Monday, 30 March 2020

Misplaced priorities in India

India is also in the grip of a deadly Carona virus. The entire nation is in the grip of fear.  There is a complete lockdown in the entire country. This lockdown has been extended for another twenty-one days. Air-services, train services, transport, metro-services, educational institutions, government offices etc, all have been closed for twenty-one days. Only essential services, hospitals, banks and grocery markets will function for limited hour's every-day.
However, the situation is not very serious. The government of India is doing a very good job to control the spread of the virus. The entire government has thrown its complete resources in its efforts. Its efforts are also showing positive results. Due to these efforts, the spreading of the epidemic has been controlled considerably.  So far around five hundred people are detected with Corona positive and only five people have died due to the virus.
 In India, this virus has spread by the people who have come back from foreign countries. On humanitarian grounds, the government of India helped the Indians, stranded in foreign countries. These people brought and imported the virus into the country. Moreover, these people created all types of problems for going to checking and co-operating with the authorities. They behaved in a very dangerous and lawless manner.
Maximum affected people came from Iran, Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries. But the government of India did not impose the travel ban on such people. Moreover, on the arrival of India, these people did not co-operate with the doctors and the authorities. At some places, they even started rioting and damaging the public property. At Srinagar airport, some passengers returned from Dhaka. They refused to undergo all the tests and restored to violence and rioting. Similarly, few people refused to undergo medical tests, arguing that in Islam, such tests are not allowed.
Muslims created the maximum problems and they were not ready to go for the medical checkup in the name of their religion that Allah will save them. In most of their areas, they were not ready to co-operate with the police and the authorities for the lockdown and people's curfew. Even they are not ready to cancel their agitation and strikes in the name of anti-CAA and anti-NRC acts. Their attitude is very dangerous and endangering the lives of the people. They also didn't stop their Namaz on the roads and public places, endangering the lives of the other people.
Doctors and medical staff are grossly unequipped. They don't have the necessary equipment to protect themselves. The situation is under control now, but the pattern of increase in the number of Corona infected patients will be difficult to handle. But the country of 1.3 billion populations scares every possibility of community transmission which may lead to a massive increase in the number of affected patients. Government doctors are apprehensive that there will be soon shortage of basic protective gear like masks, gloves and sanitizers. The situation is very bad in states like Maharashtra, Bengal and Kerala. Doctors don't have N95 surgical masks. They are just using cotton masks.  Protective hood covers are also not inadequate supply. For treating the critical acre patients, doctors cannot do without the hoods. Hospitals, doctors and the support staff are not equipped to face the impending emergency. Even the guards outside the wards and ICU are also exposed to the danger.
There is hardly any training for the doctors and the staff to meet any disaster. There is no facility to train the staff. The doctors and staff have a very old type of training which they have many years ago while studying. Years of practising makes a man rusty and out of date. They have hardly any training sessions. Most of the staff has no experience to face something like this. Everybody should be mentally and educationally equipped to face such a situation. Everybody is scared.
India has highly misplaced priorities. Religion, caste and vote banks are above the nation and health of the people. The health sector was never a top priority to any government or the party. India has around twenty-five lakhs Non-Government Organizations, getting thousands of crores as government grants but they are doing nothing in this hour of need. Similarly, India has lakhs of government-funded madrasas, mosques, minority institutions, Haj Houses, Waqf Boards etc.

The government spends thousands of crores on these minority institutions but none is doing anything for the nation and the people. In the name of social justice to India spends thousands of crores on so many caste groups like SCs, STs, OBCs etc. On account of these schemes, hardly any money is left for the health sector.
So, all the government should stop the freebies and freeloading schemes. This money should be used in the health sector. Most Of the political parties and leaders do nothing but only indulge in the freebies and freeloading schemes to win the election. Such mentality has ruined the nation and the people. Now the nation feels all the schemes are useless and senseless. The government of India should stop all such senseless exercise and start strengthening the health and medical sector and health sector. This is a very urgent need. 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Views of Coleridge on Education in Frost and Midnight

