Some Republicans are showing signs of election fatigue and I don’t blame them, but they are showing, nevertheless. They are somewhat hazy about the objects of their blame but also are ready to exonerate them at the same time if they could find an excuse, any excuse. The Republicans don’t know exactly why their best bet failed and are prepared to blame anyone just to give vent to their feelings of despair.
The past two years, the Democrats spent honing their skills as to how to win the election, not exactly at the hustings but on how to manipulate the juggernaut of electoral system. The Republicans, on the other hand, were more than happy slogan shouting and flouting their Make America Great Again hats. While the Republicans became increasingly more and more vociferous, the Democrats were happy not to show a ripple of emotion in their passive mode of functioning. It never occurred to the Republicans that the Democrats could be very actively engaged at that very moment in their machination of defeating them. Republicans began to believe they have gained invincibility; their rights there was none to dispute.
Hence, the necessity of this Primer for the Republicans. When 2024 comes by, I wish to see the Republicans well prepared with the following if you wish 2020 or 2022 doesn’t repeat.
Lesson #1. Learn everything about the voting machines; how they are programmed and how they are controlled. Don’t be satisfied with just on and off switches. Voting Machines must have double locks and keys at all times, Democrats and Republicans; should not be operable without both sides being present. Install voting machines in your counties and practice.
Lesson #2. Understand how to take control over “absentee ballots” and “mail-in ballots” as and when received. Relate them with the demographic maps, county-wise and if abnormal figures of ballots arrive, exercise your authority to deny inclusion without scrutiny. Don’t wait till the last election day to understand the volume of these ballots. Be absolutely certain, no duplicated votes and illegitimate votes are included in absentee ballots or mail-in ballots and ensure they do not favor only the Democrats.
Lesson #3. Get your maps ready, particularly maps of those States you are interested in. It is my understanding, the Republicans will do well if they paid attention to the States which were in the limelight during the recent election. Mark clearly each and every county of these States where the Democrats live showing total number of voters. Study them carefully against figures obtained from 2022 elections.
It is of lesser or no concern that some States are Republican-safe and some are Democrat-safe States and it doesn’t matter who the election officials are. But the 2020 and 2022 elections have given us an impression that all officials conducting elections in key Counties are Democrats which is what should have alerted the Republicans.
Democrats had deliberately let several chosen voting machines malfunction on Nov 09, 2022 and believe me all the Republicans could do was to raise a hue and cry but nothing more. It not only failed to raise the hackles of the Republicans, it convinced the Democrats that their scheme was working efficiently.
When there appeared an impasse, Democrats were quick to follow Chairman Mao’s dictum, “Raise noise in the East, strike at the West”. Sure enough, as Warnock and Walker election tussle came to a stand still, it allowed them cushion time to win Arizona and Nevada. They began to find a few thousands votes here and few thousands votes there to add up as the Republican just waited there with their mouths wide open unable to utter even a word of protest. This is what I have been calling the mystery of suitcases as the Republicans failed to see why the suitcases filled with ballots appeared only in Arizona and Nevada and why they were all in favor of the Democratic candidates.
Last but not the least, let Republican election workers be not just smart enough but well trained extensively on the above three lessons if you wish to see the change; you do not need electoral reform. Hold training seminars county-wise and most certainly through every one of the blue counties of the toss-up States. Thereafter, station yourself in the premises of the blue counties until the elections are officially over. You will then thank me and you can be convicted you are still a proud American.
What does the word Sanskrit mean? Not even the most erudite of scholars has been able to answer that question yet the literal meaning of the word sanskrit is “refined” or “cultured”. The question hence remains unanswered; what was it refined from or what was cultured to become “sanskrit”? Sanskrit was yet in a formative stage and being consolidated in India when the mighty sword of Islam overwhelmed that process which has caused it to bear scars visible today as inaccuracies in spelling and pronunciation.
It is spelled by Western students as Sanskrit which is only partially true. In Northern India, it is pronounced as Sangskrit while the Western Indians pronounce it as Samskrut. The South Indians pronounce it as Sumskrit or Sumskritam and none has been able to resolve this flaw.
A conspicuously notable difference in pronunciation is about the name of Hindu god Krishna. Again, the Western Indians pronounce it as Krusna while the rest of the Indians pronounce it as Krishna. Considering it involves the very name of a Hindu god, the Pundits have agreed to spell it as Krsn and give it an aura of sacred spelling.
There is a vowel which the Western Indian pronounce as “ru” while the rest of the Indians pronounce it as “ri”, and consequently, Krusna in the Western India becomes Krishna in the rest of the country. Or, Amrut, Rushi, Krupa in the Western India and Amrit, Rishi, Kripa in the rest of the country, and so on.
All Sanskrit consonants end with a vowel sound of “aw” in North India while in peninsular India they end with “u”. However, the word Rama although ends with “aw” it is pronounced in the North as Ram but becomes Ramu in the South. For this reason, these place names end with “u”, e.g. Telugu, Tamilnadu, Bengluru and so on. Students from the Western World likewise err on the plus side and pronounce all words ending with “aw” as Rama, Ramayana, Mahabharata ending with “aw” which the North Indians pronounce without as Ram, Ramayan and Mahabharat.
There are far too numerous examples to mention here of unresolved pronunciations in Sanskit such as Biman or Vimana, Bisnu or Visnu, Bikram or Vikram or Wickrama, Debi or Devi or Dewi, Jog or Yog and Yoga and so on. Unfortunately, Sanskrit as the language of gods is destined to live with these flaws and under the guise of being sacred, no one dares to question the wisdom behind perpetuating a plain and simple wrong.
These five pictures introduce the History of the Kiratis; who they are and how they perceive themselves. So, let us see, from left to right:
Manjusri is seen here with his right arm holding a sword raised in anticipation of the strike which drained lake Naag Baas rendering Kathmandu Valley dry. This is the symbolic act of creation of dry land which was bequeathed to the Kiratis to settle down to farm the land.
A 2nd Century B.C. terra cotta idol of Yellung Hang comes next. He was ordained by Manjusri to be the first ever King of Kiratland of Kathmandu.
The third picture above is the woodcut figure believed to represent Agum Singha Hangkhime Rai who by providence escaped the ambush laid for the Kirati royal family and reached Fort William, Calcutta. He was the maternal uncle of the Kirati Hang Buddha Karna and hence the Choutaria. The entire Kirati royal family was slaughtered to the last man at night as they were crossing the forest of Morung on way to Fort William, Calcutta.
The last two pages of the manuscript Srimadbhagawatgita or Gita for short, written and dated by the scribe as 1179 Bhadrapada twelfth day of the Dark Phase of the Moon, which corresponds to September 08, 1121 A.D. This manuscript copy was tucked in the patuka (cummerbund) by Agum Singha Hangkhime Rai in a manner of hillmen carrying money and small valueables. This extremely rare and ancient copy of the Gita is very brittle with age and needs proper handling by only qualified palaeographers.
The last picture is that of the Lal Mohur or The Red Seal, granted by Sri5 King Prithiwinarayan Sah to the Kiratis. This document grants the title in perpetuity to the Kiratis, Rai (names of three Noblemen Rai is mentioned) and Limbu, the entire real estate between the Rivers Kosi and Mechi.
In this Our History Series 2 are presented here five illustrations related to our ancient history, some of them well known while others may be unfamiliar to some and briefly they are, from Left to Right:
We are familiar with the first, it is Swayambhunath of Kathmandu, Nepal. We have learned in Our History Series 1 that it was created by the divine hands of Manjusri, the Celestial Architect and bequeathed to the Kiratis. Today, the brahminic elements call it the Monkey Temple but obviously due more to ignorance than derision.
Emperor Ashok, after giving up his military career took the unusual step of turning himself into a devout disciple of the Buddha. In the year 282 B.C., following the footsteps of his Master he arrived in Kathmandu and offered worship at the temple of Swayambhunath. This pilgrimage made a lasting impression in his mind and upon his return he determined Sanchi to be the most central geographical point of his realm, a grand replica of Swayambhunath erected there. Today only the hemispherical base of the temple remains with the superstructure gone with the centuries of neglect.
Swayambhunath of Sanchi is surrounded by finely crafted stone pillars and railings as seen above in illustration 2. One of the images is of Ashok himself arriving at the temple by an open horse drawn carriage while the royal entourage follows riding on elephant back. A very notable feature of these carvings is that Emperor Ashok, his family and most of the citizens depicted in these carvings bear Mongolian features, and there are hundreds of them.
The fourth illustration is the aerial view of Bodhnath or Mahabouddha of Kathmandu which is significantly less prominent in comparison to the Swayambhunath Temple.
The last but not the least is the illustration of the temple of Borobudur, in the isle of Java in Indonesia. The layout of the foundation of the two is unmistakably similar and in all probability the two must be architecturally related. As we will see by and by, there are even more evidence which will convince even the most skeptics that the ancestors of the citizens of Indonesia commenced their journey from Nepal.
We are here to witness the third series of our history something quite unusual, very unusual because it is virtually unknown in the history of modern India. In the picture above, on the left, is seen the nativity of the Buddha-to-be, Siddhartha Gautam, in the Garden of Lumbini, in mid-western Nepal. What is unusual about this picture is that the Hindu trinity gods, ie, Brahma, Bisnu (Visnu) and Mahes have arrived at the nativity to pay obeisance to the new born Siddhartha Gautam. It may be of interest that the scene is altogether unknown in Hindu India.
The next scene is from Laos where the painting depicts the birth of the Buddha with a slight change. The divinities here are Brahma, Saraswati (Saraswathi) and Kuber (Kuvera) but the spirit of the occasion is maintained.
The above engraving is from Borobudur, Indonesia where the trinity Hindu gods have arrived in support of the Buddha’s Great Departure as he sears his royal locks and discards his royal embellishments to become an ascetic. This too is unknown in India.
Please bear in mind that these three and more to follow are historically connected.
In this fourth Series of Our History we will explore how Buddhism began to spread worldwide and how we have been misled by disinformation, some spread by interested elements and some by ignorance. Let us begin, at the very beginning.
The Buddha was not deified for well over four centuries after his attainment of his nirwan (nirvana) but many iconic representations of the Buddha had taken hold of his devotees imagination. The first picture above shows multitudes of his followers including many wild animals worshiping The Buddha in the form of The Wheel of Life.
The second picture above shows the Buddha was being worshipped also in the iconic form of The Bodhi Tree, ficus religiosa, under which the Buddha had meditated and attained Enlightenment. Here also, we can see the devotees included some wild animals.
The third illustration shows The Buddha being worshipped as The Sakya Singha or the Lion of the Sakyas and atop the Wheel of Life described above. It is a well established fact that Emperor Ashok had personally favoured the Lion of the Sakyas image as the object of his devotion.
The above first three images are from Sanchi and one constant feature of these images is that all worshippers bear Mongolian features. At this precise moment in history we know Emperor Ashok had sent his soldiers turned missionaries to the Far East and as a proof we have The Lion of the Sakyas and The Wheel of Life image, Fourth image above, from Thailand. Obviously, the monk missionaries planted the image there where they settled down.
Here we will pause and explain that Bharat, that is India, has adopted The Wheel of Life and The Lion of the Sakyas above, as its National Emblems but they have not mentioned if these icons are adopted to honour The Buddha, the Prince of the Sakyas.
The fifth picture above is from Cambodia which shows the churning of the cosmic oceans by the gods and the demons. This is an episode from Bisnu Puran (Visnu Purana) and though little is known in India this depiction of Kurmi Awtar (Avatara) is never seen anywhere in India.
Our fifth lesson have the Panch Dhyani Buddhas or Five Buddhas of Eternal Meditation of Nepalese Buddhist Cosmology but they are totally unknown in India.
These Five Dhyani Buddhas are eternally in heaven and we know nothing beside their names. However, from Left to Right above are namely Ratnasambhawa, whose aura is Gold who is placed at the base of a chaitya facing cardinal direction of South. Second is Akshobhya, whose aura is Blue and faces the cardinal direction of East. In the third position above is Bhairochana whose aura is White and is placed facing Zenith in the Centre but may be found facing the East alongside Akshobhya. In the fourth position above is Amitabha, facing West and his aura is Red. In the fifth position above is Amoghasiddha whose aura is Green and always occupies the niche facing the North.
