’s End
It is set now that you will leave Suffern and with it me –
A crest of your destructive activities in the name of sorrow and nirvana,
But I still feel our love runs deeply abundant even up to an upheaval –
So I do not know who is more insane between us.
I know the world inflicted deep anguish on you,
You like a fragile flower petal disintegrated in its onslaught,
Real love disregards world in its existence,
Ethereality the only mantra in its workings.
But your suffering is real nevertheless,
I offer myself body and soul to mitigate every scintilla of your agony –
I am willing to lay my life to keep you smiling,
But darling you have just to give me a signal.
I know we live in an age where love is just one of the possessions of self:
Modern self is narcissistic, unshared, unripened, unsatisfying,
But we know this aberration is time-bound,
Cultures seesaw between man’s spiritual death and rebirth.
I wish you could stay where you are,
Think creatively and let love have a chance to be reborn,
But if you still insist on going after something more durable than it,
I will still love you to the world’s end.
Suffern, January 4, 2018
The Reverberations of Kashmir
In the high sculptured mountain peaks,
In the scintillating calm lakes,
The music of Kashmir reverberates
Like a line in a poem.
Everything in Kashmir is a vast tapestry,
Food and drink were important to Kashmiris
But the search for the spirit was more so,
Life to them was just an excuse to meditate,
To hold the supreme light, Howsoever momentarily.
Man made the world but God made the heavens,
Kashmiris did not become great worldly people
But they became great spiritualists,
They walked the peaks of the mountains but
Remained small walkers in the world.
Kashmir is an idea,
Whose spirit reverberates,
Soaring high to the unknown,
It searches for a self which is indefinable.
Suffern, New York
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