In his famous and contemplating poem, 'Frost at Midnight,' Coleridge in the second stanza of the poem travels past to his harsh and uneasy school days. His mind always enthused by his gloomy memories of his school days.
The owlet's cry
Came loud--and hark, again! loud as before.
(Frost At Midnight)         
He remembers with great pain the experiences at Christ Hospital School. He had no good memory of his school days. The bells of the old church-tower were like twinkling sounds filling on his ears like a prophecy of sweet dreams that some relatives or friends would visit him and he will enjoy some good time with them.
But O! how oft,
How oft, at school, with most believing mind,
Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars,
To watch that fluttering stranger ! and as oft
With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt
Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower,…
(Frost At Midnight)
The post failed to concentrate on his studies because he went to the school due to the pressures of the family, society and religion. It was not his will. He wanted to live in his village with nature but he was almost forced to go to school that he never liked.  He always fixed his eyes on the book only to pretend and fool the stern and strict headmaster Rev. James Bowyer. Due to his attitude, the poet became severe homesick at school.

And so I brooded all the following morn,
Awed by the stern preceptor's face, mine eye 
Fixed with mock study on my swimming book:
Save if the door half opened, and I snatched
A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up,
For still I hoped to see the stranger's face,
Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved,
My play-mate when we both were clothed alike
 (Frost At Midnight)
The school days at Christ's Hospital School haunted Coleridge like a scary nightmare. Coleridge silently listens to his son, Hartley Coleridge and explores the relationship between the environment at the school and his happiness. He shares his lamentations on his physical and emotional confinement in his school. Inner discomfort and education gained in nature will make all seasons 'sweet to thee' giving the child a new perceptive about life.                      
Whose bells, the poor man's only music, rang
From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day,
So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me
With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear
Most like articulate sounds of things to come!
So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt,
Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams!
(Frost At Midnight)
The poet could not fully hold and focus on his studies because of his different exposure and environment. He always used to think with expectations in the school that some visitor from his village would be there to meet him. He would just appear before his eyes. Even if the door of his classrooms opens a little, he would quickly gaze out of the room to see someone from his village. An aunt, a beloved brother or sister, a childhood playmate would be visiting him. The poem reflects his unplaced and mismatched concerns for his education beliefs. Here the poet was exploring his inner self in his failures.
Where lays the fault? 
The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings:
(Frost At Midnight)
Coleridge did not support forced and mandatory education. A child should be free to study according to his choice. A child should have the freedom to choose the subjects and the place of his study. It would be good if he remains near to his dear ones and near to his place during the study. It gives him added confidence and concentration. 
Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
And think that thou shalt learn far other lore,
And in far other scenes! For I was reared
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim,
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars.
But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags
Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
(Frost At Midnight)
Romantic age poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge resisted imagination as the human mind's transitory imitation of the divine creation of the world. He wrote "The primary Imagination, I hold to be … repetition in the finite of the eternal act of creation." Creative powers of the human mind imitate the divine words if they are free from pressures. If one remains with landscapes, nature, frost etc, one can get show the divine message to the world.
Coleridge was of the view that if a child has a happy environment; he will be a good teacher to the society, because, good and positive environment can enlighten the inner self of a child.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

            Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing

Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the night-thatch
(Frost At Midnight)
Coleridge spent his school years in London in miserable conditions, "pent' mid cloisters dim," but he wishes his son Hartley will grow up in the natural rural areas where he can wander like a breeze/By lakes and sandy shores…."
The emergence of the "stranger" on the grate indication the coming of a guest, reminds Coleridge of his schooldays watching the "stranger" fluttering on the grate and hoping that visitor might arrive.
In the second stanza, the poet shifts the narration to his school days where he was at an inner discomfort that the post was feeling in his midnight vigil out a window. The student speaker is also looking out a window, discontent with the school environment, attempting to study and longs to go to nature. The failed attempts of a 'mock study' of his "swimming book" (line-38) when the strict teacher comes near, however, his thoughts were out of the half-open door.
He hopes a "stranger" (lines-26 and lines 41) which he imagines" fluttering" out the window. For him, this stranger desirable, "more beloved "than townsman, aunt, or sister to his eyes (line 42). School and studies were not important. He laments his school days-kept as was in "the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim" (line-52) where the only natural beauty was only the sky and stars.
He wished that his son will wander the fields and mountains, getting an education about the beauty and glory of nature. The child will learn "that eternal language, which thy God/Utters" (lines 60-61); in other words, nature will give him the best education about the world.
The poet declares that the education gained in the lap of nature make entire life "sweet to thy," giving the child a new meaning of life that the poet cannot completely get because of his education in a big city and far away from his village and nature. The poet has trouble setting solitude in frosty midnight, and similarly, he could not concentrate on his studies.

