The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


It was expected but it happened sooner than expected – the Shiv Sena snub to the Narendra Modi led National Democratic alliance government yesterday may well be the beginning of the dilution of the perception that ‘this government intends to perform and is here for a long haul’, if left unchecked.

BJP failed to live up to the expectations in the bye-elections held in Bihar (10 assembly seats), Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka (3 seats each) and Punjab (2 seats) after its spectacular performance in the Lok Sabha elections this year.

It was an unacceptable 7 seats for the BJP. Its Punjab ally SAD won 1. Bihar, the biggest theatre this time with 10 seats in the election fray, and the centrestage of the debate on the ‘bye-elections being referendum on Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar-Lalu Yadav-Congress combine exercise’, certainly let down Narendra Modi and Bhartiya Janata Party because the BJP had performed exceeding well in these assembly segments in the Lok Sabha polls and had won 6 out of these 10 in the last assembly polls. And even these 4 wins are not convincing. The BJP could retain the Hajipur seat with a victory margin of just over 6000 votes while the winning vote margin in Banka was miserable 711 votes.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Image courtesy: Time and The Telegraph

It is in such a bad taste that the mind desperately urges to run away from the TV sets or think of that impossible situation where they all could be dumped somewhere deep so that their twisted voices cannot surface.

These so called Seers, Gurus, Saints, the modern day Shankaracharyas, the Sadhus, the religious Satraps, and their ugly bickering in the name of sanctifying the religion of the Hindus and their silly and unpardonable crusade against ‘Sai Baba worship’ – who is asking them to represent us – who are they to interfere in our personal matters?

Yes, practicing religion is personal and no one has any right to issue a dictat to follow this or that God or this or that Saint or a dictat on whom to believe in as a God, something that this ill-intended Dharm Sansad (religious congregation) in Chhatisgarh did yesterday.

And ‘they doing so’ tells us they do not follow the religion they boast to represent. In fact no religion allows for such gaudy display of God ownership and faith ownership. Unfortunately, such ‘representatives’ have had a long run.

Every religion, in its true essence, preaches and teaches love and peace. If we don’t talk of the distortions and the distorted leading opinions, no one religion imposes itself on the other.

In essence, every religion is anti-crusade, in its purest, in its spiritual form. In fact, a devout religious soul respects the other religion the same way as his/her.

And who can symbolize it better than the dear Mother - Mother Teresa - who was born on this day 104 years ago in Albania, a European country – and who spent her whole life in India since 1928.

She was a devout catholic and followed the ways and the teachings of Jesus religiously. It is said Jesus came to her asking her to be His messenger, spreading the message of His love and peace by working for those who needed it the most, the poor, the needy, and in-turn, receiving the love and peace Himself, because He exists in every such soul.

And she followed the message, with her beginning in 1948 and she was soon to become the Mother.

It hurt Jesus to love us, it hurt him. And to make sure we remember his great love he made himself the bread of life to satisfy our hunger for his love. Our hunger for God, because we have been created for that love. We have been created in his image. We have been created to love and be loved, and then he has become man to make it possible for us to love as he loved us. He makes himself the hungry one - the naked one - the homeless one - the sick one - the one in prison - the lonely one - the unwanted one - and he says: You did it to me. Hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home. (From the Nobel Lecture delivered by the Mother on December 11, 1979 on being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.)

She remained a devout Catholic throughout her life but devoted her life to the people of a largely Hindu country. She never asked for the religion. Her doors were open for everyone. She found Jesus in every needy soul. She became so Indian that she is known as the ‘Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’. In fact, her religious adherence was her inspiration, the force behind her Motherly love. 

People loving her were in every walk of like, in India, around the world, something that these religious satraps of Hinduism can never even dream of. That love, the devotion to her is still there.

What is happening to her Order is debatable but the Mother is beyond any questions. 

We can and we need to rightly question Gods but messengers like Mother Teresa go beyond the reach of such questions because we experience the God through them. We can touch and feel the God through them. She remains among the people even after her passing away in 1997 because she remains in the soul of Humanity. 

Saints are like her, a modern day Saint as the TIME Mother Teresa at 100: The Life and Works of a Modern Saint rightly says, not like them who were ready to tear into each other yesterday and today, on TV sets, in public. 

Thanks for blessing India Mother. Thanks for being there for those who needed peace and who desperately needed help. Thanks for being there Mother. 

Image courtesy: Indian Express, The Telegraph and Daily Mail 


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -  


Sir Richard Attenborough – The Right Honourable – or the Attenborough who gave us, the Indians, and the world the timeless biopic, the movie GANHDI, his dream project, a historical achievement, a creation for the global humankind to serve as one of the primary introductions to the 20th Century great who is to remain the icon of the humanity in the centuries to come – Rest in Peace Sir (August 29, 1923 to August 24, 2014)

I am reproducing here, with some changes, my article on ‘Attenborough’s Gandhi’ written on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) on October 3, 2012.


