Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anna stir: IITians meet Advani

Advani meets the IIT students who were protesting outside his house in New Delhi and assures them of his party's support for a strong Lokpal.

IITians meet Advani, seek BJP's support for Anna's Jan Lokpal

Alumni, faculty and students of IIT express support for Anna Hazare in New Delhi
A group of students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi held a protest march outside the residence of senior BJP leader L.K. Advani seeking party's support for Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill.

Marching with placards, the students demanded that Hazare's Jan Lokpal Bill be made into a law.

Advani met the students and assured them of his party's support for a strong Lokpal.

"There is no criminal law which exempts any one. even the Prevention of Corruption Act does not exempt the prime minister. On the Lokpal, we are of the view that the prime minister should be under the purview of the Lokpal," Advani told the students.

The IITians' protests come a day after BJP top brass met Team Anna over the party's misgivings about certain provisions of the Jan Lokpal. The BJP on Thursday said that it was ready to support the Jan Lokpal Bill to the extent it does not dilute Parliament and the Constitution.

IITians plan march to Rahul home, cops nip it in the bud

News item in The Times of India dated 28.08.2011 reporting the police unlawful detention of IITians protesting in favor of a strong anti-graft law, the movement was led by Mr. Somnath Bharti (Advocate, Supreme Court and Partner, Bharti & Associates) capacitated as Secretary, IIT Delhi Alumni Association.

Raj Shekhar, TNN Aug 28, 2011, 02.41am IST

NEW DELHI: Anna's war against corruption formally reached the gates of IIT-Delhi on Saturday. A 1,000-strong crowd comprising present and former students of the institute gathered at the main gate in the evening, carrying the tricolour and shouting slogans. Their plan was to march towards Lutyens' Delhi and protest outside the residence of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi at 12, Tughlaq Road; but cops did not allow them to even begin the march. Dejected, the protesters tried to force their way out, after which many of them were detained. Even though students alleged that about 60 of them were picked up, cops said only 28 were detained and released later.Somnath Bharti, a past pupil and the coordinator of the protest, was the first to be detained. "We were roughed up and cops did not explain why we could not protest peacefully. They just told us that they had orders from their superiors. I want to know why they stopped us," said Bharti.The IITians tried their best to dodge the police by trying to sneak out in smaller groups and board the Metro to reach their destination. But the police soon got wind of the scheme and foiled their bid. Akshay, a 4 th-year student, said the police action was "unfair". "When everybody else is being allowed to protest, the administration is targeting us and stopping us from expressing ourselves," he said.Cops, on the other hand, claimed they had no prior information about the protest, nor did the students ever seek any permission to do so. "They were asked to take permission, specifying the area of protest; but a section of them refused to do so, which is why they had to be detained," said a senior officer.Elsewhere, a plan to protest outside the Congress office at 24, Akbar Road, was nipped in the bud when cops dispersed about 100 protesters, who had gathered there in the afternoon.Earlier in the day, DMRC, following a Delhi Police directive, shut down Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat Udyog Bhavan stations around 3pm. These were re-opened for public at 7pm. Earlier, four metro stations, namely Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Jor Bagh on Gurgaon Line and Khan Market on Badarpur corridor, were closed as a precautionary measure following flash protests near residences of the leading political leaders.

38 IITians detained for protesting

News item in Indian Express reporting the police unlawful detention of IITians protesting in favor of a strong anti-graft law, the movement was led by Mr. Somnath Bharti (Advocate, Supreme Court and Partner, Bharti & Associates) capacitated as Secretary, IIT Delhi Alumni Association.
Naveed Iqbal Posted online: Sun Aug 28 2011, 03:48 hrs
New Delhi : Thirty-eight students of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) were detained for holding protests in support of Anna Hazare on Saturday.
More than 500 students and alumni of IIT-D shouting “Desh ka yuwa yahan hai, Rahul Gandhi kahan hai?” gathered at campus gate at 4 pm to march towards Rahul Gandhi’s house on Tughlaq Road.
Even though police detained some students, citing law and order problems, protests continued till late evening. The protesters were not allowed to proceed out of the campus.
Security, meanwhile, was increased at Tughlaq Road. The three Metro stations in the vicinity of Tughlaq Road — Patel Chowk, Udyog Bhawan and Central Secretariat — were also closed for three hours.
“We had permission from Rahul Gandhi’s office to meet him, even then some students were detained,” said a student of IIT who was among the protesters.
Secretary of IIT-D Alumni Association, Somnath Bharti, alleged that the detained students were manhandled by the police and forced into police vans.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Anna Hazare's message to the Nation for 15th and 16th August

