My elder brother Pratap and me(Rudra) come together as Prataparudra. Does that name sound familiar to you? My father taught Indian History all his life and he was clearly inspired by the names of the legendary figures found in our history books. He selected names to reflect his admiration for people who lived before and who had established a glorious period in the collective memory of Indians. My elder brother got his name Pratap to remind us of the bravery of Rana Pratap who challenged the Mughal emperor Akbar. Telugu people also take pride in the legacy of the great Kakatiya Dynasty that ruled much of the Telugu speaking areas in 12 th century A.D. The famous Thousand-Pillar Temple in Hanamkonda near Warangal was built in 1162 A.D. by the Kakatiya king Rudra Deva(1158-1195A.D.) who is also known as Prataparudra I. One of the few queens in Indian history and a most prominent ruler of Kakatiya Dynasty was Rani Rudrama Devi(1262-1295 A.D.). Her grandson, Prataprudra ascended the throne in 1280 A.D. During his reign, art and literature flourished. The conquest of South India(Deccan) by the Delhi Sultanate started in 1296 by Alauddin Khilji. The first invasion in 1303 A.D. was repulsed by the valiant resistance of the Kakatiya army. The Khilji dynasty ended and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ascended the Delhi throne in 1320 A.D. The first attack by Muhammad bin Tughlaq was repulsed. During 1321 A.D. after an initial failed attempt, a much larger force attacked the Warangal Fort for the second time and finally King Prataparudra was taken prisoner. While being taken as a prisoner to Delhi, King Prataparudra released his life into the loving embrace of River Narmada and preserved his dignity. Maharana Pratap, Chatrapati Shivaji and King Prataparudra are our national heroes because of their resistance to foreign rulers and occupation.
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE :Who you are ( your essence ) is defined by what you do ( your existence ). King Prataprudra desired to exist as a man of honor and integrity and had defended the dignity of his existence and did not desire to yield his dignity to keep his existence. Indian tradition makes a distinction between Subjective Reality of Existence and the Objective Reality of Existence. The Subjective Reality of King Prataprudra who was taken as a prisoner by his enemy was not consistent with the Objective Reality of Existence of King Prataprudra as defined by his nature. The King took the extreme measure to destroy the reality of his subjective existence as a prisoner and upheld the true nature of his essence which was consistent with the Objective Reality of his existence. By killing the prisoner, the King became an immortal individual. The prisoner had died and the King lives in the hearts of Telugu people.
Our names have stories to tell and guide us to revisit the history and we take pride in our Telugu heritage.
In the Land from where such beautiful thoughts have blossomed, the people have now become increasingly vulnerable to Terror Attacks and a countless number of innocent lives have already perished because of evil forces which desire to wipe out our Identity as a people. While we commit ourselves to promote peace and goodwill and work for the well being of all people, there is no escape from the challenge that we face today. As a community and as a nation, we have no alternative other than preparing ourselves to this threat that is showing its ugly face without prior notice or warning.
A STRATEGY TO FACE THE SECURITY CHALLENGES OF TERRORISM
Terror and ruthless violence have become the tools of fanatics who would like to impose their socio-cultural agenda to bring about large scale societal changes by using coercion and not negotiation. The recent bomb attacks in the city of Hyderabad is establishing a trend. The targets of terror are very soft and nothing was known about an impending attack. There is no easily identifiable group. There is no proclaimed goal or agenda other than that of destroying the fabric of the Indian society. We should stop clinging to the traditional views of conventional wars between countries. Each incident of terror attack should be legally defined as an act of war and the suspects should be held accountable for war crimes. The Armed Forces of the country should be equipped, prepared and redeployed to join this battle at a short notice.The military planners need to evolve a strategy for urban warfare and to pursue an enemy hiding in densely populated areas and to engage enemy targets with great precision and fire power which could be delivered with greater accuracy. The military intelligence capabilities should be enhanced to evolve military operations against internal enemies. We may need trained, rapid response teams to respond to this kind of aggression and its aftermath of wounded victims. The asymmetrical war unleashed by the terror groups is of equal importance in terms of the danger it poses to our national sovereignty. The response to each attack should come from the nation as a whole with the Armed Forces keeping the option of a military strike in retaliation.