Yesterday’s (October 2) the Times of India had a small write up on Sir Richard Attenborough reminiscing about the making of the world cinema milestone ‘Gandhi’ on the birth anniversary of the Mahatma. He focused mainly on his selection as the director of the project as well as the casting of the movie. He said Naseeruddin Shah was the most recommended name for the role of the Mahatma but his search took him to Sir Ben Kingsley.

And Kingsley proved him right.

I am not a film-buff but I love cinema when it comes to the shades of the visual language. My collection is made of good stuff from the world cinema and I enjoy the quality time watching and thinking over the masterpieces. And I can say ‘Gandhi’ is the movie I have watched the maximum number of times. It is one of the prized possessions in my library. The movie is a ‘must have’ for anyone who cares for values and teachings of the Mahatma and prides in having his works as collectibles.

The movie is unique. In spite of the ensemble cast and thousands of extras (with Guinness Book record making 3,00,000 extras in the funeral scene of the Mahatama), the movie delivers extraordinarily well. Very few movies with such a scale of production in the world cinema have done so.

Much has been written on the Mahatma and much is being written. There have been many movies made and being made on him. His teachings and views have been translated into many languages. He reaches to the world fraternity of the day through the words, written and spoken. And for the world audience, the ‘movie’ Gandhi features prominently there, as the gateway to introduce the Mahatma to them who are still not aware of him but want to know about him. It is true of many Indians as well.

The film is an example of the craftsmanship by a master storyteller. Every shot is an inseparable part as if the movie could not have been made about it. Its every frame is a study in point. You can study the use of lighting, of camera angles, of the dress designing, of the sets and locales, of the props used to support characters in every frame, and a brilliant use of the background music. It is a management case study on Epic filmmaking. But two aspects stand out, the aspects that had the most direct bearing on making the movie a masterpiece.

Image courtesy: BBC, Wikipedia, IMDB, Frank Connor

One is the use of specific incidents from almost four decades of Mahatma’s life in India after his return from South Africa. Four decades is a long period and given the fact that India’s freedom struggle had become synonymous with the Mahatma, it was really a task like finding the needles in the haystack of multiple defining moments of the then Indian history. And Sir Attenborough has done it with such a craftsmanship that we never feel jumbled up when a frame transitions to the other. Remember, every frame in this movie had to be a meticulous selection of consistency and relevance of different time-frames spread, sometimes, over the years.

The other important aspect is the way the characters relay the visual language. Everyone is perfect in the role given but Kingsley mesmerises. Not even for a moment we realize the actor playing the role of the Mahatma is a British and not an Indian. Use of silence, sounds and body language enhance a skilfully written script well.

Gandhi standing up, sitting down and standing up again before he addresses the first public gathering in India or the way Nehru’s friends at Champaran convey their acceptance to do what Mahatma asks them to do – simply amazing.

I would say use of silence and the sound of props of the frames are the amplifiers of performances here. Gandhi travels by the train and the film travels on the wheels of the sound generated by the train and the surroundings. Gandhi’s silence speaks through his tears when his life-partner and soulmate Kasturba Gandhi departs.

Symbolism and leitmotifs, we can find many of them in the movie. It’s a multiple time must watch for anyone who believes in the Mahatma and who believes in the transcendentalism of the meaningful cinema.

I watch and enjoy the movie scene by scene every time, sometimes going back to a scene more than once. Here is the YouTube link to the one of my favuorite scenes from the movie where the British Justice, in reverence of the Mahatma’s stature, bows down to him as he enters the courtroom.

Thanks for giving us ‘GANDHI’ Sir. You’ll always remain there as long as the Mahatma remains there to stir the human conscience.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday, 25 August 2014


The Mahatma, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma – one of the tallest personalities of the 20th Century and one among the greats the humanity has ever seen – is known, discussed and revered around the world.

The Mahatma’s non-violence is a unique gift to the contemporary world that is plagues with increasing religious and terrorist violence with many war theaters killing scores of lives in every part of the world.

And violence is begetting violence. Use of violence in suppressing violence has been ineffective so far. A forceful suppression opens a window of barbarism somewhere else. A forceful suppression of religious and ethic crusades is only intensifying the fanaticism.


The Indian voter is getting increasingly demanding.   

If it is not a total collapse, it is certainly a wake-up call.

The results of the bye-elections held in four states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Punjab, have come as an embarrassing development for the Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

It is an unacceptable 8-18, unacceptable from the point of view of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) strategists who are busy writing off the Congress party and who are still basking in the glory of the overwhelming victory they scored in the Lok Sabha polls in May 2014.

Of the 18 seats, Congress and its allies won 10 while BJP won seven and its Punjab ally SAD one. BJP had performed exceedingly well in many of these assembly segments in the recently concluded General Elections. And BJP had performed exceedingly well in Bihar, bagging 31 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats, with its allies. That was indeed a clear Narendra Modi effect.

Thus, in Bihar, the bypolls were being seen as the referendum on Narendra Modi’s governance and on Nitish Kumar’s governance, his political legacy in Bihar and his political alliance with Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

The BJP may rush to dismiss the results but given the way Modi led the BJP and the NDA in sweeping the nation on the electoral turf with a non-Congress party first time getting so many seats on its own, but any subsequent loss of his party will be seen in the context of his ‘performance on delivery of his promises of bringing the better days’ with questions raised on his governance.

