What does “Metta” mean to me

Sanghapali Aruna Lohitakshi

These days there is a lot of talk around “expectations” with my friends and close buddies. It put me through my own reflections of my life so far.

As we all know, most of us face suffering and pain mostly because we expect someone to behave the way we want them to behave…and we want things to turn the way we want them to be.

Talking about expectations according to my understanding……

Firstly, Parents

My parents expected that I become a doctor….I could not

My Dad expected me to get into a govt. job….I did not

My Dad expected I get into IAS….I did not

My uncle expected me to give GRE and go abroad…I did not

My parents wanted me to get married….I did not

My parents expected I settle down with a job that ensures me a secure monthly income….I did not

There might be many other things…

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“On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality. In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions? How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life? If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which is Assembly has to laboriously built up.”


The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar : Sir, looking back on the work of the Constituent Assembly it will now be two years, eleven months and seventeen days since it first met on the 9th of December 1946. During this period the Constituent Assembly has altogether held eleven sessions. Out of these eleven sessions the first six were spent in passing the Objectives Resolution and the consideration of the Reports of Committees on Fundamental Rights, on Union Constitution, on Union Powers, on Provincial Constitution, on Minorities and on the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. The seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and the eleventh sessions were devoted to the consideration of the Draft Constitution. These eleven sessions of the Constituent Assembly have consumed 165 days. Out of these, the Assembly spent 114 days for the consideration of the Draft Constitution.


Coming to the Drafting Committee, it was elected by the Constituent Assembly…

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Communal Fascism in Action: Coopting the Dalits, Terrorising the Minorities

KAFILA - 10 years of a common journey

Ur-Fascism [Eternal Fascism] is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances – everyday, in every part of the world.

-Umberto Eco



Politics in this part of South Asia unfolds itself in very many ways. We have before us a spectrum of regimes ranging from electoral democracies at one end to countries which could be said to be unambiguously authoritarian at the other, and some others with varying  mixes of electoral democratic and authoritarian features ‘packed in between.’ Since early 1980s we have also been witness…

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That night I faced the reality of life

 It was Friday night 1st March 2013, I went to bed about 12:30 am as usual. Few minutes after going to bed I fell asleep. I do not remember what happened during most of the sleep, except the early morning phase of it typically 4:00 am onward. I found myself traveling in a bus, its windows were open and I was lying on a berth at the front part of the bus. There was a woman about 50 years old siting beside me. She said, “Wind is very cold, let us close the windows”. I closed the window and another woman at the back also closed the window with little difficulty. I do not remember what happened for a little duration. After this duration, the woman who was earlier siting beside me was now siting at the back with a man. She asked him to light a matchstick and said to him, “if the flame of the matchstick persists, then you will remain alive, else you will die”. The man lit the matchstick and flame persisted. In the mean time I was on the floor and was trying to light the matchstick. My few attempts to light the matchstick failed, I finally managed to light the matchstick, but flame lasted for a moment and died out. I tried to light the matchstick again. My few attempts failed again. I managed to light the matchstick finally, but flame lasted for a moment and died out again. At that moment I realized that my time is over! I accepted it! I did not try to light the matchstick again. Soon I was lying on the floor and my voice got blocked. I was trying to speak out but all in vain. My left hand was on standing position with the support of my elbow on the floor. My face was turned towards left. Some liquid moved from the left part of my throat and came towards left part to my jaw. My left hand fell down on the floor and my face turned towards left little bit more and I was no more. That very moment when I died in my dream world, my eyes got opened in my real world finding myself alive. I was not frightened. I looked the time in my cell phone, it was 5:30 am. I got up and sat on the bed and started thinking about what I have just witnessed.