The most important task following a terror attack would be that of caring for the victims. The Army Response Teams should be called in to arrange for the evacuation and treatment of the victims in the same manner that casualties from a battle field are taken care of. The wounded should be treated, rehabilitated and be provided followup care and paid a disability pension if required. We need to take care of victims instead of forgetting about them after paying some compensation. The investigation of the incidents and the prosecution of suspects should happen under the jurisdictional directions from the military authority.There should be no public disclosures about the evidence and the tools and methods used for collection of evidence. Such disclosures would only help the terror groups to plan their future attacks better. The suspects should be tried under the provisions of the military law in military courts. Indian citizens who are accomplices to these acts of war should be charged with treason and tried as traitors. If we are at war with groups and terror outfits based in foreign countries, our trade and diplomatic relationships should reflect the state of war that exists and there should be no normalization of relationships till such time the threat is neutralized.
Our government has an obligation to protect and defend the rights of the people and we need to step up our response to these acts of war of aggression.
Apart from the basic differences in the ideas and thoughts of various religious traditions of this world, there is a fundamental difference in the visual characterization of the religious icons. The first thing that strikes the mind of the reader of religious scriptures is the difference in the way the scriptures portray their icons. I have seen The Holy Bible, The Holy Quran and no image comes before my eyes. I have to really struggle hard to imagine as to who is speaking to me.These Scriptures have several characters which are clearly human but there is no description of their physical attributes and the portrayal is lacking in information that would help the reader to develop a visual image. If you read the above verse, the beautiful image of Lord Krishna automatically comes before you without any effort. I define this as Indian Identity, it is a reflection upon our nature and our literature does a marvellous job giving life and color to the icons and I feel it becomes very easy for me to get connected to them and listen to them as they guide us in our spiritual journey.
Jesus taught this prayer to His disciples and it is given in The Book of Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 9-13. ” Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” In relation to God whom He called “Father”, Jesus claimed the unique and distinctive relationship of “Son”. In an absolute and unqualified way, Jesus claimed that He is the Father’s unique Son. “No one knows the Son except the Father and no one knows the Father except the Son”(MATTHEW 11:27). Jesus expressed this intimacy of relationship by addressing God as “ABBA”, the word for father in Aramaic language. Nowhere in the literature and the prayers of ancient Judaism is this invocation of God as “ABBA” to be found. The final words of Jesus when He died on the cross were,” Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit “(LUKE 23:46).
THE DIVINITY OF MOTHER
My Indian Identity could be attributed to my claim of the Divinity of my Mother. When I speak to God, I refer to the Divine Entity as my Mother and Father. In Indian literature, while speaking of parents, invariably the word mother takes precedence over the word father. In my prayers, I address God as my Mother and Father. My traditions, my rituals and Cultural practices stress the Divinity of Mother. The river I worship is Ganga Maa(Mother Ganges), the cow I worship is Go Maata, the provider of my linguistic identity is Telugu Talli, the country of my origin is Bharat Maata. The following prayers are an example of my belief in a Divine, Universal Mother.
Mantra Murtey Sadaa Devi, Maha Lakshmee namostutey.
Padmaasana stitey Devi, Para Brahma Swaruupini
Parameshwari Jaganmata Maha Lakshmee namostutey.