Sunday, 24 August 2014


Yes, he has been a fearless activist and he took on the state for its anti-people acts in the Naxal violence hit areas of Chhattisgarh.

Yet, during a phone conversation with him for a story in 2010, when he was out on bail before being sentenced in December 2010, he was guarded in response. He was not willing to speak anything on his line of work and the recent developments happening around that.

That is what the state does with the activists who take a different line on the implementation of policies.

Policies are mere written documents until put into effect methodically and honestly. Almost of the policies are well planned. The problem lies in their implementation. And the chronic levels of corruption in every aspect of Indian society – in its political systems – in its social structures – in the wings of governance – has left millions to live and die in conditions of abject poverty and no dignity.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


My reflections on life – in quotes (LXXXVII)

“True, circumstances have a vital role to play in life decisions.
And the circumstantial reflections always have enough of..
..relevant pro- and anti- logics in shaping the decisions that shape your existence.
But, the fundamental fact is you need to overcome..
..the circumstances to make your own life, to act, to opinionate, to speak up..
..because the existentialist in you needs his independent identity.
And yes, that is always personal, for you to realize.”


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -


Policies are mere written documents until put into effect methodically and honestly. Almost of the policies are well planned. The problem lies in their implementation. And the chronic levels of corruption in every aspect of Indian society – in its political systems – in its social structures – in the wings of governance – has left millions to live and die in conditions of abject poverty and no dignity.

This convoluted implementation of policies is the central reason behind insurgencies in many parts of India including the Naxal affected areas as well as the in the North-East states when some ideologically aligned people organized armed groups to demand their rights, especially in poor rural and tribal areas and in remote and geographically difficult terrains, where not even the 10 paise of a Rupee spent reached to the intended beneficiaries. These insurgencies are decades old now.

And like most of the insurgencies, unable to take on the might of the state to bring the change they intended for, they end up being the criminal elements and extortionists, because, by the time they realize they cannot win the ill-conceived armed rebellion they began with in the land of the Mahatma, they have become too used to of living a life of no restrictions where they are the government, where they are the executioners.

Some of them who rightly understand the ‘realizations’, surrender to the government while others who by now have become like the hardened criminals with a distorted ideology of disowning the System, decide to run amok and live the life of outlaws.

Friday, 22 August 2014


It was expected. It has been happening ever since.

We have seen it happening year after year – Irom Sharmila is released and is re-arrested.

And yes, we know, the state has been behind it- complicit, willingly and comfortably. Her annual release is basically technical in nature otherwise the state would not let her go, unless the court rules so, something that happened this time, something that that gave her a freedom of more than a day.

Image courtesy: Reuters

The court order came on August 19 quashing the charge of 'attempt to commit suicide' – she was released on August 20 evening – the police approached her on August 21 for the usual round as Sharmila continued with her fast not taking food and water and refusing medical checkup – and on August 22 morning, she was taken by the police again to the same ‘isolation’ ward of the Imphal hospital where she has spent so many years demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – and where a chief judicial magistrate remanded her to 15 days of judicial custody.

So, the pathetic annual exercise of the state had a differentiator this time – Sharmila had some extended hours of freedom where she expressed about and broke down on her desire for freedom – she spent some time at the site of her protest where she began some 14 years ago – she spent some time without the tube attached to her nose, something she has been with since November 2000 - she met people – she spoke and she interacted - and the whole world wrote about her freedom this time – because the extended hours gave us the direct access to her – one to one - reaching out, speaking out.

Image courtesy: Indian Express

In previous years, this window was not available, as without a court ruling freeing her of the charge of 'attempted suicide', the police would release her as one year would come to an end - only to meet the technical requirement of the law – the Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with ‘attempted suicide’ and has a jail term of one year - and then re-arrest her immediately.

This year, when the Sessions court of Manipur East ruled that Sharmila never said ‘fast-unto-death’ and freed her of charges under the Section 309 of the IPC, a Section that is set to be decriminalized by the Indian government, many of us thought the sense would prevail and the state would act with sanity.

But – but, the state is notorious by its stubbornness – it is one of the bottlenecks of our functional democracy – a democracy that has been able to survive and grow – we saw it in case of Dr. Binayak Sen – we saw it in case of Himanshu Kumar – we have seen it in many other cases – and there is no end to it in the near future – the re-arrest of Irom Sharmila reaffirms that.

The state’s pathetic ironies continue.


Yes, both, the pro- and anti- AFSPA debates have takers but what negative has happened and is happening due to the AFSPA – with many incidents including the November 2, 2000 Malom Massacre – the massacre that called Irom Sharmila, who was 28 then, to begin her protest fast-until-the AFSPA-repeal on the same day – must be accepted honestly by the state in order to come up with some better and ‘acceptable-to-most’ alternative – like has been the demand always – like has been the need always.




Photographs reworked with digital painting tools


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -