Tuesday, March 30, 2010

miles to go before we sleep

since its independence in 1947, india has come a long way in its development. india is the second largest growing economy in the world. but still we have to go a long way to meet the challenges of hunger and poverty.

it is estimated that 300 million people in india go hungry every day. india ranks, according to Global Hunger Index, 65 out of 88 countries globally. according to the World Bank, 46 % of indian children below the age of five are under weight. the World Food Programme says that about 30 % of the world's hungry live in india. it is a stark reality.

the other side of the picture is not that bad. india, today, ranks second in the world in its farm output. it is the world's largest producer of milk, cashew nuts, coconut, tea, ginger,turmeric, black pepper etc. and the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnuts and inland fish.

india has arrived, definitely, but yet to reach. i quote Robert Frost:

woods are lovely, dark and deep;
but i have promises to keep.
and miles to go before i sleep;
and miles to go before i sleep.

Monday, March 29, 2010

the bheem patrika

the bheem patrika is a weekly to which i got regular in my early days as an up coming young man in jalandhar. my parents intoduced me to the weekly, dediated to the dalit society and its affairs. i have no hesitation in saying that it was a good education for me. the editor, shri lahori ram balley, was a much respected community leader. he knew his job well. frankly, shri balley impressed me a lot as a good public speaker and a prolific writer. as and when there was a chance to listen to shri balley in the perpheri of about 10-12 kms, i tried my best to avail of that opportunity. then i moved to delhi and joined indian foreign service in a junior position and slowly, lost touch, particularly when i got posted abroad. but my interest and respect for the bheem patrika and its worthy editor remained.

now last week, i could click and browse the bheem patrika on line, hosted from canada, by the son of shri balley. i am happy. the contents and mission of the weekly has been retained, i think with some effort. the credit goes its able and experienced editor. i will continue my association with the bheem patrika. i knew that shri balley is a thought provoking writer and i am happy to learn that since then he has written a number of books and also translated a few which have been well receieved. i wish the paper and shri lahori ram balley all success in the years to come. let me finish with a couplet:

तू पहले बात फिर बात का अंदाज़ पैदा कर ;
ज़माने मैं फिर तुजे कोई नज़र अंदाज़ कर नहीं सकता .

Sunday, March 28, 2010

pritam ramdaspuri

i am writing today about one of my fellow bootan mandian, pritam ramdaspuri. i don't remember his actual name. he was known as pritam ramdaspuri. i belong to bootan mandi, a suburb (earlier) of jalandhar. i vividly remember, as a child , an untoward family incident involving pritam ramdaspuri. he shot dead his own family. later, i heard so many stories about the case and his release from prison. he did not go back home and decided to live in self imposed isolation or perhaps as some sort of self-punishment. he started living at their work place, leather business. by that time, i also had become a self conscious young lad. pritam ramdaspuri impressed considerably.

pritam ramdaspuri, in spite his past and the family tragedy, was not down in spirits. he was active in social and comunity work. what impressed me most: his accessibility for any advice, he was the only educated and knowledgeable person (the only one reading english newspaper the tribune in the bootan mandi), a good player (cricket), a poet ( later i learnt he was a scholar of urdu and persian), motivated youth of the area not only in cricket but also social and community activities particularly activities related to guru ravidass and dr. ambedkar. pritam ramdaspuri was a staunch ambedkarite. his words of encouragement to me, when i set for delhi for a job in march 1970, still ring in my ears. i always remained keen to say him hello and greet him as and when i visited bootan mandi. he remained a source of inspiration to many through out.

now i have to know that a compilation of his poetry (pritam kavya) has been brought out by one harmesh jassal. it is befitting tribute to the memory of pritam ramdaspuri though, i understand, a number of poetry books have already been credited to pritam ramdaspuri, a worthy son of bootan mandi. i feel good that i knew him. god also forgives good people, as dr. iqbal has said:

मोती समज कर चुन लिए साने करीमी ने ,
कतरे जो थे मेरेअर्के इन्फिअल के.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


let me tell you that i have ventured to create my blog with a view to learn something more. i read recently that dr. ambedkar started learning violin towards the fag end of his life. i could not do much in the learning process particularly with regards to formal educational attainments. perhaps i shall try do something now to rectify the position.

i am a fan of khuswant singh and read his column 'this above all' on every saturday in the tribune. today he wrote about queen victoria and one her indian attendents abdul karim. lord elgin, one of viceroys to india, snubbed abdul karim for sending him new year gretings as he was a commoner. i had the chance to meet one of the lord elgins and his grand children in edinburgh during my posting there as India's consul general. the regal behaviour of the elgins notwithstanding, the family has the charm and definite traces of dignity.

i am yet to have my my profile posted and also a photo which i Will do in a day or so.

Friday, March 26, 2010


welcome to my blog. i have started blogging today only. let us hope i am able to keep it up.