THE MOTHER PRINCIPLE IN INDIAN TRADITION :
The term or word mother describes a female parent and it also conveys an idea that mother gives birth to something, it is the source, or origin of something, it nurtures something in a manner like that of a mother, and it also speaks of having the responsibility, and authority of a mother. The word mother could be used as a title to address a female person with respect and affection. The word mother is also often used as an adjective to describe something derived or learned from one’s mother. Indian Culture has given three icons who represent the three aspects of motherhood. Goddess Lakshmi represents the mother who nurtures, the provider of material wealth, prosperity, and well-being. Goddess Parvati represents the mother who defends, the source of energy, and the sustainer. Goddess Sarasvati represents the source of knowledge, and the provider of learning, speech, and wisdom
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
The Tamils called it ‘ MAILAPUR ‘(town of peacocks), Mailiga Vandha Voor(town where peacock offers worship) and in Sanskrit it is known as ‘MAYURPURI’. Greeks called it ‘ MALIARPHA ‘ and the Portuguese called it ‘ MELIAPUR ‘.Finally, the English called it ‘ MYLAPORE ‘. It is a known center of human habitation for thousands of years. Even before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Tamil Saint Poet Thiruvalluvar lived here.He conveyed his noble thoughts in the form of poems and his work known as ” THIRUKKURAL ” can rightly be claimed as a gift of God to mankind. I am happy to present some poems translated into English by Shri.J Narayanaswamy.
10. KINDNESS IN WORDS
91. Sweet words laced with love, free from
deceit, are the gift of the enlightened
92.Saying sweet things with a smile, is as
good as munificence of a kind soul
93.Earnest words from the mind, conveyed
with a smile, have virtue in them
94.The woe of unfriendliness does not afflict
those who instil mirth by sweet words
95.Those adorned with modesty, speaking sweet
truths do not need other decorations
96.Pursuing virtue in the goodness of
fruitful words, vanishes harm
97.Graceful words of kindness
yield fruitful good deeds
98.Sweet words free from deceit, afford
pleasure to life and fame beyond it
99.who perceive seeds of goodness in sweet
words have no mind for harsh things
100.None having ripe fruits relish raw ones; who will
speak harsh when sweetness can achieve good.
Please feel free to spread those sweet words which took birth in MYLAPORE.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”.
The Book of Matthew, Chapter 5,verse 5 of The Holy Bible teaches that humility has its own rewards. I inherited a sense of humility from the Land of Bharat.I consider humility as my acquired behavior and my Culture helped me to learn it through repeated practice and by giving me opportunities to display it in every aspect of my life. My Indian Identity is defined by this Cultural value. The ultimate purpose of life is defined as getting back to the Lotus Feet of the Lord. I am encouraged to touch and worship feet to reach my goal with a sense of humility. I began the process of learning with a sense of meekness. First I was directed to humble myself before Lord Shiva. I seek pure and perfect knowledge and humility is the light that shines on the path to wisdom. Humility is the gentle wind that dispels the dark clouds that prevent you from viewing the brilliant sun shining in the sky. Ego, like the cloud that causes darkness, could be driven away by learning to be humble. In my daily life, I am given the opportunity to humble myself several times. My living experience is full of interactions with objects which I am guided to treat with a sense of reverence. The Sun, the Sky, the Moon and the Stars, the Wind, the Earth, the River and Water, the Fire and the Light, the Mountain and the Hill, the Plants and the Trees, the flowers,the fruits, the grains and the orchards, the lion, the tiger, the elephant, the Cow, the Bull, the Monkey, the Eagle and the Peacock, the Snake, the Spider, the Rat and the changing seasons I view with respect. As a kid , my learning experience began with showing respect to my parents, my elders, my teachers and the idols and the images that receive worship. The essence of my learned behavior is humility. The Land has given me a sense of meekness and with that I may inherit the Identity of the Ultimate Reality.
Dana, Veera, Soora Karna(Generous, Brave and Courageous) is a man ‘True to his Salt’. But for his unflinching loyalty to his benefactor, the Story of Mahabharata would have been different. The Book of Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 13, reads “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “A man without character should be rejected.