William Dalrymple as a realist story-teller

William Dalrymple is a great modern historian. He was a very popular History Exhibitioner at illustrious Trinity College, Cambridge   University. He is also a great storyteller, narrator, journalist, historian and a very keen traveller. His travelogues are so popular and amazingly narrative that they have become a part of literature.
In 1989, Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for five years, researching for his second very popular book, ' City of Djinns’, which won 1994, Thomas Cook Travel Cook Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. He came to India as a journalist of the Sunday Times but he excelled in history, journalism, literature, Indo-logy, research and tale related with India.
In the 'City of Djinns', he very realistically narrated the fast-changing Delhi with the description of the psychology and behaviour of people of Delhi.  He found Delhi changing fast, however parts of the city still preserved the ways of Mughals, their eating habits, their attire, their festivals, their construction designs etc.
In the late twentieth century, he found, not only, the Mughal order crumbling but the romantic world of the freedom struggle, cosy world of Congress and Nehruvian Non-Aligned Movement too.
…the cosy world of the Freedom Struggle, of homespun Congress Socialism and the Non-aligned Movement-all of it was going down.                                                                                  (City of Djinns)
All was lost and going downward down. However, the new generation was very restless in the old system and found it very out of date and useless. It has no faith and hope in those old romantic ideas of socialism. Now, Japanese, designed Maruti cars, big shopping malls, high rise complexes, and multi-national companies have forced out all the old hollow ideals. Satellite dishes are now out-numbering the religious places. Now for the neo-riches London and New York become Simla.
Designer flats replaced old big bungalows. The huge blocks of Connaught Circus, Rajah Man Singh, the Jantar Mantar etc saw dwarfed by the neighbouring high-rise towns. The beautiful Meridian Hotel was especially charmed the writer, built near the Lutyens's Viceroy's House to India Gate.
The name changing game or the re-naming of the old places like Kasturba Gandhi Marg that was originally Curzon Road pulled the attention of the narrator. All the old palatial buildings were neglected or poorly maintained. The buildings constructed by the British government were in bad shape. People were very critical of this mindless development. People were apprehensive that not one private Lutyens bungalow would be there by the end of the century.
It has become a fashion among the rich and educated liberals to show the western goods and ideas in a very careless manner. Even the writer was shocked to see the loss of morals.  'Adulterous couples' and 'condom advertisements' filled the public gardens, historical places in Delhi. The writer noted with distress the fall of 'the last bastion of the chaperoned virgin', 'to the double-locked bedroom' and 'arranged marriages' were 'filled with love', holding hands lovers loitering everywhere. 'Delhi was started to unbutton.'
Adulterous couples now filled the public gardens; condom advertisements dominated the Delhi skyline. The Indian capital, once the last bastion of chaperoned virgins, the double-locked bedrooms and the arranged marriages were slowly filling with lovers,…….Delhi was starting to unbutton.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                             ( City of Djinns)
Old high moral would be lost and collapsed and a new valueless system filled with darkness and darkness, gripped the; lives of the Indians. Apart from morals, it is the pollution of Delhi - air, water, river Yamuna, which found a special mention. William Dalrymple was a true lover of nature. The loss of natural beauty and richness equally disturbed him.
The writer was also a bitter critic of mindless and aimless migration to Delhi. Migrants, beggars, jhuggis, rampant unauthorized construction, encroachments, etc became a big problem and filth in Delhi. The authorities were not doing anything to stop and remove this menace.
With all these drastic and changes, the noticeable change in the behaviour of people was very irritating. Middle-class people became very selfish and intolerant. The great 'Hindu qualities of assimilation and acceptance' became a subject of mockery and weakness. Even educated people became intolerant fascists. The behaviour of Muslims found a special mention here. All wanted Muslims to be disciplined and tolerant. This was a very common topic of discussion and concern in the drawing rooms of the middle class in Delhi. 
The narrator noticed that Muslims were openly appeased and pampered by the ruling Congress party and government and for a very long period, this policy has made them fanatic and lawless. The growing population of Muslims was a big concern everywhere. This appeasement policy was responsible for a sense of communal divide and unrest in the city.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Corona Poem