Dear Fellow Countrymen,

Though in my view Anna Hazare's approach is not a long term solution and apparently antithesis to the constitutional framework the founders gave to our nation India and even Anna or Arvind Kejriwal would not be very happy to resort to this mode of protest or bringing reforms but the way corruption and corrupt are getting stronger and stronger day by day and their shamelessness has crossed all the thresholds of morality, I am all for the Anna Hazare's movement.
Anna Hazare has given the following message to the citizens of this country to wake them up from deep slumber they have been to maneuvered to be pushed into all these years.

Anna Hazare's message to the Nation for 15th and 16th August

My Dear Fellow Indians, A decisive battle against corruption has begun. We are not against any political party. We want systemic reforms. We want a corruption-free India. After all, what are the people asking for – a strong anti-corruption law which provides for honest and time-bound investigations and trials that result in jail for the guilty, confiscation of embezzled money and their dismissal from service? Are we asking too much? For two months, we were talking to the government. Government seems unwilling to take even small steps against corruption. Government appears insincere. We have met all prominent political leaders. We have tried everything. What do we do now? When I announced my indefinite fast from 16th August, the government threatened that they would crush us the way they crushed Baba Ramdev's peaceful agitation. Friends, this is a historic opportunity. We can't afford to lose it. We are determined to fight to the end. If they arrest us, we will peacefully offer ourselves. If they use batons and bullets, we will happily lay down our lives but will not leave the place. We will not retaliate. It will be a completely non-violent movement. “If you fast on 16th August, you will be crushed” – this is what they are saying. “We will impose section 144 on Jantar Mantar” – this is what they are thinking. But I say that if every citizen in this country takes off from his work from 16th August, comes on the streets in front of his house, at the crossing, with a tricolor in his hands shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and raising slogans against corruption, they will fall short of batons and bullets. The government may arrest one Anna Hazare but how will they arrest 120 crore Anna Hazares? They may impose section 144 at one Jantar Mantar but will they impose section 144 on the whole country? And let me tell you – the police and army is with us. At traffic signals, policemen stop us, express their support and wish us well; at Raj Ghat, the policemen donated generously for the movement! So, will you take off from your work from 16 August? Will you descend on the streets with me? This year, the country will wait for 16th rather than 15th August. In solidarity, thanks Anna Hazare (Please make copies of this pamphlet and distribute it in large nos.) “WHY GOVERNMENT'S LOKPAL IS DANGEROUS???” Government's Lokpal is targeted against those who raise their voice against corruption rather than to punish the corrupt! The government's Lokpal bill covers only about 0.5% of public servants, yet it brings under its ambit virtually every citizen's group and organization, registered or unregistered, meant to serve the social sector. This raises a pertinent question -- whom is the Lokpal really targeted at? There are more than 1.25 crore central and state government employees. Out of this merely 65,000 Group A Central Government employees would be covered in the government bill leaving out all the lower officers and staff. This effectively means that there is no remedy against corruption that a common person faces daily in police, roads, industry, licensing, transport, roadways, municipality, rations, health services, education, pension, provident funds, Panchayat, forest department, irrigation department, etc. On the other hand, Lokpal would have jurisdiction over ALL NGOs, trusts, societies like Resident Welfare Associations(RWAs), big or small, whether registered or unregistered, whether they receive government funding or not, up to the village level! For instance, consider a group of citizens that unearths corruption of the Sarpanch and Block Development officer (BDO) in a village. The government's Lokpal can't take any action against the Sarpanch or BDO but it CAN lock up the group of HONEST active CITIZENS. Each and every association, like Resident Welfare Associations, Market Associations, even your neighborhood committees that organize festivals like Durga Puja, Ramlila, etc. would be under the purview of Lokpal. While there is no disagreement that the rot of corruption is also afflicting many societies, associations and NGOs, there already exists a plethora of laws like the Trust Act, Societies Act, FCRA, etc. to monitor them. Lokpal was originally intended for checking corruption in public servants. Regardless, if it is being extended to all associations of civil society, then why shouldn't it also cover all companies, businesses, political parties, and media houses? Government's Lokpal Provides Greater Protection to Corrupt! Provisions in the government's Lokpal Bill heavily favour corrupt public servants. Under this bill, a public servant accused of corruption is allowed to turn around and file a lawsuit against the complainant accusing him of filing a frivolous complaint. The government will provide a free advocate to the accused to help prove the citizen was wrong, while the citizen has to fend for himself. If the complaint proves to be frivolous, the minimum sentence FOR THE CITIZEN is TWO YEARS. But if the corruption charges are proved, the minimum sentence for the public servant is just SIX MONTHS! Will then any citizen dare raise a voice against corruption?