THE ROLE OF CHARACTER IN DEFINING IDENTITY
Dr. Martin Luther King wished for the day when his sons would not be judged by the color of the skin but by the content of their character. Character is defined as the combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group or thing from another. Character is a description of a person’s attributes, traits or abilities.
PRINCE KARNA – A TRUE HERO :
In the Indian epic of Mahabharata, Prince Karna is allied with the enemies of the Pandavas. Karna is the first son of Queen Kunti and is the half brother to the Pandavas and is the eldest of them. However, Queen Kunti abandoned him after his birth and he is known as ” Radheya” and as ” Suta Putra ” as he grew up in the house of a charioteer. Karna sought a position at the court in Hastinapura. His identity as a low-caste person came in the way of his quest for knowledge and mastering the art of archery. Dronacharya the teacher of Kuru princes has refused to teach him. Later, Dronacharya held an archery contest at Hastinapura and Karna is publicly humiliated as he is made ineligible to participate in the competition for he has no princely status. Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kaurava brothers comes to the rescue of Karna. He immediately appoints Karna as the King of ‘ANGA’ province and makes him eligible to participate in the archery contest. Thus Karna becomes a true friend and a loyal ally of Duryodhana. Karna fought for the Kauravas in the great battle at Kurukshetra. Because of the fear of the impending battle, Queen Kunti approached Karna and for the first time reveals her identity as his mother and calls him as “Kunteya”. The true character of Karna comes out when he tells his mother that he must fight the Pandavas but promises not to kill any of them other than Arjuna. On the 15 th day of the battle, Karna is appointed as the Commander and Chief of the Kaurava forces. Karna braved impossible odds in his whole life and died with great courage, valor and honor. It is Karna’s fate to be sacrificed in a climatic battle with Arjuna. It is a death that is a reminder of the necessity of sacrificial destruction for redemption. The dignity with which Karna conducted his life makes him my favorite hero and I would claim that Loyalty, Dependability and Trustworthiness is the bench mark of Indian Identity.
ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE :
The essence of salt exists in its flavor and if salt loses its taste and flavor, its existence has no purpose and it would be discarded. A man has to define as to who he is, his true nature and his existence would be valued as long as he retains the flavor of his essence. The reality of existence is a prerequisite for having essence and a man of character and integrity would only exist to display his true nature.
To many of us who have the privilege to serve in Uniform, nothing is really more important than being ‘LOYAL’. Many had cheerfully accepted the test of Loyalty and willingly sacrificed their lives in the discharge of their military duty and I am proud to describe this as our national character and as our true Identity.
The “Ten Commandments” are given in the Book of Exodus, The Second Book of Moses, The Old Testament of Holy Bible and are repeated in the Book of Deuteronomy,The Fifth Book of Moses. In Exodus, Chapter 20, verses 1-5 read as follows:
4.”You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth”:
5.”You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me”.
The ideas and thoughts that are expressed in the above Commandments basically oppose attitudes and personal behaviors which constitute and define Indian Identity.If I accept the Ten Commandments, even the simple practice of traditional greeting of “NAMASKAR” would be prohibited. I greet my God with ‘Namaskar’ and so also I greet my parents, my teacher, my guests, the Sun, the Light, the river, the mountain, the monkey, the cow, the plant, the tree, the rock, the idol with the same reverence and in the same way. The term ‘omnipresent’, being present everywhere at the same time describes God’s Absolute nature and Indians are culturally driven to seek divinity in all living objects and in all objects of this created world and universe. I touch and worship feet, I worship the fire, the water, the sky and the earth. I have a complete freedom of choice. I choose the object that I want to worship and do it at a time, place and manner that appeals to my free will.The Commandments intend to take away that freedom of expression and the manner in which I could worship God.
I had expressed my concerns about “The Ten Commandments” in an essay that was published in ‘The Ann Arbor News‘ in its daily edition dated Wednesday, March 1, 2000. I am reproducing the “OTHER VOICES” essay:
Indiana on verge of imposing religion on people :
The Ten Commandments and the imposition of Religion on people.
