Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Fact File Music for healing

Music for healing                                                                               24 July 2013 

In front of me are 16 musicians from the Orchestra Solidarite of the Resonance Foundation in Barcelona, The Spanish branch of the foundation created by my friend and colleague Elizabeth Sombart. The audience of about 300 is made up in equal part by severely disabled adults, young and old, Many in wheelchairs, and their minders. We are in a special facility that keeps and looks after people with severe disability.

They play earnestly, disregarding the occasional yelp or loud gargling of a member in the audience. After four short pieces, all noise has ceased. The piano is wheeled to the centre. Elizabeth walks to it, bows to the audience and with the orchestra, launches into the third movement of the Chopin concerto. The minders are visibly losing their watchfulness and tension. There is a palpable calm taking over the room.

Resonnance performs more than 400 times in six countries every year-Switzerland, Romania, France, Spain, Belgium and Lebanon. All these concerts, save two dozen, are for deprived audiences, locked up in prison cells, hospices, old age homes, facilities for the mentally disabled, for the ravaged. Students who study at Resonnance centres do so on condition that they will perform at these concerts without fee and with absolute dedication. This, and musical excellence, are the two aims of the foundation. Caring for society’s less privileged and an understanding of the healing power of music are dinned into young musicians till it becomes a part of their DNA. The orchestra has no one older than 25, with most still in college.

I have the possibility of chatting with the young musicians: “Ah, yes, we perform practically every Sunday. And it’s great to see the effect the music has on various groups. After this, it would be difficult to play for only concert audiences”.

Neuroscientists are revealing more and more about the power of music and the arts. We are a country that traditionally sings to our unborn children. Yet, I cannot imagine music being used as a strategy for healing on a national scale. Not musicians giving so much time and respect to the ‘dregs of society’.

Extract of an article by Mallika Serabhai ‘The Week’ dated 14 July 2013


Music is essence of life. Not only stimulates disabled and mentally challenged, music is an instrument of unity globally. Music shuns hatred and divisiveness. Music is a life to all living beings. It has been proved beyond doubt milking animals yield gets enhanced, if played around the fields the crops give better results, sugarcane yields are greatly affected specially the sugar content. Experiments have proved light soft and classical music played yields the best results for milking animals and crops.  

The Fact File Appropriating an icon

Appropriating an icon                                                                          23 July 2013

The BJP and RSS’s proposed ‘statue of unity’ in memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will go against the very deals that the Iron Man represented.

By now it is clear that the BJP, functioning as the political arm of the RSs, is back to its basics in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. The RSS’s project of establishing a rabidly intolerant fascist ‘Hindu Rashtra’ was defeated during the freedom struggle. Independent India established itself as a modern secular democratic republic. This, however, has never prevented the RSS from continuing to pursue its efforts to metamorphose the modern Indian republic into its vision of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Its objective was defined by the RSS’s supreme guru, MS Golwalkar, who said, The foreign races (read non-Hindus) must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but those of the glorification of the Hindu race and culture, ie, of the Hindu nation and must lose their separate existence to merge  in the Hindu race, or may stay in the country only subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment-not even citizen’s rights”.

Such rewriting of history is also necessary to appropriate some of the giants of our freedom struggle in their pursuit of the RSS’s project. The Gujarat chief minister, the RSS/BJP’s current poster boy, Narendra Modi announced recently a nationwide campaign to collect iron from farmers for building a ‘statue of unity’ in memory of Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel. “To reinvigorate his memory as a fitting tribute to the Iron Man of India, we are building this statue which will be double the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York”, he said. Further, this statue is being projected as “encapsulating the unity and integrity of India along with its rich culture and heritage”. The mobilization will be akin to the collection of bricks for the construction of the temple on the disputed site in Ayodhya that spread communal hatred and mayhem devouring many lives and catapulted the first ever BJP-led government to the Centre. It is precisely this vision of Sardar Patel’s unity and integrity of India” based on the commonality among the rich diversity that bonds us together that is sought to be undermined by the RSS’s project.