Indonesia is one of those places outside Nepal where the five Buddhas of Eternal Meditation is found. From the abandoned temple of Borobudur, these finely chiseled figures of centuries ago have been obtained but we know no more. However, in the neighbouring Isle of Bali, they not only worship them but they know their names, the colour of their aura and also the cardinal direction they face.
We pause here believing that the ancestors of the Balinese must have commenced their journey from Nepal and are cognate relations of the Kirati-Mongolians.
How did the followers of The Enlightened One fare as time went by will be the subject of Our History Series 6. It was very eventful must be the short answer.
The extreme Left image above is an image cast in silver and comes from Nepal, his native land. As can be seen here, it was very austere while its most prominent feature was its curly locks. Early European scholars mistakenly believed based on this this single piece of evidence that the Buddha was of African descent.
The second image depicts the Buddha from Karnataka, India in its full glory with a crown and four arms as demanded of all Hindu divinities. For well over a millennia, the Buddha has been recognized by the Hindus as one of the ten awatr (avatara) of Bisnu (Visnu) and no eyebrows could be raised but now that it has become a common knowledge that the Buddha was after all a Mongolian Prince from Nepal, brahminic elements may arrive at a different conclusion.
The third picture above shows how the Buddha went westward and began to look more like the Hellenic god Apollo than the Kirati Mongolian Prince that he was. Unfortunately the Western Buddhism died centuries ago and only statuary remains are there to inform us of its glorious past.
Next comes the famous Kanishka Casket now in Peshawar Museum, Pakistan which is signed and dated by its Greek maker Agesilas dated 127 C.E. The casket was found to contain when first opened in 1908, three pieces of bones believed to be that of the Buddha and were sent to Myanmar where they are now. Atop the casket are standing Brahma and Indra worshipping the Buddha seated in between.
The last picture is that of Petra in Jordanian desert discovered by Swiss archeologist Johann Burckhardt in 1912. Lying in obscurity for over a millennium and in absence of any claimants, it was arbitrarily ascribed to a long forgotten biblical tribe Nabateans or Edomites. Petra however, was the epicenter of the Ashokan monk missionaries who had carved out their monastery in the sandstones and every Kirati Mongolian need to lay rightful claims over the Petra Monastery on behalf of our ancestors.
In this Our History Series 7, we are going to witness something more tangible that our forebears have left behind, something to base our study upon how a Kirati Mongolian Prince became a household word centuries ago in our neighbourhood. Let us examine:
The first picture above is of the script carved on rock by Ashok the Great; it is written in Pali language the lingua franca of his days and contains the Buddha’s message of The Four Noble Truths. Pali was also the mother tongue of the Buddha and is thought to be a corrupt spelling of the word Nepali. Some pseudo historians have been trying to identify the script as Brahmi, in an attempt of stealing the credit.
Second picture highlights the influence of the monk missionaries who had gone into the land ruled by the Greeks, the successors of Alexander the Great. The monks were able to learn their language as well as the local language and engraved the Buddha’s message bi-lingually into Greek and Aramaic, the ancient language of the Jews.
The third picture is significant as it depicts the Buddha as the central figure flanked by Bisnu (Visnu) and Brahma carved in granite in a temple of South India. It points to the age when the Buddha had replaced Mahes as the Hindu theologians were debating the relative identity of the Hindu trinity. While the Buddha is seated and preaching, the other two divinities are standing and listening yet, Bisnu and Brahma are depicted as four armed divinities, the Buddha is apparently happy with his two.
Ten Awatar (Avatara) of Bisnu (Visnu) is the fourth picture and this too is in a temple from South India. Here Bisnu is seen lying down with his consort goddess Luxmi massaging his feet while above him are seen the images of Ram (Rama), Krishna (Krusna), Parsuram, Matsya, Kurmi, Narsingha (Narasimha), Bawan, Barah, Buddha and Kalki, the tenth awatar (Avatara) expected in indeterminate future.
The last illustration is a painting by Raja Ravi Varma of Travancore (Kerala) of the ten awatar (avatara). Raja Ravi Varma noticed the absence of pictorial depiction of India divinities and credit goes to him to have introduced this specific art form ab initio. However, his painting brilliantly displays Indian godhood mentioned above in all its glory and charm where the Buddha occupies his rightful place.
Our History Series 8 has brought us right across our northern border and it is that part of our history which has remained virtually sealed off from us. Its significance is very grave and it demands our serious attention, so let us get on:
The first picture is that of Princess Bhrikuty of Nepal, daughter of King Angsuburman Thakuri of Kathmandu, she was married to King Srong Tsen Gampo of Tibet in 642 A.D. The Tibetan potentate was also married to Princess Weng Chen of China and between two of them they were able to convert their heathen husband into the path of Four Noble Truths. She had influenced the nation of Tibet to such a degree that the Tibetans out of gratitude deified her to be Goddess Tara and she has been worshipped wherever Lamaism prevails till this day.
The next picture is the natural corollary of the first; Princess Bhrikuty had brought an icon of the Enlightened One as a part of her dower with a royal mandate to build a suitable temple to house the icon. She was accompanied by artisans and craftsmen and in due course of time was able to build a temple in Jorkhang which exists till today and according to the Dalai Lama, is the holiest of all shrines of Tibet.
The founder of Tibetan Buddhism, known as Lamaism however was Padmasambhawa a Nepalese Lama who had gained fame having established several monasteries, namely at Thyangboche in Eastern Nepal, Ghoom in Darjeeling, Rumtek in Sikkim and Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan. Impressed by his achievements Tison Detsen, King of Tibet invited the young Lama from Nepal in 745 A.D. to establish monasteries in Tibet.
The fourth picture is that of Xuan Zang, Hiuen Tsiang who had visited Kathmandu in 638 A.D. but was greatly disappointed by the Kiratis worshipping Hindu gods in the Buddhist monasteries as his chronicles show. He discovered a lake whose water would catch fire if a burning stick was thrown in it. Fourteen hundred years later, the Chinese geologists have discovered methane gas in Kathmandu Valley and are now harnessing it for domestic consumption.
In 1543 A.D., the Celestial Emperor of China appointed Sonam Gyatso, a Mongolian Prince as the Dalai Lama III as seen here in the fifth picture, explaining that he was the incarnation of two of his predecessors. Thus, Sonam Gyatso became the first ever pontiff of Tibet but recognized as the Third. To assist him in day to day administration of the land, the Emperor appointed two Ambans, Chinese Foreign Service Officers whose office was terminated only in 1950. Hundred years after the office of the Dalai Lama was created, in 1644 A.D. the Chinese Emperor appointed Lama Lobsang Yeshe, with a title of Panchen Lama as the spiritual head of Tibet leaving the Dalai Lama as the administrative head of State. To distinguish between them, the Celestial Emperor granted Yellow Hats to the Dalai Lama and his followers and Red Hats to the Panchen Lama and his followers worn by them till this very day.
Here is Our History Series 9 and as you can see we have suddenly landed in modern times. So, let’s get acquainted with it:
The first picture is the Memorial the Brits had erected in a remote corner of India in Uttarakhand at a place called Kalunga. The Left Obelisk is inscribed to the sacred memory of General Rollo Gillespie and the Right Obelisk is for Captain Balabhadra Thapa Magar of the Gurkhas, the two combatants who were engaged in mortal combat in life but found peace of grave in each other’s company. Some pseudo historians have tried to distort history by claiming Balbhadra ran away from battlefield and joined Sikh Army. What a level of depraved absurdity!
Second picture is the memorial to the victims of massacre, mostly European women and children, who were slaughtered by the mutineers of 1857 in Cawnpore, now spelt Kanpur. After the Brits left India in 1947, the memorial has been shifted to the grounds of nearby All Saints Anglican Church.
After the report of how Gurkhas had cleared the nation of the mutineers reached London, Sir Noel Paton R.A. decided to honour the Gurkhas by painting an emotive scene, called Relief of Lucknow. Since he had never seen a Gurkha but knew they were part of British Indian Army, this painting showed some Indian soldiers in the background which he was obliged to replace post-haste by Royal Scots. Gurkhas broke the mutineers back at Lucknow and left the Company’s soldiers to mop up later.
The fourth picture comes on its wake. Queen Victoria had taken personal interest in entertaining Jung Bahadur Rana Magar on several occasions between May and August 1850 during the latter’s visit to London. Jung had returned home convinced that friendship with Britain would be of advantage to Nepal and Queen Victoria was no less impressed by the energy and charisma of the visitor. So when the mutiny broke out Queen Victoria was pleased to receive direct help from the Gurkhas. This whimsical picture shows Lord Beaconsfield offering the crown of India to the Queen.
Once the dreaded mutiny was quelled Queen Victoria decided to honour the Gurkhas and an exquisitely designed trophy in silver and gold was crafted. The last picture circa 1860 shows a Gurkha Officer, presumably of Santabir Thapa with the Queen’s Truncheon whose replica in bronze is kept in the Gurkha Museum.
Our History Series 10 is eclectic, it shows how our forebears have passed through in the past ages some hitherto unrecorded stages of history.
The first picture shows Alexander the Great hunting lion barefoot. This ancient fresco depicts Alexander killing a lion with a single stroke of a khukuri and there is another picture which shows Alexander severing the Gordian Knot with a single stroke of his khukuri. And this establishes the link. Our ancestors had followed the monk missionaries into the West and upon return brought back that handy weapon along.
The second picture shows King Prithiwinarayan Sah Thankuri as he ascended the throne of Kathmandu. He had employed the Brahmins to spread disinformation among the targeted princedoms which had greatly helped him unify the nation of Nepal. To the Brahmins it was godsend gift for they wasted not a moment to declare and anoint him their god Bisnu (Visnu) and thereafter, none but the Brahmins could approach his sacred person.
Jangbahadur Rana Magar of Nepal shown with his two brothers is the real architect of modern Nepal. With the King now only a titular godhead, Jang wielded all the power and had his plans succeeded, Nepal would have been something absolutely different. In 1850, he visited England as a personal guest of Queen Victoria and within next few years mutiny had engulfed British India. None can deny, had Jang opted out of the mutiny and worst still, if he had made a common cause with the mutineers, the world history would have been entirely different.
The facsimile of Queen Alexandra’s letter comes next; she was Queen Mother during World War I and this letter indicates that she had influenced her son, King George V to invite Kulbir Thapa Magar to the Buckingham Palace and award him the Victoria Cross, the highest of British Military honours.
Brian Houghton Hodgson is the last in this series; he was appointed The Post Master and Assistant to the British Ambassador to Kathmandu while still a teenager. What he lacked in formal education he made it up with his extremely hard working ethics and before long he began to explore and write serious discourses on flora and fauna of Nepal. Credit goes to him for discovering the Buddha to have been a Nepalese Prince who was until then believed by European scholars to be of African descent basing their opinion on the Buddha’s curly locks. Whilst in Kathmandu he was tutored by Amritananda Bandya, a Kirati Mongolian scholar but Hodgson took undue advantage of the trust of his tutor and clandestinely ferreted out several hundred volumes of pre-brahminic Sanskrit manuscripts and sent them to the Universities of Paris, Cambridge and Oxford and East India Company Library where they have been gathering dust.
In retrospect we can find him guilty of cheating a nation of its heritage but we may exonerate him for without a patron he was as helpless and by default helped Nepal recover its treasure.
This therefore, is an appeal to all good souls to help us establish a modern Kirati Museum and Research Centre with the nucleus of these manuscripts retrieved from the Universities named.
With this Eleventh Episode of Our History Series, we are planning to exit. However, it will be prudent to remember, these are rather emotive issues and have never been told before by historians. So, let’s proceed:
The first picture is of a now forgotten Gurkha Regiment. In 1850, a battalion of Native Infantry of British Indian Army had mutinied and seized the Fort of Govindgarh. Finally an unarmed Gurkha Officer accompanied only by his water carrier entered the Fort and negotiated surrender. The regiment was disbanded but the Gurkhas took their Colours, which of course was flaming red and adopted it as their tunic. They wore the tunic seen here with great elan until 1911 when King George V came to Delhi to be crowned Emperor of Hindostan.
