People Power!

News headlines everywhere talk about the unrest in the Arab world – and their implications for authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the world. This morning’s news talks of governments trying to stifle opposition through the unprecedented show / use of force. (Saudi sends tanks to riot-hit Bahrain, Oman deploys army units fearing more unrest).

What is really interesting to see is that these protestors are not as easily intimidated by these scare tactics – thanks to the connectedness with people around using cell phones and social networking technologies! (Palestinians try to create Facebook Revolution). These revolutions are not something that were predicted a few weeks ago – but they are bringing an incredible amount of change to a region that has traditionally been under the grip of a few authoritarian leaders.

The prospects for democracy finally seem to be brightening for the Arab world. Very exciting times we live in!

Viva People Power!!

Where the Mind is without Fear!

The recent events in the Arab world have rekindled the hope for democratic rule in the Middle East. History shows that most of these transitions were marked by violence and chaos. What really stands out in the case of Egypt is the protestors’ commitment to nonviolence – and their ability to overcome the fear of reprisal. I heard one man on the radio who expressed that he was no longer afraid for himself or his own family. For his what mattered was that Egypt as a nation came out stronger and that a democracy would be established.

I think Rabindranath Tagore’s poem is particularly apt for this occasion. This poem inspired many freedom activists in India during the struggle for independence. In many ways, the people of Egypt are struggling for independence from oppression today. I believe that such inspiration is important for a society’s future. Though it is still unclear about what sort of a future awaits the people of Egypt, I pray that these events lead to a truly vibrant, secular, and democratic Egypt – despite all the odds!

Where The Mind is Without Fear

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

– Rabindranath Tagore

Inspiration for Practical Idealists :)

“Everyday, in every way, please make us better and better,” this was a prayer that we were taught as young students at Sri Aurobindo Memorial School. At home, my grandfather would keep reminding me that it was our responsibility to leave things a little better than how we found them. As far as I can remember, this has been his advice to me – and it continues to be.

I have found this sense of aspiring to be better – to mould yourself into a better human being – to be of service to those around me – to be growing stronger as I get older 🙂 My inspiration, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s guidance is to be like a swan – to be able to discern between that which is good and not good – and to seek out the goodness in everything around you. You definitely run the risk of being made fun of as an idealist – but what is the purpose of life then, if you are not able to live it with some ideals to inspire you to move onward?

Idealism coupled with Practicality perhaps is what most of us look for in life. Most of us start out as idealists as children and as we grow through our teenage years something changes. Often one finds those who are idealistic have lost touch with reality and those who are practical tend to overlook the ethical and moral dimensions in life. People also tend to become cynical and lose sight of their childhood goals and dreams. This is where I believe a healthy dose of spirituality can help bring a balance between one’s need for ideal inspiration and the need to remain grounded in practical reality.

More on this soon 🙂