The Iron Dictators – Aurobindo Ghosh

I looked for Thee alone, but met my glance
The iron dreadful Four who rule our breath,
Masters of falsehood, Kings of ignorance,
High sovereign Lords of suffering and death.

Whence came these formidable autarchies,
From what inconscient blind Infinity, –
Cold propagandists of a million lies,
Dictators of a world of agony?

Or was it Thou who bor’st the fourfold mask?
Enveloping Thy timeless heart in Time,
Thou has bound the spirit to its cosmic task,
To find Thee veiled in this tremendous mime.

Thou, only Thou, canst raise the invisible siege,
O Light, O deathless Joy, O rapturous Peace!

Interesting to read, but what does it mean?

Life – Aurobindo Ghosh

Mystic Miracle, daughter of Delight,
Life, thou ecstasy,
Let the radius of thy flight
Be eternity.

On thy wings thou bearest high
Glory and disdain,
Godhead and mortality,
Ecstasy and pain.

Take me in thy wild embrace
Without weak reserve
Body dire and unveiled face;
Faint not, Life, nor swerve.

All thy bliss I would explore,
All thy tyranny.
Cruel like the lion’s roar,
Sweet like springtide be.

Like a Titan I would take,
Like a God enjoy,
Like a man contend and make,
Revel like a boy.

More I will not ask of thee,
Nor my fate would choose;
King or conquered let me be,
Live or lose.

Even in rags I am a god;
Fallen, I am divine;
High I triumph when down-trod,
Long I live when slain.

A discussion in The Mouse that Roared over the current nature of war

The scientist’s power of life and death is over his fellow human beings as well as over what you call the lower orders. Ours is only over plant life. The scientist’s work, when turned to war, enables one group of people to obtain the mastery over another. That is well enough, I suppose. But now the stage has been reached where not only the countries engaged in a war must go through its agonies, but also all the other countries who have no part in the war at all and all of nature as well. Like the trees, these other countries are condemned to death without any right of appeal.
“They are condemned not only to death, but to obliteration though they have no place in the quarrel. They neither start such wars nor end them. Their fate is only to suffer in the struggles of the giants. They are helpless to save themselves. With such weapons as this bomb of yours, war cannot be limited any longer. It must ruin all. And since it must ruin all, the responsibility of the scientist is extended from his own nation to the whole human race.”
“This is the same squirrel cage in which I have been running for the last ten years,” said Dr. Kokintz, bitterly. “If we did not make the bomb, the Russians would make it. The Russians would make it and we believe would use it. We make it in the hope that we will never use it. It is madness, but how are we to get back to sanity? It is, as I said, not the scientists who must lead the way back to sanity, but the people who control the scientists, and they are so filled with distrust of each other’s intentions, that an agreement even to ban so out-dated a weapon as the atom bomb cannot be achieved.
“There is fear and suspicion everywhere. The Communists fear, by the very nature of their own political philosophy, the capitalists. The capitalists see in Communism the ruination of their way of life. The Asiatics, exploited for centuries, distrust the Europeans. The Europeans, fearful of the enormous populations of Asia and the growth of nationalism and technology in India, in Africa, and even in China, fear the Asiatics.
“There is no trust anywhere, and the only safety for a people lies in having weapons of such terrible power that none dare attack them.”
“And where do the little nations fit in in all of this?” Pierce asked, quietly.
Dr. Kokintz shrugged. “I do not know,” he said.
“You do not know because you do not care about the little nations,” Pierce said. “You think that the people who live in them are peculiar and quaint and behind the times and not really important. You forget that they are your fellow beings. You think of them as being a kind of sub-strata of the human race, of no importance because they have no weight to make felt.”
“I suppose that is so,” Dr. Kokintz replied. “Whoever has the most weight in the world receives the most consideration. That is the one international law which is recognized by all. You must admit that it would be more disastrous for all free men if the United States were destroyed than if, say, Belgium, or Ireland, or Grand Fenwick were destroyed.”
“Perhaps. But a Belgian or an Irishman or one of our own people would not agree. And so long as the world can contemplate the destruction of a small nation without any deep pang of regret, so long will it be uncivilized. It is the same in the government of communities–the rights of the weakest and poorest citizen must receive the same support as those of the richest and the roost powerful. Otherwise civilization is merely a name and not a real force. But without civilization, no individual is safe, no nation is safe, and in these days even the world itself is not safe.”

The Bharat Ratna Debate

A news leaked out saying the Government asked RBI mint to make five Bharat Ratna Medals. Even though the legal mandate is a maximum of three per year, many names cropped up – Subhas Bose, Vajpayee, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Kanshi Ram and what not. The press caught up with this and we are seeing very colourful debates over this. BJP asks who finalized the list without BJP knowing it, while many prominent came up with their own wishlist, ranging from Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhupen Hazarika from Congress, Ram Manohar Lohia and Karpoori Thakur from the non BJP Janata Party Experiment, Birsa Munda and Savarkar by someone else and what not. This is one side of the argument. On the other side, is the question of Netaji. His daughter declined to accept the award granted to her father a decade ago since the government did not declare him officially dead. Trinamool, Forward Bloc and other parties of the Bengal belt saying he is way above Bharat Ratna.
For the press and political apparatus, everything is a matter of discussion. Below are the main questions posed today –
1. Is it right for Congress Prime Ministers to recommend Bharat Ratna for themselves, how great their service to the nation may be?
2. Does Gulzarilal Nanda deserve it more than Ambedkar? I don’t get into the merits of the case, but the basic question here is, is it worth comparing two persons of eminence?
3. Patel was awarded in 1991, which in itself proves it’s a political decision
And many opinions.
In light of this, there are a few points worth noting –
1. There are many persons who were missed out. How exalted he may be and how esteemed he is in popular view(like Subhas Bose or Vivekananda or Sardar Patel), does it make any difference if an award is declared in recognition of a person long deceased?
2. Can’t we institute two different awards, one for the deceased and one for those alive? Take the Nobel as analogy, how twisted it may be. How many deceased are awarded the prize?
3. Should there be a cut off as to the time limit an award can be given after the death of a person be given Bharat Ratna? It’s better to leave people like Bhagat Singh or Subhas Bose in happy memory than raking up their names for the sake of a public discussion.
4. Should the head of India or a Province should be awarded Bharat Ratna? There are two arguments I can present – the selection of these is political leaving many a heart burn and that there will always be omissions, especially if they are on the wrong side. Citing specific examples, Gopinath Bardoloi is granted for handling partition in an exceptional manner. Jyoti Basu or Gegong Apong or Pawan Chamling are not given even if they ruled their states for more than two decades(trust reposed by people is not considered in these cases). Indira won India a war. So did Vajpayee. And PV ensured that India didnot crumble economically. It’s better not to get into this sort of discussion once and for all.
5. Indian Union came into force de facto on 15 Aug 1947 and de jure on 26 Jan 1950. Should India award a person who deceased before this date? Not to belittle, if Birsa Munda is to be awarded, why not Velu Thampi Dalawai or Surendra Sai or even, Rana Pratap? All of them did the same thing…