The map of India as drawn by Imperial Gazetteers in 1805 comes next. Look at the map of Nepal and though some areas are not accurately drawn, it is more or less authentic. When the time came for the Brits to leave their empire, they left it divided between the two warring factions of Bharat and Pakistan. In all fairness, the Brits should have restored to Nepal the areas they had arrogantly seized from while calling themselves their friend.
Third and the fourth pictures are of Bahadur Shah Zafar, upon the ashes of whose empire the Brits built their own. The first shows the Emperor in his royal attire while the next shows him in a dilapidated British prison in Rangoon, Myanmar. These two pictures are placed here to show how the Brits treated the hapless King not now, but to the contemporary citizens it was a warning what the British Power meant. Zafar was denied even the simplest of amenities, he was not provided with paper and pen, so that upon his death, a poem was found written by the Emperor on the walls of the prison cell with charcoal. This poem contains not even a hint of acrimony but his philosophy of life which has been set to music by his followers. Today, yes even today, if you happen to attend any Hindustani Mussalman’s mushaira, you will invariably hear one of them sing this song, with so much feeling that makes you realize they have not ceased to be hurting in all these years.
The last Viceroy of India was Lord Mountbatten who has become more of an enigma with each passing day. He had accepted the post of Viceroy of India under a very strict condition he had set himself; that he would preside over partitioning of British India into Bharat and Pakistan within one year and not a single day more. He would return to UK as First Sea Lord on the 366th day. So, everything had to be hurriedly decided when Bharat and Pakistan were separated without much concern to facts on ground. But, after the Independence Act was promulgated, Lord Mountbatten stayed on for another year as Governor General of Bharat, the vacant post of First Sea Lord notwithstanding. It is believed, Lord Mountbatten believed deep in his heart that Bharat and Pakistan were not compatible and the Brits would be obliged to return to re-establish law and order. This is the reason why he demanded the Gurkhas should continue to serve under the Crown outside Bharat and Pakistan, whom he considered would remain loyal in the event of British return to power. He has however left no record behind of the proceedings and if he has, it has not surfaced yet.
To conclude, as the Brits themselves say, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and that is the moral of the British Indian Empire.
We have followed the Coronavirus Episode from Day One, from its very beginning until today which has led us unto something. We are now ready to conclude this Episode. We have done all our China-bashing and it has led to nowhere, we wasted our time.
It had all begun in a belief that Chinese will be grossly embarrassed and come out with the truth. What truth, whatever that may mean.
Someone, somewhere vaguely understood that the Chinese love exotic meat and perhaps, the coronavirus could be tied down to bat meat the Chinese love to eat. It was easy. The world took it hook, line and sinker that coronavirus began in a Wuhan Meat Market and that the Chinese Government is desperately trying to conceal.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry whoever heard this story began repeating the claim and some even went as far as filing lawsuit against the Chinese claiming billions of dollars is damages.
What did the Chinese Government do in response should have given them a hint; they were as quiet as the stone statues laughing in the garden.
I had been writing in these blogs for months that it was Dr Anthony Fauci who had begun the ball rolling as far back as in 2014 when he contacted Wuhan University and provided necessary funds to conduct research on coronavirus.
So, please understand it: the Chinese are making a simple statement “if you want to know more about coronavirus, ask Dr Anthony Fauci. Also do not forget to ask Dr Charles Lieber.”
Does that mean anything? Everything. The Chinese are not going to spill the beans. They have proved to be a very dependable ally. Trustworthy. The Chinese have let it be known they can be trusted.
And what does Dr Lieber or Dr Fauci have to say? They haven’t been questioned yet but you may reasonably expect they would most certainly not answer any question without invoking 5th Amendment. They owe their loyalty to their own.
This is where our future lie. Today, the Presidents appoint Judges of the Supreme Court and Subordinate Judges based entirely upon their belief whether they are Conservative or Liberal.
No other appointment demands one to confess one’s political belief but let us accept a fact of life, that within next two decades, curriculum vitae of all appointments will include an item asking the applicant to declare if he/she be a Conservative or a Liberal.
Actually, it is a necessity of time.
Of all the things that have captivated our imagination as nothing before, coronavirus most certainly comes up first and foremost. Yet, we seem to know so little about it and none seem to care.
The pandemic had at times created itself an aura of negativity and many ignorantly believed it to be a gift from China. There were instances when some Chinese people were treated offensively simply because of their looks. It was reported from England some Gurkhas who looked very much like Chinese had their cars vandalized or even torched.
Some enthusiasts went to the extent of believing that the Chinese Government had clandestinely created this virus in their laboratory and planted it in American soil. Some had the unmitigated temerity of filing a lawsuit in an American Court against the Chinese demanding reparations.
These are the Unknown Fields of coronavirus.
Coronavirus has been with us for as long as we care to remember. But it was first discovered and recorded scientifically by a doctor in the UK who did a research upon the virus and gave it the name coronavirus. It was in 1960 and the hospital where she worked is St Thomas Hospital, London which is where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was treated recently.
It should therefore, come as a surprise that in 2014, Dr Anthony Fauci, then as Advisor to President Obama, had initiated in Wuhan University, China to do a research on coronavirus. This research is an ongoing process and we may wish to know more about it from the horse’s mouth.
As if that was not enough, we had Dr Charles Lieber, Head of Chemistry and Biology Department, Harvard University employed there at Wuhan University carrying out research in coronavirus until now.
Do we wish to know how many millions of US taxpayer dollars have been spent on this enterprise? And, what is the basis upon which we are calling it the Chinese virus and not Sino-American virus?
We may also wish to learn why did Dr Fauci choose Wuhan University of China over all other Universities here?
We do not appear to be in the best of relationship with Wuhan University of China on the wake of current pandemic and need to ask Dr Fauci if he could elucidate what are the reasons we have fallen out of grace from the Chinese having spent multi-million dollars.
Most importantly, how did the coronavirus get out of the laboratory which was funded by American dollars and should have been under surveillance.
Now that the Primaries are safely behind, I feel like reminiscing how we have arrived where we are now.
From the very beginning of the Primaries, I have been lamenting that no Candidates has even mentioned the name of President Obama. As if that was not enough, they all had their own Health Care program which clearly suggested they had done away with ObamaCare.
No candidate ever took any trouble to mention if there were any flaws in the existing ObamaCare which they wished not to carry forward. Least they could have done was to explain their reason why ObamaCare is to be replaced by their new version of health care.
Surprisingly, all of them projected a new health care program as if they were all mesmerized by Saul Alinsky’s philosophy, which inter alia, lays down that to gain confidence of the masses one needs to take control of their health care first. Saul Alinsky had spelled out eight-fold process through which a successful leader would gain control over the masses.
The resultant situation however is more like what Aesop would have explained where a blind man is leading more blind men in a dark room looking for a cat which is not there.
Actually, this was certainly the best situation for a young Democrat to have gained control of the situation. All they needed was to stand there and declare, “I am here to lead you back to the well-defined path which has been laid down by President Obama. I propose nothing new.” Not a word less or more.
Of course, one would have to receive the blessings from President Obama and am sure it would not have been withheld. But having secured that, all the candidate needed was to quote his famous words here and there in most appropriate manner.
“My fellow Americans, I have nothing to add”, should have been the candidate’s opening words “to what President Obama has already said” and quote one of his famous words, be it on HealthCare or foreign affairs.
How different the political scene would have been now? How differently the scene would have recreated itself on its wake?
Of one thing I am pretty sure: Joe Biden wouldn’t have come up. And if Joe Biden had not been here the one who spoke these words above would have. And, that would have been the most reassuring scenario for the Democrats.
I have written many times in these blogs about the choice of Running Mate and that conclusion of mine would have been more visible if someone had sought President Obama’s blessings in the beginning. And, here let me quote The Bard of Avon, “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
Come to think of it: Europe in the Middle Ages was ravaged by The Plague decimating its population and we know it now that it was spread by rats. Coronavirus today however, is being spread entirely by humans.
We are not happy that it was neither rats nor bats nor pigs who spread the disease, it was humans who alone are entirely responsible for the coronavirus to have spread globally within such a short span of time.
In desperation, someone found out that the Chinese scientists were carrying out research on bats and pigs and some birds if they could be carrying the virus. Lo and behold, someone’s fertile imagination worked overtime to distort the information and we were disinformed that the Chinese ate bats and pigs and became infected with coronavirus.
None paused to question the disinformation, which actually was nothing but figment of imagination. How and why should the Chinese create a new virus and name it coronavirus, a very Anglo-Saxon name?
Google it and we would have learnt that the disease has been with us for a very long time. But who cares? We have found a scapegoat.
The Chinese are not demanding an apology. They are happy they could detect the virus and although they suffered the initial brunt of the attack they have managed to control the epidemic with just about three odd thousands of fatalities.
This is precisely the moment we need to remember how President John Kennedy exhorted the nation to go to the moon within a decade and they did. Instead of blaming the Chinese, we need a man to exhort the nation to do research and find a cure for the virus.
Remember, the Chinese have suffered only three odd thousand fatalities but have managed to control the virus. Additionally, they have developed a vaccine with which they are healing their nation and are blaming none.
Isn’t it a shame that the Americans have now gone to India with a request to fabricate a new vaccine to fight the scourge? Are the American doctors and scientists devoid of self-respect?
If politics be at the bottom of this unpleasant impasse, why not throw an open challenge to doctors, Republicans and Democrats alike, to go ahead individually till a remedy is found with philanthropists backing their own.
Imagine the Dark Ages when Europe was struck down by the Plague and compare and contrast it with the prevalent situation worldwide today. From what records that are available to us of the days gone by and the fortitude with which Europeans fought the scourge encourages us to take similar steps towards coronavirus. Cleanliness is next to Godliness the Europeans were taught and our noble leaders are now asking us to wash our hands as many times. But there abruptly ends the lesson.
Dark Ages meant dark ages, they had absolutely nothing to fall back upon and that was their total handicap. There were no record of their past, there were no literature of any kind to throw light on how they could fight such a terrible disaster and the population was generally illiterate, ignorant and superstitious.
In contrast, today we are fortunate to have plethora of information at our disposal. We also have at our disposal accurate records of how our forebears fought and won decisive battles against such virulent diseases, time and time again.
A certain doctor, Dr June Almeida, nee Hart, had actually discovered and named the virus coronavirus way back in 1960 while she was in St Thomas Hospital in London, England. This is the same hospital where Mr Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of England was treated and cured of coronavirus only last week.
Despite this brilliant record, some are blaming the Chinese to have manufactured coronavirus in Wuhan University Lab in China. Be it as it may, the reason of blaming the Chinese appears to be to absolve oneself the responsibility: the Chinese created it let the Chinese resolve it.
Some have expressed fears that Dr Charles Lieber, Head of Chemistry and Biology Department, Harvard University might have his hands in this episode as he was concurrently on the payroll of Wuhan University, China.
Next comes the account of hydroxychlorine. It is derived from the bark of cinchona plant which the Brits had discovered during their colonial era and used to cure malaria. Those who believe in the efficacy of this medicine claim, quinine (hydroxychlorine) not only cures the patient of malaria, it also gives them immunity against coronavirus.
Dr Didier Raoult, a French doctor, has been treating with 96% success his patients of coronavirus with hydroxychlorine. But a patient died despite this treatment and further treatment with hydroxychlorine has been suspended in France until further investigation.
In USA, hydroxychlorine has yet to be tried apparently because Dr Fauci is suspicious of the medicine which only makes one doubt he is driven more by his party loyalty than the medical ethics.
Today USA tops the list of fatalities due coronavirus at 33,434 followed by Italy at 22,170 and Spain at 19,130, whereas the Chinese have recorded only 3,342 fatalities.
Three strains of coronavirus have been identified thus far and wonder of wonders, New York received its coronavirus Strain C from Europe which in turn received it from Singapore. West Coast USA researchers say received their coronavirus B from Mainland China.
It is my belief there is wisdom in requesting Chinese experts to help the world fight this scourge. Time is at a premium.
It has been quite a while since we have been gripped by the unwelcome stories about the coronavirus and its manifestations in American soil. Mercifully, the fog is now slowly lifting and we are better informed to form an opinion, an independent unbiased opinion.