Wash hands like Lady Macbeth,
Seclude like Miss Havisham for health.
Put off and delay your tasks like Hamlet,
Maintain distance like Elizabeth Bennett.  
Don't run like Desdemona dear,
Don't cry and go mad like King Lear.
Eat like Falstaff and protect,
Put on masks like Benedict.  
Be proud like Darcy and avoid dancing with Lizzies.
Don't steal others' handkerchiefs like Iago, please.    
Unlike Romeo elude meeting Juliets,
That waits in the balconies like chariots.   
Don't drift around like Ulysses,
Be judicious like Beatrice.
Don’t suck like The Flea pretends hug,
Avoid method-less madness like Shaheen Bhag.
Use lightning and thunderbolt to clean the Garden,
And quantify to Paradise Regain and pardon.
Avoid anti-CAA Goblin Markets.
Let the West Wind Blow for a good harvest.
Listen to the melodious songs of Nightingales,
Admire the freshness and beauty of Daffodils.
Stay Home, Stay Safe like Laura and glow,
And be brute with Corona like Othello.  
And kill the Corona-Virus like Evelyn Hope,
And make your country full of happy rope.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Coronavirus and travel ban

India and Indians were very happy and tension free. Our neighbour China was in the grip of deadly virus Corona which killed thousands of people and lakhs of people were affected by the virus. China, although is a very developed and advanced nation even then, it has no knowledge or medicine to control the deadly disease. Keeping the affected or the patient in quarantine or in isolation is the only way-out to check the spreading of the virus. The Chinese authorities enforced this system of quarantine or isolation very brutally.
The epicentre of this epidemic is the Wuhan province of China. In China, thousands of Indian students, businessmen and visitors were also stranded due to the cancellation of flights. The government of India arranged special flights to bring back these stranded Indians. On moral grounds, it appears a very good decision. But this decision brought Coronavirus to India. Rather we invited Coronavirus to India. It was a self-invited disaster. 
Everybody knows that the health services in India are very poor. Similarly, there is no discipline in the governing system. As a result of this, the virus spread in the country. It snatched our peace and health. The government of India did not stop here; it brought back NRIs, students, visitors and tourists from Iran, Italy and other gulf countries. Now, the nation is also in the grip of panic.
In so many states educational institutions, cinema halls etc have been closed. The seminars, conferences, sport meets, musical shows etc also have been cancelled. But, the government of India is silent on the most important action and that is a travel ban. Even Pakistan refused to take back home its own citizens from China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Now this epidemic and virus have spread all over the country. Ladakh to Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh to Gujarat, the entire nation is in the grip of this virus. It has become a pandemic disaster.
Now, a very natural question comes to the mind. Why the government of India, is bringing all the NRIs, students, tourists and visitors to India from disease affected nations? The answer is very simple. We Indians believe in the show of the hollow lofty and suicidal ideas. This is sheer 'method less madness', as Bard of Oven, William Shakespeare has mentioned in the famous tragedy 'Hamlet.'
It is just inviting our own death or going for suicide in the presence of all. No other country is doing this senseless act. Almost all the countries have imposed travel ban with the disease affected nations. America has banned all the entries from all the European nations. Saudi Arabia has banned the Haj and Umra pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and shut down all the mosques
The government of India should also ban all the entries from the Corona infected countries. It is playing havoc with the lives and safety of the people. The NRIs, tourists, visitors and students are responsible for bringing Coronavirus to India. These entries must be banned with immediate effect like the other countries for the safety and health of the people. Most of the countries including America, China, Italy, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan etc have banned all the entries from the affected nations.
Here, this point is noteworthy that first time this virus was detected in Agra, which is a famous tourist destination. Later positive cases were also found in Delhi, Bangalore and Rajasthan. Again, these places are also business tourist destinations. Peoples are still visiting tourist and religious places without any check and restrictions. Still, pilgrims are also coming to visit Ajmer dargah without any restrictions.  This is a very serious lapse on the part of the government of India.
In this matter, even the role of judiciary cannot be appreciated. Recently, a High Court has directed the government to bring back all the Indians, stranded abroad. Health concern was not an issue for the learned judge. Kerala assemble has gone a step further and criticized the central government for not acting fast to ferry back the Indian citizens from foreign nations.
All these suggestions and criticism cannot be appreciated in the matter of safety and health. The safety of people and the nation must be first. It is very necessary for the government of India to impose a strict travel ban from the affected nations for the safety and health of the people.
In view of the unfolding stern brunt of Corona or COVID-19, the entire nation is facing a very tough and testing time. Education institutions closed, cinema halls shut, bubs and malls empty, flight are being restricted, people are also facing the severity of the situation. The entire nation is getting hit and disturbed. In the existing circumstances, it would be very appropriate for the government of India in these hard times by imposing the travel ban by guiding them to come back after some time when the threat subsides. People, opposition parties and judiciary should take the appropriate call, accordingly.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