I am indeed distressed to read the news report from Indiana announcing that the state House as well as the Senate had overwhelmingly approved a bill that would permit the display of the Ten Commandments at public buildings, including schools.
This is not a trivial matter. That state is on the verge of imposing religion upon its people. A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress during 1999. The idea of displaying the Ten Commandments is receiving widespread support from the conservative Christians. I am shocked there has been no public opposition to such bills apart from a small concern about violating the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.
Indiana state Rep. Jerry Denbo assumed that the Ten Commandments are not bad principles. Unfortunately, most Christians presume that the Ten Commandments are divine law and that they are benign and noncontroversial principles. Many proponents of these bills also believe that they can prevent juvenile crime and violence by propagating the Commandments.
What is generally not known to supporters of these bills is the fact that the First and Second Commandments have actually sown the seeds of religious intolerance, disharmony and hatred and inspired communal violence of an epic proportion.
These Commandments have curbed the religious freedom of innocent people who are totally unaware of the existence of the jealous God who delivered people from their bondage in Egypt. These Commandments have provoked and gave legitimacy to the religious persecution of helpless people who never even heard of a prophet by the name of Moses. These Commandments specifically deny an individual’s freedom to choose any god of personal choice and prohibit the right to offer worship to an image or form of one’s liking. These Commandments divide the people into two groups, the believers and the non believers.
In spite of their profound religious philosophy and the strength of spiritual knowledge, the Hindu community landed in the camp of non believers with very tragic consequences.
Unlike the Old Testament, the New Testament has no coercive language, and the ministry of Jesus has been a lot more tolerant of the non believers. Islam which emerged later, gave full recognition to Prophet Abraham and Prophet Moses. Islam only recognized Jesus as a prophet of lesser importance. Their holy book Koran, vehemently opposes the claim of Jesus to be the son of God.
However, Islam became a very strong and ruthless advocate of the first two of the Ten Commandments. Starting from early 11th century A.D., Muslim forces repeatedly invaded and attacked the people of the Indian subcontinent, for the Muslims hated the Indian people who are known for worshiping idols.
The Muslim armies carried out brutal and vicious campaigns, looting and plundering India with a belief that they were justly punishing people who are non believers. The Muslim attackers destroyed Hindu temples and ruined priceless pieces of art and architecture. The Muslim invaders not only enslaved the Indian people but also built their mosques over the sites where the Hindu temples stood before.
This religious persecution on such a vast scale continued unabated for several centuries.The memories of repression still linger in the minds of the victims and are reflected in the distrust and tension between the Hindu and the Muslim communities of the present day.
If the governor of Indiana decides in favor of displaying the Ten Commandments at public expense, he should omit the first two. He should refrain from promoting a bigoted notion that people who worship idols deserve to be punished, and he should not directly or indirectly infringe on the rights of the religious minorities of his State.
The Ten Commandments pose a challenge to the survival of the seeds of ideas and thoughts that are planted in the Land of Bharat and the Indian Identity would only exist if people are willing to stand up to this challenge.
Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham,
Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,
My grandfather,Dr.Kasturi. Narayana Murthy,M.D. was the personal physician, friend, and confidant of Amarajeevi Potti Sri Ramulu. My grandfather had published a paper giving a detailed account of the changes in the clinical condition of Potti Sri Ramulu during the entire period of the fast from 19 October 1952 to 15 December 1952, a historical fast unto death. I did not learn about the history of the formation of Andhra Rashtra and later Andhra Pradesh from visiting libraries and from reading books. I am eye-witness to the historical process and I learned about the key personalities involved in shaping these historical events through my family connections.
This entry is dedicated to the memory of Amarajeevi Sri.Potti Sri Ramulu.
Maa Telugu Talli ki Malle pu danda
Mamu ganna Talli ki Mangalaratulu.