We have now learned that the pandemic virus had entered American soil long before we knew of Wuhan Episode. Coronavirus had come uninvited to USA from Europe and this news is confirmed.
More than two and half million people had arrived from Europe, including Italy, Spain and UK between December 2019 and Feb 2020 and according to the researchers, it is they who brought coronavirus from Europe and not someone from China.
Let us wait and see what further researchers might have to say if there are more than one strain of corona virus.
Secondly, but more importantly, we have now begun to hear the name of Prof Dr Charles Lieber, Head of Chemistry and Biology Department at Harvard University who is also on the payroll of University of Wuhan, China. It is suspected, but not proved yet that Prof Lieber had actually “manufactured” corona virus in his laboratory and then sold them to the Chinese. However, it is also widely circulated that the Professor has been arrested and is under custody pending investigation.
Thirdly, after the momentous discovery of Sir Ronald Ross, the Brits went all out importing and cultivating cinchona plantation in Darjeeling, India. Quinine derived from the bark of this plant cures malaria and this is one of the gifts of British Empire to mankind. However, upon observing that covid-19 has little or no impact in India and Africa, some quarters have jumped to the conclusion that quinine is a cure also for this disease. It is subject to confirmation that ingestion of quinine has created immunity against covid-19 and whether or not it will cure the disease itself requires further investigation.
Corona virus enters human body through breathing air polluted by the virus emitted by an affected person. It lodges in the lungs and unless it is not quickly killed, the patient dies within a week.
There is a remedy, a simple folk remedy. We know the disease has lodged itself in the lungs but the respiratory system can be cleansed without any problem by simply inhaling an antidote; as follows:
Place a scalding pot of water on the table, add a teaspoonful of vicks vaporub and cover completely your head over the pot with a bath towel. Inhale the fume filling up your lungs while the water is very hot.
Corona virus is killed instantly by heat.
The world is still reeling under the onslaught of corona virus which really caught us unaware. Even months after months of relentless attack, the world at large hasn’t got fully informed of the nature and strength of the enemy numero uno. All that we know of this dreadful disease is that it was first detected in Wuhan Province of China some seven months ago. We will leave it to the future epidemiologists to determine whether or not any current conspiracy theory is credible.
We have but scant information on how to treat this disease. President Trump had announced that quinine is an effective medicine against corona virus but there has not been any follow up information. However, a Governor of a State is reportedly announced indifference to the efficacy of this medicine and we know nothing about the basis of such a claim.
On the plus side we are shown a map of the world where people routinely ingest quinine to treat malaria and who apparently have developed some sort of immunity against corona virus. It is apparent now, but we shall leave it to the future scientists to examine this theory.
Case in point is India; where the incidence of malaria is one of the highest in the world. It was generally believed the disease was caused by foul air of early monsoon season, hence the name malaria from mal air. However, one intrepid Scotsman, Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932) was not convinced and spent many restless years to finally discover the bite of female anopheles mosquito actually caused the disease. Following that momentous discovery the Brits imported cinchona plants from South America and began its cultivation in Darjeeling, India; from the bark of cinchona plants is extracted the herbal drug called quinine. India until a little while ago had been believing ibuprofen to be an essential medicine against corona virus and had imposed a ban on the export of ibuprofen. After learning from President Trump that quinine is an affective medicine, India is now offering quinine to USA.
However, what we need to do is to ask the Chinese for they alone know the answer.
This morning, the Chinese celebrated the end of the chapter of their fight against the disease which they have won. Now, the Chinese have freedom to concentrate upon their moon mission where they are likely to be tending their backyard garden while the rest of the world remain embroiled in this bitter war of attrition.
Nothing has had ever so totally gripped our Lonely Planet than by this ubiquitous malady called corona virus. There appears to be a rather enigmatic halo surrounding the true color of covid-19 which it has managed to keep shrouded in mystery, even after it has decimated several thousands of victims on its wake. It has at the same time some very useful lessons for us humankind.
Six months ago the Chinese acknowledged it was struck by a mysterious disease which we subsequently became familiar with as corona virus and identified Wuhan province as its epicenter. While the world watched in anticipation as the Chinese locked the province down and every man, woman and child was quarantined.
The Chinese moved their Governmental machinery as break neck speed to resist this invasion from an unknown element while exploring every aspect of medicine known to man.
Bless the Chinese and their determination to defeat the epidemic. The scary aspect of the case was that the Chinese were treading the unknown ground, there are no precedent to draw any lesson from. Yet within six months the Chinese have wrestled control from the virus and as I pen these thoughts down they have successfully created vaccinations to control the disease.
Europe, on the other hand has become the worst victim, particularly Italy and Spain for they have suffered the greatest volume of loss of life.
USA is now initially resisting the virus and though we are hoping we will soon learn to effectively combat the virus we need to accept we are yet in the exploratory stage. President Trump had announced quinine to be an effective medicine against corona virus but not much appears to have been done in this direction.
A word about quinine: credit must go to that intrepid Scotsman, Sir Ronald Ross who discovered that malaria is transmitted by mosquito bites and that malaria can be treated by quinine. Ever since that discovery, countries where malaria is endemic have depended upon quinine and it is evident, quinine gives them immunity against covid-19.
The nations of EU may have a second look after the epidemic has been brought under control. Italy and Spain are virtually left on their own and so will any other nation to devise their own strategy to fight the disease.
The Chinese on the other hand, have now a clear advantage, while the rest of the world is struggling against this scourge, they are now engaged themselves in rehabilitation and may soon be back on road. The time factor is in favour of the Chinese and six months or more will give them a tremendous lot of advantage.
Super Tuesday has come and gone but on its wake tremendous lot of speculations are afoot. Obviously, first and foremost question in every Democrat’s mind is whether it will be Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders. But some of them know it, some who orchestrated the Act I, Scene II from behind and when the denouement comes it will not be what everyone has in their mind.
Bernie Sanders had not expected not to win Texas and upon that premise he had calculated to remain numero uno. His plans for the future remains uncertain but he will hang on there as tenaciously as if he is the only serious contender. The most unprepared “guest” however, was Elizabeth Warren and Super Tuesday has virtually killed her aspirations and now her hope is that Bernie Sanders offers her Running Mate position.
If you had been following my blog, I had all along lamented that none of the Democrat hopefuls had even mentioned the name of President Obama and that was pretty strange. Worst however, was their stance that they had all offered a Health Plan in contradiction to ObamaCare and that was even scarier.
Somehow, Joe Biden stepped in belatedly and although he too avoided mentioning ObamaCare at the beginning, he gathered his wits about as he noticed Bernie Sanders going full steam ahead. He was able to give up his inhibitions and valiantly invoked President Obama’s blessings. Sometime during those days, as he began to feel so desperate, he would have requested President Obama for support and By Jove he had not misplaced his confidence.
Joe Biden is a Super Hero now and he should be in need of a Running Mate.
Two names come to mind: the first one I had written in my blog several months ago: Stacey Abrams. Miss Stacey Abrams remains as valid today as the day I wrote it. But, I had not factored in The Obamas then and therefore, I hasten to add Michelle Obama as Joe Biden’s Running Mate; Joe Biden will be twice blessed.
While the Democrats are busy sorting their affairs out, and there is Bernie Sanders still in the reckoning, the Republicans are watching.
Opening scene was filled with suspense, a young lad just idling around a pile of nondescript lot of bundles when his fierce looking master wearing a pompous turban enters the scene. The master settles down on the floor cross legged and starts playing his flute when lo and behold, the pile of rope comes to life and slowly begins to rise up and up and beyond.
The master bids the lad abracadabra upon which the lad climbs up the rope and disappears into the thin air. After a while the masters begins to yell at the lad bidding him to descend but the lad does not respond.
Visibly incensed, the master climbs up the rope and to the consternation of the spectators pieces of the lad begins to fall, limbs, head and torso. Almost as soon however, a great shawl falls from the sky and cover the grisly pile.
Now descends the master still very agitated and shouts abracadabra lifting the shawl and what? The lad wakes up as if from deep slumber.
Let me presume my readers are familiar with this account of Great Indian Rope Trick. Let me assure you that one of the most sincere believers of this famous account used to be Prof Max Mueller. Although the Professor had never visited India, he believed in everything that was even remotely connected to India particularly of tales of some extra-ordinary sages who had been living in caves in the Himalayas timelessly who needed no food for sustenance.
Even today, India is a land of mystery. Only a few years ago Mr Narendra Modi used to be the Chief Minister of Gujrat when a great Hindu Muslim communal violence had taken place there with the latter suffering the brunt of the dominant race’s ire. So serious was the nature of violence that USA had declared Mr Modi persona-non-grata and no visa would be granted to him should he request for one ever. Now, Mr Modi has become the Prime Minister of India and in almost similar situation Hindu Muslim communal violence has erupted in India. Actually, right there in New Delhi where President Trump was being entertained, Hindu mobs had turned themselves upon their Muslim neighbors causing great loss to their property including a mosque.
We can vouch for the famous rope trick is effective even now as we have seen President Trump believes Mr Narendra Modi is a great leader of men. The only difference between Prof Max Mueller and President Trump is that the former believed in what he had heard while the latter has seen and believed.
An historic peace treaty has been signed by USA and the Taliban, which is a recognized terrorist organization and based largely within Afghanistan. However, the two very much affected parties namely Afghanistan and Pakistan, were not invited.
This deal was necessitated due to the promise President Trump had made to the nation that he would bring back home US Military from Afghanistan where they had been deployed for nearly two decades. It has been realized that the war of Afghanistan is unwinnable despite the immensely superior nature of US Army pitted against the people’s Army of Taliban.
We are reminded of the Russian involvement in Afghanistan (1979-88) where they had supported Babrak Karmal’s puppet government. However, the Mujahideen fought the Russians with such tenacity that impressed USA to arm them with stinger missiles. This surreptitious move was made possible by the tacit support of the Pakistan Government and the Mujahideen learned to use the missiles extremely effectively. Eventually the Russians discovered the war was unwinnable and left.
Afghanistan has demonstrated once again that its people are irrepressible they can be subdued by none. Throughout the history, very great military powers have been there, the Greek, the Persians, the Turks, the Mongols and the Brits before the Russians and now the Americans. We need to recognize there is something intrinsic force within the Afghan psyche, the force that has made them invincible.
But it is our immediate concern now that the Treaty has been signed, we have handed the problem lock, stock and barrel to the Talibans and who will henceforth be calling the shots. It is a foregone conclusion that the Government of Afghanistan without active US support will succumb to the Taliban diktat.
Perhaps, it is wise to let the Taliban run the show without any let or hindrance. Once peace returns in the land, the average people will go back to their routine life which will involve growing poppy, it grows naturally in Afghanistan. Upon that, we need to be more vigilant.
I had long been writing my blogs on the best option open in Afghanistan but that chapter has now been closed.
We watched President Trump in India and clearly the hosts love fanfare. It is in their psyche. The Brits loved it too but for a reason, Brits actually ruled over India through series of fanfare, all mesmerizing fanfare. The Viceroy rarely took part in fanfare personally so he let his Second-in-Command, the Commander-in-Chief of India stand in for him. Fanfares showed off the glory British Royalty and they gave away such glamorous awards as Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India or Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for all of which were most highly coveted and sought after, a matter of envy amongst the recipients.
It was the acme of the celebrations when King George V came to New Delhi to be crowned King Emperor of India. New Delhi, as the name suggests, was created by the Brits with wide open boulevards, majestic buildings, modern shopping Malls and of course, to crown them all, the Viceregal Lodge, where the King resided.
As King George V arrived in New Delhi, he was received with an impressive parade of British Indian Army which was led by the Gurkhas and the military band played a new anthem in honour of the King Emperor. It was made to believe that the new anthem which exalted the leader of the dusky millions of this land was directed at the King Emperor but after the Brits left the land they disclosed that it was addressed to god, the destiny of Bharat, which is India.
Seeing President Trump go through the same routine, the parade led by the Gurkhas, the same anthem played by the military Band, I could not help but reviewing the symbolism.