Life is a journey it starts at birth and ends at death. Once we enter in the starting station, the final destination is inevitable. How much time is left before reaching the final destination in unknown. It can be a moment, a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade, several decades, a half century or if you are lucky, then a century or so. But irrespective of how much time we have the final destination is bound to come. In this journey we meet many peoples and visit many places and we do some good work and some bad work. Every moment of this journey is precious, a moment gone can not be retrieved back. However, we human beings ravel our minds with all kind of mental defilement. We foster enmity, hatred, jealousy, anger, ill-will, lust, craving, clinging etc. And these mental defilement rewards us with sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, despair, distress, and suffering. We waste lot of our precious time running away from sufferings without realizing that we are victims of our own minds and mental habits which we have fostered at least since our birth. We use our minds to study and understand the world around us but we become so much deluded with ourselves that we never use our mind to understand ourselves. Mind is so much central to our lives that it will not be wrong to say that man is mind and mind is man (gender neutral). So we need to tame our minds to make ourselves happy rather than running away from the misery. Mental defilement can not be countered by mental defilement themselves. In order to counter mental defilement we need to foster morality, forgiveness, mindfulness, wisdom, compassion, love, and fraternity which in turn will reward us with peace, happiness, and bliss and we shall have more time to enjoy our journey. Our lives are inextricably linked with each other, let us break all the barriers namely ethnic, religious, cultural, racial discrimination, caste discrimination, language discrimination, gender discrimination which are created solely by our births having no other basis, between man to man (gender neutral). Let us put an end to the exploitation of poor by rich, under-developed by developed, weak by strong. Let us help each other and make this journey a wonderful experience for us and make this world kingdom of righteousness and a lovely, beautiful place to live!

One of my friend suggested me to write about this dream. At first, I thought its a weird idea to write about death and give some meaning to life. However, later on, I decided to pen it and leave it to the readers to pass the judgment on weirdness. I hope I did not disappoint you. Be happy!

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Is Rape a law and order problem?

For last few days people have been demanding justice for gang-rape incidence that took place in Delhi. It’s a good sign of a vibrant and vigilant society. I fully endorse their claim and that individuals guilty must be punished as par the law of the land. However, my apprehension is about the manner in which they should be punished as demanded by the people that they should be hanged without a fair trial. Some demanding that they should be hanged publicly. Some demanding that they should be burnt alive in public. Some demanding they should be brutally murdered. Some demanding they should be beheaded. This raises one question in my mind: If we as a society demand for such punishments, then jurisprudentially speaking, what is the deference between us and the rapists? Can these punishments be part of a civilized society? Those in favor argue that such punishments will serve as a deterrent. So in order to check whether enforcement of law and strict punishments really serve as a deterrent, I collected the following statistics:

Country No. of Rapes in the year 2011 Source
India 24, 206 National Crime Records Bureau
USA 83, 425 Federal Bureau of Investigation
UK 80, 000 British Crime Survey
South Africa 66, 196 South African Police Service

Firstly, I would like to say that the data for India is authenticated but I believe it to be underestimated for many rape incidences are not reported. Secondly, if you consider the population of the countries, then rape incidences in all the three countries is enormous compared to India .However, the purpose of showing the above table is not that the rapes are marginal in India. On examining the above table, one can ask that countries (USA, UK) having such a good criminal justice system; why rape incidences are so high? Does deterrence really work? Are incidences of rape a law and order problem? Or it has more deeper root in the human society?

I think incidences of rape are more of a social problem, the problem of mind set, our attitude towards woman than that of the law and order.  All those who outrage against rape incidences, why do they not raise the question of gender equality? It has been found that where there is gender equality such crimes are lowest. Furthermore, the TRP-monger media which covers such incidences so extensively does not leave a single opportunity of objectifying, dehumanizing the woman  to sell every dam thing. One a see the following link:


If we really desire to stop violence against women, then we must talk about gender equality more and more.  Furthermore, we must fight against the advertisement industry which dehumanizes and objectifies the women. That is the only possible way I can think of to eradicate violence against woman. Educate! Agitate! Organize! is the mantra.

As far as victims of rapes are concerned, society must not alienate  them. Society must come forward to support them, love them, accept them. This is what victims require the most. The life of victims becomes hell primarily because of the apathy and indifference of the society that that of the incidence.

Further reading: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/executing-the-neighbour/article4218247.ece

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