After leaving the shores of India in 1984, I had no problems of identity as people of other countries very easily find me as a person of Indian origin. However, while I lived in India, my identity had been a very ticklish issue. My birth place is Mylapore, Madras. Since I belonged to a Telugu speaking family, I met problems with embracing the local identity and describe myself as a native of Madras City. As I grew up in Madras, I have seen the growth of Dravida Munnetra Kazagham(D.M.K) as a political force.I had saw the bullock cart processions led by Shri.C.N.Anna Durai. As a kid, I grew up with an uneasy feeling. I lived with a sense of fear that the D.M.K Party would not let me claim Madras as my native place. (Because of Lord Kapaleeswara, I still keep a very strong sense of my emotional bonding with Mylapore.)Simultaneously, in 1952, I had witnessed Shri.Potti Sri Ramulu who had fasted unto death for the creation of a separate State for the Telugu speaking people. This was a historical event. In this fasting saga, my maternal grand father Doctor.Kasturi Narayana Murthy, M.D played a significant role in his capacity as the personal physician of Potti Sri Ramulu who observed the fast in Mylapore in the house of Sri.Bulusu Sambamurthy. Incidentally, my grand father for the first time in medical history had carefully documented the changes in the medical condition of his fasting patient and later published a paper.The fast began on October 19, 1952 and ended on December 15, 1952.This historical event was also witnessed by my maternal grandmother’s brother who was fondly known as ‘Thambi Mavayya’ and his name is Budhravarapu Ch. Narayana Murthi, a high-ranking State official. I remember watching the massive funeral procession of Potti Sri Ramulu as it marched through Mylapore and it became a turning point in the history of post-independence India.The political map of India was redrawn. Prime Minister Nehru had to reluctantly agree to the formation of Andhra State and later this historical event paved the way for the formation of linguistic States throughout India in 1957.
On October 1, 1953 the new State of Andhra had come into existence with Kurnool as its Capital. Prime Minister Nehru had attended the inaugural function. My grandfather was among the dignitaries seated on the Dais. In that Andhra State formation’s Inaugural Function, my grandfather was included as he had witnessed the greatest act of sacrifice and he symbolized the presence of that Departed Soul of Potti Sri Ramulu. Prime Minister Nehru was very upset and visibly angry and had refused to formally meet my grandfather. My grandfather, Dr. K N Murthy had described that Nehru’s face turned crimson with anger and had resembled a red apple. My grandfather had narrated to me that he made an attempt trying to greet Nehru with due courtesy and had extended his hand to offer a hand shake.Nehru had specifically refused to extend his hand and give a hand shake.’Andhra Kesari’ Sri Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu garu was chosen as the first Chief Minister and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was selected as the Deputy Chief Minister.Budhravarapu Ch Narayana Murthi was appointed as the first Law Secretary in the newly formed Andhra State Government and had lived in Kurnool. All of these people known to me had immense respect for Prime Minister Nehru and had valued his contributions to our Nation. Telugu people wanted to take part in National Affairs with a sense of Self-Pride and as equals. The Tamils undermined this sense of Self-Respect which Telugu people value in their dealings with others.
Prakasam Pantulu Garu died in 1957 and Dr. Kasturi. Narayana Murthy had received the urn containing the ashes when they had arrived at Madras by train. Dr. Murthy immersed the ashes into Bay of Bengal at Marina beach. This function was attended by a very huge gathering of Telugu people in Madras. Dr. Murthy had addressed this gathering in spite of running a high fever. Dr. Murthy was not a politician. He had worked as Professor of Medicine at Madras Medical College and being a Physician he came to know several political leaders of Telugu people and many of them had developed a very intimate and a close personal relationship with him. Dr. Murthy had also a very good relationship with Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and Damodaram Sanjeevayya( the Second Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh ) from the beginning of their political careers in the Freedom Movement.
There is a sense of sadness and bitterness about the regional politics of this country where language had become a major player in the political arena. Eventually, the State of Andhra Pradesh had come into existence on November 1, 1956 after the addition of nine districts of Telangana which were earlier a part of the State of Hyderabad.Nilam Sanjiva Reddy was the first Chief Minister of the newly formed State of Andhra Pradesh. The City of Hyderabad was chosen as the Capital for the newly formed State of Andhra Pradesh. The government buildings vacated in Kurnool were given to Kurnool Medical College. Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu Garu took the initiative in the formation of Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati. Kurnool Medical College is affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University. The history of the formation of Andhra Rashtra with Kurnool as its Capital still survives at Kurnool Medical College and the residential quarters. My grandfather left Madras city and found his new home in Hyderabad and Hyderabad became my travel destination for all of my vacations.I had my schooling in all the three areas which came together as a State to represent the Telugu speaking people. In the Coastal Andhra city of Rajahmundry, I could develop a strong sense of Telugu Identity and I am proud of that Identity and cherish that Identity that describes me as a Native of Rajahmundry. I was a student at Danavaipeta Municipal High School from 1955 to 1961. While I was a student at Government Giriraj Arts College in Nizamabad ( 1961 to 1965) of Telangana region and later while I was a student at Kurnool Medical College in Kurnool ( 1965 to 1970) of Rayala Seema region, the student community had expressed some negative feelings about my Telugu identity and a true sense of harmony was sadly lacking. This particular statement has offended my friend Shri. Apkari. Suryaprakash( who is a well-known Telugu Poet and was recognized by AIR as the Poet of the Year) of Nizamabad who did his B.A. degree course at Giriraj Arts College while I was a B.Sc student. I need to clarify my observation. It is not my intention to state that my friends; I had only two friends while I studied in Nizamabad, namely Shri. S. Mohan Reddy and A.Suryaprakash had entertained any negative feelings towards me. I am only speaking about the rest of the student community. I had participated in College Elections on two occasions while I was in Giriraj Arts College and got defeated both the times. Suryaprakash being a student of the B.A. class did not take part in my election which was exclusively decided by the B.Sc students. I am saying that I did not enjoy enough support amongst my classmates studying B.Sc to get elected. This election experience has painfully followed me while I was a student at Kurnool Medical College. I had tried and had failed in the College Election where the concerns about my Identity have played a role. We need to admit and recognize that there are regional differences amongst Telugu people and these differences become apparent in the political arena. My friendly connections to these places had survived. Amongst Telugu speaking people, three political identities exist, the identities of Coastal Andhra, Rayala Seema, and Telangana. This did not distract me from serving my Nation. In 1967, I had the opportunity to represent the State of Andhra Pradesh at a National Student Seminar on ” National Integration “. This was a month long major event and the Seminar took place in New Delhi. Many in the student community viewed the language factor as a major hurdle in achieving the goal of National Integration . While I got rejected in the College Elections because of regionalism amongst Telugu people, I still made my personal choice, and got married in Cuddapah making Cuddapah of Rayala Seema as my second Home Town.
While I was posted at Secunderabad, Sri.N.T.Ramarao founded the Telugu Desam Party in 1982. NTR’s message was that of upholding the self-respect of Telugu speaking people and he won the election in January, 1983. I had supported NTR and his Telugu Desam Party and had hoped that the new party would build bridges and bring Telugu people together onto a single platform and would give Telugu people an opportunity to play a meaningful role in National Affairs. I was particularly happy with the 1982 Election results because of N.T.R. led Telugu Desam Party performed very well across the three regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telugu people truly joined hands to project an image of Unity and Solidarity. Telugu Desam Party had started with a noble mission and had slowly slipped in its resolve to uphold its ideals of uniting Telugu people and bringing them together on a common political platform.