However, I was not prepared to believe that President Trump decided to walk through inspecting the Guard of Honour, for which under normal circumstances a vehicle should have been provided.
There was yet another “unforeseen” event taking place while all these ceremonies were going on, just a few miles away there were angry protestors who had turned violent. According to BBC, the Police opened fire and at least nine people were killed before the situation was brought under control.
I am reminded of the visit of Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge to the Kaziranga Game Sanctuary in Eastern Indian State of Assam where as the Royal visitors were being entertained at the Guest House, some poachers were reported to have killed a rhinoceros and made away with its horn.
The Press, as usual is having fun at the President Trump’s pronunciation of Indian names during his address.
A cursory glance at the Democratic Primary lends us a very serious image of the Party in disarray. It is so serious the organizers are unable to declare the results of the primary which gives us a hint of shady deal behind the screen. Perhaps, it is not in Bernie Sander’s backyard syndrome, not just yet.
While the entire machinery of Democratic establishment remained firmly occupied with the impeachment proceedings, they were unable to notice what was happening in their own backyard. Democratic leadership’s total commitment to the impeachment offered Bernie Sanders an opportunity which he grabbed with both his hands.
Democratic leadership is now reluctant to admit their erroneous decision and so whatever has been done cannot be undone now, they are trying to mend the fence. With a hope of introduction of new faces might alleviate the situation but surely the names of Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar are not the choice of the voters.
Now a billionaire ready to sacrifice hundreds of millions of dollars down the drain supporting the message of support to ObamaCare does not seem to cut the ice. Mayor Bloomberg even suggested the name of Hillary Clinton as his running-mate but they all seem to pale into insignificance in comparison to the appeal of the juggernaut of Bernie Sanders.
Finally, it has dawned upon the Democratic leadership that they have already lost their opportunity of fielding a viable presidential candidate but yet reluctant to support an outsider like Bernie Sanders, a well-known socialist to the core.
Will we be seeing the Democratic machinery piled up in Bernie Sander’s backyard or will they try to field yet another candidate? No suitable names have yet been suggested and those already on the floor are very inadequately matched against Bernie Sanders.
Will Sanders therefore be the face of the Democratic Party in 2020? If on the other hand, Bernie Sanders gets the free rein, we will be hearing more about class warfare, removing belief in God, Governmental control over healthcare and so on and so forth.
The American Voters who are living a life of peace and prosperity, know better; none may hope the American Voters will give away their American Dream simply because Bernie Sanders says so.
It has been a blessing in disguise.
China is comfortably settled down with its new found position of authority in Asia, its right none there to dispute. Here and there, India has been trying its subtle tactics but its feeble efforts are visible to the Chinese even without having made any effort.
In total desperation in India’s urge to exert its influence, its right foot seems to be stumbling upon its own left foot. Notable in its naivety, India imposed trade embargo upon Nepal for which India could not have chosen a worse time. Nepal is land-locked, entirely India-locked and has no option but to succumb to India’s pressure and do its bidding.
Not this time. China has been sending feelers if it could connect Nepal within its much publicized railway network and Nepal naturally accepted the offer. Within days, when India’s blockade was still very much in place, the Chinese engineers doubled up their efforts and the high altitude rail and road is progressing at breakneck speed across the Himalayas, for the first time in history of mankind.
Chinese have offered Nepal multifarious technical, financial and human services in high speed trains and ropeways; road and bridge construction and tunnel-boring machines and equipment, hydro-electricity and animal husbandry with twenty thousands of dairy animals; training of railway engineers, civil engineers and of course Chinese language.
In hush hush language, the Chinese are providing the Nepalese Army with modern sophisticated weapons including stinger type missiles.
There is more to it. Indians have the Dalai Lama as a weapon to irritate the Chinese and now the Chinese have found a counter point to challenge the Indians; and the story goes like this:
During the heydays of the Empire, the Brits had brow beaten the Nepalese and taken away certain strategic pieces of lands from Nepal and when the Brits were granting Independence to Hindustan (Bharat) and Pakistan in 1947, it was incumbent upon the Brits that they should have returned those lands back to Nepal. They did not and now the Chinese are preparing grounds to see if they could help Nepal regain those lands.
This is only a summary of the happenings in South Asia and I am writing this to ask the Government of USA if they need to get themselves involved. Why not?
John Foster Dulles had rightly said, “He who controls Middle East, shall control the world”. None controls the Middle East and none controls the world. Don’t let that happen in South Asia but remember USA can meet China in Nepal.
Her Majesty the Queen described the year as Annus Horribilis to express her sad experience not as a Sovereign Monarch but as a mother, she was actually chastising her offsprings. The Right Royals do not normally use harsher words, the year was 1992 Anno Domini.
But since then, her children and grand-children have offended the august monarch even worse.
The concupiscible Prince Charles of Wales gave his mother offence no bounds knowing fully well the fate of his great-uncle King Edward VIII, he insisted on marrying a divorcee and yet claiming his right to succession. However, he could yet step aside and leave his first born to become The Prince of Wales, and that is the only honorable thing left for him to do. By doing so, Prince Charles will not only alleviate the pains he caused to his mother but rise a notch higher in public esteem.
Prince Charles is known to have claimed that he wouldn’t wish to be the first Prince of Wales not to have a mistress while he was still married to Princess Diana. As a matter of fact, history will bear this out that was the catalyst which led Princess Diana to divorce him. He ruined his perfect fairytale marriage and he alone is responsible for it.
Admittedly, Queen Elizabeth gave him permission to marry Camilla, but then there is something called discretion. Charles should not have asked that permission which opens the room for question: Can the Royals not have access to sage advice?
What the Royals desperately need now is an organization of checks and balances, comprised of non-Governmental elder statesmen and clergymen whose advice when sought should be binding to the Royals whenever they face a situation as grave as to cause another Annus Horribilis.
It is within the realm of possibility Prince Harry had consulted his father before he married Meghan Markle but what could he expect from a man like Prince Charles? But had there been Checks and Balances in position, Harry wouldn’t have to undergo the stress of life he is facing now.
The affairs of Prince Andrew too would have been handled by Checks and Balances more assiduously without hurting Her Majesty so mercilessly.
Nevertheless, let no mother have to undergo what Queen Elizabeth II has been subjected to through her irascible and wayward sons and grandson. Let us pray.
In 1936, justice is served when King Edward VIII decided to abdicate on his own to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson, a divorcee.
In 1953, justice is served when Princess Margaret was denied permission to marry Gp Capt Peter Townsend, a divorced man, whom she loved.
But when Prince Charles insisted on keeping a mistress when he was still married to Princess Diana, their fairytale marriage ended in divorce as Princess Diana refused to accept the crowded relationship.
Then, Prince Charles took the unusual step of marrying Camilla, a divorced woman yet he received Royal Assent and the Church of England took the unusual step of solemnizing their marriage.
His son following his father’s footsteps decided he too wanted to marry Meghan Markel, a divorcee woman of colour. Meghan was received well in the family of Windsor and given the title of Duchess of Sussex but now, Prince Harry and Meghan Markel have decided to give up their royal status and make Canada their home.
This decision has made the situation very complex. Will their decision make the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their son commoners and will they be stripped of their royal standing? After all, the Crown of England is not just a symbol, it has its own a vibrant life, it is synonymous to everything English way of life.
To find the answer, we must go back to the very beginning. It had all began with Prince Charles and that is where lies the answer. Prince Charles alone can resolve the crisis, he can abandon his selfish desire of becoming future King and redeem the prestige of the Crown.
Time has come now for every Briton to ask Prince Charles to step down, retire to Cornwall and begin writing his autobiography while Prince William becomes Prince of Wales and successor to the throne after his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II.
In the meanwhile, Prince Andrew need to reconcile to his (ex)wife and resume their life together. Upon the example set by Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, let me hope Prince Harry will see the way and accept the life of a commoner and insist on living like one.
The nation has had been held hostage for the past four months by an undiagnosed fever of impeachment which eventually proved to be just a hoax. However, it has managed to divide the nation irreversibly further into two, we and they, just as I had written earlier like Shias and Sunnis of the Moslem World.
To imagine the Democrats knew all along that they have been playing a foul game is a reasonable assumption, they also knew they would need sixtyseven votes on the Senate floor to win their case where they had a mere fortyseven Democrat Senators. Under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Senators were totally blindsided into believing there would be a miracle which will make nineteen Republican Senators to side with the Democrats.
As it began to appear a ridiculous sham, the Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell decided to call the bluff. He asked all the Senators to vote yes or no on the two articles of impeachment which the House Democrats had crafted with the Chief Justice Roberts presiding over the proceedings. (It is a Constitutional Requirement.)
The Senators voted as predicted, Democrats voting yes and Republicans voting no while Chief Justice Roberts sat quietly and let the proceedings progress.
It is a matter of interest as to get acquainted with how the impeachment proceedings begin on the floors of the House of Representatives. It is relatively a simple affair there as the leader of the House crafts the articles of impeachment and the Representatives passes the articles by a simple majority.
Not a single instance has been recorded as to how the Democrats had planned to get the articles to take effect given the situation described above. Isn’t there a single voice of reason who would recommend to the Democrat leadership the futility of introducing such a bill?
There was one instance, one and only instance, where Chuck Schumer giving his closing address said, “We are right and they are wrong”. Upon these seven words rests the future of this nation. These are not just passing remarks of a frustrated leader, they are prophetic declaration of America’s future.
If I were the speech writer, I would be the last person to advise the President to go out showing V for Victory sign, neither would I make a hit list of all those who have out of sheer malice moved heaven and earth in their attempt to bring dishonor to the name of President Donald Trump. We know who they are but it would be below his dignity now to play the game of tit-for-tat.
First to mind comes the name of Mitt Romney, he has an over-inflated ego of himself, thought of himself as the Presidential material until he was humiliated by President Obama. Instead of gracefully accepting his short-coming he is blaming President Trump for his failure. He expected most unreasonably to be appointed the VP or at least a cabinet berth from President Trump and when denied, he chose the path which led him to vote with the Democrats on the first articles of impeachment. To his horror, he found out, he was the only Republican who had crossed the party line and in great embarrassment to himself compelled to vote against the Democrats in the second article.
Sir Winston Churchill exhorted Britons to be magnanimous in victory and I would quote that in support of President Trump.
But by no stretch of imagination I am here to suggest that they all be set scot free considering the amount of dirt they had willfully been spreading over and over again. Anyone who would speak some blatant lie, some apparently tutored and fabricated and it would be spread like a wild fire. So, time has come for those who deliberately created or abetted mischief to face the music.
While exhorting Britons to celebrate the victory with his famous V for victory sign, Churchill also cautioned them that nobody likes a sore winner. President Trump has had been resolute during the ill-advised Democrats impeachment trial for over four months and he is now magnanimous in his victory.
However, I would not advise the President to say “I am acquitted” for it can be interpreted in more than one manner by his adversaries. The more appropriate expression would be “I had all along strictly maintained my innocence and now I feel I am vindicated”.
Be it far from me to suggest that let us forgive and forget need be the call of the day, I would emphasize it in this historic moment that no President should ever have to face similar situation in future. One way to avoid this would be to amend the Constitution whereby the House too should need two-third votes to initiate the article/articles of impeachment before forwarding it to the Senate for their consideration.
Secondly, and more importantly, I would encourage President’s lawyers to move the Courts without any delay to individually charge every Tom, Dick and Harry with defamation case who had attempted to cause traumatic harm to Donald Trump. I sincerely hope they will.
Current news about Russian President Putin’s impending visit to Nepal appears to have been held in abeyance. Perhaps, for a good reason.
I have written more than once about the desirability and wisdom of USA getting involved in the affairs of Nepal and its surroundings. That China has been playing a major role there should surprise none because it was the Chinese who had been culturally and politically engaged in the region long before the world ever heard of Nepal as the home of the Buddha and of the Abominable snowman.
In 630 A.D., the famous Chinese philosopher monk named Hiuen Tsang (now more correctly Xuan Zang) of China had come to Kathmandu and recorded in his journal that there is a lake upon which if one throws a burning stick, the whole surface catches fire. Fifteen centuries were to elapse before it is rediscovered by the Chinese who are right now busy harvesting the methane gas for domestic consumers. Curiously enough, Nepalese Govt had earlier requested the British and the Indian experts to carry out geological survey of the land to determine if any natural resources could be found and they had found nothing.