With warm wishes
Somnath Bharti

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Again someone treaded his/her soul!!!

Mumbai has been attacked again and then comes the same rotten promises of the politicians. How serious today's government is towards our safety and security of the nation can well be gauged from the fact that for no rhyme or reason they excluded CBI from the reach of RTI. I bet you watch these horrible pictures of our fellow brethren soaked in blood lying on the floor helpless. It cost us with 21 lives and hundreds injured. And 21 lives are not the only casualties. 21 families basically died with these 21 fellow citizens. 
Morning news items were pretty in contrast with each other. In Delhi police was busy catching and prosecuting women and their pimps for treading their bodies and in Mumbai someone who treaded his/her souls and assisted someone across or within our border actualize his/her ghastly plan of killing innocent and completely helpless fellow citizens. 
Everybody is talking of Pakistan and why USA is not doing anything against Pak. Probably in response and to restore the shaking faith back in USA, Obama Administration has stopped the delivery of 800 million dollars scheduled aid. But who is the biggest beneficiary of such terrorist activities??? Probe your within, analyze the facts/news and the answer would be right there before.
Someone right within our country, someone high up has treaded his/her soul to make such attacks possible and rather than accusing Pakistan, our government and all of us need to locate these money-thirsty, nay blood-thirsty monsters. We need to fix our own country. USA had one 9/11 and no such incident after that. 
For someone, terrorism is hard core business for many purposes, two of which I can share here.
  1. Keeping the countrymen deep scared, instilling fear psychosis in their being so that their questioning tendencies go away. So that any uprising against corruption, against malpractices of the powerful stop and does not rise again.
  2. With countries becoming nuclear enabled and empowered, the possibility of war has terribly decreased. Now all these countries know that one mistake by one country and the chain would start wiping out the total habitation off the earth. Hence no old time war would happen wherein they used small weapons to attack the other. Available information suggest that the nuclear arsenal, in possession with various countries, is good enough to wipe out the earth 15-16 times. I wonder why do we need so much nuclear arsenals, after all not everybody is Jesus Christ that a resurrection will happen and that too 15-16 times which even Jesus would have failed. In absence of such wars which were great markets of small weapons; these weapons now get used in the name of terrorism. I am sure that the persons involved in such businesses will realize someday their misdeeds. I have read that the king who ordered crucifixion of Jesus developed one life-time disease of washing his hands believing them to be stained with the blood of Jesus. 
People behind such attacks are mentally and psychologically too ill. World leaders, if they wish to save the humanity from further proceeding towards the OBVIOUS destruction, need to come out of their tiny concepts of NATIONS and start thinking of the earth as ONE PLACE. I don't see any other way out of such insane acts. If you see, then please share your thoughts. I know that this wish of mine is too much to ask for and with such wishes I do carry the risk of getting termed crazy but I better be crazy than hopeless!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If you are faced with or wish to initiate against someone a criminal prosecution

More often than not, life brings to you situations where you felt that someone should be criminally charged for one or the other action but don't know what to do or how to start with. Then there are situations which life brings to you in though unfortunately when you have been charged rightly or wrongly with some criminal offence. In both the situations, the info given in the following paras will come to your aid.

Hon'ble Supreme Court dealt the above in great detail in

H.S. Bains, Director, Small Savings-cum-Deputy Secretary Finance, Punjab v. State (Union Territory of Chandigarh) 1980 (4) SCC 631 and stated thus:

It is seen from the provisions to which we have referred in the preceding paragraphs that on receipt of a complaint a Magistrate has several courses open to him. He may take cognizance of the offence and proceed to record the Statements of the complainant and the witnesses present under Section 200. Thereafter, if in his opinion there is no sufficient ground for proceeding he may dismiss the complaint under Section 203. If in his opinion there is sufficient ground for proceeding he may issue process under Section 204. However, if he thinks fit, he may postpone the issue of process and either enquire into the case himself or direct an investigation to be made by a Police Officer or such other person as he thinks fit for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding. He may then issue process if in his opinion there is sufficient ground for proceeding or dismiss the complaint if there is no sufficient ground for proceeding. On the other hand, in the first instance, on receipt of a complaint, the Magistrate may, instead of taking cognizance of the offence, order an investigation under Section 156(3). The police will then investigate and submit a report under Section 173(1). Oft receiving the police report the Magistrate may take cognizance of the offence under Section 190(1)(b) and straightaway issue process. This he may do irrespective of the view expressed by the police in their report whether an offence has been made out or not. The Police report under Section 173 will contain the facts discovered or unearthed by the police and the conclusion drawn by the police therefrom. The Magistrate is not bound by the conclusions drawn by the Police and he may decide to issue process even if the Police recommend that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further. The Magistrate after receiving the Police report, may, without issuing process or dropping the proceeding decide to take cognizance of the offence on the basis of the complaint originally submitted to him and proceed to record the Statements upon oath of the complainant and the witnesses present under Section 200 Criminal Procedure Code and thereafter decide whether to dismiss the complaint or issue process. The mere fact that he had earlier ordered an investigation under Section 156(3) and received a report under Section 173 will not have the effect of total effacement of the complaint and therefore the Magistrate will not be barred from proceeding under Sections 200, 203 and 204. Thus, a Magistrate who on receipt of a complaint, orders an investigation under Section 156(3) and receives a police report under Section 173(1), may, thereafter, do one of three things: (1) he may decide that there is no sufficient ground for proceeding further and drop action; (2) he may take cognizance of the offence under Section 190(1)(b) on the basis of the police report and issue process; this he may do without being bound in any manner by the conclusion arrived at by the police in their report: (3) he may take cognizance of the offence under Section 190(1)(a) on the basis of the original complaint and proceed to examine upon oath the complainant and his witnesses under Section 200. If he adopts the third alternative, he may hold or direct an inquiry under Section 202 if he thinks fit. Thereafter he may dismiss the complaint or issue process, as the case may be.

Again in Abhinandan Jha and Ors. v. Dinesh Mishra, (supra) the question arose whether a Magistrate to whom a report under Section 173(1) had been submitted to the effect that no case had been made out against the accused, could direct the police to file a charge-sheet, on his disagreeing with the report submitted by the Police. this Court held that the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to direct the police to submit a charge-sheet. It was open to the Magistrate to agree or disagree with the police report. If he agreed with the report that there was no case made out for issuing process to the accused, he might accept the report and close the proceedings. If he came to the conclusion that further investigation was necessary he might make an order to that effect under Section 156(3). If ultimately the Magistrate was of the opinion that the facts set out in the police report constituted an offence he could take cognizance of the offence, notwithstanding the contrary opinion of the police expressed in the report. While expressing the opinion that the Magistrate could take cognizance of the offence notwithstanding the contrary opinion of the police the Court observed that the Magistrate could take cognizance under Section 190(1)(c)'. We do not have any doubt that the reference to 'Section 190(1)(c)' was a mistake for 'Section 190(1)(b)'. That appears to be obvious to us. But Shri Kapil Sibal urged that the reference was indeed to Section 190(1)(c) since at that time Section 190(1)(c) included the words 'or suspicion' and the Court had apparently taken the view that the Magistrate could take cognizance of the offence not under Section 190(1)(b) as if on a police report but under Section 190(1)(c) as if 'on suspicion'. We do not agree with this submission. Section 190(1)(c) was never intended to apply to cases where there was a police report under Section 173(1). We find it impossible to say that a Magistrate who takes cognizance of an offence on the basis of the facts disclosed in a police report must be said to have taken cognizance of the offence on suspicion and not upon a police report merely because the Magistrate and the Police arrived at different conclusions from the facts. The Magistrate is not bound by the conclusions arrived at by the police even as he is not bound by the conclusions arrived at by the complainant in a complaint. If a complainant States the relevant facts in his complaint and alleges that the accused is guilty of an offence under Section 307 Indian Penal Code the Magistrate is not bound by the conclusion of the complainant. He may think that the facts disclose an offence under Section 324 Indian Penal Code only and he may take cognizance of an offence under Section 324 instead of Section 307. Similarly if a police report mentions that half a dozen persons examined by them claim to be eye witnesses to a murder but that for various reasons the witnesses could not be believed, the Magistrate is not bound to accept the opinion of the police regarding the credibility of the witnesses. He may prefer to ignore the conclusions of the police regarding the credibility of the witnesses and take cognizance of the offence. If he does so, it would be on the basis of the Statements of the witnesses as revealed by the police report. He would be taking cognizance upon the facts disclosed by the police report though not on the conclusions arrived at by the police. It could not be said in such a case that he was taking cognizance on suspicion.