SANSKRIT, THE LANGUAGE OF MY CULTURE :
The ‘Three Language Formula’ was conceived as a solution to bring Indian people together and to overcome the linguistic differences. Under this formula, I had studied Telugu as my first language(mother tongue),English was my second language(Link language), and studied Hindi as my third language(national language).All the central ideas and thoughts that define our Indian Culture find their expression in Sanskrit language.I wish that I had studied Sanskrit as my third language under the ‘Three Language Formula’. I am very hopeful that Sanskrit could play a more useful role in promoting National Unity and National Integration. During the years that I had spent in Indian Army, I became fond of both Hindi and Urdu which had firmly linked me to the rest of the Nation. The sweetness of Urdu could foster a better relationship between Hindu and Muslim Communities. While I had lived in Nizamabad, the golden voice of immortal Mohd. Rafi had shaped my love for Urdu language. While Telugu gives me the sense of personal identity, and a sense of personal dignity, Sanskrit gives me the ability to connect to my past, and provides a sense of historical purpose; I still need Hindi and Urdu to reach the rest of the Nation; and English provides the bridges to cross the linguistic divide. The story about Telugu speaking people, their aspirations for regional identities continues today and all of Telugu people should come together to discuss this issue.
Please read Related Blog Post titled ‘An Open Testimony to Justice Srikrishna’
Parvati is Mother, Lord Shiva is Father, His devotees are relatives and all the three worlds(Bhu Loka, Bhuvar Loka and Suvar Loka – Earth, Sky and Heaven/SAT, CHIT, ANANDA) are my native place.
THE THEORY OF ‘SAMSARA’ AND THE SOCIAL CONCEPT OF “VASUDHAIKA KUTUMBAM”
As a student of Natural Science, the study of relationships has always interested me.The scientific study of Ecology describes the interconnectedness, the interrelatedness and the interdependence of living creatures in a given environment.A study of Ecosystems deals with the concepts of Mineral Sharing, Energy Flow and Population Control.Living organisms belong to social communities.The understanding of ecological principles would help us to come together as one large global community and it would enable us to treat life with a sense of respect and appreciate the intrinsic beauty and value of all living creatures.
By birth, I belong to the Land of India where I inherited my views about human existence and the social community.The word ‘relative’ when used as a noun describes a person who is connected to the other by way of birth or by way of marriage.By birth, I am connected to the Land of India and by acquiring the theory of ‘SAMSARA’, I am related to all the living creatures of this planet Earth. My soul while transmigrating over several cycles of birth and rebirth has become connected not only to the human beings but also developed relationships with plants and animals.This is a fundamental concept that defines my Indian Identity. I am an eternal being and I am related to a myriad of life forms.
While living in Ann Arbor, Michigan I met with a group of young students of Pakistani descent at the local Huron High School. I am a total stranger to this group of young people. The older kid in the group came forward and addressed me as “UNCLE”.This is precisely my own social experience.While growing up as a kid in India, I was always encouraged to recognize other members of the community as if I am related to them by birth. The social norm is to address others in an appropriate manner and even total strangers are treated with respect and are included as a part of an extended circle of family members.I greeted people living in my neighborhood as uncles and aunts. Amongst the members of the Armed Forces and their families this kind of affiliation and a sense of togetherness is much more pronounced. While I served in Uniform, the members of Service families always spoke to me as if I am their brother or their uncle. This social custom of inclusiveness is reflected in our popularly expressed sentiments. Mahatma Gandhi is recognized as “BAPU”(father). As a child, I grew up knowing Jawaharlal Nehru as “CHA CHA”(uncle)Nehru.
Plants obtain their minerals and other nutrients from the soil.Calcium is an important mineral constituent of my bones and it helps to define my physical identity. Iron is the other mineral which is important to the blood that flows through my body and sustains my physical existence. By sharing the minerals and from the energy that flows into my life from plants and animals, I get connected to the soil and I get related to the Land of my birth. I further strengthened my connection to the Land by choosing to serve it and defend it.
We are all connected and we are all related to each other. Either you could explain it in terms of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology or you could see it as a consequence of the cycles of birth and rebirth and transmigration of the soul through living entities.