The Chinese have besides methane gas found petroleum wells, iron ore, coal and more importantly, uranium ore deposits in Nepal.
It stands for good reason that the Chinese may eventually claim a lion’s share of these bountiful finds, but so far they have persistently stated that these natural resources belong to Nepal and Nepal alone.
Unwilling to accept a loss of face India has entered the field, claiming a large chunk of land of Nepal as their own and even mobilized its army to take possession of it. Militarily, they may be unevenly matched but diplomatically Nepal has scored a resounding victory over the piece of real estate, Chinese have supported Nepalese claim and so have all the neighbouring countries, making India appear as the blatant aggressor.
What can USA do? I have a very simple plan; let several battalions of US Corps of Engineers go to Nepal with a mandate to build roads, bridges and ropeways; they may work alongside Nepalese Army Engineers and build roads and ropeways in remote areas eventually to handover completed work with road building equipment to the Nepalese. They may also build heliports at nodal points all as a service rendered and as a token of goodwill. Their presence alone will be sufficient guarantee and deterrent to any would be trouble makers.
A major assignment to the Corps of Engineers would be the construction of a major navigable canal system connecting East-West riparian region as a gift expressing American goodwill and generosity towards the people of Nepal.
President Donald Trump has granted clemency to Gov Rod Blagojevich for a reason not quite well known as on today but we can reasonably hope to know the details by and by.
One very obvious reason of President Trump pardoning Gov Blagojevich could be that he is showing off; that he can undo what his predecessor had done. But wasn’t Gov Blagojevich found guilty of moral degradation that he had tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. If it be a real question of moral rectitude, then we would expect President Trump not to touch the case even with a barge pole.
Our thought returns to Democrat vs Republican rivalry next. Governor Rod Blagojevich soon after his release declared he would now be a trumpocrat hinting at his desire to leave his Democratic heritage behind. Chances are he is acknowledging now he has found a savior and he would wish to leave his bitter memories as a closed chapter.
Did President Trump win a friend in Rod Blagojevich?
But it is a mystery to me. It is also the very first instance I find myself unable to accept the President’s decision in toto; it is far too controversial.
The President is surrounded by his advisers; astute, qualified and sober advisers. Even then I am inclined to ask, who could have thought of all the people the President should forgive Blagojevich, who could have recommended such a name.
If a Serbian or a Bosnian diplomat initiated the case we will never know. If neither a Serbian nor a Bosnian diplomat was involved then who else is interested in Gov Rod Blagojevich’s freedom?
Is the timing of grant of clemency to Gov Blagojevich important, then we may have to wait for a long time but none will talk and I hate to think the Russians are smiling.
On 12/13 Oct 2019 President Xi Jinping made a State visit to Kathmandu and this historic event has raised certain concern in international arena. It is therefore the opportune moment to let my readers know how His Holiness the Dalai Lama is connected to Nepal and China through history. Read on:
Srong Tsen Gampo had become the powerful monarch of Tibet during the seventh century A.D., and that he had exercised strong influence on either direction of his kingdom. It can be established from the fact that he was married to Princess Weng Chen of China as well as Bhrikuti Debi, the Kirati Princess of Nepal. It was fortuitous for King Gampo and even more so for the Tibetan people in general that both these Queens were followers of the Enlightened One and that they were able to convert their heathen husband into the Path of Four Noble Truths, in or around 642 A.D.
Princess Bhrikuti was accompanied by artisans and craftsmen with a royal mandate to build a temple to house the icon of the Buddha she had brought along as part of her dower. This temple at Jorkhang, which is still extant, has been acknowledged by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to be the holiest of all shrines of Tibet. The two Queens had lived in apparent harmony is proved by the events that followed; Queen Weng Chen impressed by the novel style of architecture of Jorkhang Temple, persuaded her father to invite the Nepalese artisans and craftsmen to build temples in China.
Thus, in due course of time, along with Buddhism, the Nepalese form of architecture, which became known as Pagoda Style, has spread worldwide from China. As an expression of gratitude, the Tibetans have deified their beloved Queen Bhrikuti Debi and as goddess Tara she is venerated and worshipped throughout Lamaist world.
Certain garments belonging to Queen Bhrikuti Debi have found their way to Cleveland Museum where her tunic (cholo) and undergarment (suruwal) are on display identified as a Tibetan Prince’s garment. The Queen would have her fariya wrapped around over her suruwal which the museum has indicated but not positively identified. Nepalese women are familiar with a tunic and the suruwal (undergarment) such as those displayed in the Museum.
Although Buddhism was introduced into Tibet by King Srong Tsen Gampo around mid-seventh century A.D., for nearly a century only the royal household and a few loyal retainers had remained true believers.
Another illustrious King Ti-son Detsen ascended the Tibetan throne in 745 A.D. who actually ushered in Tibet’s redemption. He was a true reformist and had made conversion of the entire kingdom his life’s mission. Fortunately, there was such a man in the horizon; a young Kirati monk named Padmasambhawa whose reputation was spreading as fast as he was able to establish monasteries that are still extant in Thyangboche in Eastern Nepal, Ghoom in Darjeeling, Rumtek in Sikkim and Tiger Nest in Bhutan. Frescoes painted on the inner walls of these monasteries show Hindu gods and goddesses relegated to positions of secondary importance in accordance with the Buddha-Margi traditions of Nepal.
Without wasting any time, King Detsen invited the Guru and credit goes to this irrepressible monk to have introduced in or around 756 A.D. and established that form of Buddhism into Tibet, now known as Lamaism.
Padmasambhawa did not believe in celibacy to be essential pre-requisite to monkhood and was not a celibate monk himself. The Guru is hence, often seen in icons portrayed in eternal conjugal embrace which unfortunately has created a wide range of misunderstanding and given room for deliberate and indiscriminate mischief. The Guru is known to have been married to the Princess Yeshe of Tibet.
The Great Khan of China noticed the effective function of the monastic order and decided to formalise the eternal office of the Lama. In 1563, The Celestial emperor brought a Mongol Prince named Sonam Gyatso to sit in the Papal Seat at Lhasa. Interestingly enough, Sonam Gyatso came to be known as Dalai Lama the Third as although he was the first Pontiff to be so installed, credibility was built around him by declaring he was the incarnation of two of his predecessors. Installation of Sonam Gyatso thus set the precedence of the practice of re-incarnation of the Lamas. Abbots of monasteries were required to declare before their death the approximate direction where he might be reborn, which gave authority to his subordinate monks to find a suitable baby boy born approximately at the time when the old Lama died. Additionally, the system opened the door of opportunity to parents of one and all baby boys to aspire to have the reincarnation of the old Lama born under their roof.
The Celestial Emperor then saw it expedient to separate the temporal from spiritual ruler of Tibet and in 1665 recognized Lobsang Yeshe as the Panchen Lama. From then on, the Dalai Lama’s function was limited as the head of the Tibetan Government while the Panchen Lama took the mantle of spiritual needs of the nation. Thus the Panchen Lama became ex-officio spiritual mentor not only of the Tibetans including the Dalai Lama but also that of the Emperor of China as well.
In addition, two Ambans (Chinese Foreign Service Officers) were stationed in Lhasa as advisors to the Dalai Lama in all matters of governance, domestic or international and they held their office in Lhasa till the Chinese Army finally took control of Tibet in 1950.
The Chinese Emperor however, left their inter-se hierarchical positions unspecified which concerned none as long as they both lived within Tibet. The Emperor gave them their distinctive identification though, Yellow Hats to the Dalai and Red Hats to the Panchen and ever since their votaries are identified by the colour of the hats they wear.
Nepal has often been described as a poor landlocked country and in essence Nepal has been an India-locked country; Indian leaders have always believed they controlled Nepal’s destiny. Nepal was virtually at India’s mercy and oftentimes Indian truck-drivers would declare road block cutting off all supplies on way to Nepal. Nepal saw it as a political strong arm twisting just disguised as truck drivers’ strike.
That is where President Xi Jinping stepped in; he accompanied by a team of high-ranking officials visited Kathmandu on October 12 and 13 and signed multiple agreements along with multi-billion dollars of assistance, no string attached. Actually hundreds of Chinese engineers are already busy digging tunnels through ‘inaccessible’ Himalayas at several places linking Nepal with China through railways and roads that are already in fine shape transporting Chinese merchandise into Nepal. The two airports of Kathmandu and Pokhara have been modernized to international standards and as he famously declared that Nepal is no longer a land-locked country, he is making his promise good.
President Xi did not mince his words addressing Nepalese politicians that the Chinese bore only goodwill towards Nepal and its people but anyone attempting to cause harm to Chinese sovereignty we will see his bones will be crushed. He was obviously referring to India where the Dalai Lama has been enjoying political asylum.
Laying railway lines across the Himalayas is no mean feat of engineering and we can safely grant the Chinese engineers at least five to six years. But when the train does actually arrive, it will be in stark contrast to Indian railways which have barely changed since the British left in 1947.
Thus far India has been acting ipso facto spoke person on behalf of Nepal and I would encourage anyone seeking information on Nepal need to ask the Chinese from now on. Xuan Zang, the famous Chinese pilgrim had visited Kathmandu in 636 A.D. and had recorded in his journal that there is a pond of water in Kathmandu where if you throw a burning wood, the lake itself gets ignited. We had to wait these fourteen centuries for some Chinese engineers to investigate and begin harnessing the natural gas for domestic consumption.
There is yet time for the US to act as I wrote in my previous blog, US can meet China in Nepal.
This is a game someone invented while in a state of amnesia.
What about people? There are billions of people more on the surface of our planet than only a lifetime ago and do you know they breathe out billions of cubic feet of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What about the huge poultry farms and the hog farms and the cattle farms? and what about the methane gas they are adding to the atmosphere? Truly, they are no less guilty than the factories and the trucks and the refrigerators that spew out the gas that is warming our planet.
This is my recommendation; let us examine the factors to explore if we could tax people for breathing. I have worked out a simple equation; each nation is arbitrarily given a base figure and two letter prefix as its identity irrespective of its size or per capita income. It will provide us with a working figure which our scholars will be happy to tie up as a reference point when we have added the volume of offensive gas added into the atmosphere by the nation in question.
How else, are we going to debate this business of warming of the planet?
Several decades ago, I had visited some of the tiny islands in Erythraean Sea, (modern cartographers have changed its name), and believe me the islands were just as perfect as the “Garden of Eden” could be visualised by the believers. The natives had explained to me how the Lord had provided for them everything; food to eat and materials to build their shelters in abundance. The islands were unmistakable dense tropical forests of coconuts, breadfruit trees (remember, the Mutiny in the Bounty) and a little known tree called ‘pandanus’. (It is like a pineapple plant grown up into a tree. Its fruits too look exactly like pineapples, without the crown, but the fruit is so fibrous, it can only be squeezed into a delightful juice). And of course, the sea provided bountiful fish.
The Islanders(except one) are very contended lot, whenever they feel hungry or thirsty, someone would climb up a coconut tree and bring down a bunch of the fruits to drink and to eat. Once a day, they build a small fire to bake the breadfruits and remember these tree bear fruits all round the year. They have a very few domesticated animals; pigs, chicken and goats, and they too all eat coconuts and breadfruits.
The exception, called Sentinel Island, was named so by Commodore Cornwallis (you will find that name Cornwallis familiar, don’t you?) as the seafarer looked at it from distance and likened it with a lone sentinel standing guard. Decades later, the Brits discovered the island was inhabited but the name stuck, the natives were promptly called Sentinelese, of course. The Sentinelese are exception, because they fiercely guard their island with poison arrows and to my mind, no contact has been made with them yet. But, the stranger part of the account is that the Sentinelese, (and the Onges and the Jarawas, pronounced Jaarwas) belong to true Negrito Race and since their forebears never had the tradition of seafaring, you will agree with me that it must be the divine hand of God that put them in the middle of an ocean in so remote an island.