In case you wish to clarify any of your doubts in connection with the above, let me know.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Are you in hurry to get a divorce?

Divorce, a thing which was almost unheard of a decade ago and the pursuing parties used to be looked down upon then, has become so common these days that marriage as an institution seems loosing its importance in India. Marriage at one time considered to be an union of two souls to be continued for seven lives gets broken in India at the drop of a hat. Equanimity between the partners has become too remote a thing in today's era of only accumulation and no experience.
Believe you me, I have cases where exceptionally better off and intellectually sound people part ways on too insignificant developments which would have been OK between two friends and such cases sadden me. My approach to every case so far has been to reunite the couple if the differences have not taken them too far and is not beyond bridging. A good number of divorce cases I have succeeded to kill them right in my chamber and sent the couple back happy. But then there are the ones where keeping the parties together would only bring in more damages to them individually as well as to the people around their lives and these are the cases where amicable separation is to be advocated.
There are two legal ways of obtaining divorce viz. contested and mutual.
Contested is too painful a process to go through and should be better avoided but cases where parties are not willing to cooperate and have declared war on each other, there is no other way.
Mutual is most respectful way of amicably settling the issues and separating with dignity intact.
Fortunately or unfortunately, even mutual takes minimum six months for the divorce to come through though it is way far better than 5-6 years of a contested divorce suit in getting decided.
Prior to a 2009 judgment of Hon'ble Supreme Court, the six months, statutorily provided period to separate the two motions of a mutual divorce case, the court used to be willing to waive off if the parties could be shown living separately for a longer period but post 2009 judgment of Apex Court, this possibility is no longer available except with the Apex Court itself.
Since this holier-than-thou discretion the Apex Court reserved it for itself, people, wealthy and in hurry, seeking divorce use ways and means to utilize this discretion available with Hon'ble Supreme Court. One such instance I came across in the following case. In case you can't make out what I am hinting at please feel free to write to me.
Priyanka Singh Vs. Jayant Singh on 10 November, 2009
Bench: Harjit Singh Bedi, J.M. Panchal



Priyanka Singh ...Petitioner Versus

Jayant Singh ...Respondent ORDER

1. This is a petition for transfer of Divorce Petition No.1118 of 2008 titled Shri Jayant Singh vs. Smt. Priyanka Singh pending in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Gautam Budh Nagar (U.P.) to District Court, Koderma (Jharkhand).

2. While issuing notice, this Court stayed further proceedings of the divorce case. On 15.5.2009, the parties appeared in person and presented a joint application for grant of decree of divorce by mutual consent. However, as the averments necessary for making out a case under Section 2

13B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for short `the Act') were not made in the application, the case was adjourned with a direction to the parties to file an appropriate application. Thereafter, the parties jointly filed I.A. No.3 of 2009 with the prayer that their marriage be dissolved by granting a decree of divorce by mutual consent. They also filed an application (I.A. No.4 of 2009) under Section 13B of the Act for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce by mutual consent by stating therein that due to temperamental incompatibility, the parties have not been able to live together as husband and wife; that they have been living separately since 12.3.2005 and that the marriage is irretrievably broken down. It has also been averred that there is no chance of reconciliation between the parties and after due intervention of the family members and other relatives, they have decided to seek a decree of divorce by mutual consent. Both the I.As are supported by the affidavits of the parties.

3. We have heard learned counsel for the parties and perused the record. Keeping in view the fact that the parties are living separately for last more than 4 years and 6 months and there is no chance of reconciliation between them and also the fact that they have agreed to dissolve their marriage by mutual consent without any coercion or undue influence, we deem it proper to accept the prayer made in the two 3

applications for dissolution of marriage. Accordingly, Divorce Petition No.1118 of 2008 titled Shri Jayant Singh vs. Smt. Priyanka Singh pending in the Court of Civil Judge (Senior Division), Gautam Budh Nagar (U.P.) is transferred to this Court and marriage between the parties is dissolved by granting a decree of divorce by mutual consent in terms of Section 13B of the Act.

