Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No way to treat a "guest"

Pranav Mukherjee's statement is doing rounds in the news world attributing him of having chided Dalai Lama for his "political activities." You can watch the video here; it's in Bengali.

I don't speak Bong but if you are good with bareknuckle Sanskrit then it should be easy to understand what Mr. Mukherjee is talking. Roughly translated, he is saying, "Dalai Lama is a religious leader, spiritual leader in Bharatvarsha. He is a sammanit atithi(h'ble guest) in Bharatvarsha(India). Bharatvarsha will continue to offer him atithya(hospitality). But the Dalai Lama should not indulge in any rajnaitik acharan(political activity), or any acharan, which will cause Bharatvarsha and China's relations avanati(Sanskrit antonym for progress-- he means impair )."

Technically it is true that India indeed gave asylum to Dalai Lama under religious criterion, as Kanwal Sibal, former Foreign Secretary, mentions in the WaPo link. But what was essentially a matter of diplomatic dexterity is now being elevated into a bedrock principle. Pray what is govt-in-exile if not politics, and one which the Indian govt. recognizes?

This is indeed lamentable. For, the Dalai Lama is not only spiritual but also the political leader for Tibetans. And India provided him asylum in the '50s because of our own recent traumatic experience with colonialism.

'Atithi Devo Bhava' is the ethos of 'Bharatvarsha' or India since ancient times. Moreover, India's "secular" constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression.

What sort of welcome hospitality is it then where the hosts expect their guest to shut up or put curbs on their speech? But this has become a recurring shame for India, other recent episode being the hounding of Taslima Nasrin out of India following death threats on her by Islamofascists.

Some might say that the guests are not supposed to inconvenience their hosts. But this is not true. The golden mongoose of Mahabharat is a reminder of the true spirit of hospitality as exhorted in the ancient dictum cited above. A drought-stricken Brahmin family goes hungry to feed its guest and the mongoose who rolls in the spilled flour turns golden due to the family's sacrifice . His grievance is that only half his body turns gold for want of enough flour. Not even the king's charity is sufficient for him as nothing matches the sacrifice of that starved family.

Anecdotes apart, there are no laurels without inconvenience and as Tibetan activist Tenzin Tsundue accurately points out, "the Tibetan issue is in India's long-term security interests because Tibet is a buffer zone between India and China."

It is quite inhumane then to crudely justify snubbing the Dalai Lama to please China's communist dictators as one Alka Acharya of JNU does-"We distance ourselves from the Tibetan government on our soil and at the same time accord immense respect to the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader."

You don't strip a man of his soul and claim to treat him with dignity.

Ms. Acharya and Mr.Mukherjee did just that, for, it is the spirit of Tibet that drives the spirituality of the Dalai Lama.


RM said...

Hi socal,
I am a regular reader of your blog, and amazed by the lack of comments on this blog. Please keep up the good work. There are lots of lazy people like me who just want to read and enjoy and do not take the pains to scribble anything.

socal said...

Hi rm,
There are many good bloggers with similar fate, so I'm not surprised. Thanks anyway

Dirt Digger said...

Great post with quite insightful anecdotes. Its been many years since I have listened to the golden mongoose story.
Mr.Mukherjee should take heed of Chanakya and Sun Tzu's preachings that every country should be cognizant of its neighboring countries as potential enemies.
While the government and religious leaders are distinct entities in several countries, Tibet is an exception.
What Mr. Mukherjee has failed to inform the public is the fact that the 'spiritual leader' was robbed of his rightful possessions aka his country by a heinous nation.
This leader has requested the so called Bharatvarsha for assistance.
If you can be so righteous in quoting Sanskrit scriptures, then you must realize that it is the responsibility of said leader(Indian Govt. including Mr.Mukherjee) to do your Dharma to restore what was rightfully his.
Failing to do you will reap the karma of what you sow which is the same heinous nation attacking you in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Check out Alka's work at JNU at this website

socal said...

Which articles are you pointing at anon? The SAGE site needs subscription which I don't have.

Thanks for your input

prudent indian said...

Hi Socal! Good one! Following Choupie from 'sunder kand' Ramcharit Manas worth a mention. It is the context when Vibhishan seeks a refuge with Ram and people around Ram advice him against...
Sharanagat Jo Taj hein;
Nij Hit Unhit Anumani,
Tey Nar Pawar Pap May,
Tinhin Bilokut Haani.

But to appreciate the 'basic philosophy' and traditions of India, you need to be Indian first.Alas! We have one as Balidaan Morti Ma Sonia, who is a 'reluctant' Indian, Communists who are Indians, only by default. Pranab Mukherjee's utterances are pandering to china stooges in India. High time 'mitrokien archieves' are made compulsory for every one to read.
Prudent Indian.