I shall write in my subsequent blogs the accounts of inhabitants of other islands, namely the Onges, the diminishing people; the fierce Jarawas; and the Shompens the shy people of the forest, whom the Gurkhas call Kusundas. The fascinatingly romantic account of the Queen of Nan-Cowry Island must find another mention, later.
What about these island dwellers? Will the United Nations recognise/reward them for their zero-emission life style? Or, let me believe some ‘charitable organisations’ are not already trying to modernise them or include them into some must see tourist brochure?
A while ago, I happened to be reading an article on “Atacama Desert in Chile” by Sarah Gibbens in National Geographic Magazine and what I found so fascinating is how the lifeless desert comes to bloom, not just bloom but how a colourful carpet seems to cover the arid landscape in response to the overwhelming urge of nature after a shower of rain that falls once in a few years.
My thoughts raced half a century back to the Himalayas where I had the pleasure of witnessing a distinct phenomenon not quite unlike what Miss Sarah writes about. At an altitude above 11,000 feet where the treeline gives way to scrubs and moss, the entire landscape remains under thick layer of snow through the winter, one thick white carpet, lifeless and quiet, the Land of Yeti.
With the arrival of Spring however, the snow carpet slowly melts away revealing the mossy surface but not for long. Myriads of plants emerge, not taller than two to three inches and suddenly burst out in vivid colours, a picturesque carpet. Strangely enough, most of these flowers are Alpine in nature but covering the vivid acres and most abundant are pink polygonum, a first cousin of buckwheat, and taller plants like Lady’s Lace, blue Himalayan poppy and the deadly poisonous Monkshood.
One day, I was tempted to observe a little more closely as one of the flowers appeared rather distinct; the plant is barely two inches tall, growing erect in a single stalk whose spatulate green leaves are mottled with slightly violet patches. But, its most attractive little flowers are what that attracted me in the first place, three to four pure white waxy flowers, roughly half an inch across all bearing very distinct purple spots over all the petals, sepal and the lip; it is an orchid.
I examined one of the plants to discover how cleverly the plant had adapted itself, its rhizome growing parallel to and a few inches below the surface shoots off its annual growth to show the world its beautiful flower. I tried to recall if I had read anything like this before and convinced there are none recorded, christened it “Rhyzobium Hangkhimii”, as its life is in its rhizome and adding to it my ancestral family name.
I took a few photographs, well I had an agfa 35 mm camera handy with a spool of 36 films, which I needed to take back to a shop to get printed. Alas, during my three days return journey home somewhere enroute my camera was stolen with the spool of film still inside undeveloped.
That is the story of “Rhyzobium Hangkhimii”, I know how to tell it but have no photographic evidence to support my claim.
It suddenly dawned upon me that what I was reading is actually one of the pages of history which had been misplaced for nearly a millennia and a half.
In the year circa 636 A.D. the famous Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsiang had visited Kathmandu, Nepal and made the following entry in his famous autobiographical journal “Buddhist Records of the Western World”:
“To the south-east of the capital (Kathmandu) is a little stream and a lake. If we fling fire into it, flames immediately arise; other things take fire if thrown in it, and change their character”. Competently translated by Rev Samuel Beal and published in 1884 but for some unknown reason Rev Samuel Beal added the following footnote to the text above:
“But the pilgrim (Hiuen Tsiang) does not appear himself to have gone into Nepal”.
Since Rev Samuel Beal has left no explanatory details, we are unable to understand how he could have arrived at this conclusion.
My understanding is that the nineteenth century was the British Century and it was their intellectual arrogance that they could write whatever pleased them comfortable in their belief that they are the sole arbiters of world heritage and that there would be none to question their work. I have expressed similar views on Sir Vincent Smith’s The Oxford History of India where he has created a vacuum by excluding the History of Nepal and more importantly, of the Buddha from the Oxford History of India, save a single sentence that the Buddha and his contemporary population of the region bore features like the Gurkhas of Nepal.
After Bharat, that is India, was awarded Independence in August 1947 by its erstwhile colonial master, ie, England, Nepalese Government had requested new Government of India to carry out geological survey of Nepal, which was promptly done. Unfortunately nothing was found and Nepal lived with the belief that the chapter is closed.
Now, fourteen centuries later, the Chinese geologists are back on the trail and lo and behold, they found the Nepalese folks have not given up on their dreams. As a matter of fact, here and there the Nepalese have found methane gas escaping from the ground where they have actually been cooking their meals. Promptly, the Chinese geologists have gone to work and as I write these lines, they are scientifically preparing to harness the methane gas for domestic consumption and have assured the Nepalese people they within months will be self-sufficient in this field.
All these confusion arose simply because an intellectually arrogant Englishman wrote that Hiuen Tsiang was only re-tweeting hearsay account of Nepal.
It is not easy to define and even harder to understand what Caste System really means. While it is a very complex social code it also is unwritten law of the Hindu Religion based entirely upon tradition and supported by various orthodox books held by Brahmin priests.
Entire Hindu Society, or the Brahminic Society has divided human-kind into four categories; namely the Brahmins, the Kshattriyas, the Vaisyas and the Sudras. These four classes of people are born in their already pre-determined families and cannot be changed under any circumstances and this explains why a non-Hindu may not be converted to Hinduism.
- The Brahmins are the priestly class and they alone are the keepers of the religious books where these rules are written defining their place in society. They consider themselves pure and holy and must be born of Brahmin parents. Only 5% or less population of India belongs to this class yet this small percentage somehow manages total control over the psyche of Hindu population.
- The Kshattriyas are the second in the order of preference; they are generally believed to belong to the ruling, princely class of society, and are classified as martial class, but most of them today are land owners and farmers and they too need to be born in the family of kshattriyas. Roughly, 25% of Indian population falls in this category.
- The Vaisyas are the third category of the Hindu Society and include the farmers and the traders of the society and therefore, are the most numerous with about 40% of Indian population. Although, the traders are the business owners and are normally financially well off, they have almost nothing to do with the farmers even though they are categorized as Vaisyas. It is therefore, important to note that in strict sense no inter-marriage takes place between the two; farmers and traders.
- The Sudras are the lowest class of people and are generally considered as menial or servant class of people. They are the poorest of the poor and consist of 30% of mostly uneducated Indian population. There is a misconception, a disinformation perhaps, perhaps spread at the behest of the upper class that the Sudras are the descendants of the population whose forebears were defeated and enslaved by the brahmins. It could have been so, except that ethnically the Brahmins and the Sudras very much look alike and bear same skin colour.
During the Raj Era, the British took advantage of this belief system and divided Indian Empire conveniently into martial and non-martial race. The Gurkhas were not only declared a martial race, they were made the elite of the elite, so much so, whenever the British Indian Army was on ceremonial parade, the Gurkhas were always in the lead; they carried the Queens Truncheon.
Since gaining Independence, the Ruling Class of India have created one more caste of people in India and they are called Scheduled Tribe; they are held to be outside the Hindu Culture; the tribes of Garo, Khasi, Mizo, Naga of Eastern India and all the aboriginal tribes fall in this category. The Gurkhas in India have now been granted the status of Scheduled Tribe.
Additionally, one must trust the brahmins to have devised a very inventive way of distinguishing between the castes; the personal names of the four castes are devised to be so entirely different. It can not be over-emphasized that the distinct name of a Brahmin can never be given to a non-brahmin. In short, brahminism is the most subtle form of racial prejudice which is sanctioned by religion entirely in their favour.
Adulations to the Lord of the Hills, God in the Image of Human, Celebrated among Men, King of Kings, Prithiwi Narayan Sah Bahadur Shamsher Jung, Victorious in battles in the name of gods; to the Honorable and Capable of shouldering Royal Responsibilities Sri Soon Rai, Sri Kum Rai, Sri Jung Rai and all the rest of the Limbu Rai Community is this epistle addressed. Henceforth, we desire your peace as our mind is filled with Dharma (Righteousness) as you lost the battle against our magnificence and you “nau lakh and one” (alluding nine hundred thousand and one Rai-Limbu population of his time) and hence your safety, honor and welfare has become our responsibility. You are hereby granted your freedom to continue to follow your age old custom and tradition without any let or hindrance. We have acknowledged the State of Suk-khim (later anglicized as Sikkim) being beyond our border and should we ever trample upon your aforementioned privileges and heritage, may our own gods destroy us. Signed, sealed and given at our Capital City Kantipur, dated Sambat 1831, Sawan 22. (The date corresponds to July 15, 1774 A.D.)
Transliteration of the Lal Mohur or the Red Seal document published here with kind permission of Organizer of Online News Portal www.sarbajanik.com Mr Bijai Rai and Editor Ms Binita Rai
Some important details of historical significance have come to light through this document and they are;
Firstly, that there were certain prominent citizens of Kiratland known to the king whose names have been recorded in this Red Seal Document as mentioned above; though no attempt has thus far been made to locate their descendants.
Secondly, the Kiratis have persistently asserted their numbers being as “nau lakh das Kirat” or nine hundred thousand and ten, which is found corroborated by the king in this document.
And, thirdly, King Prithiwi Narayan Sah calls his eastern neighbor as Suk-khim, which is a Kirati word meaning “New Home”. Even after centuries, many elderly population of that land do indeed call their homeland as Suk-khim till this very day. Needless to say, during the colonial period, the Brits had simply anglicized it as Sikkim and there were none to challenge their arbitrary decision.
“If Brahmins kept strictly to the letter of the rules of their caste, they would live in isolated places far from the haunts of men, where their whole lives would be spent in religious exercises…. But the poverty of many of their number and the avarice and ambition which are the ruling passions of each and all, preclude the possibility of such a philosophical mode of existence.
“Naturally cunning, wily, double-tongued, and servile, they turn these most undesirable qualities to account by insinuating themselves everywhere; their main object upon which they expend the greatest ingenuity, being to gain access to the courts of princes or other people of high rank. This end achieved, they quickly gain by their hypocritical conduct the affection and confidence of those who have received them and very soon the best and most lucrative posts are the reward of their pressing attention…….
“….Indeed they usually divide the most lucrative of the subordinate posts among them. Thus surrounded by creatures upon whom they can rely and who can also rely upon them, a tacit collusion is established, by means of which each one can, in his own department enrich himself with remarkable rapidity by carrying on unchecked a system of injustice, fraud, dishonesty and oppression — qualities in which most individuals of this caste have been thoroughly well trained.
“The Brahmins have also been clever enough to work their way into favour with the great European Power that now govern India“.
A French Missionary named Abbe J.A. DuBois (January 1765-February 1848) had travelled extensively through India during the first half of the nineteenth century and has left behind an eye-witness account in his book, “Moeurs, Institutions et Ceremonies des Peuples de l’Inde” which was translated into English by Henry K. Beauchamp as Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies.
(Note: The Abbe spent his entire Missionary Years from 1792 and 1823 in Southern India and although he never entered Nepal, his observations fits perfectly well to the Nepalese scene.)
Quoted with permission.
Brian Hodgson was a maverick of a gentleman. In 1819, while still a teenager, he was posted as a Post Master and Assistant to the Resident in Kathmandu, Nepal. He had had only four years of formal education upon which he had added a year of training at the East India Company College at Herfordshire, learning the basic trade of a writer. With that background he had set sail for the shores of India.
Once in Kathmandu, Hodgson began in earnest his pursuit of knowledge and very soon by dint of his sincerity and hard-working ethics he was able to earn friendship of Nepalese intelligentsia. Not only did he gain their confidence, he was able to befriend Amritananda Bandya, the greatest Buddhist scholar of his time in Nepal. For the first time, Hodgson discovered in Nepal, that Siddartha Gaut’m, who became the Buddha was in real life a Nepalese prince. Until then, the Western scholars had believed the Buddha to have African origin basing their observation on the single piece of evidence, the Buddha’s curly locks.
As Hodgson gained their confidence, he obtained from them several hundred volumes of Buddhist literature written in chaste Sanskrit which he clandestinely forwarded to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Paris. And, this is the mystery of Hodgson: he knew his tutors in Kathmandu were all not only Buddhists, they were all ethnic Mongolians, but he never wrote a word about it.