जय कोरोना बाबा की

जैसे हाजीजी उलझे अपनी दाड़ी में,
हम उलझ गए मामू की शादी में।
चारों ओर फुहारें थीं, डेटॉल और सेवलोन की,
उनकी महक से सांसे तो धड़्क रहीं थी,
पर मेरी बांयी आंख भी फड़्क रही थी।
सबको कोरोना की चिंता सता रही थी,
नमस्ते करने में भी रुह कांप रही थी,
ढूंढ रहे थे सभी राह खिसकने की,
हाथ मिलाने की जगह, कर रहे थे नमस्ते,
अंदर ही अंदर याद आ रहे थे फरिस्ते।

डर कर खड़े थे सब दूर दूर, पंडाल में,
मेकअप गायब हो गया, मास्क के दस्तूर में।
सैनेटाइजर बना काम अहम, भुले बात सजावट की,
महिलाएं पहने थी एंटी-कोरोना लोंग-इलायची माला,
बातॉं ही बातों में पूंछ रही थी रुपया दस वाला झाड़ा।  

दूल्हा दुल्हन बैठे मंडप में, डरे सहमे से,
वरमाला भी डाली गई एक मीटर दूर से।
हाथ लगाए बिना, पूरी हुई रस्म फेरों की,
सभी ने शादी को देखा दूर टीवी स्क्रीन से,
मेकअप दुल्हन का किया लोंग और कपूर से।

कोसों दूर से दे रहे थे सभी पूरा आशीर्वाद,
थक कर बैठे कुर्सी पर, सोच रहे जाने की फरियाद।
सुलझती नहीं पहेली इन रिश्ते-नातों की,
तोड़ी हमारी गफलत, मामू को आई छींक,
छा गया आतंक, सूख गई सबकी पीक्।

भागे दूल्हा और दुल्हन, फुर्र स्टेज से कूद कर,
गये ओझल, मंडप छोड़, आये सेनेटाइज़ होकर्।  
मजधार में छोड़, भागे सभी, चिंता अपनी जान की,
डर कर हाथ जोड़ मिन्नतें करने लगा घबराया मामू,
कॉरोना के साये में झांक रहे थे अपनी-अपनी बाजू।

दावत छोड़ हवा हुये सभी मेहमान,
खर्चे के लिए भागे हलवाई और जजमान।
अजब है, रीत इन खून के प्यारे रिश्तों की, 
शादी में भूले भूख और चिंता, हंसने-मुस्कराने में,  
कोरोना भी औंधे डूबा, खोलते तेल कढाई में।  

कोरॉना का कहर सीमा पार शत्रु पर बरसे।
करोना बाबा अब हाथ जोड़ विनती करते तुमसे।  
जाओ जिहादियों के यहां, छोडो दुनिया इंसानों की,
और कहना, बहुत सताया मेरे भक्त इंसानों को,
दो हिसाब खून के हर कतरे का, कोरोना यमदूत को।