4. The transfer petition is disposed of in the manner indicated above. ........................................J.




New Delhi

November 10, 2009

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Interesting Conversation, held on FaceBook, on various aspects of spirituality and philosophy

Yogesh Andlay:“That man is richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others.”

“Economic change is driven by individual ethical choices, not rational material interests.”

- From 'Unto this last' by John Ruskin published in 1860, a book that had profund impact on Gandhi ji

Somnath Bharti: Yogesh, interestingly of which almost all Indians are unaware of, Gandhi had his inspiration coming from Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau. Strange that he found no Indian philosophers or Indian Philosophy worth inspiration!!!

Yogesh Andlay: Not entirely correct. Needs to be explored further....

Anil Bhatnagar: Somnath ji, I am aware of Tolstoy's influence on Gandhi ji's formative years but Gandhi ji was also influenced by various scriptures like Gita and Bible.

Somnath Bharti: Yogesh, an immediate proof of what I said is available in the book "Gandhi: the man, his people, and the empire By Rajmohan Gandhi". On page 182 Rajmohan writes "In his preface of the English Version (of Hind Swaraj), Gandhi writes that he has 'endeavoured humbly to follow Tolstoy, Ruskin, Thoreau, Emerson and other writers, besides the masters of Indian philosophy'. He names the Westerners, not the Indians, he refers to." Read the last line again.

Anil Ji, he was greatly influenced by Bible from where he picked up "offer the second cheek" concept, though he never mentioned of it anywhere. His work no where reflects Gita. Recently I got hold of M O Mathai's (PS of Nehru) book (banned in India) and I was shocked to read about the fraud played upon India and its people by Gandhi and his team.

Anil Bhatnagar: Gandhi ji mentioned that for him there was not much of a difference between Bible and Gita as he could derive from the other. One could not have claimed so with so much conviction unless one obviously was a student of both Gita and Bible. However, having said so, I personally feel it is not important which source our goodness comes from so long as it comes. His Holiness Dalai Lama says that the best religion is the one that brings out the best in us. Many people during my workshops do not like my reference to western sources. They are more interested in the source than in the values themselves. I think all great people like Gandhi are just the opposite: they are more focused on imbibing the right values irrespective their source. A vedic verse inspires us thus:" Let wisdom come from all directions".

Somnath Bharti: Anil, I am entirely in agreement with you but only with a rider. The freedom as to the source of the good/wisdom for an individual is worth a discussion as long as both are readily and equally made available but where one (Indian Philosophy) has been deliberately destroyed while the other (western philosophy) has been enthusiastically promoted, freedom of the individual is hardly a parameter. Lord Macaulay and his latest Avatar Kapil Sibal are hell bent on destroying Indian literatures. Are we giving our kids a free choice of Indian and Western? I am afraid that we are manufacturing our kids in a way that they will appreciate western thoughts and values only. The harm by this is not only to India and its rich civilization but to western too as generations there will never know the riches of Indian Civilization.

Yogesh Andlay: Just finished reading 2 of 3 chapters. Once you start reading it, you can't stop.... @Somnath: Here is the linkhttp://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/RusLast.html

Somnath Bharti: Anil, also on HH Dalai Lama, I had driven down to Dharamshala to meet him in person but returned without meeting him when I came to know that he eats meat in his lunch. For me, meat is to do with compassion rather than a food choice. The argument given by his followers was that they eat and not kill. Buddha's followers is exploiting one incidence of Buddha's life and teachings. I don't value much what HH Dalai Lama says because in my opinion he is one of those people who doesn't understand the basics of spirituality. Just by a following, no one becomes great whether it be Gandhi or HH Dalia Lama. In fact no one by following any one have ever become great. Christ was not a Christian and neither was Buddha a buddhist. One has to die to go to heaven.

Somnath Bharti: Thanks Yogesh for sharing the link. It is indeed great reading Ruskin.

D Rshobha Dani-arora: one doesn't agree with other person's opinion, he agrees with his own opinion expressed by someone else. If this is true, you reflect your fine personality in the quotes, Yogesh!

Anil Bhatnagar: Somnath ji, I am in complete ageement with you regarding your comment that meat eating is not just a food choice. I think it is indeed cruelty towards innnocent animals. However, are u sure about him eating meat in lunch? I once heard him confessing he used to do so in his childhood (which I presume meant that he does not do it now).