It is necessary to recollect that it was this very Sardar Patel who banned the RSS following the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. A government communiqué dated February 4, 1948, drafted by Sardar Patel, announcing the ban of the RSS reads: “The objectionable and harmful activities of the Sangh have, however, continued unabated and the cult of violence sponsored and inspired by the activities of the Sangh has claimed many victims. . The latest and the most precious to fall was Gandhiji himself.

Sardar Patel was, after all, a leader of the Indian freedom struggle and a Congressman. The condition of the Congress party today is, indeed, pitiable that it is unable to prevent or even resist this effort by the RSs/BJP to appropriate the Sardar. However, in the interest of India’s future, it is imperative to consolidate the secular democratic foundations of modern India. This requires that such efforts to rewrite history and to appropriate the symbols of our freedom struggle by the RSS/BJP must be resoundingly defeated.

Extract of an article by Sita ram in HT 02 July 2013


The proposed ‘Statue of unity’ and the triumph of the RSS’s project of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ will only  signal the death of the ideals for which Sardar Patel worked all his life-the Unity and integrity of India, preserving and enriching its immensely rich socio-cultural-religious diversity. SP was a ‘Gandhiwadi, Rashtrawadi don’t degenerat him as a “Hindu Rashtrawadi’.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Fact File Goodbye Stress, Hello Success

Goodbye Stress, Hello Success                                                           July 18, 2013
Stress is a disease of the 21st Century. It axes years from your life. Stress affects work output, causing failure and unhappiness. We need to develop internal protection from the challenges of life.
You attribute your stress to an external agency. You believe your mother-in-law, boss or the weather causes your stress. Vedanta says that nothing in the world has the power to disturb you except yourself. Stress is an internal phenomenon. Hence the solution lies within.
Vedanta says samam, serenity, is the key to success, happiness and growth. There are three states of mind. When the mind is calm but there is no motivation to work and no action, it is the lowest state of tamas, apathy. When activity begins but discontent is the motive it is the intermediate state of rajas, passion. Vedanta speaks of the superlative state of sattva, purity, where the mind is calm, intellect sharp and actions brilliant.
What disturbs the mind? Negativity and desire. Tackle these internal causes and the mind remains serene even if a storm rages outside. The mind takes easily to negativity. The intellect helps withdraw the mind from negative channels and think positively.
Fix a higher goal. As your mind is engaged in the higher pursuit, lower desires drop. Work dedicatedly, wholeheartedly, detachedly. Every action becomes perfect. You attain extraordinary success. You find happiness in the action itself. And you grow spiritually.
Extracts from an article –TOI July 13


Be honest, transparent, helpful caring and positive attitude-stress, fatigue, tiredness, feeling low or depression  would all be away from you. Make friends and share your thoughts, would rejuvenate you. Friendship is the wine of life.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Fact File-2014 General Election The Battle of wits

The Battle of wits

Modi is neither a threat nor a challenge. Even then he cannot be ignored. He is a forceful speaker, articulative, repetitive, loud and tells lies. Since he continues to repeat the lies, people start believing him.  We have to strategies our campaign on four fronts:

a-      Development ¼çxfr½
b-     Governance ¼lq’kklu½
c-      Internal Security¼vkarfjd lqj{kk½
d-     National Defence¼lhek lqj{kk½

Now with 61 years of Parliamentary democracy congress has been in power at the centre over 50 years. Baring the periods.
a-      78-79 (Janta Party experiment)
b-     90-91 (VP Singh Era)
c-      97-98 (Third Front Experiment)
d-     99-04 (NDA regieme)

Whenever non congress govts have been in power (total 11 years out of 61 years) the “Nation” has been pushed back by more than 3-4 years for every year of non- congress govt. This all can be proved statistically.

Modi is a new phenomena his presence would have some effect due to his communal and fundamentalists approach.

The country can be divided into four categories to counter the effect. 

Modi Effect-
High  - Gujrat, Rajasthan, UP, MP (Nearly 170 Seats)
Med - Delhi, Punjab, UKD, Chattisgarh, Haryana, HP, Bihar+JKD (Nearly 120 Seats)
Low - Karnataka/Andhra/Tamilnadu/Kerla/Odisha/Sikkim/West Bengal/Assam

Negligible - NE-States/Pondicherry