During Hodgson’s days, Calcutta used to be the capital city of British India and Hodgson had spent his first few months there at Fort William learning rudiments of Indian life and culture. There he was taught in strict confidence that Sanskrit was in the private domain of brahmins alone in India and that it was the language of Hindu gods. In Nepal however, the Kirati-Mongolians were just as much proficient in Sanskrit and he learnt firsthand that Sanskrit certainly could not have been the exclusive language of Hindu gods Yet he stubbornly stuck to what he was taught by the pundits of Calcutta and he carried to the grave his secret why he avoided mentioning that he knew several Kirati Mongolian Buddhist priests of Nepal were great Sanskrit scholars. And, thus by default, he allowed the myth to continue which survives till today.
As far as Nepal is concerned Hodgson was therefore, the wrong man at the right place and the right time. Hodgson alone could have brought to light the indisputable fact that Sanskrit was also the language of the Kirati Mongolian scholars of Nepal and that he had discovered in Nepal Sanskrit was prevalent even before the arrival of the brahmins. Unknown to him though, there are in Chinese archives several volumes of pre-brahminic Sanskrit manuscripts collected by Chinese Pilgrims from Nepal which are written bi-lingually in Sankrit and Newari. This additional information, that since the Brahmins do not read Newari, those manuscripts in Chinese Archives could not have been written but by the pre-brahminic Kirati-Mongolian scholars before the arrival of Brahmins in Nepal.
Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia.
Petra Cave Monastery lay on the main Silk Road Highway where Chinese caravans on their way to or returning from the main markets of the day would spend their time on and off. The message the monk missionaries were giving out at the Petra Monastery greatly appealed to them and they in turn encouraged some of the monks to make the long journey back to mainland China accompanying them.
Xuanzang (Hiuen Tsang) (602 – 664) was born at the right time and at the right place. He was already an ordained monk, youthful and full of enthusiasm and had studied Taoist literature that was then available in China. He was very much attracted by what the visiting Kirati Mongolian monks had to offer and decided to follow them to the place where the Great Teacher was born and where he had turned the Wheel of Life.
During the years he spent in his quest, he had arrived in Kathmandu in 637 A.D. but was greatly disappointed at what he saw, that Deo (Hindu gods) being worshiped in Buddhist temples. (Please note, he uses Deo Worshiping instead of Hinduism and Western World for India because the words Hinduism and India were not yet invented.) After fifteen years travelling and learning through many parts of India and Nepal, Xuan Zang returned to China in 645 A.D. with 657 manuscript copies of Buddhist theology.
Xuan Zang had observed there was a lake in Kathmandu whose surface would catch fire if a burning stick was thrown into it. Fourteen centuries later, modern Chinese geologists have identified it to be source of natural gas, methane and are scientifically harvesting the gas for domestic consumption.
Yet another Chinese monk named Wang Hsuan Tse had been to Kathmandu at least three times between 643 and 664 A.D. and he too had collected manuscript copies of Mahayana Buddhism from Nepal.
It is relevant to note that those manuscripts are safely deposited in Chinese Archives and the ones from Nepal are bi-lingually written in Sanskrit and Newari. These manuscripts provide us with a vital clue that they were authored by Nepalese scholars and that they were written before the arrival of the Brahmins in Nepal because Brahmins do not read Newari.
Another Chinese monk Fa Hsien, in 441 A.D, on his return voyage from Sri Lanka, his ship was driven off course by cyclone and he force landed in an obscure island and he has recorded in his journal that the native population to be Deo Worshippers.
Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia
Earlier in this website we have read about how Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal had converted her heathen husband, King Srong-Tsen Gampo into Buddhism in or around 642 A.D. For a century, except for the royal household and a few faithful retainers had remained an isolated island of hope in Tibet, until King Ti-Son Detsen ascended the throne in 745 A.D. King Detsen was a noble King, he had set his vision for the upliftment of his entire nation. Fortunately for him, there was a brilliant star in the Buddhist horizon in the person of Lama Padmasambhawa, a Nepalese monk. Padmasambhawa was a dynamic leader of his people and had already established his reputation having founded several monasteries, e.g, Thyangboche in Eastern Nepal, Rumtek in Suk-khim, now Anglicised and spelt as Sikkim, Ghoom in Darjeeling, India and Tiger’s Nest in Bhotang now Anglicised and spelt as Bhutan.
Upon receiving royal invitation Guru Padmasambhawa came to Tibet and eradicating the deep rooted and powerful pagan worship of Bon from entire land of Tibet he established that form of Buddhism known as Lamaism today. He was ably assisted by Santirakshita another Nepalese monk, who had mastered phonetics and was able to reduce Tibetan dialect into writing based on Nepalese script called Ranjana.
The monastic order established by Lama Padmasambhawa became so effective that the Celestial Emperor was personally drawn to it. In the year 1563 A.D. the Chinese Emperor brought in a Mongol Prince Sonam Gyatso to be the First Pontiff of Tibet with the title of Dalai Lama and to give it an aura of divinity, introduced him as the 3rd Dalai Lama as if he were the incarnation of two of his predecessors.
The experiment was a brilliant success and hence, the Emperor intervened again a in 1665 A.D. bifurcating the temporal from the spiritual where the Dalai Lama remained the temporal head of Tibetan Government and Lobsang, known as Panchen Lama was introduced to be the head of spiritual welfare of Tibet. To add some glamour, the Panchen Lama was made the spiritual mentor of the Celestial Emperor as well.
Lama Padmasambhawa did not believe celibacy was the pre-requisite to be a monk and was actually married to the Tibetan Princess Yeshe. Accordingly Padmasambhawa is depicted in all Tibetan icons as one in eternal conjugal embrace.
Sketch: By Author
Princess Bhrikuti had brought along a gilded icon of the Buddha as a part of her dower and was accompanied by artisans and craftsmen with a royal mandate to build a suitable temple to house the icon. Until then there were no temple of any sort for the Tibetans practiced Bon which required no permanent structure, they worshipped primarily to ward off evil spirits, out in the open.
In due course of time, an exquisitely crafted building imitating Nepalese architecture was erected at Jorkhang, Lhasa which still stands there today. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama this temple at Jorkhang is the holiest of all the shrines in Tibet.
King Srong-tsen was a successful monarch and peace prevailed in his realm and his two queens lived in apparent harmony for Princess Weng Chen was so impressed by the Nepalese craftsmen and artisans, she persuaded her father to invite them to China and build temples there.
Thus with the gospel of Four Noble Truths travelled the Nepalese architecture from Nepal to China and thence to the rest of the world, which we know today as the Pagoda Form of Architecture.
Photo of Jorkhang Temple: Courtesy Wikipedia.
According to the Nepalese tradition, King Srong Tsen Gampo (pronounced Srong-zen) was a powerful monarch of Tibet and apparently had exerted good deal of influence in either direction of his kingdom. The Tibetan potentate was married to Princess Bhrikuti, daughter of Angsuburma, the Kirati King of Kathmandu as well as Weng Chen, Chinese Princess of T’ang Dynasty of China.
In those far off days, before the recognised establishment of the office of Ambassadors, Kings kept a close watch on neighbourly kingdoms by giving in marriage their daughters; the princesses were the ambassadors.
Fortunately, for King Srong-Tsen and the Tibetans, this was the best thing to have happened for both the Queens were followers of the Enlightened One. Between the two Queens, they were able to convert their husband on to the path of Four Noble Truths in or around 642 A.D. Tibet, as a nation had until then been worshipping a heathen god called Bon which involved forms of secret practices of sorcery.
In an act of gratitude, Tibetans deified Princess Bhrikuti elevating her to divine status and worship her identified as Tara. Tara is manifested in four aura of red, blue, green and golden and the four colours are assigned to the four cardinal directions. Pictured here is the Golden Tara facing the South.
Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia
After conquering all the known world of his time, Emperor Ashok had chosen to be the champion of faith to spread the gospel of Four Noble Truths. Consequently he not only demobilized his army but converted them rank and file to a monastic order and gave them instructions to carry the message sans frontiers throughout the world.
The accounts of his monk missionaries through South East Asia as well as the Middle East have been recorded earlier in this website.
However, as Ashok’s successors remained true to the lessons set before them by the noble King, it encouraged local chiefs to emerge as powerful alternative to Buddhism as they championed Brahminism. More and more princes under brahminic umbrella took the opportunity to claim their hegemony over the land and Buddhism, lacking no more stable patronage just faded away in silence. Consequently, as no more new blood was piped in, the old established order simply perished and forgotten so much so that the early European scholars were under the impression that the Buddha was of African descent.
While Buddhism flourished in the East nurtured by their own vigorous intellect, the Middle Eastern chapter was ousted by Judeo-Christianity and later by Islam.
It is through archaeological evidence at our disposal we are able to determine that Buddhism had undergone metamorphosis under Greco-Roman influence. We have examined several artefacts preserved in various museums of antiquity which show that Ashokan monk missionaries had engraved rock edicts in Greek as well as local languages for the benefit of the populace.
Presented here is the statue of the Buddha in Hellenic draperies who appears more like the Roman god Apollo than the Kirati-Mongolian prince that he was.
Photo: Courtesy Benjamin Rowland in Pelican History of Art
As has been said earlier, Ashok had demobilized his army and turned them into monk missionaries to carry the gospel of Four Noble Truths and they moved about precisely in that orderly and disciplined manner. It was the serendipity of this step that made the monk missionaries so successful in their mission.
The monk missionaries who went East and found vast empty lands, they encouraged the population to migrate en masse and settle down there to establish a new kingdom in the name of the Buddha. Those monk missionaries who went West however, encountered a very different scenario: there were well organized and sophisticated society already flourishing there, it was Greco-Roman world.
Amidst this world, the monk-missionaries had established their own cave monastery, now known to us as Petra, simply meaning Rock as has been mentioned earlier; it had been abandoned some two millennia ago. The successors of Ashok the Great were unable to hold on to their empire as local chiefs rose up who championed the cause of Hinduism and the Empire got fragmented and disappeared. Buddhism without any support and patronage just withered away and Petra suffered the consequence.
Ashok the Great was well informed of the situation for he has named the Hellenistic King Antiochus (215-164 B.C.) of Seleucid dynasty as his westerly neighbor. Ashokan monk missionaries were familiar with the Judeo-Hellenistic world becomes apparent from the edict they have left engraved bilingually in Greek and Aramaic.
Nearer home, all Ashokan edicts are written in Pali, some fifty of them still survive; they are one of the oldest form of writing in evidence, dated 3rd Century B.C..
Photo Greco-Aramaic Bilingual Edict of Ashok, circa 3rd Century B.C.: Courtesy Wikipedia
The year 1812 was a momentous year in our study of the discovery of ancient linkage between Buddhism and the Western World; in that year, an intrepid Swiss archaeologist named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt had stumbled upon the ancient ruins of a flourishing human habitation in the middle of Jordanian Desert.
The ruins of a city carved out of rockface quickly got christened as Petra, from Greek word ‘petros’ meaning rock. Even more so, since there were no claimants, the city was arbitrarily given to ancient Biblical people called Nabataens, where it remains so today.
I lay spiritual claims upon the ownership of Petra Cave Monastery on behalf of my ancestors, the Ashokan Kirati Mongolian monks who had carved out the monastery.
We have so far examined how the monk missionaries had carried the gospel of Four Noble Truths to the East and in the process settled down in South East Asian Region. Some monk missionaries had travelled westward and established themselves in the middle of the desert and we can see their footprints through Afghanistan and if the pattern of carving the rockface at Petra is to be studied, we will find them closer to home in Ajanta and Ellora Caves in India. I emphatically assert here that as Hinduism supplanted Buddhism in India, Petra Cave Monastery, just like Ajanta and Ellora lost not only the patronage but fresh intake of novitiates and slowly withered away.
Apparently the monk missionaries were contemporarily known to the Judeo-Christian World as we find several references in the Bible of holy men living in caves whose identity however, has not been disclosed. When St Paul says he spent three years in the desert after his Damascus Road incident, he can be conveniently placed at the Petra Cave Monastery.
It is not a very far-fetched idea that the Three Wise Kings who came from the East to pay obeisance to Jesus the Christ at his birth could have been based on the nativity scene of the Buddha, five centuries earlier; we have seen them depicted on the walls of a Laotian temple and in Nepalese manuscripts.
Photo: Courtesy Wikipedia