I agree that earlier invaders systematically destroyed Indian scriptures and today we are doing little to make our heritage be known to our children.

I also agree with you that having followers doesn't necessarily make one truly a leader. However, I have been reading HH Dalai Lama's books on spirituality and they make lot of sense to me hence while loving you for who you are and respecting your views about him, I have difficulty accepting that he does not understand the very basics of spirituality...this appears to be an exaggerated judgement we can do without (By the way I am not his follower. He is only among the many I have read).

Shailendra Jain: I am joining the discussion late. Gandhi read and internalized Gita. I have read Gandhi's commentary on Gita. Gandhi engaged in a very spiritually rich dialog with a Jain monk Raj Chandra (published in several languages).

Gandhi was heavily influenced by Bhakti Marg Saints such as Nanak, Kabir, Tulsidas, Raidas and others.

Shailendra Jain: Is Indian philosophy and literature less accessible or relevant now? May be.

During my thirty-three years of living in the USA, I see an increasing influence of Indian thought. This is happening not only in intellectual circles but also in popular media. Star Wars series of movies created by George Lucas had key concepts of "force", Jedai, and one-on-one coaching by "yoda" from Indian scriptures.

Lately, I am seeing Patanjali quoted more often.

Anil Bhatnagar: I agree with you Shailendra ji. Even in Management we find stalwarts like Stephen Covey quoting from Gita, Vivekananda, Tagore and Gandhi.

Somnath Bharti: Anil Ji, HH Dalai Lama and his followers do eat meat and they justify the same as shared with you earlier. In fact he had visited RadhaSoami Satsang Beas (they practice strict vegetarianism) sometime back wherein his followers were looking for eggs in the morning for his B/F. Because of my father, I have the quest of visiting any and every known living practitioner of Spirituality and sorry to say that majority barring a very few have been doing more damage than any benefit. Barring a very few, all start with a wrong premise; they want me to believe without going through the pain and labor of my own like Buddha, Mahavira, Nanak etc. that there is a God. And when you start with a premise like this then whole journey gets screwed up. And towards the old age, people get conditioned so much that they cling to the unverified believes which they are carrying along since childhood and give all sorts of explanations to save their ego. Like we tell our children that there is a God, Russians tell their children that there is no God and later on the grown ups of these societies debate in favor of such thrust upon believes as if they were their own findings.

Shailendra Ji, whether it be Gita or Bible, they are someone else's personal, original and first hand experiences and if someone tries to internalize them then s/he is just putting another layer of Mask and all such persons will be dangerous to one selves as well as to others. Spirituality is a journey which any desirous person has to undergo individually just as Nanak, Raidas, Kabir, Christ, Ram Krishna went all on their own with no help whatsoever from anywhere.

Anil Bhatnagar: I am in complete agreement with you Somnath ji on each word you have written. If Jesus was great that does not make all Christians great (and the same logic goes for Krishna and Hindus).

Though I personally don't approve this cruelty on animals, however, I feel my compassion for animals and all living beings should extend to include even those who kill them and also to those who have no respect for my sentiments, values and beliefs.

In Buddha's time, monks were allowed to accept meat since they were to accept whatever they were to get in alms (beggers cannot be choosers). This was mainly meant to make them reach beyong Raag and dwesha (eat even what you dislike the most as a mark of complete surrender and let go of what you like the most). But this does not hold good today when the scenario offers more options to them (searching for eggs when they are not available is just the opposite of this spirit and clearly shows raag or attachment).

Spirituality is a personal search for meaning and life sustaining values It cannot be pasted from outside; it must grow from within. It is definitely beyond the inherited beliefs--as you have rightly pointed out

Somnath Bharti: Anil Ji, you have explained the small incidence of Buddha's time beautifully in which he had to permit eating of the meat dropped in the begging bowl of a monk by a vulture on his way back to the monastery as he had received nothing else that day because, as you have beautifully explained, Buddha did not want his monks to empower their minds by exercising discretion- a mark of complete surrender. Ahh, what a great way you have explained this part of Buddhism which is badly misused and exploited so badly by its followers. From outside, buddhus and buddhas look alike; both carefree but from inside, both are extreme of the possibilities available to each of the human beings.

Somnath Bharti: Yogesh/Anil/Shailendra, because our discussion led to many interesting facets which I think would be good for any seeker of truth, I need your permission to permit me post this entire conversation on my blog. If desired, I can suppress your identities.